Friday, September 28, 2007

Goodbye Dear Friend

Today was spent (well, it seems like all day) taking my 12 year old cat Alyosha to the vet. He hadn't been eating. Now he hadn't even been drinking. My cat...the one who came running to the sound of running water. The one around whom no water glass was safe. Alyosha stayed behind. He was dealing with liver failure. He was in a lot of pain. He was vomiting and severely dehydrated. It was time.

Twelve years is a long time. He probably was nearly exactly the same age as my dog Sophie, who was put to sleep last February. Honestly, I don't think Alyosha has been the same since Sophie has been gone. They were good buddies. The first year we had Alyosha (named thus because I was reading Brothers Karamazov at the time. Poor cat) he was an ornery little thing. He would attack us in the middle of the night, tearing into achilles tendons in the dark. He would get mad and hold grudges. But most of the time he was also affectionate. We got him when we were on vicarage, and I would come home from the church office to check on him, and I would sit in a chair and he would jump up on my chest, purring like a maniac. We got him in Yuma, and I was determined that I wanted a female calico (as if there is any other kind of calico. But he was in the cage with the rest of his littermates, and he climbed up the grating, meowing louder than anyone else. He was only about the length that his paw would eventually be, and he had the bluest eyes....eventually they went green, but they were still beautiful).

For many years he had no use for my husband. He was the one who took him to the vet to have him declawed, and the one to have him neutered. I was the "rescuer" both times. I brought him home.

But when we brought Sophie home, the cat ran around the corner to greet us and stopped in his tracks. Shock and then sheer hate were on his face. From then on, all that anger and aggression was focused on Sophie...yet Sophie had so much fur, she never felt a thing. Sometimes the vicious beast would try to attack her belly, and Sophie would happily just lay down upon the poor pictured above. If Sophie was ever aware that the cat had any ill will toward her, she never showed it. Eventually, they became friends and as cat mellowed, they became close friends.

He wasn't a wuss. He didn't hide from strangers. He didn't really bother them either. He didn't hide under the bed (honestly, when he started doing that yesterday, I knew things were serious). You also couldn't ask for a better cat for my children. He was always gentle with them, slow to pick a fight. If he bit them, it was generally evident that they truly deserved it, and he was gentle, even then, giving them plenty of warning. He was huge. When we took him in for a checkup last February, he was 18 pounds, and he wasn't overweight. He was very big for a cat. He showed many "Maine Coon" characteristics. He'd lost so much weight in the last month, but his fluff hid a lot of it. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect cat.

So since I was the one who brought him home, I was the one who watched him leave this world, petting him and crying all the while. It also occurs to me that with his passing and Sophie's passing, an era of our lives is gone. Our dog Scully, our rabbits, and whatever cat we get next in a few months will be for the kids. They will be the ones swearing to take care of it, excited about getting it. Sophie and Alyosha were for my husband and me. They were there before the kids were even a thought.

Despite what you may think about cats in general, he was my friend.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2007


One of the hot issues on the Lutheran blogosphere is good works. There tend to be two positions in Lutheranism right now on this topic.

Now first, let me define the term Law, since some of the people who come here aren't Lutheran. Lutheran's divide the Bible into two parts...the Law and the Gospel. The Law is not simply the Torah, the Gospel is not simply Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The Law is ANYTHING in the Bible which tells us what WE should do. The Gospel is ANYTHING in the Bible which tells us what Christ did FOR us.

Two very important things, because ONLY the Gospel saves us, and in regards to our salvation, there is NOTHING that we do to help save ourselves.

Now another key point to Lutheran theology is that we are only saved through the Holy Spirit. Through the preaching of the Word and the administration of the Sacraments (Holy Baptism and Holy Communion), He brings us to faith (we don't choose Christ) and sustains us in that faith. We are a new creation, and throughout the rest of our lives in dealing with the devil, the world, and our own sinful flesh, the Holy Spirit is continually strengthening us and leading us through the Word and the Sacraments.

Now one of the basic Lutheran teachings about the Law is that it has three uses. We often will categorize them according to First Use, Second Use, and Third Use.

The first use of the law is this: That it restrains sin -- and applies to unbelievers as well as believers. By teaching that there is right and wrong and penalty for right and wrong, evil is somewhat contained. This is clearly shown in the society that the Jews set up where anyone in their midst was punished for breaking God's law, sinners were looked down upon rather than glorified, etc. This law, we have written on our hearts. Deep down, we all know right from wrong but choose whether to ignore it or not.

The second use of the law is more important: It shows us our sin. When we really look at the law, we see we can in no way live up to God's standards of keeping it. This is the most important use of the Law because it leads a person to repentance and to a desire for the Gospel. If the Gospel does not follow when a person is truly contrite, then they can become despairing. This also plays a strong roll once we come to faith. When we look at the law, we know we fall short, so we are constantly returning to the forgiveness that was won on the cross.

The third use, as I was taught in confirmation, is that now that we are believers, the law tells us how we are to live. We are still going to sin and fall short. We are never going to do it perfectly, but we return to Christ for forgiveness. The Holy Spirit himself has the role of sanctifying us (teaching us) and guiding us in how God wants us to live. He also gives us the strength to do so through the Word and Sacraments.

The debate, as I see it, is this. There is one group that maintains that the only use of the law is to show us what Christ did for us. These verses are not there as examples to show us how we are supposed to try to live. The Holy Spirit living inside us and teaches us that and works through us to accomplish His will.

(If I am wrong in how I portray this position, please correct me).

The other position, which I believe is held by most Lutherans, is that when we are washed in the waters of Holy Baptism and we have faith, we are regenerated by the Holy Spirit. As long as we have our sinful flesh, that regeneration will never be perfect, but that WE begin to want the things that God wants. We want to do what He wants us to do. So when we see the things in the Bible where it tells us to love our neighbor or refrain from immoral practices, or to strive after things, WE are actually striving and struggling to do this. The Holy Spirit is guiding us through the Word, even these words of Law, and making us want to do them. But that we are indeed part of that, because through the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, we are constantly being brought closer into we should've been before the Fall, but that it is a long process that will not reach its culmination until we are in Heaven with God.

The reason why I struggle with the first position is that there are some statements of Law which clearly apply to us and not to Christ, because they are telling us to follow Him, be like Him (Be imitators of me just as I also am of Christ - I Corinthians 11:1 comes to mind as one of many). The Bible also tells us clearly to "do this" or "don't do this" and holds us accountable for that.

The other issue is when I read Luther. Let's take the Ten Commandments. Every single explanation to every commandment (from the 2nd on) starts out with "We are to fear and love God SO THAT WE do not.........but (and then tells us what we are supposed to do)."

Now I agree that the 2nd use always applies here. When I look at the Ten Commandments, I am convicted of my sin. I know I have broken the commandment, and I surely haven't gone beyond and shown love to my God or my neighbor. But then there is this.

Luther and Melancthon (in the Augsburg Confession and its Apology) clearly point out that we cannot fear and love God unless we have faith. If we do not have faith, we respond with either despair or anger toward God. When we have faith, we do fear his judgement and what can happen if we give ourselves over to sins and let them rule over us, but we also love Him as our dear father, and this mirrors the relationship we have with our parents. We fear getting in trouble - and sometimes that is motivation enough to do well, but we also love them and don't want to hurt them, and so we try to please them as well. Not because they will withdraw their love from us, but because that relationship is based on love. Generally more mature love from the parent, and growing love from the child.

Is our obedience perfect? Nope. Not at all. And often as parents, we see efforts at obedience from our kids and overlook the faults in execution. God does this as well. I can't keep His law perfectly. I am going to have bad or selfish thoughts in the process, or I am not going to do exactly what I want, and at times I rebel. But when we are saved in Christ, the imperfect obedience is reckoned as perfect obedience. IN NO WAY does this contribute to our salvation. But even though they aren't perfect, God is still pleased from the good works that come from faith. He is pleased with us, and He forgives whatever part falls short.

Now that is my understanding of how good works work. And not being able to grasp the position that we have no part in our sanctification, I do have a question that has been the key point of my struggle with these two perspectives....

If the only purpose of the law is to show us what Christ has done, then by what means does the Holy Spirit use to sanctify us?

Because I see the Law being a part of that. Being saved, I want to please God, but I have to know HOW to do His will and what I am supposed to do. The Holy Spirit works through God's Word and through the Sacraments to strengthen my faith and forgive my sins and to constantly sanctify me....but isn't one of the ways He does it through the Word is when I read something like " and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks" (Ephesians 5:4). One time, it can convict me, because I might have been silly or coarse at one time or another. The next time, when I am in a situation where I might be tempted to do so, maybe that time the Holy Spirit reminds me of this verse that I have read, and I refrain from doing so. I see that as the Holy Spirit sanctifying me through the third use of the law regarding this particular verse.

The problem that I see is that if the Holy Spirit is not using God's Word to lead us to a life of sanctification, then how do we distinguish between what is the Holy Spirit and what is our own whim or will? I see a risk of if the indwelling of the Spirit is guiding us completely outside the Law in what we should be doing as far as good works, then we might simply be in the exact same place as the very people we criticize who claim that God told them what to do and what to say regardless of what Scripture says.

These are just some thoughts that have been going on in my head for some time. I am not fixated on the Christian living section at the local bookstore, but I have read Luther, Walther, Chemnitz, and the Book of Concord, and the idea that we are to pay attention to what we do and strive to do good and avoid evil is something that comes up a myriad of traditional Lutheran writings. The fear is always that focus on works will take our eyes off of Christ's saving grace. But our good works are supposed to flow from that, not distract us from it. Without faith, these works amount to nothing, but that doesn't mean that we don't need to be taught what is good and what is bad, and I believe that God uses the Law to guide us to that. When I do something because I want to do love God and my neighbor, that might be law-based, but it is done out of faith.

I am not always perfect with theological terms. I am not always perfect in expressing myself, and I admit, I am not where I should be in understanding. I am writing this because I would like to understand more where the differences are in these to perspectives, and learn to understand both more clearly. So I would love discussion here, but polite discussion.

Thanks...God bless.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Carnival, A Carnival!!!

Lutheran Carnival LIX (59) is up at Full Throttle and an Empty Gas Tank!! Many thanks to Disgruntled World Citizen for hosting, and for the wonderful profile on John Behnken, a former president of the LCMS.

I wonder if Luther was wearing a pumpkin on his head when he nailed the 95 theses to the door? It was Halloween, after all (and Nevada Admissions Day -- three great holidays all wrapped up in one).

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Just Do What You're Told....

Okay, a couple of months ago, I said that I was going to start reading Chemnitz's The Lord's Supper. I did...but then I stopped. I got stumped around chapter 4 for a while until I actually had time to sit down and think it through, and that time didn't come until yesterday in the bathtub. (I always think better in the bathtub.)

I'm not going to get into chapter 4 just yet, even though I found it completely fascinating. Chapter 2 was really great, too...and I haven't written about that yet. I've only written about how in Chapter 1, Chemnitz asserts that the Words of Institution were left to us by Christ as His last will and testament, and in any situation, it would be completely unethical and dishonorable to try to look at a person's last will and testament and try to make it say anything other than what it really says.

Chapter 2 delves into how we form dogma. Many of the dogmas that we have in Christianity are written of many times in the Bible, and so if we are confused on them, we can go to other verses to become more clear. Almost always, that is a solid way of looking at Scripture, after all -- Scripture interprets Scripture is what we Lutherans always long as we are using verses that pertain to the same issue.

But the fact of the matter is, the Lord's Supper did not exist before Jesus instituted it on Maundy Thursday. The only place we have to establish our doctrine is in those verses -- in Christ's own words on the subject. So when other denominations seek their theology on the matter from other verses in other parts of the Bible....they are bringing in something irrelevant really to back up their preconceived notions. Jesus told the disciples specifically what they needed to know about Holy Communion...that the bread IS His body and that the wine IS His blood, and that they are given to us to eat for the forgiveness of sins.

Jesus later repeated these words to Paul, and when Paul tries to resolve the arguments resolving Communion in the Corinthian church, he doesn't take his doctrine from elsewhere - not even from the Passover meal. He ONLY goes back to Jesus's words. (I Corinthians 11:23-34).

Chemnitz then quotes Theodore Beza, the reformer who succeeded Calvin argued along with Calvin that while they say that the body and blood are present, they are really only spiritually present because they are communicated through faith, because in reality, Christ is very far away. Beza even asserts that this presence and communication are "truer, more efficacious, and more significant than if the body and blood are received orally."

Chemnitz writes:

But Christ in the institution of His Supper does not teach the dogma of the presence and communication of His body and blood in such a way that he has permitted us to speculate or to draw our own definition from other Scripture passages and thus beleive or hold whatever kind of presence or communication in the Supper we wish. For He Himself defined it this way in the words of institution when He speaks of our oral reception of the Sacrament: "Take eat; this is My body." Thus we are not permitted to argue about which presence and communication are more significant and fitting, but that we reverently believe and hold that presence which the Son of God has given us in the words of His last will and testament, even though it may seem absurd to our human reason. For we must not take only certain points from the words of institution and then bring in from elsewhere the rest of the points as they seem good to us, but rather we must judge and teach the whole dogma of the Lord's Supper on the basis of the passage in which we find the true and proper setting of the doctrine.


Leave it to those Darn Canadians

My husband and I have really fallen in love with the t.v. show "Corner Gas." TBS has just started showing reruns of it and it is a hoot! It is a little warped, but also very innocent and kind of sweet. The humor is very dry. highly recommend checking it out.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Power of Assumption

When Chris was a baby, when I went somewhere, especially to church, I would carry him in a baby sling. I loved it and he loved it. It kept him close and involved in what we were doing, it was easy to nurse him in public, and he really didn't like strollers. It was so much easier to care for him that way.

At thirteen months, Chris hadn't started walking yet. I wasn't really alarmed and he was obviously healthy. My husband had taken his time in this area also. Chris ended up walking at fifteen months. The exact age Jeff was when he started walking.

But one day, a woman in my congregation decided to tell me a story. It was about a woman who was taking care of this little sick calf who could barely move so she had to carry or drag the calf to get to it to food and water. But as she nursed the calf back to perfect health , she still would carry the calf to its' water and food, even though the calf was proportionately bigger and bigger and was obviously capable of walking there. It was ridiculous to see this woman dragging this perfectly healthy half-grown calf. But the calf had never learned that it could get there itself now, and the woman hadn't wanted to let go of it.

I got her gist. She was saying that because I was carrying Chris around all the time, he never really had the opportunity or the motivation to learn that he could do it himself. And she might be right, IF I was ALWAYS carrying him.

You see, she was making an assumption based on the two hours of the week that she saw me. During that time, Chris was usually sleeping through the service or we were in the parish hall, which had very hard, cold floors and folding chairs that easily collapsed and were not safe. At home, he was crawling, standing, and cruising the days away. This woman just never saw that.

As a young mother, I was slighty amused by her creativity, mortified by coming under her scrutiny, and hurt and a little angry at the assumption.

But what she did wasn't particularly unusual. We all make assumptions about people based on what we see of them, despite the fact the majority of their daily lives are not revealed to us. If our doctor is rushed, he will always be inattentive in our minds. If we have a bad food server, the restaurant is awful. if kids misbehave, they are brats or their parents aren't controlling them...and on and on and on. Often, we honestly don't have enough information to make the assumptions that we make, and we are so ready to embrace the most negative belief.

That's why when Luther elaborated on the Eighth Commandment, he said not only are we not to lie about our neighbor or hurt his reputation but we are to "defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way."

That takes WORK. It really does. It isn't enough to simply not gossip or act on our assumptions, but to actually counter those sinful thoughts with good ones, and be willing to express them. This means also that we have to train ourselves to believe that the person is acting out of good will and wants to make something good happen, even when we don't understand completely what is going on. When when we see a problem, we need to try to work through it, even when we fear rejection or criticism ourselves. More than that, it takes the regeneration of the Holy Spirit to humble us by constantly showing us how much of a sinner we are so that we fixate less on the sins of others.

One place where I see the damage of assumptions so strongly is in the lives of pastors. People are very ready to criticize their pastors. Maybe there is this basic assumption that they should have it more together than other people or are less sinful than other people, but they are not. Ever since the time of the prophets, God has chosen weak sinners to do His will -- Abraham was a liar, Jacob was conniving, Moses was a murderer, Samson was selfish and prone to rages, David was a murderer and an adulterer, Solomon was an idolater, Jonah was a coward and stiff-necked, Paul persecuted the church, and even the disciples, the very people Jesus himself chose to spend almost all of his time with for three years, the men he would send out to build His church -- were at times perfectly oblivious, petty, and cowardly. The very chosen people of God, the Israelites were stubborn, stiff-necked, and rejected God repeatedly. The evidence is there that as God's church, we are no more faithful, but by the grace of the Holy Spirit we are made and kept His through the waters of Baptism. Neither is there anything more righteous or particularly distinguishing about a man that God has chosen to serve him in the office of Pastor. A man isn't a pastor because he is more righteous than others. He is a pastor because God has decided to use him to shepherd His flock, despite that man's sinfulness, flaws, and imperfections.

Yet the things that they generally come under scrutiny for are not things like murder, embezzlement, or adultery. It is that people don't like the length of the sermons, he doesn't do as many visits as the last pastor, that things are intangibly different than they were from the last pastor, that his desk is loaded with papers, or that he's not at the office when they call or stop by.

Let's look at these common complaints:

If you like a shorter sermon - why? Are you anxious to get the church part of your day over with? Is your attention span not able to keep up? Is the pastor truly rambling or is there meat in the sermon? If the law and the gospel aren't hitting you on that particular day, maybe someone else sitting next to you truly needs it, and you are begrudging God's work. Maybe you do need that message in particular, but you are hardening your heart and making other things your god besides hearing God's word and being truly present in church.

If you want a visit, have you invited the pastor over? Often when pastors try to arrange visits in today's day and age, no one is ever home, they are too busy, or they simply do not want the pastor to come over. Make sure he knows that YOU want him to come over, even just to socialize and get to know you. Generally pastors want to and would love to, but people often only invite them into their lives when they are sick or are in crisis. It would be nice to be welcome into their flocks' lives when things are good. Some pastors are better than others at making that happen beforehand.

No pastor is going to be able to make things "just like it was when Pastor (insert name here) was here." He's not Pastor (insert name here). But we recognize that the new pastor that is brought in wasn't a mistake, he was called to serve the congregation by God through that congregation. God put him there for a reason. He put him there because He knew that the congregation needed the particular gifts that this new pastor has, for one reason or another, for however long He sees fit. Because this pastor is a servant of God, he deserves respect and honor, help and Christian brotherhood. Or in other words, as the Bible says it:

"We ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard
among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other." I Thess 5:12-13

"Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you." Heb. 13:17

Luther uses these verses under The Table of Duties in our Small Catechism entitled "What the Hearers Owe Their Pastors."

Also, being the new one in the congregation is hard. It is a completely different thing getting to know 100 people (or more or less) than for that 100 to get to know the one. It is hard to figure out who is who, who is related to whom, what supports are there for him to do his job, what people expect, what expectations are reasonable, how things work in the congregation, what really needs to be done, etc. The pastor often feels very vulnerable as he establishes himself in a new congregation, yet that is when a lot of people allow their unchangable impressions to be formed.

Pastors are people. They are not always neat. Some are, some aren't. Some are so busy that straightening up the desk is not the top priority -- they congregation is. Some pastors struggle and feel defeated by the mound of papers that Synod, the District, and every church board gives them, not to mention every charity under the sun! A pastor can still be a good pastor with a messy office or with many other faults that you and I manage to survive with in the world.

Yet, a pastor has an office....that means he should be there, right? But we said before that he should be doing visits. Hmmm......

Let me give you an example from a pastor's schedule, since I have a little insight into one.


10:00 (GASP!!! you say. But before you freak, pay attention to what time he comes home tonight, and keep in mind that Monday night he had a board meeting until 9:30 p.m. and Tuesday night he was visiting with a family in need, and he was then called out to a chaplain emergency at 1 in the morning).
--Returned phone calls, worked with the church secretary on things, and did sermon work, etc.

12:00 Had catechesis with a member in the office.

1:00 Premarital counseling

2:30 Rushed out of the office for a visit with a family in crisis

4:00-5:30 Worked on sermon study, phone calls, and newsletter

5:30 - Dashed home to change and grab a granola bar

6:00 - Wednesday evening vespers service.

7:00 - Confirmation class

8:30 - finished up newsletter notes and emailed them off. Made a final phone call and went home at 9:45.

That was a long day - over 10 1/2 hours. Lunch was after 4 p.m. and eaten while working. Monday was even longer and involved hospital visits 30 miles away, an evening meeting, a class at the seminary, and a meeting with a colleague.
Hospital visits, home visits, nursing home visits, classes, private confession and absolution, catechesis, circuit meetings, field workers, chapel, chaplaincy duties, and so many other things that are routine in the duties of a pastor take him out of the office. Thank God for cell phones, home phones, email, and answering machines. Most members of the flock usually work 9-5, so when he is needed, he needs to be available in the evening. Yet even with all these modern conveniences, the pastor hears that people don't know how to reach him because he's not in the office, waiting for them to stop in.

Let's not forget the pastor's family. 70-80 hour work weeks are all too common in the lives of pastors, but under most circumstances, if that is the norm, the family suffers. The Bible is clear that the pastor is a husband and father first before he is a pastor. My husband was blessed to be under a vicarage supervisor that emphasized that this job cannot often be done in 40 hours, but it can be done in 50-55 hours a week. He led by example. If he had a meeting that night, he left at three o'clock to be with his family. My husband often goes in later if he has been working evenings. But his weeks are still usually around 50 hours a week, and there is usually only one "guaranteed" day off. When I look at how easy it is for pastors to get buried under their responsibilities, I thank God for the vicarage we had.
Yet it is easy to assume that if a pastor is home during the day, he is not doing his job. This very often is very far from the case. And with cell phones and lap top computers, the pastor can often work wherever he is.
Job satisfaction is low among pastors. They are in jobs where they receive a lot of criticism. They work a lot of hours. Their families sometimes feel neglected and stressed by the work demands and scrutinized by the congregation regarding their personal lives. It is often hard to make friends with members of the congregation. The divorce rate is high, as is the rate for mental illness from pressure and exhaustion. If a pastor does not take care of his family and himself, you could find yourself without a pastor because divorced pastors often lose their calls, exhaustion can leave him looking for a different way to support himself, and mental illness can leave him incapable of caring for you.

Another very harmful assumption is that the pastor is going to do things his way, and that they don't care what the parishoners think. There are a few like that, but for most, that assumption could not be farther from the truth. The pastor has been called by God to care for the flock. Of course they care what the parishoners think. Decisions they make are usually done out of love, and if that is not how it is perceived, they do want feedback and the opportunity to correct any harm that has been done. Others don't want to complain because they don't want to hurt his feelings. Yet what often ends up happening is that they remain hurt regarding the issue it festers. Or worse, they end up talking to other people in the congregation and stirring up unrest. Sometimes, they tranfer or leave the church without saying a word about what is bothering them -- even insisting nothing is wrong when asked. Sometimes everyone else knows why the person was leaving, except the pastor. And he knows that, too. This is very common in the life of the church and it is far more hurtful than coming to him and letting him know you don't agree with him.

That isn't how the Bible says that things should be handled. If you have a problem with your brother, you are supposed to go to him and tell him. Maybe you are fearful that there will be conflict. Honestly, God addresses that, too. If you go to your brother and he does respond to you, then you are released. His response is his to account for before God. You have the responsibility of trying to make it right. God puts that before you. The pastor can't correct anything or even explain anything if he doesn't know what is the problem. So tell him your problem. Go to him. Most pastors really would rather hear from you whatever you are upset about, no matter how harshly (though please don't be harsh) than know that you are unhappy but keeping silent or gossiping. If you know someone who has a problem, don't tolerate their griping but instead encourage them to go to the pastor. Changing this behavior alone can save a church, it certainly has destroyed many; plus it shows respect and honor to the pastor and to God, who called the pastor there to care for you. IT IS WORSE to sit on a problem than to talk about it. It is certainly NOT more kind. I know intimately how much it hurts a pastor to know that someone is unhappy but they can't figure out how to fix it, or they are leaving, but won't say why. Imagine what goes on in their heads. It is hard. Some pastors end up hardening their hearts to it all, or trying to. But that often makes them worse pastors in the end.

Love your pastor. Treat him how you would want to be treated. Allow him to love you the way God wants him to. Respect him, honor him, and give him the opportunity to really serve you as he has been called to do. That is where his heart is. Don't assume that he is not deeply concerned for you. God put you under his charge. Don't assume that he is only doing the things you see him doing, there is so much more. If you have doubts even about this, ask him about what his days look like. I'm sure he'd appreciate being asked.
Pastors feel how their sinfulness and inadequacies get in the way of their ministry far more strongly than you would think...and it grieves them. They are in need of Christ's forgiveness just as much as you and I, and they need your understanding and compassion, too. Allow him to have his faults, and recognize his strengths.
Definitely don't gossip or harbor bitter feelings in your heart that eventually take your heart away from your friends, your congregation, and your pastor. Satan rejoices when we let these things break up even the Lord's congregation. Assumptions are rarely reasonable and they hurt, and they can hurt deeply. Forgive.

Monday, September 17, 2007

How Blue?

I found this on Jane's blog....

You Are a Blue Crayon

Your world is colored in calm, understated, deep colors.
You are a loyal person, and the truest friend anyone could hope to find.
On the inside, you tend to be emotional and even a bit moody.
However, you know that people depend on you. So you put on a strong front.

Your color wheel opposite is orange. Orange people may be opinionated, but you feel they lack the depth to truly understand what they're saying.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Mission Accomplished

You have no idea how much this helps. I know it looks like bookshelves in the midst of a chaotic basement, but it is the start of all starts. For a couple of years, these have sat against the wall at the bottom of my basement stairs, contributing to the chaos and being an eyesore. They've been set away from the wall because they were directly under the window that decided to leak every time it rains, and it always seemed like such a chore to get them moved.

But, they are moved...and a big box of books is headed to the seminary food and clothing bank to bless homeschoolers and bibliophiles alike (or for them to trash, I'm okay with that, too). And LOOK!!! THERE IS ROOM!!! Room for books to come down from my overloaded bookshelves upstairs. Room to decrease the chaos upstairs. And now that there is one little spot in my poor, catastrophic basement, order may begin to rise.
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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Our New Health Blog

My friend Designated Knitter (aka Yarn Pusher) and I have started a team blog to chronicle our journey to lose weight and improve our health. It is called "Tending Our Gardens."

Her journey and mine will be a little different. I am also trying to implement things from a Nourishing Traditions perspective(raw milk, lacto-fermented foods, traditional eating), and how that is effecting my family. This kind of eating will automatically lower my carb-intake. Both of us have Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, which is connected to a hyperinsulinemia syndrome (aka Syndrome X), so our lowering our carbs to a point where our body can actually handle them, is one of our focuses.

So if you're interested, come by and take a look.