Friday, March 23, 2012

Evangelical Christians to Hold Counter Effort at Reason Rally

From The Blaze:

Atheists are coming to Washington, D.C., en force. We already told you about the so-called “Reason Rally,” which is being dubbed a Woodstock for non-believers. The event, to be held on March 24, will bring together “free thinkers” and the organizations that serve them. But following the announcement that this massive undertaking would be occurring in our nation’s capital, it seems some Christians are crafting a response — an event called “True Reason.”

The Christians behind the effort want atheists to know that they’re reasonable individuals who are prepared to confront them with love. Here’s what the “True Reason” web site says:
This website represents Christians from all over the country—even some from as far as Australia and New Zealand—who know that Christianity is both good and reasonable. We’re ready to meet the New Atheists at their Reason Rally in Washington: in truth and in love, to share person-to-person, one-on-one, with anyone we can.
At particular issue, the site proclaims, is the idea that atheists are using their “Reason Rally” “to trumpet the message that reasonable people reject belief in God.” Christians, of course, disagree with this notion. To ensure they interact with and combat the overwhelming aura of non-belief, “True Reason” participants will give out free bottled water, a printed mini-book called “Reason Really” and copies of a book about Christianity and atheism during the “Reason Rally.”

The organizers, though, want to make something very clear. While the “Reason Rally” will be a massive concert and demonstration touting non-belief, the Christian response should not, in their view, be considered a counter-demonstration:
We are going there to share Christ person to person as opportunity arises. We will not raise our voices. We will talk with those who want to talk with us. We will offer gifts and materials to all, but we will not press ourselves on those who do not wish to converse. Knowing that the way others may choose to gather near us is not entirely in our control, we will nevertheless attempt to avoid gathering groups larger than a handful of people.
Read the rest here.

"Woodstock" for Atheists- The Reason Rally

From NPR:

Thousands of people are expect to descend on the Mall in Washington, D.C., on Saturday to celebrate not believing in God. It's being called a sort of "Woodstock for Atheists," a chance for atheists to show their power in numbers and change their image.

The "Reason Rally" could attract up to 30,000 people; organizer David Silverman says it marks a coming-of-age for nonbelievers.

"We'll look back at the Reason Rally as one of the game-changing events when people started to look at atheism and look at atheists in a different light," Silverman says.

Silverman, president of American Atheists, says this is a celebration, with famous atheists like Richard Dawkins, funny atheists like Eddie Izzard, and musical atheists like the rock group Bad Religion, who sings about "a careless creation where there's no above ..."

But the main point of the rally, Silverman says, is not to tweak the faithful. It's to encourage closeted atheists to take heart.

"The message is that if you can come out, you can out come out," he says. "And if you can't come out, at least you'll know you're not alone, and maybe sometime soon you'll be able to come out of the closet to your family."

'Coming Out Of The Closet'

Silverman says this is their moment, as important to atheists as the Stonewall riots were to the gay-rights movement four decades ago. But fellow nonbeliever Hemant Mehta says it's not easy to reveal your nonbelief. Atheism has an image problem.

"Every time you hear the word atheist in the media, there's always an adjective before it," he says. "It's always angry atheist, militant atheist, staunch atheist. It's never happy, smiling atheist."

Mehta, who writes a blog called The Friendly Atheist, says openly dismissing God in the most religious country in the West requires courage: You risk losing friends, family and even jobs because of your nonbelief. In poll after poll, he says, people say they don't like atheists; one showed that people think an atheist is more likely to steal than a rapist.

"People have this notion that atheists are immoral, not trustworthy, unelectable," Mehta says. "How do you change that at such a huge level? It starts by people everywhere just coming out of the closet as atheists."

Mehta helps run an atheist charity, and he's been invited to megachurches, such as Willow Creek near Chicago, to explain why he doesn't believe in God. He says atheists need to take a page from the gay-rights movement: If people know and love an atheist, they'll be less likely to stigmatize them.
 Read the rest here.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Christian Snub

I was standing in line at a cafe this morning, holding a medium size, 1000+ calorie, coconut frozen mocha, when it happened. I got the Christian snub.

This isn't the first time, either. It actually happened earlier this week catching up with a former co-worker. She quietly and, rather innocently I believe, snubbed me.

The most egregious snub, by far, occurred,  while I was getting a test done on my legs by a tech last December. The tech- I'll call him Mr. Lovejoy- and I struck up a convo about churches and being Christian. I was asked what church I attend, and when I responded that it was part of the Anglican Communion, the friendly mood quickly soured.

"So, " he asked quite seriously, "if you died tonight..." (uh-oh, no sentence can have a strong finish with THAT opening) "...why would God let you into Heaven? What have you done to make you worthy of eternal life?"

Let's pause here. Maybe those outside of the Sinner's Prayer/ Come to Jesus/ Get Saved/ Evangelical movement are unfamiliar with this line of questioning, but I'm not. I know when I'm being proselytized, darn it! I know because I was taught those lines in years of Christian school, Vacation Bible School and a little class held for 5 hours straight on a random Saturday called "Becoming a Contagious Christian".

I speak Christianese.

But to Mr. LoveJoy, my former co-worker and the girl at the cafe, it was assumed I didn't. Why? Because I'm in the wrong group.


Dying. Dead.


Kind of Catholic.




I'm this:

Priestesses, Gay folks and... well, okay I don't know what the guy in the last square represents, but I guess that martini glass represents something devious.

So very many assumptions. The worse for me, though, is that I'm not a truly-true Christian and that I need to walk the Romans Road to salvation quicker than I can yell "Saul on the way to Damascus" or else...

I can't lie. It's annoying. And a little hurtful. I believe it comes from a good place, but it still sucks that so many of my Brothers and Sisters in Christ view me as a wicked step-child.

This has been a lesson to me. One, that my brief stint in dipping my toe in the pools of Fundamentalism 7 or 8 years ago probably pissed off a few people. If so and you're reading this, I'm sorry. Two, that we Christians should learn our best witness is not something off a Jack Chick tract, or any tract, but our lives. Making speeches about Hell or assumptions about others knowledge of the Faith is off-putting if not downright offensive. 

If I'm a Christian (and I AM A CHRISTIAN) and I get snubbed, how are non-Christians treated??? I shudder to think.

Former President Jimmy Carter on Creationism, Slavery & Homosexuality

From HuffPo:

Jimmy Carter served as the 39th president of the United States, founded the Carter Center and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. President Carter is also a Sunday School teacher and has followed that avocation since his earliest years. In this interview, HuffPost's Senior Religion Editor Paul Brandeis Raushenbush spoke to President Carter by phone about the hardest questions presented in the Bible: from gays, science, the role of women, slavery passages and more. The former president offered answers to each of them with the insights and spiritual wisdom he has included in his latest book: "NIV Lessons from Life Bible: Personal Reflections with Jimmy Carter."

Paul Brandeis Raushenbush: Thank you so much for talking with me President Carter. As I warned, I am going to be asking the tough questions. So ... Did God write the Bible?
President Jimmy Carter: God inspired the Bible but didn’t write every word in the Bible. We know, for instance that stars can’t fall on the earth, stars are much larger than the earth. That was a limitation of knowledge of the universe or physics, or astronomy at that time, but that doesn’t bother me at all.

How do you approach the passages in the Bible that talk about God’s creation (Genesis 1:1) while maintaining a positive attitude towards science?
I happen to have an advantage there because I am a nuclear physicist by training and a deeply committed Christian. I don’t have any doubt in my own mind about God who created the entire universe. But I don’t adhere to passages that so and so was created 4000 years before Christ, and things of that kind. Today we have shown that the earth and the stars were created millions, even billions, of years before. We are exploring space and sub-atomic particles and learning new facts every day, facts that the Creator has known since the beginning of time.
What do you say to those who point to certain scriptures that women should not teach men or speak in church? (1 Corinthians 1:14)

I separated from the Southern Baptists when they adopted the discriminatory attitude towards women, because I believe what Paul taught in Galatians that there is no distinction in God’s eyes between men and women, slaves and masters, Jews and non-Jews -– everybody is created equally in the eyes of God.
There are some things that were said back in those days –- Paul also said that women should not be adorned, fix up their hair, put on cosmetics, and that every woman who goes in a place of worship should have her head covered. Paul also said that men should not cut their beards and advocated against people getting married, except if they couldn’t control their sexual urges. Those kinds of things applied to the customs of those days. Every worshipper has to decide if and when they want those particular passages to apply to them and their lives.

A lot of people point to the Bible for reasons why gay people should not be in the church, or accepted in any way.
Homosexuality was well known in the ancient world, well before Christ was born and Jesus never said a word about homosexuality. In all of his teachings about multiple things -– he never said that gay people should be condemned. I personally think it is very fine for gay people to be married in civil ceremonies.
I draw the line, maybe arbitrarily, in requiring by law that churches must marry people. I’m a Baptist, and I believe that each congregation is autonomous and can govern its own affairs. So if a local Baptist church wants to accept gay members on an equal basis, which my church does by the way, then that is fine. If a church decides not to, then government laws shouldn’t require them to.

What about passages saying slaves obey your masters? (Colossians 3:22) Do you think there is ever a time to say, ok, we know that we don’t agree with that passage, let's get rid of it?
Well, the principles of that are still applicable. It wasn’t a matter that the Bible endorses slavery, it was that throughout history, now and in the future there are going to be some who are in a subservient position like when I was commanding officer of a ship when I was in the submarine corps. It is meant to preserve the basic principles that don’t cause resentment or hatred or betrayal or false attitudes. But it also says that a master should respect your servant. So, it works both ways.
 Read the rest here.

Mary Mary to Star in New Reality Show

As much as I hate Reality Shows, I am happy this new one is starring my favorite Gospel singers, sisters Tina and Erica Campbell of Mary Mary. From The Root:

Gospel pair Mary Mary are back in the spotlight, this time with their entire family, in an upcoming We tv reality show. The cameras follow three-time Grammy Award winners Erica and Tina Campbell as they deal with fame and family on the heels of the release of their sixth studio album, Something Big. From Erica's newest little one to Tina's unexpected pregnancy, Mary Mary brings to light the humanity of one of gospel's seminal acts. 

Mary Mary premieres Thurs., March 29, at 10 p.m. ET on We tv.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Blog Repost: Happy St. Patrick's Day! (So Who Was St. Patrick, Anyway?)

This post has been good for the past two years, so here it is again! Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I'm a Jersey girl, so my first exposure to St. Patrick's Day was through images of the world famous parade right next door in Manhattan. As I got older, it became a day when my father would happily cook corned beef (my father is all about any holiday that involves delicious meals). By the time I hit college, it unfortunately had spiraled into a day that everyone wears green (I'm actually in green as I write this), becomes "Irish for the day", and then gets wasted. But then, like nearly all holy days, once they become commercialized holidays they usual mutate into a day of excess spending, eating or drinking. (Does anyone know anything about St. Valentine, either? Really?)

Yesterday I was asked about St. Patrick's Day at work since I had marked it on my calendar, and could only stutter out a "Um, he's the patron saint of Ireland. I think he helped feed the hungry during a famine?" Yes, that sentence came out like a question, because, well, I don't know about the guy. So, being the inquisitive girl that I am, I decided to find out about Saint Patrick by looking him up on the EWTN website. Here's what it says:

"The field of St. Patrick's labors was the most remote part of the then known world. The seed he planted in faraway Ireland, which before his time was largely pagan, bore a rich harvest: whole colonies of saints and missionaries were to rise up after him to serve the Irish Church and to carry Christianity to other lands. Whether his birthplace, a village called Bannavem Taberniae, was near Dunbarton-on-the-Clyde, or in Cumberland, or at the mouth of the Severn, or even in Gaul near Boulogne, has never been determined, and indeed the matter is of no great moment. We know of a certainty that Patrick was of Romano-British origin, and born about the year 389. His father, Calpurnius, was a deacon, his grandfather a priest, for at this time no strict law of celibacy had been imposed on the Christian clergy. Patrick's own full name was probably Patricius Magonus Sucatus.

"His brief gives us a few details of his early years. At the age of fifteen he committed some fault—what it was we are not told—which caused him much suffering for the rest of his life. At sixteen, he tells us, he still "knew not the true God." Since he was born into a Christian family, we may take this to mean that he gave little heed to religion or to the priests. That same year Patrick and some others were seized and carried off by sea raiders to become slaves among the inhabitants of Ireland... he tells us him self that "constantly I used to pray in the daytime. Love of God and His fear increased more and more, and my faith grew and my spirit was stirred up, so that in a single day I said as many as a hundred prayers and at night nearly as many, and I used to stay out in the woods and on the mountain. Before the dawn I used to wake up to prayer, in snow and frost and rain, nor was there any such lukewarmness in me as now I feel, because then my spirit was fervent within.

"After six years in captivity, he gained his freedom and returned to his family. "When Patrick was again restored to his kinfolk, they gave him a warm welcome and urged him to stay. But he felt he must leave them. Although there is no certainty as to the order of events which followed, it seems likely that Patrick now spent many years in Gaul....stayed for three years at the monastery of Lerins... and that about fifteen years were passed at the monastery of Auxerre, where he was ordained. Patrick's later prestige and authority indicate that he was prepared for his task with great thoroughness.

"Patrick was consecrated in 432, and departed forthwith for Ireland... in the land of his former captivity..." where he preached Christ in a land ruled by a pagan king counseled by Druid priests. In his "Confession", he wrote "It was not any grace in me, but God who conquereth in me, and He resisted them all, so that I came to the heathen of Ireland to preach the Gospel and to bear insults from unbelievers, to hear the reproach of my going abroad and to endure many persecutions even unto bonds, the while that I was surrendering my liberty as a man of free condition for the profit of others. And if I should be found worthy, I am ready to give even my life for His name's sake unfalteringly and gladly, and there (in Ireland) I desire to spend it until I die, if our Lord should grant it to me."

If you would like to know more about St. Patrick, click here.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Somewhat Frequently Asked Questions

It's been nearly three years since I started this blog. Not too long after, I wrote the Not-So-Frequently Asked Questions, and after all this time, I figured it's time to do them again. Quite a few things have changed. Many, on the other hand, have not. So, F.A.Q.'s, take TWO!

Q. Are you still bored?

A. I'm still writing, so duh! Of course!

Q. Is this a Christian blog?

A. Well, no. It’s my blog. My brother describes it as a “curious mix of the sacred and profane”. My husband describes it as an “entertaining mix of spirituality and current events." Since I am a Christian, many of my posts reflect that fact. But I also write about relationships, tacky reality shows, fashion, news and culture. It’s basically a hodgepodge of my many crazed thoughts.

Q. If you’re a Christian, what’s with the posts about "The Wire", cursing or R&B singers? That’s not very Christian…

A. Neither is your question, Judgey McJudgey pants. Ok, seriously, perhaps you have a point. I just don’t agree with it. As mentioned above, this isn’t a Christian blog, but is written by a committed follower of Christ. If you find my mix of Scripture and the secular offensive, allow me to recommend to you a few good sites like RelevantCrosswalk or the Christian Research Institute.

Q. What kind of Christian are you, anyway?

A. First and foremost, my identity as a Christian is in Christ. As for my "brand" so to say, as of last year, I'm Anglican/Episcopalian. However, I was raised Oneness Pentecostal, attended schools aligned with the Assemblies of God, and spent five years in a non-denominational church chock full of various ministries, small groups and such.

Q. Why don’t you write everyday? Or at least every other day?

A. Guess I'm not that bored. No, it's because I'm pretty busy in real life. I'm married, have a baby girl, blog here, here and am trying to get this going. I also have an autoimmune disease that requires dedicated time for treatment, am involved in church, love to read, blah blah blah. But...

Q. Can I submit something?

A. If you’re interested in being my guest, email me at That will definitely help make this blog a daily thing.

Q. Your last name is... um, interesting. What's the origin?

A. Yeah, people are scared to say it. My maiden name was the less-butchered "Flemming", but I said "I do" to K and his last name, which is of Portuguese origin. It's not so unique in various parts of the Caribbean (where K is from, Brazil or Angola.

Q. Where's your blog roll?

A. I don't have one. But you check out the blogs I read here.

Have more burning questions? Then I might have the cooling answers! Just email me or leave a comment!

Sex, Drugs & Pat Robertson

Wow, never thought I'd say this, but I agree with Pat Robertson about marijuana and sex.

Yeah, that sentence is beyond bizarre... the 700 Club, weed and head all in one sentence. Anyway, first up, on drugs:

 And on oral sex:

What do you think? Should we change how we prosecute marijuana possession? Should it be made legal? Is oral sex okay for married folks? Do you think Pat should stick to the Bible- and when has he ever?

The Kill of the (Paper) Chase

Around the same time I was posting "Chasing Paper", a Goldman Sachs exec made huge headlines when he quit via the New York Times. He wrote:

TODAY is my last day at Goldman Sachs. After almost 12 years at the firm — first as a summer intern while at Stanford, then in New York for 10 years, and now in London — I believe I have worked here long enough to understand the trajectory of its culture, its people and its identity. And I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it. 

To put the problem in the simplest terms, the interests of the client continue to be sidelined in the way the firm operates and thinks about making money. Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s largest and most important investment banks and it is too integral to global finance to continue to act this way. The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college that I can no longer in good conscience say that I identify with what it stands for. 

It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’s success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients. The culture was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients’ trust for 143 years. It wasn’t just about making money; this alone will not sustain a firm for so long. It had something to do with pride and belief in the organization. I am sad to say that I look around today and see virtually no trace of the culture that made me love working for this firm for many years. I no longer have the pride, or the belief.

But this was not always the case. For more than a decade I recruited and mentored candidates through our grueling interview process. I was selected as one of 10 people (out of a firm of more than 30,000) to appear on our recruiting video, which is played on every college campus we visit around the world. In 2006 I managed the summer intern program in sales and trading in New York for the 80 college students who made the cut, out of the thousands who applied. 

I knew it was time to leave when I realized I could no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work...

It makes me ill how callously people talk about ripping their clients off. Over the last 12 months I have seen five different managing directors refer to their own clients as “muppets,” sometimes over internal e-mail. Even after the S.E.C., Fabulous Fab, Abacus, God’s work, Carl Levin, Vampire Squids? No humility? I mean, come on. Integrity? It is eroding. I don’t know of any illegal behavior, but will people push the envelope and pitch lucrative and complicated products to clients even if they are not the simplest investments or the ones most directly aligned with the client’s goals? Absolutely. Every day, in fact...

 I hope this can be a wake-up call to the board of directors. Make the client the focal point of your business again. Without clients you will not make money. In fact, you will not exist. Weed out the morally bankrupt people, no matter how much money they make for the firm. And get the culture right again, so people want to work here for the right reasons. People who care only about making money will not sustain this firm — or the trust of its clients — for very much longer.

The highlights are mine. Read the whole thing here. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul?

Spambot Comment Fail

I get comments, and none so discombobulated as the ones of the spam variety. This is one of the reasons why I monitor comments before they are published:

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MediCordz Bungie Rehabilitation Kit, 4' Cord, Blue 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Chasing Paper

 A shot from The Roots classic, "What They Do".

Read a great post by Diggame on From Ashy to Classy:

Over the last week or so I have become addicted to the television show American Greed. American Greed is a show that airs on CNBC which highlights some of the biggest corporate and white-collar crimes in the history of the United States. One of my boys put me on to this show and I have been hooked. I have now watched dozens of episodes on Hulu and YouTube. The reason I have become so hooked on the show is because it shows how everyone from the average real estate investor to a top Wall Street executive can be lured by greed to crime. The people on American Greed that I find the most interesting are the everyday hard-working person who gets way over there head and the next thing they know they are involved in a Ponzi scheme. I understand some of these people total intent was defraud and steal money but some people I feel just get caught in the paper chase. They all decided to go hard after money at all costs.

Lil Wayne in his song “Hustlas Muzik” says “Money is the Motivation”. Like everyone I nodded my head to the track thinking it’s talking directly to me. Shit I can even here myself saying, “Ya Damn right you better paper chase son!” The thing is everyone is out to get money. It’s the ruling principle of this capitalistic society we live in right? We live in a society where we let the material things on the outside define who we are. When we should let who we are define the wealth we may get.

A person reading this post so far probably is thinking “what the hell are you talking about I have to get money to survive and live to get my piece of the “American Pie”. Now I am not the first person to shout out Cash Rules Everything Around Me…Dolla Dolla Bill Ya’ll!! (shout out to the Wu-Tang Clan). I am cool with someone getting their money and advancing their lifestyle. But,What does one do after they get the C.R.E.A.M.? How much of your soul are you willing to sell? If you don’t have a purpose I figure the only thing for you to do after getting paper is to strive to get more paper. This is where I believe Greed can begin to rear its ugly head.

This capitalistic society leans the carrot on the string out in front of us. You know the proverbial “American Dream”. We hustle in bustle to get this “dream” while we never realize our true purpose or being on this earth. It’s almost like a societal Jedi Mind trick because we all do things we truly don’t love or believe in because of the all mighty dollar. It promotes greed and foregoing purpose just get these material thing.  In turn they continue to make us slaves to their system.

After you make it whats the real difference?

Example: You have 5 Million dollars and I have 10 million dollars. What can I really do that you can’t on a basic level? We both millionaires, right? There is not much more I can do more than you but buy more of items than you. So, I can buy 5 Ranges(Range Rovers) and you can only buy 1. The funny thing about having 5 Ranges you can only drive ONE Range at a time. Now this is where the game gets crazy. Since you found out I have 5 Ranges you decide to get in a Cold War arm race with me to show society how much more you can get than me. I think this case just as many others begin to make some one go from being motivated to greed. There is a very fine line between greed and competition.

Of course more money does get you more power but, where does your thirst for power and money stop? You can get as much power as you want but if you do not have purpose it won’t mean a damn thing. The strange thing is more money and power without purpose can sometimes be a detriment to you. It will make you think you need to get more money and more power to feel truly satisfied. One of the con artists on American Greed said something that resonated with me. He said he was able to get money out of people and sell them on dreams that may not be logically true because he was able to tap into every humans carnal instinct of greed!

The way that you can satisfy your quench of capitalism and some sense of internal sanity is to strive to find your purpose. If you find your purpose in what you are doing the money, power, and success will come with hard work and playing the game correctly. As I have read and surveyed I have found those who have been able to have continued success are the ones that found some sort of purpose in their work. As Common said…”What good is having a Range when its time to go home?”

Jesus, Don't Let Me Die Before I Have Sex

A few days ago I noticed I had a new follower on Twitter: @MattBarber (givemesexjesus). Yeah, that's right, GIVE ME SEX JESUS. Initially, I thought some weird porn dude with an unholy love for Christ had spam-followed me. But it turns out, while Matt is definitely looking to make a movie, it's definitely not porn.

From the website:
Jesus, Don’t Let Me Die Before I’ve Had Sex will be a feature-length documentary examining the sexual teachings of the Evangelical Church and exploring the undercurrent of idealism that leaves many people feeling frustrated and confused. Told in an honest and fair fashion, the movie will paint a picture of what is taught explicitly and implicitly by showing how churchgoers react to those teachings through anecdotes of first kisses, chastity rallies and secret obsessions. Along side these stories will be interviews of pastors reflecting on their own teachings, as well historians and sociologists diagramming the evolution of sexual teaching in the Church. Intercut throughout will be poignant stop-motion animation bringing to life the pain, joy, triumph and sorrow of our interviewees....

What are people saying about this project?

"…the subject matter seems to be handled with compassion and nuance in a time where most discussions of sex and morality are incredibly polarized and lack both candor and humanity.” (Meaghan, of Kickstarter)

"This is the movie I wish I had watched when I was in my early teens. It's the film I wish existed when I talked to my friends struggling with the issue in high school and college. And it's the film I hope will effect generations of Christians in future decades.” (Patrick, featured in the film)

"I have struggled with shame and insecurity in my sexuality, and my secret longings to seduce and to be wanted. That’s not what a good Christian girl is supposed to think about…” (Rachel, via The American Jesus blog)

“I initially thought I was going to wait until marriage… but after [having sex] in my early 20's I found myself having to come to terms with how I feel about myself, if this means I should continue to wait and whether I ‘ruined everything’ so to speak.” (Mr. M, via email)

 “Abstaining was tough during my teens, but it became torture throughout my twenties.  Now that I'm in my thirties and most of my ‘True Love Waits’ peers are celebrating ten or more years of sex and marriage… I'm left feeling like I was entirely ripped off.” (Kristine, via email)

"I spent hours and hours in prayer, crying, asking God to take that cup from me. I promised God all sorts of things if he’d help me stay pure. I’ve talked with lots of other guys, and frankly it’s difficult to find men who [haven’t] struggled with sex.” (XUY, via The American Jesus blog)

I have to say this looks pretty interesting... maybe it's because I grew up going to Christian school and yes, I had to read Joshua Harris' now-classic "I Kissed Dating Goodbye", I can relate to what some of the people in the clips are saying.

What do you think? Would you donate? Would you watch?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Marriage Advice From The World's Oldest Living Couple

This is some of the best relationship advice I've ever read! From Your Black World:

Meet Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher of North Carolina. They have been married 85 years (86 in May) and hold the Guinness World Record for the longest marriage of a living couple and get this…. Zelmyra is 101 years old and Herbert is 104.

The happily married couple teamed up with twitter this Valentine’s Day to answer some relationship questions. Check out their take on finding love, getting through hard times and more. Good read.

1. What made you realize that you could spend the rest of your lives together? Were you scared at all?
H & Z: With each day that passed, our relationship was more solid and secure.Divorce was NEVER an option – or even a thought.
2. How did you know your spouse was the right one for you?
We grew up together & were best friends before we married. A friend is for life – our marriage has lasted a lifetime
3. Is there anything you would do differently after more than 80 years of marriage?
We wouldn’t change a thing. There’s no secret to our marriage, we just did what was needed for each other & our family.
4. What is your advice to someone who is trying to keep the faith that Mr. Right is really out there?
Zelmyra: Mine was just around the corner! He is never too far away, so keep the faith – when you meet him, you’ll know.
5. What was the best piece of marriage advice you ever received?
Respect, support & communicate with each other.Be faithful, honest & true.Love each other with ALL of your heart
6. What are the most important attributes of a good spouse?
Zelmyra: A hard worker & good provider.The 1920s were hard,but Herbert wanted & provided the best for us.I married a good man!
7. What is your best Valentine’s Day memory?
Zelmyra: I cook dinner EVERY day.Herbert left work early & surprised me – he cooked dinner for me! He is a VERY good cook!
Herbert: I said that I was going to cook dinner for her & she could relax – the look on her face & clean plate made my day!
8. You got married very young – how did u both manage to grow as individuals yet not grow apart as a couple?
“Everyone who plants a seed & harvests the crop celebrates together” We are individuals, but accomplish more together.
9. What is your fondest memory of your 85-year marriage?
Our legacy: 5 children, 10 grandchildren, 9 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandchild.
10. Does communicating get easier with time? How do you keep your patience?
The children are grown, so we talk more now. We can enjoy our time on the porch or our rocking chairs – together.
11. How did you cope when you had to be physically separated for long periods of time?
Herbert: We were apart for 2 months when Z was hospitalized with our 5th child. It was the most difficult time of my life. Zelmyra’s mother helped me with the house and the other children, otherwise I would have lost my mind.
12. At the end of bad relationship day, what is the most important thing to remind yourselves?
Remember marriage is not a contest – never keep a score. God has put the two of you together on the same team to win.
13. Is fighting important?
NEVER physically! Agree that it’s okay to disagree, & fight for what really matters. Learn to bend – not break!
14. What’s the one thing you have in common that transcends everything else?
We are both Christians & believe in God.Marriage is a commitment to the Lord.We pray with & for each other every day.
 H/T: Catholic & Enjoying It!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pain in Heels While Walking

If you clicked on this post expecting a piece on platforms, sorry, not getting that. But stick around anyway, okay?
On Wednesday, as I rushed to grab a clean diaper for Z, I banged my heel against the side of our platform bed. I yelled out a rather loud, "Oww", which is much better than the four letter word I could've hollered.

I felt irritated. I leaned against Z's crib with my right arm and lifted the throbbing left heel to observe the damage. It was quickly turning red. "Augh...". 

I put my foot back down and got the diaper. Even as I changed Z and continued on with my day, the thought of my banged up foot kept coming back to me. It had long stopped hurting, but the thought of the pain hung in my head all day.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Zoe 101: Lessons From My Daughter

 Last week at The Church of No People, Matt topped off his month long series on Parenting by explaining why he didn't want to have kids. At least anytime soon.

I laughed out loud reading it, and not in that fake "LOL! But I only wrote that because I don't know what else to write except maybe a smiley face, but I don't want to" type way, either. Especially that part about Go-Gurt. I don't know why, but before having Zoe, seriously thinking about having kids always conjured up images of gross poopy diapers, crazy kid temper tantrums, and yes, Go-Gurt. Sticky, sour-smelling, old Go-Gurt on teeny fingers and chubby cheeks.

And I shuddered.

And wrote this. And recorded this.

In other words, I understand. In fact, I still shudder when I think of what others have told me about parenting. The sleepless nights, the illnesses, the ruined... well, just about everything, from carpeting to electronics to waistlines.

But as God as my witness, in my admittedly short time as a mom, I have yet to feel that chill. Really. Yes, there were sleepless nights, and being popped and peed on. Yet, I wouldn't have it any other way.

Why? One, because just as with everything else that has challenged me- Pre-Calculus, working at a super awful job, being married, dealing with a chronic illness- I have emerged much stronger having had to deal with it. Well, except for maybe Pre-Cal, which taught me the lesson that I should've stopped at Algebra.

Two, because I've learned much from Zoe. So much. Here are a few:

1.) Don't take things too seriously. Nearly everyday lately, I've turned around for LITERALLY two minutes and return to Zoe having my cell in her mouth. Or the TV remote. Or a corner of my iPad. Sometimes, she's managed to crawl into near disaster. My first reaction is, "What the ksfhkrfskhs!" And my second, is to quietly laugh to myself. Like my daughter, I am learning to call them how I see them. And sometimes, it's really not that serious. Or really, not serious at all.

 2.) It's okay to cry. Other times, it is serious. At least enough to cry. I'm not saying I go into hysterics, but I know, balancing church, family, etc., can be trying. Sometimes, letting out some tears is totally cleansing. It's like a little emotional reset. So when two loved ones passed a few weeks ago, I sat and cried. And was the better for it.

 3.) Smile often. Zoe is one of the smiliest babies I've ever known. Really. Most mornings, she wakes up smiling. She smiles at us. Her Big Poppa. Our pastor. And especially Keiron's co-worker Tim (yeah, she's totally a flirt). It's good to smile. Meet a new day with happiness.

4.) Be determined. When Z focuses on something, she'll keep going (even it means a tumble off the bed) until she gets it. There have been many days I've  felt weak and did not even attempt to go out. I'll stop myself before I even tried. Watching Zoe crawl, squiggle, wiggle and kick her way to her goal inspires me to do so. Onward march! Or crawl.

5.) K is awesome. Yeah, duh, I know he is. But I need to show him that. Daily. Zoe will scream and laugh when K gets come home from work. Or goes into the living room and then comes back. She shows her Daddy how much he is missed. A reminder to me to throw some of that excitement his way, too.

P.S. to Matt, you're going to be a great dad. You already are.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Real Men of Jesus: Mr. Over-Emotional Worship Leader

Thursday, March 1, 2012

An Open Letter to Praise Bands

I found this post on Fors Clavigera pretty awesome:

Dear Praise Band,

I so appreciate your willingness and desire to offer up your gifts to God in worship. I appreciate your devotion and celebrate your faithfulness--schlepping to church early, Sunday after Sunday, making time for practice mid-week, learning and writing new songs, and so much more. Like those skilled artists and artisans that God used to create the tabernacle (Exodus 36), you are willing to put your artistic gifts in service to the Triune God.

So please receive this little missive in the spirit it is meant: as an encouragement to reflect on the practice of "leading worship." It seems to me that you are often simply co-opted into a practice without being encouraged to reflect on its rationale, its "reason why." In other words, it seems to me that you are often recruited to "lead worship" without much opportunity to pause and reflect on the nature of "worship" and what it would mean to "lead."

In particular, my concern is that we, the church, have unwittingly encouraged you to simply import musical practices into Christian worship that--while they might be appropriate elsewhere--are detrimental to congregational worship. More pointedly, using language I first employed in Desiring the Kingdom, I sometimes worry that we've unwittingly encouraged you to import certain forms of performance that are, in effect, "secular liturgies" and not just neutral "methods." Without us realizing it, the dominant practices of performance train us to relate to music (and musicians) in a certain way: as something for our pleasure, as entertainment, as a largely passive experience. The function and goal of music in these "secular liturgies" is quite different from the function and goal of music in Christian worship.

So let me offer just a few brief axioms with the hope of encouraging new reflection on the practice of "leading worship":

1. If we, the congregation, can't hear ourselves, it's not worship. Christian worship is not a concert. In a concert (a particular "form of performance"), we often expect to be overwhelmed by sound, particularly in certain styles of music. In a concert, we come to expect that weird sort of sensory deprivation that happens from sensory overload, when the pounding of the bass on our chest and the wash of music over the crowd leaves us with the rush of a certain aural vertigo. And there's nothing wrong with concerts! It's just that Christian worship is not a concert. Christian worship is a collective, communal, congregational practice--and the gathered sound and harmony of a congregation singing as one is integral to the practice of worship. It is a way of "performing" the reality that, in Christ, we are one body. But that requires that we actually be able to hear ourselves, and hear our sisters and brothers singing alongside us. When the amped sound of the praise band overwhelms congregational voices, we can't hear ourselves sing--so we lose that communal aspect of the congregation and are encouraged to effectively become "private," passive worshipers.

2. If we, the congregation, can't sing along, it's not worship. In other forms of musical performance, musicians and bands will want to improvise and "be creative," offering new renditions and exhibiting their virtuosity with all sorts of different trills and pauses and improvisations on the received tune. Again, that can be a delightful aspect of a concert, but in Christian worship it just means that we, the congregation, can't sing along. And so your virtuosity gives rise to our passivity; your creativity simply encourages our silence. And while you may be worshiping with your creativity, the same creativity actually shuts down congregational song.

Read the rest here. This really struck a chord with me because I've been in quite a few services where during the "Praise & Worship" time, I did neither because the music, while captivating, was more akin to what I'd hear at a concert. What do you think?

Non-Denominational Guide to Official Worship Signals

Ordination for Omarosa

From The Urban Daily:

Omarosa O. Manigault gained notoriety for her appearances on The Apprentice and The Ultimate Merger, but fans of the reality personality were surprised to find out that she had become an assistant pastor at the Weller Street Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, California. After a year of those duties, Omarosa has announced that she has officially Rev. Manigault. With the new title comes additional powers — including the ability to officiate Christian rites such as marriages, funerals, and baptisms.

In a press release, Rev. Manigault said about the news: “This is the day that the Lord has made, I truly rejoice and am glad it is! This was one of the most profound days of my life and my ministry. How amazing I feel to serve God[.] I made a very personal decision to dedicate my life to the service of the kingdom of God. I intend to continue my seminary studies and to fully discover what God’s plan is for my life and ministry.”

In addition to this, Omarosa reveals that she “is currently enrolled in the doctorate of Ministry program at Payne Theological Seminary in Ohio.”

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K and Z enjoying the Christmas tree.

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