Glance Back at 2011: Be Still and Know That I Am God!

December 30, 2011 by  
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by Kathryn N. Donev

This past year has been personally a very difficult one. There has been much heartache, much pain and much worry. No need to mention details because in the midst of every trial, I found peace and know that I serve a God who is still The God and more powerful than all chaos.
After being in Bulgaria for 6 months and out of the States for a bit longer this past trip, the transition of returning was peculiarly unsettling. We were coming back to the disaster area and aftermath of six tornadoes; however the Lord did not allow us to go immediately “home” when we arrived.

This was not strange because with our ministry it is typical for us to constantly be traveling going from one home to the next. We traveled an over 2,000 miles route of ministry by literally trains, planes and automobiles and even this was still normal for us.

At what we thought would be the last leg of our journey, we found ourselves trying to leave but unable to do so. We tried everything physically possible and for some reason all of our attempts were stopped abruptly even to the point we got stuck in a “rare snow storm” as reported by the national weather advisory.

This was strange to me. It was during this time that after more than a week of trying to leave and asking time after time, why is this happening, that I was reminded three times to “Be still and know that I am God”; once in the Spirit, the next day during a televised 20/20 special and finally with an online verse of the day the following day.

This is something hard to do when you are so used to moving. I know that He is God but being still is a challenge. Yet, I felt that the Lord was saying more than just to be still in the physical sense but in the mental sense as well; not to worry because He is still God and this is a lesson with which I will conclude out my year.

The year 2011 has been in the true sense a whirlwind, moving us thru over a dozen US states and a half dozen countries surviving tornadoes, earthquakes and floods. So I embrace this scripture as the year comes to an end and proclaim that regardless of the heartache, pain and worry I will be still, I will be calm, because He is still God.

Putting Christ Back in Christmas

December 25, 2011 by  
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Upon our arrival back from doing missions in Bulgaria, we spent several weeks at the University of Nebraska. Taught a couple of classes, discussed minorities’ identity development within the context of political campaigns and even helped in couple of political research experiments. It was also an unexpected treat to go and hear the Rev. Jesse Jackson speak about the role of the occupy movement in democratizing American democracy. But most importantly, we had a lot of opportunities to reflect on our Bulgarian experience and the results from the recent presidential elections in the country.

So here’s a lesson learned from the windy fields of Nebraska – a secular tradition from a state funded university, if you will. Around Christmas, every professor in the university gives a donation to an employee of a lesser status. No gifts or gift cards – cash only.

It made me think what would happen if this “secular” tradition is brought to our church. Because it is pretty certain, it originated from Christianity to begin with. And it is also certain that many ministers within our denomination will meet Christmas on a limited budget this year. Wouldn’t it be great if more of the more fortuned among us find colleagues whose families may have a need approaching the winter and try to minister to them in the Spirit of Christmas? And if you feel this may be all about the money then do something different. Spend a day with someone lesser in the ministry, mentor and encourage them, but most importantly, be the person to put Christ in their Christmas this year. After all, you may be the only one that can make a difference in their situation.

Does the God To Whom You Pray Answer?

December 20, 2011 by  
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young-man-prayingResponse to Rev. Jesses Jackson’s “There’s Still More to Be Done” lecture at the University of Nebraska | by Kathryn Donev

We as a society, as a culture, have come a long way indeed. And this is a good thing. Equality is a good thing. Independence is a good thing. Rights are a good thing. Voice is a good thing. And here comes the “however”. When our right to all of this freedom becomes perverted into selfishness is when I begin to question this idea of social justice. What is the purpose of such? Is it not for equality and solidarity together? When the latter is lacking there is no social justice. When your rights begin invading on mine then there appears to be a contradiction with neither social nor justice. Does freedom of speak serve it’s function when it invades on the opinions and belief system of another? In the midst of this rising post modernistic mentality, it appears that there is freedom for all but one group called Christians whom are becoming the minority not even standing up for themselves.

We have turned into a culture who is loyal to nothing and everything at the same time; those whom occupy for a purpose unknown to themselves, those who fight for the right to be right. All values are acceptable, all beliefs are true, all gods are God. This protest for social justice confuses and in turn controls. I do believe that everyone should have the right to fight for the right to fight but when we are fighting for acceptance of no absolutes and only objective truths there is something wrong and I cannot remain silent sitting at the back of the bus. Of course I agree with the stand against classification however a line needs to be drawn when we begin to fight against the distinction of right and wrong, of good and evil. I remember a time when right was right and wrong was wrong; when white was white and black was black and I am not talking about the color of your skin. If there is no distinction between good and evil, righteousness is obsolete. With all being relative, there is no literal Heaven or Hell. Spirituality is no longer synonymous with religious. You can pray to which ever god you choose or all gods at the same time just in case. Yet, regardless of your beliefs, the true test will be if the god to whom you are praying answers. There most definitely is still more to be done.

Teaching at the University of Nebraska Again

December 15, 2011 by  
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December 10, 2011 by  
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What the Los Angeles Times Wrote in April, 1906—The Happenings at Azusa Street

  • New Sect of Fanatics is Breaking Loose
  • Wild Scene Last Night on Azusa Street
  • Gurgle of Wordless Talk by a Sister

Breathing strange utterances and mouthing a creed which it would seem no sane mortal could understand, the newest religious sect has started in Los Angeles. Meetings are held in a tumble-down shack on Azusa Street, near San Pedro Street, and devotees of the weird doctrine practice the most fanatical rites, preach the wildest theories and work themselves into a state of mad excitement in their peculiar zeal. Colored people and a sprinkling of whites compose the congregation, and night is made hideous in the neighborhood by the howlings of the worshippers who spend hours swaying forth and back in a nerve-racking [sic] attitude of prayer and supplication. They claim to have “the gift of tongues;” and to be able to comprehend the babel.

Such a startling claim has never yet been made by any company of fanatics, even in Los Angeles, the home of almost numberless creeds. Sacred tenets, reverently mentioned by the orthodox believer, are dealt with in a familiar, if nor irreverent, manner by these latest religionists.

Stony Optic Defies

An old colored exhort, blind in one eye, is the major-domo of the company. With his stony optic fixed on some luckless unbeliever, the old man yells his defiance and challenges an answer. Anathemas are heaped upon him who shall dare to gainsay the utterances of the preacher.

Clasped in his big fist the colored brother holds a miniature Bible from which he reads at intervals one or two words-never more. After an hour spent in exhortation the brethren [sic] present are invited to join in a “meeting of prayer, song and testimony.” Then it is that pandemonium breaks loose, and the bounds of reason are passed by those who are “filled with the spirit,” whatever that may be.

“You-oo-oo gou-loo-loo come under the bloo-oo-oo boo-loo;” shouts an old colored “mammy;” in a frenzy of religious zeal. Swinging her arms wildly about her, she continues with the strangest harangue ever uttered. Few of her words are intelligible, and for the most part her testimony contains the most outrageous jumble of syllables, which are listened to with awe by the company.

Let Tongues Come Forth

One of the wildest of the meetings was held last night, and the highest pitch of excitement was reached by the gathering, which continued to “worship” until nearly midnight. The old exhorter urged the “sisters” to let the “tongues come forth” and the women gave themselves over to a riot of religious fervor. As a result a buxom dame was overcome with excitement and almost fainted.

Undismayed by the fearful attitude of the colored worshipper, another black women [sic] jumped to the floor and began a wild gesticulation, which ended in a gurgle of wordless prayers which were nothing less than shocking.

“She’s speaking in unknown tongues;” announced the leader, in ah [sic] awed whisper, “keep on sister.” The sister continued until it was necessary to assist her to a seat because of her bodily fatigue.

Gold Among Them

Among the “believers” is a man who claims to be a Jewish [sic] rabbi. He says his name is Gold, and claims to have held positions in some of the largest synagogues in the United States. He told the motley company last night that he is well known to the Jewish people of Los Angeles and San Francisco, and referred to prominent local citizens by name. Gold claims to have been miraculously healed and is a convert of the new sect.

Another speaker had a vision in which he saw the people of Los Angeles flocking in a mighty stream to perdition. He prophesied awful destruction to this city unless its citizens are brought to a belief in the tenets of the new faith.

Reprinted from the Los Angeles Times, April 18, 1906, page 1

Bulgaria in Pictures: Churches

December 5, 2011 by  
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Bulgaria in Pictures: Streets

December 1, 2011 by  
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