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Guilt Culture

H and I get together about once a week to chat.

Jesus said that when you leave everything for the Kingdom, you receive more than you left in the Kingdom. H is one of a few women who’s sort of filled the mom-role for me here. (My mom is awesome for advice on improving as a musician, gardening, food-prep, lots of very practical tasks, but when it comes to worldview and relationships, I have to talk to someone who read their Bible that morning.)

We have tea, talk over life. Usually at her house, sometimes at a bookstore coffee shop. There’s some other overlap – I watch munchkins for two hours one midweek morning, and three of them are her granddaughters. We’re in the choir together. But this is the time when nothing else is pulling our attention, and I can pull out the drawer of everything weighing on me right now. H listens, and offers practical advice, based on years of teaching, raising children, being married, and leaning hard on God through all of it.

One of my favorite pictures is when she gathers all three of her kids (the middle one is my age, so this is years back) close and says, “Okay everybody, we’re going to stop for a minute and pray that God will give mommy more patience.” Love it. It never entered my mind to pray FOR my parents when I was a kid. Give thanks for them, certainly, but the idea that God could help my parents handle things that they couldn’t handle without Him – mindblowing.


So, this week we’re talking over about seven different things at once, and somewhere in there comes the concept that one of our marriage-mentors believes Rick and I keep having the same issue because of some unconfessed sin between us.

H knows me. She hears me out about my mom and my sisters, my frustrations, my goals, my marriage, my confusion about what I’m supposed to be doing in all this, and she’s been doing it longer than I’ve been married. So she listens to my bafflement, because I can’t think of anything I’ve been keeping from Rick, and I know Rick isn’t keeping anything from me (because he can conceal important information from the person who needs it for maybe all of ten hours). She was calm, “No, you’d know if you had some unconfessed sin.”

And then she reminded me of something – I do guilt. It’s a pervasive part of how I understand my place in the world. I am guilty. Not in a logical sense. It’s, “I am guilty,” in the same sense that, “I am female,” in my mind. It was a major part of my growing-up; I didn’t understand that my parents had problems, I thought that my parents were wonderful and *I* caused the problems. If I could just be a good kid, they wouldn’t have these issues.

This is something I have to work through, and get past. Same way that H has to work through being emotionally demonstrative. She didn’t grow up with it, her husband did, and it was a long time before she could be comfortable with hugs.

The thing is, this dovetails with what this marriage mentor is seeing. It doesn’t have the same root cause, but a lingering, pervasive sense of guilt is usually the result of some hidden sin. And it can easily produce the things that he’s seeing and hearing in our marriage.

I haven’t actually been doing anything wrong. I don’t have to DO anything to be female, I just am. It’s similar with guilt. I don’t have to DO anything to be guilty, but it’s very easy for me to accept that I’ve done something wrong and it’s my job to figure out what it is.


This was one of the hardest parts about Christianity for me, by the way. Christianity isn’t about guilt. You have godly sorrow over doing something ungodly. Guilt is like a brand, or a bad smell hanging around you that you can’t get rid of. You sorrowfully bring to God what you’ve done that’s ungodly, and He considers a broken heart a worthy offering. He lifts you up at the right time, and you’re free, and you have joy again. I’ve experienced this so many times.


For H, demonstrations are separate from love, and she has to work to link them. After several decades, she’s pretty good at it now, though she still isn’t very emotional. (I am TOO emotional. When I learned that H never cries in front of her husband, because she doesn’t want to upset him, I took that to heart as swiftly as I did learning that J never denies her husband sex. Made it my goal to never cry in Rick’s presence. This was fairly exasperating for him.)

For me, guilt is separate from action. I can ACT guilty, the way I can act more feminine, or I can try to ignore it and distract myself, the way I can dress frumpily and swear like a sailor*. The best remedy for this I’ve found, so far, is to read gobs of Scripture. Big, big chunks. Like, let’s knock out the book of Acts this afternoon.

*Okay, meaning no disrespect to your personal definition of femininity. Culturally, my sisters and I grew up with the ideas that women are to be lovely, well-read, kind, and above all, gracious.

Because I’m not fighting an idea, a statement. I’m fighting the sense of who I am. That’s not something that gets answered in a one-time wilderness experience, not for me, anyway. I’ve spent a lot of time in the woods. In the woods is where I go to meet with God and haul out the pieces of myself that are sunk in the landscape like truck carcasses in a redneck lawn. It’s where I go BECAUSE of who I am, not to find who I am.

I’m one who needs God. I’m one who God loves.

I read Scripture in big pieces because I have big pieces of guilt culture. Some Christians have to fight the sense that they’re the wrong gender. Some have to fight the sense that they’re married to the wrong person. I have to fight the sense that I’m guilty.


Let all tears turn to gold
And all the hell I've raised
Lord, let it fade away
As Your glories unfold
Give me a part to play
Grant me another day....

 
 
   
 

Guilt Culture

H and I get together about once a week to chat.

Jesus said that when you leave everything for the Kingdom, you receive more than you left in the Kingdom. H is one of a few women who’s sort of filled the mom-role for me here. (My mom is awesome for advice on improving as a musician, gardening, food-prep, lots of very practical tasks, but when it comes to worldview and relationships, I have to talk to someone who read their Bible that morning.)

We have tea, talk over life. Usually at her house, sometimes at a bookstore coffee shop. There’s some other overlap – I watch munchkins for two hours one midweek morning, and three of them are her granddaughters. We’re in the choir together. But this is the time when nothing else is pulling our attention, and I can pull out the drawer of everything weighing on me right now. H listens, and offers practical advice, based on years of teaching, raising children, being married, and leaning hard on God through all of it.

One of my favorite pictures is when she gathers all three of her kids (the middle one is my age, so this is years back) close and says, “Okay everybody, we’re going to stop for a minute and pray that God will give mommy more patience.” Love it. It never entered my mind to pray FOR my parents when I was a kid. Give thanks for them, certainly, but the idea that God could help my parents handle things that they couldn’t handle without Him – mindblowing.


So, this week we’re talking over about seven different things at once, and somewhere in there comes the concept that one of our marriage-mentors believes Rick and I keep having the same issue because of some unconfessed sin between us.

H knows me. She hears me out about my mom and my sisters, my frustrations, my goals, my marriage, my confusion about what I’m supposed to be doing in all this, and she’s been doing it longer than I’ve been married. So she listens to my bafflement, because I can’t think of anything I’ve been keeping from Rick, and I know Rick isn’t keeping anything from me (because he can conceal important information from the person who needs it for maybe all of ten hours). She was calm, “No, you’d know if you had some unconfessed sin.”

And then she reminded me of something – I do guilt. It’s a pervasive part of how I understand my place in the world. I am guilty. Not in a logical sense. It’s, “I am guilty,” in the same sense that, “I am female,” in my mind. It was a major part of my growing-up; I didn’t understand that my parents had problems, I thought that my parents were wonderful and *I* caused the problems. If I could just be a good kid, they wouldn’t have these issues.

This is something I have to work through, and get past. Same way that H has to work through being emotionally demonstrative. She didn’t grow up with it, her husband did, and it was a long time before she could be comfortable with hugs.

The thing is, this dovetails with what this marriage mentor is seeing. It doesn’t have the same root cause, but a lingering, pervasive sense of guilt is usually the result of some hidden sin. And it can easily produce the things that he’s seeing and hearing in our marriage.

I haven’t actually been doing anything wrong. I don’t have to DO anything to be female, I just am. It’s similar with guilt. I don’t have to DO anything to be guilty, but it’s very easy for me to accept that I’ve done something wrong and it’s my job to figure out what it is.


This was one of the hardest parts about Christianity for me, by the way. Christianity isn’t about guilt. You have godly sorrow over doing something ungodly. Guilt is like a brand, or a bad smell hanging around you that you can’t get rid of. You sorrowfully bring to God what you’ve done that’s ungodly, and He considers a broken heart a worthy offering. He lifts you up at the right time, and you’re free, and you have joy again. I’ve experienced this so many times.


For H, demonstrations are separate from love, and she has to work to link them. After several decades, she’s pretty good at it now, though she still isn’t very emotional. (I am TOO emotional. When I learned that H never cries in front of her husband, because she doesn’t want to upset him, I took that to heart as swiftly as I did learning that J never denies her husband sex. Made it my goal to never cry in Rick’s presence. This was fairly exasperating for him.)

For me, guilt is separate from action. I can ACT guilty, the way I can act more feminine, or I can try to ignore it and distract myself, the way I can dress frumpily and swear like a sailor*. The best remedy for this I’ve found, so far, is to read gobs of Scripture. Big, big chunks. Like, let’s knock out the book of Acts this afternoon.

*Okay, meaning no disrespect to your personal definition of femininity. Culturally, my sisters and I grew up with the ideas that women are to be lovely, well-read, kind, and above all, gracious.

Because I’m not fighting an idea, a statement. I’m fighting the sense of who I am. That’s not something that gets answered in a one-time wilderness experience, not for me, anyway. I’ve spent a lot of time in the woods. In the woods is where I go to meet with God and haul out the pieces of myself that are sunk in the landscape like truck carcasses in a redneck lawn. It’s where I go BECAUSE of who I am, not to find who I am.

I’m one who needs God. I’m one who God loves.

I read Scripture in big pieces because I have big pieces of guilt culture. Some Christians have to fight the sense that they’re the wrong gender. Some have to fight the sense that they’re married to the wrong person. I have to fight the sense that I’m guilty.


Let all tears turn to gold
And all the hell I've raised
Lord, let it fade away
As Your glories unfold
Give me a part to play
Grant me another day....

 
 
 

   
Trust.
Matthew 6:33 Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all other things will be added to you...

I have to say that I have firsthand knowledge that this scripture works..It worked for me..One time in my life, I said Yes to God and in every conceivable way, he poured out his blessings on me, on us, on my family.

I obeyed because I wanted to please God and because I wanted to feel holy as I entered into marriage.

I have not always obeyed God, particularly with regard to sex..I was the sassy, classy good girl who could be erotic and funny and sweet at the same time..I wanted to please God but I have always struggled with the sexual issues..He says..."not outside marriage" and I said.."Oh but...I have this sexy boyfriend, I must" and so the guilt continued..

It was quite the dilemma for a girl/woman who wanted to do the right thing.

Enter H.

We met at an alumni dance at the University of British Columbia..There were hundreds of people in the room and our eyes locked across the room, literally...I never expected it...but the energy was there..

He always said..."It was love at first sight"..

I remember there was not more than a few moments that we weren't aware of where the other person was that evening in the midst of all of those people....eventually we spoke..drawn to each other in the middle of the room like a moth to a flame...H was very cute, almost boyish, tall, blondish wavy hair, twinkle in his eye yet he had a slight timidity that was charming. I liked him but I was just getting out of a relationship so I told him that I couldn't see him..

On my way out to my car, I almost slapped myself for not giving him my number.
I wanted to see him...Just then he passed behind my car and when I rolled down my car window, he came over...I got out of the car...kissed him and said.."Call me".

He did..

We encountered a lot of bumps along the road in our 4 years that lead up to marriage...We broke up...We got back together..There was much soulsearching..but one thing I know for certain..

We practiced Mathew 6:33 and God was faithful.

H and I became engaged...We set a date..We wanted to be married in the same church that I was baptized in so we made an appointment to meet with the pastor..During the conversation, we told him that we had been living together..

He told us...that marriage is holy and the marriage bed is sacred..
H and I discussed right in front of the pastor whether we could remain celebate until we were husband and wife..

We made a committment to each other and to God right then and there that we would remain celebate for 6 months until we married...and we did..We did..

This time was a time to get to the know the man H...Sex had been great but now....I got to know the man...and where there was doubt before, I realized during our celibacy that I now wanted to marry him because of who he was.

When I walked down the aisle, I felt God's blessing...Why??? Because we put God First..
It was the only time I have put God first with complete obedience...and during my marriage to H............we were blessed with abundance.
Within a year of being married, we bought a home, I got pregnant and we began to prosper financially...That was Mathew 6:33 in action.

The marriage ended after almost 20 years............but it was a successful marriage, it was....We are still friendly and there is still love in our relationship but he is not the man I will live with until death.

Moral of the story....Mathew 6:33..works..
If a person truly seeks to please God, God will pour out his blessings on you..
This is a reminder to self.






 
 
   
 

Hmmmm. Let's See, In New Jersey You Can Be . . .

a mobster.  Or you can be a crooked politician.  Or you can be a gambler.  Or you can be a polluting oil company.  BUT!  Don't you DARE leave a topless Barbie doll on your dashboard or you WILL be arrested

by the New Jersey Gestapo.

Now, granted, the guy comes across as pretty damn sleazy, 47 yars old, driving a car with leopard print seat covers, windows with posing lady stickers and Marilyn Manson CDs on the seat, but wait, he also has a back seat full of porn magazines (IGNORE the Bible!).  His failing? He parked it in a public commuter lot every day while catching a bus to work.

 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/25638597#25638597

 

Apparently enough people were so titilated by that barbie that they had to then press their noses against the windows of his Lincoln and snoop to see what else he had in his car.  Now THAT would be an interesting case for the ACLU but you know damn well he'll pay his fine and forget it. 

 
 
 

   
Jesus Camp
I finally watched Jesus Camp last night. Has anyone else here seen it?

I found it one of the most appalling things I've ever seen...
 
 
   
 

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