Thursday, July 29, 2010

The defense rests....

I stand accused. It all started innocently enough with a post about a horoscope (see the post below). Then, some person named Anonymous called me out - he or she responded to my post and said:

I'm a bit surprised. I thought you were a Christian, but maybe I've jumped to a conclusion that isn't accurate. If you are, wouldn't you turn to scripture, then, for guidance?

Wow - jumping to conclusions much? I mean, Anonymous basically said I'm not a Christian because I like reading my horoscope and actually find some inspiration in it occasionally. Anonymous also assumed that I don't turn to the Bible for guidance. Really? I'm thinking at this point that this person can't possibly know me, or he or she wouldn't make such comments. Curious to see what a jury would think, I polled some folks about this issue. Actually, I posted the response on Facebook to see what sort of responses I might get about it and if others might jump to the same conclusion.

Throughout the day, my Facebook post received plenty of responses. The accusations came from some of the comments. Based on what some of the folks said, I stand accused of the following:

1. I'm lost
2. I'm a Satan worshipper and/or support the occult
3. I am not a Christian - astrologist might be more accurate

Once accused of something, I have to defend myself. Now, if I was a lawyer (oh wait, I am) preparing for the case at hand, I'd first start with discovery. I'd interview witnesses (including Anonymous who would be tracked down - the prosecution might be hard-pressed to pursue the case if the original accuser doesn't come forward), subpoena documents like the Bible (oh wait, I've got a couple already - we're good), etc. We'd interview experts on horoscopes, especially the source of the horoscope in question, because certainly we would need to know what this person's background is. Are they Satanic? Do they worship stars? All relevant questions. Hm, I wonder if computers spit out horoscopes these days like they do fortune cookie fortunes. Anyway, I'll be ready for whatever the prosecution was going to throw at me so I'd be prepared to defend myself in court.

At trial, we'd both present evidence - facts. And the facts are these:

I read a horoscope and said I loved it - it was positive and inspired me. I was having a particularly bad day, and I thought to myself, you know, this is going to help me get through this crazy day. Here is the horoscope in question:

You can really gain momentum with a special goal today and for the rest of the week. Even if your schedule is tight, you can at the very least start fantasizing and strategizing about how you want to proceed with an important plan. Get your mind ready - begin visualizing what you want to happen and seeing your dream come to fruition. This is just as important as the physical work you will be required to do. Create a plan of action now, and then leap on it the very moment you begin your quest for something you want very much.

Apparently by not discussing how much I'd prayed before reading the horoscope yesterday, God was nowhere in my equation. At least that's what the accuser assumed.

And look at all the references to stars - oh wait, there aren't any. This horoscope is evil and satanic and filled with horrible ridiculousness that I can't possibly rely on! Well, not quite. You see, here are some statements made by Joel Osteen in his book "Your Best Life Now":

"You must conceive it in your heart and mind before you can receive it."
"This could be the day I see my miracle."
"Find somewhere you can dream."
"What you will recieve is directly connected to how you believe."
"Nothing is going to be able to keep you down."
"We receive what we believe."

These quotes are straight out of pastor Osteen's God-based book. They kind of sound to me like they could've fit in anywhere in the horoscope and I wouldn't have batted an eye. So clearly the horoscope can't be all that bad, right?

But a problem arises! Did the person throwing accusations at me actually read the horoscope in question? At least admitted NO! Bingo - this could help me win my case. How on earth can the person I'm defending myself against be credible if they don't even know what they are arguing about? I've got him - I've got him because he made assumptions without facts. This person is instantly discredited and I start to feel a bit better about my case.

The prosecution throws out some other theories - one being that we shouldn't rely on anything that's not directly out of the Bible or "of God." Wait, the expert's opinion is actually this - "I think the we have to ask ourselves whether or not the bible is the ultimate authority to us. If it is, than no other source can be relevent to our lives even if the message appears to be good." Let's analyze this. The Bible is the center of my life - CHECK. It is the ultimate resource - CHECK. So therefore, no other source can be relevant even if the message appears to be good. Hmmmm.....

Sorry Coach Wooden - you great Christian man you. I am no longer to look to you for inspiration because you are not the Bible. Here are some good ones Coach, but again, I can't rely on these:

“If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes.”
“Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
“Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”
“If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

Just a handful of the knowledge handed down by Coach Wooden that inspired thousands - but nope, not allowed to rely on it because it's not from the proper source.

Or how about posts from other Autism warriors fighting valiant fights on behalf of their children. All those inspirational stories on message boards that give me hope for my son's future? Nope, not relevant to my life apparently, even if the message is good. Oh, and sorry Pastor Osteen - the Bible is my main resource, so all the knowledge in your book can't be relied on either, even though it's ALL GOOD!

Big assumptions - overbroad generalizations. While there are many absolutes in the Bible, there are plenty areas of grey that are left open for interpretation. It's why there are different denominations of Christianity, why we have Bible studies to discuss passages, why some of us think it's okay to read a seemingly innocent horoscope and some think it's sinful. Why at some point, we all have to just agree to disagree, and that we don't have a right to tell someone they aren't being a Christian if we don't always agree. That certainly would be making a judgment, and we Christians all know that the only one who should be judging and whose judgment matters is God.

I digress. Back to the trial. I testify - I discuss how God is the center of my life, that I prayed to Him yesterday morning, that through the strength that He gives me, I can get through my day, that I read my horoscope and I thought, "Yeah, this is God's plan for me today - sounds pretty much like what he'd hope I can achieve." I feel good - convincing. I brought my A-game...

Then I get to face my accuser. Anonymous. Wait, Anonymous never identifies himself and isn't at trial. To allow his statement into court would be hearsay. Too bad Anonymous felt the need to hide when making such strong accusations because I like personally addressing my accusers.

The prosecution's case is weak - no way the jury was going to convict beyond a reasonable doubt. They conclude that simply reading a horoscope and finding some entertainment and maybe a little inspiration from it isn't necessarily a bad thing. I get to keep my Christian badge.

Case closed.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to post such a thoughtful defense. Ironically, I too am an attorney. I appreciate that the carnal world often can't make sense of the spiritual world. The moving of the Holy Spirit is something that is virtually inexplicable in a courtroom that has argued for so long to keep God out of the mix.

I've followed your blog for a while as someone who has struggled with death/dying from a young age and someone who has many near and dear to me who struggle with disabilities of varying degrees, including autism. I've admired (from afar), your deep love for your immediate and extended family and the way you rejoice over the milestones reached by your children (especially Will). But, as a whole, you're right...I know very little about you except what you choose to put on your blog and I understand that misinterpretation and the whole picture are very much a part of the blogging world.

As for the charge I levied, I was sincere in my questioning. I know people throw around Biblical references and Christianity pretty carelessly and I wasn't sure where exactly you stood. I wasn't objecting to the specific horoscope you posted, but your blog title of "I love horoscopes" and your reference to having an iphone app that is checked every day caused me pause because horoscopes by their nature are intended to predict the future. As we know from the Bible, no one can predict the future, not even those who attempt to do it in the name of Jesus. I appreciate that my comment was written in haste and not said in a less threatening manner. For that I apologize. I will simply conclude that I pray God's blessings for you.

The Catons said...

You rock!!! All I've ever wanted to be is a lawyer...and you standing up for yourself just makes me so proud of you as a woman!! Any lesser would have just deleted the comment and never addressed it. Good for you!!!

TDM Wendy said...

Just some more food for thought on this subject . . .

TDM Wendy said...

I know the case is closed, but here is more:
And some more.

And I imagine you would agree with this paragraph and are not getting out your Ouija board.

However, the Bible does state that occult practices are wrong, and that we should not seek out fortune tellers, mediums, and practitioners of occult practices. While most of the predictions we see in the paper are fairly benign guesses, there is still concern among some Christian groups about astrology. The main concern is when Christians look to astrology for advice over God. If Christians look to astrology first then they are taking their eyes and trust away from God. Yet most Christians only glance at a horoscope to laugh at the generalized predictions, feeling no need to delve further into occult practices or divining the future.

Dawn said...

Okay - two points...

You said 'some' Christians have a problem with astrology and reading horoscopes - not all. As with many issues in the Bible, as Christians, we might just have to agree to disagree about this one. I don't think reading horoscopes amounts to seeking out the occult or fortune tellers. But that's just my opinion and I can respect that others may differ.

Also, there is the assumption that Christians who read their horoscopes do so instead of seeking answers from God. I can't speak for others, but this assumption is wrong in my case. I think people should be careful about making such assumptions - I think it can lead to unnecessary judgment and condemnation.

Pamela said...

Dawn you provided Anonymous more of a defense than he/she (I gather she) deserve. It's always funny when Christians want to call out other Christians on what they should/shouldn't do..I ask is that a Christian thing.

God is in the midst of everything and He gave the person who wrote that horoscope the vision and words to write that it may encourage someone else. As you pointed out, we are taught to visualize our goals. We must conceive it in our hearts and minds, a goal, a dream has to have roots.

I feel Anonymous as many others, needs to "lighten up". While there are people who live by their horoscope, while I don't know you, but from reading your blog, you are a very level-headed woman who will know what to pull from and what's not for you.

Inspiration comes to us in many forms, so you keep dreaming lady and reaching for those stars!

Donna G. said...

I happened to come across your blog while "googling" Gridiron Goddess as I have adopted that as my Fantasy Football moniker & wanted to see what was out there.

Wow! First of all, born and raised extremely strict Christian (SDA) and I am the mom of a son on the Autism spectrum (12 yr with Aspergers).

Horoscopes? Are people really worried about this when there is so much else going on in the world? I read my horoscope purely for enjoyment. Sometimes I roll my eyes cuz it's so not even realistic. Sometimes it makes me giggle. Other times it just makes me stop and think. Almost as if the words on the page are telling me to adjust my attitude and be positive instead of focusing on the negative.

I'm a wife and a mom. I'm too busy being in awe of other amazing moms to worry about the "speck" in someone else's eye when I should be worrying about the "plank" in my own.

Keep the Faith and do your thang cuz those who matter don't mind and those who mind don't matter.