A Day of Awesomeness

Today was just awesome. My husband was baptized AND my daughter Tesla. That’s right, a twofer today, in Heaven. You know there’s a celebration going on as two more believers shared their stories of accepting Jesus as their personal savior. This year our church has had 109 come forward to be baptized. That is God working there.

The day wasn’t without drama. Tesla mentioned to her father the night before that she was getting baptized today. So this morning John called and asked Tesla if she wanted him to come along. She said yes. I know this isn’t very Christian of me, but I didn’t want to have to deal with him. Hey, I’m still working on controlling my anger towards her father. Especially now that he’s divorcing yet again and already has made a dating ad online.

His soon-to-be ex talks to me. He knows it. What’s he going to say? We can’t talk? I guess I’m her listening ear through the process. I get that.

The situation just has me sick. I tell her she will get through it and come out for the better. If I can survive and have to continue to interact with him because of Tesla, she can get through it. She has her grandson and a good job and car that she can afford. I didn’t have any of that and I came through. God, family and friends and readers who read my story, followed my life through the tough times and now the good.

I got through those toughest times by leaning on God. I prayed SO much. Sometimes I wondered if I was just wasting sleeping time. The struggle was REAL. Realizing my bad choices, my lack of ability to stand up for myself, giving into demands I shouldn’t have. It’s easy to get down on yourself. Beat yourself up over the past. Don’t fall for that. Focus on the now.

Being an example to Tesla is important to me. I try so hard to not let the issues I have become Tesla’s. She looks up to me. She knows God, Jesus and church are important to me and so, they are important to her.

I am so thankful Tesla has realized her faith so young and proud of her to come forward and tell everyone. And, I’m so thankful for my wonderful husband sharing his story. This has been a fantastic day in the name of God. We had a little celebration at home after the baptism with our family and friends and our neighbors came over and shared lunch with us. We told them about the baptism and it was awesome. Invited them to church in the future…see how that works…

Now my thoughts are focused on decorating for Christmas. I can only tackle one event/holiday at a time.

Tesla was happy her dad came to see her get baptized. I was happy there was no drama.

God is Always Good,


A MisText: Texting the Wrong Number

I was reading my Facebook feed, catching up on my friend’s day. I came across this status update by my friend from high school, Ben Snelbaker:

My daughter got this text last night by mistake, it is so heartfelt that I had to pass it along. Im doing this in hopes that people will put her in there prayers or want to reach out and say some kind words to her. My daughter text her back and I text her for awhile, she was so overjoyed that two strangers would reach out and give her words of encouragement. I know everyone on Facebook knows someone or maybe even struggled with there own addiction. After texting her, she is depressed because she has lost everything and believes there is nobody left in this world that wont judge her for what she has done. This girl is in her early 20’s.
This is her text sent to my daughter by mistake:
” Thank you for getting me out, thank you for being the only one to ever help me like everytime before this time. I wish I could say this to you in person, but I really want to apologize from the bottom of my heart for how I screwed up I am and the horrible things ive done to you and grandpa… I was extremely selfish and ungrateful. . You guys have always given me everything, the car,the trailer, the money, clothes, shoes, school, everything. .. im very sorry that I let you down but I was always the good kid before I started doing drugs and it just completely changed me as a person and I didn’t even know who I was… I still kind of dont but im trying to figure it out and get back on the right path. I never wanna end up in jail again and I just to start proving to you guys and everyone else that I can be a decent human being. It really hurts me that I did what ive done to you guys and it bugs me more than anything else. Besides the money and everything it can buy, I want you to know that I really do love and appreciate you and everything you do for me.. I just want to show you that I can be different and worth it this time”

Everybody deserves a second chance in life, I would hate to see her going back to being an addict or even worse, dead from an overdose.
Thank you all if you read this and at least said a small prayer.


I’m praying for this young girl, that she stays strong and lives a better life, fixing her wrongs and hopefully finds Jesus as her savior if she hasn’t already.

If you pray, I hope you’ll join us.


Mentoring for Jesus

Follow Him and you can't go wrong

Follow Him and you can’t go wrong

Last night Brian and I met with the youth pastor at our church. We want to volunteer Wednesday nights with the youth group and be mentors to high school students. We both feel strongly about this, especially me, because I want to make myself available to youth who are vulnerable at this tender age.

We’re not volunteering for this position because we think we are perfect people and want youth to “follow our lead” in life. We recognize we are sinners, no different than anyone else on this planet, made in God’s image yet forever imperfect. But, I know I’ve changed. I’m not the same person I was a year ago and I know it’s because I finally found a church that helps me in my Godly walk in life. Every day is a fresh start to get things right, even though we fail daily, God’s grace saves.

Brian and I are blessed. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” I’ve always had a strong faith in God but in the past year, this faith has brought changes to my life, not just the blessing of getting out of a bad marriage that I was rushed into, but the feeling of genuine love from a man who supports me for being the person I am. When I said I wanted to find a church to attend, Brian didn’t bulk, didn’t roll his eyes, and didn’t protest. He was supportive and joined me in hunting for the church that would help us grow in our faith together.

That has been the key to our success and the amazing strength in our love. God is with us every step of the way. We know the path we are meant to take, the choices we need to make. “All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” Each night I pray, thanking God for the blessed life I am living and for the amazing man in my life and the church that has allowed our faith to grow. We can’t achieve purity but we can strive to be as pure as possible and pass that desire to be pleasing to God on to the youth we mentor.

Mentoring teens is tricky. They are old enough to be free thinkers so just saying “do this or do that” isn’t going to cut it. But we can share the scripture with them in hopes of making a difference. “Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous. The one who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work.”

It is easy to be led astray, especially as a teenager or young adult. God knows I’ve strayed in my walk, but I recognize my sins and ask for forgiveness. I don’t want to be the person I was before. I was angry on so many levels and acted out both verbally and in my writing. I lived in a relationship not once, but twice, that wasn’t pleasing to God. Those days are behind me.

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” I try not to speak or write in anger, but instead refuse to be pulled into drama that will bring the old, sarcastic Pattie out of the woodwork. I want to show I can be a better, Godly person with my daily actions and not just showing up on Sundays or Wednesdays with “words” to regurgitate to the youth. The youth need role models, not mouth pieces.

I have been given the gift of everlasting life because I have faith in God and asked Jesus to be in my heart. Faith is the key because I can’t PROVE God exists, but I believe he does and is with me every step of my day. Because I believe this, I want to do the best I can to show my love and appreciation for all he has done. I came into the world with nothing, but I now have the greatest gift possible because God gave his son to release us from our sins and unworthiness.

“The one who keeps God’s commands lives in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.” I am so thankful for the spirit within Brian and I because not only has it brought us closer to God, it has brought us closer to each other in marriage. I have never been in such awe of how I feel. Surely God has done great things for me and now it is my turn (and Brian’s) to share how great God can be in other’s lives.

The Biblical quotes from this post are from 1 John chapter 3, a wonderful passage to read in full.

Please feel free to comment on my post or Facebook page in the ways God has touched your life.

God Bless!

The Problem of God: Absentee Father

Pattie Crider

PHL 250

Final Paper

May 12, 2014

Bonnie Religious fathers day

The Problem of God: Absentee Father


God has many problems to work out trying to watch over the humans he created. People are not mindful of the Ten Commandments and often seem to break them purposely as if spitting in the face of God. Humans feel let down by God and disappointed in his ability to fulfill the role of a father figure. Many people have had no earthly father figure making it even more difficult to think of God as a father when he has no physical presence in their life. I find this to be a problem of God in that he has a responsibility, at minimum, to find a way to show humans that he is there for them in life and not like so many earthly fathers who have only contributed the sperm needed to create a child.

“I don’t believe in God, and how could anyone believe in him? If this is, as we are told, our heavenly father, then he seems a rather absent one. Why doesn’t he notice at all the piss poor state of the world? [He] can’t exist or he’s a poor excuse for a father.” –Jack (YahooAnswers np) Jack doesn’t pull any punches in asking his pointed question about God being our heavenly father yet is seemly absent in so many people’s lives. Jack is not just upset with God but also with himself. In his question I pulled from Yahoo Answers, Jack goes on to share that he has a daughter he only saw once, shortly after her birth, and never again thereafter. Jack acknowledges that he is an absent father himself and is unable to make the connection of God as a father in his own life. Jack, like many others, questions why God has allowed the world to “fall to ruin” if he is such a “caring father” to humankind.

“How can I call God “Father” when I do not know what a father is? I have tried so hard to understand my friends when they talk highly of their fathers. I am angry with him for leaving our family” (Balthazar 543). The writer of this statement is not alone in his thoughts. According to The Centre for Social Justice Report, lone parent families are increasing by more than 20,000 a year and have been steadily rising over the past 40 years. The report estimates there are more than 3 million children growing up predominantly with their mothers (Richardson np). The teachings of Jesus and from the Bible are that God is our heavenly father but how can a child ever relate to this concept if their earthly father is nowhere to be found? Even those who do have both parents present in the household may have difficulties with this concept, especially if they have never engaged in biblical study through a pastoral figure, church or Sunday school. Even with such guidance, understanding an unknown figure that cannot be seen or spoken to as a father would still be difficult. Is this the problem of humans or the problem of God?

If God’s goal is to have us accept him as our heavenly father than I would lean towards this being God’s problem. Certainly a difficult one as family’s fall apart daily making finding a solution or creating a solution is nearly impossible, even for God. People, even those that are the best Christians possible, fail miserably every day, yet God somehow expects parents to be role models for their children. A difficult task if a father is not present in the child’s life. In Gannett’s article, “The Parent. The Child-And God” he refers to the parent as a trustee. He then compares God to a parent as God watches every moment on the earth instructing the man and woman to “Hold him, keep him, tend him for me. He is my boy, she is my girl: tend them for me” (Gannett np). This article written in 1903 places the responsibility back on the parents to tend to their child and raise their child in a Godly manner. Unfortunately this dual parenting system has gone by the wayside. Gannett continues that God is fate to the child and God is not the absentee, but God is present, securing by the wonderful method of his parental love. I seriously have my doubts if the three million children who have an absent father look to God as his replacement.

In a YouTube video, the concept of God as an absent father is addressed. The men in the video discuss how the neglect of their father’s led them to pray to God for support and answers, but they felt they never received answers. “God never says, ‘Good job’ as my father figure. There was never a tangible person and having the Holy Spirit inside was not enough.” After living 28 years and receiving no feedback from God the one man said it lead to suspicion in his life and questioning if there really was a heavenly father. He asked, as many people do, “Why does God let tragic things happen and do nothing?” He found this unacceptable to believe and a real problem of God. He believes there is not external force that will come in and take responsibility for the tragedies in people’s lives. He now believes we must accept what happens and realize the tragedies are not necessarily comic. “We must do what we can to avoid these evil things and prevent them. You must trust in your heart because the answers are not in the [biblical] text.” After years of struggling with the neglect of his father and the difficulties in accepting God as his replacement father, he came to a decision. This man pushed the Bible away from himself and told God the Bible was not good enough to take the place of his absence (DeSkepticon np). He broke away from both his earthly neglectful father and the heavenly father that he never quite felt was present.

The video the two men made discussed their feelings towards God as a father figure. Years had been invested in giving God a chance to “step-up” and prove he is worthy of this title. It may be said that this is a twisted concept of how we are to accept God’s love. We are to not question how God works and instead have faith that how our life unfolds is his ultimate plan for us.  Psycho-spiritual analysis suggests that inadequate involvement of fathers can bring anger that impairs people’s understanding of how God can be “Our Father” (Balthazar 544) If this is indeed factual, than what is God doing about this problem?

Looking again at the article from 1903, it raises the importance of a “family alter” in the sanctuary home where the family bows their individual souls together at morning or at night. This is when the father and the mother and the two or three little ones live as one unit of blessedness, one household of love and has the feeling of family thankfulness and aspirations. The author states that this practice has fallen by the wayside in households placing the blame on the parents and removing the responsibility as a problem of God. He calls this the shame of the liberal faith for not lifting the souls in a household thanksgiving (Gannett np). Could this be the very downfall of a two parent family unit, the loss of giving thanks to God as a family within the household? Even if God is forced down the throat of a child daily, this will not necessarily guarantee a child will accept God as their heavenly father and be set on a course for eternal life. The lives of children and adults have changed so drastically since 1903 that the concept of a family, even one that attends a traditional church service on Sundays, also having a morning or evening gathering of thankfulness at home seems incredulous. I’m willing to bet nearly every household would state there just isn’t time in their schedule. The time once dedicated to worshipping God has been lost to careers, school, sports, television, the Internet or video games. Socializing in person or on the World Wide Web holds higher importance than praising God as a family unit and factor in the high number of single-parent homes and God is moved even lower to squeeze into the schedule. If more people are pushing the Bible away from themselves as DeSkepticon did, is there any hope for improvement for humankind through God as a heavenly father?

If human-beings are moving away from God, then Slavoj Žižek concept in his video is not that difficult to believe. While Jesus was hanging on the cross as recorded in the Bible in Matthew 27:43, at about the ninth hour into his hanging, he knows he has reached the end of his earthly life and cries out, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” Žižek claims this is the point in which Jesus realizes there is no God. He also states “Of course we cannot know what God wants from us, because there is no God” (Žižek np). This is the personal opinion of Žižek, but could it be true? God has a problem, not just that of absent fathers or being an absentee father himself, but that people have lost in their faith in him. What needs to happen for faith to be restored in humankind now that so much has ebbed away over time? An old-fashioned revival or maybe an old-fashion, vengeful act of God to get our attention that has strayed so far since biblical times? Couldn’t God just solve all his problems by sending Jesus back to earth and making those who don’t believe realize just how wrong they were? It is not God’s problem if we don’t believe in him, but our own and personally, if I find out in the long run that the Bible was a book of fiction and God was just human’s way of trying to keep people inline (which obviously would be a FAIL) I don’t see there was any harm in my beliefs. If there is no harm to this belief while living, and in death I find it all to be true, then the rewards for my belief in a heavenly father will be too numerous to write and I will in fact have held the faith regardless of God giving me proof while on earth that he is indeed above, watching over us all.



Works Cited

Balthazar, Pierre M. “How Anger Toward Absentee Fathers May Make it Difficult to Call God     ‘Father’” Pastoral Psychology. (2007) 55:543-549 Web accessed. 1 May 2014.

DeSkepticon. “Is God an Absent Father?” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 11 Mar. 2011. Web accessed. 7 May 2014.

Gannett, William C. “The Parent. The Child-And God.” Friends’ Intelligencer. (1853-1910) 24 Oct. 1903. Web accessed. 8 May 2014.

Richardson, Hannah. ‘A million children growing up without fathers.’ BBC.com. 9 June 2013. Web accessed. 9 May 2014.

YahooAnswers. Society & Culture>Religion & Spirituality. “Isn’t God an ‘absent father?’” Answers.yahoo.com. 2007. Web accessed. 1 May 2014.

Žižek,Slavo .The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology. Dir. Sophie Fiennes. Zeitgeist Films, 2013. Film.

Does God Love?

Pattie Crider



Does God Love?


The pain in my chest is overwhelming today and I wonder how much I can endure. I’m angry at God and can’t understand why there must be so much suffering. God if you love us why do you let tragedy into our lives? I want to love you. I want to believe you love me and all of us on earth, but you make it difficult. Is it a test of our faith? If it is, you are taking it to a level I can barely endure.

“Aunt Peggy! Hi, it’s Pattie. I’m calling to see what time you want us to come for Easter dinner.”

“Oh Pattie, I have terrible news. My Frankie died in his sleep last night. I’m still having dinner and want you to come, but I’m pushing it back to later in the day. More of our family will be coming.”

I felt like I had just been punched in the gut. Frankie, my 34 year-old cousin was so full of life. He made even the grumpiest person smile with his antics. I sat down to let what my aunt had just said sink in. Frank was gone. I wouldn’t see him at dinner tomorrow and he wouldn’t get all the kids wound-up to the point we would have to yell at him to settle down as if he were 8 years old himself.

I went to Philadelphia the next day and ate dinner with my family but there wasn’t much praising of God, or even a prayer thanking him for giving up his son for our lives. We were all thinking the same thing, “Why did he take our Frank?” My aunt did not plan a funeral for Frank, no opportunity for us to gather and see him one last time. No prayers or hymns asking God to welcome him into Heaven. We left Philadelphia still dazed, hugging our family members, some we haven’t seen since we were children, hating that the only reason for our reunion was the death of our dear cousin. I will be honest; we weren’t thinking about God’s sacrifice of his son, we were thinking about ourselves and the loss of a man we loved dearly.

I came home and tried to get back into the swing of things. I was making progress, accepting that Frank made poor choices in his life and perhaps God took him out of love to save others from the dangers he could have brought into their life, particularly his young son’s life. I almost convinced myself that God did this out of love and Frank is now in Heaven with his wings, no longer suffering severe back pain from a work injury.

Then yesterday happened and my anger towards God is nearly at a boiling point. My dear friend for some unknown reason shot herself to death Tuesday night in her home. I cannot understand why and I’m overwhelmed with guilt for not calling her more often or stopping to see her at work. She was literally two minutes up the road and I barely saw her in person. She always seemed happy even, when I dropped off her Girl Scout cookies last month. Would a God who loves take or allow her to take her life? I am so angry that this happened and even angrier at myself for not being a better friend.

Last night my dad called about 8:30 PM to tell me my mom isn’t doing well. She is in Pittsburgh recovering from the first of two surgeries necessary for a small intestine transplant. The thought of losing my mother terrifies me. I am praying to God to make her strong and to give me the strength to get through this unbelievable amount of stress going on in my life. My mom is the most kind, caring and loving person I know and did nothing to deserve the suffering she has endured for the past 20 years. If God loves, why does my mother’s pain continue? My dad said they will probably move her to critical care because she is having such difficulties breathing. It is devastating to me that she isn’t even strong enough to talk to right now. In fact, she is so weak we don’t want to tell her about the loss of Frank in fear she will begin crying and her body won’t be able to take the stress.

I want to believe in a Christian, loving God. That is the God I pray to asking him to hold my strength as I get through the loss of my cousin and friend, as I try to be patient with my mother’s recovery, as I finish my last term in college, as I try to get custody of my daughter from my abusive ex and finish the divorce he started six years ago. The stress is incredible and I try to have faith that God will be by my side, especially since I have a life growing inside me that should not be touched by the drama and sadness taking place.

Could the Hebrew God really be what looks down at us? Not really caring, but just going on with business as usual because what he started with Adam and Eve has been a bust and we humans are just the mess left behind that he must try to tidy up daily? I can’t say I’d blame God if that’s how he feels. God demanded we obey and worship him but most of us fail. If his love is contingent on a transaction in which we fulfill, I’m not surprised by all the suffering the world endures, or even my own suffering. I would expect the pleasure he gets from our creation to be minimal because the reality is we humans suck at upholding even the simplest of obligations. We had the opportunity to have perfect lives and it was ruined in the Garden of Eden with rebellion, sin and crimes against one another. So those original sins perhaps are the cause for the suffering we have every day. I don’t believe it’s fair. I feel bound to God through the love I was raised to believe in and feel towards him, but the weight of life and the recent happening in my personal life make holding this love difficult.

I don’t want to believe that God doesn’t love us. That belief is what keeps me holding my faith. I want to believe God loves us and there is a reason for everything that happens, whether it is the death of a loved one or the surprise of becoming pregnant at 43 years old. I don’t want to think there has to be bad to compensate for good or that all this happens randomly with no higher power involved. It would obliterate everything I’ve been taught since I was old enough to understand Bible stories. I instead place my life in God’s hands and will replace my anger with stronger faith because anger and hate will never make things better and only bring me down further.

This wasn’t a fictional story, I just couldn’t bring myself to write fiction when my reality is so tangible right now and making me question whether God does love. I will continue to believe he does in the Christian thought because to allow the Hebrew view of God enter my life would not be beneficial to my family and me. I need to believe God is good and God loves otherwise, all I’ve been taught would have been the fictional story.

Morality: What’s God Have to do with it?


God is NOT necessary for a moral standard

People in general tend to look to God for all the answers but in this day and age I firmly believe we need to look at our own families and friends to help instill morals. There is no scientific proof that morals are an inborn trait so that indicates morality must be taught to a child. God will have no hand in making someone moral or immoral; the only hand God has in all this morality is the judgment of the behavior of humans based on their actions.

In our textbook, Ganssle addresses two statements as facts: (87)

  1. Some geckos eat crickets.
  2. It is wrong to torture a cat to death just for fun.

He states in his opinion that both statements are true facts because the statements are moral facts, based on normativity or in simple words, what we ought to do (or not do)(89). Ganssle states the theory of individual relativism in which each human perceives what is moral or immoral individually (90) and this can vary between people. What is “wrong” in some people’s eyes may not be “wrong” to another person.  This is all based on individualism and not on God or how God created us. It is our culture and how we are raised, our cultural relativism, which instills our level of morals (93).

If God does not instill morals within humans at birth, where do humans learn moral conduct? Another source that seems likely would be through the educational system. God has been removed from the school grounds by the court system, placing the responsibility of teaching morality on the teachers. Charles Colson states in his article “Can We Be Good Without God?” “In education, the same kind of court-enforced secularism has been so successful that teachers may hand out condoms in school, but they are forbidden to display a copy of the Ten Commandments…students may indulge in any kind of activity in school, but they are forbidden to pray (464).” God has been removed from the educational system so the morality standards instilled in children are not religiously based. Colson quotes German professor of logic, Immanuel Kant, as stating that God is irrelevant, that he may exist but he is separate from the rest of life and that students are in fact “taught to have an inner capacity to do good rationally” (464), not basing their actions on God or the repercussions of breaking God’s commandments.

So what does this mean for humanity? Jack Miles offers this possibility in his book Does God Love? “Yes, the innocent do suffer and the wicked prosper. The world is immoral—in effect, ruled by a fiend (247).” Miles may be suggesting that God himself is the fiend, or that it is the devil that reared his ugly head, causing the world to be immoral. If that is the case then again, God cannot be necessary for morals if he or his polar opposite is actually the cause. In reality it does seem as those who are immoral do prosper over those who seek the higher road, showing pity and empathy towards humanity but keep in mind there are people who commit horrific crimes against others and still recognize their acts as immoral. It is the people in one’s life that instills what is right and what is wrong, not a god or the God, that people hold in their faith as a savior and judge of all humanity.



Works Cited

Colson, Charles W. “Can We Be Good Without God?”. Imprints. Feb. 16 1993. 463-466. Web. Accessed   Feb. 24 2014.

Ganssle, Gregory E. Thinking about God. Illinois: InterVarsity Press. 2004. Print.

Miles, Jack. God: A Biography. New York: Random House Publishing. 1995. Print.




Surprise Email Makes My Morning

Last Sunday my first ever column for the York Daily Record was published. It was one that was near and dear to my heart after spending so much time with the children living at a Christian run orphanage in India.  The link below is the article the newspaper printed.

Large’s leap of faith helps Indian orphans (column) – The York Daily Record.

Today I received this email which brought great joy to my heart. Many of you know I had an impromptu fundraiser on Facebook and through this blog while in India to raise money for kitchen supplies and to fix the boiler for the soy milk machine at the children’s home. Over $300 was raised while I was there purchasing kitchen supplies and as a special treat for the children, a cricket bat each for the boys and girls homes. Unfortunately the soy milk machine is still in need of a new boiler. This new boiler (a cost of about $1,500) is growing closer to reality by families like this. God bless them for their generosity. This email has further cemented my belief that this trip to India was intended by God for me to use my writing and public speaking abilities to help continue the work taking place in God’s name at HOINA, saving thousands of India children.

Dear Pattie,

Thank you!  Your witness for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the Indian orphanage story was like a breath of fresh air.  I’m guessing there are/will be plenty of people who belittle you for your faith, but I applaud you and thank you for not being ashamed of being loyal to Jesus Christ.

I pray for and support many Christian ministries and have developed a set of personal criteria for deciding to whom I will send donations.  The primary criteria is that the organization truly is Christ centered.  Your article made that clear and direct.  I am thankful for that.  After reviewing the HOINA’s website and watching the video, I will be making a donation to this wonderful ministry!

As treasurer, I receive a small salary which I donate to various mission organizations.  It is my pleasure to donate my $425 February salary to HOINA.

Pattie, who knows how God will use your faithful testimony for Him.  The one thing I am sure of is that He will 🙂  And how my heart rejoices that a class from York College lived on the HOINA campus.  I thank God for Professor Fyfe leadership to HOINA!

A Fellow Christian

God Bless this family for their generosity and support in my personal mission God has placed before me. If your church or organization would be interested in having me visit to speak about the amazing work Christianity is creating in India, please contact me at pcrider@ycp.edu. If you would like to make a donation directly to HOINA please visit their website at http://www.hoina.org.

Praise God for he does amazing things!


Don’t just preach it, Live it

The Rhetorical Appeals and Delivery in Reaching a Community of God’s People


            Nothing moves me quite like a good sermon. I want to become emotionally involved in what the preacher is saying and have the Bible verses stated so I can look them up while the sermon is being delivered. I expect the preacher to approach the sermon with logic and have it apply to my own life.  The words should roll off the preachers tongue with conviction and be genuine in the attempt to move my heart to save my soul. It is easier to accept my sinful nature when the preacher acknowledges his or her own sinfulness and asks God to be forgiven along with the rest of us. Preachers must create a community within their congregation that makes people feel welcome, regardless of their past. To understand the necessary appeals and the delivery that should be used to make this possible, we will delve into three journal articles that focus on the goals of preaching to God’s people.

First we will explore how the journal articles define God’s people. Charney stated that God’s people are those who have been abandoned (262) or are humiliated, deprived, and down cast (263). Charney also describes God’s people as the lowliest of individuals that are angry and traumatized (265). Souders describes God’s people as those who realize their natural, sinful human condition (324) while Manolescu quotes Campbell in describing them as “the inferior ranks of people” (162). What can be taken from all three journals is that God’s people are damaged goods. All humans are in dire need of a preacher to save them from themselves in order to one day ascend to Heaven rather than be delivered straight to Hell as an unsaved soul. The authors are straight-forward with the description of the human condition that casts all as unworthy sinners, but offers the opportunity for forgiveness.

Next are the rhetorical appeals and delivery style that preachers must use to properly persuade the damaged humans to everlasting life. Charney states the desire is to foster cohesiveness both socially and culturally within a congregation through the use of Psalms (264). The Psalms, either sung or spoken in verse, should be done as a public declaration, as well in private (248). The act of declaring ones faith in public will allow others the chance to humiliate the speaker, but holding back a declaration of praise or affirmation of faith would be a sin. Manolescu stated that Campbell believed an emotional appeal should be used to move a congregation (163, 165) in a gentle, persuasive manner rather than a zealous manner delivered in the grand style (165-66). An overly zealous delivery may be found offensive to a congregation and should be avoided so not to alienate or strike fear into the listeners. Rather a logical approach with reason and genuine passion will fulfill the rhetorical appeal. Souders is in agreement with Manolescu that the influence and beliefs of the preacher–the logos–should be delivered in the plain style (321) while using reason (332) and natural science (320) to help the congregation understand the meaning of the sermon. Also significant, Souders points out that Beecher stated it is the job of the preacher to develop true Christians by inspiring, nurturing, and guiding them to Divine Understanding (336). This truth will be achieved through being a “good man” as defined by Quintilian in that the preacher had better be practicing what he preaches. This, in my opinion, is the most difficult task of a preacher–to lead by example–as even preachers are sinners by nature.

Lastly, are the goals of a preacher as presented in the journal articles. In Charney’s article, the Psalms are an example of how people, preachers included, should sing the praises of God publicly (260) as a celebration of God’s sacrifice on human’s behalf. A pastor not only helps a congregation reaffirm their faith, but reaffirms their own in doing so. Manolescu writes that Campbell advocates the use of certain doctrines in order to promote the correctness of a congregation and to convert non-believers by a means of passion that is communicated from the speaker to the listeners to move their will (168, 174). Souders article on Beecher perhaps explains the goals of preaching the best. A preacher must relate the sermons to the lives of the congregation to be create a fundamental transformation of the listeners (318). Beecher disposed of the past methods of preaching to the elite, the educated, the obedient and those of authority (323) and instead taught all how to model their life after Christ allowing his congregation to feel loved and included. Beecher even went as far as to refuse to preach from the pulpit (324) in order to make his presence at the same level of his congregation. I personally have never witnessed such a thing but find that admirable that he wants people to see him as an equal instead of above those who are listening. Beecher strived for a fundamental transformation of his listeners based on truth through pathos, rather than the ethos of his learned knowledge. He wished to “make religion attractive by the goodness that men see in you” and took this approach to heart by focusing his sermons on the audience rather than the rules (325). In doing this Beecher’s objective was to “lift the lives of listeners from the mundane and normal, up to the divine” (327). This is what a congregation needs from their preacher, to feel inspired to release the stress of their daily lives by turning their troubles over to God. It is then that God is given control and the ability to relieve them of the problems that bring their lives down.

The three journal articles I analyzed all focused on the importance of a preacher in creating an inviting, warm atmosphere for their community. A preacher must realize that God’s people are not perfect and never will be, and in that, they must acknowledge their own sinfulness in order for their listeners to be accepting of their words. No one person is better than another and a congregation will turn away from a preacher who teaches otherwise. Emotional appeals are important to the listeners as they bridge a gap that may be otherwise be missing in a person’s life. Everyone, at some point, has felt humiliated or deprived, angry or depressed, so the importance of preaching and teaching to reach those people and saving their souls is the highest of all goals of a preacher because if they fail to do so, to save that person from their sinful nature, the preacher also fails in their commitment to save God’s people.

Works Cited

Charney, Davida H. “Performativity and Persuasion in the Hebrew Book of Psalms: A Rhetorical Analysis of Psalms 116 and 22.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly. June 2010: 247-268. Print.

Manolescu, Beth I. “Religious Reasons for Campbell’s View of Emotional Appeals in Philosophy   of Rhetoric.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly. Apr. 2007: 159-180. Print.

Souders, Michael. “Truthing it in Love”: Henry Ward Beecher’s Homiletic Theories of Truth,        Beauty, Love, and the Christian Faith.” Rhetoric Society Quarterly. Sept. 2011: 316-339.        Print.

Who is Kafka and Why did John Updike write a Forward?

Kafka was a self-loathing lawyer who hated everything he wrote and was trapped in a profession he liked to mock.  Yes, that does sound like the traits of a superb writer now, doesn’t it?  John Updike and I both agree. 😉

Franz Kafka was born in 1883 and was a lawyer by profession.  He also was a closet writer.  Prior to his death in 1924 he ordered his ex-wives, mother, and his page to destroy all copies of his writing.  Lucky for us, only a few ex-wives followed his instructions.  His mother and page destroyed nothing and Kafka’s work was translated so that all can read what this amazing writer wanted to desperately destroy.

Perhaps my favorite essay that was saved was written to his father, a letter that Kafka gave to his mother.  It is titled, “Letter to His Father” and was written in 1919. His father never read the letter because Kafka knew it would just kick up a shit storm in the house.  Kafka lived at home his entire life, never obtaining the love he needed from his father.  I hear ya Kafka, but I moved out.

Kafka writes with tenderness and humor in a graphic manner.  It doesn’t surprise me that his writing were eventual put into a comic book format.  That textbook is my personal favorite since starting college in 2010.  Kafka lives feeling nearly worthless, imagining horrific ways in which he could die.  Die by bizarre coincidence, not by suicide.  His death was due to tuberculosis while confined to a sanatorium.  He died a month short of turning forty-one.

Kafka's envisioned injury by a butcher's cleaver.

Kafka’s envisioned death by a butcher’s cleaver.

His final message to a friend was “five books and one short story are all that can stand” as works that he would want to remain after his death.  He still felt they weren’t particularly special and didn’t feel they should be “reprinted and handed down to posterity.”  Another request of Kafka’s that was ignored.  Later, his friends came forward with manuscripts they had written based on conversations with Kafka.  Those sneaky friends did us a huge favor.

Some of Kafka’s manuscripts were still being written.  The unfinished stories are not found as incomplete as the opening, body and climax, had been reached.  Kafka’s essays often delved into his on psycho analysis.  He wrote of his life feeling unloved by his father, feeling helpless, and depressed.  Often his stories revolved around a creature or bug as the main character as Kafka worked through his own feelings of self-worth.  A writer corresponded with Kafka’s friend who was writing manuscripts behind Kafka’s back.  The letter to Brod, Kafka’s friend, stated, “Franz can not live. Franz doe not have the capacity for living.  He is like a naked man among a multitude who are dressed.”  Franz really didn’t like himself and knew he would never live up to the standards expected of him.  His father’s indifference to his son scarred Kafka until his death.

Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka

A line in the final section of the forward struck a key with me.  “Fantasy, for Kafka even more than for most writers of fiction, was the way out of his skin, so he could get back in.”  That resounds with me because even with writing nonfiction, it allows me to exit and write in the first person, only to climb back in and resume life as it happens.

Works cited:

Franz Kafka. The Complete Stories

David Mairowitz and Robert Crumb Introducing Kafka

The Amish Mafia Conspiracy~ 21st Century Reality TV

They've been around.  The English just didn't need to know it.

They’ve been around. The English just didn’t need to know it.

AM Conspiracy <——click here to read how Amish Mafia came about!!!

This paper was educational and enjoyable to create.  Even if Esther won’t speak to me anymore.  Why, I’m not sure….


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