on visiting seashores

These Florida days have offered time for family and play. The Hobbit is over, and once again I found myself spacing out or reading a book of my own to pass the time.

All of my kids can now say they’ve seen the ocean, and it feels like part of my job as a parent is complete. The Atlantic side’s waves are much stronger than the Gulf. It made me nervous to watch them crash and crash and crash and crash continuously.

Its amazing how quickly small discomforts can start compounding. After traveling one and a half car days to get there, it was a welcome relief for all to get out and get in.

books and things

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The living room is bare besides the piano and the couch.  The floor guy said he could come on Monday.  We’ll be gone then, traveling down to Florida to visit my grandparents, and these days leading up to our ensuring departure have been a wearying blur of all things normal.  Feeding the family, clearing out living rooms, the looming monster of packing our bags.  I want all the bathrooms and bedrooms to be clean before we go.

None of these things are as big as I’m making them.  There’s a scene in one of the Star Wars movies where Luke, Princess Leia, and Han Solo and trapped in a garbage compactor on the Death Star.  The walls begin closing in on them and everyone does what they can to brace the walls.  At the very last minute Luke gets a hold of CP3O who then implores R2D2 to shut down the systems. Somehow everything ends up okay.

My husband and I talked about downloading an audio book for the trip.  It’d be something we could listen to as a family on the way down.  Right away he suggested The Hobbit.  I said, “Hmm…but we’ve read that one before”.  I suggested something like Swiss Family Robinson or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, both of which I’ve never read, but the dusty antique hardcovers sit and wait on the bookshelf.   We agreed to keep thinking.

“How about The Hobbit?”, she said

when I later told my daughter about the audio book

I said, “Haven’t you guys read that one before?”

I have multiple memories, of multiple years, of my husband sitting there in the living room with the kids. They’re on the floor playing and he’s reading The Hobbit in the time before bed.   It’s one of those things they do while I’m busy, doing what, I don’t know.

“Yeah, but we’ve never finished it”, she answered.

“Well alrighty then”, I thought.

Maybe this was a sign, or maybe I was outnumbered.

We need to pack, and get haircuts

finish laundry, check cat food–

and so I’m crossing off “blogging”

with a half-awake smile adding

“Download The Hobbit”

to my invisible to-do list.

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.