Archive for the ‘they say Jesus will find you wherever you go’ Category

There will be strong language and strong thoughts ahead, so only jump into this if you’re so inclined. (more…)

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I’ve been open about criticising Stacey Campfield. Apparently there are quite a few people who view him as a sort of Robin Hood Man of The People type guy. A folk hero. There’s a bit of an ode to Stacey over at David Oatney’s, where Campfield is likened to Jesus, of all people. A crucifixion analogy is employed.

Imagine my surprise to read this comment left by David Oatney this morning:

As I recall, you aren’t a conservative-you are a libertarian trending toward the large L. That being the case, you are hardly in a position to call my fellow conservative Catholic “laughable at conservative politics.” He is by far more conservative than you are, so if you want to get technical, he has a much greater right to lay claim to the title.

He doesn’t represent you because you aren’t an East Tennessean. The reason we like Stacey is because he stirs the pot and makes the forces the so-called “moderates” to listen.

Most importantly, Stacey does the right thing. He has something called a Christian conscience. That does tend to significantly alter the way that you do things.

It’s that last bit I want to talk about. The bit where Oatney implies that by criticising Campfield (and probably by being a stinky Libertarian) I am without a “Christian conscience.” I am so angry about this that I’m not quite sure what word to type next. I cannot believe that anyone feels they have the right–in direct contradiction to Jesus’ teachings in the Bible–to question my faith based on my politics. To suggest that I am NOT a Christian because I don’t travel in their circles is heinous.

I honestly don’t know what to say. I really don’t. I will say that this scares me deeply. Is this the direction we’re headed as a country?

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In the movie version of Tolkein’s Fellowship of the Ring, the weary and bedraggled band of Man, Elf, Dwarf and Hobbit face relentless horrors and death. They trudge through barren wastes, frozen peaks and cavernous mountain passages flaming with hellfire.

Then they get a little bit of a break. In Lothlorien, home of Galadriel, they find water, shelter, rest and a chance to mourn.

Yesterday was a Lothlorien moment for me. I’ve struggled for weeks under various assailments from health, work and threats of lawsuit. By Thursday of this last week I had definitely ‘fallen into shadow’. I told Husband that I needed to find my strength again, my energy to be myself. When Aunt B. first proposed this gathering a month ago I thought it sounded like a nice idea and a fun way to pass a few hours without TiVo. I didn’t realise that by the time the actual day arrived most of us would be in dire need of a soul-recharging.

I don’t think I can fully describe how healing it is to have a group of women gathered around bounty, beside a flowing stream. And yes, I’m being pretentiously wordy, but I don’t honestly have any other words to describe it. Awesome? Overused. Cool? Too ‘High School Musical’. Rad? Please get over yourself. Bitchin’? Heh. Probably, but not in the ways you think.

There is a large wooden table with some story behind it. Every woman brought a bit of food or a bit of drink, symbols of contributions from her soul, designed to nourish the group. There was wine to symbolise spirit, life, death and rebirth. The stream gurgled by with a bubbling peace song.

Like all good midwestern women, I seemed to have retained that spark of Mother which finds us in the kitchen arranging food dishes, fretting over their presentation. I’ve discovered over the years that I’m generally at my happiest when I’m in a kitchen organising an assault of food for a mass of people. That’s the arena where I learned womanhood from my grandmother, mother and aunts in the farmhouse at Kewanna.

Like all women with an edge of snarl, I found true happiness in a deck of cards. I’ve been known to play Euchre for many hours running, in marathon sessions of Anabaptist cunning and hard-knock passes. By the time we broke out the cards I had relaxed enough to barely mind the fact that there were no seats without a back to the door. Praise God that a Euchre deck is cleaned of all eights. Nevermind that my partner and I lost by two points. That’s a respectful showing in any Euchre session, and due punishment for my arrogant call of trump on a whim.

I’ve been in many gatherings where everyone has a lot in common. Those are always nicely bonded with some degree of fellow-feeling. We’re all Christians or conservatives or geeks, nerds, foodies, Disneyphiles. What was so special about last night was the same thing that made Lothlorien special. We all have relatively little in common at the surface. We are Men and Elves and Dwarves and Hobbits. Liberals, Libertarians. Faith and Atheist. Mothers and the Childfree by Choice. But we’re friends because we’ve shared bits of hard journey together and we draw strength from our common hearts.

I owe a debt of gratitude to B for planning it, Mack for hosting it, Lynnster for getting me there in one piece, saraclark for getting me home in once piece and everyone else for putting up with me and the six-foot men. Bless all of you for who you are and how you be.

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Do they still make that green cellophane grass to line Easter Baskets? I’ve seen crinkled paper, but none of that sticky, messy Easter Grass of my childhood. Then again, I’ve spent the last eight or so weeks just zooming in on the Cadbury Eggs and ignoring the rest of the holiday bits.

I had other, deeper thoughts on Easter. Thoughts that didn’t revolve around eggs and candy and shredded plastic. But I can’t get there in my mind right now. The thoughts are there, careening up against the dust mites and cobwebs. If I try to coax one out, others follow and they all end up fighting right here on the keyboard. So I guess it’s best left alone for now.

Oh, here’s a non-deep Easter Thought. What the heck is up with Ben-Hur? I used to love that movie, and I tried to watch it every Easter. I haven’t seen it in a couple of years, but we watched it today. It was like 30 minutes of good stuff diluted by some of the most melodramatic cinema I’ve ever seen. They could keep the stuff on the boat, the chariot race, the business with all of the drinking and the healing rain. The rest could be seriously condensed. My husband now has decided that there is “time” (sixty seconds equal a minute; sixty minutes equal an hour) and “Ben-Hur Time” (each minute feels like sixty). I sincerely regret telling him that it’s one of my favourite movies of all time. Or it used to be. I think I’ve seen too much fast-paced Braveheart type stuff. I do think that I like the name “Judah” for a little boy, though. Not necessarily MY little boy, but who can say for sure?

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If you pray, pray for us.

If you don’t pray, please still remember us.

This is a big week over here, and we’ve got a lot riding on the outcome.   For various reasons I don’t want to go into on the blog, it’s becoming very essential for me that things proceed forward.

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Since I can’t be at church today, I figured I’d write about The Church. Anyone is welcome to read and chime in, but since I’m talking about family business, expect a bit of God-bothering that I wouldn’t include in a secular post. Sam Davidson’s post on the Church’s lack of appreciation for worldly accomplishments is serving as the catalyst for my thinking. In that post, Sam asserts that

when the church decries something simply because to embrace it would require a change of heart, it is not assuming its God-given role to be a positive force of change in the world. And that’s called heresy.

Of course, in the list of items for which Sam would like to see the Church relent on her position are things like ‘abstinence-only education’. And this is why I’m a Christian Libertarian, gang. This is it. Right here.

Because I firmly believe that we in the Church cannot use the law to force our ecclesiastical views on the rest of you. But I also believe that I don’t want secular views diluting the power of Christ’s message to the church. In the church we teach abstinence because we believe that is how the Bible instructs us to live. We know abstinence is difficult. We’re human. We have libidos too. But we teach abstinence to our children because we are to ‘bring them up in the way [they] should go’, and we believe circumspect sexuality is part of that. I don’t think we need to teach ab/o in the school systems because those kids are not all our kids and their religious education is not the role of the school. Abstinence-only is a religious position held for religious reasons.

In the Bible we are told that the Church is the role-model for marriage. Christ is the bridegroom and the church is the bride. Just as the church has only one God and Christ has only one Church, Christians are to have only one sexual partner. Yes, I know it doesn’t always work that way. But that is the goal to which we aspire when we take up our crosses daily.

I know we aren’t the cool kids here. I know that the hip granola thing to do is to be all “Condoms For Everybody! Whee!” and cluck tongues at those backward Jesus-freaks at the soda fountain. I know that so many in the church would rather be embraced by a secular world full of fellow-feeling than to walk the hard road on this.

But we are called to be holy. In case you weren’t aware, “Holy” means set apart. I’ll help you teach birth control methods in secular society. But don’t expect my Church to slough off our definitive core of beliefs just to fit in with the withering grass and fading flowers of this world.

The rest of my comments on Sam’s treatise can be found here.

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I had a long post all simmering on the back burner that went into much detail about Evangelicals and conservative politics with a dash of Church of Christ thrown in. But it’s Friday and I have no desire to go there right now. Maybe later in the day. Maybe Monday when all the political wonks are done misunderstanding the Christian Church and I can get my thoughts out there untainted.

For now, though, I’m going to do a Friday Random Ten because it’s FRIDAY. And you’re supposed to do a Random Ten if you blog, I guess. I do try so very hard to follow the blogging trends. It is only out of mercy for you, the kind person reading this blog that I don’t engage in Half-Naked Thursday. I really don’t want to blamed for “Kill Me Now Friday”.

So without further ado, I give you my Friday Random Ten.

  1. Blackbird           Artist: Sarah McLachlan  I Am Sam Soundtrack
  2. Burning Love    Artist: Elvis Presley  Elvis: 30 #1 Hits
  3. Box Set      Artist: Barenaked Ladies  Gordon
  4. Missisissippi Half Step/Uptown Toodeloo       Artist: Grateful Dead  Without A Net
  5. Typical Male        Artist: Tina Turner  Tina Turner’s Greatest Hits
  6. Shreveport Stomp       Artist: Jelly Roll Morton   The Greatest Ragtime of the Century
  7. Bard Dance       Artist: Enya  The Celts
  8. If I Had Words       Artist: Nigel Westlake Babe Motion Picture Soundtrack
  9. Luck In My Eyes       Artist: k.d. lang   Absolute Torch And Twang
  10. The King Of The Golden Hall       Artist: Howard Shore   Lord of the Rings: Two Towers

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Some of you may remember Clarence, my budding legal mind of a nephew. Well, Clarence is bracketed by two sisters, one of whom is still a baby of sorts and the other, Aimee, who is now six. This is a brief tale about Aimee’s future as a religious philosopher.

At Aimee’s kindergarten, the children are given plastic eggs around Eastertide. Since this is a Christian school, the eggs contain pictures of Easter-related items instead of the usual candy. Leaving aside the obvious about which any six-year-old would rather have, I need to tell you about Aimee’s reaction to the last picture.

It was a whip.

“A Whip?! What does that have to do with Easter?” Aimee wondered.

Incidentally, I had the same thought as Aimee upon hearing this. A whip? Whattup? Good thing my brother was bright enough to catch on and run with it.

“Well, Jesus was whipped” he explained.

“They whipped the Son of GOD?!?!?” Aimee was quite affronted at the cruelty (and unwiseness) of it all.

“Yes” said her rueful father. He then prepared to bring the Good Friday story into the home stretch. Clearly Aimee was empathetic for Jesus’ pain and suffering. “And then they nailed Him to a cross and killed Him.”

“Well, we’ve all got to die sometime.”

I guess them’s the breaks, Jesus.

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Sometimes things go your way, and sometimes they don’t.

Sometimes the company hires you, and sometimes they don’t.

Sometimes it rains on a day when you needed sunshine.

Sometimes the cheese on the pizza burns.

I’m really frustrated with the continued hitting of brick walls in our life lately. I feel as though I’ve looked up and suddenly here it is, eight years later. We’ve struggled through so much with startup companies, rundown companies and broken promises that I wonder if life ever gets any easier. Ever.

People often mock my faith as a childish relic or unnecessary fantasisation. Magical thinking which solves nothing. I promise you now, though, that were it not for that magical thinking I would be dead three times over. Because this garbage is just too hard otherwise.

I often feel lately as though nothing goes my way. That’s why the above picture means so much. It’s a photo of my restless dog peeking up at the front seat on our way home from Christmas vacation. That picture was taken on December 27th, 2006. This is the dog for whom we received a probable death sentence on August 18th, 2006. The vet talked to us about possible choices for ‘making him comfortable’ and ‘easing his pain’. Because the x-rays looked like cancer. And the leg swelled like cancer. And bone cancer is a leading cause of death in that breed.

Yet here he is in that picture, four months past the likely date of his death from the cancer that wasn’t. I swear to you I grieved that dog for weeks. Had he been stricken with cancer he would have most likely been dead by mid-October. I pictured getting through Halloween without him barking at trick-or-treaters. I pictured the long car trip to and from Indiana without him clambering over the presents in the back of the car. I listened to songs like ‘Boulder to Birmingham with tears streaming down my face as I got used to the idea of our inevitable separation.

But there he is, in that picture in the back of the car. Alive and well and bored to tears as we gas up the car in Elizabethtown. And today he ran around my backyard in fits of springtime joy, bouncing all over the grass.

So I guess sometimes things go your way. And sometimes God is kind.

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I did make it to church today. Well, at least the Sunday School part. I’m glad I did, because there was much true reaching of God in that room this morning. And now I have a hymn as a brainworm, and I have these few words recirculating constantly:

frail children of dust, and feeble as frail

I should probably venture over to Google to see which hymn that actually is.

In just a few more hours we’ll have the Evening Of Really Good TV. It’s the Battlestar Galactica season finale, followed by the Rome series finale. I’m thoroughly unspoiled, but I’m betting that
1) Starbuck comes back from the dead by the end of BSG.
2) Pullo has to kill Caeserion.
3) Vorenus kills Pullo OR Pullo kills Vorenus.

I’m settling in for the heartbreak on all of this. I’ve loved Rome, and really would have liked to see them hold out for enough seasons to get 75 years further down the pike to include the birth of Christianity and that nutter, Nero. But of course I’m still angry at Rome‘s great expense costing us the fourth, conclusive season of Deadwood.

Can I say “cocksucker” on my blog if I’m referring to a lollipop made specifically for male chickens? Or no?

Effluvia Update:  I guess it’s my blog so I can say what I want.  I’ll just hear about it later.  Or people will stop reading because of my foul mouth.   Or foul fingering, in this case.  Ha!  Is it ‘fowl fingering’ ?  Also, foul fingering sounds diiirty.

And I did go look up the hymn (talk about your sharp turns!) and it is “Oh Worship The King”.

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