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6 Warning Signs Your Church Culture Is Toxic

6 Warning Signs Your Church Culture Is Toxic

Every church has a culture. But how do you know if your church culture is toxic?

More importantly, how would you know whether you’re creatinga toxic church culture as a leader?

I’ve interacted with many church leaders (and readers of this blog) and the sad reality is that there is no shortage of toxic church culture stories and experiences.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. And it certainly isn’t always that way.

Leaders are the architects of culture.

You create a culture whether you intend to or not.

Part of shaping a healthy culture is being aware of the signs of toxic culture and the signs of health.  I blogged about the early warning signs that a person may be toxic here. But organizations have different signs than individuals do.

So how do you know if your church culture is toxic? Believe it or not, the Bible gives incredible practical advice. The longer I lead, the more I use Galatians 5: 16-23 as a health check for me personally and for anything I lead. It describes what’s healthy and what’s not, for me as a leader and for the church.

Below, I outline 6 warning signs that are practical applications of that text.

 

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1. The Politicians Win

One sure sign of a toxic culture is that you have to play politics to get anything done.

You know things have gotten political in your church when:

Decisions rarely get made the way they’re supposed to be made.

Most decisions happen outside of meetings or any agreed-upon process.

You can’t get a yes without offering something in return.

You have to continually lobby to be heard.

If you’re always jockeying, lobbying and courting favour to get the right decision made, it’s a sign your organization is unhealthy.

In the local church, having to play politics to win is a sure sign there’s sin.

When you do what you say you’re going to do the way you said you’re going to do it, you bring health to an organization.

2. What Gets Said Publicly Is Different From What Happened Privately

Another sign things are becoming toxic is when what gets said publicly is different than what happened privately.

When there’s spin on every issue and nothing can be said publicly without ‘agreeing’ on what gets said first, things are bad.

For sure, there are times where a situation is delicate and you will want to ‘agree’ on what gets said publicly to honour everyone involved, but in too many organizations few things that get done privately can be announced the same way publicly.

And to be sure…when you’re crafting any kind of a public statement, you want to pay attention to the words you use and perhaps even find agreement on them.

But the end product should never be the opposite or even different than what actually happened

I have good fortune of being part of several healthy organizations. I love it when people pull me aside and ask (in hushed tones), “So what’s the real story?” and I get to tell them “Actually, that is the real story.”

Living in that kind of culture really helps you sleep at night too.

3. You Deal With Conflict By Talking About People, Not To People

The golden rule of conflict is this: talk to the person you have an issue with, not about them.

In too many churches and organizations, the opposite is true.

People talk about people rather than to them.

The church should be the BEST organization in the world in dealing with conflict. Often, we can be the worst.

The next time you want to talk about someone (i.e. gossip), talk to them instead. If you can’t or won’t, there’s something wrong. Pay attention to that.

Want to know what’s wrong most of the time? You’re gossiping. That’s what’s wrong.

Trying to resolve conflict by gossiping about the person you’re angry with is like trying to extinguish a fire with jet fuel. It only inflames things.

Sure, occasionally you need advice from a friend about how to approach a situation. When I’m in that situation, I try to assume the person we’re talking about will hear everything I say. Even if they don’t, the fact that they could speaks volumes.

Do I always get it right? No, but it’s a great integrity check, and I try to live by it.

If you want more, I outline 7 steps for dealing with conflict in a healthy way in this post.

4. Church Fights Are Normal

Conflict is normal. Church fights shouldn’t be.

Yet so many congregations are in perpetual fighting mode. One day it’s the music. The next it’s the carpet. The next it’s some staff member everyone ganged up on.

Failure to get point #3 right above is the way churches come to see fights as normal.

Another reason churches fight regularly is because personal preferences have trumped organizational mission.

Essentially, members decide that what they want is more important than what others want or the church needs to make progress.

When that happens, it essentially pits one selfish person or group against others.

And when that happens, everything dissolves.

If your church is in conflict there should zero mystery as to why it isn’t growing.

5. There’s An Entrenched ‘Us’ And ‘Them’ Mentality

The church should always be a ‘we,’ not an ‘us’ and ‘them.’

Fundamentally, being a Christian causes us to die to ourselves and rise to something bigger than ourselves.

Some Christians forget that.

Whether the ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality exists between factions in your church or between your church and the community, it’s always fatal to health and growth.

The job of a leader is to raise vision high enough and urgently enough for all of us to become bigger than any of us.

United, the church will always accomplish more than we will divided.

6. No One Takes Responsibility

So who’s going to fix your church?

No one.

Someone.

Anybody but me.

As long as things are someone else’s fault, things will never get better.

A final sign your church is toxic is that no one takes responsibility. Instead, people just blame everyone else.

You can blame the culture, the pastor, the leader or anybody, but until you take responsibility, things will never get better.

Blame is the opposite of responsibility. Leaders who stop the blame cycle and take responsibility have the potential to usher in real change.

But, you say…”I’m not responsible for all of it.” True.

But you’re likely responsible for some of it. Own what you can. Own all you can.

If no one else does, still take responsibility.

You’ll get healthier. And if they don’t, you’ll leave and will eventually join a healthier church.

Health attracts health.

Under His Eye : If Conservative Evangelicalism Gets Its Way

Posted with Permission by Chris Kratzer

Chris Kratzer is a husband, father, pastor, author, and speaker. Captured by the pure Gospel of God’s Grace, his focus is communicating the message of wholeness, equality, affirmation, and the beauty of Jesus particularly as it relates to life, culture, and church.

Under His Eye : If Conservative Evangelicalism Gets Its Way

One of the most important questions facing our time in history is this, “If right-wing conservative Evangelical Christianity had its way, what would the world look like?”

Despite how various Evangelicals might respond to this question, perhaps the best vantage point for an accurate discernment of the answer is to observe pivotal moments in history where conservative Evangelicals (as a whole) have actually won their desires. For nothing reveals the true content of one’s aspirations like the results they bring when successful.

Or perhaps, we could examine their commonly held beliefs and the future those beliefs envision. For in the end, the true sum of one’s faith can be found most clearly within the true impact their faith desires, regardless of what they may or may not claim to confess. We are responsible both for what we believe and the future those beliefs ultimately bring forth. Are we not?

Most recently, one of the prized accomplishments of conservative Evangelicalism is the election and continued support of Donald Trump as President. Say what you will about the politics involved, the bottom line is this—his character, priorities, and leadership are clearly creating a world where the wealthy become richer, the poor become more vulnerable, greed is expanded, bullying is desensitized, corruption is protected, white privilege flourishes, elitism is unleashed, minorities are further marginalized, racism is energized, sexism is normalized, the LGTBQ community is increasingly demonized, and right-wing Christian conservatism is prioritized.

Yet sadly, this is not by chance.

In fact, among many conservative Evangelicals, these are tacitly received as nothing less than welcomed results. For if this presidency was the first occasion in which conservative Evangelicalism has had influential success towards the fruition of these same kind of deplorable realities, then this moment in history would be less profound. However, from the slavery and lynching of black people to the belittlement and abuse of women, conservative Evangelicalism has long resulted in the increased spiritual justification of some of the most evil atrocities ever committed on planet earth.

In fact, now we have an administration, like never before, that increasingly creates economic systems that blatantly benefit the wealthy and exploit the vulnerable, brutally splits families with children apart who are seeking asylum in our country, aggressively sides with Israel in order to further the fulfillment of “biblical” prophecy, threatens to pull news press credentials over “negative” coverage, belittles and thwarts people with disabilities, and has dismantled highly important LGBT-protecting policies, all in the name of undoing the leadership and legacy of our first black President.

Yet sadly, once again, this is not by chance.

Conservative Evangelicalism teaches its followers that faithfulness to God leads to financial prosperity and wealth. Having pastors with six figure salaries, churches with multi-million dollar facilities, and followers with luxurious lifestyles are seen as a reward from God not a departure from the ways of Jesus. In the mind of conservative Evangelicalism, if you are struggling financially or devoid of financial abundance, it is likely that some aspect of your faith life is askew. Ministry and Christian “success” is largely defined by the increase and accumulation of “more”—more money, more power, more influence, more campuses, more staff, more baptisms, more attenders, more speaking engagements, more followers on Twitter. In the world of conservative Evangelicalism, more is never less, more is always more—even at the expense of others.

Conservative Evangelicalism sees people primarily as spiritual projects for the ultimate goal of conversion into their faith system. Even helping the poor and hurting is largely seen as a means to a faith-serving end that builds their kingdom with more converts and satisfies their obligations of obedience to their faith. Poor hurting people are ultimately helped only to the extent in which it somehow serves their faith system. In fact, within conservative Evangelicalism, poverty (and even hardship) is often deemed as a result of unfaithfulness and wrong belief.

Conservative Evangelicalism manifests a territorial greed that desires to conquer people, groups, communities, perceived enemies, and the planet at large, not for the purpose of serving humanity selflessly, but rather garnering its submission to their faith system.

Conservative Evangelicalism largely portrays Jesus as a white man. Not just a white man, but a white man who is a Republican, gun-owning, racist homophobic nationalist who is wrapped in the American flag.

Conservative Evangelicalism manifests a good-old-boy-club mentality for white male heterosexuals that gives them a hypocritical privilege, license, and authority over women, often leading to their sexualization, discrimination, control, and abuse. In fact, the only sins that truly matter in conservative Evangelicalism are the ones that are different from theirs and enable them to condemn those who would threaten their white male heterosexual Christian privilege and power.

Conservative Evangelicalism declares the Bible as being the infallible word of God and their interpretations exclusively faithful and accurate to the discerning of its meaning and truth.

Conservative Evangelicalism interprets the Scriptures as condemning the LGBTQ community, labeling them as “abominations,” cancers to our society, enemies of procreation, and deviants destined for hell.

Conservative Evangelicalism once asserted a biblical justification for black slavery and murder, and the demonization of interracial marriage.Conservative Evangelicalism portrays a god who is justified in killing his enemies, destroying entire of groups of people, and sentencing disobedient non-believers to a hell of eternal torment.

Make no mistake, what we see unfolding before our eyes is nothing less than the manifestation of the dsytopian dreams of much of conservative Evangelicalism. No matter how much they might sprinkle it with spiritual glitter and dress it up with stage lighting and smoke machines, the finish line of their faith understanding is a violent Armageddon that ushers in a kingdom where anything that does not prosper white, male, heterosexual, conservative Christian power and privilege is eradicated from the earth. Spiritually rationalized racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, nationalism, greed, violence, and hypocrisy are all merely pieces of a much bigger puzzle.

This is put on display perhaps in no more profound fashion than through the current television show produced by Hulu, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” based of the novel by Margaret Atwood. This prophetic drama puts forth many images, occurrences, and realities that can be easily seen as reflecting the dystopian fruition of the fundamental beliefs and values of right-wing conservative Evangelicalism.

The truth is, this powerful show does not require a suspension of current reality to understand its message, but merely a gaze into the future of what could be if conservative Evangelicalism continues to gets its way.

In fact, what should be most alarming to us all is this—if conservative Evangelicals were asked to publicly denounce every action and faith confession of the oppressors in “The Handmaid’s Tale” that they believe are contrary to their faith system, I suspect many would find little of which they could accurately object and honestly deny. In fact, nearly everything displayed in this prophetic drama is already currently taking place in one form or another, largely at the hands and influence of right-wing conservative Evangelicalism.

Read the Bible the way they read the Bible. Pray the prayers they pray. See the world the way they see it. Believe in God the way the believe in God. Spiritually justify what they spiritually justify. Then you will see, through a simple glance down the hall of its future, the kind of world conservative Evangelicalism envisions. For if conservative Evangelicalism gets its way, make no mistake, this is what the world would look like. To be sure, being “under his eye” won’t point us to the face of Jesus, but rather to the face of their evil.

Keep your soul vigilant, these are dark times for sure, and they’re only getting darker. Hear the call of Jesus upon your heart, “take up your resistance and follow me.”

America will die at the hands of men who exchanged a brown Jesus for white Christianity, and quite frankly, it’s beginning to seem like that’s just part of their plan—if they get their way.

Grace is brave. Be brave.
photo courtesy of Hulu

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Be a Bridge Over Brokenness

When you’re weary, feeling small
When tears are in your eyes, I’ll dry them all
I’m on your side, oh, when times get rough
And friends just can’t be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

The goodness of God fills all the gaps of the universe, without discrimination or preference. God is the gratuity of absolutely everything. The space in between everything is not space at all but Spirit.

(Feast of Lady Julian of Norwich)
Be a Bridge Over Brokenness

by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

All of us are broken.  All of us have experienced broken relationships.  We live in an imperfect world with imperfect people.  We cannot exist outside of relationships yet we somehow always seem to stuff them up.

I am sure you can recall many such times.  The gulfs and the gaps between you. The huge painful silences.  The road blocks, the impasse, the deadlocks.  When words have been said and can’t be taken back.  When actions have hurt and wounded.  When betrayals and rejection has created gulfs and chasms.  How do we move on?

Sometimes the gulf is so big it is impossible to cover.  Sometimes the water is flowing so deeply it is impossible to cross.

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As followers of ‘The Way’ we are called to be bridge builders.  It is in human nature to step back, take a side and dig in.  We retreat to our corners when we are hurt.  It is part of our fight and flight DNA.  When  Jesus came he bridged the gap.  He became the ultimate bridge builder.  The Way that he taught us to walk is counter intuitive.  It goes against our nature.

We want to defend our position, to explain and to blame.  Jesus teaches us to reach out, to extend our embrace and to be a bridge over the brokenness.  He became the ultimate bridge when he made a way for us to connect with the God of the Universe.

His ways are ways of gentleness and peace.  He came to lead us into the pathway of peace.  He is the Prince of Peace.  He came to bind up the wounded  and to heal the  broken-hearted.  As followers of The Way of peace we are to do the same.

The only answer to brokenness and ruin is reconciliation and peace, forgiveness and love.  The bible talks about these as fruits of the Spirit.  This is the demonstration of the Holy Spirit living within us.  The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, self-control and faith.  When we lead with our embrace, when we step out in peace and love and gentleness then we become bridge builders.

We become the bridges over the brokenness, bridges that make a way for others to follow.  These steps of faith fly in the face of everything we know.  We want revenge but instead we must be patient.  We want to demonstrate how wrong the other party is – we must walk in peace and faith.  We want to rage and rant – we must show self-control.  We want everything to change immediately – we must rest in long-suffering and play for the long game.

Bridges are nothing more than disciples of Jesus.  He knew that we would have trouble in this world.  He also knew a way for us to flourish and prosper in this world and that was  the way of love.

Who is this Jesus:

If I were to summarise the teaching of Jesus it would be two words only:  love and forgiveness.  Two thirds of Jesus teaching is about forgiveness. Forgiving an imperfect tragic world. In Jesus we have a God who does not blame, does not punish, does not threaten, does not dominate. We have a God who breathes forgiveness (Rohr).

All the betrayals, the abandonment, the torture, the unfaithfulness of almost everybody.  Instead he identifies forgiveness and peace with his very breath – constant, quiet, unlearned – but always given.  

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Each time we extend love, joy etc.. we make stepping-stones over the chaos.  Each time we chose patience and self-control we pave the way for peace.  As we become bridge builders we create pathways for others to learn and to cross over.

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The worst punishment you can do to a person is to cut them off.  Cast them out.  Shun them.  Rejection by someone who loved you is hideously painful.  Stress is bound to occur as a result of rejection since human beings are by nature creatures that wish to belong, which Browning (1996:169) portrays as follows:

‘Humans have social needs to belong to, cooperate with, and sustain the groups to which they belong.’

I know because I have been excommunicated from beloved family and dear friends.  It is a cruel and excruciating torture.  Even worse is the inability to reconcile.

Estrangement from family is among the most painful human experiences.  Social rejection occurs when a person or group deliberately avoids association with, and habitually keeps away from an individual or group. This can be a formal decision by a group, or a less formal group action which will spread to all members of the group as a form of solidarity. It is a sanction against association, often associated with religious groups and other tightly knit organisations and communities.

Social rejection has been established to cause psychological damage and has been categorized as torture

Stress resulting from Trauma and Disappointment

The stress resulting from a traumatic encounter cannot be overlooked, hence this opinion by Estardt (1983):

“Studies about stress show that expectation is an important factor in how a person will experience stress. Stress is often the disappointment ratio of the difference between the expectation and the reality”.  (Estardt 1983:149)

Often in a relationship breakdown the stress and trauma is around disappointment.  The loss of hopes and dreams.  There was an ‘expectation’ that this would be our life, this is what we do or how we would live.  Or it could be about a parent or person who has disappointed you.  If they really loved me they would do this or say this or behave like this.  These unmet expectations create disappointment, fractures and stress.

Thus a gulf forms.  Who will make the first move.

How you react and respond in these situations will determine the future outcome of the relationship.

There are of course times when reconciliation this side of heaven will never happen because you cannot control the other side.  My shunning is outside of my control.  I can wish for reconciliation, work on my healing and attitude, but I cannot force them to relate.

There are however many less extreme cases where you can be the one to build a bridge.  You can be the one to take the first step and lead out in peace.

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The beauty of this is that you are teaching the children and those coming behind you how to walk in the way of peace.  Your stepping-stones eventually become a highway of relationship.  The out reached hand, the embrace, the first steps eventually become a bridge upon which others can walk over and live in peace on both sides of the divide.

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Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.

The Link between Domestic Violence and Porn

Tuesday Talks with Laura McNelly

I often get asked the question “What causes domestic violence?”  I totally believe that the escalation in violence toward woman is linked to gender inequality and to pornography.  When we understand that by the age of 13  %90 of boys have been introduced to porn, and small children are directed to porn sites from their iPads when they simply type in words like ‘Dora the Explora’. We are in a war that is bigger than we ever realised and its raging in our homes, supermarkets and in our communities.

 

Patriarchy, male dominated systems, male control, stupid talk about female submission all fuel the already explosive misunderstandings of equality and respect between the genders.

This article by Laura Mc Nelly from ABC Religion and Ethics describes the direct links between pornography, inequality and violence toward women.  This is a  must read for anyone who is genuinely interested in this global crisis.  We cannot afford to bury our heads in the sand any longer.  It’s going to take all of us to stop this global epidemic.

** Trigger warnings**

 

Pornography, Violence and Sexual Entitlement: An Unspeakable Truth

by Laura McNally

ABC RELIGION AND ETHICS 29 MAY 2015

A young woman stands in a room with several men around her. She tells the men that she is taking women’s studies at university. They respond by grabbing her throat to silence her. They move onto slapping her and pulling off her clothes.

The scene that follows is too graphic to recount. After the men finish, they ask her: “What do you think of feminism now?”

The woman in this film later stated she was not comfortable with what happened. Apparently, though, this was not sexual assault but a form of sexual expression – pornography.

Indeed, depictions of sexual violence are often promoted as an expression of women’s rights. “You could do a porn where a girl is getting choked and hit and spit on, the guy’s calling her a dirty slut and stuff and that’s okay. That can still be feminist,” says Joanna Angel, self-described feminist porn actress.

Such pornographic violence is symptomatic of a broader, global trend. This trend ranges from the brutal opportunism often seen in the wake of economic and environmental disasters, where vulnerable women are specifically targeted with violence or coerced into sex slavery; through to the proliferation new forms of sexual objectification, such as labiaplasty, men extorting younger girls to send pornographic images, child-on-child sex assault and new technology for global sex trading; through to the ever-widening gender pay gap and the increasing feminization of poverty.

In Australia, most violent crimes have been in decline, but the rates of domestic and sexual violence are soaring. Gendered violence has escalated to the point that now two women are killed each week – twice the historical average. As at the time of writing, 35 women have been killed in Australia this year alone, the majority of them by male partners.

Human hand stretch out from prison bars

While this spike in murders has sparked much hand-wringing about the problem of male violence against women, not only have there have been funding cuts to women’s refuges and support services, there has also been a conspicuous refusal to address the sexist attitudes that lead to such violence in the first place.

There is significant evidence that boys today are more sexist than their grandfathers’ generation, particularly when it comes to sexual expectations. Research conducted by The Line found that one in four young Australian men think it is normal for men to pressure women into sex. This is followed by a sharp increase in underage sexual assault convictions, an issue previously unheard of.

While traditional conceptions of gender were once enshrined in law and social norms, today men and women hold more equal roles than in generations past. What then is driving this renewed and more potent sexism toward women? Paul Linossier, CEO of Our Watch, a group campaigning against domestic violence, says the fundamental problem is attitudes towards women:

“We need to go upstream and understand that behind men’s control of women and the murder of intimate partners sits two key drivers; gender inequality and holding to traditional and rigid gender stereotypes.”

In terms of broad gender equality, Australia fares quite well. Australia boasts a fairly modern and egalitarian approach to women’s political and economic participation. Yet, there is another dimension to gender inequality often goes unaddressed. Innumerable studies implicate the role of Westernised “raunch culture” in driving sexism – that is, pornography and its ubiquity in everyday life.

Access to pornography is perhaps the most marked change across these generations. Exposure now begins as young as 9 with the average age at 11 and the largest group of pornography consumers being boys aged 12 to 17 years. Gone are the days of hiding Playboy under the mattress; today, the most commonly viewed form of pornography includes verbal and physical aggression against women in nearly 90% of the films that are freely available – indeed, almost unavoidable – on the internet.

Australian law enforcement has long seen the link between pornography and sexual violence, though this connection is persistently rejected by those who argue that porn is sexually liberating. Early epistemological studies were once mixed in their findings about porn, but today the evidence is mounting. A 2010 meta-analysis reviewed all studies from the 1980s until today; it found a strong correlation between exposure and aggressive attitudes. VicHealth released the following findings in their review in 2006:

“Exposure to sexually violent material increases male viewers’ acceptance of rape myths, desensitises them to sexual violence, erodes their empathy for victims of violence, and informs more callous attitudes towards female victims … adults also show an increase in behavioural aggression following exposure to pornography, again especially violent pornography.”

Not only does the research implicate the role of pornography, but front-line service providers are witnessing this firsthand. Nathan DeGuara, manager of the Men’s Referral Service, has seen a strong correlation between pornography and domestic violence, with increasing sexual expectations directly linked to porn use. Di McLeod, the Director of the Gold Coast Centre for Sexual Violence, has this to say about intimate partner violence:

“In the past few years we have had a huge increase in intimate partner rape of women from 14 to 80+. The biggest common denominator is consumption of porn by the offender … We have seen a huge increase in deprivation of liberty, physical injuries, torture, drugging, filming and sharing footage without consent. I founded the centre 25 years ago and what is now considered to be the norm in 2015 is frightening.”

Recent UK research shows that nearly half of teenage girls are coerced into unwanted sexual acts. Underage girls are presenting with bowel incontinence and anal tearing as a result of boyfriends who insist on replicating pornographic scenarios they have watched. At the extreme end of the spectrum, entire online forums are dedicated to men celebrating stories of rape and sexual assault. According to sites such as The Philosophy of Rape, it is “absolutely justifiable” that men have sex, even by force, if women don’t provide what they “need.” This is the world that porn has built, and post-millennials are the first to fully experience it.

Young women are also speaking out concerning the way pornographic expectations have become the norm for their generation. 23 year old Rosie had this to say on her experiences:

“Being told that my gag reflex was too strong… Bullied into submitting to facials. I didn’t want to. He said [jokingly] that he’d ejaculate on my face while I was asleep. He wasn’t joking – I woke up with him wanking over me … Bullied into trying anal. It hurt so much I begged him to stop. He stopped, then complained that I was being too sensitive … He continued to ask for it … Constant requests for threesomes … Constant requests to let him film it … Every single straight girl I know has had similar experiences. Every. Single. One. Some have experienced far worse. Some have given in, some have resisted, all have felt guilty and awkward for not … giving him what he wants.”

Despite the seriousness of accounts like Rosie’s, there is still little, if any, criticism of pornification that isn’t immediately disregarded as censorious, prudish or puritan.

The use of hackneyed defences like “diversity” and “free choice” have led to intense denial of the harms of pornography. Such is the extent of pro-porn denialism, that it is now bandied around as a form of women’s rights. Behind this denialism is almost certainly a generational age-gap, but there is importantly also the presence of industry-political ties. Lobby groups who brand themselves as progressive or even feminist are working hard to relax legislation, branding anyone who questions their agenda as “anti sex.”

But the proliferation of the sex industry is occurring in everyday life, with stripping and pornographic modelling being rife in social media, pop culture and advertising, even evolving into so-called sports and fitness. Far from the sex industry being stigmatised, it is increasingly being rated as a career goal by young girls.

This glamorisation obscures the dangerous reality. Despite the oft-repeated claim that “consenting adults choose this,” the reality is that choice is becoming increasingly constrained, particularly for young and vulnerable people.

The denial of the sex industry’s role in perpetuating sexism and its rebranding as “feminist” is a serious impediment to tackling gender inequality. While there is vocal commentary around reducing domestic and sexual violence in Australia, those voices are conspicuously quiet when the violence depicted is in pornography. Too many women’s advocates remain complicit in the sexual entitlement and unadorned violence that this industry is making normative.

While campaigns seek longer jail terms that will keep sex offenders out of society, this won’t change the terrain that is funnelling more and more young men down this dangerous path. The police cannot arrest their way out of the problem, nor can a lesson on sexual health undo a lifetime of socialisation.

Marches and protests against domestic violence rage on, discussions continue to unpack male entitlement, yet the elephant in the room remains unacknowledged. One of the most omnipresent and unavoidable drivers of sexist violence is seemingly invisible. To address sexist violence, advocates must challenge the lie that pornography is progressive.

Laura McNally is a psychologist, consultant, author and doctoral candidate. Her research draws upon critical and feminist theory. She is also a contributor to The Freedom Fallacy: Limits of Liberal Feminism. You can click the link to order.

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/

 

 

The Way – An On-line Pilgrimage for Life

Hi all.  This is a very special invitation from Ray Simpson about an online course he has written.  This is a great tool for discipleship and application.  I encourage you to consider it.  I will be enrolling and look forward to what this journey has to offer.  The way-marks are like sign posts along the way, guiding us to a deeper level of contemplation and transformation.  The course grows out of a life-time exploring a Way of Life that could guide us through a new Dark Age.

Ray Simpson is the Founding Guardian, The international Community of Aidan and Hilda www.aidanandhilda.org

The world is at a cross ways. So is Christianity. The first Christians were called Followers of the Way.  Where’s it going in our time?

The Way

An On-line Pilgrimage for Life

for millennials to veterans from every land

This is not a journey about class, race, religious, money and power wars, the roads to untruth, fear, break-up – to nowhere.

 This is a road TO A WAY OF LIFE    for individuals, communities, the world.

The first Christians were called Followers of the Way.

This way is green, but will take us through dark valleys and heights of vision.  This authentic way in a post-truth world leads us to edges and common ground, to Ground Zero and deep listening. It leads towards a divine cosmic love affair. Don’t miss it.

This is part of a mass movement of people who care for earth, community and people.

TO ENROL

Go to www.waymarksoflife.com

The Course 

 

This course will unfold insights, excite us to live in a whole new way, and help us to shape a whole new world. It suggests small, gentle, even playful first steps along the way, but does not shirk the hard things we shall sooner or later meet in life and in ourselves. Later, as the journey moves out of the sunny paths a soul friend or mentor may prove to be a vital support. .

It is open to all without obligation.

Three Options

There are three ways to gain the benefits of emails from waymarksoflife:

Option One. Use the emails as an aid for personal growth only.

Option Two. Use the emails as an aid for personal growth but engage a friend or mentor as a support to discovery or growth.

Option Three. Use Option One or Two and join the Waymarksoflife Facebook page where you can read of the journeys of others or discuss with others your journey. This is a closed group and only open to those who enrol.

Course Originator

This self-guided course is written by Ray Simpson, Founding Guardian of the dispersed international Community of Aidan and Hilda. Sales of his books on Christian spirituality are approaching their first quarter million. See www.raysimpson.org

You may enrol free of charge and cancel at any time. It costs us money, so we invite donations.  

TO ENROL and get more information Go to www.waymarksoflife.com

Seven days of emails are followed by resources and spiritual formation exercises to be tried out for a week. These emails will be sent for several years. They (with their follow-up material) may be returned to throughout life. An email is sent each day for seven days, then seven days for reflection, then the cycle starts again. The course is self-guided, but students may add insights and resources to our Facebook page (private – only open to subscribers at waymarksoflife) .

 

Churches

There are millions of churches, thousands of church-based courses and hundreds of missional networks. Followers of the Way may be engaged with any of these. Although this course is designed for individuals it highlights some core principles and practices that churches can also adopt if they wish to be servants of The Way. It also identifies some things that distance churches from the people and it suggests ways of transforming these. We hope churches and networks will commend these emails to members.

Subjects for each two-week unit for the first three years

  1. The World at a Cross Ways
  2. World voices: can we travel this Way?
  3. Questions at the gate
  4. Is this a new monastic Way?
  5. A Way of Life: What, why, where, but and how?
  6. Introduction to a Way of Life
  7. A Way of Simplicity
  8. A Way of Purity
  9. A Way of Obedience
  10. The Fruit of the Three Life-giving Principles
  11. Waymark 1 The wisdom of life-long learning
  12. Waymark 1 Life-long learning from Scripture
  13. Waymark 1 Ways of reading Scripture
  14. Waymark 1 Life-long learning from inspired people
  15. Waymark 1 Life-long learning from life
  16. Waymark 1 Life-long learning through creative arts
  17. Waymark 2 Journey
  18. Waymark 2 Journey with a soul friend (1)
  19. Waymark 2 Journey with a soul friend (2)
  20. Waymark 2 Journey with retreats
  21. Waymark 2 Journey with pilgrimage
  22. Waymark 2 Journey through the seasons of life
  23. Waymark 3 Rhythm
  24. Waymark 3 Rhythm of Daily Prayer
  25. Waymark 3 Rhythm of seasons
  26. Waymark 3 Rhythm of Work
  27. Waymark 3 Rhythm of Re-Creation
  28. Waymark 3 All ways of praying
  29. Waymark 3 More ways of praying
  30. Waymark 4 Praying for God’s will in God’s world
  31. Waymark 4 Overcome evil with good
  32. Waymark 4 Interceders
  33. Waymark 5 Simple Life-style
  34. Waymark 5 Hospitality
  35. Waymark 6 Creation – God’s sacrament
  36. Waymark 6 Creation – its groans
  37. Waymark 6 Creation care
  38. Waymark 7 Healing
  39. Waymark 7 Healing inner wounds
  40. Waymark 7 Healing wounded communities
  41. Waymark 7 The trail of the true human being
  42. Waymark 7 Live life to the full
  43. Waymark 8 Open to God’s Spirit
  44. Waymark 8 Learn to Listen
  45. Waymark 8 Prophecy
  46. Weaving together the God-given strands
  47. Church questions
  48. Waymark 9 Villages of God
  49. Waymark 9 Conflict resolution
  50. Waymark 9 Building Community
  51. Waymark 9 The Good Society

52 Waymark 10 Share Jesus and justice – the big picture.

  1. Waymark 10 Authentic witness
  2. Waymark 10  Indigenous and Cross-cultural Mission
  3. Waymark 10 Stand with the poor
  4. Waymark 10 Stand for truth
  5. Waymark 10 Signs and wonders
  6. Waymark 10  God-led lands
  7. Waymark 10 Economy means Oikonomia
  8. Waymark 10 A civilisation of love
  9. Waymark 10 The glorious Trinity
  10. Waymark 10 Leadership
  11. Flame and Struggle – Aidan
  12. Flame and Struggle –  Hilda
  13. Twelve Celtic Witnesses
  14. Ireland’s Twelve Apostles
  15. More great Celtic saints
  16. Stories of Desert Fathers and Mothers
  17. Monks and moderns: old habits die hard
  18. Corporate Expressions of the Community
  19. Explore: Taste and see
  20. Callings, Commitments and Coracles
  21. The Long Voyage
  22. The Celtic Community Cross
  23. Thin Places
  24. The Community of Aidan and Hilda – its name, oversight and inner dynamic.
  25. Reflecting back
  26. Letters from soul friends
  27. Mysticism
  28. The joy of spiritual fitness
  29. Growing old
  30. Live and die well
  31. Aidan and Hilda A-Z: their spiritual children today
  32. Review
  33. My personal sharing
  34. When the going gets tough
  35. Your feed-back
  36. Your questions
  37. More questions…

 

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If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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Join 1,165 other followers

What is a Christian?

What is a Christian?

All of us have different thoughts that spring to mind.  Some cultures would say that a Christian is a white privileged colonist who forces you to act, walk and talk just like them.  Others would say that Christians are people who go to church every week.  Some would say that Christians are judgemental people who live according to a rule book.

Last week a neighbour of mine asked me: “What does it mean to be a Christian?”

To me, and this is how I answered, being a Christian is a transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.  Jesus has to invade our personality.  Salvation comes by surrendering to Christ and allowing him to invade and permeate your being, saturating your life and changing you into a new person.  It is not enough to just believe that he is the son of God.  We must become like him.

 John 1:12 tells us, “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”   A Christian is a person who follows Christ and his teachings.  It is as simple as that.
How do you recognise a Christian? 

Jesus said that his disciples will be known by their love (Jn 13:35).

“If conversion to Christianity makes no improvement in a man’s outward actions – if he continues to be just a snobbish or spiteful or envious as he was before – then I think we must suspect that his ‘conversion’ was largely imaginary.”
#CSLewis

Unfortunately, institutionalised Christianity has settled for rules, rituals, and tribal belonging, losing sight of the transformative way of faith.

For centuries, Christianity has been presented as a ‘system of beliefs’. “That system of beliefs has supported a wide range of unintended consequences, from colonialism to environmental destruction, inferiority of women to stigmatization of LGBT people, anti-Semitism to Islamophobia, clergy pedophilia to white privilege” (source). 

What if Christians actually saw following Christ as a just and generous way of life?

Unfortunately some Christians have portrayed Christianity as an exclusive club of ‘us and them’.  Instructing: these are the hoops you must jump through,  this is what you must do to belong.  Portraying God as a Santa who showers blessings and privileges upon those who are a part of the in group.

‘”Jesus did not come to create a country club or a tribe of people who could say, “We’re in and you’re out. We’ve got the truth and you don’t.” Jesus came to reveal something that was true everywhere, for everyone, and all the time”‘ (Rohr).

What if Christians stopped defining Christianity as a set of rules and doctrines and actually became known by their love?  

When you read the Gospels you see God as one who “eats with sinners,” welcomes outsiders in, and forgives even while being rejected, tortured, and killed. Jesus taught that God was to be found in self-giving service rather than in power and domination.

“What would it mean for Christians to understand, experience, and embody God as the loving, healing, reconciling Spirit in whom all creatures live, move, and have their being?”(Rohr)

Jesus said that we would be known by our love.  He also taught that a tree is known by its fruit.

How do you recognise a Christ follower?  They taste good.  They are delicious and life-giving.  They nurture and nourish.

If a tree produces apples you know it’s an apple tree.  If a tree produces lemons it is a lemon tree.  What fruit are we growing and feeding to those around us.

‘The Fruit of the Holy Spirit’ is a biblical term that sums up nine characteristics of the person of the Holy Spirit.  A Christ follower is someone who has the Holy Spirit  living inside of them.  The book of Galatians names the fruit: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

These are the fruits that we measure our lives by. 

We need to ask, what do we taste like.  What do people encounter when they come in contact with us?

Unknown

Jesus taught us how to live well with each other.  He was concerned with equality, he believed that ‘everything’ belongs and that everyone is equal. He was also very concerned with producing fruit.

“As Christians we should concentrate on issues such as fighting poverty, caring for the environment, advancing peace, promoting strong families, and supporting a consistent ethic of life, all viewed as critical moral and biblical values” (Tony Campolo).

The biblical picture of Shalom is how a community of Christians should live.  Shalom is where every person has enough, it is a community where everyone belongs and where every person has the right to flourish.

Jesus said that the person who shows mercy to his neighbour is the person that shall inherit eternal life. This person is a co-heir with Christ,  a child of God.

Luke 10:25-37New Living Translation (NLT)

The Most Important Commandment

One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”

The man answered, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”

 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”The man wanted to justify his actions, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbour?”

Parable of the Good Samaritan

Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road.

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 “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by.32 A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side.

 “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him.Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins,telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’

“Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked.

The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”

Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on-line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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Join 1,165 other followers

Anthology on Prayer: Part Two

Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of gratitude. James 5:13

Anthology on Prayer:  Part 2

A few weeks ago I contacted several of my friends and asked them to comment on two questions about the topic of prayer.  They were kind enough to send back their responses for us to read. These were the questions that I asked.

1:  What is prayer to you?

2:  Does prayer work?

In Anthology on Prayer Part 1, we had guests Nicole Conner, Dr Ps John Drane and Cameron Semmens.  You can read their thoughts here:  Anthology on Prayer Part One.

Today our guests on the blog are Joel McKerrow and Mark Conner.

Let me introduce you to Joel McKerrow.  Joel is one of the most beautiful and deep souls you will ever meet.  He is a safe place, a harbour of peace and a wonder with words.

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Joel McKerrow  is a writer, speaker, educator, community arts worker and one of Australia’s most successful internationally touring performance poets. Based out of Melbourne, Australia he is the Artist Ambassador for the aid and development organisation ‘TEAR Australia’ and currently teaches at Whitley College.  Accomplished author and poet, Joel is passionate about discovering a new way to live outside the system of the Empire of Greed and spends much of his time trying to match his actions with this belief.

Father Richard Rohr talks about Joel here: 

“The old windows are not letting in much light. Nor do they allow people to look out, through and beyond. We see it everywhere: in the cynicism of politics, the machinery of the market, the intransigence of religion passing for faith, and the ravaged quality of so many human lives. Light is not getting through. We have always waited and asked for better windows, a truer lens, some ways to see the brightness and goodness that we somehow know is there. It is to this deeper, already knowing, that Joel McKerrow appeals. He draws us through a much better window.”

~ Father Richard Rohr, The Centre for Action and Contemplation ~

Joel, what is prayer to you?

1. Prayer is a movement of the self toward the divine. It is, in the everydayness of life, a choosing to be present and a giving of ones attention to the God who is always present and attentive toward us. It is an opening up of ones cognition, emotion and physicality toward this God.

Prayer is the thin place between the invisible world and the visible. It is the turning of the ache and the wound and the desire and the shadow toward the sacred one and in doing so being transformed.

Does prayer work?

2. The term ‘work’ might be problematic when we come to prayer. Especially in our Western understanding of progress and production and fast-food gratification. Most often prayer does not feed our expectations, which can feel as though it is therefore not ‘working’. However, prayer is never about the destination of an answer, of something that ‘worked’. It is more a re-orientation of the self, it offers a way to know the presence of God regardless of what the reality of life might about to be.

If the point of prayer is simply a movement of the self toward the divine, then it works every time.

Mark Conner is one of the kindest people you will meet and is a family friend.   Mark  has been involved in church leadership for over three decades. He is a gifted leader, author and speaker who brings a wealth of wisdom and life experience to whatever he engages in.

Mark has a genuine love for people and a passion to help them grow and change. He has a Masters of Arts degree in theology from Ridley College and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary.  You can follow Mark here on his blog: Mark Conners Space

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1. What is prayer to you?

To me, prayer is simply conversation with God. It is endeavouring to live all of life with a constant awareness that he is with me and for me. It includes speaking to him – audibly but also just in my thoughts at times – but also listening for him – not always speaking through tangible words to me but also through thoughts, promptings, feelings and sometimes simply through an amazing sense of peace. Like our very breath, to me prayer is meant to be like the air that we breathe, not something we merely do at the beginning of the day in a ‘quiet time’ or in a formal church meeting.

2. Does prayer work?

I don’t see prayer as a way to manipulate God to do what I want him to do. Much of the formulaic methodologies of how to pray in order to twist God’s arm to act as I think he should smells of magic incantations to me.

To me, prayer works in that it makes me more aware of God and it reminds me that I am not in charge of the world, which is good news.

Thank you Mark and Joel for your insights and your wisdom.

Our prayers are precious to God. They represent His promises to us, and His relationship with us. If you are going through a really challenging time at the moment and you feel like there is no hope.  Or that prayer is just a waste of time.  I will leave you with these words from N.T.Wright. Taken from an interview with Dargan Thompson on August 18 2015. 

So what do you say to people who are in a rough period and they’re waiting for something to happen and it just isn’t coming?

In that period of waiting, it’s like when you sow a seed in the ground in the fall, in the autumn, and you want to be impatient. You want to say, “I planted the seed, I want something to grow straight away, please.” But you have to wait through the winter.

During the winter, it isn’t that nothing is happening, it’s that the seed is germinating out of sight underground. It needs to be there. In the spring, when the new shoots happen, it looks sudden to us, because we haven’t seen anything going on until then, but actually, stuff has been going on underground.

Again and again, God works underground in our lives, in our imaginations, in our personal circumstances and in the wider world, and then suddenly something new happens, a new project, a new moment in our lives, and we’re astonished at it. T.S. Elliot had that wonderful poem that’s part of his four quartets where he says, “Wait without thought, for you are not yet ready for thought.” In other words, don’t even try to figure out what’s going on. If God has kept you in the dark at the moment, it may be because you have to go through a winter season in order that the spring, when it comes, will find those new plants well rooted and well bedded in.

That’s very difficult, because the darkness looks just dark. But that’s where we cling onto the teaching and promise of Jesus. Jesus taught those parables about seeds growing secretly and so on precisely in order that people could latch onto the promise that even when it looks dark, looks as though nothing is happening, God is at work and the seeds will indeed produce fruit at the right time.

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If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows me to get support for the work that I do on this blog.    Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people. Sunday Everyday has been on-line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support.  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month or you may wish to pledge $50.00 a month or more.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

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Join 1,165 other followers

Does Prayer Really Work? The Power of a Mothers Prayer.

Does Prayer Really Work? The Power of a Mothers Prayer.  by Lisa Hunt-Wotton

I was born under an umbrella of matriarchy, steeped in prayer and giggles.

My Nanna was a woman who prayed constantly for her family.  She had each of their pictures in frames on shelves in her little room and every day she would pray for each of her children and grandchildren.  I knew that I was the luckiest little girl in the ‘whole world’ because when I was about 10 my Nanna came to live with us.  There was nothing better in the universe than being close to Nanna.  She was sweet and cheeky.  Even her name was like a cloud of Spring Sunshine –  ‘Violet’.

She loved a cup of tea but she detested dirty feet.  Oh ouch ouch !!!!!  My little sister and I would sit in two inches of lukewarm bath water at the end of the day with our feet in the air while Nanna scrubbed our feet clean with a flannel and we tried not to squirm or she would scrub harder.  “Dirty little heathens” she would mutter.  ‘These dirty little feet wont be getting into my clean sheets’.

My Nanna loved tea, ‘Lan Choo Tea’.   Lan Choo tea because The LAN-CHOO Bonus Plan offers you a choice from over 500 useful gifts in exchange for the Bonus Labels on the end of each LAN-CHOO packet.

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“Next time you are in town visit the LAN-CHOO ‘Bonus Showrooms’ and inspect the useful and interesting range of Bonus Presents awaiting LAN-CHOO customers”.

I’m not sure that we ever went to those magical  ‘Bonus Showrooms’ in Flinders Street Melbourne, but she was passionate about saving those labels.  She even had a special tin for them.

Often I would creep into her room and kneel with her by her bed and listen to her pray.  I remember her saying to me,  “Lisa, we don’t ever need to fear.  Sometimes things may go wrong in life, we may be haunted but we’ll never be daunted”.  She was a funny lady, full of mischief, a wicked sense of humour and a woman of prayer.

She smelled like lavender and washed my hair with curly pet.  ‘Curly Pet’ the wonder of wonders was ordered every month.  The label stated that it was “guaranteed to give your baby curls”. My head was liberally smothered with it which is hilarious because I actually have naturally curly hair which of course was attributed to the wonder working powers of ‘Curly Pet’ and not my DNA.

She used Curly Pet on my hair and the magnificent Dippity Do on hers.  I’m not sure what excactly dippty do did, but as a young child I loved nothing more than to get into all the magical pots and formulas on Nanas dressing table.  Dippity Do was also a great standby if you ran out of clagg.

Nanna taught me how to tap dance, how to play pranks, how to play scrabble and how to pray.

Nanna had three daughters and two sons.  The eldest child, my mother, and my two aunts Carol and Bev, have also inherited this mandate of prayer and my Nanna’s wicked sense of humour.  Although our families have been through some traumatic times, two thing stands firm in their lives:  prayer and an irreverent sense of humour.

Prayer and humour have helped us navigate some dark days.  Somehow we always bounced back because:

1:  The Lord is good and He answers prayer

2:  We were never allowed to be daunted

I didn’t really know what daunted meant as a child. Today I finally looked up what daunted means. It means to: “take aback, shake, throw, demoralise or dishearten.  AND if ever we were thinking about being a little tiny bit daunted, there was always a strong cup of tea with lots of sugar to knock that nonsense out of us.

I learned from my Nan that Prayer is simply a conversation with God.  The bible tells us that prayer brings peace, and wisdom and that it is effective and powerful.  ‘So we…petitioned our God about this and he answered our prayer’ (Ezra 8:23).

Today I have asked my mother Lauris and my two aunts Aunty Bev and Aunty Carol to answer some questions for me about prayer.  My Mother is 87 this year.  I can’t tell you how old my aunts are because I’m still scared of them and they could kill me for telling you.  Or ‘slap me over the wrist with a tram ticket’ as my Nana would say.

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Aren’t they beautiful they are so precious:  Aunty Bev on the left, Aunty Carol in the middle and Mum (Lauris) on the right.  Standing outside the home they grew up in Abbotsford.

To this day each of my siblings and 19 cousins know that at any time of the day or night,  they have an open line to either of these three women for prayer requests.  They pray regularly and often pray  together over the phone.  Many times I have joined these matriarchs in times of prayer.

In the movie ‘The Castle’, presents go straight to the pool room.  In our family prayer requests go straight to the ‘hot line’.

From: The Sisters about their mother

Mum used to get up very early in the morning to pray and then would return to her room several times during the day to pray some more.  She called her bedroom her ‘prayer closet’ or her ‘sanctuary’.  Prayer was very important part of mums life and she would receive prayer requests from friends and family daily.  You would often hear her on the phone praying with someone.  She was a warrior woman and would never give up.

As sisters we do a prayer reading everyday.  Prayer is a major part of our lives too.  We do a reading together every day so that we have read the whole bible through each year.  We pray in the morning and at night and there are many times when we are woken up in the middle of the night to pray – or have a burden of prayer.  When we are worried about one of our kids or grandchildren we say “Well there no use worrying about it,  Lets Pray!”

We have seen our prayers answered so many times that there are too many to mention.

Does prayer work?   Of course prayer works.  Bev could not have children and Mum got us together to pray.  Mum said to Bev “you are not barren” and we will pray believing.   A few months later Bev was pregnant.

We feel so happy and excited when we pray.  We feel really free in our spirit and Bev really gets revved up (don’t put that bit in cause she’ll get mad).  Sometimes we cry and laugh for joy at the goodness of God and how good he has been to our families.  We are truly blessed.

Even when there seems no way out or ‘no answer’, prayer bring us peace, joy and an assurance that we can rest knowing that God cares for our families and we can trust Him.  He has never failed us.  God is Good.

This testimony from Bev concerning her friend Kirsten and the power of prayer.

Kirsten’s husband Sam was destroying his life on ice and had become abusive to the family so he left her. Kirsten needed prayer as her two young sons were being hard to handle.  They did not want to go school, they were sleeping in her bed  and generally not coping with the situation.

One day Kristen came  to visit me with her two boys.   I could sense that they were very distraught so I asked the  boys if I could pray with them and they said yes.  I asked them ‘what would you like me to pray for?’   They asked if  we could pray for their dad to get better.  I said if I pray will you believe with me and they said yes.   So together we prayed for their father.   After texting the boys daily to encourage them and pray with them, we then heard  that Sam had come home and asked forgiveness for being so nasty.  He also asked if the boys would thank the ladies that had been praying for him.  He was so amazed that two ladies (Lauris and Bev) who didn’t even know him, were praying for him.

Sams recovery was a miracle.  He went and asked for professional help, he then attended every meeting needed to get well.  He ended up getting a  certificate to say he was free from drugs and is now home with his family.

The truth is that the faith and prayers of the boys was answered.  God answers prayer.

Final comment from Lauris

It is very important to pray.   The ‘big thing’ is that you pray with faith and believe God and you must believe in what you are asking for.  Speak to God as if you were speaking to your father who loves you and who wants to look after you.  Speak with an open heart like a little child because He cares about you with an everlasting love.  Get started on exercising your faith, people are always talking about how we need to exercise,  but forget to exercise their faith.  Exercise builds muscle and endurance.  It’s no different with faith and prayer.  Believe in God and you will see some mighty things begin to happen.

I hope you enjoyed this little journey into my family heritage.  I feel very blessed to have these precious women in my life.

 

If the work here is meaningful to you, you can partner with me in a very real way through Patreon.com.

Patreon allows people to financially pledge to support artists, writers, musicians, and other creative people.

Sunday Everyday has been on line since the first of February 2015.  Since that time I have been doing this in a volunteer capacity.  For the blog to continue I need your support to help pay for annual fees etc..  You may want to give the amount you would spend on a coffee and muffin once a month.  Every bit helps.

Please help support my ministry and magnify my voice by pledging.

Thanks for considering.

Love Lisa

https://www.patreon.com/SundayEveryday

 

 

 

 

 

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