I've always enjoyed blogging...I started back a few years ago. I wrote just to write. If I saw that I had 100 hits in a month, I thought I was a hot writer LOL. Back then, I could write whatever was on my mind. I never worried about people reading my thoughts, I wrote more for my own pleasure than for whoever might be reading. Now I try to be more politically correct at times. Now I'm afraid I'll get sued LOL~ Lately I have all kinds of things rolling around in my mind to blog about but I'm usually too tired or too overwhelmed with a brain of mush. And a little worried about what readers might think too:)
I've never fit into any box, in anyway whatsoever. I'm a real southern girl who has lived in NYC. I've been privileged to travel quite a bit and I've seen things I had never dreamed of. Although I tend only to go to former or current communistic countries :) Spiritually I'm pretty unique also. I often am told "you are a different sort of pastor's wife" Sometimes it is said as a compliment and sometimes not. I have studied theology and criminal justice....what a combo. I worked for years in the criminal justice field and I've been married to a minister for over 23 years. I've seen alot of human nature....some good and some very very bad. I'm a very cynical person and generally expect the worst but I've also seen the best in others also. I love being a mom and yet don't really like to be around others kids. I've always said I'm not a "kid" person but I have 5 of my own:) I had a messed up life growing up, a very odd life, which makes me guard my children like a crazy person in every way you can think of. I'm pretty much a conservative Republican, but sometimes my views are different politically.
So where am I going with all of this? Heck if I know:) My views on a lot of things have evolved over the years. I grew up in a very Democrat family that hated Ronald Reagan with a passion and thought that FDR was close to Jesus. I esteem Reagan and feel the FDR was the worst thing to happen to America's internal politics ever! Although Obama is a close second. LOL. I was raised in a Old time Pentecostal church and while I appreciate some of the things I learned, some of the things make me cringe!
So if Obama can "evolve" on his ideas I guess we all can.
I grew up going to church services that were unpredictable to say the least. Now I can't help but laugh at some of the things I saw. It was interesting to say the least. As a child, I was taught that everything that happened in church was "God" In the church I grew up in, the pastors were not very educated except for one or two that came through. Those rare pastors were not well liked by the congregation. And the congregation....all I can say is, it could have easily been a christian sitcom. Everyone was rather poor or just country folks, although, some who liked to pretend they were something more than they were. My family was one of the poorer ones. I was raised by my great aunt, she lived on social security but we had a little farm and she did some sewing. Her sister and brother also lived with us. The two sisters, my great aunts, were classics...it would almost be impossible to describe them if you don't have the reference points I have from being raised in the south! They had been born at the turn of the century. They got involved with the Pentecostal church when they were in their 40's or 50's and wore their hair up in a bun and only wore dresses, double knit dresses that they made by hand. They both had sharp tongues and like Agatha Christy's Miss Marple they absolutely thought the very worst of almost everyone. They both had some bitterness issues. I only wish they had lived till I was older, I bet we'd had some great conversations! My grandmother, their sister was the one with the sharpest tongue and she thought the very worst of everyone. I always thought of my Aunt Boots, who I called Mama as the nicest, my aunt Ruby, who I called Ruby as the middle one and Ethel my granny as the meanest but funniest. My great uncle moved in with us when I was about 4 years old. He was a quiet sweet man who I adored. He didn't got to church at all and smoked cigarettes and pipes (I still love the smell of pipes) he wore Old Spice and my aunts would say he'd go to a woman's house to drink. Uncle Mack bought me a robot and I cried because it was a "boy's toy" He let me ride in the back of his brown Chevrolet truck. He got cancer and died in just a few months when I was 12 years old. That was the saddest thing I had ever gone through. The first time I ever remember us missing church was the weekend before he died. I was frighten to miss church but secretly glad I could watch the "Wonderful World of Disney" The weekend before he died lots of family was there and me and a "cousin" or something smoked one of his cigarettes,out under our big grapevine. I thought I was going to puke! That cured me completely of wanting to smoke!
Growing up as a teenager, listening to hellfire and brimstone sermons kept me on the straight and narrow. I was too afraid to do much of anything wrong because I was certain I would die or the Rapture would happen and I would go to hell. That was probably a good thing! God knows I was lonely and silly enough to get messed up good and proper if I hadn't had the fear of hell or the rapture to keep me straight! Back when I was growing up in the 70's and early 80's the Pentecostals were all sure they knew who the Anti-Christ was ( it was Henry Kissinger LOLOL-although he is still alive and must be about 150 years old!!!) Somehow his name equaled to 666... We also had these awful movies....about the tribulation. I can't remember the names of the movies but they were beyond horrible and scared the devil out of me:)
Like I said, I saw some crazy things growing up in church and heard some crazy far out theology. I just wish that I had had a video camera back then!!! Our church was known for being a "problem church" One reason was that most folks were kin to each other in some way so if you ticked off Brother A then Sister D would be mad because he was her 2nd cousin twice removed. In the 17 and a half years I lived at home, our church had more than 22 pastors and a complete church spilt, one stayed only 4 months and had a cute son! I was sad to see them go! What wimps they were!! The church needed a pastor that had a backbone and stood up to them! They did have one good one like that and he stayed a couple of years but finally was tired of the foolishness. My family went with the church split and then that church almost spilt. Now the both churches are a shell...and the second one has a split off of it today. How sad! But I do have good memories of going to church. That church could cause problems but boy could that choir sing! They could put the Gaither Homecoming videos to shame.... Although even with the choir, there was often fights in who was the choir leader... It went between three or four folks... but they could sing:)
Somehow in spite of my crazy mixed up life, I had a trust in God that went beyond all the foolishness, false doctrine and fights that I saw. Somehow I knew God was more than what I was seeing. I knew God was more than who was playing the piano or leading the choir or who was the pastor.... And BTW, my three old ladies were just awful when it came to the preachers....or the choir directors.... Oh Lord! They would tear them up after church every week! Except for the one pastor who tried to work with the problems, they actually loved Bro B and were very supportive, probably the only pastor they ever really supported! So when we have problems folks in my church it is sorta funny to me. I find myself comparing them to some of the folks I knew growing up. It's like a game to me to figure out what they are up too. So don't think you can act up in a church that my husband pastors LOLOL! I've seen it all and I am a suspicious person! Between my years growing up in the church and my criminal background I will see right through you....hahahahaha! I do say when we have gone through some rough times, I'm just reaping what my family sowed:)
So through it all, I found a real faith despite all the craziness......I certainly questioned things both in my heart and out loud too! Since I was a little girl I "played church" LOL I'd sit my dolls up on the side of the bed, turn on the cassette player and put in the pastor's sermon or a record playing some of the southern gospel music. I admired the pastor wives and wanted to be one but I also loved theology too. I had to think deeply about what I believed. Our church taught "Sanctification" as a 2nd work of grace, almost like a salvation experience and that with that one time experience a person received grace to live without sin. Well I had enough life experience to know that most of the folks in church didn't live without sin although they would get up in a "testimony" service and say "I was saved, sanctified and filled with the Holy Ghost" It was "interesting " to me. So in VBS, I got into a major discussion with the pastor about the fallacy of the doctrine of sanctification as that church taught it. I was 12 years old at the time. Jon laughs about that now all the time:)
Our church also believed in "feet washing" as a sacrament. Which means that they practiced it! So I grew up trying to make sure I got out of all the foot washing services! The men would do it in the church and the women would do it in the Fellowship Hall. I think I managed to duck it every time somehow! They taught it as, it was as important as communion or baptism. Even as a young person, that just went against what I believed the Bible taught. Plus I just was NOT going to wash anyone's feet! YUCK!!!!!!
So throughout my teen years, I was working out my beliefs, trying to understand the Bible. I knew I wanted to go to a Bible College. I knew I didn't want to go to our church's school but I wanted something close to what I believed, another Pentecostal college from a denomination that was "more refined" and closer to what I personally understood to be correct. I got a pamphlet from Southeastern College in Lakeland Fl and honestly as i was turning from the mailbox, I knew that was the college I was supposed to go to! And boy did I have to hang on to that knowledge! Everyone around me totally freaked out that I wanted to go to SEC! You would have thought I was headed off to Berkley or somewhere crazy! I had absolutely no help whatsoever. I worked the summer before I left for school picking peaches with the migrant workers! I was thankful for that job! No one in our church thought the other denomination was "saved" They were considered it to be "backsliden" The pastor at the time in my old church, preached a sermon in our little church on "Come Home" It was so obvious that the preacher was preaching at me, so my half deaf grandmother turned to me and said "he's talking about you!" as loud as she could. I just had to laugh and say "I know!" Leaving for SEC took more backbone than I knew I had. My surviving aunt wouldn't even speak to me as I left that morning.... but I learned I had a backbone and would do what I thought was right. What a wonderful time of growth that was for me! I had to totally take care of myself, work and go to college. Oh I was scared to death but I did it.... The funny thing when I graduated from college, alot of folks wanted to take credit for it and describe me as "my relative who just graduated from college" That really ticked me off to say the least. I'm afraid our kids won't learn to have the backbone that I learned to have because we are too kind to them and make it too easy on them! But the mama part of me don't want to see them suffer, although I know it is good for them:)
The Sheep and the Goats31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Something to chew on huh? It's a rather scary set of scriptures. And it is pretty clear scriptures....Jesus was telling about practical ministry done without the attempt to necessarily "save" someones soul" Although when you reach out in love, wanting to give without trying to get another "notch on your belt" people see the real love of God and they respond to it. I'm not saying that no one is doing that, I know folks who are and we certainly have always been a part of tthat type of ministry. But overall, it is not preached! And if it is it is preached as if it is a "calling" to certain folks not the whole body of Christ.
I'm afraid the Pentecostal/charismatic churches don't do a lot of reaching out to the" least of these".... one way I can tell is the uncomfortableness people in certain circles have around my handicapped children.... It makes me mad but it also cracks me up at the same time. When was the last time you have heard James 1:27 preached?????
27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
I have people tell me all the time that they admire our "calling" to adopt orphans...really a calling? I don't think so....it's a calling that the whole body of Christ has. Maybe not to adopt but to look after orphans and widows. I've read statistics that say if only 10% of the world's professing Christians would adopt a child, the world would have no more orphans....WOW! So that leaves 90% of Christians off the hook if the other 10% would just do their job!
I don't see that preached much in our churches in my circle. I see it preached and taught in other "not as spiritual" denominations or movements but yet we who have been endowed with "so many spiritual gifts" tend to like to use them to shout loud and jump high and then feel we have all done God a favor and aren't we spiritual? Do I sound bitter? I'm not but I am annoyed! (and please know I am being sarcastic when i wrote "not as spiritual" denominations....I do not believe like that but I know others who do and I'm making a point here) Kinda makes me think of the scripture of some other scriptures...
1 Corinthians 13
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.,
I know so many folks who can go off in tongues, and have so much so called faith...but they don't have love. They are busy building up ministries and monuments, to worry about the prisoner, they are too busy "believing God for a miracle" in order to have some great name as a healer, to really love the person who needs a miracle. Our priorities need to be straight.
I think it really comes down to the "health & wealth" "prosperity gospel" that has swept across our churches and has lodged in everywhere. To me it is like a cancer that has little pockets throughout a body and it shows up on a PET scan as little light up dots.... It so distorts the church's view of who we are and who God is.... God no longer is the sovereign ruler, He becomes our "pal" and someone we command to do what we want, like a nice genie in a bottle, that is bound by what we say. No longer do we feel compassion for the downtrodden people, we judge them for not being spiritual enough to have God's blessings. If you are not healed, it's because you have sin in your life, there is no place for suffering...everyone walks in complete victory over their health, their finances and their lives..... The "health and wealth doctrine" has no place for the handicapped, or the orphans or the widows....
It has no place for the reverence of God. The things I have heard come out of pulpits over the years.....OH MY GOSH, God is long suffering and slow to anger....or else He would have been striking some preachers dead! No reverence, God is just their buddy, their daddy, their best friend...how about realizing God is the God of this Universe and we will all stand in front of him one day and fall to our faces in reverence.... I'm not saying that God isn't close to us, the bible teaches that He is close to the brokenhearted but He is still God and I am still a mortal....but some of the terminology we use...again it goes back to bad theology.... I've heard preachers and laity refer to God in a much more causal way than I would to a judge, a boss, a doctor....it amazes me! People talk to the God of this Universe as if He were their errant boy!
So how does this all tie in together? How has this helped me in any way whatsoever as I've walked through the past 4 and 1/2 months?
I've known who God is and who I am..... I've learned to take the full Bible in the context that it was written and by comparing scripture to scripture I have found a balance....yes there are scriptures that talk about the "abundant life" but in the same bible, Jesus promises "in this world you will have trouble"
Yes I still believe God does miracles.....but I believe He is sovereign. I believe that suffering is in this world and will be here till the end of time. And contrary to most tv preachers I do NOT believe that Christians have a "get out of jail free" card! I don't believe that God causes tragedies or even that the devil does it....things just happen. The bible tells us we will go through suffering and are perfected by suffering (not by an emotional prayer service at church) When have you heard that suffering perfects you? "I lnow, I know`NEVER" unless you listen to my husband's sermons! I know that God is with me but i say that with all humbleness, it's by His grace, not because I'm some type of saint. If you think I'm a saint, you are so wrong! I'm an exposed nerve (as my mother in law would say about one of her sons) I'm grouchy and some days very unspiritual....I'm not saying I live in sin but I do not live a sinless life! Things get on my nerves very quickly and I'm really not a nice person and the older I get the less nice I get and that is true....I may look nice but please don't be mistaken, there is a sarcastic streak a mile wide and it is hard to keep it in check most days. I just feel like I don't have time for a bunch of foolishness, there is so much waiting to be done in this world, get off your pity party and do something!! If anyone wants to see if they can beat me with the "pity Party" please go back and read the beginning of my blog. for some reason I have been allowed to go through alot of heartache in life. but I chose, I make a conscientious decision, to trust God.. Job 1:21
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
may the name of the Lord be praised
I try to look at life in the light of eternity....will it really matter in heaven if I wear the hippest clothes or drive the nicest car? NOPE! I think our crowns will be given for things so much more important than that....
So I hope you are still my friend and I hope I don't get any angry comments ( but I moderate them anyhow hahaha!) or emails but this is who I am inside. And please no sermons on how I've backslidden...this is how I believe and have for a long time. I want to know what I believe and I want to really walk it out.....whether it is comfortable or not!
- Matthew 25:31 : S Lk 17:30
- Matthew 25:31 : Mt 19:28
- Matthew 25:32 : Mal 3:18
- Matthew 25:32 : Eze 34:17, 20
- Matthew 25:34 : S Mt 3:2; 5:3, 10, 19; 19:14; S Ac 20:32; 1Co 15:50; Gal 5:21; Jas 2:5
- Matthew 25:34 : Heb 4:3; 9:26; Rev 13:8; 17:8
- Matthew 25:35 : Job 31:32; Heb 13:2
- Matthew 25:36 : Isa 58:7; Eze 18:7; Jas 2:15, 16
- Matthew 25:36 : Jas 1:27
- Matthew 25:36 : 2Ti 1:16
- Matthew 25:40 : S Mt 10:40, 42; Heb 13:2
- Matthew 25:41 : S Mt 7:23
- Matthew 25:41 : Isa 66:24; Mt 3:12; S 5:22; Mk 9:43, 48; Lk 3:17; Jude 7
- Matthew 25:41 : 2Pe 2:4
- Matthew 25:45 : Pr 14:31; 17:5
- Matthew 25:46 : Mt 19:29; Jn 3:15, 16, 36; 17:2, 3; Ro 2:7; Gal 6:8; 1Jn 1:2; 5:11, 13, 20
- Matthew 25:46 : Da 12:2; Jn 5:29; Ac 24:15; Ro 2:7, 8; Gal 6:8