Love, Cupid and Evangelical Faith

Saving Hope  by Karen P. Simpson

Saving Hope
by Karen P. Simpson

Cupid’s arrow hit me March 2, 1995. 

I wasn’t too happy with that little flying angel. I didn’t trust him even after I felt his little arrow pierce my heart. I was determined to stay upright and refuse to fall. But God had other plans. 

A friend tried to introduce me to cupid in 1993. She said she knew the perfect guy for me. He was tall, dark hair, Christian, great with kids, really nice and very GQ. She said she could ‘see’ us together. 

Well her friend and I refused to take the bait. We both were recovering from failed relationships. And I had finally figured out that the only guys attracted to me needed to be institutionalized. 

I told my friend he wouldn’t be interested unless something was wrong with him. Normal guys just aren’t interested in me. 

Seriously, even my other girlfriends agreed I could clear the room of crazies. Every guy who needed a therapist or probation officer instead of a girlfriend naturally seemed drawn to me. 

I changed my shampoo, conditioner, perfume and everything else but it didn’t matter. 

I prayed to God just about every day since I started noticing boys but God was silent. I decided God was clearly telling me I was too messed up for a relationship. I could not meet, begin or sustain a relationship with a nice guy. 

Well our mutual friend disagreed and remained persistent for over two years. Finally we both agreed at the same time to meet. 

Our friend had a son the same age as my son so she thought it was a great idea for us all to meet for lunch. Despite us all being in ‘helping’ fields, I didn’t like the idea of my son meeting a stranger before I checked him out first so I asked for his number and call him at work before our scheduled date. 

He seemed to be all the great things my friend claimed except he was atheist. 

ATHEIST? He was too smart for God. 

I couldn’t date anyone who didn’t attend church.  God was very important to me.  I had just started going back to church.  I was a mom. I couldn’t date anyone who didn’t attend church. 

I figured this was the end of the conversation with the nice man with the kind voice on the other end of the phone.  God was definitely a deal breaker. 

However, he offered to go to church. This man who I never met agreed to go to church with me. I still can’t believe I didn’t fall off my chair or drop the phone when he claimed to be atheist. 

I protested; clarifying that he couldn’t just try it on because I was a mom.  I had a son. As long as we were together, he would have to make a lifelong commitment.  I was not going to fight with my son about going to church because he didn’t go to church. 

He agreed. He said he didn’t have a problem with church.  He just didn’t believe in God. As a juvenile probation officer he often recommended families go to church for the structure, support and values. 

Well that is all I recall from our first conversation. He asked for my number and told me he’d call me at home.

I immediately called my friend to ask why she assumed he was Christian when he clearly was atheist. ATHEIST!

 I thought she knew this guy. 

She insisted he wasn’t really atheist and told me not to worry. 

I realized my friend must have hit her head, needed a dictionary, was smoking dope or whatever making her completely out of touch with reality. 

I’d been around enough to know that just because something looked like a caterpillar didn’t mean it would turn into a butterfly.  And I’d learned it wasn’t fair to go into a relationship expecting the person to improve with time.  Why set my son and myself up for disappointment? 

I prayed and for the first time God told me to relax, reminding me that he agreed to go to church. 

The atheist called later and we talked for over 10 ½ hours while watching the Oscars Academy Awards. He was nice. He was funny.  And we had lots in common. 

He said he was probably more agnostic since he prayed on airplanes. 

He also kept his word.  He attended church and we even joined the church softball team. 

The first thing my 3-year old son asked him? 

‘You want a beer? Everyone else has one.”

 

I’m not sure what happened after he started coming to church. 

I prayed for a man to hold my hand in the pews.  I never expected he’d make me a pastor’s wife.

I guess that’s his testimony.  My job was to get him to church.  And make peace with cupid. cupid

Luke 11:9

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
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Stone Age Theology

Why aren’t Christian women speaking out about the contraception debate?  Apparently it isn’t much of a debate because the men seem to be dominating the airwaves, while Christian women seem oddly silent.

Where are all the women???? I’m growing hoarse screaming at my television, radio, newspaper and computer screen every time I hear a panel of men or a male politician, a male radio host or some other male…pastor preaching about the sins of contraception or making ignorant, misinformed claims that women can’t get pregnant during rape or incest, or some other shouldn’t have been said, much less repeated ignorant statement about contraception, health, sex etc…

Where are these men’s wives, sisters, daughters, mothers, grandmothers, doctors etc…?  And why aren’t they hitting them in back of the head or politely informing them to shut up???????  Please dear let me help you with those boards in your eyes (Matthew 7:3).

And why isn’t anyone asking each and every one of them, “So you and every sexual partner you’ve ever had has never ever used any type of contraception ever?”

And every male politician is covered by a plan that provides contraception and covers them or a family member if they become pregnant regardless of marital status. A la carte insurance is rarely affordable for anyone who needs it. But that is another post for another blogger.

Am I the only Christian woman at risk of losing my gym membership or job because I’m screaming back at the insanity?

Since I’ve been forced to either hear all these stupid comments or hide in a cave, I feel compelled to throw a bunch of my own stupid observations.  I have hundreds of FB friends, most who are Christian, many ordained ministers and almost all who have been sexually active (i.e. married) at some point in their lives, however none have a child for every nine months they were married. SINNERS!!!!

Why do so many LOUD Christians take bits of scripture, sculpt it into stones and begin throwing it around as gospel, I mean – law? Evangelizing isn’t supposed to be some wicked game of dodge ball.

Rocks hurt! I do not understand how anyone can pretend writing the words ‘good news’ on the side of a rock is going to soften its blow.  How do these statements reflect our love for God or our neighbor?

And why should Christians who value their religious freedom feel entitled to force their religious beliefs on anyone else? Lazy evangelism!

I don’t recall Jesus saying much about contraception, health insurance or the consequences of rape but Jesus did say in John 8:7, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

And I don’t want to throw stones, shake my fist or scream at my fellow brothers and sisters.  But I will share my experience with the Church, contraception and healthcare.

Many years ago I had a tubal pregnancy, went to a Catholic hospital where a priest prayed with me and an awesome doctor saved my life (i.e. removed the pregnancy, repaired the tube and everything else).  The doctor prescribed hormone (contraceptive) pills to stop the ‘stuff’ that caused the pregnancy outside of my uterus.

And many years later my doctor strongly recommended and my husband strongly encouraged me to have a hysterectomy to stop a very bad bleeding problem. Perhaps it was the same bleeding problem of our sister who was healed by Jesus in Matthew 9:20-22.  Who knows?  I only know that I was also healed after I prayed with my pastor and allowed my doctor to perform the ultimate surgical contraception.

And most importantly, like our biblical sister and politicians, it didn’t cost me anything because I had healthcare. Amen!

Related Articles:

Privilege and The Pill by Rachel Held Evans

Pregnancy Coverage for Men? by Michael Hiltzik

Birth Control vs Hysterectomy in Catholic Hospitals by Hormones Matter

You’re the Inspiration

Unexpected PastorI dreamed of making a difference. I hoped to make this world a better place because of my contribution to society.  I wanted to be smart, strong and self-sufficient. I hoped to be loved, honored and adored. But most of all I wanted to be safe and make this world a safer place.

I thought I could do all that by earning my doctorate in psychology, conducting research and publishing my work of empirical facts.

I am comfortable writing research papers, training manuals, and creating informational brochures and videos.  I love conducting workshops, seminars and other training sessions about child welfare, retirement, management, leadership development, marriage…really any subject I can research that allows me to walk around a room full of people, tell stories and share information.

I’m not a creative writer. Prior to this blog, I may have written one strange poem. Prior to therapy, I never dreamed of writing, publishing or even sharing the intimate details of my life.  My secrets were safely locked away somewhere by God.

I didn’t think I had or wanted access to them; and I definitely didn’t plan to share my shame with the world. I was afraid my past would rob me of my professional credibility just as my past always crept up to shatter every hope, dream or relationship I ventured.

So who inspired me to blog? My husband, The Unexpected Pastor. He is the gifted blogger.  He loves starting new blogs, writing posts, publishing his work.  He’s written lots of stories, poems, a few books and is always dreaming of more.

I love reading his work because it is good – funny, thought-provoking, perfect grammar with words that take me into someone else’s world for a moment – leaving my mess behind. Blogging was definitely his idea and his craft.

I expressed my creative energy on canvas.  I love to paint!

I shared my spiritual gifts with a women’s bible study in our home when our children were little and led many studies for youth, adults and couples at church but after my last group ended, I couldn’t find a consistent time to form another.

I appreciated the break for a while but as days moved into months, I started feeling anxious and called to do something. I attended lots of studies but began to feel like a leech. I needed a ministry.

But my schedule just wouldn’t open up to start anything!  I couldn’t have a group this Monday at 7, next Saturday at 9 and lets pick back up in a few weeks…

My husband immediately knew I needed to start a blog.  Finally, I stopped looking at him like a deranged lunatic and published my very first post on April 10, 2012.

Sisters of Christ was born.

I assumed I was proving him wrong and I’d be done blogging as soon as I ran out of ideas but I got hooked.  I met an incredible family of bloggers around the world that continue to nurture and sustain my faith, encouraging me to break the chains of the past and enjoy today!

God’s love letter (the Bible) and our Daily Post have lots of topic to blog about.

I can write and publish at my convenience. And followers read at theirs – cool!

Sisters of Christ also provides a great wall to hang my paintings to view anytime by anyone from anywhere – the lighting is always perfect. Awesome!

I don’t know if my blog is making the world a better place but I know it is making me a better person.

And my hubby – he is my favorite fan!  The other day he greeted me with, “I am so proud of you!  I love your blog!”  He made my day!

I do love it when he’s right!  Amen!

Wicked

In arrogance the wicked hunts down the weak, The wicked blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord. The wicked does not seek God; There is no room for God in the thoughts of the wicked. Their mouth is full of lies and threats; The wicked watch in secret for victims; like a lion in cover lying in wait to catch the helpless; The wicked catches the helpless and drags them off. Victims are crushed, they collapse; they fall under his strength. Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless.  Psalm 10

Wicked!  I’ll say it again – WICKED!  I’m trying to stir up the evil this word should provoke, but I’ve seen the musical so many times, the word has been stripped of its evil edge.

I have so much trouble with this word.  I don’t know why.  As a repeated victim, I’ve met evil so why am I surprised when it hits me again and again?  I often forget that wicked isn’t just a word reserved for witches on Halloween or that wicked isn’t just another word for sin.  Satan is so crafty at luring me into a Pollyanna stupor denying the existence of evil.  I skip through life, feeling safe and carefree and all of a sudden POUNCE!  I’m face to face with evil!

Satan is real!  As I type, the east coast is under siege.  Hurricane Sandy 2012 “Frankenstorm” is threatening our safety, ready to crush the helpless – wicked! Is it an act of God or the devil? I don’t know.

Like most, when confronted by wickedness, I wrestle with God and not the devil. I pray like the psalmist for God to save me or the victim of violence.  I know I don’t have the courage or strength to beat Satan.

Most struggle with God because very few believe in Satan. Why? The Bible confirms the existence of evil. Most agree rape, incest and bullying are wicked but Satan keeps us all in such a state of denial that when it occurs we try to explain it away – blame the victim or make excuses for the perpetrator. Many well-meaning anti-rape and anti-bullying efforts continue to keep the responsibility on the victim by advising the victim to stand up to their bullies or just ignore them which usually escalates the problem.

If rapists and bullies aren’t wicked? Who is wicked? Is wicked just another name for sin? Our scripture text states otherwise – the wicked revile God. The wicked abuse, hate, condemn and despise God.  They do not seek God.  They lie and threaten.  Do these scriptures help us find and rid our world of evil?

There are dangers in declaring the wicked.  The Bible warns that the wicked will plot against the righteous. Christ was accused of being a demon (wicked), he was killed because he was a threat.

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible portrays the risks of seeking the wicked. Many innocents died during the Salem witch hunts and many others were imprisoned during the McCarthy hearings of the 1950s.  History seems determined to repeat itself.

While society remains silent about rape and bullying, society eagerly calls other acts wicked and has no trouble rallying large groups to rid our world of the evils of homosexuality and abortion. In the past few months the church has become a place of division, hatred and anger.  A few members of the church have become so passionate in their beliefs that they are bullying others, calling fellow sisters evil or wicked for defending (loving) homosexuals or expressing compassion for abortion victims. The bible does not give any member of the church the ability to declare the salvation of another. God thankfully is the only judge with Christ as our advocate.

I believe life begins at conception and I believe abortions make everyone a victim (mom, baby, doctor etc…).  As a church we should intervene with love by providing support and help for mothers with unwanted pregnancies to find or create a safe, nurturing home for their babies.

As for same sex marriage, I don’t see how it threatens my marriage.  Nor am I able to find any biblical justification to pronounce their sins greater than mine. Christ didn’t declare homosexuals wicked and the few anti-homosexual scriptures all admonish violent sexual behavior –rape!

I don’t presume to know God’s position about either issue. I have too many boards hanging out of my own eyes to judge anyone else.

But I am sure about what God calls me to do.  In all four gospels, Jesus commands me to:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.  (Matthew 22, Mark 12, Luke 10, John 15)

And a message to the disruptive:

We hear that some among you are idle and disruptive. They are busybodies. Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down.  2 Thessalonians 3:11-12

And finally, a message for the Wicked:

The Lord laughs at the wicked,

for God knows their day is coming. Psalm 37: 13

Dear Lord thank you for your love.  Make your church a safe gathering place for everyone to worship you! Help me to love my neighbor. Arise, Lord! Lift up your hand, O God. Do not forget the helpless.   Be with and wipe every tear of my sisters raped, bullied or abused! Do not give the wicked the last laugh. Amen.