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Archive for April, 2009

A Prayer for Today

woman-praying

“O Lord and Master of my life, cast away from me the spirit of laziness, idle curiosity, love of power and vain talk.

But grant me, Your servant, the spirit of moderation, humility, patience and love.

Yes, Lord and King, grant me to see my own faults and not ot judge my brothers and sisters.

For You are blessed forever.  Amen.”

~ The Prayer of St. Ephraim the Syrian

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Because I made the offer at another blog, I thought I’d make an actual thread where people could ask questions of Jennifer and me.  We’re both somewhat outspoken (me more than Jennifer), and welcome the chance to clarify our thoughts for anyone sincerely interested in knowing what they are.

So here’s your chance.  Comments will remain moderated, please see our comment policy.  We don’t filter comments just for disagreeing with us.

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I’m a working mom.  I work inside the home and I work outside the home.  And I can tell you that, by far, the harder job is the one inside the home.  At least for me.  Because of the field I work in outside the home, I work every other weekend.  God gave us a day of rest, but the sick don’t get that day of rest from their illnesses, or their recovery.  And so, even on the Lord’s Day, I go to work.

So, I’m in the car, watching the raindrops on my windshield, and I’m thinking about the book I’m reading, Passionate Housewives Desperate For God.  I’m only on the second chapter, so I’m not going to begin discussing my thoughts or conclusions (I will later, I promise), but I will say that I’m thinking a lot.

In recent weeks I’ve tried to stand up for what I believe in.  I haven’t felt like I was taking sides, nor giving up my stance on issues I think are important.  Still, I’ve had my character, intergrity, and even my intelligence questioned for it.  And I’ve been trying to think how I can apply the lessons I’ve learned (from this and other experiences) to my character.  Then it hit me.  I had a moment of clarity.   I dont’ have to.

I don’t have to refine myself.  I don’t have to look for, or work, to keep figuring out how to adjust myself, refine myself, into being a better person.  If I could do that work myself, I wouldn’t need Jesus.  I can‘t do it.  I can’t make myself a better person.  I can’t fix me.  I’m broken.  But God can do it.  I suddenly realized that if I keep doing my best to throw everything I am, everything I have, into serving Him and doing His will, if I can put everything into service for my God and for my neighbor, He will refine me.     I have wasted too much time trying to figure out how to make myself a better person while neglecting the work that He has requested of me.  What a waste!  Of course, that’s just like me, thinking I know best, or can do better.

That, of course, ties into the other thing that has become clear to me over the last couple of days.  I have, not nearly enough, humbled myself before my God and asked His forgiveness for the sin in my life.  So I prayed, really prayed, and felt truly refreshed and ready to go and do.  God willing, I will keep to His path and not my own.

Please pray for me if you would.  Standing firm in ones convictions, and living out the truth as we understand it sometimes takes more strength than we realize.  I could always use the help and support.  While I’m thankful for a God who will never leave me alone, I appreciate very much the prayers of my brothers and sisters.

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Four Days of Crazy

51b216vpp6l__ss400_copy1I haven’t been around much lately as life has, once again, taken over.

The past four days have been insane.  Wednesday morning, I watched my niece (3 months) and nephew (2.5 years) for a few hours.  My MIL picked them up and I then took my kids over to her house so they could continue to play with their cousins.  I got Starbucks, came home and worked for an hour.  Back to MIL’s to watch the kids while she took niece to her mommy for nursing.  Worked some more.  My husband came by for his change of clothes.  I cleaned out the old car that we were planning to sell that day.  MIL came back.  Husband and I grabbed a quick bite to eat and drove an hour to go buy our minivan and sell our previous car.  MIL watched the kids.  We knew exactly what we were buying.  The credit was already run.  Everything was in order and it still took us 2.5 hours at the dealer.  Bought coffee.  Drove home.  Showed the car to interested family.  Put kids to bed.  Went to bed myself.

Couldn’t sleep to save my life.  Tried several different sleeping spots (bed, couch, chair)… nothing helped.  Finally got a few hours after husband left for work at 4:30 am.

Thursday.  Cleaning up from Wednesday.  Visited my mom.  Bought coffee.  Drove down to office (I work from home as I have time, but had to visit the office for a meeting).  Stopped at Target before work.  Worked 2 horus at office.  Bought my grandma Long John Silver’s and visited car dealer to find out what the heck is up with the registration on the car.  Drove back to mom’s.  Hung out with mom, grandma, sister and kids.  Drank more coffee.  Rested.  Ate.  Drove home.  Put kids to bed.  More pickup.

Both kids woke me up twice in the night.  Very little sleep… again.

Friday.  Spent the morning cleaning house and clearing out the space where the cable guy would need to work.  Worked HARD!!  Felt great.  House looked good.  Worked.  Cable guy arrived- said it would take one hour… it took six.  Got kids dressed for professional photographer visit.  Sent husband and kids off with photo-man because presence was still needed in home.  At the end of the photo shoot, everyone came back and I went out to pick up dinner.  Ate.  Kids to bed.  Husband and photo-man (family friend), went out for a beer. I set my no-knead sourdough bread for the 18 hour rest.  I watched an old movie that was a favorite of mine in high school.  Hung out with husband.

Could not sleep.  Daughter invades bed.  Son wants to invade a little later, but instead comes out with me on the couch.  No room for both of us.  I retreat to the bed once again.  Sleep eludes me, but finally takes over.

Son wakes me up too early today.  Again.  (When will I learn that he will always wake up at 6:20 on the nose???)

Saturday.  Cleaning.  Putting house back together is on the agenda.  Instead, errands get run.  Visited Goodwill to drop off clothes.  Bought family fun pastries for breakfast.  Cleaned kitchine while husband went to school.   Set up sourdough for the final rise.  Fingers crossed that it will work!!  Husband comes home.  Family runs errands to Costco, Kohls, and Target.  Daughter naps.  I don’t feel well and rest.  Husband makes Mac and Cheese for son.  I bake the sourdough while husband takes son to Fry’s to get something for the computer.  I try to chill because I still don’t feel well.  Sourdough bread is a success!  First time ever!!!!  Husband comes home.  Am advised that I need to bring a salad and the birthday cake for MIL’s birthday tomorrow.  Run off to store for ingredients.  Come home.  Realize have forgotten one ingredient.  Take daughter and go back.  Buy coffee.  Buy missing ingredient.  Come back.  Get dinner on table for family.  Put kids to bed.  Make cake and bake.  Pick up kitchen.  Pick up living room.  Take cakes out of oven.  Blog for a break.

Still on the agenda for tonight: Finish kitchen.  Try to work.  Go to bed before 1am.

I realize that this blog post is just a bit short of ridiculous, but I wanted to give an explanation for where I’ve been.  I can barely keep my eyes open at this point, but what is left to do really cannot wait!

Something has become clear to me in the past few days- I can’t continue my part time work and successfully run this house.  I do the work either really early in the morning or late at night after all the chores are done.  Occassionally, I do it during the day.  Whenever I work, its during a downtime- one of those rarities in the life of a mother of young children.  Do I really want to be answering emails and making databasse updates during that time?  I could be reading my new biography of John Calvin or catching a cat nap!  That part has got to go.

I did forget how physically demanding SAHM’ing is.  This stuff is kicking my butt!  And I love it!!!

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A Cute Kid Story

2together_church_front1 I have a cute kid story for this morning… Who remembers “Davey and Goliath”?  Its this show that the ELCA produced a long time ago.  We used to watch it every week and loved it.  My mom gave my kids a DVD of old episodes in their “treat bags” yesterday when we left her home.  I put it on this morning for old time’s sake.   The theme song is “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” played with trumpets.  My son heard that theme, pointed to the TV and shouted “CHURCH!”  (Not the TV show, but the song… )

I’m one proud Reformed mama this morning 🙂

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Servant Leadership

So, I’ve had a rough day today.  Between a cold, sick cranky kids, no energy, and a power outage, I pretty much began and ended my day with ice cream.  What can I say, I’m pregnant, when else can I get away with this?  So, tonight, I was thinking about what Patriarchy means and how those involved in the movement see it.  I understand that there are things we disagree on, but what do we have in common?

I found a description of Christian Patriarchy here on Mike’s Blog:

What exactly is Christian Patriarchy anyway? I’ve heard some crazy ideas about people’s misconceptions of what that term entails. They speak of men with harems, utter despots in their homes waiting for their wife and children to wait on them hand and foot. I’m not sure where they get their information, but that is certainly not Christian Patriarchy. Christian Patriarchy is simply “servant leadership.” It is a man sacrificing his own hobbies and interests, his own “life of luxury” for the good of his family. It is a man who will not only die for his family if necessary, but he will daily die to his own selfish desires in order to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. He is a manly man who will protect his family from an evil world, while bathing them in the truth of scripture. A Christian Patriarch does not dishonor his wife. Rather, he loves her more than himself. True Christian Patriarchy emulates Christ. Is Christ our leader? Certainly. Does He set rules for His family? Absolutely. Is He a tyrant walking all over His subservient family? God forbid such blasphemy.

I can get behind that idea!  Isn’t that what a lot of us believe?  I wrote the following in this blog post about the Bayly brothers and their idea of “Wooing as Warfare

When my husband and I married, I was not conquered by an enemy as an act of war. I chose, as an act of love, to submit myself to my husband who is my best friend. In return he must submit daily, both to the Lord, and to the needs of this family. As Christ leads the church with the spirit of a servant, so must my husband sacrifice to the needs of the family, which come before his own.

Every day, as an act of love we continue that submission, me to him, him to Christ and to the responsibility of his position. He and I are on the same team, following the same path, and it is my great honor to assist him in that position which brings him closer to God.

If Patriarchy is a husband’s authority and is based on servant leadership, an idea that I can totally get behind since I see it every day in my own marriage, then perhaps where are disagreements lie are in how to carry out that submission and servant hood toward one another.

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Teachings or Teachers?

Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer,he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.

1 Timothy 3:1-7

We’ve talked a lot about teachings here on The White Washed Feminists.  We’ve discussed teachings with which we agree and with which we don’t.  One thing I don’t think we’ve discussed is how to judge the teachers.

Being me, and knowing what kind of readership we have, I first went to the bible to look at who should be our leaders.  In addition to the scripture above, I also found the following charge to Titus:

An elder must be blameless, the husband of but one wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. Since an overseer is entrusted with God’s work, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. Rather he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

Titus 1:6-9

I can easily see how to apply these scriptures to our local church, but many of us are taking knowledge from all kinds of sources, not always local, not always known to us.  So how do we determine whether or not these leaders are capable of teaching us?  Truly, I’m not sure we can.  There may be a divorce we’re unaware of (which is not a deal breaker for me, but may be for some people), perhaps they have an unruly child, perhaps there is some other impediment to their claiming authority that we have no knowledge of.  And how could we?  We will simply never have access to that kind of information no matter what we read on the internet.

My question then became, if we can’t judge the rightness of a Pastor or teacher because they are not in our local church or not known to us, must we then discard the teaching?  In my opinion, no.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,”

2 Timothy 3:16

If we can’t know the person who teaches, at the very least we can test everything against scripture (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22).  If the teaching is right, and can be backed up by scripture, then we can have every faith in it, even if it turns out that the one who taught it shouldn’t be teaching.  And if it is wrong and can’t be backed up by scripture, then we have every right not to accept it, even if it’s coming from someone with authority.

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!

Galatians 1:8

This topic, of course, has arisen because of a recent discussion in which I was engaged where the character of a minister and his wife has been publicly questioned.  I do not know the people involved.  I don’t know the accuser and I don’t know the accused.  How can I rightly judge?  And even if the accusations are completely valid, should I disregard any good teachings because of it?

I truly believe that when we are questioning the character or integrity of a fellow believer, it should be done with much care and caution.  A reputation is often hard to repair, even when charges are false.  And I don’t think one becomes less deserving of that caution, care, consideration, charity, or the protection of their fellow Christians just because they’ve started a blog, written a book, begun a ministry, or become a Pastor.  In fact, I think they deserve it more.  Which isn’t to say that character is not important.  It is!  But if we’re going to share information that relates to the character of someone else, we should be prepared to show evidence that the claim is valid.

Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

James 4:11-12

Look, I’m not an expert.  I don’t claim to be right about everything.  These are just my thoughts as I’ve had them, and where I’m at now.  I trust that there are those more experienced and wiser than I who may differ with me greatly in their opinion on this topic.  But I feel that I can not go forth and live the gospel without charity and a pretty large helping of humility (often served to me by the wonderful online community).

I wouldn’t want people believing the worst of me without evidence, and thus I feel I must extend that same courtesy to others.  And if I am unable to judge the character of those whom I’ve never seen and never met, I will instead judge what they say and what they teach by the standard I know will never fail me and never let me down.  That of Holy Scripture.

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.

Psalm 119:105

Cally’s note: The integrity of the  life and ministry of the people in question is VERY important to us as it should be. We’ve said time and again that public teachers should be willing to stand up to scrutiny of their private lives because of the Scriptural standards placed on the teachers of God’s people. The circumstances in question are relevant to the discussion.  What we object is the “take my word for it, I have evidence” defense.  We feel that it undermines the integrity of the discussion to expect others to believe us just because we say so.  And the integrity of the discussion means everything.

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