Emma, love, and faith the size of a mustard seed

For the past week or so, everyone that is kind enough to tolerate the sound of my voice has been hearing about little Emma and her need for prayer because she has been fighting for her life  as she battles a nasty virus. Although the doctors started sounding pessimistic about her recovery, Emma’s family never stopped believing their little girl could pull through this crisis. There are at least two things that give them strength to live such extraordinary faith; they are keenly aware that God can do anything and  their little girl fights like a Klingon warrior.

What fuels Emma’s fight?

Love, she is surrounded by the most amazing and sublime love and one more thing, she is loved for who she is and for whose she is not for anything she does.

I am still learning this lesson.

I am honored to be numbered among this family’s friends.

I ask anyone reading this to pray for Emma.

They can feel our prayers.

This week, we were at our small group meeting and one of the worship songs was the Revelation Song that is a beautiful song with a wealth of imagery. Color, for example, is “living color.” When I think of color being alive, the color is green because it is water and carbon dioxide, both  blue with the sun, which is yellow, providing the energy. When a seed is germinated, it is a little one lobed or 2 lobed leaf called a cotyleden.  This reminded me of the mustard seed which is very small. The Bible verse says that if we have a little bit of faith like that of a mustard seed, we can move mountains.

It doesn’t say you will every time but you can because nothing is impossible with God.

This is about forgiveness

It won’t surprise anyone that I was in church this morning.

It might surprise a few people that I paid attention. Emily and Frank Nefos preached together as a team and they related the story found in the last chapter of the Gospel of John in which Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him three times to address the three times Peter denied Jesus the night before He was killed.

Their message addressed the shame and guilt some sins cause and God’s capacity to forgive our sins.

Right afterward, we were worshiping and I got this word so I wrote it down and here it is….

Forgiveness is forward + giving = we can never pay God back for His grace and His great capacity to forgive and restore but God isn’t interested in us paying Him back, rather God wants us to pay it forward to give forward that which will never suffice going backward.

Plus, it really isn’t needed in that direction.

Think of this, think about how the world could change if we did this. An eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind but forward giving (forgiving) and paying grace forward would revolutionize how we relate to one another. 

“But I can’t forgive, I just can’t let go of what that horrid person did to me.”

We can’t and sometimes we can’t forget and we sure as hell deserve justice in this world and (and this is hugely important) we need to protect future victims from being similarly hurt but we still need to forgive the person because all of that held within our hearts is poison.

But I still can’t forgive.

Start by giving it to God, let God deal with it because God can handle it even when it is slowly sapping you of all your joy and strength but remember what forgiveness is and what forward-giving of God’s grace does to our spirits.

It is the difference between household pipes that are vessels of flowing fresh water and festering sewers filled with stagnant waste.

Why this straight Christian believes it is my duty as a Christian to advocate for gay rights



First, I identify as a straight not because I’m afraid you will mistake me for a lesbian but because I have straight white cis hetero privilege and I choose to use it to advocate for the recognition of the rights that those without my privilege possess. Note: I am not giving anyone their rights, such a concept is an oxymoron because if they are rights, people already possess them and it is up to the majority (gulp) like me to recognize for others that which we enjoy and take for granted for ourselves.

This goes for all civil rights period.

I bring up my status as a Christian because Christians have and continue to oppose rights for GLBT folks and this must be acknowledged and seeking forgiveness from the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities is the beginning of healing.

About twelve years ago, I was in a discussion with a friend who is lesbian and I was in a “Hate the sin but love the sinner” mindset and she was offended. She told me that I was hating part of who she was and therefore hating part of her. 

That really led me to examine my heart and seek out alternative perspectives on some Bible verses and without delving into the verses, suffice to say, there are alternative views on the usually cited verses but the important thing is that we, as Christians, serve as ambassadors for Christ and the primary message from Jesus Himself is the supremacy of love. 

If people look at me and see something else, I am focused on the wrong thing.

Against love, there is no law, with love, there are no limitations.

Thanks but No-thanks or why I’m not going to watch Ken Ham and Bill Nye debate evolution-vs-creationism


If you know me, you know that two of the most important things in my life are my faith and my love of science particularly life science.

You might also know that Bill Nye the Science Guy and Ken Ham (the fellow that is the force behind the creation museum where people and dinosaurs lived together).  It is only natural to think I would have watching this great debate on my agenda but you would be mistaken because I will not be watching this for several reasons. A few are as follows…..

These two men are basing their position using two different and opposing sets of rules. Creationism is part of Ham’s faith and hypothesis testing is central to Nye’s scientific method.  Evidence-based faith is an oxymoron and faith-based science is a contradiction of terms.

Although I am a Christian and believe that evolution is a fact, my faith is not affected by this nor does my faith hurt my ability to look unbiasedly at evidence.  Others do feel threatened, however, and I’m not sure a spectacle like this is the way to persuade someone that is afraid of what I consider the truth.

That’s enough for now but if you have anything to add, feel free to contribute.

There are three Greek words for life in the Bible

When I was a kid, I was told Eskimos (pardon to the First Nations peoples of the Arctic) have 20 words for what is snow in English.  The logical conclusion was that snow is a large part of these people’s lives and they need more descriptive and practical words for what all gets translated into the English word snow than some white kid living in the suburbs of Philadelphia.  Getting back to the point, the Bible has three Greek words for what is translated to “life.” I will not be studying the original Hebrew words right now but perhaps another time.

The three words are Bios, Psyche, and Zoe.

I have two degrees in Biology and a minor in Psychology so those two words have obvious English parallels but in my world, Zoe is a girl’s name.

Not anymore.

Bios, Psyche, and Zoe are like body, soul, and spirit.

Bios is our physiology, all the processes involved in maintaining homeostasis so we can stay alive. That is Bios; our physical life.

Psyche is our selves, who we are, our personality. Our being, Psyche, is our soul.

Finally, Zoe is our spirit, the part of us that is quickened when our soul reaches out to God. Zoe is our in God’s Image-ness and is the part of us that can’t live without God.

There are three types of live that correlate to the three types of love found in the Greek, eros (physical love) phileos (brotherly love or a reciprocal sort of love and agapos which is a pure love that is unconditional.

I am so blown away at the fact that some very fortunate things are alive which is why I love Biology. Psychos and Zoe, look out!

2013-10-24 19.44.50

CBMW, the word, role, and its misuses

traditional gender rolesstock-footage-rolling-a-joint-macro-shotdinner+rolls7 baby fat rolls<

First, there are rolls, which are yummy

If you're not careful, your dinner rolls will become fat rolls and that only looks cute on a baby

Then be careful to avoid rolling a joint that might get you jail time unless you live in CO or Oregon (or was that Washington state?)

I am not writing about recrational weed or about healthy eating but another role which is the traditional gender role-playing that patriarchal groups like CBMW pushes in their complementarianistic teaching that they have elevated to essential doctrine.

These people are quite fond of the term role and encourage their followers to fill the role that they were given (by God) but the typical archetype is an image from the 1950's, the image is invariably white, upper-middle class, and everybody is doing what he is expected to do (Note: there is no he or she because if you were doing something worth reporting, you were a male.)

Role is right up there on my gag me words along with Bitter (and its misuses.)

What should I expect from an org. like CBMW, if you get rid of the C at the beginning and the W at the end, you're left with BM at the center which is appropriate since CBMW is full of shit.

I have a suggestion, let people live their lives as authentic beings created in God's image instead of filling someone else's idea of what plastic role they should be play-acting like so many Stepford women.

Why this Straight Christian Girl Advocates for Marriage Equality


So I go onto Facebook and, Lo! and Behold! a controversy about marriage equity.

I am solidly and unabashedly on the side of equality for all that includes the right for my gay and lesbian friends to marry and I have a list of reasons why. This list will likely not be exhaustive so bear with me.

1) The law should apply to all.

2) Religious arguments should not impact secular law (1st Amendment.)

3) Extending rights to others does not diminish your own rights.

4) The extent to which the majority gives a minority group rights that they already possess reflects on the majority group.

5) We straights haven’t been doing such a great job of being married, why should we have exclusive rights to the institution?

The HA Team

The HA Team.

I find it interesting to experience homeschooling and conservatism from the perspective of the children who are now grown and discovering their voice both collectively and as individuals.

My Identity

garden in May 002My identity is in Christ

I am the first to admit I have gained an identity from certain qualities that I have either as personality traits or traits I developed over a lifetime of experience and hard lessons.
I feel myself slowly whittled away until the only thing that survives is my identity as a child of God trusting Jesus.
I suppose the last thing to go will be my sense of humor but that is almost extinguished by the process.
I had my first rejection and I am pretty convinced it is the first followed by the other four.
Harsh reality delivered by two mundane words; “Application Denied.” Just like that as though there was something deficient in me, not that they had so many qualified applicants and had to make difficult choices in this economy.
No ego-soothing, just denied.
I really wanted to go for my PhD but it seems as though that will be taken away. God has other plans for me. The words roll off the software and land on the word document looking shallow and contrived but I really do want to trust Him, and thus the battle between my ears begins in earnest.
God has other plans for me………rolling my eyes. What I’m actually thinking is yup, Deb will get the shitty end of the stick again.
I really need to trust God in this situation because He has been there for me up until now, His timing is exquisite, and He seems content to keep us guessing ‘till the last moment so I’ll hang on for dear life.
If I am completely rejected, I’ll find a job. Apparently, with my MS, I can make bank. I really don’t want to work for The Man and the last thing I need is to sell my soul to the corporate devil.
Although I would rather do meaningful research and make minimum wage just as long as I can pay off my loans.
Naturally, I’ll keep my readers updated.
Prayers and encouraging words are welcome.
Thanks ahead of time.
Everywhere and in all parallel realities, God is likely looking at me struggling in that temporal already but not yet paradox and I feel Him trying to tell me that it will be ok and I need to relax into it like I had to relax while I was in labor with my children and, since this is a realm outside of time-space, the manifestation of me that is already there is having a good laugh at my expense but she is welcome to the laugh because imagining that scene makes everything worth the trouble.

Bitter and male privilege

The word “Bitter” as used to dismiss women and advantage alpha males.

I highly admire Dee and Deb over at The Wartburg Watch and they generally allow a free flow of thought on their blog but they make a couple of rules to govern the general feel of the blog. As far as I know there is one word that is outright banned and it is, you guessed it, “Bitter.”

An excerpt of their rules

 “We believe certain words and phrases are overused and are intended to intimidate, dismiss, or diminish.(For example, “bitter”). They show a lack of original thinking and may be manifestations of brainwashing by certain abusive groups. In other words, they are BORING. There is a thesaurus function on your computer. Use it!”

Going to the thesaurus…..Skipping the words related to tasting…..Resentful (adj.) resentful embittered sulky cheated angry cynical indignant resigned (antonym) Moving to Unpleasant (adj.) Unpleasant acrimonious, nasty, vicious, hostile cordial (antonym) Very Cold (adj.) Skipping because this is an adj. for a brutally cold day such as we’re experiencing in the US Mid-Atlantic states as I type this post.

The following is an example of alpha males using the word dismissively (taken from TWW)

“Those most upset displayed to us anger or bitterness or hatred toward SGM and their former church leaders for events that took place ten to fifteen years ago. Some were so hurt or angry that they displayed tears, raised voices, clenched fists, and other physical demonstrations of anger. As we talked about bitterness or anger, several responded with raised or strained voices to our team members insisting that they were not angry or bitter.”

Ambassadors of Reconciliation Report (page 18)

Remember, these bitter people include people that were sexually abused or had children that were sexually abused whose cases were so poorly handled that there is a lawsuit against the people that *paid* the ambassadors of reconciliation to investigate the matter. (I would laugh if this wasn’t tragic.)

I generally love my husband but he has found his privileged male ass in hot water thrice over the use of the word Bitter as it relates to women who are aware of their mistreatment at the hands of the patriarchy.  The three times he stepped into the bitter quicksand are good illustrations of the nature of the way bitter is used by alpha males to dismiss a dissenting female voice and, therefore, I will relate his three bitter missteps.

The first incident relates to his grandmother who he regards (correctly so) as a “bitter old woman.” Did he ever wonder *why* Grandma Baker was a bitter old woman? Because her family paid for her sister’s college education and didn’t give her a penny toward anything and the sisters were both good students and both were worthy of extended education. Grandma Baker toiled away her entire life and worked her fingers to the bone to pave her three sons’ way to college. My father in law was Valedictorian of his graduating class and has his Masters degree.  Lets look at the thesaurus and behold, resentful (yes!) Embittered (shouldn’t be on the list) sulky (a tad), cheated (damn right), Angry (with good reason), cynical (perhaps) indignant (yup) and as for the antonym resigned (like a good submissive woman?) Hell no! She took all that pent up crap that was dumped on her and used the energy to help her boys get what was denied her! Viva la bitter!

The second incident was when I first told him of the lawsuit brought against various SGM leaders for their part (or neglect of) child molestation and child abuse cases.

His knee-jerk response was, “They’re (plaintiffs) being bitter, aren’t they.” Citing a Bible verse against lawsuits.

I was furious and didn’t hide it from him. I said, “Damn right they’re bitter over child MOLESTATIONS why should anyone not be bitter against people that had anything to do with the abuse of children.” He backed away and said, “I guess I don’t know enough about it to judge.” Spot on, but your knee jerk reaction was to suggest the people bringing about the lawsuit were bitter. THAT, my friends, is the privileged response of an alpha male that benefits from the patriarchy/complementarian paradigm.  (You don’t know how delighted I am that my spell check does not recognize the word, complementarian.) Note: He is disgusted by the abuse but some residual conditioning from that time period are still lurking in the marrow of his soul, I pray that it goes away completely.

The third incident was recent where he accused me of being bitter over a similar injustice. This was last week right after Dee and Deb banned the word from TWW. I told him that the word Bitter was a foul word that the alpha males of a fake Christian mindset use against those strong minded women that will not go down to subjugation without a fight (a fight to the bitter end, ha!) and that since it was a word used to demean others, is on top of my worst words list just like he hates the word, Fuck,  and forbids it from the household, Bitter (used in this context) is offensive to me so if he insists on calling me anything with bitter in it, I have some colorful adjectives that include the word, fuck.

I made my point and am not particularly worried about continued use of the word Bitter which is a much more satisfying and effective approach than being resigned to my fate.

john pavlovitz

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