Sunday, January 31, 2010

Candy's week in family, temperment, and appearances

Candy has written some interesting blog posts this week. None directly about Catholicism, but several which are ripe for discussion on how Christians should live their life. I am in the middle of several big projects right now, but I'd like to toss up a post so that you guys can discuss if you are interested.

She started off by discussing what to do when your family can't stand your Christianity. Well, I think she said Erik wrote this.

For instance; if some of the lost members of a saved person's family could not accept the saved person's rejection of the Pagan Roman Catholic Religion, non-messianic Judaism, New Age, or Human secularism etc., the lost family members might make themselves into the saved person's enemy. They might blame the spouse and persecute them both, it might be time to part ways. If so, the saved Christian would be honoring their father and mother by standing tall for God's truth and by defending their spouse.

I understand that it is sometimes necessary to separate oneself from one's family. There are some toxic relationships out there, and especially if you have children, you should not let yourselves be subject to verbal abuse. But as Candy posted comment after comment from women who said that after becoming born again, they no longer had any contact with their families, I was so sad at this worldview. I thought of it again this morning, as I listened to this reading from 1 Corinthians at Mass:

1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

If you have become a Christian, then you should be patient with your family, even if they do not understand. If they seem to attack your beliefs, you should remember that longsuffering, gentleness, and meekness are fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Erik says that Christians will be persecuted by their families, and for this reason they should walk away.

Paul writes in 2 Cor 12:10 that "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." He didn't say he left, he said he delighted in it.

Similarly, going back to the Beatitudes, Matthew 5 tells us that

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11"Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Erik actually quotes from Matthew 5:

"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." -Matthew 5:14-16

This means being willing to talk about God outside of church, and not wimping out by saying that you will witness simply by being an example. What kind of Christian stands by and says nothing as their family and friends head towards hell? If they reject the Gospel that is one thing, but did you give them the chance to reject it? Every Christian is commanded to spread the gospel.

How is it "wimping out" by setting an example? How can you let your light shine to your unsaved family if they never see you?

I truly do not understand the belief that he and Candy have, that they should run down the list of Bible verses they usually give, "Dad, did you know that Christ died for your sins? All you have to do is believe and have eternal life, etc." Do that once, then leave, knocking the dust from your sandals, and saying "Well, we told them the gospel, and it isn't our fault that they are staying on their path to hell."

How is that going to attract anyone to Christianity? It is when your family sees that you are loving and happy, becoming a better person through striving to live a virtuous life, and most of all, but having opportunities to have low-key conversations about what Christianity means, that their heart will be softened. Giving them a lecture, demanding they make a decision, and then leaving is only going to leave them with a bad taste in their mouth.

Again, I realize that many of these situations are more complex than what I am writing. I am just giving my reaction to what Erik wrote, which seems oversimplified in itself. I am afraid that by he and Candy will give more women the excuse they are looking for by jumping right to separation from their family, rather than seeking the council of their pastor, sitting down and having a heart to heart with their family, or trying to set reasonable boundaries.

Towards the end of the week, Candy took a look at Asperger's Syndrome. She wrote:

1) I'm BLUNT

2) I've hurt people's feelings probably more times than I can count, and most of the time I have no idea what I did or said

She characterized these traits as positives, saying, "Here's more bluntness - I think Aspergers have more of a chance of being saved than non-Aspergers."

Is bluntness really such a positive, especially if it is to the point where she hurts people's feelings, and has lost "countless" friendships?

From the Beatitudes in Matt 5, we find:
5Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
9Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.

From 1 Cor 13, we learn that Love is patient and kind. It is not rude.

In Galatians 5:22-23, we see that bluntness is not a gift of the Holy Spirit. Gentleness and meekness are, however.

We all have good and bad aspects to our personalities. I have no doubt that Candy is blunt, and does not intent to offend by what she says. I disagree that this should be considered a positive thing. I think that we should be prepared to work to improve our characters, and this is probably something which she should strive to improve through prayer.

Finally, today Candy wrote: The Lord called me to be dresses only in January of 2005, and He has recently called me to cover my head as of December 2009. I have found multitudes of other ladies walking the same path as I.

Wearing dresses only seems to be a big point of pride to Candy. It is something that she writes about frequently, and, as in the case of her most recent e-book, she seems to judge the Christianity of women by whether or not they are dresses only, cooking from scratch, stay-at-home moms. I think that God might call some to dress in this manner, and it is certainly good that Candy is obedient if this is the case with her.

However, I think that focuses too much on the outward appearance to judge the interior.

1 Sam 16:7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."

In John 7:24, Jesus warns us to "Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment."

Finally, consider 2 Cor 10:7: "Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's."

Do not define yourself as "A dresses only, head covering Christian." Just be Christ's alone.

Luke 18:9-14
9And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. I'll stop in as I have time.

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Kelly said...

Subbing for comments.

Dr MikeyMike said...

Her grasp of mental health is amazing. I'm sure she has regular talks with Tom Cruise and Jenny McCarthy.

Naturally, I disagree with whatever point she was trying to make concerning asperger's, but then again I'm a pagan roman catholic.

Moonshadow said...

Even in the NT, believers are encouraged to separate in order to keep themselves pure, etc. I think that's at odds with sharing the gospel because doing that effectively means living intimately with non-believers.

I think it depends on one's calling in life. But, when in doubt, I'd think it's a safer bet to err on the side of "losing one's life" for the sake of another than preserving it selfishly to oneself.

Enbrethiliel said...


People think that Candy is an Aspie???


I took a similar test a few months ago and scored even higher than she did on this one. That's not a proper diagnosis, of course. If I took it that way, I'd be one of hundreds of "self-diagnosed" Aspies on the Internet today.

Aspergers must be the only mental disorder that people want to have (or like to say that others think they have), because they feel it makes them special. It's high functioning enough to let one be part of the rest of the world and yet "weird" enough to make one stand out from the pack. That is, pleading Aspergers can be a way to have one's cake and eat it, too.

So when I see people excusing bad behaviour as merely the "bluntness" that comes with a syndrome they can't control, I remember the telling question, "Isn't it funny that so many jerks have Aspergers?"

And if you think her remark, "I think Aspergers have more of a chance of being saved than non-Aspergers" is hilarious, then you'll lurve her comment, "I have a theory - I think a good percentage of born again Christians have "Asperger's."

Yeah, that totally explains it.

Barbara C. said...

I love how Candy and her husband make themselves seem like victims. "We just became born-again Christians and our family started throwing rocks at us for no other reason." Never mind that Candy and her husband were probably the ones that started any acrimony in the first place.

And I love how people equate a tendency to be blunt with the right to run roughshod over others. They think that "blunt" means "more honest". Although as Candy proves "bluntness" does not always equal "truth".

People who are blunt, like myself, have to work extra-hard to be more charitable and compassionate in our speech and learn when to hold our tongue out of love.

The Lord gives us all challenges in being the people He wants us to be, be it temperament or circumstances. And some may have more challenges if they are dealing with a mental or physical illness or disability, but that doesn't give them a free pass to be an ass. It just means that they might have to work harder not to be one and deserve more understanding when they slip and fall.

Milehimama said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly said...

Milehi, Candy said:

MY ANSWER - I never said that being dresses only has anything to do with salvation, or that it cures what's inside the heart. As for being dresses only and covering, I believe them both to be biblical, and I desire to obey the Lord in all things. I discuss dresses only in an article I wrote, called "Why I am Dresses Only."

I didn't understand her to say that she only wrote about dresses in that one post, but that she explained the outward appearances issue in that article.

I know this is kind of a borderline post, but try to focus on the issues of virtue, family, etc, rather than on Candy personally. It can be hard, I know. ;)

Teresa wrote:
Even in the NT, believers are encouraged to separate in order to keep themselves pure, etc. I think that's at odds with sharing the gospel because doing that effectively means living intimately with non-believers.

I think there are several verses you could look at here. Being in the world, but not of it can point to still associating with family, but still living a Christian example. Then again, how can you be a light on the hill if your family can't see you.

Barbara wrote:
The Lord gives us all challenges in being the people He wants us to be, be it temperament or circumstances. And some may have more challenges if they are dealing with a mental or physical illness or disability, but that doesn't give them a free pass to be an ass. It just means that they might have to work harder not to be one and deserve more understanding when they slip and fall.

I completely second everything you said there. I think we need to learn the pros and cons of our temperaments. Candy obviously has the tendency to say her bluntness is a positive because she is speaking the TRUTH. But if she never sees the negative side, she won't grow as a Christian.

I'm quite an introvert (as I assume most are who love writing on the internet rather than conversing face to face) and it would be easy for me to hide behind "blessed are the meek." But through the leading of my husband and others, I'm taking more of a leadership role at my parish. If God uses that in some way, then it is because I wasn't afraid to step out from my natural inclination.

Milehimama said...

Kelly, you're right, sorry, I deleted it.

But back to appearance. Growing up, my family attended a fringe group of Catholics that eventually became the SSPX. They are very much dresses only. And, it was very much about appearances.

It was a way of separating from others. A lazy way to be able to judge someone's piety.

Did a woman wear dresses, but her little girls weren't in ballet flats but rather mary janes with a little heel? Think twice about taking prayer advice from her. Did that woman wear a sleeveless dress, even if it was to her ankles? Keep your chldren away. Can you see that lady's collar bone? Send an usher to make sure she knows not to show up at church like that again.

This is what I see when there are several posts about cute ways to wear headcoverings and fawning over the fabric and patterns. Is it about honoring Christ- or Christian fashion sense?

SunshinyLiving said...

I agree, MileHi, about how Christian "dress codes" can be very detrimental. I spent most of my childhood in fundie Protestant-land and we were SO concerned about our outward appearance (extreme modesty). It certainly does train one to judge someone by their outside. Also, it trains a girl to think that if she's met all the rules concerning skirt-length etc., that she's somehow "made it". Very little attention, in comparison, is given to developing inner virtues. The other girl, who realizes the ridiculousness of the whole dress code, is trained to think that this sort of thing is what Christianity is all about and ends up leaving her faith. Now, as a mother, I hope to teach my girls to dress with femininity, dignity, and respect for her own body. Dresses aren't required, (but ironing is). However, I won't be measuring skirts and I won't go bananas over collarbones. I also will not point out what I consider another woman's or girl's lack of modesty. We are to focus on our love for her, not the discrepancy between our clothing styles.