Saturday, August 29, 2015

Weekly Smorgasbord

Here are some great links for y'all! Now that I'm finally about caught up with my Weekly Happenings posts I'm hoping I can get a little more consistent with these too, because this is a lot of links/thoughts/words. I never expect anyone to read it all, but it's a lot to even sort through to figure out what interests you. I know I prefer these lists to be shorter, but I hate to miss sharing a good link. Anyway, pick your favorites!

On Faith:
Posted: 05 Aug 2015 08:53 AM PDT
"Even in the Eden of my girlhood, I was taught that desire led to death. So when I came to faith, rather than give in to desire, fall into sin, and die, I decided to kill off desire instead. This is what I thought church was for. I lay down before her — the church — like I had on the dorm room floor at the moment of my salvation. I waited for passions to die. I waited to feel alive. Even as I was ingesting Scripture like it was water to guzzle for the fires of desires within, I felt that I was losing my life and my strength. If you were to ask Seth why we left that mega-church in Tulsa, he'd have a different answer that had much to do with politics and money, the shady ways of church gone high-minded and business savvy. But for me, I just left tired of wrestling desire. Church couldn't help me with it anymore."

Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:46 PM PDT

"I would argue that it is because we are suffering in the Bible Belt, and in America, but in a strangely new and different way. We do not suffer in the way that our Christian predecessors did where we are enslaved, imprisoned and even martyred for our beliefs by those who oppose Christ, instead our suffering is at our own hands and in our hearts.We are enslaved to the dogmatism that would allow us to judge and persecute our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ from lofty pedestals of our making. We are imprisoned by our own selfishness that would cause us to grumble and complain at minor discomforts. And we martyr ourselves repeatedly on public display as we claim the cause of Christ, while all the while the sacrifice He truly made is overshadowed by our own self righteousness." Interesting take on Christian persecution in the United States that I've never thought of.
Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:45 PM PDT
Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:42 PM PDT
"When we drill a Bible story down into a moral lesson, we make it all about us. But the Bible isn't mainly about us, and what we're supposed to be doing—it's about God, and what He has done.But the Bible isn't mainly about us, and what we're supposed to be doing—it's about God, and what He has done. When we tie up the story in a nice neat little package, and answer all the questions, we leave no room for mystery. Or discovery. We leave no room for the child. No room for God...Because the power of the story isn't in the lesson. The power of the story IS the story. And that's why I wrote The Jesus Storybook Bible. So children could know what I didn't: That the Bible is most of all a story—the Story of how God loves His children and comes to rescue them. That—in spite of everything, no matter what, whatever it cost Him—God would always love his children… with a wonderful, Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love."

[More thoughts on this soon. Y'all know I occasionally like to turn my thoughts on a link into a whole post and this one is begging me to do just that.]
Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:40 PM PDT
"The true message of the church is not traditional family values. Sexual purity and sanctity of life are important moral points, but they are not the central message of the church. The true message of the church is Christ and Him crucified. The notion of "traditional family values" is much too tepid and loose an expression of the law. The standard of behavior that the Cross of Christ teaches isn't just family values, but obedience to God to the point of death. If we make our stand on traditional family values, it is too broad – there are some people that seem to be acceptable under that umbrella, making the blood of Christ unnecessary. It says that if your sin happens to be more easily covered up and in line with traditional family values, you are allowed at the communion table, but if your sin is outside those traditional lines then you are not. The true law says that no one belongs at the communion table, and that no matter who you are, grace must be lavish and shocking and scandalous. There isn't one person anywhere who isn't a desperately evil and guilty sinner in need of salvation. That's why they call it "salvation"!"
Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:26 PM PDT
""Seven years ago, I was sitting on the ledge of a thirteenth floor window. I'd tried to quit drinking so many times but I couldn't do it, and I'd finally given up. My mind was racing through all the shameful things I'd done, and I kept hearing this voice saying: 'Jump you piece of shit. Jump you piece of shit.' So I put my hands over my ears and started rocking back and forth on the window ledge. Suddenly I heard this small, still voice: 'Say a prayer,' it said. And I didn't want to hear it. It was kind of like your mother knocking on the door while you're watching porn. But then I heard it again: 'Say a prayer.' So I started praying, and I totally surrendered, and I felt an evil presence leave me. And I just kept saying: 'I can't believe you still love me. I can't believe you still love me.' Then I cleaned up my room, threw away my baggies of coke, took a shower, and went to work.""

Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:13 PM PDT
"Discern the balance of agency: If you're in charge of making it happen, it's misguided Law. If God's in charge, it's Gospel. If it's a mixture, it's Law." Because there ain't nobody who doesn't need a pocket guide to distinguishing Law and Gospel."

Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:14 PM PDT
"Instead, I'd like to point out a problematic, but fairly common assumption in many corners of evangelicalism — an assumption that needs to be challenged. It's the idea that sin is something out there that we need to watch out for. The reality, however, is that sin is not primarily something we need to be sheltered from, but delivered from. It's easy for a Christian family that seeks to honor the Lord with distinctive, holy living to adopt this mindset: "The world is evil, and our family is good. Therefore, we need to protect our family from the evil outside." Along these lines, training up children in the way they should go becomes primarily about sheltering our kids. We deliver our kids from evil by avoiding evil influences "outside" our home. We forbid certain television shows, monitor their internet usage, and avoid neighborhood kids. In some cases, we turn to homeschooling or Christian education." OBVIOUSLY, we're going to have to have guidelines in our parenting (and the writer goes on to clarify that his kids aren't allowed to watch some shows, even cartoons), but it's a mindset that takes this thinking too far that is dangerous. He didn't articulate this, but I think the root reason we do is a need to feel like WE are in control. That's something I've struggled with a lot in the past months and I see it as the problem in so many situations (not just within Evangelicalism, either, FWIW).

On Friendship:
Posted: 01 Aug 2015 06:18 PM PDT

"Here are a few things you need to become Somewheres: An ability to welcome the contradictions in each other. Ferocious trust. Secret keeping. A shared sense of humour. A ferocious belief in the inherent goodness and holiness in each other. An equal amount of butt-kicking and hair-petting. Bravery. Silliness. A common core. The capacity to laugh through tears. A bullshit detector. An aversion to the phrase, "I'm fine." Unconditional welcome. Time, so much time. Openness to being challenged. A lot of small and inconsequential talk to lay the foundation for the big scary talks. Loyalty like blood. Showing up at the right time. Light for the darkness. And then there is the part you can't predict or plan or program: magic. There needs to be a bit of that Holy Spirit drawing together, a sense of purpose and destiny, an answered prayer, a shared language all your own discovered at last."

This actually provoked a lot of feelings for me (see #3 here).

On Children:
Posted: 01 Aug 2015 09:07 PM PDT
"Out on the playground, she approached the boy reassuringly, like a trained hostage negotiator. "Do whatever you need with the belt," she told him gently. "Just keep it away from people." Slowly, Will began to calm down. They walked over to some woods near the school, and she let him throw rocks into a stream, scream, and yell until, at last, he burst into tears in her arms. Then they talked and came up with a plan. The next time he felt frustrated or overwhelmed, Will would tell another staffer that he needed his helper. If Robinson were off campus, they would get her on the phone for him." 

Posted: 15 Aug 2015 03:23 PM PDT
"You see, Chase's teacher is not looking for a new seating chart or "exceptional citizens." Chase's teacher is looking for lonely children. She's looking for children who are struggling to connect with other children. She's identifying the little ones who are falling through the cracks of the class's social life. She is discovering whose gifts are going unnoticed by their peers. And she's pinning down- right away- who's being bullied and who is doing the bullying."

On Community:
Posted: 16 Aug 2015 11:50 AM PDT
"This last line stopped me cold. The man is holding his hand to his chest. He's sober and sincere. There is a weight around those words. My son gave him something that he has been craving: someone's undivided attention—just a smile really."

On Education:
Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:39 PM PDT
"His grandmother and I are raising him. I worry about putting him into the public school system. I was a teacher for many years. I've seen so much confidence destroyed by the standardized system. Every human is born with natural curiosity. I've never seen a child who wasn't inspired. But once you force someone to do anything, the inspired person is killed. I dropped out of school myself in 7th grade. So I know. I taught a GED course for years, so I've seen the end results over and over. I've seen so many kids who have complexes and insecurities because they were forced to do something they weren't ready to do, and then they were blamed when they weren't able to do it. What we call 'education' today is not organic. You can't take something as complex as the human mind, compartmentalize it, and regiment its development so strictly."

On Storytelling:
Posted: 01 Aug 2015 08:48 PM PDT
"Former Pixar story artist Emma Coats tweeted a series of story guidelines in 2011 which she learned from her colleagues at Pixar. Recently, Imgur artist DinoIgnacio superimposed all 22 rules over stills from Pixar films. See the great images below!"

On Simplicity:
Posted: 05 Aug 2015 07:33 PM PDT
A couple of people on IG mentioned that they love when I share about simplicity. I've loved this blog for awhile and this is such a great post. Look at this precious teensy little nursery!

On Happiness:
Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:57 PM PDT
Interesting graphic.

On the Charleston Shooting:
Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:30 PM PDT
From my friend Ann Lowrey Forster: "When young white guys shoot up schools, we focus on mental illness. When young black guys shoot up streets, we focus on depravity. When young brown guys blow themselves and everyone around them up, we focus on ideology...All are relevant in all cases."

On Inexpensive Food Options:
Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:15 PM PDT
We had a corner store and yeah you had to eat the blueberries that day or the next. But they were like $1.00. You can't get a package of blueberries for that in Mississippi! So worth it. [As an aside, our kids' diet is probably like 75% produce. Which is great because I'm never going to be one to like make my own bread and cook everything from scratch. I'm going to be one who gives herself BIG backpats when she cooks things with cream of chicken soup because SHE COOKED.]

On Medical Abuse:
Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:16 PM PDT
"Los Angeles, CA—Mother Kimberly Turbin (previously known as "Kelly" to protect her privacy) has filed a complaint with the Central District of the Los Angeles County Superior Court against her former obstetrician, Dr. Alex Abbassi, for forcibly cutting her with scissors 12 times ("episiotomy," the cutting of the perineum between the vagina and the rectum...) despite her explicit refusal to consent during the 2013 birth of her only child."

Glad she finally found a lawyer but ugh.

On Movies:
Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:24 PM PDT
I cannot wait for it to hit Netflix. It's about moving and memories and hard emotions. We were thinking AP might like it but then we realized she's probably a bit to young to really get it. Peyton goes "yeah, I think this is more a movie made for older kids....and for you". LOL.

On Projects for the Future:
Posted: 06 Aug 2015 09:22 PM PDT
I want to build a Little Free Library.

Noteworthy Quotes from the Week(or Month):
"There is a lot going back and forth about the Planned Parenthood video. I'm not going to try and explain it like I know something. But let's look at a few of the topics that everyone agrees are attached to this, no matter your political persuasion: Harvested human organs. Money changing hands. Corporations. Lack of transparency. Vulnerable people. Business contracts. You can spin this pro or con, but either way, it spins bad. Very, very bad. For anyone who has ever thought they'd have done things differently had they been German in the nineteenth thirties, here's your challenge. The German people didn't have the full picture, but they had accounts that included words like these--words that don't go well together. So if you feel yourself saying, "Let's not be too hasty. Let's see what comes out about this." Understand, that's exactly where a lot of people were in the thirties. It is called the banality of evil." -Thom Chittom
"Preachers: if you can't figure out a way to tell people that Jesus died for their sins...say JUST that, and sit down." -Jono Linebaugh
"Let us make an end: as long as you are struggling like the Pharisee to be alive in your own eyes–and to the precise degree that your struggles are for what is holy, just, and good — you will resent the apparent indifference to your pains that God shows in making the effortlessness of death the touchstone of your justification."  Robert Farrar Capon
"You really only need twelve or so close relationships to be healthy. And two-hundred Facebook friends to go insane." -Don Miller 
"Deceptively editing a video to make someone sound like she'll sell you the organs of aborted fetuses is really easy. All you need is a video camera, some editing software, and for the woman to say "I'll sell you the organs of aborted fetuses." -Lutheran Satire Facebook page 
"At Starbucks this morning had 8 or so Jehovah Witnesses sit down at my table and we had a great conversation. It was the usual demonstrating to them with just a few verses how Jehovah Witness theology contradicts the Scriptures. But after almost 15 years of evangelizing to Mormons and Jehovah witnesses, I've used a new tactic that I thought I'd share. After I have torn down their worldview (which I still think is essential), I always now (and I did this morning to them) look them straight in the eye and say something like: 'We are all on a journey. And no matter what happens with your faith in the future don't give up on Jesus. The group you are currently a part of has Jesus wrong but that doesn't mean Jesus is wrong. Cling to Him no matter what.'  I have found this to be especially impactful for those involved in cults like Mormonism and Jehovah's Witnesses. Don't give up on Jesus." -Justin Bass
"Rant warning--If you name the name of Christ, stop using crass, derogatory, or profane words to address the President of the U. S. if St. Paul could write, "Honor the king" referring to the mentally unstable emperor Nero who murdered Christians, then you can speak respectfully when referring to God-ordained governors with whom you disagree politically. It is beneath you to speak in such a way. Disagree with his policies, take issue with his moral stand on issues, and critique his economic principles, but do so with a respectful tone, a spirit of humility, and with a remembrance of the greater King whose name you bear as one called Christian! Matthew 5 is our model if Jesus is our king!" -Daniel Blaylock
“I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the Rock of Ages.” Charles Spurgeon

"I was (obviously) struck by the ‪#‎plannedparenthood‬ video exposed yesterday. It aimed a gut-punch at my core. I have been doing some hand-wringing, and I have also been on my knees.It's not hard for me to put myself in the position of a pro-choice person. Once upon a time, I was fairly vocally pro-choice, and at some distant moment in history, I was a single, teen-aged pregnant person. I know what it's like to believe in a woman's right to choose; I believed in my own right to choose. Through undeserved grace and boundless support, I chose to reject the abortion option and now have a pretty remarkable eleven year old, instead of great grief. But, I did believe in my right to choose. I thought, "This is the best of all possible worlds - my right to control my own destiny was preserved, and tragedy was avoided." It was only some years later that I came to the place of realizing that making the wrong choice would have been much worse for me, not to mention for my darling daughter, than having had the choice taken from me. I came to this conviction when I gave up on autonomy as the ultimate goal. Self-direction is good, as far as it goes - I'm an American, and by damn. But, self-direction has to be submitted to ethics and morals, and in my view, to the ethics and morals of the one true God. I know why women have abortions. Many are abandoned, abused, raped. Some, like all of us, are selfish, greedy. Most are scared and unloved and unsupported. But, we also know why Planned Parenthood (and, by extension, the abortion industry) exists. It is not to love on those women who suffer from abuse, rape, and abandonment. The purpose of Planned Parenthood is to further their abuse; it is to complete the project of woman-as-object; it is to ensure that our (patriarchal) capitalism can continue uninterrupted by the undesirable female function; it is to enable hundreds of thousands of American men as they flee the responsibility of children they sire; it is to profit from the trafficking of pieces of babies. When folks sit in judgment of the women entering abortion clinics, I grieve. I don't generally support sidewalk counseling, as I see it as an invasion and judgment at the place of vulnerability instead of a shepherding and loving when these women needed it. Praying outside clinics, yes. But, until you have been there, abandoned, shamed, and living in a society that shuns an improperly-timed child, you dare not pronounce an obvious easy right choice. A right choice, yes. That it is easy and obvious, no. But, I will gladly stand in the public square and scream the clear and obvious wrongness of those sipping their Cabernet and profiting from the industry. Abortion is anti-feminist, anti-morality, and anti-choice. It exists because we live in a country that has denigrated a primary function of women in favor of economic advantage. Years ago, I read a wonderful novel, The Cider House Rules by John Irving. It speaks to the heart of this issue, and holds the line that I held for so long - abortion is a tragedy, but often the lesser of the two tragedies in a world that has failed women and children. Dr. Wilbur Larch, one of the two main characters, runs an orphanage and delivers babies, and also reluctantly provides safe abortion in a world where it is illegal and unsafe. He often is charged with saving women from botched, back-alley abortions. He loves the children he takes in, and he grieves over the abused and abandoned women. He is heavy with the weight of it all, and always torn. Dr. Larch is the opposite of ‪#‎DeborahNucatola‬, who smacks her salad and speaks of livers and hearts and crushing in just the right places. If you hold, as Bill Clinton did, that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare, please know that Planned Parenthood is the enemy of rarity. It is the enemy of the women it claims to serve." -Ann Lowrey Forester

Noteworthy Images from the Week (or Month):

{I still think they are so cute.}

Hope you were encouraged and edified! 

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