As one who is redeemed by Grace through Faith in Jesus Christ, I tend to be prone to a passionate defense of the Gospel on occasion, hence this blog =o). I’m 40-something, and the wife of a Christ-following, good man. We are the parents of seven very cool children, 15 and under. In fact, some of the posts you’ll see here may be written with The Wiggles playing in the background (love those guys!) =o). We are a homeschooling family, and attend a non-denominational church.
I made Jesus Christ Lord of my life at age eight in a Methodist church where a public school’s religious education program was held. (I know, right?! Like that would ever happen today!) I remember the sweet lady teaching about how we are separated from God because of sin and how He loved us so much that He sent His only Son to make a way for us to be with Him again. She had a colorful felt version of the following picture concepts:
It all made perfect sense to me, and with the simple faith of a child, I decided that I would have faith in Jesus Christ and follow Him. Simple? Yes. And even in my childhood, God was so faithful to me in so many ways. I can remember reading the Bible I was given and God showing me stuff even then. I think I was about eleven when I first read, “21But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;” (1 Thessalonians 5:22-23) So from that point, I did =o).
I grew up in a non-denominational church (where I was baptized when I was nine), and weighed everything I heard and compared it with what the Bible had to say. The town I grew up in is home to an Ivy League University, so there were lots of students in our church, bringing different cultures and backgrounds to the mix. Jesus coming into the lives and making New Creations of people from all walks of life and cultures was the norm in the church in which I grew up.
Three church homes over my lifetime have all thus far been non-denominational, and the reason for changing churches was because a move made it necessary. Have I lived in a protected theological bubble? No. I’ve visited other churches with friends and family, from Methodist to Baptist to Pentecostal to Anglican to Episcopalian to Catholic, and have come to know believers from several different traditions.
I was publically educated for grades K-6, and for my Senior year. For 7th-11th grades I attended a private Christian School. It was a very conservative denomination, but provided me with a good education and made me memorize lots of Scripture. The school was attached to a church, but that was not my home church. Their view was that I went to the ‘liberal’ church down the road. My church home was not liberal by any stretch, but it was growing and it was alive, and, well, there just must be something wrong there if people actually want to go to church! They couldn’t figure out how I was such a good kid coming from THAT church. I say all that with tongue-in-cheek, but unfortunately the school’s church was more focused on hair and skirt lengths rather than the condition of hearts and loving people for who they are. Still, God had me there for a purpose, and I learned a lot, had wonderful friends, and overall, a fun school experience. I chose to return to public school for my Senior year (where I graduated 8th in the class), as I wanted to re-connect with some friends there and had really had enough of the increasingly hard-handed ways present at the Christian school.
Following graduation, I attended an out-of-state Christian Liberal Arts College for one year. I learned a lot, but it was expensive, and without a clear calling or direction at that point, I thought it unwise to put myself into great debt while possibly changing majors 3 or 4 times =o). So I went back home and waited tables for about a year. Then God led me into the travel industry. And it was a blast!
I worked for a major airline for ten years (8.5 at a busy airport, 1.5 in reservations), which provided exposure to lots of different cultures and religions, from the people I worked with to the passengers I served. During that time, I had a three-year period of walking in the flesh, which is a very uncomfortable place to be for the Christian, because you don’t really fit in with the world, nor do you feel like you fit in with the Body. God was faithful and broke me, gently mended me, and brought me back to Him. As God restored me to Himself, those I worked with took notice started asking me questions about my faith, and the faith I had as a child continued into maturity.
Many theological discussions ensued amongst us co-workers as we waited for terminating flights to come in at the end of the night. The religions and cultures represented by us agents covered a pretty broad spectrum, from a few Christians to those in traditional religion to Mormons to New Agers to atheists to seeking hearts. During the last few years working there God did some amazing things, and there is still fruit being borne from that time and those relationships. It was a very where-the-rubber-meets-the-road-out-there-in-real-life-walking-out-my-faith-in-real-ways-watching-God-do-real-things-in-real-people time in my life. I prayed for people I didn’t like and God showed me how to genuinely love them. Over time I was able to share the Gospel with some of them and some even became good friends. And God changed lives. Mine included. I also learned about the Aroma of Christ, and how it can be the fragrance of life to some and a stench to others, and that those who find you ‘stinky’ will try to make life miserable for you. I got to see God’s faithfulness through those situations in very interesting ways.
Active in our church’s singles’ ministry, I was privileged to be there during a unique time. Many, many late night discussions and lots of worship and fellowship times were a part of this group of about 100. I was asked to become a part of what was called the ’core group’, a group of 10 people that met regularly with leadership to pray for and discuss the vision and direction of the singles ministry, along with being available to pray with singles and plan activities. My home was open to single women, and over the years there I had three different young women room with me. One a true roommate, the other two, in more of a mentoring situation. I was also tagged as the ‘female influence’ in leadership for a campus ministry at at local university. The group was small, but what a blessing. I also learned more about missions during that time, knowing some missionaries and learning about how the Gospel can go into all cultures and bring people from all tribes, tongues and nations into relationship with God.
Eventually came marriage, a 900-mile move and a transfer with my job, due to my husband taking a job in another city. When children started coming along, I left my job to become a stay-at-home mom. Life became very busy in different and wonderful ways! I must admit, though, being the mom of many small children less than two years apart made me pine for the days of working at the airport during a snowstorm during spring break and only having to deal with lost-baggage claims and then matching the mountains of baggage with their claims when they finally arrived. Yes, we really did have nights where we worked into the wee hours for days on end straightening out the messes that bad weather gave us. And still that was way easier than juggling several babies and small children 24/7 while pregnant!
Over time, our children have gotten older and though we still have little ones in the house, things have gotten easier. Part of it is that big kids are big helpers, and there’s not such a steep learning curve with the new littles that come along.
My husband is a hard worker and earned a trip for us several years ago and we were able to go to Europe (Italy, Spain, France, and Monaco). It was a wonderful trip. We started off in Rome, visited the ruins of Pompeii (where there was lots of evidence of fleshly indulgences and paganism), the Piazza del Duomo at Pisa, and the Barcelona Cathedral (La Seu), Jewish Quarter (described to us as the Jewish ghetto), and Las Ramblas in Barcelona. I’m not a Catholic and disagree with much that Catholicism teaches, but I have to say that we got some interesting perspective on some very different aspects of the Catholic church in history and geography as we traveled from Italy to Spain.
The Piazza del Duomo in Pisa, Italy is where the famous Leaning Tower stands (or leans, ha). I learned that the Leaning Tower, or more accurately, the Bell Tower, is one of three buildings occupying the Piazza, including the Cathedral and the Baptistry (also leaning, btw).
We had the most amazing tour guide at Pisa. I did not realize the significance of that city just before the dawn of the Renaissance. Though the religious influence was obviously Catholic, and the architecture was influenced by Roman, Byzantine and Muslim culture, the forms of worship in the artwork at the Cathedral and the Baptistry are very pure. Little focus on Mary, except appropriate honor, no emphasis on saint worship . . . just amazing artwork telling the story of God and man from Creation to Redemption. (Those were in the Cathedral.) The atmosphere was one of love, truth and light.
The Baptistry was so simple (though huge!) in its symbolism. There is an immersion pool in the center of the ground floor of the building. Trust me, there was no sprinkling goin’ on there! The tour guide told of all the symbolism and significance of how profound an act of public proclamation believers in that day took baptism to be. It really was a beautiful way in which they chose to baptize, and the whole Christian community there took part as witnesses.
The Bell Tower . . . Well, you are probably familiar with that, and its story really is amazing, too.
Pisa, at its peak, was in the running for the home of the Pope. The tour guide described Pisa to be today’s equivalent of NYC in importance of finance, trade and culture. It was a very significant city in the world. That’s why the Cathedral, Baptistry and Tower were built there . . . in preparation to be the center for the Catholic church. Looking at the simplicity of what’s there compared to what’s in Rome, I wonder how the Catholic church may have been different if Pisa had become the home of the Pope. Don’t get me wrong, I know there is LOTS in the Catholic church that is extra Biblical and contrary to Scripture. Still, I wonder, as Pisa seems to have had a lot right when it comes to the core issues.
While we were in Pisa, along with the history of the Church there, we were told of the history of the Jews there. Jews in Pisa were treated well, even honored and shown deference to when it came to their religious customs (so many were not accommodating to the Jews in the world at the time) and God absolutely blessed Pisa for her treatment of Israel.
A few days later we went to Barcelona, Spain. What a difference in spiritual atmosphere from what we had experienced in Pisa! We toured an old part of Barcelona and toured the Barcelona Cathedral (La Seu) and the Jewish Quarter. EVERYTHING there was soooo dark! The cathedral was Gothic in style, gargoyles about, bone boxes in cubbies along the walls, statues everywhere. The artwork had a technical beauty to it, but was dark as well. And between the place where all the pews were and the altar was was a very wide (30 feet or so) staircase going down into a crypt. Right in the middle of the church! From Sacred Destinations:
The crypt beneath the high altar contains the impressive alabaster sarcophagus of Santa Eulalia, patroness of the cathedral and co-patroness of the city. The virgin daughter of an upper-class Barcelona family, Eulalia was burned at the stake for her beliefs under the Romans (traditionally dated to February 12, 304). Drop some coins in a slot to light up the crypt.
I just have never understood the idea of burying dead people in a place where life should be preached. Depressing if you ask me, no matter the circumstances of one’s death.
Granted, the time when this section of town was going up the Plague was around, so everything may have taken on the darkness of the times, but my impression was that instead of being a place of light and a hope for the people, this place had been built to satisfy religious obligation. It really was depressing. The Muslim (Moorish) influence was much stronger in the architecture there, as well.
The other thing I understand better now (knowing what I know about the Jews in Spain and the Kabbalah), was how Jews were treated there in that era and area. They were viewed no better than dogs, and lived in ghettos, which we walked through. Spain did not treat Jews well and they seem to have paid a price for that. At the same time, many of the Jews there did not honor God, either, and they paid a price as well. Interesting how some of this takes on deeper meaning now, knowing what I now know about the influence of Kabbalah on Judaism, and understanding the location geographically where many of those practices were melded with Judaism. The spiritual darkness of the area really was palpable.
I remember our tour guide in Barcelona referring to the Gospel as a ‘horror story’. I was so sad for her. She was an art major at the university there and the art in Barcelona depicting the Gospel was very dark. It was interesting, because on the timeline, where we were in Barcelona was well into the Renaissance, when art was supposed to be so much more refined and life like, yet there it was very dark and almost deformed. Pisa, on the other hand, where the art was ‘primitive’ on the Renaissance timeline, had the air of realism, truth and light. I’m rambling a bit . . . betcha didn’t know I was an art critic, did ya?
I write all that because . . .
. . . it’s assumed by certain Law ‘keepers’ with whom I’ve debated that I’m some Daisy Mae from NoWhereVille with no experience outside of my podunk local church where my pastor has brainwashed me with Constantinian-tainted doctrines and taught me to observe pagan festivals, all to which I’ve blindly and ignorantly submitted! I can hear them now, saying, “Oh just because she took a little trip she thinks she has European history and Anglo-Jewish relations all figured out.” No, I don’t think that at all. But I did get a sense for the history there, and without the Hebrew Roots Movement even on my radar screen yet. That would come about about 18 months later.
None of that really matters anyway, as what really matters is what Scripture has to say on any given matter.
So what do I believe? For my viewpoints on the core issues of Christianity, see the Statement of Faith page.
I was never in the Hebrew Roots Movement or any of the related belief systems or sects, but have been exposed to them through an online mom’s group where I used to be a member. That group, by the way, was a great blessing to me, as it was for moms of many young siblings. I learned lots of practical tips there about large family logistics.
Over the years, however, there were a few moms on the digest that were teaching that we as Christians should be ‘keeping’ edicts and regulations found in Mosaic Covenant Law. I and several other moms on the digest challenged the assertions made by Torah pursuant moms, using contextual Scripture and sound reasoning. We were unfairly moderated and accused of being unloving an divisive because we dared to challenge what we concluded to be error.
It was my first experience showing me that if someone is teaching that 2+2=5, and you come along and challenge that, and say, “No, 2+2 actually equals 4″, then those under false teaching will label the bearer of truth as being divisive and unloving! It’s the most amazing thing, and I see it happen over and over on forums and in comments on JGIG.
When I made the choice to take a stand for the Gospel, I knew it was only a matter of time before I got booted from the mom’s digest, and also wanted for there to be a place where moms could go to learn about the teachings to which they were being exposed, the subtle errors therein, and what Scripture had to say about them. Hence the birth of JGIG.
After challenging the beliefs held by the relatively few Law ‘keepers’ in that group, the owner/moderator (who over time has become a Law ‘keeper’ herself) eventually removed me from the group. She did so bearing false witness against me, which I find so interesting because she broke the Law she purports to keep in order to protect the teaching of the Law on her online digest (I don’t know . . . that just doesn’t seem quite right to me . . .). I did go to her as per Matthew 18, giving her three chances to make things right. She stood by the lie, so I went to the Body of believers on the list (I had about 1000 of the approximately 1500 email addys) making her sin public. Many moms wrote me in support, I only got five nasty-grams, and I of course never heard from the moderator again.
Who are you, anyway?!
I have chosen, for now, to remain anonymous at JGIG. Some of you know me, but at this point, my husband and I have decided that for now, we’d like to keep who we are private. I have received veiled threats online, ranging from “I’m not finished with you yet” to a few who have proclaimed that they will be happy to stand as witnesses against me at the final judgement, to one serious threat of legal action for something written at JGIG. The language that person used was very threatening and designed to intimidate and instill fear in me. The threat was completely baseless, and not backing down, I sent a thorough dismantling of the accusations made against me, and never heard from that person again.
So I’m just JGIG. And that’ll have to do for now =o).
My only goal here is to defend the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to help equip others who have been exposed to Law ‘keeping’ belief systems and sects to do the same. I don’t have any beefs against anyone, nor do I have a secret agenda. I’m not trying to start my own church, nor am I harboring any grudges. What you see is what you get.
I pray that JGIG will be a resource and a blessing for those who read here.
Other articles of interest:
- Tzit Tzit For the Believer In Christ?
- 12 Undeniable Truths That Drive Law ‘Keepers’ Crazy
- Old Testament Believers and New Testament Christians – From the Articles Page – Addresses the issue of how OT saints were ‘saved’ vs. how NT saints are saved, i.e. what salvation meant and how it was obtained before and after the actual work of Christ on the timeline. It clarifies several points that we see Law keepers bring up in debate over and over again as they misapply the phrase from Scripture, “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” and couple that with the claim that the Church (ekklesia, Body of Christ) also existed in the Old Testament. It did not, and this article clarifies the difference between OT believers and NT Christians. Excellent study. Highly recommended.
- Testimonies Page – Read the stories of those who had bound themselves to the Law and then been freed as they began to understand who they are in Christ!