Archive for December, 2006

on being (un)sound

December 31, 2006

i thought i would explain why i have titled my blog “an unsound life” by looking back at the notes i had read which first inspired the said title. i am sure you notice my blog is no longer called “an unsound life” (3 points for you)… i realized that maybe i was slightly misquoting a certain theologian and changed my title to more accurately reflect what he was communicating. his thoughts really spoke to me in a time when i felt like i was starting to emerge from various theological boxes but wasn’t sure where to land.

in the past 2 years i would say i have been on a journey regarding my view of scripture. many frustrations brought me to this point; one of which was the concept of the beloved quiet time.

“The simple habit of spending time with God daily takes only minutes”

this type of saying (found when i googled the phrase) caused me to compartmentalize my journey with God into a daily meeting and if i missed it i was in trouble. on the other hand, if i completed the task i could check it off and go on with my day. i struggled to see how this was effective in creating a dynamic relationship with God. i also struggled with getting into devotional studies. i remember at my university a popular bible study called “one on one with God” was taking over the campus. everyone i knew who had done it raved about the program’s effectiveness at helping people get into habitual daily quiet times. i eventually decided to take my roommate up on her offer of leading me through it and, being the rebel i am, found a way to put a wrench in the system by disliking it and eventually chucking the thing completely. (sorry lauren, we both tried and i failed miserably!)

then there were those times when i felt like i had read something in the Bible that confirmed something in my life. one instance in particular i remember reading a passage and assuming God was telling me to proceed with a dating relationship that i wasn’t entirely crazy about, but sort of talked myself into through various circumstances. after we eventually broke up, i found another passage that caused me to think we would get back together. (sparing you the details, but just know i am entirely too analytical for my own good). soon enough we did get back together and my then boyfriend also used scripture to confirm various details of our relationship and eventually concluded we would be married. this was november ’04 and to make a long story short, he proposed 6 month later.

to someone else.

then other issues caused me to question various ideas that seemed biblical but had no concrete basis, such as the concept of men as spiritual leaders. i was still pretty conservative in my thinking on the role of men and women when a “liberal” friend asked me where the term was found in the text. i remember when i finally realized this title didn’t exist anywhere in the bible… to think of how long i had placed this unnecessary burden on guys still makes me cringe.

more recently it was the fact that so many godly men and women have opposing views on all sorts of theological issues from free will to the sacraments. it just didnt (and still doesn’t) make sense to me how people could end up with so many different interpretations of the text.

all of this said, i began my blog at a time when i was deconstructing my views on scripture in light of some of what i have just shared and nt wright helped me to realize i was not a heretic for thinking something was awry in the mentality i held. that the bondage and frustration i had experienced was not because i was failing God but more about the fact that i had put God and myself in this lifeless coffin where growth was never going to occur no matter how hard i fought to follow the 3 easy steps. i want to experience this soundness nt wright speaks of when coming to the bible. a soundness that doesn’t lead to inactivity but progression, vigor, and new direction. i still struggle with self-imposed guilt for lack of reading, with not being sure how God is using scripture to speak new life into me, and how to discern whether i am reading too much into the text… so this post serves as a reminder to me of the bondage i let go of only to somehow burden myself with yet again.

God …wants to catch human beings up in the work that he is doing. He doesn’t want to do it by-passing us; he wants us to be involved in his work. And as we are involved, so we ourselves are being remade. He doesn’t give us the Holy Spirit in order to make us infallible—blind and dumb servants who merely sit there and let the stuff flow through us. So, he doesn’t simply give us a rule book so that we could just thumb through and look it up. He doesn’t create a church where you become automatically sinless on entry. Because, as the goal and end of his work is redemption, so the means is redemptive also: judgement and mercy, nature and grace. God does not, then, want to put people into little boxes and keep them safe and sound. It is, after all, possible to be so sound that you’re sound asleep. I am not in favor of unsoundness; but soundness means health, and health means growth, and growth means life and vigor and new directions. The little boxes in which you put people and keep them under control are called coffins. We read scripture not in order to avoid life and growth. God forgive us that we have done that in some of our traditions. Nor do we read scripture in order to avoid thought and action, or to be crushed, or squeezed, or confined into a de-humanizing shape, but in order to die and rise again in our minds. Because, again and again, we find that, as we submit to scripture, as we wrestle with the bits that don’t make sense, and as we hand through to a new sense that we haven’t thought of or seen before, God breathes into our nostrils his own breath—the breath of life. And we become living beings—a church recreated in his image, more fully human, thinking, alive beings.

to be sound but not asleep- this is what i desire.

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on being (un)sound

December 30, 2006

i thought i would explain why i have titled my blog “an unsound life” by looking back at the notes i had read which first inspired the said title. i am sure you notice my blog is no longer called “an unsound life” (3 points for you)… i realized that maybe i was slightly misquoting a certain theologian and changed my title to more accurately reflect what he was communicating. his thoughts really spoke to me in a time when i felt like i was starting to emerge from various theological boxes but wasn’t sure where to land.

in the past 2 years i would say i have been on a journey regarding my view of scripture. many frustrations brought me to this point; one of which was the concept of the beloved quiet time.

“The simple habit of spending time with God daily takes only minutes”

this type of saying (found when i googled the phrase) caused me to compartmentalize my journey with God into a daily meeting and if i missed it i was in trouble. on the other hand, if i completed the task i could check it off and go on with my day. i struggled to see how this was effective in creating a dynamic relationship with God. i also struggled with getting into devotional studies. i remember at my university a popular bible study called “one on one with God” was taking over the campus. everyone i knew who had done it raved about the program’s effectiveness at helping people get into habitual daily quiet times. i eventually decided to take my roommate up on her offer of leading me through it and, being the rebel i am, found a way to put a wrench in the system by disliking it and eventually chucking the thing completely. (sorry lauren, we both tried and i failed miserably!)

then there were those times when i felt like i had read something in the Bible that confirmed something in my life. one instance in particular i remember reading a passage and assuming God was telling me to proceed with a dating relationship that i wasn’t entirely crazy about, but sort of talked myself into through various circumstances. after we eventually broke up, i found another passage that caused me to think we would get back together. (sparing you the details, but just know i am entirely too analytical for my own good). soon enough we did get back together and my then boyfriend also used scripture to confirm various details of our relationship and eventually concluded we would be married. this was november ’04 and to make a long story short, he proposed 6 month later.

to someone else.

then other issues caused me to question various ideas that seemed biblical but had no concrete basis, such as the concept of men as spiritual leaders. i was still pretty conservative in my thinking on the role of men and women when a “liberal” friend asked me where the term was found in the text. i remember when i finally realized this title didn’t exist anywhere in the bible… to think of how long i had placed this unnecessary burden on guys still makes me cringe.

more recently it was the fact that so many godly men and women have opposing views on all sorts of theological issues from free will to the sacraments. it just didnt (and still doesn’t) make sense to me how people could end up with so many different interpretations of the text.

all of this said, i began my blog at a time when i was deconstructing my views on scripture in light of some of what i have just shared and nt wright helped me to realize i was not a heretic for thinking something was awry in the mentality i held. that the bondage and frustration i had experienced was not because i was failing God but more about the fact that i had put God and myself in this lifeless coffin where growth was never going to occur no matter how hard i fought to follow the 3 easy steps. i want to experience this soundness nt wright speaks of when coming to the bible. a soundness that doesn’t lead to inactivity but progression, vigor, and new direction. i still struggle with self-imposed guilt for lack of reading, with not being sure how God is using scripture to speak new life into me, and how to discern whether i am reading too much into the text… so this post serves as a reminder to me of the bondage i let go of only to somehow burden myself with yet again.

God …wants to catch human beings up in the work that he is doing. He doesn’t want to do it by-passing us; he wants us to be involved in his work. And as we are involved, so we ourselves are being remade. He doesn’t give us the Holy Spirit in order to make us infallible—blind and dumb servants who merely sit there and let the stuff flow through us. So, he doesn’t simply give us a rule book so that we could just thumb through and look it up. He doesn’t create a church where you become automatically sinless on entry. Because, as the goal and end of his work is redemption, so the means is redemptive also: judgement and mercy, nature and grace. God does not, then, want to put people into little boxes and keep them safe and sound. It is, after all, possible to be so sound that you’re sound asleep. I am not in favor of unsoundness; but soundness means health, and health means growth, and growth means life and vigor and new directions. The little boxes in which you put people and keep them under control are called coffins. We read scripture not in order to avoid life and growth. God forgive us that we have done that in some of our traditions. Nor do we read scripture in order to avoid thought and action, or to be crushed, or squeezed, or confined into a de-humanizing shape, but in order to die and rise again in our minds. Because, again and again, we find that, as we submit to scripture, as we wrestle with the bits that don’t make sense, and as we hand through to a new sense that we haven’t thought of or seen before, God breathes into our nostrils his own breath—the breath of life. And we become living beings—a church recreated in his image, more fully human, thinking, alive beings.

to be sound but not asleep- this is what i desire.

now and then what

December 26, 2006

my nephew is asleep in my room tonight (in his little transportable bed). i am officially in heaven and loving every minute of time with him i get. but tonight when mom left me upstairs to try to put him to sleep he freaked out on me. screams. real tears. the works.

and i realized its because he doesn’t really know me and so i got really sad and started to tear up and then there was mom coming back up the stairs to my rescue and of course he went straight to her… and about 30 minutes later we finally got him to go to sleep. he is a fighter, for sure. i hate that he doesn’t know me and the next time i see him will be in mid august… twice as much time away as this first leg of the journey.

sometimes i wonder if it would have just been the right thing to move back to nashville. get an apartment. a job where i made a decent salary. a new church community to invent in, see my nephew grow up. meet the guy (you know the one i mean). be with friends who know me. ….about 6 weeks ago i almost decided to do just this- to end my semester missionary stint and just come home.

but then it hit me that i was considering it only because i was scared. and i knew if i went home i would be running from this place of vulnerability and adventure that is vancouver. i feel like god has brought me there to be in this space of taking on risks and exploring life in ways i wouldn’t dream possible if i moved back to the all-too familiar.

i find myself thinking of jesus’ words about following him and how doing so may put child against parent. not that my parents are against me, but in light of the aforementioned incident with brock, i am realizing that for me to follow christ the way i think i should is costly.and knowing this is true isn’t always the same as experiencing it as truth. but if jesus IS how things are; if he is truly the reality we all are seeking to experience… then my life will involve great cost. that said i can safely say that my life will probably look pretty odd to some, unsuccessful to others, downright crazy to many…

so that brings me to some verses we focused on at church a few weeks ago, when the angel visited mary before jesus’s birth. jesus was going to be named as such because of what his birth meant- salvation was here not only the jews, but all mankind. i have to be a part of this same announcing. im not always good at it, sometimes i don’t do it, but even with that said, i don’t think i could live life any other way.

anyways, just some of my thoughts here on christmas night. its so great to be back. many friends have made it a point to seek me out for time together and i look forward to those times together. but most importantly i am home to see my family. that said, i’m off. i have a feeling brock will be waking me up earlier than later. maybe he will be a little more warmed up to me by morning. 🙂

why men shouldn’t be pastors

December 21, 2006

TEN REASONS WHY MEN SHOULD NOT BE ORDAINED

1. Men are too emotional. Their conduct at sporting events proves this.

2. A man’s place is in the military.

3. Some men are so handsome, they will distract women worshipers.

4. Male physiology indicates that men are more suited to tasks like chopping down trees, unearthing rocks, and wrestling with wild animals. It would be ‘unnatural’ for men to do other forms of work.

5. In the New Testament, the person who betrayed Jesus was a man. His poor judgment and lack of faith represent the character of his gender. This justifies the subordinate position all men should take in matters of spiritual formation.

6. Men are overly prone to violence. “Real” men prefer to settle disputes with immature displays of prowess and domination. Thus they make poor role models and are dangerously unstable leaders.

7. An ordained minister nurtures the congregation. Nurturing is not a traditional male role. Through history, women have proven more skilled at nurturing and more naturally attracted to it. This makes women the obvious choice for ordination.

8. In genesis, man was created before woman, obviously as a prototype. Thus men represent an experiment. Women represent the crowning achievement of God’s intent for humanity.

9. For men who have children, the duties of the church might distract them from their responsibilities as fathers.

10. Men can find meaningful church roles without being ordained. They can sweep sidewalks, repair the roof, and maybe even lead portions of worship on Father’s Day. Embracing such traditional roles, they can still be important in the life of the church.

*found this on a blog i read
*p.s. i don’t hate men (see #3)
*p.p.s #8 clears up so many things for me.

why men shouldn’t be pastors

December 21, 2006

TEN REASONS WHY MEN SHOULD NOT BE ORDAINED

1. Men are too emotional. Their conduct at sporting events proves this.

2. A man’s place is in the military.

3. Some men are so handsome, they will distract women worshipers.

4. Male physiology indicates that men are more suited to tasks like chopping down trees, unearthing rocks, and wrestling with wild animals. It would be ‘unnatural’ for men to do other forms of work.

5. In the New Testament, the person who betrayed Jesus was a man. His poor judgment and lack of faith represent the character of his gender. This justifies the subordinate position all men should take in matters of spiritual formation.

6. Men are overly prone to violence. “Real” men prefer to settle disputes with immature displays of prowess and domination. Thus they make poor role models and are dangerously unstable leaders.

7. An ordained minister nurtures the congregation. Nurturing is not a traditional male role. Through history, women have proven more skilled at nurturing and more naturally attracted to it. This makes women the obvious choice for ordination.

8. In genesis, man was created before woman, obviously as a prototype. Thus men represent an experiment. Women represent the crowning achievement of God’s intent for humanity.

9. For men who have children, the duties of the church might distract them from their responsibilities as fathers.

10. Men can find meaningful church roles without being ordained. They can sweep sidewalks, repair the roof, and maybe even lead portions of worship on Father’s Day. Embracing such traditional roles, they can still be important in the life of the church.

*found this on a blog i read
*p.s. i don’t hate men (see #3)
*p.p.s #8 clears up so many things for me.

sticks and stones… what?

December 20, 2006

tonight through really random circumstances i was reminded of something from my recent past that, though not regretful, proved to be something i went about a little carelessly. and anyways, its never fun when people take your personal experiences (good or bad, wise or unwise) and make light of them, or worse, make you feel like a mockery.

words… i am a person easily impacted by words. its funny how cutting they can be. maybe it was the fact that what i heard came indirectly, or maybe it had to do with who said them but still, words do carry so much weight and power and thats why instead of responding with my own words i had to stop. think rationally. think of consequences… just stop.

there is that stubborn part of me that just wants to bite back in an attempt to come to my own defense… but this isn’t the best way, as much as sometimes i want it to be. so, i refuse to use my words as arrows and instead i drop my bow and put my arrows down… acknowledging that there is a better way.

sticks and stones… what?

December 20, 2006

tonight through really random circumstances i was reminded of something from my recent past that, though not regretful, proved to be something i went about a little carelessly. and anyways, its never fun when people take your personal experiences (good or bad, wise or unwise) and make light of them, or worse, make you feel like a mockery.

words… i am a person easily impacted by words. its funny how cutting they can be. maybe it was the fact that what i heard came indirectly, or maybe it had to do with who said them but still, words do carry so much weight and power and thats why instead of responding with my own words i had to stop. think rationally. think of consequences… just stop.

there is that stubborn part of me that just wants to bite back in an attempt to come to my own defense… but this isn’t the best way, as much as sometimes i want it to be. so, i refuse to use my words as arrows and instead i drop my bow and put my arrows down… acknowledging that there is a better way.

home sweet home

December 18, 2006

the party last night was GREAT! we raised over 2,600 dollars and are putting it towards a share in a water well for an african community. because we had a few extra donations at the end of the night we were also able to purchase anti-retroviral drugs for women and children. just thought i’d share that update with whoever reads this. and also i’d like to thank everyone who left their cookies, brownies, truffles, and other various goodies that provide me with constant temptation.

so i am thinking that recently i have had nothing too insightful to share here. i’m not sure why, but maybe its because some of the things i am thinking through are better processed when having conversations with good friends, even if occuring over the crackling service of skype.

then again, maybe its because i am really excited to go home and can’t really think of much else in the mean time.

here are some reasons i am excited to go home:

frothy monkey
holding my nephew
being home with the family
showing off my newly acquired cooking skills for christmas
driving my car
running with shaunna
late night talks with good friends in PERSON instead of instant messanger/e-mail/crazy skype
using my cell phone again
mexican food/baja burrito
target
fido
sunshine (hopefully)
possibly roadtripping it to my college town and to memphis for a couple days

the fun begins when kristin takes me to the airport saturday morning at 3:30 a.m. yes. i typed that correctly. NAMB changed my flight 2 times since i booked the flight home and the most recently departure time is 6 a.m. and an international flight 2 days before christmas = awesomeness. i can’t really complain since NAMB covers my airfare, but my complaint is voiced nonetheless since i am not one to sleep on airplanes. but then again i will probably be so excited that i won’t care about the lack of sleep.

its not that i am unhappy here in vancouver, but going home for christmas is a much needed gift that i can’t wait to enjoy. and now, its less than a week away.

alright, back to studying (ugh, who created grad-school entrance exams?) before enjoying a meal with some fellow open house’ers at afghan horseman for andrea’s birthday. we get to eat dinner on the floor! sweet!

home sweet home

December 17, 2006

the party last night was GREAT! we raised over 2,600 dollars and are putting it towards a share in a water well for an african community. because we had a few extra donations at the end of the night we were also able to purchase anti-retroviral drugs for women and children. just thought i’d share that update with whoever reads this. and also i’d like to thank everyone who left their cookies, brownies, truffles, and other various goodies that provide me with constant temptation.

so i am thinking that recently i have had nothing too insightful to share here. i’m not sure why, but maybe its because some of the things i am thinking through are better processed when having conversations with good friends, even if occuring over the crackling service of skype.

then again, maybe its because i am really excited to go home and can’t really think of much else in the mean time.

here are some reasons i am excited to go home:

frothy monkey
holding my nephew
being home with the family
showing off my newly acquired cooking skills for christmas
driving my car
running with shaunna
late night talks with good friends in PERSON instead of instant messanger/e-mail/crazy skype
using my cell phone again
mexican food/baja burrito
target
fido
sunshine (hopefully)
possibly roadtripping it to my college town and to memphis for a couple days

the fun begins when kristin takes me to the airport saturday morning at 3:30 a.m. yes. i typed that correctly. NAMB changed my flight 2 times since i booked the flight home and the most recently departure time is 6 a.m. and an international flight 2 days before christmas = awesomeness. i can’t really complain since NAMB covers my airfare, but my complaint is voiced nonetheless since i am not one to sleep on airplanes. but then again i will probably be so excited that i won’t care about the lack of sleep.

its not that i am unhappy here in vancouver, but going home for christmas is a much needed gift that i can’t wait to enjoy. and now, its less than a week away.

alright, back to studying (ugh, who created grad-school entrance exams?) before enjoying a meal with some fellow open house’ers at afghan horseman for andrea’s birthday. we get to eat dinner on the floor! sweet!

party with a purpose

December 14, 2006

With many from our community going out of town soon, we opted to cancel our large group gathering scheduled for this Sunday. Vancouver is really interesting to me; most people don’t seem to be from here. Out of the 20+ people in our group, I don’t think there is one person actually from the city limits (Kristin is from a suburb about 20 minutes away, so she sort of counts I guess). A few from our group are heading to Southeast Asia, as their parents are missionaries in that region. Some are going home to places like Ontario for their school break or to Vancouver Island to visit relatives. I am going back to Nashvegas myself VERY early on the 23rd. So basically, by next weekend you won’t find much activity from the Open Housers. In fact, I think church this coming Tuesday will be pretty low-key compared to the usual.

Now that you have all of those great details, here’s the point of my post: In lieu of our gathering we are having a party this Saturday night. Now it isn’t just any party, and in fact it has me pretty excited because its for a great cause. It’s a World Vision party and the way it works is that everyone gives anonymously towards a gift in the World Vision Christmas Catalogue. At the end of the night we pool the money and all of us decide how its going to be put to use. Depending on how much people give, we could end up having enough money to build a new home, drill a water well, furnish a classroom, buy a family a turkey farm or a dairy cow, or provide clean water and towels for families.

So if any of you are in the Vancouver area this weekend, stop by 2541 William St at 7:30 for Christmas baking and a chance to really bless a family or community in need. 🙂