Friday, August 29, 2008

Organization


Organization
Originally uploaded by gefilte

photo credit- Gefilte... aka dh.

So I saw this on my flickr contact list this morning and it made a momma's heart swell. At least one of the offspring got my eye for design and organization.! Woot!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

We Build

By Nichole Nordeman

It's bigger than we thought
It's taller than it oughta be
This pile of rubble and ruins
The neighbors must talk
It's the worst yard on the block
Just branches and boards
Where walls stood

Did it seem to you
Like the storm just knew
We weren't quite finished with the roof
When it started?

Chorus:
So we build
We build
We clear away what was
And make room for what will be
If you'll hold the nails, I'll take the hammer
I'll hold it still, if you'll climb the ladder
If you will, then I will build

On any given day
We could simply walk away
And let someone else hold the pieces
The lie that we tell
Says that it's better somewhere else
As if love flies south when it freezes

What I'm tryin' to say
In some clumsy way is that
It's you and only you for always

Chorus:
That's why we build
We build
We clear away what was
And make room for what will be
If you'll hold the nails, I'll take the hammer
I'll hold it still if you'll climb the ladder
If you will, then I will build

What I'm tryin' to say
In some clumsy way is that
It's you and only you for always
Not just for now, not just today
But it's you and only you
For always

So if you hold the nails, I'll take the hammer
I'll hold it still if you'll climb the ladder
And if you will, then I will build

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

To Thine Own Self Be True- Part Two

So the conversation I had really has had many tangent effects for me and today I want to chat a bit about why knowing oneself makes all the difference. I want to start by making the disclaimer that I am a person who has really struggled to feel comfortable being in my own skin. I was not able to develop a strong sense of self until just recently. I often hid from myself and also from others and I do not feel I lived within all that I was created to be. So with that... here we go.

It is really difficult to grow into a deep knowledge of self. It seems selfish, or egotistical, or even a waste of time. Our culture likes us not being present... because when are absent from life, we are more likely to buy too much stuff, use too much stuff, and follow blindly after someone with charisma. (or the *right* set of beliefs)

My marriage counselor, (yes dh and I are in marriage counseling... oh how I wished we had given ourselves this gift years ago. Really, if you’ve never been in marriage counseling... I highly recommend it.) recently talked with us about how there are really two ways in which we interact in the world and with other people. We are driven either by fear or by love. When we are living the life of shoulds, we are in fear based living, and we will often sell our true self out for the “benefits” of doing things the way things ought to be done. Then later we are angry and we behave in ways that are unhelpful in relationship and unhelpful in the world. When we stop and notice how we are feeling and we honor that, only then can we respond out of a place of love...and that sometimes will look pretty messy. When we can hold onto ourselves and speak truth in our lives and relationships, we can be a more true reflection of God.

So how does all of this fit into my conversation they other day? Well, I was amazingly humbled listening to my parents and their friend. When I was in leadership during that time I was living totally out of a place a fear of myself and most everything else too. I wanted so much to see change in the church, but I totally missed the being the change that I want to see in the world, and I was my missed opportunity.

Now I have spent tons of time knowing the depths of me, and those that I hold most dear, and I have come down off my high horse. Most of my closest friends these days are agnostic, atheist, or pantheist. And that is much more comfortable for me. I am still a christian, but I know myself well and I can really listen to others with new ears. And here is what I have learned, unilaterally about people. What engages me, and those I am in relationship with, is story. All of the great truth in the world is best digested through a great story. When I sit down in a church chair, I need to here a really good story. One that is way bigger than me and allows me to sit in the mystery of life and the mystery of god. That’s really all I need.

Serendipity



We went to the baptism service for two special girls this weekend and while we were there, the kids decided to pose for some pics. It is usually like pulling teeth to get them together, but I guess when it is their idea, it becomes fun. At any rate, this picture makes a momma's heart swell!

Monday, August 25, 2008

To Thine Own Self Be True

This topic might evolve into a series of posts, because I have a feeling I have too much to say about this...I'm just warning you now.

A couple of weeks ago I went to a Dodger game with my parents and one of their dear friends. I have often felt intimidated by this particular friend, though I could never capture why I felt so unsettled in his presence. He's a wonderfully kind and gifted man. Gentle in spirit and confident in deed. Yet I often struggled with a feeling of unease around him.

So let's just call this man Ben. Listening to Ben that day allowed me to understand what about him unnerved me before. Ben understands himself intimately and he is totally at home in his own skin. His spirit is open, though not easily fooled. His humor is irreverent, though respectful of sacred. His thought is concise and no nonsense. Now I don't mean to cast in the role of incarnate, merely someone who is totally okay with being forever human.

It was a great game and we enjoyed the sweet Dodger victory with the newly signed Manny Ramirez. It was fun to watch a good game, banter with my dad and his friend, and gossip incessantly with my mother. On the way home, Ben approached a subject gingerly and I am so glad the conversation was had.

He's been curious about a new style of preaching that has been very popular around folks trying to taylor christian worship towards my generation, and more so the ones that follow me. The buzz words are the postmodern movement or the emergent moment. When I was in youth ministry, I spent a ton of energy around the study of what to do, to reach the next generations, so I have a history with this. And now I am a retired youth worker who hasn't been to church since May and it hasn't even occurred to me to be shameful about that.

What Ben brought to task was the style of teaching sermons...the term coined in the conversation that day was Lesson Plan Preaching. He does not like a style of speaking that goes something like this...

* Introduction and announcement of what will be taught in the next minutes
* Reading of Bible passage
* Giving a ton of historical and theological reference
* A couple of minutes of interpretation
* and then ending with a few lines of life application

He claims the style to be flat and safe and I was really surprised by the description and yet I immediately agreed with him, as did both of my parents. It is a rarity for my parents and I to agree on most anything, so this was quite intriguing. While I was listening to the conversation it totally hit me... I find that style to be flat because it feels very disconnecting to me.

Why we find it flat is very different for Ben and I... and both are valid. Ben is an agnostic and he's in the community because of relationships he has formed over the years. When he goes to church, as I understand it, he is hoping to learn ways of living in the world better. When I go to church I want to just be able to feel safe. Safe enough to to find my core in relation to a living God. Really... it is two different ways of attempting to achieve self actualization. When the style of preaching avoids the tough stuff of life... sorrow, depravity, evil... it also avoids deep grace, transformation and actualization for others.

The conversation turned to why one would change styles to that type of speaking, and I was reminded of all of the conversation of why the Lesson Plan style would engage people in our culture more than a more conventional preaching style. It was said that the conventional style was overwhelming and inaccessible. The conversation was that people have little context for faith anymore, so knowledge is power... or something like that. But that was a bunch of us all talking to one another, which definitely produced a circular conversation.

Ben's take on the shift was that it was fear of being controversial. My take on it is that it takes a huge amount of being comfortable with one's self, to speak to the tough things in life, without absolutes and correct biblical interpretation. It is tempting to hide behind being a good student of scripture and teach on it, without really exposing oneself. I know this personally.

So the take away for me is this... The new style of preaching designed to be relevant and more accessible is really just a new version of the same style of convention. We christians are becoming known for being really self righteous in our lack of maturation. We reward group think and staying within the constraints of concrete thinking. We are afraid of the dark side of our humanity and we cast out those who question our beliefs with abstract thought.

Or in less flowery terms...that uses the pronoun “I” rather than the pronoun “we”. It is way more important to really be working on maturing myself and pressing on to perfection, than it is to appear like I've already arrived at that maturity. (yes my rearing in Wesleyan theology dies hard)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Slacker Blogger...

... so I promised to show some pics of my works in progress and then nothing. Forgive me as I do the catch up all in one day.

Life Organization:
I've been working on hotspots in our home for weeks and I just haven't finished all of the pics to upload here. Here is the before picture of the Bathroom:



And the after:


Scrapbooking:



Knitting:

I've been knitting this practice shawl for months now... in this post, I was only like fifteen rows into the project. Now I'm a 3/4 of the way through... finished enough to know how I want to start the real shawl I'm making someone for christmas Super yip!

Boo Comedy

So I am sweeping the kitchen floor the other day when Boo asked me a very humorous set of questions. It went something like this:

Boo: "Mommy, is the Magic School Bus science fiction?" (This is a children's book series that Boo loves.)

Me: "Um no, it is fiction, just not science fiction... that is something different. Where did you hear the term science fiction?"

Boo: "But the Magic School Bus is about science... so why isn't it science fiction?'

Me: "Science Fiction is a specific type of fiction that is often set in the future. Daddy loves that type of story. Where did you hear the term?

Boo: "From this book mommy." As he showed me this book


Oh how I love being the mommy to a little boy who can read and loves to ask questions!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Summer Dilemma

I was just getting into the groove of posting every day and then the summer came. I want so much to have time to spend with my wee ones while school is still out. When school starts, I promise to get back into my routine here. So for this week I will be showing little projects I have been able to complete...things all the way from updating the family scrapbook, to organizing the Mother Ship, aka mommy's van. I hope you are having a wonderful summer!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Anne of Green Gables and Star Wars

I am loving the ages that my children are right now. Each kid is in a fun stage... aka no one is really pushing hard on the boundaries. (at least for this week) This week is going to be a down week in our home, and so what better time than now, to introduce them to some childhood favorites. I'm reading the kids Anne of Green Gables, we are watching the PBS production movie, and my oldest ds has just been welcomed into the ranks of loving Star Wars. I love this parenting gig!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Life with a Toddler

So I've been holding this post back since Friday night. I was hoping something really witty would come to the surface, but then today it hit me. The picture says it all:



Yes that is a Toddler Bible in the toilet. It is rich with theological undertones all by itself. And yes both of Bubbas parents did graduate from a conservative christian college, and then promptly became a tad irreverent... why do you ask? Think they'll call for the diplomas back?

(and for the record, no I did not stage this picture...I found the story book bible that way... thus the title for the post)