Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Weekly Smorgasbord

This list is full of some gems. Maybe it's because several are pieces by people I consider friends and a few others just resonated deeply. Anyway, I think it's the best link list in awhile!

On Faith:
Posted: 02 Jul 2014 06:06 PM PDT
"In order for us to raise kids, and congregations, who need Jesus, we need to let them do just that: need Jesus. But if we're not letting them feel the brokenness of the world, if we're not letting them press their heart to God's through the pain of humanity, they'll simply feel guilty over their sin versus realizing they need a Savior. When we teach our kids the right things to do and say, without allowing them to express or experience brokenness, they will be imprisoned by a deep sense of shame and guilt over the brokenness they inevitably feel, versus understanding the very reason we need Jesus in the first place." I do kind of wish the title was different. The "recovering" language sort of irks me (see also: "recovering feminist", "recovering fundie", "recovering liberal"). Especially when her actual piece was really nuanced and charitable.
Posted: 03 Jul 2014 07:31 PM PDT
My friend Sarah has a great write up on one of my very favorite albums for this season of loving on, and living with, small people. Enjoy it! While you're at it, go ahead and add Mockingbird to your Reader. And subscribe to the magazine. So...Buy this CD! Read this blog! Subscribe to this magazine! Do all the (you've never seen Jesus like this before) things. Not that I'm trying to boss you or anything. {But your life will be better for it.}

Posted: 03 Jul 2014 07:30 PM PDT
"But as the weeks stretched into months, and then into years, I found my soul gratefully sighing into the rhythms of the ancients...Reading prayers and scripture responsively during a worship service forced me to see myself as part of a congregation, rather than as part of an audience. Communal prayers expressed the priesthood of all believers in a beautiful and practical way...For nearly ten years, each of our corporate worship services had begun with a prayer of confession...The real me, the authentic me, the one who disappointed and screwed up and underperformed and overcompensated—THAT me was acknowledged. And then, O glorious words of grace, that same foolish and fallible me was forgiven and reminded of his love and grace.The real me was seen. The real me was forgiven. And so, the real me was now free to worship. Restored and forgiven. Known and loved." 

This was powerful. I could quote it all here, honestly. Listen, I don't think this is the only way to do church and I think the writer is gracious and humble in acknowledging that (her non-negotiables seem strikingly similar to ours). But it does resonate. I know on Sunday nights when we go to church, I'll sing songs I love, I'll hear a strong sermon preached, and I also know now that my children will end up talking about slurping blood because they are gaining an increased familiarity with the table and the elements. I know that I'll confess my sins as part of a body and that I'll hear the "comfortable words" spoken over me. All of this is good and right, I'm finding. 

On Humble Grace:
Posted: 04 Jul 2014 09:41 PM PDT
"I've learned so much in the past few years. By no means of my own, I might add. It's been all by the grace of God. God has taught me so much about His grace - the way He extends it to me time and time again, that it never runs out, and that it doesn't matter who I am or what I've done, He keeps on giving it. I've learned how much God loves me because I've seen Him show me grace over and over. And gently, repeatedly, He's reminded me that it's my job to do the same thing for others. To demonstrate His love by showing His grace through my actions. I am so thankful for Him tirelessly teaching me that lesson. You know what I do now? Now, when a friend is venting to me about her frustration in finding a formula that works for her fussy baby, I don't put down her choice to formula feed. I empathize with her because struggling with feeding decisions with your new baby is really tough. When my friend is crying to me about her induction turned section and expressing her disappointment at the way her birth turned out, I don't look down on her choice to induce. I hug her and tell her I know. I get it. I know it's really hard to walk away from a negative birth experience."

This was a beautiful post from my friend Kristal, full of grace and humility. I loved it so much because it was kind and gracious and heartfelt. But I also loved it because I love stories like these. I love it when someone trusts you (as in the Internet- no easy thing) enough to show you the ways God is working in their secret heart. I've so enjoyed watching God's great work in calling and sending the Flentge family to Africa, but every bit as much I loved being privy to the transformation He's done and is doing in Kristal's own heart. Finally, I love this because, resonates. As Kristal says "I've been that person". I have, too. Most of us have. But I remember awhile back when God started to reveal, mostly at that point through a friend (actually a friend without children) that what I needed as a mother; and what most mothers needed; was encouragement and support, understanding and validation, empathy and affirmation. And I tried to let that influence both my conversations and my writing. This is such a powerful word from someone so passionate about parenting. 
On Misquoting:
Posted: 13 Jun 2014 12:40 PM PDT
I've seen it a couple of places.

On Education:
Posted: 13 Jun 2014 12:33 PM PDT
"Rather than learn through structured play, which is how experts say young children learn best, 5- and 6-year-olds are being asked to sit doing math, reading and writing for hours at a time, sometimes with no recess or a very short one. Some teachers have dispensed with snacks during half-day kindergarten because there just isn't any time. Many kindergartners take home homework every day."

So horrible.

On Keeping Kids Safer:

On the Hilarity of Hipsters:
Posted: 26 Jun 2014 09:05 PM PDT
This is HYSTERICAL if you know anything about hipster Brooklyn. Language warning if that kinda thing bothers you.

On Simplicity:
Posted: 02 Jul 2014 06:15 PM PDT
"See, for our family, these two things are simply two sides of the same coin—we live simply so that we can travel. We travel to further deepen our simple lifestyle. They're yin and yang, salt and pepper, that perfect glass of wine paired a smudge of brie on crusty bread. Both enhance each other." I don't think it *has* to be travel, either. I think living more simply could help a lot of people live their dreams more easily- I know it has for us. Notice I said, MORE simply. I don't think we've got this down- not by a long stretch. But I do know that I enjoy my 800ish sq foot abode more than my 1500ish one at home. I know I like having less dishes and less laundry (no dishwasher and no in-unit laundry makes me REALLY enjoy these things). I know I like our schedule better- where we are more open to a last minute meet up with friends because we don't have something scheduled every night. And honestly (and I think this is the second time I've said it out loud to anyone but Peyton), I know I like my husband and my kids better. And that's worth everything.


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