Category Archives: Spiritual Journey

Church ministry is a wide and complex vocation, or avocation, in my case. I am continually amazed at the revelation that God reveals during my everyday life–problems yet untacked, people yet unreached, a pursuit of His presence that’s ever-growing. I like to blog some of ah-ha moments that God shows me through my study and teaching experiences, just in case they can turn on the light in someone else’s head.

Sarah Bessey and Christian Chauvinism

Sarah Bessey and Relevant Magazine recently teamed up on Twitter for a social/spiritual experiment: to find out how prejudiced the church is regarding women in leadership. Sarah’s Twitter feed blew up, as you might imagine.

Yes, there were some people who slung some hateful rants against men and hateful rants against women’s rights. We knew that was going to happen. What surprised me was the large number of comments in the middle. The real comments, hurtful comments that keep women from exerting influence and venturing into destiny. Women shared an endless list of foolish and/or bigoted statements from their own experiences–revealing statements about what other people think a woman’s place in the church should be.

Many of Sarah’s tweets came from her book Jesus Feminist, which I read and loved. Sarah shares a list of ill-timed, uninformed, and downright chauvinistic statements that she has received over the years as a woman who could preach and lead in the church. I’ve heard some of the same ones myself. (Yes, even little ol’ me. I imagine it’s a thousand times worse for a minority woman!)

Yet I have often excused people’s heartless comments as merely old-fashioned. Occasionally offensive. Yet they rippled through my psych and whispered lies that perhaps I shouldn’t be so ambitious. Perhaps I wasn’t called to do this thing. Perhaps I should work harder at being quiet and demure. Doesn’t a real servant serve in the background? Doesn’t she do all those tasks no one wants to do? A good Christian girl lets other people stumble through speaking and writing and vision-casting while I just try learning to keep silent.

Apparently, I am not the only one. This problem is wide-spread and so widely-felt, so I don’t have to feel put-down anymore. The problem is not me. I’m not usurping anyone. The problem is prejudice–arrogance, really. And insecurity. (Pride takes so many forms.)

Go click on the Twitter feed and see for yourself. Here’s a taste: Continue reading

13 Reasons the Resurrection impacts your life

Resurrection Sunday is just around the corner. Millions of people differ on this one important belief: did Jesus actually rise from the dead?

Belief in the resurrection of Christ separates religions and cultures, many at personal risk of relationships, livelihood, and life. To Americans, Easter Sunday is more about new clothes and candy; in fact, most people probably aren’t familiar with the term “resurrection” as it relates to Jesus Christ.  But to the trillions who have understood its significance, the resurrection means everything.

If the Resurrection did not really happen, it would mean that—

  1. Jesus was not God’s Son.
  2. Jesus was a liar, the worst kind of devious cult leader.
  3. The Bible is invalid (because all of Scripture points to Jesus).
  4. Christians have been martyred for 2000 years, for no reason
  5. History is filled with quadrillions of coincidences in science, art, literature, music, history, and personal experience.
  6. Death offers no hope of peace or reunion with loved ones.
  7. There is no moral code, because there is no just God; consequently, there is no forgiveness of sins.
  8. There is no power of the Holy Spirit to guide, comfort, convict, and empower us in our daily lives.
  9. The devil has defeated Jesus, and we should honor him.
  10. All religions are the same because all religious leaders are powerless, dead, and flawed.
  11. Feelings of inspiration, aspiration, discernment, compassion, loyalty, protection, survival, empathy, passion, and love are products of environment and conditioning only.
  12. There is no model for the resurrection and redemption of missed opportunities, ruined relationships, or devastated choice. There is no grace in life or death.
  13. Life has no meaning.

I don’t want to live that kind of life. Do you? Continue reading

Preparing for the Storms of Life

Plan ahead. Prepare for things you don’t expect.

These are the seeds of wisdom I’ve sprinkled on people for the last 25 years of ministry so they don’t find themselves blindsided by life’s trivial and serious handiwork. I shovel advice like nobody’s business.

Yesterday, I took heed of a weather forecast for “4-8 inches of snow during the night.” I bagged up my patio cushions and pillows and put them in the shed; I pulled out the shovels and placed them in easy reach of the back door. I drove to the grocery, stood in a line with 75 other people, and purchased a half-gallon of milk and a loaf of bread. I was my typically well-prepared self. I could feel the snowstorm coming: the sky was white, the air was cold and chilled, and the world was still.

Except that I really didn’t take the forecast that seriously. I live in Virginia, people. We have highly over-dramatic meteorologists. Three inches, I told myself. Four at the most. I bought milk and bread because I knew everyone else would, and I needed it anyway.

Today I awoke to 7 inches of wet snow covering the world outside my windows, and it’s still snowing 6 hours later. But I was not initially awed by its beauty, as I normally am. Panic gripped me because yesterday I considered taking down the cloth-covered gazebo on my deck, but I decided instead that I couldn’t spare the hour to climb up and down the ladder and carefully dismantle the whole thing. I figured I could just sweep off the top got when I got up this morning.

One look from my bedroom window revealed the results of my casual preparation: the entire structure had caved in under the weight of an accurate forecast. Frantic and close examination revealed bowed support bars, a torn cover, and broken fasteners. A total loss. I have replaced parts to this structure before (that’s another story of stupidity), so I know the cost, time, and unlikelihood of doing it again.

Why do human beings behave like this? Why do we bet on ease when difficulty is predictable? Continue reading