New Comment Policy

Filed under:ain't nuthin can be done, blog stuff — posted by Sonja on December 16, 2012 @ 10:09 pm

This blog is my virtual living room. I actually do pay for the right own my little piece of the internet.

I do not allow bullies or demeaning conversation in my living room.

From now forward if you cannot comment with due respect to the others who read this blog (who may have differing views than you), your comment will be summarily deleted. To continue the living room analogy, that is my way of telling you that your behavior is out of bounds. However, I will not warn anyone. I will not discuss the offensive comment(s). They will simply be deleted.

If I find myself having to delete a second comment, you will be permanently blocked.

To be clear … I welcome all perspectives and you are free to share yours even when it differs from mine. You are not free to be mean, demeaning, rude, disrespectful or any other behavior that is unwelcome in the average living room.

Updated:  If you wouldn’t make the comment on your grandmother’s blog, it will likely get deleted here.

In Which I Am Sixteen

Filed under:NaBlaPoMo, blog stuff, dreams, girls, history, hope — posted by Sonja on June 10, 2010 @ 6:36 am

For today’s snack, we have a walk down memory lane:

If you could go back in time and meet your 16-year-old self, what three things would you tell yourself?

Well … now.  Things just got really heavy, didn’t they?  And sort of existential or something like it.  I’m bleary-eyed this morning because I stayed up too late watching the Chicago Blackhawks win Lord Stanley’s Cup last night.  This might be more raw than ordinary because I am less guarded than usual … so here goes.

I would tell my baby girl self (even though she would not listen) that time is a finite resource.  When you are sixteen your life stretches out before you in an almost limitless road with countless possibilities.  Choose.  Pick something, anything and do it well.

I would also tell her to enjoy herself more and be responsible less.  That it’s okay to have fun once in a while and be less serious all the time.

Last, I would tell my LightGirl self that all the world really is her oyster.  She really is that smart, that good and she really can make it.  She really is the sort of girl who can make it out in the world; there’s nothing to be afraid of.  When the time comes (and it will) she should just jump in with both feet and swim.

HerStory Month

Filed under:blog stuff, community, girls, history, social contract, women — posted by Sonja on March 3, 2010 @ 9:52 am

It’s Women’s History Month here in the U.S. of A.

I wonder if there are any people of color who are equally irked by African-American History month?  I mean, I understand the motivation behind having these once a year months to focus on here-to-for underserved populations in our midst.  But …

But there is something about the idea of having  the dominant population “allow” a month for women’s history or african-american history or whatever history that is vaguely unsettling.  Because if the culturally dominant population is still in a position to allow this, then they are also in a position to take it back.  Which means … they still hold all the power.  I would very much like those scales to be more in balance in terms of race and gender one day so that ML King, Jr.’s dream will really come true for all of us.

So … for me, it’s HerStory month.  This isn’t about HisStory.  We get to hear HisStory pretty frequently.  So here in the Ravine I’m going to be telling some stories about women this month.  Women in the long ago and maybe some women in the near and dear.

For starters take a look at a couple of things that lead up to this month:

Our women in the Olympics -

There were Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso  – alpine events.

Hannah Teeter and Kelly Clark – halfpipe (snowboard)

Hannah Kearney and Shannon Bahrke – moguls

Meryl Davis (with Charlie White) – ice dancing

Lana Gehring, Alyson Dudek, Allison Baver and Katherine Reutter – short track speed skating

Erin Pac and Elana Meyers – bobsled

21 Valiant women on the US Women’s Hockey Team

Katherine Reutter – short track speed skating

and these were only the medal winners.  We sent dozens of other female athletes, trainers and moms to the Games.  They all have a story to tell.  Of sacrifice and love and joy and pain and passion and fierce dedication.  Stories that are not unlike ours.

So I will back throughout the month with more stories, ideas and maybe even a book review or two.  Stay tuned.

Jesus Rules

Filed under:being jesus, blog stuff — posted by Sonja on October 27, 2009 @ 12:31 pm

Or why I’ve changed my comment policy after 4 years.

Since the last election cycle I’ve picked up a couple of readers from the right side of the spectrum.  At first, I was glad because I enjoy a little political sparring every now and again.  And having been a member of my highschool debate team, I enjoy logical riposte with the best of them.  It can be fun … and funny.  But these folks weren’t in it for fun … or profit.   Nor do the rules of ordinary logic appear to apply to them.  I’m not certain what rules they do follow, but I can’t find logic in any of what they write.

I’ve tried over and over and over again to be polite.  I’ve tried ignoring the snark.  I’ve tried engaging with these commenters using the logic, grace and dignity that I am accustomed to.  None of which has helped anything.  It has only served to further inflame their sensibilities and incur greater ridicule heaped upon me.  So I’ve discovered that in an attempt to not censor them,  I’ve been censoring myself in a pathetic attempt to avoid confrontation.  I’m not going to do that anymore.

From now on, all comments will be moderated.

I will delete out of hand any comments which are intended to engender fear and/or use fear to manipulate the reader.

I will delete out of hand any comments which do not respect the dignity and grace of other readers (to include but is not limited to … me).

I will delete out of hand any comments which violate the rules of logic – see this.

So, I’m done.  I’m going to write and post as I see fit.  If you want to comment, you’re going to have to abide by some rules.  The first one  … Jesus rules here – Love God, Love yourself, love your neighbor … no fear.  Those are Jesus rules.

What Has Been Going On?

Filed under:blog stuff, family, hockey, life, life with teens, quilting — posted by Sonja on July 11, 2009 @ 9:23 am

Where on earth have I been?

Right where I usually am.  My digs in Virginia.  I could say I’ve been busy and that would be true.  I could also say I’ve been dry and that would be true.  I could also say I’ve been processing some stuff and that would be true too.  So a lot of stuff’s been going on and it’s made for not much writing.  Some of that means that I’m getting more and more frustrated with myself, so that’s coming to an end … maybe.  I’ve got some ideas that I’ve started on and I want to flesh out.  Hopefully I’ll be able to do that.  For now though, here’s what’s been happening in the LightHouse over the past couple of months … well, some of the highlights anyway.

LightGirl’s U16 Girls hockey team finished their season 2nd in their league.  They went to an end of season tournament and played up a step in terms of the level of teams they’d faced all season.  They lost every game, but played hard and learned a lot about where they want to go next year.   They played three games in one day; these were 16 hard playing tired hockey girls at the end of the day.

I think she had a weekend off and then Spring Season began.  She played on co-ed intramural team and had a ball.  There was another goalie on the team so she had someone to share goaltending duties with, and two other girls that were her friends.  I’ve never met a coach who put less stress on his players while still managing to teach them and lead them.  He was really good with those kids.  I have to say … he made a terrible club president, but an excellent coach.

In the middle of that she had tryouts for the 2009-2010 Travel Season.

From the moment LightGirl thought about playing hockey, she’s wanted to play on a boy’s team.  Last spring she tried out as a skater for the appropriately aged boy’s team and missed it because she was afraid to play defense (she’d never played it before).  This year she tried out as a goalie for the U16Midgets.  That is the Midget team that are Under 16 years old.  Boys.  One day I’ll do a post on the nonsensical names for age classifications in hockey.  There were five goalies vying for four positions.  Two of the five were girls.  Another (different) two were wicked good.  It was a high stress weekend that brought on a minor (very minor) replay of pancreatitis for me.

LightBoy also decided that he would try out for a travel team.  His age group is known as the Pee Wees.  Between the two of them … LightGirl trying out for the Girls and the Midgets and LightBoy trying out for the Pee Wees … I believe they had a total of 13 ice times that weekend.  Did I mention it was Mother’s Day weekend?  I spent Mother’s day at the rink and received a soggy rose for my efforts.

By the end of the day on Sunday I could feel the familiar twinge in my upper abdomen that signaled my pancreas was not happy with something.  Fortunately, I know how to handle this now and instead of four days in the hospital I changed my diet and took it easy for a few days.

LightGirl was invited to join the U16Midget Minor team that Sunday night.  And we were left to wonder what the heck that meant.  It wasn’t long before we found out.  The club had a large number of players in her birth year (who will be first year players in that age classification … in other words they can play for two years as a U16 team) and a slightly smaller number in the year ahead of her; enough that they could field two teams.  One is a mix of both years; the other is just her birth year.  She is on the latter.  The club has been waiting to field a team that is year specific.  So it will be interesting to see how they do.

This raised some issues in our house.  LightGirl has played with the same girls for three years now and made some great friends.  It’s a close team.  The parents know each other fairly well; we do spend quite a fair amount of time together, afterall.

It was a hard decision in some ways and others a no-brainer, but LightGirl decided to play with the boys for the coming season.  So this summer has been about that transition.  Discovering who her new teammates are.  Off ice conditioning so that she can keep up with the boys.  And the emotional fall out of leaving her friends behind.

In the meantime, LightBoy has discovered a certain talent for marksmanship and computer programming.  So even while he is working his hockey skills, he’s also learning archery, guns and is building computer games using a program called Scratch.   He’s also decided that he wants to take on Linux this year, so he’ll be figuring that out along the way.  Twelve is an awkward age for boys, in particular.

He’s also been very interested in paintball and airsoft.  He has a lot of equipment and goes out with his friends to both official fields and backyards on missions.  They spend alot of time plotting, planning and strategizing.  He has also engineered at least one new gun for airsoft out of pvc and other parts including duct tape.  Yes, it does work.

I have been working with two friends (one of which is BlazingEwe) to start a new business.  Quilting, of course.  We have a website and we’re taking it slow.  We’ve sold two quilts on commission thus far.  It’s probably not a great time, economically speaking to start a quilting business.  Oh well … Our business is called Needle In Peace and that link will take you to our website.  Once there you can get to our Flickr site and see many of our quilts.

I also discovered back in March that my thyroid is failing.  This seems to be a family trait as my father, his sister and my brother all have the problem as well.  My primary care physician was attempting to handle this, but I’d prefer to see an endocrinologist who knows all the signs and symptoms as well as all the blood tests to look at.  So I have that appointment scheduled when we return from Vermont as I’m still not feeling quite well.

So … there you have it, in a very large nutshell.  Where I’ve been and what’s been going on.  More to come soon.

Four Years! Is My Term Up?

Filed under:blog stuff — posted by Sonja on July 10, 2009 @ 3:03 pm

Sometime around this time of year marks the fourth anniversary of my blog and I’m once again in Vermont writing from my beloved porch overlooking the bay.  There is a southerly breeze, some puffy white clouds scudding over the mountains and wavelets lapping on the shore make a wonderful white noise for pondering.

For having written for so long, you’d think I’d have hit the one thousand post mark.  But no.  I might have, if I hadn’t hit this slump earlier this year.  Ah well … some day soon.

LightBoy is sitting next to me, working on his latest project: a programming language out of MIT called “scratch.”  He’s doing quite well with it and has made some cool little computer games.  He’s decided that when we get home he wants to learn some linux.  Alrighty, then.  Sounds like a school project to me.

LightGirl is off running (literally) with her friends and will go swimming their return.  She is drinking up their constant presence like water in the desert.   Her transition to the boys hockey team this fall is likely to be somewhat rocky and she will not have the company of the girls she is accustomed to each week.

LightHusband is next door helping a neighbor with a computer problem.  He’s been fishing, fishing and more fishing.  He has done some catching this year but has been too lazy to do the cleaning necessary for eating.  Last evening he saw an osprey catch a fish that was almost too big for the bird to fly with.  The return of more osprey to the lake is a good sign.

I am reading novels again for the first time in years.  Returning to some of my old favorite authors and old favorite themes.  John Steinbeck has been a favorite author since I was a teenager and I’ve read nearly all of his books, some two or three times (or more).   But I found one I’d never read (To A God Unknown) and gulped that down in one afternoon/evening.  Then, because I loved the original (Pillars of the Earth), I picked up Ken Follett’s World Without End.  This one took a little longer to read, but I’d forgotten how satisfying it is to drown in a novel.  And I do.  The characters become friends, the words swim by creating scenarios rather than sentences and paragraphs.  I can’t explain what happens, but it’s not really reading so much as it is living within the book.  And I am always bereft when a book ends.  What will happen to the characters next?  I tried next to pick up Night by Elie Wiesl, but couldn’t make the jump from 12th century England to the 20th century concentration camps.  I’ll read it soon, but have to transition.

So … I’ve been doing this with sometimes more and sometimes less enthusiasm for four years now.  Is my term up?  I don’t think so.  I know I have more to write and feel it burbling up more and more frequently now.  But the writing I want to do is deeper, more complex and takes more of me.  So I think it will happen less often but be of greater quality … perhaps.  I hope it will be more thought-provoking or thought-enhancing or maybe just thought-ful.  So there will be more to come here in my tiny few mega-bytes of the tubes.  I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Should I Twitter?

Filed under:Twitter, blog stuff, community, virtual community — posted by Sonja on April 23, 2009 @ 11:01 am

That was the question posed by a friend in response to my FaceBook status this morning.

I found my reply somewhat cynical and that surprised me:

Hmmm … I don’t know.

I’m feeling more and more out of the loop even though I’m sort of in it.

It’s a weird liminal space where you’re sort of connected, but really, you’re not. It’s just people hurling information at you. Most folks are following so many people that if you try to start a conversation or ask a question, it gets lost in the flotsam.

As I sat back looking at what I wrote with the objectivity of a stranger, because I was really that surprised by myself, Hamlet’s famous soliloquy came to mind:

To be or not to be, that is the question;
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing, end them. 

And I wondered, is it really blogger suicide to not Twitter?

Many of us have joined.  Some more enthusiastically than others.  Now Twibes are forming.  Hashtags are being used for convenience.  I’ve been a tweet or a twit or whatever-you-want-to-call-it for quite some time now and have over 2,000 updates … most of them useless pieces of information about my life that really no one should care about except me.  Strange thoughts and errant conversations.  Clogging the information highway with my little automobile of me.

So, why do we do this?  Why do we want to connect on Twitter and with our FaceBook status and on Plurk and all the other social media that’s out there beckoning?  Bob Hyatt wrote a compelling piece on this matter the other day that’s worth a read about why we need to keep this all in proper balance.  But I’m wondering about the deeper magic of why?  LightHusband even came back from a defense contracting conference last week and told me that the upper level management people (i.e. in their 50’s and 60’s) were talking about how to use these sorts of platforms in the workplace to engage young people as they come into the various agencies; how to secure them, etc.   What?!?  Defense agencies want to use social media??  Surely Jesus is about to return.  ;-)

So what do you think?  Do you Twitter? Or FaceBook?  Why? or why not?  What do you think of the social media revolution thing?

Making Up For Lost Time

Filed under:blog stuff, books, environment, hope, life — posted by Sonja on April 2, 2009 @ 1:53 pm

Well, that’s not entirely true … only because one can never really make up for lost time.  But I’m on a mission to get myself back on some kind of track and get some writing done.

I have some plans and ideas in my head for real, live honest to goodness posts.  Yes, written by me and posted here.  Believe it or not.  I may be coming back from my own dead head.

And I’m going to be regularly posting Ooze reviews once a week.  On Fridays.  That just seems like a good day to do them.  So be watching this space tomorrow where I’ll be reviewing two CD’s.  Books begin again next week.

Maybe I’ll even write about my whacky idea to turn our suburban manicured front yard (sloppy and ragged can be considered a manicure … it’s just not a good manicure ;-) ) into a Virginia meadow.

Virginia meadow
Photograph by Paula Sullivan

See, I think this will be a good idea on many fronts. We won’t have to mow except for twice a year, thus reducing our gas usage and carbon emissions. It will attract song birds, humming birds and honey bees, thus it would be a haven for small creatures that need space in urban environments. Plus, it would be pretty. Who can argue with pretty?

Missional Tribe – Coming Out

Filed under:blog stuff, community, dreams, expectantly, hope, missional — posted by Sonja on January 6, 2009 @ 12:57 am

Missional Tribe LogoMissional Tribe – Not Just Another Use of the Word “Missional”

Do a Google search on the word “missional” and you’ll get 1,200,000 hits. Search “missional” at Amazon and 1,238 missional products appear before your very eyes. It’s the Western Church word of the moment. The key to all that ails the church. The promise of a bright future – beginning with a boldtomorrow. That is, if we only knew what it meant.

This recent quote from a church website accurately demonstrates “missional” confusion.

We have made a commitment to being a Missional Church, reaching into the community and inviting people to come and experience what we are doing. We should have “standing room only” Services every Sunday. There should be a buzz in the Community about [church name removed] and all the wonderful activities available for most people’s needs and wishes.

Well, not so much.

Last June (2008), in response to this kind of confusion, Friend of Missional’s Rick Meigs challenged the blogosphere to respond to the question,

“What is Missional?”

“I have a continuing concern that the term missional has become over used and wrongly used.

“I think it is time to make a bigger effort to reclaim the term, a term which describe what happens when you and I replace the “come to us” invitations with a “go to them” life. A life where “the way of Jesus” informs and radically transforms our existence to one wholly focused on sacrificially living for him and others and where we adopt a missionary stance in relation to our culture. It speaks of the very nature of the Jesus follower.

“To help reclaim it, I propose a synchronized blog for Monday, June 23rd on the topic, ‘What is Missional?’”

50 bloggers responded with their understanding of the word – and a lot more conversation was generated both in real life and on the web. Brother Maynard did a great summary of the missional excitement. There was a sense of accomplishment – the 50 people and the hundreds of commentors had refocused the word missional.

But then each blogger wrote other posts – dislodging their Synchroblog posts from the lead position. Soon these posts disappeared from the front pages of 50 blogs – only accessible if one knew exactly what you were looking for. The sense of accomplishment was ephemeral.

A few of us who had met face-to-face at the Allelon Missional Order event in Seabeck, WA in October, 2007, talked about the best way to keep those posts and ideas evergreen. We’d also been part of the Wikiklesia Project: Voices of the Virtual World. Perhaps a book would be effective. By the fall, seven of us were in ongoing conversation around how best to serve the”missional” mission – Sonja Andrews, Peggy Brown, Kingdom Grace, Bill Kinnon, Brother Maynard, Rick Meigs, and Brad Sargent.

Clay Shirky’s Here Comes Everybody and Seth Godin’s Tribes helped to inform our discussions.  Missional Tribe’s first iteration was as a Wiki. Then the mini “blogstorm” around Out of Ur’s Dan Kimball Missional results post convinced us that what the conversation needed was a place to discuss, share stories, watch videos, ask questions, and grow together. Where all of this can easily be tagged and indexed for rapid access in the future. The Missional Tribe social network was born (www.missionaltribe.org).

Less than two months after the decision to launch a social network, the beta of the Missional Tribe site launches today – Epiphany, on the church calendar. We would like you to join us in being a part of this non-hierarchical network.

From simply reading and commenting on posts and in the Forums, to creating your own Missional Tribe blog or posting a video – Missional Tribe is a place to track and expand the missional conversation – as we follow the Lord back into the neighborhoods where he has strategically placed each one of us.

To become involved, please join Missional Tribe at www.missionaltribe.org .
Want more information? Contact info at missionaltribe dot org .

Best Posts of 2008

Filed under:blog stuff, church, community, dreams, faith, justice, missional, theology, women, women in church — posted by Sonja on December 28, 2008 @ 7:39 pm

“Best Of” posts are beginning to pop up all over like dandelions in springtime.  They’re sparkly and eye-catching.  I always like them because they catch the year in review and give the reader a walk down memory lane.  But … you knew there was a “but” coming.  So often in church-y circles the “best of” posts are either all men or men in overwhelming proportions.  I’ve been blogging for more than three years now and I keep hoping this will change.  That the onset of the internet will bring about changes to this dynamic.  But I’m not seein’ it yet.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are some men (Rick “Blind Beggar” Meigs, Bill Kinnon, Brother Maynard, Brad Sargent, John Smulo, Shawn Anthony, Patrick Oden and some others to name a few) who are wholly committed to women in full partnership in life, ministry, blogging, you-name-it.  They have gone above and beyond to support women and engage them equally.

What does that look like?  I know a lot of folks are put off by idea of feminism and I’m mystified by that.  But let’s look at it from another perspective.  We all look at families and tend to agree that a “whole and healthy” family includes a mother (female) and a father (male).  No matter what your feelings are about who should be in charge and when, we all know that healthy families require both the male and the female perspective to adequately parent, raise, etc. the children.  At the very least, there are whole books on the subject of healthy families requiring two parents where one takes on the feminine role and the other the masculine (in the case of homosexual relationships).  We know very clearly what the lack of men does to a family and what the lack of a mother can bring to children.  So my question is … why do we find this lack of the feminine voice or perspective so very acceptable in church/ministry leadership?

It is in the interest of balancing out the perspectives that I present my Best of 2008 … plus one from 2007 because it was so good.

… in no particular order … UPDATED to include a recent post by Peggy Senger Parsons that is a must read.

Erika Haub – The Margins – “the church that came to me

“When she saw me her eyes teared up, and as she spoke she started to cry. She told me that she could not believe that I had let her into my home, with full access to all of our things, and then closed my door and gone to sleep. She said that she had never felt so trusted by someone; she had never felt so much pride and dignity and worth as someone who did not have to be doubted and feared.”

Kathy Escobar – the carnival in my head – “what could be

here’s my hope:

that we’d be people & communities radically in touch with Christ’s love for us & continue to risk our comfort, ego, time, money, and heart to offer mercy & compassion to others.  that we’d be somehow known as  ‘those weird people who love other people unconditionally, tangibly, and in all kinds of crazy, unexplainable ways.”

Tracy Simmons – The Best Parts – “The Rescue Parade

When people rescue dogs or trees or human beings, they are displaying how much they are made in the image of their creator. He longs to see all things rescued and restored. It’s in our spiritual DNA whether we are aware of it or not.

Makeesha Fisher – Swingin’ From the Vine – “Missional:  It Sure Ain’t Velveeta

Being missional is hard work. Getting down and dirty in people’s lives, giving everyone a platform and allowing your voice to form from within the context of community versus individual aspirations and spirituality is not a nice easy package deal. You can’t just cut off a block from the end of the yellow brick and nuke it to gooey perfection. It’s time consuming and risky and generally not very “pretty”.

Rose Madrid-Swetman – RMD -

Building To Serve Others Part 1
Building To Serve Others Part 2
Building To Serve Others Part 3

We discussed the pros and cons, the why’s and why not’s of taking the step of leasing a space. Our biggest fear was that we would lose sight of the congregation as the church. You see when we rented a basement room for Sunday worship only, everything else we did as a faith community happened in our neighborhoods, the host community and in homes. Moving into a leased space that we would have 24/7 access to could endanger us to put the emphasis on the building as the church rather than the church being the people.

Heidi Renee – Redemption Junkie – “Great Losers

I just can’t seem to walk past a smidgen of interesting brokenness or discarded story. I am so moved by outsider and found art because deep in my heart I long to be a mosaic artist. I have not yet begun to piece together those precious bits and fragments pocketed along my journey.

Julie Clawson – One Hand Clapping – “Experience and Empathy

It’s one thing to intellectually acknowledge the need for better health care around the world, I am discovering it is another thing altogether to attempt to imagine oneself in another’s position. I knew the need for equity before, but my experiences have helped me to empathize. I know I am lucky and privileged. I don’t desire to trivialize or cheapen the plight of others by claiming to truly understand, but I am a firm believer that empathy is necessary if one is to truly care and make a difference. And experience helps with that.

Grace – Kingdom Grace – “Disciples or Converts

I think that we often circumvent the real life of the Spirit in conversion methods, discipleship methods, and in the way that we function together as groups of believers.  What are the ways that we tamper with natural growth and unintentionally cause lack of reproduction and other genetic deformities?

Pam Hogeweide – How God Messed Up My Religion – “First Time To Notice A Homeless Person

He looked over at me. Our eyes locked, me the middle-class teenager from a middle-class Vegas family; him, the ghost of someone’s son now orphaned and phantomed like the nobody he knew he was born to be and die as was. It was a definitive moment for me. In that one glance I saw past the dirty beggar who didn’t have a job or a home. I caught a swift glimpse of a man who was not born for greatness, but was just born. He had no purpose, no grand plan. No derailed American dream to be somebody. For an instance I saw my brother, my father, my son and my husband. This unknown man was more than a Utah phantom. But that one look told me that not only had he become invisible to others, the true man of who he was – this beggar was an imposter of his true greatness – but more urgently, he had become invisible to himself. He did not matter.

Christine Sine – Godspace – “Discerning The Winter Blues

I was reminded that I once read that the tradition of Advent wreaths actually began because farmers took the wheels of their wagons during the wet winter months and this became the framework for the Advent wreath.  Now I am not sure that any of us would consider taking the wheels off our cars over the winter but I do think that we need to build times of rest, reflection and renewal into our schedules.  Maybe we should stop driving our cars at least for a few days so that we can relax and refresh.  We are not meant to continually live in harvest season.  We are not meant to be continually producing fruit or even be continually blossoming.  In fact plants that are forced into bloom at the wrong season by florists never recover their natural rhythm.  Most of them will never blossom again.

Cheesehead – A Cheesehead In Paradise – “A Sermon for the Celebration of the Reign of Christ

(Let me say for the record, if any of you are considering running for elected office, and someone comes to church to see what kind of sermons you listen to, and nobody finds anything even the least bit sketchy that I have said—if nothing I preach is found to be even the slightest bit counter-cultural and it’s all perfectly agreeable—that’s probably not a good thing and you should call me on it.)

Christy Lambertson – Dry Bones Dance – Abortion Series

1 – Late Night Comedians, American Politicians & Abortion Week
2 – Nuance is Bad For Fundraising
3 – Put Away the Coat Hangers
4 – Let Me Tell You About Your Experience
5 – We Have Met The Enemy and They Are Partly Right (part I)
6 – We Have Met The Enemy and They Are Partly Right (part II)

That’s why I have declared it to be Abortion Week here at Dry Bones Dance (or possibly Abortion Month, depending how long I go between posts.) Whatever your position is, I’m not going to try to change it. Really. I promise. I just want to take an emotionally charged, extremely polarizing issue, and show how our public conversation about it – from both sides – virtually guarantees that we won’t ever get anywhere on the issue.

Erin Word – Decompressing Faith – “The Tribe

This tribe is not bound by collective adherence to a doctrine or by a building, but in mutual love for each other and a desire to set each other free from the things which have chained us. My tribe is not a place where anyone has to justify their experiences, but a place where we learn from a myriad of voices. My belief in the value of Jesus in my life is unwavering; many other aspects of my faith are in constant flux as I learn and grow. This I am able to do in a community where boundaries are elastic and belief is defined only by a love for Christ. Searching together for ways to better love on the world and on others, as Jesus exemplified, is the common thread we share.

Sally Coleman – Eternal Echoes “Perichoresis

Sally writes gorgeous poetry and takes stunning photographs of beaches, sunsets and people.

AJ Schwanz – AJ Schwanz “High Bar

And then I wonder:  am I just being me-centric?  Is this something God’s calling me to, or is this me being idealistic and believing the grass is always greener?  What if it doesn’t look the way I think it should?  What if it’s right in front of my face and I’m ignoring it because I don’t like the way God’s engineered it?  When push comes to shove, would I make the sacrifice; or would I be sad, hang my head, and walk away?

Cynthia Ware – The Digital Sanctuary – “Lord Teach Us To Pray, Virtually

I see the benefits….yet there is a part of me that still feels like something is funny about it. It feels like it should be ‘in addition to…’ instead of a replacement for interacting with your small group or people that can actually pray and stop by and drop off a casserole.

Molly Aley – Adventures In Mercy – “Obama Ushers In End Times

I literally thought that God wanted me to war against my culture.  I believed that culture was out to get me, out to get my kids, out to get my church. I mistakenly forgot the real enemy, and thought it was my culture instead, unlike God, who knew exactly what the real problem was when He came down INTO an equally-fallen culture.  He saturated Himself in it, unafraid to pal around with the worst of the lot and, interestingly, the only ones He had a real problem with were the ones righteously abstaining from said culture.

Peggy Brown – The Virtual Abbess – “Abi and Covenant

What The Abbess is looking for as part of the whole missional order discussion is a “rule of life” and a “rhythm of life” that provides a group of Christ followers with a focus, a framework, for the working out of our cHesed — our already-existing sacred duty to love God and love each other — in the context of apprenticing disciples.

Sr. Joan Chittister – From Where I Stand – “A Glimpse Of Oneness For A Change

The struggle between “red states” and “blue states” in the “United States” may be a political problem but, if truth were told, “oneness” is not something religion has been particularly good at over time either. Religions and religious professionals have been far more devoted over the years to creating Absolutes of themselves. They routinely cast other religious and their scriptures and prayers and beliefs into hellfire. They persecuted and oppressed and either forced people into their own religious tribe or hounded them out of it. They made converts at the end of a sword and divided families and called one another pagans and infidels. Many still do.

Judith Hougen – Emergent Self – “Part Two – Incarnational Reality

With very few exceptions, none of the people who’ve helped me understand and walk in incarnational reality have been Evangelical Christians. Which might help explain why conservative Christians can be mean sometimes. You really must deny incarnational reality (except in theory) in order to behave so contrary to the way of Jesus. You would have to work awfully hard to denigrate others while walking in a conscious awareness of God’s loving presence. Incarnational reality demands a response–either we open to Christ in each encounter, each breath, or we honor–I dare say worship–our own feelings, agenda, and sense of rightness.

Elizabeth Potter – Still Emerging – “They Used To Call Me Betty

The lack of fit intensified as I grew older such that when I relocated to a new city a number of years ago, I decided to ‘change’ my name. Rather than introducing myself to new people I met as “Betty,” I asked them to call me “Elizabeth.” It has taken years for my family to adjust to this ‘new’ moniker, but finally I have a name that fits. It is strong, and regal, and seems ‘just the right size.’ They used to call me “Betty,” but I have chosen to rename myself. Hello, my name is “Elizabeth.”

Kim Petersen – Chrysalis Voyage – “Robust Faith

Maybe it’s why I liked this response from a listener who wrote in: “Doubt is not the opposite of faith. Doubt is faith struggling. Where God is concerned there must always be room for doubt.” Chief Rabbi Sacks picked up on it earlier in his interview by challenging Humphrys: “If you didn’t have faith you wouldn’t ask the question…Faith is in the question.” Humphrys dismisses the statement as a cop out meant to shut down the conversation, but for me this statement contained the crux of the whole issue. Contrary to popular belief, there is not a shut down in intellect and a blind leap into the unknown. There is an intentional ongoing search for Truth and a coming to grips with and peace with that which will always remain a mystery. They are not mutually exclusive. A robust faith encompasses the doubt, the struggle.

Peggy Senger Parsons – A Silly Poor Gospel  “My Bus Karma

Bon Chance, Madame” is one of my code words with God. It usually means “Heads Up Peg – this may get rough”. With no great leading on the line, I should have taken my bag back, called my daughter and gone back to their house for another week of baby snuggling. But one of my character flaws is a severe allergy to anything that feels like going backwards. And one of my consistent delusions is that the normal rules of the universe don’t apply to me. The combo gets me in trouble all the time.


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