for Christians

I don’t often wax on (or off) about my faith on this blog–mainly because, if you’ve found your way here, you probably did so for the writing and reading and snark, not the “religion” stuff. (Note: I’m not religious. I’m a Jesus-follower. There’s a distinct difference. If you want me to wax and polish that in another post, lemme know. 😉 )

Anywho, ballyhoo.

The current social and political climate in the United States of America is bringing me way low. Still, I sit in a place of privilege because I’m white, educated, and middle-class-ish. Husband has full-time & long-term employment, gets benefits; we’d do better financially if I took at least a part-time job, but we’re not in a position that I *have* to, so I can stay at home with kiddo and stay at home and write (sometimes); we have biological family who help us out with kiddo’s schooling and with LIFE; we have an adopted community that helps with LIFE; we have a network of local connections going back 25 years; we speak English, blah blah more privileged stuff blah.

So, I can sit here fairly comfortably at my newish laptop, reading Twitter and Facebook and news sites and bemoan the state of the Union in *empathy* with the under- and non-privileged, but it’s not like I’m out there getting shot for wearing a hoodie. I know where my next meal is coming from. I can walk into a bank and immediately get service and talk to personnel in English about my needs. I don’t have to know what month Flag Day is before I’m allowed to be a citizen.

That said, my heart still breaks…my soul is crying…my spirit feels, in many ways, broken–all because I see (with my limited sight) the pain and anguish people are suffering all over the world and all over this country, and I see the leaders of this country apparently doing everything they can to increase that suffering instead of diminishing it as they swore to do.

And what rends my heart to shreds most violently is that I see humans who claim Jesus Christ cheering on these corrupt ones instead of rejecting them.

So, I have something to say to my fellow humans who claim Him as their Lord and profess to pledge their allegiance to Him alone (wording intentional, *ahem*). If you’re not one of them and don’t want to read further, I understand, and I hold no negative thoughts or emotions toward you. If you’re not one of them and you *do* read further, please don’t hesitate to ask me anything you like about what I’ve written.

I am always open to talking of these things.
They are the core of my very existence.

If you are one who claims Jesus as Lord and feel moved to converse, please also do not hesitate.
If you are one who claims Jesus as Lord and feel moved to excoriate me or anyone else who comments, check yourself or wreck yourself. I will delete inappropriate or abusive comments and block you from this blog without hesitation.

If you’re a Christian, this one’s for you.

(I have also posted a version of this on Facebook.)

“Take a good look at her. She has had five husbands. And the sixth man in her life, with whom she is presently living, is not her husband. But Jesus Christ does the unthinkable. He introduces himself to her as her new Husband–the seventh* man in her life, the heavenly suitor who will love her like no man ever has. He will turn her tragedy into purity, her ashes into beauty, her misery into joy.

“This woman is a Samaritan; she’s a half-breed–half Jew and half Gentile. In other words, she comprises both Jew and Gentile in her body. She depicts the bride of Jesus Christ, comprised of fallen, tragic humanity, Jew and Gentile, who have been re-created anew to be the masterpiece of God’s matchless grace.”

–Frank Viola,
FROM ETERNITY TO HERE
(*7 symbolizes perfection)

So. If you’re going to ally yourself with Jesus the Anointed One of God Eternal, here are a few facts about yourself you’re going to have to accept:
(Note: every following “you” is collective, not singular.)

You are a hybrid.
You are a half-breed.
You are a wayward, fallen, tragic creature.
You are hunted.
You are a foreigner.
You are a stranger.
You are despised.
You are destitute.
You are homeless.
You are a refugee.

In His glorious, immeasurable Love, God the Father has handselected you to be the Bride for his Son.
In His glorious, immeasurable Love, Jesus the Anointed One has paid the bloodprice that is your dowry.
In His glorious, immeasurable Love, the Holy Spirit has led you to the Lord Your Bridegroom.

(Again, every “you” is collective, not singular.)

You are become His Bride, one day to become His Wife.
You are adopted into His Family.
You are a Living Stone being built into His House.
You are redeemed.
You are safe.
You are a citizen under His Lordship.
You are known to Him.
You are Beloved.
You are abundantly rich.
You are home.

You are still a refugee.

You have refuge in Him.

He does not reject the poor, the homeless, the destitute, the desperate, the alien, the stranger, the foreigner. He does not reject the refugee. He gave Himself to such as these, NO MATTER THE COST TO HIMSELF. This is His courage, His strength, His obedience, and His Love.

(Again: “you” is collective.)

And He lives in you.
His fullness lives in you.
ALL OF HIM lives in you.
His love, his courage, his strength to act in compassion and grace.

Is there a risk in welcoming the stranger? Is there danger in harboring the refugee?

Maybe. Maybe not. “But that is not for us to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
With the time that is given us.
With His Love that “tabernacles” inside us.
With His strength and the courage that reside in us, the Bride of the Anointed One.

The Lord has purified for Himself a Bride who shares His spiritual DNA. As Eve shared Adam’s DNA because she was made out of him, so the Bride has a nature identical to the Bridegroom’s. There is no distinction between the two of them, and when God looks at the Bride, He sees His Son.

Jesus the unique, Anointed Son of God welcomes the refugee.

So does His Bride, the church, the collective of the Called-Out, who is Herself a (formerly destitute) refugee from a fallen world.

The Bride of Christ does not reject the refugee.

And if “the Bride” does reject the refugee, then she is not of Him; she does not belong to Him; and she is not the Bride.

An Interview with Christian Smith on The Bible Made Impossible

Hello, my lovelies!

It’s been awhile since you’ve seen me around here regularly. I know, sweet things, I’ve missed you, too. Just a brief update: Pregnancy is going well, and Week 15 begins tomorrow. Nausea is receding, and energy is returning. Can I get a hallelujah?! It feels soooooo good to be back among the living!

I promise that come next week, you’ll get several, more detailed updates. But for now, today’s post shall step off the “Court Can Write”-beaten path. Today’s post shall showcase a little bit about something called faith.

If you’ve been Faithful Readers (and I know you have, you adorable dears, you), you know that I don’t talk about my faith a whole lot on this blog. The main reason for this is that “Courtney’s faith” is not the reason most of you visit me here. Most of you settle in for a virtual cup of coffee and the reading of All Things Writerly, as well as the occasional, (hopefully) entertaining anecdote.

But. If you’ve read my Demons of Saltmarch series, you also know — or have probably guessed, anyway — that faith is a cornerstone in the foundation of who I am. If you’ve read Demons of Saltmarch, a paranormal Christian fantasy series, you will also have noticed that this cornerstone is of a Christian persuasion. ; )

You might even have guessed, based on the themes in these novels, that my own understanding of the nature of that cornerstone has been in flux for the past few years.

I don’t want to go into a whole lot of detail, because that would take a whole separate site. What I really want to do is point you in the direction of fellow blogger Frank Viola. To summarize: Viola is a non-fiction Christian author who has written a ton of books, six of which I’ve read and which turned my belief system upside down — specifically so that a bunch of nonsensical traditional junk could spill out.

Recently, Viola blogged an interview with author Christian Smith concerning Smith’s book The Bible Made Impossible. I haven’t read the book yet, but what Smith and Viola present in their interview intrigues me. To me, who grew up in a denomination that touts (but does not actually adhere to) the famous line “speak where the Bible speaks, silent where the Bible’s silent,” the book’s title alone touches some chords offers a resonating challenge to a plethora of preconceptions. Some of the things Smith mentions in the interview directly contradict principles I was taught in church my entire life. To say this book would blow my mind is likely an understatement.

I’m adding it to my To-Read list.

You can read the complete interview with Christian Smith on The Bible Made Impossible here.

I recommend it if…

…you’re a believer who has questions about how to approach the Bible.
…you’re a believer who finds the title of this book offensive. ; )
…you’re a not a Christian but have questions about why Christians think/feel the way they do about the Bible.
…you’re not a Christian but would like a peek at a “non-traditional” take on a pillar of the Christian belief system.

You’re welcome to leave comments here, as always — but I encourage you to comment on Viola’s post as well. The comment threads on his blog generally contain some pretty thought-provoking discussions!

See you next week, sweet thangs.

C.