Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Even us adults are asked, "what did you get for Christmas?"
I am going to be much more specific:
Did you get peace that passes human understanding?
Did you give and receive Love?
Did you make someone else's day?
Did you extend forgiveness and grace?
Were you patient with a little one who just wanted more?
While in line at the mall did you extend kindness? Did you allow the goodness of Jesus Christ shine through as you sat through 3 green lights?
Did you experience, did you get JOY that's unspeakable?
If not, go to the One who gives it, the God of the Universe, the One who came as a babe humbly the same way we came into the world, except He came to redeem the world, confess your need for forgiveness and walk in newness of faith.
Merry Christmas: Go out with Rejoicing, Dancing and Singing!!!
Sunday, December 16, 2007
More from Brother Lawrence
"We must behave very simply with God, and speak frankly to Him, asking Him for help in things as they happen. It had often been his experience that God does not fail to give His help."
This in a way describes my prayer life. As things approach and as they are happening, I am praying and asking for God's guidance. I don't tend to be one of those pray'ers who have a big list of things around the world that I am praying about and it is only recently that I have peace about it. Strange the lies we tell ourselves: "because I am not praying for the soldiers in Iraq, and the people of Durfur, I thought I was a second class Christian." Then the TRUTH swept in to dispel the lie. God has all
different kinds of children and therefore, we will pray in different kinds of ways. So, when I do ask for help, I get what I need and that makes all the difference. When I spin my wheels and try to do things in my own strength, I will get things done and even do a good job, but often it is not the best or on occasion not the right job. On this journey called life I continue to learn.
Case in point, this past week I was offered a platform which I took but failed to deliver the message that I believed God wanted me to give. It was at a meeting where I was the speaker, the topic was the 2nd step of Alcoholics Anonymous part 2 "Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity." I did pray prior to the meeting, prior to speaking but I stumbled. I am still learning and I believe that this failure was for my benefit.
I shared how I no longer ask God to keep me away from a drink and a drug because it is a gift that God has given me and He wants me to simply be grateful every day for the gift. I left it at that and really didn't tie it into the chapter we read or the other comments that I made. In the chapter, it says, "elimination of our drinking is but a beginning" then further it says,"the main problem of the alcoholic centers in his mind." This is where the restoration of sanity needs to take place in the mind. If my main prayer concern is simply the physical sobriety then I will not get down to causes and conditions which are centered in my mind. I had to go on in my relationship with God and turn my whole will and life over to the care of God (not just physical sobriety: which is included), ask to do His will and not my own. Still isn't this the wrestling match we stay in while living life in the flesh. I believe we have times of rest because we surrender utterly to God and we know His peace but we are a living sacrifice which means we have the ability to crawl off the table and go do our own thing. We must go on and grow spiritually.
The message I believe that I was to give is WHO I came to believe in and that would be Jesus Christ, not the one of the imperfect church but the one of the Bible, the Son of God who came to seek and save those who were lost. I didn't go looking for Him, He came found me and changed the course of my life for all eternity. This is the Carpenter who is in the business of restoring mankind. We are his workmanship and consequently we cannot take any of the credit.
So, these two cross section of my life are interwoven and I was afraid of what other people would think of me or what they might say in response to my sharing and I had to ask God to remove my fear just to share it here with you, my readers. This is real life and at times it seems very complicated. Living is simple if we let go of all the junk, ask God to restore (or renew) our minds, and let Him live through us.
May peace, mercy, joy and a sound mind be multiplied to each of you.
My fellow blogger had this on her blog so I decided to do it just for the fun of it.
|You Are Comet|
A total daredevil, you're the reindeer with an edge!
Why You're Naughty: You almost gave Santa a heart attack when you took him sky diving
Why You're Nice: You always make sure the sleigh is going warp speed
Monday, December 10, 2007
My friend Carol Gray
Tomorrow is Carol's birthday and it is about time that I wrote about her on my blog.
We all have people in our lives that are mainstays no matter how radically our lives may change there are people who will be there no matter what. Carol Gray is one of those people in my life. Our cherish friendship has continued to grow even though we have been miles apart.
When we started traveling almost 5 years ago, it was Carol who threw us an intimate going away party. On our first return to New England, she called me as we were leaving Pennsylvania on our move from Knoxville, TN in the late summer of 2005 and said, what are you doing on Sunday? I said, "coming to your house?" and she said, "Do you think you can make it? Stephen is going to be baptized." And you can bet that is where we found ourselves. The only plans we had at the time were driving and making our way to Vermont.
As we found ourselves on a second return to New England this fall, I made plans with Carol to stay with her upon our arrival in the Bay State. Their family lives in our old hometown and we had plan to stay one night. We ended up staying for four nights as my van broke down while trying to leave, my old mechanic fixed the van and we were on our way, after being taken care of by my dear friend.
Carol is a faithful friend and sister in Christ. One of the sweetest, warm hearted human beings I know. The embodiment of a loving handmaiden of her Lord. Carol is the beloved of her husband, Steve and the devoted mother of 5 beautiful children. She is unwaivering in her dedication to her own family as well as the body of Christ. I am very grateful for Carol being in my life.
Happy Birthday Carol!!!
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
The Heartbreak Hill of Parenting
For those of you familiar with the Boston Marathon, you know about Heartbreak Hill in Newton, it is the last of four gruelling hills in a row and only 5 and 1/2 miles to the finish line. Raising three older teens is the Heartbreak Hill of Parenting. Even with kids who bring joy and don't cause us too much heartache (I don't care how well your kids are doing, you will go through something with your kids), it is the time of letting go and helping them to grow into adulthood, not perpetuate their adolescence. It is the time to press on, and press into the heart of Our Father who each of them will need to trust more and more. Grace said to me the other day, before this season of her life, "I could just trust you and dad and you had to trust God. Now, I have to trust God myself." Not an exact quote but that was the gist of what she was saying.
I am still very involved in my children's lives but this will decrease as it is meant to be. My role is always changing as my children (who really can no longer be called children) grow, mature and change. It is a wonderful thing as well as difficult. We want to continue to send our children out with blessings from Dan and me. Again, we are driven to our knees for wisdom. As the saying goes, it is hard to stumble while you are already on your knees. The road of childhood is very short and it has been completed by our oldest and the 2 younger are not far behind.
The beauty, grace and surprise of this journey is that I have been present for each stage of development and we have enjoyed laughter, tears, pain, joy and togetherness. I sat next to a mom with her infant (child #8) on the plane coming home from Florida with Grace last week. She was nursing her little one and I remember nursing Grace and humbled by the fact that God would give me the honor of being a mother. Linda Shepard, a mother I once knew gave me one of the greatest words of wisdom pertaining to motherhood when I was pregnant with Grace,
"Pregnancy is the ultimate in motherhood from birth on, it is a process of letting go."
Sunday, November 25, 2007
For the second time in the last 4 plus years we have returned to New England to live, this is the motherland and we are living on the South Shore of Massachusetts in the city of Hull very close to Nantasket Beach. There are a number of people who walk or run the beach each morning and I am one of them. I have made a feeble attempt to write about one of the freedoms of New England living. If you have any questions, I hope you leave it in the comment box and I will attempt to answer them.
Walking down the beach at the break of day
Not the soft sands of Florida but the rugged terrain of New England
The air is brisk, the sky is clear and the ocean is tuned
To the rhythm of my foot steps
I am not alone but . . .
I don’t have to say good morning
No one will think I'm rude
You don’t have to say good morning
we respect your solitude
To me this is home in the human sense of the word
It’s not that we are an unfriendly people
We just like to keep to ourselves
It’s your people and my people
A pleasant smile can say hello just as well as Good Morning but . . .
You don’t have to say good morning
No one will think you’re rude
You don’t have to say good morning
we respect your solitude
Another way to have freedom and solitude but an acknowledgment
Is through a nod or a simple twinkling of the eye
Say Good Morning if you want to but remember . . .
You don’t have to say good morning
No one will think you’re rude
You don’t have to say good morning
we respect your solitude
I have spent some time in the south
I love some folks down there but there
are pressures of civility that made me question their sincerity
Here in the Bay state, you will encounter the grumpy, cheerful, depressed and some clicking there heels for joy
Be careful if you ask someone how they are because you will probably get the truth
Catherine Mullaney ©
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
"The goal of all his[brother Lawrence] actions was to do them for the love of God."
"Outside of feelings of surprise a person should not allow himself to be carried away with his feelings because God should remain the Master and center of our attention."
When I was a new Christian, I came across a little illustration of a train the engine being FACTS, middle car being FAITH and the caboose being FEELINGS. The point being that the train will run with or without the caboose. This may come across as simplistic, however I think that the above quote by Brother Lawrence can be taken as a warning. Since prior to my conversion I was led around by my feelings this was a good word of advice.
If God is to remain Master, it is important for me to know my place and the roles he has assigned. First and foremost, I am a child of the living God, daughter of the King and handmaiden of my Lord. Each morning I do my best to laid down my will and ask for His Will to be done. To surrender all that I do to God and ask Him to direct me in my everyday activities as wife, mother and friend is essential to bringing glory to God in this season of my life.
If God is to be the center of my attention, then I need to know the facts about who God is not just in my head but in my heart and I am responsible for exercising the faith that I have been given. The Truth needs to permeate my whole thinking and how I view the world, man and God. It also needs to be written in my heart. My faith needs to be authentic and reflected in my actions and decisions.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
by Brother Lawrence
"What we need is to make our faith come alive."
"The goal of all his (Brother Lawrence's) actions was to do them for the love of God."
"We must give ourselves entirely and in complete abandonment to God, both in temporal and in spiritual matters. We must find our contentment in the execution of His will, whether He leads us by sufferings or by consolations, so that everything should seem the same to a person who has truly abandoned himself. We must remain faithful in the dry periods by which God proves our love for Him. In this way we make fruitful acts of surrender and abandonment. A single act of this kind enables us to make much progress along the pathway."
"Find our contentment in the execution of His will" not in getting what I want or what I believe I need or deserve (how unamerican of me) but in this carrying out process of doing what it is the Father would have me do. This reminds me of John Piper and his passion, that "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." The longer I walk this road called life, the more I see that I am nothing without Jesus Christ. I want to cry out and be in the place of Thy Will, not mine be done. Strangely enough, I find myself there more often than not especially in these days living as a very mobile American in a very non tradition way. In the material sense you could say that my life is unstable but in the spiritual sense the foundation stones are becoming more settled and secured than ever before in my life.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
I have probably owned a copy of this little book for years and I am finally getting around to reading it. There are many good books and this one is already a treat. For right now I hope to share some lines or passages that grab my attention. I may or may not comment on them. I hope if you read this and you have any insights that you would share those with the rest of us in the comment box.
"Thou knowest well that it is not Thy gifts that I look for and desire, but it is Thyself and I can be content with nothing less."
"This sums up our entire call and duty: to adore GOD and to love Him, without worrying about the rest."
"...we must establish outselves in the presence of God by continually conversing with Him. It is a shameful thing to break off our conversation with Him in order to engage in trifling or foolish talk."
I think this last line sums up the purpose of this little book. I do want to be aware as much as humanly possible the presence of the Lord. I know that in this life, it is next to impossible but it is something to shot for because in the next life we will be with Him for all eternity.
I have updated my profile. It occurred to me when a new friend said she had read through several of my posts that she still couldn't figure out what it was that we did. So, hopefully my update will help with that. I will add that I am a daughter of the Most High God, lover of life, know about joy because I have experienced pain, make time for a walk most mornings and currently it is by the sea.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Thinking Out LoudSeptember 1, 2004Currently, I am traveling with my family and I do have a travel type blog (catriona.blogspot.com) but I wanted to track my internal journey as well. Not only is this thinking out loud but sharing my heart. A dangerous thing to do here in cyberspace or anywhere for that matter, but I believe that to really live we are to live dangerously. I am doing my best to live by faith and not by sight, to think for myself, not believe every sound bite I hear, to pause, reason, discern and act in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ (not the gospel of American Churchianity).I meet with The Carpenter each morning. My husband and I educate our children at home and now on the road. We worship with fellow pilgrims and settlers who love Jesus and live for Him. We do our best to serve those that God puts in our path.It is my goal to write from the heart and reason from a thought-filled perspective.
The link is www.bereal.blogdrive.com and I found that I have written some interesting things there.
Sunday, October 07, 2007
So often I hear my fellow believers talk about grace and how they appreciate "this message about grace" or "that pastor is all about grace." Believe me I am grateful for God's grace because my life without it would not amount to much. However, the discussion never really turns to the reason why we are in need of the grace of God.
The easy answer is "we are not perfect" The harsh answer is "we are doomed, sinners, wrong doers." In our sin we will not choose to reach out for salvation through Jesus Christ. DIOT Dead In Our Transgressions. God's grace is the necessary ingredient to bring us into new life and set us on the pilgrim path. I am hearing a renewed cry for repentance from the generation who are coming of age.
I have hope because the young people that I know are not interested in wishy washy Christianity. They are however interested in the Christianity that tipped the whole world on its head 2000 years ago, put the religious leaders of the time on the defensive and the God/Man that conquered sin and death. Jesus is real, loving and just, who is not only the chief cornerstone but also the Master Builder.
I guess this blog is all my readers listening in on me preaching to myself and one of the inspirations came from an interview I watched. Check it out
Saturday, September 29, 2007
There are two books that really make an incredible illustration of the Christian life. One is Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan and the other is Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard, the latter one I am almost finished. Hear is a quote from a recent reading:
"Always go forward along the path of obedience as far as you know it until I intervene, even if it seem to be leading you where you fear I could never mean you to go."
Shepherd to Much Afraid
I will do my best to blog sometime after we arrive in Massachusetts. Pax Vobiscum, CM
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Cigarettes to Cellphones
Driving around Charlottesville you see so many people out walking and talking on their cell phones. Just yesterday 3 girls about to cross the street each on their phones. Not too long ago all three may have been smoking cigarettes and talking to each other while waiting to cross he street.
Just observing. CM
Friday, September 21, 2007
Constitution Day (September 17th)
220 year ago in the year of our Lord 1787 the Constitution of the United States of America was signed by the architecture of this living and breathing document.
Clear skies, the air with a hint of autumn in it, on the grounds of Montpelier, the home of James Madison, also known as the Father of the Constitution, and front row seats to commemorate this historic occasion.
The atmosphere was almost dead and there was a lack of patriotism within the very small crowd, yet we all, in some way, came to remember. Our nation though very young is still the country who has lived under the same Constitution longer than any other civilized nation in the world.
A very stoic fife and drum corp ushered in the event with Yankee Doodle Dandy and the festivities were underway with James Madison himself addressing the crowd. He spoke with grace and eloquence. As I sat listening, I thought are people really grasping what he is trying to convey? I hope so, I pray that Katie and Michael were taking it to heart.
This is a living and breathing document.
My friend Leslie from Miami alerted me to Michael Farris' using the internet, in the same way the town crier called us to the gathering place at the Temple on the grounds of Montpelier, that now is the time for a constitutional amendment for parental rights (www.parentalrights.org). I urge all those who wish for their children and grandchildren to be able to raise their families the way they see fit to join this cause. And for all Americans who may be reading this blog that they would pick up a copy of the Constitution and get to know that this parchment is not just a piece of paper on display at the National Archives but the law of the land.
As a family we have exercised our liberty freely by living like pilgrims (we have of course but described otherwise but this is the name that suits us) and hopefully we have inspired others to exercise their freedoms as well.
If you didn't have a chance to stop and reflect on Constitution Day and perhaps read it, then I strongly encourage you to take the time now and do it.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
There is no shame in adversity
"We cannot learn without pain."
— Aristotle, Greek philosopher (384-322 B.C.)
|"Trials, temptations, disappointments -- all these are helps instead of hindrances, if one uses them rightly. They not only test the fiber of character but strengthen it. Every conquering temptation represents a new fund of moral energy. Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before." James Buckham|
Getting off the phone with my brother, I realize that there are things that will still share and one of them is growing up with the shame of adversity. Instead of it being a touchstone of growth, adversity is something that we ought to be ashamed of and if we choose to speak about it at all, it is in a low whisper. My brother spoke to me in this low whisper and then quickly went on to other things, no time for me to respond and it hit me as I got off the phone - shame. Mistakes and things not going our way are as bad as purposefully doing something wrong. This attitude blocks an opportunity for a change and personal growth.
Coming to an understanding of adversity becoming an asset has been and continues to be one of the most difficult lessons to learn for me personally. It is a clear illustration of my perfectionist tendencies. It is an opportunity to learn and to bring about greater character in ourselves and our children.
It does not have to be anything big. Like a lot of things we instill principles into our children by the way we deal with the smaller incidences in life. It is those everyday things that prepare us for the bigger difficulties we will face.
The shame of adversity is a terrible lie. Wise men and women of the past demonstrate to us, that they indeed would go through everything they have gone through to get to the place where they are now. Many have gone on to glory where there is no more pain or sorrow and they live in the Presence of God the Father glorious. That thought helps me keep an eternal perspective.
One of the fruit of going through adversity is humility. I do not believe humility is something we can forge in ourselves but one that the Lord uses our circumstances and relationships to shape us and mold us more into the image of His Son.
I am grateful for this ongoing lesson. And a shout out to my brother Pete, hoping he will be open to learning from it too.
Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. [Isaiah 48:10]
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Indeed, I remember where I was. It was a beautiful day in the Northeast. My family was living in Marlborough, MA at the time. We were waiting with our children for Grandy to come and pick them up for their trip into Boston. Many Americans were glued to their TV sets with their children watching along side them for most of that day. Lingering emotion of our family being distracted that day of destruction, the kids into Boston which in itself became a ghost town with my dad and Dan and I out on a golf course with 2 police men. The vivid images shown again and again for weeks and months following would be plentiful, then the war on terror and now the annual anniversary.
This morning on NPR Michael Chertoff when asked about 9/11 and our current security status said "we are safer today but we are not safe."
My aunt in an email said in her reflections after attending a 9/11 memorial service this morning out of the depths of our sadness is "our" desire for peace.
An army officer who enlisted after 9/11 spoke of his desire for revenge and that is what motivated him to join in the fight.
In a song Jon Forman says, "nothing is OK til the world caves in"
So I say,
"When were we ever safe?
Was it a false sense of security?
Has our world ever known peace?
Who says we deserve it?
Safety is a bad value.
Security is for the control freaks.
Peace on earth is like gravity on the Moon.
I'm an American so I think I deserve all good things
but my role in the Kingdom does away with all entitlements.
We long for peace and we fight for freedom and we die for liberty but I must ask,
For who's Glory?
and will it last?
does freedom come to those who wait?
if our hearts are ready and been made new, will peace find a home there?
Will the wars ever end?
Do you think we could meet in the eye of the storm?
Have you found that place inside that no one and no thing can touch even if your own world is in utter chaos, hijacked or grounded?
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Well, not all but potentially you could eventually end up there. We are heading back to the greater Boston area if only for a short time. Dan will probably have a little bit of a commute as it looks like we will be living on the south shore.
We are looking forward to seeing friends and relatives. One of our dear friends is a self employed electrician, Steve Gray. I have added his information to my side bar, well because I can, plus Steve is a great guy and an excellent electrician. If you are in eastern Massachusetts and need electrical work done or know someone who does please feel free to contact him. Although, we will not be in the same town as Steve and his family, I can't wait to see them.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
I have been dancing around the keyboard, failing to write but at least today, I have had some very good thoughts. Here I am thinking about sharing. To say that my insides have been spinning, would be true and that my outside circumstances are continually in a state of change are just as true. Living life is an exciting adventure we are climbing the big one and there is a nice flat curve right before the big drop.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Our life in the middle of our time
My husband and I educate our children at home, but I don't consider myself a homeschooler. At times, I may have lumped myself in with the classification of homeschoolers as a group but in my heart and mind, I don't consider myself a "teacher." Homeschooler? No. Trainer of life-long learners? That is what we are aiming for.
We believe in Jesus Christ and Him crucified and we are a part of the body of Christ, in the Word daily. Christians? Yes. Church goers? Not always.
Sometimes we live in an apartment, some times in a house, middle-class? Yes. Home owners? No. Yet, we find that we are living a dream. Don't know about you, but we are just passing through, it is ALL temporary housing.
We are both registered as independence, vote our conscience which does not always line up with the conservative bent. Libertarian? Perhaps. Free thinkers? Absolutely.
Saw the Bourne Ultimatum last weekend. Sometimes, I think a lot of people forget who they are and are beaten up by the world at times, cramped into boxes that they don't belong in and are at war searching for their true identity. I say with fire in my belly, don't give up the fight, don't let others define you, keep on searching, there will be others along the way who will help you and of course, there are enemies you can not see, but rise up, do not cower, be willing to get dirty and bloody.
This life is your one chance - make it count!
Monday, August 06, 2007
We really didn't start sending our children off anywhere without us until they were 15. Grace has spent time away from home each summer since then and now she is on tour with Communicators for Christ (checkout the website to see when they will be in your area). It was wonderful to have a weekend in TN, getting to meet most of the other families and sending our young adults off with blessings (that was just over 2 weeks ago). Grace will be gone basically for the rest of 2007. WOW
Katie has spent the better part of a month at Patrick Henry College working on the production team for Advent Film Group (you can check out their website too). This opportunity came up right before we moved. So, we were not really prepared to send her off, but Katie was definitely up for the challenge.
The thing is we have never looked to get rid of our kids during the summertime. It is during those times that are really trying, that we need to have our kids with us, work through and help them get through the growing process. In the short run it is probably easier to just send the trying teenagers and let other people deal with them, or perhaps you send them off to do educational things and that's really "admirable."
Now, the truth is our girls have been ready to test their wings. It is right for them to go out and be willing to place themselves under someone else and learn from someone other than their parents without becoming confused. As a dear friend of ours, David Moon said, we have discipled our kids and they are now ready to be salt and light in the world. And they both will be coming back to the nest for more preparation.
Needless to say, it has been interesting and quieter around here without Grace and Katie and for me to be outnumbered by the men. We are enjoying our time with Michael and all three of us miss them but we have peace about what the girls are doing, we pray for them, talk on the phone here and there and exchange the occasional email. I am sure there is more to it than this but I just wanted you to see the affects of the wind not experience its depth. (besides that is really hard to describe.)
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Counting on our Fellow Pilgrims
Grace had said we haven't missed a move yet, so I wrote it on a sticky note and stuck it on the computer monitor. Well, we came pretty close, just kidding. Some interesting things happened during this particular move that had never happened before, in fact there are things that occur on each move that are unique to each particular time. First, the furniture guys came while we were still packing up the van. Basically, that meant we needed to stay out of their way while they got all the furniture out. It is amazing how quickly they do this. Shortly after that and right as we were finishing up the electricity shut off which meant the AC was off and it gets pretty hot when you are in and out and it is late June and you are in Florida.
Dan had to run a quick errand so I found myself sitting on the floor of our empty apartment in Gainesville and realize that the clock above my head is mine. I almost left it behind. Sure, I could replace it but I am glad I came back in, only briefly, I don't remember why. This is our traveling clock, our address changes often and it is nice to have a few things that hang on the wall to remind us we are "home." It was just over a month ago and so much has happened since then.
There is something that I am really bad about and that is writing about the people we encounter along the way. I do write about it in my journal - that is when I remember to write in my journal. I can not tell you how many times I have said, I am going to write about this interaction or that. How this person and that person impacted us. It has been nearly 5 years so if I get going right now, I will probably be able to get everyone who the Lord has put in our path.
If I make time to write at least a few times a week.
This morning I woke up thinking about Teresa Russell from Jacksonville, FL. No we have never lived there but it was the last place we stayed in the Sunshine state. I met Teresa at the CFC conference last August in Tallahassee, FL. While I was working the bookstore, Teresa and her friend Charlotte (now my friend too) picked my brain for about 3 hours about the ins and outs of a speech and debate club.
Teresa had said if you are heading this way to get out of Florida stay with us. When people offer, we usually take them up on it. Over the years we have learned that it is best to just drive a little bit on that first day (90 miles in this case) because when we finally have all our stuff packed and the apartment cleaned up thoroughly we are usually pretty pooped. There was hopes of arriving in Jax late afternoon and doing something fun with the Russells but we were delayed. We did arrive before the sun set which was a blessing.
Let me say that our dear sister Teresa opened her heart and home to us. We had a tremendous time of fellowship during our less than 24 hour visit. The fact that she actually knows (meaning she has lived in the Metro west of Eastern MA) where we are from, endeared her to me from the start. But honestly, Teresa is a sweetheart who was willing to put herself aside in more way than I can say in order to have us stay with her and we were blessed. Do you ever have people just move into your heart and make a comfortable space for themselves and you just can help but embrace them because it was as if there name had already been written there? I have many times, these are the eternal riches of life. I wouldn't want to miss them. I believe that all our days were written in a book before one of them came to pass. Each morning we pick up where we left the bookmark, on occasion we turn back to yesterday and say, thank you Lord and other times I am sorry Lord help me make this right, own the wrong I have done and take care of my side of the street.
So glancing back at the end of the last chapter, I just wanted to say that I am so grateful for my friend Teresa Russell from Jacksonville Florida.
PS I didn't forget about the winds of change.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
God used people and circumstances to help bring me to the place of utter helplessness, where I needed to swallow my pride and ask God and other people for help. I am so grateful to have been humbled, for a lot of human beings it is the only way to find humility.
The winds of changes are blowing strong and it is again God's grace and people that are helping me to stay the course and I imagine that it will always be that way here on earth.
I write more about the winds of change tomorrow.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
One of the most consistent things in life is change. This past weekend we sent our oldest out of the next to test her wings for the next 4 months or so. Strangely enough we have peace about this next chapter of our life. For our family it is not just a change in Grace's life but in our family's life. For the last 17 plus years, we have been walking through life together and the last 4 years traveling and living in places where at first all we had was each other.
In anticipation of Grace going on tour with Communicators for Christ, I prayed regularly to be able to release her with a blessing and at times I thought about missing her and that our family was decreasing.
Then we gathered with almost all of the families who were sending their children off on this wonderful journey that lay before them. On Sunday we had the family commissioning where we had the opportunity to give a charge to our child and the team. Leading up to this moment, I thought our family size decreasing with Grace's absence and instead what we gained were 12 other families, brothers and sisters in Christ who are with us during this season of our pilgrim journey.
As each family shared, I saw a true demonstration of one body and many parts. Of one family, The Moons taking many young people on a journey, yet each one of us in many ways are in for the long haul as well. Laughter, tears, and Cheers (for the Currans) throughout this commissioning, it was an intimate time. Many things I am storing up in my heart and there they will stay. I will however say this, our world has grown larger and as we have gotten to know some of the families better this weekend, we definitely look forward to encouraging one another and growing through this experience together.
Each family revealed its unique personality through their words of encouragement and warning. The common thread in every charge was blessing. Most of the dads showed great emotion, every dad in one way or another said, "son or daughter, you are ready, we have poured ourselves into you and now you are ready to go forth and be poured out for others."
I walked away from the experience drained in one way and filled in another. All these brothers and sisters in Christ were now being assemble and linked together through CFC. Our kids are now a team and so are we. We were not losing our daughter but gaining new friendships and welcoming new brothers and sisters into our lives.
So to each of the parents of the 2007 CFC Interns I say, thank you for investing in your children, raising them in the fear of the Lord, loving them the way Jesus loves us and directing them to the one True God.
To each of the Interns, I say to you with the apostle Paul: (from Romans 12)
"Let love be without hypocrisy Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence,fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints"Know that all the parents will be praying for each and every one of you.
Looking forward to what the Lord will be doing throughout the season.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Fourth of July, I reflected upon the privilege of being an American and the fact that so many Americans don't have a clue and need to attend a Naturalization Ceremony at least once in their lifetime. Preferably, right before they are able to vote around 16 or 17 years of age. Walking through life taking for granted the fact that they walk through life freely, many young people (and some older) think that the American way of looking at things without thinking through things is the way everyone on the planet processes what goes on.
I had the honor and privilege of witnessing around 50 people become US citizens on the west lawn of Monticello in Charlottesville VA. After a number of "important" people gave speeches administered the oath, the new citizens were offered the platform and took it.
To hear the words, feel the passion, and realize that these two men, one from Togo and the other from Guatemala could articulate what it means to be free, to have such gratitude for the opportunity to have a better life and to understand what it is to be given a chance is something every native born American needs to not only comprehend but embrace. We would not just be a super power, we would be a country with great hope, courage, strength and recover our national identity.
The world would see that we may not agree with our president but we stand together as one. Sure, we saw a surge of it after 9/11 but it faded. Have we forgotten?
The reaction or lack thereof to the heartfelt speeches of these new fellow citizens made me sad. Ears not hearing and hearts hardened by cynicism, kept them glued to their seats and their hands folded in their laps.
So here are the answers to just 5 of the 100 questions http://usgovinfo.about.com/blinstst.htm
The answers are:
16. Who elects the President of the United States?
The electoral college
the 15th, 19th, and 26th
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
So, you want to be an American?
Here are just five of the questions that you must answer in order to become a US Citizen. Without "Googling" how many can you answer off the top of your head?
- Who elects the President of the United States?
- How many changes, or amendments, are there to the Constitution?
- How many voting members are in the House of Representatives?
- Name the amendments that guarantee or address voting rights.
- In what year was the Constitution written?
Sunday, July 01, 2007
Saturday, June 23, 2007
Recently, I read an interview with some of the stars of "Evan Almighty," one of the many summer sequels. Something really caught my attention in the questioning of Lauren Graham.
She said, "[I am] unfazed about appearing in a film of such biblical proportions." continuing she says "never think[s] of things like that" when she takes a role.Whenever, we take on something whether it is being an actor, a friend, a mother or a member of our community, I believe we need to think about the message and the results that may or may not be the results of our actions. To believe our responsibility ends where our role ends no matter where we are in life, is to go about our business in an unthinking manner. As John Donne penned hundreds of years ago, "No man is an island."
"When I was up for Gilmore Girls, somebody said, 'Don't you worry that you're playing a mom? Because you're kind of young to do that.' And I didn't even think about it like that. I just connected to the character, and I didn't think about the network or the message. To me, when you're the actor, you're just thinking about the person and not the results. And Bruce Almighty had similar themes in it, but it came out in a really different way. To me this is a movie that is for everybody."
Our actions, words, and delivery of those words have impact upon others great and small. Even when words are carefully chosen, they may not be received in the manner in which we were delivering them. We may cause others pain and close down areas of communication that are meaningful and life giving.
God is not just concerned with our actions and our words, He is also very much concerned with the motives of our hearts and our philosophy of the Christian Life. When it comes to being a part of the body of Christ, I believe God is concerned with what we believe about God himself and the body of Christ (we could also say the Church or the family of God). When the Lord says that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord Your GOD with all your heart, soul, mind; I believe that those three do there best to encompass the whole person. For someone to say, "I am going to do my best to do the right thing and love my neighbor as myself. I don't need to worry about doctrinal issues. They can be so divisive," this to me is not loving God with all your mind.
A number of Christians, individually and corporately classify "doctrine" as a term or issue that we are better off leaving within Seminary halls or for those of us who have a more argumentative bent. No wonder the American Christian church is in the state it is.
Let's take the definition of "doctrine" from the Greek New Testament is teachings. So, for Christians to discuss biblical doctrine or Christian teachings is right, true and inspiring.
Enough out of me; let's see what God has to say about it.
6"Likewise urge (K)the young men to be sensible;7in all things show yourself to be (L)an example of good deeds, with purity in doctrine, dignified, 8sound in speech which is beyond reproach, so (M)that the opponent will be put to shame, having nothing bad to say about us. "
16 Pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will (AL)ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you.
There is plenty for us to read concerning christian teachings. Particularly, in 1st and 2nd Timothy, Paul emphasizes the necessity to hold fast to sound doctrine. As I read both of these books, it got me to thinking: Paul is writing to his spiritual son and this is just one of the areas that he is letting his son know is very important.
Paul probably uses the strongest language concerning doctrine in Ephesians and Galatians.
Feel free to read those books at your leisure.
To write these things for myself is to remind myself about the truths I have found in God's Word and to remember that I am a part of the body of Christ and if that benefits my readers as well, then praise the Lord.
4"For (F)whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. 5Now may the (G)God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you (H)to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,"
Friday, June 01, 2007
Sunday, May 27, 2007
The Body of Christ, a living organism
Worshipping in Spirit and Truth
Did you read that book by Josh Harris, Stop Dating the Church? It's a good read. I believe that if more Christians were committed to a local body of believers that the body of Christ as a whole could have a greater impact on the world we live in. If we want to stick with the "body" word picture of Christ, you have Christ as the Head (I would say He would need to be the heart as well), we have the skeleton which could be your local churches, then you have missionaries who do travel but usually stay in one place for a period of time, and hopefully those put muscles on the bones, then their are people like us, you might say that we are like the blood circulating through the body and since we don't reach every part I am sure there are others out there traveling about and spending brief periods of time within other parts of the body.
I hope we bring the needed oxygen and help flush out the wastes to the parts of the body of Christ that we visit for a time and of course, that would be a result of the Holy Spirit working through us. So, our commitment is to the Body of Christ as a whole and for now we do not belong to a local church but are grateful to those local bodies who welcome us in and love us as if we are going to stay.
We have been to home churches, loud ones, traditional ones (and yes, I take my mother to Roman Catholic mass when she visits). One of the things that we have found a little disturbing about a number of Modern-American Christian Churches is that the purpose of Sunday morning worship is not primarily for the worship of our Lord but instead used for the purpose of evangelism. (Now before you try to stick me in a box: wait a minute, people don't belong in boxes anyway. Boxes are for things. I know this will be my 12th time packing to move in 4 years.) As Christian we are to evangelize: some like to call it the Great Commission and there are times when local churches as well as big ministries hold crusades, tent meetings and revivals, this is where evangelism ought to be taking place regularly along with one on one relationship evangelism. However, we are coming to believe through the Word of God that the main purpose of the Church is to come together to be edified, challenged, lifted up and of course, worshipping the Lord together in spirit and in truth.
Encouragement (edification) and Challenge (spur one another)
22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Prayer (lifting up)
Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; 15and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. 16Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
25See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, "Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens."[e] 27The words "once more" indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
28Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29for our "God is a consuming fire."[f]
It seems abundantly clear that it is not our job to bring the unbeliever to church: God is the one building His Church (the body of Christ, the kingdom of God, His Family) but our job is to bring them to the foot of the Cross, point them to Jesus, not programs and steeples. When I became a believer the last place I wanted to go was to a church. I was afraid this new relationship with Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit would not be permitted because it was not acquired through the rites of "the church" but by the power of God. He invaded my life without my permission and I have never been the same.
Well folks, I really don't have anything figured out nor do I expect to in this life looking through the glass dimly as it may seem. However, I will continue to pursue the Truth for as long as I live by God's grace.
Monday, May 21, 2007
When brothers and sisters in Christ start to think about how we live, the inevitable question arises,"How do you find a church when you move so often?" And now, I am asking myself the question, "why do I always seem to be caught off guard by the question?" I never seem to have a pat answer, well, it has never been the same thing twice in the last 4 years.
Yesterday, Grace and I visited the church where R.C. Sproul is the Minister. There are a couple of way in which I would describe the style of worship, high church or liturgical. My definition of high church is, "a corporate gathering of worshippers, well dressed, those in service dressed in robes or a suit, an extremely reverent atmosphere calling for Christ's Church to honor and give glory to God." My definition of liturgical is, "public worship centered on the reading and preaching of the Word." Where to worship? and how? have been questions we have been asking ourselves as a family for the last 10 years. As a family we want to honor and worship our Lord Jesus Christ. The easy answer is "It is not that important how and where we worship but who is the object of our worship, Christ Jesus our Lord." Now, rest assured that there are all kinds of worship within the body of Christ and some will condemn others but we are called to love one another because that is the sure sign that we are Christians according to John 13,
"31Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus said, "Now is (AQ)the Son of Man (AR)glorified, and (AS)God is glorified in Him;32 if God is glorified in Him, (AT)God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately. 33"(AU)Little children, I am with you (AV)a little while longer (AW)You will seek Me; and as I said to the Jews, now I also say to you, 'Where I am going, you cannot come.'34"A (AX)new commandment I give to you, (AY)that you love one another, (AZ)even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35"(BA)By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."This was after Jesus had washed the disciples feet and contrastly, revealed that one of them would betray him. When brothers and sisters judge one another on the basis of where, when and how one worships on Sunday, I think we stand outside of the pattern of love. Like a lot of subjects I believe that the Word of God has something to say about how we worship Him, but I think it is important for us to first and foremost love one another.
Now, most of the people that have asked this question are ones who have gotten to know and love us, so it stands to reason that they would be curious. Most of our life is outside the norm, but God is alive and well in His children and His children are everywhere. Yes, we need one another and being a part of a believing community is beneficial to all Christians. Those times when we are not "going" to a church does not make us any less a part of the church. (see 1st Corinthians 12;-) I don't necessarily want to discuss the different ways we have encountered the body of Christ, but you may want to know that God is shaping and molding us through a number of you and you may live in Woodstock, VT or in Naples, Florida or Seattle, Washington: and inside or outside of a worship service, when we get together in whatever capacity, we do NOT cease being God's family, His Church if you will.
God has blessed our family with a wonderful leader in Dan. From the time our children were little we have spent time in the Word, in prayer and in conversation. Our family worship does not replace corporate worship, however, it has sustained us through our different times and places where we did not come in contact with a lot of believers.
I believe the reason I have never given the same answer twice is because the Body of Christ is a living organism. I guess if we were "of a denomination" it would be a no brainer, check out the local clubs of that denomination and see which one best suites us.
Living by the Spirit and trusting the Lord to provide for us is the faith that has been given to us which includes how and where we will worship with other believers. I don't worry about "how" we will find a church to go to. How is God's department. We do concern ourselves with worshipping in Spirit and in Truth. I guess I will have to get into that in my next entry, hopefully before we set out, for now, I have some boxes calling my name.
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
My daughter, Katie is one of the most interesting people I know. She also happens to be one of the most loving and accepting ones. Katie comes along side the underdogs and encourages them to not lose heart. Once Katie is your friend, you have a friend for life.
I would like to share a little bit of Katie's journey recently. A number of her friends are from the NCFCA (the competitive forensics league that all 3 of my children compete in) and Katie's response to the latest results are a testimony to who she is as a person.
In May of 2005, Katie was one of the masters of ceremonies for FUSION speech and debate club's National Rehearsal. We invited people and it was standing room only. I pretty much told Katie that she had to do it and being obedient, she did, knees knocking and voice quivering. She did a pretty good job but she would have rather been taking pictures at that point in time. Katie is what mothers in the forensics community call, "my reluctant speaker."
The following fall Katie attended a Communicators for Christ conference, partnered with a young man from NH and competed with some speeches for the 2006 competitive speech and debate season with FUSION in SW Florida. It was not an easy season, afterall her mother made her do Impromptu. The point is Katie was willing to walk through her fear and learn better how to communicate. My reluctant speaker stepped out of her comfort zone and began to take the public platform. Something happened to Katie during that year. She realized that she could be an effective public speaker, but it wasn't until this season that she really blossomed in the place she had been planted, a place of leadership.
Our extended stay here in Gainesville gave Katie an opportunity to become a student leader along side her brother and sister in both speech and debate. Needless to say, her impromptu skills have been sharpened through coaching throughout the season. More importantly, Katie related to her fellow competitors especially being able to encourage them to walk through their fears because she had not only walked through her own but found out the joy of taking the public platform.
As we came into the home stretch of this competitive season, I for one thought Katie was well on her way to the National Competition, she had a good tournament season qualifying for debate and her 3 speeches for the Regional tournament. The Lord always has a better plan. It was not immediately evident to me, since I was helping run the tournament but a dear friend of mine each time she saw me on the last day reminded me that Katie was the biggest winner. It did not hit me until the next day.
Katie was the biggest winner because she made sacrifices and became a coach and friend to many here in Gainesville. She gave up debating with one of the best debaters in our Region (her sister) in order to partner with someone new and think of others before herself. Katie still put her all into debating and competed with excellence but the outcome was not what we expected. However, Katie held her head high and stayed right in the race by timing and serving at the tournament.
I started this post talking about Katie being a great friend of those who might otherwise want to stay on the sidelines. Time and time again, I have witnessed her rescue someone from themselves and help them become a part of the group, the party and the club. Katie is gifted with the ability to draw others out of their shells and at the same time preserve the new friend's spirit while gently breaking through their timidity. I am not the only one who has noticed this trait in K. Nearly a year ago, Katie's good friend Mallory Phillips at the Tallahassee CFC in August decided to start "The Official Katie Mullaney Fan Club" and I would say that I am at the top of the list. Katie knows how to give of herself and consider others better than herself. If you are interested in becoming a member of the club please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward it on to Mallory.
I love you Katie M. Mullaney and I am very proud of you. Mum
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Movies that make you want to write
We just watched a movie together as a family called Stranger than Fiction
This movie made me want to get back to my book. Truth be told I can't remember if it is on a thumb drive or in one of the computers in my house (none of which belong to me. however, the one I am writing on is kind of mine because possession is 9/10ths of the law). I have a hard copy of the rough draft which I wrote during the month of November. I love my characters and the story but I need to read it and really decide is it worth working through and submitting it for publication.
The movie inspired me and I want to watch it again. It is definitely one of those movies you could watch alone. For now I must retire and return to writing not only here in blogsphere but in order to create a larger work.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
April 19th ought to be a Federal Holiday
Today was the day that a shot rang out on the Lexington Green. The timeline
of that fateful day actually began the day before. Most Americans know at least of the story of Paul Revere's ride "one if by land, two if by sea" and "the British are coming." Yet, only the commonwealth of Massachusetts and the state of Maine actually acknowledge this holiday. This day was the birthing pains of a country about to be born. Our forefathers labored for 14 months before declaring independence from England.
The day is nearly over and I am grateful to have been raised with the Boston Marathon, the Red Sox and the rememberance of the Patriots who valued freedom more highly than there very lives.
To continue your own history lesson go to the real story about Paul Revere.
(still a Bostonian at heart)
Friday, April 13, 2007
Sometimes the simple truth is worth revisiting even if it wasn't that long ago that I posted about forgiveness. In my last post I wrote about how Christians (those who are called ministers of reconciliation) when told that their brother or sister is sorry or even ask for forgiveness directly, respond with "it's OK" and I am not the only one who thinks that. Author Paul Tripp says in his book War of Words,
Scripture is clear that it makes no sense to rejoice in the amazing forgiveness we have received in Christ if we refuse to forgive others (see Matt. 18:21-35). Scripture is clear that committing myself to forgive means being willing to do it over and over again . . . .God's Word stresses that forgiveness should not be taken for granted, but that we must speak unmistakable words of forgiveness to one another. Our model of forgiveness is the Lord, who does not assume that we will understand that he has forgiven us. He declares it over and over again in his Word. Relational forgiveness always means speaking words of forgiveness to the offender.
It is not helpful to say, "That's okay," or "It's no problem" to a person who has been convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit and has come to seek forgiveness. The Lord already has convinced the person that what he did was not okay. He needs the gift of forgiveness from you to put his heart at rest. In this situation, we need to say, "I forgive you and I have already committed myself never to bring up this issue to myself, to you or to others." These words do two things: they block the work of the enemy and they promote the work of sanctification and reconciliation that the Holy Spirit has already begun.
So, I have been sitting with this another truth concerning forgiveness for almost 24 hours. It was humbling. I have to be willing to accept when a brother or sister refuses to forgive me or ignores my attempts at making things right. The proper response is for me to forgive but I can't say, I forgive you for not forgiving me. Instead, I need to pray and let it all go. If I have put myself out there, named my sin, asked for forgiveness, then there is not one thing I can do to make someone else forgive me. It is now between them and God. Mine is to be loving toward that individual and to be ready if at a later date they decide to forgive because I will get to rejoice in the freedom that they experience.
To know the truth and not feel compelled to go and let the other person know what I have discovered is also a freedom. To sit with the truth is comforting and convicting. To rejoice in the truth is loving. I am being shaped and molded by relationships and experiences in this life. The Word of God reveals and restates the truth about forgiveness over and over again. The Good News is Jesus shed his blood for the forgiveness of sins.
I no longer have a right to myself, I have been bought with a price and I can take anything from anyone because I belong to my Savior Jesus Christ and it is in Him that I find my refuge and my strength.
Thank you Lord.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
While at the North Carolina Regional Qualifying Tournament with Michael we past the 4 year anniversary of taking to the road. Each of us (human beings) are on the pilgrim highway whether we live in the same place all of our lives or live all over. Our zip code has changed 10 times but our area code has stayed the same thanks to cell phones. The people we have met along the way so far have enriched our lives.
The road looks differently than we expected it to look. We have seen much of Interstate 95 on the eastern seaboard of the US and we have seen even more of I-75 especially between Gainesville FL and Naples FL than we could have imagined. In fact, one of my children said we are pretty much Florenglanders (that would be a cross between Floridian and New Englander). It has been a blessing to be adopted by so many in the Sunshine State. One of the first friends we made in SW Florida (the McGuire clan) stopped by here on their way home from the panhandle this weekend. These dear brothers and sisters in Christ, indeed made us feel like family in Ft. Myers, FL. Many who read this on a regular or irregular basis have made us feel at home here as well.
No matter where we go, the Spirit of the Lord is alive and well. God's family is dynamic, rich and alive in spite of what might be called the watered down feel good American gospel. We can say with Paul, "whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed and in this I will rejoice." Ours is to rejoice!!!
Initially, we set out with a two-fold purpose. First, to solidify the relationships in our family and second, to see as much of the country with our children while they were still with us. With deep gratitude I can say, the first purpose is being accomplished. The second has been directed differently and we would not change a thing. Mullaneys make their plans but the Lord orders our steps.
Now, we face the crossroads as we prepare to launch the first arrow from our quiver. Grace will be going on tour as a CFC (Communicators for Christ) intern. Yes, it is for a set amount of time but just like we have no idea where we as a family will be living come the end of June. We do not know what Grace will be doing come the end of her tour season. We have some ideas but like everyone else in the US there are only 2 sure bets: death and taxes. It is time to seek God's face and we are looking for His lead once again. Throughout our pilgrimage we have looked to the Lord and His will and each time he has ordered our steps. He is faithful and trustworthy. God our Heavenly Father will guide us and guard us along the way.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Prisons for those who have committed no crime
right here in Florida
This past summer I started joking around with my young adults who have always been educated at home when passing by a public school that it was a prison for children. The joke took on new meaning when I started slowing down through the "prison" zone once school started. The 3 of them started to say, Mum (with the tone that says OK, we get it, the joke is getting old). Well, listening to the news this morning NPR billed the story with this tag, "Students in Marion County will think twice before skipping school." They went on to tell about the new GPS system that they will be using on students who go to school on the bus through their student ID cards. Can anyone say "House arrest?" or should I say bus arrest? Seems as if my joke is becoming a reality for students in Marion County Florida.
OCALA - A new global positioning satellite system will soon be added to 51 school buses as part of a three-month pilot program to track students and buses and determine other transportation needs in the county.
"The main reason for this is student safety," said Tommy Crosby, Marion County Public Schools' executive director of student services.
The School Board voted Monday night for the new pilot system, which will cost about $50,000 during the trial period.
District spokesman Kevin Christian said the buses would be equipped with student identification card sensors.
When they get on the bus, the sensor will detect the student card, whether it's in a backpack, on a chain or in their pocket, Crosby said.
"If a parent called in and said their child did not get off the bus, we can immediately call up the information," Crosby said.
He added the data will show whether the child got on the bus and where and when they got off.
Among an estimated 400 district buses, 51 will be fitted with the devices, Crosby said. He said routes will be chosen in all four quadrants of the county.
School officials like the concept behind the student tracking system.
To read the rest of the article . . .
Safety is the value trump card that these officials are trying to play. It will be interesting to see if any of these students will do some real homework on the constitution and be able to give sound arguments for why the public school system is their to serve the community not control it. If they really do a good job on their homework they will see that public education ought not to be compulsory but voluntary.
Big Brother is 23 years late. The last part of the article that I gave was "School officials like the concept behind the student tracking system." These officials don't want to educate students but control them. This is not safety, this is part-time imprisonment and they make you pay for your hot lunch. There are still students who graduate either without being able to read or reading at a fourth grade level.
Compulsory attendance was not enough for me to really call these places a prison but I think that GPS tracking system, the same kind used for prisoners under house arrest gives me another leg to stand on.
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Five young men asked to empty their pockets,they had been brought in to the downtown police station and they had been accused of committing a horrible crime - willingly all five co-operate. The policeman asks each for some identification. Four wallets pulled from 4 back pockets, the 5th pulls a worn New Testament with Psalms and Proverbs. His license stuck in between Luke and John, a few bucks tucked into Proverbs, a picture of his family in 1st Corinthians 12.
"What no wallet?" the officer inquires.
"No need sir."
The officer picks it up pulls the license out, the family picture flutters to the table and the 1 dollar bills to the floor - no one moves, you could hear a pin drop - the sister, the victim stares up at the officer and the tears stream down his face and he looks at Jesse who is also crying along with the other tender hearted young men.
"Sir, we too want this crime solved. My sister would have wanted us to forgive but I find myself enraged wanting to seek revenge," picking up the New Testament Jesse continues, "this was her New Testament and this is what I keep going back to," he opens to Romans 12, "may I read something to you?"
The officer nods his head because he can not find his voice,
"From Romans 12, Let love be without hypocrisy Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;not lagging behind in diligence,fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.
Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly Do not be wise in your own estimation.
Never pay back evil for evil to anyone Respect what is right in the sight of all men.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.
Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written,
"VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY," says the Lord.
BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM,
AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK;
FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD."
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."
by Catherine Mullaney
Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Who were the New Testament books written to? an intended audience? The gospels are the Good News accounts and I do believe that they did have intended audiences. The Epistles, however are clearly addressed to the intended audience. How does this affect us? Should it? Does it matter? Why should I care?
First, there are plenty of people who want to ignore certain words but want to embrace others that are found within the New Testament portion of the Bible. I don't think that the Bible was meant to be a cafeteria menu, that is, take what you like and leave the rest. It really is an all or nothing type of book. Otherwise, dichotomies are classified as strict contradictions and principles are used for hidden agendas.
Lately, I have been in a place where my Sword (which is a word I like to use for my personal Bible) is being sharpened. Questions are beginning to surface again and I am grappling with what is God trying to show me and teach me. It is both a scary and exciting place to be. With the question, who were these NT letters written to, I did the most logical thing and went through the books: Romans to Revelation.
Here are just some of the ones I really liked
"to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints:"
"To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:"
To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are at Colossae
To Timothy, my beloved son
Titus 1; 4
"To Titus, my true child in a common faith:"
"To Philemon our beloved brother and fellow worker, to Apphia our sister,
and to Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house:"
"to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth"
"To those who are the called, beloved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ:"
For years I cried, "context" you need to read that in "context." How near sighted of me to overlook this simple truth of the intent of the Author! The Lord indeed wrote a love letter to His children not to the world. The Word keeps traveling, the Lord keep sending out His Beloved with the Word by the power of His Spirit reaching the four corners of the earth. Not one who has been called will be lost, the Father will leave the 99 to find the one lost sheep and for His good pleasure He uses His own children to enter into the "labor" rooms and "birthing" centers to welcome in babes born again into the family of God.
How does this affect me? Since, I count myself as one of God's children, I am delighted and identify with the "beloved," the "faithful," the "chosen," and the "called." Yes, the letters were written to specific brothers and sisters in Christ and like love letters found in your grandmother's attic, they are part of our spiritual heritage. We can call them our own because we too are heirs with Christ! In Timothy, Paul says that ALL scripture is God breathed. The words are powerful and effective. For me to know what is written is good but to know to whom and why is giving me an even deeper understanding. Solomon warns me about the price for this knowledge - increasing pain according to the book of Ecclesiastes.
I don't believe the Bible was written, "To Whom it may concern." It is my hope that anyone who reads this would think about who is God's intended audience.