We could never do that

“Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” Luke 12:13-21

Being “a friend” comes with quite a jobspec!  To disagree may mean the end of friendship. Because …

“If you were really my friend you would stick up for me! If you were my friend you would want to help me out. If you were my friend you should be the one I can depend upon. If you were my friend

Yesterday we had a service about Esther.  Through October we are journeying with those who journey through the Old Testament.

As part of the service prep the two of us were given a reference book to use.  The received wisdom of others.  And – like so much religious received wisdom – it was interesting to read:

It “bigged-up” Esther … it made her a role model .. it put her on a pedestal to be emulated … Esther saved the entire Chosen People with hardly a drop of blood split … all because of “God” (who is not mentioned once in this book of the bible) .. with the learning that “God is present and working in our lives – even when we think He isn’t”.  In fact Esther is so worthy of a place in the bible that there is a Jewish Festival in her honour – one still celebrated today – a festival in remembrance of Esther’s deliverance of The Chosen People.  This “received wisdom” – this learned academic theology – is “standard fare” for bible study – standard fare for Sunday services – standard fare for teaching Followers.  And comes with one teeny problem.  The followers are taught something unspoken.

WOW! We could never do that!

Because Esther’s pedestal is very high and very distant. And here “we” are looking up – hearing about Esther – reading about Esther – and all the while knowing that “we” could never do “that” – all the while having reinforced how “ordinary” we are compared to these “biblical figures” we read of … are taught about … who are in a different “spiritual league” than us.  And week after week reinforcing our belief that “we will never be them” – that they are biblical super heroes and heroines!

So yesterday we took away Esther’s pedestal.

We took away her super-heroine cape. We invited Esther to sit amongst us. We invited the congregation to see Esther sitting in a pew right beside each one there. Even more “ordinary” than each of us there in church yesterday. Someone we might look at with disdain,  who was “spiritually immature”, who didn’t really fit – but was “young and really pretty” – so always welcome to join us (unless she rocked the boat too much … unless she wore the wrong clothes … all the usual “club stuff” … ) – in fact – instead of being someone we looked up to – Esther would probably have been someone we looked down on.  And we used this clip to make that point:

A peek inside the “X Factor house”.  The place where these ordinary people just like us (our sons, daughters, nieces and nephews, our own family and friends … our own “us” today and right now) are deposited – to be primped and preened – to be shown how to walk and talk – to be styled to look good – to be taught how to project – in short: to be schooled how to make others “love them” … to become a showbiz “product” that is pleasing to the eye of others (who we then judge as the one we love the most).

It is “a showbiz process” we older ones look on with disdain (and which we younger ones dream of with salivating yearning). But we older ones see Shallow. Demeaning. A bubble. Not real. Of this world. Not of God.  Something we don’t watch.

Except that is what Esther was swept up in.

Twelve months of the “X Factor House” as written in the bible. Wallowing in the latest beauty products. All the primping and preening.  All the mirrors.  Always  eyeing up the “competition”. Surrounded by the styling  … all so that she would be “loved” (or lusted over?).  All the same “shallow” celeb stuff of today!  Of being the prettiest, the cutest, the most adorable, the most shallow.

And – guess what – Esther embraced it as though to this “shallow lifestyle”.  My opinion?  Esther would have won X-Factor!

Esther is worth a read and is only ten chapters long.

“Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?”

We have a very subjective (perverse?) relationship with the bible and God.  We put Jesus on a pedestal.  And God (except His pedestal is REALLY big and distant).  And Esther’s pedestal is in that same “distance zone” (mainly because she is Old Testament – and that makes her very distant).  Esther is out of our reach.  Up there with God and stuff.

And so we asked this question: “If I believe that Esther is really better than me, that I could never do what Esther did, that God would never dream of asking me to do that, that I haven’t got what it takes … What might that mean  – and why might that be?”

Doesn’t that mean that I believe God thinks less of me than Esther … that God gave me the left-over bits that no one else wanted … that I am too old to do what Esther did … that I have too many commitments to do what Esther did … that I am too young to do what Esther did … that I am too X Factor – too spiritually immature to be Esther … that I have too much life to live to do what Esther did.  In fact …

Doesn’t that mean that I NEED my “biblical pedestals” – that I LIKE my personal comfort and me being in control? That I would have to say no to God if He asked – that it would interrupt the way I want to live, the way I want to worship, and the way I (want to) believe in God?

Which – for me – is the “perverse” bit of all this received wisdom, this learned academic theology, this tradition of worship passed down week after week, this “being washed clean” each week, this need to be “washed clean” week after week, this superstition that if we don’t – we are already halfway to Hell.

Jesus IS God.  All these “Esthers” … “prophets” … the Moses and Elisha’s … they ARE the same people we see in the street today, who drive cars today, who have jobs and families, who go shopping in the same places we go shopping. The “disciples” … “apostles” … Pauls and Timothys … they ARE the same people we sit next to in church, that we call when we need a plumber, an electrician, or a pest control operative …  All these “biblical heroes and heroines” ARE ordinary human beings just like us.  There are NO pedestals in the bible.  Not even for God who is Jesus.

Other than those WE put there.  As we seem to do week after week.  Service after service.  We seem to like “them” to be on “our” pedestals.  And the oddest thing of all …  No one puts them there apart from us.  Because if indeed we do prefer our bible and our God “that way” – if we don’t want to know God who is Jesus that intimately – who is so naked  – who invites us to be naked as well – because that intimacy IS safe and IS relationship and IS unconditional love …

Just what might that say about “our worship”?  And just what might that mean about me and you and God (who is Jesus)?


(to be reblogged on “Just Me Being Curious” – the last of three)

The mystery of God … really?

When we “give up” on someone important to us it is (almost) never in a flash – an instant – a hundredth of a second event.  It is (almost always) a slow creeping thing.  A trying, a realisation of trying, trying some more, a realisation of trying some more, and so on.  And we change as well as “them”.  Whatever the change in our relationship that caused me to need to try in the first place – that changes both me and the other.  And maybe someway further down that realisation and change – when nothing “changes” – we give up.

That hurts.  Each and every time that hurts.  I know of some who look at relationships and question “is it me?”  I know of some who look at relationships and wonder why they always attract the “wrong ones”.  And I see a lot of those who begin a relationship and then change – the person they were besotted by is not who they were – the person they were besotted by has become less.  Not enough for the investment of more time, interest and money.  Not any longer.

That hurts.  (almost) Every relationship is an investment of self.  Of that which we hold dear.  That which we give freely so long as “they” give back.  And that we may begin to believe is me being “taken” rather than reciprocated.  That we may begin to believe is me being “wasted” rather than appreciated.  Because relationships are conditional until they are not.  They either become unconditional.  Or they remain conditional – remain static – remain fragile and break easily (because lust rarely lasts).

That hurts.  Especially as the usual pattern is that one person hasn’t “given up” – but the other has.  That one avoids speaking to the other – really talking which requires really listening.  Not just for the words – but beyond the words.  When one tolerates the other. When one sacrifices their very “self” for the other and yet – even that is not enough.  When one has given up – and will not see any good in the other – refuses to see any good – and begins to invest all their energy in NOT seeing any good (but the “benefits” are convenient enough to continue taking – for  now).

“Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.'” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” “ Luke 18:1-8

I have looked at these verses many times. And each time I have asked God: “Are you really the judge who does not care?” And God never answers me.

This morning I asked Him the same thing,  And this morning He answered.

“Paul this is a parable about praying – something else you struggle with – the label of “this is how you MUST pray”.  I have no such requirements.  I desire conversation.  Prayer can be eyes shut/eyes open – kneeling down/sitting up – in church/in your home – right now as in our “facetime” – and also just chugging through the day – watching the world go by – when at work – with your family – in times of need and in times of plenty.  I desire this conversation for one simple reason.  Prayer changes you.”

I was hoping for a longer bunch of words – but that was it.  And yet it was enough.  I am changed.

So the words which follow is me (and Him). The word which follow is me exploring what this change means.  Here we go.

The widow. She asks. She is refused. She asks. She is refused. She is changed. Question of the parable. Who is God – the judge of the widow?  This morning I do not see God as the judge. I see me as the judge.  This morning I see God as the widow. The one who asks. The one who is ignored by me.  This morning I see me as the judge – the one who is giving up – the one who was taught to pray when told to.  The one who has been taught that “chattering away to God” is not really praying – that real praying is eyes shut, hands together, with a shopping list of unworthiness, and a shopping list of requests, a shopping list of “praise and adoration”, and a shopping list of “intercession stuff”.

And the “shopping lists” get longer and longer the more I “worship God” – and praying becomes work – becomes a duty – becomes distancing. And that hurts.  Being “distanced” by doing what you have been taught – by “how to pray” – by “this is how you speak to God”.  And it becomes a duty, it becomes distancing.  Now THAT really hurts.

And THAT hurt changes me. That causes me to see prayer as investment and return … How many did He say yes to (which means how many did He answer)?  And which makes the rest all “those He ignored”.  Which does make God the judge in these verses.  And does make me the widow. And does make God uncaring and judgemental.  And does make me the un-heard and unloved.  And that changes me. Keeps me conditional.

“There comes a point in every relationship where you both settle for “conditional love” and think this is as good as it gets.  And you may “love” each other (until something changes – or something better comes along – or until one of you gives up).  Or – you both reach “unconditional love”.  A love where others see the outside (as always) and wonder why they do not see the evidence of “conditional love”: the spark – the fire – that “evidence of love” without mystery.   So they assume your love for me has dimmed.  They assume that my love for you can be counted by my “answered prayer requests”.  And – illogically – they excuse me for my “unanswered prayer requests”.  They call that “the mystery of God”!

The mystery of “God” … really?

If love is always the answer – and it is for each as much for each – across time and across “logic” – across so much you cannot yet see or know (only because you use so little of what you have already).  Then “the mystery of God” is merely a convenience.  It saves you so much time and understanding.  It keeps things at the “evidence” level.  It keep things conditional.  Just like that “judge” – who had given up on himself.  On his place in this beautiful world. On his very self to the world.

I never give up.  Prayer changes YOU.  And at some point YOU will either find unconditional love with me, or YOU will settle for conditional love, or YOU may eventually give up. 

And now to something you have pondered  ever since you began writing these “posts” …  Why do I invite you to drop these “pebbles” we know as blog posts?

And even though you have never known you just “do” .  That is unconditional love.  And how will you anyone know the difference between conditional and unconditional love?  How will any of you ever think to ever reach beyond that – ever think it is even okay (even “desirable”) – to get this  personal?  Look at how you are taught.  Look at how you worship.

But you write of that love.  You write of how it is.  You write without condition (and I feel your squirming of discomfort – that this is what we only say to each other privately).  You write of a love beyond conditional.  A love many do not “get” – a love many never think can be theirs – that should be theirs …  I am “God” after all – I need to be revered!

But you write without condition.  And that might just allow one other to think “this love is possible for me!” (and you can stop squirming now – I have done!)  :-)  

Prayer has changed YOU.  Chattering and listening “prayer” changes you.  “Eyes shut prayer” changes you.  Because however “prayer” is “taught” or “done” … If it is not real  – if it does not change YOU …

YOU are conditional with me.”

Imagine the power

I have recently made a decision. For me it was massive.  For a very small number it was big.  For others it was just another decision.  But the entire world, minus a small handful, was blissfully unaware.

In this online community of followers, questioners, doubters, and followers of something else I have only now realised something even more important. That the community of our Father “here” just might be connected more than the community of local church here.  And that I take for granted that others in this online community will hear God guiding my guiding – that they will be tuned in to my guidance in their own guidance – that the Lord really does speak through others to speak to us.  And I only realised how much I take all that for granted here – because of the absence of any in local church life here.  Apart from one who spoke.

Take it to the Lord in prayer?

How often we pray for others, are asked to pray for others. But how rarely we “talk with God” in others about “stuff” in our own lives – other than a coded “please pray for me”.  It is a side of fellowship I have come to value in this online community.  A side of fellowship that makes hearing God much easier.  One might call it “group discernment”.  And if you are unfamiliar with how “it works” – here is how it works for me …

I will simply seek out and chat with one or more of those I fellowship with. I will chat through whatever it is I feel I am guided to or from.  Because I know that as I chat – they are listening not just to me – they are also listening to their own God Soft Hands Jesus.  They are tuned-in to the same God as me.  And they will hear something.  Often it is the same yes or no as I am hearing – often it will be the absence of a yes or no – it will be a silence.  And that silence is as valuable as yes or no.  The silence means that I may not be hearing 100% clearly, but my guidance is in “the same ballpark”, that my intended decision is not catastrophic – it is not dangerous (and may cause me to delay or make a decision).  I also do the same with others – what is God saying to me?  A “by-product” is that it removes personal preference.  If we are truly guided by God, then “hearing” what He has to say may be the exact opposite to our own advice – our own preferences – our own decisions.

And my thought is this – locally we seem intent on having fellowship so long as we can remain in control. That we control what we do, what God does through us, how we work for God.

And that is not damaging.  It is not even a sadness on my part.  It is simply a new awareness of something I had “lost” in the plethora of stuff that is church life locally.  Locally we talk of a prayer life. Locally we have prayer groups that pray for others.  We have house-groups that talk about others.  That pray for each other.  And even though we talk about the Voice of God as one of the elements of worship and relationship – the reality of “group connection” in this way of guidance seems rare.

In this online community one of those I love told of the time they were on their way to tell someone of their decision. It was a decision reached after a lot of thought. A lot of frustration.  A lot of asking their God.  It was to be an irreversible decision.  And whilst they were sitting waiting for their appointment to tell (whoever) how things were to be – their phone rang.  It was a fellowship buddy.  Who simply said that they had no idea what was going on, it was just God had asked them very assertively to call with a very simple message.  That whatever it was they were about to do – God asked them not to (very assertively).  That God had pulled this person out of a meeting with the urgency, and this person was simply passing on that urgency: whatever it was – don’t do it!  And this person put the phone down and went back to their meeting.

Online or locally we are all connected. Online or locally we are all fellowship buddies if we allow.  And if our “prayer life” is always on behalf of others, is always a shopping list of urgent need for relief of pain and illness and poverty and persecution and “trauma” … how much room does that leave for being connected with our Loving Father in each other?  For the “small stuff” – the stuff of all our lives week after week?

I said earlier I had no sadness at the absence of “that” locally … I have such a fire of hope.

I have hope that if these connections can begin to spark, that is these connections are “played with” by others, that is these connections become as real for others as they are for the few I have been drawn towards – then just imagine the power we draw upon … just imagine the power that “when one or two or gathered in my name” we both realise and release …

Isn’t the reality that we all believe we are  insignificant – unworthy – not up to very much at all – not like those we read about.

But isn’t the truth that we are ALL as “insignificant” as the disciples, as the saints, the heroes, the heroines of the bible – each one of us is them – each of them was “insignificant” before they allowed … before the were guided … before they were who they have become in our minds …  Because in this fallen world we bemoan so often – on this glorious gift of a planet that sustains and nurtures such a glowing tapestry of flourishing life …

Imagine the power we followers release in each other if we truly are drawn together in our everyday life. Not just a prayer life for others in need and ourselves in our unworthiness. But a “prayer life” of connection and affirmation in our daily living.

Imagine the power we draw in those decisions we might (never) make on our own with our God – when WE stay in control – when WE call (and don’t) the shots – when WE decide what is possible and what is not!  Imagine being released from what we think is possible …

I am!

“This church isn’t loving enough!”

Why do you suppose it is that some churches are considered to be “loving” while others aren’t? Maybe a better question would be, “Why is my local church more loving sometimes than it is other times?”

I remember one time several years ago when I received a phone call one Saturday evening from a very ticked off woman from church who spent at least 20 minutes yelling at me because someone else in our church had been rude to her: “What happened to the love in this church?” she demanded to know.

To tell you the truth, I wasn’t exactly feeling the love in that moment either. She abruptly ended the call by telling me that unless I did something pretty darn quick that she was leaving for good.

So often I hear things like this…

Why are some churches “loving” and others aren’t  why is my local church more loving sometimes than it is other times?

I don’t know about anybody else, but I think the answer to these questions lies in the very nature of love itself. Perhaps we can find a clue in the great “Love Chapter” of 1 Corinthians 13…

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (13:4-7 emphasis added)

These are some of the most beautiful and familiar verses in all of Scripture, and I’m sure that if anyone reads these verses and then goes back to the little incident I just recounted, you’ll come up with a working theory on the questions I posed… I hope that before going further, everyone will read the entirety of the chapter for context… Of course, speaking of context, this chapter is in a larger section on spiritual gifts that runs from chapter 12-15 and thus love is a side note. Theologically speaking the real “Love Chapter” in the New Testament is 1 John 4, a very interesting bit of writing to say the least.

In verses 1-6 John is speaking about the spirit of antichrist which is afoot in this world and that may seem odd in a chapter about love, yet God’s love in us is the perfect antidote for the spirit of antichrist. John tells us that we have overcome that dark spirit already (4:4).

At first glance vv. 7 ff. appear to be redundant in the extreme. Yet upon closer examination this isn’t the case, for John in these verses is making the case for love itself, and he is doing so in a manner that is simplicity itself: God loved us and sent his Son to die for us, therefore we love Him. God loves our brothers and sisters, therefore so do we. Since all of this is true, anyone who does not love their brother and sister does not love God.

Notice how John links God’s love to us in 4:10 to Christ as “atoning sacrifice”, and recall that it is by his atoning sacrifice that our sins can be forgiven tying God’s love together with His forgiveness. Look carefully and you will see the same approach again in verse 14 where John tells us that by God’s love we have received the Holy spirit and give testimony that Jesus is Savior (by forgiveness of sins). Notice the same linkage in both verse 17 and verse 18 by making reference to the connection between love and forgiveness on the day of judgment. And then go back to the end of verse 17:

In this world we are like Jesus.

What was Jesus like? Jesus was the very embodiment of love in action who brought forgiveness into the world.

The chapter ends with this:

Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (4:21b)

We are commanded to love one another, and what is plain in 1 John 4 is that love is inexorably linked to forgiveness, and how many times should we forgive our brother, seven times?

Well, I think you already know the answer to that one.

Combine this with 1 Corinthians 13:5… love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love forgives first and foremost.

“Church” is not an institution. Rather it is a community of people who love Jesus Christ and wish to follow Him. Yet it is the human condition that as long as each of us is imperfect, we will all sooner or later say or do something that we shouldn’t have said or done. If anyone who reads this believes him or herself immune from error, please let us know in a comment so that we might recognize you for your achievement of perfection!

If on the other hand, you like I myself have not quite achieved such an exalted status just yet, them please understand that you will need forgiveness right along with everyone else at some point in time, and that all of us need to forgive if indeed we love one another, for there is no love without forgiveness. Since church is not an institution, but instead is a collection of believers in community, when someone stumbles, it is our place to love them, not to complain about them to others. If they have upset us, then it is our place to forgive them, not to condemn them, and if we feel that our local congregation is not loving enough, then it is for us to love more and forgive more, not for us to complain more and to become angry, for anger and complaining are not the actions of love.

Does that sound crazy to you?

If so, please remember this: You ARE the church; if you don’t love, then who will?

Church is simple. But it isn’t.

I spent many years thinking “IT” was simple. Unlike science, the arts, medicine, romance and love.  “IT” was computers.  That’s all.  Simple.  And even though I never understood computers – I knew what “IT” was.

And then I found I didn’t.

IT is not “computers”. IT is lots of things others than computers. Networks, programming, data management, servers, patch panels, coding, testing, AND helpdesks.  “IT” is as diverse as science and medicine and romance and love.

Which makes it simpler and more complicated – both at the same time.

“When the crowds were increasing, Jesus began to say, “This generation is an evil generation; it asks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the people of Nineveh, so the Son of Man will be to this generation. The queen of the South will rise at the judgment with the people of this generation and condemn them, because she came from the ends of the earth to listen to the wisdom of Solomon, and see, something greater than Solomon is here! The people of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented at the proclamation of Jonah, and see, something greater than Jonah is here!” ” Luke 11:29-32

I used to be guilty of that same “thinking” with Church: Church is simple.  God is simple.  Love is simple.  So Church – which is all of that is also simple:

“See, something greater than Jonah is here!”

So simple, that – God in the Old Testament, and God Soft Hands Jesus in the New Testament – both say it – time after time after time after …

And then I found it wasn’t.

The first time around Church never hurt me. The first time around (at fourteen years of age) I decided I was “acting” at being a Good Christian – and I walked away from Church (and developed a knowing disdain in the decades which followed).  What I never really understood (or if I did, never cared enough to really “get”) – was that “Church” is people.  Church is ONLY people.  Just  as “IT” or “science” or “the arts” or “medicine” is all about “people”.

Church is simple. But it isn’t.  Church is people.  But it isn’t.  Church is love.  But it isn’t.  Church is all are welcome.  But all are not.

“See, something greater than Jonah is here!”

Church is relationship.  And our relationship with God is just the tip of the iceberg.  The one with “people” is the rest.  And people need (even though unconditional love doesn’t). People do need (and love does not).  People need to feel safe.  People need to be heard.  People need to know they matter.  People NEED to matter.  And to God we do. To God we can do no wrong.  Not a wrong that means He cuts us off.  That He rejects us for.  That He never speaks to us again because of.  That He gives up on us for.  But people do that to people.

The bible is stuffed full of people giving up on God and each other. And how God never gives up on anyone.  Ever.

“Make disciples of all nations.”

Is that why “this bit” is often quoted but rarely delivered? Because we give up on each other so quickly … because we “spend our love” as we spend our money … on special things and special people?  And “People of Church” do the same – spend on the people who see things (and God) just as I do – the ones who will also “spend theirs” with me?  And if “they” don’t … ?  We BOTH choose to walk away. People letting people down.

The “second time around” Church has taught me this.

That, if “making disciples” was always top of the list – we would never give up on each other. And we would find ourselves (surprise, surprise) doing that “other bit” … the “Through this they will know you are my disciples” bit.  The “unconditional love in reality” bit.

Because if unconditional love “works” for me and God – but ONLY with you so long as you agree with me … Then we will screw each other and God every time.

Which brings me to the “unspoken prayer” I have been taught the second time around …

“We pray you bring light and wonder to the lost and lonely, dear Father. We ask that you heal the hurting, dear God.  We fall at Your feet in wonder and awe.  We worship You.  We love You as you Love us.  And we pray for the fallen.  We pray for the un-churched.  We bring our petition to you and ask this for others.  But for myself … just a mere trifle … a small detail you can so easily grant.  Release me from the burden of making disciples in my own church.  It takes so much time.  And I have so many more urgent things to do for You (otherwise You know  I wouldn’t even ask at all).  You know me, dear Father – I am Yours!  So thank you dear Father – in Jesus’ name, Amen.”

What is that other “bit” we all say … ?

Be careful what you wish for …


>> and a PostScript – a PS:

You might want to pop across to Just Me Being Curious and  – “My naked God Soft Hands Jesus” – also written today.  These (three) posts seem to be as one: this post, one by Don Merritt, and now “My naked GSHJ”.  Over to you …  



Questionable Authenticity

Not the usual “Christian Fare” in this post. Something else.  Someone else who can feel persecuted by the world and (some of) those in it – simply for being “who they are”.

This blog is written by someone who has walked through Eating Disorders (ED). And has written with humbling honesty at each step of that journey.  And – for that – she receives comments of disdain.  Comments questioning whether she is “real”.  Who becomes the target for those who choose to disparage.

BeautyBeyondBones is as special as every other sacred being on this planet.  And yes, she has a relationship with God – and is unashamed of talking about that.  But mainly she talks of her own journey – and I cannot help but love her.

Christian – non-Christian …

Isn’t it down to each of us whether we love and encourage – whether we hate and pull-down – not because of our “beliefs” …  Isn’t it a choice we should make simply because we are all of one on this spinning blob we call “our” Earth?

(Comments disabled here as always for a reblog from me. Please join the conversation at BBB’s place. Thank you)


Maybe it’s because I’m listening to some vintage John Mayer (Room for Squares — holla!), or the fact that I’ve spent the last 30 minutes wistfully looking through old pictures of my family, but here I am, back at the keyboard, taking on a subject that has been weighing on my heart all day today.

I’m not going to lie…I found myself lying awake at 2am last night, with this pit in my stomach. And no…it has nothing to do with the nerves of excitement I may feel about my datetomorrow. Or the trepidationI feel about the fact that there is now Pumpkin Spice flavored toothpaste…


It was because, recently, my authenticity has been questioned by a few people.

Not authenticity in my recovery. But the authenticity of my character. Who I am.

And I’m going to be really honest here…it hurt.

Please don’t read this…

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His Embrace


When we search His call, abide in love,

as we open all to God above

in our praise and prayer, we worship and declare

our God none to compare,

we feel His embrace, feel His embrace.


If we see neighbors through Father’s eyes

(neighbors – those heirs who we may despise),

it’s not “them” we see, but seeds of Diety

Who made us family.

We feel His embrace, feel His embrace.


And He loves without prerequisite

even though we doubt and won’t commit.

There’s plenty of space to make enough mistakes;

He gives mercy and grace.

We feel His embrace, feel His embrace.


His command: we are to love bar none

no matter what our likes, says Savior Son.

We have a choice, yet His will remains unmet;

in this will we regret?

We feel His embrace, feel His embrace.


Open hearts and heads to Life and Light;

His lavish grace will spread to all in sight.

As we pass kindness along, we become blessed,

have moved to His likeness.

We feel His embrace, feel His embrace.


 Luke 10:25-37