Posts Tagged ‘church’

I realize, in reading back over my blog, that there are a few things I tend to write about a lot.  I guess it could give the impression that I am a one trick pony.  I am really much more diverse than this.  I think my blog becomes that place that I can stop and wrestle, and think things through that are rattling around in my brain. Unfortunately for you, dear reader, these seem to run on similar tracks, especially faith and sexuality.  So lucky you, you get a view into my psyche again.

One of the most significant events over the last few months has been finally finding a church that I am pleased to attend. For many of you that is probably not a priority.  For me it is quite significant. I really relished the move to D.C. partly because I felt I had the opportunity to find a new community of believers.  I really loved the people in my church back in Michiana. They became my family when I had none. Quite honestly though, I was having more and more issues with actions and beliefs of the church the longer I was there.  I didn’t want to leave because they were my family, but in many ways I was itching to leave. [1]  After months of searching, and soul crushing isolation, I was on the verge of giving up and attending a church that was the best of the ones I really did not enjoy.  Then I found the Table on line, quite by accident. From the first visit I knew this was a church I could be proud of attending; a church I could be involved in and to which I could contribute. In short, I found a community again.

But this is not a blog about finding church.  It is instead about a conundrum that has emerged.

So there is theme one: Faith.  Enter theme two: sexuality.

I have been trying to get to know the people in this community. I am quite impressed with them.  Caring, generous, justice oriented.  Gracious, fun, human.  They are good people.  I signed up to be part of the worship band, something I didn’t think I would do again.  I find it a completely different experience.  One bonus, ever practice I have been to has ended with us going a local bar for a drink.  Despite my very meager bank balance, I really enjoy this ability to get to know others better. This last week, I went out with the other women from the team.  It was good.  Good conversation, good beginnings.  As per usual, I am fairly significantly older than either of them.  They were in their mid twenties.  One engaged and planning a wedding, the other in a significant relationship on the verge of engagement.

The conversation went like this:

Serious: So I think I found an apartment.
Ringbearer: By yourself?
Serious: Yeah. <to me> My housemate and I were about to sign a lease when she told me that she was moving in with her boyfriend, so I have finite time to find a new place.
Me: That really sucks.
Ringbearer: Why didn’t you move in with Significant Other?
Serious: He and Housemate have lease til May, wouldn’t do that to Housemate. It would be too small for me too.Plus. My parents would probably disown me if I moved in with Significant Other. Even though it would make sense, we’re together almost every night.
Ringbearer: That’s why I didn’t move in with Spouse-to-be. My parents wouldn’t be happy.
Me:<nothing to add>

One of the things I really struggle with today is the way church talks about sexuality.  You’ve heard me rant here before. One of the things that I struggle with the most is that the church is really bad about having the conversation about sex when it isn’t in the context of marriage.  We talk a lot about waiting for marriage, but not much else. I hear a lot of this growing up.  Thank god I had sensible parents who had  a more thorough conversation with us about choices, and consequences, and relationships.  But I am not 17 any more.

I am not even mid twenties.

I am 41.

And a virgin.

This conversation immediately put me on edge.  Not because I was faulting either of these women for their choices, but because I felt so….irrelevant isn’t the word…forgotten not either…perhaps archaic is. I felt archaic. I am used to being ‘suspect’ outside of church.  By this I mean, I rarely talk about being a virgin, because so many people around me think it is flat out weird, or they assume that it is simply because of the lack of opportunity. [2] This is really hurtful to me.  I am not a virgin because I am overly religious, or I bought into some simplistic idea of purity until marriage.  It is a complex and well thought out series of decisions on my part, and honestly, not always a decision I am pleased with.  Sometimes it is more a burden than I care to admit. The one thing I could always count on was, that despite my frustration with church, that was the one place where my decision was normal.  Almost all my friends that I grew up with were virgins when they got married.  I was just like everyone else.  Until they all got married and I was the only one left.  Now I was in a conversation where I had nothing to add, no experience to speak from, and the very nature of who I am is awkward. I am not normal. Instead, it is not acceptable to be me any more. [3][4] I have no place where being a virgin is normal.

To me this is the beginning of a conversation.  One I would like the church in general to take on.  I want us to wrestle with sexuality and purity.  Can we have a conversation where marriage/covenant is not the end game? Can we talk about what sexuality looks like when children are not a possibility? Can we talk about needs and longings? Can we be honest for a change?  I know I am not alone in this, but it feels like incredibly uncharted territory, especially in the evangelical christian world.  Please?  Some of us really need it, because it is beginning to feel like we don’t belong anymore.

I want to be a relevant part of the conversation, and not the circus sideshow freak.


1. For the record. I really am in support of some of the direction they have made in the last year.  I think they are becoming the church they need to for their community. I love them dearly, even if I don’t always agree with them.

2.  These people should just ride the metro with me.  I have had a number of prospects there!

3. Neither woman was in any way judgmental towards me. They don’t even know.  It is just how I was feeling in the conversation.

4. I cannot credit myself for this last statement. This came from a good friend, Amy, in a phone conversation last night.  Everyone needs an Amy for good conversations.  I am unanimous in this.


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Our church is offering a series of talks on sexual purity this month. The’re coming from the Bethel Church of Redding, CA. I went along to the first one, to see what it was all about.

Lots to think about.
Even more to bitch about.

****I’m going to be arguing some theology here. I want to make sure you all know I’m not trying to preach morality at any of you, rather deal with my frustrations at what is being perpetuated in my church. Thus it will have the word ‘sin’ in it a lot of times. I do invite a conversation about any point I make, but do please bear the intended audience in mind, and be quick to reason with me, and slow to take offense. Thanks!******

Let’s start with the good:
> The speaker, Kris Valloton, talked about how important it is to talk about sex in the church. Even more important to talk about in your home with your kids. I am 200% behind this. Sex is normal and good. We should never be afraid to talk about it. It’s not ‘unholy’ and there is no reason we shouldn’t discuss it in church. Of course there are parts we don’t need to share, but there never should be shame in talking about it, even if you’re having problems or struggling. I’ve maintained, and so have my siblings, that our parents’s openness profoundly affected how healthy we are towards sex. Knowing they had a healthy sex life, and loved each other, and seeing how that worked in a monogamous relationship is probably the only reason I’m still a virgin, by choice, today. (I know some people who would argue that this is not a healthy attitude towards sex, but that’s a different conversation). I gave this part of Kris’s teaching two enthusiastic thumbs up.
>I also agreed with Kris’s position on masturbation. There isn’t any verse in the bible that forbids it. There isn’t. There are some parameters that, if you’re trying to follow Christ, you should avoid, but simple self-pleasure is no sin. If you’re using someone else’s image, or fantasizing about someone else without them consenting, that’s crossing a line.

Ok that’s about all I agreed with, aside from the basic understanding of the importance of purity and figuring out how exactly you’re going to achieve the result that you want.

What I didn’t like:
>Though this was a talk to a mixed audience of young people from oh 18-30ish it pretty much was a man talking purity and pure actions to women. At least for 75 % of the time. I call shenanigans to that. A large portion of the talk focused on the significance of the hymen breaking and bleeding and the restoration of the hymen as God restores virginity. Kris’s thesis is that children were mean to be born in a covenant relationship. Therefore the blood that is shed by the breaking of the hymen is the blood of the covenant over shed over the marriage. Yeah I’m not sure I buy that. Especially since then it only means that the woman has to be pure. The man could have put his in every Tom, sheep, or Betty and no one would be any the wiser. For Kris to have spent so much time talking about this shaky theology and the importance of the hymen was a little sexist to say the least.
To follow it up by talking to women about how they dress….well that just made me want to punch him. As my friend Andigone said “Don’t blame me for your son not being a gentleman”. Kris commented that men are visual, women are auditory, and quipped “Ladies, don’t advertise what you’re not selling!” Ah that old chestnut. First off, anyone who’s been working with people with sex problems know that women are increasingly more visually oriented. We get turned on by what we see. I have friends who watch “18 again’ just to see Zac Effrons sculpted torso. Seriously. Even as an argument for modesty it’s a bad one. How do we even know what it is that turns someone on. I have a large rear end. Some guys are ass guys, and it wouldn’t matter how I clothed it. They’d still be affected. If you have a problem, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the solution is what I wear.

>Oh Kris. Purity isn’t just until marriage. Purity is a state of being. It isn’t understood in the context of virginity and then WOOHOOO! Married sex! It’s bigger than that. You talked long and hard about waiting for marriage and you never once talked about what happens if you don’t. Not only that. You promised your own children they would fall in love and they would get married. I call shenanigans to that too. First off, marriage isn’t the end goal of purity. If you try to explain sexual purity in the context of waiting til marriage you’ve missed the point. You’ve never once talked about what God wants from us and our bodies or, more importantly, WHY! You’ve never talked about the sacrifice that this is, and why it’s important, and why it will never have an end date, whether or not you get married. You make it out like purity is when your single and sex is for marriage. That makes sex seem a bit less than pure. That’s not what you mean, but that’s how it comes across. Thus you’ve allowed sex to be a little ‘dirty’ or ‘naughty’ even in a covenant relationship. So not right. Sex, like anything else, can be pure or impure, and teaching it in that context is far more helpful. Also this context leaves room to talk about how to have pure sex within marriage. Oh and it leaves room for you to talk about those people who will never get married. (leaving the homosexual question off the table for the moment) I’m talking about all the single people. First of all, the ladies that you talked a lot at are not all going to find godly men. Here’s why. A) they may be called to be single. B) they may be the victim of the lack of men in the church. (For instance at my age there are four times as many single women in the church then men. Yay Me!) If women want to do the ‘right’ thing and marry a man who loves Jesus, at least half of them will strike out. Quit promising them a husband, and quit telling them that all they have to do is make it until marriage. Not helpful Kris!

Ok. I know this is a big rant. Trust me. In my head it’s even bigger. I just wish we could talk about sex differently in the church. I wish my congregation was the place that I could say that sometimes it’s really tough to stick it out, sexually speaking. I wish I could say that sometimes a whole week goes by where no one touches me, and my body (physically, mentally, and spiritually) craves being touched. I wish I could be around people who don’t tell me I need to watch my outer appearance, without addressing another’s inward attitudes. I also wish it was a place where we could talk openly about sex and sexual issues without being offended, embarrassed, or shamed. I wish that we could mentor each other to have healthy sexual relationships, and care for each others needs.

Instead I’m just over here fuming, because this is just perpetuating some existing useless attitudes, and it does no good.

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So I read Philip Pullmans "His Dark Materials" trilogy recently,

and found it to be quite a kick in the ass.  I had heard that it was very anti Christian, and so was a little wary going in, but actually found the books to be quite engaging, and while I found my self cringing on occasion I was, more often than not, very aware that we 'christians' deserved every accusation that was laid at our door.  While I was reading these books I was also wending my way through another book that was also dealing a well deserved, and compassionate, right foot of fellowship in the general direction of my hindquarters. This book did an excellent job following up on

Pullman by challenging me on the way I live out my faith.  I found that both Pullman and Claiborne challenged me to live a life of love and compassion, and to not be so caught up in living a set of rules that I forget to be transformed and transforming.  Both of them showed how we have gotten really good at following rules, and forgetting to love.  Both of them really caused me to to do some serious soul searching.  It kept leading me back to 1 Corinthians 13.
 " If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing."
Jesus himself said that the world would know we were his disciples by the way we love…and sadly that is the case.  Pullmans novels illustrate the point over and over.  Our way of loving, or lack of loving, has just done more damage than I can fathom.  And Pullman lays it at our feet, and rightfully so.  As I read Claibourne's book I realized that here was a man, and a group of people living faith, being known by their love, and I wanted to be known as one of them.  They live among the homeless, care for the alien, the disenfranchised and forgotten, and even travel to Iraq to be with the people suffering in the wake of our actions.  They don't do acts of charity, instead they become friends with the unfriended, and then treat them as well as they treat themselves, or often better. They love, like I believe Christ Loved, and how I want to love.  Surprisingly this is what Pullman was bringing out in his books too.  At the end there was a passage that reminded me so much of what the Bible calls us to, lives of sacrifice, compassion, grace, joy.  Again 1 Corinthians 13, this time from the message translation
 " Love never gives up.
   Love cares more for others than for self.
   Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
   Love doesn't strut,
   Doesn't have a swelled head,
   Doesn't force itself on others,
   Isn't always "me first,"
   Doesn't fly off the handle,
   Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
   Doesn't revel when others grovel,
   Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
   Puts up with anything,
   Trusts God always,
   Always looks for the best,
   Never looks back,
   But keeps going to the end
Sadly, as the western church, we're not doing a very good job of this. Not by any stretch of the imagination.  Pockets here and there get it, and do it, but the vast majority has missed it.  We're more known by what we're against rather than who we're for.  We're more known by rules and legalism and hypocrisies than we are for love  and grace, and life.  My friends, this should not be so. 
I have hope though.  I see what we could be if we used our resources for good, not just more programs or buildings. I see what we could be if we stopped harping on abortion and gay rights, and instead focused on our children, and our own marriages.  I see what we could be if we actually lived a different sort of life than those around us, one of humility and sacrifice for others.  As broken as it is I love the church.  I love her even in the mess she is in, and I love her for what she can be.  As St Augustine so delicately put it.  "The Church is a whore, but she's my mother"  I see how she is, and love her none the less.
The problem becomes, what do I do about it?  Do I become the voice in the wilderness of the church calling for repentance, or the one who walks away and starts something new?  I don't know, but I think I haven't given up on the church just yet.  Maybe soon God will let me release the baseball bat of the holy spirit, and I will be able to start doing things that really kick some rear too, but in the mean time, I think I just need to learn how to love.
RAISE MY VOICE a little.
My sister got an email about the evils of the Pullman book, and the first movie based on it that comes out soon.  I decided to send a response.
This is what my sister got via email:

Don't let kids see "The Golden Compass"
For anyone with kids, grandkids other relatives or friends who this may concern, I have checked it out at
http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/compass.asp  and it is true. Read the info on the link.

There will be a new children's movie out in December called "The Golden Compass".  The movie has been described as "atheism for kids" and is based on the first book of a trilogy entitled "His Dark Materials" that was written by Phillip Pullman.  Pullman is a militant atheist and secular humanist
who despises C. S. Lewis and the "Chronicles of Narnia".  His motivation for writing this trilogy was specifically to counteract Lewis' symbolisms of Christ that are portrayed in the Narnia series.  
Clearly, Pullman's main objective is to bash Christianity and promote atheism.  Pullman left little doubt about his intentions when he said in a 2003 interview that "my books are about killing God."  He has even stated that he wants to "kill God in the minds of children".  It has been said of Pullman
that he is "the writer the atheists would be praying for, if atheists prayed."
While "The Golden Compass" movie itself may seem mild and innocent, the books are a much different story.  In the trilogy, a young streetwise girl becomes enmeshed in an epic struggle to ultimately defeat the oppressive forces of a senile God.  Another character, an ex-nun, describes Christianity as "a very powerful and convincing mistake."  In the final book, characters representing Adam and Eve eventually kill God, who at times is called YAHWEH.   Each book in the trilogy gets progressively worse regarding Pullman's hatred of Jesus Christ.
"The Golden Compass" is set to premier on December 7, during the Christmas season (and staring Nicole Kidman), and will probably be heavily advertised.   Promoters hope that unsuspecting parents will take their children to see the movie, that they will enjoy the movie, and that the children will want the books for Christmas.
Please consider a boycott of the movie and the books. Also, pass this information along to everyone you know (including church leaders).  This will help to educate parents, so that they will know the agenda of the movie. I am sending this to those of you who have kids or friends with kids, grandkids or have influence with kids. So many things today are darkness concealed in what appears to be innocent.  FYI.

This was my response (some of it responding to things mentioned in the snopes link):

I read this email, and it made me sad.

What an adventure in missing the point.
I've read all three of the Phillip Pullman books and found them to be a good spiritual kick in the behind.  Pullman is, and rightfully so, down on organized religion.  He makes a point of spelling out how religion has acted in it's own best interest, and not cared about the people around it.  We, as 'christians', have earned this reputation.
Everything from the persecution of 'heretic's' to the burning of witches, to the selling of indulgences, to the wars, the support of the holocaust, etc.  We've done it all, and in the process been
incredibly self righteous. I found, written at the end of these  three books, a challenge to be a person of
love, sacrifice, compassion, grace, hope, and life in my world.  A challenge that seemed almost a verbatim quote from 1 Corinthians 13. Even though I felt uncomfortable at times with the attitude, I never
once saw that it was overdone, but rather saw it as very deserved. What is more troubling is that there is some false information going on.  One falsehood is that there is castration or genital
mutilation in the book, this is not true.. Secondly, there is an accusation that Pullman attacks Jesus. This is also untrue.  As far as I remember there is no mention of Jesus, disparaging or
otherwise. As to his view of God, Pullman is no atheist.  He actually is an agnostic, however he does feel that if there was a God that he would be ashamed of his followers. Plus, Pullman disses all organized
religion, not just Christianity. However, most troubling for me is that we're talking about a boycott
at all.  I have every respect for parents that monitor what their children take in.  This is admirable, and should happen whether or not the fare is 'christian'. What disturbs me is that we feel the need to
get up in arms over this, and it will just serve to perpetuate the well deserved image of christians who are more worried about being tainted, or maligned than they are concerned about those around them.
We jump all over the movie that impunes the way we've practiced our faith over the centuries, but don't raise our voices when children die of preventable diseases, or live in abject poverty.  This isn't living
our faith, and that is exactly the argument Phillip Pullman makes. Well done us.  Proving his point has merit, rather than showing that there is a better way.  If we did live differently, it would be
something Pullman himself would be impressed with, and maybe could embrace.  Isn't that the point?  Not to make sure our rights aren't violated, but living in such a way that we draw people to a
relationship with our Creator?

So.  I'm going to see the movie.  I think it will be interesting to see if they tone down the rhetoric or not.  We'll see.

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Ok so right now I can barely sit still. I'm reminding myself of the little puppy who see's you from inside the door, and is basically falling over itself dancing with such excitement.  Yeah thats pretty much me at the moment.  Why? Apparently theres some truth to the Ask and KEEP ON ASKING scriptures in the bible. And how odd that this happened the DAY of the QOTD dealing with movie cliche's.
Still, sadly, man with quick wit, Scottish accent, and soulful eyes not in my life but…
My uncle called last night.
He's a wealthy  man.
Now he's more wealthy.
His company sold for almost 500 million, and he was an owner of a small part.  Anyway, after telling me all of this, and how he's creating a scholarship in his fathers name, and some other things like that, he told me he wanted to pay off my student loans…IN FULL.
This means a lot of things, but the big one is, I can start the process to try and move to where my family is.
I did it today.
I contacted the consulate to find out what visa I need to apply to.
And although this doesn't make the church question a mute point,  I know i won't be there forever, so maybe that gives me the freedom to speak more…um…forcefully.
Unexpected grace.
ps. ain't my uncle and aunt cool?

Washington and Uncle Norm & Aunt Mary 072Washington and Uncle Norm & Aunt Mary 076Washington and Uncle Norm & Aunt Mary 081

  i made the sweater she's wearing!

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boxing rebecca

Ok I'm sitting here, the Novocain slowly wearing off, and my mouth hurting.  (FIRST EVER CAVITY…I'm particularly miffed over that slight.  I last so long, and then suddenly, 34 years after first getting teeth, the insidious evil arrives)  Anyway, I'm not so much bemoaning that fact, it just that the steadily growing ache in my jaw is precipitating the growing verbal growl in me.  So now you all get to bear the brunt.
I'm feeling boxed in.
I hate boxes.
Always have, always will. But external boxes are the worst.   Boxes of expectation, or more importantly, interpretation.  Meaning, I'm limited by the way people see me, or categorize my actions.  I have some significant ones in my life, like..being single, or being fat.  People see this and make all kinds of assumptions, or read what I say in a certain way.Those bug me, as I'm not the typical example of anything, so being stereotyped annoys me immensely, but right now there is a box on me that i just can't break out of, and it is killing me.  It is a box that classifies what I have to say, what I do, how I appear, in this "that's just bekki" category, and enables people to dismiss what I have to offer.  This is particularly tragic, as I think what I have to say at the moment is crucial..even to the life or death of my church.
Did I mention I hate boxes?
One time, when I was the Youth Leader, some parents were having a rough go of it.  I sat down with them. Listened, prayed, counciled, and the response to my advice? "When you have kids……"  A few weeks later, they went to the pastor, and he told them the exact same thing, and they were really grateful, and pleased with the 'godly' advice.  This is typical.  I'm often viewed as Less Than, since I apparently do not have the maturity to get a husband, or have a child. Sadly, this is not an isolated incident.
I also have a creative box. Bekki is good at coming up with the creative 'out of the box' ideas, but I'm never trusted to do the deeply spiritual things, unless there's plenty of supervision.  Ironic though, since I have a pretty solid track record of reading situations accurately, providing the right response, mentoring and leading others.  I always have my cage rattled when there is a need for thinking differently, but not taken seriously when I'm being a forerunner, until someone of greater 'maturity' or 'respect' backs up my claim. A good example of this is a book that I love.  I begged my pastor to read it for over a year.  In staff meeting I would share how bits of it made me think, or moved me, but no, he didn't take it seriously until his mentor recommended he read it, and he did within a week. And the book was significant to his journey.  These are just an examples of a consistent point of view that surrounds me, and mostly I can deal with it, but now I can't.
Our church is going through some major changes.  We're realizing that church as usual isn't making the kind of difference we want (something i've said for quite some time) and there are a lot of us that are anxious for it to become what it should be, not stick to the dead liturgy of previous generations.  Not to keep the status quo at the price of the hearts and spirits of those to whom the status quo is useless. And I have things to say.  Not the whining complaints of an unsatisfied parishioner, but the voice of one calling out for more, calling from the wilderness, from the desert lands, the one ready to lead, albeit somewhat reluctantly, into the new places of God.  But I'm afraid my warnings, and my callings won't be heard.  I'm afraid that they won't get past the Box of "bekki".  And the piece that I have, what I have to say, is crucial to our collective Journey, and we will miss where we're meant to be if I can't break free.  And I'm afraid that if I'm not heard it's going to kill me, and I will walk away, and then all the sacrifices i've made over these years, all the intercession, the tears, the prayers, the work, will be lost.
The worst thing about the box? I've been spending so much time and energy fighting it, pushing against it, to make it fit better, that I haven't taken a close look at myself.  And now, as I do that, i realize, my desperation for freedom is bigger and deeper than I thought.  I'm almost afraid of what's lurking beneath the cynical optimism I wear most days.
No matter what happens now…it's going to hurt like hell.

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So the last 24 hours have been good.  I had Momentum which is fun.  and then drove down to Ft Wayne to be with my friend/sister B.  We had a lovely long talk.  One of the things we talked about was this:  I am learning to not be so  spiritually selfish. I do things in obedience to God, even when it costs me, but deep down I feel violated.  Like I'm doing this, it costs, you owe me, but you never pay me back God!  I am having a hard time remembering that this is not a barter system, this thing between God and me.  I so often feel deserving.  No, more like I feel I have the right to things.  I have the right to be happy, I have the right (God you SO owe me) to be loved by a man, I have the right (God you owe me) to get married, I have the right (God you owe me) to have kids, etc. and the list goes on, and on, and on.  Right now in this stage of the journey, I'm realizing, it doesn't work that way.  Well, I knew it before, but I think It i just sinking in right now, you know, deep in my spirit.  Obedience is better than a Gift to God, it doesn't come with strings, or the expectation of being repaid in kind, and My Faithfulness, My Obedience, My Chastity, My (relative) Poverty,  My Isolation from family are not things that God tallies up and says, "My Good Girl over there has earned enough points for the Financial Blessing". (much tho I'd like it to work that way)  So I've actually been spiritually Glowering at God recently. Why are you always picking on me?!?  When's the next crisis going to drop?!?  What the heck are you doing with my parents?!?  HAVEN'T WE ALWAYS DONE WHAT YOU WANTED!?! I even started writing songs about it.


 Wasn’t I the one who laid it at the altar?

 Let go of all the claims I have on this life?

 Did I somehow loose you in my eagerness to follow?

 And run too far with what was never said?

 For now I’m tossed between frustration and failure

 And I can’t breathe

So recently I've been thinking about this, and the Madeline L'engel book came to mind, A Wind in the Door ( i highly recommend the whole wrinkle in time series, a treasured series of mine since childhood) but part of the story involves Deepening where the even the smallest creature has to choose to sacrifice itself, and Deepen, in order that the whole might live.  And I reallized that I am on the Deepening stretch of the journey.  I am at the place where I have to give up my 'rights to' and realize that I may morn the loss of many things on my journey, and not get what I desire.  That God is God and I must choose obedience. Time to Deepen.

The other amazing thing that happened was that I went to church with my friend, and the church service was all done by Native Americans, who were couching everyithing, the gospel, the worship, in native american culture and

metaphor. IT  WAS AMAZING!  I cried, and laughed, and was so full of praise for this unexpected jewel.  The dancing, the worship, the drumming, It was  breathtaking. I got some cd's I'll upload a song, but you should also check out the podcast of the sermon. It was VERY GOOD by a native american who holds intertribal powwow's for worshiping God, Plus he's very in your face.  He was talking about expanding our worldviews. He said "all I'm saying is if the two radio shows you listen to faithfully are rush limbaugh and James dobson, you need to expand your world view". It was amazing.   http://www.hccfw.com/staticpages/index.php?page=podcasts  &#160; This is the link for the podcast.

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