Love and Logic

Filed under:being jesus, hope, love, missional — posted by Sonja on February 28, 2008 @ 11:17 am

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.

Creating Priorities

Filed under:art, church, dreams, freedom, gifts, quilting — posted by Sonja on February 25, 2008 @ 8:53 pm

Sheesh … it’s been quiet around here for the last couple of days. Where’ve I been anyway?

I went to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival last Wednesday with BlazingEwe and didn’t get back til yesterday afternoon. We both had quilts hanging there. This was a first for us and quite exciting. We took classes; one that would help us be less precise and one that would help us be more precise. We’re so conflicted! Both teachers were very good, but we really connected with the second, who is about our age. We had lunch with her. Our teacher from last year remembered us and that was a thrill, too. All of this would be much more wonderful but for the fact that we’re usually the youngest women in these classes by about 20 years! So, we sorta stand out and not for our skill, technique, or talent. Perhaps it’s our charm.

In any case, you’ll see my quilt in next month’s issue of Porpoise Diving Life which is being guest edited in March by John Smulo. Porpoise Diving Life is always wonderful, but this year’s issues are a special treat because a group of us have gathered together to give Bill Dahl a sabbatical at his request. He’s writing a book and asked for some people to step forward so that he could focus his efforts. This month (February) is under the expert care and direction of Pam Hogeweide. In a future post, I’ll give you a list of the upcoming guest editors, so you can keep your eyes open. It promises to be a great year.

I came home from the festival with a renewed sense of how I want to organize and purpose my life. My path is still not clear, but I have a better sense of some of the things that need to be in each day. I know I need to have color and art be part of each day. I know I need to write each day as well. Perhaps doing these things will help the path become clear to me.

While we were in the hotel, BlazingEwe and I watched a fun movie called EdTV. It was an amusing, yet cutting, critique of our culture’s obsession with reality television. During one scene near the end, a friend of the main character was being interviewed on an Oprah Winfrey style show and he commented that, “I feel that Ed is the apotheosis of a prevailing American syndrome. It used to be that someone became famous because they were special. Now people are considered special just for being famous. Fame, itself, is now a moral good in this country. It’s its own virtue.”

That packs quite a punch … “Now people are considered special just for being famous. Fame, itself, is now a moral good in this country.”

Think about that for a while. Think about it in terms of the church in the western/industrialized hemisphere. Who do we follow and consider special? And why? Who floats to the top, and who wallows in the quagmire at the bottom? We like the Horatio Alger stories that it’s bootstraps, hard work, innovation and smarts that get people ahead in this country. It is our mythology that race, gender, poverty or a combination of those will not effect where we end up in this life.

So, why is this important? It is important because we are wired in some way to believe that those who are famous are leaders. They are the ones who have smarts, education, talent, or general chutzpah in some way that we should listen to. But should we? What if they’re just someone that an editor or producer thinks will sell?

A Rant About Words

Filed under:life, lost in translation — posted by Sonja on February 19, 2008 @ 4:30 pm

I love words. I love languages. I love to find the meanings of words and then use them appropriately. I’m a stuffed shirt and have been known to correct people in my outloud voice for misusing words. I try to keep this inside my head, but it does not always work. I’ve been the bossy big sister for far too long and it leaks out sometimes. For the record, I’m always deeply ashamed of this. I do know how unsightly it is.

One might imagine that someone like me would despise profanity. Nope, just the opposite. I kind of like it. I enjoy it’s spitting rebellion. I take great delight in the shock that people try to cover up when they hear those words come out of someone’s mouth. I think that shock is really funny. Then, of course, I immediately feel bad and guilty for laughing at someone else’s expense and outrage. Because, at the end of the day, that is also wrong. So, I try very diligently to teach my children other words to say when they are angry or frustrated.

Here’s the thing though. Throughout the course of my life I’ve observed the list of allowable words grow narrower and narrower. Now some would say that on network television this is not the case. But it is. How many times do you see the word “penis” in print? And how many of you just took a breath when you saw it there? See? How about “breast” out of context? Same thing … It’s tiresome. Myself, I like the word “boob” to talk about breasts and even among women talk of bras brings about nervous laughter. Come ON, people … it’s UNDERWEAR … we all use it.

Using words properly and appropriately will not do anything to you. Well, it might give you the appearance of intelligence. However, except on certain television shows and movies, there is no magic in words. They are not charms or spells. There is nothing sacred or profane in them.  There is nothing to be afraid of.  Nothing to shrink away from.  Words are a tool with which we communicate ideas.

Over at Waving or Drowning, Mike recently wrote a post entitled “To Hell with Romans 13.”  Is the title provocative?  Yes.  Blaphemous?  Perhaps.  Heresy?  I don’t know.  Profanity?  No.  There is nothing profane about that title.  Yet one commenter was disgusted by the “profanity.”  I thought he was going to faint with the vapors.  Well, for heaven’s sake, if you have a problem with it then argue your point.  Don’t whip out your pretend profanity policeman’s badge and be a sissy with the vapors.

Grow up.  Get over your bad self.  Who died and made you God?  Oh … whoops.  You’re not.  I’m just so done with all the damn rules and regulations.  This person is made faint over the word hell, that person won’t allow the word breast on their blog, another can’t bear to sit under the teaching of women.  A school invites people to speak on campus, then dis-invites them when the heat gets too hot from their fundamentalist alumnae.  Every church website I go to has their list of fundamental beliefs that they want a body to sign up for in order to become a member.  One that I saw recently has pages worth; that indicates faith in knowledge rather than faith in Jesus.  You know what we’re all becoming?  Little gods.  This is what got Lucifer thrown out of heaven folks … the desire to be right even more than God.  It’s called “pride.”  And if you’re so damn full of it that you have to be right all the time … then you really are full of it.

Thoughts on the Executive Branch

Filed under:economics, history, politics, women — posted by Sonja on February 16, 2008 @ 10:34 am

I still remember the first ever election I voted in. It was 1980 and I voted by absentee ballot because I was away from home in college. Jimmy Carter was president and running as the incumbent against Ronald Reagan and John Anderson. hehehe … yeah … nobody except political science professors and poli/sci majors remember that. And the 763 of us who voted for John Anderson; we also remember. Those of you who are so enamoured of Ron Paul … you need to take a good hard look at that race. And the race where whats-his-name ran … you know? The guy who was a software engineer and put all his own money into the campaign, he used to own EDS and has a head shaped like a turkey. He was mighty entertaining, but …

There are at least 87 excellent reasons for a more than two party system in this country. However we won’t have one by starting with the presidential campaign. It will begin by organizing a new party or parties at the local level and electing officials down low and moving them up. It’s a process that will take decades. For the record, many libertarians are nuts. Wackos. A group of them voted to secede from Vermont and join New Hampshire, from the middle of the state … led by my cousin, so I can say this. There is more to good government than low taxes and low level anarchy. If Libertarians cannot win their case at the local level, they will not win at the state and national level … no matter how winsome their candidate appears.

On to more pertinent matters.

I’m not voting for Hillary. If the Democratic party has so lost it’s mooring as to nominate her for it’s presidential candidate come it’s convention, I will vote for whoever the Republican nominee is … or I won’t vote at all.  I’m not going to settle for a vote between the lesser of two evils anymore. I’m not going to do it. I refuse. I’ve only had one election in my life where I felt an honest choice between candidates … and it was the first election I voted in. 28 years is a long dry spell.

I don’t vote with my breasts and I’m a little put out that it seems a lot of my fellow women are. It’s interesting to me that many of my family, friends and colleagues assume that I am going to vote for her … just because I’m a woman and she’s a woman, so they assume that I will take this ground-breaking opportunity to vote for the first woman president. No, actually … I have a little more integrity than that. I don’t like Hillary and never have. I have felt empathy for her. I have despised the manner in which she was pilloried when Bill was in office. I have admired her courage under pressure. But when the chips are down I do not trust her and I really think that she has an unseemly lust for power. To put it quite bluntly, I do not trust her character. In much the same manner as I never trusted the character of George W. Bush. To be fair, at least she is no fool.

I’m not going to vote for Hillary, because despite her protests to contrary now, she supported the war in Iraq when it was expedient to her to do so. I’m not going to vote for Hillary because she does not have a consistent ethic of life. I’m not going to vote for Hillary, because her husband was president 8 years ago and that makes him a loose cannon in the White House … with no restraints. I’m not going to vote for Hillary because if she were to become president that would give us 32 years of essentially the same style of leadership (Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton?) and it’s time for something new. I’m not going to vote for Hillary because she does what is politically expedient to gain votes, not what she feels is best or morally right for the country or her state.  Tom D’Antoni put words to my underlying suspicions in yesterday’s Huffington Post.  I’m not certain I’d go as far as he does, but I suspect it’s true and this is why I don’t trust Hillary’s character:

“‘I will work my heart out for you every single day!’ These are the incredible words of Hillary Clinton, who arranges for a cute little Mexican boy in a sombrero to bring her flowers onstage in Texas. What a pitiful and despicable show.

If you ever see a Latino near her multimillion-dollar house in Chappaqua, New York, he’ll likely be on his knees in the dirt with a gardening trowel.

You are to her a vote, nothing more. It is not you who matters to her. It is your gullibility that matters to her. Her goal is not to serve you. Her goal is to con you and use you to become president, and that is all. You are to her expendable, a mere means to an end that does not involve you or your concerns or your welfare.

But most of all, I resent Hillary.  She brings a bitter gall to the back of my throat.  Like Hillary and many women, I sacrificed my dreams for my husband and my children.  I do not have such a glamorous husband, he does not have such a glamorous job as Bill.  So perhaps the parallels end there.  However, I cannot go out into the workplace now after 14 years of not being paid for the grunt work I do, and claim that I have “experience” for a glamorous and powerful job that I would like to have.   People would laugh at me if I put 14 years of experience on my resume that looked like what my husband does.  People would laugh at any woman who did that.  Even if her college experience equalled that of her husband’s.  It galls me that politicians, the media, and people in general are buying into Hillary’s experience as if it were true … but for the rest of us women … well … we have to start all over again when we go back to work after raising our families.  I know … life ain’t fair.  The rules are different for those who rule.  But here’s the thing.  Our country is founded on the idea that the rules are not supposed to be different for those who rule.

So … who am I going to vote for? Well, the primary came to Virginia last Tuesday (February 12). I voted for Barack Obama with joy and glee.  He won by a landslide.  For the first time in 28 years I think we have candidate who is a voice for change. Not change for the sake of change, but change in how we think about ourselves. I think Mr. Obama will bring back respect to the position of President. Respect that it began to lose even under President Nixon in the early 1970’s.

I’m very excited about his campaign.  I just hope the pols in the Democratic Party have the smarts to listen to the people.

Back To the Drawing Board

Filed under:being jesus, children, faith, home school, justice, life, love, reconciliation, women in church — posted by Sonja on February 15, 2008 @ 2:00 pm

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?

In the Memetime and Lent Resource

Filed under:book review, children, fun, meme — posted by Sonja on February 14, 2008 @ 2:07 pm

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.

Working Out Reconciliation

Filed under:being jesus, church, faith, reconciliation, women in church — posted by Sonja on @ 9:28 am

I remember when I first heard about blogging. I was not impressed. I certainly never thought I would actually have a blog. That sort of thing was for silly-hearts and people with nothing better to do all day. I, of course, would never be so nerdy as to need a place to write my thoughts on the internet for all to see.

Then I was introduced to blogging more seriously and I was intrigued by it. I began to read other people’s blogs and realized that I could participate in them. I thought that perhaps I could write one too. There are things that I have grown to love about blogging. I love the relationships that have developed across the country and around the world through this funny system. I hope that one day I will get to meet some of these cyber-friends I’ve made. I love the new perspectives on life, the universe and everything that I am exposed to through blogging. There is one thing I don’t like about blogging though. That is it’s immediacy. Conversations happen in the blink of an eye and require instantaneous thought. There is little time for reflection and processing or the conversation will move on by. It is, of course, life in the information age. Life moves faster and so must thought.

For a variety of reasons, I have had an intense week this week and blogging has taken a back seat. I had a number of other things going on that required my time and attention, so yesterday I finally had some space to turn to my clogged reader and do some catch up reading. There I found a small bit in Emerging Women pointing me to a somewhat lengthy conversation at Josh Brown’s place entitled Challenging the Critiques of Emergent: A White Man’s World. I came late to the conversation; Josh had put up his original post on Feb. 11 and I think there were already 50 someodd comments when I stepped into the conversation. In his initial assessment of the critiques of Emergent it’s “just a bunch of white men sitting around talking theology,” Josh makes some valid points that are really worth considering.

In the comment thread that follows, there is a lot of discussion about the very different perspectives that come out of more mainstream Christian churches contrasted with the perspectives of people who come from a more fundamentalist or evangelical background. It is well worth reading the post and the comment thread. I found it worthwhile, though I felt that there was “something missing,” but could not put my finger on it.

At the same time, around the world, Kevin Rudd (Australia’s Prime Minister) announced an apology. He apologized to the Stolen Generations of the Aboriginal Peoples of Australia. Please take a moment and read the full text of the apology. It is an apology … a full apology. It offers no excuses, no outs; it is an acceptance of responsibility for wrongs done and offers a way forward to right them. If you use that link, you’ll see an audio-slideshow in a sidebar to the right. One of the voices near the end says, “Sorry is just a word.” She’s right. It will be interesting to see what the government of Australia does to make good on it’s promises. Things are very hopeful right now as I hear from Matt Stone that Mr. Rudd has reached across their aisle to his opposition to ensure that the necessary laws will be passed unanimously.

I woke up this morning with these two things on my mind. Playing back and forth, as if on a teeter-totter. I couldn’t get White Man’s World off my mind. The post, in general, had a sense of validity, but yet, I could not fully agree. What was missing? I was chewing on it. The Australian Apology was giving me hope. I was in the middle of a conversation about it with Matt. Since my childhood I have felt that our Native American population has been in similar straits as the Australian Aboriginals. We know from the history of South Africa of the great power of an institutional apology and the great lengths to which it can go towards reconciliation.

I am accustomed to having ideas play around in my head for awhile. So I let them go. They were having fun on the teeter-totter, after all. Who wants to be a kill-joy and pull ideas off of a perfectly good teeter-totter ride? And I went about my important morning business of drinking coffee and reading a few blogs to wake up. I read Christy Lambertson’s Throwing hand grenades at Jesus: This isn’t what I was going to write. She quoted Matthew 23 and went on to write:

There was a point in my life where chapters like this would tap into my cold fury at Christianity, Inc. and inspire me to launch into my well-rehearsed speech of “Why you people suck!” – delivered with fervor. Today, though, I’m mostly just sad – sad that Matthew 23 feels so very very true, that underneath the anger is still a well of pain. Even after all this time and all this work, some scars never go away, and I may always feel locked out of the kingdom of heaven – whatever that is. Sometimes it still feels like they won, because there is so much about religion I just can’t do: praying and expecting a tangible answer, believing in a personal God who loves me, all the creeds and liturgies and trappings, and a certain simplicity of faith in the goodness of God and things in general.

I’m at peace on my path, more or less, but I still sometimes think I might be missing something, that there was something I was supposed to be able to believe and participate in, and that faculty of trust got taken away. It would be nice to once, just once, hear someone in a pulpit get up and speak of God and not wonder what he’s hiding or who he’s hurt along the way. I would like to feel like I don’t have to keep my distance if I want to save my soul, like I don’t have to shut myself down completely just to walk in the goddamn door.

There’s so much more to what Christy wrote that you really, really must read it for yourself. If you’ve never read Dry Bones Dance, you are really missing out. She is a voice in the wilderness. I can’t speak for Christy and I’m not entirely certain about all the different bits that she might be referring to, but … when I read her post the teeter-totter in my mind hit perfect balance and I knew the needful thing.

An apology.

I want to be very, very clear. This is not just about Josh. This about men in the church in general and in the emerging conversation specifically.

Men: We women need an apology. We need it from the leaders and we need it from our local leaders. I understand that many, indeed most, of you are not now part of the problem. We understand that most of you are working to change things. But I think that until you recognize, acknowledge and admit that there is a problem and apologize for your part in being a dominant culture (because you are … I’m not blaming you, it’s just the way things are, until they are changed), we are going to be stuck in some sense.

There is a well of pain underneath the skin of all of us women of evangelical background. Some have it deeper than others. That well needs to be drained during the working out of gender reconciliation. Or that work will not be complete. It will always have something missing. Women cannot drain the well on their own. The path to opening that well and allowing it to drain begins with an apology.

That’s all.

Put A Little Love On It – February (Photo) Synchroblog

Filed under:being jesus, children, community, family, love, synchroblog — posted by Sonja on February 12, 2008 @ 9:55 pm

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

I Have A Dream …

Filed under:book review, dreams, expectantly, holy spirit, hope, prayers — posted by Sonja on February 9, 2008 @ 8:47 am

Those are some famous words, spoken to outline a deeply held and righteous dream of a culture. Many of us have dreams that are not so famous. Yet just as closely held. They speak of who we are and who we are meant to be. My beloved grandfather used to tell me, “If you never have a dream, you’ll never have a dream come true.” So I used to dream big dreams and hold them close, believing for sure that at least one would come true some day. None of them did. As the years went my dreams grew smaller and smaller and now I don’t bother much at all. I have a few scattered hopes left, but my dreams … well.

Late last year you may recall that I read and reviewed It’s A Dance by Patrick Oden. There’s a link to the book in my sidebar (over to the left there and down a little). I was quite enamoured by it. You can read my review here. Over the past year or so Patrick and I have developed a good cyber-friendship and corresponded with some regularity.

Shortly after It’s A Dance, I read The Shack by William P. Young. Now The Shack has gotten a much wider acclaim than IAD, so I did not write a review and I may not have even mentioned it here. However, I was deeply moved by it and am reading it a second time. What struck me though, was how much the two books were alike. The authors knew nothing about one another … nothing at all. I know that there are very few people who have read both books. Certainly very very few who read them back to back as I did.

Slowly, an idea was born that somehow the two books or the ideas in them, or the authors … or somehow in someway they needed to be together. But I kept putting the idea away. Because it was is impossible. I know Patrick. I don’t know Mr. Young. Don’t know him from a hole in the ground. And I’ve got no background with which to talk to him. No entree, so to speak.

Then the impossible became probable. Today, through a series of far out events, I am going to meet William (Paul) Young at the home of a friend. Sort of. The friend of a friend (whom I have met before and know) is having an open house and the guests of honor are Mr. Young and Wayne Jacobsen (another of my heroes). I don’t know if anything will come of this. Or if my hope is a silly hope. But if you read this and it crosses your mind today, I’d appreciate the prayers.

Friday 5 – What Are You Doing For Lent?

Filed under:faith, friday five, gifts, holidays, lent, poverty, reconciliation — posted by Sonja on February 8, 2008 @ 8:09 am

The RevGals Mother Laura writes: Ready or not, Lent is upon us!

1. Did you celebrate Mardi Gras and/or Ash Wednesday this week? How?

The LightFamily celebrated a small and quiet Mardi Gras with a dinner of red beans and rice and kings cake for dessert. The kings cake came with beads which we all wore during a discussion of Mardi Gras and then Lent.

2. What was your most memorable Mardi Gras/Ash Wednesday/Lent?

1983 … the prior summer I had worked a “real” job and earned enough money to have a tax return. This was enough to pay for a trip to New Orleans during my February break … which happily coincided with Mardi Gras!! I also had a friend who was going to Tulane who I had met during my semester at American University, so I had a place to stay. That was one wild few days and I absolutely loved New Orleans.

I got off the plane, took a cab into the middle of the city where I was meeting my friend (Roger – who was/is gay) and the middle of a parade and began catching beads. Somehow in the middle of the crazy drunkeness we managed to meet up. This was in the days before cell phones and all.

Tuesday morning, the morning of, a group of us white folk somehow ended up in the middle of an African American neighborhood during the Zulu parade. Potentially, this was not a safe place for us. But we were naive and unaware of our surroundings until much later. So we just hoisted the kids onto our shoulders so they could catch the beads, and did our best to fit in … so we did.

I loved the city for the 4 days after Mardi Gras as well and had a ball there. Getting on the plane to go back to college was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. I wanted to throw everything away and stay there. But I did the responsible thing ….

3. Did you/your church/your family celebrate Lent as a child? If not, when and how did you discover it?

My family is agnostic, so no we did not celebrate Lent as a child. My exposure as a child to Lent was in books and my friends who were Catholic would come to school with ashes on their foreheads … and couldn’t really explain it. Even in highschool. We would all joke about giving up lima beans for Lent, or something equally horrid … like liver. I don’t remember discovering it, because from there my knowledge of it grew until the present day. There was no discovery, more of an evolution of awareness.

4. Are you more in the give-up camp, or the take-on camp, or somewhere in between?

I’m somewhere in between and do a little of both.

5. How do you plan to keep Lent this year?

In terms of giving up … I’ve given up soda. I need to do this for health reasons. It’s just not good to drink soda. In terms of taking on … I’m taking on the Jesus Creed Challenge. I was inspired by the Virtual Abbess and some graphics I remembered from my CLB and developed a journal for the challenge. I’ve only made 5 days of it yet, but if anyone would like to use it, you can download it here. And I’ve committed to decluttering for 15 minutes a day.


next page