Monday, March 30, 2009

Pit Bulls Should be Banned

I am a huge animal lover. Huge. Anyone who knows me knows my soft heart for any and all animals. However, after a recent experience with a dog breed, the Pit Bull, I am now a top advocate for the banning of this breed of dog.

Have you ever listened to the news regarding a dog mauling/biting and heard dog breeds such as Golden Retreiver or Poodle as the culprit? How many times have you heard Pit Bull? Is there ever any *good* news regarding this breed? Quite often you'll hear owners, after their dog bites or attacks say things like "He was such a good dog and I never had any problems with him until now." Or, "There were never any signs of aggression until today." It seems that this breed can and does too easily and quickly cross the line into dangerous territory. So-called "good" dogs of this breed go bad very quickly, and the results are quite often life-threatening. And many, not-so-responsible owners actually encourage the aggressive and territorial behavior that is innate to this breed.

What is the fascination with this dog? I am sure that most Pit Bull owners would say that this breed should be taken on a "case by case basis" and that "most" Pit Bulls are nice/fine dogs. Why would anyone want to mess with an animal who has fighting and attacking bred into their nature? These dogs were selected and bred specifically for fighting. Can this really be taken out of the dog?

My case in point is my own personal encounter with this animal last week. Last Thursday here in Western Washington brought an afternoon of nice, warm, sunny weather. It was one of those perfect cool, yet clear spring days that we can get here. Perfect for going for a nice jog, which I did.

I was running on the sidewalk past my neighbor's house a few blocks up and over when charging out of their front yard, completely unrestrained came this Pit Bull. He was in the front yard with two women and a small child, completely unchained/unleashed. He came running towards me and as he did one of the women came running after him shouting "Fluffy (or whatever his name is) stop! Come back!" (As though yelling at a chargin dog of any breed ever works.) Startled, I did not know whether to stop myself, and so I kept running. "Fluffy" clearly thinking this was a game of some sort continued to run after me, jumped up on me and promptly sank his teeth into my back left thigh.

The woman, by now, had caught up with us and dragged "Fluffy" off of me and back up to the yard. I stopped, turned around and said, "Your dog just bit me." The woman, unresponsive, continued to drag the dog back to her yard. I said, again, "Your dog just bit me." As I walked up to the front of the house, I was met with blank stares from both women. They put the dog into the house and I asked "has he had rabies shots?" One of the women finally said, "He's not my dog, he's my boyfriends." I repeated the question adding one about insurance. Both women, kind of looked at me and then one got on the phone to call her boyfriend.

The boyfriend, whom I spoke with, also claimed to have the dog updated on his shots, but neither he nor his girlfriend could produce paperwork. To which I said I would return to look at the next day. After hanging up with him, his girlfriend asked me if I was bleeding. I replied, "I am not pulling my pants down on your front yard to look!" I said I would return the next day to get the rabies information.

I walked the few blocks home, looked, and sure enough, blood. I had my housemate take a few pictures and then knew I needed to let authorities know. I called Animal Control and then the Health Department and then my father to find out if he thought I should go to the ER, which is when I finally lost it. The realization that I had just been bit by a dog, finally hit me and I wept.

I returned to the home I had been bitten at to show them the digital pictures, I think mostly because I was so shocked at their lack of concern for what had happened. Both women acted like it was no big deal that I had been bitten. I showed them the pictures and one of the women had the audacity to say "I don't think he bit you, I think it was just his nails...they're really sharp."

I did end up going to the ER (rather Urgent Care which is a step down from the ER) and then called the non-emergency police nuber to file a report. My Urgent Care visit provided me a tetanus shot and some antibiotics.

I ended up talking to the Animal Control Officer the next day who was equally as shocked that the owners did not seem to recognize the seriousness of what had happened. She said most owners when dogs bite go out of their way to help the person who got bit, no accusing them of lying.

At any rate, this dog is now on record having bitten someone, will be suject to quarantine for ten days to ensure it does not have rabies, and the owners are being cited for not having their dog on a leash.

As for me, I am fine. A little sore, but more convinced than ever that this breed is NOT one we should allow people to have, especially owners like these who do not seem to understand the breed that they have and its ability to cross the line from playing to attacking so quickly and easily.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I Quit the American Church

I read an article here: that talks about the possible and probable collapse of the American Evangelical Church. I thought the article, written by a Christian for a Christian publication, was well-thought and quite likely, accurate. I highly encourage everyone to go and read the full article.

The American church, as we know it, it is losing a battle. If statistics are correct (and believe, me, I know they can be manipulated), the number of folks attending church is shrinking at a rapid pace. We are not winning new people to Christ, or those that are being converted are rejecting the notion of church as it is now.

I think it would be easy to blame cultural influences (standing on the outside of the world and judging it) or to say we need to look MORE like the culture (compromising and being more of the world than just simply in the world). I say, we need a radical re-thinking of what it means to be an American Christian. Please note that we are Christians first and Americans second. Christianity does not need to be defined by our nationality, our nationality needs to be defined by our Christianity. We need to separate our culture from our relationship with the Lord and see it with fresh eyes, going to the Bible for fresh revelation about what being a follower of Christ looks like.

There is so much wrong, wrong, wrong with the church at large, that it is hard to even know where to begin with a dialogue about the whole thing. However, let's just say that the American view that life is all about ME ME ME has permeated our churches. The American dream that says we have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is just a bit "off" in my book. Those things are good, but not the BEST.....have those as rights, but not as the PURPOSE of life. Look up the terms "secular humanism" or "religious humanism" or even "humanism" and think about your own much of our lives, including our involvement in church, is about what "I need" or "I want" and not about what the Lord wants, needs or thinks?

The end of the article has some really interesting things to say about what might come out of this "collapse." I think there are some real gems here, so I close with the end of the article:

Evangelicalism doesn't need a bailout. Much of it needs a funeral. But what about what remains?

Is it a good thing that denominations are going to become largely irrelevant? Only if the networks that replace them are able to marshal resources, training, and vision to the mission field and into the planting and equipping of churches.

Is it a good thing that many marginal believers will depart? Possibly, if churches begin and continue the work of renewing serious church membership. We must change the conversation from the maintenance of traditional churches to developing new and culturally appropriate ones.

The ascendency of Charismatic-Pentecostal-influenced worship around the world can be a major positive for the evangelical movement if reformation can reach those churches and if it is joined with the calling, training, and mentoring of leaders. If American churches come under more of the influence of the movement of the Holy Spirit in Africa and Asia, this will be a good thing.

Will the evangelicalizing of Catholic and Orthodox communions be a good development? One can hope for greater unity and appreciation, but the history of these developments seems to be much more about a renewed vigor to "evangelize" Protestantism in the name of unity.

Will the coming collapse get Evangelicals past the pragmatism and shallowness that has brought about the loss of substance and power? Probably not. The purveyors of the evangelical circus will be in fine form, selling their wares as the promised solution to every church's problems. I expect the landscape of megachurch vacuity to be around for a very long time.

Will it shake lose the prosperity Gospel from its parasitical place on the evangelical body of Christ? Evidence from similar periods is not encouraging. American Christians seldom seem to be able to separate their theology from an overall idea of personal affluence and success.

The loss of their political clout may impel many Evangelicals to reconsider the wisdom of trying to create a "godly society." That doesn't mean they'll focus solely on saving souls, but the increasing concern will be how to keep secularism out of church, not stop it altogether. The integrity of the church as a countercultural movement with a message of "empire subversion" will increasingly replace a message of cultural and political entitlement.

Despite all of these challenges, it is impossible not to be hopeful. As one commenter has already said, "Christianity loves a crumbling empire."

We can rejoice that in the ruins, new forms of Christian vitality and ministry will be born. I expect to see a vital and growing house church movement. This cannot help but be good for an evangelicalism that has made buildings, numbers, and paid staff its drugs for half a century.

We need new evangelicalism that learns from the past and listens more carefully to what God says about being His people in the midst of a powerful, idolatrous culture.

I'm not a prophet. My view of evangelicalism is not authoritative or infallible. I am certainly wrong in some of these predictions. But is there anyone who is observing evangelicalism in these times who does not sense that the future of our movement holds many dangers and much potential?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Do you ever wake up from a dream that is so real that the feelings from it linger with you throughout your day? I had one of those last night and it has me really dis-combobulated today for some reason.

I am one of those rare folks who has dreams a lot. I mean like almost every night. Most of the time they are the ususal random assortment of things relating to my day. But every once in a while I have one that I call a "God dream."

What I mean by that is that the dream is so vivid and clear and the interpretation of it is so distinctly spiritual, that they can't be from anything other than the Lord. God speaks to me very regularly through my dreams. I always know when they are from Him because there is such a different feeling and sense about them. I have learned to pay a lot of attention when they are from Him.

Sometimes I think the Lord speaks to me this way because I am such a logical and analytical thinker that God has to use something totally the opposite of how I am wired to get my attention. Kind of sad, actually, that He must resort to my subconscious to speak to me at times. I am so busy over-thinking and using my own brain power that He cannot get through any other way.

Sometimes, like last night, I have a dream that has all of the feelings and clarity of a "God dream" but I am left wondering of the interpretation.

'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on everyone. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams.' Acts 2:17

Friday, March 20, 2009

And you thought abortion was scary....

Sorry for all the posts today, there's just so much interesting out there.

This one scares the living daylights out of me, but is such a picture of where we are headed.

The US Dollar

This article about the US Dollar is very interesting and has some major implications for our economy.

Stem Cells?

A few weeks ago our President, Barack Obama, made a huge showing over his overturning previous Bush administration rules about stem cell research.

This article: makes me wonder just why he felt the need to overturn this rule. It seems to me that that with the advances in stem cells from human adults, it would not have mattered much if this rule had stayed in effect.

For all his talk of "crossing party lines" our president, make no mistake about it, is very political. In my opinion, the overturning of the rule was done mostly for show and to prove something somehow.


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Graduate school, of sorts

I have been thinking lately that our relationships with the Lord are a lot like going to University. Now, bear with me on this analogy a bit.

Admission to this University is simply just knowing the Director of the Admissions Office, his name is Jesus. Knowing Him, and His "letter of recommendation" is all that's required to "get in." Just like college, we start off with the basics, intro classes. Many people never graduate from their freshman year, many people drop out, many people fail certain "classes" over and over as we are required to pass them to graduate to the next level, and some classes are never really done with and we just keep moving on to the next level (Broken-ess 101, Broken-ness 102, Broken-ness 103, Dying-to-self 101, Dying-to-self-102, etc.). Some of our professors are great and wonderful men and women of the faith. Other professors are unjust and harsh. Everyone's major is the same: Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself." There is really only one required text book.

Lately, for me, I have been feeling as though I have moved on from my "undergraduate years" and on to some sort of graduate school for faith. The problem is, that the "classes" I am taking are those that most people, includig myself, would rather not face. Just like my biology degree and my disdain for Organic Chemistry or Calculus, these classes are required for me but I am going in kicking and screaming. I would much rather stay in my comfortable little undergraduate world, but the Lord has seen fit for me to "graduate." He's super excited about this! "YEAH! Congrats, my beloved, you did it! I am so proud of you! Not everyone gets here, but you did!!" I can almost hear Him saying.

But, I, I am not so excited. "What? MORE broken-ness? MORE suffering? MORE rejection? MORE persecution? MORE holiness? I am not sure I want that!"

But, He calls to me says "This is the path, my daughter. This is the path to knowing me more. You must walk as I walked. You must bear the cross as I bore it. When I say less of you and more of Me, I mean that. I meant it when I said you had to die to yourself, and I know that this is painful. I didn't say it would be easy, in fact, I said it would be hard and that the road was narrow. But, the good news, is that you do not go alone. I am with you. I will enable you. I will strengthen you. In fact if you try to go without me, you will fail. You HAVE to trust me more. Sometimes the lessons in this level will look as though I have left you and you will not always understand why, but I have not, and I will not leave you. You have to believe that I do not teach things to my children that are not important. Do not turn away, do not take your eyes off of me. You're reward will be immeasurable. I am so proud of you, I am so pleased with you, and I am so in love with you."

So, in this season in which I am wondering "How much harder can it get?" The answer is: This is the wrong question!

The questions SHOULD be: "Lord, what are you teaching me here? What about your character do I need to see in these trials? What of myself needs to die? Can you please teach me to trust you more, even when hope seems lost and I don't understand?"

And, in this, perhaps I can graduate from this "class" and move on to the next that the Lord has for me. All I know is that I am going for my pH.D


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Democracy or Republic?

It's only a little over ten minutes, but really interesting.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

In the World not Of the World

The title of this post reflects the subject of this post in the way only a verse from the Word can.

I have been thinking a lot about a post that my friend Suzanna made a few weeks ago. For the fullness of her post head here:

Here's an excerpt from what she wrote:

For so many years, the church has thought that it is a good fit with society at large. Lots of church folks’ idea of “reaching out” is to befriend the world so very, very nicely that they might think church is kinda cool. You know, sneak attack. “I think like you, I look like you, I talk like you, I’m concerned about your issues, I even watch the same stank on TV you watch. On weekends, I pay $9.75 for it! See, if I can do this Christian thing, you can, too! Not as hard as you thought!” But God’s committed to His Son’s bride. So if she won’t kick the bedbugs out of her bed, God’s going to let ‘em bite!

It’s a bit circular. The church keeps trying to befriend the world, she’s chasing favor, chasing favor, chasing favor from man. She forgot that God said that friendship with the world is enmity with God. Obviously, He can’t hand His power over to enemies. No power, no converts. No converts, more befriending. More befriending, more enmity. What will end the cycle? When no matter how nice we play, we are abused, ridiculed, and offended, when they finally kick out the believing remnant from friendly society…well, the church will have to stand up. And see how lovely she is. Tall, overt, unapologetic, loving, truthful.

I think this clearly articulates the stance I have been coming to grips with in my own life these last few months....I am IN the world but I am not OF the world.

I have realized how LITTLE I, and the church are different from the rest of the world. If you were to look at my life most of the time, it would look very similar to my neighbors, who are very nice people but do not know the love of Jesus. That kind of scares me.

Statistics also confirm this. The church's divorce rate is right up there with everyone else's, we have abortions, we lie, we cheat, we steal, and we justify it saying "we are just sinners saved by grace." While that statement is true, it leaves out the fact that if we have had a TRUE saving relationship with Jesus, we WOULD be changed we WOULD be different.

I heard a preacher, an amazing guy named Paul Washer, give the analogy that if I was walking down the street and got hit head-on by a logging truck headed 65 miles an hour you would expect me to be changed. You would call me either insane or a liar if I claimed to have been hit like that and not affected. How much bigger and more powerful than a logging truck is our God???? Yet, so many of us are NOT changed. How can we claim to know God if we are not changed by knowing Him, if we are not different from our encounter with Him? We are either lying or crazy.

I think the church at large is facing this problem. We are whoring ourselves to the world and calling it "evangelism." There's even a whole new emerging church movement based on this principal. They question whether drinking, or swearing, or other similar things are wrong. What they are forgetting is that God called us to HOLINESS. He called us to be set apart. He called us to as aliens in a foreign land.

Oh, the world (and a lot of the church) cries out "That is legalism!" Since when did being obedient to the Word become legalistic? Since when did saving my mind from the filth that plagues this world become a bad thing? Since when did not wanting to suffer the consequences of sin become something wrong? Bottom line, we just doesn't want to be told what to do! We are rebellious at heart and we buck at anyone with a hint of authority in the church. We just want to be wooed and lulled into our false sense of security and not have to be accountable. We call it controlling when someone tells us what we're doing is wrong. It's all justification to be able to do our own thing.

I am not fully critical of the emerging church movement. Some of the issues they bring up are right on. Jesus does need to be relevant, and we do need to re-think what it means to be in community and our involvement in it, and we do need to rethink the way we do church. I agree that it's not right to just be holed-up in our little church buildings and let the world go by (many church's answer to the in the world but not of the world issue). I take issue with the whole idea that Jesus becomes relevant when we change who he was to fit with today's society. Jesus is relevant because HE IS THE ANSWER! You have marital problems, he's the answer! You have hurts that need to be healed, HE is the answer! He is the answer!

Power is what makes Jesus relevant. Becuase when Jesus came, he came in fullness of power.

Friends, we need Jesus' fullness of power. We need to be able to pray for people and have them set free of bondage, of disease, of hurts and wounds. We need miracle power again. Jesus said we would do greater things than he did and I certainly don't see that in my life! So, I have to ask why and begin to cry out!

Meanwhile, as for me and my house, we ARE going to look different. Not because I am better than my neighbors who don't know Jesus, or to earn my way into the Lord's favor, or because I am in bondage to legalism. I do it because I LOVE my saviour and I WANT to be like Him! I do it because He asks it of me and because I am so besotted with Him that I cannot help myself.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Wow, am I really going to resurrect this?

As you can see, it has been almost a year since I last posted and I had all intents and purposes of never blogging again. Nothing against blogging, I just really didn't feel like I had much to say anymore. The last year-plus of my life has been one of intense refining by the Lord and I come back to this blog and life saying "I know nothing." Perhaps at some point I will come back to this and write a synopsis of what the Lord has been doing in my life, but for now, I am sneaking back in.

I am concerned. I am concerned for the country that I love. I have become increasingly aware each week as the "doom and gloom" news continues to roll in, that something major is happening in America, and perhaps the world as well. I am concerned that this country is on the brink of something catastrophic, from which there will be no return. I am concerned about laws being passed or overturned or flat out ignored that erode the very foundation this country was built upon. I am concerned.

There does not seem to be a single area of life where the news is good. If one listsens to the economists, environmentalists, historians, military leaders, and many respected religious leaders, they are all saying the same thing. Things are not going to get better, they, quite likely are going to get worse.

What I am even more troubled by is the response the American public seems to have to these crisis: we look to men to answer our problems, we blame everyone but ourselves for getting us to this point, we gladly turn a blind eye to injustices that continue to plague the weakest and vulnerable, and we willingly hand over our lives and our rights to a government that has shown no ability to do anything good.

As a woman of faith, I have to ask myself a hard questions. Is America under judgement from the Lord?

I have avoided that question for a long time. I have told myself that we are a blessed and favored nation; that we were founded on biblical principals and surely the Lord would judge other worldly nations before ours!

It is exactly for that reason that I believe we are under judgement right now. Here is why I have come to that conclusion. As a nation we are by and large Pharisees! The very men Jesus spoke so harshly about, the very thing he despised the most is the very thing we have become. We speak of our faith, but our hearts are far from him. We are white-washed tombs...pretty on the outside but dirty on the inside. The church in America has fallen away from her first love and he is saying "I never knew you." We are no different than the Israelites who turned from the Lord and to the things of the nations that captured them. Prophets in that time had some pretty harsh words for them, calling them no better than harlots.

Friends we are the Pharisees Jesus spoke about. We are the harlot Israel....sleeping with the enemy to get something from him.

When will we repent? When will we cry out "have mercy Lord"? When will we turn from the things that this world has to offer and say "enough" and separate ourselves for the Bridegroom who is coming? When will we stand for what is right not for what is easy?

I truly believe that is the only thing that will save this nation now.