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Friday, 25 October 2013


I have just finished the book by Beverly Lewis, called ''The Shunning''.
It was a quick read, some predictable parts, and rather left on the edge, making me want to read the next in the trilogy.
However, it was thought provoking, in that it was about Amish life, and a girl who was unknowingly adopted into that. I hadn't realised until about a year ago how ensconced the Amish are in their man made rules system. I find it horrifying that they would shun friends, and family just because they do not follow the rules of the Amish order.
It made me think of our tendencies to legalism. Somehow, we can feel comforted by a rule system, and an order. Are we adding on our own rules though, or are we getting our standards from the Bible? We will all have disagreements about certain aspects of our life. Modesty, for example can be a shady area. What is clear, as that we are to attend church in a manner akin to decency, and order. We obviously don't walk around in public wearing certain clothes either. There are no clear cut modesty rules in the bible, so that is where common sense, and personal conviction comes into it. If our church starts dictating what we MUST wear, then it is starting to add rules.
One of the main things which surprised me was the idea of using a guitar, or even humming a tune not in the Amish hymn book was enough to get yourself into discipline, which in itself could lead to excomminication meaning a complete shunning from the community. We should be accountable to God only. If there is serious sin, like adultery, fornication that is a matter to be addressed by the pastor. However, we will all disagree with different aspects of music, and that is a minor matter, unless of course listening to demonic music which is openly sinful. I am not sure how many rules the Amish have, as there are different orders. I have heard of hundreds of rules, though, and some of them seem ridiculous.
It made me appreciate the freedom we have in Christ. We are not saved by attending church, keeping lots of rules, and even by the 10 commandments. In fact, only God's grace can save us. It is our faith in Jesus who was crucified for our sin, and who rose again, and was an atonement for our sin, that saves us. Repentance, being truly for our sin, and accepting that Jesus has already done the work on the cross, redeemed us. NOT BY WORKS lest man should boast. Amazing, as if I thought I had to save myself by my works, I should become very discouraged. That is what is amazing about grace.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Protecting our Children

Hmm, sometimes we can assume that home educating will protect our children from some of the worse aspects of life. I read an article yesterday, which in someways contradicts this. I already knew that we can't just home educate, and think that is it. We need to be aware of what is going on, and how we really are in the hour of temptation.
One thing we didn't have when I was a child, was the internet. Now you can click on just about anything. Online shops, articles, and...pornography. In fact pornographic sites account for most of what is on the internet. If you think your children wouldn't click on anything like that, then think again. All it takes is for one misclick, or a link sent by someone else. Filters are really important, and parental controls are an imperative. Let's not be complacent though, as they may not be enough to protect. We need to be aware of what our children are clicking on. Another reason why I hate the advance of i phones for kids. Who knows what they are clicking on?
The internet can be a curse or a blessing, like a lot of things. It is something that must be used wisely.
Another thing on the rise is witchcraft. It seems that stuff like Ouija boards are being mass marketed to kids. Tarot cards, and wiccan stuff. This stuff isn't harmless, it is highly dangerous, as it opens the mind up to demons, and demonic possession. I was shocked to find books lauding witchcraft, highly accessible in libraries, even school libraries for primary. The danger is, when our children read books which distort the reality, and portray something evil as harmless.
Television is waning somewhat, as the internet becomes more popular. However, I am shocked at the content of the stuff on children's TV. Peppa pig for example, belittling men, and encouraging feminism. Already, it is trying to sell our children a Godless worldview. Cartoons with witchcraft in, and encouraging disobedience to parents.
Have you noticed how a lot of the films today have no moral absolutes? They portray heroes, as fornicating, committing adultery, and using foul language. Is this the sort of standard we as Christians want to set?
Soap operas, with their constant dramas, arguments, promotions of unnatural behaviour, idolatory, fornication etc. A gossip's paradise. Something we are commanded not to do.
I don't believe it is being legalistic to reject these things. We need to measure everything against the Bible. Is it edifying, pure, and of good report? Will it encourage sin? If we answer no to the first question, and yes to the second question, then clearly by God's standards it is wrong.
I wonder whether that is why the Christian church is so weak now. Everyone is compromising. No one wants to offend, and we have a lukewarm faith, accepting all things lest we of all things be called a bigot! The fact is we will be persecuted, and we will be hated for doing that which is right. It isn't an easy path, but it is the right, and Biblical one.