Cutting In

bebraveI’m re-reading Real Christians Don’t Dance for the umpteenth time as a part of my daily devotions for the umpteenth time. Yesterday I declared my fandom of John Fisher yet again, and yesterday in my daily devotions I was hit by this from Real Christians Don’t Dance:

“So here I am. I’ve figured out what these clothes mean—and don’t mean—and I’ve managed with some difficulty, to get myself dressed and out onto the dance floor. But would you believe it, halfway into the first number some jerk cuts in on me?

“Standing once again along the wall of the gymnasium, where I’ve stood before for different reasons, now licking the wounds of my damaged ego, I inquire as to the name of this intruder, and I find out his name is Life. They tell me he often cuts in on dancers. They also say that when he cuts in, he always cuts deep, so deep that it’s almost as if you have been cut in two and one part is left staring at the other, both open and vulnerable. They say this knife can go all the way to the dividing of soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and that it can even judge the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” p. 81.

Life sure has a way of cutting in when we are dancing our butts off, right? I love that visual picture.

As we learned yesterday, He’s the same; and it’s still life. Continue reading


More Questions Than Answers

bebraveI’ve long been a “stalker” of John Fischer.  This is before the age of the internet when stalking became something of a scary reality not friendly like in this context.  All this time when I’ve been asked the question “who would you like to have lunch with?” I’d always answer John Fischer.

He’s now an “old guy” who was a part of the Jesus movement in the 1970s.  I became a fan of his because of his writing in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  His books Real Christians Don’t Dance, True Believers Don’t Ask Why, and especially Making Real What I Already Believe are the shapers of my faith–after the Bible and relationships, of course.  This “old guy” writes a daily devotional which I receive, of course.  I’m including his devotional from April 27, 2015, as my blog thought I have to share.

More Questions Than Answers

Still life
We were always meant to live a still life
But somehow we got trapped into the fast life
The cast life
Where everyone plays a part

You lose yourself in the fast life
In the fast pace of the rat race
Where no one knows who you are
And nobody cares
If there really is a God
And He has something to say
We would never hear it
‘Cause the noise is in the way

Still life
We were always meant to live a still life
Where everyone can see our real life
Be still and know who is God

These are the lyrics to what became a signature song for my 1973 album, “Still Life,” that launched the first half of my career as a singer/songwriter and recording artist of what was to be known as contemporary Christian music. Continue reading


Reading Netflix

Crazy Scotty“So I’ve been watching Daredevil lately.”
“Yeah, and like, because of all my English classes I’m always looking for symbolism everywhere…”
“That sucks.”
“I mean, you can’t just enjoy it.”
“Well, it’s actually enhanced my enjoyment.”
“I’ve noticed different stuff. Like the fact that Matt can’t see, but he has a clearer sense of justice than his best friend…whose name is Foggy.”


“Huh. Okay.
“And like, why is Matt Murdock a lawyer? Because justice is blind!”

daredevil Continue reading


Speaking, Writing, and “The Little Switch”

crazywriterI was always a writer. Speaking wasn’t easy for me, especially in front of other people. I stumbled over my words and became very awkward. Writing allowed me to truly be free with my thoughts and opinions, mull over what I was going to say, and take some time to think everything over. I quote myself from December 2013:

“I only feel interesting when I’m here behind a screen, where I can think my words over. I’m a writer, not a speaker. Speaking is not for me. So I email, text, blog, IM, pass notes–I don’t say as many silly things that way. And also, I’m just better at it. I can express myself more.”

I never would have expected that to change.

Sometime in September, during a seminar, I spoke up and talked to my classmates about the importance of self-care and self-esteem. It just came out of me, and from a place of inspiration and passion. I did surprisingly well. It affected people deeply. I was thanked for that speech even months afterward. Somehow, that one seminar changed me. I began giving more speeches. I became more vocal about things that matter to me. When giving presentations, I put my own personal spin on things. That one seminar gave me confidence.

Yes, I am a writer. Most of the time, I’d rather reflect on what I say before saying it. But I can finally also say that yes, I’m a speaker. I’m able to think as I’m talking now. I can “wing it” when I need to. Public speaking fills me with life. It fills me with life because I know that I’m inspiring people. I’m strengthened and empowered. I take every opportunity I can to do this.

Continue reading


Flash Cards for Dating Daughters

bebraveI strongly believe that teens should not be dating. I also know that teens hunger after this trying to fill that need to know that they are loveable and worthy of love. Because of this real need, too many teens accept a poor version of love often contorting their very selves to remain in a relationship. In fact, nearly 20% of both boys and girls reported themselves as victims of physical and sexual abuse in dating relationships. dating coachThat is 1 out of 5!

When the survey asked about psychological abuse–broadly defined as actions ranging from name-calling to excessive tracking of a victim–more than 60% of each gender reported being victims and perpetrators of such behavior. Stop and ponder that—over 60%! Boys and girls! Over half of teens believe this behavior was okay in a dating relationship–all so they could stay in the relationship to figure out if they are loveable and worthy of love. Source.

This grieves me. These beautiful and fragile hearts of teens—and women!!!!—are being destroyed because they believe this is okay as long as they have a relationship.

From this grief, I’ve created a free downloadable resource to hopefully change this thinking error. Remember doing flash cards with your daughter when she was learning the multiplication table? Or maybe she still uses flash cards to help her on those end-of-the-semester finals. These are flash cards you can print out and run through with your daughter. The answer she has to give is simple—either yes or no. Questions are posed such as:

  • There are some things that the two of you just can’t talk about because you fear his reaction.
  • His influence develops your ability to love and be responsible.
  • He humiliates you and belittles your opinion.
  • He is able to admit being wrong.

There are 34 such cards in this pack which you can download, print, and shuffle here. At various times bring them out and do a run-through. Your daughter will certainly roll her eyes, possibly groan, and very likely will slump her shoulders. Do it anyway. As silly as this seems, this time together will cling in your daughter’s memory—especially when she needs to remember this stuff the most. Continue reading


Psalm 27 Brave Thoughts

bebraveLot of brave thoughts from my Psalm reading this morning. Are you ready to be challenged?

v. 8 My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”

What a lovely and deep-soul thought. My heart—not my brain trying not to live in Overwhelmed Land—cries out for what is true and that is to hear God say, “Come and talk with me.” God invites me to come and talk with him. And I do have a lot to say. A lot of questions. A lot of concerns. A lot of needing a sounding board to figure out a damaging person in my life. I’m invited to do this. God invites me.

v. 9 Do not turn your back on me. Do not reject your servant in anger. You have always been my helper. Don’t leave me now; don’t abandon me, O God of my salvation!

To have these heart-to-heart talks with God puts me in a vulnerable position. I’m opening my heart up hoping to find some answers, some truth, some comfort. So what a comfort it is to read that I can declare “do not turn your back on me” (I declare this loudly and often) and know that God has always been my helper. As Brene Brown says, “Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”  Wow thought.

v. 10 Even if my father and mother abandon me, the Lord will hold me close.

I do not and will not have this problem. I have parents who have always been active and supportive in my life. They are my foundation so I can live with all this Wild Frontier thinking. What if I had a different story of growing up? How would this verse hit me? I’m afraid I cannot answer that deeply. I know I’ve given this verse to many teenagers whose parents have emotionally abandoned them. I know there is truth in this verse.

vv. 11-13 Teach me how to live, O Lord. Lead me along the right path, for my enemies are waiting for me. Do not let me fall into their hands. For they accuse me of things I’ve never done; with every breath they threaten me with violence. Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.

What is a psalm without a bold statement directly to the enemy? I love the response to the enemy here: “Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.” Continue reading


Sensitivity – My Gift from God

crazywriterI’m sensitive. I’ve always been that way. When I was little, I cried if you so much as looked at me sideways. I got overwhelmed, overstimulated, too frustrated–the list goes on. That sensitivity can become extremely unhealthy if I don’t actively restrain it. When it gets out of control, I have two (or, usually only two) responses: withdrawal or hell-fire craziness.

The withdrawal is obviously less apparent to others. Something hurts my feelings or overwhelms me, and I hide out in my internal vacation retreat. Except this vacation retreat is actually a garbage dump full of rat feces, shattered car parts, and rotten toothpaste. (Can toothpaste rot?) I’m in this little hole, and I won’t come out. It’s safe and warm and very conducive to sobbing. After a while, I just get more and more withdrawn until nobody actually knows what the hell is going on.

Hell-fire craziness is scarier, but much, much more short-lived. It usually includes screaming, flagrant insults (towards myself), and loud crying. Or, in a more public situation, passive-aggressiveness, subdued rage, and, well, crying. Hell-fire craziness rarely exceeds an hour, but its effects can be quite lasting.

I can, have, and will restrain this sensitivity. Today I had an interesting realization: our unhealthy traits are actually just gifts from God that have been twisted. It’s important that we work on turning them around and restoring them to what God made them to be. Continue reading


It’s Time for the Prom Alternative

bebraveIt’s amazing how a survey from Visa can stir up a rant in me.

Like I shared, I have long-hated proms.  Back in 2011, I wrote this Pair of Cleats for my youth worker subscription base.  Instead of just having a rant, I thought I’d also propose a solution to prom.  I still believe in this idea—and the timing of this—very much. dating coach

This is what I wrote back in 2011.  You’ll notice some duplication.  That is because my message has always been consistent on this one.


Full Disclosure:  I hate prom.  I have since the ‘80s.  This is not new.  Many, many teenagers over the years have heard me pontificate on my hatred of prom.  My reasons:  It’s expensive; it’s overhyped; and for the majority of prom-attenders, the evening is either one of let down and/or regret.  Yet a lot of money, energy, and emotions are expended.  Too many silly distractions and emotions are spent on who is going to ask or do the ask, what dress to buy, can I afford the limo, what to do after the prom, etc.  And sadly, so few teens in reality have that dreamy prom night date and experience.  Too many dislike their dates, are uncomfortable in their shoes, are uncomfortable about what is happening in the limo, and wish the whole night would be over.  Only then to have to go to the after-prom plans which are even more uncomfortable.

I’m saddened that so many girls can’t wait to lose their virginity on prom night only to be heartbroken later.  But I also believe this is a Hollywood fairytale that too many girls fall for.  I can’t blame the prom-hype completely on this one.

There is also a lot of alcoholic-drinking on prom nights.  This goes back to the root of what prom was supposed to be.  It was a time for teens to dress up and promenade in front of adults to try out being adults.  With teens trying to be adults for one evening, alcohol quickly became a part of prom.  Isn’t that what adults do when they are dressed up?  Alcohol and prom historically go hand-in-hand.

Then there is the ultimate tragedy of prom–the lives lost on that dangerous driving night.

All of this pain, regret, shame, and possible death for the average price of $700+.  These are the averages from the 2011 prom season according to VISA’s 2011 prom spending survey:

  • $542 – Average amount a family in the South will spend on prom
  • $667 – Average amount a family in the Northeast will spend on prom
  • $943 – Average amount a family in the Midwest will spend on prom
  • $1,073 – Average amount a family in the West will spend on prom
  • $778 – Average amount parents with a combined income of less than $50,000 will spend on prom
  • $916 – Average amount parents with a combined income of more than $50,000 will spend on prom  (Source)

I’ve never been one to use the argument that such money would better be spent on the summer mission trip.  But I know something better can be done with all that money.

Continue reading


$919 Worth of Pressure (Alternative Title: I Hate Prom)

bebraveI have hated prom for a very long time. It has nothing to do with any bad prom experience I had in high school. It has always had to do with the great amount of expense for one night. And the “supposed to’s” (so many that are heart damaging) that come with spending all that money for one coach

Visa has put out a new survey about proms for 2015. Prom costs are expected to be down 6% this year for the average family with teenagers, from $978 down to an expected average of $919. (Prom costs include clothes, limo rental, tickets, flowers, pictures, dinner, after-party events, etc.,) Yippee!? $919 on average spent on one night. That’s $919 of pressure to have fun and be grown up with a date that most likely never would have happened if there was no prom.

Then there is this crazy stat. This year parents are planning to cover more of prom costs–from 56% of the total last year to 73% of the cost this year. So parents are supporting this $919 of pressure?! I understand the memory makers which can be made in putting together the plans for a prom which is why I’m sure wallets open up. I do hope that some of the preparation for the prom is giving that child permission to just have fun with his/her date combined with an honest discussion of what true romance is. $919 cannot buy true romance. It is contrived romance.


Another concerning find from the survey–families making under $25,000 plan to spend a total average of $1,393 for prom, while families making more than $50,000 annually will spend an average of $799. Stop. Just stop this craziness.

Then there is the new trend of promposals. This is the creative way to ask a date to prom. What was once cute on YouTube videos has grown to be another pressure added to this prom pressure. The survey found that a third of the total average prom costs ($324) are now being used for promposals, which have included invitations on a Tiffany’s card, along with jewelry; invitations made via skywriting, invitations made by entire school choirs. The pressure to outdo your fellow friend—and get it all videoed in the hopes that your idea goes viral—is all so much. Continue reading


This is Some Wild Frontier Thinking

bebraveJust passing a link to a story that excited me and got my Wild Frontier gears shifting.  I hope this makes your Wild Frontier gears shift too.

My husband’s new job is going to take us to Europe often for the next year or two.  His peers, our dinner companions are clearly “post-Christian” people.  They will not be impressed that I am a pastor or that he is a worship leader.  They will have no context for what that is.  At least here in America there is context, though too often a negative one.

So what if we simply friend these people (easy and done) and watch what they learn from us because we are the minority?  My gears are in action…read more.

Blessings of a Post-Christian Culture

“Not long ago, I was sitting at the boardroom table of the Portland, Oregon mayor’s office. This was the office of Sam Adams, the gay mayor who made history when he was elected to the highest office of a large American city. We were there to discuss church-city partnerships.

“We had just come from spending the day at inner-city Roosevelt High School. The school’s campus had been transformed through its partnership with a large suburban church. The partnership included food, clothing, mentoring, sports, and beautification programs. As of today, there are 250 such church-school partnerships all around the city of Portland. Some churches even have offices inside public school buildings. Infiltration, intrusion, incarnation—call it what you will.

“But that is just the beginning.”

Read the rest at

What if…  Be brave.