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Reflection Friday: What Faith Is by Frederick K.C. Price

Apostle Frederick K.C. Price (I still call him Pastor Price) is one of my first and best teachers. I began watching his televised services nearly twenty years ago while living in Milwaukee, WI. Quite honestly, I was interested in the Word – I wanted to read and understand the Bible – but my direct reading was doing nothing for me. Nothing was clicking.

I was baptized at the age of six and have been communing with God since then in the form of my journal writing — Dear God: It’s me again! Yet and still when I wanted to read the Bible in my teens and twenties, I couldn’t quite get it. I had a King James Study Bible, which I still occasionally reference here and there, however the language still trips me up.

As far as church attendance goes, I’m a professional visitor. I visited the same church for eight years with a friend in high school and college. Never joined. Wasn’t interested, but I enjoyed attending. To this day, whenever I travel, I look for a church to visit as part of the trip. Having sat in on services across the United States, France and Israel, and having walked through ancient religious edifices in Egypt, Ethiopia, England, Italy, Mexico, Poland, and Vatican City, I know we are not dissimilar in the way we choose to display honor and glory for God around the world. The human need to erect monuments in as palatial a way as possible is on display wherever humans are. Yet and still, I have rarely felt moved by the Spirit in any of these spaces. Except for one memorable time in a small town in France. After visiting Chartres Cathedral, a 12th century architectural masterpiece, I withdrew to a bathroom stall in a nearby restaurant to weep and pray.

My mother had died about three years prior. I have no linear or practical memories of those in-between years. I don’t even know what triggered me. I was studying in Paris that spring. Even though the written placement tests put me in the second tier at the Sorbonne, which was near fluency, I felt like a charity case. It was hard for me to speak the language. Nerves. Embarrassment. Whatever. The knowledge was there, but my tongue wasn’t cooperating. That is, until the day I had an epiphany in a small stone restaurant in the rural French town of Chartres. I prayed aloud in multiple languages that day. I’m not clear English was a part of that communication. I’m certain of French and Tongues. Yet I understood every word that flowed from my month. That night in my dreams, God answered my prayer.

Even having had this pivotal, emotional and spiritual experience, reading the Bible remained a difficulty for me.

A couple of years later, I began watching Pastor Price on TV. Through his sermons, the Word began to marinate in me in such a way that it became tender enough to digest. I still wasn’t getting it on my own, but I was understanding enough to continue to try.

A few years after finding Pastor Price on TV, I moved to New York City. Pastor Price operated his ministry from his Faithdome in Los Angeles, CA. As a televangelist, he traveled the world. In 2001 he started a sister church, CCC East, in New York City at 96th St and Central Park West. I first visited CCC East shortly after my arrival to the City in 2005. I lived in the Bronx my first six months and the commute was too convoluted for me. Some time after I moved to Manhattan, I began visiting the church often. A year after becoming a regular, I felt the urge to answer the altar call but valiantly resisted. During my second full year in NYC, I made a deal with God during one of Pastor Price’s visits. “I won’t join today, but the next time he comes, I’ll answer the altar call.” Based on his routine, I was certain I had a month before committing myself. The following Sunday was Easter and Pastor Price decided to bless us with his presence. As I walked down the middle aisle to my seat, I raised a side-eye to God and acknowledged His checkmate. “Ah! You got me!” CCC-East became the first and only church I’ve ever joined.

Pastor Price preached the below “What Faith Is” series a few months before I joined CCC-East. I’m sure I heard a version of it in person. This is the teaching style I sat under for a number of years. Listening to him developed my ears, discernment and understanding. He helped contour my faith.

One thing he said often was eat the meat and spit out the bones. We didn’t have to agree with him, but don’t miss the message! He had his dogma, but he didn’t teach in a way that forced his perspective on his congregation. For that, I’m eternally grateful because I could have certainly become a blind sheep loyal to a man instead of the Word.

Apostle Pastor Dr. Fred Price taught the four part “What Faith Is” series at Faith Christian Center in Arlington, Texas beginning February 25, 2007. It’s a welcome refresher for me. I hope it blesses you as well. Listen and take notes – you won’t regret it!

What Faith Is, Part 1

What Faith Is, Part 2

What Faith Is, Part 3

What Faith is, Part 4

Reflection

  • How do you think of faith?
  • Is faith a part of your life, the way you live life or an unexplored idea?
  • What came first in your faith walk: knowledge, experience, language or belief?
  • What was the catalyst that broke open your understanding of the Bible or spiritual teachings?
  • What has been your favorite lesson from your best teacher (of life, spirit, Bible, all/any things)?
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Video MR Part 2.2: Rape of Dinah and Fallout

The first recorded discussion was for Part 2: Abraham/Sarah + Hosea/Gomer was about five hours (more segments to come). Somehow we got off the principle couples and dove into Dinah’s story for a good amount of time. It got a bit intense.

What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done;
there is nothing new under the sun. ~ Ecclesiastes 1:9

During my studies, my best understanding has come from placing myself within the stories. Mostly as a witness, simply because I can’t see myself making many of the choices that are made by folks. However, there are times I can place myself in someone’s sandals and explore how I would respond. Dinah’s story is one I feel personally.

I think some people may have difficulty grasping core elements of Biblical stories because they read it as the “other” or “outsider” or something so old that it has no relevance to contemporary culture or concerns. Ergo it’s unrelatable.

Bible stories are human stories. Rape, incest, adultery, betrayal, disobedience, revenge – these actions and abuses weren’t left in ancient times. Hope, love, faith, courage, belief, obedience – these expected elements of a righteous life are not the sole domain of prophets.

In our contemporary, daily lives we have to cope with violence against us in some way. The violence could be emotional, verbal, physical, sexual or spiritual. It could be perpetuated by someone we love or care about, acquaintances, strangers, or ourselves. We can also be oppressed by government, societal, or cultural structures. No one is opposition-free in this world. The Bible explores all of this.

In this discussion, it is supposed that Dinah is seeking the world when she seeks out the women of Shechem. The underlying assumption is that young women didn’t go off on their own during Dinah’s time. That they had to be constantly watched by their men folks.

One of the through lines of my study is that the Bible is a self-referencing document. The best understanding or framing you can get for anything in the Bible is by cross-referencing it with another Biblical occurrence. In Dinah’s case, she went out alone to explore a city her family had camped next to. A prince of the region saw her, seized her and raped. Then he claimed he loved her and wanted to marry her. We can find hundreds of similar stories on TV and in the news today. None of this is unheard of. What’s interesting is that there are similar stories throughout the Bible.

Naomi and her daughters-in-law, Oprah and Ruth, traveled from Moab to Bethlehem by themselves without men to get to Naomi’s next of kin. Orpah, returned to her mother’s house on her own as Naomi’s urging. (Ruth 1)

Mary traveled alone from Nazareth to the Hills of Judea alone to visit Elizabeth (about 90 miles, a 34 hour walk). (Luke 1:39-56)

Women in the Bible weren’t as fragile and dependent as we like to think. They were what they needed to be, just like women today.

Noah’s wife was raped by their son as she slept next to her husband. You have to do additional cross-referencing to get clear picture of “saw his father’s nakedness,” but it’s there in the Bible. (Genesis 9, Leviticus 18) Lot offered his daughters to a mob to calm them down. The daughters later raped him while he slept because they thought he was the last man on earth and they had a duty to repopulate. (Genesis 19)

Genesis 34

The rape of Dinah and the culture surrounding her

Two other reference rapes: Noah’s wife by Ham, Lot’s rape by
his daughters

Shechem, rapist claims to love her and asks for her to be
his wife

Freedom of women to move around/travel in ancient times and
present day

Other examples of women traveling alone in the Bible: Mary,
Naomi and her daughters in law

Favoritism and the harm it caused

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TODAY: Marriage and Relationship, Part 4 Zoom Details

For those interested in joining, this discussion begins in 30 minutes, 10:00am Mountain Time. Follow the link below to join.

Topic: Marriage & Relationship: Modern Conflicts vs. Biblical Principles, Part 4

  • Manoah+Wife/Samson+Wives & Elkanah/Peninnah/Hannah/Samuel
  • Text: Judges 13 (Manoah + Wife & Samson + His Wives)
  • Text: 1 Samuel 1-3 (Elkanah, Hannah & Samuel)

Time: Dec 5, 2020 10:00 AM Mountain Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us04web.zoom.us/j/78522310683?pwd=SkNJVk5lSWtxN0thc05GbHpWQjRrQT09

Meeting ID: 785 2231 0683
Passcode: kD43k8

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You’re Invited: Virtual Bible Study

Hello Friends:

I’m working on setting up a series of online discussions and workshops covering various topics.

This topic is a virtual Bible Study. Listen to my thoughts here:

What do you think? Would you participate? It would be between #Zoom and #Whatsapp or perhaps a combo of both. If you’d like to participate, please send me your email address and I’ll send a link or details once the first meeting is organized.

 

#biblestudy #women #men #faith #learning #sharing #growth #joy #beyou #youare #love

Update 10/18/20: The first meeting has been scheduled. Please see Virtual Bible Study: Marriage & Relationship for details.

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ACAD – Remnant: Genesis 45

Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all those who stood by him, and he cried out, “Send everyone away from me.” So no one stayed with him when Joseph made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard it, and the household of Pharaoh heard it. Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But his brothers could not answer him, so dismayed were they at his presence.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come closer to me.” And they came closer. He said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed, or angry with yourselves, because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years; and there are five more years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God; he has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt. Hurry and go up to my father and say to him, ‘Thus says your son Joseph, God has made me lord of all Egypt; come down to me, do not delay. You shall settle in the land of Goshen, and you shall be near me, you and your children and your children’s children, as well as your flocks, your herds, and all that you have. I will provide for you there—since there are five more years of famine to come—so that you and your household, and all that you have, will not come to poverty.’ And now your eyes and the eyes of my brother Benjamin see that it is my own mouth that speaks to you. You must tell my father how greatly I am honored in Egypt, and all that you have seen. Hurry and bring my father down here.” Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, while Benjamin wept upon his neck. And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them; and after that his brothers talked with him.

When the report was heard in Pharaoh’s house, “Joseph’s brothers have come,” Pharaoh and his servants were pleased. Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Say to your brothers, ‘Do this: load your animals and go back to the land of Canaan. Take your father and your households and come to me, so that I may give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you may enjoy the fat of the land.’ You are further charged to say, ‘Do this: take wagons from the land of Egypt for your little ones and for your wives, and bring your father, and come. Give no thought to your possessions, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.’”

The sons of Israel did so. Joseph gave them wagons according to the instruction of Pharaoh, and he gave them provisions for the journey. To each one of them he gave a set of garments; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred pieces of silver and five sets of garments. To his father he sent the following: ten donkeys loaded with the good things of Egypt, and ten female donkeys loaded with grain, bread, and provision for his father on the journey. Then he sent his brothers on their way, and as they were leaving he said to them, “Do not quarrel along the way.”

So they went up out of Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. And they told him, “Joseph is still alive! He is even ruler over all the land of Egypt.” He was stunned; he could not believe them. But when they told him all the words of Joseph that he had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to carry him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. Israel said, “Enough! My son Joseph is still alive. I must go and see him before I die.”

Genesis 45:1-28 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Genesis%2045:1-28&version=NRSV