Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!!!!! With a Capital C!

I remember when people used to say things like "Merry Christmas" to each other. Everybody said "Merry Christmas, hey, Merry Christmas to you, Mr. Lowenstein." You know why? Cuz it wasn't about a religion, it was about something as a culture that we thought was so valuable, that we would all do it together, even if I disagreed with the religion behind it, because it was good for ALL of us instead of just ME. But what do people say now, "Happy Holidays. I'm gonna say happy holidays because I don't wanna say Christmas cuz you don't believe in Chritsmas, cuz I dont want to offend you, chakcskdfjldksj......

Oh, yes, we want to say happy holidays because we don't want to leave anybody out, really, how come there's a ton of holidays in February, nobody ever says happy holidays in February, do they, they say what it is, "happy valentines" OOH do you believe in love?

More Random Thoughts on Religion...

Just some random thoughts that came across the brain on the way to work this morning. So a friend of mine told me his ex is now a lesbian... and he told their daughter she is going to hell... so as many of you probably could guess, I have a problem with that.

I'm becoming less and less the religious "type" I used to be... I'm starting to see organized religion for what it really is... a frustrating, stressful worldly mess. I'm talking about RELIGION here, NOT faith. My faith remains strong. My personal belief & relationship with God remains unshaken. In fact it grows stronger as I remove the bonds of religion. All religion ever made of me was a sinner with a stone tied to my feet.

I watched Christmas with a Capital C last night - GREAT movie with Brad Stine... if you haven't seen it you should. But the point at the end of the movie was to quit arguing over Christmas decorations and focus on the love and meaning of Christmas - don't idolize the decor... A lawyer returned to his small home town from California and filed an injunction against the lone nativity scene on government property, and also decided to run for mayor... The lawyer and mayor had a history of competition, so the mayor felt this was another personal attack and tried to fight him and find out how to make him look bad, etc. He was talking to his family about how the lawyer was ruining Christmas... but his wife and kids' said he hadn't ruined their Christmas... in the end the mayor learned that Christmas isn't about the nativity scene or other decor, but about Christ. They showed love to the lawyer, and he dropped the injunction and his candicacy, and became part of the town again. They agreed to disagree and respect eachother's beliefs... awesome story.

So what I'm getting at here, is I respect my friend's belief... I'm not trying to tell him how to raise his daughter or what to think about his exwife, or other homosexuals. I personally believe condemning homosexuals to hell is wrong. I do not think basing this on religion is fair. I think it is a hateful tactic, and that God is a God of love. I think many of us will be shocked when we get to heaven and see who is really there... and who is not. I can tell you what won't get us into heaven: hate, arguing, arrogance, condemnation of others, focusing on the sin in people's lives...

I know I've said this 100 times, but I will keep saying it, because it is what I believe... and no one should be afraid to stand up for what they believe. Christianity as a religion is a mess... it's segregated, it can be hypocrtical and condemning. The bible was originally transcribed by man, and it has been translated and retranslated many times... the different versions contradict each other. And if we really study the passages back down to the original language, there is error in the translations. I Corinthians 6:9-10 is just one example... As for the divine inspiration of the original text, the jury is still out.

My life and relationship with Christ should be my #1 priority. How I live should reflect my faith. The love I show for others is what will bring them to faith... Seeing the blessings in my life, the happiness, the love... that is what will appeal to others.

Friday, October 21, 2011


I think the reason things get to me so much when people try to attack me is because of my past. All I ever wanted growing up was acceptance. I really try not to let what others say effect me now, but sometimes it is hard - especially when what people say drudges up the past.

Even in my home, I just wanted to fit in. I literally never fit in anywhere. At home I was the problem child, the misfit. Even before I became an actual problem... As a child I wasn't very sociable -- I was content as can be playing by myself. Part of it was I wasn't really taught how to be sociable with other kids. I honestly don't know why I was called the problem child prior to my teen years... and that's probably what pushed me to become a problem. I'd heard for so long that I was one, that I became one. I wasn't a bad, or roudy child... I was quiet, and kept to myself... and apparently that was a problem. It is why I got picked on in school. Why I never had a lot of friends.

And I was always compared to my siblings... why couldn't I be like my stepsiblings, or my sister... if anything I envied them because they were what they were wanted to be. They were wanted, accepted. It was a problem that I didn't like things they did. My problem wasn't only acceptance, but being loved for who I was...

He cries in the corner where nobody sees, He's the kid with the story No one would believe.
He prays every night, "Dear God won't you please, Could you send someone here Who will love me?"

Who will love me for me, Not for what I have done, Or what I will become. Who will love me for me,
'Cause nobody has shown me what love, What love really means.

I was that kid... as a kid it was little things, but as a teen it developed into bigger, real, problems. Sex, drinking, etc. Why? Because those people seemed to care, they accepted me as I was... Were they the wrong people? Sure they were sinners -- just like the rest of us... imperfect people... but the one thing they did do was accept me for who I was.

All my life - my immediate family, my school, even my church - shunned me. Wouldn't just accept me. Wouldn't HELP me. I really felt helpless. But finally, I found who I NEEDED to help me. Who I needed to accept me, and love me. It took some long, hard, and dark roads to get there...the fact is - humans are imperfect. The only blood thicker than water is Jesus' blood.

Then he heard a voice somewhere deep inside, And it said, "I know you've murdered and I know you've lied. And I have watched you suffer all of your life, And now that you'll listen I'll, I'll tell you that I..."

I will love you for you, Not for what you have done, Or what you will become. I will love you for you,
I will give you the love, The love that you never knew, Love you for you, Not for what you have done
Or what you will become,
I will love you for you, I will give you the love, The love that you never knew.

John 3:16  “For God so loved the world,that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 5:8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 8:37-39  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

1 John 3:1  See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Why do People Like to Drudge up the Past?

I try very hard not to let what other people say or think bother me. I know who I am, who I've  become, and even more than that God knows who I am. He knows my heart, he knows my mind. 

But what do people honestly think they are going to achieve by drudging up someone's past? Especially someone who has found their way back to God and done a total 180 in their life. Yes, I have a past - who doesn't? And really, my past isn't as bad as people like to think it is. There are certain areas that were worse than others. I'm not proud of the things I went through. But the fact is many people go through patches in their lives. The other night my friend asked me what my best memory was from growing up (referring more to high school days, doing things with friends, etc)... honestly, I couldn't really think of anything. Looking back now I am just thankful I made it through that time in my life and that I was able to move on from it.

I guess I can look at it this way - if all someone has to talk about is my past to try and say something bad about me, then I'm doing pretty good now. I know my life is good now, because God is in it. I have a wonderful husband and children who I adore. I think part of it is jealousy. I turned my life around, I did a total 180 to the point I have a husband who I can say is faithful to me and I am faithful to him. And I can say we both know for a fact we always will be. We have made a covenant, before God, to remain true to each other through thick and thin, until death. Unlike a lot of couples these days, we DON'T take our vows lightly. We did not enter into marriage without an understanding of what we were doing. While we've gone through some tough spots (lay offs, financial struggles mostly) we've gone through them together and come out better on the other side.

I also have two AMAZING, beautiful, smart children. Despite the circumstances one of them came from, they are two of the best things in my life on this earth. Certain people try to judge every move I make... but I know the only judge who matters is God. He knows, and I know, how much I love my children, how well I care for my children... I'm not perfect by any means, but the fruits are already starting to show. I care so much about who my children become. My goal is that they become wonderful, well rounded adults. I don't have a preference on what kind of job they get, who they fall in love with, nothing like that. But I will push them to do well in school so that when they get to that point they can choose any path they want. 

Because you know what matters to me? Their FUTURE. One of the things I teach my children regularly is that people make mistakes, but we should always love them anyways. Like Jesus would. What's past is past, and we can't change it. But we can do our best in the present and build a better future. 

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Psalm 51: 10-12

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Calling Yourself Christian is Not a Get Out of Hell Free Card!

If judgment looms under every steeple, if lofty glances from lofty people, can't see past her scarlet letter, and we've never even met her... - Casting Crowns

Being a Christian doesn't give us the right to treat people like crap or like we're better than them, because we're not. It doesn't give us the right to call people names, like stupid, or judge their character or beliefs because they are different. Calling ourselves a Christian is not a get out of hell free card. Faith without works is dead.

21 "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?' 23 Then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.' - Matthew 7:21-23 (Read all of Matthew 7 at

If judgment looms under many steeples... The weight of the judgmental glances tell him he's better out on the road... Jesus paid much too high of price, for us to pick and choose who should come...  Which Jesus do you follow? Which Jesus do you serve? If Ephesians said to imitate Christ, why do you look so much like the world? Pretty blue eyes, curly brown hair, and a clear complexion? Is this how you see him as he did for our sins? But the word says he was battered and scarred, or did you miss that part? Sometimes I doubt we'd even recognize him. Would Jesus be accepted in your church? His blood and feet might stain the carpet... 

Living like Christ means loving others. It means accepting others. It means listening to others, understanding others, not trying to change everyone around us to be like we think they should be. It means focusing on changing ourselves to look like Christ, so people will see him through us. It is not our job to save people - that is Christ's job. Sometimes we just need to shut our mouths, because all we do is dig a hole and push people away with our words. We should be imitating Christ so people can really see who he is. Christians tarnish his name with their terrible words and actions all the time. 

Going to the alter and getting saved doesn't automatically get you into heaven if you don't act like you are saved going forward.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Jesus doesn't Condemn or Shun, he LOVES!

Stop being mean, bad-tempered, and angry. Quarreling, harsh words, and dislike of others should have no place in your lives. Instead, be king to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving you because you belong to Christ. 
Ephesians 4: 31-32 

So I was listening to a mix CD of some of my favorite Christian music on the way in to work today, and one of my favorite songs played - "Does Anybody Hear Her" by Casting Crowns. The line "they can't see past her scarlet letter, and they never even met her" reminds me of many church's today, but one in particular...

My husband grew up in the southern baptist community. Not knocking them as a whole (I don't like to stereotype) but I've not been to a southern baptist church that I'm impressed with. They are extremely religious... In fact one in particular I never felt so UNwelcome. I've been there only a handful of times. Never once was a I greeted and welcomed.But we would visit because it was my in-law's church.

The time that sticks out the most was probably my second or third visit. I cannot remember the nature of the visit, it was was some sort of event I believe, we were in the fellowship hall. My husband and I were dating at the time. (Those of you who may have read my testimony know I was knocked up during that time and we didn't get married until after my son was born.) Now I cannot honestly remember if I was pregnant at this moment in time or this was after Andrew was born, but that's not really the point. Adam was dating the pregnant girl. I felt the glares, the stares, and heard the whispers... but nothing was as bad as what came next. I walked up to a group about our age and was literally shunned. I didn't even get a word out; they saw me coming and literally turned their backs... They can't see past her scarlet letter, and they never even met her. 

But you know what's wonderful? Our lord and savior doesn't condemn or shun us. He loves us. That love is unwavering and unrelenting. My faith in him is unwavering... people, not so much. The church is human. We can't expect them to be perfect (but they should at least try to be loving!) If as Christians we're supposed to be Christ-like, then as a whole, we're failing.

"Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped."
Philippians 2:5-6

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved (Ephesians 2:4-5).

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Religious Quotes to Live By

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
-Galileo Galilei

I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.
-Mohandas Gandhi

I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love.
-Henry Ward Beecher

I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't and die to find out there is.
-Albert Camus

It is wonderful how much time good people spend fighting the devil. If they would only expend the same amount of energy loving their fellow men, the devil would die in his own tracks of ennui.
-Helen Keller

It's wonderful to climb the liquid mountains of the sky. Behind me and before me is God and I have no fears.
-Helen Keller 

Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair.
-Gilbert K. Chesterton

More and more people care about religious tolerance as fewer and fewer care about religion.
-Alexander Chase

No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means.
-George Bernard Shaw

Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.
-Soren Kierkegaard

 There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.
-Dalai Lama

Monday, September 26, 2011

Do you hear yourself?!

So I reposted a little religious piece going around Facebook earlier. I like doing these things to get people thinking - stir things up a bit. These debates are usually what spawn my blog posts... But it was about an atheist and a little girl on an air plane...

And this is what I got out of the entire thing... what we say as believers to other people, or non-believers. How we present ourselves. The things we say to try and spread the news about Jesus. Many times I have to ask "do you hear yourself?!" Many times religious folk are the ones spewing out hate, negativity, nastiness. They are so wrapped up in their personal belief system and the idea that someone else doesn't think the same way they do, they lose focus from what they are supposed to be doing!

HELLO! I think God's up there screaming "REMEMBER ME?!" If we could just stop our religious brains for a minute, and remember those good ole bracelets we used to wear as kids - WWJD. Honestly, think about it! Think about your words - remember the post on Baggage? Words hurt, and they cut deep. What kind of impact do you think you have on someone when you tell someone they don't know crap? Or that their thoughts are just stupid? Does that make you sound intelligent on the subject? Does that really make that person want to have what you do?

A dear friend of mine (Patrick you know I love you, but I have to run with this) said he'd tell an atheist to "get get right with God." Well here's the problem - they don't believe in God. From the POV of a believer, with an open mind, trying to not only lead people to Christ, but also get these spoon-fed religious folks on the right page, I'm thinking NOT the best approach.

Someone walks up to you and says they are an atheist, God doesn't exist, etc. You turn around and blast them with negativity - the crap you're spewing isn't any better than their crap. Doesn't stink less. It's still crap. I think we need to take this to next Wednesday night's class - how should we (as believers) respond, lovingly, to someone's idea God doesn't exist? My thoughts on this - we can't really respond, not easily, and we can't change their mind in an instant. And we sure as heck aren't reaching them through our negative responses. Might be wiser to bite our tongues... and show the love of Christ... remember that? Isn't that what we're supposed to be after here? Just a thought.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Religion is a Discriminatory, Wordly Mess

There is a difference in religion (organized, by man) and one's faith. Religion divides people, faith in something brings people together.

Religion. noun
a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects: the Christian religion; the Buddhist religion.
the body of persons adhering to a particular set of beliefs and practices: a world council of religions.
the life or state of a monk, nun, etc.: to enter religion.
the practice of religious  beliefs; ritual observance of faith.

Religion is nothing but a worldly mess. There are 10s of thousands of religions worldwide. There are 1000s of different Christian denominations alone! Does anyone not honestly see the problem here? Division. Separation. 

Religion is one of the most discriminatory things on this earth.
Religious discrimination is valuing or treating a person or group differently because of what they do or do not believe.
Religious people do this more than anyone else on this earth. 

When I was in school, my parents tried to enroll me in a private Christian academy up in Indiana. I was bullied profusely in school, and they wanted to get me out of that atmosphere and into a "better" one... Do you know why I was denied admittance? It wasn't because of my grades... it wasn't because of my "qualifications" or educational abilities... that were a bit lacking, but it was because I was too worried about bullies to apply myself. But their reason for denial was because my mom didn't attend church regularly. They bluntly told us that was their reasoning in the acceptance letter, I kid you not. My mom wasn't even a non-believer. She just didn't feel comfortable in the church we attended, and I really didn't either. I was a lost-soul, stuck in a place where I was hurting, and we were turned away, cast out.  

So religious people discriminate against "non-church folk." They discriminate against gays. Some discriminate against women (in leadership positions), others discriminate based on race, social status, and then there is sin. Some church's won't allow a divorced woman or man to remarry within their religious institution. Others don't allow homosexuals to become members. People have been shunned for getting a divorce, or having a baby outside of wedlock. They make the church "look bad."

But you know who doesn't discriminate? Do you know who doesn't look at one sin as any different than another? Who knows we all fall short? Christ died on that cross so that we may be saved! All we have to do is believe and ask God into our hearts. Religion makes it seem so difficult, and sometimes confusing, as to how we are supposed to gain our salvation. But it is clear, that it is simple, all we have to do is accept Christ as our savior. He did the hard part!!!

“For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people's sins against them. . .” (2 Corinthians 5:19)
Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22)
Because one person disobeyed God, many people became sinners. But because one other person obeyed God, many people will be made right in God's sight” (Romans 5:19)
“‘And when I am lifted up on the cross, I will draw everyone to myself.’ He said this to indicate how he was going to die” (John 12:32-33)
“For if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved” (Romans 10:9-11)   
 So in the end, we don't need some man-made religion to tell us right from wrong. Heck, they don't even know. They can't even agree on it half the time. We need to search ourselves, and ask God to show us the way. Am I saying stop going to church or believe what they teach is ALL wrong? No. Not if you are in a church home where you feel loved, welcome, and at peace. Just don't be afraid to study for yourself -  because trusting the word or translation from any other man regarding YOUR faith and YOUR salvation shouldn't be the way you determine right from wrong. 

I attend a wonderful church with people I care about, where I feel welcomed and loved for who I am - the way God made me. Just because I have an opposition with organized religion doesn't mean there aren't good church's, with good people, out there. And we all fall short, none of us are perfect. Many church's are much more "lost" than others to their own doctrine and ways. But there are some, that understand the difference between religion and a relationship. The simple definition of Church, from the apostle Paul, is a gathering of people to worship the Lord.You don't have to get up every Sunday and go "play church" if that is all you are doing... it's not about pleasing "the church" it's about pleasing God through your worship. 

"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." - Mohanda Gandhi

Friday, September 16, 2011

Religious Debate Cracks Me Up!

So there have been several "religious" debates on CafeMom (what's new right?) You know I used to go into these things hard right... but now that I've truly opened my mind and heart to what Christian faith is supposed to be about, I laugh at some of the right-winged responses... when these extremists attack non-believers with their religion, for their lack of belief or difference of opinion, what do they honestly expect the outcome to be?

One's personal faith is supposed to be about a relationship with God, not religion. We are supposed to strive to better ourselves and our faith, to live our daily lives so that God shows through our actions and people wonder, and want to know what it's about! Not shoving religious doctrine down people's throats - which has only ever pushed people further away from Christ... Arguing with non-believers over religion is extreme, and ridiculous. It is our job to show the love of Christ through our daily lives - it is Christ's job to save people with his love!

I think I've found a new calling from God for my life... because I have this new-found understanding  of my faith, I can truly minister to others.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I'm a Christian, but I Support Gay Marriage - WHY?

The purpose of this explanation is to open hearts and minds. To make you think... This is a topic God puts on my heart regularly - it's not a topic personal to me, so I'm pretty darn sure he put it there, otherwise I don't have much other explanation for why I'm so passionate about it...

I am a Christian, but I support gay marriage. Why? Because I love the sinner and hate the sin. It is wrong to discriminate and no religion should dictate whether or not someone (despite their gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation) should be able to get married and obtain the benefits we take for granted as married heterosexuals. That doesn't make me an immoral fool... Christ didn't hang out with perfect people, or even religious people. Christ hung out in the slums, with the sinners. He didn't judge them... he didn't discriminate against them. He just loved them - and this is how he won hearts and saved them; not by shoving religion down their throats... And I didn't always think this way... I used to be plenty narrow minded myself. 

Gandhi said it  best: I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ. It's a sad truth... but many who call themselves Christians today do not represent Christ.  He wants us to show others what he's done in our lives, by how we live, not shove things down their throats with our words.

God never said gays can't legally marry... you show me where it says that (word for word) and prove me wrong. God didn't say governments have to conform to religion when creating laws. Christians can see homosexuality as a sin, but stay out of their affairs to get married. We don't have to hold them back. We don't have to vote for it, but we also don't have to vote against it. We could choose to stay out of it, and that does not make us a bad people. We can hate the sin, but we don't have to publicly eliminate it - we CAN'T eliminate it. Only God holds that power, but he gives us free will. But as a sin, it is no bigger than any other sin... we don't try to make divorce illegal, arrogance, bitterness, boasting... none of those sins are any different in God's eyes. It will not be the end of the world if gay are allowed to marry. It will not "defy the sanctity of marriage", which didn't even begin with religion. And on the subject of the divorce rate, heterosexuals need to make our own marriages work before we go telling other people who can and can't get married -- and even then no religion should have that right. Marriage it not just a Christian institution or right.

I guarantee you God is not happy with that way many Christians act in respect to homosexuals & equal rights. He is not happy with the hatred and discrimination passed by "church folk." Many churches won't even let a homosexual become a member of their congregation... None of this may apply to you personally, but it applies to many who call themselves Christians. Those are the people many of us are trying to reach.


"Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words may never hurt me." That is the biggest lie we teach our children. Words can hurt, and they cut deep. - SkitGuys

This was our lesson last night during Wed night bible study. And boy did it ever hit home. Every time someone hurts us, we add baggage to our lives if we are unable to let it go and forgive, and give it all to God. I found I was still struggling with some baggage that I thought I'd let go... but was still carrying around.

Psalms 38:19 reads "Those who are my foes without cause are mighty, and many are those who hate me wrongfully." For me this is the hardest baggage to deal with, and let go of. Especially when the wrongful hate of others is an ongoing thing in your life.

This morning I gave my baggage to God. I prayed for him to teach me to love and forgive those who have wronged me, and to touch and bless them as well. I was reminded of a song by Casting Crowns where it says "Lord I lift my friend to you, I've done all that I know to do, I lift my friend to you. Complicated circumstances have clouded his view, Lord I lift my friend up to you." That was my prayer this morning for the circumstances and a couple of people who surround me, have hurt me, and have left me with baggage in my heart.

I love them with all my heart, and I forgive them. I pray that they can forgive my past and move on, and learn to love me as well. I let go of my baggage, because it's not fair to me or to those I love for me to continue to carry it...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Origin of the Institution of Marriage


The origins of marriage 

The institution of marriage is now the subject of a bitter national debate. How did marriage begin-and why?

How old is the institution?
The best available evidence suggests that it's about 4,350 years old. For thousands of years before that, most anthropologists believe, families consisted of loosely organized groups of as many as 30 people, with several male leaders, multiple women shared by them, and children. As hunter-gatherers settled down into agrarian civilizations, society had a need for more stable arrangements. The first recorded evidence of marriage ceremonies uniting one woman and one man dates from about 2350 B.C., in Mesopotamia. Over the next several hundred years, marriage evolved into a widespread institution embraced by the ancient Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans. But back then, marriage had little to do with love or with religion.

What was it about, then?
Marriage's primary purpose was to bind women to men, and thus guarantee that a man's children were truly his biological heirs. Through marriage, a woman became a man's property. In the betrothal ceremony of ancient Greece, a father would hand over his daughter with these words: "I pledge my daughter for the purpose of producing legitimate offspring." Among the ancient Hebrews, men were free to take several wives; married Greeks and Romans were free to satisfy their sexual urges with concubines, prostitutes, and even teenage male lovers, while their wives were required to stay home and tend to the household. If wives failed to produce offspring, their husbands could give them back and marry someone else.

When did religion become involved?
As the Roman Catholic Church became a powerful institution in Europe, the blessings of a priest became a necessary step for a marriage to be legally recognized. By the eighth century, marriage was widely accepted in the Catholic church as a sacrament, or a ceremony to bestow God's grace. At the Council of Trent in 1563, the sacramental nature of marriage was written into canon law.

Did this change the nature of marriage?
Church blessings did improve the lot of wives. Men were taught to show greater respect for their wives, and forbidden from divorcing them. Christian doctrine declared that "the twain shall be one flesh," giving husband and wife exclusive access to each other's body. This put new pressure on men to remain sexually faithful. But the church still held that men were the head of families, with their wives deferring to their wishes.

When did love enter the picture?
Later than you might think. For much of human history, couples were brought together for practical reasons, not because they fell in love. In time, of course, many marriage partners came to feel deep mutual love and devotion. But the idea of romantic love, as a motivating force for marriage, only goes as far back as the Middle Ages. Naturally, many scholars believe the concept was "invented" by the French. Its model was the knight who felt intense love for someone else's wife, as in the case of Sir Lancelot and King Arthur's wife, Queen Guinevere. Twelfth-century advice literature told men to woo the object of their desire by praising her eyes, hair, and lips. In the 13th century, Richard de Fournival, physician to the king of France, wrote "Advice on Love," in which he suggested that a woman cast her love flirtatious glances-"anything but a frank and open entreaty."

Did love change marriage?
It sure did. Marilyn Yalom, a Stanford historian and author of A History of the Wife, credits the concept of romantic love with giving women greater leverage in what had been a largely pragmatic transaction. Wives no longer existed solely to serve men. The romantic prince, in fact, sought to serve the woman he loved. Still, the notion that the husband "owned" the wife continued to hold sway for centuries. When colonists first came to America-at a time when polygamy was still accepted in most parts of the world-the husband's dominance was officially recognized under a legal doctrine called "coverture," under which the new bride's identity was absorbed into his. The bride gave up her name to symbolize the surrendering of her identity, and the husband suddenly became more important, as the official public representative of two people, not one. The rules were so strict that any American woman who married a foreigner immediately lost her citizenship.

How did this tradition change?
Women won the right to vote. When that happened, in 1920, the institution of marriage began a dramatic transformation. Suddenly, each union consisted of two full citizens, although tradition dictated that the husband still ruled the home. By the late 1960s, state laws forbidding interracial marriage had been thrown out, and the last states had dropped laws against the use of birth control. By the 1970s, the law finally recognized the concept of marital rape, which up to that point was inconceivable, as the husband "owned" his wife's sexuality. "The idea that marriage is a private relationship for the fulfillment of two individuals is really very new," said historian Stephanie Coontz, author of The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap. "Within the past 40 years, marriage has changed more than in the last 5,000."

Men who married men
Gay marriage is rare in history-but not unknown. The Roman emperor Nero, who ruled from A.D. 54 to 68, twice married men in formal wedding ceremonies, and forced the Imperial Court to treat them as his wives. In second- and third-century Rome, homosexual weddings became common enough that it worried the social commentator Juvenal, says Marilyn Yalom in A History of the Wife. "Look-a man of family and fortune-being wed to a man!" Juvenal wrote. "Such things, before we're very much older, will be done in public." He mocked such unions, saying that male "brides" would never be able to "hold their husbands by having a baby." The Romans outlawed formal homosexual unions in the year 342. But Yale history professor John Boswell says he's found scattered evidence of homosexual unions after that time, including some that were recognized by Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches. In one 13th-century Greek Orthodox ceremony, the "Order for Solemnisation of Same Sex Union," the celebrant asked God to grant the participants "grace to love one another and to abide unhated and not a cause of scandal all the days of their lives, with the help of the Holy Mother of God and all thy saints."

Gay Rights - Marriage Benefits - What you may not know!!!

So at church one night, Patrick and I were talking about homosexuality and the bible. He told me how he'd asked two pastors in years past if they would allow homosexuals to join the church, and they told him no... All I could think is WOW - and these are pastors!!! What hypocrisy!

So out of pure curiosity, we asked our pastor the same question... and he said yes, homosexuals can join the church. Just another confirmation that I'm where I'm supposed to be regarding my church home and family. I feel this is a big step for Christianity.

Not all Christians support homosexuality and believe it is a sin yes, but they shouldn't support discrimination by denying them their rights. They shouldn't judge them or condemn them, or cast them away. We need to love them and embrace them. Discrimination is WRONG, period. No matter if it's for race, gender, sexual orientation, religion... it's wrong.

There is a long laundry list of rights that many people don't realize are a big part of marriage, that gays are being denied! How is that constitutional? How is that right? You can disagree with homosexuality, but don't hold them back - love the sinner, hate the sin. Everyone should have the same rights! Marriage shouldn't be deemed "reasonable" by any religion. Marriage has become a 'game' for a lot of people anymore & the "Christian" vows mean very little a lot of the time. Heterosexuals have been "defying the sanctity of marriage" for years... Why shouldn't gays be afforded the right to marry & secure the rights a marriage brings? Marriage should be a choice for all.

Posted by mrswillie on Sep. 13, 2011 at 2:56 PM 

When speaking of benefits of marriage, their are so many that we, as heterosexual couples, take for granted everyday.  These are compiled of about 400 state benefits and 1000 federal benefits.  Here are just a few.  Note...this is not nearly a complete list.
  • status as next-of-kin for hospital visits and medical decisions where one partner is too ill to be competent;
  • benefits such as annuities, pension plans, Social Security, and Medicare
  • wrongful death benefits for a surviving partner and children
  • bereavement or sick leave to care for a partner or child
  • joint parenting
  • joint adoption
  • joint foster care, custody, and visitation (including non-biological parents)
  • dissolution and divorce protections such as community property and child support
  • immigration and residency for partners from other countries
  • inheritance automatically in the absence of a will
  • joint leases with automatic renewal rights in the event one partner dies or leaves the house or apartment
  • inheritance of jointly-owned real and personal property through the right of survivorship (which avoids the time and expense and taxes in probate)
  • spousal exemptions to property tax increases upon the death of one partner who is a co-owner of the home
  • veterans' discounts on medical care, education, and home loans; joint filing of tax returns
  • joint filing of customs claims when traveling
  • decision-making power with respect to whether a deceased partner will be cremated or not and where to bury him or her
  • crime victims' recovery benefits
  • domestic violence protection orders
  • judicial protections and evidentiary immunity

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Parable of Job

After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: ‘My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt-offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly; for you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has done.’ So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went and did what the Lord had told them; and the Lord accepted Job’s prayer. 
And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends; and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then there came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and they ate bread with him in his house; they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him; and each of them gave him a piece of money and a gold ring. The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand donkeys. He also had seven sons and three daughters. He named the first Jemimah, the second Keziah, and the third Keren-happuch. In all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters; and their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers. After this Job lived for one hundred and forty years, and saw his children, and his children’s children, four generations. And Job died, old and full of days.  Job 42:7-17

So I've been continuing my bible study. I've been following a chronological list. So far I've gone through the creation story, the flood story, and then onto the entire book of Job.

This old testament parable teaches us that 1) God is a mystery, but also that 2) if we remain faithful he will reward us. God rebuke's Job's "friends" for the way they have treated Job and spoken to him. They have falsely judged a righteous man.

While no human is perfect, we as Christians strive to be righteous. No one full understands your walk & relationship with God better than you or God. I'm sure many of us have faced times when other people have hurt us by judging us wrongly. I believe these trials are a test of our faith, our righteousness - like Job.

I recently dealt with a situation where some people very close to me wrongfully judged. They couldn't get over my past in order to see the pureness of my heart for helping out at this event. The entire time they were full of assumptions focusing on what they wanted to believe or "prove" I was doing, not what was actually happening.

The situation hurt greatly (like Job's). I almost made a wrong decision because of it. I wanted to blame the wrong people. I struggled with this situation on my heart for several weeks - no matter how hard I tried to let it go.

But I was finally able to see through my study that I am like Job. And that God had a plan the whole time, and that if I remain faithful and don't let things affect my walk, God will rebuke those who have wronged, and reward righteousness.

We shouldn't get so preoccupied with the storm (the testing) that we lose site of God. We shouldn't harbor bitterness in our hearts.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

There is no original RELIGION.

Christians, "the church" - are all human. There is no original religion. I think people have to realize that religion itself is man-created and man-delivered. It is not perfect, in fact far from it - it's actually a pretty big mess if you take a wide open look at it! Christianity was not the first religion, or the last. There are so many views, so many separations - even within Christianity itself. Even if the original biblical texts are divinely inspired (and again we're taking another MAN's word for it) it has been argued over, translated & re-translated, and interpreted in so many ways  by so many people.

We rely too much on the church to lead and teach us their generally twisted, usually misinterpreted doctrine, and then get angry when those leaders act less than "Christ-like"... be it hypocritical, judgmental, focusing more on other people's wrongs than their own, etc.

Maybe it's time we dig a little deeper - lead instead of follow. Study the bible for ourselves - and I mean really study, not just read one version (as there are so many), but compare versions to the original texts. Try to gain our own understanding of what the bible originally said, meant, intended, etc in it's original context & time. You don't have to understand Greek or Hebrew to do this... there are interlinear bibles out there (free online resources) that directly translate the text for you. If you are looking at a controversial scripture, study the word being translated one way or the other in depth. Locate the original meaning for yourself.

And most importantly pray to God to teach you through the word. Pray to find a true understanding of God's will, his plan, his love. Ask God to show you what is right... and remember he is a God of love. His example was set through the body of Christ.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Genesis 1-3 Creation

So last night I began reading the bible chronologically. I started with Genesis Ch. 1-3. I LOVE my new study bible, it had some great information in it and made the scripture easy to understand.

I found it interesting, that I never realized before, that Genesis actually begins with what appears as two different creations stories (1-2.3, and 2.4-25). In 1-2.3, God creates animals before humans, and then he creates man and woman together - v. 24-27. In Ch. 2.4-3 (another account of creation) God created man, then he created the animals so he wouldn't be lonely and asked him to name them all. Afterward, he took the rib from Adam and created woman (Eve).Some believe that the first account and second do not contradict each other,  but rather the second is a more detailed account of the first. Others believe that the second account actually dates back before the first, and was written by a different author. (Me I don't really know and will continue my study further, as I'm taking a less biased approach, or at least trying to.)

God created man and woman innocent - they did not realize they were naked. It was not until the serpent coaxed them into eating from the tree of good and evil that they gained wisdom and were ashamed. They made clothes out of fig leaves and tried to hide from the Lord. The lord punished the serpent by making him slither with no legs and creating the hostility between him, woman, and woman's offspring (which would be all of mankind).

Woman was punished with pain during childbirth (thanks a lot Eve!) and Adam & Eve were cast out of Eden and locked out so they could not eat from the tree of life - as they punishment for eating from the tree of good and evil was death. While that death was not imminent, they were not allowed to eat from the tree of life to gain immortality. God placed a cherubim guard at the gates of Eden so they may not reenter.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Rules & Creeds

What is the number one reason church's and religion in general are divided today? Difference of opinion regarding creed (beliefs). We all interpret the bible differently. Some of us read it literally and take it for what it was when it was written. Others pull verse by verse and think it is a rule to be followed. There are extremes in either direction.

There is so much separation among God's people because we can't agree to disagree and come together - God wants us to be unified! We all have one thing in common, and it is the IMPORTANT thing - our belief in Christ.

I came across a denominational group - the Disciples of Christ. They set an awesome example. For modern disciples the one essential is the acceptance of Jesus Christ as our savior and obedience to serve him. There is no requirement to give assent to any other statement of belief or creed. Nor is there any "official" interpretation of the Bible. WOW! You mean we can really just come together unified through our simple and sole  belief in Christ our savior? And not have doctrine and creed shoved down our throats? Who-da-thunk it?

 I think all church's should follow this example. What does God want? What is he really after? Our hearts, our belief in him! Our love for him and for one another. If we could set aside our differences, the man-made religion, doctrine, and creed... we all have one common goal to get to heaven, and we all love Christ!

God doesn't want us to be divided by religion, creed, race, gender, sexual orientation, *insert difference here.* He want us to be unified in his name.

Now I beg you, brothers, through the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it has been reported to me concerning you, my brothers, by those who are from Chloe's household, that there are contentions among you. Now I mean this, that each one of you says, "I follow Paul," "I follow Apollos," "I follow Cephas," and, "I follow Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized into the name of Paul? (1 Cor. 1:10-13)

What, then, do Christians actually believe in? What is the basis of Christian faith? Is it the Church, Tradition, or the Bible? Answer: It is neither the Church nor Tradition nor the Bible:
  • Even the Protestant Christian does not believe in the Bible, but in the one to whom the Bible bears witness.
  • Even the Orthodox Christian does not believe in Tradition, but in the one whom Tradition hands down.
  • Even the Catholic Christian does not believe in the Church, but in the one whom the Church proclaims.
Remember... Do not put your faith in man - man will fail you! Put your faith and trust in God alone. When no one else is true, he'll still be loving you...

    Thursday, July 28, 2011

    Black teen mother not allowed to be valedictorian

    Kymberly Wimberley is a black teen mom who earned the highest GPA in her class in McGehee High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. But she wasn't allowed to be valedictorian. 
    The school's administrators were afraid of a "big mess" if was Kymberly was recognized as the top of her class, according to a lawsuit filed this month -- so the school appointed a white student with a lower GPA to be "co-valedictorian."
    A member named Bee Lavender, once a teen mom herself who's now a successful writer, thought the school's treatment of Kymberly was "categorically unfair." According to Bee, "Kymberly earned the right to be sole valedictorian of her school." So she started a petition on to demand Kymberly's school recognize her for having the highest GPA. 
    Teen parents are routinely discriminated against and face significant institutional barriers to education. While teen mothers are often expected to fail, Kymberly Wimberley defied both the odds and the stereotypes. 
    She went back to school a few short weeks after having a child, and worked hard to achieve high grades in advanced placement classes. Without faltering or failing, she achieved higher scores than any of her classmates.
    Unfortunately, Kymberly's case is not an isolated incident. She alleges the school had a pattern of academic discrimination against other black students, including discouraging them from taking advanced courses. She just filed a lawsuit against her school asking for recognition, and your voice can help push the school to do the right thing for Kymberly.
    McGehee High School can set the record straight. Please sign the petition demanding the school recognize Kymberly as the sole valedictorian of her class. 
    Thanks for being a change-maker.

    Walking in God's Love

    A big thanks to "An Eye for Redemption" for helping me find the words to express what has been on my heart for a while...

    You said it best Kansas Bob - "I am convinced that Jesus was all about showing us love in a way that man had not seen before. Possibly when, like Jesus, we are moved by compassion for others we will step outside of our comfort zone ... and walk in His love rather than our rules"

    God-like loving! He loves us so much that he sent his son to die for us on the cross so that we may be saved by grace! Is that not truly awesome? God wants us to follow Christ - and lead by his example. People should look at us and see God through our daily lives - our actions - our love.

    1 John 3:20-25

    New King James Version (NKJV)
    20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. 21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. 22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us[a] commandment.

    Getting Back Into my Study... Today: Genesis 19

    So I've been slacking on my study again... but I'm starting back. I've started off with topics that usually cause a heated discussion, or "the issues" because they are so prominently debated today - and I want to see for myself what the Bible really says on these topics. In the end I hope to make it through all scripture.

    Today I continue my study on the scriptures utilized to by religious doctrine to condemn homosexuality. I started with I Corinthians 6:9-10 here... today I want to look at the story of Sodom and Gomorrah - Genesis 19 is one of the most commonly cited of the half-dozen anti-homosexual "clobber" passages in the Bible.

    Unfortunately, the real names of Sodom and Gomorrah were not preserved. Sodom was derived from the Hebrew word "S'dom," which means "burnt." Gomorrah is derived from the Hebrew word "'Amorah," which means "a ruined heap." These appear to be place names which were assigned after their destruction and were not their original names.

    Genesis 19 is totally unrelated to consensual same-sex sexual behavior. It is obvious that Lot wanted to protect the angels from the city mob. The people of Sodom, having recently been under attack by foreigners, might have been worried that the angels were really military spies. The mob might have wanted to humiliate the strangers with homosexual rape which is as abhorrent as heterosexual rape. The male-on-male rape that the angels were threatened was not a act of romatic attachment or lust; it was a common method of humiliating men in that era. Lot indicated in Genesis 19:7 that whatever the mob intended to do to the angels, it was "wicked."

    bulletD. Bartlett: "Many of the Bible's stories don't mean what they seem on their face. Many mainstream scholars say it [the Genesis passage] is about hospitality and how to deal with the messengers of God. If it does refer to homosexual behavior, it's homosexual rape. They don't just want to lie down with them voluntarily; they want to rape the angels."
    bulletR Kimelman: "In the Mideast then, once a man has entered into your home, your responsibility to his protection is your primary moral obligation, even if it's at the expense of your own daughters. The Bible is recording a story; it is not mandating behavior."
    bulletJ.K. Nelson: "If you read it literally, in its English translation, without considering its context, one could say the Bible condemns homosexual activities. When we look at the Bible and try to draw moral rules for living, but we take it out of the context of the time when they were written, we do them a great injustice."

    Awesome Question!

    Thursday, July 28, 2011

    How Do You Interpret Scripture & Approach The Bible?

    How do you interpret the Bible? Do you take an analytical approach to the text? Do you take a holistic approach to the text? Do you take a literal approach to scripture? Do you just see scripture as something to prove your opinions or views on different topics? Is it important how people approach the Bible? Is everything in the Bible to be taken literally? Why or why not? Is there danger in using scripture to prove points of a opinions? Why or why not? Is there more than one way to approach scripture? How do you approach the text? How should we?

    What do you think?
    Share your thoughts.
    posted by preacherman @ 9:40:00 AM

    I thought this was an awesome question... personally, here is my answer, and part of it stems from last night's bible study class:

    Awesome question. I try to take a literal approach to the bible (in order to avoid twisting & misinterpretation of the text). When I study I do a comparative study - I have the Access Study Bible (NRSV), my KVJ, and I have a free download version of a interlinear greek/hewbrew bible. I'm just beginning my study... I try to follow this outline for an unbias study:

    I don't know if scripture should be used to prove our opinions. Christianity is just a religion, created by man, divided many times over... the Bible was penned by man, I do not think it is without error 100%. The ONLY version that may be the actual inspiration of God is the original hewbrew & greek texts... but even that is speculation (in my opinion.)

    What I take from my faith and from the Bible is this: We should live our lives as morally as we can and follow Christ's example. We should show God's love - not judgment and condemnation. We shouldn't focus so much on fixing other people's lives, but instead fixing/working on our own lives. LEAD BY EXAMPLE.

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    Take Care of God's Temple

    We know the devil will do whatever it takes to discourage us from doing what pleases God. So if you get someplace and are faced with difficulty and maybe even some less than welcoming words, remember that you must be in the right place to do God's work, because the devil is trying to get you to leave. I've dealt with this a lot - instead of finding encouragement, I've found discouragement in places that I didn't expect it. But we are all human, and even our camp and church is run by humans! The devil uses whatever he can to try and pull us away from God's will...

    Hi! I'm Sarah. I'm 5'4" and 99 lbs... I just joined the exercise group at church. What could I possibly have to lose at an exercise group? Nothing, but I have a lot to gain! *I'm so punny...*

    We should always take care of God's temple. Our body is the literal, physical temple of the holy spirit. Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.”The Jews replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. John 2: 19-21

     My poor temple may look healthy, but it is falling apart! I've been very out of shape since the birth of my children. Sure the baby weight just fell off, but the muscle and strength didn't instantly return. I have to build it back. People always ask why I worry so much about eating healthy or want to exercise (like a skinny person doing this is just wrong...) I know heavy people don't like being stereotyped, and well neither do I. I have every right to want to be healthy. Just because I can go eat literally anything and not gain a pound doesn't make it any more healthy for me to constantly eat McDonald's, fried foods, greasy foods, etc all the time.

    People get just as much crap these days for being skinny, as other people do for not. I've dealt with crap all my life for being a toothpick. But you know what, God made me. He made you. He made us all who we are! SO THANK HIM FOR IT. And take care of what he gave you!

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    Our Underappreciated Savior

    Matt 26:67 Then they spat in His face and struck Him with their fists; and some [f]slapped Him in the face,(C)

    "We all face bitter experiences... it is actually a blessing to be under-appreciated - Jesus was the most under appreciated Savior but those who had open hearts saw Him for who he is and this is a growing experience, as frustrating as it might be. God will vindicate you if you just leave it in His hands and soak in His presence as much as you can, and the bitterness will be replaced with His hand-print. "

    This was a wonderful response I got from a fellow sister in my Christian Mom's forum. It was a great reminder that the work of a disciple is never easy. We will face trials, and hurts. We will be spat on and slapped in the face. 

    Discouragement is the devil's best weapon. He is out to destroy us and to make us grow weary...

    Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 

    2 Thessalonians 3:13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.

    I do not know what is to happen next, but I do know that God will guide us and that if we are patient, he will show us the way.  

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    The Only Blood Thicker than Water is Jesus'

    This week has been a struggle. The devil seeks to attack anything that is done in God's name. I've had to face some pretty harsh realities in my own life this week... blood is not thicker than water. Accept for Jesus' blood. The blood that was shed covers all. It forgives all, even if other people don't.

    Growing up I dealt with issues of being accepted. I consider myself a pretty strong person with all I've gone through in life, but I can be broken. And this week my heart has shattered. I looked forward to this particular week all year, ever since last July. As it got closer things started to arise that discouraged me, and I tried to not let them deter me. I put them on the alter last Sunday morning and asked God to take care of them.

    I've wanted so badly to grow certain relationships in my life, but it's hard to strengthen relationships when the other party doesn't want to do anything more than talk about you behind your back. My life wasn't perfect when I came here, but everyone has pasts. I think I've done a pretty darn good job turning things around, but some people will never get over the way things used to be. I think either way I can't please them... maybe it is jealousy of who I've become, and the relationships I've grown since my total 180. But it's hard to say for sure. To me it is sad that instead of trying to grow closer, they'd just rather push me further away. I'm still not perfect, but I know how hard I try, I know my heart, and most important I know that God knows my heart.

    A lot of things that have happened this week and weekend have forced my hand. My husband and I have some pretty tough decisions to be made in the near future. But I believe God has brought us to this point, and will lead us into the future unknown.

     To the people I love dearly, what is coming soon it has nothing to do with you, and I hope it doesn't change anything with any of you. This is a very hard move to make. Part of me wants to stay where we are at, there are a lot of people there I love & that I know care about our family a lot, but at the same time there is a lot of crap going on that I think it would be best that we move on.

    This isn't set in stone yet - I'm going to give God some time to show me the way to go.

    Godly men stick up for people, not make fun of them.
    Godly men honor women, not belittle them. 
    Godly men love their gay and lesbian neighbors, not ridicule them. 
    Godly men celebrate femininity, not trash it.
    Godly men own their sexuality, not flaunt it. 
    Godly men pursue peace, not dismiss it. 
    Godly men rise above violence, not glorify it. 
    Godly men build up the Church, not embarrass it. 
    Godly men imitate Christ—who praised the gentle and the peacemakers, who stood up for the exploited and abused, who showed compassion for the downtrodden,  who valued women, and who loved his enemies to the point of death.