Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Separation of Church and Sex

Yesterday the local news reported a story about a newborn baby found on the steps of a church in East Tennessee. According to the report, an anonymous call was made to the pastor who found the baby shortly thereafter. The report stated, “A spokesman for a Blount County group that aims to protect newborns says Tennessee's Safe Haven Law would have protected the mother from prosecution if she had left the child at a hospital, birthing center, community health clinic or outpatient clinic.”

Does this mean that the authorities will now be looking for her so that they can press abandonment charges because she apparently misunderstood the law and left the baby at the wrong place?

This story got me to thinking about Christians and how some of us are hung up on sex. Now, I don’t know this woman’s (girl’s?) situation, but my imagination being as active as it is has come up with a possible scenario: The girl comes from a conservative Christian home. Sex outside of marriage is not just frowned upon but is condemned and routinely preached against from her church’s pulpit. This girl let her hormones get the better of her and had sex with her boyfriend, which resulted in a pregnancy. She “knows” that her parents will react harshly and probably will kick her out of the house (after all, she is the biggest sinner in her church right now), so she doesn’t tell anyone and hides the pregnancy. She begins to have a fondness for baggy sweat pants and oversized shirts, and she is able to successfully disguise her baby weight. She gives birth in a bathroom—maybe she has told a friend and has some help—and knowing that the law says that newborn babies can be left at a “safe haven,” she decides to leave the baby at the church. Even though the church would condemn her for having sex outside of marriage and bringing an illegitimate child into the world, no church lady is going to turn away such a precious gift from God. (Is the irony coming through here?)

All of this deception and heartache could have been avoided if the church loosened up and actually talked realistically about sex. Why not give teenagers some real life information about it rather than just preaching about how bad and sinful it is, making teens feel like they are demon possessed for having raging hormones? And when a teen does unfortunately end up pregnant, why does the church so often ostracize the poor girl instead of lovingly taking her under its wing and helping her through the difficulty?.

We are called to bear one another’s burdens, but it seems that the church often has an aversion to helping those who fall upon hard times because of poor choices—pregnancy, drug addiction, etc.—but isn’t everyone susceptible to making a bad choice, saved and unsaved alike? We sometimes have the attitude that those who are “saved” are somehow corrupt if they happen to fall into temptation and make a bad decision, and we want to separate them from the church so that they won’t corrupt the rest of us. In reality, those people need the love of the church more than the “righteous” people do. The world will know who the real Christians are by their love, not by their judgemental attitudes.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

I don't know what kind of title to give this.

In the past week, two different Republican politicians have accused Democrats of being anti-Christian.

In a radio interview on Monday, Alan Keyes said:

“The notion that the Republican party is a party that is responding--particularly I think of the moral perspective of Christian people--and that that is somehow an evidence of bigotry is I think evidence of the kind of bigoted mindset that now prevails among the Democrat leadership. They really have become a thoroughly anti-Christian party, committed to an agenda that seeks the destruction of all people of faith.”


“I think that the stances as we see and the kind of pejorative attacks and language of somebody like Howard Dean, we're dealing now with a party that has veered into the anti-Christian. And unless you are willing to reject all of the biblical values that Christianity is based upon, and just wear the label of Christian so that you can get votes or something, then the Democrats don't want you around.

If you are actually walking in Christ's footsteps, preaching His gospel, trying to follow His word and the law of His Father, then the Democrats are actually assaulting you and trying to curtail your freedom.”

On Monday in a heated discussion on the House floor, John Hostettler said:

"the long war on Christianity in America . . . continues unabated with aid and comfort to those who would eradicate any vestige of our Christian heritage being supplied by the usual suspects, the Democrats."


"Like a moth to a flame, Democrats can't help themselves when it comes to denigrating and demonizing Christians." (link)

These remarks are from men who profess to be Christians. The irony here is that while they say that Democrats are actively persecuting all things Christian, these Christian men are demonizing the entire Democratic party. Have these men not read their bibles?

Don’t speak evil against each other, my dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize each other and condemn each other, then you are criticizing and condemning God’s law. But you are not a judge who can decide whether the law is right or wrong. Your job is to obey it. God alone, who made the law, can rightly judge among us. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to condemn your neighbor? (James 4. 11-12 NLT)

Shouldn’t these men, as Christians, take a higher moral ground and respond humbly rather than stoop to the level that they accuse Democrats of being on? When they make the accusation that Democrats are anti-Christian, are they not in essence calling liars their Democratic colleagues who say they are Christian?

I noticed that both these incidents took place on Monday. Perhaps Mr. Keyes and Mr. Hostettler both had a bad weekend. Maybe I'll give them the benefit of that doubt for now.

Speaking of Spelling . . .

Here's a little poem I like to share with my students:

Spelling Poem

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.

Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Writing in the Real World

I would like to get some opinions about writing in the "real world."

I have learned two things from my students over the years: 1) Most of them do not like to write, and 2) Most of them avoid reading when at all possible.

At the beginning of every semester I ask my students if they spend very much time reading, and most of them will say that they hate to read and do not do it unless they absolutely have to. When I tell them that those of them who do make it a habit to read a lot are usually pretty good writers, and that those of them who avoid reading usually are not very good writers, the non-readers seem quite shocked. I explain that the way to learn to write good sentences and paragraphs is to read good sentences and paragraphs. (Those of you with young children: Start now getting them interested in reading if you want them to do well in school.)

Another thing that most of my students don't understand is that in the "real world," people do have to write sometimes, whether it be a company memo, a newsletter, or even a complaint letter.

Here's what I'd like to know from you: Aside from blogging, how much and how often do you have occasion to write, and what types of things do you write? Also, does your reading affect your writing in any way?

I am hoping that if my students see comments from "real world people" they will be impacted in some way to take reading and writing more seriously.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Good news for Tennesseans

I just got my copy of "Revenue Review" from the TN Dept. of Revenue (one of the "perks" of owning a business in TN--by the way, every time that envelope arrives in the mail that says TN Dept. of Revenue on it, I start to panic), and it says that starting in August of 2006 "Tennessee will have an annual sales tax holiday that starts each year at 12:01 a.m. on the first Friday in August and ends at 11:59 p.m. on the following Sunday. During the holiday, the following items are exempt from sales tax: 1) clothing with a price of $100 or less per item; 2) school supplies with a price of $100 or less per item; and 3) computers with a price of $1500 or less per item." Clothing accessories, computer software, art supplies, sports equipment, and protective equipment (Does this mean jock straps?) are not included.

Make note of this and don't go to Wal-Mart on those days.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

An honest question about a touchy subject.

I keep hearing conservative Christian radio preachers and politicians say that it is imperative that we pass a federal marriage amendment that recognizes marriage only between one man and one woman--basically prohibiting any states from passing marriage laws favorable to homosexual people. They say that allowing homosexuals to marry will endanger the institution of marriage. What I don't hear them say is just how marriage for heterosexuals will be in jeopardy. I guess I always miss that part. I really want to know how my rights as a married person or the rights of any other Christian heterosexual who is married or wants to marry will be in jeopardy. Can you explain it to me?

Really, I'm not trying to be a smart alec here--I really don't know the answer.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Trees and Things

For some time now, I have been praying for the spiritual growth of someone dear to me, and for the same amount of time, I have been quite frustrated with this person's lack of growth. I ask God all the time, "When are you going to do something?" The other day I got really fed up and decided that it was a waste of my time to keep praying about it and told God that.

Not long after that, Mom and I were sitting on my patio underneath the shade tree that I had planted a few years ago when she mentioned that at the time I planted that tree, she didn't have much hope that it would survive. Indeed, when Husband and I put it in the ground, it was a stick with leaves on it, and a few days later, the leaves shriveled up and turned brown. I decided to go and pull it up, but for some reason I kept neglecting to go out there and do it. Then one day I looked out, and that tree had started growing new leaves and new branches and was all pretty and green. Now that tree is almost as tall as the house and provides a tremendous amount of cool shade.

I guess sometimes people are like trees. The growth that we want to see isn't evident on the outside for a long time because all its strength is going into putting down good roots. Eventually when the roots are established, the fruit (or leaves) will be evident to everyone looking at it. Growth is a slow process, and most of it takes place under the surface where we can't see it.

OK, now I feel really silly that I had to learn this lesson from such a simple illustration. Maybe I'm the one that is growing so slowly!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Celebrities again

The other day over at Preston's blog, he mentioned some organizations that are working on fighting hunger and poverty and a couple of celebrities who are involved with the organizations.

That got me to thinking about what I was talking about the other day--our society's obsession with celebrities. I wonder, if celebrities who are Christians would come out for Jesus in a very vocal way and start endorsing organizations that fight against hunger and poverty--and say that this is how Jesus and the apostles wanted us to demonstrate our love for each other--and if Christian celebrities were to set that example, would that help Christians to be more unified and more people to be attracted to Christianity?

Just a thought.

PS Happy Father's Day to all you dads!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Render Unto Caesar

I recently ran across this comment on another blog (actually, the topic under discussion didn’t really have anything to do with what appears here; the discussion had sort of gone off on a tangent, and I didn’t want to comment there and add to any confusion):

The State is given the power of the sword, and it is for that reason we pay taxes. To tax some in order to provide "benefits" for others is not only inefficient (bureaucracies cost enormous sums to sustain), which is bad stewardship, but it is also a form of theft, in addition to taking from people the blessing of providing charity individually in the name of Christ.

I really had to take issue with parts of this. Now, I hate to pay taxes as much as anyone else. On April 15th as I begrudgingly write my check to Uncle Sam, I think about all the terrible ways that my hard-earned money will be wasted rather than what good might happen with it. However, although government bureaucracies can indeed be very inefficient and even wasteful, many needy Americans get some services that they need because I pay my taxes.

I have heard many people say that it isn’t fair (and that it’s even thievery) for the government to take money out of the hands of hardworking people and give it to others who haven’t lifted a finger to earn it, and to an extent I agree with this idea. Paul taught against idleness saying that whoever does not work should not eat (2 Thes. 3.10). I believe that able-bodied people who receive benefits from the government should do some kind of work, to the best of their ability, to earn their benefits, if only for a few hours each week. Everyone has some sort of skill or could perform some sort of task that could be utilized somewhere in society. A good example of how this works is with the organization Habitat for Humanity. People who receive a new house have to put in hours working on not only their house, but houses for others as well. As another example, on college campuses, students can participate in work-study programs, receiving partial scholarships for a few hours work on campus every week. Government agencies could implement work programs like these just as easily as private organizations can. In this way, recipients of benefits have the satisfaction of personal responsibility, and taxpayers have the satisfaction of knowing that their tax dollars are not enabling laziness and idleness.

Those of us who profess to believe in God have a responsibility to obey his commands. For Christians, Jesus said that the entire law can be summed up in “Love God with all your heart,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” One of the things that God repeatedly took issue with in the bible was when people overlooked the plight of the poor, foreigners, widows and orphans. (If you look up just the word widows, you’ll find that these four categories of people are almost always mentioned together in the OT.) In fact, God set up some laws to protect the interests of these disadvantaged people, and one of these laws was a 10% tax on crops to be paid every third year (Deut. 14.28-29). Now, we like to use the word “tithe”; it sounds so noble and holy, but let’s call it what it really was—it was a tax paid to the government of Israel, the leader of which just happened to be God and not an elected official. God even set up a “bureaucracy” (the Levites) to keep up with and dispense the tithes. So to imply that God does not endorse the use of taxation to help the disadvantaged is a misreading of the bible. (Incidentally, “bureaucracy” is not a negative word; here’s the definition: Administration of a government chiefly through bureaus or departments staffed with nonelected officials.)

Finally, to say that we are robbed of a blessing by having to pay taxes rather than to help others on our own is a false claim. In Romans 13.1-7, Paul discusses the need to obey the government and to pay taxes because God is the one who has put that government in place. Yes, some governments are corrupt. Yes, some government programs are ineffective. However, God is in control; he allowed those programs to be put into place, so it is our duty to support those programs with our taxes. We’ll be blessed when we do what we’re supposed to do. To think that we are doing a better service if we give to a charity instead of to the government is not necessarily correct either. Charities have levels of bureaucracy to ensure that monies are distributed properly, and even some of the best charities have been known to have problems. If we totally avoid any bureaucracy by giving directly to poor people, we aren’t being nearly as effective as larger organizations which have the ability to obtain large quantities of food or more services for less money.

I have to say that I am one of the first to criticize the government and how it does things, and I’ll say again that I hate paying taxes. But from now on when I begin to complain, I’m going to try to remind myself that God says that paying taxes is good. When I do what I’m supposed to do, I am blessed. After the money leaves my hands, God will deal with those who spend it.

Sorry this is so long.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Dumb Question

If I enjoyed sharing my bed with little boys and freely admitted this fact to the public, would I be in jail right now?

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Part of the Crowd

Just been thinking about what I was saying about our obsession with celebrities and how we will stand in line for hours for an autograph, and we’ll even spend our hard-earned money to fly across the ocean in order to stand in that line just to spend a few seconds with that person who seems so larger than life. Nashville is full of these people right now attending Fan Fair, and just down the road in Manchester is a group of about 75,000 people who are attending Bonaroo. Some of these Bonaroo people are the same ones who spend their time traveling all over the country from concert to concert following bands like The Grateful Dead, Phish, and Widespread Panic. The Fan Fair people and the Bonaroo people have their differences, but they are similar, I think, in that they are both searching for some kind of fulfillment of an empty spot in their lives.

I have noticed that this phenomenon was not invented in the 20th century. We know from the bible that at one time Jesus fed a crowd of 5,000 people, and another time a crowd of 4,000 (and some commentaries say that was just the number of men!), so I can only imagine that hundreds of people were following him around most of the time. (I’m getting the mental image of Forrest Gump running down the road with the crowd of people running behind him.) Jesus couldn’t go into a town without being recognized. Everywhere he went, people wanted to get close enough to touch him. He frequently taught from a boat out in the lake, probably so that the crowd wouldn’t mob him.

I have to wonder what these people hoped to gain by following Jesus around. I’m sure that some of them genuinely were interested in his teaching and wanted to know God better. I know that many people came to him to be healed from various diseases and maladies. A lot of people probably had an idea that he was the Messiah and were hoping for him to rescue Israel then and there, and they wanted a piece of the kingdom. Some were probably there for personal gain. I can imagine little entrepreneurial endeavors going on at the Jesus venues. People found out where he would be and hitched up their cart to their donkey and arrived early to set up shop to sell sandwiches and soup to all the other followers.

A lot of people, I’m sure, were just like these people at Fan Fair in Nashville. They just wanted to get close to a celebrity. They wanted to be able to go home and tell all their friends that they got to shake hands with Jesus and feel important. Maybe some of them were like these concert goers (is “groupies” still the right word?) and they felt a sense of community and belonging when they were with a crowd of people with a similar interest. While they were there with the crowd, their sense of emptiness was not as acute, but when they went home and the excitement wore off, the same emptiness returned.

I think this is the problem with a lot of people today. We have a sense of emptiness that needs to be filled. We feel lonely and just want someone to notice us and make us feel special. Yes, cultivating a relationship with God through the love of Jesus can ease that pain, but even people who have developed that relationship and have been in it for a long time are still needy. They go to church and feel a sense of belonging for a couple of hours, but that feeling has long worn off by Monday afternoon. And some cannot find that sense of belonging for even those couple of hours because of the prejudices of those inside the church.

Our churches need to do a better job of welcoming a diversity of thought inside the church doors. When a lost seeker comes inside, the church needs to be welcoming without being dogmatic. And when those who have already found the love of Jesus come searching for a welcoming crowd, we need to celebrate that which we have in common—Christ’s love for us and our love for him. And we need to do a better job of loving those who don’t think exactly as we do. When someone’s ideas don’t line up with our own, instead of dismissing him or her as wrong, we need to open our hearts and learn from that person. To do so does not compromise our own values, and it brings us much closer to the humility that Jesus said we should have.

Friday, June 10, 2005

I do not look like Renee Zellweger.

The other day Husband came home and said, “Guess whose driveway we paved today.”

Husband is an owner-operator dump trick driver, hauling asphalt and gravel for a company that builds roads, parking lots, driveways, and such. So he’s been in a lot of different neighborhoods, and anything that’s new around the Nashville area, he’s probably seen up close.

“I don’t know,” I said. “Whose?”

“Guess!” he replied.

Well, Husband doesn’t usually play the guessing game, so I figured it had to be somebody very important. “Well, where did you work today?” I figured if I knew the location, I might could come up with a name.

“Outside of Franklin,” he said.

“Um…....One of the Judd’s?” I don’t know anybody else around that area.

“No, guess again.”

“I don’t know. I can’t guess. Just tell me.”

“Kenny and Renee,” he said.

“Kenny and Renee,” I repeated. I was clueless.

“You mean you don’t know Kenny and Renee?”

“Kenny…….Rogers?” I tell you, I’m clueless.

“No, Kenny Chesney and Renee Zellweger.”

“Oh,” I said. Now this news just did not impact me the way that he apparently expected it to. He seemed a little disappointed that I wasn’t more enthused. (You see, we’ve discussed Renee before; one of my students told me once that I look like Renee, and my husband agreed. I told him he was nuts—I’m much better looking!). To tell you the truth, I wasn’t all that enthused because people’s celebrity status has never really impressed me all that much, even when I was thirteen and saw Reba McEntyre in J. C. Penney or when I was older and working in the grocery store and Allen Jackson came in. (Oh, I also saw Allen Jackson at the Chapel Hill tractor pull. He had to stand in line at the Port-O-John just like everybody else.) Living in the Nashville area, you sometimes have the chance to bump into celebrities, and honestly, I don’t see why some people think it’s such a big deal.

But apparently it is. The CMA Music Festival (formerly known as Fan Fair) is going on right now, and people have traveled from far and wide just for the chance at rubbing elbows with a country music star. These people stand in long lines for hours under the hot sun in humidity so thick you can practically see it just for an autograph and maybe a picture with a “star.” And they will go home and show it off to all their friends and blow up the pictures and frame them and hang them in a prominent spot in their house. They will always remember the day they met Deirks Bentley, or Mel Tillis, or Jessica Andrews (Husband knows her dad) as one of the best days of their life.

Now tell me, how have these people’s lives been enriched by the experience? How will they be better people because of it? If one of the defining moments (as Dr. Phil would call it) of my life is the day I stood in line for five hours to get an autograph from insert famous person’s name here, that isn’t saying a lot for me. I kind of feel sorry for those people.

“So, did you see her?”

“I’m not sure. A woman drove in in a gray Lexus, but I’m not sure if it was her.”

“Well, what did you see?”

“Well, they’ve got a big shed with several real nice John Deere tractors.”

Now that’s really impressive!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

My Desire vs. God's Will

Recently I visited another blog and took part in a discussion of family planning. The discussion was over the choice of whether or not to have children and why people believe what they do about birth control. For the most part, the participants did not believe in the use of birth control (and some believe to use it is a sin). The overwhelming opinion of the discussion was that the bible says that children are a blessing and that married people are to be fruitful and multiply and that God is ultimately the decision maker on who should and should not have children and when and how many children a couple will have.

Now leave it to me to have a different opinion. Neither Husband nor I have any desire to have any children. In my discussion I came to the conclusion that maybe God has no use for us to have any, and if God wanted us to have children, he would give us that desire. I also said that after prayerfully considering God's will for my life and am completely at peace with my decision not to have children. Therefore, I see the decision to use birth control just as much an act of faith as the decision for others not to use it.

Today I was listening to the radio and heard a verse that I have read many times before, Philippians 2.12-13: “[ . . . ] continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling,  for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” God works in me to will (or desire) and to act according to his good purpose. That pretty much confirmed for me the argument that I had been making. I think that most of the time, when God wants me to do something, he’ll put that desire in my heart. Here’s an example: (Bear with me, this story really does have a point.) When I was in college, I decided to major in English. I just liked the subject and enjoyed putting my thoughts down on paper. (I even like writing research papers—weird, I know!) Now, I didn’t pray about the decision to change my major; I just had a desire to study English, so I did. However, I thought, “What am I going to do with a degree in English if I don’t teach it?” so I enrolled in education classes so that I could get my license to teach high school English. I took the first class in the series, and really learned a lot. Then I began the second class in the series, and for some reason, I just didn’t have the desire to continue. It wasn’t that teaching didn’t seem attractive, but I just didn’t want to continue taking those classes. So I decided to drop the class (again without praying about it), and as soon as I did—I mean, at the moment I handed in the paperwork—I felt a real sense of peace about the situation. I’ll spare you any more details of how I actually did become a teacher, but the main point here is that I had a desire, and I acted on it. Maybe some will say that I should have spent time in prayer over the decision, but I think that this is just how God works with me.

I believe that we as humans have diverse wants and desires for a reason. We aren’t all meant to do the same types of work—our personalities aren’t all suited for the same types of things. God made us individuals with individual thought processes and individual personalities for a reason. He speaks to us in different ways. He has a path for everybody, and not everybody is meant to go down the same path. What is right for one person is not necessarily what is right for another. And the way I make decisions about things may not seem right to some, but it seems right for me.

I hope I haven’t rambled too much here, but this makes sense to me. What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Parts is parts.

For the past few days there’s been a lady teacher (is it too sexist to say “lady teacher”?) on the radio talking about Christian women and the way we dress. I haven’t heard all she’s said because this apparently has been a series over several days. I caught part of it last week and part of it yesterday as I was running errands in town. Anyway, she has stressed the need for Christian women to maintain modesty in their dress so as not to cause men to stumble. I’ve pretty much agreed with what she said. Christian women really don’t have any business showing off their parts to men they aren’t married to. She talked about how men can be very easily enticed, and we don’t want to be the cause of any man to stumble in his Christian walk, and we certainly don’t want to go around tempting other women’s husbands.

This all sounds good to me. You wouldn’t believe the way some of my female college students dress when the weather starts to get warm, and even when it’s still cold out. All that cleavage has got to be distracting to the guys in class. And some of these girls don’t need to be sitting on the front row wearing their low rise jeans with guys sitting behind them. So yes, I agree, women need to be a little more concerned about modesty.

Now here’s where I have a problem. This lady teacher started getting specific yesterday. She mentioned certain body parts that are alluring to men and how we need to keep them covered up. Of course, breasts. We don’t want our bosoms popping out for men to see. Thighs—no miniskirts or Daisy Dukes. The back—OK, I can see where that might be a problem for some men. The shoulders—so does that mean that Christian women shouldn’t wear tank tops? How far do we have to take this? What if some men find long, flowing hair sexy? If we have to consider every body part that a man might find enticing, then we shouldn’t even wear sandals! Heaven forbid that I tempt some man with my toe rings.

OK, I know I’m getting a little silly here, but seriously, how much do Christian women need to cover up? And what is the man’s responsibility here?

Saturday, June 04, 2005

I can't come to a conclusion about unity.

This past year in BSF, we studied the Acts of the Apostles, reading Acts and several NT letters. The one theme that kept jumping out at me was the idea of unity. The apostles continually reminded believers to be unified, to not become distracted by ideas that could cause divisions between them. Paul told the Ephesians, "Be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love. Always keep yourselves united in the Holy Spirit, and bind yourselves together with peace" (4.2-3 NLT).

I like that phrase, make allowance for each other's faults. Why do we get so bent out of shape over people's human tendancies? We all have faults, but I guess in order to make ourselves feel better, we like to think that our faults aren't as bad as someone else's faults. I've been plenty guilty of this, and that's a fault in itself; it's just a part of being human, I suppose.

What's interesting is that what I might consider a fault in a person, someone else might consider a good quality in that person. So if I go badmouthing that person for his or her "fault," I am offending the people who like that person, and I am guilty of not controlling my tongue, making my religion worthless and creating the risk of starting a virtual forest fire, as James would say.

Just because we are all human with our own selfish tendencies, one little remark can cause severe disunity in a body of believers. How sad. But what's even sadder to me is that we don't really seem to want to overcome this tendency. We want our way, and we want everyone else to do it our way too. Examples: Churches split up all the time over issues that shouldn't even be important--like what style of worship to have; Christian friends get mad at each other over politics--church politics and government politics; we hold to certain doctrines that may or may not be perfectly correct scripturally and ostracize those who don't agree. The list goes on. We create and perpetuate divisions because we'd rather be right than unified. In reality, the spiritual lives of Christians sometimes aren't that much better than the spiritual lives of those outside the church because we go on creating chaos for ourselves. No wonder so many unbelievers remain unbelievers.

OK, the English teacher in me says that now I'm supposed to write a conclusion paragraph, but right now I can't come to a conclusion, so I think I'll get up and get some more coffee.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


I'm probably way behind the times in finding this, but recently I visited the Postsecret blog. If you haven't seen it, you should take a few minutes and go look. The site invites readers to anonymously mail in a postcard on which they have written a secret about themselves. Many of the postcards are really creative. Some are funny ("I like the smell of my own farts."), and some are sad ("I am contemptuous of others so it hurts less when they are indifferent to me.").

I was amazed at some of the secrets that people revealed and at how similar some of the secrets were. It really got me to thinking about how little we really know about the people around us, and it saddened me to realize that many people hurt very badly deep down inside but never tell anyone of their hurt for fear of being ridiculed or hated. How sad that we feel we can't share our vulnerabilities with one another.

Oh God, let me be more compassionate and sensitive of others' needs, and let me help them carry their burdens as they help me carry mine.