Friday, August 8, 2008

Is it Friday yet?

I'm definitely dragging a little bit in comparison with Monday. I think the other participants in my program are too.

Today during our workshop, another trainee commented, "I spent a lot of time yesterday working on my treatment plan."

There was a confused pause. "Your WHAT?" the trainer asked.

The trainee paused. "Ohhh, that's mental health. Sorry!" She had meant "lesson plan." It was funny thinking of our ESL students as our patients!

Another trainee sent around a note asking "How do you keep a TESOL student in suspense?" On the other side was the same thing.


  1. I am off on Saturday. One of those weird days that I am off. I think I will drive to the Shell Point to wash my feet in the ocean. Ahhh.... Florida... God has spent a little bit more time on you.

  2. Hey the Herd, good luck to you guys (or as Christians I guess we are supposed to say, "May God bless you...") in your trip to Russia! It's coming up soon. If I had all the money in the world I'd fly to Russia tomorrow. I miss my mom. "...Pressed down, shaken together..." Whatever. I've given away so much, but very little came back. Does it all still stand true? If I have been given back all that I have already given out, I'd have at least $70.000....

    Don't see it. Yes, as you can tell I am a bit upset. I was thinking about going there in September. Maybe the Lord will read this post and remember that I have been good to others...

  3. I actually dislike the lack of structure of weekends, but I am enjoying catching up on emails and doing laundry.

    Vitali, I'm sorry that you're missing your mom. It's an interesting point you brought up about "good luck." I think there's a difference between wishing someone well and knocking on wood. You want them to have a good time, but you don't want to convey that "luck" has any power. "God bless you" doesn't mean much to non-believers. But I'm careful about saying something like "I'll be praying," because I don't want to make empty promises. In many cases I will write it down to pray for, but I don't remember every single one.

    Does what stand true?

  4. Funny slip. I used to do phone interviews for a study of cancer patients. Now I am teaching Koreans conversational English on the phone. I keep slipping and saying, "I need to call one of my patients."

    Oh, Vitali. I wish I could go to Russia, too! But you need to go more than I do. Your mom must really want to see you. How I wish the tickets weren't so expensive!

    I think that what we get back, is not always in the same denomination as what we gave...if you know what I mean.

  5. Liz said:

    "Does what stand true?"


    Oh, I had an argument with myself last night. I was talking to Jesus in prayer and I was saying, "Lord, how come I have been giving away so much yet I see very little coming back?"

    (Luke 6:38: "Give, and it will be given to you. A large quantity, pressed together, shaken down, and running over will be put into your lap, because you will be evaluated by the same standard with which you evaluate others.")

    I guess, the Lord was speaking about giving mercy to others in that passage. I don't know. Sometimes I take things literally. So, I often ask myself, does this thing in the Bible still stand true? I have come to realize that some things may, others may not, even in the New Testament.

    The main thing for me is to continue praising Him whether He gives me what I ask for or not. Sometimes it is very, very hard.

  6. Annie,

    You have totally gotten what I was saying there. I think that way too a lot of time. I look at my life and I see that I have had lots of other blessings (not the ones I was praying for, though) that have made my life better in many ways.

    Sometimes, though, I have very little confidence that He is on my side. If I love someone, I want the best for them. I want to help them as much as I can. I want them to have food on their table and money to pay their bills. When it comes to Jesus, it seems like He gives me a lot of good things, but they do not come as a blessing but as something I have to work or even suffer for. Do not get me wrong, I have money in my bank account, I have a job and a small online business. So, I am not poor. But the thing is many other people who do not believe in Jesus have those things. I often ask Jesus: "Apart from being saved through your Name, what is our advantage of being Christians?" And sometimes I think the answer is "None". I feel like crying right now.

  7. Liz said:

    "But I'm careful about saying something like "I'll be praying," because I don't want to make empty promises."


    I am the same way. When someone says to me: "Hey, I will pray for you, brother!" I say to myself: "Yeah, whatever..." And I hardly ever promise to someone that I will pray for them. Liz, I try to be an atipathy of what is religious:

    1. I do not pray over my meals (Oh, no!!!).

    2. I watch the Simpsons (ha!).

    3. I do not go to church every Sunday and am not a member of any church. (Who even came up with this bogus idea we have to be members of a church???). Although I do attend a very good church here in the Tallahassee area.

    3. I, sometimes, hang out with non-Christians. (And actually enjoy it. Non-Christians are more real than my own brothers and sisters in the Lord).

    4. I do not believe that smoking or occasional drinking (I do not do either of those) will take you to hell.

    5. I belive true love is when you feed, clothe or give money to someone who needs it.

    6. Believing in Jesus is enough to be saved. If a drug addict calls out to Jesus in his/her intoxicated stupor - he/she is saved even if they contunue in their addiction afterwards.

    7. Religious people may end up being in hell. A lot of "sinners" will not.

    And so on...

  8. I agree with Annie as well. Sometimes the fruit of what we have sown so little resembles the seed that we don't recognize it. I think timing is an issue, too. Some people, like parents and teachers, sow continuously, but don't receive thanks for many years, if at all. And some of us may not receive our reward until we are in heaven.

    I take Luke 6 to be kind of a common sense way to get along with the people around us, but it doesn't say when or how it will come about. I think it's significant that the command (judge not, give, etc.) is given first and then the result. We should evaluate our own behavior first.

    The Lord IS on our side. It's important to keep the communication open with Him when we doubt. Job asked a lot of questions too when it seemed like the wicked benefited and the righteous suffered. We will not always know the reason.

    Vitali, regarding your list, I have to say, beware of thinking that the opposite of a bad thing is a good thing! Some people think, for example, that if loving money is wrong, then we should throw all our money away and live in poverty. But I honestly think that most Christians would agree with or accept your list. You have not questioned anything that most Christians agree on fundamentally.

  9. Liz said:

    "But I honestly think that most Christians would agree with or accept your list. You have not questioned anything that most Christians agree on fundamentally."


    Elizabeth, what do you, personally, belive about this? I said pretty controversial things down there.

    Do you belive that a drug addict will still be saved if he calls on the name of Jesus even if he continues in his addiction? What about a gay person? Will a gay person be saved if he believes in Jesus but can't quit in his life style? (Keep in mind it is a strong addiction, too). What about a prostitute on the street of Amsterdam? Or Boston? Or Moscow?

    You know, the thief on the cross was transposed to be with the Lord that very day, simply because he said something in defense of Jesus. Why did Jesus decide to save him? But most importantly: why was it all recorded in the Gospel?

    Sometimes, I get so angry at the church, in general, and its teaching. The church has done everything to not let sinners to enter the Kingdom of God. I can't listen to the teachings of almost anyone (those that everyone calls "the prominent teachers of the Word of God"). There were many times when I left the church I attended because the teaching there was anti-sinners and pro-denominational. I could say even more strong words of a warning here but I won't.

    Just this afternoon, at work, someone came up to me and started preaching about Jesus. And he said, "I tell you what, the second coming of Jesus will be in about 7 years!!!" And he was so excited that he was able to reveal that to me. I thought to myself, "What a freak! Can someone take this freak away from me...? Please?"

    I am still trying to get healed from the baptist teaching that was hammered down to me for about 6 years. I believe I am finally free from all the crap they taught me. Not all of that was crap - but most of it was.

    I hope the preachers, prominent or not, will start thinking for themselves for once. After all, we will all give account on our own behalf and not on the behalf of our denominations or popular opinion.

  10. Controversial. Here am I, a Catholic. Yes, Vitali - I believe that even the people you named can inherit the Kingdom....because God loves us in our weakness enough to cleanse us of our sins - not that such cleansing is pleasant. We call it purgatory. Be it a place, a process or a period of time, it is the way God transforms the sinner into someone so pure they can be One with Him. That's what I think, anyway.

    I liked your bringing up the "Good Thief". That idea has occurred to me as well.

  11. dgjuAnnie,

    You are a very good person and I think you love people dearly for who they are.

    Although, I personally do not believe in the Purgatory, I do not think it is an issue of right or wrong or of our salvation.

    Michael Card & John Michael Talbot showed the world that Christians have so much more in common than that. I cried as I was listening to their conjoint album the very first time.

    I have my own reservations about who can and who can not be saved, I still believe that Jesus wants to save ANY sinner. ANY!

  12. Vitali,

    I didn't answer your questions because I wasn't sure exactly what you were looking for. Since it sounds like you're struggling with some hurtful experiences, I'm not sure if you are interested in discussing theology or or looking for more personal advice. Are you concerned about your own salvation, or someone else's, or just curious about my general views?

    I don't believe in purgatory, but I do believe in both predestination and free will. :) I'll answer more tomorrow when I have time. I need to go to bed.

  13. Vitali - I agree with you! And I guess I'd call Purgatory the process by which people are saved after they have died as weak sinners. YES! I love John Michael Talbot and Michael Card.

    You must enjoy music!

  14. Liz said:

    "Since it sounds like you're struggling with some hurtful experiences, I'm not sure if you are interested in discussing theology or or looking for more personal advice. Are you concerned about your own salvation, or someone else's, or just curious about my general views?"


    Elizabeth, are you angry at me?

    Actually, none of those statements you have suggested are true, at all.

    The experiences I had in the past didn't change me. They were not hurtful, just difficult.

    I think the theology is completely twisted in about 99.9% of the churches these days (particularly in the US, particularly with the US missionaries). If you would like to find out what I think about what a church should be like, check out the congregational letter, Rich Nathan my former pastor, wrote not too long ago:

    Reg. my salvation. I never question it. I am saved because I believed in the Name of Jesus about 16 years ago.

    Yes, I would like to know your views, of course! It is your blog and your views are what will keep it going.

    But please, do not be angry at me. Like me. I am a musician, perfectionist, people pleaser (to a certain degree). I like when everone likes me. I can't stand rejection.

  15. Annie said:

    "You must enjoy music!"


    You should hear my version of "There's a joy in the journey" by M. Card.

    I think I have nailed it down ok. I, actually, sang it at my friend's wedding a while back.

    Thanks for you input!

  16. Vitali, maybe I used the wrong word. If you're not hurt, then are you offended? Angry? I was just wondering why you were fed up with church. I can understand if the teaching wasn't Biblical. That would make me want to leave, too.

    I looked at the article and I think it's a good illustration of some characteristics of the "ideal" church. What do you think, can such a congregation exist? I could argue that it's pretty hard to please everyone. Maybe some people LIKE standing and singing hymns that have older language and not some dumbed-down praise choruses. If you want to please everyone, you are going to have to form a "pick your flavor" kind of church with multiple services.

    So you like Michael Card but not Amy Grant? I like Michael Card, but I think "Old Man's Rubble" actually can be applied here! :) A lot of us have some trash from our former lives that we just haven't given up.

    I'm not really getting your "drug addict" example, because I believe that once someone has heard the Gospel, he/she will be held accountable. However, we are supposed to protect our brothers and sisters whose "faith is weak," so I believe that that is a call for the church to help out. But I believe that there are consequences for deliberately continuing in sin and not feeling repentant. I'll leave it at that.

    I don't find it very productive to criticize other churches unless it affects my own church or someone I'm ministering to, for example, someone who heard a bad teaching in another church. I just feel that it's a waste of time and energy. I would rather focus on how I can do better in my own life and how I can help my own church to glorify God. Maybe it's selfish, but I think it's okay to be selective sometimes.

  17. Love it. It's getting late in here. I will definitely reply to you tomorrow.

    I just want to say this tonight. Thank you for your blog and thank you for keeping it alive.


  18. I'll add that I love this conversation. I really appreciate your blog, Elizabeth...and your thoughts, Vitali.

  19. I understand your point, thank you for replying. Too tired to think right now. A long day at work.


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