Thursday, June 30, 2011

Anti-Legalists?


Do you ever read something or repeatedly hear something that makes no sense and just drives you crazy? An idea? A point of view? An opinion? There's been talk in Christian circles lately that’s been driving me up a wall. No, I'm not talking about youth groups or hard rock; I'm talking about judgmental attitudes.

Now, before you start pulling your hair out, please hear me. I'm actually coming from a
different side of the picture than most. Usually, when I hear people talking about "legalists" and "judgers," I'm hearing it from “liberal” Christians who are calling more "conservative" Christians "legalists". Why? Now that is the question.

I recently participated in a discussion on Google Buzz about "hyper-conservatives". First of all, let me say that I really, really hate that term. I mean, it's so relative! Who is to say what “hyper- conservative” even means? Or even "conservative?” I know people I would definitely consider liberal who call themselves conservative, but, I also know strict Mennonites who call themselves conservative! They look and act like they’re from different planets, but they both own the term. In fact, some non-Christians use the term “conservative” to describe their political position. There is no clear line. It's all relative.

Anyway, I noticed that one of the people in the conversation pointed out that a certain secular pop star (Katy Perry) "used to be" a Christian, but ran from the faith of her childhood (into a completely anti-Christian behavior and lifestyle) because of her parent's alleged "hyper- conservative" lifestyle. He added that he wasn’t surprised and the she obviously, “ran from the prison of religion as soon as she could.”

This is a total sore spot with me. First, I really, really, really hate it when people blame their "hyper-conservative" families for their own rebellion—“running from Christianity.” What caused Katy Perry to run from "the prison of religion" – a term I think is just an excuse to do whatever we want, as if "free in Christ" means free to do whatever—was her own sinful heart. It was not her parents fault, or her family's fault, or her church's fault. We get so caught up in blame shifting that it gets ridiculous. We are responsible for our own sin - we can't blame it on those around us.

I don’t think a conservative (or even a hyper conservative) lifestyle is what causes young people to run from Christianity (and even if it is, it is still not the family's “fault”). I think what causes a young person to run (outside of his/her lack of faith in Christ) is perhaps not knowing why they believe what they believe.

Some young people haven't embraced a true faith, or their own convictions; instead, they have simply been going through the motions, adopting the convictions of others who, in their opinion, have it all together. They don't know why they do what they do.

When they're child says "Why do we __?" or “Why don’t we ___?” the parent doesn't have an
answer—or doesn’t take the time to give one. This is a problem! We have to know why we do what we do - otherwise we are living a works-based religion. But a family who has convictions from the Bible (perhaps they are considered "ultra-conservative", but they're still based on a thoughtful interpretation of Scripture) is doing nothing wrong. If your parents decide (from their reading of Scripture.) that head-coverings are to be worn constantly in their household, that does not mean that the child has an excuse to abandon their faith and blame their rebellion on their hatred for head coverings, complaining, "Oh, they were just sooo (hyper) conservative."

Being “ultra-conservative" (whatever that really means) is not a bad thing if the Holy Spirit has
convicted the family and this is how they choose to work out their understanding of Scripture.

And what does it say about the child who rejects Christianity for such superficial things? It's a
love for the things of the world that causes a child to run from Christianity (or authority.), not whether or not the parents are "ultra-conservative". And what does "ultra” or “hyper” conservative" mean anyway? Can we be "too godly"? True, if our heart is in the wrong place then it is sin - but anything that isn't done in faith is sin.

Remember, Jesus came to fulfill the law, not to destroy it (Matt. 5:17). He said that if we love Him, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15, 21). Love isn't a warm fuzzy - it's more than simple human affection. Like my mom said today, “Loving God means we honor and obey Him with abandon because of who He is and what He’s done for us.” Loving our neighbor is treating others the way we want to be treated, sacrificing for them, and putting them first (John 15:13). Isn’t it interesting that these things happen when we keep his commandments?

Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37–39)

In other words, all the commandments of God have to do with these two commands. If we can
obey these, we will have obeyed the others. Think about it. Be careful of judging others as “ultra-conservative” or “legalistic.” Be careful of being a legalistic anti-legalist.

For more on this subject, read Sally “Used to be” a Legalist by my wonderful Mother. :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


“Her heart was torn between love and the future of Hawaii.”


Well, I watched Princess Kaiulani with Melissa last night.

The movie is basically about Princess Victoria Kaiulani Kalaninuiahilapalapa Kawekiui Lunalilo's journey from a little girl growing up in the rugged, tropical beauty of Hawaii in the 1800's to a young woman standing up for her Country and fighting for the right's of her people. It was slow moving and quiet, but interesting. This will give you a bit more into the basic story before I go into my thoughts on the film...




Okay, soooo...the basic premise of the movie was good but a few things really started to irritate me (and caused me to become irritated with the movie itself.) one was the kissing scenes. They eventually got...um...kind of ridiculous? Not really scandalous - just super awkward. The other thing that bothered me was the fact that everything went waaaay too fast. I mean, we were just introduced to the guy 5 minutes ago and already it's two years later and they're kissing each other like there's no tomorrow??!!! What??? I'm not talking about once or twice but like, 8 times - never-ending-ly awkward kissing scenes. :P Pleaaaase, people - get on with the story.

(Also, Princess Kaiulani giggles constantly. ANNOYING.)

Just to clarify - it's not like I'm unromantic or unfeeling or anything, but this was NOT romance. This was the director not helping you get to know the characters but deciding to make up for that by passionate kissing and giggles over and over and over again. Sorry, but that doesn't fly with me. I want to FEEL for the characters! I want to know them and care about what happens to them. I want to feel like these people are my friends and their fate is something that I actually feel something about.

Now for the positive things I found in the movie (yes, there are some! :))

I thought that the actor who played for the Princess' aunt was wonderful. She didn't have many lines, but the ones that she did have were delivered powerfully and with much emotion.

Another thing that I really loved was the cinematography...I thought that the sweeping views of Hawaii (a Hawaii that's not swarming with tourists. ;)) were breathtaking and Melissa and I both agreed that we wished we could've visited Hawaii before the 1900's.

I have not read very much about Princess Kaiulani, or her story, so I'm not sure how much of the movie was true, but I talked with my Dad a bit afterward, and told him some of the facts that the movie had communicated to me and he informed me that many of them were true to history. Which brings me to the one thing that I found extremely interesting and thought-provoking about the movie...

I am most assuredly NOT Anti-American (I love my Country!) but it really, really annoys me when I hear of us Americans sticking our noses where we have no business. :P Yes, we are called to take dominion (as Christians.) - but Hawaii was a Christian country - we're not to take dominion of each other. :P

We invaded Hawaii and claimed it as our own. This was NOT our right and not something that we should have done. Of course, we take that a step further and only landowners in Hawaii could vote. Now I think that would be a fine decision here in the States, but in Hawaii, 90% of the population were Hawaiian - and none of them owned land. Kind of ridiculous - agreed?

Anyway, before this film I had known very little of the history of Hawaii and how it came to be an American state, so I really appreciated the learning experience that it afforded me.

Morally, the movie was acceptable and there were several moments where I saw examples of Christ-like love and sacrifice. One part that particularly stood out to me was Kaiulani showing kindness and mercy to the teacher who had been so cruel towards her in the beginning. A true picture of Christ and an example we would all do well to follow.

In closing, I wish I could say "Go see this movie!" and "It was amazing!", but really, I can't and it wasn't. But if you have an evening with nothing else to do, and you want to watch a relatively clean and quiet documentary-style film - I'd say to give it a go.
My life is a little overwhelming at the moment, which is the reason I haven't had time to put up a longer post then the past three. But soon, one will be coming. For now, give this beautiful & encouraging song a listen.







Stronger
by Mandisa

Hey, heard you were up all night
Thinking about how your world ain't right
And you wonder if things will ever get better
And you're asking why is it always raining on you
When all you want is just a little good news
Instead of standing there stuck out in the weather

Oh, don't hang your head
It's gonna end
God's right there
Even if it's hard to see Him
I promise you that He still cares

When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain't gonna last forever
And things can only get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger
Gonna make you stronger, stronger, stronger
Believe me, this is gonna make you ...

Try and do the best you can
Hold on and let Him hold your hand
And go on and fall into the arms of Jesus
Oh, lift your head it's gonna end
God's right there
Even when you just can't feel Him
I promise you that He still cares

'Cause if He started this work in your life
He will be faithful to complete it
If only you believe it
He knows how much it hurts
And I'm sure that He's gonna help you get through this

When the waves are taking you under
Hold on just a little bit longer
He knows that this is gonna make you stronger, stronger
The pain ain't gonna last forever
In time it's gonna get better
Believe me
This is gonna make you stronger.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I have the best father in the world and everyone should know that. :-)

So, Happy Father's Day to my amazing, talented, patient, wonderful, loving father.

I love you so very, very much, Dad. Thank you for everything you done for me and everything that you continue to do. Thank you for being my Knight in shining armor - my defender, my encourager, my challenger and my daddy. I wish for you the best father's day of all time. :-)

I'm so blessed to have the privilege of you being MY father. <3


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Do you ever hear a song that moves you and really speaks to your heart? I had one of those moments. I heard this one on the radio on the way home from Church today and nearly cried. It's beautiful.







Blessings
by Laura Story

We pray for blessings
We pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
All the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things

'Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if the thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know the pain reminds this heart
That this is not, this is not our home

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

Friday, June 10, 2011

Turkey Fest 2011

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
- Proverbs 17:22


Last night was the annual Turkey Festival in Tremont! Let me tell you, nothing is quite like a small-town carnival!! We were joined by many good friends and we spent the evening riding the rides, eating a few snacks and laughing...a lot. :)

They had a new ride that I have a bunch of pictures of in this post - it was called Nemesis 360°...terrifying, exhilarating and a TON of fun. It went extremely fast and went upside down several times. It was VERY popular with our group. :D

So anyway, without further ado, here are a few snapshots of our amazing evening. :)



Amusement... *grin*



Melissa got this "up high" view of the carnival grounds from the Ferris Wheel!



Big smiles were everywhere...


Emma and Hannah were having a fabulous time. :)



Abigail and Hannah try out the "Orbiter"...


I think the Boat ride freaked them out a bit. ;)



Mom and William take a spin...


Moosh took some amazing pictures while at the carnival!
(all these pictures are courtesy of her...except the self-portrait ones that I took.)



Lenna, Kasey and I right before Kasey and I went for a CRAZY ride on the Zipper!! :D



"Eyzma! Put your hands in the air!"
Lenna and I brave "Nemesis"!


We stayed upside down for a couple seconds before being dropped and spun around....


We decided it would be more epic if we stuck our legs out. :D


Coming back down...


Look closely...I'm screaming. :P


Caleb and Corey...being calm and collected. :D



The Ferris Wheel at night is beautiful. :)




Melissa and I...exhausted and messy, but we had a fabulous time. :)



After much arguing we made Sam get in the picture with us. :D


Moosh and Sierra. :D


Suzanne and Sierra! :D



I think Steven and Sam were talking about throwing up in this picture. :P


A small portion of our group!



And it was a wonderful night. :)



Ciao!

Thursday, June 09, 2011

My dear friend, Elissa Pickle, started this blog a little while ago. IT IS AMAZING.

Go visit. :)

Crunchy Con Natural Health and Cosmetics


Thursday, June 02, 2011


And now for the second part of our trip - CALIFORNIA! :)



These are not quite in order, but I felt that it was only fitting to begin with a picture of my beautiful niece, Lilyana Shapirta Hector. :)



McDonald & Hector girls!




A group of Hectors & McDonalds (and 1 Blanchard!) went hiking - it appears that they had a good time. :)



::smile::

On our way up to Yosemite National Park!! Unfortunately, it was too cold to stay very long.



My adorably and happy nephew, Joshua! :)



We had fun. ;D



Hohn took us out to a wonderful Mexican dinner!! Here he is holding Lilyana. :)



Mother and Daughter! <3




Joel, Nic, Moosh and Anton, having a fabulous time. :D


Matthew and Mr. Rafferty...having fun too, I think. :D


Moosh, myself and Anton with our niece!
Outlaws!!!


Emma *loved* the zip line at Jenness Park Christian Camp!




William had way too much fun. :D


The conversation at Presbytery was great. :D



Moosh & Anton - OUTLAWS!



Look at those cheeks!!! SO CUTE. :D



Both Ben and his daughter (and his wife!) don't mind dressing up for events. :D



Lilyana's baptism was beautiful and moving. There was a lot of emotion in our pew. :)






Dad, Mom and their newest grandchild. :)



Abigail loved the "Leap of Faith" at the camp.



MILKSHAKES. Nic and I were the milkshake makers. :)



William and I being goofy. :)


Thomas and Lindsey!! :)





All in all, it was a wonderful trip. So many new memories were made, so many good times were had, not to mention the conversations, encouragement, laughter and joy that was all around.

This vacation was so perfect. Thank you Hector & Chapa families for offering your homes to us and thank you to all our friends (old & new!) for the wonderful, encouraging fellowship that was had.

It was amazing. :)