Friday, August 19, 2011

Peculiar People

I was sharing with my daughter recently my struggle about whether to see a certain PG-13 movie.  For years now my husband and I have avoided "R" rated movies and have been selective in seeing PG and PG-13 movies.  The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) website states a R-rated motion picture... may include ... hard language, intense or persistent violence, sexually-oriented nudity, drug abuse or other elements.   In PG movies "there may be some profanity and some depictions of violence or brief nudity.A PG-13 motion picture may go beyond the PG rating in theme, violence, nudity, sensuality, language, adult activities or other elements, but does not reach the restricted R category. 

It's not that I don't want to see the latest movies.  I'm offended by cursing and using the Lord's name in vain which doesn't add anything to a story, sexual innuendos that lace even kid-friendly movies , and the violence that is mimicked in our communities.  I grew up in an era where on TV married couples slept in twin beds.  Now, it's almost impossible to find a TV program without everyone locking lips, passing saliva, and falling into bed (with no mention of protection, although abstinence is the only 100% full proof method).  Am I the only one who wonders why a fairly new commercial about floor dusters has sexual overtones?  And don't get me started on the language on TV - words that my generation grew up knowing we'd get our mouths washed out with soap if we dared utter them.  I've stopped watching several shows that were my favorites due to the flagrant cursing and one-night stands.   I think TV is following the lead of motion pictures.  

We made an exception for the R-rated "The Passion of the Christ" because of the topic.  While the "R" rating was for violent scenes, there is no accurate way to portray His story without including the acts of cruelty (spit on, beaten, and crucified) perpetrated against Him  for you and for me.  

Do I come across like a prude, perhaps holier-than-thou?  I hope not.  Am I peculiar for my beliefs?  I hope so, for the Word says:

For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth. (Deut. 14:2)

For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.  Titus 2:11-14 (underscore mine)

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. 1 Peter 2:9-10

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) website says a "G-rated motion picture contains nothing in theme, language, nudity, sex, violence or other matters that, in the view of the Rating Board, would offend parents whose younger children view the motion picture."  

brotherhoods,concepts,cutouts,dare to be different,diversity,gestures,hearts,holding hands,iStockphoto,males,paper dolls,reflections,shadows,symbols,text,together,unity,teamworkIt seems to me "G" rated movies align more with 'peculiar people' and Phil. 4:8.  Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

I'm not judging others for what they see at the movies or watch on TV.  I'm simply concerned about my walk and causing anyone to stumble.  I've seen the following statement in e-mails recently: "Don't ask the Lord to order your steps, if you're not willing to move your feet."  I'm willing to move my feet... in a peculiar direction by trying to stay true to His Word while pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:14)

Saturday, August 6, 2011

He Calls Me Friend

I'm reading the book The Girls From Ames, A Story of Women & a Forty-Year Friendship.  This book is about 11 women from Ames, Iowa who have been good friends since childhood for over 40 years even though only one remains in Iowa.  Their bond has continued through high school, college, careers, marriage, motherhood, and deaths.  One of them said "It is my friends from Ames who've exposed me to every facet of womanhood."

I know something about female friendships.  While I don't have 11 friends with whom I've kept an ongoing friendship since childhood, I do have a number of women in my life, some my age and some older, who've bonded with me.  Dianne and I met in junior high (middle school) and became best friends in our senior year of high school.  She's also a good friend of my sister.  My husband tells people that Dianne is my sister's best friend, not mines!  BUT he's wrong!

In 1995, I met Mary, MariePam,  and Toni, at church.  Because she's been married longer than me Mary gives me free marriage counseling!  Marie, who's close to my age, has been married just a couple years less than me.  We're experiencing things together.  I know if I can reach Pam by phone or e-mail, she will pray on the spot; I consider her to be my prayer partner.   Although over the past few years Toni has experienced the deaths of several members of her family, she blows me away with her positive, upbeat spirit.  Through her example, I know beyond a doubt that God sends joy in the midst of our storms.

I met Anita in the 90's when I selected her over three other women to be my administrative assistant.  We  no longer work at the company but have remained friends over the years as our children matured, married and became parents.  Anita and I have been meeting for breakfast once a week with some of our former co-workers. 

Connie and I met in junior high, graduated from high school together, and worked for the same company in the same department.  Thelma graduated from high school with me and ConnieThelma later joined the church I attended before I relocated to another city.  With all these interconnections, I didn't become close to Connie and Thelma until  2007 when Thelma and I began volunteering with a local youth group that Connie had been involved with for years.  Our mutual passion for helping young people bonded us. 

The Lord continues to bring new friends into my life.  A little over 2 years ago when I joined another church, I formed a close friendship with Carolyn.  We had no idea when God connected our hearts that her husband of almost 50 years would pass away this year.  His passing cemented our friendship. 

I'm blessed as well with other important women in my life that includes my mother, mother-in-law, aunt who's like a second mother, sisters, daughter, and daughter-in-law.  I have many other female relatives and friends too numerous to mention who in providing joy have made a difference in my life.  I cherish women who have exposed me to every facet of womanhood.  Yet, as wonderful as it is to have these women in my life, I cherish my Lord and Savior most for HE calls me friend! 

You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business.  Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit-fruit that will last.  Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my nameJohn 15:14-16

Thank you, Lord for choosing me and calling me friend!!!!