Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Weekly Smorgasbord

Ugh, when will I learn? I let my links build up in a major way again. I am catching up a bit with other things so hopefully by December, this will be back to a normal weekly thing. 

On Faith:

Posted: 09 Oct 2015 11:09 PM PDT
"And regardless of who fills the seats, Bolz-Weber's message from the pulpit remains the same: "My job is to point to Christ and to preach the Gospel and to remind people that they're absolutely loved ... and all of their mess-ups are not more powerful than God's mercy and God's ability to sort of redeem us and to bring good out of bad."" 

Nailed it, per usual.
Posted: 08 Nov 2015 10:22 PM PST
"What's happening in my spiritual life is that as the vision grows darker and darker in one direction it grows brighter and brighter in the other direction. The deeper into the pit of wickedness I go the greater the scandal of grace. Morally and theologically, my faith is becoming one of deepening contrasts. Darker night. Brighter light. It's this sharp line of contrast between wickedness and grace that has transfixed me. My theological guides in this journey have been Johnny Cash, Dorothy Day, and Flannery O'Connor. The contrasts between light and darkness are so clear in their work--musical, literary and theological...I want my faith painted in bolder brushstrokes. I believe that God will reconcile all things in Christ, but I'd like to hear that message preached at a tent meeting revival, with talk of the devil, the King James Version of the bible and shouts of Hallelujah. I want the gospel of inclusion and grace of the mainline Protestants preached with the passion and rage of of fundamentalist street-preachers...I want my faith both more conservative and more progressive at the very same time. Too much sin, blood and damnation for the progressives. Too much mercy, inclusion and love for the conservatives."

I have attended a church that handled the juxtapositions as beautifully and as deliberately as the Cashes, the Days, and the O'Connors. A Sunday doesn't go by (and very few days go by) that I don't miss it.
Posted: 19 Oct 2015 05:56 PM PDT
"A theme of The Bible Tells Me So is that the Bible does not work well as an owner's manual, a rule book, or a field guide to the Christian life. It does work well, though, as a diverse and ancient model of the journey of faith, which is for us as diverse, contextual, and messy as the Bible itself so patiently lays out for us. We just need to accept the Bible for what it is, not for what we would like it to be. The Bible bears the marks of messiness. Christian theology, if it wishes to be compelling and speak into people's lives, needs to incorporate that fact, not shy away from it."
Posted: 11 Nov 2015 08:27 PM PST
"The day looked nothing like what I had grown to expect a holiday to look like but it looked exactly like what a feast should be–sacrifice and sharing, celebration and community. Most of all, it was marked for me by what every one of our days should be marked with–remembering the ultimate sacrifice that changes each our lives, feast or famine, in the Middle East or America."
Posted: 06 Nov 2015 01:43 PM PST
"If you are watching political ads, speeches, or debates, or if you reading blogs about an election, and your blood begins boiling and hatred rises up and spews out of your mouth or onto your keyboard, that may be a sign to you that you are harboring a rival eschatology, that, despite what you might think to be true, your peace comes not from the gospel but from the state. Your deep allegiance may be misplaced."

 I really needed to read this (although I do sort of wish it had been titled differently, I think it can be applied a lot more broadly). Sometimes I look at our options and with quite a few of them, I think on a presidency and the future of our country with fear and dread. And I get a bit angry and irrational, even.
Posted: 11 Nov 2015 08:07 PM PST
"God is making his appeal through us everywhere we go because wherever we go, the glory of God goes with us, even when we feel in the minority. Through daily choices we speak for Christ and not being offended by a lack of faith in the people we encounter is a choice that matters, especially to those who watch us."

On Parenting:
Posted: 14 Oct 2015 01:43 PM PDT
"But the best parenting advice we can offer each other is this: be vulnerable. Surround yourself with parents in the same season as yourself–not to compare, but to comfort. Not to get answers, but to discover we all feel inadequate."

On Friendship:
Posted: 09 Nov 2015 10:03 PM PST
"Can we raise our glasses to friends, to more stories and food and wine, and even, if we are brave enough, to heartaches and disappointments and failures? Can we toast the things we hated but that somehow made us stronger, or wiser, or more forgiving? Can we, in other words, raise our glasses high, on this almost winter's night, to another billion miles, give or take?" 

Such beautiful writing on friendships. Thankful for so many wonderful ones.

On Politics:
Posted: 09 Oct 2015 11:02 PM PDT
There are certainly parts of this I disagree with (namely conflating the Gospel with Bernie Sanders (uh, hard nope) and also the part about how valuing other people before ourselves makes us accidental liberals), but overall I think it's very worth the listen and something we should at least consider.

On Heroes:
Posted: 08 Nov 2015 08:29 PM PST
"It's one thing to create a hero who is lovable, admirable, and dashing. What isn't so easy is to create a layered character (especially a cartoon one) who is chronically embarrassed, rejected, and made to look like a fool and still have him come out as the hero. But that's what Charles Schulz did with Charlie Brown. We relate to him in his embarrassment and chuckle at his consistent misfortune."

On Hospitality and Focusing Outward:
Posted: 11 Nov 2015 08:19 PM PST
"Thanksgiving became the holiday we turned outwards and looked for who we could bring into the warmth of our home and family."
Posted: 09 Nov 2015 09:57 PM PST
Who knows if they even remember it or if they even feel it in the same big way that I do. I know it feeds me. I may be giving something of myself, but seeing a smile spread across someone's face feeds me and nourishes me. I feel it ripple through me and fill me with warmth and, mostly, I remember these moments like I remember good meals.

On Race:

Posted: 10 Oct 2015 10:26 PM PDT
" Racism — whether in interpersonal or institutional form, whether instigated by the oppressor or internalized by the oppressed — violently shreds the human soul, beheads the Church, dismembers Christ's body...So then, what language do we use when speaking about racism, even in casual conversation? Do we convey its violence, its terror? Do we communicate its viscerality? Our words matter. They reflect our view of reality; they put flesh on our convictions."
Posted: 14 Oct 2015 01:49 PM PDT
"IN August 2010 John T. Williams, a homeless woodcarver of the Nuu-chah-nulth tribe who made his living selling his work near the Pike Place market in Seattle, was shot four times by a police officer within seconds of failing to drop the knife and piece of cedar he was carrying (Mr. Williams had mental health problems and was deaf in one ear). He died; the folding knife was found closed on the ground."

On Simplicity:
Posted: 14 Oct 2015 01:59 PM PDT
Good ideas!
Posted: 14 Oct 2015 01:57 PM PDT
"I'm learning to trust my kids' imagination, and to not stifle it with toys they simply don't love or need." #3 is huge.

On Time and Life:
Posted: 11 Nov 2015 08:26 PM PST

Such a fascinating project!

On Children's Literature:
Posted: 09 Nov 2015 09:59 PM PST
Love this.

On Punctuation:
Posted: 31 Oct 2015 06:20 PM PDT
She didn't even notice she was doing it until she reread a work email to find only one period in a paragraph of six sentences. A paragraph about email newsletters. The email newsletters were not putting out forest fires or rescuing babies. They were just showing up innocuously in people's inboxes, saying hey. Surely there was no need for that much exclamation in such an email?

On Bears:
Posted: 06 Oct 2015 12:45 PM PDT

"Polar bears' fur consists of a dense, insulating underfur topped by guard hairs of various lengths. It is not actually white—it just looks that way. Each hair shaft is pigment-free and transparent with a hollow core that scatters and reflects visible light, much like what happens with ice and snow." Who knew?

Noteworthy Quotes and Stories:
Some people ask nowadays what kind of a religion it is that chooses an instrument of torture for its symbol, as if the cross on churches must represent some kind of endorsement. The answer is: one that takes the existence of suffering seriously. - Francis Spufford

"Somebody asked me if I used essential oils. I’m like, if you’re talking about whatever oil Chick Fila is using? Then yes." -Tim Hawkins 

"I hate throwing up. It makes me cry in the best of situations. Yesterday after projectile vomiting (MULTIPLE TIMES) on the side of the road on my walk home from work, a kind dude working at the apartment building came and rubbed my back and told me it would be okay (all while having to be terribly close to my puke and also witnessing the 2-4th rounds) and got me some papertowels as I burst into tears at feeling sick and his kindness. I couldn't even really see him through the sobbing and the sickness, but as I finally got myself a little together and could manage the final block home, he introduced himself as Andy (i think!) and wished me well. Kindness of strangers friends." -Melissa Clough

[This stood out to me because I've been reading about vulnerability this morning and at my Bible study a week or so ago we talked about having a conversation with a stranger and how hard that is. Now thinking of having a conversation with someone I've never met who is in the midst of being sick. This so reminds me of the time a stranger tied my shoe because I was wearing Graves and couldn't bend over to do it. I never knew strangers to give of themselves the way I saw it when I lived in NYC (which was so opposite of what I was expecting). My best theory was that the harshness of city softened people and that they knew if they didn't help each other they would not survive it. I'm so thankful for the lessons I learned there, for the friends I made, and for the strangers who helped me and our children survive it.]

"“Neuroeconomist Paul Zak has found that hearing a story - a narrative with a beginning, middle, and end - causes our brains to release cortisol and oxytocin. These chemicals trigger the uniquely human abilities to connect, empathize, and make meaning. Story is literally in our DNA.” (p.6)." -Brene Brown

"[T]hose logos and t-shirts and cute bags and water bottles and "gotcha day" and "forever family" and all that jazz that have cute and catchy adoption sayings? what's hard about these is that they're used to highlight and maybe even celebrate adoption - or maybe the orphan. even if they're used to raise awareness, it's raising the awareness and focusing on the "needs." these things can send incomplete messages. it feels like these are about the beauty that is IN adoption or through adoption or with a family, but dismisses the brokenness that has to occur for adoption (or the "rescuing" or "saving") to even be possible. and, these cute and catchy sayings only highlight the adopted person's "need," not OUR needs...i think it might feel the same to someone struggling with addiction for those who are welcoming that person in their life or walking alongside of them to where a t-shirt that says, "addict advocate." wouldn't that feel weird and uncomfortable for the person struggling with the addiction? maybe even weird and uncomfortable for those outside the "addiction community." -Carissa Woodwyk

Noteworthy Images:

Yep, until you're about ten.

Love these folks. Love this city.


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