Religious Asylum

I have to write and publish this post interrupting my series all of you are dying on the edge of your seats to read. But find a lounging chair anyway because I’m about to bear all, or much, that is the Professor. 😉

If it were not for this past Xmas-NYEve holidays and the logistics, both feasible and legal, picking up my son and dropping him back off in his hometown 300-miles away, I would not be writing about this. I would be continuing my long series. If it were not for only seeing my son (and daughter all those years she was younger) maybe 3-4 weeks a year, I would not be writing about this. Naturally, if I were an abusive wife-beater or emotionally or physically abusive husband or father — which I am not and never have been — then I would damn sure not be writing about this on a public format! If a close, long-time (Christian) friend would fulfill her July 2013 promise to Guest-blog her post here about Kids in Christian Divorce from her own Xian perspective, I probably would not be writing about this. You know who you are lady!  😉

No, the reason I am writing about this is because I am a decent man, and if I may say so humbly, some might say even an extraordinary man, family man, father, husband, friend, lover, who has foolishly fallen victim to local popular social, legal, and religious practices. These religious circus-acts that I find myself, sometimes often drive me bat-shit crazy! For self-therapeutic benefits and to ring the butler’s bell for other less-conscientious in-lovers who find themselves in the same circus… as a warning I write about this.

I want to also show and share with the blogging and real-life-world out there how astoundingly contradictory, hypocritical, loopy, and unfair these popular practices are among Christian-Fundamentalist celebrities, organizations, churches and their gullible believers, followers, or members. I especially want to warn would-be husbands/fathers about the high risks they may be considering with a “born-again” biblically based fiancé/spouse. This is why I write this post. And no matter how tired I am talking or writing about it, or how deeply sad it makes me, it is why I must write this post.

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Ah, that well-known cliché, “Had I known then what I know now” in my 23-year relationship then marriage with a “fine Christian woman” from a long family history of Christian missionaries and ministers well-versed in Scripture, I should have sought political and religious asylum in a foreign country many years ago. I should have considered taking my two children with me. Yet, due to my own very strong family values and upbringing, I couldn’t in 2002 and cannot today bear to put my kids through painful spiteful, undeserved crossfire they had nothing to do with.

Instead, and quite ironically, I unknowingly took on the Christ-like behavior for the future long-term benefit of my children (Matthew 5:9). Hah! I know, right? With as much calmness and tiny bitterness as I can muster, let me explain what happened these holidays, again.

Xmas and New Year’s

For 2015 I had my legal right to my 14-year old son for 7-days over post-Xmas and NYE and Day. He was joined by my daughter and her new husband. In fact, since they were already at their mother’s house over Xmas, they simply brought my son with them here to see me and my family! It was a magnificent thoughtful idea seeing that I have always been the one to bear all the traveling back-n-forth and all travel-lodging-expenses. The 6-days together were, as usual, very enjoyable with lots of hugging and laughing. No one wanted the time to end, especially me.

The day I had to drive my son back home, I had no plans with my one friend in Conroe, TX — she cancelled them, so he and I wanted a couple more hours together at one of his favorite sports-grille restaurants. However, he and I didn’t think about this until we were an hour and a half away. I knew it was a 50/50 chance his mother would be willing to flex on the Visitation guidelines in our Divorce decree. But we both wanted to eat there plus we’d have two more hours together. Doesn’t hurt (so much?) to ask, right?

Grrrr, next problem. Since the night before last was our 6-hour New Year’s Eve party — seeing son and I get into bed very tired around 1:00am — I didn’t shower and clean-up NY’s Day either; too lazy for various “adult” reasons. Therefore, as my son and I were discussing the idea I wanted to check-in, shower and change first in my hotel room before we went to his favorite sports-grille. Another 30-45 minutes that wasn’t going to go over well with ex-wife/mother. All of this is going on while I am driving on 2-lane state highways I only travel very infrequently with him, with speed limit changes in and out of small towns, other vehicles slow in front or fast ones passing me from behind via opposite-direction traffic. Me texting or talking on my cell phone is clearly not safe when I easily have a 14-year old with his own cell phone sitting next to me! Safety, pure and simple.

My son had already texted his Mom asking if he could eat dinner with me; a quick semi-vague texting question most teenagers do anyway, right? She answered him “yes.” Me/us taking an additional 30-45 minutes for me to shower, dress, etc, was an entirely new risky negotiation at this very late juncture. I mean, all details are supposed to be laid-out precisely as the Decree Visitation guidelines dictate AND copied to their mother at least 90-days in advance of visitations. Clearly I am in the unleveraged position — have been since 2002 when I gave their mother the right to be Primary Caregiver — and I know this all too well the last fourteen years. But I really can’t talk or text her at the moment due to the timing and place on our route. I have a BIG dilemma to sort out because history has consistently shown what happens when I want to modify things based on pragmatism, logistics, costs, and in this case safety. I take a good 5-minutes thinking it through.

Stop? Pullover? Not possible. No real shoulder on the backwoods highways. Wait? Wait until next town 40-minutes away? Giving her and the step-father LESS TIME to arrange alternative plans if necessary? Appearing inconsiderate? Doing so would just cut-into the extra time my son and I might have eating together. What if the sports-grille is packed on a Saturday night with a waiting list? None of these are appealing possibilities to either of us boys.

Do I have my son try to explain why we need 30-60 extra minutes on top of 2 more hours via texting. Not such a good idea either. Making my carefully considered executive decision, I tell my son to simply text, “Dad wants to quickly shower & change. Can we meet you around 7:30pm-ish?” That is only 2-hours and 15-minutes later than the original legal-plan made back in July 2014. Yes, I do not kid you, 2014. If you’d like to read the circumstances surrounding the cause of such extreme planning, click here.

In the end, unless I wanted to lose 30-mins showering, shaving, and changing clothes as well as chance the sports-grille being overly crowded and hence slow, losing maybe 30, 40-mins more, my son and I had to drive straight to the restaurant. It was indeed slow and crowded. We got our food at 6:45pm. Rushed, food inhaled all because I would’ve had my son 2-3 hours longer than my extremely advanced Notice and the Visitation guideline dictated.

Consequently 2015 notices were sent at the end of July 2014. In fact, I now have each one of my legal Visitations completed and sent Certified Mail up to 2019, when my son turns 18 in March. I won’t make that mistake again.

That is what is required managing or negotiating time and logistics with my Christian ex-wife over our two beautiful kids… going on fourteen years. Now I want to reverse the hands of time (to 1984-1991) to my years in seminary, Reformed Theological Seminary to be exact, reuse that long-ago terminated past-voice and writing, and from Scriptural exegesis show two paramount “Godly” principles about marriage and divorce and its regulation according to Canonical (Protestant) Scripture. Along with my background in Christian apologetics and seminary studies in Marriage & Family Therapy, I will pullout my post-grad books from dusty storage and reference some RTS favorite scholars such as Jay E. Adams, John Murray, Jochem Douma, G. J. Vos, and Loraine Boettner to name a few. From this exegesis, any sane educated person, especially Reformed Christian-Fundies, must agree that God hates divorce. Period. But He reluctantly acknowledges it, BUT only under very explicit statutes. Hence, the aforementioned “contradictory, hypocritical, loopy, and unjust” modern Christian practices versus what their own Holy Scriptures actually teach.

Without further ado, let the #KimDavisReverbing insanity begin! 😈

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Biblical Marriage

According to “God” and His Scriptures, “…man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” — Genesis 2:24. Before The Fall, or the entrance of sin in the world, there are no indications throughout the Old Testament that the marriage bond was ever meant to be severed during this life, and outside The Fall divorce would’ve never entered into the world. Because of this depravity and sin, the Bible (God) must make provisions for, and strictly regulate divorce. If for no other reasons than God’s providence on Earth, it must be tightly regulated. But let’s further emphasize the importance of life-binding marriage.

In Genesis 2:18, God-Scripture declares “It is not good for the man to be alone” and He therefore corrects His earlier mistake by making the marriage union more very good (Gen. 1:31) by contrast. Divorce stems from the hardness of people’s hearts. Nowhere in the canonical Scriptures is divorce placed in a positive light or mitigation, but according to the same Bible it is not always under all situations condemned either. But recognizing that there are explicit situations divorce is permissible in God’s eyes, it is also obvious He hates divorce each and every time (e.g. Jeremiah 3:8). Therefore, with such a tricky, slippery, and circumstantial social-marital issue, advice and decisions about marriage and divorce must rely heavily on canonical Scripture for consistency.

Biblical or Justifiable Divorce

Though Deuteronomy 24 discusses permissible divorce for “something indecent“, in rabbinical teachings indecent usually meant sexual misconduct. However, adding the word something could mean a far broader interpretation like forgetting to lower/raise the toilet seat or leaving dirty dishes in the sink could be grounds for divorce.

“If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the LORD. Do not bring sin upon the land the LORD your God is giving you as an inheritance.” — Deuteronomy 24:1-4

Additionally, there are other Biblical passages that account for adultery or sexual misconduct like Numbers 5:11-31. But divorce is never mentioned as an option. Some biblical scholars like Jay E. Adams (Marriage Divorce and Remarriage in the Bible, (Grand Rapids,. 1980), p. 23) interpret the Deuteronomy passage to be in the category of defect or omission as permissible grounds, but it is simply a theory. Clearly the passage suggests that divorce was not justifiable on fickle whimsy emotional grounds. Therefore divorce is suffered, but not commanded, ever. For example, Malachi 2:13-16

“Another thing you do: You flood the LORD’s altar with tears. You weep and wail because he no longer pays attention to your offerings or accepts them with pleasure from your hands. You ask, “Why?” It is because the LORD is acting as the witness between you and the wife of your youth, because you have broken faith with her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant. Has not [the LORD] made them one? In flesh and spirit they are his. And why one? Because he was seeking godly offspring. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith with the wife of your youth. “I hate divorce,” says the LORD God of Israel, “and I hate a man’s covering himself with violence as well as with his garment,” says the LORD Almighty. So guard yourself in your spirit, and do not break faith.”

However, if this God-written passage doesn’t teach against loosely taught Christian divorce regulations, the exegesis of Matthew 19 certainly does:

“Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator `made them male and female,’ and said, `For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?” Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.” — Matthew 19:1-9 (NIV)

The majority of Reformed theologians, ministers and their congregations today know that the questions in this passage posed to Jesus/Yeshua were trick-questions. Yeshua’s (i.e. Jesus’) reply is one of reframing. He points out that the tricky debate is not about divorce, it is about the nature of marriage in God’s eyes according to canonical Scripture. Yeshua’s reiteration properly explains that marriage was made as a creation ordinance. As such, it was never designed to be severed or torn asunder. Yeshua makes the further distinction between “permitted” and “commanded” by correcting the Pharisee’s bad terminology. In this God-breathed passage Yeshua also further elaborates WHEN divorce is permitted… “marital unfaithfulness.” It is the only exception to God’s principles.

And if you think that rule is harsh or extreme, what about Yeshua’s next exegesis regarding Deuteronomy 24… “anyone who divorces [their spouse] and marries another [person] commits adultery.” Adultery is all the same in God’s eyes. Committing two wrongs doesn’t make it right in other words, unless of course a faith-follower blatantly chooses to sin more and more. Seriously, is there any other form of interpretation that shows Yeshua/Jesus was wrong? I’d sure love to see it anywhere else in the canonical Scriptures.

Nonetheless, there are differing points-of-view (exegesis) within the Reformed communities, seminaries, and churches, and certainly other denominations of Christianity regarding Yeshua’s choice of words in Matthew 19. Or to frame it another way, much of the heated debate among all Christian theologians and scholars is the transliteration from Greek — the original language of the New Testament gospels — into English. Here is where the Reformed Christian position gets very, very precise pulling directly from God-breathed canonical Greek Scripture.

The word in Greek for marital unfaithfulness is porneia which is often rendered in English as fornication. The Greek word for adultery is moikeia. It is the use (or not used) of these two words that Christian theologians and biblical scholars often cannot agree upon. What Reformed exegesis believes is that IF Yeshua wanted to say “adultery” or moikeia, in that day he could’ve easily stated moikeia; Yeshua knew full well the difference because he spoke fluent Greek, Arabic, and Hebrew. Instead he precisely chose porneia. Why? In order to not get caught in narrowing God’s full intentions and principles to simply the confines of the marital covenant. Yeshua meant to clearly cover any and all sorts of sexual misconduct, whether married or unmarried! Geerhardus J. Vos expounds…

“In Matthew 19:9 it is possible to hold that Christ uses the word porneia not in contradistinction to mokeia, but rather in it’s wider sense, as including sin either before or after marriage. Suppose that Jesus had used the word moikeia (adultery) instead of porneia (fornication) in Matthew 19:9. Then the verse would read in English, ‘Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for adultery, and shall marry another, commiteth adultery…’ Now this would rule out sin committed before marriage. But the word porneia can have the wider meaning of ‘general unchastity.’ Therefore taking porneia in this sense, as practically all admit is possible, we may paraphrase the verse thus: ‘Whosoever shall put away his wife except it be for unchastity whether committed before or after marriage, and shall marry another, commits adultery…’ This explains the use of the two different Greek words, porneia and moikeia, in Matthew 19:9 and by no means requires us to take porneia in the sense of ‘premarital impurity’.”

In God’s mind then — according to this canonical Scripture passage — and that of Reformed Theology’s protocol of inter-interpretation between any and all relevant Scripture passages, done for consistency and better Divine-truth, the scope of sexual misconduct is expanded outside of simple intercourse with a third-person during marriage, but also expanded to any and all sexual activity before and outside of marriage. Plain, simple, and succinct, right? No, not right if one looks at the divorce rate among American-Christian spouses (click here).

To quickly summarize, Yeshua clearly distinguishes between command and permissible. Spouses are not obligated to divorce their spouse on the grounds of porneia (i.e. of any sexual misconduct), but are allowed to if they so choose — but Yeshua (and by Fundamentalist-Evangelical standards) and God CLEARLY do not want their people perpetuating more and more sin by illegitimate sexual bonds, much less by second or multiple remarriages. This is really indisputable according to Reformed canonical Scriptural exegesis. Then again, most humans, even Christians, don’t really know their Holy Bibles, or just ignore their own “Holy Scriptures” and do what is best for themselves. That response then becomes a huge redefinition of “faith.”

Stopping right here on biblical justification for divorce, however, would do a disservice to the Reformed theology and catechisms. Why? Because divorce-regulations are covered also in the Synoptic Gospels of Mark 10:11-12, Luke 16:18, and Matthew 5:31-32. Reformed theologians and Calvinists enjoy compiling all biblical passages together to form a vista, if you will, of God’s personality and spiritual principles, especially when Yeshua does the exegetical interpretation in the four New Testament gospels. Why is this a Reformed preference? Because through Yeshua, his life and teachings, his crucifixion, and finally ascension to Heaven, God Himself laid out in finality what all humankind should embrace after their conversion and during the rest of their lives. What that means exactly is all “born-again” Christians should take up the Cross of Christ, follow his example, and live/teach his messages (via the Gospels and N.T. Epistles) the remainder of their worldly lives. Therefore, let’s examine more closely the other gospels that discuss divorce. Please excuse the constant male-sexist patriarchal designations obscenely overdone throughout all the Bible:

“He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” — Mark 10:11-12

“Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” — Luke 16:18

“It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality [porneia], makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” — Matthew 5:31-32

Notice how the gospel of Matthew passage is the only one that goes into necessary explicit detail about the intricacies of legitimate permissible divorce. Two acclaimed Reformed exegetes diverge here in their explanation of the three gospel’s permissable divorce. John Murray addresses this Gospel dilemma through comprehensive textual analysis which eliminates the possibility of any remarriage after divorce. Jay E. Adams on the other hand avoids the dilemma completely by emphasizing Matthew’s more complete explanation, conceding that using just Mark, or just Luke gets into foggy speculation. The popular Christian course of action about this perceived dilemma is to always ignore Matthew’s precise exception. I agreed with the Matthew-posturing in 1988-89 and if I were still a “Reformed Fundy-Evangy” I would agree with Loraine Boettner’s exegesis as well…

“The Gospels do not always give our Lord’s teaching in full, and in this instance as in numerous others, Matthew simply gives a more complete account. Compare, for instance, the fullness with which Matthew reports the Sermon on the Mount, three full chapters, 5, 6, 7, and Luke’s abbreviated account given in thirty verses (6:20-49). The accounts concerning the baptism of Jesus, the crucifixion, the inscription on the cross, and the resurrection, are given in greater detail by Matthew than by Mark or Luke. Most commentators take the view that there is no conflict between Matthew and Mark and Luke, but that Matthew has simply given a fuller report.”
(Loraine Boettner, Divorce (Maryville, 1960), p. 15)

The exercise of pinpointing Matthew’s passage as the fuller explanation of two other general passages on divorce, I feel is extremely wise. But again, as a good Reformed exegete would examine all the canonical Scripture verses, we also find in the Epistles another aspect of divorce:  desertion. However, before diving into desertion, I’d like to summarize so far what Yeshua, and therefore canonical Scripture, emphasizes first and foremost about marriage versus divorce.

The Two Godly Principles

First, the Christian God has a perfect design for all marriages. In His heart and mind, the marriage is a holy covenant, taken extremely serious, loyally, and until the natural death of one spouse. God designed marriage to be very good and necessary for human aloneness. It also serves as a good method of companionship if His marriage-guidelines are followed faithfully throughout this lifetime by both spouses. This naturally carries over with raising children, for a family unit’s health and stability, and to bear witness to God’s designs and glory on Earth.

Second, the Christian God has a deep strong dislike for (abhors?) divorce and sin. He rewards faithfulness and unbending loyalty to His marriage covenant and to one’s spouse, not just through good times, but bad times as well. During hard difficult times God and Yeshua (and as we will soon see the Apostle Paul too) emboldens followers and believers to make superhuman efforts to stay faithfully married until death so that the marriage reflects on Earth His faith and promises to all that witness it.

These two principles are most definitely a sacredly taught God-concept by Reformed Christian theology. No doubts.

Biblical Pluralism or Relativism

Desertion, as mentioned above, was a later social issue that the Apostle Paul had to address with many of his Gentile church congregations throughout 2nd century CE Asia Minor. At the expense of thoroughness and for the sake of time and speed here, the Apostle Paul was the primary catalyst for the spread of Christianity outward from Jerusalem and Judeo-Christianity into the northern/northwesterly reaches of the Roman Empire. The marital problems of Gentile believers were different from those in and around 2nd century CE Judea, Galilee, Palestine, and in Jerusalem who were Jews first, then became Judean-Christians. Many Gentile-believers throughout the Empire were once non-Jews, then converted to the Jesus-Movement alone, but were still married to unbelieving spouses. This was one set of marital issues Paul was facing.

In light of the Old Testament divorce-passages, coupled with the Synoptic Gospels giving Yeshua’s fuller explanations, it becomes clear that divorce is the result of sin, it is never good nor commanded, but it is allowed in cases of adultery only, no exceptions. Canonical Scriptures also instruct that remarriage after divorce based on unbiblical reasons is also adultery and presumably bigamy. This raises the question, Does Yeshua/Christ ever identify remarriage as legitimately justified? Here the Christian church, theologians, and scholars are historically divided. This is why…

St. Augustine of Hippo and therefore the Roman Catholic Church (the very first organized Christian church going back to the Apostle Peter) say absolutely not to the question of legitimately justified remarriage. For the RCC marriage is and always has been “absolutely indissoluble” and the RCC seems to just ignore the verses of exception in Matthew 19. This was the position of St. Augustine too. Therefore for the Papacy, their basis is not without ecclesiastical depth. Furthermore, this position asserts that separation for adultery is permissible, but does not allow for the remarriage of either spouse at anytime. The Reformed stance doesn’t see it that way and feels the Augustine/RCC interpretation to be weak for three critical reasons.

  1. There is no support in the Greek Scriptures for restricting the exceptive clause to the divorce while not extending it to the remarriage.
  2. In Matthew 19 Yeshua-Christ is not merely discussing divorce, he is also discussing remarriage. Indeed in the sentence it is assumed that the party obtaining a divorce will remarry.
  3. Most importantly, Yeshua is not here attempting to say that the teaching of Moses regarding divorce was wrong, but rather that the loose interpretation of it, as being allowed for any and every reason, was wrong.

Under Mosaic Law divorce was considered as dissolving the marriage covenant not only with one’s spouse, but from God too. Therefore, if the bond was legitimately dissolved by the porneia (fornication) of one spouse, then remarriage cannot be forbidden as this would introduce a completely alien concept to God’s original design and intentions for holy marriage. John Murray explains the potential alienation…

“It is surely reasonable to assume that if the man may legitimately put away his wife for adultery, the marriage bond is judged to be dissolved. On the other supposition the woman who has committed adultery and who has been put away is still in reality the man’s wife and is one flesh with him. To take action that relieves of the obligations of matrimony while the marital tie is inviolable hardly seems compatible with marital ethics as taught in the Scripture itself. It is true that Paul distinctly contemplates the possibility of separation without dissolution and propounds what the law is in such a contingency (1 Cor. 7:10-11). But to provide for and sanction permanent separation while the marriage tie remains inviolate is something that is alien to the whole tenor of Scripture teaching in regard to the obligations that inhere in and are inseparable from the marital bond.”

But following Paul’s verse 11 in his first letter to the Corinthian churches, he writes:

“Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife. But if you marry, you have not sinned” — 1 Corinthians 7:27-28a (NASB)

This New American Standard Bible (NASB) version could appear to contradict Yeshua’s/Jesus’ general teachings in Mark and Luke that remarriage after divorce based upon marital infidelity is not justified, opens a can of worms with Paul’s teachings. The debate turns into a linguistic conundrum between NASB versions and NIV (New International Version) bibles. Here’s the NIV version of 1 Corinthians 7:27-28a…

“Are you married? Do not seek a divorce. Are you unmarried? Do not look for a wife. But if you do marry, you have not sinned”

The word “unmarried” translates the Greek word luo used in the Corinthian 7:27-28 verses. In English the possible linguistic translation changes the entire sense of the passage. Unmarried in English sounds or feels like “not married” or “never married” but certainly doesn’t carry with it a sense of divorce. As a result, the pure sense of the passage in English using a strict one-word translation becomes “it is best not to change your marital status” and thus would make no mention of whether marriage after any divorce was sinful or not. Based on other canonical Scripture passages, this is probably not the best translation, and no other major Bible-versions (other than the NIV) follow this pattern.

It is no news flash that the Apostle Paul had serious disagreements and fallouts with Peter and James (the brother of Jesus) in Jerusalem regarding Jewish customs and the interpretations by Yeshua/Jesus on Judaic laws, leading to Neo-Judaism, or reform. The Apostle Paul had strong convictions that Yeshua’s teachings were meant for the entire world, not just Neo-Jews. Thus, the three bashed heads a few times (Galatians 2, Acts 21, Philippians 3:8, James 1:22, 25 2:8, and 2:14-26). It didn’t help either that Paul never met or spent anytime with Jesus in the flesh face-to-face under his tutelage. I’d imagine Peter and James both thought ‘Who the hell is this guy teaching a different wrong Gospel?‘ Ironically and perhaps telling, we find the exact same fragmentation and perpetual diversity within modern Christianity, theology, doctrine, churches, and any Xian followers/believers. But that’s another can of worms, eh?

The Apostle Paul was indeed teaching a different Paulian version of The Gospels. In his first letter to the Corinthian church Paul writes that there is one other justification for legitimate legal divorce to occur — the desertion of a believer by an unbeliever…

“To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband. But if she does, she must remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband. And a husband must not divorce his wife. To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?” — 1 Corinthians 7:10-16

Paul’s teaching here leaves very little doubt or misinterpretation of how God views divorce, especially by and for believing Christians. Paul gives explicit and implicit instructions to Christians NOT to leave their unbelieving spouses if at all possible, and if they sinfully do so, they must not compound the blatant disobedience by adding more adultery (remarriage or fornication) to the family problem God perfectly designed!

And therein lies Christian pluralism and relativism; Reformed churches, organizations, and doctrines are the minority in the religion. They are quite unpopular for most liberal Christians, too strict or confining, and hence — according to all of canonical God-breathed Holy Scripture — tarnish, blemish, weaken, distort God’s intended bride-church to the world. Yet, through an entirely secular lens that is a very accurate reflection of Nature, especially human nature. 😉

But back on topic…

The Biblical Conclusions About Divorce
This is how Reformed canonical Scripture (exegesis) compiles the criteria for divorce. With the exception of death or literal adultery, no other reason is given in canonical Scripture for which a marriage may be terminated and a valid divorce obtained. Those are the ONLY two permissible justifications, but God see’s adultery as the weaker of the two justifications. It also follows that from God’s Scriptures that reconciliation is easier post-adultery/sin… which by the way is the whole theme of God’s story and purpose for humankind:  Reconciliation, always. Yep, chew that one long and hard and swallow all the way, because that’s what the literal and spirit of (implicit) canonical Scriptures teach.

As a result, we have arrived at the Reformed doctrine of divorce, for in this issue as Reformed believers, they cannot go further in allowing divorce beyond that which the Bible permits, unless they fall into the error of allowing divorces which their God does not condone and which results in a state of adultery were a remarriage to occur. Additionally, should marital unfaithfulness occur, it is the CHOICE of the faithful spouse whether to dissolve the marriage or not — remember, God abhors marriage dissolution. In God’s Scriptural view, divorce is not the choice of the believing or unbelieving adulterer. This is exactly where — at least as a Dad — I got royally bent over and screwed by her AND her own biological Father AND her church leaders/marital counselors. Made a less-than part-time Dad by a state (Texas) that mimics Protestant traditions and doctrines too… just to make sure my rectum stays quite sore for the longest possible torture. 😉 LOL

Reformed doctrine further concludes that the “no fault divorces” I alluded to in the beginning of this post, cannot constitute biblically based divorces, and should not be done amongst believers. Similarly, emotional incompatibility is also not a legitimate grounds for divorce any more than a simple desire to be rid of a spouse because they don’t comb their hair right.

Disappointingly however, as statistics amply show, Christians pick and choose which Bible passages suit their own needs rather than what the entire canonical Scripture (God) actually teach as a whole. This erroneous Christian practice is most certainly a far-reaching redefinition of “faith and obedience” incongruent with their Bibles.

Without Conflict-Resolution and Global Perspective

In light of all the above Scriptural exegesis, in light of possible justified reasons for legitimate divorce — and in my case forcing an unbelieving Dad to become less-than a Part-time Dad — is it wise, is it good responsible parenting to remove (hide?) children from life’s conflicts, differences, and global diversities on a plethora of degrees and levels? Put them in a bubble, a strictly Christian bubble with two believing parents?

The Apostle Paul doesn’t teach or command a bubble or inaccessible ivory tower in any of his letters, except by the strict guidelines found in the Synoptic Gospels and his Epistles. Right there! That is where true “Christian faith” (courage) is supposed to be demonstrated. The spirit of Paul’s epistles are an advocate FOR a home and life with diversity and differences even when spouses are “unequally yoked.” Paul is merely abiding by Jesus’/Yeshua’s, Moses, and God’s Scriptural teachings. And who is to say (slightly less than ideal of God’s original parameters prior to The Fall) that those children wouldn’t be better equipped to be and do great things out in the real world if the unbelieving Father fits none of the Scriptural criteria for a biblically based divorce?

In a 1999 study on influences by Fundamentalist Protestant orientations on educational attainment it revealed new debates on the material impact of the children’s culture. The publication called The Effect of Parents’ Fundamentalism on Children’s Educational Attainment, reports:

“We use data from the Youth Parent Socialization Panel Study to demonstrate the influence of parents’ fundamentalism on children’s attainment. We divide the sample to show how the influence of parents’ fundamentalism varies by gender of the child and by the youth’s fundamentalism. We find that fundamentalist parents hinder the educational attainment of their nonfundamentalist children, while they actually are more supportive of male Fundamentalist children’s educational attainment than are nonfundamentalist parents.

…we will also discuss how a lack of parental support for higher education can undermine preferences for educational attainment and restrict the options young people might afford themselves.

These are the results of their study…

“Our results show that:  1) the educational attainment of non-fundamentalist women is significantly hampered by fundamentalist parents;  2) fundamentalist parents do not differ significantly from non-fundamentalist parents in their assistance of non-fundamentalist males or Bible-believing females; and 3) Bible-believing parents significantly boost the educational attainment of male children who believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.”

So as not to sling-mud everywhere and here, needless to say those following weeks and months after the separation and divorce was the worst nightmare and emotional black-hole for me, both as a husband AND father. I had lost my family. A few weeks after my kid’s, their mother, and new step-father announced they were moving from the DFW area, to Denver, Colorado or Houston, Texas, my nightmare became a living hell. In my obvious pain, frustration, and exhaustion, in her consoling (yet slanted) way my daughter said to me “Dad, the divorce was the best thing to happen. And this move will be a good thing for us.” She was barely 13-years old saying that. How in the world could she predict whether the next 5-10 years of that possible marriage or the split-up of our family would turnout “best”? How does a 13-yr old come up with that?

How was her parent’s divorce “best“, much less Biblically justified!?

Ah but wait. There is still another additional aspect (loop-hole?) of contemporary Christian divorce:  that of spousal abuse, verbal, physical, or emotional, and whether those constitute legitimate Biblical divorce.

Christian Marriage and the Swinger-BDSM Lifestyles

I must address the spousal abuse topic now because of my Alternative Lifestyles prior to our 1993-97 encounters/dating and 1998 marriage. Why do it? It was possibly (likely?) one primary justification for a “modern biblical divorce” and subsequent blessing from her Church to divorce me, as well as her Father’s blessing to divorce me, who is ironically a Reformed minister from the seminary I attended.

The Reformed Christian doctrine on “spousal abuse”, whatever form manifested, is quite straight forward: speculation. Since the 1950’s and 60’s the advent of sexual equality and more women’s civil-rights in America have also opened the door for medical and psychological examination of spousal abuse by men. From the secular perspective (and mine) it is unequivocally wrong. Though I am no longer the least bit Christian, much less Reformed Fundamentalist Christian — and I certainly wasn’t raised by my parents that way; a quite secular home in fact — and since 1990, I have been a firm Freethinking Humanist. According to strict canonical Scriptures and Reformed exegesis, however, divorce on the grounds of “spousal abuse” is nowhere explicitly discussed in the Bible. But, it can be inferred through canonical Scripture (possibly via desertion) that to prevent physical harm, separation, but not divorce, would certainly be an appropriate course of action not prohibited in Scripture. Typically church discipline can and should be administered. Furthermore, nowhere in the bible are Christians explicitly informed that a spouse must remain in a situation in which they are likely to be physically harmed, despite it still not justifying a biblical criteria for divorce. Yet, as any biblical researcher and scholar will find, dissolution of God’s holy marriage union for spousal abuse is an exercise in pure speculation — something highly guarded against (often prohibited) by Reformed Fundamentalist doctrine. Consequently, in my own personal case, this raises the question What exactly is abuse?

Before I delve into the abuse-question, I must first preempt the answers with some factual background. There are three simple words that members of the Alternative Lifestyles abide in. Safe, sane, and consensual. Since 1989 with my entrance into SSC BDSM, I was taught and mentored exactly this way. As mentioned earlier, my own father also raised me this way on how well to treat women — if I faltered, his reprimand was from an ex-USMarine code, firm and swift words if I ever hit a woman in anger or rage — and if my offense was physical, I’d suffer equal physical punishment. In provocation by my sister at the age of 5-6, I did slap my sister. When my father find out my ass was over the edge of the bed and whipped hard four times. I’ve never forgotten it. That was the first and last time I ever hit a woman in anger or rage. Scouts honor. Dad exhibited the same high-respect treatment with my mother all 28-years of their marriage.

I have not and never had any confusions of exactly what SSC meant in public or private life inside or outside of BDSM. I cannot emphasize this enough.

SSC also applies in many similar ways to the Open-Swinger lifestyle. Forms of SSC are taught in get-togethers and online communities and even specifically spelled out in their Codes of Conduct that all joining members must sign and follow. This most definitely takes place in legal, public BDSM dungeons and communities. It’s a must for obvious reasons. In fact, if the general public actually investigated more closely the reported cases of “abuse” possibly tied to BDSM and/or Open-Swinger activities or behavior, they would find in 98% (100%?) of those cases the clear abuse took place PRIVATELY without signed Codes of Conduct or proper education of the lifestyles AND the victim was not fully or in the least bit consensual. To further demonstrate my own character and integrity on these matters, I am openly divulging these Alternative Lifestyles I have and do participate in… on a publicly viewed format: WordPress. And before the next question is asked, I use this alias for two major reasons;  1) I live in and work in a ultra-conservative state (Texas) that has long-standing laws of At-Will hiring, employment, and/or termination, and 2) some of my blog-content is strictly age-appropriate and optional for adult viewers/readers. Nevertheless, on a private one-on-one level, I have nothing to hide or that I’m ashamed of. With that said, let’s examine what is meant by “abuse” also known as domestic violence.

There is perhaps no better source or answer to What is spousal abuse? by American laws than Laws.com‘s definitions…

Spousal abuse Victimization Defined:
Spousal abuse victimization is defined as both the nature and classification with regard to the individual victims of Spousal abuse offenses. Studies undertaking the investigation of the identification of Spousal abuse victims cite women as accounting for almost 85% of Spousal abuse victims; furthermore, within that percentage, women between the ages of 20 and 24 are considered to account for the majority of Spousal abuse victims.

Physical Spousal Abuse Defined:
Physical spousal abuse is defined as damage, harm, or injury enacted upon a husband or a wife by the other individual involved in the marriage.
Aggravated physical abuse, which is the more severe form of physical spousal abuse, is defined as the use of a deadly weapon to cause harm, damage, or injury with regard to another individual or entity.

Emotional and Psychological Spousal abuse defined:
Non-violent forms of spousal abuse include the delivery of threats, intimidation, name-calling, perpetual belittlement or any verbal or emotional attacks that aim to take control or instill fear in the victimized partner.
Threats are defined as the unlawful, conditional expressions of criminal or negative recourse contingent on the behavior of the recipient of the threat itself; threats are typically extortive in nature – aggravated threats include threats posed resulting in murder, rape, or maiming. Verbal and psychological abuse is defined as both speech and expressions set forth, typically demeaning, insulting, damaging, or threatening in nature.

Sexually-charged Spousal Abuse defined:
Spousal abuse, in a sexual nature refers to the administration of any unwanted or forced sexual acts. Spousal rape, for instance, is the act of forced, non-consensual intercourse enacted by either the husband or wife onto the other partner; regardless of the participation within a romantic relationship, the severity of a spousal rape offense is considered to be analogous to a standard rape charge.

With those quite precise definitions, how can they be defined when not only total consent is given, but prior to any SSC BDSM scene or activity (public or private) has been thoroughly covered, or prior to any Open-Swinger activities have taken place had been thoroughly covered? On top of that, any doubts or concerns about anything to be performed are explicitly discussed beforehand and not performed until all participants are fully comfortable — hence the purpose of Safe-words too, which are strictly obeyed or enforced.

I’ll gladly leave these Q&A’s to you, my readers, to address with me or about the lifestyles. Simply know that with all of the female partners I have had the honor (and their trust!) to play with… including my Reformed Fundamentalist ex-wife… at some early point in our dating or intimately engaging days/nights — when it is proper timing of course; experience has shown that dropping this bomb on a woman you’ve just recently met (hours or days ago), is typically not the best foreplay — anything that might venture into less-than vanilla play, i.e. traditional social forms of intimate engagement, sexual or otherwise, I have always discussed in great detail what MIGHT be involved. I then ask Are you comfortable in that sort of exploration? Amazingly, this proactive openness does wonders toward gaining trust! And needless to say really, I’ve never been arrested for domestic violence in any of the U.S. states I’ve lived and the word predator has never even been imagined either. In fact, they have never been brought up by any of my former female partners, including to my knowledge and face my Reformed Fundamentalist ex-wife. Whether it was discussed without me present is an entirely different question and set of circumstances.

This open proactive process was most certainly done with my ex-wife in the four years we dated and one year we lived together BEFORE marrying in her church.

And now I have come full circle. Not only did I write and share all this raw material with all of you, not only did I publish these life-experiences for the small benefit of other would-be lovers out there who may well be considering a lifetime with a Christian Fundamentalist fiance, but I also share it here because if I did it face-to-face, in-person, over the phone with my two kids… the chances of the whole discussion turning into a disaster are decent if not high. Why? Because in the heat of the moment — especially when dealing with family, your own blood — emotions get high and volatile, and pertinent facts and influences fall by the wayside. At least this way I have the freedom to write it all down, in my own time, and give MY perspective and part in all of it. Don’t I deserve at least that over these last fourteen years of partial-to-full patient silence?

After this past Xmas-NYE and Day holiday with my kids, and that ridiculous incident over a 2-hour dinner with my son, and approaching two decades of this faith-system, I began to really appreciate and empathize with other humans that seek political and/or religious asylum from their native people and country! Since that isn’t really a feasible option for me — especially now that I’ve announced the fleeting thought here — I am thinking it is about time to open my mouth and give another (valid) point-of-view. If for no one else, than for my two kids to one day hear Dad’s complete view before I pass away of old age and extreme living. 😈

Apologies for this slight interruption and tangent from my Untapped World series. I will be finishing the next installment (conclusion?) very soon.

Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

(paragraph break)

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77 thoughts on “Religious Asylum

  1. That one is one well worth the wait to read… I started it, but then my reminders keep popping up. I have to drive up to Jacksonville Beach and will be staying at a hotel – all by my lonesome – to attend a work mediation tomorrow and can give your words the attention they so deserve when I am all checked in. Until then, I send you a virtual hug. I know it doesn’t help much, but believe me when I say I so understand about dealing with exes… it often drives one to drink in excess!!

    [cid:8eb65a8e-6308-4175-aa7e-6aacdb42f49e]

    ________________________________

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was once a submissive in a BDSM lifestyle — called Christian Fundamentalism — and while it was consensual, it was hardly safe, nor sane. 😉

    Won’t be long before your son turns 18 and you will no longer have to put up with this ex-spouse BS. So sorry to read you had a hard time of it over the holidays. *hug*

    Liked by 3 people

    • …and while it was consensual, it was hardly safe, nor sane. 😉

      The comparison between the two lifestyles is a faulty one. Why? Because he/husband/boyfriend was not a member of a legally sanctioned SSC BDSM community and most certainly signed no Code of Conduct beforehand. But me thinks you know this my tricky Friend. And furthermore, I have a huge gut-feeling that you and he/husband/boyfriend NEVER practiced the Dark Art publicly in front of other veteran members. Am I right? 😉

      Won’t be long before your son turns 18 and you will no longer have to put up with this ex-spouse BS. So sorry to read you had a hard time of it over the holidays. *hug*

      Overall the entire 7-days went exceptionally well with son, daughter, and her new husband! It was just those last 3-4 hours that happen too often, and have been going on fourteen years now. It is incredibly infuriating and I often must find the most impeccable composure to manage the ex. :/

      Yes! Only 4 more years and three months! 😀

      Liked by 3 people

      • Who said anything about a husband/boyfriend? 😉

        The fact that you spent more time discussing the horrors of that 3 – 4 hours than the time you spent with your children made me think that perhaps a major wet blanket had been thrown on the happy times you had during the holidays. I’m thrilled you had a nice 7 days, minus the 3 – 4 hours.

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        • The “major wet blanket” has been the 14-16 years. If I/we could just not deal with each other anymore, ever again, I’m sure my quality great times with my kids/son would be increased exponentially! LOL 😛

          Liked by 1 person

        • And your completed research amply shows all the modern BDSM furniture, equipment, etc. used today… along with the legally sanctioned Dungeon’s Policies and Procedures or Codes of Conduct? That I would LOVE to see! And if the Xian-Fundy churches follow the same identical procedures and protocols, then why aren’t thousands and millions of public Dungeons on every street corner like the churches!? 😉

          Liked by 1 person

        • Haha — because, now they’ve “evolved” into more psychological torture. Not too long ago, the “furniture, equipment, etc.” were legally sanctioned, Policies and Procedures, included, by the Church. 😉

          Copycat. 😛

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        • I must agree with that summation Victoria, about the Xian-Fundy church. Although in my 25+ year SSC BDSM membership, I have never ONCE found any tangible, similar or identical furniture, “torture” devices, or equipment in American churches… well, except the alter upfront (HAH!), the Holy Bible, and the “private counseling” rooms. 😈

          Liked by 1 person

        • Of course it’s not, and I never said it was in churches. I said they were used by the Church, often in dungeons. Like I said — the torture is psychological now. You, of all people, ought to know that. 😉

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        • LOL…Darling, you know I do already. However, in my imperfection and sometimes busy schedule, I MIGHT — just might — miss your blog-posts that weirdly draw comparisons between various lifestyles. Those I may have missed. 😉

          However, I also do understand the pathology and psychology — and with your excellent help Victoria — and neurology behind the scenes of why we humans do what we do and want what we want. 😀 ❤

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  3. What?!!!

    he did so from an ex-USMarine code, firm and swift if I ever hit a woman in anger or rage

    Even my father never did that. (UK RN)

    That is a deplorable comment. Can you not at least acknowledge that? Jeeez.

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  4. Oh, Professor! I so hate to see others lement in a way that I used to so long ago. I do know the pain, the torture, and the utter frustration that you’re going through. Thankfully, my years of such torture are now behind me. Believe it or not, yours will be as well.

    I cringed as I read your discussion of 1 Corinthians 7:10-16. In my decade as a practicing JW, we were beat over the head with that scripture (along with others comparable to it). Seeing Roughseas’ disdain with your discussion of your “former” marine father, she would have reviled the proliferators who pounded the teachings of what you discuss above. Some women took it so literally that they would endure beatings if they thought it would turn their “non-believing” spouse – eventually – into “a believer “.

    But now to the matter at hand, knowing so many of these “Christians” and seeing how the Scriptures can be bent to suit the needs and whimsies of those who claim to be such practicers, never ceases to blow my mind. Just as it is in the statutory laws (both federal and state), a well as good old common law, so it is in the so-called “Christian law”, those who would try to advocate and plead their justification to their actions will find a way to justify through Scriptures and bend, warp, and apply them to however they see fit, despite the actual meanings behind them, whether from the Old Testament (the Hebrew Scriptures) or from the new Testament (the Greek scriptures). I have found and seen in my life, from these so-called “Christians”, the more self-righteous they are, the more adamant they are about proving their righteousness through Scripture.

    Sadly, Professor, these people are not going to change. As Victoria stated above, your son will be 18 one day. However, as we’ve discussed, since you are in Texas, the law does give a child of 12 and older some say in which parent they wish to have as their primary conservator. Professor, you keep doing right by your son, and your daughter, and it will be noticed by them. Whether it be now, or year from now, or even longer, your love, patience, and ability to standfast, being truthful with them and yourself, will be appreciated someday. I know these words of advice are hard to take to heart right now, as your emotions are obviously very raw at this moment – and justifiably so, but speaking from experience, it will eventually be noticed by them. And you will be ever more loved and appreciated for being true, honest, and strong in the person that you are. And that, my friend, is quite the contrast to the hypocrisy that they will eventually come to see in the self-righteous individuals surrounding them, if they haven’t seen it already.

    As an aside, I, for one, have come to see the wisdom of the concepts behind the SSC teachings as I continue to research and am very respectful of all you share regarding “the lifestyle”. Stay true and teach (preach) on! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • Some women took it so literally that they would endure beatings if they thought it would turn their “non-believing” spouse – eventually – into “a believer “.

      Your inference Lonestar is remarkably spot-on! In hindsight now, I see that for the 4-years leading up to our marriage and my ‘change of heart’ about she and her family background/beliefs, I guess she indeed “endured” my lifestyles in order to illicite my change. It was thorough and convincing leading to my marriage proposal. However, I must make it clear again for readers… those four years were NOT tortures, beatings, non-consensual scenes or activities; quite the opposite because she was a woman/mother on a mission despite her deeply (temporarily) hidden inner Xian-beliefs and upbringing! After just a few months of marriage EVERYTHING changed; a complete 180. And then in our 4th year of marriage my son came into the picture. She once told me that during those 9-months and the following post-natal 8-months, I was “the most incredible Dad and caring husband.” It’s worth noting that family performance never changed. It blows my mind how drastically people can change! Today, I don’t even recognize her in the least; nothing at all like she was our first 10-years. It is shocking, truly. LOL 😛

      Sadly, Professor, these people are not going to change.

      Not sure I can agree with you on that. I see fickle people all the time. I see people DIVORCE all the time. Everything — and I mean EVERYTHING — in life and this existence is changing every hour, or every day, every year, every decade, every century, and so on. All that we consciously perceive is impermanent, fluid. My ex-wife changed. In 1989 I changed completely from a life of Xian-Fundamentalism, in seminary then out, and in many ways returned back to my childhood raising and beliefs. On the other hand, you are correct. Some people are not comfortable with change, major change that is, and resist it directly or passively. Ah, the vast diversity and predictable unpredictability we all live in. 😉

      As an aside, I, for one, have come to see the wisdom of the concepts behind the SSC teachings as I continue to research and am very respectful of all you share regarding “the lifestyle”. Stay true and teach (preach) on! ❤️

      Thank you. I am well aware of my flaws, imperfections, and limits as a human-being. I have empty closets so to speak, and I sleep well at night. Yet, I will indeed “stay true” to who I am at the core… until further notice and overwhelming evidence. 😈 😉

      There is one concept however, that many Outsiders to SSC BDSM (i.e. alien to the actual first-hand experiences) have extreme difficulty recognizing/grasping. That is the controlled small Window to the New. Through that mental, physical, emotional, and metaphysical (if lucky) window is the surreal, the fluid mysterious imbalance between heart and mind (Tantric perhaps?) and full liberation. But that journey to and thru the Window IS NOT large! In other words, attempts to remake the Window bigger, and a Dom/Domme/Top can stupidly (ignorantly?) put a sub’s/bottom’s psych and body at severe risk. Guiding a consenting someone to and thru that Window takes an unbelievable amount of supervised practice, mentoring, education, and the most critical aspect of non-stop proactive wide-open no-holes-barred communication. This is what Outsiders just can’t grasp without “going there“. Period. Going there in all senses of the phrase.

      Another analogy I sometimes use to explain “going there” and why the deep passion is there…would be that of a professional athlete of the highest caliber and what distances and good-pain they must go and endure to “arrive” at the goal. They, better than most, understand HOW the Window of Discomfort is extremely beneficial health-wise, and toward either victory or failing better — in the latter, you get back out there and do it again. If someone isn’t or hasn’t been a professional athlete themselves, they probably can’t fully relate to what I’m talking about.

      HAH! Another thought. I guarantee you Lonestar that if my ex-wife were brave enough to confess honestly what she experienced during those raw intimate times, those many, many intense scenes… she would not only confirm what I am poorly trying to describe — from a male’s perspective/experience especially — but she would be totally convincing as one would witness her affect change while reflecting back. In fact, for safety, evaluation, quality improvement, and possible legal ramifications, we videoed many/most of our scenes. Of course, for obvious reasons, during the divorce proceedings she wanted every single one of those videos and images permanently destroyed; I agreed. Very understandable. A “fine very active Christian woman” cannot have those sorts of materials floating around while returning to and living a most pious life. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, in the normal course of nature, change is indeed inevitable; however, for us strange humans, many (most?) will resort back to what is familiar/comfortable. Take your ex and what you share here. She changed, yes, for a while, but she turned and ran back to what was familiar and did so with such passion that it was easy to allow herself to fall deeper back into the comfort zone of “being born again”, so much so that now it is easy to condemn (vehemently condemn) what she had once enjoyed with you.

        You, too, Professor, confessed to a “temporary” change. We do that to try to please, but once that attempt has gone south – neither side has really and truly appeased the other – then we go back to what we know, that which is comfortable, familiar.

        Now, that is not to say that a person CANNOT change, but to do so means to make an absolute commitment to the change….making that conscious commitment every single day, being willing to make the sacrifices (?) it takes to keep with the evolution of the changing. This complete change usually (IMHO) comes when it is attempted for self rather than to appease another. Take the “lifestyle” of which you seek to educate your readers/followers, by way of example. A person who is truly curious and desires to venture into this journey and makes the decision to change does so for themselves and how it makes them feel. Motivation behind this evolution is the key. If the motivation is to seek that “higher plane” that is to be had, then it will most likely stick. BUT, If it is simply in an effort to win someone over, then there really will not be change and that person reverts to the familiar. That is what I meant earlier when I stated “these people are not going to change.” Real/true/lasting change is driven by motivation. I hope I made sense…. What I am trying to convey here may not be coming across as clearly in this written word as it is in my head. Lol! 😜

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yes, you’ve essentially demonstrated, or explained well what Mohandas Gandhi once taught about the embodiment of self-honesty without fear of rejection…

          “It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of non-violence to cover impotence.”

          So my deepest efforts to make change (reasonable compromise) for the sake of my kid’s future well-being, being MORE intune with, prepared for life’s and the world’s paradoxes, challenges, and conflicts — even at home? — and SAVE my full-time fathering… was likely to fail no matter what? I have a HARD TIME getting my heart around that. :/

          But I do agree (somehow – LOL) with what you’re stating. Some “change” is often fake or shallow and therefore an injustice to those you love and who are around you daily. o_O

          Liked by 1 person

        • Oh, no no no….. you began the change with a good intent. Your intent and attempts at change were rejected, thus the “appease one another” comment. The inability to make the change you set out to make was sabotaged. It is not like you chose to stop the evolution. That “opportunity?” to evolve was taken from you…. you didn’t stop it of your own volition.

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  5. Good read and such an open, honest one too. You have the patience of a saint (rather ironically) when it comes to the sharing of your children, I have known men in your exact position, indeed I’ve written out the court papers and been through the process of trying to gain either full, or at least equal custody, and it was hell on earth. You are a good man, and your reluctance to have the children torn apart by contention and fighting over them. I really feel for you (nothing dodgy without consent).

    – esme upon the Cloud

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you Esme for your kindness. I know it was a… perhaps information overload read, but the dilemma with Xian-Fundies (as I was once) is that they are usually thorough and exhaustive (overly prideful?) with their belief-system and its apologetics. If one doesn’t go way down into the sink-holes with them, you will not reach them on the human level.

      Furthermore, inside their theology and doctrines, there are only TWO sources of truth/revelation from God or the Divine: 1) General revelation — that is Grand Design emperically found in Nature and all things, animate and inanimate, and 2) Special revelation — i.e. miracles (or what I term the paranormal) and/or God-breathed Scripture… that is the Canonical Scriptures. Now, if a more open-minded non-believer who uses basic laws of investigation and evidence to draw conclusions (theories) based upon what is CONSISTENTLY revealed by the data, then a balanced mentally sane person can see that General Revelation can be interpreted many many various ways from the eye(s) of the beholder(s). Not adequate for only one single faith/religion inerrant truth belief for the entire world. Therefore, they go farther. Special Revelation is the MEAT of their belief system and they are CONVINCED that (mostly) Scripture is inerrant truth in all cases and conflicts — because “miracles” are extremely unique individual experiences versus a global standard, i.e. it is very difficult to standardized the paranormal, even all the way back to BEFORE the time of Christ! So…

      For someone like me or another non-believer (a Freethinking Humanist) the ONLY firm ground Xian-Fundies have to stand on is their Canonical Bibles. And as you probably already know — along with most of the world — that Bible is extremely contradictory or confusing, if not outright unhistorical and unreliable.

      Make sense? 😛 LOL

      Liked by 3 people

  6. What I find interesting is the staunch belief in the divinity behind the hands of the men who wrote this Holy Bible. Although they have such firm belief in this divinity when it suits them, they adamantly refute other religions’ same alleged divinity that is proclaimed to be behind Joseph Smith’s teachings or those who espouse the teachings of Buddha, the Koran, etc. “Only my god is the true god, and only my book was brought about through miracle.” Smh….

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I did find your scriptural discussion of divorce interesting, although needless to state it has no impact on me. What should be important is a person’s commitment to another and their agreements at the time. Ours was he could trade me in for a newer model after 20 years (and vice versa) and it didn’t happen.

    But divorce is an interesting topic, I suppose. Marry too young? Not in your case. Lack of previous partners? Not in your case? Grass is greener? Maybe. Can’t say. Not been there and done that, and our longstanding agreement has been to separate rather than divorce. Why repeat mistakes?

    I don’t want to comment on your wife and the adultery and lack of child access because it just sounds like throwing stones. Merely to say, she knows you well enough to play you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • A fair and accurate comment Roughseas; I expected nothing less. 😉

      [Our committment together] was he could trade me in for a newer model after 20 years (and vice versa) and it didn’t happen.

      HAH! That was wonderfully pragmatic! Probably wise too. But it worked/is working now and that’s what matters most. 🙂

      Lack of previous partners? Not in your case? Grass is greener? Maybe.

      To those questions: In my case no, certainly not. In her case… I knew of two that she verbally shared with me prior to meeting me. Then those numbers rose to 3 or 4 before our marriage vows & day. But “numbers” prior, during, or after are not the least bit important to me. She knew that (and my lifestyles) the entire time after our 2nd or 3rd week of meeting/dating and after… thru 2002. Grass is greener? Interesting question. Do you mean for us two, or for everyone who falls in-love?

      Merely to say, she knows you well enough to play you.

      She knows me well? Agreed…as anyone who has shared everything unabashedly, freely, proactively, and in confidence with their spouse… are indeed placing themselves in very vulnerable positions — unless encompassing Pre-nuptials are signed and legalized. 😉 What I didn’t bank on was the blatant trashing and disregard for Christian biblically-based marriage & family values, let alone her biological Father (and Mother?) doing the same. I totally misjudged that one to say the least! 😛

      Playing me? Hmm, needs more clarification. I ALWAYS think of my kids first, myself second. Perhaps that is a fault of mine sometimes. I own it. 🙂

      A very sincere warm thank you Roughseas for patience reading this pseudo-pedantic post followed by your comment. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • I thought your analysis was good. While I think Xtianity is tosh, I can admire an interpretation of said tosh.

        It was an odd commitment. We did refer to it after 20 years and agreed to leave it alone then. I might add it was very sexist, but as I reserved the right to do the same, then it evened out. Not that I ever found any.

        Numbers? Who cares. We’ve never even asked each other. Not relevant. Talked about a few previous partners in casual conversation. Grass is greener? Both. Not for falling in love so much as moving on from one opportunity to another.

        How can you think of others if you don’t think of yourself?

        Liked by 2 people

        • How can you think of others if you don’t think of yourself?

          It is a balancing act to master, or attempt to master as well as possible. It’s probably perpetual too, right? Without sounding vain (too much? LOL) what I’ve noticed for myself, and other women have told me in sincerity, is that a lot of my enjoyment/pleasure comes from pleasing/giving in the ways I do well. I’ll leave it at that. And I do make good effort to expand that WITHOUT denying all of self. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

        • Sure, but not my point. How can you contribute meaningfully towards or with your children if you disrespect yourself? ie by putting yourself behind everyone else. Home, divorce, finance, caregiving etc.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Disrespect” would not be too accurate a word on me and the three of us. It’s more of a balance between A Greater Good, self-assurance to think on your own (me), and the sacrifices made for THEIR nice houses grown-up in, freedom of education, freedom of religious beliefs (like mine), until they are 18 or older to BEGIN to understand the real essense of their Dad.

          I feel it would be counter-productive to do all of that in a spirit of combat, bitterness, and pure self-interest. You may not understand fully what I mean Roughseas, so feel free to ask other questions…or not. LOL ❤

          Liked by 1 person

        • You’re not the first one that has told me that… repeatedly. :/ LOL

          As you may or may not have figured out over time, I have a degree of respect for my own Father not wanting to trash my Mom to my face/ears during their problems, then very brief separation. I don’t agree with the extreme way he accomplished that, I don’t agree with keeping conflicts totally away from children (out of control screaming, anger, explitives being the 3 exceptions) BUT I know beyond any doubt the amount of respect & honor code he lived by. I try to come halfway close to his high standards with my own kids, myself, and then outward to others. Yes, many people don’t agree with that posture, but it is a form I try to live-by. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    • Roughseas, it is good to see that the Professor is hearing/reading this from others. It serves to reiterate what a few other of us have said to him. I think he definitely needs to continue being told as you say further. He should not sell himself short.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. While I don’t have biological children I did raise from the age of five a step-daughter. I can relate to much of what you’ve written here. I’m now totally out of the loop with her. I absolutely refused to trash her father to her, even while he was trashing me. So, naturally, my desire not to do so and keeping my mouth shut on the subject resulted in me looking like the bad guy and him appearing to be hard-done-by. Biological children are even that much more of a tightrope. Except that you are their father and they will continue to love you and seek after you simply because of that fact alone.

    Echoing what RoughSeas and lonestar have said here, you’ve sold yourself short and volunteered for the short end and the raw deal. Hopefully the payoff will be huge dividends in the long-term. These situations are best played like the stock market. It’s not a short-term endeavor.

    I have done a great deal of study on the subject of divorce. I’m fairly familiar with Reformed Theology thought on the matter as I did study that perspective along with others. Reformed theology’s perspective on it is much like my Southern Baptist teaching and both use OT scriptures to prop up the principle that marriage is for one man and one woman. Realizing that most common Jews were relatively poor most of them were only married one man and one woman. What they both fail to recognize that men were permitted more than one wife in the OT and there is nowhere that I have been able to find that condemns that practice. So men could marry more than one woman and it wasn’t considered adultery.

    My studies led me to believe that there was no loophole for divorce. It seemed plain and simple to me. Women were not allowed to divorce their husbands under any circumstance. Period. Abandonment was the only possible exception and the husband, if I recall correctly, had to have been missing for seven years. Seven.Years. Then and only then could she seek out the assistance of the Rabbinical Court to have her husband declared dead. Then she could remarry.

    Men, on the other hand, were only considered to have committed adultery if they had sex with another man’s wife – a woman who already belonged to another man. Having all of that background and somewhat of an understanding of early Jewish culture then the scriptures providing a loophole for divorce for men makes a little more sense to me. If your wife, who is essentially your property, has defrauded you by claiming that she was a virgin when she wasn’t by test of they hymen-rupture(which we now know is a horrible test of virginity because it doesn’t mean a damn thing) then the husband could divorce her. Or if she slept with another man he could divorce her. Other than that he wasn’t to divorce his wife. This didn’t mean he couldn’t take on any other wives. It simply meant that he couldn’t throw his old wife/wives out on the street to please the next one. The reason for that has much to do with the culture of the time.

    If the previous wife/wives are divorced it is a signal to the world that she has been unfaithful – not that she burned the toast. In those days when women were merely chattal sold from the father to her husband as property divorcing her was cruel and likely meant she wouldn’t survive. It was nearly impossible for her to do so without a husband.

    I have other interpretations as well having to do with treatment of wives and so on but from my plain reading of the scriptures that was the one I settled on. I cannot tell you the shitstorm of guilt that heaped on me when I made the decision to divorce my abusive husband. First I took the attitude that God would forgive me for my sin of divorce. Then I feared I’d never get that forgiveness because I blatantly broke my vows and embraced sin. That’s when I started to really study the whole thing. If I were still Christian the above is where I’d settle in belief. This entire subject and the “Holy Spirit’s” teaching so many different interpretations was a huge catalyst in my exodus from Christianity.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you very much for your feedback Ruth. I suspected you had some painfully gained wisdom to impart on this subject. I see I was correct. 🙂

      “Echoing what RoughSeas and lonestar have said here, you’ve sold yourself short and volunteered for the short end and the raw deal. Hopefully the payoff will be huge dividends in the long-term. These situations are best played like the stock market. It’s not a short-term endeavor.”

      Again, to be honest, and knowing what I know about the ex-wife and her parent’s, HOW do I keep my kids from being leveraged against me? Who are the winners in such nastiness?

      I ask these questions in general Ruth, not directed at you specifically…

      If I/we live in a state that really shows no inclinations or desire to waste time or tax-payer money in court battles between embittered spiteful spouses, and MORE SO when innocent biological children are involved, those said children WILL get caught in cross-fires (no way to avoid it!)…

      …other than have spent thousands upon thousands of dollars in attorney costs, court fees, etc, dragging my kids through custody/caretaker fights, for who knows how long… chancing my kids gaining a horribly monster-like impression of me (though entirely WRONG!) that could last a lifetime… and this bass-akwards state and long-standing Family Laws & case histories allow/want divorces quick & easy to favor the Mother in all cases…except when she’s addicted to drugs, alcohol, or exotic dancing employment, or irresponsible unemployment (which was NEVER going to be the case for her)…

      …WHAT was the better alternative? Show how nasty I could/can get with their loved mother… who they know LITTLE (if anything at all) about her wild years with me prior to the divorce?

      Sorry, it just seems too risky and unnecessary to my kids to have fought nasty when she was 7-yrs old and my son was only a few months. Those are critical years! I feel it is better to get into “the real story” when they are much older, wiser, more experienced about “relationships” and the REAL world.

      Grrrrr, I hope I’m not wrong. :/

      Liked by 2 people

      • Right or wrong I agree with your handling of the situation. That’s why I said you volunteered for the short end. Sure you could stand up for your rights and your reputation, but at whose expense? We both know the answer to that question. Children shouldn’t be used as pawns. All too often they are and are torn to shreds in the process. Which is why I also said these situations are better played to the long-term dividends rather than the short-term rewards. In the long run I believe your strategy will pay off. Kids are perceptive. They likely see who got the raw deal already without you having to say a word.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You understand well Ruth — I am grateful for your words, shared experience and wisdom on this. 🙂

          Which is why I also said these situations are better played to the long-term dividends rather than the short-term rewards. In the long run I believe your strategy will pay off. Kids are perceptive.

          There are no guarantees, as it is too in life, my hoped outcome(s) will occur…”The best laid plans…” and fancy adages are nonetheless true. What causes me doubt of my decisions, peace-maker actions, and long-term waiting for a more “pseudo full-time Fatherhood” with them, and to free my story is that essentially I was pushed into “exile” so to speak, from them every single day and night — from my daughter for 10-years, my son for his last 6-years — by these “astoundingly contradictory, hypocritical, loopy, and unfair popular practices” by this state’s Family Laws (or lack of) and one woman. If I let them, those deeply embittered thoughts and feelings could eat me alive inside. I don’t want that and yet stunts like this one and previous ones make suppressing them very, very difficult! And if ANYTHING were to permanently happen to me or my two kids (e.g. traumatic brain injury, death) and I don’t get back AT LEAST some of those 14-15 years with them after 18-years old… I honestly can’t say how I’ll manage mentally or emotionally. 😦

          Though that drastic a final-outcome is probably very unlikely… it still exists and there’s little I can do about it. Hence, that “dream” of religious asylum is sometimes my xanex, my valium if you know what I mean. Do I sound crazy or like a deeply loving father & family-man? Or both? LOL 😛

          Liked by 1 person

        • Ruth is spot on. To add further, that doesn’t mean you hide anything, you just don’t make a show of it or “trash” her to them. If questions are asked – and they will be – and considering the ages now – absolute honesty is the key to the future of the relationship/bond. Pure honesty without seeming to impugn her character. As Joe Friday from Dragnet would say… “just the facts…” those will speak for themselves.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Time. That is the deepest issue Lonestar. Will there be enough time? Will they even care (at that future time) what “the facts” were? Facts, that in the arena of human emotions, imperfect recall, and sometimes flawed language mixed in… will there be enough time?

          Just venting; sharing my mixed bag of thoughts and emotions. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

      • You ask about time. There likely will be enough of it. It’s clear by what you’ve written here that your kids love you just the way you are. Have they shunned opportunities to see you? Or behaved in a way that made you think they blame you? If not I think you have your answer there. They don’t need all the facts. They don’t need to know whose fault things were. When they do ask questions, my recommendation would be that of any attorney on the planet. Answer only what’s asked with the least words possible. Even when they’re grown and more mature and responsible you don’t want to drive a wedge between them and their mother. The issues you two have are just that, issues between you two. That’s the way it should stay.

        Liked by 1 person

        • When they do ask questions, my recommendation would be that of any attorney on the planet. Answer only what’s asked with the least words possible.

          Ruth! Do you have any idea how DIFFICULT me saying “the least words possible” can be!? LOL You may have as well sung me this Howard Jones song! 😛

          You can look at the menu, but you just can’t eat
          You can feel the cushion, but you can’t have a seat
          You can dip your foot in the pool, but you can’t have a swim
          You can feel the punishment, but you can’t commit the sin.

          Geeezzz. How much are your attorney fees!? 😉

          Liked by 1 person

        • Also realized Ruth I intended to answer your/these two questions earlier…

          Have they shunned opportunities to see you? Or behaved in a way that made you think they blame you?

          My son? Just that one incident I linked to in this post. My daughter though has a few times. If you’re really curious about those times — and won’t charge me out the Wah-ZOO 😉 — I’m happy to oblige. Your next question is much more telling.

          Blame isn’t the right word, or at least what I’m perceiving. It has been more a sense of fear, suspicion, and silent disagreement/disapproval… not in my actions, but my words, my explanations and elaborations of life, school, politics, science, history (i.e. more ‘expansive’ history!), love, relationships, dating, marriage (in very brief GENERAL terms!), or family dynamics and dysfunctions. See what I mean?

          Like

        • Well, yes. And they do deserve to know who you are and what your thoughts are about these things. But, clearly they are being raised in a Fundagelical Christian way. So you cannot be surprised that they might disapprove or disagree with your philosophy of life, science, love, relationships, dating, and marriage.

          That might change at some point, though, because while they are being TOLD what the Christian principles for living are, mom is also illustrating the infamous “do as I say, not as I do” very well, if I understood your post. She condemns you for your decision to divorce and your “lifestyles” using piety all the while she’s participated in those lifestyles, at least at some point, and she’s had sex out of wedlock, AND if I’m understanding your post she’s now living with a man who is not her husband(feel free to correct me on any of that). Your kids can surely see right through that without you having to say a word.

          Liked by 2 people

        • She condemns you for your decision to divorce and your “lifestyles” using piety all the while she’s participated in those lifestyles, at least at some point, and she’s had sex out of wedlock, AND if I’m understanding your post she’s now living with a man who is not her husband(feel free to correct me on any of that). Your kids can surely see right through that without you having to say a word.

          Some corrections Ruth. I did not divorce her. She divorced me. Even when making extended efforts to SAVE our marriage — I went to great lengths because I knew what it was like as a Part-time Dad or less/worse — she didn’t want it. She filed the papers in July 2002. She isn’t or wasn’t “living with a man” then. However, they did begin “dating” 6-weeks after I moved out. They married about a year later.

          Like

        • I’ll go ahead and correct one of my misconceptions. Your ex-wife is remarried, no?

          Having read your link, it sounds to me like she was using your son to make you pay your “fair share”. It didn’t matter to her that you didn’t have it to pay.

          I can go ahead and empathize with you there, too. TheBrit’s ex-wife has done that with their children. It hasn’t been pretty. At.All. And, like you, he has tried every possible way not to speak ill of her to their children. Meanwhile she doesn’t hesitate to tell them that he’s a shit father and that he’s run out on them. Not what happened at all and his oldest daughter is coming around to that fact. His youngest daughter hasn’t. She’s cut him completely out even though he’s pursued a relationship with her which should have shown her he didn’t “run out on her”, but his actions can’t speak nearly as loudly as her mother’s words. For now.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Exactly Ruth! So I worry sometimes whether I’m doing/saying enough honorable stuff — I often speak of their mother’s great qualities (as I remember them of course!) — or if I’m NOT doing/saying enough honorable stuff. And I do have my certain “buttons” and “breaking points.” :/

          Thanks again Ruth for your feedback! 🙂 ❤

          Liked by 1 person

  9. In my absence from reading blogs over my Christmas break I see I have missed so many of yours. I decided to tackle an older one than your latest 11,000 word post. I may have to wait until I have the house to myself and have a day of me time to digest that one, because I ams ure it is full of goodness! lol

    I don’t have much to add here than what has already been said. And when you’ve talked about this situation before it was clear then that you got the short end of the stick and it’s amazing the sacrifice you made and makes me sad that you had to make it. I do hope that in the long run you will get some returns on the sacrifice because you deserve it. You are who you are, and I believe you to be a decent human being and your children have much to learn from a soul like yours. I hope they are curious to know you and continue being that way through the rest of your lives. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Swarn for the very kind sentiments. Truly. ❤

      I hope they are curious to know you and continue being that way through the rest of your lives. 🙂

      That is my deepest hope too. I’d have to say honestly it is probably a 50/50 chance, maybe 40/60. Why? Because as some other friends have told me, I SHOULD HAVE fought tooth-n-nail for full-time caregiver taking them away (into part-time or worse state) from their mother — then they wouldn’t have grown up in and been raised in such Fundy-Xian ivory towers taught to fear their father and the world. To be determined, huh? :/

      Liked by 1 person

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