zoom zoom and a vroom vroom

Attending church since March has meant something totally different than it did…. well, anytime in history before March. A lot of congregations are utilizing the Zoom live meeting program, which is what my Sunday morning Bible study uses.

A typical Sunday for me is Bible study starting at 9am– oh wait, first I wake up at 855am– Bible study ends and I watch the church service live on YouTube.

I had only heard of this next type of church service on the news until my brother’s church held a successful service, drive-in movie theater style.

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Vroom vroom!

If you’re a church-goer, how has your church adapted to the situation? Chime in below and thanks for stopping by!

-Out of the Wilderness

 

We’re wearing our past on our heads

I was sitting in church the other day definitely paying attention to the sermon. 

OK OK, my mind is often hopping from topic to topic and at some point on this particular Sunday, I noticed the length of hair of various people around me. I thought, “It’s interesting that hair is constantly growing longer. Even when we get a cut, there’s new hair already forming. In fact, that’s why we get a cut in the first place!” Then I dwelled on this for way too long.

Imagine if our hair was our own personal timeline. 

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Let’s say a woman’s hair is 20 inches long. The hair next to her scalp is brand new, right? So it’s mark on her timeline is from the previous few days…. just picking a random day, March 25. Move down her ‘do an inch or two and that hair was new around March 10th. The hair near her shoulders is from mid-January. Once you get to the end, the 20th inch of her long hair, the date would be September 1st. So from the end of her hair to the her scalp, she has this growing timeline that represents every day of her recent life. 

Then, when the data on her timeline gets too long, she goes in to the stylist for a trim. She cuts off September to December. 

Symbolically it can be a way to move on from the past. And this makes the idea of a timeline more clear. If someone is starting new, perhaps after making a life-changing decision like becoming sober or making a religious choice, they may shave their head. It’s an outward symbol of a decision they made. If you think of the hair as a timeline, they’re literally deleting their timeline and starting a new one. 

Does this make sense? I don’t suppose it means anything at all, but I just thought it was interesting to think that we all have stories that happen to us and if our hair was a timeline, it would be full of so much information, so many stories represented by the beautiful blonde, brunette, red, gray, or white hair. 🙂

Thanks for stopping by! 

-Out of the Wilderness

 

Why I don’t drink much alcohol but I’m mostly ok of you do

Raised as a Southern Baptist Christian, I always thought any drinking was wrong. It’s not necessarily my parents that taught me that, just the culture that existed in the Baptist church in the 80s and 90s.

So when I became an adult I still believed drinking alcohol was wrong, or even a sin. Naturally, I didn’t drink because of that. As the years have gone by my opinion on drinking has changed and I think that’s a good thing. Instead of just blindly believing one thing or another, I’m learning why I am the way I am in this area.

It mostly started when I moved to Nashville and began making friends, and some of those friends (who were/are Christians) would drink a beer at a party, or drink a glass of wine at dinner or a special event. I wondered if they were just rebelling, or was this issue less black and white than I’d grown up believing?

Long story short, I rarely drink except at special events like a wedding and I’m mostly OK if you drink, too.

For the longest time I was uncomfortable when anyone asked why I don’t drink or if it’s OK if they drink while I’m around. I didn’t want to come across judgy or “holier than thou.” The truth is I can’t stand the taste of any alcohol I’ve ever tried. White wine? Red wine? Shots? Whiskey? Beer? They’re all gross to me! no offense 🙂

So do I have a problem with you drinking? Probably not. But the other day it occurred to me that there is a scenario where I would have a problem with you or me drinking… and here it is:

Why are you drinking? If it’s because you like the taste or it helps you relax, fine. But if it’s covering up or helping you escape real life… well then yes that’s something I wouldn’t support, for you or for me. Because what you drink isn’t as much of an issue as what it’s masking (if anything).

I remember when this ‘aha’ moment came to me, and I’m glad it did because to know the reason behind someone downing a glass of wine or chugging a beer, I have to know that person better than an acquaintance. It’s a challenge for me to be more social, and to be a better friend.

I remember traveling with a crew from CMT where we’d have a remote shoot in Arizona, or California, or some tiny town in Kentucky. I loved spending time with them because they were all genuinely good people. In fact, lots of times one of them would buy a round of shots for the group and we’d have some sort of moment where we all raised a glass for a toast (usually before the shoot because afterwards we were exhausted and just wanted a long sleepy date with the hotel bed!). These moments were instrumental in my thoughts on drinking, as well, because each time I had a choice. Would I join the crew in the toast, and take a shot of the throat-burning, mouth-tingling drink of choice, or be so rigid that I can’t bond with them in this way? I sincerely believe sitting out would do more damage to my relationships with these men and women than joining in and creating memories from these memorable trips.

What are your thoughts on alcohol? Have you experienced anything you’re willing to share about why you drink, or why you don’t drink? I look forward to hearing from you in the comments below!

-Out of the Wilderness

 

Adult remembers the first time he lifted his hands in worship

By definition, Pentecostal means a Christian who’s faith is evidenced by speaking in tongues, healing, and even exorcism. If you ask the Baptists, it would include raising your hands, too. And Baptists don’t want to be Pentecostal.

Steven Turner, son of Pastor Turner and his wife Janine, was raised Baptist from the time he was in Royal Ambassadors all the way up to becoming a student leader at nearby Stonecrest Baptist Church. There are things Baptists don’t do, Steven told us.

“Folks at our church, we don’t judge, but we also don’t handle snakes, and we don’t separate church and football.” Living in the south means two things. You cheer on your football team Saturday, and cheer on your pastor Sunday.

Although he was keeping it lighthearted, there is something else Steven shared. When he was just a young teen attending Wednesday night youth group, he can still recall hearing a song that has meant a lot to him over the years.

“I was standing right next to ol’ Greg Simmons and this song came on. Years later I found out it was Avalon ‘Testify to Love.’ I didn’t know all the words but I just had to do something. So I raised my hand.”

The story goes that when this happened, his friends glanced over and some started snickering. Youth leader Christy Janson thought Steven needed something so she made her way over.

Christy: “I saw Steven’s hand in the air so maybe he needed to go to the bathroom or had a question about the Bible. ‘What’s up, Steve?’ but he didn’t answer and that’s when I got worried.”

Christy had heard about these things happening but not here. Not in this church. How had the devil got a foothold? She consulted the other leaders in the building and they set up a committee to look into it the following week. The pastor was made aware and added a few Scripture verses to the sermon the following Sunday.

Steven, meanwhile, had no idea there was anything going on behind the scenes. When Sunday rolled around and the choir was halfway through “What A Friend We Have in Jesus,” he raised a hand again and the organist nearly fell off her bench. The pastor’s lips became tight with the shenanigans this youth was putting on.

Steven remembers the pastors prayer during the offering, “…and Lord, let us make a joyful noise to you, give us opportunities to serve you as we raise our hands in worship, although we don’t mean that literally, we should keep our hands by our sides during the worship service… Amen.” Steven, being a normal person who knows things, knew that was a weird thing to say.

Steven would like everyone to know it’s OK to raise up hands in worship. He’s still not sure about snake-handling, though. Steven, neither are we. Until we know more, just keep it to the ones without the diamond-shaped heads.

-Out of the Wilderness

 

 

The first Bachelor contestant, Adam

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Does anyone else’s mind wander during church sometimes? Only me? OK then! That’ll give me something to confess the next time I’m in prayer.

“God, I’m sorry for thinking about ABC’s The Bachelor and what if Adam was the contestant picking from 25 women. I know it’s weird. Thank you for loving me anyway.”

…is pretty much how that prayer would go.

Today in church there was a brief mention of Adam and Eve, and my mind ran with it. Somehow Adam became the star of The Bachelor and Eve was just one of the 25 women competing to guard and protect his heart, which leads to a flurry of questions:

Where would the other 24 women come from?

Would they all be vegetarians?

They’re already in a beautiful garden, so where’re the “exotic” dates?

Who is “there for the right reasons”?

I can see the first caravan of camels pulling up now. Adam, here are the first five women… Mary, Esther, Sarah, Ruth, and Jezebel, who simply winks and says, “Let’s do the d*mn thing.” Adam looks off to the side, “Boy, am I in trouble.” The next five arrive: Rahab, Zilpah, Ashleigh R., Ashley K., and Ashlee M. He whispers under his breath, “So many Ashley’s.” On and on it goes and maybe Eve doesn’t arrive till the final five, since the host (God) wants to save the best for last.

Adam notices Eve right off the bat so she gets the first impression rose. He feels like somehow she’s already a part of him. Get it? Ok, anyway. The first date card arrives…

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So that date will end badly. A combination of fruit, a snake, and all the contestants are banished from the paradise mansion in Eden…FOREVER!!!!! No Bachelor Pad, no Bachelor in Paradise, and dare I say not even an episode of The Women Tell All. But there is a wedding. Adam eventually picks Eve and they get married.

Years go by and many more seasons of The Bachelor, then along comes the star of the first Bachelorette season ever, Ruth! You can read her story in the Bible but I’ll say this, it includes a sizzling overnight encounter!

-Out of the Wilderness