Weeds are shooting up in the pot on the deck. The crazy thing is that I don’t really recall seeing them when they were little. But now there is one that is quite tall.
Our lives can be just like that planter. If we aren’t careful and watching for the impurities, they can get deeply rooted and hard to remove. Things like pride and unforgiveness.
When I interviewed for a job at the Christian ministry I now work at, one of the questions they asked me had to do with my biggest fault. If you have ever interviewed, you know the kind of awkward question I mean. I wasn’t prepared for it and had to stop and think. I confess that part of me was thinking, “what can I say that answers the question but doesn’t make me look horrible?” The thing that came to me to answer was pride. Ouch!
What a horrible thing pride is!! In the list in Proverbs of things God HATES, pride is right there. Pride causes us to render unfair judgement. To do things to please people and not God. It leads us to a place where our hearts can get hard and unable to hear the tender voice of God telling us to love others as He has loved them. . .
Series: Rockland Chronicles #2
Published by CreateSpace
Publication Date March 11, 2010
Genres: Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: Montana, The Midwest Contemporary
Main Character Ages: 18-24, 25-34
Written for: Adults
Argosy Jct. Montana~Pop. 13,223
Lane~ Five years after her family broke ties with The Brethren, the cult-like church still has firm ties wrapped around her heart and soul. The more she rejects them, the Lord, and anyone who claims a relationship with Christ, the more she realizes how empty life can be.
Matt~ Fresh from the inner city, Matt arrives in Argosy Jct. ready to explore the Montana countryside. He’s prepared for anything but sheep, cults, and a rancher’s daughter with a chip on her shoulder.
Not until she saves Matt from assault by sheep does Lane begin to understand that Christianity is a relationship rather than a checklist to godliness. Before he met Lane, Matt never understood how damaging the body of Christ can be to its own.
Join them as they explore Montana, Rockland, and the possibility of a merge between two very different worlds.
Argosy Junction is the second book in the Rockland Chronicles
Pride was the downfall of the church in Argosy Junction and led the people of the congregation trying to live up to rules and regulations that they created so they would appear to be godly to the others. In the process, they caused much damage and created a cult. While on the outside it appeared that they were doing well and living lives that would be pleasing to God, their hearts were filled with wrong motivations, judgement, and hypocrisy.
As I was reading, I was a bit in awe over the way that the author appeared to have such an intimate knowledge of the inner city – what it felt like to grow up and live there. Matt’s caution for Lane being alone in his neighborhood and yet his casual attitude towards being there himself was so interesting, yet it fits. The way he chose a career that he didn’t love because it paid better than other options and had better advancement opportunities – ouch.
Matt was pretty much a perfect hero. I mean, really. Who doesn’t love a tough yet tender man? One who can deal with a gangbanging teenager and spout poetry. Oh, and did I mention his intense love for the Lord which led him to surrender the one thing he desired above all else? He was a man who knew how to love.
One of the things I liked the most in this book was the correspondence. Author Chautona Havig wrote this so well. There was a great deal of correspondence going on between Matt and the various members of the Argosy family. My favorites were the e-mails and letters sent from Patience, Lane’s younger sister.
Speaking of Patience, I loved her heart. And as much as I admired Matt, Patience certainly topped my list of favorite characters. At nine years old, she still had a tender and loving heart that didn’t judge. Though her entire family obviously doted on her, she was not spoiled. She so naturally cared about the homeless people and wanted to meet their needs, not reacting with fear or judgement that so many of us do. . .
Reading what I have here, this looks like it is a very serious book. It is, but it is also filled with the author’s inimitable humor throughout. Not only in the way she turns a phrase but also the situations the characters find themselves in, such as reading sonnets to sheep!
Argosy Junction is challenging. It deals with so many deep heart issues. I challenge you to read it and not find some area in your life that it shines a laser beam on and make you squirm. I hope you will pick up a copy and read it prayerfully. Not that I’m saying you should use it for Bible study. Just see what perhaps the Lord may speak to you about in your life.
Chautona's Argosy Junction Pinterest Board(click here to go directly to the board on Pinterest)
What Do You Do When the Church Becomes Toxic?
by Chautona Havig
You know how TV shows and movies like to make fun of bridezillas?
Yeah. I know. It can be funny.
But bridezillas aren’t just those gals on reality shows. They’re all over the church, too. People who allow their focus to get off the Bridegroom and onto “their day.” Instead of focusing on the One who loves them so dearly, Who has rescued them from the gutter and holds them close and tenderly, they focus on getting all the trappings right. The right wording, the right clothes, the right rules of…
So many friendships have been ruined by a bride gone wild—so focused on details that she forgets the people she hopes will celebrate it with her. She forgets her groom. Unreasonable expectations of the day and of people lead to broken relationships and an ugly taint to what should be a beautiful occasion.
What I find interesting is that people will forgive a lot from a bridezilla. You hear things like, “Well, it’s such a stressful time,” or “She’ll come around after she settles in.”
And it’s true.
So, why don’t we have the same grace for the “bridezillas” of the church? When that deacon decides to become judge and jury of people’s spiritual state based upon what he thinks or knows someone has contributed to the church, why do we write off him and the rest of the congregation (or all congregations out there)? When the church gossip shares private information… or even false information, why do we lash out with thinly-veiled, passive-aggressive rants on Facebook about brutes in the church before flouncing off in a spiritually-superior rejection of that “religious nightmare, otherwise known as the church?” (Yes, I’ve heard it called that).
When we’re blackballed by people who used to call us family, why do we reject all parts of the bride? Why do we cut off an arm, a leg, a hand, and whack away from the body known as Jesus’ bride until only a piece of an eyelash is left—us?
I get it. The bride of Christ gets ugly—like many bridezillas do. But do we love our Groom? Do we trust that He will stay faithful to us even when parts of our body fails us? When we get old, frail, and forgetful, will He remember us? Will He stay faithful and true when we wander to other loves? Can we trust that?
If Jesus can die for that person in the pew across the way, if He can forgive their sins, if He can forgive your sins, can’t you forgive His beloved?
Look, I get it. Sometimes part of the body of Christ becomes ill—gangrenous. Toxic.
When that happens, you need to remove yourself before you become ill, too. I get that. But that local body is just a tiny finger or toe of the whole body. We need to do what we can to help the restof the body stay healthy while we pray and do what we can to help the sick part.
And I’m not condoning sin. Please understand that. This isn’t about me saying, “It doesn’t matter if the church sins against us. It does. It’s why Jesus gave us a way to deal with that.
But regardless of how someone else behaves, we still have to do what’s right. And I Peter 4:8 reminds us that “Love covers a multitude of sins.”
If you thought I’d wax eloquent about how evil the church is, how we should just abolish the “institution,” and why it’s just so bad…
You’ll be disappointed. I won’t do it.
So, What Do You Do When the Church Becomes Toxic?
I can answer the question in a word.
And really, that’s all Matt does in this book. Loves. Okay, and maybe a little prayerful ranting as well.
It’s what Jesus did when His creation—you and me—when we became toxic. He loved.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34
Special Video from Chautona Havig
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, August 7
The Power of Words, August 8
Bigreadersite, August 8
Among the Reads, August 9
Multifarious, August 10
Blogging With Carol, August 11
proud to be an autism mom, August 12
A Baker’s Perspective, August 12
Texas Book-aholic, August 13
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, August 14
Janices book reviews, August 15
Maureen’s Musings, August 16
Jeanette’s Thoughts, August 17
Bibliophile Reviews, August 18
Carpe Diem, August 19
Godly Book Reviews, August 20
To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize package that includes
- a paperback copy of Argosy Junction
- “Matt’s” copy of Shakespeare’s Sonnets
- $25 gift certificate!!
Click to enter: