“THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AUTISM” and other kind words.

Wow… this is hard. I hate controversy. I’ve spent my whole life trying to be “normal.” I especially hate “getting in trouble” with those I respect, which is what it feels like I’m about to do. Awhile back I became aware of a blog post about food and the choices we make (by someone I admire a great deal) which demanded a response. I started to comment, but realized there was a lot more to say. More specifically, there are books and books worth of “more to say.” So I tabled it because well, I was busy trying to heal my family and couldn’t be distracted. But some time has passed and I have seen some bad fruit come from those posts, so I dusted off the draft I had written and here it is.

When I speak of natural cures, I want you to know I am not a natural foodie. I’m a natural Big Mac attack girl. In my weak moments, I still am. I am also not a doctor or a nurse or anything else fancy. But I promise you, I know how to research. And by that I don’t mean “look it up on the web.” I mean index cards with one thought per card with the reference listed. Remember those? So when it comes to “natural” things, here is my street cred: I have an autistic son, or rather… I did. He used to be severe, but now you would never know it. To accomplish this has taken 14 years of research, radical diets, essential oils (yes, you can smell us coming), alternative therapies (Infrared Sauna, Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber, etc.) prayers, tears, trials, and yes, having him prayed over by the elders of the church. Our pastor is not a foodie, but is in full support of everything we have done, because he has seen the results first hand. Yes, I had to humbly “get my husband on board” because he didn’t have the time to do the research. It fell to me because I didn’t work 50 hours a week. But man, is he on board! It wouldn’t be possible without him. I’m so grateful that he would never choose his selfish interests over the well being of his children. When we received the diagnosis, the doctor told us that he would have to be medicated for the rest of his life on a cocktail of meds and that natural cures were a waste of our time and money. The end of the story is that he has a future and a hope. We are ready to lose the diagnosis. What a remarkable stroke of Providence!

You would be surprised how many books I’ve read and tapes and sermons I’ve watched on the topic of discipline and child rearing: all in a vain search for *some* answers. Night after night. Book after book. And if I had to characterize the whole of Christian thinkers on the topic of autism, many of whom have very strong opinions, I would say that as a rule… they just don’t have a clue.  Many know they don’t understand and have wisely kept their opinions to themselves. Others though… Well, their answers range from “It doesn’t exist” to “You aren’t spanking hard enough.” I haven’t seen one of them hit the nail on the proverbial head. Not one. So it goes. We struggled through with the Bible, a LOT of research,  and a handful of really good docs.

It can be discouraging to be trying to do everything you can for your son, while the “Christian” community stands in judgment.  You are often the “odd man out.” Nobody wants to know how you parent. You don’t get invited to dinner much. You don’t get asked to teach the church parenting classes. LOL People look at you sideways when your little guy belly flops to the ground and army crawls under the pews to the front of the room. If you had time to worry about the sideways glances, comments and judgments, they might be bothersome. But you don’t. You just don’t. You’re too busy counting pills and cooking food and researching the cause of your son’s autism and fighting with insurance companies and sending in stool and urine samples and weekly IVs and dealing with the 24/7 Job that is being the mother of a child with Autism. All you know is it isn’t “normal” and that you love him so much, you can’t stop. Not for a moment. It would be unthinkable. You *must* take DOMINION over this because underneath that wound up little guy is a smart, loving, passionate person just waiting to be released.

But people are so helpful, yanno? They try to be anyway:

  • “The problem is you don’t spank every time he does the wrong thing.”
  • “The problem is the sugar in your diet.”
  • “The problem is the TV.”
  • “Have you tried whispering at the dinner table?”
  • “You know, I just don’t see autism or celiac in the scriptures. They are just over diagnosing now.”
  • “Jesus is the Bread of Life, so if you hate bread, you hate the God of the bible.”
  • “You aren’t spanking hard enough.”

And bloggers too. They’re helpful: (Paraphrased)

  • If you don’t have a doctor telling you this, you are just a self-diagnosing hypochondriac.
  • You who are concerned about food choices are being sinful and divisive, and if the ingredient won’t send you to the hospital, you should just buck it up and eat whatever.
  • You care too much about what your family eats, and you are acting like an earth-worshiping radical nut case, using food as an idol and making a scene over the ingredients in the sweet potatoes.
  • You’re just trying to fit in with the “allergy du jour” club.
  • And now it seems we are just being bossy.

Folks have told me I should write about this but until now I wasn’t inspired. Well, that last blog post by that last blogger just pushed me over the bloggy edge. It was the bloggy straw that broke the bloggy camel’s back. The nerve and inspiration I had been lacking just smacked me upside the bloggy head. So for the blogging record:

  • Tried it. Yes, for more than 3 days. We didn’t even have sugar in the home until he was 2 years old. No TV either. Yes, we’ve tried whispering. It’s not that he is disobedient. It’s that we can’t even get the concept *in*.
  • You don’t see diabetes in the scriptures either, but I see you taking your insulin.
  • I am a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. The bread of the bible has nothing to do with the bread of 2015 America. Nothing. It isn’t the same thing. Read Wheat Belly. The Bread of Life doesn’t give you Celiac or Crohn’s Disease. That’s not how God works.
  • *so tempting to offer a personal demonstration upon the person making the assertion*
  • We’ve had doctors. YOUR doctor may not agree with MY (MD) doctor, but that’s because YOUR doctor isn’t educated on this topic.       And there have been dry seasons where we didn’t have a doctor who could help and we were left to our own research. (Folks, heal yourself. Don’t wait around for the lab coats! Take charge of your OWN health! The sailors fighting scurvy didn’t wait for a prescription before they ate the lemons or the sauerkraut, did they?) But even still… what about the folks who can’t *afford* to spend thousands of dollars on doctors? Shall they just eat cake?
  • Yeaaaah… Well… Um… Hard to know where to start.       There are, you know, books written on these topics. Books written by MDs and PhDs. Science books. Books which I have read, but I’m guessing you have not. We could talk about IGG vs. IGE allergies. We could talk of Th1 cells and Th2 cells and how the breakdown of certain foods in certain environments sends compounds to the brain that are akin to drugs and alcohol. We could talk about the interplay of Mercury and Yeast. Or Mercury and Aluminum. Or ethyl mercury vs. methyl mercury. We could talk about how allergies form in the first place and that none of our diseases happen in a vacuum. Yes, they are all under the Providence of God, but it’s a bit like taking a gun and shooting yourself in the foot and expecting not to bleed. Our Lord has made our world to function with certain scientific laws. There is such a thing as cause and effect. Just because something doesn’t kill you immediately doesn’t mean it won’t kill you slowly… in God’s perfect Providence of course. Still, that does not mean that when I toast you, as you drink your liquid Drano, er, I mean Coke with my bottle of Kombucha, I’m being idolatrous. It means I made a different choice. That’s the cool thing about jurisdictions. I have mine and you have yours and we can be happy together! So happy together! Cheers!
  • Not only have I never seen a scene being made of the ingredients in the sweet potatoes, those of us on special diets are usually so starved for fellowship that we will cook an entire meal and schlep it to someone’s house just to experience a little “hospitality.” It is we who will bend over backwards to not give an offense or be an inconvenience. Actually, it’s easier than trying to explain how to make grain free, egg free, yeast free, sugar free bread taste anything but taste free.
  • Well, ya got me. I do want to fit in. I really, really do. But do you really believe getting labeled “Crazy” by 95% of Americans, Christian and non-Christian alike is the way to go about it? Oh, if you only knew the nasties that have come my way. The “unfriendings”, the bashings. Just from being. I do NOT try to force my views on others. And you know, I’ve been “crazy” for a long time now. I was crazy when crazy wasn’t cool. If you really believe I am just trying to fit in, I have a bridge or two to offer you.
  • Yea…. undo 2 years of work to help my child be able to think for a little “unity”? Let me think for just a sec…No.

So to my fellow Christian foodie friends who are trying to heal their families or just be wise: Overlook the offense. Give grace where it was not given to you. Bless them who curse you. Just do your ever-loving best and know some of us are praying for you.

To those who have offered advice through the years: Thank you for loving us enough to risk saying something. I appreciate the heart that it came from.

To the famous pastors, authors, and bloggers who pushed me over the bloggy edge: I know you could pick apart my little blog. I am *not* trained in the finest private Classical Christian school in America with the finest rhetoric and grammar. I cannot parse Latin verbs. I was… a little busy these past 16 years, simply trying to survive. And what I know, you don’t seem to be interested in learning. You could poke holes in my lack of logic with playful ease. I’ve witnessed your skill. But I am asking you to hear my heart with your Shepherd ears.

I wish we were buddies and I could just call you up and invite you to Sabbath dinner. You taught us to do it, you know. Wow, would we have fun! I would serve you whatever your heart longed for. Or you could walk a day in our world and experience the yummiest grass-fed cow with Real, Raw ice cream and succulent veggies. We could sit around and laugh and tell stories about all those things which we have in common.

Truly, I am shocked that I stand here in opposition to what I *think* I heard you saying. It did seem a bit like you were mocking me and trying to bind my conscience. The truth is I thank God for your ability to eat white bread, sugar, and GMO corn with no apparent difficulties in yourself or your children. Bon appetite!

I extend to you the grace I have not received. I believe your intentions are good. But the reason you have the luxury to argue these points is because you have never watched your child have 20 seizures a day when the crop duster sprayed the farm next door. You have not had a baby who would not stop screaming from hunger, no matter how much you fed him. You have not had to change your baby’s diaper 24 times a day from the diarrhea. You have not watched in dismay as your 7 year old’s ticks got worse and worse. Your trials were “normal people” trials so you believe us to be abnormal– and unbiblical.

My friends and I have had these experiences, and so while you think I am trying to boss you around, I want to assure you this is not the case. But I am grateful for those who would make documentaries and give speeches and gently counsel friends. They are the ones who see the problems coming and are brave enough to warn others. They love you enough to want you to *not* walk the walk they have trod. Yet you insist I just eat whatever is served. Really, who is being bossy now?

My request from you is this: stop it. Just stop. Stop motive judging. Stop supposing you know what it is like to be us. Stop speaking on topics about which you know nothing. It isn’t helpful. It’s discouraging, and it emboldens others to judge us. “Ya! It’s about time someone told off those foodies! They’ve always bugged me!” If you suppose me to be the weaker brother, then so be it. My son doesn’t have autism anymore. So, well… there’s that. Perhaps you could just … assume the best of our intentions? Perhaps you could give us a little grace and a bite of grain free communion bread? And if not, then perhaps just the grace.

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More on the IGA

The IGA is now known as the Jamestown Market.  I’m guessing this has something to do with the economy and budget cutting, but it will always be the IGA to me.

At the IGA, my mother bought some cheese for us.  They knew it was for us because they know my mom.  The woman carefully sliced it, then went to the back and had it shrink-wrapped on a tray because she had done that for me once, and I had commented on how nicely it was presented. So now she always takes the initiative to do that for me.

The next time I was in, she gleefully inquired whether I knew who had sliced the cheese for me when my mom picked it up.  Of course I noticed it at the time!  How fun to be remembered in this way.  And how delightful that it delighted her that I was delighted.

Once when the deli was busy the owner came over to slice our cheese.  Before he weighed it, he slipped a piece to my toddler.  Then he slipped him another.  Then he weighed the cheese.

The owner agreed to sell my son’s paracord bracelets right by the counter.  He treated number one son like a legit businessman, and he put up a sign: “handmade by local youth.”

The lady who manages in the evening sells me her farm fresh eggs because I appreciate the effort that goes into them.   She won’t sell them to anybody else.

The other lady who manages in the evenings attends church with friends of ours (another large family).  She never fails to ask how we are all doing and say how nice it was to see us at her church.

I routinely sneak in at 3 minutes before closing, and they give me the “whew” sign with a big grin.  No attitude.  None.

The prices are quite reasonable, especially if you consider paying an extra ten cents for something keeps you from driving 15 miles to the Walmart.  I have a rule:  If the IGA sells it, I buy it there.  The gratitude I have for this little store and these good people who serve in it runs deep.  I’ll even go out of my way to buy some things I don’t need — just to do more business there.  I wonder they shouldn’t sell admission tickets.

Did I mention I love Jamestown?




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The Bank, where they take a real *interest* in you. Heh

I’ve mentioned that the State Bank of Lizton doesn’t have the best interest rates in the world, but again… when the “best” is .0025%, who cares?  What they *do* have  in spades, is a group of truly friendly folks who pay the best kind of interest– they take an interest in you.  You’ll remember Gerald, who knew me by sight the second time I ever arrived.  But there are more folks I wish you all could know.

First of all, banking at the Jamestown Market (formerly IGA) branch of the State Bank of Lizton is like no other banking experience on earth.  I’ve never memorized my account number (I’ve never had to give it), but I have they idea they have.   I just walk up and ask for $100, making the usual joke about them giving away money, and they chuckle like they’ve never heard that before.  They pull up a deposit slip and fill out the numbers, presenting it to me for a signature, and ask how I would like it.  “In bigs?”  They count out the money with a smile, and the chat begins.

There’s Josh, who slips my kids rare-ish coins from his personal collection as a gift, “wheaties” mostly, just because he knows they are interested.  He’s also quick to ask if he can buy the bread I make and seems to genuinely like it.  Every time I arrive, he asks about us and the kids.  Come to think about it, they all do.

They remember what happened last time we chatted, and I get the impression they really are interested.  Maybe it’s just “new kid on the block” syndrome, but I don’t think so.  I’ve seen them do this with others.  They know about the Birthday Bash and the renovation and the crazy diet we’re on.  They ask questions about homeschooling and how the kids are doing and are faithful to add the obligitory “I don’t know how you do it all” head shake at the end.  They notice when I haven’t been in to the bank in a while, and look happy to see me again.  Every time.  They make it look genuine and easy.

There’s Rita, who saves quarters back if they are the ones my boys are hunting for their collection.

There’s Kathy, the manager, who asks about the renovation and gardening and goats.

When someone is out sick and a replacement is in from another town, the regulars nudge him with an “she’s alright–we know her” elbow and wink.  I’ve never been carded.

Did I mention I love Jamestown?

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Chicken, the way Tamar makes it.

I’ll admit I’m not very creative in the kitchen.  I never knew how to really cook, and one of the benefits of being on the crazy SCD/GAPS diet is that I’m being forced to learn. So, tonight it was beef the way Mrs. Parker makes it, cabbage the way Mrs. Parker makes it, green beans the way Mrs. Smith makes ’em, and green tomato casserole, requested by #3 son, as his birthday meal (from February-Don’t judge.)   I have recipe books lining my book shelf, but I just don’t use them.  Don’t —  Not. Ever.  Don’t.  Should!  But, don’t.  The way I learn is by stealing recipes from those I love.  It all started with Tamar.

My niece lived with us for a few years, and it was a joy in many ways!  ❤ One of those ways is that sometimes, she cooked for us.  I’ll never forget the first time (after Tamar was gone) that my husband looked at the plain ordinary meal I set before him and without a complaining tone or a hint of discontentment said, “Do you think sometime you could make chicken the way Tamar makes it?”  I swallowed my pride and said, “I dunno.  Maybe.”  I had never thought of that.  Now, the correct name of the dish was something like, “Hawaiian chicken salad with ranch topping” but I never could remember that.    So, it just became and will forever be known as “chicken the way Tamar makes it.”

If there’s one thing my boys like, it’s good cooking.  The way to their hearts really is through their stomachs, so when we encounter good cooking, they always take note of it and in the delightful way of their father, ask, “Can we have such and such the way such and so makes it?”  Since Tamar, there’s been “pork the way Aunt Sharon makes it” and “tomato soup the way Mrs. L makes it” and “taco salad the way Mrs. C makes it” and “beans and rice the way Aunt Sharon makes it” and “macaroni and cheese the way Mrs. Canaday makes it” and “chicken and rice the way Mrs. Parker makes it” and “meatballs the way Aunt Sharon makes ’em” and “Grandma’s cole slaw” and “Nana’s stuffing” and “turkey the way Uncle Bill makes it” and “eggs the way Mrs. R makes ’em” and “potatoes the way Mrs. Cork makes them” and “jello the way Nana makes it” and “tapioca the way Mrs. E makes it”.  We even get requests for “salmon the way Daniel makes it” and “eggs or omelets the way Thomas and William make them”, which isn’t humbling at all, since they’re the kids, and the other kids would rather their brothers make the food than their mother.

Sometimes I’m tempted to better describe the dishes, but I’ve come to appreciate our little tradition, for two reasons I think.  First, it gives honor to whom honor is due.  It passes the praise to those creative folks who invented the dish and shared it with us.  And second, it floods our minds with warm memories of good times shared around the table with our favorite people.

So, my husband and children wish to thank all of  you who have cooked for us over the years.  The reason they get anything besides meat loaf, cheese cake, pizza bread, and bologna sandwiches (the four things I came into this marriage knowing how to make because my sister taught me) is because of the yummy stuff you make, the way you make it.

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How to get it all done.

An aquaintance mused today, “If I had a dollar for every time somebody said, ‘You should write a book,’ I wouldn’t need to write a book!”  Exactly!  This is one of the most common questions I receive.  Let me attempt an answer:

First of all,  I don’t get it “all” done.  If you are a young mother with her hands full of two children wondering how we with a gaggle “get it all done” then relax.  We don’t.  We only do what we can do, and the rest, we trust to the One who knows our heart, and who ordains all things well.  Now, having said that, let me share with you my number one “get-R-done” weapon.  God, in his matchless grace, has given me an amazing mother.  (And a sister and brothers and father and friends and in-laws and children, but those are posts for another time.)

I have a full plate.  Homeschooling, odd medical issues with some of my children, more laundry than you can imagine, difficult, time consuming (medically necessary) diet, goats, chickens, cats, garden, fence rows falling apart, renovating *two* houses, bills, taxes, feeding 6 boys who eat like an army, not to mention just “life”.  In desperation, I cried out to the Lord.  “Lord, I don’t mind the work!  But I have only two hands, and I must sleep sometime.  I want to do a good job.  How?  How?  Oh, help.”

My mother is unique in this world.  She “gets” multigenerational faithfulness.  Oh, she has never used the word, and I’m not sure she’s ever heard it.  But she gets it.  I subscribe to the philosophy that how you live demonstrates what you *really* believe, in spite of what you say you believe.  My mother believes in dominion taking multigenerational faithfulness.  Out of love for me and us, she arrives nearly daily to ask, “What can I do?”  If I stumble on an answer, she simply finds something to do.  Here are just a few of the things my Momma does.

I have magic hangers.  I hang wrinkled shirts, and when I’m not paying attention, pressed ones appear.  Actually, it’s Momma.  She steals away with wrinkled shirts and arrives with pressed ones.  And, she taught my sons to iron.  This is how we “do” church and the Scottish Ball.

She boxes up whatever I need to be shipped to whomever it goes, and runs it down to the post office on Main Street.  This saves me oodles of time and angst.

She takes my son for his weekly IV.  This is a three to four hour round trip.  His health is better, from the service of Momma.  While she’s at it, she stops at whichever grocery store I need something from and picks it up.

She takes my twins for their weekly speech therapy.  This is also a three hour round trip.  If they can say “watermelon” it is thanks to her.  Then, even if I have nothing to pick up, she often surprises me with honey crisp apples (my favorite, which I often refuse to buy due to the extravagant cost.)

She pops over to the Jamestown Market to purchase our boxes of Amish chicken.

She runs to our farmer friend’s house to pick up the 7 gallons of milk we go through a week.  This is a 1 1/2 hour round trip.  She picks up our eggs on the way home.

She browns our ground beef.  I would be afraid to calculate how many hours this represents.

She stores our cheese and whatever else we need in her refrigerator and brings it over when we’re hungry.

She accepts refugees who have finished their school and chores for a game of Scrabble at her house.   They beg to visit Grandma (even the 13 yo).

She reads to littles.  They all adore her.

When I leave my kitchen a mess and run off to out of town, she has been known to sneak in and tidy up like a little elf.

Holes and tears appear in our clothes and sheets suddenly and without warning — all the time.   My mother heals and mends them.

She meets me for 9pm rendezvous to fold 5 loads of laundry at the Jamestown laundrymat.  I would have told the truth and admitted it was really 10pm, but my sister might read the blog and then I’d be in trouble.

She does all this and more sacrificially, sweetly, selflessly, all the time declaring how amazed she is at the job *I* do.   She’s our number one fan and encourager.  She understands that the future of Cristendom is embodied in these important tasks.  She understands that by helping to raise the next generation in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, she is ruling the world.  She is a dominion taking machine, freeing me to do what only I can do (like research diets and choose and order curriculum and nurse babies and slaughter chickens and discipline children and file taxes.)  But more importantly, she allows our home to run without being in the car constantly.  Any semblance of “normalcy” we have is because of Momma.  Right now, #2 is reading to #4.  The children have the time to practice piano and violin and eat tremendously healthy food and play football outside and read for hours a day.  And they have this because of Momma.  She certainly is not a whipsocket on an automobile.

I have always been a fan of my mother.  You know, I get my good looks from her.  I remember the day I came home from high school, full of love and appreciation for my parents.  I sat down and wrote a letter… 3 pages, if I recall… detailing all the ways God blessed me through my parents.  I wish I had that list today.  But, though I was a fan, I had no idea how they were given by God to be a blessing to us for our entire lives.  I love every moment I spend with her, and I’m eternally grateful, giving thanks upon every remembrance of her.  I rise up, and I bless her.  My Proverbs 31 Momma.

Thank you, Lord for Momma.  I wish I had the words to honor her as she deserves. 

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On Christian Dance

There’s a book floatin’ round in my little head, and I’m not sure what to call it or where to start, so I think I’ll start typing out loud, and work on it with the help of comments from you guys (all 6 of you who follow the blog. ;D) and we’ll see where we land, k?  My husband likes to say, “It must be such a happy little place in there” (referring to my head).  “Why yes.  Yes it is.”  Here goes:

Every year for the past 5 years at my church, http://www.cc-opc.org/ we’ve hosted a Scottish Ball.  When we post some video of the last dance, I’ll copy the link for ye.  It was the brain child of another couple, who attended one in North Carolina and came back with the idear.  God had placed a similar desire in our noggins, and when they mentioned it, we decided by God’s grace and with copious amounts of help from others to (with the Session’s approval) make it so.  We intuitively knew it was good and right and lovely but we didn’t quite know how to articulate why.  But recently, we’ve been having discussions with this couple and others, and we’re closing in on our “theology of dance.”

Dance has been abandoned by many Christians to the world.  What do you think of when you think of dance?  Do you remember jr. high school, when everybody “slow danced?”  Did you do the Monkey?  The Electric Slide?  Did you Walk Like an Egyptian?  Did you or did you see others wiggle around like a pagan?  Background:  Ron and I met at a … are you sitting down…? a ballroom dance studio.  This is a story for the books, and I’ll write it another day, but suffice it to say, we both really enjoy “cutting a rug.”  The problem with most (if not all, for I know of none who don’t fit this description) of the ballroom studios, from the perspective of family atmosphere is, well… it’s not exactly what you would deem “wholesome.”  The dances in many cases are very close, and as you progress, you learn to dance with the gent’s legs intertwined with the lady’s.  The bodies are held tightly together so they may move as one.  Those who are trained in this type of dance are stunning to watch.  You wouldn’t notice the closeness as they glide as if flying over the floor.  The dances themselves are not taudry.  Think: foxtrot, quickstep (my favorite), waltz, Viennese waltz.  But, I wouldn’t want my daughter or son dancing that way with anybody but a spouse in a closed room.  And I certainly wouldn’t want to dance with anybody else’s husband like that!  And that’s the “wholesome” dances.  Don’t get me started on the Latin dances.  Bolero?  Tango?  Samba Roll?  Really, you would need a bit more fabric on those costumes to complete a bikini, and you would get more of an “education” watching some of those dances than you get watching the barn animals.  Just sayin’.  We recently went to a ballroom show “for old times’ sake.”  Uh… we were red faced as we watched (or didn’t) the couples dance certain dances, and we left early.  Ballroom isn’t what it used to be, even 25 years ago.  Gone are the Pride and Prejudice days.  Gone is the era where George Washington hosted his gay soirees.  It has been abandoned to the world.  So, if this is what comes to mind when you think of dance, that’s understandable.  And as Christians, we often react to what the world has to offer with a “we don’t do that because we’re spiritual” mentality, and claim it as a conviction, with or without a “proof text.”  Now if it is a true conviction that you shouldn’t participate in dance of any kind, then stop reading.  I will not challenge your conviction.  Peace be to you.  But if you’re curious, then Gentle Christian, let me introduce you to a different view.

Let me introduce you to our Scottish Ball, steeped in prayer, overseen by the elders, with fun and joy for all, young and old alike.

  • Imagine everybody dressed in the fanciest (but modest) dress they own, with pearls and gloves and lace and ball gowns and bow ties and coats and feathers in hair, and all manor of festivity.  Beautification, not provocation is the name of the day.
  • Imagine the Pastor opens with a prayer and we sing a Psalm.  Usually, it’s “Blessed the man that fears Jehovah,” Psalm 128, a peppy, rousing tune that reminds us of God’s blessings on His covenant families.
  • Imagine the young men have instructions to ask a lady to dance only once and to ask her father for permission before asking her to dance.
  • Imagine the young ladies and young men dancing like… ladies and gentlemen, with their heads high and their spare hand (gents) behind their backs.
  • Imagine the older kids dance with the younger ones, brothers dance with sisters, dads dance with daughters, mothers dance with sons, teenage boys dance with little old ladies, and girls who don’t have partners dance with each other.
  • Imagine everyone entering for the Grand March, and bowing courteously to one another to show honor to one another.
  • Imagine everyone dancing or resting, but no teens outside talking or pairing up.
  • Imagine lively active dances, where the only touching is a hand here and there.
  • Imagine young men trained to dance with a young lady as if she is his sister (in Christ) because she is.
  • Imagine young men and ladies learning to not fear one another, or be too overly self conscious and shy, but be able to interact as brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • Imagine men who have danced as children and are not afraid to give it a try as adults.
  • Imagine more fun than you’ve had in years.
  • Imagine ending with the Gloria Patri.
  • Imagine the Body of Christ, dancing together Coram Deo.  http://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-does-coram-deo-mean/

This is what it’s like at our ball.  Visitors who have attended have greeted me afterward with tears in their eyes.  They had no idea it was so beautiful.  Our God is good, and His fruit is sweet indeed.

So, what of the theology? I will not be providing a proof text, for the “no brainer” method of biblical study and application.  The theology is much deeper than that.  Now then, the couple I mentioned before, took the liberty of jotting down thoughts as we spoke about this, and I would like to share them with you.  I will ask.  In the mean time, here are some unedited thought starters.

The church in America has become “me” centered.  “Me and my bible.  Me and my devotions.  Me and my Lord.”  But Christianity is not “me” centered.  God lives in community.  God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  He desires us to live in community too.  Work together, play together, eat together, pray together, sing together, and dance together, Coram Deo.

Dancing is scattered throughout the old testament. It is often associated with great joy and it is associated with dancing “before the Lord.”  Pagans also danced during their rituals, so dance per se is not holy, but by example, it is usually presented in a positive light.  King David danced.  The women danced on the other side of the red sea.  The children of Israel were promised they would dance when God released them from bondage.  The Israelites danced at the return of victorious armies.  And of course, Ecclesiastes 3:4 says, “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”  In light of this, it would be difficult to claim dance is forbidden, at the very least.  Here is a blog which explains much of what I have found from many sources, and I have no wish to duplicate it or plagiarize.  http://truelightministries.org/blog1/?p=935

History is on the side of Dance.   Consider George Washington, a Godly man, steeped in Calvinist Christianity.  This site does it best:  http://www.colonialmusic.org/Resource/GW&Dance.htm

One cannot imagine an era in historic Chrsitendom when the gentile of society did not gather to dance.  No, friend.  The burden of proof is not upon those who wish to dance a Virginia Reel.  The burden of proof is upon those who do not wish to dance at all.

Phillipians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just,
whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any
excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think of these things.

Positive Eschatology:  Every church that I know of which hosts balls of one sort or another, are all Reformed with the captial R, and have a positive eschatology.  Eschatology is a fancy word for “end times.”  Why do you suppose that is?  Why do we not have a VBS and bus other people’s children in for some fun, games, and Jesus lite, but we put all this effort into a dance?  With grace and peace to those who believe differently, let me gently explain why a positive eschatology matters to how we live.

For those who may not know, there are different thoughts within Cristendom about the future.  Many American Christians are waiting for Christ to return in the “Rapture” and take them all away from all this sin filled world and misery.  They believe that in the “end” we lose, until Christ comes back and we ultimately win.  They suspect Obama is the AntiChrist, since it turned out to not be Clinton.  I believed this for many years, but I don’t believe it anymore.  As I studied history and the scriptures, I came to a startling conclusion:  We win.  I mean, we really win.  Not lose to win, but win.  What if… sit down… the great Tribulation already happened?  Check your history and compare it to the scriptures.  Nero was a pretty bad dude, and it was for those believers in 70AD exactly what the scriptures said it would be “before this generation passes away.”  Volumes upon volumes have been written on this topic, and I will attempt to link to a few for your further consideration.  Now table this notion for just a moment while I bring up another topic.

Dominion.  God gave us “The Dominion Mandate” to be fruitful, and multiply, and have dominion over the earth.  He gave it to Adam, and he gave it to Noah, and he didn’t take it back.  That thought came over me like a 2X4.  He didn’t take it back.  As I read the scriptures, Christ basically says that any commandment from the Old Testament that He doesn’t change or fulfill, still applies.  Matthew 5:17: “Do not think that I came to abollish the law of Moses or the writings of the Prophets.”  That includes the Dominion Mandate.  And remember, the Old Testament is all the early church had.  They didn’t have the New Testament.  Hmmm…. Now table this for a moment.

Read the New Testament.  There’s a misconception out there that the New Testament is all about evangelism.  It isn’t.  Oh, evangelism is in there for certain, but if you read it, the bulk of it is about how to live as a Christian.  Work hard, keep your nose clean, eat your own bread (not your neighbor’s), serve one another in love, be kind to one another, be affectionate with one another, forgive one another, be content with  your circumstances, be devoted to one another, love one another, honor your father and mother, don’t gossip, don’t be a busybody, and the like.  It’s all the stuff you try to teach your children, no?

Speaking of children, when you are Reformed, you think covenentally, multi-generationally.  You want to be with those children.    You see no need to render the covenant children, who belong to God, to Ceasar.  You want them to worship with you, and work with you, and play with you.  You want the Pastor with the gray hair and some wisdom under his belt (not some hip young guy with the latest fashion) to be their pastor.  You want their hearts.  You understand that nearly anything worth doing can be done with your children by your side.  You want God’s people to be their people, and to love the elders, and the little ones, not just the “youth group.”

Altogether now!  Lets bring all these dishes back to the table.  Can you see where this is going?  When you have a positive eschatology, you want to welcome children (not covet children).  I recall specific teaching when I believed all the “Rapture” stuff about “Woe to those with children in those days.”  I recall believing I may not even grow up or have the chance to marry.  I recall knowing the bible said it was better to *not* marry in those times, and thinking these were those times.  Children back then were an afterthought.  (How sad for me.)

When you have a positive eschatology, you find it easier to rememberto take dominion.  Not sit around, wringing our hands, trying to figure out who the Beast is, and if we’re going to have to go through 3 1/2 years of hell on earth, or if we just get rescued beforehand.  We are to PUT our HANDS to WORK.  Take the scriptures and apply them to ALL of life: family life, motherhood, fatherhood, work, play, dance, marriage, friendship, politics, science, education, mathematics, food, health, medicine, history, government, law, taxes.  Everything.  Take every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.  Go into all the world and make deciples, teaching them to do whatsoever I have commanded you.  (Notice it doesn’t say, “Get decisions for Christ.”)  Teach them how to live!  Live before them as an example.  Do you see how these scriptures all make even more sense when used together?!  Get to work, Christian!  And, get to Play!  Be of good cheer!  BUILD THE KINGDOM!  As Joy to the World states, “He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love!”  Christ’s reign is NOW, not then.  NOW!  Isn’t it thrilling?!  Isn’t it challenging?!

I can’t find the quote, and will look it up, but I think it was Douglas Wilson who said something to the effect of: “The Bride of Christ should move through the world like a bride moving down the aisle to her bridegroom.”  We should be beautiful, holy, set apart, appealing, lovely.

The Scottish Ball is our humble attempt to do just that: live in community with one another, be kindly affectionate to one another, and take dominion and win not just hearts to the Lord, but cultures and lives too.

And by the way, if you think like this… you might be Reformed and not know it.  You see, what you really, really believe determines how you act.  Do you live like a Reformed Christian?  Perhaps you need to consider your theology and your life and make them match.  Things that make you go Hmmm…

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Lacto-fermented green tomatoes

I did it.  I was a good girl, and fermented some of my green tomatoes, rather than make more of that outstanding casserole and freeze it.  I waited patiently for the two weeks to arrive.  Expectantly, breathlessly, I opened the crock, poured off the juice, and removed one smallish nugget of green gold.  With a knife, I sliced ever so dainty a piece for consideration.  And… AND>>>!? eh.  You may like em, and they’re really really good for you, but… eh.  From now on, I’ll gobble up my kraut, jalapenos, and kimchi and casserole freeze the green tomatoes. Live and learn.

Recipe for those who wish to try:

Don’t bother cutting the tomatoes or poking them with a fork.  The non-cut, non-poked kind came out exactly the same.  Fill your 5 liter crock.  Add fresh dill (about that much) and 10 or so cloves of garlic.  Add 1/2 C whey and fill with brine (1 1/2 T celtic sea salt/quart water).  Cover the crock as usual, and add the water in the moat.  Ferment for 2 weeks.  Bon uh… appetite.

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