Wednesday, July 31, 2013

When I Got Words

One of the people taking issue with my position that God speaks exclusively through Scripture indicates (if I understand her correctly) that I lack empathy for those who believe He speaks to people directly. In future posts, I will examine various forms of extra-biblical revelation in hopes of demonstrating their subjective nature, but today I wish to explain my personal experiences in accepting  Charismatic theology.

Early on in my Christian walk,  I struggled to reconcile the teachings of the Charismatic church I attended with what I saw in the Bible. The tension would ebb and flow, so I had periods of fully embracing the ideas and practices in the church as well as periods of questioning those ideas and practices. During the 18 years that I "prayed in tongues," however, my general tendency favored embracing experiences from the Holy Spirit.

The church  frequently had a time when various members either prophesied or offered prayers that the Lord "gave" them. The prophecies were rarely predictive; usually, the Lord supposedly spoke through the prophets to offer encouragement. I clearly remember returning home from one  Sunday service in the early '80s feeling disappointed that no one had prophesied that day. Although there had been a good sermon using the Bible, the absence of prophecy led me to believe that  God had failed to speak to us that day.

Often, or perhaps almost  regularly, I'd offer what  I guess might be termed as "inspired prayers." With the praise music heightening my sensitivity to what seemed to be the Holy Spirit, I'd pray out thoughts that I believed He impressed on me. For the most part, my prayers lined up with my understanding of Scripture. But they were accompanied by a stirring sensation in my body that I interpreted as the Holy Spirit "prompting" me to pray.

I distinctly remember the wedding when two of my closest friends married each other. At the end of the reception, several of us encircled the couple to pray for them. As others prayed, I sat waiting for that  familiar stirring sensation to "confirm" which of the many prayers running through my mind I should pray aloud. A friend who knew I almost always had something to pray asked me why I wasn't saying anything. Frustrated, yet proud of myself for waiting for the Spirit's "leading," I whispered back, "I'm not getting anything."

Throughout the years (even after I stopped identifying myself as a Charismatic) I had times of believing God had spoken directly to me through my thoughts. His "voice" wasn't exactly audible, but something seemed to differentiate those thoughts from  my ordinary thoughts...at least, it seemed so at the time. When I'd relive those memories, I'd couch them as God speaking to me.

Sadly, what I've typed today is by no means a complete account of my spiritual biography. Rather, I hope it serves to illustrate that I  know what those who believe God speaks directly to them feel. I've felt the same excitement and sense of satisfaction. While I loved the Bible, I craved these "deeper experiences with God," convinced that the Scriptures didn't go far enough in connecting me to the "Father-heart of God." So, when I now question the extra-Biblical ways in which people claim He speaks, please understand that I've made those same claims. I understand.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tuesday Turkey Sandwiches

I'm not done!

I've written several blog posts challenging the idea of God speaking to people in extra-biblical ways, only to find there's more to say about the topic. As people question my beliefs, wondering if I worship the Bible rather than the Lord or assuming I disregard the Person and work of the Holy Spirit, I see need to clarify my position. In a way, I find myself on the defensive--always an uncomfortable place to be.

But I click the "New Post" button and think, "Really? I'm blogging about this again?" It reminds me of turkey sandwiches the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. So I close Blogger, deciding silence is better than axe-grinding. Have I reached the end of my blogging career?

No. I'm a blogger, and I have deep concerns about practices in the evangelical church. Certainly, other bloggers address this topic more thoroughly and more convincingly than I ever could, but  my perspective matters! Therefore, I will continue tackling this topic. Tomorrow, I plan to begin by sharing some very personal glimpses into my spiritual background, hoping to show that I actually understand what it's like to believe that God speaks personally. I pray that, as I proceed in exploring this very important matter,  all of us will grow in our relationships with the Lord.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Finding My Marbles--A Conquered Perplexity

The past few days, I've been playing with Paintshop Pro, obsessed with the idea of making marble. Well, after an exhausting wrestling match with this From The Cat tutorial, I finally conquered the technique, creating this marble texture:

Having succeeded in taming the tutorial (which I'd studied for four or five years with constant feelings of perplexity), I experimented with it.








Okay, so now that I have a marble texture, I need to actually do something with it...right? Well then, how about  a nice frame?



That frame pleased me! I'll probably use it often.

To top off my binge of creativity, I decided I really should make a marble. Yes, one of those round orbs that kids used to play with before Nintindo and Playstation commandeered their time and imaginations.





During my search for this tutorial, I found other tutorials I want to try. So stay tuned! I'm learning that perplexities beg to be overcome.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

False Self-Respect

At the bus stop yesterday, a woman started to board while the driver was still preparing the wheelchair spaces for me and John. When he asked her to let him board the wheelchairs first (which is standard procedure), she complied, but with an enormously indignant attitude punctuated with decidedly unlady-like language.

Once the driver secured our chairs, he motioned for everyone else to board. She came on first...probably because the other passengers feared incurring her wrath. She wasted no time starting a second argument with the driver about her fare, muttering that she'd once worked for the T, and therefore didn't need him telling her what to do. Then she shouted something that both startled and fascinated me:


"I don't respect you or anyone else! I only respect myself!"

Well now! That outburst certainly made me wonder how much self-respect this woman could possibly have, given her obnoxious behavior. I know that when I disregard other people's needs and feelings in favor of my own  agenda, I have less self-respect. I see my childish, demanding actions, and I can't avoid recognizing how ugly my attitude appears. It embarrasses me.

True self-respect requires the humility to put the needs and feelings of other people first. If I can't respect others, I find it impossible to respect myself. In selfish behavior, I come face-to-face with my disobedience to God's Word:

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. ~~Philippians 2:3 (ESV)

When I choose to obey the Lord by preferring others, I respect myself for making choices that reflect Him. Additionally, I'm happy to have treated another person well, hopefully making him or her feel valued. I pray that the woman at the bus stop will learn the joy of respecting others. She'll find herself automatically gaining their respect...as well as her own.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

A Hard-Fought Gift

Lest people think I'm alone in my conviction that God speaks exclusively through the Bible, consider this brief video courtesy of No Compromise Radio:


Yes, it's pithy, but he makes an important point. "Sola Scriptura" (or "Scripture alone") is a major tenant of Protestant Christianity, and godly reformers suffered martyrdom for this principle. As a result, embracing extra-biblical revelation both ignores and insults our forefathers' sacrifices. They so passionately believed in the sufficiency of Scripture that they risked everything for that doctrine. Dare we mock them?

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Proper Fit Of A Title

My high school creative writing teacher taught me to title my poem/story/essay after I'd written it. In my early years of blogging, I abandoned her advice, filling in the title box as if it were a subject line for an email. Frankly, I didn't regard blogging as actual writing. It was fun, and a creative outlet, but nothing I took  seriously.

Then, for reasons beyond my comprehension, people began reading the blog, which kind of made me responsible, not only to provide interesting content (photos of Boston Common only go so far), but to pay attention to my writing skills. Although I'm hardly on par with Trevin Wax, TeamPyro or the bloggers who produce Cripplegate (see my blogroll for these first-class  blogs), The Things That Come Out Of My Head has grown from an occasional way to fill an afternoon into a ministry requiring regularity, consistency and attention.

Titles for each blog post, because the blog had developed into a way of serving the Lord,  assumed a new importance. No matter how important a post's topic is, or how cleverly it's written, it will be pretty much ignored unless its title catches the attention of readers.

Often, I'll think up really intriguing titles. "Wow," I'll think, "wouldn't that make a cool blog post?" But I've found in recent months that my creative writing teacher taught me well. As I write, my message formulates itself, and then the title emerges with greater accuracy. Though not as exotic as the titles that merrily flit through my head at obscure hours, the title supports the point of my post, sharpening its focus without giving it away.

So, I treat this blog seriously, remembering its mission to  honor the Lord rather than to function as my vanity press. I'll write well by drawing on all I've been taught, and I'll adhere to Scripture (even when I don't write explicitly about Him). In writing well, I'll keep myself aware that titles have a purpose. And I'll  crown my posts as well as I  can.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bending When We Should Bow

Reliance on spiritual experience, which is inherently subjective, opens Christians up to serious error. The Gay Christian Movement demonstrates the dangers of allowing experience to interpret Scripture, though one can find numerous other instances. In reading accounts by those who have reconciled their  same  sex attractions with their "Christianity," I've noticed frequent references to dreams, visions or "words from God" to validate their embrace of their gay identity.

Scripture warns us against using experience as a basis for formulating theology.

18 Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, 19 and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. ~~Colossians 2:18-19 (ESV)

As so-called Gay Christians build their theology around their homosexuality, so any of us can use feelings or experiences as a grid through which we understand the Bible. In so doing, we bend God's Word to our authority, when we really need to bow our hearts to His authority. Rather than dying to self in order to follow Him, we inflate our wills and subjugate Scripture to our selfish agendas.

And then we wonder why we aren't winning souls to  Christ...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Reliable Words

To those who would ask how I know God doesn't speak outside of Scripture, I would ask how they knew He did. One can, after all, make a case for the Bible's veracity, as Josh McDowell did in his classic book, Evidence That Demands A Verdict. For a quicker read, visit Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry's webpage, Questions About The Bible, for a wide variety of short articles on the Bible's reliability. And, even quicker, Bible.org has an even shorter article entitled Is The Bible Reliable?---Seven Questions. Based on many factors that these, and many other, resources present, it's entirely reasonable to conclude that the Bible is definitely God's Word.

In contrast, evidence for God speaking directly to an individual in the 21st Century must depend solely on that person's subjective feelings. Nothing can provide an external measuring rod which could refute or confirm claims of personal conversations with the Lord. A man I knew reported two instances of Jesus "speaking" to him; in each case, Jesus "told" him what he wanted to hear, with the second "word from the Lord" being in  direct opposition to the first. Could people interpret their own strong intuitions and  desires as "words from the Lord?" How can they offer substantiation that He has actually spoken to them?

I submit that Scripture is more trustworthy than subjective personal experience because it stands up to cross-examination. God's Word is sure. Subjective experience...well, isn't.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Speak Without Your Word, Lord

Why shouldn't God speak directly (meaning, in ways other than the Bible) to Christians today? After all, being God, He has no limitations, so what gives anyone the right to put Him in a box and determine what He can and cannot do? If He spoke to Abraham, Moses and the prophets, surely He can speak to 21st Century Christians!

Yes, He could.

But the more honest person asks why, if He has given us the Bible, would He need to speak to individual Christians apart from Scripture? I have several reasons for rejecting the idea that He speaks personally to present-day believers in the same way He spoke to the men in the Bible who bore the responsibility for establishing His covenants and separating His people out for His purposes. I don't expect to be able to enumerate all those reasons in a single blog post, but allow me to at least offer a few.

For openers, God spoke only to certain people in Scripture, not to every believer. Even in the New Testament, He gave some to be prophets (Ephesians 4:11-14) in order to build up His Church. When He spoke,  He did so to further His kingdom, not to provide privatized experiences. And yes, I'm quite aware that He showed Paul certain things that Paul was told not to repeat (2 Corinthians 12:1-4), but the experience validated Paul's standing as an apostle.

Taking the experiences of people in the Bible as normative facets of the Christian life calls Scripture's unique authority into question. And that leads to my second point: If God speaks to average believers apart from Scripture, why do we need  the Bible at all? Some assert that the Bible helps us determine whether or not the Lord has spoken to us, since He never contradicts His Word. Then why would He speak apart from His Word in the first place? And what is the purpose of "personal words"' to each believer? If the Bible has to govern the "words," aren't the words pretty redundant and, therefore, unnecessary?

Thirdly, if God indeed speaks apart from Scripture, His words must carry equal weight to Scripture precisely because they're His words. Think about it. Either every word from His mouth is true or the Bible itself can be called into question. So, we're left with no way of determining truth, thereby completely undermining Scripture's authority.

Certainly, an all-powerful God has the capacity to bypass Scripture and speak to us directly. But He's given us His Word, and the Holy Spirit Who lives in each believer enables us to understand and apply His Word. Why, then, would He need to supplement His Word? The issue isn't whether or not He could speak directly, but whether or not He has reason to do so.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Focused On Him

Worship should focus, not on our variegated emotions or our "felt needs," but on the magnificence of the Lord Jesus Christ. Today my church sang Indescribable by Chris Tomlin...a song which praises the Lord's wonders of creation, as well as His inexplicable love for His people. Perhaps this video will encourage you toward worship:


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Extra Words

As American evangelicals eagerly embrace liberal theology, they demonstrate an amazing biblical illiteracy that I wish I found surprising. Alas, I'm not surprised, given the experience-oriented practices that germinated in the Charismatic movement and have since seeped over into more conservative churches. We've canonized our emotions and experiences, demanding that Scripture be interpreted by them, when we really ought to question those emotions and experiences with the willingness to let Scripture determine their validity.

For example, I used to substantiate my belief that God spoke to me personally by telling a story that happened during my college years. I'd been teaching a Sunday School class (with the wife of one of our pastors) to children with intellectual disabilities. One morning, I was left alone with a little boy while the other teacher took the rest of the kids to a park. Soon after they left, the boy (who usually expressed tremendous affection toward me) scowled at me as he strongly proclaimed, "I hate you, Debbie!"

Confident in my studies of various disabilities (I was pursuing a minor in Special Education), I calmly smiled and responded, "No you don't."  He countered by again declaring, with intensified passion, his hatred of me, thus beginning a fruitless back-and-forth exchange.

Then the thought popped in my head, "Sing Jesus Loves Me." Since the other teacher had, earlier that morning, taught a lesson about the Lord speaking to young Samuel, I concluded that God had spoken to me. So, I began singing above the child's now profanity-enhanced affirmations that he hated me. I mentally informed God that the strategy wasn't working, only to have the thought, "Just sing the chorus." I obeyed reluctantly. At that point, the child calmed down and began singing with me!

Over the years, I've told this story, often with so many embellishments that I no longer remember which details actually happened and which I made up. I've noticed, however, how telling it always gave me a physical sensation of being "spiritually mature" because I heard from God! My experience didn't glorify God as much as it advanced my standing with my Christian friends.

In Scripture, the Lord spoke to prophets and apostles, always with the purpose of furthering His dealings with Israel our forming His Church until the canon of Scripture was completed. While He may have inspired my thoughts that day, elevating the experience to one of Him actually speaking to me necessarily equates my experience with God's Word. If He indeed spoke that day, how could His personal Word to me have been less authoritative than Scripture?

We need to stop giving credence to anything but the Word as it's revealed in the Bible. In so doing, we'll have greater reason to study Scripture, which alone shows us Who God is!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I'd Like Everything Spelled Out For Me, Please

Yesterday, my dear college friend Nanci posted on Facebook: "Today's pearl: When people ask me plz because it's shorter than please, I tell them no because it's shorter than yes." Besides the obvious humor, this quip touched on my pet peeve about electronic communication: abbreviations.

Granted, I no longer chat often online. Occasionally. And sometimes the kids from church flatter me by wanting to chat on Facebook (which makes me feel really cool). But when I do participate in that form of communication, I choose to type words with their full and proper spelling. Nanci and I, you see, gained our English Literature degrees under the stern tutelage of Sister Nicholas, who would have absolutely deplored the utter disregard for the English language that  characterizes text messaging.

Now, I'm not a purist in my grammar. I can split infinitives, dangle participles and use double negatives with only slight twinges of guilt. I've fragmented sentences now and again for dramatic effect, and I've sprinkled both my spoken and written conversations with slang from time to time. I believe an overly legalistic approach to language can alienate people, thwarting the very communication that proper grammar is meant to facilitate. Even the venerable Sister Nicholas once admitted that language is a window for ideas; it should clarify them rather than obscure them.

At the same time, the English language deserves respect. Although the difficulties of typing with a headstick might suggest that I'm entitled to simplify my online chat by taking advantage of all the abbreviations, my love for the language makes those shortcuts almost reprehensible to me. Consequently, I battle feelings of resentment when perfectly able-bodied people type in shortcuts. If I take the time and care to type out complete, properly spelled words, why can't they?

Will I change anyone's online habits? I doubt it. But other people's laziness has motivated me to appreciate correct language skills, lest I forget the beauty of words. I'm saddened, however, that so many people opt to deform words and disregard grammar for the sake of convenience.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Crevices In My Schedule

As you might guess, interviewing prospective Personal Care Attendants infringes on blogging time, so I can't compose a concentrated post on insights from 1 Corinthians 3, thoughts on the privilege of prayer, or rants (inspired by my friend Nanci's Facebook update) on how internet chat abbreviations have led people to disrespect the English language (and no, Nanci did not use said abbreviations). Those types of blog posts will return in time, Lord willing, but they require huge blocks of uninterrupted time. When  I write, I need to do it all at once, so I can sustain my focus and follow my own train of thought.

Drawing, conversely, fits conveniently into scattered crevices in my schedule, so my drawing for my PCA's birthday card nestled between all the craziness of clamoring for back-up help, fielding phone calls and interviewing applicants. I put a mask on it to display it here, as well as in PSP forums (when I have time), but I'll probably want a different background for the card. At any rate, I like how she came out, and I learned some new tricks to use on future projects.





I hope life returns  to a manageable pace soon, as I miss writing the sort of posts I offered last week. The Lord has presented me with so many topics that cry out to be explored, and I hate letting those ideas flutter away simply because "swing  shift" PCAs  can't stay committed to this job. But until things settle down, I praise Him for giving me ways to express  my  creativity. He never wastes anything!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Temporary Pity-Party

Since January, I've had trouble keeping a PCA for the Sunday/Wednesday "swing shift." The lady I hired in January was absolutely wonderful, but  a family emergency required her to move to Florida in March. The next one was fairly dependable, but showed character problems. When she asked John to forge her signature on a time sheet, we found it necessary to fire her. The next two called in sick...and never returned.

We placed another ad, and have interviews scheduled, but I'm beyond tired and overwhelmed. I really do not want to interview, train and do paperwork for another person! These ads cost money, and we've now spent $75 running them.

Every fiber of my being screams, "I'm done!" I want a vacation badly, but my health no longer permits me to travel. So, I feel trapped in this endless treadmill of begging for help just for basic tasks that able-bodied people take for granted. Yet able-bodied people claim they "need" a vacation, while I wonder how I'll get up each morning and if I'll get put to bed each night. There's no break.

I know the Lord will provide, as He always has. I'm just frustrated and tired. And I want to visit my mom in California. These feelings will pass, and I'll be praising Him again. You'll see!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Combinations Of Circles And Rectangles

My evening Personal Care Attendant celebrates her birthday (never mind which one!) this coming Friday, so I'm focusing much of my time and energy on drawing a picture for her birthday card. Which means, of course, I'm not blogging much. So much for good stewardship of my time, right?

I hadn't drawn anything for several months, and I'd forgotten how enjoyable Paintshop Pro really is. I remembered the hard work, certainly, and the need for tremendous patience--both of which my current project requires. Quirks in the software add moments  of frustration; twice, so far, I've been forced to delete an element and begin again, much to my exasperation. And  I made mistakes drawing the right hand, losing control of the shape until the poor lady looked as if she'd been born with a terrible deformity. Yes, digital drawing takes patience.

But I had forgotten how much fun it is to shape an average rectangle into an arm and hand...complete with an opposable thumb! I discovered an easy trick to  make fluffy eyelashes, and I'm watching with wonder as the combination of circles and rectangles conform to my wishes, becoming a smiling woman. Despite moments of aggravation and setbacks, drawing gives me deep pleasure.

I hope to finish my drawing soon. When I do, I'll post it (that PCA doesn't read  my blog, so the surprise won't be ruined). I'll be pleased with my accomplishment. As much as I'll delight in showing it off, however, the real delight lies in the process. Yes, I'm having fun!

Friday, July 5, 2013

For The Greater Good

John Adams by Gilbert Stuart
Hancock, Adams and the other signers of the Declaration of Independence certainly put their lives on the line for America's freedom, as I demonstrated yesterday, and we can be grateful for their great sacrifices. When I visit the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, I usually sit before Gilbert Stuart's portrait of 92-year-old John Adams and pretend I'm thanking Adams for the liberty I enjoy because of his efforts. Silly, perhaps...but I have no other way to tell  him how much I appreciate him.

In my reflections on the boldness of those 56 men at the Second Continental Congress and the extreme risks the took when they signed the Declaration of Independence, I couldn't escape the obvious spiritual parallel. When we commit our lives to  Christ, declaring our emancipation from the values of a world that opposes His authority, we also risk our lives.

My husband and I know some of the dangers in following Christ as a result of serving on our  church's Missions  Committee. Our church supports roughly 32 missionaries and organizations, some of whom minister in countries where Christianity is illegal and punishable by death. They write emails in code, and give me lists of words to avoid in my emails to them--they're under surveillance.  Their bold obedience to the Lord leads them into life-threatening danger, but they joyfully accept their assignments, valuing Christ's Kingdom above their own lives.

And now American Christians face pressure to modify our convictions, particularly in reference to sexuality and Jesus being the only way to heaven. As yet, proclaiming biblical truth isn't punishable by death, but Christian  liberty faces subtle restrictions. Towns tell people not to hold Bible Studies in their homes. College students are ordered not to wear crosses. Pro-life people must stay a certain distance from abortion clinics. Christian wedding vendors may not refuse to  cater same sex weddings.

I fully expect the day when I'll no longer permitted to blog about the Lord.  And if Christianity becomes illegal in America (which it most likely will), there's more than enough evidence to convict me. My electronic signature is just as bold as John Hancock's signature on the Declaration of Independence, and every bit as deliberate. Like America's Founding Fathers and missionaries in Islamic or Socialist countries, I believe in a cause more important than my life. God's Kingdom is worth the risk.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Boldly Signing

John Hancock by John Singleton Copley

According to several Freedom Trail Walking Tour guides (most of whom, admittedly, are actors rather than historians), John Hancock signed his name to the Declaration of Independence in large, flamboyant script so that the tyrannical King George III would be able to read it "without his spectacles." While this story may or may not be accurate, we know that he and the other signers were fully aware that they committed the capital offense of treason. On their page about the consequences that awaited some of these signers, the National Heritage Center for Constitutional Studies asserts:

When the 56 Signers of The Declaration of Independence attached their signatures to that document, each knew they were committing treason against the British Crowne.  If caught and captured, they risked death. But death would not be swift. It would be by hanging to the point of unconsciousness, then being revived, disemboweled, their body parts boiled in oil and their ashes scattered into the wind. Our Founding Fathers valued freedom, for themselves and their posterity, to the extent that they found this fate worth the risk. 

Hancock's famous signature, therefore, evinced a boldness far beyond its size and distinctive penmanship. He, along with the other 55 delegates of the Second Continental Congress agreed (after long and passionate debate) that "independency" from England justified putting their lives on the line. As a chart  from U.S. Constitution.net shows, these men tended to be educated and wealthy, and would have personally benefited by remaining under England's sovereignty. The vision of freedom, however, spurred them to rise against King George III's injustices. As John Adams put it:

Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present Generation to preserve your Freedom! I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in Heaven, that I ever took half the Pains to preserve it.

Those who signed the Declaration understood the possible implications of their actions, yet they knew a free America possessed greater value than their personal comforts.  Though none were executed as traitors, some were captured and tortured, some were wounded or killed in battle, and still others suffered the loss of property. Each man, by the stroke of a pen, knowingly put a target on his back. The true boldness had little to do with the size of their letters, and everything to do with their commitment to liberty.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hardly Cozy Girl-Talk!

Some of my female friends write chatty little blogs, inviting their readers into their lives as if they're having a conversation over a cup of coffee. The hint of girl-talk charms me. Those blogs warm my heart with their recounts of every day events, home-life,  babies and pets, punctuating their soothing narrations with playful splashes of humor or honest revelations of their deepest emotions. Sometimes, I wish my little purple blog ran more in that direction, offering similar cozy chatter.

Sometimes, that happens, and it's pleasant when it does. Sharing Boston Adventures, treasured memories and glimpses of my marriage delights me, and hopefully brings equal delight to my audience. Yet, writing consistently in that vein just wouldn't work!

Those who read my blog with any degree of regularity know that I'm distressed by various compromises in the Christian church. Most of those compromises result from lax doctrine and the tendency to interpret Scripture through personal experience, rather than understanding personal experience in the light of Scripture. As professing Christians increasingly blend into worldly attitudes and behaviors, I feel appalled, and want my blog to be a bastion of resistance against counterfeit Christianity.

Hardly cozy girl-talk!

One friend commented diplomatically that my blog shows that I'm definitely opinionated. Well, perhaps she meant she disagreed with something I'd written...or most of what I'd written. And that's fine. But  I pray these posts are less about my personal opinions (which mean absolutely nothing) and more about what God's Word actually says! If we want to stand with Christ, confident in His authority to declare what is true and to direct the lives of Christians, our shallow little opinions must bow to the clear teachings of the Bible. Even friendly conversation over a lingering cup of coffee eventually comes down to how we will or won't submit our lives to Him.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A True Compassion

The latest trend, apparently, is to respond to the LGBTQ community with "compassion" and "acceptance," knowing that Jesus loves them and died for them. And in one sense, I very much agree! During my many years in and around ex-gay ministry, I often heard friends complain that they felt more acceptance in gay bars than they did in churches. Of course those words troubled me--as well they should! People who struggle with same sex attraction should never be made to feel as though their sin is more reprehensible than any other sin.

But neither should they be led to believe homosexuality is morally neutral. Frankly, the new fad of apologizing to the LGBTQ community disturbs me. We're apologizing for offering them freedom from sin and hope that heterosexual marriage might be an option (though not a promise) for them? We might as well apologize to all people for offering freedom from sin, because no Christian gains immunity from temptation! Freedom from sin simply means that we have power, through the Holy Spirit, to resist temptation.

Those who experience homosexuality, like all sinners, need to hear that the penitent will find the grace to turn from sin. Although they aren't worse than other sinners, they are still sinners. No sin, sexual  or otherwise, should find acceptance within the Body of Christ because sin offends God so deeply that His Son had to shed His blood to atone for it! So, while homosexuals need the same compassion as anyone else needs, true compassion pleads with them to repent and turn to the God Who will enable them to live in holiness.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Under Love's Weight

Sometimes, concerns for people I love weigh me down so much that I just don't want to blog. This is one of those times. Pray for my friend and her family.

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