Archive for culture

On Painful Politics and Shaming

I watched the second Donald/Hillary debate and lived to tell about it. It was painful.

More painful was the banter on “social” media.

I saw people, Christians, {pastors even} claiming that if you vote for Trump (or Hillary–choose your side), you should hand in your Christian Card.

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Two frustrating aspects of social media right now:

  1. Christians who are questioning the legitimate-ness of another believer’s standing before Christ based on politics
  2. Christians who expect that others act/react/respond their way or, you guessed it, check your Christianity and be publicly shamed.

These things should not be.

Our hope is not in a world system. Our hope is in Christ and although we should vote responsibly, I doubt God would endorse turning inward on each other and biting and devouring one another.

He’s not surprised by any of this. God is actually able and willing to use wicked, sinful people to rule this world and He often has allowed that.

I understand that we are passionate about our positions and that’s a good thing. And passion, when driven by godly love and obedient actions, are a wonderful force for good.

But passion driven by anger or pride, that disregards God’s rules for speaking, acting, reacting and seeks to shut down and condemn another because they don’t agree is simply oppression.

May I just state something?

We don’t need to be the Thought Police AND we shouldn’t EXPECT that people react and respond to political events/news/media the way you do. And please forgo the public shaming.

Humility teaches us that we don’t know it all and shouldn’t insist on our own way.

Don’t project the wrongdoing of any candidate on me because you don’t like the response or lack thereof you are detecting from me.

Let’s give people the dignity to think for themselves, process in their own way, and respond or not.

Some of us choose not to publicly respond to the latest scandal and the media’s fear mongering because there’s wisdom in being quick to hear and much, much slower to speak, and even slower to become passionately angry and mouthy.

Isn’t it interesting how anger and corrupting speech walk hand-in-hand so often? And don’t you see so much of that this election cycle?

I’ve had the good fortune to be surrounded by wonderful people who respect my opinion especially when it comes to areas where we are not on the same page.

I have friends who are more passionate about certain social issues than I am, and God has given them “fire” in their belly to advocate for said causes in ways I never could.

It’s contagious to be around them.

It’s inspiring to be with them, and spending time with them makes me more compassionate and aware of their causes.

But I NEVER feel condemned or in competition with them. I know that they are serving God with A SOVEREIGNLY GIVEN GIFT-SET complete with sensitivities, desires, opportunities, and awareness to impact that task right where they are.

When I have coffee with one, I am inspired to consider the homeless more than I do. Another, racial justice. Another, fostering. Another, the single moms in our area.

And isn’t this how it should be?

Should they be condemning me because I am not just like them and don’t act the way they think I should in these areas?

No, I should be passionate to do the tasks that God has gifted me to do and help the people in my sphere of influence. I can applaud them for their obedience and they can respect the work I am doing.

There’s no group think or shaming because love assumes the best and humility doesn’t put us up on a chair looking down judging others who are not meeting our expectations.

Friends, we need to set boundaries on our emotions especially in the areas where we are passionate. And when you think you are justified in your “righteous indignation” remember to adhere even more strictly to the commands of scripture when you begin to censure or judge others. Watch your words. Check the log in your own eye before you set out to judge the splinter in your brother’s eye.

We cannot allow what is big to us to become “the end all” and an excuse for poor behavior, corrupt speech, or spiritual abuse.

Jesus Christ is the end all. His Word rules the day. We follow His ways especially in areas of disagreement.

The world is watching. My kids are watching.

Don’t let pride fuel your words and actions. Don’t anesthetize your conscience into thinking that because you are decent and loving to 90% of the people, that God will overlook the 10% you are slamming, demeaning, or publicly embarrassing because you think you are right politically.

Never back away from a good chance to hold your tongue. Especially when you disagree. Pray before you respond.

“I feel a strong desire to tell you–
and I expect you feel a strong desire to tell me–
which of these two errors is the worse. That is the devil getting at us. He always sends errors into the world in pairs–pairs of opposites. And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse. You see why, of course? He relies on your extra dislike of the one error to draw you gradually into the opposite one. But do not let us be fooled. We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight between both errors. We have no other concern than that with either of them.” C.S. Lewis- Mere Christianity

 

State your positions in love. Forgo the arrogance and insults. Give the listeners the dignity of respect. Because in the end, your word represent you alone and you stand before God and answer for them.

Why the internet is wearing me down, and what I’m doing about it.

I have to be honest. This year, I’ve grown tired of the online world. I’m increasingly aware of the “rudiments of the world” that seem to stick into my heart and mind by what I see on Facebook, the news, and other social media and it’s wearing me down.

Before you think I’ve been indulging in smut online, let me tell you that I am not talking about overtly horrible stuff. We are super careful about what types of media enter our home. (Honestly, not all rated-G movies make it into our home, and I’m not kidding.)

So what’s going on?

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I think it’s pretty much the unintentional exposure to insults, foul language, derogatory talk, and constant cynicism, even within the Christian community. It’s like the Lord said that if you disagree with someone elses’s political standing then by all means–fire away your best insults and put downs in a public forum. And that’s just the language.

I’m tired of seeing things that contradict scripture brazenly posted by the people of God. I just am and I’ll leave it at that. I’m not saying that we all don’t have sin issues, we do. I do. But sin should be a source of remorse, not something shared for likes and public comment as though God thinks this is no big deal.

Are we too quick to be enamored with the world, with our stuff, other people, and our selves as though these sources are the well-spring of good gifts that come from God alone? Do we stay longer at the table of temporal delights because we believe they’ll deliver something we need like love, worth, happiness, or status?

Have we forgotten that every perfect gift is from above, from the faithful Father who never once changed in His aggressive, searching, seeking love for us?

Why do we go elsewhere again?

We’ve made big of sharing our story and we’re forgetful of the old, old story of Jesus and His redemptive, trans-formative love.

I don’t want to sound like the grouchy old lady, so I will just say that what I see affects me, so I shouldn’t  be at all surprised that this has taken a toll.

We all become like what we behold.

Your co-worker’s negativity drains you. Toxic people zap the life out of you. Print media in the grocery story. The fear-mongering news coverage. Podcasts. Cynical memes. Controversy, discord, feuds. It all changes you.

Thankfully, we know from scripture that something else changes us as well: looking into the mirror of God’s word.

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

2 Cor. 3:18

All this to say, a quick “devotional time” is not going to be any match for the drip, drip, drip of this world on the outside and the sin that lurks in our own hearts on the inside.

Not only do we need to be intentional about immersing ourselves in God’s word for cleansing and clarity, but we need to do more than just read. We need to cultivate our love for the Lord so that devotions aren’t just devotions, but that our lives are devoted. 

Devoted lives are driven by love for the Lord. They say no to worthless things and make time for the most important thing.

Maybe for you, you’re not sensitive to visual negativity. Maybe your weak spot is somewhere else. But whatever is slowing you down, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily besets us and let us run this long distance race with endurance, fixing our eyes on Christ for our inspiration, acceptance, and example.

Are you tired of the noise, too? Looking for a few good summer tools for personal Bible study and growth? If so, I hope you’ll find this list helpful as you seek to know Him more and more. Most of these are free, except for the books, so you should be able to benefit from many of these great resources.

Bible Study/Podcast: If you’re looking for a free, EXCELLENT, inductive Bible study, I highly recommend Jen Wilkin’s Hebrews study. Jen is a gifted Bible teacher, and a serious student of the Word, and that’s SO very evident as you hear her weekly podcast. I’m so thankful she is faithfully using her spiritual gifts for the benefit of the church.

Dramatized Audio Bible: If  you have young children, listening to a dramatized audio Bible as you work is a great way to fill your mind with Scripture.

Daily Audio Devotional for Kids: Kids4Truth has an excellent, simple daily devotional or biographical vignette for kids. (Some adults like them, too. ;))

20 Years of Elisabeth Elliot Newsletters: Did you know the Elisabeth Elliot’s Newletter Archive is online? Very interesting and encouraging to read.

How to Study the Word: resource page I can’t tell you how many times women have told me they study the Bible, then go on to basically say they read a commentary. I don’t have to discuss why this is dangerous. No man’s words about the Bible should replace your reading of the Bible. This page has many lessons about studying the Bible, the inductive Bible study method, etc. I also posted about the Immersion Bible Study method here.

Radio: There are many radio lessons to learn about Christian women at the bottom of this page.

Book: The Practice of Godliness by Jerry Bridges. If my kids remember one thing about me, I hope it’s that I was a mom who loved God and who was devoted to Him. This book has helped me to see God as worthy of my devotion and praise, and has helped me to not seek only external change, but change based on love for God and hatred of sin.

Devotion to God, then, is the mainspring of godly character. And this devotion is the only motivation for Christian behavior that is pleasing to God…

It is sad that many Christians do not have this aura of godliness about them. They may be very talented and personable, or very busy in the Lord’s work, or even apparently successful in some avenues of Christian service, and still not be godly. Why? Because they are not devoted to God. They may be devoted to a vision, or to a ministry, or to their own reputation as Christians, but not to God. ~Jerry Bridges

Book: None But Him by Jen Wilkin talks about how God is different from us and discusses his attributes.

Book: The God Who Satisfies: How Jesus Seeks, Saves, and Satisfies Samaritan Women – Like Us Rebekah gave this to me and I highly recommend it.

What are your plans for summer Bible study at home? Do you have other resources to share with me? Feel free to inbox me, comment on FB or below and tell us what you’re doing.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Latest Stitch Fix {Which Led to the Salvation Army Fix}

Today I’m sharing what was in my latest Stitch Fix box.

I needed a few items for an upcoming trip and decided to give Stitch Fix another whirl, which is easier than shopping for clothes with a toddler.

I made the video below and I apologize for the quality in advance. I guess I didn’t save it in HD. Anyway, I tell you about the pieces and then my plan B which was a trip to the Salvation Army.

If you are new to Stitch Fix, it’s basically a styling company that sends you items based on a thorough style guide profile that you create.

Liked this but didn’t love it.

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At $68, I wasn’t sure this front would look flattering if the flaps weren’t just so.

From my limited experience, here are some of the pros and cons:

Pros:

  • You don’t have to shop.
  • A stylist picks out items you might not have chosen for yourself. (sometimes we get into a rut or stuck in an era!)
  • You can pick your modesty level from “flaunt it” to “cover it” for every area of your body.
  • You can choose what you want to spend from least expensive to most expensive. Great for those of us on a budget.
  • If you refer a friend and they sign up, you get a credit towards Stitch Fix items. I had some credit, which is why I decided to do this before our trip.
  • The stylists really do read your comments and are super helpful. It’s like having a life coach for style.

Cons:

  • If you don’t like anything in your box, you pay a $20 styling fee anyway which seems risky. If you keep any items, the styling fee goes toward your items.
  • Even after choosing the “least expensive” option my items seem to land around $48 a piece which is more than I want to spend per piece.

In the end, I am sending everything back. Here’s why: The necklace was $46 which was too much and not my style. The blue and white striped shirt ($48) was a little too baggy and not very flattering on, although I loved the pattern. The green cargo shorts were just too short. I do love the color and will probably find a pair that color elsewhere for the trip. They were $58! I’m too cheap to spend that on any shorts. The jean shorts were nothing special and had rips, which isn’t my thing. The grey asymmetrical cardigan was the most gorgeous cotton and if I were going to pick one thing to keep, it would have been that. I didn’t keep it because I was afraid that the front would just look messy if it wasn’t folded just right. Here’s the video. I look exhausted and in fact, I actually am. 😉

 

You’ll see in the video what I decided to do instead. Emily and I hit the Salvation Army 50% off sale and found pants to hem for shorts. They were each $2.50 each. (A red pair and a navy mattress ticking pair.) I found an accent piece for a dinner we need to go to at Ocean State Job Lot for $2. Maybe the real lesson I need to learn is that I am too cheap for Stitch Fix! lol

I am going to try it one more time, this time with my Pinterest board connected with my account!

What do you think? Have you tried Stitch Fix and had better luck than I had?

Let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

The sky is falling, the world is horrible, and GASP, your Facebook “friends” are frauds.

Oh my goodness. As it turns out, this world is really more horrible than once thought.

A new study circulating the internet shows that your FACEBOOK FRIENDS ARE ALL A BUNCH OF FRAUDS AND COULD NOT CARE A STITCH ABOUT YOU.

“Facebook Friends Are Fake, Study Finds.”<—You can read all the depressing but true details here.

Here we all were, accepting friends requests like drunken sailors and now it turns out that ALL these people don’t care about us.

You have no friends. Just four. Probably five if you count your own mother. Six if you count great Aunt Gertrude.

And don’t even think about considering your PETS as friends, because, WHATEVER.

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Honestly, how could we have been so dumb? It’s like we got on this social train of an experiment and we were all duped into thinking that our third grade playmate really had an ounce of affection for us, but turns out, in crisis, she could care less. And if you wouldn’t ask your book club members to, say, pick up a prescription or drive you to the hospital or airport, then, you fool, THEY WERE NEVER YOUR TRUE FRIENDS. Awesome.

Okay. Let’s just tinder down a minute and think about friends.

I can promise you that, unless you are friend-ing absolute demons on FB, that your friends DO care about you and WOULD help you IF YOU ASKED THEM.

Here’s the thing. Just because we have different levels of friendship doesn’t mean that they don’t care. And because I wouldn’t inconvenience you by asking you to drive me to the airport unless you were my parent or sister, doesn’t mean that we aren’t friends.

Let’s define friend, shall we?

  • a person who you like and enjoy being with.

  •  a person who helps or supports someone or something (such as a cause or charity)

  • a favored companion

Now then, we have all kinds of friends: neighbors, acquaintances, our church congregation, people who work on projects or ministries together, our kid’s friend’s parents, our kid’s friends, people we know from town, people in support groups for illness or homeschooling. Maybe we are separated by an ocean, and we really don’t have the chance to get together, but that doesn’t mean you don’t care about me. Maybe our stage of life keeps us from meeting up more than we do, but that doesn’t mean I assume you aren’t really my friend.

In fact, I know that if money was no limit, I would FLY to visit many of my friends, because I value our friendship and wish we could spend more time together.

But there’s this thing called common sense that says that I call my mother for help before I call my neighbor, no matter how friendly we might be. And, actually Dunbar’s observations make absolute sense:

  • my “closest friends” (which are usually family) number about 5.
  • the people I could/would confide in for sympathy/help when I need it is about 15.
  • the people I would invite to a dinner party at my house numbers about 50.

But this doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t LOVE and totally enjoy going out for coffee with any of my Facebook friends. If you are really a demon, I’m not going to friend you in the first place. And just because I wouldn’t ask you to pick up my anti-nausea meds at the pharmacy for me, doesn’t mean that we aren’t real friends or that I don’t care about you.

If you believe that your FB friends are not really your friends, then they probably aren’t. Know–this is not a reflection on them, though. It’s more about friendship being a two way street.

For the rest of us, we choose to believe the best about others.

And, for the record,  if we are friends on Facebook, however casually, and you DID need me to help you, if I could, I absolutely would.

And I choose to believe the same about you, too, friend.