Andyouinvitedmein’s Weblog

Posts Tagged ‘evangelical

I’ve read several reviews about Left Behind and they have been negative with cheap shots tossed at the quality, story line and disaster elements. Ironically several of these came from traditional Christian news outlets like Christianity Today. Last night I took my daughter and her boyfriend, whom we are trying to win to the Lord. Here is my question: what movie did the CT reviewer see?

First, I have to say that my husband is a stylist for television and movies. In our 30 years together I’ve learned to look for bad hair, continuity issues and, simply said, anything that I might find to critique, I would. Left Behind had very little to criticize.

The story was actually better told than the original book. It held to the basics, but has more impact. While the end landing was a bit over the edge, it was no different than any super hit like 21 Jump Street when the two heroes magically escape a shoot out. In reality they would be dead, and in reality the plane landing would have been different. In reality any part of any Hangover movie is just absurd, but entertaining in a perverted way.

The movie did not look low budget or any such nonsense. It was of good quality. Who complains about the grain of the film when we watch old Chaplin movies? And the group from Albany, Georgia who do the fantastic films like Courageous…who needs film quality when the message is quality. Just sayin’, dude reviewer, get a life.

Character development was good. The continuity of the script and editing are better than some big budget films. I was an extra in Steve Martin’s A Simple Twist of Fate where the editing crew must have had too Slurpees before they started. In Left Behind there were some issues such as the sunlight in NYC went on a little too long and it should have gotten dark quicker. These are minor.

The movie isn’t a Bible beater, but a subtle message of “you better get right with God.” The puzzle pieces of The Rapture came together in logical fashion just as they might in real life. Nothing too fantastic or magical.

Speaking of real life. On September 23 my youngest daughter had a very bad wreck. The day before her boyfriend was saying he didn’t believe in God. The morning of the wreck I texted both of them a message: you don’t know the day or the hour… . In the wreck my daughter suffered temporary, short term memory loss and a bad eye injury. Her boyfriend had a tiny cut, and he was on the side of the car where the most damage occurred. The car stopped a foot short of a log that would have impaled the car and killed them. And still he questions God.

The verse at the end of the movie was that we do not know the day nor the hour. And we don’t. There might not be a rapture, but certainly there might be an attack from an enemy outside the US. There’s Ebola. There’s unrest in the US. This is the season of tornadoes and hurricanes. And there are those car wrecks that can happen anytime, and without warning.

I took away from this movie the message that we can give excuses all day long, but at the end of the day we need “to recognize,” as my students used to say. We need to recognize that Jesus is Lord and one day we will have to give an accounting. We can pull every “but if God is so good” card and still we must give an accounting at the end of our journey. And what will you say? One of my favorite explanations is found in the old Carman video that can be found in YouTube. Check out Witches Invitation. And on that day you can either call on all your excuses or simply say: I’m saved by the Blood of Jesus and my name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra by Michael Tyler

Trans-Siberian Orchestra as photographed by Michael W. Tyler

On Sunday we went to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and with all the lights and acoustics I suddenly felt like I could be on that stage performing. I was dreaming like when I was younger and it seemed like the sky was the limit on what I could do and who I could become. When you are young you don’t think about not seeing a loved one again.

The last twenty-four hours has been nostalgic in that I longed to be back at my grandparent’s house. There were certain things that could only happen there with them like my grandfather calling Santa “Santy”. Or my grandmother always burning the bottoms of cheap biscuits–those you buy in four pack for around a dollar for the four.

Everyone was welcomed at their home. Family members who might not be welcomed anywhere else were welcome to come and have a bite to eat and fellowship. Because my grandparents were peacemakers, no one who had an ought with another got mad at Jewell and Ercie for befriending the other party. This gift has been passed down to my parents as they could have hostile acquaintances come to their table and peace would take over everyone…there was no more family or friend “war”.

This is Christmas Day…the day our Savior was born and it was through him that our sins are forgiven and we are reconciled to God. Today is the day you need to find that loved one who has been outside the warmth of your embrace…if you can’t find them by traditional means search through Google, Facebook and MySpace. Make this a “Lost Sheep Day” and welcome them home.

I started this blog by talking about youth and things we don’t think of such as losing our loved ones. On Christmas Eve morning I lost a friend named Jack. He was a beloved pastor who had the heart of a child and embraced everyone. I’ve known Jack for eight years and suddenly time was gone: time to tell him how much I loved him or how much embodied the grace of Jesus in his everyday life.

On Christmas Eve night a close friend became a grandmother. That baby is just like the baby that comes to everyone. Remember that special love the first time you saw your child, sibling, friend? If you are not in touch…reach out and get in touch TODAY!!! Blessings…

…are the words to a popular Christian song. We sang it at CFO. As we sang I started thinking about grace being enough. You know it’s great to have grace extended to us, and (at those times) grace IS enough for us. Grace was and is all about the work that Jesus did on the cross. Yet in our neck of the woods we tend to enjoy meddling in other people’s business. Call it what you will, but we have an opinion on everything and how people need to do it. It might be the dress Sister Bessie is wearing. It may be the way our friends are raising their children. 

Does a worship service consist of three songs and a prayer, or is it an hour of rocking, jumping and swaying as we become deeply connected with the Lord? I personally don’t care much for Southern Gospel genre of music. Last night I went to a concert that was the Southern Gospel equivalent of Country Music’s Fanfare.  There in the middle of rose-scented talcum powder (no doubt applied with a fluffy puff) and Old Spice After-Shave, I found myself experiencing a little bit of heaven on Earth. I was caught up in the richness of harmony that’s sung (generally) with family.

In our Christian homes, sometimes there is a disruption of harmony. Family will be at odds over the silliest things…my closest friend’s sister-in-law was mad at her mother for four years because of dish detergent. Sometimes it is big: a child or sibling or friend announces (s)he is gay. Oh my…then we get all structure and legalistic on our dearest gifts from God. Then grace isn’t enough. At least grace from us—the grace that says “I’ll love you no matter what” to “until you change you can’t come home”. Maybe there’s even a hint that it would have been better had we died.

So if grace is enough, then grace is enough. Grace isn’t “love the shoes, love the dress” when we honestly hate it. That’s lying. Grace is laying down our expectations, desires, wishes and loving beyond reason. That’s what Jesus did, and it was enough.

I think if it was enough for Jesus, then loving beyond reason and when it is most difficult should be enough for us. And when you love beyond reason…heaven will open no matter where you are. Corrie ten Boom was able to tell the world: “There is no pit so deep that God’s love is not deeper still.” Grace isn’t subtly wrapped in rules or ultimatums. His grace is enough!

There is a saying: when the rubber meets the road. Today that experience was very painful. It was something like William “Braveheart” Wallace with Longshanks’ torture tools.

I am more than positive that God wanted me to act in this person’s behalf—a person who deserved ZERO. When I laid out specifics, I was promptly stabbed in the back. The whole thing is painful, but my reward will be in heaven (because it sure isn’t happening here!).

We must be obedient to surrender ourselves to extending grace. I say that with all honesty…at the end of a train-wreck of a day. The people you’re extending it to might be a real pain and they might spit in your face. It happened to Jesus.

I’ve had inquiries about sin. What about sin and gay people?

As I lick the fried chicken grease off my fingers so it won’t get on the prayer list…maybe I need to tell the pastor that his sermon was great, even though I was making a list of how I want the remodel my house the whole time he was preaching.

Instead of looking outside at others—let’s take a look inside our own house: gluttony, gossip, lying and coveting. And the horses are out of the stalls and down the track…

I’m being a lot sarcastic here, but honestly think about what goes on in most American churches. Lots of judgment about people…eating big meals…talking about people (also see judgment)…wanting that big old gold Cadillac to show how great our faith is…and little white lies (by the way a “little lie” is like being a “little pregnant”).

Then there are situational sins. For example the girl who goes from guy to guy is called a harlot, whore, or fast. The teenage boy who screws around is just “sewing his wild oats”. Sex outside of marriage is sex outside of marriage.

So what about sin? Jesus has enough power to convict a person of sin, and then to change them. It’s all about the heart and what goes on inside. It is between the Lord and me.

I do know that Jesus was concerned about the condition of the heart. All the religious people of his day had the outside issues conquered, but inside they were a mess. And only God knows what is going on inside. Therefore, I spend my day working on my issues and trying to be more like Jesus…

I have a video about the book in YouTube. Take a look and tell others! My video is submitted under: CherylMossTyler and it is called: And You Invited Me In. http://www.youtube.com/cherylmosstyler

Here is more information about the book:

Alex Marshall is dying of AIDS. Over his partner Scott’s objections, he asks his conservative Christian sister, Annie Whitley, to help take care of him. Annie must decide whether to hold to her position of separation, hoping to force Alex to repent of his sins, or go to him without expectations. Close family friend and football legend Jett Taylor insists she will become tainted by the sin of homosexuality if she follows her heart.
Annie and her family must learn the true meaning of God’s grace to show Alex and Scott who Jesus is. But nobody could predict the explosive series of events their decision sets into motion, not only in their town, but in other lives as well – including Scott’s father, a well-known conservative preacher. These dedicated Christians learn about sacrificial love.
And You Invited Me In is a bridge that embraces diversity with unconditional love. It is a life-changing, thought provoking, unforgettable novel that will capture the attention and hearts of readers from diverse backgrounds and faiths.

 

Today is the 40th anniversary of Dr. King’s death. I can remember exactly where I was standing when I heard about it. I can also remember the reaction of those in the Deeper South a few weeks later. We lived in the South, but were in the Deeper for a visit with friends. I helped my teen peers babysit, and we were miles away from the grown-ups. You see, LBJ had declared four Sundays after MLK’s death as a time of mourning. Well, in the Deeper South they didn’t like it when that preacher honored the President’s request. And we were babysitting for the preacher on a Saturday night.

Have you ever been terrorized by the KKK? We were that night. And because it was a tiny community, those terrorists had to know the preacher wasn’t at home. It didn’t matter to them, they just had an agenda of harassment. I felt threatened, but looking back I also didn’t feel like waving a white flag for my safety. I think I knew we had to protect the children and stand up for what is right in our simple teen way.

Well, digressing a bit, but along this same plane I just saw Now I Pronounce You Chuck and Larry. I can see how this movie would upset my fellow conservatives. But most don’t understand what it feels like to be “inside the house”.  

Chuck & Larry is a very real look at how non-affirming straight people react to gay people. For those who haven’t seen the movie, it is about straight men who “marry” to get insurance benefits. Their friends start shunning them. 

I’m not LGBTQ in any way. However, back in 2000 when I began associating with the gay Christians the same sort of Chuck & Larry scenario happened to me—and there aren’t enough adjectives to describe the pain, shock and feelings of betrayal that surfaced because of my Christian friends who thought I was “listening to the devil” or “being deceived” or even in sin for taking communion with these gay people. And I started being shunned.

I discussed this in some of my original blogs. I only went to meet an author, and I wanted him to associate my face with our e-mails. I tried to find him a day earlier at the local gay bookstore, but I couldn’t find the bookstore. Now I know it was God that kept me from finding the bookstore. It was my destiny to go to that gay conservative Christian church. And it was their destiny, too. The LGBT church members were abuzz with “why does a straight woman and her children visit this church?” They decided they needed to accept anyone who came through the door. I felt like I needed to make a return visit. In the meantime I started geting ultimatums from my conservative friends…

Those ultimatums felt like the night I was babysitting at the preacher’s house. I decided that I wouldn’t let people harrass me. In fact one of the things I asked the Lord was to let me feel the rejection that gay persons feel from the straight, conservative Christian crowd. God answered immediately and I felt totally rejected. I felt like Larry (in the movie) being asked to not come on a camp out or Chuck not having anyone to play basketball with anymore. I couldn’t believe that same people who had sought my advice for years were suddenly giving me ultimatims to “return” to the church and get my life right. And in the midst of all of that I knew I needed to stay in the house. I wanted to learn…

I learned more than I bargained for when I went to that church on May 21, 2000. My daughters and I had a pact to rush in, talk and leave. I just wanted to talk with a man for a moment— AND THEN God gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. He opened doors of understanding of where my straight community needs to wake up. The first awakening issue is this: gay people are people. They bleed blood and cry tears. Their hearts break when they can’t spend holidays with their families or they are asked to leave home because of their orientation. And God is very sad when we can’t see the pain for the rules—church rules, neighbor rules, whatever rules.

God has heard the cry of their heart…why can’t we? Why are we conservatives on the outside of their heart saying hurtful things in the name of Jesus. Don’t you know that He is right there with them? And Jesus wonders why when he died for our sins that we can’t remember to extend grace…period…extend grace. Live by grace, eat by grace, walk by grace…. to be continued….