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Friday, May 30, 2014

Read & Relax Weekend Edition

I have a wonderful lit agent, Linda S. Glaz, who is part of an excellent literary agency, Hartline Literary Agency. And she and they have a lot of awesome clients who are writing and publishing great books. In this once weekly Read & Relax edition I will be featuring various of their books.

(Vol. 1 in THE LOVES OF SNYDER COUNTY Amish/Mennonite fiction series)

John Friesen is a bachelor at the age of twenty-three and is having the time of his life. One of the most handsome eligible young men in the Mennonite community, John has never been in a hurry to choose a wife and settle down. He’s not a bit worried about being “passed over.” He enjoys the simple life of helping his dad with the family farm and breeding registered Tennessee Walking horses on the side.

Every unmarried gal in the Mennonite community has her eyes on John, not only because of his stunning looks but his godly, quiet demeanor and kind, gentle ways. Whenever the gals are together, John’s the talk of the quilting circles and Sunday fellowships after church. Three girls, in particular, care deeply for John and secretly determine to win his heart in their own special way. Only a serious accident—a fall from his horse—leads John to the one girl who will love him unconditionally. But which one does he choose?
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Friday, May 23, 2014

I Traded in My Bikini for a Hijab: Day 2

For those of you who haven’t read my first article, I’m an author living in a suburb of Denver who is writing about world religions. To jumpstart my study of Islam, I donned a hijab and abaya for a week.
People call me a stay-at-home mom. The exact opposite is true. My toddler, Joe-Joe, and I love to explore. The only time we’re actually in the house is naptime. So when I woke up this morning dreading the prospect of going out, it was a new feeling.
Stepping into the bathroom and spying my makeup bag increased my discomfort. While I’m sure many Muslim women wear makeup, it’s not encouraged by the Koran. I gave my mascara tube one last longing look, and picked up the blue fabric of the hijab instead. A feeling of dread slipped over me as the knit slid over my head. . .

All Men Are Created Equal: But What About Women?

The issue of women’s roles in marriage, the church, and the workplace is a sharply debated one. What’s right? Patriarchy? Complementarianism? *gasp* Egalitarianism? How do we avoid merely instituting the cultural norms of the Middle Ages, 1950s, or 21st century rather than actually doing God’s will?
As any Bible-believing Christian, when I want to know what God thinks about something, I look at the Bible. And no one can deny that the Old Testament is chockfull of Patriarchy: Solomon with all his wives, Naomi left penniless because she didn’t have a man, Nabal’s abusive use of Abigail. Yet, the Old Testament is filled with other things too: adultery, idol worship, unbelief, lies, and murder. The fact that God found something worthy of recording does not mean He approves of it. In fact, a major portion of the Old Testament is a lesson in what not to do. Hence, Stephen asked his countrymen which of God’s prophets they hadn’t persecuted or killed.
So the fact that Patriarchy and hierarchal relationships between men and women is in the Bible really tells us nothing about God’s will. We need to dig deeper into the Biblical text to discover not just what happened, but what God thought about what happened.

I Traded in My Bikini for a Hijab: Day 1

I’m about as Pennsylvania Dutch as they come, blonde hair, blue eyes, with ancestors that came over on the Mayflower. So when it comes to women in head-coverings, I’ve always been the observer, not the observed. But that all changed the day I decided to write a book about world religions. In my book, No Fear: My Tale of Hijabs, Witchcraft Circles & the Cross, I’m not just researching religions, I’m living them.

I live in a 90% European-Caucasian middle class suburb of Denver. So the last time I saw someone dressed in Islamic attire in my town was — never. Fortunately, you can buy anything on Ebay.
My hijab came in the mail at 1 pm today. The blue head-covering consists of two pieces of knit fabric roughly resembling large socks. Then there is the abaya, the unfitted, plain-colored robe mandated by the Qu’ran.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Rocks Get Thirsty Too!

    So I haven't been reading Mama's writing much recently. She says Christian "Fertility Cults", Joseph Smith's Polygamy, and Muhammed's Hadiths are not "age appropriate." Whatever that means. But I've been playing in the dirt a lot and that's even more fun than reading.
     I help Mama water the garden EVERY day. And then my aminimals (dolphin, giraffe, zebra etc.) take mud baths in the garden. Sometimes I take mud baths too. I will try to get Mama to take a picture of me.
    But just yesterday I realized something very sad. Our garden gets lots and lots of water. And our grass gets lot and lots of water. But our rocks never get any water at all. :(
      Rocks get thirsty too! This is me watering the rocks.


Doug Phillips' Sex Scandal and the Heresy of Christian Patriarchy

Patriarchy, sounds like a word from the middle ages where feudal lords ruled supreme on their estates, doesn’t it? It’s not. Christian Patriarchy is a small, but vocal, minority among Christian fundamentalists.
And just this week, the movement made headlines in Christian circles. The culprit?—Doug Phillips, former leader of Vision Forum whose affair shook the Christian Patriarchy world last year. Now, his family’s nanny is suing him for sexual molestation.
Other famous adherents of Christian Patriarchy are the Duggar family from the TLC show 19 & CountingMichael and Debi Pearl, whose child-rearing book, To Train Up a Child, has been in the news for several years now as the catalyst behind severe physical abuse, are proponents of Christian patriarchy. There’s even a ring of 20-something bloggers who write about the ills of growing up in Christian patriarchy.
Christian Patriarchy, apart from garnering Christians a lot of bad press, is blatantly anti-Biblical. How do I know? I grew up as a homeschooler in Christian Patriarchy.

Hobby Lobby and the Fertility Cult in Christianity

Hobby Lobby versus Obamacare contraception, who hasn’t heard of that case? The Christian company is now arguing in front of the Supreme Court that the insurance they offer employees shouldn’t have to cover birth control.
Christians versus contraception, why does that issue keep coming up? Ten minutes watching 19 Duggars & Counting reveals how passionately some Christian families oppose birth control. Catholics teach that all forms of contraception are evil, even contraception meant to prevent the spread of STDs. For example, though the Catholic church is the biggest provider of medication to AIDs sufferers in Africa, they refuse to distribute condoms that could slow the spread of AIDs from husbands to wives and prevent children from becoming orphaned.
Even those Christians that don’t go to the extreme of throwing all the pills and condoms down the garbage disposal, often push themselves to have five or six kids. There even used to be a saying in evangelical Christian circles: “Two kids is worldly. Three kids is Christian.” Why are more children more godly?
continue reading

A little on the coarse side, but this Monty Python video exhibits the "Fertility Cult" in a laugh-out-loud way.