Purity and Truth Menu

Family

Permalink:

The Dangers of Sheltering

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-storm-coming-image28589496By Jesse Jost

The day after my first child was born, I strode out of the hospital a new man. I couldn’t believe how different the world looked, and how I felt about it. I was a father. As I carried that little breathing soul carefully to our van, I vowed to do all that I could to protect my son. I drove with utmost care and caution, paranoid of every intersection. A newborn enters a crazy world of dangers. Physical dangers like choking hazards, or metal falling off the semi-truck ahead of you and exploding your vehicle’s gas tank (this actually happened to someone.) But there are also all kinds of spiritual dangers that can lead to heartbreak and despair in this life, and torment in the next.

As new parents hold that tiny, wrinkled form, a protective instinct is awoken that shocks them with its intensity. Parents, of course, have a duty to protect their children. But I am discovering a dangerous lie that can sabotage parents’ efforts to protect their child from evil. The lie: The most dangerous evil your child faces is “out there.” If you can keep your child from evil influences, he will become a good child.

It’s an appealing idea to parents. But the truth is that the most dangerous evil we all face is in our own heart. Jesus warned: “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” (Mark 7:20-23)

The seeds for these repulsive characteristics are in your child’s heart from the moment of birth. As a parent, you are powerless to change your child’s heart. It is only God who can grant new birth by the power of His Spirit.

When you live by the lie that your kids will be good if they are protected from evil influences, your attention will focus on guarding against outside sources. Meanwhile, the deadly killer of sin within will fester and grow unnoticed. And because you have protected the outside of your child so well, their externals will probably look reassuringly clean and shiny compared to the dark and dirty world beyond.

Sheltering is a natural greenhouse for pride. The child protected from many temptations that have brought his peers low, can start to take credit for his lack of moral failures. Because he has not been in situations that have shown him his inner brokenness, he will feel morally superior. But pride is as dangerous as any of the evils parents try to protect their children from, perhaps even more so. It says in Proverbs that immorality is a “deep pit. And those that are abhorred by the Lord will fall there.” (Prov. 22:14) What makes this verse chilling is when you combine it with Proverbs 16:5 “Everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; Assuredly, he will not be unpunished.”

Continue reading…

  • Lee M

    Bang on target, Jesse. One thought I’ve had is that sheltering, taken to the extreme, can rob a young person of the opportunity to develop real internal strength and the ability to stand in the grace of Christ without external supports and restraints – then, when that young person’s external restraints and supports are for one reason or another taken away, they do not have what it takes to resist sin. I like Pastor Eric Lucy’s take on sheltering: the goal of sheltering is to allow necessary time for preparation and growth with the ultimate goal being that of the strength to attend in Christ alone; much like a seedling being started in a greenhouse, then hardened off outside, and finally grown into a tree with the toughness to withstand a hurricane. I hadn’t really thought as much of the pride issue before, though. Your article adds yet another important piece of balance to this controversial issue. Blessings!

  • Risking Our Children | Preserving the Harvest

  • •••
  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

Permalink:

Is God the Author of Every Human Life?

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-woman-birth-control-pills-image25835869By Jesse Jost

I want to look briefly at the topic of birth control. I know by bringing this up I am dangerously digging in a minefield of emotions. Many, if not almost all, couples use some form of birth control, and do so for very strongly held reasons.

When it comes to the birth control debate there are so many issues to consider: What is your motivation for having kids? Can you responsibly provide for them? Can you handle another child and still maintain a Christ-like attitude? These are all important questions to ask for most of our choices in life, but with birth control there is a deeper issue to consider first.

This watershed issue must be considered before all else: Is God the author of all human life, or does some life enter the world against God’s wishes? Continue reading…

  • Justin

    I am not sure if this has already been said (there are a lot of comments to read), but could it not be said that you are doubting God’s sovereignty. Is it impossible to make those actively using birth control to become pregnant? Is it impossible for God to make pregnant a virgin? You know that it is not impossible, or you call the bible a liar. For the same reason of God’s control, both sides of this question are applicable.
    I am not angry, I personally have no idea which side of the side of the question is right. I admit I am not married (yet), nor do I have kids, but I am a Christian.
    I personally don’t think this is much of an issue, as long as you have a reason for it that is glorifying to God and not only for selfish reasons.

  • Amber

    Sounds like a lot of readers bring up the call of adoption. Anyone considering adoption but afraid that they cannot afford it should visit reecesrainbow.org and join the Official Reece’s Rainbow group on facebook. There is a HUGE community of support–emotional, financial, even spiritual at times. Some of these children have grants that would be available at the time of travel and that cover most or all of the costs, and there are MANY many others in different countries with smaller grants that can help a family bring them home.

  • •••
  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

Permalink:

Breathing Life in the Culture of Death

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photo-cute-little-girl-bright-face-mask-image47189975By Heidi Jost

            When the first drops of blood fell, I began a journey to life, though I didn’t know it at the time. In the months after my unborn baby slipped out of my body, God showed me something priceless that I had paid lip service to, but my heart was far from believing: life is precious, children are a blessing, and God can be trusted.

Always.

Jesse and I already had the million-dollar family: a boy and a girl. A lot of people commented that we must be done. We joked, “Nah, we’re going for a multi-million dollar family.”

I have wanted every baby that has been conceived in my womb. I just haven’t wanted them to come closer together than two years, afraid I might go crazy or that I might look to others like a run down, exhausted, and overwhelmed rabbit factory who doesn’t “know what causes that.” Fear of having kids close in age infected my thoughts and choices.

Anyway, here I was, pregnant with baby three, who was going to be just over two years younger than its big sister. I felt like I could handle this, and we were excited! In between waves of nausea, that is. When the waves settled early, I was pretty happy. Until the blood dripped and I found out the baby had already died in my womb over a month ago.

We buried baby Davey by my sister’s grave. And I walked out of that cemetery shaken to my core, because I finally realized the truth: All human life is God-given and sacred.

Until Davey died, I think I subconsciously believed that life was only a blessing if it came on my timetable. If my children were born close in age, that was my “mistake,” and they really should not have showed up when they did.

I said the right things on the outside, but inside me there grew a culture of death.

It is in the air we all breathe. This culture of death has great and potent arguments against the Creator of Life: We need to pace ourselves, we need to know our limitations and be wise in how many children we choose to have. We shouldn’t keep on having kids if our motivation is just because we feel pressured to, or because we feel less-than as women unless we are breeding like rabbits.

These arguments take our eyes off the issue at stake: Is all life God-ordained and sacred? No matter when it comes, no matter whether we felt ready for it at the moment or not, no matter how much it will demand from us when it arrives.   Continue reading…

  • Jyl

    Thanks for writing this article Heidi. It covers many things I’ve been thinking through and is an encouragement. When I first got married I was excited to have kids and wanted to surrender my life to God in the area of children. However, His ways are not our ways and his plan was for us not to have kids right away . This was challenging for me to accept at first and I realized I wasn’t fully trusting Him. It took me on a journey of faith and I’ve learned so much. It also gave me a new appreciation of life, realizing every child is a gift and miracle from God. God can be trusted, even though there are many times we don’t understand what He is doing, we can trust He knows best.

  • David

    WOW!

    I love the perspective you have shared here.

  • •••
  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

Permalink:

Does God Want You Broken?

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-broken-orange-coffe-cup-coffee-black-bacground-image37176921By Jesse Jost

There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who are broken and know it, and those who are broken and don’t yet know it. In the garden of Eden God made man with three areas of duty and purpose. First, God made us to love, worship, and obey Him. Second, we were to love and serve our fellow man. Finally, we were given a mandate to tend the garden (bring order out of chaos) and to create beauty that would glorify God.

Shattered Glass

The first humans failed in their primary purpose by rebelling and breaking that relationship with God. Like a stone that impacts a single point on a window but shatters the whole thing, so our break with a holy God brought brokenness to every sphere of life. Where we were to love and serve other people we now hate and abuse them. Where we were to tend and beautify this planet, we neglect and destroy it. Instead of works of art that reflect the beauty of God we create blasphemous pornography and lurid “slasher” films.

True, the brokenness of humanity is not total. God has still given us common grace and this world is not as bad as it could be. Man still creates stunning works of beauty, and we do find shining glimpses of sacrificial love among mankind. Continue reading…

  • Kathy Paquette

    Awesome article, thank you brother.

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

Permalink:

Why the Term Patriarchy Needs a Vacation

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-bandaged-bearded-sad-man-shrugs-his-hands-confusion-image41966882By 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.

Homeschool Abuse

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…

  • Heather

    Thank you for saying this. Our definitions of words can really hinder us when we have a different understanding of the words being used.

  • Ben Bush Jr

    Part of the problem with “patriarchy” was the idea that the Puritans were wholly biblical in their worldview. That in itself should be a warning to us. This brand of Calvinism is nothing more than Catholicism lite.

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

Permalink:

When Archie Bunker Met Patriarchy

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-angry-mature-man-holding-belt-posing-isolated-white-background-image31994314By 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…

  • Ann

    I was so blessed to read this and find someone who is finally addressing what the real problem is – it is not the Bible or trying to do things God’s way, etc. It is always the heart; and it doesn’t matter if your are homeschooled or public schooled (and it happens out there!), sin is sin no matter where it happens. The world is full of it – look at sex-trafficking, drug abuse, people abuse, gossip in the office (or the church), etc – it goes on and on and on. The world is full of sin and pain and sorrow. Christian leaders outside the homeschool circle have fallen – Tom White of VOM fell. What a grief! It has nothing to do with homeschooling. It is also not helpful that we tend to blame many of our sinful attitudes on the food we eat, or our hormones or our birth order – sin is sin. We are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ and we need to be abiding in Christ – He will change us as we do that. Col 3 says to have our thoughts on things above – not on things of the earth. As much as we are able, we ought to be keeping our thoughts on Him, studying Him, loving Him, following Him, etc. It may be true that our hormones are out of balance – perhaps because we don’t eat right or maybe it is because we are an angry person or anxious – these things affect our hormones (I realize there may be other causes). We need to repent and eat right. And we aren”t stuck with the hopelessness of our birth order – whatever it might be. He promises to always be there to help us – when we are tempted to be angry or if we are tired or whatever – we can call on Him in our time of need. We can ask for strength for the day. We can confess anger and ask Him to cleanse it away, etc. He is our help and our hope alone.

  • Garrison Thomas

    Very much appreciate your words of honesty, Jessie. We NEED this. I’m a firm believer in getting to the root. That concept can and needs to be applied to everything we look at. It amazes me how people, myself included more often than not, are willing to address the evidence of a deeper problem. Getting to the root is hard work; it’s like trying to dig up a tree. Leaders, especially men leaders, are DESPERATELY needed. I hope your blog can reach the rest of us in need of an awakening to let God utterly strip away our pride and selfishness and rely on Him for… well, everything. “Fierce dependence”. Two of my most favorite words. God bless your blog. I draw a lot of encouragement from your work.

  • •••
  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

Permalink:

Saving the Baby: An Alternative to Courtship

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-baby-washing-bath-holding-nose-start-diving-under-water-image30109089By Jesse Jost

Bath time doesn’t always go like it should. Especially when little kids get excited. Bathwater is supposed to be pure, clean, and bubbly. But when you put real kids in there, the bathwater gets disgusting. Many parents, broken and bruised by the sexually charged dating scene, wanted a clean, fresh alternative to “dating” for their kids. So they poured a hot, fresh bubble bath called “courtship” that was free from the filthy contaminants of “recreational” dating. The plan was simple: Put the kids through this new system and the problems of promiscuity, broken hearts, and divorce would be washed away.

But as people settled into the suds, some of them began p**ping in the bathwater. Now, thanks to the filth and grime of human nature, the waters of courtship are dirty and murky. Single young people are looking at what has happened to their friends and older siblings, and they don’t want to get in the grungy water. I feel for them; they want something better.

I want to look at a few ways courtship has gone wrong, but I also want to spare the baby in the bathwater, by checking out some valuable contributions that courtship thinking offered. I’ll finish off with fresh clean bathwater. Continue reading…

Permalink:

Is Purity Culture Oppressive to a Woman’s Sexuality?

Processed with VSCOcam with x1 presetBy Jesse Jost

I recently read an article on articlebuffet.com (also known as facebook.) It was called “Naked and Ashamed: Women and Evangelical Purity Culture.” The article was a condensed master’s thesis by a woman who was arguing that purity culture is oppressive to a woman’s sexuality and causes long-lasting emotional and psychological devastation. She felt that the purity movement makes a woman feel like her body is sinful and a stumbling block to men, that the burden of purity rests on the woman and men get off easy, and that any sexual desire is shameful. All of this causes a woman to be repressed and hate her sexuality. Her case is corroborated by testimony, and by the number of likes by evangelical females the article received, I would say she has uncovered a serious problem in this movement.

So the short answer to the question in my title is “Yes, elements of purity culture have been oppressive to some women.” As a man, I am limited in how much of this I can address, but I have a mother I greatly respect, three sisters I adore, a wife that I love with everything I have, and a precious little daughter that I would die for. I also have a very strong protective streak. Anything that oppresses women or damages their emotions or sexuality makes me irate very quickly. I read her article with concern and I hurt for the women who have suffered because what they’ve been told about purity and their bodies. But I need to ask, “Is it the purity culture that is to blame? Or is it the purity message?” A culture contains fallen humans and so any “culture” can become oppressive. I need to know if it is the purity message itself that is causing the harm. I want to address the factors that I think are causing the pain, but also look at the alternative. If we throw away purity culture, what will take its place and will the alternative be any better? Continue reading…

  • T Lipp

    Thanks for the good thoughts Jesse, I’ve had several conversations about this topic lately. Specifically with colleagues who love Jesus and are from cultural backgrounds were there is less “purity culture” and see how demeaning “purity culture” is to sexuality. I think you made a good distinction between the message and the culture, that’s an important distinction to make.

    What I’m starting to ponder now is, how can you foster a culture that encourages both purity and sexuality. Is that even okay to say? Maybe I should have put “God-given” in front of sexuality, but then again I didn’t feel it necessary to put “God-given” in front of purity….

  • Chris

    Guys suffer from religion-induced sexual dysfunction too.I was at work several months ago and thinking about the depression and anger that plagued me throughout much of my teen years, and I think much of it can be linked to Jesus’s words about lust in Matthew 5. I often felt guilty and angry when I felt any kind of sexual urge, and since adolescence is a time when we guys feel that frequently, there was a ton of anger and guilt. It wasn’t until fairly recently that I saw a minister on TV teach that the purpose of those passages wasn’t to make us feel guilty or repress our sexuality, but to emphasize God’s grace, to make us realize how much we need Him in our daily lives, and the fact that Jesus was “showing up” the Pharisees by telling them that they weren’t nearly as good at following the Law as they thought they were.. It was like, “Gee, NOW someone tells me.”

    Some women who’ve blogged about being indoctrinated into this lunacy describe having thoughts and feelings that are classic symptoms of childhood sexual abuse and many of them pertain to me. The fact that I haven’t pulled a Columbine is proof that God is indeed merciful, so I can only hope that something good can come out of this. He’s got His work cut out for Him; this is a person who’s spent nearly as of his adult life under incomprehensible turmoil.

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

Permalink:

Courtdate: A Generation of Courtship Culture on Trial

By Jesse Jost

americangothicIn the 1980s, many parents were appalled at the heartbreak and devastation of a culture that had lost its biblical moorings. The abuse of sex and drugs and education were creating a living hell. Adults who were saved out of this environment decided that they wanted to make climate change a reality. Their fierce and passionate love for their kids motivated them to act drastically: Take their kids out of their schools and surroundings and give them a new culture based on biblical principles. These brave pioneers set out on uncharted paths and experimented with new methods of education, discipline and romance.

Baggage from the parents’ previous relationships and painful memories from the past only intensified the desire to protect their children in the minefield of love. Having seen the dangers of the casual dating and easy sex model that was becoming the norm, parents were hungry for an alternative. Josh Harris, Elizabeth Elliott, Michael Phillips, Eric and Leslie Ludy and Jonathan Lindvall, were just a few of the thinkers suggesting alternative relationship models categorized under titles like courtship or betrothal. Some common themes running through these suggestions were: more parental involvement throughout the marriage process, replacing aimless “recreational” dating with a focused courtship process, and a renewed emphasis on “guarding and saving your heart” for your future spouse. It was a call back to the ideal of being a one-woman-man and a one-man-woman for life. But while Josh Harris and many others were “Kissing Dating Goodbye,” others saw warning signs and wrote rebuttals such as “I Gave Dating a Chance” by Jeremy Clark. Continue reading…

Permalink:

How will I know it? Thoughts on Finding the “Right One”

How Will I know itBy Jesse Jost

Johnny Reid sings about a question that is burning on the heart of a boy: “How will I know it” when I find the right person for me to marry? The song gives the very insightful answer, “You’ll just know it.” And then Reid confirms that every time the young man kisses or loves his partner now, “He just knows it!” If only it were that simple.

The choice of who you will marry is, to use a Latin phrase, decisionus giganticus. Especially if you believe, as I do, that God wants marriage to be permanent. Not only is it an irreversible decision, it is one you must make with huge unknown factors. How will job stress, career moves, chronic health issues, children, accidents, change this person? How well do you really know this person? How well do you have to know him or her before you commit for life? With so many uncertainties and the stakes so high, we crave signs of confirmation, physical or spiritual, that we are doing the right thing.

In this article I want to explore “what is a successful marriage?” How can we find God’s will for us in all things romantic? How much of the decision-making process should be based on discerning signs and interpreting feelings? What constitutes a healthy exploratory relationship? The scope of these questions would make a better book than an article, so bear with me in the length. I’ll try to be concise. Continue reading…

  • Kristin

    Very good article!! I have also found a longer webinar by Mr. Botkin at Western Conservatory on “Marrying Well” that discusses many of the same points you have addressed. It is a blessing to see so many more people scripturally approaching this topic of “marriage”. Thank you!

  • Rebecca

    I really appreciated this article! Thank you for it. It encouraged and guided me as a single Godly woman looking and waiting for my future husband. Loved the practical advice that others tend to shy away from talking about.

  • •••
  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.