Your Sense of Belonging

It's Super Bowl week in the States and a little romp about football turns into a wider discussion about God's intervention in sport and recreation and why people get so connected to athletic teams that they go through days of depression if their favorite one loses. Could it be a result of God wiring us for himself and our seeking it in all the wrong places? Is that why people identify with athletic teams, celebrities, and even religious gatherings that offer a false sense of belonging by connecting it to something human? A false sense of belonging will always separate us from others, but if we find our belonging in God we may still enjoy sports and other groupings of people, but they won't own us in the same way and they won't give us an excuse to look down on others who like things other than we do. Finding our worth in God's love for us will open doors to a richer kind of community and freedom to live in the world.

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  1. This was a very interesting topic brothers. Forty year Raider here. The win/loss emotional roller coaster has not been a factor for me but a “don’t be a Raider hater” underdog theme with old friends from high school through the years has been fun. “Don’t worry about the horse being blind, just load the wagon.” John Madden

    These have been my two goal posts:

    Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world. . . 1Peter 2:11a

    Do not love the world or anything in the world. . .1 John 2:15a

    Whether the Raiders win or loose doesn’t really matter. “Just win baby” has never rang true for me. Although I do have some “Raider Nation” family and friends who ride that E ticket on the win/loss roller coaster. Disney Land old timers will remember the E ticket rides. 🙂

  2. “People are wired for connection” – your comment reminds me of your podcast last year when you introduced Dr. Brene Brown’s work. She added “We are wired for struggle and worthy of belonging”. If that’s the story that EVERYONE is in, how can I connect with those around me at a level that engages that story?

    If we are satisfied and filled through our interactive relationship with God, what can we share with those around us? Your comments about every human’s “need to be seen and recognized” prompted some thoughts. What if, out of our personal abundance, we could “see and recognize” the people we bump into each day? I heard a description of how agape love is communicated 35 years ago from a pastor who was a family counselor. When we are 1) Genuine and real, 2) Warm and accepting, and 3) Empathically understanding, then we are communicating love at the affective level. It can unlock people because everyone desperately needs to be seen and to be recognized as having value.

    Just yesterday I was thinking about the proverb “Every man is a friend to him who gives gifts” and I was thinking that I have a gift that I can offer to everyone I meet – to be present with them to see them, to affirm their worth, and to reach out with warm acceptance to them.

    Wayne has mentioned his desire to “have meaningful conversations with people who care” and I love that idea. Maybe we each hold the potential through the Life that is in us through the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit to “create our own meaningful conversations by being people who care”!

  3. This really touches something that attempts to restrict the discovery of relationships that are healthy and vibrant. The dread of broken people looking to other people as their all in all. For many of us this has happened over and over and happened even when being very careful for it not to happen. It is a source of much weariness. Even this may bring us to a place that we place it ALL before our Lord and trust that He is building His house.
    I was deeply touched by the lyric from O Holy Night: “… till He appeared and the soul felt its worth…” Oh, thank You LORD, and we again “long for Your appearing” And we long for You appearing now IN ONE ANOTHER all along the journey to Your appearing in the heavenly.

    Thanks again for a great podcast.

  4. I’ve concluded that God indeed does have favorites. He obviously prefers the Kansas City Chiefs over Tim Tebow and Broncos (the Chiefs won), and over Wayne’s favorite team the Greenbay Packers. (The one of the 15-1).

    But please don’t ask me about all the games they lost. 🙂

  5. Women are particularly vulnerable to a sense of isolation in the modern Christian world. Until you deal with the issue of how the New Testament addresses women, particularly 1 Cor 14:34-36 and 1 Tim 2:9-15, a woman’s sense of belonging is conflicted, because, unlike your relationship with Sarah, many Christian women are living in a home with a man who majors on these two verses…men who will abuse in the name of Christ…what benefit is there for such a woman either in or out of a church…it makes no difference! The churches rarely deal with such issues well, and outside of a church, the only help seems to be from the secular world.

    Unfortunately, your website hasn’t dealt with these scriptures either, at least I have not been able to find it…correct me if I am wrong…but you seem to skirt the issue.

    I know women who have continued to walk with the Lord despite living with men who abuse them either mentally or even physically, and truly their lives are testimonies of Christ, but the toll it takes is dreadful to watch, for in the end they come to believe that they are not worthy human beings.

    I have found a group of men and women via the internet who have dealt with a Biblical understanding of these verses that is profound…but few seem to know about it. I have been wonderfully enlightened by their profound, and soundly Biblical understanding.

    Wayne and Brad love the scriptures but how do they love these portions? What do you say to this? Woman know they ‘belong’ to Christ and live in His love. But the dichotomy is when the Christian men around them, even outside the church, still use the written Word to control, demean and confuse the women in their lives.

    Men like you need to address this issue and bring it out into the light. Only men can do this. Women will not be heard by such men.

  6. Wayne and Brad

    Could you guys do a podcast discussing what Judy said on her post?


  7. Judy…i am writing from the perspective of a couple years beyond a 25+ year abusive marriage…and will only touch the very tip of the iceberg here…but truly, life with an abusive person is not a testimony of Christ because the abuser turns everything about life into a lie….so you come to realize that staying in the relationship is totally contrary to everything about God’s love. I would be interested to know more about this group. Abuse in marriage is just one manifestation of how abuse operates in so many ways in this world. The book “Bo’s Cafe” addresses, again, the tip of the iceberg, but it’s really far deeper and darker than portrayed there. Those who have not experienced it really cannot comprehend.

  8. to Nancy,
    I cannot give the name of the website because the last time I tried to put their site name on here my ‘reply’ was removed. I think all reply websites have some kind of censor of such things to protect from spam, etc. So I will tell you the site is called God’s Word to Women and it is a charitable org anization. Hope this helps. They have a great deal of information that will help abused women but that is only the tip of the iceberg that they deal with. They are faithful to the scriptures and give amazing insights to the scriptures that have been used against women. They were founded by a Methodist missionary who lived in the 19th century and wrote a book by the title God’s Word to Women. Her work was instigated when she realized that the people translating the Bible into Chinese were deliberately not accurately translating from the English so they could relate to the people in China. That shocked her and she determined to learn Greek and Hebrew and search the scriptures again to find if the Bibles in use in English had been ‘rightly divided’…the organization is now multi-faceted and many Christians from different walks ( including many men) are writing for it. They also have an amazing section that deals with a Christian Women’s Hall of Fame where lengthy histories of women of the recent past are presented showing us that their names have been more or less written out of history…women such as the preaching wife of William Booth, Gladys Aylward etc. and many others I had never heard of who preached the gospel boldly and went outside the camp to express the message God had evidently given them. They did not usurp the authority of the men, but we just being faithful to God. What a blessing this site is to anyone who sees women and men as equal partners in the walk instead of the way ‘complementarians’ do. As William Booth of the Salvation Army said, “some of our best men are women”.

  9. And Nancy, I did not mean that the life of a woman “living” with abuse by Christian men is a testimony of Christ. I know a woman that continued for 34 years in abuse by a Christian husband because she was threatened with death if she left with her daughters. She had been convinced that she could not survive outside of the marriage, because she was so ‘stupid’. Her survival and life now is a great testimony of how Christ has intervened to give her a great ministry and all she needs to continue, even when the church has treated her indifferently, at best. I mean that women I know, who have come through abuse to the other side, are living lives that reflect Hebrews 11…’of whom the world was not worthy’…for they live in silent torment, nightmares, PTSD, and are demeaned further because they are ‘divorced’. Very few even think of them, let alone know the signs and reach out to them…even worse the churches continue to teach the inferiority of women, for such I have heard from the mouths of 10 year old boys who say ‘Eve had the greater sin’. Why? Eve who blamed Satan for her sin while Adam blamed God!. This just shows that twists in scripture are still being taught to children who may grow up to ‘use’ these interpretations against women: women from OUR Christian culture who have scalding water hurled at them, bones broken, and are made to crawl on their hands and knees in front of their own children or who are murdered by men who profess to be Christians…are we to let these kinds of testimonies continue in the name of Christ? God forbid! How can any women who experience these things, OR the women who learn about them from others feel they BELONG to the Christian World of Christian men like this who do not, it seems, receive the ‘recompense of reward’ from their fellow men that is their due. We rebuke other cultures for honour killings as tho we are sinless. The time has come for men to search the scriptures and learn what they really mean in their entirety for the clear message is that ‘we have one Master, Christ, and “ALL (we) are brethren”, “in Christ there is neither male nor female”, that we are to “submit (ourselves) one to another”, and that ‘though the Gentiles lord it over one another’, “IT SHALL NOT BE SO AMONG YOU”.

  10. Judy and Nancy, spousal abuse is a huge problem and I’m incredibly sorry that men ABUSE these Scriptures to justify it. I hope Brad and I get a chance to cover the Scriptures you mentioned. While these can be interpreted to relegate women to some kind of subservient, second-class status, it is a MISinterpretation of Scripture. I have never heard them interpreted to justify the level of abuse you’re discussing here, but I know in more subtle ways they can set-up the potential for abuse. Any man who abuses his wife—physically, emotionally, verbally—is a broken individual that need to be reported to the authorities, and women need to RUN from them and not even consider reconciliation until they get professional help and demonstrate a changed life over time. Nothing in Scripture would ever justify any man treating any woman in such a way. It is atrocious behavior that cannot be tolerated or covered up. And Judy, if you want to post the link, you’re welcome to. We don’t mind people sharing links here unless it is someone promoting their own website that doesn’t engage the discussion.

  11. thanks Wayne,

    the site is

    It’s a rich source for men and women! Talk about belonging…everyone is welcome there too, as here.

    Hope this helps someone…I just knew you guys would come up to bat…when Paul’s words are used to justify abuse, I think we all lose. 2 Peter 3:15-16 says:…”even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given unto him, hath written unto you; As also in all his (Paul’s) epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are SOME THINGS HARD TO BE UNDERSTOOD, which they that are UNLEARNED AND UNSTABLE wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction”

    I hope everyone will keep an eye out for hurting people whose body language is stiff, and who appear to be empty shells walking around…they need your love and help. Perhaps we can learn how to spot them before they get so badly damaged, and their children.

  12. It is a secular holiday basically the world stops and you eat and hang out with friends

  13. Appreciated the discussion about “facing your fears”… something I needed to do in the context of a meeting with a school Principal. I’m amazed at how much energy I put into defending my sense of self, that fear of rejection sneaks into my mind and living as a loved child seems to disappear. Only once I had faced this fear of rejection and settled back into being a loved child, was I able to see this man through God’s eyes and became open to asking God “how do you want me to love this Principal?”
    It was a very encouraging meeting and we walked out it as friends.

  14. Hi Rosa….a cheesehead is a person most likely from Wisconsin (the Dairy State) who is a Green Bay Packer fan. There are even hats made out of a plastic foam that look like cheese that are worn by “cheesheads” to Packer games. It is just a fun thing.

  15. To Judy’s point, mainstream pastor John Piper is in the news this week for a sermon he recently gave at a conference titled “God Gave Christianity a ‘Masculine Feel'”. You can read more about this sermon here:

    If you’d like some encouragement after reading about Piper’s moronic words, you might want to visit here:

    She links to a lot of blog posts that honor women and celebrate the feminine images of God in Scripture. You may also find some answers to the Scriptures listed above.

  16. Terri, here is another ‘pair’ of contrasting articles that are very interesting regarding who belongs in Christian leadership:


    I would like to make a disclaimer here. I hope our intentions here are not to demean either men or women but to help to elevate all people and to ‘fill our sails for Heaven’ as friends, not foes. God is a spirit…not a man or a woman. Alice Whisman’s response to Dr. Sproule’s article is respectful and yet firm. We need to start from a position of honour for one another, despite our OFTEN foolishnesses, on both sides, and know when to repent and back down…may God give us wisdom to bring His truth, not our own, to bear on our relationships, with grace and love. There is no war on to fight for power for women because God has already given both men and women power to represent Him. Some people just haven’t noticed this yet. We all ‘belong’ In Christ who loved us and gave Himself for us.

  17. Piper is one of a larger group of Christian leaders which support the concept of ‘complementarianism’, in which men and women have different, yet complementary roles. When established within the framework of Biblical Christianity, it limits the woman’s role within the Church. Islam and Roman Catholicism also hold this view.

    Wikipedia has a comprehensive list of the organizations and prominent leaders who share Piper’s view. Quite a list, and an uphill battle for sure…

  18. I enjoyed this podcast so much as it reminds that God at heart is desiring a relationship with me and all of us not for what I can do-but thats just the way he is. I really liked what you said that too many times people get burned out and leave with a bad taste in their mouths after “doing something for God” and then finding out their value rested not in who they were-giving of spirit heart and soul-but “what they could do for me”–and then are left with a bitter taste in their mouth. i don’t thing this is what God is after…..

  19. Florence Nightingale once said “I would have given her (the church) my head, my heart and my hands but she would not have me”. Too bad she didn’t know, but if she didn’t, she sure does now.

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