Thursday February 19, 2009


The Church Needs an Enema.


Last night I was at a Ladies Bible study and towards the end a visitor raised her hand and said she’d like to ask a question. As soon as she started to speak, without turning around, I could tell by her tone this was not going to be a positive thing…

She began questioning the speaker and trying to drive home what was obviously her doctrinal platform..

I groaned inside and thought, “Oh, grief! Here we go again!”

I’m not saying it’s wrong to ever have a differing opinion from someone else’… but for crying out loud do we have to be so downright nasty about it!! Some of the most vicious people I have ever met in my life are Christians (and especially women), who come out all fangs and claws when they’re trying to convince you they do indeed hold the monopoly on truth! Of course, all covered rather discreetly in a very nice pseudo spiritual cloak of sweetness and smiles.



On the way home I told my husband, “Man.. I am so tired of this in Christian circles! Seriously, give me some ex- drunk, drug abusing prostitute to worship Jesus Christ with any day over a women like that!” You can’t even worship with these people because they want to stand and first argue with you what genuine worship is all about. i.e. What version Bible you’re reading it from. What you’re wearing while doing it. And whether your hands are raised or in your pockets. And a ton of other stuff that makes my head spin just thinking of typing it out. The list is ENDLESS.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to debate the issues I mentioned. For the record, I’ll tell you straight up that usually when worshiping collectively I’m reading the king james, wearing a skirt, and have my hands in my pockets. (or more realistically holding emma, or taping ben to sit still).

But being honestly raw here – I’m sick to death of feeling like if I’m not holding a kjv. wearing a skirt. or keeping my hands where they should be I’m smacked down faster than butter melts on a Arizona sidewalk! 

To the church of America I want to say “Where’s the love people?”

Of course you mention love and alot of Christians flip out… “now we can’t go excusing sin!”

Let me say from my own observation that alot of what Christians get their panties in a wad over has nothing whatsoever to do with sin – it is personal preferences!

*pause*



So, as I went to have my devotions this morning, I found myself still in quite a snit about all this. I started looking up Scriptures on love.. cross referencing.. writing notes. The faster I wrote the more passionate I became. “Yeah, this is what that women last night needs. This is what all these stuffed shirted Christians need…”

Suddenly though, in the midst of my rant I realized while one finger was pointing out to those I thought could use a emotional enema in their spiritual constipation, I realized four fingers were pointing straight back at me!

“But I am loving!” I argued with the Lord, “I’m one of the most loving people ever!” :) The Bible study lady flashed to mind, “Yeah, well.. she’s wacked!” I justified. I smile as the next thought came to mind. I could just see the Lord saying, “and don’t you think I know what it means to love some wacked people!!”

*cringe*

How often in judging others do I in turn find I’m guilty of the very thing on which I’m casting judgment! (ouch)

 

Okay, where’s that enema? :) I went back to Scripture with a new motive.. (isn’t it amazing how we can eat the Scriptures up when we’re looking for other people? But we’re not responsible to find the truths to change other’s lives – only God can reveal that. We have to make sure our Bible study times are about changing our OWN hearts! That needs to be what motivates us to delve into God’s Word).

… It’s interesting to me when you mention the word LOVE in most Christians circles it’s either met with a UNICEF embrace the world mentality, or a sarcastic Praise Jesus 700 Club type attitude. I don’t think we really understand what genuine love is all about. Or maybe I should take that down a notch and say, I don’t think I really understand what genuine love is all about.

But I want to.

I read tons of verses this morning. All of which most of us could probably quote from memory. I was going to type them out, but knew it would make this post twice as long. You can read them for yourself if you want. Jot down your own notes and what the Lord speaks to you. These were the ones that particulary hit home:: Jn. 13 :35; 3: 16 & 17; 15: 10 & 11 (tons in john) Eph. 3: 17-19; Matt. 5: 43 – 45; 22: 37 -40; 1Jn 13:35; 4:7-21;3: 16 &18 ::

and one I will write out because I don’t know if I ever really thought of it quite in this light before…

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

On THESE TWO commandments hang all the law and prophets.”

 ~we focus on so many exterior things. but miss the very framework that holds every other principle of the Bible together! Like trying to hang a picture on a wall without a nail. It won’t stay and falls off over and over again and we can’t understand why!



This, combined with all the other Scriptures I listed led me to this conclusion (for my own life). Which actually might come across as a bunch of conglomerated thoughts. But it makes sense to me! :)  

Love happens only one way, like any other thing in the Christian life – by faith. (Eph. 3: 17 – 19) Believing that God’s Word is true and that I should obey it, even when I don’t necessarily FEEL like it. Cause heaven knows, I certainly don’t FEEL like loving everyone I know. and I know some weird people. :) Yet, when I look to the truth of God’s Word and not my feelings to run my life according to,  He empowers me with His spirit to do those things I never thought possible.

When I say, “I can’t love that person.” That’s right. I CAN’T.  But God IN me can! We sell His power short by not allowing Him to prove the truth of His Word in our lives.

It is not in trying harder – but KNOWING Him more.

Until I am consumed by HIS love. Realizing I did not deserve it – and allowing the magnitude and significance of that truth to humble me – I will never be able to love others like He intended. I cannot love without faith. I cannot love apart from His spirit. And I cannot love until I humble myself (in my own mind). Esteeming others better doesn’t mean I sit around chanting, “I’m so bad. They’re so good.” Simply, that the same unconditional love I herald and celebrate and want for my own life is the same unconditional love God has for that person I’m struggling to love.

Bottom line – if what it’s all about is being molded to His image. Mirroring His life to others. Saying with our mouths we want to be Like Him – THEN, we should stick our actions where empty words fall and do as He did. As He does ~

Love.

Stick a enema in it – the living breathing powerful truth of His word – and let the love out!

 

(I liked this series of pictures for this post – it was a few wks back when we had all the snow and ice and we’d have to park at the bottom of our driveway and walk up when we couldn’t make it in the van. On this particular day I had walked ahead, with my arms full of grocery bags. At the top I turned back and saw Emma crying from being so frustrated trying to get up, slipping and falling every time. Kate ran back down and helped her… immediately Emma’s tears faded to smiles.

To me it was such a beautiful picture of how we can and should be as sisters and brothers in Christ! And how much easier those slippery slops are to climb when you have someone who loves you helping you along!)

amber.

53 thoughts on “Thursday February 19, 2009

  1. cherylyn_p

    “God’s Word is true and that I should obey it, even when I don’t necessarily FEEL like it.”

    I’m reading a great book right now, “Amish Grace” – about the Amish school shootings. The book doesn’t dwell so much on the event as it does the ability for people who were wronged to “forgive.” Not because it’s easy or they FEEL like it, but because it’s God’s Word.

    Like you, I’m on a mission to delve into what God “says to do” and then obey Him, whether I feel like it or not.

    P.S. GREAT snow pictures!

    Reply
  2. H0LDfast

    have to say that was a catchy title : )
    good words & thoughts. its so easy to have opinions on others, isn’t it.
    and they’ll know we are christian’s by our love – not by our version of the bible or by our hair do.
    thanks for being honest – its encouraging to know God is still growing people to be more like Himself.
    blessings to your day & happy (late) birthday wishes ~

    Reply
  3. chambray7

    great thoughts!  It’s so easy to dwell on the outward, and miss the inward work of grace…..and God really knows how to knock us over the head, eh?  Just when we think we’ve got it figured out…..

    Reply
  4. resolved2worship

    well, I wear pants to church, generally read from New American Standard, and my hands are typically raised… glad to know we can still be friends :) I look forward to heaven when all those issues we seem to have dwelt down here on … and not, because it will all be about glory to the Lord and praising Him … and there will be folks there from every tribe/nation – and we know some of them don’t/didn’t wear skirts/ or pants – or have much of any Bible to read from – but They LOVED THE SAVIOR WITH ALL THEIR HEART, SOUL, MIND. I look forward to that day.

    wonderful that love does not excuse sin — God’s love didn’t excuse it, His love covered it by His grace and mercy. I agree, meanest folks I’ve met our women christians. Like you said, we can easily fall into judging just the same, eh?! May we be willing to get back to the basics of the gospel of Jesus Christ as christians.

    love on your evening there! off to basketball~
    lys

    Reply
  5. homefire

    Good post.  It never ceases to amaze me how wrought up people can become over externals and nonessentials.  I’m just very, very thankful to now be in a congregation where such nitpicking is minimal.  We don’t all think alike, but for the most part, no one is trying to legislate anyone else’s righteousness, which is a great blessing!

    And your thought that my judging of their judging becomes the same thing–oh, ouch!  So true!

    Reply
  6. bakersdozen2

    It does stink that our flesh prefers to cling to the more “observable” forms of godliness. ~(Like love isn’t observable, right?)
    But those outward signs are just easier to read. Yuck….
    Alyssa is right. I Can NOT wait until all this nonsense is behind us.
    Meanwhile, the biggest offenders in life are found in our bathroom mirrors each morning after we roll out of bed……. “Yuck and ouch”
    Awesome post, Amber! Good thoughts to stew on!

    Reply
  7. DawneElla

    Yep, I always find when I get worked up about something God is trying to teach me something about myself. I can’t make anybody else love with a Christ like love, I can only love them with Christ like love. If I get hurt or cause hurt in the process, I take that to my Lord and He teaches me about forgiveness then helps me love some more.

    Love ya!!!~Dawne

    Reply
  8. jesusmotherof4

    Wow!  I thought that kind of stuff just went on in conservative fellowships like the one we are in right now!  It’s simply ridiculous!  I just have to remember to feel sorry and pray for those kind of people because to me it looks like they simply do not understand the real love of Jesus in their life!  Thanks again for an awesome post!

    Reply
  9. Anonymous

    An enema? I had to look that one up: the insertion of a liquid into the bowels via the rectum as a treatment, especially for constipation, or as an aid to diagnosis!!!! Well if you think so, but I think I lost my coffee all over the floor over that one!!!! Hilarious!!!

    Reply
  10. melissajoy77

    Great post, Amber! The title caught my attention right away! I relate to your feelings of frustration so well… and also the surprise to find that in our defensiveness for grace we end up doing the same thing! Thanks for your honest and insightful post. Someday soon we will sit before Grace Himself and the truth will set us free!

    Thanks for visiting my site… It was so fun to see your comment since I read your blog all the time. It made me smile.

    Blessings to you!

    Melissa

    Reply
  11. fwren

    My friend, viewinghuijia, said I had to come look at your site since she just spilled coffee from laughing!  Okay ~ the title did kind of grab my attention ~ LOL!  Great thoughts, though ~ and right on.  Way too much ridiculous stuff like that in our past church ~ and God expects better of all of us ~ loving as He loves is an area all of us need to work on, I expect.  Blessings to you.

    Reply
  12. wj3km

    Amen and Amen!  It is not in trying harder, but knowing Him more – being consumed by His love.  You said it sooo much better than I tried the other day in my post. 

    This has been another opportunity for you to love, grow in love, learn more about true, Christlike love!  Sounds like you’ve experienced another stepping stone to become more like Christ.

    We live in an area where there are lots of different groups of churches with lots of rules, regulations, etc. and it seems to cause so much bikering, gossip, judging and division.  What’s the point in all that?!  What God looks at most is the heart – not all the outward stuff.   Great thoughts you shared.

    Reply
  13. MaranathaAcres

    AMEN SISTA!!!  Love the pictures and the story behind it!  wow you’ve said a mouth full!!  I have found when I try to love unconditionally, people (usually the Christian people) judge me for being around that person…I’ve been through a nasty sistuation…and I really think that is what it boiled down to…because I befriended people who were considered outcasts then I became an outcast too…loving unconditionally is HARD work!!!  But when I look at the life of Jesus, it was the “spiritual” people who judged him and looked down on him…so just keep on keepin on…and we have to love those judging us unfairly too…like I said…it is HARD work and takes total dependance on God!  Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  14. Elizabethmarie_1

    Skirts, NAS, and usually holding Sophia, or hands in pockets!  I love this post, and it is so true.  How easy it is to get caught up in all the outside issues instead of looking at the heart.  It’s what’s inside that counts.  For so long I was finding myself becoming what Norm Wakefield calls a reverse standard bearer.  I was trying so hard to make myself not be associated with the judgemental “standard bearers”, that I was doing the exact same thing they were doing, just in a different way.  I am so thankful that God forgives us, so thankful!

    I do like your pictures a lot, I always do!!!

    Have a good evening! Liz :)

    Reply
  15. goddreamer

    amen..amen..AMEN!! boy…do we need to be reminded of this 100x’s a day or what?!!

    what a GREAT post, Amber! You make me smile…and yet my heart gets convicted all at the same time

    love your pics of your sweet girls…give them a hug for me   And thank you for standing up and being a VOICE to us Christians on how we need to be…”WHERE IS THE LOVE??”  Let a revival of LOVE flow through us, Lord!!

    p.s. happy belated b-day…sounded like an amazing b-day…the “modeling” dresses would have been the hilight for me   how thoughful!! you are such a beautiful woman of God..and so very blessed!

    Reply
  16. SpazzyMommy

    I just HAVE to know what the question was that the lady asked. (LOL) I betcha I’ve heard it before (grin) It was one of those “Im gonna ask a question- but I already know the answer” kind of questions?

    Okay, on a seriuos note, I agree. :)

    Reply
  17. M_Squad4

    Great post!  I thought we only had to deal with things like that here in conservative Lancaster county……but the evil one likes to stir up trouble everywhere…….I’m sure he loves to see us in a tizzy! (Maybe another colloquialixm but I’m sure you know what I mean!)

    Reply
  18. grams53

    Truthful, timely post.  Isn’t it amazing that we who are called “Christian” and are to be “reflections of Christ”  allow the reflection to become SO very distorted!  How it must grieve the Savior.

    Reply
  19. Hutch5

    @viewinghuijia – 

    yeah, my husband said, “babe you know what an enema is?” :) he explained it kinda like the definition you gave and I was like, “well.. we DO need the cleansing of God’s Word so it makes sense to me!!” ;)

    but I think I learned a few things I didn’t know bout all that!

    Reply
  20. Anonymous

    @Hutch5 – I still get a fit of giggles just thinking about your article and comparison!!! You’re a real HOOT!! O Lord, keep me pure in YOU and full of LOVE.

    After years of heartache, I’ve found that GOD LOVES to answer our request to give us more love for certain individuals we find hard to love. He loves to work a miracle in us! For when we find compassion where none was before, we realize…GOD IT WAS YOU!!!!

    Great article…really!! Just made me snort coffee all over the place!!!! ;)

    Reply
  21. chix0rgirl

    Haha, this post is wonderful! OK, you have some seriously adorable kids (may kidnap to photograph sometime) and this post is wonderful. Kinda sucks, huh, how God gives us a great intellect for filtering out hypocrisy and then we find out we’re wrong to indulge in gloating!! So very human.

    Reply
  22. down_onthefarm

    Whew. Gasp. This is so funny and completely sobering at the same time.
    You have an amen from this corner.
    Thank you for all of it…especially ” it’s not in trying harder but knowing Him more.”

    Reply
  23. Blessingsofabigfamily

    Great post!  We do encounter this so much in conservative circles.  I have two people in my life that sound like the woman you mentioned, and God has used them to teach me so much on humility and love.  I was determined to prove to them that even though I was a little different than them on certain convictions I was as strong of a believer as them, and wanted to help them grow.  Well, God used them as sand paper for me to help smooth off some of my rough edges.  One has grown in great respect for me, and we have a good relationship, but the other just can’t open up enough to truly give me a chance.  God used that one to teach me that it is all in His hands, and even with rejection I can still love this woman.  I still send her emails checking on here, letting her know she and her family are missed, yes I do miss her for some reason. : )  I guess God has shown me no matter what I do I can’t change a person, only He can, and I must love them.  Like I said these two relationships have been a blessing in growing me in many areas, but it wasn’t always a happy road.  Lots of tears and hurt.  I like to think God has used me to minister to them in ways, and hopefully tear some walls down. We must continue to sow love, and pray for the people who are sand paper in our lives.  God probably brings them accross our path for that reason, and many other people wouldn’t take the time to pray for them or love them.  I liked what Resolved2Worship said about when we get to heaven, and all worshiping together.  What a beautiful picture!  Thanks again for a great post!  ~ Deborah

    Reply
  24. thats_italian

    What a good entry! : )  How it truly must hurt the Father’s heart when brothers and sisters in Christ dwell on things that really don’t have anything to do with Eternity.   I could sure tell some stories….But I won’t, as you wrote, we all do it in one way or another….

    Bless you.

    Reply
  25. MollyDraga

    I think you are VERY loving!! Because I’m one of those weird people you know and you love me anyway! I have been like our lady friend, I’m ashamed to say. And now that I’m mostly cleansed of that, I, too, catch myself being judgmental about those judgmental church ladies. And, um, yes. The church DOES need an enema. I think we’re getting one, all over America, right now. Jesus, after all, cleanses us. Is that sacreligious?

    Love you, sister.

    Reply
  26. MaranathaAcres

    ha, I had to come back and read all the responses…., it sounds like we all face these issues in one way or another!  and yes we do live in perilous times and I do believe God is cleansing his church…we wil be forced to make a stand for or against God…none of this wishy washy stuff!

    Reply
  27. chulya

    “they like Jesus but not the church”  is an intriguing book about this generation. 

    when i am close to Jesus, the first thing i notice is that i am just filled with LOVE.  for everybody. 

    Reply
  28. Mymanyblessings

    Loved this…I wear pant’s, I am still feminine, you know I am a woman just from my appearance. But no one human can see my heart only God can. So many people are pushed away because of judgement on appearance alone. Male’s with pearcings all over are cast out before they are even known. Long hair still rule’s NOT…Jesus know’s me, my fault’s, and my good. Sometime’s i’m ashamed, other’s i’m humbled.

    Your post says a lot as to why it’s hard for me to stay steady in Church. I keep my faith and love for my Savior but find it hard to stay steadfast in a Church.

    I love to come and read your weblog….thanks.

    ~Linda~

    p.s. Beautiful song.

    Reply
  29. Mymom1

    I started smiling as soon as I began reading your post because I knew where it was heading and you didn’t disappoint me! Yep this Christian life would be so easy if we didn’t have to deal with people :o) but it would be awful boring.

    Reply
  30. Mymom1

    I started smiling as soon as I began reading your post because I knew exactly where you where heading and you did not disappoint me. This Christian life would be so easy if we didn’t have to deal with people but it would be so boring :O)These things are the water that makes us grow.

    Reply
  31. Gabesday

    Amber,

      It is so sad that the body of Christ, are the very ones who wound  us.  It may be pure foolishness, or self rightous attitude. That can blind one, of their own narrow minded view. I question does any of us completely know the love of God?  I think it takes more than a life time because his mercies are new each day.

       I do pray the healing balm of God’s love will overwhelm you with his joy and perfect plan for your now.

      Right were you are at this moment.

    Gabrielle

    Reply
  32. Mymom1

    OPPS ~ The first post got hung up and I didn’t think it went through, so I tried again with a bit of editing (couldn’t remember what I wrote the first time)

    Reply
  33. Anonymous

    Amen! I just told my brother the other day that in all my 20 years of experience:), when I judge or criticize somebody, I find that those are the very things I’m guilty of in my own life. Being Amish, I know exactly what you are talking about!!-they can make life so complicated! It must grieve God to see us so concerned about the outward appearance. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  34. life_by_grace

    You go, girlie-o! I gotta tell ya, I can’t stand LEGALISM….and we ALL have our hang-ups with that, some a great deal more than others, but we ALL wedge/cram/stuff/shove MAN’s laws where only God’s LAW OF GRACE should be. Does that mean we are excused to behave like our sin nature wants to??? As Paul says, certainly not!!! I got tickled reading about your one finger was wagging at the woman (figuratively) while the other four were pointing back at yourself. Kind-a like digging the splinter out of another’s eye when you have a whole freakin’ log in your own, huh? You’re speaking the truth, friend! And hey, check it out….I’m back on xanga. hahaha

    Reply
  35. sing2theLord

    Wow! I know exactly how you feel! I get SO tired of the lack of love in Churches….It’s become all about what you do, wear, talk like…etc. I’ve even done the whole looking up scriptures on love thing….to prove my point and then get convicted about my lack of love for those kind of people! I do think that we could all do with MUCH more of God’s kind of love….. Great post! I love reading your blog!

    Reply
  36. HawaiianHeldts

    I find those fingers pointing at me all the time! I gripe about something and then God often uses that to teach me about the attitudes of my own heart that aren’t pleasing to him….which are many! I loved this post as well as the added photos! Such a great illustration of God’s patience and timing in our own lives!

    Reply
  37. mytoesareblue

    came to your site from coolmomofeight’s site. i’ve read a little bit and totllay love what you have here and agree with you on so many points. even though i’m not a mom, i do understand as a fellow woman of God many of the points you discuss on here. Just wanted to let you know that i’m subbing (hope that’s okay) i’m also adding you to my friends list..cause my site is on friend lock and so if you accept it….then you can also read my site and let me know whether you want me reading or not. just to let you know.

    be blessed my dear.

    janel

    where in Canada are you guys? i’m in Ontario

    Reply
  38. Anonymous

    I love the story behind the pictures. Sweet big sisters just melt the heart.
    Not judging judgemental people can be a real challenge. It’s one of those things that drives me crazy but loving those who are hard to love is the real test, right?!! Hope your weekend was wonderful!

    Reply
  39. Anonymous

    This is so beautiful.  It is a sad fact that many Christians are putting so much focus on calling out others sins that they are failing to love.  To love, as God told us to love.  We can choose not to condone sin, we can teach others about what God finds as sinful…but beyond that it is not our job to judge them or to condemn them…it is our job to love them, ANYWAY.

    The pictures are gorgeous.

    Reply
  40. down_onthefarm

    I smiled to myself sitting in church yesterday…as I remembered something that you had mentioned recently.
    I saw that my own Ben was wearing white athletic socks with his black dress shoes! :)
    Sigh. Whatever.
    He can do that.
    I just want him to have a heart for God!!!

    Reply

thanks for stopping by! <3