Monday, May 28, 2007

Etiquette, Assumptions, and Essentials

Hi all:

My present problem is this: I met someone on the internet who is part of an indie band. After going to his site, I liked his CD and asked if I could review it. He sent me the CD. I did an interview with him and got it posted on the internet. I figure he gave me the CD to listen to and to review it. So I accomplished my part of the bargain.

Then, because
1) we had developed a kind of friendly acquaintance and
2) because I had seen his work and
3) because he spoke of faith (Hinduism) and living by faith

I figured I'd send him to look at some of my writings around the web, including this site:
I also sent him to my angel story
angel story

And (SPOILER: TORTURE ALERT IN THIS FIRST CHAPTER) a link to the excerpted first chapter of my

soon-to-be-published novel Wind Follower

Interestingly, he did not answer my email. Not even a polite, "so that's what you write?" about my own creative efforts.

Okay, I feel that when someone doesn't say anything about one's work, it's because they are trying to be polite because they hate one's writings.

Now, I'll grant that we really had no bargain about him looking at MY work. I really am upset about this. I find myself saying "don't cross the line with anyone you're going to review." There is one zone...the public zone...and there is the social zone. He was someone I was doing a social thing for. He doesn't owe me to look at my writing. But I feel that etiquette demands that he at least should give a corresponding look at something I (another creative type) asked him to look at.

Interestingly, sometimes people of other faiths can talk about themselves living by faith but as soon as a Christian talks about living by faith or sends them to a site about their own faith experiences, the person assumes the Christian is trying to passive-aggressively save them.

I asked a cyber acquaintance and she said I was being hubristic to expect him to reply to me. Because I had sent him to my site and he hadn't asked to see any of my writing.

"expecting a response is hubristic" ??? That seems kind of harsh. I'd say I'm weak, or overly-friendly, or needy but not hubristic. An artist's desire to see another artists's response to her art is not hubristic. It's what we artist types live for. Plus it's the nature of human beings to start conversations with people expecting a response. And it's the nature of kind folks to give of themselves. Artists and needy types live to share. Yes, I wanted to share my writings...and what is bad about that?

In addition, the person who said I was hubristic also hinted that I might have been trying to "save" the guy and maybe he was offended because Christians are always trying to save people and non-Christians find that all so old hat after a while.

(Incidentally, non-Christians being easily offended by Christians is just as old as Christians trying to convert non-christians. )

Did I get offended when this person talked about his hindu spirituality? Did I even assume this person was trying to save me when he was talking about his worldview? No, I assumed the best of him. And even if he was trying to convert me, I took it well.

We humans live by assumptions. Much of life is lived by assumptions. The assumption of reciprocity for instance.

I think what I've learned in this situation is this:

A) some people like receiving but don't like responding in kind. They don't believe that one good turn (even a voluntary one) deserves another.
B) that I myself -- like many American women-- tend to assume that others will be kind or even polite.
C) that although I gave him the benefit of the doubt about possibly trying to convert me, that he didn't give me the benefit of the doubt.
D) that a simple act of friendship in sharing one's work with a fellow artist can be seen as insulting even though the fellow artist shared his work...and all art is about sharing. BECAUSE although you asked to see the artist's work, the artist didn't ask to see one's work. And BECAUSE you are a Christian and the other artist is not, although the other artist talked about his spirituality.
E) online relationships are interesting, especially online relationships between artists.

After my mother died i got some money from insurance. I gave 1500 to my cousin, 1000 to my friend and 1499 to my minister. I've since learned that they are not to be trusted. A hard lesson, but it made me realize that when millions start pouring in...I'll be careful about who i'm generous with.

This is a lesson i needed to learn. I just have to wipe away the shame and hurt i feel because i asked someone to look at my work. I mean...why should I be the one who feels shame for sharing my heart when the other person shared all his heart in his emails? The pain i feel in my heart is like the rejection one feels when one has had a story rejected. Very painful, very shameful. As if I am not only untalented, but psychologically sick and culturally "wrong" to ask someone to look at my writing.

We all want to be liked and I suspect there are boundary issues that wounded folks are likely to cross all the time. I think I'm learning how to be a little colder in life.

So, should I be so upset and get all cynical about human nature? Should I stop giving? Am I right to feel hurt? Although I gave without any desire to be reciprocated, it hadn't occurred to me that simply sharing my view of spiritual matters with someone (who had shared with me) and my own creativity (with someone who had shared with me) to be a kind of assumed reciprocation?

Do I have a right to be upset? Isn't it really my own assumption about etiquette that is getting my panties all in a bunch? This isn't heaven after all where we all live to give and live to share. It's just all very upsetting. Yes, yes, I know...we women are always mixing up things and taking things personally when to other folks it's "business." As they say, no matter when the houseseller or the realtor says, no matter what the cops say, don't assume it's personal -- even if they act like they're your pal-- it's all business.

Friday, May 25, 2007


There are verses in the Bible about how the angels rejoiced at God's work of creation, and how the angels rejoice when a sinner repents and how the angels rejoiced to see Jesus's day and how the angels comforted Jesus in the garden. I thought of Isaiah chapter 6 where the angels forever praise God singing "Holy, holy, holy!" Someone once said that with each revolution around God the angels see something new and wonderful about God and that for all the ages they've been discovering God they are still startled with the wonder that is God.

I don't know what it was but last night I was overwhelmed with the feeling of the angels' love for humanity. It seemed so strange. There really was no theological benefit to think of their love.

I imagined them praising Him when he made the stars and all the sciences. But how delighted they were when God made man. How amazed they were when God showed them how our bodies worked, how our souls worked, how He had joined Himself to us in such a unique way. (Yes, i know...a few were jealous and rebelled but I'm talking about the angels who are sealed to goodness, those who can no longer sin or rebel against God.)

The angels saw how our bodies would work physically, sexually, intellectually, biologically, chemically. They saw how our souls would sing, design, command, and be like God.

When Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane, I saw how the angels came and held him tight and wiped his tears.

Luke (hubby) and I just talked and talked all night about that. I keep remembering the angel I saw and how sweet and witty and personable he was. That sweet conspiratorial smile that made me realize that angels have personalities too and that this odd being was my friend..and that he loved me sooo sooo soo very much. It just made my heart leap.

The upshot of all that was that I got up and decided that whether or not Gabe's diagnosis is autistic, he would learn about God. So I began reading the Bible to him. The word of God is alive and can heal him if he understands. When I told him about the rocks and the sun and all the speechless things praising God he smiled with such joy and when I told him about the sick little girl who was on her bed and couldn't move but Jesus told her to get up and she got up he seemed to understand.

I know Jesus gave us a great salvation, and there is no way I'm going to give up.

Carole McDonnell
Wind Follower June 2007 Juno Books

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Jeanne Guyon

This morning while cleaning my bedroom I came upon a neat quote from Jeanne Guyon's book. It was mentioned in a book called Christian Maturity by Henry Riffle (I think that's the name. I didn't look at the author)

I opened the book to that page and it gave me such joy. She lived in France around 1600-1700 --something like that. I have her book --which was burned back in the day. Anyway, she was talking about commanding the word of healing. It made my heart sing. I like finding stuff like that in old books. Like Pastor Romaine from 1500. When you read stuff in books that are 400 or 500 years old and the christian writers from back in the day are writing the same things that folks like Andrew Wommack and Creflo Dollar and Reinhard Bonnke and Emily Dotson are saying...well it gives a bit of peace. It makes you trust that the present interpretation isn't an American spin/heresy but a truth that is being rediscovered.

Praise God. I feel he led me to it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Christian worldwide gatherings


Third annual Global Day of Prayer.

It began on May 17 and culminates on Sunday, May 27. Christians from 220 nations across the world will be in prayer for missions to the nations. For more details check the website Find out if there is a gathering in your city or area.


The 7th World Christian Gathering of Indigenous People (WCGIP) convenes in Israel in September 9-18, 2008. Delegates from hundreds of tribes from all over the world are expected and many of these tribes and languages will be represented in Jerusalem for the first time in history. E-mail:

some christian volunteer writing projects

Am passing this along for a friend. I'll be doing the story of the gospel site. These Christian Projects are (Unpaid) Volunteer Work. There are other needs too up at the site. Those needs look pretty specialized but there is payment for them. -C

The following domain names are designated for non-profit use (no ads or outbound links). When you help develop one of these sites, you help others. How often do you have an opportunity to give a speech in front of 1,000 people who want advice? Develop one of these, and your words should reach thousands of people!

Contact Bill to get started at: - Jews who do not believe that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah are still waiting for the Messiah to come. Moshiach is one of the common spellings of the word Messiah in Hebrew. The extension is the Israeli equivalent of .com. This name receives a little bit of type-in traffic and it is currently forwarded to a Messianic site. I would like someone to write at least one page of content in Hebrew about Yeshua, the Messiah, for non-Messianic Jews. - Messianic Jews who believe that Jesus is the Messiah refer to him by the Hebrew name of Yeshua. The extension is the Israeli equivalent of .org. This name receives a little bit of type-in traffic and it is currently forwarded to a Messianic site. I would like someone to write at least one page of content in Hebrew about Yeshua for Messianic Jews. - Giexu is the word for Jesus in Vietnamese and .vn is Vietnam's country specific domain name extension. I would like someone to write at least one page of content in Vietnamese about Jesus. - Yesu is the pinyin word for Jesus in Chinese. The extension is the Chinese equivalent of .org. I would like someone to write at least one page of content in simplified Mandarin about Jesus. - Yesu is the pinyin word for Jesus in Chinese. I would like someone to find a short video clip about Jesus in Mandarin and then obtain permission from the owners for their clip to be made available for download on I envision a one page site which has a Flash video player in the center of the page. When a visitor clicks the play button, the video begins to play. - I would like someone to write at least one page of content about the story of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This should be written in simple enough English for a child to understand. - On a daily basis, people search online for the phrase, "why do bad things happen". I would like someone to write at least one page of content about the biblical perspective on why bad things happen. This site should keep a positive tone and serve to comfort its readers. - The Nag Hammadi Library was discovered in 1945 and it contained some Gnostic books which have been translated into English. I would like someone to write a few pages of information about the Nag Hammadi find as well as about the Gnostic Gospels. This site should offer a conservative overview which does not cause Christians to lose their faith or stumble into practicing gnosticism.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

walking by faith

More and more it dawns on me how careless we Christians are with our words. We are always taking the Lord's name in vain, we are always spewing forth bitter and sweet water from the same fountain.

I used to wonder if God answered prayers but when I really consider what people do when they pray I realize that so few of us actually are praying the way Jesus told us, and few of us are actually doing what the Bible told us to do.

A friend of mine who always went to psychics was told by a psychic that some horrendous thing would happen. Of course she believed it, although she was a Christian. Her faith in her psychic was greater than her faith in the Bible's promises. Of course some bad thing happened. She had faith for it to happen.

Another friend, a sweet Catholic lady, was diagnosed with cancer. She had faith, her friends had faith. But how did she pray? Always by saying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy and the Hail Mary and prayers to the various saints. Never once did she pray as Jesus told her to pray, "Speak to the mountain and tell it to pick itself up and throw itself into the sea." In the meantime, instead of taking heed to what she heard -- which Jesus told us to do-- she went online and studied every aspect of her disease. She trusted what man said about disease more than what Jesus said about health. Of course, we all trust what man says more than what Jesus says...but we are not supposed to. We must trust God and not lean unto our own understanding.

Then there were folks in my evangelical church who prayed all the while for God's mercy. Oh God, please heal your servant, etc. The entire prayer time asking for God's mercy instead of simply believing that God has already given mercy. Instead of saying to the sickness in the sick person, "I rebuke you in the name of Jesus. By Jesus's stripes this person was healed! Therefore you have no right to bother
her. Leave her alone and take your symptoms and your roots and your seeds and leave this woman's body."

But in the meantime, although they kept praying to God to heal her, during coffee hour what do they say? "It's all in God's hand whether he decides to heal or not. I'll prepare myself just in case I hurt." Then when these folks die everyone said, "Look, they had faith and nothing happened." I just want to scream at the way people blame God for stuff when we humans are not doing what God told us to do.

Pray, water the word with thanksgiving, rebuke the sickness, see the invisible, walk by faith in God's love, power, and care.

I was just talking to some neighbors who just came from church. I so wish negative conversation wasn't a part of our "normal" conversation. I'm always hearing about how bad it is for black people, and when I look at what is happening in their lives I want to challenge them and say, "the Bible says 'you will have what you say!' Do you see that perhaps your habit of saying about your son 'if it weren't for bad luck, he'd have no luck at all' is not helping matters?"

God wants us to fly. The world weighs us down.

The Bible declares, "Let God be true and every man a liar." If we want miracles, that's what we have to do.

I know how tough it is to say things or do things that one's church doesn't do. But if you read the Bible and see what God demands of you, then you won't care what the people around you do?

Speaking is so important. Jesus said, we should have what we say. Not that we don't get what we pray for silently, but if speaking is a weapon, why not use it? We are told to speak to the mountain not to think to the mountain. We can talk to God about the mountain, but we must talk to the mountain about the promises of God and about the blood of Jesus.
So many places in the Bible talk about talking.

He who orders his conversation aright
I will say of the Lord He is my refuge and my fortress
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so
Let the weak say I am strong.
Death and life are in the power of the tongue.
In Revelations, the sword comes from Jesus' mouth.
The sword of the spirit is the word of God.

Jesus has chosen preaching which seems foolish to humans but which is powerful. Jesus wants us to preach to humans and to mountains and to demons. Tell every creature about the great gospel.

We must not be dominated by what we see, hear, taste and feel. We must know that God does things and we don't necessarily see it.

Just another point. Many of us are carnal Christians. And we have to learn that when we use spiritual weapons we aren't battling the air, we are actually doing battle. Most Christian people walk by sight and if they don't see what they're doing (or the effects of what they're doing), they think nothing is happening. Most of Christianity is carnal and hasn't learned truly that we walk by faith. When you speak Scriptures, you are slashing the demonic world -- sickness, debt, demonic, whatever-- with the sword of the spirit. Something is happening in the spiritual realm. When we praise God, something is happening. When we speak in tongues something is happening. We must trust that God wouldn't speak so much about speaking the word and meditating (in hebrew the word for meditating also means mumbling and speaking aloud to one's self) on the word .

There is a spiritual world around us and God's people should know that. Our faith creates a bridge which brings the spiritual blessings of Christ's cross into the physical realm. Speaking Scriptures show that we acknowledge that there is stuff going on around us and we are warring spiritually. We must acknowledge the spiritual realm. God is spirit and he works in the spirit and we must worship him in spirit which most of the time means we are to do things we may not understand yet believe that something is really happening. -C

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Rational versus irrational

Okay, once again Law and Order has shown religious people as being irrational. I swear you can always tell who the baddie is in these episodes. If it's a religious person who reads his Bible he's got to be the villain. And Law and Order is not the only television show that's guilty of this.

Why do they think Bible readers are irrational?

The Bible is the best book in the world. And folks who judge Bible readers really should consider many things if they want to say the Bible stifles critical thinking.

Movies always behave as if Bible believers are an uneducated bunch. True, many Bible lovers are uneducated. But others are quite educated.

Look at me. I totally believe the Bible is the word of God. Totally. My house has about 2000 Bible study books. Hey, I'm a lit major. I love studying. I learned how to do reading comprehension. I learned how to deal with writers like the Bible prophets who spoke symbolically and who digressed then returned to a point. I learned to link things together. I'm educated. Somewhat.

But many Christians -- black and white-- were taught by sweet little old ladies who had a dream of stopping crime or of preventing girls from becoming pregnant. They did well -- wonderful and noble deeds. In fact, their place in our community as teachers was often all the respect they had. And wanting to read the Bible was one of the reasons they learned to read. Although I don't know why so many of them think they actually fully comprehend Elizabethan English. Many a weird cult has begun because someone didn't understand Shakespearean English.

So yeah, some folks just don't understand reading comprehension, some don't research, some don't aim to improve their knowledge. Human pride, what can I say? Just because they are Christians doesn't mean they are immune to vanity or idiocy. They don't want to realize that they might need to know more. Does that mean uneducated people can't think? Or that the Bible has stopped their brains? Or that everyone who reads the Bible is an idiot? No.

The Bible for one has taught me a kind of divine cynicism. It shows us how humans fool each other and themselves. It teaches us to distrust humans and culture. Always a good thing. And it teaches us to study. The Bible isn't anti-reason. It simply demands that we distrust our fellow man and trust God's view of things.

What's wrong with a little authority about spiritual things? Doing without Sriptural authority is like remaking the wheel. If everyone started on their own wisdom path from scratch without looking to the works of their spiritual ancestors, we would all be starting out as cavemen. Why not say: "It is written that such and such a course is not good to take." Why not believe what other people have said? If the Bible tells us for instance that women should really be married before sleeping with men, why not believe it? God knows men are selfish, will abandon women, women will be raising children in povery. Why not trust it?

Anyone learning to read the Bible learns how to compare word to word, thought to thought, verse to verse. Even uneducated poor black grandmas and little kids learn to do this. We see a verse about sexual purity here. Then we see a verse which says a divorced man is like someone wearing the coat of a bloodshed victim (Malachi). Then we read a place where God says we must be satisfied with the breasts of the wife of our youth. Or that young men should avoide strange women. Or that when a woman is raped it is akin to murder. And all these little old ladies --including myself-- study those verses and come up with a general meaning.

Rational vs rational

Something else has to be clarified here:

The word "Rational" (as used by most people) has two distinct meanings.

A) It could refer to a thought pattern that does not operate in a logical manner.
B) It could refer to a conclusion arrived at that does not fit in with the listener's worldview.

The first meaning -- having to do with manner and pattern of a person's way of thinking-- can be useful for judging the Bible reader. But it doesn't really judge the Bible. There are many logical thinkers who read and believe the Bible. And there are many illogical thinkers who read and believer the Bible. Also, there are many logical thinkers who do not believe the Bible and many illogical thinkers who believe the Bible.

In the second case where "rational" refers to the conclusion -- whether logically or illogically arrived at-- then personal prejudices and worldview issues often come into play.

Stephen Hawking for instance may not believe in the Bible but he is a theist. Carl Sagan -- just as logical and perhaps not as smart-- is not a theist and simply did not believe in any kind of God. In a situation where someone is judging someone's rationality all sorts of questions can come up. Is the person thinking irrationally because he is insane? Because he has a different path to follow? Because he is "misinterpreting" some of the evidence/clues he sees?

Many Americans think Christians are irrational because they think the Christian is thinking in an unworldly way. But in Africa where the average person (Christian or otherwise) believes in the spirit world much more than the average American (Christian or otherwise) there wouldn't be a question about irrational thinking just because someone believes something that doesn't jibe with the scientific model of worldview -- closed universe and all that.

I've done many a thing that seems irrational and yet God and the Universe have continually shown me that I'm quite right. Indeed, I suspect that many a little Christian old lady (educated or not) has had the same experience and that's why they trust and love Jesus so much.

Three examples:

I once went into a GNC at the mall. A man walked past me. I heard "in my spirit" a voice that said: "This is so-and-so. He's the general manager of such-and-such a radio station." The name of there person and his title and his workplace. I walked over to the man and quite irrationally said, "Hi, are you so and so?" He said, "I am." I did not behave irrationally, mind you. I didn't go over and tell him that the holy spirit had told me who he was. So I had some sense. But still, it is kind of irrational to believe some weird bit of information one hears in one's spirit.

Another time, I was working on my novel Wind Follower (to be published in June). I decided on a whim to make the main character an epileptic and needed a name to call the illness. I decided on "the falling sickness." Wrote a scene. Got up from my computer. On a lark I turned on the TV and flipped through the channel. I saw some guys in togas. Shakespeare's Julius Ceasar. As I listened I heard one character say, "well you know Ceasar has the falling sickness."

Another time, I finished writing a scene where a character tells another character he should change his name from Stevie to Steve because Stevie sounds so childish. I went upstairs and although I NEVER turn the radio on at night, turned it on for some strange reasons. A guy was calling in to the DJ. He said, "My girlfriend thinks I should quit calling myself Stevie because it's too childish." Kid you not.

I once had a dream in which two teenaged boys from up the road were beating my young 3 year old with iron pipes. Terrified I woke up. Around mid-day those two boys from up the road visited. They held up a little piece of yarn. "We want to play with Logan. We're playing cowboys and Indians." They let the yarn flow along my hand. "See it doesn't hurt. We won't hurt him." Needless to say although my son wanted to go out and play with them cause he was a lonely kid, I didn't. God had warned me.

I remember one day about nine months after my older son was born. I was sitting in my room watching my son playing with blocks. I heard --in the way one hears these things-- in my spirit the clear words "rest." It was so clear that I looked around. I walked over to my son and he had taken the letters R E S T and placed them in perfect order forming the word rest. He was only nine months. I should have learned to rest. I didn't and not resting after childbirth proved to be very harmful to my health for about 20 years.

I remember once I got some money and I was wondering who to give my tithe to. I said a prayer, "Lord, who should I give this tithe to?"

Immediately the name of a friend across the country was impressed upon me. It was so strange to hear that name in my heart that I suddenly stood still. I thought, "that was weird!" Generally, guidance didn't come so quickly and the name had come so suddenly and so clearly after the prayer...I found myself thinking that the idea had come from my own mind. And yet, it was so weird to suddenly get this girl's name in my head. I decided to tithe the money to her.

Then, I said...I could send her a check...but I had bounced checks recently and I was bounce-wary. All I needed was to pay $50 to my bank for bouncing a check written as a gift to a friend, and then my friend's bank would also charge her for the bounce. So a gift check for $50 would cost $150 by the time everything was said and done. (Okay, I get nervous and like I said I was very nervous about bouncing a check.)

Then I thought I would send the money as cash. But then I got nervous about that. Cash might get lost in the mail. Then I thought about a money order. But I didn't want to go to the bank or the post office to write a money order. Hey, it's cold in winter in NY and I didn't want to deal with it.

I decided on pay-pal. But I had to wait until the check I had received cleared and went into my paypal account.

Anyway, one night about four days after this quandary and decision, I went online to check if my money was in paypal. It wasn't. Later that night, instead of going to bed, I went downstairs again and for some weird reason (thank you, God) turned on the computer and went online to paypal. The money was there!

I transferred the money from my paypal account to my friend's paypal account.

The next morning my friend emailed me. It seems that the night before -- the night i felt the need to as transfer the money to my friend's account -- my friend was driving home from the hospital with her sick husband. She was miles away from home. Maybe 40 miles. And had run out of gas. She had no money left in her checking account and on a whim (thank you, God) decided to check her paypal account. Voila, the money I had sent her was in it. She hadn't even expected it. But that money got her gas and got her home from the hospital.

I love when God does stuff like that. It makes me feel that yes I do hear from God. It makes my friend know that God is aware of her. It makes us both know that God is aware of the future and provides for the future in the present. Isn't our God good? IT just makes me so happy when stuff like this happens. And they happen all the time. Doesn't it just make you roll your eyes when some atheist says that only idiots think that God exists? Hey, if this kind of lovely stuff is what happens to idiots, may I be an idiot forever!

Thank you Jesus.

I cannot tell you the amount of times my life and my family's life have been saved or my children's life by trusting the irrational.

We Christians call that kind of thing "God winks." It the situation is death-defying, we call them "testimonies of God's protection." These events are odd and a Christian's trust in them is utterly irrational. But it gives us a feeling of being loved. And while everyone has some odd thing happen to them once in a while, these things tend to happen incredibly frequently to Bible-believers..

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