Broken-down Poetry: October 2007


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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

to love at all is to be vulnerable.

I love God and I love the idea of the Church. But right now, I'm not to fond of her.

I don't want to say I hate Christians, because that's not true. I'm a fan of church, youth group, college age, Sunday morning service, and the various ministries I find myself involved in. But I don't like the facade the Church is putting on.

Remember when only the Pharisees hated Christians?

Even in the Roman Empire (around Nero's time) Christians were hated not because THEY hated, but because they were RADICAL.

And now... what has she, the Church, become?
The top six traits Christians are known for are these:

1. Hypocritical

2. Too focused on getting people "saved"

3. Antihomosexual

4. Sheltered

5. Too political

6. Judgmental

[according to Barna research]

How sickening is that? Number 3 kills me everytime. Never in the Bible does it say to HATE people. Remember that little slogan that Jerry B. Jenkins uses through his books... "Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin." Period.

Why do people take that so much farther?

I don't want to argue other points just yet, and really I should have kept my mouth shut about the antihomosexual thing as of now.

Right now I call you, yes you little Christian, to examine yourself. How do you act? Are you loving? joyful? peaceful? patient? kind? good? gentle? faithful? self-controlled?

Those are traits we SHOULD possess, according to Galations. Not these hateful anti-gay, anti-democrat, anti-cultured people.

So consider these facts, and I'll get back to you ;-)

always, always,


Thursday, October 18, 2007

who is number one.

I'm glad my view of politics have been shallow for the past few elections.

In fifth grade we had "mock-elections" for the 2000 presidental campaign: Bush vs. Gore. I remember my social studies teacher made Bush sound like this amazing guy and Gore, a bafoon who thought he invented the internet.

Needless to say, over 95% of the fifth grade class at Perry Hill Elementry School voted George W. as president of the United States.

That is why for six years I claimed to be a Republican.

Now, this isn't a blog about politics, because I literally have nothing to say about that (VOTE OBAMA '08!... ha, that was a joke), this is about extremes. In this case: Conservatism vs. Liberal-ism.

But I don't want to end there.

See, this may be extremely obvious to some of you, but others not: EXREMES=BAD. [Let me define this version of EXTREME before you throw a few fits. I mean this: an extreme is something you believe and stand for with no knowledge backing it up (IGNORANCE I call it). It's forcing those beliefs on people HARSHLY and WITHOUT LOVE. It's a belief that you let get between you and God. And though you may CLAIM it draws you closer to God, that can sometimes be the opposite.]

Facism vs. Communism.

I've been thinking and thinking about this topic, not really sure how to even talk about it in a blog or elsewhere. I mean, usually when I have a belief I hang tight to it. Example: Jesus is Lord. Probably not going to change my mind about that one.

[But that's not really what I'm going with either. God is an Absolute, a Constant in this equation so let's not declare Him debatable... not right now.]

But we can discuss the Church. Church of God vs. Church of Christ. (One word difference yet, so incredibly opposites).

My point here is this: people search and search for their stand on one subject or another and once they believe one side, they don't let up. Example: Abortion=Bad. So instead of thinking rationally, they jump off the deep end. Like a particular Pro-Life group who runs around the country protesting at abortion clinics but doesn't take spend anytime loving. They don't even pray for these women who go through this. They hate women who get abortions. They hate doctors who administer abortions. (hate=extreme)

I think probably the worst one ever, especially for Christians, is the gay marriage situation. Yes, the Bible says homosexuality is a sin BUT does it say to hate homosexuals? NO. Period.

I am using very contraversial issues, I know, and I know that I'm probably putting too much unsolicited opinion in here as well. But here's the scoop: when there are extremes, there are footholds.

"And do not give the devil a foothold."

It makes your chosen extreme first priority, or soon to be. God needs to be the Extreme, not this issue or that.

I remember back in fifth grade I made a conscious decision that I, Lauren Deidra Sawyer (10.5 years old) was going to be a Republican because George W. Bush didn't claim to invent the internet.

Whenever I form an opinion on something I think hey, what's the opposite view (the antithesis!) then I rule one or the other out. I'm pretty sure everyone does that one way or another.

And so we have a tendency to hang onto our beliefs... so hard. SO HARD. We are unwilling to let go. We believe gay marriage is so wrong that we exploit the image of Christ and claim no hope for them. We are sinners, but they are worse. Or on the other side, the opposite. We want to show God's love to them SO bad that we "hijack" Jesus and ignore the passages about homosexuality in the Bible.

Neither are right. And both will give Satan leeway to do something not so cool in our lives.

Yes, yes, before Mrs. Pickett calls me on ranting (good thing she's not reading this!) I will acknowledge the opposition. But faith!, you say. Faith? Devotion? Humility? Love? Aren't those all extremes? Virtues: can't those be good in huge amounts?

Yes, but consider this: too much of anything NOT God is bad. That means TOO MUCH humility can be bad. (Humility that, ironically, leads to pride in that way.)

As Uncle Screwtape put it, "All extremes, except extreme devotion to the Enemy, are to be encouraged."

Now I don't want my blog to be misread. I'm not saying it's good to be complacent or lukewarm, I'm just saying know why you believe one thing or another. Know why you call yourself a Democrat or Republican, patriot or pacifist; don't use it to hurt the opposition. Be courteous, respect each others' beliefs.

And don't give the enemy a foothold.


"Then quietly and gradually nurse him on to the stage at which the religion becomes merely part of the 'cause', in which Christianity is valued chiefly because of the excellent arguments it can produce in favour of the British war-effort or of Pacifism. The attitude which you want to guard against is that in which temporal affairs are treated primarily as material for obedience. Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of wordly end he is pursuing. Provided that meetings, pamphlets, policies, movements, abuses, and crusades, matter more to him than prayers and sacraments and charity, he is ours--and the more 'religious' (on those terms) the more securely ours." The Screwtape Letters

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

and character, hope.

So in contrast to my last two blogs, I'd say this one is a lot more chipper. (You'll soon understand why.)

I think I'm nearing the end of a "trough" and entering what I, or Uncle Screwtape, calls a "peak" or at least a landing of some sort.

It's all about this one--to me, ambiguous--word HOPE.

It all started a long time ago. I have always been hopeful--I guess that's my nature. Not that I'm always optimistic, but by the end of the day I know that things will be okay. Why? Because I'd dream of something better.

And that's where my questions are aroused.

Is it okay to just yearn for something better? What about the here and now? C.S. Lewis said in his book The Screwtape Letters this: "[God] does not want men to give the future their hearts, to place their treasure in it." But what if the current state of affairs sucks?

And so I've been grappling with that concept, putting it to test against the Bible verses I know:

"And hope does not disappoint us for God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who He has given us." Romans 5:5

"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things." Philippians 4

Not to mention the several times the Bible says things like "put your hope in the Lord," "renew your hope," or "I will hope in your name."

What does it mean exactly to "hope in the Lord"? Is it the same thing as hoping for something the Lord will bless you with?

Like I said, my mind was grappling with all of this. And on Monday night I read something that further added to my skepticism of it all. It was in the form of a quote by my most respected clergyman who ever lived, George MacDonald.

"Lest it should be possible that any unchildlike soul might, in arrogance and ignorance, think to stand upon his rights against God, and demand of Him this or that after the will of the flesh, I will lay before such a possible one some of the things to which he has a right.... He has a claim to be compelled to repent; to be hedged in on every side: to have one after another of the strong, sharp-toothed sheep dogs of the Great Shepherd sent after him, to thwart him in any desire, foil him in any plan, frustrated him of any hope, until he come to see at length that nothing will ease his pain, nothing make life a thing worth having, but the presence of the living God within him."

And I don't believe I understand that fully. But I do get the last line (which is why I'm so distressed).

Last night I was going back and forth about this. Is hoping for something good to happen bad or good? Or is it like desiring to be loved, as MacDonald says, which is neither noble nor wrong. So I did what I thought any good Christian should do... I prayed. This is what I discovered, rather, what God dis-covered for me:

I was never upset because I thought that my dreams (my hopes, ambitions, etc.) would never become reality. Instead, I was upset because they weren't reality right now.

"Hope isn't about right now."

Hope doesn't have a timeframe. Hope needs to rely on the element of "maybe." Not when. Not now. Not soon.

It's not a matter of giving up on hope itself, it's just the attachment and the demands of it. Like all things, if you aren't willing to give it up, you aren't fit to have it. But what I had never learned before was that if I assumed hope would be in my control, I was wrong.

God gives us hope to keep us going, to not give up, and to finish the race. BUT if we say "Okay God, my dream is to be married by age 23 and have a career and a nice apartment" we are foolish. It's no longer a matter of hope that God has things under control and those things might happen, but it has become a matter of me. Yes, even hope should be about God and not us. Hope has a lot to do with trust, I've realized. To what extend, I do not yet know.

So don't give up on hope. Hope=good. But don't turn hope into something ungodly--a desire for something God doesn't want you to waste your time with. Trust Him. He has your interests in mind.


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

that leads me to valleys of sorrow

Troubled soul, thou art not bound to feel, but thou art bound to arise. God loves thee whether thou feelest or not. Thou canst not love when thou wilt, but thou art bound to fight the hatred in thee to the last. Try not to feel good when thou art not good, but cry to Him who is good. He changes not because thou changest, nay he has especial tenderness of love toward thee that thou art in the dark and hast no light. Fold the arms of thy faith until the light goes up in thy darkness. The arms of faith, I say, not of thy action. Bethink thee of something thou oughtest to do and go to do it, if it be but the sweeping of a room, the preparing of a meal, or a visit to a friend. Heed not thy feeling, do thy work.

Distress that drives us to God does that, it turns us around, it gets us back in the way of salvation. We never regret that kind of pain. But those who let distress drive them away from God are full of regrets and end up on a deathbed of regrets.
always; always,