Karaoke Dreams?

Singing, making music, creating art, its who I am. I’ve always had a song in my heart and a tune in my head, recently I just had to sing so I went to Karaoke I was a little nervous it had been a while. For the last 16 years I’ve been singing in choirs, on worship teams, leading worship sometimes and I had a lot of great experiences but today I remembered a few that had really been hard to let go of. The church is a funny place sometimes and when people are jealous and intimidated they don’t like to include you. One church actually told me there weren’t enough microphones for me to join the worship team. Well seriously, ok I tried to move on and be a bigger person, and then the pastor asked me one day where I would like to ‘serve’ in the church and I said um worship. He would let me do specials, or have me come up and share a prophetic chorus but his reply to what I had been told by his brother ‘the worship leader’ about there not being enough mics blew me away.

“Yes, they are intimidated by your voice and some of them are jealous, they have a lot of growing to do.”

What do you say to that? at the time I laughed because there was a time when I was younger that I enjoyed intimidating people, it was fun, but I had grown out of that thank god and I was really hurt. Things like this happened over and over again at different churches, and boy, if you can’t sing forget about getting up on stage to worship God, no one wants to hear an off key worship singer right!! Sorry for my judgmental cringe lol

So when I went to Karaoke I was a little anxious, I sat and watched and listened before I committed and a few things really stuck out and helped me step out. Everyone there was having fun, not everyone could sing, no one was excluded, everyone was encouraged, not everyone could sing lol, but seriously, it felt so good to release a song, to feel the energy grow within, to watch it affect others, and remember how to have fun.

I’m definitely planning to go back, maybe I’ll say hi to a few people and make some new friends!

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US v. THEM

Have you noticed how often the word “THEY” is used when talking about people who aren’t just like us? Well I have and it really got to me tonight. In reference to a post containing economic growth facts, and the first reply I got was “THEY have their own “facts” which are lies that THEY have been told. The media has THEM duped. I pray THEY see through the lies.” Sadly sooooo many people live, in an US v. THEM world and from my experience, its exhausting and gets you nowhere. Who are THEY anyways? All of this made me think about my 9th Great Grandmother Provided Southwick Gaskill, her family practiced Quaker religious beliefs, and at that time there was an US v. THEM between the Quakers and the Protestants/Puritans. They worshiped the same God but, they didn’t agree on how to do that. The Puritan church thought that EVERYONE had to worship as they did, attending services and paying tithes. Provided’s family didn’t like the way the Protestants worshiped and continued to worship the Lord there God with all the hearts, souls, minds, and strength in their homes. They didn’t believe you needed a Priest, church, money system, or hierarchy, they didn’t agree with the need for compelling religious uniformity in society,,,  The Gaskill family had been arrested several times for not attending ‘church’ and not paying their tithes. CAN YOU IMAGINE? I can. You see, when Quaker missionaries arrived in the US in 1655 they were not liked, especially when they reached Massachusetts, where four Quakers were executed. They were persecuted because of their threat to the Puritan church and the Governmental authority. I wanted to understand all of this better because it seems so familiar.

I was never a big fan of history class, but I remember the basics, the refugees made an exodus and wanted to establish a country in which the separation of church and state, and the freedom to practice one’s faith without fear of persecution, was guaranteed. That guarantee was: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” but it didn’t start until 1789.

I found that The Friends/Quaker church started in England in 1652, by George Fox. By 1680 10,000 Quakers had been imprisoned and 243 had died of torture. The founder believed that the presence of God was found within people rather than in churches, all people, men and women equally. He experienced what he referred to as “openings,” instances in which he felt God was talking directly to him. In 1676 George Fox came to America to encourage the ending of slavery among Quakers.

There is so much more to the history, but back to my 9th great grandmother Provided. A poem was written about her experience by John Greenleaf Whittier in 1842-44. He thought that Provided’s mother’s name would be more poetic (I think Provided is perfect) so he named it The Ballad of Cassandra Southwick. There is speculation that he wrote this poem and others to prick the conscious of Quakers to end slavery. Here is the the history of the Southwick’s that Whittier used in his writing:

In 1657 Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick were put in jail for hosting two visiting Quaker preachers,  Lawrence Southwick was found to be a member of the First Church of Salem and was released to be dealt with by the leaders of that church. Cassandra remained in jail for seven weeks and was fined forty shillings for possessing a paper written by their two visitors. The paper was considered heretical by Governor John Endicott and others.

In 1658 the Southwicks and their son Josiah were put in jail for twenty weeks for being Quakers.

In 1659, the two youngest children, Provided and her brother Daniel were sentenced to be sold as slaves in the Barbadoes for unpaid fines – fines related to their being Quakers. (see the featured picture) The sentence was not carried out, however because no one would buy them, no one would take them. After that, the entire family was sent to Shelter Island, New York together.

In 1660 Lawrence and his wife Cassandra died within three days of each other on Shelter Island.

I encourage you to read the poem it’s beautiful. http://myweb.northshore.edu/users/sherman/whittier/quaker/ft_cassandra_southwick.html

Of course their are times that US vs. THEM is a necessary scenario, however I believe it has invaded our lives and is polarizing our country from within and nothing is black and white.

United we stand, divided we fall.     Aesop

“Love more, hurt less. Laugh more, cry less. Live more, worry less. Give more, take less. Hug more, fight less. And most important.. Remember that we are all one! We are love! I LOVE YOU ALL!”

― Abhishek Kumar

Why I no longer march……

Two years ago I went to my first march for life in Washington DC it was quite an experience, I found more healing in my own heart, more self forgiveness. I remember this picture, I didn’t really want to share it because I felt like the smile on my face was really inappropriate for the message. I do believe the message, abortion kills a person and I know the stigma, pain, shame, grief,,, connected to it. Funny thing is the stigma and shame came after joining a church.

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I had mixed feelings throughout the 3-4 days, there were things I liked and things I didn’t like so much, a specific dislike is when they separate statistics by color of skin, and have specific times of prayer according to the color of skin. (this is a theme among some religious groups that I started to notice and not like before the march) To say we are One Race and stand for unity, then separate people groups by color is nothing but political and further divides people in my opinion.

There is no compassion from either side of the v. This particular us v. them fight has become a carrot to dangle in front of voters.

In 2016 the march for life brought in just under 1.2 mil with 1.3 mil in expenses. I don’t know if they changed the minds of anyone at the ballot, but that money could have helped a lot of people adopt, or to help teach, support, and follow through with women who choose life. Services like childcare and life coaching. It does seem a bit backward to vote ‘pro-life’ when that same vote takes away healthcare from many of those children that have a right to live. See I don’t believe you can force beliefs or morals (who decides what morals to follow anyway) on others through creating laws. Laws will never have the power to change someones heart, make it harder, maybe.

I’ve also stood on sidewalks with LIFE tape over my mouth praying in front of clinics thinking I was doing the right thing and maybe someone would change their mind. But I remember going into a clinic and seeing the picket signs, it made my heart harder. I’ve been involved in some large ministries that fight hardcore for pro-life politics, but I didn’t see many of those people taking in foster children, or adopting children from within the US. I didn’t see those ministries come alongside young women and men that choose to have a baby, or continue to be in their lives in any significant way.

As far as voting Republican in order to vote pro-life, I would suggest looking at the actual track record of those politicians. They’ve had numerous opportunities to change the laws and haven’t. Have you ever asked yourself why? maybe looked at where those politicians are getting there $$$ from? For instance, if they are getting money from insurance companies then they are not going to vote pro-life in any way that make a change. Which is why people like Tim Walberg continue to get elected for one reason, he’s pro-life and the voters are only concerned about that one issue.

 

I’m getting out of the war business!!

Recently in my journey of learning to love, I started to notice some neon signs flashing all around WAR WAR WAR BATTLE really, why do we see everything as a war? why do we always say we’re preparing for battle? Doesn’t this imply that everyone you don’t agree with is your adversary, your opposition? How then can you love?

This mindset can only breed feelings of aggression, fear, and hate, wearing a mask of righteousness. Self righteousness (my son had pointed it out in me in the past but I could never see it) Love that kid!! Anyways I was already seeing some things from a different perspective than what I grew up with and always just believed. I started to see that my worldview was fear and shame based, and it started with a ‘fall’ that made me a wretch but that’s not the beginning of the story. The story isn’t supposed to be negative pointing out everything negative, isn’t that what the ‘tree of knowledge’ did? The story is one of love and restoration of all things, it’s beautiful.

That’s where Rebel Warrior came from, https://wp.me/P9qBBc-1c     

REBEL: One who refuses to let the world define them!

WARRIOR: One who stands in victory.

With this new perspective I could no longer stay in the War and Battle mindset, while telling myself I’m victorious, perhaps that’s part of the inner battle. Back to the Culture Wars, where has this mindset gotten us? The only ones Jesus did ‘battle’ with were the religious and the enemy, everyone else, well He loved them and taught our true identity.

I don’t believe people can learn from each other and learn to love each other if it’s always a war between ‘us’ and ‘them’. If you never have a conversation with someone you can’t know them, you can’t know their story, but for some reason we think that we can force others to believe what we believe and that it’s a WAR, it’s not a war, it’s life, we’re supposed to love each other, learn from other, care for each other,

Force may subdue, but Love gains:  And he that forgives first, wins the Laurel.           William Penn

War has no cause except the intention of governments to resort to it.
  Ira De Augustine Reid

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

I’ve been too distracted by the wars and battles to learn to love my neighbor as myself. To see others as I see myself, as Rebel Warriors who need a tribe.

Jesus:  My friend, do what you have come to do.  And at that, the company came and seized Him.  One of the men with Jesus grabbed his sword and swung toward the high priest’s slave, slicing off his ear. Jesus:  Put your sword back. People who live by the sword die by the sword.  Surely you realize that if I called on My Father, He would send 12 legions of messengers to rescue Me.  But if I were to do that, I would be thwarting the scriptural story, wouldn’t I? And we must allow the story of God’s kingdom to unfold. Matthew 26:50-54