Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Father's Obituary from Pahrump, NV

James A. Lyles

James Alfred Lyles, 79, passed away April 19, 2010 at Nathan Adelson Hospice.

He was born July 21, 1930, in Everett, Wash.

He served in the military for both the Navy and the Air Force for over 20 years. He then retired from the Spokane Postal Service in 1985.

Surviving are his wife of 54 years, Mary; daughters, Sharon, Debra, Dorothy and Donna; sisters, Joan and Julia; brother, Duke (Doyle); 10 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 1 p.m. April 29, at Pahrump Family Mortuary, Pastor Ron Fairbairn, of Nathan Adelson Hospice, officiating.

Flowers and donations may be made to Nathan Adelson Hospice. (04/19/2010)

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Final Update on My Father...

Some of you have known me long enough, or knew my dad, and I
really should call you, not email you. But I found that I
couldn't bear saying the words over and over again. Right
now I'm numb. But the storm is coming...

My father, James Alfred Lyles, died this morning at 5:28AM.
He was sedated and peaceful and surrounded by 2 of his four
daughters and his wife of 55 years...

I think in music much of the time when happy/sad, and this
is the song that came to mind this morning as my sister
told me dad had died (with a few word changed to fit the situation)...

Why does the sun go on shining?
Why does the sea rush to shore?
Don't they know it's the end of the world,
`cause you don't live here anymore?

Why do the birds go on singing?
Why do the stars glow above?
Don't they know it's the end of the world?
It ended when I lost my dad.

I wake up in the morning and I wonder why ev'rything's the same as
it was.
I can't understand, no I can't understand, how life goes on the
way it does!

Why does my heart go on beating?
Why do these eyes of mine cry?
Don't they know it's the end of the world?
It ended when you left this earth.

(kind of an oldie, I know)
I am home from work today. I was awake from 2:35AM on and I don't think sleep is going to get any easier anytime soon...

I hope to emotionally get to this song...but I'm not there yet:

And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

Friday, April 16, 2010

Confession and Repentance of a former Hell Teaching Pastor

An Open Letter to My Former Parishioners

I am so very sorry. I hear the pain in your hearts when you tearfully admit you have a hard time believing God could love you. I now realize I bear a good bit of the responsibility for it. Some of the things I taught and did when I was your pastor harmed you and were a great disservice to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Early on I simply didn’t know any better. I taught you what I had been taught. I was the product of a form of Christianity that has dominated for so long—an institutionalized, clergy led, power preserving perversion of what Jesus intended for his followers. It’s true I had not done the critical research for myself. But, after all, who was I to question what my instructors said was the correct way to believe and “do” church?

When life experiences and personal Bible study exposed some cracks in my rigid doctrinal foundation, I began to suspect there was more to knowing God than I knew. But I deviated little from the denominational tradition in which I was trained and continued to teach things of which I was no longer convinced. It was too important for me to preserve my good standing and keep my denominational star on the rise.

We claimed our mission was to save lost souls from hell by getting them to “make a decision for Christ” and become one of us. More candidly, we were mostly focused on growing the church. By means of sermons and programs of all sorts, I pressured you to try harder. I exhorted you to demonstrate “deeper commitment” to God and the church. I called upon you to be “faithful” and give more money. I taught you that if you wanted to please God you would have to strive to be a better church member. In a thousand different ways I made you think you were still lacking in God’s eyes.

No, I wasn’t mean about it. I usually did it with a smile. I found entertaining ways to say it. Nonetheless, speaking on behalf of God, I made it clear I expected more from you and so did He. No matter how hard you tried I had to keep you motivated and centered in the church. I needed you to fill your seat and bring someone else along to fill an empty one. The church (and I) had bills to pay.

The outcome for so many of you has been learning almost nothing about the abundant life Jesus promised. You live in constant doubt that God could ever be pleased with you. The abundant life is simply not compatible with constantly worrying we might be disappointing God. I taught you he was ready to banish to eternal torment everyone who didn’t find his or her way into his grace. Trying to measure up was why we did most things. Guilt and shame was really the glue that held us together.

Most of our time was spent striving to earn favors from God by praying more, reading the Bible more, doing more in the church and “witnessing” more. I never taught you how to live in the knowledge God unreservedly loves us because of Jesus.

Our church environment was a chronic breeding ground for hypocrisy. We played comparison games and excluded ourselves from anyone who sinned differently than we did. We were hard on each other whenever one of us failed. We thought it was our duty to keep each other in line and maintain impossible standards of “holiness”. We occupied ourselves with debates about whether Christians should dance, go to movies, use alcohol, sleep in on Sunday and miss going to church, wear certain types of clothes, or listen to certain types of music. We quarreled over Bible translations, hymnals, sound system volume and carpet colors. Conformity to group standards was a very high value, as was compliance to membership policies and the pastor’s authority. In the name of maintaining order I rebuked and “disciplined” those who did not comply.

When I began to realize the magnitude of God’s grace through Jesus Christ. I kept it to myself. Not until I was off the church payroll was I willing to declare in no uncertain terms, “that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:19 NIV). And, because of this, our mission is to go lovingly into the world around us with liberating good news rather than with preachy judgment pressure people to withdraw with us into our own little subculture.

My constant prayer for you today is that our merciful Heavenly Father will undo the damage I caused in your spiritual development. I pray that God will make himself known to you as the essence of love that he is. Should our paths cross again, think only of me as a fellow traveler—no title, no pedestal, please. And, remember, God loves us and will never give up on us. He has included all of us in his grace through Jesus Christ and never has a single condemning thought toward us, ever. Be at peace.

Repentantly yours,

(Name withheld)

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Separation is a funny thing...

You don't realize, until you are in the midst of preparing for it, which triggers will cause sadness and tears. For me it was place mats. I was going through our place mats, the ones for fall, for Christmas, for all those special "family" occasions, to give away on Freecycle. I sat and rubbed them and cried for 20 minutes.

Today? Today it's the Tardis. Husband and I had just re-watched "The Silence in the Library" Dr. Who episode, where River Song has a leather journal that looks like the Tardis. In it she seems to keep all her "knowings of" and "doings with" The Doctor (who hasn't met her yet in this episode, so she cannot share said knowings/doings...she calls them "spoilers").

All of a sudden I wanted one, so I googled it and sure enough there are leather facsimiles out there if you can afford them. I can't at the moment, so I decided to draw the Tardis on the back of my new journal. I think I did a splendid job, so I took a photo of my drawing and went to send it to all my friends...starting with my husband...and there's where the sadness took me over again...because, see? Most of my friends wouldn't know what a Tardis was in the first place, let alone understand why I was possessed to draw one on my journal. Only husband. I am bereft...

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Reposting from a friend of a friend's blog:

In case you feel called/led to help them with their international adoption:

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The art of fundraising

I have yet to learn this art. I must admit that I am very discouraged right now. Somewhere deep deep down I feel that God wants us to adopt Freddie, I feel it in every nerve and bone in my body, everything in our lives has pointed us here except for one HUGE area, the finances! I have tried so many ways to raise the funds and it just isn't happening and meanwhile a little boy is sitting on the other side of the world not realizing, not knowing that someone in this world DOES want him, that someone DOES love him and desires to hold him and give him a home.

I guess this is my way of begging or pleading with all of you that have ever read my blog. This is a need we have RIGHT NOW. Freddie needs a family, we heard that call to be his family and we NEED your help to make it happen. I may not know you and you may not know me, but that's OK, I haven't met Freddie yet and I know what I am supposed to do. I pray to God that he will provide us with the resources to complete this adoption and not leave Freddie over there an orphan any longer. I've experienced first hand what bringing home one of God's forgotten angels is like and we are so grateful that He has called us to do it again. What an honor to be trusted with so many of God's little angels, I don't know why He has trusted me so much, but He has, and I am so appreciative of that trust He has in me.

But, that brings us back to fundraising. Fundraising is all about numbers. Not just dollar signs (though that is the POINT of fundraising, LOL), but it's about the number of people that are aware. Now, I'm not naive, I know my blog following is much smaller than some others, but here is my effort to get the word out. If you are reading my blog (that's you!!!) and you post about the puzzle fundraiser on your blog and LINK back to me, you will earn a puzzle piece (leave me a comment linking me to your post and tell me what name you want on your piece...leave it in THIS posting). So, go, spread the word. Make your blog follows aware of Freddie's need, of our need.

Thank you all!!