I've found it both disgusting and amusing at the same time that much, maybe most, of the VF royalty don't celebrate Christmas in a traditional manner (too commercial), yet, they have their own version of a Black Friday sale. It seems that this would encourage behaviors that they don't approve of enough to actually practice themselves, making sure their own boat is on the lake while the fish are biting, hoping the bait will allow them to reel in another dollar. Kinda like declaring oneself a pacifist and then making a living as an arms dealer. Very sociopathic.
Quite a "ministry" the folk down there have.
If their personal conviction manifests it's teeth in this flimsy of a manner, maybe many of their "convictions" are actually just meant for public consumption by like-minded, easily persuaded consumers, with their personal "convictions" based primarily on the direction of the financial wind.
It's symbolism over substance. Height and width with no depth. A two-dimensional way to operate, which makes sense, being that they're peddling a two-dimensional product and bastardized version of the Gospel.
Then, there's the outside-in approach. Also two-dimensional. I recently commented on the following statement in an article by Kelly Crawford...
The Jesus I follow is gracious and merciful to those who LOVE Him, who demonstrate that love by obedience.
I believe her. I think this is exactly the Jesus she follows...and that's the problem. It's a legalistic, works-based mentality, where the grace and mercy Christ extends is determined by our earning it through love and obedience - works. It's a bastardized version of the Gospel, and one I want nothing whatsoever to do with. It confuses FRUIT with works. It's akin to trying to forcibly make a banana rather than allowing one to grow from the seed that's been planted.
Outside-in. "If I can just demonstrate my love by being obedient, Jesus will be merciful and gracious to me." Conformed rather than transformed. I can see where the mentality arises that causes many in the P/QF movement to view most marital and family problems as the failure of the wife or children to be submissive. "If I'll just be more submissive and obedient, he'll be a better husband/daddy."
Her statement brings this to mind...
Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The 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. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And 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. I 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 humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Note the outside-in, two-dimensional view of the Pharisee, and the inside-out view of the publican. The Pharisee's emphasis was on his outward man, his "righteous" way of life. The Greek word translated as "exalt" is "hypsoo", and it has MANY connotations even within this verse. It's also the word used to describe Christ being "lifted up", sacrificially, on the cross. In other words, the Pharisee was trying to show himself worthy by pointing to his obedient and dutiful behaviors, considering those things his redemption rather than the "hypsoo" of Christ. The publican simply threw himself at the mercy of God, knowing nothing he could ever do would make him worthy. And...he found mercy.
Recently, a quote from Jay Adams was used on the Steadfast Daughters Facebook page. It was an ignorant quote, a quote which completely misrepresented the views of qualified psychologists and belittled victims of abuse. One thing it did, however, is provide a glimpse at the solution to abusive situations which Steadfast Daughters is and will be presenting: Nouthetic counseling. (check out Rachel's great article)
Nouthetic counseling is "a Christian leader instructing a person from scripture about how their life needs to change to be more like Christ." Conformity. Not fruit. Not transformation. It's forcibly changing your lifestyle, habits, what have you, to meet a scriptural formula. It leaves NO room at all for the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in a heart and mind. It's "do this, this, and this". It promotes a changing on the outside to generate change on the inside. I don't think it could be any more backward. It can't help but to produce abuse of it's own, setting perfectionistic standards that have little to do with the heart and everything to do with behavior. It appears to view humanity as spiritual robots, worried only about the flawless, mechanical performance of those robots.
This is two-dimensional thinking, living, and counseling. Symbolism with no substance. Height and width with no depth. By and large, it suggests that Steadfast Daughters will rely on legalism to fix legalism, sending victims of abuse back to what is often the original source of the abuse, the legalistic teaching of their church, to rely on completely untrained and unqualified counselors.
My advice to anyone who has suffered from any kind of spiritual or emotional abuse - anyone or anything that suggests you can make your situation better by behavioral or attitude adjustment is a source for more potential abuse. Deal ONLY with professionals, and don't rely on the local church for anything more than prayer and support. I'm saddened to say that the local church generally has no clue, and any responsible church leader will refer you to a qualified, professional counselor. Run from nouthetic counseling as if your spiritual life depended on it, because truth be told, it might.
Depth is a beautiful thing. Until we can reach and live past two dimensions, there's no substantive hope of anything beyond it.
A couple of years ago I heard a scientist discussing biblical issues, and he made a comment about Christ's mysterious, post-resurrection appearance in the room where the disciples were staying. He said that to be able to move through solid objects, such as walls, as Christ was seemingly doing in the biblical account, one would be operating, at a minimum, in the 6th dimension. In the 6th dimension, you can eat an orange from the inside out.
Seems to me we'd want to let Christ do His work in our lives from that dimension.