Enter the Slave Garden

photo by Tulay Palaz
photo by Tulay Palaz

Living Hope Community Church meets at Ironwood Elementary School, and to enter, you must pass through a small gated courtyard before you reach the doors to the worship space.
Every Sunday we are able to come to our church space, pass through the gates, enter through the door, and participate in the worship service. There are no requirements, no check points, no guards at the door who require you to prove your worthiness to enter. You are not restricted by your age, your gender, your education, your finances or your past. You aren’t stopped because of who your parents are or were. You don’t have to present papers, or pay to enter. You are welcomed in freely.
But what if that weren’t the case? What if you showed up and there were chains on the gate? What if, suddenly, you were made to enter though a side door, and wait for the chance that you might (or might not) be allowed to enter? What if someone or something owned you, and you weren’t free to worship how or where or when you wanted, because the one who owned you had forbidden it?

Continue reading “Enter the Slave Garden”

Who are you attracting?

There’s a New Age guru following me on twitter.

When I discovered this, I actually laughed out loud. Not that his beliefs are funny to me; but simply, I didn’t see that one coming.  Somehow this person found me and decided that there was some kind of value or benefit even, in clicking the follow button on my profile. There’s a myriad of reasons he could have done this, many of which have nothing to do with who I am, or what I’ve been saying on the internet–so I’m not going to be so arrogant as to think that I am going to be the key to some profound things in his life via my excellent tweets. Continue reading “Who are you attracting?”

it’s not About Me, at least not entirely

I started this blog a couple of years ago because I would go to a Bible study, or read a book or a devotional, and have some kind of interesting thought or even a revelation about God, or faith, or living as a Christian. I would go home to my empty house and want to tell someone about it, but I lived alone.

Eventually the thought occurred to me to try to write those things out, and even to post them on a blog. But, I didn’t really tell anyone about it. And while you’re scratching your head, wondering how blogging to no one is different than talking to myself as I stand over the kitchen sink eating my dinner, I’ll tell you that it is pretty much the same. And really different.

Writing these things out helped me solidify what would have otherwise been fleeting ideas and revelations. I’ve learned from the process; and I think that is evident in the writing to anyone who’s daring enough to sift through this blog’s history.

The point never was to make myself out to be an authority on Christianity. I am neither a dead English apologist, nor a perky blond Texan. This is just me, trying to figure a thing or two out; which may or may not be helpful or interesting to those who happen to wander onto this site.   While I think some of my older posts may have a tone that comes off like I know something that you need to know too, that was never my attitude nor perspective.  Hopefully my tone is more genuine these days.

What you can expect to see from here on out is more of the things that I learn, the things I discover, and the things that interest or even excite me. The occasional video, or image should be expected.  You may even see that the posts become more and more broad, and more loosely related to one another.  That’s because I’m learning about God in a whole bunch of different ways, some of them more subtle than others.

What you can expect not to see here are posts about my knitting club, my love for cats or videos of my children.  Not that those things don’t make great blogs, but none of them are applicable to my life.  So you may or may not get to know me better.  But I don’t feel like that’s the point of this blog, anyway.  It’s why I never did the obligatory ‘About Me’ post, so common on blogger.

Stand your ground, stamp your foot, dig your hole

I am sitting in the Library coffeehouse in Meridian, trying to plug away at an admissions essay that has me, frankly, tied up in knots. Yet it seems like I might be in the right place to do my wrestling, judging by the number of people around me with Bibles out, it seems that I have stumbled upon Meridian’s (un)official Christian coffeehouse. Neat. I am faced with a question that covers at least six different topics, and I could easily reach the maximum word allowance on at least four of them.

Sometimes it is so hard to be succinct.

One of the topics I am attempting to be articulate over is the area of my calling. I am currently in the position of trying to navigate between two areas of life where it seems very evident I have been equipped to serve. On one hand, I have been exploring my giftedness in the realm of teaching bible study. I’ve had the privilege in the last couple of years to teach on several occasions, and to even co-lead a study with another woman (who happens to be a stunning example of Godly womanhood) named Becky.

On the other hand, I have been passionate for some time about the arts, and the role and calling of Christian artists in relation to the seeking world; especially toward fellow artists who may have been burnt by “religious people” in the past. There is a prominent contingency within the arts world (at least as far as I’ve encountered) of artists who have encountered someone claiming to be Christian, yet whodid not seem to embody any Christlike characteristics. Quite often, the encounter left them feeling more judged, abandoned and disenfranchised by the god who supposedly created and loves them. I’ve spoken to many artists who have had an encounter of this sort, and have found that one of the recurring character traits of those who did so much damage is their steadfast resolve to unbendingly stand their ground. They’ve engaged in conversations that quickly turned to debate, and were persistent past the point usfulness.

If truth is actually truth, it will remain truth whether we are stern or gentle about it. The resulting difference is the effect of our words and behavior. In fact, I believe that when we communicate with calm confidence we are far more convincing. Quite frankly, a gospel message that requires us to be rigid jerks in order to make our point isn’t much of a gospel. The Jesus I know is firm and confident, but also filled with love and grace. Jesus isn’t a jerk, so there is no need for us to be, either. Yet so many engage the non-believing world in a manner that is so defensive it’s offensive. (I’m not talking about the offensive nature of the Gospel—the truth that pricks against our flesh and offends us simply because it exposes us for what we are. I’m talking about our attempts to proselytize that only alienate those we are trying to endear.) Many many more have been argued away from the Kingdom than argued toward it. Think about it.

So, this begs a question. Do we know the difference between standing our ground with firm conviction in what we know to be Truth, and argumentative behavior that is off-putting? When we are sharing our faith with others, are we standing our ground, stamping our foot, or digging a hole and throwing them in?