Tag: church

Wanted: The Strength of a Mule

 

I had a premonition this performance would not end well. It wasn’t because this was an impossibly big-and-spectacular Easter production that my relatively small-and-homespun church had been rehearsing for months. And it wasn’t because there were two smoke machines in the tomb that kept malfunctioning and the feathers on the angel wings refused to remain glued. No. It was because there was a live animal in the cast – and as the director, it would fall to me to … well … direct it.

Now everyone knows that one of the time-honored maxims of theatre is to never ever share a stage with a baby or an animal. Especially the latter. Animals are unpredictable, pose public hygiene challenges, and are perpetual scene-stealers. But the music director would not listen to any of my arguments and announced that this year Jesus would ride into Jerusalem during the Triumphal Entry song on a donkey. The pastor also thought it was a wonderful idea and read me the Scriptural account in Mark 11 of the “donkey colt that had never been ridden.”

“Don’t you think this will really bring the Bible to life?” he insisted. It’s hard to argue with your pastor when he’s quoting the Word of God. I sighed and relented. The donkey was in.

How Christian Are Christians?

 

Last Wednesday, I caught a bit of Glenn Beck’s show while driving across town. The subject kept me from turning the dial, even though I don’t usually listen to him. The subject? How Christianity is losing the culture.

In an interview with Jonathan Bock, they went over some Pew Research and Gallup poll numbers that show alarming statistics for church attendance, Bible reading habits, and tithing.

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When we contacted Mark and Lynn about getting together to talk about their experiences during the fires in Sonoma County, Mark responded, “Our church didn’t do much.” That’s what he wrote, but I knew Hope Chapel Healdsburg had housed eight Four Square chaplains who’d come to help during the weeks after the firestorm. Mark and […]

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Is a Sense of Being Trapped in the “Wrong” Body Always a Delusion?

 

It came as a surprise to me to hear that Camille Paglia calls herself transgender, and more surprising that Ricochetti might be OK with it – more specifically, that there might be those who are OK with it when Paglia does it but not OK with it when others do it. It’s possible that what makes it OK for Paglia is that she’s not “gender dysphoric” – “She fully embraces her identity, both physical and mental,” and is “self-confident and passionate” about it, as @cm put it. This piques my interest, I admit, and in a way that goes beyond the merely academic.

If “gender dysphoria” is taken to mean “unease with the sex you were born into,” well, then I have a fair amount of experience being gender dysphoric. In my case, there now seems to be a reasonable explanation for it: a congenital defect whose severity would be considerably mitigated if I were born male – moreover a defect not identified until this year, so that I’ve spent most of post-pubescent life sensing (correctly, it turns out) that my body was somehow wrong and that being born female heightened this wrongness, while also having no socially-acceptable reason to give others for why I sensed this.

Satan’s Devices

 

I’m still unhappy about what happened in church Sunday. We were following the sermon–an encouraging and faith building teaching session on how God uses the seemingly small and mundane incidents in our lives to further His own ends. Then someone’s phone dinged once. I felt irritated, but it was once. Then it dinged again. And then again. Not really loud, but enough to be a distraction.

I’m thinking, Really? Can’t you just shut that off for a little while? Is it that hard? (I had switched mine to vibrate right before church.) Then it just kept up with clusters of chimes throughout the service. I turned around slightly trying to figure out who it might be. I thought I had her pegged, a young woman who appeared to be openly texting in church. Mentally, I made a list of options for her: put it on vibrate, take it outside, or wait until later. I tried to imagine what could be so important that one had to carry on a text conversation right there. A medical emergency of some sort? Still, come on.

My younger daughter leaned over and asked if it was me. Nope, I had turned my sound off. People are something else. But I started to feel uneasy. When it was time to stand up, I picked up my purse and subtly checked my phone. Oh, horrors — there was a string of messages on the display. From my sister. I checked the switch. Instead of turning the sound off before church, I had turned it on. It had already been on vibrate from earlier that day. Sigh. My sister had chosen that morning to have a big group exchange with family members. About the weather in California, primarily, with bonus screenshot of the night’s temperature report from my little brother.

Youth Minister Caught in Compromising Position

 

Maryville, TN — A newly-hired youth minister found, not his credentials, but his faith questioned when it was revealed he could not actually play guitar.

While Drew Campbell, youth minister at Grace Grove Bible Church, was preparing gear for the teen Seekers’ annual spring-break camping retreat, he was discovered in the church basement awkwardly fondling a guitar, muttering to himself, “So, how do you play this thing?”

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We pray. Christians pray to the triune G-d.  This post is one in a series on Christian prayer, and how we learn to pray from the Lord’s Prayer.  Today we come to the “petition” where we ask our Heavenly Father for stuff.  We cannot help but be self-centered in wanting stuff, but as we learn […]

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After a three-week delay, I am continuing my series on Christian prayer. Christians pray to G-d, and we learn how to pray from the Bible and from fellow Christians.  Sometimes we even borrow from non-Christian sources.  Our chief source is generally the Lord’s Prayer, because that is where Jesus taught His Disciples to pray.  Here […]

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Do you like the dark? Is it pleasantly spooky? Do you find all sorts of activities – swimming, hiking, skiing – more adventurous by night? (Cross-country skiing is wayyyy more affordable than downhill, but less thrilling – a nighttime cross-country jaunt reintroduces some of the thrill, if only because you can’t see so well where […]

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We are reviewing orthodox Christian teachings on how to pray by examining the Lord’s Prayer.  In this week’s lesson we consider what it means to pray for G-d’s Kingdom to come.      G-d’s kingdom is everything.  He made the universe and everything in it.  He made us and we belong to Him.  So, why […]

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Christians pray. The Bible teaches us to pray, and prayer is discussed in many passages in the Bible. As a continuation of my exploration of the boundaries of Christian orthodoxy, I want to take a look at Christian teachings on prayer. My intent is to find how far we go together in agreement as Christian […]

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This is to summarize my series of posts on the Ten Commandments.  The point of this exercise was to begin an exploration of the boundaries of orthodox Christianity.  So far we have established that all Christians who consider themselves “orthodox” are in agreement about teachings on the Ten Commandments.  That is a lot of agreement.  […]

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Here is a new exploration of the bounds of orthodoxy in Christianity. I have been progressing through the Ten Commandments, at the beginning of a program to delineate the boundaries of what can be called “orthodox” among Christians. So far we are mostly in agreement. This week we will look at another Commandment, this time […]

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Here is a new exploration of the bounds of orthodoxy in Christianity.  I have been progressing through the Ten Commandments, at the beginning of a program to delineate the boundaries of what can be called “orthodox” among Christians.  So far we are mostly in agreement.  This week we will look at another Commandment, this time […]

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