Monday, September 27, 2010

Independence: A Tragic Mindset

Not too long ago, I made the acquaintance of Jay Lauser. This is a young man who has an obvious passion for the things of the Lord and is very diligent in using his talents and abilities for the glory of God. One of these abilities is writing. Jay has an incredible grasp for words. Therefore, I asked him to guest post for this blog. I can't even begin to tell you how pleased I am with the article Jay sent me. I think he puts our fingers on the pulse of one of the most commonly overlooked problems among Christian youth. I hope you all get as much out of this piece as I did.


“I just want to find out if I can do it on my own.”

“I want to get out of all these rules and limits and live on my own.”

“I don't want to be depe
ndent on other people.”

“I can do it.”

“I need to live on my own.”

All of the above are statements that I hear pretty often from teenagers approaching their 'mature' years of 18-25 or so. Honestly, I hear them all too often for my taste. This is because they are representative of an attitude of independence that is fundamentally in opposition with God.

Sadly, I hear these slogans from Christians and from Rebelutionaries. This is tragic, to my mind. And I believe that it poses a serious danger to the success of the Rebelution and to the impact of the Church on our generation.

Now that I have made everyone really mad, I better go back up those rather outrageous claims. :D

There are four words which I need to define for the context of this article: Freedom, Liberty, Responsibility, and Independence. People have a strong tendency to equivocate using these words, which is assisted by the wide range of meanings that they can have. Please note that I am not limiting their definitions or meanings at all: I am only locking down how I am going to use them in this post for clarity's sake.

Freedom: A state of exemption from the power or control of another.

Liberty: Freedom to do what is right.

Responsibility: The state of being accountable for a trust reposed.

Independence: Freedom from support or authority of another. (Focus is on freedom from support in this post.)

A few quick remarks on these definitions:

I will really only be talking about independence. But I need the other words defined so that I can define it properly.

No one is free. And no one should try to be free. This would be rebellion against God.

Everyone ought to have liberty. We should seek liberty, but not independence. A lot of people point at liberty and say 'that is good' and then go try to acquire independence instead.

Everyone has a responsibility. No one should shirk their duty, and everyone has a duty to others. Refusing to work with other people is a violation of your responsibility. A lot of people say they are trying to be responsible, but are really trying to be independent. Do not get responsibility and independence mixed up.

No one but God is truly independent. That is actually written into the definition in Webster's 1828:

“1. Not dependent; not subject to the control of others; not subordinate. God is the only being who is perfectly independent.”

This makes sense. We cannot escape the necessity of things outside of ourselves. That is an inherent part of our created, finite nature.

My first point against an independent mindset, therefore, is immediately self-evident. To seek to be more independent than we already are is an attempt to be more self-sufficient than God made us. We are, in effect, striving after the supremacy of God. God made us inherently reliant on others. That is His plan. And to try to exclude those support systems from our lives is extremely prideful, not to say insane. We should rather seek for more support, while still maintaining our responsibilities.

The Rebelution has nobly resurrected a mindset in our youth. It is a good mindset, and in fact, it is the mindset that has built empires, preserved liberty, and in many other ways glorified God throughout the ages. But like all good things, Satan loves to twist it with his sophistry and render it damaging to the kingdom of God.

And so now there has been a resurrection of another mindset that feeds off of some of the concepts in the Rebelution, but which is contrary to it. This mindset rejects two of the three pillars of the Rebelution, and focuses exclusively on the third (which, obviously, cannot stand alone). They refuse to show Character by yielding to their pride, they block all Collaboration from mentors and peers alike, and yet they stubbornly claim Competence to be their savior.

Scripture is very clear that God wants each person to rely on others, to be interconnected and interdependent in His pattern for the network of society. I will quote a few Scriptures here to demonstrate this, but do not expect an exhaustive list, as that would be... exhausting. ;)

Romans 14:7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

Ephesians 4:15-16 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour:
for we are members one of another.

Ephesians 5:21
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

Ephesians 5:23-24 For
the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing.

That last one needs a bit of explanation, I admit. :)

First notice Ephesians 4:15-16, which talks about the body of Christ, with Christ as the head, and the body being joined together, each part requiring the others (for more on that, study Romans 12). Then look back at Ephesians 5:23-24. Paul deliberately makes a strong parallel between the family and the church, asserting that they are structured the same.

The conclusion is that the family, like the church, is designed to work in harmony with itself, each member supporting and relying on the others, each part adding to the whole. Therefore, trying to go off and live on your own as a teenager, merely to assert or test or prove your independence, is folly of the highest degree. In general (from what I have learned, and the Bible bears with me), it is best for you to be under your father, and thus a part of your family, until you are married. This is a far cry from the modern practice of teenagers leaving the home in all but name in high school, before they every even get to college.

For us to receive God's blessings, we need to allow Him to work through others in our lives to bless us. If we try to rely on none but ourselves, we are actually blocking out God.

And thus is my assertion. It is radical and extreme, I know. But if you read my blog, you know that doesn't bother me at all. ;)

So now it is your turn to make yourselves heard in the comments!

Have you seen this mindset in your life? Have you seen it in others? How has it affected you? And how do you think you could change your life to avoid it?


Jay Lauser, aka Sir Emeth Mimetes, is a homeschooled Rebelutionary writer passionate for God. He divides his time between his many projects and his freelancing web design and development business. He blogs at

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Need for Young Male Leaders

Okay, I have a confession to make. I'm not the biggest Mark Driscoll fan. Don't get me wrong. I love him as brother in Christ. He's a tremendous preacher. I agree with about 90% of his theology (which is actually pretty good for me). No one can deny that he knows how to reach the very anti-Christian culture of Seattle, Washington. Likewise, I have no doubt that God has used him in great ways and will continue to do so.

However, there are a few cases in which I wish he'd be a little less crude and I disagree with some elements of his philosophy of ministry. That said, he's very much a modern John the Baptist. Blunt, direct, rugged and real. He certainly drives a point home in this video.

While I might not have worded it quite like that, I definitely agree with what Pastor Mark is saying. Though, while Driscoll puts most the blame on the Church, I think that we young men are also the blame. The young men in our churches have failed to step up to the plate. In most churches, young men are more rebel than leader.

We as men have the duty and God-given responsibility to be leaders. We were designed, according to our Father's perfect plan, to take the initiative. Women are designed to respond to our initiative. But, with us guys failing in our responsibilities, women have forced to step in any many areas that are designed for men.

If the Body of Christ is going to prosper, we need men to be leaders. They need to be heads of their families, their businesses, their communities and their churches. And we, as the succeeding generation, need to begin right where we are.

We must never forget that we, whether we like it or not, are the leaders of the future. We will either lead with our action and inaction. So, the question is not whether or not we will be leaders, but what kind of leaders we will be.

It is vital that we have a vision for the future. Regardless of what are vocation may be - be it pastor, missionary, elected official, movie directer, businessman or janitor (I'm sorry, it's custodian) - we need to have an idea of how to best live our life for the glory of God.

So, my challenge to my fellow guys is to simply be men. Take the initiative. Make a stand. Learn how to lead. Serve others. Have a God-centered vision. Live in light of eternity. Lead by example. This is key to the success of the Church.

Friday, September 10, 2010

10 Marks of the Early Church

While doing some research, I came across these ten characteristics of the early Church. The way the Church acted toward the increasingly corrupt Roman culture is a great model for us today as we too try to interact with a society that is increasing more antagonistic toward the Way of God.

1- They refused to attend blood thirsty entertainment. They wouldn’t go to gladiatorial events because they believed it defiled humans who were created in the image of God. This made them appear to be anti-social. Tertullian and Augustine both write about these events in a negative light.

God's principles should always trump society's feeble definitions of morality. The early Christians could have said, "Well, the Scriptures never actually say, 'Thou shalt not go to gladiatorial games.' Therefore, it isn't really a sin to go watch people kill others for sport." But, instead, they chose to travel the road less taken. They looked at the Word of God as a whole and saw that certain principles did not align with their culture's view of entertainment. Therefore, they chose abstinence in an age of indulgence.

2- They did not serve in the military to support Caesar’s wars of conquest, which made them appear weak.

Of course, the liberals love this one. They like to scribble pacifism all over the early Church. However, the matter wasn't so much war itself, but the cause of the war. The wars which the Roman Empire had started at this time weren't about defending the people or punishing wickedness - the extent of the government's jurisdiction. It was about feeding Caesar's blood lust. Therefore, the early saints drew a line in the sand and said that they would have no part in helping the government defy God's Word.

3- They were against abortion and infanticide. In this culture, both were considered acceptable. To throw your baby out on the dung heap if you didn’t want it was not taboo.

You want to know what Christian extremism really is? It'll tell you. These Christian had such an extreme love for people they had never met that they would go wading, knee deep, in the dung piles, listening for the cries of abandon newborns. When they would find them, they would not only nurse the children back to health but they would also raise them as if they were their own offspring. That is love in action.

4- They empowered women by showing their value and dignity in places of learning and service which had previously been exclusively for men. Christians held women in high regard and treasured them rather than viewing them as just a step above expendable children and servants.

Until recently, chivalry has always been a prominent fixture in the Body of Christ. Unfortunately, the Feminist movement has convinced society that valuing women for their unique and God-given traits is sexist and primitive. We guys need to make sure that we treat ladies with respect and honor.

5- They were against sex outside of marriage. This fidelity was considered odd and against culture. Sex was viewed as nothing more than a desire like eating or sleeping. Christians held a high view of the bed and kept it pure and would not engage in sex outside of marriage.

I don't think I really need to explain how this relates to our current culture. Just take comfort in the fact that saints of God have been fighting the same battles for centuries. The God who gave them victory then can still give us victory today.

6- They were against homosexual relationships. This was odd in a time when same sex practice was not frowned upon.

There is nothing new under the sun. Our adversary has been trying the same old tricks all throughout history. The traditional view of marriage was not something a bunch of bigots tried to push onto the Bible. It's what God designed and what His Church has been fighting for since the beginning.

7- They were exceptionally generous with their resources. They shared what they had with one another and welcomed others in with a hospitality that was unparalleled.

Generosity and hospitality are two components that I believe are sadly missing from the Church today. We need to once again begin displaying love in practical, everyday ways.

8- They were radically for the poor. In a time when the poor and downtrodden were viewed as getting what they deserved, they were aggressively committed to loving and serving people in the margins of society.

In a poverty-stricken age, the Christians did not waste their time worrying about their own needs. Rather, they went out of their way to actively serve others.

9- They mixed races and social classes in ways that were unseen in their gatherings, and for it they were considered scandalous.

We are one Body. Race, gender and social status don't matter in terms of our value in Christ. Our Lord is the Father of all.

10- They believed only Christ was the way to salvation. This was in a time when everyone had a god and could believe something entirely different and it was totally acceptable to be polytheists and pluralistic. Christians dared claim that Jesus was the only way and refused to bend to other gods.

Need I say more? In an age of 'tolerance', everyone is pushing coexistence. It doesn't matter what you believe. The God of the Bible is the same as any other god. Jesus is just a way, a truth and a life. Come as you are. There's no need to do things God's Way. Oh, but there is! May we always have the courage to profess Jesus Christ as the only Way to the Father.