Marisa Lobo: When fundamentalism becomes a straitjacket at the service of a conservative political agenda

 

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By Hermes C. Fernandes


Think of a cultured woman, a writer, well-articulated, trained, and post-graduated in an important branch of the humanities,  but whose discourse totally disagrees with the social movements that promote human rights and women’s empowerment. Is this possible? Yes, how? What ingredient added to those I have listed above could transform a potential feminist and human rights activist into someone of anachronistic stance, doing a disservice to the social causes that she should defend? The evidence seems to point to religious fundamentalism.

For those who haven’t connected the dots yet, I’m talking about the controversial psychologist Marisa Lobo.

If his performance was restricted to the religious space, it might not cause so much fuss. But by the way, Marisa has less modest ambitions. Taking advantage of the projection she had when having her professional record revoked accused of mixing her belief with her clinical practice, the Christian psychologist has been an easy figure moving through the corridors of power, as well as in political or religious events, always flanked by equally controversial figures and prominent. Pastor Silas Malafaia, deputy Marco Feliciano and Senator Magno Malta are among the guarantors of his public image.

He used social media extensively to help promote the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, joining with his mentors. And of course, he celebrated the fall of the president and the rise of Michel Temer.

At no time did he touch criticism for the fact that there are no women among the ministers chosen by the interim president. But she was one of the promoters of the campaign raised by Malafaia’s wife in support of the new first lady (Bela, demure, and home).

In a comment made by journalist Noblat on his profile on the twitter, although there are no women or blacks in charge of the ministries, there would be at least two homosexuals, so LGBT activists should be satisfied. So far, the psychologist who advocates “gay healing” has not manifested itself. The fact is that, when it is politically convenient, both she and her gurus turn a blind eye to anything they disagree with. Does she blindly believe that the two gay ministers of the Temer government could be cured? Would an exorcism session solve it? Or would it be better to let it go in the name of common interests?

I don’t particularly believe in gay healing. I believe that homosexuals, everyone, without exception, needs healing. But not to cure your homosexuality. They need to be healed from the wounds opened by our hypocrisy and prejudice. I don’t think Marisa should agree with me.

For her and so many others who do a fundamentalist reading of the Scriptures, what gays need is to abandon their perverse and abominable practice, whether through therapy, or through exorcism, or even penance.

Recently, Marisa Lobo posed with her new book “The ideology of Gender in Education” alongside the newly appointed Minister of Health Ricardo Barros. She wrote on her Facebook page: “I took the opportunity to alert you about the imposition of gender ideology in education and how this child indoctrination can generate psychological disorders in children such as Gender dysphoria, among others.” According to the psychologist, “gender ideology is also a health issue, # SaúdeMental.” Also according to his report: “He was extremely friendly, attentive and answered me in that way.” This is over. The MEC is now from the DEM “that is, it filled me with hopes, that our children will really deserve care from the ministry of education and Health that is now his ministry “(sic).

It is unfortunate to know that a years-long struggle to combat intolerance and prejudice in the school environment could suffer a setback due to the religious lobby.

In the community I pasture, a boy of just 11 years old, a colleague of some of our children, committed suicide by taking pellets and choking himself with a plastic bag, for not enduring the bullying suffered at school due to his sexual orientation. Sad to know, this is just one of the countless cases. However, religious fundamentalism is so blind that, in addition to making the soul-sick, it starts the conscience, depriving us of both a critical sense and compassion and empathy.

What psychologist Marisa Lobo mistakenly calls “gender ideology”, is nothing more than a sensible attempt to combat prejudice within the classroom. And it is not limited to gender bias, but also ethnic, religious, and even what victimizes the physically and mentally disabled.

There is a lack of mercy in the religious discourse of those who present themselves as followers of Jesus. Perhaps they forget that, in the words of St. James, “the judgment will be without mercy for those who do not use mercy.”

For the psychologist and her class, the government would be encouraging pedophilia and homosexuality through booklets distributed in schools. The aim would be to destroy Judeo-Christian values ​​along with the traditional family model. There would be a communist conspiracy in the Gramscista style, to deconstruct any and all social structures, starting with the family, thus setting the stage for the installation of a totalitarian world government. What she may not know, or pretend not to know, is that policy for diversity has been adopted in the most developed countries in the world (most traditionally Christian), starting with the USA, the largest capitalist nation on the planet. On the other hand, it is not adopted in socialist countries like Cuba and China, much less by Russia (which according to some, will resurface as a great communist power). You will understand …

Undoubtedly, the countries in which diversity is most hard-fought are theocratic, where the fundamentalist view of Islam prevails.

If the evangelical group continues in its aggressive lobbying the current government, we run the risk of seeing a kind of gospel Taliban implanted in the country.

There is an urgent need to reaffirm and redouble the vigilance over the secularity of the Brazilian state. To paraphrase the Protestant reformer Martin Luther, God acts in the world through two arms, that of Law (state) and that of Grace (church). The problem is when the arms decide to cross. Both are paralyzed as if they are trapped in a straight jacket. The challenge, therefore, is to maintain each power in its sphere. Religion has its importance. Even the most skeptical will agree. But it is not authorized to extrapolate its sphere and impose its dogmas and doctrines on society as a whole.

Behind the pulpit of the church I pastor, I am not a psychologist. I can even quote Freud, Jung, and so many others. But I cannot transform the service into a therapeutic session. Similarly, in the office, the pastor must give way to the therapist. There is no place for religious discourse. The same applies to the field of politics. In the plenary there are no pastors, no priests, no pais-de-Santo, but only representatives of the people. As in the pulpit, there should be no candidates looking for votes, nor politicians looking for support for their agendas. If we keep each activity in its own sphere, social progress will be consolidated without religious interference, and religion, whatever it may be, will have guaranteed its right to worship and publicize its beliefs and values.

I already apostatized … and you?

By Hermes C. Fernandes

Paul had already been warned about the persecution he would suffer in Jerusalem. Stubborn and obstinate, he did not listen to anyone. After all, as he himself said, he did not consider his life precious, as long as it fulfilled the purpose of his existence. Not even Agabus, a renowned prophet, was able to dissuade him with his staged prophecy. The apostle was willing not only to be arrested for the love of Christ but also to die for the cause of the gospel. Arriving in Jerusalem, he had a big surprise. His fame had preceded him. So much so that James summoned the elders to welcome him and hear from him a report on the fruits of his ministry among the Gentiles. Such a reception disarmed Paul. When could he imagine he would be greeted with such pomp? After listening carefully, Tiago and the others wanted to add nothing. The gospel preached by Paul among the Gentiles seemed to be the right measure, going through the apostles’ “quality control”. However, there was a small problem … Someone would have spread the word about Paul teaching the Jews to apostatize from Moses, failing to fulfill the rites prescribed in the Law. There was only one way to undo this “misunderstanding”, by giving a “shut up” -Boca ”in his slanderers: Paulo would have to take a vow to shave his head and report to the temple. In order not to create further embarrassment for the apostles, he did not even bother to argue. He joined four others and passed the razor over his head. failing to comply with the rites prescribed in the Law. There was only one way to undo this “misunderstanding” by giving a “shut up” to his slanderers: Paul would have to take a vow to shave his head and appear in the temple. In order not to create further embarrassment for the apostles, he did not even bother to argue. He joined four others and passed the razor over his head. failing to comply with the rites prescribed in the Law. There was only one way to undo this “misunderstanding” by giving a “shut up” to his slanderers: Paul would have to take a vow to shave his head and appear in the temple. In order not to create further embarrassment for the apostles, he did not even bother to argue. He joined four others and passed the razor over his head.

I am sure that this episode was one of the few that Paul repented for the rest of his life. The same Paul, who seemed willing to be beheaded for the love of Christ, now let himself be shorn to make media of the religious Jews in Jerusalem. Result: the preservation was of no use. As soon as the Jews caught him in the temple, they tried to accuse him before everyone and narrowly did not take his life. Had the Roman soldiers not intervened, Paul would have been beaten to death (Acts 21: 10-32).

What strikes me most in the passage summarized above is the fact that Paul was accused of apostatizing Moses. Was this a fair accusation? I am convinced that it is. In a sense, the Gospel is an apostasy. From ancient Greek απόστασις (apostasis), apostasy means “to be far from” and has the sense of a definite and deliberate departure from any belief or doctrine.

Why would Paul and the rest of Jesus’ followers have apostatized from Moses?

John, the author of the fourth gospel, offers us a precious clue:

“For we have all received from its fullness, and grace upon grace. Because the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. ” John 1: 16-17

In the text above, we realize that Moses and Jesus have different and antagonistic proposals. One brought the law, the other, grace, and truth. The Law served as a basis for building a system that is based on human performance. It is, therefore, a system based on merits, of the type, “do this and you will live”. The grace revealed in Jesus dismantles this system. Some argue that Law is the foundation of Grace. Therefore, the Kingdom of God would be a “grace over law” system. Others argue that the Kingdom of God is a “law on grace” system, that is, grace saves us from sin and places us in the lap of the law. Therefore, one is introduced into the kingdom by grace, however, staying there will depend on our performance in keeping the law. It was this error that the Galatians incurred. They started in the Spirit (100% dependent on grace) and ended in the flesh (dependent on performance). What we read in the introductory chapter of the gospel of John is that the Kingdom of God is“Grace upon grace”. Grace is the foundation of grace itself. In other words, it is a grace from beginning to end, with no place left for human merit. Christ is the author and finisher of our faith, Alpha and Omega, or in the famous words of Paul, “he who started the good work” and will finish it within the established time (Phil.1: 6). Therefore, when yielding to grace, we apostatize from Moses. There is no way to reconcile the two systems, the meritocratic and the aristocratic . They are water and oil. Different temperatures. One is hot. The other, cold. To try to mix them up is to warm up the gospel. And this was the reason why Christ rejected the Laodicean church.

Those who are seated in the heavenly regions in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2: 6), should never wish to occupy the “chair of Moses” , occupied by the scribes and Pharisees at the time of Jesus (Mt.23: 1-4). However great the glory of the old covenant, it cannot be compared to the glory of the brand new and definitive covenant celebrated on the cross. The glory shining on Moses’ face when he came down from Mount Sinai is overshadowed by the glory of love manifested on the cross at the top of Golgotha. Paul says that the glory of the law was fading. So Moses covered his face as he came down from the mountain. He realized that with each step he took, the splendor diminished. However, “we are not like Moses,” says the apostle “apostate”. Unlike him, we do not cover the face, because we are conducted “from glory to glory”to the ultimate glory (2 Cor. 3: 13-18). We can compare the difference between the glory of the law and the glory of the gospel to the difference between the brightness of the moon and the brightness of the sun. One night, the moon appears rising, the next, full, and then waning. Therefore, its glory varies in intensity according to the season. However, the sun maintains the same glory at all times. If the moon insists on continuing in the sky during the day, its splendor is overshadowed by the majestic presence of the sun. Knowing grace and then going back to the law, is like causing an eclipse, where the moon dares to outshine the sun. This, however, has no value for this, as it does not have its own shine. Its splendor depends directly on the light of the star king. This is true of the law. Whatever glory you have depends on grace. If it passes in front of you, the day gets dark.

I recently received a nasty comment on my Facebook timeline, accusing me of destroying what had been built by the generation that preceded me. However, do not confuse the removal of the scaffolding used in the construction of the building with the demolition of it. The law served us as scaffolding. As soon as the Word pitched His tent among us, the scaffolding had to be removed. In the building of the Kingdom of God, grace serves as the foundation, walls, and ceiling. Everything else is just scaffolding.

– But isn’t everything the same? – some could imagine. The answer is no! Paul says that the Law, represented by Mount Sinai, produces slaves, while grace produces children (Gal.4: 24-25). Although both systems produce faithful people down to the core, the motivation behind this faithfulness will be different. One’s faithfulness rests on the expectation of the reward, while the other’s faithfulness rests on gratitude.

The writer of Hebrews draws an interesting comparison between Jesus and Moses. He testifies that Moses was faithful “in the whole house of God”, but “as a servant”, while Christ is faithful as a Son “over the house of God” (Heb. 3: 1-6). Therefore, He is worthy of much greater honor than Moses. The servant’s faithfulness is different from the son’s faithfulness, regardless of circumstances, rewards, results, etc.

The problem is not the law itself, but what it produces in us. In other words, the problem is us. Whoever wants to follow Christ must renounce the claim to achieve perfection through the fulfillment of the law. This is what Jesus calls renouncing himself.

Grace makes us depend entirely on the Spirit, and no longer on our performance. Furthermore, by overriding our arrogance and conceit, grace makes us more compassionate and tolerant of others’ mistakes. The rigor of the law yields to the gentleness of grace.

This happened in the “tight skirt” that the scribes and Pharisees tried to give Jesus in the episode when they brought Him a woman caught in bed with a man who was not hers. Brazenly, those proud religious said:  “Master, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. Now, Moses orders us in the law to be stoned. So what do you say? ” (Jo.8: 3-7).

They were those same religious who, according to Jesus, occupied the chair of Moses. What they did not know was that the same Moses accused them before God (John. 5: 45-47). We were not called to be promoters of justice in the heavenly court, but to occupy the seat of advocate for sinners with Christ. And this was the role that Jesus played at that moment, going out in defense of an adulteress, treating her as a gentleman does, not a judge.

Everyone knows what Moses says, but few listen to what Jesus’ lips say. What voice are we echoing? Just check if our hands still carry stones; if our fingers are still pointed at sinners or if our hands are extended to help them from the justice of the sanctuaries on duty.

Moses already has to preach on every corner, as the disciples concluded in the first general assembly of the church (Acts 15: 19-21). Our mission is to preach the gospel, the good news of the Kingdom of God.

I apostatized from Moses, how about you? Will you want to get average with the shrimp? Go on … shave your head … maybe they’ll give you a discount.

Desigrejados, unite!

By Hermes C. Fernandes
Jesus respected the religious system of His day, even though He knew the high price He would have to pay for His boldness. He said that we would do even bigger works. And why bigger? Who are we to overcome our Master?
The fact is that when Jesus walked among us, the religious system, however, refined it seemed, was still rudimentary compared to our day. Today, if we want to follow in Christ’s footsteps, we will have to respect a true religious industry, where people are seen, now as products, now as customers, now as gears.
What is often called “discipleship,” is nothing more than the production of serial followerslead soldiers, perfect replicas of their mentors and leaders? This was not what Jesus planned when he recruited His first disciples in Galilee. It was never His claim that the church would become a lunatic factory.
Authentic discipleship is one that challenges us to embody the message of Christ, making us transforming agents of the Kingdom, infiltrated in a corrupted society. True discipleship is what sends sheep among the wolves.
The most important thing is not to fill the church, but to fill the world with the knowledge of God.
As we break hereditary curses, the gap between generations widens, and thus ‘existential curses’ are perpetuated. We seek inner healing, while outside, there are social wounds that need to heal, hemorrhages that have not yet stopped.
We discussed the sex of angels, while little angels, abandoned in the streets, are harassed daily by those who should protect them.
We reacted violently against laws that could harm the church, but we don’t care about laws that harm the neediest, undermining their rights.
The craze for mosquitoes and swallowing camels!
– Clean your feet thoroughly when entering the temple to avoid damaging the new carpet. Amen or not amen? And don’t forget to write in another congress to be held at the hotel, for a trifle of 400 reais.
We become a caricature of the church of Jesus.
While society is dealing with issues of the first magnitude, we turn to ourselves, concerned with quarrels.
– We can’t lose to gays, can we? If they gathered three million at their stop, we will gather twice as much on our march to Jesus.
Big Deal!
Ah if Christians knew that many of these manifestos are just demonstrations of political power! It is for these and others that, every day, the number of displaced persons grows alarmingly. A mass is unhappy with the direction taken by the churches.
When will we take to the streets in favor of the oppressed? When will we let go of our arrogant stance and reach out to those in need?
As long as we keep our finger in the list , in an inquisitive spirit, the world will give us another finger, the middle one. 
When churches cease to be electoral corrals and become centers of citizenship; when you stop worrying about your own navel and turn outward, then hope will triumph. The finger that previously pointed out the errors, will now point the way.

Holiness in its place, without frills and fricots

By Hermes C. Fernandes

I must confess that my reluctance to address this issue is due, first of all, to the stigma it carries. However, I felt challenged to break with my own prejudice and to navigate these troubled seas under the auspices of grace.

Would there be an approach on the topic that did not incur legalism, falling into a human attempt to achieve merits before God through its performance? I am convinced that it is. We need to seek a biblical definition of what holiness is, without the heavy religious rancidity.

Being holy does not mean being morally pure, perfect, or endowed with a mature spirituality. The Corinthian Christians were called by Paul “sanctified in Christ Jesus” and “saints, with all who everywhere call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours” (1 Cor. 1: 2). Nevertheless, the same apostle declares that he cannot address them as “spiritual, but as carnal, as children in Christ”. He justifies himself: “Are you still carnal because, with envy, strife, and dissension among you, are you not carnal, and do you not walk according to men?”(1 Co.3: 1,3). Who would have ever imagined that there could be envious, contentious, carnal saints? But have! And how is it! However, their imperfection does not disqualify them as saints.

Nor is being a saint giving special powers to someone as is usually done in the canonization process of the Catholic Church.

So what is the meaning behind the term “holiness”?

The Hebrew word translated “saint” is Kadosh, which means only “separate”.

Under the guise of holiness, the Christian church has literally separated itself from the world around it and has developed a ghetto culture. Holiness is confused with alienation.

It was from a misunderstanding that Dutch Protestants imposed the apartheid regime in South Africa. Originally, the motives were not ethnic, but religious. White Christians did not want to risk having their faith diluted in the religious fetishism of Africans. Fearing to have the purity of their faith compromised with syncretism, they preferred to delimit perimeters, where whites and blacks would live segregated. We all know where it went.

Sanctifying has much more to do with “separating from” than “separating from”. Peter says that we are an elected generation, the royal priesthood, the holy nation, the acquired people, to announce the virtues of him who called you from darkness to his wonderful light (1 Pet. 2: 9). Now, how will we announce something to those from whom we have separated? What purpose would there be to announce something to those in our own group? In order for us to be heard, we have to mingle, have a social life, move between men, not as aliens, but as one of them. We are saints, however, we are not ETs.

To sanctify is to separate in order to distinguish, not to separate. And to distinguish is to assign exclusive meaning. Therefore, it can be said that to sanctify something or someone is to recognize the particular place that must be occupied by him.

See, for example, Pedro’s recommendation:

 “Rather, sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord; and always be prepared to respond with meekness and fear to everyone who asks you for the reason for the hope that is in you. ” 1 Peter 3:15

If we give sanctification the meaning it usually gives, this recommendation makes no sense. How could we sanctify the One who is already the Most Holy? How can we make Him even more holy than He already is? If holiness is about perfection, how could we make Christ even more perfect? In addition to being the height of presumption, it would be a paradox. How to make Him purer? Or give it more power? However, if we consider the definition presented here, Pedro’s recommendation will take on a very special meaning.

To sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts is nothing more than to reserve a special place for Him. Although there is a captive chair in our hearts for all that is dear to us, for example, for our family and friends, the throne of our life must be exclusive to the Lord. He will always have primacy in everything. We attribute to Him a different meaning, which can never be shared with any other being.

The sanctity of life

The same apostle warns us:

 “But since he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your way of life; because it is written: Be holy, for I am holy. And if you invoke by Father the one who, without respect for persons, judges according to the work of each one, walk-in fear, during the time of your pilgrimage, knowing that it was not with corruptible things, such as silver or gold, that you were rescued from your vain way of life that you traditionally received from your parents. ”  1 Peter 1: 15-18

Note this: holiness has more to do with behavior than with compartment. I run the risk of being misinterpreted here and judged to be legalistic. It’s not about this. It is not a matter of submitting to a tangle of rules, but of resignifying life. Whoever realizes how holy life is, will never live inconsequentially. Our actions reverberate in eternity. We were rescued from our vain way of life, inherited from our ancestors. We are no longer hostages of the moment. We were asked to go further, transcending time and space. Therefore, it no longer makes sense to adopt the motto of the samba chorus that says “let life take me, life takes me …”

The sanctity of life lies in its purpose. Our existence is much more than a road accident. We were engineered by God to fulfill a purpose. I am at risk of appearing mushy for this statement. But a life without purpose is also without meaning. We are more than just medical records. More than extras in the fabric of existence. We are each protagonist, or as Mandela would say, “captains of our soul”.

Paul expressed this understanding when he declared: “ But I do not care about anything, nor do I consider my life precious, as long as I joyfully carry out my career and the ministry I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the gospel of the grace of God” (At.20: 24). In other words, Paul was willing to face martyrdom if that, in any way, contributed to the fulfillment of the purpose of his existence. After all, it is only worth living for something you are willing to die for. The sanctity of life, therefore, consists of the meaning we attach to it. When we are no longer here, the steps we have taken will continue to echo, the fragrance of the sacrifice we have made will continue to be exhaled by those who succeed us on this journey.

We do not need altars! Don’t you dare to canonize us! Don’t even bother to hide our idiosyncrasies and contradictions under the veneer of an idealized biography. May our victories are celebrated and our mistakes serve as a warning. But let everyone know that we seek to live fully according to the purpose for which we were imbued, despite sometimes being distracted.

The biography of a saint is not a map for the next generations, but only a record of those who sought to make their stay on this planet worthwhile. Lived and let live. He embodied his mission. He spent and let himself be consumed by the flame of passion that moved him.

In the next post, I will talk about sanctification and the individuation process.

How to Protect Personal Information Online

For those who choose the method of doing things based on convenience, the Internet may be their best friend without them even realizing it.

You can tell people what you are up to by posting messages, call people, and order everything from food to furniture without leaving your sofa.

There are many factors that make the Internet a great tool, and it can make life easier whether it comes to work or play. However, this can also mean that it can easily be taken for granted.

It works well, therefore, it must be safe, right? Not necessarily so.

How to Protect Personal Information Online

The Internet is a crowded arena, so in the same way that you would need to be wary of pickpockets when in a crowded place, it is necessary to protect your personal information online. Recognizing the fact that criminals have no qualms about taking their illicit trade from the street to the Internet will help reduce the risk of your personal information getting into the wrong hands.

There is a range of simple steps that you can take to make yourself safer when you go online:

  • When using a computer other than your own personal one, always ensure that the ‘remember me’ option is not ticked so that your username and password are not retained on that computer. Always remember to log out.
  • Keep up to date with the latest security software that can be used on your computer and make sure that you are using the best firewalls and anti-virus software.
  • Some websites will record when you last logged in and display this the next time you log in, so check this to ensure it matches your actions and immediately reports it to the company if you find something is amiss.
  • Many websites from which you can make purchases will give you the option of saving your payment details. Avoid this by unticking the relevant box, which will give you peace of mind in the event that the company gets hacked.
  • Do not use the same password for all of your online accounts – once a hacker steals one of your passwords, all of your accounts are then vulnerable.
  • Staying with passwords: don’t make them easy. If you use ‘password’, ‘12345678’, your own name, your pet’s name, or any other such obvious option – change it now! The strongest password is a random set of letters (a mixture of upper and lower case), numbers, and characters.
  • When using online banking, make use of the security measures have in place, such as a secure key. Though they might be annoying and cause you to spend a few minutes more getting into your account, imagine the annoyance and time that would be needed to try and retrieve money stolen from your account.
  • If you receive an email that purports to be from your bank requesting that you reply with your password on the basis of some problem with your account, do not reply. Report it to the security department of your bank and then delete it. No reputable bank will email you to ask for your password, so it is sure to be a phishing email.
  • Avoid unfamiliar websites and clicking on links that do not relate to a company that you are used to using.

While the use of the Internet allows you to avoid wasted time down trawling around the shops, this does not mean that you should ignore sensible security measures that you would employ when out in the real world. Be wary and do not assume that every part of the Internet is like the other.

There are many situations in which the hackers appear to be working faster than those charged with the security of websites, which leads to a story where the bad guy wins. Accordingly, it is not prudent to solely rely on the security of the websites that you use.

By taking some precautions, you can help to ensure that your details remain safe and that you do not have to worry about checking whether you might be on the list of victims who have had their details stolen.