Thursday, July 31, 2008

Notes on the Miracles of our Lord

Notes on the Miracles of our Lord
Hardcover: 308 pages
Publisher: Sovereign Grace Publishers Inc. (September 30, 2002)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1589603079
ISBN-13: 978-1589603073

Notes on the Parables of our Lord
Publisher: Baker Pub Group (June 1981)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0801087740
ISBN-13: 978-0801087745

These three books by R C Trench are two wonderful and insightful books. There are however two problems with them:

1) It is written in a very complex academic style which might be hard for some to follow.
2) It has a lot of anti Roman-Catholic biases and Roman Catholics might be offended.
3) It is sometimes hard to find and sometimes the version one finds "attempts" to make it more readable to modern readers....and that can be a muddle.

That said, I highly recommend these books which are often cited in other great writings. I especially recommend Notes on the Miracles of our Lord

4th Annual Wiconi Wacipi

Wiconi's 5th Annual Mni Wiconi Wacipi – Living Waters Powwow and Family Camp starts on Thursday, July 31 in Turner, Oregon.

July 31st - August 3rd 2008
Turner (Salem), Oregon
4th Annual Mni Wiconi Wacipi
(Living Waters) Family Camp and Traditional Powwow
Worship, native speakers and fellowship, plus an all day powwow on Saturday

For all of you Portland/Vancouver metro types, please join them this Saturday for their all day traditional inter-tribal powwow. They have 85 young people attending this year – their most ever! They send a huge "thank you" to those who helped sponsor a Native family with a scholarship to attend this year.

Jacob Trevizo designed a beautiful poster for this years powwow. I mean, it’s a beauty! You can look at it at their website under "family camp.” For the month of August ONLY, they are offering t-shirts with the beautiful artwork for sale. The T-shirts will be $20.00 plus shipping and must be prepaid. They come in all sizes, but only one color, light blue. Call the office for ordering details. We’ll have it posted next week on our shopping cart.

Dreams, earthly and divine

First of all I've got to share a dream I had with you.

FIRST (backstory to the dream): I've been lying on the floor for the past three weeks or so. A really bad relapse of the fibro. I slept about two hours a night if that and for the past three weeks (instead of my usual three) and there was this awful fibro pain like a knife cutting in my chest. In addition, younger son was suffering. Which only stresses me out more cause there is nothing we 20-year insomniac fibro sufferers like than to be taking care of non-verbal autistic son who has been in pain from stuff he can't describe for 18 years and who comes home every day from school with peed-on clothes in his bad and new clothes from the school on his back. (Sorry, God. Had to be snide there. Couldn't control my anger at this illness. I know it's not your fault.)

So of course I got into my "Why do I want to live anymore mode?" And my fears of ending up in the hospital and family having nothing to bury me with. Okay, you guys who have read Wind Follower know how depressing and depressed I can get. All that existentialist mode bit.

So yours truly managed to fall asleep last night and what do I dream of? I dreamt of a woman sitting beside me and saying to me, "Expect Great Things!" And she began telling me about the many great things that have already happened and will happen. She talked about my book and about refrigerators. There was a plate on the kitchen table in front of us with a hot dog and corn on the cob. She picked them up and put them in a napkin and threw them away. So, well, I've been warned what not to eat. So later in the day I get this urge to talk to a neighbor I hadn't visited in weeks. And what does she talk about? Refrigerators! It's a little god-wink. And I love it when that happens. It's like God puts something outside of your control to affirm the dream.

Okay, this is pretty much like the dream I got a few years back where I was told I had six great works to do and that I should hold on.

I trust these dreams because well, it makes me feel God is aware of me. And that is wonderful. Is it not? It gives me so much hope.

The last time I managed a good sleep --around July 2nd-- I dreamt of walking across a field and I saw a road ahead that was beside the field. I was pushing a very heavy cart. It was a very dark night and at the edge of the corner of the field were oxen and lions but I couldn't really see clearly. I wanted to get to the road but it was so dark and I didn't want to accidentally walk on a lion and get eaten. Although the lions were quiet.

I heard the voice of a little girl I know. She's about 5 and her name is Daniella. Her parents go to my church. She saw me coming and she knew it was too dark for me to see. She said, "Caro!" She couldn't pronounce my name right...and in real life she doesn't pronounce it well cause she has baby talk plus she's hispanic. She said, "Here is my hand! Touch it and I'll lead you." I still couldn't see her, but I followed her voice. And in the darkness I took her tiny little hands. And she kept comforting me and saying, "Don't worry, Caro. I'm with you." I looked at the sky. It was so dark, but as we walked up the road which was walking up a hill, the burden I was pushing got less heavy and the sky became brighter.
I woke up crying and cried and cried for two hours after that. But it wasn't as if I was crying. It was as if the tears were flowing out of me.
At last I felt the holy spirit saying, "Carole it's a consolation dream. Don't worry."

I feel the dream is saying that I should become like a little child and put my trust in God and put my hand in God's hand.

Sometimes we need earthly dreams and nightly dreams to keep us least one more day. Now, I just have to commit to keeping wheat, processed foods, corn and soy away from younger son and myself. I believe in my writing, though. I managed to write Wind Follower while I was in a great deal of pain and while I was very sure my days on earth were short. Pain means nothing to me now. I have something to look forward to: GREAT THINGS!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Okay, every once in a while one comes upon a Bible verse that jumps up in one's face and one starts thinking...."okay...and what does this mean exactly?"

So two verses:

As a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest. Isaiah 61:10-11

He that has suffered in the flesh is freed from sin 1 Peter 4:1

Now what the heck are they supposed to mean?

I suspect the first one has something to do with Christ being both our priest and husband...but it's used to describe God's people (I think) Read Is 61:1-11

And then the other? Does it mean that if you really suffered you will go to heaven...regardless of knowing Jesus? What is the nature of suffering? I mean Lazarus went to heaven and was in Abraham's bosom and he didn't know Jesus. But it seems like a wild far-fetched idea. But there is something about suffering in the flesh that destroys sin.

Gotta think. -C

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Golden Chain

No, I'm not talking about Homer or Al Qaeda or the Freemasons. Those aren't the golden chains we Christians care about.

In the Bible there are many golden chains. One link leading to another.

There is the Golden Chain in Romans 8. "Whom he predestined, he also called. Whom he called he also justified. Whom he justified he also glorified.

There is the Golden Chain in 2 Peter. "For this reason make every effort to add to your faith goodness, and to goodness, knowledge, and to knowledge self-control, and to self-control persevereance, and to persevereance godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love."

As I've said, last month I watched only a lot of Christian Television. What a mistake! I know we aren't supposed to condemn our brothers and sisters in Christ. (Although the Bible tells us to judge prophecies, judge and discern sermons, judge who is a possible swine who might trample on our pearls and turn around and rend us.) And I found myself getting very annoyed at the greed and Walmart convention quality of the entire thing. It is sooo hard to find a minister one respects.

I find myself wondering about the way they sell stuff: "You must get this tape or book. It will change your life." Uhm.... really?

Okay, let's say some of these folks have faith -- I mean faith born from their own experiences with God, not faith born out of repeating something that they themselves haven't experienced or some kneejerk interpretation they picked up in seminary. Do they add to faith "goodness"??? I mean, not everyone is good but shouldn't we be good as God defines it? Not as American Christianity defines it but as God defines it. For instance, what's with the arrogance? Yes, I swear I see arrogance. There are actually Christian superstar ministers. I can accept a jet, mind you. But is it me or do they behave like famous rockstars? Do they drop each other's name as if they are something special? What is that about? Aren't we all as Christians given the authority to heal the sick, raise the dead, preach the gospel? What is this hierarchy business? I know they want us to understand that God wishes to bless us...but shouldn't they be very careful lest greed destroy them? It is very hard to be poor in spirit when Christians are fawning around one as if one is a superstar.

Add to goodness, knowledge: My problem here is that I really wonder if these guys read their Bibles often. Okay, I might be cynical but ALL Scripture is given for profit, reproof, etc. When was the last time someone did a sermon on say Joel or Amos or Obadiah?

Add to knowlege, self-control: Puhleze!!!! Prophetess Juanita Bynum needs to control herself. And regular Christians in regular churches need to understand forbearance. The knee-jerk platitudes and judgements some Christians give to comfort and console or rebuke each other only makes me think that they aren't waiting on God to tell them what to say. They think they are waiting for God but they have no control over their mouth. Often they say, "I speak the truth in love." Well, honestly if you look at that verse in the Bible refers to discussing someone caught up in a wrong doctrine. That particular verse isn't about telling someone something about their sin.

Perseverance? Come now. When we pray for the sick, we are to persevere. In the old days when folks got sick, the old ladies of the church would be at your house doing for you and waiting on the lord for you. They would persevere and would not leave you until you were healed. Part of this is our lack of love for each other. Part of this is our bad theology. Consider what would happen when we prayed for the sick, if we didn't not stop praying for them in that service until the healing manifests. We live in a world very much like the city of Bethsaida, a city that Jesus rebuked because they were so unbelieving. Jesus had to take the blind man a long way out of the city, pray for him twice (the only person he had to do that with), and tell the man NOT TO return to the city again. In a place of such faithlessness, we have to persevere to get folks healed. Do we do that? Why not? Maybe we just don't love, maybe we just don't believe.

Godliness: Ah me! I'm not real godly. So I shouldn't talk. But honestly, the stuff I see in churches. One friend who loves God very much says "I believe we must have abortion. Hey, I had an abortion. Who's gonna pay for these kids? Who's gonna love these kids?" Okay, are we as Christians judging spiritual matters by expedience and money? Another friend who also loves God says, "Well, so-and-so had four kids and now they're getting married. It's good they lived together before they married." Okay? What's that about? I'm not particularly holy, mind you. But honestly!

And to godliness, brotherly kindness. Oh puhleze!!! Have you ever met some of the self-impressed, self-important folks in our churches. I know that as a people we black folks are very wounded, but do we have to show how important we are by being cruel to others we consider less-than?

What are we to do with the royal law when we can't even follow the golden chain? -C

Christy Award Winners and Nominees announced


Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin (Thomas Nelson)

CONTEMPORARY (Series, Sequels and Novellas)
Home to Holly Springs by Jan Karon (Viking Penguin)

A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Hallie's Heart by Shelly Beach (Kregel Publications)

Remembered by Tamera Alexander (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Cure by Athol Dickson (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Scarlet by Stephen R. Lawhead (Thomas Nelson)

The Stones Cry Out by Sibella Giorello (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson (NavPress Publishing Group)


Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin (Thomas Nelson)
In High Places by Tom Morrisey (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
Quaker Summer by Lisa Samson (Thomas Nelson)

CONTEMPORARY (Series, Sequels and Novellas)
Home to Holly Springs by Jan Karon (Viking Penguin)
A Time to Mend by Sally John and Gary Smalley (Thomas Nelson)
What Lies Within by Karen Ball (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

Lady of Milkweed Manor by Julie Klassen (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
A Proper Pursuit by Lynn Austin (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
Tendering in the Storm by Jane Kirkpatrick (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)

LITS (tie)
Doesn't She Look Natural by Angela Hunt (Tyndale House Publishers)
Hallie's Heart by Shelly Beach (Kregel Publications)
Let Them Eat Cake by Sandra Byrd (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)
Trophy Wives Club by Kristin Billerbeck (Avon Inspire, a division of HarperCollins Publishers)

Lightning and Lace by DiAnn Mills (Barbour Publishing)
Remember to Forget by Deborah Raney (Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster)
Remembered by Tamera Alexander (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

The Cure by Athol Dickson (Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group)
My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay (Moody Publishers)
The Pawn by Steven James (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Auralia's Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)
The Restorer by Sharon Hinck (NavPress Publishing Group)
Scarlet by Stephen R. Lawhead (Thomas Nelson)

Auralia's Colors by Jeffrey Overstreet (WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group)
Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee (NavPress Publishing Group)
The Stones Cry Out by Sibella Giorello (Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group)

Hollywood Nobody by Lisa Samson (NavPress Publishing Group)
In Between by Jenny B. Jones (NavPress Publishing Group)
Maggie Come Lately by Michelle Buckman (NavPress Publishing Group)

Presently Fighting a Writer's Block

I've been having trouble returning to Constant Tower my WIP. My other WIP, Inheritance, seems to want to continue and won't give room to the other. Am also trying to work on a short story named Gleaners. Aargh.

Psalm 45:1
My heart is inditing a good matter: I speak of the things which I have made touching the king: my tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
King James Version

1To the Overseer. -- `On the Lilies.' -- By sons of Korah. -- An Instruction. -- A song of loves. My heart hath indited a good thing, I am telling my works to a king, My tongue [is] the pen of a speedy writer.
Young's Literal Translation

For the director of music. To the tune of Lilies. Of the Sons of Korah. A maskil. A wedding song.1 My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skilful writer.
New International Version UK

In Jesus name I come to you, Father. I ask your Dear holy spirit to show me what the problem is. Your word declares that our tongue is like the pen of a ready writer. Oh Lord, I rejoice when I see that phrase "ready writer." It means you and David understood that there are ready writers and there are blocked writers..or writers who for some reason just aren't ready. Lord, in some other translations, the translators translate the phrase "skilled writer." Lord, make me skilled also. Some translate it as "speedy writer." Lord, make me speedy also.

Lord, I praise you that you are creative and you understand creativity. Set my soul free to be a ready writer. I thank you Lord for hearing my prayer. In the name of Jesus I come against any judgmental spirit and any self-distrusting emotion or fear or inferiority complex in me that is preventing me from feeling the ease and joy of creation. Leave me this minute, Writer's Block, In Jesus name! Joy in writing, be restored in my heart! Now! Return! Delight in the joy of creation return! Now! In Jesus' name. Amen! I call it done and proclaim the Lord is my helper and is helping me now. All I have to do is walk out in faith and do my part and Jesus, the AUTHOR and FINISHER of my faith is doing it. And God the Father, the AUTHOR of Creation is doing is. I also will finish what I have begun. Grace to it! Amen! -C

6Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

7Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.

Zecharian 4:6-8

Monday, July 28, 2008

sheep in the middle of wolves

Josef Tson, the great Romanian Christian philosopher said:

Jesus said he is sending us as sheep in the midst of wolves.

Imagine that picture for a while. Meditate on it. Can we stay alive? Let alone convert the wolves?

Jesus said, "As my father sent me, so send I you." Jesus was sent as a lamb to be sacrificed.

The world hates us as it hated Christ.

Let us take up our cross and follow Christ.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Lord's ways

Was listening to a sermon by Derek Prince, and one by William Lao and got to thinking. Derek Prince talked about waiting on the Lord:

Acts: 1:26 Then they cast lots and the lot fell to Matthias." They threw a coin?

Acts 13:
1In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." 3So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
They hadn't "planned" to do anything. They were simply praising God. And God told them what to do. Usually, it's the other way around. We plan something. Then we ask God to bless it.

So, after I listened to Derek Prince this morning I listened to the book of ACTS. Stephen's speech is simply amazing. It's about not seeing and recognizing God's works. (BTW, it's interesting that he says that Joseph was made known to his disciples "the second time." Nice prophetic hint at the second coming there.) Stephen is the first martyr. He was chosen to be a deacon when the apostles said they had to preach the gospel and waiting on tables was just not important. So they choose some Deacons to do it, one of them being Stephen. And who ends up being powerful and doing mighty miracles? So much so that the people love him and the chief priests hated and killed him. Stephen. Love him. Interestingly, we don't read much about what the disciples who stayed in Jerusalem actually did. Luke followed Paul and recorded Paul's journeys. And most of the New Testament was not written by these apostles who didn't want to wait on tables. In fact, if it weren't for Barnabas they wouldn't have accepted Paul as a Christian.

Then there was the call to Macedonia. They hadn't "planned" on anything. They were just sitting there praising God and then later they get this vision. And the entire church sent Paul off to Macedonia.

In the Book of Acts we see that from the beginning the church tended to lean on its own understanding. As it does now.
So Derek said, "The initiative must be from God. The guidance must be from God." At least in certain important changes. We must learn to wait on God and not plan things withour own human understanding.

Wow, we really need to be open to God guiding us. And we really need to be holy. From the story of Ananias and Saphhira, holiness was so important to the holy spirit that even liars dropped down dead. God is THAT holy. If our churches were as holy as God wanted them to be, would any of us be alive when we stepped into them?

But I also listened to William Lao. He was talking about the difference between waiting on God for direction and simply trusting that God is within us guiding us. So, on the one hand, we have to wait on the lord. And on the other hand, we are already told what to do. The LOGOS -- the complete total of God's word-- tells us what we should do in a general way. For instance, all believers have the authority to heal the sick and preach the kingdom. (Although when it comes to raising the dead we should do what Peter did and pray to ask God if he wants us to raise that person. And we should also pray about casting out demons. Paul waited a while before deciding to cast out that Python spirit from the girl with the spirit of divination. No use casting out a demon out of a person when the person isn't willing to turn to Jesus and resist the devils. As Jesus said, that would only mean the person will get re-demonized and end up with eight more demons.) So some things we already know what to do. But at the same time there is the specific moment when we are given a word of knowledge or a RHEMA or a direction from God that there is something we must do at a specific time. We have to rightly divide the word of truth. And we have to wait before God for wisdom in what we do.

We shouldn't sit around waiting around all the time for God to act. But we should also not plan everything as if our plans are the plans that matter. God has his plans.

The Testimony God gave about the Devil

The first epistle fo John tells us about what we have. It's a great epistle to read.
6No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
7Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. He who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. 8He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work.
1 John 3:6-8 (New International Version)

We think a lot about the testimony God gave about His Son. All the gospels testify Who Jesus is, what he began to do and to preach, what he accomplished. But the Bible also gives us a testimony about the devil. Although the devil was sinning from the very beginning, most of what we know about the devil comes from the new testament. Truth is, the folks in the old testament didn't need to know much about the devil because they couldn't do anything even if they knew because they didn't yet have the authority against him. They could follow the law and the law would protect them. But that was pretty much all.

So many things happen in the old testament that people blame God for. But it's possible that the devil was working in those situations. For instance, we read about the woman whose son died. She blamed God and Elijah for hurting her son. It was probably Jesus. But the old testament doesn't tell us much about how the devil works or how to bind and loose him or how to have authority ...because authority against the devil came only through Jesus Christ.

In the New Testament, we are told a lot more. Why? Because Jesus is the perfect son of man. He is sinless, and he is the new Adam. Satan told him, "All the splendor of this world is in my power." Well, it probably was. Because man had turned over the dominion of the world to Satan. But then Jesus came. A perfect man, an obedient man. What the old Adam lost, the new Adam gave to us. And then some! The old Adam only had authority over the earth, creation, and his own flesh. As the psalms say, "The heavens are the lord's but the earth God has given to the sons of men." But then Jesus said, "I saw satan fall! I have given you power and authority." Now, we have authority over certain demonic elements on earth. We have no authority over evil spirits in the heavenlies so we shouldn't be even challenging spirits there. Evil Spirits get very vindictive when folks start warring in the heavenlies. We can only bind spirits who use their power against us on earth. What we bind on earth, God will bind in heaven. But we can't go binding stuff in heaven. Christians who talk about warring in the heavenlies are asking for trouble.

Jesus showed himself to be son of man by being able to walk on the water. I suspect any redeemed man -- or Adam in the beginning-- could walk on the water. That is dominion over an earthly thing. But Jesus is also son of God.

We have many treasures in our spirit. Treasures in earthen vessels. Christ in house, the hope of glory. We have the mind of Christ, for example, and when we speak in tongues the wisdom inside us comes into our human minds. The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. We have the peace that passes all understanding. We are more than conquerors. We have overcome the evil one. The Bible tells us that we are not ignorant of the devil's devices.

We should be insightful about ourselves, the world, the flesh, the devil. The Lord has told us that we are insightful. When I got mad at my neighbor I should have caught myself and said, "Ah, this is a typical snare of the devil! He snare us with anger and justice and resentment." But I didn't. It amazes me that we know so much about the devil and yet we behave as if we are in the old testament and don't know we have power against sin, sickness, and the devil. We must be alert because our enemy the devil goes about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. The wise woman whose son died and who went to Elijah didn't talk about her fear. Somehow she knew that to speak her concern was dangerous. Yet we, who have a greater knowledge of the devil's slickness, don't seem to realize the power of our words. The devil roars. We speak our fear about the roars. Just like that we are ensnared by the words of our mouths.

And there are so many other devices of the devil that we should know about. So many snares. Remember, Jesus has destroyed the works of the devil. Let us read our Bibles and see what those works were. So we won't allow the devil to make fools --or devils-- of us. So often we acquit ourselves of some sins but we are guilty of others. Hatred, for instance. Lord knows. I HATE my mother-in-law. Is that enough to make me not inherit the kingdom of God?

16So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.
19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.


Friday, July 25, 2008

The wrath to come

Revelation 11:16-19
“...but your wrath has come.” (v.18)

Recently I watched a movie whose premise was that human life was ultimately meaningless. I was grieving about my mother’s death and the movie only added to my despair.

The Book of Revelation is a book which some view as hopeful, but which others consider doom-laden, vindictive, superstitious, or world-hating. This awe-inspiring description of God can encourage a reader. Or it could disturb those who don’t like the idea of a wrathful God.

The Bible has many passages which, if encountered at the wrong time can offend readers, cause them to question God, or reject Christianity. I love the book of Revelations, however. I like the idea of God taking the world back.

But I’ll tell you a secret: I dislike King David. I consider him a bad father and horrible husband. Nothing wrong with avoiding Biblical passages that upset or unnerve us. The time will come when the Holy Spirit will lovingly guide us through those spiritual paths we fear.

Jesus, great Author and Finisher of my faith, help me to read the books your servants have written. Amen.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

True Religion vs Man's Traditions

More and more I find myself getting very annoyed with the Church. We are so totally off-track when it comes to doing what God has told us to do. And I'm not talking about cults.

A few examples:

In the new testament and in the old testament we are told that true religion means to take care of orphans, homeless, and widows. When was the last time we heard a sermon about taking care of orphans? We get into all kinds of issues about what righteousness is but the simple things we ignore.

Proverbs tells us what the excellent woman does. She reaches out to the poor. (Okay, we are also told that she buys a piece of land --without asking her hubby's permission) But honestly, why do we read the Bible without looking at what it actually says.

Another example:

Jesus tells us to heal the sick, raise the dead, command the disease to leave, and preach the gospel to the poor. When was the last time we did that? I've heard people in church praying for the unsaved to be saved. But Jesus didn't tell us to pray for the unsaved to be saved. He told us to pray for laborers to come to the harvest and he told us to preach the gospel. So if we know someone who isn't saved we don't go kneeling down to God to ask for the salvation of that person. Hey, God might answer the prayer. What we are to do is to pray for God to send the right laborer to the unsaved person at the right time. Or we ourselves are to ask God for wisdom, word of knowledge, boldness to heal the sick and so when we preach we will have signs following. Something else: we are told to heal the sick. We are not told to pray for the sick. We are told to HEAL the sick. The elders of the church are to pray for the sick by anointing them with oil and to pray the prayer of faith -- which is a command to the sick person to be healed. But what I see are elders anointing people and then asking God to heal the sick.

There are so many things in the Bible which we must simply look at and see clearly...with our own eyes. I forgot who said it (Mark Twain, I think) but he said was, "People think Christianity has been tried and failed. But the truth is: it has not been tried."

Can we be brave and do what God wants us to do? How many times have I wanted to tell the old lady dancing in the spirit (and stepping on everyone's toes) to stop it because the spirit of the prophet is subject to the prophet? A zilliion times. Know why I have never told her to quit all that being carried away with the spirit stuff? Because she will say to me: "I can't. It's the spirit. It's the spirit." GROAN!!! Well, don't you have control over it? If not, then you're indulging yourself.

Oh I could go on. But folks, let us read our Bible to see what it actually says and let us do what it says we should do ...and let us understand what it wants us to understand. -C

Confusion, double-mindedness

Inheritance is one of the two novels I am currently writing. And there are a whole lotta real people in it. And I find myself asking myself at each juncture: Am I a carnal Christian writing about sex issues? Or am I a perfectly well-behaved and sanctified Christian writing about carnal Christians? It's hard to decide. I don't want the book to be stiff. I want the book to touch my soul. I want the book to share my soul. So how do I handle it? Sex and attraction are everywhere in this story...and I really have to figure out what my characters would do. What would I do if I were in that position? What should I do if I were that character? What kind of Christian am i writing to? And how should I write to the folks I am writing to? Very stressing.

I like to walk the borderlands. I like bringing weird things together in one novel. A CBA-published Christian book about a depressed widow and an alienated young man would have them dance around sex. I dunno. I know life...and I know how loneliness and depression can make a person end up in bed with the wrong person. Hey, I go to Black Christian churches and tons of those folks are unwed mothers. So these good people are at least doing something and falling into sin occasionally, right?

Oh, I know... Some Christian is going to say that the reason I'm confused is because I'm double-minded. Watching VH1 reality shows and reading my Bible at the same time. Probably true. And yet -- vain self-righteous comment here-- I honestly think that I am so desperate to grow in God and to get my son healed that I read more religious stuff and listen to more sermons every day than the average Christian does in a week. Christian romance is so dishonest sometimes...because it aims for purity and only gives us piousness. It holds its heroine and its hero to a higher standard. But it forgets that that standard is pretty hard to hold to in our times. Oh, what to do? what to do?

I want a story that is very passionate and very real and very erotic. Doesn't mean I charaters have to end up in bed with anyone. But it means they have to feel the tug and the reader has to feel the tug. And it might mean that -- forgetting that I must write stories that teach morals-- that they might tumble into bed. But will they end up moaning in self-loathing after the sexual sin? Lord knows. The Christians I know don't really take a long time to forgive themselves of some sin. Who knows?

Anyway, will see. Am thinking my female character is gonna end up in bed with someone. And wondering if I should even go there.

Just after posting this I went over to an ebuddy's blog Fantasy Debut and saw a great post on sex in novels. It really reminded me about how important sexual choice is. And that one has to be careful -- even in modern times-- about the occasional sexual romp. What a blessing that I looked at the blog today. She posted it yesterday...but it really is helping me with how to work out this story. Thanks, Tia.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Scripture Twisting

Scripture Twisting: 20 Ways the Cults Misread the Bible
By: James W. Sire
Inter-varsity Press / 1980 / Paperback
Dimensions: 0.50 X 5.40 X 8.15 (inches)
ISBN: 0877846111
ISBN-13: 9780877846116
Availability: In Stock

Here's the blurb from Christianbook

James W. Sire, editor and Ph.D. in English, brings his linguistic skills to bear on the problem of how cults twist the meaning of the Bible to fit their own worldview. From subtle interpretation differences to blatant misrepresentation and misquotation of Bible passages, Sire brings to our attention the dangers cults can pose, especially to those who don't know Scripture.

Sire focuses on twenty types of misreadings commonly practiced by cults. The types are:

inaccurate quotation, twisted translation, the biblical hook, ignoring the immediate context, collapsing contexts, overspecification, word play, the figurative fallacy, speculative readings of predictive prophecy, saying but not citing, selective citing, inadequate evidence, confused definition, ignoring alternative translations, the obvious fallacy, virtue by association, esoteric interpretation, supplementing biblical authority, rejecting biblical authority, and world-view confusion.

Understanding the above misreadings can help Christians fight the spread of cults. And it can also help us to grow closer to God, through a better understanding of His word. Sire wrote the book for those dealing with cults, and for Christians in general, with the hope that we might all learn to read the Bible correctly. So join with him as he takes you on an enjoyable and stimulating lesson in reading.

If you want a quick list of the different kinds of Scripture Twisting, you can go to his article here

Here's a review

He's also the author of Why Good Arguments Fail.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The anime Jesus

Just Enough

I'm a total believer that God doesn't want His people to be poor. But I've got to stop at Him wanting ALL His people to be rich.

First of all (personal opinion) Humans are prone to sinning. Our hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. If you don't know how deceitful human hearts can be, think of some of the religious people you know. Think of some of the televangelists you know. Greed, selfishness, judgemental. And that's just the religious folks. No one follows the standard they supposedly have aligned themselves to. Psychiatrists, physicians, and therapists know they aren't caring enough about their patients. Lawyers know that they go where the money is. Politicians know they serve lobbyists. Ministers (should) know that they are self-righteous non-ministers. So, I'm not gonna believe that if I became rich I would be a good people. IT'd be tooo tempting to say to some old enemy of mine, "No, I will not help you out of your financial fix." Hey, if I can annoyed with someone, I'd have the money to get them beaten up by some thugs. (Yep, alas, I have a mean temper.)

Then there is what the Bible says about wealth: Don't make me too rich or else I will forget you. Don't make me too poor or I will curse you.

The Bible also says God has given the poor great things and sent the rich away empty.

So, yes... a little money. But not too much. At least not to EVERYONE. Wealth is something most of us can't handle. It is a difficult thing for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. -C

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Christ the Healer

Christ the Healer
F F Bosworth

I looooooove this book. Everyone who wants to study Christian healing and who believes God wants to heal everyone should get this book. There is so much to understand about healing and I truly believe that if I had done everything this book recommended -- believed everything it said-- my healing and my son's healing would have manifested a long time ago. Especially about confession, appropriating, and believing. But it seems as if..only now have my eyes become open to certain spiritual truths. Oh well, it is never too late.

Here's the blurb from alibris

Bosworth offers a comprehensive discussion of healing, based on the premise that it's God's will for all Christians to be physically healed. First released in 1924, this classic on spiritual and physical healing has sold more than 350,000 copies. This updated edition includes a foreword by the author's son and a concluding chapter detailing the incredible epilogue to "Christ the Healer": Bosworth's phenomenal ministry in South Africa, on which he embarked at the age of 75.

When you desperately want someone well, you seek and seek until you find. This is one of the best books I've read...along with some others. It was written by a great healing evangelist. Between Bosworth, Smith Wigglesworth, John Lake, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Andrew Wommack, Andrew Murray, Emily Dotson, Benny Hinn, tons of folks on Sid Roth's It's supernatural, Charles and Frances Hunter, and Doug Jones I have come to believe the following about healing:

I believe that by Jesus's stripes we were healed. But faith without works is dead. It is up to us to command the healing. Jesus told us to pray for the sick, raise the dead. He has given us authority to heal the sick and to cast out devils. The word of God is powerful and active and sharper than any two edged sword but it is my responsibility to rest in the word and to water the word with thanksgiving. Many healers -- mentioned above-- believe that we are to speak the commanding word. And many people who have been miraculously healed had to work out their own salvation through fear and trembling.

We are collaborers with Christ. In the same way, that it is not will that any should perish and go to hell...but just because God doesn't will that someone goes to hell doesn't mean the person won't end up there. So God wants us to preach the gospel. That is our part. It's not bringing a rope into heaven to do one's part. Faith always requires an action. Faith without works is dead. God has provided healing to all through Jesus blood. The healing seed of God is working mightily in my son. But If I do not command the healing word and use the authority Jesus has given to all believers, my son's healling may not manifest. And if I do not water the word with praise or read the Scripture, my son's healing may not manifest.

God has given all men salvation but unless we do our part by believing in our heart and confessing with our mouth, and repent of our sins and forgive those who have forgiven us the salvation is not ours. Although God has provided it.

The same way with healing. All believers were healed by Jesus' stripes. When I prayed to God to heal my son, he sent his word and healed him. But if I do not do what I am supposed to do the healing may not manifest. In due time we will reap if we faint not.

Although I don't believe my son's healing depends on me, I do believe that its manifestation depends on something I must do. And keep doing, and keep that I will reap. Many people do not reap because they keep waiting around for God. But we have to do something. Stay in the word, sing praises, take communion, forgive our enemies.

God is sovereign but he has given us authority...and too many people have died by not taking their authority and by not doing what is necessary. Basically, the kingdom of God suffers violence and the violent take it by force.

Seeking first the kingdom of God is the required work to get the miraculous power within God's powerful word and seed to work in our lives and to blossom.

Often our healing depends on ourselves. God gives healing virtue when hands or laid on people. But what happens with that healing virtue is up to us.

Jesus only rebuked his disciples when they didn't act on their faith...when they didn't heal the sick boy, when they didn't rebuke the waves. He also said to Moses in Exodus 14:15-18, "Why are you asking me to do this? You stretch out your staff and separate the water!" We are colaborers with God. Greater than Moses because we have God's spirit within us. Because we have authority from Jesus.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Cain's Wife

Oh gee! Why do atheists always ask why Cain had a wife and hint at incest as if incest was against the law during Cain's time? If they read the Bible they will see that certain laws do not exist until certain dispensations appear.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Great missionary books by a great missionary writer

My favorite Missionary writer is Don Richardson and here is his website.

And my favorite missionary book is Eternity in their hearts. That's the book that really helped me write Wind Follower. I've also read Peace Child and Lords of the Earth. Any missionary going to a tribal society should read these books. No ifs, ands or buts.

Here are his books and the blurbs from his site.

28 Case Histories - 1981 - 223p (includes author's postscript). Old Testament Hebrew culture yielded abundant metaphors foreshadowing Jesus. So do Gentile cultures! Starting with the incredible story behind Paul's discovery of that "altar to an unknown God" in Athens, we move to tribes that honored places of refuge and even a "scapeboat" instead of a "scapegoat." Missionary use of such analogies helps awaken response to the Gospel.

Autobiography - 2005 - 256p - 4th Edition. Revised missionary classic, for a new generation, of Don Richardson's gripping account and classic tale of treachery and redemption on the mission field. New epilogue brings readers up to date with the Sawi people of Irian Jaya on the island of New Guinea. Recent media attention focused on this part of the world due to the Asian tsunami. More than 350,000 copies of PEACE CHILD sold, published in 13 languages. See also items 145 and 146 for video and DVD versions.

AUTOBIOGRAPHY - 1981 - 139p. Stan and Ethel Telchin began studying the New Testament intensively. Why? To refute its claims and win their daughter from her new-found Christian faith back to Judaism. Little did they dream what effect their earnest study would have upon them!

BIOGRAPHY - 1977 - 368p - 34 photos. Rugged Aussie Stan Dale aspired to reach an unevangelized New Guinea tribe for Jesus. Fired by the first 2 missions he served under, Stan joined a third and soon found himself in over his head amid a tribe wilder than any he ever imagined -- the Yali! Tribal warfare, strange ritual, martyrdom and sacrifice culminate in an air disaster that leaves a 9-year-old from Oregon stranded at the mercy of the Yali. Can truth really be stranger than fiction? Read and marvel!

BIOGRAPHY - 1985 - 188p - 10 photos. More than 100,000 stone-age people of New Guinea's Dani tribe believed that people die only because mankind lost the gift of immortality at the dawn of time. They also believed the gift of eternal life would one day be offered again. Once offered, it had to be welcomed. What if it came disguised?

AUTOBIOGRAPHY - 1984 - 156p. Born into a prominent Muslim family in Pakistan, Gulshan Esther became partially paralyzed through a childhood disease. Islamic directives to seek healing from Allah failed. Reading in the Koran that Jesus, unlike Mohammed, gave sight to the blind and wholeness to the lame, she began asking Jesus to be her healer. He became that, and more!

AUTOBIOGRAPHY - 1999 - 382p - 25 photos. Hudson and Winsome Southwell taught a dozen warring tribes in Malaysia's Sarawak province to live at peace. Suddenly World War II burst upon their idyllic jungle Eden. Separated 3 years in a Japanese prison, this plucky couple sought to ease the suffering of other prisoners. Even cruel prison guards began to mellow as God's love shone so clearly through the Southwells.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Temptation Redux

Yesterday hubby was walking my dog and doggy sat on a man's grass cause he was waiting for me. Man got nasty. The previous incident flashed before my eyes. The previous temptation also.

Wow! I don't think I passed this temptation redux with flying colors. I was still annoyed that someone was so nasty. I still had way too much anger at his rudeness. I still wanted to do something to put this guy in his place. Didn't do it, though. Kept remembering the present mess I'm in. So, sometimes it seems as if a temptation comes one's way again. It was very weird. In my case, I have to accept the fact that there are powerful rude people out there and I have no power..except the power of being silent and praying for them.

In other temptation news, I failed miserably in food issues. But am fasting today. Doing well so far...and let me tell you it's hard to fast when you haven't slept in four days. Everything in me just wants to eat. No real temptation about watching bad movies, though. I watch and listen to movies all day as I write. And I find that having a month without TV (except for Christian shows) has freed me somewhat. I avoid bloody true crime shows better. I have no desire to watch shows with murder and movies with adultery etc. So that's good. Plus -- strangely enough-- my dislike of Christian Television has grown, making me more selective. Those long long days of watching so much Christian TV only made me dislike the hype and the marketing technique of some and made me find some folks I really respect. I've also gotten very good at not saying negative self-deprecatory things that negative wit whispers in my ear. And am speaking a bit more positively -- speaking the Word and not canceling it out by some stupid comment.

I keep thinking of the Bible verse about returning to one's sin is like returning to one's vomit. A couple nights ago while trying to sleep a thought kept trying to return. It was a thought of an old boyfriend...and I suspect it had become a bit of a comfort for me when I couldn't sleep. I would think of him all rich and powerful and what it would've been like if I had married him. Now here is a case of God changing a person effortlessly. Try as I could to allow that thought to come back and fill my night with wistfulness the thought just couldn't take hold. It was as if the holy spirit was preventing it from taking my mind. Nice, uh? God DOES protect you from certain sins. And some of them...I guess we have to do the work ourselves.

Ah well... off to the novels. -C

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Committing to the vision

Okay, committment one: I HAVE got to drink my water every day, stick to my routine, and avoid grains. I was kinda sleeping because I was sitting out in the sun getting my vitamin D and avoiding the wrong stuff like processed foods, reading my Bible every day, etc. But then I slipped up and have been sleepless the past two nights. Yep, as the saying goes, I have returned to my own vomit. No one to blame but me. SO COMMIT!!!

Committment two: Hubby and I have prayed for a miraculous deliverance for young son. And yet we still allow him -- at age 18-- to come to our bed with his sweet but naked self in the morning. Okay, not good. A) hubby and I are usually naked too -- so what we have are three naked folks in bed. This is not the badlands of Africa! But most important if we think that God is gonna heal this kid we have to start expecting him to behave like a regular teenager and to stop allowing this kinda toddler behavior...especially if yours truly has not slept.

So I have got to try to get him not to come to our bed without hurting his sweet little feelings. After all these years, it'll be a surprise to his little feelings...but hey, a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do.

Besides, we need to do an action of faith. Faith does something. Faith without works is dead. If we really believe that God is going to deliver him, we should behave as if he is already normal. Aaargh, what a life! -C

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Counterphobic Networking

Okay, so I'm trying to figure out what the first chapter of Constant Tower will be. Prologue in the form of a quotation from the "annals" or regular chapter. And beause I would rather indulge in creative procrastination (in the garden or on the internet) I figured I'd go networking on this new networking site

Okay, networking is one of my counterphobic issues. I like networking but it scares me silly. I don't know why the heck I like networking. On a totally sweet level, I just like meeting folks. If they're like me...all the better. IF I can help them in anyway...all the better still.

When it comes to networking in person, you ought to see me. Like...let's say I'm at a convention. I am so dang friendly, flaky, and funny. And what do I do? I tend to go toward the people who look flaky and friendly. I also veer toward the folks who are the odd-people out. So in a Christian writers convention, I'm the one who goes ends up with the gay writers. Or I end up with the folks who look very shy and quiet. (Yeah, hubby is shy and quieet so I'm naturally drawn to the retiring types. Some weird thing in me wants to drag them out into the light.)

But this networking on the internet. A whole 'nother story! I find myself getting all nervous about how I'll be perceived. It kinda reminds me of a church I used to go to called St Mary's on the Green. Very rich church. Heck, I could name some of the folks in that place. The nickname for it was St Mary's on the golf course. Now, the problem was that with so many rich folks around there was always this assumption that people wanted to use other folks for money, status, power, employment, etc. So I always made sure that if I realized I was talking to say the steward of the Rockefeller foundation or the head of Nestle America, that I would suddenly disappear from site and never speak to that person again. Hey, I was black (still am) and the church was 99% white. And unlike the other black persons I was not rich or powerful.

So there I am on this new networking ring. Mostly white folks, mostly Europeans. They don't know me from Adam. (Which, ya know, may be a good thing...cause those who know me either like me very much or they want to wring my neck.)

So I'm going through the member list checking on members and deciding who to attempt to befriend. So I end up with my little networking filter. My first filter is that I find myself avoiding anyone who has an anime picture up instead of their picture. Why? Lord knows. Then I find myself avoiding anyone who is an editor or agent or big-time reporter. Why? Cause I don't want this "important" person thinking I'm trying to use them. Then I avoid any guy who is especially cute because I simply do not want him thinking I'm hitting up on him. Then I avoid anyone who is averse to Christianity or who might seem averse to minorities. (Honestly, I'm nice and I'd probably like them but they might not like me for prejudiced reasons, so why stress myself by adding them as a friend when they would only reject me.) Then I avoided anyone who was too young. Why? I mean... I have a lot of young friends online. Can't figure that out.

All this extreme insane behavior, of course, comes from me always being the "only" -- the only black among whites, the only Christian among atheists or new agers. And so in some very interesting way my online life reflects my real life. (You ought to see me at McDonnell family gatherings. Sure hubby and I are madly in love with each other and have been married for 24 years and sure everyone in the family knows me by now...but what do I do? Sit down and cower in the back until some flakier shyer member of the family appears.)

Anyway, what with all that filtering, I did manage to brave it and send out some "add as friend" requests. My big brave deed of the day.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

the tao of belief

I have always been one who liked seeing the similarities among religions...and how similar Christianity is and yet how subtly it stands out. Anyway, someone asked me, "But could you believe in hell? I gave up on Christianity because I just think the entire idea of hell is a monstrous idea. God wouldn't do that."

I wanted to say to her, "What a fool you are! Even if I didn't believe in Christianity I would believe in hell. Most religions have a place people simply do not wish to go. Many Buddhist sects for instance believe in a hell. Islam has a hell. Folklore religions have hells. The ancient Greeks had a hell."

Honestly, some people! They think they are being so deep but they don't seem to realize that they're showing their own lack of knowledge about religions in general and Christianity in particular.

The book Eternity in their Hearts by a missionary shows how very like folklore, myth, and legend Christianity actually is.

dreams, visions, and strange events -- the courtcase edition

Will be gone for the latter half of the day. Today is the last court date for my glue incident. ::rolling eyes:: Well, I've learned my lesson. Am gonna learn what my fine will be. I actually had to forgive this person and really had to get rid of the hatred I had in my heart against him.

Something interesting happened this morning. Every morning the alarm comes on to an easy listening station. I generally put on a religious tape or I put the radio on to a white rap/rock station with white DJ's. Those are my two favorite stations but the easy listening station is pretty civilized and does local Hudson valley news and school closings but they have a horoscope thingey every morning so I try to turn the radio to another channel before the horoscope comes on. The white rap/rock station on the other hand is a bit raunchy and is funny as heck and has a list of gossip of the day and I try not to listen to the gossip because I just think it's meanspirited to talk about people even if they are famous and being stupid. So there's a lot of avoidng with these two stations. So I switch between both of them a lot.

But this morning for some reason I put it on to a black rap station with black DJ's and black humor. I don't listen to this station a lot because although I like rap I don't like a lot of the hard core rap. But I do like the humor. This morning they were talking about one of the DJ's and how he would suffer as a kid sitting in the bathtub with his rubber duck as his dad went to the bathroom. Yeah, i know...Carole has no problem with scatological humor.

Anyway, I haven't listened to this station in a while. This morning for some reason I turn it on. Then I say to myself, "well this is weird. I must be going to listen to this for some weird reason. Maybe God wants me to listen." So I wait in faith. What do I hear? A news program stating that black nurses in NYC sometimes make as much as $20,000 less than their white counterparts and that they rarely are made supervisors. WOULD YOU BELIEVE MY MOTHER, Louise Stewart, WAS IN A TWELVE YEAR LAWSUIT WITH THE HEALTH AND HOSPITAL CORPORATIONS IN NYCE OVER THIS? And she lost the case????? I thought, "This is interesting that I should hear it. My mother lost the case and is in heaven so why?"

Yet, I think this falls into the dreams, visions, and strange events category because it made me think my mother had led me to the station so I knew she was alright. And also that this reminded me of her courtcase -- which she lost-- on the same day I am going to court against the evil neighbor. I just felt it all made sense in an interesting way...and that God was using that to say he was with me. And that the world has its way of doing things but truth will out. I guess what I'm saying is that it just made me feel connected.


My sheep hear my voice

John 10:27-30
My sheep hear my voice. (v.27)

Our close-knit church is home to families with small children. During service, it’s not unusual for sleeping babies to be put in a small cradle in the back of the church. Recently a baby girl awoke, interrupting the pastor’s sermon with a terrified scream. She had found herself in the cradle, unable to see her mother. Her mother called out, “I’m here.” A smile came to the baby’s face as she recognized her mother’s voice.

Jesus calls himself “a Good Shepherd” and calls his people “sheep.” I found out recently that sheep are very stubborn. Unlike cats or dogs who might respond to whoever speaks their name, sheep usually respond only to their shepherd’s special call.

The world is full of different voices calling out to us. These voices may speak with authority or may seem to speak God’s truth. But Jesus reassures us that if we stay close to him through studying his word, we will learn how to recognize his special loving voice.

Good Shepherd, help me to always recognize your voice. Amen.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Being Fat and Black

One of the wonderful things I remember about arriving in the United States was being led into Mama’s apartment in that newly-integrated racist building. The table was full of food, food! A lemon cake with lemon icing and lemon ice cream, among other things. We scanned the room, my sister and I, registered the faces of these happy strangers, all overflowing with love and joy at our arrival. Such sweet food. Such sweet people. That was one of my happiest memories. But it wouldn’t last long. My mother was a single mother, deathly afraid of disease and of harm coming to her children should they leave the moral path. She would whip us when we strayed, but because of her my sister and I are overachievers of the highest order.

Much of my overeating occurs when I feel overwhelmed with a dread of powerlessness against disease and powerful humans, of isolation from those who love me, and from a pressing self-loathing, and from a silencing where I feel the urge to deny or avoid certain disagreements, issues, or people.

I recently saw a news show on television. The news anchor was saying that obesity is rampant in America, especially among black women. He pretty much hinted that black women were gluttonous and would die sooner than "their white counterparts." White counterparts? The nearest thing to a counterpart of fat black women is a fat white woman. Of course the newscaster filled me with so much dread about my upcoming early demise, made me feel isolated and rejected by society, and gave me such a feeling of being morally wrong that only food could push the grief down. But it is strange how the personal family issues have melded into the cultural ones, that I now I feel powerless and unloved in the world.

Three major life events contributed and still continue to contribute to my need to comfort myself with food. They too, are connected with rejection, futility, and isolation. The first was my marriage to my husband. A good and sweet man, he is nevertheless ineffectual and when I realized that I would have to spend my life with someone who had a complacency streak and who was not a fighter, despair overwhelmed me. It did not help matters that when his mother called on the day of our elopement he told her we had not married although we had just returned from our wedding. Later, behind my back, he succumbed to the sales pitch of the realtor and bought a handyman’s special that we have never been able to fix, I became sick as soon as I entered the house – which I still live in-- and developed what later was diagnosed as fibromyalgia. Then our second son was born and was diagnosed with autism. This only added to my feelings of grief and of a life gone wrong. It also isolated me from others who tended to judge me for both the fibromyalgia and the autism

These are the reasons I overeat. Cultural pontificators are always hammering against the so-called immorality of obesity and they often leave me feeling battered. The terrified, unapproved, isolated, and unloved child now lives in the Age of Information which breeds a communal and universal rejection. The American media is so pervasive and it is often seen as a dispenser of universal "truths." But these are false truths, and the "fact" that black women are so morbidly dangerously overweight is seen as simple reportage about a simple moral issue instead of the complicated problem it is. When some pontificating health nut talks about the fat person’s need to worry about cancer and diabetes, I not only fall into my mother’s alarmist fear of disease but I feel downright unsightly and immoral and the only solution to quelling the rising despair inside is to eat.

We Americans have become survivalists of the highest most fearful order, hunkered down in our own mental bunkers. And my childhood attempts at survival and self-comfort have mingled together seamlessly into a psychological condition where I become completely stressed when I stand hiding my face in front of a bathroom mirror or when I walk, eyes down, past a storefront’s glass door.

When I was younger, Eileen – a white fellow student in Midwood High School made my life miserable bu telling me I had a mumba butt. And mumba lips. Mumba everything in fact. A couple of months ago I was speaking to my friend, Mrs Sales. Like me, she’s dark, but her classmates were primarily black. She had seen a TV show about skin color and without a moment’s warning she started crying. She said, "I never realized that thing was still with me. But I remembered being at the prom and all the guys going over to the light skin girls and no one asking me to dance."

I have friends of all colors, sizes, shapes, opinions who love me. And yet, this societal mirror thing... I just don’t want to know what strangers see when they see me. Strangers don’t know that I’m an educated black woman who fascinate and entertain her many friends. When they see me, I suspect they see a fat uneducated black woman from the ghetto. Of course this shouldn’t bother me, because these strangers are not directly involved in my life. After all, the opinions of the rich and the white and the powerful shouldn’t matter even though they rule society’s ideas.

C.S. Lewis said that grief felt like a physical pain, a pressure on the lower chest. I feel this pressure whenever a mirror or a door is nearby. I should be able to look at myself. I should not feel this bereftness, this powerlessness, this isolation. I should not walk around as if my body is a shaming accusation of how unwhite and thus how unright, ungood, unlovely I am. The old and present racial accusations should not still be shaming me. I feel that my life is an eternal loss, because I was once so beautiful but now I’ve grown even fatter. I do so many other things well. I know the truth behind what I feel. I know that God has made me wonderfully. And yet I cannot grasp it. I don’t remember this truth when I pass mirrors and doors. I keep hiding myself. It boggles the mind.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Demon Possessed boy Part II

Still thinking of the father of the demon-possessed boy. We don't know how old his son was but let's say the boy was about 18. Jesus asked how long the boy was sick. The man said since he was a child. The man had to endure past all the old memories, past all the theologians who were more concerned with their spiritual rightness, past kind-hearted would-be healers that failed.

I think of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' garment. She had to keep enduring even past her own self-loathing, past the rejection of her own God who in her own religion called her unclean. She had to endure being poor. She had forgotten what it was like to be well.

The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong. God's grace is perfected in weakness. The Gospel is preached to the poor and to the lowly. Someone who once knew what a glorious life was can always remember what life was like. So he can aim for that old life again. But the man with the demon-possessed boy could not remember his boy ever being well. He had to endure past that unseen, past that trust God. It's easy to endure and believe and run the race when you have some inkling of what the answered prayer might look like (because you have some experience of it) But to endure when you don't know what your healed boy would look like....well, that is endurance. -C

Sunday, July 06, 2008


Well, younger son has been so sick lately and had shown some weird new terrifying symptoms. All week I was just so downcast. The child seemed totally unable to breathe. And he was just crying and whinging and just in torment. All week I was in despair and couldn't eat or think.

But then I decided to fight! Hubby and I went on a fast for two days -- not eating between 10 and 4-- and then we went into soaking prayer and command mode. I determined I was only going to confess God's word no matter what. I told the wheezing and constricting in his throat it had better stop because he was healed. I gave him his spiritual medicine as well as his earthly medicine and I told that sinusitis and congestion and whooping it had been destroyed 2000 years ago and it should get its hand off my son because the devil is a liar. I commanded the sinusitis to go and never to return. I used the sword of the spirit and blasted away at all those attacking illnesses. I cursed them in the roots, seeds, leaves, in the name of Jesus. I directed my anger toward the devil and the illness and not toward my life and didn't turn the anger into despair. The first morning after the prayer we saw only a little improvement. But today!!!! YAY!!!! The child is doing sooo well.

I know God's healing power is working mightily in Gabe. Now what I have to do is to commit to speaking only of the theological truth and of not speaking the pathological truth. I must walk by faith and not by sight or senses. I also have got to commit to keeping the child off grains. And I must commit to praising God and not whining or despairing. Hab 3:17-18. No matter what I must joy in God. Joy, faith, hope, and love...and speaking God's truth is what is helping us overcome.

Have a blessed day. -C

Answered verse by verse -- two books I really love

The Bible says to study to show ourselves approved. These are two books every church person should have. These are two books every church group should study when they study cults.

Jehovah's Witnesses Answered Verse by Verse
David A Reed
Publisher: Baker Book House
Publication Date: 1997, c1986.

Here's the blurb from

Jehovah's Witnesses Answered: Verse By Verse not only includes contested verses but also gives background to why Jehovah's Witnesses believe what they do. Additional information is also given about the Bible translation that Jehovah's Witnesses use. This section provides a greater context and explains how certain verses that seem so harmless can be understood by Jehovah's Witnesses in a completely different way.

Table of Contents
What Jehovah's Witnesses Believe
The Bible That Jehovah's Witnesses Use
Verse-by-Verse Answers for JWs - Old Testament
Verse-by-Verse Answers for JWs - New Testament
A Capsule History of Jehovah's Witnesses
Techniques for Sharing the Gospel with Jehovah's Witnesses
The Author's Testimony
About the Author
This resource's final chapter, entitled "The Author's Testimony", follows David Reed's journey from agnosticism to zealous Jehovah's Witness and finally to Bible-believing Christian. This story will undoubtedly aid the reader during conversations with Jehovah's Witnesses by giving a first-hand account of why he left the Watchtower for Christianity. David A. Reed has authored several other works on Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons including Answering Jehovah's Witnesses Subject by Subject, Jehovah's Witness Literature, and How to Rescue Your Loved One from the Watch Tower .

Here's the blurb from

Mormons Answered Verse by Verse
David A Reed
John R Farkas
Publisher: Baker Book House
Publication Date: 1997, c1992.

This resource starts with a synopsis of what the Mormon Church teaches and then moves into a subject-by-subject listing of Mormon beliefs on issues such as heaven, marriage, salvation, and women.

However, the majority of the book is dedicated to controversial verses that are incorrectly interpreted by Mormons. The electronic version of this resource is extremely beneficial as any reference to Scripture can be read in your preferred translation with only one click of your mouse.

Table of Contents

A Capsule history of Mormonism
What the Mormon Church Teaches
Mormon Scripture
Verse-by-Verse Answers for Mormons: Old Testament
Verse-by-Verse Answers for Mormons: New Testament
Verse-by-Verse Answers for Mormons: Book of Mormon
Some Techniques for Sharing the Gospel with Mormons
Testimonies of the Authors
About the Authors
John R. Farkas is a former Mormon and has co-authored other works such as How to Rescue Your Loved One from Mormonism and Mormonism: Changes, Contradictions, and Errors.

David A. Reed is a former Jehovah's Witness and has authored other witnessing tools such as How to Rescue Your Loved One from the Watch Tower, Index of Watch Tower Errors and Jehovah's Witnesses: Answered Verse by Verse.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

the demon-possessed boy

This morning I got up and was thinking about Mark 9:14 again.

Because of my post on translations and interpretations in which I mentioned the following:


Consider Mark 9:23:
In Mark 9:22, the father of the demon-possessed epileptic boy says, "If you can do anything, have compassion and help us."

King James Version: If you can believe all things are possible to him that believeth.

Young's Literal Translation (printed in 1898):"If thou art able to believe! all things are possible to the one who is believing."

The New International Version: "'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."

The International Children's Version: "Jesus said to the boy's father, "You said, 'If you can!" All things are possible for him who believes."

The Contemporary English Version: "Why do you say 'if you can'? Anything is possible for someone who has faith."

The New Revised Standard: "If you are able! --All things can be done by the one who believes."

See how subtle the difference in these translations are. If one goes only with the King James Version, you'll end up thinking Jesus is telling the father that the father has no faith and as one televangelist -- whom I highly respect (but who in this case is way wrong) says-- Jesus is putting the responsibility back on the father. Not true in the other versions. In the other versions, Jesus is reassuring the man that anything is possible and that of course he -- Jesus-- can do anything.

I'd say that pretty much all the versions blame the ministering disciples for not having faith, but many ministers use the KJV and because they don't want to put the blame on ministers (themselves) they all manage to make sermons about the man's lack of faith. But as is clearly seen in the non-KJV versions, Jesus isn't blaming the father at all. Jesus puts the onus of healing on the disciples and ministers of the church

I figured I'd just go checking out the story again and see what all I could find.

When the story begins, Jesus is descending the mount of transfiguration with his three favorite disciples. The disciples have seen Moses and Elijah talking to Jesus about his future death and resurrection. They have asked him, "Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"

Jesus tells them that Elijah has come but the scribes did all sorts of stupid thing to him. Jesus says this although Elijah was just speaking to him, and although he has also said that John the Baptist had the spirit of Elijah. Am not gonna ask why the disciples didn't recognize John the Baptist in the same spirit of John the Baptist.

Anyway, Jesus and the three inner-circle disciples descend and what do they see? Those self-same scribes. And there's a hub-bub. A crowd has gathered around the other 9 disciples. There's a great big hub-bub and the scribes and the disciples are having a big heated discussion. Jesus asks, "What are you all arguing about?"

Then a man comes up with a demon-possessed disabled son and says, "I brought my son to your disciples and they could not cast him out."

At the end, the disciples ask Jesus "PRIVATELY" Why couldn't we cast him out? Privately, mind you. Because they don't want to deal with the scribes' theology and their human pride can't deal with being told something else in public. I mean, "Jesus has already told them: "You perverts, you faithless people! How long will I have to put up with people like you? How long will I have to tolerate you!" So the disciples don't seem to mind Jesus losing his patience with them in public but they really want to know why they couldn't cast this spirit out.

After all, it's not as if these disciples don't know how to cast demons out. They have been casting out demons for a while now. But there's something about this spirit -- maybe the way the demon acted up and made such a show of things-- that flustered them and made them lose their boldness, even though they have authority.

Jesus tells them, "This kind doesn't come out except through prayer." Some manuscripts say, "Because of your unbelief. This kind doesn't come out except through fasting and prayer."

Now, that's understandable. Although Jesus' name is above all names, and all demons and all things must bow to that name. There's something about fasting and prayer that helps us get the boldness to go up against what our eyes see. Our faith just kinda falters when we see how big and complicated the mountain is. So we need to fast and pray to tell the flesh that it's spirit that rules.

But back to my original question: "What were the scribes arguing with the disciples about?"

This is just human reasoning on my part but I suspect these scribes were saying something like, "If you are healers as you say you are, you should be able to do it. Therefore you are false prophets. And your leader is a false prophet. I suspect there was a great deal of theology and Bible-verses flying over the heads of the people. And the poor father of the sick child was losing all faith. Nothing more stressing to one's faith than listening to religious theologians -- and that's what the scribes were-- telling people that they should not seek healing because these healers who are supposed followers of Jesus are just deluded.

People with a particular theological mindset or "agenda" often can be cold. Trust me: This is something I know from experience. I remember a typical day, my son in a lot of pain and crying and I just falling apart at his pain. A Christian friend walks by. We get to talking then in the middle of the discussion I say something like...I'll just ask God for a miracle. What does the lady say, "Well, you know the days of miracles are past." Now, honestly, even if she believes that...why is she saying that? What does she mean to give me by saying that? Isn't that just a case of someone "having to say her opinion" and totally ignoring a parent's pain? Charismatics and those who believe in healing are just as bad. A Catholic priest once said -- this while younger son was screaming in obvious pain-- "Accept this as your cross." (Uh, my cross? I can accept my cross. But I can't accept the cross of someone else's pain. But it was the easy thing for him to quickly bounce to a platitude.) Or a charismatic who will say, "Well, you just don't have the right kind of belief...that's why your son isn't healed. Or you haven't forgiven everyone." And of course atheists also have their agendas. My atheist mother-in-law once said to me, "And if there's a god, why should he care about your little problems?" See.... that's the way it is with we humans. We love our agendas and our theologies more than we love people and more than we are willing to understand people's pain.

But what also is stressing about the entire situation is that the scribes probably affected the disciples' faith. The demonic spirit not only shook them by not being able to leave. But now the scribes have come up and said basically, "if your leader was really the one who was to come...elijah would have returned by now. AND you would've been able to do a miracle."

No wonder the disciples asked Jesus privately, "Why couldn't we cast the spirit out?" They needed to know why in this particular instance the spirit wouldn't leave. And why this particular spirit would not leave.

But the other thing that was going on was the personal family drama. The father of the boy was all too aware of the boy's illness. I suspect that parents of terminally or incurably ill young children especially are affected by this story. They know all too well what the word "impossible" means. They would be willing even to see the boy cured in anyway possible. Anyway possible, any little thing. The father of the boy had a long catalog of griefs but what do the theology-minded scribes care about: their own theological statements. Not the pain of the man. Luckily Jesus came with all his heart and hope and cut to the core of the issue: understanding the pain of a parent. If you've lived as long as I have and encountered some of the "religious" people who are hell-bent on you accepting their theological notions instead of opening their heart to the present need...of the sick child....well, you know what I mean.

Upshot: if you are trying to heal someone, do not allow other folks to argue with you with their theology. It's between you and God and God's words. Not what the doubting theologians say. The thing is to remember that although one thinks one is arguing against them, one is really in some ways being affected by their lack of faith. God is able to do more than we are able to ask or think and at the same time as a man thinks in his heart so is he. So it's an odd precarious balance. If we come at God with a theology and a system of beliefs instead of a personal trusting love, we are thinking in our hearts that our prayers get answered if we follow the rules. We leave out the relationship or we make Jesus' heart secondary to the theology of healing that we were taught. On the other hand, God is only pleased with faith. So we really must try to believe. This story -- and other of the healing stories-- show that balance often. The woman with the issue of blood was healed totally by trusting in the theology of "touching the hem of his garment." Malachi had said the Son of Righteousness would come with healing in his wings (another word for fringe of the prayer garment) and she believed Malachi but did not know Jesus. The man at the pool of Bethesda, however, was someone who simply wanted to be healed. He wasn't looking to Jesus. He was looking to a superstition (or demonic deception) to heal him but he wasn't thinking of Jesus. In his case, Jesus took the initiative and healed him. Same thing with the widow's only (dead) son. God's initiative. No faith as far as we know was involved, only the mercy and compassion of God. So it's a balance. We must have faith but if we get too caught up with being theologically right, we forget how loving and compassionate Jesus is. And, conversely, if we are totally caught up with how compassionate Jesus is, we might not do our part of believing, commanding, and challenging the illness.

Interpretations and Translations

I so wish people would consider using two or three Bibles in their Bible studies. Why? Because the translation and interpretation of certain words can totally change the idea behind a Bible verse.

Take one of the most famous:
The Kingdom of heaven is at hand
The kingdom of heaven is near.

No, depending on one's minister and one's denomination, one either has been trained to believe that "at hand" and "near" means either A) "is coming soon" or "is right here." A whole lotta difference going on there.

Do we try to save a lost person by saying, "The kingdom of heaven is coming soon" or do we try to save a lost person by saying "The kingdom of heaven is right here beside you." ?????

Or consider a verse like "The light shineth in darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it." If a minister doesn't understand that the old Elizabethan meaning of the word "Comprehend" means "overcome" (and not "understand) then his parishioners end up with a very good -- perhaps great-- sermon on not understanding the Scripture. But even so, the real text means something differently....and modern translations of the Bible will show it differently.


Consider Mark 9:23:
In Mark 9:22, the father of the demon-possessed epileptic boy says, "If you can do anything, have compassion and help us."

King James Version: If you can believe all things are possible to him that believeth.

Young's Literal Translation (printed in 1898):"If thou art able to believe! all things are possible to the one who is believing."

The New International Version: "'If you can'?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for him who believes."

The International Children's Version: "Jesus said to the boy's father, "You said, 'If you can!" All things are possible for him who believes."

The Contemporary English Version: "Why do you say 'if you can'? Anything is possible for someone who has faith."

The New Revised Standard: "If you are able! --All things can be done by the one who believes."

See how subtle the difference in these translations are. If one goes only with the King James Version, you'll end up thinking Jesus is telling the father that the father has no faith and as one televangelist -- whom I highly respect (but who in this case is way wrong) says-- Jesus is putting the responsibility back on the father. Not true in the other versions. In the other versions, Jesus is reassuring the man that anything is possible and that of course he -- Jesus-- can do anything.

I'd say that pretty much all the versions blame the ministering disciples for not having faith, but many ministers use the KJV and because they don't want to put the blame on ministers (themselves) they all manage to make sermons about the man's lack of faith. But as is clearly seen in the non-KJV versions, Jesus isn't blaming the father at all. Jesus puts the onus of healing on the disciples and ministers of the church


This happens in so many places. Consider the KJV version uses the word "chamberlain" for Potiphar (the guy who was married to the woman who tried to seduce Joseph.) Who nowadays know what a chamberlain is? But other translations use the word "eunuch." So then we know Potiphar's wife wasn't merely a loose woman. She was married to a castrated guy.

Consider the Ishmael playing with Isaac story. Sarah saw Ishmael "mocking" Isaac. The hebrew word translated "mocking" could just as easily "playing with" or "playfully teasing." One translation makes Ishmael a lowlife bitter kid. This translation shows that Sarah is upset at the friendship between the boys (cause one is the son of a slave)

Consider Jephthah's daughter. Every year the daughters of Israel went up to "mourn for" Jephthah's daughter. The same would could also mean "talk with and comfort." Depending on which translation, you either think that Jephthah followed the customs of the heathen and killed his daughter. Or Jephthah made his daughter a living sacrifice. (Like Esther.)

When Lot and his family fled the sulfur-burned cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, Lot's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. Many people have questioned this verse and tried to explain it. Some say that she actually, literally turned into a pillar of salt. Some say she was covered up with sulfuric salts. Some say she was radiated and burned and her remains were salt. Those who know ancient middle eastern slang, know that the phrase "to be turned to a pillar of salt" is a middle eastern slang which means something like our "petrified." (We use the word "petrified" to mean shocked or afraid. But it literally means "turned to stone.") In that case, Lot's wife might simply have died of fright. Some people will fight you to the death to defend their idea that God purposely set out to do a very destructive personal punishment of Mrs Lot.

In one of Paul’s letters, (Gal 6:11) he writes, “look what large letters I write when I write with my own hand.” The problem here is with the words “large letters.” The reader in English should be aware that there are two possible meanings: Paul could mean large handwriting or a missive that takes many pages. Considering the forged letter the Thessalonians had received stating that the world had ended, it might be a good idea for Paul to remind people of how big his handwriting is. But…considering (also) that when a person dictates a letter he is often less chatty than when he actually writes it himself, the phrase could also refer to the length of the letter. However, this small gnat has created the camel of Paul’s supposed blindness. This assumption comes about for many reasons. The first is that English Bible readers are assuming that “large letters” refers to Paul’s handwriting. A study of the Greek will show that the word he used for large referred to the quantity of the words and not the size of the handwriting. But those who believe that Paul had eye problems will turn to another phrase in which Paul states that when he had first met the Galatians, he was sick and “if it were possible, the believers would have given him their very eyes.”
Forgetting that the phrase could be a slang term which might mean something near to our slang term “she would give her right arm for me,” those who have swallowed the camel of Paul’s long-term sickness say that Paul says he was sick with some eye-trouble

Another Example:

Hebrew word “ruach” can mean “wind,” “spirit,” or “breath.” When a translator sees “ruach,” he has to decide which word best translates its meaning. For instance, Genesis 1, declares, “And the ruach of God moved over the waters.” Is Moses describing the wind, God's spirit, or God’s breath? This is not a problem that is peculiar to Hebrew. No doubt, the English word “spirit” creates a similar problem with foreign translators.
The name “Adam” means “man,” “soil” and “red.” As one looks closer, one can see how these names are related. The first man came from the soil and his skin was colored red like the soil. Translators can choose to translate Adam as a personal name or as a generic term for humanity.

Slang and idioms are even harder to translate. When Jesus' mother told him to do something about the wine shortage at a wedding reception, he answered her with an idiom. The King James translates his answer as, "Woman, what do I have to do with you?" This is a literal translation. But the actually meaning of the very friendly phrase is something like, "Woman, what is that to you and me?" A speaker of Aramaic with a knowledge of Hebrew words and speaking styles would readily understand that Jesus was being friendly to his mother and agreeing to do whatever she asked, but the view of a modern Christian depends on the translation read. Some wonderful sermons have been written and spoken about why Jesus harshly dismissed his mother and other equally wonderful sermons have been written about the opposite - about Jesus being friendly to his mother. No doubt God uses all these sermons, but a speaker of Aramaic and a student of Middle Eastern linguistics would know what Jesus actually said and actually meant.

Here is another example. Remember the phrase, "The Love of Money is the root of all evil." (1 Ti 6:10) The Greek word hubergrubion means “covetousness” and is made up of two root words which mean "love of” and “money.” Placed together, these two words mean “covetousness.” The KJV translators, however, broke down the word into its technical meaning and translated it by its components: “the love of money.” Hence, "covetousness" becomes quite literally "the love of money." A better translation would read “Covetousness is the root of all evil.” Not convinced? Think what would happen if someone translated strawberry as "berries of straw” or if the word “wholesale” were broken down into “whole” and “sale.”
Other examples include modern people understanding the angel’s phrase “there shall be time no longer” as meaning “time will no longer exist.” The phrase actually means, “there shall be no more delay because the prophecy is about to come true.” This misunderstanding is based on not knowing Elizabethan English. Consider how many people think “world without end” means “the world won’t end” when it really means “forever.” Another kind of misreading occurs when someone simply ignores what is written and assumes something else is meant


Roman Catholics think of the verse in Revelation of the woman clothed in the sun who gave birth to a Son destined to rule all nations as representing the Virgin Mary. (They connected her to the Ishtar/Isis tradition) But it obviously -to non-Catholics anyway-- represents Israel and the amount of persecution Israel would suffer at the hands of the devil (using Christians too, I might add) because Israel gave birth to the Messiah.

The trouble is that many Christians are so addicted to believing what their denominations think that they won't re-think the meaning of a passage if that passage differs from the King James Version. A case of intense idolatry.

To better comprehend how misunderstandings can occur, let’s consider how a non-English speaker four hundred years in the future might react to the question, "What's up?"
He might assume the speaker is asking, "What is up?" Or he might think the speaker is asking the meaning of the word ‘up.’ Or he might translate it rightly as "What is happening?" The translated meaning will depend on the skill, education, and insights of the translator. Translating is both a skill and an art. In addition, all languages have words which have more than one meaning. A translator often has to make an educated choice. That choice can change the outcome and meaning of a Bible story. Different translations can cause differing interpretations. Sometimes a translator’s choice of a single word, yoked together with ignorance of Biblical Culture or human prejudices, can cause differing interpretations.

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