Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tina Fey as Governor Palin

Just to clarify, posting this video does not say much about my political viewpoint, just my sense of humor. Take that for what it's worth!

The theme song for the new bond flick, Quantum of Solace...I'm a little more excited about it every day!

Fall for the Farm Girl

While everyone that knows me knows that summer is my season, I do get a wee bit nostalgic during the harvest. No matter how long I live in the city, I'll still always be a farm girl at heart. The sights, smells and colors of fall speak of a season in rural life that doesn't even seem to touch the urban radar. As much as I know that fall is followed by winter (and that makes me sad already!), there's still something about it that feels like home.

Current Read

In the Hand of the Goddess, Tamora Pierce

Monday, September 29, 2008

To follow Jesus is to enter the unknown, to relinquish security, and to exchange certainty for confidence in Him.

~Erwin McManus

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Faith isn't supposed to rob your joy but enhance it. God is love. God is life. You cannot know God's love and not enjoy life. This is where you genuinely become the life of the party. Holiness does not leave you hollow, it makes you a hedonist. No one should enjoy life more than you. Paul tells us, "Do not be drunk with wine, but be drunk with the Holy Spirit." Drink up! Drink up! Enjoy life. Enjoy all the beauty around you. Let each moment be filled with wonder. When God's Spirit comes to us, He awakens the hero within us who finds strength in the joy of God's presence. This hero could be called nothing less than hedonist.

Have you subtly bought in to the belief that holiness is the absence of pleasure, of delight, of desire, of laughter, of joy, of enjoyment? I want you to remember that humanity started in the garden of pleasure with everything leveraged in our direction so we could enjoy God, enjoy each other, and enjoy life. The reason we don't enjoy life is because our souls are damaged and we need God to heal us of our wounds. T come to God is to come to joy. To live in God's presence is to know his pleasure. To live in Jesus is to live in joy.

Erwin McManus
Wide Awake

Palin for VP

This article caught my attention. It's an issue I've long pondered as a woman and as a leader in the church.

The Palin predicament

The pick of Sarah Palin as Republican vice presidential nominee is both a political event and a cultural one. Politically, it energized the Republican convention, solidified the Christian right's support for John McCain and introduced a forceful new personality into American politics. Culturally, it triggered discussions of issues ranging from special-needs children to mothers' roles to teen pregnancy.

I want to focus on the cultural rather than the political here, and turn attention to the potential impact of the Palin pick on the internal life of the conservative Christian community that seems to support her so ardently. I write as a moderate evangelical Christian.

It is an uncomfortable fact that many of the theologically conservative Christians who have endorsed Palin's nomination would not be willing to endorse her or any other woman for service as pastor of their church. Women cannot serve as pastors in groups such as the Churches of Christ, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Presbyterian Church in America, most non-denominational Bible churches, and an influential advocacy group called the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW).

Actually, at the local church level many congregations would not accept Palin or any other woman even as associate pastor, or deacon, or youth minister or Sunday school teacher in a gender-mixed classroom. The most conservative would not consider it appropriate for her to stand behind a pulpit and preach a sermon, or teach from the Bible, or lead a praise chorus, or offer a prayer, unless her audience consisted entirely of women or children.

These same conservative Christians who agree with Palin's political views and are thrilled by the idea of her serving just one heartbeat away from the presidency would argue that it would be inappropriate for her to exercise leadership in her marital relationship at home. Instead, as the CBMW says, she should "grow in willing, joyful submission to (her husband's) leadership." Many of the conservative Christian leaders who have so warmly endorsed the nomination of Palin, mother of five with a grandchild on the way, have spent most of their careers arguing that the primary responsibility of women is to tend to their homes and families.

The CBMW, which includes many of the Christian right's notable figures among its supporters, has for 20 years expressed concern about "widespread ambivalence regarding the values of motherhood (and) vocational homemaking" and about the "increasing promotion given to feminist egalitarianism."

The groundbreaking nomination presents exceptionally significant opportunities for a rethinking of the role of women in the large conservative evangelical community of which she is a member. The woman who in her acceptance speech said, "This is America, and every woman can walk through every door of opportunity," implicitly challenges the closed doors to church leadership that women encounter in thousands of American churches.

For nearly 40 years, conservative Protestants have displayed considerable hostility to the women's movement. Their leaders have sought to preserve a pre-1960s vision of the relationship between men and women and their respective roles. Citing a range of biblical texts, such as 1 Timothy 2:11-12, which appears to forbid women from teaching or having authority over men in church, and Ephesians 5:22-33, which calls on women to be subject to their husbands, conservative evangelical pastors and scholars have argued for a God-given hierarchy in the roles of men and women.

One standard articulation of this view says God's plan is for men to serve as godly leaders in home and church, and for women to accept a complementary role in voluntary submission to male authority. The man is the head of the household and family, though the woman plays the key role in providing primary care to their children.

As a corollary, only men are supposed to serve as pastors of churches or in other offices of religious authority, though the specifics of prohibitions on women's roles have varied by church and denomination. Some denominations, theologians and pastors have argued that women can serve in certain leadership positions in the church as long as they are under the ultimate authority of a male pastor-leader, while others are more restrictive. Learned theologians debate the details of these limits in books by well-known evangelical leaders such as John Piper and Wayne Grudem. More moderate and progressive evangelicals tend to reject such limits on the role of women, as I do, but this discussion of what women can and cannot be permitted to do in church is an ongoing feature of the internal life of conservative evangelicalism.

Never have conservative evangelicals positioned themselves as staunch advocates for women's leadership in political life — until Sarah Palin.

It seems only fair to ask these evangelical leaders to think a bit about the implications of their support for Palin. And so I ask them these questions:

•Is it now your view that God can call a woman to serve as president of the United States? Are you prepared to renounce publicly any further claim that God's plan is for men rather than women to exercise leadership in society, the workplace and public life? Do you acknowledge having become full-fledged egalitarians in this sphere at least?

•Would Palin be acceptable as vice president because she would still be under the ultimate authority of McCain as president, like the structure of authority that occurs in some of your churches? Have you fully come to grips with the fact that if after his election McCain were to die, Palin would be in authority over every male in the USA as president?

•If you agree that God can call a woman to serve as president, does this have any implications for your views on women's leadership in church life? Would you be willing to vote for a qualified woman to serve as pastor of your church? If not, why not?

•Do you believe that Palin is under the authority of her husband as head of the family? If so, would this authority spill over into her role as vice president?

•Do you believe that women carry primary responsibility for the care of children in the home? If so, does this affect your support for Palin? If not, are you willing to change your position and instead argue for flexibility in the distribution of child care responsibilities according to the needs of the family?

The nomination of Palin offers conservative Christian leaders the chance to rethink an archaic theological vision that wounds millions of devout Christian women and restricts the full exercise of their gifts. This is an unexpected gift from presidential candidate John McCain to evangelical Christianity. May Sarah Palin flourish in her new role, and may she open many new doors for evangelical women in America.

David P. Gushee is Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics at Mercer University in Atlanta.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Feeling Old!

So I was chatting with some of the other instructors at work today - my coworkers - and realized that one of them, one of the older ones, is a full decade younger than me. A decade. 10 years. 3650 days...plus one month.

At least I'm aging well and they only know things like that if I tell them!

Current Read

Dear Church: Letters from a Disillusioned Generation, Sarah Raymond Cunningham

Thursday, September 11, 2008

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun."
— Chris McCandless

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

"You were created to enjoy, but make sure you enjoy what you were created for. Your desires can lead you astray;"because it feels good is not a good compass for life. We should make decisions that enhance our joy for a lifetime rather than sacrificing joy for momentary pleasure.

So what do we do? We create religions to try to stop ourselves from allowing our desires, passions, and longings to lead us on destructive paths. We create laws and rules and rituals and guidelines - not to mention throwing in all the guilt and fear we can muster.

Rules or passions - which option is more attractive to you? Desire or demands? Freedom or legalism? Enjoy or obey? This last one is really important. Do you believe obedience to God is in conflict with enjoyment of life? You'll never live the life of your dreams until you believe that God is the source of all that is good. God made you to enjoy life. He's not trying to stop you from enjoying life; he's trying to help you find the joy for which you were created. Your longing to enjoy life will never go away, because God designed you that way. But we are too often shortsighted and settle for filler rather than wait for fulfillment."

Erwin McManus

Speaking of pleasure, here's a blog worthy one. Very nice! Check out this description (I didn't write it but I wish I did!):

Ghirardelli introduces Toffee Interlude™ with dark chocolate combined with crunchy toffee and caramelized almonds. The luxuriously deep and velvety chocolate delivers a moment of unrivaled chocolate intensity.

Savor a daytime breather and experience a moment of timeless pleasure as the intense chocolate lingers and time stands still.

Flavor Notes: This bar has a seductive, yet soothing aroma and a blend of the perfect balance of sweet and salty flavors. It is sophisticated with a juicy and mouthwatering quality that’s highly addictive.

They have a bunch of other flavors too. I think I'm going to have to do some taste testing...savoring each one luxurious bite at a time.
"God designed us to enjoy life; he created us for pleasure. God created us so he could enjoy us and we could enjoy him and we could enjoy life. God created us in the perfect environment for pleasure, enjoyment, and desire. This is the story of creation. This is our beginning. God created the world for our enjoyment. We took the fun out of it.

In the beginning, God's idea was to put us in a beautiful place filled with delicious fruit and gorgeous surroundings - not to mention that Adam and Eve were naked. For most of us this is a terrifying though, but factor in it was before cellulite went out of control. When we begin to enjoy life, we actually return to God's original intent. God never intended for us to live a life defined by pain, sorrow, loneliness, and disappointment. God created a very different world from the one we're running now. The garden of Eden was beautiful. You could see the sunset, and you couldn't see the atmosphere. There were no zone diets and no holes in the ozone. The world was designed to inspire the human spirit. We would wake up and want to shout at the top of our lungs how good life is. It really was a pleasure to be here.

Imagine waking up to a world like this. While paradise is gone, we can still wake up to a world we enjoy."

Erwin McManus

I like that. I want to live like that. The thing is that as North Americans, we're not very good at doing that in healthy ways. We over indulge which, I might add, begs the question of whether it's really taking pleasure in the good things in life or drowning our sorrows, or, taken to the other extreme, we avoid anything that might bring pleasure, assuming that the only way to success and fulfillment is to live an austere, driven life. Neither extreme brings the joy or rest that we long for.

Religions, Christianity included, have made pleasure something negative, earthly, unholy. To throw off the desires of this world, we decided, is to find enlightenment and freedom. But what if the truth of it is that in pursuing pleasure in healthy, wholesome, godly ways, we are actually closer to enlightenment or freedom or godliness. When, I ask, do you feel most free? When you are denying all things that might bring joy or when you are savoring a breathtaking moment? Engulfed in the pages of good book? Drowning in the sweet sounds of a beautiful piece of music? Savoring the flavors of rich, dark chocolate? Enraptured by a sunset or comforted by the presence of a loved one?

I say this tentatively. I'm not suggesting we throw out hard work for the pursuit of pleasure. Quite conversely, I believe that it's hard work that allows us to take pure joy in the pleasures of life. I daresay that, in the right balance, even our work can be a joy. I write this as one who is searching out a better balance, as one who leans towards the side of too much work and not enough play. And so, as I ponder the truths of Scripture reflected in McManus' writing, I find myself as one who is searching to be a part of seeing God's Kingdom come here on earth, to see Creation restored to it's original intent, to glimpse a bit of paradise here on earth. I want to wake up and find enjoyment in the things that God takes joy in, the things He gave us to take joy in. I want to work hard and play hard but most of all, I want to live well.

Caleb Gregory Charles Chick. 8Lbs, 3 oz born at 6:56 am on September 5, 2008 to proud mommy and daddy, Tyler and Michelle. Welcome, little one!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Did You Know?

On a typical 16th century English warship, a sailor's weekly ration of beer was about eight gallons, or roughly ten pints per day.

No wonder they were known to be a wee bit swarthy!

Current Read

Counts if it's being read to me, right? Via audiobook? I figure it's two birds with one stone. First, it's one of those books that's stirred up some controversy so I wanted to know what's going. Only way to do that is to read it! Second, by audiobook it's one way to make use of all the time I spend in Calgary traffic!

Rest in the Valley





There's a reason that it's recommended for a healthy, sane life. Wandering out to Elbow Valley felt like going home in it's own right. The richness of the color. The strength of the mountains. The smell of the trees. The only analogy to describe it would be to say that it felt like a strong, warm, comforting hug...and if you know me, you know I love hugs. A good day. No, a great day. Just what the doctor ordered...and highly recommended.

"Your faith, your religion or spirituality, is not supposed to serve as a way to get God off your back. It's not supposed to be a way to leverage your bets so that maybe you can get to heaven when you die. It's not supposed to be just about some way to relieve your guilt and shame. Dreaming with your eyes open is about living life to the fullest and enjoying God and having him enjoy you. It's about getting Go into your soul, your heart, and your head, and letting him show you the dreams an plans he has for your life. When an infinite God comes to dwell in a finite being, dangerously beautiful things begin to happen. It is here where you become indomitable. The fire within you becomes an eternal flame that cannot be put out."

Erwin McManus