Christian Era |OT| W.W.J.D

That's really cool. I think this potentially could a great story to get out to the public since gamer culture is often under fire for being so toxic (especially with some prior incidents with professional Overwatch players). This would a great counter to that.

What a fantastic opportunity God has placed in front of you!
I hadn't even thought about that! I'll be sure to include this in the writeup!
 
This is the most magical place on Earth.

I have visited most of the monasteries shown in the video. Non-Orthodox Christian pilgrims are welcome!

AMA.

Part 2:
 
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Prayer request yall.

So I'm supposed to be presenting a book called Crucial Conversations to about 50-80 congregants.

As someone...close to the pastor, we're preparing the church to have the tools to...well...discuss very sensitive matters of the church, such as if we should do anything to intervene concerning police violence against blacks or picket abortion or open our doors to someone who was convicted of a sex crime, etc.



It's going to be interesting over the next year or so.
 
I hear you on that one Sol, it's very much something I've had to process over the years. It's something I see more of in person than online due to living in Austin and working in the film industry. You run into a lot of people that have had bad experiences with the Gospel due to over-zealous religious personalities. I try my best not to hide my faith or perspective, but it's not something I flash on the regular. I think a lot of what we feel comes down to the fact that while Christ came to fulfill the law and make us whole again, he still has said in his own words that he came to divide in Luke 12:51:

Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.
ESV

Some of this is obviously in reference to what would lead to the crucifixion, but it also shows the nature of his arrival. That there will be division over the fact that he has declared himself as the Son of God, and obviously a lot of people are going to take issue with such a bold claim.

The main takeaway for me is to always remember that we represent Christ, and that because we are called to share his love we must learn to find the delectate balance between alienating people by making them feel uncomfortable and proclaiming the truth. That's where the importance of prayer without ceasing and being sensitive to the call of the Holy Spirit is so critical. We may in our flesh suck at reading the situation on when we should be bold or silent, but we go forward with the Spirit as our guide and we can know that it won't lead us down the wrong path, even when it feels that way.

On that note, some prayer and praise on what's going on in my life. I finally got my job title changed correctly from QA Technician to Software Engineer this past week! I've been serving in that role for a while and been trying to get properly credited for a while so getting that for me is a big deal. It also came with a significant raise that I wasn't expecting, and the timing is very good, so that's a major win as well.

At the same time, I'm working at an animation studios and studied film in college, so it's been very difficult for me to be in such a technical position when my passion is for the creative side of the craft. Throw in the fact that I don't actually enjoy programming and went out of my way in college to specifically not study it and you can easily see how it's a bit of a bittersweet victory. It's taken a bit of an emotional toll on me, and I'm trying to let that all process while we are in the middle of a major crunch. The company is in that awkward transition between small and mid-sized, so we've been swamped with getting a lot of pipeline work done. Even though I hate the job itself, I really enjoy the team I work with, the projects we're working on are cool, and I have a show proposal that I'm hoping to hear back on in the coming weeks, though I'm not sure exactly how soon it'll be before I can talk to our lead writer about it. The positive side of that front is that he was totally into the idea when I turned in the first draft and was super supportive of taking another pass on it to get it ready for the next step.

So if you guys could keep these things in your prayers, I'd really appreciate it.
Thanks for the response. I've actually been calling it to mind for a couple of weeks now, whenever I start to feel down about the whole ordeal.

You are most certainly in my prayers. Hope everything works out for you!
 
Sorry for posting so little here lately, i shall pray for everyone i read tonight.

Prayer request yall.

So I'm supposed to be presenting a book called Crucial Conversations to about 50-80 congregants.

As someone...close to the pastor, we're preparing the church to have the tools to...well...discuss very sensitive matters of the church, such as if we should do anything to intervene concerning police violence against blacks or picket abortion or open our doors to someone who was convicted of a sex crime, etc.

It's going to be interesting over the next year or so.
Did you presented this already? how did it go?

So a friend i met at my job invited me to her church and i went there today... problem is i dont know why but i did not have a good first impression of it.

I dont know if i am the problem, but the church just seemed too big with a lot of people, and in the end i just talked with the friend who invited me over and her husband and after the cult was over we went to dinner ourselves without talking to anybody, i was kinda expecting to meet new people to join in communion but it seemed to me everyone just kept to themselves and their family.

In my old church it was small but everyone knew everybody and i truly felt a part of a christian community, but today i felt very alone and out of place there, even with my friend and her husband.

I will go a couple more times, but i would like to make a question for the more experienced people, is this normal and i should just get used to it? Honestly sometimes i think that perhaps im just not "church material"

Sorry for the rambling, but usually i come back from a church feeling good, but right now im quite the opposite.
 
So a friend i met at my job invited me to her church and i went there today... problem is i dont know why but i did not have a good first impression of it.

I dont know if i am the problem, but the church just seemed too big with a lot of people, and in the end i just talked with the friend who invited me over and her husband and after the cult was over we went to dinner ourselves without talking to anybody, i was kinda expecting to meet new people to join in communion but it seemed to me everyone just kept to themselves and their family.

In my old church it was small but everyone knew everybody and i truly felt a part of a christian community, but today i felt very alone and out of place there, even with my friend and her husband.

I will go a couple more times, but i would like to make a question for the more experienced people, is this normal and i should just get used to it? Honestly sometimes i think that perhaps im just not "church material"

Sorry for the rambling, but usually i come back from a church feeling good, but right now im quite the opposite.
It's not unusual to feel a bit lost at larger churches. It comes with the territory. I attend a large multi-site church but the particular site/campus I attend is relatively small (total weekend attendance is around 500 but that's spread across 4 services). So, I feel like part of a community and know most of the other people that attend and serve at the same time I do. This was not the case when I used to attend one of the larger sites that we have. I didn't feel like I knew anyone so attending church was always a lonely experience.

I wouldn't go as far as to say you should get used to it or conclude that you aren't church material. That may just not be the church for you. I'm not a fan of people leaving churches for petty reasons but I think feeling like part of a community is an important quality that has to be recognized if you plan on staying at a church. So, don't give up on church. If this one doesn't work, though, try finding another one.

Also, you mentioned in part of your post something about "after the cult was over"... what did you mean by that?
 
I did the thing, Ivellios . Thanks for the prayer. Everyone said I did a good job, but I didn't feel like I did because I have HIGH standards.

Well if other people felt I was effective, then so be it.
Dont be so hard on yourself, as you said you had a difficult topic to cover and you did your very best so that is what matters. So congratulations!

It's not unusual to feel a bit lost at larger churches. It comes with the territory. I attend a large multi-site church but the particular site/campus I attend is relatively small (total weekend attendance is around 500 but that's spread across 4 services). So, I feel like part of a community and know most of the other people that attend and serve at the same time I do. This was not the case when I used to attend one of the larger sites that we have. I didn't feel like I knew anyone so attending church was always a lonely experience.

I wouldn't go as far as to say you should get used to it or conclude that you aren't church material. That may just not be the church for you. I'm not a fan of people leaving churches for petty reasons but I think feeling like part of a community is an important quality that has to be recognized if you plan on staying at a church. So, don't give up on church. If this one doesn't work, though, try finding another one.

Also, you mentioned in part of your post something about "after the cult was over"... what did you mean by that?
I second going to another church. Find a place where you feel like you belong. Then you can dig in with the orthodoxy.
Thanks for the replys, technically i would not leave this particular church because i was never a member, this is the first time i went there.

It also did not help that in this new church was one the rare times that i disliked a preacher teachings (though it was a someone invited by the pastor). Usually after the preaching i return feeling far better and wiser, its my favorite moment in the church. After this one i was just glad it was over. I suppose it was my fault for creating so much expectation as well.

As for the bolded its because my english sucks, what i meant is after everything was over and people started leaving for their homes.

The problem in searching for other churches is that i dont know anyone else who attends churchs near my home and im legit scared of going alone because im too timid for that.
 
Hey guys, anybody know anything about the guy who runs the ReligionforBreakfast YT channel. A quick search finds that it run by a Doctoral student out of Boston University.

His mantra is "religious literacy" which comes across as "atheism with smugness".
I have not heard of this channel before. I will have to check out a few of his videos.

Why do you say his mantra is coming across as "atheism with smugness"?
 
I have not heard of this channel before. I will have to check out a few of his videos.

Why do you say his mantra is coming across as "atheism with smugness"?
Firstly, I would recommend against watching his channel and certainly didn't link it because I think it is valuable source material.

Whenever you see the word "non-sectarian" used in an academic sense (as is in the case of his channel description) , 9 times out of 10 it is a euphemism for atheism. Also, he also describes a parable from Acts as "fan fiction" in his twitter account.

As for his smugness, just look as the thumbnail for his video on Jerusalem syndrome, where he assumes an identical pose alongside a picture of Jesus.
 
Tuesday was when the Pastoral Advisory Committee was to give me feedback for my presentation in the 18th.

Nobody had any real criticism. Everyone loved it. some congregants even requested that I teach/speak more often.

O_o

It's been years since the last time I was teaching at MSU...I don't know if it's a calling or a gift, but the Lord always empowers me to do well even when I feel (or actually am) ill-prepared.

For His Glory, not mine.
 

ShadowSwordmaster

Community Resetter
Member
Hello everyone! I'm a Christan of the Reformed denomination.
Tuesday was when the Pastoral Advisory Committee was to give me feedback for my presentation in the 18th.

Nobody had any real criticism. Everyone loved it. some congregants even requested that I teach/speak more often.

O_o

It's been years since the last time I was teaching at MSU...I don't know if it's a calling or a gift, but the Lord always empowers me to do well even when I feel (or actually am) ill-prepared.

For His Glory, not mine.
Sounds like you have a gift.
 
Sorry I haven't posted in a while. When I come to this site it's usually to lurk, hah...

I listened to all the suggestions and definitely found some new music to play on repeat. And most of the family is okay after my grandmother's passing, but my grandfather...is not taking it well. Apparently he doesn't eat much anymore and ended up in the hospital because of it. I think he'll be okay, but...yeah.

I'm scared I'm straying too far from God. Like I said, I'm very far from the ideal Christian, but I had my own thing going on that centered around prayer. But lately it just feels like I'm praying less and less. That's not at all intentional, it just kind of...happens. I always try to give thanks for new things and opportunities, for friends and good health, and try not asking for much, but sometimes I just...forget, and it makes me feel awful. I'd feel horrible if I forgot plans with a friend, and leaving God hanging isn't different at all.

Sorry, just venting I guess. I should probably be taking this up with the man upstairs, huh...
 
Sorry I haven't posted in a while. When I come to this site it's usually to lurk, hah...

I listened to all the suggestions and definitely found some new music to play on repeat. And most of the family is okay after my grandmother's passing, but my grandfather...is not taking it well. Apparently he doesn't eat much anymore and ended up in the hospital because of it. I think he'll be okay, but...yeah.

I'm scared I'm straying too far from God. Like I said, I'm very far from the ideal Christian, but I had my own thing going on that centered around prayer. But lately it just feels like I'm praying less and less. That's not at all intentional, it just kind of...happens. I always try to give thanks for new things and opportunities, for friends and good health, and try not asking for much, but sometimes I just...forget, and it makes me feel awful. I'd feel horrible if I forgot plans with a friend, and leaving God hanging isn't different at all.

Sorry, just venting I guess. I should probably be taking this up with the man upstairs, huh...
I'm very bad about prayer, too. It's been a lifelong struggle. Like, I am told that God wants me to communicate to him, but it feels silly and redundant if I believe he also knows my thoughts. IDK, prayer is a very heart/faith thing, and I'm more of a knowledge/faith guy.

Of course, I prayed MORE when I was poorer, and my marriage was failing. Now that everything is good, I stopped....


Also, we are all very far from "ideal Christians."
 
Well, that God of War thread was difficult to .....digest.
Which one and why? does it have any spoilers?

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. When I come to this site it's usually to lurk, hah...

I listened to all the suggestions and definitely found some new music to play on repeat. And most of the family is okay after my grandmother's passing, but my grandfather...is not taking it well. Apparently he doesn't eat much anymore and ended up in the hospital because of it. I think he'll be okay, but...yeah.

I'm scared I'm straying too far from God. Like I said, I'm very far from the ideal Christian, but I had my own thing going on that centered around prayer. But lately it just feels like I'm praying less and less. That's not at all intentional, it just kind of...happens. I always try to give thanks for new things and opportunities, for friends and good health, and try not asking for much, but sometimes I just...forget, and it makes me feel awful. I'd feel horrible if I forgot plans with a friend, and leaving God hanging isn't different at all.

Sorry, just venting I guess. I should probably be taking this up with the man upstairs, huh...
I'm very bad about prayer, too. It's been a lifelong struggle. Like, I am told that God wants me to communicate to him, but it feels silly and redundant if I believe he also knows my thoughts. IDK, prayer is a very heart/faith thing, and I'm more of a knowledge/faith guy.

Of course, I prayed MORE when I was poorer, and my marriage was failing. Now that everything is good, I stopped....


Also, we are all very far from "ideal Christians."
Praying is a struggle for me as well, in the Bible it says to pray and ask God everyday without stopping, but i find that hard to do because if i already asked/thanked Him once for something, why would i keep praying for the same thing everyday? He already knows what i prayed and need so why keep repeating myself?

I also consider myself very far from the "traditional Christian", as for "ideal Christian" even though we are all far from it, we as christians should try our best to be one by practing the word of God on our general life.
 
Which one and why? does it have any spoilers?.
The one that proposes potential sequels. It's downright offensive to Christians, however I should not expect more from the gaming side of this forum. It contains very general implied spoilers.



Praying is a struggle for me as well, in the Bible it says to pray and ask God everyday without stopping, but i find that hard to do because if i already asked/thanked Him once for something, why would i keep praying for the same thing everyday? He already knows what i prayed and need so why keep repeating myself?.
We pray to show our faith and faith is the only thing God commands from us. Prayer is also about humbling yourself. That's why we should do it unceasingly.

Also, praying is a means to ward off the enemy. That's why in the Orthodox faith we repeat the Jesus Prayer over and over, when he have nothing specific to pray about. Monastics even recite it in their sleep. Its purpose, if I may borrow from Wikipedia:
  • The aim is not to be dissolved or absorbed into nothingness or into God, or reach another state of mind, but to (re)unite[d] with God (which by itself is a process) while remaining a distinct person..
 
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Which one and why? does it have any spoilers?





Praying is a struggle for me as well, in the Bible it says to pray and ask God everyday without stopping, but i find that hard to do because if i already asked/thanked Him once for something, why would i keep praying for the same thing everyday? He already knows what i prayed and need so why keep repeating myself?

I also consider myself very far from the "traditional Christian", as for "ideal Christian" even though we are all far from it, we as christians should try our best to be one by practing the word of God on our general life.
This s much.

You and I are *RIGHT HERE*.

I need someone equally "practical of mind" to explain to me, translate from someone with a high emotional intelligence so that I can understand it.
 
The one that proposes potential sequels. It's downright offensive to Christians, however I should not expect more from the gaming side of this forum. It contains very general implied spoilers.




We pray to show our faith and faith is the only thing God commands from us. Prayer is also about humbling yourself. That's why we should do it unceasingly.

Also, praying is a means to ward off the enemy. That's why in the Orthodox faith we repeat the Jesus Prayer over and over, when he have nothing specific to pray about. Monastics even recite it in their sleep. Its purpose, if I may borrow from Wikipedia:
I wont see the thread because i have not finished the game yet, but i can imagine what they said even without looking. The people on this forum are funny, they preach respect toward everyone but when it comes down to Christians they just completely ignore that, kinda hypocritical.

As for praying i understand that, but i find it hard to do it every single day because at some time i just dont have anything new to say, same reason i almost never repeated Jesus prayer. But i agree with you that praying is our main form of communion with God, so we should do it as much as we can.

On the matter of protecting against the enemy i think reading and understanding Bible is vital as well, seeing the example of Jesus in the desert.

Does praying have to be kneeling and holding your hands together? I've been trying to pray daily, but I always feel a bit silly doing it like that.
Uh, personally i very rarely do this, i think praying is just saying what is in your heart to God no matter how you do it.
 
I wont see the thread because i have not finished the game yet, but i can imagine what they said even without looking. The people on this forum are funny, they preach respect toward everyone but when it comes down to Christians they just completely ignore that, kinda hypocritical.

As for praying i understand that, but i find it hard to do it every single day because at some time i just dont have anything new to say, same reason i almost never repeated Jesus prayer. But i agree with you that praying is our main form of communion with God, so we should do it as much as we can.

On the matter of protecting against the enemy i think reading and understanding Bible is vital as well, seeing the example of Jesus in the desert.



Uh, personally i very rarely do this, i think praying is just saying what is in your heart to God no matter how you do it.
Great, thank you.
 
Does praying have to be kneeling and holding your hands together? I've been trying to pray daily, but I always feel a bit silly doing it like that.
No, of course not. But, lex orandi, lex credendi. You look at the great traditions and the incorporation (heh) of physical acts into prayer and meditation, there is value to it.
 
Marriage is surely under attack. Feels like the rate of divorce exceeding marriages, babies, born, and any other good news in general. Seems like the news of cancer is more ubiquitous.

It is...discouraging...to see so many millennial marriages dissolve like the generations prior.
 
Marriage is surely under attack. Feels like the rate of divorce exceeding marriages, babies, born, and any other good news in general. Seems like the news of cancer is more ubiquitous.

It is...discouraging...to see so many millennial marriages dissolve like the generations prior.
I think there are 2 sides to the discussion.

If we consider people outside the church (and even some inside), I think the appeal of marriage is starting to decrease. There obviously are financial and tax benefits, security, companionship, etc. so much so that there has been the big push for marital equality the last few years. Despite all of this, I still think there is evidence to suggest that people would rather not be "tied down" or part of something that is so permanent. Weddings are also expensive. So, I think there's an idea that you can have a personal companion without ever pursuing marriage.

Within the church, however, I think we're honestly not trying hard enough. I know that's a severe statement to make but I think we as Christians don't take the commitment of marriage seriously enough. It's a big celebration upfront but we're not serious enough of sexual purity before marriage, proper pre-marital counseling, good coaching from experienced couples, regular marriage counseling (for maintenance), etc. Also, the expectation that people get married is so toxic. They end up getting married and not realizing how hard it is or what sort of sacrifice it really is.

I think we have no one to blame but ourselves for marriages falling apart. We're not properly preparing people nor are we supporting them properly after they're married. It's one of the biggest commitments you can make in life! Shouldn't we give it that sort of attention and care?
 
...Hey, guys. Been a hot minute. I realize I thought I knew how updates work on ERA, but apparently they don't, since I've had this thread on "watch" but it hasn't given me an alert in over a month. So... I missed a lot. Easter's come and gone, by a long shot, so... happy Easter, everyone. Whooops. I had an interesting one. Spent Good Friday traveling to see my grandpa, who I hadn't seen in three years. May not sound ideal, but there was... our family got a bit torn up after the divorce I alluded to earlier in the thread. We decided to do a surprise trip just in time for both our birthdays as a way to show him and that whole side of the family we still love them even if it's outside of our means to keep in regular touch. It was an... unconventional Good Friday but one spent doing something I feel had to be done. Hopefully that's good.

In between last time I posted, we had a religious thread about the evangelical movement and I made a post in it. I dunno if you guys want to discuss my points there or not, since I probably hold some weird views on scripture, but if you'd like to engage here it is. I would have posted about it here... if I knew people were posting about stuff here.

Phoenix RISING-- you were banned when I first posted, so I want to say hi! I remember really appreciating your posts when I was just lurking and was looking forward to having conversations and discussions. If you're willing, I've got a request-- would you be willing to discuss some of the more esoteric/gnostic points made my M in your discussion with him... oh, several weeks back? Don't, uh... sweat it if you've forgotten or lost track, that bit is all on me not knowing this place had any posts for months. Striking while that iron is absolute zero. If you ever got a chance to read my introductory forum post, you'll notice I mentioned that syncretic belief systems are something that interest me, so that just made my ears perk up. As an LGBT person too, I'm also always interested in how other people reconcile that aspect of themselves to the faith.

Gravity Queen-- welcome! I hope things are doing well for you right now.

I wanted to put in my two cents on the more recent topics as well. The ones about prayer and marriage.

I think the main thing with prayer is turning your heart to God and seeking to open your heart to God. As long as you're in that state, I think you can pray from any (respectful) position or orientation or time of day. I think prayers can be free-form, or they can be something more specific like the Lord's Prayer. While I have a daily routine for more formalized prayer, sometimes I just feel like I should talk to God about something in a more free-form, organic way. It's especially a thing since my OCD, yunno... makes prayer weird. I have to feel I'm doing it right or I repeat it, but repeating it can get painful. Hesychasm doesn't seem to work for me for this reason. I shy away from repetition in general since I've always done a bunch of it. Which kind of conflicts with my previous statement about just requiring openness of heart, but at the same time I tend to be strict with myself about not getting distracted during prayer. Prayer feels like it should be a devotional act in nature, so prioritizing mindfulness and actively processing the words I'm speaking seems necessary, you know? In the past I've struggled with the opposite problem of a lot of people here, which is that I ended up constructing pretty elaborate routines for prayers that were... very specific in their demands over a long period of time. Attention and accompanying visualizations with particular verses and redoing verses if I mixed up words... it was a bit difficult, let's say. Right now I'm trying to keep the formalized prayers to what people have asked of me and a very no-frills routine outlined in the Didache, as well as just a quick prayer of thanks, since that's one that Mr. Rogers recommended. Just a quick and simple "Thank you, God." I adore the simplicity of that prayer. I guess if you guys want to take advice from me-- pick some kind of routine that makes you feel good, but make sure that you're just talking to God sometimes too, right? It's true that God already knows your thoughts, but just... direct your attention to Him as you live them, whether in gratitude or when your heart is troubled. But I'll admit it's not something I'm as good at as I should be-- writing this made me realize I probably should increase the amount of my prayer that is less formal and more organic in nature.

As for marriage: I've always had weird ambivalent feelings towards the sanctity of marriage. It's probably a good thing to be discussing right now since OT has a thread on a pastor who, uh... said and did some yikes stuff regarding marriage. We might want to have a parallel discussion here. As I mentioned, my mom separated from my dad because the relationship became abusive towards her and towards me as well. She's currently seeing someone else and he's a wonderful person who isn't like that. Questions about when and where to break off a marriage are weird to me, since at least in the four Gospels that was one of the things where Jesus was most strict about in a very distinct legal sense. Most of His commandments were regarding more organic concepts of life that are ambiguous because they're internal to someone-- being forgiving and forgiving as often as you can, not being angry at your brethren, that sort of deal. How that manifests in your life is going to depend on your circumstances. Divorce? Not so much. Jesus is pretty clear on what He expects of us there. But I have a hard time seeing this divorce and separation as anything other than unabashedly good for my mother, and the way she ended up meeting the person she's with now was serendipitous and has been pretty positive for her. I just dunno how to feel about that. I certainly can't judge, because the abuse that was going on was mentally extremely rough for me and it's been a really good thing to be past that. So if I'm grateful for that having happened, it would be tremendously wrong of me to judge it having happened in anything other than a positive light. Because of that, I can't really... condemn people who divorce after marriages that were just... bad. And because of that, as well as the fact that marriages that are... consistently falling apart carry such a risk of becoming toxic in some way, it becomes difficult for me to judge the extremely high divorce rate. Would that we could get it lower, but it only seems like that's something we should cheer on if we get to keep the empowerment that modern divorce culture has given to people who enter into abusive relationships. Sometimes it goes beyond having the strength to work through problems, and beyond even feeling trapped in a lackluster relationship-- sometimes it's about safety, both in the immediate sense and in the sense of someone's mental condition. Never can figure out how to reconcile that concern with the Biblical command the Good Lord gave.

Anyways, I hope to lead to some interesting and positive discussions. Sorry I've been away!
 
Welcome back, Deffers !

Thanks for sharing all of that - it's a lot to digest.

A few things I wanted to response to... first, thanks for sharing that part about simply thanking God during our prayers. You're right - saying "thank you" is so simple and, yet, I don't think I do it enough. There's so much to be thankful for that we tend to take for granted.

As for the divorce rate - I think you have a point about situations where either the wife or husband is experiencing some form of abuse in a relationship. I do agree that safety should come first and people shouldn't necessarily be expected to stay in a relationship that is dangerous. My harsh words in my earlier post did not take into account people that are experiencing abuse, so that was a miss on my part. However, I also have no reconciled the concept of abuse with the Bible's teaching on marriage, i.e. Christ seems to basically suggest that adultery is the one valid reason for divorce. I haven't quite been able to figure out what he might have thought about marriages that have fallen victim to abuse on either end.

Any input from anyone else in this thread?
 
I think there are 2 sides to the discussion.

If we consider people outside the church (and even some inside), I think the appeal of marriage is starting to decrease. There obviously are financial and tax benefits, security, companionship, etc. so much so that there has been the big push for marital equality the last few years. Despite all of this, I still think there is evidence to suggest that people would rather not be "tied down" or part of something that is so permanent. Weddings are also expensive. So, I think there's an idea that you can have a personal companion without ever pursuing marriage.

Within the church, however, I think we're honestly not trying hard enough. I know that's a severe statement to make but I think we as Christians don't take the commitment of marriage seriously enough. It's a big celebration upfront but we're not serious enough of sexual purity before marriage, proper pre-marital counseling, good coaching from experienced couples, regular marriage counseling (for maintenance), etc. Also, the expectation that people get married is so toxic. They end up getting married and not realizing how hard it is or what sort of sacrifice it really is.

I think we have no one to blame but ourselves for marriages falling apart. We're not properly preparing people nor are we supporting them properly after they're married. It's one of the biggest commitments you can make in life! Shouldn't we give it that sort of attention and care?
I think the expense of weddings is an excuse when you can just go to court (my parents did). But the idea that cohabitation is sufficient is indeed what appears to be the case.

I think what happened was that women were shamed when they bore children out of wedlock. Instead of holding men accountable for their promiscuity and neglect society deemed it acceptable for both sexes to participate in this behavior, rather than reel men back in.

Part of why we're not serious about sexual purity is because churches are failing their congregations in detailing why that is important in the first place. You can say "don't do that," but you have to be able to articulate why beyond "because I said so."

Marital mentorship, or counseling, and coaching...man...through Celebrate Recovery, I have learned that people wear their masks well. There's a tragic lack of transparency in the church--a disease that is consuming from within.

It's not just good enough to get married, and when problems arise, you just tell the spouse to "deal with it." Marital maintenance requires a lot of resources--money but namely time. We just don't value...love...people enough these days.....



My church had a stance where abandonment was also a valid reason for divorce. I'll have to find a copy of that justification though.
 
I found a really great passage in one of Lacey Sturm's books it just really made me think

'For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.'
 
...Hey, guys. Been a hot minute. I realize I thought I knew how updates work on ERA, but apparently they don't, since I've had this thread on "watch" but it hasn't given me an alert in over a month. So... I missed a lot. Easter's come and gone, by a long shot, so... happy Easter, everyone. Whooops. I had an interesting one. Spent Good Friday traveling to see my grandpa, who I hadn't seen in three years. May not sound ideal, but there was... our family got a bit torn up after the divorce I alluded to earlier in the thread. We decided to do a surprise trip just in time for both our birthdays as a way to show him and that whole side of the family we still love them even if it's outside of our means to keep in regular touch. It was an... unconventional Good Friday but one spent doing something I feel had to be done. Hopefully that's good.

In between last time I posted, we had a religious thread about the evangelical movement and I made a post in it. I dunno if you guys want to discuss my points there or not, since I probably hold some weird views on scripture, but if you'd like to engage here it is. I would have posted about it here... if I knew people were posting about stuff here.

Phoenix RISING-- you were banned when I first posted, so I want to say hi! I remember really appreciating your posts when I was just lurking and was looking forward to having conversations and discussions. If you're willing, I've got a request-- would you be willing to discuss some of the more esoteric/gnostic points made my M in your discussion with him... oh, several weeks back? Don't, uh... sweat it if you've forgotten or lost track, that bit is all on me not knowing this place had any posts for months. Striking while that iron is absolute zero. If you ever got a chance to read my introductory forum post, you'll notice I mentioned that syncretic belief systems are something that interest me, so that just made my ears perk up. As an LGBT person too, I'm also always interested in how other people reconcile that aspect of themselves to the faith.

Gravity Queen-- welcome! I hope things are doing well for you right now.

I wanted to put in my two cents on the more recent topics as well. The ones about prayer and marriage.

I think the main thing with prayer is turning your heart to God and seeking to open your heart to God. As long as you're in that state, I think you can pray from any (respectful) position or orientation or time of day. I think prayers can be free-form, or they can be something more specific like the Lord's Prayer. While I have a daily routine for more formalized prayer, sometimes I just feel like I should talk to God about something in a more free-form, organic way. It's especially a thing since my OCD, yunno... makes prayer weird. I have to feel I'm doing it right or I repeat it, but repeating it can get painful. Hesychasm doesn't seem to work for me for this reason. I shy away from repetition in general since I've always done a bunch of it. Which kind of conflicts with my previous statement about just requiring openness of heart, but at the same time I tend to be strict with myself about not getting distracted during prayer. Prayer feels like it should be a devotional act in nature, so prioritizing mindfulness and actively processing the words I'm speaking seems necessary, you know? In the past I've struggled with the opposite problem of a lot of people here, which is that I ended up constructing pretty elaborate routines for prayers that were... very specific in their demands over a long period of time. Attention and accompanying visualizations with particular verses and redoing verses if I mixed up words... it was a bit difficult, let's say. Right now I'm trying to keep the formalized prayers to what people have asked of me and a very no-frills routine outlined in the Didache, as well as just a quick prayer of thanks, since that's one that Mr. Rogers recommended. Just a quick and simple "Thank you, God." I adore the simplicity of that prayer. I guess if you guys want to take advice from me-- pick some kind of routine that makes you feel good, but make sure that you're just talking to God sometimes too, right? It's true that God already knows your thoughts, but just... direct your attention to Him as you live them, whether in gratitude or when your heart is troubled. But I'll admit it's not something I'm as good at as I should be-- writing this made me realize I probably should increase the amount of my prayer that is less formal and more organic in nature.

As for marriage: I've always had weird ambivalent feelings towards the sanctity of marriage. It's probably a good thing to be discussing right now since OT has a thread on a pastor who, uh... said and did some yikes stuff regarding marriage. We might want to have a parallel discussion here. As I mentioned, my mom separated from my dad because the relationship became abusive towards her and towards me as well. She's currently seeing someone else and he's a wonderful person who isn't like that. Questions about when and where to break off a marriage are weird to me, since at least in the four Gospels that was one of the things where Jesus was most strict about in a very distinct legal sense. Most of His commandments were regarding more organic concepts of life that are ambiguous because they're internal to someone-- being forgiving and forgiving as often as you can, not being angry at your brethren, that sort of deal. How that manifests in your life is going to depend on your circumstances. Divorce? Not so much. Jesus is pretty clear on what He expects of us there. But I have a hard time seeing this divorce and separation as anything other than unabashedly good for my mother, and the way she ended up meeting the person she's with now was serendipitous and has been pretty positive for her. I just dunno how to feel about that. I certainly can't judge, because the abuse that was going on was mentally extremely rough for me and it's been a really good thing to be past that. So if I'm grateful for that having happened, it would be tremendously wrong of me to judge it having happened in anything other than a positive light. Because of that, I can't really... condemn people who divorce after marriages that were just... bad. And because of that, as well as the fact that marriages that are... consistently falling apart carry such a risk of becoming toxic in some way, it becomes difficult for me to judge the extremely high divorce rate. Would that we could get it lower, but it only seems like that's something we should cheer on if we get to keep the empowerment that modern divorce culture has given to people who enter into abusive relationships. Sometimes it goes beyond having the strength to work through problems, and beyond even feeling trapped in a lackluster relationship-- sometimes it's about safety, both in the immediate sense and in the sense of someone's mental condition. Never can figure out how to reconcile that concern with the Biblical command the Good Lord gave.

Anyways, I hope to lead to some interesting and positive discussions. Sorry I've been away!
Welcome back Deffers, this has happened with me as well even though i im watching this thread, sometimes there are no alerts whatsoever about new posts.

As for the prayer subject, i think i rarely make any "formal" prayer, instead when pray i do just like you said, i just talk with God casually about anything that is on my mind at the time, asking him, pray for others and thank him for everything but without any formality whatsoever. In my former church everyone prayed in public formally and when they asked me to pray mine was always the weird one and they often laughed a little because it was completely different.

But i think in the end no matter how you do it its important to pray frequently, its very clear in the bible and yet its something i struggle with. That and another thing my father teached me is to be sincere with God about your feelings, like Joeb who has called God unfair (without disrespecting him), because that was what he was feeling towards Him at that moment in his life.

As for the marriage subject, since im not married i dont think i have anything to contribute in this particular discussion.


I found a really great passage in one of Lacey Sturm's books it just really made me think

'For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.'
This is a great passage and it made me reflect about it as well, thank you for sharing with us.
 
I found a really great passage in one of Lacey Sturm's books it just really made me think

'For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames. Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.'
I really like quotes and analogies like this. They are great reminders of how significant it is to have Jesus Christ as the foundation in your life. So many unpredictable situations and challenges can arise in life and having Jesus as your foundation is what can carry through them. He can carry the burden for you.

As for the marriage subject, since im not married i dont think i have anything to contribute in this particular discussion.
I'm not trying to put you on the spot but I would actually argue the opposite. I firmly believe that people outside of various life situations (marriage, parenthood, etc.) can provide extremely valuable input to those of us on the inside.
 
I never saw a Orthodox baptism before, so it very intreresting to see.
Fun Fact: After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the majority of the population was unbaptized (since religion was illegal under Communist rule), so new Orthodox churches were built with small pools (in the shape of crosses) in the basement, so adult Russians could be properly baptized in accordance with Orthodox rules.
 
I'm not trying to put you on the spot but I would actually argue the opposite. I firmly believe that people outside of various life situations (marriage, parenthood, etc.) can provide extremely valuable input to those of us on the inside.
While i agree with you in this in general and as another example i think people that are not from the church can greatly contribute to a church, i dont think this apply for marriage subject.

As in, the lifestyle is completely different and someone who has never lived that cannot possible comprehend what married people feel, so any opnion i might have about divorce would be meaningless because i probably will change the way i think about this subject when i get married.

But since you asked, my view of divorce today is that if you married a person without any impulse or external pressure, if you married just because you loved that person so much you calmly choose to live with her/him, i would do everything possible to keep the marriage, since many big problems can be solved if both work together, or if one of them make the extra effort when the other is down. What i mean is sometimes the husband will be the one screwing it up, let the wife make the extra effort to save the marriage in that hard moment when its going downhill, because tomorrow the situation might be the contrary, as in the husband doing this when the wife is screwing it up.

This is what i believe but in practice i have no ideia if it works like that, so if i saw that everything is lost and the marriage is just a crap thing that brings misery to everyone, then i would not feel like a sinner or asshole person to divorce.

All the churches i ever used to go did everything in their power to preserve a marriage no matter what, but i have no ideia when its really wise to interfere like that: either you help a couple to preserve something and bring happiness in the end, or you force and pressure a couple to stay in a crap marriage full of misery.

I have no ideia if what i wrote made any sense.
 
Ivellios Yeah, the church I spend my "formative years" in did not approve of marriage beyond death, adultery, and abandonment. All other reasons...the congregants should figure it out, lol.

Not always healthy.

K, I'm going to double-post.
 
So I have to confess to you guys that my pastor was out of town. He's teaching a series called " to what do the oppressed oh there oppressors?" If that sounds familiar, it is based on Paulo Freire pedagogy of the oppressed. As my church is committed to social justice, we wanted to explore this question alongside everyday discourse concerning Injustice.

Pastor is in India with Vineyard Church to do some International Ministry stuff. This week, he invited to women, who I consider friends (been to my house to hang out, etc) to speak on this question from the perspective of gender.

To prepare their talk, they surveyed women across generational, ethnic, and denominational spectrums.

Overwhelmingly, women have reported a negative experience in the church: Women are told to be submissive. Be modest. Be quiet. Do what your husband says. Be a Proverbs 31 woman. Be sexually appealing to your husband. Don't be sexually appealing to other men."

There is almost no feedback concerning what one should do if they wish to become a leader in the church Beyond just children's ministry or leading other women.

They discuss Deborah in judges as an example of a woman in leadership who led over all of Israel. She was also serving double duty as a prophetess. This served as an example in their talk of what women could potentially do if they're uninhibited by gendered social structures in the church.

My wife, who never asks me what I thought about the sermon decides to ask me about this one. I wanted to call her out on it, but instead, I couldn't think of a single thing to say. How was I, a critic, incapable of coming up with ANYTHING to say???

I was completely ambivalent.

They took pause so that people could ask themselves how they feel about what they're hearing. All I could come up with is, "I don't care about this." I heard every word, and can recall the talking points in detail. But I can't seem to muster much beyond that.

I've been thinking about this for now, almost two weeks, and have not made any progress.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I found the sermon notes on the talk that I mentioned from two weeks prior. Perhaps I was unclear in its message. I can reproduce them here, now:

Exploring a God-given Identity


Sunday, May 6, 2018

How our Identity has been Challenged


This sermon series has sparked difficult conversations. What, indeed, do the oppressed owe their oppressors? Mercy? Vengeance? Love? The opportunity to continue oppression? We frame oppression as actions and structures that both create and promote a warped view of our identities as children of God. Our identities represent who we are. What we answer to. Who we consider ourselves to be.


As Christians, we are image bearers of the Most High-our Creator. We are recipients of God’s mercy and grace; redeemed, set apart, and called to bring restoration to God’s creation. We are adopted into God’s family and have spiritual authority. These are messages from God’s Word about who we are.


Other aspects of our identity are socially created. Sociologist Charles Cooley says “other people are the mirror in which we see ourselves.” In this world, our identities formed by the ways we encounter the 1 world, through the messages we receive from people we love and respect, including the church.


In the Bible, God highlights women’s lives and Jesus himself integrated women into his ministry. God enters into our oppression. We see this in how God intimately encounters Hagar in her slavery (Genesis 12), Jesus heals the bleeding woman deemed unclean by Jewish standards (Luke 8:43-48), shares the story of the widow who gave all she had as told by Mark (Mark 12:41-44). Women have also heard messages pulled from the Bible on submission, marriage, and gender expectations. As women, these narratives has been both empowering and detrimental to our identity formation.


What messages have you received about who you are, and who you are supposed to be? Who taught you and with what tools (reward, punishment)? What would you like to keep; what would you like to let go?


Picture a leader. Who do you see? What qualities do you admire in them? How do they look, are they tall, short, older, younger? What gender are they?


Exploring Women in Leadership


From creation, God did not set up a “masculine” rule as the standard rather, the Lord set up both expressions of being a man or woman as a reflection of God’s image. When God created woman in Genesis she was called Ezer kenegdo which is often translated “helpmate.” The intent and meaning is much deeper than this and reveals a different perspective of women.


Of the 21 times ezer occurs in the Old Testament, 16 of those refer to God delivering Israel from their oppressors. It’s a powerful reminder that in God creating woman, God’s identity as a deliverer, or even a warrior who fights on behalf of others, is used to describe the first woman.


*1 Cooley, C.H. 1902. Human Nature and the Social Order. New York: Scribner’s.


(page 2)

Exploring a God-given Identity


Sunday, May 6, 2018


We see this empowerment of women’s identities in the story of Deborah (Judges 4). Deborah was called a prophet and a judge in Israel. In this chapter, Deborah was not an advisor, or low-level official; Deborah governed the nation of Israel. Men and women honored Deborah, sought her counsel, listened to her wisdom, and respected her authority. How do we translate this to today?


God calls us to “bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners” (Isaiah 61). God does not specify who should do this, and does not categorize who is able based on gender.


Ways to Empower Women in Leadership

1) First, give honor to women and women who lead. Ex: Junia (Romans 16:7)

2) Notice how we respond to women in leadership

3) Recognize the space you take up


Finally, in honoring women as they lead: we can take them seriously, instead of finding a reason to dismiss or devalue them. We can listen to what they’re saying even when it clashes how we’ve been taught women should behave. Lastly, we continue to create space for women and those at the margins, because in their liberation, we find our own.


Releasing Women’s God-given Identity

We have received many messages and cultural ideas of who we are and how we should be. But God calls us to a higher identity than our human-made constructs. In order to cast off limiting social expectations and step into our God-given identities, we have to lean more into who God says we are than we do what society expects us to be.


We have discussed the tension of our identity in Christ as being both known and accepted by God, and being called to transformation. First, we are known. Before we were born we were known and set apart. Our God sees us, knows us, and hears us in our totality, not through any one characteristic, or identity.


Yet, we are called to transformation:

● We must decide if the messages we receive from the world develop our God-given identity, or a skewed version of who we are in Christ.

● Transformation also means asking which stories or perspectives are being excluded in our lives

● Transformation calls us to repentance. In repentance, we name these actions and thoughts that have pushed others to the side, turn away from them, and work with the Holy Spirit to identify ways we can take part in God’s work of restoration and reconciliation.


Lastly, it means continuing these conversations. Our church community is diverse-- we are multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, and multi-generational. There are narratives and stories that must be told in order for us to truly understand who we are in Christ, and the ways we can move towards transformation and liberation together.

Re-reading all of this, my immediate response is to reject the idea of masculine rule as non-standard. Christianity, like most religions, is highly patriarchal. I do not perceive women in leadership as necessarily forbidden, but I do see that when women dominate in leadership, it is because of the consequence of a fallen world where men have failed to lead. The idea of "help-meet" make sense within marriage as was the relationship between Adam and Eve. But beyond that? Hmmmmm....

Any help processing all of this would be appreciated.

Supplementary scripture:

Verses Affirming Our God-Given Identity
Start with meditating on Psalm 139


Verses to remind you who you are:


● Romans 8:14-17

○ 14) All who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons and daughters. 15) You didn’t receive a

spirit of slavery to lead you back again into fear, but you received a Spirit that shows you are

adopted as his children. With this Spirit, we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16)The same Spirit agrees

with our spirit, that we are God’s children. 17)But if we are children, we are also heirs. We are

God’s heirs and fellow heirs with Christ, if we really suffer with him so that we can also be

glorified with him.


● 1 Peter 2:9

○ But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are God’s own

possession. You have become this people so that you may speak of the wonderful acts of the

one who called you out of darkness into his amazing light.


● 2 Corinthians 5:17

○ So then, if anyone is in Christ, that person is part of the new creation. The old things have

gone away, and look, new things have arrived!


● 1 Thessalonians 5:5

○ For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the

darkness.


● Philippians 3:12-14

○ 7) But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. 8) What is more,

I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord,

for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9) and be

found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which

is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10) I

want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his

sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11) and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection

from the dead. 12) Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to

make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13) Brothers and sisters, I do not

consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and

straining forward to what lies ahead, 14) I press on toward the goal for the prize of the

upward call of God in Christ Jesus.


● Galatians 3:28

Rachel Terrell-Perica

Danyelle Reynolds

○ There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for

you are all one in Christ Jesus.


When the devil lies remember:


● Isaiah 54:17

○ “No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that

rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their

vindication from me, declares the Lord.”


● James 4:7

○ Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.


● Ephesians 6:10-18.

○ 10) Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11) Put on the whole armor

of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12) For we do not

wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the

cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly

places.13) Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the

evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14) Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of

truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15) and, as shoes for your feet,

having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16) In all circumstances take up the

shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17) and

take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18)

praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with

all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints.


● 1 John 5:18

○ We know that everyone born from God does not sin, but the ones born from God guard

themselves, and the evil one cannot touch them.


● Isaiah 43:1-7

○ 1) But now thus says the LORD , he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 2) When you

pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm

you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume

you. 3) For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your

ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. 4) Because you are precious in my eyes, and

honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life. 5)

Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will

gather you. 6) I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my

sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, 7) everyone who is called by my

name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.
 
While i agree with you in this in general and as another example i think people that are not from the church can greatly contribute to a church, i dont think this apply for marriage subject.

As in, the lifestyle is completely different and someone who has never lived that cannot possible comprehend what married people feel, so any opnion i might have about divorce would be meaningless because i probably will change the way i think about this subject when i get married.

But since you asked, my view of divorce today is that if you married a person without any impulse or external pressure, if you married just because you loved that person so much you calmly choose to live with her/him, i would do everything possible to keep the marriage, since many big problems can be solved if both work together, or if one of them make the extra effort when the other is down. What i mean is sometimes the husband will be the one screwing it up, let the wife make the extra effort to save the marriage in that hard moment when its going downhill, because tomorrow the situation might be the contrary, as in the husband doing this when the wife is screwing it up.

This is what i believe but in practice i have no ideia if it works like that, so if i saw that everything is lost and the marriage is just a crap thing that brings misery to everyone, then i would not feel like a sinner or asshole person to divorce.

All the churches i ever used to go did everything in their power to preserve a marriage no matter what, but i have no ideia when its really wise to interfere like that: either you help a couple to preserve something and bring happiness in the end, or you force and pressure a couple to stay in a crap marriage full of misery.

I have no ideia if what i wrote made any sense.
Thanks for sharing. I think there's a lot of truth in what you say about the husband or wife pulling the weight, depending on the situation. I know my marriage has worked like that. Sometimes, my wife is really struggling with something or is causing issues in our marriage and so I have to be the driving force to make things better. There are also times where I'm causing a lot of problems and she has to be the one to bring me back to reality and get things corrected. We're a team, though, so it makes sense that this dynamic would exist.

I think churches can provide valuable resources to help maintain or save marriages but the married couple has to be committed to the improvement, as well. As they say, you can lead the horse to water but you can't force them to drink.

As for the topic of women in leadership, Phoenix RISING , I'll have to take some time to digest all of that content. Oddly enough, I just got invited to be on one of the major councils at my church and they've taken a very specific (and progressive) approach to women in church leadership. So, this is a relevant topic for me, right now.
 
I think it's always worth researching the role of women in the early church versus women in the church... in the centuries after. What becomes immediately apparent is that women's participation in leadership roles in the church has, well... plummeted staggeringly.

The Lord Jesus had a lot more care for women than we sometimes remember. It was His female disciples who were among the first to see the risen Christ, and the first to share that good news. That's not for nothing. Some of the first churches were run by women, and women were some of the first to try and spread the message of Christ.

Not to put too fine a point on it either, but Deborah isn't the only example of a woman challenging the traditional patriarchal structures of Old Testament life-- look at Judith, too. I think it's writing off the qualities that God gave to women to say that they shouldn't be leading unless a man failed somewhere. Christianity, in particular, is much less patriarchal than OT-style Judaism. Remember, in John, that a Samaritan woman caused many people to believe by her testimony. Jesus didn't tell her to go and spread word of Him-- she took that initiative on her own and helped to glorify His name through that.

I think it's also instructive to look at that sermon's message, Phoenix RISING... not so much removed from its initial context, but also in more simplistic terms. Here you have fellow Christians who state, quite plainly, that they feel oppressed. That they feel discouraged in their mission in Christ by the things being told to them by their church, the people they should trust. Looking at this from that perspective, something is plainly going wrong-- that in itself should be cause for compassion, I think.

I've been a pretty feminist person for a whole lot of my life, so I tend to be skeptical of narratives that paint religion in an extremely patriarchal light, especially when Judaism bucked those conventions frequently and Christianity went much, much further in that respect than Judaism did at first.
 
I have some particularly strong opinions on church leadership that are very similar to your own Phoenix RISING, so I can see how this would be a difficult thing to read. From my personal experience, churches where there is a lack of strong Male leadership tend to struggle due to them reflecting the general apathy of their male congregants. When Men don't step up to the plate, the work still needs to be done, and the women that take on those responsibilities truly should be commended as Paul did in his many letters.

The New Testament is clear in highlighting Women that led in their communities, Paul especially in his letters pointing them out. His words in 1st Timothy 2 get thrown around alot as a strong rebuke of Women teaching Men, but in my personal studies I have found that it is constantly taken out of context and that the intended tense gets lost in translation. The church of Ephesus in particular was plagued with issues regarding the behavior of the women that resulted in a further spread of false teachings, and as a result Paul's best advice for Timothy was to outright bar this particular congregations' women from leading and teaching until they had a firm grasp of the word. A solid break down of this particular passage can be found here:

https://www.cbeinternational.org/re...-prohibit-women-teaching-leading-and-speaking

While it is true that there is a Patriarchal theme inside of Christianity, one that is meant to be a reflection of the Father and point us back to him, it does not and should not prevent women whom are strong in the faith from being able to teach, lead, and be nessengers of the faith the same as any man. The only role that makes me pause, and this is just me talking from my own understanding rather than saying that this is what the bible deliberately states, is that of senior pastor. I personally believe that it is intended for the head shepard to be a man due to the intention of that role being a reflection of Christ and his love and care for the church. I also tend to believe that his wife is just as equally called, and as a result they share that ministry together.

But again, this is just my opinion from my own personal experiences. God knows the hearts of those he calls, and places them in a position for a reason. Bear in mind that I've also been surrounded by strong women of faith my entire life, my mother especially, whom served in leadership roles well beyond children's and youth. Sure, my dad was always there to support her, but she tends to be the one to take initiative.
 
I have some particularly strong opinions on church leadership that are very similar to your own Phoenix RISING, so I can see how this would be a difficult thing to read. From my personal experience, churches where there is a lack of strong Male leadership tend to struggle due to them reflecting the general apathy of their male congregants. When Men don't step up to the plate, the work still needs to be done, and the women that take on those responsibilities truly should be commended as Paul did in his many letters.

The New Testament is clear in highlighting Women that led in their communities, Paul especially in his letters pointing them out. His words in 1st Timothy 2 get thrown around alot as a strong rebuke of Women teaching Men, but in my personal studies I have found that it is constantly taken out of context and that the intended tense gets lost in translation. The church of Ephesus in particular was plagued with issues regarding the behavior of the women that resulted in a further spread of false teachings, and as a result Paul's best advice for Timothy was to outright bar this particular congregations' women from leading and teaching until they had a firm grasp of the word. A solid break down of this particular passage can be found here:

https://www.cbeinternational.org/re...-prohibit-women-teaching-leading-and-speaking

While it is true that there is a Patriarchal theme inside of Christianity, one that is meant to be a reflection of the Father and point us back to him, it does not and should not prevent women whom are strong in the faith from being able to teach, lead, and be nessengers of the faith the same as any man. The only role that makes me pause, and this is just me talking from my own understanding rather than saying that this is what the bible deliberately states, is that of senior pastor. I personally believe that it is intended for the head shepard to be a man due to the intention of that role being a reflection of Christ and his love and care for the church. I also tend to believe that his wife is just as equally called, and as a result they share that ministry together.

But again, this is just my opinion from my own personal experiences. God knows the hearts of those he calls, and places them in a position for a reason. Bear in mind that I've also been surrounded by strong women of faith my entire life, my mother especially, whom served in leadership roles well beyond children's and youth. Sure, my dad was always there to support her, but she tends to be the one to take initiative.
This is where both me and my wife are. Although, we hadn't had a conversation on the topic in awhile. Years. At my church, the women leaders currently outnumber the men 2-3. But the lead pastor is male.
 
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