Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Weekly Smorgasbord

I'm trying to get back to regular blogging (whew, 31 days straight wore me out) and I hope I can get my links post back to being a weekly thing. Anyway, here are some recent links I've enjoyed:

On Faith:

Posted: 30 Oct 2013 07:01 PM PDT
"The best thing that we can do for one another is to create safe spaces for questions – not just from those who haven't embraced the Christian faith, but also – especially – from those who have been in the faith for as long as they can remember."

I grew up in a mainline denomination that is considered liberal/progressive by many (and sort of is on a national scale). I err to the conservative side and my local church is way different from the national one, but I'm immensely thankful for the "Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors." that I often found in my community of faith.

Posted: 07 Nov 2013 11:15 AM PST
"If there's anything I could say to you, reader, if I were looking into your beautiful, holy, loved-by-God eyes, I would say that in those buried places where griefs and doubts and questions lie, packed and boxed up nicely, God is there too. He wants to open the boxes that contain the feelings we are afraid to touch with a ten-foot pole for fear of losing control or losing face or even losing our minds...We were taught to distrust ourselves, distrust our feelings, distrust our experiences. As a product of this era, I seem to have internalized the message that we must first deny our feelings and "get in line with Scripture," which sounds like a lot like a power play and clashes in its tenor with Jesus' invitation to come to Him with our heavy loads.". 

I love this post by my friend, Mallory. It's probably my favorite thing she's written and she writes good things, ya'll

This is something I'm so passionate about. It's part of a lot of people's stories and it's part of my story. In this story mostly well-meaning friends advise you to "claim victory" and "trust Jesus" and if you do that then your anxiety/depression will be cured and if it's not it's because of a lack of faith or wrong priorities. Guys, it doesn't work this way for some (most?) people. This kind of teaching makes me uncomfortable. To be honest, it feels like just another spin on a "health and wealth" gospel, which, in my opinion, is no Gospel at all. If we believe in a big enough God, I think we can acknowledge that He can be glorified in our sadness/sickness. 

Think about it, we often see Him glorified by victims of cancer, even when they aren't cured. Why do we have a double standard for those with a different affliction...those who straddle the line between between emotional health and mental illness and those who have, for a season, or for a lifetime, crossed it entirely?

Posted: 11 Nov 2013 08:01 PM PST
"Whether it's sickness or divorce or job loss, a crisis calls for some sound Biblical exhortation. I have a number of issues with this. First, it assumes that the hurting person does not believe the right things or believe with enough fervency. They may end up receiving the message that their faith is not strong enough for them to see their situation rightly, or that something is wrong with them because they are struggling. Second, preaching to people in pain preys on the vulnerable. It's stabbing the sword of truth into their wound, or doing surgery without anesthesia. Unwelcome truth is never healing. Third, "speaking truth" into situations of pain is distancing. You get to stand behind your pulpit, or your intercessory prayer that sounds strangely like a sermon, and the other person is a captive audience, trapped in the pew of your anxious truth. Suffering inevitably makes a person feel small and isolated, and preaching to them only makes them feel smaller and more alone."
Posted: 11 Nov 2013 07:57 PM PST
"How we worship reveals what we prioritize. The American church avoids lament. Consequently the underlying narrative of suffering that requires lament is lost in lieu of a triumphalistic, victorious narrative. We forget the necessity of lament over suffering and pain. Absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder. Absence makes the heart forget. The absence of lament in the liturgy of the American church results in the loss of memory."
Posted: 11 Nov 2013 07:53 PM PST
"Gather together a few people who you know hold different theological convictions from you for coffee or a beer. Make it clear that the purpose of the gathering is not to debate theology, but to share our stories. Each person commits to practicing active listening and modeling vulnerability. Clarifying questions germane to the story are permitted, but no question can begin with "Don't you think that…" or "Wouldn't you say…" or "But the Bible makes it clear that…" The only acceptable imperative remark is, "Say more about that." At the end of each story, each listener must share the one thing that struck them most about the person's story, something with which they personally resonate. Perhaps through conversations like this, we can move beyond objectification of the theological other and into dynamic relationship with them."
Posted: 11 Nov 2013 07:44 PM PST
"Inherent in this phrase is the undertone that if life has become "more than you can handle," then your faith must not be strong enough. We millennials may be a bit narcissistic, but we also know the weight of too much. We understand that we need help. Connections. Friendship. Sometimes therapy."
Posted: 11 Nov 2013 07:25 PM PST
"I'm interested in having people have significant relationships around Jesus. And if it turns out to be craft beer, fine."

On Parenting:
Posted: 29 Oct 2013 08:02 PM PDT
"We do this, you know. We have great plans, grand ideas of mothering and care-taking and preparing a child for life, and at the end of many days we just feel like we've left it in pieces. What's here for them to take is not near enough, we say. And we cry because we wish we had done it better. We wish our fingers always zipped and buttoned the completed gown instead of staring at the remainders of our dreams for them."

Posted: 01 Nov 2013 08:23 PM PDT
Oh so relatable.

Posted: 11 Nov 2013 10:42 AM PST
Liz Gomez explained how she initially decided to co-sleep with the first of her three children: "My son was six months old and I had been back to work for a month. I was so exhausted from getting up to go to the crib that I nearly drove into a tree on my way to work. I was so sleep-deprived that it was dangerous for me to operate a motor vehicle. Once we started co-sleeping, we all slept better."

On Mental Illness:
Posted: 11 Nov 2013 07:21 PM PST
"Friends talk about cancer and other physical maladies more easily than about psychological afflictions. Breasts might draw blushes, but brains are unmentionable. These questions are rarely heard: "How's your depression these days?" "What improvements do you notice now that you have treatment for your ADD?" "Do you find your manic episodes are less intense now that you are on medication?" "What does depression feel like?" "Is the counseling helpful?" A much smaller circle of friends than those who'd fed us during cancer now asked guarded questions. No one ever showed up at our door with a meal."

I know I'm a broken record, but this is on my heart so much lately. Be the friend that fights the double standard.

On Beauty Captured:
Posted: 29 Oct 2013 07:20 PM PDT
"Most photographers capture life as it, but in these strangers, Richard Renaldi has captured something much more ethereal and elusive. He shows us humanity as it could be, as most of us wish it would be, and as it was, at least for this one fleeting moment in time."

Posted: 07 Nov 2013 12:39 PM PST
Whoa. Beautiful and heartbreaking.

On Answering with Grace:
Posted: 07 Nov 2013 12:39 PM PST
This is great.

On Schooling: 
Posted: 29 Oct 2013 08:03 PM PDT
I mean it's satire. But like all good satire, it has a very relevant point.

On How We Talk:
Posted: 28 Oct 2013 07:40 PM PDT
This is so cool! [I'm not sure how accurate some are and I realize they are caricatures.]

On Creativity:
Posted: 11 Nov 2013 07:09 PM PST
So cool.

On Movie Parodies: 
Posted: 28 Oct 2013 07:42 PM PDT

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