The Blessed Alliance in Fort Collins

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“Sometimes when you’re searching for answers you get more than you bargained for.”

That was the opening sentence in Half the Church. It was also the opening sentence in the message I gave last week at Cru17 in Fort Collins when I spoke about the Blessed Alliance to the Jesus Film Project staff.

One of those “more than I bargained for” moments (and there have been many) came when I was simply trying to find solid footing in my own story. A ten year stretch of singleness knocked me off-course from what I understood to be God’s highest calling for me as a woman—to be a wife and mother.

I went back to the creation narrative to find out if God’s vision for his daughters included all of our stories from first to final breath. That’s where I got a whole lot more than I bargained for.

From a biblical story I’ve heard since I was a little girl, I learned that my true calling as a female started at birth. According to Genesis, every girl child born is an indispensible ezer-warrior (Genesis 2:18) for God’s purposes.

But I also learned that relationships between God’s sons and daughters are essential to God’s purposes for the world. He created his image bearers to reflect his character, to do his work in the world, to look after things on his behalf, and to do it together.

According to Genesis 1-2, human relationships have cosmic repercussions for good or ill—for the benefit or detriment of God’s kingdom on earth. How we work together (or don’t) as allies in every venue impacts the advance of God’s purposes in the world one way or another.

This entails a whole lot more getting along better or sharing power. Current debates in the church don’t take us nearly far enough. The Blessed Alliance is a kingdom strategy designed for the flourishing of all humanity and all creation. It’s recovery is a central aspect of Jesus’ gospel.

You could say, the Blessed Alliance is the spiritual equivalent of a nuclear weapon. Only the Blessed Alliance is not destructive. It is constructive and gospel powerful. It is, in fact, the best thing that can happen to a human being, and it is only good news to any person, culture, or location on the planet that feels its effect.

In an earlier blog I wrote:

God’s original vision—a vision he has never abandoned but revives in the work of his son—was for relationships between men and women to be dazzling points of light on this spinning globe. Dynamics between men and women were never intended to be a battle of the sexes or a heated debate within Christian circles. Male/female relationships in Christ are to be a glowing testament to the fact that we are followers of Jesus. This is where God means to put on display a gospel-powered love. This is where the world is supposed to see men and women laying down their lives for others, offering strength and wisdom to each other, and investing ourselves fully for God’s kingdom.  —“The Blessed Alliance”

Needless to say, I take every opportunity that comes my way to talk about the Blessed Alliance and expand the conversation. The Jesus Film team’s invitation to Fort Collins was the latest. I will be savoring for a long time the conversations I had with many of them—both men and women—afterwards.

The Blessed Alliance showed up in print for the first time in Lost Women of the Bible. It is a major theme in every subsequent book I’ve written (The Gospel of Ruth, Half the Church, and Malestrom)Every book I’ve written puts the Blessed Alliance on breathtaking display in the biblical narratives I unpack. The Blessed Alliance shows up in stories of Deborah, Barak, and Jael, Naomi, Ruth, and Boaz, Esther and Mordecai, Mary and Joseph, Jesus and Mary of Bethany, and Paul and the women of Philippi (to name only a few examples).

But there is still so much more to explore and understand. Work so far has only scratched the surface. So Frank and I are currently in the process of researching, discussing, and probing further this vital topic for a book on the Blessed Alliance we will be writing together.

Stay tuned for more news on this project and also news of when Lexham Press will release my just completed sequel to The Gospel of Ruth.

[Photo aboveby Citycommunications at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0, Link]


Fort Collins Memories:

Version 4

I can’t imagine a better friend than Judy Douglass! She and I were allies in launching and leading the Synergy Women’s Network. Couldn’t have done it without her. Fort Collins blessed me with one-on-one time with Judy. That alone was worth the trip!

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I was privileged to attend this incredible gathering of strong ezer-warriors at the Ethnic Women Leaders’ Lunch. Their presentations were passionate and powerfully eye-opening. Cru is blessed!

carolyn talking to Rasool Berry

This was the third time my path has crossed with Rasool Berry. He played in the Impact Movement band at the Synergy2007 Conference in Orlando, was emcee when I spoke at Cru11 in Fort Collins, and at Cru17 we continued talking about the Blessed Alliance—a conversation I expect will continue.

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Fun dinner sharing stories with these RedBuds in Fort Collins (L-R: Gina Brenna Butz, Beth Pandy Bruno, Halee Gray Scott, CCJ, Judy Douglass, Angie Cramer Weszely, and Leslie Troutman Verner

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Even in the middle of a packed two-day schedule, I found time to savor the beauty of this Colorado State University summer garden.

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5 Responses to The Blessed Alliance in Fort Collins

  1. Alison says:

    Enjoyed reading about your time at CSU and seeing your pictures. I remember how you took time one summer out there to speak to some of the women that were part of the Local Leader training I was serving with and how powerful it was. I think at that point you had only written “When Life and Beliefs Collide”.

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  2. Pete says:

    Neat to hear you were out in our part of the country, even tho Ft. Collilns is still east, about 300 miles. (We’re in SW WY, on I-80, west of the Red Desert, south of the Blue Rim, east of the Green River, Black’s Fork, and White Mountain, north of the Flaming Gorge and Firehole Canyon, and in Rock Springs.)
    Enjoyed this post. Praying for you and Frank; our thinking has a lot in common. And want to tell you Yvonne (my wife) took 16 pages of handwritten notes from “Half the Church.” God bless you.

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  3. Thank you for the encouragement and for your prayers!

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  4. ahlstrom@vcn.com says:

    Hi Carolyn,

    I’ve told you how much both of us, but especially my wife Yvonne, enjoy your books. (She’s the one who just took 16 pages of handwritten notes from Half the Church.) And you’ve mentioned you’re a cancer survivor. Up till this week it looked as if my wife would join you in that. But now could I make a prayer request for her?

    About a year and a half ago, Yvonne got a severe pain in her right side, which turned out to be a stage 2 colon cancer polyp which had eaten a hole through her large intestine. A surgeon here removed it, and about a quarter of the colon itself. She then had six months of chemotherapy, and began a series of follow-up blood tests and CAT Scans.

    The first few went well. There was no sign of recurrence. We were hopeful. Then last week she had another set. We got the results this week. They weren’t good. The scan showed a new lesion in her liver, and the cancer “blood markers,” which had been 5.7 at the time of the surgery but dropped to 2.2 afterwards, were back above 5. Tomorrow she’ll be getting a PET Scan to determine for sure whether the new lesion is malignant, but the blood makers make it very likely it is. If that’s the case (we’ll know early next week), her doctor here will send her to Salt Lake City (200 miles west) for surgery at the Huntsman Cancer Center. After 4 pr 5 days, she’ll come home and start another 6 months of chemo.

    She’s been healed of serious conditions before – especially her lungs, and that in a most unusual way. (I’ll try to tell or send you that story when I can.) So we know God CAN heal. We’ve experienced it. But we’re trying to get all the prayer power we can behind her, and I know she’d appreciate yours.

    If you should care to give her a little more direct encouragement, her phone is (307) 922-4007, and her text address is yvonneida49@gmail.com. You’re one of the busiest people we know, so we’ll leave that part strictly up to you. But we would appreciate your prayers.

    Thanks and blessings,

    Pete Ahlstrom

    On 2017-07-27 04:04, Carolyn Custis James wrote:

    > carolyncustisjames posted: ” “Sometimes when you’re searching for answers you get more than you bargained for.” That was the opening sentence in Half the Church. It was also the opening sentence in the message I gave last week at Cru17 in Fort Collins when I spoke about the Blessed” > > Respond to this post by replying above this line > > NEW POST ON > > [2] > > by carolyncustisjames [3] > > _”Sometimes when you’re searching for answers you get more than you bargained for.”_ > > That was the opening sentence in _Half the Church [4]. _It was also the opening sentence in the message I gave last week at Cru17 [5] in Fort Collins when I spoke about the Blessed Alliance to the Jesus Film Project [6] staff. > > One of those “more than I bargained for” moments (and there have been many) came when I was simply trying to find solid footing in my own story. A ten year stretch of singleness knocked me off-course from what I understood to be God’s highest calling for me as a woman–to be a wife and mother. > > I went back to the creation narrative to find out if God’s vision for his daughters included all of our stories from first to final breath. That’s where I got a whole lot more than I bargained for. > > From a biblical story I’ve heard since I was a little girl, I learned that my true calling as a female started at birth. According to Genesis, every girl child born is an indispensible _ezer- [7]_warrior [8] (Genesis 2:18) for God’s purposes. > > But I also learned that relationships between God’s sons and daughters are essential to God’s purposes for the world. He created his image bearers to reflect his character, to do his work in the world, to look after things on his behalf, _and_ to do it together. > > According to Genesis 1-2, human relationships have cosmic repercussions for good or ill–for the benefit or detriment of God’s kingdom on earth. How we work together (or don’t) as allies in every venue impacts the advance of God’s purposes in the world one way or another. > > This entails a whole lot more getting along better or sharing power. Current debates in the church don’t take us nearly far enough. The Blessed Alliance is a kingdom strategy designed for the flourishing of all humanity and all creation. It’s recovery is a central aspect of Jesus’ gospel. > > You could say, the Blessed Alliance is the spiritual equivalent of a nuclear weapon. Only the Blessed Alliance is _not _destructive. It is _constructive _and _gospel powerful. _It is, in fact, the best thing that can happen to a human being, and it is only good news to any person, culture, or location on the planet that feels its effect. > >

    Like

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