Bible Quizzing: A Great “Thing”

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I think it’s very important for teens to have something positive they’re good at: something that is their “thing” during this phase of life where identity formation is so important.

For me this was music. I was good at academics, but music, and the friends associated with it, occupied much of my time in middle school and high school. Someday I’ll post about that, but not today.

For my husband this was Bible Quizzing. He had been picked on and bullied during elementary school, and Bible Quizzing gave him back his dignity. It was something he did well. He did it better, in fact, than all those kids who had picked on him. It became his “thing”, his way to show himself and his world that he was fine just the way God made him, thank you very much.

Our kids are also involved in Bible Quizzing, and though they don’t need it in the same way he did, it is still their “thing”.

Bible Quizzing is a ministry of the United Pentecostal Church International through which children and teens memorize a set of verses (the verses change each year) and then answer questions based on their knowledge of the material. This is an amazing program. These quizzers learn word-for-word between 180 and 530 verses a year, depending on their age (and therefore quizzing division). Many of them learn “charts” as well, picking out items, words, phrases, or ideas that occur in a few verses, and memorizing the references so they can come up with them quickly in a quiz.

The most important positive is that they are hiding the word of God in their hearts. I am not minimizing that; how could I? That’s huge!

However, there are so many other benefits as well. They are expanding their minds through memorization. They are learning logical thinking and critical thinking in interrupting and completing questions. They are learning grammar as they figure out how to interrupt a question at the proper place. They are learning public speaking skills in both answering questions and contesting. They are learning to think quickly; 30 seconds is all they’ve got!

Meanwhile, they are learning about themselves and their natural tendencies. How do they handle pressure? How comfortably do they take risks? How well do they move on from mistakes?

Another important lesson is teamwork. Especially in the Sr division, it is mathematically impossible for a single quizzer, no matter what his or her skill, with teammates who aren’t contributing to beat a well-rounded, well-functioning team. They need each other. They must forgive each others’ mistakes, shore up each others’ weak spots, and let each others’ strengths come shining through.

They spend hours, yea even days, with their teammates, other kids close to their age. They are sometimes hormonal, sometimes moody, and sometimes delightful. Forgiveness is necessary. Accepting forgiveness is also vital.

Often families are involved, so it doubles as family time. Brothers and sisters on a team also have to work together, not fuss and fight, or they won’t win.

The quiz community is an amazing thing as well. All kinds of adults, from all walks of life, put out their time and energy and money for these kids. And the kids are enough to give you hope for the world. Some of the nicest people I’ve ever met have been in the quiz “family”.

Bible quizzing gives kids confidence. Every answered question, every quiz pulled back from the brink of losing, every contest granted (or even if not granted, well executed), gives a little boost to these teens who are trying to figure out who in the world they are and who they are in the world. They know they’re smart, they’re accepted, they’re okay.

And when these teens are hitting those rough spots in their teen years, Bible Quizzing has them prepared. They know the scriptures. They know themselves. They have positive friends who are quizzers. They have a network of adults whom they trust, even when their parents suddenly become dumb and uncool. Basically, they are hooked on Bible Quizzing.

Then when it’s all over and they hit “real life”, their brains are sharp, they can memorize anything, they speak with confidence, they process information quickly, they work well on teams, they have friends all over the country, and best of all, they know thousands of scriptures. What a great “thing”!


The Emergency Room Church

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Tonight I sit writing this in an emergency room, waiting and waiting. Don’t get all worried. It seems to be no big deal, and I’ll go home soon.

But here I have sat, for 4 hours, having had an EKG and blood drawn. Those must not have been too remarkable, which is good. It’s not a good thing when they rush you right back in the ER.

The people here are an interesting cross-section of society.

Some are alone. Some have a friend who arrives to comfort them and cheer them up. It seems to work, as the patients’ tears cease. Some have a whole horde with them; 2 are allowed back, but 5 more wait in the waiting room.

Some are well-dressed. Some are not. Tattoos and piercings abound. Lots of iPhones are in use; one woman has 2.

Some wait quietly. Some talk to the strangers around them. Some throw fits and demand to be treated quicker. Some seem to be frequent fliers since every employee knows their name.

A girl about 15 years old nurses her baby.

An inmate is here with 2 policeman. His face looks like he’s been in a fight. If he won, I’d hate to see the other guy.

From the names called I know there are at least 2 other Regina’s here.

Various languages are spoken. I have heard 3 different ones, but surprisingly, no Spanish.

3 young Muslim men are here following a Ramadan celebration where one was injured somehow.

One family seems to be the Sikh religion with both the man and his wife wearing curved knives at their waists. The man wears a turban and leather slippers with toes that curl up and back over the shoe. Their little 3 year old daughter is very well-behaved and they play quietly and lovingly with her.

I see a man who was admitted at the same time as me a few years ago when I had inpatient headache treatment. His legs now look like he is headed for an amputation or two. They weren’t that bad then. Then he goes out for a smoke.

The people are wall-to-wall. They’ve run out of room and rooms. I am finally treated in the hall.

I can’t help thinking that our churches should be like this. Mark 2:15-17 records:

Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?”
When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

A church should be like the emergency room, full of people who need help: people from all walks of life, many cultures, socio-economic and educational levels, looking for help. They are sick, in need of a doctor. Some are crying, some quiet, some throwing a fit.

And the Great Physician is able to clean them all up, make them better, heal them. But if the church rejects them, kicks them out because they’re not well enough, they will never be whole.

Christianity shouldn’t be all clean and tidy. It should be germy and messy and inconvenient.


We’re Not There Yet: (The Human) Race in America

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I grew up in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. While that’s certainly not the Deep South, it is definitely redneck country. However, Bartlesville is the headquarters town of a major petroleum company, so there are a lot of educated people there; it’s not your typical rural Oklahoma burg.

My parents didn’t raise me to think much about race. People were people. I had friends of all shades, though most of my friends tended to look like me, and I wasn’t around that many African-American people. The 2010 census puts the African American population of that particular county at just shy of 2.5%. (There are 4-5 times more Native Americans than that in the county, so that’s the more prevalent minority.)

Then I moved to Delaware. For those of you who are geographically-challenged, Delaware is a state about 1/2 way up the the Atlantic coast of the US. I can be in Virginia at the former home of Robert E Lee in a little over 2 hours. It’s not really that far North, and it has a conflicted racial history. In the Civil War we were Northern, but at the same time we were a slave state. The Emancipation Proclamation didn’t apply to the slaves in Delaware because it was only directed to Confederate states. Yeah, that’s just messed up.

Following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr in 1968, Wilmington, DE was under martial law for 9 1/2 months because of the riots that broke out. (Click here for more information about that.) So we’re not talking about racial harmony here. The population of our county is about 20% African American with Wilmington, its major city, coming in at about 58%.

The church my husband pastors reflects this diversity. We are about 40% white, 40% African American, and 20% international. I have never been around a group of people like this anywhere else. We are focused on loving Jesus and in the process we love each other, not denying anybody’s heritage, but letting our identity be primarily as children of Christ. So needless to say, I’ve been around a lot of people of different backgrounds since moving here 16 years ago.

Now back to Oklahoma. Last time I visited the Bartlesville Wal-Mart I looked around at the checkout counter which was bustling with activity, and there wasn’t an African American in sight. At the supermarket here in Newark, (and that’s the suburbs) you can’t find a time at the checkout counter where there ISN’T an African American in sight. It’s a different experience, a different exposure, a different mindset.

I have been in gatherings where people told racial jokes. I heard one man say he was glad he didn’t have a daughter because he just wouldn’t be able to handle it if she dated a black man, only he didn’t put it quite so nicely. In fact, I was a teen at the time, and he asked me to make sure I wasn’t dating any of “them”. I have heard the “N” word thrown around quite a bit. The strange thing is, it often wasn’t used in an openly hateful way. It was just a way of identifying a group of people. The people using it didn’t go around in white hoods burning crosses in peoples’ yards. They weren’t trying to hurt anybody; it was pure ignorance and lack of exposure to what hurt another person might feel from those words. I have heard bigoted statements in Delaware, but I’ll hear more along that line in one week in Oklahoma than I will 5 years in Delaware. Why? I hope it’s ignorance. I hope it’s just living in a white-only world and not interacting on a daily basis with people who don’t look like them.

I would like to tell you a few very basic things I’ve realized and learned during my years of observing life and race relations from these varied experiences.

There is no way of using “the N word” word that isn’t “a bad way”. To say “I used that word, but I didn’t use it in a derogatory way” shows great insensitivity and blatant ignorance. That word represents years, yea even centuries, of oppression, hatred, and outright slavery. Yes, some black people use it, which I don’t agree with either, but that certainly doesn’t make it okay. There is no good that can come of using this word. If it was never spoken again that would be great.

Racial jokes are not funny. Ever.

Black people are not born talking differently, and they are just as smart as anybody else. This seems obvious, but it isn’t always, evidently. I was blown away when a very articulate and educated light-skinned black friend of mine was asked “what nationality are you?” because the person asking (who happens to be a very kind-hearted, though ignorant, person) assumed that all African-American people “talked funny.” Oh my! The strange thing is, to my Delaware-born kids, the person asking that question “talked funny”.

So what to do? The first step is recognition.

The dictionary defines prejudice as “an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge.”

Let me define it a few different ways.

If you see a person of a different skin shade and immediately make assumptions about them, you’re prejudiced.

If you see a person of a different race in a decent neighborhood and you wonder why they’re there, you’re prejudiced.

If people of a different race move into your neighborhood and you wonder what they’re doing there, or hope that maybe they’re just renting, you’re prejudiced.

If you would object to your child marrying a person of a different race solely because of their race, you’re prejudiced. That one goes several ways. Yeah, I went there.

Having “a black friend”, whether they’re your best friend, or your best man, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not prejudiced. It could just mean that you’ve found one exception to the boxes you usually put people in. Some of the most prejudiced people I know have a friend who is black.

These things apply not only to African Americans, but any group of people from Hispanics to Middle Easterners to immigrants from everywhere.

After recognition comes direction. What SHOULD we be doing?

Jesus taught a different way. In John 13:34-35 he said, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” In Matt 5:43-48 Jesus says, “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven. For he gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike. If you love only those who love you, what reward is there for that? Even corrupt tax collectors do that much. If you are kind only to your friends, how are you different from anyone else? Even pagans do that. But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

Christians should be at the forefront of loving others, and that doesn’t just mean people who happen to look like us. If we love others who are like us, that won’t surprise people at all. But if we love people that are different than us, people who we normally wouldn’t associate with, that will make the world stand up and take notice.

The good old Golden Rule goes a long way. If I don’t want to be treated, talked about, or thought about in a certain way, then I shouldn’t treat, talk about, or think about others that way either. Amazing.

I believe that most of the racial problems we have in America are a result of fear and ignorance. The Bible is also emphatic about the subject of fear. How many times have we quoted Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me”? Even if we are walking through the valley of the shadow of death, which I think is a little more extreme than anything we’re dealing with here, we are not to fear. I Peter 3:13 says “Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.” There are more verses about fear than I have room for here, and not a one of them says “If you are scared of somebody because they’re different, that’s okay. Then you can mistreat them, judge them, and hate on them.”

Ignorance is perhaps the hardest part to conquer because ignorant people don’t even realize there is a problem. A lot of the fear comes from the ignorance and will go away with some widened experiences and expanded knowledge. So that’s where I come in, a white girl trying to bust up suppositions and make us reassess our assumptions. I catch myself occasionally making judgements about people because they speak, dress, look, or act differently than me. When I catch myself doing it, it bothers me and I vow to fix it. It is a process, a constant growth. We all have our presuppositions, but we should fight with everything in us to recognize and combat them.

But how? First, we must acknowledge that we do it. Second, realize Jesus has a different way. And third, intentionally put ourselves in situations where we are around different people. Seek out experiences that expand our minds and challenge our suppositions.

We might be surprised how much alike we all really are. After all, we’re all the same race: the human one.


DIY Easy Reversible Breastfeeding Drape

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I breastfed my babies for about 4 years of my life, and I have nursed my babies just about everywhere. I am a modest person; I am very open about bodily functions (me being a nurse and all), but exposing myself isn’t something I want to go around doing. My go-to nursing drape at that time consisted of the largest receiving blanket I could find (which was never QUITE big enough), a shoestring, and 2 safety pins: not exactly a classy accessory. After I was all done breastfeeding, my daughter’s eczema was just awful and I learned how to sew well enough to make her some non-itchy clothes. I made some breastfeeding drapes for presents at baby showers, nice large stylish ones with adjustable straps, and they’ve been a big hit. I like my design better than any others I’ve found (I don’t like the ones with boning in the front. They allow you to see the baby eating, but they also allow anyone sitting next to you to do the same,) so I’ll share with you how I make them. They are REALLY simple.

Warning: If you are really good at sewing, these instructions will seem way too detailed and simple. I am in no way a professional seamstress, so if you’re a beginner, that’s okay. You do need to know how to cut material, sew a stitch, and put in a button and buttonhole.

Time to complete from start to finish (not counting washing/drying time): 1 1/2 – 3 hrs (depending on skill level).

Supplies needed:

– 2 pieces of coordinating material, 36″X 44″ You want something thick enough to not be flimsy, but thin enough to not make you and the baby hot. Remember, it will be double thickness, and hopefully even a baby born in the autumn will be breastfed through at least part of the summer, so lets not smother the little thing! I usually get a pretty cotton fabric in the quilting section. This pattern needs something that doesn’t have a one-way design but can just go any-which-way. I like to pick a material that is discreet and doesn’t yell, “Hey, everybody look what I’m doing over here” but is also classy and something a lady would wear. I see these as more for the mom than the baby, so I avoid a babyish pattern. But those are just my thoughts. You may want something entirely different.

These instructions make the sides of the drape the selvage/factory edge and the top and bottom the cut edges, so make sure that works with your material’s design.

So here goes.

YOU WILL NEED:

– 1 large button, the bigger the better. At least 1 3/8″ is great. (As you can see here, 1.25″ and less is considered a choking hazard by the Child Safety Protection Act.)

– Thread that either matches or accents with the material. The thread WILL show.

– Velcro, 10 inches long, 1/2 inches wide. I always use the sew-on kind. I’ve been tempted to try the heat-bond kind, but I’m afraid of it coming off at just the wrong time. Nope, don’t want that!

– Sewing-type flexible tape measure

– Scissors

– Straight Pins

– Dull pencil

– An iron

– Something with a right angle, such as a piece of paper or a book

– A straight edge

– A writing pen

– Sewing Machine with button hole setting

IT’S ALSO NICE TO HAVE:

– A Yardstick, or even better, a t-square

– Air soluble marker

Instructions:

1) Wash and dry your material just as you plan to wash the finished product. Use the same washer and dryer settings and detergent so you don’t get any surprises when you wash it later. Iron your material and cut off any threads that have bunched at the edges during washing.

2) Wind your bobbin and thread your machine.

3) Your material probably shrunk in the washing/drying process. That is the point, after all. The length from selvage to selvage, whatever that is now, will be how wide the drape is. You want to leave the selvage as is, make the corners square, and make the 2 pieces the same size. How? Do this. Probably one piece will be slightly smaller than the other. Work with it first. Make the sides and corners of the smaller piece even, straight, and square. This is where a t-square or yardstick will come in handy. If you don’t have those things, use a straight edge of some kind and a square corner (like a piece of paper or a book) to create a 90 degree angle. Leave the selvage uncut. Use it as the basis of your square corner. Use your air-soluble marker (or pen if you don’t have one of those) to mark the edge you want, and cut it out. Once you have one rectangle as you want it, place the other piece of material under it, right sides together, and cut the second to match the first. Now you have 2 nice, even, matching rectangles.

Find the cut edge, not the selvage. Cut off a 3 1/2″ strip of material from the bottom of each of your 2 big rectangles. This will be your strap. Cut off the end of each strap piece so they are each 29″ long. After you are done cutting, you should have 4 pieces of material: 2 big rectangles and 2 long strips. The strips will be 3 1/2″ x 29″. The big rectangles should be somewhere around 30″x40″ but it will vary a little.

4) First we’ll work with the 2 big rectangles, so set the 2 long strips aside for now. Put the 2 rectangles with right sides facing each other, match the edges up, and pin together or baste around the edges. This will be the body of the drape.

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5) Sew around the edge with a 5/8″ seam allowance. (On the selvage edge, sew it just inside where the printing starts. It will probably be a little more than 5/8″. Go all around except leave a 7 inch opening on one side. Use your scissors to cut a small snip in each corner. Be careful not to cut the stitch you just made.

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6) Using the 7 inch opening, turn your material right-side-out.

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7) Using a pencil stuck through the opening you left, poke the corners out so they’re not squared off and not rounded. Do this gently so as not to poke holes in your material.

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8) Press your material with your iron. Put your hand inside the opening and push the seams tight as you iron them. Make the edges nice and crisp. The seam should be at the edge of the pressed material. Don’t iron the opening yet. Of course, don’t iron your hand.

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9) Fold an edge at the 7 inch opening to match the rest of the edges that are sewed, and iron flat. Pin the opening shut.

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10) Now sew a stitch 3/8″ from the edge all the way around, paying special attention to secure the opening you left before.

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11) Now fold it in half, placing the sides (the selvage ends, the shortest sides) together. Place a pin at the top at the 1/2 way fold or mark it with your air-soluble marker. Measure 3 1/2″ on one side and make your buttonhole up and down, perpendicular to the edge.

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12) Now measure 3 1/2″ on the other side of the 1/2 way pin and place the end of the soft, loopy side of the Velcro there, extending toward the side-edge of the drap. Put it just inside the stitch you made in step 10. Pin it in place. Sew as close to the edge of the Velcro as possible while still catching the edge. Take out the pins as you go, not sewing over the pins.

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(My measurements are a wee bit off in this picture. Sorry for that.)

13) Now set that aside and get out the 2 long strips you cut in step #3. As I said before, this will be the strap.

14) Put the 2 strips right sides facing each other, match the edges up, and pin together or baste around the edges, similar to how you did the large rectangles in step #4.

15) Sew around the edge with a 5/8″ seam allowance. Go all around except leave a 4 1/2″ opening on one side. Use your scissors to cut a small snip in each corner. Be careful not to cut the stitch you just made.

16) Using the opening, turn it right-side-out.

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17) As before, using a pencil stuck through the open end, carefully poke the corners out so they’re not rounded.

18) Iron your strap. Put your finger or use the pencil inside the opening and push the seams tight as you iron them. The seam should be at the edge of the pressed material. Don’t iron the opening yet. Again, don’t iron your finger.

19) Fold an edge at the opening to match the rest of the edges that are sewed, and iron flat. Pin the opening shut.

20) Sew a stitch 3/8″ from the edge all the way around, paying special attention to secure the opening left before. Now your strap is sewed.

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21) At one end of the strap, attach the button just inside the stitch.

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(This button is smaller than I like. Get a bigger one for yours to be safe.)

22) At the other end, on the same side of the material as the button, pin the rough strip of Velcro, the side with the tiny little hooks. Sew as close to the edge of the Velcro as possible while still catching the edge. Take out the pins as you go, not sewing over the pins.

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23) Now the strap is done. You are almost finished.

24) Button the strap on the drape. Put the strap around your neck and velcro the other end.

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TA-DA! YOU ARE DONE!

 


The Best-Kept Secret of Homeschooling

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There is a big secret that homeschoolers everywhere know, but we don’t want to tell you. If we told you, you would realize that it’s not as hard as it looks.

But I’ll tell you, because I’m just that nice.

Ready?

Homeschooling is efficient. Really efficient.

There’s no waiting for the bus. No riding the bus. No walking from one class to another. No waiting while the rest of the class finishes their homework. No waiting for the bell to ring. No taking a class that you don’t really need just to fill a slot in your schedule. No study hall. Lunch break only takes as long as it takes to, get this, eat lunch.

Shoot, most days that we’re not going somewhere else, my kids never get dressed. Pajamas are a homeschooler’s go-to fashion statement. In the fall when everyone is running back-to-school sales on clothes, they should run a back-to-school sale on pajamas for homeschoolers.

If a student learns best sitting at a desk, they sit at a desk. If a student learns best curled up on the couch with a book, that’s fine, too. Lap desks are wonderful. On a nice day, school might be outside. If a kid needs a break, they don’t have to wait until the bell rings for recess. They just take a break. If they’re in the middle of something, they don’t need to stop because a schedule says so. They finish what they’re doing and then move on to the next thing. We have one kid who learns best late at night and struggles with brain-engagement in the mornings, so he stays up late and does a lot of his work while the house is quiet and the others are asleep. He works the night shift.

We take every Monday off and work through most of the summer. The kids don’t have 3 consecutive months to forget everything they worked so hard all year to learn. When they start a new school year, we just pick up where they left off with hardly any review necessary. The teacher (Me!) doesn’t have to spend the first month getting used to all of the new students and figuring out their weaknesses and strengths and where the ones who just moved in are in their learning. We don’t have many (okay, any) move-ins.

If the student understands a concept, they move on. If they don’t, they continue with that concept until they have mastered it. There is, literally, no child left behind. This might mean that they spend twice the time on math that they do on grammar, or it might mean just the opposite. It’s based totally on what the student needs. There’s no waiting for everyone else to catch up. There’s no moving beyond what they really understand because everyone else is ready.

There’s also no time spent teaching just so they can pass a test. I rarely give tests because I already know how well they are doing from grading their work and interacting with them every day one-on-one. I do grade their work, but until they get into middle school I do not “give grades”. I grade the paper and then whatever they miss, they re-do until it’s right. If I see they’re having trouble with a concept, we slow down until I can tell they have mastery, and then we move on.

From what I understand, the university system in England is much more along this line than what we have here in America. Even here, it used to be more like this than it is now. My husband’s great-grandfather became a lawyer but never went to law school. He studied with a lawyer and passed the bar exam. President James Garfield said of one of his professors, “I am not willing that this discussion should close without mention of the value of a true teacher. Give me a log hut, with only a simple bench, Mark Hopkins on one end and I on the other, and you may have all the buildings, apparatus, and libraries without him.”

So now you know my little secret of why it’s not as hard as it looks.

But don’t tell anyone. Okay?


An Adventure At Alcoholics Anonymous

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When I was in nursing school, during our psyche rotation, one of the requirements was to attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. Several of my friends went together, but my schedule didn’t allow me to go with them, so I went by myself. I had never had a drink of alcohol in my life, and nobody in my immediate, or even extended family, drank (at least around me), so this was quite foreign to me, and I was a bit anxious about the whole thing. Okay, so I was a lot anxious.

As soon as I got out of my car, people approached me to welcome me and they just kept doing it. I think every one of the approximately 75 people there welcomed me, or at least it felt like it. If I had been an alcoholic, I would have definitely come back. No question. These people cared about others in their same situation and wanted to help.

I thought about how people must feel as they visit a church for the first time. They’ve most likely heard good things and bad things about it and don’t really know what to expect. To many of them the format is totally foreign. So they are a bit anxious about the whole thing. Okay, they’re a lot anxious

What if they aren’t greeted by anyone? What if people look at them like they don’t belong? Or what if they are made to feel welcome from the time they step out of their car until the time they leave the property? What if everyone there greets them and makes them feel welcome?

What if they get a feeling of judgement? What if they are made to feel that everyone else has arrived except them? Or what if they are made to feel that we are all on the same journey? That we are all fighting the same fight against the “sin that so easily besets us.”

Now, I’m not saying that we should sit around and say “I’m Regina, and I’m a sinner”, though I think it might not hurt for us to be reminded of our natural state occasionally, and personal testimony is a powerful thing, whatever the context. And the salvation of Jesus Christ is more effective than any 12 step program.

I am saying that as people visit our churches we should welcome them as genuinely and openly as any AA meeting ever did.

Let us come alongside of each other, welcome people into our community, and make it easy, yea even desirable, to join in with us on this journey. None of us have arrived, and until heaven we are all “fighting the good fight of faith.”

By the way, “My name is Regina, and I am a sinner, saved by the grace of Jesus.”