Candid Chatter

Just Say It

Change on the Horizon September 19, 2010

Filed under: Faith — candidchatter @ 5:52 am
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I am willing to overlook certain things for the sake of harmony.

When I married Rich I was all about his “perfection”. It took quite a long time and a few minor happenings to make me realize that he isn’t perfect and I needed to overlook that. Sure I was disappointed, but it was not the end of us. In fact, I’m quite certain there will not be an end to us (our marriage) this side of death.

Not so with my friendships. First of all, I don’t like being friends with girls. Too much dang drama topped with more drama. Ick! But, over the last 10 years I have learned that friendship is a relationship and just because a friend makes me mad I shouldn’t go off dropping them like a hot potato. At least, not the first time. [wink]

Lately, though, I have started to feel the need to reevaluate certain relationships. I don’t have time for riff-raff. On one hand, I am called to forgive as I have been forgiven. MmmK. That’s impossible. I am pretty certain Jesus knew that would be impossible without his Divine intervention. I can’t even forgive a certain local cable company for delaying my refund let alone someone who has insulted me. He also said to turn the other cheek. Gulp. I hear him, but again I am unable without his assistance. I am pretty sure he was aware that he’d be called upon to heal those situations when I am unable.

On the other hand, I think when something starts to poison one’s spiritual life and/or stunt spiritual growth, then it’s time to step back and begin to reevaluate the place this certain something has in one’s life. Should it stay and continue to be overlooked or should it go and be replaced with the antidote?

I want a deeper spiritual view. I want the freedom to be radical. I want to go where everyone is loved just b’cuz. I want the freedom to express myself. I want to grow and blossom. I want more than status quo.

Change is on the horizon and I think it’s good. It’s not an easy decision and not one taken lightly, but it’s going to be good.

 

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.

 

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.

 

It Ain’t Easy Bein’ Called November 2, 2009

I am blessed to have friends in ministry. Most of them go to the same church I go to, but some don’t. Some I have never met outside this box we call a computer.

Ministry is not easy. It is hard work. There is little recognition and little pay. At least, in this world.

People high up in ministry, whether paid staff or volunteers, get the pleasure of hearing people in the congregation cry and complain. I’m not sure if they hear more complaints than praise, but I hope not. I know they get all the dirt. I mean dirt too. They are called upon when people are sick, addicted, dying, depressed, suffering, and so on. They visit hospitals and prisons. They feed the hungry. They help the poor. They pour their lives into being the Hands and Feet of Christ.

It ain’t easy bein’ called to ministry. At all.

On the other side of that coin, it also isn’t a picnic being convicted to be different. This year, just like last year, we felt convicted to not celebrate Halloween. This year was much harder than last year. Brianna was exposed to kids in school talking about costumes and candy, two things she really enjoys. She had questions. We had answers. I finally had to sit her down and explain that even though certain parts of Halloween are fun, the whole is not pleasing to God. It was not an easy conversation, but she understood and did not complain. In fact, quite the opposite. She told me she hates Halloween because it is scary and she wants to eat healthy so she doesn’t mind not asking our neighbors for candy.

I had to tell two of our friends that we don’t celebrate Halloween when they called to ask us to join them in the festivities. That was different and I stumbled over my words. Next time, I’ll just say simply, “We don’t celebrate Halloween”, and leave it at that. Then there were the people at the stores asking my kids what they would be for Halloween. My kids looked at them like they were from Mars. I laughed it off and did not reply. Next time I will just say simply, “We don’t celebrate Halloween”. I know most people won’t ask why. In fact, I’ll be surprised if anyone asks why. We’ll save that for next year.

I know there is a great division w/in Christian circles over this subject as well as Santa and the Easter Bunny. I am not typing this to start a debate. My point is that it isn’t easy being called to something.

Ministry is hard.
Conviction is hard. Sometimes. Most of the time?

Anyway, I think people who are against my idea of honesty and integrity as a Christian scoff at me and others like me without truly thinking it through. It would be MUCH easier to dress up my kids and join the crowd. It is not easy to bow out because we feel it is more important to please God than to please man. Even when we are made fun of. Even when we are scoffed at. Even when our backs are stabbed. Even then.

Because, they did that to Jesus too. And, we are taking up our crosses and following. He said it wouldn’t be easy.

He was right!

I want my kids to grow up knowing that even though sometimes it is very hard, pleasing God is the most important thing they can strive for in their lives. Our rewards are great if we obey.

I don’t think God is in business to make our lives miserable. No way. But, He does convict some to obey a certain way and then He tests them to see where their hearts will be… and, quite frankly, I believe we are passing this particular test with flying colors. My integrity as a Christian has not been compromised.

Whether you respect that or not, means very little.

Whether He respects that or not, means very much.

 

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?

 

Does He Jiggle? September 8, 2009

Filed under: Life... The Way I See It — candidchatter @ 2:34 pm
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I struggled with how to explain the Trinity to my 2 oldest children (they are 3 1/2 and 5). My friend told me to use the egg analogy and another friend said to use the water analogy. Eggs are still eggs when they are shell, yolk, and white. Water is still water when it is steam, ice, and liquid. God is still God when the Father, Son, and Spirit.

It worked, sorta.

Jeremy, my 3 1/2 yr old, is my comic. He is always making me laugh with his honesty. He may have the same problem I do when he grows up — no filter for the inappropriate. Ha!

Brianna, my 5 yr old, is much more quiet and contemplative. She observes far more than she speaks.

Jeremy told me in the car today, “Mom, God’s Spirit is in my heart.”
I said, “where did you learn that, Jeremy?”
He said, “I just know it, Mom.”

I get no credit. Heh.

Brianna was quiet, as usual. After a few minutes she piped up.
“Mom.”
“Yeah, sweetie?”
“Does He jiggle?”
“Does who jiggle?”
“Does the Holy Spirit jiggle when I walk?”

LOL!

I didn’t want to laugh. I just said, “well, maybe He does since He is in your heart and all.”
“That’s what I was thinking,” she said.

Adorable.
Simply adorable.