Sunday, February 17, 2008


I am tired. I really had no intention of writing anything tonight, but circumstances beg me to shift my agenda. Sleep can wait.

I recently received an e-mail regarding a new program that Oprah and her friends are advocating via her XM radio show. The program is called "A Course in Miracles." Apparently, the material for this course was delivered via an "inner voice" to a female professor several decades ago. It was published in the seventies, but only now is gaining a worldwide popularity. Some have claimed it to be the "new age Bible," though I'm not quite sure what that means.

I will first say that I like Oprah. I like her because I believe she is a woman who feels a compulsion to do good, to change others' lives, and to make wise choices. I am not, as I wrote in an e-mail earlier, one to "throw out the sinner with the sin" - or, at least I hope not to be. Therefore, what I write in the next few paragraphs is not an indictment against Oprah or any of her colleagues. I will say, however, that I believe her to be sorely - and, for the moment, treacherously - misguided.

In the Old Testament, God chooses a woman named Esther to be a part of the king's harem. She's Hebrew; the king, in turn, is not. Esther is beautiful - a characteristic that, obviously, was God-given. Her beauty is such that she is highly favored - and given the crown. Shortly after becoming queen, it is brought to Esther's attention that someone close to the king has planned a mass extermination of the Jews. Leaning on the godly wisdom of her uncle, Mordecai, Esther chooses to do something that could very well have elicited her death: she reports the possible annihilation to her husband and ends up saving her people. Of course, as Mordecai explains to her, this is no act of her own but rather, an act of Almighty God, who appoints leaders and those in positions of power to accomplish great things, to make differences, and to bring Him glory. "Esther," Mordecai essentially tells her, "you have perhaps been named queen for such a time as this."

Oprah is a woman, like most of the readers on this blog, who is trying to understand a God who loves her. But she is not walking toward truth. To be sure, she's seeking something. I am not that different from her. But my filter is guarded by the truths of Scripture. What "A Course in Miracles" teaches is derived, not from Scriptural truth, but from what I would wager is the exact opposite. As Paul wrote, we do not "struggle... against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:!2). Let there be no doubt that the teachings in this "Course in Miracles" are Satanic. I do not mean to dramatize. It is not in my nature to overreact to things of a spiritual matter. But I stand firm in my belief that anything that does not point us to a Christ who is resurrected, and upon whom alone we can depend for salvation, is a work of the enemy.

I am so flustered, my fingers so hurried as I type, my heart pounding in my chest, that I find it hard to ignore the compulsion I feel. perhaps out of the love I have for my Lord, my Savior, my Rock, my Love, my Truest Friend, to consider writing on the Nicene Creed. It seems to me that, if God has allowed Oprah a position of authority, a voice of influence, it is because we - women - are under attack. Open your eyes! This is not a time for dillydallying. Oprah's realm of influence is primarily female. Perhaps we live in an era where women are a threat like they never were before. Or. perhaps we live in an era where they are easier targets, unsure of their security in Christ. Who could doubt it? But, whether either is true, we know that, if we are under attack, we must plant our feet firmly in the truth. We must choose a veritable call to arms. This isn't about persecution or boycott. Not self-help, not religion, not church, not Bible-beating. It's about Jesus. Let us all cry out, "Give me Jesus!" and be done. It was finished, two thousand years ago. Let us not add or subtract from that one, great, critical Work.

I encourage you to visit Oprah's website. Search for the XM radio schedule and, consequently, the "Course in Miracles." It is being taught by an attractive young woman named Marianne Williamson. She looks delightful. Oh, how my heart is hurting for the women who are already under the sway of something so deceptive! And how my blood boils thinking of those whom Satan is plotting, even now, to lure into its grip.

I am led to share with you the words of the Nicene Creed - - because it strikes me that many, many women who claim to be Christians will somehow feel a comfort or a sense of homecoming when hearing Wiliamson's interpretation of these teachings. I pray that, as women in all different places of life, with burdens and heartaches totally unique and particularly gut-wrenching, God will, in His providence and mercy, give you a check in your Spirit - in effect, the wooing of the Holy Spirit, or the very Spirit of Christ - to know that these teachings are deceptive. In sharing this information with others, take heart in remembering that God ordained the king of Persia, Cyrus - who certainly did not know Yahweh - to accomplish His purposes (2 Chronicles 36). It is not beneath nor beyond our creative God to use unbelievers.

Do not be afraid. Though we, too, have been called "for such a time as this," we have also been called to great joy, great compassion and great hope because of this Man, Jesus. He has promised that He is able to keep us from stumbling - and also, that Satan Himself is a "stumbling block, [who does] not have in mind the things of God, but the things of man" (Matthew 16:23). Let us rest - and proclaim truth! - in knowing that, though we will have troubles - and sorrows, and heartaches, and insecurities, and calamities and tragedies - in this world, we can hope! For He has overcome the world.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

the mystery of truth

Someone, a girl I don't know, but one who is a mother and who is grieving the loss of her own child, said something to me today. "It's been two months. What am I supposed to feel? What am I supposed to say? Am I normal?" Oh, the great creeping notion of normalcy. It slinks around us and encircles itself about our feet and convinces us our calling is to fit into a category, or a box, or a statistic, or a quota. We love the idea of being corporate. And not that we shouldn't. But it's usually about following a crowd so that we can be loved instead of folding in just as we are because we are loved. We've bought into the idea that if we don't make sense to everyone else we must not make sense at all.

Someone else asked me tonight if I thought praying really did any good. If God already has this whole thing mapped out, then why pray? What's the point? I remember hearing once that prayer isn't about changing God; it's about changing us. I like that, it sounds pretty - and believe me, I know it to be true. Partly. But if prayer doesn't at least affect God then somehow, our relationship doesn't feel much like a relationship. It feels more like me talking to myself. When the Israelites built their golden calf out in the desert, after God had parted the Red Sea and shown them He was serious about delivering them from the Egyptians, I don't think He was angry because that was protocol. People doing naughty things? Check. God mad? Check. I think He was angry in the righteous sense - which means the kind of anger that comes from love. And love comes from a heart that's affected. It has to. Otherwise it's not love at all.

Here are a few of my favorite things: the smell of horses, the sound of the word 'indefatigable', Jane Austen, Hans Zimmer, going out to dinner with my husband, grapefruit for breakfast, hyacinths, gold earrings, the feel of cool grass on my feet in summertime, amaretto sours, chasing Sellers around the house... all these are things I'd call 'good.' I like them. They make me happy, or they make me smile, or they bring back fond memories of something special or a time I felt closer to something I want to be close to all the time. David once wrote that "apart from You, God, I have no good thing." So, for me, if I take that literally - and I love to take the Bible literally - that means apart from God, I can basically nix the grapefruit and "Pride and Prejudice." I believe a God who can give me these things is a God who's affected... who loves me. And so I'm going to keep on praying because I've got an in. The God of the universe gets me. I make sense to Him. My normal is the normal He made.

I don't really know where I'm going with this other than to say that I hope, tonight, or today, or whatever hour it may be when you read this, you feel like where you are is okay. Christians are obsessed with finding the formula, with making everything fit into a mold. When we talk about the Word of God being "inerrant" we want it to mean more than simply "total truth" - we want it to mean no one can debate or discuss or ponder or question or shout out to God in frustration. It is what it is - or is it? Everything that's true is a mystery.

Fight for your joy. Not your happiness, but your joy - whatever gives you the sense that you're closer to something that feels like Home. Loving God is like catching a scent on a breeze - it captivates, but it's untraceable. It cannot be created - it must be received. Let Him teach you to love Him. After all, we love Him only because He loves us. It's like the man in Mark said to Jesus as his son was seized by the demon: "Lord, I believe!" And in the next breath - "Help me believe!" Basically, "I get it! I believe it! I love You!" And then, "Okay, not really. But I think if You helped me, I could!" The complexity of the human heart! A great American thinker once urged his countrymen to "simplify." How? We are creatures woven in secrecy, fashioned after majesty, and filled with divine curiosity. Oh, that we would never shake these truths for ones less compelling!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

this is a little awkward...

What I'm about to write, if I were speaking it aloud before an audience, would come from a head looking down at the floor, cheeks flushed, feet shifting uncomfortably. I don't usually have much trouble sharing my heart, but this isn't really that at all. I've struggled for weeks now wondering if it, indeed, is something I ought to share in the first place, if it was something you'd be blessed by, and at this point, I'm simply going to hope that at least one of you will be.

For Christmas, Conor and I found out about a website called Blurb. Through it, we were able to make a book celebrating Copeland's life. It's comprised of blog entries as well as photographs. We went out on a limb and hoped it would turn out right; much to our delight, when it arrived on our doorstep Christmas Eve, it was absolutely beautiful. It's small - only 7x7" - which seemed fitting, somehow, and precious to us. Sellers has loved flipping through the pages.

My desire in telling her story, in ever getting on this computer and sharing my heart, is simply that the suffering we've sown will reap within you a harvest of hope, or joy, or compassion, or faith. If you have someone you'd like to share Copeland's story with in a more tangible way than via the blog, please feel free to order one of these books. Visit and search "Copeland Fair."

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