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Category: Faith

First Amendment and the Danbury Baptists

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

1st Amendment of the US Constitution

The Danbury Baptists wrote to Thomas Jefferson, concerned that the state was giving them the right to practice their religion: that it was not a natural – or inalienable right. The first amendment states emphatically that government can not regulate religion but does not state that religion is to be kept out of the public.


U.S. Constitution for Dummies by Dr. Michael Arnheim is a good source for understanding the Constitution. Explains it step-by-step. I am not crazy for the “for Dummies” part of the title, but it is very clearly written. (An aside: Don’t give as a present. I once thought I was helping my mother by giving her one of these books and didn’t realize until later the look on her face when she opened her present.)

Have a blessed weekend!

Faith

What Is Your Reputation?

The Bible says that your reputation is more valuable than gold. And I agree, that you have to make wise decisions, based on Holy Spirit’s wisdom. But even that can cause derision, because man’s ways are not God’s ways – He sees the future and knows how to either remove blockades or hold our hand while we plow or tiptoe through them.

But no matter how hard you try to keep your reputation clean, there are mess ups and downright libel/slander. It is the latter I want to address. The mess ups are under the blood of Jesus if we ask forgiveness and a way forward, not looking to the right or left or engaging with those who wish to throw our sins in our faces.

When I moved here, I moved from the Midwest – the Bible belt. I naively assumed that people are pretty much the same everywhere here in America. I did not account for cultural differences. I had made some decisions that were less than stellar, but for the most part everyone saw my mistakes as just that and allowed me to move on with grace. I knew I would be moving to a more liberal state, but again I thought people were basically the same.

After I moved here, God told me to not and I quote, “worship my reputation.” At the time I did not understand this. Curious wording, because I am an introvert and for the most part felt I was free of others opinions of me. I wanted a new start. But He saw my heart and knew I had work to be done in this area. He saw ahead of me and let me know He was in control by giving me fair warning. He knew and would walk me though what I found. On day one.

I am a huge privacy fan, but quickly saw there is none. I have always known this to be true, but it was exacerbated here. I was forced to keep walking. I stumbled much, but God kept me from major mistakes. I will always be a privacy advocate, but there is a silver lining to the lack of it. It forces you to either stay authentic, or expose you as a phony. It forced me to be me.

The second big thing He told me: to be me. Being yourself is right now a revolutionary act. There is no hiding. At all. To not be you is to die inside, to be a dead man walking as they say.

And as for the eyes of the gossipers, don’t look to the left or right. Sometimes that means filtering what you see or hear. Cherish those that God gives you to weather the storms.

For to give in to their distractions is to get your eye off the prize of the high calling of Jesus Christ.

Faith

Inspiration Come My Way, Part 2

Part one can be found here.


Trying a new form gives me ideas. Squeezing an idea into a form brings out creativity in problem solving. I am going to try a sonnet for the first time soon. I was overthinking how to work with this form, when it hit me that the iambic pentameter is very close to regular speech so I should just right a line in regular speech and tweak it to fit the form. Stress gone! I find writing poetry is somewhat mathematical.

A few times, inspiration doesn’t look like the classical definition. One poem I was prompted by the Lord to just finish it. I know it was to finish it, but I also feel like the Lord wanted me to speak in a certain area that was best addressed in poetry.

Sometimes poets give me ideas. My favorite book in the bible is the Psalms, so King David inspired me to write a few of my own.

Big issues of the day give me ideas. This is part of the creative process, deciding how to organize a big idea, or condense it down to its bare essence.

The Bible has a plethora of ideas. Themes are timeless and the themes of the Bible can be molded to fit modern day times. I wrote one poem mixing in items from the past into a modern day setting.

And sometimes I just write journal entries to release the thoughts twirling in my head. Most of the time it morphs into a prayer or other ideas.

FaithWriting

Inspiration Comes My Way, Part 1

My inspiration for writing projects usually doesn’t stem from butt-in-chair, or in my case a prop to make my chair more ergonomically fitting. And they almost always don’t come from writing exercises – I have an aversion to these prompts.

Sitting down and writing the types of activities that inspire me deep dives into how I roll. I do get most of my blog posts by butt-in-chair. Which begs the question what is the real difference here? Is it writing small essays vs. fiction? Maybe.

After I got settled here in Oregon, I got most of my inspiration by walking. My haikus usually came to me this way. The beauty of the coastline is great material for these, as well as further inland.

I have reorganized my project starts and finished most of the smaller ones and a few medium sized ones. Finishing them clears room for more inspiration to flow through my head. Too many can overwhelm and freeze my writing. Just a few in my project folders is the right fit.

Part 2 tomorrow…

FaithWriting

How Political Should a Writer Be?

Going through my Twitter feed yesterday, I saw a retweet of an article about writers staying in their lanes, i.e., separating or not even making public their thoughts on politics. It was a well written article, giving advice to those who wished to engage. I was on the side of separation before the stay-at-home orders hit. Not knowing what was coming afterwards.

What has been coming afterwards I am sure is scaring most Americans. Utter lawlessness. It won’t be confined just to the bigger cities.

I wish I could keep my political life and writing life separate, but the days call for a demarcation. In the movie The Patriot, Benjamin Martin votes no in the South Carolina General Assembly to prevent war with Great Britain, until the war comes to his front door.

Now is the time to pray – to do spiritual warfare in the heavenlies. All parts are important, be they small or large. For the writers who want to engage, write. Speak artistically in a poem or short story or novel or essay. God can and will get your writing to whomever He pleases. Just write.

FaithWriting

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