A Historic Blog Interview!

53 Comments
September 12, 2013

Today’s blog interview is truly historic. I have been trying to get this person to be interviewed on the blog for the last couple of years, but to no avail. Today, all of that changes. It looks as if my persistence has finally paid off! I’m very glad because I believe our guest today has a monumental perspective to share with us that I believe could be a game changer for some. Without further delay, let me present to you our special guest.

Brandie Jivanjee

It is a great pleasure for me to welcome my wife Brandie Jivanjee to the blog today as our very special guest. Brandie has graciously agreed to come on the blog to answer a few personal questions about herself and our relationship. I hope her responses are as much of a blessing to you as they were to me.

Brandie, over the last couple of years, we’ve had the privilege of being a part of a community of believers outside of the institutional religious system. How would you describe this community for those who may not be familiar with the kind of church life that is described in the New Testament?

This is a difficult question to answer because of the difficulty of describing something that is indescribable. The best way I can explain it is that we are a family in the truest sense of the word. We are joined together under the umbrella of our ‘family name’ -which is Christ. This understanding, that Christ is in each one of us with His very life and DNA running through our veins, creates this family. We don’t get to choose our family, we are born into it.

In the beginning of our journey, our eyes began to be opened to a Christ who is bigger and more profound than we had ever imagined or experienced. I was drawn to Him, His life, and others who were also being drawn to Him. A family was born.

After the birth of this community, there was a honeymoon stage in which everything was perfect. During the honeymoon stage, you can see no flaws or wrongs. You are simply in love. Reality, however, eventually does set in. We are not all alike. Interests, characteristics, strengths, weaknesses, personalities, hobbies- are all different in each one of us. If I went back to my old way of thinking, then I would not be friends with some of the very people in this family that I love dearly simply based on the idea that we don’t have enough in ‘common’.

The intended way for us to be connected is through our only commonality that withstands and transcends all understanding… Jesus Christ. Through this revelation of who Christ is, and what our identity is in Him, the dynamics of our family doesn’t matter. We play, we encourage, we fight, we bicker, we get on each others nerves, we laugh, we cry and we love. We each have a unique portion of Christ and His life in us. Without one person, our family would be incomplete. It’s complete today until the next child arrives. Much like a family, it’s complete in a moment. When a new life is added, however, you forget what it was like before they were added. It then becomes impossible to imagine your family without them in it.

Practically speaking, it looks much like a family too. We live life together. It’s not the typical, see each other once a week and forget about you the remainder of time. Many of us share housing together, we have breakfast/lunch/dinners together, we go to stores together, we have coffee, we watch movies, we run errands, we watch each others kids, we fix each others cars, we work on houses and yards together, we play together, we work together, etc… Not much is done alone. There is not a day that goes by that I personally don’t have some form of communication/interaction with some of my family. I can say confidently that is true for most of us. It’s not doing these things that create community; rather it’s the life that we are living by inside of us that is ignited and encouraged when we are together. We need each other. We belong to each other. We are in love.

In the last year, you have went through a very significant physical transformation. You have mentioned that you feel your external body is now beginning to match the freedom that you have been experiencing on the inside. You have described this as an unlocking process. Can you describe how identity and Christ’s indwelling life have affected your physical body for our readers?

Yes, I have struggled with my physical health and weight for many years. It was a constant roller coaster of emotions and overwhelming hopelessness. I was on my own and that was the hardest part. Up until a couple years ago, I thought this was a battle I needed to fight alone. After all, it was a personal issue. I figured I had gotten myself there, so I should be able to get myself out. I always felt like a failure because I couldn’t overcome this constant battle.

A few years ago, I noticed something new and profound. My life was being transformed internally. My identity was being redefined and I was experiencing life on the inside in a way I never had experienced previously. Through the discovery of Christ’s indwelling life, and the community He placed me in, a new desire started to naturally bubble out of me.

I am a firm believer that our physical being is a picture of our spiritual/emotional life. As my life in Christ was being transformed, my desire for an outward transformation began to increase. Life begets life. Life on the inside was beginning to make its appearance on the outside! This experience was different from all the other times before, however. It wasn’t something I was doing; rather, it was coming from a much deeper place. I had to do the physical work. Yes it was hard at times, but the strength & desire was coming from a place of life and victory. This was quite different from the old place of condemnation and guilt.

This journey wasn’t meant for me to walk alone, however. As I began to understand the life that was taking shape in my spirit, and the life that was being birthed in our community, the Lord began to open my eyes to the reality that we need each other. No journey is meant to be walked alone. We were made for one another. The Lord placed specific people in my community that have helped unlock the door within me to experience freedom in my physical body.

Brandie, we have been married for eighteen years. Can you describe how the foundation of our marriage has changed over the last couple of years? Has this been a significant shift? Describe the role of brothers and sisters in your life and how they have helped unlock you in areas that I have not been able to as your husband.

18 years, wow! I don’t look old enough to be married for 18 years do I?… lol!! Anyways… yes. Over the past two years, our marriage has certainly had a major foundational shift toward life. You cannot be awakened to a revelation of Christ that brings life in this magnitude, and not expect change to overflow to all areas. Like I mentioned above, we all have a unique portion of Christ in us. Its something we have all discovered in community over the past two years. It’s that truth that changes things so much. It has been liberating to understand that I cannot fully fulfill or complete you as your wife, and you cannot fully fulfill and complete me as my husband. Realizing this does not weaken our marriage, rather, it actually strengthens it.

We have all been given everything by Christ, yet not all that we have been given has been fully revealed. Due to the many lies that have been sown into us all over the years, much of who we are lies behind closed doors and locked away from the world. Our identities have been slandered and maligned so that what it true of us remains locked up.

Who has the key to unlock these doors and secret passage ways within us?

Christ does.

And where does He keep those keys?

In each of us!

We all hold healing for one another within us. Slowly but surely as we come into contact with one another, the life in us reaches out and unlocks the doors in our fellow brothers and sisters. Sometimes it’s a simple statement, sometimes it’s in the ongoing relationship being built through His life unto one another.

I have been blessed because I have had many sisters and brothers reach in and unlock some of my locks. In fact, regarding the above question about my physical transformation, it was actually another brother who was a major key holder for me. I had tons of encouragement from my whole family, but it was through the life of Christ in another brother that allowed me to be unlocked, and bring forth my true identity in this area.

Brandie, our day to day lifestyle looks quite different than the norm. As our readers may know, I recently spent a couple of months in Europe without you, and I sometimes travel for weeks at a time without you. Is that difficult for you? Do you cry yourself to sleep when I’m gone? In all seriousness, explain to our readers why our marriage looks a bit different than the norm. Do you actually think this is a good thing?

I am sure nothing would make you happier to than to think I am at home crying my eyes out every time you go. Don’t flatter yourself too much:)

When I described what the community we live in looks like in the first question, I meant every word I said. We are truly in a family who loves and protects. When any member of our family is gone for any period of time, they are missed. They have a uniqueness that only they can bring to the family dynamic. Each and every person is needed and wanted. Yet at the same time, the family can still function if one is gone for a period of time. They don’t cease being a family. When you travel, I am still at home, still in life with my family.

You are missed because there is only one you and you cannot be replaced. I am never alone, however. Since I have been blessed to be a part of such a great and loving family, your traveling is not as difficult as it could be if I were alone and on my own. I know you are following the Lord’s leading in your life when you travel, and you also know I am following the Lord’s leading in my life here. We share the same life.

Yes, our marriage looks different. You don’t have a typical 9-5 job like many. Your day to day looks different than most. Our life therefore is different. A beautiful thing we’ve both come to realize in the past few years is that we’re ok. I’m secure in who I am, and you are secure in who you are. We both have a desire to see the bride’s true identity revealed and to watch her grow and bloom in the freedom that her identity brings. It just plays out a little differently for each of us. Your desires look differently than mine sometimes. One thing that I value in our marriage is the freedom we allow each other. Freedom to discover life, no matter how different that might look to others.

What is your prayer for the body of Christ?

My prayer for the bride is simple; that we may know the fullness of Christ’s life in us, the depths of His love for us, and to experience freedom through the identity he has given us.

Brandie, thank you very much for coming on the blog today to answer such personal questions. I know that’s not easy for you, but I trust what you have shared has been a blessing to those who read here.

Thanks to all of you who have joined us for this blog interview as well. Within the last year, Brandie has become a personal trainer at a local fitness & performance training facility in the area where we live. I am very proud of her. Please take a few minutes to check out her webpage by clicking HERE. Don’t hesitate to contact her if you live in the area and have any questions about the services she has to offer.

Love!

Jamal Jivanjee

Related Reading: The Shadow of Sex & Marriage, The Future of My Marriage, & A New Reality

Jamal Jivanjee

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53 responses to A Historic Blog Interview!

  1. aw, guys!
    I love the sweet but transparent truth shared here! I love the freedom. and the love. and the Christ that is radiant in both of you.
    thanks for blogging this :)

  2. wow bro this interview surpassed the interest that you generated leading up to this interview.

    Brandie, although we have not met I truly Love you, and look forward to the day that we can meet.

    The interview is an expression of Christ that is in and from you, and we all gain from this, your beauty shines through your words.

    As you commented on Body Life and the unlocking that transpires within one another, I can only say…yes. Jamal, Kat and Shelby came to our home, and each of them had keys, and through their Love my heart was unlocked. I more fully understood Loves Love for me. This “Keys for The Kingdom” is truly amazing, Life enhancing, and truly liberating. In this The Lord is exulted, and His will is being accomplished. This gives new meaning or depth to:

    “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.”

    Thank you so much Brandie for sharing your beautiful heart with us!

  3. Brandie,

    Your heart is revealed within your words. How amazingly beautiful you are, my sister. All that you shared here today has given me some ponderance upon the physical afflictions that I continue to suffer. I understand your expression regarding the body’s health in direct response to Spirit life within us, and I also felt quite overwhelmed that my past injuries have ruled what I can and cannot do physically. The physicality of me, is what I have much ignored due to the physical pain in my body, which is in my every moment. I learned to adjust by going on no matter the pain, ever walking forward. A great portion of
    my life has been in hospitals. I am rather apprehensive as to your words of physical renewal birthed from inner Life, yet I do not
    question the reality of your experience. What an encouragement!

    His life in and through us, via one another, reaches into all of our depths, leaving no part untouched, to unlock the Life inside of us. This is what I call the one anothers removing our grave cloths that the Spirit of Christ be revealed in the Children of God.

    What an outstanding and stunning truth of human marriage you have expressed! The secure Rest, Freedom, Life and Love in your marriage is a tremendous revelation of Christ in His body, His bride. His Love truly has no flaw, nor blemish, nor bargain, but is pure Light, invisibly clear and without human agenda. Thank you Brandie, you are a heavenly treasure. I am in Hope that I will see you soon.

  4. very helpful I am worshiping and growing with a small group of believers in a home church environment and we are also becoming a corporate group of believers bound together as one to intercede for our city and the nations as the Lord leads and to make ourselves ready learning what being the bride of Christ is all about.To be truly intimate with each other intimacy with Christ has to be first.

  5. Amazing and beautiful. The security and freedom and love in Christ described here is fascinating and fantastic. The Lord is so obvious in your replies, Brandie! It can only be Him! His truth shines out from your words. Love this post and love you guys!

  6. Great interview! The two of you are such a blessing to the body.I love hearing about what the Lord is doing, the work he is accomplishing in you. When I was out there visiting over a year ago that is something I could see in you.I could see love between the both of you and also within the church. Thank you for sharing your hearts and being open and vulnerable.

  7. Beautiful. Thank you Jamal and Brandi for sharing this with us!!

  8. I am not sure what my response will be right now. My husband and I belonged to a group like this when we first was born again. A neighbor had a home bible study and prayer meeting every Friday night. It was a group of about 15 people with their kids, my six included. A minister came about 25 mi. away to speak the word to us. We were in the Catholic Church and hearing things we never heard before and we began to change immediately. This was a fellowship like what you are talking about, just neighbors getting together, having a meal together by each bringing a dish, and all the kids would fall asleep on the floor. It lasted about 3 more yrs. and the minister left for the mission field. We tried to keep it going but it phased out. We took care of each others kids, shopped together, farmed together, went to Christian events together. Those were the days, and I never put this together that we experienced this just like you do. We were so Catholic and they all were so gentle and wise to us. Now I know what you are talking about with your fellowship. Thanks for putting this together for me. God bless you two.

  9. Brandie, bless you for sharing this remarkable encouragement with the body. I loved the analogy of each one of us holding keys to unlock something in our family members. How true! Thanks for unlocking that picture for me.

  10. Obviously I’m going to be the odd man (well, woman) out here, but I find Brandi’s comments about marriage troubling. It seems to me that Brandi is saying she believes the husband-wife relationship isn’t any more significant or special than relationships with others in Christ. In fact, she seems to be implying that the h-w relationship is actually less important than that of relationships within the body of believers.

    I relate to my husband as a wonderful brother in Christ, but our marriage gives us a level of intimacy I don’t have with other believers — even those brothers and sisters with whom I have a profound bond and share with in a deep way. And that is why I believe human marriage is used to represent our relationship with Jesus Christ: We believers are bound together as the Body and Bride of Christ, but only Christ is our Bridegroom.

    However, if I’m misunderstanding what Brandi said, would you please give some clarification?

    • Catherine,

      Thank you for reading and for sharing your thoughts here. I completely understand where you are coming from and I can see why what was shared here may seem like a devaluing of marriage to you. Obviously, I do not think that is what Brandie was intending to communicate in this interview.

      The marital relationship is certainly unique and exclusive to any other relationship that we may have. It is special and uniquely intimate. I think it is a mistake to think of the marital relationship through the lens of hierarchy as being ‘more’ or ‘less’ intimate than other relationships we have in Christ, however. It is simply different. As a matter of fact, I think it is a major problem to see the marital relationship through the lens of hierarchy.

      Regarding God’s heart for ‘oneness’, marriage is a picture of this reality as you have mentioned. Marriage is not the fullness of this reality, however, it is only a picture. There is a greater reality of ‘oneness’ that can only be fullfilled in Christ. When I say ‘Christ’, I am also referring to His body (church) which is where scripture says His fullness is found (John 17 & Eph. 1). Human marriage is only temporary. Catherine, you are only temporarily married to your husband. As Jesus said, you will not be married in the future heavenly age. Your husband will forever be your brother in Christ, however.

      If we see the marital relationship as being ‘more’ intimate than other relationships, then we will be taking a relational ‘step down’ in the next age when there is no more marriage. This is of course not the case. Jesus and Paul both made statements that indicated this greater heavenly reality in other statements that we can read about in scripture. The beautiful thing is this…the New Testament ekklesia is this future heavenly age breaking into the present! It’s an awesome thing.

      Catherine, I wrote more about the temporary nature of sex & marriage, and the breaking in of this heavenly age into the present in another article that I think could be helpful in regards to this discussion. I would like to ask you to take a few minutes to read that article as I am able to go into much more detail there about these things. I hope you find it to be helpful:) Here is the link:

      http://jamaljivanjee.com/?p=3122

      • Jamal,

        You’re a dear brother, and I hesitated to say anything about my concerns, but I don’t want to fall back into our old ways of not voicing them just because I respect the person. Besides, brothers and sisters need to be able to lovingly share their concerns.

        Your reply about the marital relationship being “unique and exclusive” would be reassuring if it weren’t for the “but” that I’m also hearing in it. I did read your February post when you originally wrote it. Maybe I didn’t read it closely enough at the time, but I just didn’t realize this was where you were going with it. I don’t know if I’m understanding you correctly, but, in reading everything again, it still sounds like you’re saying that marriage between believers is no longer just a man and a woman joined as one flesh, but that marriage now somehow incorporates the believing community and is actually less significant than relationships within the body.

        Although I have a much closer bond with brothers and sisters than I do with many in my own earthly family, there are still earthly relationships that I will always consider more important than others. My marriage is one and my children are another. I think to say “the New Testament ekklesia is this future heavenly age breaking into the present” and call these relationships hierarchical is an oblique way of saying they ARE less important and does these relationships an injustice, because the truth is that marriage between believers should be more intimate and more significant than our other relationships. That is borne out in scripture, including the picture of how our relationship with our spouse is like that of the Bride with Christ Her Bridegroom.

        To respond to the questions you ask in you February post and raise again here:

        1) The thought of not being married to my spouse in the next age doesn’t bother me at all. I’m well aware that our marriage is temporary and limited to our time on earth, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s “unique and exclusive” while we’re still in these earthly bodies.

        2) I know that my husband will continue to be my brother in Christ long after he will be my spouse (I think we can consider “eternity” a long time :-) ). Again, I have no problem with that.

        3) The non-sexual/non-marital way that we will relate with one another in the “next age” does NOT seem like a step down in regards to relational intimacy. In fact, I don’t see our relationships in the next age as either a step up or a step down, but as a completion — as Christ’s ultimate fulfillment of relational intimacy within His body.

        The point about the above 3 statements is that they refer to “the next age,” the “heavenly future age,” not now.

        I agree with your reply…IF we’re looking at marriage with regards to the “next age” in which it’s all fulfilled in the Bride’s marriage to Christ. But it’s too forced and just too much of a stretch for me to accept that we should be walking in it now because it’s “breaking into the present.” I not only don’t see that in scripture, but this kind of spiritual perspective can be misapplied or even misused to justify truly inappropriate relationships and can be destructive. Particularly if as a friend said, “a person suffering in an unsatisfactory marriage…avoid[s] dealing with marital problems by looking for completion in the Body. Especially if both parties in the marriage aren’t at the same place” spiritually. So, personally, I think it would be a grave mistake to go down that road very far, if at all.

        Well, I’m going to stop here, since I don’t think we’re going to agree on this, but I still love you in Christ, and the love you and Brandie have for our glorious Lord is beautiful. :-)

        • Catherine,

          Thanks for your reply. Yes, I think we are certainly on different pages in this conversation Catherine. When I read something I don’t fully understand, or something I don’t fully agree with, I ask the Lord to help me receive what is from Him that I was lacking, and let everything else go. I truly hope this conversation has been that for you. I hope you can hear the Lord’s heart through what my wife was intending to communicate, and I hope the areas of concern were not too blinding. Again, thanks for your courage in bringing up your concerns here in this blog conversation. Blessing to you!

        • Catherine,

          Also, if you scroll down the comment section here, check out what Pamela Spock said in her comment to this interview. I think it speaks to some of your concerns. Also, be sure to read the post by Jay Ferris that she linked to in her comment.

  11. Shelby Shock-Marsh September 13, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    First of all, Brandie, I love so many things that you said! Especially: We have all been given everything by Christ, yet not all that we have been given has been fully revealed. Due to the many lies that have been sown into us all over the years, much of who we are lies behind closed doors and locked away from the world. Our identities have been slandered and maligned so that what it true of us remains locked up.~ I love how Jesus gives our brothers & sisters the ability to unlock who we truly are! I believe that God is doing something hugely wonderful by awakening many of us to the truths of Himself & His Bride. You, Jamal & your community are pioneers in a way, going before many. Thank you so much, Jamal for persisting in your endeavor to have Brandie be a guest on your blog. It was worth the wait! You both are a stunning display of our beautiful Lord!

    • Thank you Shelby. I love your freedom in Him and display of Him as well:) Thank you for being a steady stream of encouragment to us.

  12. I like Brandie.

  13. Jamal, in your first response to Catherine S you introduced a concept she did not use or include in her thoughts. That concept is ‘hierarchy.” By doing that you diverted attention away from her points. The points she made have nothing to do with “hierarchy,” and do not depend on “hierarchy.” So why did you bring something irrelevant and distracting into the conversation? Are you suggesting that Catherine’s viewpoint is rooted in “hierarchy”?

    • Jon,

      Thanks for your comment here and your question. Your perception is correct. I am most certainly suggesting that her objection does indeed come from a presupposition of hierarchy.

      • Hierarchy’s root is found to be the root cause of relationship barriers and relationship breakdowns in the body of Christ. Yes, absolutely the view of hierarchy plays a role here.

    • Jon,

      Also, I’d love to hear if you were encouraged by Brandie’s testimony, and how Christ was expressed through the freedom she is finding.

    • Looking at some relationships as ‘more’ important, or ‘less’ important than one another smells of ‘hierarchy’ to me, so no I was not attempting to distract attention away from her objections, but rather to address the very root of them. I hope that makes sense.

  14. Wow, powerful stuff. I found a previously hidden writing by Jay Ferris that needed reformatting, thus the delay in responding to this since I read it a couple days ago. http://wp.me/P1lyKi-5I Basically it’s a bible study of this critical truth, that none of what is being presented here is fathomable, possible, or at all safe without a revelation of our identity in Christ in the NEW Covenant that effects in us a freedom from fear, guilt, and law. It is in the appropriation and outliving of the death of Christ that we find moral safety in being the Bride of Christ together on this earth. It is pretty amazing, really, that truly getting the point of “Christ and the Church”, Eph.5:32 does not cause relational rejection of spousal and other flesh relationships, but it is a paradigm switch that puts us – and them – in a more richer, satisfying, and healing place to the degree that the revelation is received. Not to mention it gets us closer to the last words of the Bride in the book of Revelation http://wp.me/p1lyKi-Ee :-) I am soaring at this latest post by Brandie. Lord, protect this dear couple, and carry them safely through the fires of this heavenly vision for the body of Christ.

  15. What does this hierarchy thing mean??? Wow…this is totally confusing to me. I have to say I agree with Catherine S. in her comments. All I know is that God created marriage and yet many have not fully experienced the fullness that can come from this beautiful union. The ones who have can speak of a beautiful mystery that brings them much joy and comfort like no other relationship can. So all that to say…Jamal’s message is confusing…what does all this mean? And how does this line up with scripture?

  16. Jsyk…..I do have my concerns on the flip side of my above comment, as I know that marriage and family can be an Idol to some and thus….everything they do revolves only around that and not Christ. This is very disheartening in the Ekklesia when there are families like that. It will actually bring division and leave the other members with a sense of being defrauded.

    Here is how I have seen it played out in some cases with women. You will have a mother who is obsessed with pleasing/serving her husband and along with that…she puts her children on a pedestal and sees to it that the gathering time will include much attention and applause to her off-spring. This type of family is often off limits to the rest of the body thru-out non-gathering times…(another words…they don’t answer their phone, won’t have any interaction with others in a personal way via internet, etc.) Thus the relationship with them can only be surface, at best. Anyway….all this to say…it brings much frustration to the others when ppl have this lopsided , narcissistic view of marriage and family…so…all that to say…that I do agree that there needs to be balance in this arena in order for the Ekklesia to experience the fullness of Christ.

    • Jayne,

      Thanks very much for reading this interview with my wife, and for your questions and comments. Several months ago, I did a book review that I think may help clear up some of your confusion regarding my comments of ‘hierarchy’. I shared this book review with Catherine privately, and she also found it to be helpful in this conversation. When you get a few minutes, please read this carefully. Here is the link: http://jamaljivanjee.com/?p=3213

      • I read it but am still in the dark on some things. In hopes to enlighten you as to what I am trying to communicate….may I share what our experience as been as a married couple of 31 yrs?

        We came to Christ in our 2nd year of marriage and Christ radically impacted our lives. Then we began attending Church and thus we slowly became indoctrinated with the patriarchy teaching. It sucked us into a whole different lifestyle and how we related to one another. I will spare all the many details but just say that thankfully, about 8 year ago, God graciously opened our eyes to the many false teachings and set us free from all religious pursuits. Thus began our journey into the Organic Church etc. Once we were no longer influenced by those lies…we began to see and fully embrace the Gospel of Jesus and the chains fell off. As this happened, we noticed that our relationship with each other came alive in a much deeper way. It was and is….still amazing. The truth of Jesus has united us in a way that nothing else could. Anyway….all that to say…our deep love and devotion is what kept us thru all of this and is not being diminished but rather, it is growing more each day. That is why it seems to me that teachings like this are not really addressing the real needs of ppl’s live/souls… You mentioned the Apostle Paul in your writings….well, what was his main purpose and goal? It was to preach JESUS…nothing else.

        Since my husband and I have come into the true saving grace of Jesus, we have found rest for our hungry hearts…We have found that true place of intimacy with HIM and with each other. We also have found great peace and blessing as we relate to others in the body who have this same understanding of Christ. We don’t need to be told how to relate to one another, it is just a natural by-product of Christ in us….It is beautiful and pure….but not something we felt we needed to make happen in the flesh or something we needed to be taught.

        Today…the organic Church is growing with many who have “come out” of mainstream religion and thus they are confused (and often don’t even know it) by the perverted gospel message they have sat under for many years. They are grasping for answers….desperate to find answers to help them thru the maze of lies, confusion and guilt. There only answer is –the preaching of Jesus Christ and him crucified….another words….they need the gospel…daily….for it is the power of God unto salvation to them that believe but it is foolishness to them that are lost. The gospel message is for US….DAILY…!!!! This is to be the focus that we would share the bread of life with each other.

        Jamal, I feel that your teaching here is could be harmful to ppl who may be weaker in the faith, especially those who may have a compromised marriage. In fact, in our area, there is a Church that is called the “Connection Church”. This body of believers seek out and find other members of the opposite sex who they feel connected with in a spiritual way. Needless to say, but this Church is known for ppl having affairs and divorces. It is pretty sick, to say the least. Is it possible, your teaching could cause someone to stumble in this way?

        Thanks for letting me share this with you and your readers. I know that as we keep Christ as the focus, we will discover HIS fullness as a body of believers…He is sooo faithful and has brought us all this far and will continue to lead and guide us with HIS heavenly manna.

        • Jayne,

          Thank you for sharing your story with us, and for sharing your concern.  As you probably know from reading this blog interview, Brandie and I have been married for eighteen years.  We can totally relate with the journey you and your husband have been on as well.  That’s encouraging!

          I do want to address the concern that you brought up.  I hear you when you say that you think this teaching on relationships could end up destroying marriages that are not healthy, leading to affairs, etc… Although I understand why you would think this, I must completely disagree with the line of thinking that you use.  In my opinion, it is rooted in a mindset that is not consistent with the New Covenant.  Let me explain…

          Affairs are already happening.  Marriages are already falling apart.  It’s not just happening in the places like ‘Connection Church’ that you described in your comment, it is happening in the most rigid and conservative of places that emphasize the traditional nuclear family and strong rigid separation between the sexes.  Affairs and marital breakdowns happen because of the flesh.  Mankind’s way of dealing with this is a ‘one size fits all’ set of rules and laws to keep the walls up out of fear of the ‘what ifs’ if the walls weren’t there.  

          We would do well to keep in mind with this fact… enforcing walls & rules, and the emphasis on promoting the ‘more important’ vs ‘less important’ relationship mindset have NOT been successful in promoting healthy marriage.  The evangelical system is a bill board of this failure.  While the marital relationship is special, exclusive, and unique, seeing human family and the marital relationship as ‘more important’ and others as ‘less important’ is not at all consistent with the New Testament.    

          Also, It is a fallacy to use the argument that because we still have fallen flesh, we cannot fully embrace relationships that cross genders, and we still need some relational walls and rules to apply across the board.  The exact same argument was made against Paul when he was advocating a life that was not governed by rules and law, but by love (Christ).  He was accused of promoting lawless behavior by people who could not imagine living a life that was not governed by rules and law.  It was all they knew.

          They feared what would happen if people actually began to live by this ‘mysterious’ indwelling Spirit, and not the law.  They feared that some would use this as an excuse for lawlessness.  In these communities that Paul was connected to, lawlessness did unfortunately occur by those who were weaker in the faith.  As a result, some advocated a return to the old system of law and rules to clean up the mess.  

          Paul could have reasoned in the same way saying, “we still have fallen flesh, so maybe we still need some law. After all, it’s too idealistic to think we can live by indwelling love (Christ in us) while we still have these fallen bodies.”  

          Thankfully, he never advocated such a thing.  Fear of how people might misunderstand what Paul was advocating did not affect the gospel he proclaimed.  He continually called people to the higher reality of the indwelling Spirit of Christ.   Only when the gospel (Jesus Christ) is lived out among a community do we finally see that in Christ, there really is no more Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female.  All are truly one ‘IN’ Christ.  This is good news.  This ‘oneness’ lived out in a community here on the earth is the beginning of the fulfillment of the shadow of oneness that the marital relationship is simply a picture of.  I hope that makes sense.           

            

  17. I appreciate the kindness and patience Jamal has shown me in continuing this discussion with me privately. And I want to thank him for suggesting I read his book interview again (http://jamaljivanjee.com/?p=3213). I did reread it and have a better understanding of where he and Brandie are coming from. And it clarified that their desire is that we be able to have pure, passionate relationships within the Body. This is a praiseworthy desire, and I believe it comes out of a deep love for the Body.

    However, I can see dangerous waters ahead for the body of Christ if this “revelation” regarding relationships is promoted. I look forward to the day when we will have transformed bodies, and no longer marry or be given in marriage. But we don’t yet have those “transformed bodies.” We are still in our earthly bodies, and, despite the fact that we’re new creations in Christ and “the New Testament ekklesia is this future heavenly age breaking into the present,” we also still have our human and sexual nature intact — and it will remain so until we are transformed.

    This “revelation” regarding relationships can be easily misunderstood or misapplied by believers who haven’t embraced or really comprehended the vision. All it will take for tragedy to result is a spouse who feels threatened or a brother/sister who is misreading love in Christ for something else. Also, a sense of elitism is already creeping in. Someone else posted something about this “revelation” in another venue, but, when questioned about it, told the brother he couldn’t “look at it through the eyes of flesh,” implying he was spiritually inferior because he didn’t “get it.”

    Another issue that’s cropped up in this discussion is that to consider certain human relationships more important than others is being looked down upon as “hierarchical.” I consider human marriage between believers the most special and intimate union we can have when it comes to earthly relationships, and that is what my marriage is to me. I also consider my relationship with my children extremely important and special. I’m not ashamed of it, nor does it mean that I’m spiritually inferior or not comprehending the vision. Suffice it to say that I would strongly disagree with anyone who said that either of those relationships shouldn’t be more important to me than the other earthly relationships I have.

    So, thank you, Jamal, for letting me voice my concerns. I know your heart is for our Lord and His body.

    • Catherine,

      Thanks again for your dialogue here on the blog. Again, I appreciate you giving voice to your concerns because they speak for many others as well. I’m glad to be able to address what you have brought up. Jayne’s comment and concern on this post was similar to yours, so I will paste my response to her here for you as well.

      “I do want to address the concerns that you brought up.  I hear you when you say that you think this teaching on relationships could end up destroying marriages that are not healthy, leading to affairs, etc… Although I understand why you would think this, I must completely disagree with the line of thinking that you use.  In my opinion, it is rooted in a mindset that is not consistent with the New Covenant.  Let me explain…

      Affairs are already happening.  Marriages are already falling apart…It is happening in the most rigid and conservative of places that emphasize the traditional nuclear family and strong rigid separation between the sexes.  Affairs and marital breakdowns happen because of the flesh.  Mankind’s way of dealing with this is a ‘one size fits all’ set of rules and laws to keep the walls up out of fear of the ‘what ifs’ if the walls weren’t there.  

      We would do well to keep in mind with this fact… enforcing walls & rules, and the emphasis on promoting the ‘more important’ vs ‘less important’ relationship mindset have NOT been successful in promoting healthy marriage.  The evangelical system is a bill board of this failure.  While the marital relationship is special, exclusive, and unique, seeing human family and the marital relationship as ‘more important’ and others as ‘less important’ is not at all consistent with the New Testament.    

      Also, It is a fallacy to use the argument that because we still have fallen flesh, we cannot fully embrace relationships that cross genders, and we still need some relational walls and rules to apply across the board.  The exact same argument was made against Paul when he was advocating a life that was not governed by rules and law, but by love (Christ).  He was accused of promoting lawless behavior by people who could not imagine living a life that was not governed by rules and law.  It was all they knew.

      They feared what would happen if people actually began to live by this ‘mysterious’ indwelling Spirit, and not the law.  They feared that some would use this as an excuse for lawlessness.  In these communities that Paul was connected to, lawlessness did unfortunately occur by those who were weaker in the faith.  As a result, some advocated a return to the old system of law and rules to clean up the mess.  

      Paul could have reasoned in the same way saying, “we still have fallen flesh, so maybe we still need some law. After all, it’s too idealistic to think we can live by indwelling love (Christ in us) while we still have these fallen bodies.”  

      Thankfully, he never advocated such a thing.  Fear of how people might misunderstand what Paul was advocating did not affect the gospel he proclaimed.  He continually called people to the higher reality of the indwelling Spirit of Christ.   Only when the gospel (Jesus Christ) is lived out among a community do we finally see that in Christ, there really is no more Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female.  All are truly one ‘IN’ Christ.  This is good news.  This ‘oneness’ lived out in a community here on the earth is the beginning of the fulfillment of the shadow of oneness that the marital relationship is simply a picture of.  I hope that makes sense.           

      • I began this discussion with a focus on marriage, simply because, as I told you privately, someone else posted in another venue regarding intimate relationships in the Body, and they stated that human marriage is not “the ultimate intimacy of union.” Then this interview came right on the heels of that. So my immediate concern was regarding marriage and this revelation. But our discussions have helped me understand that you’re speaking of all relationships within the Body.

        First, I want to say that I have experienced the depth of relationships you’re talking about. In fact, just a couple of weeks ago the Lord brought me together with someone with whom the deep bond and intimate opening of hearts was almost immediate. It was so profound it blew my mind.

        Second, I would be the first to say that the walls and artificial boundaries that have been erected in our lives and hinder true, full relationship in Christ need to come down.

        And, third, I do NOT fear passionate, intimate relationships either for myself or within the Body…when it is orchestrated by God.

        The Body should be made aware that it’s a wonderful thing when God brings about deep, intimate relationships that are outside the normal bounds of human relationship. However, care needs to be taken not to make believers think that if their relationships with other brothers and sisters aren’t passionate and intimate, they are somehow falling short and are less spiritual…and vice versa. The elitism that can result and the striving of those who may not “get it” but try to make it happen will bring destruction in lives. Whether it’s as a result of fear, “fallen flesh,” or what have you, lives can be damaged.

        And I still believe marriage IS a factor in these relationships. Eph. 5:32 says marriage is a profound mystery that relates to Christ and the church. Although it’s a picture or shadow of the church’s relationship with Christ, marriage between believers represents this ultimate, intimate, passionate relationship that has not yet been fulfilled. And since the marriage relationship is “special” and “unique,” there are marital boundaries that others should not cross. According to Heb. 13:4, marriage should be honored by all.

        I’m going to stop with that. It’s OK with me if we don’t completely agree. I still love you, brother, and desire the Lord’s greatest blessings upon you and Brandie. And I appreciate the courage it takes to expose your heart in this setting.

        • Catherine,

          I love what you have shared here. Thank you for sharing you heart and experience. The only thing I would challenge in your comment is your assertion that human marriage is the profound mystery that Paul was speaking about in Eph. 5:32. Paul clearly says that the great mystery he was speaking of is Christ and the church, and not human marriage. He was very clear to make that distinction, and it is important we don’t miss that distinction. One is the shadow, the other is the reality.

  18. “Love one another as I have Loved you” this simple yet profound statement made by our Lord carries profound weight. when we begin to see the magnitude of this Love it changes everything.

    Yes I’m married, and yes the marriage is a bond that is not to be crossed, but it’s a shadow, and all shadows are depicting a greater relativity.

    Do not trust me, or Jamal, or any person, allow the Lord of Life to reveal this, allow our hearts to be pierced by His Love, flooded by His Love, and seek His perspective.

    Proverbs 3:5~7

    your brother ‘in’ Love

  19. Ya what Jim said ! :-D
    Great discussion and I hope we can continue it @ http://lovinglikegod.com/category/the-song-of-songs/ While we see what the Lord has for us on this subject ! I’m excited! :-D

  20. At first i wondered what in the heck i missed on this blog that brought so much controversy. I was tempted to re-read the interview, then paused…thinking that im grateful that im finally trusting that if it is something i need to get in on, He wouldve led me. Progress in believing Him! This is a monumental moment for me!! I pray for each of my sibs that He would turn whatever the enemy meant for evil into good. He will do it! . Wanted to tell you how wonderfully patient & loving i think you have been thru-out the responses. Everyone is so very valuable & valued & that resonates from each of your responses. Keep bringing us what He is revealing…it is good stuff!

  21. all aspects of human love, marriage, friends, children, grandchildren, all forms of human love are expressions, or shadows of True Love.

    and all shadows give way to Light, and once Light is expressed and experienced, our human based love is replaced with Loves Love. Loves Love is boundless, and is for one and all. Love expands, and reveals His Love for us through others, and this in turn deepens or Love for Him. this a a cycle that is refreshed and repeated.

    the key is we are ‘in’ Kingdom Life, and in this we are drawn into the Triune God, we are beginning to Love like God. this from all I ‘see’ is truly Living. this Love is pure, true and faithful, this Love is Life…for God is Love. ‘in’ the Love there is passion, intimacy, and relationships that are beyond our physical senses. this Love is of Spirit and Truth, this Love moves mountains in order to be expressed, and experienced. this Love respects, protects, and defines what it means to Love one another.

    this is when we begin to see what Love means when He said:

    “Love one another as I have Loved you”

    when this Love from above comes to your town you will jump Loves train, as you do His Love is now expressed more fully, to or in the marriages, friendships, children, and grandchildren in a new ‘way’…Loves Love, and His Love is best, and the best is always ‘the best’…

    I truly Love you, and treasure you deeply.

    sincerely,

    your brother ‘in’ Love

  22. Jamal, thank you for doing this interview with Brandie. I hope to have that shared life experience one day. There seems to be some amazing interdependence. How do you keep from developing over dependence or unhealthy dependence on your brothers and sisters? Can your sibling relationships distract or interfere with your relationship with Jesus? If so, how?

    • Thank you for reading, and also for your great questions. I believe you are asking about the difference between co-dependant, and interdependant relationships. I have discovered that co-dependant relationships are unhealthy because they seek to take from the other to meet a perceived need. Someone who is co-dependant is simply a ‘taker’ in the relationship, so to speak. On the other hand, an interdependant relationship is one in which both parties seek to give to and serve one another. When we are living by the indwelling life of Christ, we operate from a place of wholeness and have an abundant portion of life to serve our brothers and sisters with. Interdependant relationships both give life to and receive life from one another from a place of wholeness, not lack. The only time that other brothers and sisters in Christ become a distraction is when I stop looking at Christ in them, and simply see their flesh.

      Because Christ fully dwells in us, the only way we can truly see Jesus Christ is by beholding Him in our brothers and sisters. We each have a unique portion of Him, and together, His fullness can be seen.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

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  3. In your Relationships; Are you Codependent, Independent, or Inter-dependent? - GodsLeader.com | GodsLeader.com - September 27, 2013

    [...] ago, I conducted an interview on the blog with my wife. (you can read that interview by clicking HERE)  In that interview, she shared a snapshot of life in the church community that we are part of. [...]

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