Thankful Praise

New Stuff 010Blessed be you, Lord Jesus. How truly beautiful you are. Praise to the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit.

Thank you for your plan of redemption, the living through which we may partake the hope for all generations, the light of the world—which the darkness could not comprehend. Each day is lovely with the grace of your touch. How thankful I am that I have supped at your table, enjoyed the fruit of your love, and rejoiced in your spiritual bounty. How fortunate I am.

Thank you for my parents, who opened the door to Christian truth and did so with great intention, always united in faith and hope.

THE DANCE OF ANGER, A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships (1985, 2014 revised edition)

Many years ago I was given a copy of The Dance of Anger by my brother-in-law. Both he and I were in crisis mode caused by our mates’ leaving us. It was painful. We would commiserate over coffee, compare notes, and even pray together.  We were searching for answers to the muck and mire in our changing lives. He, a recovered alcoholic, was taking steps to repair his life and to make sense of his relationship with family members. He gave me this book because it helped him. I was surprised, I didn’t think I was angry or needed it, and I really didn’t expect to like it or to find it helpful. It is secular and written by a feminist (which I am not), and I usually go to Christian resources for self-help advice. But, I was wrong. The more I read the more I realized how angry I really was. I had buried my feelings in order to try to keep my husband and save my marriage.  The Dance of Anger offered me understanding in areas that had plagued me. I saw myself in the pages that describe people who de-self over and over again to keep peace and harmony within the family relationship model (and in the workplace). People who never stand up for themselves, who let people railroad them. I realized that there is a difference between giving in to another’s demands and having a healthy self-respect that says it is okay to disagree.  I made the connection to my own life which helped me in all my relationships, personal and professional.

One of the most helpful concepts for me personally is her explanation concerning relationship triangles. Relationship triangles are the stuff of life, we’re all in them. Realizing how these work fundamentally changed my perception and understanding of healthy family interactions or lack there-of (unhealthy bonds).  This has made me cognizant of the imbalance of power-plays that can or will undermine the many threesomes in our lives. Here are some of the relationship triangles I’ve had in my life: parent/parent/child, parent/child/child; administrator/employee/client; teacher/student/parent; administrator/teacher/parent and so forth. We manage our anger in many ways. Characteristic styles of anger management fall in categories of behavior. There are the pursuers, distancers, underfunctioners, or overfunctioners. (pp  191, 192 – 1985 edition) Lerner gives us a gift through the messages in this book. She helps us peal the layer of dysfunction as it relates to anger and misguided perceptions. Some will get more from this book than others, and it’s not just for women. Note: I haven’t read the revised edition of the book,  The Dance of Anger 

Louis Zamperini, A True Hero, … Date of Passing, July 2, 2014

Remembering Louis Zamperini:

Forgiveness is Difficult: I am writing about the area of “forgiving” for a short ebook about the spiritual path. You cannot be spiritually whole if you are unforgiving of an offense (even the horrible ones). I wanted to include a true story about forgiveness. I remembered a story of a man who forgave an atrocity in World War Two. I listened to him once, many years ago. I was sure I could find him in an internet search.

Louis Zamperini’s Life: A few minutes later I began a google search to find out his name and, hopefully, a video clip from when this man (Louis Zamperini) spoke in a casual interview while at the Olympics when they were held in Japan. He was speaking with the announcer in a short late-night segment, at the very end of the Olympics. It was my first and only time hearing Louis Zamperini. His words impressed me. He shared about his war experiences and capture, and then how he and the men were tortured. He described some of it, water-boarding etc., and the fear he and the other POWs experienced, especially toward one of their worst torturers. It was grim.

Louis Zamperini went on to tell of his life after being freed, how he was angry, damaged, then his coming to faith at a Billy Graham crusade and how God changed him. Later, he was able to forgive those who had been so cruel to him long before during the interrogations and tortures. He also said that he had tried to meet with his former tormentor during his visit at the Japan Olympic games but was not given audience.

LOVE REVOLUTION: Rediscovering the Lost Command of Jesus (Xulon Press, 2005, 2011 Revised)

This is just one of those books! I’ve read it. Reread it.  Given away copies to my pastor, worship leader, family and friends. I’ve mentioned it when I speak, referenced it in my writings, and referred to it in casual conversations. This book’s message resonates with me. Gaylord Enns has started a movement toward the center. The message of this book cuts through the layers of separation found in religion and meets on one uniting truth. The words are for the Church found in Christ’s words to all who put their faith in Christ. We are to love one another. Profound. “A new command I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34,35)  When love comes first, walls come down. The strength and validity of Christ’s command comes to Pastor Enns rather late in his pastoral ministry. He is in his prime, a well-known and respected minister in the Chico area, a loving mentor of Christian people. A personal crisis stops him in his tracks. The year is 2001, it is in the early hours on a Sunday morning before a day of scheduled preaching. But it soon becomes the day he can’t preach, is unable to preach.  Depression hit hard. Then cancer. Time away from ministry. Soul searching. A personal longing begins to gnaw at him. He wants to hear his father say the words, “I love you.” Enns’ interesting and amazing journey leads us to the words, “This is my command: Love each other.” He is startled as he contemplates these words. Why is this command is so little emphasized, ignored, almost brushed aside? A quest is undertaken. He searches for the command’s historical church context from deep in the archives. Little is found. He knows he is on to something. He writes Love Revolution and begins to share with local church leaders. The book’s message of love multiplies. Sessions are held in local churches to bring Christian people together. They are uniting in love. It is a beautiful movement of God. I know this because I attended some of these sessions to fellowship with my sisters and brothers in the faith, people I didn’t know prior to the meetings. . .   In 2008, a friend gave me this book. Its words are timely for there is much truth written in its pages. I highly recommend Love Revolution.

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