Saturday, December 22, 2007
and the music of the season
and the merchants windows are all bright
with the faces of children
and the families hurrying to
as the sky darkens and freezes
they'll be gathering around the hearths and tales
giving thanks for all gods graces
and the birth of the rebel jesus
well they call him by the prince of peace
and they call him by the savior
and they pray to him upon the seas
and in every bold endeavor
as they fill his churches with their pride and gold
and their faith in him increases
but they've turned the nature that i worshipped in
from a temple to a robbers den
in the words of the rebel jesus
we guard our world with locks and guns
and we guard our fine posessions
and once a year when christmas comes
we give to our relations
and pershaps we give a little to the poor
if the generosity should seize us
but if any one of us should interfere
in the business of why they are poor
they get the same as the rebel jesus
but please forgive me if i seem
to take the tone of judgement
for i've no wish to come between
this day and your enjoyment
in this life of hardship and earthly toil
we have need for anything that frees us
so i bid you pleasure
and i bid you cheer
from a heathen and a pagan
on the side of the rebel jesus
- jackson browne
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
It's not because I dont still love the aforementioned activities- I do. But my worldview is changing. I'm a born and bred midwesterner, daughter of republican small business owners- who grew up believing that the American dream was the be all end all of human existance. The thinking always was, at least in my mind, that God favored the United States and that our system of capitalism and democracy was the *best* in the world. I firmly believed that poor people were poor because of laziness and did my once, twice or three times yearly volunteering at a homeless shelter, nursing home, whatever- because, after all, that was some kind of effort.
I dont begrudge my parents anything- they're wonderful people. I had a happy,secure childhood and was ( and still am) quite blessed. But as mentioned in the previous post, I'm learning that the kingdom of God looks like no government or societal system here on earth- including America's.
So, back to Christmas. As my eyes are opened more and more to the needs around me, the once a year charity surrounding Christmas makes me ill, quite frankly. I'm torn because in a way, yes, any charity is 'good'- people need help. But at the same time, what in the world is wrong with we Christians that we aren't doing that all year long? Why are we throwing huge expensive pageants in our multimillion dollar sanctuaries furnished with plasma screen tv's and state of the art sound equipment? Why do we buy a cheap gift for an Angel Tree kid and think somehow that's teaching our children a lesson in loving others? Why do we count on government agencies to make up for our laziness and apathy?
If I sound bitter, I promise I'm not. I'm just broken hearted..the way things are right now is just not right. As mentioned in the previous post, there are those who believe ' another world is possible.' For a long time I ascribed to the thinking that the earth is just a cesspool spiraling down into destruction, and the only hope was to accept Jesus and pray to be 'raptured out' of this mess ASAP. I still believe my only hope is Jesus, but I believe His message is not only about self salvation, but about living out God's kingdom here on earth. That His message is about reconciliation, healing, compassion- action on the part of those who love and follow Him.
So I suppose after all of this rambling..the question remains, what can we do to bring God's kingdom about-not just pay lipservice to charity at Christmastime. Maybe there's a much bigger problem out there than the battle waged over ' Merry Christmas' or ' Happy Holidays'. Maybe it should be how we live, how we act-rather than talking about what we supposedly believe.
Some of us have worked on Wall Street, and some of us have slept on Wall Street. We are a community of struggle. Some of us are rich people trying to escape our loneliness. Some of us are poor folks trying to escape the cold. Some of us are addicted to drugs and others are addicted to money. We are a broken people who need each other and God, for we have come to recognize the mess that we have created of our world and how deeply we suffer from the mess. Now we are working to give birth to a new society within the shell of the old. Another world is possible. Another world is necessary. Another world is already here.
As we begin to identify the aspirations and values of this “world that is already here,” we will realize how counter they are to the values of empires of every age. Jesus strongly reminds his followers that we will never find the good life of God by seeking life but only by losing our lives in service to God and others.As we begin to identify the aspirations and values of this “world that is already here,” we will realize how counter they are to the values of empires of every age. Jesus strongly reminds his followers that we will never find the good life of God by seeking life but only by losing our lives in service to God and others.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
I was quite domestic. Not only did I do two loads of laundry, cleaned the living room and bathroom, and did a bunch of dishes. Then I decided to bake. For no apparent reason, when I'm shut in at home, I cook. Tonight I made a cherry pie, a first for me- complete with a double crust with fancy designs in it. Cooking is something I enjoy, but baking isnt really my forte. When you make a nice dinner, there is room for interpretation. Add a little of this, a little of that, and you just might wind up with something really neat. Baking, on the other hand, requires more precision. Maybe its the non conformist in me.
The pie turned out reasonably well, minus a few mishaps attempting to put the foil strips on an extremely hot pie plate- who thought of that anyway? Then I made cranberry sauce, another first for me. While grocery shopping this week I saw cranberries for sale and thought I might find a use for then. Turns out, they're pretty much only good for sauce. Oh well. After the cooking adventures, I settled in to watch some videos and dig into my book splurges. One is by Brian Mclaren, the other by Richard Foster.
I realize that this has been a post full of fluff, but fear not- I will return to my usual soapbox diatribes soon..the books should give me much to think about.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Maybe I'm one of the last people to notice and/or care- but where did Thanksgiving go? The funny thing is that in years past I remember retailers trying to make a *small* attempt to aknowledge the holiday. Now they dont even pretend to try.
The second the clock strikes midnight on October 31st, the Christmas shopping season is here.
Herein lies the problem- I'm not ready. I'm still enjoying my pumpkins, and the leaves- the leaves that just started turning vibrant colors, I might add.
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Why we did this? I dont know, to be honest. In years past we've gotten smarter and gone sometime later in the season, when people werent insane. Even so, I always have to run out sometime during the day on BF, to see if I can score some deals.
This year- no more. I've made the decision- I'm going to not do a single bit of shopping the day after Thanksgiving. The insanity of this whole thing became crystallized last fall when I (briefly) worked at a retail jewlery counter. There were hoardes of people waiting in line, pushing, complaining, fighting over items throughout the mall. Besides wanting to strangle someone, I was just saddened. Is lining up en masse to get the latest whosiewhatsits-that-nobody-will-care-about-by-next-year, something I want to participate in? No thanks.
More importantly..is 'Christmas' simply reduced to mass produced, material goods? In the good ole' USA, that seems to be the case. I'm not sure I'm ready to go as far as a complete Buy Nothing Christmas, but I want to simplify the holiday season and make the focus on being thankful for the blessings God has given me, and extending love to those around me and in this community at large.
I love Reverend Billy. I wish he'd come to Illinois and do some cash register exorcisms.
( If you dont have a clue what I'm talking about and think I've lost my mind, watch the clip below and check out the Church of Stop Shopping at http://www.revbilly.com/. Hes a satirist who, along with his 'choir', preach against consumerism and commodification- and is the featured actor in the new Morgan Spurlock documentary, What Would Jesus Buy? I saw a pre screening of the film this summer at Cornerstone- its great!He also happens to be hilarious.)
Prepare for the Shopocalypse!
For those who dont know, I grew up a diehard Republican/Fiscal Conservative- Ann Coulter quoting, Bush poster waving, the whole bit. Liberals were snakes, and Conservatives might have a few bad apples but they were ' better' overall.
Then, I went away to college, and I met this guy named Jesus. I stayed true to my Conservative roots for a while, but soon various inconsistencies began to pop up. Things were suddenly...messy. Jesus was talking about loving our neighbor, turning the other cheek, loving and serving the poor. Sure, I was prolife, but the idea that 'pro life' applies only to abortion and not the death penalty, not the mentally/physically/developmentally handicapped..didn't seem to jive with a consistent ethic of life. And environmentalism- only tree hugging liberals care about matters such as pollution, global warming ( because its just a myth, right?).
I came to realize these things, I became extremely frustrated. To be a good Christian, you just -had- to vote Republican, because Democrats were anti-God, anti-life. Yet I could plainly see Conservatives who didn't give a hoot about people, and caring for those in need of help- they wanted votes. So say you're pro life, vote for a few pro life things, and bada bing bada boom- you've got the Christian vote.
Even more apparent was how full of crap BOTH sides were. Its about climbing the ladder, about saying what you need to say in order to get votes.I realized this, and just gave up. (Hence my opting out). I just hid my head in the sand and pretended none of it was going on.
Then I found this book called God isnt a Republican or a Democrat- Why The Right Gets it Wrong and the Left Doesnt Get it- by Jim Wallis. Ooh- so there are a few people who notice this too. I then found Sojourners magazine, discovered Gregory Boyd, Shane Claiborne and various other Christians who were addressing these social issues often ignored by Christians. I began to have some hope.
Fast forward to today- I'm still frustrated, and I still dont trust any of the political candidates farther than I can throw them. But I'm starting to navigate the mess of issues, and starting to form where I stand. I'm okay with not voting straight ticket, and I dont fully endorse either party. I'm an independent- and I'm going to vote my conscience, where it ends up being red or blue- or a mix, and ends up being purple.
I've learned that its okay to take the red letters in the Bible seriously..that Jesus wasnt just joking when He mentioned money and the poor over and over. It doesnt make me a communist to care about the poor, nor a wimpy liberal to care about the environment. It IS pro life to care just as much about existing children and their welfare, as I care about the welfare of the unborn. It's okay to be a Christian and be disgusted by how our money-loving culture has turned people into a commodity, that we put profit over human lives and welfare.
So here I am, a born-again, evangelical, missional, progressive, conservative/liberal, anti death penalty, green, pro life, pro religious freedom, pro separation of church and state, homosexual loving, semi pacifist ( still working that one out), unfinished, still growing , neither-red-or-blue-probably-more-purple-than anything- Christian.
As Jesus was walking on from there he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office, and he said to him' follow me.' And he got up and followed him. Now while he was at table in the house it happened that a number of tax collectors and sinners came to sit at the table with Jesus and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples,' why does your master eat with tax collectors and sinners?' When he heard this he replied ' it is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. go and learn the meaning of the words
mercy is what pleases me, not sacrifice
..and indeed I came to call not the upright, but sinners.'
Here is revelation bright as the evening star: Jesus comes for sinners, for thos as outcast as tax collectors and for those caught up in squalid choices and failed dreams. He comes for corporate executives, street people, superstars, farmers, hookers, addicts, IRS agents, AIDS victims, and even used-car salesmen. Jesus not only talks with these people but dines with them-fully aware that His table fellowship with sinners will raise the eyebrows of the religious bureaucrats who hold up the robes and insignia of their authority to justify their condemnation of the truth and their rejection of the gospel of grace.
This passage should be read, reread, and memorized. Every Christian generation tries to dim the blinding brightness of its meaning because the gospel seems too good to be true. We thinks salvation belongs to the proper and pious, to those who stand at a safe distance from the back alleys of existence, clucking their judgements at those who have been soiled by life.
In effect, Jesus says the kingdom of His Father is not a subdivision for the self-righteous nor for those who feel they posess the state secret of salvation. The kingdom is not an exclusive, well-trimmed suburb with snobbish rules about who can live there. No, it is for a larger,homlier, less self-conscious caste of people who understand they are sinners because they have experienced the yaw and pinch of moral struggle.
-Brennan Manning - The Ragamuffin Gospel
Anyway, without further ado:
The Gateway Building
( if the weather is right, and hasnt frozen, we'll get that fountain out front- the city runs it)
The room is on the top floor and has a balcony that overlooks the fountain below, as well as the river, and the bridge right next to it.
The date is October 25th, 2008. I also have my dress :
So far, we have the church, reception, dress, photographer and food lined up. Next I need to decide what the colors will be. Problem is, I've got a whole bunch of colors I love, but need to narrow down. I love sapphire blue, dark green, dark purple, silver, cranberry,etc etc. One thing I know I want is to go with jewel tones over a more 'traditional' palette of fall colors. The church we're getting married at is actually my mom's home church, and where she and my dad were married.( aww, I know) This church is big, made of gorgeous stone, and is littered with stained glass windows and beautiful woodwork that my grandpa did himself. For their Christmas eve candle light service, they have these big candelabras that attach to each pew, and we're going t use those. My goal is basically a warm, glowing fall ceremony that feels really cozy.
Lately I've seen some neat dark colored hydrangeas, and some green orchids that are something different. This is fun, but there are so many things to think about! Yikes.
I'm curious, what did you choose for your wedding colors and flowers? Or, what will you choose?
How about a summary?
The book was great; funny and insigntful. The author does a good job of following the ' food trail' so to speak, of corn and beef. Don't read this if you dont want to know where food REALLY comes from. Now, dont go thinking this is some kind of blood and guts diatribe, because it's not. Pollan just does an extremely thorough job of following the history of food, the details of how/where its grown or raised, how its transported, processed, and ultimately, ends up on the dinner table.
I am a child of the corn. No, I'm not kidding- I grew up in the middle of a cornfield. But despite my many years of exposure to farming, this book gave me a whole new perspective on that lovely yellow maize. I guess as a corn fed midwesterner, I never really considered the history of commercial farming, and how it evolved into market it is today.
Pollan examines the inner workings of commercial farming, organic farming, grass pasture farming, and throws in a chapter of hunting and gathering.
I wont lie, in the end I wanted to go run out and buy 50 acres somewhere and start my own farm, complete with chickens, cows, goats- maybe even an alpaca or two.
Then, back to reality. The book really does support eating locally, supporting farmers markets and and family farms. All good things. At the very least, it caused me to think even more about moving toward foods that are less processed, and with fewer chemicals. And I'll never look at high fructose corn syrup the same way again.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Well, its a new day, and a new blog. I still love my Xanga, and will update it, but thought it was time to experiment.
I ventured into Barnes & Noble, and as usual could not leave without a few purchases. For my first post I think I'll do a review of one of said books.
The Omnivore's Dilemma- A Natural History of Four Foods
- Michael Pollan
To be continued...