Sunday, May 8, 2011

Who Won a Copy of "When Sparrows Fall"? (and win a copy of Jon Zens' "No Will of My Own")

Today's post is just a tad silly!
I guess when you have cats help you, that's what tends to happen.  ;)

How to Win a Copy of No Will of My Own by Jon Zenz

If you have not already read or heard about Jon Zens new book, please read more HERE.

And if anyone can correctly identify why my cats might be named “Simeon and Anna,” send me your address, and I'll enter you in a raffle for a copy of Jon's new book, “No Will of My Own: How Patriarchy Smothers Female Dignity and Personhood.”

If you can't figure it out, listen to the May 7, 2001 episode of Jocelyn Andersen's blogtalkradio (BTR) with Jon Zens. Someone mentions a particular old legal standard that drastically limits a woman's autonomy by suspending an aspect of her existence under certain circumstances.  Send the answer to me via email by June 1st, and I'll enter you into the contest.


Who Won a Copy of When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley?

Freedom. Safety. Love. Miranda vows to reclaim them--for herself, and for her children.
A widow and mother of six, Miranda Hanford leads a quiet, private life. When the pastor of her close-knit church announces his plans to move the entire congregation to another state, Miranda jumps at the opportunity to dissolve ties with Mason Chandler and his controlling brand of “shepherding.” But then Mason threatens to unearth secrets only he knows, and Miranda feels trapped, terrified she’ll be unable to protect her children.

Since I posted my review of the book in advance of the publication date, and in celebration of the much anticipated official release, Under Much Grace raffled off two of the books. I'm excited that people went to the effort of following through with the incentive which involved listening to a particular episode of Jocelyn Andersen's BTR and writing about it.

Please keep checking back with us for an upcoming interview with Meg Moseley
on BTR about When Sparrows Fall
We just haven't managed to match up our schedules, 
but you can listen to our early thoughts about the book HERE.

So on May 4th, as promised,  I persuaded my silly cat to choose from among the entries. She loves to bite paper, and we often laugh here about how she “validates” coupons and receipts before they make it from the mail to their appropriate destinations. So we all had a bit of must-needed fun while Anna chose the winner. Too busy with napping and general cat-like disinterest, Simeon, my other cat, refused to participate.

Per the rules of the raffle, the winning contestant could choose to have their entry posted here.

Winner #1:

Andrea Ball was the first winner who writes a most excellent entry about the BTR archive of April 9, 2011 (Why Good People Make Dangerous Choices: The Pearl Method). She summarizes what Jocelyn says about the significance of “the small first step.”
Can Christians do the unthinkable? Jocelyn describes on the blogtalkradio interview how they did (in the case of the Schatzes) and how such things could happen again. It all begins with an authority figure (in this case a spiritual leader) assuring his adherents that what they are doing is to bring about a spiritual reformation -- a Godly society in America. If husbands are told that their wives are less than human and merit corporal punishment, that their children must be trained in the fear and admonition of the Lord using means they would have in the past found appalling, by little increments they come to accept it till they come to find that they have done the unthinkable.
The second step Jocelyn mentions, the diffusion of responsibility, allows the participants in the horrific acts to shift blame and also gives them permission to be violent. In complementarianism as taught in the Christian patriarchy movement, the husband is ultimately responsible for whatever happens, no matter how wrong it is, and the wife can be protected psychologically against any twinges of guilt. She can still believe she is a good person, a phenomenon known ad doubling which Robert Lifton describes in "The Nazi Doctors." As Christians we should take these sobering instances from social psychology to heart, for it is not just the Schatzes, but each of us if we allow our minds and souls to be surrendered to an authoritarian leader.
Winner #2:

Though the other winner chose not to have her entry posted, she's written another insightful comment which Dee and Deb, those Stylish Bloggers, may turn into a blog post in days to come.

Kathy's comment at The Wartburg Watch in the discussion following their post entitled, Heaven, Hell and the O'Reily Factor:
As a former missionary to remote, tribal people who have no access to the gospel due to language barriers and geography, I have another perspective on this question of hell.

The Bible does talk about two possibilities after our physical death, either with God (heaven) or separated from him (hell), so I am sticking with that. But how exactly a person ends up in one “place” or the other, that is something I am not so sure about anymore.

Here’s why:  “When people choose not to believe in Christ, that’s their business. When people have no choice, that’s OUR business.” I used this phrase to garner support from churches for our missionary work. On a superficial level that may sound very noble and caring. It is certainly motivating to those who truly believe there is a hell and that the only way for people to have another post-death option is by hearing (understanding) the gospel.

But ultimately, for me as a Christian missionary, the idea of people’s eternal destiny resting on my shoulders was an intolerable burden. This weight of personal responsibility has also had disastrous consequences for many families in my former mission. These parents felt compelled to board their children at MK schools so that they would be unhindered in their efforts to learn the tribal language and get the gospel to the people before anyone else in the tribe died and went to “a Christless eternity”.
The MKs were told by the school staff not to tell their parents that they were unhappy at boarding school because if they told it would “hinder their parents’ work and result in Africans going to hell”. This spiritual abuse (the “don’t talk” rule) set the foundation for other abuses, including sexual abuse, to go undiscovered or covered up for decades. Now these adult MKs deal with PTSD, broken marriages, addictions, etc.

The abuse and cover up is documented by GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in Christian Environments). You can read the 68 page report online at:

If our urgency to reach those who have ‘no choice’ with the gospel brings results like this, I wonder why any thinking person would want to ‘choose’ Christianity anyway. Something is wrong here!
Another dilemma is how to reconcile the idea of God’s love for all people with the Calvinist/Reformed idea that God chooses who will get to be the benefactors of his ‘love’. Whether you believe God irresistibly chooses some and not others or whether you believe in free will, if you believe that the only possibility for salvation comes through hearing the gospel then essentially you also believe that there is a massive, unchosen, damned portion of humanity, based solely on the fact that they were born in a time period and location without access to the gospel.

This is a relatively comfortable theoretical discussion here on the internet. It’s another thing when a 20 year old tribal guy who was instrumental in helping you move into his remote village and is anxious to hear your special “message” in his own language, wastes away and dies of TB before your eyes, refusing to take the medicine you offer because he does not understand the true cause of illness and the effectiveness of medicine.

How do you reconcile God’s love for you and your compassion for that tribal guy (which compelled you to leave your life in the States and move your family half way around the world to live without modern conveniences) with God’s apparent indifference for the guy, given the fact that you prayed for God to keep him alive long enough or you to learn the language and explain the gospel to him?
I have reconciled it this way. Maybe there is more ‘truth’ out there than what has been revealed in the Bible. Maybe there is more to the ‘story’ of heaven and hell, sin and salvation that what we know. That is what I’m choosing to believe. I have to believe this if I am going to hold on to Christianity at all. I have believe that somehow, someway, someday, somewhere, all people are given an equal opportunity to believe or reject Christ’s atonement for them.

If I don’t believe this than ‘God’s love’ has a hollow ring to it. If God’s love for me really amounts to dumb luck – having been born in the right place at the right time – then it is not love at all. I can’t handle the thought of a world without a personally involved God of love. Life is pointless without a belief in something good and right out there, something that can make sense out of all the craziness and pain. So I just keep holding on to the belief that there must be more to the story, that “questions tell us more than answers ever do” (Michael Card), that in the end I will understand and it will all be good.

“Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.” I Cor 13:12

Stop back in early June to discover who won

(The cats are waiting...)