Sunday, October 31, 2004

Saturday, October 30, 2004

i remember

365 days ago mike yaconelli died in his truck near Yreka, CA. i remember it like it was yesterday. i had just had this intense, urgent need to call youth specialties to find out how they were fairing in the wild fires they were having last year. i can't remember the receptionist's name, but i can remember her voice.

she was in shock. i guess she had just gotten off the phone or had just been informed about mike's death. i think i was the first person she told. she said 'mike just died in a car accident'. i felt like i was in the twilight zone. no, i didn't want this information. i wanted to know you are all okay because of the fires. i felt like i had been punched in the stomach.

i asked if i could leave a message on karla's voice mail, and i stumbled through some lame words of hopeful comfort. i had just seen him, less than a month earlier - vibrant, healthier than he'd ever been. when i commented on how good he looked he told me it was because of his new exercise program - sex, and lots of it. how could he be gone?

i called liam and stumbled through the phone call between sobs. it was real finally when i had to verbalize it to him. that began such a surreal season of grief. how could i be so affected by someone i wasn't related to or even could call a personal friend? i felt guilty for feeling so lost, so angry, so confused. i realized as i processed all of this in the months to follow that mike was a mentor for liam and i. we had never had anyone in our life ever give us permission to fall madly in love with jesus and let him wreck our lives. permission to care for our souls, permission to laugh as part of worship, permission to be irreverently reverent. he was one of a kind.

i missed him at convention greatly. it wasn't the same without him. so for those of you who knew him, loved him and cherish him in your hearts still, i grieve with you today. the world is still somehow less wonderful without him here.

my tribute to yac.

what kind of blogger are you?

You Are a Life Blogger!

Your blog is the story of your life - a living diary.
If it happens, you blog it. And make it as entertaining as possible.

thanks clarence!

Friday, October 29, 2004

winds of change are a blowin'

things that make me go hmmmmm.........

is it just me or could 2005 be a huge year for change? castro has fallen and many at his age find they are unable to recover from that kind of injury. arafat's health is failing, new leadership in palestine could be on the radar. it just feels like something momentous is going to happen in this next year.

Come gather round people wherever you roam
And admit that the waters around you have grown
And accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you is worth saving
Then you'd better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone
For the times, they are a changing

Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pens
And keep your eyes open, the chance won't come again
And don't speak too soon, the wheel's still in spin
And there's no telling who that it's naming
Oh the loser will be later to win
For the times, they are a changing

Come senators, congressmen, please head the call
Don't stand in the doorway, don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt will be her that has stalled
The battle outside ragging will soon shake your windows
And rattle your hall
For the times, they are a changing

Come mothers and fathers all over this land
And don't criticize what you can't understand
Your sons and your daughter are beyond your command
Your old role is rapidly aging
Please get out of the new one if you can't lend a hand
For the times they are a changing

The line, it is drawn, the curse, it is cast
The slow one will later be fast
And the present now will soon be the past
The order is rapidly fading
The first one now will later be last
For the times, they are a changing

Bob Dylan - Times They Are A Changing

i'm progressive girl!

via stephanie

Thursday, October 28, 2004

onward christian farmers!

....marching as to plow...

is it just me or is this doctrine of war that has crept into the church one of the ugliest heresies to come along?

i know 'crept' is probably the wrong word, it's been there since the crusades, but it's subtle (before this year) re-emergence seems like creeping to me. now it's just a full blown, flag-wavin' proud, right wing belief.

i was raised by a mother (the real bobbie) who would cry at super-market openings while that year's fair queen poorly sang the national anthem. she was the most patriotic person i knew. she taught me that war was good for the economy and got things moving again.

that folded into an eschatology that thirsted for war as a 'sign of the times' - wars and rumors of wars were sure indication we were just moments away from the rapture.

during this past year or so i have done a lot of personal stock-taking and re-education into this theory that our god is a god of war. believe me, i've heard it all. those old testament justifications of god's wrath and the chosen people's need to smear out anyone who was against them. i'm not looking for someone to convince me of the error of my ways, really, i've been there.

i've become so much more aware of the words of christ and how foreign they were to the belief structure that i had been raised with. he came to begin a new covenant. so, where did all of the 'onward christian soldier' crap come from?

what i've done lately is pull out every new testament passage that speaks of war, weapon, soldier, fight, etc. that i can find and really study what it (they're always written by paul) says.

Paul included soldier/warfare/fight in 1 & 2 corinthians & 1 & 2 timothy and philemon.
1 Corinthians 9:7
Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock?
this first reference to warfare by paul to illustrate the need for workers/pastors to be given a salary or paid. it's used right along with farmer and shepherd. paul is using occupations that are familiar to the corinthians. all people who get paid and supported for doing the work they do. there is no call to a military church here, it is simply an illustration.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
this passage brings a stronger use of the metaphor into paul's writing, but instead of bolstering the idea that we should be soldiers for jesus we are told just the opposite. ON THE CONTRARY! the war we are fighting is with our thoughts, it's in our own heads. taking every thought captive.

again, paul uses a familiar, down to earth illustration to drive home his point. we aren't to be fighting like those around us - our battle is in our heads, it is with ourselves. hardly a call to arms.
1 Timothy 1:17-20 KJV (used because of it's 'war' terms)
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen. This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
okay, here is a personal admonition to timothy regarding a prophecy in his own life. what 'war a good warfare' means we can only guess at, but in my humble rendering it would mean 'take courage timothy, you have been 'armed' (gifted) to do what god has called you to do'. not go war with your neighbors.

or as the NIV states it:
1 Timothy 1:18
Timothy, my son, I give you this instruction in keeping with the prophecies once made about you, so that by following them you may fight the good fight.
in 2 timothy paul invokes a soldier metaphor:
2 Timothy 2:4
No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer.
again, not calling timothy to arms, but using a frame of reference that timothy would have been familiar with to illustrate his commitment and call as a pastor.

the last (except for the revelation terms which can be interpreted how ever you feel eschatologically called to do, for purpose of this i don't want to get caught up in the past/future, but rather stay here in the present) place any war-like term is used is in philemon.
Philemon 1:2
"to Apphia our sister, to Archippus our fellow soldier and to the church that meets in your home. here is probably paul's most personal statement. by calling archippus a 'fellow soldier' he includes himself in the ranks. i think it might be translated 'commrade', which may have a military flavor to it also, but 'brother in arms', 'team-mate' or 'member' would probably suit as well.
it still lacks any call to arms or decisive encouragement for christians to go to war. ...with the cross of jesus going on before... yuck.

if you start to listen to gwb critcally you start to hear that he hints that american/democracy and freedom itself is the 'great white hope'. that american democracy is going to restore hope and freedom to the world. i'm sorry, but that is heresy. jesus is the only hope for freedom. gwb is trying to do what the disciples asked jesus to do, and he wanted no part of it.

he rebuked peter and called him satan for attempting to bring kingdom peace by using the sword. this heresy is polluting the american church and becoming a form of idolitry.

paul uses many metaphors in his writings, a soldier, a farmer, a shepherd, a wrestler, a boxer. can you imagine inserting anything but soldier into that old favorite hymn? onward christian shepherds?? onward christian wrestlers??

i was told that at the MOPS convention this year out of eden had re-invented this song/concept and brought it forward 100+ years with the song 'soldiers'. they chant 'where are my soldiers?' and the crowd shouts 'right here', over and over throughout the performance. the last line of the song says:
It's a call for some soldiers
So if you're not afraid to take a stand
Then let me see you raise your hand.
reprogramming a new generation for it's warmongering future.

jim wallis has a new he is urging leaders to sign. with the rhetoric reaching a fevered pitch it's important to remember that a president, a country or a war cannot give or bring freedom. america is not the 'light that shines in the darkness' we need to remember that today more than ever.

complete cezanne

found at professor tim's

Cezanne and the Love of Color

Because his wife refused to miss a dress fitting, she missed his death instead. He painted to the last, a portrait in profile of his gardener sitting in a green light, with a sprawling shadow cast on the wall behind him. His son too arrived too late, preferring with his mother the rich life of Paris.

Then, thinking his fame wouldn't last and heavy in debt, they quickly sold his paintings, foolishly reckless in their acceptance of small sums. "You see," his wife told Matisse, "Cezanne couldn't paint. He didn't have the talent to complete his pictures." Her fear cost her a fortune. At the very end of his life Cezanne wrote, "Long live those who have the love of color - true representatives of light and air."

"Cezanne and the Love of Color" by Stephen Dobyns, from Body Traffic

complete cezanne

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

just letters

just letters
this is the coolest site!

thanks bob!

lunar eclipse tonight!

lunar eclipse

if it's a clear night you may be able to see the lunar eclipse tonight, from 9:15 - 1:00 a.m., just thought you might like to know.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

that little red haired girl

some of you have noticed i changed the image in my sidebar. i'm trying to link to the artist in the sidebar, but haven't had the time to get her name there, so at least i'll do it here. sidebar painting is done by artist susan fay schauer.

if you click on it you'll be taken to the larger image so that you can enjoy it as much as i do. it's called 'dirty fingers'. although my fingers were probably a lot longer, and my eyes are blue, this is very close to what i would have looked like at that age.

it's safe to say i've become pretty obsessed with images/photos/artwork featuring red haired women or girls. because i can't post my own picture in the sidebar (not that i'd be thrilled with that idea anyway) i have been culling google images in an attempt to find some visual representation of 'bobbie'. unfortunately none are real representations, so i have to make them varied so no one thinks i think i look like any of them! :) most of the wonderful artwork of women i find are far too skinny!

this new hobby has touched on a memory i hadn't thought about in a long time. it reminded me of the emotion that generates within me when i think about charles schultz's peanuts. i grew up with those shows, they marked every holiday, and resonated within my young 'adult free' world. no adults really engaged in my life before 5th grade and most of them sounded like the 'whawhamwhaamwhaa' when they talked to me. if any adult was noticing me it was to reprimand me or give me work to do. the world of lucy, charlie brown and snoopy made me feel like i wasn't so alone.

the memory i had was about charlie brown desperately writing love notes to 'that little red haired girl'. i always wanted to be her. the fact that mr. schultz never drew her into the comic allowed me to be 'her'. to dream that someone pined away for me and thought so highly of me as to be nervous and passionately inspired. i had a secret crush on charlie brown. i despised lucy for hurting him so, and peppermint patty for bossing him around and for everyone for laughing at him over his pathetic christmas tree. he had a special place in my heart.

i always thought i was actually a cross between lucy and peppermint patty in my personality, bossy and sports minded, and in my heart i knew that p.patty's plight was probably going to be mine. he'd be overlooking my red hair for some small, tiny little other red haired girl's. even frieda didn't cut it for charlie brown. it wasn't the hair i guess. there was something mysterious about that little red haired girl. i longed to be mysterious. i longed to have the devotion of someone like charlie brown.

writing the little red-haired girl

i know others found linus' angst or schroeder's talent far more inspiring, but i loved charlie brown because he never gave up. he always kept trying, and his heart, oh his heart was so good.

somehow his devotion was what i longed for. male attention was always far more important to me than female. my father only seemed to respond when i played sports. he was clueless about what to do with a 'girl', but an athlete, that was when i peeked his interest. i think i always thought he wanted a son instead of me.

after the rape somehow in my broken childhood mind even that attention/intimacy was somehow special. instead of turning me cold, it made me desperate for a boyfriend or male attention. i was the proverbial boy crazy girl. irrationally so. i would sacrifice any female friend or activity for any sort of male attention. i longed to be 'that' little red haired girl to someone, anyone.

i spoke with liam this morning explaining the direction this blog post was taking and asked him if he would be offended if i likened him to my 'charlie brown'. even though i told him i crushed on cb he wasn't sure he liked the analogy. he told me cb never succeeded, never came through. i think that 'peanuts all grown up' would show that charlie brown's determination made him a star place kicker in the big 10 and eventually manufacturer of the most successful kite company in the world. i'm still crushing on charlie brown.

i'm so glad he didn't include her in the strip. i think it was just for me.

Life on the Edge

The real damage is done by those millions who want to "survive." The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. Those with no sides and no causes. Those who won’t take measure of their own strength, for fear of antagonizing their own weakness. Those who don’t like to make waves-or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honor, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small.

It’s the reductionist approach to life: if you keep it small, you’ll keep it under control. If you don’t make any noise, the bogeyman won’t find you. But it’s all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch does. I choose my own way to burn.

Sophie Scholl

Monday, October 25, 2004

i can't wait to get on the road again...

for the past couple of years fall has become a time of travel for me. i never suspected this would happen, but it's been true. we just returned from dallas and in 9 (YES 9!) days i am privledged to fly to seattle to meet up with some fellow bloggers anj, deb and her husband jeff where we will then be heading north to vancouver to meet with more fellow bloggers mike & sue todd, stephanie, idelette, lisa and neritia.

i keep thinking is this really true? each time i pass my e-ticket i get this little leap within me at the reality of it all. nine bloggers from across the world (neritia is in from south africa!) who virtually 'know' each other all heading to linwood house to walk the path.

i am incredibly blessed and excited to meet each and every one of them that hold such a special place in my heart. i'm also a bit freaked out to say the least. what if i drive them all crazy? what if they don't like me? i know it sounds so juvenille, but those thoughts are going through my head, and i know from their emails through some of their heads too. we know so many things about each other, but we don't really KNOW each other.

it's the first time i've travelled SOLO, no husband, kids or even friends flying. i'm looking forward to this adventure. i'm also looking forward to the crucible this process of the path holds for clarifying my call. mike blogged on his experience at the path here. i just can't wait! (also i get the added benefit of being out of the country the day after elections so that i don't have to listen to all of the recount/challenge/who really won propoganda politics!) god is so good!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

sacred spaces

elizabeth at beloved beginner has been blogging about sacred spaces and she inspired me to ponder those places in my journey that have been holy ground.

i grew up with a silent god, so sacredness was few and far between. safe places where probably a better term until god started to crack the door on that false teaching. my most favorite place was a rock in my grandparents back yard. we would only get there 2-3 times a year, but that huge rock was my pondering place as a little girl. it's ironic that we now live less than one hour away from that place we used to have to drive 8 hours to. after my grandmother passed her property was sold. i have longed to just drive up there and ask the new owner if i could just sit on her rock one more time. i think i haven't because i'm so afraid that it might be gone.

that rock was always home base whenever we played kick the can or hide and seek with my cousins growing up. it was big enough for two, but perfect for one small lonely girl to try to figure out her very confusing life.

my parents renovated an 1842 cobblestone farm house during my highschool years and there was an ancient cement silo next to the old barn foundation on the property. the place where the silo attached to where the barn used to be was the best place to sit and watch the sun set. many times were spent with my face covered in tears and my heart covered in lead on that slab of concrete. my feet dangling over the ledge.

my first year of college was in oak park illinois. dead center in frank lloyd wright's neighborhood. his studio was there and it wasn't open like it is now, except for special tours, so the property was usually vacant and i would sit on a ledge there and analyze my life. i loved that place. it felt like i was part of something so much bigger than myself there. it was my secret place.

later that same year my boyfriend and i found a playground at the back of a montessori school that was totally private. i went back there once alone after we broke up and cried my eyes out. that was the beginning of the awakening of the abuse. god was still silent then, and i was so lost and confused.

the next year the school moved to a former catholic monastery, our little brethren minds had no clue what to do with all of the beautiful art and sculpture. most of it was thrown away, but the incredible 20' high stained glass windows featuring the saints had to stay. they surrounded the place we called the 'marble chapel'. i had finally found sacred space. when i sat in there i thought of them as my 'cloud of witnesses'. i would spend hours studying them and the symbolism behind the composition of each window. i wish i had the forethought to have photographed them so i could remember them now.

growing up in a white walled church with aluminum grey venitian blinds and a piece of wood with gold letters at the front that said 'what think ye of christ' on it left me starved for beauty in worship. while the school only formally used this facility once a year it became a place of quiet and contemplation. it was where god began to crack the door on the tiny box everyone around me kept him in.

my first real experience with classical music came in that hall. they used to play it in there in hopes that students would use the room for things other than coupling. i used to sit in there and untie my day. it was truly sacred space.

like elizabeth i am currently in need of some sacred space. i think that's another reason the family altar is becoming important to me. there are a couple of churches i go to when i want to sit in beauty (our church is like a theatre, a nice one, but not at all sacred by any means). i miss the beauty of it all within the context of worship. it's so sad that we've lost that in so many of our churches today.

ya, what he said...

father jake is far more eloquent than i was stumbling through what i tried to say.

also, you can read here about rob who shares the pain of having to keep silent because of the pressure in the christian world to support gwb. it's a horrible place to be.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

a family altar

it's been brewing for some time now. i've been wrestling with my own beliefs and practices and know that i long to pass that on to pink and buck. i am starting from scratch here though to do anything different or new than what i've always been taught or had modeled to me.

instituting new practice or spiritual discipline is something i take seriously because i HATE to fail. i spend a lot of time working myself toward a discipline or commitment because i truly want to build a realistic goal, practice and formation into my life. i know that i am dropping the ball spiritually for my children. not in the evangelical sense of the word, i know. we do the standard 'christian family' practices, but i long to awaken or instill or inspire within them (or replace if it's been lost, i'm not sure yet) that mystery the church strips out of our spiritual lives.

i long for them to have questions, to keep asking, to have joy and mystery, hope and faith that is tangible and to experience god for themselves in the ways that i have learned, and eventually teach me ways that they will learn that are head and shoulders above mine.

the biggest detriment to this plan is that my father lives with us. he's like a scared (scarred??) rabbit because of his spiritual heritage. the most real time of spiritual growth my father holds dear was during the time it was silencing his wife (bobbie) and his daughters. my father loves jesus, i know he does, he's just so trapped in that small box he's stuffed god into.

creating a family altar, practicing the hours and doing the examin daily will make him very uncomfortable. but i'm sure i can't put this off any further.

i remember hearing a dumb sermon illustration about aliens looking into the windows of your home and by observing you they will see what you worship and value. every time i am tempted to set aside my desire for a family altar i remember those stupid aliens. right now they would think we worship screens, both tv and computer. i know that is a really remedial perspective and motivation. but my deep desire is to build into our lives a place where worship can happen daily in our home.

rachelle's, anj's and lilly's examples of touching those places deep within their children has been such light to me. that is the kind of mother i long to be.

metaphor is the tool god is using to restore my soul. i know that my altar will be rich with metaphor. engaging my chilren in the metaphor of their own journey excites and inspires me. i long to have them awaken to those deep places within their souls instead of the shallowness of easy answers and methodology i see offered to my children at school and church. i'm glad they are getting good basic foundational structure, but i want to build so much more on that, and touch the places in their soul that seem to go ignored in most children in today's christian culture.

i hope my fears about my father's reactions are unfounded, or that he is too uncomfortable to voice a reaction (usually his way of coping...), but it would be my heart's desire to somehow help him restore the joy of his salvation. to help him open the box and see so much more of what god has instore for him, even in his last years.

any advice or suggestions would really be appreciated as i launch into this project. i'm excited and really want it to become the cornerstone of our home.

Friday, October 22, 2004

The Emergent Mystique - Christianity Today Magazine

The Emergent Mystique - Christianity Today Magazine

dear alice

i have obviously offended you. i apologize. i never assumed someone with such a formed opinion of methodism was truly a seeker into a discussion of faith.

because you explained that you are a new computer user, that would probably make you very new to blogging. one of the things that you will find is if you are voicing an opposing position you will gain more respect if you sign in or at least leave your name. otherwise it's known as a 'drive by shooting'.

i didn't mean to jump on you. this election and the division in the country, and what i see upcoming in the church is making me cranky.

if you do ever decide to read further into my blog you will find that i own my stuff, i really do. i rarely post such an opinionated blog post and i was touchy about this one. you got the brunt of the reaction to my expected challenges at taking such a bold stand on something i am newly forming in my thought processes.

i mentioned in the post that i was raised republican. i am the wife of a youth pastor in a large seeker church that is 95% filled with republicans. i use this blog to say the things that i can't say publically right now. it's where i blow off steam. i apoligize that some of that steam came your way. i should have never characterized anyone i didn't know as 'rude and arrogant.'

if you search for truth is truly worth it's salt you won't let someone like me get in your way. this is far too important to allow me to stand in your way or influence you negatively.

if i can encourage you at all please keep searching. what you will find is that people who follow jesus take all stripes and forms. but the one thing we have in common is that we screw up, big time. we're just usually the ones who ask for forgiveness afterward. and that is what i am doing now. please forgive me alice. keep searching. the truth is out there.

michael gerson for president!

most of you are asking who? he's bush's wheaton graduate, evangelical speech writer. he is the man responsible for the church falling in love with george w. bush. he's the guy you really love people. can't you see that every time gwb is asked about his faith he can't even verbalize it without having gerson's talking points in his hand (or teleprompter to read).

the evangelical church needs to wake up. i honestly think you can still vote for the man if you care to - but please stop buying the propaganda. please be more critical of those who put a public face on christ - stop excusing sinful behavior.

i have been in so many conversations recently with fervent bush supporters who assume because i'm a pastor's wife that i'm in full support of the administration. i totally understand where they are coming from. i was there too myself just this time last year. i bought it all hook, line and sinker. i believed that those misquoted hymns and allusions to scripture verses were truly coming from his heart. in late winter/early spring when he was given the opportunity to own the information that he knew about the war and chose not to i began to sift his words. i began to step back from the propaganda. once i took that one step that said 'if your actions and your words don't match then one of them must be wrong' i began to see how deeply invested our president has become in being 'right' instead of being 'righteous'.

please remember that people who call themselves christians not only pray to a higher power, but they ANSWER to a higher power. gwb has done no such thing. david was a man after god's own heart, not because he was a great king, but because he repented. gwb has had many opportunities to own his mistakes, even small ones, and he has chosen arrogance and 'certainty' over accountability.

for the brave among you please read this article here. certainty in things we have no right to be certain about is sinful. leading a country with words that stir the soul but have no fruit is shameful.

here are some christians who are challenging bush to make his claimed faith real.

United Methodists Call for Accountable Leadership - United Methodists Call for Accountable Leadership

are we as a church so desperate for power that we will cling to that which truly mocks everything we hold dear? says the words we long to hear but truly gives no weight to living a life of true faith in christ? we are told not to judge, but we are told to be fruit inspectors. love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, self control. these words do not come to mind when i think of our president.

i know it's easy to excuse him because presidents have to make difficult decisions, but christian presidents must make even more difficult ones. truth and honesty must be benchmarks as he has put his face on western christianity. he has become a spokesperson for god. he must be held accountable. when he covered instead of exposed, when he excused rather than confessed, when he looked straight into the camera at the american people and said 'no, there are no mistakes that i have made' he shunned the holy spirit. you could see it in the grimaces and pain. he couldn't even stand up straight. please church, wake up. don't be so gullible that just because someone tickles your ears with words you long to hear that you turn off your brain and eat everything he's feeding you.

my favorite president was a horrible politician, and even a horrible president. jimmy carter was a man after god's own heart. he was such a horrible president because those things mattered to him. he wouldn't sacrifice his own faith even for the most powerful position on the face of the earth.

what is worse? a godless man who has no values lying to the american people about an affair with an intern or a god-claiming man who lies to the american people about why he took us to war? the church was so up in arms about bill clinton and his fidelity to his wife, why is it that we can't see when one of 'our own' has fallen?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.

Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.
Galatians 5:22-6:3

Thursday, October 21, 2004

he restoreth my soul...

glorious day

oh what a glorious day. reminds me of crowder lyrics.

heaven came down and glory filled my soul... he redeemed that song for me. i love those lyrics, but hated their sappy 70's captain and tennille sound. i especially love the 'yah, today' thrown in near the end. it reminds me that i am being made whole even today.

what a glorious day. what a wonderful day, today. glorious day.

liam got the kids on the bus and called in late for work. we fully enjoyed having no one home and spent the morning back in bed. he then made breakfast and we communed at the table too.

after he left for work i read this.

it reached deep into my soul and left me keening a loud sobbing cry. with no one home to hear me it was cathartic. god has been weaving the warp and the weft of my life together so magically lately. everything in rhythm and beauty.

after the sob i was moved with this great desire to be creative. we had just gone to ikea and while there i purchased some multicolored votive holders. i lit them all and played with the camera, i lit sandlewood incense and sat in silence watching the flames and the incense smoke rise to heaven. i remembered my cup meditation and went and retrieved it and saw again the weaving hands of god in this process.

my candles

emptiness is the thread he is using right now in the fabric of my life. i blogged before nywc (here) on emptiness and how i had finally figured out it was not hunger. i was given the image of my torso as a birdcage. it was one of those large, cavernous ones, empty and filled with cobwebs. when i looked down into myself i was able to see through the cage to the dark, scary path behind me. it was a forest, filled with dark trees and spying eyes. i did not realize then how god was going to use this metaphor to prepare me for he would be weaving into my future.

i will process the 24 hours of silence another time, but i drew this in the darkened prayer chapel as my cry to god to fill the dark void i had within.

the cry of my soul

i spent that 24 hours contemplating emptiness.

this week i returned to the cup of life by joyce rupp. on monday i did the day 3 meditation. it was about seeing yourself as an empty cup. this was easy for me to imagine myself as that cup, but as i journalled i realized that what i long for was not to be an empty cup, but a beautiful plate - that displays things - not holds them. i wanted to be noticed, beautiful and purposeful. not empty and common. i struggled with this image for a couple of days and even confessed it to liam. i told him i didn't want to be just another boring cup for god, i didn't want to be empty anymore. i wanted to be great, displaying his greatness, beautiful in my giftedness and much more show-offy for god than just some dumb mug.

today the meditation was on 'readiness to receive'. i had finally accepted the fact that no, i was not a plate, i was not created to be a plate, and god didn't need me to be a plate. i was a cup. receive? hmmm... ready? am i really ready to receive? to have that birdcage cleaned out and filled? the meditation began with this:

clay is molded into vessels, and because of the space where there is nothing, you can carry water. space is carved out from a wall, and because of the place where there is nothing, you can receive light. be empty, and you will remain full...
i must be empty to be filled. i must be carved out to receive light. okay, you've got me. i want both of those things god. the prayer of one breath today was 'i am ready... i receive...'

i was surprised that i was then instructed to fill my cup with my favorite liquid. most of you know i am a coffee fiend and i had saved one cup in the pot to drink while i wrote. now i knew why. i poured my coffee and cried. i really didn't think that our cup would be filled until the end of the book. she instructs you to set that cup aside for the purpose of the meditations. i chose my favorite coffee cup. i will blog on the metaphor of the cup at a different time too.

i was struck by the depth of emotion the coffee brought to my soul. i don't know what i expected to be filled with, but the fact that it was coffee, warm, comforting, strong, aromatic, sensory, full-bodied, those were just some of the descriptions i wrote down to describe the filling. i am ready, i recieve.

i used to be the type of person who could not receive anything. even a compliment. i have gotten better in this area of my recovery, but i am still struggling with asking to receive. i just don't seem worthy, don't want to be a bother, have to admit my need, be vulnerable or set myself up for judgement.

i know this is a trust issue through and through. so father, i am ready, please ready me. i recieve, my hands are open, help me not to withdraw them or clench my fists when it's not exactly my way or exactly what i think i want or need. please.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

missing the target - UPDATE

target stores have disallowed bell ringers outside their stores this year. i think that is a really bad choice. think they missed the target too? go here.

update: here's the response i received today regarding my email to head office:

"One of our goals has always been to provide our guests with a distraction-free shopping environment in which to shop."

"We determined that if we continue to allow the Salvation Army to solicit, then it opens the door to other groups that wish to solicit our guests."

"...we have encouraged Salvation Army chapters to apply for grants at local Target Stores."

i have informed "Target Executive Offices" that i will not be spending my holiday funds at target this year. i am really disappointed in their response.

a better view of hospitality!

ah ha! i'm not messy, i'm hospitable!! :)

On The Journey Towards Hospitality

written by FR. LARRY GILLICK, S.J.

There are two Latin words, which sound almost the same. The first is "hospes," which means "welcome" and the second is "hostis," which means "enemy." From the first word we have the word, "hospital" and from the second we have "hostage". Welcoming is a free accepting of the other; taking hostages means imprisoning the other.

In our neighborhood, when I was a young lad, I often visited two homes of friends that were on our block, I looked forward to visiting one of them but dreaded visiting the other. Years later when I was revisiting my old neighborhood I recalled that split. When I would go to the first home, the mother of my friend would sit down with me at the breakfast table and listen to my exaggerations and exploits. There would be cereal bowls and empty cups on the table, but she would ignore them, turn off the radio so she could hear me better and seemed to enjoy being a part of my life. She could get me talking about myself and I loved that, even if what I was saying wasn't really quite true!

The second house was not so much fun. When I would visit there I had to be careful. The woman seemed to listen, but she was always cleaning the windows and dusting and keeping me nervous with her broom in hand. She was pleasant enough, but I felt like a germ about to infect her sanitary bubble. I think I felt sorry for her, because she wasn't comfortable in her own house.

If we have welcomed ourselves, others will find welcome in us. If we are a hostage to ourselves, we will be imprisoned by our loneliness.

from the henri nouwen weekly reflections

what can brown do for you?

true patriots click here.

via beyond

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

the 'christian consumer' - part one

michael at blogin idiot (his words, not mine) left a link to one of my posts on another blog and that has gotten me some hits. curious i followed the link back to the other blogger and read with interest about a young college student, ben, earning his way through school by working at a christian bookstore. his disillusionment and angst can be found at They Will Know Us By Our T-Shirts.

he's got a great conversation going on over there about what it means to be a christian and a consumer.

a lot of my emerging effects the way i am outside the church. as my belief system restructures itself this area has been one of places where i need to process what it means to consume, how to do that ethically, responsibly and thoughtfully. this is very new to me.

while living in canada i contributed to our family income by working retail. i was never trained for retail, my dyscalculia and cash registers are a horrible mix, but i'm really good at customer service and it kept me from waiting tables.

i was given the honor of working with a brilliant jewish, south african retailer and pharmacist. i spent 6 of our years in canada in his employ. each time i mastered a position he'd invent a new one for me. i learned so much and will always be grateful for his tutelage. one of the biggest lessons i received was the value of a dollar. i'd grumble because his antique scissors were frustrating and he'd smile and say, 'but if we don't have to replace them we can spend the money elsewhere'. he wasn't cheap in the least, just very wise, and man could he celebrate. (sidebar - ooooh - i need to look at jewish culture to investigate my lost gift of celebration...)

recently our financial situation has enforced the spiritual discipline of simplicity on our household. reduce, reuse, recycle has become real for us. i am the queen of 're-use'. if it don't have to purchase it i am freed up to spend our money on other things or be generous. garbage picking and hand-me-down furniture has provided us with a cozy home and now, debt-free living. it takes a large chunk of swallowing pride, but we have been blessed greatly by voicing our need and accepting god's provision wherever he seeks to give it.

simplifying also meant finding things at their LOWEST prices. i am the queen of the cheap book. books are a way that i engage in the world of great thought, and honor myself, but i am really cheap. as i get to know real authors i am struck with the idea that if purchase a used book they make no money off of the sale. renee's book and real live preacher's book i purchased retail, and it just about killed me (but you're both worth it!). btw - that is lesson #2 - NEVER BUY RETAIL! my boss would joke that it was the 11th commandment.

i realized at that point that getting a book cheaper would take money out of their pockets. it's forced me to do some kingdom math. i think kingdom math is a good thing. i don't think that paul's shoes where made by christians (spencer burke's mantra) and so as a christ follower kingdom spending doesn't mean that we only purchase from christians.

tony jones also talked about supporting him by purchasing his book - he is published by emergent/ys - owned by zondervan, owned by harper collins, owned by rupert murdock. who are we kidding when that conservative christian mindset says 'christian retailer' usually means corporate chain (not always, i know). so how as a kingdom being do i spend our funds? how do i do kingdom math responsibly.

liam and i have been through a financial catharsis in these past 5 years. neither of us were raised in homes that had any form of financial responsibility. we're way way down on the remedial scale as far as financial intelligence goes. one of the best things we learned along the way was the truth about giving back to god what is rightfully his financially. the teaching came through a vineyard church we were frequenting after everything went south after our first swing at ministry.

it was a bit 'name it claim it' - and it took a lot of sifting to throw away the parts of that that were false and still keep the truth, but we began at that point to give back to god what was his. the teaching was based on malachi 3, about robbing god and returning the rightful amounts to the storehouse. now again, this can be used to preach a prosperity gospel, i don't believe that it's magic, but i do believe that it does unlock a lot of kingdom math in the area of finances.

i know it has for us. i thought when i started this post it would be my perspective on 'the jesus five and dime' that 'christian book stores' have become, maybe that will be part two?

my prayer

Let me use all things for one sole reason: to find my joy in giving You glory.

Therefore, keep me, above all things, from sin.

Keep me from the death of deadly sin which puts hell in my soul.

Keep me from the murder of lust that blinds and poisons my heart.

Keep me from the sins that eat a one's flesh with irresistible fire until they are devoured.

Keep me from loving money in which is hatred, from avarice [greed] and ambition that suffocate my life.

Keep me from the dead works of vanity and the thankless labor in which artists destroy themselves for pride and money and reputation, and saints are smothered under the avalanche of their own importunate zeal.

Staunch in me the rank wound of covetousness and the hungers that exhaust my nature with their bleeding.

Stamp out the serpent envy that stings love with poison and kills all joy.

Untie my hands and deliver my heart from sloth.

Set me free from the laziness that goes about disguised as activity when activity is not required of me, and from the cowardice that does what is not demanded, in order to escape sacrifice.

But give me the strength that waits upon You in silence and peace.

Give me humility in which alone is rest, and deliver me from pride which is the heaviest of burdens.

And possess my whole heart and soul with the simplicity of love.

Occupy my whole life with the one thought and the one desire of love, that I may love not for the sake of merit, not for the sake of perfection, not for the sake of virtue, not for the sake of sanctity, but for You alone.

Thomas Merton, 1961, Gethsemani. Imprimatur Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York

Monday, October 18, 2004

trading faith for certainty

A Little Matter Called Discernment

By now, everyone has seen Ron Susskind's devastating portrait of George W. Bush in this morning's New York Times Magazine. I note that the same three or four paragraphs have been quoted all over the place, with little remark on the theological significance of Bush's "faith" positions. Here is one passage I found telling, and why I found it so:

This is one key feature of the faith-based presidency: open dialogue, based on facts, is not seen as something of inherent value. It may, in fact, create doubt, which undercuts faith. It could result in a loss of confidence in the decision-maker and, just as important, by the decision-maker. Nothing could be more vital, whether staying on message with the voters or the terrorists or a California congressman in a meeting about one of the world's most nagging problems. As Bush himself has said any number of times on the campaign trail, ''By remaining resolute and firm and strong, this world will be peaceful.''

As Susskind makes clear, Bush's branch of Christianity (it is his own brand, since he doesn't go to church, but there are any number of rightist evangelicals who share it) doesn't allow for doubt. This flies in the face of religion as it is practiced by billions of people around the world. Doubt is and has always been a significant part of faith. I'm a spiritual director and tell my directees (and myself, on a regular basis) that spiritual maturation happens on those days when faith gets ahead of fear by even a whisker. That's what doubt is: it is fear, one of the primal emotions. How do I know this? Personal experience, that of the people I've been directing for years and 3,500 years of recorded human history. People have been feeding the writing jones since they invented writing.

Bush is so reactive on doubt: fear that he can't even have it mentioned in the same room with him. This is a fearful man who went looking, not for "faith," which grounds reason in experience, but for certainty. The spiritual truth of our existence, if I may make such a brave claim, is that we are all grounded in a mystery which we barely understand even though we experience it constantly. Bush wants to reduce this enigma to "his gut." There are some strands of Protestant theology which like to do this, to make the individual the only prophecy, the only truth bringer. I think they are wrong and that decisions which are not grounded in community (even when they challenge and harrow the community, yet remain in relationship with it) will stumble and fail. "With us or against us" fails the test of community.

We have a "leader" who fears us, yet believes God is on his side. In the great swath of the Judeo-Christian tradition, we've developed a little more nuance in a matter which is called "discernment," the attempt to hear what God is actually saying in our real circumstances. God does speak, and uses the materials at hand, but we have to be very careful to sort out if we are listening to the voices of our own desires (who tend to be very loud) or the still, small voice. Generations of spiritual writers have designed dozens of tests for this. I like those of Ignatius of Loyola the best, but the Heart Sutra is just fine, too, thank you. Or pick up any volume of Aidan Steinsaltz's invaluable commentary on The Talmud. Humanity has been grappling all its life with how to understand what it means to be human, what we are called to do on our little planet.

Bush has it all worked out. I'm afraid of that.

emphasis mine.

via perigrinato

trackbacks anyone??

hey tech wizards - can anyone explain to me how to do a trackback??

i can see the 'trackback to this entry' code, but where do i place it?

i usually end up giving credit in a link within the post instead of doing the trackback. help would be appreciated! :)

Saturday, October 16, 2004

ecclesia - called out of

reading the nouwen daily meditation today i realized something pretty profound (for me). here's the quote and then i'll see if i can verbalize what struck me:

Called out of Slavery

The Church is the people of God. The Latin word for "church," ecclesia, comes from the Greek ek, which means "out," and kaleo, which means "to call." The Church is the people of God called out of slavery to freedom, sin to salvation, despair to hope, darkness to light, an existence centered on death to an existence focused on life.

When we think of Church we have to think of a body of people, travelling together. We have to envision women, men, and children of all ages, races, and societies supporting one another on their long and often tiresome journeys to their final home.

in my relgious training i don't think that i would have associated 'called out' with being called out of slavery, sin, despair and darkness - i'm almost positive i've always been taught that we have been 'called out' of the world. (stephanie, si, matt - any thoughts??)

this is foundational theory that would affect EVERYTHING about how a church, and therefore a denomination views it's place in culture, community and the world. looking back i am most shocked by the way that we isolated and insulated ourselves, even from other churches and christians. that set apart (sanctified) idea removed us from the world around us in such as way that rendered us ineffective in everything from our evangelism to our social justice (which there was never any of - could be why??).

nouwen's perspective that the church is called out of slavery just hit me as something i have never thought of before, but it's so foundational that if this is larger than the brethren and affects the evangelical church as a whole the repercussions are massive, aren't they? could that theology be based on the wrong supposition and therfore is fulfilling itself in practices that are contrary to god's intention for the church.

i have no original language training, so i am unable to tear apart these passages without help - so HELP - any theologians out there who have read or can help process this i would be really grateful. this may be something others have known forever, but looking back at my eccelesiology class i seem to remember the concept being planted in my head was that the church is 'called out' from the world. any thoughts??

Friday, October 15, 2004

in remembrance of me

i grew up in a small church that practiced the 'lord's supper' every sunday. we also called it 'the breaking of the bread'. it was a simple service, men participated by sharing a portion of scripture (usually focused on christ's death), requested a hymn (usually sung acapella) or prayed. the whole hour devoted to the remembrance of christ's atoning death on the cross.

we brethren took this commission from jesus very seriously. as a young girl i sat in silence, breaking that only to sing the requested hymn (or giggle uncontrollably with my sister, as my mother pinched the backs of our arms to reinstill the silence). all of the while focused on the two silver goblets and the loaf of whole white bread on the silver platters, 2 stacked, so when the bread was broken one half was put on each platter and passed from pew to pew, hand to hand.

after baptism i was allowed to participate in this sacred event. never unworthily, as that meant something so severe my young mind could only imagine the horrible punishment only this side of the flames of hell in intensisty.

it was that soft, fresh white bread and that sip of mogan david wine that motivated me each week to keep my lists short, confessing every imaginable sin, and some imagined and confessed, just in case.

i reflected on those memories last weekend as i entered the labyrinth at the national youth workers convention. 11 stations, 5 moving toward the center of the labyrinth, and 5 moving outward - the center station, #6 is a sacred space for communion with god. bread and wine sit centered amongst the pillows. a small loaf of bread wrapped in a cloth, waiting for communion with me.

this was a culmination of 24 hours of silence and contemplation and my heart was full. as i sat and looked at the 'elements' (a term from my brethren days) i realized with astonishment that the items christ chose to use as pictures for us were the two most difficult items for me to resist.

i personally don't drink alcohol. it is not a spiritual choice per say, but a practical one. i struggle with sugar and it's affects on my body, i know the multi-generational affect alcohol has had on my heritage. social drinking isn't a possiblity for me personally, i truly don't think i am capable of such a thing. i partied pretty hard my senior year in high school and know that if i had headed to university instead of bible college i would have been a statistic. i don't have a problem with others partaking, i'm actually quite jealous. i would love to have the self-control to be a social drinker. it takes the edges off of social interactions, edges i'd love to have removed.

the other item jesus used was bread. i have wrestled with bread my whole life. nothing gives me greater comfort. i was able to give up chocolate for the past 5 years because i allowed myself the comfort of bread. i know i abuse it even know. i know that when i am feeling poor, scared or sad the cart at the grocery store has 5 different types of bread in it.

in remembrance of me... two items available to every tribe and culture - each has it's own representation or form - and yet these two items are stumbling blocks to me. i sat at the center of the labyrinth and cried. i so long to have this area of my life redeemed. i know that alcoholism and food addiction are diseases without cures. they are something that i will struggle with my whole earthly life. as i dipped that chunk of bread into the wine i prayed for a magic cure, for a lifting of the curse. i knew my faith was not strong enough to believe even if a miracle occurred. but i longed deep in my deepest heart to be able to partake of that covenant without the baggage of my past.

bread and wine, it could have been beer and pretzels, or cookies and milk. he chose bread and wine.

i learned at my strict evangelical upbringing that they are just symbols, no lutheran consubstantiantion and catholic transsubstantiantion were both errors (i mean no offense to anyone who believes those tenants to be true). they were just bread and wine. sitting there that day i wished i was catholic. i wish that those elements were changed, that they truly became the body and blood of our lord. it would make it easier, simpler, less confusing.

jesus, you know my struggles, you know my confusion. help me to unfold the depth of meaning, the beauty of the metaphor. heal me, help me, show me all that i need to understand about this mystery. give me a deeper understanding into my own struggle and the purpose of your words.

when their problems are your problems

when their problems are your problems

at lunch yesterday liam came up with this concept, i'm still giggling about it - he photoshopped it last night and it's so good i had to share it with you all! he has such a great sense of humor.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

presidential referendum??

quote from presidential referendum by darren hughes at long pauses:

And so, for the millions of voters who are comforted by the language of evangelicalism, I'm sure that Bush's performance last night reinforced all of the values that they had already projected onto him. But what about the rest of us? What about Christians (like me) who are deeply troubled by Bush's conflation of regressive and immoral tax restructurings and arrogant imperialism with Divine Providence? What about Christians (like me) who also believe in liberal democracy and who see a clear separation between the purposes of the State and the Church? To be frank, we see in President Bush a man of faith who is not competent to lead. We see a man who, even after four years in the White House, has great difficulty articulating even the most fundamental of his policy decisions, even when those policies are valid. We see a man who, like the kings of old, is dangerously close to turning religion into a justification for despotism.

via karen

mental hygiene

i had an early dentist appointment this morning. the second try at placing a crown. this has been going on for about 3 months now, and i've finally reached my limit. my dentist is a nice woman, but i'm starting to doubt her skill in this area. the last crown she placed left a huge gap between my back teeth that forced me to floss about 17 times a day.

the temporary crowns she placed were just fine (although copper colored, they fit perfectly and gave me no trouble at all). she removed the small crown and now has replaced it with one so large that it's cockeyed in my mouth. she also had to grind it down so far that the white porcelain is removed and it looks as if there is a filling in place.

i am weary. she is a nice christian woman. but really stinks at this - and i am now in a conumdrum. all 5 of us (my father included) see her for our dental hygiene. this second try was gratis as she goofed the first one - but i don't know that she is any more capable at a third try. i just don't know how to approach this. i want to be angry, stomp and insist. i can do all of those things, and if i wasn't representing our church i probably might give that a try. my options seem really time consuming and frustrating now. and i so just want to have my teeth not to be a source of thought and consideration. i want them to do their job, not bother me and i'll take care of them properly - we had a good thing going. now it's just gotten so irritating.

last year in november my hair stylist, er, i should say 'former' hair stylist, was chatting with her mother while cutting my hair that she actually chopped a chunk off the side of her finger. i was so concerned and feeling bad for her i never noticed that at the same time she cut the top part of my hair to about 1" - and then proceeded not to tell me, but to chop the rest of my hair short to cover her mistake. she spun me around and i saw my mother in my reflection. i was in shock. never once did she explain or apologize - just pretended it was her intention the whole time. it has taken me 11 months to get my hair back to the place where it was this time last year - but in the process i have found the most wonderful, uplifting, honoring hair stylist i've ever had. jeni has taught me things no other stylist has ever taken the time to teach.

i never realized before jeni how wonderful going to the salon could be. it doesn't hurt to get my hair dryed (yes, for my whole life i have gone to stylists who pull my hair while drying it) and she hears me. being heard is one of the cries of my heart. btw - i got my hair done today too, and it way made up for the frustration of the nasty dental work...

so, back to teeth. is this an opportunity to find a better, more skilled dentist? or should i stick it out and go for time #3?? i really have no idea if the insurance company would pay for another crown, or if i have to complain, file forms, drag this out - see, tons of work and irritation... i just needed to blog it out so that i could make room for some real thinking on this. any advice or direction would be appreciated! :)

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

blogger birthday etiquette

ok, i've been avoiding writing today because it feels so weird to talk about my birthday. i'm not the kind of person who fishes for compliments or well wishes, and telling you all today is my birthday is just plain strange to me.

i don't know about you, but any day that gets my expectations and anticipation up is always a disappointment. not that the people who love me don't do enough or honor me, i just have a huge problem with building things up to unreachable heights and am left feeling glum and melancholy.

it's a dumb way to be, i try to avoid it at all costs, but birthdays, christmas and valentine's always leave me disturbed with myself. today is no exception. i just wanted my father to remember, without having to be reminded. it means so much more that way. no luck. he heard the phone call 'happy birthdays' and checked his watch for the date. he looked at me like i forgot to tell him and ran downstairs to write the check. man i love him, but just once i'd love it if he remembered.

the check always feels like guilt money to me, i'd rather have a daisy picked because he remembered instead of $$ given because he forgot.

liam and i 'celebrated' in dallas. well, actually he forgot (but it wasn't my birthday yet, so he should have gotten grace, but i didn't give it to him... man i can be such a brat). we take one night to dine alone, away from the others on our team. we set aside sunday night and headed to the west end market.

we had been to dallas three years before and i could not have been more stunned that the exact same thing happened - right down to the fight in front of the planet hollywood - drown out by the music from joe's crab shack. you know that i have a difficult time celebrating, i never realized how stunted liam was in this area though before that night. we had a budget, and had saved by having brunch on sunday, so the money wasn't even coming out of our pockets - but liam looked at the menu prices and got sticker shock and just shut down. his 'oh i don't care where we eat, you pick' became a lie to me as i chose and he resisted. i became hurt and very angry and kept walking - until the road ends in front of planet hollywood.

trapped there and beginning the argument i realized that three years, almost to the day we stood in that same EXACT spot, having the SAME exact argument - and then my anger escalated to all out fury. it's a good thing the music was so loud because i was at the point i didn't care anymore. i was so wounded that i didn't count, that i wasn't worth a budgeted meal in a nice restaurant. that we couldn't just once do something, anything without thinking it through to death. that there is no spontaneous joy or carefree celebration. we program joy and fun for others but we don't warrant any of it ourselves.

one of the habits liam struggles with is being 'teflon man' - nothing sticks to him. in his family of origin blame was the hot potato passed from sibling to sibling because the rage of dad fell hard and fast. apologizing becomes a blanket liam lays over everything without specifics and because it is so vague and generalized it becomes meaningless to me. he thinks he's apologized and i should just accept/forgive/move on. i am unable.

when i spoke of my hopes and dreams of redemption of that fight three years hence, and the desire to have just been impetuous and crazy, just once to celebrate my birthday he finally began to understand the depth of the emotion i was dealing with. by that time i was finished. i knew i wouldn't be able to pull it back together enough to sit in a restaurant, even a noisy disappointing one just to sate the hunger. i began to walk back to the trolley. he followed out of obligation, both of us stomping in silence, pain and confusion.

when our dysfunction and family history collides it is ugly, painful and explosive. we sat waiting for the trolley in the cold rain and he finally heard me, apologized specifically and we both cried, tears of healing and of forgiveness. we realized how we both truly wanted the same thing and both had little idea how to achieve that. we decided on a new and different restaurant and enjoyed a lovely meal, far better than we've enjoyed in a very long time. each course was salve to our torn souls, and we shared a beautiful dinner celebration together.

the jars of clay concert followed and we sat in the front row remembering the amazing summer concert we shared at creation and allowed the music to knit us together in a way that words could not. they began to play 'love song for a savior' and liam asked me to dance - we stood and slowdanced and healed places deep within during that beautiful time of intimacy. we skipped the late night options and opted for our own. it was a glorious end to a very intense, deeply emotional day.

so you see, i have no reason to be melancholy today, i truly don't. i just so long to be grateful for what i have, not wishing and grasping for something more. contentment, surprises and open hands is how i long to be. disappointment marking days that should be enjoyed is not how i want to live my life. father, help me to open my hands, learn how to receive what is given without preconceived notions and expectations. help me to be grateful for all i have and am blessed with today, and every day.


oh the power of the blog!!

the main man has asked the blogosphere to participate in a noteworthy cause. he's working out his angst in a very creative way - financial companies who are untrustworthy should be ashamed of themselves.

if you want to read more about it you can do so here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

great new blog alert!

hey all - just wanted you to know that my new friend is blogging the most amazing story. you can find him here. he's posting in chapters - so start at #1 - you will be swept away, i promise!

Recycle your soda cans and stop thinking you have to be Gandhi

oh this is good:

I raised my hand and spoke. "I have an illness that causes intermittent bouts of paralysis," I explained. "And that paralysis has taught me something. It has taught me that my protestations of my own powerlessness are bogus. Yes, some days I can't move or see. But you know what? Some days I can move. Some days I can see. And the difference between being able to walk across the room and not being able to walk across the room is epic.

"I commute to campus by foot along a railroad track. In spring, I come across turtles who have gotten stuck. The track is littered with the hollowing shells of turtles that couldn't escape the rails. So I bend over, and I pick up the still-living trapped turtles that I do find. I carry them to a wooded area and let them go. For those turtles, that much power that I have is enough.

"I'm just like those turtles. When I have been sick and housebound for days, I wish someone - anyone - would talk to me. To hear a human voice say my name, to be touched; that would mean the world to me.

it continues...

Sometimes we convince ourselves that the "unnoticed" gestures of "insignificant" people mean nothing. It's not enough to recycle our soda cans; we must Stop Global Warming Now. Since we can't Stop Global Warming Now, we may as well not recycle our soda cans. It's not enough to be our best selves; we have to be Gandhi. And yet when we study the biographies of our heroes, we learn that they spent years doing tiny, decent things before history propelled them to center stage.

god help me to do some tiny decent thing today.

i'm baaaack!

5 days without a computer! i did it! :) actually liam brought his laptop to the convention and we never once touched it. it was actually a good break for me. i could have used the 'digital lounge' but the thought of standing and trying to post something meaningful or reading your comments with a line of youth pastors impatiently waiting behind me was less than attractive! :)

we had a great time on all fronts, it was really an incredible weekend. god met me there in so many ways and i am so grateful for the opportunity to have gotten away, alone, with liam and the change of pace served me well.

i journalled like crazy, so i was still writing and processing, and it actually felt pretty good to have a pen in my hand again.

next to missing pink and buck, i missed reading all of your blogs and words, i'm sure i've got a lot of catching up to do in the blogosphere! what did i miss?? :)

i now realize how difficult i made if for you stephanie (i am unfinished) to keep quiet about the convention - sorry, i so appreciate that you allowed me to experience it all fresh. i probably will process some of it here, so i promise to put a spoiler warning up first though (lilly!) if i write about something that could affect those going to atlanta in november.

so much to process and 'unpack' i'm not sure where to start. it's just really good to be home. i was awakened with a squeeze on my back this morning at 5:30 - i rolled over to see buck standing there - we got in at 11:00, and i went in and watched him sleep and kissed him and stroked his face, but he was sound asleep - he said with a catch in his voice 'oh momma, i really missed you'. it was so good to snuggle under the covers and scratch his back (his favorite). i almost didn't want to send them to school. pink determined that since today is really columbus day that they should be allowed a holiday from school. i almost caved, but knew that i needed the day to defrag my brain so i could be more present with them tonight when they get home from school.

so, i'm going to go and spend some quiet time away from the computer for a bit and breathe. missed you all! it's good to be back!

Thursday, October 07, 2004

i have big feet... - relaunch

i have big feet. actually all the women in my family do. have you ever worn a pair of shoes that didn’t fit, too tight, too small? i have spent my life trying to squeeze my feet into shoes that were 2 sizes too small. i only realized this a few months ago; that maybe they weren’t the right shoes, maybe these shoes were supposed to be thrown away. i have tried to fit the nice, silent, hospitable, help mate shoes that the church has been trying to squeeze women in since, well i guess since before there was a church to fit in to. and ya know what? they don’t fit.

i should have been a man. there, i said it. it’s not a sexual thing, it’s a gift thing. i make people uncomfortable. i am a natural leader, a challenger, a strong person, a person with a voice. a God-given voice. i notice things, i ask hard questions, i don’t like pat answers or being patronized. i should have been a man.

but i am a woman. and i have a voice. i have silenced myself and been silenced by the church for so long that what bursts out of me is like the steam whistle on a train as it rolls into town. it’s shrill and only plays one note. not because there aren’t more notes to play, just because i have no experience in playing anything else. i so long to give the rest of my notes a try, to learn to play my voice in an environment that allows me to misspeak sometimes, to sing ‘off-key’, to practice until i can get it tuned in. but it’s not safe, there isn’t that place.

i think i’ll just go barefoot for a bit and try to find it on my own. maybe here is the place? i don't know, bear with me. it might sound angry for a while, but i'll mellow and find balance as i go along. i think it's part of the grieving process. realizing the heresy that i believed to be true for so long really damaged me. replacing the lies with the truth is helping, but it is a process. barefoot sounds good. feel the grass between my toes already.


wow - how can 4 months change things so drastically... maybe here is the place afterall.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

who is bobbie? - relaunch

this was originally posted as my first blog back on may 24, 2004

bobbie was my mom, she was a woman in a man's church too. she never found her voice. maybe this blog will help both of us recover what was lost to us, what we wanted to say, were told we couldn't say and heal the rift that was created between our souls and god.

she was such a strong woman. i hated her for that. the church told me women were supposed to be meek, mild and silent. she managed that at church, but at home she ruled the roost. i thought her a hypocrite, and i resented her and her inability to be "submissive" at home. oh how little i understood, oh how i'd love the chance to tell her 'i get it now'.

she was 'saved' in her thirties and wanted nothing more than to use her strong gifts for god. she was twarted at every turn. told that women and children were her only outlet, or maybe cooking at camp. that's where god wanted her to serve him.

her resentment and anger at god is something i can see now looking back. 'saved' for this? there's got to be more. she was 2 generations ahead of herself. she would have loved blogging. she was such a frustrated writer.

i can still see her at her 'smith corona' typewriter with her white out and typing paper. she'd type christian romance novels because thats all she thought anyone would ever want to read. they were horrible. if she would have written about her pain, about her anger, about her experiences with being terminally ill she could have released some of her talent. instead she made up stories that she thought publishers would want to read. they didn't.

some of my most vivid memories are of her getting the mail, and the big manila envelopes would come back with rejection letters and she'd be crushed, heart broken and rejected.

she is now my muse. my inspiriation. i need to say these things because they need to be said, not read, or published or validated, just because they need to be said. for both of us.

figuring out the damage that my religious heritage wrought in our lives this past year for me has been a journey of discovery. exposing the lies and the misogyny of that denomination has freed me to unlock years of spiritual abuse and self loathing, oh and don't forget god loathing.

i've fallen in love with bobbie again. all of those years i spent misunderstanding her, hating the things about myself that reminded me of her i now adore. they have replaced the anger and confusion i felt toward her, given me back my mother. it was easier being angry. i didn't miss her so much. but today, i'm grieving for her again as i type.

so mom, this blog is my tribute to you. i wish it was a book dedication or something more lasting or profound, but we'll have to start here. i miss you.

resurrecting old posts

hi all, almost ready for the trip tomorrow. i think i'm going to try to log in from time to time at convention and relaunch some of my favorite posts.

i don't think i'll get a lot of time to blog, but will update if i am able.

have a great week/end! will miss you all!

The Person Who Cannot Despair

The Person Who Cannot Despair
Thomas Merton

Despair is the absolute extreme of self-love. It is reached when a person deliberately turns his back on all help from anyone else in order to taste the rotten luxury of knowing himself to be lost...Despair is the ultimate development of a pride so great and so stiff-necked that it selects the absolute misery of damnation rather than accept happiness from the hands of God and thereby acknowledge that He is above us and that we are not capable of fulfilling our destiny ourselves. But a person who is truly humble cannot despair, because in a humble person there is no longer any such thing as self-pity.

taste the rotten luxury...deep.

blogger test

hey blogger users - do any of you know if you can advance set the date and time to release or launch a post in the future while you aren't on??

this is a test to see if that can be done.

because i'm travelling this week i thought i'd see if i could re-launch some of my older posts that i liked that some of the people that have found my blog more recently might not know about.

i'm setting this to post itself in 10 minutes. we'll see what it clocks and if it launches itself... hmmmm.

RESULT - nope... it just posted the time as 10 minutes from now and posted it immediately... now i have to check the date - if you blogger folk read this it would be a great feature to add, kind of like an ebay auction set to launch at a certain time... kind of a 'while you were out' blog post for holidays and vacations.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

you were just being you

i have joined a woman's study on friday mornings. i knew i was starving for regular, real females friends and because this study was beginning 'the safest place on earth' by larry crabb i knew i wanted to help built into our church. i asked to join the study. this group is somehow known as the 'power group' of women at our church. the study itself has been going on for years and years and it is usually a closed group just because it's so large. getting an invitation 'in' meant a lot to me.

let the intimidation begin... what had i done? these are elders wives, some women who have intimidated me since our arrival here four years ago. i have some good friends in the group and they assured me repeatedly that i was wrong, but i still struggle with feeling out of my league. we've met twice. the first time it was great fun, a few of us even went out for lunch afterward.

last week i was hoping for the same, but some of the women weren't able to attend so the dynamic was different, and a couple who couldn't make the first week were there, so the whole thing shifted. i felt very uncomfortable and went home thinking "good, i don't have to go next week because i'll be in dallas..."

i just got the mail, and in it was a note from the woman who's house we meet at. it's a very large, beautiful home, she's got it decorated so creatively and she's the kind of woman i'd never just go up and talk to, but would love to get advice from because of her artistic eye and creative spirit. her husband is an ob/gyn and she's very friendly, but i still feel really self conscious around her.

the note told me of how something i said just in passing changed her life. i talked about how the when king david was called 'the man after god's own heart' it really pissed me off (i don't think i used the word pissed...) because of the whole bathsheba thing, it's like god forgot that part and bathsheba was still a whore, but he was the man after god's own heart. that bothered me to no end.

i mentioned how at a woman's retreat the speaker said in passing (not her point of the talk at all) david was a man after god's own heart because he repented. gasp. i got it. that was the difference between he and solomon, he and saul. he wasn't perfect, but he owned his stuff.

i then went on to say how that has helped me with parenting my children. i am a 'lose it' kind of mom. everything will be fine and then the straw will break this camel's back and i freak. how to scar your children 101... when i heard that i realized if my mother had ever taken my face in her hands and looked me in the eyes and said 'i really blew it here, i'm so sorry' that would have made all the difference for me. so i do that. when i lose it, i own it, every ugly piece. take their little faces in my hands, look them in the eyes and say 'mommy blew it. i'm so sorry.'

anyway - it was just a quick little comment i made during the study. the letter she wrote told me of how much she harbored pride and guilt and shame because of her inability to admit her mistakes. she went on saturday to own up to one she made and received grace and forgiveness, and she wrote explaining the details and ended the note with "thanks for helping set me on a path to deal with this in a healthy way, and you were just being you!"

man, did i need this note. i am such a validation junkie. i doubt myself and everything i say so many times. replaying a conversation over and over, analyzing/blaming/berating myself for sharing too much information or talking too much. i so just want to be able to be okay with being me. be more comfortable in my skin in public. this helps. a lot. yes, i was just being me. now i have to figure out how to do that in public without second guessing myself and feeling so self-consious about everything. god help me please.

downtown dallas restaurants anyone??

as most of you know we're headed to dallas this weekend. anyone have any recommendations for must do places to eat downtown?? we love ethnic and have limited access here, and there is an expense account, but not like a ruth's chris kind of expense account.

we definately want authentic mexican food (had the best in both phoenix (can't remember the name - maybe matador?? or something just a block from the convention center, and again in salt lake city - blue iguana (where we met chris tomlin and the band!). also we love sushi and i am dying for some good indian food - any ideas??

we went about 3 years ago when they held convention there and know there is a 'district' kind of area where we usually ended up for dinner, but it's so overwhelming to have like 12 restaurants to choose from at that time, so your recommendations would be of great assistance! thanks!

Monday, October 04, 2004

jumping memories

i was just commenting on elizabeth's blog about jumping on the bed. she was just at a retreat and enjoyed the silliness that brings to life.

in the comments i cautioned her that it's a great way to let loose, but we have to remember we've grown physically since we used to do it as kids and remember that our heads are much closer to the ceiling now.

that made my memory jump to the first time liam and i returned to my house to live with my parents right after our honeymoon. liam was canadian and didn't have a work visa yet, so we had no $$ to move out on our own.

we were carrying our bags upstairs, and started to get ready for bed. we realized that it was just the floor seperating us from my parents in the living room (where my mom's hospital bed was). we got silly and giddy knowing that we were going to be sharing the bed i slept in through high school and liam got goofy and decided to jump on the bed.

he gave it a full leap and all 6'4" of him pile drove his head straight into the ceiling. i collapsed on the floor in hysterics as he collapsed on the bed in agony. i laughed so hard that when i tried to stand up and run to the bathroom i actually peed right on the floor.

that made him feel much less like a 6'4" loser because he now was the one laughing hysterically. i felt like a cocker spaniel who should have her nose spanked with the newspaper. he promised not to rub my nose in it and we've never told anyone about it for 17 years now (almost to the day!). that was a great memory to recapture, one that had been set behind too many different things in the bookshelf of my mind.

public service announcement - jumping on beds is good for the adult soul, just remember that the ceiling is much closer than it appears!

digging deeper

from today's daily dig - ouch...

It Begins at Home
Mother Teresa of Calcutta

The world is upside down because there is so very little love in the home. We have no time for our children; we have no time for each other; and there is no time to enjoy each other. That is why there is so much suffering and so much unhappiness in the world today. Everybody seems to be in such a terrible rush, anxious for what is bigger and better and greater, and mothers and fathers often do not have time for each other, let alone their children. In the home begins the disruption of the peace of the world.
father, help me to restore peace in this world by beginning in my home today.

busy week

up at 4:30 (damn hormones) this morning and answering a few emails. i know i need to get something blogged before i take off for the day. i'm field trip mom today. pink and i are going with the 3rd grade class to the 'nature center'. it's going to be sunny, but only 61' high - so it could be chilly. i'm not ready for chilly yet... actually this whole week is supposed to be chilly. i want 70-75 fall, where did that go?? oh well, time to break out the winter clothes... unfortunately they're all in the attic and i have no time between now and when we leave thursday to fix that...

liam and i head to the national youth workers convention in dallas on thursday. we've gone for the past six (seven?) years and it is always a highlight for us. this year will be different without mike yaconelli there. we went to phoenix last year, so we got to see him there.

anyway, i am taking a 'critical concern couse' with ruth haley barton called and invitation to silence and solitude for the first 24 hours of the convention. i have been trying to get this pilgrimage in and have had no success with out schedules, so i asked liam if he would stay with the guys on the team for the first night so i could have 24 hours of solitude. he said yes, and i am so looking forward to what god is going to do. i really need this.

then from there we've got 4 days of great, challenging speakers, music, restaurants and fellowship (plus a hotel room without the kids) - so it's a great time for liam and i to change pace, connect and enjoy ourselves. youth specialties treats us like we treat other people. i am so grateful for their ministry in my life.

but i will be away from pink and buck for 5 days... i hate that, but it does make me a better mom. my usual help is unable to fill in the gaps, and while my father lives with us, and i know there will be an adult in the house he's not the most nurturing care giver. i'm still trying to find a bit of interaction for them over the weekend so they can get out of the house and have a change of pace. grandpa can get them dressed (each days outfits are in ziploc bags with everything they need) and fed, and probably to school on time (although i have a friend coming over to make sure that happens thursday (and hopefully friday) morning, but monday he's on his own! :) as long as they're safe i don't really care if they even make the bus, he can always give them a ride.

so, i've got lots of loose ends to tie up and laundry/packing to do, but just for today i get to go and be pink's mom. she's so excited she could hardly sleep. getting up at 4:30 this morning... maybe it runs in the family... although i can hardly blame my lack of sleep on excitement... gotta make the coffee... :) have a great day!

Sunday, October 03, 2004

unwrapping the gift of celibacy part ii

this is posted with permission of the writer. she is a single woman in the church who wanted to remain anonymous. i begged her to allow me to post it because i believe her initial gut response is truly what the church needs to face. this is a bigger problem than anyone wants to admit, what are we in the kingdom going to do about it?

Hey Bobbie -

Read your post on celibacy, and have a few thoughts I wasn't sure I wanted to post in public. First, I think you're right about how the church treats single people - particularly large-ish, suburban, evangelical type churches- as if singles aren't really adults. I don't really need someone to manage my social life for me, which seems to be what most "singles" groups are geared toward. Really, you grow out of wanting to go out and do things in groups of 27.

I've never gone to a church with a "singles group." , and I'm not particularly interested in starting now. I wish more churches viewed single people as an integral part of the church body, rather than a group that needs to be segregated out.

Having said that though, I don't find discussions about the "gift of celibacy" terribly helpful unless they include the following things:

1. The vast majority don't have the "gift of celibacy" in the sense of wanting to be single - which you said. Some things about being single are good - more freedom, learning to be comfortable with being alone - but the no sex bit? That blows - it really, really does - and the prevailing evangelical subculture does a lousy job of recognizing that, particularly with women. The church is very uncomfortable with women as sexual beings. Sex is something that is done to us, not something we do. There seems to be this idea that only men want to have sex, that we're into relationships and emotional connection, but are never just straight up horny.

My single friends and I in our 30's have talked about this - we're at our sexual peak, after all - and most married people don't understand that and talk about how sex isn't all that big a deal. Well, that's because they're getting some. It's not that I think that marriage is one long sex fest, but living in a state of more or less continual sexual frustration with no end to that in sight really really really sucks, and the emphasis on "waiting" because married sex is going to be so great just sounds mean after a while, like "here's this really fantastic thing that you are never going to have."

2. Those books that say that if you are just into Jesus enough you'll be satisfied being single are crap. I'm not exactly waiting around for my prince to come - I live my life and so do my friends. I've done a lot of interesting things, and my life has meaning outside of a husband. But that ache is still there most days, and I wish the church gave me more freedom to be open about that pain, without trying to solve it. At this point in my life, not being married really hurts, and it touches on some very painful things in my life, and that's not a sign of insufficient spirituality. Not having children is a big f*cking deal, and we should be allowed to grieve that, just as a couple who wants to have children and can't is allowed to grieve.

3 At my age, there's not as much celibacy among Christian singles as popularly supposed - and that's among those who still buy the "no sex outside of marriage" party line, at least in public. I know a lot who did real well with that until their late 20's, and then it's time for Plan B. The church is still telling me the same thing it did when I was 16, so I've grown out of that.

At some point, you have to figure out a way to explore your sexuality, unless you're just going to repress it. For most of us from a Christian background, we would like the whole Christian marriage thing. That's Plan A, and the evangelical establishment is comparing sex outside of marriage to Plan A. If those were my two choices, then I'll go with Plan A. But those aren't my choices right now - My choices are between sex outside of marriage and no sex at all (and probably not much dating either, given the Christian dating pool).

That feels like a very different choice. Lots of people choose the sex option out of discouragement, frustration, pain, or because what the church has to say just doesn't make sense any more. There's not a framework to even talk about that, and many men and women who are trying to do the right thing have an enormous sense of shame and guilt about their sexuality. It's simply not a safe topic for open and honest discussion.

please think about this, respond and learn. i am learning that unmarried people can go 40 days without being touched - by anyone! i know they don't need my pity or sympathy, they need my action. this is the beginning of my action. i really think this needs to be addressed. how can the church really make a difference here?

you can read part one here.