Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sitting in Prodigal Scripture

Living in the prodigal son story again lately. I think there's a new gift of understanding for me in it. Praying so anyway...can feel it.

One of the suggested engagement strategies that I referred to in an earlier blog is to interact with artistic works on particular Scriptures. These are two that I'm mesmerized by lately...a bit of a return to powerful lessons of yesterday from church (but ones that never get old). First, how the father ran to the son. Second, the embrace. So, so wonderful.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Let It Happen

Oh my goodness...I've needed this song so badly! My pandora played this today...and my heart was full! I'm planning to do soaking prayer with it later today!!! (Shout out to my ragamuffin in His embrace.)

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Scripture Engagement

I stumbled on this (link below) yesterday when I went searching for the verse of the day on They have several activities that can assist a person in engaging with Scripture more. I'm so excited!

I read in Blue Like Jazz a reference to the Bible becoming more like chocolate than a salad. Not wanting my faith to simply be about the Holy Book (but a launching pad to the God of Scripture), I've been so hungry for exercises that help me "dig in" and discover.

Yay, Yay, Yay!

Scripture Engagement

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

How Offended Do We Want To Be?

We need to do some serious self-reflection. Serious.

I've been involved in a few situations now where it is very clear that someone is looking for ways to be offended...or validate an offense with all kinds of "evidence". (And before going further, I need to acknowledge that I can easily do the same.)

Not okay. In fact, I would go so far as to say that this mindset is inwardly and outwardly destructive...and irresponsible.

I know that's harsh...but I feel it is a necessary critique of what we tend to do with our broken hearts and misunderstandings. We have hurts and confusion...old ones, new ones, for ourselves, for others...and we can't minimize them in the least. We do, however, have a responsibility to steward our hurts well. When we don't???...that's when we can permit ourselves to relinquish accountability and perpetuate realities we ultimately don't really desire.

In our hearts, what God desires for us (and what I think we really want for ourselves) is peace. Not hurt-driven insecurity or immaturity. Not desperation. Not retaliation. Not mass destruction. We want peace. And, that's not passive acceptance, keeping our mouth shut and "taking it". No, the shalom-peace of the divine is an inner reality of health, wholeness and harmony. And, it's a peace that overflows to tough situations, tough people...

The truth's easier to live in offense. Peace...all the health, wholeness and harmony available to hard work. It's worth it, though...and I think its pursuit is a reflection of our truly beautiful, authentic, human design.

So, here's a challenge for us...time to quit taking the easier road of offense, put on the "big girl panties" of personal accountability and seek peace.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Religious Woes of Christianity

"As with most religions, [Christianity] has set itself up as the guardian of the knowledge of good and evil rather than the example of how to transcend the knowledge of good and evil by living in love."

Whoa, baby! What a sting! And I, of course, absolutely love it!!!

The quote comes from Repenting of Religion: Turning from Judgment to the Love of God by Greg Boyd. It is a wonderful challenge (to those who refer to themselves as "Christian") to not live from an identity that is propped up by knowledge but to return to a life lived from the reality of the Trinity and the love received from God. The implications of "rightness" are massive, often sacrificing the "first" call to love. And, of course, a tragic implication is to rob faith of its primary design for relationship with the Trinity and instead create a box of religion to fit into and judge from...

Jesus never came to set up a religion...

Tuesday, April 18, 2017


"Triggered" is a word that definitely grates on me these days. SO overused. I mean honestly...can we really be triggered into emotional/mental suffering or even breakdown when our favorite kind of donut is sold out at the bakery? How about when someone disagrees with our opinion??? Give me a break...get some counselling. I experienced this weekend...there definitely are legitimate experiences that can bring us back to intense fear, pain, sorrow and stress.

One of my moments of intense heartbreak involved my mom's cancer battle. Watching someone you love experience immense suffering can break you...that's my experience anyway. A blend of their suffering and our inability to make it stop, a traumatic blow to the soul is that can create an inconsolable sorrow, immense fear and a wound that takes eons to heal.

My mom recovered, thankfully...but my heart to this day has memory of her suffering. While aspects of my wound have been healed, the scars can be pressed sometimes. That pressure...oh my, it can be a challenge.

That was my weekend. Days of "fly by" reminders of cancer. The circumstances weren't identical to my mom's situation...thankfully, no cancer in the end...but there were qualities that at minimum begged some questions for me and prompted emotion for then and now.

Here's the thing. I'm a "with God" kind of lady. That's the goal of my life, it keep learning how to live in the reality of the Trinity. While messy for me this weekend, I'm discovering that "with God" it is a good thing to bring the "triggers" near and embrace them. (As Greg Boyd would say, "embrace the suck!".) I don't need to get ahead of Him and live in the potential of suffering as the reality of my heart, but I can step with Him into the questions and receive His peace.

So...much prayer this weekend. Centering prayer for my heart, prayers for healing and provision and peace for the health situation of one I care for deeply. Much conversation with my Mr. Right too...what a blessing he is in directing me back to God.

Lots of "real" but lots of His "real" in it.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Preemptive Love

I've been so impressed with this organization. Preemptive Love Coalition "wages peace" in places that have been war-torn...places people are usually fleeing. They don't provide biased assistance...reaching out to displaced Muslims and Christians alike in the fire storm of ISIS. They have some amazing programs for food delivery, business partnerships with men and women so they can provide for their families and even outreaches to people guilty of war crimes. Gutsy work!!! Today, they released a video of a Christian church in Mosul that was able to celebrate Easter today. Powerful!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

"For" or "With"...

It's amazing how a change of one word can alter an entire concept or experience. One word!

We've been discussing a series in our sermon prep group about people taking their place in actually living more fully for God. It can be easy to take our faith (and the grace extended to us) and settle into a comfortable life. Heck, it's the "American way" really. Me, me, me. ;) That, or we can easily slip into a life that's a nice copy of someone else's call. Not "bad" but not original. Jesus actually calls us to a life of more...a life of discovery AND expression. Looking at the world around us, we so need more people to take their place in God's great narrative. 

The question FOR God or life WITH God. 

Those words...for vs. with...can produce very different lives. 

For me, "for God" can be good, but I don't think it's the fullest reality of life we are made for. It can be a good place to start, but to stay there would be to remain satisfied with milk as opposed to meat. Greater maturity is offered to us and asked of us in my opinion. In addition to fullness of faith, I believe there is a potential for the faith of "for" to become religious or pharisaical...letting our "doing" be what gives us life or a sense of identity. Looking at history and events of the day, there is plenty of evidence as to the destructive potential of that kind of religiosity...

Certainly, there are beautiful things that can be expressed in living "for" God. It's not "bad" in and of itself. But is it all we are made for?...I don't think so. 

The Trinity at their core are relational, and that reality is the basis for what I think we are called to. A life "with" God. I believe it's Their nature to invite humans into Their relational context. They are "with" and can't help but to invite us into "with". Their "with" is, of course, identity-filling...the true source of life and light in the center of our being. To know whose we are and who we really are as sons and daughters (and friends) of God is life-altering.

But, it dawns on me...the "with" context isn't purely for identity!!! We aren't filled to keep that life to ourselves. Our "doings" in the context of "with"...??? Oh my...being a partner with God in the expression of His love and Thinking more and more about that is so very exciting to me.

Yay! Bring it, Jesus! 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Great Sermon Challenge

Hubs and I went to Woodland Hills Church on Sunday for what I thought was a Q&A/debate on Boyd's new book about the God of the Old Testament reconciled with Jesus. It ended up that I misunderstood the timing, so we had the opportunity to be a part of the service instead. Fantastic sermon by a visiting pastor, Bruxy Cavey.

The sermon offered great advice for creating a genuine, safe place for the sharing of differing opinions, wonderful challenge to be followers of Jesus and not just followers of the Bible, and of course continued discussion of Boyd's proposal regarding the God of the Old Testament.

We absolutely loved it.

Here is the link. On the right side of the site are options for audio and video. Also, there are tabs below for the sermon slides that accompanied the sermon. Enjoy!

Bruxy Cavey Sermon at Woodland Hills

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Good Book!

Hubs and I are reading this book with our small group!!! Oh my's fantastic. Love, love, love it.

It presents a really fascinating portrait of what happened with the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and all of the implications with that fall, and it presents the beauty of the trinitarian life we were designed to know...and could begin to know as reality today. Phenomenal.

I'm not sure this is the best representation of the awesomeness that I'm reading...but here's the description from

"We human beings are burdened by our tendencies to harshly judge others and ourselves. Unfortunately for believers, this bent is as prevalent in the church as in the world. Pastor and author Gregory A. Boyd calls readers to a higher standard through understanding the true manner in which God views humanity: as infinitely worth while and lovable. Only an attitude shift in how we perceive ourselves in light of God's love can impact how we relate to people and transform our judgmental nature. Believers wrestling with the reality of God's love and Christians struggling with judging in the local church will appreciate this examination of how we move from a self-centered to a Christ-centered life."

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Reaction to Constructive Criticism...Sigh

It's true. So very true. All too often, we find a disconnect regarding the value of constructive criticism. Perhaps it's a growing trend in our culture...a misunderstanding about the investment revealed by feedback.

Because it doesn't always feel good, it must be a sign of meanness...not a belief that we could actually be even better. Sigh.

I've been learning to pay attention to the responses to constructive criticism. Myself and others. Why???...because it can be so revealing of other potential issues. Insecurities, fears, pride...

What to do with what is revealed in the reaction??? Ya...that can be very complicated...

She's an egalitarian.

The older I get, the more egalitarian I get. Oh my, the complementarians will swoon. ;) I certainly respect people who disagree and love conversation, but the fact remains...egal fits me like a glove.

There, I said it. :)

Loving blogs like The Junia Project that have a ton of resources for people like me who are trying to navigate some of the in's and out's the complementarian realms of my faith.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

I Just Don't Fit

I've always felt a bit different from the people in the various circles I inhabit. Maybe that's something everyone relates to... But lately...oh man, it's much, much, MUCH more intense.

Whether secular or religious, there just doesn't seem to be much "space" for variety of thought. There seems to be a lack of honor for the value of persons regardless of position that is feeding a divisiveness. The recognition of that increasing pride and judgment in pretty much every area has become increasingly offensive. People, in my view anyway, seeming stuck in "small".

So much internal friction...I can't find many places that feel welcoming to just "be" and "belong".

I will my home with my hubs...sanctuary. We talk about everything under the sun and don't feel a pressure to have to agree on every topic. (Believe me...he puts up with a lot of "heresy" from me. Haha.) With some of my family...sanctuary. (Strong opinions, but an assumed love.) With some of my heart friends at church...sanctuary. (Wonderful dialogue because of assumed love.) But...from there??? Slim pickin's beyond least, that's what it feels like.

What it is causing in me is this...I'm wrestling with where my place is or should be in the world. It has me questioning some of my relationships, my job, my involvements...lots and lots of questions. Sigh.

Wrestling, I know from so many stories and personal experiences, is always profitable. It's just that it's so very uncomfortable. And...maybe, just maybe...I also worry about what conclusions will be made.'s to my relationship with the Trinity. They don't fail. Pushing through... :)