Wednesday, January 24, 2007

From Nobody to Somebody

(Excerpts from Men are Just Desserts: How Learning to Be a Woman With a Life of Your Own Can Enrich the Life You Share with a Man by Sonya Friedman)

Who are the women who think of themselves as nobodies? How does a nobody behave?

A nobody is unable or afraid to say anything positive about herself.... A somebody would say: I did it! I got my license!" "I'm a good cook!"

A nobody cannot list her strengths. A somebody would say: "There are four qualities I know to be true about myself. I'm a good listener and a great friend. I'm reliable and I don't give away secrets."

A nobody advertises to others that she's needy for approval and would be willing to do anything to maintain a relationship... A somebody is aware of the difference between doing a favor for someone she cares about and enslaving herself to another's directives and approval. A somebody doesn't apologize for others' intended slights or oversights and would say: "You forgot my birthday and I'm a little hurt by it."

A nobody believes that because she's a woman any and every man is superior to her. She subscribes to fixed rules about what the sexes are "supposed" to be and do. These very narrow boundaries keep her in a subordinate position... Living under her husband's thumb, she diminishes the contributions she makes to the household and feel guilty if she wants more from life... A somebody recognizes that being a woman doesn't automatically label her as inferior. Nor does she feel that a man is doing her an inestimable favor by marrying her.

A nobody doesn't trust her judgements, values, or grasp of the facts. She gives over the authority to someone else... The nobody not only surrenders her position on judgements or information; more importantly, she hides the truth about her feelings. She never believes that what she's experiencing is true at all and is content with the alibis that others provide... A somebody has faith in her judgements and summons respect from others.

A nobody dislikes her own company and cannot entertain herself easily, have a laugh on her own, or go to a movie or dinner without someone by her side. Others validate her existence... A somebody knows that if she doesn't like being in her own presence, why should someone else? A somebody likes the respite that being alone provides and she is able to bring more of her real self to another -- not less.

A nobody makes no demands -- sexually, emotionally, or financially. Fearful that she'll be totally rejected if she asks for gratification of any sort, the nobody becomes accustomed to collecting the crumbs that others throw her... A somebody knows that she has the right to ask for what she thinks she deserves. She is willing to take a chance and ask, rather than be taken advantage of or taken for granted.

The nobody can't say no to anyone. She is always at another's beck and call, fearful that if she doesn't say yes, she will be punished by a withdrawal of love... A somebody sees the difference between asserting herself and subjugating herself to another.

A nobody can't be selective or turn anything down. A nobody is thrilled that she's had an an offer at all... Nobodies don't expect to matter, and they set up situations so they are proved right. A nobody makes a decision because she doesn't think she deserves any more. A nobldy will often select a man who mistreats her, because, she thinks, that man sees to her core of her soul and recognizes her lack of worth. And how smart of him! A man who would treat her well is a man who, in her estimation, doesn't have any sense at all!

A nobody has illusions that a man with a lot of confidence can fill that void in her -- and he'll have enough in store for the two of them. With a sigh of relief, the nobody murmurs, "Well, he's got it all. I don't have to worry about that now."

...Instead of learning about confidence from a man and emulating this quality, the woman who thinks she is a nobody tends to draw inward. Why? Because such women need to look up to a man. Desperate not to be an equal partner, but to make the man the main course, the nobody can shrink to virtually nothing. But it's worth the price, the nobody says, because I can look up to him.

One of the truths we have to live with is that we may wind up alone because of death, divorce, or desertion. We have to prepare for it. If you can't prepare for it within the marriage, how will you face it if it should crop up? And if you live as a nobody, where will you be?

Every woman has a responsibility to make herself economically and emotionally independent before she chooses a mate or she will be a "child bride" for the rest of her life. One reason she will not grow is that she has relinquished all her options and let her husband direct her life. But the more you do for yourself, the more you become a "somebody" for yourself and other people. As you become autonomous, you can give up being a nobody -- inside or outside of marriage. When you experience autonomy, you can invite people into your life because they're not going to be a threat to you. You never have to worry that you'll become permanently attached to a man as if you were a living appendage...

...What do you want from marriage? To share your life with someone you care about deeply, or to be taken care of like a child? To develop common goals with someone you respect, or to marry the man you believe will reach goals for you? To develop as an adult within an intimate relationship, or to remain a child who must still fo llow someone else's rules and be judged by someone else's standards? Look and the process and content of marriage, not the longevity. You can be married for twenty-five years and still be miserable, lonely, alienated...

... The wisest move you can make is to start to become an individual. And you don't even have to deal with issues of the past; these only complicate matters. History is written and you can't undo it, but you can attempt to change for tomorrow by making a small effort.

You don't need to assume the role of a nobody so that HE can be somebody...

Yes, Sir! That's My (Grand) Baby!

My daughter carried on the fine naming tradition. First there was Constance Ann, my mother. Then there was me, Cheryl Ann. Next came Patricia Ann. Now we have Elora Ann, aka Mugsy, which falls under the "silly name for child" tradition. She's sweet though rather grumpy looking in this photo. I'm hoping to get up to see her in real life soon...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Joy! Joy! Joy!

It is always good to see good friends you haven't seen in a while. It is even better when they have managed to survive what could have been a fatal accident. My friend Grant, and Slav, his driver, hit a truck on their way north to PG from the Lower Mainland. Lest you think Slav is a poor driver, it was because of his quick thinking and quicker reflexes that they managed to survive. And it was totally the fault of the driver who was parked, not on the side of the road, but stopped dead in the middle of the lane without hazards on.

I didn't realize until today how upsetting I found the news of their near miss til I finally had a chance to see them both. Now I am thanking God for his mercies in allowing them to live to see another day.

Tomorrow night is a belated birthday celebration with Grant, Slav, and a few other kinesionics practitioners. I can hardly wait. They are such fun to be with and the camaraderie and shared inside jokes are precious. I have a babysitter lined up for Saturday so that I can spend a good deal of the day with them as well. We do a lot of collaboration, share notes, discuss different ways of approaching particular situations we have run into, and talk a lot of shop. We also practice on one another. It's like vacation and play for me to do this. Can you tell I love my work? I love my friends as well. May the Lord grant us many more opportunities to work together.
Still Struggling with "Perfection"

Seven days ago I contracted laryngitis and lost my voice. One of my male clients said I was now the "perfect" woman: attractive and silent. [makes wry face] Since that time, my voice has come and gone, but mostly been gone. This made for an interesting Monday. I had to speak at a local homeschool meeting that evening and had no voice for it. I used some of my energy stuff and did some tapping for it and managed to get enough of a voice to make it through the evening. Today I am breaking down and going to see a doctor for a round of antibiotics. When I start coughing up hard green chunks of goo from my voice box, it is time for drastic measures. In the meantime, I am making do with eye contact and body language. The children have discovered how much meaning can be packed into a single glance.
On Birthdays and Such

Yesterday I completed yet another trip around the sun. My life has undergone some rather profound changes in the past year -- things I didn't anticipate happening when the sun rose on my 45th birthday.

When you are young, life is mapped out before you in a sort of formula that is supposed to equal "happily ever after." Somewhere along the way things begin to go wrong. The road you set out on with such confidence, that appeared, from a distance, to have only a few gentle turns and smooth surfaces, appears upon closer inspection to be filled with potholes that could swallow transport trucks, u-turns, construction with long line -ups, and detour signs.

In the past year I've lost two more sons from home, lost my church, and lost my marriage. I think I am still reeling a bit from the drastic changes that have been taking place as a result of all that. It is with some surprise that I find myself still standing at the end of the day. God's mercies are there in that I have yet to spend a day in bed crying in my pillow in sheer self-pity or desperation. Some days putting one foot in front of the other in a rather robotic fashion is all that I can manage. Yet at least I am still moving.

It hasn't all been negative. I have a wonderful friend who lost his mobility 16 years ago due to an accident. He now spends his days in a wheelchair. One of the things he said to me recently was that the accident and resulting paralysis was an excellent filter for finding out who his real friends are. My recent excommunication and marriage breakdown are accomplishing the same for me. I am finding out who really loves me and who is really my friend. I have friends who call me almost daily or who write to me or check up on me to make sure that I am going to make it. Sometimes they deliver faithful wounds, but they are also quick to apply the salve and bandages and crutches necessary to get me up and hobbling again.

This is sort of like razing a house to the foundations and starting over again. I kind of figured that by the time I hit middle age I would have alot of stuff already figured out and would just spend the rest of my life touching up things here and there. Instead, I find myself going back to the basics yet again with regard to faith. Yeah, I know. At a time that I should be gobbling down and digesting meat, I find myself back on a diet of pablum and milk. But it is either that or just quit eating altogether. And some days anorexia is a real problem, figuratively speaking.

There are a lot of voices telling me one thing or telling me another. Do this, don't do that. God says this, God doesn't say that. And the information is conflicting but delivered with the strength of conviction and certainty that they hold the truth in righteousness. I want to put my fingers in my ears and shut them all out and run away. Tell me God -- directly -- what it is You want of me. And You better hurry, because I have all these kids I still have to raise with some semblance of having my act together and knowing what it is that I am doing.

Below are two of the musical offerings that offer a glimpse of the gritty reality of my life as a Christian. I don't know what the future holds for me or mine. I can only hope in the One who holds it for me.

Oh My God
by Jars of Clay

Oh my God, look around this place
Fingers reach around the bone
You set the break and set the tone
Flights of grace and future falls
in present pain
All fools say, "Oh my God."

Oh my God, why are we so afraid?
We make it worse when we don't bleed
There is no cure for our disease
Turn a phrase and rise again
Or fake your death and only tell your closest friends
Oh my God

Oh my God, can I complain?
You take away my firm belief
And graft my soul upon Your grief
Weddings, boats and alibis
All drift away and a mother cries

Liars and fools, sons and failures
Theives will always say
Lost and found, ailing wanderers
Healers always say
Whores and angels, men with problems
Broken-hearted, separated
Orphans always say
War creators, racial haters
Preachers always say
Distant fathers, fallen warriors
Givers always say
Pilgrim saints, lonely widows
Users always say
Fearful mothers, watchful doubters
Saviours always say

Sometimes I cannot forgive
And these days mercy cuts so deep
If the world was how it should be
Maybe I could get some sleep
While I lay, I dream we're better
Scales were gone and faces lighter
When we wake, we hate our brother
We still move to hurt each other
Sometimes I can close my eyes
And all the fear that keeps me silent
Falls below my heavy breathing
What makes me so badly bent?
We all have a chance to murder
We all feel the need for wonder
We still want to be reminded
That the pain is worth the thunder

Sometimes when I lose my grip
I wonder what to make of Heaven
All the times I thought to reach up
All the times I had to give
Babies underneath their beds
Hospitals that cannot treat
All the wounds that money causes
All the comforts of cathedrals
All the cries of thirsty children
This is our inheritance
All the rage of watching mothers
This is our greatest offence

Oh my God
Oh my God
Oh my God...
Dead Man
by Jars of Clay

January 1, I've got a lot of things on my mind
I'm looking at my body through a new spy satellite
Try to lift a finger, but I don't think I can make the call
So tell me if I move, 'cause I don't feel anything at all

So carry me
I'm just a dead man
Lying on the carpet
Can't find a heartbeat
Make me breathe
I want to be a ne man
Tired of the old one
Out with the old plan
I woke up from a dream about an empty funeral
But it was better than the party full of people I don't really know
They've got hearts to break and burn
Dirty hands to feel the earth
There's something in my veins
But I can't seem to make it work, it won't work
So carry me
I'm just a dead man
Lying on the carpet
Can't find a heartbeat
Make me breathe
I want to be a new man
Tired of the old one
Out with the old plan
Can you feel a beat inside of me?
Any pulse?
Getting worse?
Any pulse?
Getting worse?
Inside of me, can you find a beat?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Public Cross

Today the children and I listened to a sermon by Douglas Wilson entitled, "The Public Cross" based on I Corinthians 2: 1-10. As I listened, it occured to me how much my faith (and likely that of others) is often very mixed with unbelief. We take the words "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him" as permission to think that God really isn't going to do the things that He clearly says He is going to do in His Word. In other words, when the Bible speaks of the glory of the Lord filling the nations, and all nations worshipping him, we project this all into the future life as though it were an eschatological fairy tale for eternity after the end of the world, never thinking that it will actually occur in this life. It is precisely because it will occur that the rulers of the world would not have put Christ to death if they had known what would come of it. The death of Christ isn't merely about personal salvation. Where you spend eternity is not something that keeps your political rulers up late at night or causes them to break out in persecutions. Rather what gets their goat, and always has done, is the way the cross of Christ challenges them in their capacity as political leaders and threatens their power. That is why, from the very beginning, it was the political and ecclesiastical leaders who conspired to put Christ to death, who posted guards at the tomb, and who were the first ones to know that He had come back from the dead. They believed Christ's words about His coming resurrection where His own disciples did not.

It is so easy to get locked into a few specific aspects of the faith and totally miss or ignore others. Very often salvation is something that is talked of only in terms of the individual. Yet Scripture talks of salvation in terms of groups of people, like households, cities, and nations. Salvation comes not only to individuals, it comes to the collective -- the one and the many. Man is a social creature and as a social creature he is saved. We are saved not only as individuals, we are saved as a community -- the Church.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

The Kangaroos Continue to Hop

Last night word came that the boys in the RPNA (GM) "court" have spared no labor in excommunicating five more people for daring to question them. In their usual fashion, they have chosen to emphasize form and structure over substance and content. This benefits them greatly as it allows them to avoid all difficult questions and the accountability that come with it. I think it is quite telling that they are showing a decided reluctance to put anything down in writing when dealing with some of these brethren. After all, if you only say it and it isn't recorded anywhere, it is easy to say that someone has lied or misrepresented you and then it is their word against yours. However, if you have to commit your words to paper, well, your words can then be passed around and inspected, and maybe even come back to bite you.

This brings the total of people excommunicated in the last few months to 30. When you count the children in these homes, the number is closer to 90 something. We can congratulate the "court" on their efficiency in dealing so summarily with so many in so short a time!
Tee Hee...

I am now an official member of the "Cute Nose Club." Last week I went to a shop and got my nose pierced and a small shiny clear stone stud put in. When my nose has finished healing, my plan is to get myself a small sparkly little diamond as a replacement. Strategically placed glitz does a lot to lift a girl's spirits.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Kiss That Girl
Sung by Sheryl Crow
I woke up this mornin' with my makeup on
I've been fakin' it lately, but those days are gone
You look at me and wonder why
I got to cut these strings and learn to fly
But the girl is only in your mind
She's leavin' everything behind
She's not the girl that's gonna make it right
So you can kiss that girl goodbye
We're so glad you made it in this dead end town
Everybody's waiting for you to come down
You're gonna wake up from your dream
You're gonna find someone who looks like me
But the girl is only in your mind
She's leavin' everything behind
She's not the girl that's gonna make it right
So you can kiss that girl goodbye
You could look forever for someone like me
She's just a memory
So you can kiss the girl goodbye
Kiss that girl goodbye
So you can kiss the girl goodbye
So you can kiss this girl goodbye
PURE calls for New Pastors and Elders
from Reformation 21 Website
(with thanks to Joyce)

PURE Seeks the Rt. Rev. Sanc
Posted October 24, 2006

We would like to invite Rt. Rev. Sanc T. Monious to be our ruling elder. We had posted an advertisement and were hoping for a South African ruling elder, but the Rt. Rev. seems just the kind of man that is called for really, and no one from South Africa has actually come forward (though several have not).

I ought to say that in the past months the church has split, holding rival services across the living room in which they were meeting (in fact one of the members has threatened to burn the apostate’s podium but that would leave her without one also- of course she doesn’t speak in her own assembly: she just stands there) but they are hoping that a ruling elder can reunite the body.

Wanted: Ruling ElderTo head new micro-denomination.

Denomination consists of two members in good standing in Mexico City, Mexico.
Ruling Elder must subscribe to the Westminster Confession, and the original charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

Preferably residing in South Africa, so that the denomination might be international, encompassing both oceans and extending over the whole face of the earth.
At present this little band of believers is the purest church in the world. Seeking an Elder to consolidate unity within the denomination, lead it forth as the flagship of the reformation, to administer the sacraments, and enforce church discipline.

(One of the members is involved in the open sin of thinking in her heart that perhaps the church’s policy on catabaptism is at odds with its firm belief in the nature of the pope as anti-Christ, in violation of the Westminster Confession -as well as the charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony- and stands in possible need of excommunication. Though without an elder she is equally unable to communicate. This member has appealed to the general assembly, pending such a time as it exists.)

The name of the new denomination is the PURE — Presbyterian Uber-Reformed Evangelicals. We find that Scripture is insufficient without the original charter of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, to determine the nature of the true church and are, so far as we know, the only church in existence complying with that charter. The plight of man is serious indeed but God has not left himself without a remnant: two are better than one, and a threefold cord is not easily broken. God’s Kingdom is advancing on the enemy.

Join the two of us or get out of the way.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Excommunication Revisited

A few months ago I posted a copy of the ungodly and unscriptural oath that was administered to me by the so-called church court of the RPNA (GM) (whatever that is). Then I posted the notice of excommunication this "court" issued upon my refusal to sign the oath. I subsequently took it all down on the requests of some of the brethren who were still seeking to charitably work through the issues with the elders in question. However, it has become increasingly evident that the elders in question have hardened themselves in their position and are determined to go down with the ship, even if it means excommunicating everyone except for those who are related to them or are their most ardent loyalists. These elders seem to be developing mass excommunication into a fine art. The first group of people had ten members in it. The latest group contained fifteen, some of which had slipped their collective minds for a number of months and even over a year. But hey ho, nothing like the New Year for making a clean sweep. More are expected soon.

I have not only reposted the original comments, oath, and notice of excommunication, but I have added in the public protest that the Prince George society composed in response to the oath in question.

Why am I putting all of this out here? This is to warn anyone who may be considering joining with the RPNA (GM) of what you could be in for if you join hands with them unless God grants them grace to repent.

Here is my original post, which I had put up on November 5, 2006:

BOING! BOING! BOING! [sound of kangaroos hard at work]

I am going to commemorate 2006 as the year in which I was liberated from domestic and ecclesiastical tyranny.

I'm not going to comment much on the former at this time, but for your edification (or not) I will post information concerning the latter below.

First of all, I have considered myself a Presbyterian Covenanter for the past oh, 10 or so years. Lately, things in our societies have taken a nasty turn. They say that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, and my latest experience hasn't done anything to disprove that. A few years ago we had a presbytery. It was dissolved when there was disagreement over the issue of birth control. Some of the elders believe that potential procreation trumps all other purposes, responsibilities and duties of marriage, even if the life/health of the wife is in danger. One of them felt it did not. So, on the basis of something that has never been established in a lawful General Assembly, a prohibition against birth control in all circumstances was made an implicit term of communion and those who disagreed were tossed out. Promises were made concerning a position paper on birth control, but to date, no paper has been forthcoming.

When presbytery dissolved, we were left in limbo. We had clear expressions from the remaining elders of not having an organized session, but now we find out a few years later that it should have been obvious to all of us that saying that we didn't have an organized session clearly means we have an extraordinarily organized session with all the powers of a General Assembly over the entire universe.

Those of us who have had questions about the structure of church gov't that we had and some of the things being done in its name have been drummed out of the societies by these popish presbyterians.

I'm not going to bore you all with all the tedious details, but after more than two years of going back and forth with the elders trying to have some questions answered, we find ourselves on the outside looking in, and with no higher court of appeal.

So here you go, for your information, you have before you the oath that they required me to swear followed by their declaration of my excommunication. Please note that I have been charged with an unknown sin by an unknown person. Matthew 18 procedures have not been followed. By that I mean, that this is the first time I learned that I had offended someone, and they have not come to me privately to get it cleared up. Nor did they bring two or three witnesses. Instead they passed Go and collected $200. Nice, eh?

October 4, 2006
Dear Cheryl,

Please confirm receipt of this document immediately by email to the Members ofSession: Pastor Greg Price, Elder Greg Barrow, and Elder Lyndon Dohms.

The Session of the RPNA (GM) has received, reviewed, and accepted formal charges of sin that have been filed with this Court and in which charges you are formally named as a defendant. Please understand that this does not mean that the case has already been tried.However, we do find the charges to be in order. As is true with any case brought beforethe Court, this is a very serious matter that could potentially affect the status of yourcurrent membership in the RPNA (GM). Therefore, please carefully and prayerfullyconsider the following requirements that this lawful Court of Jesus Christ now imposes upon you (as defendant) and upon the plaintiff by lawful authority and out of love for Christ and His Church.

Preparatory to adjudicating the charges filed against you, the Court requires that a formaloath be taken by both plaintiff and defendant in which you both, in accord with yourmembership obligations, bear formal testimony in the name of Jesus Christ that you:

1. Have no known disagreement with the Terms of Communion of the RPNA (GM),and,

2. Formally own the Session of the RPNA (GM) as a lawful and faithful Court ofChrist.

This is necessary, in the judgment of the Court, to ensure that all parties involved in this formal dispute (both the one making the charges and the one being charged) assure theCourt of their continued commitment to adhere to the obligations agreed upon at the time of their membership.

The reasons for the Court making this oath mandatory are as follows:

1. Those doctrinal errors or practical scandals that require the Session of the RPNA(GM), as an authoritative Church Court, to refuse a person admission into themembership of the RPNA (GM), also, in consistency, require it to remove one who isalready a member barring repentance.

Thus, if a person should come seeking membership in the RPNA (GM) and should not positively testify to the Court that he/she has no known disagreement with the Terms ofCommunion of the RPNA (GM), and that he/she positively “owns” this Court as a lawful and faithful Court of Jesus Christ, that one would “not” be admitted into membership. If this candidate for membership should say, “I don’t know (or I am not sure) if you are a lawful and faithful Court of Christ,” that person would be positively excluded from admission into membership within the RPNA (GM).Likewise, if a person who is already a Member of the RPNA (GM)—having already affirmed in his/her membership agreement and by his/her continued membership in theRPNA (GM) that he/she has no known disagreement with the Terms of Communion ofthe RPNA (GM) and owns the Session of the RPNA (GM) as a Church Court that is both lawful and faithful—fails, when called upon to do so by a lawful authority, to positively continue to testify of these things, that one, also, would be excluded (i.e. removed) from membership within the RPNA (GM) barring repentance.

2. Failure to take a lawful oath, when imposed by lawful authority, in matters of great
importance, is scandalous and against God’s law.

Westminster Confession of Faith Chapter 22:2,3 states,

“Yet as, in matters of weight and moment, an oath is warranted by the word of God under the New Testament, as well as under the Old; so a lawful oath, being imposed by
lawful authority, in such matters, ought to be taken” (1 Kings 8:31; Ezra 10:5; Nehemiah13:25).“Yet it is a sin to refuse an oath touching any thing that is good and just, being imposedby lawful authority” (Exodus 22:7-11; Numbers 5:19-21; Nehemiah 5:12).

Thus, failure to take the oath below would, in the judgment of this Court, be a dishonor to God, a scandal to the Church, a violation of your own membership agreement, and a disobedience to and dishonoring of the lawful ordinance of ecclesiastical authority given to the Session of the RPNA (GM) as a Court of Christ. Therefore, all who refuse such an oath (unless of course the oath is demonstrably unlawful) may and ought to be disciplined according to the rule of Christ set down in the Word of God in Matthew 18:17-20.

This oath is not optional, and failure to sign this oath and return it to the Clerk of Session within the stipulated time frame will result in the enactment of Church discipline, and barring repentance, will result in formal and public termination of your membership inthe RPNA (GM). Here then is the oath that the Court now imposes upon you (as defendant) by the lawful authority given to the Session of the RPNA (GM) from Christ who is Savior and Head of the Church:

I, Cheryl Grenon, freely and voluntarily, according to my own conscience and not being induced or compelled by any unlawful external means, by the grace of God and in the name of Jesus Christ, sincerely, in the plain and common sense of these terms, without equivocation or mental reservation, formally testify that I, Cheryl Grenon, in no way knowingly disagree with any of the five Terms of Membership of the RPNA (GM), or any of the six Terms of Communion of the RPNA (GM) inclusive of its published position papers (namely, “A Brief Defence Of Dissociation In The Present Circumstances”, “A Brief Testimony Against The Practice Of Occasional Hearing”, “The Common Cup:Evaluated From A Biblical, Historical, And Medical Perspective”, “The Practice Of Headcoverings In Public Worship”, “A Reformation Discussion Of ExtraordinaryPredictive Prophecy Subsequent To The Closing Of The Canon Of Scripture”,“Reformed Presbytery In North America Deed Of Constitution”, and “Position Paper And Response To Questions Circulated About Sessional Authority Within The RPNA(General Meeting)”), and I formally testify that I own the authority of the Session of theRPNA (GM) in both its extraordinary form and jurisdiction, which is presently comprised of Pastor Greg Price, Ruling Elder Greg Barrow, and Ruling Elder Lyndon Dohms, as that Presbyterian Church Court, which is both lawful and faithful to the true Covenanted testimony of Jesus Christ and is agreeable to the Scripture and to all of the SubordinateDocuments of the RPNA (GM). I further testify, in the name of Christ, that I do and will willingly submit to the Session of the RPNA (GM) (in so far as they conform to the Word of God), and that I will endeavor to conduct myself in this upcoming Court proceeding truthfully, honestly and charitably.

Cheryl Grenon

This signed oath must be returned to the Clerk of the Court, Elder Lyndon Dohms in paper copy [address deleted] by 12 AM,Wednesday, October 18, 2006.

Dear Member, the Court appeals to you not only from the authority of Christ, but also from the love of Christ to fulfill this duty incumbent upon you as a Member of the RPNA(GM).

Please confirm receipt of this document immediately by email to the Members of Session: Pastor Greg Price, Elder Greg Barrow, and Elder Lyndon Dohms.

Respectfully submitted in the fear of God and in the love of Christ,

The Session of the RPNA (GM)Pastor Greg PriceElder Greg BarrowElder Lyndon Dohms


Upon being issued this oath, the Prince George Society responded with the following protest:

October 18, 2006
Dear covenanted brethren,

Greetings in the name of our precious Savior. We cherish your fellowship and pray this letter finds you in the joy of the Lord.

In writing you today, it is our sincere and abiding desire to see true Presbyterian government among us,according to Scripture and according to those Subordinate Standards received and acknowledged in covenanted Historical Testimony. Our purpose now is to openly object to a recent effort to divide us and separate us from fellowship with you. This again deferred our hope of over two years to have counsel from Pastor Greg Price, Elder Greg Barrow and Elder Lyndon Dohms on a variety of concerns, as providence and duty permitted.

Oath Demanded
On October 4, 2006, all our society members were served with demand for an ‘Oath’ (copy below), as a preliminary step to adjudicate unnamed charges brought by an unnamed Plaintiff. As we reflected on this latest step, we realized a line had been crossed demonstrating an obstinacy we could no longer allow to pass over in silence. The result is this public protest and complaint (Eccl 12:14; Lu 12:2).

In July 2004, many brethren gathered in Prince George to celebrate the marriage of _______and ________; that same day, _______was born. In a face-to-face conversation between Pastor Price, Elder Barrow and a 3-member committee of ours in the early hours of Friday, July 2, we related our concern for improved society communication, and shared our plan to distribute a letter that weekend. The purpose of that letter was to ask them and all the brethren to consider what might be of use to us in a historically proven subordinate standard for the promotion of better communication. This was also the first time our society heard Greg Price and Greg Barrow refer to ‘the Session’.

As a courtesy, we shared a draft of our letter with Pastor Price and Elder Barrow (Elder Dohms was notyet in Prince George). Rather than give it out to brethren that Saturday, we were asked to wait 7 daysbefore mailing our letter to the brethren, which would afford them and Elder Dohms a thorough preview.

We agreed to the 7-day window, which would also give us time to review their ‘Session’ claim.
The next day however, Saturday July 3, ‘withdrawal’ of the undistributed draft was made conditional toour being admitted to the Lord’s Table. They refused to speak with us as a society on our commonconcern, insisting they be taken up as individual households. Ultimately, that 7-day window stretched intoan exercise of over two years, of which those July proceedings were but a preview. This was the context of our attempted dialogue with the Elders, during which we honored them with the confidentiality they requested of us, but which they unapologetically did not return in kind.

In the weeks following, we discreetly polled brethren to assess common perception on the ‘is there a Session?’ question, and found we were not alone in our confusion that summer of 2004. We submitted a ‘revised’ draft to each Elder on September 24. As an example of the need for greater communication, it referred to our surprise on the ‘Session’ question back in July. October 7, they put eight questions to us. According to the written record, October 31, 2004 marks their first public reference to themselves by the judicial term ‘Session of the RPNA (General Meeting)’. This was found in the signature of a widely circulated email.

In the course of two years we have been questioned about our motives (Jul./04; Oct./04), told we had separated (July 2005), and that we were causing division among the brethren by not deferring areas of private duty and liberty to them (2006). We have suffered misrepresentation, innuendo, and injury. With many tears and crying out to God, we have guarded our hearts against resentment or bitterness and maintained our desire to see the whole covenanted remnant strengthened. However, any hope we had for meaningful direct dialogue with the Elders effectively came to an end this last October 4, 2006.

The essential problem is that when they served us with this oath, they did so with knowledge of
concerns we had put before each Elder, in escalating degrees no less than six times since July 2004. Their demand, which might be an otherwise lawful and appropriate one, ought not to have been requested or demanded of us until they had taken all reasonable measures to instruct us directly on the relevant questions and outstanding issues. On July 16, 2005, they did comment on our concerns when Greg Barrow emailed (cc: Greg Price and Lyndon Dohms):

“We share your concern and agree that the questions you are raising, along with their
attendant implications, warrant our more immediate attention. At the same time we
believe that because your response is questioning the very existence and lawfulness of
our extraordinary Session (and by implication the lawfulness of every member of the
RPNA who presently receives our oversight as faithful), these matters also deserve
careful clarification of your position, further discussion among ourselves, and finally a
carefully written full response to your concerns. This will take time.” (Para. 3b)

From their own words they have demonstrated they understood our concerns had significant implications. Our concerns were also relevant in pre-communion interviews days later in Edmonton, AB, confirming their awareness. Therefore, ignorance cannot be a valid factor in their choice of demand format, which lacks any acknowledgement of our concerns let alone attempt at accommodation.

The demand has five main elements. While all may be cause for concern at different levels, one is completely opposed to any interest in justice. Our hope for justice did not break at:

(1) Their calling themselves a constituted court (nor at the lack of: date of calling and constitution, documented measures to secure informed consent, commencing a confused agenda).

(2) The adopting of practices and doctrinal positions without the beauty of a meaningful, Presbyterian overture.

(3) The requiring us to swear this oath without stating the formal charge and Plaintiff which advantages all other parties have (which appears as potential entrapment contrary to ecclesiastical jurisprudence on ‘informed’ consent).

(4) The right of lawful authorities to impose lawful oaths on those under their jurisdiction (not contested by any among us).

Those four elements might have been considered privately on another day as providence and duty permitted (Deut. 29:29). However, when considered against the two year record, our hope for justice broke upon number five, seeing it as fundamentally problematic to a reasonable hope in their actions:

(5) Putting words in our mouths and by them, constructing commitments we never made
(We have underlined some relevant portions in the oath document itself following our letter)
In choosing to frame the oath as they did, with the knowledge they had, they effectively chose to position us as no members at all of the covenanted community and therefore our unanswered questions will never have to be fully answered. To take the oath would have us own the PPSA, which they claim answers the Session question for us. We are put in a lose/lose situation. Such design stumbles all concerned from fulfilling lawful covenantal vows in good conscience (Solemn League & Covenant, Articles I & II), and is best designed to provoke wrath (Col. 3:21).

Therefore, may God have mercy upon us all as we make known this measure to position us ‘outside the camp’ from covenanted brethren in Christ. This policy of exclusion and “self-preservation” can only be seen as gross incompetence at best, maliciously bearing false witness at worst (LCat. Q.144, Q.145); demonstrating their ‘gift for government’ (1 Cor. 12:28), the facts sustain massive injury in either case. While not a commentary on their personal virtues, which are many, it is an example of governance they claim to fulfill as a judicial court. We might
pass over this out of a misguided desire to ‘live peaceably with all men’ (Rom. 12:18) at all costs, but for the fact it appears the very kind of historical revisionism, linguistic gamesmanship, and tyranny (whether in gross incompetence or willful pride) that the godly have contended against in all ages.

In our documented context, this oath must be seen for what it is: an unlawful imposition contrary to justice, peace and the Presbyterian way. Nevertheless, we have been asked to voluntarily, plainly and firmly testify some things “without equivocation or mental reservation.”

In this context, contrary to the words and commitments imputed to us by Greg Price, Greg Barrow, and Lyndon Dohms October 4, 2006, we publicly testify that:

1. On July 2, 2004, our society committee asked Greg Price and Greg Barrow in person for details corroborating their claim to be members of “a lawful and faithful Court of Christ.”

2. From July 2 until we submitted a revised draft September 24, 2004, we had received no
corroborating details to support the proposition they claimed. We did not and have not denied the proposition, but to this day our concerns remain unanswered, and thus we were not then and are not now in a position to conscientiously own something called, “the Session of the RPNA (GM)”.

3. None of our Prince George society members requested admittance into anything called, “the
RPNA (GM)” which professed body is not now observed existing in the “plain and common
sense” of the words, as established in published covenanted history and Presbyterian polity.

4. Our Society has stated relevant concerns in escalating degrees to each Elder on no less than sixoccasions for over two years since July 2004.

And therefore,
5. In light of our multiple unanswered questions of over two years, to construct our patience and
longstanding commitment to Reformed Presbyterianism (12 years) and the covenanted way (10
years) as tacit consent, and as our having ‘continuing’ “membership commitments” as they frame them, does such injury to the record that we cannot endure further such abuses in silence or patience, lest we sin against our own consciences crying out for peace, charity and reformationbeyond mere words (1 Cor. 13:1). and,

6. We do own approved subordinate standards in the “plain and common sense” of the terms,
however it does not follow that our commitments contemplated the recent public vindication titled ‘Sessional Authority’ of June 4, 2006. We do not own arbitrary claims as settled and binding judicial positions on the whole world without such claims firmly established out of approved argument and example in our covenanted historical testimony, lest in one blow we countenance both independency and prelacy. With the Apostles, we have guarded our consciences from dishonesty (Acts 24:16; 2 Cor. 4:2) and labored to walk faithfully before one Lord (Acts 4:19).

An aggravating problem is that the Elders alleged on August 25, 2006 that some offence exists between our entire society, and one or all of them, on some matter out of our July 23, 2006 email. To date they have refused to identify the matter, let alone substantiate the claim. This does not support their receiving of, let alone hearing of, a case against us, before resolving that fundamental issue which compromises any assurance for justice and equity. Our record of inquiry and entreaty goes back to July 2, 2004; even if they asserted the unspecified ‘charge’ and unnamed ‘Plaintiff’ had a claim preceding our record of inquiry, the conflict of interest is flagrant. Surely it is to put the cart before the horse; surely the resolving
of one must precede the other?

An underlying concern is the reluctance on their part (October 2004; August 25, 2006) to clarify their understanding of confidentiality in our dialogue attempts to date. Is this because the topic of confidentiality is another concept so complex it is beyond the understanding of the average person? We must wonder if the confusion is not so much in the topics as in those claiming such wisdom (Prov. 27:2).

Our concerns may be better highlighted in the Reformation question: “Does the Church exist for the edification of the government, or the government for the edification of the Church?” At this time, we are convinced by Scripture and Historical Testimony that the form of proceedings taken here is NOT proven as Presbyterian by any convention of charity or heavenly wisdom.

In Closing
[Irrelevant portion edited out concerning our records of correspondance.]

We do hope to see all the Societies established in humble, proper Presbyterian governance in the bond of unity, together serving the Kingdom of Jesus Christ here on earth in keeping our covenantal vows. It is said that words expressing ‘love’ for one another are nothing without humility, repentance, and Truth in action. The Savior also demanded profession before men (Matt. 10:32, 33); may we not be found as Peter on that sad day when the cock did crow (Luke 22:60-62). May we all ’play the man’ (2 Sam. 10:12), not in carnal defense of reputation or party as for Paul or Apollos (1 Cor. 3:4-6), but for Christ alone.

Our hopes and prayers for you all continue, as we beseech the Father for Minister, Elders and His flock.

Society of Prince George
October 18, 2006
Prince George Society members
[names deleted]

The refusal to take the oath earned me the following:

Announcement from the Session of the RPNA (General Meeting)November 4, 2006

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

It is our sad but necessary ministerial duty to announce publicly to those under our oversight, that Mrs. Cheryl Grenon of Prince George, British Columbia, Canada, has refused to swear a lawful Oath imposed upon her (October 4, 2006) by this lawful Church Court reaffirming her membership agreement (before being served with charges of sin [filed in good order and received by the Court] by a member of the RPNA—GM), and in so doing has sinfully excommunicated herself from membership and has shown public contempt for Christ and His Ordinance of a lawful Church Court. Not only did the Session give in the Letter of October 4, 2006 (that accompanied the Oath) scriptural citations, confessional support and reasonable arguments consistent with her membership agreement, but also sent the public Letter of October 28, 2006 (and a corrected version October 29, 2006) responding to various objections offered by members in Prince George (and others) to taking the Oath. The Session did in that Letter prove (by way of reference to its Position Paper on Sessional Authority June 4, 2006),accuse of sin, rebuke in brotherly love, and command in the fear of God, Cheryl Grenon to repent of her sin, but she has not stated to the Session either her repentance or her intention to repent. Although Cheryl has not explicitly written to terminate her membership with the RPNA (GM), she has done so implicitly by publicly, actively, and voluntarily refusing to take a lawful Oath that reaffirms her submission to the Session as a lawful Court and her acknowledgement that she has no known disagreement with the Terms of Communion of this Church.

Thus, Cheryl Grenon has sinned against Christ and His Ordinance of Church Government within this lawful Church Court by refusing to sign a lawful Oath and showing public contempt for such a Court.

“Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown: And they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, everyone of them, and the LORD is among them: wherefore then lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the LORD?” (Numbers 16:1-3)

“Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Matthew 18:18-20)

“And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordainedof the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem.” (Acts 16:4)

“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17)

Cheryl Grenon’s public, active, and voluntary refusal to reaffirm her submission to our lawful Church Court, and her membership within a faithful Church of Christ is, in our judgment, a sinful division and schism within the body of Christ (Romans 16:17), and without scriptural warrant.

With much grief and sorrow, for the purpose of informing those under our oversight, we declare that the membership status of Mrs. Cheryl Grenon has now formally changed, and we publicly declare her to be placed upon our List of Deserters, and judicially declare in the name of Jesus Christ that she is now in a position of being formally excommunicated from the Visible Church. We do so in hope praying that God may by this action deliver her unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, THAT THE SPIRIT MAY BE SAVED IN THE DAY OFTHE LORD JESUS (1 Corinthians 5:5). We take not this step because we hate Cheryl, butbecause we love her and earnestly desire her repentance and reconciliation.

We remind the congregation that our duty toward Cheryl is to constantly and humbly pray forher reconciliation in the truth, and that each of us ought to be mindful and careful of our respective duties in regard to having familiar fellowship with those who are excommunicated from the Church. We would call to the attention of all who are under our inspection that to practice familiar fellowship with those who are excommunicated is likewise a sin that is censurable and contrary to the Word of God (1 Corinthians 5:11-13) and to our Terms of Communion (_The First Book of Discipline_, “The Seventh Head--Of EcclesiasticalDiscipline”).

Finally, we would remind you that, as members of the RPNA (General Meeting), each time you become informed of, or witness, a judicial action enacted by this court, you have a scriptural duty either to consent to that judicial action (either expressly or tacitly) as that done faithfully by a lawful court of Christ, or to dissent with arguments agreeable to Scripture and good reason (expressly and formally in writing) should you deem this action to be unfaithfully done. Please note, that your consent need not be formally expressed, as we take silence in this matter to be your tacit consent and approval of both the lawfulness of our Court and the faithfulness of the judicial action being enacted. If you disagree with what we have done as a Court, or for some reason believe that we are not lawfully constituted as a Court of Christ to perform such an act of jurisdiction, then it is your duty, according to God’s Word and your membership agreement, to immediately, formally, and honestly express your dissent, reasons and/or questions in writing to the Session.

For Christ's Crown and Covenant,

The Session of the RPNA (General Meeting)
Pastor Greg Price Ruling Elder
Lyndon DohmsRuling
Elder Greg Barrow

My concluding remarks: I would hope that those who have read this would not think that this is classic presbyterianism at work. Nor do I think that this is representative of what Covenanted presbyterianism is all about. To be truthful, I am no longer sure what covenanted presbyterianism looks like because I suspect, given the perceived deviations that I see from the standards, that what was dished out is nothing like the real McCoy. (Please note that I am exercising a great deal of restraint and would really like to say some other more forthright things. But I will spare my readers' blushes.)

I have something going in my favor -- I am not the only one who was kicked out. My entire society was on the chopping block and met the same fate. Misery loves company, but I can truthfully say that I am far from miserable and actually delighted to be set free from this whole mess. My next task is figuring out what to do next...