Unconventional Christian?

I find myself more and more drawn to the less conventional way of Christian thought. I'm not sure if it's a generational thing or if I am just weird...sometimes I have a hard time understanding why I think so differently (some have labeled me liberal - I disagree)...or maybe it's because some feel that I have to believe a certain way in order to find favor among their collegues, church family, friends?

Let me explain.

There have been numerous things that I have gotten me really thinking about the "Christian way of thinking."

First, it was the Deeper Still conference I went to in Atlanta. There were 19,000 women in attendance - we were from all different backgrounds, ages, races, denominations, but you know what? We worshipped together. We fellowshiped together. We ate together. We laughed together. It's how you imagine heaven to be - differences don't matter. The only thing that really matters is Jesus. For that brief 36 hours, we left our differences at the door. We were all there to grow, learn, sing, cry and just praise the one most important thing we all have in common: Jesus Christ.

I read a story written by a co-worker today, and it was all about the generational differences between Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers/Millennials. Basically the lack of respect that exists between the generations; however, we all have one thing in common - we want to change the world and/or feel that what we are doing with our lives is meaningful and significant. I know I totally fall into that category. One of the hardest things for me to bear is to feel that what I am doing is not significant. One of my biggest fears is that I will wake up one morning as a 65 year-old woman and realize that I have nothing to help others during my life. What makes life significant? That is completely up to the person. Granted I haven't hit 30 yet, but I don't feel that I have reached at point of "significance" yet. I want the Lord to use me, stretch me, make me uncomfortable (bold, I know).

I long to get my hands dirty. I just want to help people. I want my life not to be judged by what I've done for myself, but what I've done for other people. I want to passionately share the love I have for Jesus with others. I want to find the fine line between tolerance of and intolerance so that I can sit on the line. However, I do know that if Scripture says something is wrong, it’s wrong. Plain and simple. No beating around the bush. But! I do not have the right to judge or condemn those who are wrong. I am to love them. Share Christ with them. Not push them away because they are different.I want to share Jesus with post-moderns, drug addicts, the homeless, gay people, believers, non-believers, transgender, atheists, single moms, women who've had abortions, Muslims, Jews and anyone who will listen. The denominational line is not something that will stop me from sharing my Savior just because I feel someone's lifestyle or way of worship is deemed taboo because it is different. My Jesus hung out with thieves, beggars, tax collectors, lepers, believers, non-believers - why can't I do the same?

Some may still say my way of thinking is liberal. I don't believe that it is. Some may think I'm being too tolerant. I don't think that I am. If I become so consumed with the "holier than thou" mentality, I become irrelevant to those who think differently than I. I am not allowed to judge. But I do know one thing, my Lord, Jesus Christ, commanded that I "go ye therefore" and tell everyone (this limits NO ONE, no matter their sexual preference, way of worship, beliefs, lifestyle, family history, substance use, etc.) about him and the everlasting love he offers to those who follow him. Praise the Lord for grace and mercy! It is only by his grace that I'm saved! I know what I was like before his grace rescued me, and it is much better with it than without it. Why wouldn't I want those who are "taboo" to the Christian world to experience this same grace?

Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. (soap box: no where does it say the person being baptized needs to be in a SB church or baptized by a SB minister in order for it to "count")

More 'six words'

Turns out, writing six-word memoirs is kind of fun! Definitely not as challenging as I was expecting it to be. If your wondering what in the world I'm taking about click here.

I have received numerous 'six words' from friends and family...and I would love to have more (comment, hint hint). Here is an updated list of memoirs...the new ones are in pink:

My memoirs:

Loved deeply. Hurt painfully. Loved again. - me

By grace I have been saved. - me

Destined to be a nomad forever. - me

My biggest temptation is a sale. - me

Degree? Check. Job? Check. Restlessness? Check. - me

The following memoirs are from friends and/or family:

Seeking God's kingdom, everything else follows. - April Franklin, author of Discourses of a Vagabond with a Mission

Six feet deep; no glass ceiling. - Jianfranco Alvarez

Full of myself, running on empty. - Jianfranco Alvarez

Death no longer a bumble bee. - Jianfranco Alvarez

Live for Him, forever with Him. - April Franklin

Learn to serve, learn to lead. - April Franklin

Without pain love is not learned. - April Franklin

Life's not free; get a job. - Amie Nixdorf

More of Him, less of me. - Amie Nixdorf

Two schools of life: responsibility, accountability. - Amie Nixdorf

My six words

As mentioned in my previous post, Sum your life up in SIX words, I am going to try my hand at a few six-word memoirs of my own, as well as, include some others have sent me. If you read my previous post, these six-word "stories" are not near as difficult to write as I thought...or I may be in the writer's "zone" right now...who knows! Anyway, please send me you six-word memoir(s) and I'll post them! :)

My memoirs:

Loved deeply. Hurt painfully. Loved again. - me

By grace I have been saved. - me

Destined to be a nomad forever. - me

My biggest temptation is a sale. - me

Degree? Check. Job? Check. Restlessness? Check. - me

The following memoirs are from friends and/or family:

Seeking God's kingdom, everything else follows. - April Franklin, author of Discourses of a Vagabond with a Mission

Six feet deep; no glass ceiling. - Jianfranco Alvarez

Full of myself, running on empty. - Jianfranco Alvarez

Death no longer a bumble bee. - Jianfranco Alvarez

Live for Him, forever with Him. -
April Franklin

Sum your life up in SIX words

A few weeks ago, I bought a book of memoirs called "Not Quite What I was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Famous & Obscure Writers." Long title, I know. It is actually a fascinating book! Here are a few of the memoirs:

Taking a lifetime to grow up. -Mirona Iliescu

Recent doctorate means overeducated and underemployed. -Philip Sternberg

Even the quietest sounds make noise. -Paul Boggan

Seeking route, not sure of destination. -Gary Belsky

Drew on walls, creative for life. -DeAnna Sandoval

I auditioned. I got the part. -Faith Hoffman

This got me thinking. If I were to write a six-word memoir about myself, what in the world would I write? As a writer who likes to use a lot of words, the thought of only writing a six-word story is almost unrealistic and hard to even wrap my mind around.

What about you? How would you write your life in ONLY six words? If you're up for the challenge send me a comment with your six words (no cheating, only six!)

My next posts will (hopefully) be my memoir(s) in only six words...we'll see if this is possible! ;)

Make wearing a flag pin the 28th Amendment

By Roland S. Martin
CNN Contributor

Join Roland Martin for his weekly sound-off segment on CNN.com Live at 11:10 a.m. Wednesday. If you're passionate about politics, he wants to hear from you.

(CNN) -- When is the last time you watched a mindless movie that had no redeeming value for you intellectually, but all it did was make you laugh?

That perfectly describes the raging debate among voters and the rabid television and radio talk show hosts who love to yell and scream from the top of their lungs, "I'm an American, and by golly, you better show as much appreciation for this country as I do!"

But once you finish listening to these high-minded bloviators -- and yes, that includes the voters who have bought into this nonsensical issue -- ask yourself: Does it really have anything to do with anything?

I've watched this debate reach the levels of absurdity this year because journalists and commentators have raised the question to Sen. Barack Obama, "Why don't you wear a flag lapel pin?"

I really got a kick out of that one during the ABC debate last month because not one person on stage -- Sens. Hillary Clinton and Obama, along with moderators Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos -- bothered to accessorize their attire with a flag lapel pin.

Sen. John McCain has been traveling the globe as the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, and this former Navy pilot often doesn't wear a flag lapel pin.

It has become sort of like bird watching as I've surveyed elected officials on the local and national levels and looked them over like a hen-pecked mother or a foaming-at-the-mouth military drill sergeant, studying their attire and deeming them insufficiently American because of their lack of decency and respect by refusing to adorn themselves appropriately with a lapel pin.

So, after listening to radio callers and the folks that e-mail various TV shows, maybe we ought to expand this need to express our Americanism even further. Shouldn't we insist that our politicians all begin to sport red, white and blue socks in order to feel good knowing that they are walking as Americans? How about asking officeholders to sport the American colors as undergarments to show that their undying love for the country is so important, they want the flag pressed against their skin?

There have been times when the candidates -- especially McCain, who has beaten back skin cancer -- have worn hats on the campaign trail. I want to know, datgummit, why the people running for the highest office in the land didn't cover their head with an American flag baseball cap to express to the nation their love and affection for the U.S. of A.

Since it is clear that our nation is paralyzed and so not able to close our borders, feed the homeless, develop businesses in the inner cities and save people from having their homes taken by foreclosure due to ruthless mortgage companies, all because some folks don't wear a flag lapel pin, we need to lead a national movement to demand that Congress and the states make requiring officeholders to wear a flag lapel pin the 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

See, if it is so important, then take it all the way. Don't make it optional. Don't leave it up to someone to choose to wear a flag lapel pin. Let's really show those politicians that nothing is more important to us than seeing them with the U.S. flag on our chest.

That's what zealots do. They take something so simple, so personal, so voluntary, and absolutely lose their mind, trying to force someone else to do as them, and everyone else be damned.

Folks, the first year I ever cast a ballot for political office was in 1988. And in the last 20 years, whether it was mayoral, school board, city council, or a statewide, congressional or presidential campaign, the thought of what was on a politician's lapel never entered into the equation as to whether they are worthy of office.

Those who will criticize me will say, "Well, Roland, if it's no big deal, then why not wear one?" And the reply is the same: "If it's no big deal, then why do you make it a big deal?"

Let me tell you something: When I'm on the golf course and I slip my wedding ring into my golf bag, the Rev. Jacquie Hood Martin is still my wife. When we shoot hoops and I remove my Texas A&M University ring from my right hand, I still love my school. The fact that I can no longer wear my 1987 class ring from Houston's Jack Yates High School doesn't mean I don't cherish the crimson and gold. And I may not be able to fit into the shirt I pledged in, but I will be a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. until the day I die.

I am an unapologetic Christian, but you won't see a cross dangling from my neck or a James Avery charm bracelet on my wrist. Why? Because my love of Jesus Christ is in my heart.

This debate is useless, tiresome and distracting. Why? Because if there are members of Congress who wear a flag lapel pin but refuse to shore up our borders, don't do enough to stop the flow of drugs into our neighborhoods, or don't help to eradicate the gaps between the haves and have nots, then are they truly fighting for the concerns of Americans, or playing on the emotions of people by what's on their lapel?

We're better than that. We're smarter than that. It's time that we make decisions based on substance, which is what we say we actually care about. But maybe we're just lying to ourselves about that, too.

Roland S. Martin is a nationally award-winning journalist and CNN contributor. Martin is studying to receive his master's degree in Christian communications at Louisiana Baptist University.You can read more of his columns at http://www.rolandsmartin.com/

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.

"controversial and superfluous guidelines"

This is an article posted on SBCOutpost.com:

Pastors, former missionaries join former IMB trustees in calling for removal of controversial, superfluous ‘guidelines’

‘Time to Change’ group opposes policies on baptism, private prayer practices

NORTH CAROLINA –– A group of 37 former Southern Baptist missionaries, former International Mission Board trustees and Southern Baptist pastors has issued a call for rank and file Southern Baptists to reverse “guidelines” enacted by IMB trustees in 2005 that prohibited appointment of missionaries whose baptisms and private prayer lives do not meet those guidelines.

“We express our concern over the restrictions that have been put in place in the form of additional ‘guidelines’ concerning a missionary candidate’s private prayer life and baptism,” says the statement, which was released June 2, 2008. “Our conviction is that these guidelines stray far beyond the parameters set forth by our denominational confession of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message.”

One position adopted by IMB trustees prohibited appointment of missionary candidates who were not baptized in conformity with a narrow, extra-biblical definition of baptism. The second position prohibited appointment of missionary candidates who practice a “private prayer language.”

The group objects that those restrictions amount to “intrusive scrutiny into the sanctity of the personal prayer closet” and “dictating to local churches what constitutes a legitimate Christian baptism.”

The result of adopting those “guidelines” – with no evidence they were needed – was that “otherwise worthy candidates” for missionary service are unnecessarily rejected and “valuable, faithful IMB personnel” are leaving the field at a time when the overseas missions harvest is greater than ever, the group says.

“Each day, we are all made painfully aware of the scope of the lostness of our world. We agree with the words of our Lord that, indeed, the harvest is abundant. We also, with great sadness, agree with His assessment that the workers are few,” the statement says. “There are good, loyal Southern Baptists who see the multitudes also, and just as Christ did, feel compassion for them. Let us as Southern Baptists not purposefully turn away any qualified worker who has heard and obeyed the call to ‘Go.’”

The group plainly asserts that their opposition to the “guidelines” should not be read as a lack of support for IMB missionaries, staff or administration. They “commend the obedience and commitment to God’s call of the more than 5,000 dedicated brothers and sisters who have been appointed, sent, and supported by Southern Baptists to carry the gospel to the ends of the earth” and declare that they “enthusiastically support our IMB missionaries through their praying, giving, and going.”

They also affirm that the IMB’s candidate approval process “has been fair, thorough, and complete, producing a dedicated, well-trained missionary force” that meet the criteria set out by the SBC Constitution that “all missionaries appointed by the Convention’s boards must, previous to their appointment, furnish evidence of piety, zeal for the Master’s kingdom, conviction of truth as held by Baptists, and talents for missionary service.”

The group “call(s) on Southern Baptists to hold the entities of the SBC accountable to the direction of the convention’s churches, not the churches to the sentiments of their entities” and “strongly urge(s) Southern Baptists to seek the removal of these controversial and superfluous guidelines from use in the candidate approval process.”

The group has created a Web site at imbchange.info to “encourage appropriate principles and guidelines for missionary service through the International Mission Board of the SBC.”


For more information, contact:

Allan & Pam Blume 828-265-0220 or 828-266-9700
Steve Hardy 336-714-5468

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