Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Weekly Smorgasbord

Interesting stuff, this week. I've said it before, but sometimes "themes" just seem to show up. This week was unequivocally about being the momma to a girl, amongst other things.

On Faith:
Posted: 18 May 2013 08:48 PM PDT
"I saw someone on Twitter last week say that the internet had made them afraid to say anything to any woman on Mother's Day, with all the awareness of how difficult the day can be for so many....Because there can't be  (with 6 billion people, I know there isn't) only one way to live and die for people. We need the both/and and the slash in-between.  I'm not called to complacency or ignorance, but I'm also not called to perfection. And maybe that's kind of the point of life, the point of following Jesus. To sit in the slash between it all, wrestling. But some days, the fight exhausts me.  Some weeks I find myself firmly in the middle, unable to decide. Paralyzed by the slash."
Posted: 16 May 2013 08:24 PM PDT
"It's as if I actually crave the darker days a little, as if friendship were made only for the ones struggling. But what I'm learning is that Jesus Christ is a multidimensional Savior Friend. Sometimes I walk with Him and chat His face off. Sometimes we're just together, and it's pretty quiet. Sometimes He says go and do something, and He leads me in it. And sometimes He is simply smiling at me, saying "Let's enjoy." I know I haven't earned a smidge of it, so I know that it can all be taken away, and even then He would still be a good God. But part of becoming a friend of Jesus is trusting Him to brace me for pain. It's all an unveiling of my desire to control my own life. Maybe I think that if I'm doing pain well, then I'm winning. I wonder if it's just another way to feel that I can earn my position with Him. These are not dark days. The birds have been singing, and even though Jesus' love does not add up to whether or not I like my house, He is asking me to let myself enjoy. He's asking me  to not fret about losing, to walk with Him in some actual glad things, and to trust Him in it all."
Posted: 16 May 2013 07:28 PM PDT
"So the matted man who paces daily beside his packed red shopping cart next to the Walgreens, talking to the air but always looking right in my eyes, that man stands on holy ground at the corner of 9th and Clement. Will I bow before the Lord who made him? Will I recognize the face of Christ?And the little boy crying for me to wipe the snot that has coated his lips, the boy wrecked without my hand to bring him life and hope and a clean face, his are the lips of Jesus. And these groceries in my hands. These strawberries are signs of a good God, a God at work in the land and in the Church: planting, tending, creating, harvesting. It is all Spirit work. We in the Church are all worshippers, distracted by one another, distracted by ourselves. Digging in the carpet for treasures, guffawing at our own dorky slapstick. And yet, God says, "Church, are you ready to worship?" And here we are in physical chairs holding physical books, chatting over physical donuts after the service. And that is when the Spirit breaks through. At our most ordinary, most human, most simplistic, there is power.Yes, I said power."

On Parenting:
Posted: 15 May 2013 12:10 PM PDT
"The later years will prove harder in some ways, yes. We'll probably really wish we could go back to handling a blow-out diaper in a minivan instead of fighting with a snotty teen. But for now, you better believe you have it hard. You are only one you and there is too much to do and you have no control a lot of the time. Not over time or yourself and especially not bodily functions. It's gross and so tiring and kind of thankless a lot. And yet, these really are some of the best years and yes, we will look back on them and think them totally lovely. They are. We can be totally in love with these demanding little creatures and be totally tired and DONE at the same time."

Posted: 17 May 2013 08:32 PM PDT
Great (easy!) ideas.

On Issues of Social Concern:
Posted: 16 May 2013 08:09 PM PDT
"The video implies some sort of social caste system in which homeless people are on the bottom. This kind of juvenile social stratification is exactly what enraged everyone about Jeffrie's initial quote in Salon: "We go after the cool kids. A lot of people don't belong [in our clothes], and they can't belong. Are we exclusionary? Absolutely. Those companies that are in trouble are trying to target everybody: young, old, fat, skinny. But then you become totally vanilla. You don't alienate anybody, but you don't excite anybody, either." How do we trade one douche move (making clothes unavailable for the overweight to protect a brand) for another (making clothes available to the poor to defame a brand)? In both cases, we are marginalizing people."

Posted: 16 May 2013 07:25 PM PDT
"You see, the problem of evil is not exhausted by things like robbery, rape, or murder. Nor does it only involve the people directly perpetrating the evil. Things like exploitation and oppression are also forms of evil and they are just as insidious as the evil we hear about on the local news, if not more so as they have far more victims and infinitely more perpetrators. In theology this is called systemic evil. It's the form of evil that arises through the systems that make our modern world go 'round, systems like the global economy...It certainly won't be easy or simple, but we can begin by taking our heads out of the sands of entitlement, unbridled consumption, self-centeredness, and vanity and accept our share of the blame. We also have to open our eyes to the reality that cheap goods almost always come at the expense of cheap labor. Now, I'm not saying we all need to start buying $300 jeans and $80 t-shirts, but as Christians charged with caring for "the least of these" we have a responsibility for making sure we are not a part of oppression and injustice, that we are not actively contributing to the problem of evil."

On Raising Girls:

Not just a girl….. » Jaime Moore photography
Posted: 14 May 2013 08:58 PM PDT
What an AMAZING idea! This is beautiful.

thankful house: A Girl! In All her Resplendent Glory
Posted: 14 May 2013 09:08 PM PDT
"Strong women are capable and competent; they change tires, provide meals, offer help of many kinds, follow maps and hopefully compasses.  And when they lack at these things, they do not squeal with ineptitude; they are comfortable and able to find assistance.  Real women are kind and honest; they have relationships which are beneficial, encouraging, truthful.  A strong woman does not need to fight every battle, and so she is not fingernails on a chalkboard.  A strong woman is not bound by social norms, but neither is she bound to rail against them.  She is comfortable with who she is, and who her friends are, whether that be in the kitchen or the courtroom.  And she has a realistic enough view of life to know that she is just as likely to affect the world with a pie as with a closing argument.  She knows she is no more important than anyone else, and yet she is of utmost importance to her family, friends, people and to her creator.  A strong woman is educated; she knows her history, her language, her numbers, and she is never scared to engage an argument.  A real woman loves her friends, her family, her spouse; she cares for her people.  She is fierce and a force with whom to be reckoned.  And she smiles, because smiling shows forth her inner strength more than scowling ever can. 
Let's surround our daughters with real women. Women who live real, normal, everyday lives.  Women whose batteries on their cars die, gardens have bugs, and whose greatest accomplishments are often hidden from the public eye."

My friend wrote this response to the post right above it. Great insights from Ann Lowrey!

Disney faces backlash over new “sexy” Merida; pulls new image from web site as a result | Rebecca Hains
Posted: 14 May 2013 01:11 PM PDT
"On Saturday, Disney held a "coronation ceremony"(1) for Merida, star of the Disney-Pixar film Brave. In the coronation, Merida officially became part of the Disney Princess lineup. This means that her image has been added to the 2D collection of princesses in a cartoon form that fits stylistically with that of her princess peers. Unfortunately for Disney, the new cartoon image of Merida that Disney created for the lineup overshadowed all conversation online about the coronation. The reason? The new cartoon sexualizes Merida."

My friend who linked to this talked about how our daughters are at such risk for being sexually objectified. The truth is, though, I feel this burden so heavy for both of my children.  With Graves I'm not as much worried about him being objectified, but him doing the objectifying/being ridiculed when he doesn't. [See: my tenth grade year at Prep being largely defined by a lot of "nice" boys I really liked calling the person brave enough to slam Hooters in the school newspaper- a person I really cared about- a lot of really unfortunate names that I can't bring myself to type on this blog.]
Posted: 16 May 2013 07:44 PM PDT
"And when she hears adults tell her to be an example, she thinks that means she can never mess up, can never have problems, can never just be a teenager with struggles like everyone else. She might then mature into a woman who believes being a Christian means having it all together, saying all the "right" things, staying a few steps above everyone else. She may become a person people look up to, but she will never be someone they can relate to."

Posted: 19 May 2013 09:41 PM PDT
What a great idea!

On the Sanctity of Life:
Posted: 14 May 2013 01:09 PM PDT
"The Save the Storks bus is slick, recognizable, welcoming, and — horror of horrors — it sits in between a mother and the abortion clinic doors. With a simple offer of no-strings-attached help — "Would you like a free ultrasound?" — and a bright, comforting image, it appeals to the desperate woman before she reaches the clinic."

Posted: 19 May 2013 09:53 PM PDT
"In some ways, the reasons for reducing to a singleton are not so different from the decision to abort a pregnancy because prenatal tests reveal anomalies. In both cases, the pregnancies are wanted, but not when they entail unwanted complications — complications for the parents as much as the child. Many studies show the vast majority of patients abort fetuses after prenatal tests reveal genetic conditions like Down syndrome that are not life-threatening. What drives that decision is not just concern over the quality of life for the future child but also the emotional, financial or social difficulty for parents of having a child with extra needs. As with reducing two healthy fetuses to one, the underlying premise is the same: this is not what I want for my life."

On Abstinence Only Sex Ed:
Posted: 15 May 2013 08:36 PM PDT
"It's time to have a serious conversation about abstinence-only sex ed, and how it is not only failing but damaging our youth. It is screwing up our cultural understanding of human sexuality just as thoroughly as the hedonistic effects of the sexual revolution are. There very well may be some good abstinence-only sex ed courses out there, but they are certainly not the norm. We need to create a new way of teaching children about human sexuality, a way that emphasizes their essential dignity as rational, spiritual, and sexual human beings. We should strive to teach them to grow in virtue, to gain temperance, to master their passions, and to love for love of the other, not out of desire for pleasure, power, or possession. We should be teaching human sexuality as a series of positive moral developments that boys and girls must attain before sex can be truly enjoyed. We shouldn't be teaching our kids to white-knuckle it through puberty and then glut themselves as soon as they say "I do.""

On the Media and Reality and "Good" Stories:
Posted: 15 May 2013 08:08 PM PDT
Interesting stuff about the media and how skews our perception of reality.

On Memories:
Posted: 16 May 2013 07:35 PM PDT
Simple story. Beautiful writing. And why is it that I'm so in love with imagery tied to seasons? All my favorite children's books are about seasons changing.

On Living (the Unhurried) Life:
Posted: 17 May 2013 08:40 PM PDT
I need this reminder.

On the Peoples of the World:
Posted: 19 May 2013 12:31 PM PDT
"If the World were 100 PEOPLE: 50 would be female 50 would be male 26 would be children There would be 74 adults, 8 of whom would be 65 and older"

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