Wednesday, September 3

Confessions of a Counterfeit Cocktail Waitress: Part II

As promised, I am ready to write my second installment of Confessions. Now, this one promises to be a little dicier (less fact, more thought), but I have two disclaimers before I get started. First, what is to follow takes nothing away from the ending statements of my last blog. The fact still remains that at this point, if given the chance, I would personally choose not to model for a gaming establishment again. This comes after my personal convictions that came to fruition while doing the job over a year ago, not based on any public opinion.

The topic of critical Christians is a tricky one; however, I think this provides a great opportunity to discuss, or at least hear my thoughts and then respond. Disclaimer number two is that this blog is not just a reaction against negative comments about me being in a gambling ad with alcohol on my tray. To be honest, I haven't had tons of negative comments. Actually, none to my face. I have heard rumblings, of course, and I have felt some judgment based on veiled comments and nonverbal expressions. But, this unique situation has made me think about an issue I've felt passionate about for a very long time, and I would be remiss if I didn't open the can of worms for all to peruse.

As I ruminated on this, I was reminded of a book I read many, many years ago by Rick Joyner. In The Final Quest, he describes a horrifying scene in "The Hordes of Hell are Marching." In this chapter, there is a vast army led by Satan himself. While they are marching against their Enemy, they also keep fighting against each other. Behind the army, there are prisoners more numerous than their captors. Joyner writes about his vision:

Occasionally the weaker prisoners would stumble and fall. As soon as they hit the ground, the other prisoners would begin stabbing them with their swords, scorning them as they did this. The vultures would then come and begin devouring the fallen ones even before they were dead. The other Christian prisoners stood by watching this approvingly, occasionally stabbing the fallen one again with their swords.

As I watched, I realized that these prisoners thought that the vomit of Condemnation [raining down on them from the demonic vultures] was truth from God. Then I understood that these prisoners actually thought they were marching in the army of God! This is why they did not kill the little demons of fear, or the vultures--they thought these were messengers from God! The darkness from the cloud of vultures made it so hard for these prisoners to see that they naively accepted everything that happened to them as being from the Lord. They felt that those who stumbled were under God's judgment, which is why they attacked them the way they did--they thought that they were helping God!

Does this resonate with anyone else? Let's widen this excerpt up a little and talk about unity within the Body (what a critical spirit breaks down) starting at one of the highest levels. How many denominations are there? I actually don't even know. MANY. Denominations, simplistically, form when there's disagreement in the church over doctrine. And then what do we Christians do? We criticize other denominations or, at the very least, poke fun at them. I am guilty of this more than I'd like to admit.

Okay, let's go a little smaller. How many people have either been a part of a church split, or know someone who has? I know Karl and I started dating during a nasty one--he stayed as youth pastor, my family left. I'll never forget the time I went back to the church (while Karl was still there) and someone actually said to me, "You're not going to take him away from us, are you?" Still today I know there are people that walked away from church (perhaps forever) because of the unChrist-like way Christians treated each other.

Finally, let's go smaller still. How many of us have been criticized by another Christian or been critical of one ourselves? I am guilty of this as well. It is so easy to do! We as people are so quick to judge, but THAT IS NOT OUR JOB!!! Over and over again Scripture talks about this issue. It is God who judges. We are commanded, first and foremost, to love--both God and others. Judgment, I have found, very rarely comes when love is at the forefront of my mind. Even in the case of sin (not gray areas), no one responds well to judgment. Just tonight I had a little example of this. I have a teenage friend that calls me Mom and Karl, Dad. She is very precious to us. Recently, she got in trouble with the law. She has just lately come back into our lives, so I didn't realize this. She didn't want to talk about it because she didn't want me to "nag." I said to her, "Do you know what you did was wrong?" "Yes," she replied. "Okay, then. No nagging required." "You're so sweet," she simply responded. I think the lack of judgment (demonstrated by not "nagging") spoke volumes to her.

Again, in the case of clear sin, most people know what they're doing/did is wrong. They don't need us to remind them. Of course, there are exceptions to this statement. There are times when, out of love, God may lead you to speak with someone dear to you about choices they're making that seem to be leading them down a dark path. We need the Body of Christ. I just believe far too often we speak out of self-righteousness or pride or fear or jealousy instead of out of love. When this is done, our words don't help people "see the error of their ways" and lead them back to the Lord, they drive them further away. And this isn't even addressing all the gray issues out there! For me, I think with gray issues, you keep your thoughts to yourself, unless asked. If the person isn't a believer, they don't want your unsollicited opinion on choices they're making that you disagree with. If they are believers, then they have the Holy Spirit within them to help with these very questions that may have different answers for different people. I believe God regularly leads one Christian to do one thing and another to do something totally different--even opposite! He is that big, powerful, and creative! We need to worry about our own obedience to our God, not everyone else's. So, if we say we trust Him, maybe we need to start acting like it, not just in matters of our own lives, but also those matters involving others. I, for one, think doing this will make things a lot less complicated.

This isn't meant to be a monologue. I would love to hear feedback from people. Examples, stories....it can be like a big *Encounter by way of the blogosphere....I can't wait to hear what people have to contribute!



*Encounter is Karl's Tuesday night service that besides having a worship and teaching component, has dialogue at tables interwoven throughout.

13 comments:

Renee' said...

Oh girl! I could write a book! I have seen both extremes from critical judgemental churches where everyone is judging everyone else but not themselves to churches where "sin" is a dirty word that we don't talk about. Neither is right or healthy in my opinion. There is a balance out there somewhere, but we sure seem to have a heck of a time finding it!

Elizabeth said...

Reminds me of 'splinter in your brother's eye, plank in your own'. It is easy to sit in judgment of others when one feels as though what others have done is much worse than anything the judge is doing themselves. I think it makes one feel better...
The reality for your situation is, you wouldn't do it again. Nuff said. It's a lovely picture of my friend, but I still think you're a tramp for doing it;-)haha

Elizabeth said...

Oh yeah, that statement comes from a former bartender/cocktail waitress for those of you who don't know me. :-)

Kristine said...

So you have to call me as soon as possible to hear what Josh's take was on the whole judgemental Christian thing about you doing this photo. He had me laughing so hard. Also, today at the co-op I got talking to a mom who had adopted 3 months ago and is nursing and things are going great. She also had some very encouraging stories and things to say. I can't wait to talk!!!

ericsigns said...

I guess if you were giving thought to running for public office as an evangelical this might make the news, otherwise in the grand sense of things.....whoopee doo. Anyone in their right mind would be crazy for thinking you gave up on your moral convictions because of this. I've already made up my mind about you, and it wasn't just the nice chats we had at you parents house on Sunday, there is one thing you did that stands out. That first Sunday that I came over I had something like three glasses of water setting at the dinner table, and it was only a matter of time before I had to do something with all that water. So I get up and make my way over to the bathroom just off the living area and I'm a good three steps from reaching the door when I hear from you “Eric, do you need an upstairs bathroom?". My first thought was like no it's cool I'm almost there, they I had an epiphany and realized WHY you asked. That simple gesture left me with an indelible impression to the kind of person you really are. So if you’re someone who is reading this and thinking shame, shame on you Danielle, I say shame on you! Because someone who asks if you need the upstairs bathroom is not the kind of person we need to be worried about.

Rob & Candy said...

From one PW to another- if people are bothered, they need to get over themselves...
Christ did not die for us to judge one another.
xxoo
candy

paraguayalyssa said...

Have I told you, lately, that I'm the most blessed little sister in the world? For anybody who wants my take on Danielle's spirituality, read my July 2006 blog, "An Ode to my Sister." And you know the other thing I'm discovering, is that it's so FREEING to not have to decide who's on God's good side and who's not. It gets so confusing to try and "discern" (code for judge). He wants to free us from this burden because it's not ours to carry!

Kristine said...

I forgot to tell you that I finally posted a couple of the blueberry pics. I also have a cute one of Braden climbing a tree. It was nice talking today. See you next Wednesday.

Adam Cramer said...

Danielle,

You are a terrible, horrible person!!! I refuse to associate with you anymore!!! haha :-P

Great thoughts...and nice reference to The Final Quest! That book really opened up my eyes to so many things when I first read it a few years back.

I sent you some "link love" recently and called you a "boring old mom"...hope you don't mind! :-)

AC

p.s. Settlers soon?

jill coen said...

Here's what I think....it takes guts to talk with someone the way the Bible says we should when we think they've done something wrong. It's cowardly to mumble and grumble about someone. (I'm talking to myself here too, people.)

I also think you're precious. And your sister...she's hilarious!

Shelley said...

I also saw the ad in the Elkhart Truth, and I didn't think anything of it. I even showed Curt. We thought it was neat seeing someone we know. Good for you! Who cares what judgemental people think! If you hadn't done the photo shoot, they would have found something else to get irate about. Shelley Flickinger

erica said...

I just found your blog through another friend who is adopting! I wanted to say i enjoyed reading your "modeling story" and to let you know that i think there's absolutely nothing wrong with what you did. Good for you for wanting to push the boundaries a little bit.

The picture of you is classy, as you are dressed about as conservatively as possible! Your hairstyle is simple and your make up looks very natural. (My husband and i recently went to vegas for his business trip, and sadly, we didn't see ANY cocktail waitresses that were as modest as you, ha ha!) Don't let anyone get you down!

Danielle said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. I wanted to respond to "Erica" because I tried to "find" you and couldn't. Could you send me your link or something so I can find you? If not, I still appreciate your sweet response :) Truly, I have very little desire to go to Vegas, although, since I love theater, I do hear they have great shows!