Showing posts from 2013

Pastrix: I Choose To Believe God

I've been reading the book Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber. My phone says I'm on 144 of 206, so I plan to finish it tonight, but I had to stop a few pages back and write out some thoughts. On page 139 Nadia is talking about Matthew 3:17 - 4:1, where God names Jesus "Son" and "Beloved" and then immediately Jesus is tempted by the devil in the wilderness, and she says,
"Maybe demons are defined as anything other than God that tries to tell us who we are. And maybe, just moments after Jesus' baptism, when the devil says to him, 'If you are the Son of God...' he does so because he knows that Jesus is vulnerable to temptation precisely to the degree that he is insecure about his identity and mistrusts his relationship with God.   "So if God's first move is to give us our identity, then the devil's first move is to throw that identity into question. Identity is like the tip of a spool of thread, which when pulled, can unwind the whole …

7QT - Happy Cows, Holidays, and How About That

---1--- A Facebook friend posted this video this week. It's pretty brief, do watch it!

Earlier that same day, I had been playing with my puppy, and while I was pondering his sweet and playful personality, I thought of cows and other animals that are raised primarily for food, and wondered how their personalities might "magically" develop if someone were paying attention.

A year or so ago I debated with a friend who argued that animals are just as sentient and "soulful" as humans (I argued that humans have souls/are capable of relationship with God and animals do/are not). Since then I have come to have a little different view of nonhuman life. I still believe humans were created in the image of God, and as such, their lives take precedence over the lives of animals. But I think I consider animal life more precious than I used to. We share a world with them; our bodies operate the same way theirs do; and really, they do a lot for us. I'm not to the point …

7QT - Musicals, Books, and Life Lists!

---1--- Well did you see the live production of The Sound of Music starring Carrie Underwood? What did you think? I loved the opening number by the nuns, and really just thought the whole thing was a very well-performed effort. Carrie Underwood is quite the yodeler!! :D

Also I noticed that, except for the part about it being in Austria at the outbreak of World War II and in the midst of nazi infiltration and the characters having to run to another country to save their lives...and except for the part about Maria being a nun and then governess of seven children and falling in love with their millionaire dad...except for all that...the story is completely like my life!! If you're reading this and confused and thinking, "Well, if it's like her life except for all those things...then how, exactly, is it at all like her life?" well, then... pfpfpft...I guess you just don't get it, do you?

No, but really. It is. See...Maria starts out as a nun...novitiate? postulant…

7QT - A Perfect Plethora of Ponderosities

---1--- Nelson Mandela passed away today. I am embarrassed to admit, I don't know much about him. I know he was a president of South Africa, and I think he had something to do with ending apartheid. I intend to remedy this lack of knowledge!! However, I did come across this awesome quote from him:

---2--- I'm on Book 7 of Harry Potter. Early into it, Hermione explains to Harry and Ron what she has discovered about horcruxes and how to destroy them:
"But even if we wreck the thing [horcrux] it [a division of Voldemort's soul] lives in," said Ron, "why can't the bit of soul in it just go and live in something else?"  "Because a Horcrux is the complete opposite of a human being."   Seeing that Harry and Ron looked thoroughly confused, Hermione hurried on, "Look, if I picked up a sword right now, Ron, and ran you through with it, I wouldn't damage your soul at all."  "Which would be a real comfort to me, I'm sure,&quo…

7QT - The Greats: Lincoln, God, and Dr. Who

---1--- I finally watched Lincoln, in the wee hours of this morning. Loved it. I hate politics and how they are corrupt and so often practically useless. I love justice and the effectively administered law that protects it. Abraham Lincoln is one of my heroes. Equal rights to ALL under the law is one of my ideals. Just as there were likely "good" people and "bad" people on both sides of the Civil War, the end result of the conflict rendered freedom for each person to live accorrding to his or her values, so long as in doing so, no one else's right to do the same was violated. I hope to see a day when all people truly share all the same freedoms under the same law that, when functioning as it should, prevents free people from oppressing others. I am not a fan of politics, but I am a fan of just and unbiased law. It is how human civilization works and prospers. ---2--- One of the things I loved about the movie's portrayal of Mr. Lincoln was his tendency to…

7QT - NaNoWriMo, Jesus: CEO, and St. Therese of Lisieux

I'm doing NaNoWriMo!! I had never heard of it until the April A to Z blogging challenge, and came across several mentions of it then. But I heard about it again last week, so I checked it out and thought it sounded like fun! I've always wanted to write a work of fiction, and this is as good a time as ever! Better, actually, since I'm actually not in school this semester. So...I'm going for it. I don't know if I will hold myself to 50,000 words of actual text or not, but I have already begun my research and writing out character descriptions and plot ideas, etc. I plan to use this month to plan the book and get it started. So...I'll let you all know how that goes! I have actually started writing text, and as of this posting my word count is at 2265 (yeah, I'm behind already). I'm pretty excited about it! My title is The Order of the Oak, and I am thinking of it more as part of a series (fantasy genre). Want an excerpt? Here are my first few parag…

7 Quick Takes Friday - Monsters, Cryonics, Bitcoin... (and Cabbages and Kings)

---1--- First, in honor of Halloween, here is the best article I ran across in relation to monsters this week. it still had me thinking the day after I read it. "How Monsters Point Us to God" by Paul Pastor in Christianity Today. It talks about how the creation of monsters reveals our fears, including our fears about God.

---2--- I took the GRE today!! I got "unofficial" scores on the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections (I got a 162 and 147 in them, respectively). I was disappointed with my score on the Quantitative (math) portion, because the degree I am applying for is in physics. BUT, in my defense, I haven't had math since I was a sophomore in high school (15 years ago), so I think the fact that I did as well as I did should indicate at least a potentiality that I can do well in the subject. I also finished the rest of the application process, including my letter of interest.

---3--- Here is part of that letter of interest, in which I briefly menti…

7 Quick Takes - Time and Space and God

---1--- First, I read a couple of REALLY great blog posts this week elsewhere, and I wanted to share them. Both participate in 7QT, so some of you may have already read them. The first, in fact, is the post in which the host of 7QT, Jennifer, shared the video of the forum she participated in this week on Exploring God. If you didn't watch the video, I highly encourage you to watch it. It's just really good.

The second was a post on sin by Leah Libresco over at Unequally Yoked. I wrote on sin, too, the day before she posted it, so it caught my attention. She sets up an analogy wherein she compares general "sin" to "punching someone in the face." She goes further, in reference to the line in Amazing Grace, "'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear," and says:
Punching people in the face is pretty bad, but what’s worse is punching them and not noticing and losing the opportunity to repent or make amends.  Then the relationship between betrayer a…

What Lay's Potato Chips Teach Me About Sin

Here's the thing about my never-ending search for truth. The center I usually start from is Jesus. Things tend to work out better when I do so, anyway. The last year or so I've been exploring the ways in which conservative Christianity - meaning fundamentalism - has been wrong. It seems my understanding of God and His mission in the world has changed so much...there have been moments when I have thought everything I grew up believing was wrong.

For one thing, I grew up in a tradition in which (like most others, I think) there was a long list of things not to do - sins. Yeah, I know the theology of "sin" vs. "sins," and I know the views of Old Testament vs. New Testament and even the ultimate Law of Love (and liberalism). Honestly, for the last year or so, I have leaned heavily toward the latter option, pretty much to the exclusion of all else.

But the last few days I've been thinking something different.

In the Genesis account of the fall of humanity…

7QT - on Sunday!

---1--- Last Saturday (September 7) I went with a friend to the Greater Ozarks Bluesfest. It was a hot day, but not too hot, and for most of it we happily sat in our lawnchairs in the shade. Late in the afternoon, though, we were in the sun, but it cooled off quickly. So, all in all - great weather, great day.

Right from the start (about 2 p.m.) there were a few tipsy spectators who decided to dance. Do I think they were tipsy because they were dancing? No. Just see for yourself:

But then I recorded a little bit of a harmonica feature and got a nice surprise with dancers who were not tipsy! It was quite fun!

At one point one of the artists said, "I know this is a Bluesfest, but can I get away with playing a little soul?" I leaned over to my friend and said, "We all white here - we don't know the difference!" Here's a shot from when the saxophonist from the Selwyn Birchwood Band (my favorite band of the day) came down into the audience and was just a few…