Sky Links, 9-21

Photo: Spacebridge by longobord CC 2.0

Turning your life over to Christ

Heather Kopp had this guest post on her blog by Karen Beattie: A Non-addict Learns to Take It One Day at a Time
One day, my husband, David, and I were on the couch talking about our situation, when he
said—rather flippantly, I thought—“Well, let’s just take it one day at a time.”

What the heck was the matter with him? He seemed so Zen and peaceful. Didn’t he care? Why was I the only one worried about our situation?

“What do you mean take it one day at a time? That’s such a cliché! You can’t fix our problems with a platitude.”

I got up and stomped away.

I was angry because he wasn’t worried about our situation (as if his worry would fix our problems), but I was also mad because I was supposed to be the more “spiritually mature” person in our relationship. I had grown up in a Christian home, attended a Christian college, audited a few seminary classes, and written articles about God and faith for national magazines....

...All of my life I have been a follower of Christ. But it took my recovering alcoholic husband to remind me to “make a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understand Him” (AA’s Step 3), and take it one day at a time.

The rest of the post is here.

They will know we are Christians by the way we criticize other Christians?

I remember when my 4th grade best friend, Glen, and I were discussing the lyrics to The Carpenter's song, "Hurting Each Other", that had the chorus that said,
We go on hurting each other
We go on hurting each other
Making each other cry, hurting each other
Without ever knowing why
Why do people say hurtful things about each other, when they are supposed to love each other? Courtney Joseph wrote a piece this week called, "When Christians Mock Christians":
But here’s the thing – Jesus said – they will know we are Christians by our love. And the part that baffles me is these ones who mock Christians champion the message of “grace” and “loving well”.  And as I watch them mock me and my “uncool” brothers and sisters in Christ, I do not see the grace and love that they shout so high from their rooftops.
And I wonder – do they realize that it hurts? That it’s humans they mock? Or do they realize – I’ve heard
Since I was in public grade school – I was the girl who was different.  Who was crazy serious about her faith. Who was sharing the gospel right and left and defending my beliefs even to the teachers and carrying my Bible to even cheerleading camp – yes I was a cheerleader – cool – but carrying a Bible – makes you uncool.real.quick!  And it’s funny –
I know – I could laugh at myself back then too – it’s crazy how different my thinking was from those around me.  And when I got the nicknames at school for being the Jesus girl I carried the name with confidence.  But when I got nick names from those in my youth group who I suppose were embarrassed of me at school – it hurt.
I recently told my children the story of my nick names from the youth group – in case it happens to them.  Cause you know – it  And it happens –
And what other Christians think of me – can’t matter if I know I’m in the center of God’s will for me – and I want my kids to know that. Be secure in that.
And dare I suggest that we also remember that not every.single.person who calls himself a Christian is.
The rest of Courtney's post is here, and that thought leads me to my next links:

Tales of two very different pastors

How To Spot a manipulative Church leader, by Donald Miller:
I grew up in a small town in Texas and attended a small church. I loved my church. I loved the jovial pastor, all the men in suits who rubbed me on the head as I came in and out of the sanctuary, the kind ladies who always brought us muffins in Sunday School and especially the youth camps we’d go to over the summers. Church was my second home, and it almost feels like I spent more time there than in my own home.

One winter, though, our pastor decided to retire. We threw an enormous party in his honor. I’ll never forget person after person walking to the microphone to tell stories about the many years he’d shepherded our congregation. People cried, we sang, we brought gifts, we ate food, we laughed until late into the night. It took a full month for everybody to say their goodbyes.
I am eternally grateful the first minister I encountered was such a good man.
Because the second minister I encountered wasn’t.

A committee was put in place to replace our pastor and the committee decided to hire a dynamic young man from Louisiana. The man had been a traveling preacher, moving from church to church to perform revivals, to tell people about Jesus. He was a tall man and loud. He flailed his arms as he spoke. He talked about God’s power, about God’s wrath, about God’s love and to be honest he was quite moving. He was incredible at getting people to respond. He had a sharp sense of humor, would occasionally say shocking things to test our loyalty and see if we would turn on him or go with him, he knew the Bible inside and out and knew how to play human emotions like a fiddle. On any given Sunday we would experience a range of emotions from guilt and shame to fear and sometimes joy.
I even remember his first sermon. It was entitled “Appoint those you trust and trust those you appoint.” That should have been an obvious sign to everybody. He was saying, without question, if you hire me to be your pastor, I am the boss. You must never question my authority.

Soon, the entire congregation fell under his spell.
The rest of the story is here.

The second pastor story I read, is about Nadia Bolz-Weber, who's book is entitled, "Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint".  Chaplin Mike (internet monk website) writes about  Nadia, reviewing her book, in his post,The Impious Pastor:
It is a book about resurrection, however, and a book that realistically portrays those raised from the dead as folks with dirt still under their fingernails. Nadia Bolz-Weber says that her book is about:

…the development of my faith, the expression of my faith, and the community of my faith. And it is the story of how I have experienced this Jesus thing to be true. How the Christian faith, while wildly misrepresented in so much of American culture, is really about death and resurrection. It’s about how God continues to reach into the graves we dig for ourselves and pull us out, giving us new life, in ways both dramatic and small. This faith helped me get sober, and it helped me (is helping me) forgive the fundamentalism of my Church of Christ upbringing, and it helps me not always have to be right.
One look at Nadia, and you might not imagine she grew up in the Church of Christ, a child from a conservative Christian family. She suffered from Graves’ disease, which gave her a “bug-eyed” appearance and caused her enormous relational pain as a child and young teen. Though the church continued to welcome her, she considered the rest of their fundamentalisms unbearable. She began to drink and do drugs in her late teens and college years, and hanging out with others who were doing the same. She found out, through hard experience, that
Getting sober never felt like I had pulled myself up by my own spiritual bootstraps. It felt instead like I was on one path toward destruction and God pulled me off of it by the scruff of my collar, me hopelessly kicking and flailing and saying, “Screw you. I’ll take the destruction please.” God looked at tiny, little red-faced me and said, “that’s adorable,” and then plunked me down on an entirely different path.

She became part of a “rowing team” of people in AA trying to kick booze and drugs and deal with mental illness and all manner of dysfunction. One of them, a comedian friend, ended up hanging himself and the others asked Nadia, who had by that time returned to religious practice, to officiate the funeral. And that, she says, is how she was called into ministry. Giving her friend’s eulogy, she realized maybe she was supposed to be a pastor for folks like these.
I will warn you, that if you follow the link or read more about Nadia, that you will see off-color language, including the f-word.  Nadia ministers to and speaks their language of people of whom most of us would not be comfortable around, perhaps.  To be frank, there are people who use the f-word often when they speak, and Jesus loves them and is saving them.  Chaplain Mike continues:
Pastor David L. Hansen wrote one of the better reviews of Pastrix that I have read. Here’s what he said:
At the end of the day, Pastrix is not a book about Pastor Nadia.  Pastrix is a memoir of grace — and not grace that is polished and cleaned up so that it can be put on a shelf and admired.
Pastrix is not about grace “in theory.” Pastor Nadia’s story, her friends’ stories, and stories of members at House for All Sinners and Saints reveal gritty, real grace. A story of grace that shows up at rock bottom, in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, in the broken places of life. A story of grace that does not wait for us to become good or perfect or nice, that does not wait for us come to church, but instead comes and finds us where we are.
The whole post is here.