Archive for the ‘church’ Tag

Like John   Leave a comment

A couple of Sundays ago, on Father’s Day, our Pastor preached a sermon that talked about being authentic.  About being honest in your walk and talk.  About having integrity.  There were other things, but that was the theme for the day.  He used men from his life, especially his own father and father-in-law, as real-life examples.  It was inspiring and even heart-warming.

At the end of his sermon, Pastor asked for any men who wanted to, to come forward before the platform.  He asked them to come forward if they wanted to commit or re-commit to being men of integrity, who would follow God and walk the talk.

I am a member of a small church, but we are multi-generational and multi-ethnic.  It is one of the many reasons I like attending there.  We have an older man in our congregation, I’ll call him “John” (not his real name).  John married late in life – he was in his 60’s and his wife was in her 50’s.  They have had a happy marriage, from what I have heard.  John is now in his late 70’s and is much more frail, even just in the last couple of years.  He does not make it every Sunday, and when he does he has an assistant (aside from his wife) to help him, and uses a walker.

That Father’s Day Sunday a couple of weeks ago, John was in church by himself.  Pastor called for the men to come forward, and many did.  He started praying for them, and I reached out my hand (like others did) and prayed with him for these men.  I usually keep my eyes closed when I’m praying, but for whatever reason I opened them as Pastor prayed, and I saw John.  He had gotten himself up, I’m sure with difficulty.  He was slowly making his way down the aisle, using his walker.  Very slowly, he kept walking until he was standing behind the men.  Pastor had continued to pray.

And I thought to myself: “I want to be like John.”  John has been a Christian many years, and yet he still sought to be better.  To walk more of the talk than he had before.  To be more authentic, more honest in his relationship with God than he had before.  I don’t know how much John could even hear the points of the sermon, and I know that it is a slow, difficult process for him to move at all.  And yet John had gotten himself up and had walked up to stand with the other men, because he wanted to be a better Christian.  I want to be like John.  I want to be willing to be molded by God, used by God, and humble enough to recognize I could do better, when I am as old as John.  Be like John.

Advertisements

Posted June 24, 2019 by Maureen in Christian, Musings

Tagged with , ,

Both to Blame   Leave a comment

Here is another story from my dating days.  I was recalling recently a small thing that happened about 7 years ago.  The church I was attending was having a missions dinner.  We were going to have several missionaries and a guest speaker.  It was going to be a dinner and an auction, and I signed up as a helper.  I love missions dinners, and I was looking forward to this one.  You never knew where you might meet someone, right?  And what better place to meet them than at church!

So there was lots of planning and setup, and then the guests started to arrive.  Of course there were lots of people I knew, but some I didn’t know.  There were people arriving and groups would form and then dissolve and new groups would form, while people greeted and met people.

I was standing in a group of men I knew and there was a man I hadn’t met in the group.  He was good looking and he looked to be around my age. so I smiled big and greeted him to the dinner.  I don’t remember exactly what was said, but his reaction caught me totally by surprise.  He said something along the lines of, “I’ll be sitting at a table with others from my church,” which he said to the group of us, looking around, and then looked straight at me and said, “With my WIFE.”  He said the last very forcefully, and loudly.

I was embarrassed.  Embarrassed that I had been that obvious in my interest in him, and embarrassed that he was reacting so strongly to my 3 seconds of interest.  Everyone in the group got a little uncomfortable, and he just kept staring at me intensely.  I excused myself and found some little jobs to do.

I happened to be sitting at a table way across the room from the table he was sitting at.  That wasn’t planned, it just happened that way.  Since I was a helper, there were times during the night I would get up and move around the room.  Every time I did I could feel his intense gaze on me.  It wasn’t a glare, but it was defensive.  It creeped me out a little.  Did he really think I was going to make a move on him or something?   That he was so irresistible that I would go over and flirt with him, with his wife right there?  At church?!  I kept my eyes away from that part of the room.

The evening was fun, the food was good, and the auction was also fun.  One of the things we auctioned off were the centerpieces at each table.  At the end of the auction, the volunteers went around and gathered up the centerpieces.  It happened that I ended up on the side of the room where he was sitting. He kept an eagle eye on me while I was walking around.  He didn’t look at anyone else, he didn’t watch anyone else, he kept his eyes on me.  “Honestly!” I thought.  “Just how big is his ego?”  I went to his table and he leaned over and put his arm around his wife, still not taking his eyes off me.

Without making eye contact with anyone at the table I picked up the centerpiece on the table. He kept leaning to the side with his arm around his wife’s shoulders, watching me.  I walked away and then stayed away from that side of the room during what was left of the night.

So yes – it was quite the ego on him to think I would pursue him after he had clearly told me he had a wife.  And yes – I obviously came on too strong when I said hello to him; I made my interest too well known.  We were both to blame.

Posted March 30, 2019 by Maureen in Being Single, Musings

Tagged with , , ,

MODESTY   Leave a comment

A couple of weeks ago I asked a question of a Christian Facebook group.  I must not have phrased myself very well, as I got lots of judgmental and curt answers back.  It was pretty hurtful to me, but the question remains in my mind.

In the church I attend, it happens that the Pastor’s oldest daughter leads worship every Sunday.  She also does other things around the church, and from my observation (and listening to worship) she does a fine job.  She is a lovely (inside and out) woman of God who seeks after Him and is using her gifts for Him.  She has graduated college and is an integral part of our church.

The … what do you call it?  Issue?  Problem?  Question?  I don’t know what to call it so I will choose issue since that comes first alphabetically.  The issue is she wears very tight pants on the platform.  Pants that hug her body so closely you can see everything.

Now before you jump in and judge me and call me an old bitty, please understand that I have shopped with and bought clothes for young ladies.  Being a lady myself, I have seen the clothing available in stores and I see the ads on TV and other places.  I know, I fully understand, how hard it is to find modest clothing for young women.  Even ladies as young as grade school.  It is hard for me to find modest clothing, being a plus-sized middle-aged woman.

I am not criticizing her.  I am not shaking my finger at her saying “Shame!”  I am not looking down my nose at her saying, “She wouldn’t be wearing that if she were MY daughter!”  Remember – she leads worship.  So she is up on the platform every Sunday, both services, front and center.  She is elevated (physically, because the platform is higher than the chairs), and naturally we all look at her while she and the other folks sing songs and play instruments.  So it is not as if I can avert my eyes.  I am not staring at her, nor am I oogling her.

For me, it boils down to this:  Being the worship leader means she has to be above reproach.  She has to be an example.  There can’t be a hint of impropriety.  Yes, I used that word.  Almost, she has to be a paragon.  Yes, this puts a lot of pressure on her.  It is unfair, really, that so much pressure should be put on her, but that is the way it is for people in leadership roles.  They lead.  By example, my modeling.  And I don’t think it is just my middle-aged brain that thinks by wearing tight clothing on the platform she is stumbling in her duties of showing modesty and being above reproach as a leader.

She is a young lady just out of college.  No doubt with student debt to clear.  She works at the church so she is not making a lot of money.  She is living in our church subsidized housing.  I doubt she has a lot of money to spend on clothing.  She very likely is wearing the only clothing she has available to wear.

I don’t have money myself to buy her clothes, even if I thought that was appropriate for me to do.  My original question to my Facebook group was “What would you do?”  Among the many “mind your own business!” and “she’s not hurting anyone!” I got not one single concrete answer as to what others would do.

So, here is the other thing that bothers me about all this.  The answers I received from the under 40 Facebook members of that group pretty much followed the theme of “She’s not hurting anyone!  If it doesn’t hurt anyone, there is nothing wrong with it!  She should wear what she wants!”  And, it surprised me.  It surprised me because: who are you to judge whether it is hurting someone?  How are you to know if it is hurting someone?  How are you to know if someone in the congregation is struggling with lust?  With sexual sin?  Who are you to know if there is someone in the congregation that looks at that lovely young lady in her tight pants and stops thinking about worship and starts thinking about unsavory things?  Yes, it is true that it is unfair to judge or lust after a woman simply by what she wears.  However, whether it is fair or not, it is reality.  It happens.  And we are foolish if we do not take heed and remember that.  We are foolish, I believe, if we say, “I can wear what I want!  If it bothers you then that is your problem, not mine!”

In the New Testament, Paul writes a whole chapter about not causing others to stumble.  Read 1 Corinthians 8.  And if you are a leader, standing up where everyone can see you Sunday after Sunday, I believe you should be even more careful about leading anyone possibly astray or possibly causing them to stumble in their walk.  For me, that is the bottom line.

That is what I think, and how I feel.  I have thought about this for a year, and I still have no solution.  I believe God has made it clear that I am not to say anything.  So, I continue to pray about it.  But I fear there is a whole generation of women who firmly believe they can wear anything, do anything, and not think about any consequences or how it might affect others.

Posted October 2, 2018 by Maureen in Christian, Randomness

Tagged with , ,

You HAVE it – USE it!   Leave a comment

Being a middle-aged single lady and a Christian, I have heard variations on the advice “how to get married”, or “how to meet the RIGHT man” a number of times.  Almost always it will be a Christian man or woman telling the story of how they met their husband or wife, and advocating that the way it happened for them is the RIGHT way, and/or the ONLY way. 

I don’t mind getting advice.  I like hearing what other people think, and I often see things in a different light or my mind is opened to things I hadn’t considered.  I do listen with much caution, however, when people try to tell me theirs is the RIGHT way or the ONLY way to find a husband.   I know someone who repeats on a regular basis, “Oh –I’ve had four kids…. I KNOW!”  or “Oh, trust me, I’ve had four kids, and I KNOW”.  The only thing that person KNOWS is her four kids.  She does not KNOW any other kids. 

Let me tell you the true story of two single people.  The first is a young man, in his early 30’s.  For personal, business, and family reasons he lives in a small town in the mid west and has all his life.  He has been a faithful church attender and participator for years.  He really, truly, wants to get married and share his life with a woman, and yet there is no one in his church or hometown whom he has connected with and felt that God was calling them together.  His family condemns him (literally) because he is in his 30’s and not married.  They steadfastly maintain that he has hidden sin in his life, that he isn’t living the life God wants for him, because he is not married.  Though they see him daily and it is a small town so everyone knows about everyone else, they still maintain he must be a sinner because he isn’t married by now.  He has been searching on Christian dating web sites, meeting online ladies around the country, trying to find a wife.

The second single person is a middle-aged lady. She is a good Christian who is part of a good church.  She attends regularly, teaches Sunday School, and participates in other groups and activities of the church.  She prays and reads her Bible regularly.  She lives in an area of the country that, while it is heavily populated, has few truly Christian single in her age bracket.  And, there is not one single man in her church that God has lead her to.  There are fine single men, just none that are close to her age that she is interested in.  She has been searching on Christian dating web sites, meeting men from around the country, trying to find a husband.  Her family finds her strange that she searches for a husband on the internet, and her friends think she is being reckless to do so.

One aspect of Christian advice for FINDING YOUR MATE goes something like this:  If you believe that Jesus is your savior, if you read your Bible regularly and pray, if you not only attend church but participate in the teaching and ministries of the church —- well then, just sit back and wait, ‘cause God is going to send your knight in shining armor or your beautiful princess to you.  Just wait!  It will happen!

Now of course I’m using a bit of hyperbole to describe that advice I have heard in various forms over the years.  But what I don’t understand about this advice is, where in the Bible does it say that as Christians we sit passively by and wait for God to bring us our mate?  Don’t get me wrong – I agree with everything in the previous paragraph about having Jesus as your savior, reading your Bible, praying, being a member of a church and participating in that church’s ministries.  I absolutely believe every Christian should do all those things.  The part I have a problem with is the sitting and waiting.  Reallly?

I don’t believe God created us to be passive.  I don’t believe God created us to not use our arms and legs, our minds and our mouths, our gifts and our talents.  God created us with all those things and more – He wants us to USE them.  Of course as Christians we need always to use what God has given us with prayer and asking God for wisdom and discernment.  We should not be flying off here and there, trying to “help” God, or thinking we know just what God wants us to do or be —- without praying about it, and asking God for His wisdom and discernment.  God wants us to use the things He created in us and made us to be, but He wants us to do that for His glory and praise, and in His wisdom.  That, my friends, in my opinion, is the ONLY RIGHT WAY.

So, what do you think?   What would you do if one of those people I talked about was you?

Posted September 14, 2012 by Maureen in Being Single, Christian

Tagged with , , , ,