Sunday, December 30, 2007

Whosoever's Top Ten of 2007

As the end of year rolls around, it's time to take a look back and see what sections of Whosoever our readers are visiting the most.

Here is Whosoever's Top Ten Visited Sections of 2007:

1. Bible and Homosexuality: http://whosoever.org/bible/

2. People Suck, by Candace Chellew-Hodge (this was my ordination
sermon in 2003): http://www.whosoever.org/v8i4/peoplesuck.shtml


3. Christian Agnostic Blog: http://christianagnostic.blogspot.com/

4. Gay Adoption: What Would Jesus Do? by: Miles Christian Daniels
http://www.whosoever.org/v7i4/adoption.html

5. Whosoever TeleSeminars (register now for our upcoming TeleSeminar
on Homosexuality and the Old Testament set for January 31, 2008):
http://whosoever.org/seminars/

6. Did Jesus Laugh? By Louie Crew:
http://www.whosoever.org/v8i3/louielaugh.shtml

7. Amazed by Grace: An Interview with author Philip Yancey by: Candace
Chellew-Hodge: http://www.whosoever.org/v8i6/yancey.shtml

8. Seeds of Hope (Rev. Paul Turner from Gentle Spirit Christian Church
answers reader's letters): http://whosoever.org/seeds/

9. Prayer Requests (a page for posting your prayer needs):
http://www.whosoever.org/prayers/

10. I Do Believe in Fairies, by Tyler Connoley:
http://www.whosoever.org/v9i2/fairies.shtml

Visit our top ten, and be sure to browse our back issues at
http://www.whosoever.org/issues.html

You can help make our Podcast page one of next year's top ten by visiting this page: http://www.whosoever.org/godcast/ and following the link to our podcast page. Listen back to some of our best podcasts this year featuring Mel White, Vanessa Sheridan, Eric Elnes and more!

Remember, Whosoever is supported solely by your generous donations. You can make your end of the year, tax deductible donation by visiting this page:


http://www.whosoever.org/donate/


Help Whosoever spread great peace in 2008!

Thank you for your continuing support of our ministry.

Happy New Year!

Blessings,
Candace Chellew-Hodge
Editor

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Dearly beloved, today our Savior is born; let us rejoice. Sadness should have no place on the birthday of life. The fear of death has been swallowed up; life brings us joy with the promise of eternal happiness.
- Leo the Great, "Sermon"

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Forgiving My Father

I read this as a commentary on a recent Rainbow Radio show. I've gotten a lot of feedback from folks who said it helped them, so I'm posting it here. The holidays are hard for some people because of unresolved family issues. I hope this is something that can help bring healing this season.

You can hear the commentary here (at the end of the show).

I was standing toe to toe with a complete stranger in the middle of a busy road in Peachtree City, Georgia. We were yelling, calling each other everything but a child of God. Moments before he had scraped my bumper in a minor fender-bender and I could not contain my rage.

This was not the first time I had been involved in a road rage incident, but it would be the last of this magnitude because of what happened next. The police came, and we exchanged information. The next morning, I awoke to find two flat tires on my car. The thought of my road rage enemy sneaking up to my home in the middle of the night to do further damage to my car frightened me. It was a wake up call. I had to get my anger under control or the next road rage incident could be my last.

To find the root of my anger I had to go back to my childhood. I am the last of five children born to a Southern Baptist preacher and his wife. I grew up in the church, hearing my father preach against many of the world's evils, especially the evils of adultery and divorce. Then, when I was 9-years-old, my father came home and told my mother he had been seeing another woman and wanted a divorce.

My father's hypocrisy created an angry, bitter and cynical child who grew into an angry, bitter and cynical adult. My relationship with my father deteriorated. I wanted nothing to do with him. I wanted nothing to do with church and I especially wanted nothing to do with pastors - who were the worst hypocrites of all.

I was in my 30s when I was finally able to honestly deal with my anger issues. By that time my father had been dead for years – felled by a massive heart attack when I was only 17. He was only 54. His death did not abate my anger. In fact, the night my mother told me of his death I told her that to me he had died years ago when he walked out the door into the arms of another woman. I had no use for the man.

At the root of my anger was a sense of lost security and lost control over my own life. One man's actions took our family from a solid middle class lifestyle to the foreclosure of our nice house. My mother and my one brother still living at home had to move into a housing project in a small town in northeast Georgia. We went from comfortable to living hand to mouth in the spread of a few months – all because one man decided to follow his zipper to another woman's door.

The unfairness of it all made me bitter. The sense of abandonment made me fearful. The loss of my innocence sent me into a rage – one that lasted a good 15 years or so. I can tell you from experience that anger tears you up from the inside out. The bitterness it plants in your heart grows strong and deep. The target of your rage is closer than your dearest friend. They are always with you, constantly stirring your anger and rubbing salt into your open wounds.

Emmet Fox wrote in his book The Sermon on the Mount that anger ties us "to the thing [we] hate. The person perhaps in the whole world whom you most dislike is the very one to whom you are attaching yourself by a hook that is stronger than steel. Is this what you wish?"

It is not what I wished with my father, and my only recourse – the only way to break that tie and release my anger – was to forgive him. In reality my anger wasn't doing anything but hurting me. It's not like I could call my dad and yell at him over the phone. He was dead. My anger made no difference to him. The only person it was hurting was me. If I wanted to be free from anger and bitterness, my only choice was forgiveness.

I made a pilgrimage to his grave one summer. A light drizzle fell from the cloudy sky as I stood at the foot of his final resting place. I don't know what I expected – perhaps I thought it would be easy to just say, "I forgive you, dad." But, it wasn't. When I approached the grave, I discovered my old friend anger had arrived there before me. I stood in the rain and held my anger – and I let dad have all of it. Anyone watching would have probably thought a crazy person was in the graveyard. I screamed at him. I cried. I told him all the awful stuff I ever wanted to say to him. That frustrated, angry, cynical, hurting 9-year-old threw a colossal temper tantrum. And it felt so good.

When it was over, the practical 30-something in me said, "You've come a long way to do this – you can't back out now." So, I laid my anger down to rest beside my father and with all the sincerity I could muster I said, "I forgive you."

In that moment, the heavens opened, the rain stopped and shafts of sunlight burst forth through the parting clouds. In the end, God really is a drama queen. How else can I explain why She led me to follow in my father's footsteps and become the thing I hated most – a pastor.

I left the graveyard lighter than I had ever been. My father is still with me – but now I feel his presence with joy. I understand now, he was simply a human being – doing the best he could. He didn't set out to hurt me, my family, or himself. He made mistakes. He paid the price. But, he taught me a great lesson: anger never creates grace. It's only forgiveness that brings heaven down to earth.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Beliefnet sells out to the moneychangers

I wish to God this was something being reported by the Onion. Instead, it appears to be real and not a parody.

Fox Entertainment Group (FEG) today announced its acquisition of Beliefnet, a Web site that enables consumers to better understand their faith and build diverse spiritual communities by providing content and tools for a broad range of religions and spiritual approaches. Beliefnet, the largest online faith and spirituality destination, will become part of Fox Digital Media, spearheaded by President Dan Fawcett, which takes on an expanded role to support FEG’s vast cable, TV and film brands online, and drive FEG’s continued growth in the online market.


I'm taking bets now on how long it will take them to change the "Islam" tab to "Islamofascists."

Maybe WalMart will want to buy Whosoever ...

I'm So Tired of Politicians

I can't believe we have another year of this crap coming. I used to listen to NPR religiously on my way to work. Now, I can barely stand it. Instead, I'm grooving to Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews and even some Jethro Tull in the car these days. I can't stand the hypocrisy and downright stupidity of the political races these days.

So, a retired gay general who favors Hillary asked the Republicans a question about Don't Ask, Don't Tell and the world explodes. Let me get this straight (so to speak), only Republicans can ask Republicans questions? Democrats aren't allowed to ask questions? People who ask questions must be thoroughly vetted to make sure they support the party in question before they can ask a legitimate question - or even a stupid question? What the f...? Then CNN apologizes for letting him ask a question? CNN should grow a damn spine and say, "Hey, he's an American asking potential presidents a question - that's all the credential he needs." Stupid CNN - yet another reason to be glad I don't work there anymore.

Here is my question: where the hell is America? I used to live there, but apparently it packed its belongings in the middle of the night and fled. Wise move. I always knew America was smart. What we're left with is the clowns and charlatans who are creating some bizarro version of America where up is down and war is peace. Paging Mr. Orwell.

Now, I read that Mike Huckabee says Jesus would approve of capital punishment because he suffered the same punishment without complaint. May I repeat, "What the f...????"


“Interestingly enough,” Huckabee allowed, “if there was ever an occasion for someone to have argued against the death penalty, I think Jesus could have done so on the cross and said, ‘This is an unjust punishment and I deserve clemency’.”


This is what happens when idiots read the Bible. Following old Huck's logic, then Jesus supports putting the innocent or wrongly convicted to death. Hucky conveniently forgets that Jesus intervened in the case of a woman who was headed for the death penalty for adultery. The crowd was ready to stone her to death, but Jesus pardons her and sends her on her way. Hmmm - sounds to me like the J-man supported clemency over punishment.

Christian theology holds that Jesus' sacrifice on the cross was preordained and had to happen for the redemption of the world. However, I prefer to see Jesus' death on the cross as a protest of the death penalty. He was wrongly convicted of crimes he did not commit but willingly went to his death to expose the fear of the powers that be. The powerful always destroy what they fear and Jesus' death exposed the leaders of his day for the true cowards they were. Jesus' death is powerful and gives us a guide to live by - to speak truth to power and oppose the cowardly fear-mongering leaders of our day who prefer punishment over clemency and war over peace.

I agree with Hucky-boy that Jesus was too smart to run for political office, which says a whole hell of a lot about Hucky's intelligence level as well as his grasp of what Jesus came to proclaim to we gullible, idiotic humans. Jesus understood that true power was among the people, not the potentates who pontificated about their righteousness. Now, if we can only convince the people of their power so they can send the potentates packing.

In the meantime I'll be rocking out in the car, and if anyone spots America, please let me know where she is. Tell her all is forgiven and she can come home now.