Thursday, March 31, 2011


"As I travel across the country folks often ask me what is it that I pray for. And like most of you, my prayers sometimes are general: Lord, give me the strength to meet the challenges of my office. Sometimes they're specific: Lord, give me patience as I watch Malia go to her first dance where there will be boys. Lord, have that skirt get longer as she travels to that dance.

But while I petition God for a whole range of things, there are a few common themes that do recur. The first category of prayer comes out of the urgency of the Old Testament prophets and the Gospel itself. I pray for my ability to help those who are struggling. Christian tradition teaches that one day the world will be turned right side up and everything will return as it should be. But until that day, we're called to work on behalf of a God that chose justice and mercy and compassion to the most vulnerable."

Barack Obama

Lesson from my 12 year old's homework

My son wrote his current event on the T. Eccentricus. Yes, that's it's name. Learn more here.

Turns out this creature was a saber-toothed herbivore. In other words? He's not mean - he's just misunderstood.

Leads me to ponder: you can't see a motive.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

a rainy morning

pondering how thankful I was that we park our car in a garage and didn't have to get wet this morning while loading up to go to school

pondering how, as soon as I lifted that up in thanks - genuine thanks - a pang hit me that actually I'm thankfully we have a home

then I was reminded of the fact that so many in this world, and in this very city, would love to live ... in our garage. just a place that's dry and safe

I will continue to ponder ways that I may contribute, may participate myself in an unjust system that perpetuates homelessness

Reece's Rainbow

I made this video over a year ago, but it's time to share it again. Don't worry, it's a HAPPY one!

Patricia Heaton has just given $10k to Reece's Rainbow and will donate $1 to everyone who follows Reece's Rainbow on Twitter. So if you're a tweeter, go follow them and spread the word.

Currently, we are praying and fasting for Kirill and his family, as well as the other families about to face this same judge. Will you join us?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

faith, hope, and love

I'm exhausted. I'm distracted. I'm happy. I'm peaceful. I'm hopeful. But I'm exhausted. And distracted, too.

Still, I want to try to get this down. Or at least a start. If any of you are reading, you can remind me if I fail to come back to this later.

A couple of weeks ago I spent a weekend of solitude at the Well of Mercy. I highly recommend this, I hope to go twice a year. While there I had many things I lifted up to God, but the largest burden was my own faith and the questions that surrounded it.

The Spirit led me to ponder faith, hope, and love - these three. But the greatest of these is love.

I am excited to write about this as I ponder it more.

But you know what?

Wow. I really am tired.

I'm going to sing my kids good night and go to bed early, so I can love well tomorrow.

More to come....

A Walk to Beautiful

Well, well worth an hour of your time. Inspiring, hopeful - makes me want to make a real difference.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Richard Beck tells my theological life story in three acts

Okay, the places and dates are different - and he's, well ... he's him and I'm ... well, I'm me - but deep down in there where the nitty gritty meat stuff happens, he's told my story, too.

read his version here, insert my details (below)

Act 1 - growing up independent fundamental KJV baptist, graduating from Jerry Falwell's Lynchburg Christian Academy, a star student

Act 2 - joining Lynchburg's "weirdo Calvinist church", finding much theological meat there, but never being able to swallow that L, never could find it in scripture... in fact, found just the opposite pretty much everywhere I looked

Act 3 - figuring out that another word for a 4 point Calvinist who believes God loves ALL His children is Universalist, which is (apparently) a very, VERY bad word

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I deny the resurrection

I Deny the Resurrection from Peter Rollins on Vimeo.

the greatness of our God

Give me eyes to see
More of who You are
May what I behold,
still my anxious heart.
Take what I have known
And break it all apart
For You my God, are greater still.

No sky contains,
No doubt restrains,
All You are,
The greatness of our God.
I spend my life to know,
And I'm far from close
To all You are,
The greatness of our God.

Verse 2:
Give me grace to see
Beyond this moment here.
To believe that there
Is nothing left to fear.

That You alone are high above it all.
For You my God, are greater still.

No sky contains,
No doubt restrains,
All You are,
The greatness of our God.
I spend my life to know,
And I'm far from close
To all You are,
The greatness of our God.

Bridge: 2x
And there is nothing
That can ever separate us.
There is nothing that can ever
separate us from Your love.
No life, no death, of this I am convinced.
You my God, are greater still.

And no words can say, or song convey,
all You are the greatness of our God.
I spend my life to know,
And I'm far from close

Saturday, March 26, 2011

replacing lies with truth

I made this for my oasis group, to "get the ball rolling" as we have been challenged to identify the lies that keep us bound *because* we make agreements with them. freedom lies is repenting of those agreements, standing up in our own minds... also I know that there are bible promise books and such, and that is a fine place to start, but frankly I have learned over the years that gems are much more precious when you've dug them up yourself. trying to model that.

no one sees me, notices me, knows me, understands me - no one knows what I'm really like

Psalm 139

no one really loves me/will ever love me back

Jer 31:3 “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

I am alone

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 (*commanded* to be courageous, something we choose to think/do rather than wait to feel)

I am helpless

Isaiah 41:13 For I am the LORD your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.

I will be consumed by this, I'm overwhelmed

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;

I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters,

I will be with you;

and when you pass through the rivers,

they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,

you will not be burned;

the flames will not set you ablaze.

3 For I am the LORD your God,

the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; Isaiah 43

I can only see darkness, there is no hope

Put your face in the sunlight. God's bright glory has risen for you. The whole earth is wrapped in darkness, all people sunk in deep darkness, But God rises on you, his sunrise glory breaks over you.

Isaiah 60

I am ashamed

I John 1:9 if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won't let us down; he'll be true to himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing.

I am doomed to be this way forever

Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us no longer have to live under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. A new power is in operation. The Spirit of life in Christ, like a strong wind, has magnificently cleared the air, freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny at the hands of sin and death. Romans 8

I can't do this anymore

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Lamentations 3

I am worthy because of what I do for others, I can never slow down

Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[f] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Mark 10:41

I have to please people

John the Baptizer came fasting and you called him crazy. The Son of Man came feasting and you called him a lush. Opinion polls don't count for much, do they? Luke 7:31

I am too old

Isaiah 46:4 Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

I won't know the right thing to do, I'll make a mistake

Psalm 37:23 Stalwart walks in step with God; his path blazed by God, he's happy. If he stumbles, he's not down for long; God has a grip on his hand.

  • (shift gears to other kinds of defeating lies)

my criticism is justified

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. 2 Now we know that God’s j udgment against those who do such things is pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? romans 2:1

my unforgiveness is justified

15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:15

they deserve it

For if you refuse to act kindly, you can hardly expect to be treated kindly. Kind mercy wins over harsh judgment every time. James 2:13

how I treat this person doesn't matter to God

Dear friends, do you think you'll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, "Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!" and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn't it obvious that God-talk without God- acts is outrageous nonsense?

my words are not that big a deal to God

Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp- tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that's your job, to bless. I Peter 3:8

I can't change the way I feel about them until they change

Christ arrives right on time to make this happen. He didn't, and doesn't, wait for us to get ready. He presented himself for this sacrificial death when we were far too weak and rebellious to do anything to get ourselves ready. And even if we hadn't been so weak, we wouldn't have known what to do anyway. We can understand someone dying for a person worth dying for, and we can understand how someone good and noble could inspire us to selfless sacrifice. But God put his love on the l ine for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him. Romans 5:6-8

Thursday, March 24, 2011

a day

sleep at 11:30.

at God-only-knows-what-hour, child 4 of 4 wakes, scared from the storm.

back to sleep.

alarm at 4:30.

up at 4:50.


5:30 - drop off Eric and child 2-of-4 for overnight field trip to Charleston.


wake, feed, dress other 3.

7:00 - drop them off for school.

child 3-of-4 literally has to be pushed out the car screaming from an anxiety attack about shoes.

7:20 - bike ride to school to bring 3-of-4 something that might help ease her pain.

7:40 - home.

decide at last minute to shift gears with upcoming 9:30 Oasis lesson.

meanwhile an hour and a half literally disappears before my eyes.

9:10 - school calls.

child 1 of 4 is sick (allergies).

9:20 - pick up 1 of 4 who is now my companion at Oasis.

9:40 - teach/lead as he mumbles in background to himself. never find the groove.

feel like I totally blunder the "lesson". and the song I was excited about playing fell flat. and I stuck my foot in my mouth about people's ages. and I look messy with a pencil in my hair.

11:15- leave the church after Oasis.

forget I'd made a lunch date with a friend.

11:40 - receive text saying "guess we're not meeting for lunch?" while standing at a scanner in the toy section of Target explaining to child 1 of 4 that it will take a lot of time and jobs to earn $49.99

12:00 - tell myself to be nice to myself as I walk the aisles at Harris Teeter.

12:30 - home.

want nap.

pick up from school is coming too soon for that.

so I write my thoughts in a blog post.


love the sun and warmth on my skin.

love the sounds of the birds and the frogs.

love the "pink snow" when the wind blows.

but the foggy brain does suck.


and yet...I remind myself:

my oasis friends love me even when I'm all over the place.

and the friend I stood up forgives me.

and child 1 of 4 is sweet company even while sick with allergies.

he accepted that $50 is way too much for even the coolest of Lego's.

and the creamer was on sale at Harris Teeter.

and Jason's Deli is going to cook dinner for us later this afternoon.

and I have kind ladies coming over tonight, who won't care if the floor doesn't get mopped.

sucky day or blessed day?

how about both?

yeah, I'm going with both.

pondering grace - maybe it's like that

So we try to be careful to parent in such a way that teaches the kids to live out their God-given freedom. We have erred in the past, focusing on "control", but in reality we do not live as creatures under control. We live as children created for freedom and invited to follow our Loving Father because we trust Him. He will never take over and control us. We try to be intentional about teaching/living that reality out now while they are under our care, where they are safe to make mistakes and experience the consequences of them.

And yet... yet :) there must be balance in all things. If there's ever to be a list of my favorite words, balance shall be somewhere on it.

Because something else we try to be intentional about is grace.
Grace before.
Grace after.
Grace above.
Grace below.
Grace from us.
Grace to us.
Grace in us.
Grace through us.

And grace isn't karma. Grace isn't, "you reap what you sow". Even though... you do. Even though that is reality.

Grace is like another reality, within reality.

I pondered all this as I decided whether or not to rescue my daughter from her most recent set of circumstances. Circumstances she created of her own choice. Circumstances that (thankfully) because she is 8 years old, are not at all dangerous - just painful. I don't want to raise her with the idea that someone else is going to fix things. I want to train and teach her well, how to live as a free person. But I also long to show her grace. And to have her experience grace from God, through me.

As I rode my bicycle this morning, a thought occurred to me. Maybe it's like this.

Maybe when life says "you made your bed, now sleep in it", Grace says, "skooch over, make room" and crawls right up in there with you.

Maybe it's like that.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


So the only way to begin is to actually begin. I'd like to keep a blog again. An actual writing blog. So, here it is. To give background is time consuming. If you're here it's because you know me and if you know me you don't need the background. If you don't, my first question is, what are you doing here? (oh, and welcome!) and... well... what do you want to know? Ask away in the comments section.

Here I'll ponder "out loud" and invite you to ponder with me. Comments are moderated and will not be published if they don't fit the criteria I've set for behavior from my own children, who are younger than any of you so (ahem) you should know better. (thank you and you're welcome) :)

What am I pondering these days? Well, enough things that by the time I'm 40 (not quite 2 years from now) this thought wrinkle between my brows may be a canyon. That burt's bees anti-wrinkle cream only helps so much. I literally catch myself in thought, and exclaim, "Think away but don't FURROW - stop FURROWING!" Oh well. It's not a frown line, that's for sure - oh how blessed I am. It's a thought line. A pondering line. It's my "I think therefore I am" line. I like to imagine it makes me look smart. But I know it just makes me look ... well ... 40. Eh, who cares.

So, bullet points for this first post - I'm pondering:
- pride and faith. selfishness and love. me and not-me. light and darkness. life and death. and that all the things we discuss/debate ultimately fall into these 2 grand categories.
- fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and fruit from the tree of LIFE
- sweet fruit, sour fruit, and sweet fruit that doesn't call itself the "right" names
- inquisitions
- shepherding
- fear
- speaking, holding my tongue, and the balance between the two
- how much I want to be like heroes from the last 2 novels I've read/am reading: Father Zossima from The Brothers Karamazov and Bishop Bienvenu ("Welcome") from Les Miserables (the novel). told myself as lent began, "enough heavy reading, read for PLEASURE, read FICTION" - and guess what? even so, He is there.

What DO I do with all that stuff in my head? Besides furrow...

I open up my Bible. I sit in prayer. I talk but I also listen. I humble myself as best I know how.

I don't know the answers. I just know that I choose Light. Life. Love. Not-Me.

And, for today, I refuse to give into the temptation to defend myself on any of these points. I am His. What or who could I possibly need to defend myself from?