About four months ago my life was turned upside-down. I’ve written about it pretty extensively on this blog, but some things have occurred that I wanted to discuss, and I figured it was time for a dedicated post.
So lets jump in and see what it’s like for a hermit who has been alone for 13 years to use a dating app….
I’ve been thinking lately about the concept of sacrifice. What does it really mean? Does God really require it from Christians? The same kind of sacrifice from everyone, or are we each, in turn, asked to surrender parts of ourselves that are unique to us? This, of course, stems from the conviction I received about four months ago from (I believe) God that I should prepare for a future wife. It’s only been four months and it feels like it’s been a hundred years already. I can’t imagine what it will be like if I’m asked to spend another four months with this unsettled feeling inside of me, having given up several things in the process of trying to obey and surrender to his will.
So, let’s dig into the sacrificial nature of obedience to Christ….
A few days ago, my email alert popped up on screen to let me know an email had just come in. It was from CredoCourses, an online ministry that provides theological teaching to lay people in the church. So I stopped what I was doing and checked it out. Oddly enough, it was a course on doubt (serendipitous I think) and it was free. So I threw it in my cart, checked out, and within a few minutes had the four sessions downloaded.
So, let’s jump in and see what Michael and others at CredoCourses have to say about the doubt I’ve been going through lately…..
This morning I checked in on the homeless shepherd out of Oregon. If you’re not familiar with him, this is Aaron Fletcher, a man who has spent a decade or more as a homeless man wandering around Oregon with several milk producing sheep that pull his miniature wagon where he lives. He gets much of his food from the milk the sheep produce and I would imagine he also does barter with people and also gathers edibles along the roadway. They were hostile to him in Ashland, passing ordinances to keep him and his sheep out of the city. From his videos it looks like he spent some time on walkabout, making it north and then to the coast, only to return down south again, I would imagine because the terrain in the northern region of the state is probably not as conducive to guerrilla grazing as down south.
But, Aaron is really not the focus of this post. Instead, I wanted to tackle a video he put out that I took as a kind of personal challenge (not to me individually since I’ve never met this man). As a Christian I am very interested in cultic behavior. I’m also VERY interested in the claim Aaron levels in this video, that all of Christianity is a cult. Because, after all, I do agree with him: much of modern evangelicalism is not biblical, it is truly a cult. Many if not most churches today are cult organizations run by prideful, arrogant men who enjoy power and authority and desire to rule over a people. They are the Nicolaitans that Jesus warned about in Revelation. But, Aaron takes it a step further and is basically dismissing the Bible itself because of the contradiction he states is in Genesis 1-2.
I thought to myself. “If it’s all an error, if it’s just a cult and I’m not bound by Christianity or the Bible, this has several significant implications for my life. I would like to test his conclusion against what the Bible actually says and also against what I’ve experienced in my life in my own interactions with God.”
So, let’s jump in and see if Aaron is correct. Is Christianity a cult?
About three months ago I received (what I believe) was a conviction from God to prepare for a future wife. At the time (and still today), I live as a celibate hermit between a small house in a coastal town and a more reclusive hermitage property where I’ve been testing a solitary vocation for several years. I have actually been on this contemplative path for 13+ years now, since my first marriage fell apart on account of childhood trauma my wife experienced and was unwilling to confront or address. She chose to end the marriage instead of working through our issues.
Needless to say, I was rather surprised by God’s direction for me now to begin preparing for a future wife. How is that even possible? To be honest, I can’t imagine a woman who would want to marry me. I’m non poor health. I have a rather disagreeable personality. While I am semi-retire, I make very little in my job, and though I do have assets, my net worth is certainly nothing to write home about. But beyond all this, why would God impress upon me something that for the last 13 years I’ve happily lived without?
Let’s jump in and talk about it, and more so let me provide an update on what’s occurred in the last few months and what my plans are going forward….
One thing I know from personal experience is God has a very peculiar way of reaching each of us. Sometimes its through other people. Sometimes it’s through being in and around the natural world and all that he created for us to enjoy and learn from and discover. Still, other times, God will literally – supernaturally – reach out and touch us. Individually. Personally. Even if I can say, intimately. And that touch of God can have rippling affects throughout the rest of our life.
This last approach is often how God reveals himself to me. Maybe it’s out of my own stubbornness (in that there is no other way he can get through to me), or maybe it’s because he created me in such a way that he knows what I will respond to and anticipates what I need before I even know I need it.
God’s funny that way.
As I’m approaching a 2nd video on my newly “launched” Youtube channel (an experiment more than anything else), the topic has come up about prayer and about the promises of God. What we’re supposed to do with these statements God has made in his Word. Are we supposed to ignore them (that’s what most people do, even most Christians)? Are we supposed to capitalize on them and use them as a strong arm to force God into submission (this is what the word-faith movement claims as their right)? I would argue it’s neither of these, but so much more.
So, let’s jump into and explore prayer, especially when I find myself in a season in my life where all I’m doing is praying and talking with God about everything….
A few posts ago I broke down the approximate costs that would be required if I decided to remodel my house in town before I put it up for sale and if the ROI was worth it to me to do it. In the end (at least at this point) I’ve concluded that it really is not worth the extra year and many, many hours of work during that year and the additional $20,000 to invest in the materials (I would have to do the work myself which is also a problem to be factored in), to only realize an $18,000 profit at best (if everything goes perfectly along the way and I can actually find a buyer who will pay $100k for a house with no foundation and will pay cash – I doubt any lender will give someone a mortgage on a house in this dead beat town). In the end, I’ve decided it would be better to just clean the place up, run a broom through it, take down some of the cobwebs, maybe even plant some grass in the front yard (right now I spray the entire property since I’m not here much anyway to do maintenance), and then throw it up on Craigslist in hopes I can hook a young couple who are smart enough to realize they can buy a small starter house in a sleepy coastal town with just a 30 minute commute, put $20,000 in over the course of just a few years, and either live in it for the rest of their lives or wait 2-5 and catch the market at a peak and sell it for cash and then roll that over into a bigger house down the road.
But, say I’m able to do this and I can sell the house in the next year to a cash buyer and I then can move to the Eden property full time (dependent of course on how this summer and this fall go on getting the property prepared for winter living), there is then the question of what improvements do I want to put into the Eden property.
I figure it would be a good idea to lay these options out as well and that’s what I plan to do with this blog post. So, let’s jump in and see what options are available and what exactly I might want to do with this paradise property in the future….
Today I was watching this video on YouTube and was surprised by the very first statement, “I know that the pain of rejection stings.” I immediately responded (yeah, I talk back to YouTube videos all the time), “what if being single is not a rejection but a blessing? What if being married is actually the curse?”
Let’s jump into this and discuss what many in our society and especially in the Christian culture often misunderstand about the states we are called to in this life….
It does seem a bit odd, doesn’t it? How can I be writing a blog post about what I would want in a wife if I’m focused on the celibate life and am in the process of building a remote hermitage where I plan to spend the rest of my life in solitude?
Well, like most things that have to do with relationships and other people, it’s just a little complicated, right? Actually, if being honest, it’s less complicated than it is improbable. Given the state of the age and culture we are living in, the fact that secular people are having a difficult time finding someone they have a connection with, there is simply no way I would be able to find someone who could meet my expectations.
But, what does Paul say? “That which is impossible with man is possible with God” (Luke 18:27). So, I’m going to take this post to discuss a little bit about what has been going on in my personal life, where I see myself in the future, and what characteristics I would desire in a potential future mate.
Let’s jump into the impossible…..