Tuesday, February 26, 2013
The thing that surprised me, though, is that she was afraid of admitting that she was grieving!
It seems that a particular church (for which I have little respect, based on what she had been taught there for too many years) shamed those who actually didn't "celebrate" when a child of God passed away. Grief, it seemed, was either a sin, or something not to be felt by a Christian.
I have no idea where they got that bit of theological illogic, but it certainly wasn't from a thorough reading of Scripture.
Consider †his: if Jesus did something, it's nothing that should bring shame.
So when did Jesus grieve?
The shortest verse in the Bible, in just about all English translations of which I am aware, is John 11:35. Even the usually-wordy Amplified Bible keeps it at 2 words. (If you're interested, Bible Gateway can show you how all of its English translations render this one verse.) "Jesus wept." Simple enough. But why did He weep? The full story is found in John 11:1-44. This is the story of Lazarus, brother to Mary and Martha, a family that was near and dear to Jesus' heart even though they weren't part of his traveling band. You probably know the story. Lazarus had died, Jesus chose to wait to go there, and when He did, He brought Lazarus back to life, making his name synonymous with restoration of life.
Why did Jesus do that? "Certainly" it couldn't have been because His friend was dead. After all, He seemed to know that He was going there to restore him to life. Perhaps it was due to the strong feelings of his sisters and other friends, including the one that came to bring Jesus to them.
Or maybe it's the obvious answer: Jesus grieved for his friend.
Sound wrong? Too bad. We're not to judge what the Bible says based on our own preconceived ideas. One of the reasons I started this blog was to challenge those preconceived ideas that don't really match what Scripture says. This is one of the big ones, though I pray it's not as common as I fear it is.
Christians are called to joy, but that doesn't mean insane laughter or happiness or any of the other bits of garbage emotionally-driven churches try to push. There are times of sadness. There are times of grief. There are times of trial and emotional depression. There are even times of anxiety and distress. Jesus went through all of these. Why do we think we won't? Why do we think we shouldn't?
Grief is normal. Grief is even healthy. There should be no shame accepted or poured on those who grieve the loss of a Christian. Even though we know we will see them again, the forced separation that will remain for the rest of our own lives is not a situation we can just push aside. As temporary as it is for Christians, the separation caused by death is the second greatest separation we can experience. (The first is when God isn't in us or the loved one, making the separation eternal.) Consider †his: death is not a separation we were intended to endure. Such separation came about because of sin. Sin causes even greater grief, in more ways than one.
So don't put shame on those who grieve. Put the shame on those who reject grief and those who grieve.
Thursday, January 03, 2013
So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
I tell you, on that day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak.
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
- By “extended family,” I assume Fielding’s cousin is not among them, though his parents presumably are. The cousin isn’t close enough to see the Melish family more often than once a year.
- Fielding doesn’t use the Web, and may resist using the Web.
|Cousin:||You know, Fielding, I’ve been thinking a lot about something you said last time. You said you and Felicia would love to find a church in your area.|
|Fielding:||Yeah, but you seem to like any of them near us. (laughing) Seriously, I see why you don’t. Felicia isn’t too thrilled with that idea, either.|
|Cousin:||From what you’ve said about them, I don’t really think they’d do you much good. I know you don’t like the Internet…|
|Fielding:||No way! Besides, our computer is so old, I don’t think anything new would work on it.|
|Cousin:||It might, but you’re probably right. All the churches I can think of use stuff that your old machine won’t run well, if at all. They block folks like you who don’t want to upgrade, or can’t afford to.|
|Fielding:||Yeah, have you seen the prices for the new models?|
|Cousin:||Too often. But, hey, you can play CDs and DVDs on something, right?|
|Fielding:||Well, yeah, but it’s hard to watch a DVD while I’m out in the workshop.|
|Cousin:||How about an audio CD? Like an audio book?|
|Fielding:||I don’t know. It can get pretty noisy when I’m out there, although I guess I could crank the volume up a bit.|
|Cousin:||Here’s what I’m thinking. Our little church doesn’t record their services yet, but I’m thinking about asking them if they would let me do it. I’d like to tap into their sound board directly, but something with a microphone would work, too. I could record the pastor’s message each week, burn them onto a CD, and mail them to you for you to hear.|
|Fielding:||That’s a little impersonal, isn’t it? I mean, what if I’ve got a question about what he says? Or what if I don’t agree with something he says?|
|Cousin:||That’s a good point. Maybe you could write them down and mail them to me, or to my pastor, if he’s willing?|
|Fielding:||I’d rather ask you. I don’t mean any offense to your pastor, but I don’t know him. You know I don’t have a college education, either. I wouldn’t want to look stupid to him.|
|Cousin:||You wouldn’t, but I understand.|
|Fielding:||The big problem is having the time to do all that. I’m so busy with Mom and Pop sometimes that I don’t even have time to be in my workshop. I guess I could listen to the CD in my car, but if the road’s noisy, or the kids are, I wouldn’t be able to pay attention.|
|Cousin:||True. Some of the roads you have to take require undivided attention. How about you and Felicia take an hour once a week, like you would if you were in a nearby church, and listen to the CD?|
|Fielding:||That would take care of that problem. I guess we could carve out some time like that. I could also watch some of those television preachers.|
|Cousin:||Um, not all of them are that great. I can give you some suggestions for those to watch for, and those to watch out for.|
Monday, July 09, 2012
Monday, June 11, 2012
Oh, boy, this is a big one for me, though not quite in the direction Dan takes it.
Consider This: there are plenty of people who have been told they are sinning willfully or deliberately who have lost hope.
I’ve been married for just over 18 years now. We cannot have children of our own. I was abused emotionally as a child, I believe. I hated my father for years, and still find bits of bitterness about some of the attitudes he had. That’s not the “deliberate sin,” though, that I want to address.
Several years ago the pastor of a large church I attended (which had no formal membership), someone I trusted to speak the truth, said something offhandedly at the end of a message. I don’t recall the message, nor the Scripture he used to support this, but he said, in effect, that it was a sin for a married couple to choose to be child-free. Adoption was an option, he noted, for those who could not have children of their own. After the service I went up & asked him about that particular detail. He back-pedaled a bit with comments about the matter of when one had children is personal, but he never retracted his statement. (For the record, there were times when I’d ask him about other things, and he did indeed retract what he said, or at least clarified it and made sure he would clarify it in later services.) From what I can gather, he did not make that same statement in the other two weekend services, but the damage was done for me.
I truly thought that I could not be headed for Heaven because I was willfully “disobeying” a “command” from God to be child-free.
I should also note here that I have clinical depression with anxiety, probably due to malfunctioning or fatigued glands, probably inherited from my mother’s side of the family. (We haven’t gone through the genetic testing to prove this; this is our best guess based on family knowledge of symptoms.) Anxiety attacks can manifest as anger attacks, since anger often is a secondary emotion arising from anxiety or stress — the “fight or flight” mechanism choosing the “fight” or “Hulk-out” mode. I have been, and continue to be, afraid of being around children at times. I have to leave the area if I can sense an attack about to happen. Their high-pitched squeals don’t help in that area, either, due to presumed hyperacusis.
Simply put: I do not feel safe around children.
To believe all that, and then be told by a trusted pastor that being child-free is a sin, led me to the conclusion that my continued choice in that area meant I was willfully disobeying a command from God. Is that not another way of saying “deliberate sin?”
The point here is that we must be absolutely careful about what we call “deliberate sin,” and recognize that God’s grace remains sufficient if our hearts are turned towards Him. He knows us better than we know ourselves. So does His enemy and ours, Satan, who knows exactly where to poke us to make us think we are without hope.
The only one of us without hope is the one who has chosen to give up the source of hope.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Have you ever tried to fit the proverbial square peg into a round hole? Yeah, with a jackhammer it can work, or after ruining peg and/or hole. Is it really worth doing, though?
That’s how I’ve felt lately with writing in general. Obviously I haven’t written a blog article for way too long. Most people would’ve written me off (and probably did). It hasn’t been for lack of trying. I could use a litany of reasons or excuses for the “break,” including the discovery of neuroendocrine carcinoid tumors in my wife’s liver, the “holidays,” stress at work, too much Facebook time, and so forth. Each one of those would have some validity to them, too.
The real reason is that I haven’t had anything to write about that is working for me.
I wanted to start a verse-by-verse study through Romans, especially since I learned that the Emerging/Emergent Church movement, which favors unity over truth, wishes that evangelicals “rip out” that book from the Bible. I also know that I need to get back to an in-depth personal study of the Bible. I’ve also considered a similar study in Colossians, since people like Kenneth Copeland quote copiously from it to support their own heresies.
So far, though, both of these have worked as well as square pegs in round holes. They don’t fit.
So I sit here and, as it may appear to others, let my blog languish, as if I don’t care about it. Sorry, but that’s simply not true. I do care about it. I care about those few readers who have made a commitment to follow it, either via Facebook, RSS, Google Friend Connect, or perhaps even through the Feedburner feed that I can no longer access. (Which reminds me, if anybody knows how to contact a real Google support person who might be able to figure out why the password & security question I recall and recorded do not work, I’d appreciate an email address.)
I care enough about this blog to let it sit, rather than to publish junk.
I care enough about this blog to sacrifice quantity for quality.
Sorry, no square pegs in round holes here.
There are numerous blogs out there that will deluge you with content, some of them breaking the rules in the opposite fashion by putting out numerous posts per day. Sometimes I think I’d like to have the quality content and time to do just that.
Right now, I do not.
Thanks to all reading this for bearing with me. Pray that this blog will be used by God as He intends, not as the “media experts” say it should.
If you want content, my blog roll on the side has numerous other reading sources that I personally like. Some of them may even flood your email box or RSS reader, if that’s how you like to read blogs.
Since the “experts” like to suggest “engaging” readers by asking a question, Consider †his closing question:
How would you deal with round holes and only square pegs?