Wednesday, June 30, 2004

great quote - my new perspective on life

A friend sent this to me. Came from her friend. Have no idea where it originated, but I love it. If you know who wrote this, please let me know. Good to be back in blogland again.


I'll have what she's having!



great church site

Check out this church's website. Their manifesto is really cool.


First off, to answer Becca's comments: white pizza with feta, ricotta, mozzerella, basil and grilled onions. Amazing!

I'm home from CBA and my head is still a bit muddied after the 12 hour drive back from Atlanta yesterday (and the always thrilling view of what we call "The Peach Butt" water tower outside of Gaffney South Carolina.) So without further ado --


10. T-shirt: bearing a soaring skateboarder and the words "Rapture Practice." Hmm. What if Jesus just simply comes again? Won't that guy be mad he wasted all that time skateboarding?

9. Living Water, bottled water. You know, I think I'm going to start naming all sorts of items after descriptive imagery of God. How 'bout Bread of Life English Muffins. Or Light of the World Patio Torches?

8. T-shirt: Budweiser-like frogs and "Don't Croak Without Jesus."

7. Holy Bears, odd looking stuffed bears. Especially holy was the one with military insignia. (Why that? Why not a UPS bear? Or one that looks like the mustachioed guy on pizza boxes?)

6. In-Souls Socks (yep more socks) motto: "Stand on the word of God." I don't even know what to say to that!

5. The Maker's Diet. Just can't get around the weirdness of that, considering Jesus, God Himself, told us to "take no thought to what we eat or drink." Which, being interpreted means to my particular pallet - "let's break out the queso dip!"

4. T-Shirt: a picture of the Bible and the words, "Life Would Be So Easy if Everybody Read the Manual." Really? Shoot, that Jesus just didn't get it right then, did He? And to be honest, us schmucks who try to read the manual regularly still don't get it right, and does getting it right make life easy anyway? Shouldn't getting it right bring us into a whole new, glorious level of hard?

5. Sticker for your car: Pro God, Pro America, Pro Bush. What the . . .? Guess it's true then, God really is an American.

4. Proverbial Wisdom Board Game: "the exciting game of proverbial fun." Okay, maybe I'm just thickheaded but what's so "fun" about the Proverbs? Am I just a wet blanket?

3. EvangeCube. I don't know how to even describe this one. Think rubic's cube with the gospel message. But the guy was nice.

2. Officer of the Lord. Some martial arts looking guy with all sorts of holy armor will come to your church! (I'm sure he's a very nice man, but again, folks, we're just talking weird, weird, weird.)

1. A wonderful painting. Picture this. George Bush, head bowed in prayer as he stands behind a podium with the presidential seal on the front. Ghostly apparitions of George Washington and Abe Lincoln stand on either side of him, heads bowed, hand on GW's shoulder. Quite possibly the strangest picture I've ever seen in my life. Other than Nude Descending a Staircase in which I just can't see the nude, which is probably the point. I've always like Miro better anyway.

So . . . anyone want to add their "odd" bit? Would be most welcome!



PS: later - what was very good at CBA.

Monday, June 28, 2004

holy socks batman!

Today's lovely offering from the CBA floor . . . Holy Socks - faith for your feet.

Favorite book: The Maker's Diet - healing the Church, one person at a time. The scary thing about that is, it sounds eerily like the Scripture Candy motto.

Lots of patterned pedal pusher pants with mid-heel thong shoes this year. One lady in pineapple patterned pedal pusher pants produced a putrid expression because Gwynnie had the audacity to swirl her bag around. Well!

But it wasn't all bad. I want to tell you about Ed and Janet tomorrow and the work they're doing. Now this is something revolutionary in the world of missions and is as fabulous as Phyllis Tickle! I can't wait for you to hear. But for now, the pizza's here!



Sunday, June 27, 2004

cleavage at the christies

Okay, Songbird won. I'll just get that out and be done with it. I thanked God and everybody else that night. And I still feel that way. I've never won an award before, so this was highly cool.

Phyllis Tickle spoke and she was charming and deep and fabulous, fabulous, fabulous. She's just one of those fabulous older women who are still pretty but have these . . . fabulous heads on their shoulders and they speak and you go, "Whoa, like I'll ever think fabulous thoughts like that." And of course, you say it in, like, that, like kind of voice because that's how lame you feel in comparison but you can't help but like them because there's something really authentic and Jesusy about them. I'd like to say I want to be like her when I grow up, but some things you just know aren't gonna happen. Now, if I said that about someone like Phyllis *Diller* I'd at least be within shooting distance.

So, the overriding memory of the evening for me, the action I remember doing the most, is pulling up my neckline. Honestly, friends, it was FINE in the dressing room! But I had worn a different bra, and the underwire contraption I strapped on at the awards was pushing things up that should have been left alone! So I stood and the platform, thanked the universe, cleavage haunting me the whole time. "You're Inappropriate . . . inappropriate . . . ina . . ."

So maybe the cleavage was really just some real-life, creative imagery going on there. I am inappropriate, I guess. I just was hoping it would show up more in statements of blinding, slicing brilliance and not in my brassiere!

BTW, Phyllis Tickle, as far as necklines, has much better sense than I do. Which is hardly surprising now is it?



Thursday, June 17, 2004

traveling mercies

Just finished reading Anne Lamotte's Traveling Mercies. Wow. Still reeling. Still mulling. Anybody else's observation of this book would be welcomed!

Speaking of traveling mercies, or "journey's mercies" as we used to say in my neck of the woods, I'm gearing myself up emotionally for CBA. I've decided to write down the TOP TEN WEIRD THINGS ON THE CBA FLOOR. My only fear is placing a limitation on this. Of course, I guess I could just post them all and let you decide which items deserve status in this hall of fame of weirdness.

Speaking of weird religious moneymaking deals, I wonder what you've seen in your travels down the cluttered aisles of religious bookstores? Please share! Personally, I never knew tea was so spiritual. But from the amount of books about tea, I'd say it's on it's way to becoming a sacrament. I just like tea. I like the way it scampers on my tongue and makes me feel that all is right, at least for that moment. However, it's still a beverage, a humble beverage people have been drinking for centuries, not something transubstantiated because Christians seem to like it.

On another, less pissed off note, I had to share what happened on Jennifer's porch today. Now Jennifer, my dearest friend in all the world, lives on a farm outside Nashville. We arrived home from various excursions this morning and swallows were divebombing and fluttering and giving the spiders absolute hell! I say hell in deference to the spiders. I mean, if some bigger creature was divebombing you, heck just wouldn't cut it. This is life and death. Relentlessly pursing the little buggers, the birds worked tirelessly until not one eight-legged freak remained. I need the birds of God all time, to come and eat up my spiders. Sure more spiders will knit their webs upon my heart and soul, but I'm trusting God to send in the birds.



Sunday, June 13, 2004

love the comments!

It's so good to be in community with you all! I love reading what you have to say. That yesterday's blog about how people "do church" touched a chord is no surprise. Bottom line, we all want to worship "in spirit and in truth." To some of us, that's free form, artistic, the-more-gifts-utilized-the-merrier. Others want quiet contemplation and "reverence." Although I'd have to question whether quiet always equals reverence. To revere is to hold in high esteem isn't it? What better way to revere is there than to serve?

Which is why I'd never be content in an old fashioned church with only an organ or piano. Imagine all the people out in the congregation capable of great music sitting there mute because someone prefers organ music. If our worship leaves the giftedness of that particular body out in the cold, it can't be at all complete.

I don't know what the answer is, but I love reading what you all have to say, what you've experienced. Just goes to show that, as Will always says, God is busy.

Off to Nashville at 3 a.m. tomorrow. Yikes! And thanks again for tuning in you all. I'm so enjoying the repartee!



Saturday, June 12, 2004

the emerging wife

Will, my husband, has been reading and thinking alot about The Emerging Church. I like what he's saying. I like the stuff he's giving me to read. I like being married to a guy who doesn't watch sports but watches 'the church.' I can sure tell you that I'm ready for a severe shift in "church as we know it."

You know, I know we're all human and that people are always going to disagree on things. I'm not naive because, well, I came to faith and have been involved in churchianity since I was three years old. But I'm tired of all the programs and the things we all feel guilted into not only going to, but offering. I feel sorry for pastors who "get with the program" because it's always been done that way.

I'd like to go to Beach Bum Baptist Church. Or Deck Disciples. Or Parishioners of the Porch. Why shouldn't meeting together in small groups count as church? Who proclaimed that small gatherings without a specific program didn't qualify as "assembling yourselves together"?

Just thinking through things out loud here. What would your perfect gathering look like? Mine would definitely include coffee and a surface to write on.

Would love to know what you all are looking for too.



Friday, June 11, 2004

pray for me -- i'll soon be on the CBA floor

I leave Monday afternoon to visit my best friend in Nashville. CBA (The Christian Booksellers Association) Convention in Atlanta after that. I'll give you updates during my time there.

Pray for me that I just don't lose it.

One publisher actually has an acrylic booth that wizzes money around your head. People get inside, scratching the air, groping for those holy papers. But it's at CBA, right, so it's okay to make a fool of yourself for money.

That booth provides some real ironic symbolism, a small picture of a lot of what is wrong with CBA in general. Now, if they made you wear an overpriced cross necklace while you're in there, that would be even better! 'Cause . . . if you're wearin' a cross necklace . . .



Wednesday, June 09, 2004

the universal memoire

Just started a new blog yesterday entitled the above. Check it out and see what you think!


the man in the explorer at the dentist's parking lot

He just looked like a darn nice guy. Skinny but nothing akin to sticks or beanpoles. Dark-haired, large nose - but still attractive. Wore a NASCAR cap. Big dark eyes. Just nice. Smiled with a shy slant at the kids and me. I thought he deserved to be written about somewhere. Most people do, don't you think?



Sunday, June 06, 2004

stumbling along

Lately I've been very disconnected from my own creativity. Perhaps this is due to the sabbatical I'm currently navigating. I'm wondering, a little, what this is all about. It's only been about a month since I set aside the novel-writing bit. I had pictures of reading all sorts of classic literature and great books on creativity + faith. Working on my art. Lots of time alone in the Word, me and the Spirit, Him speaking to me, me listening and saying, "Yes, yes. I see the light. I see it all clearly."


I'm dung. Yep, that's pretty much it, folks. A month into this time and I'm feeling like something scraped off the sole of a zookeeper's boot.

I'm dying to write fiction right now. But I know without a doubt this is what God wants from me today, and tomorrow, and for the next eleven months. I'd say the biggest surprise is that I always thought, before this, that I was a writer who just wrote because God called her, out of obedience to the gift given and the "whole bit like that." This time is proving to me that it's more than that. That I'm actually one of those weirdos that feels compelled to write. I never knew that about myself. "Shoot," I'd say, "I'd much rather draw." But I hardly ever draw. Not only am I dung, I'm stupid dung!

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not getting all down on myself. I know this is probably part of the down-time process. And I do still possess the capability of seeing myself somewhat as God sees me and that I'm worthy in His sight through the shed blood of Christ. And it's not that I was relying on my writing for a sense of true worth (or not completely) but I think the whole novelist thing hid myself from me. And believe me, it's not about me thinking I'm all that because I've got published novels under my belt. I don't. It's about the busyness, the mind-space, the actual time that writing novels takes up.

So I thought this time apart would be this great illuminating, mind-bending experience of me actually getting serious about the God stuff of my existence, to paint and write poetry, you know - lofty doings. Instead, well, I honestly don't know what I'm doing with my time. Other than sitting around the cigar shop, doing the mom thing, the house thing, the church thing.

I'm hoping this is temporary. How about you? Ever take time off from your writing? What was that like for you? Would somebody please tell me this is normal?



Friday, June 04, 2004

for pete's sake, let them color!

My sister Lori shared a wonderful story with me yesterday as we sat on her porch and talked about how people come to faith.

"When I looked back and thought about it, during the two sermons I heard that were the key to unlocking my faith . . . Mom, let me color."

Even in sixth grade, Lori needed to be releasing her pent-up energy so she could listen to what was being said.

For some kids, sitting still in church, no crayons, no pencils, no scribbling on the bulletins, is akin to wearing earmuffs. Some adults too. I still have to doodle away the minutes during the sermon.

Why I had to share this? I sure as heck don't know. Guess I just feel sorry for squirmy kids who need to use their hands so their ears remain open.



Wednesday, June 02, 2004

a fresh voice

I've been meaning to add this blog to my list here, but am technologically amoebic, so I'll place it here in the meantime. This lady has a fresh, authentic voice so many of us need to hear.

Lots of grace abounding on her page.



I'm a Spoiled Brat

If you get Christianity Today, make it a point to read Andy Crouch's column in the June issue which is the inspiration for this blog.

I wish I could say I'm done being a spoiled brat. And maybe I'll succeed in casting it aside at least for today after reading Andy Crouch's column about the teenage girl in another land. She was sold into slavery under false pretenses into a brothel and raped repeatedly. Scripture was written all over her wall, including, "The Lord is the strength of my life."

- And I question God when my can opener won't work right.
- I complain when my Volvo won't start in the driveway of our 5 bedroom house.
- I'm grumbing because my husband is looking at a seminary in California now and dear God, I'm an Easterner through and through and will I survive in Plastic Surgery Park, Push-Up Bra World, Workout Wonderland?
- I hate my thighs.

And what the hell is wrong with me? Is the Lord the strength of my life? Well, yeah. Do I act like it? Well, no.

At times like this, I wish to go live in the Ingall's dugout on Plum Creek. Just leave my house behind and not look back. To start over again "knowing what I know now." Is it possible? Can I set my spoiled ways aside? Am I brave enough? Are you?

And then what? Where do I go from there? What does it look like beyond the borders of my lifestyle Narcissism, my bratty Ur?

Guess Plum Creek is out.