I have had such a great pleasure in being able to finally meet many of my friends from the blogosphere at the Relevant Conference this last October. Through them I have been able to get connected with many more once I got home. My blog is a unique one as far as content goes, because I touch on issues not a lot of others like to talk about. I take a look at various Christian sect doctrines and examine them to see if Christ is indeed in them. I crunch through the parts that seem to only bring out Styrofoam fruit coated in plastic sugar then I push it aside to see why some sects hold them with such an embrace. I'm not an authority on God and I don't believe any of us really are. But what I cannot deny is when someone has a relational experience with our Lord and He brings them freedom from strongholds. Those many lies that so many Christians believe, that holds them far from Christ, when in reality none of us are far from Christ, He lives within us.
This last year, God has crossed my bloggy path with many who have been a balance for me as I have deeply investigated modern mainstream doctrines of those various sects of Christianity. Aside from all the doctrinal disagreements, I have found men and women who have profound stories that shoot arrows in the lies we believe and put us face to face with our Living God. I'd like to share these fellow brothers and sisters with you as we close out 2010. You may not agree with their doctrinal statements, but can we be mature in our faith and look beyond those statements and hear their stories? I believe it challenges our walks with God, to hear out what others believe.
These are those who have inspired me and helped me to balance in my 2010 walkabout with God. They are in no particular order of importance, for they are all equally important to me.
Serena Woods at GraceisForSinners.com When I found Serena's blog (special thanks to Sarah Mae) I knew I needed to get subscribed right away, I also got her book. I was coming out of legalism and for me, Serena is a preacher to the legalists. She doesn't pull any punches and I needed quite a few punches to the chin to wake me up out of my foggy stupor. She puts grace in such a Light that we can't ignore it.
Hilary McFarland at Quivering Daughters.com Hilary found me on Facebook and requested to be friends with me. I was intrigued with her book Quivering Daughters and I ordered a copy right away. I sobbed deeply while I read her book and am so thankful to have read it. As a recovering legalist, I needed to hear from a daughter's perspective, how they feel as kids growing up under that kind of pressure. It has helped to change the way I parent my children and my family dynamics has changed substantially.
Leonard Sweet @LenSweet on Twitter and I connected with him on Facebook. The first time I mentioned his name on Facebook, some 'friends' went crazy mad. I was told such awful things about him and I knew right away I wanted to know what the hullabaloo was about. He has been gracious and kind to me as I asked him questions about the criticism he has been receiving. He sent me a few books for me to read and I fell in love with his writing style and his message. He offers a fresh perspective on this Christian life that I had not heard before. I am honored to have connected with him and be introduced to his books. Needless to say, those 'friends' dumped me, but I gained such a valuable friend in Leonard Sweet.
Frank Viola at Reimagining Church. Frank is lifting up some of his friends as well and I am thankful to see he is doing this. He inspired me to make my own list as well. Frank is one of the leading voices of freedom in finding organic church. He has plowed through the pagan teachings of Christianity and reintroduced an organic way of living out this Life in Christ among one another. His books have been valuable to our own ministry as we also wanted to re-examine what 'ministry' really was.
Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience. Ann's writing is poetic and she has such a fantastic gift of revealing her own perfectionism in a gracious way which reveals in me the areas I need to look at. I never feel cut when I read her words, even when her words convict me of the times I fall from grace. She uplifts those who fall into their own perfectionism ditches in such a way that it moves me to tears. She ever so gently washes me over with the oil of gladness as she showers me with words of grace that put me face to face with our Living Messiah.
I hope you'll also introduce us to those who have helped shape your faith in 2010.
Stay tuned for more...