Monday, June 28, 2010

Arrghh! Hollywood Unknowns Trying to Pull off Ayn Rand's Masterpiece "Atlas Shrugged" #tcot #sgp

I finally started this mammoth book last night. I had read a few pages months before, but it didn't really hook me. Determined, I picked it up again last night and started to read. Yes. Now I'm hooked. I'm not sure how the character Dagny Taggert will develop, but at this point, I'm thinking our country -- and our government -- could use more Dagny Taggerts.

I'm not a fan of Ayn Rand as a person. She was a full-on narcissist who bullied her way into people's lives, an atheist, and a morally-bankrupt person on many levels. I was absolutely blown away when I discovered that while she was married, she had an affair with a younger man, who also was married. But get this: Nathaniel Branden and his wife Barbara, were friends with Ayn and her husband Frank. She announced to them all one night that she and the younger man intended to have an affair and... (wait for it....)


Yes, I had to type that in all caps. Unbelievable!! But because the young wife looked up to Rand and thought she was a genius, she didn't have much choice and Rand tried to make her feel like it was a privilege that she chose her husband to dally around with.

So, yes. I do not like Rand on a personal level. But as a writer, she has pulled off one of the most profound stories in our time -- how society depends upon the producers and if you make enough bad decisions that punish success, those producers are going to finally stop producing. It is a prophetic story of sorts, as we're starting to witness the very same thing in today's world.

I'm not going to pretend to be a Rand expert. I read "Anthem" on my Kindle for the iPhone. (Another fascinating story.) So those who like her or know of her work better can chime in and perhaps point us to some good online resources.

So... ARRRGGHH!! This is a story that deserves so much more but I fear it will be absolutely butchered and the real plot is going to get lost. But maybe I shouldn't be surprised. This is Hollywood, after all, filled with a bunch of self-important liberals who think people should be entitled to receive the rewards of hard work and the fruits of achievement, which they've not done; and overall bought the pretty speech of a man who holds our country and her values in contempt and elected him as President.

Dagny Taggert would probably hate them.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Gnashing of Teeth: The Growing Hatred of Christianity #Catholic

I love the American Thinker's contributor, "Robin of Berkeley."

For those who are unfamiliar with her, "Robin" is a psychotherapist living in Berkeley, California -- and in her words, a "recovering liberal." Robin has some truly amazing insights into our current political world. She takes on everything from the vapid robots who idolize President Obama, to global warming paranoia, to Sarah Palin, to pondering whether Jesus Christ is a Marxist. If you've not read her before, I'd suggest starting at the beginning with her first article (located at the bottom of the list, which is linked above) and work your way up. I've read her columns aloud to my husband a few times on long car trips and then we discuss them. It's good stuff.

This latest column is brilliant in its ability to pinpoint people's hatred of Christianity:
It's funny how trivial events somehow get seared into your brain. This one is from years ago, when I was enjoying a yogurt on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley.

Suddenly, a large exotic bug appeared and started dancing around. Its iridescent colors caught the sun and glistened like a rainbow. A crowd formed to watch its antics in shared delight.

Out of nowhere, a lunatic pushed through the crowd. I'd seen this guy before -- paranoid, menacing. His rage toward the bug slit me like a knife. The insect was getting attention, people were happy, and he was out for revenge.

The man bolted through the crowd, possessed. He jumped on the bug, over and over and again. People gasped. A child cried. And then, as quickly as it began, it was all over.

Silently, numbly, the crowd dispersed. The man, now triumphant, smiled hideously. I threw away the yogurt, which was now rendered tasteless.

I'll never forget the look of blind hatred on that man's face. It communicated this: "I want what you have."

And: "If I can't have it, I'll destroy it."

She goes on to explain that while perusing a local bookstore for books on Christianity, she noticed how many mocked Christianity. Many books were obvious in their disdain and outright hatred of this particular religion. She wondered why people couldn't just move along if they didn't like Christianity. Why did they have to try to destroy it?

Why, indeed. I have been reminded lately of all the scripture verses that say "there shall be wailing and a gnashing of teeth." I never thought I'd see anything in my lifetime that would equate such an expression. I was wrong.

This phrase brings to mind the babbling of Janine Garafalo when she accused the Tea Party of being racist, and Bill Maher who said that the American people were stupid and had to be led to change that was best for them. Joy Behar, who is as joyless as they come, claimed Christianity is no different than terrorism. These people make the most outrageous statements, but because it is anti-Christian, not only is it tolerated but applauded.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct. They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God's decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them but approve those who practice them. (Rom. 1:28-32 RSV)

Robin says this (emphasis mine):
In the past I would simply put on my therapist cap with people like these. I'd probe their childhood for evidence of maltreatment. I'd label them as narcissists and antisocial personalities.

But now I have a different worldview, one that goes much deeper than just the psychological. Now I understand that this world is infused with the Divine. And that there is a competing force, one that is the polar opposite.

I now have a word for that creepy feeling deep down in my gut. And I finally understand the source.

Now I see what's really behind the campaign to banish religion; it's to render us utterly helpless. Because after all, without God, what protection is there in this brutal world?


It is becoming more evident that those who do not believe in God, those who reject Christianity, are no longer satisfied with merely rejecting something with which they don't agree. They need to destroy it. Because if these haters cannot obtain joy and contentment from their own poor choices, they are determined to destroy anything that gives that very joy and contentment to others. This is why we see a rise in militant atheism, radical political ideologies that leave no room for faith, and why national leaders are desperately trying to squelch something like the Tea Party movement which obviously is rooted in Judeo-Christian beliefs.

I've met a few liberals. And from my interactions with the most radical of them, I have concluded 1) they never grew beyond their childhood emotional wounds and 2) they are determined to make the world pay for that injustice.

When I was in grade school, I had my share of mean-spirited teasing and mockery. I used to come home in tears, not understanding why I couldn't fit in or just simply be left alone. It was a difficult time in my childhood, but then something profound happened. I asked for a personal Bible as a Christmas present when I was twelve and got it. I started to read the Bible and pray. It was then that I first started to understand that one of the things required of me as a Christian was to forgive my enemy.

This grace to forgive our enemies frees us from our natural fleshly desire to seek vengeance. Without it, we would constantly keep score, attempting to "level the playing field," and try to ensure that life would be fair for everyone. Except it doesn't work that way. Life is never fair but what is more important is our response to it. Our response can either make or break our attitude, our emotional health, and either bless those around us or curse them.

I think we're witnessing the cursing.

Those who see us are now faced with a choice. Either consider the Man called Jesus Christ or reject Him. Either admit you are a sinner in need of salvation from God or reject Him. Either humble yourself before God and deny yourself or continue seeking the empty promises of the world. Many cannot or will not consider Christianity. In their mind, it is filled with rules and authority and relinquishing control over one's life. Unbelievers want nothing to do with it. They'll continue hurtling down the road toward a cliff because that's what they want to do.

Meanwhile, for those of us who try to warn them, (and are safely kept on the side of the road by the hand of God) we are beginning to see that many of them would like to first take some of us out on their way to that cliff. The good news is that we can continue to pray for them. And as far as I know, there isn't any invention or law in existence that will prevent us from doing just that.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

More on Liturgical Dancing, Prophetic Worship Intercession #Catholic

I mentioned in the last post that I'd say more about this topic. It's not easy for me to address it because at one time, I was involved heavily in what is called "prophetic worship intercession." I'm going to try to be careful when I discuss it because 1) someone reading may still be involved in it or attracted to it and 2) I don't want to discount anyone's personal experience of being drawn closer to God because of this style of prayer.

When I first saw liturgical dance, it struck me as weird. But ironically, after I share with you what exactly I was involved with regarding "dance," you may well say, "Are you kidding me? And you're calling liturgical dance weird?" Well, yes. And of course I'll explain.

Dance within a worship service is predominately self-focused. No matter how much we want to say we're "doing it to glorify God," the bottom line is that when people dance, others watch. Blame it on our entertainment-soaked culture, but people cannot help but watch other people dancing. Very few times have I been brought into a worshipful place by watching someone else move their body.

There are a few who were involved, as I was, with intercessory dance; and now question it. I'll try to explain: There is the worship band on stage, and there are people who stand either behind them or on the side of the stage, who "intercede" for the worship band. Intercessory prayer is praying for someone else. The biblical verse referenced for this type of prayer comes from Ezekiel 22: 30, I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one. (NASB)

The worship intercessors would pray for the musicians, that they would keep their eyes upon glorifying God (versus themselves) and that they would be protected from any attack of the enemy. While praying in this way, some of the women would start moving their bodies. Some would simply lift their hands up while rocking back and forth. Others would do peculiar movements that weren't quite dancing. I found two videos that illustrate this. The first one has a woman standing behind the keyboardist, lifting her hands and then placing her hand on the back of the musician as she prays for him. (I'd say this happened more for keyboardists or guitarists who were sitting down.) The young woman can be seen at the 1:35 mark:

Then there were times when this happened, when a woman looked like she was doing something called The Crane Dance:

Yeah. I was involved like that.

So now you can have a good laugh when I say liturgical dancing is weird.

Here's why I say it: the liturgy, to me, is sacred. It's precious. It is not a platform for us but a pedestal for God. The liturgy is the time when we step away from the world, from ourselves, and focus completely on God. To me, there really is no other place given to the sacred and holy as the liturgy. The world has taken away modesty, respect, and reverence. Who else deserves this and so much more than God? And when He appeared before men as fire or something indescribable, they fell upon the ground in fear. Where are the times in our lives when we can focus upon God like that? Because He indeed is in our midst.

Stillness is vastly underrated in our worship. I will admit this: there is a tribal element in those videos and all worship services like them. In other cultures, tribal dance is often accompanied by a hallucinatory drug and the dancers go into a trance. Sometimes this happened to me. (No drugs.) However, there were times when I did enter into deep worship but only because I was fiercely intentional about it. I've danced throughout my life, everything from club dancing to international folk dancing to ballroom dancing. I knew that kind of dance was fun. I didn't look at worship as being "fun," nor did I want to encourage it. Fun is superficial. It's important to enjoy life, but worship is not a pursuit of frivolity. Worship is to be the expression of a grateful soul for the mercy of God. That goes so much deeper than "fun."

I'll also state the obvious. 90% of those involved with dancing are women. We had a few men, but overall, the women are dancing. One of the justifications for this type of dancing comes from 2 Samuel 6:14, And David was dancing before the LORD with all his might, and David was wearing a linen ephod. (NASB) David was dancing in joy because he and his army had retrieved the holy Ark of the Covenant from the Philistines. The Ark of the Covenant had been absent from Israel for twenty years. (There is much about the Ark that is fascinating. It is quite worthwhile to study its significance.) I would say that something as monumental as God's proof to Israel of His protection and providence would be well worth "dancing with all one's might" when it was returned.

My point is that this was a specific incident during a specific time that such energetic dancing was mentioned. From my studies, I have never come across an occasion in the Bible where dancing was done within the Holy of Holies. I can't even recall dancing being a part of a temple's outer court within Jewish worship. This is why I believe that any kind of dancing is simply not appropriate within a liturgical service. It's good to know I share the same beliefs as Cardinal Francis Arinze.

As was mentioned in the above link, liturgical dancing can open the door to New Age thought. When I was involved in the prophetic movement, there were some very strange beliefs that came through the dance. If you listen carefully to the videos above, (and there are many more on YouTube) you will hear things that are simply goofy.

I'm reminded of children when I watch these videos. Children play, they do silly things, they fall down and then get back up. But I am struck that such activities are full of the flesh. We, as God's people, as the Body of Christ, are called to discipline the flesh. Somehow I'm not getting that message when I consider things such as liturgical dancing or prophetic worship and intercessory dance.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI on Liturgical Dancing #Catholic

I will be buying this book very soon. I so love our Holy Father! I found part of this quote awhile ago and created the image you see on the side.

Liturgical Dancing

Dancing is not a form of expression for the Christian liturgy. In about the third century, there was an attempt in certain Gnostic-Docetic circles to introduce it into the liturgy. For these people, the Crucifixion was only an appearance. Before the Passion, Christ had abandoned the body that in any case he had never really assumed. Dancing could take the place of the liturgy of the Cross, because, after all, the Cross was only an appearance. The cultic dances of the different religions have different purposes--incantation, imitative magic, mystical ecstasy--none of which is compatible with the essential purpose of the liturgy of the "reasonable sacrifice". It is totally absurd to try to make the liturgy "attractive" by introducing dancing pantomimes (wherever possible performed by professional dance troupes), which frequently (and rightly, from the professionals' point of view) end with applause. Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. Such attractiveness fades quickly--it cannot compete in the market of leisure pursuits, incorporating as it increasingly does various forms of religious titillation. I myself have experienced the replacing of the penitential rite by a dance performance, which, needless to say, received a round of applause. Could there be anything farther removed from true penitence? Liturgy can only attract people when it looks, not at itself, but at God, when it allows him to enter and act. Then something truly unique happens, beyond competition, and people have a sense that more has taken place than a recreational activity. None of the Christian rites includes dancing. (The Spirit of the Liturgy, pp 198-9)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Making of a #Catholic Woman: Grace

Since I've been focusing on women and the desire of some Catholic women to become priests, I thought it would be worthwhile to explore the positive and life-giving traits of Catholic women. I am just now coming into an understanding of what it means for me. As I've read and observed the Catholic Church for two years, I've been touched on more than one occasion by Catholic women.

In June 2008, I wrote an entry entitled "What I Love About Catholicism: Catholic Women." Unbeknownst to me, it was featured for a few days on Pew Sitter. (Which is an excellent site, by the way. A great way to keep updated with Catholic news.) When I returned to the Church, the women stood in stark contrast to those I had previously known over the years within non-denominational churches. I especially saw distinctions with women who attended the Traditional Latin Mass. Part of why I prefer the TLM, is because of the women.

Catholic women overall are gracious. This may seem a small thing but it isn't to me. Let's look at that word, gracious. It's from the Latin word, gratiosus, which means enjoying favor, agreeable, from gratia - grace. I now believe that this is because Catholic women have a role model: The Blessed Virgin Mary. "Hail Mary, full of grace..." Grace is a gift from God and Mary was chock-full of God's gift.

I'll never forget a funny incident that happened to me when I was attending the Vineyard Christian Fellowship. I had befriended a woman, attracted to her because I could tell she had some spiritual maturity and prophetic gifting. As we were talking, she said "There is a certain grace about you." When I thanked her, she immediately snapped, "Don't say 'thank you.' It doesn't come from you. It is something that has been given you by God." I sat astounded, not just because few people are so blunt, but because instantly I knew she was right. Grace is not something we can manufacture. It isn't something we can "work toward" as though we're trying to diet and get in shape. It's not something we can put on our task list and after bite-size attempts to complete it, it's done.

Could it be that I had this grace given to me by my Catholic heritage? Could it be that even though at that time I had rejected the Catholic Church, there was still a small deposit of grace that stayed with me? Maybe.

When a woman walks in grace, the world notices.

It's not "worldly" though, to walk in grace. The world admires a woman who is "empowered." A woman who takes what she feels has been denied to her. And while I'm here, I'll reiterate a point I've made before about the schizophrenic personality of leftists: Why some feminists have gravitated toward converting to Islam is beyond my understanding. Supposedly, these women consider themselves intellectual, enlightened, and (the old standby) empowered. When I saw the video I saw below, I was amazed.

Watch this video and then think about the word, "gracious." Think about the meaning of the word: marked by kindness and courtesy, graceful, marked by tact and delicacy, characterized by charm, good taste, generosity of spirit, and good breeding. (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary) This video features one of my absolutely favorite people, David Horowitz. Horowitz was raised by communist parents and became one himself. Then he had a revelation, renounced it, and runs a conservative site Front Page Magazine that focuses on exposing communist, marxist, and radical islamofascist attacks on Western civilization.

It is evident that this woman is not a recent immigrant from some Muslim country. And from her condescending tone of voice, I'd say she is a hard-core feminist. How someone like her can align herself with a political system that kills women for things such as not being sufficiently covered by their clothing or talking to a man who is not related to her -- is beyond me.

Was there any graciousness to this woman? Any wisdom? I'm sure many would say she was smart but that's not the same thing as wisdom. She comes across as arrogant, elite, and chillingly hateful and evil as she finally admits that she supports Hamas, a terrorist organization dedicated to killing Jews.

There is no life in the world. The world is in darkness. When a woman walks in grace, she is a vessel of life and power, which comes from God. Only He can pour His grace upon us. When it is poured on a woman, there is beauty, love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, and restraint. These are the traits that men of old fought for to earn such a woman's love, and still do today. These are the traits that have brought life and light to the world. And these are the traits of our Blessed Mother Mary and are available to all women, if they humble themselves before God as she did.

Today I read of an amazing group of nuns who are on the path toward sainthood. During World War II, these brave nuns harbored more than 60 refugee Jews in the heart of Rome. Read the article, which features Piero Piperno, who was a teenager when he sought refuge with the Bridgettines, speaking about Mother Riccarda. The 80-year-old is now one of the only people who was old enough at the time of the war to recall what happened. He recounted those harrowing days of avoiding discovery from the Nazi soldiers. She "was dubbed "mammina" (little mother) by the refugees. "[Mother Riccarda] was all sweetness and sympathy," he recalled. "She was always around, and everybody went to her when they had any kind of problem. She was very comforting."

Grace comforts. Grace brings hope. Grace is what Catholic women have and many don't even know it.

When I was in the non-denominational churches, some women had an understanding of grace. But there never seemed to be bible studies on Mary. It seemed as though studies on the traits of a godly woman would focus on Esther or Mary and her sister Martha. It was as though non-denominational (Protestant) churches deliberated avoided examining Mary. And yet it was she who was chosen to bear God's son because she was already "full of grace."

I think this is going to be an interesting study for me, personally. Since my return, I've cautiously approached Mary. I'm not used to thinking of her and balk at the title "co-redemptrix." (Which I still do because Jesus alone was the mediator between God and man, paying the price for mankind's sin by dying on the cross.) But I'm open to viewing Mary with new eyes. For instance, I read Dr. Scott Hahn's book about her and realized I never thought of her as being the new "Ark of the Covenant." Because I love the Old Testament so much, I immediately got it. The Ark was holy because it was built to contain holiness. And so it is with Mary. She is holy because she contained that which was the most holy and sacred -- Jesus Christ. You don't treat holy objects, or holy people the same way you treat the ordinary. Mary was and is, holy.

I'd love to hear your thoughts. What helps you become a woman full of grace? As a man, what positive traits do you see in Catholic women? As Catholic women, we have the greatest role model ever -- a young Jewish girl named Mary who was called to lay down her own life to be a mother to the world's Messiah. We are so very, very blessed.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Reader Janny Comments on Women Wanting to be Ordained as Priests #Catholic

This is one of the best comments I've had on this topic. Janny, I couldn't agree with you more. You absolutely nailed some of the most popular reasons a woman wants to be ordained as a priest. Thank you for highlighting the true calling of a priest. Excellent words!

I'd like to add this: We, the Church, are called the Body of Christ, and also the Bride of Christ. As Christ laid down His life for the Church, so His priests lay down their lives for her also. Without that intent, serving can shift into just another job or a huge ego boost. Within intimacy, the man is the initiator and the woman, receives him. This is echoed in the relationship God has with the world. He initiated contact. He initiated salvation. He initiated a relationship by first giving us His Holy Spirit. We, in turn, receive in joyful gladness.

This may be another reason why I don't agree with women as senior pastors of a church. They were not given the role of initiator, but as one who receives. The Blessed Mother Mary did not approach God, asking for Him to choose her. God approached her and initiated the divine conception.

Janny's comment:

Years ago, I wrote a letter to the editor of my diocesan paper addressing something that no doubt had appeared in its pages at the time (I don't remember now!)...but its crux was about women and the priesthood. In the letter, I simply mentioned that out of all the women I'd ever heard talk about ordination, all the women who chafed at being "only" women within the Church, not ONE of them ever said, "I want to be a priest because I feel called to lay down my life in sacrificial service, just as Christ did." They said, "I want to be a priest because it's only right and fair that the power of the Church be shared among men and women equally."

So this was their noble "calling": not one of sacrifice but one in which they could grab a share of power, authority, and visibility. It was about "privilege" (as in, you have privileges I want and I'M ENTITLED TO THEM!). Sometimes, it was about anger ("I'm sick and tired of stupid, patriarchal priests lording it over us women when we do all the work.")

But it was never, EVER about sacrifice. It was never, EVER about giving. It was about taking, and seizing power, and Changing the Church to Recognize Reality.

To this day, even among women I know who honestly (if misguidedly) feel "called" to the priesthood and are heartbroken because that big nasty male-dominated Roman teaching authority Just Doesn't Understand Their the end of the day, it's STILL not about sacrifice. It's about what "I" feel called to do, what "I" want, what role "I" desperately want to fulfill in the Church, and the role GOD IS CALLING ME TO DO--it MUST be, because I want it so badly!

Whereas with all the holy, truly good male priests I talk to, and hear can't go a sentence into a conversation with most of them before you hear the "S" word. They refer to their calling as a gift, not as their due, not as something they've earned, and not as something they're somehow "owed" by God. And they don't say the word "sacrifice" as if it's something I'M supposed to do, and they're NOT. They say the word as if it's something we're ALL called to do, together...and something that, by its nature, is difficult at times. If it weren't, it wouldn't be a sacrifice in the first place. :-)

But then again, if salvation were easy...God's Son wouldn't have had to die a criminal's death to procure it for us, either. Of course, maybe God should have sent a daughter to die instead--and then the whole equation would make more sense to these people? One can only wonder.

Obedience is much simpler. Easy? Maybe not always. But simpler? And more blessed? Yes, and yes.

Iowa Bishop Warns Against 'Womanpriest' Ordination #Catholic

Another hen trying to be a rooster...

Bishop Martin John Amos (who is a Buckeye, by the way!), has warned that anyone attempting to ordain a woman as a Roman Catholic priest, bishop, or deacon; and the woman who is attempting ordination, will be ex-communicated from the Roman Catholic Church.

An Iowa bishop has reminded Catholics in his diocese that “those who attempt to confer Holy Orders on women are excommunicated, as are the women who attempt to receive Holy Orders. This includes the attempted ‘ordination’ for a deacon, priest or bishop.’” Bishop Martin Amos of Davenport issued his statement because Mary Kay Kusner-- whom the Iowa City Press-Citizen describes as a “devout Catholic”-- is scheduled to “to become the first female Catholic Womanpriest in Iowa” on June 13. (Source)

To give you some background: Mary Kay Kusner is heading to the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Coralville, Iowa, to complete this grand illusion. And an illusion it is. Because the Roman Catholic Church Does. Not. Ordain. Women. As. Priests. So any woman who says she's going to be ordained as a priest has quickly entered the "No Reality Zone."

I also want to know how exactly a Protestant church got involved in this. The church's pastor, John McKinstry, says he has known Kusner for 15 years. And he "thinks that regardless of the laws of the Catholic Church, she is fit for priesthood." Oh, really? Well, I think I'm fit to be the Queen of England but that doesn't mean it will happen. Besides, how much does this pastor know about Catholic doctrine? Or Catholic history? Or even Catholic identity? I say the obvious answer is...zilch.

It's a sad, divisive situation. Kusner is one of eight children, brought up in Lancaster, Ohio. Only one brother will be attending her fake ordination. The rest of the family has refused to participate. Growing up, her family sounded like a devout, traditional Catholic family. They even had their own chapel, complete with a stained glass window. From the article in Press-Citizen, "Kusner still pursuing dreams despite barriers -- UIHC chaplain working to become state's first Catholic Womanpriest" (emphasis and comments mine):

But Kusner said it was her Catholic background that gave her the desire to serve others. (Beautiful. You can serve in so many other ways. Just not as a priest.) After graduating from John Carroll University in Cleveland and marrying Dave, her husband of 26 years, Kusner went on to pursue a master's in pastoral ministry from Boston College. It was then that Kusner felt she could best use her gifts serving as a chaplain in pediatric oncology. (A very difficult area. Again, it is an awesome place to use one's spiritual gifts of encouragement and compassion.)

During her 20 years as a chaplain, Kusner gave birth to four children -- three healthy sons and a daughter, Anna, who was born with a chromosomal disorder. Kusner chronicled her journey with Anna in her book, titled "Upside-Down and Backwards," published in fall 2009.

It was Anna, she said, who helped Kusner decide to pursue priesthood.

"(Anna) plays a huge part in that she taught me on a personal level the significance of inclusion," Kusner said. "(She is) one of the main reasons I'm doing this." (Ahh. So your daughter's medical disorder became the political for you? News flash, sister: you were always "included" in God's Kingdom. You were included when Jesus Christ died for your sins. You are included in the great love God has for all His children. You are included in receiving spiritual gifts that all His children have been given. How is it you feel not included? Do you not feel included because you can't be the quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers?)

Kusner said it's been difficult to pursue priesthood in light of what it has cost her. (No doubt.) Though Kusner was automatically excommunicated from the Catholic Church upon her ordination as a deacon in August 2009, she still practices Catholicism in her own faith community, Full Circle, which she currently leads in people's homes. (And this is the crux of it for me. I don't know what she's practicing but to me, it isn't Catholicism. Practicing our faith means attending Mass and receiving the Sacraments [wait for it...] from a priest. She is not doing that because she can't until she is reconciled with the Church. The fact that she has rejected Catholic doctrine tells me she is rebellious enough to operate solely by her emotion, which is not a good thing for the stressful life of ministry. Plus, rebellion is no small thing, either.)

But what is perhaps most painful for her is the disapproval from her parents and siblings. Though one of Kusner's brothers will be attending her ordination, her sisters and parents will not. (No surprise if she came from a traditional Catholic family.)

"They ask, 'Why don't you stay a chaplain?'" Kusner said. "They've lived by the letter of the law, staying within the box." (It's called obedience. I know. It is difficult. But the rewards of our trust and obedience far outweigh any fleshly desires we may have.)

Another look at Disciples of Christ: The denomination has a woman president, Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins. They are also part of the World Council of Churches, which advocates leftist ideology such as economic and social justice, climate change, and "poverty, wealth, and ecology." So it's no surprise a fake ordination would be encouraged from this type of institution.

I'm not sure how these women would explain St. Paul's letter to Timothy. You know, that niggling little verse:
I permit no woman to teach or have authority over men, she is to keep silent. (1 Tim. 2:12, RSV)
The Greek word for "authority" is authenteō. It means to govern, exercise dominion over one. And I know many ladies get their backs up over the command to "keep silent." But that word, hēsychia, means a description of the life of one who stays at home doing his own work, and does not officiously meddle with the affairs of others. Somehow I suspect St. Paul was referring to that type of quietness. This is one of the marks of a godly woman - someone who serves with joy, keeps her responsibilities, and doesn't seek constant affirmation and recognition from others.

I know of this well because I used to be Kusner. At one point in my life, I wanted to see more women "released" into ministry, including serving as a pastor. However, over time I began to see God's wisdom on the topic. I always felt uneasy whenever I saw a woman as the senior pastor of a congregation, but wasn't sure why. I'm still not sure I can articulate clearly why it's not a good thing, but here are a few thoughts:

Women rarely can handle the stress of leading a congregation. I know, I know. Some women will point out that Margaret Thatcher led pretty well and then there was Deborah the Judge from the Old Testament. I'm not saying a woman cannot hold a position of leadership in the world (although I still think it's tougher on women), but within the spiritual world, it's a different story. God created Adam first. Eve was created for Adam. This tells me that God had some priorities when He created mankind. In the Old Testament, never was a woman consecrated as a Levitical priest. Never.

Jesus Christ said that He did not come to destroy the Law of the Old Testament, but to fulfill it. I would think that if there was something as major as allowing women to become priests -- He would have mentioned it at that point. He didn't. He chose twelve men to be His disciples. He traveled with them, ministered with them, and sent them out as His ambassadors, giving them divine power to accomplish His commands. Again, if women were to be given the authority to do these things, I would think Jesus would have made it clear at that point. He wasn't afraid to break cultural taboos such as speaking to a Samaritan woman at a well. He certainly wasn't shy about letting people know where He stood in relation to His Father's kingdom, such as driving out the moneychangers from the temple. So this leads me to one conclusion. Women were not meant to hold the position of pastor, elder, bishop, archbishop, or cardinal.

Am I saying that women are sub-standard or too stupid for those positions? Absolutely not. In fact, I believe God has given women many gifts and talents -- and one of them is wisdom. Women can still have an amazing influence upon her circle of family and friends, her city, state, and the world. Some are called to positions of authority within political spheres and in the business world. (I still retain the opinion that for a woman to walk in those positions of authority - her strongest gift should be wisdom.)

But in the Church, there is a hierarchy, a specific church government that has been instituted by Jesus Christ. Women are usually much more open to spiritual matters than men. It's natural for a woman to flow from prayer to meditation to serving. Most men are fine with doing something but if a woman is already doing it, do you think they'll attempt to interfere? Not usually. I've been in many churches that have opened the door to women being pastors and all of them lost the men when they did it. In other words, the majority of the work of the church was done by women and the men did little or nothing.

Now some women may say, "And that's a problem?" Well, yes it most certainly is. And the reason it's a problem is because men are robbed the opportunity to explore and grow in their own gifts. When women are doing all the work (because "it won't get done if we wait for the men...") men will rarely balk. Many of them would rather just sit back and let someone else fulfill their roles. As I've mentioned before, in the last non-denominational church I was a part of, about 80% of the church roles were filled by women. The only reason the men weren't totally dominated by the women was because the senior pastor and his leadership team were predominately men.

Something just seems upside-down when women are in church leadership positions. If we're going to talk about feelings, I'll say it: it doesn't feel right. Women have been given some amazing opportunities to be used by God but so often they're looking in the wrong direction. When Jesus Christ walked this earth, a group of women followed and ministered to His needs. What does Jesus Christ need today? How can we as women minister to Him and what does that look like? Ministering to Jesus Christ is an awesome and humbling calling upon women's lives.

This is always a difficult topic for me to address because I do have a teaching gift. It has been a challenge over the years to find ways to exercise that gift without usurping the authority of men. I have found fulfillment by teaching women and occasionally, children. But whenever I see an incident of a woman trying to be a priest, I feel a strong pull to speak out. If one is a part of a church structure that does not allow for this, why continue to push it? What is one's motivation at that point? To prove that they're worthy of service? Or to be publicly affirmed as being "just as important" as a man -- whatever that means? Only honest examination and prayer will reveal the truth.