J Walking

J Walking


Headline Pastor Haggard news

posted by J-Walking

…that never hit the headlines.

Mike Jones, the male prostitute who revealed the “secret” side of Pastor Ted Haggard’s life, visited Pastor Haggard’s former church on Sunday. According to the few media accounts available, Jones said that several people came up to him, shook his hand and said, “God bless you.”

The associate pastor at New Life, Rob Brendle saw Jones in the lobby, approached him and said, “I don’t want to impose my religious beliefs on you, but I believe God used you to correct us, and I appreciate that.”

Brendle went on to say. “The church’s response to him was overwhelmingly warm. One of the wonderful and enduring truths of Christianity is to love people the world sets up to be your enemies.”

It is too bad the story wasn’t spread far and wide. Some will say it is a ‘media conspiracy.’ I think that is too simple. The broader truth is that our news and our world doesn’t really know what to do with good news…whether it is good news like this story or the Good News that matters most.



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matt

posted January 31, 2007 at 10:41 pm


I read about it someplace (dont remember where).



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786noggin

posted February 1, 2007 at 2:12 am


This is something I’ve felt for a long time: “our news and our world doesn’t really know what to do with good news” — if a story is about something good, or something done right, it’s rarely covered. Too bad.



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Donny

posted February 2, 2007 at 5:09 am


It’s not (just) a media conspiracy, it is a satanic conspiracy. The media is controlled by the Left. Er, I mean satanic influences.



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Frank

posted February 2, 2007 at 3:57 pm


Never let your left hand know what your right hand is thinking, Donny. You are spot on. The Right is completely controlled by “satanic influences” thus hindering its reservoir of clout virtually irrelevant; nearly laughable, played out. Forever obsolete for 7 or more consecutive decades from this our present year 2007. Do some research: a challenge – give me a brief paragraph on the origin and meaning of the adjective “anachronistic.” There’s no media conspiracy donny. And certainly NOTHING but systemic hubris flowing from the several million affluently conditioned – your fellow Christian’s and loyal countrymen. The meek shall inherit the earth not the stubbornly naive nor the school of traditional fundamentalism. Jesus taught lessons of freedom, how to realize inner freedom first and then how to apply freedom, conceptually, by way of constant change. Jesus never punished or scorned those who yearned for a different future or hope. And neither should you brother.



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AL

posted February 7, 2007 at 4:42 pm


GOD is LOVE, that love was put within our hearts before the foundations of the earth threw Jesus CHRIST, I love anther man, come to the endless abiss of LOVE and see a world nedded to be saved from it self…



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Frank

posted February 7, 2007 at 9:10 pm


What are the chances that Mr. Haggard’s fellowship has finally expressed their true feelings about homosexuality? I’m sure their contempt weighed on his mind a lot and pushed him towards making those immature remarks about being “100% heterosexual.” Even though many of Haggard’s Christian fellowship supported him in his crisis, it’s too bad that they couldn’t unite as a congregation and be there for him no matter what. Instead, I’ve heard he and his wife have decided to run away and enroll in psychology classes. Apparently, ideology and the “homosexuality illness” trumps everything else. As if Ted needed a double or perhaps a triple dose of guilt.



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Barry Simon

posted February 9, 2007 at 12:28 am


“…I believe God used you to correct us.” I’m not sure what this means. Correct them how? To not follow their usual instinct of circling the wagons around a man who has been wracked with pain for years because he accepted the fundamentalist view of homosexuality but instead extend their arms and hearts to him in love? To not attempt to return him to 100% heterosexuality but allow him to live his life as the gay man he obviously is and still love him as the Christian that he also is? Does it mean that fundamentalist churches have been corrected in their view that homosexuality is a choice and have come to accept that he is as God created him–a loving gay man? Have they finally been corrected in believing that homosexuals are the enemy and now will support extending marriage rights to them so their families can also be legally protected? It’s clear to me why the mainstream media has not covered this story: it’s so unclear what Rob Brendle meant when he said “I believe God used you to correct us.”



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Beny Flores

posted February 9, 2007 at 1:01 am


Rob Brendle said: “to love people the WORLD sets up to be your enemies”. The world? Ted Haggerty and those fundamentalists like him sets up who the “enemy” is. And that enemy is homosexuality. As far as the media. This was ENDLESSLY covered here in Indiana. Don’t blame “the media”. Oh and forgive my cynicism but, they paid him off and told him to work elsewhere. Just like a leper in the scripture. A rich leper at that. Beny Flores Elkhart, Indiana



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Jeff

posted February 9, 2007 at 2:26 am


equating the left with “satanic influences” is wrong. there are many God loving, people on the left. as for the news story. sis the church tell the news this was going to happen? did they invite the media there? remember the american media is driven by money not news. if they thought it would bring in ratings then it would have been covered.



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Doug

posted February 9, 2007 at 1:13 pm


Barry: “To not attempt to return him to 100% heterosexuality but allow him to live his life as the gay man he obviously is and still love him as the Christian that he also is?” I can’t presume to speak for Brendle or the New Life Church. What I can tell you is that Christ calls us to a higher standard in life. This means shedding our sinful nature as we grow, learn, and become more like him. God’s plan for humanity, evidently laid out in the Bible, does not include homosexual relations (and a bunch of other things, such as lying, stealing, murdering, and so forth). All of us are born with a tendency to rebel against God’s plan – that’s our human nature. It matters not how it came to be that some people have a tendency to be perpetual liars, while others are prone to violence, and still others have homosexual urges. The point is all of these are rebellious stances against God’s original order. If we want to submit to Christ, we are called to cast these things aside. It is painful and hard, a life-long struggle, but ultimately more fulfilling than simply wallowing in the same old mire of sinful nature. “Does it mean that fundamentalist churches have been corrected in their view that homosexuality is a choice and have come to accept that he is as God created him–a loving gay man?” I don’t believe people choose to be homosexual, any more than they choose to prefer blonds over red heads, tall over short, etc. Maybe it’s nature. Maybe it’s nurture. Maybe it’s both: it just is. The point is, however, not every tendency we are born with is good or noble from God’s perspective. God loves us as we are – that is unconditional. But, if we wish to share in God’s promises, our lives need to reflect a re-alignment that submits to His authority. “Have they finally been corrected in believing that homosexuals are the enemy and now will support extending marriage rights to them so their families can also be legally protected?” Homosexuals are indeed not the enemy. They are lovely, valuable human beings created in the image of God. If they make the decision to want to follow Christ, the church should fling open the doors to them. But a homosexual lifestyle is no longer compatible with following Christ. Nor is a lifestyle of cheating, lying, womanizing, gossiping, and so forth. As difficult as it is, change is possible. Just because one might be born gay does not mean that he or she has to remain gay. If you are interested, NARTH has a lot to say on this topic: narth.com But again, speaking from experience, change is not easy. It is possible, but not easy. That is what it means to me to pick up my cross daily and follow Christ.



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Irene Hanlon

posted February 9, 2007 at 2:55 pm


I read about this story in the NY Times. How about we all stop with the judgments and name calling be you on the left or the right. The divisiveness and outright hatred is starting to filter down to all sectors of society including our children.



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Katie

posted February 9, 2007 at 6:12 pm


Doug’s comments confuse me. How is loving someone going against Christ? Friends of mine went had a wedding this summer. It was one of the most touching, loving ceremonies I’ve ever attended. These two people have faced a lot together and are committed to supporting each other, remaining faithful, serving others, and living for Christ. Oh, and they were two men. But I hardly think that matters. And because Jesus never said a word on the subject, I bet he thinks it really doesn’t matter either.



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Doug

posted February 10, 2007 at 10:42 am


Katie wrote: “Doug’s comments confuse me. How is loving someone going against Christ?” Where did I say loving someone is going against Christ? I said homosexual relations are what God forbids. Two men can love each other, deeply (i.e. Jonathan and David), and swear commitment to each other without the relationship being sexual. Katie wrote “But I hardly think that matters. And because Jesus never said a word on the subject, I bet he thinks it really doesn’t matter either.” On the contrary, it matters a great deal. Jesus stressed many times that the true test of whether someone really loved him was the extent to which they followed God’s commands. And God’s commands regarding homosexual relations are quite clear.



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Wendy

posted February 12, 2007 at 3:32 pm


There is one thing that everyone is missing … all clouded by the gay issue … and that is truth.If I have read the news reports correctly… truth with a capital ‘T’ is what Mr. Jones’ beef was about … hypocrisy …the stuff of the scribes and Pharisees of Jesus day … The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth … convicts us of our sin and comforts us …Correction? absolutely … and it’s about time the hierarchy of the church today was corrected re: its hypocrisy and its lack of love and sneaking about using the name of Jesus to fill their own bellies. It’s about time the hierarchy of the church had a closer look at who they value and who they don’t…God’s love has not been a CENTRAL theme that has ever taken root … it seems such a fragile balance for those who desperately need to be loved. When they think they have found God there will always be a wolf to knock them down, and that wolf will most often be found leading or mingling among the sheep. I believe whole heartedly that this is the very reason many righteous people do not attend organized churches of today. Mr. Jones is looking for God as well … we all end up where we are loved and accepted … I wonder if he found him when he visited the church in Indiana …It seems one thing he did find was Ted gone and he was welcomed as some sort of hero … for what? lolfor bringing a man down?selah



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Jean

posted February 12, 2007 at 7:12 pm


How do fundamentalists pick and choose which laws of God are to be followed? I’m assuming they use “common sense” to not abide by some of God’s laws and to choose to abide by others. Picking and choosing, hmmmmm. I am serious in asking this question. Because anytime I bring this up, the question is met with sheer disbelief. Anyone with an answer, please do. Lev 25: you may own slaves but only from neighboring nations Lev 11: eating shellfish is an abomination (more or less than homosexuality?) Lev 19: planting two different crops in same field Don’t wear garments made with two different kinds of thread, stone adulterers. Why don’t we follow these rules to make us holy too? In the end, what fulfills the law? Compassion! Why can’t we have faith in the revealed God of the New Testament? Gender is archetypal; it is not biological. Marriage is to be a microcosm of love, teaching us how to sacrifice for the good of others. “sex” comes from “secare”: to be cut off — we simply desire to be re-united and we don’t have to take that literally! Jesus said that there will be no marriage in heaven because we will all desire to be united as one — we will be that holy! Marriage and coupledom is not just to people the earth. Why do we rely on the revelation of the Old Testament God and refuse to have faith in the revelation of the NT God through Christ? Because tyranny is so much more comfortable for the majority of those who refuse to have faith in mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. Compassion is the ultimate quality of love, the quintessentially defining characteristic of God. Why can’t we have faith in our compassionate and merciful God — the God that desires that we LOVE above all other law?



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Wendy

posted February 13, 2007 at 3:41 pm


Amen to that, Jean … The God of the OT wanted mercy not sacrifice … and He wanted the love of His people more than anything else. How often have you heard it preached that our offspring will be blessed to a thousand generations to those who love Him … I know I have almost always heard of the curse to the third and fourth generations to those who hate Him … the church leaders of today and for many years past have held their parishioners under fear and condemnation… mixed with the cross … no wonder there is so much hiding of our true selves and walking around pretending we’re always ok and being sure we look perfect to those between the church walls … it’s easier to talk to a blatant sinner who is honest about their sin than to talk to a squeaky clean pastor who fastidiously white washes him or herself every day … Church goers are a dysfunctional group just like the rest of the world. We are supposed to be strangers and sojourners here not settlers for anything less than the absolute truth … God is Love. They will know you are my disciples because you love one another … part of loving one another is accepting each other where we are at and lovingly sharpening one anothers countenances … there is no fear in love …



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Greg Swiderski

posted February 13, 2007 at 7:21 pm


Will the associate pastor and this congregation work actively for change within the institutional church regarding homosexuality? We need such prohetic action witness.



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Doug

posted February 14, 2007 at 8:57 am


Jean wrote: “How do fundamentalists pick and choose which laws of God are to be followed?” First off, what is your definition of a “fundamentalist?” Second, are all fundamentalists, however you define them, identical in your view? Your choice of language immediately pits “us against them,” which is not helpful.But, for the sake of discussion, I will assume that you are a Christian and that you believe the Bible is God’s revelation to us. For if one or the other of these do not hold true, then there is no point in going further. Jean wrote: “Lev 25: you may own slaves but only from neighboring nations” Yes, the Bible does in this specific instance allow for slavery. God was setting down the limits for His people in the midst of pagan nations. The Israelites were not to sell themselves to each other. Also note that foreigners were allowed to settle amongst the Israelites if they agreed to fully integrate with them (and thus were considered as equals, not to be traded as slaves). This law concerning slaves applied only to Israel at the time of the conquest of Palestine. Jean wrote: “Lev 11: eating shellfish is an abomination (more or less than homosexuality?) Lev 19: planting two different crops in same field Don’t wear garments made with two different kinds of thread, stone adulterers. Why don’t we follow these rules to make us holy too?” Again, most of these laws were societal in nature, applicable to the physical nation of Israel, at the time Israel was being established in the midst of hostility. Jesus later said that he did not come to abolish the law and the prophets, but rather to fulfill them. As an example, regarding food, Jesus said this (Mark 7:18-20) 18 “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? 19 For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”). 20 He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ Homosexuality, on the other hand, is a practice that is condemned in the New Testament as well as the Old. There are several passages that deal with this, most notably Paul’s letter to the Romans (1:18-32): 18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator who is forever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. 28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.



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Doug

posted February 14, 2007 at 8:58 am


Jean wrote: “In the end, what fulfills the law? Compassion! Why can’t we have faith in the revealed God of the New Testament?” Here is what Jesus said (Matthew 7:12-14) 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. 13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. In any case, what is your implication here? That we dump the Old Testament because it runs contrary to our “enlightened” 21st-century sensibilities? God is the same God, of both the Old and New Testament. Beware of the same pick-and-choose approach of which you accuse the “fundamentalists.”Jean wrote: “Gender is archetypal; it is not biological.” Now, you’ve really lost me. The differences between men and women are, on the contrary, quite biological. What are you claiming here?Jean wrote: “Marriage is to be a microcosm of love, teaching us how to sacrifice for the good of others.” Let’s see what God has to say: Genesis 2:18-24 18 The LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” 19 Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field. But for Adam no suitable helper was found. 21 So the LORD God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and closed up the place with flesh. 22 Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. 23 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,for she was taken out of man.” 24 For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” So, marriage is indeed the things you mention, but it is specifically defined here as union of a man and a woman.



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Doug

posted February 14, 2007 at 9:00 am


Jean wrote: ” “sex” comes from “secare”: to be cut off — we simply desire to be re-united and we don’t have to take that literally! ” From the Online Etymology Dictionary: 1382, “males or females collectively,” from L. sexus “state of being either male or female, gender.” “Commonly taken with seco as division or ‘half’ of the race” [Tucker], which would connect it to secare “to divide or cut” (see section). Meaning “quality of being male or female” first recorded 1526….” So I’m not quite sure how you arrived at your conclusion of sex meaning “cut off”, but yet we don’t need to take a desire to be reunited literally… Jean wrote: “Jesus said that there will be no marriage in heaven because we will all desire to be united as one — we will be that holy!” What specific verse are you referring to here? Jean wrote: “Marriage and coupledom is not just to people the earth. Why do we rely on the revelation of the Old Testament God and refuse to have faith in the revelation of the NT God through Christ?” God is the same God. As He defined Himself, “I AM.” We cannot, therefore, select certain attributes of God that we may like, while ignoring the others. Jean wrote: “Because tyranny is so much more comfortable for the majority of those who refuse to have faith in mercy, compassion, and forgiveness.” No. What is at stake here is a relativistic mindset about the way the world works which refuses to see or admit that absolutes exist. If you do not consider yourself a Christian, then this discussion is moot. If you do, on the other hand, then be very careful about adopting a muddled mindset that conforms to the world, and not to what God says. Jean wrote: “Compassion is the ultimate quality of love, the quintessentially defining characteristic of God.” Yes, God is indeed a God of love. He is also a God of justice, truth and holiness. He has laid down absolutes. Though all of us are sinners and can never reach His standard, He expects us to try – if we claim to worship Him.Jean wrote: “Why can’t we have faith in our compassionate and merciful God — the God that desires that we LOVE above all other law?” Love, yes, but within the framework of God’s truth and justice.Ecclesiastes 12:13: Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. Micah 6:8: He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God



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Jean

posted February 14, 2007 at 3:10 pm


Doug, if you’ve ever raised children you know that you must first give them standards and guidelines so that their selfishness does not run the show. With time your children grow up and are mature enough to not be simply legalistic. They can learn mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. It takes time and incredible maturity to come to this level of selflessness. A powerful milieu in which to learn this level of selflessness is marriage and family. (why do you think we call it “matrimony”? Because mercy, compassion, and forgiveness fulfill the “standards”!) God thought humanity was ready, evidently, 2000 years ago to understand the progressive revelation of His unchanging nature: that the law is fulfilled through mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. The sum total of love is standards plus compassion and forgiveness. Where is the compassion and forgiveness? Evidently, we were only ready for the law prior to that — a black and white, simplistic understanding of right and wrong. I do not read in any of your notes a focus on compassion, mercy, or forgiveness. You seem to be relying on legalism to conduct your life and form your attitudes. You speak of moral relativism. Jesus made clear that compassion is the pinnacle of love. You seem quite comfortable relativizing that! Jesus came to turn our hearts of stone into hearts of real flesh. Why do you fear that growth? God thinks you are ready!! I believe that justice can be reconciled with mercy. But it’s a sacrifice on the part of the merciful one. I believe that Jesus’ sacrifice was that reconciliation, a signal from God about His nature which hadn’t yet been revealed. He came to inform us of the true nature of love: it’s not just law! Give up your stony heart, man!



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Doug

posted February 15, 2007 at 7:13 am


Jean, since you wondered out loud, I’m in fact married, with 2 small children. It’s a bit rich of you to assume anything about my heart or fear of growth – you know absolutely nothing about me. Perhaps you ought to take the beam out of your own eye first before you go after the speck in mine? To get back to the point, my initial post (did you actually read it?) put the focus on having mercy, compassion and forgiveness for those struggling with homosexuality, such as Ted Haggard and Mike Jones. It is criminal that Ted had to soldier on for so long with this issue alone, evidently feeling there was no support or sympathetic ear in the church he led. This is a huge failing of the church. I agree with you that “the sum total of love is standards plus compassion and forgiveness.” However, in the current rush to “tolerate” every conceivable type of behavior, let’s just not forget that, as far as Christians are concerned, God does declare certain attitudes and behavior as flat out wrong. Along with extending love and compassion, Jesus also said “Go and sin no more.”



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Jean

posted February 16, 2007 at 12:36 am


As you measure, so it will be measured out to you. I’m praying that people who can not tolerate sin in others have no need themselves for God’s tolerance. To receive mercy you must believe that Jesus’ mercy is for other sinners too. To believe in Jesus is to believe in mercy. To follow God’s commandment is to love — to see the beauty in the other. That is what God does for us. Ted had to soldier on alone because he was surrounded by christians who are possibly grounded more in fear rather than love. I imagine they were focusing on his sin and how it is unacceptable to God so they didn’t want to have any part of it (publicly). That’s the irony of this outward show of perfection — it springs from fear of someone judging our sin. I think that was Paul’s message in his letter to Romans — the law only shows how we are unable to be perfect. That is why we need to embrace tolerance. We’re all sinners. And no, that’s not just an excuse to sin; it’s an attempt to not be legalistic so that I can follow God’s commandment to love and have mercy, compassion, and forgiveness for my neighbors. Would it be fair to say that Jesus might include “do not judge” as a law to be followed? It is God’s place alone to judge. Only God knows why Jesus told us not to judge. There are so many of God’s laws listed in the Pentateuch; historically, we (the Jews) have had to decide which laws take precedence. Jesus clarified which law takes precedence. I understand that the standard is an important aspect of love. But mercy fulfills! We can’t have love without mercy, compassion, and forgiveness! I’m not espousing sin, I’m just yearning for our hearts to be less stony than they appear; if we could all realize that we’re all sinners — truly and couragously — we would not judge each other. In the end, we all need tolerance and mercy and forgiveness. Jesus spent time with sinners and he did not judge them. Jesus was not feared by the sinner. He was embraced by the sinner. We would find the kingdom among us if all sinners felt safe enough to embrace Jesus’ disciples, we who call ourselves christians. We would fulfill our covenant and be a blessing upon all nations (Gen 12:2). Doug, I totally understand that we don’t want the world overrun with the passionate energy that can become perverse if not disciplined. But I think there’s a reason God gave us mercy to sum up His self-revelation: it is a necessary component to the kingdom that requires a special understanding of the God of our salvation. In your first post you say that Christ calls us to a higher standard. I think that higher standard is the tremendous sacrifice we must make (learned through the example of Christ’s sacrifice) to see beauty where evil co-exists. That’s what God does for us. WHY is this aspect — mercy, compassion, forgiveness — such a necessary component of the kingdom? How does the light of mercy and forgiveness transform darkness? It MUST, for that was God’s paradigm. It is my will to follow God’s will: that my heart be transformed to God’s will that I love through mercy and compassion, just as He loves me. A heart that loves my neighbor and enemy is my desire. If my heart is at war with sinners then I can not love them. If I can not tolerate them, then I can not love them (or myself for that matter). I suppose this means that we differ on this point: I feel that if I can not tolerate something or someone that means my heart is at war with them. There is no compassion. You might be more spiritually mature than me in that if you can not tolerate something then you are still at peace and love the thing you can not tolerate. Or maybe you admittedly hate it/them???? Is it possible to love your enemy? I am not being disrespectful or sarcastic. I am only trying to cultivate my heart to God’s will. I feel that God has conquered sin through mercy.



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