Category: The Grace Factor

GoD and DoG

Published May 1, 2011

Attended a concert recently by legendary Christian singer/musician Don Francisco.  Don’s wife Wendy performed alongside her husband that night and, at one point in the evening, sang a song that produced numerous sniffles in the people sitting around me.  I think I was one of them.

It was a song about God, and about her dog.  Take 2 minutes and give a listen.

Profoundly simple.  Simply profound.

It doesn’t get much more simple than that, does it?

WORDSLINGER’S NOTE: I was actually shocked when, during this concert, Don started to go off on “churchianity” – a controversial subject about which I have written at length on this site.

Even Don’s Official Website has a section entitled Religion Mythbusters, which tries to shed light on the same legalism and theological misconceptions that I have written about here, and which have infiltrated the Christian church for years decades centuries, doing far more damage than most are willing to admit.  He condemned churchianity as utter “poison,” which of course it is.

WHAT JESUS THINKS ABOUT CHRISTMAS

Published December 24, 2009

Someone forwarded the following letter to me. You may have read it before, but it was new to my eyes. I was surprised at just how clearly this spoke regarding things about which I already feel passionate . It is also probably more accurate than many hardcore fundies would care to admit. Check it out … oh and Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa Cheers, Yuletide Greetings, and a Happy New Year to all!
The Big JC
Letter from Jesus about Christmas —

It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season. Maybe you’ve forgotten that I wasn’t actually born during this time of the year and that it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival. Although I do appreciate being remembered anytime.

How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don’t care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn’t allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did that there wouldn’t be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town.

Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 – 8.

If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth, here is my wish list. Choose something from it:

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don’t have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing the President complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don’t you write and tell him that you’ll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can’t afford and they don’t need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don’t know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference.

7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren’t allowed to wish you a “Merry Christmas” that doesn’t keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn’t make so much money on that day they’d close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families.

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary — especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name.

9. Here’s a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no Christmas tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don’t know them, buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvaion Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you.

10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don’t do things in secret that you wouldn’t do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine.

Don’t forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I’ll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I’ll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember:

I LOVE YOU,
JESUS

MODERN DAY MAGDALENE — part 2

Published February 14, 2009

A year ago, I wrote a post called Modern Day Magdalene, about Crissy Moran, a former porn star who had left the business, gave her life back to God, and was helping other girls escape that sordid lifestyle. If you haven’t already, please read that article before reading this one.
Crissy Moran
Recently, in association with Elevation, a Southern Baptist Church in Phoenix, Crissy shot a short film entitled Oversold, which updates the biblical story of Hosea and Gomer as a love story between a pastor and a stripper. Crissy did an interview with Christianity Today’s online magazine, along with Elevation Pastor Dave Cowan and Oversold writer/director Paul Morrell about the project — they also discuss the criticisms it has received, and ways the church can reach out to young women like Crissy. You can read that interview here.
Oversold - movie premiere
I haven’t seen this film, though from the trailer, it looks … intriguing. While this is obviously a low-budget production, I applaud Elevation Church for investing in a project so outside of the box. Producer (and pastor) Dave Cowan received much criticism for his choice to cast Crissy in the role of Sophi/Angel. About his detractors, he says, “… instead of rejoicing at her repentance, well-meaning people reject her. That is profound! And it speaks to the condition of the church today. The scariest thing of all is when people that claim to be Christians see the work of God [brokenness and repentance], and still say they cannot be associated with [the project]. What have we become? In many cases, we put the Pharisees to shame in our blindness and deafness to the work of the Spirit.”

Amen, brother. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

The producers are said to be seeking investors to turn Oversold into a feature film. You can find out more by visiting the Official Site.

TRAILER




INTERVIEW

THE KEITH GREEN STORY

Published October 15, 2008

I have made my point clear on this site that, despite the fact I am a Christian, I do not have typical likes, views, or opinions. I’m not even a big fan of most Christian music. However, there is one musical artist of faith for whom I hold the highest esteem: KEITH GREEN
Keith Green
Never heard of him? That’s not too surprising – the controversial hippie Christian died in a plane crash in 1982 at the age of 28. Prior to that, the amazingly gifted musician was one of the first to bring Christian music to not only a new level of quality, but also to an audience that ordinarily wouldn’t have given such a second, much less a first listen.

Very much a flower child of the 60s and 70s, Keith flirted with mainstream fame while searching for spiritual truth. Raised with an odd mixture of Judaism and Christian Science (which isn’t Christianity at all), the young man was desperate for something that would still the restlessness in his soul. When he finally found Jesus – digging through all of the religious crap slathered over Him – he gave himself over to The Big Guy in a manner to which all believers should aspire. His biography, written by his widow, Melody Green, isn’t called No Compromise for nothing. I highly recommend the revised and updated Legacy Edition.

Not unlike a cross between Lindsay Buckingham (whom he resembles) and Billy Joel (fellow piano man), Green brought his cabaret piano stylings to a brand of music which desperately needed both brutally honest lyrics and a pop sheen. Keith provided both in spades, attracting the lost and offending the pompous – that’s putting it mildly, some of Keith’s lyrics were so stinging in their honesty about the lukewarmness of the church, many called him heretic. Obviously, I disagree.

Keith felt so strongly about his new faith that he and his wife started taking lost souls into their home, eventually starting what would become the commune-like Last Days Ministries. He also decided to start giving away albums and concert tickets as he didn’t feel right about charging hard cash for the Good News.

As an artist/writer with similar aspirations for reaching the walking wounded for the Lord, I am often shamed by the sold-out commitment of Keith Green.

If you would like to know more, the documentary below is a fascinating look at this extraordinary man.

A hippie prophet – gone too soon.



Want to enjoy more of Keith’s music? This hits collection is great place to start.

MODERN DAY MAGDALENE

Published February 24, 2008

Men are hard-wired for visual stimuli. In this Internet age, we are literally a click away from seeing pretty much anything our hearts desire (and there are some sick hearts out there). It has also been noted that when men gaze on pornographic images, the chemical released in our brains is like heroin — no wonder this problem has reached epidemic proportions.

I hate to admit it, but I have struggled with this too. Given my childhood of (witnessed) sexual abuse, I should know better. I am well aware that 80% of the women in the porn industry were sexually abused as children. Yet when that URGE comes round, such knowledge becomes moot. How often does the Bible state that a man’s eyes are never satisfied? Nor his appetite. I’m sure, had I lived in Biblical times, I would loved to have sat around with my fellow disciples and supped with my Master … when, of course, I wasn’t sneaking off to Herod’s Court to watch Salomé dance. Ironic, huh? Just being honest.
Crissy and Friend
One of the most beautiful girls I’ve seen on the internet is Crissy Moran (pictured above). Born in December ’75, raised in Jacksonville, Florida, her early childhood was relatively happy. Her family was Christian, her father a pastor. Crissy loved God, and invited Him into her heart when she was just 11-years-old. Then her father, the good Reverend, began drinking. Then his drinking buddies began to frequent their home. Then a few of them began to take notice of pretty little Christina. Then … well, use your imagination. It’s not pretty. Repeatedly molested since she was five, constantly threatened by her mentally unbalanced, alcoholic preacher father, Crissy (like many girls) grew up with a distorted views on love, self-worth, and sexuality (not to mention God).

By the time she was in her 20s and involved in online dating, photographers began to notice the stunningly beautiful woman with the sweet demeanor and little girl voice. Offering her money, glamour, exposure, a world-wide audience, and an ego-boost (Crissy thought she was ugly), she reluctantly accepted. Starting with simple bikini shoots, and moving on quickly to more soft-core material, Crissy rapidly became one of the most popular girls on the Internet. The allure of more money and approval gave way to more explicit sessions, multiple partners, hardcore videos, and still her (porn) star was on the rise.

And yet, it was noticed by many (or at least those with a conscience) that the look in this lovely girl’s eyes was rather … vacuous. Empty. Troubled. Wrought with turmoil.

Indeed.

After multiple suicide attempts, and years of emotional and physical abuse by boyfriends in the industry, Crissy finally had a crisis of conscience which led her back to God. Through the help and support of new friends, Crissy Moran left the porn industry on October 6, 2006! The courageousness of this little lady in standing up to, and breaking contracts with, not-exactly-sympathetic pornographers, some of whom made a lot of money off her, astounds me! Some of those new friends include XXXChurch.com, an online Christian site which deals openly and non-judgmentally about this “dirty little secret.” And Shelley Lubben, another former porn star who turned her life over to God and is actively involved in helping those in the industry get out.

Crissy has had an uphill battle ever since leaving porn. Thousands of pictures of her are all over the ‘net, and her “Official Website” is still up and running, though Crissy recieves NO proceeds from it. She signed a contract in 2004, which gives her former webmaster the right to keep it up until 2009, posting pictures and writing new (bogus) content supposedly from Crissy herself.

A view of her MySpace Page gives one pause — she has had hundreds of thousands of visitors to this site, from all over the world, most of whom only know her from her previous profession. How does Crissy respond? Compassionately. Honestly. With her moving testimony and obvious love for the Lord, she has turned a nightmare into ministry, ashes into beauty. That she is so forthcoming and vulnerable to those who feasted on her physical wiles, offering heartbreakingly graphic examples of the destructiveness of porn for ALL involved, speaks volumes about the Power which saved her.

(A brief personal note: In no way do I believe ALL nudity is pornography. But perhaps I’ll save that argument for another post.)

Crissy is presently working with Treasures, a non-profit organization that goes into strip clubs and gives the girls gift baskets and a little card letting them know they are loved. Crissy states: “If it weren’t for people reminding me that God loved me while I was in pornography, I would still be involved. So I see this mission as being an amazing opportunity to share His love with others who may have never even heard. A lot of these women’s lives are much like my own – sexual abuse, physical abuse, broken families, and drugs. I know I would do or try anything to fill that empty spot in my heart. I have a heart that has been broken so many times but through Christ’s redemption has been made whole. The periods of darkness and sin have only served to show me the depths of His love. I experience His love so radiantly. It’s the love of a Father who will never leave or forsake me. It is the love I have been searching for all of my life.”

Wow.

She reminds me of Mary Magdelene, the wayward woman out of whom Jesus cast out seven demons, and who was important enough that she was the first person to whom Jesus appeared after His resurrection. And of the prostitute who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, and dried them with her hair. Jesus was severely criticized for allowing such a sinful woman to do this, but He put His reputation on the line to defend her.

God still works miracles. Ask Crissy Moran. Brave girl.


UPDATE 2/14/09

You can read the follow-up to this story by clicking here.