God’s not Dead–Guest Post by Willow Dressel

Tags

, , , ,

Good Morning friends,

We aren’t alone in our crafts, right? There is a huge community of writers/thinkers out there and I want to start hosting some of them on my blog. Today, we’ll begin a series on some of the concepts presented in the movie, God’s Not Dead. Please feel encouraged to comment and share.

 

Hi everyone,

Let me introduce myself; my name is Willow Dressel and I am a creation scientist, wildlife biologist, author, and friend of Sherry Rossman. How many of you have come across people that want to challenge your faith in Jesus and/or the Bible or the science/history of the Bible? A great example of that can be found in the movie “God’s Not Dead”. If you haven’t already watched the movie I highly recommend it. The movie went over some critical issue Christians face today. It is about a young freshman college student who stood up to his philosophy professor, and really the rest of the class too, to pronounce that God is not dead. The professor is a doubting, angry skeptic and many arguments ensued from the professor that the student had to refute. I will not disclose any more details for the sake of those who haven’t yet viewed the movie.

Sherry and I both have watched the movie (an amazing movie, by the way) and she thought that it would help all of you if we delved into some of the Professor’s–who is an atheist–objections to God a little deeper.

In the case of the movie, the professor started out with scientific objections, but the real cause was moral objections because he had suffered a great deal of pain. What am I speaking about?
A skeptic is someone who doubts/has objections with anything that has to do with the Creator God. Often a skeptic tries to dissuade you from defending the Bible or your faith. There are four basic positions of “attacks” he/she can take; spiritual, moral, scientific, and biblical.

But behind each of these positions is a root idea. Each root idea can be brought into the light when you ask a probing question. Then you will have a good sense of where the skeptic is coming from and what he is really asking…and how you can help them understand the truth.

You have encountered a spiritual skeptic when the topic centers around gods, heaven, meditation, the afterlife, the supernatural, karma, other religions, coexistquestioning God, etc. The root idea behind most spiritual objections is: “Good works get you to heaven.” So the Probing Question to ask is: “How good is good enough (to get you to heaven)?” From there you can answer other questions they may have. Keep in mind the root idea and if the person keeps rephrases the question, lead them back to the probing question.

You have encountered a science skeptic when the central topic is evolution, the Big-Bang, mutation, natural selection, ape to man, etc. The Root Idea behind most scientific objections is: “The natural world is all that there is.” So the Probing Question to ask is: “How much faith is required for that belief?” This is one of the icthusattacks the Professor in the movie used. Scientific skeptics are usually highly educated and can ask probing questions themselves. An example is “What scientific basis do we have that indicates an intelligence may have created or caused life to arise.” The answer lies in reason, something the scientific skeptic doesn’t believe can be connected to faith (more about this later). But “complex, meaningful information does not arise by chance, and it cannot be reduced to physical causes. Therefore, it is no blind leap of faith to conclude that living things containing the voluminous code of DNA demand and intelligent cause.” All of our answers lie in information.

Facing the scientific skeptic is one area were we may have to brush up on facts. If the answers don’t come to you right away it’s fine to let them know you will get back to them with an answer.

The moral skeptic has a worldview that has been couched in a very diplomatic (politically correct) sounding yet undermining Root Idea of “People should decide for swasticathemselves what is right or wrong.” The probing question then becomes “What is your standard for right and wrong.” The central topics for them are peace, fairness, justice, sex, art, intolerance, good, evil, self-rule, etc.

Finally, there is the biblical skeptic. Almost always some personal issues play a major role in their unbelief. Often people see suffering in the world and think God either no longer cares or never cared to begin with. Because God doesn’t fit their scripturephotoidea of Him, they reject the Bible. The root idea behind the biblical skeptic is; The Bible is man-made (they question the Bible’s relevance, reliability and authority). The Probing Question is: “If God really gave us a book, how would we know it came from Him?”

Next time we will look into the above questions a little deeper and work on how we can help the skeptic see the truth.

Take care and God bless,
Willow Dressel

References:
Foster, Bill. “Meet the Skeptic, A Field Guide to Faith Conversations.” Master Books, Green Forest, AR, 2012.

Who’s With Me?

Tags

, , , , ,

My goal is to be the youngest thirty-seven yr. old that will ride her son’s scooter. I can’t help it—I watch my kids slide and swing and play in childish delight. They monkey climb everything they can, with lungful’s of laughter and melting Popsicles dribbling over their chins.

I want.

I take a few spins around the park. The sidewalk encircles the grass in a perfect forever trail for anything with wheels. As I push off with my foot, Noah yells, “faster Mommy”.

I will, I will! The breeze crazies my hair as I race him around the grass, him on his bike, me the only grown-up around these parts who is not afraid to do this.

A young(er) mother walks her daughter to the playground, giving me a strange look. I smile. Yeah, you just need to play for a while, I know it by the way you look exhausted just walking through the parking lot.

Watching her invisible burdens weigh her shoulders down is like watching the News and trying to take the weight of all the tragedies onto mine. It’s too heavy, only God can do that. So I pray, then go out and play for a bit.

I fill most of my summer with this. When Noah and Chloe take their bikes out, I run

Proof

Proof

behind them. My legs love it, and I love it too because my legs are firmer for climbing ladders to the slide and for keeping up with them as they get faster/taller. The ground is no longer hard and boring—it’s a springboard for launching me over weeds sprouting through bike trails and hearing my son go, “That’s awesome, mommy. How do you do that?”

When I told my kids I’m about to be a published novelist, I get blank stares. But launching over monsoon-inspired weeds? That’s an accomplishment.

Just now, I interrupted my blog to go run through a giant mud puddle. Awesome. And you know what? I think better. I feel great. The fresh air and exercise, the blue sky and play have reminded me that God wants us to take a break when needed. Work at your craft, and pray without ceasing, but trust Him to handle the big stuff, because even the youngest of us grown-ups can’t carry the whole world.

He called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:2-4

Human

Tags

, , , ,

As my fingers fly over the keyboard I wonder about our great-greats. If a few of them were to step into my house and sit down with me as I work on my laptop, would they be impressed? After all, I’m chatting with someone on the other side of the world as my lunch is being heated up by the plastic box humming in my kitchen.

I can see William now, putting away his handkerchief as he stares at the AC vents pumping my house full of cool air. His face is no longer beat red from working in his farm, and he holds his hand in the cool air as if heaven were blowing him a kiss.

Would Bertha run her hands over the stack of books that are waiting to teach me something new? Jewelry making, knitting, and of course the pile of books on

Don't worry about your inadequacies. I am cat.

Don’t worry about your inadequacies. I am cat.

parenting from this or that angle. We can do anything, right? She pulls her hands away and wipes the dust on her skirt. Yeah.

I could show them how a person can do shopping on the computer. Click. William might raise his eyebrows as I pay for my purchase with a plastic card.

Their eyes grow a bit weary as we watch the news. I think it’s too much for them, all this war and tragedy fed to us at once. Tears begin to course down their cheeks and mine as well when I let it all sink in. How come we can’t fix that?

William spots the desk across the room, the one from his time…maybe from his own home—I’m not sure how many hands it has gone through before mine. This desk has outlasted decades of throw-it-together furniture. It has seen generations of family pass on, and new ones come in. The details are exquisite. No machine of today could have made a desk that beautiful and few craftsmen today would have the time to make something like that with our constant demands.

I think William and Bertha would take one last look around and step back into their own time despite the hot house and cook stove, where people aren’t expected to be omnipresent. Where a person could take the time to do things right, and civilization realized they weren’t God.

I look at the TV screen, my pile of dusty how-to books. I glance at the articles on my laptop where the fights between the right and the left are nothing but a game of control. Control—that’s how this country is breaking apart. But we can’t, we’re not big enough.

And there is always something that outlasts the thrown-together stuff. I look over at the desk. Maybe we need to listen for a while, watch the master craftsman do His thing. He’s the only one who can do all. of. it. He’s vintage and modern awesome.

Feeling overwhelmed with our do-it-now culture? Tell us in the comments.

Night

Tags

, , , , ,

There’s a pocket of the night where you can see into another world. When I’m working the swing shift, watching over those who sleep, and the moon covers the earth in a silver sheen, I’m able to see through the darkness that normally threatens to morph into nightmares. I walk along the edge of a forest and see that most of the glowing eyes are not harbingers of doom. They aren’t one with the night, but have form of their own. Some of them slink along ditches and the creek bed, watching me for any sign of threat.

A word fills me: “I AM with you always.” I relax and go forward.

I meet some of those shapes who are lined with a white stripe of stink. They skitter around like lying politicians, threatening to defame those who disagree with them. I give them a wide berth, for here is a real threat; not of bodily harm, but how others will find me offensive due to another’s deception. I watch as they find their way to the dumpster.

This is my part-time job, holding down the fort and walking into the night while people slumber. It’s good, and bad, and certainly a different world in the moonshine. It’s kind of like my friend’s story. She calls herself a recovering (religion I won’t name). She said 100_1071she grew up in this church, believed in Jesus, knew who He was, but not until years later while she sat in a different place did she realize that knowing who Jesus is and knowing Him were two different things.

That revelation made all the difference. It was as if she stripped away the distractions that live under the sun, to finding His voice in the night. She now knows peace in the midst of trial, hope when all seems hopeless. “It’s like having a curtain removed from your eyes”, she said.

I think about this as I move on to the gazebo.

A raccoon fishes in the pond. He peeks at me for a small moment. He must recognize me and remember that I have a soft spot for his type of mask because he turns back to his fishing. He is bold and beautiful…I’m not sure that he isn’t an angel in disguise, keeping company with those of us that tread through the dark. I move on.

The flag whips around when a gust blows in. Its edges are tattered, but it never puts down its guard. As I look at this symbol that some salute and some defame, I understand why so many people think Jesus-followers are skunks. Those who speak in His name without really knowing him tend to repel people. I’m sure they mean well, and even intend to walk in goodness.

But you’ve got to be willing to follow Him despite the tattered and dark places, and for that, you really have to get to know Him.
Otherwise, the creatures who think I’m a threat, become the threat, and the night becomes one, big nightmare.

How do you enter this pocket of the night where raccoons might be angels?

For everyone who asks receives, and the one who searches finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:8

Raised on Books

Tags

, , , ,

The first book that made me cry was Bridge to Terabithia. I held the thin pages in my pruned hands, dampening the corners as I soaked up every last bubble in the bathtub, sobbing as the water turned cold.bridge to terabithia photo

I was mad at the author for killing off Leslie. It might have even been the first book I threw across the room, though certainly not the last. I anguished over the loss of a beloved character, wondering what would happen if I were to lose someone dear?

Weren’t books supposed to be for entertainment?

I had my own friend, just a trot through the scrub brush, who liked to climb trees and swing across the dry creek bed on a frayed rope swing. He and I spent hours combing through the caves and trails of the scraggly west—his mother kept boxes of chocolate bars in his kitchen—he liked to race and swim and dream, just like I did.

As I returned that book to the library, I felt an even closer kinship to my friend next door, knowing that the fun we had was not just kid stuff—it was precious.

I craved more books and wanted to know how they held such power. Little Women taught me that living with grace outweighed the shallow demands of society. Anne of Green Gables taught me that family goes beyond blood ties.

Frank Peretti’s books walked me through my high school years, opening my eyes to spiritual warfare and the root behind what makes us do what we do. Piercing the Darkness was one of the most powerful books I discovered, as far as how it helped shape my worldview and why it was okay to be me.

When people lump books in with the entertainment section, I always do a double take. Yes, they certainly entertain, but not mindlessly, not in a way that wastes time or hinders a reader’s creativity.

They have the power to change lives. To Educate. To make a child think beyond summertime swinging over a dry creek bed.

 

Is there a book that impacted your life? Tell us about it in the comments.

Diverted

Tags

, , , ,

Last week I talked about failure.  This week, I’m taking a step forward.100_2425

As I was in the midst of writing/illustration The Guardians a few years ago, an idea came to me that would not leave me alone. I mean, I had planned to write stories for my children as they aged, but this idea kept haunting me  (was it you, God?). So… I wrote it down and now I’m stepping into a whole new genre. Rook Publishing has offered me a contract for this book and I couldn’t be more excited.

So gather your teens, your college-age readers (yep, and I know a lot of older adults who read YA fantasy incognito) and prepare them for the story of an adventure across the brokenness of America. And of course, there’s a little romance. And beauty. And lots of other secrets.

Has your path ever changed, despite careful planning? Tell us in the comments.

How to Make Art

Tags

, , , , ,

I adore So You Think You Can Dance. It’s what’s on my TV when I need a night off, spilling out art and joy and pain like we all need to live it.

My own background in ballet and squishing my toes into blood-stained pointe shoes is nothing compared to the level of awesomeness I see as each dancer takes their turn pouring their hearts onto the stage. I didn’t have the level of training, or the right kind of feet to take it to a professional level, but I can understand their journey as another kind of artist–pain and rejection included–and whatever you do can be found in the dancer’s process. I urge you to watch at least one show (One of my favorites).

A dancer’s body is incredibly strong—bending and lifting for hours on end to make art out of movement– working every muscle, demanding the depth of every emotion, and peeling away deposits of ordinary.100_2831
When a dancer gets cut, I sympathize with them, but I also know that a necessary layer has just been peeled away. They are given the opportunity to be better, and the most dedicated dancers return the next year, renewed and full of fire—all due to a good dose of constructive criticism.

This is the Refiner’s fire uncovering the pearl inside the oyster, the hot fudge waiting at the bottom of the sundae.

Rejection hurts, it can be embarrassing, especially when you’ve done your best, but it opens your eyes—you can be better than your best. You can be awesome, and as long as you stay humble enough to recognize the potential to improve, awesomeness has no limits.

 

Do you have your own story to tell about rising from rejection? Tell us in the comments.

A Mom’s Guide to Writing During Summer Break

Tags

, , ,

1. If you wish to have a garden, water while you write. Don’t worry if your kids trample a few corn stalks, or that you forget to water altogether. After all, plot happens.

Seriously--I planted three rows! Three!

Seriously–I planted three rows! Three!

2. For exercise in between chapters, take your kids on a bike ride, but don’t ride one yourself—the workout you’ll get from running after them will make up for EVERY SECOND your rear hits the chair.

3. Expect frequent interruptions from your kids. Just remember, kill your darlings is a writing term, not a real life application.

4. Have contact with other grownups or your adult novel will start sounding like Dr. Seuss.

Wait...this isn't my laptop.

Wait…this isn’t my laptop.

5. When writing a dark scene, turn off Sesame Street. A murder scene inspired by the voice of Elmo will always end up in the slush pile.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 95 other followers