church nonsense

We Don’t Need No Nitpickin’


I have a friend who works at the Cru HQ in Orlando. This morning he shared this on Facebook:

“Donna and I saw a pre-screening of [“The Shack”] last night (in theaters March 3). It was emotionally powerful and well-acted all around. I pray it becomes a fantastic God conversation-starter for a very long time!”

Good prayer. Great desire.

One of the brethren immediately chided him:

“That book was a theological disaster. I encourage you to read Tim Challies review before recommending the book or movie to anyone.”

He provided a link to that review.

We don’t need no theological nitpickin’.

Half of this country is in a frenzy of fear because they don’t know and/or trust God.

Right before the election, many, many, just about all of my Christian Facebook friends – Republicans and Democrats alike – posted something like this: “No matter who is in the White House, God is on the throne.”

After the election, those who hold that truth did not gloat or panic.

Those who don’t hold that truth did.

In the midst of this fear-filled frenzy, we don’t need no stinkin’ nitpickin’.

The book is a NOVEL.

Since when do novels have to have every theological i and every theological t dotted and crossed correctly?

And by whose theological standards must they be dotted and crossed?

The novel beautifully portrays the caring heart of God.

Who wouldn’t want the caring heart of God portrayed in theaters for all to see?

Fifty percent of this fear-filled country NEEDS it.


When Campus Crusade for Christ changed its name to Cru back in 2011, the purist accused them of bowing to political correctness, of being ashamed of Christ’s name. HQ received angry phone calls, critics took to social media.

You can read about it here.

Back when Amy Grant released a pop album – one in which every single song wasn’t overtly about Jesus, or Christianity, the purists dropped her from their playlists. She was selling out, ashamed of the gospel.


She was trying to reach a wider audience WITH the gospel.

Christian Purists:

Take the straight jacket off the Truth already.

Stop loading the gospel down with burdens it’s not intended to carry.

Stop guarding the truth so heavily that no one can penetrate it.

People need to come into the safe arms of Jesus and you – however loyal you think are being – might be standing in their way.

They will know we are Christians by our L.O.V.E. LOVE.

And they just might know God cares by our “theologically disastrous” songs and books and movies.

Just as the first Christians knew Jesus was the Son of God by His theologically disastrous teachings and Sabbath healings.



life, Light

Compliment, Coffee & Counseling


A few weeks ago I had a dream – actually it was probably the mother-of-a-child-working-on-her-masters-in-counseling-degree’s worst nightmare:  I dreamed that my daughter read a book for one of her classes and discovered that I had done every parenting thing wrong.

So imagine my delight yesterday when my daughter and I returned home after walking our dogs and she said, “You have really healthy REBT.”

“Oh, wow, thanks!,” I replied.   “What’s REBT again?”

“Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy”  (When she said it we both knew it doesn’t make sense to say one has healthy REBT, but you know what she meant.)

“You can tell me about it over coffee,” I said.

While she sipped her vanilla latte and I sipped my chai tea latte, she explained:  Emotionally healthy people have unconditional acceptance of themselves, of others and of life. She gave me some examples.

I asked her what the unhealthy flip side looks like.

She said people who aren’t emotionally healthy become easily rattled.  They must have a problem free life.  If they don’t they think, “This is terrible, I can’t stand it,” and they become anxious.

When we returned home from the coffee shop, she left for class and I googled Rational, Emotive, Behavior Therapy because it has been over 30 years since I was in school and I needed a refresher.   Plus I’m always curious about everything.

So here’s REBT in a nutshell:

According to Albert Ellis, the founder of REBT, how we react to situations is not determined by the situation itself, but by our belief about the situation.  He developed a simple ABC format to explain:

A. Something happens.
B. You have a belief about the situation.
C. You have an emotional reaction to the belief.

A does not cause C, B causes C.

When people react with anxiety, depression, shame, guilt, rage, passive-aggression, acts of violence, self-pity or procrastination it is not because something bad happened, it is because they have one or more of the following faulty beliefs:

1.  I must do well and win the approval of others for my performances or else I am no good.

2.  Other people must treat me considerately, fairly and kindly, and in exactly the way I want them to treat me. If they don’t, they are no good and they deserve to be condemned and punished.

3.  I must get what I want, when I want it; and I must not get what I don’t want. It’s terrible if I don’t get what I want, and I can’t stand it.

The more rigid and demanding the belief, the unhealthier the reaction.

When I was growing up, I noticed a pattern with one of my sisters.  She would make a new friend, put her on a pedestal, talk about her in glowing terms for a week or so, admiring everything she said and did.  Then, when the friend did any little thing that was not in accordance with how my sister believed a perfect person should act, she became angry, upset, rattled, and the friend was suddenly horrible, worthless, cast aside.  NEVER to be forgiven.  She was definitely operating out of faulty belief #2.

I know a woman who can’t quite come to Jesus.  She has toyed with the idea, but she just won’t admit that she needs a Savior.  She has way too much pride for that.  Too much intelligence for that, she has said.

But I think the truth is that she has had too much childhood abuse for that.  I don’t know exactly what she endured.  Perhaps it was not all that much compared to some, but to her it was enough to prepay any sin she would ever commit in her life.  And she has committed plenty of sins.

But she won’t admit it, she won’t say she’s sorry for anything because she seems to believe that the abuse she suffered has earned her a pass.

God owes her.

I think she might be operating out of faulty belief #3.  God, life must be fair, must make sense, must be kind to her.  If it isn’t, then she can behave however she wants.  Doesn’t matter who she hurts.  She just can’t accept that life is unfair – especially to her.

A few lines from a Keith Green song sum up faulty belief #1 pretty well:

“My son, my son why are you striving?
You can’t add one thing to what’s been done for you.
I did it all while I was dying.
Rest in your faith my peace will come to you.”

The goal of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy is to transform faulty beliefs into unconditional acceptance:

Unconditional self-acceptance:

1. I am a fallible human being; I have my good points and my bad points.
2. There is no reason why I must not have flaws.
3. Despite my good points and my bad points, I am no more worthy and no less worthy than any other human being.

Unconditional other-acceptance:

1. Other people will treat me unfairly from time to time.
2. There is no reason why they must treat me fairly.
3. The people who treat me unfairly are no more worthy and no less worthy than any other human being.

Unconditional life-acceptance:

1. Life doesn’t always work out the way that I’d like it to.
2. There is no reason why life must go the way I want it to.
3. Life is not necessarily pleasant but it is never awful and it is nearly always bearable.

Perhaps my unconditional self-acceptance is the reason I have trouble wallowing in the self-condemnation I wrote about yesterday.  And probably tomorrow.

And to give credit where credit is due, here’s where I got my info:

faith, Jesus, life, Light

God in My Trundle Bed

rika Oyen, Creative Commons

rika Oyen, Creative Commons

Laying in my trundle bed one night I told God I wanted to understand everything.  My parents and my older sibs were watching Peyton Place.  I was too young, they said, I wouldn’t understand.

I asked God a lot of questions in my bed back then.  I still do sometimes.  Once, He told me that all my questions and all His answers are like pieces of a giant puzzle that will all perfectly connect the instant I arrive in heaven.  I went to sleep smiling knowing it would all make sense.

I no longer want to understand everything this side of heaven.  To really understand something you have to get close to it, maybe even get inside it, and some things – lots of things – are too ugly for that.

God tried to protect mankind from having a knowledge of good and evil but A&E insisted, and it messed them up.  It messed all of us up.

Wanting nothing could be a symptom of depression or a sign of selflessness.  I used to be considered sort of selfless, but then, when I had a child of my own, I realized that God likes to give good gifts to His children.  So I say, “Let Him.”

Wanting everything could be an indication of a healthy zest for life, or a sign of greed and/or selfishness.

To the latter James said, “You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.  When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

I don’t want nothing and I don’t want everything.  I just want to live my life taking from God’s loving hand and cherishing every good gift He gives.

This Christmas I am cherishing His gift of a Savior – The Gift above all gifts.

So, to answer the daily prompt’s question:  All or nothing – which is more dangerous?  I’d say it’s a draw because they both put me at odds with God.


400 Years

400 years of silence and then…

An old man in the temple
Waiting in the court
Waiting for the answer to a promise
And all at once he sees them
In the morning sunshine
A couple come in carrying a baby
Now that I’ve held Him in my arms
My life can come to an end
Let Your servant now depart in peace
‘Cuz I’ve seen Your salvation
He’s the Light of the Gentiles
And the glory of His people Israel
Mary and the baby come
And in her hand five shekels
The price to redeem her baby boy
The baby softly cooing
Nestled in her arms
Simeon takes the boy and starts to sing
Now that I’ve held Him in my arms
My life can come to an end
Let Your servant now depart in peace
‘Cuz I’ve seen Your salvation
He’s the Light of the Gentiles
And the glory of His people Israel
Now’s the time to take Him in your arms
Your life will never come to an end
He’s the only way that you’ll find peace
He’ll give you salvation
He’s the Light of the Gentiles
And the glory of His people Israel
Now That I’ve Held Him In My Arms
by Michael Card

One of my all time favorites.  In case you’ve never heard it, you can sample it here: