Your TV Binge Obsession

The New York Times recently wrote an article about the new(ish) phenomenon of folks preferring to watch their T.V. shows in one chunk these days. You know, no more one-episode-a-week-like-the-olden-days. We seem to like choking it all down in one crazy marathon.

I have to admit, I have binged on quite a few T.V shows in my day. My first ever T.V. binge was 24. Come on, you know you love some Kiefer. I had just gotten married and quickly found out I was pregnant too. I had no idea how miserably sick being pregnant can make you. How generally you just feel like you ate 23 tins of sardines, got on a roller coaster, and then were struck with influenza. every.day.

So, in true newlywed/pregnant/twenty-something fashion Jonathan would drag an extra queen sized mattress we happened to have (random, I know) out to the T.V. where we would lay like vegetables and binge on 24.

And it was awesome. Hour after hour of Kiefer, carrying his man bag, hunting down dangerous criminals, never stopping to take a bathroom break or to eat a croissant. Just action. Cheesy, adrenaline pumping, addicting action.

Since our 24 binging days, Jonathan and I have had a few other T.V. marathon obsessions like Breaking Bad and Lost (until we caught up and had to watch it on once a week like everyone else), Mad Men (for a brief minute until I decided it didn’t have one redeeming character), and the epic Friday Night Lights (clear eyes!).

I like a good punch in the face of 13 episodes all at once. What about you?

Have you ever had a T.V. show binge obsession? What is your current fave on T.V.? If you had to choose, movies or. T.V.?

Sex, Shame, and Jesus in the Bedroom

Today, I have the privilege of sharing a very personal and intimate story at Prodigal Magazine. It is a story close to my heart and still tender. So tender, in fact, I almost didn’t want to write it, but felt that it was time.

Here’s a taste:

Once married, I spoke about sex with jaded and jagged words. I hated to call it “love-making” because the inner lies told me it had nothing to do with love. My past sin told me sex was just a physical act to be dabbled in casually and carefree. I could enter into a place of pleasure for brief moments, but only through prayer and petition, when I was able to escape all the lies I had once been told about sex–what it is and what it is not.

My shame and old life wanted to tell me that I was unworthy of a healthy sex life. That, somehow, by not waiting until marriage, I had forfeited the right to enjoy the beauty and splendor of it now.

And for a long time, I believed those lies. For too long, I allowed my past to rob me of my now and present. I let what once was determine what could be. But thankfully, Jesus does not.

Please join me over at Prodigal to read more. I’d love to read any thoughts, reactions, and your own stories of overcoming shame and battling lies about sex. I hope to see you there.

 

The Myth of a Personal Savior

My church family is amazing. Glorious, really. And when I say glorious, I mean that it is the fullest representation of Christ I have ever experienced. It is the body of Christ–expressing itself through a people committed to loving one another, serving one another, ministering to one another, and worshipping with Christ as our Head.

So, now that I got that out of the way…

The other day, my sister Carrington (sister, meaning my sister in the faith) made a brilliant observation. A few of us women from our church family were talking and praying together–just sharing some of the struggles we had encountered that week. As we talked, we realized that many of us had been dealing with the exact same struggles.

I watched as we ministered to one another and carried the burden for one another. Me for her and she for me. Lifted. Freed. Lightened.

It was then that she explained that what we were doing–was being the church. The modern church, she went on, incorrectly promotes the idea of a personal Savior or a personal Jesus (anyone remember a certain Depeche Mode song?)  Continue reading The Myth of a Personal Savior

My Spiritual Wish List

So, last month I told you guys that my word for the year was “receive.” It sounds simple, harmless really, but for me this little word holds a lot of meaning.

Sitting around the table eating dinner with my church family, I told a few of my sisters what my word was and they responded with a collective “Oooohhhh….” Why? Because they know. Because they know me and they know that I have trouble receiving. It makes me uncomfortable. It makes me squirm. I feel self-conscious and self-indulgent.

And this is what God has told me in the last few weeks…

The reason I have trouble receiving is because I have trouble asking.  Continue reading My Spiritual Wish List

The Acceptable Christian Sin

Today, I’m over at Ken Hagerman’s blog, Rambling with the Barba, talking about the sins that we Christians deem acceptable versus the ones we do not. Here’s a snippet:

Beyond the lingo though, I quickly learned that certain things were completely acceptable within the church culture, while others were not. When it came to the discussion of sin I realized that what I would have openly confessed was simply not okay to share.

The excited, geeked-out-for-Jesus newbie believer that I was didn’t know the difference. I knew that the Bible said to confess our sins to one another and our God who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins (1 John 1:9). So I was ready to confess. I was ready to lay it all on the table–the dirt, the grime, the reeking stench of my sin. I wanted it gone. I wanted that forgiveness.

But, I watched as it was quietly, subtly, and yet systematically made clear to me that only certain sins can be confessed–at least out loud. There were the acceptable “Christian sins” and then there was the rest.

To read more, please join me over at Ken’s blog today and show some comment love. I hope to see you there.

The Email that Enraged Me and Why I Blame the Church

I received an email this week from a man stating that he and his wife were in need of some counseling and advice. He went on to say, however, that they were having trouble “gaining access to the leaders” at their own church and would I be able to direct them to some other resources.

My stomach dropped. I re-read the sentence 3 times for fear that I had read it incorrectly.

Trouble gaining access? How can this be? How is this happening within the church?

There is no door marked “leaders only.” There is no secret club of the “qualified,” no spiritual speakeasy.

The anger I felt while reading this email was palpable. Yet, I believe it angers the Lord even more to know that His people are daily made to feel that they have no power, authority, or place in the Body. To know that the people of God are made to feel ineffective, useless, and weak by other members of the Body.

There’s the rub and it is tragic.

And it is this convuluted warped thinking that enrages me almost more than anything within the church–the twisted lies we believe (often because of those in leadership) that tell us we cannot serve, cannot give, cannot impact the Kingdom, because we don’t wear the title of “leader,” or “pastor,” or carry a degree from the nearby seminary.

I’ve written this before, but I feel compelled to write it again:

You don’t need a degree or a certificate. You don’t need 3 years of off-site training or a letter from your pastor. You don’t need to attend seminars or conferences, write a book, or run a ministry.

You have everything you need.

His name is the Holy Spirit.

And it is Him, not man, that makes you approved, called, qualified, chosen, ready, equipped, sent, and full of power.

So, if you woke up today feeling powerless or desperately wanting to be used by God, know that you have everything you need. Ask of your Father. Forget what “they” have told you is or isn’t possible. The Creator of the Universe lives in you. He calls you home.

If you truly believe this, you cannot fear man. You can only set forth to please God.

Go.

Disclaimer: No, I do not know every detail abou this couple or their church. I do not know their pastor or the specifics regarding their need for counseling. Yes, I admit that there are two sides to every story and in no way am I trying to bad mouth a specific church. All that to say, this particular email struck a nerve with me and led me to write this post. 

The Mystery of Marriage

We all know the verse…

“And the two shall become one flesh.”

We’ve heard it recited at wedding ceremonies, taught from the pulpit, and thrown around at marriage conferences. It has become almost cliche. We believe this verse intellectually–two becoming one. But, we also know that this verse is referring to much more than flesh. We don’t know how, but we know it. We understand it for what it is: a mystery.

How can, and do, two people join as one? Physically we know how it is possible (In this regard, the verse is quite literal). But, how do two become one in the spiritual and emotional sense?

I had not been married very long when I was struck with the reality of this mystery. And I got scared. Continue reading The Mystery of Marriage

Women in Combat: A Debate

A little over a week ago, the Pentagon announced that under Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, they are lifting the 19-year ban on women serving in front line combat positions and potentially elite commando jobs. The decision opens up some hundreds of thousands of potential job positions for women in the military, and could come to include positions in the Navy SEALS and the Army’s Delta Force.

When I first heard the news, my reaction was twofold. First, I was a little surprised–surprised that the decision came down and curious to know if there really were thousands of women currently serving in the military who were waiting to enter the front lines.

Second, I was certain that, what some saw as progress for women, others would see as an assault on the gender roles between men and women and as an attack on the military, as a whole.

I’ve since considered both sides… Continue reading Women in Combat: A Debate