10 years Running Blind
Friday, August 29, 2008
McCain VP choice
I think that McCains pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was a smart choice. She will surely take some of Hillary's supporters but she is way more conservative. But overall, I think it was a very smart choice and will make this race very close.
Let the debates begin.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Crazy Lightning Storm in Arizona - August 28, 2008
I though that Dobson and company prayed for a storm of Biblical proportions in Denver this evening. Well this is what we had in the Phoenix area tonight...home of Senator John McCain. How ironic is that? The lightning was like a strobe light. Continuous.
Leaving a Church
I have left two churches since I have been a Christ Follower. The first one was very easy. It was a very abusive situation. The second one was more of a disagreement with the leadership (which I was okay with by the way, they are the leaders of this particular church).
The first situation was very easy to walk away from. The second one still hurts a little but I still feel we did the right thing and I am at peace about it. The thing that really bothers me the most? There are a few people that cannot meet me for conversation or lunch. Just because I don't worship there anymore? Are you serious? Are you the only church with the right answers? I don't think so.
A lot of these issues stem from authoritarian leadership, which in my opinion, is a power trip most of the time. They will love you and let you play, but only if you do it their way.
Anyhow...off my rant about that now. Here is a blurb from a blogger that apparently went through a very nasty church situation. I see some similarities in her post that can kind of apply with what I went through, only mine was on a much smaller scale.
You can read the entire post-Kangaroo Court-here
Names have been omitted and replaced by the titles “apostle” and “pastor.” These titles do not necessarily indicate calling, simply rank and position in this particular situation.
On February 28, 2004, we were brought before apostle and pastor in a disciplinary meeting. The charge brought against us at this meeting was that we were not adequately submitted to pastor. The litany of accusations against us consisted of specific instances recorded where we had disagreed with pastor in elders meetings and in private conversations.
Based on this, we were accused of disloyalty, lack of commitment, and improper motives. While the things we disagreed about were factual, pastor’s implications concerning our motives were false and rooted in personal offense. Apostle and the other elders had been called into this “emergency” and asked to support pastor’s charges. They were quick to come into agreement with pastor concerning our guilt. Prior to this trap to accuse, there was no Matthew 18 attempt to approach us by anyone involved concerning the alleged problems with our hearts.
We were blindsided. The deception and manipulation involved in pulling off this power play destroyed any possibility of putting ourselves in a trusting relationship with pastor or apostle. We were not willing to agree to pastor’s false judgment of us. We found that we had no voice with the leadership team with which to defend our hearts or motives.
The predetermined outcome of this meeting was that we were to be put on probation in order to prove our submission to pastor. Because we had been manipulated by lies and false accusations, we did not submit to this false reconciliation process. We did not accept pastor’s proposal that we be discipled by him into appropriate submission, therefore we were accused of being unwilling to participate in the process of reform.
Under the circumstances, there was no recourse for us that would have brought justice. Challenging the injustice would have damaged relationships further. Being in a truly lose-lose situation, we chose the least destructive route and simply walked away. We believe we were following the Lord’s direction to leave. We also felt strongly that it was His desire that we neither bring accusation against the leadership nor defend ourselves.
Our friends who were involved in leadership chose to stand behind pastor. They severed relationship with us out of loyalty to him. The congregation had no clue what happened and were left to fill in the blanks based on whatever was implied about us by the leadership. It was evident that our reputation was smeared by the way people have treated us and by the rumors we have heard. We experienced rejection in more ways than we ever could have imagined.
The months after we left were filled with hurt and confusion. Over time, we were able to more clearly understand the circumstances and beliefs that led up to this situation. We have forgiven those involved, and we now see how God has used this situation for our benefit. We are still extremely concerned with the teaching and style of leadership that allows and even encourages this kind of abuse within a church community. We are grateful that we are no longer in a position of teaching and supporting abusive authority.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
That Wild and Wooly Monsoon
One of our forecasters at my office did an excellent write-up on the storms that affected Arizona last night including here in the Phoenix Metro area. Check it out here.
So I just got done watching Hillary's speech. I think she did a good job telling all of her supporters to unify and vote for Barack. My favorite line from her speech was a funny one...
"Isn't it ironic that GW Bush and John McCain will be meeting in the Twin Cities next week...because they are sure looking a lot alike these days."
I'm sure it's not verbatim...but it was sure good for a chuckle.
Peace! Vote for Change!
Monday, August 25, 2008
Deportations. Right or wrong?
I read this article yesterday and it really made me sad and then it made me angry. How can a human being do this to another human being? It makes me even angrier when trying to adopt a child from Mexico is so damn difficult.
Deported Mexicans face shattered lives
Well I'm off to work and it may be a very active weather night tonight.
Grace and Peace!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
James Dobson prays for rain at DNC
Are you freaking kidding me? This guy is starting to be the next Jerry Falwell if you ask me.
Conservative James Dobson's Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family posted what it called a humorous Internet video calling for people to pray for rain during Obama's speech. The group pulled the video last week after receiving complaints.
I read it in this article here
Virtue or Grace?
At Starbucks last week a pastor friend of mine, Doug, told me about a seventeen-year-old he had been helping. This young woman, Claire, was struggling. Her older sister, who is not a Christian, is living with her boyfriend.
"David, she asked a bunch of other people, other Christians, what to do," Doug explained. "And all of them, every one of them, said that without a doubt she should confront her older sister and tell her that what she is doing is wrong and that it's against God's plan."
"I told her I agreed that the behavior is wrong, but then I asked her something: 'Claire, do you think it's the right time to say something to your sister? I mean, you know the situation; you know your relationship with her. A loving confrontation might be appropriate. God uses us to speak to others. But are you asking the Holy Spirit to help you know what to say or when to say something? God is concerned with her soul, not just her behavior.'"
Pgs 195-196 UnChristian - What a new generation really thinks about Christianity ... and why it matters
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Donald Miller and Cameron Strang
Donald Miller, famous author of Blue Like Jazz, and Cameron Strang, founder and editor of Relevant.
Cameron was asked to pray at the DNC. He accepted but then declined the invitation. He then recommended Donald Miller and Donald Miller was invited and accepted.
You can read Cameron's reason for declining in this blogpost here.
He also said something about both parties working together to reduce the number of abortions despite being pro-choice or pro-life.
proactively working to reduce the number of abortions each year (not only through legislation, prevention and education, but by financial support for pregnant women and overhauling the adoption system—things are messed up when an abortion is $500 and an adoption is $25,000).
I thought that was very well stated...especially the part about the cost of an abortion vs. the cost of an adoption.
(image by Robbymac)
If you heard about the Lakeland Revival then you will understand this cartoon.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Alice Cooper and Christianity
His professed Christian ethics are sometimes called into question, even by his fellow Christians, Cooper notes.
"If they want to come down on me, OK, but let me give you a scenario: I'm a Christian guy and an actor, and I get cast to play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare. That's very classy: Macbeth. It's a good role, but Macbeth is also a murderer, and he's everything that's horrific to the Christian religion. But that's OK, because it's Shakespeare."
He pauses for punctuation, then continues: "So why would it be OK for me to play Macbeth and my show wouldn't be OK? My show isn't as bloody as Macbeth. And mine's funnier.
He adds, "When I became a Christian, I didn't get a list of rules. I got a Bible, and it's been a one-on-one relationship between me and Christ, not the church."
So who will be Obama's VP?
My guess and hope is that Biden gets the nod. But who knows? Anything can happen. Hopefully we will know tonight or tomorrow.
As for McCain's running mate? Rumors have it that it will be Romney.
Throughout my life I have noticed one thing about people in churches. They do not disagree well. If you ask a question or have a different stance on something you are automatically labeled a "heretic" even if it is not heretical. Why is that? Could it be that the people in leadership think that they have the only correct answer? Do they think that they are the only ones that hear from God? I think not.
Out of Context: Shane Claiborne
Shane Claiborne sees mean people.
"If there's anything I've learned from both conservatives and liberals, it's that you can have all the right political answers and still be mean. And nobody wants to listen to you if you're mean. One of the things we can do is learn to disagree well. I think there is a new conversation happening within evangelicalism in post-religious-right America that is much healthier. We can actually learn to disagree well."
-Shane Claiborne is a founding member of The Simple Way, a new monastic community in Philadelphia, and the co-author of Jesus for President. Taken from "Body Politic" in the Summer 2008 issue of Leadership journal.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Two sides to the story
I posted a video of Katy Perry's song "I kissed a Girl" yesterday along with a link from a media story where her parents (both pastors) were portrayed in a judgemental and ridiculing way. You can read that story here.
The media can twist things around to portray their take on the story. I know this from experience in my job where I have been misquoted in the newspaper. Katy's father Keith (He's got a pretty cool name eh?) responded in another story here.
As you will see later in this chapter, being judgmental is one of those areas of the Christian life in which it is very easy to make mistakes. A definition will help us here. To be judgmental is to point out something that is wrong in someone else's life, making the person feel put down, excluded, and marginalized. Some part of their potential to be Christ followers is snuffed out. Being judgmental is fueled by self-righteousness, the misguided inner motivation to make our own life look better by comparing it to the lives of others.
Unfortunately, Christians in our culture have become identified with this perception. Nearly nine out of ten young outsiders (87 percent) said that the term judgmental accurately describes present-day Christianity. This was one of the big three---the three most widely held negative perceptions of Christians (along with being antihomosexual and hypocritical). Just to put this in practical terms, when you introduce yourself to a twentysomething neighbor, and you mention your faith, chances are he or she will think of you as judgmental.
We also discovered that our better-than-thou attitudes are apparent to young churchgoers. Most Christian young people told our interviewers that our faith seems too focused on other people's faults. More than half the young Christians between the ages of sixteen and twenty-nine (53 percent) said they believe that the label judgmental accurately fits present-day Christianity.
UnChristian - What a new generation really thinks about Christianity ...and why it matters
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I Kissed a Girl - Katy Perry
Here is a link to an article about Katy's religious parents and what they think about this song. Let me guess...they forced her to go to church every time the doors were open and made her sing in church...thus she rebelled. Gee I wonder why? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1046018/Shameful-disgusting-The-No1-song-sparked-outrage--singers-parents.html
The art of control
This has been bothering me for quite some time now. Why is it, that when someone "disciples" you, they are always right and you are always wrong? If God is showing me something else, you decide that the path I choose is wrong.
There are many different viewpoints on theology and doctrine. The experiences I have had are where I was told that my way was wrong and their way is the right way. Who made you God? Sometimes churches use the term "discipleship" to disguise the control thay want to have over you.
It has led me to the point where I do not ever want to be in any leadership position ever again. A guy I respect very much, Carl Tuttle, says it very well from his latest post on his blog here.
I'll comment more on the stuff I have written regarding how the church handles failure of it's members and in particular it's leaders......man we are harsh....there are a couple things I need to listen to and read first....so for now just some thoughts on the last couple weeks...they have been tough...not on me so much...but on the lives of people I know....therefore it has impacted me rather deeply......first of all a friend of mine who has been in ministry for over a couple decades has stepped out of ministry and is going through a very difficult time......there is no doubt he needed to and has acted in ways that have hurt others.....but it always seems the response to that is to step back from the person, rather than embrace the person in their brokenness and sin......friends quit calling....people avoid contact and so the broken person who needs healing and ministry is left to fend for themselves........what a shame......I know this I am going to be his friend even when he acts like a dumb ass....what kind of friendship is it when someone fails...we abandon and cut off...if a person is a friend, aren't they always your friend, when they are acting good and when they are acting bad.....just some thoughts.....on top of this a young lady that I know took her own life...she was 35.......evidently felt so hopeless and was filled with such despair and confusion she decided she didn't want to live any more..........OUCH.......she had no interest in God whatsoever and no interest in church......yet when I think about her choice to end her life....evidently because she was miserable.......what could it have hurt to investigate Jesus, to hang out with a community of faith.........she would have experienced love, affirmation, acceptance....at least with the people I hang out with....I know she would have.......I lead a service for her at a Wine Bar.....frankly a place I think Jesus would have been comfortable at...in fact I'm thinking he would have been more comfortable there, then at some of the churches that exist today......sorry........what do you say in such a circumstance? well God gave me grace and favor......in the end I shared about what's really important....what's the most important thing?Loving God and loving one another.........told them about the story of the 'expert in the law' who sought to 'test Jesus'........so he asked him which is the most important commandment....and Jesus wouldn't answer....he asked him....what do you think it is? .....the man answered...to love the Lord your God with all your heart soul and mind.......Jesus said 'you are right and the second is like it....love your neighbor as your self....go and live ' Not to bad an idea for me or you...love God, love others...Go and live!
I know Carl Tuttle went through a very rough time when he was in leadership. You can read through his blog to see what he went through.
I choose to do what God considers the two most important things...love God and love others. Everything else is minor. Too many people get wrapped up in theology, doctrine, so called discipleship, and dare I say church politics. I am glad I am done with all of that crap. It is very obvious when people choose to not associate with you anymore because you disagree with them on some things, that the love was conditional.
I don't ever want to get involved in a leadership position in a church again because I am free in Christ. I choose to love God, love others...now I'm going to go live! God is in control, not you and not me. Sometimes you or I try to take control, but we always lose.
Grace and Peace!
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
UPDATE: After originally claiming no third party was involved in his filing for separation from his wife, evangelist Todd Bentley confessed to his ministry’s board of directors last week that he had engaged in “an unhealthy relationship” with another woman—the second such occurance in three years. A letter written by Fresh Fire Ministries’ board stated that Bentley had “entered into an unhealthy relationship on an emotional level with a female member of his staff.” Another statement released by Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship pastor John Arnott, one of the three leaders appointed during the Lakeland Outpouring to oversee Bentley, added reports of “excessive drinking” to the mix. Bentley has since resigned from Fresh Fire’s board of directors and will “refrain from all public ministry for a season to receive counsel in his personal life.” “I am deeply saddened for the body of Christ that has been disillusioned yet again,” Arnott said. “Had any of us known what was just ahead, perhaps we would have been able to intervene before things went into crisis.” [freshfire.ca, 8/15/08; tacf.org, 8/17/08; theledger.com, 8/18/08]
Sunday, August 17, 2008
The following excerpt is from Frank Viola’s Who Is Your Covering? He also covers this topic in his latest book Reimagining Church. The entire last half of the book addresses attitudes and beliefs concerning leadership in the church today. It is refreshing in comparison to the political maneuvering and manipulation of those building apostolic networks and empires.
Of course, people rarely recognize that this is what is at the bottom of the issue. For it is typically well clothed with Biblical garments. In the minds of many Christians, “covering” is merely a protective mechanism.
But if we dissect the “covering” teaching, we will discover that it is rooted in a one-up/one-down, chain-of-command style of leadership. Within this leadership style, those in higher ecclesiastical positions have a tenacious hold on those under them. Oddly, it is through such top-down control that believers are said to be “protected” from error.
Of course, the real problem with the “God-denomination-clergy-laity” model goes far beyond the incoherent, pretzel logic to which it leads. The chief problem is that it violates the spirit of the NT! For behind the pious rhetoric of “providing accountability” and “having a covering,” there looms a system that is bereft of Biblical support and driven by a spirit of control.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Vacation is coming to an end
So I have really enjoyed my time off of work. It is so nice to not be on a schedule. I work a string of radar and evening shifts beginning Monday night into the weekend with Wednesday off.
I got two vehicles taken care of. Shannon's Ford Escape needed a new alternator, shocks, struts, hoses, and some other routine stuff. All to the tune of almost $1400. I had my Honda Civic in for some routine maintenance and also had all of the fluids flushed and replaced. I have taken extra special care of that vehicle and I am going to drive it as long as I can. That is why I am taking good care of it. It is a 2004 Honda Civic EX and Honda's are very reliable vehicles. Patty has yet to make that appointment with the dealership about her AC problem. Her car is a 2008 Mazda 3 and only has 12,000 miles on it. From all of the symptoms, I think that it is the compressor that is bad. When she took it in the first time it acted up they said it was very low on freon so they refilled it and also put in some dye to check for a leak. We'll see what becomes of it.
The highlight of my vacation was by far our trip to Carlsbad California. But the week at home was cool too because I was able to take care of some things without having to worry about going to work. I also loved going to the gym during the day because it is way less crowded and just more enjoyable overall.
We went out to dinner with J and Jen and their son Sam on Wednesday. They are just such cool people and we always enjoy their company. We talked about the book The Shack which Jen and I have both read and we both loved it. J is going to read it and I'm trying to talk Patty into it too.
I helped out at the Gilbert Drop-In last night. Obie had something going on that he needed to take care of so it was just Leo and I last night. There really was not a great turnout though and I think that the weather may have had something to do with it. We were cooking hot dogs and around 7 pm the sky just opened up. It poured rain, thundered with lightning and was also very windy. I got soaked, but it cooled me off. We ended up shutting it down early at around 8 pm. I enjoyed shooting the breeze with Leo though.
I have some thoughts going round and round in my brain that I may blog about very soon. It is about where I am at right now in my journey of being a follower of Christ.
Have a great weekend everyone. Be nice to someone daily and give them an encouraging word.
Grace and Peace!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
God sets out upon the humiliating path of reconciliation and thereby pronounces the world free. God wills to be guilty of our sin, and takes over the punishment and suffering sin has brought upon us. God answers for godlessness, love for hatred, the saint for the sinner. Now there is no godlessness, no hatred, no sin which God has not carried, suffered, and atoned. Now there is no reality, no world that is not reconciled and in peace with God. God did this in the beloved son Jesus Christ.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Meditations on the Cross
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Evangelist Todd Bentley, who last week unofficially left the Lakeland Outpouring to continue similar meetings around the world, announced to his staff yesterday that he and his wife, Shonnah, are separating. According to the Lakeland Ledger, Bentley filed for separation despite the couple having been in marriage counseling for several months. Bentley and his wife, who have three children, are Canadian citizens and under Canadian law are required to go through a nine-month separation period prior to divorce. On Bentley’s ministry’s Web site, a letter written by the Fresh Fire Ministries board of directors stated that “there has been no sexual immorality on the part of either Todd or Shonnah, nor has there ever been. Undoubtedly the pressures and the burden of the Outpouring, which approaches 144 days on Aug. 23, have helped to create an atmosphere of fatigue and stress that has exacerbated existing issues in their relationship. We wish to stress however, that the Outpouring is not ‘to blame’ for the current chain of events and that in effect we have no interest in blaming anyone, but rather we deeply covet your prayers for Todd and Shonnah and for Fresh Fire Ministries during this time.” [religion.theledger.com, 8/11/08; freshfire.ca, 8/12/08]
1 Corinthians 7:22-23 (The Message)
20-22Stay where you were when God called your name. Were you a slave? Slavery is no roadblock to obeying and believing. I don't mean you're stuck and can't leave. If you have a chance at freedom, go ahead and take it. I'm simply trying to point out that under your new Master you're going to experience a marvelous freedom you would never have dreamed of. On the other hand, if you were free when Christ called you, you'll experience a delightful "enslavement to God" you would never have dreamed of.
23-24All of you, slave and free both, were once held hostage in a sinful society. Then a huge sum was paid out for your ransom. So please don't, out of old habit, slip back into being or doing what everyone else tells you. Friends, stay where you were called to be. God is there. Hold the high ground with him at your side.
I think we have it all backwards. Jesus didn’t ask us to start ministries. He didn’t ask us to accomplish great things. He simply asked us to love others the same way we are loved by him and that will be enough for the whole world to know that we belong to him and that they can too.
I am more convinced than ever that every thing God wants to do in the world will flow from us learning to live in his love and listening to him as we walk through life. This allows the opportunities in our lives to grow organically, rather than through the artificial means of organizing, promoting, and manipulating others. That may be why he told us his new command would simply be to love like we’ve been loved.
Wayne Jacobsen - June 2008
This is doing the stuff in my opinion. Love God, Love others, and let God do the work. Don't impose a list of rules on them and beat them over the head with what you think is right or wrong. Let God do the changing, not us. Is it really that hard to understand?
Sunday, August 10, 2008
IRAQ JOURNAL 2003 is Shane Claiborne's account of his peacemaking trip to Iraq in March 2003, just before the US invasion. Told mostly through emails that he sent home, this book offers a gracious and humanizing depiction of the Iraqi people. Shane Claiborne is a member of the Simple Way community in Philadelphia and is also author of the recent book THE IRRESISTIBLE REVOLUTION (Zondervan 2006). From the rear cover: "One of the children we are close to, Amal, decided to celebrate her 13th birthday with us! So we had a feast, grilled out in a park nearby... As we were playing a little game of balloon volleyball, bombs began to explode in the background. The adults all looked uneasily at each other, but we kept playing. Then one explosion hit very close. A couple of us huddled down with the little children... These children were raised hearing bombs, in 1998, in 1991... and yet they will still play in a park with the people whose country is destroying theirs... As bombs continued to thunder in the background, I was reminded once again that life is more powerful than death, that children can teach old tyrants and cynics how to love."
Friday, August 08, 2008
I could get very used to San Diego
Wow! What a nice relaxing time we had in San Diego this week. Specifically, Carlsbad California in Northern San Diego County. We did a little bit of everything while we were there. The weather was just absolutely gorgeous. San Diego has a fairly steady climate year round. The marine layer with its low clouds and fog drift in late evening and usually lasts through mid morning before the sun burns it off. This usually cools things off into the low to mid 60's. Days are warm and pleasant with highs in the mid 70's to lower 80's. The water temperature of the Pacific Ocean was a very nice 72 degrees. All of this compared to Phoenix with lows in the 80's (sometimes 90's too) and highs anywhere from 101 to 115. The pools around here have water temps in the upper 80's to lower 90's. I could definitely get used to living in San Diego. They even drive better there than here in Phoenix. But their neighbors to the North in Los Angeles are a different story. You take your life in your own hands driving there.
We did some shopping, drove up and down the coast with the windows down and sunroof open, went to the beach and hung out and swam in the ocean. There was a major rip tide going on while we were there so swimming out too far was not a good idea. The waves were breaking real close to shore though so you could still go out and mess around in the waves a bit. I was smart and used sunscreen, so I didn't get burnt at all. Last night for our 21st wedding anniversary, Patty and I went to a nice Seafood place for dinner after playing on the beach. Patty went and got a spa treatment too. But today we came back home. The first time we got out of the car once we hit the desert it was back to reality. It was like an oven blast.
I was planning on taking my car in for some routine maintenance after we got back. On the way out to San Diego, I noticed it starting kind of funny. I tried to remember when I put a new battery in it and it was two years ago. Batteries do not last long in the desert. So my gut told me that my battery was going bad. Well after we got to San Diego and parked it, the next morning it would not start at all. The battery was totally gone. So I just called AAA and they came out and confirmed that it was the battery and put in a new one and off we went. Total time from my first contact with AAA to the battery being installed? About 35 minutes. Not too shabby.
I will not be going to Ruidoso like I had planned because besides taking my vehicle in for routine maintenance, Shannon's needs some work and Patty's car has an issue that should be covered by warranty. I think the compressor in her AC is bad and the vehicle is only a year old. It wouldn't be so bad you see, but we live in the desert and the desert is hot.
San Diego will be on my radar for awhile now. Patty loves it there, I love it there, and my house will be paid for in 9 years. I could definitely consider retiring there. But for now, it's all just a dream. But dreams do come true sometimes too.
It was so nice to get out of here and for Patty and I to spend an entire week alone. I am so grateful to have her as my wife. She could have given up on me, but what we went through only made us stronger.
For now, Peace out! Give someone some encouragement today. As a matter of fact try and do it every day.
Friday, August 01, 2008
Ok I lied. This will be my last post instead of the previous one. This is my last day at work and I am officially on vacation beginning at 230 pm today until Aug 18th.
Our low temperature this morning was 95 freaking degrees. I am getting the hell out of dodge. I can't take this heat any longer.
Play nice everyone.