Wednesday, January 25, 2006


So, as D so eloquently pointed out, I was trying to mother the world. I drew a line for all my customers to stay behind based on the possibility that some of them would abuse credit. When I realized this, I decided to back off and let people have the freedom to both screw up and to be responsible.

That's a pretty good metaphor for everything that's been happening in our view of ministry lately.

I know that there are people out there who don't want to be our friends anymore because we drink an occasional alchoholic beverage. I know that they are offended when I don't bleep out vulgarities on my blog. I know that they don't agree with some of our recent activities. They think we have gone off the deep end and are leaving the holy life we are called to. They are shaking their heads, thinking suspiciously, "If they do that on the blog, just THINK what else they are doing!" (Here's a novel idea...nothing else. I'm an open book.) I'm not going to lie to you and say that I'm not deeply hurt by this. But I also know that I have spent my entire life respectfully remaining inside the lines that other Christians drew for me, despite the fact that I am not scripturally (or relationally for that matter) convinced that that is where the lines should be drawn. All of sudden, I woke up on my 30th birthday and realized it was time to draw my own lines, live my own faith, walk my own road if I was going to be who God wanted me to be. I think that stepping out of an up-front ministry to hole up in a funny little retro farm to figure some of this stuff out and even make some mistakes if necessary was the best thing we have ever done. I don't doubt our decisions so far and I am humbly confident that this right where God wants me.

(*disclaimer* I don't mind people disagreeing with me. It's not the disagreement I mind. It's the not being my friends anymore that bothers me).

So in a weird way, signing up to take credit cards was cathartic. It was like ripping off a bandaid. It said, "I might lose something over this, but it's what I believe. I accept the loss as well as the hope for something better."

I told Robb the other day that I was pretty sure that we are doing the right thing, but I could use some confirmation from God....just something that said, "It's okay. I know your heart."

So all in one day...I started taking credit cards and I got some confirmation. Last night, I met M

Not for nothin', but I had a blast.


mukeyjoy said...

OK, not for nothin' but i am laughing out loud!!!

mukeyjoy said...

just wanted to clarify. didn't lol about all you are going through. I'm w/ ya on that my sista'. I laughed about the "not for nothin'" remark. OK, so now we are clear.

ness said...

it's all good...I was over on your blog (how did I not know about you???) stalking you.

it's a mutual admiration society.

Hey's a friend!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Ness, Brian and I think you are doing the right thing. Besides you will always have a friend here in Michigan. I miss you all. My only regret is that we did not meet sooner.

Your friends from freezing Michigan
miss you and by the way I think candi also misses you.

klasieprof said...

WEll..One thing I have done on some occasions, is to tell people who say they dont want to be my friend anymore...IE: the lady that the Expastor ratted me out to, Janet, and others:
"It only takes one person to be a friend. I continue to choose you to be MY friend". Love in spite of them.
ALso, just because someone doesn't "back" you doens't mean they can't be your friend..
well sometimes it does,
but then I have friends ( I LIKE haveing people different for me for friends)...and I also have some friends that ore 87 and 4 years old, ones that Smoke , swear, speak in tongues, memorize scripture, have an affair, and alothough all of that IS important...they Need me to be their friend.
I don't have to be the Holy Spirit for them, and I don't particiapate in what THEY do. I just love them.
"to have friends, be Friendly" to be that means to ALL people, not the ones that fit inside my bubble;;;AAAHHHH BUBBLE BOY!!!

sorry this was a ramble..3 days inside with sick kids...BUBBBLLLLEEEE BOOYYYYYYY

ness said...

As the day has gone on, I have felt a little sheepish about this entry. I think I have been whining. I mean, what did I expect? There are some good and Godly folks out there who really cannot fathom these lifestyle choices going hand in hand with holiness. I can't expect them to be thrilled. And "getting to do those things" are so NOT the point of us moving here.

Kristy, I have been deeply concerned that our moving would be a hurdle to you and Brian. I ultimately just had to trust that God would help you to deal with our leaving and I'm grateful that He has. I know it's been hard for you, but your faith is intact.

D, I think you are right...."so far as it lies with me, to be at peace with them."

And ultimately, this (our moving here and plans for the church plant) isn't and will never be about disagreeing with other Christians. It's about doing what we can to share Jesus and live in community with people in the best way we are able.

sorry about the sickies, d.

word verification:

ivexm: What I apparently have done to my friends : )

Elizabeth said...

ness, i've been thinking about this. i hope what i say doesn't in any way seem judgemental or anything--because it is just something i've been thinking about a lot even in my own life regarding friendships. i just would like you to try considering how some (and i'm only talking about the "godly" ones who honestly are just doing the best they can), might feel the same way about you as they read your blog. they might see your change in beliefs and lifestyle (and the fact that you've been a little unnerved by their inability to accept that this might be okay)and may feel very insecure as YOUR friends. i mean, they probably read your blog...and feel that you may look down on them for thinking those things are wrong, and that you may not care for them anymore because they don't fit your new ideals? perhaps people are not so antagonistic to you as you think--but are just unable to see that you still love them and accept them with their beliefs. anyway, i try not to leave comments for the same reason (it's so hard on a post anything that goes "against" the flow...because everyone automatically feels antagonistic toward you). but even though people may respond that way, or even though i may say something nobody agrees with, i still can make sure they understand my love for them. (not saying i've done a good job of this). so anyway, my point of all this babbling is: maybe they feel just as "isolated" by their "old fashioned" beliefs as you do for your "new" ones. so i don't know if you feel any responsiblity in a matter like this or not (and i don't feel it's my business anyway), but maybe you could take the first step of showing them that you can still be a good friend to them.

ness said...

Beth, I'm so glad you commented. I've been feeling so weird about this post and I'm glad you are giving me the opportunity to clarify. I think one of the hardest things about leaving MI was that I truly, deeply, wholeheartedly love our people there. We didn't leave because of our seemingly opposing viewpoints on non-essentials. I- and I don't say this lightly- absolutley don't look down on someone who doesn't agree with me. What gets my back up are the people who will speak ill of what we really believe is right. They are appalled by the thought that we would be looking for something else beyond what we were, thought, saw and did before. I can absorb the idea that we are like Paul and Barnabas going their separate ways because of differing veiw points, but I'm not sure they can. I feel like they are slotting me as "backslidden" and "deceived."

Does that make sense?

I still want those friendships, and I think you are right that I should be the one to extend the olive branch because I'm the one that changed.

I'm just skittish about eating olive branches.

Elizabeth said...

yeah...they kindof have a "bitter" taste, don't they! (ha ha...get it? okay, i'm sortof cheesy).

ness said...

: )

gotta fly ...the natives are getting restless....

courtney said...

two words, Sis, growing pains (no, not that horrible show) Old skins get tight, they creak and stretch and itch and break and no one knows what will come out--butterfly or bug. Adjustments are made; we evolve. I love you.

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