The New Church Lady

Weightier Matters

LAST AND FINAL CALL!

One of my pet peeves regarding travel is the “last and final” call. First, I hear: “This is the last and final call for ABC Airlines flight 123 with service to XYZ. Doors will close soon.” And then, five minutes later, I hear, “Last and final call for ABC Airlines flight 123 to XYZ. Doors are closing and you will be left.” And then, about two minutes later, “This is the last and final…” And possibly the call will go out a few more times yet.

Really?! How many “last and final” calls are there? And why is it “last AND final?” Wouldn’t either last OR final work? Eventually, I guess they actually do shut the doors and take off. Hopefully, the tardy passengers hear the call and hustle over to their plane.

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I BLAME AMERICAN AIRLINES

If we are being honest, it all started with American Airlines taking out just another two inches between rows so they could have an additional row of seats to sell. But on my recent trip for work, I was concerned that it might end up in a fist fight between the guy in the seat to my right who tried to stop the guy in front of him from leaning back before the flight even took off and the guy in front trying to lean back too early. There were words exchanged, but, thankfully, my neighbor quickly gave up and accepted the inconvenience of having this guy lean back into his space and doing it before the flight even took off. 

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Hold Me

On a recent trip home from Kansas, the interstate went from a quick means of travel to a parking lot in an instant. As I crept forward at a snail’s pace, my mind began to dance with thoughts of irritation on how a trip that should be a short and sweet seven hours was going to take me well beyond that if this traffic kept up. Luckily my temperament was buffered by the grace of a strong signal from my favorite Contemporary Christian music station.  As I hummed along with Casting Crown’s song “Just be Held” for the fourth time that day, the lyrics suddenly spoke to me in a way that previously had not. 

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TACVB – THAT ADVISES CHRISTIANS VERY BEAUTIFULLY

Do you look at life differently than those around you? Are you always seeking knowledge and understanding of the better way – even in non-church, non-Bible-study, everyday situations? Me too. Sometimes I am amazed at how a presentation on branding your business will give me ideas about the Christian brand and how to represent it. Or how principals on advertising will apply to how I should “advertise” Jesus to the world.

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WHO DID WHAT WITH WHOM?

My husband tells me that I have a pronoun problem – that is, I get so wrapped up in telling a story, where I clearly know who did what, that I will throw around pronouns with abandon and without making it clear which she did what thing with whom. [Just FYI, my sister never has a problem following. But, then, that is a classic difference between men and women.]

 

I may have that in common with Luke. In Luke 5:1-9, we read the author’s telling about the calling of James and John, the sons of Zebedee, and Simon Peter. Who is doing what is pretty clear until you get about verse 5, but please read the entire passage (v. 1-9) before moving on in this blog.

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BLINDED BY THE LIGHT

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band had a hit song in 1977 called, “Blinded By TheLight.” It was written and originally recorded by Bruce Springteen, but Manfred Mann’s version was the hit. The chorus goes like this: “Blinded by the light. Revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night.” 

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I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING!

Last week, Miss Cleo died and I wondered, “Did she see it coming?” Did she predict the day and hour of her death or was it a complete surprise?

Youree Dell Harris became famous in the 90’s as Miss Cleo – the spokeswoman for the Psychic Friends Network. She died of cancer on June 26, at the age of 53. She claimed to be have been born in Jamaica and to be psychic. She was born in Los Angeles. And yet folks still believed she could see, and tell the truth about, the future.

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WHY “SUBMIT” DOESN’T ALWAYS WORK

I am not fond of the word “submit” – not fond at all – at least in certain circumstances. But let me back up a bit before explaining why and when I prefer a different definition.

After instructions to husbands and wives in Ephesians 5:22-31, Paul finishes by saying in verse 32: “This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”

The thing is, when it comes to the role of husband and the role of wife, we have a perfect example of how to live out the role of husband in a marriage.

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ATTICA! ATTICA!

In the 1975 movie Dog Day Afternoon, Sonny, the character played by Al Pacino, supposedly to call attention to the aggressiveness of the police force outside the bank where he was holding hostages and evoking memories of what some considered the excessive use of force by the police in response to the 1971 prison riots in Attica Prison, begins chanting “Attica! Attica!” It has become a chant that has, since that first incident in Dog Day Afternoon, been used in pop culture to represent perceived oppression in TV shows from SpongeBob SquarePants to House

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HOLEY, WHOLLY, HOLY

We are holey. The truth is that we have a lot more in common with Swiss cheese than we might like to admit. No offense to Swiss cheese.

HOLEY – As one of my previous blogs outlined, we were created incomplete – with spiritual empty space to be filled by the Holy Spirit. But it doesn’t end there. For example: Adam was created to need a “help meet” – a partner, suitable for him. God didn’t create Adam and then say, “Oops, he is missing a part.” No, God knew Adam was incomplete when alone and God had a plan to fill that empty space with the marriage relationship.

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GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

“On an island off the coast of The Bronx in Long Island Sound, unmarked stones rest atop mass graves showing where one plot ends and another begins. Each plot contains 150 bodies. This is New York's potter's field, one of the largest cemeteries in the United States where the unclaimed dead, the unknown and the very poor have been laid to rest for more than a century.” 

This quote is from a July 2 Reuters article written by Laila Kearney. The article was written becausethe Hart Island potter’s field cemetery (which was purchase by the city in 1868) is now fully open to the public, where previously they were not allowed.

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WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!

To me, there are some real head-scratchers in the Bible – those “what WERE you thinking?” moments that God does not really explain for us. 

Take Lot for example. He had an angry crowd outside is door, demanding he turn over the strangers he was hosting. “No can do,” says Lot, “but, hey, I’ve got two virgin daughters you can have, if you want, instead.” What WAS he thinking?

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I KNOW MY RIGHTS!

On June 13, 1966, the Supreme Court issued its landmark Miranda vs. Arizona decision, ruling that criminal suspects must be informed of their constitutional rights prior to questioning by police. 

That’s right, for the last 50 years, every time someone got arrested on TV you heard those Miranda Rights that begin with “You have the right to remain silent. If you give up that right, anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law…”

Our rights are very important to us in the USA. We exercise our right to vote. We protect our right to keep and bear arms. We definitely prefer rights over rules. Maybe this is true of citizens of other countries as well. 

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NOT PLAYIN’ WITH A FULL DECK?

You’ve probably heard it said of someone who makes a lot of bad decisions, or has some crazy beliefs, or who has very little common sense: “He/she isn’t playing with a full deck.” And, if you are in the South, it was probably followed by “bless his/her heart!” 

Truth is, none of us start out with a full deck, spiritually speaking. In fact, God was well aware that He was creating us to be incomplete, not all there, a few nuggets short of a Happy Meal. He created us missing a piece that we need to live complete lives and He bids us to come and receive that piece directly from Him.

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THE ULTIMATE SMACK-DOWN GRUDGE MATCH

I’ve only watched a handful of wrestling matches in my life. I know some people love them. My favorite was a live amateur event at a local community center, where you could clearly see that the punches being thrown were not connecting with the opponent’s face. I think they wore masks to hide the fact that they were laughing when they should have been looking tough.

Christians wrestle – with or without the tights and capes and masks of the WWE.

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MOM, MOM, MOM, MOMMY, MOMMY, MOM...

Haven't all of us mothers been victims of that chant when we just couldn't get to a child as fast as they want us to or maybe when they are up at 6:00 am and ready for pancakes on a day when you hoped to sleep in a bit?

God is our Father. Christ is our Brother and Betrothed. Where is Mom? What is she doing? Let's talk about that.

Motherhood is the ultimate roller coaster, isn't it? Great joy, paralyzing fear, heart-busting pride and nail-biting worry. Or maybe your faith was/is such that you never feared or worried or your child's behavior was such that motherhood was all pride and joy for you. If so, congratulations and please skip the next two paragraphs ofthis blog to save me the embarrassment of what I am going to confess. 

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TOMMY CAN YOU HEAR ME? HOORAH!

I was recently searching for video of people singing the praise song “Days of Elijah” (written by Francis Robert Mark) to show it to my husband. I want to add it to our selection of praise songs for our band, but I knew if I just sang it for him he would not get the real beauty of the song. 

The most enthusiastically performed version that I could find was a video of US Marines in fatigues singing it. I have no idea if they were stationed far away or just on base at home. However, as Marines do, they added their own piece to it – “Hoorah!” “Lift your voice – Hoorah! – It’s the year of Jubilee. Out of Zion’s Hill salvation comes.”

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JONAH SHOULD WALK A MILE IN MY FOUR-INCH STILETTO RED SUEDE PUMPS

This is a reflective season for those of us who keep the Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread. In preparation for the Passover we reflect on the amazing and undeserved sacrifice of the perfect Lamb of God. For the Days of Unleavened Bread we think about the sin that remains in our lives and strive to remove it as well as removing the leavening from our homes. At the foot-washing ceremony, an important part of the Passover service, we recommit ourselves to serving our fellow man. 

I also usually get a pedicure as part of my preparation, just so my calluses and dry feet don't tear up the hands of the person washing them.

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IS SINK OR SWIM MY ONLY OPTION?

I don't know about you, but for me it can sometimes be very difficult to let go and let God take care of things. Even when I have "given it to" God in prayer, I can lay awake at night taking it back to worry over the situation some more. 

Society tells us that we can and should be masters of our own destinies, and our own human nature confirms it. We want to feel the empowerment of doing it ourselves from the time we are little and first tie our own shoes. 

The stakes are even higher we feel like we are drowning or that someone we love is drowning - overwhelmed by grief or fear or pain or sickness or other suffering. We think "if I don't swim (that is, if I don't take action and do something), I will drown.

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THE PERSPECTIVE OF ESCHER

 

In art, perspective has to do with the vantage point of the drawing or painting. M.C. Escher if famous for the way he bent perspectives in his artwork. (See “Relativity” http://www.mcescher.com/gallery/back-in-holland/relativity/ for an example.)

 

In life, my personal perspective can influence my judgement or cause me to look at things differently than others who’ve had a different life experience. For example, in my perspective of living in the United States, my family lived rather modesty on my father’s income with seven kids in the house a one point. I might even term us as poor. However, the fact that we had clean drinking water and an indoor bathroom and at least 7 pair of underwear at any given time made us very rich by the standards of the majority of children in this world. Much of the world would have an entirely different perspective of my life.

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