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Sabbatical

Posted on July 23, 2013 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (4)

I was at my friend Tom’s church this past Sunday. He taught about fasting and taking time out of your life for God. I have fasted before, but not much, so I’d like to instill that as a somewhat regular practice. I’m not sure what form it will take, but I’ll be praying about what God wants me to do in that area. Of course, often I would be fasting from food for a short time, but we can fast from other things, too. Tom said to think about things that we allow to come before God and to consider fasting from those things (e.g. Facebook, TV, etc.), too.

He also talked about taking sabbaticals, which he does pretty often. It doesn’t have to be like professors who take a year or two off. It can be as little as an afternoon and can increase from there if you feel called or just want to try more time. I’ve done it for part of a day before, but this is another area I’d like to make a regular occurrence in my spiritual walk. If you’re not sure what I mean by sabbatical in the Christian sense, it’s really about taking time out of your life to devote to God. It’s NOT a vacation. Vacations are about me and my desires. Sabbaticals are about connecting on a deeper level with God. The focus is on Him, not me. When I did it before, I went to a state park, turned off my phone, and just had my Bible and a journal with me. Yours may not look just like mine, but the idea is to separate yourself from the “world” in order to really concentrate on God and what He might be trying to share with you. It can just be you worshiping Him, learning/reading about Him, or whatever else He leads you to do.

I know that both of these may be a challenge for me. I’m not the most disciplined of people. I’m very mood/emotion driven. (I even forget to eat if I don’t actually feel hungry.) So, I will need to figure out how to work WITH my crazy brain rather than against it. If anyone has any suggestions, I’m open to them!

If you’re interested I’m including the link to Tom’s message: Message

 

Feeling God Through Others

Posted on August 1, 2011 at 11:39 PM Comments comments (1)

I don’t know if I mentioned it or not, but I was a camp counselor last month for a week. It was an amazing time. I don’t want to try to write about everything that happened; I almost feel like that would diminish it somehow. However, I do want to share what God showed me through some of the amazing people with whom I had the privilege to spend a week.

 

First, I want to share a little about my small group. There were three of us counselors (I was the oldest by an unspeakable number of years) and 10 campers. From the first activity we did as a group, we were totally bonded. I have been going to camp as a camper or counselor since I was12. In all those years, I have never experienced a group like this. They were so open with each other, trusting, caring, encouraging, honest, etc. I cannot find words sufficient to express my awe of them and their hearts.

 

I told them a little of how God touched me through them, but I’d like to share a little more. I have always had a VERY strong defense mechanism of not feeling things that I deem too painful, sometimes even just mildly unpleasant. You can imagine how well that’s worked out. I have worked onit with a few therapists and pastors, not to mention much prayer. I’m certainly better than I was, but noted a few years ago that because of this auto-defense, I have trouble having much compassion for others. I’m afraid that if I let myself feel for others too much, I will just be undone 24/7. Think about it: war, famine, torture, rape, any kind of abuse, the troubles my friends/family may be going through, etc. I feel things very deeply, so the idea of letting myself feel anything for anyone on that list or beyond just seems to be too much for me to uphold, even with God’s help. I’ve just been too scared to allow it. I’ve always felt I would drown in an overwhelming flood of despair. Having a past with severe depression doesn’t help. If that’s where I was when I was turning off my feelings, what would happen if I allowed myself to feel for others? I’m not saying I’m a frozen, unfeeling robot. I just don’t let myself feel enough to risk that “coming undone” that terrifies me so.

 

In some of our small group meetings, the campers shared things that they were struggling with. They were willing to be open and raw with us. God absolutely spoke to me through them. I felt so much for them, it could only come out in tears several times throughout the week. I do NOT like to cry in public, but I cried every day that week. And every time (but one I’ll address later) was feeling true compassion for someone else. God used them to push through that wall and help me to see that feeling compassion will not result in me losing it and ending up in the psych ward. I’m not saying that I’m totally over it, but these wonderful, sweet, transparent campers have shown me so much. I cannot thank them enough.

 

Another privilege I experienced was talking to Lilia andLeo. Lilia and I were actually campers together years ago, though I’m not sure that we ever really hung out together. I always liked her, but God has done some amazing things in her since those days. You can see it in her face, like she glows with His light or something. She and her husband Leo (who’s from Columbia where they both live) were there to lead worship, and WOW. They are very much walking with the Lord in the Holy Spirit and are very open about what they’ve learned, their struggles, etc. The freedom they have in Him is palpable and incredibly inspiring. I lost count of how many campers want to go to Columbia to work with them. Their joy in the Lord is infectious and makes you long for more in your own life.

 

Finally, the only time I cried over something about myself. The last day, after the campers are gone, the counselors get together before we all take off in our separate directions and eat at Wendy’s. We were about to drive off when someone stopped me because one of my tires was flat. I don’t make a lot of money and I was over 3 hours from home. I was also ridiculously tired. If you’ve never counseled camp (especially Sr. High X), you may not know that at the end, you are completely drained spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Anything that happens is too much, so I started to cry, and was really at a loss. I just shut down. I started to get my luggage out so we could get to the spare, which also ended up being flat. Without the slightest prompt or delay, several folks jumped right in and started caring for me. Laura lent kind words and a shoulder for me to cry on. Logan, Jim, Leo (I may have missed someone since I was busy blubbering) right away assessed the situation and got  enough air in my tire to get me to the tire place that Randy suggested. If the tire couldn't have helf air, I have no doubt they would have found a way to get my car to the tire place. Then Lilia offered to ride with me (I couldn’t stop crying). At first, my tears were about feeling defeated, lost, hopeless. (As things happened to several counselor cars, we began to feel it was Satan trying to ruin our week since he couldn’t touch us during.) As all those beautiful people reached out to me in love, the tears became, and still are, those of … I’m not sure how to describe it… a most deeply felt sense of love, caring, feeling cherished, and many other words that are insufficient. Every time I think about this or talk about it,the tears come again, so I know it wasn’t just being tired. [You need to know that I have to repeatedly stop typing as I wipe my tears even now] It was God showing His love for me through these incredible people and how much they loved me in that moment. It was God’s desire for me to feel something this overwhelming that lead to my tire and spare both being flat while I was still there. I am a VERY verbal person (anyone can tell you), but trying to put this into words that are full enough truly eludes me and may always. Nevertheless, I am left with example after example of God’s love for me. I will never be able to thank Him enough for giving me that nor my friends for listening to His promt.

 

Fasting

Posted on February 12, 2011 at 9:35 PM Comments comments (1)

I don’t know that much about Biblical fasting. I’ve only done it once, but I do remember it being an experience I want to repeat. I’m in a Bible study with some women at church going through a workbook based on the book, The Power of a Praying Woman by Stormie Omartian. The 6th week is about prayer and knowing God’s will. As I’m going through just the first day, I realize part of why I have such a hard time knowing His will. I DON’T BRING THINGS BEFORE HIM IN PRAYER! Seems pretty simple, huh? I don’t mean to say that I don’t pray, but how can I expect to hear Him if I’m not VERY familiar with His voice? Knowing His will is about being in strong communion with Him (prayer) and knowing what He’s already revealed to us (in His Word). I don’t mean perfunctory prayer before meals or in small group for those present. Paul told us to pray without ceasing, right? (1 Thessalonians 5:7) That is more than a short chat here and there. Isn’t communication the foundation of any human relationship? How much more does God deserve from us? So, how can I improve communication with my God? Obviously, I’m seeing that I need to put more time into being with Him. However, I also want to improve the quality of that time. I think fasting is one way to do this. Don’t forget, fasting is always connected with prayer and being in the Word.

 

Why fast? Since it was a common practice in both the Old and New Testament (including Jesus), it seems pretty obvious. Other reasons (full list with additional scripture here):

  • To minister to others Isaiah 58:6-7
  • Intercession Exodus 24:18
  • Humbling oneself Psalms 35:13
  • Seeking God’s will Ezra 8:21-23
  • Repentance and confession of sin Nehemiah 1:4-7
  • Mourning another's death 2 Samuel 1:12; 3:35
  • Out of concern for another's safety Daniel 6:18
  • When faced with threats on one's own life Esther 4:3; 9:1-3

How’s it done? HUMBLY! Prepare your heart through confession, etc. The length of time is something you can ask God about since it may be different each time. It’s clear that fasting isn’t something you shout about from the mountaintops.“But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6:17-18 


There are two types of fasts:

  • Partial: fasting from one particular item (sugar, meat, etc.)
  • Absolute: fasting from all food (sometimes also from all liquids, which you MUST be sure that God is calling you to before attempting)

A word to the wise: don’t do it if you have an eating disorder, a major medical condition or are pregnant or nursing. Fasting in any of those situations is directly opposed to the commandments that Jesus sited as most important:

Jesus replied:“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

                                                                        Matthew22: 37-40

There’s pretty thorough guide on the Campus Crusade site.

 

What I’ve heard from others who have ever fasted or fast on regular basis is that you are totally focused on God during that time. Would anyone like to share their experience with fasting?

 

 

Not Quite Paleo

Posted on February 11, 2011 at 3:19 PM Comments comments (2)

I’m still not sure how to proceed, but I’m learning more. I remain skeptical about some aspects of the paleo, but apparently, I’m not alone. For instance, they say no potatoes, legumes, or grains, but there is quite a bit of evidence that both paleo and modern hunter/gatherer (HG) groups all these things. In fact, a mortar and pestle was discovered at a site that claims to be 30K years old, so they obviously used grains. Many HG groups ate (and eat) various tubers, including potatoes. There is little evidence that they consumed dairy products, so I may be ridding myself of that at some point, but I see no reason to completely avoid grains and legumes. In fact, there are several proponents who are totally fine with all of the above. It really depends on the type of food and what’s been done to it. I do believe we have WAY too much wheat (and other grains) in Standard American Diet (SAD), so I want to start limiting that. The other thing to know is that the wheat we eat now is very different from the wheat of even 100 years ago (wheat then had 7 chromosomes, now it has more than 100!); not to mention that we process it differently. Also, the kind of wheat that was used in Biblical times is called einkorn (emmer wheat is what is used in SAD), which is what is used to make sourdough bread. How interesting that those with celiac disease can eat sourdough with no problem.

 

I do think the paleo proponents have the right idea, but their focus should be more far-reaching. Modern HG groups also do not suffer from “diseases of affluence,” but they do harvest some grains, eat some dairy, etc. It makes more sense to me (based on what I’m reading) to say that a healthy, Temple Way diet should be mostly plant-based, supplemented by grain, dairy (maybe), and meat. The challenge will be actually carrying through with it!

Ecumenical Patriarch Update

Posted on February 10, 2011 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)

I have some friends who wrote to me to let me know they've been Orthodox for 13 years. I had no idea, since i haven't seen them since the first time I went to college. They gave me some good information to correct my previous post, so I wanted to make sure to include it:

...the Ecumenical Patriarch is a Pope of sorts, but he is not at the top of the pyramid as in Roman circles. He is the first among equals with regard to several other patriarchs of the same rank. They have jurisdiction over varying geographic areas. For example there is a Patriarch in Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and Moscow to name a few. Rome was once numbered among these but due to sin and death in the world the church divided and has yet to be healed though we pray for it daily.

Thank you, Chris, for the information. I remain fascinated by this man.

Clarification

Posted on January 14, 2011 at 8:56 AM Comments comments (1)

After a realy good conversation with my friend Megan yesterday, I think I need to clarify some things from my last post (even for myself). I am ABSOLUTELY NOT saying that we should avoid all chemicals. In fact, we need many of them in the forms of medicine, etc, not to mention the ones that make up our body anyway. It is important to remember that not all chemicals are bad (i.e. medicine) and not all things natural things are good (snake venom might be all natural, but I don’t want to drink any). The point is that you have to be smart about what you’re allowing into/on/around your body. So what’s my justification for what's ok and what's not? I’m still fleshing that out, and it will most likely be a case by case set up, maybe even trial and error. What I’m currently thinking is that we cannot reverse the effects/consequences of the Fall, so God helps us to deal with those consequences. For example, illness, among other things, is one of those consequences. God blessed us with minds that have been able to develop medicine/surgery to help with illness (both physical and mental). In my current thinking, that’s a good thing and makes sense.

 

However, you still have to do your research. Just because someone tells you to take/use/do something, doesn’t mean you should. If you do so blindly, that’s no different than the poor souls lost at Jonestown. Don’t just drink the cool aid. Even if it’s a doctor prescribing medicine, know that doctor well enough that you trust their judgment, find out about the risks/side effects of that medicine, and see if there might be effective alternatives if you’re not comfortable taking that medicine. In addition, just because some Big Business says I need to buy their product doesn’t mean it’s true. Use the brain God gave you.

 

Also, more than once, Matthias has reminded me that with every technological advance, there is a loss. For instance, we gained electricity, but now we work 24/7; we gained the benefits of the industrial revolution, but we have pollution, etc; we gained longer life with better medicine, but now we deal with illnesses from old age. I’m not saying in any way that we shouldn’t have had those advances. I’m saying that we have to be aware of what’s lost, and minimize (if we can) the effects of that loss.

 

Most importantly, as with all things, everything about us should be for God. “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:37-40) Also, "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body," (1 Cor. 6:19-20). All of this, among many other verses, says to me that I need to follow what I’m now calling the Temple Way (names because my body is a temple and Jesus is the Way). If my body is a temple for the Holy Spirit, I need to be very conscious and careful about how I treat it, not jus physically, but also mentally, emotionally and spiritually. As I mentioned in the blog Temple Thought, this is about more than just the physical aspect of the “temple”. It encompasses what I experience with all my senses, what I say/do, what I read/watch; everything. If it doesn't bless the Holy Spirit or bring glory to God, I shouldn’t be taking part in it. Now that’s a tall order, and I know that I will mess up (you know, sinful nature, needing Jesus to die for our sins, etc.). The important thing is that I continue to try to be aware of my responsibility at all times. When I’m watching a movie, I have to ask myself if it’s something that would please Him. If I’m about to eat something, I have to ask if it will be a blessing to the “temple” or not. Don’t get me wrong, I think that food is great and I definitely have a sweet tooth, but do I need to eat half a pie at Thanksgiving? Do I need fast food every day? I don’t think so. I just have to be vigilant about all of this and take it one step at a time.

Paleo Pathway?

Posted on January 11, 2011 at 6:33 PM Comments comments (2)

Recently. I’ve become aware o fsomething called the “paleo lifestyle”. It goes by several other names as well:

  • Paleolithic
  • Neanderthin
  • Caveman
  • Stone Age
  • Hunter-gatherer
  • Primal
  • Low-carb

This all started with an blog I read from someone who had decided to try going without soap and shampoo due to an article he read from someone who lives a paleo lifestyle. In a nutshell, it says that we didn’t “evolve” to be dependent on chemical products to maintain our health and well-being. I then did a TON of reading on this lifestyle and those who follow it. Obviously, I’m not coming from the evolutionary angle, and if you research this, you will have to sift through some of the rhetoric, but the information is the same no matter what you believe. I am coming to believe that this is very much in line with my belief that the closer we live to how God intended, the better off we are. I simply cannot believe that He intended for us to be covered in chemicals and swilling chemicals and gulping down chemicals.There is no way that this could be His best for us.


Using soap as an example, the information suggests (and dermatologists & science seem to agree) that our bodies create all we need to have the healthiest hair, skin and nails on our own, and that soap and shampoo strip away the natural oils and cleansers that we already have. Without those natural oils, we then have stripped skin, which leads to patchy skin, an over-production of oil to try to replenish what’s been stripped, acne, dandruff, etc. If the soap/shampoo is eliminated, the body reverts to its balanced state and those products aren’t needed anyway. The products create a dependence on them and ensure our buying them. (I found the same thing years ago with Chapstick (the brand, not just any lip balm). When I used it, I needed it more; when I stopped, I no longer had such dry lips.) Let me be VERY clear. I’m not talking about no bathing. I’m talking about bathing without soap/shampoo. By the way, doctors always tell new parents not to use soap on babies. There are other ways to be clean. You can read the blog here if you want more info.


How very clever of my friend Big Business: 1) Create the belief that a product is necessary. 2) Manufacture said product. 3) Have product increase the perceived need for it. 5) Sit back and rake in the dollars without concern for health/long term effects. Simply devilish.


As I’m reading more, it occurs to me that while I have concerns about what I put IN my body, I have been giving little to no thought of what I put ON my body. Don’t forget that the skin is the largest organ of the body. Not only that, but what ever is put on the skin is absorbed into the system. I’m very girlie, but now I’m thinking that if I want to treat my body as a temple, I need to find things other than chemicals to adorn myself (you know, cosmetics, perfume, etc). Not only that, but why am I even using these things? It’s to attain/maintain a standard of beauty that is not only impossible but may be bad for my health (best case). Worse, this standard has been set by at least two thirds of the Trifecta of Evil I’m always railing against (the Media and Big Business, can’t say about Government).


Having said all that, I’m also rethinking the fact that I relax my hair. Those are pretty harsh chemicals. However, I spoke to the woman who’s been doing my hair since I was 4ish. She confirmed what I was thinking in that those chemicals are only on my hair and only for about 15 minutes once ever 2-3 months. So if I decide to continue, I think I will be ok with that. I still want to look into what it would take to have my hair natural. As a biracial woman, it’s no small decision. I would have to radically change the way I manage/style my hair. I’m not sure if I’m ready for that, at least not yet.


However, I can definitely handle the cosmetic issues. I still have many of the ingredients from when I was thinking of starting a business. If I decide it’s too much trouble making my own, there are many reputable cosmetic lines available (though it's cheaper to make my own). I’ve also discovered that while the FDA regulates the term “organic” for food, it is NOT regulated for cosmetics. That means that just because you see the words “organic” or “natural” on cosmetics, does not mean they are. You still have to read labels and may have to dig into the company to find out about their practices and sources for ingredients. You can also check the Coming Clean site, which rates various products on how truly natural they are.


This is a LOT to think about, and I have very little idea how to implement all I’m learning. I do know that when I feel the need to change something in my life, I can go overboard, which leads to failure, which means I quit altogether. I don’t want to do that this time. I’m going to try to change little by little. For instance, I’m going to try the no soap/shampoo thing (called “no poo” ) for a while to see how it goes.I actually stopped using shampoo a while ago and only clean with conditioner, but the recommendation is to clean the hair with baking soda and “condition” with vinegar (usually apple cider vinegar – the smell is gone once it’s dry). From what I’ve read, it take 2-4 weeks for the body to re-balance itself, and it’s hard to make it through that transition. It seems like detox; for instance, if you have dandruff, it’ll be worse during that transition, but infinitely better afterward.


I'm not thrilled with theterms/connotations associated with this lifestyle, so I'm open to anysuggestions. I'm thinking something about the Temple (you know, the body as atemple). Maybe:

  • Temple Lifestyle
  • Temple Existence
  • Temple Way
  • Temple Standard

I’m excited about what I’m learning and how it affects my relationship with God.

TV Junkie Reform?

Posted on October 4, 2010 at 3:26 PM Comments comments (1)

First, I need to apologize for the hiatus. I was pretty severely depressed sometime last month, and it’s taken me this long to start to get back on track, not only with my blog but also with my Bible reading. Thanks to Angie and Matthias, that is coming back under control. Moving on...

 

Anyone who knows me knows that I watch TV as much as possible. I have it on even when I’m not watching. I assume this stems from when I was younger and my mom had to work late. I had the TV on just for the noise of other voices. Now, I watch just about anything at anytime. We don’t even have cable, and I manage to waste time in front of the TV. With that said, I feel like God is calling me to watch less, so that I have more time for Him and things He’s calling me to do. I’m not sure how to decide what to watch or how many hours a day/week, but that’s my current issue.

 

I’ve also finally nailed down my primary spiritual gift: EXHORTATION. Now that I know, I can delve into it and develop it. I feel that as I should do that for my natural abilities to best use them for God, so I should for a spiritual gift He’s given me.

 

I also feel like God is calling me to some pretty big changes in my life:

  • More focus treating my temple better
    • Setting a regular sleep pattern
    • Better nutrition (esp. organic food, cooking – which I hate)
    • Exercise
    • Getting regular neurofeedback treatments
    • Taking care of physical ailments
    • Making time for things that relax me when I’m stressed
  • Better time management (i.e. less TV) to have more time for Him.
  • Being more compassionate – super hard for me, since I’m so closed off from my deepest emotions
  • More time in Bible study
  • Actually having a Sabbath (spending the day on things of God)

Obviously, those are some pretty big changes, and I can’t do them all at once, so I’m trying to figure out where/how to start. It’ll be a challenge but “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”

Changling of God?

Posted on August 13, 2010 at 10:09 AM Comments comments (2)

I noticed something pretty interesting over the week. I was at home watching movies. I had heard a lot about the movie Crash, so I had checked it out from the library. It was pretty interesting and eye-opening. It’s basically about the hidden and not-so-hidden prejudices that we all harbor. It was very real and very disturbing.

 

What interested me, though, was my abnormal reaction to it. Usually, I just watch a movie and that’s it. This time, I was profoundly affected by things that I normally barely even register. For instance, how the people in the movie treated each other. Not only was there blatant and subtle racism, but there was also disrespect and dismissal among those who claimed to care about one another. All of this hurt me quite a bit. In fact, I almost cried about the fact that these fictitious characters were filled with so much hate and anger. Part of that was realizing that these were a pretty fair representation of how we all really are. We live in a fallen world full of hate, anger, disrespect, and dismissal. How it must grieve God that we treat each other so.

 

I was also very disturbed by all the foul language. This is something that doesn’t usually bother me, since I can be pretty foul myself, but this time almost caused me to stop watching. I continued because I felt the topic was important, but every word almost slapped me across the face. Why would this be an issue now?

 

My mom suggested both reactions could stem from that fact that I’m on the road to being more accountable to God. I think she’s right (don’t tell her I said that). It appears that God is working in me already through more regular prayer, more open/compassionate heart, etc. Wow. I have only been listening to praise and worship music because that’s all I seem to want to do: praise Him. I have spent several hours each day reading His Word, or reading about His Word because I want to be immersed in all things Him and not me. This is pretty amazing. I feel like I’ve been spiritually asleep for 35 years and now my eyes are starting to open.

Patriarch Bartholomew

Posted on August 9, 2010 at 12:25 PM Comments comments (1)

Patriarch Bartholomew

 

Non-Catholics don’t have anything like a Pope, right? That’s what I thought until last night’s 60 Minutes (watch). I was introduced to "His All Holiness, Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople, New Rome Ecumenical Patriarch". How’s THAT for a title? Despite that, he seems very humble and down to earth. When the CBS reporter asked him how to best address him, and he said, with a smile and a twinkle in his eye, “Bartholomew.” I’m not an Orthodox Christian, and he’s technically their leader, but we must share many, if not all of our beliefs. I should have at least heard of him before age 35. Ecumenical means universal, so why don’t mainstream Western Christians know more about Orthodox Christianity and the Ecumenical Patriarch? My goodness, he resides where the Christian Church was centered for centuries.

He’s a Santa/Dumbledore/Gandalf look-alike with a quick smile, clear intelligence, and a love for all mankind. Even though the Turkish government seems to want to get rid of any vestige of Christianity in that country, he still works to make peace with everyone. He is faced with hatred and danger, but he keeps on speaking God’s love. Amazing.

Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew’s roles as the primary spiritual leader of the Orthodox Christian world and a transnational figure of global significance continue to become more vital each day. He co-sponsored the Peace and Tolerance Conference in Istanbul (1994) bringing together Christians, Muslims and Jews. Most noted are his efforts in environmental awareness, which have earned him the title “Green Patriarch.” He has organized environmental seminars in co-sponsorship with His Royal Highness Prince Philip, and international environmental symposia on Patmos (1995) and around the Black Sea (1997). …These endeavors, together with his inspiring efforts on behalf of religious freedom and human rights, rank Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew among the world’s foremost apostles of love, peace and reconciliation for humanity, a reason for which he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by the U.S. Congress. (Source)

 

I’m not saying that I want to become an Orthodox Christian, but this man has impressed me enough that I at least want to learn more about orthodoxy in general and him in particular.

Accoutabilibuddy

Posted on July 30, 2010 at 11:08 AM Comments comments (0)

To use a word I learned from two friends at camp (thanks, Amie and Emily!). I have talked about accountability quite often recently. When I was talking about it with the bf, he asked me who my partner was, and I didn’t have one! I mean, I talk to my mom, him, and Angie about things, but I didn’t have an “official” set up. So, since I know how important it is, I asked Angie to pray about that for us, and she agreed. YAY! Now we’re talking about when to meet, what areas we want to work on, etc. I’m pretty excited. I know that this is the beginning of some serious growth for both of us; both spiritually and as friends.

 

These are the areas I’m thinking of at the moment (subject to change)

• being in the word daily (even if just a verse)

• compassion for others

• (maybe) being in a study

• developing my spiritual gift(s)

• ways to be cognizant of God 24/7

• Treating my body like the temple of God

 

We’ve been talking about actually meeting once or twice a month, but being in more frequent contact over email/text/IM. I’ll let you know how things are going.

Outsiders

Posted on July 26, 2010 at 1:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Pastor Terry’s sermon yesterday was a survey of the book of Ruth. It brought up some interesting questions. He said that Ruth highlights our “Missionary God” and listed three practices that can indicate that we’re in tune with God’s missionary heart:

 

• Respecting outsiders

• Welcoming outsiders

• Including outsiders

 

Ruth was an outsider in the sense that she was a Moabite (nationality) and grew up in another religion – two ways that we readily agree are outside what we’re used to. However, he stressed that there are many kinds of outsiders: different economic status (high or low), education level (high or low), lifestyle choice, political affiliation (including the President), clothing, music, dress, age, etc. There are many people that we may consider “other”, but that is only more reason for us to show them respect, welcome, and inclusion. In fact, the only people Jesus ever yelled at were those who acted as if they were “right” about everything and better than the prostitutes and tax collectors. I’ve been thinking about who my “outsiders” are. Right away, I think of the very wealthy, not very bright people (I don’t mean lack of education either), and I’m sure there are many more if I sit down and think about it. Who are your outsiders?

Crazy Love!

Posted on July 21, 2010 at 7:51 PM Comments comments (0)

Well, I'd forgotten how tired,depressed and emotionally spent I am after camp. Sheesh. I cried about everything and my boyfriend had to let me sleep more than usual. Luckily, he's pretty great and I recovered faster than I used to.

 

I realized something though. This year, I felt like I was fairly emotionally closed off; like I haven't been in years. I'm not sure why, but there you have it. I didn't surrender myself to the experience, to getting to know the campers and other counselors as I usually do. I can only suspect, but it could be from feeling like a newcomer in some ways, or of not being sure that I'd come back at first (maybe I didn't want to be let down?). Anyway, I've been working on being more open, so this may have been a fallback kind of reaction. Some unnecessary self-defense.

 

More importantly, I've been convicted of my – lukewarmness? I love God, but have I been crazy in love with Him? I'm not sure about that. I plan on reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan, but till I get it, I've watched one of his sermons on suffering (here). It made me ask myself some hard questions. I have to be careful because I have a BAD habit of comparing myself to others, but if I'm truly in love with God, shouldn't I be shouting itfrom the mountain tops? I talk to more people about Harry Potter than about God. Ridiculous. Am I so afraid of persecution, of even causing discomfort? Jesus said that we should rejoice in persecution and actually be surprised if it's NOT happening. The norm for a Christian should be persecution. Now, it's not like we have to be worried about torture or imprisonment in the US, but how many times have I taken the easy road in a conversation so as not to offend another with my silly Jesus talk? Not cool. Why am I not searching for ways to bring Him up? I don't want to be a jerk either; we are called to love, but why don't I accept the idea of causing discomfort through that love? Am I so averse to speaking truth because I'm afraid of how someone will see me? We aren't called to be people pleasers. Jesus said, "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (Matt 10:34) My aim has to be to please God, not man. Yikes. That is a scary proposition, but thankfully, I don't have to do it alone. Not only isGod with me, but He's provided the fellowship of believers to help each other. As I taught at camp about accountability, I should know how powerful that is. Through God and other believers, I should be able to reach this most basic of goals in the the Christian walk. AMEN!

Incognito

Posted on July 9, 2010 at 2:06 PM Comments comments (2)

I'm off to camp tomorrow! Of course, this means that even if I wanted to, I won't be able to write a blog. What I'm going to try to do is hand-write (ugh) some bloggish things and post them when I get home (or from bf's house - where I'm going after camp for a few days). I make NO promises, but I will certainly try.

Accountability

Posted on June 29, 2010 at 11:16 PM Comments comments (1)

As promised, my awesome handout for the girls on accountability.


Preview of Accountability

Posted on June 25, 2010 at 3:06 PM Comments comments (0)

I'm not sure if I've talked about it here, but accountability is one of my pet issues of the Christian life. I had decided to work up some information to share with at least the girls in my cabin, so I thought it would be nice to share that information here, too. As soon as I'm done, I will post it!

To Camp or Not to Camp?

Posted on June 14, 2010 at 2:24 PM Comments comments (3)

I grew up going to a camp called Judson Hills (from the age of 12). After being a camper, I started being a counselor and was even on staff one summer. I LOVED that place (so did many others). The camp is no longer part of American Baptist Churches (don’t get me started on how they screwed that up), but the camp I counseled for the most (Sr. High) started going to Camp Koinonia. I haven’t counseled for quite a few years, but this year I felt the Lord calling me back. It’s the 2nd week of July and while I’m excited, I’m also pretty nervous. I’ve never been to Koinonia, this is a whole group of kids I don’t know and counselors I haven’t counseled with, I’m not in my “cool” 20’s anymore, and I’ve gained quite a bit of weight since I was last there (thanks to PCOS), which could make things more difficult. I know some of this could be the enemy trying to keep me from going, but it’s still a little scary. I choose to trust in God and His good will to protect me and remind me of how much I love counseling.

Bible Reading

Posted on September 1, 2009 at 2:43 PM Comments comments (0)

I'm on day two of reading through the Bible in year: so far so good (lol). I'm using blueletterbible.org to keep track of what I'm reading. I really like their plans. They have several different ways to go through (traditional canon, chronological, NT/OT, etc.), so you have choices. I've chosen to go through chronologically. (I've read several places that the Bible as we know it is not in the order in which it was written. Does that disturb anyone else?!) Anyway, I mark off as I read a chapter, so the site keeps track of what I've read. It also can hold you accountable if you so choose, which I did. There are TONS of study aids, suggestions for song/music, lexicons, etc. for every verse. I think this is going to go well. It helps that I?m at work most days, so taking a few minutes to read every day is pretty easy.

Cat Got Your Tongue?

Posted on August 26, 2009 at 5:41 PM Comments comments (0)

Some of you know that I’ve been contemplating how much I talk. It’s a LOT, to understate. A few months ago, I mentioned thinking that I should be more deliberate about what I say. I’ve been doing that more in the last 2 weeks than all those months before. As a consequence, I’ve been much less talkative than usual. This could also be a result of less anxiety (one of the “symptoms” is excess chatter). Because of this, everyone at works asks me if I’m all right. I am. I’m just fine. I just don’t need to say as much as usual. I’m being more internal than external. It could also be from the influence of my introvert boyfriend. Who know? Maybe God is prepping me to speak less so I write more? That would be interesting, no?

My next step in being content internally would be to be ok with being alone; as it is, I HATE being alone or doing anything alone. Part of the reason for that is how extroverted I am, but it’s even more due to my anxiety. I have to learn to let that go, to be ok with hearing my own thoughts, etc. Of course, that’s hard to do with racing thoughts, so I hope this will get easier with therapy, better meds, neurofeedback, and of course God.

Tamed Tongue Transforms Thoughts

Posted on November 19, 2008 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (0)

As I've mentioned, I’m trying to be more cognizant and careful about what I do and don't say. I’ve noticed over the last few days that it’s starting to affect my attitude. I work at a national pregnancy hotline, and you may have noticed from certain blog entries that I can get pretty frustrated with people. However, I’ve been trying not to make comments from that frustration. I have noticed that I haven’t been as frustrated or irritated by ignorance as usual. I can only assume that it’s a result of trying not to say what doesn’t need to be said. I don’t feel as stressed either. There’s a school of thought that says that speaking a word makes that concept true. If I’m not speaking my frustration (when doing so is not helpful). I’m not saying don’t talk about problems if you need to. Maybe I’m getting a glimpse of life with a tame tongue?