Tonight’s Gonna Be A Good Night

I know the concept of twitter can be a little intimidating. For some, it’s like speaking a foreign language. Why on earth would you want to shout every opinion you have out into the interwebs?!?! Many of you still live here. (There are a few “inappropriate” words, here. Click at your own discretion.)

Believe me, I get it. I was a late adopter to twitter for many of the reasons shared in that ridiculous video.

For many of us, though, twitter has become a primary source of news, dialogue & community. Major events (everything from natural disasters to awards shows) have the potential to stimulate conversations all over the world. “Livetweeting” such events allows people to interact. Micro-communities develop when people engage. Viewership becomes a participatory process.

If you’re at all curious about twitter, I encourage you to follow the conversation via your computer during tonight’s State of the Union. (The link below will just show you the SOTU posts so it’s a little less overwhelming.) There will be opinions you agree with & disagree with. There will be people who are offensive & those that are crazy. If you can get past all that, what you’ll see is people who aren’t passively watching the State of the Union, but are instead engaging in conversation about it.

Twitter is a pretty awesome thing. If we, as Christians, can harness that same potential for the Kingdom, can you imagine the impact?


‘Cause I’m A Snowfall Kind of Girl

Well, it’s finally happened. After living in St. Louis for almost 2 months, it’s finally snowed. In fact, as I type this, it seems to be snowing again. It won’t last (snow never does), but at the moment, it’s beautiful.

First Snow of the Season

It’s amazing to me how a little white stuff falling from the sky can slow down everything. There’s only about an inch of snow outside, but it’s so peaceful. The blanket of white has a calming effect. Everyone slows down a little, plays a little, & devours comfort food. It’s like the world knows that you have to enjoy it when it’s here because it won’t last for long.

I wish we had that mentality in every day life: that idea that we can just slow down and savor life a little more. I think Jesus would love it if we lived life like everyday was a snow day. Hebrews equates restfulness with godliness. Hebrews 4:9-10 says “So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.” It goes on to saw that the more we rest in God, the less we’re prone to sin. The chapter also talks about we fail to take advantage of the rest God provides.

Snow comes with its own set of issues: traffic, cold, closures of schools and businesses all inconvenience our lives when it snows. It’s easy to get caught up in all of that and forget to step back to reflect on the peacefulness that comes when the whole world seems blanketed in white. That’s life, though. It’s easy to get caught up in the drama and the details and forget that rest is one of God’s promises to His people. I don’t know what the weather’s like where you are, but I hope you’re intentional about a Sabbath/snow day.

Just From Sin & Self To Cease

I was going to blog about moving to St. Louis & forging new relationships & jumping into ministry, and I’ll probably get to that at some point, but for tonight, and for the last several days really, this has been my heart. I’m praying that it becomes more and more real in my life and more and more real in your lives in this coming year.

’Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus saith the Lord!”
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!
Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!
Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!
I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

No Matter How It All Turns Out, We Still Play The Game

Last winter I sat in a friend’s living room floor pouring over a baseball schedule. 3 newly acquired friends and I were committing to attend 10 baseball games together, and finding 10 that wouldn’t conflict with our busy lives and schedules seemed a daunting task.

Fast forward almost 9 months and we’re now the kind of friends who finish the others’ sentences. We’ve also seen about 30 games together. Turns out, that once the season started, our schedules were a little more flexible…and baseball was a far more addictive pastime than anticipated.

We were there for good moments and bad: for complete game shutouts, player injuries, the death of a fan, 2000th hits, homestand sweeps, rain delays, chants of player names that give you chills, and the birth of a facial hair fanbase. We’ve met players and their families, been yahoo’s photo of the day, acquired more SWAG than is necessary in life, and gathered together to make posters, banners, cupcakes and away game crafts. We were good luck charms for the team, and they won more than 80% of the games we attended – including ALDS, ALCS & World Series games.

I’ve gone from being a casual Rangers fan who accepted the summer slump and owned 1 Rangers shirt, to a girl who could tell you the complete bios of most of the roster, tweets about little else, has an entire multi-season baseball wardrobe and expects her team to win. Some days I think I don’t really know myself. Some days I think I don’t really know my Rangers.

Sunday night was my last game to attend at the Ballpark in Arlington for the 2011 season. We witnessed Derek Holland achieving greatness and baseball immortality by pitching 8 & 1/3 scoreless innings of World Series baseball. Of course, the win wasn’t all that surprising…our trusty Dutchstaches (worn every time Holland’s pitched since July) are 7-0 when in attendance.

My Texas Rangers are one win away from winning the World Series. And they have two chances to do it. It’s surreal. Bizarre, in fact. It hasn’t sunk in yet, but there’s a part of me that can’t imagine the fairy tale that’s been this summer ending in any way other than a world championship. Of course, there’s a part of me that knows enough about sports jinxes, and knows enough about her team to know not to take anything for granted.

The fact of the matter is that win or lose 2011 will forever live in my mind as the year of My Texas My Rangers…when life’s dress code was red, white, & blue…when friendships were forged in the cheap seats.

That said, I really hope they win. #Rangersin6

the baseballmojo girls

The Baseballmojo Girls supporting Derek Holland in his 2011 World Series win

Back to Wizards and Witches and Magical Beasts…

If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie yet, there are what some may consider to be spoilers below. You should stop reading now. Of course, if you haven’t read the books and you’re that passionate about spoilers, I might be rolling my eyes at you a little bit.

Yes, I appreciate the irony of publishing a Harry Potter blog directly after my last post. (Jon Acuff would appreciate it, too.) What can I say? I’m a woman of diverse interests.

Last night I sat in a theatre saying goodbye to some great friends. I cried tears with their hurt and cheered in their victories. I felt their emotions the way one empathizes with lifelong best friends. I know them well, so I understand the magnitude of their emotions. I got goosebumps when Bellatrix danced as she walked, when Ginny saw Harry in the castle, when Neville found the sorting hat, when Ron spoke parseltongue, when Luna knew something and Harry listened, when Minerva got excited over a spell – not just because they were fun moments in the film, but because each of those moments represented such evolution for each character. When the screen went black and the credits began to roll, the girl on the row behind us yelled “Goodbye childhood, hello being an adult!” She’s not alone; lots of people are saying that it’s like saying goodbye to their childhoods, but I was in college before the first movie came out and I picked up the first book, so it’s not my childhood that I bid adieu to last night.

There’s an element of that, of course. “19 years later” makes those primary characters 36 years old in the final scenes…just a few years older than I am now. Even they had to grow up, which was annoying in the book, but cathartic in the film.

No, I wasn’t saying goodbye to my childhood. I think my [female equivalent of the] Peter Pan syndrome will remain firmly intact for some time. In a strange way, saying goodbye to Harry & Ron & Hermione & Ginny & Neville & Luna & the rest felt more like a graduation of sorts. I was saying goodbye to their childhoods. I’ll still see them (between the hard & soft covers of my printed copies and on the screen of my TV or computer), but it’ll be more sporadic, less scheduled, than it’s been the last 10 years. I’ll still know them, but only as they exist at this moment.

I think that’s what I’ll miss most about Harry & friends – seeing them grow and change; recognizing my own growth & change in them. I’ll miss the anticipation of wondering what’s next. I’ll mourn the loss of characters penned and fleshed out so fully that it’s almost as if they’re from another time…a time before best-selling authors churned out books every other month for the sake of sales. I’ll mourn for the future of literature, seemingly so void of true wordsmiths to challenge the field and raise the status quo and appeal to the populace all at the same time. Harry reminded me, reminded the world really, that books can be literature even if they weren’t written a hundred years ago and are shelved in the children’s section of the local bookstores.

So, I said goodbye to friends last night, even though I’ll still see them from time to time. I’ll be looking, however, for true characters of equal depth and wit and passion and humanity, to fill the void they’ll inevitably leave behind.

I Don’t Have Time To Maintain These Regrets When I Think About The Way He Loves Us

Recently, Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill in Seattle posted this on Facebook.
The post has been rebutted:

The rebuttals have been rebutted:

The viewpoint has been clarified:

And the post has been removed.

None of that, though, is what’s prompting me to come out of my blog coma and post. I’d like to take this opportunity to say STOP. Everyone. JUST STOP.

Was the post out of line? Yes. Was it in poor taste? Absolutely. Was it inappropriate for anyone calling himself a Christian, let alone a Christian leader? Probably. Is the internet the place to call him out on that? No.

I know, I know, Driscoll started the whole thing by posting online. You’re right. The Jesus we follow absolutely said to do unto others as they have done to you. Wait. That’s not what he said at all. It’s kind of the opposite of that, actually. Yes, I know, we’re supposed to discipline sin before the church. The thing is, though, that (a) public accountability should only come AFTER a private confrontation (according to Jesus in Matthew 18) and (b) the internet isn’t the church.

It’s probably no secret that I’m not a Driscoll fan. We’ve got some philosophical and ideological differences that have little to do with ministry and nothing to do with salvation. I’m ok with that. I’m wholly convinced that Jesus loves me in spite of myself & the same is true for Pastor Mark. I respect his ministry & the fact that God’s given him an amazing platform.  In general, I feel like this is just another instance of his being needlessly divisive. As a former leader in the Emergent church, he’s been uniquely gifted with the opportunity to unite emerging and traditional congregations. Instead, he’s a pulpit shock jock. This is not new information. It’s who he is and his ministry doesn’t seem to be suffering from it. Any umbrage I may have (and I’m not alone given the reaction on the internet) is my problem, not his.

The beauty of the church is that we don’t have to agree with one another about anything other than Jesus. We have to love each other. We have to hold one another accountable (side note: anyone claiming any of this has been about accountability is kidding themselves), but we don’t have to agree. Unless you’re married to Mark Driscoll or attend Mars Hill, you don’t have to defer to him as a spiritual leader. You can choose to do so, but it’s not Biblically mandated. I feel like it’s not a surprise to anyone that I’m not a Driscoll fan. To be fair, since I’m a feminist woman called to ministry, Driscoll’s probably not a fan of mine. That’s ok. Peter and Paul weren’t BFFs either. Their ministries each thrived.

If you know me at all, you’ve probably heard me express the opinion that if the church would act like we love each other, the world might start to think we love them, too. All this back and forth is making a whole lot more of us, and a whole lot less of Jesus. The world isn’t seeing Jesus in the posts, or the rebuttals, or the rebuttals of the rebuttals.  They’re seeing Christians tear each other apart. I’ll say it again (in all caps, both for emphasis and in case you missed it the first time), IF THE CHURCH WOULD ACT LIKE WE LOVE EACH OTHER, THE WORLD MIGHT START TO THINK WE LOVE THEM, TOO. That’s the challenge, isn’t it? Why are we letting this ridiculousness get in the way of that?

It Shall Be No Longer Mine…part 2

I know, I know, part 2 is a bit of a stretch. It’s been a year. More than a year. In that time, though, that’s what God’s been teaching me. So there you go.

The month of March was awful. Awful is an understatement. It was a month in my life that I’ll never forget and hope never to relive. It was the kind of month that makes one start comparing oneself to Job. March was a month that included a murder & a Japanese earthquake/tsunami and ended with almost being carjacked. Granted, those first things didn’t happen to me directly, but they happened to dear friends who I admire, love & pray for. The carjacking, though, that was me. You know it’s been a rough month when a guy’s trying to forcibly remove you from your vehicle, and the thoughts that run through your head are “I so don’t have time for this” and “my friends and family can NOT deal with this right now.”

So…Job. I really started thinking a lot about Job. What I thought is how ridiculous it is to compare ourselves to Job. I mean, really?!?! His entire livelihood, family, & health were destroyed and his friends and remaining loved ones advised him to curse God & die. As bad my March was, as apocalyptic and dark as it seemed at times, it didn’t come close to Job status.

That, though, isn’t why the comparison is ridiculous. That comes at the very beginning: Job 1:1, “In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil.” Blameless, upright, feared God & shunned evil. God reiterates that (verbatim) when he describes Job in 1:8, “Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.'” Oh that God would describe me in such a way! Blameless, upright, feared God & shunned evil. On my very best days, I’m 2 out of 4.

April, thus far, has been pretty fantastic. As opposite of March as possible. It’s been filled with family, friends, laughter, baseball, great food…I even won 2 tickets to Jazz Fest in a twitter picture contest. Life is good, but it was good in March. It was just hard. God is good, but He has been good since before time began and will continue to be good.

There are going to be times when life is hard…seemingly, impossibly hard. There won’t always be reasons for us to understand. If we’re going to compare ourselves to Job, though, we need to at least take away the lessons he learned. God spends chapters 40 & 41 calling Job out for whining about not understanding it all. In the end, Job’s response in 42:2-3 is this: “I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted.  You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.”

This life that I’m living? It’s not mine. Good or inexplicably horrible, it’s not mine. It’s God’s…and He is good, and He is God, and His overarching plan for the world is more wonderful than I can understand. I get to be a part of that. My new prayer is that in life’s “Job” moments (and they’re going to come), I’ll have Job-like faith.

It Shall Be No Longer Mine

Overheard at Verge (a Missional Community conference in Austin)…

“The cross, by it’s very nature, is outside anyone’s comfort zone.” – Francis Chan

“It’s not about learning what we don’t know, but living out what we do know.” – Jon Ferguson

“Learning takes place when programming is subjected to questioning.”- Alan Hirsch

“if we don’t disciple, the culture sure will.” – Hirsch

“We don’t just need to use our gifts, we need to be equipping people to use their gifts.” – Ed Stetzer

“When we do for others what God has called them to do, we hurt eachother and hinder the church.” – Stetzer

“If people know you’re for them, not against them, they’ll start to believe your God is for them, not against them.” – John Burke

“If we aim at ministry, we’ll never hit mission, but if we aim at ministry, missions happens naturally.” – Hirsch

“Our lives must find their place in some greater story, or they’ll find their place in some lessor story.” – Caesar Kalinowski

You should also watch this:  The Big Red Tractor from Jacob Lewis on Vimeo.

I’m still processing everything I heard, and I know some of it’ll require action. I guess we should all stay tuned to figure out exactly what that means.

I Still Feel Your Touch In My Dreams

I miss Travis.

He’s not an ex-boyfriend, or ex-friend, or “the one that got away,” or anything like that.

Travis is the guy who cut my hair in college.

Travis doesn’t look like your average beautician. He looks like a guy no one’s dad wants them to date, aka the kind of guy I’m most attracted to. He’s a tattooed musician. What’s not to love, right?

That’s not why I miss Travis. Travis has magic hands. MAGIC HANDS. He gives these head massages that erase all bad thoughts and feelings, ease all pain and alleviate all headaches. Having one’s hair shampooed is one of the most relaxing things in the universe, but Travis took it to another level. His fingers could work on the back of the head and the base of the neck while simultaneously using his thumbs to massage the temple. Bliss. Euphoric bliss.

I got my hair cut yesterday and it looks really cute. The girl who did it did good work and I’ll visit her again, but sitting in the shampoo chair with her fingers tangled in my hair I had the same thought I’ve had almost every time I’ve gotten my haircut since I left Shawnee, OK: I miss Travis…and his magic hands.