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Are Churches Ice-o-lating (Not Just Isolating) New members?

  1. rp_7276688008_157c6001e4_m.jpg Do liturgies, choirs, scripture readings, professional musicians, limit those who get to participate and how they get to participate in the worship service? and also what makes the worship service meaningful?
  2. Can members pray and talk about their needs and the world’s needs and their own religious experiences?  Many churches still have all male elders.  Sometimes they have limits on who can speak in church and what they can speak about such as only doctrinal and Bible-related subjects?  Are the gifts of the Holy Spirit encouraged and even demonstrated in front of the congregation.rp_3692285331_9043cf7c46_m.jpg
  3. Is individual spiritual growth encouraged and supported not just in the church and Bible study groups?
  4. Are potential new members and visitors encouraged and welcomed when they come?chinese-grandparents-sitting-grandchildren-26098101
  5. Have you observed how members interact and welcome people to the church?  Are their welcomes warm and inviting or do new people feel ignored, frozen out, and rejected?
  6. Do church members gather in little groups and ignore others who also have something to talk about?  Are children, the lifeblood of the church, not only not welcomed by the church members, but also their parents are sternly disciplined for not keeping them still, quiet, and also maybe even invisible?
  7. rp_9709182109_5fd0b7fbaa_n.jpgWorship and fellowship should be a warm, welcoming experience for all members and possible new members.  Membership in the church should not be kept to the special few who believe the right way, worship the right way and think that they are potentially free of sin, not only now, but also in the past and future.
  8. Cold shoulders by longtime parishioners are not only not welcomed by nonmembers and but also by current members in the church such behaviour fails to spread the Word and Love of God.  Church members should not be critical of others while excusing themselves.judge-not-discernment
  9. Everyone’s sins should be potentially forgivable.  Prostitutes and tax collectors were accepted and blessed by Jesus.
  10. Worship should not be an ordeal but energy producing, love enriching, faith renewing, inspiring and making one ready to go out into the world and follow Christ’s footsteps.
  11. Attending church should be an inspiring and happy experience where one feels welcome and accepted.  Where visitors and potential new members are not considered a problem; but a potential resource for the church and providing a chance for the church to see and meet their needs.beingjudgmental
  12. Is this what atheists see in the church?  If so, aren’t they right?  What kind of an example of Bible-loving Christians are we giving to them?  Hate or love.  Acceptance or rejection?  Solemnity or joyousness?
  13. Thanks to Bible teacher, Joyce Meyer for her inspiration and also thanks to the groups in which I’ve had loving and joyful experiences.

The Little PEOPLE

happyoldercoupleEvery time I think that the Little PEOPLE are getting ahead, I realise they aren’t.  I was very happy with the recent election because I felt that the new administration was supporting the middle class that was no longer the middle class under the current, soon past administration.

grandparent-and-grandchildWhat I have recently realised is that I have joined the lower class (once working class or even middle class in many situations).  We are squeaking by on social security and disability payments (which have been borrowed from to pay other government expenses)  and have to seek help like free food from The Master’s Hand locally.  Also in this area, if you have farm income (that counts against you as it is considered income before farming expenses are taken out) in terms of getting any extra government help.farmgrandchild

Most of us would contribute something to the economy if there was a way we could.  Most of us would like to have a voice in the new administration.  For example, most of Illinois voted for the new administration except for the heavily populated urban areas.  But where is our voice?  No one campaigned in our areas and we feel that no one has listened to our concerns.  What do you think?  Are there other areas of our country in the same shape?

Expert-Full-NYC-3Also who is the voice of the forgotten little people?  On the network that supported the election of the new administration, we are not represented.  They are again relying on experts who have no real life experience or it is so far in the remote past that they don’t remember it or so far removed from it, it doesn’t matter anymore.

rp_362536218_150_150.jpgAlso, there is pressure on these experts, especially women, to conform to certain standards not representative of the men and/or do not reflect what ordinary people look like.  It is nice for some of us to remain “young” and look youthful but is not the way most people look and it is easier to see the standards for men are less stringent than for women.rp_376403644_150_150.jpg

For example, most woman experts on this network look like they are ready to go to a cocktail party instead of a business occasion.  Yes, the men are nicely and appropriately dressed but they don’t have to struggle as much as women do to appear appropriately presentable, youthful and beautiful.rp_374315433_150_150.jpg

When are the Little PEOPLE going to be represented?  The overall wearing, wearing second-hand clothing, or in “high style” Wal-Mart,  but often foreign made, clothing?  We have a lot to say and we don’t have a lot we can do about our situations but suffer.  Welfare often misses us and as our social security or retirement checks do not raise, but inflation and the cost of living does and as things cost more and more, we have to get by on less and less with little or no representation in or help from society or the government!empty pockets

The Little PEOPLE do have something to say!  We have learned something through experience.  We do have “philosophical” discussions.  We can see things others more fortunate and potentially more powerful don’t.rp_228552603_150_150.jpg

Certainly how Little PEOPLE experience life has something to say about the type of life we are promoting for all!  Often as people do better and better economically, they tend to put people down who haven’t and consider their opinions useless and their motivations feckless!  Also other people who have done well often think the same way and might make fun of those who don’t.  How many Little People do you see in certain churches or certain social groups like the Elks?  Nuff said.rp_AVaP8ps9-q4L3Kdb3ETm_150_150.jpg

When Is A Compliment Is Not A Compliment? When Is Criticism Not Productive?

rp_7276688008_157c6001e4_m.jpgCriticism disguised as a compliment can be deadly as well as just plain mean and “snarky”.   Many a fainting flower has sub combed to the projected hatred of others even when he or she doesn’t deserve it.  One way is when a “put down” is disguised as a compliment.  Such an act can permanently damage one’s life.  How many people have stopped going to church when this is done by a “well-meaning?” individual?  “My, that is such a nice outfit.  Do you dress like this every day?”

A Concerned Pastor, Might He Have This Problem In His Church?

A Concerned Pastor, Might He Have This Problem In His Church?

Churches are supposed to be places where well-meaning individuals want to bring more individuals to Christ.  Or are they?  Some people in churches like to think that they are God’s chosen “elite” where only those properly initiated into the ways of the church are allowed to belong.  Membership seems to be by invitation only for those who will appreciate the selectiveness of their invitations and will protect and obey their canons.  If looks could kill, some people could die when they enter churches like this.

rp_366761818_150_150.jpgSome church people feel that their criticism of others is well- meaning and will make others better Christians and they are only being helpful; but often there is an underlying current of hatefulness,  righteous anger, and  severe judgmentalism.  When this is coupled with a victim’s underlying current of self-condemnation and guilt, it can be extremely damaging and make him or her feel unworthy of being a Christian and keep the person from ever going to that church or sometimes any church again.

 

Some Beliefs That Keep You Down

  1. control freak That you have to control others or they will control you.
  2. . That others can make you feel bad.
  3.   That many people in this society (including you) are of little value.
  4.    That only a dope gives to others not expecting to get anything in return.
  5.   That you have to be what you have been conditioned to be from birth.
  6.  That what  you see, hear, or perceive in any way must be the same as everybody else.
  7.  That the theories about life and the universe that others have are the only ways to view them.
  8. Sheep go where they are told to go, eat what is provided for them to eat, and ultimately give their lives so that somebody else doesn’t have to.
  9. That you are destined to be alone and you are lucky if you capture anybody’s attention, no matter how little and no matter how long.
  10. That those who think that they are supposed to control us, know more than we do.

The Right To Celebrate The Holiday Of Your Choice

rp_5187344980_c232d0aae8_m.jpgI have just as much right to put the “Merry” in Christmas and keep the Christ in Christmas as you have to take it out.  You can say, “Happy Holidays”, instead or call it the Xmas season.

Freedom of speech is a two-way street.  It does not protect just one kind of belief.  It was ordained to protect the rights for all Americans, not just the Politically Correct (PC) ones.  Have we forgotten that?

rp_3380860520_1b0dca5ab0_m.jpgThe American  Civil Liberties Union has a strong bias in terms of what freedoms they will protect and they often protect one group’s freedoms and take away the freedoms of another group with an opposite or opposing point of view.

It seems like the American Civil Liberties Union is operating like the PC police and many people who are afraid of being taken to court by them will not say anything although it needs to be said.

beingjudgmentalWhen it becomes a war on Christmas, it takes all the merriment, fun, and joy out of celebrating it.  I am noticing that stores are not decorating for Christmas as usual.  I miss it.  Yet, the stores still want people to buy Christmas gifts and decorations, religious or not.

There is a lot of paranoia about celebrating Christmas the old-fashioned way.  It is a tradition in the United States of America.  Now it seems like people are bending over backwards to facilitate celebrating the religious holidays of other religions.

rp_1360757052_a551272cf9_m.jpgThere are a lot of Muslim converts in prisons forcing prisons to make changes (for example) in the diets of prisoners who are not Muslim.  I don’t know if they purchase Kosher food and have special kitchens in which to prepare it for Orthodox Jews.  Seventh Day Adventists also have diet restrictions which are part of their belief systems.

Now in our society, I can’t tell certain jokes either.  We are not supposed to make fun of people who are different from us even though they might laugh too if they heard what we said.  I make fun of myself and have a good sense of humor.  I tell jokes about being disabled, being a “Red Neck,” and being just plain stupid sometimes.

What about all the silly Christmas songs?  Will the American Civil Liberties Union come after them too.

Before There Was Political Correctness For All Of America. There Was Political Correctness For Psychologists

debate_defined_shirts-rd63506e86f7c40c8a576c9480034df60_va6lr_512                                          Not Allowed Here!

Training for psychologists has always been politically correct and it always hampered the services we delivered.  We are in a world where values are not to be taught and religion should not be practiced.  If there are no longer any role models allowed, what will a Godless state be like?

I was trained to not offend clients by talking about values and religion unless they brought it up.  Also I was not to critique their beliefs or offer other alternatives unless they did.  If I said anything counter to this and offended someone, I was called on the carpet and once lost my job.

rp_319628280_150_150.jpg                                        Giving A Helping Hand

Values are to be challenged and religious beliefs ought to be discussed.  We are so politically correct sometimes that we can not say something a person needs to hear!  Who would you like to live next to?  A person with no values and possibly no conscience or a person who has and practices good values?

People do acquire values anyway and if we prevent them from being discussed in school or counseling, what is left?  “Bad Guys” don’t feel bad about promoting their values and acting them out.  Young people find role models somewhere if they don’t have them at home, school, or church, or in a mentoring situation either individual or group.

 

Freedom Your Responsibility

Road Rage As An Example

Road Rage As An Example

With every freedom comes responsibilities.  What were or are your responsibilities when you get your driver’s license as a teenager? Who gets into accidents and gets traffic tickets if they don’t drive carefully?  You did and still do.

People make a big deal about not getting to exercise their basic rights anyway they want to.  Should they be able to kill innocent people because freedom of religion is their basic right and it is their religious belief that people who do not believe as they do should be killed?

What happened to freedom of speech?  It has gotten to the point that the American flag can be flagrantly desecrated, but sometimes not allowed to be displayed even on private property.  What about the recent disputes about what most people think is the Confederate flag.  Can I still display one on my property and I will if I want to.

Which one religious group has been attacked to the point that they don’t have freedom of expression anymore.  Christianity appears to be being phased out of the country while other religions such as Muslims and atheists are being allowed to promote themselves publicly and force their religious beliefs on others who do not believe as they do.  So what is the major religion or some version of it or non-religion that are apparently becoming the national beliefs of America?  And whose freedom of expression should not be limited by anybody even those whose beliefs do not agree with theirs?

What about some Jewish people who eat Kosher food.  Are other people forced to shop or work in their Kosher butcher shops or eat in their Kosher restaurants?  Do they eat or work in places that do not have Kosher food?  No; but some Muslims who do not believe in eating pork want to force butcher shops and restaurants serving pork to not serve pork so they can eat or work there.  These Jewish people obey their consciences and this limits where they can work or eat.  Why not the Muslims?

With rights come responsibilities and if you don’t become responsible for how you express your rights, then you still have to accept the consequences.  People can have weapons and use them to defend themselves within certain limits; does that allow people to use them anytime  or anyway they want.  NO!

Coming:  The PC Police And Who It Effects.

 

The Three R And R’s

Rest and Relaxation, Rules and Regulations, Rights and Responsibilities.  Which one don’t we need?  How about a vote?

My vote is for Rules and Regulations.  They are something we can do without if we have established Rights and Responsibilities.  Values and Morals are internal standards established by the soul to live in this world with other souls.  Values and Morals generate what a soul considers to be individual rights and to be the accompanying responsibilities that go with having these rights.self discipline

Rules and Regulations are established only for people who do not have values and morals or who do not have the same values and morals and fight over them.  A strong commitment to a set of rights (the amendments of the constitution) and responsibilities makes having rules and regulations almost unnecessary.

Rest and relaxation enable us to continue doing these things that we consider the right things to do.  God established Sundays as a day of rest.  A period of time when relaxation, not responsibilities, takes the fore front.  We must care for ourselves like we care for others.  For example, what good is an exhausted caregiver to the one who needs care?  We also need a time to go over our values in life and to determine if we are still adhering to them.

We also used to be “on duty” when we were at work, not wasting time looking at social media (which we can do after work) or texting and at 5 P.M. we were off duty and free to see our friends and family and catch up on things at home as well as clean up and get a refreshing night’s sleep.  Parents are not supposed to be “mystery people” who pick up and drop off children somewhere and bring them home only to sleep.  Worse yet no one needs an exhausting commute to and from work or shift work that upsets a person’s internal clock.

Do You Hear Only What You Want To Hear?

Do You Hear Only What You Want to Hear Or See Only What You Want To See?  Do you sometimes tune things out and skip parts of the material that is given to you? or that is shown to you?rp_3126327492_30718d4524_m.jpgI go to a place to meet my spiritual needs and I go to hear what God wants me to know.  I try to go with no preconceived notions of what I will get from attending church that day.  I quiet myself and pay attention to what is prayed, said, or done.  It is a time to be in the moment, not about feeling bad for what has happened in the past or being anxious or worried about the future.

Something was said yesterday during the service that I caught and am presenting here.  This idea not only applies to worship services, but also to doctor visits, books, lectures or workshops.We often hear what we want to hear not actually was said or intended.  When we learn something new, we often make changes to other ideas we have held or if this makes us uncomfortable we decide to tweak the material that was presented so it fits our notions of how the world should be.

Gossiping

Gossiping

Ever play the game of gossip and noticed how distorted the original message became?

We may tune in and tune out adjusting what we do hear to make it more acceptable no matter what the content.  We can have attacks of boredom.  We can become irritated because we have to sit there and listen to the speaker drone on and on.  We can day dream or even fall asleep.  Pay attention there may be something useful there.

This also can apply to visual material like posters, power point presentations.   Did you read the quote presented at the top of this post.  Here it is again.rp_3126327492_30718d4524_m.jpg How did it make you feel: comfortable or uncomfortable.  Are you generally open and receptive? or do you not like someone else telling you what to do and/or commenting  on your appearance, possessions, and family.  You have your own ideas and are comfortable with them.

I realize when I jump to conclusions I don’t pay attention to what is being presented.  Stereotypes of people and cultures leave much to be desired and prevent us from encompassing diversity and learning what these people and cultures are really like.

Now you may understand why that Active Listening (Carl Rogers) is so important in communication.  Being able to repeat what the other person has said before giving your reply encourages people to hear everything that was said.

You Can Get Away With It! Or Should You?

Do you ever listen in on other people’s conversations or do you ever even listen to the comments you make about others in your head! How negative are they. Why does it make us feel better to put other people down? What does it say about us if we are always putting down, criticizing, and denigrating others and ourselves? Why are we constantly bringing down our own and other people’s self-esteem? Why is gossip only juicy when it is about bad things about others.rp_291253057_150_150.jpg This can be called being defensive or self defense doing this to others or yourself before someone else can. Or is this because we are in constant competition? Can we  only get ahead by climbing on someone else’s back. Why does it seem not to make us feel good by saying something nice about somebody and/or are we afraid if we say something nice about ourselves, someone else will put us down? Do we have to hurt others before they hurt us? Is this a good form of self-defense?

Worse yet we often do this by telling lies, not the truth. Lying is a bad habit whether it’s telling white lies, black lies or lies of omission instead of commission. We have built in lie detectors that we are born with but we are taught from early on not to trust our instincts about this. How convenient this is to help enable others to tell us what to think so we really don’t know how things are when it is convenient for them to do so. For example, child molesters find this very hand a very handy way to coherse children into being victims.

No mater how convenient it is for parents to tell a child a little “white” lie how destructive can it be when other people with not so good motives in mind to be able to get away with this. For example, have you ever heard an adult tel a child an untruth just to upset them and then the adult gets a good laugh out of the child being upset because they think what the adult told them was true. Does the child have gullibility or has the child’s basic sense of trust in others been broken?

face-partsSince when has it become funny to hurt others in any way? What does doing this do to civilization? Carelessly doing this for a joke or because it is easy or convenient provides a bad example. How often in the past have we heard as children be on your best behavior when adults did not follow that example themselves. Monkey see; monkey do? How often were we told to keep this a secret if we caught an adult doing this after telling us as a child not to?  Is this a double standard?

Since when have we learned that it doesn’t pay to be honest and that telling the truth can get you in trouble? What a distorted, dishonest, ugly world we live in. In business and politics today.  It is the norm not the exception that this occurs.  It is alright if you can get away with it and if they get away with it, most assuredly they will do it again and again and again as they think that they will get away with it again and again and they usually do.

 

also liars insist that others should tel the truth as they know it wil hurt them. If you are on the wronside of the right  side, you can’t “get away” with anything but it is no problem if you are not. . Why therefore is being politically correct a one way street?  Certain people, political groups, and religions get cited for this while others do not. The former can’t get away with it while the later can! What kind of an example of justice is this for our children? No wonder they grow up mixed up with no internal standards of behavior.