Monday, July 2, 2012

Attack of the Theologians

A friend on Facebook posted this little ditty on Joyce Meyer and I, of course, shared it on my own page and then thought... Hmph. Let's blog this one.

I'm not a huge Joyce Meyer fan. I don't have anything against her, she's just not really my type. I'm more of a Beth Moore person. For as often as I say it like I see it, I like the Truth fed to me in gentle spoonfuls, and Joyce isn't really gentle. I also see Beth Moore as more of a Bible teacher, and Joyce Meyer as a pep-talk-giver. It's just a matter of preference. And, yes, I realize how ironic it is that I'm saying this. I fight a regular battle against my own snarky personality, and yet I can't stand it when snark is preached from a stage.

I've been a Christian for 20 years. I've spoken in churches, published a book, worked with well-known believers, and have reached one conclusion: it doesn't matter who you are, if you are a "public Christian," some people are going to have it in for you. Everyone thinks they have the literal translation of God's Word, but they don't. If that were the case, there would be no denominations, nor would there be a divide between Catholic and Protestant churches. (Of course, if you're Catholic... nevermind.) Someone is always going to believe you are a heretic.

Now that you've read that little prelude, let's tear this CARM article apart, shall we? I'm not going to touch on every issue because it's late and I'm too tired, but some of this has got to be responded to.

Joyce Meyer was born on June 4, 1943.  She is married, has four children, and lives outside of St. Louis, Missouri.  She runs the Joyce Meyer Ministries organization (  When examining the site's statement of faith we are glad to see an affirmation of the Trinity, that man is a sinner, that without Jesus we can have no relationship with God, that salvation is a free gift, and eternal hell of conscious damnation.  There is a concern with the statement on "divine healing," since there are so many aberrant groups that also affirm divine healing but say Christians must claim it and people who are sick are in sin.  However, I am not aware of what Meyer's position is on this.

I've watched a lot of Joyce Meyer and I've never once gotten the impression that she is a "name-it-and-claim-it" believer. I would not be watching if I thought she was. But some people who are sick ARE so because they're in sin. EXAMPLE: drug addicts. When I say this, I DO NOT MEAN THAT GOD "GIVES" PEOPLE SICKNESS BECAUSE THEY ARE DOING DRUGS OR COMMITTING ANY OTHER TYPE OF SIN. What I mean is that actions have consequences. We either choose life in Christ, or death in the world. God gives us guidelines to live by because THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH.

I can think of plenty examples of someone turning down the opportunity for healing. Drug rehab. Medication. Both perfect examples of healing that must be "claimed" in order to receive it. God heals people outright all the time, with no participation necessary. Sometimes, it is offered and must be accepted.

And when you think about it, salvation itself - the ultimate healing - must be claimed. If we choose not to accept Christ as our Savior, we are rejecting that healing.

The Joyce Meyer Ministry takes in a great deal of money.  She travels in a private jet and has several multimillion dollar homes. 
"While Meyer's previous salary is unknown, a recent series of investigative articles in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch revealed Meyer's ministry purchased for Joyce and Dave a $2 million home, a $10 million private jet, and houses worth another $2 million for the couple's children, who also work for the ministry. The articles also outlined Meyer's recent personal purchases, including a $500,000 vacation home. Meyer, 60, lives in Fenton, Missouri, near St. Louis." (1/1/2004,
 I don't know that much about CARM. But I can't help but think they tanked their own credibility by mentioning Joyce Meyer's private jet before even getting to the biblical stuff they disagree with. Would it matter if Joyce Meyer drove a Geo Metro or had her own spaceship? This is completely irrelevant.

Having a lot or a little money is neither good nor bad.  If she has earned it all fairly through her work, fine.  Nevertheless, this article will focus on her teaching, not on her finances.  Let's take a look at scripture, then Joyce Meyer's teachings.
Having a lot or a little money is neither good nor bad... and yet it was pointed out pretty early on in the piece.

If the Bible says that even Paul was checked by scripture, and that we are not to exceed scripture's teaching, then aren't we obligated to judge what Mrs. Meyer says against the word of God?  Of course we are.  It is not enough to just believe what she says, no matter how good the words are or how well she presents them.  Let's not be taken in by a public figure who is confident, assertive, and appears to be biblical.  Our duties as Christians include biblical discernment - which can only be done by examining what she says and comparing it with scripture.
Fair enough. Can't argue with that. Same goes for everyone who teaches the Word.

  1. Jesus was born again:  "The minute that blood sacrifice was accepted Jesus was the first human being that was ever born again," ( 
    A. Response:  This is just plain wrong.  Being born again means to be saved from the wrath of God for a person's sins (Eph. 2:1-3), to have a new birth (John 3:3), and to be regenerated (2 Cor. 5:17).  Mrs. Meyer is simply wrong biblically.  Why does she teach this?  It can only be because she has bought into many of the errors of the Positive Confession movement where it is sometimes said that Jesus lost his divine nature, went to hell, finished the atonement in hell, and was born again!  This is a serious error since it implies that Jesus needed to be changed...
Wait, wait, wait a minute, Matt Slick. Basically, what YOU are saying is:
a) Christ's death on the cross was NOT God's wrath for the sin of man. In which case... it was completely unnecessary in the first place.
b) I realize that the term "born-again" refers to a rebirth of the spirit, but here the author is splitting hairs. I never sat down with Joyce Meyer and asked her what she meant here, but I think we should at least CONSIDER the possibility that she meant Jesus went from being condemned to death for the sins of man, to being seated at the right hand of God.

 As far as Jesus descending into Hell... I don't know that I believe that, either. However, a lot of people also believe that the Rapture is biblical, but it is actually a concept creature by a preacher during the 1800s. This doesn't make people total heretics, it's makes them misinformed. This is where it gets fishy for me. I'll let you read and decide for yourself.

But - pardon the pun - I'm going to play devil's advocate here, too. We know Hell is a "lake of fire." But what makes it even more terrifying? THE ABSENCE OF GOD. The Bible says Christ paid the price for our sins on the cross... but doesn't say He DIDN'T descend into Hell. And when the Son of God cries out, My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?"... it makes you wonder.

There is also a rather obscure verse in the New Testament (can't remember it right now) that refers to Christ preaching to the spirits in prison after He died on the cross.

My brain is fried for now. More later, maybe.

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Tasty, Tasty Me

Before I tell you my story, let me just say Happy Memorial Day. THANK YOU to everyone who serves or has served in our military (especially you, Joshy.) 

Somewhere in Berks County, Pa., there is a swarm of insects that got that way after feeding on me Saturday night. We went to our friends' house for a cookout and as we sat around the fire pit later that night, I turned into a buffet for the little buggers. My syrupy sweet blood must have been like a big gulp of Kool-Aid for them. A couple of hours later, I was C.O.V.E.R.E.D in bites that eventually turned into welts. Arms, legs, neck...they even got my elbow and one of my knuckles. My husband counted 17, and those were only the ones that were visible from where he was standing. I spent Sunday greased like a Thanksgiving turkey in Benadryl cream, and I took Benadryl orally, which knocked me out for the day. It didn't really help. Sunday night I was achy and restless.

I covered a Memorial Day service for the paper this morning and it was ridiculously hot, so the heat and the sweating irritated the bites even more. Long story short, some of the bites got infected and I wound up making an emergency visit to the doctor after the ceremony.

I assumed I was consumed (hey...that's rhymes...) by mosquitoes, but the doctor stared at me for a good, long time and said, "Hmph. I think these might be spider bites. Or ticks. Probably some are mosquito bites. I don't know."

Then he said, "I don't think you have West Nile Virus...but if you start feeling sick or run a fever, you need to get to the ER right away."


Shoot, man! I just wanted to avoid an infection! I didn't think about West Nile! Oh snap.

He said he couldn't figure out why I was having such a major reaction to the bites - "Maybe it's because of who the bugs bit before they bit you." That was super comforting, too. Hopefully they didn't feed on a leper or something before they got to me. Can you spread leprosy through bugs? I don't know. I've never needed to know.

Keeping with the tradition of only learning things the hard way, I now know I can only enjoy a summer bonfire while wearing a snowsuit. Heat stroke or West Nile, those are my options.

"Diabetic? JACKPOT!!!!"

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Check Before You Fawn

Bobby Ross over at GetReligion has some interesting comments on this story about one of my favorite subjects - Christians trying to find their designated 'spot' among their fellow churchgoers.

As a married-but-childless woman in her 30's, I tend to gravitate towards the older crowd and single people. The reasons, I think, are obvious - they don't have to find a babysitter in order to make plans, and I don't have to listen to pregnancy/childbirth/parenting stories that I'm not only unable to relate to, but remind me time and time again that my dream of motherhood has not come to pass.

The Rev. Kevin Cosby, pastor of St. Stephen Church, said his congregation is trying to create a culture in which “you’re not abnormal if you’re single.”
“One is a whole number,” he said. “You’re not a fraction.”
Hopefully Rev. Cosby is also working on normalizing childlessness in the church because infertiles like myself are awfully tired of being told to work in the nursery. We appreciate sympathy, but get annoyed when moms assume we have all the free time in the world to play with. In fact, all pastors everywhere should preach a sermon aimed at teaching their congregations that:

-Not all childless women are childless on purpose.

-Some women don't want kids at all - and you can feel however you want about that and back it up with Scripture, but the point is, you should never assume anything.

-When a woman says she can't have children, sympathy is great. Immediately acting like the world has ended isn't a good approach. You mean well, but you might be grinding salt into an open wound.

-Don't suggest to an infertile woman that she should volunteer in the nursery. See above.

-Childless women don't have all the spare time in the world. Well, maybe some. But most of us have learned to fill in the time.

-Many infertile women have accepted that it is God's will for their lives and are OK WITH IT. Check before you fawn.

-Hey, since churches have singles groups, why not have a group for people without kids? Just a group - not a SUPPORT group, or a SYMPATHY group, or a GRIEF group... just a regular group.

Next up... how about we make people with mental illness feel like a part of the church body while we're at it? Stay tuned.

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Thursday, May 17, 2012

No, seriously. I'm a revolutionary.

It's hard knowing which bandwagon I want to jump on. So many Jesus worshipers, so many opinions, so little little patience. Everyone is a revolutionary in their own mind. In the end, we all wind up being smudged portraits of Christ.

I have a friend who doesn't believe in evangelizing, per-se. She believes one should share their faith only by their actions. There isn't any real need to come out and say, "Let me tell you about Jesus." It's about stained-glass windows and reciting incantations and creeds. Tradition. Delicate beauty. Hymns that say more than Stellar Kart could ever dream of. But that's not for me. Anyone can follow a tradition. I know lots of tradition followers who sit behind stained glass windows, but they don't exude God's love. I'm a breed of Mormon, Episcopalian, and Catholic. Trust me here.

I have a friend - actually, many friends - who believe that God still performs miracles today, that we should embrace and explore all art forms as types of worship, and when they talk about the Holy Spirit, I picture candy cotton clouds and unicorns prancing through gumdrop rainstorms.
Incidentally... this is one bandwagon I really do like the idea of riding. It's OK to cry around these people. I like churches that let you cry, even though I'm not terribly in-touch with my own feelings right at this moment. They're the people the Nightly News makes fun of - hands in the air, kids waving flags, people yelling "AMEN!"

I know a guy who is completely religion-free... supposedly. I don't think anyone is religion-free. We're all asking each other to conform. Telling the more buttoned-up believers to be more free isn't any different than telling them to conform. It's still conformity, in a round-about way. There is no church building, no authority, no hierarchy for these Christians... they're kind of like hippies that are high on Jesus instead of LSD. But I think they're off-base, too. They're big on moral relativism and I don't get the impression that anyone is accountable to anyone else. That's not good, either.
And yet... I wouldn't mind living that way myself sometimes.

(Excuse me. I've had a lot of coffee today. I have a point. Really. I'm almost sure of it.)

But all of these groups have one thing in common: they wouldn't ever want to be like any of the other groups. They're predictable. Watch.

Group One: "Shoving the Bible down somebody's throat is not the way to lead them to God...which is why I never talk about my faith unless someone spots me pulling out of the church parking lot and directly asks me about it."

"Excuse YOU, but people know me by my LOVE."

Group Two: "Group one is too concerned with religion. They need more of a relationship with Jesus. That would make them WANT to talk about their faith. If you don't wear your faith on your sleeve, where DO you wear it?" (Group Two's favorite method of "hearing from God" is to point to a random scripture and "claim" it as their "word" for the day.)

"What? Ouch! I tripped over Burt's foot!"

Group Three: "How can you live an abundant life with so many rules and regulations? Fellowship is everywhere. Authority is for Presbyterians. Look, I painted you a picture of the Grateful Dead Bears! Would you mind handing me my Baja pancho?"

The family that prays together stays together...but not because some pastor says so.

OK, maybe this isn't entirely accurate. That's the picture from where I sit. Where do I fit? I'm in Group Two, but I'd like to ride a unicorn and I think some tradition is beautiful. I'm a church octopus - my body is in Two, but I have tentacles in One and Three.

Jesus, I'm guessing, is in all of these. Or none of them. When I want a truly authentic portrait of Jesus, I read the Bible, but guess what happens? Everything I've ever been taught by anyone of faith clouds the picture. Don't you wish you could wipe all of that out of the picture and separate the wheat from the chaff? The Bible tells us to "test the spirits." Spiritual maturity helps us pick out the weeds and water the beautiful things. Those dandelions, though - they just keep coming back, proving that sometimes things look pretty, but they're dangerous weeds that want to choke you.

 Tell me I'm not the only one?!?

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Monday, May 14, 2012

I'm a little behind on blogging, so in the meantime, here's a tune for ya.
I've had this in my head ever since we sang it in Celebrate Recovery on Friday. Love this.

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Mommy's Little Booger

My Cat is Freakin' Awesome Because:

-She uses 2 litter boxes. One is for pee, one is for...the other thing. It would figure that I have an OCD cat.
-She watches TV and has an affinity for Animal Planet.
-She will only sleep on my side of the bed.
-She shares string cheese with me.
-She showed up on my doorstep as a kitten and obviously has impeccable taste.
-She always smells good. Somehow. I don't know how she does it.
-We have conversations and I understand what she's saying...and it's not because I'm bipolar, either.
-She's afraid of children. It's hilarious.
-She eats houseflies.

I'm pretty sure I love this cat more than I should.

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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Yes, Please!

Found this website on Pinterest today. My shirt is soaked with drool!
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