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Archive for July, 2010

Effectual Fervant Prayer

Most Christians feel that their prayers are the only prayers that are heard by God. They feel that if they ask ANYTHING in the name of Jesus, it will come to pass. So they pray like this ” Father, I come to you in the Name of Jesus. Make Joe and Mabel miserable until they accept you. They are unsaved and are headed for hell. If they experience some of that hell now, they’ll turn to you. Bob is really miserable at his job. Take him out of it. I know you want your children happy, Lord. Julie stopped smoking, thank you Jesus. Let her get sick if she ever touches another one. I don’t know how I’m going to pay the rent. I need $800 by next Friday. Thank you, Lord for supplying our needs. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

So what’s wrong with that prayer? Nothing, if you’re a ceremonial magician! You may as well draw a circle on the floor, draw a pentacle in the circle, burn some incense, and address a god or goddess of your choice. Wiccans wouldn’t even pray that prayer, and yet you look down on them. So, what’s wrong with the prayer? Everything, if you’re a Christian. Yes, I know you were taught in a big evangelization seminar to pray that people be made miserable until they got saved. I also know that several people with big healing ministries will pray that someone get sick if they ever touch the cigarette, drink, or drug they’re being delivered of. All the prosperity ministries will pray for a certain amount of money by a certain date. It doesn’t make it right and it doesn’t mean that God our Father, the Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, will hear or answer that prayer. What do you mean? The prayer is addressed to God. Yep… GOD WHO?

Prayer can reach two places…the occult region of the mind or the Spirit. Since God is Spirit, He can only be reached through the Spirit. In the Spirit there are no banks, Walmarts, or car dealerships. There are only the qualities of God. God will give you the Power to get wealth…the wisdom to deal with your life…the power to heal. He doesn’t rain hundred-dollar bills down from heaven. The promise is: if you seek the kingdom of God first and foremost in your life all the material things will be taken care of…and your motive needs to be pure. If you are seeking the kingdom of God only to have your needs taken care of, you’re off. Seek the Kingdom of God to fellowship with God…to hear the still small voice…to know that He is God…and all these things will be taken care of. Jesus told us that to pray for “stuff” was to put ourselves on the same level as the pagans.

When we pray for stuff, we are praying to some entity that rules the occult region of the mind. No matter whether we have addressed the prayer to the Most High God or not, it will only reach the head honcho of the occult. We have spent years praying to something other than God. Shocking, isn’t it? If something is clear, heartfelt and owned, the unconscious will manifest it

The prayers for other people…the intercessions…are totally off the wall. We were given free will…suppose Joe and Mabel don’t want to be Christians? They have a right not to get saved. God won’t violate their free will. Who are you to do it? As far as praying that they be made miserable…isn’t that manipulation? God doesn’t manipulate. At least, any self-respecting witch would know enough not to pray that prayer. They know it can and will come back on them at least three times. Even if salvation IS God’s will for all people, He doesn’t force it on them. To pray that someone get sick if they stumble in the process of giving up a substance is cursing them…plain and simple. The subconscious mind doesn’t know that you mean you want them to get nauseous…it takes you literally. It will make them sick. Do you want to see them delivered from the cigarettes or do you want them dead from cancer or a heart attack? The way we pray…the way we talk…the way we think are all crucial. Forget what you learned at the prayer seminar and do a study on New Testament prayer. Better still, just put these few things into action and in subsequent days we’ll refine the mechanics of prayer and what they will yield.

Let’s take Jesus at His word and seek the Kingdom of God as our top priority. For today, let’s take a few minutes, get quiet before God, and say” I’m here, Lord. I’m listening for your voice. Thats all I want, to hear you and know you. Your Grace is sufficient for me.” As we do this we’ll see a different quality in our relationship with God. In the days to come, we’ll deal with things like how to quiet our minds…how to deal with material needs…what intercessary prayer is about. Get quiet…enjoy His company! Shalom.

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Stoning

My head has been spinning since this morning over a haunting image of the woman caught in adultery. It was done by David Hayward of nakedpastor.com. It’s haunting and it brings up so many questions. Where is the man?… Where IS the man?… Why wasn’t he brought in also? It says she was caught in the act so he had to be there. Was he given a pass because he was one of “them” ? Did his friends let him go and avoid stoning because he was one of the group? This happens so often in churches today. The pastor is caught with his hand in the till and the innocent bookkeeper is blamed. One of the leaders is caught fooling around with someone in the pews. The leadership covers it up and somehow disposes of the parishioner. Until someone else brought it up, I didn’t even think of the fact that those who were ready to stone her were vicariously taking part in the adultery. There she was…naked…and they were leering. But, on the other hand, they were ready to stone her to death. It was, after all, only a woman…a creature with about the same value as a dog. The man wasn’t there…it was a no brainer.

The woman was smart. She didn’t hang her head in shame and look at the evil in the eyes of her accusers. She turned her head to hear what Jesus had to say. Although he’s not portrayed there, we who know the story know that he was there…these accusers had brought her to him. Somehow she knew that he was her salvation. He who could see the evil in their eyes…the lust in their hearts. He called it…if YOU be without sin, cast the first stone. Of course, they scattered, and Jesus forgave her.

How many times have we been judgmental of someone? How often have we been ready to stone someone or whatever the 21st century equivalent is? Rather than look at someone elses fault, look at your own. Jesus was the only one of that bunch qualified to stone her. He forgave her. Remember that.

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Post script

So, I posted the previous post and proceeded to write some more of the book. A new character emerged and another whole new scenario! I don’t need to read someone else’s fiction…I just need to sit at the laptop and let the story unfold!

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Miscellanious Musings

Trying to write with a cat stretched out between you and the laptop is challenging. Later this week (the pictures are on another computer) I’ll introduce you to Fluffers and Charlie, my resident assistants. Charlie is my constant writing companion…thank goodness, he just got down and went into the other room. When I was writing the book longhand he was in charge of chewing on the pen while  I wrote. Now he just stretches out between me and the laptop. Sometimes with his head resting on my wrist. Fluffers, all eighteen pounds of love, rolls over on his back totally obscuring the keyboard. With him, its impossible to write.

The book…I’m back at it now. I wonder why I even made an outline. It seems to have a mind of its own. I’ve learned to let it do its thing and some surprising things have come about. This last segment I just finished with wrestled with me…there were things I wanted in it that just refused to be written. Who am I to say anyway? Until you write fiction you have no idea what the word author means. You have this idea…at least you think its yours. I rather think the idea comes from a source unknown and chooses you to express it, at least that’s how it feels. So you sit down and describe the characters and you think you know them well and then you outline the story. Now all you have to do is expand on the outline…cut and dried and TaDa! you have a novel. Thats not how it works. You have these characters…you know their backgrounds…you have a story you want to tell. Thats the operative word here…a story YOU want to tell. The characters have a different idea. You sort of know the story, enough to get it started, but then THEY decide where its all going. Example: the last words I wrote last night were…”he headed back to Chicago…little did he know what he was walking into.” I don’t know why I wrote that sentence, I had nothing earth shattering scheduled to happen when he got back to Chicago and I didn’t know until I started to write again. Then, whoever/whatever is writing this clued me in. I wonder where it will take me next?

Today I’m particularly grateful for the internet. In the year and a half that I’ve been doing more than reading the news and getting e-mails, I’ve met some wonderful people online from all over the world. Resources have uncovered themselves, ideas are exchanged, and gifts and talents are shared. Today, David Hayward of nakedpastor.com, shared some of his artwork with his subscribers. I now have a beautiful  print that I downloaded. He even told us what kind of paper was best. And yesterday, a woman I met on David’s blog sent me recordings of two songs she wrote. An artist and a musician in Canada, a writer in Australia…people to discuss theology with…reconnecting with people I knew in high school. Its wonderful!

And, I’m still in awe of the fact that I can sit on my bed in Chicago and watch the Block Island ferry leave Galilee in Rhode Island, in real-time!

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On Writing

For most of my life I’ve written things down, usually to clarify my thoughts, to make sense of things. I’ve also been a prolific letter writer. I can express myself better on paper than I can in discussion. No thought gets lost in the conversation…everything is expressed fully the way I want it to be, and of course, there are no interruptions. But , other than some press releases, I’ve never written with the intent to publish until recently.

About four or five years ago, I knew I needed to write a book. My theology had changed radically and I felt the need to share it. I did nothing but toss the idea around until about oh, a little over two years ago. It was to be non-fiction and instructional. I got it started and it just wasn’t doing. I was hitting a brick wall. One night, after reading something…oh, I know, it was Zen In The Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury…just before I fell asleep, everything I wanted to say presented itself to me as a novel. The next day I began to write but it wasn’t what I intended to write…it was as if it was revealing itself to me. I’d heard writers say that the characters write the book. Well, let me tell you, they certainly do and, whats more, they show you parts of their personalities you didn’t know were there. After I’d written fifty or so pages that I hadn’t expected to write, they weren’t part of the original story, I hit the brick wall again. BUT…very coincidentally, through a random hit on stumble upon, I was introduced to a blog through which I discovered the voices of all my characters. And through this same source I discovered people, and books, and groups who were all struggling with the same theological questions I was.

I started this blog in May. First of all I wanted to give it a try. Second, I thought it might prime the pump for working on the book. This past week I started again. I’m only requiring 1000 words a day of myself. I may write more if I wish, but I only must write 1000. Its working just fine and its flowing. Of course, I’m going through all the ” why am I doing this” and “who on earth is going to read this” and “what makes me think someone will publish it” stuff. But, on the other hand, I’m compelled to get this story put on paper…these people need their story told, particularly the main character. As far as people reading it…well, I was amazed that when I started this blog people actually read it. Now, after 2 1/2 months, about 40 to 50 people read it regularly. But, even if no-one reads the book, it will get written. My characters must be given life on a page. They’re screaming to be let loose from the prison of my imagination. I won’t let them down.

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On Aging

Yesterday I realized that I was ripping pissed that I was old. Furious. Absolutely resentful of it. I don’t want to be an old lady! A graciously aging woman in her seventies is one thing. An old lady is another. My body has betrayed me. I didn’t know it at the time, because I thought I’d recover, but a fall ten years ago took me from being a very vital woman in her sixties to an old woman in her seventies. I’ve deteriorated rapidly by the year. Pain has aged my countenance. I can’t stand for very long. Walking any distance is painful. I could deal with all of this if people took me seriously. I’ve learned how the elderly are discriminated against and its abominable.

I’ve talked about this before. For some reason, because you are old and have a physical disability, people think you are either a moron, MUST have dementia, or are in some way mentally deficient. Doctors don’t listen to much of anything you say( with the exception of a wonderful female gynecologist I encountered). Churches expect you to join the seniors ministry which is as segregated as the nursery. You are again placed in the same sort of categories as children. Its demeaning. I want to wear a sign around my neck that declares in huge letters that its only my body that isn’t functioning so well. That I’m perfectly capable of carrying on an intelligent conversation. That if you let yourself get beyond my age and infirmity I’m an able teacher and counselor. That when I order the bottle of wine at dinner you need to present it to me, not the first available younger male. You don’t need to speak to my daughter as if I were her precocious child. You don’t need to yell at me…I’m not deaf! The fact that I’m single doesn’t help. Older couples are given more respect, as are older men.

People have certain preconceived notions about the elderly. They get up early…I sleep until noon. They watch the soaps…I’ve never watched them. They play bingo…ugh! They go out to dinner early for the senior special. The restaurants I go to don’t have a senior special and I love to go out late. When we go to the theater we go out afterwards to a trendy Italian small plates place. I favor ethnic restaurants and love trying new things. I don’t watch soap operas. Oh, I already said that…maybe I’m losing it after all! I love good mystery novels, but at the moment I’m immersed in post-modern theology. I don’t fit the stereotype at all. I don’t like being around people who are professional seniors. I like to be with people who have full lives…who can think. I love to be with people from all age groups. It keeps me in touch with the world.

Don’t discount the old person you meet at the market. They may even look a bit disheveled…their pain level might be such that they put on the nearest comfortable thing available. Sure, some of them might be losing it a little and just want to ramble on about their grandkids or the old days…but you’ll find that there are those who long for an intelligent conversation and if you get to know them will be a welcome addition to your life.

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The Old Tree

There was an old tree in front of my building until this morning. The city cut it down. It was bent…scarred from lightening strikes…it had to have dated way back before the building was built when this was thick forest. It was almost a symbol of wisdom…old…evidence of having seen a lot of life…not all of it pleasant.  It gave shelter to who knows how many living things. I know a raccoon lived there…some squirrels…lots of birds…who knows how many insects.  It was wonderful to sit under its ancient branches and be shielded from the sun. And now its gone.

Does anyone ever think of the fact that when we cut down a tree we upset nature? Yes, there are times we must but shouldn’t we relocate its residents? How many nests were in the tree? How many baby birds or animals were harmed? The insects will take care of themselves, but the songbirds…when do they hatch?…when do they leave the nest? Will I awaken to silence in the morning? Will the cardinals still be around? Will there be a territory war amongst the raccoons and squirrels? We need to be more conscious of this earth we were given to nurture. We need to realize that we aren’t the only creatures on the earth and whats more, to realize that we were given guardianship over the other creatures. Yes, there are times a tree needs to be cut down so it won’t impede the wires or its roots won’t clog the storm drain. But…we need to do it lovingly and relocate its residents to a comfortable, safe place. I hope they found one despite our callousness. I’ll miss them…and I’ll miss the tree.

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