I’m sitting here trying to figure out two things: whether my coconut rice is too coconut-y and whether I’m just a drama queen in serious need of some Alabastron therapy.
I’ll figure out the rice thing later.
Over the past few months, on and off, I’ve tried to warm up to Alabastron, but it seems like the Lord just won’t let me do it. I might be blaming Him for something that’s entirely me, but I don’t think I am. I get an uneasy feeling every time I think about this issue. One of the first things that often comes to mind is the verse that speaks of “silly women led captive”. It’s such an uncomfortable thought because it feels like an insult to so many women that I know and love.
I’m wondering if I’m the problem. I want to tell myself that all these women can’t be wrong, but the truth is that they can. I think, Maybe it’s all being done with good intentions. But good intentions never justify sin. Maybe I just don’t know much about it; I should take the time to find out more. But then I know that the little I know is enough, and even as I type this, I hear “from such turn away.”
I’ve never attended Alabastron, nor do I have any intentions of doing so, honestly. I know that several women feel that it’s been a blessing to them. I also know that I’m not always right. While I serve the perfect God, I’m far from perfect, and so I’m writing this not from a point of judgment but from a point of seeking to understand and to exhort, and hopefully to sound the alarm to my sisters in the faith; to let them know that the fowler has laid a snare before them. I have to admit that I struggle with this whole Alabastron thing and I want to say things out of love but it’s difficult not to get upset every time I think about it. I kind of understand why Jesus flogged people in the temple and turned the moneychangers’ tables upside down. Women are being deceived, and they are cheering their deceivers on. It’s really frustrating.
I credit it to our lack of Bible knowledge. Too many people would rather poke themselves in the throat with a pencil (lol, got that expression from a co-worker) than pick up a Bible and read it. This generation thinks being “deep” is fashionable, but tramples the very book that is the definition of deepness and depth. We’ve allowed ourselves to find the Bible boring, and we’ve replaced simple terms like good and evil, wisdom and foolishness, holiness and unrighteousness, with mysterious-sounding jargon. Christ gave us such a simple solution to the problems of life, but our leaders “shut up the kingdom of heaven against men, for they neither go in themselves, nor do they allow those who are entering to go in (Matthew 23:13).”
This generation wants harmony at whatever cost. Posts such as this one, that demonstrate “intolerance,” are frowned upon. People have no sense of discretion, and are encouraged to “talk about it,” share their personal pasts on whatever forum they can access, including Bible study and as testimonies in church. We are encouraged to go into unnecessary detail about harrowing experiences like rape and abuse, recounting every single moment without glorifying God, and in so doing reliving the experience every single time, thus delaying healing, hence all the crying.
We are told, even from our pulpits, that we must share our pasts in order to move on from them. But the Bible tells us that if there is one thing we need to share and remember, it is God’s goodness to us. A good memory is only good if it glorifies God. The concept of remembering every September 26th that this is the day your boyfriend left you or your husband beat you with his brown belt that he bought for $200 is not of God. Not when it is done in this way. The Bible tells us to remember God’s benefits, not our problems (Psalm 103:1-2). David said “My mouth will proclaim Your righteousness,” not “My mouth will proclaim the things people did to me in 1928.” Paul began every testimony with, “You see, I was on my way to Damascus…” but he did not dwell on himself – he glorified God.
If two men in the Bible went through tough times (aside from Jesus and Job), they are David and Paul. We are told about David’s sin, his son’s rebellion, and a particularly tear-jerking event where a man stones and curses him during a difficult period of his life.
Nowhere do we see David gathering people to talk about these issues. He takes them to God. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 11 that if he wanted to, he could recount everything he has been through, giving details of shipwrecks, persecutions, perils, imprisonments, etc. In fact, he begins all this by saying, “That which I speak, I speak it not according to the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting. Seeing that many boast after the flesh, I will boast also…” and goes on to describe everything that he has gone through for the cause of Christ. Even then, he spares us the fine details. And after saying all this, he says “It is not expedient.” Granted, the context is different, but why is this the only context in which we get a fairly detailed account – from him – about his trials?
We might argue that these are men, and women “need” to share. But all we know about Mary Magdalene – she of the famous alabaster box from which I presume the term “alabastron” is taken – is that she was a prostitute. All we know about the woman at the well’s past is that she had five husbands. During those days, women went through a lot. It was scandalous for Jesus to be seen talking to the Samaritan woman not only because she was a Samaritan, but also because she was a woman. I think it is therefore safe to assume that when she was a prostitute, Mary Magdalene went through plenty of abuse. But the Bible gives us the very basics about these and other people’s lives. I venture to suggest that this is because we are supposed to glorify God, not ourselves, or those we have wronged, or those who have wronged us, or our pasts, etc.
We are told today that if we do not shout about our problems, we are bottling them up and that can only cause problems. Why not pour out our hearts (Psalm 62:8) to the God who bottles up our tears (Psalm 52:8 – put Thou my tears in a bottle)? The problem with modern Christianity is that it magnifies your problems and presents you as the solution. We are clearly instructed to magnify God and we are told that He is our solution.
The tough truth that might earn me many enemies is that even if you were raped, abused, forsaken, orphaned – whatever! – you are responsible for your choices, and God is still in control. If you’re a victim, then so is everybody else; that’s the reality of a sin-ridden world. And if you choose to blame your sins on these issues, that does not change the fact that the wages of sin is death and the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus.
So you have a low self-esteem? Well, that’s amazing. I think this generation as a whole needs to lose its self-esteem and replace it with God-esteem. There is nobody who loves God healthily and has an unhealthy view of himself or herself. We come last in the equation of esteem. God first (Luke 10:27). John the Baptist said “He must increase, but I must decrease.”Others next (Philippians 2:3). Us LAST (eg Mark 9:35).
You’re depressed? What to do… talk about it? Yes, to God (Psalm 62:8). He is the help of your countenance, in whom you should hope, so that your soul can cease from being cast down. The root of depression is discouragement and hopelessness – these are both tools of the enemy that are cured by the Word of God. Heaviness is cured by praise (Isaiah 61:3), not by reciting a list of reasons why one’s heart is heavy.
You have a horrible past? Only God can erase it (Isaiah 44:22, for example). Talking about it keeps it in the present.
Venting to a human being is like drinking alcohol to forget one’s problems. It feels good for a moment, but when the “high” wears off, the problems are still there, unsolved, waiting to be faced. Why not vent to the one who can do something about it?
I stopped by the Alabastron website just to see if I’m in my own world here, and my eyes instantly landed on several things that are not Biblically sound.
“[One of the things to thank God for at age four is] The fruit of [God’s] love manifested in women’s lives as they discover themselves.” This statement demonstrates the upside-down nature of modern Christianity. God’s love is not manifested as we discover ourselves. I do not think I am taking this statement out of context when I interpret it to mean that when we discover ourselves, we see God’s love, which is completely inaccurate. It is when His love is manifested that we discover ourselves.
“The faith that fuels the experience of the classes season by season.” I really don’t think it is faith that fuels the experience of these classes season by season. This is honestly a good business model, and I think it is fueled by self-centeredness and the desire for a feel-good message. Period.
“As a queen, you understand the needs of queens-in-equipping.” It so happens that these needs include the need for a palace to travail in peace (or something to that effect). To the best of my knowledge, there is no place in the Bible where women who are not married to kings are referred to as queens. Except, of course, Revelation 18:7, where guess who is speaking? Babylon. “So much she has glorified herself, and lived luxuriously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she says in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.” The “I am a queen” concept has its root in ancient religions and is also partly connected to the Catholic church’s view of Mary as “Queen.” The fact that we (the church, together) are the Bride of Christ does not make us queens.
A clip from NTV describing the new Alabastron reality show, My Unspoken, says, “The women believe speaking about the issues that they have kept unspoken for many years will relieve them of their emotional heartache.” Speaking about issues will not relieve anybody from emotional heartache. We are told to bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ, but I do not think this in any way encourages going out in public to discuss things in a way that can only serve to fuel self-pity and glorify a program.
The theme of the show, according to NTV, is “From Stuck to Significance.” So does this mean anybody who is “stuck” is insignificant? What is significance? We all know the analogy of the dollar note; crumpled or not, trampled or not, a $100 note is still worth $100, is it not? Are the women on these show made significant in 13 (or however many) weeks? Is talking about their problems what helps them to become unstuck? The truth is that you do not have to have a “drama-free” life to be significant in God’s eyes. The Bible clearly says that those who will follow Christ MUST suffer persecution. Becoming a Christian will bring so much more drama into your life than you’ll ever have as an unbeliever. Trust Jesus on that one (John 16:33).
The clip says that the show is tailored to help women “get out of self-defeating patterns.” Here, let me save you some time and about half the alphabet: There’s a three-letter word for self-defeating patterns. It’s SIN. The way to defeat it is to REPENT and cling to Jesus. “Walk in the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the desires of the flesh.” Period. There. No need to try to beat traffic after work to catch this show.
I doubt I would have written this post if Alabastron was just another forum out there. But this is something that is being touted as Christian, and that’s where the problem is. Philosophies of men and doctrines of demons being veiled with a Bible verse here and a deep word there. Guile; deception in broad daylight. I feel, even as I write this, that even if I shouted myself hoarse, nobody would heed my words. But I am accountable to sound the alarm.
My rice is not too coconut-y. I think it’s just been a while.
Have a lovely one.
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