Aug 312011

Here’s a blast from the past:

What color was the Lone Ranger’s mask?

Think you know? Read on for the answer. You might be surprised – I was!

The Lone Ranger began on radio in 1933, then aired on tv from 1949 to 1957, spawning several icons of Americana like silver bullets, “Hi-yo Silver! Away!” and the phrase of admiration and wonder, “Who was that masked man anyway?”

As the story goes, six Texas Rangers were ambushed. All died but one, who made a black mask from the vest of his slain brother, and became – the Lone Ranger. From then on he used only bullets made of silver to remind himself that life, like silver, is precious, not to be wasted or thrown away. But was his mask really black?

During a stay at the storied Beverly Hilton this past weekend, I discovered a Hollywood memorabilia display with cavalry uniforms from “How the West was Won,” a camel sculpture owned by Judy Garland from “A Star is Born,” and a mask worn by John Hart when he briefly replaced Clayton Moore for the Lone Ranger’s third season.

My jaw dropped when I saw that the Lone Ranger’s mask was purple! It only looked black because seasons 1-4 were filmed in black and white. In the final season, filmed in color, the mysterious lawman wore an actual black mask.

Of course, the real color of the Lone Ranger’s mask doesn’t matter, except as vintage tv trivia. The story told us it was black, it looked black, and therefore, it was black!

On reflection though, as a Thinking Christian Woman, I praise God that we are not limited by what we are told or can perceive with our senses.

  • We are not held hostage by the limited perspective of our own understanding (Proverb 3:5-6).
  • Because of our relationship with God through His Son Jesus, we can know the truth and the truth sets us free (John 8:32)!
  • And if God’s Son has set us free, we are free indeed (John 8:36)!
  • We are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (hey, I can see my house from here!) (Ephesians 2:16) and have access to a perspective that is as high above our human perspective as the heavens are higher than the earth (Isaiah 55:9).

In your life today, something may look one way, because of limited human perspective, but in reality, it might be totally different!  When it comes to knowing the truth about life, none of us has to be a lone ranger – Hallelujah! For the Thinking Christian Woman, the fun is in staying open to God’s sometimes surprising perspective on things we may think we know for sure.

btw – For those of you who are really into the Lone Ranger, here’s the creed he and Tonto aspired to live by:

I believe…

  • that to have a friend, a man must be one.
  • that all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.
  • that God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.
  • in being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for that which is right.
  • that a man should make the most of what equipment he has.
  • that ‘this government of the people, by the people, and for the people’ shall live always.
  • that men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.
  • that sooner or later…somewhere…somehow…we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.
  • that all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.
  • in my Creator, my country, my fellow man.

© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
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Aug 262011

I did something the other day I’m not proud of – the night before trash day, I left a big item in my alley that had some value, but was no longer wanted. This is common practice (people regularly cruise the alleys looking for things – it’s like an anonymous flea market/swap meet), so that was fine, but the bad part was that I left it by a neighbor’s fence rather than my own.

That property is a rental, and the alley there is almost always trashy with loose dead weeds, water bottle caps, cigarette butts, cardboard, etc. Last year I took a “before” picture, cleaned it up, took an “after” picture, looked up the owner’s name/address, and sent a nice (at least I thought it was nice) letter. Nothing changed.

As a Thinking Christian Woman, I knew that purposeful littering was an offense against my neighbor, who, according to Proverb 3:29, lives trustfully near me, but I excused my actions because I’m so tired of seeing the mess and thought it might spur them to clean up (thinking they might notice something as big as two plastic dog kennels!)

I was uneasy – hoping someone would want the kennels, or trash collection would take them, or the neighbors would get the point (perhaps give them to their neighbor who works with animal rescue) – anything to absolve my “crime.”

I didn’t deserve God’s blessing – we never do – and I had misused the trusting nature of alley culture.

What happened next struck me as a rebuke of life (Proverb 15:31). In “The Rebukes of Life: God’s Safety Net,” Rodger Williams observes, “Instruction prepares us to act with discernment and is the least painful way to learn how to act wisely. In cases where we have missed instruction, God graciously supplies the safety net of rebuke, lest we fall through to the most painful way of learning our lesson.”

After some errands on trash day morning, I drove down the alley to see if the kennels were still there. Not only were they gone, but another nearby neighbor had set out something I have long wanted but never prioritized to invest in – a slatted wood gardening table!

God had somehow arranged not only to remove the evidence of my trespass, but also to provide an unexpected object of my heart’s desire, all in the same fine morning. I was immediately convicted.

Conviction is the voice of God saying something in my heart like, “I am showing you a better way because I love you so much, turn and walk in it.” Guilt, from what people have told me, sounds more like, “What’s the matter with you?! You should have done (or not done) this or that! You’re a bad person!” My sister Naoma explains that conviction from our heavenly Father can stop us in our tracks and point us in a better direction, while guilt (condemnation) from the Enemy discourages us, makes us feel unworthy, gnaws away at us and can ruin our happiness and peace.

There is therefore now no condemnation

to those who are in Christ Jesus…

(Romans 8:1)

I certainly don’t expect God to always protect me from the consequences of my foolish actions and give me a gift, but every time I use that lovely gardening table, I will have a present reminder of God’s forgiveness, cleansing absolution, and convicting blessings. And maybe one way I can say thank You is to make that untidy stretch of alley my love project and keep it looking nice!

© 2011 Melody K. Anderson

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Aug 222011

Taking Disney Captive to Christ – No. 1

Note: We introduced the Taking Disney Captive to Christ series back in June to help transform and elevate Disney “magic” through the higher thoughts and values of God’s wisdom.

According to the official website, Main Street, U.S.A. is the gateway to Disneyland Park. Stroll down the street where turn-of-the-century architecture and transportation recreate the quintessential small town of Middle America in the early 1900’s. Welcome to Main Street, U.S.A. – home, sweet home in the park!”

If quintessential means “representing the most perfect or typical example of a quality or class” (Merriam-Webster), and if the average Midwestern downtown has at least one church, and if Main Street, U.S.A. was inspired by Walt’s hometown of Marceline, Missouri where there were two churches on Main Street when Walt lived there, then the Thinking Christian Woman just has to ask,

“Where’s the church on Main Street, U.S.A.?”
Walt Disney grew up in church. His father, Elias Disney – a deacon in the St. Paul Congregational Church in Chicago – named his fourth, and youngest, son after the family minister, Walter Parr. 

There is evidence to conclude that Walt never intended to exclude God from Disneyland. In a live broadcast seen around the world on opening day in 1955, Walt asked his nephew, Reverend Glenn D. Puder, to lead in a prayer of dedication.

“I have known Walt Disney for many years, and have long been aware of the spiritual motivation in the heart of this man who has dreamed Disneyland into being….beyond the creeds that would divide us, let us unite in a silent prayer, that this, and every worthy endeavor, may prosper at God’s hand. Let us bow in prayer.”

Then-governor of California, Goodwin J. Knight, followed and said, in part, “Mr. and Mrs. Disney, reverend clergy, and my fellow Americans. Today is a wonderful day and all America is proud as we open Disneyland….all built by American labor and American capital under the belief that this is a God-fearing and a God-loving country.”

It is possible that Walt wanted to be as inclusive as possible by generally avoiding the emblems and trappings of organized religion in the park. And, to be fair, there’s no school, library or post office on Main Street U.S.A. either, but that doesn’t mean Walt was against learning, reading and letter writing!

Walt’s daughter, Sharon Disney Lund, once said, “He was a very religious man, but he didn’t believe you had to go to church to be religious….He respected every religion.” Diane Disney Miller added, “He definitely believed in God – very definitely. But I think he’d had it [with organized religion] as a child. He never went to church.”

For such a fertile creative spirit as Disney, the formal structure of church around the turn of the century may have seemed stifling. The Thinking Christian Woman will look more in depth at the faith of Walt Disney in a future post. For more insights into why some believers have difficulty with organized religion, read Why Men Hate Going to Church by David Murrow.
There may be no church building on Disney’s Main Street, U.S.A., but the Thinking Christian Woman knows that the church of the living God is not a building made with human hands – WE are His church. Every time a believer walks down Main Street, U.S.A., or anywhere else, God’s church is present there!

And even though there is no church building on Main Street U.S.A, there IS an actual church in Disneyland, and we will show you where! Stay tuned to The Thinking Christian Woman for a future installment of Taking Disney Captive to Christ!

© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
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Aug 172011

By guest blogger Élise Finney

My only daughter married last month, and moved into the house across the street (which is good, but a whole ‘nother story of its own).

She and her husband just graduated from college and have been job-hunting. We were praying that her husband would land a job at a nearby big box retail store.

Shortly after his interview, she texted the good news, “He got the job!” I happily replied by typing “Woohoo!” but, before I could send, my smartphone auto-corrected “Woohoo!” to “Elohim!”

Elohim – the Hebrew word for God!

God reminded me that we had been praying to Him, asking Him for favor, and He had answered. It was a sweet visitation and a gentle transformation of my enthusiastic “Woohoo” into direct praise for the “One Who” was responsible.

© 2011 Melody K. Anderson

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Aug 152011

The Thinking Christian Woman has moved to a new web neighborhood – where the pavement is smoother, the air fresher, and communications flow more freely!


Here you’ll find new accessibility features like “Translate this Page” in case English is not your first (or heart) language, and an RSS feed if you’re into that.

Anyone who visits the old location will automatically be sent here, but you might want to update your bookmarks.

And be sure to check out our “new digs” giveaway

Speaking of moving, have you noticed that God has built into His creation a vigorous propensity for speed and motion?

Earth spins on its axis at 1,000 mph, while orbiting the sun at 67,000 mph. If that’s not enough, our solar system is moving within our galaxy, our galaxy is moving with our galaxy group, and our galaxy group is expanding outwards along with the rest of the universe!

Besides all this, molecules, atoms, protons and neutrons, quarks, and on and on down into the microcosm, are all buzzing, vibrating, spinning, and orbiting at amazing speeds.

And then there is time itself, constantly marching forward and somehow intricately related to all these moving bodies and particles.

In the swirling midst of all this, God encourages us to be still and know that He is God (Psalm 46:10), hold fast (2 Tim 1:13; Heb 3:6, 10:23; Rev 2:25, 3:3), and trust Him as the unchanging center (Heb 13:8) around which His whole creation is constantly moving.

Glad to see you here. I’m looking forward to our continuing dialog of discovery and praise for the God in whom we live and move and have our being! (Acts 17:28)

© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
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Aug 062011

A few years ago I moved into a house with a fence abutting an alley where the light is mostly indirect and about the only things that grow well are weeds.

Before leaving to visit Mom for two weeks, I weeded along that fence and discovered a volunteer tomato. About a year ago I’d planted aloe on the yard side and amended the soil with homemade compost that must have contained tomato seeds. Volunteer ‘maters often spring up in unlikely places where compost has been applied, but I’ve never seen one grow under the fence and out the other side!

There are few things as inspiring as the heart of a volunteer!

Psalm 110:3 says, “Your people shall be volunteers in the day of Your power.” And Isaiah 1:19 promises, “If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land.”

Watered before I left, but no time to prune or stake. Upon return it had grown considerably and flopped over, one whole branch flattened by some passing vehicle. Pruned it, staked it to the fence, watered again, and recently tasted the first fruit – sweet like little candies.

Isaiah 27:6 says, “Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.” When believers read ‘Israel’ in the bible, context often supports claiming the promises; as ones having been grafted (Romans 11:17-24) and adopted (Romans 8:14-17; Galatians 4:4-7; Ephesians 1:3-5) into Israel, taking part in the promises as Abraham’s believing seed (Romans 9:6-8).

Besides representing Jesus’ promise, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10), this plucky plant proclaims God’s nature which is to give and give and give, despite the odds. As His beloved child, the Thinking Christian Woman has the privilege of imitating Him in this regard; voluntarily and wholeheartedly giving when and where least expected, and bearing sweet fruit against all odds.

© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
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Jul 292011

A friend was filling my half-barrel pond with rainwater collected from the “orchard” area of the yard and just happened to smell gas at the meter as he passed with a full bucket (or do you call it a pail?).

I promptly closed the gas line and called the utility. Mr. Gas Company did a visual check and then went to his truck to retrieve, what he called, his “educated Eggdicator” – the sniffer machine that detects the distinctive rotten egg odor (H2S – hydrogen sulfide) added to natural gas to make it detectable.

His answer to my inquiry about the unusual name was that Mr. Wonka used an Eggdicator to test the geese-laid chocolate eggs in the movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Grandpa Joe called it an educated Eggdicator. You might remember Veruca Salt, in her lust for the Golden Egg, standing triumphantly on the device and being judged – Bad Egg.

Well the E.E. precisely pinpointed the porous piping and the technician locked the leaking line. After learning that it takes a city permit to replace a pipe fitting (hmm, that sounds like a money-maker), I obtained the permit and repairs are underway. Meanwhile I’ve been cooking on a butane camp stove outdoors, drying laundry in the California sun, and showering at the Total Woman Gym – a refreshingly novel break in routine.

Do you have an educated Eggdicator? Can you smell when something’s not right in your life? Paul explains how to become spiritually mature in discerning good and evil.

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.

 But solid food belongs to those who are of full age,
that is, those who by reason of use 
have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
(Heb 5:12-14)

We might have lots of information about righteousness (being in right relationship to God, others, and all created things), but we only come of age spiritually by continually putting that information into practice in real life – habitual obedience to God’s Word. That’s how the Thinking Christian Woman can exercise her spiritual senses and develop an educated Eggdicator to sniff out the good and evil in life.

© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
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Jul 212011

On Northern Indiana visits during warmer months, I sometimes ask the Lord to let me see a snake. Though not my favorite critters, they operate with such stealth that sighting one is a special event.

Mom’s house is on Center Lake where nature abounds with ducks, turtles, Canada geese, woodchucks, chipmunks, cardinals, heron, muskrats – even a deer once – and the occasional legless reptile.

Memory holds a vivid picture of the big blue racer (snake) that chased my friend Ed up our back hill when we were kids, but by and large nature is gentle around here. Bushes are thornless and barefeet are safe from pricklies nearly everywhere. According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, the only poisonous snake in these parts – the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake – is rare and lives as a recluse in remote wetlands.

37 years ago, my brother Lane and I won the 3.5 mile 4th of July Tippecanoe River race (where one major goal is to avoid tipping on Tippy!) and Mom still has the canoe that floated us to victory. This is the story of one fine summer day when I took that canoe out on Center Lake and the Lord answered my reptile request.

I’d paddled about a half mile from shore when, suddenly and silently, a 13″ black snake dropped onto the centerline from under the vacant bow seat, and there we were, having fellowship – defined as two fellows in the same ship!

It wasn’t a rattler, but my first instinct was to jump out, not knowing what would happen when the little guy realized our predicament. I also wondered what might be under my seat! It was an uncomfortable situation, to say the least, for me, and likely also for the stowaway. Alternating between elevating bare feet and legs on the gunwales and the stern thwart, I paddled hard into the nearby canal hoping to haul out and persuade him (or them) to disembark, but the shore was all rocks and seawalls.

What a relief to spot a man fishing off the end of his pier. Remember the lanky Sheriff Woody doll in Toy Story? Pull his string and you might hear, “There’s a snake in my boot!” Well, I called out, “May I dock at your pier, there’s a snake in my boat.” Rather than wave me in, however, the wary fisherman asked, “How big is it?” Sensing perhaps “we” were not welcome, I turned around and tried for home. It seemed to take forever.

About halfway there, the little guy slithered into the enclosed refuge under the bow deck and disappeared. Of course, I still didn’t know if he was the only one. Eventually we made it to dry land. I hauled out and flipped the boat over, but never saw my first mate again. God had answered the snake-sighting prayer with a resounding and memorable yes!

This experience highlighted that God’s answers to prayer can:

  • Catch us by surprise. 
  • Come in unexpected, possibly even undesirable, ways.
  • Come under circumstances that challenge our comfort level.

What an adventure for the Thinking Christian Woman to share with Him all the big or little things on her heart, then stay alert for His creative and sometimes unusual responses!

© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
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Jul 152011

County fair time here in America. Few things sweeter than being in one’s childhood hometown, greeting old friends on the midway, riding the Ferris wheel, smelling caramel corn, eating sweet corn on the cob (fresh from the Mid-American corn belt) and ice cream churned by the powerful putter of an antique tractor.

Btw – though “pleasure wheels” have been around since 17th century Bulgaria, Mr. Ferris invented the first giant one as a landmark for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair to outdo the Eiffel Tower (the wonder of the 1889 Paris World’s Fair). Must have been quite a sight rising 250 feet above Lake Michigan with train-car sized gondolas!

Back to my Hoosier hometown – last year around this time I was watching barrel racing (where riders are timed navigating their horses in figure 8’s around barrels) with my sister and her daughter Stacey. A cell phone rings. “Mom, you’re calling me!” she exclaims. While my sister rifles through her purse, Stacey jovially answers, “hello, hello, hello.” not expecting anything because that phone often dials hers by accident.

A woman answers, “Is this Stacey?” Puzzled, Stacey replies, “Well, yeah.” The mystery caller identifies herself, “This is Janae!” Turns out these two attended K-12 school together, but hadn’t seen each other in many years. “What are you doing with my Mom’s phone?”

Janae explains, “I was putting my three little girls in the car, but one of them wandered off. I looked and looked but couldn’t find her and I was starting to panic. When I bowed and prayed, ‘Lord, please help me find my daughter,’ there was a phone in the grass at my feet. Mine was at home so I picked it up and called 9-1-1. We found my little girl in the fair, and I just now called the last number dialed and got you!”

Stacey headed to the main gate and spotted her old schoolmate – unmistakable in her signature bright red lipstick, giant beads and a dress, with her three daughters, each dressed like the other, happily reunited. The old friends hugged and marveled at what had happened.

By humbly bowing and asking for God’s help, Janae opened a channel of blessing for both her and my sister. In God’s abundant economy, her fervent fair prayer resulted in a blessing two-fer!

“The earnest prayer of a righteous person
has great power and wonderful results.” (James 5:16 TLB)   

© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
All Rights Reserved

Happy Birthday Stacey!

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The Cave with Bones

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Jul 122011

As a wild caver, both dry and wet (spelunkers will know what that means), I was particularly interested to learn recently about Peștera cu Oase (“the Cave with Bones”) in southwestern Romania where the oldest Homo sapiens remains in Europe were discovered in 2002.

These First Europeans were found with bear and other mammal skeletal remains from the Late Pleistocene era (think wooly mammoths/mastodons, saber tooth tigers, etc. – if you’ve been to the World Famous San Diego Zoo’s Elephant Odyssey you have a sense of Pleistocene era creatures).

Got me thinking of the Tower of Babel. In Latin, Homo sapiens means “wise man” or “knowing man.” I take the bible literally when it says God created man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being (Genesis 2:7), so I believe Adam was a Homo sapiens. The Genesis account certainly attributes “knowing” characteristics to Adam, such as keeping the Garden of Eden, and naming all of the animals – I enjoy the mental picture of God parading the animals past Adam “to see what he would call them.” (Genesis 2:19-20)

Early humans, after Noah’s flood, all spoke the same language and hunkered together in a comfy plain in Shinar, which is modern day Iraq. They pooled their resources and arrogantly started building a tower to heaven. God helped them get a better sense of their proper relationship to Him by introducing multiple languages, which of course messed up the construction project, and sent language groups heading off in all directions. (Genesis 11)

I wonder if some of those Romanian bones might be from that same humbling dispersion.

We sometimes hear people talk about “skeletons in the closet,” referring to past nefarious events. I remember times when God has dramatically humbled me and sent me in a new direction. Perhaps memories like those, rather than being skeletons in the closet, can comprise a type of Cave with Bones for each Thinking Christian Woman.

© 2011 Melody K. Anderson
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