religion


The following excerpt from When Going with the Flow Isn’t Enough has been running through my mind all morning, soooo I decided to share it. Here it is:

“I want them [my sisters in Christ] to be who they were created to be, to be free to operate in their spiritual gifts, and to fulfill the purpose for which they were created and designed to fulfill. I want the Church to not only give them permission to pursue their calling, but to also actively encourage and support them in doing so. I want the Church to tell them they are on equal footing with men and don’t need to fit themselves into prescribed roles.

Needless to say, we have a long way to go to make this happen. There are a lot of battles which will need to be fought and many streams in which individuals will need to swim upstream. Much conflict and controversy will follow. Whoever chooses to fight these battles or swim up these streams will need to be ready and willing to face a torrent of opposition. It will take people who have the determination of James Madison, the visionary leadership of Elizabeth Stanton, the dedication of Susan B. Anthony, the perseverance of Martin Luther King Jr., the amazing selflessness of the Freedom Riders, and the passion of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Most of all though, it will take people whose hearts have been changed by Christ.”

If anyone is interested in reading more, here’s the link to purchase the book: https://www.amazon.com/When-Going-Flow-Enough-Upstream/dp/1625860714/

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This post is a follow-up to my 9/22 post, plumb line.

Excerpt from When Going with the Flow Isn’t Enough:

In keeping with the culture of the time, Huldah…was identified as both a prophet and a wife when first introduced in Scripture. This would seem to indicate that she successfully lived out both her role as prophet and her role as wife…

When considering what exceptional women Deborah and Huldah were in light of the culture in which they lived, it is important not to overlook what exceptional men Barak and Josiah were. Both men were unique figures in the history of Israel due to their willingness to submit to the leadership of a woman…

Josiah intentionally seeking spiritual counsel from a female prophet during a time when four male prophets (Jeremiah, Zephaniah, Nahum, and Habbakuk) were living is nothing short of amazing. What is even more amazing is that King Josiah not only sought the counsel of a woman, he acted on it, instituting very radical reforms. Josiah must have seen something in Huldah similar to what Barak saw in Deborah. Scot McKnight, in The Blue Parakeet, states “Huldah is not chosen because no men were available; she is chosen because she is truly exceptional among the prophets.”

“MY FAMILY IS NOT DYSFUNCTIONAL!” When I hear individuals vehemently make this statement I want to reply “How do you know? Are you familiar with the characteristics of a dysfunctional family?” As a trained marriage and family therapist with 27 years professional experience, I am familiar with these characteristics. I have a plumb line regarding this issue.

What is a plumb line? “It is an instrument or a tool, a cord with a lead bob attached to one end, used to determine perpendicularity, the depth of water, etc.” (dictionary.com)

“The instrument has been used since at least the time of ancient Egypt to ensure that constructions are ‘plumb’, or vertical…Until the modern age, plumb-bobs were used on most tall structures to provide vertical datum lines for the building measurements. A section of the scaffolding would hold a plumb line, which was centered over a datum mark on the floor. As the building proceeded upward, the plumb line would also be taken higher, still centered on the datum. Many cathedral spires, domes and towers still have brass datum marks inlaid into their floors, which signify the center of the structure above… Early skyscrapers used heavy plumb-bobs, hung on wire in their elevator shafts.” (Wikipedia)

Do you have a plumb line? In the context I am using it here, a plumb line is a standard or a set of guidelines by which one can live one’s life. My own personal plumb line is the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus’s most famous sermon, found in the gospel of Matthew 5:1 – 7:29. In this sermon Jesus touched on every conceivable area of life, giving us clear guidelines by which we can choose to live.

Josiah is a biblical example of an individual who made a choice to live by God’s plumb line. Josiah was ruler over the people of Judah from 641 until 609 B.C. The choice he made to live according to God’s plumb line not only affected his life, it also affected the lives of the people in his kingdom.

Sometime during his reign, a priest “found the Book of the Law of the Lord that was written by Moses” (2 Chronicles 34: 14). It was found while repairs were being done on the Temple and is believed to be what later became the Book of Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Old Testament. The book, which was in the form of a scroll at the time, was taken to King Josiah and read to him. “When the king heard what was written in the Law, he tore his clothes in despair” (2 Chronicles 34: 19). He had not realized until then just how far off track, how out of sync with God’s commands, his people really were. He then sent some of his most trusted advisors “to consult with the prophet Huldah. She was the wife of Shallum” (2 Chronicles 34: 22). When the king’s advisors told him what Huldah said, he instituted major religious reforms throughout his kingdom.

The full account of this event is told in 2 Kings Chapter 22 and 2 Chronicles Chapter 34.

My new book is now available on amazon. For those who are interested, here’s the link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1625861117/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1531867727&sr=1-2&keywords=When+Therapy+Isn%27t+Enough

I am currently reading American Gospel by Jon Meacham. The following excerpt grabbed me, speaking to me very loudly. I am sharing it with you because I am hoping that it speaks to some of you as well. Here it is:

“What is essential–and what has long been part of religious intellectual traditions–is to draw not only on scripture but on reason and experience when contemplating the nature and problems of the world. In the seventeenth-century battle between the Catholic hierarchy and Galileo over whether the earth revolved around the sun or vice versa, it was Galileo–a Christian–who understood better than his persecutors how to reconcile apparent contradictions between faith and science. ‘If Scripture cannot err,’ he said, ‘certain of its interpreters and commentators can and do so in many ways.’ In other words, if reason leads humankind to discover a truth that seems to be incompatible with the Bible, then the interpretation of scripture should give way to the rational conclusion. In this Galileo was echoing Augustine, who wrote, ‘If it happens that the authority of Sacred Scripture is set in opposition to clear and certain reasoning, this must mean that the person who interprets scripture does not understand it correctly.’ … Augustine’s work enables thinking Christians to take advantage of scientific and social advances without surrendering the authority of revelation. Guided by these lights, believers have (however slowly) removed the biblical support for the ideas that the earth, not the sun, is the physical center of the universe, that women are property–and that slavery is divinely sanctioned. The lesson is that purely religious arguments may not be sufficient to get us to the right result. The faithful should see that God meant for them to use reason as well as revelation as they make their way through the world.”

I am doing the final review of my manuscript before it goes to print. It has been edited and the layout of the pages is done. I would like to share one more excerpt with you. Here it is:

Bill Hybels’s words in Too Busy Not to Pray further bolstered my efforts to learn to pray: “The important thing is not to follow a particular method but to find a way that works for you. Custom-design an approach that will still your racing mind and body, soften your heart and enable you to hear God’s still, small voice. Then, when you are centered and focused on God, invite him to speak to you.”
I decided to heed Bill Hybels’s advice and began to experiment with various ways to pray. I let go of my belief that there is a “right” way to pray—i.e., a “right” posture (kneeling), “right” words (a pre-written prayer), a “right time” (first thing in the morning), and so forth. I embraced the belief that God doesn’t care how I talk to him or when I talk to him. What he cares about is that I talk to him. I tried praying at different times during the day and in different places. I eventually found that though I had quiet times with God when I would sit quietly in his presence, what worked the best for me was to have an ongoing dialogue with him throughout each day as I lived my life. I began to talk to God while I was driving, walking, working, doing chores around the house, sitting on a bench in the mall waiting for one of my children and so forth. The possibilities were endless. I was reminded of Paul’s words to the church in Thessalonica: “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV).

another excerpt from manuscript I’m currently working on:

As the discrepancies between Roman Catholic doctrine and Scripture became clearer and clearer to me, I became very angry at the Catholic Church. I was angry at them for teaching me and countless others a distorted gospel—a gospel that leads to fear, anxiety, and shame rather than peace, joy and love. My anger at the Catholic Church simmered under the surface for years and would flare up when I would attend a Catholic Mass or observe other Catholic rituals or ceremonies. As my family of origin were still practicing Catholics, all family weddings and funerals were held in Catholic churches. Each of those events became times of much internal struggle for me. At times I was able to hold my anger in check, at other times I was not able to do so.

It eventually became clear to me that I needed to make peace with the Catholic Church if I was to grow in faith and truly walk the walk. With God’s help, I was able to accomplish this by learning to see the cup as half full rather than half empty. I began to look with appreciation at what the Church did do, rather than look with anger at what they didn’t do. What the Catholic Church did do is: teach me that God exists; that he made me; and that spiritual matters are important. The Church also instilled in me a belief that church is where one develops good morals. If it were not for the second lesson, I would never have brought my children to church and I would never have been led into a relationship with the real God.

I am now at a place in my faith journey where I am grateful to the Catholic Church for what they did teach me. Though anger at the Church still rears its ugly head from time to time, it is quickly replaced with a deep sadness for the multitude of faithful Catholics who do not know the joy and peace of resting in the certainty of their salvation and the unconditional love of their heavenly Father. At the same time, I am extremely grateful to God for leading me away from the Church and teaching me that it is not about religion, it’s about relationship.

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