Monday, November 22, 2010

So Much More Chapter 2 Part 2

Page 18
"But man is incomplete without her. It is the two of them together that reflect the image and glory of God. It is only when woman is, in effect, restored to man's side, that the two are fully complete."

In Genesis it doesn't say that God made Eve because Adam was incomplete without her. Nor does it say that Adam didn't reflect God's glory without Eve. Eve was created to be a companion and to be a helper. (Gen 2:18)

Even though I am single, I still reflect the glory and image of God. I do this when I show to others mercy and comfort (2 Cor. 1:3) and am tender hearted and forgiving (Eph. 4:32) love them as Christ loved me (Jn 13:34) and when I serve others (Matt. 20:25-28) The list could go on and on!

I think this is an important point especially for those still single. I can reflect God's image to others now! I am not some half baked witness. True, I don't reflect the marriage picture of Christ and the church as married couples do. But even married couples do no represent Christ's image 100% because God is perfect and we are a far cry from that. (Not that I'm downplaying the beauty of marriage. I would love to someday be "one flesh" with my future husband whoever that is. Hopefully sooner rather than later. :-P )

Page 19

"Ms. Stinem's statement [A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle] was not only absurd; it was blasphemous. This is because the relationship between men and women parallels the relationship between Christ and the church. (Eph. 5:23)"

I disagree that "the relationship between men and women parallels the relationship between Christ and the Church" Ephesians does not state that. It says husband and wife. My relationship with my father can reflect my relationship with my heavenly Father but it doesn't reflect my relationship with Christ and His bride the Church. Therefore how I relate to men who are not my husbands will be different without being considered blasphemous.

Page 20

"God saw that it was not good for Adam to be alone and said, "I will make a helper suitable for him." Being companions and helpers is more than just a job God gave us. It's what we were actually created for. It's what we were designed and specially equipped to be. In fact, it's an intrinsic and inextricable part of our natures to be helpers to men. It's not something we can get away from, even by choice."

I find it really interesting that Eve was created to be a companion and typically women are very relational people. ;-)

I'm not making a blanket rule for everyone from this, but in my own life I find the above true. I am discovering that I would much rather help someone than be responsible for leading a bunch of people. (Or running my own business!)

Thursday, November 18, 2010

So Much More Chapter Two Part One

Page 17
The fact that God describes himself as a Father to us shows us that the position of earthly father is like an earthly reflection of God.
I was struck by this statement. Still being single, it confirmed the fact that I definitely want to marry someone who, if we have children, will love and raise them the way God fathers me. With grace, love, a servant's heart, etc. It's an important responsibility.
Our fathers are supposed to be dear, trusted confidantes and friends, but God has given them a charge to be much more than this. They are to be our knights in shining armor, our protectors, our guardians, and are even supposed to represent God to us.
I'm not exactly sure what was meant by our fathers "are even supposed to represent God to us" If the authors meant they are a picture or reflection I would agree.
By this I mean, pictures/reflections are just that, they are imperfect pictures and are not the same as the real thing.
God as our Father is just that. He is still God. Our fathers are not. Therefore our earthly fathers have limitations and guidelines in how they use their authority as our father and the way we relate to our father is not the same way we would relate to God as our father. Our fathers are also not a go between us and God.

I'll finish Chapter 2 on Monday

Friday, November 12, 2010

So Much More: Finishing Chapter One

Last but not least....

Page 7

"We believe in a day of extreme apostasy and judgement, extreme measures are exactly what are called for, and that a drastic step in the opposite direction is exactly what we need to take."

I do not agree that a drastic step in the opposite direction is exactly what we need to take! This is so typical! Everybody keeps doing the pendulum swing. I don't care how wrong something is. Going in the opposite direction is not going to fix the problem!!! Most people go from lawlessness to legalism. Neither are right! Sure, legalism looks good but the religious leaders of Christ's day had that and Christ didn't have too many kind words for them. When we see that something is wrong we shouldn't swing in the opposite direction and expect it to fix the problem. Creating rules doesn't fix anything! It may look good for a while but it doesn't fix anything because it doesn't change the heart. Gossiping about those who have "gone astray" and looking down on others doesn't help anything but self-pride. Instead of trying to come up with solutions, rules, answers, and backing your "position" up with Scripture...Run to Christ!!! He is the Only One with answers because He is the Only answer! Even the Bible is not the answer. Jesus told the Pharisees "You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me!" (John 5:39) How often we do that as Christians. We think we can find all of the answers in the Scriptures yet our rules and convictions start replacing a relationship with Christ.

I found this interesting:
"They [stay-at-home daughters] must continually endure the disapproval of many people who call their zealous obedience to Scripture "legalism" (pg.8)"

They defined Legalism as:
"We define legalism as the fleshly pursuit of man's moralism in hope of earning salvation." (pg. 334 point 4)

I definitely do not define legalism as only relating to the hope of earning salvation. It encompasses more than that. I hadn't ever sat down and defined what I thought it is. I suppose right now I would have to say legalism is trying to earn God's favor (salvation or sanctification) through our own obedience. But we couldn't earn God's approval before we were saved so why do we think we can do it after we are saved? Or you could say legalism is trying to follow God's Word perfectly. We couldn't do it before we were saved so why would we think that we can attempt it now? The Christian life is only lived through Christ. Not a bunch of rules.

Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by keeping the law? Of course not, for the Holy Spirit came upon you only after you believed the message you heard about Christ. Have you lost your senses? After starting your Christain lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort? (Gal. 3:2,3)
     I'll be starting Chapter 2 next week. I will have positive things to say about this book. I know it doesn't sound like it now. :-P
     I did get some good things out of this book. It's just that I don't live my life anymore by trying to find out what God wants me to do and how He wants me to live my life. I live it now by seeing Christ and developing my relationship with HIM. God takes care of the rest. :-)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

So Much More Chapter One: Continued

Continuing with Chapter One

Page 6
This Book is about protection. We know a number of girls whose fathers are so passive they don't provide their daughters any kind of guidance, direction, discipline or correction. We know girls who like it this way. Said one of these girls, "I sure hope my dad never picks up any of these ideas about interfering with my life or what I want!"
That girl is afraid to lose a measure of childish independence. She is afraid of fatherly input and protection. If you don't want this from your father, then you don't have the heart for this book. If you are not willing to give your heart to your father, this book will put you at odds with the Scriptural mandate you will find here.
First of all, just because a father does not give as much guidance to their daughters as Mr. Botkin or Mr. Phillips does, it does not mean that their father is passive. Many men just lead differently then Mr. Botkin or Mr. Phillips. For many years after reading So Much More I would be frustrated that my father wasn't "leading" me. He wasn't telling me what he wanted me to do, how I was supposed to live my life after high school, and he wasn't sharing with me his vision and telling me I needed to follow it and make it my own.

Now don't get me wrong, my dad is a wonderful leader. I highly respect and value his opinions. He does care about giving me protection and guidance. But if there is one thing I know my dad doesn't want for me it is to be a "monkey on a motorcycle" ie. he wants me to think for myself and not just blindly follow someones commands without thinking. (I am not saying the Botkins or Phillips family is advocating that we be "monkeys on a motorcycle" but some of the ways they portray leadership and passivity I don't think are correct.) Therefore the way my dad leads me will be different from the way other fathers lead who have different "visions". 

My dad raised me to have a relationship with Christ and to be following Christ's will for myself not because someone else tells me this is Christ's will but because I knew it for myself. He basically raised me so that when I became an adult I was just that, an adult. He didn't need to be constantly giving me instructions about what I needed to be doing. He didn't have to check up on me. He knew he "trained me up in the way I should go and when I was older I wouldn't depart from it" 

My dad does lead and guide me. I always know I can get guidance from my dad. I go to him a lot. I know when I go to him for guidance it will be just that, guidance. He won't tell me what to do. He points me in the right direction but he rarely tells me exactly what to do. (I am not saying that there is never a time and place for a father to tell his daughter what he thinks she should do)

Once I got past trying to have my father fit into the Vision Forum and So Much More leadership mold I could actually start to see and appreciate the way my father leads, guides, and protects our family.

 A note about their opinions of girls who don't want their father's input. I'm not sure you can say they are "afraid of losing childish independence and afraid of fatherly input and protection". Some may be, granted, but other girls may just not see Scripture to be what they are claiming. Maybe it just means that they are like the Bereans and are searching the Scriptures to see if what they are claiming lines up. If God hasn't shown them that this is what Scripture is saying those girls should not follow what is being said in this book. Even if it means being labeled as "afraid of losing childish independence and afraid of fatherly  input and protection" and experiencing rejection from conservative Christians.

Remember the Pharisees studied the Scriptures and came to the wrong conclusions. Just because one can "find" it in Scripture or godly leaders say it is so does not mean someones conclusion is right!

I will finish Chapter 1 on Friday. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 8, 2010

So Much More Chapter One Page One

My Thoughts on Chapter One

Page 1
"The world is a mess, and it's our fault." This is one of the most important things our father has taught us over the years. It sounds hard, but sometimes we need to hear hard truths. God has given principles for all people to live by. Christians are supposed to know exactly what these principles are and live by them, setting the example and upholding the standard. Yet Christians can be some of the most careless and ungrateful and forgetful people. We Christians can be responsible for leading the culture either away from God's design or toward it.

As good as the above sounds it was thoughts like these that kept my relationship with Christ at a distance. It seems to me that the whole point of the above is to point people to standards. When was the Christian life about standards? Five or so years ago I truly believed it was. To be a good Christian you had to have different convictions than the world. They would see you lived differently, see your standards, wonder why, and presto! One had a great witnessing opportunity! All because we had standards and were different.

But its not about standards at all. Its about Christ. The world shouldn't know we are Christians by our standards, but by our love. (Jn 13:35)

In Colossians 2:16-23 is says:
So don't let anyone condemn you for what eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holidays or new-moon ceremonies or Sabbaths. For these rules were only shadows of the real thing Christ himself. Don't let anyone condemn you by insisting on self-denial. And don't let anyone say you must worship angels, even though they say they have had visions about this. These people claim to be so humble, but their sinful minds have made them proud. But they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For we are joined together in his body by his strong sinews, and we grow only as we get our nourishment and strength from God. You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the evil powers of this world. So why do yo keep on following rules of the world, such as, Don't handle, don't eat, don't touch." Such rules are mere human teaching about things that are gone as soon as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, humility, and severe bodily discipline. But they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person's evil thoughts and desires.
Pointing people to the christian way of life as standards is like pointing people to the law and keeping them there. The christian life isn't about what standards we have after we are saved. The law was only a shadow of the real thing, Christ. If you really want to fulfill the law and live like Christ would want you to, LOVE. "Love does no wrong to anyone, so love satisfies all of God's requirements. (Rom 13:10) Love satisfies ALL of God's requirements. It's not love plus homeschool. Love plus daughters staying at home. Love plus whatever else you want to insert. It's just love.

How do we love? "We love each other as the result of his [God] loving us first" (1 Jn. 4:19) We fulfill the law by experiencing a relationship with Christ! We love because He first loved us. It's not about trying to be nice to people, going to church on Sunday, dressing a certain way. It's about knowing and experiencing Christ.

NOTHING happens unless we experience the love Christ has for us! This was such a revelation to me. I used to try so hard. I would try to spend enough time in God's Word. I would try to help my parents. I would try display love and joy. I would try to be nice to my siblings. Try, try, try. I would go to bed and know I did not measure up so I would try harder. But what I didn't know is that it's not about trying! We could never become perfect on our own! We could never measure up no matter how hard we tried! That's why Christ came in the first place. It wasn't only about delivering us from hell but also delivering us in the here and now of trying to measure up. Delivering us from always having to try harder. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace....It's the Fruit of the Spirit not of me trying harder.

Stay tuned for more of my thoughts on Chapter One!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Why I am Doing the So Much More Book Review

First of all, I would like to clarify my point in doing this book review. It is not to bash the Botkin family. I know there recently have been some book reviews on Hillary McFarland's book Quivering Daughters that by many was seen as mean spirited. This is NOT my intention in doing the book review of So Much More I have received many good things from their teachings and largely still live my life the way they believe.

However I did take away some baggage that I want to go back and remove. (From them and other conservative Christians.) I experienced a lot of gossip and rejection from conservative Christians growing up and it has negatively influenced me towards the wrong direction no matter how right, conservative, and good it appeared to be at the time.

I am writing these posts mainly to help me flesh out what I truly believe the Scriptures are saying and who my God truly is. I'm hoping that by sharing with you along the way it will help those with burdens Christ never meant to bear to be able to release those burdens. I also want to encourage and strengthen those whose convictions are truly from Christ. I by no means have all the answers. I am not God so therefore some of my conclusions will be wrong or continue to change along the way. I hope you will give me grace.

I recently was made aware of an article Anna Sophia Botkin wrote. I appreciated her honesty in sharing that even she discovered life didn't work out the way she wanted it to. Anna Sophia is human just like me. She doesn't have all the answers and neither do I. The point of these upcoming posts isn't to show how wrong or right the Botkin family is. I'm doing this to chronicle the journey I am on.

For those interested I will be publishing my thoughts on Chapter One on Monday.