Heal Your Church

2 Chronicles 7:14 is often deployed as a prayer for national renewal in modern times, but this is not an accurate application when held up to the Theology of the New Testament. The true application is much deeper, and better.

Rev. Jonathan Faulkner

This one will probably rattle a few cages, but the cages need to be rattled for the sake of biblical Christianity. We have all seen the posts recently, the prayers for God to “heal our land” with a reference to 2nd Chronicles 7:14 which reads: “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (NIV). The passage which falls in the middle of Solomon’s dedication of the temple and the events surrounding it (see 2nd Chronicles 6-8) is God’s response to Solomon after he prays and leads the people through the expected ritual sacrifices. The passage is one of many appearances of blessing and curse language. God is telling Solomon what will happen if the people break the covenant of Moses that they have agreed to live by as God’s chosen people. If they engage in covenant breaking God will shut up the heavens and keep the rain from falling or send pestilence on the land, because God has chosen to reside in the house which Solomon had built for Him. If the people repent of their covenant breaking the Lord will hear their prayer and restore them and their land. This follows the Covenant pattern of the OT in which a land, seed and blessing are promised to Abraham and are passed down to Moses and then the house of David who also receives the promise of an eternal kingdom.

But by the time we come to the New Testament Israel has long broken the covenant, a sect called the Pharisees have arisen to be the Jewish protectors of purity. They are the self-appointed gate keepers to keep Israel from covenant breaking. And the house of David? It has been reduced, removed from its royal splendor that built the temple to, what in our times would be lower and middle class tradesmen and shepherds who, though they can trace their lineage back to David, have nothing of the former glory of their line. The land had been stripped from them by Babylon, the blessing seemed far off, the seed was scattered. God has utterly devastated the house of David, reduced it to almost nothing. The kingdom was ruled by Rome with a false king named Herod sitting on the throne, it would not be Israel’s land again until the 1940’s. Far from experiencing the blessings of Covenant renewal, they had experienced the full weight of the Covenant curses of the Old Testament.

But YHWH had not forgotten His promises to Abraham, to Moses or to David. There is still a kingdom for the House of David to rule for eternity and it would come through the line of David, to a descendant named Joseph whose betrothed Mary, still a virgin, would give birth to the son of God named Jesus Christ who would tell the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate that: “My kingdom is not of this world, if it were my followers would have fought for me” (John 18:36). Christ’s death, resurrection and the resulting rise to power as King and Lord over the universe assured that the covenantal promises to David were fulfilled. David now has a heir sitting forever, that heir just so happens to also be God in Incarnate, Jesus Christ, the second member of the Triune Godhead who rules over a kingdom that is not of this world.

The new covenant then is initiated by Christ’s blood, a covenant full of better promises which are in some ways continuations of the Old Covenant Promises under better terms. For example, instead of ritual purity through slavery to endless sacrifices and cleansing. Christ has declared all who are found in Him to be clean before God, to be righteous before God on account of what He has done, not what we have done. By grace he has become the lens through which God the father sees us and we can now live out of gratitude for that reality and keep the moral law of God, which Christ has written on our hearts (Matthew 5-7) through His sanctifying work in us. Second, instead of having to worry about breaking the new covenant we have the Holy Spirit to help us grow more and more into Christlikeness and Godliness. The only ones who are in danger of eternal punishment or curses associated with the New Covenant are those who are covenant Fakers, who claim the name Christian and either intentionally live otherwise and deny the life set forward of Christ. Or who claim to be Christians and think they are living the Christian life when they are reenacting the sin of the Pharisees, religiousness without the relationship that transforms. Paul calls these people Pseudadelphoi which means “False Brothers” They claim to be believers, as First John 1 says; to walk in the light but walk in darkness. In Romans 2:1-17 Paul says they are “Heaping condemnation upon their own heads” when they condemn the world for the vices mentioned in Rom 1:28-30 but then turn around and participate in them.

Finally, the land promise is better, in that, in the OT Israel was promised a specific geographical location, the Fertile Crescent which we know today as Israel and Palestine. Israel had to come in and conquer it once the “sin of the Canaanites” was complete (Gen 15:16). Many of the Covenant Curses of the Old Covenant dealt with some sort of blight on the land, famine, pestilence, disease, drought, and in the case of long-term disobedience loss of and removal from the land itself. However, the New Covenant does not include a specific land promise, but a general and eschatological promise of inheritance of a future place, that is, the New Heavens and the New Earth. Christ, being the descendant of David to whom the spiritual kingdom of God would come sits on the throne forever and one day creation will happen anew, recreation, and those who believe, those whose names are written in the book of life (Rev. 20) will inherit the Earth (Matthew 5:5), that is, the new heavens and the new earth. Thus, there is a land promise in the New Covenant but not one that ties the church to any specific geographical location such as Israel or The United States of America. The people of God now constitute a spiritual kingdom that spans kingdoms, hence the formula kingdom within kingdoms. There is a future geographical location for the kingdom Christ rules, the entire earth.

So this asks the question of how we then apply this verse today. Let me answer that by saying that it is entirely possible we should not directly apply this verse, word for word, to us today. Since the land itself is not a promised part of the New Covenant, there is no literal “land” for God to heal since the one we will finally inherit is already healed. But there is a principle here that can be applied and it applies not to a nation state but to the Church, God’s people, the Kingdom, within the Kingdoms. That is, one can say that if God’s people turn from their wicked ways and humble themselves before God, if we stop the act of covenant breaking we are committing by not living by the way Christ has given us to live, if we repent of this. Then God will hear us and heal His Church. The application is not then directed at the nation as a whole, but on the people of God who exist in the nation but are part of the global kingdom of Christ.

And let us be honest, there is a lot for us as the Church in the United States to repent and turn from starting with clergy and extending to the laity. IF we continue in covenant breaking, that is, living as though Christ has not died on the cross or that the Holy Spirit has not come into our lives. If we continue to sin so that grace can abound (Romans 6:1) we will be self-condemned and, just as with the Church in Germany in the 1940s and 50s see our lampstand removed. We are already headed into exile as Elliot Clark, David Kinnaman and Mike Matlock have pointed out in their respective books “Evangelism as Exiles” (Clark) and “Faith for Exiles” Kinnaman and Matlock). The culture has shifted abruptly against the Church as evidenced by the Church as being viewed as “nonessential” by the government. It is even entirely possible by trying to legislate the end of secularism through political power, we have only sped up the pace at which the culture has turned against us.

This is an uncomfortable truth for us, we like to think we are a chosen nation, but no matter what the nations founders intended or what John Winthrop claimed about the Massachusetts Bay Colony, no matter what promises we have claimed for ourselves. The Bible does not support the notion that under the New Covenant God will “Heal our land” if the nation turns back to Him. He will, however, heal our churches if our churches are willing to repent and turn back to Him. IF we are willing to stand up against the evils and injustices in this world while maintaining the humanity of every individual regardless of their profession or what community they represent. If e are willing to be the people of God, called to be salt and light to this world, of course God will heal our Churches and through healing our churches we may find that He heals our land by moving His people to do what He has called us to do.

The Church in the United States is broadly guilty of covenant breaking, that is not to say every church, or every person is, God does always keep his remnant faithful. But many churches have engaged in covenant breaking while claiming to be God’s people. They have supported schism and sectarianism while claiming to be the true church, they have clamored for power and influence and hated those who stood in their way. The sin does not have to be as blatant as Westboro Baptist to still be sinful and for it to be a violation of the life Christ has given us to live. But that also does not mean these churches are hopeless, there is still time, we can give up the charade of cultural religion and adhere to the Word of God first and foremost. We can reverse the trend of increasing suspicion towards churches and clergy. We can repent, and we can do it publicly. We must do this before God does completely remove our lampstand and we face the kind of persecution some have already told us we are facing.

There is still time, so let us pray together, Father, Heal your Church.

For an addition post on this topic click here

12973040_10154269785339245_3845786340930956602_oRev. Jonathan David Faulkner is a Graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary holding Masters in Divinity and Church History, a Pastor, Musician and Writer. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Education & Administration with a concentration in Urban Ministry. He lives with his wife Rachel and daughter Erin in Buffalo Center Iowa and seeks to be a part of the project of reconciliation in the local and international church. He is currently serving as the Pastor of First Congregational Church of Buffalo Center.

Sermon: Completed Joy Part 1:Philippians 1:1-11

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My Sermon from Sunday July 5th 2020:

#ICYMI: This week at FCCBC we began our look at the book of Philippians with an invitation.

Paul invites the Church at Philippi into deeper relationship with God, deeper knowledge, deeper discernment, Richer fruit. That even though the Philippians had a solid foundation in Christ and had long partnered with Paul and been a Joy to him, they can now complete his joy by going deeper in every aspect of the faith.

The Danger of Performative Christianity

“All the World’s A Stage” – William Shakespeare, but we are not called to be performers

Rev. Jonathan David Faulkner

The Christian Heavy Metal band and Grammy winning artist Demon Hunter has a had a stinging critique of both the Christian Metal industry and Christianity in general the last decade. The critique is best expressed in the lyrics to their song: “Artificial Light” which I encourage you to read. In an interview with Ryan Clark, the bands front man, he says concerning the song: “So many bands offer platitudes that sound good, but without Jesus they are nothing more than artificial light.” That is, they do nothing but sugarcoat the hearers tongue, they taste good, but they are just darkness masquerading as light. This is also the critique of longtime DC Talker Kevin Max and Jars of Clay Founder Matt Bronleewe. Both of whom have written much about the irrelevancy of much of the Christian Music industry, particularly CCM, to our present world. It makes you feel good about yourself but offers nothing of spiritual value. This has been backed up by Pastors who use their pulpits to spread the gospel according to individualism rather than Jesus Christ. And has contributed to the inability for the church to say anything in regards to our current cultural moment.

I have said before that I do not believe in #Activism. That is, I rarely post on social media in support of a cause because I would rather be doing than saying. But in recent months we have heard a new phrase enter the public conscious: “Performative Wokeness.” This is the idea that you can appear to go along with what is going on in the culture by the image you curate on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter or wherever you hang out on Social Media. But behind your appearances are either actions done only to reinforce what you are claiming or no actions at all. The whole idea is based on virtue or vice signaling which tells your tribe that you are with them, even if your actions do not follow what you are signaling you believe. I could write an entire post on this concept and have in the past I will leave what I have written stand.

Like with most things though, as Historian Cameron Brock puts it: “The Culture swims in the soup the Church created.” If you want to know what the culture is doing or going to do, look at events in the church over the previous 50-100 years and you will likely find it there. Hence the reason the current movement in the culture has taken on a sort of Charismatic tone and vision as some have noted. I have also noted that our current divisions and infighting were the norm for the Church throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and we were warned thoroughly about the results of a “Tw0-Party System” by Theologians like John Williamson Nevin and the monster it would create (gestures broadly to the political landscape of the United States). If Church technology is 20 years behind the culture, the culture is 50 years behind the church.

We have long had a problem with “performative Christianity” and that is driving a movement away from Christianity. Performative Christianity in the modern sense, and age of social media, is when we post bible verses out of context or we do all the religiously appropriate things like tithe and go to church but when someone mentions biblical teachings on Injustice or loving our neighbor we try to tune it out. Or we go the opposite direction, we do everything to make ourselves look good, like we are living out what the bible teaches when in reality it is just a show and our hearts have not been effectively transformed by the Gospel.

Jesus teaches the first of these ideas in the Gospels, Check out Jesus words to Matthew 23:23 ““Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.” The Pharisees are doing all the right things religiously, but they have neglected to live out the Moral Law of God, which Jesus has already made a matter of the inward attitudes of the Heart and outward actions of the hands, rather than just the outward actions. One can make much of their religiosity without having a true faith of the heart. James picks up this in his epistle chapters 1 and 2. Having outward piety is not a way into heaven, it is the heart that God cares about. The same principle can be applied to those who do works in God’s name but have no relationship with Him. The people in Matthew 7:22 thought their good works would save them, casting out demons, performing miracles, prophesying. No doubt with an eye towards helping their neighbors. Yet, devoid of a relationship with Christ. Paul teaches us in almost every book, that faith is the key to justification, that is, we are justified by faith in Christ and when we are baptized into Christ our spatial position changes from outside of the Body, to inside of the Body. We are then united spiritually to Christ and can live out the new life. We now live as Jesus has given us to live and laid out for us to live in His Holy Word and both happen by His Holy Word. One of the ways that Christ has put before us to live is to “when you give to the needy do not let your right hand know what your left hand is doing” (Matt 6:3). And “when you fast, do not do what the hypocrites do who look sad” (Matt 6:16). Neither performative religiousness, nor performative philanthropy, the two types of performative Christianity, are acceptable to Christ.

Christianity, in Paul’s own words, requires us to “put on Christ” (Gal 3:27) and to do that as genuinely as possible so that when people see you in the streets, they see Christ. The individual self that was you, is replaced by Christ. We give up our right to this life and take up the cross and life of Christ. This is not something you can fake, and those who try are often see through. There is a genuiness to those who have put on Christ that you cannot copy. They are natural peacemakers and reconcilers. Natural care takers and naturally loving. They are not perfect, but you can tell the Gospel has made an effective and lasting change through Jesus Christ that it is noticeable. As C.S. Lewis says: “God is in the business of making old men new, not nice men nicer.” Thus, as I have written several times, Christianity requires recreation.You should come as you are but leave transformed. If we continue to live in the old Adam what is Christ to us? Paul condemns the Romans for this in 2:1-11. They were judging people for the sins listed in the vice list in 1:29-31 while they themselves were doing them. Paul says for this they were storing up wrath for themselves, though they claimed Christ, they were condemning the world while they still lived like the world. As Jesus tells the Pharisee’s in Matthew 15, they were “white washed tombs” if that.

If you are a Christians be a Christian, live out the Words of God first and foremost and do so in every area of life that you come into. Be it out in public or in the world of social media or in private. If you are going to support something, do it, but be all-in and be working for the best of that cause, not the worst. Our culture has a major problem with performativism, that keeps us acting but never achieving. The Church should be different. If we are really Christians, we should live as though we really believe everything the Bible says. God did not leave it here for us to pick and choose what we want to follow and what we want to apply. He meant for us to live out his words and to teach others to do the same (Matt 5:20). Condemnation follows both those who try to perform religion devoid of relationship and those who do the work of God devoid of relationship. Those who live in Christ, who live as Christ, will be the ones who hear: “Enter eternal life.”

The same applies to the #Activism people, if you truly support something, then support it. But do so by wanting what is best for the peace and well-being of everyone involved. Do not just unquestioningly support something, work to make it better. A broken and unjust system is harmful to everyone who is involved or in proximity to it. The oppressor does harm to himself as well as the oppressed. The Church should work to ruthlessly eliminate both categories because Christ did so on the cross. But we cannot sit back and signal our virtues without genuine action.

May God work and transform us. Amen

12973040_10154269785339245_3845786340930956602_oRev. Jonathan David Faulkner is a Graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary holding Masters in Divinity and Church History, a Pastor, Musician and Writer. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Education & Administration with a concentration in Urban Ministry. He lives with his wife Rachel and daughter Erin in Buffalo Center Iowa and seeks to be a part of the project of reconciliation in the local and international church. He is currently serving as the Pastor of First Congregational Church of Buffalo Center.

#Fortheunityoftheentirechurch: Because the Cross Demands It.

It no longer seems sufficient, given study of scripture, to advocate only for a segment of the Church, but of the entire Church, scripture demands I work for unity for the sake of the Gospel.

Rev. Jonathan Faulkner

This Sunday I preached on the sixth guiding value of my denominations Seven Guiding Values. Value #6: “A Culture of Peacemaking and Reconciliation” from Ephesians 2:11-22. I tell my congregation that these values are not scripture but are reflections of scripture and draw their light from scripture, that it is the scriptures behind them that are authoritative and not the values themselves. Just like the moon reflects the sun and has not light on its own, the values reflect the truth that God has laid out for us by his Holy Spirit through Scripture and He leads us to that truth by the same Holy Spirit (John 14-16, 1 Cor 2:6-18).

Every year for the last four years this website has used a catchphrase to describe the theological direction for the coming year. I usually change it in June. Last years was #FortheUnityoftheChurch, the year before was #EndDehumanization and before that it was: “The Widow, the Orphan, the Refugee and you.” This years catchphrase arises out of a conviction that arose in deep study of Ephesians 2:11-22 in preparation for this sermon. Therfore this year is: #FortheUnityoftheENTIREChurch. Now, I do not believe in #Activism, that is, I refuse to participate in a culture of staged outrage where words are never followed by actions. It is easy to sit here and write about the unity of the Church but if I am not actively working towards that unity then I am a hypocrite, especially if my actions go so far, the other way and cause a further breaking of fellowship.

For our understanding of what we are working for the unity of, the most basic definition is the Church as defined as the Body of Christ sharing in Organic Unity with Christ and with one another both and at the same time visible and spiritual carrying forward and living out the Gospel of Jesus Christ in every sphere of life. I understand that this definition may seem exclusive because it limits the church to only those in Christ, but numerically, all over the world, that is actually quite a broad net spanning every nation, tribe, tongue and 6 of 7 continents. Anyone who has made the good confession that Jesus is the Christ the son of the Living God (Matt 16:17) and believed that God has raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9) is counted among its ranks and that includes all who have died and passed into glory who the church also share organic unity with Christ. So, while this seems like an exclusive definition it is quite broad because it encompasses all who are in Christ.

Christ, after all, should not, cannot and is not divided, even though his people may act otherwise (1 Cor 1:11-15). Sectarianism is a lie, perpetrated by Satan for the sake of trying to conquer God’s people and brings into our time the spirit of Anti-Christ which destroys rather than builds up. Sectarianism has many forms, schism, splits caused by disagreements, sect, separate groups forming around a specific theological viewpoint and segregation, the idea that people of ethnic backgrounds cannot worship together and should therefore remain separate. These are sinful attitudes and events caused by the sins of man and they have the consequence of dividing Christ. They also deny the work of Christ on the cross, which is a blaspheme against the Holy Spirit. When we undo what Christ has done, or deny what Christ has done, we are in sin and the only course of action is to repent and turn from that sin and let God heal us, because He is faithful to and will do so. Would you rather throw yourselves on the mercy of God than his wrath? Following Jesus in words only is to have a baptism of the body, but not the heart. Our faith in Christ is dead, perhaps even a sham, if it is not followed by actions and those actions include doing what He has called us to do and not returning to the old dividing walls of hostility that He has torn down (Ephesians 2:11-22).

Racism is a dividing wall of hostility; it keeps the church from being unified. When we harbor racism in our hearts, the sin of racism, we rebuild the wall that Christ tore down and make a mockery of Christ. The entire Church cannot be the example of unity that it is meant to be if we are walking around rebuilding the dividing walls of hostility in their various forms. John Perkins points out in his book “One Blood:” “All the genetic differences that people see on the surface come from 1% of our DNA. We really are one blood, there is no such thing as different races.” This is why I hate using the term “racial reconciliation” preferring instead to talk about “ethnic reconciliation.” We are called to be a new humanity who is reconciled first to God and then to one another (Ephesians 2:1-22). The way we show we are reconciled to God, is by being reconciled to one another. If you say you are reconciled to God but hate your neighbor or brother, thus creating a wall of separation, and in Jesus words in Matthew 5, committing murder, you may not actually be reconciled to God.

I know this is a hard teaching, and I know it flies in the face of everything we have taught or been taught in our modern American Churches. It is hard because we have learned well Ephesians 2:1-10 but have neglected 11-22. We know full well that God has brought us near to himself, but we are not taught that God has brought us near to each other. We are missing a huge section in the Gospel and it is having disastrous and deadly affects on the Church and on society. We as Christians should not strive to be politically correct, but we need so desperately to be Biblically correct and that means living by its full council, as Eugene Peterson says: “the Jesus Life in the Jesus Way.” The Jews were meant to be a nation of God’s people who were a light and blessing to the world. America claimed that mantra for herself and has slid into the same sins as Israel both during the Monarchy and during the time of Jesus.

#FortheunityoftheENTIREChurch means we work towards the goal of reconciliation between Black and white, young, and old, rich and poor, ethnicity and ethnicity, male and female. It does not matter what your background, if you come into Christ, you are reconciled to everyone else in Christ. The Churches Organic Unity means that you and I are connected to each other by the Holy Spirit through the blood of Christ and when we deny that, we are actually hurting ourselves while we hurt the witness of Christ. The body of Christ is meant to be multi-ethnic, the early church is a prime example of that. Look at the names of the leaders at Antioch in Acts 11 and 13, look at the need that arises in Acts 6 and so on and so forth. Ephesus, Philippi, Thessalonica, Galatia, Corinth all multi-ethnic and multi-generational. This is what Christ has created and we should not let anyone tear it down and actively speak out when its members are denying what Christ has created.

The point of this post is not to shame and guilt anyone, but to show you that this is Christ’s vision for the Church, this is a biblical vision for the church and denying that will be to our detriment.

Let us live out what God has given us to live with joy, with gratitude and with peace, together in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen!

12973040_10154269785339245_3845786340930956602_oJonathan David Faulkner is a Graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary holding Masters in Divinity and Church History, a Pastor, Musician and Writer. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Education & Administration with a concentration in Urban Ministry. He lives with his wife Rachel and daughter Erin in Buffalo Center Iowa and seeks to be a part of the project of reconciliation in the local and international church. He is currently serving as the Pastor of First Congregational Church of Buffalo Center.

Beware Translator Bias

When Biblical Translators impose their own theology onto a text, the results are destructive to the Body. Church Members need to learn to recognize this.

Rev. Jonathan Faulkner

Text Criticism is the practice of comparing ancient texts to make sure we are working with the most accurate translation possible of an ancient text. It is a useful tool, but it should not be the only tool employed when studying scripture. While the average church member is not trained in Greek Exegesis the same principles can be helpful in evaluating English Translation. I use the ESV almost exclusively, but there are some weekends, like this last one, where I used the NIV because the ESV has an admitted, intentional translation that promotes a theology that is not recognized in the early Church promotes an incorrect reading of the Greek Text behind the passage. I am referring to the choices made in regards to Romans 16:1-2 and 7 which purposely downplay the role of Pheobe and Junia because the translators of the ESV specifically and admittedly do not recognize these women as serving in the capacity in which the Greek text puts them. These decisions do not reflect proper translation and actually impose the viewpoint and biases of the translators upon the text.

The reality that the Greek text reveals to us is that Pheobe holds the office of διάκονον (Rom. 16:1 NA28) Diakonov (Deacon) in the Church a Cenchreae which meant she did some important ministry within the Church and in the ancient word the gender of the word would have referred to the person doing the work but should be translated properly as Deacon. She is also a “Patron” of the Church there. As F.F Bruce writes: “Pheobe is to Conchreae as Lydia is to Philippi.”[i] It is likely that the church met in her home and that she was a wealthy business women who gave generously to the churches of Asia. The fact that she is the first person mentioned and the church is told to treat her hospitably means that she is probably the one carrying the letter and was likely the one reading and expositing the letter and answering questions concerning its content. Thus here qualifications carry weight and should not be downplayed.[ii]

Next comes Andronicus and Junia, a pair that the early Church recognizes as a husband and wife couple who are listed “among the Apostles.” The Greek phrase: ἐν τοῖς ἀποστόλοις (Rom. 16:7 NA28) has to carry the meaning of spatial positioning because of the Greek Preposition ἐν which was the same word used if someone was going in the house, they would have existed in that space. For the ESV translation of this verse to be correct they would have to add the article ὁ, ἡ, τό which means to or the. The article is present, but agrees with Apostles, thus the only plausible translation is “Among or within the Apostles.”[iii] Implying that they were in fact doing the work of an Apostle and had all the marks of Apostleship. There is an argument that says: “Jesus only commissioned the twelve to be Apostles and so no Apostles were added after Acts 1.” But if that is the case then Paul would not be an apostle, a title he ascribes to himself. It is important to remember too that Paul did not limit the definition of an apostle only to the original twelve or those who wrote scripture, but to anyone who planted churches, performed signs and wonders and proclaimed Christ and acted as guardians of the deposit of faith.[iv] Scot McKnight of Trinity Evangelical Divinity school also notes that Junia was given a “sex change” in the Greek text by the editors of the Nestle Greek Text in 1927 that persisted until 1990.[v]

Let me show you what this looks like when you place translations side by side: Here is Romans 16:7 from the NIV, NLT, ESV and BSB Translations.

New International Version

Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.

New Living Translation

Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews, who were in prison with me. They are highly respected among the apostles and became followers of Christ before I did.

English Standard Version

Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known to the apostles, and they were in Christ before me.

Berean Study Bible

Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow countrymen and fellow prisoners. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.

3 of the 4 translations read “Outstanding or Well known Among the Apostles” the ESV, which claims to be a word for word translations (we have already seen that is not the case) says: “Well known to the Apostles” again, adding an article where none is found in the Greek. Some have said that “Among” simply means the Disciples knew them and knew them well, but again, the preposition ἐν pretty much rules that out. Paul is communicating a spatial position in relationship to the Apostles, they are among the early church Apostles, not just known by them. This is attested by multiple figures in Church History but the most famous is John Chrysostom who could not have understood Junia as anything other than a female Apostle.[vi]

So what happened?

As you can see above, something has happened. But what was it? Why is it that until the 13th century Junai is considered a woman and an apostle? And what was the motivation of changing the name and what is promoted by changing the text?

At first the notion only existed in the margins, popping up in the 13th century, but it gained momentum surprisingly with Martin Luther who changed Junia’s name to Junian and called him a co-worker of Andronicus. His reasoning? There was no way a woman in that culture was a leader in the Church. Yet historians now know that this is was in fact common both in the Church and the Eastern part of the Roman Empire. Luther may have been ignorant of this fact, but as a student of the Greek text itself he should have known better than to assume something other than what the author had written. Junia did not even appear as a variant in Greek Manuscripts until 1927 when the masculine form of the word was first introduced. Eventually the variant was erased all together until Junia was restored to here proper name and sex in the 1990’s by the editors of the Greek Text NA28 which is what a majority of pastors use for studying the original language. I also checked my 1910 Nestle Greek manuscript and it reads as “Junia” with no variant. Both the editors of the NA28 in 1927 and the Translators of the ESV were pushing a theological agenda. They were standing over the text and reading their ideas back into it, not letting the text dictate to them what was written. It is the Greek Text of the Bible, not its editors and translators that are authoritative, and we must remember that. Greek scholars are trained and trained well, but they are fallible men and are prone to sin. That is, after all, changing the text to support your own modern theology, that is either not present in the early Church or fringe and not accepted widely is according to Revelation 22. Jesus tells us that Christians should not add or subtract from the word of God. Changing the text to support pet theologies cannot be described as doing anything else.

Now, I know what you are saying, if all these women were in ministry in the early Church (40% of the list in Romans 16:1-16 is women) what do we do with passages like 1 Timothy 3:1-13. The answer is simple, look for the contextual clues that help us determine the reason Paul is saying what he is saying. 1 Timothy is a specific response to a specific issue. It is meant to be a corrector to the witness of Christ that the church at Ephesus had destroyed, not a model for the church itself. Paul is not concerned with the churches hierarchical structure as he is with the churches witness. The reality is that in Ephesus, whatever happened had to do with the women and that is why Paul charges them not to have any authority in chapter 2 but to learn (which is how the culture would have understood 2:13-15 before they took on roles. On top of that if you follow the Greek, which is another area that translators read their own biases into the text, 3:11 actually allows women deacons so long as they follow all the instructions laid out for deacons.

These are egregious errors that need to be addressed and corrected and hopefully the next generation of translators will be more careful, many are. Women had prominent ministry roles in the Church, the Bible confirms that, one was even an Apostle. The reality of Christianity is that we are all on the same level before Christ and after Christ. The challenge then is to re-elevate the voices and reject the practice of translating biases and pet theologies into the text. If we had done this from the beginning perhaps, we would not have the issues we have in the church at present. Perhaps we would have protected our sisters in Christ instead of defending abusers, as has too often happened in the church.

Christ has not returned yet, we still have time. It’s not too late.

[i] F.F Bruce, The Tyndale New Testament Commentary Series Volume 6: Leon Morris, 1985, InterVarsity Press, USA

[ii] NASB Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, 2019, Zondervan, Grand Rapids

[iii] BDAG

[iv] Craig S Keener, A New Covenant Commentary: Romans, 2009, Cascade Books, Eugene, Oregon

[v] Scot McKnight: Junia is not Alone, 2011, Pathos Press, Englewood

[vi] John Cryssostom, Homilies on Romans 31, Philip Schaff, The Church Fathers,

 

12973040_10154269785339245_3845786340930956602_oJonathan David Faulkner is a Graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary holding Masters in Divinity and Church History, a Pastor, Musician and Writer. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Education & Administration with a concentration in Urban Ministry. He lives with his wife Rachel and daughter Erin in Buffalo Center Iowa and seeks to be a part of the project of reconciliation in the local and international church. He is currently serving as the Pastor of First Congregational Church of Buffalo Center.

Working Through Racism: What can we learn from Church History part 1

For those who are struggling to respond in the wake of George Floyd’s murder consider this example from Church History. For the next few weeks God’s Heart will explore responses to racism and dehumanization in Church History to answer some of your questions about how work through our current days. 

Jonathan David Faulkner

Editor’s Note: God’s heart does not recognize a binary between liberal and conservative issues on the topic of life. As a publication that claims to be “Pro-Life” we recognize this as a life issue and will address it as such. We ask that those who wish to comment do so respectfully and with grace. God’s Heart remains committed to ending dehumanization until all life is honored by the Church.

This last month has seen the unjust, unnecessary, and preventable deaths of 3 persons of coler. Ahmaud Albery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. These are just the latest in what seem to be an increased number of incidents and murders in a nation that claims to be at the height of enlightenment. Unfortunately, many of us are starting to wake up for the first time, to realize how deeply rooted this problem is. Just as I have argued with the Great Awakenings and Slavery, I believe God is giving us another chance to excise the demon of our historical racism. As James Baldwin once wrote: “We celebrated 100 years of freedom, 100 years too early, we will never be free, until they are free.” Racism binds us all up, it imprisons us in a cell of sin, fear and anger that only Christ can ultimately free us from. Nor is this a “liberal” or “Conservative issue” (though if you follow the logic of Edmund Burke’s conservatism, it is a deeply conservative issue because we are talking about conserving life), it is a human issue. I am encouraged to see more people speaking up from the church, people who have too long been silent. Please keep speaking out.

Before I go on I want to recognize that Jonathan Edwards who is a central figure to this article was not a saint on race relationships. He was a slave holder, engaged in buying and selling human beings which is morally reprehensible. It may be true that he treated his slaves better than most and freed a majority of them, he still participated in a dehumanizing and evil institution and even bequeathed the last slave he owned to his family after he died. This is what historians call a blind spot during an overall sound life theologically. Edwards lived at a time before the revolution, at a time of major upheaval in the colonies and warfare in the Northeast in general. While we condemn his upholding of slavery, we can also commend much of his concerns for the Native Americans which formed much of his interactions outside of his fellow colonists both in Northampton and primarily in Stockbridge where he served as a missionary to the Native Americans. Though his participation in assimilation at Stockbridge should be condemned, the reasons for his feud with Abigail Williams can teach us some things about how we can live in the midst of our own conflicts.

Many of us are familiar with the fact that Jonathan Edwards was forced out of his pulpit at Northampton Massachusetts in 1750, a move which sparked his journey north into what is now New Hampshire to the little mission town of Stockbridge. “The Stockbridge Experiment”[i] as it is called centered around what remained of the Mahican confederacy which had come under protection by the crown in the early 1700’s. In the 1730’s Massachusetts Governor Belcher proposed that they establish a missionary town for the Mahicans. This led to the call of Edwards Brother-in-Law Samuel Hopkins being called to the village as its first missionary. He was followed by John Sergeant and Timothy Woodbridge and it was these three who established the village in 1736. The goal was to “Civilize” the Mahicans as a means by which they might better understand the Gospel. Unfortunately, Church History teaches us this approach rarely, if ever, works and it only created tension and problems in Stockbridge. Edwards involvement at this time up until he moved there in 1751 was to purchase land, but the “Williams-Stoddard Calvinist-Evangelical clan”[ii] which Edwards had married into was essential in founding and building the settlement. When John Sergeant married Abigail Williams in 1739, Abigail’s taste for the New England high society life she was accustomed to would quickly become a source of tension for the little town. It was said that “the Stockbridge experiment became more appealing to those who heard of it in direct proportion to their distance from the scene.”[iii] That is to say, that it looked good on paper, but up close and in person it was a mess. Unfortunately John Sergeant did not help the situation in any way shape or form by insisting on the method of “civilizing” that the town propagated. By the time of Sergeants death in 1749 more English settlers had moved into the area who looked to their own prospects instead of the care and education of the Mahican people. The Mahican’s, a strong group, communal group, were unaccustomed to the individualistic ways of the English but there was little to no attempt to understand the differences between the two groups and accordingly tensions rose.

The death of John Sergeant itself only escalated things as it meant there was no buffer between the greed of the already wealth Williams clan of which Abigail was a part, and the Mahican’s. Again, tensions escalated. The Pastor had served as the voice for the Native Americans and had actively protected them and advocated on their behalf. When he passed away, the buffer went away.[iv] Of course, all these tensions were only made worse by the infighting brought on by the first Great Awakening that had split the New England Puritans into Old Light and New Light Calvinists. John Sergeant had been a staunch Old Light, preferring Charles Chauncy to the New Light Edwards. When Ezra Stiles turned down the offer to fill John Sergeants position (and his marriage bed until a later date) Abigail Williams was none to pleased to learn that Edwards was now the leading candidate who would of course, accept the call and become a missionary to the Native Americans. Marsden notes that Abigail’s acceptance of his appointment was: “pure disingenuousness, arising only when they knew they did not have the votes to defeat him.”[v]

Edwards struggle with the Williams clan was that though they were genuinely committed to the mission, they were also strongly working the village to their own advantage. He had also long apposed the way Europeans Settlers treated the Native Americans of any tribe they came across. He had long apposed the cruel and inhumane treatment of the various tribes by the English and the dehumanizing way the settlers and military leaders looked down on them. Though he was complicit in Civilizing he also spoke against it. He understood that one needed to meet them on their terms to learn about them and their language to minister to them. The opposite approach taken at Stockbridge. He saw the way one treated the Native Americans as one means of reaching them with the Gospel. If one approached them as ignorant, uncivilized and savage then one would have a hard time reaching them with the Gospel. Edwards was hardly one to underestimate his listeners. It was in Stockbridge, after all, that the famous incident occurred while he preached “Sinners in the hands of an angry God” where men and women were crying out “Who can be saved?”

Edwards main issue though was Abigail and the rest of the Williams clan’s attitudes towards the Mahican and other tribes that moved into the area, attracted by the village. Edwards instructed David Brainard not to look down on the Mohawk’s he was ministering too and to work for their benefit.[vi] And he appeared to take his own advice to heart in Stockbridge as evidenced by the Mohawks willingness to be integrated into Stockbridge after a forced relocation by the Massachusetts colony (forced relocations were and are a sin by the way). Edwards does carry some sinful and typically English attitudes towards the Native Americans, but he did do his best to view the Native Tribes through the lens of scripture. And his New Light tendencies towards viewing his own people as equally morally degenerate and in fact, even more morally degenerate for having rejected the Gospel which they had heard a thousand times.[vii] In Edwards mind, a thoroughly evangelical mind, God had placed all the people in equal standing before him. This of course Edwards took from the Epistles of St. Paul. It was for this reason the New Lights also rejected tribal supremacy, laying the groundwork for Abolition in the decades before the Civil War. Edwards believed that the Europeans had failed the Native Americans, a assertion he was right to make. Edwards condemned “Civilizing” by equating it with keeping the people in the dark so that they were easier to cheat. An attitude that was still perpetuated 100 years later in the Southern Slave States. Edwards, gaining influence for his treatment of the Native Americans among the Native Americans was able to eventually oppose the Williams control over the Mission with the Massachusetts House of Representatives.

All of this led to tension and feuding between the Williams clan and the Edwards family by the summer of 1752.  Abigail was fiercely opposed to most of Edwards methods and teachings. Likely because it was cutting into the family’s profits and making it harder for them to engage in defrauding the Native Americans. He was also no fan of the Williams continued expansion of power, including within Isaac Hollis’s London Society which Elisha Williams joined giving the Williams a controlling stake in the company funding the Mission. He was also likely suspicious of Abigail Williams Antinomianism (a heresy that rejects the authority of Christ) and liberal theology which he has thoroughly apposed in his debates with Chauncy in the 1730’s and 40’s. To make matters worse for both Edwards and the Williams Clan the Native Americans were increasingly angry with the Williams Clan and asked Edwards to advocate on their behalf. The Williams were also taking the money sent by Isaac Hollis and the London Society to bank role their lavish lifestyle instead of going to the education, support and evangelism of the people they were there to serve. This of course infuriated Edwards, as it should have. It seems the Williams were willing to make every mistake ever made in Missions in foreign lands just to enrich themselves. Edwards, meanwhile had to keep the tensions from boiling over as he tried to pastor a multi-ethnic church and care for his large family. It is little wonder he came to resent his own family (William Williams was his uncle and he was a member of the Williams clan). By 1753 Stockbridge had descended into chaos which led to the final Williams power grab and the expulsion of Edwards.

So what do we learn from all this for our own time? One thing that would have made it possible for Edwards to be the middleman was to listen to the Native Americans whom he was ministering to. His outlook was not that he was superior to the Native Americans, or that He and His English Culture were superior, in fact, as we saw, the opposite was true. English culture was in worse shape because they had hear the Gospel for 100 years and had rejected it. For us as White Anglo Saxon Protestants (WASP) we have to approach our brothers and sisters not as superiors, but as brothers and sisters. We have to be willing to listen and speak truth to power, even if it means being thrown out of our communities. We have great examples to follow on this in our modern day such as Timothy Keller and John Piper and others. We also need to remember that Justice is not a liberal issue, but a biblical one. That God has called us not to mere religious devotion, but to do Justice, love mercy and walk humbly with Him (Micah 6:5) and that God demands Justice (Isaiah 1) over religious piety. The Doctrine of the Imago Dei requires that we address these issues both as humans and theologically. Our Black brothers and sisters have historically faced oppression and dehumanization and though we have made progress in the past 100 years, we cannot get complacent. This is primarily a humanitarian and a life issue, not a political one. We who profess to be “Pro-Life” should be the first and most vocal protestors when life is taken or dehumanized. If we want to get outraged about something, we should allow God’s righteous Anger to burn within us towards Racism.

We solve these issues not by more fighting but by sitting down and listening at the table God has set for us. As Tony Evan’s and John Perkins have famously said, we are one race down to the molecular level.[viii] As Christians we are also reminded to “Mourn with those who mourn” (Rom 12:15) and that “consider others better than yourselves, seeking to have the same mind as Christ” (Philippians 2:5). As Bryan Lorrits has reminded us that “Love does” meaning if we claim to be a people who Loves God then we must act on behalf of those who are downtrodden by following the example of the Good Samaritan and inconveniencing ourselves for the sake of others. I want to live in a world where we honor police officers by getting them the proper mental health care they need to ensure that they can do their jobs confidently while avoiding over reaching their authority. Proper education so that we all understand, and not deny, our countries deeply rooted sin problem and depravity which manifests itself in one way as Racism. I also want to live in a world where my brothers and sisters of color do not have to worry about being profiled or yelled at or having the police called on them for birdwatching (see the latest incident in central park). I do not want to wake up and find one of my close friends of color or family members of color are next on that list.

Edwards was not perfect, I am not perfect, but maybe, just maybe, we can learn something from history and grow towards healing this wound that keeps getting ripped back open.

May God have mercy on us all.

[i] Marsden, George, Jonathan Edwards, A Life. 2003, Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.

[ii] Marsden, A Life,

[iii] Edmund S. Morgan, The Gentle Puritan: A Life of Ezra Stiles, 1727-1785, 1961, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill.

[iv] Marsden, A Life

[v] Marsden, A Life

[vi] Jonathan Edwards, the Life of David Brainard, Public Domain

[vii] Marsden, A Life

[viii] Tony Evans, Oneness Embraced, 2011, Moody Publishers, Chicago USA, John Perkins, Karen Waddles, Rick Warren, Jon Foreman, One Blood, 2011, Moody Publishers

12973040_10154269785339245_3845786340930956602_oJonathan David Faulkner is a Graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary holding Masters in Divinity and Church History, a Pastor, Musician and Writer. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Education & Administration with a concentration in Urban Ministry. He lives with his wife Rachel and daughter Erin in Buffalo Center Iowa and seeks to be a part of the project of reconciliation in the local and international church. He is currently serving as the Pastor of First Congregational Church of Buffalo Center.

Not Posting, listening deeper, learning better ways.

It is easy to be a keyboard warrior at times like this, but a # and a post in a world of noise do extraordinarily  little if my actions do not reflect what I post.

Jonathan Faulkner

Usually by now I would have written something about all that happened last week. Whether on my Facebook page or here, but I have become aware of some thoughts and attitudes that still existed in me in response to this most recent inexcusable death and I felt I had to be silent and listen before I could speak. For one, I realized that my attitude towards protest of any kind was that they were ineffective. I also realized that I had bought into some either/or binaries on issues that are not and should not be either/or. I realized that even though the Holy Spirit has done much to root out sinful attitudes towards my brothers and sisters of color, bringing me face to face with my own families history of racism and slaveholding, I still have to get better at some things, I still have a lot to learn. I know this may not make sense to many in my congregation or to many of my WASP readers, but I pray you will stick with me and maybe even take a journey with me.

Because in this instance, I have decided to listen, not speak, but listen to those who are speaking, to my Black brothers and sisters, to their pain, their sorrow and their solutions to these problems. I have been rereading works from Seminary like Bryan Lorrits “Insider/Outsider” and Tony Evans “Oneness Embraced.” I have been watching the interviews with the various protestors and listening to the nations faith leaders who have spent more years thinking on these matters than I. But I have also listened to my friends who are police officers and heard their concerns and frustrations with everything that is going on. I have also watched the hatred and vitriol spreading like wildfires from both sides of this issue and have been saddened by it all.

The fact is, George Floyd’s death should never have happened. It was murder and there is not defense of Darren Chauvin’s actions based on the video. Floyd himself was a believer, a faithful minister of the Gospel who had labored for the kingdom of God in Houston for many years. It is also true that, whether we want to admit it or not, some lives in our country have not mattered as much as others. Having studied the debate over the Civil War I can tell you that was true in both the north and the south and remains true today in both the north and the south. That if you say that All Lives Matter you had better act and treat people of color as if their lives matter as well because we have a well-documented history of black and brown lives mattering less than white or light skin. We have also now seen that the highest subgroup who exhibit “Racial Resentment” is White Evangelicals. Racial Resentment is adjacent to Racism but tracks the factors behind racism rather than racism itself. In other words, it perplexes me that this chart even exists:

But here is the other reality I have become aware of, there is an extreme lack of mental health care available for Police or training in Anger or situational management. That this idea of Qualified Immunity means that there is now legal precedence for people who are social servants to work outside the or act as though they are above the law without fear of major repercussions. I know this does not apply to Police per say, but what message are we sending to the next generation when those who serve them seem to be able to do whatever they want, whenever they want. How are we able to justify these videos of police tear-gassing children in a park as one of my Facebook friends witnessed yesterday. I am not anti-police; I know some amazing cops who do their job well and seek help when they need it. I see the police as necessary public servants, who, when trained properly do a lot of good in this world. But when one oversteps his authority or uses deadly force when it is not necessary or overreacts at a traffic stop, or shoots a women sleeping in her own bed or….well you get the point…these things are unjustifiable and need to be corrected internally and externally.

This is one of those binaries I used to accept, it was either Black lives or Police lives. But this is a false binary. Because if I really believe that life matters in general than I cannot go too far the other way and elevate one group over the other, that only continues or reverses the patterns of oppression. The oppressed becomes the oppressor and true justice, biblical justice, God’s justice is denied. So I can work alongside my Black brothers and sisters to see them gain equal treatment where they do not have to worry about being followed or profiled or killed because of the color of their skin. And also advocate for justice system reforms that will better protect the mental health and well-being of men and women in uniform doing an extremely difficult and sometimes dangerous job. As a Christian I am supposed to be a bridge builder, a peacemaker and reconciler through Christ (Matthew 5:1-12, Ephesians 2:11-17). God reconciled me to Himself through Christ and now works through me to reconcile others to Himself and us to one another. My job is to participate in that work and sometimes that work requires me listen, just listen and not speak.

I am starting to understand what I have heard many times from my Black Brothers and Sisters about what is needed, for people to not just acknowledge racism, but to be totally and completely against it (Anti-racist) because it is contrary to the Kingdom of God. Jesus broken down ethnic barriers during his time on Earth (see the Story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 16) and the Early Church continued to knock down those barriers (see Acts 8-11) and create multi-ethnic churches where multi-ethnic worship may have previously been impossible and in most cases, was. It was from the words of Bryan Lorrits I first learned this, in the same week that I heard the same thing from the CCCC leadership at our annual gathering. That if we are to be reconcilers, we need to be against the very things that hinder that work of reconciliation.

These tensions are not easy to live in, I struggled to articulate these thoughts on Sunday in my pastoral prayer. But I want to learn to live in them, and right now, that requires me to listen. But for my brothers and sisters in the WASP community I do not want to heap guilt and shame on you, but teach you how to walk better, to be mature believers. One of the ways I want to do that is by looking at examples within our own history of those who stood up for the ethnic other, be they black, white or Native American. Heaping shame and guilt on you do nothing but force you further into an echo chamber, that is counterproductive.

So will you join me on this journey? Will you listen with me? Will you learn with me? Can we make it true that all lives really do matter, from the unborn to the old? Can we truly learn to become pro-life in all its shades and sizes and stages? Can we learn that this is not a liberal or conservative issue, but one of human life which is made in the image of God.

Join me, please? I promise it is worth your time.

 

12973040_10154269785339245_3845786340930956602_oJonathan David Faulkner is a Graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary holding Masters in Divinity and Church History, a Pastor, Musician and Writer. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Education & Administration with a concentration in Urban Ministry. He lives with his wife Rachel and daughter Erin in Buffalo Center Iowa and seeks to be a part of the project of reconciliation in the local and international church. He is currently serving as the Pastor of First Congregational Church of Buffalo Center.

I Am Tired

Sometimes these posts are well-thought out, well-researched pieces on topics relevant to the day or Church History. Sometimes I just have to let down the curtain and be real.

Jonathan David Faulkner

Dear Readers,

I am tired.

Not of you, not of the work that goes into this site, watching what God has done here this year has been amazing. Because of you we have broken every previous record this site ever set. I thank you for that because you keep this site running. We have had some fruitful discussions this year and I appreciate that. Thank you. Still, I am tired. Not by this site but by the constant barrage of social media and infighting that seems to define everyone and everything whether it is our current crisis or ongoing societal issues that point to decline.

I am tired of outrage culture, Christians backstabbing one another, denying the witness of Christ. I am tired of people downplaying the death toll, like 100,000 lives just do not matter, forgetting that some people are mourning while others act as though nothing matters. I am tired of seeing more stories of Black men either losing their lives or having the police called on them because of pure racism. I am tired of the excuses that get made for downright bad behavior that should not ever be excusable. I am tired of all the opinions being thrown at pastors who are just trying to do our jobs for the glory of God and look out for the safety of our congregations. I am also tired of pastors who are not doing those things, who ignore church history and its wisdom and lessons for the sake of poor theology of ecclesia. Who would put people at risk for the sake of the gospel rather than protect them? I am tired of politics and politicians, of toxicity, of immaturity. I am tired of death in every form and from everything. I am tired of accusation of fear and fights over masks. I am genuinely tired.

How long oh Lord, until Justice rolls down like water, until injustice is punished.

Lord have mercy
Christ have mercy.

Social Media has become a place where we all just fight, less and less I see those fun posts that say things like: “Here is a nice kitten in case you have been feeling sad.” Social Media has become what C.S. Lewis imagined Hell to be like, everyone fighting and squabbling and getting further and further away from each other.

Don’t you feel it too? Is this the Quarantine fatigue that everyone was referring to? Or is this just where we are at as a people?

I need a break from Social Media and its new, manic depressive, environment. It is fueling both our despair and our outrage. But we have been told that this is where we interact, this is where we dwell. One of the first memes, back in the early 2010’s, “I love my computer, all my friends live there” is now stalking us. We sit in the Spector of death and instead of mourn it we do everything we can to get away.

Reader I am tired, please pray for me, please hold me up to our heavenly father. I know a vacation is coming, but in the heat of all this, I just feel the tension and pressure. I have an incredible support system and that, I know, is rare. But I am tired, and I need your prayers.

Love in Christ

Jonathan David Faulkner