Books and Passion
Jun 5th, 2008 by Sonja

I’ve been tagged again in a couple of meme’s and very lax about responding. These meme’s, however, have taken some thoughtful response, so I’m giving myself that out.

First, Grace tagged me to tell you all about my favorite book of the Bible. That’s hard … I think I have to say, Ruth. I love the story of Ruth. If you read it thoroughly it is a complete story of God … He’s all in there, but you have to look in all the nooks and crannies for Him. That’s why I love the story so much, it’s a beautiful love story and it’s multi-layered; keep pushing through and you find more and more and more. After that, I’d say Romans. And Esther.

Who to tag? Pistol Pete, Nick Gray, Maria

Second, Erika tagged me in a meme begun by Jamie Arpin-Ricci in which he quotes:

“The life of the Christian should be burning with such a light of holiness that by their very example and conduct, their life will be a rebuke to the wicked.” (St. Francis)

In an era where Christians are largely known for the sin they oppose, this wisdom could not be more timely. Francis calls us to face the compromises of our culture by becoming living alternatives with how we live.

Jamie set up the following rules (I think of them as more like guidelines 😉 )

1. Consider aspects of our culture where we have too easily compromised, issues that you passionately oppose.

2. Then, ask yourself what it would mean for you, both as and individual and as a part of a community, to be a living alternative. Write about it.

3. Link back here to this post.

4. Tag others to participate.

It’s too easy to be morally upright about the things that matter least in God’s economy … things like sex and alcohol. Yet it seems as though those are the things that Christians are known for caring most about. We don’t seem to spend a lot of time worrying about the seven deadly sins from the classical era … pride, greed, gluttony, sloth, wrath, envy and lust. Some may say (and correctly) that these are not mentioned by name in the Bible. True. And yet … we must look at the results of these sins. They serve to devour others and their needs, rights, desires in the service of mine. They build up me at the expense of another. This is counter to the love of God and love of other that is woven like a golden thread throughout all of the Scriptures.

To be a living alternative is to understand root causes and behaviors. It is to live in the meniscus of grace, dancing with the Holy Spirit where She may take me. Living with open hands. I have a house for purposes of hospitality. I have stuff for the purposes of giving it away to those in need. I am home during the day so my young neighbor can get a ride to school when he’s missed his bus. I can give water to those who are thirsty and share my food with those who are hungry. I can live with my hands and heart open, giving away … and not storing up for myself. Do not live to devour others, but live to serve God and dance in Her Grace.

And I’ll tag: Bill, Jeremy, Peggy, Lyn , and now Doug (who I’d been thinking of all along, but got distracted!)

Top Ten
May 13th, 2008 by Sonja

I got tagged … actually I been tagged twice now. Once by PerigrineMan and once by JJ. So today I’ll answer Perigrine’s questions and tomorrow I’ll hit JJ’s. Today is movie day … I need to tell you my top ten favorite movies and why … here are the rules of the meme …

Movie NightThe rules of the “game” are simple:

1. list your top ten favorite films (in no particular order).
2. if you’re tagged, you’ve got to post and tag 3-5 other people.
3. give a tag back (some link love) to the one who tagged you in your post
4. give a hat tip (HT) to Dan

Here, in no particular order, are my ten favorite movies of all time …

Braveheart – yes, PeregrineMan, you were correct. It is on my list. I can watch this movie over and over again and still find good nuggets in it … even if it is historically incorrect.

Monty Python’s Holy Grail – one of the funniest movies ever made. ever. It never ceases to crack me up. The parts I think are funny have changed over the years, but I still love it. Brilliant comedy at it’s finest.

The Long Riders – the Keach brothers, the Carradine brothers and the Quaid brothers made a movie about the James/Younger gang. There is a chase scene on horseback at the end that is not to be missed.

Lord of the Rings Trilogy – what a beautiful set of movies. They grabbed me and held me captive. I watch them time and again.

Uncle Buck – John Candy … what more can I say?

Planes, Trains & Automobiles – John Candy AND Steve Martin … even better.

Overboard – the penultimate chick flick and date movie.

Philadelphia – Tom Hanks’ finest role.  Absolutely stunning film.

Ghandi – Ben Kingsley is absolutely fabulous in this role.  I read Ghandi’s autobiography as a result of watching this movie.

Pretty Woman – completely unrealistic, but I love the redemptive story line.

So … I’ll tag … hmmm …

VikingFru … so she can think about fun dates with her hubs and fam 😉

Jeremy … because now that his first year of seminary is finished, he can think about movies again

Shawn … because I’m watching the Pens (win) right now and in honor of his new AppleTV

Mak … cause anyone who smokes cloves must like iiinterehstin’ movies

Who? Me?
Apr 23rd, 2008 by Sonja

You know how you’re reading in your reader … just browsing through the blogs, lazily looking at all the juicy writing, sipping your morning coffee (or other beverage of choice) … when all of a sudden you see your name on someone else’s blog and it just blows your mind? Yeah … it doesn’t happen too often to me either. Like maybe twice a year, three times when Bro M is telling jokes.

Well, the other day my fellow Scriber Jeremy Bouma surprised me, but good. He nominated me for a Subversive Blogger award. Thanks Jeremy!

Subversive Blogger Award

Subversive bloggers are unsatisfied with the status quo, whether in church, politics, economics or any other power-laden institution, and they are searching for (and blogging about) what is new (or a “return to”) – even though it may be labeled as sacrilege, dangerous, or subversive.

Wow … yep, I’m unsatisfied with the status quo of just about all of those things. But like a few of the other bloggers (including Jeremy) nominated, I’ve been a little dry of late, and feeling as though it just doesn’t matter, my words are flying off into space with no effect. They likely are. But perhaps they will one day blossom into plants which will seed. So I shall write on … and there are others who should as well.

So I get to pass on the linky love and nominate subversive bloggers of my own … here are my nominations:

Adventures in Mercy by Molly

Quirky Grace by Jemila

The Virtual Abbess by Peggy

Eternal Echoes by Sally

Ravens by Patrick

The rules of participation are pretty straightforward:

  1. If you are tagged, write a post with links to five subversive blogs.
  2. Link back to this post on so people can easily find the origin of the meme.
  3. Optional: Proudly display the “Subversive Blogger Award” somewhere on your blog (image above) with a link to the post that you wrote.

And as Jake says, the award is meant to be encouragement to keep blogging, so I hope this will encourage these five to keep on keepin’ on, because their photo is next to the definition of Subversive Blogger (if there is one somewhere)!

In the Memetime and Lent Resource
Feb 14th, 2008 by Sonja

Well … so I’m re-thinking and deconstructing myself and my previous post. Because my friends have given me much to think about in the comments. It is good to have friends who are wise and brave enough to do this and also who will give of themselves to be transparent before the world. I am humbled by this.

In the memetime, Shawn tagged me with the 123 meme which keeps circling and circling, but will not end. It brings to mind a song … maybe I will sing for you. LOL … that would not be pretty. In any case, for the one and a half of you who have not yet read the rules, here they are:

1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. No cheating! 2. Find page 123. 3. Find the first 5 sentences. 4. Post the next 3 sentences. 5. Tag 5 people.

I’ve done this one once before, but I was kind of wanting to do it again … just because I love books. Since then I’ve taken to reading a book outloud to the LightChildren. So it’s nearly always at hand here in our family room. So here’s my contribution:

From Hundred In the Hand, by Joseph M. Marshall III:

“When it [a rattlesnake] crawls into your lodge a second time, what do you do?”

The younger man rubbed the wooden stock of his new rifle. “Kill it,” he replied.

So, now … hmmm … who to tag? Most everyone I know has been tagged at least once. So, if I tap you again, my apologies, but this is fun and I know you all have many, many good books you could put your hands to.

Patrick – for recommending this good book to me

Doug – cause he’s blogging again

Jamie – cause he’s got a whole bookstore to pull from

Peggy – cause she tells it like is

Lyn – for needing time to read adult books

Sally – I’m guessing she has really interesting books

If you downloaded that funny little Lent journal I started and are wondering if I’m going to continue it, the answer is: Yes. I have finished days six through twenty and they can be downloaded here. Remember that the graphic is not mine, it came from the talented Si Smith at MayBe (a faith community in the UK). The general idea came from Peggy the Virtual Abbess, I just mixed it up a little bit. And of course, the Jesus Creed itself from Scot McKnight.

Spreading Some Meme Love
Feb 3rd, 2008 by Sonja

Jemila just hit me in the latest game of tag. This one is particularly fun. Here are the “rules.”

Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. No cheating!
Find Page 123.
Find the first 5 sentences.
Post the next 3 sentences.
Tag 5 people.

I can do this. However, most of my books are in the “other” room as I do most of my blogging/computing in the family room on my trusty laptop. My books are either on my bedside table, or on the bookshelf in the bedroom. But there was one peeking out at me here in the family room … so you were not treated to odd sentences from Drawing for Older Children & Teens (at the top of my current reading pile -in the school room- as I am prepping to teach LightGirl and a friend). And the book which peeked out at me?

Saints & Sinners In the Early Church: Differing and Conflicting Traditions in the First Six Centuries, by WHC Frend. I haven’t forgotten it, but it was in my bag to read on our ill-fated anniversary get away. I’m on a quest to learn more about Pelagius (or here or here or here) and this book was recommended by a trustworthy friend. Without further ado, here are the three sentences:

“He would be rewarded or condemned accordingly.

On the practical side, the Pelagian was a social reformer — in this he would contrast with the follower of the Western ascetics Jerome and Paulinus of Nola and with Augustine himself. Three quotations of a Pelagian Briton(?) living in Sicily: “

Here are my tags …

Peggy – the Virtual Abbess

Janet – Secret Women’s Business

Cathy – Sharing Information

Patrick – Dance of the Spirit

Maurice – the Sinister Minister

Jeremy – the New Light

And Now For Something A Little Different …
Dec 5th, 2007 by Sonja

John Smulo is starting another meme (isn’t there a limit on these?). But this one is fun and is sort of like a (non)commercial break in the action. And you self-select your participation.

Here are the rules, but in grand pirate tradition … they’re more like guidelines.

  1. Write down your four favorite Christmas movies in descending order.
  2. Tag the first ten people who respond in your comment section saying they want to particpate.
  3. (Optional) Include a link to John’s post and encourage others to place a link to their completed meme in the comments section of his post so we can keep track of the meme. (I love how John uses the royal “we” in his directions … as if he has staff watching the meme. 😀 It makes me giggle.)

Island of Misfit Toys

Okay … so … rules (but they’re more like guidelines) established and all that. Here are my four or so favorite Christmas movies in (no particular) order.

1. Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer … the 1964 edition and I’m partial to this for the Island of Mis-fit Toys.

2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas … the 1966 edition – I love Cindy Lu Who and her great big heart.

3. Home Alone (the first one) … in the midst of the slap-stick hilarity there is a lot of really spiritual stuff going on that’s worth watching and thinking about, plus I really love Joe Pesci in this.

4. Chevy Chase’s Christmas Vacation … just fun and the scenes at dinner knock me over.

Thankful … really
Nov 29th, 2007 by Sonja

Thankful image

Rachel … a woman downunder that I have the privilege of getting to know, virtually, has tagged me in the Thankfulness meme that has become viral during this season of gratitude. It’s kind of cool to watch how these things meander through blogdom. I’d love to have the skill to write a code and make a map of it. That would be quite a map.

I’ve been thinking hard about the things for which I am thankful, grateful and appreciative. There are many for which I could post. I’ve been trying to write this post for days now and it just would not leap out of my fingertips. Though there are many, many things I could write about. I was uninspired. This is not like me. Not at all.

Then, this morning, as I stood at the mirror, with my mouth full of toothpaste, it hit me. The words to the Jewish prayer floated through my mind and I felt weak in my knees, “”Blessed are you, Lord, our God, ruler of the universe who has not created me a woman, a Gentile or a slave.” For centuries this was the daily prayer of gratitude for millions of Hebrew men. I don’t want to go into the misogyny or the racism or any of that here, although I certainly could. That’s not my point. My point is this … any time I am thankful for something, it carries with it the possibility of pointing out a drought for someone else. Of unintentionally poking at a friend’s sore spot.

If I am thankful for my children, there are those who read this blog struggling with fertility issues. If I am thankful for my friends, there are many struggling with solitude and neighbor issues. If I am thankful for how God has spoken in my life, there are many to whom God has been silent. It carries the possibility of creating a stumbling block, a rage, a hurt. It carries the possibility of doing violence to someone else without ever having that intention at all.

So, for today and the days to come, I am thankful. I am grateful for so many, many things this year. I am indeed a much blessed woman. But I will keep the specifics between me and the source of all Gratitude. Which, in the end, is as She would wish.

If you want to be involved in this meme, you can do the following things.
1. Post 5 things you are thankful for
2. Tag 5 friends to take part also
3. Link back to John’s post (optional) and encourage others to leave a link in his comments section back to their completed post so we get to keep track of all this thankfulness!

I’m supposed to tag five people now … but while I’ve been following this, I cannot remember who has been tagged and who has not. So, if I’ve double tagged anyone, I apologize.


10-20-30 Virus
Oct 13th, 2007 by Sonja

It seemed like it might be a good time to have a lighter post.

Over at relevantblog, Mary asked: Quick: What were you doing ten, twenty and thirty years ago? … But I read about it at the center holds when Sherri asked the same question … and it’s intriguing to think about. So …

What were you doing ten, twenty and thirty years ago? Here’s what I was doing …

Ten Years Ago – (October 1997) LightGirl was three and LightBoy was 6 months + old. I was at my wits end with him. It’s pretty likely that he was screaming and I was crying. He was the world’s most miserable baby. I remember looking at him at about this point in his life and I told him that I was really mad at him for being so miserable because he was the last baby I was going to have. He stopped screaming every waking moment the instant he learned how to crawl. He’s been a happy guy ever since then. Those first 9 months were exceedingly difficult.

Twenty Years Ago – (October 1987) LightHusband and I had been married about two months and we were just moving into house in Arlington, Virginia with a housemate. All the wedding gifts meant we’d outgrown our apartment (also in Arlington) and we hated apartment living anyway. We loved that house; it had an enormous backyard, but it was at the end of a deadend street and we sometimes witnessed drug deals taking place across the street from our front porch. Our neighbors were a group house of people about our age and so we had a community garden with them. And we sometimes had joint parties and other joint activities between the houses. It was a blast.

Thirty Years Ago – (October 1977) I had just started my junior year of highschool. It would be the last year I was on the gymnastics team and the last year I was on the softball team. I was probably fretting about the PSATs. And not fretting about my grades. My father was chairman of the schoolboard. I was on the advanced track in math and science. I babysat to earn spending money. I did a lot of babysitting. The going rate was $0.75 per hour. On a really good night I’d earn $5.00.

Now -October 2007- I’m a homeschooling mom, managing a hockey team and cheering two hockey players, who does some art quilting on the side. Life certainly is strange.

So … here’s what Mary says for instructions …

It’s an experiment to see how many degrees we can separate (kind of like Kevin Bacon, only it’s relevantblog). Even if you’re not tagged, don’t be crabby, just take up the baton and run with it. Here’s what I ask: Have folks post their 10-20-30s, and then link back to the Mother Ship ( or write a comment here, saying where you heard about this experiment and sharing where you blog. This isn’t to build my empire, it’s to find out how far we can expand the blogosphere. After all this talk about blog tours, it got me thinking. How many people can one blog potentially reach?

Mary tagged people and told anyone to play. Sherri just told anyone to play along. I think I’m going tag some people and say that if you’ve read this far you’re also tagged … let me know that you played in comments. Let’s see how far this can go!!

Doug, Patrick, Julie, Erin, Che, and Paul

Oct 9th, 2007 by Sonja

… or how Christians have gotten it wrong lately.

I was tagged by Julie (who was tagged by the eminent Bro. M.) in a new meme, based upon the book, unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity… and Why It Matters. For some good thinking on the book and the meme, you should go to Bro.M’s post … he’s very thorough. Much more so than I.

Here is the gist of it … as few as 10 years ago Christianity had a good name. Now, not so much. For the meme we are to list three negatives of the Christian religion that is all too prevalent and then 1 positive of the faith that we wish were more abundant.

Negatives …

Christians are cherry-pickers. They pick and choose which parts of the Bible they’re going to pay attention to on any given day of the week. Ferinstance, they’re all for the right to life. When it’s in the womb. Once you’re out and breathing though, by god, you’d better take care of yourself. Welfare is for slackers and lie-a-beds. You want to kill all the killers too. Nuke the towelheads. The death penalty is our God-given right. There are consequences to sin and you’d better be prepared to pay ’em in this life and in the next.

138 - ASBO Jesus

Christians are always right and Right. Jesus is a Republican. Or he would be if were here today. Your salvation is in question if you vote Democrat. No lie. Christians should be involved in politics as long as those politics are conservative … make that reactionary. And you should always have an answer that is right, as in correct. Be able to answer every question, even those that are never asked. When you’re always right, no one can ever question you. Nice place to be, yeah? No conversation there …

Christians like to live in ivory towers, closeted away from the stains of the world. They listen to “Godly” music. They raise “Godly” children. They have “Godly” chatchkes. They have “Godly” friends. Their children marry “Godly” spouses. Can someone tell me what that means? Everything is carefully controlled and contrived. They have Harvest parties so their children won’t be tainted by Halloween … but it all looks the same, it just has a different name. We’re just fooling ourselves.

Here’s what I think … I think the three things I mentioned above stem from one thing. Fear. And Jesus came to set us free from fear. So here’s what I wish I would see in the Christian faith more abundantly … freedom.

I would love to see Christians living freely. Giving freely. Living with open hands in a closed fisted world. I would love to see those of us follow Jesus living in His freedom … smiling, laughing, dancing, giving, loving, and living openly, honestly. Being who we are without masks. Being Jesus to a frightened world. Imagine that for a moment. What a wonderful world it would be …

I’d love to hear the thoughts of Bill Kinnon, Erin Word, David Fisher, and Kay Paris on this subject.

Christians Confess
Aug 7th, 2007 by Sonja

It seems fitting after my post yesterday that I participate in this meme begun by John Smulo (thanks to an invite from Erin at Decompressing Faith). It’s also fitting because I helped him (in a very, very small way) with the original website. If you’re unfamiliar with Christians Confess, please check it out. John is the torch bearer for many of us who are grieved with the face of the church in the public square today. He created the site as a forum for Christians to apologize for the wrongs they see the church and other Christians doing both today and in the past. It is also a place for those who do not consider themselves Christian to tell their stories. It’s a great place and I encourage you to visit.

First the rules of the meme:

  1. Apologize for three things that Christians have often got wrong. Your apologies should be directed towards those who don’t view themselves as part of the Christian community. Alternatively, apologize for things you personally have done wrong towards those outside of the church.
  2. Post a comment at the originating post so others can keep track of the apologies.
  3. Tag five people to participate in the meme.
  4. If desired, send an email with the link to your blog post at the Christians Confess site, giving permission for your apologies to be added to the website.

Here are the things I’d like to apologize for … in no particular order.

Here’s the thing … it’s pretty clear that Jesus came to bring hope, healing and freedom and we, the church, his followers have sucked all the fun out of that. We’ve taken the hope out of hope and continued wounding the wounded and piled chains on slaves. I am so sorry.

For those of you who bothered to read up on Jesus, I know you read the wonderful stories about people flocking to Him and finding love. Or finding a miracle and you hoped that if you came to church you’d get some too. So you came with that last ember cupped in your hands, coming to find the God you’d read about and the love, treasure and the miracle. We stomped on it. I am mortified that we took your last hope and extinguished it. Lord have mercy. I am so sorry.

Jesus was Jewish and we forget that the roots of our faith lie in that rich ancient tradition. Isaac had a half-brother Ishmael who became the grandfather of Islam. We have much to learn from other faith traditions and other perspectives on God. S/He who created the universe may not be reduced to a linear equation and we demean Her when we do this. We have much to apologize to other faiths for and I am again … so very, very sorry.

I tag …. (drum roll … )

Doug at Perigrinatio
Patrick at Dual Ravens
Julie at OneHandClapping
Kievas at Sharing A Journey
Sally at Eternal Echoes

Like John and Erin before me, if you read this and wish to participate, just leave your link in the comments and I will pass it on up the chain. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate in this … I just picked some people who have circles of blog-friends who are different than mine.

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