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
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…
By 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…
By Jesse Jost
In 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…
By 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…
By Jesse Jost
I’m gonna admit right up front that my title was a shameless attempt to get your attention so you would read my thoughts.
I was raised with certain treasured beliefs that have shaped me and the environment that I grew up in: The father needs to take leadership in the home and protect his lambs from destructive influences. One of the most fulfilling (but not the only) roles a woman can play is to be a mother and mold and inspire the next generation of leaders. Children are a blessing and God in his sovereign wisdom can be trusted to know the best number of children for you. Homeschooling is an amazing and effective way to tailor your child’s education to his unique strengths and interests so he can reach his full potential. The family is a unit built by God with each individual specially gifted in ways that complement the whole and empowers greater ministry. Modesty and sexual purity are keys to a great sex life.
I believe each of these ideas is firmly supported in scripture. My parents implemented these convictions in ways that led to a rich, fulfilling childhood and left me feeling inspired to take on the world and its challenges and embark on a journey to obey God’s calling on my life. I am the oldest of eleven children and the product of a home and lifestyle that is coming under attack. Families who hold these ideas are being derisively labeled “patriarchal, quiver-full, daughters-stay at-home-till-marriage, fundamentalist cultists.” Continue reading…
By Jesse Jost
As a parent, I am terrified to look around and see how many young people are walking away from their faith and the convictions they were raised with. They willfully plunge into the life of pain and heartache that their parents tried so hard to spare them from. Some families are losing more kids than others. I wonder, is this just because some parents are given children who are the “elect” and others aren’t? I’ve heard parents are not the ones to blame when their children walk away. I have no desire to heap blame upon parents who are already devastated by the choices their children have made, but while I am in the throes of raising my own kids, I desperately want to believe that there are things I can do that will make a difference in my children. I know kids are not programmable robots; they are free to choose as they will. I know there are no foolproof methods that can guarantee that my children will stay faithful in their walk with God. But at the same time, I do believe that parents somehow impact their kids’ future choices. I think it would be irresponsible to just chew my fingernails nervously on the sidelines, hoping they make the right choice.
So often, though, solutions to one problem have hidden consequences. You want to shelter your kids from the negative influence of media (clearly a good idea!) but you may find that this results in your kids being prideful and critical, two attitudes that greatly hinder our walk with God. On the flip side, parents who don’t want to raise Pharisees and so let their kids participate in whatever the crowd is doing may find that the counterfeit pleasures of a godless life have left their kids with no desire for the things of God. Sigh. What can be done? Continue reading…
By Jesse Jost
This morning when I woke up I made the highly inadvisable decision to be a sweetie pie husband. I romantically envisioned a morning where I make my wife breakfast in bed and tell her not to get up until I have cleaned the house. Unfortunately she has left the bedroom by the time I get out of the bathroom. She is already making oatmeal for the kids and planning our menu for the week. A diet inspired by the “Trim Healthy Mama” craze. I am cool with the diet principles but have a hard time telling the guys at work that I am on a “trim healthy mama” diet. So I am rechristening this diet “Trim Healthy Beast.” Regardless of the name, my wife and I are stuck with “s-meal” foods for breakfast. And before you censors get your knickers in a knot, “s” stands for satisfying and means no digestible carbs allowed. I know, go figure! My breakfast is easy – scrambled eggs and flax bread. My wife, due to her egg allergy can have neither. So while I am commanding her to go back to bed, she is delaying by adding cinnamon and honey into the kids’ oatmeal and making some kind of coconut oil protein smoothie. I command her again to go to bed. Again delay. After 7.5 years of marriage, she is still getting used to this patriarchal home thing. She obeys and takes her food into the bedroom. She reappears again and, despite my protests, comes back for her meal planning calendar. I urge her to rest. She says this will make the rest of the week more restful. She finally submits and retires into the cozy warmth.
Now onto my tasks of breakfast and cleaning. I prepare my eggs and toast and help the kids with their oatmeal. John-Michael (6)loves this breakfast and has three bowls. Sophia (4) is in her never-ending creative phase and is too busy cutting paper into tiny triangles to be interested breakfast. Continue reading…
By Jesse Jost
As the father of three children so far, I have spent a lot of time pondering the impact I want to have on my kids. We are choosing to homeschool our children to maximize our control of the factors that we believe will lead them to the most fulfilling life. It is our sobering responsibility to train them and mold them. As a parent I never want to play god in my children’s life. It is not my job to make sure they conform to my dreams and goals for their life. At the same time, I believe that God has put these children in our care for a reason. And we have a duty to our Creator to instill in our kids the ideas and goals that He wants us to. I will stand before God some day and give an account of what I taught my kids. I don’t know about you, but I want to get this right! Continue reading…