SQUEEE ROBIN McKinley is doing Spiritual Direction!!!

“So I’ve been at this Christianity lark for ten months now.  The first eight months or so were all about the run up to Lent and Easter—Christmas is fine, Christmas is all jolly, except for the long shadow of events to come—Easter, I was worried about Easter.  But I got through that and . . . gleep.  It’s like looking up from picking your way down a very narrow stony path with a chasm on one side and dragons on the other and realising that it’s not just dragons and bottomless ravines but you’re lost in a universe-sized jungle AND YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHERE YOU’RE GOING.  Where does the narrow stony path go?  Is that where you want to go?  Is there a beautiful sunset and a cup of tea at the end of it or a larger dragon?” Robin McKinley’s Faith Journey!!! LOVE FANTASY AND FAITH” from http://robinmckinleysblog.com/2013/07/24/microsoft-outlook-and-spiritual-direction/

Picture a pasto…

Picture a pastor–chances are you didn’t picture someone like me…now picture church–nope that’s not how I do that either… 🙂

You keep saying that word, I don’t think it means what you think it is 

Baptismal advice for parents

Baptismal advice for parents

Baptismal advice
Lastly, and possibly most importantly, read to your children and provide them with quality children’s literature.  There is no substitute for stories and the life of the imagination for a child’s developing mind.  Children need to be able to encounter on their own terms (not in a preprogrammed “entertainment” format) stories that are subtle and challenging enough to become part of their ongoing imaginative life. Start with Grimm’s Fairy Tales and anything by Tomie DePaola, and from age 4 or 5 onward, give them C. S. Lewis, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Winnie the Pooh, E. Nesbit, Lloyd Alexander, The Wind in the Willows, Brian Jacques, Madeleine L’Engle, Susan Cooper, Joan Aiken, Arthur Ransome, The Phantom Tollbooth, Watership Down, J. R. R. Tolkien, Ursula LeGuin, and whatever else seems good at the public library.  (Harry Potter and The Hunger Games won’t hurt them, but won’t do much all by themselves, either.)  The three Christian virtues are faith, hope and charity:  to believe in the invisible, to go forward when all seems lost, and to love the unlovable.  A child nurtured on good kids’ books will know these three virtues intuitively, in his or her bones.  Nothing on TV comes close.”

DISAGREE About Hunger Games and Harry Potter (hello Hallows not Horcruxes anyone?) but the reading advice is right on (note what percent is fantasy?)

Would add Andrew Lang and my Fairy Tale list https://katyandtheword.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/fairy-tale-addendum/

Why is Christianity uncomfortable: Love defined

Christianity is not, “Smile Jesus loves you”–anyone who says that is probably selling you on Christ (so to speak)

Last Sunday’s Scripture included one of my favorites from Revelation

Revelation 7:9-17

9After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. 10They cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12singing, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

One thing I always testify to is my absolute belief that at the end of the world every knee shall bow to Christ. I don’t know exactly how, but I have faith in Christ that it WILL happen (again do not ask me the why and wherefores, I leave those technicalities to the boss).

I don’t think Christianity is about guilt, I don’t think its my job to convert people and I think that God is ultimately merciful when She sits in judgment. (AGAIN NOTE THE LACK OF JUDGMENT IN ALL OF THIS: IF CHRISTIANITY FEELS JUDGMENTAL YOU MIGHT BE ATTENDING THE WRONG CHURCH)

However, I do know that God loves EACH and EVERY one of us. The Good News of Jesus Christ is not that God loves everybody, but God loves each and every person, with all of their warts and faults and encourages us to do the same–that is the uncomfortable and “not feel good” of Christianity, for Christ’s love calls us to practice a love that is equal to God’s, to practice grace worthy of the Holy Spirit and to be as merciful as God.

In the end, we will all know God’s love, we will all accept ourselves and each other for who we truly are, and in the end we will not be able to help but to bow to God and praise her, crying Glory, Power and Might be our God–for what is more powerful than love!

A Parenting Parable: A Fig Tree

“Hurry UP!”

Sometimes I can be a tad impatient with my children, especially my “almost” 5 year old. For example last Friday we were late to school because every single thing I asked him to do he said he would and then didn’t. Making me repeat myself over and over again.

Last week I was trying to nap during my children’s nap/quiet time (quiet time for the older boys for 1hr, nap time for the baby and perhaps my 3 year old depending how good a job we did of wearing him out). My mistake was to try to nap upstairs (my window get a nice piece of sunlight to sleep in midday: I’m part plant you know). Every couple of minutes it was “mmmooooo—ooomm–maaaa….how do I spell….” followed by some word that was somehow related to Dr. Suess–which is our current obsession. My problem was I was so tired I couldn’t follow through on my threats so I kept saying “this is the last time” spell it and inevitably he would return….

What amazes me about this all is that my children’s behavior and its significance for me, the fact of whether they are having a good or a bad day is ultimately reflective of the kind of day I’m having.

Jesus tells a parable of the Fig Tree…In it a fig tree that has been growing for 3 years. It grows, its green, it looks healthy, and yet does not produce fruit. The Master declares it should be cut down, but the caretaker (Christ anyone?) says that he will trim it, give it better soil, and to please let it grow another year and see what then happens. The Master agrees….–Luke 13:6-9

…and that’s it…the story ends, not with whether or not the tree behaves better but the two “parents” of the tree, the caretaker and the master, Jesus and God, agreeing to give it better care. Deciding it wasn’t (entirely) the tree’s fault, and that it probably could produce it just needed more time and space to grow, and more nurturing, and trimming of its bad parts….

If I’m having a good day, the hiccups of a 1, 3 and almost 5yr old are minor and workable. If I’m having a bad day every infraction feels like a personal insult.

https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRG9g5f4tujtVpidSbLAT4Vgmwit9cw7H8qta5FVswcf7r91o3BpgIf I have the wherewithall to take a step back on the bad days then I at least don’t lash out but unfortunately, I am only human. My mom said she used to be really moody/dramatic (Re: my side of the family tends to be) and if one thing went wrong her entire day was ruined. Post-Children, if only a few things went wrong, she knew it had been a “good” day.

So there it is…the promise is that God will follow through on cutting down the bad trees (you know the importance of boundary setting and holding to consequences in parenting), but at the same time, practicing Grace….If my children aren’t bearing fruit that day, maybe I need to look at the care I’m able to give them that day (after all children tend to notice when we are stressed and respond in kind) The focus is not on the consequence but on the gift…let our parenting be the same….not only on my good days, but also on my bad ones

On the other hand on really hard days–where it isn’t about me or the children, but about the world (Newtown and Boston of course spring to mind)–then the misbehavior of small children are put into perspective, and I begin to feel blessed–blessed to be safe, blessed to have children to love, bless to have children who misbehave and are imperfect.

We agree about pecans, but not about pastors

Here it is because Landon says it so well…:)

landon whitsitt

I learned a couple of very important things over the weekend.

First, most of my Facebook friends agree that the correct pronunciation of the word “pecan” is “puh-CAHN”. There is some slight disagreement as to why it is pronounced that way, but (other than a few outliers) that seems to be the consensus, whether talking about the nut itself or the nut in a pie.

The second thing I learned is that there is little to no consensus on what constitutes “Full Time” when talking about the work of pastoral ministry. In the conversation on my profile, I rediscovered a wide chasm between what we think pastors should be doing, the amount of time we think they should be able to do it in, and the reasons why we think so.

In Open Source Church, I quoted a paper I was a part of writing, “Raising Up Leaders…

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I’m not crazy…

Ok, I guess that is debatable…I mean who else thinks that establishing a church through Sci Fi/Fantasy is their calling?

But often I think that this is the message I want to get out…I’m Christian, not Crazy.

Just because I believe in God

Just because I try (and fail and then try again) to put God’s love and hospitality into practice does not make me an extremist, bigot, loony or uneducated person. In fact it doesn’t make me liberal/conservative, rich/poor, smart/dumb, etc. That’s the point. ImageChristianity is supposed to be noncontextual (for an ironic moment watch a pastor talk about how bigotry succeeds at being ultimately noncontexual as well http://gawker.com/5953357/missouri-pastors-fiery-speech-against-equal-rights-for-homosexuals-has-stunning-twist-ending)

Christianity should be without context. And when I say I’m Christian, I would love for that to mean that I think outside the box, not that I am stereotypical (cause I’m not)

When I say I’m Christian, that means that the most important thing to me is God’s graciousness, and when I look at the world, it is hard for me to think that we were a random happenstance of nature. And the fact that I was created and I, in turn, try to create things, is an important part to figuring out my life…

It does not mean I’m going to push my beliefs on you, that I hate everyone else out there or I’m going to be judgmental–it simply means that to me, God enriches my life….

That is all….

Vampires, Harry Potter and the Wonderfulness of Fantasy!!

Someday, when I am rich and famous

Or when my children are grown

Or when I plain old have the time, I’m going to write a great thesis about the evolution of Fantasy from mythology to Fairy Tale to Fantasy to Modern Day. (for a little on this read my post about Beauty and the Beast)

And when I do I will write many many important and amazing things about life.
But if you love fantasy, and are curious about Church, can I just say that nothing corresponds in describing the human condition (in my opinion) and the importance and significance of hope in the Bible …nothing except the fantasy

Nowhere else does good battle evil, amazing things happen, people live in completely different conditions with different abilities, and yet they still are stuck with struggling with the human condition. Those things that make life essential!

My professor Kenda Dean says that being a teenager is the human condition (the highs, the lose, the hopes, the inherent brokenness of it all) on crack; and that’s why she likes it.

Maybe that’s why most teens read fantasy, and many adults “outgrow” it.

While I have your attention two brief points about Fantasy that I hope to explore via ministry (with all ages, not just children or teens) at some point.

Image

Image

1. What is with Vampires today?

There seems to be a fascination with

a. Everlasting Love

b. Living Forever

c. Drinking the Essence of a Living being to do so….

Any thoughts about Religion and this fascination??Image

2. Harry Potter: Because it is awesome

At one point Harry Potter discusses that the right way to pursue eternal life is through Hallows, Not Horcruxes….

Image

Ponder that

What are the Hallowed things (Hallow means Holy by-the-bye)

What are the Crutches, the Horrible Crucibles in your life. How do they seem like they provide eternal life, but they are not….

Image

Ponder these, get back to me, and then tell me that this generation of Fantasy readers isn’t ripe for the Gospel!!!

PS recently there was a great post about telling the Gospel in 7 words or less in Christian Century

www.christiancentury.org/search/apachesolr_search/seven%20words and for a good blog read http://theblueroomblog.org/2012/08/30/the-gospel-in-seven-words/I

I’ve decided mine would be

Trying to be as gracious as God

or Hallows, not Horcruxes….Just saying 😉

Peace All!

This is a Public Service Announcement

Please note: Jesus (while saying nothing about homosexuality) was crystal clear that our primary purposes as Christian were to love our neighbor as our selves, care for the sick, help the poor and empower the marginal…the next company/church/protestor/athlete etc. who claims to be Christian really should show how they are following Jesus’ many life changing commands, that’s what real Christianity is, and if anyone tells you differently, they need to spend some time in deep conversation with God (prayer). Please stop fooling yourself and pretending that Jesus was about politics, money and grandstanding (that would be your humanity showing)…that is all…

 

PS what is the most “Christian” thing you have ever witnessed?

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