Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Come on, feminists... you have to admit this is kinda funny.   

Granny Call

Harriet Kenyon Call

I was thinking about my grandmother this morning. She was a pretty awesome lady who did some kick ass things in her lifetime, the most notable (from what I know) being that she was a WASP.

My dad has shared some pretty crazy stories about his mom who was an excellent cook, painter and pianist as well as a freaking pilot in World War II. From his stories and from my own memories of her I get an excellent picture of a woman who loved fiercely and who lived life for all it was worth.

Hers is a legacy I hope to live up to.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Stop Consuming

I came across this website because I saw it on a shirt on one of the members at Artisan and briefly overheard that member describing it to someone who had asked about it.

Stopconsuming.org seems, at first glance, to be part of a movement to raise awareness about the growing culture of consumerism in American churches and American Christians.  This idea, of course, is something that has been bugging me lately.   

Anyway, I think that the Shema movement (which is the movement associated with the website) wants to encourage people (Christians) to get out of a consumers mindset and go do something-no matter what that something is-for the sake of Christ.  

I'm not going to jump into any movement for the sake of being in a movement.  I'm not that kind of activist.  I'm not any kind of activist, really.  Rather, I think I am one of those consumers. This could account for my disgruntled-ness as what bothers me about others is the same thing that bothers me about myself.  I'm not doing anything. I sit at church and compare bands and judge sermons and then leave relatively unchanged.  

I wonder if I've become fat with Jesus or overfilled. A glass that has been overfilled with water spills over and creates a mess. Indeed, water is necessary.  But too much water is destructive.  I wonder if this is my problem.  I'm overfilled and instead of doing something with all the excess, it has become destructive.  I am cynical, overly critical, angry, arrogant and lazy.  

So now I just need to figure out what to physically do.  I don't know if being angry at "x-brand Christianity" means I should do something about x-brand Christianity or if I'm mad at x-brand because I am x-brand to some extent.  In that case I should do something about being x-brand. Maybe it is a little of both.  I guess I'll let you know when I find out.

As always, feel free to leave comments, especially if you know a little something more about this Shema thing.         


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Countertops a Cancer Risk?


To be fair, I didn't actually read the article, but the headline from Yahoo! News made me laugh a little.  Plus the headline is enough to spread sensationalist rumors.  Who needs to read the article?!

Next week:  "Licking granite countertops has been shown to cure cancer!"

Turns out you can't breathe near the countertop-that causes cancer.  But licking the countertop while holding your breath will cure that same cancer. 

Now what?

Well, that last post was certainly cathartic.  I had been dwelling on these thoughts for some time but found it helpful to place them on record.  But upon rereading that post again this morning, I came to the conclusion that to dwell any longer here would do a great disservice not only to me but to others as well.  

I was surprised when I used the word hate yesterday.  The sentence "I hate this brand of Christianity" was typed as it had been thought.   I paused afterward to decide whether I really meant that or not.  Of course, the next sentence revealed that I did mean to use that word.  Though today, I question whether or not what I feel toward this group of people is actually hatred.

True hatred is a pretty raw and ugly thing.  It drives men to kill one another, or wish for another man's death in ones heart.  People say love is blind and I think hatred is too.  When you are full of hate you cease to be able to see any other way but hatred.  It's consuming and its effects are devastating not only to the person being hated but the person hating as well.  

So do I truly hate the brand of Christianity I described yesterday?  Maybe not so much.  I do not wish death upon these people.  But anger is not out of the question.  I see an injustice in the way these people treat others and it makes me angry.  In their arrogance people get trampled.  Perhaps a little like I trampled them yesterday in my own arrogance and pride.  
Much of the brand of Christianity I wrote about yesterday is based on my old church, which is probably of little surprise.  There are days when I wish I could go back and tell off the preacher and force him to understand that the way he goes about church and pastoring hurt people.  But I know that my words would mean nothing to him.  I can't force him to understand anything.  Nothing would change in his world by anything that I would say.  It would be of little use and probably only make me angrier to do such a thing.  

So what do I do with this anger?  I don't entirely know.  Only that I need to do something with it or I'll just be bitter and angry the rest of my life.  Which isn't really an attractive option...


Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I googled 'skubala' to make sure I got the spelling down and the description of the first match simply said "skubala means shit."  Heh.  I hear, though, that Jesus uses it for compost so I'm banking on that, because I have a lot of skubala to wade through.  I realize this post is long, but bear with me here, and please add to the comment box. 

Recently, I wrote a post entitled Jesus in the Amazon.  You can read over it if you want as it is loosely related to what I'm about to write.  The academic dean of the Bible college that I attended *&#$ years ago commented that my "pessimism about the gospel is disturbing, to put it mildly."  I would contend, however, that I'm not pessimistic about the gospel.  I'm pessimistic about Christianity, of which I am a part.  

More specifically, my beef lies with a particular brand of Christianity.  It's not a particular denomination as such.  It's the brand that only shops at Alpha and Omega bookstores, only listens to KLove, sends its men to Promise Keepers, its women to Women of Faith (so they can learn how to be more submissive and therefore a better Christian wife and mom),and its children to CIY conferences.  It teaches that the place of the woman is at home cleaning house and homeschooling the kids.  It won't come right out and say that, though, but by practice you know it's the true Christian way.

It's the brand that boasts megachurches with worship teams that are larger than Artisan.  And don't all 50 vocalists look so sincere with their eyes closed and hands raised to the ceiling?  None of it sounds any good or, for that matter, looks good in a gymno-sanctuary.  The buildings look the way they do to attract wealthy businessmen and their Stepford wives.  All of this done to the glory of Christ?  Really?  

There is little depth here except depth of pockets.  Really, though.  How deep can you go before you upset the business man and his pocketbook?

This is the brand of Christianity that needs to be right.  They educate themselves in colleges so that they can affirm their positions and win any theological debate.  Homosexuals, people who have left abusive and poisonous marriages, Buddhists, Muslims (especially), people baptized as infants or sprinkled as an adult be damned.  They are wrong!  And we are right.  It's the brand that teaches you what to think, not how to think for yourself.  This is because thinking for yourself would cause all kinds of problems once you think of something a little differently than they do.  

This is the brand that sends missions teams to the 10-40 window of the world to feel better about themselves and to spread not the gospel but to spread American ideals, American democracy, American culture under the guise of capturing the world for Christ.  If you scroll down far enough in the link, there is a picture of the 10-40 window and a list of all the "unreached" populations.  You'll find, though, that they aren't really unreached, they just aren't Christian.  They are Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus and Jews.  At that point it seems less like missions and more like the Crusades.

I hate this brand of Christianity.  While hate is a strong word, it is exactly the word I intend.  I hate that I have been a part of this brand.  I want to completely dissociate myself from it because I hate the arrogance it produces.  Because it has produced that kind of arrogance in me.

So, part of my spiritual formation plan is to avoid throwing the baby Jesus out with the bathwater.  I know that not all of Christianity is as I have described.  So I'm wading through the skubala in hopes that Jesus will in fact take it and turn it into something useful, and that in wading through it I can, myself, find something wonderful about Christianity that I can agree with.  


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Here Goes...

Recently, I signed a membership covenant with Artisan Church.  Part of this covenant is a commitment on my part to ongoing spiritual formation.  I was asked to make a loose plan of how I would see out my formation over the next month, 6 months and year.  I wrote down some things and then ultimately decided that this was something that I needed to give more thought to at a later time.  Now that I have finally graduated, taken my last exam and have nothing else to do until I get my scores, a later time has come.  

In filling out that formation plan, I realized that I have some serious church baggage to work through.  In some ways I neglected to work through it because I was using it to fuel my drive to get through school.  Which I did, quite successfully.  So...suck it, people who thought I'd fail!  

In other ways I neglected to work through it because it's just plain easier to be angry than to forgive and move on.  Also, I wasn't sure at the time what I'd be moving on to or if there was anything, spiritually, for me to move on to.  So i just stayed where I was because I knew it and it served a purpose.

But the "I got baggage" excuse has outlived its usefulness and it's time to let go of things that happened years ago.  I've no idea what that looks like.  

I decided that I would make some sort of consistent effort to work through some of this spiritual crap that has been bogging me down.  I'm not setting lofty goals, here, like "I'm going to read a book of the Bible every day starting with Genesis until I hit Revelation" (or most likely until I get bored in Numbers).  That plan never works for me.  In fact, I think the only goal that I am setting is to start and then continue.  

I'll probably write about some of my attempts here for the same reason I posted about the Amazon tribe.  Engaging in dialogue about some of my grievances may provide viewpoints I had not considered or had considered but rejected in my mind.  A benefit of community, hey?

So with feelings of reverence, awe, fear and uncertainty, here goes!

Monday, July 21, 2008

I want that...

This, friends, is a Wurlitzer 200.  As much as I love my keyboard and all the great sounds it produces, I will eventually spend money on one of these here electric pianos.  Violet Mary will sell more albums if I walk onto stage and play one of those, guaranteed.  

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I really enjoy watching someone who is really good at their job doing their job.  I should add that I like it, mostly, when the person who is good at their job enjoys their job.  Which is why I will never watch any other news station but WROC here in the Roc because of Scott Hetsko, the chief meteorologist.  His enthusiasm about weather is so attractive.  I want to watch the weather report because Scott Hetsko freakin loves the weather.  
Plus, he's awkward.  It's endearing.  And he has a clip of himself making a cloud on the WROC/Fox website.