Girls’ Got Game
Jun 15th, 2008 by Sonja

Happy Father’s Day.

It’s one that will surely survive in our collective memory as a family.

It began early; as in 5:30 a.m. One last early rink time for the season. We all went. LightBoy’s game was on one sheet at 7:20; LightGirl’s on the other at 7:30. I ran through the golden arches for a delicious, nutritious breakfast. Yum. LightBoy lost. LightGirl tied. But none of that is memorable.

LightGirl has had a crush on a teammate for a while now. About a week ago she got some intel which suggested that he was more LightBoy’s age. This was completely embarassing. Humiliating. Horrifying. In her words, she felt like a pedophile. Ewweth. This morning before the game I discovered she had bad intel. Her crush was her age. I passed this information along after the game.

So what do you think she did? Well, what would you do? Given that you definitely wouldn’t be seeing the guy again til September and maybe not very much even then.

Has she ever been on a date? No.

Has she ever had a boyfriend? No.

Has she ever been in any kind of relationship of any sort other than friends with a boy? No.

Has she ever spoken more than say fifteen words in a row to this kid? Uhhh … no.

So, of course, it goes without saying … ask him out. Ask him, where? Just … you know … out. On a date. Sometimes the mom is stoo-pid.

It’s helpful too, to have a friend by your side who will act as your voice when you and the guy stand there staring at each other. So, her friend did the actual, you know, asking. She said, “So … LightGirl wants to know if you’d go to the movies or something?” He said, “Sure.” and they both stood there and looked at each other … stunned. So GirlFriend spoke up again and said, “Now it would be good if you exchanged phone numbers.” So they did that too.

Then she came flying around the corner to tell me all about it. Grinning from ear to ear.

She spent the next half an hour texting him. Now she is firmly, giddily ensconced on the phone and computer with her peeps giggling and reliving the event. Imagining what will come next. And ad finitum. It is quintessential adolescence.

And just like that LightHusband and I have crossed a rubicon. It came upon us and we were across it before we even realized that it was there. I never even heard the echo of my feet on wood as the footsteps bounced back from water.

We are lucky, I suppose. She’s very confident. The young man in question is kind, upright, and a decent hockey player. We now have decisions of heavy consequence to make. Where should they go? What should they do? Now that the question has been asked and answered, will the “date” actually even take place?

On another hand, our fortunes run much deeper than that. Our definition of what is quintessentially adolescent is light and air. It involves words like, “giddy” and “peeps.” She will (Lord willin’ an’ the creek don’t rise) complete her secondary education and go on to get a college level education of some sort. There are many, many parents in the 2/3’s world who never even begin to think these words, never mind associate them with children in their family. Yet most families in our world … our 1/3 world, that is the industrialized, civilized, mechanized, and importantly educated, world do have the opportunity to associate words like, “giddy” and “adolescence” and “grin” and “date” and “secondary education” and “college education” with our daughters. Not only do we have that opportunity, we make the assumption that it is the right and natural course of things.

Maslow's Hierarchy of NeedsAccording to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs being secure in our bodily needs allows us to become more secure with our friendships, family and relational intimacy. This in turn builds self-esteem, confidence, etc. It makes sense in a way. One cannot build relational intimacy, when one is deeply hungry for days and months on end. Or living in a place where the water is not reliable. It is simply not feasible. So most Westerner’s (we of the 1/3’s world) would tend to think of education as necessary yet expendable. After all, an education will not build security. It will not fill stomachs or healthily hydrate starving bodies. It will not keep peace among warring neighbors.

Or … will it?

What we are coming to find now is that the key to world peace might just be …

… our daughters. Our collective daughters. The brown ones, and tan ones and yellow ones and pink ones. It’s not that they need to rule the world. Far from it. They just need an education. It is having an education that gives them self-esteem and self-esteem begets relational intimacy which then allows for safety and security and then they can help their families fill their stomachs and hydrate their bodies. It seems that Maslow works for us, but it may just be upside down in other parts of the world.

Give these girls some time … time to be giddy and grow up. Time to learn. Time to be girls, then time to be women. Time to read. Time to calculate. Time to have a date or maybe two. Time to giggle. Time to achieve. Time to gain confidence in their righteous state as children of the Creator. Time to earn respect. Time to bestow respect. They need our time, so that they may have a little more time. And in so doing it is our collective daughters who may just change the world … one village at a time.

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!)

May 3rd, 2008 by Sonja

There are some moments when the daily aggravation of motherhood fades to a glow and I get to smile over my darling cherubs. Usually those moments end up in bickering, but I like to remember the moments at their peak while I can. Tonight is one such moment and it’s lasted for over half an hour.

LightBoy is scheduled to play goalie tomorrow morning in his hockey game. This is a rotating duty on his team and so he brought home the special equipment this afternoon. This evening his sister who has been taking lessons and played in goal on several occasions, gave him some lessons and spent time prepping him on paper as we watch the latest Stanley Cup playoff game (Go Habs).  She did this without any special prompting from us, her parents.
Goalie Lessons on the sofa

I took this photo from about 10 feet away with my MacBook PhotoBooth … so it’s really bad, but I didn’t want them to know what I was doing.  It was very sweet.  LightGirl was drawing plays and quizzing LightBoy about how to respond.  He knew.  The proof will be in the pudding tomorrow.  But for tonight I am basking in the glory of my children getting along and learning from each other.

Fun Things To Know and Tell – May Day Edition
May 1st, 2008 by Sonja

Happy May Day … this is my birth month and so I am always happy when May Day rolls around. It gives me an extra bounce. I love May. My lily-of-the-valley is blooming which seems appropriate. The lilac my dad gave me six years ago finally bloomed this year. It came to me in a half-pint milk carton and I had to put a little fence around it so that LightHusband wouldn’t mow it; that’s how little it was. Now it’s a full blown bush with lots of blooms.

Here’s the riddle that led to a discussion: What’s red and invisible? (answer at the bottom)

So the discussion is … there’s no word for the action that happens when you have a mouthful of something, and you are presented with something very hilarious. It takes you by surprise and, bam, the stuff in your mouth comes shooting out your nose. Here’s what my friend AleFifer had to say about it:

Ya know there’s no term for that… for having a beverage or food come out of your nose. Well maybe there is a word for it but I’m unaware of it. There definitely should be something in the mainstream vocabulary for it though as people do this often.

Hmmm…. what to call it. Nostriling? Susie nostriled her coke all over her shirt when Steve told that joke. Nyah, gotta be something better than ‘nostril’. Inhale Exhale In Out. hmmm you sip a drink sip backwards is ‘pis’ Susie pissed her coke all over her shirt… nyah. drink backwards is knird can’t use that ’cause ‘knird’ sounds too much like ‘nerd’ and we don’t want folks to be labeled as a nerd when they squirt stuff out their nose while laughing. Okay squirt, I said squirt. some word like squirt, spew, spray, pour, irrigate, drip, dribble but with a nasal flair to it. Hmmm maybe a nasal ‘flare’ …i don’t know which flair/flare to use with nostrils do you? Ya know, when you try to make your face look like an aroused bunny? What?? You don’t do that. Nevermindthen… where was I? Oh yeah putting a nostrilly tone on a squirty word. Maybe don’t need to. Maybe thinking of other words that mean nose. Well let’s see there’s … nose, honker, …um … nose …yeah I said nose already but I’m just stuck. Ah…. a term just came to me. Something related to vomiting. “Nosechuck”. Susie nosechucked her coke all over her shirt when Steve… Yeah, that’s better but not perfect.

I’ll have my subconscious mind work on it today and if it comes up with anything decent I’ll keep you informed so you can assist me in adding this needed new term to our vocabulary.

Me? I kinda like the idea of nosehurling, which he turned into “nurling.” So … what about you? What do you think? What’s a good word for it? With the onset of computer jokes and reading funny things on the screen (where we all know we should not be drinking and/or eating, but we do anyway) spewing stuff out our noses has become the symbol for something really funny, but we need a word for that.

Speaking of funny here’s a YouTube video about the Miley Cyrus who-haw that is not to be missed (ht bob carlton). Apparently she (of Hannah Montana fame) posed for some suggestive photographs for Vanity Fair and now a lot of people have their knickers in a wad. Here’s a choice that people forget they have. If a magazine is publishing photographs you don’t like, um … don’t buy it. It’s simple. And easy.

Some of you will remember this, others will just look on in wonder … but here are the 1970’s in full glorious color. I remember. Do you?

Here’s an incredible font resource that I have spent entirely too much time at lately (thanks to Jonathan Brink), but it’s all free!!

Here’s a really cool dinosaur museum and I want to go. PeregrineMan … we’re comin’ your way.

Courtesy of Scriber Thom Stark is Revolution in JesusLand, a blog by a former leftist organizer turned Christian progressive. I wish I’d known about this when I found faith, it might have saved me a lot of pain and anger now. Ce va. These two posts in particular are not to be missed, they are the first two in a series on how to save the world … the right way this time. I like this guy. The Next Step For Christian Big Thinkers – Part 1 and intro/translation for non-Christians before I get to part 2.

This last (and I’ve saved the very best for last) is rapidly becoming part of my life canon … and more on that in another post … is a powerful set of readings? poems? devotionals? I don’t know what to call these. But they are powerful and it’s quite possible that you will find them embracing you as you read them and my everlasting thanks to Bobbie at Emerging Sideways for pointing them out. Abre la puerta! (Open the door!) by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

Riddle answer? No tomatoes …

Cry Me A River
Apr 28th, 2008 by Sonja

I had a little party the other morning. A tiny little pity party. It was a party for three … me, myself and I. We were all invited and we all showed up. Lemme ‘splain.

Light GirlLightGirl is fourteen. It’s a wonderful age and it’s a terrible age. There are times when I really, really love this age. This morning was not one of them. Many times she seems as if her sole purpose in life is to reject every single thing about me. To reject me myself. That hurts. As much as I know about teen development. As much as I know about how she needs to do this and it’s all part of growing up and taking on who she is going to be. As much as I know about this process of separation, maturation and how necessary it is. It still hurts. I had a flashback that morning of the few moments after she was born when she was in the basinette and we locked eyes. I completely and utterly fell in love with her in that moment. She has been the apple of my eye ever since. She’s not perfect. I know her weaknesses. I know her strengths. But she’s my girl and I love her, warts and all (as a favorite math teacher used to say). This particular part of the process seems unduly difficult.

One thing it does though is continually remind me of her “otherness.” I suppose that is part of the purpose. For so much of our children’s childhood they are in one form or another an extension of us, that we need this reminder that they are, in fact, other than us. They will grow up to be individuals with their own preferences, strengths, weaknesses, idols, and needs.

We know consciously that other people are “other.” But how often do we know this with our heart and soul, not just our minds? How often do we turn our perceptions around and begin to attempt to perceive them not with our lens, but theirs? How often do we begin to try to love others not as we want to be loved, but as they wish? Or offer an apology that is not the apology that we want, but the one that they need? What a struggle it is to step out of our own skin and attempt to perceive life not with our own senses, but with someone else’s. Not with our own memories but another’s.

Yet, is that not the call of Christ in our lives? To love our neighbor as ourselves. May it be to me as She has said.

Good Friday
Mar 21st, 2008 by Sonja


Good Friday, 1613.

Riding Westward

John Donne (1572-1631)

1Let mans Soule be a Spheare, and then, in this,
2 The intelligence that moves, devotion is,
3 And as the other Spheares, by being growne
4 Subject to forraigne motion, lose their owne,
5 And being by others hurried every day,
6 Scarce in a yeare their naturall forme obey:
7 Pleasure or businesse, so, our Soules admit
8 For their first mover, and are whirld by it.
9 Hence is’t, that I am carryed towards the West
10 This day, when my Soules forme bends toward the East.
11 There I should see a Sunne, by rising set,
12 And by that setting endlesse day beget;
13 But that Christ on this Crosse, did rise and fall,
14 Sinne had eternally benighted all.
15 Yet dare I’almost be glad, I do not see
16 That spectacle of too much weight for mee.
17 Who sees Gods face, that is selfe life, must dye;
18 What a death were it then to see God dye?
19 It made his owne Lieutenant Nature shrinke,
20 It made his footstoole crack, and the Sunne winke.
21 Could I behold those hands which span the Poles,
22 And tune all spheares at once peirc’d with those holes?
23 Could I behold that endlesse height which is
24 Zenith to us, and our Antipodes,
25 Humbled below us? or that blood which is
26 The seat of all our Soules, if not of his,
27 Made durt of dust, or that flesh which was worne
28 By God, for his apparell, rag’d, and torne?
29 If on these things I durst not looke, durst
30 Upon his miserable mother cast mine eye,
31 Who was Gods partner here, and furnish’d thus
32 Halfe of that Sacrifice, which ransom’d us?
33 Though these things, as I ride, be from mine eye,
34 They’are present yet unto my memory,
35 For that looks towards them; and thou look’st towards mee,
36 O Saviour, as thou hang’st upon the tree;
37 I turne my backe to thee, but to receive
38 Corrections, till thy mercies bid thee leave.
39 O thinke mee worth thine anger, punish mee,
40Burne off my rusts, and my deformity,
41 Restore thine Image, so much, by thy grace,
42 That thou may’st know mee, and I’ll turne my face.

Just What It Takes
Mar 19th, 2008 by Sonja

“Daddy,” LightGirl twinkled and spun, “do you have ….

… any money?”

The adults nearby sputtered in laughter. One looked at me and said “Daddy?!” I rolled my eyes … she knows how to twist her father around. But he can handle her. It reminded me of an experiment my mother and I did on my father a few years ago.

Not too many years ago either, LightGirl was alive, but I don’t think LightBoy had yet joined us. The first part that you have to know is that I barely remember a time that my father (the GrandPea) was not hard of hearing. However, he only very recently got hearing aids. This experiment happened before hearing aids. LightMom and I did this in a number of different settings and it was successful everytime. She would call his given name in increasing volume and he did not hear. She would even whistle and do some fairly loud things to get his attention. Nothing, no response. But if I would say, “Daddy” in a regular tone he always heard me right away. “Dad,” sometimes got him too.

That’s what it takes. That’s all it takes for my dad to turn and come out of his reverie. A simple “Daddy.” I haven’t lived at home in over 20 years, but his ear is still tuned for it. I’m a mother now myself, but he is still listening.

It occurred to me when I was retelling this story to my friends that when God, “Abba” or “Pappa,” or “Daddy,” He is tuning in to us in the same frequency. When S/He gave us permission to call Her by a familial title of love that was indeed the moment of adoption.

Do we have what it takes to use it?  It takes courage, familiarity, sass and desire to use a “small” name for God.  To pick Him out of the crowd of all the smaller gods we venerate everyday, lift Her up and worship only Him, by using a familiar title … Daddy.  S/He’s invited us to do this.  And is waiting with a listening ear.  The question now is, will we?

Love and Logic
Feb 28th, 2008 by Sonja

Among the many treasures I brought back from the quilt show seems to be a nasty cold virus.  So I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time in my nest on the sofa.  Sometimes I’m trying very hard to concentrate and read … anything.  Other times I give up and watch television and stitch.  I’m getting tired of listening to the mindless chatter coming from the schoolroom.  The LightChildren do not talk with one another, the words just dribble out of their mouths at one another with no purpose.  They are not listening to each other, nor is one responding to the other.  They are each simply speaking the words which cross their brains at the moment.  Ugh.

Among the few blog posts I’ve managed to read were this one by VikingFru; she called her post Us vs. Them.  I think many of us have written similar posts at one time or another when we’ve become burdened by the ugliness we see in the world.   I’ve spent quite a bit of my stitching time thinking about her post and meditating on how our culture has gotten to this place.  I remember a song by Talking Heads and the line “How did I get here?” keeps running through my head.  How did we get here?  How did we get to this place where it’s sooo important to be right?  So important that we’re willing to kill for it?

We are you know.  We are willing to kill people to prove that we’re right.  We do it every day.  Each and every one of us.  We imagine that we’re helping them out. We imagine that we’re helping them to “see the light.”  We think we’re giving them truth, light and beauty.  But really, we’re just trying to be more right than the other person.  We’re trying to win.

There are some beautiful souls who are pure enough that they can say they are trying to spread light without harm.  But most of us are trying to win the argument.  Especially when it comes to the blog-o-sphere.

I can’t parse out the twists and turns of how we got here.  But I do know for certain that it’s not the example that Jesus set for us.  Here are two …

The story of the rich young ruler and the story of the woman at the well in Samaria.

They are both so well known I’m not going to reprint them here.

In the story of the rich young ruler, Jesus does not enter into a theological debate with the guy.  RYR runs up and asks a question about how to enter the Kingdom.  Here’s the kicker.  We see from the text that Jesus LOVES him and gives him an answer.  RYR can’t live by the rules.  So he went away sad.  So did Jesus.  But it doesn’t say that Jesus stopped loving him.  He doesn’t run after RYR beating him about the head with a theological debate.  What is is what is.  There’s no verbal abuse.  No demeaning language.  No entanglement.  Just the facts and they stand by themselves.  More than that … Jesus did not feel the need to “win.”  Whether he won or lost was not the issue in that engagement.  I think the main point of that story is that he loved the guy and would keep on loving him even though entrance into the kingdom is one of the most difficult things we can do.  We need to rely on His love in order to for it to happen.  We miss that in our attempts to make a formula out of the parable.

In the story of the woman at the well (I’ll call her Sam), Jesus begins talking a woman that no one ever talks to.  Not only is her culture outcast, but she is an outcast within her culture.  Hence she is drawing water in the heat of the day when she will not have to endure the blanketed silence and sideways glances of the other women in the town.  Have you ever wondered about women who become prostitutes or men who become homeless?  The people who are in the dregs of our culture.  Do you ever wonder about them?  I do.  I wonder how they started out in life.  I don’t think they began life as whores and junkies and pimps.  Somewhere there is house with photos on the wall of an apple faced girl or boy that these people once were.  They have parents, who had dreams for them that have been smashed for one reason or another.  That little girl or boy … that fresh slate?  That’s who Jesus sees.  Yes, he also sees the mistakes and sins, and terrible things we do to each other, but He also sees and loves that young child of beauty that we each once were.  That’s the Sam He saw that day at the well.  He saw the five husbands and the fact that she was living with a guy, but he also saw all of her potential and the wonder that was created within her.  He could see the becoming as well as the is.

Jesus’ example of how to lead people was not how to win an argument, but how to love.  How to see the becoming, the potential and the wonder of His creation.   When we focus on winning or losing, we actually lose focus.  We begin to forget what our real aim is.  Our real aim is to love our neighbors, not logic them.

Back To the Drawing Board
Feb 15th, 2008 by Sonja

This week in the Osgiliath Classical School we’ve begun a new project. We are studying the weather. As a spine for this study we’re using a book called The Kids Book of Weather Forecasting with meteorologist Mark Breen. The LightChildren were each assigned the task of reading the first chapter and then they had to work “together” to design a weather log and come up with a list of tools that one might need to keep a weather log current.

First there was a two day argument over when they would work together. Once they began to work together, there was a loud and protracted argument over who’s list should “win.” LightGirl had a list that was created mostly around her senses. LightBoy had a list that was mostly more objective measuring tools. He, in fact, scoffed at her senses. She attempted to win him over to her more organic manner of observation. However, they were both clubbing each other over the head with their respective lists, in a metaphorical sense. When the clubbing left metaphor and became physical, I intervened.

“Alright, you two,” said I, “did you actually read your assignment?” Vigorous head nods followed by open mouths ready to assert their righteousness. I quickly went on before words could leave the open mouths, “I believe the assignment was that you were to work together,” and I emphasized the word “together.” “This means, LightGirl, that you do not come up with a list and LightBoy goes along with it. And LightBoy, you do not get to come up with a list and expect that LightGirl will go along with it. Do you both understand me?” More head nods, but the mouths are still open ready to defend their honor and tell me how horrible the other sibling is.

“No, I don’t think you do. You are both trying to win. There is nothing to win here. You will only win when you work together. It is very likely that there is something of value in both of your lists and that there is something that needs to be dropped in both of your lists. I do not know what those things are … that is for you to figure out” The mouths are closed now and they are beginning to look at each other as realization dawns. “Now. Get thee hence into the school room and work together on one list between the two of you.”

Off they went. They sat down in the school room and worked out a plan to figure out a list and then worked out a list. Then they presented it to me. The plan involved looking through their book together! Stunning. And thinking and talking together. Their final list was impressive. Lo and behold, it contained elements of both of their original lists.

I often allow arguments to carry on (until it gets physical). I allow them to work out their own relationship within certain boundaries. It can get painful and loud for the parents. But it is training ground for them to understand how to live with others. How to work out difficulties. How to work together even when each is certain they know the “right” way. I try to emphasize that they are always in this together. There is never a time when one is right and the other wrong. If When there is a fight, they have both contributed to it and both must contribute to reconciliation. As my mother used to say to my brothers and I, “It takes two to tango.”

So when I wrote yesterday about reconciliation, apology, power, dominant culture and oppressed culture, I was coming to it from that perspective. But most of you don’t know that. I forget that I’m kind of a blank slate when I write. Not an entirely blank slate, but I’m not as three dimensional to you as I am to myself. Most of us bloggers are. If anything, when we read a blog, we bring to it our own perspectives, prejudices, backgrounds, etc and read it through our own particular lens. Sometimes that lens has been broadened, sometimes not, sometimes it has been more healed, sometimes less. Sometimes the issue being written about is the driving force behind how we read the blog that day. There are so many different permutations and combinations of those possibilities, it kind of makes my head explode to think about it.

I am humbled by the grace extended to me by Patrick, Peggy, Grace and Christy in the conversation that followed. My experience of such has been rare indeed. So, if I may, I would like to give some context and flesh to my post from yesterday.

When I read posts such as Josh’s critique and participate in conversations about women in church, I often hear a sense of bewilderment and frustration from men of my generation and younger generations. The frustration that I hear sounds something like this, “I don’t know what to say/do. It never seems like enough. There are women in leadership now. We are moving forward. Why won’t women stop complaining.” Please, please read Josh’s critique … it is very good and he does make some very valid points. But … maybe it’s just me, but I can also hear a sense of bewilderment and frustration underlying his piece. A certain sense of why is this happening here? Why is this continuing to continue?

So, I very baldly and badly wrote that we “need” an apology. Which is not entirely true, as Peggy and Patrick were both very kind to remind me. We women do not “need” an apology. We “need” God/Papa to remind us that we are loved despite any of our earthly hurts. However, what I was trying to communicate was that it would be helpful to the process between the genders if an apology were offered at some point. I was trying to communicate that on the basis of what has happened in South Africa in the 1990s and what is poised to happen in Australia now, an apology might be a way of helping to drain those wounds.

As Peggy wrote, and I deeply agree with, I’ve got issues with a sense of entitlement. So I’m not certain that I think women are entitled to an apology. But I need to say that in my outloud voice now, because it’s obvious from the comments that at least some of you heard me say that. An apology extended as the result of a demand, is almost worthless as we all know. It is usually extended because of some form of extortion in that case, whether physical or emotional. The apology rendered is then meaningless, and we’ve all endured our share of those.

So what is the purpose of an apology? I’ve spent a lot of time over the past several years studying that question. I’ve read a couple of books. In short the purpose of an apology is to let a person who has been wronged know that you understand the hurt that has been done, you regret the harm was done in the first place and you will attempt to make it stop. It is an attempt, however feeble, to take some form of responsibility for a wrong done and to understand the harm that has been caused to the person who was wronged. Those are the two main prongs of an apology. Take responsibility and understand harm.

You’ll notice that my definition of an apology did not include anything about feeling guilty or bad about oneself. I did not write anything about eternal shame. I did write about remorse which is something different. Guilt is entirely different from remorse … guilt is a state of being, while remorse has to do with an action. One ought not to feel guilty about the state into which one was born. However, one might feel remorse about the status of those who are not in that state. Does that make sense?

None of that, however, makes an apology necessary. In fact, an apology is simply irrelevant in the economy of God’s forgiveness. S/He loves us and will heal our wounds, if we will allow that. What then, do we do about trusting the other? The one or ones who harmed us? Our wounds may be healed, but the trust has been broken and the relationship has not been reconciled. An apology offered (not demanded, but offered) is an incredible first step in that process of rebuilding trust between the two parties wherein the trust has been lost, to whatever degree.

That is where I think that an apology offered by male leaders of institutions (churches, both local bodies and denominational) could go a long way toward helping to re-establish some of the trust that is currently lacking in some of the female Jesus followers. Are we entitled to it? No. Do we also have junk to apologize for? Yes. Yes, we do. But as Christy wrote in her comment, “It’s not about asking people to feel bad and guilty – it’s about recognizing that all of us are responsible to do our part to work for justice.” It’s about all of us … all of us in this together, recognizing our responsibilities, the harm we’ve done, and the good we’ve done. That the inequities are harmful to the dominant culture just as much as they are to the under dogs. That justice, grace and mercy are for all of us, not just some.

So, let’s go back to the schoolroom and make our list together. Okay?

Put A Little Love On It – February (Photo) Synchroblog
Feb 12th, 2008 by Sonja

LightUncle Cranking out some love ... or ice cream.

Crankin’ out the love.


This post is part of the February Synchroblog. This month we’re posting photos with very little explanation. We’re leaving it up to you, the viewer, to bring your own context, perceptions and voice to this project. Below you will find a list of links of the other blogs participating this month.

As for me, I would be delighted if you’d tell me the story of this photo in my comments. Many of you know that I am married to an amateur photographer and I have access to literally thousands of photographs. But this spoke to me of love. In what ways do you see love in this photo?

Phil Wyman at Phil Wyman’s Square No More
Jenelle D’Alessandro at Hello Said Jenelle
Billy Calderwood at Billy Calderwood
Sam Norton at Elizaphanian
Sally Coleman at Eternal Echoes
Mike Bursell at Mike’s Musings
Julie Clawson at One Hand Clapping
Steve Hayes at Notes from the Underground
Sonja Andrews at Calacirian
David Fisher at Be the Revolution
Erin Word at Decompressing Faith
KW Leslie at The Evening of Kent
Paul Walker at Out of the Cocoon
Reba Baskett at In Reba’s World

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