By Jesse Jost
God gave us the role of ambassadors of his heavenly kingdom to our earthly nations. We are to communicate His message of love and reconciliation in a way others will understand. When an ambassador travels to a foreign country, he must learn the native tongue. He can’t just speak his own language and feel like he has done his duty. He must also seek to understand the baggage that words or concepts may have accrued.
The spirit of Christ-like love compels us to put the needs of those around us ahead of our own. I think the way this applies to communication is that when we speak, we don’t just focus on being articulate and polishing our words; our goal is to make sure the person we are speaking to accurately receives the message we are sending. We need to ask the other person to repeat what we said in their own choice of words to see if what they received matches up with what we meant.
Your backstory is showing
To achieve clear communication, we need to be sensitive to be people’s backstory – how their past shaped the way they feel about certain words. People often hear a term, and shut their brain off after assuming what you mean by it. We can’t merely attack or defend a term; we need to be aware of how our audience is using the term, because that is what they will hear you attacking or defending. For instance, I talk to people about avoiding sexualized dating, and occasionally call my alternative “courtship.” A person in my audience may have experienced “courtship” as fathers controlling adult children, and that you are worthless if you have dated or have had premarital sex. This is not at all what I meant when I said “courtship,” but that person’s past associations caused them to assume I was teaching those other things as well. We could get into a sharp debate about “courtship,” but until we take the time to listen to how we are each using the term, we will never reach an understanding.
In the homeschool community right now, many cases of abuse are coming to light. Abuse of authority, abuse of scripture, abuse of family roles, and even sexual abuse. These are terrible and it is our mission in advancing Christ’s kingdom to deal with these abuses and defend the oppressed. Continue reading…
By Jesse Jost
There are some very bad fathers out there, and the world is hurting because of it! Daughters are being controlled or ignored. Wives are being abused or neglected. Sons are following in the footsteps of their arrogant, bigoted, narrow-minded fathers. And it is happening in a movement known as “Patriarchy.” It is also happening in the movements known as Feminism, Green Peace, Gay Pride, Liberalism, and any of the Civil Rights movements.
You don’t have to look very far to find a dad who has failed his family. Fathers were given the monumental responsibility of lovingly protecting and providing for their families. When the father is removed, or chooses to abandon these obligations, the family is left vulnerable and suffers greatly. Because fatherhood is vital to a healthy family, and thereby a healthy world, Satan hates fatherhood!
I want to warn you about some ways that Satan sabotages fathers, but I also want issue a challenge to support the men who are fighting for biblical fatherhood. Continue reading…
By Jesse Jost
I have held my tongue long enough. Of course, I hold my tongue like a toddler holds a 25 lb. barbell. As women shed their winter fur (coats) along with most of whatever else they used to wear, the modesty debate rises to the surface, trying to take the place of the discarded clothing. I read almost every modesty article, pro and anti, that shows up in my various news feeds. I believe quite strongly in the merits of modest dressing as I wrote here. However, while women have been scrutinized, harped on, measured, and discouraged, I see a serious problem that modesty culture has obviously not done enough to address.
Modesty is often held up as The Way to help men overcome their lust problem. The consequences of this idea are lethal: Guys feel helpless or justified in succumbing to the lustful glance whenever they see a girl who is “immodest” by their standard. Girls get discouraged and then angry when they feel like they are unfairly carrying the burden of men’s purity. Because they react to this bad reason for modesty, they often can’t see the more valid and godly reasons for modesty and throw clothing restraint to the wind.
I want to be clear upfront: modesty will not solve the problem of lust! I am ashamed that we Christian men have let this problem get so far. We need be more ruthless in attacking lust and take responsibility for our own thoughts and actions. It is ridiculous to blame the Christian girl in your circle for your lustful thoughts. If you lusted after her, she is not the problem. If she was completely covered up you could still find a way to lust, if not over her then over some other girl, and in our sexually charged culture, you wouldn’t have to look very far, in fact, perhaps no farther than your next thought. Continue reading…
By Jesse Jost
There is a universal human condition known as “naïve realism.” It is the tendency to believe that what we perceive is reality. Our brain prides itself on its ability to see things clearly. Our sight is reliable, isn’t it? Our ability to observe and make sense of what we perceive is remarkable. But life is far more complex than we can comprehend. There is way too much going on for our minds to be able to take it all in. We miss details – in fact, it is impossible to not miss them.
In the center of your eye there is a blind spot that cannot receive information. We are walking around with a hole in our vision but we never know it because the brain says, “No problem, I’ll just guess at what should fill in that blank.” The brain then makes up information to complete the picture. It does an amazing job of guessing correctly most of the time, and we get along fine, until someone asks us to get something for them from the cupboard!
What our brain does with our physical blind spot is exactly what it does with our metaphorical blind spots. We have huge knowledge gaps about the world around us, but the brain makes up information to complete the picture and we smugly think we see it all. Naïve realism. Not a big deal, right? It’s a system that seems to be working well. You’ve probably heard it said that the devil is in the details. I would like to argue that the devil is in the details that get missed. Our faulty perception is the devil’s playground. I believe our enemy is very eager to help fill in the blind spots with erroneous information that is designed to deceive and destroy the body of Christ. Continue reading…
By Wormwood, Ph. D.
(Intercepted by Jesse Jost)
The human brain is a disgustingly powerful little tool. But there are certain design flaws (others would call them “efficiencies”) that we demons can capitalize on to maximize human misery. I want to share some strategies I’ve honed over the centuries that take full advantage of the brain’s natural weaknesses.
These strategies work because humans place way too much trust in their powers of perception. When a human looks at the world, he believes that what he sees is the way things really are. When he remembers, he trusts that his vivid memories are accurate, and when he imagines the future, he assumes he is seeing clearly. Obviously we know that there is far too much going on in the world for any human mind to fully grasp it all, so the brain is selective in what it records and what it ignores. When the brain records what is going on around it, it chooses what sensory details to remember and what to leave out. If a person did not have this ability to tune things out, he would go crazy.
Most humans are aware of the fact that they miss certain details and they are okay with that, yet they are also confident that they have an accurate view of what is going on. But when they pull up their memories, there is a process going on they seem to be blissfully unaware of. You see, they think their memory is like a video recorder and that the memory files are stored just like they are recorded. But if everything was actually recorded that way, these files would be way too big for the brain to handle. In reality, the brain only selects a few key details and stores them in a compressed file. When the brain recalls a memory, it pulls up those details. However, in order to recreate the memory, the few details are not enough, and this is where it gets fun for us. Continue reading…
By Jesse Jost
I struggle with lust. I have found myself doing things that if I knew others were watching me, I would nearly die of shame. I know what it is like to feel that I am no longer in control, shocked at where I am headed. When I hear of another Christian leader falling prey to sexual scandal, I cannot judge them; I can only shudder at our mutual frailty. I have been terrified to look back and find that I was under some kind of spell, hungry for something that I normally would abhor.
Fighting when you don’t want to win
In most battles, the combatants want to win. What makes the battle against temptation so difficult is that when the battle is the fiercest, you no longer want to win. Fighting for a victory that you want to lose takes more willpower than most of us have. So I fall. Then I prayerfully knock off the dust and get up and keep fighting. Why? Is the battle for purity really that important?
In the middle of the struggle, our hideous enemy uses some kind of potent chemical warfare that causes us to forget the reasons this fight is important. I want to record why I fight for holiness. But first, I want to clarify what this purity struggle isn’t. Continue reading…
By Jesse Jost
In an effort to keep young people from entering a damaging series of physical and emotional romantic entanglements followed by painful break ups, a number of writers have appealed, “save your heart for your future spouse!” They claimed that every time you had your heart broken, it became lessened in some way, and was now less special because you had an emotional attachment to someone other than the one you would marry. You had given away a piece of your heart and no longer had your whole heart to give. The pure un-bruised and unbroken heart was more valuable to your spouse and would make your love deeper and more fulfilling. It was an idea that sounded good on the surface, and appealed to parents and young people alike. But I believe presenting the message in these terms has put a fatal twist on the truth and is creating devastating consequences.
The side effects:
In a world of deceptive hearts longing for love, it is just a matter of time before someone breaks yours. The only way to avoid having your heart broken is to never love and never hope. People who choose to love will give parts of their heart away and will be hurt. For the vast majority of young people who have loved and been hurt, it’s a discouraging thought that their chances of a quality marriage are tied to whether or not their heart has been broken. Continue reading…
A demon’s guide to using communication effectively.
By Dr. Wormwood PhD
(Message intercepted by Jesse Jost)
Communication breakdown is an excellent way to destroy relationships. Historically this has been one of our greatest and most effective tools. I always marvel at how easy it is to use and how much damage it can cause. One of my favorite books is Jack Hornfield’s inspirational “Human Soup for the Demon’s Soul.” In it he includes story after touching story of countless marriages crumbling under the skillful use of communication breakdown. In this article, I will explore some tactics I have found very effective after centuries of seeking new means to bring down these loathsome creatures. I will show you the pitfalls to avoid and how to ensure that the lines of communication stay down. I know you will be inspired to use these simple tricks to bring ruin to your own subjects. Continue reading…
by Jesse Jost
Recently a young father in our community was suddenly taken from this life when his sprayer made contact with an over head power line. He left behind a beautiful wife and two small boys and a whole community searching for answers. How could God let this happen? How dare he break up a young couple like that? Those are tough questions. Losing your life partner ranks near the top of the list of the most painful things that can happen to a human. When God allows a spouse to die, emotions are shattered and God’s goodness is called into question. But this tragedy raised a different troubling issue for me. This same community that is in shock that God would allow a death in a marriage has seen the death of many other marriages. These other marriages were not involuntarily broken apart, rather the death was willingly chosen. No, it wasn’t murder that broke the sacred bonds of matrimony, it was divorce.
The Importance of Listening in Evangelism
Good communication is a challenge at the best of times. With a myriad of differences in the way each person thinks, processes, and uses words, the seemingly simple procedure of sending and receiving information can become as difficult as rain-making. Continue reading…