Archive for the 'Religion' Category

Mary Winkler (Updated: November 20, 2006) – Yep – I THOUGHT so

Monday, November 20th, 2006

I vowed I wouldn’t write another post about the Mary and Matthew Winkler case until something new and substantial came to light. It appears that has happened. I’m not one to say “I told you so” but I did tell you so!

ABC News reports an interview with Mary Winkler.

In an exclusive interview with “Good Morning America,” Winkler’s family said she killed her husband because she was abused.

“Physical, mental, verbal,” said Clark Freeman, Winkler’s father. “I don’t know how she took it. She’s a stronger individual than I am.”

Freeman says the abuse became more apparent the last three years of Winkler and Matt’s marriage.

“I saw bad bruises. The heaviest of makeup covering facial bruises,” Freeman said. “So one day, I confronted her. I said, ‘Mary Carol, you are coming off as a very abused wife, very battered.'”

But Freeman says she denied the accusations.

“[She] would hang her head and say, ‘No, daddy, everything’s all right. Everything’s all right.'”

Friends say Winkler didn’t talk about the abuse, but her growing fear of her husband was obvious.

“One Sunday, Mary came into the church and I looked at her and she had a black eye,” said Winkler’s friend Rudie Thomsen.

Another friend, Amy Redmon, said it was clear who was in charge in the relationship.

“He was an authority figure, and he made the decisions basically. It was obvious,” Redmon said.

Sisters Say Winkler Is More Like Her Old Self

Winkler’s sisters, Tabatha Freeman, 25, and Amanda Miller, 24, told “GMA” that she seemed caught in a difficult situation and that they weren’t sure how to respond.

“We didn’t know if it could get worse if we were to confront [it],” Miller said.

Freeman and Miller also say that Matt kept Winkler from seeing her family.

“As these years went on, she seemed to be nervous to show love towards us,” Miller said. “Now it’s back to the old Mary [who] loves us and doesn’t care to come and hug us and gives us a kiss on the cheek.”

Winkler’s attorneys say there are also indications that Matt may have sexually abused her as well.

“What went on behind their closed doors is going to have to be told,” said Winkler’s attorney Leslie Ballin. “Some of what we’ve got from the state of Tennessee touches on sexual abuse.”

What’s striking to many outsiders is how accepting and supportive the majority of the community has been to Winkler.

That sense of forgiveness, community members say, stems from the town’s Christian roots and from its tendency to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Winkler’s daughters are currently living with Matt’s parents.

“She misses her daughters, but she’s staying busy,” said Miller, of her sister. “She’s the loving Mary we used to know.”

There is no joy in having my suspicions confirmed – except that so many COC readers condemned me quite vehemently for even considering that abuse might have been involved in this case. Maybe the light that will be shed on this issue via the Winkler case will wake up some people, and maybe it will help more women get the courage to free themselves from the clutches of the COC doctrine.

Perhaps it is because I didn’t grow up in the COC that I could so clearly see and feel the inequity in the COC churches I attended. COC women would tell me how they were treasured in the church – and yet the obvious facts and behaviors negated their words. That type of clash between reality and perception is a recipe for psychosis.

Any religion that skews its interpretation of Scripture in order to delegate half its members to second class status is dangerous. The general attitude of the COC is one that attracts men with a predisposition to abuse because they can then back up the abuse (whether verbal, emotional or physical) with their Biblical interpretation.

I can guarantee you that there is a lot of abuse that is never reported because the women believe they “deserve” what happens to them because they’ve lived the COC teachings their whole life. They believe they’re not as worthy as men. They feel bound to defend it and declare that what is obvious is not true.

Before the Winkler case happened, I really didn’t feel that negatively towards the COC. I knew that I could never attend one of their churches again, but that was the extent of it. However, I wrote a post immediately after the murder happened, and I was bombarded with COC folks condemning me for what I wrote. For each question I had, they kept repeating the same old arguments that apparently the church teaches everyone – even when the arguments made no sense whatsoever. And when I’d point out the inconsistencies, they’d just repeat the same thing again.

Women kept telling me how they don’t feel like second class citizens in the church – despite the fact that they can’t speak in church, can’t teach a class that has men in it and can’t serve in any leadership capacity that might possibly in any way make them “over” a man. Apparently the “masculinity” of COC men is a fragile thing indeed. It is a sad, sad religion.

When all the facts of this case are finally in the open, I hope it will make the people in the COC take a close look at their doctrines and make some changes.

Other posts on the Winkler Case:

Tennessee Church of Christ Minister Murdered by Wife – No wonder?

My Cruel, Callous and Mean-Spirited Opinion about the Winkler Murder Case

Women’s Place in the Church – Is the Church of Christ right? (Winkler post follow-up)

Mary Winkler – the story people won’t let go

Mary Winkler – FINALLY some news

Mary Winkler Finally Speaks – She Killed Matthew Winkler During a Money Fight?

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May the word of my life be fully spoken before I die.

Monday, November 13th, 2006

From Pastor Tom’s Sunday sermon:

May the word of my life be fully spoken before I die.

How is that for a quote that makes you stop and think?

His Eye Is On The Sparrow

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

This morning in church, our minister, Pastor Tom, sang a solo at the end of his sermon.  In his sermon he talked about how salvation isn’t just for getting a ticket to keep us out of hell.  It’s a ticket for a joyous life.  (I hope I didn’t butcher the main point too badly!) 

(Note added later:  Pastor Tom read this post and told me I had gotten the basic sermon idea, but he added: “Another point is that we are to serve because we love Christ and not use the gift offered in Him just as ticket.  In fact one without the other is useless. One cannot have a true abundance until we get a real glimspe of the intentional, circumstancial, and ultimate will of God found in and through Christ.”)

The song he sang was “His Eye Is On The Sparrow.”  Click the title if you’d like to hear the music and read the history of the song.

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father…So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31

His Eye Is On The Sparrow

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

“Let not your heart be troubled,” His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.


One of the reasons that I enjoyed the solo so much is that it reminded me of my father.  My father was a minister, and he sometimes sang solos in church.  This is a song I remember him singing.  It was beautiful.  




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Women’s Place in the Church – Be Quiet and Be Submissive! Oh yes – while you’re being quiet and submissive, you can teach children and cook for the church dinners and clean the church building

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

Ruth at Ruthlace has written a great post about women’s role in the church.  The few times I’ve written about the topic I’ve been bombarded with folks telling me about how wrong I am.  It always amazes me how many women are so eager to let an inaccurate interpretation of scripture limit what God can do in their lives.  Not so amazing  is the number of men who are eager to believe that they’re the only ones God wants to serve Him as a minister and in church services. 

Whenever I read something as well written and theologically sound as Ruth’s post on the topic, I want to mention it.

Just click over to Ruthlace and read it for yourself.

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Thursday Thirteen – Week 62 – Thirteen Favorite Bible Verses

Wednesday, October 11th, 2006

Thirteen of my Favorite Bible Verses

(1) “Be still, and know that I am God.” — Psalm 46:10

(2) “If you need wisdom — if you want to know what God wants you to do — ask Him, and He will surely tell you. He will not resent your asking.” — James 1:5

(3) “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” — Jeremiah 29:11

(4) “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” –Luke 12:34

(5) “Love Suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” — 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

(6) “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we all live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” — Galatians 5:22-26

(7) “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth. Where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” — Matthew 6:19-21

(8) “But one thing I do; forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 3:13-14

(9) “And I know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son.” — Romans 8:28-29

(10) “I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it unto me.” — Matthew 25:40

(11) “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.” — Isaiah 40:31

(12) “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” — 1 John 5:14

(13) “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” — 2 Timothy 1:7

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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Dr. Harold Olds – “Faith Break” – Conspicuous Consumption Competition

Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

Every Tuesday and Thursday morning, when I’m on the way to work, I make sure my radio is on 97.9 so I can hear “Faith Break” by Dr. Harold Olds around 7:45 a.m. Dr. Olds is the pastor of Brentwood United Methodist Church, and “Faith Break” is a short, positive message for the day.

This morning’s topic was a particularly good one. Dr. Olds talked about “conspicuous consumption competition” and how people feel the need for more and more “stuff.”

Then he ended with a really good quote. I was driving and couldn’t write it down immediately. So my quote may not be exact. However, it’s close:

“Identity isn’t determined by what you have. Identity is an inside job.”


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Forgiving after the Amish murders

Monday, October 9th, 2006

Kat at Cathouse Chat has a wonderful post on the role of forgiveness after the Amish children were murdered last week. Kat makes several valid points.

As an individual, I am commanded to forgive. The thing is, God doesn’t say “After that person apologizes, then you forgive.” No. He says, “Forgive.” The reason for this is quite simple: to hold on to rage and anger and bitterness harms no one butourselves. . . .

Vengeance is God’s business, not yours.

However, this moves us to the responsibilities of governments. One of the ways that God exercises justice is through the governmental process. The government bears the sword of justice, and it is supposed to wield it upholding the law and protecting the innocent. Romans 13: 1-4:

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. [emph. mine] . . . .

The government is not called to forgive, it is called to uphold and enforce the law.

I’ve seen that the Amish have gone to this man’s family, offering love and support and forgiveness. I think this is a splendidly gracious thing to do, and a beautiful example of the Christian worldview. I think this will help them in healing their shattered lives, and provide peace and comfort in the midst of this terrible tragedy.

But what has this man’s family done that needs forgiving? They are victims of his actions as much as the Amish families are. I am glad that the Amish did it, because this family needs to know that they’re not blamed, and that they will not be ostracized. But in the strictest sense of forgiving a wrong, it is not required, because they did no wrong.

Just to remind you that there are more victims of this atrocity than we usually keep in mind…

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13-Year Old Amish Girl’s Courage is Amazing

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

Here’s today’s news about part of what happened to the Amish girls in their last moments:

The oldest of the five Amish girls shot dead in a Pennsylvania schoolhouse is said to have stepped forward and asked her killer to “Shoot me first,” in an apparent effort to buy time for her schoolmates.

Rita Rhoads, a midwife who delivered two of the victims, told ABC News’ Law and Justice Unit that she learned of 13-year-old Marian Fisher’s plea from Fisher’s family.

What’s more, Fisher’s younger sister, Barbie, who survived the shooting, allegedly asked the gunman, Charles Carl Roberts IV, to “Shoot me second,” Rhoads said.

“They were amazing,” Rhoads said, “absolutely amazing. There was a tremendous amount of calm and courage in that schoolroom.”

“Marian, the oldest one, did ask to be shot first,” Rhoads said. “The faith of their fathers really was embedded in them. … How many adults are willing to do that? Not many.”

Marian Fisher is being buried today, along with Naomi Rose Ebersole, 7, and sisters Mary Liz Miller, 8, and Lena Miller, 7.

Anna Mae Stoltzfus, 12, is to be buried on Friday.

When I read of such incredible courage and compassion for others – especially in someone so young, I’m even further sickened by such morally bereft low-lifes as Bill Clinton, O.J. Simpson and Ted Kennedy who don’t even have the courage to own up to their despicable behavior – much less be willing to sacrifice themselves for others. A 13-year old Amish girl is more of “a man” than they could ever be.

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Saddam should be released and sent back to Iraq

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

That’s right. We should release Saddam and let him go back to Iraq AFTER we give him a sex-change operation. As a matter of fact, we could release ALL the Islamic terrorists we have in custody. We’ll be very gentle with them – no torture or discomfort. Just give them lots of painkillers, do the sex change operation – let them recuperate with the best nursing care, and then send them home. A few days as a Muslim woman should put out the fire of their Islamic fanaticism.

(I heard that on the radio the other day – but I don’t remember what show it was.)

Crossposted aat Jihadi du Jour.

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Some people are guilty of CDA

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

RT has a flair for making me laugh with his comments. The other day we were watching TV and saw a news clip about ministers who preach the “God will make you rich gospel.” (Of course the people must send the ministers money before God can start the rich-making process). RT remarked, “There will always be a wealth of dumb ass gullible people.” Then he told me about someone he was interviewing who, with stunning ignorance, talked herself out of the job. He said that she displayed CDA, or classic dumb assedness.

I once worked with a teacher who complained about all the HMPs (high maintenance parents) that she had to deal with. Then there were the kids who were OTL. You can probably guess that one without my assistance.

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