Wednesday, February 11, 2015

This Is So Me

Richard Beck, who grew up in the churches of Christ, as I did, shares his love for not just studying the Bible, but how he does it. http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2015/02/bible-study.html

Here's my partial stack which I use to prepare for my study of the Gospel of Luke. It's part of living room layout for now.

There is something incredibly satisfying making connections and discovering what others have found, and how it all makes sense. I will be forever grateful to those who helped me appreciate this joy along the way.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Traveling

Sometimes when I think from where I've come in my spiritual walk, I'm amazed at how far I've traveled and wonder what took me so long to get to this place. I think this particularly when I examine the inconsistencies in belief I either ignored or didn't recognize. Then this question comes to me. How far do I still have to go?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

Here are a few of my favourite Christmas carols. May your Christmas day and season be blessed.

Sussex Carol


On Christmas night all Christians sing
To hear the news the angels bring
On Christmas night all Christians sing
To hear the news the angels bring
News of great joy, news of great mirth
News of our merciful King's birth

Then why should men on earth be so sad
Since our Redeemer made us glad
Then why should men on earth be so sad
Since our Redeemer made us glad
When from our sin He set us free
All for to gain our liberty

When sin departs before His grace
Then life and health come in its place
When sin departs before His grace
Then life and health come in its place
Angels and men with joy may sing
All for to see the newborn King

All out of darkness we have light
Which made the angels sing this night
All out of darkness we have light
Which made the angels sing this night
Glory to God and peace to men
Now and forever more, amen

Songwriters
English Traditional

Good King Wenceslas

I found the anime in this video quite charming.



Good King Wenceslas looked out
on the feast of Stephen,
when the snow lay round about,
deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shown the moon that night,
though the frost was cruel,
when a poor man came in sight,
gathering winter fuel.

Hither, page, and stand by me.
If thou know it telling:
yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?
Sire, he lives a good league hence,
underneath the mountain,
right against the forest fence
by Saint Agnes fountain.

Bring me flesh, and bring me wine.
Bring me pine logs hither.
Thou and I will see him dine
when we bear them thither.
Page and monarch, forth they went,
forth they went together
through the rude wind's wild lament
and the bitter weather.

Sire, the night is darker now,
and the wind blows stronger.
Fails my heart, I know not how -
I can go no longer.
Mark my footsteps my good page,
tread thou in them boldly:
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
freeze thy blood less coldly.

In his master's step he trod,
where the snow lay dented.
Heat was in the very sod
which the saint had printed.
Therefore, Christian men, be sure,
wealth or rank possessing,
ye who now will bless the poor
shall yourselves find blessing

Love Came Down at Christmas


Love came down at Christmas
Love all lovely, love divine
Love was born at Christmas
Star and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead
Love incarnate, love divine
Worship we our Jesus
But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token
Love shall be yours and love be mine
Love to God and to all men
Love for plea and gift and sign...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Evolving

That's a loaded term in some circles, I know. For many years, evolution, along with creation and the origins of things was something that concerned me greatly. My first thoughts regarding such things came about in second grade. I'd obviously, either in school or television, learned about dinosaur fossils and couldn't reconcile that knowledge with the creation stories in Genesis. I searched in earnest in my teens and twenties, then came children and other theological issues, so I gave it a rest, not believing in a strict six day creation, but still trying to figure out what place scripture held and how to interpret them.

The faith tradition I grew up in basically revolved around the Bible and the doctrines that tradition had developed around it. It became a law book and proof text, so that is how I understood the Bible. I'm very grateful for the teaching I received, particularly in my Sunday school classes at the Blue Starr Church of Christ. Unfortunately, regarding the Bible as a law book meant missing really important things, such as Jesus and all he means. It's not that Jesus wasn't important, but he wasn't as important as having the right doctrines and understanding. That makes for a weak saviour, not an all powerful one. I realize now that the faith translated to me was a form of gnosticism. Certainly this wasn't intentional, but as with all things, we humans skew what is meant for good.

So now, at the older age I am, I have experienced the Christian life in communities of the Church of Christ, Episcopalian, Anglican, Lutheran, and now Church of the Brethren, and I've learned good things from them all. One might think I'm simply fickle, and there may be a bit to that, though in fact there have been times I've probably stayed too long in a faith community to ensure that wasn't part of my motivation. I actually have to experience a lot of pain to make so significant a move.

As is probably obvious, my views of both scripture and the church have changed, or to use the loaded term, evolved. It's been an incredible process and I imagine it will continue to be, though at times it has been quite painful and frightening. What I hope is to fiercely hold to what is true without belittling what I have reached past and without fearing what may come.  Peter Enns posted a meditation by Richard Rohr not long ago. In it he says:
You have to learn from each stage, and yet you can’t completely throw out previous stages, as most people unfortunately do. In fact, a fully mature person appropriately draws upon all earlier stages. “Transcend and include” is Ken Wilber’s clever aphorism here. Most people immensely overreact against their earlier stages of development, and earlier stages of history, instead of still honoring them and making use of them (e.g. liberal, educated Christians who would be humiliated to join in an enthusiastic “Jesus song” with their Evangelical brothers and sisters even though they would intellectually claim to believe in Jesus, or adults who can no longer play, or rational people who completely dismiss the good of the non-rational).
 The journey is continuing. In fact, my Sunday school class will be reading Scot McKnight's book, The Blue Parakeet, and a theological reading group I'm part of will be reading Peter Enn's new book, The Bible Tells Me So. It will be interesting to see where this may lead, especially now that I'm no longer afraid, (at least not much), because my faith is in the one faithful one, and not my own understanding of him.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Returning

After over a year long sabbatical, I am returning to blogging. For a while, I thought I'd start fresh and create a new blog, but I've decided otherwise. Whether or not that was a good decision, we'll soon see! Some of my perspectives have changed and I'm sure that will come through in what I write and in the links I share, but isn't that to be expected?

I hope you will continue to enjoy this site if you have in the past. Welcome back. If you are new, I hope you will find ideas and thoughts of interest and worth. Welcome. Please use the comments section and keep the conversation going.

Pax


Friday, March 29, 2013

The Sacrificial God

Today is Good Friday, the day of the Christian year when our mind turns to the crucifixion. Not just any crucifixion, though. They were commonplace in ancient Rome and still are carried out in the Middle East today. This was the crucifixion of God. It is hard to fathom, but true. The God who created and delights in the universe and in the humans who bear his image, became one of us, part of his creation, to die. I've always wondered why it would take that. Couldn't there have been another way? I've heard various answers to that question since I was a little girl, but what I'm just beginning to understand is that our God is a life giving, sacrificial God. It is his nature, not an aberration.

If God is a god of sacrifice, then how should we, his image bearers live?

Kyrie Eleison. Christe Eleison. Kyrie Eleison.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Contra Dancing

One of the things I love about living in the area I do is the arts culture. In less than a hundred miles there are multiple art museums and festivals, a Shakespearean theatre, ballet companies, and music groups and festivals of all kinds. We are really quite blessed to be where we are.

One of the local events that David and I participate in is contra dancing. It has nothing to do with Nicaragua, nor is it a square dance. If you think of English line dances you see on BBC productions of Jane Austin novels, you can get a pretty close idea of what they're like, though it's less formal. If you'd rather, you can watch a video I've embedded of one of the dances last month at the local Roanoke contra dance. The contra dance community is very patient and happy to have newcomers. Every dance I've been to has a free workshop before the dance for beginners and the first few dances of the evening are a bit easier so that the newbies can get the hang of it.

If you live in the Roanoke area, then I'd encourage you to try it out. There are several venues, including Roanoke, Floyd, Blacksburg, and Lynchburg. There are also contra dances all over the U.S., so look them up in your area if you don't live nearby.

It is good fun!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Thought Mash Up

Sometimes I have so many ideas and thoughts, it's difficult to sit down and write about them, so I've decided to just write a bit of stream of consciousness for now. Perhaps later I'll write more on some of them.

At this time our family does not have a home congregation. While this leaves me feeling a bit unmoored, it also feels incredibly freeing. I'm sure this is not how others think I'm supposed to feel, and I'm pretty sure that when we do settle in somewhere I'll feel even better, but right now I'm enjoying not dealing with church politics, doctrinal differences, discrepencies between orthodoxy and orthopraxy, etc.

I've come to really question how we express the body of Christ, particularly the U.S. We set up heirarchies like governments or businesses, ignoring that Jesus said,  “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.". And we wonder why the church is innefective. More and more, I think the church should leave the buildings and organizations behind and meet in homes or community rooms at the local library, share a meal, pray, sing, study, help those inside and outside the church in a way that makes sense for the community. Yes, community is an overused word these days, but sometimes it fits.

I find proverbs annoying. They are so contradictory and they remind me of Mary Bennet.

I am thankful for N.T. Wright, Peter Enns, Christian Smith and many others who are helping a new generation gain a better understanding of the Bible and how to read it. It has been quite liberating to know that others are wanting to understand it in a way that makes sense and honors it, even if it means we have to let go of our pet ways of interpretation, because we really do make it impossible.

This week I read a post about how doing things a little bit everyday can help one make great progress over time and a review of a book that says the best things and people are the ones that can handle and do things in extreme. Both ring true and their contradiction is annoying in the same way that proverbs are.

As I've written before, C.S. Lewis in, The Abolition of Man, talks about applied science, or as is called in our times, technology, as dangerous in that it gives humans control over nature which leads to control over others and even future generations. This has been on my mind a lot as I've learned more about GMO's and industrial agriculture in general. I'm more and more convinced that we are making our land, animals and ourselves sick, though mask it through modern drugs. When I consider how we are to be stewards of creation I don't understand why more Christians do not speak out on this subject. 

On the positive side, I'm very grateful for the internet with its access to information and the freedom and choice this gives. Really, no one in the West has the excuse of ignorance any longer. What is called a low information voter is really either a misinformed voter or a lazy one. For me it has been helpful in figuring out some health issues and being able to treat them with diet, which I'm convinced is the remedy for most Western ailments. A website I've found helpful in this arena is The Perfect Health Diet. The Jaminet's have also written a book by the same title.

I find the teaching of Jesus on non-violence very difficult and compelling. Of course he has shown us by his life, death, and resurrection what non-violence looks like. Why do we not take this more seriously?

Sometimes I want understanding and harmony so badly it aches. To find the intersection of truth, goodness, and beauty seems to be my heart's longing. There are days when this desire is particularly palpable to me, and then I need to do the laundry, take Emma to ballet, help Olivia with her math. It is said that Lewis's sense of longing faded when he became a Christian. I'm not sure if this means I've weak faith, am a poor Christian or am just wired differently. Probably it's all three. What I do know is I love those longings. It is such a part of who I am, and I can't help but think that when I see Jesus, they will be fulfilled.