If You’re Reading Your Bible This Way, You’re Doing It Wrong Pt. 2

Do you read the Bible? Don’t answer that.

Many will tell you, “You gotta read ya Bible to show yourself approved” or “You gotta read it to make sure they’re teaching you the wrong thing!”

Truth be told, most pastors are not out to trick or deceive you. They have good intentions. Ministers encourage church-goers to read their Bible at home and “see for themselves.” Many church-goers still don’t.

Do you read the Bible? Don’t answer that.

Many will tell you, “You gotta read ya Bible to show yourself approved” or “You gotta read it to make sure they’re teaching you the wrong thing!”

Truth be told, most pastors are not out to trick or deceive you. They have good intentions. Ministers encourage church-goers to read their Bible at home and “see for themselves.” Many church-goers still don’t.

It’s so important to learn Scripture for yourself!

We need to learn verses, passages, and accounts in their original context. Most times, we only know to associate them with a specific idea and run the risk of missing their true meaning altogether.

What if I only ever learn the account of Joseph as a motivational message to never give up on my dreams–rather than how his life fits into this grand unraveling story of God and Israel.

This is where scriptural illiteracy begins. 

We pull aspects of Scripture out mixed with our personal vendettas and experiences and haphazardly apply them to our lives. Scriptural illiteracy doesn’t simply affect your ability to know where Habakukk or Jude are. Scriptural illiteracy will have you applying the wrong remedies and living without power.

“That’s all I needed to hear! I’m going to go home and read my Bible all the way through!” Slow down there partner! (Don’t judge me–I’m from Oklahoma).

Any time I’ve ever set out to read through the Bible, people would always suggest to start with the Gospels. However, this doesn’t make sense to start in the middle of a book especially if you want to properly understand the story.

People are afraid that if you don’t start there you’re going to lose sight of the importance of Jesus. But I ain’t neva’ scared!

We’ve gotta stop being so frightened to the extent to where we elevate our ability to be lost with no hope over His presence and purpose in our lives. If you are reading your Bible and learning the original context, you will not miss Jesus. In fact, we may discover him at a much richer deeper level than ever imagined!

I think a lot of times, we peruse Scripture looking for something relevant to where we are now. We don’t find value in the story as is and we don’t see our ready-made connection to the people in the book. We’ve been taught to interact with Scripture this way. This will not get the job done.

So, my simple suggestion:

Start at Genesis. Go slow. Read as unbiasedly as you possibly can. Let go of your fear. Let of what you already understand. I repeat, go slow.

Who knows what you may find?

If You’re Reading Your Bible This Way, You’re Doing It Wrong

When I talk to people about what I believe now, some people ask, “Where’s your source? Where in the Bible does it say that?” To be honest, my response usually sounds a bit elusive and sketchy. Many times, I have to simply say, “You won’t find this explicitly written in the Bible.”

The obvious conclusion for my conversation partner is, “You’re just making stuff up!”

However, that’s not the reason we read the same Bible but walk away with different conclusions. Additionally, it makes it a lot easier to dismiss what I say on account of the sheer amount of people who have walked away with outlandish conclusions. I get it.

Nevertheless, why am I walking away with completely different conclusions than the average Christian? Am I reading certain commentaries? Do I have access to better supplemental resources? Am I a linguist who comprehends the language better? Am I smarter? Am I crazy?

The short answer is: I learn differently.

I’m not talking about being a visual or auditory learner. I’m not saying I learn better, either.

Discovering Torah has taught me a new way to learn. This way of learning is meant for anyone who would approach it and adopt it!

Let’s think about the way many of us dig deeper when studying Scripture. Let’s start with a commonly misunderstood word—torah. At first, like most Christians, I understood torah to mean “law.”

We arrived at this conclusion by looking up the definition of the word in the original language—Hebrew. We probably looked up where the word was first used to get proper context and usage. This is good practice.

Many people’s understanding of ‘Torah’ does not extend beyond: it’s the first five books, it’s law, Israel couldn’t obey it because it was too hard, and we don’t have to because Jesus did it.

All of that might make sense if Torah does mean “law,” but it doesn’t. Upon a deeper search, it more closely means “instruction, way, path, guide.”

Many of us stop looking there—likely concluding, “Torah is the instruction or way.” Great! But, if I already believe that Torah is essentially irrelevant today, what good does this do me? I wouldn’t even know how to apply this to my life! “Maybe it USED to be the path we should follow, but now we have Jesus?” “Maybe it has good teaching in it.” At this point, we’re just guessing and can fall prey to filling in the gaps in order to make it make sense.

While I learned a more accurate definition of Torah a long time ago, I still had to live out and test the reality of what it means.

Our studying of Scripture has to extend beyond quiet sessions of reading, ferociously turning pages, and scribbling down notes. We do not truly learn that way.

It was not sufficient for me to learn the definition of “torah”. I must additionally learn the picture and behavior of it.

To read and pour over a text is a passive way of learning—especially if it stops there. While, there is nothing wrong with reading, that is not where our learning truly happens. Learning happens through movement. In Scripture, originally written in Hebrew and always upholding the Hebraic perspective, we discover movement and dynamism.

Why learn Scripture through the Hebraic perspective in the first place?

Hebrew is the perspective through which the Bible is written. Even when we read the texts written in Greek, we are still to read it within the cultural perspective of the Hebraic people.

Hebrew is an active language. English is not.

Hebrew is meant to be lived. It is a behavioral language–the written expression of life and how it works. This is the picture and function of Torah. That’s why the Torah is much more than the first five books.

Let’s think about the Gospel of John. In John 1:1, we read, “In the beginning was the word, the word was with God, and the word was God. He was with God in the beginning.”

Over time, we’ve come to understand this verse to be referring to Jesus as the Word. “Word” in the Greek is logos—meaning expressed idea, reason, plan. So, we conclude that Jesus is the expressed idea that God had. He’s the blueprint!

That’s cute and it makes sense. We can even piggyback off of this idea and think: if Jesus is the expressed idea, we must be meant to model ourselves after Him so that we too can be expressions of God’s ideas. It feels great because it feels like we’re comprehending something profound!

However, if we already have formed erroneous doctrines, we’ll attach newly discovered truths to these ideas. So, let’s be slow to process this.

Let’s add John 14:6 to the mix. Jesus is recorded saying, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” There is no shortage of verses in the Old Testament that directly refer to the Torah as truth, as life, and as the way.

Let’s review:

  • Torah is the instructions/ideas for how life works
  • Torah shows us what pleases God as it reveals His nature
  • Jesus is the living version of God’s instruction/ideas
  • Jesus is the way to the Father
  • Torah reveals the Father

When we put it all together, we discover that Yeshua/Jesus IS the Torah! Jesus shows us what pleases God. When we follow Torah, we follow Jesus. When we follow Jesus, we follow Torah.

Mind. Blown.

This is a lovely place to start. But, we’re not done here.

The connection we just formed cannot fully be internalized until we go out into our every day lives and make observations. We will essentially investigate the validity of this claim. As we live, we will either find it stands up or it doesn’t.

Think about the psalms. We call the psalms worship and praise. Rightfully so! In the psalms, David is chronicling his observations! He is living and through the activity and events of his life, he is finding what He’s known about God to be true! David was ACTIVELY learning!

Worship understood as singing is a passive activity. Praise understood simply as shouting and celebrating is passive.

Worship is the day to day activity of life. It can never be separated from that. Through every action and thought, we are observing what we value/worship. Praise is a response after having challenged something. Praise is the conclusion or culmination of activity!

Now, this may sound like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo. Understand, anything that is active lives. Anything that is passive and only passive will eventually die.

Is your learning dead? Is your understanding dead? Is your revelation dead?

One might simply think of this process of learning I’ve laid out in a couple of ways.

Word. Definition. Picture. Behavior.

Wisdom. Understanding. Knowledge.

Seed/Roots. Trunk. Branches. Fruit.

When we learn, we become. We do not simply have knowledge, we become it. We don’t simply have light, we become it. You have not learned until and unless it has gripped your behavior.

All of the illustrations above start with something that doesn’t seem to have life yet. It isn’t until it “springs up” that we see the truth of what it is. Many of us put a seed in the ground or hold it in our hands and convince ourselves that we’re growing something or we’ve already learned something. We have to be willing to go through the process in order to have the fruit of our active labor!

Learning is cyclical. At the culmination of the process, therein lies the capacity to reproduce! I.e. fruit have seed in them. The fruit is becoming (active).

Life is learning. Life is active. Life is work.

Think of Adam. We joke that before God gave Adam a wife, he gave him a job. What we actually witness is Adam learning. In his working, he is learning. Life is work. Work is active. Learning is active. Work is sacred.

A warning: it is very easy to get caught up in busy work that makes you feel like you’re working, learning, or being active. Busy work is movement, but it’s not active. Picture Israel wandering in the wilderness.

I’d previously wandered all my years in Christianity and didn’t realize it. I hadn’t been willing to go through the process of exploring and challenging a thing in order to determine the truth of what it is.

Before, I spoke from an unconfident, know-it-all energy. This was my overall energy because I was unwilling to go through the process of actually learning something. While my words sounded strong then, the activity in my life was weak. I spent all my time passively learning—thus passively applying ideas to my life.

So, when I speak today about what I believe, I speak with an intensity unparalleled to the way I once spoke. I speak with confidence because I’ve tested what I speak of. I speak from confidence and not weak know-it-all energy. The difference today is I am willing to be wrong which means I’ve only just started learning.

To be honest, so many people (myself at one point) are dissociated with themselves and life that this process will be incredibly jarring when they first begin. Many will be discouraged and feel like, “What’s the point?” This process will make them feel like something is wrong or nothing is happening. Some will fight it because they are unfamiliar with truly observing themselves and the world. It is so incredibly foreign that some will be depressed due to what they observe. Some will feel like they’re being unproductive because “they’re not spending enough time with God.”

If you ever find yourself worried about whether or not you’re spending enough time with God, remember this: Nothing you do is happening outside of Him. Even when He would sit someone outside the camp of Israel, it was for the purpose of cleansing so that they could return and be active within the community (think of Miriam). Even if you feel sat aside by God today, remember there is always a deeper purpose of reconciliation and healing that He is accomplishing in you.

Every thing you do and witness all day is an opportunity for Him to access you to teach you! I know it feels good to set aside time to show you’re being intentional about hearing from Him and learning from Him, but you are just as present with Him in the things that seem nonsacred or unplanned—even more so if you will see his invitation to learn from Him in everything.

To make this more concrete, keep these things in mind:

  1. It is not enough to learn the definition of a word. You must continue to learn the picture and eventually the behavior.
  2. Learning happens at every moment of the day.
  3. Relying on explicitly stated Bible verses will cripple your opportunity to learn.
  4. The learning process will always start with exactly where you are. You will first practice observing your own behavior.
  5. This process will feel challenging and uncomfortable. Embrace the unknown and discomfort.
  6. The opportunity to learn will often come from spaces you didn’t expect.
  7. This takes time. So, give yourself grace. Typically, we can feel like we’ve learned a lot because we’ve consumed a lot in a short period of time. Truthfully, you will not retain a vast majority of it. What you do retain will be what is useful.

Go slow as you learn. If you learn exactly where you are, that will always be more effective than setting out to learn what you think you ought to know by now or what so-and-so knows. God desires to teach each of us.

The Rant to Rival All Rants

I recently made a slew of posts on Facebook addressing Christian culture, the value of Torah, and the power of challenging our foundation. Here they all are, compiled.

I titled this blog the way I did, not because I was ranting—but because it was perceived that way. For some, these words will be strong and jarring. But, I assure you, while they are strong and challenging, my tone and disposition is one of empathy.

Post #1

The issue with the Christian Church/Christianity is not the people, but the culture. People beget culture and culture begets people. Shrugs.

Christianity, aside from its fundamental falsehoods, fosters an environment where people are inclined to pretend, are shamed, hide, are fearful, unconfident, etc. The culture encourages people to flaunt spirituality, righteousness, and traditions as cloaks of confidence. The culture allows you to dismiss contrary ideas without ever exploring the idea in the name of guarding your salvation. The culture encourages people to live in shame under the guise of humility. The culture encourages people to distrust themselves in the name of wisdom and trusting God.

Having left Christianity, I have found the concessions I used to make, I no longer have to make.

I can trust YAH and myself.

I can mess up and not be ashamed.

I can be confident and it doesn’t mean I’m prideful.

I can be unconfident and it not mean I don’t have enough faith.

I can come as I am to YAH and His people and my value still be in tact.

Long story short—there’s a lot less pretending outside of religion. I’m still unlearning the systems of religion—for sure. So, I don’t ever mean for this to sound like I know everything and you should listen to me. If it challenges or offends you in any particular way, feel free to explore why.

Post #2

What’s so interesting about this is so many Christians are sharing it, but when I and others point out fundamental flaws in this religious system, it becomes about, “Oh no, the church has failed you! My church isn’t like that! We just need to focus on Jesus. Maybe you didn’t have a good experience.”

Why is it Christians can jokingly say Paul would correct the Christian church in America, but feel the need to refute when someone (who isn’t a Christian) says the church needs correction?

Post #3

Christian culture (cont’d)

When I start talking about the shame, fear, pretending, etc., that’s present in Christian culture, I get similar responses. Most of the time, people think it’s an anomaly. “Maybe they went to a church that was very condemning and strict.” It’s not really about that. Two things I want to point out.

1. People show up broken to the church and the culture exasperates or conceals the issue. It is not necessarily the cause of peoples’ various issues.

2. We don’t know what God wants.

These two are the bread and butter for Christian culture. Together, they make a dangerous mix.

People show up to this system—to the pastors, churches, denominations, conferences, Christians—broken. They’re looking for a remedy. They’re looking for a remedy to the self-hate, their so-called sin nature, their fleshly desires. Then, they’re given Jesus. They’re told Jesus loves you and just wants you to follow Him. You just need to give up those things that Jesus doesn’t like. Simple enough.

What are the things He doesn’t like? They’re told sexual promiscuity, lust, stealing, lying, judging, cheating, killing, smoking, revealing clothing, cursing, certain friends, pride, certain past times. The list goes on. So, their journey begins.

What happens when people are not able to give up their “fleshly desires”? What happens when even though they’ve been going to church, praying, fasting, and the desire is still there? The response many get (although most don’t approach anyone because they’re afraid to admit that it’s just not taking) is pray more, study more, worship more, fast more. Whatever the Christian disciplines are, do more of them.

Then what happens? During the time that it’s “not working”, they feel the need to pretend because it SEEMS like so-and-so over there isn’t struggling with anything.

There is an element of the culture in Christianity where people want to cast off suffering as though it devalues them or their place with God—as if it diminishes their spirituality.

This leads me to the second part. When a person is backed into a corner like this one, they have no choice but to create their own set of beliefs and practices (that are already in their wheelhouse) and say this is what God wants from me. That way, they can alleviate themselves from the constant pressure of “still haven’t arrived”. This can be observed at every level of this system. From church, denomination, individual—there are a list of to-dos and to-donts from some obscure list in the New Testament that says THIS is what we should be focused on. If you’re doing this, you’re alright.

But it doesn’t stop there. The culture requires you to add to the Word. Now, certain clothing, style of music, lingo, gospel artists, situations are exactly what you need (or don’t need) in order to please God.

All because we can’t simply admit that we don’t know what God wants and we’re not sure if we’re meeting His expectation.

In this kind of environment, sin of all sort is able to prevail. Their is no sense of true identity. It is simply the identity I conjure up and feel comfortable being and am validated by others in this system. These laws we create help cover our deficiencies. Adhering to them help us feel like we have forward motion. They help us feel like we’re “impacting the kingdom.”

This does not simply exist in the so-called “condemning churches.” This is present in the majority of churches that do not have a proper footing in Torah first.

Torah, the deep process of healing that it offers, will rid you of self-hate, shame, condemnation, negative fear, doubt, worry, distrust, etc. The list goes on.

If a church’s foundation of Scripture and life is not built on Torah, it is a rootless tree pretending to be something it is not.

Post #4

If you (Christian) see my posts, it’s okay for you to disagree. You might even feel offended. However, it’s not okay for you to read my posts looking for something to disagree with or an opportunity to discredit.

Granted, I don’t feel like most people do this. Honestly, the people that reply are likely the people who are available for open dialogue–which I appreciate.

If my posts about Christian culture irritate you, fine. But, don’t let that irritation stop you from seeing the truth in my words.

Truthfully, I’ve heard Christians rebuke the culture of the Christian church vehemently while I was still apart of it. This rebuke was allowed because it was coming from someone “on the inside.” The moment someone “from the outside” rebukes, it is met with “othering.”

Many Christians “other” differing views and in doing so remain stagnant in their understanding. This does not mean I have everything right. However, the only way I or you are going to discover truth is if we go through this process of reasoning and challenge. If there is an invisible bottom line that we hold, our verbal sharpening is for naught.

What is the point in having dialogue or exploring certain ideas if your plan is to walk away believing what you already believe? Come into these conversations with the intent to discover truth even if it’s something you’ve never believed before.

In Christianity, I think many of us were taught to hold so tightly to the truth almost in fear that it could so easily be ripped or plucked out of us. Think of the parable of the seed and sower (not sure if that was the title). Some seed was snatched while others took root, but withered. Many know the illustration.

My words are meant to challenge what your ground is. What soil are you planting in? What has been planted? What has taken root?

Additionally, the pushback or ignoring of what I’ve presented is evidence of another issue within the culture and it proves what I’ve said before.

Christian culture facilitates people running from Light. We’re so fearful of judgment. This fear is gripping. It grips us to our practices. It grips us to our doctrines. It grips us to our fig leaves. We’re so afraid that if God looks our direction, He might not like what He sees.

When You understand Torah: that you need to be judged, that you need to present yourself before Light (YHWH/YAH/God), that He needs to look you over, that He’s lovingly looking over you, that He believes in you, how He sees you, there will be no need to run. These conversations become a lot easier to have.

These ideas may not seem connected. But, there are always things planted so deeply that we cannot see unless we examine our behavior. Upon deeper diving, we discover the seed that was originally planted.

Post #5

More on Christian Culture…

What makes Christian culture so damaging? It lacks vulnerability.

The inner journey of many is to come in, learn the culture, do as they’ve seen, stand on what they believe. This does not sound bad. Quite honestly, it doesn’t look bad either.

It seems like I can find a problem with anything. How can standing on what you believe be a bad thing?

When you stand on what you believe as a means to feel or appear confident without acknowledging where you are unconfident, you enter dangerous territory.

Many of those sermons that seem to have been taught with such anointing, were often taught from the few pockets of confidence that an individual has. Many are standing on the little confidence they have and will not come off of it. This is fear.

This is because somewhere in their belief system or pathology, they cannot afford to be vulnerable. They cannot afford to be unconfident. It almost feels like being unguarded.

When you are vulnerable, it almost feels like you’re in a weakened state. With all the trauma many Christians (like any other human) are carrying around, it makes sense that they’d form systems and beliefs that keep them guarded from facing those painful, unconfident areas.

Many of us are afraid of the truth of who we are. So, we don’t search deeper. We recite our staple verses and ignore anything that feels contrary. Any revelation that shows us how we truly see ourselves can almost always be written off as “the devil is attacking me.”

This is fear. Scripture says, “The fear of Elohim is the beginning of knowledge.” Fear is not inherently a negative thing. This is understood when studied from the Hebraic perspective. There is fear as in being afraid. There is fear that means something else. This is what I’m talking about. Fear is foundation. Fear is what you stand on. Fear is what you have allegiance to. Fear is root.

To have the “fear of Elohim” is to have Him be your root. To have the fear of Elohim means you’ve undergone the process of challenging your foundation to the extent to where all that remains is Him/His Torah.

This requires vulnerability. This requires slowing down in life–not simply creating pockets of time where you are to “hear from God” or “spend time with God”. It requires being sensitive to what He is challenging in you day in and day out. As you submit yourself to that process, you will find it easier to face those painful spaces and you will become whole.

Post #6

Excerpt from the article,



“It is particularly difficult for Westerners—those whose thought-patterns have been influenced more by the Greeks and Romans than by the Hebrews—to piece together the block logic of Scripture. When we open the Bible, therefore, since we are not Orientals, we are invited…to ‘undergo a kind of intellectual conversion’ to the Hebraic world of the East.

“Let us turn, then to some of the many examples of block logic found throughout Scripture. The book of Exodus says that Pharaoh hardened his heart, but it also says that God hardened it (Ex. 8:15; cf. 7:3). The prophets teach that God is both wrathful and merciful (Isa. 45:7; Hab. 3:2). The New Testament refers to [Yeshua] as the ‘Lamb of God’ and the ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah’ (Jn. 1:29, 36; Rev. 5:5). Hell is described as both ‘blackest darkness’ and the firey lake’ (Jude 13; Rev. 19:20). In terms of salvation, [Yeshua] said, ‘whoever comes to me I will never drive away,’ yet no one can come ‘unless the Father draws him’ (Jn. 6:37, 44). To find life you must lose it (Mt. 10:39). When you are weak, then you are strong (2 Cor. 12:10). The way up (exhaltation) is the way down (humility) (Lk. 14:11). ‘Jacob have I loved and Esau have I hated’ (Rom. 9:13; Mal. 1:3).

“Consideration of certain forms of block logic may give one the impression that divine sovereignty and human responsibility were incompatible. The Hebrews, however, sense no violation of their freedom as they accomplish God’s purposes. Upon a more careful reading of the biblical text one can often observe that the Bible views one block from the perspective of divine transcendence—God says, ‘I will harden Pharaoh’s heart’—and the other from a human point of view—‘Pharaoh hardened his heart’ (Ex. 4:21; 7:3,13; 8:15). The same is often true of Scriptures which deal with themes of predestination/election and free will/human freedom.

“In sum, the Hebrew mind could handle this dynamic tension of the language of paradox, confident that ‘all is in the hands of Heaven except the fear of Heaven’…Divine sovereignty and human responsibility were not incompatible.”


Jesus taught to uphold the Torah and meant to establish its original fundamental meaning which had been corrupted by the religious leaders of His day.

To know Him, we have to understand His Torah. If you do not understand His Torah, you will not understand who came as flesh. If we do not understand His Torah, we are following a religion about Him, but so far removed–which inevitably leads to being removed from His power.

“It has been admitted, by even some in the Christian church, that Christianity is not the religion of Jesus/Yeshua, but rather the religion about the Person of Jesus/Yeshua. For it to be the religion of Yeshua and his early disciples, it would have to uphold that obedience to the Torah’s standards of righteous living is a requirement of Christians today.”

Post #8

Why did God give the Torah to begin with if He knew it was too hard to do?

I think many look at failing as confirmation that we were simply not meant to do it. This is not the proper view of failure (sin). Additionally, one could just as easily apply this logic to the lives of Christians today. Are we not meant to believe in the sacrifice of Yeshua/Jesus and what it afforded us because we still fail? No.

But we’re “under grace.” We keep using this phrase as a vague spiritual designation that essentially means God won’t hold your failure against you. I’d prefer not to get into the details of things. So, I’m giving a broad overview for you to consider.

Firstly, the proper translation of torah is not law, but instruction or teaching. Torah shows us the nature of God. Torah teaches us how to live in harmony with ourselves, each other, & God according to the natural patterns and invisible laws that govern life on Earth.

To try to do everything in the torah and not learn the heart of the torah is futile. God nor Jesus ever advocated for this sort of surface-level engagement with Torah. Instead, Torah is a mirror that has the power to correct and adjust you. When you are wandering off the path, it brings you back from destruction. Torah does a deep healing. It cannot heal as it naturally does if you are applying it improperly. People will apply it incorrectly if they understand it incorrectly.

By the time Yeshua/Jesus had come, the state of the people of Israel was incredibly removed. The religious leaders imposed a surface-level application of Torah and even added and subtracted from it while teaching others to do the same.

This is the qualm Jesus had with them. I know in Christianity, we’ve been taught that Yeshua was opposing the Torah because it was too hard and legalistic. Instead, Yeshua was opposing the religious spirit/nature of the people of this time that would make futile systems of what is a way of life. They meant to validate themselves and were foregoing the process of healing that happens when you let YAH teach you who He is through His Torah. When YAH teaches you, He validates you.

This is the tone of the Torah. Think of the Ten Commandments–better known as the Ten Words. These are not threats or strict laws given to Israel so that they wouldn’t do anything God didn’t like. Instead, they are written with the tone of validating who they are. “You will not murder because this is who you are.” YAH declares the standard and we walk the path. He adjusts us as we teeter to and fro as our strength is built. This is very foundational.

The Pharisees created systems, ideas, and the like where they could be validated by their own works and not by allowing their hearts to be circumcised as always intended. They were creating their own foundations. They were living as they pleased and declared “this is what God wants from me.”

This is reminiscent of what is happening in Christian culture today. Many are passing down ideas, traditions, and doctrines without challenging them and are saying, “this is what God wants from us.” Many would rather stay doing what they’re doing and be validated rather than ask, “what is it that you want?”

This rant was not done from a particularly negative place. I was excited about my ponderings and decided to share them. I’ve enjoyed and am deeply grateful for all of the engagement. Many people have commented, debated, encouraged, questioned, and it’s been fruitful.

Until next time!

Is It Time to Leave Your Local Church?

We’re in an interesting time in Western society. The landscape seems to be rapidly changing—culturally, politically, religiously, financially, etc. When there is a shift as great as the one we’re experiencing now, language becomes incredibly key in polarizing people and ideas.

This is nothing new. It has always been a clever tactic by the powers that be. There are so many coined phrases that get thrown around in conversations to shame, dismiss, support, shut down, or provide clarity. These phrases have certain connotations that indicate where someone stands and how you should engage with them.

In the political realm, some common ones are liberals, conservatives, racists, nazis, socialists, communists, and the like. While many of these have very specific meanings, they’ve been hijacked to discredit and dismiss people with contrary views.

In the social and cultural realm, some common ones are woke, sleep, bigots, transphobic, reverse racist, racist, gatekeeper, ally, etc. These words have been designated newly minted meanings that have the power to isolate and shame contrary ideas.

In religious spaces, Pharisee, Judaizer, legalistic, worldly, self-righteous are a few common ones. People have long noticed how divided and segregated the Christian church is at a denominational level and cultural level. These phrases put distance between your righteousness and that of others. It validates what you believe and dismisses what others believe.

As someone who has left Christianity, I am very keen on listening to the shift in the religious landscape–particularly in Christian circles.

Face it–People are leaving.

According to an article by the Pew Research Center,

“If recent trends in religious switching continue, Christians could make up less than half of the U.S. population within a few decades.”

The Pew Research Center

Studies have long indicated that most adults who grew up in church as a child will not return in their adult life. This has been a major pain point for many believers and local churches in general. Many religious leaders are doing their best to respond and understand why this is occurring.

Why are they leaving?

There are a few popular ideas within Christendom as to why people leave the Christian Church or Christianity as a whole and I think there’s something to be learned here.

  1. Church hurt: some form of hurt, offense, or betrayal by the leaders or congregants of a church
  2. Deconstruction: the idea of unlearning and rebuilding your Christian faith
  3. Never were connected to begin with
  4. Pulled in by secular culture

These are some of the phrases or ideas thrown around in conversations and I think Christians are missing an opportunity.

Church Hurt

I find that Christians (mostly) lump every person who leaves the Church into the first two categories and it’s quite dangerous.

The “deconstruction” crowd are those who have grown weary of fruitless religion and country club culture of the church, and are seeking a more authentic experience. These people might feel a little lost, detached, disappointed, or infuriated. These people are rarely consciously making a choice to rebuild their faith. It’s a gradual happening in which they feel incredibly dissatisfied with the current condition of the Christian church. Most of these people will return to their faith of old.

Then, there’s the first group. There are those who leave due to faulty leadership or offense of some sort. This is what many are calling ‘church hurt.’ Some Christians feel particularly empathetic towards these people, while others find their “lack of faith” problematic. Their justification is that no man should have the ability to make you “walk away from God”–as though walking away from manmade religion and walking away from God are one in the same. Talk about problematic.

Nine times out of ten (not a real statistic), these people will return to the Church. Once they are able to heal in their relationship with said person, people or engage in healing relationship with others, they’ll come back.

System Failure, The Curveball

Those who leave Christianity because they find that it doesn’t have the capacity to address individual, familial, communal, or global issues, they will likely never go back.

To Christians, these people register as having the greatest threat to the Christian Church. Christians firmly warn against them and their “doctrine of demons.” Many Christian pastors are even doing training on how to respond to said people.

There is something incredibly jarring about the disposition of these people. This is due to their inability to be controlled. These people are not simply unable to be controlled because they’re wild and sinful. They cannot be controlled because they are no longer validated by the system of religion. They are no longer looking to the standards that the Christian Church has claimed to be true for so long.

This is the greatest discrepancy between the Christian and his friends that no longer find value in Christianity and may believe entirely different than he does. I’ll speak for myself.

I know many Christians who look down on or sympathetically at those who leave because if you look from a particular angle, it seems they’re worse off. They seem to be more unhinged, less clean-cut, more broad thinking, rigid, more emotional, etc. Sometimes, they seem to always be changing or exploring a new idea. It’s difficult to trust what they believe because there doesn’t seem to be structure or continuity (yet) in what they believe. So, you look upon them and think, “Yea, I’d better stay over here because by the looks of it, they don’t seem to be much better.”

This is entirely understandable. When I left the Church and Christianity, a dear friend of mine told me that it seemed I’d been led astray because of how angry I was. And I was angry! I was infuriated that the system I’d put my entire identity in, caved in.

I was angry that what I thought was fruit was rotten. I was disappointed that what I thought was wisdom was fear. I was angry that what I thought was faith was manipulation. I was angry because what I thought was growth and movement was me running on a hamster wheel my entire life.

Truthfully, I came off way too strong! I was beginning to naturally challenge a lot of doctrine I’d held up until that point and I’d share my discoveries. While many people distanced themselves from me by avoiding the conversation, there were those that despite their discomfort with where I was, they still indulged me for as long as they could. Some would engage me and pretend as though nothing had changed. That wasn’t right either.

The longer I’ve been gone, the clearer the picture has become—the more defined my beliefs are. For a while there, many close people in my life were incredibly concerned and feared I’d lost a connection with the Holy Spirit, etc. My shambles and immaturity turned many off to the idea of even exploring what I was discovering. Understandably. However…

The reality is, it is fear that keeps many from ever challenging what they believe—not simply being turned off by the condition of people who leave. It is tradition and misinterpretations of Scripture that keep you bound to a fear-mongering system that discourages you from questioning.

Granted, you shouldn’t leave your church simply because someone you trust has left. There has to be an authentic beckoning that calls you out. Honestly, it likely won’t seem obvious to many.

The reason many haven’t left is because they’re still being validated by the system. It works for them—or so it seems. As long as you are satisfied by what is given, you will return.

Once you learn how YAH truly validates us, you will find no purpose in the vast majority of what Christians do at church and away. Your entire world will be flipped upside down.

If you challenge what you believe, and I mean truly challenge, you might find that you’ve never truly been satisfied. You are still thirsty. It has been as though you’ve looked in the mirror and have forgotten what you look like when you’ve walked off. That is an imperfect mirror.

Christianity is not simply imperfect. It’s wrong. When you truly learn HIS ways, you will look into the perfect mirror and remember who you are.

If you are unsure about leaving your church, don’t. Whenever—if ever—you truly feel beckoned, you won’t look back and nothing will be able to stop you.

Black People, We’ve Been Duped!

Growing up, I was called the “white-black girl.” I was the token black friend and I even let some of my non-melanated or lightly melanated friends say “nigga.” Forgive me. For I knew not what I did.

Truthfully, I was ashamed of being Black. Embarrassed. I prided myself on not being an expression of the stereotypical Black archetype. I carried this responsibility to be the spokesperson for Black people and prove we weren’t all the same. But, I didn’t realize how similar we all really were.

There is a shared, multi-layered, and multi-faceted condition of most Black people in Western society.

This might take a while.

Growing up, I was called the “white-black girl.” I was the token black friend and I even let some of my non-melanated or lightly melanated friends say “nigga.” Forgive me. For I knew not what I did.

Truthfully, I was ashamed of being Black. Embarrassed. I prided myself on not being an expression of the stereotypical Black archetype. Granted, I was a little different and my “differences” were genuine. While I was always reminded by Black people that I was different, I carried this responsibility to be the spokesperson for Black people and prove we weren’t all the same. But, I didn’t realize how similar we all really were.

There is a shared, multi-layered, and multi-faceted condition of most Black people in Western society. To describe it: We have little to no sense of identity, we are distrusting of each other, traumatized, disjointed family systems, imbalanced in our emotional expression, imbalanced in the masculine-feminine dynamic, exhausted, and manipulated. Ouch! Manipulated. Let’s hang there a little bit.

Disclaimer: The current state of Black people is not entirely bleak, but we have issues that have been perpetuated for entirely too long and I’m hoping collectively we can address them. Moving on.

About this manipulation thing–there seems to be ever present a lack of authenticity in society today. Everyone is trying to buy you. When you’re Black, the implications of this are dangerous! Being a part of a community that has been traumatized and disenfranchised means special interests groups such as the education system, church, and the government have the power to manipulate your emotions to fulfill their personal agendas.

It goes a little something like this, “Black people, you’ve had it so bad for so long. No one cares about you, but us. This is the only way for you to experience justice and peace. Don’t forget about slavery! Don’t ever forget about slavery! Here’s Black History Month. Like our red, green, and black? We’re fighting with you! You must be so triggered.”

Everyone proposes solutions to the ailments in the Black community. Religious folk say “church” or Jesus is the answer. The government says “our party and policies are the answer.” The education system says, “we’re the answer. We’re your only hope.”

Here’s the problem with this. All of these institutions are starting from the wrong place. The root of their so-called remedy is a belief that black people have no value. “Join us and have value” is what they mean to say. “You have no value all your own.” “Do things the way the ‘white man’ does and you’ll have success.” “You can’t trust yourself.”

These systems don’t have a complete picture (wholeness) nor a process by which to ascertain a complete picture. Therefore, they cannot supply the remedy!

The only remedy that will work is one that starts from the place that says, “You are whole. That’s who you are. You have value. You can trust yourself.” There is no fear in that reality!

Every other institution uses shame, fear, and distrust to tether us to their ideology to motivate us to apply their methods.

Education system: You can only have a good life if you do well in school and get as many degrees as possible. If this is such an excellent solution to the ailments of the Black community:

  1. Why is it that even though Black women are the most educated group of people in America, they are the group of women least likely to be married?
  2. Why is it that even though it’s common knowledge that children function and grow better in a home with both parents, women are being incentivized to split up the home and put their children’s father on child support disempowering him from growing financially? [There are other negative effects of this incentive.]
  3. Why is it that even though we know the family is the most sacred institution within which wholeness and purpose is fostered do we encourage our men and women to prioritize everything but the family?]

Christian Church: You will be lost if you don’t regularly attend. Your life will decline if you are not serving here. You need to sacrifice time with your family, rest, etc. in order to make sure the church house doors are open. You need to trust what the pastor says over your individual unction. God is pleased when you’re giving even if it means taking from your family. Pastor knows best. God is going to bless you if you bless the church. If this system is so upright:

  1. Why is there an imbalance in the male-female church attendance with majority of congregants being female? Why aren’t men finding value in attending church?
  2. Why are men being emasculated by the current culture of church?
  3. Why are Black people still broke?
  4. Why are Black people still living under shame and fear?
  5. Why are men being disempowered to be the men in their home for the sake of service to the church?
  6. Why are people leaving the church at such high numbers?
  7. Why is there such incredible disorder in the church?
  8. Why does the culture promote Black people saying they’re “blessed and highly favored” when they’re really “faking it ’til they make it?”
  9. Why is there no vulnerability?

We’ve been sold a pipe dream. It tickles our ears and we return to it like a dog returns to vomit. We are so blinded by our needs that we look for quick fixes and root ourselves in systems that can’t provide what they’ve promised. This only exasperates the condition.

None of these institutions have the desire or know how to see us whole. As long as we are crippled by trauma, they will always have access to pull the wool over our eyes.

It’s time. It’s high time we stop mimicking the cultures of others in order to feel a sense of value. It’s time for us to stop engaging in the media’s conversations about race. It’s time for us to see that learning happens at home first and primarily–not at school. It’s times for us to stop trying to convince people to remedy the past or present. We have all we need right now.

If Black people spent the next five years and put every ounce of their energy toward healing husband and wife relationships, parent-child relationships, honoring ourselves and each other,--the landscape of society would change drastically.

Because we’d no longer be susceptible to manipulation, these groups would seek a different vulnerable population. We’d have restored our sense of value and honor.

This is not to say that Black people have no value. Our value is in tact. We’ve simply lost sight of who we really are because our eyes have wandered everywhere other than where they belong–gazing upon Light.

YAH is light. Religion simply masquerades as it.

The way is plain for us. It’s been placed in plain sight for us to explore and take up. No one could hide it if they tried. It is inevitable, because this is who we are.

How To: Breaking Generational Curses

Have you ever wondered: why do I do things the way I do? Why do I behave the way I do? Why do I want what I want? Why do I hate what I hate? Unbeknownst to you, your family life taught you belief systems that lead to behaviors which define our cycles.

Our family is the context in which we learn how to see the world and ourselves. Our day to day life experiences provide a lens through which we see every situation. This means I believe I have a certain role to play in society and will intuitively behave according to this. This is reinforced in every situation and can explain the source of my perspective.

If my role has been to be the responsible one in every situation, I will require responsibility on my part — whether or not I actually should. This will be the dynamic of one of my cycles.

Ideally, the family ought to cultivate healthy cycles from an identity of wholeness. For example, if a child receives unconditional love, the child grows up with a positive perspective of self and can reflect that in the world through his or her cycles. Your cycles are what define and determine your life.

A child grows into an adult who will behave based on the role or identity they were given. If the child has been trained to see every situation as negative or to see themselves as a victim, then they will behave accordingly. This is crippling. It will almost seem as if they have no choice but to behave as a victim.

Yes. We have free will. However, our free will does not magically supersede behavioral cycles we have not yet challenged. Meaning: a person will always do what they’ve been conditioned to do until they question the validity of the belief system.

We must identify our family’s belief systems. What patterns exist in our families? What identities are cultivated in our families? Are these healthy? Which are destructive? Which, if channeled properly, become productive?

We talk about breaking generational curses without knowing what a curse is or how to break them. Failure in breaking generational curses is due to a hyper-spiritualization of them.

A generational curse is not a spell your family is under. It cannot and is not prayed away. It has to be wrestled with–contended if you will. How does one contend with a curse? What does it mean to be cursed? So glad you asked.

In the Torah, we read YAH laying out laws, commands, and statutes. Many of them begin with, “If you do ______, I will do ______.” “If you do ______, you will be blessed.” “If you do ____, you will be cursed.”

Many of us read these phrases as life’s cheat codes or spells that allows us to get YAH to do what we want. It’s a bit more complicated than that, yet so simple.

YAH created the universe and everything within it and designed it to operate according to laws and principles–from which no one is exempt. The Torah is Him detailing these ideas. If you can observe and apply these principles, you will see the natural product of them (blessing). If you do not observe (obey) and apply these principles, there will be a natural product as well.

Being cursed is a natural restricting when humans behave against the grain of the principles which govern our existence. Picture a plant. If it is not receiving what it needs, it starts to die. It must be pruned. A curse is a like a pruning–necessary when a plant is not receiving what it needs. A curse restricts, isolates–in order that the plant be able to receive what it truly needs.

We’ve made blessings and cursing so mystical, when they are as natural as the oxygen we breathe.

From where I stand, a curse has three parts. It has the cause, effect, and the remedy. Take my family for example

The women in my family have often grown up without strong, present, and loving fathers. This shaped them to be combative, distrusting, and resilient.

The cause would be the lack of strong leadership in the home. The effect would be the qualities the women have exhibited. The remedy would be going through the process of learning the true standard, challenging our identity, and being prepared to be covered.

We treat curses as though they are punishment. Being cursed, from a Hebraic standpoint, is the path you’d have to take toward wholeness. Being cursed does not stop at what went wrong. The restriction moves us toward provision of what we lacked in the first place. This process would be incomplete if it were simply an affliction imposed upon us due to someone’s mistake. Instead, YAH has ensured a way of escape. He’s ensured that, though cursed for a time, there is a way to shalom (salvation, peace, wholeness).

If there is a pattern or characteristic in your family, inquire about it. Find its roots. If the children are being supplied something healthy, they will give out what is good. If the children are being supplied something unhealthy, they will exhibit unhealthy behaviors and characteristics. The trick is being able to identify what YAH sees as healthy and unhealthy.

How do you start the process of determining your family’s generational curses? First, you can observe and examine your own perspectives, behaviors, and qualities. Then, you can observe if these are also present in your family members. Determine why you or others developed these patterns.

One more thing: it can be difficult to identify these things in ourselves and our family. Typically, when there has been a lack for so long, we find ways to make do, to plug holes, to fill up space so that the gaping hole is no longer observable. Therefore, it will require us to slow down and be vulnerable with our family members.

Nine times out of ten, YAH has already attempted to reveal to you or others that something is unhealthy within your family system. We have to be sensitive to these moments. They do not simply come as tension or fights at holiday gatherings. They come when we discover deficiencies within ourselves. When we have discomfort about certain things. When we find ourselves overreacting. They come when we’re at work. They come when we feel incredibly unconfident. They come when we overcompensate.

All of these moments point to something. We just have to be walking slow enough to hear.

Torah Today

Refusing to critically and objectively study what some call the Old and the New Testament IN CONTEXT leaves many of us hungry for truth. To apply Scripture out of its context is to starve yourself; for it cannot produce real fruit.

In the average Christian church, there is a discounting of the relevance and potency of the Torah (first five books of the Old Testament) and the Writings due to misinterpretations of Scripture.

Statements like, “That’s the old stuff–we don’t need that anymore,” “We’re under a new covenant (without knowing what that means),” and “We’re not under the law, we’re under grace (without knowing what that means),” get us in a lot of trouble. 

Many who would profess to be followers of Yeshua (Aramaic name of the Messiah), deny the very doctrine and source from which He taught–the Torah. They use many of the excuses listed above to validate their living out of just a few books in the Bible.

I am convinced that our walk (not religion) will be much more enriched when we seek to understand Scripture within its complete context.

Refusing to critically and objectively study what some call the Old and the New Testament IN CONTEXT leaves many of us hungry for truth. To apply Scripture out of its context is to starve yourself; for it cannot produce real fruit.

To apply principles of Scriptures contextually, we will have to unlearn much of what we’ve learned.

If you don’t remember anything else I say, remember this: the “New” Testament is commentary on the Torah, Prophets, and the Writings. That means its foundation is the Torah. They derive their thinking and understanding of Scripture from Torah. So, we must know Torah to properly interpret and apply what we read.

The first couple hundred years after Messiah ascended, they did not have what we have compiled today. So, they were teaching from the: you guessed it–Torah, Prophets, and the Writings.

I know. Many believe they were reading out of pocket New Testaments and following along as these events took place; but, that’s just not what happened.

Heck, it’s unlikely the writers of the New Testament would’ve thought what they were writing would be considered Scripture. So, when Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16 saying, “All Scripture is breathed out by Elohim and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of Elohim might be fitted, equipped for every good work;” the Scripture he is referring to is the Scripture they already knew: the Torah, Prophets, and the Writings. 

Most of the time when Christians hear Torah, their mind goes to the “icky law that Jesus fulfilled so that we don’t have to.” There are many things wrong with that perspective. However, we have to start somewhere.

Many translate Torah as “law.” However, it is best translated as instruction, teaching, or doctrine.

Simply, the Torah is YAH teaching us how to live life. It’s His instructions for life. It is the WORD (Ps. 19:7; Ps. 119:142; 1 Tim. 1:8, Rom. 3:31). Messiah is the living WORD (John 1:1-14).

In Matthew 22:36-37, 39-40, Messiah has an exchange that helps sum up the Torah.

Teacher, which is the great command in the Torah? And יהושע said to him, ” ‘You shall love יהוה your Elohim with all your heart, and with all your being, and with all your mind.’ And the second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself.’ On these two commands hang all the Torah and the Prophets.”

When Messiah said, “The Law and the Prophets hang on these two commands,” he is saying every Word given in the Torah falls within those two categories. Every Word or principle given to Israel instructed them in how to love YAH and love people (including themselves).

Recently, I was reading Paul’s letters and enjoying an enriching time in the Scripture when I came across a verse that is a prime example of this.

Colossians 3:5 reads, “Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: whoring, uncleanness, passion, evil desire and greed of gain, which is idolatry.”

When examined in the Greek (the original language of the book of Colossians), these words sum up the instruction of Torah.

The word idolatry or immorality refers to a selling off of ourselves for the purpose of sin (failure). It has a connotation of adultery. It is to cheapen what is valuable. It is to give over to someone what already belonged to another. 

Torah is riddled with instructions against idolatry. Idolatry gives honor to the created rather than the Creator.

“You do not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of that which is in the heavens above, or which is in the earth beneath, or which is in the waters under the earth..”

Shemoth (Exodus) 20:4 TS2009

The word for uncleanness or impurity paints a picture of mixing. Torah goes into depth always about the issue with mixing.

“‘Guard My laws. Do not let your livestock mate with another kind. Do not sow your field with mixed seed. And do not put a garment woven of two sorts of thread upon you.”

Wayyiqra (Leviticus) 19:19 TS2009

“They did not destroy the peoples,

As יהוה had commanded them,

But mixed with the nations

And learned their works,

And served their idols,

And they became a snare to them.”

Tehillim (Psalms) 106:34‭-‬36 TS2009

The issue with mixing is expounded upon in the book of 1 John. John goes into depth about YAH being light. In Him is no darkness.

The word passion refers to an inordinate desire. A desire that is misplaced or out of order–which indicates something was not covered properly previously. If a father does not cover properly, this lack will place an inordinate desire in a child that could have been prevented if the father had covered properly. Torah is thorough in showing how to cover the vulnerable and the importance thereof. 

The word greed or covetousness means advantage and aggression. This is a contrary idea to what is taught in Torah. Many have often wondered why did YAH always instruct the people of Israel to get only what they needed. He’d find fault if they took more than they needed.

1. This was a sign of someone who had not had Sabbath perfected in them. In other words, if they took more than they needed, this was a sign of someone who did not trust YAH.

When Sabbath is perfected in someone, they do not seek to provide for themselves. They see YAH as provider and what they have for others. YAH covers me and I don’t have to look out for myself. They trust. They do not strive. Providing for yourself is strife.

2. Getting more than you needed meant someone else would go without.

The Torah is all about how to care for others and trusting YAH to care for you.

All of the words and right-rulings of YAH are to reveal (cultivate) two things in us: love for YAH and for people. The Torah makes provisions for the citizen and for the stranger, for the vulnerable, for the weak. 

If we live a life that is me-centered, we are not living Torah.

If you are reading Scripture without a proper (progressing in understanding) foundation of Torah, then your understanding is shallow.

Torah is for today — and not in a vague “good for reference” kind of way. Instead, it is for today — actively, intensively, transforming its students.

“The Torah of יהוה is perfect, bringing back the being; The witness of יהוה is trustworthy, making wise the simple;”

Tehillim (Psalms) 19:7 TS2009

Stay tuned for more posts on Torah!

Makes Me Feel Some Type of Way

Feelings are like pathways that show you where you’ve been or where you perceive you’ve been. It’s funny because we’ll often make decisions based off of what we feel or we’ll want someone to make decisions based on what we feel.

What we feel in a situation usually points to an idea we have that we may not even be aware of. Feelings are not enemies. They are not fact or standard necessarily either. But, they’re so beautiful.

We’re often conditioned to only feel a certain way. “You shouldn’t feel like that.” This makes us live dishonest lives with ourselves and others. There are times where I feel I should be feeling happy or what have you, but I don’t. Once I make space for that feeling(s) without judgment, then it can pass and I can see the idea or behavior pattern it’s attached to. Then, God starts to deal with that thing at the root, slowly but surely.

Honor your feelings, but always challenge them. If we can’t heal in our emotions, we’ll unknowingly make decisions that keep us running on the same hamster wheel. The better we can make space for our feelings, the better we can make space for the feelings of others.

When we don’t know how to create space for our emotions, then we often bombard others with our emotions to get THEM to create the space for us. What that does is cause resentment, shutting down, and dependence in some cases. Boundaries are disregarded because there’s such a need to have our emotions validated.

Making space for your feelings is the act of sitting and playing at the feet of God. It’s being a child before Him. It’s being. It’s sitting without guard because you KNOW you’re in a safe space. When we can learn that within ourselves, we restore value and carry the capacity to restore it in others.

This is how the kingdom truly grows. People get vulnerable before YAH and this vulnerability spreads. The longer society refuses to be vulnerable before God and others, the more issues will be exasperated. I believe this affects our health–mentally, physically. Our bodies start to break down because emotionally, we haven’t rested.

When you first start this process it’s painful. You will want to run and hide from what you find. You’ll dabble in doing it yourself and depending on others to do it for you.

An example.

My sister might tell me about a new boundary she’s setting with the family. “I’d prefer that you don’t do fill-in-the-blank anymore.” Something about her saying that triggers an irritation and sadness. So, maybe I assume she’s wrong for telling me that.

But when I’m accustomed to making space for my emotions, I sit with them. Patiently.

What they are connected to will come to light. Maybe I find that her telling me that I can’t do such and such anymore made me feel rejected or like she didn’t like me and I often feel this way with my sister or in general. When I’ve done that, I can validate myself and respect her boundary. This has been a game changer in my life and relationships. Telling myself that I couldn’t feel certain things or to shut up and keep going, ended up making me see myself as less valuable.

As I’ve continued to do this, I see the way YAH sees me—I’m beautiful. So beautiful. I can stand upright in situations because I know who I am.

Your feelings are not facts, but they are probably some of the most valuable tools God gave us.

A pastor used to preach that God didn’t care about your feelings. We used to laugh about it, but now I see. Nothing could be further from the truth. We live with that ideology when we think we have to present ourselves to God a certain way.

Making space for your feelings, being vulnerable before God means that you can stand before any measure of man and not flinch or budge because you know who you are. “Don’t worry about man who can only destroy the body.” “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Brings new light to these verses.

If God has approved me, who can disqualify me? NOBODY. If I don’t have to present myself before God a certain way, then I don’t have to present myself to man according to his standards.

I stand confidently before YAH because I know I’m right in His eyes. How many people can truly say they KNOW they’re right in God’s eyes? I used to feel like I was right in God’s eyes if I was “on the right track” or ticking off all the “saved” boxes. But, from the perspective and experience as His child, I can play before Him without hesitation of my place before Him.

He’s providing for me.

Am I Done Pretending?

I’ve always known I wasn’t the most feminine woman. I had a deeper voice, didn’t like carrying purses, wasn’t the neatest, and didn’t like pink; so, this inevitably meant I just wasn’t fem. I’m cringing thinking about it!

I had a very surface-level idea of what femininity is. With this shallow understanding, I overcompensated by trying to talk softer, seem less alarming, smile, be agreeable (to a fault), and market myself as a highly domesticated woman. This overcompensation is evidence of a few things I’d like to explore in this blog.

Today, my understanding has moved (thankfully) far away from the surface and is increasing as I explore the depths and wonders of this enchanting energy I possess. Truth is, I wasn’t super feminine and overcompensated like a @%!*#, but the why is just as important as the what.

I did not know who I was.

I knew who or what I wanted to be and always found a deep deficit in those spaces. So, I set out to prove I was something I wasn’t. One way of saying I didn’t know who I was is to say I was missing information. Part of a woman being able to live from her feminine energy is having had a father that stood confidently in his masculine. This dynamic provides information that I received in part.

I was protecting myself.

In protecting myself, I subconsciously activated very masculine energy. Masculine energy strives, wrestles, protects. I didn’t want people to see how underdeveloped I was, so I tried to protect it while it was still in development. Because I was striving, I also repelled potential bodies to meet my femininity with masculinity. Additionally, the feminine energy in me could not truly flourish because the masculine had taken over.

I did not know my value.

I craved for someone to see my value. I’d go above and beyond to make my value known. This brought short spurts of validation. This only sent me further down a path of finding quick fixes for realizing my value. It all becomes about keeping up appearances. Living for appearances is incredibly unfulfilling because the standard is always changing.

Aside: This is what I think is the problem with society as a whole. There is no standard. This produces disorder, anxiety, and a wealth of mental health issues. But, that’s a blog for a different day.

I did not know light.

God is light. Light is the standard. It is the only source of truth and power. I thought I knew this truth, but I didn’t.

I grew up aligning myself to Christian beliefs or standards which on the surface seemed to have had a good grasp of the masculine-feminine dynamic; but, they were surface-level, too!

Many Christians are living this way, today. They have created their own “whats” and “whys.” They’ve created “laws,” so to speak, to make simple a deep enriching aspect of life. Men always ____. Woman always ____. On a certain level, it is validating once you’ve mastered these “laws.” It makes you feel like you’re on the right track.

Being on the right track, most often, doesn’t feel like being on the right track. [Insert ironic laugh here*] When we create laws where there are none, it cuts off the opportunity to experience the many facets of life. Many people who have lived like this have merely found satisfaction in the validation that has come from someone else noticing that they’ve perfected these “laws.” What good is perfection when you’ve looked upon the wrong thing as the standard?

This was Yeshua’s issue with the Pharisees. It is not that they followed laws, it’s that they created their own. While they were perfect in their own law, they no longer looked to Light to define what was or was not.

Follow me, for a moment. When we are not presented with the perfect picture (light), we are forced to find things in reach for our best attempt at a perfect picture.

So, we collect our leaves, sew them together, and walk the runway of life. Everyone’s looking on. We put up strobes and spotlights that illuminate the garments we’ve used to keep ourselves hidden.

True light has a way of coming in and challenging the fabric of our garments. If we sit still long enough, Light will slowly and gently singe the fig leaves and we’ll be naked before the One who made us.

In Christianity, I’d never experienced true challenge (having light reflected on me). It’s not a part of the culture. First, a person that truly challenges, does so from vulnerability and the fruit of having already been challenged.

In Christianity, people don’t challenge others because they are afraid of it being returned. They are afraid, unfamiliar, and uncomfortable with the vulnerability that comes with being on the receiving end. So, we don’t challenge.

Instead, I’ll validate your fig leaves and you’ll validate mine and we never get to truly know God. We’ll make gods of ourselves. We’ll designate a select few (pastors, ministers, etc.) who are allowed to examine and challenge but will call the return of that ‘rebellion.’ We create our own laws and standards and congratulate ourselves on our obedience. But what about the true standard?

How healthy are we if our fashion and figures of speech are us pretending? What’s wrong with saying you don’t know the standard? Why make it up? Why create your own traditions? Why create your own definitions for what YAH has already defined?

We pretend because we don’t trust. We don’t trust because our environments have taught us it is unsafe to be vulnerable. Our environments have indirectly taught us conditional love. But, in order to know the standard, we will have to be vulnerable. It becomes a lot easier when we learn that YAH makes Himself vulnerable with us before He ever requires that of us.

So, in my journey the past few years, I’ve been learning to present myself to YAH without fig leaves—no pretending, no protecting. I don’t have to pretend.

You don’t have to have it together for Him to be pleased with you. He is pleased when we are vulnerable with Him. I’d ask you to examine your life and discover where you are hiding parts of yourself to the people around you. Where are you performing for those around you? What image are you constantly trying to portray?

The question is am I done pretending? Am I done seeing YAH as someone to protect myself against? Am I done needing the things I’ve used to fill voids? Am I willing to let Him fill those spaces?

Dear Church: I Left And I’m Not Going Back

I left because I started to ask, “why do we do what we do?” “What does Scripture say?” Finding the answer to those questions is what led me here.​

Christians don’t know what to do with those who leave the church.

I’ve seen a few typical responses. These are either reactions to or explanations for people leaving. These responses indicate something about the foundation and dynamics operating in the Christian Church.

These will be in no particular order.

  • Indignant. Some are incredibly angry that a person would not agree and align with their idea of the importance of church or traditional Christian ideals.

This indicates there is a foundation of control upon which Christianity is built or the conduit through which it is practiced.

  • Control. Some are frustrated that this person is no longer able to be controlled.

This points to how powerless people in religion feel and their need to cover or compensate for this powerlessness. This is evidenced in various doctrines and traditions.

  • Fear. Some are afraid that you’ll be lost or “the devil’s going to get you.”

This shows how many have been shamed and scared into life with YAH.

  • That’s none of my business. Some don’t feel they are mature enough to relate and converse with someone who may be grappling with their faith and religion. So, they avoid it altogether.

This points to the social system embedded in the Christian church and how people see their roles therein.

  • Longing. In a phrase, “I wish I could do that. I wish I was strong enough to do that.”

This points to the exhaustion of people in religion. Many are tired as they run on the hamster wheel of religion, but it keeps you codependent upon its system. So, you can’t really leave (you can, but you feel like you can’t).

  • Devalue. This is the belief that you are of no value or importance if you are not a part of this belief system anymore.

This points to the incomplete system of validation the Church has set up. People look to pastors, church community, no other Christians to validate themselves. Anyone who does not adhere to this value system immediately and innately loses their value.

Your response to this shouldn’t be to cover up or justify how you or your church normally responds. My encouragement to you if you’ve read this through, is ask. Figure out why people are leaving the Church and Christianity as a whole. Don’t make assumptions.

I left because I started to ask, “why do we do what we do?” “What does Scripture say?” Finding the answer to those questions is what led me here.

People are leaving a system they once felt so strongly about. I felt I had to defend this faith. I felt a responsibility and a weight that many feel today.

I’ve been hesitant at times to share more about my beliefs before I left because people use that to explain away why I left. They’ll say, “You just weren’t doing it right. You just weren’t serious. I’ve always been certain about _. I’ve always known that! You were just at the wrong church. Not all churches are the same.”

I’ve reached a place now where I’m okay with the conclusions people will draw. I think one of two could happen if people started being curious when people leave.

One. They will start to look at what the Church has been doing for so long and make radical changes.

Two. Others will start to leave — much like an exodus.

This is what I think some pastors or Christians are fearful of. They’re afraid to look within. They’re afraid to question and challenge. What if I find out something I don’t like? What if everything I’ve built my doctrine on falls apart? Where would I go? What would I do?

It’s okay to not have the answers to those questions. So, if you do find yourself in that place, feel free to reach out to me!

He is good.
Everything will be okay!