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Showing posts from 2023

Taking Offenses

“I am so offended,” one of my freshman students called out after reading the introductory scene from  Romeo and Juliet . I can understand her feeling that way, as it is a particularly misogynistic scene. “You don’t get to be offended,” I replied to her. She looked at me haughtily, as if I can’t tell her what she can be offended by. “You see,” I continued, “you don’t get to be offended, because it wasn’t written to you, nor was it written about you.” I went on to tell her that she can most definitely find Shakespeare’s scene offensive—because it is—but she doesn’t get to be offended, because she cannot take it personally. A look of understanding slowly started to wash over her face. The entire classroom’s attitude shifted from feeling victimized by Shakespeare to understanding that the material is offensive, and therefore we can call it that and learn from it. However, all too often, we get offended by people’s words and actions, as if they were directed toward us.  Being offended is a

I’m Exhausted

Sometimes I just don’t feel like it. I don’t feel like rejoicing. I don’t feel like worshipping. I don’t feel like even talking to God. I’m tired. I’m physically exhausted. I’m emotionally exhausted. David felt this way, too. In Psalm 31, David talks about how exhausted he is. “I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and body with grief.” He goes on to say how he is like broken pottery, and people were conspiring to kill him. Does David give up? Does David languish in his agony? Over and over, David makes a conscious choice to praise God. He says repeatedly, “Bless the Lord, oh my soul.” As a kid growing up, I always thought David was “the worshipper,” so therefore he must have felt a deep connection to God all the time. But when you look deeper at the scripture, you’ll see that he is telling his very soul what to do. He isn’t just pouring out praises here. It is as if he is commanding his soul, “Hey, there David! You need to bless the Lord.” Our soul is comprised of

Godly Discipline

The biggest rock concert of my generation was RockFest '97. It featured just about every popular rock band of the 90's. More than 400,000 people crammed into Fort Worth's Texas Motor Speedway. The Nixons, No Doubt, Matchbox 20, Jewel, Bush, The Counting Crows, and more took the stage as the sun blazed in the Texas summer. Growing up in a conservative Christian household in the 90's, going to a secular rock concert was taboo. I knew my parents would never let me go, but I wanted to go more than anything. I told my parents that some friends and I were going to Six Flags over Texas, an amusement park about 45 minutes away. I thought it was the perfect cover--we would still be outside (that would explain the sunburn), and we could be gone all day.  As children of God, we don't get to sin and get away with it. In the book of Amos, Israel is prosperous and powerful. However, their hearts are not bent toward the Lord. They choose to disobey God’s commands and do as they pl

The Idolization of Intelligence

The greatest man I ever knew had an IQ of about 55. My Uncle Jeff had Down Syndrome, and he could never have had a philosophical conversation about the meaning of life. He could have told you all about Tom Landry and his Dallas Cowboys, though. There's no way he would have been able to solve an algebraic equation, but he could have told you all about the TV show HeeHaw. He couldn't have been able to process complex ideas, but he could tell you why Coca-Cola was the best drink ever made. He had none of the markers of "intelligence" we deem important in our society, but he loved Jesus, and he loved you.  His love was simple and pure. He didn't complicate his love with intrusive thoughts or overthinking. He never sat around worried what others thought about him. He just loved you. He wanted to talk to you and give you a hug. "All-right!" was a favorite word when he was excited. His sense of humor was unmatched. If you asked him if he was ready to go, he w

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Jesus Would Advocate for Civil Disobedience

In March, executive orders from governors across the country forced us to stay home, to close schools and churches and to shut down private businesses. Businesses were classified as either "essential" or "non-essential." All businesses deemed "non-essential" were forced to close. This included markets, clothing stores, boutiques, dine-in restaurants, and beauty salons. State parks, city parks, beaches, walking trails, lakes, and other wide open spaces were closed as well. Many people feel that the "social distancing," as it has come to be known, and stay at home executive orders violate their constitutional rights, such as our first amendment right to freely exercise our religion, our right to peaceably assemble, and that we shall not be deprived of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Some of the people who feel their rights have been violated have decided to exercise their First Amendment right to protest. Some have even chosen

Covert Red Flags: The Real Things You Should Be Looking Out For in Relationships

Your relationship with your spouse should be the closest human relationship you ever have. As we are dating, we are assessing whether or not that person could potentially fit into our inner circle. This causes us to be on high alert for red flags. Most red flags are obvious--lack of communication, anger issues, irresponsibility, controlling behavior, abuse, etc. A quick Google search will bring up list upon list of red flags we should look out for. Being rude to waitstaff, not making your relationship public, not caring about XYZ, stone walling, gaslighting, and more can all be found on most lists. But what about the covert red flags? Those things that are less obvious. My first marriage taught me to look out for the overt red flags like the ones found in every advice column. My second marriage taught me to look out for covert red flags, ones that I never even realized were red flags until I could look back. The entire time we dated, I kept looking for the overt red fla

Because of Who I Am

Someone posted on Facebook the other day the following: Why would you fight for someone who clearly doesn't want you? Please let them go. You are valuable, just not to them. I thought about it for a minute, because I indeed fought for my husband when he clearly didn't want me. I fought for our marriage, even when he had zero interest in making our marriage work. He had already checked out and told me point-blank that he just didn't want to work on our marriage, but yet I fought on my knees before the Lord. Throughout the first few months of our separation, I prayed day-in and day-out. I beseeched the Lord to intercede. I rebuked Satan, and I prostrated myself before the Lord God Almighty. I went to therapy, and I watched sermons online. I listened to every Jimmy Evans podcast I could find. I journaled and devoured God's Word. I wrote my husband scriptures and prayers daily. I soon filled a 100-page journal front and back. Shortly after he left in June