29 July 2010

Random Thoughts

Pain, suffering, death.... part of the price we pay for doing business in a fallen world. I had a doctor's appointment today. It seems my pernicious anemia is going to require weekly shots of B12 so the doctor has suggested I start giving myself the injections. I am not at all squeamish about things medical so the idea doesn't bother me at all. While I was in the pharmacy getting my prescription for syringes and B12, I was struck with an odd thought. It is a good thing that our bodies slow down and become frail as we mature intellectually. It's a blessing. God could have had our bodies fail when we were young and stupid. Think of the harm we could do to ourselves. Now that would be survival of the fittest... if our bodies were frailest while we the most ignorant!

Just a random thought....

23 July 2010

Fail Mail Update.

For those of you praying for my long awaited check to arrive, it has. For those of you praying for my spiritual health, sense of humor and general well being, please continue. As I said in an earlier post my distress is so not about the mail... it was just the vehicle God used to show me how desperately I need His grace and mercy and to remind me that sanctification isn't painless.... lest I forget when counseling others.

Integration Compromise

I follow Dr. Albert Mohler on Twitter. He has a keen eye seeing things clearly, especially when it comes to culture and its effects. One of his tweets was about a young woman in a graduate counseling program at Augusta State University being challenged to silence her views on homosexuality and gender identity. Here is the story Dr. Mohler linked to his tweet.

I dropped out of college as a young and foolish woman. I pursued a career in public safety and since I did not want to be a cop, (I don't have the temperament. I figured if you run from a cop you're guilty of something awful and shooting you to stop you is probably going to keep you from hurting someone. I have mellowed with age. ) I didn't think there was a major I could use to help me in my pursuit. Like I said, I was young, foolish and without good counselors. I had a great career that paid well but when I was no longer able to work due to injury, I had thousands of dollars of specialized training and no formal degree. I returned to college to finish my degree when I was 40. My major was psychology.

I attended a Christian University because I wanted to be a Christian counselor. I thought that there would be a difference in what I learned, meaning that Christian counseling would be different from secular counseling and therefore the curriculum would be different. The only difference I saw from my secular college psychology classes and my experience at the Christian university is that we prayed before each class. Well, that and we had to take a class called Integration. This class was where we explored how our faith and our psychology training could be integrated. My assessment was that it cannot be integrated, it can only be compromised.

As a Christian, my God has made Himself known to me through the Scriptures. I either believe the entirety of the Word or I am just making up things to suit my whims. I am not talking about taking random verses out of context and without study, I am talking about careful, contextual study of the Word of God- the entire Word- as my authority. As a counselor, in order to be licensed by the state in which you practice, there are rules that are in direct opposition to the Word of God. Although when I first returned to my studies my goal was to be called, Dr. Rosemarie, I realized to do so meant a compromise of either my faith by ignoring the Word or by lying to the state in order to obtain licensure. It was a dilemma of massive proportions. A few weeks from graduating magna cum laude, (if not for the mandatory statistics class it would have been summa cum laude, oh but I hate math!) I nearly dropped out once again. This time I had good and biblical counsel so I finished my classes. Forgive me for bragging a bit about graduating with honors, I do so mostly to let you know I was a serious student and understood what I was learning in order to ward off those who would like to dismiss me as ignorant.

I am grateful for the Integration class because it brought several problems to my attention. Here are a few:

The bible speaks of church discipline for unrepentant sinful behavior. Counselors licensed by the state must agree to patient confidentiality that can only be broken when a patient is a danger to either himself or others. Let us say I was counseling a church deacon having an affair with the church secretary and suffering panic attacks from the guilt. He and the secretary could not be held accountable by their church if I adhered to state law. If I broke confidentiality, I could be sanctioned. Which authority should I choose?

As a Christian I know that prayer is a first line tool in our help arsenal and I would encourage the counselee to pray with me there in the office. Most states frown on such behavior unless the counselee initiates or requests it.

The bible says we are to exhort and encourage and admonish one another. The state says I have to be impartial and keep a professional relationship, no social contact for a year or more after the counselor/counselee relationship has terminated.

I could go on but just one of these things was enough to stop me from wanting to be licensed by the state or continue pursuing a Psy.D. Still, I am a little surprised in this tolerance driven world that the university would issue a challenge for a student to silence her beliefs. I am more surprised by Christians who are so willing to compromise their faith by blindly believing what the secular world says about psychology and counseling. I am not anti-psychology. Social and experimental psychology can be enormously helpful. Secular clinical counseling I am very skeptical over and may elaborate upon that in another post. I strongly believe that counseling believers belongs to the church and the non-believers greatest need is to be evangelized.


Romans 15:4
4 For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Psalm 19:7-11
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, restoring the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether.
10 They are more desirable than gold, yes, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them Thy servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward.

Hebrews 4:12-13
12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

Ephesians 5:13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.

Proverbs 27:9 Oil and perfume make the heart glad, so a man's counsel is sweet to his friend.

Psalm 73:24 With Thy counsel Thou wilt guide me, and afterward receive me to glory.

Proverbs 19:20 Listen to counsel and accept discipline, that you may be wise the rest of your days.

Proverbs 11:14 Where there is no guidance, the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.

22 July 2010

FAIL MAIL

I am overflowing with resentment and bitterness. If it were not for that little piece of me that is compliant and listens to His Holy Spirit there is no telling what I might write here today. My face is as red as fire and twice as hot. I am angry. I am hurt. I am disappointed. This is so much more than a fruitless trip to the mailbox. It always is. The situations in life are the context wherein the content of our hearts are revealed.

Overdrawn, overwrought, overtired. Overtly defiant. Covertly collapsed. Pay no attention to that woman behind the wall....

I am teaching about the biblical concept of peace in a couple of days. Ain't that a hoot? How long can I throw a pity party while studying God's idea of peace? About .001 seconds. Months ago when planning this I had no idea what series of events were being put in place... things over which I had absolutely no control. But He did. He knew that I would need His peace, His shalom now. His timing is always perfect and my heart is always in need of repentance.

And so I am reminded that shalom is much larger than our concept of peace. Our language doesn't begin to describe His peace. Biblical peace is not the absence of conflict. It is the assurance of wholeness and completeness in our redemption and restoration with God. It is knowing that when we die, it is well with our souls. It's hard to maintain frustration over temporal things when you know you're deserving of hell and through no merit of your own you will experience His eternal shalom and not His eternal wrath.

Will this stubborn heart of mine ever learn to rejoice and rest in His providence and mercy?

Lamentations 3:31-38
31 For the Lord will not reject forever,
32 For if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness.
33 For He does not afflict willingly, or grieve the sons of men.
34 To crush under His feet all the prisoners of the land,
35 To deprive a man of justice in the presence of the Most High,
36 To defraud a man in his lawsuit-- of these things the Lord does not approve.
37 Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, unless the Lord has commanded {it}
38 {Is it} not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth?

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and may find grace to help in time of need.

2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Matthew 6:31-34
31 "Do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?'
32 "For all these things the Gentiles eagerly seek; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.
33 "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
34 "Therefore do not be anxious for tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. {Each} day has enough trouble of its own.(NAS)

21 July 2010

The Post I Would Rather Be Writing

I wanted to write about the shameful way Shirley Sherrod has been treated by most of the media. (If you are unaware, read and follow links here, here and here.) I am outraged that an edited clip of something the woman said decades ago was all her boss needed to force a resignation from her. I wanted to talk about context and growth and how times have changed. I wanted to point out that although I am not a racist or a homophobe, things I said 25 years ago might lead someone to believe I was, simply because the common vernacular has changed and what was acceptable then is no longer considered politically correct. I wanted to write right here and now that I condone neither racism nor homosexuality but think that media is far more dangerous than either of those topics simply because "We the People" tend to believe everything they write or show us.

I thought I would like to write a post about how I blame "We the People" for the failures and glories of our nation. I wanted to talk about the sociologist who says that men who disclose to women that they do not want to have children should not be held responsible for child support when a baby is conceived. In our rights driven society, We the People have allowed some pretty ridiculous laws and rules come into existence. Like if a man and woman have sex and a child is conceived, the woman has full rights to decide what happens next. If she decides to have an abortion the man has no say and can be forced to pay for the procedure. If she decides to keep the child, the man has no say and gets to pay child support. (No wonder the sociologist is championing the rights of men and some think it noble for her to do so.) If a pregnant woman is injured and loses the baby, the person at fault for her injuries may be held responsible for manslaughter or murder charges....but if she decides to kill the baby with abortion, she can make the father pay for it but he cannot charge her with manslaughter or murder of his child. A woman can decide because a baby will be handicapped abortion is the best choice for her (and her baby).... and our society agrees with her. However, if the baby survives what mom thinks about the child being handicapped... We the People will reward the baby with money, federal rights and special parking privileges.

There are an endless number of topics I would rather be writing about today. Instead I need to write about what a feckless, faithless coward I really am. Yesterday I wrote about my dilemma and whether or not I should ask for a check I am expecting but has taken an inordinate time to arrive, should have a stop payment placed on it and a new check should be issued. I talked about waiting one more day before giving up and having the stop payment issued. I really talked a good talk about being content regardless of whether or not the check arrived. Talk is cheap. Blog talk is no exception.

My roommate went out and got the mail. The long expected check was not there. However, Netflix had managed to issue new DVDs to us in record time. She suggested the insurance company could contact them and see how it is they manage to get us movies so quickly. It was funny, but I wasn't laughing. Instead I was realizing in horror that the bills I had entered into Bill Pay and had extended the date they should be paid well past the time I knew the check would arrive... had not been edited when the check had not, in fact, arrived. And so... they would not only not be paid but I am looking at bank charges for forgetting to take them out of queue in time for today's mailbox disappointment. I think I was in shocked disbelief that God had allowed me to be so stupid and has seen fit not to provide me with the anticipated funds.

I swallowed hard and told myself that this was God's way of telling me to go ahead and stop payment on the check and have the next one reissued. I hadn't lost my mind yet, but I was close. I called the insurance company, determined to be pleasant and ask for the new issue. Of course the person answering my call was a different customer service rep from the day before. She informed me that I had to wait two full business weeks before she could consider the check to be undeliverable. That would move the date to July 23rd and would put the insurance company exactly two months behind in payments to me. When I protested and said that's not what I had been told yesterday she said, "I apologize for their error. This is the policy."

I wish I could tell you I was content to hear those words. I wish I could tell you that I thanked her profusely and hung up the phone a happy, hopeful woman. If I did that I would add lying to my lists of sins and character flaws that came to the forefront at that moment. I did manage to thank her for her time but my heart was saying, "Why do you hate me, God?" I started down the pity path... and had to put the brakes on hard. My roommate found me sitting in front of my computer, shell shocked. I started repeating to myself, "My God is good and loves me. He has not forgotten me. I have a home to protect me from the storms outside. I have food in my refrigerator and the lights are on. I have a great church. I have dogs who love me."

I know this lesson with refine me. I know that because of my past I expect abandonment. I know that my tendency is to stand up and say, "See? This is proof that You do not love me either." I also know that emotions lie. I wanted to be real with you, my few and most appreciated readers. I truly hate being refined. Right now I don't care that it's good for me. I think it is reasonable to be paid on time and hate that I am now late with payments of my own.

I would rather be writing that I fulfilled my objectives of responding like a godly woman. Instead I am confessing to you that I did not. I am working on it, but it hasn't happened yet.


James 5:16
16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
(NAS)

20 July 2010

Analysis Paralysis and Fearful Forgetting

I hate dilemmas, especially the kind where you feel strongly both ways. Choosing lanes to be in when entering a toll plaza, what line to stand in to be checked out of a store, any type of choice that has variables you cannot control make me crazy. Yes, Virginia, I am a control freak. I also hate multiple guess questions on tests. I can talk myself into and out of all but the most inane answers. I go right into analysis paralysis. I am headed there now.

I am receiving long term disability payments. I am injured and my injury is permanent. Every month I get to guess when my payment is going to arrive. The insurance company mailed a check to me on July 9th. Their office is 1 state away; one eastern size state away. We aren't talking Texas or California... just one teensie tiny little state away. In fact their state borders my state. I have not received the check. I am too broke to pay attention let alone the bills unless and until that check comes. So, do I have them stop payment and issue another check? That will take two business days for the new check to be issued and then I will have the joy of waiting again for the mail which may or may not contain the object of my desire..... because you know..... as soon as they stop payment on the first check.... it will arrive in my mailbox. OR- do I wait just one more day.....and in doing so, waste a whole day and have to wait even longer for the second check to come. Argh! I hate these situations!

Each day I have gone to the mailbox expecting that God will have answered my prayers and the check will be there. Each day I am disappointed. I try to manipulate God unsuccessfully by saying, "You know, Lord, hope deferred makes the heart sick." Never try to manipulate God. He has ways of making you regret such foolishness. For instance, is it a coincidence that I taught a seminar on biblical hope the day I thought the check would arrive? I think not. Is God trying to tell me to live out what I say I believe? Probably. Sometimes, well no... that should be most of the time or um ...actually all of the time... I hate it when He does that. Know what else I hate? I hate that He knows that I know better than to pitch a fit and sulk because that's what I really truly want to do. A good old fashioned temper tantrum of the Sicilian kind sounds like a grand idea. Superb even. But... could I look the ladies I have been teaching about fear and hope in the eye after I did it? Yeah, probably. I have no desire to pretend I am perfect because my imperfections are too massive to disguise. I am honest enough with them to show them just how ugly my heart really is... and I do know what I have been saved from... and although I do have moments of clarity where I am humble, thankful and gracious..... I have more moments when I am not.

Right now there is a storm brewing. Thunder is rolling across the hills and my bright yellow sunflowers look like they are made of neon against the black of the stormy sky. If I didn't think I deserve to be hit with one of the lightning bolts that are stabbing through the clouds and strobing light in all directions, I would go take a picture of them. Alas, for now it's a beauty only God and I will share. These are the decisions I prefer because they are easy to make, like not going out in the storm. Others make me crazy because no matter what I choose, like which check out line to be in at the store or whether or not the insurance company should issue a new check, it will invariably be wrong.

One time I was at Home Depot trying to buy a pot for my African violets. I stood in line to be checked out and for some reason the one customer before me had issues. Issues of the stop everything kind. Issues that befuddled the cashier, her supervisor and the store manager. After waiting in line for some time I turned around to the woman behind me and said as I pointed to myself, "Look at this face and remember it." She raised an eyebrow in a quizzical fashion and I continued, "If you ever again see this face in line before you, you should recognize it and get into another line as soon as possible." We laughed together and chatted about funny things the way two strangers bonded in adversity often do. I finally made my purchase and waved to her, pointing to my face one more time as I left the store.

A couple of hours later I was still running errands and this time I was in WalMart. It was a typical busy Saturday and I was trying to wait patiently in the ever lengthening line when from somewhere behind me I heard, "Oh no!" I turned and looked and it was my Home Depot friend. She started laughing as she grabbed her husband and her cart and went looking for another line to stand in. We both laughed hysterically as we caught glimpses of one another over the candy bars and other impulse items you find in check out lines. We were quite the sight, especially as she and her husband walked past my line with their bagged items on the way out of the store. I pointed at myself one last time and said, "Remember!"

"Remember!" and, Fear not!" are the two of the most common commands given to us in the Word. Why? Because God knows we are fearful forgetters. If we do not meditate on all the ways that God has been faithful to us in the past, we are losing out on huge spiritual growth and blessings. I actually taught that to the women in our bible study. Sneaky, clever God. Nice of you to bring that up and convict me before my attitude really suffered and I continued to sin. "Repent!" is another of those oft given commands. I need to take my own medicine. I will purpose to remember all His benefits when I make my trek to the mailbox tomorrow, hoping not in the insurance company or the USPS but in His care and providence and I will strive to be content no matter what the postman brings.

Psalm 103:1-6
1 Bless the LORD, O my soul; and all that is within me, {bless} His holy name.
2 Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits;
3 Who pardons all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases;
4 Who redeems your life from the pit; who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;
5 Who satisfies your years with good things, {so that} your youth is renewed like the eagle.
6 The LORD performs righteous deeds, and judgments for all who are oppressed.


Joshua 4:1-7
1 Now it came about when all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan, that the LORD spoke to Joshua, saying,
2 "Take for yourselves twelve men from the people, one man from each tribe,
3 and command them, saying, 'Take up for yourselves twelve stones from here out of the middle of the Jordan, from the place where the priests' feet are standing firm, and carry them over with you, and lay them down in the lodging place where you will lodge tonight. '"
4 So Joshua called the twelve men whom he had appointed from the sons of Israel, one man from each tribe;
5 and Joshua said to them, "Cross again to the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan, and each of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Israel.
6 "Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, 'What do these stones mean to you?'
7 then you shall say to them, 'Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.' So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever."
(NAS)

19 July 2010

>Click!<... Be Gone!

I am having a rough day AND I am being vexed by stupid people. Ever notice that when you're grumpy the level of stupidity in those around you increases? Coincidence? I think not. You know you're having a bad day when you happen to watch the The View and find yourself agreeing with Whoopi.... when she's admittedly high on drugs (she took drugs that enable her to be calm enough to fly). Yeah it's been that kind of day and it's only noon.

Ms. Goldberg and I find ourselves in agreement on whether or not something Kathy Griffith said was not nice and uncalled for... but then most of what Kathy Griffith says falls into that category. That's why I don't watch her television program, buy tickets to her shows or find myself wanting in any way shape or form to be in her company. Not on the D list, not on the A list... not on any list. So when faced with the probability of seeing her unkind, unfunny self on my TV I practice this technique.... I turn the channel. Click! Be Gone!!

I employ this same technique when watching bad journalism, bad comedy, and bad movies. I don't expect Obama to solve the problems of our nation- nor will any other president. It annoys me that people expect that much from any man... even those whose politics I agree with... because it's just not possible. Everyone wants to change the world but nobody wants to go first. I am sick to death of people who think their vote in a presidential election has more value than the vote they neglected to cast in their local congressional race. Or who want to call me ignorant because I don't agree with their view that our government should intervene in every aspect of our lives.... yet they can't tell me how many serve on the Supreme Court. Or want to write more federal laws instead of enforcing the ones we have. While I may enjoy reading dissenting opinion on other days, today...not so much. Click! Be Gone!!

In other news the crepe myrtle outside my office window is beginning to bloom. It is absolutely gorgeous. In the wind and rain the limbs of the tree rub against the window and siding of the house. The resulting noise is unpleasant and actually my roomie said the branches were trying hard to break her bedroom window so they have been lopped off. To the offending branches I say..... that's right.... Click or rather Clip! Be Gone!!

I can't help but consider my willingness to be done with the things that vex me in comparison to God's mercy. Sure, He says that he is going to prune the vines that bear no fruit...but he first establishes that they are barren. Me? I just get annoyed and want to be done with anything and anyone I think may be responsible. So, if God can extend mercy, and I desire to be like Him.... perhaps it all comes down to discerning good fruit from bad fruit before I click. That and determining that I will be grateful for His mercy... or Poof! I would be gone!

*****This just in****** I thought I was being so clever calling Kathy Griffin by the name she hates being called and mistaken for, Kathy Griffith. Nobody caught it or commented if they did. Dang, I hate having a party for one all the time!~ :)

John 15:1-8
1 "I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.
2 "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every {branch} that bears fruit, He prunes it, that it may bear more fruit.
3 "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.
4 "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, so neither {can} you, unless you abide in Me.
5 "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me, and I in him, he bears much fruit; for apart from Me you can do nothing.
6 "If anyone does not abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch, and dries up; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
7 "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it shall be done for you.
8 "By this is My Father glorified, that you bear much fruit, and {so} prove to be My disciples.
(NAS)

15 July 2010

Answering Liberty University Students

I was reading Tom Chantry on the CRBC Pastoral blog, something I recommend you do to as the man writes well, cuts to the heart of matters and shows godly wisdom and discernment. I say this though he criticized Stephen Ambrose and shattered my world. What can I say? The truth hurts.... and I still like Band of Brothers.... but now take Ambrose's history with a grain of salt. Anyway, one of the comments on the particular article I linked to first has a question that I want to answer here on my blog. I have used cut and paste to bring the question here as I found it: "What can we as students at LU do to speak out on this issue?Should we write a letter to Jerry Falwell, Jr.? Should we as students speak out publically? Or should we remain quiet?"

OK... here I go again! I love students. I had the pleasure of working with students at a Christian University. I had no idea after a career in public safety, one that I loved and was forced to leave due to injury, that there was another job I could love more. I cannot believe I was paid to be blessed the way I was. I still have contact with many of the students I worked with and some of them are adopted extended family. I am going to answer the question above the way I would answer one of my students.

Paul told Timothy this: "The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith." (1Tim 1:5 NAS) I maintain that should be the heartbeat of every institution of higher learning that purports to be Christian. As I have said before the point of any education is to learn the difference between right and wrong. That's hard for Christians to do in secular institutions and so many students will choose to go to a Christian college or university. The point of attending a Christian college or university is to receive a biblical education, or at least it should be. Sadly most of these institutions are run as businesses and not ministries. Enrollment means life to a school. Lack of enrollment means slow, painful death. Therefore, there is often some dissonance between student expectations of receiving sound biblical training and an education from a biblical perspective with what actually motivates the learning institution's administrators when they select faculty and set curriculum.

Having served at my university as the Student Development representative for the accreditation and assessment committee, I am very aware of the tangle of agendas between the accreditation boards and Christian colleges and universities. If the college or university is dependent on federal funds, i.e. student loans and grants....when push comes to shove, the accreditation board will win. Since the major accreditation boards are secular organizations that means there will eventually be a compromise of biblical standards. When you combine the need for enrollment with the necessity of accreditation to keep federal funds you have the perfect storm for an integrity crisis of biblical proportions. That is not to say that all Christian colleges give in to the accreditation boards, some my willingly drop a particular major instead of compromising their integrity. Some will walk a razors edge to try and keep both. Some will willingly give up their accreditation. The whole controversy between accredited and non accredited colleges and universities is another post all together... I bring this up only to show that there is a motivation beyond what most people realize when it comes to faculty and curriculum choices.

Students at LU or any Christian college/university need to ask themselves why they are there. Did you decide to matriculate there because you had an expectation of being taught by men and women of God who were going to train you up to be a man or woman of God with a degree or skills in a particular area? Did you decide to go there because it was the way mom and dad would agree to pay for your education? Did you decide to go there because they had the best program for your particular area of interest? What precisely was your motivation and what were/are your expectations?

If you are not in agreement with the way the LU has handled the Caner scandal, do you have the right to make your displeasure known? If you can do so keeping your integrity intact, absolutely! Once your heart and motivations are right before God you have many options. You should consider though that just voicing your concerns may paste a target on your back. I would like to think it would not but I am not that naive or stupid. At any rate, I probably wouldn't start out by standing on a soap box and making accusations. How you go about voicing your opposition will expose your true agenda. You may feel led to speak to folks. I would start out by asking questions. A well crafted question will give you the information you are looking for and expose your concerns. Department chairs, the board of trustees, presidents, provosts, deans- none of these people should dismiss the concerns of a student. If they are really there to educate they will welcome the chance to speak to you even if it is an uncomfortable situation. Of course this may not be what you decide to do. You may be led to transfer, either after writing a letter voicing your concerns or by quietly going to another school. You may decide to finish your degree quietly, having invested too much time and money to make a transfer economically feasible for you.

Whatever your choice, make certain that your conscience is clear and that your agenda is a godly one. Think about your expectations and motivations and be aware of the potential motivating factors for LU. I guarantee you, not all the administrators, faculty and staff are willing to compromise their integrity before God. There are men and women of God there who want nothing more than to help you make your way through this dilemma in a God honoring fashion. There are undoubtedly going to be some men and women there who sadly, will not. Ask God for discernment and wisdom. He loves to give those gifts to His children. There are men and women praying for you.

Most of all, learn the importance of your words and testimony. I have been reminded more than once to watch my tongue as a result of this situation and have had to repent for words typed, spoken and thought.


James 1:5
5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

Proverbs 9:1-10
1 Wisdom has built her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars;
2 She has prepared her food, she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table;
3 She has sent out her maidens, she calls from the tops of the heights of the city:
4 "Whoever is naive, let him turn in here!" To him who lacks understanding she says,
5 "Come, eat of my food, and drink of the wine I have mixed.
6 "Forsake {your} folly and live, and proceed in the way of understanding."
7 He who corrects a scoffer gets dishonor for himself, and he who reproves a wicked man {gets} insults for himself.
8 Do not reprove a scoffer, lest he hate you, reprove a wise man, and he will love you.
9 Give {instruction} to a wise man, and he will be still wiser, teach a righteous man, and he will increase {his} learning.
10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
(NAS)

13 July 2010

Stirring

I have said many times how blessed I am to be in the church that I attend. The folks are loving and want to live their lives according to the Word. Last Sunday Scott got to preach. He is a God honoring young man who cuts the Word straight and isn't afraid to hit you right between the eyes. I thought about blogging my notes on the sermon but instead I will just make it available to you. Here it is. Sit back and take some notes of your own.

A little later in the day I was chatting with friends online about heroines of the faith and I heard a name I was unfamiliar with; Darlene Diebler Rose. Here's a link to her testimony on YouTube. Listen to it and you can be double dipped in blessing like I was.

10 July 2010

First Hymnal for Atheists

The Day My Dentist Took My Dad to the Woodshed

I have been watching the HBO series John Adams on DVD using the feature they have that pops up historical facts as you watch the drama. For the most part they did a wonderful job of keeping things historically accurate. When I studied interior design I had to study the history of furniture and textiles so it is always fun for me to see how accurate period pieces are with their sets and costumes. One of the things I really appreciated was the lack of perfectly white teeth for all the actors. Dental health or lack of it was a major cause of suffering back then. It hasn't been that long ago that things have changed.

My father suffered horribly with his teeth and as a result he took me to see a dentist by the time I was 3 years old. My father told the dentist that he would see I made every appointment and followed every rule the dentist gave me. My dentist, Dr. Gan, was my favorite person. He was a children's dentist and reluctantly sent me to someone else when I was in my late twenties. I lived a two hour drive from his office and he told me it was time for me to see someone else so he could retire. As an adult my dentist relayed the story of my father's first visit to me. "Your father told me if anything went wrong with your teeth, he would blame me and I believed him." When my father told me something I believed him too.

One Friday night when I was about 7 years old I was headed to bed when I remembered that I had an appointment with Dr. Gan on Saturday morning. Not wanting to miss it, I wanted my father to remember too. My father responded to my reminder by saying, "I am not getting up early on my day off to take you to the dentist." I was stunned and disappointed. "But when can I go?" My father proceeded to tell me that I was going to have to take myself. Confused and only partly believing him, I started asking a series of questions and stating objections.

"But, I am too little to drive there."
"Of course you can't drive, you have to walk."
"That's too far for me to walk."
"It's not that far and you know the way. You will have to get up early though."
"I don't have an alarm clock. I wont know when to wake up."
"Just go to bed and say to yourself over and over, 'I have to get up early and go to the dentist.' "

Like Dr. Gan, I believed what my father said. I got up early, how early I will never know but I arrived well before my 8:00 am appointment. It was a rainy Bay Area morning. I dressed myself in my favorite summer dress but had put on my rubber boots and my long coat. I was quite proud that I had been that sensible. I must have looked like a refugee. I was terrified of the walk, especially since it consisted of about 2.5 miles of major roadway that sort of paralleled I-80. The San Pablo Dam Road was a four lane highway 50 years ago that went from San Pablo where we lived to El Sobrante where my dentist had his office. There were no sidewalks on this well traveled road because no one in their right mind would walk there. Back then there were stretches of it that were undeveloped. I tried to walk on top of the hill instead of down by the road, but the rain had made things so muddy I kept sinking and coming out of my rubber boots. I was willing to work harder to walk to away from the cars until I saw the snake. The only reason I kept going after encountering the snake was my greater fear of my father.

When I arrived at the dentist's office, I went in, rang the bell to let the receptionist know I was there and waited. When she said, "Rosemarie, you're early." I beamed with pride and then took my seat to wait for my chance to see Dr. Gan. I am not sure if my arriving in my refugee attire- covered with mud- or coming so early tipped them off that something was amiss. Perhaps I was overcome with the magnitude of my accomplishment and announced that I had walked... somehow the good doctor knew and was determined that I would not be walking home. Never letting me know at the time, he called my father and told him in no uncertain terms that I was not leaving his office. Dr. Gan took my Sicilian dad behind the woodshed and gave him a talking to of his own. My father couldn't believe that I had actually walked. He was at once terrified and relieved to know that I had made it unscathed. I am sure he was also embarrassed to have my dentist give him the tongue lashing of his life.

The drive home seemed longer and more dangerous than my walk. My father ranted at me, "I was only kidding! How could you be so stupid! How could you not know I was kidding?!" I was confused and crestfallen. My most spectacular achievement was a catastrophic failure and I was probably going to receive the spanking of my lifetime. Once we got home my step-mom stood up for me as Father continued his rant, trying to shift the blame for his bruised pride. "She did exactly what you told her to do, don't you dare yell at her for being obedient and believing you meant what you said." My father, usually never one to back down, relented. He knew he was wrong. He'd had some fun at didn't realize how seriously I took every word he said to me. He didn't realize how, even at that young age, I was desperate to do the right thing to please him. He had just enjoyed the moments he toyed with me, not knowing he'd be held accountable for them. I never received an official apology, he just stopped yelling at me.

As I pondered my adventure to the dentist, I couldn't help but see a correlation to the Caner fiasco. I am sure Dr. Caner's joking and story telling embellishments started out as fun, interesting remarks. You know...teasing folks to keep them interested...employing wit so they will want to hear more... and like my father, what he's said has had consequences that he didn't intend. Sure you say, but Caner has apologized. For which part? Sorry you took me seriously? Sorry I misspoke and you were stupid enough to believe me? Sorry, I was only entertaining you and you mistook that for truth? Sounds awfully like, "I can't believe you were so stupid you didn't know I was teasing."

Now, here's something better to read on the situation.



Zechariah 8:16-17
16 'These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates.
17 'Also let none of you devise evil in your heart against another, and do not love perjury; for all these are what I hate,' declares the LORD."

Colossians 3:9
9 Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its {evil} practices,
(NAS)



05 July 2010

Friction not Acid

Proverbs 27:17 says : "Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."

When you rub iron against iron friction occurs. Honest disagreement laid out between believers will result in sharpening. However, weaker iron will not hold up under the stress, exposing its fractures it will splinter, crumble and fail. Such failure generally shows in ad hominem attacks.

When you squeeze a sponge and dirty water comes out of it, it is not the pressure that makes the water dirty. The dirt was there before.

When a man or woman claims to be of Christ and yet under pressure spew venom and make ad hom attacks instead of factual statements, they expose either their spiritual immaturity or their true reprobate nature.

Confrontation is not a bad thing. Neither are debate and argument. All three are valuable things. I praise God for the times I have been in sin and someone loved me enough to confront me. I am grateful to Him for my ignorance being exposed and my mistaken thoughts, misdeeds and misstatements being corrected. He has lovingly sent someone to correct me many times and I have repented for many things. I have both privately and publicly sought forgiveness for errors, sins of commission and sins of omission. I didn't like it at the time. It stung my pride. Pride makes you think that seeking forgiveness from others is a weakness. Pride makes us refuse to admit error...which is sinful. It is no wonder our God hates pride.

A couple days ago I read Peter Lumpkins' blog. If you want to read it you'll have to find it on your own. I can't in good conscience link to it. I honestly don't know how a man of God could write such vile stuff. I do understand that Mr. Lumpkins feels the need to defend two men he holds in high esteem, Dr. Caner and Dr. Geisler. I understand that he disagrees with Dr. White and desires to refute what Dr. White has written. OK, so why doesn't he refute what Dr. White has written instead of stooping to such juvenile and sinful behavior? Stephen Toulmin has identified six elements of an argument: the claim, grounds, warrant, backing, qualifier and rebuttal. Should Mr. Lumpkins honestly want to engage in conversation and argument against what Dr. White has written, perhaps he would be good enough to use that model as his framework for formulating such a defense. Personally, I appeal to you and your friends, Mr. Lumpkins, remember your responsibilities as confessors of Christ. It is friction that sharpens iron. Not acid.


Colossians 4:6
6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, {as it were,} with salt, so that you may know how you should respond to each person.


Psalm 37:30-31
30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice.
31 The law of his God is in his heart; His steps do not slip.

Ecclesiastes 10:12-13
12 Words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious, while the lips of a fool consume him;
13 the beginning of his talking is folly, and the end of it is wicked madness.

Proverbs 25:11
11 {Like} apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.

Colossians 3:16-17
16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms {and} hymns {and} spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
17 And whatever you do in word or deed, {do} all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.


Ephesians 4:29
29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such {a word} as is good for edification according to the need {of the moment,} that it may give grace to those who hear.

Proverbs 12:18-20
18 There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
19 Truthful lips will be established forever, but a lying tongue is only for a moment.
20 Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but counselors of peace have joy.