Thursday, December 27, 2012

Letting other bloggers speak

My brain seems to get halfway through a blog post and it just quits.  I lost interest and exit blogger without posting anything.  I may have something to say, it just is on temporary hold.

In the meantime, I invite you to read these two blog posts by people who show up on my Google Reader feed all the time.

One is on the church theme from Jan at A Church For Starving Artists.

The other deals with recent news events in a way that got my attention.  It's by Adam over at

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Speaking for God

I don't like labels.  I use labels, I am labeled, I don't like labels.  Labels do not tell the true story of who I am, who others are.  It's just a name, a way to group people, things, together to help our human brains make sense of the world around us.

Still, there are labels attached to me.  One of those labels is "Christian", though I prefer the label "Christ Follower".  Still, in that label there is a connotation that I need to recognize and take seriously.  That label says I follow Jesus, I believe in God and to some extent it says my life, my actions, my words represent God and Jesus.  I am still a flawed human being.  My words, my actions, my life don't always reflect the God and Jesus I follow.  I mess up regularly.  I am not God.  I am not Jesus.  Yet with my life, my words, my actions I speak for God.

I am tired of hearing others with the label Christian stand up after horrific events happen in the world and say things such as "God is pouring out judgment" or "It's because we've taken God out of our society" or "God is rejoicing".  I am tired of these people being the ones I see on my homepage when I open my web browser.

I am tired of hearing about God's judgment and how awful we are and how we are all turning our backs on God from people "in the know" (IMHO, that means they have access to the media and they use it).  I am tired of the condemnation and the lack of compassion or LOVE.  I am tired of Christians speaking for God when all they can say is "You are bad.  You are awful."  T.I.R.E.D.

That rhetoric is turning people away from God.  Turning them away from a God that, I believe, grieves alongside the mothers and father and brothers and sisters and grandparents and friends.  Saying "You turned your back, now deal with the consequences" is heartless and (yep, here comes my judgment) says a lot about the heart of the person speaking.

Absolutely, we live in a fallen world.  Crap happens, it is horrific and many times the answers to the question "why" are so hard to find, if we find them at all.  Yet into that fallen, broken world God sent Jesus.  God sent Jesus into the world to be love.  To be hope.  To bring a message of love and hope.  God hasn't given up on the world.

So, I am going to speak for God right now.  To the families, to the community, to the nation, in this most recent horrific nightmare please hear from this broken, human woman with the label Christ Follower, the questions are large and looming and though it may seem like God does not care, God does care.  God is near and grieving along with you.  I don't know why God didn't stop it.  There are many times when I don't understand God but I do know this, the God I follow loves you and hurts with you.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dear Church Leaders,

Can I make a suggestion?  When you get around to that time of the year when the budget is being decided and you decide to make phone calls to church members/parishioners to ask them to send in their pledge cards, before making those phone calls, could you do something first?

Look at the list of people to call and for each name listed ask yourself, "when was the last time we saw them in church?" If you can't recall seeing that person in church in awhile take another step, write the name of that person on another list.  Once you've compiled that other list, give it to one or two people and ask them to call just those people on the list.  Here's what they should say:

"Hey, person we haven't seen in awhile, we haven't seen you in awhile!  I'm calling to say that we noticed you haven't been around.  Is there something that we could do for you?  Someway we could help you right now?"  You may hear things you don't want to hear.  Maybe they are going to another church.  Maybe they are pissed off and don't want have anything to do the church.  Maybe they can't get to church right now but would really appreciate prayer.  Maybe they need a ride.  Maybe they need someone to come visit them.  You won't know until you make the call and start the conversation.

Maybe, during the conversation, you will open up the door for them to say "Hey, I want to come back to church.  I want to keep supporting the church."  Then you can bring up the pledge drive.  Otherwise, don't bring it up. 

Maybe, during the conversation, it comes up that they aren't planning on coming back to church and maybe that opens the doors to them asking to be put on that other list...the former members or inactive or whatever you call it.  That's okay.  Don't tell them they are going to hell and hang up.  Wish them well, offer to pray for them...actually pray with them!  Suggest other churches.  Be kind, be gracious and be loving.  They will remember that.  But please, please, please don't bring up the pledge drive.

In the end you will have accomplished two things.  One, you will have made contact with a church member who hasn't been around in awhile showing compassion and care.  They don't need to know that it was the pledge drive that helped to get the call made.  Two, you won't create even more bitterness in the heart of a church member who hasn't been to the church in over a year who gets a call from a church leader saying "Hey, we need you to turn in your pledge card so we can make a budget" like they just saw you yesterday sitting in the pew next to them not a year and a half ago.  It shows what is important (the church members checkbook) and what is not (church member).

It's just a suggestion, do what you will...but please don't be surprised that people speak poorly about the church when the church repeatedly shows a lack of care and concern for those who aren't in the pews every Sunday and more concern about money.


Someone who cares

Monday, December 3, 2012

Wild weather weekend and a wedding

This morning Sam Shepherd on Good Morning America told me that the county in which I live received 13.25 inches of rain over the weekend.  I was first of all impressed that the county in which I live was mentioned on Good Morning America and secondly anything but doubtful to the truth of that claim.  It didn't just rain this weekend, the clouds let loose with all of the water they have been storing up all at once.  There was a lot of water in those clouds.  I hear that more is to come.  I am not worried.  I will, however, be going to Payless to see if they still have those pink polka dot rain boots in my size.  I'm tired of my shoes and socks getting wet.

The rain did not stop the plans for the weekend.  We are mountain people.  We don't let rain or downed trees and power lines or the threat of flooding or mudslides stop us!  No!  We continue on with our plans.  Some of us even drive like there aren't massive lakes of water that spray over the windshield when you drive through the lake or causing you to hydro-plane  Nope.  Don't want to slow down.  We are mountain people!

I digress.  The rain did not stop the plans for the weekend.  It was wedding weekend for Opinionated Friend.  There was much to be done.  Saturday as the rain came down outside, we cleared tables and chairs out of the reception room so that tables and chairs could be brought in.  We decorated, we created a photo "booth", we ran to the store for last minute items.  We went for the traditional bridal party mani-pedi's.  We rehearsed.  We went to the rehearsal dinner.  We laughed, we celebrated.  One stayed up late ironing the layered ruffles on a bridesmaid dress, for fear the steamer would not work.

Sunday the rain poured out of the sky.  That did not stop us!  There were errands to be run.  Candles!  Candles to the church!  Step in gigantic puddle on the way into the door of the church! Coffee!  Hotel for hair and make-up and pictures.  The rain stopped a little before noon.  Hallelujah!  The bridesmaid who stayed up late ironing, showed another bridesmaid how to iron her dress, as the feared thing happened...steamer did not work on the dress.  Laughter, hot flashes, mayhem ensued.  Hair was made beautiful, faces painted, lunch was eaten, freshly ironed dresses were donned, hotel room was cleared out, the first glimpse of the bride was seen by the groom, pictures were taken outside, with the sunset and the families.  The bridal party transported to the church.  Hair and make up retouched.  The church began to fill and soon it was time.  A trip down the aisle and soon a newly married couple emerged.  Clean up bridal "room", transport to reception.  Intros!  Cookies!  Food!  Drinks!  Pictures!  Cake!  Toasts!  Dancing!  Farewells!  Time to clean up.  Take down tables and chairs.  Bring back in original tables and chairs.  Load vehicles.  Home...dang it ANTS invading!  Eventually bed...20 hours after I had woken up but a mere 17 hours after I had actually gotten up.

Trees did fall down, power did go out, the river crested 1.7 feet below flood stage, little mudslides occurred but none of it affected the wedding, Sam Shepherd told me this morning that 13.25 inches of rain fell and Opinionated Friend is now Mrs. Opinionated Friend.  That is all.  :)