18 June 2008

Just a thought tonight...

I have just barely escaped the temptation to once again compare myself to another woman and sink into a comfortable though unsatisfying self-pity. This is not a physical comparison, but an intellectual one.  

Let me be content with whoever God has made me to be. No more and no less than the next person, though we are all so beautiful simply because His fingerprints mark our deepest places.

05 May 2008

"And now for something completely different"...

Okay, so much like many of you that still seperate summer from the rest of the year by working a different job/not going to school, I have begun considering what to do, which often involves lofty goals of reading of which I always question...and some of you do, as well :)

I will be reading The Search for Significance: Seeing Your True Worth Through God's Eyes by Robert S. McGee, with a good friend, which is long overdue since it was first introduced to me a couple years ago. I am looking forward to a challenging read, which will probably include self-examination, looking into the past, and learning to believe the Truth about myself as a daughter of the King. Can't wait.

Secondly, while on a retreat this weekend, books, games and sweet toys from childhood were brought up in conversation. Upon that, I remembered American Girl books and how I always really wanted the dolls and their tiny detailed items that accompanied them like a birthday cake, journal or ice skates. But, to no avail. Looking back, it seems kind of ridiculous how many dolls they can keep coming up with and how many tiny things can be sold with them. Anyway, I am totally re-reading some American Girl books this summer.

A special friend frequently challenges my reading choices in regards to fun and enjoyable reads. I definitely enjoy reading things like Celebration of Discipline or Screwtape Letters, but I see the need to escape in a fictional tale every now and then. I used to read all summer in elementary school with the summer reading program at the Southport Public Library and got sweet prizes like friendship bracelets, Wendy's Frosty coupons and passes to the YMCA pool. I think along with becoming too old (really, too cool) for the summer reading program and being assigned so much serious reading, I had forgotten my deeply buried excitement for the occasional fiction book (see Babysitter's Club).

So anyways, I want to tell you about my favorite American Girl characters/stories. In no particular order, I present them to you, reader:

Felicity: Felicity lives during the time of the Revolutionary War and experiences the effects of the war in her daily life with her family. I remember liking Felicity because she was adventurous, curious and strong. She also liked riding horses and has a story about a horse that responds well only to her presence.

Addy: Addy lives during the Civil War and is the daughter of runaway slaves. She is sweet and kind and is learning to live in the ever present face of hardship. I remember getting fired up when reading about Addy's life because I disagreed with all of the injustice and hurt that I saw dealt to her and her family.

Molly: Molly was really fun and spunky. She lives during WWII and is on the front lines of the war in a way because her father serves wounded soldiers and her mother teaches her about their victory garden and the importance of rationing. Molly has really fun friends and has a story about going to camp with them that I liked a lot. V for Victory!

So those are my faves...Each character has 6 books, all with the same titles, excluding their names.

-Meet _____
-Changes for ______
-______ Saves the Day
-______'s Surprise
-Happy Birthday ______
-______ Learns A Lesson

I forgot how much I loved these books. I will read them and I will love them. And so will you.

01 May 2008

Warning: Christian Ed. church critique below...

This post somewhat pertains to the question posed in my profile...Why should we dress up in order for people to take us seriously? Maybe I only want to be taken half-seriously...

I get frustrated being told how to dress, even if it is dressing up for a nice event or interview. Those would seem to be expected. It's not that I don't like dressing up, in general, but I hate doing it when I know it's to present a certain version of myself to please those around me...it doesn't seem genuine. What if dressing up does not help me in expressing my true self to someone?

In middle and high school, I would say that I had a unique style of dressing because I didn't want to be wearing the exact same outfit as the three girls next to me and also as a creative expression of myself. I didn't want to be identified with a group, lumped together and written off as a specific type of person. I wanted to dodge the labels--both literal and figurative. I wanted to be known as an individual, with my own thoughts and ideas and feared that I would not be if I physically blended in.

Anyway, I bring all of this up because of chapel yesterday. It is social justice week at Taylor and a man came on stage to introduce the speaker wearing a hoodie and jeans. I'm not sure why, but I loved that he was wearing that as someone addressing the student body and attempting to be taken seriously doing so. He was a man who works in full-time ministry in Philadelphia (maybe from The Simple Way community?), I believe, and went on to boldly challenge us to not just walk away from ministry experience with a greater sense of gratitude for all the stuff we have, but to be challenged about all the stuff we have. He talked about Lazarus and the rich man and pointed out that though the rich man had lots of stuff, it didn't change where he ended up for eternity, which was hell. He needed a relationship with God, which means sacrificing stuff, whether it be relationships, money, vacations, clothes, etc.

I think I also took this man seriously because of his body language toward the chapel. He grasped the podium and leaned forward, making eye contact with us while speaking from Scripture hidden in his heart. Authenticity. I think overall I was impressed with his genuine and authentic challenge without a suit, without notes.

I know this is very glaring of what generation I live in: the most recent one that craves authenticity from people and from church, which George Barna refers to as the Mosaic generation in his book Revolution. Yes, I even subscribe to Relevant magazine, which would appear to be a direct opposite of one of the challenging chapters in Henri Nouwen's little book with great purpose In the Name of Jesus, but that discussion is for another time.

Second came the actual speaker, Jimmy Dorrell, from Church Under the Bridge in Waco, TX. He was sharing stories about his time with the church and told a story about a man that came to his church after he was told he was not welcome in another church because of how he was dressed, which I'm sure was pretty ragged.

What?! That breaks my heart and at the same time ticks me off so much! How can you be in the full time business of furthering Christ's Church and not realize when you are directly working against the purpose of that Church? ...

I was reminded of a megachurch that our programming and curriculum class visited in the spring of '06. We went to a day long workshop where lots of pastors from around the area came to learn from this church. Everyone was dressed pretty trendy that was presenting, the church was very up to date concerning technology, architecture, children's area, etc. and an abundance of snacks were offered every couple of hours. Anyway, the title of the workshop was First Impressions: Creating Wow Experiences. The focus was on impressing first time visitors enough for them to visit again and ultimately get involved and invested in the church. We watched the Pike's Place fish video to inspire working together as a team and taking joy in our work and even heard about things as specific as making sure no finger prints were on the glass of the front doors upon visitors entering. And how women need to see a nice bathroom when visiting to seal the deal.

Okay, my thoughts by that point were, "Are they being serious right now? Do people really pick a church according to smudgy windows? Who cares about that? I hope people are coming to church seeking a relationship with Christ and others and I don't know if we shoud be giving them anything other than that by what we do".

The man presenting went on to tell a story of a greeter that came to church ready to greet out in the parking lot, being the first person that would be seen upon entering the parking lot. He arrived wearing shorts, black socks with sandals and a Hawaiian style shirt. As he described what he was wearing, he looked to us as the audience for agreement that this man was unfit to greet, to serve, that day. He said, "So of course we had to tell him he couldn't greet that day how he was dressed".

What?...Why, of course? Why has running this church like a business taken over accepting and loving people as they are, where they are? I don't know when you would turn away a volunteer wanting to serve his church, Christ's Church. I feel that this also squelches individuality as people.

Most of us left with a bad taste in our mouths in regard to this church. Here they were teaching other pastors and churches how to "do" ministry and I question whether things like true love, acceptance, grace, joy and inclusion existed there. Again, my authenticity radar was way up on this one, but I just felt like these things were pedaling the Church in the wrong direction.

In the end, the presenter talked about disagreeing, while loving one another as the Body of Christ. Each church does things differently, but we must see that we are still brothers and sisters. I agree with that, but we also have to be taking those disagreements, challenges and confrontations and considering them for ourselves as the ones being called out.

Anyways...I've been thinking on this one for a while (obviously) and still have a lot to challenge myself with along these lines, too. I know the danger is there to want to point out and remove the speck before my own plank. I can't ever throw the first stone regarding sin in the lives of others compared to the sin in my own.

I do want to be better at challenging and confronting what I question or disagree with, though. I also want to accept the disagreements of others in love, as I am questioned, as well.

Question: Has anyone seen the Ben Stein documentary, Expelled, yet?

30 April 2008

The Maiden Voyage...

Hello friends & strangers!

Welcome to my blogspot. It is finally created and was not as hard as I thought it would be to start. I thought I would start things off by sharing the purpose of this blog (thank you, higher education)...

1. I need to journal more in life. Why? So that I can begin to understand myself, my thoughts and my beliefs better. Even if its sole purpose ends up being to help firm up job interview answers for the future, then so be it.
2. I need a creative outlet, that's all.
3. I've enjoyed reading friends' blogs and thinking along with them. I'm told that I can be a pretty good writer, so I hope that I can add some flair to the average blog post...
4. On the flip side, I tend to think a fair share more than I speak, so this might be an attempt to communicate more clearly.

Now, in attempt to spice things up...a poll.