Wednesday, July 18, 2012

I Quit Religion

I heard a quote on a TV show recently that went like this:

"Religion is like a drug. In small amounts it's curative, but in larger doses it becomes addictive."

I agree with that quote. I so agree with it.

I have decided to quit religion. I think I have been living that stated position for some time, but I now draw the line in the sand behind me. I am walking away from religion. By religion, I mean the second definition given in the dictionary: Details of belief as taught or discussed. This is the world's working definition of religion. And most church-goers think of religion in this way, too. Never mind that the first definition is : The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, esp. a personal God or gods.

I have decided that going to a "church" is being religious. Walking in the doors of a church building, and sitting in a pew for an hour or two is a religion. So is communion--the way it is taken is religious. The way we sit and watch the performers on stage as they preach and sing is religion. Most all of the public prayers I hear in a church service are religious. How some churches present the gospel and how to be saved is MOST DEFINITELY RELIGIOUS.

So how am I to be a Christian and a member of the body of Christ, that is the church, without being religious? How do I keep clean from the drug?

I have struggled with this question for years. I truly believe that, besides Catholic, I was raised in one of the most religious groups there is out there. I have survived a very strong addiction to the drug religion.

It all seems to boil down to this: what to do and what not to do. That's it. That is religion, in my humble opinion.

Does this mean we, as Christians, do whatever we want? Does this mean all of Paul's teachings about what to do and what not to do are to be ignored? Is there not a plan of salvation? What about the rules? Rules are for babes in Christ. The fact that many don't seem to graduate beyond the rules is evidence of religion. Religion is birthed from the womb of fear and control.

What I mean is this: yes, there are things a Christian should and should not do. But it's what MOTIVATES that action that is paramount. Is it rules or faith? Is it milk or meat? Do I stop bad language from coming out of my mouth because it's wrong or because my kids might hear? Or do I stop because the Spirit led me to read Ephesians 4:29-30 one morning and it convicted me? I responded to this because I did not want to grieve the Spirit. I love the Lord, and it grieves me when I realize my flippant choices hurt Him in any way. He hung on that cross because I chose to use bad language. Because I chose to watch those movies. Because I chose to read those books. Because I gossiped about that person. Because I chose not-God.

People who try to tell me (with a smile) that it's just a book or it's just a movie--it's not like you cheated on your husband or killed anyone--don't get it. Because Jesus said:

21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder,[a] and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister[b][c] will be subject to judgment.


27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[e] 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Can you live by these standards? You can try, but you won't make it. Trust me. It's not about religion. It's about being perfect. And we are made perfect because we were saved. And I choose to stop using bad language, to stop watching HBO or R-rated movies, to stop reading trash, and to stop talking about others because He chose to save me. I am so thankful. And I am so done with religion.


True repentance has a distinct and constant reference to the Lord Jesus Christ. If you repent of sin without looking to Christ, away with your repentance. If you are so lamenting your sin as to forget the Savior, you have a need to begin all this work over again. Whenever we repent of sin, we must have one eye upon sin and another upon the cross; or, better still, let us have both eyes upon Christ, seeing our sin punished in him, and by no means let us look at sin except as we look at Jesus. A man may hate sin just as a murder hates the gallows but this does not prove repentance. If I hate sin because of the punishment, I have not repented of sin; I merely regret that God is just.

But if I can see sin as an offense against Jesus Christ, and loathe myself because I have wounded him, then I have a true brokenness of heart. If I see the Savior and believe that those thorns upon his head were put there by my sinful words; if I believe that those wounds in his heart were made by my heart-sins; if I believe that those wounds in his feet were made by my wandering steps, and that the wounds in his hands were made by my sinful deeds, then I repent after a right fashion. Only under the cross can you repent. Repentance elsewhere is remorse, which clings to the sin and only dreads the punishment. Let us then seek, under God, to have a hatred of sin caused by a sight of Christ's love.

by Charles Spurgeon

Get up to your chamber, then, poor sinner, if you would have a broken and contrite spirit, and come not out until you have it. Remember, you will never feel so broken in heart as when you can see Jesus bearing all your sins; faith and repentance are born together, and aid the health of each other.

Law and terrors do but harden,
All the while they work alone;
But a sense of blood bought pardon,
Will dissolve a heart of stone.

by John Bradford

Monday, June 4, 2012


This is to Bella, my dog. You were the gentlest, kindest, sweetest dog I ever knew. You had a quiet peace about you, and the softest ears that I could never resist. You were horrible at fetch, making us go get the ball every time. You never... purposely went in water above your knees (do dogs have knees?). You were probably the single best counter surfer I have ever seen. You were an expert at reaching the unreachable bag of hot dog buns or--your favorite--that brand new loaf of bread. The kids could ride you, pull your tail, and dress you up. You would roll your eyes and lie still so they could tie the ribbon or fasten the cape. You made our home a better place where just the sight of your hair could send us into fits of laughter. We will miss you so much...

Sunday, April 1, 2012



Sometimes I struggle. Sometimes I can't "get into it" at church. Sometimes I zone out during the sermon. Or the whole morning. Sometimes I find it hard to give God even an inch of my day. Sometimes I can't seem to stop the spew of negativity flowing out of my heart, my mouth. Sometimes I eat too much. Sometimes I buy too much. Sometimes I sit all day and do nothing for anyone but myself. Sometimes I shake my fist at God in anger, and sometimes I ignore Him. Sometimes, when people talk, it takes all I have to wait until they stop so I can talk. About myself.


Sometimes, I fall on my knees at the wonder of the stars. Sometimes I am overwhelmed at the realization of God's love for me. Sometimes I start my day soaked in truth and finish it in sweet, honest prayer with my kids. Sometimes those days end in a vulnerable but powerful prayer with my husband. Sometimes my friends humble me because they are vessels of God's grace poured directly into my day.Sometimes a kiss and a hug can turn my world upside down.

We are are here on earth for such a short time. For some time. But the love in our lives...that is forever. Beyond our houses. Beyond our money. Beyond our "stuff". Beyond the end of the beating of our very hearts.

And sometimes.....I get it.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

I'm Not Gonna Brag....

Last night was the Father-Daughter dance at Tessa's school. I surprised her with a new dress to wear! It cost $7 at Once Upon a Child, but it was in perfect condition and who can resist gold and sparkly?
As per my last blog entry, Tessa has lost her two front teeth. And I was so glad to capture this very cute "kid" stage on camera. I wish you could hear her lisp.
I won't brag. Nope, won't do it. I won't go on and on relentlessly about how gorgeous and handsome these two people are. I won't bore you with a litany of lauds, an account of acclamations, or a series of sycophancies.

Suddenly, I'm feeling relieved of the pressure to brag...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Odds and Ends, but Mostly Odds

 The journey of a tooth (or two).....

First you have all:

Then you have minus one:

 Then you have minus two:
 After this, you're pretty much "in" with the tooth fairy.

Did you know that we got over 2 and 1/2 feet of snow?

We also were visited by Bella's unicorn cousin, Beatrice (and her plus one).

We got to go as a family to the Denver Stock Show rodeo. The kids were so excited they could hardly contain themselves.

Who really needs an excuse to wear plaid and cowboy boots?
Tessa has started sounding out messages and leaving them for us to find. This was stuck on her bedroom door the other day. It says "I am in here." Or I aminhere. I think she did a great job at her first attempt to spell aminhere. I mean, it's a hard word.

Monday, January 16, 2012

One thing worn, One thing Shared, One thing Gave Away

It is Sunday morning, and I am thankful for my jacket. Not my warm one. Because today's high is 55, and I am wearing a thin red corduroy jacket with a ruffle on the bottom. I love this jacket because it only cost $7 at TJMaxx, and it is sooooooo cute! I try not to preen or simper unattractively when I get compliments.

I shared a piece of my heart with Anthony today. It was harder than you might think. I had done something wrong. I had spoken of someone I know in a judgemental way. Just remembering my face as I spoke it makes my lip want to curl instinctively. I was proclaiming what "bothered" me about them. With lots of self-righteous indignation, I might add. Anthony wisely said nothing. He just listened. And then, this morning I walked into his Bible class on prayer and heard him read this:

"9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14)

And I was convicted in that piercing way that leaves you feeling sensitive and raw. Like new skin grown over a burn--not yet rough with life's using. I felt thankful and humbled. And later I shared this private heart-moment with Anthony on our walk. And I went home justified.

I gave away four quarters today. This small amount of money reflected as riches in my children's eyes. Well--in Jack's anyway. Our church has a worship segment called "Coins for Christ" where kids bring up money and drop it into buckets that goes to a few Compassion children. Seeing their excitement at being a part of something big never fails to make me feel grateful.

Sunrise Snuggles

I sit alone in the early morning quiet thinking big, deep thoughts until Jack stumbles into the kitchen and into my lap. His little body still smelling of sleep, his curls still warm from his cocoon of blankets. And he lays his head on my shoulder and his fingers twist in and out of my robe--something he has done with his blankets since he was very small. Like a cat kneading a blanket. And my deep thoughts--so wide before--are pulled into sharp focus. A pinpoint sized moment in my life is captured. And we sit together--frozen in time--me, so very thankful and he, drowsy with sleep and comfort. This. Thank you Lord today. Right now. For this.

Right here, Right now...

I received Ann Voskamp's book, One Thousand Gifts from my parents for Christmas. I already enjoy Ann's blog ( so I knew of her book. But I recently decided to try to take up the challenge of writing three things I am thankful for each day. She posts a guide for writing these gifts on her blog at the first of each month. My goal is to chronicle some of those 1000 gifts here. The goal--to be thankful and content right here, right now.