The Southwest Community Connection Faith Forum Update

Since I don’t get the chance to pick up a copy of Christian News Northwest anymore I have to switch my local newspaper update to The Southwest Community Connection. I want to point out the Faith Forum articles in the October and November issues.

October featured Scott Kolbet, the pastoral associate at St. John Fisher Catholic Church. He talked about the word mercy and its Latin root misercordia which means “taking the misery of others into one’s own heart.”  Kolbet writes, “A merciful God takes our miseries into his heart. If we are merciful, we are taking the miseries of others into our hearts…It is about God being present in my life and taking my life, my miseries and my joys into himself.” 

On the complete opposite spectrum, the November issue featured Andrea Furber, a certified Pranic Healer, who talked about moving our hands in long circular motions and “removing energetic blockages that are hindering the flow of fresh, clean energy into the energy field of the person who came for healing. This fresh energy allows the body to do more rapidly what it always does–heal itself.”

I would much rather have the mercy of a loving God then me waving my hands around trying to heal myself. What about you?

Premiere of “Lost” at Joni and Friends Retreat in Murrieta, Ca

I spent the past week with my family in Murrieta, California, at the Joni and Friends Retreat. It’s something that my brother KC has done for the past ten years and always looks forward to. This was my third or fourth year. For the talent show my sister Hannah and I wanted to make a movie so we forced some of our friends to help us out. This is the Red Carpet Premiere Party of our movie LOST. Tomorrow the movie will be debuted.

Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris

The disciples, (as Rob Bell points out in this NOOMA video) at least some of them, were young, maybe 15, 16 years old. And yet God used teenagers to change the world.

The Harris brothers are rebelling against low expectations set for teens and encourage others as well. The book breaks down the myth of teenagers and what they can do to challenge themselves and to really undertake difficult circumstances that will help them to grow and mature.

Read the first chapter here. Read a review here and here. Download the book’s study guide here.  Check out their popular website and blog here. Listen, read, and/or watch a sermon by John Piper on the subject of teenagers here. Buy the book here.

The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse — Part 3

The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse by David Johnson and Jeff Van Vonderen

Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here

Part 3: Post-Abuse Recovery

Chapter 17: How to Escape a Spiritual Trap

• It’s easy to get into a spiritually abusive system, but it’s very hard to get out. The further we move away from normal the more trapped we are in our thinking. We can become delusional about the situation and at some point even addicted to religion.

Chapter 18: Renewing the Mind & Chapter 19: Recovering the Right Focus

• To begin seeing the abusive system clearly and not through the unhealthy lens that the abusive system wants you to look through you must return to the true gospel, not the performance gospel an abusive system can preach, but a gospel where there is freedom in Christ, where there is rest and hope and love.

Chapter 20: One Response: Flight

• Here are some questions the authors ask when thinking about whether or not to leave or to stay: Does grace really have a chance? Are you supporting what you hate? Do you need to be right? Can you stay, and stay healthy, both at the same time? Can you decide your own limits and stick with them? Do you believe God cares more about the church than you do? Is it possible the system might need to die? Are you trying to help the system even though you are exhausted? Are you able to listen to the voice of sanity? Do you really know where to sow? If you came today for the first time, knowing what you know now about the system, would you stay?

Chapter 19: One Response: Fight

• The authors give some helpful advice for those who choose to fight the spiritually abusive system. Decide whom you serve, whether Christ or yourself. Be ready for resistance. Keep telling the truth. Know who your enemy is. Satan is the enemy, our battle is not against flesh and blood. Hang on to the Shepherd. Know how a healthy spiritual system functions. 

The book ends with a message to perpetrators of spiritual abuse.

An interview with one of the authors here.

Another review here.