I haven't had a good cry in a long time. The last time I can really remember letting go was about 3 months into my current job. I made a major mistake and had no idea how it happened... Anyway, I started crying and every time I got close to being calm, someone would see my red shiny eyes, ask me what was wrong, and I would be off again.
Crying in public is not my thing. It makes me uncomfortable whether it's me or someone else in tears. Most of the time, I rather prefer to be alone when I cry because, I assume that crying makes everyone as uncomfortable as it makes me. I'm sure that's probably not true, but I can't get past it.
Only two times since my childhood have I felt comfortable crying in the presence of others.
The first: I was a sophomore in high school at a youth retreat with several friends. (The retreat was called "Moral Combat." How's that for a laugh?) We were at an evening gathering. The speaker's message about evangelism had plunged a knife into my heart. I had been a Christian for more than a year and I hadn't made any effort to share my new faith with my mother or my brother. I mourned and wept and my friends prayed for me. No one seemed put out and no one urged me to calm down or told me that it was going to be alright, they just let me mourn my sin and cry out to God until I was done.
The second: I was a junior at Houghton and had just finished my second viewing of Schindler's List. My first experience with this movie (nearly 7 years earlier) had left me relatively unmoved, but the second time I viewed it, I was struck with such despair. There was nothing I could do. These horrible things were already complete and no one could fix it. I lay in my bed and sobbed for nearly an hour. Rebecca sat next to me the entire time, not trying to comfort or calm, she was just there and that was enough.
After I have a good cry, I need a long nap, but then I'm in a better mood for days or weeks after. Perhaps some day I will be able to convince myself that it's alright to cry when the tears come since they just don't come that often. I'll learn that it's alright to be vulnerable. I'll cry and be a better person for it.
I read some reviews that said it was "plot heavy." HA! Maybe if you consider Disney animated movies plot heavy. I thought it was a little "plot schizophrenic." They tried to introduce too many plot lines and none of them went deep enough. Boy with a drunk dad, girl with a hooker mother, teen love triangle, angry principal, dance teacher with a dead wife. They scraped the surface and nothing more.
Anyway, that was my only complaint. The movie was joyfully hokey and included a whole lot of teenage stupidity and corny dancing scenes. Not to mention the two middle-aged black women two rows ahead who chimed in loudly with their commentary, the man behind us who actually started counting off the dance steps along with the characters in the movie and laughed (and snorted) too long and too hard at the mildly funny parts, and Emily's complete disgust over the fact that I had roped her into what she considered a terrible movie.
It was laughable as a piece of art, but every aspect of the evening was entertaining. Anyway, Rufio was in it, how can you go wrong?
UPDATE: If you choose to view the cheesy film, you should also take a look at the documentary it's based on: Mad Hot Ballroom. I have added it to our Netflix queue.
I LOVE YOU, TOO, MY TOON!!!
While reading this particular passage, I got distracted (in a good way). I started wondering what the Jews in Isaiah’s time thought he meant. These people atoned for their sins by killing hundreds of thousands of animals each year. As Christians, we look at the phrase “He bore the sin of many” and think, “Duh, Isaiah’s obviously talking about Jesus.” But the Jews might have thought, “What the crap!?” (Yes, this is exactly what they thought. EXACTLY!)
Then, my brain went in another direction, wondering what it must have been like for those first Jewish Christians. Where Christians see Jesus in the OT, they could have seen just about anything. Then this fella Jesus shows up and says it’s his show. Holy! Freaking! Cow!
Anyway, I think it would have been amazing. Growing up in a culture that hopes and prays daily for a Messiah, probably believing that the Messiah will bring about political salvation, then **BANGO** Messiah comes on the scene. He’s not what you thought he would be, but he’s promising so much more than a political kingdom. What a shock. What a wonderful shock...hope fulfilled.
Not that following Jesus isn’t an adventure at any time in history, but just imagine being that close to the turning point. Getting in on the ground floor, if you will. Suddenly seeing the real meaning behind the words… Maybe that’s what heaven will be like.
It must be a lot harder for Catholics to choose a "religious" life, considering the number of sacrifices such a choice includes. I can't even imagine, at this point in my life, deciding to give up the option of getting married or have children of my own. And that's not even the only sacrifice that priests and nuns and monks have to make. Needless to say, I am happy to be a Protestant.
At the end of the series, Joe and Mike decided against the priesthood, Dan postponed his decision and renewed a relationship with a girl at his school, and Steve, announced his intention of entering seminary to become a priest. To be honest, I was rooting for them all to follow Mike and Joe's lead. I wanted all of them to decide that the priesthood wasn't where it was at. I wanted them to get married and have sex and babies. Intellectually, I don't believe there is anything wrong with choosing a celibate life. In fact, I know there are people who feel called by God to be single for a lifetime. Still, there is something in the very fiber of my being that revolts against the concept. I know it's not wrong, but it feels wrong.
Anyway, I think A&E should do a follow-up in a few years, so that we can see where all these guys end up. Maybe I'm the only person who would be interested, since I feel an unhealthy connection with people I see on TV, but it would be great to find out how these decision pan out in the long term.
I wonder if such a show about young women considering the religious life would even be possible. I think I'm going to look up some statistics on women entering convents v. men entering seminaries and monasteries. I'll get back to you on that one.
Anyway, looks like Craig Bob got me. I guess I was a little confused when he continued the OOF podcasts.
I've been enjoying What About Brian? except for one plot line that just makes me want to burst. You see, there is this young married couple. In the picture to the right, they are the couple in the bottom left-hand corner. They have been married for thirteen years and have three young daughters. Apparently, Deena feels like she missed out on life because she's only slept with four men. She proposes to her husband that they should try an "open marriage." Dave, her husband, makes it pretty clear that he's not into that, but she insists and, at the end of last night's episode, she had sex with another man in the back of her mini-van!!!
I don't think I can keep watching because I can't handle the idea that this woman, who has a wonderful, loving husband, is willing to endanger her family just because she is dissatisfied with her SEX LIFE!!!
Today, I was sitting at work, with my headphones shoved in my ears, as usual. I began to feel antsy...restless. I removed my headphones and immediately felt better. Silly, really, but I was feeling pressure to keep up with my technology...to use my life and time to maintain the machines that own me.
So, I've decided to fast from my iPod for a couple days. I updated it when I got home, I'm charging it and I'm not going to use it again until Friday, at the earliest.
Some time this summer, I would like to go on a retreat. Perhaps go for a weekend in the woods.
So, does anybody want to leave the world and all our gadgets behind for a few days and spend some time camping, reading, etc.?
Anyway, at the end of his ironic announcement, Craig Bob went on to say that he "has a heart for the affluent." As soon as he said this bit, I began laughing. I couldn't help it. I know, I know... The rich need the gospel as much as the poor, so, obviously, someone has to minister to them.
But all I have to say is, I certainly hope I am called to minister to the affluent some day. ;o)
The hardest part is that this whole thing has become a monologue. I'm not begging for comments, I just wish that my blog was part of a community rather than just being my ramblings to myself.
Maybe I will just read other people's blogs and think for a few days... unless something really hits me and I have something valuable to say about it.
Let's start with the not at all Christian one. It's The Daily Purge with J. Michael Haas. This guy is totally gay and a great storyteller. His style reminds me a bit of Phil Hassey. They almost have the same voice, even! Don't worry, Phil, I'm not doubting your sexuality. The podcast is put together really well, too. It seems almost professional. Don't listen if you can't handle gay sex jokes. Most of the episodes are pretty long, too...so it's a commitment.
Next, we'll go with wtfwjd? Yes, it means "What the fuck would Jesus do?" This podcast is about ten minutes per episode and there's a lot of variety. Eli, the host of the show, is irreverent and funny and committed to figuring out what Jesus really would have his followers do. He's definitely focused on attracting a non-believing audience because sometimes he explains pretty basic things. (h/t to pomomusings)
Finally, the best one so far is called Out of Fellowship. I actually felt compelled to take notes while listening to this guy so that I could look at them later and compose some thoughts of my own. Craig Bob is a former worship leader who left the church about a year ago and has some interesting thoughts on what the church should look like. He doesn't call himself emergent...at least, he hasn't so far, but I would say his thoughts line up with that "philosophy." I'm going to write more about Craig Bob later, so I won't go on now.
All I can say is, "Listen to these guys!" and tell me if you're finding anything quality out there.
by Wendell Berry
Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion -- put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go.
Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
from The Country of Marriage, copyright ® 1973 by Wendell Berry
Wendell Barry...becoming one of my favorites.
Two of the four men are in pretty serious relationships with women. So, they are technically choosing between the priesthood and marriage, but it's not as if they are choosing between women and their faith.
I don't have a whole lot to say about the show as I haven't watched a whole lot of it, but I am DVRing the entire series this coming Sunday, so I probably have more thoughts on the show after I watch the entire thing. Most of the people who have given their opinions seem to think this show was respectful to the church and the young men.
For now, if you're interested, here are some articles about it:
from the Wahington Post,
and Spero News,
and a review from Variety,
some thoughts from The Tidings,
finally, the take from Catholic Online.
Recently, I was reading an essay by Tim Bednar at e-church.com. The essay itself was riddled with repetitive ideas and absolutely HIDEOUS grammar, but it was informative and understandable despite the rawness of the writing
Juleann’s recent post about blogging reminded me that I had wanted to post about Tim’s essay. It wasn’t completely related, but I did learn that those email/LJ/myspace surveys (the ones that everyone fills out and only three people read) are only one example of a meme.
According to Merriam Webster Online, the definition of a meme is “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture.” Blogging itself could be considered a meme. “I blog because my friends blog.” “I have a myspace profile because my friends do.” You get it… Wikipedia has a more lengthy article about the origin of the term. (I haven’t read it all, but the writer/s seem to think that evangelical Christianity is a meme. Maybe I’ll have to check that our later.) You can read that on your own time, if you are interested in proving what a dork you really are.
Anyway, back to the real point of this post. Tim Bednar’s essay, entitled “We Know More Than Our Pastors,” addresses the way many people of faith (he deals particularly with Christians) have left established forms of religious practice and pursued spiritual growth through other avenues, specifically through blogging and other forms of electronic communication. It’s not that they want to leave their faith behind, they just don’t see their faith in the ceremonies and rituals they have been told represent it. The internet allows these people to find each other and create new worship styles to stimulate their spiritual growth. Community isn’t left behind. In fact, the resulting community is often more genuine, open, and mutually edifying than that found in most traditional churches.
The interaction amongst people in the worldwide church, made possible by new technology, is simply incredible. Any question one might have, someone else has talked about it already or you can start a new conversation. We have instant access to people facing the same struggles we are; A worldwide classroom discussion has been established. It’s encouraging to read about the questions, struggles and thoughts of like and unlike-minded people. It helps me to clarify my own thoughts and inspires me to contemplate new ideas.
Tim also points out that, as a body, bloggers have a wealth of knowledge that could never be rivaled by a single pastor or even a pastoral staff. Bloggers may not be the most educated theologians, but they tend to be more in touch with reality. We (I presume to include myself) write about our life experience and how faith works itself out in the real world.
One of these days I’m going to come up with a blog roll that includes some of my favorites. Today is not that day. Thanks for reading to the end!
UPDATE: Ha! Found Nic Hughes talking about Memes.
We stayed at a camp near a river, run by an Englishman. There were toilets and showers, but they were sort of scary and full of spiders since they were only partially enclosed. Camp was a pretty loose term, anyway. It really only meant that the underbrush had been cut, there were a few chairs and tables available, and you had to pay someone to stay there.
The river was a bit murky (because of mud, not pollution). There were crocodiles, maybe even hippos, but some people decided to take a swim anyway. Dr. Arensen, against his wife’s better judgment, allowed the swimming. Barb sat at the end of the dock staring into the water as if she could ward off any crocs through concentrated willpower alone. As if Barb didn’t have enough to think about that weekend (what with 20-something stupid college kids to look after), Jeff, her oldest son, was visiting our group with his fiancée, a woman his parents had never met before.
It was a good start to a wonderful journey. Maybe one day I will be able to return.
After participating in the mournful services on Thursday and Friday, it was wonderful to see the sanctuary decked out in flowers and green living things. Having never participated in other Holy Week services before, I don't think I ever felt the full effect of Resurrection Sunday. The stripping of the altar on Thursday and the snuffing of the candle on Friday made the light and beauty and celebration of this day feel lighter, more beautiful and more joyful than ever before.
Also, since I am an avid people-watcher it was quite interesting to see the different characteristics of the three different congregations that we led in worhip today.
The service at 8:30 a.m. was full of people who have known each other for years and can call each other by name when they are passing the peace. Their congregational readings sounded more unified and many of the congregants had the more commonly said prayer memorized. Most of the people were older, retired folks or families with small children or both together (three, sometimes four generations seated together).
The 10:00 a.m. was probably the liveliest crowd, maybe because it was the fullest service. I considered saying they were the most joyful, but joy manifests itself in different ways, and I know that those 8:30 people were definitely full of joy. Most of the folks there at 10 were regular attenders, many of them people I would normally see at the 9 a.m. service. I think we did our best singing in this time slot, but it's hard to tell from inside the choir.
The 11:30 service was full of late-rising regular attenders and people who attend church only on special occasions. Several cell phones went off, more people had frowny faces, several women were wearing Easter bonnets, and lots of children didn't have practice in church manners. I was thankful for having been able to concentrate on John's sermon during the first service because I would have been completely distracted from it in the third.
As John was preaching, especially in the third service, I couldn't help but think how strange the Gospel must sound to those who attend church only once or twice a year. It reminds me that the very first church service I attended was Easter Sunday 1995. I don't remember what I felt that day, but I'm sure there was some awkwardness. Obviously, it didn't deter me from returning. I pray that some of the people who came for the Easter spectacle were touched by the preaching, the music, the joy of the morning and will choose to explore what following Christ really means.
These observations also caused me to be thankful for the little community I've found in the choir. I get to sit next to the same people every Sunday. We're all in the choir, so we automatically have something in common. I feel comfortable worshipping alongside them even when tears fill my eyes and I find it difficult to sing. I'm grateful to God for giving me this little slice of community. I wish it could last longer, but will continue to cherish the time I have left with them.
Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!! Alleluia.
I understand that it was a terrible thing for Christ to be killed. It is appropriate that we Christians mourn our sin that caused the horrific death of our loving God. He was stripped, beaten, mocked, spit upon, nailed to a cross. But remember that the crucifixion was part of God's good plan to make us whole again. Despite the terrible events that took place on the day Christ was crucified,
it was in fact Good Friday.
I've rarely experienced anything as powerful as the silence that ended our Maundy Thursday service. It was haunting and beautiful.
The lights were dimmed. Ramsey Gilchrist read the betrayal passage from Mark. Our beautifully decorated sanctuary was stripped to signify the stripping of Christ before the Crucifixion.
I am hear to recommend some (some meaning one).
Tegan and Sara are great!
I heard one of their songs on Grey's Anatomy,
bought the whole album on iTunes
and I'm hooked!
Listen to "Where Does the Good Go?"
I'm not very good at describing music I like,
but this is good.
It's catchy and funky and the lyrics aren't stupid.
Try it, you'll like it.
One of the women in our choir was concerned about an issue she considered of utmost importance. She was practically dancing in her seat it was weighing so heavily on her mind. Before Marv could get a word out, she dove into her question/request/demand(?).
"MARV! Should we talk about SHOOOOES??!!" Marv ignored her question and began rehearsal.
Later, before we rehearsed processing: "MARV! Can we talk about SHOOOOES!?!?"
At the end of rehearsal: "MARV! Should we talk about shoes? Can we just say BLACK, CLOSE-TOED?" *general murmurs of discontent and looks of disgust*
One fellow soprano protested, "I bought an outfit for Easter and it doesn't include black, close-toed shoes."
Marv's response was perfect! "You're all adults. I think you can choose appropriate shoes for an Easter service."
"NO FLIP-FLOPS, RIGHT?!!!" (Just a note: I'm the only choir member who ever wears flip-flops because I am the only choir member under the age of THIRTY!! but I would never even consider them a choice when we process, which we will be doing this Sunday.)
Anyway, I liked Marv's response. It is my sincere belief that if someone's worship experience is seriously affected by someone else's footwear, perhaps they need to refocus. Priorities, people!
Anyway, I’ve also been less than impressed by the content of the non-music Christian podcasts. The choices are either Sunday sermons recorded and released to the public or random guys sharing their rambling thoughts on various topics. The second set of people are really making a solid attempt at filling a void, but I can only listen to a limited number of rambling diatribes by the same person before I want to cut my ears off. I enjoy the content, but the presentation could be improved dramatically if there was creative input from someone other than Random Guy. The worst part is that people start these things and then give up after 9 or 10 episodes. Where’s the commitment?!
The problem with this rant, though, is that I’m not contributing anything to the world of podcasts. Don’t worry, I’m not saying that I’m going to start a podcast because that would be the most boring podcast in the world. I wouldn’t listen to it, for goodness’ sake. But, if anyone in my reading audience knows of any really great Christian podcasts, please please please direct me to them. Even if they aren’t Christian, tell me. I am in love with my iPod and I need to feed it new things every day…and I just can’t afford to buy new music every day.
My morning prep time has increased from approximately ten minutes to about thirty. Okay, I can deal with that. I’ve gone through my girlie, taking-ages-to-get-ready phases… Twenty to thirty minutes doesn’t even compare to the hours I spent primping during those times. Believe it or not, there was a rather extended period of my life in which I did my nails every. single. day.
What I am having a hard time dealing with is being one of THOSE girls… One of those girls who has to carry an umbrella even when it’s barley sprinkling because even one drop of water will COMPLETELY RUIN the twenty to thirty minutes spent making her hair sleek and shiny. One of those girls who worries about walking too fast because she might sweat a little, once again bringing to naught the morning prep time. One of those girls I used to scoff at for being worried about what the humidity would do to her hair.
I hate styling my hair, but I LOVE how cute it is once it’s styled. I suppose that sometimes we have to sacrifice for the ones we love. And since I love my new hair, I will sacrifice my sarcastic scoffing and become the unthinkable…the girl using an umbrella when it’s not really raining.
Growing up, my favorite chapter book was Harriet the Spy. It’s a delightful book about a girl who wants to grow up to be a writer, so she carries a notebook wherever she goes and makes a valiant attempt to write down EVERYTHING she sees. This gets her into some trouble in sixth grade but that part of the story doesn’t matter right now.
As a pre-teen, I wanted to be just like Harriet. I wanted to know everything and write it all down. Throughout junior high, high school, and even my first semester at college, this desire manifested itself in obsessive journaling. I would spend thirty minutes to an hour writing about my day every. single. night. I should blog some of my journal entries from that time. People would probably get a kick out of my entries about ketchup, etc.
Now, instead of traditional journaling, I spend thirty minutes to an hour a day blogging. I suppose it’s the same thing, but this way, I get to share my thoughts with the world (or, at least, the small part of the world that reads my blog).
As I go through my day, I am constantly noticing things and evaluating their blogworthiness. I observe tourists on the Metro, locals on the streets of DC, my co-workers. It’s like a never-ending stream of potential blogging/journaling.
One of these days, I am going to attempt some play-by-play blogging. I’ll write out all my random daily observations and then blog them. Maybe someone will get an insight into how my mind actually works.
Are you on the edge of your seat yet? I know I am.
On the most recent episode, in the very last scene, George kisses Callie. Generally, I am sort of squeamish about kissing and such on TV, but George kissing Callie just made my little heart so happy.
Now, before you start feeling vomitous about my ridiculoue TV obsession, let me explain why I am so happy for George. It's because I am George. I am the sweet, quiet, dorky girl that everyone thinks is terrific, but nobody (especially people of the opposite sex) really notices. BUT, Callie notices George and Callie is terrific. She sees all the things in george that make him a good man and it gives me hope that someday some man will notice all the qualities I possess that make me a good woman.
Don't get me wrong, my self-esteem doesn't rest on whether some man "sees" me. I'm pretty confident in myself and I've been told by many people that I am unusually resilient and well-adjusted. But that doesn't mean I don't long for a relationship and appreciate any encouraging indication that it's possible. I've done my fair share of pining and I look forward to the day that I have my own heart-stopping "first" kiss.
creator of heaven and earth,
and of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God,
begotten, not made, of one being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven;
by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made truly human.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.
The Nicene Creed is the only creed accepted by all three major branches of Christendom:
Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox.
"You are the Lord
The famous one, famous one, Great is Your name in all the earth
The heavens declare
You're glorious, glorious, Great is Your fame beyond the earth"
When we sign this, all I can think is, "Who cares if God is famous?!!!" Is fame now a positive character trait? Paris Hilton is famous...Is the paparazzi following God around now, forcing God's car off the road to get better pictures? God is certainly a bigger deal than Lindsay Lohan!
There are plenty of praise songs that I enjoy. They don't even have to be especially deep or profound for me to like them. Pump Rich Mullins Songs or Third Day Offerings and I'll be singing along at the top of my lungs in no time. Just cut out the nananas and the saying dumb things and the repeating the last line three times to conclude.
I admit that I'm cynical and maybe a little bit jaded. But, let's be serious...nanananana? NANANANANANA??!!
People tell me that some songs are just meant to be fun. Are fun and intelligence mutually exclusive? Shouldn't we use our minds in worship?
On a related topic: why are most worship services either contemporary or traditional? The Falls Church does a good job combining these two styles of worship, better than I have seen in any other church, but, combining generally means contemporary with a taste of tradition or traditional with a praise song thrown in. Let's get it together people...