Showing posts from April, 2013

Z: Zach Hoag (a dude on Twitter)

The inspiration for a couple of my A-to-Z posts came from Twitter. This is the second. On March 18 Zach Hoag tweeted the following:
"In tense places of transition the temptation is to run to a seemingly bigger & better opportunity. But incarnation calls us to deeper roots."
I talked in my M post about the advice someone gave me to "Bloom where you're planted" and said I would talk about it a little further in my Z post. So here it is!

In the Spring of 2011 I took a course on the Mission of God in the world. At some point during that class someone mentioned Jeremiah 29 - it may have been the professor, or it may have been one of my classmates. Everybody knows verse 11; but for the first time my attention was drawn to verses 4-7:
4 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find…

Bonus Post: Green Smoothie Challenge Wrap-Up!

I completed the 7-Day Green Smoothie Challenge yesterday! Saturday's was probably the best one, though next time I will try to thicken it a little bit.... Below is the recipe.

Orange Kiwi Green Smoothie

1 kiwi
1 orange
1 banana
1 large handful of kale
1 tbsp flax seed
1/2 cup oats
1 cup (or so) red seedless grapes
1/2 cup almond milk

I also tried one with coconut and musk melon along the way. The taste was good, but coconut doesn't puree very well! (At least, it didn't for me.) A pina colada one was great, too, but I didn't get that one thick enough either. This challenge has given me a lot of smoothie-making experience! I loved taking part - I did feel more energetic, and I think I ate a lot more healthy and a lot "less" in general while doing it. I plan to continue (I don't know if I will do it every day, but I will do it often!).

Y: YMCA (and D. L. Moody)

Many moons ago, while I was a student at Messenger College in Joplin, I bought this book from the college library for less than a buck - it was one of the old titles they were getting rid of as they updated their collection. The copyright date in the front of the book is 1900. And yes, that is scotch tape I employed to hold the binding together :). I thought it looked interesting (the book, not the tape), since it is about DL Moody and by his son. I had heard his name many times but never actually read about him for myself. This antique 590-page book fixed that!

Reading this I learned a lot of interesting things. For instance, it was in this book that I first heard about Henry Moorhouse, who preached for Moody once while he was away from his church in Chicago on business. Moorhouse preached seven nights in a row from the same text: John 3:16, using examples from Genesis through Revelation in each sermon, to demonstrate how God loves sinners and wants to save them. This actually revo…

X: Xenolalia

In case some of you don't know, I am and have always been Pentecostal. Pentecostals are the ones that speak in tongues. I believe in speaking in tongues, and in fact do it on occasion. The fancy term for speaking in tongues is glossolalia. It usually refers to speaking in an unknown, or heavenly language through the power of the Holy Spirit. But did you know that is not the only kind of tongue-talking early (and some current) Pentecostals believed in?

There is another kind, called xenolalia, which means speaking in an earthly language one has never personally learned. Experiences with xenolalia have not been well documented in an academically reputable way, so that causes some people to doubt it really ever happens/happened. But here is an excerpt from a book by Roberts Liardon called God's Generals that will give you an example of what I am talking about. This story reputedly took place in the Tabernacle of Indianapolis built by Maria Woodworth-Etter in 1918 while she pastor…

V: Values

This is my final semester at seminary working on my master of divinity. When thinking of what to write for "V" I remembered one of the classes I took my first semester in seminary. The class was called "Leadership in Ministry," and its focus was to help us become more aware of our own strengths and weaknesses and goals as leaders in the Church. One of the assignments was to write out a statement of our personal core values; we were to choose four. Here is what I wrote:

The following are four of my personal core values which I intend to implement and promote through my ministry:

Education: I think a lot of evil can be attributed to ignorance. In ministry I will push both general education for the community(ies) in which I serve, and discipleship within the church(es) I pastor (or wherein I otherwise lead).

Wisdom: Ecclesiastes 9:17 (KJV) says, “The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools.” Sometimes we must learn to c…

W: 7 Quick Takes Friday - A Week of Wanderings

---1--- This is my last Quick Takes post to take place during the A to Z Blogging Challenge! That means the theme of this post will correspond with my letter of the day, which is W. This week I undertook a lot of extra activities, so I am going to report here on my Week of Wanderings! (Note: I haven't posted "V" yet! So this is out of order, and a day early, but I will post V later tonight - it actually isn't officially "late" yet!) ---2--- Weekend Wayfaring:This weekend held two firsts for me. 1) The Farmer's Market! Believe it or not, I did not buy any vegetables at the farmer's market - only meat (red snapper, ground buffalo beef, and pork steak), lye soap (that smells heavenly!), honey (Mennonite-made), and, well, a buffalo horn (because it was cool!).
There were a lot of great booths, including an organic soup booth which I somehow missed but will make sure I hit up on my next visit! Also, a lady made these bird feeders with actual little herb…

U: "United States Uses Torture" AND "Unusual Concoctions"

Headline: "U. S. Engaged in Torture After 9/11, Review Concludes"
The headline caught my attention the other day. The reason it caught my attention is that, a hundred years ago when I first joined Twitter, I had a debate with someone I didn't know about whether or not the practices that took place at Guantanamo were ethical. I am embarrassed to say, my position was that they were. My thinking then was that if you are working with an unreasonable person (a terrorist), you will have to use unreasonable means to try to get information out of them. I also felt that if they were willing to harm others, why shouldn't they be harmed in order to get useful information? Why should anybody care?

My "friend" asked, "Who decided these people were terrorists? They were never tried in a court of law. If we believe in abiding by the law, we should give everyone the same due process."

I thought about his arguments (we had more conversations than one) and my tho…

T: These are a few of my favorite things

These are a few of my favorite things (in no particular order):
Orchids and white roses. Tomatoes fresh from the garden. Friends you can have entire conversations with across the room just using facial expressions. Nature walks. Scrapbooking. Justin Bieber. (haha – just kidding!) Coffee. Babies.
Lightening bugs. Books. Hammocks. Nostalgia. Playing cards (especially Euchre). Country cabin-style Christmas decorations. Christmas letters. Learning things and hearing old stories from people who have lived a really long time. New experiences. Cheesecake. Okay, okay…Facebook! Live jazz. Driving (the bigger the vehicle, the better!). Language. Creativity. Deep discussions. Aromatherapy bubblebath. Cinnamony candles. Air conditioning and down comforters – especially together J. Smiling/laughing. Quality time. Being near water. NOT spiders.
What are a few of your favorite things?

S: Shoes! (sort-of)

"Don't judge a person until you've walked a mile in their shoes."

"If the shoe fits, wear it."

...Or how about this brief scene from Forrest Gump:

These were the "shoes" he was talking about:
I've been really into shoes lately. I'm blaming it on the fact that it is summer, and I don't have many pairs of summer shoes, so I "need" the three pairs I ordered online this week. And you have to have different kinds of shoes for different events, right? Like...running boots...sandals...pumps. They all serve varying purposes. I would say pumps are probably the least efficient of the shoes in that list, but I have known more than one lady who wore heels for everything. (I am not one of them. But maybe there will come a day when some young blogger will say, "I once knew a lady who never wore heels for anything." When that day comes, you'll know there's a good chance that's me. Although...sometimes…

R: Radical vs. Rebellious

After I recently claimed a tendency to be rebellious against others’ expectations of me, but not against God’s, someone I respect told me, “There is a difference between being radical and being rebellious!”
The dictionary defines radical as "of or going to the root or origin; fundamental". I imagine radical and eradicate come from the same root. It also means "thoroughgoing or extreme...favoring drastic political, economic, or social reforms." As a noun, a radical is someone "who holds or follows strong convictions...who advocates fundamental political, economic, and social reforms by direct and often uncompromising methods."

If we are talking about a radical follower of Jesus, I would translate this definition to indicate someone who holds strong convictions about what forms the heart of Christianity, and therefore works toward establishing that as the primary mission of the Church. And if we are getting right down to the root of Christianity, Jesus s…

Q: Quick Takes! - odds and ends and Hillary Clinton

--- 1 ---Here we are at the end of another week, and how fortuitous for me in the A to Z Blogging Challenge that "Q" falls on a Friday! (Note: the lines are still breaking off in the middle of words in this post, but at least the font is the same size and font throughout! I'll see if I can fix the last problem for next Friday's post.) Thank you for reading! --- 2 ---The news I am most excited about this week is that I planted my very first garden! It is a container garden, to be more precise. And, it is actually the second garden I have planted, but the last one I planted and then moved out of that house like 2 weeks I didn't get to see it bear fruit (or vegetables), so it doesn't count. My container garden has spinach, romaine, red lettuce, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, jumbo jalapenos, and tomatoes. I didn't have room on my balcony for more! But that is okay - we will see if this much is a success. :)

Right now my container garden is …

P: Passion (A Stephen Sondheim Musical)

Tonight I watched the Broadway play (on video) Passion by Stephen Sondheim. In it, Giorgio is a military captain who is deeply in love with a married woman named Clara, with whom he has been having a passionate affair. He receives orders and is stationed away from Clara in the home of a Colonel Ricci whose ill cousin, Fosca, also lives there. Giorgio and Fosca meet, and he is disgusted at the way she seems to submit to her illness and languish joylessly through life. He encourages her to look to the good things life has to offer. She asks how. He says, “Well…by helping others.”

“Helping others?” She replies. “I have worked in poor houses, Captain. Pity is nothing but passive love – dead love.” (I thought that was a great line.)
He fails to draw her out of her self-pity, but she falls in love with him because he tries. She becomes obsessed, though he is honest with her from the beginning that he does not return her affections. She pretends to be ill unto death because of Giorgio’s re…

O: Oh, What a Glorious Feeling!

I thought today we could talk about those moments of life “that take your breath away”. You know…moments when you get a thrill of excitement, or anticipation makes you almost float away from the spot where you’re standing…those moments that make other moments seem dull.

One of my favorite experiences is seeing people or animals playing when they don’t know they are being observed (not that I’m a creeper or anything…). But really – just watching little kids use their imaginations – even together sometimes! – to relocate themselves to a faraway land in need of a hero; it is so fun! You witnessed a unique moment of innocent joy. Once I was at my mom’s house and everyone else had gone somewhere. I was sitting on the couch in the living room, watching tv or something, and when I looked down my mom’s cat was crouching, about to pounce on an unsuspecting toy my little sister had left in the floor. He would pounce and run away…and then stealthily reapproach and do it again. It was so cool to …

N: NOT Following the Beaten Path

Because the beaten path is boring.

Or maybe it is not always boring...but the fringes usually seem to be less boring.

For instance, if given the choice and I'm not running characteristically late, I will pretty much 100% of the time take the scenic route: I love back roads! (Maybe that is why I am characteristically late....) I've also been a loner all my life. I like people and all, but more often than not I can be found doing my own thing, alone, while everyone else is doing their thing, together.

Why did I choose this subject for today? Because I was sitting out on my balcony and spotted one of my neighbors who always catches my attention. He looks to be around 60ish, with longish white crazy hair and a long white goatee. Every time I see him he is wearing the same outfit: a black biker's cap, and a black women's jumpsuit cosisting of flare-legged pants and a long-sleeved jacket with pink side panels. He also always has a small purse over his head and one shoulde…

M: Making Stuff Grow

Today I planted a container garden out on my apartment balcony! Well…I got about halfway done and ran out of containers, so I’ll finish tomorrow. I’m attempting three kinds of lettuce, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, jumbo jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, and cucumbers. (I think that’s it….) And of course while I was planting I had a profound realization: if I expected anything to grow, I first had to create a space and atmosphere where it could grow. I had to prepare containers and soil in a place accessible to sunshine and water. And lo and behold, another famous Grower of stuff came to mind….
There is a really cool theology book called Portraits of God by Allan Coppedge. In it the author examines eight key roles in which God appears in both the Old and New Testaments to reveal Himself to us. The eight roles God plays in Scripture are King, Revealer, Priest, Judge, Father, Redeemer, Shepherd, and Creator. In His role as Creator He grows stuff. 
Genesis and Revelation both describe God as Cre…

L: Literalism

I think like Amelia Bedelia: very literally. This sometimes causes misunderstandings. For instance, when someone mentions "wet cement" the first thing that comes to my mind is spraying down a parking lot with a water hose. Much to my chagrin, this also makes me rather gullible. I have a tendency to think anything is possible, so I have to think about it pretty hard sometimes to figure out if someone is pulling my chain!

If I have trouble knowing what to take literally in current conversations, you can imagine what I might think when it comes to the Bible! I grew up in a tradition that believes the Bible is extremely literal; every word in it is inspired, infallible, and inerrant.

The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy was formulated and accepted in 1978 by Evangelical leaders, and officially adopted by the Evangelical Theological Society in 2006 as a statement of what Evangelicals generally believe in regards to biblical inerrancy. The problem some people have with t…

7 Kuik Takes Friday - Brought to You by the Letter "K"

--- 1 ---This month I am participating in an A to Z Blogging Challenge, and today’s letter is K. So today's Quick Takes will have themes that begin with...[drumroll, please]...K!  (...Some of these will legitimately start with K and others might be a little forced.... But it's my blog. I can do what I want. Ain't nobody the boss of me, and all that jazz.) Please note: I realize my type style/size/color is all messed up  and inconsistent in this post. Still figuring out the formatting...please overlook it this time! :)
--- 2 ---Kanine Update: Want to know what I find funny? My dog likes things that smell good. I bought some new vanilla verbena bubble bath and used it today and he would not get away from the tub, and kept whining wanting in. Then he kept sniffing my hands afterward. I think he likes it when I burn candles, too. He also went for his first walk last week. At first he did not like the leash at all, but I left it slack and called him (letting him choose to come) …

J: Judgment

Often we hear various attributes of God compared and contrasted, such as holiness vs. grace, transcendence vs. immanence, judgment vs. love, etc. But recently I have come across theology books that don’t contrast so much as try to articulate a little better how seemingly disparate attributes work together with each other. I find this particularly interesting in regard to God’s love and His judgment. For instance, in his book God the Almighty Donald Bloesch says, “We know God to be love in His innermost nature, and this means that His wrath and judgment are not another side of God but actually expressions of His love.” I’m pretty sure he deduces this from the fact that Scripture explicitly says, “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16) but nowhere does it say, “God is justice” or “God is judgment” or “God is wrath” (as in, equating the centrality of His being with the concept of judgment itself). 

But how can this be? Can a judgment for someone's destruction be borne out of love?
In order f…

I: Imago Dei

1)What makes people valuable?
2)What makes human rights important?
3)What is all the fuss about equality – why are people equal? (For example, why aren’t healthy, productive laborers more important than people who extensively need others to care for them?)
4)Are people more important than animals in some way? (For example, if a boat was going down and I had a choice whether to save a baby or a puppy, why might I choose the baby over the puppy?)
5)What is it that makes humanity the dominant species?
A completely secular/nonspiritual way of answering these questions might be (these are just my poor attempts at answers, and are very oversimplified):
1)Nothing (other than possibly the fact that they are alive).
2)If anything, the promotion of proficiency, peace, and production.
3)(I am actually not sure what a secular response to this might be, unless positively leaning toward the hope of some potential future improvement of more unfortunate circumstances.)
4)Life for life, no; but humans do h…