Friday, June 29, 2007
I hope this note finds you well.
I write to ask you to add your name to a petition requesting that the Civil Rights Division of the United States Department of Justice review the case of the six young, black, high school students being tried for attempted second degree murder and aggravated assault in Jena, Louisiana. They are being tried for participating in a high school brawl in which no one was seriously injured.
The precipitating incident? White students hung three nooses to discourage black students from sitting in a previously all white area of the schoolyard.
What's happening in Jena is an outrage, it's hard to believe this is 2007. As Dr. King wrote in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
To sign the petition, click here: http://www.petitiononline.com/aZ51CqmR/petition.html
For background, please read: Racism goes on trial again in America's Deep South- UK Observer http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,2083762,00.html
I've been writing about this case since May. You can find out more at www.allaboutrace.com.
Here's the original post http://www.allaboutrace.com/?p=71
Monday, June 25, 2007
Anyway, here is just a small record of what happened in my encounter. Aargh.
I said, "Jewish DNA doesn't match Native American DNA"
The elder said, "yes it does."
I said, "The linguistics of Hebrew doesn't match Native American DNA."
The elder said, "Yes it does. In fact we have had this book studied by Israeli students and they said it was right." (What the heck does that mean?)
I wanted to say, "How can the Israeli students say the Mormon translation is right when there is no original parchment or writing? All we have is the English translation? Isn't that kinda odd that you have translations of a document but the original document is totally lost to history? How do we know Joseph just didn't write the "translation" and make up this entire thing? The Book of Mormon is awfully large. Lots of stories. How could someone simply misplace the original document?"
I said, "The book of mormon has people in the western world on horses, using silk, and having steel sword. None of those were on the western hemisphere before the Europeans brought them here."
The elder said, "Yes it was. In fact we have found steel foundries here in the Western Hemisphere"
I said, "Jewish Communities in China, Ethiopia, India all have the SAME Jewish Tanakh with only a few grammatical changes. Even the Dead Sea Scrolls show that the Book of Isaiah is pretty much the same as the one we have now...with some little grammatical issues. How can you say that the Bible has been corrupted when it has this long trail of evidence. And when the Book of Mormon has been changed at least four or five times."
The elder said, "I've read the first and the last version of the Book of Mormon and it's the same except for grammatical and punctuation errors."
I said, "The Mormon story is very much like the Islam story. Two guys with many wives who were told by angels that God had given them the true version. Both men create holy cities, both men share many things in common. God allowing the Jewish people to be deceived for 3000 or so years with the wrong book? And then allowed the Christians to be deceived for another amount of time? Only to give the truth to people who two prophets? Didn't the Bible tell us that if anyone came with another gospel he should be accursed?"
They said, "This is not another gospel, this is the recovered gospel. And Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had more than one wife."
They said, "Did you know that much of the Book of Isaiah was recorded in the Book of Mormon?"
I said, "Tell me why the angel helped Joseph Smith translate the Book of Mormon into King James English, using the exact King James Version of the Isaiah passages. They were in 18th century American but he chooses to translate it into Elizabethan English from a country across the sea, in a language two hundred years old. Nah, Joseph Smith simply swiped the passages."
They said, "There are always newer and newer versions of the Bible because the Bible is corrupted and badly translated."
I said, "Oh come on! Version doesn't mean a new interpretation of the Bible. It means translating it in the tongue of the people. For heaven's sake, the American Bible Society just made a gullah translation of the Bible. Something like...."Inna de beginning a time De Lawd mek de hebben and de ert." That's not a different interpretation; it's merely a different dialect. All the different versions of the Bible had different educational styles and used different synonyms. A child's translation of the Bible is not a different interpretation: it just uses simpler words, simpler synonyms."
He said, “There are whole sections in the Book of Mormon that are exactly the same as in the King James Version. Some chapters in the Book of Mosiah for instance.”
I said, “And you don’t think that’s kinda weird? I have NEVER said the exact same thing in the exact same order to anyone and you believe that two people on separate continents can come up with the same exact words in the same exact order? No two situations are ever that alike! Especially situations on two different continents. Same exact idolatry, same exact prophecy.”
He said, “When God is doing something anything is possible.”
I thought, wow, this guy is slick! I said, “I want you to compare those exact sections in the Book of Mormon with their exact counterparts in the Bible and read slowly to see if Joseph Smith really knew what he was doing when he wrote the Book of Mormon.”
He said, “Joseph Smith didn’t write the Book of Mormon. God did.”
I said, “Then why did God use the King James Version to write the Book of Mormon?”
He said, “He didn’t.”
I said, “In the KJV, there are italicized words. The KJV translators, when they were translating the Bible from the original Hebrew, used italics when they weren’t sure of the meaning of a phrase or word.” For instance, they say, ‘Joseph had a coat of many colors.’ And they italicize the word “many” because they didn’t know what the real word was. Now, after a lot of research into linguistics and archeology, translators know that the meaning of the word is not “many” but “embroidered.” So the newer translations might translate it as “Joseph had an embroidered coat with long sleeves.” Or they might paraphrase it “Joseph had an embroidered long-sleeved coat which was like the coat the ruling class used to wear.” Joseph and his coat aside, when one compares the passages in the Book of Mormon that are exactly like the passages in the Bible, you’ll notice that the Book of Mormon uses those italicized words the King James translators put in when they didn’t know what the meaning of the word was. For instance, if we were talking about the Joseph story, we would see “many” instead of embroidered. Now, it’s weird, don’t you think that the Book of Mormon should use the exact same “I-don’t know what word this is” word as the KJV. Why should the Book of Mormon imitate even the KJV words – -especially when some of those words weren’t even in the Hebrew. And especially if those italicized words were the translators saying, “I might not be right.” In this case, The Book of Mormon duplicates the KJV tooo tooo tooo much. Don’t you think that’s kind of odd?
No answer. So he changed his tack. He said, “Haven’t you seen in the Bible where they mention other history books and we don’t see them in the Bible?”
I said, “Just because the writers of the book of Kings and Chronicles mention other history books doesn’t mean that God intended those other history books to be included in the Bible. There are tons of history books out there. And you know what? What exactly is the name Mosiah supposed to mean? What are all those names of ethnic groups and people supposed to mean? Linguistically, Mosiah and the Lamanites make no sense. Hebrew names for people and places usually had some meaning. For instance Moab and Amnon both mean “son of my father.” Moses means “child” in ancient Egyptian Mose/mes (as in Tutmoses, Rameses, Ahmose) and it means “Drew out” (mosheh) or deliver (masheh) in ancient Hebrew. And Isaiah means “Salvation of Yahweh.”
So I said, "promise me that you will do some objective comparison of the Bible. Check out what I'm saying and you will see that those areas of the text which are changed from the KJV shows Joseph Smith didn't really understand what the prophet Isaiah was talking about."
They said, "we don't need to do that. We know our book is true. Why are you picking on our religion by saying the Book of Mormon is wrong?"
I said, "Excuse me, I and other Christians were just walking along being normal and then you come and tell us our religious book is wrong and when we defend our faith, you say you are being spiritually attacked?"
Then they showed me a picture of Joseph Smith meeting Father God and Jesus and said, "Joseph Smith met Jesus and Holy Father."
I said, "Jesus said, 'I and the Father are one!' And are you telling me that God appeared in a human body? God doesn't have a body...and there shouldn't be a picture of two people here."
Then I said, "Honestly, I believe in one God who created all things in the universe -- seen and unseen, physical and spiritual, known and unknown.The Alpha and the Omega beside whom there is no other"
They said, "We believe in a God that created this universe....."
I said, "Don't be slick! You guys believe there are many universes and many gods who were created by other gods who were created by other gods. And when you die --if you're lucky-- you create your own planet with your own gods and your own saviors if necessary."
I think I kinda made them think when they said, "We all will become children of God."
I answered, "No, the Bible says we ARE already children of God. We have authority to heal the sick, cast out demons. As the apostle said, 'as Jesus was so are we in this world.'"
That kinda made them look like they were a bit confused.
Ah Joseph Smith's plates and the angel Moroni. First of all, ONLY Joseph Smith saw those plates. Second of all, there is no such language as reformed Egyptian.
Second his idea about how the Urim and Thummin worked was totally wrong.
Joseph Smith found the so-called plates by divination and the Mormon church's temple services are almost a duplicate of the Masonic temple.
The Book of Mormon has been so changed so many times. If it's the true book from God, why has it been changed? I mean, Mormonism was very anti-African and anti-Indian. Yet many Mormon converts nowadays don't know this history. Black people are descended from Cain and dark skin was a cursed. Brigham Young taught that anyone who married a black person should be executed on the spot. Young taught that it would always be so. There was no place in the Mormon's highest heaven for black people.
As Christ was, so are we in this world.
God tells us that even our best works are as filthy rags.
The Bible tells us that we have already passed from death into life. By Grace. You don't "merit" grace. You don't work up to a point where God gives you grace. Salvation is by grace ALONE.
Eph 2:8, 9, 20
John 5:24 -- We HAVE eternal life
God says "beside me, there is no other."
If you examine a Temple Recommend closely, you will see that it comes with an expiration date. God's grace doesn't.
I suggested they read some of the older Mormon books to see how much the Mormon church's teachings have changed, the Journal of discourse volume one, page 50 for instance where Brigham Young says that God and Adam are the same. I suggested they read some of the older Mormon theology books where the Mormon church states that God had literal sex with Mary. They didn't believe any such thing. So, I guess the good thing is that the Mormon church used to be a bit farther off from Christianity than it used to be.
I said, the first lie in the Bible was that man could become a God. It is the main deception in all false religions. Once you accept that anyone can be a god then you can accept the fact that you can become a God. But there is only one God.
They said there are other gods. And each god was created by a previous god."
I said, "Then who created the first God?"
They said, "the God before him."
I said, Isaih 43:10 says, "Before me was no god formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior....and you are my witnesses, says the Lord."
That's an answer to Mormons and to Jehovah's witness who think there are other gods and that Jesus is not God. Trinity. And One God.
What a day! At some point in the conversation, I actually felt as if I was going to get a panic attack.
There was no talking to these guys. Once they lied about history and linguistics and archeological finds, I should have given up. I mean...how can one counter this kind of dishonesty and indoctrination? Only a gospel of power will be able to convince them that perhaps they are wrong. I kept hoping the holy spirit would give me some great word of knowledge about them. And I kept kinda "listening" and "listening" to hear what the holy spirit would say to them. Ah well. I think I perplexed one of the elders though. (the silent one who looked as if he had never heard any objective analysis of the mormon faith.) I was so nervous because i just hate discussions but when mormons approach you in the middle of the street and start telling you how wrong you are about your faith, you do kinda want to scream.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
From then on I was hooked. Marriage customs, courtship customs, death rituals, rite-of-change rituals.
Of course it slipped into my book, Wind Follower which is about four tribes..and which uses Christianity at its most primitive and Scriptural. The Christian mythos is obvious and yet not pushy or preachy. The book will be out soon. Those who love anthropology and folklore and speculative fiction (or weird missionary stories about missionaries battling with shaman) will love it.
In the meantime, check out one of my favorite sites on the internet:
Some of them are easily interpreted. They don't even need interpretation. They are Godwinks . We know God is telling us He loves us and is leading us towards certain goals. But sometimes, a series of coincidences happen and we -- okay I -- find myself at a loss.
For instance, I don't know what it is but it seems as if everytime I flick on the TV and do some channel surfing --especially when i click on a channel I would not normally click on-- that there is some heavy anti-Christian anti-Bible rhetoric going on. Now, I know that there is a whole lotta anti-christian, anti-Bible rhetoric out there. What gets me is how it ALWAYS happens that I get up and for no reason turn on the TV on some channel and bingo --in my face!-- comes come snide comment. What is God trying to tell me?
Example: I do not watch The Practice in the mornings. One day, I'm in my sons room and I turn on the television and click on the show ...just to see. At that VERY moment, we see Camryn Manheim's character talking to a nun about the nun's biological sister who has apparently disappeared. The nun says something like, "well my sister would not go out to meet a man on the internet. She is married and she was just fooling and playing a flirtatious game. But she was shy and timid she wouldn't go out to actually consummate this relationship."
I thought, "ooh, nice! They're showing a nun as compassionate." (Not that I'm into how they portray nuns on TV but hey, it was looking good.)
Then Camryn Manheim's character says, "But what if she did?"
The nun replies, "Well then if she did that she deserves to burn in hell forever." Then the nun goes off and kneels and lights a candle near the Virgin Mary. And Camryn says something snide about how compassionate religious people are. AAAARGH!!! Honestly!
But this kind of thing happens to me ALLLL the time.
This morning --like a fool-- I got up and in the middle of tidying up my sons' room flicked the TV on to the CBS Morning News. NOT the stuff I usually watch. Trust me on this. I hate the news. What do I see? Reverend Pearson -- a minister who has gone all maverick against the Bible and says people who pick on gays are Bible-worshipers and Idolators of the Bible-- is talking about how evil and close-minded evangelicals are in how they have rejected him....and he's being shown as some kind of hero by the news reporter.
Now, I've never liked Pearson. I've seen him on television on TBN, WORD network and all those Christian shows. Unlike most Christians who try to see the good in everyone who claims to be a Christian, I am way suspicious. I try the spirits. I don't believe anyone. So I never trusted this guy and I kinda saw something like this coming waaaay back when. I remember he was on TBN's Praise once. He said, "The Bible says 'Jesus Christ is the savior of the world, especially of those who believe." True. But I instinctively knew what he was saying while the folks on the show -- in their lovingkindness-- were utterly blind. He went on to say, "So everyone is saved, only they just don't know it." I could tell that everyone on the show accepted it and thought he was saying that people only needed to hear the gospel then they could know ...and thus become followers of Christ." But, no, that's not what he was saying.
BTW, I've seen Christian folks get all antsy and upset about certain things and yet...allow some of the weirdest stuff to pass by. Swallowing a camel and straining out a fly, as Jesus said. So I got used to being the only one to say, "I don't trust this or that particular minister; he's a wolf in shepherd's clothing" while other Christians thought I was just being way too suspicious.
But back to the major issue...why am I always being dragged by the holy spirit to see instances in the media where Christians, the Bible, holiness is being picked on? What is God trying to say to me?
Turn off the TV? (I doubt this because the shows I generally watch don't slip into anti-christian stuff. And as I've written in another posts, I stopped watching shows like Law and Order that have religion issues.)
Is he reminding me that Christian writers should counteract these issues in their works? Wind Follower, my book, is about THE LOST BOOK of the Creator...and I honor God's word throughout. Maybe my next book should be a book which shows that holy people are really kind and loving.
Is he preparing me for the evils in the world's way of thinking? Am I unprepared for hateful interviewers who will see the Christian in me and attack? Why is God doing this to me?
Or is he doing this to other folks? What's all this synchronicity about?
Just asking. Thanks.
Saturday, June 16, 2007
But here is a subtle case of missing black woman syndrome. (They tend to move us out of the media when we're noble or helpless...but they play up the idea of us being sex-crazed and aggressive. What's that about?)
I know I sound petulant but I wish the new movie A mighty Heart, with Angelina Jolie had starred a black woman. I mean Daniel Pearl's wife was half-black and half french. Why should Angelina play her? It kinda bothers me, but I'll have to live with it I guess. It just would have been a great opportunity to show that a black woman could have a mighty heart...instead her race has been white-washed. They better refer to her race in the movie.
I honestly don't want to believe that the US is still sooooo prejudiced but honestly. If the wife had been white, would we be satisfied that a black actress was playing her? I still haven't gotten over the horrible fact that they made the hero of Ursula K LeGuin's Legend of Earthsea white when the story was about a dark-skinned tribe.
Got this from the Juno author update:
*Windfollower, Carole McDonnell - is back from the copy editor; cover is being done now. This one will have an Advance Readers Copy. We will be going ahead and publishing the book soon after (July/August), but the ARCs will be dated officially as October. (This is in order to get reviews. You need a three month lead time.)
Remember also that pre-orders are important so you can go to Amazon or to Borders and pre-order. Those pre-orders help. Paula wrote that she cancelled some books or sent them to POD (instead of offset) because they had few pre-orders. So -- if you're inclined to like multiculti paranormal romance (or if you know someone who likes it) definitely go ahead. Again, it's rooted in the christian mythos but it's not really like much of the Christian fiction one sees. Think folklore/C S Lewis kinda thing. But waaay different. I can't explain it. It's just an odd little book. If you know anyone who might like it, pass the link along. Muchas, muchas gracias.
To buy Wind Follower by Carole McDonnell click here or go to Amazon
Thanks so much. -C
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Peter and James and John in the sailboat (3x)
Out on the beautiful sea.
They fished all night but they caught nothing.
Out on the beautiful sea.
Along came Jesus walking on the water.
Out on the beautiful sea.
He said, “Throw your nets over on the other side.”
Out on the beautiful sea.
The nets were filled with great big fishes.
Out on the beautiful sea.
Well, there I was singing it yesterday and clearly – like a spotlight had been shone on it—I realized that by choosing to write to a secular audience I had cast my net on to the other side of the boat.
Why should a Christian writer choose to write for a secular publisher?
In Jesus’ day, the gospel was only being preached to those who lived in and around the region of Israel. In our day, the books published by the Christian Book Assn are generally only read by Christians. Why is this?
• Christian Books are often preachy and pious
• Christian books are not worldly. Some Christians are simply so protective of their mind they avoid anything vaguely secular
• Christian books preach to the choir
• Some Christian writers are so inside the Christian worldview that they have no comprehension of how the unChristian world thinks.
I really feel as if God was speaking to me in this, telling me to be of good cheer. If our writing, however good, (and those fishermen were good!) has not brought fish into the boat…then we should consider fishing in other waters. So many Christian writers exist, and it’s good for we Christians to have books to read. And when they get to heaven, they will get a spiritual reward for their work. But how many people will they have saved from hell through their writing?
Also…many good Christian writers exist but they are having trouble getting published by the Christian publishing world. Is it possible God is telling them to cast their net in other waters? That’s a thought.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
This time it was a sermon on the rich young ruler.
And the four errors – perpetual errors, mind you! Errors I hear ALL the time--- are these:
THE FOUR ERRORS
• Minister being very judgmental toward a Bible character and assuming bad evil motives to a character.
• Minister assuming that if he were in the position of that Bible character he would behave so much better than said Bible character
• Minister assuming everyone in church agrees with him about said Bible character
• Minister assuming something happened in the story when from the way the story is told a reader can’t really tell what happened.
SPECIFICS TO THE RICH YOUNG RULER
• The minister said the rich young ruler loved his money more than following Jesus.
• The minister assumed that if he was asked to give all his goods to feed the poor that he would do it.
• The minister assumed that we all thought the rich young ruler was greedy.
• The minister assumed the rich young man didn’t give away his goods to the poor.
Why do ministers do this?
• Perhaps they learned to interpret this story in seminary and never learned to think about the passage for themselves.
• They have been trained that Bible stories are about good people and bad people.
• They assume things as they read instead of reading carefully.
• They don’t know much about reading comprehension
• They don’t trust themselves to hear God
• They don’t trust the Holy Spirit to tell them how to interpret the story.
• They don’t read their Bibles and meditate on it.
• They skim a Bible story and prepare sermons half-heartedly.
Call me cynical but I’m not. I want Bible stories explored. I want my minister to listen to God. I want to hear ministers preaching from parts of the Bible no one preaches about because I want to see if the minister is actually listening to God instead of reading other minister’s sermons.
We are told to find root in ourselves. We must read the Bible and see what it says and then say what we see. We aren’t supposed to be living off someone else’s revelation. Especially if we are ministers. We should be reading what is written –and only what is written—and then allowing the holy spirit to talk to us instead of re-treading stuff we learned from others.
As for my interpretation of the rich young ruler story.
I think the guy went away grieved because he had much possessions. That’s what the Bible said. As for my interpretation, there are two possible interpretations:
The rich young ruler was grieved because he didn’t want to go so far as selling all he had to follow Jesus.
The rich young ruler was grieved because he WAS going to sell all he had to the poor and follow Jesus. Hey, he might have been one of Jesus’ disciples. Jesus had at least 120 by Pentecost.
As for the minister’s judgmental attitude toward the rich young ruler, has the minister ever been told to LITERALLY sell ALL he has and GIVE it to the poor? I don’t it. Ministers like to tell that story and to soften it by saying that Jesus was saying we should be “willing” to sell all we have. That, my friends, is not what the Bible says. The Bible says Jesus asked the man to sell all he had.
None of us have ever been ordered to do that?
Or have we?
And if we were ordered to do that? ---Or if we have been ordered to do that?—wouldn’t we be grieved?
I'm not saying there are no good preachers, just that there are so many lazy preachers it's hard to wait and be patient until one hears a good one. The churches in town are having a lot of revivals. They have revivals every year and ministers from all over come and preach for a week or whatever. I'm always encouraged to come. Being a faithful hopeful type, I drag myself down there and what do I hear? The same old messages from the same old passages with the same old unexamined assumptions. It just upsets a Christian. I sometimes wonder if I'm in a spiritual campmeeting or a Walmart business conference.
I so wish Christians would get rid of this judgmental attitude towards so-called “bad” people in the Bible. Whether it’s Michal, Hagar, Job’s wife, Delilah, whoever…all this kind of thing does is train us not to understand each other. And it makes us Christians become uncompassionate people with easy cruel judgmental knee-jerk answers. Just my opinion.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
The story of the gospel
Gospel is a word often used by Christians when they speak. It is a word that has two meanings and these two meanings are closely related.
The meaning of the word gospel :
• The word “Gospel” is an old English word which means good news. It is related to another old currently used old English word: gossip. But “gossip” means rumors and bad news about other people, the word gospel is used of news that is true and so wonderful it sounds unbelievable but which is nevertheless very, very true. This leads to the second meaning: something which tells the wonderful unbelievable truth about Jesus Christ.
• The second meaning of the word gospel refers to four books in the Bible which tells about the life of Jesus Christ. There are four gospels
• The gospel according to Matthew
• The gospel according to Mark
• The gospel according to Luke
• The gospel according to John
These gospel writers are called “evangelists” which is a Greek word which means “Messengers who tell the good news.” Three of the four writers (Matthew, Mark, and John) were friends, followers (sometimes called an “apostle”) and eyewitnesses of Jesus when he lived on earth. The fourth (Luke) was a friend who met them later. He was also a researcher and a doctor and he wrote another book in the Bible called “The Acts of the Apostles” which tells about how Jesus’ followers taught the gospel and what they did as they preached the good news.
All the gospels were written to tell about the good news of Jesus Christ.
Who is Jesus Christ?
Jesus Christ lived more than 2000 years ago in Israel. At that time the country was called Palestine and the Romans had invaded the country. The gospels show Jesus healing the sick, raising the dead, and telling people about God’s love. But for Christians, Jesus is more than a mere historical figure. Christians believe Jesus is:
• The Pure and Ultimate sacrifice for a person’s sins
• The Love of God made visible
• The One and only mediator between God and humans, someone who is equal to both God and humans and so he can speak to both.
• The uncreated Son of God who co-created the world with God the Father
• The Prophet who spoke the ultimate truth and mysteries about God, God’s love, Faith, Evil and the Devil, Truth, Life, Death, Spiritual Laws, and the spiritual world.
• The True Example of what a real human being should be.
• The Living Word of God in human flesh.
• The Way to God and to heaven
• The revealer of certain mysteries such as how the world really works.
What is the good news of Jesus Christ?
The good news of Jesus Christ is based on the following beliefs:
• God loved humanity and saw that humanity had forgotten how loved they were.
• God wanted humans to know him yet he knew they could not understand his goodness or his essence because the way humans thought was different from the way God thought because God is good and God is spirit
• God saw that no matter how hard people tried, they could never be as good as God wished them to be. Nor did they wish to be.
• God’s holiness required justice and required that all sins – bad things we do, think, or say such as murder, lying, pride, or sexual immorality—be punished. But God’s mercy wanted to provide a way to help people come to Him.
• God understood that people couldn’t be good without His help, yet people did not understand that they needed to understand what goodness, justice, and love were.
• God sent Jesus Christ, who is the representation of everything God is, to be born on earth as a Savior, Teacher, and Sacrifice on earth
• God put the punishment for all the sins humans would ever commit onto Jesus.
• Jesus perfectly did everything God sent Him to do.
• Jesus lived a perfect life, and died for all the sins that sinners had ever and would ever commit in order to pay for their sins
• Jesus gave his life to free humans from death, hell, and the power of sin.
• Jesus sends God’s Holy Spirit to live within those who believe what the gospel writers say about Jesus.
• That anyone who puts his or her trust in Jesus and asks Jesus to died for his sin have power over sin and sickness and conquers the world through their faith in all that Jesus did.
What the gospel is not
The gospel is not
• A system of laws -- although those who believe in the gospel should be good.
• The gospel is not aesthetics – although those who believe in Jesus often worship God in many kinds of beautiful settings and church services
• The gospel is not political correctness – although those who believe in Jesus are commanded to be kind and good to all people
• The gospel is not etiquette – although good behavior is always a good thing.
How do you become friends with God?
If you want to be reconciled to God and feel that something is separating you from him, say this prayer:
God, some people are so sure that you exist. Some people are so sure that you love them. They say that if we ask you for anything and mention Jesus to you, you will answer our prayer. Please God please let me know you in the way your son Jesus Christ does. Please let me understand everything about the Bible and about you and about Jesus. Please help me see that you have destroyed even the most powerful sin and that if you live in me that I will be able to conquer sin and all that sin does to my body, mind, and soul. Please let me understand your love, your care, and your power. Help me to trust in you and for the sake of Jesus and all Jesus did for humans, please forgive me of all my sins, free my soul and spirit from the damage sin has caused in my life and make me your true and obedient child. Amen. It's done.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
The Loving Case 40th Anniversary Won Us the RIGHT to Love Anyone WE choose
Next week marks the fourtieth anniversary of Loving v. Virginia, a Supreme Court case many of us born post-1967 may not be aware of.
In June of 1958, Richard Loving and Mildred Jeter were married inWashington, D.C. Six months after having been married, the couple was arrested, convicted of a felony, and sentenced to a year in jail. Their crime? Richard was white. Mildred was black.
The trial judge suspended the sentence for a period of 25 years on the condition that the Lovings leave the State and not return toVirginia together for 25 years. He stated in an opinion that:
"Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red,and he placed them on separate continents. And but for theinterference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did notintend for the races to mix."
The Lovings moved to Washington, D.C. (where they lived for 8 years)and appealed their conviction on the grounds that Virginia law (TheRacial Integrity Law of 1924) violated their rights to equal protection of the law and due process under the Fourteenth Amendment.
Rest of article up here
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
"The unbelieving mind would not be convinced by any proof, and the worshiping heart needs none. -- A. W. Tozer
Do I DARE to wish that Gabe can have a miracle and little old me will be able to prove what is the right perfect and acceptable will of the Father?
Hey if it was only about sitting calmly on the shore I wouldn't mind. I'd sit here and be a normal Christian not needing anything from God. But I'm in an awful position of having always believed in miracles and the Bible but now really needing to see if I actually do.
I've always believed in miracles. Or actually, I've always THOUGHT I believed in miracles. But the more I think about following everything the Bible says and committing and not turning to look back now that my hand is on the plough. Well!!!!!
I suspect we can do it. After all, Jesus hasn't asked me as he asked the rich young man to sell all I have to feed the poor. And continuing in this path will result in healing for Gabe so I am hoping and trusting. I want to be as alive and powerful a Christian as Paul and all those guys.
BUT ABOUT THAT QUOTE:
I suspect that that is somewhat true. I examine every quote, even those made by authors I love.
This is true...but only sometimes.
There are so many ways and reasons why a mind doesn't believe. As Andrew said: there is natural unbelief, there is indoctrinated unbelief, and there is simple ignorance.
Natural unbelief is what we all have. And again it's made up of so many sub-parts. It's hard to believe in something we see. It;s hard to believe we are loved. It's hard to believe we are soooo loved. But perhaos we can teach a person out of his unbelief. The disciples didn't know even consider that they could have "given" the starving people food to eat. Jesus told them to and they were so surprised. He had to perform a miracle that they themselves should have done. And when he was walking past them on the boat, he "would have gone further" because he thought they could still the storm by themselves. But after a while Jesus sent them out and they were casting out demons right and left.
Indoctrinated unbelief is something that requires proof. If someone is a good Catholic who believes that God will sooner hear her prayers better if she has a saint praying for her, that is something she needs theological proof to get rid of. I had a tough time when my good roman catholic friend was dying trying to make her trust that God could hear her prayers if she spoke one-to-one with Him. She also had been indoctrinated in the idea that all her suffering was for God's glory and that He wanted her to spend all her money and time suffering. She would not have accepted any proof I gave her from the Bible. But if a priest were to tell her that she could talk to God on her own she would have believed him.
And of course there is simple ignorance. People can't believe something they haven't been taught. But if you tell them about it and they listen, then their unbelieving mind will accept it. And sometimes proof works in this case. They hear testimonies of God's healing power or of his love and they say: "umh....maybe this God is good and accessible and powerful." But they didn't know enough to believe. And if they are convinced that the proof they were given is not a set-up or a ploy, they might very well believe.
As for the worshiping heart needing none, I don't know if I believe this. Perhaps because there are so many things to believe. If it's about believing in Jesus or in God's love or in heaven or in hell, all these beliefs are separate and can't be easily summed up.
My friend was a good Catholic who worshiped God with all her heart. Yet she could never see him as nearby and accessible because the Church had trained her to believe God was not that close.
I have a worshiping heart. I love God with all my heart. I believe in God's miracles, yet some part of me needs proof. I fight the natural unbelief which says "Who are you that a miracle should happen to you?" OR, "Who are you that the God of the entire universe should care about your little problem?" It's the problem that's been with us since Adam and Eve. We walk by sight and we have to learn to have God's faith and walk by faith.
I also have other areas of unbelief. I believe in hell. I had an encounter with hell...and yet for the life of me it's hard to get my mind around the fact that people go there...and go there forever. It just seems so horrible.
Some people have been wounded by the world they can't believe in love. No matter how much love they have been shown by people they just don't believe it. So yeah, Tozer is generally right...in a general way. But call me a cynic. I haven't got it in me to read any assertion without thinking it over once and twice and thrice.
Sunday, June 03, 2007
I'm always looking at blogs. Because there are many aspects of me (as there are many aspects of everyone), these blogs are an interesting lot. I'm a writer, Christian, woman, black person, lover of speculative literature, mother.
Blogs that deal with Communication
This is a great site for those who want to understand the linguistics and subtle language of cultural and political debate. She wrote a book called The Gentle Art of Verbal Self-defense. Good book for those who want to defend themselves from bullying nasty people.
A place to add your name to petitions.
A few of my favorite Christian sites are:
One of my favorite urls is by Jeff Scott (Jeff Gerke) a Christian writer. He has a great piece on UFO's and Christians.
Jeffersonscott's great piece on the Christian answer to so-called UFO abductions
This site is dedicated to the upcoming (2008) conference. Write here for information.
World Christian Gathering of Indigenous People/
They are also connected with
Wiconi International which is a Christian Native American organization.
My ebuddy Chris's site. It's a lovely Christian site where she tells about her writing, her life, her walk of faith. Very sweet site.
Write and Whine
If you want to build your faith, definitely go to this site:
Andrew Wommack website and free downloadable audio sermons
Favorite blogs that deal with race:
This is Carmen Dixon's frank site. A lot of honest discussions about race, immigration, politics, etc.
All About Race
Some Christian black folks might get upset at Torrance's racial anger and love of black women's butts but he's a nice guy.
Raw Dawg Buffalo
This is a site dedicated to writing about marriages between black women and white men. I like the site. It's very healing to know that we are considered beautiful.
Black Female interracial Marriage website/
This is a site for women who no longer date black men. Okay, admittedly, it goes overboard sometimes but for black women who have gotten emotionally hurt by black men and this is a good healing site.
Evolved black women website
Friday, June 01, 2007
I stopped watching Law and Order a while ago. I did this although it’s lauded as one of the best tv shows of all time.
Of course the American media’s opinion of such things matter little to me. After all, “Gone With the Wind” a film notoriously hated by most black folks, is still the favorite American film of all time. But Americans are romanticizers, and often their romantic tendencies tend toward racism and stereotypes. (Hey, didn’t the Nazi’s romanticize themselves also?) But I digress.
My biggest pet peeve with Law and Order is how they treated black people, religious people, and black religious people. I think I can count on one finger the amount of times a crime happened to a black person that didn't involve race.
I suspect this is the kind of thing that happens when a team of liberal executive producers set out to teach people about law and order and truth and justice. Aside from the congratulatory nature of Law and Order in which the producers always seem to be praising themselves for tackling tough issues and for not being afraid to show the tough issues, the big problem is that they seem to have no idea that simply showing black folks as real people is the highest form of non-racial thinking.
Educated blacks on Law and Order are either folks who are:
people who have been picked on by blacks for not being black enough and who are struggling to find themselves outside of the black world. Into this category falls the folks who plainly say they are not Christians. (Christianity being the stereotypical religion of Black folks) They might be Jewish or Muslim. Or –if they are really deep—they might even be atheists. If they happen to be Christians, they tend to be Roman Catholics.
“defenders of their white colleagues.” These are people who shout at paranoid black folks who think the cops are doing them wrong. They are there to show that black folks exist who know that whites mean them well. I remember DA Robinette, the only educated black person who didn’t defend his white colleagues. He left the prosecutor’s office to become a defense attorney for poor blacks. After that he was written out of the series. The executive producers obviously didn’t know what to do with a character like that.
Educated black folks who are just plain old slick. Black lawyers are shown as angry. Angry. ANGRY. The implication is that black folks with education who think about race are dangerous to the system. They’re also mouthy. Hey, there really are people who think about racial injustice who aren’t foaming at the mouth. We blacks are pretty easy-going, generally.
The tragic outsider. Something like the tragic mulatto of past literature. Often victims of society, because they are unlike the typical black uneducated kids from the hood who are always shown as smart and un-streetwise, they inevitably get killed off by black thugs or whites who were using them and couldn’t understand that these innocent blacks just weren't drug dealers or what-not.
Then there is the way they treat religious people. Again, they treat religious people as if we are all from a different planet and we – if we are not dangerous to ourselves or to the world at large—should be gently patronized and allowed to live in our deluded state.
They generally categorize religious people of all faiths into the following categories:
a religious person who is an innocent deluded person --usually a black person or an observant overly-submissive Catholic woman (read ignorant and she don't know no better)
a criminal (killer of gays, bomber of clinics, embezzler of funds.)
A faithful religious person who is often victimized by people of other religious faiths. (These are often Muslims and Jews. Christians are rarely shown as people who suffer for their faith.) Sometimes these characters are blacks who are bullied by Christian blacks. (The Law and Order folks think they're deep when they do stuff like that.)
A religious person who “thinks” and therefore doesn’t blindly follow the rules of his religion whenever those rules are challenged by American law and common sense. (Prosecutor Jack McCoy falls into this category.)
I allow that Hollywood is a town where screenplays are built on stereotypes. But the weird thing is that we always see this in the news also. It’s as if the media goes out to search for certain types when discussing religion to make Christians look like real idiots. But again, I digress. Back to Law and Order.
I got tired of seeing the following on every episode that dealt with religion: (Besides, it became far too predictable for me to know who the bad guy was)
If they wanted to show that Christians were racist, they’d have a character who was a white Baptist with a southern accent. This character is also often stealing money from his church or having an affair with the church secretary.
If they wanted to show that "reasonable" religious persons existed, they’d have a youthful character or a young seminarian who is a Methodist, Presbyterian, Episcopalian, or Lutheran. This character would be going through a kind of spiritual crisis of belief which would show that anyone who does NOT have a spiritual crisis simply does not know how to think deeply. I suspect this has a lot to do with our love of a good uniform. Baptist and Pentecostal ministers, after all, tend to wear regular clothing.
If they wanted to show a depth of unrealistic religious fundamentalist faith, they’d have a character who was a middle-aged or young needy emotional person who is evangelical. Said character (like his black counter-part who was too aware of race) was often the type to do mass murder for a cause: destroy abortion doctors or gays or some such victimized group.
If they wanted to show a sex-crazed religious person or a child molester, they’d have a character who was a Roman Catholic, or a repressed Bible-believer Baptist. The implication here is that repression of the sexual appetite, cruelty, and hypocrisy all go dangerously together and if people stopped intruding on other folks sex lives, they would be saner themselves.
They also engaged in some questionable pro-religion stereotypes:
If they wanted to show that a person had wealth and class, they showed a rich Episcopalian. Issues of class aside, this kind of stereotype always dripped May Flower. Let us remember folks that the MayFlower was not the first ship that came to the United States. Let us also remember that the Dutch ship The New Amsterdam brought settlers to these shores way before the Mayflower came.
Law and Order also got sentimental about Roman Catholicism. Holy priests fighting street crime, nuns standing beside beautiful Gregorian chants and stained glass. I suspect they did this because of some Irish-Catholic connection. The myth being that the great protectors of New York streets are often Irish firemen and Irish cops. My hubby was born Irish-Catholic so I won’t argue with him on this stereotype. I’m not up on the statistics. My mother, a West Indian nurse who worked in Brooklyn, used to behave as if all the nurses in Brooklyn were black. All the good ones anyway.
Law and Order also had some shows with some noble gay religious person. Either a young handsome moody-looking dark-haired Roman Catholic, or an older distinguished gay priest who was being blackmailed.
There are more "angry" or "street-talking" or "uneducated" or "pious" or "over-educated" or "slick" or "salt-of-the-earth mammy (or uncle)" or "spiteful powerful and vindictive" black folks on that show than I meet in a typical month in my neighborhood. And if I saw one more black woman crying over her dead child saying, "Mah baybbbeeee, mah baybeeee!" I was gonna scream. So yeah, as John Lennon sang, “I just had to let it go.”
Carole McDonnell’s fiction, devotionals, poetry and essays have appeared in many publishing venues, in print and online. She is the author Wind Follower a Christian speculative fiction novel which will be published by Juno Books in June 2007.
I'm getting better at just saying stuff that's at the back of my mind. The bible says that the fear of man brings a snare ...and whenever someone does something anti-Christian or anti-black to me I've been too afraid of seeming like a touchy black person or the idiotic ignorant Bible believer. That's how the world silences us by making us feel unclassy or stupid or unelightened. When we are too offended to talk about our faith, we are (what the Bible calls) "offended"
We have to learn to be honest and to speak our minds and often it's a battle between the shame we feel and the shame others might feel if we speak the truth to them. A friend of mine (a black man) recently saved a little white girl from being run over by a car. The little girl's racist mother yanked the baby from my friend as if my friend was tainted and diseased. My friend thought she was an idiot and didn't say anything. I told him he should have embarrassed and shamed her. Shame is a powerful tool and when you take away a person's power to shame a guilty cruel person you take away one way of enlightening the idiots into common sense and kindness. But of course shame only works on those who have a conscience.
So many people have been shamed in life. For some souls, shame is a seed that finds good ground to grow in, and as it grows it brings a forest of griefs. Other souls have consciences so seared, souls so worldly, and minds so ignorant that shame is hard-put to touch them. Not that we should Christians be going about trying to shame people.
How many of us have been shamed in life? How many of us haven’t? How many had cause to be shamed and actually deserved the shaming? Is shame ever deserved? And if it is, are humans the ones who should apply it? Or is there another force out there whose province is to uncover and cover our shame.
I, myself, have been shamed in many areas of my life. In the world, three things must combine to create shame. The soul – let’s call it the “ground” for the shaming seed to grow in, the person to speak the cruel shaming words, and the circumstances that will enable the shamer to judge his victim.
The Bible teaches us that things in-and-of themselves aren’t shaming. St Paul writes in Romans 14, “Who are you to judge someone else’s servant?” And in Colossians he states, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” So poverty, health issues, housecleaning skills, a short skirt, an ugly dress, are not evils.
Shame appears however, when a tender-hearted soul meets someone who is ready, willing, and able to judge her by human standards or tradition. There is no shame, for instance, in having no money. There are many reasons for not having money. Just as there are many reasons – psychological, physical, and genetic– for being fat, or sickly. Nor is a dirty house evidence of an immortal weak wife. But when we judge ourselves by the world’s standards, and when an arrogant person who thinks herself knowledgeable in all things enters our lives, then judgements are very likely to come and shaming begins. In fact, shame is closely aligned with mockery because the person doing the shaming often thinks that they represent the standards of the world. They imagine an invisible chorus behind them urging them on to enlighten the person they are shaming. That is, shamers judge and compare and always find others wanting because they think they represent the world’s opinion.
Now, it might seem as if I’m saying that shame is evil. Or good. Actually, no. Shame by itself is not a bad thing. And it's not a good thing either.
The world needs a lot of true shame. And the Bible tells us that humans have a very bad habit of glorying in what they should be ashamed about, or being ashamed about what they should be glorying about, or turning glorying into shame. (Phil 3:19; Hab 2:16, Ps 4:2, Hos 4:7)
The early Christians were happy that they were “worthy to suffer shame for the cross of Christ.” Acts 5:41
Paul states that he is not ashamed of the gospel. The implication is that people then – as they do now– were trying to make him ashamed of it.
In fact, there is a kind of shame that is very closely linked with spirituality. This shame often is felt within the spirit of a believer and often concerns his relationship with God, the rest of the community of believers, and the onlooking unbelievers.
The Psalmist often states, “Let not those who wait on you be ashamed for my sake.”
Jeremiah states “I was ashamed, yea even confounded.” Jer 31:19
Paul writes in Romans 5:5, “Hope makes not ashamed” and in Rom 9:33, “He who believeth in Him shall not be ashamed.”
Jesus states in Luke 9:26, “whoever shall be ashamed of me, I will be ashamed of.”
Paul writes, in 2 Ti 1:16, “You were not ashamed of my chains” and states in Heb 2:11, “Jesus is not ashamed to call us His brethren.” And in Heb 11:16, “God is not ashamed to be called their God.”
But the Bible makes it clear that shame is a thing that happens. The laws of God roll relentlessly and shame comes about of its own will. When some people try to shame another, he might be aligning herself with Satan, whom the Bible calls the Accuser of the Brethren.
In the Bible true shame is seen as a spiritual consequence of evildoing. Often, when people prayed against their enemies, they prayed that the enemies would become ashamed. If their prayers were answered, the shame would either be external for all to see -- an uncovering of their sins in the sight of all-- or a conviction within the evildoer’s heart that they have done something foolish in the sight of God. This is true shame. False shame, on the other hand, only satisfies the shamer and those she gossips to.
In the Bible, one can see many examples of people shaming other people. And one can see the spiritual and earthly outcomes of such shaming. Sometimes the shaming incident leads to good, but sometimes it leads to evil, spite, and bitterness. But in all cases, a spiritual law has been set in place and forgiveness and confession are often needed.
Jacob tried to shame his own daughter-in-law Tamar, and was convicted of his own sinfulness instead. Tamar, Absalom’s sister, was shamed; David handled it badly which caused trouble for his family in the end. Michal, David’s wife – upset that David was a trifle over-sexed– tried to shame him when he danced and accidentally showed his nakedness. In turn, David shamed her but telling her he would not sleep with her ever again. This was a seed David which David sowed, which combined with other bloody seeds he had sown, made him end up reaping a great harvest of grief. His son Absalom slept with all his wives and concubines – probably with the exception of Bathsheba because she was Ahitophel’s granddaughter– and David no longer had intercourse with them for the rest of his life. Other people in the Bible who were shamed were Samson, who was laughed at by his enemies. This shaming destroyed his will to live.
But others pushed past shame. The woman with the issue of blood didn’t make shame or the fear of man snare her into avoiding Jesus. She wanted healing. The harlot whose son was stolen in the night wasn’t too ashamed to ask Solomon for help. And Elizabeth pushed shame aside when she heard the good news that she would be a mother in her old age.
Shame, then, is an enemy of the believer. And, like many Satanic weapons, it often comes at us from the mouth and actions of an accuser.
Some people who use shame don’t have the gift of forbearance. Enslaved to their tongues and to their own opinions, they have no power to stop themselves from speaking their minds. When a shamer wounds someone else, they often say, “It was for her own good. I had to speak my mind. God knows someone needed to tell her this.” Because they do not consider their words unkind – indeed, they consider themselves helpful because they’re trying to get the shamed person to behave in an acceptable way– it never occurs to them that they have dug their graves with their teeth and that he who digs a pit will fall into it.
A minister, for instance, might rebuke a couple for living together in sin. He might call them out in front of the congregation and say, “Don’t shack up together, it’s a sin.” And I’ve heard of many ministers who have done this kind of thing. But I have never ever ever heard of a minister who did this to a couple who had many friends in the congregation, or to a couple from a powerful family? Because shamers edge their bets. They side with the majority, and they want to be known as siding with the majority. This is human nature and Jesus knew it.
We humans also know it. Often at the very moment a person shames us, we can see the envy or hatred or greed in their hearts. We know that what they say might be good for us to hear but taking their rebuke is like drinking from a fountain that brings for bitter and sweet water. We know that giving in to them kills and well as heals. We grow by their advice, but we also die because of it because their advice was meant to make us understand how small, imperfect, and unimportant we are compared to their perfect selves.
So then, now that we understand that humans shouldn’t go around shaming each other, what are we to do with the shame that has hounded us all throughout so much of our lives? We must hand it to Jesus. Like any sin, bitterness is powerless against the blood of the Lamb and the word of His testimony. Like any disease, shame is powerless against the blood which heals all our diseases.
If we continue living in shame, we cannot truly believe that we are God’s children. If the evil words spoken to our heart has found a place within our hearts, they will grow up alongside the good word Jesus has placed in our heart and soon both harvests will struggle against each other. How can we believe we are God’s loved children if our wounded hearts consider ourselves lowly worms, and grasshoppers? How can we pray for great things to happen in our lives when we are hating ourselves and believing that we don’t deserve it?
But there is something else about being shamed. Those who have been shamed are not guiltless either. Because we have been shamed, we also sometimes shame others. Shamed parents shame their children, shamed men shame their wives. Being shamed leads to a kind of inferiority/superiority complex. And this affects our prayers, often making us pray wrongfully, with the wrong purposes in mind. A shamed person might want a beautiful house, but very often they want the beautiful house because they want to “one-up” and “show” the one who shamed them. A shamed person may want to see God’s glory in her life – but at the same time, she wants others to see God’s working in her life also so that people will see – in a very selfish way– how much God loves her. This is what modern psychologists call The Cinderella Complex. A wounded soul is not satisfied with a good husband. That husband must be richer, and more handsome and more powerful than everyone else’s husbands, and especially the husband of the woman who shamed her. In short, a shamed person has a lot to prove. And because of this their prayers are not pure.
John Bunyan, the author of Pilgrim’s Progress, considered shame such a powerful weapon against the Christian that he called it Tyrant Shame. But, brothers and Christians, we should not be enslaved to any tyrant. Our Father is the loving God of the universe and there is nothing we cannot conquer because “we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. Romans 8:37
“Holy Spirit, let me know the Father’s love so that my heart may be healed from the false love others have given me. Lord Jesus, let me hear your “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Let me, accept your acceptance of me. Teach me to discern between true rebuke and false shame. And open my heart that I may receive all the love you wish to give me. I ask this of the Father in Jesus’ name. Amen.”
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