Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Reading vs Knowing

So, I was thinking about the Bible yesterday...and talking to my son about it...and something "hit" me...

I have always liked putting my thoughts down on paper...or nowadays a screen that looks like paper. :) I have never wanted to become just a name. For me...all I have of my own great grandmothers and beyond is either a black and white photo or two...or nothing at all but a name on a family tree. Somehow to think that all I've ever gone through or learned could just disappear and be gone is kind of not cool with me. I feel like I'd want my great great great granddaughter to have some idea of what I was like. I feel like I have things I'd wanna share with her. So, I write. And, I never throw anything I write (or anything anyone else writes to me) away.

But, like I said, something "hit" me yesterday...

If "you" or any of my future descendants would read every word I have typed into this blog...even if I hack away at this for the next 30 years before I croak..."you" still...wouldn't...know...me.

You know?

Over there on the right this blog site nicely organizes my thoughts into categories. If I keep doing this for years perhaps that category list will expand (oh yes! to include things about growing old!) and you would really be able to just click on topics to get an idea of what "I think" about a variety of issues. And, since I'm long winded you get to read a LOT about what I think about things. But...


Even if you read 1000 blog posts by me...you still wouldn't know me as well as you would if you'd just spend a day with me...and hang out with me...and see me...and listen to me talk...and watch me interact with my kids and with others...take a drive with me and see how I act on the road...see how I act in stores with strangers...etc...

My future grandsons and granddaughters could read everything I've ever written...and that won't make them know "me". It will just make them know a lot of stuff about me. That kinda' makes me sad.

Like, "imagine"...my great great grandkids all reading my old blog every day trying to "get to know me"... Soon, they'd argue about what I meant when I said, "this" or "that". I could see them competing to see how much of my blog they could memorize. Who could quote it the best? They could have competitions and awards given out for people who knew the most about my blog. People could write papers on the blog posts I write...make books out of them. People could even go out and read my blog posts to large groups of people to share it with the world...oh yeah...and post them to their profiles every day...

But, a person who actually KNEW me could walk into the room in the midst of some of the "experts" on me and that person would have a whole different "air" about them with regards to me. They would have a confidence about them and a relaxed casual manner about me that the others wouldn't. A person who actually knew me would not be in any way fanatical about me. And, the person who actually knew me might never ever have read even one of these posts...but they'd still know me better than someone who had all these posts memorized...

Do you grasp the depth of that?

The "experts" would likely even take offense to the person who actually knew me. They'd grill that person with questions, "Well, what does she think about the NIV Bible? What does she think about the topic of abortion? Who would she have voted for? What does she think about spanking? What does she think about..." anything.

They could grill the person who actually knows me on any number of things, and, my friend would possibly have no clue about most of the questions. But, the things my friend would know about me would be because of experience with me. With regards to the spanking question...they might not know that I believe it's wrong but they may be able to say, "Well, of all the times I've been with her when her kids are naughty I've never seen her hit any of them."

Then you could almost see the "experts" sneering, "You don't know anything about her! How can you say you know her!?"

But, even if the "experts" on me would have read 1000 pages of text by me...even if it was 2000 pages...the person who'd spent time with me would ACTUALLY know me. My friends would know that this person who types away at the computer is "part" of me and how it fits in with the rest of me. This is my serious and "deep" side that types here. They'd know how I can be kind of annoying during movies if this part of me comes out. ;) They'd know that if they bring certain things up I'm gonna go "here". They'd also know what a not-serious idiot I usually am. :)

If all you know of me was the words I type...you wouldn't know how I can't stand to get my hands dirty or how I don't come out of my bedroom until I'm all "done" in the morning (hair/makeup/dressed). You wouldn't know that I like to burn candles in my house and wish someone would invent a toilet that NO odor could possibly escape from! You wouldn't know how I act when I see a puppy that needs a home or how I took care of my babies. You wouldn't know that I have PAD. (Parking Ambivalence Anxiety Disorder or that I'm prone to making stuff like that up.) You wouldn't know that I always go the speed limit, or that I always let people out before me and that I don't get road rage...

You could read everything I ever write...but until you spend a day with me you just simply don't know me...

So...the Bible. Do you read and read and read and read? Do you do Bible study after Bible study? Do you preach what you study about? Do you write blog posts about God's "blog"? Do you go to church twice a week and listen to Christian radio and watch Christian movies?

Truth of the matter is...that until you start hanging out WITH Him...all you know is a buncha' stuff about Him...and those people you look down on who seem to have a very casual attitude toward God...they're likely the ones who have actually been hanging out with Him...maybe you should hang with them?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Written vs Living Word

I was thinking...about reading the Bible...

I copied/pasted a status on my Facebook which is supposed to be a quote by CS Lewis:

‎"It is Christ Himself, not the Bible, who is the true word of God. The Bible, read in the right spirit and with the guidance of good teachers, will bring us to Him. We must not use the Bible as a sort of encyclopedia out of which texts can be taken for use as weapons." -C.S. Lewis

Some of the responses to the quote is what got me thinking...and I realize I can't exactly answer the questions…

Follow this…

"I won a test because I knew that the DVD player brought it's cords."

"And…I passed a phone number to someone while winning the test and molesting someone."

So…as an English-speaking person…did you just understand that I passed a test because I knew that the DVD player came with its cords...while bugging someone and giving someone my phone number?


If you lived in Guatemala and spoke Spanish you would have understood that perfectly. This is often how my own kids speak…they say things in English that are direct translations from Spanish into English…only we don't say it that way in English! We don't say that the DVD player "brings" its cords... We don't "win" tests… 

This is how easily a translation of something simple can get misunderstood by people living in the same year on the same side of the planet. So, I have to believe that even a word-for-word direct translation of the Bible from the original language into current English has got to lose or change meanings. 

One of my sons pointed out that when translating they are going to not just simply put the word-for-word translation they're going to put what the word "meant" like as in "win" they'd know to translate that to "pass". Well…here too we can run into another problem when it is up to people "today" deciding what a word from another culture 1000's of years ago "meant".

What if the Bible was written today and there was a verse in Proverbs talking about how some people just need to be kickstarted in the morning? Would we find preachers 1000 years from now instructing families to kick one another in the morning? Expressions in English are not necessarily found in other languages. That was another thing I learned as an English speaking American living in Guatemala was how I would often try to say something in Spanish that I was thinking in English…but in Spanish it made no sense…and vice versa. A man showed up at my house when I was fresh out of the shower once and said something to me about being "fresh like lettuce" and I never could figure out what that meant! That happened a lot…someone would use an expression…I'd ask what it meant…and I still wouldn't get it. It wasn't part of my culture. I had no place to put it.

We are not Jews living 1000's of years ago in the Middle East…without iPhones and electricity and running water. We have no experiential clue what their life was like. 

Even the simple word "off". 

You can:

Buzz off (go away: rude command)
Be off (your game isn't good today)
Be off (you're not working today)
Bite/break off (remove part of)
Back off (put distance between you and something lterally by backwards motion)
Back off (stop giving attention to a situation)
Be turned off
Scare off (scare away)
Bake-off (have a contest)
Turn something off
Turn someone off
Take off (remove)
Take off (fly away)
Get off on (sexually)
Get off of (literally)
Get off (of work)
Get offed (killed)
Off someone (kill someone)
(I'm sure there are more but this is what I got off the top of my head...)

As and English speaking American one has no trouble discerning the deeper meaning to the word "off" whenever, however, wherever it is used. We just know. But, that would not be the case for a non-native English speaker or even a non-American. Some expressions do not even cross the ocean and back to where our own language originated and our vocabulary is not exactly the same as the one in England or for that matter Canada, Australia, or Belize, etc…

And, what about words that only apply to things in our culture? Like, "unfriend". This is a new term that directly refers to Facebook. Without knowledge of what Facebook is you don't get the full meaning of what being "unfriended" is.

Do I believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God? Yep. I do. In its original form, yes. But, I don't read Hebrew or Greek and I am not from thousands of years ago. That's why we were sent the Holy Spirit because the Bible does say we have "no need for anyone to teach us but the HS teaches us all things". 

The Bible is the printed word of God…stuff He said and did…but Jesus…is the LIVING Word of God. Jesus is stuff that God is doing and saying "now". The Living Word is stuff God is doing and saying in American English in 2011...to you and to me. I am not God. I am not part of God. I am not going to be a god someday. And, I am not all-knowing or even most-knowing. But, Jesus lives IN me. And, because He does…there are things I am protected from that no one can take from me…things that the printed words in the Bible are not protected from.

What do I mean?

Here's an example…

You're an "Average American" in 2011…you're not a Greek scholar and you don't have an interlinear Bible and you trust your pastor and friends know what they're talking about, so, you don't know that Psalm 51: 5 says, "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me." (David lamenting that his mom was naughty! He did not share the same mother as his other brothers. Tsk tsk! In this sentence it is clear to see that the sinner in the sentence is the mother.) No. You don't get that deep into it…you have faith in the translation committee of the NIV (which included a feminist who believes Jesus was a woman, btw) and, you read in Psalm 51:5 that, "for I was sinful from birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me" and you think, "Gosh! Wow! We're born sinful! The Bible says it! I believe it!" 

You believe it…but sadly the Bible doesn't say it! The Bible has been tampered with there. Intentionally? I don't know the hearts of those who did it, but, as my son pointed out when it comes to word-for-word translation a translator is going to translate things according to what they believe it means. And, there is the weakness of modern Bible translations: What the translators in our modern age think the writers in another culture, time period, and language "meant". 

If all you had was the Bible and no other way God communicated with you...you would believe things that God didn't say. It's just how it is. 

BUT…God was all over that one. He knew this potential was there. And, He knows how important the truth is. He died for it. So, to protect us from human error He has placed the truth on our hearts…and has displayed it in the Creation so completely and thoroughly that no faulty Bible translation should effect us…and He lives in you! God is that awesome.

And, so you read your NIV and it says that babies are sinful from the first splitting of the egg…and you go visit your friend who has just had a baby and you see the baby and what is something you're likely to comment? "What a sweet…innocent…baby…" Right? There it is. God's protection IN you. The TRUTH is there in your heart. You look at a newborn baby and you KNOW that that baby is innocent. You feel it in every pore of your body. And, you feel it in the outrage you feel when you hear that a toddler has been sexually abused. You feel that outrage when you hear that even an 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 year old has been sexually abused. You feel outrage that someone has harmed an INNOCENT child. The truth in you that children are not sinful cries out loudly. 

THAT is something no translating committee can take from you.

How 'bout another example?

You read some things in Proverbs about using a "rod" on your child. So, because you are not a Jewish historian and you've never had any experience with shepherding sheep you have no way of knowing that Proverbs is a book written "to" men about "male children who are not little"…you have no way of knowing that the shepherd's rod was actually a spiked weapon used on predators and that this is why David said that God's rod "comforted" him. You have no way of knowing all that. So, if the only "word" of God that leads you is the written words in the Bible the next thing you know you are going to have Christians preaching in churches that it's God's will we hit our children…even very small and female children. What was written "to" men about "teenage boys"…ends up being women with spatulas and wooden spoons beating their little toddler girls on the butt and believing it is God's will!

But again! How is this fair!? Not everyone has what it takes to deeply study the Bible to figure this stuff out! God is fair. God is good. God is love. So, God put it on your heart. if you are one of those people taking a whack at your child in God's name…as I once was…you can feeeeel it in every core of your being that what you are doing is not right. You NEVER walk away from striking your child feeling "good" about what you've done, and even science shows that this whole process is harmful to both us and to our children. The science is the physical stuff that God made. The Creation testifies that the act of striking children is wrong. Your body feels yucky after you do it. That is the truth that God placed on your heart. That is the Living Word of Jesus living inside of you in 2011 speaking to you that hitting children is wrong.

It is my opinion that while my life was changed for the better by plunging into the printed word of God. But, over the years there are many things that I thought I got out of the Bible that I have had to abandon and leave behind. Why? Because the Living Word, Jesus, corrected those printed errors. I have had to un-learn some of what I had learned in the Bible, but there is nothing that I have gotten from the Living Word that I have had to reject or undo. 

I spent my first three years or so as a Christian studying very studiously! I had so much stuff memorized! I did Bible study after Bible study and although "blogging" was nothing back then I did basically what I still do except back then I didn't post it on the web: I typed "essays" in my computer about things all the time! I loved learning! But, the more I "learned" the more critical, condemning, judgmental, and unforgiving I got. The more I read about Jesus…the less like Him I actually became.

It's all about "Love". And, love is not something you can study. Love is something you must experience. And, reading a book does not give you experience in loving. 

Once I got my nose out of the written words of a translating committee speaking for Jesus and got into the Living Word…I began to learn exponentially faster than I had when I was "studying"…and it was then that I began to feel the Love of God and to feel like Jesus was my best friend.

So, do I find no value in the Bible? Of course I do! I love reading it. But, I now realize that I could live without my Bible. I could never read another verse the rest of my days and I would be totally unscathed spiritually. But, I could not live one hour without the Living Word. He…I can't live without. 

I think the church seems to have this backwards and when the Living Word cries out within too many people that (for example) children are innocent, they choose instead to believe the corrupted written word. They choose to do this. They choose the translating committee over the Living Word. And, this leads them to other choices (like leaving babies to cry themselves to sleep and spanking) that has led to our culture in 2011 in which most of our population is on drugs (legal and illegal) just to get thru life. We live in a culture full of depressed, violent, lonely, divorced, and sexually messed-up people…yet we continue to choose to believe what our hearts cry out against. 

Christians wanna blame the current health of our culture on "the world" and on government conspiracies leading to prayer being removed from school and homosexual marriage…but these things are not the problem. The church is the problem. The pillar and support of the truth is no longer holding up the truth (Living Word)…we now hold up the translating committees for works like the NIV which are full of untruth. This is what we promote, live, believe, and preach and look at the mess the world is in.

Unfortunately one of the traps caused by bad translations is the corrupted view of "sin" that has led to Christians all doubting the Living Word inside them. Like a "Catch 22". The teaching that our bodies are only sinful and only desire or bend toward sin prevents us from responding to the truth on our hearts. We blaspheme, I believe, against the Holy Spirit when He says one thing and we accuse Him of being "our sinful nature".

The teaching that we are sinful leads mothers who are sleep training their little sinners to ignore the Holy Spirit who is crying out to for them go pick up their crying baby…and accuse Him of being their "weak flesh". And, this same mother will not only ignore the Living Word inside her but she will also encourage others to do the same. She will start classes at her church to prepare for parenting and teach other parents to do the same. Science (the evidence in Creation that God put there) will show mountains of research that this practice is damaging to children and mothers and the church will turn it back around and call it a "spiritual attack". All this damage done to the world because people follow the written words…corrupted…and ignore the truth on their hearts, in the Creation, and in the Living Word.

It's a vicious cycle. And, I can't help but think how much better off Christians might be without Bibles because of this. But, I don't really believe that we're better off without Bibles. I guess Christians would be best off with the most accurate translations they can get their hands on…even if it happens to be not as "easy to read" as an NIV. I'd say it's waaaay worse to easily read something incorrect than to have to think about something that's not as easy to read but correct…

Jesus would never lie to me. So, if my preferred Bible version had blatant errors in it…would that printed word really the word of God? 
Seems that might be  a good place to start…

I guess if I ever figure out exactly what I think about this…I'll type about it here again…
Till then...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Your body knows...

I was just thinking...about how our bodies suffer when we dwell on things that are supposed to be "passing" things. We all know that when we're angry, afraid, nervous, excited or frustrated (etc) we get "surges" of things. These emotional states are supposed to be "temporary". But, what happens to people who instead of getting angry once in a while...live...in anger? Live...in fear? Live...in any of these emotions that we all know give us "surges" of whatever. How do our bodies handle a constant drizzle or flow of these hormones and chemicals which are supposed to only be temporary? And, why don't we notice that we're doing it? Why don't we notice how wrong it is to live in these states?

And, thinking about how our bodies react to things this way...I was just thinking about the universality of these reactions. How consistent it is...that if you take a thief...a murderer...a serial killer...someone who has committed atrocities against their conscience to the point they've got no empathy left...and hook them up to a lie detector...it can still tell they're lying.

Isn't that interesting?

It's as tho' no matter what we choose to do with our minds...our bodies don't forget. Our bodies are made to be a constant presence of "the truth" for us so that we have no excuse for doing wrong.

And, if this is the case, it makes the whole "doctrine of Original Sin" that much more insidious and deadly because there ya go. The church in it's typical fashion working against God teaching people to ignore their bodies. Teaching people that their bodies are in all ways against God...when in reality...their body...is a testimony to the truth. When we even think about sinning, our body will react to it...and it's the church that's done its best over the last few decades to convince the whole world to ignore their bodies...even getting all the popular Bible versions on board with altering scripture to agree with this doctrine.

If we were in tune with the "truth" that our bodies speak to us...when we are tempted in anything...we'd FEEEL that it's wrong...and we'd not have to "pray about it"...we'd know. We'd know that when we "felt bad" that something was wrong. It would eliminate so many of the wrong things we do with our children...so many...and by extension change our entire world for the better.

But, the church wants us to believe that if it "feels good" DON'T DO IT! Because pleasure = sin! Our bodies only want pleasure because they are sinful! And, they want us to believe that these wrong things we do sometimes "in the name of God" feel cruddy because it's just hard to do what's right...but that's just not true...it's just not true! And, we get our minds to believe it...but our bodies know better. Our body still just knows better.

"There is a way which seems right to a man (he thinks it's a good idea), but the end thereof are the ways of death (your good idea is going to hurt you or someone else!). 
Even in laughter (when someone seems to be livin' it up at the bar partying and having random sex etc...) the heart is sorrowful (you have that pang of emptiness and pointlessness inside when you're alone); and the end of that mirth is heaviness. 
The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways (Party it up! Lie! Cheat! Steal!): and a good man shall be satisfied (feel truly pleasureful) from himself." 
Proverbs 14:12-14

True pleasure never comes with sin because our bodies know the truth...and God designed our bodies to feel pleasure because He wants us to feel pleasure. He loves us. He created the very concept of pleasure for us...our senses and all the things which delight us He created them for us and so how sad it is that now "pleasure" is equated with sin...

All the stuff that is actually sinful that we THINK is "fun" hurts us inside...and true peace/pleasure/satisfaction comes when you are not in sin...

Think about what truly feels good?
Being in Love. Being Loved.
Experiencing Joy. 
Living in Peace. 
Being treated with Patience and Kindness. 
Having and being treated by people with Self control...

What if we did follow the slogan of if it feels good do it?
What if we only did things that truly feel good?

The doctrine of Original Sin has led to so much sin, grief, sadness, pain, loneliness, depression, suffering, illness and even death in our world simply because the one final form of communication that God has with us is severed by that doctrine...
He who still can feel his ears...let him hear...

"...you shall call His name Jesus, 
for He will save His people from their sins.” 
Matt. 1:21

"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; 
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." 
John 10:10

Friday, October 28, 2011

"Question Authority!"

I was just thinking...about teaching kids to "respect" elders...

This morning someone posted a video on Facebook of a setup where a 7-year old is being abducted by a guy (actor) who is not her dad and she's yelling, "Help! Help! You're not my dad!" and you see all the people on the street just passin' them by until finally a couple of guys run at the man and are ready to take him out.

(Here's the video: ATTENTION: Your kids need to know this <3)

It got me thinking about how we teach our kids to avoid abduction...

On the one hand...parents teach their kids to refer to all adults as "Miss" and "Mister" and to "mind" them and never question...questioning the parents or other grown-ups is rebellion and punishable. They do this because they believe they are teaching their children "respect". But, are they?

Imagine a kid who is taught to "respect" grown-ups and not question or else they're being naughty...The more you do something...the more you "practice" it the better you get at it, right? So, grown-ups tend to tell kids to do things they don't like or want to do all the time. Right? But, a child who is taught to "mind" and not question or challenge their parents or any adult's commands will have to do these things or else get punished. They practice this every time a grown up tells them things like to "go to bed" when they're not tired and they are not allowed to "complain" about it. Over and over they practice being told something they disagree with...not balking...and doing what they're told. This is how they're taught to respect their parents and the other adults around them.

So, what is a kid to do when a grown-up approaches them tells them something they don't like or don't want to do and it happens to be an order to "come with him" (as in the event of an abduction)? 

What if... one of the grown-up aides at the VBS that the child is trained to not "question" gets that kid alone and tells them to do something the kid would not like or not want to do with their body?

What if... a babysitter (whom they were instructed to respect the same as their parents when their parents are away) let her boyfriend come over and he got one of the children alone and told the child to do something the child didn't like or want to do to his body?

Are children who are taught to not complain...not argue...not "challenge" or "question" authority...being protected by their parents? Are they being taught to "respect"? 

Really...we need to think about what we are REALLY teaching our kids with the things we do with them...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Kids are NOT better seen than heard

There is a big difference between studying a state driver's manual and driving. A big difference between what it is like to see the slides someone took on their mission trip and living in a Central American country. You know what I mean. Experience is the best teacher, right?

Well, I am one who keeps reading and learning about child development and child psychology and how I should be treating my children. I keep reading books and blogs and trying to get "better" at this whole parenting thing and really it seems that the key to being a better parent is "understanding" (also known as empathy).

Last night…I got an experiential understanding of how children feel when we shush them. I got to see how they feel when we want them to just be quiet and not to bother us.

I can be rather annoying to watch movies with, it's true. I see "metaphors" in everything and I tend to go, "Oh wow! This is just like…(whatever)" a few times during any movie. (It's that Romans 1 thing) So, we were watching, "Thor", right? And, there were all these cool "lessons" in it and I was actually being conscious to not have any "outbursts" of excitement during dialogue, nonetheless, there were 2 movie viewers (2 of my kids) who wanted me silenced. And, the way they went about it was by basically "shushing" me just like an irritated parent would shush a child and how it made me feel really hit me.

From the start of the movie I felt very "excited" and I had been totally enjoying the movie. My brain was alert and active and definitely in "learning mode". But, as soon as they negatively reacted to me I felt first like I just wanted to leave the room. Then, for the rest of the movie, something in my brain was definitely shut off. I was no longer really enjoying the movie, tho' I was still watching it. I was no longer alert and my brain was no longer in "learning mode". Their reaction really "crushed my spirit".

For the remainder of the movie, I was very "well behaved"…but something was shut off and the lost inside me. And, it just really made me go, "Wow…" at how often I "shush" my kids because they're too exuberant about whatever…and so now I learned that children are definitely not better seen than heard… :)

(And, still below...some things are better not seen, either...hehehe)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Drawing the line between "spanking" and "abuse"

I was just thinking...if you were to talk to your "average" pro-life Christian about abortion...and you would discuss with them the topic of "when does a baby become a baby?" They would agree that the  pro-choice mentality of choosing when they think that babies become babies is very arbitrary and based on opinion and not fact. They would find this type of reasoning offensive.

BUT...talk to those same Christians about when "spanking" becomes "abuse" and interestingly...they begin to sound an awful lot like the people they believe have faulty reasoning...

OK...so...in order to eliminate the "arbitrary" nature of some pro-spanking reasoning and to take the "opinion" out of the argument...let's define that line for everyone.
Let's...draw it out...and make it all clear. Just the way we'd like to get the pro-choice camp to clearly define (and support scientifically) when a baby becomes a baby...let us clearly define (and support scientifically) when spanking becomes abuse...and prove that spanking is good for children...

I feel the best way to define it is to answer some questions definitively...questions that can be answered without exception in all cases...
And, since the Bible tells us to be prepared to have an answer for your beliefs I feel it is important for Christians who do spank (in the name of God) to have answers (or at least some reasonable idea if not the actual answer) for all of these questions:

When is it proper to strike your children?
When would Jesus strike a child?
What types of offenses are worthy of a spanking?
For what offenses would Jesus strike a child?
At what age should spanking begin?
At what age should spanking cease?
Should a child's intelligence be factored in? (For example, would you begin spanking a very intelligent child sooner than a child with Down's Syndrome?)
The children referred to in the Bible as those to be struck with a rod were "teenagers". In what way has it changed that we now do not strike teenagers and only little kids? When did this change and why?
How "hard" (how much force) is acceptable (non-abusive) when spanking Biblically?
How many pounds per square inch of force are acceptable to strike a child with and at what point do they change to "unacceptable"?
Should the pounds per square inch of force be lessened if more strikes are necessary?
How many strikes at what force are non-abusive?
If fewer strikes are going to be applied, should greater force be used?
Does it make a difference if the spanking is done on the buttocks, back of legs, or back?
Which parts of the body are considered "OK" to strike in a non-abusive situation? Are all parts of the same body considered the same?
If there are some parts of the body which are not considered non-abusive, why or why not?
If some parts of the body are considered non-abusive to a "certain degree" please define.
How do we choose which part of the body to "spank" for different offenses?
At what age is it appropriate/inappropriate for a child to pull their pants down and bend over for a spanking?
Is spanking on the bare bottom an acceptable position for non-parents to use on a child?
Is it appropriate to use a hand when spanking on the bare bottom?
Is it appropriate for anyone but the child's parent to use a hand on their bare bottom?
Which part of the body is the preferred by God for non-abusive spanking?
Which parts of the body are considered by God to be abusive for spanking?
What verses in the Bible substantiate these beliefs?
Do we take into account the material the striking tool is made of when calculating the strike force of non-abusive spanking?
How much force is acceptable (non-abusive) for rubber spatulas?
What determines if the line has been crossed into "abuse" with this "rod"?
How much force is acceptable (non-abusive) for plastic spatulas?
What determines if the line has been crossed into "abuse" with this "rod"? 
How much force is acceptable (non-abusive) for wooden spatulas?
What determines if the line has been crossed into "abuse" with this "rod"? 
How much force is acceptable (non-abusive) for mixed-material spatulas?
What determines if the line has been crossed into "abuse" with this "rod"? 
How much force is acceptable (non-abusive) for a "switch" made from a tree?
What determines if the line has been crossed into "abuse" with this "rod"? 
How much force is acceptable (non-abusive) for whatever type of "rod" a parent prefers?
What determines if the line has been crossed into "abuse" with this "rod"? 
How does a parent choose a "rod"?
Which rod would Jesus most likely use?
Would Jesus choose different rods for different age children?
Where in the Bible would we look to find answers to this?
What about using the hand?
How much force is acceptable (non-abusive) for using a hand?
How does one take into account the thickness of the skin of the spank-ee when calculating the correct amount of force to use? (ie: smaller children have thinner skin...)
How does one take into account the material the skin is covered with? If it is a diaper, underpants only, skirt and underpants, jeans and underpants, jeans and diaper, etc.
How does a parent calculate the correct amount of force considering the material of the spanking tool and the child's skin and the materials covering the child's skin to apply the correct non-abusive force?
Where is the "line" that distinguishes between "abuse" and "non-abusive" spanking considering all the factors involved?
How many times is acceptable to strike a child within each different set of variables (rod material, strength of the striker, child's skin, clothing, etc.) before it becomes abuse?
How do we properly calculate how many strikes at what force for each variable is non-abuse and where is the line that crosses into "abuse"?
The 39 lashes that the Romans dished out to Jesus were considered a "death penalty" at 40 lashes because people often died from it. Should there then be a limited number of strikes for each "offense" that a child is to receive?
The number of lashes chosen by the Romans was based on the "rod" they used and it's destructive ability...so calculating the amount of hits a child should receive for each type of offense should include factors such as the chosen "rod" and it's "destructive force" (if it leaves marks or not) and the child's skin, clothing, and strength of the spanker?
How many strikes/lashes/hits/licks would Jesus choose for lying?
How many would Jesus choose for lying for the "umpteenth time"?
How many strikes would a child receive for general disobedience?
Would the number of strikes change based on age? (as with time-outs being 1 minute per year of age)
And, again, would the number of strikes be based on the child's age, skin thickness, clothing, "rod" material and the strength of the striker/spanker?
Also, certain times of the day the human body is more sensitive to pain than others, should this become a factor when calculating force and number of strikes?
What types of "marks" are acceptable?
At what point do "marks" become signs of "abuse"?
Do all "rods" leave marks?
If spanking on a bare bottom it is more likely to leave a mark than if it is thru a diaper or jeans, so, how should this be factored?
Should a "rod" be chosen which does not leave a mark?
Should a "rod" be chosen which does leave a mark to make sure the child has a reminder of the disciplining for a few hours to better make the point?
Why would leaving a mark matter?
How does one judge marks as a determination of abuse/non-abuse on a dark skinned child as opposed to a pale blonde haired child? (As the white child would redden quite quickly)
Does bruising constitute "abuse"?
What if your child "bruises easily" even in non-abusive situations?
If some bruising is acceptable, how do we measure "abusive" bruising? What is the size of a bruise which is "abuse" and what is the size of a bruise which is "non-abusive"?
What are the psychological benefits of being spanked?
What are the psychological problems with being abused?
Where would be the line and how would we know we've gotten close to that line based on our child's mental state?
Where is the line between being benefited and being detriment-ed in the spanking procedure and how would one tell that they've reached that limit?
In what way does being struck and caused pain by a parent draw the child closer to God?

HONESTLY couldn't I go on and on and on and on with questions???

Give examples from the Bible of times Jesus spanked people.
Picture Jesus in your mind with a small child looking frightened...over His knee...spanking them.
That's messed up.
All of this is messed up.
It's all sick.

Just as we know that when the pro-choice camp cannot answer the questions about when a baby becomes a baby means that they're in the wrong, then the ability or inability to answer these questions should indicate to us the same thing.

1 Peter 3:14-16
But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. and do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled,  but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.

Really, if any position a Christian holds to can't stand up to a barrage of questions like this...it needs to be re-evaluated. 

Personally...I believe the easiest and most clear line which can be drawn and is 100% defensible and supported by science....between what is "abuse" and what is "non-abuse"...is hitting or not hitting. You just do not hit your children. Simple.

And, I can tell you that I not only have Jesus and science behind me...but I have personal experience as well...I have not ever hit my 3 year old...and she is not...a brat. She is not...out of control. She is not...ungodly. And, if I were to decide to ever hit her...something huge would have to change inside me...that would be a very bad...

Don't be afraid to have been wrong.
The worst thing about being wrong is when you choose to keep being wrong...

Below is a photo of an ancient shepherd's rod...
THIS is what the Bible is referring to when it says if you fail to use it...you hate your child.
Clearly...this is not for use ON your children.
Clearly...this is not = to a spatula or spoon...

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Strength of Your Child's Will!

A discussion recently about the book, "Breaking Their Will," has had me thinking. Someone asked me what would be my idea of where the line would be between "breaking their will" and "breaking their spirit". Thinking about it, I feel that they're the same thing. And, I thought then, "Why would you want to break their will at all?"

Really, if you think about it…what gets you outta' your comfy warm bed in the morning?
Your will.

What keeps you from eating that slice of chocolate cake when you're on a diet?
Your will.

What keeps you from blowing all your money at the mall on stuff you don't need?
Your will.

What keeps you from flippin' the bird to that person who just pulled out in front of you and almost caused an accident?
Your will.

What keeps you from trying drugs?
Your will.

What is it that keeps you from picking up your phone and reading/replying to that text while you're driving?
Your will.

What is it we all wish when we have issues with our weight? 

Everything in life that makes us into productive contributors to society involves our will.

So, in practice, we all know that to have a "strong will" is a good thing. It's a desirable thing. It's a thing that will help us succeed in life. So, why when we see it being expressed in our children do we want to snuff it out? I believe it is a misunderstanding...

If you have a "strong willed child"…what is the REAL problem when there is conflict? Their will? Is it the fact that they believe they're in the right and are willing to fight for that? No. That's not a problem. An annoyance, yes. But, if they think they're in the right and are willing to fight even a giant (mom or dad) because they're right that's actually awesome, don't you think?

Their "problem" is not their will at all...it is simply…the wrong belief that they are right which is based in their lack of maturity and reasoning skills. That's it. It's not their will that is the problem it is that their will is being used to fight a wrong battle. Our job is to teach them to fight the right battles, and taking the "fight" out of them isn't the way to do it.

When your child is stubbornly sticking to their guns about something…it is because they believe they are right. They believe in their cause. They believe they should be allowed to have that toy! They believe they should be allowed to eat that cookie right now because it looks good and they are hungry! From THEIR perspective, their reasons are right! They are not trying to "push your buttons" or make you mad. The last thing any of us want, even as adults, is for our parents to be mad at us! So, if your child is insisting on having their own way…the problem is not their "will"…the child's "problem" is immaturity and lack of reasoning skills which has led them to a wrong conclusion that they are right.

And, so how do we encourage maturity and proper reasoning skills? Can a person learn to become more mature by being "controlled"? Can a person learn to become more mature by being "punished?"

In order to learn to reason…they must be reasoned with. They must learn the process of comparing two choices and looking at the potential effects of each…and they can't do that on their own. You have to show them how to do it.

Does it take more time to do this than to give them a whack on the hiney and tell them to "not do that again or else"? Sure. Controlling someone is always the quickest way for someone to get a behavior to stop. But, stopping your child from making CERTAIN bad choices (like the things which you forbid and punish for) doesn't teach them the broader picture of what is a good choice and what is a bad choice and how to decide between the two.

So, you lay down the law with punishments and rules about things that are issues for little kids…you teach them that when they do "X" they get a butt-whacking. OK. So, what happens when they get too old and they don't even want to do "X" anymore…what then? If you have not spent the time to teach them how to reason…once they no longer feel the urge to hit their sister or to run out into the street…what now when the temptation is to try drugs? To go to 2nd base with their boyfriend? To drink at a party? To text while driving? What then?

You cannot think that you can simply stop your children from making bad choices by punishment and threats and control when they are 1, 2, 3, 4 yrs old…then then expect that somehow that they now learned how to REASON and make good choices now that they're older.

This is why it is common for teens to "rebel". The only thing that's really happened is that they've gotten too old for parents to punish and "control" and now parents are simply seeing the "reasoning abilities" that their child has learned up until that age.

So, back to having a "strong willed child". It is not a curse. It's those with "strong wills" in life who have been the trail-blazers thru history. Your "strong willed child" may have a fantastic future ahead! Don't break that will! Harness it!

Something else to consider is how protective a "strong will" can be.
Are you infallible? When it comes to conflict with your child are you really, always right? You know that there are occasions that you are actually the one in the wrong. Do you think your child notices this? In the case of the spanking/controlling parent, what does a child learn of reasoning when their parent will hit them and punish them even when the parent is clearly in the wrong? What does the child learn of reason from a parent who does not reason but makes sure that kid knows who's boss and only controls and punishes?

What does a child learn when they are challenged by an adult when they know they are "in the right?" but are forced to comply with the adult anyway…and even suffer pain/punishment for pushing their side? Would a child who is trained this way respond in a healthy self-protective way when approached by a pedophile? Would a child who has been trained that no matter what the adult is "right" be able to stand up and say, "NO! Your'e NOT touching me there and I AM telling my mom!"

You want to train your child that if they are right and they know they are, that it's right for them to stand up and fight for that even if it is an adult they are fighting. You need to teach them how to know they are right, and the right way to fight...

Your child's will is also what makes them like God…
Don't squash it…harness it!

Our wills can make us into super heroes... :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"The Rod" as an instrument of protection

I was thinking about the reason I even ever began to question the rightness of "spanking". I had been asked by a friend with 3 or 5 kids…or 3 kids with 2 on the way…what I thought about "spanking". I had a 21-yr old at the time and a total of 8 children so I oughta' know, right?

I'd been taught in Sunday School class the "who, what, when, where, and why" of spanking. I knew all about it. So, as I sat at my computer to begin explaining to her "who, what, when, where, and why" she should hit her kids…I first thought to do some searches on some websites to have, you know, some sites to send her on the subject. I had even requested the Sunday School materials from my former church in order to further my help of my friend.

Well, I found something in my searching that I was not expecting. Something…that stopped me dead in my tracks. As tho' all of the wheels in my head came to a loud…screeching…halt.

I found a website that explained that the ancient shepherds…carried a rod…and a staff. Two things. And, that the rod…was a short stick with spiked on the ends. It explained that modern shepherds now carried guns instead of rods.

The "rod"…was a weapon.

It was an ancient "gun".


This meant…It was not for the sheep at all…but for predators. It was for protecting the sheep from predators. (Now, do you hear my foot on the brakes as I screech to a halt?)

That was in January of 2008. It's been 3 1/2 yrs now since the last time I spanked a kid. (Sound like Spankers Anonymous)

What I experienced was that for the first year or so…was pure misery. I found that I could not handle any stressful situations with my kids without threatening them with a spanking or spanking them. I felt totally lost.

What a change I had to go thru!

So, over these years I have read a lot of books then, met a lot of people, and read a lot of articles online about "spanking". Remarkably, you never find any scientific or psychological studies done which show that spanking is "good for people". Always it's bad news. Brain damage. Lessened IQ's. More violent behavior. Depression. Anxiety. Sexual dysfunction. The list goes on...

The only proponents of "spanking" seem to be those who currently do it and feel that it is "God's idea." The only "evidence" for the goodness of spanking is a few verses in the Bible.

Well, as I thought about the ancient shepherd's rod as a weapon against predators and not for use on the sheep and how if this object were used to literally strike the sheep that it would harm, cripple, or weaken the sheep to such a degree as to actually make them more vulnerable to predators…I thought that, "Well, spanking proponents could say that the rod is a spiritual weapon against evil that when used on their child...it deters them from evil…and the Bible says to resist the devil and he'll flee from you."

(This only works if you believe children are sinful...and have evil "in" them...which I do not believe...but for the sake of argument I'll go with it here)

So, try to imagine…a child who has been trained well to obey. Obedience to whatever command the parent gives. Imagine a very good kid. You know, the bumpersticker, "Question Authority" is of the devil, right? So, we don't want kids to ever question the parents. (Because that is disrespectful) We could call this "blind obedience" because the children are not supposed to know "why" they are doing something, only if the parent says, "Jump!" The child is to ask, "How high!" If the child asks, "Why?" then they have entered into a rebellious realm and we tell them, "Because I said so."

I was given the example of the need for this back when I was learning about spanking…
I was told of a boy (not a real boy I don't think)…who was so obedient to his dad…that one day…his dad yelled out a command. He told him to, "Drop to the ground and crawl to me now!" and the boy did it without question. Then, the boy, safely at his father's side now, was able to look back and see that there was a snake dangling from the tree above where he had been standing.

That's a compelling story, isn't it?

But, I wonder…what would a child trained to so blindly obey…do in another type of situation?

What if this boy were at camp or somewhere that a pedophile could get him alone…and tell him as an adult…in an authoritative tone…to do something very bad…or else he'd be spanked and he'd tell his mom that he was a very bad boy…

Then what?

Then what of this blind obedience to authority that the child has been instilled with? 

Would the boy be well-equipped to know how to discern "right" from "wrong" commands?

Would he be well-equipped to know how to decide for himself whether or not he should follow a command from an adult telling him to do something he feels is wrong?

Would he be well-equipped to be able to "question" that authority and know he was right to "rebel" against that adults authority?

Or, would he have been well-equipped...many times...after many spankings...to ignore his own discomfort with a grown-ups command...and obey "Mister Bob"(whoever) with a submissive, "yes sir."

In a case like this...and there would actually be many literal real-life cases like this...has the "rod" which has been used to strike "the sheep" proved to be a rod of protection?
Or, has the rod, when used on "the sheep", proven to be a means of crippling and harm and of making the child more vulnerable to "predators" because that child learned to never...question...authority?

Romans 1 says…"that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."

If in the literal world…hitting a sheep with a spiked club would make it more vulnerable to predators…it's pretty clear that that means that striking your children physically with "the rod" will do the same…it does not "beat the devil out of them"…it opens them to him.

Pic of a shepherd's rod...

I guess if you still wanna "use the rod" on your kid, you should at least abandon the wooden spoon/spatula type because they are not Biblical...and get yourself a real rod and use that on your child...because THIS is what the Bible was referring to...

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