Hockey mom, pitbull, lipstick!

Pitbulls

So, the difference between and hockey mom and a pitbull…. lipstick! I hope the title was tantalizing enough to draw your attention. It’s hard to believe that the first time I ever paid attention to that catchphrase in its entirety was twelve years ago! Then Republican Governor Sarah Palin was the witty, intelligent, beautiful, successful, traditional, and modest vice-presidential nominee: the definition of Christian counter-culture and an automatic and, therefore, a natural target for all sorts of slander.

I can still see her on the screen saying, “What’s the difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom?… The lipstick”. She was militantly Pro-Life, accented by the fact that she had a child born with trisomy and a daughter who had a child out of wedlock; Sarah was a strong proponent of 2nd Amendment rights and religious freedoms and unapologetically Pro-God and Pro-Country. Governor Palin was the kind of gal that would have Tim “the Tool-man” Taylor grunting for hours at all sorts of Americana!

Now before you think this is a post about politics, let’s discuss the pitbull and the hockey mom for a moment. Governor Palin was a self-described hockey mom, shuttling her kids from one sports event to another and basically in charge of her children’s educational and social calendar. She remarked that the only difference between this quintessential American matriarchal figure and a pit bull is just the lipstick: hockey moms have frazzled hair, are knee-deep in messy breakfast dishes, piles of dirty clothes, smelly kids and soiled uniforms, and the only distinguishing characteristic from an animal used as home security system: the lipstick.

What's the difference between a pit bull and a hockey mom?... The lipstick - @SarahPalinUSA Click To Tweet

Hockey moms

The media, needless to say, had a field day with her! Overnight, she became the dumbest, dullest, simplest, and most malleable mind in America (as they always attack your education and lack pedigree). Not to mention sexually backward and “anti-women”. That, in essence, is what the world thinks of Christian women and of Christians in general: dull-witted, naïve, gullible, and possessing a natural propensity to a “herd mentality”.  For Sarah Palin had to change to be touted as a bulwark of “what it means to be an American woman” would be, as Pink would say,  is  “everything you are”.

Too many times, as Christians living in this Post-Modern, Post-Christian society, we believe that the only way to get ahead at best, or tread water in the least, is to turn ourselves into whatever the culture expects of everyone; assimilate into automatons repeating whatever the mantra of the moment is. Christians have grown comfortable with the idea  of a compartmentalized “weekend only” Christianity. just don’t tell your friends that you’re going to church unless it’s those new hip churches where the pastors wear baseball caps on the pulpit and everything is a sports metaphor.  Unfortunately, we do little to help our own cause.

Although there is little we can do to address people’s ill-intentions and predispositions, what they readily do see of Christianity is this watered-down, teeth-less, “prosperity now” approach, that leaves people with a bad taste in their mouth even before they even encounter an actual Christian face-to-face.

Lipstick

I find it humorous. While this new spirit of the age preaches individuality and free-thinking and “everyone is right in their own way” they’ve built in an interesting little caveat. It doesn’t apply to a Bible-based Christian worldview or a wider Judeo-Christian worldview. 

The days keep coming and I get older and older. I realize just how very little I have in common with the majority of the people around me. The freedoms that I learned about as a schoolboy has become adulterated into obscenities. Too many people take vile personal licenses and call them “rights”.

So what if they call you names if they make fun of you? What if they ridicule you, belittle you, overlook you, and yes, persecute you!?The Western Church knows little of persecution. We think that hostile leftist politicians are the coming of the Antichrist while our brothers in the 10-40 Window put their lives and those of their families on the line every single day taking a stand for the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Hockey mom, pitbull, lipstick! Click To Tweet

Other not-so-pretty things

Therefore, if your Christianity rubs people the wrong way, don’t stop. If the only redeeming characteristic about you is the lipstick, let it be; if they’re looking at you and wondering “what is Jesus doing adorning the face of that pit-bull?”, give Him praise. Let it be your testimony, that while you were yet a sinner, Jesus died for you (Rom 5), for me, for them, for us!

Therefore, wear your Christian peculiarity not with pride. The world encourages its inter-sectional herds it has created to be proudful. We do it with humility and grace. Give thanks that God saw it fit to save you. Tell them that they too can be wearing the lipstick on their face, all they have to do is ask Jesus to come into their hearts and do a miraculous new work in them.

But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - – Romans 5:8 Click To Tweet

There’s a bumper sticker out there somewhere that says “Not perfect, just forgiven”. Sarah Palin, Donald Trump, or any other politician professing to be Christians are not perfect. Not by a long shot! However, neither are their accusers! We should not see what’s “peculiar” about Sarah Palin as an insult. Not as an insult to us. It is an opportunity for rejoicing. Firstly that we were different enough where people actually noticed. Secondly, we were counted worthy to suffer ridicule for His namesake.

And Buckley’s cough syrup?

If being a Christian was easy, everyone would be a Christian. “It’s not that Christianity was tried and found difficult; it’s that it was found difficult and [therefore] left untried”. Chesterton’s quote reminds me of the Buckley’s cough syrup commercial, “tastes awful and it works”. Every day Believers are called “bad” Christians. As Christians ourselves, let us not go along with the chorus and take a holier-than-thou victory lap for ourselves. But rather, come alongside each other and support those Christians. Remember, the accusation is not of looking like the world. The crime is of trying to hide behind their Jesus lipstick and failing miserably. I’m sure you can relate. 

It's not that Christianity was tried and found difficult; it's that it was found difficult and therefore left untried. - – G.K. Chesterton Click To Tweet

Neither Taxes nor Tithes – Part 1

I paid taxes for the first time when I was sixteen. I paid my “tithes” at the age of twenty-six. I’ve been looking forward to a time be without them ever since. Neither taxes nor tithes.

No one likes taxes. After death, taxes are the most hated part of life. Among Believers, tithes are a hot topic. No two Christians think alike. Between taxes and tithes, we have perhaps summed up the bane of most people’s existence.

Although taxes happen to everyone, tithes are not as universal. These topics are heavily debated in the Bible. In the Old Testament, Malachi 1 asks the question: “Are we robbing God”? In the New Testament, the Pharisees ask the question, “do we have to pay both”(Mat 22:15-22)? Ask most pastors and you’ll get a double affirmative; ask a layperson and you’ll find lots of space for debate.

As for Tithes

Full disclosure: I don’t tithe. As for taxes, I try limiting those as well. Let me give some context. Tithing is of the Old Testament. Anyone still bound by the Law tithes. Thankfully, I am not bound. My Bible teaches me that I am part of a Royal Priesthood. Some would argue that Jesus favored tithing. The Text and His teachings point elsewhere (Mat 17:25-27).

Exemption as Sons

Neither Taxes Nor Tithes

We have become children of God through adoption (Gal 4). We are no longer strangers but heirs. Earthly kings don’t tax their own children. They tax strangers. How much more does God not tax His own! At best, I am to receive tithes on behalf of the Father. Levites didn’t own land to tithe from: their tithe came from the tithes that the people gave them (Numbers 18:21-32). As far as taxes, Levites only paid Temple tax. The Davidic kings never taxed the priesthood; they were set apart unto the Lord. The poll taxes applied to the general population only.

Lady Tremaine’s Tutelage

Unfortunately, tithing has been used for centuries to shame Believers into submission. In a myriad of ways, intentionally misleading or genuinely uninformed church leaders have made Christians of every denomination feel as if they had robbed God! Imagine having something of worth that God could possibly want from you! Many critics of the Church point to the atrocities committed towards unbelievers. Upon closer look, greater violence transpired towards Believers. Where the Bible calls us sons and heirs and exempt, the Church took on the role of Cinderella’s stepmom. Whatever our Father left us as inheritance was quickly confiscated and reallocated.

The poster child for such violence was the Catholic church. In the form of the Papal States, Popes, bishops, and other church dignitaries lorded it over Believers to conform to their every whim. This is not an attack on the Catholic church. Rather the men that comprised its hierarchy. They taxed the poor to death with no sign of Christian mercy. All too often the richest and most powerful landowners in medieval Europe were members of the clergy. Very Jesus-like!

As for Taxes

While many think that the Pharisees only exist in Judaism. I disagree. The Pharisaical spirit is alive and well in the Church today. Similarly, the same machinations that brought the learned of Jesus’ day to hide behind empty adherence only to the Word still drives many in the modern Church.

As we have said before, everyone hates taxes. In a perfect world, we would have neither taxes nor tithes. By the wonder-working power of Jesus’ death and resurrection, we have been freed from the yoke of the tithe. But what will free us from the yoke of taxes? Not your accountant.

Give unto Caesar

In all fairness, Pharisees and penny-pinching Believers aren’t the only ones trying to skirt the system. Our modern capitalist western world is based on everyone being free to produce and keep what they profit. Nevertheless, their is a cost to capitalism. How much should a good government cost an average citizen? I would like to propose that it was in this spirit that the Pharisees asked Jesus the infamous question, “it is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar”?

The Pharisees’ motives were not well-intentioned. However, there is more room for growth here, I believe. No one wants to pay taxes! Some claim that it’s “patriotic” and the “right thing to do”. That may very well be. However, in my own selfish calculations, as a Citizen of Heaven exempt by God Almighty Himself from tithing, what power does a secular authority hold over me to separate me from my hard-earned money? Let’s examine.

Raw Deal

It is plain for all to see that the cost of government keeps going up. As of 2018, the average American needs to work until April 19th just to pay off his tax burden. Taxes go beyond tithes and cost us between a quarter and a third of our income. This is called Tax Freedom Day. This obviously varies by state and has changed over time. The most recent numbers are no better. Americans are having to work well into the second week of May to pay for the burden of government. Compared to other countries, Americans are golden. In fact, it would appear that Europeans are all de facto government employees since many of them keep less than 50% of what they make.

When Christians consider how often tax money gets spent on morally objectionable endeavors it is no surprise that we try to find loops and cracks and crannies to avoid the “Man”. Perhaps the most objectionable earmark is abortion. While Christians are busy preaching “life more abundant” to the world, the government is shoulder deep in blood guilt of 56 million children.

And a child shall lead them

Nonetheless, there is hope. In part 2 we will discuss the unimaginable future that awaits Believers. Regardless of the ideology brought forth to justify this Judaism-lite form of Christianity to what “legitimate” governments did with our tax money, change is coming. Redemption is coming. The “promise land” is near. The Millennium Reign of Jesus Christ will usher in an eternity free from the bondage of slavery to sin, an end to the impossibility of justification by the Law, and an existence where God-given potential is stifled by the fickleness of men. It will finally be an existence free from limits. Neither taxes nor tithes!

Mark of the Yeast and Post Covid Vaccine Christianity

End Time Frenzy

No, no need to check the spelling, the play on words is intentional. We’ve all heard of the “mark of the beast” and seen movies depicting different interpretations of what it could be. Rest assured that this post will not try to assume some groundbreaking theology on the subject. However, we will discuss how while we were all looking for the mark of the beast, the “yeast” and the “leaven” have made their way into the Body of Christ, and nowhere is it more apparent than the current debate over covid and the vaccine.

Look over there! Where?

We’ve all either heard or had the debate: “is the covid vaccine the mark of the beast”? Now, if you ask me I would say an emphatic “no”. I don’t believe that the covid vaccine is the mark of the beast. However, just like we read in the Bible that “many antichrists are already among us” (1 John 2:18-29), the covid vaccine is not necessarily the mark but a mark. If you want evidence just look at what this debate has done to the Church.

On any given Sunday during the covid lockdown, youtube put on full display the separation that covid has created in the body of Christ. Live streams from churches across the country and around the world varied from “Zoom Church” where everyone was in their own house to churches that never went into lockdown. At first, the cautionary tale seemed to have worked: people stayed home so that they “could keep the elderly congregants safe”. So safety replaced attendance. Please note, both the healthy and the sickly self-quarantined.

Leave the gun, take the cannolis

Fast forward a few months and very little has changed. Otherwise healthy and/or vaccinated Believers are staying away from congregating with other Believers. Every other day these parishioners can be found meeting friends, shopping for food, clothes, and going to work. Apparently, church attendance takes a back seat to other priorities.

Now, the problem would be bad enough if we were just talking about wishy-washy Christians that wanted an excuse to stay home on Sunday. Unfortunately, there are many pastors out there that are comfortable with their parishioners staying home from church “as long as their faithful”. That’s pastor-speak for sending in your tithes and offerings. So as long as your money makes it to church, your presence is secondary.

Submit to the authorities

Adding insult to injury, those that decide to stay home are seen as the more mature ones, that understand the needs of others, and that doesn’t put their own “selfish ideologies” ahead of the health of the congregation. So, as you can see, it has become “reasonable” to not attend church, even high-minded! All of it under the consenting and compromising disguise of being “submitted to the authorities”. If I have to hear one more sermon about being submitted to the authorities I’ll start reading the Declaration of Independence out loud from the pew! At this point, you may be asking, “what does the mark of the beast have to do with yeast and the covid vaccine”? Great question! I’m glad we’re on the same page.

To start answering this question, consider this: when was the last time the World emulated the Church? Short answer: probably never. On the other hand, when was the last time the Church emulates the World? Always! I don’t know of many Fortune 500 board meetings and have an opening prayer. However, I can assure you that every church board in the country takes its example from the corporate world. From Roberts Rules to quorums to minutes, just to name a few.

“[Covid vaccine] It’s for the children”

Now, don’t get me wrong, there isn’t anything explicitly evil about quorums or minutes. There is something very wrong, however, when the pulpit starts sounding like a public service announcement encouraging Believers to “get vaccinated”. And that is where we are right now as Believers.

In the same manner, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with vaccines. Except that this particular vaccine is the only one that has received so much political attention in modern history. Those that were for vaccinations before the elections are now pushing for it at lightning speed. Not only that but if you refuse to be vaccinated, you are putting your livelihood at risk. If the covid vaccine isn’t a warm-up for the mark of the “yeast”, I can’t imagine what more explicit sign Believers are looking for.

The World and its demonic marionette handlers have been working for decades, centuries for ways to undo the Church from the inside. So far, those attempts have met with varying levels of success. But when it comes to covid and the vaccine, the Enemy has found some fresh new ground to work on. It has used the love that many in the Church still hold towards legalism and used it in a way that doesn’t trigger the legalism alarm. It’s brilliant really. Just have the congregation split over something that is trivial (it is my belief that Covid is trivial) and elevate it to a matter of “reasonableness” and public health.

Covid and the Leaven of the Pharisees

In the Gospel accounts, Jesus tells His disciples to “be wary of the leaven (yeast) of the Pharisees” (Mat 16:1-12). His disciples, not understanding, thought He was upset because they didn’t have any bread. Jesus had just had a discussion with some teachers of the Law. They had come to test Jesus and ask Him from a sign from Heaven. Jesus had no need to show them a sign, His ministry had been well underway by this point and His miracles were readily known to all.

While they were all looking for signs, Jesus reminded them that they already knew how to recognize signs. Their misfortune is that, with all their learning, they could only forecast the weather and not the times. Similarly, our modern-day would-be spiritual leaders are overwhelmed with fielding questions of end-time prophecy while not understanding the times we are actually in.

The Children of Issachar

The Bible speaks of the descendants of Issachar as being gifted with the ability to “understand the times” (1 chr 12:32). It seems that such a gift is not all too prevalent among our leaders. I wonder what those men of old would say in our current situation. Today the divide along covid and vaccine lines is even more apparent than any other distinguishing characteristic: above party, race, color, ethnicity, and income. Nothing divides the Church today more than the debate over covid, its origin, and the vaccine.

I believe these men of old would say that the vaccine is not necessarily the problem but a symptom. Our division over covid brings to light a whole other myriad of real doctrinal problems. And although everyone is free to disagree as to the magnitude of this issue, the list of grievances is too long to overlook.

Mountains or Molehills

For starters, it shows our division as to the role of government in the Church. Politicians ask “under what conditions can a Church be told to shut its doors?” On the receiving end, too many pastors don’t take the time to field a reply because they are too busy complying with their every demand.

Don’t be deceived, friends. The antichrist and the mark of the beast will arrive on the scene. When they do it will be with the explicit and public complicity of the Church. In the name of “peaceful coexistence” and other such unobjectionable phrases, many would-be Believers will be coerced into doing something their own conscience is screaming at the top of its lungs, “no”!

Truth be told

You see, it doesn’t really matter if the covid vaccine is the mark of the beast. What is most troubling is the peaceful coexistence the Church has found with the World System. Very few churches were forced to shut down. All the rest just went dark without even a second thought. This speaks volumes of the amount of influence even blatantly unconstitutional mandates have among Believers. And all of this just because we took this one verse (1 Pet 2:13) and made it the Verse of the Covid Era. We made submitting to authorities our testimony. Submitting to God instead would have served our testimony better.

Our spiritual forefathers were burned at the stake. Some wouldn’t even catch fire. The wind always blew the flames away from the pyre. Others were fed to hungry lions in the arenas. Others beheaded. Still, others were killed together with their families. All of these things and so many other countless atrocities were suffered by Christians throughout the centuries in the name of their Faith. They were executed because of their refusal to renounce Jesus Christ. They wanted nothing to do with anything that did not exalt the name of Jesus. In total contrast, modern Christian leaders are falling over each other to cozy up to big powerful interests.

Now what?

Again, you may not agree that covid or the vaccine is a sign of the end times of a mark of the beast or that our leadership has been influenced by the “yeast of the Pharisees”. However, I think we can agree, as one famous preacher said, “it’s a dress rehearsal”. Let’s not kid ourselves, they will try to shut us down again. They will tell us that it’s “for the children” or for “the elderly” or for “safety”. The harrowing cry of every autocratic takeover of the rights of Man has always been “safety and bread”.

They will tell us to stay home and send us stimulus checks. Like good lemmings, we will take the money and spend it on the websites of their lobbyists for food, clothing, and entertainment. As Spirit-filled, Bible-believing Christians it is our duty to speak up and speak out against Believers falling asleep at the wheel. Whether the Believers in questions are pew warmers or pulpit thumpers.