On that one Frozen song that everyone loves

Elsa%27s_lossBy: Nick “Tapobu” Rohlf

*Spoiler warning*

By now you’ve heard it.  “Let it Go.”  Easily the most viral song from Disney’s recent animated film Frozen.  At a first glance, this song seems to be about being yourself, refusing to be burdened by what others care about who you really are.  It seems empowering, strengthening, fierce.  The only legitimate complaint that I’ve ever heard placed against this song is one that I just recently read from a friend on Facebook: the song was placed inappropriately.  Elsa had not yet earned the right to sing “Let it Go,” that she had not yet become confident enough, strong enough, to belt out this anthem.  I can understand why some, perhaps many, feel this way.  At a first glance, the song is about freedom, about beginning to feel comfortable in one’s own skin.  To me, however, this particular song represents something else, and to me, she has more than earned the right to sing it.

Consider the song for a moment.  It begins with a terrified Elsa fleeing from a crowd of villagers amid shouts that she is a monster, a witch, a villain.  This girl Elsa has been told since her earliest childhood that there is something wrong with her, something that will cause people to fear and hate her if discovered.  As she grows further from the village, suddenly the urge overcomes her to not control it anymore – to let it go.  Elsa begins playing with her ice powers – tentatively at first, but then more and more as she realizes what she can really do.  She continues fleeing into the wilderness and up a mountain, where she builds a wondrous frozen castle, a monument to her power.  A monument to her vanity.  A monument to her isolation.  By the end of the song, we see what we understand to be a powerful Elsa, an Elsa who really doesn’t care about anyone else.  But that’s kind of the key, isn’t it?  She’s stopped caring about anyone but herself.  Her idea of letting it go involves living alone and never having to deal with other people.  To some, this seems a stark contrast to the very spirit of the song.  To me, it hit so hard I began shaking within the theatre as I continued to watch.  To me, it wasn’t about freedom.  It was about giving into one’s deepest fears, fleeing from anyone and everyone, living alone and trying to convince oneself that such a life is freedom.  I struggled not to weep.

If you’ve read some of the other things I have written, you may have picked up on the notion that I’m not good with people.  The notion that I have trouble forming friendships, keeping friendships.  If you’ve read my six-part story I posted on the Cardboard blog last fall, you know just how deeply this social underdevelopment has troubled my life.  Now, let me make something clear to you that I have only hinted at in the past.  I have autism.  Because I did so well in school, it never occurred to anyone that my delayed social development might be evidence of something more serious.  So as I grew up, I knew nothing more than that something was terribly wrong and different about me.  So when I watched this movie Frozen, I didn’t see a story about a  princess with incredible ice powers.  I saw a story about a young girl who had been told all her life that she wasn’t ok, that she was different and different was bad.  When I saw her hiding in her bedroom refusing to build a snowman, I saw myself hiding in my bedroom refusing to go out and spend time with friends.  When I saw her fleeing into the mountains, I saw myself shutting out anyone who began to see me for who I really am.  And when I saw her captured and dragged back to prison, informed that her sister was dead, I saw myself locked in my room at a hospital, knowing full well that I’d never be talking to one of my closest friends ever again.  So you see, this is why I love the movie Frozen.  I don’t think it is meant to be an empowerment movie.  To me, it is about facing one’s deepest, innermost fears, the fears that can cause a person to shut oneself off from the rest of society.  It is about struggling with those fears, conquering them, overcoming them, even if only by the force of another.  And this is why I love the song “Let it Go.”  I don’t think it is meant to be an empowerment song.  It simply reflects the desperate need of a psychologically abused young lady to believe that for once in her life she is not afraid of who she is.  And its placement is so perfect I still begin to shake at that moment.


Tagged , , ,

for the wildflowers blooming in abundance, hope, and freedom

Photo cred: Natalie Johnson

Photo cred: Natalie Johnson

By: Marilee Akland

I  am not sure when I began to struggle with my place as a woman in the church.  I think it was in Bellingham, probably, when I first came awake to the disparity between my church-at-the-time’s stated position on women and the practical reality.  I remember being taken aside when I agreed to serve as a worship leader and it being explained to me that I could lead the congregation in song, but I couldn’t preach.

Oh.  Cool.

At the time, I wasn’t too concerned, I don’t think.  I was more amused that they felt the need to clarify.  It was a bit unsettling (in the best of ways) that it wasn’t just, I dunno, taken for granted.  I had (and have) no plans to enter the pastoral ministry, and so there was no barrier put up for me personally.  But I’d found the glass ceiling.  I told most of my close friends about that experience.  I won’t ever forget it.  One little statement that opened my eyes and, long term at least, played a small but significant part in changing my life.

I don’t want a fight.  I really feel little desire to discuss this or argue about this with the people I know will disagree with me or be angry with me.  I want them to see things the way I do, because I’m finding such crazy freedom and joy on the other side of fear.  But I know how long it took me to walk this road.  I know the roadblocks on the way to freedom.  Allow me to elaborate for a moment:

1) But the Bible says…
2) But all these really smart and important people say…
3) It’s weird to hear women preaching, so it must be because it’s not natural.
4) What if I choose to embrace women in leadership and it’s wrong?  What does this mean for my salvation?  Is this a “slippery slope” type thing?

I know about each of these.  I’ve worked through these questions (and let’s be real, I’m still working through them) for years.  I’ve found that it’s a losing battle to argue with someone who already knows what they believe.  They have their reasons, just as I had mine.  I was not converted in a day, and it wasn’t one person’s clever argument.  It was a process of discovering a deep emotion inside me that embraced my identity as a beloved daughter of God.  I began feeling elation and hope any time I read blog articles about equality in marriage or in the church.  I began cheering for the “other” team.  I began to deeply believe that God desires to bring redemption from the Fall – not to perpetuate its effects – and that this redemption is, although not yet fully realized, something we, as Christ’s body, should work to bring to earth.  Your kingdom come, Lord Jesus, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

With the fall came weeds and pain in childbirth.  We work every day to lessen those burdens.  What are we doing to restore the equality of Adam and Eve before God?  I firmly believe hierarchy is descriptive, not prescriptive.

I believe in submission.  I believe in silence.  I believe in servant-hood.  I believe in these things because Jesusmodeled them.  Have there been times and places where Paul’s instructions to women made sense?  Why yes, in that culture.  Do the principles behind his instructions still make sense?  Yes, in so far as we understand them in their proper historical and literary context.  Do I believe that Paul meant for us to copy his instructions to first century Jewish/Roman culture in the present day to the letter?  Nope.  In fact, we don’t.*  So let’s not even begin to pretend that we do or that we should.

And where does this all leave me practically speaking?

I find myself standing in a wide open grassy place with wild flowers blooming like crazy all around me.  I raise my hands toward the sky and spin in joyous abandon.

I’m free.  I will do my best to follow God where He leads me.  I don’t know where that’ll be or what it’ll involve.  That’s the crazy thing about following that same crazy call that uprooted Abram from all he’d known and transplanted him squarely in the unknown.  Maybe I’ll have kids and stay at home with them.  That sounds nice.  Maybe I’ll go to seminary and write books and teach college kids.  That sounds nice.  Maybe I’ll do nothing “important” with my life.  That sounds nice, God doesn’t really need me anyway.  His promises will prevail in spite of my best attempts to stand in the way.  But I want to be faithful to Him in each small choice I make, and I want to have the boldness to speak up when He calls me, in whatever forms that takes.

Here I go.


*head coverings, women speaking in church and leading ministries, to name a few things that come to mind.



Photo cred: http://www.epitemnein-epitomic.blogspot.com

By: Michael Simmelink

I’ve received compliments before on being independent. It usually connotates that I am able to take care of myself – that I have the capability to be my own man. I stand on my own two feet without a crutch.

The more I’ve been in contact with fellow college students, I have realized that I just don’t buy it anymore. I’m not really my own man in many ways. My parents are paying for most of my college that scholarships and grants don’t cover. I didn’t have to pay for my van. If I ever need more clothing, medicine, toiletries, or microwavable snacks, all I have to do is shoot a text back home and it’s taken care of. Doesn’t that sound pretty dependent? It seems to me that independence is not really a tangible thing for most college students, but I hypothesize it can be true of all people. At best, independence seems to be a curtain pulled over our eyes so we don’t have to see just how dependent we really are.

There’s something about the Midwest work ethic that causes us to want to inflate ourselves to fulfill this ideal of independence. It’s a source of pride when you or your family has it; it’s an instigator of shame when you don’t. This shame can be seen directed towards people who receive government welfare or charity from churches. Families don’t want to take the church’s turkey for Thanksgiving. They grocery shop at slow times so no one sees them pay with food stamps. Being stuck at the poverty line is tough, but being labeled as dependent is worse.

I’m not overly supportive of the current system of government welfare. It rarely empowers its recipients and it seems to suggest if we throw enough money at a problem, it will be fixed. However, I’m also not fond of the critics who say something about welfare creating “a dependency culture.” People are looked down upon because “they can’t take care of themselves,” or “they don’t want to work hard enough to provide.” Sure, I agree that welfare is broken and nobody wants to have people dependent on a government check, but this isn’t about bureaucracy.

Christians have to be careful about how we view dependency. That word cannot automatically be associated with the political realm because it will invariably lead us to think that our independence from government handouts means we can take care of ourselves altogether. We can work hard. We reap what we sow. We earn it.

That word cannot automatically be associated with the political realm because it will invariably lead us to think that our independence from government handouts means we can take care of ourselves altogether.

Stop and think. Do we really understand what it means to need Jesus as the Savior of humankind? Dependency can be harmful in a lot of earthly ways, but it is entirely necessary as we ponder what Christ did on the cross and out of the tomb.

“Just Pray About It”

By: Tyler Farr

I don’t know what it is exactly that irks me about the phrase “Just pray about it” or some other variation. I understand that it is an encouragement designed to remind me that God is listening and that he will provide the answers. It is supposed to be a phrase that directs me toward God rather than being self-reliant. However, it makes me want to do the exact opposite. When someone tells me to just pray about it when I am having a problem, I just want to say, “Well just because you said to, now I’m not going to.”

What needs to be realized in this situation is that praying is a natural, and expected part of my faith. Don’t get me wrong, I do pray in my everyday life. But when it comes to a decision that I am trying to make, or an outcome I am hoping for, I tend to rely on what I can do in this situation rather than what God has planned for me. In Psalm 3:4-6 it says:

So you will find favor and good repute in the sight of God and man. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight…

This is a struggle. I want to be free from relying on my parents and others because I am growing up. I want to be able build a life for myself when I leave college. That’s why I hate when people tell me to pray. This verse, however, is a gentle reminder that I cannot go at this alone. The phrase needs to be a reminder of the importance of praying and relying on the Lord. I have to remember that I will always need God, no matter the circumstance. So when someone tells me to “Just pray about it,” like my mom just said on the phone not 20 minutes ago, it is a gentle reminder that I am not alone. And not only that I am not alone, but also that I can’t do everything alone. I need to rely on him.

I still don’t like the phrase, but the Psalms remind me that the phrase is more than just something people say to get under my skin. Instead, I need to lean on God and just pray about it.

Look at the Lyrics: Above All

By: Michael Simmelink

The lyrics to our praise songs matter. They put the words in our mouth to describe God. Who He is, what He’s done, how we react are all depicted in song. Christians need to take this seriously and start thinking about what we’re singing. Does it line up with Scripture? Do we believe this is how God interacts with His creation? If not, then maybe we aren’t really talking about Yahweh at all.

To pick out a single song and critique an artist is unfair. Most songwriters compile multiple CDs that cover a whole range of topics, feelings, subjects, and emotions. Most are perfectly orthodox and add to our spiritual life.

The problem is we don’t sing albums in church; we sing songs from different artists, splicing them off a record and matching them with similar songs to fit a service. It’s not ideal, and it can lead to an incomplete or distorted theology.  Here’s an example of how I would break down the lyrics of “Above All,” by Michael W. Smith.

Above all powers
Above all kings
Above all nature
And all created things
Above all wisdom
And all the ways of man
You were here
Before the world began

Above all kingdoms
Above all thrones
Above all wonders
The world has ever known
Above all wealth
And treasures of the earth
There’s no way to measure
What You’re worth

Laid behind a stone
You lived to die
Rejected and alone
Like a rose
Trampled on the ground
You took the fall
And thought of me
Above all

Overt Message:
Michael W. Smith is emphasizing the sovereignty and power of God. The Almighty ranks number one in any of the categories listed in the song. We simply cannot comprehend God because He has always been (you were here / before the world began) so much more than we can grasp.

Subtle Message:
The challenge with glorifying God in the way Smith does (constantly using “above all”) is it can be hard to do without distancing God from humanity. God is loftier than humanity, but does that necessarily mean He is above us? I worry about what it infers to repeatedly use words that puts God overhead of us, up in the sky. The truth is God is in our midst right now. He’s on the ground with us, surrounding our hands as we work the soil.

Smith’s chorus in this song makes a shift from the glory of God to specifically the glory revealed in the coming of Jesus Christ. As is the tendency with most contemporary songs, the heart of the lyrics are Christocentric, or focusing on the Son of the Trinity. This isn’t a bad thing, but it seems to be severely limited in its scope of what Jesus did. Every part of the chorus has to do with Christ’s death and absolutely nothing about His resurrection. Were we atoned to God when Jesus breathed His last breath, or was it when He rolled away the stone? We do not rejoice on Good Friday, but rather shout from the hilltops on Easter Sunday. It is the resurrection that gives us our chance to be reconciled with God. Jesus absorbing the hit (trampled on the ground / you took the fall) is useless with His resurrection.

Almost all contemporary praise songs are guilty of the next charge. Singular pronouns are the only kind used in this whole song. Not once is there a mention of we, us, our. It isolates the relationship between Jesus and each individual sinner. The reality is that Jesus said, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” He didn’t call out the Romans by name, why would He do anything differently for the rest? Is it realistic to think that Jesus went through every person to ever live, including 21st century Americans, and actually thought of individuals as He died on the cross? That sounds very egocentric and more of a reflection on our “me-first” culture than what the Bible has to teach.

Let’s remember these things so we glorify God in a way that also keeps in mind what He did in the incarnation.


Tagged , ,

How to Celebrate the Superbowl Spiritually

Photo cred: quickmeme.com

Photo cred: quickmeme.com

By: Nick “Tapobu” Rohlf

It’s that time of year again – FOOTBALL time!  No, not that liberal wussy “soccer” stuff with the fake injuries and the red cards.  I mean REAL football, AMERICAN football!  And if you’re a real American, you’re probably preparing yourself for the best super bowl party of the year.  But are you preparing to celebrate your super bowl in a godly fashion?  Don’t get me wrong, everything about the super bowl just screams “this is a Christian sport” – what with the running at each other and tackling each other and scoring points and all that sort of thing.  But why not go the extra mile for your super bowl party and make it a true celebration of your faith?  Here are some ideas.

1)      Practice your “Tebowing.”  No, Tim Tebow isn’t playing this year, and no he’s never actually made it to a super bowl.  But he was on the Broncos once and he did pretty reasonably well. So practice the Tebow stance and do it every time your team scores.

2)      Pray for your quarterback.  It really takes very little time, and you’ll be doing your part to ensure your team’s victory.

3)      Envision the entire game as a holy war.  Your team is naturally God’s army, and when they inevitably win after an epic battle that was always predetermined to go on your favor, you can celebrate by claiming that you knew all along who was going to win.  If your team loses, just remember that God loves the underdogs.

4)      Instead of watching the NFL half-time show, invite a local pastor to give a super bowl themed sermon – while wearing his/her favorite jersey, of course.

5)      Order a keg of sparkling grape juice.  Who needs alcohol anyway?  And what could possibly go better with buffalo hot wings than grape juice?

Hopefully these ideas will help you enjoy your super bowl while still keeping time for your faith.  Of course, alternately you could remember that Jesus himself happened to enjoy a good party now and then.  Just don’t turn your water into whine if your team starts to lose.

Five signs that you may be the type of person described in this article

Photo cred: Blimey Cow Productions

Photo cred: Blimey Cow Productions

By: Nick “Tapobu” Rohlf

Are you the type of person that likes to do things in your spare time?  Do you enjoy spending time around some people but not others?  Do you like to eat three or more times a day?  Well, there’s a good chance you’re exactly the type of person this article is describing!

Sound familiar?  There are a lot – a lot – of articles like this floating around these days.  Seventeen signs that you’re an introvert.  The top ten signs that you might be a sociopath.  Thirty-six reasons why you might be slowly transforming into a reptilian humanoid – and why it’s becoming more socially acceptable in some regions.  I get it.  We as humans desperately want to find our identities and, perhaps more importantly, discover that there are others like us out there somewhere.  But identity is not a simple copy-and-paste, much as we may like it to be.  It is important to discover what we are and what we are not, but I’ve been noticing more and more that people are beginning to use their identities as an excuse to not expand and try new things.  I am an introvert, therefore I should not have to enjoy large groups or parties and it is your responsibility to accept that.

Consider my job.  Where I work, I have to set up massive events with lots of people.  I am in charge of making sure that all the people present are having a good time.  Were I to give in too much to the idea that “I am an introvert,” I could very easily convince myself that this is not something I can do, not something I should do.  And yet I must.  When a game night is going on and there are fifty different people in three different rooms, all with individual concerns and needs, I can’t hide in a corner with a few buddies, preparing myself to be indignant towards anyone who thinks I should be having more fun.  I have to go around and cater to the individual needs of every single person there, whether I like it or not.  And you know what?  I do like it.  I love it.  For those few hours, I thrive in the way that extroverts often do.  I go against the very grain of who I am, and it makes me feel more alive than I ever have.  If I had been told at the job interview that it would someday be my responsibility to do things like this, I might have turned it down on the spot.  I might have said no, sorry, this is not for me, I really could not do such a thing.  And I never would have grown as a person.

You see, your identity is not simply something that those around you need to accept.  Your identity is who you choose to become not because of your personality but in spite of it.  I am an introvert.  Except when I force myself not to be out of necessity.  I am extremely pessimistic.  Except when I force myself to be more positive for the sake of those around me.  I am a lazy, good-for-nothing pile of worthlessness.  But you shouldn’t have to accept that as an excuse because I can force myself to be so much more than what I am by nature.  That is my identity.  For now, anyway.

Where Is Your Identity?

Photo cred: Natalie Johnson

Photo cred: Natalie Johnson

By: Trey Soto

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? 
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, 
and to listen than the fat of rams.”  1 Samuel 15:22-23.

Being new to college means new things. New friends, new teachers, and a new major. But one that is greatly common among college students is a new identity. High school is over and it is time to become known to the college world. But like myself, we forget where that our real identity is in Christ alone. Everything else is secondary.

When I was a freshman in college, I was great at many things and because of that, I got involved in many things. Missionary organizations, choir, you name it. One that was very important to me was writing for the school paper. I was and still am a freelance writer and although it was low pay, I managed. I wrote and published over five articles throughout the year, covering movie reviews and TV series’. I absolutely enjoyed my work. I put so much effort in my writing and enjoyed feedback from people. I was beginning to live the journalist dream. But sometimes your dreams can become your nightmares.

With the new school year came new management, since the staff the year before had graduated. The new staff was a little more picky and difficult to work with. I pitched my first article summary to them and they said I could give it a shot. This article was one I wrote twice last year, which was about T.V. series’ to watch and stay away from. But two days before the publishing, they contacted me and pulled the plug on my article, stating that it was something the student body didn’t need to be informed about. I became furious and offended on the in my heart. “I have been doing this for the past year” I thought, “and they think they can just cut it at the last minute?”  As the year went on, I tried to work outside of the A&E section and work in opinions or features only to get denied every idea that I pitched to my editors. Total count: five. I became very discouraged and envious of other friends and students who were journalism majors. Many of them got an early start on their career as far back as high school when they worked for the school yearbook or paper. For me, I never had those opportunities and I felt that I had to catch up and be on the same page. But despite everything I did and achieved, I never found satisfaction for anything I did.

During this time of my life, I figured that my relationship with God was rock solid. I learned so much from my biblical courses, church, and I enjoyed studying apologetics. But I still felt uneasy in my heart. I met up with a church elder and close friend of my father to discuss what was going on. After I told him everything that was going on, he replied back with something I never expected. He said “Trey, seeing you growing up, you have been good at many things. But the one thing I’ve seen you struggle with is doing all those things at once.” And then these next words caught my ears and left me in silence. “You can be good at many things and not master any of them.” And then it hit me. I was becoming a seeker of attention and praise, and became an idolizer in my work. He then asked me “Are you trying to please somebody?” I replied back without question that I was trying to please myself. But then he asked me something I didn’t think he would ask. “Trey, between the two of us, are you trying to please your father?” I took a long pause, put my hand over my face, and began to tear up. He was right. Out of everyone I was trying to please, it was my father. I told him how I felt that if I failed a course, fell behind, or did anything short of excellence, my father would be disappointed and look down on me. Now, let me be clear that I have nothing against my father. He is a strong man in The Lord and a great provider for his family. But there was that sense of pride that I wanted to make dad more than just happy with me. I would lie so much about my grades to him, claiming that I was succeeding when really I was struggling. And then he said to me “The relationship you have with your father can greatly reflect the relationship with God.” And then it hit me even more. I was trying to please God based on the works I did without even going to God directly asking if it was what He wanted from me. In my own eyes, I thought I was doing the works of The Lord. But the sad fact was that I never asked Him about it. I just did it. I was focus on pleasing The Lord with my work when really He wanted my heart and attention. Not that works of The Lord are not important but God wants our heart over our works any day because if don’t have a heart in our works for Him, what good are our works?

Throughout the entire week, God continued to have people speak into my life about what was going on and it became almost annoying. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t focus on homework and I was like “God, I get what you’re trying to tell me here!” But His reply was, “No Trey, you don’t get it and you’re not going to unless you fully realize what I am trying to show you.” God was trying to make himself known to me and I was greatly overlooking it. After I prayed hard that night, I began to have more quiet time and make the Lord first priority. I talked to my father a week later about what was going on and he was more than gracious to me. “Trey,” he said “I can never be disappointed you being my son. You do not have to prove anything to me other than that you really doing your best for the glory of God in everything that you do for Him.” I began to cry, as I remained speechless. Since then, I have been putting the Lord at the center of everything I have done and have tried my best to refrain from trying to be the center of attention and worry about what others think of me. True or not, what people think of me doesn’t matter compared to what The Lord thinks of me: an adopted child of His.

I greatly encourage you, reader, to keep your identity in The Lord and not of worldly desires and desires of your heart. Ask yourself, “Where Am I with God?” Dig deep into his word and in everything you do, do for his glory. Grace to you.

7 Rules for Proper Communal-Worship Behavior

Photo cred: Kevin Spear

Photo cred: Kevin Spear

By: Nick “Tapobu” Rohlf

So-called “worship-music” sessions are fairly common. More than likely, you’ve gone to at least one in your lifetime. While some of us have gotten used to more modern, “new-age” forms of worship, those of us from more traditional backgrounds may act a bit more startled or uncomfortable around the amount of personal expression exhibited by members of a congregation.

In case you are one who is unsure about how to react, here are a few important rules that will help you blend in. Or perhaps stand out. Whichever you’d prefer.

  1. When you enter your church or chapel, do so with arms held out in front of you as a signal that you are ready for the Holy Spirit to wash over you and fill you with a desire to sing, pray, and listen.
  1. As the service begins, be prepared to stand up at a moment’s notice.  Standing up during a song implies that the music is speaking especially to you and that you are responding.
  1.  It’s ok to be the first to stand up during a song in a room full of sitting people.  There’s a good chance others will join you in a desire to be equally moved.  But if they don’t, you are absolutely forbidden from returning to your seat.  You will be judged as you rightly should.
  1.  Although it’s ok to be the first standing, it is forbidden above all else to be the last sitting.  This means that you are refusing to take part in actual worship with those around you.  Though you may be singing, your voice and words mean nothing if you do not stand.
  1.  You can sing loudly if you are capable, but not too loudly.  It’s one thing to be visibly moved by the Spirit.  It’s entirely another thing to be so moved that you drown out someone else’s sacred experience.
  1.  It is currently undecided whether it is acceptable to raise your hands while singing.  While it is rightly believed by some that one’s hands are closer to God while raised, many churches still view raised hands with great suspicion.  If you are in such an environment, hand-raising may well be viewed as an act of civil disobedience and judged accordingly.  Proceed with caution.
  1.  When the lead singer stops to pray, you absolutely must lower your head.  The folding of one’s hands, however, is entirely optional.  Hand-folding is, after all, rather traditional, and you do not want to be accused of going through the motions.  Do whatever feels comfortable for you, just so long as you don’t make a big deal about it.  No peeking to see if your neighbor is awed by your impressively non-conformist hand-folding (though they probably are).


Though this short article covers the major rules and faux-pas of group worship, there are many other minor rules that will most likely change slightly from church to church.  As long as you remember the big stuff, however, you probably will be forgiven for the little mistakes that will doubtless occurred.  Best of luck and may God aid you in your attempts at communal worship.

Tapobu’s Redemption Story

Photo cred: Natalie Johnson

Photo cred: Natalie Johnson

If you are interested in reading all of Nick “Tapobu” Rohlf’s story at once, here are the links to each section. 

–Justine Johnson, Editor

I: As The Pieces Fall Apart

II: Broken Puppet

III: The Scales in My Eyes

IV: Love Revisited

V: Home Again

Epilogue: One More Walk Down That Sacred Road