Thursday, August 28, 2008

Christians Engaging Politics

I realize I am treading on sensitive ground here - given I am not a citizen and my Mom raised me to never bring up politics as dinnertime conversation. Well, I don't usually bring it up but if I'm asked I share my opinion which often collides with most mainstream Christians. But this is not about that really.

My husband David suggested I read an article in the new Relevant magazine titled, "In the Booth, not of the Booth." It is an incredible read and will provide more than enough for you to contemplate this political season.

Adam Smith writes, "For those seeking to embody Christ, the choice can be especially difficult. On one side of the equation is a candidate who seems to offer hope for peace and ease for poverty, yet supports abortion. On the other is a candidate who champions the rights of the unborn, yet seeks to continue the war in Iraq. Can a Christian truly throw unflagging support behind either candidate?" Smith continues to quote Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw authors for Jesus for President. Claiborne says "I think a healthy suspicion about putting all our hope in one day, one vote, or one candidate or party. Haw agrees, "we're trying to help people think as Christians, and that takes a rugged revisitation of the whole biblical story to be able to think as a Christian and requires us to have Christian historical memory and imagination." Adam Smith writes, "Haw adds that the idea of nationalism is often theologically unsound. He says that being born again should mean, from a theological standpoint, that Christians have a new and different citizenship. Theologically, born again didn't just mean that you have a spiritual attitude to your life. It literally meant that you're joining into this people of Abraham that are a holy nation set apart. There seems to be evidence all over the Bible that this is a very concrete people. You're latching yourself onto this other nation. Now when you use the word we or our, your identity is connected to a different group of people, a diasporic people. That's not just linguistic gymnastics. Its biblical realism. Without that our nationalism is misguided."

I find this so rich and challenging.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

When the well is dry

After being a part of a group that spent some sacred time discerning together this week, I have been struck by several thoughts. One of which I need to explore some more.

When you are spiritually tired, exhausted, done - what betrays that?

Is your rhythm of spiritual practices off kilter?
Or, out of habit do you continue in the practices of spirituality regardless?
Are your attitudes ambivalent maybe even cynical?
Do you get aggressive? Passive?
Is your time spent with the busyness of doing God-work so you don't have to just be with him?
What about family, does that change?
Do you embrace silence in order to self reflect?
Do you crank up the noise of life in order to avoid reflection?

What do you think?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Psalm 103

I have spent the last few days unpacking this Psalm as part of the retreat I was on. Take a moment and read it.

Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me,
bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits,
who forgives all your iniquity,
who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit,
who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy,
who satisfies you with good
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The LORD works righteousness
and justice for all who are oppressed
He made known his ways to Moses,
his acts to the people of Israel.
The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
He will not always chide,
nor will he keep his anger forever.
He does not deal with us according to our sins,
nor repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
As a father shows compassion to his children,
so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him.
For he knows our frame;
he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass;
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,
and its place knows it no more.
But the steadfast love of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him,
and his righteousness to children’s children,
to those who keep his covenant
and remember to do his commandments.
The LORD has established his throne in the heavens,
and his kingdom rules over all.
Bless the LORD, O you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his word,
obeying the voice of his word!
Bless the LORD, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
Bless the LORD, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the LORD, O my soul!

In your reading what strikes you most?
Is it the nature of God, the nature of humanity, covenant, sovereignty, redemption?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Shameless Plug..or Sharing an Opportunity

Many of you know that I was part of a Come before Winter team that travelled to Canada in March to host a renewal retreat for women in ministry on the field. Come before Winter have been hosting these renewals all over the world since 2000 and have served missionaries around the globe in ways they have never been served before.

When I returned from that trip I was so impacted that I said more than one time that I have found what I want to do with my life. It is an incredible experience. I feel very blessed to be travelling with them to do the first Stateside renewal in October. Then in May I will join a team and go to Australia to host a renewal and in June to Papua New Guinea.

As team members we raise our money to go on these trips and to cover the cost of participants. Those who are invited to attend are asked to pay their own way to the site and then the balance of the week is provided as a gift of love to honor them. Because I have three consecutive renewals lined up I am needing to raise around $11000 - yes, you read that correctly...Eleven thousand dollars. I have sent out fund raising packets and feel like God will bless this. However, I wanted to put it on my blog in case any of you readers feel God calling you to partner with me in this ministry.

You can check out the ministry at
If you would like to donate toward these three renewals you can mail a check to:
Come before Winter, Inc.
P.O. Box 203381
Austin, TX 78720

You can mark it for Arlene Kasselman's fundraising. You can also make donations on credit card.
Phone inquiries: (512) 918-2717

Please share this with anyone you think may have a heart for renewal of women in ministry, minister's wives, elders wives etc.

Thank you for reading this far and indulging me.