personal

We Must Daw The Line Here

So, I saw this article this morning and was sickened: http://www.foxla.com/news/local-news/mega-church-leader-joaquin-garcia-arrested-for-major-sex-trafficking-crimes

Here’s my Rant….

I’m a believer in the strength and power of the church which is followers of Christ gathered together to accomplish God’s work. It hurts me when friends speak ill of the church. The church should be a refuge from the evil of the world and, when the church is in a right relationship with God, there is no better group of people to be around.

Sadly, the Church is under attack today and even more sadly, it’s deserved. Rather than being a refuge from the horrendous sin of sexual aggression, degradation of women, and rape, those sins are not only present in the church today, they have been whitewashed to the point that some ministers are using “the will of God” to coerce people, usually women, into sexual activity. This is inexcusable.

When the scandals first broke in the Catholic Church, many attacked them while noting that this couldn’t happen in their church. In the last few months, the truth has come out about Southern Baptists (the denomination of the church I attend), independent pastors, and some organizations on the periphery of Christianity. (Some religious groups are close to Christian, but they have moved away from the gospel in their theology.) All of those groups where this happens affect every church, everywhere. The Church as a whole suffers by the actions of these people – and sadly, it’s not just a few.

This morning I woke to an article about a pastor and members of his staff, referenced below, who seduced women and told them that if they didn’t comply with his desires, they were going against the will of God. That is sickening. That is disgusting. God’s people cannot allow that to continue. Jesus proclaimed that the Kingdom of God was at hand – happening now. There is no place in the kingdom of God for such horrendous behavior. Paul rebuked the Corinthian Church for their acceptance of a sexual sin so egregious that people who weren’t Christians were shocked by it. Let’s be honest, Church, the world is appalled by the acceptance, and dare I say “baptism” of such grievous sin.

My pastor has made it clear that he will not sweep something like this under the rug. As members of our various churches, we need to get that assurance from our leaders and hold them accountable. One of the memes that I don’t like talks about what we do to teach women to protect themselves and asks, “Why don’t we teach men not to rape instead?” While I feel that it paints all men with a broad brush and implies that somehow, we teach men to assault women sexually; maybe there’s more wisdom in that teaching than I’ve been willing to admit. We still need to teach women to defend themselves, just like we all need to defend ourselves against other crimes against our person and our property, but we need to teach people how to relate with others as human beings of equal worth and value. We must regain a biblical view of personhood and sexuality in God’s Kingdom.

This is a message that resonates with the teaching of Jesus. It’s a message that the Church should be declaring with Paul who reminded us that we are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28) We have failed in the past. But, we can no longer fall back into the grip of society’s mores. The line must be drawn here, to quote Captain Picard in Star Trek: First Contact.  For Christians, the solution begins with cleaning our own houses. We can’t turn a blind eye to the problem. We must recognize and repent of our sin that allowed this abuse to happen within the realm of the Kingdom of God. We must live and show the joy in living according to God’s plan for sexuality: chaste until marriage, fidelity in marriage. We must have respect towards others, and, this is key, we must avoid condemning others. People will not change because we condemn them. They’ll change when they see and hear about our joy in Christ as we live It every day. If you aren’t living in the realms of the Kingdom of God, you may object to some of the stated and implied positions. That’s your right and I’m not going to argue. All I ask is that you work with people who are like-minded to end this scourge among the people you can influence.

Blog Administration, Daily Work

January 13 – Where Does Sunday Go?

So today, there won’t be any bird pictures. If you came here looking for them, I apologize, but Sunday is a busy day. Last week I tried to get some pictures in, but right now, there aren’t enough birds flying around to make it worthwhile. What takes so much time on Sunday? We leave the house around 7:45 to go to church. I usually have duties at church that require me to be there from 8:00 AM (or earlier) until our second service lets out around noon. Of course, we talk to our church family until about 12:30 before we head out. Today, my duties included photography for a special commitment service. I used the church’s camera, so I don’t have any of those pictures to share.

When we got home, I fixed a quick lunch and did a few things before leaving again about 1:40 to go to a retirement center where I lead a Bible Study. I do that for half an hour, and then head back home where I have to do family things and write my devotional, except today, I had a rough time putting my thoughts together. Then, it’s time to prepare supper and at this time of year, it gets dark early enough that I can’t go out and take pictures.

My devotional, by the way, is called Daily Enduring Truth, and is available every day at the link in the text. I share one of the things that I learn from my personal Bible reading. This year, I’m doing something different by making the devotional an evening devotional with the idea of having people reflect on their day and see how they can learn and grow from the issues of their day. It’s a new concept for me, but I began thinking about this late last year when I thought about how the Bible describes a day. Each time, it begins in the evening. “It was evening and it was morning, the first day.” or “Evening, morning, and at noon will I pray.” My first set of devotional books is based on the same Bible readings, but meant for the morning. The possibility exists that thee will be a second set, but I have other writings to work on.

Now, one last bit of news. A short story I wrote has been accepted for a charity anthology. We will be supporting Alex’s lemonade stand. So, in addition to Bird Brain Chronicle posts showing up here, I’ll even be including some other bits and pieces of my writing and promoting the books that I have short stories in. I may even have some excerpts from the story of the journey my wife and I took as she battled breast cancer. Thanks for reading here and following here.

Daily Work

May 13 – Mother’s Day and Family

We spent the early part of Mother’s Day at church. While there, I got a phone call that my Bible Study at the nursing home had been canceled. I had the whole afternoon to write – and the writer’s block continued. My wife didn’t want to go out and eat today because she wanted to go out on Tuesday night to celebrate our anniversary. (Yep…it is! 39 years of marriage on May 15) Instead, she asked me to cook a steak. We had steak, corn on the cob, and salad for dinner. It turned out great. After supper, I finally got back into my writing and met my writing challenge. I got today’s devotional done before church. It was about 450 words.

 

Today’s Devotional – May 13 – Lighting The Way In A Dark World

 

Daily Work

May 6 – Home Is Where I Hang My Hat

Let’s face it. I didn’t have time to hang my hat today. We leave the house early on Sunday (about 7:30 AM) to get things ready at church. This Sunday, I needed to get the screen show ready. I’ve had better days running the screens. I got home, ate, and then went to the Nursing Home where I do a Bible Study, got home from that, rested and did some preparation, and then went back to church for our Financial Peace Class. We were early this week because our church choir led the singing at a different nursing home. None of us was up to cooking, so we grabbed something to eat and went home. I finished my devotional around 10:00. It was about 410 words. I didn’t even attempt to do the writing challenge today…too worn out.

Todays Devotional (410 Words) – May 6 – When God Doesn’t Meet Our Expectations

Daily Work

April 29 – A Giant Step Forward

Sunday. Wow. There’s so much going on that I didn’t finish my devotional until almost 10:00 PM. We left the house at 7:30 for church because I had to set up the slideshow. We were there until after 12:00 Noon and then I had to leave for the Nursing home at 1:45. I left later because I was trying to fix an email situation for my wife. While working on that, I had to deal with a couple of issues related to my books on Amazon. (More later.) When I got to the Nursing home, we had a delay in starting because of some issues there. So, I got home late and we had to turn around almost immediately – ok – I kept working on the email thing – and get to church. My wife had handbells and I was setting up for Financial Peace University. Setting up and taking down lasted from 4:00 to about 7:00, then a quick trip to get groceries for dinner and medications and it was about 8:00 before I started working on any writing.

The first thing I worked on was my biography for my Amazon Author page. That became my challenge writing project for the day. And, I now have an Amazon Author Page! I also got the paperback and Kindle editions of the May June devotional series published.

Then, I finished my devotional (449 Words) – April 29 – Heaven is Like…ah…Hmmm…Guess I’ll Trust God For That

There’s still so much to do!