- Religion and Philosophy
A brief history of Spain. Part Four
OK, so here I am, planted in the south or Spain and wondering what's going to happen next.
If you read the last hub you will know that I had stood in an olive grove and shouted loud and clear: "If YOU exist, YOU'D better make yourself known to me".....and that it took 18 months for something to happen, so what did happen?
Lot's really and not much so to speak.
My life did not change overnight, I had no epiphany 'road to Damascus' Pauline experience, nor did I remain conscious of my request to God for an audience.
I stayed much the same, except that it seemed that life got more eventful, and looking back I can see that this was a direct result of the enemy seeking to either inveigle me further into his clutches, or kill me if I gave out the authorities required to sanction such a thing.
At this point in time my son was almost two years old and his mother was working most of the time, so I, being the 'modern man' that I was pertaining to be, was the 'house husband' caring for my son and looking after the house.
This concept sounds great in principal and my 'liberated' business woman wife clearly appreciated the freedom this gave her to pursue her career, however it leads to a slow (or not so slow) loss of respect for the man by the woman, and a shift in the man's affection when his wife is being the 'breadwinner' and he suffers a loss of status.... he has difficulty expressing love to someone who is looking down on him, for no matter what people say, any woman who supports her husband loses respect for him, and any man supported by his wife, becomes cowed by her shifted authority.
God created man and woman to hold specific roles, and whilst there is nothing wrong with a woman deciding to concentrate on business either as a single woman or a wife, there will be a problem unless both are working and (in effect) sharing a life rather than making a marriage.
God created men to need to feel respected and women to feel loved. If you lose that sequencing in a marriage, the marriage is in trouble, maybe not now, but sooner or later.
Once children enter the marriage, one of them needs to concentrate on the child, and God decreed that this should be the woman.... not a woman, hired for the purpose, although those women usually do an excellent job of rearing other peoples children, but THE woman, the MOTHER of the child, and the FATHER needs to accept his role of head of the house and provider for the household.
I like so many other 'modern men' willingly abdicated my God given (and demanded) role to my ' liberated' wife and in doing so, created the inevitable demise of our relationship as our mutual love and respect faded to oblivion.
Various things, good and bad, happened over the next months... I recieved a £10,000 prize from the UK National Savings 'lottery' draw, and we gained the catering contract for a BBC soap opera to be filmed in Spain, worth about £100,000, so life flowed cosily towards its merry conclusion.
My wife had gone off sex once our son was born, and being thoroughly modern woman she suggested that I find a mistress to deal with my libido... which, being thoroughly modern man I agreed was a good solution to our 'problem' and duly found a suitable applicant to fit the position.
My drug habit progressed to a point where reality was blurred into fantasy and fantasy was more acceptable than reality, and still I saw little wrong with the picture.
I read bizarre books and my best friend and I discovered that we both fitted the profile for serial killers. The worrying point was that we were not concerned about that fact.
I had read a book called 'Piercing the Darkness', a fictional book written by a Christian in secular style, which described many aspects of Christian spiritual warfare in the name of Christ, and one night, totally drunk and stoned, my best friend Joe started to try and show me how he wanted to kill his sister in law, who he blamed for all his problems.
Stoned I may have been, but that kicked in my paranoia and I quickly recognised that being a demonstration dummy for someone who wanted to practice how to break someone's neck was a step too far in 'whatever', and as Joe advanced towards me the only words that I could summon up were "I command you to leave me alone in the name of Jesus Christ" (which words I had read in the book 'Piercing the Darkness') and witnessed the unusual effect of Joe being thrown two meters backwards to hit a wall and them slump on a sofa incapacitated, much as if I had hit him with a taser.
I was both impressed and scared witless, impressed because although I had seen some weird things in the spiritual vein, flying assassins were a missed extravagance, and scared witless because I had called on a name that I did not subscribe to.
It was akin to a KGB agent calling up the local CIA chief for emergency assistance.
Questions would be asked!
Life became increasingly more bizarre as I went between house husband taking my son to school, to erecting catering tents for my wife's business whilst spending most of the day completely stoned.
I was smoking a heavy joint of hash about every 45 minutes from when I awoke until when I slept, fornicating with my mistress at every opportunity and eating spasmodically but mainly chocolate.
Putting the tents up was good for me and for the first time in my life my torso developed natural muscle and strength, as I lifted about 150 five kilo tent poles into and out of the van sometimes twice a day, and formed them into a large outdoor dining tent.
One weekend we had a wedding to cater and cover for friends, and as it coincided with my wife working away, I decided to go to church.
I had been sitting outside our local church spying on the congregation as they left the church on Sundays, to see how oddball they may be, but they looked relatively normal, if a mite too neat and tidy for my liking.
So that weekend I decided that as we were doing the wedding on the Saturday, I would take a look at what the church was about on the Sunday.
My first visit to church started by getting my son up and ready to go out, having my normal breakfast smoke of hash and starting off for the church. I saw nothing odd in being stoned, indeed I thought that I functioned normally when stoned, I had the problems when I was cold sober.
As I started up the church steps I looked up and said to whoever was up there listening "and if the guy up front is wearing a dress I'm outta here'... then as I entered the vestibule of the church I said "and if they come after me for money I'm out of here".
Entering the small church I sat down, at the back, where all the newbies sit to not be noticed.
If you want to be not noticed in a church, sit in the middle, we always look for the rear gunners!.
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.
For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.
So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
My entry into faith was rapid, I had sat in the service, at the back, watching the proceedings with interest but no real deapth of feeling, the songs were 'nice' and I even managed to sing along with some of them.
I saw a man pacing at the back of the hall, an activity any salesman has done before he enters a sales situation, powering up to present your offer with power and force.
He was the pastor, and if I saw that now I would seriously doubt his spirituality, but then, in my secular state, it was mildly comforting and a slight reassurance that maybe these people were not so much different to me.
Unfortunately I was mainly right about that!
His message, when it came, was on Romans 8... (see right)
It could have been specially for me (and of course it was, for God knew when I would hear it) and as he spoke I listened and watched those around me, to the right and down in the second row from the front were the atypical 'perfect' Christian family.
Clean cut, neat and tidy, seated in decending order from the obvious 'head of the house' down in decending order throught the obedient wife, elder and younger children (four of them) and finally Granny sitting as a bookend next to the wall.
I hated them on sight. The sermon spoke of the spirit within us all, and looking at these folk, I could tell that I too was spirit filled, it was just that we shared different spirits.
After the 'service' tea and coffee was served in the tiny vestibule that served as a common area, the sounds surrounding me were peppered with 'Praise the Lords' and 'Hallelujahs' and generally nobody was loud or beligerent or cussing oaths. It was strange to my ears as normally theyr heard bar talk, which was 100% opposite from this gathering!
At a discrete moment the pastor/preacher/sales trainer came to speak with me and asked if there was anything I wanted to discuss, after a few seconds polite conversation. I told him there was, but not now, and we arranged to meet the following Wednesday to 'talk'.
Roy (the pastor) was a scalp hunter and addicted to 'saving' folk and even more so to baptisms, he loved baptisms with a fervor and zeal that would have done justice to John the Baptist in his heyday.
That Wednesday we discussed my 'problems'.... being mainly that I now recognized that I had a few fellow travelers walking with me, I mean literally with me as in inside me, who were proving to be unfriendly, especially more so since I had entertained the concept of looking for God and attended the church service.
1 Timothy 2 verses 8-15
I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.
Let a woman learn in silence with all submission.
And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.
For Adam was formed first, then Eve.
And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.
Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.
Being a fairly straight forward pastor, Roy asked me if I would like to say the sinners prayer, which, knowing nothing of the ritual required to chase demons away, I agreed to do... and a few short seconds later Roy was welcoming me into the 'kingdom' and showing great happiness, a happiness I felt nothing about.
"Doesn't it feel great to have eternal life" he asked me "I don't care about eternal life" I replied, "I just want to get these demons of my back in this one".
So started a strained but somehow easy relationship between us, strained because Roy always knew (though never stated) that I was able to see through his veneer of spiritual authority and recognize the chancer that he was.
Like many pastors, he had become a pastor to appease his wife, who was (and is) a powerful woman of God.
Now the problem with powerful women of God is that they inevitably know forwards and backwards the bible, and have all read 1 Timothy 2 verses 8-15, and recognize what it signifies in scriptural terms.
A person who is serious about their relationship with God soon comes to the conclusion that the bible must be the God inspired divine word in everything or it's worth nothing.
The next inevitable step is recognition that God, in His infinite wisdom, put EXACTLY what He intended to be in the bible, and that nothing is missing or there by mistake.
So to any ambitious woman of God 1 Timothy 2 verses 8-15 represent a serious problem, and especially the verse; .... I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence.
So good women of God, who are great bible teachers and preachers are, in strictly biblical church bodies, not permitted to be pastors..... pastors wives yes, teachers of the younger women and children, yes, but pastors is a definite NO.
Hence, at least here in Spain, we have a plethora of churches that have been 'instigated' by the 'pastors wife' who normally rules the roost and effectively uses the pastor husband as her 'cover'..... "Oh but I'm under my husbands authority" she will state, as she refuses to recognize that her husband has relegated his God given authority and obligation to be responsible before God for EVERYTHING that happens in his life, marriage, family and congregation.
He has relegated that responsibility to his wife because she IS a powerful woman of God, he is not her equivalent in spirit or learning.....he is an average bloke who wanted to please his wife, and who quite liked the idea that as the pastor he would be respected and possibly even admired...
Satan will trap us in many ways to weaken a powerful ministry.
Now let me say that I disagree with God here, I have found many women of God who were far superior in learning and teachings than other men of God, and I will willingly sit at their feet to absorb what they have to teach, but that is still of no regard, for the word of God is categoric.
I have had women pastors tell me "Oh that's Pauline doctrines" as if that makes it less than the word of God, or tell me "But it's not confirmed by the testimony of three witnesses".... the excuses are there to hang your hat upon and hope that the 'opposition' will not make any fuss about it, and most folk do not, after all we are in the 21st century, and those 'old' rules do not make any sense now.... (runs another excuse) and then there is "but God is using women because there are too few strong men of God" and that is also true enough, at least the bit about there being too few strong men of God...
But the pivotal point (and any atheists reading should observe this, it's a great point for causing dissension) is whether one accepts that God wrote, or at least dictated/ inspired, the bible, is actually truth.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Now for me I agreed long ago that this was truth, and therefore from that point onward my biblical brief was to try to make my life fit to the word of God, rather than attempt to make the word of God fit to my life.
For me the answer was simple.
If I decided that the bible was 'subject to contract' then what parts did I believe were from God and which parts were corruptions of men?
I mean, was I unsure about my salvation or was it hell that I did not agree with?
So I disagree with the ruling concerning women in leadership over men, but will honor and obey it as and when I need to stand for the word.
In my church the pastor allows women to preach, he has decided that his cover over them is sufficient, and who am I to argue, because he is the pastor and he is responsible to God for his actions and the actions of his congregation that he condones as acceptable, and as a member I stand submitted to him as Gods appointed man for the body.
I have made him aware of my understanding of the scriptures and how I believe we should correctly interpret them, and having done that it becomes his responsibility to get it right, and my obligation to preach the word in season and out of season is ended for that matter.
Some issues are matters that determine we must stop fellowship with those who are in rebellion to Gods word, this is NOT one of those points, it is not something which affects our salvation, though it may affect how we move in Gods power dependent upon how we believe.
So that is why my first pastor, Roy, viewed me with some discomforture, not on this issue so much (for he was a misogynist) but in the many other ways that I pointed out what we were supposed to do, to stay in accord with Gods word, when what we actually did was in conflict with the same word of God
For a pastor, or someone attempting to bend scripture to their own needs, I am a pain in the rear end. I cannot apologise for that.
Once I read that we needed to study to be approved, and furthermore needed to check all things against the scripture as Bereans, I was hooked on knowing WHAT was written.
I'm hopeless at obeying all that, but I've always believed that knowing when you are doing an error is important, we all sin, but unfortunately most people self justify it away from themsleves, whereas God prefers that we accept our errors as our own, repent for them and have another go at getting it right.
You can never get it right if you refuse to accept a solid bedrock foundation as to what is right, when you judge the bible by the shifting sands thinking of this secular world, it has no veracity or ability to guide and guard our lives.
OK, so far we have gotten about one week into my conversion and how it affected me.
Within two weeks of coming to faith, I was on a radio program challenging a group of atheists and satanists..... and because I had been reading their materials only a short while earlier, I knew their weaknesses and exposed them on air.
I was invited back to sit on the weekly 'panel' mainly because they needed a new raging loony fundamentalist to attack, but it was good training (especially for these forums) and it sharpened my debating skills.
So here I was soaking up the word like a sponge and 'advancing' in the 'church' like a rocket.
Problem was, I wasn't saved yet! - but we'll get to that next hub.
Some guidelines for comments...
To save time for all of us, I have written some answers to questions you have not yet asked.
Everyone is welcome to comment on my hubs, to date I have not denied any comment, though I reserve the right to do so, or answer accordingly (and have the last word!).
What I write here is not designed to be judgmental.
I am probably one of the most liberal believers you will meet, however I was for whatever reason commissioned to 'eat the scroll' and I did, with great pleasure.
If you are a woman preacher or pastor, I have no argument with you, for you are responsible to God, not me, nor anyone else. Neither do I suggest that any woman is less able than a man to carry out the task.
I merely point out what the bible states, no more, no less.
By all means challenge me from scripture that refutes what I state, but let's not bother discussing what you believe, unless it's confirmed in the bible.
I see it of paramount importance in these last days to bring the word of God to the forefront. The enemy of Gods word is seeking to diminish or deny Gods truths, it is our task to preach those truths in season and out of season.
It may not be your job, but it is mine, so again if you have a different job to do, no problem, I'm not calling you lax becuase you don't do what I do.
Just do your job, and in all that you do, do it as to the Lord.