Why Church is Hard…

{From the archives} As Easter came and went this year, I realized in my post-candy-“He is Risen”-haze that I didn’t really feel connected to Jesus this Easter.

I can remember Easter’s past, when just hearing the name “Jesus” would cause my eyes to swell with tears and my throat to tighten. This was not that year. In fact, I felt little of nothing and that made me feel, well, a little guilty.

And as I was lying in bed on Sunday night, I tried to talk to God and understand just where I went wrong this Easter. I concluded, based upon His silence, that while I wanted to say that He just doesn’t care about the things that I care about–the truth is, I haven’t been caring about the things He cares about.

To add insult to injury, I have begun to question things that I have never questioned. I have begun to wrestle with things I have always assumed I would never need to wrestle against. And I’m scared.

I realized however, that I wasn’t the only one left feeling empty and disconnected this Easter. Except that this was new to me. I’ve never had an Easter like this, but I shouldn’t be surprised because…

…Church is hard.

Church isn’t easy. Being the church isn’t easy (and to quote Coldplay, no one said it’d be this hard).

But there is one glaringly obvious reason as to why church is hard. It explains all the heartache, disappointment, loneliness, isolation, disillusionment, and even anger that so many of us in the church experience… Continue reading Why Church is Hard…

My View on Women’s Roles

I had no intention of writing this. It never crossed my mind. Then Sarah’s book hit the blogosphere, and then Ally wrote a post, and my friends linked to this post on Facebook, and I read through Rachel’s old posts.

To be honest, part of the reason I have pretty much avoided writing about this subject is because I have very little desire to debate others about the role of women in the church. Not because I think I’m right or I’ve landed on some eternal truth, but because I often find discussions such as these to be rather fruitless and distracting. Fruitless in that they do not advance the Kingdom and distracting in that they take our eyes, however briefly, off of Jesus Christ as our Head.

However, I’ve had people email me over my three years of blogging with greetings that begin with “As a fellow complementarian…” Or “As another like-minded egalitarian…” These emails make me laugh because never once have I ever referred to myself as either of these titles, nor would I ever.

But, what happens when you have a blog is that people assume they know you. They assume they’ve got you all figured out. If you write about your marriage a few times, they wrongly believe they have been given a full and clear look into its intricacies and intimacies. One post about my sex life a night in my bedroom does not make. Sorry.

My Own Marriage

So what does my marriage look like? Perhaps that’s a good place to start. Continue reading My View on Women’s Roles

Should God Alone Make You Happy?

Recently, in a church gathering the discussion of whether or not “God is enough” came up. Some passionately explained that “God is enough” for them and that we, as believers, don’t need anything else.

I, however, just as passionately disagree. Yes, I concede that God is enough–or rather He can be enough, but He isn’t meant to be “enough.” God never intended for us to walk through life with nothing but Him.

The discussion reminded me of this post I wrote quite a while back. Do you agree or disagree? 

Christians don’t throw around the word “happy” too often. We are cautious of the word because we think it sounds earthly, temporal, and fleeting. We much prefer the word “joy.” Joy is of God. Joy is rooted in something more than a mere mood or a passing event. In fact, the joy of the Lord is our strength, so says the Bible.

But, is it so bad to just want to be happy? I mean, happiness is still cool right? It’s okay for Christians to be happy, isn’t it? Personally, I’d take a big ‘ol plate of  happiness any day of the week.

Filling up your life with things that make you happy is healthy, and yet I know some Christians for whom this is especially difficult. They operate under the belief that God alone is suppose to make you happy…and nothing else. Happiness, they believe, should come from Him and nowhere else.

Is it sacrilegious for me to say that I disagree with that statement? God says we shall worship no other god. I’m all for that commandment but does that mean that God is to be the sole source of our happiness? Can we find happiness elsewhere? Continue reading Should God Alone Make You Happy?

What Is the Greatest Deception Against the Church?

Last week I wrote a post called The Greatest Trick the Devil Ever Pulled. A lot of people disagreed with me and some wondered if my title was just hyperbole. Sadly, it wasn’t. I meant every word I wrote:

I believe the “existence of denominations and factions within the church is the greatest deception Satan has ever committed against the church.”

But here’s the thing–I’m just one person. One little blogger in a giant blogosphere. One member of the Body sharing my thoughts and feelings. Like I’ve said before, I never want to claim that I have the corner on Truth.

None of us does.

So, with that in mind, I thought I’d turn the question over to you. Continue reading What Is the Greatest Deception Against the Church?

The Greatest Trick the Devil Ever Pulled

If someone were to ask you what has caused more harm to the Church as a whole, how would you answer? Because I don’t what I would have said a few weeks ago, but then…

During a church meeting a few weeks ago, a member of my church family said: “The existence of denominations and factions within the church is the greatest deception Satan has ever committed against the church.”

I nodded my head in agreement.

I’ve felt that. I’ve known that. I had just never put it into words.

As my friend said this I was immediately reminded of the movie The Usual Suspects and that bastard Keyser Soze. Satan, the Great Illusionist and Perpetual Deceiver, always scheming. Continue reading The Greatest Trick the Devil Ever Pulled

Why My Church Rarely Does “Prayer Requests”

Ah, the prayer request. The quintessential Christian experience–sitting around in a circle, sharing often benign, usually safe, terribly tame “prayer requests” with one another.

They usually sound something like this: “I really need a new job or a pay raise. So pray for that please.” Or “My fiance and I are trying to figure out when to get married. Please pray that God would tell us.”

(Let me also preface this post by stating that I am not anti-prayer request. of course not. I have been apart of many groups, be it Bible studies or women’s groups where prayer requests were a welcome and important part of gathering. But God has also shown me something different…)

It’s funny because after becoming a believer, I just went right along with the whole “prayer request” model. I didn’t know any differently. I certainly didn’t know any better. Why would I? Except that when I look in scripture I see no prayer request like model. Now, I’m not one of those people who says “If it ain’t in the Bible, don’t do it.” Please, no. The Bible isn’t exhaustive because God is an infinite God. I don’t try to squeeze Him into a few hundred pages.

All that to say, just because prayer requests aren’t in there, doesn’t mean scripture says nothing about prayer, in general. It says a lot about prayer in fact. But, don’t worry I’m not about to give you an overview of what the Bible says about prayer (zzzzzzz….).

What I am going to give you, however, is a glimpse into how my church family prays for one another which does not usually include prayer requests. Hopefully, you be encouraged to read about another way to pray. Continue reading Why My Church Rarely Does “Prayer Requests”

The Invasion of Jesus

I’m an introvert and like any good introvert I avoid people. Well, not avoid people, so much as don’t like people.  I’m kidding. Sorta.

Basically, I need my space…and a lot of it.

And also like any good introvert, I especially dislike meeting new people. I get squirmy (on the inside) and sometimes feel like I’m going to barf (on the outside). I take time to really like people. I might love you right away because Jesus has this thing He does that makes that possible, but the liking part and the trusting part and the open and vulnerable part, that takes time.

Unless of course Jesus is doing something else, which He is known to do. . So when that something else happens, my introversion goes out the window. My heart bursts forth, my arms fling wide open, my spirit smiles because it knows…

…that this person is different. This one, this person, He is calling me towards. Continue reading The Invasion of Jesus

Homogenous Jesus

Every Saturday, my home is filled with 25 or so adults and almost as many kids. We file in, greeting one another with hugs, laughter, and joy. Eventually we make our way to our living room, where we gather corporately, where we re-confess that Jesus is Head, and we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us in our time together.

Jesus is so faithful. Never has a Saturday gone by when a clear theme did not emerge, becoming so evident where God was taking us, teaching us, leading us.

I imagine, that many who do not know what organic church looks like, assume that at some point we must have discussed theology or doctrine in our corporate setting. That somewhere in the midst of this time, Jesus must have led someone to bring up a doctrinal point.

And if you assume this, you’d be wrong.

In over a year of meeting, we have never had a corporate gathering that has lead us to a theological discussion. Even writing it, I feel a bit surprised. How can that be?

Yes, we are discussing theology in the sense that we talk about God–and that is the simplest definition of theology–the study of the nature of God. But, what I mean more specifically is I have never witnessed a member of my church family submit their own theology to the body, try to debate, or try to convince others that their beliefs are right.

Which begs the question, perhaps there is no need for such discussions, because we must all hold similar, if not the same, theologies.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Continue reading Homogenous Jesus

When Rejection Comes…

I woke up that morning feeling as though I had been hit by a truck. My body ached, still in desperate need of relief from physical pain, but this was something else, something more.

I couldn’t articulate what I was feeling and the more that my husband asked me to explain myself, the more frustrated we both became.

I felt deeply sad and yet passionately angry.

The pull between those two emotions was so overwhelming that I spent the day doing the only thing I know to do when things fall apart…


I pulled inside and remained there. Furiously trying to reconcile these feelings, begging God to do something…anything. Continue reading When Rejection Comes…

A Letter to Rick Warren

Dear Mr. Rick Warren,

Although you don’t know me and I am just one of thousands of people who have reached out to you following the tragic loss of your son, please know that I count you as a brother in Christ.

You are my family, bound by the blood of Jesus, separated only by time, destined to spend eternity together worshipping the Most High.

And as my family, when you grieve, I grieve. My heart breaks and aches for the loss you experienced and the pain you must now endure. I look at my own children and hold them closer, knowing that they are not truly mine. They belong to the Lord.  And God, in His remarkable love and kindness, entrusts us with these gifts. We are honored to shepherd them, for His namesake.

I desire to encourage you too, in the love, dedication, commitment, and hope you seemed to have displayed towards Matthew. On never giving up on him, on never surrendering, on continuing to stand in the gap, on trusting the Lord with your dear son.

The road of mental illness is often a long, winding, dark, and treacherous one. Even as Christ shines His light, the road remains cloaked in shadows of the unknown.

And nothing, absolutely nothing you did or did not do, allowed this tragedy to take place. Continue reading A Letter to Rick Warren