That Dress

that dress

Does this dress make me look color blind?

By now, you’ve likely seen the infamous white and gold picture of the blue and black dress and read some of the discussions.

On the one hand, it’s nothing unusual.  We’ve all seen pictures that were either over-exposed or under-exposed to take on colors that don’t match the original.  And it is certainly not newsworthy to realize that we don’t all see things exactly the same.  A sports coat that looks navy blue to me is likely to look royal blue to my wife…or a pair of socks that looks black in the bedroom is navy blue in full sunlight.

What makes this picture so unique is the drastic contrast.  Two people look at the exact same picture in the exact same lighting, and one sees a blue dress with black trim while the other sees a white dress with gold trim.  Yes, there are others who see something in between…such as a light blue dress with olive trim.  Those in-betweens are understandable by all…and expected.  We’ve learned to accept some minor variance of perception.  The startling reality is in realizing that color perception can vary so greatly as the difference between white and dark blue…or between gold and black.  That’s a major difference in perception!

Just as startling is the realization that nothing changes the personal color perception.  We have all been informed that the actual dress is dark blue with black trim.  I have no problem accepting this as fact…but it does absolutely nothing to change the equally factual truth that the picture I see is white with gold trim.  And no amount of anyone telling me the color of the real dress does anything to change what I see when I look at the picture.

This is the challenge we continually face as a bloggers.  Our goal, in every blog post, is to share a snippet of our perception with others…to enable the reader to catch a glimpse of life as we see it.

Many times, a reader is able to readily identify with a post, which is very rewarding.  It’s good to know others share perceptions similar to ours and to know we were able to verbally capture an emotion or experience.

Other times, a reader will have their perception of a topic altered by what we shared.  These moments are extraordinarily rewarding…to know God used our words to change someone else’s perception.

Most often, though, readers having a perception different from mine leave my post with their perception unchanged.  They see blue and black where I see white and gold, and nothing has changed that for either of us.

In the case of the dress picture, it doesn’t really matter.  It’s an interesting realization, but the fact that we see the colors in the picture differently doesn’t impact how any of us live our lives or how we interact with others.

In regard to some of the topics discussed on this blog, it matters greatly.  I am often discussing biblical truth rather than color perception.  And the topics I discuss are the sort that can make the difference between a person continuing to live in bondage or escape to liberty…the difference between seeing oneself as an object of God’s love or an object of His wrath…the difference between treating a fellow believer with compassion and mercy or treating them with rigid legalistic indifference.

I frequently intentionally write about topics on which I am well aware my perception is substantially different from that of many popular learned scholars.  And my goal is not to simply throw out an opinion, but to alter a reader’s perception…to help them see that the picture they’ve always viewed as one color is actually a different color…that the scripture passage they’ve always seen as saying one thing actually says something quite different.

And to top it all off, I write with the constant awareness that my perception is also flawed and incomplete…that I often have as much to learn from readers as they from me.

It’s a monumental task…an impossible task…a God-sized task.  It is a task that can only be accomplished through the power of The Holy Spirit.

It sure is fun to see Him at work!  :-)

 

[Linked to Messy Marriage, Wild Flowers, Wellspring, Redeemed Life ]

 

Condemned or Redeemed?

This past week, I was reminded anew how arrogantly self-righteous and legalistic church leaders can be in dealing with situations of abuse.

Persistent Widow, at A Cry for Justice, has been posting her story of escape from abuse and her church’s incredibly harsh and obtuse response.  Her story is truly heart-breaking.  Even more telling are the many comments by other abuse targets relating similar experiences at other churches.

A substantial number of church leaders operate under an unbiblical false belief that divorce for abuse is sin…and although divorce counts as sin somehow it doesn’t count for dissolving the marital union…that even after divorce the abuse target is somehow still joined in unholy matrimony to the abuser and still accountable to the marriage vows.

Some, such as John Piper and Voddie Baucham, hold what they proudly term a ‘permanence view’ of marriage, by which they mean marriage is permanent no matter what. By their judgment, no matter how egregiously a spouse may unrepentantly violate the sacred covenant vows the innocent partner is condemned to continue living in covenant relationship with their evil abuser.  If they should escape the marriage through divorce, they cannot be forgiven and accepted into the Kingdom of Heaven unless they first confess the sin of divorce and return to intimate relationship with their abuser.  By the pronouncement of these men and others with similar views, covenant is permanent, and there is no escape from a covenant with evil.

More commonly, others allow that divorce is ‘permitted’ for specific narrowly defined situations such as adultery or desertion, but is ‘forbidden’ for any other situation, such as abuse.

Frankly, these rigid legalistic approaches to scriptural interpretation have much more in common with Pharisaical theology than with the grace and truth presented by Jesus Christ, our Redeemer and Deliverer.

In Matthew 7, Jesus begins a discourse in which He openly condemns false judges, making it clear that we will be judged by the same standard we use in judging other’s situations.

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2)

Jesus goes on to specifically warn against false teachers, saying we will know them by their fruits. They are not known by their brilliantly delivered arguments or oratorical skills, but rather by their fruits.  Do they demonstrate compassion, justice and mercy in how they advise others, or do they (like the Pharisees) hold people to unbearably difficult standards with no regard to their wellbeing?

“Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:15-16)

Finally, Jesus sums up the discourse with a dire warning that many who claim to know Christ will be turned away on that great and final day.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’” (Matthew 7:21-23).

In light of Christ’s words in this passage, I have a question for those who actively counsel victims of abuse to remain married to their abuser, telling them covenant is an indissoluble union no matter how egregiously the sacred vows have been violated.

What will be your plea or defense on that final day?

When Satan, the accuser, makes his case that you belong to him…that you are a subject of the kingdom of darkness…heir of Adam’s sin covenant which you have confirmed with your own sinful actions and attitudes…when Satan says that covenant is an indissoluble union using your own words and teachings as evidence…how will you plead?

I know my Redeemer! I know the covenants He has redeemed me from, causing them to be dissolved on my behalf.

For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:13-14)

But you who claim there is no such thing as dissolution of covenant…that there is no escape from a relationship with evil…how will you plead? How will you escape the judgment?

Therefore thus says the Lord God,

“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone,
A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed.
He who believes in it will not be disturbed.

“I will make justice the measuring line
And righteousness the level;
Then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies
And the waters will overflow the secret place.

“Your covenant with death will be canceled,
And your pact with Sheol will not stand;
When the overwhelming scourge passes through,
Then you become its trampling place. (Isaiah 28:16-18)

When you are judged by your own standard that covenant is indissoluble and a pact with evil can never be escaped…how will you escape the judgment? When the kingdom of darkness is cast into the lake of fire prepared for the devil and his angels, how will you escape sharing their fate, with your own testimony declaring your allegiance to that dark kingdom to be indissoluble?

How will you escape judgment?

 

[Linked to Messy Marriage, Wild Flowers, Wellspring, Redeemed Life ]

 

Faith – Love – Joy

Gallery

This gallery contains 5 photos.

This past weekend was such a precious time with family! In reflecting on the sweet memories, three themes stand out…faith, love, and joy. Usually, when our family does a weekend getaway, it’s planned weeks or months in advance. This time … Continue reading

Divorce & Remarriage

Gallery

But to the married I give instructions, not I, but the Lord, that the wife should not leave her husband (but if she does leave, she must remain unmarried, or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband … Continue reading

Unmarried or Divorced

Gallery

But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I. But if they do not have self-control, let them marry; for it is better to marry than to burn … Continue reading

God of Divorce

Gallery

And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also. (Jeremiah … Continue reading

Trust Me

Gallery

This gallery contains 1 photo.

“Come on Mac,” I urge, leading the gelding out of the paddock. “Hold up, Halo,” I direct the mare attempting to squeeze out the gate by following close on Mac’s heels. I lead Mac in front of the barn to strip … Continue reading

The One Ring

Gallery

This gallery contains 1 photo.

Over the holidays I’ve gotten back into the JRR Tolkien spirit by watching the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) movie series again. As usual, I find rich metaphors in Tolkien’s writing…and hope you’ll indulge my sharing some with you… The … Continue reading

Light in the Darkness

Gallery

[Reposted and updated from January, 2012] The people who walk in darkness Will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them. (Isaiah 9:2, also referenced in Matthew 4:16) Have you happened … Continue reading

Essence

Gallery

This gallery contains 3 photos.

I like wine. I’m not a connoisseur…a critic…nor an expert. I’m more of an enthusiast…one step removed from a wino only because the color, clarity, body, aroma and taste are more important to me than the alcohol content. Not only … Continue reading