& Book Company

Innovative Publisher of Quality Books by Creative Authors

Parson's Porch & Book Publishing is a book publishing company with a double focus.  We focus on the needs of creative writers who need a professional publisher to turn their words into books, & we also focus on the needs of others by turning their books into bread by sharing our profits with those who are homeless and displaced by meeting their basic needs of food, clothing, shelter and safety.

Can't Have it Both Ways

I can only speak for myself, but keeping rules has not been my strong suit.  In fact, my heart hurts when I start to become rulebound.  

Fundamentalism says, "Keep the rules, and God will love you. Break the rules, God will get you!!"  If that is the case, God has it in for me.  I will never be able to please him by keeping the rules.

Liberalism says, "God loves you.  There is nothing which separates you from God's love. not even breaking the rules!!"

For me, liberalism best describes the gospel as I have experienced it.  It frees me to choose to live how God wants me to live.  I acknowledge that what God has done for me, he is doing in all people at all times.

Fundamentalism is limited to keeping the rules.  Just how many rules do you have to keep before God loves you? How good do I have to be?  

When keeping the rules becomes our basis for living instead of our relationship with God, we will eventually turn on each other.  If I don't keep the rules as well as you do, then I am less than you, and therefore, I am not as godly as you.  There is no such thing as self-redemption.  All our righteous (from Mother Teresa to Adolf Hitler) is filthy rags.  I cannot redeem myself, nor can you.

So, if you want a life filled with rage, judgmentalism, competition and self-loathing follow the rules.  If you want a life filled with peace, contentment, love and compassion, follow the way of Jesus.  You can' t have it both ways.  I know.  I've tried both.

A Naked Baby in a Mucky Manger

After all the vitriol of who’s got it right, it still comes down to this: a naked baby in a mucky stall.

The manger teaches us that the gospel is bottom-up good news.  A naked baby, one from the lowest, helpless, poorest segments of society, was the Lamb of God!!  There is no other gospel.

The top-down approach which had been the popular approach since Moses was shown for what it was – inadequate.  While it looked good in its robes, synagogues and Temple, they were still naked sinners.  Clothed, warm, rich and secure people rarely make saviors.  Many just don't get it.  

While we think the more we do, the more we have, and the more we know will make us presentable to God, we are hopeless.  God uses our naked self – who we are without our fine clothes, big houses, large cars and bloviated opinions, beliefs and bigotry. These are of no consequence to how God perceives us. 

Let’s be a naked baby in the mucky stall and let God use us as God will – anything more is silly.  Once you get it – you can’t un-get it.

What are you getting from Christmas (5 of 5)

It's an impressive list: Freedom from performance, bondage, exile, and darkness.  What more could anyone expect from the manger of God?  Only one thing: Freedom to enjoy Christ as King.

God knew that to free us from things was not enough.  It is the freedom to one thing that makes all the difference in the world - Freedom to live in God's kingdom.  We don't have to live His way, but we are free to if we want too.  The Lord's Prayer says all we need to know about God's Kingdom: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  The invitation to live in God's Kingdom is to enjoy His present both now and forever.   

The power of God's present is powerful - transformative - freeing.  So, my prayer is that you will not focus on the commercially driven definition of Christmas which presses us toward more noise, hurry and crowds, but you will draw from Christmas the freedom to experience Christ as King.

O' come let us adore Him!! Christ the King!!!

What are you getting from Christmas? (4 of 5)

Have you ever experienced total darkness?  One kind of darkness is the absence of light.  Once I turned the lights out in the fellowship hall of my church, and walked across the room in total darkness when I squarely hit the post which held up the building.  Guess who won?  For a moment, I thought I had been killed - then the pain hit, my knees buckled, and I came to moments later.

The other kind of darkness has nothing to do with light, it is when you see something for the first time which has always been there. It happened to me just the other - I was driving down a road I have driven down hundreds of times, and there it was, a house I had never seen before.  

No matter which kind of darkness you have experienced, light is the answer.  Along with freedom from sin, bondage and exile, Jesus birth reminds us of the freedom from darkness.  He is the light of the world.

Learning lessons we already know is a startling as hitting a pole in the middle of a room, or seeing a house for the very first after years of travelling down the some old road.  A new vision, insight, or direction is from God through Jesus.  There are two ways to access this gift: 1) turn the light on or 2) open your eyes.

The hymn says it this way: "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderfull face, and the things of earth will grow strangley did in the light of his glory and grace.

What are you getting from Christmas? (3 of 5)

When we focus on what we are getting for Christmas, we don't get anything from Christmas.  Jesus birth allows us to get 5 things from Christmas.  Beginning with freedom from performance and freedom from oppression, now we can add freedom from exile which  Jesus gives us from Christmas.

Exile is the primal feeling that we are not at home or we are out of place.  It the feeling when the man said, "Where am I? and How did I get here?" 

Before the Exile of the children of Israel, when they were deported to Babylon, there understanding was that they had to be where God was - mainly in the Temple in Jerusalem.  They sang, "How can we sing to God when he is not here - not here in godless Babylon."

After decades of Exile, they had a tremendous paradigm shift.  No longer did they have to find God to be with Him, God was with them - wherever, whenever and however!  Imagine that!!  That is a huge shift in seeing how God operates.  With the naming of Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew, God put a punctuation for us to remember.  The baby was to be called Emmanuel - God with us!!  That name, Emmanuel, hearkens back to another time God revealed his name to Moses - I am who I am.  That verb name is the "to be" verb "is."

What does God call himself?  Now!!  His name is Now!  The only place that we experience God is now!! God is present now!  

So, when you feel that gnawing feeling of "homesickness,"  you are probably wallowing in the regret of the past or the anxiety of the future, when God is dispensing peace now.  Stop.  Slow down. Shut up. God is in you as you.   

What are you getting from Christmas (2 of 5)

When we focus on what we are getting for Christmas, we don't get anything from Christmas.  Jesus birth allows us to get 5 things from Christmas.

Beginning with freedom from performance, we can also add freedom from oppression.  Bondage is another word for oppression.  The picture of bondage is no matter how hard you try to love God, there is always something oppressive that weighs you down to convince you to conclude "what's the use?"  Jesus gives us another definition for "what" in what the use? 

God sent Jesus into the world at its worst.  Politically, Caesar was Lord,  Herod was reigning with corruption, and Pilate couldn't have cared less.  It was Pharoah all over again - but worse.

It was the worst of times!!  But look!!  Look what God did then.  His purpose invaded the world in the flesh. When we thought it was no use, look what God did!! Above all else, through Jesus he gave us a model of how to live above the oppression of the world.  God gave us a new what!! Freedom.

It is essential for us to remember that Christmas means that governements are on His shoulder!  He is Lord.  If God did that then - what do you think he is up to now.  Freedom.

 

What are your getting from Christmas? (1 of 5)

When we focus on what we are getting for Christmas, we don't get anything from Christmas.  Jesus birth allows us to get 5 things from Christmas.

The first, and most obvious thing, we get from Christmas is freedom from performance.  We need to realize that this gift was a great paradigm shift then and now.  From our most heinous sin to our grandest success, neither effects our status with God.  Jesus birth confirms his love for us.  God's love is. Period.

Later in Jesus's life he pointed to the Temple - the performance place, and said, in three days I will destroy that Temple - I will make it unnecessary for a relationship with God.

At another time, he said, if you have faith, a simple relationship with God, you can cast that Temple mountain into the sea!!

Freedom from performance.  Slow down.  Don't hurry.  Stop.  Rest in the Lord.  God loves you.  That's not only enough from Christmas, it is everything.

Publish, Buy and Give

Today is the first day of December, the first day of the week, the first day of Advent, and the first day of the rest of your life.  There.  I think I have cover them all.

Most of all, the day represents the beginning of the 10th year of Parson's Porch & Company.  What began as a simple idea has now become profoundly important to dozens of families across the years.  We have taken our resources--- money, talents and the calling of proclaiming good news -- to people who are in trouble because of poor choices and bad luck.  You will notice the pictures of many of the folks who have made the company successfull - givers and receivers.

Five years ago, we began a publishing company which pay the overhead for the company.  We are proud to say - all, 100%, of all donations go to the ones who are in trouble.  All expense are paid by publishing books.  

He is what you can do for us.  It's Simple.  First, publish your next book with us.  Now is the time to do it. Don't put it off.  Send us a ready-to-publish manuscript and we'll do the rest.  

Second, buy a book from us.  We have over 200 titles conveniently available on our website, hosted by Amazon.  Click on the Bookstore tab, and you are good to buy.

 

Third, give a donation to us.  We will take any amount.  We accept cash, checks, and credits cards through PayPal.  Remember, all you gifts go to one or more of the people you see on the sides of this site.

Thanks for making our job successful as we help people with their troubles.

 

An Innovative Publisher of Quality Books by Creative Authors using Diverse Imprints.

Parson's Porch & Company |121 Holly Trail, NW | Cleveland, Tennessee 37311 | 423-475-7308 | dtullock@parsonsporch.com