So first, in true Townhall confession fashion, I would like to share that this week I learned anew one of those age old lessons on pride and humility. For me this means, I probably shouldn’t go on Facebook bragging about my mad cooking skills — it tends to bring Karma out the next day in the kitchen.
My husband and I have been in a meal planning/cooking discovery phase lately. So each weekend we have sought down together and pulled some recipes together mostly from the Food Network that we have noted by watching the Food Network channel obsessively. Yes we are total foodies. Anyways, we find the recipes and then meal plan for the week. So this week, we were both delighted with our efforts to grill some steaks with delicious sides such as rosemary garlic roasted red potatoes, rosemary butter rolls, and creamed spinach. This food high led me to post something like this:
So tonight we’ve had another new recipe to try. This time a BBQ pulled pork. So I pull out favorite recipes of mine for BBQ sides, namely sesame cabbage salad and easy baked-beans that I dress up with spices and bacon. So here’s where karma decides to kick in. Frying bacon on the stove is so simple right. I’ve done it countless time. However, I get so focused on my spice regime for the beans, I neglect to watch the bacon on the stove. I turn around to find it smoking and (ahem) burning. In my haste to try and salvage the bacon I grab the skillet off the stove in a hurry, only to practically throw it on the counter as I realize (in what felt like slow motion but was only a matter of seconds) that I had just sloshed piping hot bacon grease all down my bare leg. Yep cooking barefoot and in shorts. Needless to say I have been nursing burns on my leg and my foot, not to mention my pride this evening, so this post is getting out a little later than planned.Also note to self: Baking bacon in the oven on a cookie sheet is way easier and apparently way safer for you. Also it cooks evenly and doesn’t require flipping.
Ok life lessons in the kitchen aside.
This week here is what I have for you… ( As always click on the Titles for the Links)
Around the Blogosphere:
I don’t know a whole lot, but I just KNOW this. I KNOW that there is a presence that loves you more than you can ever imagine, and that He/She/It wants you to know and feel that and rest in that a bit.
This post comes from one of my favorite authors and bloggers you will see referenced a lot around here — Glennon Melton over at Momastery. She has a beautiful, unique, raw, and refreshingly funny way of being herself and putting that into words. I love her heart. I love her message. I loved this post.
Now when I read the Bible, I read it because there are things that I want and need to know. I read it because I want to. And I don’t need to call it “having a devotion,” or a “quiet time,” or anything else to make me feel holy. I try to take off all the filters, and just read it. I question everything and everyone, and I’m not sorry. I try to surround myself with people who don’t just tell me what the Bible means, but rather help me understand how the intended audience would have read it.
This week I wanted to give a shout out to a new friend I have found via the blogging world in the past couple of weeks. Kendra stumbled across my blog a few weeks ago when I started up, and shortly later sent me an email wanting to connect. We have since learned we grew up not too far from each other and both spent time in the circles of Homeschooling and ATI. It is always such a joy to find another kindred soul on this journey. She shared this post last week, and I laughed and wanted to shout Amen in the good old Christian way, as I read through her blog. I don’t know how many times I have had this said to me, or seen it said of others, or to others countless times by other well meaning Christians. “Well you just need to read your Bible more.” or “Well for someone to believe that, they obviously have never read their Bible and are thus a very weak, and misinformed Christian.” I don’t know how many times I have been that person saying, judging, and thinking those very words. Kendra has some great insights to share, so go check her out.
Look at your community. Does everyone look like you, think like you, hear the exact same words from God as you? Find the prophets in your community—the ones at the edge. The unhinged, the bedraggled, the uncouth. The ones who believe it all a little too much, the ones who sing different songs in a style that is unfamiliar to you, who emphasize different portions of Scripture. As you strain to figure out what exactly the good news is, hang out with people for whom it is just that: not a means to a better life, but the only place where they can go. If everyone looks exactly like you, it might be time to set off on your own, journey into the murky world of being a minority.
This post whispered at me with its wonder, with its aching truth, with its challenge to go to an even deeper place of knowing others and being known. For so long, I accepted the message that anyone who was not similar to me or close enough like me and my community — was either to be feared or judged. How lonely that life is. How empty. How much I missed.
I’m sorry I didn’t trust you. I’m sorry that I didn’t listen well. It must have been lonely. I should have trusted you….I blink my tears into the bright, bald Texas sun, thankful that over the years, nothing that was damaged was irreplaceable, nothing was broken that couldn’t be fixed, nothing hurt that couldn’t heal.
This blog was another new one I stumbled on to this week. This author’s post about the beauty of friendship that faces change and lasts, spoke to me with its healing truth. I have seen this recently in a few friendships I thought might not last this new phase of vulnerability and change. I have spent a long time working on all this in small trusted circles and behind the scenes. You know you have true friends when they see that even from a far, and know it before you are even willing to brave admitting it to them.
But someone told me once
that these punctures
do not diminish
the fabric of who we are
they add to the pattern
For we are weavers really
I don’t read poetry that often, but this one is magical in both the images it reveals and the truth it conveys.
From my Facebook Feed:
Sunlight pours into the plain, open room through its many windows. Men and women of all ages gather in rows of simple wooden benches all aligned to face the center of the room, facing one another. Together they sit in stillness and silence, actively waiting for inspiration to arrive.
The Quaker Faith and body within Christianity is one I haven’t studied for a long time. This article caught my eye this week though, and touched me with the peace and serenity that eminate from their lifestyle and beliefs. I want to learn more. It also references Buddhism at the end of the article, and this is another faith I have come to appreciate greatly since living in Japan and traveling throughout Asia. I have never met a more beautiful people, who are genuinely interested in learning about your faith and life, never once judging it or offering a prescribed answer for how you have it wrong. Given I have been that person on many occasions, and knowing I had many arrogant misconceptions of those Japanese people with their heathen “Buddhism” before moving here — I have been humbled by their love and acceptance of me and all my flaws.
That seems to me to be a pretty good summary of what this God business is all about. We bring our whole self before God – our joys and screw ups and everything in between – and hold that up to the light. We hold our unfolding lives up for reflection, spin them around, finding the beauty and the pain and the sacredness. And God reaches out to us to sanctify every aspect of our complicated, glorious lives. Our task is to remain faithful, to transcend what brokenness we can and to help each other heal along the way.
This sermon taught by The Rev. Dr. Kate Alexander spoke to my heart today. The mere fact that I can write that and say I listened to a sermon on my way home from class today, and actually listened — brings tears to my eyes. For so long sermons have brought up such a mixture of emotions, I have struggled for months to listen to one for very long. When I began to spend more time questioning and then critiquing each sermon point mindlessly, I knew I had to take a break. Today however, reminds me that healing is truly possible. As she reminds us, God can be found even when we are faithful and flawed.
How do we not remain silent in the face of abuse? What kind of Bystander am I? For so long I was so scared of my own questions inside my head, I never saw how my silence became compliance. When abuse happened in my family, and I saw how the church used doctrine and christian language to protect the perpetrator and blame the victim, I knew I could not be silent forever. Yes I had to learn. Yes I have had to heal. But now I can speak. Now I have learned to find my voice. We need men and women in this world who are leaders among their peers to stand up and say it loud. Abuse in any form is never ok.
Well these are just a few things I found for you all this week that I wanted to share. Let me know what you all think!
What have you been reading this week?
What other faith different from your own have you learned to appreciate?
How have you managed friendships through life, growing through different seasons and allowing for change?
When it comes to getting out of your comfort zone, what has ruined you?
What has brought your faith journey, passion, life, flaws, brokeness, and pain all together and challenges you to make something of it?
Join me tomorrow for a special post, introducing our new Summer Series: