Sunday, October 3, 2010

Just So You Know :)

I'm going to do my best to write the following in an objective, peaceful way. Know that before I even begin, I mean absolutely no ill will towards anyone and deeply appreciate the few of you who have taken the time to address your concerns about the book we chose. I'm not really the kind of girl who likes to ignore and blow past these thoughts because I believe they come from legitimate desire to be a holy, God-honoring person. With that in mind, please hear my heart on this (*please*).

This is more emotional than I can begin to post, and for fear of a complete nervous breakdown, I am going to give the very short version.

Girl is raised in a home without Christ.
Girl meets people who tell her about Christ.
Girl feels judged, condemned, and like she could never be one of them.
God tells girl she is wrong.
Girl becomes a Christian.
Other Christians tell her she isn't a good "Christian" and makes her feel like a failure.
Girl starts to run from church in fear and shame.
Girl loves God too much to get very far.
But the girl still hurts from the sting of judgment, and it shapes every decision she makes about her faith.
Girl realizes she must speak, and again, she fears.

It's a pattern I have struggled with for many years, always worrying if I'm good enough, too "liberal," too "open," too "accepting." The truth is that my beliefs in Jesus Christ would line up with the most conservative Believer on the planet, but I LOVE people deeply, and even in spite of our differences. I'm going to be completely honest (and it will probably bite me in the booty!) and tell you that when we received a few comments on our post, I called Jess and told her we needed to change the book, send money to people who ordered it, beg for forgiveness and call it a day. I just don't like conflict. Like, at all.

And then I got on a long plane ride and I opened the book again. I read it nearly cover to cover as I traveled, and cried the entire time. Not only did I mark pretty much EVERY single page of text, I felt very deeply (and Jess agrees) that this book is life-changing. It is one of the most powerful books I have ever read, and I don't say that lightly. Even as I have put some of it into practice since I have been home, I have been BLOWN AWAY by the difference it has made.

With that said, I want to address some concerns that have come up in the event that this isn't a good book choice for you.

Wayne Muller is an ordained minister, and a *truly* amazing soul. I have spoken to him by phone and through email and I will tell you that we have (sadly) put him through the ringer in these past few days trying to figure out how to handle all of this. I'm not going to share all of the details of our conversations, but I will assure you that he is a gentle, kind, precious man who has lived his life in a way that would make most of us blush with embarrassment at how we haven't served the Lord.

And here's the deal.

He quotes Buddha.

And he quotes other religions.

And he makes statements that describe the way these different religions view Sabbath. I don't believe a Buddhist or even an atheist would be offended by the text (and I am sure that was not a mistake), despite the fact that it is fundamentally and overwhelmingly based on Christian beliefs.  In my conversations with Wayne, I have seen his heart on the matter, and his goal (and frankly, my goal) is to love others well. Like Jesus would.

There are sentences that I have underlined where people might have issue-it is common for him to cite what Buddhists call something (or whomever) for the sake of demonstrating the role of Sabbath for everyone ("When Hindis worship..." or "Buddhist believe..." or "Rabbi's interpret this to mean..."etc.)

Here is a direct quote from a page I have marked..."The Buddhists call this driving force tanha-literally thirsting, craving, or longing. Tanha includes not only desire for, and attachment to, material wealth and power, but also desire for, at attachment to, people, experiences, ideas, opinions, and even spiritual accomplishments. (pg 126)"

In this sense, there are areas where one might take believe that Mr. Muller sees all religions as equal, whereas I have found him to be, instead, tolerant and able to be inspired by other faiths.

There is most certainly a line between what we can learn from others and what we need to stay away from as Christians. But we can learn from people who aren't Christians. We don't conform to their beliefs. We don't back down from ours. We don't waver in a world where our goal is to preach the Gospel, but in my (humble) opinion, this doesn't mean that we have to shy away from things because they aren't our beliefs.

We will NEVER choose a book that we feel like would lead anyone astray. Our entire purpose is to make Jesus famous in a group of women who are seeking His face.

With that said, if you feel that you are at a place in your walk where these kinds of things concern you, please feel free to sit it out. I would be lying if I didn't say I think you are going to miss something amazing, but at the same time I completely respect that. If you are one of the people who has requested a book and these things bother you, go ahead and shoot us an email and we won't send it your problem :)

We aren't going to be discussing these other faiths in our videos, but I did want to address the concerns here. Know that we love and appreciate you, and as always, want to support and walk with you in your faith.

With love,
Angie (and Jess)


  1. I admire your ability to acknowledge the difference between what God is saying to you verses what the world, or Satan or even well-meaning (but legalistic) believers are telling you. I too struggle with wanting to please others. But ultimately we are to please the Lord and let Him alone do the convicting. I am excited to read the book. I do not do rest well.

  2. Wow, your story sounds so eerily familiar to me, because it sounds like my story! I still am a pretty tolerant, open minded Christian. I worry about Christians who care more about the Constitution than the words of Jesus, and I see so much of that lately.

  3. Thank you for that post! I think people need to realize that just because the point of view or beliefs of another religion are pointed out in this book, it doesn't mean we're putting the whole religion on an equal footing with Christianity... we're just acknowledging and giving credit where it's due... and we can certainly learn from others, even if their faith differs from ours in some big ways. I think God has put such a desire in us to know Him, that all religions have some element of truth in them (some more than others!).

    Can't wait to read the book with you guys!

  4. Absolutely agree. Thank you for writing this with such heart and clarity.

  5. Satan sees the good things that have come through Bloom and he seeks to tear it down. He knows the revolution and revival that can occur and he is scared and desperate. I don't doubt that you chose this book with Jesus' assistance and I think this "controversy" only confirms this.

    I, personally, am so excited to begin the book. Sabbath has been something that God has been talking to me for a few years and I can't wait to open my heart and mind to His direction during our study.

  6. I can completely understand your feelings during this time! My life also seems like a never ending quest to make sure that everything suits everyone! :) I think it's great that you took the time to explain things to those that were concerned :) Also - I am sooo excited about this book!!! :)

  7. I have found that oftentimes things of other faiths that people reel from are just perversions of ours. It's what Satan does. He hijacks biblical principles and skews them.

    For example, "positive thinking". New Age-ists have jumped on that bandwagon and banged on about it like there's no tomorrow. The powere of thinking something into being... the law of attraction and so on and so on. (But ssshhhh... it's a secret *grin*) And yet, we find in the Word "What a man thinks in his heart, so he is" and "Whatever is good and noble (etc etc) think on these things". God knows the strength we have in keeping a positive attitude. The devil just made it something that would keep legalistic christianity bound.

    If other religions are using our Sabbath, whether as a God ordained day of rest, or an 'enlightened realisation' for the need to recharge, then this is fine with me. If they have different ways of explaining it, then this is fine with me also. What I acknowledge, first and foremost, is that God came up with it first. It does not offend me to read how others interpret it. I know that God instituted it for my benefit, and that alone is reason enough to practice it.

  8. Great post!! I agree with you 100! I can't wait to start the book.

  9. Just received the book, and have RELISHED what I have read so far. It is just beautiful. I wouldn't spend an ounce of energy worrying about those who are quick to judge. Satan attacks us in our most vulnerable areas. He KNOWS that you desire to honor CHrist and make Him known. No worries! You are dong JUST that. I am trying hard not to devour the book all in one lovely sitting.

  10. Well Said.

    Already ordered the book from my local store and am now even more excited to start it. I am at a place that I am finding it hard to rest. Not sleep but Rest. I was so excited about this book choice.

  11. Beautifully written and truth filled post! I don't know anything about the book, but I do know as an American expat and a Jesus follower that if we stay in our holy huddles not even allowing ourselves to see how God designed ALL His people to long for rest, we are limiting our knowledge of Him as well as the opportunity to be a light for others to come to know the One who offers true rest.
    Blessings from Hong Kong,

  12. I won't be able to join in this book right now....but will put it on my list for later. Just too many big changes happening in our family right now! But I appreciate you honesty about your struggles and am sorry that people have been so critical. Try not to take these judgements personally...easier said than done right?!...and trust that God has been leading you in the direction and to the book He would have you study...regardless of what the world says. My prayer is that this will in the end give Him all the glory!

    Blessings to you!

  13. I have read about 45-50 pages so far. So far, I don't have a problem with the quoting of other religions--if Christians are reading this, they are reading this with different eyes (through a Christian lens, so to speak). My only concern so far is that there is very little (openly though it is implied, again if you are reading as a Christian) said about the real reason for the Sabbath--worship of God. Certainly it is a day of rest from work and the "normal" to be mindful of God and His work--it was a gift from God to His people. The Sabbath is about God and His work not necessarily about the rest. That (the rest) seems (to me anyway) to be a by-product of the Sabbath.
    I am looking forward to reading the rest and to the discussion.

  14. God is BIG-and Jesus is the way. You can trust Him-we can trust Him. Sometimes we forget to see the forest through the trees and become blind speck pickers-
    I am looking forward to hearing from Him as I read this book. Thank you for your honesty and courage

  15. Your story in a nutshell is so familiar to me... and thank you for having the courage to be honest about the book selection. I hope to get to it eventually... and want to read it with an open mind and open heart... but truth be told, I am still sopping up the heavy truths in the last book... my heart has been so numb and wounded these past few years and it is really been a great witness to me.

    You and Jess's book selections have yet to disappoint... I look forward to a chance to sit down with the present pick.

    Thank you again.

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  17. God will use this for good. I have no doubt.

  18. Wow. I had no idea about the comments you were getting. I learned of this book several years ago in a sermon and never got around to reading it. I'm joining in your book club right now because you picked *this* book. It arrived on Friday and I'm excited to get started on it! Personally, I believe it's extremely narrow-minded not to want to learn more and to be afraid of other's beliefs and opinions. It doesn't change who you are and what you believe to listen and make your own judgement. Thank you for this post. I'm behind you 100%.

  19. i have so much respect for both of you.
    i'm certain you put more time in deciding which books you will add to the club than we can imagine.
    i'm certain ya'll begin your days in a humble submission to our heavenly father
    i blindly purchased this book b/c i think you guys rock
    so rock on angie & jess
    i love ya'll
    & some days wished i lived back in nashville again cuz i'd find you & be your friends in real life too

  20. I look forward to reading the book! Thank you both!

  21. If true rest is in the Lord, then why is he(Wayne) encouraging people of other relgions in what they do? I don't want to condemn them, but to put what they do into a book and encourage them in that seems contrary to saying that the Lord is the only way to true healing and rest. I pray that all of the readers are on to the solid food of the Lord, and not still needing milk. I won't comment anymore or write you about it again, but I have concerns that keep convicting me. However, I don't want to be put through the ringer like people are when they are led differently, either, so I will not post again and I will not check this to see if anyone commented to me. God's blessings to you all. BTW, I can't wait to hear you on Focus on the Family, and I still love to read your posts.

  22. I love you girls. Please know that my concerns were just that, concerns.

    I in no way am a person to judge. I am the the furthest from "legalistic" and the furthest from "conservative"... if that makes sense? (smile).

    I love JESUS.

    I too HATE controversy! I HATE the feeling of being condemned and judged.

    I know that you and Jess just want to make JESUS known and have a burden for women to grow in their walk with Christ.

    I really pray I didn't come across harsh or judgmental... all I wanted to do was hear from you first.

    Thank you for addressing these questions I had. I love you both and look forward to seeing you at Relevant in a few weeks.

    I love the quote to a worship song I sang at church last night...

    "All of life, comes down to just one things, that's to KNOW YOU OH JESUS, and to make YOU KNOWN."

    Again, I sincerely love you both and so appreciate all you do through the BLOOM ministry.

    You both have such busy lives and it means to much that you are taking time to reach out to other women, for God's glory!

    I hope these comments give you the PEACE and reassurance to move forward with this.

    I hope and pray your heart is able to "sit down". I really hope and pray that any of my concerns did not cause anxious feelings in your heart.

    You are loved deeply!

    Traci @ Ordinary Inspirations (http://www.ordinaryinspirations.blogspot.coM)

    You can email me at curly2880 at yahoo dot com if you want.

  23. This book is fabulous! I started reading a few days ago and I'm captivated. I actually enjoy his insights from other religions, it makes the text richer somehow.

    Love it. Love you guys. :)

  24. Ang & Jess - Appreciate the note, and hoping I can provide some encouragement back.

    I too was a little -- taken aback -- at the amount of references to other religions early on in the book. I quickly realized that these were meant to illustrate that Sabbath is important to the soul as a whole, across traditions -- not to entice us to actually practice or delve into the same.

    As I read on, I realized that the wisdom and truth that Mr. Muller brings out in Sabbath are so critical and in many ways, life- and peace-restoring. I've already made some changes in my Sabbath observance to be more intentional about the way I "do" Sabbath, and I'm not even a full half-way through the book.

    Hopefully at least some of those who are critical are far enough in their walk that they will be able to press on and see the good in Muller's work.

    Thanks for bringing it to us and for the work you do in this ministry -- we appreciate the effort and your hearts!

  25. Thank you for opening your heart, Angie. I'm excited to read this book with everyone!

  26. I am debating on whether to do the book club part because of my time, but I was drawn to this specific book club pick because of the title. You see, I'm a Seventh-Day Adventist Christian and have observed the 7th Day Sabbath my entire life. I'm 32 years old. It is my favorite day of the week because of the rest I have been given by God.

    I could go into deeper detail, but I won't here. What I WILL quickly mention is this: I can't imagine a life without a day of rest. We start at sundown on Friday night and end at sundown on Saturday night. It is refreshing, renewing, and a perfect day to reconnect with your family as well. Our whole day is built around worshipping, fellowship, and relaxation.

    I strongly recommend the practice of "keeping the Sabbath". I realize that most people joining in are Sunday keepers if they go to a physical church. One of my biggest questions all of my life is "Why don't Sunday-goers keep a Sabbath?" Even as a child I questioned it. It will be informative and fun really for me to read the responses as the book club moves on. I want to get this book and read along...maybe even join in the discussion as I can.

    If you are reading with a Christian viewpoint, I don't see why there would be a problem with this book. If you are grounded in your human author should be able to sway you. Only let the Bible sway you. Read this along with Scripture and all will be well. :) Good pick, ladies!!

  27. WOW! I have tried to write this post several times and I am struggling ... I love the Bloom Book Club ... I appreciate Angie's and Jess' hearts and perspectives as they share what the Lord is teaching them ... I love walking alongside each of you while I journey in my faithwalk here on Earth ... but I have concerns about this book.

    I have a hard time even writing that because I feel like I will be judged simply for saying that ... and my heart is not wanting that ... nor do I want to judge. There is a VERY fine line between judging and speaking truth in love and I don't think I'm finding that easily. May I share my heart? I hope I may ... basically - wasn't the Sabbath created by God for His people? If we make the Sabbath something it is not aren't we twisting something pure and making it less? I absolutely agree we need to more diligently accept the wonderful gift God has given us AND obey the command He has instructed by embracing the Sabbath with more passion; however, I don't believe this book addresses it as created for God's people. There are other resources for encouraging us in that such as Mark Buchanan's The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath.

    I will need to sit this one out sisters, but look forward to seeing the next selection.

    I am grateful for His grace and may each of us feel that lavishly as we explore His teachings on this tremendously important spiritual command! Blessings! Terri

  28. Angie,

    Please please read the email I sent you in your email inbox and respond? Thanks so much, I'd appreciate it.


  29. Angie,
    What a beautiful, heartfelt message. Your transparency and your tender heart is indeed inspirational. I look forward to reading this book with you and hearing what you have to say. I started the book this weekend and am so excited for what God is going to do.
    You are precious and I encourage you in your desire to bring Glory to God. You are young but I know that I can learn so much from you.
    grace and peace to you

  30. I love your heart Angie. I know it's hard to be touched by a book so much, share your heart about it and have people question it. It's ok though, let them. People can join in and be touched by this book, or not. It's that simple. You're winning more people in Him than not. If one person totally changed their life because of THIS book, and they became stonger in their walk ... would that be enough ...would that make this journey sweet for you? Of COURSE it would. The book may not be for everyone, but for those of us that are willing to see it though . . . I bet we will love it. Thank you and Jess for what you do. Thank you for the blessings you have been in my life, and you have. I emailed you months ago about it. Keep on in Him, may you always be in His grip and may you see the blessings all around you because of your work. Hugs

  31. read the first chapter....i'm already in love with the book and encouraged tremendously!! i noticed the incorporation of other religions in but was not at all bothered by it. everyone needs a sabbath....not just people that believe like me! and often it seems that buddist have it more down pat that most people i know! looking forward to reading the rest of the book!

  32. I've been meaning to comment on this post since last week, but I wanted to share with you, Angie, that we have common ground in that my family spent three years in Japan. My father lived there full time and we would travel as a family to see him during breaks from school, so not the same circumstance, but none the less. Anyway, I had the opportunity to visit temples and shrines and learn more about Eastern religion. But it was just that - learning. I actually find that it made my faith stronger. I read plenty of secular books that I learn from, and studied history as my minor in college and don't feel that studying other religions or cultures offended my sensibilities.

    All this to say that I completely respect the decision of some to sit out this book. But I just wanted to share that my personal experience with other religions hasn't made me any less firmly rooted in Jesus. I received my book this week and I am really enthusiastic about diving into it. I'm proud to see Angie and Jess stand by whatever it was that originally drew them to this book - I wasn't able to join for the last one, but Crazy Love and Same Kind of Different were amazing choices that really impacted me. Looking forward to it!

  33. I have never been to this site at all (although I read your other blog). I actually have never officially done your book club, but I ordered Crazy Love when I saw you were reading it and I ordered this book a few weeks ago. It came on Friday and I have not wanted to put it down. I was very interested in the way he writes and approaches the topics.

    I actually put a facebook status up tonight about how much I am getting out of the book and felt like I had to put a paranthetical comment that I am very aware that he cites other religions but I know Whose I am and what I believe and I am old enough to keep my religious beliefs straight in my head. I had no idea that you were experiencing controversy until I clicked to this site for the first time and read this post. Interesting.

    I will explain it this way: I am a public school teacher. The way he writes reminds me very much of things I say in my classroom. I teach literature and, quite naturally, there are often religious discussions. I catch myself speaking from a Christian perspective, then quickly adding to what I have said by saying things like "God... or whatever god or religious power you believe in... or none." I actually think this makes his book accessible to so many people, which is a blessing, not a problem.

    I appreciate your concern, though. You are such a gentle, sweet-spirited person.

  34. I am glad you "spoke up" about this. I am not intolerant but I am wholehearted in my desire to please the Lord. Sometimes I disagree with something as un-biblical. I think that God has made himself evident in His creation and we should expect other religions to confirm this. I am not upset that ancient cultures are full of "great flood" stories. I think it confirms the Biblical account, not undermines. So although I would not encourage someone to be Buddhist, I do not mind that elements of Buddhism confirm our need for a Sabbath. Only God can write a book that is doctrinally perfect so let's be cautious to weigh everything we read according to His Word and let the Truths we find edify. Whatever seems untrue can be set aside.