The Parable of Wavering and Confident

In working on my book Untwisting Scriptures #4, which addresses sin-leveling (treating all sins as equal) among other things, I came across a parable I had written for this book years ago. Ultimately I’ve decided not to use it in the book, but I would love to have your thoughtful input about it here. What answers would you give?

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Two men, Wavering and Confident, walked together up a road, the High Way to God, which was bounded on both sides by a fence. The fence was low and easy to step over, but the signs along the way very clearly proclaimed “No trespassing.” On the other side of the fences lay the life they had left, full of interesting-looking and sometimes beautiful fruit with the peculiar quality of making a person sick sooner or later. Continue reading “The Parable of Wavering and Confident”

Why “Metanoia” Is So Much Greater Than “Repentance”—And Why That’s Important

Long ago Martin Luther read the Latin translation of the Greek New Testament called the Vulgate. He saw that John that Baptist and Jesus called out to their hearers, “Do penance! For the Kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

Really? he thought. Did they really call for their hearers to do acts of self-mortification, contrition, confession to a priest, and other acts involved in trying to achieve absolution for sin?

But Luther found that the meaning of the original Greek word metanoia didn’t involve doing any acts of piety. Rather, he found, it meant “change your mind.”

Unfortunately, at least in English versions, the Latin Vulgate has exerted far more influence than it should have. The original Greek word got translated “penitence” or “repentance,” which some would argue wasn’t as far off from “penance” as it needed to be.

What does the “change of mind” mean? And why would I agree with some great thinkers that repentance is not an acceptable translation?

And why do I believe this truth is vitally important for all of us? Continue reading “Why “Metanoia” Is So Much Greater Than “Repentance”—And Why That’s Important”

“Jesus Didn’t Have Boundaries, So I Shouldn’t Either”

The Called to Peace Ministries Women’s Retreat will be happening April 7-10 in the Asheville, NC, area. Joy Forrest, the founder and director, has said that the response in recent years has been so overwhelmingly positive that she and her team have decided to do it every year. Attendees have found it refreshing, joyful, and thoroughly Christian.

I’ll be doing a breakout session on principles for Untwisting Scriptures. I would love to see some of my Here’s the Joy subscribers there.

Early Bird registration ends on February 6th, so don’t delay! You can go here to register. And scholarships are available, so don’t let lack of funds keep you away.

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Christmas of 2007 my husband gave me the book Boundaries. I had never heard of it.

A couple of weeks later we had a long car drive to a wedding, and I read that book all the way there. I was crying. Suddenly I back-hand slapped my husband on the arm and said, “Why didn’t you give me this book a long time ago?” Continue reading ““Jesus Didn’t Have Boundaries, So I Shouldn’t Either””

The Shame of the Bleeding Woman (guest post by Helena Knowlton)

Helena Knowlton writes at Confusion to Clarity, and within that website she offers a course and community called Arise. When this course opened last month I signed up, especially because Helena focuses on how the body can heal from the trauma that has affected it, and I continue to want to learn more about that.

I highly recommend Arise for Christian women survivors of abuse who would like to experience a guided healing journey for your heart, mind, spirit, and especially for your traumatized brain and body.

Besides the actual teaching course, Arise has so much more available. I’ve hardly scratched the surface.

When I listened to a certain lesson inside the course, I immediately asked Helena if I could make a guest blog post out of it, and she graciously agreed. Continue reading “The Shame of the Bleeding Woman (guest post by Helena Knowlton)”

Paul’s Word for the New Year: “Holy Amnesia”

It seems like the last ten years or so, having a word for the New Year has replaced making New Year’s resolutions or goals.

So if the apostle Paul had done this, I’m guessing one of the many years of his Christian life, “holy amnesia” may have been his word (okay, technically “words”).

I’m basing this idea of “holy amnesia” on Philippians 3:13b-14.

Continue reading “Paul’s Word for the New Year: “Holy Amnesia””

Here’s the Joy Looks Back Over 2021 and Looks Forward

With as full as my life has become, I believe I may have reached my peak of blogging prolific-ness in 2017, with 68 posts. This year it was only 35, but that still felt like a lot to me!

With the exception of my main evergreen post (“Why Did David Lift His Eyes to the Hills,” which always outranks all my other posts by far), this year’s most popular post was one I wrote in 2019, Your Empathy Is a Sin’: A Response to Desiring God.” One of the most poignant comments on it came from an exvangelical who said she was thankful to find a Christian who was refuting this damaging teaching.

Continue reading “Here’s the Joy Looks Back Over 2021 and Looks Forward”

False Teaching: How Bad Theology Almost Killed My Faith (guest post by Ann-Marie Ferry)

 Especially since I’ve lately been pondering the deconstruction movement that has found many young people leaving the Christian faith, I was glad to receive this guest post recently. Thank you, Ann-Marie.

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“Her son died a few years back.” The older gentleman across the table interjects, “She just isn’t the same. She’s lost her faith.” Continue reading “False Teaching: How Bad Theology Almost Killed My Faith (guest post by Ann-Marie Ferry)”

When The Psychopathic Megalomaniac Wants to Thwart God’s Plan

When six-months-pregnant Elizabeth (future mother of John the Baptist), blessed her cousin Mary, Mary burst out in praise (Luke 1:46-55):

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

Especially notice that underlined part in bold. I imagine Mary thought that the coming of the Messiah would mean the very soon fulfillment of these wonderful prophecies based on the words of the prophets of old. The setting right of all that was wrong about the world.

However . . .

Continue reading “When The Psychopathic Megalomaniac Wants to Thwart God’s Plan”

I Don’t Deserve God’s Love (or Maybe I Do?) A Thought for Advent

As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, I’m thinking about Him . . . and us.

What does it mean to be deserving/worthy?

This concept refers to things being equitable and appropriate and right. For example, when the Scripture says “A workman is worthy of his wages,” it means a person should be paid according to his work.

If you say, “I am worthy,” it’s important to answer the question, “Worthy of what?”

Continue reading “I Don’t Deserve God’s Love (or Maybe I Do?) A Thought for Advent”