After Lost & Found

It has been a month since Lost & Found: Losing Religion, Finding Grace was released, and I am so thankful for the response. It seems to be resonating with so many of you. How do we get ourselves so tangled up in ourselves?

One of the things I'm hearing from readers is, "I want to know more! What happened after Lost & Found?" I wrote the book to be a quickish read, so that we could sit with the basic truths of the gospel and our identity in Christ, and how both change everything. But I suppose that left room for a sequel.

There won't be a sequel, at least not yet. There will, however, be a series right here on the site that will tell the rest of the story and what has transpired since we found Mighty Joe in a coma, I ran over Annesley, and Caroline's very sick appendix ruptured. Some stories can't be told yet because they are the domain of our now-older children, but I think I can give you a glimpse into what God has done, what He is doing, and how He has restored and redeemed and reworked and rewritten.

Would you tell your friends? If you know someone who has found a path to freedom through the story of Lost & Found, would you lead them here, too? They can sign up to hear the rest of the story, which I'll be telling in a series over the next month or so.

When We Keep Criticizing the Big Names in Christendom

I have relationships with a few of the "big names" you know out there. Several are authors of international acclaim and the others are speakers and leaders in Christendom. By relationship, I mean, staying in their homes, emailing frequently, crying over texts and praying together, planning our next get-togethers. 

I have watched and weathered the flagrant criticism they've encountered over the past few years. I was at a conference with one who was followed incessantly by young, starry-eyed writers who pressed the author for time, an ear, a photo, and perhaps a lead to publication? 

That author friend is gracious and kind and sympathetic, but fame is not her arena and she struggles to pour herself out to the adoring fans. It takes everything she has within her and leaves her desert-dry.

Other author friends can't speak at conferences without an assistant, which maybe makes others look askance: "Who do they think they are?" , but is a necessity because of the expectations their fans have placed on them. Everyone wants a personal conversation; many are hoping the author can give them a word. The assistant can see the drain on the author and quietly pulls them away to rest and recovery. 

I hear the accusations. I see them passed around on Facebook and discussed by armchair pundits. 

"She speaks subtle heresy, she's a mystic, she misleads." 

"He has a plan that denigrates women."

"He's power hungry."

A direct hit: "You're tickling their ears, telling people what they want to hear."

My jaw drops open. Who are the Facebook and blog commenters talking about? These aren't the hearts I know. These aren't the passionate, lovely, Jesus-adoring, gospel-hungry, beautifully flawed and in-need-of-a-Savior friends I have come to love deeply and pray for with intensity. 

As I've carried the burden of yet another scathing judgment lobbed this month at friends I love, I become increasingly disgusted with this particular behavior of Christians. I'm not a big name but I've experienced the unfounded, self-righteous judgment of Christians, too, and though my personal narratives of criticism are on a smaller, less public scale, it's a tool that Satan often uses to tear down our confidence and tempt us to retreat into a safe and insulated cave that would cause our message of hope and Jesus to be snuffed out.

Do you see that? Snuffed out.

What God is using to draw others to Him, our careless and puffed-up proclamations dropped over the reputations of those God has put in the public eye are like the bucket of chemicals released from the underbelly of a fire plane and spread over the forest to put out a wildfire.

You're putting out the fire.

Perhaps before we spread our own version of what we think the author/speaker/big guy is like, we check our own hearts for the flaws. They're there. The flaws are why we need Jesus in the first place. No author, no book, no keynote speech is going to compare with the perfection of God's Word, so can we get that through our troubled hearts? 

No author is flawless.
No speaker is flawless.
No big name is flawless.
We all need Jesus.

Read the authors you love, put aside the books you don't. Stay away from the stuff you know to be the opposite of Scripture. But don't look for ways to take down the Jesus-loving author because if you're combing their work for inaccuracies, guess what? You're going to find them, every time.

Take all that critical energy and instead point everyone you know to Jesus.