March 11, 2013

Something I learned living in southern Illinois is that to be a healthy, thriving person I need to be myself.

After three years of wearing a false smile and agreeing to disagree I realized I was not loving myself.

This lack of love towards who I was doesn’t really flow with my faith. The greatest commandment in scripture is “love The Lord your God with all your heart and, with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself”

Did you catch that?

I cannot love my neighbor unless I first love me.

And to be honest I really do like a lot about myself. I am funny, I am intelligent, I am a good leader, and of course I could go on and on…but I also have things in my life I’m not proud of and often try to hide from my community, God, and myself.

So, what does loving me look like? Well the first commandment paints a picture of loving The Lord holistically, so maybe loving me should look holistic.

I should love myself physically; Taking care of my body and eating well. Pushing myself to let go of any addictions in my life.

I should love my self emotionally; Creating healthy boundaries and cut off dead weight. Also be willing to work through emotional issues within my own life.

I should love myself intellectually; challenging myself to new bounds and going through and clearing up my muddy pre suppositions and misconceptions.

I should love myself spiritually; Getting involved within a community of believers and becoming vulnerable to their guidance. Also allowing my soul to be challenged by scripture, friends, and prayer.

Of course I don’t really have this figured out. This is just some guidelines that I have discovered along the way. I have realized that if I am not loving myself well, then my joy is easily stolen. I get grumpy, cynical, and negative.

I only have a short time on this earth and I would like to be as joyous as I can.


A poet’s song

March 8, 2013

I have never been a poet. I am a pragmatic and serious person.

But I married one.

When Waylon and I first got together we would go on walks, hold hands, and he would recite poetry.

I fell pretty hard for my poet.

One of the things I love about Waylon is that he expresses life through a poetic lens. Even in his crudeness he is more poetic than I will ever be.

I have a very serious view of life. You only live once and for the most part you make the decisions that will impact you for the rest of your life. While I often pride myself of thinking widely I am actually very black and white in the way I live.

I often apply this black and white perspective to my theology. Until I met Waylon my God looked a certain way, acted a certain way, and loved me a certain way.

Very black and white.

Waylon added some color into my little world. He opened my eyes to a new way at looking at the world.

Granted I often need reminders of this new perspective and often get too excited about the way I see the world.

This is why I surround myself with poets now.

Not only have poets given me a new look into the world but they have given me a new perspective when I read scripture. Instead of encountering facts, details, and outcomes I come to scripture with a new look on emotional understanding and relational perspective I had not had previously.

Let’s be honest.
Life is hard sometimes.
Life can be full of loss, agony, and broken pain
Life can be full of joy.

Life can be full of emotion that can only be captured by a poet.

Let me end by posting a poem by my sweet husband.

A Monday morning poem

People usually find the incessant barking of a dog or two
Inside the fence
A nuisance, noise pollution

A rap on the window,
“Shut up, out there!”

After listening to those dogs bark
At the same string of squirrels
Loose dogs roaming the neighborhood
The occasional passerby,
The mail lady six days a week
Between noon and two o’clock

I hear those dogs barking out
A testimony of their sheer persistence
Of created life
As I hop in the shower
And head to work on Monday morning

Family Dinner

March 8, 2013

“What does the term family mean to you, and how do you define family”?

I am taking a class right now that is a prerequisite for the program I would like to pursue. In my class we are discussing how families respond to end of life situations.

My teacher asked the above question and it got me thinking about what makes a family. Especially now a days when families look differently. If you are hoping for a world that is based off of Leave it to Beaver you are living in a delusional place.

Hell, if a kid was nick named the Beav now it would carry a whole new meaning.

If you are carrying a torch for a moralistic nuclear family to be the last bastion of Christianity within ‘Mercia, you are believing a lie.

Christ didn’t come down to this earth so that we could all be good, white, clean, moral, and attractive people. The Gospel of Christ has nothing to do with our cultural definition of what the right kind of family looks like.

We have been invited to a family dinner. In the Gospel of Luke we see the parable of the great feast.

A man was preparing a great feast and when everything was prepared he invited all his good friends, but they all made up lame excuses not to show up. So, the man tells his servant to go invite people off the streets and the servant does so, but there is still room in the house, so the man tells the servant to invite those out in the country.

In the end the friends he had invited who had bailed at the last minute never got to sit at the table with the master.

We have a chance to sit at the great banquet, but it’s an open table. If we don’t agree with the people the host has sat us next too, we can get up and leave.

If we don’t want to accept our kingdom family for the dirty, messy, foul smelling creature she is, then we have the freedom to choose otherwise.

To be Kingdom people, sometimes we have to give up our standards so that we can live in the freedom of the cross and the resurrection.

Through the cross and the resurrection we are tied to call the criminal on the cross next to Jesus family. We are responsible to care for whoever calls on the name of The Lord.

Even when it’s hard.

Even when we disagree ideologically.

Even when we are different sexual preferences or have different sexual histories.

Even when we feel that they just use the money we give them on drink or drugs.

Even when we have been hurt.

Even when we disagree theologically.

If we want to sit at the family dinner we need to remember to make room at the table for whoever Christ wants to include.