on faith deconstructions

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking, discussing, internet reading, and podcast listening in the days since Joshua Harris announced the end of his marriage alongside his falling away from the Christian faith.  Derek Webb, singer/songwriter and former member of the band Caedmon’s Call, called it “The Two Divorces” when he separated from his wife, broke away from the identity of Christian, and announced his unbelief in God.

My reactions to the departures of these two men have been different.  I still listen to Derek’s songs.  His lyrics, to me, were true, theologically deep, and beautiful.  It seemed impossible to believe that a man whose heart was so in love with God could reach such a place that could fully deny him. With Derek Webb I hoped it was a phase that would pass with the decades. I still believed that somewhere deep inside the love was still there.

Joshua Harris’s book didn’t cause me distress.  I read I Kissed Dating Goodbye in high school. It came out at a time when I was searching for answers regarding sexual purity, sin, and relationships.  I’d made mistakes I regretted and didn’t want to make the same mistakes anymore.  His book gave me hope that the bridge from teen virginity to Christian marriage could be crossed.  It was actually possible to save sex for marriage.

I can see how the book caused problems for people.  I’ve had to work through my own issues over the years coming out of what’s referred to as “purity culture”.  What I think these teachings lacked was a theology of suffering.  It was a good thing to want to love God and flee sin, but we came out of it expecting God’s blessing and reward and there was nothing to help us make sense of life’s pain.  The cross was not enough for us then.

It was the cross that made us pure and the cross that still does.  In the cross of Christ we find God’s favor and from the cross flows eternal life’s rewards.  Our sins are forgiven, our hearts are washed clean.  Our lives are made holy and we are given the promise that our days surpass time.  Our hope, never again, was in the strength, the heart, or result of our actions.  Every single one of these failed.  But You, O Lord, upheld my life.

 

 

 

 

 

connected

“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son
to be the Savior of the world.”
~1 John 4:14~

John always sounds so profound and at peace.

“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.”

That Jesus is the Son of God seems to me one of the most basic Christian truths.  There’s nothing new here, nothing profound here.

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us…”

So why has my mind latched on to this Son phrase?  Why does this matter?

What makes the identity of Jesus so important?

“God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.”

How is love tied to the confession of Christ–not just a man, not just a teacher, not just good guy who taught us to love?

Other world religions seek union with the Divine, but Christianity is the only world religion to provide it.

If Christ is God’s Son, then the Son is related. He is the blood-bond that God gives to man. He is the tie by which humans find God.

The Father and Son have an unbreakable connection.

In Jesus I am connected to God, related to God, reunited with God.

In Jesus God is loved and known.

 

 

on women’s work

The weather could not have been more beautiful yesterday.

I cannot even describe the wonder, the pleasure, the miracle of a breath.

I watched the campers and kids from my left eye’s corner, and from the dryness of the dock, read a book in the heat.  I regretted not bringing my sunglasses down.  They keep me from having to squint in the sun.  The light is too strong for my eyes to hold steady

anymore when the sun and the water are near.

From far away it’s not so bad.

But this isn’t the post I sat down to write. Today is nice, too, but house chores and errands have kept me inside more.  For quiet time I sent the little boys to their rooms.  Everyone needed to be on their beds where they could read, rest, or look at a book. It dawned on me that I, too, needed to stop, to allow myself that quiet time I forget about in summer.  I opened up a library book called Women’s Work: A Reckoning with Work and Home.

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It’s been a great read, one I can’t put down.

Megan K. Stack quit her job to work at home, but was not prepared for how much work it would be.  As an American woman living in China, she hired household help following the birth of her son.   The young Chinese woman cooked, cleaned, and watched the American woman’s baby.  The mother fed the baby and did her best to keep working. When her second baby was born, another foreign woman was added to the household.

I laughed out loud at the end of this paragraph–

Only after giving birth did I internalize the reality of having quit my job. I’d slaved and slashed and elbowed to maintain that job, but in the end I’d let it go like a balloon, rolling in my mouth the rare flavor of a bold gamble. Retirement it was not. I was pregnant and I was quitting, but in my mind it was the opposite of ‘opting out’. The time to finish my second book was coinciding with the arrival of a baby. I imagined long, silent afternoons in spotless rooms, typing clean lines of prose while the baby napped beatifically in a sunbeam (Stack, p. 36).

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It’s not all fun and games, however.  There is the deep and personal systemic shock that happens when a woman’s life is changed by a child. Stack also wrestles with the tension of being a self-proclaimed feminist, while realizing her privilege and ability to work depended on the work of these cheaper, poorer women.  Wanting to box them up with the sterile label of “employee”, these women did not fit neatly into a box. They had flaws. They had families.  They had duties, hearts, and needs, but I’m only half-way done so far.

So far I’d recommend the book.

 

 

 

 

 

more thoughts

I’m going through a phase of intense nesting.  People tend to think of nesting in the final weeks of pregnancy, when you’re washing the clothes, packing your hospital bag, arranging the board books, and cleaning out closets.  I remember the first time I ever read Guess How Much I Love You when the very last line truly took away my breath.

I want everything perfect and everything done.  It doesn’t happen that way, but the desire still roams and courses inside me.  I’m waiting on the floor guy to call us back and set up a time to install the purchased laminate.  I feel like I’ve been pretty patient, and I’m looking forward to finally being able to use the Norwex dry-mop I got for Christmas.

In the back of my mind is my oldest starting high school.  I sometimes wonder why the processing happens the most with my oldest.  I notice the mom-changes most with him. I don’t think our relationship is any better or worse because of it, but maybe there’s  just something that continues through life with the first born child paving the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

little by little

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The entryway is closer to done.  In the shipment of my grandmother’s stuff came a blue bench she kept near her front door entryway.  It isn’t the color of bench I would choose, but part of my decorating style is trying to incorporate family pieces into the home.

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I’ve also been trying to incorporate more photos.  I’ve got about ten years worth of family albums, but since I began blogging, the physical copies of photos are non-existent.  I bought some simple frames and have started printing more pictures from the past six years.  It’s amazing how fresh those memories still are, and yet, seeing as well how much the kids have grown.  I choose photos that bring back the happiest memories.

Today I tackled the front half of the laundry room.  I scrubbed the grime off the top and inside of the washing machine, gave the floor a good sweeping, through away a ton of trash, scrubbed the sink I barely use, mopped the floor, and spread out the new carpet.

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The entryway, the laundry room, the downstairs bathroom, the mudroom, and soon the front of the house are what I call the “special spots”.  Each child has their special spot to take care of and, ideally, we rotate every week on who is responsible for keeping up with the cleanliness, smell, and appearance of each location.  This actually works pretty well, but in the summer all systems of chores, besides the cat ones, fall away for a time.

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