Why so many denominations? Don’t fear controversies!

What a strange time to find myself in. We live in an age of political correctness standing hand-in-hand with no-holds-barred vitriolic dialogue, I think perhaps we’ve lost the simple ability to debate a topic without either being careful not to bug anyone, or descending into rants and diatribes, with labels and name-calling. What happened folks??

Even in churches, these two modes of communication jockey with each other, so most people, because they are peace-loving, shy away from debating about what’s true and what isn’t, thinking it’s wrong to disagree. But it’s not. How much peace are we going to have as believers if we’re not willing to earnestly contend for the truths in the scripture? And if it was wrong to disagree, why then would Paul say this?

1COR 11:18 and 19
For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that divisions exist among you; and in part I believe it.
For there must also be factions among you, so that those who are approved may become evident among you.

So, in a division, in order to know which opinion is correct, we must examine the division, discuss it and study out the answer together. In this process, it will become evident who has been studying and praying about these matters, which is what we’re supposed to do.  This will help others to embrace the same process for themselves. To take the side of scripture, the side of God, not of another person and their opinion. What vital question did Moses ask when confronting the children of Israel with their fundamental choice? “Who is on the Lord’s side?” Not, who is on my side?

I can see that most divisions ending in a church split, and spawning new denominations are because disputes arise and are not dealt with in the fashion they were in the book of Acts, where the church leaders pondered issues, prayed and studied, and then gave an agreed-upon response. Not so now. What I see now is people following each other and splitting away, following the leader they chose, rather than searching the scriptures together, determined that all should be on the Lord’s side together.

It saddens me and always will, that this happens so frequently. Really all we need to do is ask God for wisdom in these situations, then wait for the answer, as it says in the book of James. So I say not to fear controversies, for they must happen as we all navigate this bumpy terrain. And don’t fear debate, or let it turn into ‘us vs. them.’  We are a body of believers, and just as the body’s systems work to rid itself of toxins, we can work together to help rid ourselves of toxic practices and attitudes that cause us to turn away from each other and divide once again. Together, our focus and goal should be in affirming our joint adherence to God and His word. Well, that’s all I have to say on that topic!! Aren’t you glad? 🙂

My blog hop post about my writing process

I’ve been asked by Erin Unger (check out her blog at: http://erineunger.blogspot.com/), a wonderful critique partner, writer and artist, to participate in the blog hop on writing process, so here are my answers to the 4 questions:

What are you working on?

Too many things at once, I think! Right now I’m working on part two of a fantasy, edits for my debut novel due out in September, revisions and additions to my two non-fiction manuscripts, as well as working on a women’s fiction and formulating another romance.

How does your work differ from others in its genre?

I try not to follow any formula, and I’m not trained in creative writing, so perhaps the difference in my writing lies in its oddities? I’m not particularly organized or stream-lined, so that probably shines out in my characters as well as my writing. There is always a strong spiritual element in my stories, because I want to show how faith works within the life and struggles of people. I find that theme the truest and most interesting of all.

Why do you write what you do?

I have to! It’s a perfect fit for me to explore various genres. I’m introverted, but very curious. I love to listen to other people’s thoughts and feelings, and I love to connect and understand others. When I write, I can take all the time I need to really express what’s in my mind and heart. I can take all that I’ve learned from my own thoughts and questions, and from listening to and reading about others, and people my stories with what I’ve gleaned from all the input. I guess that’s why I write in such varied genres. Life is so multi-faceted and God’s creation is so diverse, writing helps me explore it!

How does your writing process work?

Oh my. I don’t think you could call it a process. I get an idea, a spark, and if it grows while I think on it, then I begin writing it. And I’m often surprised at the direction it travels in. I don’t use outlines, but I may try to in the future, because I had a very productive, creative experience writing a novella based on an old fairytale. I knew the main framework of the story before I started, and it was fun to flesh it out in my own way, and work it toward the requisite ending. Lots of fun! Other than that, I just sit at the typewriter and pull the story out of myself, or un-pack it, if that makes sense. Then I go back through and revise, add and edit. A lot. My critique partners are such a help in that process! So I guess I’m a pantser, with the looming possibility of integrating some organization into some of my future process. We’ll see.

Now that you’ve heard from me, there are three writers I asked to answer these same questions on their blogs. Amber Schamel writes wonderfully vivid historical fiction, bringing to life characters from Biblical and other times. Her words are a treat to read!  Read her answers next week at: http://amberschamel.blogspot.com/

Linda Wolf is a wordsmith of many talents. She is a writer, proof-reader, editor, and teacher. She was my first editor for my debut novel. She’s also my blood sister as well as my sister in the Lord! Enjoy her blogposts on her writing process as well as other insightful thoughts on her life and faith at: http://belonging2all.wordpress.com/

Dvora Waysman is a multi-published writer of books (13!) and a syndicated journalist. Her latest book is published through Prism Book Group, which is how I met her. She lives in Jerusalem, and this information sparked my curiosity, especially when she told the Prism authors that prayer for her was a ‘local call.’ I loved that sentiment and began to write her, and read some of her wonderful articles about her life in Jerusalem. Visit her blog to learn more about her and her writing process at: http://dvorawaysman.com/


The Fork in the Road! Detour!

Well, I was going to write some thoughts about curiosity and how useful I find it to be. I’ve always liked the quote ‘curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back.’ So, I looked up who had said it. Eugene O’Neill. Wow. So, being a curious person, I wanted to refresh my knowledge of Mr. O’Neill. I start reading his bio and my interested face must have fallen by degrees as I read his sad family history, until I had to pull my chin off the floor and stop reading about him. Heartache, substance abuse, suicides and illnesses.

Does that sum him up, or does his work? As usual, I am left with questions. Ones I can’t ask because the man is dead. What success he enjoyed obviously didn’t afford him much gladness, if any. He didn’t appear to be close to anyone. Two of his three children committed suicide. If I could, I’d ask him a bunch of questions, trying to find the reason his life was so chaotic and tragic.

There are happy geniuses, like Einstein, but it seems there are many more unhappy, tortured ones. I try to make sense of this, in light of scripture, and what I know of people. But understanding often eludes me. Wouldn’t people who obviously feel so much and have such depth in them turn their focus to God? For me, everything always circles back to God. I know He is the answer to questions, the focus of my unending curiosity. So I guess I wrote about curiosity after all.

Me? The interviewer?

This month I’ll conduct my first interview of another author. Should be interesting. At least I hope it is! I suppose a lifetime of being curious will help a lot. I inherited my mother’s tendency to ask a lot of questions. Now I just need to figure out which ones are the most useful to ask. The interview will be on our writing group’s blog on May 14th. Here’s the link: The Diamond Mine group blog

Hope to see you there, whoever you may be!!

How little I knew!

I figured writing and revising a story was the hard part. But now I realize that part is similar to pregnancy, and getting a contract is like delivery. There’s the rush of relief at finally completing your pregnancy and holding your child. (Or in this analogy, contract!) But after that, you need to learn a whole new set of skills like blogging, social media, etc. in order to help introduce your child to the world. I have a feeling that author-hood, like parenthood, will be quite a learning experience. Here I go again!!

Thoughts on being a wife and mother

I imagine every family has its daunting challenges, heartbreaks and high times of joy. I can’t imagine what my own experience of building family relationships and being a mother and grandmother would have been without the steady guidance of God’s Spirit in my life. I could bring all my cares to Him and learn how to navigate the choppy emotional waters of family life, and learn the lessons I needed to, for myself, and my loved ones.
I wish I’d been a faster learner, and a better example. I’m sure my husband and sons shared that same wish! (I’m only half-kidding!) I am constantly amazed by how precious these relationships are, how powerful and fragile at the same time. Just like human beings.
The amazing thing about God is, He can take my flawed heart and mind and show me a new direction, a better way. He can and does teach me how to walk in newness of life. I am thankful every day for that, and am also thankful that these changes often come about through painful, soul-shaking trials.
He’s my counselor, my instructor, my hope, my life.