For nearly two years, Trevor Turner has managed a voice-activated discussion
group session each Tuesday evening called Faithnet Fellowship. Originally,
Faithnet Fellowship was held on Firetalk and when Firetalk merged with
Paltalk, it has continued there. Paltalk has about forty discussion
groups nightly in the category, "Christianity."
What has been surprising are the stories of participants who tell how
they have been treated on "Christian" discussion groups. One
woman indicated she had been booted because her voice sounded like that
of a teenager. She tried to explain that a childhood illness had
left her with the high-pitched voice and that, in fact, she was 44 years
old. Another, had a speech impediment. But, the most baffling
tales of rejection come from those who seem to be truly searching and
have serious questions about Christian concepts. It is a challenge
to understand the frame of reference and the negative influences which
now affect their faith structure.
Trevor's approach is not to convey a "holier than thou" attitude
or to correct one's viewpoint. Instead, he gives one an opportunity
to share one's thoughts and feelings and, with the help of others in
the group, convey that Christ is with them on whatever path they are
traveling. Just as the Gospel of Luke describes Jesus' walk on
the road to Emmaus, as long as the search is sincere, at the appropriate
time, Jesus will reveal Himself to them. It can truly be a redemptive
experience for the individual involved and members of the group!
Cool Scripture Cite
"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever." (Psalm
Hot Internet Site
With the Thanksgiving holidays just around the corner, it is none
too soon to begin our contemplations of God's blessings. Our Hot Internet
Site for this issue is a home-grown web page produced by Georgia Sawhook,
Fairfield, Ohio, as part of the Pastor's Wives Web Ring. Georgia's
theme is thanksgiving and contains many related Scripture passages
One of the most challenging concepts of the Gospel for me is grace.
What is grace, anyway?
I used to think of grace in warm, fuzzy terms. Soft, sweet, kind .
. . comfortable. It is so nice to think of being accepted by God regardless
of who I am or what I do.
Grace challenges my "comfortable" view of God, however.
My comfort zone, alas, is more about feeling good about the good I
do. I'm a good guy, after all, and I try to do good.
Even a cursory reading of Romans will dispel this warm, fuzzy notion
of grace. God's acceptance, Paul maintains, has nothing whatsoever
to do with my goodness--and all to do with God's love.
The challenge, then, becomes one of "accepting the acceptance." A
thousand protests arise in my thoughts. "But, what about my goodness?" "But,
what about how much better I am than those evil people . . ." And
so on, ad but infinitum.
Grace responds, "it doesn't matter." The playing field of
God is perfectly level. The truth is (gasp) that "all have sinned
and fall short of the glory of God."
Grace makes short work of my self-righteousness and leaves me with
two competing reactions. One, my own personal Hallelujah Chorus. The
other, the searing pain of having my comfortable smug rug pulled out
from under me.
So, what to do with grace? The New Testament writers encouraged us
to give it back to God. Their word for grace was charis, and their
word for thanksgiving, eucharisteo--returning grace for grace.
For me, gratitude is the ticket. The more I get into gratefulness,
the more I can celebrate the gift that grace is.