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Shame: Not the Final Say

Shaming is just as violent a crime as rioting, and a no touch aspect of it. Just because our bodies are not touched or our possessions are not touched does not mean it isn’t harmful. It is also not limited by the truth – lies can be manufactured to further shame the victim. If phrased graphically, it is a form of mental and emotional rape. However, there are chastity belts available.

I use the term victim here from a dictionary point of view. For if the victim refuses to internalize the shaming and the victim moniker, and has a solid inner core, all shaming attempts will fall on deaf ears.

Looking up to our Creator, Who sees all, keeps us from looking around about us and listening to its poison darts. We are children of God. Psalms 69:17 says, “You know my reproach and my shame and my dishonor; All my adversaries are before You.”

I spent two weeks many years ago in a women’s shelter, seeking relief from a shaming relationship. Today, I face shaming attempts on many fronts, but my God keeps my eyes on His prize. And I know I am not alone in this, not by a long shot.

Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, And instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, Everlasting joy will be theirs.

Isaiah 61:7

Verses are from the NASB.

Faith

What Is Your Reputation?

The Bible says that your reputation is more valuable than gold. And I agree, that you have to make wise decisions, based on Holy Spirit’s wisdom. But even that can cause derision, because man’s ways are not God’s ways – He sees the future and knows how to either remove blockades or hold our hand while we plow or tiptoe through them.

But no matter how hard you try to keep your reputation clean, there are mess ups and downright libel/slander. It is the latter I want to address. The mess ups are under the blood of Jesus if we ask forgiveness and a way forward, not looking to the right or left or engaging with those who wish to throw our sins in our faces.

When I moved here, I moved from the Midwest – the Bible belt. I naively assumed that people are pretty much the same everywhere here in America. I did not account for cultural differences. I had made some decisions that were less than stellar, but for the most part everyone saw my mistakes as just that and allowed me to move on with grace. I knew I would be moving to a more liberal state, but again I thought people were basically the same.

After I moved here, God told me to not and I quote, “worship my reputation.” At the time I did not understand this. Curious wording, because I am an introvert and for the most part felt I was free of others opinions of me. I wanted a new start. But He saw my heart and knew I had work to be done in this area. He saw ahead of me and let me know He was in control by giving me fair warning. He knew and would walk me though what I found. On day one.

I am a huge privacy fan, but quickly saw there is none. I have always known this to be true, but it was exacerbated here. I was forced to keep walking. I stumbled much, but God kept me from major mistakes. I will always be a privacy advocate, but there is a silver lining to the lack of it. It forces you to either stay authentic, or expose you as a phony. It forced me to be me.

The second big thing He told me: to be me. Being yourself is right now a revolutionary act. There is no hiding. At all. To not be you is to die inside, to be a dead man walking as they say.

And as for the eyes of the gossipers, don’t look to the left or right. Sometimes that means filtering what you see or hear. Cherish those that God gives you to weather the storms.

For to give in to their distractions is to get your eye off the prize of the high calling of Jesus Christ.

Faith

Pentecost and the Church

Pentecost occurs this year on May 31. It occurs the seventh Sunday or fifty days after Easter Sunday.

The first Pentecost is documented in the books of Acts, Chapters 1-2. Jesus told the apostles to not leave Jerusalem, and to wait for the Father for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They gathered together all with one mind, praying. When the God ordained day came, a mighty wind rushed into their abode, and they saw tongues of fire deposited on their heads. They spoke in languages that they did not understand, but others in the group did.

God separated mankind with the Tower of Babel, separating them through their languages. Here he gives them supernatural ability to speak to one another, known as speaking in tongues and interpretation of those tongues. Uniting them through Him, not in their own man-made wisdom.

President Trump has sent out an executive order that churches are essential. After our modern day version of waiting in our homes for God to deliver us from evil, He empowers us to go forth in our daily lives once again. Prayer is essential. Our nation was built on Christian values, and they have been and are being forcibly ejected from society.

I do believe that the churches are going to be on fire once again, bringing our Christian roots home to roost once again. I believe the timing of this year’s Pentecost and the President’s decree is no accident. It is God’s timing.

There are those of us who have been shut out of the Church. Some have walked away. I kept church-hopping, looking for the power of the the Holy Spirit. I had it once in the church I attended many years ago, and was spoiled for this. No more church-as-usual. To no avail, I finally walked away from it all.

Yesterday, I heavily skimmed a declassified document. One senator’s opinion, regarding the intelligence agencies using the clergy or missionaries abroad, said this relaxing of protocol “prostitutes the church.” One missionary states how they could not evangelize because of the suspicion that they encountered, even if they were not involved. In my opinion, I think these agencies through these tactics have been involved in the thwarting of the gospel going out into the world.

There is no separation of church and state, except from the point of view of the state getting involved in the Church. (This fallacy was based on a misinterpretation of a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptists.) Yet, through 501(c)3 designations, the state has been able to dictate what pastors can and can’t do. I see the President rectifying this as much as he can, giving us back our first amendment rights.

Prayer is my life’s blood. I depend on it, daily. For those of us who do not belong to a church when the Holy Spirit rains down tongues of fire: where two or more are gathered, you are having church (Matthew 18:20). Anywhere, anytime. And for those in the four walls, walk outside the front door and become the new mission field.


Have a blessed weekend. For those that have been reading, you are a blessing to me in ways you can’t imagine.

Faith

Poet Laureate’s Duties and History

I have always wondered what exactly a poet laureate’s duties are.

As for the United States, they are given much latitude. They give a reading to open the Library of Congress’s annual literary series, and close with a lecture. They are appointed from September of one year to May of the next. Poet laureates write occasional poetry. This position was started in 1936 as an endowment for “maintenance of a chair of Poetry of the English language in the Library of Congress.”

Beyond that they are given free reign to make it their own. Joseph Brodsky (he had an interesting life, (exiled from his native Russia), was the first to make a program that reached a national scale.

The current United States poet laureate is Joy Harjo, the first Native American to fill this role.

Other nations and localities have their own poet laureates. The Oregon poet laureate, appointed by Gov. Kate Brown, is Kim Stafford. His occasional poetry centers on the corona virus.

The term laurel was a wreath of honor given to ancient Greek poets or heroes. I would love to see poetry take on more importance and include more conservative voices.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ones of my favorite poets, was the celebrity of his time. “A Psalm of Life” speaks to me when I need encouragement to carry on.


Sources

PoetryReading

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