Tag Archives: christian

Threads: Love

LOVE: Acts 4:32-34 . John 13:35 . Mark 12:29-31

-love God, love others
-not easy, but real
-service, sacrifice, selfless, unwavering
-everyday, exist for other
-breaking down walls
-community (with a cause)
-bigger than us

“Love one Another” is probably one of the most repeated phrases in the New Testament (particularly by this John fellow). And then you got that Love God, Love others stuff Jesus talks about. I start to get the impression that when you boil it all down, if you had to summarize this whole gospel thing, God thing into one word it would have to be “Love.”
My friend gave me a sticker it says: “Love Wins.” Probably already my favorite sticker of all time. Because it seems that’s the truth. In the end, the end of ends, Love Wins. And Love is not a confusing concept, it can be much more clear then we sometimes make faith and action decisions out to be.
When Christ says, “Love your enemies,” I think it’s obvious he means with a deep love, the same love as “love your neighbor as yourself,” the same as loving your own child. It’s true love can be messy, but it’s also a powerful force beyond measure.
Love means loving your great grandchildren and loving creation. Love means loving your neighbors kids and not just your own. Love means loving the man on the corner and not just yourself. Love means loving the starving child and the AIDS stricken villages.
And that Love calls us to some sort of action. That love calls us to recycle and waste less gas and other resources. The love calls us to care about public schools and the education of children. That love calls us to buy less car, less entertainment, less material possessions.

Love is a verb.

Overflowmag to cover Soulforce at Wheaton

WheatonOverflowmag.com is a website/publication I helped start my senior year at Wheaton College. It has since been fairly vacant and has not received much attention. Recently though I have noticed a need by some Wheaton Alumni to make their voices heard at Wheaton. Soulforce’s Equality Ride is coming to Wheaton College on April 20-21. It looks to be a very engaging event for the current students there. Overflowmag will hopefully play a role in making that happen.

For the next few weeks the pages of Overflow Mag will be dedicated to sharing the stories of Wheaton Alumni. There is and has been much debate and disagreement over theological stances as it relates to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. This site is not going to attempt to sway you in either direction as it relates to your Biblical and Theological stance. You might hear some points from both sides of the issue.

The stories that will be shared are here so that you can hear from people who have been hurt and mistreated by the Wheaton community and by the Church. As a Christian you are called to love. As a community the issues surrounding lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people is far more complicated then whether the Community Covenant* says that it is a sin or not.

I will try and post a reference on here when stories begin to be posted, but I would appreciate you taking the time to subscribe to the overflowmag blog so that you’ll know about any updates that are happening there.

*Also to current students and recent Alum. If any of you who read this have strong feelings about the issues being discussed, or better yet, personal experience, particularly related to the Wheaton community, then I would love to be able to share it. Send your stories by email to me, or if your interested we could set up an interview that I could record the audio of and place on the website for download.

Cost of Living: dictated by values, not income.

Financial Lesson #3: Live by your values, not your income.

I’m a little worried about moving on with so little feedback on my last finances post, but we’ll proceed anyways.
I think one of the BIGGEST steps we can make to healthy finances and Christ-like stewardship is to begin to live by our Values, rather then our Income. To make this conversation meaningful let me direct it to three different audiences:

Mr. College Student:
You are the one group I need to clarify something with: Most of you college students do not have an income. What does that mean? It means for a lot of you, you are going into debt to get yourself an education. Most folks would say that is a good thing, and some would say it’s not really debt, it’s an investment. I think I would agree with them, education is something I certainly value and I’m sure you do to, so this is a wise decision.
What does this also mean? It means you are going out to eat on the weekends, and bowling and buying concert tickets on money you don’t have. Going into debt on entertainment, does that align with your values?

Ms. Recent College Grad with the entry level job:
Congrats, you finally have your own income and are paying your own bills. It’s time to make some of those important decisions. There’s a good chance your still in debt for your school loans so some of what I said to the college students still applies. What that means is that you need to decided if it is more wise stewardship to pay off your student loans, or buy those fancy couches on lay-away.
I bet I know what most of you are choosing: your going to pay off the student loans, who needs fancy couches anyways? Especially you college students who had any exposure to global issues like poverty. To you folks it seems silly to buy a big screen TV for your living room when most folks in the world can’t put food on the table for their kids. That is your values speaking.

Mr. and Mrs. Nice job and In the money:
Hopefully your idealistic college days values are still in your mind. You have stepped into the world where the “American Dream” is possible and most would say necessary. You’ve got a better paying job and you darn well want to show it. You’ve been eyeing that BMW SUV and have kept your eyes open for a bigger home. And as far as everyone thinks there is nothing wrong with that: Higher Income = Higher Cost of Living. And suddenly your values are out the door. gone.

To clarify again I’ll leave you with a word picture and somewhat of a paraphrase of Luke 3:11*. Say your at home. A blizzard has just begun outside and you and your brother have to make the trek to school. You get to the closet first and see before you two coats. It’s quite cold outside so you take both the coats, leaving your brother with none. Is that what Christ called us to?
Now another word picture. You recently received a commission from your church to be a full-time missionary in your town. You don’t need to quit your job or anything, but rather just continue living and spend your time sharing the gospel with others. Here’s the neat thing: your church gives you a million dollar annual living stipend to support you. What does your home, car, lifestyle, etc. look like?

Journal of Christian Nursing II: Male biases off the deep end

UPDATE: My good friend Zach pointed out that this critique was overly harsh, and after reviewing it I agree with him. I still think most of the points I make are valid (there are still many biases and subtle sexism throughout the article), but my tone was very out of line. I probably should not have just taken a small chunk and picked at it. There are things in the article I agree with, I realize men have some obstacles to overcome in the nursing profession. I’ll leave the original text up for everyone to read and critique and continue to interact with, but know from the start I realize it is harsher then it should be.

Two days ago we talked over a short quote by the editor of the Journal of Christian Nursing and critiquing some of the implications of that brief quote. Today, we are going to look at a longer passage (from an article applying Wild at Heart to nursing), along with my running commentary, and hopefully we’ll learn some important lessons.

From the Journal of Christian Nursing, “Men in Nursing: Hard-Wired for Adventure” page 15:

The way men are wired greatly directs the areas of nursing in which we find ourselves.

Gender exclusive statements like this always bother me a little. It always seems to imply a hint of “unlike women,” as if the way women are wired doesn’t necessarily direct nursing. You might find this being a little too critical, but what if it said: The way black guys are built really impacts the way they play basketball… or The way Muslim’s handle the Christian-Muslim tension is really commendable. Those two statements are a little more awkward (and racist).

Nurse anesthetists, for example, have a male population approaching 50 percent, despite the six percent total of nurses who are men nationally. Emergency rooms, intensive care units, circulating nurses in the operating room and nurse managers in all areas have higher rates of men than are reflected in the nursing population as a whole. Note that these areas have some similarities.

Let me jump in with my notable similarities (thanks Mindy). These positions are more prestigious and also pay more. Similar to management positions which also are dominated by males. Before we start seeing this as commendable, we should recognize that the affect of sexism and oppression has played a role and still plays a role in any place where men (particularly us white ones) are in positions of power and prestige over women. It’s changing, but it’s not their yet.

There are distinct battles that can be fought every day (an operation, an emergency situation, a critically ill patient or a bottom line to meet). Also, the battles have a clear outcome, a reflection of a man’s input into the battle.

Again, the implications here seem to belittle the more “female” nursing areas, as if they aren’t battles as well. I realize this “battle” terminology is important to Wild at Heart, but I read this and I ask, “What’s your point?”

It is not uncommon to hear men in the break room talk about the struggle involved with a particularly difficult case, and how hard it was to overcome those struggles.

Now this one is really bothersome. What in the world do you think women sit around the break room talking about? Their nails? (according to the author, Richard Haas, women, unlike these men, spend their time “gossiping.”). And in a hugely female dominated field I would think the majority of the time the “men” are usually talking to “women” about these cases, unless they are still keeping to their elitist male circles (and that would be a problem).

Some of these battles provide a background for an adventure, an exotic case or a patient whose condition is extremely tenuous.

“Exotic case”? Are you kidding me? You can go hike through an exotic jungle or go on an exotic vacation, but I highly doubt any patient would like to be referred to as an “exotic case.” Listen carefully to that sentence, it’s very self-oriented. I want the adventure for me. “Battle, Adventure, Exotic, Extremely Tenuous,” all these things make me more excited about the mountain I’m conquering. That’s not what nursing is about.
Nursing is about being a patient advocate. It’s not about the nurse and her prestige or exotic adventures, it’s about her patient and their well being. It’s about speaking up for the patients rights when a bunch of doctors walk-in and talk about this “exotic case” as if the patient wasn’t laying their dying of the disease the doctor’s are calling their latest “adventure.” Nurses love with a selfless love.

Further, some of these areas provide greater financial rewards, important to men who are primary wage earners for their families. –

Once again, the implications of gender exclusive language are disturbing. Let it be known that “Greater financial rewards” are important to WOMEN who are the primary wage earners for their families. But maybe “greater financial rewards” isn’t the point. Maybe women aren’t worried about that, they’ve probably got their priorities straight, it’s about helping people.

Let me finish by saying this: I’m not saying men can’t have their adventures and fight their battles. I am saying when we start elevating men’s motives and activities in such a way that it implies the exclusion or the belittling of what women are and do, we have a problem. Men and women are different, I fully agree. We are wired differently, I can agree with that too. What I can’t agree with is when people (Christian’s especially) lean on these “differences” to support sexism and discrimination.

Journal of Christian Nursing: reeking of sexism

Mindy recently received the spring issue of Christian Journal of Nursing (the subscription, a gift from Wheaton College). The particular theme was about issues men face in the field of nursing. It seemed like it had potential for some interesting discussion, but a lot of what we read disgusted us both. I’ve decided to take two sections from the magazine (one today, one later) and post them along with my commentary. There was a lot more we could address, but I’ll just start with these.

Men [in nursing] report they have to be careful in their conversations and action with female colleagues because they don’t want to appear paternalistic or sexist. –Kathy Schoonover-Shoffner from “Reverse Discrimination?”

I find it fairly disturbing that a women would feel this is worth noting. I personally (regardless of my field of study or audience) NEED to be careful to not BE sexist or paternalistic. Let me explain. One, whether a man is in nursing or in the locker room should not be a factor in the statement above. Two, this statement shouldn’t even be exclusive to men; women also should not be sexist nor paternalistic. Three, isn’t it much more important that we not BE sexist than simply not “appear” sexist? You can “appear” as unsexist as you please, but if you really aren’t sexist, then the need to “be careful in their conversation,” should not be a problem at all. Is it just me or does that statement above reek of sexism?

Obviously, if I am going to critique that statement, I should make an attempt at providing an alternative that addresses the issue. The paragraph is hinting at the idea that there are biases held against males and that has made it difficult for those males in the nursing field. Yet, the reason those biases are there is because there is and has been a lot of validity to them. I think it’s important to acknowledge that first. Then it seems appropriate to note that many well meaning and very forward-thinking guys may have been perceived a certain way because of the biases in nursing. Finally, it’s important for those males to recognize that this is just a teeny tiny taste of what so many women had to go through and still go through in our society and that it is a small price to pay for their opportunity to join, grow and learn from these amazing women.

Here’s my quote:

Though there is still sexism and paternalistic tendencies in health care and in our society that reinforce our biases and stereotypes; some of the most well-meaning men have felt misunderstood and wrongly judged based on these biases. Fortunately, many of the males in the nursing field realize this is only a glimpse of what their female colleagues and predecessors have faced in sexism and they are more then willing to work through it and learn and grow from their experiences. I, especially with my women’s liberation tendencies, need to be more open to the fact that some men share my views, rather than misinterpreting and judging them.

Stay Tuned for part II

free-will vs. predestination: I’m NOT a robot.

I probably won’t get to my thoughts about the Biblical foundations about free-will and predestination in this post at all. Rather, I’d like to address one of the dangers that comes up when we start to get honest and talk about this subject. Listen carefully and you might pick up on which direction I lean.

First and foremost, I am NOT a robot. I know you where probably constructing your theories and questioning whether the pictures are real, but seriously I’m not. What I mean by saying this is to address the most common response I hear from people when they are presented with the idea of predestination. IF predestination is true they say, then no choice they make is their own, they are a robot pre-programmed for every action. Therefore, one might say, what is the use of doing anything? I’ll just sit here, cause obviously that’s what God predestined me to do right?
Whether I believe theologically in predestination or not, I am still personally physically and mentally making my own decisions. If I jump, sit, sleep, eat, smile, yell, or laugh, each I have complete control over those choices (whether I’m predestined to do them or not).
I’ll try to present a brief anology, but it will fall short of proving effective unless you do your best to stretch your imagination a little. The whole problem with an anology on this topic is it is an attempt to explain God with human consructs, I find that’s not quite possible. You’ve probably seen one of those magic tricks online where you read a series of things and then say the first word that comes to your mind, “carrot” and low and behold there it is when you scroll down the very word you where thinking of. The reason they knew is because people simply tend to choose that word. But they didn’t FORCE you to choose that word. Now, what if we just always chose that word, that’s just the way people are…would that mean we suddenly lost our free-will? Now multiple that infinity times.

To Be Continued… (In other words, at some point I WILL talk about which I believe [I’m not quite sure yet] and why).

The Pacifism discussion begins.

This discussion is sure to create some interesting feedback and debate. Zach brings up some questions about Pacifism, which Ariah tries to address. No script, no agenda, so it get’s a little off on tangents.
This is only half of the show, the second part of this discussion will air next week. And then we’ll continue to discuss pacifism and the Bible as long as there is interest.

We’ve also added to exciting parts to our show: Myth of the Week and the Friend Spotlight!
You could be the Friend of the week and if you are, you’ll win a BIG prize! Listen in and see if your this weeks big winner!

Please send your feedback and thoughts to ariahfine@gmail.com or call and leave an audio message at (615)349-1210

Or Download Here. (right click and choose Save link as…)

Brief shownotes:
-Ariah and Zach discuss Pacifism
-Myth of the Week: ?
-Friend Spotlight: ? Could you be our big winner?!

Disclaimer: No animals where hurt in the making of this podcast

What does denying yourself look like?

Today I was talking with a friend about some of the word’s of Jesus and it became so clear to me why I think the church should care about justice, should care about others, and shouldn’t just look like another club that people can join (as long as you look, act, and enjoy the same things as the majority of the people in the club). Jesus messes with people’s heads and says these words:
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

The cross was a method of gruesome punishment, like the electric chair, or lynching. It’s equated with pain, struggle, hurt, and many other harmful and negative images; and Christ tells us to take that up. And then he get’s us even more backwards “lose” our life? What is that supposed to mean?
I’m not hear to do a theological exegesis of the passage, I’d rather just address the fact that THIS is the Jesus that we in the Church profess. There it is as plain as day for any passerby to read. Followers of Jesus should be denying themselves.
So why do those looking on see Christians drive in on Sunday in their fancy cars, pull up to their nice and decked out churches, listen to their health and wealth gospel, sing some feel-good songs, get back in their cars and go out to eat (where they don’t tip well), and head back to their house full of the same gadgets and gizmos everyone else has, ready to start another week?

Where’s the “deny” and “lose” in that? About the only “cross” it seems like most Christian folks are taking up is their house payment. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

Tackling Bible Translation

Ariah and Zach discuss Bible translations and whether Ariah should be reading through The Message as his Bible reading this year.

or Download the Podcast Here.

Some of the Show Notes:

  • Zach explains the types of translations
  • Why The Message is not really The Bible
  • How do we decide what is “Scripture?”
  • Thoughts on the TNIV
  • Should we be reading the Bible ONLY in Greek and Hebrew
  • Should God be referred to as a “He.” or a “She?”
  • The danger of putting “interpretation” into the translation.
  • Why did God use the language that was used in the original text?

This is a pretty controversial podcast, please post your thoughts and comments below, or email, or even call with and leave a message: 615-349-1210