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PastorJosh83

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Hello all.  My name is Josh.  I'm 29 year sold and will be 30 in December in a couple months.  As my username would indicate, I am or rather am hoping to be in the near a pastor (as I was born and raised int the baptist faith - particularly of the fundamental(ist) persuasion).  Obviously, I'm very new here.  I was adopted when I was 2 months old in February of 1984 in Valparaiso, Indiana (bu a couple who lives in Elkhart, IN) through the Baptist Children's Home.  But was born in December of 1983 (as mentioned earlier) in Atlanta, Georgia.  I was born out of wedlock (won't go into many details of that or anything unless anyone on here sincerely wants to know).  Now much I think of my biological relatives still live in the peach state, especially those on my birth mom's side - Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins (especially cousins of course  :wink:).  One of these cousins (whom out of my respect for her will just use her first name) Julie is about 2 months younger than me - born around the time of my adoption.  Being adopted, for so many years knew next to nothing of my biologicals.  By the summer of 2005 my birth mom made contact with me (as she lives in Florida).  Within a  year, also made first contact with other biological relatives including naturally my beloved cousin Julie.  At first for awhile of course nothing beyond a traditional if you will, typical more expected love I guess between relatives a so called normal type you could say of familial love.  At any rate, the last couple of years or so maybe less.  I have started developing "special" feelings for her.  Now at times, I have joked about it with my birth mom who likely didn't know that I was disguising my true feelings in such a way.  Meaning that I indirectly revealed my feelings in a sarcastic humor sorta way.  Obviously because of the family's religious background of Independent Fundamental Baptist am forced to essentially keep such feelings a secret (my birth mom is a lesbian so is quite liberal at least to an extent anyway yet would also herseff be against such a union).  As a christian I pray to God asking to know if this is meant to be and all.  And as I also believe in patience is a virtue, I wait for His answers to prayers (whether they be a yes or no of course I accept either).  Yet at the same time, my feelings for her grow with each passing day and at the very least desire a romantic relationship (a boyfriend-girlfriend sorta thing at the very least if nothing else).  Yet I do not know if she feels the same though I pray for it to be so.  Being the reserved and shy type (at various times  even claustrophobicly shy), I am somewhat terrified of approaching her (or any relative for that matter) on the subject.  Hoping and God willing it is meant to be with her, I sincerely and truly seek any and all help and advice from others here.  For my brothers and sisters in Christ on here obviously your prayers will be needed.  Sorry if I don't give out too much personal info as being again a shy type (and also having a tough time trusting others for various reason).  Thank you all for taking the time to read this my first post and God bless you all, and to the Muslim men and women on here (don't worry as though I may come from a fundamentalist christian background however am not islamophobic; in fact I support your right to practice freely your faith and even get upset myself when I see fellow Americans and fellow Christians spread lies and slander of Islam for as Jesus we are to love both neighbor and enemy though I consider you and I pray the feeling is mutual a neighbor and not an enemy, and I do have much love for you all) I say asalaam alaikum.  Anything else you wish to know of or my cousin or whatever again as I stated earlier in this post, feel free to ask me in pm, email or here even or something. 

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God has no problem with you pursuing this relationship and it seems to me that you have no problems with pursuing this relationship - you are simply allowing your fear of what others will think get in the way. You cannot allow other people to decide for you what is right and what is wrong:  that is between you and your God.

The thing that concerns me here is that if your adopted family is representative of the beliefs of your church, how are you going to lead as a pastor with this conflicting belief within you?  If you pursue this relationship (which you want to do), are you going to hide the nature of your relationship from everyone?  Not that I think you have to tell the world, "Hey, I'm dating my cousin!", but are you going to be a silent partner in allowing others to believe something that simply is not grounded in truth, biblical or otherwise?  I may be overstepping a boundary here in asking you to really look at your faith values, but if you want to be a pastor, then you need to ensure that you are living an authentic life. 

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Hello, Josh, and welcome to the site.  I'm a little curious what you mean by "Fundamentalist".  I tend to lean somewhere between Southern Baptist(ish) and unaffiliated Presbyterian myself.  Pretty much a solid Calvinist leaning doctrine with a strong streak of Baptist independence.  Maybe another way to look at me is another one of those weird Baptists who happens to like Mark Driscoll and has been known to attend services with one of his Acts 29 affiliated churches.

Anyway, you already know that a lot of "religious" people tend to have strong feelings about cousin relationships.  Sadly, they use the Bible as their defense, which is a tragically incorrect interpretation of Scripture.  One very important tool in interpreting Scripture is, not surprisingly, the Scripture itself.  Taken in that context, when you look at the Levitical Law that people tend to use as the reason for their prohibition of cousin relationships, you must realize that "near of kin" (or however your preferred translation words it) does not mean cousin marriage/relationships.  While I realize that using Jacob's wives (both being his first cousins from his uncle) was pre-Law, the book of Numbers is post-law.  I haven't taken the time to extrapolate any additional relationships that no doubt will be found in careful study of the Chronicles and books forward of that, but Hebrew/Jewish history and tradition bears out what I'm saying.

Simply put, there is absolutely NO Biblical support for any prohibition on cousin relationships or marriage.  If you are indeed going to be (or presently are?) a pastor, I'm sure you already know this.  I hope you do, anyway, or at the very least that you'll give this very careful study.

Family?  The only family whose opinion I'd worry about at 30 years of age is the cousin whom you happen to fancy.  The rest don't get a vote... not even your parents.  Not when it comes to marrying your cousin.  You are certainly to honor and love your parents but, "for this reason a man shall leave his mother and father..." and you know the rest.  If your parents cannot accept your relationship (and I'm making a lot of assumptions here because I'm not clear on how your cousin feels about you), they have a choice:  get over it and love you as a Christian ought or harbor it and potentially lose the right to be in your life (and any potential grandkids' lives).

I tell you this as a committed Christian called to reach, preach, and teach, in the midst of formal theological training, and as a husband of my cousin for two decades.

I wish you the best,

CM

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ColoradoMarried stated things so much nicer than I did - although I was coming from the same perspective.

Don't over think this and go for it.  The worst thing that can happen is you find out that she is not interested in pursuing a romantic relationship with you.  Family being unhappy about it can cause some drama, but when you look at the big picture, they are not the ones who have to live your life - you are! 

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First of all thank you for your replies...

I suppose by Fundamentalist what I mean is your standard King James only, Zionist/Israel loving (even at the cost of the lives of Palestinian Christians which is sad I think) type of Fundamentalist...as I'm sure some on these boards may have run into such Christians at some point in life.  As for my personal religious and theological views especially as compared to other fundamental baptists I will say that am more anti-zionist (which I can discuss in more detail later if anyone would like in a civil manner of course), and although I do truly respect the king James bible, and am glad for it as it has been a huge influence of western society esp our English language in particular; still I prefer Geneva version of the new testament (1560 edition not the 1599 or any other edition) and Brenton's 1851 English translation of the Greek Septuagint or LXX for the old testament scriptures.  Despite my fundamentalist baptist background, I tend to be a bit more of a free thinker as it were (as scripture tells us to test all things to see if they are true or not, instead of accepting things at face value like blind lemmings as too many sadly are).

Indeed, and I read once that (not sure if it was a Jewish source or not I really can't remember exactly but might need to look it up again) that even Jacob's 2 concubines/other wives and handmaidens to Rachel and Leah, Zilpah and Bilhah were also daughters to Laban (I would think perhaps maybe Rachel and Leah's half sisters?) which would make them his cousins as well.  And from what i understand of the incest laws of the Torah or Pentateuch, is that cousin marriages I think are just about the only form if you will of "incest that God permits and allows (with the story of Jacob and his wives being the best example).  And of course all the others are condemned as they would be "uncovering the nakedness of thy father or his kin."

At this point, am not yet a pastor though I do intend to become one eventually, as I do understandably so feel that I am called to serve the Lord in such a way as pastoral leadership.  (Though my and my cousin's grandmother is himself a retired baptist preacher from the GARBC - General Association of Regular Baptist Churches, even my biological father - who wants nothing to do with me though have been able to speak with him at least once - is a pentecostal pastor on a native American reservation in north central North Dakota near the turtle back mountains or whatever it's called).  My cousin whom I fancy, it is our mothers who are siblings - as the closest female relative in my age range or peer group or whatever on my birth dad's side is the daughter of my birth dad's first cousin, I think it would be my second cousin maybe, I don't know that always confuses me. 

I don't know how she feels of me (at least beyond a regular familial love sort of thing obviously), though understandably and obviously I pray she feels the same eventually if not already (even if she doesn't yet know it - her own feelings for me that is).  Still I do hope my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ pray for me on this and her (heck any of our Jewish or Muslim friends or friends of other faiths - Hindu, Taoism, or anything else) pray as well for me and my beloved cousin.  Like many others I can't explain why I feel as I do towards her, I just do.  A beautiful young lady who happens to be my cousin, that I have such feelings towards.  As I read recently on a wikipedia article of incest in the bible (not that wikipedia is exactly the most reliable source in the world) as saying, 'In ancient times, tribal nations preferred endogamous marriage - marriage to one's relatives; the ideal marriage was usually that to a cousin, and it was often forbidden for an eldest daughter to even marry outside the family.'

Thank you all again for your support.

God bless always,

Josh

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My apologies to all if I offended or upset anyone in my previous post as I have been feeling a bit under the weather lately...

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ok josh, i'm not going to call you pastor, because you aren't one. i'll be happy to refer to you by that in the event that one day you will become one. just so that you know, most of the staff here at cousincouples are sincerely devoted to Jesus.

i'm not trying to be offensive here at all, and i hope you don't take it that way, but if you're going to get ordained by a real church some day, you might want to study a bit deeper into God's word! Levitical law doesn't consider cousins to be incest AT ALL in any way, shape or form. it is NOT "a form of incest that God permits", it's simply NEVER included in the incest laws to begin with.

yes, jacob married his two first cousins. zelophehad's daughters, all five of them, married first cousins.... at God's command which came through Moses. Isaac and Rebecca were first cousins once removed, and their marriage couldn't have been more clearly orchestrated by God. those examples aren't from "maybe some jewish" extra-biblical source, they're directly from the Word of God Himself. although, we can go on and mention some extra-biblical sources, such as many jewish theologians and even the catholic encyclopedia, which indicate that mary (mother of Jesus) married joseph who was, in fact, her biological first cousin (although that's a bit complicated for me to follow.) we could also point out the obvious, that if God saved only noah, his wife, his sons and their wives during the flood, noah's grandchildren would have to have married first cousins, because nobody else existed.

as for you and the cousin you fancy, she is your first cousin once removed. further than first cousins, closer than second. i am also married to my first cousin once removed... we'll be celebrating 15 years of marriage on new year's day.

seriously, i don't want you to take offense to what i wrote. if i came across harshly, it's because if you intend to serve God in the capacity that you wish to, you need to be much more diligent in searching God's word as the final authority on any topic. Never let societal belief systems color your Christian world view. the world gets it wrong, all the time! and i don't mean just the secular world, either. we christians get so much wrong on a daily basis it's not even funny! as a pastor, your job will be to help people look to God for answers and get past the misconceptions that they've either been brought up with or have developed on their own.  it will be your job to teach them to be as the berean's were.

and that's exactly where YOU are right now. i'm assuming that the "83" next to your name is probably the year of your birth? that makes you still relatively young, and surely this is uncharted territory for you. i've known some pastors who've been in ministry for decades who were challenged to study up on this after learning mark and i are related. it's just typically not something one thinks of. we had a very interesting discussion on worthy christian forums a couple of months or so back about this very topic. LOL, it seemed that a member's daughter had stumbled upon THIS website by accident, and the member at worthy was so incensed that people would justify 'incest'. imagine her surprise when i, a member for over ten years there, had responded to her and informed her that i was one of the administrators here. KC, the owner of this site also responded (he's also been a member there for some time), and one of our other administrators also replied, although he didn't mention his affiliation with this site since he only joined there to respond here. anyway, it was a very civil discussion, and one that had a lot of members re-evaluating their long-held ideas about cousins and really delving in to finding out what God had to say about it. it was pretty awesome. you should go search it out over there. oh, i'm getting off track.

what i am almost forgetting to say is that having these feelings for a cousin and trying to reconcile that with a lifetime of believing that surely God must condemn such a thing can be overwhelming. i remember all too well what that feels like. i cried, i prayed, i begged God to take away these feelings i was having, and then i grabbed my Bible, determined to find exactly that scripture where God would drop a 100 lb stone on my head. and instead, true to God's merciful nature, He led me directly to the passage where abraham sent his most trusted servant on a journey to find the perfect bride for isaac, and God answered every detail of the servant's complex prayer through rebekkah. and with that loving revelation from God, i finally found total peace and acceptance from God in pursuing my relationship with mark.

so dig in to His word.... and let Him give you that peace too. and as you pursue a career in the ministry behind a pulpit, God can use you to help bring about a change in the hatred that the world views people like us with.

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First of all...I do study His Law, His Word quite well, more than you may know. 

As for my cousin whom "I fancy" she is not my first cousin once removed (or any level of such), just my first cousin...As I stated in my first post, our moms are sisters i.e. my (birth) mom is her aunt, and her mom is my aunt (as my birth mom's parents and my grandparents are also the grandparents of my cousin and parents of her parents).  Her sister and one of her brothers have children and those children would be my first cousins once removed and same for my (biological) parents' cousins, not those cousins who share the same grandparents as me and of course whose parent is my aunt/uncle and vice versa

As I said, I much more diligent in searching His word (though scripture in John chapter 1 calls Jesus God's Word (and the Word of God was God; and The Word became flesh, etc) but I will save a theological debate of such nature for later in the religion section of these forums for later) than many might assume of me to be and am always, and constantly so, searching the scriptures.  (I don't like it when people assume too much of me without knowing the facts first - not getting upset just letting all know this of me, for future reference of course).    Actually I know what my job will be (as a matter of fact there are a few things - not cousin marriages but other topics related to scripture however that I do try with the scriptures to help others see the truth in but alas that don't always work as many are still so thoroughly brainwashed.  As our Lord said unto Simon Peter in John 21, take care of my sheep and feed my sheep.  And sadly these days many pastors are merely parrots, repeating what they have been taught and trained to say at seminary and going with preconditioned and albeit biased interpretation of the scriptures.

And yes, considering I had said I'm 29 now and will be 30 in December, yeah 83 is the year I was born in.  (Remember our Lord began His ministry at the age of 30.)  As for as pursuing and desiring such a romantic relationship with my cousin yes it is unchartered.  As far as the studying of it in scripture and other topics, I have known of it for quite some time. 

As for me, I do no try to reconcile it with "God must condemn such a thing", however what does sadden my heart is how others especially brothers and sisters in Christ even those who are also blood related relatives are so as I put it earlier thoroughly brainwashed as to condemn cousin marriages, not of their own knowledge but because of the preconditioning that has been done to their minds (as many in society christian and non-christian are not able to think for themselves - which of course is a very sad thing indeed to be hold). Must also remember that Isaac and Rebecca (as I said in my second post, I use and prefer the 1851 Brenton English version of the Greek LXX or Septuagint for the OT scriptures, so as such I tend to use the spelling of names and places from that edition), had told their son Esau to not find a wife from among the Canaanites, but he did so anyway.  They told Jacob the same thing, and he obeyed, of course went to his kinsfolk in Mesopotamia I believe it was (modern day Iraq?).

I dig into His scriptures everyday through personal independent bible study on various topics (full preterism, polygamy/polygyny, the ot prophecoes of Christ, etc. just about every topic you could possibly think of related to scripture).

In His service,

Josh

P.s. Forgive my ignorance everyone, but not sure of feedback area for this forum, but for the off topic areas of the forums, maybe an rea for us men (like a man cave area or something lol) and the ladies their own special area as well - the women can ask the men a question in our area and we can ask one in their's but aside from that we each have our own area.  Just a thought/suggestion. 

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Hello Josh,

I can't really offer you advice but prayers. You can say that I'm in a similar situation except my cousin knows about my feelings. He feels the same for me, which i thank God everyday, but we are dating. As a apostolic Christian he cannot date. When the time is right, he plans to court me. Seems a little old fashion but my cousin is striving to become a man of God. The fact that he loves Christ so much is a the main reason why I love him so much. Recently I've been going through a spiritual crisis but thanks to his support I haven't strayed away from Christ. Now I can't claim that I know much about scripture but I do know that is doesn't condemn cousin relationship. However, I must admit that I don't know how his church views such relationship. We haven't told anyone for the fear of retaliation. Right now we are just going to keep prayer about this and see what God has in plan for us. So take care and God Bless.

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josh, i apologize that it seems i didn't read your original post closely enough to catch your age (you even stated in the first post what year you were born) and that i somehow mis-read the biological connection. i know very well the difference between first cousins and first cousins once removed. looking back at your post, i really can't figure out how i misunderstood that.

and i'm very glad to know that you study His word. LOL, if you intend to be a pastor, i'd expect nothing less! but you'll find no debate with me on who Jesus is. i know who He is and that He is the Word who became flesh. the trinity is a complicated mystery that none of us can ever fully understand this side of eternity, but you don't have to worry about trying to make me believe. however, you did refer to cousin marriages as the only type of incest that God allows. and there is the basis for what i wrote back saying you needed to be more berean. to say that it is the only type of incest God allows indicates, or at the very least implies, that you believe that in God's eyes cousin marriages are incestuous. nothing could be further from the truth. perhaps you simply meant that in the context of how the world views it.

oh, and i didn't just mean that your feelings for your cousin were uncharted territory, i was actually meaning that in a more general sense... that until you developed feelings for your cousin, the whole concept of cousin marriage and how God viewed the subject was likely something you hadn't ever given thought of. most people don't think of it til they know someone in that situation.

in any case, i believe that as christians, it is one of our responsibilities... to correct people's misunderstanding of the biblical view of cousin marriage. it certainly isn't the primary goal any of us should have, but when the subject DOES arise, i think He expects us to shed light on the truth and help to dispel the prejudices of society. it's not something that we should become argumentative about with anyone, of course, but we should speak up, with love and grace, and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

i will let KC or ColoradoMarried address your concerns about a man-cave area of the forum.

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to Blueblird,

I pray for you and your beloved cousin as well...As scripture says (in Deuteronomy I believe it is), may the Lord bless you and keep you...May you and yours be blessed always, and may the Lord our God bless you both with beautiful healthy children who will themselves grow up to love and serve the Lord as He desires...

to LadyC,

It is alright, as the expression ( guess its an old,  I don't know) goes, water under the bridge.  Not just the year of course, but the month as well (11 days before christmas to be exact) .  As I stated we have the same grandparents, but our moms are siblings (i.e. her mom is my aunt, my mom is hers), also as I think I stated before how our grandfather is himself a retired preacher in the GARBC group (General Association of Regular Baptist Churches) - though going by what my birth mom said of him (though he has disowned her for her being a lesbian) and is still currently preaching the gospel as a police chaplain in the Perry County SHeriffs Depaartment (I think it is Perry County, though not really familiar with the county names in Georgia) in the town of Houston, GA if not mistaken, along with his wife, my cousin and I's grandmother of course.  Indeed, I used those terms, "incest that god permits" in the context of how the world views it, as I'm sure the anti crowd so to speak (thoose uninformed ignorant ones who try and condemn cousin marriages)  do of course visit these forums, so using words like to help them understand better, that these individuals whom we love and are intending to spend our lives with by God's grace, that we are not sinning in doing so, that we can prove such from the Scriptures, doing so of course with love and kindness; in the hope that by His grace their hearts might be softened, and they will the truth, the blinders being removed from their eyes.  As you say, to correct their misunderstanding of the biblical view of cousin marriages.  As the primary goal of course is naturally preach the gospel "to every creature" as per Mark 16 ( the Great Commission as it were).  And yes if when witness the gospel of Jesus Christ unto people the topic of cousin marriages comes then yes of course to show through scripture  the truth of cousin marriages, that is biblical, not "dirty" or any such preconceived notion they might have.  And that throughout Scripture, particularly the Old Testament, the New as well of course, such is very much allowed and encouraged at times, (such as with Jacob and Lea and Rachel - and as I mentioned before of Balla/Bilhah and Zelpha/Zilpah - and Abraam/Abraham with Sarrha/Sarah (depending of coruse which OT translation you use esp Masoretic vs LXX)). 

As for me, not sure if I mentioned this, but for my beloved cousin and my obvious feelings for me (again she is about 2 months younger than I so we are very much the same age, and both are first names begin with J, hers being Julie), having spent the first 21, 22 years of my life not really knowing of her existance (being adopted and all), then finally speaking with her and some of my other cousins (her younger sister who is married with 2 children and I believe my beloved one's younger brother) as well as my aunt her mom for the first time back in the summer of 2006 I believe it was ( as I met with my birth mom back in November of 2005 for the first time since of course my birth).  And since then, such feelings have developed over time slowly but surely.  Again not sure if I mentioned this or not, but of all my (biological) cousins near my age - excluding older and younger ones - she is the only single, unmarried female cousin (regardless of being first, second, once removed, etc.) who is close enough to my age on both my (birth) mom and dad's side; as virtually all my first cousins on my dad's side are male, and the closest female cousin is the daughter of my dad's cousin I think (believe that would be my second cousin right?); though as a side note on my birth dad's side am a descendant of John McBean of Exeter, New Hampshire - not sure if anyone here has heard of John (Mc)Bean of Exeter or not.

As for the "man-cave" idea for a new section of these forums, I thought it would be nice since there is an area for food and recipes.  It would a nice lounge type area to relax, talk of sports, or music, or politics/current events, or whatever else might be on a members' mind that isn't necessarily related to cousin marriages, a true off topic area of the forums I guess you could call it.

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Hey Josh,

Why not go for it though? If she ask "Hey dude, don't you know that we are cousins?" You can be like, "Oh by the way, I have another story to tell you.. I'm not really your cousin..."

In Christ,

Pooch

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