#Confession #lent the #bible is clear

Prayer of Confession:

Embodier of God’s Love, teach us your love. This week our confession is that we are not willing to make the sacrifice. We are more concerned about who is a part of the kingdom, instead of loving those who might not be. We ask, what must I do? Yet the Bible is clear. When people in the Bible said Moabites were bad (Deut. 23), then Ruth the Moabite came to love Naomi in heroic ways. When the people of the Bible proclaimed that those from Uz were evil (Jer. 25), Job from Uz was uplifted as the the most blameless man on earth. When God’s people hated Samaritans, Jesus told a Samaritan who was the only one to love an injured neighbor. When foreigners and eunuchs were banned (Deut 23), an African Eunuch is prompted by the Holy Spirit to be baptized into the church. (Acts 8). When the story begins with prejudice and fear, the Spirit of God moves them to be stories of God’s openness, welcome, inclusion and affirmation. We confess that often time our story is one of worry and doubt, about what we can do, about what others can do to us. Turn our story into God’s story, the story of love. We confess ourselves and pray that we are changed here and now. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

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#faClothing #Fast! The End

Well, I have finished my clothing fast (which was supposed to only be 10 items of clothes, but due to clothing that looks alike was prob really 12 or 13)

I just read an article about a woman who wore the same outfit to her office everyday.

Clothing can help you look dependable.

Its easier not having to pick clothing.

I was forced to do more laundry, because I needed clothing

Packing for a conference was easy.

But I did not get all of my other clothes away…my laundry room is still a mess, because wearing the same clothing did not sufficiently motivate me to get everything else organized.

Yesterday I gloriously wore Jeans, a red undershirt and a collared peach castle overshirt from my Grandfather…

I love to layer clothing.

Today I am fangirling Beauty and the Beast. I have a maroon belle top, with yellow yoga pants (to match), Beauty and the Beast Flats from Hot Topic and a Beauty and the Beast Rose Locket. The shirt is from my parents, the necklace is from my sister thru etsy, the shoes are from my husband. My pants are from a shopping trip my dad and I made after I was done being pregnant and wanted clothes that fit.

It helps that I am on vacation this week so I can really REALLY wear what I feel like wearing.

I’m thinking about my clothing, who they are from, why I like them.

I like to think that I look a little offbeat and artsy (maybe even childish), it is a good signal about who I am.

And yes wearing a nice set of sweaters and plain shirts are practical, but they are surely boring (even if they are red or patterned in such a way to be flattering, I chose clothes I hoped I wouldn’t absolutely hate by the end of the process).

I don’t know if I walk away with deep insights, but I do think that changing patterns, trying things from a different way are VERY VERY important. And seeing as how I am not one to wear the same thing over and over again, this was a kind of discipline to try on a different kind of practicality.

My mom likes to joke that other people’s ideas of simplifying are not the same as hers. For example if you are baking everything yourself and hand creating each ingredient, the ingredients are simple but the process is more complex than buying pre-made things.

Its true on some level, having to do laundry more and decide which clothing I can stand to wear when and having only one semi-nice outfit (the other two involved yoga pants) meant I wore the same thing to two session meetings, a Presbytery meeting and some other meeting that I’m not recalling right now….

It true that I wore my one long “hipsterlike” sweater to the playgroup to show that I was normal/cool almost every week.

What I wear does, in some sense, reveal where I am.

Also, I am aware of some of the atrocities of what goes on in the clothing industry, and think that my choice in clothing will help me to process that better.

Its an interesting thought…wonder how this will change my thoughts on how to “wear” Christ in different and expressive ways in life…..

Clothing Fast Update

I have not put away all of my clothes…

This is a hoped for result of wearing what amounts to only 3 outfits.

I have been doing more laundry (to keep my clothes clean)

And I have a conference to go to…so I know exactly what to pack for clothing (strangely)

I do oft wear 2 sets of clothing on Sunday–my day off…

That’s it so far

Clothing #Fast: #lent

So for Lent I am fasting on my clothing.

for so many reasons

1. I am very attached to my clothes

2. I own too many

3. Laundry is not my strongpoint

The deal is you pick a certain number of outfit clothing (i.e. you can wear socks, underwear and coats) and stick to it for 40 days.

Confession: I don’t know if I could do this if Sundays counted, I tend to wear “dresses” on Sunday and don’t feel like I could wear the same thing every Sunday.

I chose 10 pieces, because the suggested 6 didn’t really include sweaters and brrrr!!!! its been cold and I’ve def. been layering and wearing sweaters inside and outside (i.e. just not as a coat accoutrement), so 3 pieces a day instead of 2 makes 9. Then there is the fact I have three small children. I sometimes get spilled or even peed on, so I feel like having a random piece of clothing for such emergencies is wise.

so here’s what I have

1 pair of black nice pants

2 pairs of yoga pants

1 blue sweater

1 black/gray sweater

1 tunic black sweater

1 red long sleeved shirt

1 black and white work blouse.

1 black sleeveless shirt (with lacy straps)

So far I’ve been doing it for a week and I’ve kept up with the laundry and I think I’ve already worn all of the different combos.

I also had the awkward moment when I wore my “really” nice clothes for the session retreat on Sat and had another Session meeting on Weds (about the budget…eeek!)  that I was running and I didn’t want to wear the same thing/but I wanted to look professional. I ended up wearing the black shirt, the blue sweater and big silver earrings.

So far so good, I’m hoping this will give me an excuse to wash and put away ALL the clothes I own, and maybe give away some more, but so far its just made me keep up with doing everyone else’s laundry so my stuff is clean (altho I’m not to folding yet).

Here Goes 30ish more days….

God, Heresy, Illusions, Emergent Christianity, you know the small questions

If you are a hard case theologian you know about the deep debate between emergent Christians (McLaren, Rob Bell, Brian Berghoef, etc) and the more (what is a non-insulting term for traditional, because I totally do not want to discredit these scholars) academic Christians such as James K. A. Smith

If your not, then this post will hopefully help. Here are some of the important conversations going on about whether emergent Christianity is a pick and choose/fluffy type of theology or alternatively, whether the tried-and-true-Christian scholars are providing too many answers on behalf of God instead of letting God give the answers….(that’s it in a nutshell, you can skip to the bottom if you don’t want the in-depth version)

One back and forth is about “God doesn’t need our help” and a more emergent understanding/refutation here.

One of the things hot under debate is giving up God for Lent, which tries to take seriously the critiques of Christianity. An article about Giving up God for Lent is here. This is something I am trying and a critique that it is a movement for intellectual (eggheaded) theologically trained (clergy) young (millenials)…which he definitely has the audience right, I am all of that–oh and I really appreciate the respectful tone of this critique…

RESTART HERE IF YOU’VE SKIPPED DOWN!!!!

As us young folks try to struggle with what church means to us–ie the emergent church, and what it could mean to the nones….I find all of this debate and forethought invigorating. Sure we don’t have the answers, but I think that looking at THEOLOGY as the source of our institutional woes (as opposed to programming, attendance or money) is a grand start.

To me the answers are to start doing the things we know the church is good at, and then build from there (strength based training anyone? anyone? ). How can we be community centers (we used to be good at that) how can we form relationships with our neighbors (we could be good at that) how do we work for social justice (I always say that human rights issues should be the ones all Christians can agree on)….

And yes we have gone through such questions before, What if God was one of us? Jesus Christ Superstar, Godspell, The Quest for the Historical Jesus come to mind. But remember, whenever people are thinking and talking about God, they are, in essence, working out their faith–and isn’t that what we at the church want to encourage? Questions, speculations, riddles and wonders about God? It’s certainly Biblical…

My church is taking its slow, we are starting farmer’s market with no ulterior motive for members or money (or at least attending to when we think about these ulterior motives) and simply getting to know the neighborhood. We are thinking theologically about our church space (we are blessed with a “great location” it would be great if we could prayerfully use it), we are consciously trying to accept people whereever and whoever they are through the strength and guidance of the Holy Spirit (Won’t You Be Our Neighbor?)…

I don’t know where this is leading, but hey, at least we are talking about it–I’d be even more excited to see these “opposing” viewpoints working and praying together, after all doesn’t the body have different parts for different reasons? (1 Cor 13:1-13)

When your heart is breaking….

Yesterday my heart broke….It was a difficult day with sad decisions and a good look at how temptation effects our lives….

Isn’t it interesting how it is easier to believe and remember evil than good? (for more on Good and Evil look here)

If you preach a sermon 90% about gospel and 10% about sin, most people remember the sin portion.

Why is evil so much easier to connect with? I think some of this has to do with our insecurity. Ted talk The Power of Vulnerability tackles this issue with storyteller/researcher Brene Brown.

In fact a lot of people I know don’t believe in Hell (Christians obviously included)…

So why then are the “less happy” endings more believable??? Why is it that “truth is hard” is the “real world” mantra

I don’t think life is shit and we struggle through it the best we can. I don’t think life is brutish, nasty, short. I think there is MORE than that.

But when my heart breaks, when difficult decisions are made, when people don’t show love and care towards one another, when people-hate-the-sin-not-the-sinner, when they fall back on smile-Jesus-Loves-you, when they use religion (as the TED video says) to provide answers instead of exploring faith), when people struggle with addiction, when parents don’t take good care of their children….

When these things happen, when its clear that the world is not perfect because of our self doubt, it is important to remember Jesus made us and loves us exactly the way we are…

Jesus believes that we are equipped, as those made in God’s image and as co-creators, to spread the good news…

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How do we know this? Because Jesus spent time as one of us. Jesus went to the desert and endured the Devil telling Jesus …you are not good enough, you are not a success, you can’t help in God’s work, you need (food, drink, success, fame) Me, the devil, to get there…Matthew 4:8-10 (Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”). And Jesus says, no, the way is through love and God, its through knowing myself as an intricate, important and beloved part of God’s plan and I don’t need to be perfect/in control/married/successful/rich to do that…I just need to be grounded and centered on God (Matthew 4:10Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.) Take that evil. Yes, evil exists, yes life is difficult, no I don’t think we have to accept the chains of temptation, we don’t have value our “Success” the way the world does. Instead we can depend on God (we don’t need to dull the pain or even control it), we can know Christ has been there, understands that we stumble and loves that about us, because we are stumbling on his path, we are doing the best we can, and we are created in his image. We participate in Lent, so that we can participate more fully in Easter–we participate in Lent, because its a part of life, but we also participate in it so we can acknowledge that EASTER wins!!! All the time, everytime (even during Lent, Easter creeps through on Sundays!!!) Easter like Christmas, needs to be lived (see my post on Being Christmassed for more)

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Please note: I discuss heartbreak and difficulty as a tangible part of life (for more look at Anne Lamott’s thoughts here)

BUT: The Good news has written the ending for us, and we can Participate in God’s Celebration…we don’t have to just watch or hum along to God’s Concert–we can party and scream all the words<<——–THIS IS THE MESSAGE, try to remember this, don’t walk away already forgetting the good news

Good News: Jesus is the Savior

Better News; So you don’t have to be (subtext you get to help!!)

So the hard decisions were made, I am continuing to pray, to live into hope, to put into practice God’s love and care and to trust that my participation although it feels small is important and that the love I show has had meaning…and really knowing that heals my heart even as its broken (just as God heals are brokenness in a broken world)…I wonder if this is how Christ feels when he makes loving and difficult decisions on our behalf…Good news JESUS is the savior….Jesus loves ALL of us, no matter what. Amen.

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