Friday, September 18, 2015

Weekly Smorgasbord

Some great links. Everything from slow roads to fictional characters to hipster music choices to grace in parenting!

On Faith:
Posted: 20 Aug 2015 09:40 PM PDT
So on point. LOLOL. White privilege, pushing back, leaning in, the lack of gendered pronouns for God, and the "I want to honor that". Pretty much perfect.
Posted: 20 Aug 2015 09:39 PM PDT
This is long. But so, so good. In case you don't have forty five minutes, here are my favorite quotes: "They came to believe that the cross of Christ was their salvation. For free and forever. But something happened after that. Something that broke them. And in general, I think that what happened is namable. At least in many cases. In my Lutheran church, Missouri Synod, we would speak of it as the confusion of law and Gospel... ...Or take another example: those who heard much of Christ and His saving blood and cross in an evangelistic meeting, became Christians, and then heard very little of that wonderful message in the week-by-week pulpit ministry of their congregation. Instead, they heard recipes as to how to conquer sin, or how to have a more intimate marriage. Or how to have drug-free kids. Fill it in anyway you want, it's law...The church has an obligation to preach the Gospel to these people on a weekly basis. And deep down, they somehow know that. But if that isn't what happens , they react. I would, too! After all, what does the church have for a man, a woman, a child other than Christ & His work on their behalf? Not much! Not compared to the Gospel of Christ preached as crucified for them and for their sin, Christ risen from the dead for their justification. Not compared to being absolved, not compared to eating the body of Christ given into death for their sin and drinking the blood of Christ shed for their sin...For most of us pastors, the link between Jesus and the church (a mother symbol) is so tight, so identical, that to be angry with mother church is the same as rejecting Jesus! It is not. But I’m recommending, at least in conversation with “the angry”—that we, all of us—identify with the anger of these people at the church, that we say, “Well, of course you are angry! With what it did to you? It would be insane not to be angry at it! I just misunderstood. I thought you had dismissed Christ... And, believe me, the “angry” alumni are listening closely to see whether we are going to defend the church as much as we defend the Gospel. I recommend that we do not defend the church as much as we defend the Gospel!!! I recommend that we immediately “cop to” horrendous things done by the church. "
Posted: 26 Aug 2015 09:42 PM PDT
"Tonight I tucked in four sweet, robust little boys. My husband bought me my favorite candle and asked me about my day. I am unbelievably blessed. But there is a difference between thankfulness and idolatry and I don't want to cross that line. I do cross it all the time. I know because instead of soaking up the joy of my blessings I'm often anxiously thinking of all the things that could go wrong. I want to hold on tightly to these gifts He's given me and never let go."

On Parenting:
Posted: 30 Jul 2015 01:44 PM PDT
"More listening. Summer is incredibly busy for us. When I take the opportunity to sit or walk or spend time with my kids and listen to the things they want to say, it tells them that their thoughts and ideas are important. It tells them that I want to know what's going on in their little minds. When they feel like they can tell me anything, it creates a positive and open line of communication. This is important now, but it's even more important as they grow older—when there might be bigger things they need to talk about."

Posted: 20 Aug 2015 09:48 PM PDT
"We cannot meet the standards of the world. We cannot meet the standards of the church. So throw in the towel and call a time out. Ask to take a knee and then take two. Being a parent is impossibly hard and Jesus offers us shocking and saving grace." Stumbled upon this gem of a talk given by my precious (and hilarious) friend Sarah. By "I have no advice" what she really means is "I have the best advice ever". (See the above quoted paragraph, but really watch the whole thing.)
Posted: 26 Aug 2015 09:35 PM PDT
"I have come to realize this: motherhood is a bottomless pit of unstoppable, unimaginable, undying love that you can never work your way out of and it always, always ruins you. This kind of love always leaves scars, and perhaps you bear the signs of motherhood on your tummy. Or maybe, like me, the evidence is hidden on your heart. Wherever the ruin lies, I think we all can agree, it certainly leaves a beautiful mess."

On Conflict:
Posted: 26 Aug 2015 02:26 PM PDT
"Talking to someone before you have their attention is the equivalent of firing your weapon when your target is out of range." This is a great idea. And honestly with some little kids, it needs to be a step further. If we don't kneel down and look Graves in the eye to tell him something, we don't really expect him to do it. It really, REALLY helped when we realized that."

On Apologizing:
Posted: 30 Jul 2015 01:37 PM PDT
"And more than ever, lately, I find myself making room for myself, speaking my mind, asking for what I need and ultimately, like Brittany suggested, avoiding saying "I'm sorry" and instead insisting, "excuse me, I'm coming through!""

On Grief:
Posted: 30 Aug 2015 12:54 PM PDT
"Even though it's frightening, I feel like I'm getting closer to being able to hand someone my soppy bruised tomato of a heart. If they cup their hands and treat it with gentle little kitten paws, I think I might be ok." Brilliant and funny read of grief.

On Encouragement:
Posted: 30 Aug 2015 12:41 PM PDT

On What Matters:
Posted: 30 Jul 2015 02:20 PM PDT
"Admittedly, in the last few months I lost track of my Only What Matters goals. It's been a happy, busy summer. But even though I haven't concentrated on the phrase, it's interesting what has seeped into our daily living anyway. That's the thing about mantras, I guess, if they really take hold. They pulse through your decisions whether you're actively seeking them or not."

On Stamina and Long Slow Roads:
Posted: 20 Aug 2015 01:11 PM PDT
"Let's keep going, you and I. Let's keep our foot on the accelerator. Let's not worry about the select few who shoot past us on their motorcycles, racing to the peak. The top will still be there when we arrive, whatever that might look like. It will still be there. I promise."
Posted: 26 Aug 2015 09:12 PM PDT
"Admittedly, the idea of heroes drearily trudging along day after weary day is contrary to his conception of them as triumphant victors. Nonetheless, I still believe this drawn-out experience is necessary. Unquestionably, the masterful use of language is as vital to children as their green vegetables are. Taste isn't acquired by avoiding nutritious foods. I think it's also quite possible that the discipline of sticking to a book through thick and thin is a life lesson, a small training ground for life as it really will be, a gentle preparation to increase their stamina for the endurance that both routine and testing times require." People who love story, God, imagination, childhood, education, literature and should probably check out this site. It's a new favorite.

On Feminism:
Posted: 28 Jul 2015 03:01 PM PDT
"So when Naomi Wolf urges women to change their vocal patterns to regain their strength, she merely addresses a symptom. She suggests those women who are raising their voices should change the way they speak. But history shows once vocal fry is no longer the excuse, there'll be another. It is the listeners, not the speakers, who are the problem."

On Alcohol:

Posted: 30 Jul 2015 02:08 PM PDT
"The way we joke about whiskey when our hearts are broken. The way we smile when we talk about using red wine to cope with pain-in-the-ass toddlers. The way we enjoy a stiff drink after dinner, and another, and another. Drinking is not a kind god. Whiskey won't cure a broken heart. And I don't want to have to read your memoir a year or twenty from now about how you went all the way down that road and finally found yourself saying, "I have a problem."..Alcohol, I think, was meant to be be shared in a circle with those we love, not alone with Netflix and regret."

On Abortion:
Posted: 20 Aug 2015 09:52 PM PDT
“I was 16 when my girlfriend got pregnant. We went to the abortion clinic on 59th Street. We filled out the papers and everything. Then right before we were called back, we looked at each other, and said: ‘Let’s get out of here.’”

So beautiful.

On Rear-Facing Carseats:
Posted: 20 Aug 2015 09:37 PM PDT
"True story: I finally just taught AP to tell people herself "I am much safer this way" when people sort of picked on her (because strangely, most folks addressed her, "Why are you sitting backwards, Big Girl?). Honestly, when a three year old would articulate it in one sentence more people shut up than when I gave my long winded (often defensive) response."

On Books:
Posted: 26 Aug 2015 02:19 PM PDT
Great word!

On Summer:
Posted: 24 Aug 2015 10:07 PM PDT
"There are the tangibles, of course: fiery, southern sunsets, rocking chairs and screen doors, something always on the grill. There's barely any cell service at the lake, and the internet is unusually slow, so part of the clear-headed-ness that comes on is because of a forced disconnection from the rest of the world. There are two bald eagles who have built a nest in the next cove over. We have friends who ride by on their boats in the morning to spot us stirrin', and who show up like clockwork in the evenings after the porch lights go on. The guest beds are comfy (so everyone says) and there is always, always, cold beer in the fridge." 
Beautiful post.
Posted: 24 Aug 2015 03:05 PM PDT

On Hipsters and Music:
Posted: 21 Aug 2015 12:52 PM PDT
"There's nothing offensive about it; that's the problem. If I'm getting this right, DMB stand for collar-popped, hemp-braceleted, upper-middle-class preppie types with hippie pretensions, and everyone hates those people, at least in theory, partly for being so smug as to not be totally evil. Yes, Urban Outfitters attracts a middle-of-the-road clientele, and not everyone is all that concerned with the meaning of Dave Matthews Band (and good for them), but… wouldn't Urban Outfitters be? After my initial surprise, I thought, OK, OK, this is how trends work: think of the least cool thing, and wait two seconds. If DMB is the least cool, it stands to reason they'd be "recuperated" eventually." Interesting in the way something mostly meaningless and bereft of any true significance can be. Are the hipsters gonna lay claim to DMB?

On Fictional Characters Across the US:
Posted: 20 Aug 2015 09:53 PM PDT
Kinda cool. But surely there are more popular characters from Mississippi *and* New York?

Noteworthy Quotes from the Week (or Month):

"Wanting a bunch of stuff we don't need is a recipe for misery." -Donald Miller

"For most of us it takes a long time for the Spirit of freedom to cleanse us of the subtle urges to be admired for our studied goodness. It requires a strong sense of our redeemed selves to pass up the opportunity to appear graceful and good to other persons." -Brennan Manning

Noteworthy Images from the Week (or Month):

[from a first grader, when asked what teachers did when they weren't at school.]

 Glad that ain't my normal, or anybody else's in this house (which is VERY lived in, in all its eighty degree in the Summer, fifteen hundred sq foot splendor), for that matter.

I have a couple of friends (both Wesleyans) who, every time I want to FIGURE SOMETHING OUT NOW, are like "Westerners/Protestants need to take a hint from these guys and relax". Viewing it as a beautiful mystery is sorta key for some people to not losing your mind/faith.

This guy is me and AP. 


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