Wednesday, June 17, 2009
I have always thought that Christian religious revivals were quite weird, and in fact, I remember growing up and attending such revivals that were pretty redundant, and always left me feeling the same, not revived, the preaching and teaching parts of it anyway. Sitting for several days at a time listening to people preach can get old, and I think I was too young to even understand half of the stuff that was talked about. Although, the fun was when the preaching was over and I was finally able to hang out with my friends! Those were the times that stick out in my head, when we were able to play afterwords! I remember we would have several people over at our house to spend the nights during the week long revivals, and all the kid’s slept outside in tents, because there wasn’t enough room in the house for all of us. It was in the summer time of course and my parents lived in the mountains so it really felt like we were camping, but it was in our yard. We had plenty of space to camp, hike and play Capture the Flag in the dark or Hide and Seek. Those were the good memories I have of the revivals growing up, and the rest of the organized preaching stuff is just a blur, but maybe there is a reason why it does not stick out in my mind! Did it really revive anyone? What is a revival anyway? What was their purpose? Is it like supposed to feed Christians spiritually until they puked? I mean, there was seriously preaching on and off all week long. But, did that work? And, did it only bring fearful infant Christians into the Kingdom of God?
These questions come to mind after a talk I had with a client today. He and his wife are going out of town to attend a family reunion, but he told me that he doesn’t want to go because he said it is more like a religious revival with many ministers and preaching to go along with the family reunion. In-laws and religious agenda’s is something he is hesitant to be a participant in, and frankly I don’t blame him. For those who are in your family, it seems like that would be the market of interest in converting them to Christianity, so to the religious minds, this is a brilliant idea, right? Well, what would that look like? How does one convert/convince one of something, especially being a Christian? Fear seems to work well, and in fact this tool is used more frequently than not, in order to convert those who are not ‘saved’, just throw them into panic by telling them they are going to hell if they don’t comply to Christianity. Does this really produce a real desire for a God who will just throw you into hell if you don’t follow him? Once the person is feared into believing in God and giving their life to Christ, they then feel like slaves, (though I doubt they would admit that) who religiously practices the traditional Christian life. They would feel like they are missing out on so much because they had to give it up for a God who just wants to take their life over so they won’t go to hell. Does this really fabricate a lasting relationship? No! I completely doubt it and in fact I know in my heart that this kind of ‘reaching out’ is not how God does it. He is completely the opposite of this. He uses love to touch those who are in need of Him, and will never use fear to conform people. He does revive us, but these fear tactics that are used frequently, do not get us revived, but rather leaves one utterly empty! So, in a nutshell, and in my own opinion, a revival for the lost and found is a loss cause, until after the preaching is done with, then the real life begins!
Posted by Nicole at 7:47 PM
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Okay here goes! I am not going to be walking on egg shells here, because I just have to get some questions out of my head so that I can hopefully focus on what is more important, to love! I have been constantly mindfully preoccupied by all these questions, and I am going to just get them down, and if you want, take a stab and them. Any comments are welcome and are wanted to help me sort some things out…. Ohh, and please bare with me, I am going through a process of re-developing… I really want to be found with grace on my lips and love in my heart for all people, including those I question! I am in no way trying to defile or point the figure at any one person or people, I too have been there and find myself revisiting places in which I used to find myself; but by help from God, I am no longer captive from that which used to hold me down… Amen!
Who was Paul? Was he the leader of the apostles? Or was he just a man. Was he better than all the rest of the men in his day? Was it because of his great transformation and ‘testimony’ that he lived through that makes him so special? I don’t want to be disrespectful, but, it seems out of the entire bible and people in this day and age always have held him in HIGH esteem almost seems to be up there with Jesus.
Doesn’t it seem odd that people who have ‘testimonies’ seem to be put up on pedestals? Like they have a story to tell like Paul did, and the rest who are just normal Christian folk who don’t have a ‘testimony’ that has rocked their faith, don’t seem to get noticed. At least this is seen frequently in the IC, but this kind of stuff I have always questioned and have had problems with. When a friend was telling me about her ‘testimony’ it was like she was proud of her wrong doing just because she now had a story to tell. It is quite weird.
Why does it seem like people who think they understand grace, the meaning and the good news of the gospel, but yet live as though they live by law? Here is something I found from Rich, on his blog! (Hope you don’t mind), it fits in here perfectly! “Performance (law) based living does what it does best, filling our inner being with something we were never designed for, angst, fear, anxiety, self-analysis, comparing and competing with the constant shifting and changing of the rules by the rule making gurus.” I just can’t understand why we preach with graced filled words, but it seems that we turn our backs on it, by living in accordance to human made laws and rules. I sense that I do this on occasion, and I am in no way pointing the figure and anyone in particular, but it never ceases to amaze me how much this happens!
Why is it that there are so many people who interpret scripture differently? This I believe is the #1 problem that arises in Christian relating. People who interpret things a certain way will always think that they are right, regardless of what the other person thinks. This reminds me of a conversation I was having with Kent, and he said a long time ago he and Julie went to a Marriage class or something , and the person who was leading their session, put a mug in the center of the table as him and his wife were sitting face to face away from each other, and they were asked to give their perception of what they viewed on the mug, one said that they saw a picture of a rose or flower, and the other said that they didn’t see anything, but from their point of view, the mug was blank. I thought what Kent shared with me was fascinating because we all have different perceptions of things and may never see eye to eye on everything. It was a great analogy of how different we are all, even if we believe in the same God. At least we have that in common, but it seems that the problem lies in and among the fine print of what we believe. I never really understood why it was important to be right, or to debate our doctrine’s, dogma, agenda’s, things that have to do with Father! Where is the love in that?
Is it our ‘Christian’ right to point out evil in people’s lives, even those who proclaim to be righteous? I know there are scriptures that talks about the process in which we go to our brother to confront his sin, and that seems to be the rhetoric of how things are done in the IC these days, but, hasn’t that seem to be overplayed by many who think it is their job to convict people of their wrong doing? I thought that was the Holy Spirit’s job? I think there are ways to go about doing this that are not as harsh or as negative, but correcting anyone to me seems like it wouldn’t be my place to do, to anyone, believers or not. Maybe I just hate correction so that is why I asked… God help me with this one!
Why do our motives and biases more often than not reflect on ourselves more than on God? Is this the fruit of our selfish tendencies? To proclaim who we support and what we like based on who we are? Is this really selfishness? Man, I bet that one was confusing! Sorry!
Just more questions than I have answers!
Would LOVE to hear feedback! Anyone welcome!
Posted by Nicole at 7:32 PM
Monday, June 8, 2009
I know this title is a bit over my head as far has having ultimate reconciliation with God, but what I have been wondering in the last couple of days is if this is possible to have this with people. When two people get damaged by each other almost to the point of no return, I almost think that when we deal with flesh and blood, there is not much forgiveness or room for complete reconciliation as there would be with God. I think there are grudges and wounds that are held onto for far too long that prevent ultimate reconciliation to take place. It seems like it is easy to base relationships on the outcome of circumstances that take place, and not the foundation on which the relationship was founded on. Maybe that happens because the changes that happen in and among the relationship. I am just throwing out some thoughts to try and get my mind wrapped around this. It is so easy to put my boundaries up when I feel like I have been taken advantage of or in some ways completely abandoned by someone who I thought would never leave me or desert me. However, even through the worst of what I have experienced with relationships, I wish I felt strong enough to let all the angst go and learn to fully trust those who have hurt me the worst. I was talking to someone about this the other day, and my friend made a good point and said, ‘you can get to a place where you feel comfortable sharing life with someone who has damaged you, but there will always be a hesitation to protect yourself from that person. Things will never be like they were, and maybe that is just reality.’ This is a place where I struggle when it comes to be just like Father. I always fall short, but maybe that is the point; I will never be just like Father, and even through all my striving and efforts, I will always fall short. I am beginning to be okay with that! Maybe coming to ultimate reconciliation with someone is beyond our abilities. Maybe because we are mere humans, our effort and abilities will always fall short to ultimate reconciliation with others.
Any thoughts out there?
Posted by Nicole at 11:17 AM
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Jonathan and I get our dogs back today! My mom who has been keeping them for us for over a year now and is coming to our new place today to drop them off. It will be interesting to see how they react to their new home environment! They have lived chainless and without any boundaries for over a year because my parents live out in the forest close to nothing so they can roam as they please there! It makes me a little nervous because they are going from freedom, to a small fenced yard! I wonder if they will try to escape or get out somehow. It is going to be a huge adjustment for me especially because I haven’t been around my dogs for a long time, and they seem to like Jonathan a lot more because they mind him. What is even more nerve racking is that there are horses all around our house and I wouldn’t be surprised if they would just try to get out to chase them. What was I thinking when I first picked up Mocha off the streets when I was in college? I was working at a local coffee shop at the time, and these people came in and told me that there was a stray puppy outside who looked hungry and asked if there was any bacon or anything lying around so I found something and went outside and gave her some bacon. And thought to myself at the time that, I could have a dog because where I was living there was a huge back yard and thought that I could take on the responsibility before I knew I was ready for it. Since that moment, I think I have realized a 100 times over that I was not ready, and still believe that to this day that dogs are not easy animals to care for because they ‘need’ you to feed them, and to walk them and to give them attention and to blah, blah, blah… Mocha, who is the trouble maker, has learned from Jonathan to jump fences! When we were in college, Jonathan would run over to the place I was living and the front door was locked so he would jump over the fence to feed the dogs and take care of them. Well, Mocha is a fast learner and now knows how to jump fences. We invested in a fenced perimeter a couple of years ago that will shock her if she gets close to the fence, but even with that she will jump the fence on occasion. So it will be interesting how she will react… Brewster, who is our black Scotty dog just follows her lead and for the most part is a good dog, but man does he stink if he is not bathed on a regular basis! ;) It will be interesting to see how things turn out with the dogs. I just pray to God that they don’t create chaos or ruin our house, or chase the horses or whatever! The only thing I would be okay with is if they ran away and never came back! Nah, just kidding! So, pray that peace will surpass everything that has to with this transition in our lives!
Posted by Nicole at 9:03 AM
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Haven't gotten around to blogging or anything much lately, but, doesn't mean that my heart has stopped hearing... A lot has been on my mind especially in what relates to connecting with people in any situation or place they may be! I think my narrow-mindedness in years past has prevented me from connecting with people who didn't see things the way I did, but Father has helped me look past all that of which was keeping me from fulfilling something within myself in order to love people outside of my comfort zones. I see this to be true especially when there is no pressure to bring God into the mix. What is funny, is Father always seems to show up unexpectedly in conversations I could be having with anyone, and to be honest, it isn't I who usually brings God into the conversation, but others! I have gone so far from feeling obligated or pressured for feeling that it was MY job to talk about God! To me, that kind of pressure just comes out to be so unnatural and almost always turns out pretty bad or the conversation easily turns sour. I just fall in love with freely expressing myself or relating to people without that pressure! I don't believe that I have to use God's name for people to realize where my heart is... They will know us by our love, not how many times we bring up God in conversations. I have just been soaking up so many good conversations with my friends here in Durango, and just tonight with Jonathan's mom, who would bring some great questions to the table! The conversations that Jonathan and I had with his mother, reminded me of some conversations that we shared with Kent during our visit to St. Louis a couple of weeks back! There was no pressure to say anything, but just the freedom to express where our hearts were and what we believed to be truth! I simply love the simplicity in that and how just loving people where they are has truly been a transformation in my life!
Posted by Nicole at 12:16 AM