22.6.15

A Plea for Equality: Creatively Responding to Today's Aggressive Rejection of Faith

Have you ever felt that your whole society has a warped view of you?


"You're entitled to your own opinions and beliefs." "It's a free country." "You have a right to free speech."
They're phrases we hear all the time, and when it comes to opinions and lifestyles that are different to ours, we know the right thing to do is to be accepting and understanding of them. But as a Christian in an increasingly hostile world, where online conversations allow for instant, anonymous bullying with no identifiable consequences, what was once called 'free speech' has become what feels like a systematic battering of religion.

In almost any secular situation, I find that I'm allowed to speak my opinion - just as long as it's also the opinion of the secular majority. In the online community especially, it has become extremely unpopular to believe in the existence of a god. Even more so the possibility of creation.

Here's three basic worldviews and the reaction you're likely to get if you reveal this belief online:


  • If I believe there is no God, no after-life, no spiritual dimension; there is only the world man has discovered and it's the cosmic equivalent of dropping some eggs and flour on the floor and coming back 3 billion years later and finding a cake, I'm warmly accepted as an intelligent, well-rounded individual with logical reasoning and supposedly share my views with the well-educated of the world.
  • If I believe "there might be something out there bigger than me that I can't understand", the internet regards me as a dreamer, a naive buffoon who'll learn what it's really like soon enough - and throws in some belittling insults to help the natural transition along.
  • But if I identify with a spiritual world view, where the world is not a mistake, its Creator lives and is good, and there is therefore a moral framework determined by His authority (which in turn means there is an ultimate truth and we are not free to decide what's true based on our feelings), then I am a judgmental idiot with who blindly follows the boring religious practices of my parents, bullishly ignoring basic science and logic, and have never given the matter my thought for long enough to realise how ridiculous my belief is and turn away from my stupidity. The prescribed cure for this sort of sad predicament is full-blown online slander and ridicule.


And here's my somewhat desperate response to this injustice.


I've been at the receiving end of this cruel correction - either personally or as collateral damage to a more generic religion-bashing comment - more times than I can count. Most recently a week ago when someone on a well-known global content sharing site referred to a typically Christian opinion as "not an opinion, it's ignorance and stupidity". I felt so angry and hurt by this arrogant rejection of an entire worldview that the words really hung over me, and when I woke up the next morning they were still fresh in my mind. That afternoon, I vented as I wrote this poetic plea for equality.

“That’s not an opinion, it’s ignorance and stupidity”
It’s like I’m not allowed to speak anything that isn’t a majority; ‘normality’
But what if ‘normal’ was atrocity, an act of immorality
Like murdering millions in the name of ‘purity’
Would I be strong enough to stand on my principles whole-heartedly
Or be too afraid of being an anomaly?
The fact is I feel targeted personally
For holding beliefs that don’t fit the carbon copy
It’s like we’re eradicating individuality
Silencing anyone who feels differently
By implanting mass opinions artificially
Propaganda is directed, retweeted and spread systematically
And to not conform is idiocy, bigotry, small-minded lunacy
“A hatred based on my own insecurity”
I’ve been called “indoctrinated”, “infected”, “brainwashed”, “an embarrassment to society”
And forbidden the chance to explain my viewpoint properly
I’m kept at a safe distance like a man with leprosy
Despised and disgusting to almost every community
It couldn’t possibly be that I have my own understanding of cosmology
With experience, evidence and the intelligence to conclude it logically
You preach tolerance but have no room for variety
You preach acceptance but give me no credibility
Just because your badge reads “Atheism” and mine reads “Christianity”
I’m not a brainless advocator of hatred and exclusivity
I’m just being me by believing what feels right to me
So please STOP discriminating based on poisoned partiality
Stop calling me a hypocrite and hear your own hypocrisy.

The response to this response overwhelmed and moved me.


Still frustrated that I felt so alone in a world with an anti-Christian agenda, I posted the poem on Facebook, and was extremely encouraged and comforted to find that so many of my friends - and even people I haven't met - shared the post and told me how much they agreed with its sentiment. I was especially touched by all the non-Christian people who showed their support of it and even shared it to their own pages. I've never personally known so many people of different beliefs and worldviews come together and support me struggling with mine - it was a heart-warming experience.

I want to leave you with a word of encouragement if you relate to all the things I've said so far - this is a quote from C.S. Lewis to remind you that if you follow Jesus, you are following the one Truth in this world, and no matter how much he tries the Father of Lies will never defeat that Truth.

“A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word 'darkness' on the walls of his cell.” - C.S. Lewis

Be strong and courageous, family of God, and with humility and love keep showing the world the forgiveness of the One who gave His life to give them countless second chances.


April Shipton

Christian Singer/Songwriter from Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire
King's Daughters Team Member

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2.6.15

Living after the 'But'



Hello King's Daughters.

I know you haven't heard from me in a while, there is so much to say to you and so much want to share and have been keeping it all in for so long that I almost feel embarrassed to suddenly pop up again in your life. However, I know that if I just share a little now that the flow will return and I will find a way to keep in touch with you more often.

So forgive me if some of this doesn't make sense, I cannot update you on all I have been through in the past year but I would like to update you on recent events.  You see, God has blessed me with a business, the Women's Business Club.  It has been up and running for one year and nine months now as has grown from strength to strength.  I have loved almost every minute of the journey, there have been a few challenging minutes that I have not loved too much but mostly I have loved the journey.

One thing that came of this business is financial profit.  After years of lack and financial struggle I finally found myself in a good place of having enough.  Of course I want more of that, I want plenty. Plenty not only to enjoy life more but also to give - I do love to give.

In the past weeks I have found one thing after another has attacked my income to the point of risking going back to having nothing.  I couldn't bear the thought of back to poverty and scraping by.  Is this God or the devil? Who knows!  I do know that God is with me and is always working in and through me, so even in this dark season I look to him to find out what He has to teach me.  This is one lovely lesson that I am learning, I call it the 'But'.

I am feeling stronger in the Lord now after feeling nowhere for a while and I know that He has a plan and purpose for my life. However, we are not in the clear yet, the battle still rages, this morning I woke up to discover that we have lost another source of income. So please join me as I stand on and activate God's promises in my life.

Today I declare:

"But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
- Philippians 4:19

I feel that the 'But' in this verse is very important. You see, verse 18 says:

"I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God."

For me, I relate to this as I was in a time of having more than enough after many years of poverty. I cannot help but wonder if God wants to remind me of the 'But' so that I don't become dependent on myself but that I remain dependent on His supply according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. I want to get back to having more than enough because I am generous and do give as much as possible, especially to my church. So please pray that I quickly learn what God is trying to teach me, that I am humble and live after the But!

I have so much more to share with you and I will do my best to do so more regularly, but for now I leave you with the 'But' to ponder on.

Please keep in touch too, comment below, I would love to hear from you.


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13.5.15

Seasons

by Karin Whittaker

The change of seasons is a necessary, even unavoidable truth in all life.
So it is in our walk with God. In nature (creation) we see it as a constant reminder of our own need for seasons - the planting, whether deliberately or accidental - of seeds, the watering and feeding of young plants, growth, and more growth so as to fruit in time for harvest. Then slowing down of life, and, what looks like death, in the rest and restoration time of winter when the body that had been fruitful must become quiet and restful. It will need careful pruning. It will need to stop producing. So that, in order to fruit again, it restores its energies and strength for the new season. Can we liken this to our walk in faith?
Yes, it is a very useful metaphor. We also need seasons to plant the Word of God, nourish it and see it grow, produce a harvest and after this, prepare ourselves for pruning. God will use others to help us along the way. We will be in situations where we realise we are "doing too much" or not the right thing to grow the Kingdom. This can go on for some time, until the time comes when life no longer flows, when we fell overburdened, when the energy we once had has all but drained away. That's when we need to stop, take stock, see what is going on and act on it.

Do I need to cut down on activities? Do I need to call in help to get jobs done which do not always require me to be there? To free up time to spend with family, be it physical or church family. To free up time to be with God. If we fight this natural rhythm of growth, fruit, harvest, pruning and rest we will only suffer in the long run.


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21.4.15

King's Daughters Team

In my previous post I took great delight in introducing our King's Daughters team to you.  Now I get the great pleasure of letting you know that they are all going to be authors on this blog!!! How exciting.  I can wholeheartedly commend them to you and trust you with them.  Enjoy all the lovely posts that are to follow and please do connect with us by leaving lovely comments on each post - we will reply to each one.

Have a happy day :)
Love Angela x

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12.4.15

King's Daughters Conference 2015 #HeLovesMe


King's Daughters Conference has made a step change! We have reached another level in quality and excellence and the reason for the massive change is because of our team.  God has brought together exceptional women from different churches and backgrounds to build King's Daughters.  We are all passionate about Jesus, passionate about King's Daughters and most importantly, passionate about you! Our prayers are for you not only for the day that you attend the conference but for every day leading up to it and after the conference we will continue to pray for you.

Our Vision:
To inspire women to discover who they were born to be - daughters of the King.

Our Mission:
We are a team of passionate, vibrant women from different churches and backgrounds, serving local churches and bringing unity to the body of Christ through our ministry empowering women to discover who they were born to be. We are real women with real experiences of Jesus in our lives, offering refreshing events for women in your church, and once a year we come together for our conference - bringing a message of identity as daughters of the King.

BOOK YOUR PLACE NOW

Use promo code 'Easter' and save £5 until end of April!


More will be revealed about what we do in the months ahead but for now may I proudly introduce our team to you.

  • Angela De Souza

    Director of Important Stuff

    angela@kingsdaughters.co.uk



  • Karin Whittaker

    Chief Trendsetter

    karin@kingsdaughters.co.uk



  • Jaylene Howell

    Head of Awesome

    jaylene@kingsdaughters.co.uk



  • April Shipton

    Supervisor of Sparkly Things

    april@kingsdaughters.co.uk



  • Lorah-Kelly Beard

    Positivity Technician (& Bubbles Lead)

    lorah@kingsdaughters.co.uk



  • Fiona Jones

    Oozer of Cool

    fiona@kingsdaughters.co.uk



Find our more about the team at www.kingsdaughters.co.uk

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24.3.15

Naked Worship - The Beginning

Hi Girls,

I know it's been a while and I have not been blogging consistently but I make no apologies either because I don't want to write to you for the sake of it, I want to write when I actually have something to say that is worthwhile.  Soooo, here is a silly little video from me to you in the early morning. No script, no makeup, no auto-tune just me sharing my time with God with you.

Now after recording this (yes I know it's bad and out of tune and all of that) I decided to make this a little project called Naked Worship.  So in this series of posts I am going to start collecting all my songs and developing them with an awesome bunch of singers and musicians and share the journey with you right here on my blog.

The point is not only to record the journey but to really worship God without all the stuff that we can get caught up with when producing our music. Hopefully it will lead to a professional recording BUT only after we have truly worshiped with all our heart and managed to capture that in song.

Join us on our journey - send in your recordings of your naked worship where you just unleash your love for God in song.  Let's just love Him and allow Him to love us and share all the love around.

Yes it will be messy but the Bible says make a joyful noise and that is exactly what we will do!

Love
Angela

 
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2.1.15

The Daniel Fast

It's that time of year again, the beginning of a brand new season filled with exciting possibilities. Even though we all expect good things to happen sometimes bad things happen too :(  At times we can avoid these bad things by staying in line with God's pure and perfect will for our lives. Other times bad things must happen as a part of God's perfect will for our life. Either way, staying spiritually strong and connected to God is essential and one of the best ways to do that is to fast. Fasting not only makes our spirit stronger but it also cleanses our bodies. If you are interested to know more about every that fasting can do for you please read He Restores My Soul.

Bondages, addictions and bad habits.
He told them, "This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting." - Mark 9:29

In the verse above Jesus was answering the disciples question about why they were unable to cast out a particular demon that day. Jesus response was that the kind of demon that they were dealing with would only come out by prayer and fasting. It seems that the demon was very powerful and that prayer and fasting would have given the disciples the victory over it. It the same way, we need to understand that we can have power over our own 'demons' by prayer and fasting too. If you are struggling with something such as a bondage, addiction or bad habit or really want breakthrough in a certain area, spend some time praying and fasting about it.

I like to start every year with a Daniel fast. This is a 21 day fast where you only eat fruit and vegetables and drink only water. At other points during the year I might do a full fast by abstaining from food completely for a set time and drink only water or I might do a shorter partial fast such as the Daniel fast. Fasting is powerful on so many levels and if you have never fasted before I urge you to give it a try but do consult a doctor first if you have any medical conditions or are on medication. Pregnant women should not fast.

Here are two other posts that you might find useful:

Daniel Fast - Food List
Daniel Fast - Odours, Tiredness and Pains

Please share your questions, thoughts or experiences with fasting in the comments box below, I would love to hear from you.

Love
Angela
x
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