Reflections on my 63rd Birthday: The Box of Things I Don’t Know What to Do With

I’ve found that it takes me about four years to be ready to blog about something hard in my life. So here we are.

Four years ago my birthday blog post was called “A Warrior’s Tale.” Of the few pieces of creative writing I’ve done, it might be my favorite (even if all its Facebook “Likes” have been removed).

Maybe that’s because I know what was behind it. That piece of work was born through retching sobs.

My birthday post has been an annual tradition since my blog started in 2009, and in 2016 I was ahead of the game, having already written one for it in July.

Then came August 2016. Continue reading “Reflections on my 63rd Birthday: The Box of Things I Don’t Know What to Do With”

That “obey your leaders and submit to their authority” Scripture: examining Hebrews 13:17

For anyone who still wants to follow Jesus after having been treated devilishly by those who claim to be His followers (His shepherds, even!), Hebrews 13:17 might stick in the craw.

Jim Jones, one of the most famous cult leaders ever, none of whose followers can learn about Hebrews 13:17 now because they all drank the Kool-aid. Literally.

Continue reading “That “obey your leaders and submit to their authority” Scripture: examining Hebrews 13:17”

An update on my one-on-one ministry

Religion that pleases God the Father must be pure and spotless. You must help needy orphans and widows and not let this world make you evil. ~James 1:27

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Since 2017 I’ve been involved nearly full time with abuse victims and survivors, primarily using prayer ministry (based on the Immanuel Approach prayer ministry model developed by Christian psychiatrist Karl Lehman) to help them connect with Jesus and process their experiences, including traumatic memories. Continue reading “An update on my one-on-one ministry”

Why you need to listen to your emotions

My friend Kristi Wetzel wrote:

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In his book Feel: The Power of Listening to Your Heart, Christian author Matthew Elliott asserts,

The problem is that we’re taught by the church and our culture that emotions are not reliable indicators of truth. As a result, we are conditioned to believe that our feelings are trivial and useless.

Then, he tells two very thought-provoking (and emotion-provoking!) stories.

The first is about the penalty phase of the trial of convicted terrorist Moussaoui (tried and convicted as a 9/11 conspirator). Continue reading “Why you need to listen to your emotions”

“Loyalty” is not a Christian virtue

When I was a young graduate assistant working at Bob Jones University (learning publishing at BJU Press), like all the other employees I was given certain odious assignments to fulfill each semester, such as monitoring the “dating parlor” for a couple of hours on a Sunday.

One Sunday after I had finished that odious assignment, my replacement came along, a BJU lifer, Miss Potts. She asked me if I was going to obediently head on over to Vespers (the University’s drama program presented on Sunday afternoons).

“No,” I responded somewhat defiantly. “I’m going to church.”

Miss Potts was an old Southern lady with an absolutely perfect Southern drawl.

“The Univuhsity,” she said, “would want you to go to Vespuhs.” Continue reading ““Loyalty” is not a Christian virtue”

Bill Gothard’s umbrella heresy in a day of protests against police brutality

If you’ve blogged for over ten years as I have, you probably have scores of jotted ideas, half-baked posts, drafts, and . . . what do you know it, full posts that somehow never got posted.

Today, when I had a few moments but wanted to avoid listening to the news that literally put me to bed yesterday on Pentecost Sunday, I began scrolling through my files and files of blog ideas. 

And then, there before me was a complete post about Bill Gothard’s umbrella heresy that I never had posted. And since Gothard—a man that I, along with many thousands of others, used to adore—has been in the news again recently, and since his teaching promotes complete compliance to abusive authorities (talk about being pertinent to the news!) I’m posting it now.

My previous blog post about the Umbrella Heresy is here. Continue reading “Bill Gothard’s umbrella heresy in a day of protests against police brutality”

Christians and conspiracy theories: a response to The Gospel Coalition

I had to wait a while to write this post, because last Friday I became angry with Joe Carter at The Gospel Coalition regarding his blog post about conspiracy theories. (It isn’t the first time his writing has angered me—his notorious “Beware of Broken Wolves” post three years ago fired up several of us abuse survivor advocates and others, so much so that the post itself got over 300 comments. Those comments have all been removed now, but the post still stands.)

I warn you, this is a long post. I’m going to be speaking from personal experience about conspiracy theories. Continue reading “Christians and conspiracy theories: a response to The Gospel Coalition”

What The Truman Show can illustrate about church

I don’t want to be tone deaf to the problems of covid-19 and the troubled economy. But when I think about addressing either one, I believe the Lord is telling me that others are already doing this, and my job is to continue on in the work I was undertaking before. So here we are, friends. I’m continuing on.

This blog post is one I wrote in 2019. It seems the right time to publish it now.

In the classic movie The Truman Show, Truman’s life is a 24-hour TV series, without his knowledge, for the entire world to see.

The show’s director, on the other hand, lives a very private life. Continue reading “What The Truman Show can illustrate about church”

Rejoice in the resurrection of our Lord!

Sing to the Lord!
Sing with loud voices to the Lord
for he is exalted on high.
With great power and mighty strength
He has brought His Son
His only begotten Jesus Messiah

from the jaw of the grave
and from the mouth of the tomb.

O death, where is your sting?
O grave, where is your victory?
Rejoice in the strength of the Lord!
Glory in his mighty power!

For his body hung limp,
limp and broken on the cross,
and Joseph took him,
the man of Arimathea carried him.
He laid him in his own tomb
And rolled a stone over the door.

Then Pilate put a seal;
the Roman stationed a watch.

The enemy boasted,
“He will not arise.
Destruction is accomplished.”
But with your hand you shattered the enemy
and with the breath of your nostrils
you blew away the stone
and scattered the Romans in the night.

The women came weeping,
Mary and Salome with loud mourning and grief.
But the angel laughed,
the cherub exulted in triumph.
“Come and see!” he cried. “He is not here!
He is risen!
Come and see!”

Who is like you, O Lord?
What god of the nations compares with you?
For you have brought our Lord Christ
from the depth of hell
to the glory of heaven.
And the King of glory shall reign
Forever and ever.

Happy Resurrection Day!

 

The arrest of Jesus reminds us that we need to understand the Pharisees

Dear friend, the world can seem scary and crazy. We’re on lockdown, loved ones are sick, and some are dying. But Good Friday is almost upon us, and then Resurrection Day. There is still reason to rejoice. Jesus is risen and has broken the power of sin and death in the hearts and lives of all who call upon Him in faith.

In each gospel this week, I’ve been reading the account of the betrayal leading up to the crucifixion.

My focus was Jesus. But I couldn’t help but continue to see the Pharisees and other religious leaders, standing out in bold opposition to Him.

They’ve been misrepresented, you know, those Pharisees. Almost every time they’re portrayed or described, we think about them as obviously pompous, obviously arrogant, obviously hypocritical. But their hypocrisy wasn’t obvious to the Jewish people at all.

You think, perhaps, that this is because they were naïve, and you wouldn’t have been so naïve? Well, maybe not. But perhaps there are some among us today Continue reading “The arrest of Jesus reminds us that we need to understand the Pharisees”