Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Deja Vu

I Am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. ~Revelation 21:6

Watched Deja Vu last night starring Denzel Washington and Paula Patton. Don't want to give away the plot, but it really left me pondering how awesome Yahweh is. That He's eternal is something that we know, but we really have no concept of what it is (besides it being a loooooong time). Watching that movie last night, thinkingabout how our Father can already see the end of a thing before it begins, makes even more sense when you think of how time doesn't limit Him at all. You'd really have to watch the movie to get the gist of it, but it was really deep. Mr. Free watched it first and, because he's prone to find Spiritual meaning in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, I wasn't holding my breath for it to be as good as he said it was or for it to have any real Spiritual undertones. About an hour into it, though, I felt myself thinking outside of the box and trippin' off of how awesome our Creator is. It wasn't so much the movie (though it was a pretty good plot), but the movie raised the issue of how we view time in a linear fashion and, when we can expand our minds to see it differently... won't tell you the rest, just that Our Father is AWESOME!


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

It's Still The Law!

Sitting here contemplating the Law and Commandments of Yahweh and how so many say that we are no longer under the Law and no longer required to obey it. I don't believe this at all, but most who do will even cite scripture as an attempt to support this idea (Romans 6:14 ~ For Sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.).

When reading scripture, however, it's important to read it in context. Before AND after this particular verse, Paul explains what he means when he says that we are no longer under the Law and it has nothing at all to do with no longer having to obey it! (I'll let you read for yourselves to confirm this, but please pay special attention to Romans 6:15 (KJV) ~ What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Note also, that in Strong's concordance, one definition of "sin" in this verse is: to wander from the law of God, violate God's law, sin. Let's insert Strong's definition here, just for a little clarity: What then? Shall we wander from the Law of God, violate God's Law, sin, because we are not under the Law, but under grace? God forbid. See? He's not AT ALL saying that we should not obey the Law anymore!)

The only Laws that we are no longer bound to are those requiring animal (blood) sacrifice for the atonement of our sins. We are no longer bound to this because Messiah's sacrificial blood was shed for all of us for all times instead. Everything else in the Law, however, is still on the table and we are still to obey it.

What is further meant when Paul speaks of us no longer being under the Law is that we are no longer under its condemnation. When Messiah died, so did we.

Romans 6:3-7 (KJV) ~ Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in the newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.

We have risien with Him also and are new creatures. Does this mean we'll never sin again? No, but when we do sin...and repent...we no longer receive the death sentence of the law but are, instead, forgiven due to our faith in Messiah. See, before the Law sin wasn't counted against us.

Romans 5:13 (KJV) ~ For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law

Looking at Strong's again for the definition of imputed we have: to reckon in, set to one's account, lay to one's charge, impute.

Reading this verse again, but inserting part of Strong's definition for clarity: For until the Law sin was in the world: but sin is not set to one's account when there is no Law.

After the Law, however, sin was counted against us and the result was death!

Romans 6:23 (KJV) ~ For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Strong's lists a metaphoric definition for death in this usage, which I believe to be applicable:

Death (Definition 2a): the misery of the soul arising from sin, which begins on earth but lasts and increases after the death of the body in hell

Means, we're not only guaranteed an earthly death, BUT will our souls will experience increased misery in hell! Now, thankfully, because of the grace of Messiah, as long as we embrace Him, we won't have to experience this increased misery in hell which is a direct result of sin.

None of this, however, means that we no longer have to obey the Law. Just that we are no longer condemned to hell if and when we trangress it (i.e. sin).

The Law is for our benefit. It is Yahweh's ordinances for order, peace and quality health in our society. However, He knows that no matter how hard we try to live within its confines, we will inevitably fall short at times. Before Messiah if people fell short (and all did!), the consequence was death and a sacrifice was due in order to avoid this. Since Messiah is now our sacrifice and our life, we are no longer convicted by the Law, but instead we are forgiven and granted life through Him. However, the our guidelines for orderly, healthy living which please Him... is still in place.

Without the Law, there is no condemnation for sin and without sin's condemnation to hell we don't need a Savior! However, there is the Law, transgression of it is sin and, therefore, our Savior is an absolute must lest we be condemned forever.

Praise Yahweh for our Savior!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Snakes On A Plane (Pray You Don't Get Bit!)

Okay, I'm stealing this title...twice, actually! Of course it was a movie title, but I also saw it used elsewhere for a PHOTO DISPLAY on this same topic. What topic, you ask? Well...

Can someone please explain to me why it's necessary for pastors to fly all over the U.S. to preach at other churches and mega-conventions? And, yeah, I called 'em snakes, cuz that's how I feel at the moment. After reading this ARTICLE, and discovering that some of the biggest names on the circuit are flying in private jets costing millions of dollars as they continuously appear on our television sets reaching out their hands for donations, I'm appalled!

For the record, I do believe that most of the preachers we're discussing here do truly have a love for Yahweh, however, I also believe that they are being falsely led by a Spirit of greed and grandiosity.

Back to my original question, though: Why the need to fly all over the U.S. to preach to those who are already saved? Here's why this is personal to me. See, I belonged to a church that gives this huge convention each year (they give a few smaller events during the year too, but this one is their annual big deal shin dig). Now, once upon a time, I used to get in my car and drive all over town to see Bishop Jakes, Rod Parsley and the rest of them. However, once I was firmly planted in a good church where the word was regularly preached and TAUGHT, I didn't feel the need to go out of my way to see the "Big Names". Nothing personal against them, I still watched them on television, but that desire to see them just dissipated after a while. So, fast forward to this new church (not the original one where I regularly got good preaching and teaching) who gives this big annual conference. The first year I was there, I didn't attend the conference at all. I recall one of the speakers being Fred Price that year, who I do like, but didn't feel the need to get all dressed up, find parking and squeeze past crowds to see especially when I can watch him in my p.j.'s on the weekends for free. Anyway, the following year, I was asked to help out with a few small tasks for that year's convention. Although I feel these things are a huge waste of time and money (hundreds of thousands of dollars, folks!), I was asked to do something that I had the skills to do and, seeing as this was now my home church, I agreed. I attended one evening of that year's 3 day event and, in fact, caught a cold because the air conditioning was so high in the auditorium, lol. So, now the next year comes along and I'm asked to actually join a committee to raise funds and obtain sponsors for the next year's event (2005). Although I really wasn't with it, again, I believed it was my duty to help my church and, again, I had the skills to do so, had the time and liked the people I would be working with, so I did it and went full steam ahead. I attended that year's event too. The following year, still working on the committee, I was really questioning myself, but kept pushing. In fact, as one of our fundraisers for this event (we had several), we opened a cappuccino bar which was available every Sunday on the church's main campus. Myself and the other committee members were the only ones to volunteer to work at the bar, which meant that yours truly bought designated food items every Saturday and was up at 5:30a every Sunday morning to prepare the items for sale, get them to the church and set up the bar which opened at 8a and we didn't shut down most days until 3p. This may not sound like a major deal (and really it wouldn't have been had I believed in the cause), but I was also missing out on attending church with my family (Mr. Free and Free, Jr. still attended, but I was outside working the bar while they were inside enjoying the service). Not to mention, I was exhausted by the time I'd get home in the afternoon. As a family, prior to all of this, we'd been in the habit of attending church in the morning, getting a bite to eat out or cooking at home, resting a while and then returning to church for the evening service. After I began working the bar, our whole family, Sunday routine was out of the window and evening service was out of the question for me...I was exhausted. This went on for several months until I just couldn't take it anymore. Don't get me wrong, I loved the ladies I worked with and I loved the actual work while there, but I didn't believe in the reason behind it and I was sacrificing precious time with my family (especially my son who was nearing adulthood and I wanted to savor the times of us fellowshipping as a family while he was still at home). So, finally, I announced that I would still participate, but that I needed to cut down to maybe one or two Sundays per month instead of every Sunday. This worked for a while until I took off for a few Sundays only to return and find out that my pastor had purchased a $300,000 Ferrari! After this, I quit the bar entirely.

How do you purchase a $300,000 car, but then still want church members to raise money to put on a conference that costs at least that? I should also mention that he bought the car with financing. And when you understand how these conference things work, my feelings are that they create a certain type of celebrity for the host and speakers which further helps them get on the major circuits where they can command top dollar for appearances...more on that in a bit. In my heart, I never felt the conferences were necessary, but after seeing it from the inside, I knew they weren't and strongly believe they exist primarily as a means of showcasing "preachers" and making money. I mean, 9 chances out of 10, they're preaching to people who are already saved. Doesn't mean we don't need to hear a good message, but do we really need to spend close to a half a million dollars to deliver that message? Especially when there are others in the world who've never heard the Gospel to begin with? Do you know how many people could be reached if we spent that kind of dough reaching out to them?

Now, I loved (still do, though I'm no longer a member) my pastor and his wife dearly. I mean, as people, they are totally cool with me. But I just don't understand where that kind of appetite comes from. I don't mind a pastor having nice things...heck, we (as a congregation) would have bought him another car if we knew he wanted one. Yes, I said "another" because we'd already pitched in and bought him one for his birthday prior to that (which added to the multiple classic and high end luxury cars he already had). Okay, maybe I wouldn't have been down with buying him another one, lol, but I'm making the point that we loved him and his wife and didn't have a problem with him having nice things. However, money gained from having that church was used to buy his car and, further, I just don't understand where that kind of desire to spend comes from when you have an assignment to feed the flock. Did I mention that there wasn't one outreach program at this church to help poor or struggling congregants, much less to help anyone in the low income community where the church sits?

Okay, so my pastor bought his dream car (well, not his dream car, cuz he bought a Rolls Royce right after that), I quit the cappuccino bar and my Soul was bothered by the whole situation. Still, when it came time for that year's conference (2006), though I swore that I wasn't going, I allowed Mr. Free to talk me into attending just one of the nights. Did I mention that it cost $100 to attend the whole event (there was a discounted cost for only attending one night, I think, but I forget what that price was)? Well, it did. Choir members, ushers, musicians, committee members...everyone had to pay even if they were working at the event!

The straw that broke the proverbial camel's back was when I was turning into the convention center and saw a homeless man crossing the street in front of us. My heart ached as I thought Here, this man could probably use a good, inspirational message of how Messiah loves him and died to save him, but he can't get inside because he doesn't have the admission fee (and there were guards at every door making sure no freebies made it inside). Bishop Jakes, Juanita Bynum, Kirk Franklin - some of the biggest "names" in the ministry circuit were there, but this poor man would never get to experience or hear the outpouring flowing through them since he couldn't afford the admission price (sadly, I'd learn later that some members of the congregation couldn't even afford it, therefore, were unable to attend!)

Since then, I've been realllllly thinking about this whole issue of how much money and material wealth is being emphasized in various ministry. And, when I stumbled upon information disclosing the airplanes that some of the "big names" such as Joyce Meyer, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Paul and Jan Crouch, Jesse Duplantis, etc. own at the cost of several million dollars apiece, I began to wonder why? I mean, the places where they're typically invited to speak already have pastors and, as previously mentioned, the people they're speaking to are already saved. Which leads me to question myself...and others like to why we continue to run all over town (and in some cases fly to other cities and states) to see these folk. We see them on television, we've read their books, we visit their websites, we listen to their tapes...are we so caught up in the hype that we also have to go see them anytime they're in town? We contribute to this whole phenomenon, since we're the very ones paying the high ticket prices (or, if there are not tickets, the pay is gotten on the backend via tape and book sales) at the gate.

If we have bibles, can't we open them at any given time and read whatever it is these men and women are being paid enormous sums to speak on?

And why are they charging to deliver the gospel, anyway?

I won't mention names, but I will mention numbers. At the 2006 conference I mentioned, one guest was being paid $25K, another was being paid $40K and another the pastor refused to disclose the amount they were being paid, but stated that it was considerably more than the others (and he hired them at that rate!).

This is getting ridiculous and we, as audience participants, are just as much to blame.

I wouldn't mind the million dollar planes and the million dollars in cars (which is a modest estimate of the amount my former pastor has spent on cars for himself and his wife) if these planes and cars were being used to take the gospel to places where people have never heard it. Or, if the pastors riding in them were spending just as much in poor communities helping to feed homeless people, educate children, rehabilitate addicts, etc. Some of the ministries I've mentioned do have reputable outreach programs, but how many of them sow into those programs what they spend on cars, planes, homes, etc.? Can you imagine if Kenneth Copeland (whose wife, Gloria, has a matching plane and who, together, own several other planes and an actual AIRPORT) spent $20 million dollars preaching the gospel in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda or Sudan where terrible atrocities take place on an hourly basis by soldiers (many of them mere children) who rape, pillage and torture women and children because they don't know the love and salvation of Messiah and are, instead, mislead by evil warlords into doing what they do? Imagine the child slavery and prostitution that could be stopped in third world countries if that $20 million dollars were focused on sending missionaries into some of these remote regions and teaching people how to be freed from the bondage of sin and evilness? For the price of just one of Copeland's airplanes, how many souls could be reached or hungry children fed?

The whole situation sickens me to no end. Yet, many of us are content to make excuses for this behavior (including our own). We're so enamored with being in the religious clique and attending these huge social events that we can't see the ridiculousness of it all.

Can you imagine Messiah requiring $40,000.00 to come speak to a group of Believers? Can you imagine Him requiring a $20 million dollar plane and His own private airport to get there? Can you imagine what Messiah must be thinking when He sees His gospel being sold while those who need it, but can't afford the ticket price go without? Can you imagine what Messiah must think of all of us who continue to feed into this frenzy?

Surely there are phones on those multi-million dollar planes. Quick! Someone call the preacher up and tell them that there's no airstrip in heaven!

People, please STOP the madness...


It's All In The Word!

Thank Yahweh for the Holy Spirit which leads us into all truth! I don't know about you, but I would be totally lost without Him!

For a long time I had this funny feeling about Paul the Apostle. I wasn't entirely comfortable with the fact that it was Paul who wrote most of the New Testament, yet he never met the Messiah face to face personally (I mean during His earthly ministry...I know he met Him en route to Damascus). I wasn't entirely comfortable with some of his teachings on not following the Old Testament Laws, while it appeared that Messiah taught that we should. I wasn't comfortable that he seemed to be the one to establish Christianity, while Messiah never advocated for a separate religion from what he practiced and, when He did speak of building a Church, He appointed Peter to be the foundation from which He'd do so. I've since come to the realization (through much research, bible study and much prayer) that there was more to Paul than meets the eye and more to his ministry. I mean this in a good way and in a way that no longer has me stumbling over Paul and his teachings. But that conversation is for another time.

In my researching Paul and his history with Christianity, I came across a very interesting website ( where I have discovered much that I've since studied, researched and compared with the bible and found to be true.

Years ago, my mother discovered that Our Heavenly Father's name had been omitted from mainstream bible texts. She tried to tell me about this, but her words basically went in one ear and out of the other. Wasn't that I didn't believe her, just that the information didn't much matter to me. I loved the Father, His Son was my Savior, I'd been filled with the Holy Spirit and that was the most important thing to me. Names didn't have much meaning. However, when I stumbled upon EliYah's site, I became fascinated with what I read.

Without getting too technical (you can read, study and pray for your own understanding as I did), basically the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts contained Our Father's name, YHVH and His title (as in who He is), Elohim. However, since Jews believed His name was too sacred to pronounce, they omitted the name and His title and replaced both with the words God and Lord (both were previously, and still are, used to call and describe false gods and people...think: Lord Byron, gods and goddesses, etc.). The exact pronunciation of the name is speculated upon (and I'm still trying to figure it out too). Because there are no vowels in the Name, there's a story behind it, but Yahweh is the pronunciation I've come to use. You can visit Eliyah's site or read HERE for more information.

Until investigating it, I didn't think it was that big of a deal. But when I realized that His name is Holy (we say this all the time and sing it in songs, etc., but we don't actually use it!)... I had to pause and really take a look at the big picture. See, his name YHVH means "I Am" or "The One who is existing". Remember when Moses asked the Father:

“Indeed, when I come to the children of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they say to me, ‘What is His name?’ what shall I say to them?”
And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” Moreover God said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel: ‘The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial to all generations.’ (Exodus 3:13-15, emphasis added)

His name was replaced from the original manuscripts nearly 7,000 times! But he told us over and over and over again to use His name. When my mom used to tell me this, I figured, "Yeah, but He knows who we're talking about when we talk to or about Him. And by 'His name', He is referring more to His reputation or who He is more so than His actual name". While I still believe that, for the most part, this is true, the fact that YHWH and Elohim were originally in the bible, yet "men" made the decision to take them out, didn't set too well with me after giving it some thought. I mean, if He said to do such and such in His name or to call on His name and He told us His name and it was originally there for all to know... why take it out? And, after knowing that it was omitted and learning what it is, why not use it? So, long story short, I now use His name when referring to him. (For a list of scriptures where He instructs us on His name, using it, etc. click HERE).

Ditto for His Son the Messiah. He never heard the name Jesus during His earthly life and ministry. The apostles never called Him this, His parents, siblings, friends, etc. never even heard that name, much less used it! In fact, the letter J doesn't even exist in the Hebrew language! His original name was Yahushua (or some will say Y'shua or Yahshua). However, through translation to Greek and, later, to English His name was changed to Jesus. It's interesting to note that, even in the original 1611 King James Version of the bible (from which most of our English translations derive), the name Jesus was never used (it was Iesous).
Names are meant to be special identifiers and in certain cultures (such as Hebrew), they have distinct and special meanings. Here in America, we don't put much stock into the meanings of names, but the rest of the world does. Like His Father, His name also has meaning. It means 'Yahweh saves' or 'Yahweh is our salvation'... His name literally means Savior! Note that the first 3 letters of His name (Yahushua) actually contain His father's name too (Yahweh).

Again, like me, you may say, "No big deal...His name was just translated into English". Well, I can go anywhere in the world and my name will still be "Free". Why? Because, out of respect, names are never translated to other languages...they're transliterated, instead. Think, Osama Bin Laden's name is still Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein's name was still Saddam Hussein. Yet the name of the Messiah was changed from His original Hebrew name to something He never heard in His lifetime. You can learn more about this HERE, but for me this revelation was enough for me to depart from the traditions constructed by man and return to using the original names for our Father and for His Son and our Messiah.

Mr. Free (who prefers using the traditional English names, Jesus and God) likes to tell me, "We don't speak Hebrew, so I'll stick with the English names". His choice, but (to me) it's kinda insulting, not to mention arrogant, to change someone's name just because it's in another language. If someone tells me their name is Pedro, I don't take it upon myself to call him Peter. Or, if someone tells me their name is Jane, I would think it rude to want to call her Victoria, just because it's what I prefer. (Why am I thinking about Rudy from the Cosby Show calling her playmate, Kenny, "Bud"? LOL) Further, we say Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Rancho Cucamonga and even Hamburger all the time. None of these are of English origin, yet we say them without attempting to translate them into some sort of English word. Most of us also know or have met people named Jesus, Humberto, Hector, Giselle, Juan, Isabella, etc. and we don't change their names. In fact, Mr. Free and I have personal friends and associates named Adelunge, Alloyce, Aslam and Martyne and we call them by their names without a problem, yet when it comes to Messiah...because of man's tradition (and man swapping the names), we sometimes want to resist restoring the Names and their usage to fit our own comfort...or so that we will fit in with the comfort of others!

Well, even though my journey started with research on Paul the Apostle, the Holy Spirit led me into another study entirely. Since then, I've begun to unravel a few other mysteries about the traditions which we hold dear, but aren't exactly biblical (and some are even pagan in origin...more on that later, too). Of course, I'm not easily swayed by a lot of what I read, but through consistent study, prayer and, of course, revelation of the Holy Spirit, the bible and all that Yahweh has for us has come alive to me in a new way and on deeper levels than ever before. It's almost like we've been so bamboozled by religious traditions until it takes really realizing this and backing away just to see the clear picture. Once you read the bible, with nothing but the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we find nothing but Truth. I personally believe it's super-important for all of us to look at everything we do, what we believe and how we worship and see if it lines up with what we're taught in the bible. If it doesn't, well... it's time to rethink why we do what we do and determine if we're offending Yahweh, hurting ourselves or keeping ourselves from the purpose and plan He has for us. Although I have explored much on the web, I also am mindful to study and pray over everything I entertain as a belief (or possible belief). Which is why I say thank Yahweh for the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth!


Living and Loving

The first time I told him I love him, Mr. Free thought I was joking. lol

I remember it like it was yesterday. My mother, forced to move out of her condo, needed a place to live in a hurry. Mr. Free and I had been dating less than a year, but he came through in a crunch and arranged for her to move into a house that a friend of his owned. On moving day he even gathered a couple of friends and loaded all of her belongings up and relocated her. I can't remember why I only stopped by instead of assisted with the day's move, but I did and, as I was pulling off from the condo, he was in another car filled with mom's stuff and it hit me that he was one of the most wonderful people I'd ever known. I mean, to go out of his way and help her, not just find a place where she paid nothing to move in, but to also spend his afternoon moving her without even being asked. My mom had been in a bind, but he came to her rescue and it was at that moment, watching him pull off with another load that I decided that I loved him. When I pulled up next to him, rolled down my window and told him, he laughed at me as though I didn't know what I was saying, but I did and I still do!

I can remember quite a few times in our relationship that an ordinary person would have walked away from it all and never looked back. We've BOTH done some crazy stuff in our youth and in learning how to exist together. Once, I remember being really hurt...I mean to my core by something that had occured between us. I went to my best friend's house for solace and Mr. Free was flooding my cellphone with unanswered calls. I didn't want to talk to him, but when I arrived at my best friend's I had her answer just so that he would know I was okay. As upset as I was, I didn't want him to worry. When she hung up the phone with him, she expressed to me the sadness in his voice and the regret he expressed to her over the way things were between us in those moments. I had her immediately call him back because I didn't like the idea of him beating himself up over something concerning me. Regret was one thing, but I just didn't like to hear about him hurting because I was hurt. I can't explain it, but when you love someone, like I love Mr. Free, you'll do anything in the world to spare them pain (even when they deserve it! lol).

There's a line in a movie (Lackawana Blues) where one of the main characters, when questioned about why she just didn't walk away from her marriage in rough times, replies that, "Some times a man and a woman got an understanding that only they understand." So, so true!

In my immaturity I would often relate to select others the details of our arguments and disagreements. Of course, I only told of those where he was clearly wrong. LOL It was a few years before I realized that he didn't do the same. There have been times when I have dealt devastating blows to our relationship, but not only has he hung in there with me, forgiven me and stayed by my side, but he's also kept his mouth shut about my shortcomings and wrong doings. From him, I've learned that our issues are between us and that it's not necessary to air our dirty laundry to others (unless it will help them, which we do believe in sharing our experiences in that regard to help other couples).

I think it's important to understand your lover as a person... to relate to them as a human being, and not just as your lover. When you do this, it's sometimes easier to understand their motives, misunderstandings and moods. Mr. Free and I do that pretty well, I think. It took us a while and we do still sometimes take things personally, but we each try to take into account the other's upbringing, insecurities, past relationships, personal issues and so forth when trying to understand what makes the other tick. Sometimes it's just not about us, sometimes we react to things based upon similar past experiences or fears or any host of other reasons. Doesn't make our reactions always right or the best way to deal with things, but it's comforting to know that your partner isn't going to run, but will excuse, forgive and do their best to help you understand and avoid negative patterns in the future.

Recently, we had a little public tiff. Nothing too major...was over before it started in fact, but not without a few, quick verbal jabs first. Days later, after we'd discussed it, made up and all was forgiven, somone commented on what they would have done in that situation (their reply involved a little literal head bashing, lol) and, when I thought about it, I can see that once upon a time I probably would have reacted in the same way they suggested. However, when you know a person and have really learned what motivates them to do what they do, you learn better ways to handle situations. You learn that sometimes there are hidden reasons behind their actions and your own reactions. When you understand this, you learn to cut a short path to a better solution. Doesn't always make things easy, but it helps in not making them worse.

It's also funny how little things can mean so much. Things that some others may not even notice or think all that important, but to you they mean the world. One of Mr. Free's most affectionate moves is when he anoints my head with oil and says a prayer for me. Might sound corny, but that trumps a dozen roses and 40 kisses a day (not that I don't like roses and kisses, lol)! When he does this, I know he's not only concerned with my heart or my feelings, but he's deeply concerned with my soul and my spirit. He asks Our Father to watch over me, to help me and to show me His ways.

I could go on for days about why I love him, but really it comes down to the choice to do so. Yeah, he's handsome, smart, deeply spiritual, wise, funny, strong, a great provider, a great father, a caring individual and an all around cool person. And, yeah, he's a great cook! But none of those things matter much when he has me so angry I can hardly see straight. No, what keeps me loving him is that, a long time ago, I made the choice to do so. It's when things are going great and he's going out of his way for my happiness that this decision is an effortless pleasure, but it's in the difficult times that I call on the most strength to put his feelings, wants, needs and thoughts even before my own. See, I've learned that, in love, when you sacrifice and put the other first is when you're loving your best. Easy to do when you feel good about them, not so easy to do when you want to push a button and eject them from the planet (lol). Still, it's a decision, a discipline and a lot of effort, but it's all worth it. And when it comes to Mr. Free he's DEFINITELY worth it!

May you all experience true love...begin with the love, grace, mercy and forgiveness that the Father shows us and spread that to others, especially your spouse, and experience love you will definitely do!

Take care of yourself and each other,


Sunday, May 27, 2007

Church Says They're Living In Sin

Just read the story of a Catholic couple who live together as husband and wife. However, their church says they are living in sin because their marriage wasn't sanctified by the church. He has been trying to find scriptural support which says that a marriage must take place in a church and be officiated by a priest.

Problem is that he'll never find that scripture (because it doesn't exist) and he'll never be accepted as married by his church, because of tradition.

I've seen issues like these over and over again in the past year. A similar one was where a man and woman legally divorced, but then reconciled and are living as husband and wife again (didn't redo the whole wedding thing, just made an agreement amongst themselves to reunite as husband and wife). Unfortunately, their church isn't recognizing their marriage either.

When I ask other Christians what the bible says on matters like the first example, I'm told that there are some things that Our Father has kept silent on. Truth is, though, that He hasn't been silent on the matter at all. Take a look:

Genesis 2:24 ~ Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.


Matthew 19:4-6 ~ (Christ speaking) And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.


Mark 10:6-8 ~ (Christ speaking) But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.


Ephesians 5:31, 32 ~ (Paul speaking on the roles of husbands and wives) For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

In all 4 of these passages, it clearly states that a man leaves his father and mother, joins with his wife and the 2 are now 1. I don't read any instructions stating that this must take place in a church or that it must be presided over by a priest, pastor, judge, etc. Our Father is obviously not silent on the issue, just that He hasn't instituted, ANYWHERE in the bible, the traditional weddings we find today.

Strong's concordance defines cleave as:

1) to cling, stick, stay close, cleave, keep close, stick to, stick with, follow closely, join to, overtake, catch
a) (Qal)
1) to cling, cleave to
2) to stay with
b) (Pual) to be joined together
c) (Hiphil)
1) to cause to cleave to
2) to pursue closely
3) to overtake
d) (Hophal) to be made to cleave

Again, no instructions on a ceremony.

Now, this isn't to say that a ceremony isn't a good thing. That's it's not a nice tradition to have, however, it doesn't appear that one is necessary!

Many will also argue that Christ performed His first public miracle at a wedding at Cana. Yes, the bible does tell us He performed His first miracle there, however the word used in the King James Version (from whence most other modern translations are derived) is "marriage", not "wedding". Furthermore, from the way it reads, it appears that what was called a "marriage" was actually the equivalent of what we call a wedding reception today. Remember, the miracle was that He turned water to wine. This didn't take place during any type of ceremony, it took place at a time when the guests were eating, drinking and being merry! There is no record of a wedding ceremony...there's no record of Christ, any of the apostles or any of the patriarchs before them performing any wedding ceremonies or even exchanging vows with their own wives! In fact, in Matthew 5:36, 37 Christ says:

Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. (Incidentally, He said this immediately after speaking of marriage and divorce)

So, with no record of a wedding ceremony in a church with an officiant and no exchanging of vows, where does the Church...any church...get the idea that 2 people, living as husband and wife (cleaving to one another according to scripture) are, in fact, living in sin?! Further, with all of the scriptures above clearly defining the requirements of marriage, where do we get the idea that Our Father has been silent on the matter? The fact is that He has spoken...we just refuse to listen and, instead, continue to follow (and judge others according to) our own made up traditions!

Is this another example of what Christ pointed out in Mark 5:9

And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

Have we chosen to reject what Our Father has said about marriage in all of the scriptures and, instead, chosen to uphold our "traditions" over His word?



Saturday, May 26, 2007

Anti-Cohabitation Law?

N. Dakota recently introduced a bill to amend its Anti-Cohabitation law. Originally, the bill was written to repeal the law entirely, but now it is proposing that it merely be changed. What once was categorized as a sex crime (right up there with rape and child sex abuse) would now be fraud, but ONLY if the couple claims to be married. Cohabitating couples who DO NOT claim to be married will not be punished. (Anti-cohabitation law, my foot! More like an anti-biblical marriage law!)

There is no record of a wedding ceremony in the bible (the wedding at Cana is described in the KJV as a "marriage" and there is no record of it being anything other than what we would today equate to a reception). There is no record of anyone officiating a marriage or record of Yahweh saying one must be officiated by a priest or anyone else. Not to mention, there is no such thing as a marriage license or certificate in scripture either.

In fact (and in case you haven't read my other posts), upon studying the history of the marriage certificate in this country, I've discovered that it's a relatively new concept born out of legal necessity for inheritance, division of property and assets and so on. My point is that, for many centuries all a couple had to do was live together as man and wife and present themselves to society as man and wife in order to be legally recognized, and socially accepted, as married. Now, in North Dakota at least, that could possibly be a crime.

Surely many of you are thinking that we are to obey the laws of the land. And you are correct. However, with North Dakota partially excluded (and seven other states with similar laws), there are no laws against cohabitation and there are no laws saying that two people MUST enter a legal contract in order to be married. Only that, to receive state and federal benefits, they must enter into a legal contract with the government first. So there is no breaking of the law of the land if two people say they're married without a contract! I say "North Dakota partially excluded", because if this bill passes ONLY those who represent themselves as married are to be penalized. Cohabitating couples are free to continue doing so without incident. So those focused on remaining together for life are penalized, while those who are living together and taking their relationship day by day are free to do so unless and until they SAY they are married.

To some, it isn't a big deal to legally marry. But to others, like me, it is. Some entire denominations don't believe in the marriage certificate. For the latter, they prefer to marry in the sight of Yahweh only and option out of the government's benefit package for married couples. Is it their right to do so? Biblically, are they wrong? Does the government have a right to require such and to penalize people who don't abide? And, if this bill should pass, how will it affect these individuals who would now be on the wrong side of the law for choosing what they believe is right according to biblical standards? What should they do, especially if they are strongly opposed to government involvement in their marriages?


What Exactly Is Secular Marriage?

This essay by Virgil Cooper, pretty much sums it up (found on The Lawful Path):

Secular Marriage

by Virgil Cooper

About 15 years ago, my former wife of 26-1/2 years, filed for divorce. We had seven children, five daughters and two sons. Our youngest at the time, our second son, was five years old.

At the time, I prepared a counterclaim to the Petition for Dissolution her attorney filed in Domestic Relations (DR) court. I met one afternoon with the head of the Maricopa County Superior Court, Marriage License Bureau, in downtown Phoenix.

The marriage license bureau was headed by a young woman of about age 25. I asked her to explain to me the general and statutory implications of the marriage license. She was very cooperative, and called in an Assistant, a tall Black man who at the time was working on an Operations Manual for internal departmental use.

She deferred for most technical explanations to her Assistant. He walked through the technicalities of the marriage license as it operates in Arizona.

He mentioned that marriage licensing is pretty much the same in the other states -- but there are differences. One significant difference he mentioned was that Arizona is one of eight western states that are Community Property states. The other states are Common Law states, including Utah, with the exception of Lousiana which is a Napoleonic Code state.

He then explained some of the technicalities of the marriage license. He said, first of all, the marriage license is Secular Contract between the parties and the State.

The State is the principal party in that Secular Contract. The husband and wife are secondary or inferior parties. The Secular Contract is a three-way contract between the State, as Principal, and the husband and wife as the other two legs of the Contract.

He said, in the traditional sense a marriage is a covenant between the husband and wife and God. But in the Secular Contract with the state, reference to God is a "dotted line," and not officially considered included in the Secular Contract at all. He said, if the husband and wife wish to include God as a party in their marriage, that is a "dotted line" they will have to add in their own minds. The state's marriage license is "strictly secular," he said.

He said further, that what he meant by the relationship to God being a "dotted line" meant that the State regards any mention of God as irrelevant, even meaningless.

In his description of the marriage license contract, he related one other "dotted line."

He said in the traditional religious context, marriage was a covenant between the husband and wife and God with husband and wife joined as one. This is not the case in the secular realm of the state's marriage license contract. The State is the Principal or dominant party. The husband and wife are merely contractually "joined" as business partners, not in any religious union. They may even be considered, he said, connected to each other by another "dotted line."

The picture he was trying to paint was that of a triangle with the State at the top and a solid line extending from the apex, the State, down the left side to the husband, and a separate solid line extending down the right side to the wife, a dotted line merely showing that they consider themselves to have entered into a religious union of some sort that is irrrelevant to the State.

He further mentioned that this religious overtone is recognized by the State by requiring that the marriage must be solemnized either by a state official or by a minister of religion that has been deputized by the State to perform the marriage ceremony and make a return of the signed and executed marriage license to the State.

Again, he emphasized that marriage is a strictily secular relationship so far as the State is concerned and because it is looked upon as a "privileged business enterprise," various tax advantages and other political privileges have become attached to the marriage license contract that have nothing at all to do with marriage as a religious covenant or bond between God and a man and a woman.

By way of reference, if you would like to read a legal treatise on marriage, one of the best is Principles of Community Property, by William Defuniak. At the outset, he explains that Community Property law decends from Roman Civil Law through the Spanish Codes, A.D. 600, written by the Spanish jurisconsults.

In the civil law, the marriage is considered to be a for-profit venture or profit-making venture (even though it may never actually produce a profit in operation) and as the wife goes out to the local market to purchase food stuffs and other supplies for the marriage household, she is replenishing the stocks of the business.

To restate:

In the civil law, the marriage is considered to be a business venture, that is, a for-profit business venture. Moreover, as children come into the marriage household, the business venture is considered to have "borne fruit."

Now, back to the explanation by the Maricopa County Superior Court, Marriage Bureau's administrative Assistant.

He went on to explain that every contract must have consideration. The State offers consideration in the form of the actual license itself -- the piece of paper, the Certificate of Marriage. The other part of consideration by the State is "the privilege to be regulated by statute."

He added that this privilege to be regulated by statute includes all related statutes, and all court cases as they are ruled on by the courts, and all statutes and regulations into the future in the years following the commencement of the marriage.

He said in a way the marriage license contract is a dynamic or flexible, ever-changing contract as time goes along -- even though the husband and wife didn't realize that. My thought on this is can it really be considered a true contract as one becomes aware of the failure by the State to make full disclosure of the terms and conditions?

A contract must be entered into knowingly, intelligently, intentionally, and with fully informed consent. Otherwise, technically there is no contract. Another way to look as the marriage license contract with the State is as a contract of adhesion, a contract between two disparate, unequal parties. Again, a flawed contract.

Such a contract with the State is said to be a "specific perforance" contract as to the privileges, duties and responsibilities that attach.

Consideration on the part of the husband and wife is the actual fee paid and the implied agreement to be subject to the state's statutes, rules, and regulations and all court cases ruled on related to marriage law, family law, children, and property.

He emphasized that this contractual consideration by the bride and groom places them in a definite and defined- by-law position inferior and subject to the State. He commented that very few people realize this.

He also said that it is very important to understand that children born to the marriage are considered by law as "the contract bearing fruit" -- meaning the children primarily belong to the State, even though the law never comes out and says so in so many words.

In this regard, children born to the contract regarded as "the contract bearing fruit," he said it is vitally important for parents to understand two doctrines that became established in the United States during the 1930s. The first is the Doctrine of Parens Patriae. The second is the Doctrine of In Loco Parentis. Parens Patriae means literally "the parent of the country" or to state it more bluntly -- the State is the undisclosed true parent.

Along this line, a 1930s Arizona Supreme Court case states that parents have no property right in their children, and have custody of their children during good behavior at the sufferance of the State. This means that parents may raise their children and maintain custody of their children as long as they don't offend the State, but if they in some manner displease the State, the State can step in at any time and exercise its superior status and take custody and control of its children -- the parents are only conditional caretakers.

He also added a few more technical details. The marriage license is an ongoing contractual relationship with the State. Technically, the marriage license is a business license allowing the husband and wife, in the name of the marriage, to enter into contracts with third parties and contract mortgages and debts.

They can get car loans, home mortgages, and installment debts in the name of the marriage because it is not only a secular enterprise, but it is looked upon by the State as a privileged business enterprise as well as a for-profit business enterprise. The marriage contract acquires property througout its existence and over time, it is hoped, increases in value.

Also, the marriage contract bears fruit by adding children. If sometime later, the marriage fails, and a divorce results, the contract continues in existence. The divorce is merely a contractual dissolution or amendment of the terms and conditions of the contract.

Jurisdiction of the State over the marriage, over the husband and wife, now separated, continues and continues over all aspects of the marriage, over marital property and over children brought into the marriage. That is why family law and the Domestic Relations court calls "divorce" a dissolution of the marriage because the contract continues in operation but in amended or modified form.

He also pointed out that the marriage license contract is one of the strongest, most binding contractual relationships the States has on people.

At the end of our hour-long meeting, I somewhat humorously asked if other people had come in and asked the questions I was asking? The Assistant replied that in the several years he had worked there, he was not aware of anyone else asking these questions.

He added that he was very glad to see someone interested in the legal implications of the marriage license and the contractual relationship it creates with the State.

His boss, the young woman Marriage Bureau department head stated, "You have to understand that people who come in here to get a marriage license are in heat. The last thing they want to know is technical, legal and statutory implications of the marriage license." (Laughter)

I hope this is helpful information to anyone interested in getting more familiar with the contractual implications of the marriage license.

The marriage license as we know it didn't come into existence until after the Civil War and didn't become standard practice in all the states until after 1900, becoming firmly established by 1920. In effect, the states or governments appropriated or usurped control of marriages in secular form and in the process declared Common Law applicable to marriages "abrogated."

Please pass this information along and share it as widely as possible.

Best regards from Virgil Cooper


Thanks, Virgil!

Quite a lesson, huh folks?


Am I Anti-Government?

Hmmm, I don't think so. I'm just anti-anything dishonest and seeking to replace the authority of Yahweh. While government has its place, it's place is NOT to replace the Most High!

On the topic of marriage, many have asked me what I have against it. Nothing...absolutely nothing. I love marriage! I believe it to be Yahweh's plan for man and woman so that we can enjoy companionship, birth children, raise families and create functioning societies. I am 100%, without a doubt PRO-marriage.

Okay, so then the question comes down to, "Well, why not just get legally married?" Originally, at the right time, that was my (our) plan. However, as that plan didn't gel as smoothly as most do, I began to experience a lot of anxiety due to outside pressure to hurry and make it happen.

Wait, I need to backtrack a little...

A little background for ya:

My mother has been married and divorced twice, my father has been married and divorced three times. All of my immediate family is also divorced (some twice). My best friend is divorced, my other ace boon coon is divorced and besides one couple I know (who have multiple previous marriages between them), I don't know a single happily married couple amongst my peers. I'm not saying it's not possible, just that I don't have a whole lotta role models here.

Mr. Free's mom has been married and divorced once and his father's been married once, widowed once and hopes to marry a third time in the future.

Mr. Free's grandparents have been married forever, but mostly everyone else in his immediate family has been divorced, most are now single, but several are on second marriages. Out of all of his siblings, one was married for less than 2 years and the other recently married a couple of years ago (at over 40...not that anything is wrong with that and their marriage appears to be quite strong, but it took a looooong time for this particular sibling to figure it all out and find the right person too).

Where I come from, marriage isn't a huge deal. It's not uncommon for people to live together, have children, break up and move on to the next relationship. Some marry, some don't, but all end up ending their relationships eventually, so...again...marriage was never a huge deal.

So, when Mr. Free and I first began dating (a looooong time ago!), marriage wasn't an wasn't a question and it wasn't a requirement. Actually, that's not entirely true, because Mr. Free comes from a very religious, very conservative family (despite the divorces!) and it was instilled in him that you don't live with a woman unless you're married to her. For me, however, it wasn't even a thought and, despite his upbringing, I was able to convince Mr. Free that we could do this living together thing anyway. It's important to note that he didn't want to marry me back then, just that he didn't want to live with anyone (including me) as it went against his personal beliefs.

Okay, so we're living together and we have lots of issues (both personally/with ourselves and with each other). Despite the rough patches between us, he has been, and continues to be, a wonderful father to my now adult son (whom he began parenting when he was 2 years old). Fast forward through all of the child rearing and relationship drama and we find ourselves, years later, striving to dedicate ourselves more deeply to Our Heavenly Father and to each other. Through a series of events, we realize that marriage is a MUST if we're to stay together. We must do this thing and we must do it right!

But wait, remember that neither one of us has had a model of what marriage is and, not wanting to "just do it" like a Nike challenge (and like the rest of our divorced peers and family members), we decide we'll take our time, study what the bible teaches about marriage, read books on the subject and see if we can figure out what marriage even IS! We knew we didn't want to end up like everyone else we knew, but we also knew we had to figure it out and get right.

Okay, so we started studying and planning and though our understanding was increased, through a few personal trials (not with each other...just life in general), we decided that we'd hold off on doing the big wedding and all the legalities.

While in this holding pattern of sorts, the pressure began to mount. Funny thing about it is that, during all of the years when we were doing the whole living in sin thing, people close to us suggested marriage, but they didn't push the issue. But now that we'd decided on celibacy and we'd decided that we did need to step back, examine ourselves, our relationship (and our individual relationships with Christ), the pressure was on. To me, it felt like we were accepted when we behaved as sinners, but were rejected now that we were trying to do right, but taking our time and our pace in doing so.

The great thing is that, during this time, our relationship also blossomed as never before. I mean, we truly grew by leaps and bounds as a couple. We had both resolved in our hearts and to each other that we would be together forever and that nothing or no one but God would come between us (in all of our prior years together, we'd never made that kind of commitment). Now, however, our relationship was super strong from the inside, but treated very disdainfully by some very religious folk on the outside. Why? Because we didn't have that piece of paper called a marriage certificate. We could be as commited to God and one another as we thought, but without that legal contract, I discovered few who respected us (though they still loved us...important to note, cuz it's true). Still, pressure, pressure, PRESSURE!

Now, Mr. Free isn't one to care what others think, but I was quite troubled by it all.

So, I began to think and pray and study and question and learned more than I bargained for. That's right, I said "more than I bargained for", because since you can't unlearn a thing, I found myself in a quandry with all of the information I'd gathered. Now, in good conscience, knowing how marriage licensing came to be and knowing what a marriage certificate stands for and knowing what the bible says about marriage...I can't see myself entering into such an arrangement. I love Mr. Free's dirty drawers, but I believe that Yahweh put us in this holding pattern, so that we could learn this lesson and not enter into an agreement that places the state of XYZ at the head of our marriage in place of Him! I still don't know if that was Him speaking to me when I heard that whisper, "They are worshiping a false god", but with the way people believe that a marriage can't exist between Yahweh and man, alone, but that it MUST include the state, it's not hard to imagine that they just may be worshiping a false one!

So, now when people ask me, "Why not just get legally married?" I ask, "Why should I?"

Really, why?

Mr. Free still isn't entirely convinced of this...I mean, he sees where I'm coming from, but that traditional background is hard to let go of, I guess. I understand that and I respect that, but I don't see myself changing my mind anytime soon (or later).

I do know that I love him and I do know that I honor him as my husband (even sans certificate) and some days I do want a ceremony (and some days I don't), but the big issue now is that I don't want a LEGAL, state governed marriage!

So, we'll just have to see...

Take it easy,


Real Marriage Vs. Legal Marriage

I wrote this some time last summer and, though this particular piece contains a conclusion, the conversation is far from over. Here's an early sampling of my thoughts on the matter:


Were Adam and Eve married? This may seem like an absurd question, but in the space of a larger point, it is important that we begin the discussion here with whom Christians refer to as the first couple ever to inhabit earth. In being the only two people that we know God literally placed together to live as one, isn’t it important that we model their blueprint for marriage as closely as possible? With an estimated 2.5 million weddings taking place every year totaling close to $40 billion dollars, not to mention the effects of divorce on society, is it safe to assume that we’ve come a long way from the first model of a man and a woman becoming united in matrimony?

Define Christian Marriage

Marriage, in its purest intention, is a condition or a state of two people existing as one in covenant with one another and with God. It is a lifestyle agreed upon between a man and a woman to support one another, build a family unit and, thus, build a community. This state of being is God’s intention for man and woman. It is, in fact, the very reason why woman was created (Genesis 2:20-25).

The process of two people becoming married involves a conscious choice for two to live as one. The act of “becoming one flesh”, by way of sexual intercourse, is the holy right given by God, which accompanies and solidifies such a decision. The process need not include a person pronouncing two people as husband and wife and does not depend on the permission of a governmental authority, nor is it necessary for such an authority to declare by way of certificate that this union exists. As a sovereign religious institution, it requires no additional validation. Once the commitment is made, it is valid because it exists. Simply, it is the coming together of two people to live publicly as one under the guidance, governance and authority of God alone.

Okay, many will argue that Adam and Eve didn’t have a wedding ceremony with all of the bells and whistles because there was no one else to preside over their nuptials besides God. So then, let’s fast forward and discuss all of the wedding ceremonies that took place when Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob married their respective spouses. Have you ever wondered why no canonical detail is given of the vows that were exchanged? Who presided over the ceremony or what government gave the authority for them to marry? In fact, until we reach the story of Jacob marrying Leah and, eventually, Rachel, there is no account of how any of our patriarchs came to be joined in matrimony. When we do finally arrive at the story of Jacob and Leah’s coming together, we learn simply that Laban gave Leah to Jacob in marriage, that a celebration ensued and the two of them were sexually intimate. Of course, when Jacob woke up and discovered he had been given the wrong sister, he negotiated for Rachel and, once again, Laban gave her to him in marriage, this time with no mention of a celebration at all (Genesis 29:15-28). That people traditionally came together to celebrate new unions is widely known, but what isn’t found in the bible is actual marriage ceremonies, nor accounts of who presided over them and what, if any, government permission was granted. None of these things are detailed, because they simply didn’t exist. Not one of these unions of old mirror what we emphasize today.

Again, a marriage was negotiated between families (which was primarily a financial negotiation), a woman was given to her husband by her father and the act of them “becoming one flesh” or consummating the marriage via sexual intercourse and them identifying themselves as married to the public, was the actual act of them becoming a married couple. A commemorative feast, usually lasting a week or more, was known as the wedding, but it was in celebration of the newly formed marriage, much like wedding receptions of today, and not what actually joined the couple together.

Some may argue that these examples are all of Old Testament customs. That, since Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana, it is clear that weddings were also a part of the New Testament’s social structure. However, when closely assessed, it is also clear that no wedding ceremony, officiator or government authority is ever discussed in the New Testament either. That there was a celebration in Cana, but no mention of an actual ceremony sounds like not much had changed from the Old Testament patriarchs, until Jesus’ ministry.

Further, let’s ask ourselves, did Jesus ever perform a wedding ceremony that we’re aware of? For that matter, can we name a priest, judge or king that ever performed a wedding ceremony in the bible? Where are the instructions on which vows are to be recited or on what sort of written decree is to be rendered to the government in order to seek permission to marry or to validate the existence of a marriage?

Do you ever wonder why the formation of one of the single most important social constructs around the world, and certainly within Christianity, lacks explicit detail in the bible? The reason is very simple. We are so busy looking for, or assuming the existence of, weddings similar to our contemporary customs, that we have missed what the bible taught us beginning with Adam and Eve. Marriage is, pure and simple, the cleaving of a man and a woman to one another and becoming one flesh (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:5, Ephesians 5:31).

How marriage shapes community

No society can exist without children. Without them, there are no future generations and societies disappear. While marriage is not the only way to populate the earth, in most societies, it is the most desirable model. It helps in assuring the paternity of children, encourages parents to remain active in, not just the creation of children, but the rearing of them as well and represents a stable environment for them to thrive. Of course, marriage is no guarantee of any of these things, but it is the strongest hope that most hold for all of them. Further, research has clearly indicated that children reared in two biological parent households, where both parents are at peace with one another fare better socially and economically. Consider the following from Good News Magazine (July/August 2002):

  • About half of first marriages, and up to 60 percent of second marriages, end in divorce.
  • Single women as a whole are five times more likely to be poor than those who are married.
  • Children living in single-parent homes are four times as likely to live in poverty than those in two-parent families.
  • Compared to those raised in two-parent families, children of single-parent households are twice as likely to drop out of school, three times as likely to have an illegitimate child and far more likely to use drugs and engage in other antisocial activities.
  • One third of American children are born out of wedlock.
That marriage exists across cultures, societies and time is not an accident, but the wisest of designs for civilization. With or without governing laws, it is one of the most fundamental constructs, or universal institutions, existing all over the world literally since the beginning of time.

History/timeline of matrimony

How then, did we get to a place where marriage requires a license, must be presided over by an official agent of the state, often a minister, before it is pronounced done? Let’s then take a look at the inception of, and the progression of, marriage ceremonies, licenses and certificates over the years.

Introduced during the reign of the Roman Empire, lower class Christian converts engaged in what was known as Common Law or Free Marriages. This agreement, between the two families and the couple, eventually became known as a Consensus to Wed and, still later, began being referred to as a Conscious Marriage. After the fall of the Roman Empire and, eventually, under the new reign of Emperor Justin, the Justinian Code became the law of the land. This codex gave instructions for daily life, including marriage, and explicitly stated that “Roman citizens are bound together in lawful matrimony when they are united according to law…“ (Medieval Sourcebook: The Institutes, 535 CE with emphasis added). This codex further stipulated that children begotten in legal matrimony were under the authority of their father, with a mother having no authority at all over her children. When children were born outside of legal matrimony, however, the children were regarded as those born of prostitution and regarded as being spurii, meaning "at hazard," or as being sine patre, meaning without a father. No legal demand for, or obligation of, support was available for children born of this status. Prior to this law’s introduction, however, a couple merely publicly stating they were married was enough to secure family rights and children need not have been born of legal matrimony to be considered legitimate children born to a father. Undoubtedly, the social and legal stigmas and prohibitions attached to a woman and her children, born out of wedlock, weighed heavily on making legal marriages the most desirable, more highly regarded, social marital union of choice during this period. It would still be several hundred years, however, before religion, the church and vows became common to marriage.

It wasn’t until the Council of Trent in 1563 that it became a requirement for Catholics to be married in a Catholic church before a priest and two witnesses. By the 18th century, marriage was a full-scale religious event throughout all of Europe. Early American settlers, in turn, brought these marital customs to North America. With new freedom, some chose not to have religious ceremonies, thus an opportunity for civil, non-religious ceremonies became an option in most of the colonies, alongside the option for religious church ceremonies.

While this is simply an abbreviated portrayal of events, it’s obvious that matrimony has evolved through the years from what God first instituted to what exists today.

The marriage license, being a more recent addition to legal matrimony, was initially created to permit individuals of different races to intermarry. During the period of African Slavery in the United States, there were rare occasions where a white and a free black were permitted to marry and a special license was supplied as proof of that permission. Eventually, the practice grew and lawmakers decided that, in order to lawfully track these unions as they moved amongst neighboring states, everyone, even those marrying within their race, would be required to obtain a license from the state before marrying. Prior to this, the practice of legal matrimony, for whites, only required a public posting of a written statement of marriage within 15 days following a religious or civil wedding ceremony.

All of this lead to the current laws stating that, in order for a marriage to be legal, one must obtain a license (or permission) to marry from their state government and their nuptials must be presided over by someone legally authorized to do so. Following the ceremony, this authorized person, along with a witness and the couple, must sign a marriage certificate to be filed within the state where the marriage occurred. It should be noted that none of these steps include or require God’s authority. However, for a clergy or lay person to preside over a couple’s nuptials, they must first be authorized by the state to do so, thereby making this person a double agent of sorts as they are serving on behalf of the church as well as on behalf of the state government. In Joseph W. Madden’s lauded Handbook Of The Law Of Persons And Domestic Relations (West Publishing Co., St. Paul, 1931), it is suggested that to simplify marriage “…as a ‘civil contract’ will be found upon examination, to have been used only for the purpose of expressing the idea that marriage, in the American states, is a civil and not a religious institution…”. In viewing the historical and current legal evidence, one can legitimately raise the question, “Has there been a deliberate effort to take marriage out of the realm of being a religious institution?”

Two forms of matrimony: One being “Real” Marriage and one “Legal” Marriage

Thus far, we have explored the God-given origins of marriage and briefly detailed how and why this modified institution came to claim the legal status it asserts today. That the two distinct forms maintain little resemblance to one another the distinction can further be made that there is one form of matrimony we will hereafter refer to as “Real” marriage/matrimony and a second hereafter referred to as “Legal” marriage/matrimony.

The Current Christian Opinion

In the book, If It’s Not Written In Inc, It Might As Well Be Written in Blood, the order in which God created man and man created government is discussed. A statement about government reads, “That which did not create it cannot be more powerful than it”. So since God made man and man made government, our next line of questioning should be, how did we arrive at the place where government now rules over him that created it (i.e. man and, on this subject, seemingly even God)?

Marriage is a God given right, yet a purely religious marriage without government permission and legalization, is not considered valid by most Christians. The very fact that most ministers apply for the authorization to marry two people is a clear indication that, even many bible believing Christians, do not believe that marriage is God-given. Instead, many have bought into the myth that marriage is ordained by the government! Many deny this, but it’s evident in that they are comfortable with taking God out of the marriage ceremony (as in civil ceremonies, atheist marriages, etc.), but vehemently oppose matrimony where the state is taken out of the process.

Obedience to the Law

Romans 13 verses 1 through 7 makes it clear that we are to obey the governing authorities of the land. Acts 5 verses 27 through 29 illustrates an example of when we must not allow those laws to supercede the laws of God. In this chapter, when the apostles were brought before the Sanhedrin council for their failure to obey laws prohibiting them from spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the apostles replied that they must obey God rather than to obey man. In chapter 22 of Matthew’s portrayal of the gospel, Jesus, referencing Caesar’s image on a coin, also said to, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s”. Clearly, marriage is God’s, not the government’s, but our government would have us believe otherwise and, sadly, many Christians appear to blindly agree.

For many Christians, two atheists can be respected as married though they were united with no mention, belief, acknowledgment or invitation of God into their nuptials, while two Christian who have married according to biblical instruction, but without the state’s permission or validation are not accepted as married, and instead, are regarded as fornicators living in sin. How is it possible to mimic what God gave man at the beginning of creation, yet be called a sinner for doing so?

Such misplaced authority might just explain why the divorce rates within the world and within the church are now running neck and neck. Sadly, many have reduced marriage to nothing more than a civil union. Many Christians will seek to disagree with this statement, but the proof is in our actions. That we invalidate religious-only marriages and seek permission and validity from government before we consider marriage valid says a lot about who we actually believe is in authority over our marriages.

We also must question whether our government is working on God’s behalf or with it’s own agenda? The bible instructs us to resist ungodly authority (Daniel 6 and Acts 5:27-29). How much more ungodly could an authority be that allows abortion, adultery, no-fault divorce and is, to a large degree, on the fence about same sex marriages (which, right now is legal in Massachusetts)?

Our government has already made it clear that it does not accept “real” marriage (God-authorized) as valid and that no marital rights for this kind of marriage are available to couples unless or until it is permitted and validated by the government. Even common law marriages involving no ceremony at all are validated by the state in which they are allowed and are not recognized unless and until certain legal requirements are met. So, if the government, who has already chosen not to recognize “real” marriage and who seeks to separate church from state, ceases to allow religious marriage to take place in tandem with state marriages, what will we do?

Think about this: Are atheists married? Are people who are married at the county clerk’s office married? Are people of other religious faiths married? Are homosexuals married (in places like Boston, Massachusetts where such is legal)?

Further, consider if we have the right to accept or reject a marriage as legitimate? If we say that two Christians are not married unless they do it lawfully, but then turn around and say two homosexuals are not married even if they have done so lawfully, how can we reckon the two? Either we believe in God’s model of marriage or the government’s model of marriage. We can’t do both because both, obviously, do not agree. Remember that two can’t walk together unless they agree (Amos 3:3) and a double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways (James 1:8). It should also be obvious by now that our society says that there are two forms of matrimony. One is secular and one is religious, but they are NOT the same thing. As Christians, we must choose whose we will serve (Matthew 6:24).

Suggestions For A Renewed Christian Perspective

Being careful not to be as the Pharisees that Jesus called hypocrites in Matthew chapter 15, we don’t want to also be accused of “letting our traditions violate the direct commandments of God” (vs. 3, LB). We cannot allow our “man-made rules nullify the direct commandment of God” (vs 6, LB). And we should “no longer teach our man-made laws instead of those from God” (vs 9, LB).

So now that we have become more aware of what secular matrimony is, let’s focus on what God’s order is in becoming married? His marriage does not require government permission or a contract. It does not require a ceremony or vows. In fact, Christ Jesus told us not to make a vow, that our word is our bond. He said that if a vow has to be made, something is wrong (paraphrased from Matthew 5:34-37). I wonder if it was by chance that Christ made this statement, immediately following His statements on God’s intention for marriage and divorce?

As has been done here, one can show scriptural evidence for “real” marriage, but where is the scriptural evidence stipulating that a Christian marriage must be given permission by the state government, be blessed by a person of the cloth or some other non-religious third party and filed with a government office in order for it to be considered a valid marriage? There is none. Most will say that obedience to this tradition falls under our command to submit to the laws of the land. Yet, it’s also been discussed here how our current family law is an ungodly authority and that we’re to resist such. Also, that “real” marriage breaks no laws only serves to refute the thinking that we must be married under civil authority in order to have a valid marriage.

It’s also important to note that this is not an argument for two people to be able to live together in sin or to fornicate. To do so would be to disobey God’s order and to completely disregard His will in these matters. Sexual intimacy was made for pleasure within marriage and for creating children within the confines of a marriage. To use sexual intimacy for anything outside of this is to use it for an unholy purpose and it is an absolute sin to do so. What we are discussing here is marriage…not sin!

Two Christians who choose not to participate in a “valid” marriage, must still partake of a “real” marriage in order to have a marriage which is honored by God. This means that the two people have to be committed to one another, in a monogamous relationship, for the rest of their lives, represent themselves as husband and wife to their community, have sexual relations as an act of becoming one and live out the rest of their lives according to the precepts of a biblical marriage. This model does not embrace divorce although it is permissible if one spouse is unfaithful and the offended spouse finds that they are unable to carry on in the marriage because of this. However, it should be noted that forgiveness is the more desired approach to this situation and that divorce be the absolute last resort possible. Every effort should be made to repair such a marriage, instead. It is better to forgive a spouse for infidelity than to divorce.

It should also be understood that a “real” marriage does not automatically afford the legal rights and privileges of a “legal” marriage. For instance, since you are not legally married, separate annual tax returns must be filed with the IRS and you are unable to participate in Social Security, Medicare, veterans, military or disability benefits with your spouse. Most employers will not allow a spouse to partake of company-sponsored insurance plans, nor are there any spousal benefits extended to you in the unfortunate demise of your spouse. Other benefits denied or withheld include, but are not limited to, inheritance rights, claiming the marital communications benefit in a court of law (where the court can’t force you to testify against a spouse), suing a third party in the event of the wrongful death or injury of your spouse, making medical decisions on behalf of an incapacitated spouse, making funeral arrangements for a deceased spouse or obtaining visiting rights in a hospital or a jail when restricted access is extended only to members of the immediate family. All of these benefits and protections are normally automatically extended to legally married persons. Some may be garnered through a Power of Attorney, a strategic estate plan or even through a civil union or domestic partnership (depending upon your state) which is popular amongst homosexuals who desire to legally marry, but are prohibited by law in doing so. Check with your state for a full listing of rights and protections offered and it’s best to sit with a good family planning or estate attorney to plan ways in which you can still access protections that are most important to you.


In conclusion, our faith as Christians has been under attack for some time. With all of the controversy surrounding the separation of church and state, it’s safe to assume that the attack will not end any time soon. That same sex marriages are likely to become federal law within our lifetime, is yet a further urging that we not allow the world’s perception of what is true and right to take precedence over what God has already specified. Therefore, in our quest to preserve the truth of marriage, it’s time that we be honest with ourselves. Marriage is not a civil union, but is an absolute right. It is not bound by civil law, but was already given to us according to natural law at the very foundation of the world.

The legal marriage that most people think of today was born out of centuries of failure, repression and a growing disregard for the basic, inalienable rights of man through God. Originally, marriage, a naturally occurring event between a man and a woman, ordained by God, suffered from man’s own selfish deviance. Polygamy, divorce, fornication, adultery and a general hardening of hearts forced marriage to be regulated by government authority and has now taken on, almost exclusively, a legal definition by church and certainly by the state. What we are left with today, amounts to little more than civil law as God’s laws have been almost completely disregarded on the matter, sadly, even in the church.

Before we can “take back” marriage, we must first “take back” our right to marriage as given by God. Remember, that it is “…what God has placed together (not a preacher, a judge and certainly not government) that no man can put asunder” (Matthew 19:6 and Mark 10:9).

~~~ END ~~~

Someday, I'll rewrite and expand this, but for now it stands as the foundational thought process which started it all.

In Him,


Friday, May 25, 2007

In The Beginning...

Lots of stuff on my mind these days. Been really examining my belief system and have come to some unexpected conclusions. Need a place to write it all down, so I can look at it, sift through it, sort it out and, hopefully, come to more conclusions.

I won't go to the very, very beginning, but I will go back to the most recent beginning. I was on my knees praying when I heard a whisper that said, "They're worshipping a false god." Prior to this, I'd been studying how the bible describes marriage and how the state describes it. Once I discovered that the two are not necessarily on the same page, I began to wonder, "Okay, God, why are you showing me this?" I mean, I knew why, but I wanted to know what He wanted me to do with the info. I didn't know if that whisper was Him speaking or my own suspicion, so I continued to delve even deeper into the topic desiring nothing but truth.

Was hanging out with friends one night and the marriage discussion came up as it frequently does. (For anyone just tuning in, I've been in a long term relationship where marriage is frequently a point of discussion between myself, my love and all of the people who never cease to want to know, "When are you two gonna get hitched?") I began to question others at the table about what they believed marriage to be. Specifically, I wanted to know if a state sanctioned marriage was "THE" marriage that everyone was so preoccupied with me having. Surprisingly, my friends didn't think a state marriage was all that important. They weren't against them, but they were adamant that paper contracts do not make marriages. All of us being Born Again Christians, I began to share recent discussions I'd had with other Christians where marriage was ALL about the certificate or it didn't exist at all. I shared a few contrasting thoughts on what the bible had to say about marriage and my discomfort at biblical marriage and state marriage being considered one and the same (and, yes, I'll clarify all of this for you in a bit).

At the end of our discussion, someone said that they don't believe that Christians are all that hung up on marriage certificates, but will accept two people as married by biblical standards alone. I disagreed and set out to illustrate to this person how wrong he was.

That same evening, I found a Christian message board that I'd never visited before. Didn't know anyone there and they didn't know me, but the people posting there were undeniably conservative in their beliefs. After browsing around, I decided to ask if a Christian man and a Christian woman had a marriage ceremony committing themselves in marriage to one another before God and family, would they be respected by other Christians as married. My question set off a firestorm and, the next day, I emailed a link of that conversation to my friend who didn't think that Christians would have a problem with that. With the exception of one or two individuals, every respondent not only answered "NO!", but they were insulted at the suggestion that a marriage could even be possible without the state sanctioning it. I gave scripture after scripture of how the bible describes marriage, only to be told that the deal isn't sealed unless the state says so (and I was even called some not so nice names and accused of all sorts of falshoods for even asking the question).

Over and over again, people told me that state marriage was the law of the land and that we were to follow it because scripture said so. I've asked and continue to ask, what law says 2 people have to get married? My state doesn't have such a law and I've been unable to find too many others that do. What the law does state is that, in order to receive the state's benefit package normally extended to married couples, 2 people must apply for a marriage license and file a marriage certificate in the state where they were married. Again, this is for state recognition and state benefits...totally optional!

So, again, I asked my new buddies on this Christian message board, "Well, what if 2 people opt out of having those benefits or choose to take another avenue to get them?" And, again, they told me that the state marriage was the only marriage recognized by God despite the lack of proof that any state law exists saying 2 people MUST get married or that 2 people MUST partake in a state marriage or that the bible says that state marriages are the only real and true marriages. In their minds, what God instituted in the beginning...between one man and one woman...was of no consequence. Now, it was one man, one woman and one state or there was no marriage and anyone opting out of inviting the state in was actually living in sin, shacking up and (*gasp*) fornicating.

So I continued my studies. Using both the bible and other resources (law books, legal websites, etc.), I continued to put together this marriage puzzle and even started to learn a few more things about modern day Christianity, our government, our traditions and so forth and honestly was led to step back and take a serious look at what was truth and what wasn't. My journey is almost a year old and I feel like I'm still at the beginning. Which is why I'm here sharing these thoughts as so much has been revealed and there's still so much more to consider.

In the days ahead, I'll share specific thoughts and information that I've gathered so far and look forward to sharing more as I receive it. Undoubtedly, I'll offend some (even though that's not my intent at all), but the truth is the truth is the truth and, since I know it's out there, I have to take it as it comes.

Lest you think this blog is all about marriage, let me make it clear that it starts there, but I'll share a variety of musings totally unrelated to that topic or to one another. I am a deeply Spiritual person and am fascinated with learning about the bible, so most of my posts will relate to this, but I'm also interested in law, government, relationships (non-marital and others) and a hosts of other topics that are bound to pop up along the way.

Before I close this first entry, let me make it very clear that I love Yahushua (whom the world refers to as Jesus). He is Messiah, Savior and the only begotten Son of Yahweh (the name of the One the world calls God). I've been going through a lot of changes lately...a transformation, if you will...but the more things change, the more they stay the same and Yahweh is my All in All as always. Whether or not I'm a Christian, I'm still working out. This is probably the offensive part I spoke about earlier, but if I'm gonna keep it real, I may as well make it known that the traditional Christian religiosity has really gotten to me of late (we'll discuss that too). So, I'm not sure about applying the label to myself, but I'm not at the point where I deny others the tendency to do so either. For now, I simply prefer to refer to myself as a Believer!

Yeah, I'm a little bit of a non-conformist, but according to John 8:36: If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

...And free is EXACTLY who and what I strive to be!!!!!!!!!!