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Month: March 2014 (page 1 of 5)

The Best of the Month: MARCH

Each month, I’m collecting my favorite posts from around the internet and on the last day of the month, I’ll be sharing them here.  Some of these are posts that I deeply resonate with and others are ones that made me think or reconsider.  I’ll also be sharing my favorite thing I’ve written this month.

CHRISTIANITY

Zack Hunt at The American Jesus: Complementarianism: The Church’s Segregation Problem

“The language may be slightly – and only slightly – different, but at its core complementarianism is little more than the church’s sanctified version of Jim Crow. 

Like its segregationist forefather, complementarianism is a deceptively eloquent way to keep one group in power (men), while marginalizing another (women) based on an accident of birth (genitals). Where once minorities were “separate, but equal,” now women are “equal, but different.” It’s segregation in the name of Jesus. In the name of the very Christ who shattered the gender divide, women are kept separate from the pulpit, separate from leadership in the church, and separate from leadership in the home.”

MILITARY

Kim at She Is Fierce: War is Over (And I’m Not Ready To Reflect)


 “You might tell me of the cost of the war, and how it wasn’t worth the lives 

And you will look at me with pity, and you will tell me that I must be so grateful to know he doesn’t have to go again. 

You may tell me all of this not to be hurtful, but because you assume it must be true. 

And I won’t tell you that you are wrong, because what you think I should feel makes more sense than what I do. 

I will assume, because I am just as set in my thoughts and ways as everyone else, that you don’t actually want to hear what it really feels like. 

It really feels like defensiveness. 

Because every time the news reports on how useless it all was, well it seems like that is somehow a personal attack on what my family gave up, which was a tiny sacrifice compared to what other families lost.”

PARENTING

Sarah Bessey: In which I don’t mind if my tinies see me on the computer

“I don’t feel guilty taking them along when we get groceries or pay bills or drop off library books or help others or any other of the chores and tasks and work that goes into running this little family. 

Maybe my prairie kid work ethic is showing. My grandpa raised our clan to know that truth: work is honourable.Now I’ve rounded that out with the belief that work is also a gift from God, part of our heritage as co-creators with God. Particularly when our work – paid or unpaid – is personally fulfilling, an act of creativity or beauty or usefulness. What a gift to be able to work! 

So, is it a shameful thing for a mother to work on the computer while her children are present? Nope. 

Not only is it not damaging to my tinies to see me – gasp! – working on the computer while they’re here, I believe it’s downright good for them.”

RECIPE

Christy at The Girl Who Ate Everything: Swig Sugar Cookies

(Technically these were posted in February, but I didn’t make them until March.  Still, SO GOOD!)


WRITING:
Dorcas Cheng-Tozun at the Redbud Writers Guild Blog: Why Writing Terrifies Me – And How That’s Changing My Life

“But for me, being a writer is also terrifying. And it is for that very reason that I believe God has called me into it. Like so many things in life, he is using this to both bless and transform me. In particular, he is challenging me to lay down three powerful idols that I have clung to for most of my life: people-pleasing, achievement, and perfectionism.”


MY OWN WRITING:


“Churches preach the benefits of living in community, yet we somehow forget that living in true community is guaranteed to be messy and complicated. While we talk of authenticity, Church often remains a place where you can’t be honest. 

Church should be a place muddled with honesty and real-life messiness. And it should be a place where a shame-filled person can find relief. It should be a place where shame loses its power.”


What was the best thing you read (or wrote!) this month?


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Honesty in a Culture of Church Taboos

HONESTY

“Two pink lines. When my husband and I saw them, we imagined all of our plans and dreams fading away. First came anger and then, swiftly, relentlessly: shame.
I was pregnant.
To others, our situation looked ideal. We were young, relatively healthy, and my husband had a steady job with full benefits. And we had wanted children.
Just not yet.
Who could we talk to?
We recoiled from Church, feeling isolated by our lack of joy. We didn’t want to wound couples that were unable to conceive by voicing our disappointment over this baby, so we kept our mouths shut and our sorrows to ourselves.”

Click here to read the rest of this post at RELEVANT Magazine!

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So a post-evangelical walks into a Christian bookstore…

We left our Bibles at church one day, each thinking the other had grabbed them.  Our hands were full of the regular things (coats, a diaper bag, and a toddler clutching his coloring sheet) so we didn’t realize we’d forgotten them at first.  Later, when we tried to retrieve them, they were nowhere to be found (this is one of the downfalls of church meeting in a middle school).

That bible had been special to me, a gift given by a sweet friend in college.  I didn’t want to replace it because I wasn’t ready to admit that it was actually gone.  But after a month or so, I gave in and told my husband with a sigh that I was ready to buy a new one.

“We’ll need to find a Christian book store.”  I was not enthusiastic.

“Look on Amazon.” He suggested.

Caleb knows that I prefer to shop online for most things, so I know he was trying to be kind.  But you simply can’t buy a Bible online.  At least, I can’t.  I have to hold it in my hands and feel its weight.  I need to be sure there is enough room to underline and write in the margin.  I want to turn the tissue-papery pages and feel the leather cover.  (Of course, it is a luxury to be this choosy about a new Bible, but since I was paying money for one, I wanted it to be the right one)

As much as I dreaded it, I had to go to a Christian bookstore.

There was a time when I loved Christian bookstores.  It used to be my place.  After all, I love books and I love Jesus.  Surely this was the perfect combination.  But my faith has changed over the past few years.  I have fought with (and against) Christianity.  I have struggled to find a place in the Church and struggled even more at finding my voice within the Church.

Part of me wanted Christian bookstores to still be my place.  To go back to a time when Christianity was easy and comfortable.  When I didn’t have so many questions.  Or (more accurately) when I just didn’t ask those many questions.

But I went anyway, begrudgingly, but knowing that it would probably be good for me.

As I pushed open the doors I remembered what I disliked about these stores: it was Christianity commercialized.  Kitschy plates and figurines.  Bible verses snatched from their contexts to be embroidered on bags and t-shirts.  “Christian romance” books.  Little bits of Jesus packaged up into bland communion wafers.  Books and movies were tidily arranged, but I couldn’t help but think of the Christian publishing world and how it isn’t always so Christ-like.

I located the Bible section, and soon was opening up the boxes to find the right one.  A few aisles up, I noticed that they had a section for Catholic Bibles, unusual for these types of bookstores.  I nodded with silent approval.

Tired of my search for the right Bible, my toddler son raced down the aisles, his internal GPS lead him straight to the very thing I had tried so hard to avoid: the singing vegetables.

“Come on, kiddo!  Mama needs your help to pick one!” I said, scooping him into my arms.

As I carried him back, I kept an eye on the shelves we passed.  This bookstore surprised me.  All the kitsch was there (of course).  But so too were Bibles containing the Apocrypha.  And cards for the saints.  And toys that weren’t outwardly religious.  The line between sacred and secular was just a little thinner here.  The lines separating denominations were less noticeable as well.  I liked that.

I said before that I struggled to find a place in the Church.  But that statement wasn’t completely correct.  I am struggling to find a place in the Church.  Present tense.

I know when I’m not welcome somewhere and it feels easier to slink out the backdoor, unnoticed, than try to fit in.  I don’t want to make a scene, so when I disagree with someone at Church, my natural tendency is to brood silently and then leave to find a place where I am accepted.  I haven’t actually done that yet, but I have thought about it more than once.

That bookstore brought me a bit of hope, in a strange way.  Walking in, I was sure that the store was going to fit a narrow demographic of Christians.  A demographic that didn’t include me.

Deep down, I think I’m waiting for someone to tell me that I’m not a Christian if I hold to certain beliefs.  Or at least not the right kind of Christian.  That seems like a silly, irrational fear, but, truthfully, many Churches and Christians would classify me that way.

The bookstore gave me hope because it was a small sign that evangelicalism might be changing.  That there might be room for ecumenism.  That there might be room for me.
 

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