Last month I heard a prominent leader of a national movement of mostly white Christians give a talk in which he compared his group’s beliefs to various other Christian groups (including more ethnically-diverse groups). While extolling the virtues of his group’s beliefs he proudly proclaimed, “We have the best version of the Gospel.” Now I’m not interested in busting any one person’s (or group’s) chops, and in fact, I give him a lot of credit for saying publicly what many of us say behind closed doors and in our hearts. But as a minority group member sitting in the audience, I found his statement to be unfriendly to diverse voices.
Most blatantly, the statement violates the metaphor of the interdependent and multifaceted body of Christ. How can a gospel that is mostly (if not entirely) interpreted and articulated by a homogenous group of people (in this case, white, well-educated males) be the “best version”? But in a more subtle way, his statement sent a clear and powerful message to all of the diverse people in the room (e.g., women, people of color, people without advanced degrees, etc.). No need to join our movement; we don’t need diverse voices. We’ve already got the best version of the Gospel and we only needed white, well-educated men to figure it out. Diverse people need not apply.
Again, this guy simply said aloud what a lot of other people say privately or inwardly. But whether we make such audacious statements aloud or not, people of all cultures run the risk of alienating diverse people if they mistakenly believe that their homogenous group has basically figured out how to think, worship and live.
We might say we want diverse people to participate in our group but we are often too enamored with our own culture (e.g., our version of the Gospel) to invite diverse people to influence it. Rather, than actively seeking input from diverse people, we require them to assimilate to and bow down to the dominant culture. This approach might work to attract people who look diverse (in terms of race/ethnicity, etc.) but it will repel people who offer culturally-diverse perspectives.
Non-majority members who attempt to exert diverse cultural influence are often ignored — or worse, silenced and shunned. How dare they try to change our little utopian culture? we ask ourselves. How dare they challenge our perfect version of the Gospel? HOW DARE THEY?
I think we adopt a defensive and uninviting posture towards diverse others when we idolize our cultural group identity. When this happens, minority group members are not truly invited to participate in the community as valuable members of the all-inclusive we. Rather, they are invited to participate in the group as them—subordinate group members and second-class citizens.
Is cultural idolatry the source of this problem? If so, how do we avoid it? If not, what is the problem?This post was written by Cristena Cleveland. For the original post with comments, go to: http://www.christenacleveland.com/2013/05/we-have-the-best-version-of-the-gospel-diversity-repellent/
BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
It is strangely ironic that the freedoms and affluence we enjoy in our society are the very things that stand to ruin our children if not addressed early and effectively.
The consumer-credit industry is doing all it can to get your kids to fall for the buy-now, pay-later lifestyle. If you do nothing to intervene, statistics indicate that your child is headed for a life that will be severely impacted not by credit—credit is not the problem here—but by the debt it can create.
When the following three characteristics occur at the same time in the heart and mind of a child, they create a kind of “perfect storm” that has all the likelihood of creating a disastrous situation:
For our debt-proofing purposes, “entitlement” is that demanding attitude that says, “I deserve it now even if I haven’t earned it or cannot pay for it.” Some call it the gimmes, others the I-wants. No matter what you call it, this attitude is running rampant, and not only among kids. Entitlement affects kids and adults alike.
- attitudes of entitlement
- financial ignorance
- glamour of easy spending
Entitlement is subtle. It creeps into our lives when we compare our lifestyles and possessions to those of the people we respect and want to be like. It shows up in new parents who throw all caution to the wind when it comes to nursery furnishings and “mandatory” equipment. It shows up in two-income families who, because they work so hard, feel they deserve to have nice things. It shows up in adults who feel compelled to conform to society’s relentless ratcheting up of standards.
Entitlement is the standard message of marketing and advertising. Look carefully at everything that shows up in your mailbox this week. The message to keep up is relentless. The push for conformity creates attitudes of dissatisfaction and entitlement.
At every turn it seems something or someone is fanning the flames of entitlement in our lives—and our children’s lives too.
Attitudes of entitlement, both yours and your children’s, are an enemy that, if not dealt with, will surely sabotage your efforts to develop financial confidence in your kids.
A frugal lifestyle, where you live below your means, is the best environment in which to raise kids. When children observe their parents consuming carefully, making wise spending decisions, choosing not to buy the biggest and the best, and not living on credit, they begin to assimilate those values.
By telling your children, “We don’t choose to spend our money on that,” you send a positive message that you have money but make intelligent choices about how to spend it.
Clearly, attitudes of entitlement are a serious problem. But they are not terminal. Diligent parents who are willing to be consistent examples and limit setters will find success in tearing down attitudes that have the potential to do great harm.
Excerpted from Raising Financially Confident Kids by Mary Hunt (Revell, 2012).
To go to this post on Mary Hunt's site, click here.
BE A MAN.
A Florida Atlantic University student said he was punished after he refused a professor’s directive to stomp on a piece of paper with the word “Jesus” written on it. The university, meanwhile, is defending the assignment as a lesson in debate.
“I’m not going to be sitting in a class having my religious rights desecrated,” student Ryan Rotela told television station WPEC. “I truly see this as I’m being punished.”
Rotela, who is a devout Mormon, said the instructor in his Intercultural Communications class told the students to write the name “Jesus” on a sheet of paper. Then, they were told to put the paper on the floor.
“He had us all stand up and he said ‘Stomp on it,’” Rotela said. “I picked up the paper from the floor and put it right back on the table.
The young college student told the instructor, Deandre Poole, that the assignment was insulting and offensive.
“I said to the professor, ‘With all due respect to your authority as a professor, I do not believe what you told us to do was appropriate,’” Rotela said. ‘I believe it was unprofessional and I was deeply offended by what you told me to do.’”
Rotela took his concerns to Poole’s supervisor – where he was promptly suspended from the class.
Poole did not return calls seeking comment.
According to his university profile, he has a PhD from Howard University and is authoring a book titled, “Obamamania: The Rise of a Mythical Hero.”
A university spokesperson told they could not comment about Rotela’s case due to student privacy laws.
However, the university is defending the instructor’s assignment to stomp on the name of Jesus.
“As with any academic lesson, the exercise was meant to encourage students to view issues from many perspectives, in direct relation with the course objectives,” said Noemi Marin, the university’s director of the school of communication and multimedia studies.
“While at times the topics discussed may be sensitive, a university environment is a venue for such dialogue and debate,” Marin added.
The lesson on bashing the name of Christ is included in a textbook titled, “Intercultural Communication: A Contextual Approach, 5th Edition.”
Fox News obtained a synopsis of the lesson that got Rotela in trouble.
“Have the students write the name JESUS in big letters on a piece of paper,” the lesson reads. “Ask the students to stand up and put the paper on the floor in front of them with the name facing up. Ask the students to think about it for a moment. After a brief period of silence instruct them to step on the paper. Most will hesitate. Ask why they can’t step on the paper. Discuss the importance of symbols in culture.”
Paul Kengor, the executive director of the Center for Vision and Values at Grove City College, told Fox News he’s not surprised by the classroom lesson.
“These are the new secular disciples of ‘diversity’ and ‘tolerance’ – empty buzzwords that make liberals and progressives feel good while they often refuse to tolerate and sometimes even assault traditional Christian and conservative beliefs,” Kengor said.
Kengor said classes like the one at Florida Atlantic University demonstrate the contempt many public institutions hold for people of faith.
“It also reflects the rising confidence and aggression of the new secularists and atheists, especially at our sick and surreal modern universities,” he said.
The university did not explain why students were only instructed to write the name of Jesus – and not the name of Mohammed or another religious figure.
“Gee, I wonder if the instructor would dare do this with the name of Mohammed,” Kengor wondered.
Rotela said the idea of stomping on the name of Jesus was beyond his comprehension.
“Any time you stomp on something it shows you believe that it has no value,” he told the television station. “If you were to stomp on the word Jesus – it says the word has no value.”This post was written by Todd Starnes. For the original article, go to: http://radio.foxnews.com/toddstarnes/top-stories/professor-makes-students-stomp-on-jesus.htmlIt appears that the school has since issued an apology. For the apology, go to: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/27/17485007-florida-school-apologizes-after-students-stomp-on-jesus?lite
The story continues: http://www.classicalarminian.com/2013/04/stomping-on-jesus-and-hasty-conclusions.html
Boys score as well as or better than girls on most standardized tests, yet they are far less likely to get good grades, take advanced classes or attend college. Why? A study recently published in The Journal of Human Resources gives an important answer. Teachers of classes as early as kindergarten factor good behavior into grades — and girls, as a rule, comport themselves far better than boys.
The study’s authors analyzed data from more than 5,800 students from kindergarten through fifth grade and found that boys across all racial groups and in all major subject areas received lower grades than their test scores would have predicted.
The scholars attributed this “misalignment” to differences in “noncognitive skills”: attentiveness, persistence, eagerness to learn, the ability to sit still and work independently. As most parents know, girls tend to develop these skills earlier and more naturally than boys.
No previous study, to my knowledge, has demonstrated that the well-known gender gap in school grades begins so early and is almost entirely attributable to differences in behavior. The researchers found that teachers rated boys as less proficient even when the boys did just as well as the girls on tests of reading, math and science. (The teachers did not know the test scores in advance.) If the teachers had not accounted for classroom behavior, the boys’ grades, like the girls’, would have matched their test scores.
That boys struggle with school is hardly news. Think of Shakespeare’s “whining schoolboy with his satchel and shining morning face, creeping like snail unwillingly to school.” Over all, it’s likely that girls have long behaved better than boys at school (and earned better grades as a result), but their early academic success was not enough to overcome significant subsequent disadvantages: families’ favoring sons over daughters in allocating scarce resources for schooling; cultural norms that de-emphasized girls’ education, particularly past high school; an industrial economy that did not require a college degree to earn a living wage; and persistent discrimination toward women in the workplace.
Those disadvantages have lessened since about the 1970s. Parents, especially those of education and means, began to value their daughters’ human capital as much as their sons’. Universities that had been dominated by affluent white men embraced meritocratic values and diversity of gender, race and class. The shift from a labor-intensive, manufacturing-reliant economy to a knowledge-based service economy significantly increased the relative value of college and postgraduate degrees. And while workplace inequities persisted, changing attitudes, legislation and litigation began to level the occupational playing field.
As these shifts were occurring, girls began their advance in education. In 1985, boys and girls took Advanced Placement exams at nearly the same rate. Around 1990, girls moved ahead of boys, and have never looked back. Women now account for roughly 60 percent of associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees and have begun to outpace men in obtaining Ph.D.’s.
There are some who say, well, too bad for the boys. If they are inattentive, obstreperous and distracting to their teachers and peers, that’s their problem. After all, the ability to regulate one’s impulses, delay gratification, sit still and pay close attention are the cornerstones of success in school and in the work force. It’s long past time for women to claim their rightful share of the economic rewards that redound to those who do well in school.
As one critic told me recently, the classroom is no more rigged against boys than workplaces are rigged against lazy and unfocused workers. But unproductive workers are adults — not 5-year-olds. If boys are restless and unfocused, why not look for ways to help them do better? As a nation, can we afford not to?
A few decades ago, when we realized that girls languished behind boys in math and science, we mounted a concerted effort to give them more support, with significant success. Shouldn’t we do the same for boys?
When I made this argument in my book “The War Against Boys,” almost no one was talking about boys’ academic, social and vocational problems. Now, 12 years later, the press, books and academic journals are teeming with such accounts. Witness the crop of books in recent years: Leonard Sax’s “Boys Adrift,” Liza Mundy’s “The Richer Sex,” Hanna Rosin’s “The End of Men.”
In a revised version of the book, I’ve changed the subtitle — to “How Misguided Policies Are Harming Our Young Men” from “How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men” — and moved away from criticizing feminism; instead I emphasized boy-averse trends like the decline of recess, zero-tolerance disciplinary policies, the tendency to criminalize minor juvenile misconduct and the turn away from single-sex schooling. As our schools have become more feelings-centered, risk-averse, collaboration-oriented and sedentary, they have moved further and further from boys’ characteristic sensibilities. Concerns about boys arose during a time of tech bubble prosperity; now, more than a decade later, there are major policy reasons — besides the stale “culture wars” of the 1990s — to focus on boys’ schooling.
One is the heightened attention to school achievement as the cornerstone of lifelong success. Grades determine entry into advanced classes, enrichment programs and honor societies. They open — or close — doors to higher education. “If grade disparities emerge this early on, it’s not surprising that by the time these children are ready to go to college, girls will be better positioned,” says Christopher M. Cornwell, an economist at the University of Georgia and an author of the new study, along with his colleague David B. Mustard and Jessica Van Parys of Columbia University.
A second reason is globalization. Richard Whitmire, an education writer, and William Brozo, a literacy expert, write that “the global economic race we read so much about — the marathon to produce the most educated work force, and therefore the most prosperous nation — really comes down to a calculation: whichever nation solves these ‘boy troubles’ wins the race.” That’s probably an overstatement, but we do know that the large-scale entry of women into the work force paid large economic dividends. It stands to reason that raising male academic achievement is essential to raising labor productivity and, ultimately, living standards.
A third reason: improving the performance of black, Latino and lower-income kids requires particular attention to boys. Black women are nearly twice as likely to earn a college degree as black men. At some historically black colleges, the gap is astounding: Fisk is now 64 female; Howard, 67 percent; Clark Atlanta, 75 percent. The economist Andrew M. Sum and his colleagues at the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University examined the Boston Public Schools and found that for the graduating class of 2007, there were 191 black girls for every 100 boys going on to attend a four-year college or university. Among Hispanics, the ratio was 175 girls for every 100 boys; among whites, 153 for every 100.
Young men from middle-class or more comfortable backgrounds aren’t lagging quite as far behind, but the gender gap exists there, too. Judith Kleinfeld, a psychology professor at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, analyzed the reading skills of white males from college-educated families. She showed that at the end of high school, 23 percent of the these boys scored “below basic,” compared with 7 percent of their female counterparts. “This means that almost one in four boys who have college-educated parents cannot read a newspaper with understanding,” she wrote.
WHAT might we do to help boys improve? For one thing, we can follow the example of the British, the Canadians and the Australians. They have openly addressed the problem of male underachievement. They are not indulging boys’ tendency to be inattentive. Instead, they are experimenting with programs to help them become more organized, focused and engaged. These include more boy-friendly reading assignments (science fiction, fantasy, sports, espionage, battles); more recess (where boys can engage in rough-and-tumble as a respite from classroom routine); campaigns to encourage male literacy; more single-sex classes; and more male teachers (and female teachers interested in the pedagogical challenges boys pose).
These efforts should start early, but even high school isn’t too late. Consider Aviation High School in New York City. A faded orange brick building with green aluminum trim, it fits comfortably with its gritty neighbors — a steelyard, a tool-supply outlet and a 24-hour gas station and convenience store — in Long Island City, Queens.
On a visit to Aviation I observed a classroom of 14- and 15-year-olds focused on constructing miniaturized, electrically wired airplane wings from mostly raw materials. In another class, students worked in teams — with a student foreman and crew chief — to take apart and then rebuild a small jet engine in just 20 days. In addition to pursuing a standard high school curriculum, Aviation students spend half of the day in hands-on classes on airframes, hydraulics and electrical systems. They put up with demanding English and history classes because unless they do well in them, they cannot spend their afternoons tinkering with the engine of a Cessna 411.
The school’s 2,200 pupils — mostly students of color, from low-income households — have a 95 percent attendance rate and a 90 percent graduation rate, with 80 percent going on to college. The school is coed; although girls make up only 16 percent of the student population, they appear to be flourishing. The New York City Department of Education has repeatedly awarded Aviation an “A” on its annual school progress reports. U.S. News & World Report has cited it as one of the best high schools in the nation.
“The school is all about structure,” an assistant principal, Ralph Santiago, told me. The faculty emphasizes organization, precision, workmanship and attention to detail. The students are kept so busy and are so fascinated with what they are doing that they have neither the time nor the desire for antics.
Not everyone of either sex is interested in airplanes. But vocational high schools with serious academic requirements are an important part of the solution to male disengagement from school.
I can sympathize with those who roll their eyes at the relatively recent alarm over boys’ achievement. Where was the indignation when men dominated higher education, decade after decade? Isn’t it time for women and girls to enjoy the advantages? The impulse is understandable but misguided. I became a feminist in the 1970s because I did not appreciate male chauvinism. I still don’t. But the proper corrective to chauvinism is not to reverse it and practice it against males, but rather basic fairness. And fairness today requires us to address the serious educational deficits of boys and young men. The rise of women, however long overdue, does not require the fall of men.
This article was written by CH Sommers for the New York Times. The original article for this blog post can be found by clicking HERE
BE A MAN.
In the movie series, “Lord of the Rings”, there is a character named Gollum. This character is one who has dedicated most of his life to the guarding of a small golden ring. This ring has special powers that allow the person wearing it to become invisible. This is not, however, a clever party trick. The reason the ring was made was to allow the wearer of the ring to gain power and defeat enemies. Wearing this ring not only gave the individual great abilities…it also poisoned their mind. Gollum had grown so attached to this ring that he felt that he could not live without it. It had become something that he served and called…in his words “my precious” (you said it using his voice in your mind, didn’t you?)
Gollum had become so attached to this little piece of precious metal (no pun intended). We can look at him and shake our heads in disgust, but if we were honest we would admit that there are things in our lives that we hold on to just as tightly. For this movie character, and for us, idols are abundant.
In ancient times, idols represented gods that people served so they would not be destroyed and so they would be able to live comfortable lives. They were stone or wood statues that often took up residence in the corner of houses. They symbolically “protected” the home. These idols were often very top heavy so they needed to be nailed to the ground to prevent falling. Also, if an enemy was invading your region, or if your home caught fire, someone in your home would be designated to save the idol from destruction.
These idols were often made without eyes so that they could not see the activity that happened within the home and so the residents could do whatever they want without accountability.
What are the things that you unknowingly refer to as “my precious”? Is it your money? Your possessions? Your right to be angry? Your job title? Your family?
When we worship anything else but God, we will soon find that life is empty. Sure, it can be fun for a long time and we can even temporarily feel powerful, but if we are worshipping things or situations that we have the ability to maintain…then the object of our worship is limited by our limitations. God desires to give us abundance….a limitless supply of himself.
Seek God today…He loves you.This post was written by Rev DeCrastos. For the original post, go to: http://other-words.net/2013/03/07/my-precious/
Self love is natural and not to be thought of as sinful. One tale-tell sign that we love ourselves is the manner in which treat our bodies. "For no one ever hates his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it" (Eph. 5:29
NRSV). When we mistreat our bodies -- for example, drinking too much alcohol, over eating or eating too much junk food, indulging in sexual immorality, neglecting proper exercise -- we are speaking volumes about how we feel about our inner selves.
I once thought that one of the problems with my inner life was that I loved myself too much. But I have concluded that this is not the case whatsoever. If I truly loved myself then I would always do what is best for myself, as I walk daily before God, and do good to others. This has not been a reality for me in the past. One of the major problems with my inner life has been self-blame, and self-rejection, not self-love. I have had difficulty even liking myself, not to mention loving
Henri Nouwen, in his book The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom
, explains that "self-blame is not a form of humility. It is a form of self-rejection." (86) When an event does not pan out as I wished, self-blame sets in, and I imagine such blame as godly humility. Nouwen writes: "When a friendship does not blossom, when a word is not received, when a gesture of love is not appreciated, do not blame it on yourself. This is both untrue and hurtful." (86) I must endeavor to view all forms of rejection objectively.
For example, given that Christ is Lord of my life, I must understand that He is guiding my steps as I seek to live in, through, and for Him (Ps. 37:23
). If I encounter some form of rejection, I must understand that, in an ultimate sense, the Lord has another plan. If I do not, however, view rejection in such a manner, but begin to reject myself, then a dangerous worldview can be adopted. Nouwen writes: Every time you reject yourself, you idealize others. You want to be with those whom you consider better, stronger, more intelligent, more gifted than yourself. Thus you make yourself emotionally dependent, leading others to feel unable to fulfill your expectations and causing them to withdraw from you. This makes you blame yourself even more, and you enter a dangerous spiral of self-rejection and neediness. (86) I have experienced this reality, and I can attest that Nouwen's conclusion is correct. Leaving myself utterly vulnerable to the dependence of others for validity or happiness or fulfillment is desperate. In the end, the only one hurt is myself. At such a point, self-rejection sets in, and a vicious cycle is repeated.
I cannot, nor should anyone else, deny that when rejection is experienced a sense of hurt is also present. Rejection hurts because we perceive ourselves as unworthy of love and respect. But unless we reject self-rejection, then we will continue on an anxious, downward spiral of mental and emotional anguish, torment, and despair.
If someone I imagined as a friend constantly mistreats me, emotionally hurts me, I should not, then, reject myself. But neither should I harbor malcontent for the other person. Harshly blaming others in such instances can be just as harmful as self-blame. I should give no place for a root of bitterness to grow within me (Eph. 4:31
; Heb. 12:15
In such a circumstance, I should merely conclude that the two of us do not make an appropriate, friendly match. Yes, I may still experience a little hurt. But I should not be devastated by and obsessive over the fact that we do not make a perfect, friendly match. Nor should I reject myself, and think less of myself, as someone unworthy of quality relationships. Nouwen writes:Avoid all forms of self-rejection. Acknowledge your limitations, but claim your unique gifts and thereby live as an equal among equals. That will set you free from your obsessive and possessive needs and enable you to give and receive true affection and friendship. (87) If I am to be a healthy friend, or brother in Christ to others, then I must maintain a proper view of myself. If I am constantly rejecting myself then how can I expect others to embrace me?
Moreover, if God the Creator embraces me in and through Christ (Eph. 1:5-6
), and even counts me as His friend (John 15:14-15
), then I actually have no right to self-rejection. If God has not rejected me, then I cannot reject myself. Rejecting myself would implicate God's better judgment. By His grace, I will constantly be rejecting self-rejection.
Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Inner Voice of Love: A Journey Through Anguish to Freedom
(New York: Image Books, 1998).
This post was written by William W Birch. For the original post with comments, go to: http://www.classicalarminian.com/2013/01/rejecting-self-rejection.htmlBE HOLY.BE A MAN.
In 1992-1993 we were missionaries in Ecuador. I have worshiped with people from many different cultures and have enjoyed the different ways that Christians engage in worship. I remember one service in Esmeraldas that had a very African flavor to it and another in Guayaquil that was a tropical, Latin mix. I thoroughly enjoyed both and could tell that these were ernest Christians who REALLY enjoyed worship.
On another occasion we went to Riobamba to a church high in the Andes mountains. What I experienced there was quite different. We had traveled there to visit some people from America that were on a work trip to the area and wanted to make some friends. We had eaten supper together with them and the Quechua folk of that church. When we went to worship, we were fortunate to have a teen choir lead us in worship. The worship was more formal and the singing was in a very nasally, high voice. It was in the Quechua language so I had difficulty understanding what they were singing.
I was young, proud and had my wife and kids with me. After the service one of the Americans came over to me and we were talking about the service. I said something about the service that I shouldn't have said. I said, "that music was gross!"
It popped out and I didn't take it back. I was instantly convicted but was too stiff-necked
to listen to God's Holy Spirit's chastening. After all, I was the missionary, they were just people visiting.
I have thought about my bad comment over the years, trying to analyze why I would say something like that. Now, I know that one of the tricks that Satan uses is to keep reminding Christians of their faults and sins to keep them feeling condemned and ineffective. I have been forgiven for my statement and my attitude and when I think about what I said, I still get a twinge of guilt but then I am reminded that was in the past and forgiven.
I recognized that I had in my mind certain ways that I approved of how worship was to be done. This third church, in Riobamba, stretched me and didn't fit my preconceived notions. I was clearly wrong.
I have prayed that the young American that I talked to (I have no recollection who he was) would not remember my insensitivity but the good things of his time in Ecuador.
Now it is 2013 and I am miles aways and 20 years away from that event. I have worshiped in several other cultures and other churches and have come to believe that I have put away such preconceptions. I no longer have the feeling that a certain style of worship is gross. I have matured. I have become more Christlike.
But have I? Have I really progressed?
I was recently at a worship service where we were lead by a worship team that had a decidedly "country" flavor to it. Part way thru this experience, I excused myself. As I walked past the sound booth, a friend asked me, "how do you like the worship team?" I said, "I am not a fan of country music..." I felt instant conviction, very similar to how I felt in Riobamba when I ignored the Holy Spirit. I immediately followed it with, "but I see that others are worshiping and the team is really doing a good job, so I can't complain. I'm trying to worship too."
OK. That was a bit better.
Then I was reminded of a statement, I don't know where I heard it, that says, "If your life is divided up between what you like and don't like and you just do what you like & avoid what you don't like, you're gonna have a miserable existence."
That statement is sooooo true. I close myself up to God's ability to work in my life if I just simply become opinionated about everything and complain/avoid things I don't care for.
So, I'm trying, I'm improving, I'm getting better, my intent is improving, my heart's getting into it....
but I still have a long way to go...Tomorrow,
we will talk a little bit about how to discern when God's Holy Spirit is speaking to you.BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us.
Few people will be so overt as to say 'I am without sin'. Self-deceit is rarely that obvious. It often comes masked in socially acceptable and socially rewarded forms of behavior.Perfectionism,
for example, is a common expression of self deceit. We try very hard to look good. Sometimes we work so hard to look perfect, ('without sin'), that we nearly convince ourselves that it's true. Then, in the moments when we suddenly remember our human condition, we feel shame and self-contempt. And this often makes us want to work even harder to cover over reality with more layers of self deceit.
But self-deceit will never lead to change and growth. Only honesty can bring change. Recovery begins as we face our failures, our wrong-doing, and our self-destructive choices.
For people like us, who have tried very, very hard to be very, very good, facing reality can be painful work. The courage to pursue taking an honest inventory of our lives is not possible without some source of compassion and forgiveness that can replace our shame and self contempt. The good news is that God is compassionate and forgiving. God freely, joyfully, completely pardons. Because of this hope, we can look honestly at ourselves. Because we can turn to God and find mercy and pardon, we can make a fearless inventory of our lives.
Dear God, I have tried hard.
I have tried harder.
I have tried my hardest.
But it has only led to self-deceit.
Help me, God, I need you.
I need your compassion to overpower my self contempt.
I need your forgiveness to overpower my self condemnation.
Rid me of self-deceit, God.
And build in me a capacity for honesty.
Not so that I can be perfect, but so that I can genuinely change.
And, so that I can rejoice in your love for me.Amen
Copyright Dale and Juanita RyanNational Association for Christian Recovery
Here is a handy guide in how to make your son into a real pain, so that everywhere he goes, nobody wants to be around him:
- Begin from infancy in giving him everything he wants. This way, he will grow up to believe that the world owes him a living.
- When he picks up bad words, laugh at him. It will encourage him to pick up cuter phrase that blow the top off your head later.
- Never give him any spiritual training. Wait until he's 21 and let him decide for himself.
- Avoid the use of the word, "wrong." It may develop a guilt complex. This will condition him to believe later, when is arrested for stealing a car, that society is against him, and he is being persecuted.
- Pick up everything he leaves lying around. His books, shoes, and clothing. Clean up after him when he makes a mess. Do everything for him so he will be experienced in throwing responsibility onto others.
- Let him read and look at anything he wants. Be careful that his silverware and drinking glasses are sterilized but let his mind feed on garbage.
- Quarrel with your spouse frequently in his presence. Then he won't be shocked when you get a divorce.
- Satisfy his every craving for food, drink and comfort. See that every desire is gratified. Denial may lead to harmful frustration.
- Give him all the spending money he wants. Never let him earn his own. Why should he have things as tough as you had them?
- Take his side against the neighbors, teachers and policemen. They are all prejudiced against your son.
- When he gets into real trouble, apologize for yourself by saying, "I never could do anything with him!"
If you follow the steps to this handy guide, get ready... You will have a life of grief, and... so will your son, and his son, and his son... "...He punishes the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation." BE HOLY.BE A MAN.
The FREE of the Free Methodist church was birthed from five core freedoms:Freedom of all races to worship and live together.
The FMC were and are abolitionists. We worked for the freedom of the slaves in 1860 and participated in the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. We formed abolitionist groups to free the slaves in our own nation and we have created an abolitionist movement today to set slaves free throughout the world: www.setfreemovement.orgFreedom of women to be treated equal in the church, at home and in the world.
The FMC ordains women to serve in the church and teaches equality in marriages. In harmony with a long tradition of equal opportunity for women to serve in the church from the days of the early church meeting in house to today’s recognition that God calls and gifts women as well as men to serve His church, we affirm God’s call and equip God’s leaders to serve.Freedom of the poor to be treated with dignity in the church and in the world.
The FMC ended the practice of requiring the poor to sit in the “free pews” at the back of the sanctuary and made all pews “free.” This commitment to leave socio-economic distinctions and prejudices outside the sanctuary and invite all people into true fellowship and acceptance is an ongoing commitment of our church.Freedom of the laity to be given authority and decision-making positions within the church.
The FMC ended the clergy domination of the church and opened up a consistent partnership with clergy and laity working together to do God’s work. This elevation of laity to use their spiritual gifts alongside those given pastoral gifts enriches all aspects of life in the church and protects against institutional abuse.Freedom of the Holy Spirit in worship.
The FMC gives freedom to each local congregation to follow the Spirit’s leading on how they worship. Some Free Methodist Churches worship in liturgical style with daily office, while others worship in charismatic style with praise choruses. A few have taken this freedom to create a blended style of worship that brings together a community of people of all ages and creates a family of God that accepts both sacramental liturgy and the Christian year as well the most recent of praises choruses and prayer services. Worship includes not only the music of praise and the study of Scripture but also the sharing of life in community.This post was written by Rev. Dr. Dennis WaymanBE HOLY.BE A MAN.