Friday, August 31, 2012

“The Church is a place of welcome and laughter, of healing and hope of friends and family and justice and new life. It’s where the homeless drop by for a bowl of soup and the elderly stop by for a chat. It’s where one group is working to help drug addicts and another is campaigning for global justice. It’s where you’ll find people learning to pray, coming to faith…finding new purpose, and getting in touch with a new power to carry that purpose out. It’s where people bring their own small faith and discover, in getting together with others to worship the one true God, that the whole becomes greater than the sum of it’s parts.”  ~ N.T. Wright

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

No Pit Too Deep

During World War II, Betsie Ten Boom, sister of (later) famous author Corrie Ten Boom, lay dying in a Nazi work camp. As she was dying she urged her sister Corrie to forgive those who were causing torture, pain and death. She wanted to infuse a dose of God's reality into Corrie's world view. Maybe my all-time favorite quote was Betsie's in that moment to Corrie. "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still." That, my friends, is the power of Jesus. Impossible love. Impossible grace. The Ten Boom story has shaped my life in Jesus for more than 30 years. Wherever you are today, however far you feel from God, remember: " There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Are you or are any of your friends walking a path of mourning right now? Here are some excerpts from a book called "The Handbook for Companioning the Mourner: Eleven Essential Principles":

Companioning is about being present to another person's pain; it is not about taking the pain away.

Companioning is about going to the wilderness of the soul with another human being; it is not about finding the way out.

Companioning is about honoring the spirit; it is not about focusing on the intellect.

Companioning is about listening with the heart; it is not about analyzing with the head.

Companioning means discovering the gifts of sacred silence, it does not mean filling up every moment with words. (I love this)

Companioning is about respecting disorder and confusion; it is not about order and logic.

Companioning is about learning from others; it is not about teaching them.

~these suggestions are good in friendship and ministry...whether it's dealing with grief or not! Thanks to Craig Fisher for sharing these with me last night. Blessings to you all!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Heavenly Gatherings

This October will mark 21 years since my father died. Over those years I have had maybe 3 or 4 dreams, vivid dreams, where my father visited me. These dreams are never about past events, they're always current. They've always been completely impacting. 

I remember the first one...3 years after he died while I was in a crisis of faith and performing on one of the Norwegian Cruise Line ships. In the dream he and I walked through a field and talked about life and doubt and faith. It rocked my world. 

It's been years since I've had another dream, even though I have longed to, but I did this past Saturday night. It was so real...hearing his voice, seeing his expressions, getting a hug. In this dream, we were in the town where my father is buried and after coming out of a store a car pulled up to the curb and Ronnie Lorenz who was one of Dad's best friends was driving and rolled down the window and said, "What do you think about this?!" Dad jumped out, grabbed me and hugged me. We laughed through tears. He wept as he met the kids and Sheryl and hugged them. It was all so real. I woke up very early Sunday morning and couldn't go back to sleep. My heart was beating 90 mph. I felt so excited. just made me long for the day when we're all together. Thank you, God, for allowing me to have that little taste of Heaven. 

Oh...and, um, this is awkward, but R2-D2 was also in the dream. Yes, R2-D2. The robot. I mean, did you seriously think my dad could come visit with me in a dream without there being some bizzare-o feature. :) 

Thursday, August 02, 2012

I Cannot Stay Silent

What a week this has been! And all over a fried piece of chicken and some waffle fries. However, if we step back a minute and look at the events of this week, it's pretty easy to see that in the end, the issue is not the issue. It's kind of like in marital counseling when a couple comes in who is at an impasse over a certain issue. Upon further examination or after a little digging you realize that the issues underneath "the issue" are really fueling the problem.

I have watched as Facebook went CRAZY this week with convicted people on both sides hurling insults, accusations, generalizations, etc. Then, interestingly, after the issues grew and morphed, many tried to come back and say...this is only about Dan Cathey's right to free speech. (As an aside, I support Dan's rights and his faith. I believe that he sincerely shared his heart and then his comments were used to fuel a war...for both left and right.) 

Here's where this all gets sticky. Yes, on some level this all began with Dan's right to share...which was not helped by the dumb mayors of Chicago and Boston. But it didn't end there.  And, unfortunately, the LGBT community weren't the only ones who made a big stink about it (as some have said). I'd say the responsibility went both ways. The religious right took all of this and used it just as much as the other side. And, perception is reality...especially when it comes to the way we love the LGBT community.

Whether we like it or not, this has turned into a we vs. they kind of deal. I wish you guys could be privy to my inbox today and the heart-wrenching conversations I've had with people...all who feel so hurt and angry over the hubbub yesterday...people who struggle, friends of people who struggle, parents of kids who struggle...all feeling so frustrated, hurt, irritated, etc. It may have started out to be about civil liberties but isn't it funny how when it's YOUR civil liberties in question it feels justifiable to rant?  

The bridges to the LGBT community have been blown to Hell so many times (and I mean that literally) by well-intentioned Christians that it's barely able to be navigated anymore. We have such a LONG way to go in communicating love to that community and we are at such a deficit with them already that anything that smacks of us against them is hurtful...even under the most innocent of motives. 

I am attaching a link here that has been widely circulated and as Lynn Anderson has said, is one of the most thoughtful responses to this whole event. Chic-Fil-A entry 

I know Brent Bailey well. He is a Godly man who is struggling with his own brokenness and desires and who wants to live a life that is pleasing to God (as we all hope to). He never chose to feel the things he feels. He's merely seeking to know how to honor God as he works out all of those things. Imagine being in his shoes and reading posts like the ones that "well meaning" Christians have posted over the last 24 hours. No wonder so many people in the LGBT community won't set their feet anywhere near a church building. 

Dan Cathey had a right to say what he did and I appreciate greatly his faith. But when forces outside his control took it over...on both sides...the issue was no longer the matter what we may think. And we, as true followers of God who are called to deeper things MUST learn to respond in love. Always. So, the arguments now about how this is not about gay's about religious liberties...don't mean a lot to me. I think it WAS about that in the beginning, but it morphed. (And not only because of rantings by the LGBT community...Christians too.) 

I deeply and profoundly appreciate my religious freedom, but I would always hope I could stand up for a person OVER my own freedom. It doesn't mean if you ate at Chic-Fil-A that you're bad...heck, I love their food! It just means that sometimes we have to take a deep breath and realize there is more at play here and that precious, precious souls are watching...waiting...wondering how the faith community will react. When already so wounded by churches, the lines are too easy to cross and it's OUR responsibility to discern those.