Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Weekly Smorgasbord

Well, Delicious changed some things up (again, grrr) and I'm sure the formatting is going to be off. I'm hoping the links all at least work. Anyway, this week we've got theological debates (and what to do when uncertainty comes), relating to those in costumer service as a faith practice, wonder and inspiration, Winter, and so much more!

On Faith:

When Everyone’s an Expert: Listening to Scripture in the Midst of Uncertainty  

"Though the Scriptures do help us settle theological debates, Christians should read the Bible to hear the word of the Lord to all who truly turn unto him: Come unto me, all ye that travail and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you. Study and argue and contend and study some more. Write confessions and statements of faith that are saturated with serious academic, theological reflection. Take sides and speak with conviction. Just remember: when uncertainty comes – and it will – and we’re blown about by theological winds, something sure remains: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. Refreshing, isn’t it?" 

These days I'm much less concerned with Right Theology and much more thankful for the Comfortable Words.

Customer service shalom | The Art of Simple  

"My attitude towards people in the service industry was broken, and in need of wholeness. So, I decided that for Lent, I would do three things: 1: See the person behind the counter and remember one thing about them. The way they smile, their interesting tattoos, the way they part their hair. Anything that humanizes them. 2: On the phone, listen for their name, say their name back to them before jumping in to my need. 3: At the end of the call or transaction say, “Thank you” and mention one thing I loved about what they did."

Why Lent Matters to Me ( a few resources) - Sarah Bessey

"When I couldn’t find my way through the clutter of praise and worship, I found Jesus in the silence and in the liturgy. When I couldn’t go into a megachurch, I could sneak into a small chapel and light a candle. When I had no words to pray, the Book of Common Prayer gave me back the gift of prayer. When I couldn’t sing along with certainty, I could hold a hymn book and simply listen, let the voices of others carry me. When I was consumed with my own life, blinders on, the liturgy reoriented me to the real story – to redemption, justice, and confession and to worship and community. I learned to orient worship around Christ and the Spirit and the Father."

Saying Yes To God - Grace Table

"Read your three or four verses. Read them again. And again. Close your eyes and see if you can remember any of the words. See if any of them shimmer more than others. Bring that word or phrase to God and ask Him if He has anything more to say to you through those words. He may not. But then again, He may. It’s possible He’s been trying to talk to you for ages while you dashed about like a mad hare or compulsively checked your newsfeed. It’s possible that your sitting in His presence like the weaned child in Psalm 131 is what He’s been longing for...I pray this Lent is a season when you say no to noise and rush and the harrying, hounding voices of too much so that you can say a resounding and joyful yes to God. Yes to opening the door, yes to inviting Him in, yes to sitting with Him, yes to His words of love."

The Prosperous Gospel of Stage 4 Cancer | Mockingbird

"Christianity’s core message is never delivered from the future-tense conditionality of an “if…then…” incentive, but through the past-tense (and passive) gift that was already given on our behalf. That past-tense gift has present-tense consolation. The cross demonstrates God’s presence in the absence of answers. Christian hope, therefore, does not look at suffering–or our handling of our suffering–as a prooftext for our salvation, but looks instead to the cross, to the God who suffered on it, and the God who, from it, said (declaratively): “It is finished.”"

Like a Child ‹ Story Warren

"Does it seem like so much of life is spent battling the shadows and the darkness? Even when life with children is filled with so much light – picnics and read-alouds, paintings on the refrigerator and backyard silliness – the night falls, I lay my head on the pillow and I’m haunted by all that is left un-done. Every field I’ve been given to tend is growing weeds, and try as I might, I can’t pull them all fast enough. It’s never enough...“Kingdom come” means so many things, but perhaps most precious of all is that my faith will become eyes, and I will finally accept, like my son, that I am loved by the King. His thoughts are precious to me. He waits at the end of the road for me to return again and again, and when he sees me, he hoists his tunic to his knees and races toward me. Then, improbably, he throws a feast, hugs me, clothes me, celebrates me. Maybe this is what it means to receive the Kingdom of God like a child – to lay aside the wounds of guilt and the broken arrows lodgedin my soul, and come to my father with bed head and a little sleep in my eye, throw my arms around his shoulder and listen as he whispers to me again my true name. May my home be a place that proclaims this truth, as much for myself as for my family: You are a child of God. He has called you his own, and wherever you go, his thoughts are precious to you."

 One of my very favorites in the list. 

On Parenting:

I Love You, Child, As I Have Been Loved | Mockingbird

"When our children are babies, it’s easy to say repeatedly, “I love you”; they’re squishy loaves of pink flesh, innocent, sweet, and precious. The I-love-yous pour from our mouths in sickening sweet tones to on-hearers. And just because these I-love-yous are easy does not mean that they aren’t heartfelt; they are. Our hearts are captured by our babies. They’re even captured by our toddlers. Whether terrific or terrible, these little guys still smell of sweetness and innocence, embodying the deep-down root of what it means to be silly, and we love them. And we tell them so, over and over."

On Wonder:

Cultivating Wonder in the Heart of A Child & Mama

 "I have realized that when weeks of intense, demanding work or busyness go by without rest or space, my mind becomes exhausted, my capacity for joy lessens, and with it my sense of gratitude for the life I have been given. There is an art to the cultivation of wonder. There is a rhythm that must be struck if you are going to keep your spirit fully alive to the music that life, when artfully lived, may be. The music wells up amidst moments carefully claimed, moments wrestled free of distraction from all that must be done and bought and given. But wonder, hush, those signposts of a heart welling up with the holy, come rarely amidst the frenzy of modern life." 

On Inspiration:

How to find inspiration when you’re uninspired | The Art of Simple

"The past few years, I’ve learned that my immediate environment critically affects my mood, from the clutter on my desk to the natural light pouring through my window (or lack thereof), to the walkability of the streets outside my front door. I used to apologize for that, but I don’t now. It’s how I’m made. I’m deeply affected by my surroundings. But what to do when my surroundings aren’t inspiring? That’s been the rub once we stored our backpacks in the top shelf of the closets. My work depends wholly on my creativity. How do I conjure up inspiration when there’s not much to be found?"

On Happiness:

Tacy Williams Beck: 10 Things Happy People Wish You Knew

"Be present. Take a look around. Take time to be thankful and deeply grateful. If you're cooking dinner and the house is a wreck, be thankful you made it home from carpool in one piece, and plan a time, later, to clean up, so that you don’t completely feel out of control. 4. Do hard things. Read long books. Take up a sewing project once in a while. Go on a trip. Go to a new store. Stretch yourself. Doing these hard things will make you humble, and they will help you to grow. Don’t stay in a stagnating pool of envy; do hard things, instead." 

Great tips. 

On Rhythms:

Let's Replace Resolutions with Rhythms - Grace Table

 "When perspective becomes slanted and days are disoriented; when emotions are out of sorts and your heart feels heavy, rhythms reorient toward what matters most amidst the noise of life. Maybe you don’t have the luxury of going somewhere quiet for long periods of reflection but you can find a spot to sit and stare out the window while your kids are eating breakfast. In the same way you start your day with a predictable routine, incorporate three minutes a day to listen to your heart and hear what God is saying."

On Fear: 

No Longer Afraid | Christie Purifoy

"I no longer think that losing my husband or even my child to death would be the end of me. I could lose even this house, this hilltop where I have planted so much of myself, and still go on. I have seen how it is possible to smash into a thousand pieces yet remain, not happy, certainly, not well, or whole, but held. Sustained. I have seen how God carries us through the very thing we imagine we cannot endure. It is written, “perfect love drives out fear” (I John 4:18). I have read those words and imagined this love like something familiar, something sweet like the candy hearts my children have been eating for days. But fear is powerful. Enormous. It takes a very big love to drive it out."

On Grief:

Things No One Told Me About Grief | Brain, Child Magazine

"No one purposefully neglected to tell me these things about grief. Loss, pain, sorrow, heartbreak, they are all simply topics that aren’t discussed in depth and that are experienced in both unique and universal ways. To say: this is how you will experience grief robs it of the unique, yet to say: this is how we mortals experience grief is to give the gift of not being alone. How do we talk about things for which there are no words, in any language that can capture the whole of it? The pain of tragedy burns so deeply and transformatively that we pander around in art, movies, poetry, flowers, songs, essays, trying to grasp the unfathomable. That’s what tears are for, they are the words of the utterly crushed...It is scary to raise my daughter to love, hoping she will stay tender and vulnerable, in other words able to be wounded. But this wounding love is also what makes us strong. In love we build friendships and communities and when grief takes our breath away, these connections step in and become our strength. We are so easily broken but when there is no strength to stand, the communities that love us move closer, tenderly gather the shattered pieces, and hold us."

On Death:

Shawn Smucker - Can We Start Using the Word ‘Died’ Again?

"I’m not saying we should be happy about death. I’m not saying we shouldn’t fight to stay alive. But when someone has died, let’s use the word. Let’s name Death so that we can put it in it’s proper place in the Christian tradition: immediately before a Resurrection."

On Place: 

A Love Story of Place - SheLoves Magazine

"It’s a love story of urban grit and yet-to-be-reconciled racial tension. It’s a love story of figuring out that place really does matter, that just as God fashions and forms humans in his unique image, he creates a personality of place. Just as you may be drawn to the mountains for a day of leisure, I might be drawn to the beach. Just as you might need to reside in a place where everybody knows your name, I might need to wallow in anonymity. Here’s the thing: I used to think that place didn’t matter."

On Books:

Shawn Smucker - A Letter to the Books in My House that Are Falling Apart

"You are my oldest friends, you with your ragged covers, your split spines, your brittle pages. I remember reading you in the secret round flashlight glow, undercover, when the crickets chirped. I remember sitting on the front porch, swatting away the flies, telling mom, “Just one more chapter!” My name, written in a stumbling script, is on the inside cover, along with the year we first met."

 On Winter:

The Rabbit Room — Here’s to the Snowstorms

"And here’s to coffee shop afternoons and a night on the town before the blizzard comes. Call it Cabin Fever Prevention. ‘Cause tomorrow, honey, you ain’t goin’ nowhere. The sun goes down. There’s a bite to the air, a sign of things to come."

On Mental Illness:

Disbelief, Suspended | Brain, Child Magazine

"In later years, after I headed home from work or school or shopping, I’d have to double back to where I’d just been, so certain was I that I’d run someone over. As the miles passed beneath my tires, I’d check the rearview mirror, picturing body parts strewn about, people standing in the street, hands pressed to cheeks, round mouths around horrible screams. A mile would pass. Two. Five. Even ten. My mind, in this mode, was ungrounded, like a bratty toddler having one hell of a temper tantrum, wailing and kicking the ground, demanding that it got its way. Eventually, I would give in to it, turning around in someone’s driveway, or making four right turns, three hundred sixty degrees, my mind circling around and around as I scanned the road for signs of trauma that I knew I’d never find. Through the windshield, I resentfully watched pedestrians going about their business, jogging, shopping, eating ice cream cones. How could they behave so normally when inside I was falling to pieces?"

On Loving Yourself: 

7 Simple Ways to Love Yourself Today | Micah J. Murray

 "While there’s a time for binge-watching Netflix, it can be a simple but profound act of love to go to bed early and let your body rest. We live in a world that often disrespects our creaturehood, wanting us to act like machines instead. We are praised for pushing ourselves to the limits. It’s hard to let yourself have time to rest — whether it’s a few hours of extra sleep at night, or a nap in the middle of the day. But by making that intentional choice, we are saying to ourselves, “I value, care for, and will protect you."

Humor Worth Sharing:

The 10 Least Inspiring Sentences on This Lululemon Tote - The Hairpin

"Observe a plant before and after watering and relate these benefits to your body and brain"

Fiction Worth Sharing:

Fiction: Mama Jane’s Pizza | Brain, Child Magazine

"He had stashed five thousand dollars in the glove box that morning and now he opened the box to gaze at the loose stack of hundreds. He had no immediate need for the money, but it reassured him they weren’t poor, not yet, which meant he could put off getting a real job. His wife, Maddy, would be furious if she knew he had cashed in a CD. The thought made him smile."

Noteworthy Quotes and Soundbites:
"I want to answer a question that has been popping up in the comments to my posts about the airport takeover. The question is, "as a practical matter, what difference does it make" who is on the airport board (or who appoints the members of the board).
I've also seen that question phrased as: "Is there reason to believe that a group of leaders selected from surrounding areas / the governors appointments / and 2 from Jackson couldn't do as good or better job of managing the airport for the long run?".
I think people who ask this question genuinely believe that this matter is about running the airport, picking the CPAs/outside counsel, doing the day-to-day management, etc.
They couldn't be more wrong.
This hostile takeover isn't at all about managing the day-to-day operations of the airport (if it was, the bill's backers could point to actual problems with airport operations, which they haven't done).
This is a fight over money.
More specifically, this is a money fight over the development of land.
For years, the City of Jackson and the Airport Authority have owned a ton of land that wasn't worth much of anything because there were no roads to access that land.
So what's changed?
What's changed is that there is a new road that cuts straight through the City and Airport's property on the East side of the Airport. Because of this new road, all the City land that was useless is now ripe for significant development.
The road I am talking about is the "East Metro Parkway." The East Metro Parkway has been in the works for decades but only really got interesting in 2011. Phase One opened in March 2013 and connected Flowood and Lakeland Drive to El Dorado Road in Pearl. Phase Two started with the Eldorado Road portion and made improvements to Crossgates Boulevard. As everyone involved recognizes, the East Metro Parkway will fundamentally shift traffic patterns in the area. For example, for people coming to Highway 80 to go shopping at Dogwood, they can take this parkway up instead of battling Lakeland traffic.
Tom Traxler, head of Rankin First (Rankin County's economic development group) described the importance of the East Metro Parkway to the Clarion Ledger in August 2011, stating, "The economic impact of East Metro Parkway could be huge, with roughly 1,000 acres along its length potentially open for some type of development. It touches all three cities (Flowood, Pearl and Brandon)." Traxler continued, "it will be an extremely valuable (asset). It opens up a vast amount of property." (source: http://harborwalkms.com/news/flowood-makes-a-connection.pdf )
So, in sum, Jackson's airport board has a say in how this newly valuable land will be used. Because the appointees to the board are Jacksonians and are accountable to the people of Jackson, I know that they care about the things that matter to future of the City of Jackson. For example, I know that the board as it is currently composed will do things like make sure that when people try to develop the property that the City owns along the parkway, some of the jobs and contracts go to Jacksonians. Because the appointees to the board are Jacksonians and care about Jackson, I know that if a project on this City land may hurt other City interests, they won't do the project or will push to do the project in a different way.
Change the composition of the Board in a way that no longer gives Jackson a majority of control, there will be a free-for-all for this newly valuable property. Change the composition of the Board in a way that no longer gives Jackson a majority of control and I know that the construction jobs, and contract opportunities associated with this newly valuable land will not go to Jacksonians.
So, at the end of the day, this matter has nothing to do with who runs the day-to-day operations at the airport and has everything to do with who controls the development opportunities, jobs, and contracts associated with hundreds of acres of land in one of the most valuable areas of the State of Mississippi.
Wanna know why Rankin County Republicans are making this gangster move right now? This is not about who awards the contract for airport attorney or who will be the concessions vendor at the Delta gates. Legal Fees at the airport are small potatoes and Southwest ain't coming back because someone from Rankin County is now a board member. This is all about the East Metro Parkway.
Final Note: Ironically, the very existence of the East Metro Parkway proves the ability of the City, the State, and Rankin County to work together collaboratively without schoolyard bully tactics. That is so because the JMAA has chipped in millions to help build the East Metro Parkway (side by side with Rankin County). It's like the JMAA and the City are being mugged by a hungry person after helping buy the hungry person lunch." - Jackson City Councilman Melvin Priester

 Noteworthy Images:
I remember Melina, the priest's wife at Calvary and also a friend, describing the liturgy as an anchor to me and what a powerful analogy that was. It has certainly helped steady my faith in times of troubled waters. Thankful for it then and now.

Noteworthy Videos:

Really good information! 



Rebecca Petersen said...

I really liked that clothing video! I keep telling my husband that his clothes aren't dirty after wearing them one time! It's not like we work outside and get sweaty. We both work at a desk in an air conditioned building!

Tacy said...

Thanks for the mention!