Friday, November 10, 2017

Foil for Darkness

Wow, Beth Moore! I'll tell ya...she's been on a roll on Twitter lately! This one is just a public agreement with a pretty accurate critique in my view, but still...she's challenging some of the sadder "evangelical" (but really "less-than-Jesus") norms. YES! You go, girl! :)


Thursday, November 9, 2017

"Newness Advantage"

The previous blog and then a realization that I get to go to a conference in a week by another inspirational person! Goodness! God is so good at being GOOD! ;) The "Newness Advantage" is something that I am super excited to see, read and grow in! The lifestyle of heaven's realities. Yep!

Say What Now? Wow!

Sometimes we have these opportunities that just come out of nowhere yet leave us with material to last a lifetime. I just had one of those. I can't talk about it too much yet, but I definitely will soon. All I'll say is that I had the opportunity to talk to a hero...and besides almost falling off my chair and peeing myself...I feel so very hopeful about the future.

An awesome challenge..."love the presence of God, love worship, and love how the Holy Spirit moves."

Heck ya! I'm all in!

And now to explore those more!!!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Fierce

Strength Aligned With Judgment

Strength wrongly aligned with judgment unleashes destruction.

Yep, it's something God was challenging me about a few months ago to NOT do, and unfortunately, my eyes are now open to how easy it is to do and how much it actually happens all around me.

Justified. "Christian-y" even.

Here's what I'm talking about...

Humanity was made to create. Well, co-create really. We were designed, through our agreements and disagreements, to align with the desires of the divine to release goodness. It really is one of the most beautiful aspects of free will. Alongside those agreements, we can bring our particularly beautiful ways of thinking and unique abilities. A partnership of belief and action that creates..."amazingness" in the our spheres of influence.

Think about it... People who internally agree with the notion that beauty is real and important...who then align their abilities to design architecturally or artistically with that notion...and create some of the most beautiful structures, paintings, sculptures, poetry, music, theater... Example after example. Humanity at our best.

Unfortunately, because we took a bite of that forbidden fruit (the tree that deceives me to elevate my role in judgment to that of God), we tend to agree/disagree with really sad sentiments. And when we attach our talents/strengths/abilities to those, ugh...it ain't pretty.

We can be agents of unleashing destruction...with no one else to blame really. My power paired with a critical spirit, an offense, an arrogance, and on and on... My responsibility.

So...it has me considering things. I want to be an agent of LIFE, of beauty, of goodness, of forgiveness, of restoration, of unity....

Have your way, Lord! Have your way!






Friday, November 3, 2017

Modern-Day Pharisee?

Oh dear...interesting challenge. I don't know anything about who the author is, but the concepts are interesting to consider.


12 Signs You Are A Modern-Day Pharisee


Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Sleep In The Storm

"I will not be storm-tossed. Lord, put your glory on display!" - Jesus (Message version, Jesus Calms The Storm)

 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

What Keeps Us From The Central Thing

"Our fundamental sin is that we place ourselves in the position of God and divide the world between what we judge to be good and what we judge to be evil. And this judgment is the primary thing that keeps us from doing the central thing God created and saved us to do, namely, love like he loves.” 

- Greg Boyd (Repenting of Religion)

What an amazing challenge! A great reminder about how ingrained that "tree of the knowledge of good and evil" is in our broken humanity. We don't always allow ourselves to see it...that's for sure. Sometimes a bite from that fruit looks and feels so good and...justified. 

But we were made for better food...a spiritual meal that fills with so much more than pride, self-defense and all that ya-da. 

Oh my...so much to consider. 


Monday, October 23, 2017

"Alive In You"

The Trail of Honor

I think I'm becoming a pretty good "watcher". Well, getting there...

With all of the drama I deal with from junior and senior high students...having to discern what is true or not in their hormone-driven wars...

With all of the conflict I have dealt with in employment scenarios...the varying perspectives, convictions, talents, needs, power struggles, emotions...

I've found a few strategies to navigate what's really going on...what the truth is.

Asking the Holy Spirit for direction is definitely a "must". Scripture says that God's ways and perspectives are far beyond our own. In humility, we can ask for the truth to rise up...or for the trust that He has all things in His hands with no need for my thoughts or fingers.

And then there's something I tell my kiddos over and over again...we can look for the "trail of honor".

What the heck am I talking about?

* Who is speaking out the value of others rather than attacking it?
* Who is communicating all kinds of info to rally "teams" or "sides"?
* Who is fact-checking and who is not?
* Who is accusing or using polarizing verbiage?
* Who is holding confidences and who is justifying gossip?
* Who is feeding a victim mentality and who is calling for an upgrade?
* Who is assuming the worst?

This is the "trail of honor".

Why is it important?

The "trail of honor" doesn't seek to destroy or further perpetuate conflict. It doesn't need to create enemies to move forward. It stands for something higher. And for me...that's usually the path to truth.

Soulful Disappointment in People

God is so very good. If you know me, you know that the statement in the face of a storm is a major miracle and milestone. Through tough situations, God can be an anchor...a source of peace, perspective and wisdom.

It's people who disappoint me...honestly, I have to say it.

For all of the plans that God has, His desire is to have human agreement...partnership...that we would align our free will with His goodness. All too often, though, humans grab onto previous woundings, pinhole perspectives and subsequent assumptions/judgments and then say/do things that contribute to destruction and division.

I've done it. I've experienced it. And I'm just plain tired.

I've had to witness several, serious situations this year where the choices of people created circumstances that were so very unfortunate and so potentially destructive. And to be honest...there are several of us that have had to practically kill ourselves (stepping in to compensate in places or stand for tough things in others) so that others today can enjoy the privilege of being angry because of love for someone rather than anger for very apparent messes of dysfunction.

My disappointment is so grave that I am experiencing just a soulful grief...an exhaustion no sleeping pill could touch.

So...I'm really working hard to stand on the goodness of God, agreeing with what He wants to do as far as I can align my free will, my strengths and hurt heart with Him...and the reality is that I have had to...have been able to...accept that I don't need to be a part of the complete solution anymore.

I've actually adopted the perspective of having an exit in mind right now to keep being able to deal with other people's junk and a few people's lofty opinions based on limited perspective. A "this can be over for me soon" mentality. At least that's what is helping me plod forward right now...a letting go of having to see it through...having a perspective of an end in sight.

I've already made decisions regarding work. I've only committed for one more year in my teaching job. (Honestly, if I can get my sweet husband to find a job that could take us away for even a year, I'd step out sooner. Hehe.) And, I've committed at church to getting my dad to a place of complete retirement in the next few months so he doesn't have to be stressed/used/abused in his position anymore...free to be who he is made to be with no grief. And even more, so that a new leadership (sans me) can take its place. At that point, I will be free to evaluate my role in serving, if any. I might just be freed to be more "me" too.

A discipline that has been helpful for me in addition to owning the fact that I don't have to see it all through is gratitude. I can't tell you how many conversations I've had and cards I've written expressing thankfulness for the dedication and commitment of people who, for the better part of a year, have sacrificed and fought for investment in people as they are made/called to be. People who have poured out their hearts, strengths, and tears and who have offered prayer after prayer after prayer for God's will to be done.

So, there it is. I'm exhausted. I'm disappointed in people. But, I'm so confident in God's goodness...a perspective that is helping me let go of needing to be involved and a perspective of gratitude for moments of righted, broader perspective.

It ain't easy...but it WILL be good.






Saturday, October 21, 2017

Triune Oneness

“The loving oneness of the church is to reflect the loving oneness of the Trinity. Indeed, the loving oneness of the church is to participate in the loving oneness of the Trinity: “As you . . . are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us.” As we participate in God’s loving oneness, we replicate this loving oneness among ourselves. And as we replicate this loving oneness, the world sees and believes that Jesus Christ is sent from the Father. The world knows the reality of the triune God because they encounter the love of the triune God in us.” 

I found this quote today...a reminder from a great, challenging book by Greg Boyd called "Repenting of Religion: Turning from Judgment to the Love of God". It struck me immediately because the verse referenced, which is a prayer Jesus spoke about the future church, is the theme verse our church strategic planning committee recently chose to embody the heart of our congregation. 

A mighty aspiration...but a crazy-difficult challenge. Well, especially for some. Wounding, judgment...I suppose there are a number of potential threats to Jesus' ideal for us. 

Still, it's an awesome calling. Oneness with the trinity...leading to love for each other...creating a powerful message for the world. 

Here's to keeping on keeping on...

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Slow Death Of The Church

These articles keep showing up in my Facebook feed. So weird considering recent events. Here's one that's been interesting to think about.

The Church That Votes For A Slow Death

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Emotionally Intelligent Leadership

Oh my! Wow! This article came up on my Facebook news feed this morning, and I find it so very good and challenging. Excellent reminders to be committed to learning and growing no matter the season. Self-awareness...key.

Emotionally Intelligent Leadership

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

WW Wisdom

I can't tell you how many times I have watched Wonder Woman since it came out, and I have no plans to stop any time soon! It inspires me all the time! The questions she has to work through in the face of disappointment and challenge are phenomenal. I so relate.

"It's not about 'deserve'...it's about what you believe...and I believe in love!"

It's so good to check our priorities sometimes. It's easy to let other things drive our decisions and actions in ways that create destruction. I've found that I need to challenge myself on occasion to intentionally take up the lens of love...to fight for it...so that what is produced out of my frustration and sorrow isn't in agreement with the suffering (especially in a way that would perpetuate it). No, I want good to come out of challenge and sadness.

It's worth it...

Friday, October 6, 2017

Friend to You

One of my high school students said this the other day..."If you had a friend who treated you like you treat yourself, how long would you be friends?". Wow! Such a great question. We need to treat ourselves better. Be an awesome friend to YOU! :)

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Ezer Rising's Post

I follow a group on Facebook called "Ezer Rising". It's a site that supports women in leadership and the philosophy of marriage called egalitarianism. I saw this post today and absolutely loved it. Jesus was such a liberator...and still is! :)

---

* The women who followed Jesus were rebels.
* They talked to Jesus when it was socially discouraged.
* They discussed theological matters even though it wasn't their place.
* They sat at His feet and learned, despite the fact only a male rabbi student was allowed to do that in their day.
* They followed Jesus and served Him of their own free volition, without any man's permission.
* They preached and preached and preached about the Son of God, even when human men wouldn't give them a platform.
* Above all, they had a strong, immovable faith in Jesus that the most powerful and educated religious leaders in their day didn't have.

Like these women... be a rebel.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Nothing I Hold On To

We sang this song in worship on Sunday, and it was such a blessing to me. I went searching for it on Youtube of course but couldn't find one that captured the passion of this place/position in life. And then I found Leon Timbo! "I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open!" Yes, I will. :)

    

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Tragic Irony

I feel like one of the greatest ironies I will experience in life will be the notion that some of the most resistant to actually living out the realities of love, grace, restoration and unity that Jesus' death and resurrection brought about...may be those IN the church.

I just literally find myself in shock sometimes.

Maybe it's always been this way and I'm just noticing it...but it seems so blatant lately. Public to personal. Watch the news, look at social media, observe how people speak and act in the church and other faith-based organizations...it just seems so apparent lately.

It makes me heart-sick. Disappointed in people. Sad for what could be but isn't...

And I ask Jesus how to be like Him to them...instead of being like them to them. (yep...complicated wording...hehe). I don't have good answers yet...or at least don't have ones that satisfy my disappointment and sadness.

How to love...how to stand for goodness and truth...how to sometimes oppose or challenge those who should be on the same page but aren't...and how to let go...

Jesus, intervene. Help us to live better.



Thursday, September 14, 2017

Who Am I Gonna Be?

I was challenged a few weeks ago to consider who I want to be...

We all face situations that push on our hearts/minds/souls/strengths/weaknesses/struggles/wounds. Some offer opportunities of delight. Others can be issues of grief, injustice, attack... It's just how life is.

If you are at all like me, I usually try to engage situations strategically...finding the path to resolution as quickly as possible. I'm a huge fan of finish lines. But...I realized I never stop to view the trial through a formative lens. I don't ask myself what this process could be building in me (or us in the community sense).

It turns out...maybe the goal of the journey isn't as much the specific issue at hand...maybe it's the "becoming" along the way...

So, that's what I'm doing. I have some things that need strategy, but I'm not ignoring the big question along the way.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

This Is How I Fight My Battles

An unusual communion song...and a great message for the heart. My sister played this for me last night and I was undone!!!

"This is how I fight my battles...at Your table."

"It may look like I'm surrounded, but I'm surrounded by You."

"Nothing is as strong as Your blood."

"Your blood and Your body have overcome."

Man, what a great reminder!!! Communion with Jesus...meeting him at the table of communion...is the place of connection where we can really "push back" against the battles that come our way.

"You've already overcome." Amen.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Surviving the Internal Reality of Another

Sometimes we are at the mercy of another person's internal world.

Our "grids", our wounds, our beliefs or judgments (whether true or not) are the lenses through which we see people or situations. Interpreting what we see through those potentially fogged lenses, we choose how we want to speak or act.

And because of our extreme value for our respective lenses...we can actually feel penned in by how others see situations. A "no win" situation. That or we could be the one doing the penning...

Because a person's internal world is really unchangeable unless they choose a different perspective themselves, I've found it critical lately to consider how to live in the context of someone else's reality. A critical question because I've not found confrontation to elicit much change of view.

* Sometimes we just plain don't have to deal with it. I guess abandoning ship is always an option...though, for me, I struggle with that being over-used. We've tended to become a bit weak in America in over-assessing danger that requires retreat...when we could be rising to do hard things.

* We could just let their reality become our own...or at least become the dominant and ruling perspective. That, however, would be quite unsettling...as we aren't simply meant to survive life under someone else's mind-thumb. How cruel.

* Ideally, mutual parties could be open to the potential imperfections in our respective realities. Because of value for all people (and thus perspectives), we could commit to respect the internal worlds of others and then compromise. Alas, that would take very willing, non-threatened parties...

But how does one proceed in situations where personal conviction is NOT retreat but the other very much intends to have their internal world rule circumstances???

Sigh.

I think it's important to acknowledge the value of our own realities and not allow someone else's to internally discredit our own. I get to hold my story dear...it's my right...and I get to agree to disagree with their truth. In nurturing a healthy reality, we must be vigilant about filtering the messages of another. We can hear them, but we don't need to fully receive the fiery arrows of accusation. As such, it is absolutely appropriate to stand up for appropriate treatment. Their perspective may not change, but they will discover a boundary of how I will be treated.

In that personal validation, though...I'm realizing that we need to have an even greater value for improving our own internal world. We need to be open to adjusting perspective...healing our defaults, being broadened...so that we can have the best life experience possible. Though the other party may never adjust, I can improve my reality in the friction. A life unhindered by self-centered priorities...how fulfilling.

And I guess for me...because my internal world is ideally becoming evermore in line with the reality of the divine...it is important to center my reality in who God is and what God sees. He is the God of shalom-peace (Hebrew: wholeness, health and harmony) and has that peace as a substantive gift for my world. While the opposition may be flopping around like a fish out of water, I can be enveloped in the deep waters of His goodness...and not be rocked...and speak/act/PRAY from a place of rest.

Trying to put that into practice more...and trying to make sure my world isn't inappropriately encroaching on others...


Monday, July 17, 2017

Pursuing Options...Finding Some More Jesus


It was just such an awful end to the year for my job...enough that I've been left just spinning. Still in shock from the situation...frustration with Christians...offense at such a blow to something I've poured my life into (something I believe in and know can work)...subsequent conflicted sense of personal direction... Yep, it's been so messy.

BUT...one thing I've realized is that my sense of God's goodness has not been shaken. If you know me at all, you know that's a breakthrough. I've been studying and meditating on the goodness of God for about a year, hoping to have the concept internalize into a heart-reality. So, the good news is that I wasn't robbed of my God-sense this time.

It has been my sense of "me" and my faith in fellow-Christians...rocked.

So, I decided to start looking for other jobs this summer. Honestly, I think I needed to do so. I've felt taken advantage of for so many years...believing in what a place does and could be can make for perfect "use and abuse" scenarios. The downside of vision. Being that my vision has been a bit more rocked, I began the hunt.

The awesome thing is that I actually have had some options!! I think I've thought myself not marketable because of being used for so long. Not true. I definitely needed to find out I can be useful elsewhere.

That said...after one particular offer, I found myself asking God if this was the open door for a major life change. Lots of internal conflict, lots of prayer, lots of advice...

I feel like God spoke!! He tends to be initially in the smaller details for me...the hints of a treasure hunt. Through a few different sources, I heard reference to 2 John in the Bible...a letter written to a lady who teaches the young. And in the words of that letter, I felt a confirmation to stay planted for now. To not move on in reaction to a mess but to steward what is left...for now. One more year of stewarding that assignment...

Jesus works with us to bring His love and His kingdom. Sometimes that means taking on the hard things...for a little while longer. What we write together for the next chapter???...it will be built on a foundation of stewardship and faithfulness... I'm so in love with the potential of that...joyful and hopeful for the future.

So, I'm thanking God for walking with me through this challenging time. I have a lot more to process and bring to a place of peace, but taking the moment to pursue alternatives has led me on to even more of His "real"...that's good news.


Remember

Been loving this song lately...encouraging.

  

Monday, July 10, 2017

He Left!!!

I'm not so sure what I think of house church arrangements, but the perspective of Francis Chan regarding his departure from the "big" church is so...refreshing. I couldn't agree more. "We are Church" is his new venture, and his challenge to not build around the gifts of one person is delightful. I like it for so many reasons...I think it limits pride, it appreciates the contributions of all and doesn't wrongly empower (the rich, the beautiful, the extrovert, etc.), it provides relational investment that really yields growth, it directs funds to real "work"...on and on and on. I feel like my community has accomplished some of this, but there is definitely room for growth. Would LOVE to see more and more and more...in so many realms.

 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Get Me Outta Here...Maybe?

Someone shared something in church on Sunday that resonated completely with some of my concerns of late. They shared an impression they had (a word) from God that was so "nail on the head" that I had to verbally "AMEN!" that thing.

"The name of Jesus without the love of Jesus...is a lie."

Again, let me say...AMEN!!!

And truthfully...this is a MAJOR problem with the church in America. (And by "church", I mean local churches, church systems, Christian institutions and organizations, groups and individuals...and I even mean it about the "Lone Ranger Christians" who withdraw to religiously judge from a distance...anyone who would say they are "Jesus-people".) It's a problem I believe every single one of us needs to consider.

It is best demonstrated for me right now in how the church in America "eats its own". Excommunication is alive and well. The witch hunt is alive and well. "Us" vs. "Them". Shame, slander, smear campaigns... Assumption of evil without investigation...slaughter houses for the innocent, broken and lost. Verbal ascent to redemption and restoration with no real action in the least. The arrogance of Christian religion (standing for things in the name of Jesus) with a complete disconnection from the relationship realities of Jesus (embraced by and living out His love)...justified "burning at the stake" all over the place.

And it's a total lie. A lie from the enemy of Love. One that I have such anger over...

Because really...how is love-depleted, "religious" Christianity any different from other religions that push "law" over "love"??? Like the others...I feel that approach, absent the relational impact of the person of Christ who is the embodiment of the love of God, is dead, nothingness...just identity propped up by "striving" (the doings of duty)...a striving that often elicits the destruction of others to build up self. As my ragamuffin friend said...zombies are real. The walking dead...in the church.

Quite a crossroads for me right now related to this issue...a feeling of wanting to withdraw completely from association with these unhealthy, religious people but also not wanting to withdraw from legitimate community like the extreme isolation (also unhealthy in my view) of the Lone Ranger types.

Caught between two ditches...

And here's the quandary...I want my destiny to be about living and loving forward. Kingdom realities lived out now...which should not mean always having to STAND AGAINST people who should be my own "kind". It makes me nauseous to think that my mission field, so to speak, is for those who think they are glorifying God by being arrogant, rabid dogs chewing on people I love, people God loves... Jesus didn't entertain the aggression of Pharisees but occasionally...so why should I? (Well...until the end, at least, when they ultimately killed him...sigh). So how can I live and even work professionally so that my interactions with the "religious" are few and far...?

Sigh...contemplation...

Candid

I'm in a season of saying out loud exactly what my heart/mind is really asking. I have been able to do that on occasion in my history (some evidenced in this blog of course...which has saved my life), but I feel I've largely withheld my questions or aches in the face-to-face interactions of my life.

* In some of my realms of involvement, I've felt like I have to "play the game"...calculated moves and political strategy. (Working with invested people in boards and committees, dealing with donors and their children, etc. will quickly teach someone how to do that.)
* In other areas, I feel like my "pleaser" personality has placed me second to the opinions and convictions of others.
* Still others, though, have been driven by my own fear. Yep...I've been concerned too much with being judged for my perspectives, so I've chosen cowardice.

Recent events have brought me to a place of...to be honest...who the hell cares? I'm so sick of being penned in anymore. The consequences are beyond what I'm willing to carry anymore. So...I'm going to hold myself accountable now to be more candid...with myself, with others. And honestly, I think I'm going to feel far more free from some of the oppression I've had to deal with from elitists because I'm honoring my heart and what I think is true for the situations, but even more...I'm going to learn some amazing things from people who have the courage to be more real (in my observations of how they do things but also in their responses to my new craze).

Monday, July 3, 2017

Kingdom Here

Though I'm not a fan of the country style of the song (Sorry, it's me, not you. Hehe.), the words are a reflection of my heart. The kingdom concepts are so, so dear to me. Yep...sitting in these lyrics. A bit of a return to "home" in these words. :)

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Had My Fill of Elitists

Oh my...

It's so true. I've reached my absolute limit.

Elitists. The people that view themselves as...elevated, superior, better, greater, distinguished...because of money, intellect, talent, status, performance, beliefs, etc. They can fly solo if they want, but they usually are found in rabid packs flexing their muscles of prowess.

Cross them???...Watch out! Your destruction and demise are "Priority #1". No time for "full stories", "agree to disagree" or compromise of any sort, being on the perceived opposite side will elicit a head-hunting of gargantuan proportions. Everybody, RUN!!!

I just don't have the patience or heart to deal with them anymore. Watching how they consume perceived opposition like a pack of hyenas...it has utterly broken my heart. So, so, so very wrong.

So...what to do? I have no clue. Typically, I'd spend time asking God to give me His heart for them...to give me love. But right now...I'm so tapped out...just so done. Sigh. I do know I don't want to ironically become like "them"...elitist in regards to my distaste for elitists...but that's about all I know.

So, Jesus, have your way. I don't have it in me, so have at it. :)