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Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Challenge to Show a Little Kindness....


So a friend of mine had me go look at something on his facebook page.  It was a note by a person who thanked him for helping her - he had sent her a copy of my books when she was having a rough time during her divorce journey.  This really made me feel good that these books were serving the purpose I hoped for when I wrote them. 

We are entering the holiday season again.  Halloween is just around the corner, and there are plenty of parents who will not be with their young children in costume at parties or trick-or-treating for the very first time.  

There are some who will not see their children on Thanksgiving, and may have a hard time finding who they want to spend the day with for the first time in a very long time.  

Some will be alone on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or will avoid New Year’s Eve parties because of that “midnight kiss” moment.  

In other words, for a lot of people these will not be the joyous occasions they once were, but a time for tears and a sense of loss.  

This sadness is not reserved for only those experiencing divorce...the death of someone special or a deployed spouse serving to protect the freedoms you and I enjoy ...  are also difficult times for individuals.  

I want to challenge you now to start looking around you for these people, not just in your circle of friends, but also among the more casual acquaintances of your life, because you have the power to make those times just a little less lonely and a little less tearful.  

There are greeting cards for every occasion, and even “Thinking of You” cards for no occasion at all.  Receiving a card from you, electronically or through snail mail, would be especially pleasing to someone experiencing loss for any reason.  In this day and age of electronic greetings, a real paper card with a handwritten note in the mailbox can be a pretty special treat!   On a day when your heart is heavy with sadness, receiving a plate of cookies or brownies tastes even sweeter, especially when you think nobody is noticing.   
As the days get closer and closer, a person who is facing them alone for the very first time will find them just a little less troubling if they already know somebody has offered them a place to go.  I can tell you from personal experience that this very first holiday season alone is one you never forget, and the people who help make it better hold a special place in your heart forever!
My divorce devotional books include in each of them a section specially dedicated to holidays, with encouragement and ideas to help face them get through this tough time.  And that is very sad, because for most of us this time of year is filled with special memories and joyous times from years gone by, but in the aftermath of divorce they can be dreaded and often the joy has been sapped away, taking a very long time to return.   It becomes one of the unintended consequences of divorce, and it is a difficult but natural part of life when a loved one passes away.  

You could even do as my friend did, and send them copies of my books (I would even personally inscribe them for your friend if you get them from our website!  www.findinggoddevotionals.com).  If you send someone the books, point them to that holiday section..they will appreciate it, I know.  Then maybe your facebook page will include words of appreciation from your friend, too.  And more importantly, if you do any of these things for that newly divorced person in their days of loneliness, you will never be forgotten for the kindness you have done.  I believe that God also makes a note that you did these things!  

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Catholic Church, Divorce, Gays and Dependence on God's Mercy

Pope Francis and Divorce

Did you see the news articles about a recent report from a synod of Catholic Bishops to Pope Francis?  The report recommended that the Catholic Church consider relaxing it's position on on gays, premarital cohabitation and divorce. 

Although, the Vatican has also been quick to point out that what was released was more of a working document, with nothing decided or definitive yet, it also marks a dramatic shift in the Catholic Church's rigid stance on these issues.  They also followed up by stating that this was only a beginning of a discussion and the church was far from making policy decisions about these very sensitive issues. 

I am interested in focusing on the divorce part of this, since that is kind of the focal point of these blogs.  And I want you to know upfront and that I am not Roman Catholic, (although my wife used to be), so I speak as an outsider.   I am intentionally not Catholic.  

Though I know and respect many good Catholics, there are just some doctrinal and biblical issues that cause me to be more at home in another church.  Know also that this blog is not merely about the Catholic Church’s actions, but their recent statements raise what I think is an important topic. 

For those who are also not Catholic, it might be helpful to know why this is a big deal in the Catholic Church.  Most Catholics I have ever known, experience the topic of divorce as nearly taboo within their church: not only is it discouraged, it is frowned upon to the point that even in the worst marriages, divorce it is seen as a terrible option and failure.  

The Catholic Church’s teaching is that marriage is a sacrament, a spiritual moment of divine significance, and divorce does not automatically free someone from their sacramental obligations.  Therefore divorce alone does not rescind the marriage vows, so if you marry another person without the process of annulment - you are defined as someone who is in an adulterous union - a consequence that results in the exclusion of participation in the sacraments of the church.  Therefore, you would no longer be able to participate in the Eucharist, or communion, or any other of the seven sacraments of the church.   So while divorce is strongly looked down upon, remarriage presents real issues for someone who wants to be an integrated member of their church.  

If you know history, you may recall this topic caused some serious royal problems in England, which eventually resulted in the formation of the Anglican Church.

The alternative provided is annulment of the previous marriage, in which you pay the Church some money (the amount seems to vary depending on the kindness of the priest, and it can be quite expensive) and go through the appropriate paperwork.  In this process, it doesn’t matter whether the marriage lasted 6 months or 40 years, it can be annulled.  

Annulment is the way the church and you agree to officially declare that it wasn’t really the spiritual union that marriage should be (so somehow it doesn’t count), and then you are free to marry.  This is their way of protecting communion and the sanctity of marriage while dealing with divorcing individuals.  For us non-Catholics, it seems very odd, even if we also believe in the sanctity of marriage and consider divorce to be a last resort option not to be taken lightly. 

For a Catholic, to be refused Communion is an important issue, as it would be in many churches.  Important for a catholic, because of the denominational belief in the sacramental nature of communion as a necessary part of salvation.  The impact is that a person who has already been struggling with divorce and then begins to put life back together is faced with the difficult choice between remarriage or communion, unless an annulment is pursued and granted.  

For many though, the annulment itself feels like a charade, so the whole thing can become very awkward.  So for the leaders of the Roman Church to be discussing ways to be more sensitive to the divorced is a very significant thing. 

All of that discussion illustrates how difficult it is to be divorced and remain part of the Catholic Church; it is a very awkward time.  A discussion of how to be more welcoming to divorced individuals is very important.  

Maybe somebody is finally realizing divorce isn’t the unforgiveable sin, if sin is the right word for divorce anyway? (As I pointed out to a friend, if it is a sin, it is the only sin that the Bible also gives specific instructions on how to commit it properly!)  Or maybe they are recognizing the reality that many who end up divorced go on to have meaningful and fulfilling marriages that deserve to be recognized.  Maybe it is that the pope is trying to help his leaders realize that people are important and good doctrine should not be pushing them away, that divorce isn’t a good enough reason to make them feel like second class citizens or exclude them from Communion when they move on in life.  

Now, before you non-Catholics start to gloat or look down our nose at the Catholics (which by the way, is a sin), I would want to point out that we non-Catholics have plenty of issues of our own around divorce, and have plenty of ways we also create a sense of second class citizenship for divorced individuals.  Sermons that strongly condemn divorce while ignoring the biblical provisions for it result in alienation for divorced individuals.   The exclusion of divorced individuals from various leadership roles also isolates and seperates those individuals as well.  

Every divorced person I know recognizes and celebrates the incredible beauty of those who have 30, 40, 50 year marriages, people who have fought hard to make their marriage work. But there can be no smugness for the success of such marriages, the better choice being the humility demonstrated by a happily married individual I knew who, upon hearing of a friend’s divorce responded, “But for the grace of God, there go I.”  

Do you ever think your church (or you personally, for that matter), needs to find ways to be more welcoming to people whose life experience include divorce?  

I know of many instances where a pastor has made statements that, hopefully unwittingly, communicated to the divorced in the congregation that they did not truly belong…not really, because they had failed in their marriage.  Yet those same pastors would consider themselves welcoming to people who have struggled with divorce.  

Maybe before you decide whether your church is welcoming or not, you ought to ask a divorced person in the congregation who trusts you enough to be totally honest about it with you.  You might be surprised at what you hear.  

It seems to me there is something fundamentally troubling about this whole thing, and that is the singling out of divorce as an issue to be discussed, while other relevant issues can so often be ignored or maybe even tacitly condoned.  In the Catholic Church, an example would be the devastating instances of molestation by clergy that have come to light in recent years, but so often poorly handled and rarely condemned as rapidly and strongly as it should have been.  That, it seems to me, is much worse than divorce.  

Non-Catholic churches also have had plenty of scandals (or church secrets) involving pastors, youth leaders, deacons, church organists, and church secretaries.  The toleration or condoning of such things as gossip when disguised as prayer requests.  God's gospel of love proclaimed in a harsh, judgmental manner.  And finally, as a friend of mine likes to point out, the sanctimonious gluttony observed at every potluck fellowship dinner.  

It just seems so wrong to continue such blanket condemnation of the divorced without consideration for individuals or circumstances, while we know that there are other significant issues that we choose to ignore.  (It might be a good moment to remind yourself of verses like Matthew 7:3-5, Romans 2:1-4 and following, or 1 Corinthians 10:12.)

It is amazing to me how frequently Christian leaders like to rant and rail against the sins of others, rather than addressing the sin that affects themselves or their own congregations.  We have to face the reality that sometimes people end up divorced, and sometimes that occurs even though there has been great effort by at least one partner, if not both, to save the marriage.  The reality is, even Catholic marriages fail and people move on in life.  

In fact, reality is none of us are perfect; we all are dependent on God’s mercy.  

In my opinion, when dealing effectively with the theological issues surrounding divorce, requires a balancing act between principles and the genuine needs of people.  I understand the importance of sound theology - and to behave in a manner that suggests that theology doesn't matter - is contrary to God’s teachings.  But to become so harsh in one’s theology that there is no place for individuals struggling in life...  Or the opposite extreme focusing only on God’s love while ignoring God’s call to righteousness...   turns the gospel to mush.

When I look at the life of Jesus, I have no doubt that his theology was sound.  Yet, his theological principles never caused him to turn people away, though some chose to leave.  Instead, Jesus’ theological principles compelled him to invite people to come.  Even people whom the “official religious teaching” declared were unworthy of God’s mercy.  

So maybe Pope Francis and his Bishops have decided that Jesus had a pretty good idea after all, huh?  I hope so.  I’m sure there are some good religious folk who aren’t going to like the idea.  

But God might, just might, be pleased when somebody who claims his name recognizes that all people are important to God.  Even people whose lives are filled with heartache, struggle, poor choices or questionable behaviors.  From God’s perspective, they are important enough that Jesus was willing to die for them.  

If your church has told you (or told others) something less, then maybe your church could learn a thing or two from Pope Francis.

Or maybe you need to change churches.  At least, that’s what I think about it all.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Life After the Divorce


In some communications with a friend of late, an interesting word popped into the conversation.  As my friend was briefly commenting on her experiences since her divorce some years ago, she mentioned the difficulty of figuring out what is her particular niche in life these days.  That word, “niche,” really resonated with me as a very meaningful word in the process of recovering from a divorce, but it will probably take some explanation.

When we are young, everyone asks us what we want to be when we grow up. So we decide what we would like to do, attend college or other training necessary and launch into our careers.  We fall in love, marry, start a family and make a home, make a life.  In other words, we make our niche in the world, hopefully following what we believe is God’s purpose for us.  When our spouse announces he or she wants a divorce, suddenly everything we have built up is shattered and we feel like we have been thrown back to square one.  The world we have worked so hard to create, the home that has been our refuge is forever altered.  What do we do now? 

Divorce is not the only experience that creates this kind of situation.  The death of a loved one, job loss, factory closing, bankruptcy, war, natural disasters…all of these can cause a similar sense of loss.  In each of those situations, you have to start all over.  There is a difference with divorce, because these other things are not intentionally inflicted upon you personally by the one person in all the world whom you were closest to and you once trusted implicitly.  

That one factor changes everything. 

In the years following a divorce, the great task is to begin reassembling life all over, to determine how to create the appropriate niche for the rest of your life.  Do you stay in the same community?  Will you be able to keep the same friends, or will they be friends for you ex instead?  Can they be friends for you both?  Will you have to move, if you haven’t already?  How will your relationship with your children change?  Will you be able to be a good parent alone?  Will the children understand who you are or end up with a skewed perspective of you and of the divorce?  Where will you celebrate the holidays?  What about church, will I need to go to a different one, or even to a different denomination?  Will people at my old church still accept me as a divorced person?  Would they at a different church?  God remains faithful (although sometimes that can be hard to see), but even your relationship with God is now under strain and scrutiny.  You are no longer a husband or wife; now your identity is single parent and divorcee.  Some of the characteristics of who you are will remain core to your identity, but with new life directions, there are some things you may choose to leave behind and some new ones you may choose to adopt or develop.  How will you decide which to keep and which to leave aside?  So many choices.  So many changes. 

It takes time to create a new niche, to find the meaningful new identity and reassemble the shattered pieces of your life into the new structure for the future.  Sometimes it takes a lot of trial and error.  Sometimes there are foolish choices made during a time of emotional craziness or vulnerability, choices that can cost a lot.  For a period of time you may retain many elements of your old life, but over time you find that some of them simply no longer fit.  God may well be leading into new directions for your future.

Finding that new niche is perhaps one of the greatest challenges of divorce.  It takes time, because like the old niche, it will have to be built on discovery, experience and choices.  It reminds me of what I learned in archaeology about the buildings of ancient Israel.  Often, after a city was destroyed by war or fire, the time would come that people would resettle the area.  They would level the space, and build again by combining stones and other materials from the previous structures with new materials to form the new building.  In places where this happened time and again over the ages, the location would pile up into a mound, called a “tell.”  The new city was filled with new habitations, but was built on the remnants of the old buildings now gone. 

That seems to me to be an apt picture of rebuilding after divorce.  

There are things worth keeping and reusing. 

here are things that will be discarded.  

And there are new materials that must be added in order to create the new structures of your life.  

The result is a new home, a new life filled with new meanings, shaped by the past but designed in the process of building anew.  Just as they say Rome was not built in a day, neither will the new structure of your life.  Some of the materials of your old life now appear useless and may be discarded.  Some new ways are going to be necessary, and some of them will be a lot of fun, like a new adventure, while others may bring the sorrow and struggle that are necessary to build something new.  But there are some important pieces of who you are that have always been there, and have nothing to do with your former marriage and everything to do with who God created you to be.  Those precious character blocks that you and God have planted into your life can serve you well as guides for building the next niche for your life.  That niche may come in surprising ways, in the form of a new career, a new relationship, a new location, or a new kind of ministry and service to others.  It can work out into something very special.  After all, God is an expert at transforming things that awful, such as a cross, into something marvelous and new.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Reaching Beyond Ourselves...


So I saw an interesting article by Deborah Grau on Yahoo the other day, which described a project actor Matt Damon has helped to start.  According to her article, Matt and water specialist Gary White have begun an effort to help people in poverty around the world gain access to clean water.  Their non-profit, called Water.org, helps develop ready access to water so that individuals no longer have to spend major portions of their day obtaining water. Resulting in opportunities for work and school.  

I don’t know much about this particular project, but have seen others along similar lines, but I like the idea that they are addressing real needs for people who desperately struggle in our world.

I believe it is important to be involved in something bigger than yourself.  

As I like to say, a bit tongue in cheek, with the big push of I-phones, I-pads and selfies, people just don’t seem to care enough about others.   I’m always glad when I see celebrities who are so often treated like demi-gods, move past that to find causes beyond themselves, as Oprah has done with her schools, or Brad Pitt and Angela Jolie have done with the children they have taken on, or as I just learned about, Matt Damon. 

Those actions make important examples, and there are a number of people of wealth who do try to use their position to make a real difference for others.  I am also aware that studies indicate that poor people can also be generous and sensitive to the needs of others, sometimes in higher percentage of income than the very wealthy.  It isn’t, therefore, how much you have to offer, but how much you offer of what you have.  But I think it is important that we not only be generous, but generous in ways that truly meet the real needs of others.

When someone is going through a divorce, the struggle can be very consuming and one can become rather self-absorbed.  I always encourage divorcing people to find some way to make some difference in the lives of others.  Serve at a soup kitchen, help out at a local homeless shelter, tutor a struggling child, find another person new to divorce and let him/her know there is someone they could talk to if the need ever arises.  It doesn’t matter so much what you do  as that you do something to make a difference beyond your own world.

Sometimes we can make a difference in the most basic of needs, such as Damon’s efforts with clean water.  Sometimes money is so tight that the difference we can make is more about the giving of ourselves and our encouragement than the dollars we pass along.  There are a lot of very lonely people in the world who would love to have just one good friend, or know that somebody cares that they are struggling.  A simple phone call or well written e-card can brighten somebody’s day more than you may think.  In a day and age where people seem to becoming more and more self-centered, would you be willing to be one who helps turn the tide around?

These books I have written are one of the ways I have been trying to help other people who have been struggling, because I know personally how difficult divorce can be.  

A good resource with words of encouragement and guidance would have been something I would have appreciated during my divorce journey, but little was available in the churches around where I was, or was of limited time and help.  

My hope is that these books will help fill that void, and be tools God can use to touch the hearts and lives of individuals caught up in divorce.  I have been especially moved when I have seen evidence that they have helped someone, such as the times I have received notes from folks who have read the books, or as I see a variety of names of people who appreciate something I have written in a blog and I realize that I don’t recognize a single name. 

No matter how difficult your life is right now, or how good things are for you, there are people out there waiting for somebody like you to show you care.  It is good medicine for the troubled soul, the best antidote to selfishness and a great demonstration of God’s love.  Of all the blogs I have written, don’t let this one be something you simply read.  

Instead, let it be something that causes you to examine your life as you put actions to ideas by reaffirming your involvements with others or stepping out into some new venture of caring.  

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Memorable Moment!


Checking the blog tonight...I realized that our page counter now has us over 25,000 page views!  That is pretty exciting information for a self promoted book - thank you for your kindness and faithfulness in sharing our message.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Therapy to Get the Day Going


(Anyone who knows Richard...knows that this is not his garage...just a dream...)

Going through items from my parents’ home, now that they are gone, I keep running across all sorts of interesting odds and ends.  Threw one away yesterday I had forgotten about, a framed print that used to hang on my wall as a kid.  Stored in the basement, time had not been kind to it and I had to throw it away.  (Which, of course, makes my wife very happy…the more I can get rid of, the better…we have plenty of stuff already…though I am working on culling things.  I really am.)  Anyway, I did feel a twinge of sadness, a sort of saying goodbye in the process of grief as I placed it in the bag to take to the curb.  

Okay, so all of that was chasing a rabbit.  The point STARTED OUT to be, in the process, I ran across some little cards I collected when I was a kid that came with chewing gum.  The cards were called, “Kookie Plaks” produced by Topps.  Some guy on ebay thinks they’re worth $500.00 apiece!  Dream on…they are found dirt cheap…no treasure chest there for me!  And why the Kookie Plaks survived while my Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Sandy Kofax, Roger Marris and other great baseball cards got pitched I’ll never know!  

Well, I remember one of those cards had the little saying on it:  “Don’t just DO something.  STAND THERE!”  (See?  I told you the Mickey Mantle card is what should have been saved!)   

You know, dumb as that is, it can give you cause to think, too.  Sometimes people get all bothered about things and run around in a flurry of useless activity when they just need to stop, to stand there for a bit.  There are times we need to quit doing and learn to stand in faith.  But in the midst of depression, such as often accompanies divorce or grief, sometimes you find it hard to have enough energy and drive to even stand at all!  I know, I have had days like that myself over the years.

When you feel like that, it is very difficult to accomplish much of anything.  You can feel numb, paralyzed, fearful, useless, incompetent, and lots of other things.  On days like that, it can be hard to even get out of bed or do the simple tasks of daily life, let alone deal with the big challenges you face and accomplish big things.  For me, I have learned that is a good time to apply the “Do-Something” therapy.  

Basically, my little therapy goes like this.  On any given day, most of us have enough things to do and responsibilities to care for  -  that we could fill a 48 hour day.  That overwhelming list can add to the feelings of despair and helplessness if we focus on it for too long -  as it reminds us that there is no way to get everything done in the day that we think needs to be done.  

It is when I am feeling like that I force myself to apply the “do something” therapy.  I admit to myself I don’t feel like doing much of anything.  And I also admit to myself that, while I wish it was all done, I don’t have the desire or drive to jump in and tackle it all.  If you are really in the dumps, you can feel you don’t have the desire to jump in and tackle ANY of it.  That is the time I insist to myself that I need to do SOMETHING, almost anything, as a way to turn the day around.  I select any item on the long list and tackle it, early in the day…the earlier the better.  

But there are guidelines in the selection of the task.  It must be something that actually needs to be done, and preferably something that has been on the list for a while.  I choose items that are completable…tasks that can be done in an hour or an afternoon, not a project that will take several days.  I prefer to select things that are visible, because then I can tangibly see the difference whenever I am in that area.  When I really lack motivation, I also try to find at least one thing that can be done outside, where the sun shines and the body will produce Vitamin D.  Sometimes I will select a project that requires me to be around other people, maybe even needing to have an individual assist, so that I have company while working.  And sometimes I will intentionally select a project that I really DON’T want to do, something I have avoided about as long as I can already.  That results in not only a feeling of accomplishment afterwards, but also the lift of not having that dreaded task still waiting for me. 

While this does not always completely remove the dreary feelings, it always makes a difference.  At the end of the day, I can point to at least one thing I accomplished, one thing that is better, one less thing on the list.  (Some people actually find having a written list where they can scratch off items to be a helpful lift, too.)  And more often than not, especially if I tackle that project early in the day, it serves as a kickstart that will launch me into other projects that come to mind along the way.  

I found a kindred spirit for this years ago when I heard counselor and teacher, Jay Adams, speak at a conference in Colorado.  Jay wrote a number of books some years ago, with counseling ideas and tips.  One tip was that someone depressed can benefit from tackling projects, and referred to Genesis 4:7, in which God speaks to Cain after his offering had been rejected.  God told Cain that if he did well, his countenance would be lifted up.  My twist is that even if you Do SOMETHING, your countenance will lift.  

Getting started is often the hardest part.  Sometimes a self-applied kick in the rear can make all the difference, but once you select something and finish it, you can rest that rear in a comfortable chair, feeling a little better because of the something you accomplished that day.  If you are feeling down, I encourage you to give it a whirl.  It won’t solve all your problems, but it can help make the journey a little brighter.

Sunday, September 28, 2014



I don’t know if you happened to read the comment Mary Kay Anderson posted after my last blog, but it got me to thinking.  

If you haven’t read the last blog or the comment, a quick summary of the blog was that I picked up on a poorly chosen word in a devotion my wife and I were reading, and explained why it was incorrect theologically.  The wording was that God made choices based on what he “felt” was right.  And here is the comment that was posted in response, a supportive comment I really appreciated:

"That He feels is right"- We have to use discernment even with "Christian" writing, preaching, & music. I agree with this writer that the devotionals author got that wrong.”

I thought Ms. Anderson made a good point, and I decided I should also expand on her thought, but in a different direction.  I picked up on our writer’s poor word choice, and addressed the issue of why it was not appropriate.  Ms. Anderson expressed her agreement, affirming that it IS important that we maintain a thoughtful and critical eye with the various Christian teachings we receive.  (That, by the way, is nothing new.  The church in Thessalonica was praised in the book of Acts because they didn’t simply accept what Paul preached, but checked it against the scriptures before God themselves.)  

What I want to pursue today came to mind because Ms. Anderson used quotes around Christian in her comment, which made me realize something else we should take into account.  She put the quotes around the word Christian, I assume anyway, because there are a lot of things out there claiming to be Christian that are actually theologically deficient, maybe even not truly Christian but some watered down version or a mixed bag of Christian teaching and whatever else.  And she is right (assuming I understand her correctly), there is a great deal of very sloppy and very shallow pop-theology out there.  Some of it is very misleading and potentially harmful, some of it is not untrue, just very superficial.  It is important for each of us to become as literate as possible in scripture and in historical Christian doctrine by familiarizing ourselves with it so as to be able to test modern materials in light of that knowledge. 

But there is another point I want to make:   I was wrong.  I may not be able to tell you exactly where, but I know I was, because I know I am fallible and still learning.  It is a scary thing to put theological words in print, because they will be subject to the very kind of scrutiny that I gave the devotion, and a poorly chosen word can be taken as false teaching or easily misunderstood.  I doubt that the people (it was a couple) who wrote our little devotion are not Christian.  And I doubt that their wording was intentionally misleading…it was just an expression that is commonly used in speech these days.  But it could also be that they need more depth in their theology, or that they have not been taught well, or that they have a significantly different interpretation of scripture than historical Christianity.  Whatever created the issue, I can guarantee that somebody looking closely will find the same kind of thing somewhere in my writings.  

I have tried very hard to check and double check my books.  I have had others proof over them for content as well as grammatical issues.  But even so, even I have found typos and phrases I might have worded differently since publication!  Even in the second volume I added a scripture reference I had forgotten in the first.  There are other references that could have been included for certain topics and their exclusion, while purposeful on my part, could be seen as nefarious rather than simply a selective focus of usage.  

I have often said that if I fully agree with something I read, it would either have to be the scripture itself, or something I wrote myself…but it would have to be something I wrote very recently.  As time goes by and I grow, my understanding grows as well.  

There are a couple of interesting scriptures in this regard.

Proverbs 10:19  (NASB)
 “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
But he who restrains his lips is wise.”

James 3:2  (NASB)
“ For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.”

Ah, well, so I am not the ONLY one to realize how risky it is to put things into writing, to try to put our words out there as best we can.  To do so perfectly is, therefore, an impossible challenge.  To do it well and to the best of the ability we have at the time, to do it responsibly, that IS possible.  But there isn’t a single Christian book out there that is perfect…all are written by humans just like you and me.

As a reader, it is important, though sometimes tricky, to use discernment well.  We need to be able to discern false doctrine, but not all mistakes are false doctrine, they are merely mistakes.  We need to be able to glean out what is true from those mistakes, perhaps seeking to draw the intent of the speaker or writer.  Many a time I have heard preachers, musicians and note Bible teachers say things that are not true, usually overstating their case or making assertions beyond what the scripture text allows.  Generally speaking, if it is just a mistake that is not the main point of the presentation, I usually just let it go as the chaff mixed in with the wheat.  There are times, though, that the teaching can be misleading at the core, and then we need to speak up.  But I would hope none of us would fret so much over the fallible parts of the materials we are offered that we deny ourselves of the blessings and truths that can come our way through gleaning the valuable nuggets included.