Guest Blog: Why I Need to Go to “Church” on Sunday

1540494_10151980790463387_1120622399_oToday’s post is by my incomparable husband Kent Krabill. Enjoy.

I have read all the blogs, and I get it. I get that the church is about much more than going to an event called “church” on Sunday. It is much more than a meeting where we sing and pray and give and listen to a sermon and take of communion. It is a living, breathing, spiritual body of people. I get it. And I also get that I don’t have to go to the event called “church” on Sunday to be a committed follower of Christ. In fact, I get it so much that as one of the pastors of the church I attend, I voted, along with the other pastors, to eliminate regular Sunday gatherings.

With that said, I need to go to church on Sunday. Really, I do. And it isn’t because the music gives me a certain feeling, or the preaching is fantastic, or it is a quick and simple way to ease my guilt. Nope, it is simpler than that. I need to know, on a regular basis, that I belong to a movement of people who are dedicated to loving God and caring for others.

I need to know that those people are committed to something bigger than themselves. And when I see people gather on Sunday morning, when they could be sleeping in or lazily enjoying a cup of coffee on the couch, I know, even if just for an hour, they are committed to something bigger than themselves.

I need to know they recognize that God is worthy of regular worship. And when I stand with others and sing songs to Jesus, it helps me see that, although this is simply one way of expressing our devotion to and adoration of our God, there is magic and wonder and peace when humanity joins together to praise their creator.

I need to know others are sacrificing along with me. And when I see people dropping their hard-earned money in the offering box, I know that, at least in a small way, they are trying to sacrifice a little for others.

I need to know that others are committed to learning more about Jesus and how we are to follow him and love our neighbors. And when I see people listening to someone share out of the Scriptures, I know they are attempting to learn, to grow, to evolve.

I need to know that others are with me in my brokenness and my belief that Jesus is going to make everything right. And when I see others line up and eat the bread and drink the wine or juice, I see that they are broken and placing their faith in the same person I am.

Each of these rituals are imperfect. And how could they be otherwise? It is us, after all, who are performing them. But for me, at least, there is beauty and hope and comfort in all the imperfection.

I need to go to church on Sunday. Why? So I can be reminded, on a regular basis, that I belong. That others are committed to something bigger than themselves. That others recognize that God is worthy of regular worship. That others are sacrificing for their neighbors. That others are committed to learning about Jesus and attempting to learn, grow, and evolve. That others are broken and believe Jesus is going to fix everything.

Yep. I need to go to church on Sunday.

On Tom Delay, AR-15 Jesus and Killing All the Liberals

This is an actual truck my kids and I saw on the way to school this morning. Yes, really.

There is just too much crazy going around lately. Seriously. Too. Much.

[I’m lookin’ at you Tom Delay, Jerry Boykin & Crazy Conservative Truck Couple]

Seriously, y’all just gotta cut it out.

This morning I woke up to the news that a former Senator’s assertion that God wrote the Constitution of the United States AND that a Former U.S. General said that Jesus is going to come back as Rambo in a robe, covered in the blood of his enemies and carrying an AR-15. Not only that, but he asserted that the second amendment came from Jesus, “Now I want you to think about this: where did the Second Amendment come from? … From the Founding Fathers, it’s in the Constitution. Well, yeah, I know that. But where did the whole concept come from? It came from Jesus…the sword today is an AR-15, so if you don’t have one, go get one. You’re supposed to have one. It’s biblical.”

First, let’s address the fact that God did not write the Constitution or any other part of the law of the United States. (If you missed what Tom Delay said you can listen to it here). It is hard for me to believe that is something that actually needs to be said but apparently it does. Is there Judeo-Christian influence present in our laws? Of course. Were any of our laws or our Constitution authored by God directly or indirectly? Hell, no. As Benjamin Corey said on his blog today,

What’s scary about this [Delay’s statement], is that people functionally believe it. Perhaps not many are dumb enough to actually believe that it’s true, but after having it drilled into their heads repeatedly that God is somehow connected with the constitution, people functionally operate as if this document came from God and cannot be questioned. Obviously it’s not– my children are not less of a person because of the color of their skin, God isn’t the one who killed Native Americans in order to set up shop here, God isn’t the one who built our wealth on the backs of slaves… the US constitution did NOT come from God.

Mr. Delay’s statements bring up all sorts of questions, such as, “If God wrote the Constitution did he also write the Second Amendment to the Constitution? Retired General Jerry Boykin, who is now working for the Family Research Council, says yes. In a seemingly unrelated and yet shockingly parallel universe, a recording came to light yesterday of General Boykin discussing what Jesus will be like when he returns. You can listen to it here:

Yes folks you heard that right, but if you’d like to read it again, here you go…

“The Lord is a warrior and in Revelation 19 it says when he comes back, he’s coming back as what? A warrior. A mighty warrior leading a mighty army, riding a white horse with a blood-stained white robe … I believe that blood on that robe is the blood of his enemies ’cause he’s coming back as a warrior carrying a sword.

And I believe now – I’ve checked this out – I believe that sword he’ll be carrying when he comes back is an AR-15.

Now I want you to think about this: where did the Second Amendment come from? … From the Founding Fathers, it’s in the Constitution. Well, yeah, I know that. But where did the whole concept come from? It came from Jesus when he said to his disciples ‘now, if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.’

I know, everybody says that was a metaphor. IT WAS NOT A METAPHOR! He was saying in building my kingdom, you’re going to have to fight at times. You won’t build my kingdom with a sword, but you’re going to have to defend yourself. And that was the beginning of the Second Amendment, that’s where the whole thing came from. I can’t prove that historically and David [Barton] will counsel me when this is over, but I know that’s where it came from. And the sword today is an AR-15, so if you don’t have one, go get one. You’re supposed to have one. It’s biblical.”

Okay, first off, “that blood on that robe is the blood of his enemies”? Oh is it now? So much for all that love your enemies stuff that Jesus said. I don’t know about you but I believe that the blood on his robe is his own blood. I also believe that blood is symbolic. I believe it is symbolic of our sins being forgiven and “not just our sins, but the sins of the whole world” (1 John 2:2). But sadly for Gen. Boykin his image is of Jesus in a robe stained by the blood of his own enemies because he just mowed them down with an AR-15. I guess the folks in the truck I saw this morning agree that this is what loving ones enemies looks like. For the life of me I don’t know how these folks get from Jesus laying down his life for others because of his great love to this Jesus. Oh wouldn’t the world be a better place if we could just kill all the people we disagree with. Holy Hannah! What kind of love is that?

Next, we have Jesus coming up with the second amendment when he tells the guys to sell their cloaks and buy a couple swords (or AR-15s, you say potato…). To quote Benjamin Corey from Formerly Fundie again,

That passage is found in Luke 22, and is just before Jesus is arrested:

“He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment. The disciples said, “See, Lord, here are two swords.” “That’s enough!” he replied.”

Those who quote this verse to support the idea that Jesus endorses violence have to quote just the first part without the whole context. What’s neat about this passage is that it doesn’t leave you wondering what it’s about– Jesus clearly tells us. By citing an OT prophesy of being “numbered with transgressors” Jesus tells them to bring two swords to the garden. The reason, Jesus tells us, is that so he could be counted and arrested as an armed criminal. We know that Jesus didn’t intend the swords for violent reasons because (a) He tells them that 2 were plenty, which they weren’t if it were for self defense (b) when the disciples actually use them for self-defense in the garden (Peter) he rebukes him with another command for nonviolence: “No more of this! He who lives by the sword will die by the sword.”

There is nothing in this passage that indicates Jesus approved of violence, only the contrary.

All this Jesus as Rambo stuff caused my friend Josh to opine on a Facebook discussion today, “Isn’t that what they thought he would be like the first time?” You would think we would learn.

Sadly men like Delay and Boykin have so blurred the lines between their religion and their patriotism that they have begun to think of our founding documents as scripture and to believe that scripture (specifically their interpretation of it) should be the law of our land. *shudder* God help us all. I wrote a blog post about that very concept last year when I heard a guy on the radio say that the Bible trumps the law of the United States. Oh really now? I need only ask one question to illustrate why this is such a bad idea: Whose version of the Bible? Whose interpretation of it? Theirs? or (heaven help them), mine? Maybe the Pope’s or Rob Bell’s? Doesn’t this eventually lead to a Supreme Court of sorts to determine what is Biblical and what isn’t? Isn’t that just a Christian version of Sharia law? And how about this? If you believe the Constitution is God breathed why did it need so many amendments? And if it was these guy’s God who wrote it, why didn’t it already have a clause in there about marriage being between one man and one woman? Why didn’t it ban homosexuality? Things that make you say hmmm.

What if Hell isn’t actually just Facebook? (a response)

Today Matthew Paul Turner wrote a post called, “What If Hell Is Actually Just Facebook?” You really should go read it before you read this as I have taken much of what he wrote and rephrased it into my response.

What if Hell isn’t actually just Facebook?
Think about it. What if Hell isn’t a literal place buried deep in the center of Earth, but instead, it’s just anywhere and any system that keeps us from loving God and loving each other? What if Hell sometimes is a place or a decision in the hearts of humans? What if Facebook on the other hand is neutral and can become either the Kingdom of God breaking through on my iPhone or a portal of ugliness and as Mr. Turner postulates, hell? What if, as so many things in life the answer is in what you bring to it? It bothers me when we as Christians blame something that is simply a mirror for the image we see in it. What if Facebook is actually just a mirror?

What if, rather than being a place that burns the souls of humankind, Facebook allows me to connect in ways I cannot in person? What if it allows me to maximize my time, concentrate my energies, and connect on an emotional level with people I would not otherwise have the occasion to see on a regular basis because of time or geography?

What if instead of Hell’s wailing and weeping being the silent plea to be “Liked,” that plea to be liked and approved of was just our normal human cry for community and what if it was met with the unconditional love of Christ?
What if Facebook isn’t scary at all, but rather another avenue for community and relationships that we keep open on our laptops and scroll through on our smart phones like so many run-ins with friends at the local grocery store or dog park?
What if instead of the gnashing of teeth being the mostly inaudible noise we engage in our feeds, the complaining, the opinion-making, the sharing, the selfie taking, the oohing and ahhing, and the liking? What if those again were opportunities to be enlightened, to learn something, to reach out to someone in their loneliness, their success, their joy or their sorrow and let them know they are not alone? What if the opinion sharing and pontificating and debating was no different than the public squares of days gone by where people have persuaded each other or agreed to disagree?

What if instead of demons being trolls or online friends who seem to constantly challenge our ideas and opinions, leaving mean-spirited (sometimes hateful) comments in reaction to our status updates and pictures they they were real people in need of real friends, or rescue, or sacrificial love?? Or what if instead of comparing the friends who really like us, who innocently “Like” our virtual stuff, join our virtual causes, and virtually tell us we’re awesome aren’t demons either but people who actually want to provide encouragement and support?

What if Facebook instead of being Hell or even an innocent distraction, something that we engage when we are bored, lonely, insecure, proud, angry, broke, empty, aroused, or merely awake…what if it was an opportunity to bring the Kingdom of God in yet another way? What if Hell/Facebook isn’t just a grand entertainment, a leisure activity that diverts our attentions away from the who(s) and what(s) and where(s) that are most important? But is another way of engaging those very who(s), what(s) and where(s)?
What if, instead of joining Hell, we’ve been given a powerful opportunity; An intimate invitation into people’s lives at the moments when they are most vulnerable, most open? What if it actually allows us to rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn? What if, amid  our best intentions to avoid Hell, we are blaming the mirror instead of the image we bring to it?
What if Hell is actually not just Facebook but a place within ourselves or a decision we make?
Would we be able to recognize it in our reflection instead of blaming the mirror?
Would we even want to?
Or would we rather go on believing that it is some thing outside ourselves, something we feel better about blaming rather than taking responsibility for the Hell of our own making.

A Prayer of Pulling

O great puller of the thread of time
That connects us all
Pull us
Coax us
Call us
Into your future
Inspire us to grab on and join in your stretching
Of our human fabric
Help us to help our kindred 
As we find our collective way home
Guide us
Instruct us
Love us
Into your perfect peace
Into your love of loves
Into communion with each other
We believe you are changing us
We can feel the stretching
in our very souls
Beckoning
Like the echo of every beautiful thing we have seen
Like every breath that has been slow to come
When we are trying to prolong a moment
Like the stillness we try to keep
When we breathe in the splendor of a sleeping baby
Or the overwhelming forgiveness in the eyes
Of someone we have inexplicably injured with a blow to their heart.
We taste you Jesus and we know with a knowing we can’t quite explain
That you are good
And all that is goodness in us
And outside us
And around us
Amen

Painting the Stars Review, Part 1: “We are moving!”

pierre-teilhard-de-chardin-firePierre Teilhard de Chardin (May 1, 1881 – April 10, 1955) was a French philosopher and Jesuit priest who was also a trained paleontologist and geologist.

He was the first truly evolutionary theologian. He publicly sought to reunite science and religion. What has become embraced by many was first lauded by this man, and like most geniuses, he was not understood and was even ridiculed at the time. I have just learned of him today and I am utterly mesmerized. Consider this:

The conflict dates from the day when one man, flying in the face of appearance, perceived that the forces of nature are no more unalterably fixed in their orbits than the stars themselves. But that their serene arrangements around us depicts the flow of a tremendous tide. The day in which the first voice rang out, crying to mankind peacefully slumbering on the raft of earth, “We are moving! We are going forward.” It is a pleasant and dramatic spectacle, that of mankind divided to its very depths into two irrevocably opposed camps, one looking toward the horizon and proclaiming with all its newfound faith, “We are moving!” and the other without shifting its position obstinately maintaining, “Nothing changes. We are not moving at all.”

To quote my friend Steven Baxter, “Holy shit you guys!” This is amazing. It makes me want to go out in the street and yell, “We are moving!” It is a revelation and a truth that stirs my soul. This is not how it ends. The beginning was just that the beginning and the whole of humanity and creation and time and space is moving. Isn’t that exciting? We started out moving and we are still moving. Lovelies, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” I think our new friend might even take that a step further and say, “The arc of the entire [moral, spiritual, relational, emotional, physical] universe is long and it moves toward justice [all things made right].” I believe this with all my heart. It makes me feel alive.

I was having a talk with my friend Josh Mitchell the other day about tattoos and we were saying how if either of us were to get a tattoo that it would have to be words. Words that meant something. Words that were personal. Words we didn’t want to forget. Today, if I had to pick, I might choose, “We are moving!”

Jesus was continually pointing people toward the future. He called it, “The Kingdom of Heaven“. The teaching carried with it the idea of already but not yet. Jesus had come, history and evolution and movement had brought people to the moment of being brought face to face with Jesus. Both man and God, he declared that the Kingdom of heaven was at hand and that also it was yet to come. More movement, more evolution, was and is required.

 

But I am getting ahead of myself.

This post is part one of a review series I am starting. I will be reviewing Painting the Stars: Science, Religion and an Evolving Faith. Each of the 7 sessions is 20 minutes long, and I will be writing one post about each session. After viewing session 1, I am very excited to be sharing this experience with you. The makers of the series, Living the Questions, produced the series in order to celebrate and explore the promise of evolutionary Christian spirituality.

The first session begins with the suggestion that like tectonic plates, the realms of evolution, religion and science often butt up against each other causing philosophical earthquakes, tsunamis and dramatic changes in the intellectual and spiritual landscape. Ironically, this is an evolution all its own. When some new reality in science collides with our beliefs about God, religion and the origins of the world, “something must eventually give way or merge” in order for a new landscape to emerge.

Evolution. What immediately comes to mind when you hear that word? Biology? Survival of the fittest? Charles Darwin? The big bang? What about personal, psychological, emotional, relational, culture, language, belief systems, political and economic systems? When we think about these areas, we find evolution is simply a fundamental universal reality.

This video series proposes to address how people of faith can engage difficult questions about science and faith in ways that decrease conflict and may even benefit us with new and challenging understandings. Questions like:

How are Christians who work in the disciplines of the sciences and technology able to accommodate and even embrace evolution?

Is the voice of the Scriptures somehow diminished by descriptions of a cosmology that no longer serves?

Is the Genesis story of creation voided by descriptions of a creation no longer seen as complete but rather driven by evolutionary processes that embody randomness and mortality, mutation and adaptation?  Or is the Genesis story deepened each time we discover more and more about our universe, about the amazing complexity of species and life that live on this planet?

How can people of faith engage such questions in ways that decrease conflict and even may benefit by new and challenging understandings?

The session titles are:

  1. Toward Healing the Rift
  2. A Renaissance of Wonder
  3. Getting Genesis Wrong
  4. An Evolving Faith
  5. Evolutionary Christianity
  6. Imagining a Future
  7. An Evolving Spirituality: Mysticism

The DVD series features over a dozen leading theologians and progressive thinkers including:

To learn more about Living the Questions, Painting the Stars or to purchase the DVD, click here.

Aside

No Longer Praying Out The Gay

love wins

 

 

Please go check out my interview with Phil Shepherd aka The Whiskey Preacher on Patheos.com:
No Longer Praying Out The Gay
Phil and I recently sat down and did interviews with each other in his home studio. Besides being a blogger, Phil and his wife Stephanie are co-pastors at The Eucatastrophe, an emergentish, missional faith community in Fort Worth, Texas.

If you missed it, you can catch my interview with Phil about living and ministering with chronic pain here:

First Ever Interview: Living in Chronic Pain with the Whiskey Preacher

First Ever Interview: Living in Chronic Pain with the Whiskey Preacher

“Every time I look for God amid sorrow, I always find Jesus at the cross, in death and resurrection. This is our God. Not a distant judge, nor a sadist. But a God who weeps. A God who suffers not only for us but with us. Nowhere is the presence of God more salient than on the cross. Therefore, what can I do but confess that this is not a God who causes suffering. This is a God who bears suffering. I need to believe that God does not initiate suffering. God transforms it.”   – Nadia Bolz-Webber from Pastrix

Recently I was invited by Phil Shepherd aka The Whiskey Preacher to be the subject of an interview for his blog.  Turn about being fair play, I asked if I could interview him for Word of a Woman.

In the last couple months Phil has been diagnosed with an auto-immune disease and is living with chronic pain.

Following is our discussion on living with that pain…

In the next day or two I will be posting the flip side of this video in which Phil talks to me about my personal evolution to becoming an LGBTQ ally.

Please look up Phil at:

Outlaw Theology on Patheos

On Facebook

On Twitter

The Eucatastrophe

Phil’s personal webpage

Well cut my hair and call me apostate! *to be said in your best Texas accent*

apostate

This week Attorney Matt Barber, president of Liberty Counsel Action, had anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera as his guest on his “Faith and Freedom” webcast. Their topic? John Shore & Dan Savage’s NALT Christians Project. The gist of their hate fueled ramblings is this:

“To have vile, anti-Christian bigots, who are pushing a radical, dangerous sexual anarchist agenda, presuming to lecture Christians, and have people — self-identified Christians, liberal so-called Christians — upload videos about how they support something that God calls an abomination — there’s no other word for it — it’s apostasy when you have self-described Christians do it.”

This week I was also a guest on a web interview blog…Outlaw Theology with The Whiskey Preacher on Patheos.com (I will be posting links as soon as they are up!!). Full disclosure: you will not be seeing either Peter LaBarbera or Matt Barber interviewed there anytime soon. Although, I am sure Phil (aka The Whiskey Preacher) would have lots of great questions for them. 🙂 Funny thing is, my interview was actually about my personal evolution in becoming a welcoming and affirming christian/pastor/blogger. When we were done, Phil was also kind enough to help me make my very own NALT video (Which will also be up soon!!!!). I am sure Mr. Barber and Mr. LaBarbera will be very disappointed with what I had to say.  But that’s okay because I am very disappointed with what they had to say. They are upset that we NALT (not all like that) christians are making videos supporting something the Scriptures call an abomination.  Well, I have news for them, I support several things the Bible calls an abomination and some it just says are wrong. GASP! Say it isn’t so!!! (I bet my friends from the beginning of the article probably also support some of these given I have seen their sideburns). That’s right lovelies, along with fully supporting my LGBTQ brothers and sisters, I also support:

  • Eating shellfish
  • Having sex with a woman (you are married to) who is on her period (if she is consenting, OBVIOUSLY)
  • The menswear look for ladies (hello, Diane Keaton)
  • Kilts for the dudes
  • Cutting your sideburns
  • Re-marrying someone you divorced (I have known several couples who have done this)
  • Marrying someone new after you get divorced
  • I am decidedly pro bacon, pepperoni, honeybaked ham, carnitas and pork chops.
  • Wearing clothing with more than one type of fiber
  • I am down with crop rotation (I come from several generations of farmers)
  • There is a bunch of stuff the Bible says you can’t touch, some are kind of gross but I am cool with you touching them (for instance I am for you touching a dead pig for the purposes of playing football)
  • Tattoos, even though I don’t have any
  • Long hair for men and short hair for women
  • Women praying with their heads uncovered
  • Women teaching men and/or boys and/or other women/girls (yes, even in church)
  • Women NOT being property of either father or husband or brother or dead husband’s brother
  • I am cool with it if you don’t want to marry your rapist
  • If your husband is getting mugged and you think you can stop things by grabbing the guys junk really hard…I promise I won’t cut off your hand
  • I won’t be mad if you don’t stone your kid for dishonoring you
  • I am even good with you working on Saturday or Sunday or even paying someone else to work by serving you lunch after church (I know I do)

Here is the thing, these two guys do not follow every instruction given in the Bible. They. Just. Don’t. They interpret. They pick and they choose. And I am sure they use all sorts of things to support their beliefs. So do I. So do I. I don’t know about you but when I read scripture, some things are crystal clear, some are blurry and some are downright opaque. The clearest thing I can find is that I am supposed to love God and love people, ALL PEOPLE. No if. No until. No unless. I just don’t think Jesus gives me another option.

BONUS: DID YOU NOTICE APOSTATE LITERALLY MEANS “RUNAWAY SLAVE” IN THE GREEK. I KIND OF LIKE THAT.

If you would like to know what I do with any of the “clobber passages” you can check out the series I did awhile back. I addressed them all. or If you would rather watch a video check out Matthew Vines. He rocks.
You can also see the response of the creators of the NALT Christians Projects here.

Floods, Drowning and God

Credit: Michael Ciaglo/AP

Now flood every portal of my mind
And flood everything I’ve tried to hide
I am looking to the sky
And I’m calling for a flood
Submerge me, Lord, in holy water
Drown me to live in You
Flood every corner of this room
And fill all the emptiness with You
Lord, we long to be consumed
And we’re calling for a flood                        – Calling for a Flood by John Waller

Lay me down in the waves
Let the water wash away
And if I leave with the tide
In the morning I will rise
So lay me down
Don’t lift me out
Let me drown                     -Let me Drown by We As Human

Have you seen the images coming out of Colorado? Do you remember Katrina? How about the Tsunami of 2004? Have you read the story of Noah in Genesis?

Floods suck. Floods are terrifying, destructive and unpredictable. They cause death and destruction and heartache. People drown. Drowning is not peaceful or pleasant.

Let me be clear, I DO NOT WANT GOD TO FLOOD ME WITH ANYTHING. I DO NOT WANT TO DROWN IN HIS LOVE or HIS MERCY or ANYTHING ELSE.  Can we please stop using this imagery?

The word flood is used in the Bible 47 times. Only two of them are positive. One is in Malachi where it talks about the floodgates (think of these like the spillway doors on a dam) of heaven being opened up to pour out a blessing too big to be able to be received. The other is in Isaiah where it says, “I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream”. Neither of these sounds like the life threatening floods mentioned in many worship songs. Often these songs allude to floods of love, grace or mercy sent by God that result in our death by drowning. And we sing them. Often to saccharine, lilty tunes with a peaceful feel to them.  I’ve got news for you..

The word drown is found 10 times in Scripture. NONE OF THEM ARE GOOD.  There is no mention of a peaceful river of blessing where Jesus lovingly holds you under until you can’t breathe. And no room, as the song above mentions, where people happily begged God to drown them in his presence like Charlie on LOST.

I know people try to make this flooding and drowning imagery about baptism. But the scriptures never teach this. In Romans 6:1-11 it says,

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Yes, we identify with the burial and resurrection of Jesus when we go down into the water and when we come out. We obviously are not literally dead, nor do any (non cult) groups advocate actual physical death in order to escape sin. The way in which we identify with his death is by recognizing that through Jesus we can be dead to sin; that is, sin has no more power over us because God is no longer holding our sins against us. No flood. No drowning.

Listen, I understand poetic license. I understand literary imagery. I understand figures of speech. I don’t expect every song (or any song for that matter) to only use words out of the 66 books of Canonized scripture. What I don’t understand are metaphors comparing what Jesus offers to death, destruction or war. Yes, I said war. One song I have heard actually says, “If you are the war then let me be your casualty.” No. No. No.  JESUS IS NOT THE WAR and WE ARE NOT HIS CASUALTY. EVER. He is however, the author of life and the prince of peace. He died to absorb wrath not to bring it. He does not bring destruction he delivers us from it.

My friend from Colorado told me this morning that some people are using the recent flooding in her area of Colorado as an occasion to liken actual floods to God’s flooding us with blessings or flooding us with the spirit. Please, no. Make it stop. That kind of talk is insensitive at best. God’s blessings look nothing like a flood that has left thousands displaced, a rising death toll and more than 1,200 unaccounted for.

So there is an article about the “8 Reasons to NOT send your daughter to College” on the interwebs and it makes my head want to explode.

Photo © News4Education

Photo © News4Education

Here is a link to the article (which I heard about from David Hayward and his thought-provoking cartoons of awesomeness) should you be interested in having your brain leak out your ear… 8 Reasons to NOT Send Your Daughter to College.

It is full of gems like #1 She will attract the wrong types of men.  or #3 She will not learn to be a wife and mother.

I. JUST. CANNOT. EVEN.

As you can imagine, my first instinct was to write a snark filled response going through each item one at a time.

example: #1 You mean like college educated men who value her for something more than her tuna casserole recipe or her child-bearing hips? See, not a good idea. Not loving.

I also thought about just reposting the list with the gender pronouns reversed.

example (emphasis added):
His: “So if it is unnecessary for one to be in a near occasion of sin, is it prudent to willingly put oneself there?  This is no small matter we’re dealing with here.  Is a degree worth the loss of your daughter’s purity, dignity, and soul?  Catholic OB-GYN Dr. Kim Hardey [notice this is a FEMALE doctor who presumably went to a TON of college] notes that a woman is naturally very observant of a man’s faults as long as she is in a platonic relationship with him.  Once she becomes sexually active with him, she releases hormones that mask his faults, and she remains in a dreamy state about him.”
Mine: So if it is unnecessary for one to be in a near occasion of sin, is it prudent to willingly put oneself there?  This is no small matter we’re dealing with here.  Is a degree worth the loss of your SON’S purity, dignity, and soul?  Catholic OB-GYN Dr. Kim Hardey notes that a man is naturally very observant of a woman’s faults as long as he is in a platonic relationship with her.  Once he becomes sexually active with her, he releases hormones that mask her faults, and he remains in a dreamy state about her.

Instead lovelies, I am simply going to give you EIGHT 20 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD ABSOLUTELY SEND YOUR DAUGHTER (and son for that matter) TO COLLEGE.

  1. A college education will provide her opportunities to learn and experience things she may not otherwise be exposed to.  College provides not only classroom learning opportunities, but also opportunities to meet people from other cultures and faith backgrounds, which will make her world simultaneously bigger in her understanding and smaller in that she will make personal connections with people from around the country and the world. When she spends time with people different from herself it will make her richer and helps her realize that the image of God is present in all people.
  2. A college education will teach her to question things she has been taught are truth. This is always good because all truth is God‘s truth and truth has nothing to fear of questions.
  3. A college education will give her the confidence and security of knowing that come what may she can take care of herself. This will give her the power to leave an abusive relationship, survive the breakup of her marriage (God forbid), help to provide for her family, or provide completely if her husband dies.
  4. A college education means that she is more likely to marry, to stay married and to be happy in her marriage. She is also more likely not to say the #1 benefit of marriage is financial security.
  5. A college education will help her find her passion in life and help her to pursue her dreams even if that passion and dream is to be a stay at home mom.
  6. A college education will open doors to her that would otherwise be closed and she will be able to earn more money for any job she takes.
  7. Her children (your beautiful grandchildren) will be happier, healthier and more likely to get an education themselves. For example, obesity rates for children of college educated people are approximately 1/2 of that of the children of high school graduates.
  8. Education is its own reward. Your daughters as well as your sons will benefit far beyond their ability to get a job.
  9. The unemployment rate for people with a college degree is half of what it is for people with a high school diploma and one-third of what it is for people who didn’t graduate from high school.
  10. She will be less likely to smoke. “The percentage of four-year college graduates who smoked declined from 14% to 9%, while the rate for high school graduates declined from 29% to 27%.”

  11. She will be less likely to be obese and will be in generally better health. According to BMC Health and Carnegie Mellon, A high level of education has been linked to lower blood pressure and that college degree holders have lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, compared to people with less education. Also according to a 2008 study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, men and women who earned a college degree are also at a lower risk of developing colorectal, prostate, lung and breast cancer.
  12. She will be more likely to have health insurance coverage. (According to a 2008 report by the College Board, nearly 70 percent of college graduates had employer-provided health insurance, while only 50 percent of high school graduates had benefits.)
  13. She is more likely to report high job satisfaction according to the Education Pays survey.
  14. If she is college educated she is more likely to marry someone who is college educated. When both parents are college graduates, their children (your grand babies, God bless them) will be more likely to go to college and reap all these benefits. It is a cycle of awesomeness.
  15. She is less likely to be incarcerated. Only  .1% of all college graduates are incarcerated compared with 2% of the general population.
  16. She is more likely to volunteer and will spend more hours doing it. According to the Education Pays survey:

    “Among college graduates, the volunteer rate is 46 percent, over twice the 22 percent rate for high school graduates.”and”Among those who volunteer, the median number of volunteer hours increases with educational attainment, with the 46 percent of college graduates who volunteer averaging 60 hours during the year, compared to 52 hours for those with some college, and 48 hours for high school graduates and for the adults with less than a high school diploma who volunteer their time.”

  17. She will be more likely to vote and have her voice and concerns represented. Again, according to Education Pays:

    In the 2000 presidential election, 74 percent of U.S. citizens who were college graduates between the ages of 25 and 44 reported voting, compared to 45 percent of high school graduates. Among citizens between the ages of 65 and 74, 86 percent of college graduates and 72 percent of high school graduates reported voting.

  18. She will be almost 3 times as likely to donate blood to help others.
  19. According to the CDC she will live longer; almost 9 years longer than people without a high school diploma and about 7 years longer than those with only a high school diploma.
  20. And believe it or not, she is more likely to attend worship services regularly. A survey from the Association of Religious Data Archives shows that college graduates are the educational group that’s most likely to regularly attend weekly worship services.