Candid Chatter

Just Say It

Jesus the Jerk September 16, 2010

Filed under: Faith — candidchatter @ 5:30 am
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I’m thinking that if Jesus showed up in 2010 He would be considered by most to be a lunatic or a jerk. Imagine a man telling people that He is the Son of God today and collecting followers and radically preaching The Good News.

Just imagine that.

In America, the vast majority of which is wealthier than the vast majority of the world, I think He’d get a reception sorta like He did when He was arrested. Hatred and venom.

I think people like those in the mass media of Christian Jesus-selling-for-a-huge-profit would be a lot like the Pharisees of Jesus’ time. They would most likely come to hate that man so much they’d wish He was dead — or in jail for life.

People listen up.
Jesus.Was.Radical.

I read a book by Francis Chan recently that really made me think. It’s called “Crazy Love”. I highly recommend it. It started this cage rattling that I felt I needed. My father-in-law died unexpectedly in February. My grandmother died last week. In the midst of all of that sorrow, I’ve had to do life as usual and boy am I ever busy. I haven’t made a lot of time for radical faith in recent months so I asked some friends of mine to guide me to a book that would rattle my spiritual cage. I like to be alive in my faith.

This morning while my eyes were still crusty with sleep and my lips were practically sticking to my teeth because my overnight teeth whitener icky stuff that I brush on before bed had just about glued them together, I started thinking about Jesus’ rich man/camel/heaven comment. I really dislike that comment. It makes me uncomfortable. It goes like this… [I underlined the main thing that strikes me]

Matthew 19:16-24

Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good[e] Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”
17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good?[f] No one is good but One, that is, God.[g] But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”
Jesus said, “ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’[h] and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’[i]
20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth.[j] What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.23Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.

Crap! Right? WE are rich, y’all. We. The American people. I don’t care if you don’t drive a Mercedes or have a million servants at your beck and call. YOU are rich. This verse applies to US. Americans. The ones who have a home and a car. The ones who have a refrigerator, running water, and a toilet that flushes. You and me. We.

Humbling, isn’t it?

Contrast that with the Christian popular authors and speakers or our day who basically tell you to GET MORE and to FEEL GOOD about yourself. Say what?

Jesus Christ was radical. He makes me uncomfortable.

All these popular mainstream Christian “leaders” make me feel good about myself and my life and make me feel comfortable right where I sit.

I want radical.
Because I want to follow Christ.

What will you choose?

By the way,
I don’t really think
that Jesus is a jerk.
Just to be clear.

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I Took a Stand September 15, 2010

Beth Moore. Christian’s darling, top seller. Christian women’s leading speaker. Most women who have taken one of her Bible studies or read one of her books or seen her speak just ooze love for Beth Moore.

Well, not me.

No thanks.

Recently, I took a stand against the Beth Moore enterprise in a public forum… on Facebook.

A prominent figure from the church I’ve been attending for 4 years asked me to remove what I wrote on my Facebook page. She was in tears, crying over something unrelated. However, I allowed her dramatic reaction to carve a tenderness in my heart… because I like her. I deleted my statement along with the entire 40+ comment thread. It was a healthy debate and I was enjoying it. But, I was moved by her emotion and so I took it down.

And I regret taking it down.

Last night, I couldn’t sleep much.

This isn’t the first time my rights as an American citizen have been stepped on. People do not like to swallow something that just might change their minds or that comes up against something they cherish. “You’re allowed to have an opinion as long as you agree with me”. Freedom of speech? Nope.

So here I am. On my blog. Using my freedom of speech.

I don’t like Beth Moore the Christian public figure. She sells Jesus and makes millions off of it. She is no better than any other Christian persona out there packaging Christ and selling Him for a fee. It’s wrong. And I’m not sorry that I said that.

You may disagree with me. However, you will not shut me up.
Grow up Christians. Not every Christian within your church or your circle of friends needs to like what you like.

As for me…
I will continue to take a stand with what I believe. Does that mean you have to agree? Certainly not. But, you don’t have the right to censor me either.

For now I am taking a break from Facebook to clear my head. I take my relationships seriously whether in cyber space or in my literal face. I need to think. I might even need to reevaluate who my “friends” are. I definitely need to contemplate whether or not I’m in a “healthy” church or one that wants to seem healthy.

Pray for me if you are a Christian.
Thanks.

 

Romans 16:17-19 November 4, 2009

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 9:39 am
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This is what is on my mind lately. Anyone care to share their thoughts on these verses? I asked a few people on Facebook and heard back from two of them. I am still meditating, but would love your opinion. Please only comment if you are a Bible reader seeking wisdom from God. I will promptly delete foolish or derogatory comments. Thank you.

17I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them. 18For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people. 19Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I am full of joy over you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.

 

Bible Study is Selfish Too October 26, 2009

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 2:08 pm
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I just thought of this the other day… during Bible study. Imagine that.

I host a women’s Bible study group once a week. I have been doing this since the summer. I decided since I cannot join the church Bible studies because of my tied down Mommy status that I would bring Bible study to me. I host, and the women bring their young children and we talk about ourselves. I mean… God. We talk about God.

No. We talk about ourselves. A lot. And, how God has helped ourselves. And, how we are improving and how this Bible study has been so great for us. Us.

Me. Myself. I. Me. Me. Me. I. I. I.

home-bible-study-2

I love Bible study. I love it!! I love being with women who believe the way I do. I love being with women who are raising their kids the way I am. I love that I can speak freely about all things Christian without having to explain what I mean. I love the uniqueness of our relationships. Our bonds are family knit and tight.

Our lives are woven and spun together like a spider’s web. Each strand intertwining with another and every one important and unique.

We are family. His. We belong together. We’ll be together forever. This life is only temporary. When you live like that, and have friends who live like that, the relationships are so much deeper and better than anything temporal. Our friendships are not seasonal. They are eternal.

Sisters.

However, Bible study feeds ourself. Flesh. We use it to stay in the Word because our busy lives just tear us away too often so if we join a Bible study then we are forcing ourselves to do the homework which has us searching the Bible to answer the questions. Then we get together over coffee and sometimes snacks to chit-chat about what we discovered about ourselves and our struggles; what God has revealed about us.

The study lasts a few weeks and then we take a break. The cycle continues the next time studies are offered. We scan the list of what is offered, decide if our schedules allow for one, pay our dues, and show up once a week like we did the last time around. Feeding ourselves all the soul food we can munch on.

Quail.

I am not demeaning the Word of God. It is soul food.

But, what does Bible study really do? I mean for the bigger picture. The Kingdom!!!

Year after year women and men join Bible studies. They feel better about themselves and like they get an A+ from God and then what?

What difference is Bible study making for the Kingdom? What changes are being made because of these so-called well equiped Christians who had such a remarkable Bible study that they sell everything they own and move to Asia to save the poor people sold in human trafficking. Or forgo their normal holiday expenses to give it all to feed the poor. Or who don’t sit around stuffing themselves till they are sick and need a nap on Thanksgiving, but cook for and serve the poor woman whose husband can’t work and whose children are hungry.

Bible study is selfish.

Argue with me. Tell me that thousands of Christians are leaving Bible studies well equiped and making monumental differences for the Kingdom.

Do it.

Or, is your observation the same? We are getting fat on our soul food and we aren’t sharing. And I think for all the potential Bible study has for Christians, it is failing to motivate us to look any further than our own inward selves.

I like Bible study. I really do. It helps me feel like I’m doing something, when I’m really not doing much of anything. But, it serves that self-righteous ego of mine and my ego likes that.

Yes, I learn a lot at Bible study. But, most of what I learn isn’t about God… it’s about me.

And all these people writing Bible studies… all these Super Christians… what do they get out of it?
A book deal.
An audience.
Applause.
Dare I say it?
A paycheck!

What would Jesus say about our modern-day American Bible studies?

*NOTE*: I feel I should put this on here so there is no misunderstanding… I do not mean studying the Bible straight from the Bible. I mean a Bible study done from a workbook written by an author based on the Bible. Studying your Bible is very useful for many reasons. Thank you.

What do you say?

 

Merry-Go-Round of Life April 2, 2009

One day I got a tattoo.

heidis-tattoo

I lost a baby via miscarriage and wanted a way to memorialize her (him?).
I believe she was a girl and I don’t know why.
Her name would have been Julia.
Julia Lyn Reed
(or Nathan if a boy)

I had nothing left of that tiny baby. After the D&C procedure, I struggled with depression and bouts of rage. I also lost my maternal grandmother just 2 weeks prior to losing my unborn baby. It was a tough season. I was deeply wounded.

I blogged about it often. Just click “All Things Tattoo” in the blue bar at the top to read through some of my struggles with miscarriage, loss, and grief.

Yesterday I was talking to a loved one on the phone. I suggested s/he read the Bible and highlighted a couple of books I thought would be fitting; one in the OT, one in the NT. After hanging up I felt a bit like a hypocrite. I haven’t read my Bible since a few days after Jack was born (FYI : It’s Jack, not Jax! — he is named after my late grandfather who was Jack too). So I meandered into my office and started to pick up my Chronological Bible that I read last year. I hesitated and looked at 2 other Bibles stacked on top of it. One is small, but thick and one is bigger and thinner. They are both NIV. I started to reach for the smaller, thicker one since it was on the top of the stack, but then changed my mind and grabbed the bigger, thinner one. Don’t know why really. I just felt compelled to read that one instead. It was even underneath the other one.

I noticed it had a paper bookmark in it and laid it on my kitchen table under Jack’s bouncer seat. I got interrupted several times before picking it up again. I opened to the page that was bookmarked. Psalms. I remember before we moved to this house I was working on reading the Psalms. I was trying to do my own little personal Bible study. Once we started the move, all was forgotten.

The Psalms I opened to were written by David. They all start out with him agonizing over something and crying out to God. They all end with him praising God regardless of his trial. They are hard Psalms for me to read because it is obvious that David was in agony. However, I am always hit by the fact that he ends these cries to God with praises for God despite his painful and stressful circumstances. He praised God no matter what.

Praise. There is a sacrifice of praise. Praising God through pain is the hardest thing I think I have ever done. I had a million “why” questions. A billion. Why did He let that baby die? Why, God, why? But my faith strengthened and my prayer life grew by leaps and bounds and my blog took off and I kept praising God despite the deep pain I was in. The pit. The lowest. Sadness. Agony. Despair. Yet, praises for the One who created me. Praises mixed with questions, but never did I doubt Him. Never did I turn my back on Him. Ever.

I noticed the paper bookmark was smooth and shiny. I took a closer look and realized it was folded. Jack made a little noise and his bouncer seat jiggled. I smiled as I opened the paper.

And there it was… a folded up, slick piece of paper with three ultrasound images of my Angel Baby.

Beneath my son’s bouncer seat sat my Bible. Inside that Bible was a page marked to Psalms written by David at one of the worst times in his life. That page was marked with three ultrasound pictures of my unborn baby who died and is undoubtedly in Heaven with the God of grace and mercy.

I do have the only pictures of that baby after all. I have them.
And I also have a tattoo. A story. A triumph. A new son.

A new son.
Jaxon would not be here if I hadn’t lost the other baby.
He was conceived 4 months after my loss.

New life. Renewed hope. The love of the Father raining down on His daughter.

And still there’s the promise.
Eternal life.

Someday I’ll see my unborn baby in Heaven. And then we will never be separated again.
Ever.

Sometimes there really is a happy ending.
Thank you Lord for the storms. Thank you Lord for the sun.
Thank you Lord for the Son… and for the son.

I love you! Amen.

 

The Way to Salvation December 15, 2008

People sure are looking for a lot of Jesus on the Internet these days. I’m not sure if it’s a picture they want. A video. A blog. Or more information.

The best place to look is the Bible. You can get that online. I also really like Got Questions a whole big oodles of bunches.

The basic way to salvation is this…

  1. Admit you’re a sinner in need of a Savior: In other words, you cannot get to heaven by being a “good” person. The good news is that God sent a Savior, Jesus Christ, to redeem us by dying on a cross for our sins and conquering death by rising again. Redemption.
  2. Turn from your sins and accept Jesus Christ, the Son of God, as your Savior: This is how you do that. You pray. So easy. Too easy. You say something like “God I am a sinner. I believe that You sent Christ Jesus to die for my sins. I am sorry that I have sinned and I don’t want to sin any longer. I need You to save me through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Please forgive me, change my heart, and come into my life. I surrender myself to You. Amen.” It needs to be sincere and heartfelt and a little prayer between you and God where you confess, repent, and accept His Son into your life.
  3. There is no #3. You’re done. Saved. Salvation.

Wasn’t that easy? If you did this you absolutely need to get yourself involved in a good, stable, Bible teaching church. I personally recommend one that is nondenominational esp if you’ve never been to church before. My even more personal preference is Calvary Chapel, but you start church shopping until you find one you like. You’ll know it, believe me, very soon after walking into the place.

It is very important that you start reading the Bible. Start in the New Testament so you won’t get discouraged. A favorite book of many is the Book of John. Whatever you do don’t start with Leviticus (Old Test) or Revelation (New Test). Heh. Save those for spiritual maturity. Trust me (seasoned Christians are now laughing b/c they knooooow I’m right).

Congratulations. Welcome to the family. Strap on your seatbelt because once you turn your life over to Christ some really super delicious and amazing things start to happen. First and foremost, your eyes will be opened in ways you never imagined. Life will be full and fuller. Oh it’s awesome being a Christian. What a freakin’ ride man!!! Wheeeee!

Did you say
this prayer or
one like it?
Tell me about it.
I would love to rejoice
right along with you.