Showing posts from March, 2015

The Darkest Night

I recently saw an author share advice that she received from her spiritual director to hold off on writing about a transition she was experiencing until after it was long over. This trusted guide counseled that she needed the spiritual and emotional distance both to see the experience clearly, and to be able to tell her story with proper perspective, nuance, and sensitivity toward others who were involved. She'd been thankful for this advice, as it helped her avoid the possibility of hurting others, as well as gave her the proper space to process what was happening.

We live in a world that is more immediate, and thus we tend to believe that we're expected to tell such stories at a faster pace. It may be that we expect this of ourselves on a personal level or, if we have a platform, we feel the need to generate content and clicks, and what else would I write about especially if I'm known for the sort of introspective reflection in which others can possibly hear their own s…

March 2015 Pop Culture Roundup

Five items for March...

1. We watched Lucy this month, with Scarlett Johansson as the title character who has a package containing a powerful drug surgically placed in her intestine to be delivered to a buyer. The package ruptures, and the drug begins activating "unused" parts of her brain, which in turn allows her to do things like change her appearance, move things telekinetically, and control electronic devices. She enlists the help of a brain expert played by Morgan Freeman to find out what's happening to her, all while fending off the gangsters who forcibly placed the drug in her body to begin with. The science is suspect, but the action sequences and computer animation were fun, although I did find myself wondering why Lucy didn't just go full Dr. Manhattan on the bad guys to get them to stop chasing her. It was a...sigh...brainless movie that I knew going in I shouldn't take too seriously.

2. I recently read Faraway by R.K. Kline and Daniel D. Maurer, the r…

Book Review: Desire Found Me by Andre Rabe

A newborn human is one of the most helpless creatures there is. From the moment of birth, humans cry out to others to give them existence. Who we are is bound up in relationship with others. The sense of identity, the consciousness of self, is formed in these interactions with others who are like us. The child begins to differentiate between self and other to form a more stable sense of self. This differentiation, however, would not be possible without the other. Much of what self is, is owed to others. - Andre Rabe, Desire Found Me

When I received this book in the mail for review, the actual conversation between me and Coffeewife went as follows:

Coffeewife: What's that about?
Me: It's about mimetic theory.
Coffeewife: What's that?
Me: It's...I don't know.

My assumption when I agreed to review Desire Found Me by Andre Rabe was that by reading, I would understand. I think that for the most part, this was the case.

I now know that mimetic theory is the study of the way we …

We Wish to See - A Prayer for Lent 5

Faithful God, we wish to see Jesus. We’ve heard so much about the way he offers healing, forgiveness, and fresh starts. We’ve heard about his welcoming of outcasts and those whom society deems dispensable. We’ve heard about his signs and miracles that point to a greater inbreaking reality that is already here, yet still arriving. We’ve heard about his boldness in standing up to religious and civil authority; the hard questions that he asks and the strong words he has for rules and practices that dehumanize and devalue life.

We have heard, and we wish to see for ourselves. We are curious about this man in whom so many find hope. We are interested in the life eternal that he talks about. We are hesitant about his associations and his invitation to do likewise. We want to be a part of his divine vision that seems on the surface to be so unreachable, yet he insists is much closer than we think.

We wish to see Jesus. So many others do as well. We lift some up to you now… (Prayers of the…

Vintage CC: A Post About God

Sometimes I go back and find a post that I don't think about very often, and gain an entirely new appreciation for it. This post from August 2012 is one of those.

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, everything was formless; a swirling, chaotic void. But God interacted with the void, shaping and ordering it. God commanded the light and the darkness, the waters and the sky and the land, the birds and the fish and the animals, and eventually humanity. God took that swirling primordial soup and fashioned something from it. And God called all of it good.

Was God finished? Did God never create anything after calling it all "good?" No. God kept creating, shaping, and ordering. Stars and planets and entire galaxies formed, and some eventually burned out or began again after ice ages or collisions. God created a dynamic universe, full of novelty and change, our own galaxy expanding and contracting, our own earth experiencing shifting plates and the circle…

Why I'm Giving Up Aspiring to Be a Writer

I have been keeping this blog for over 10 years. That's a long time and a lot of words. Near the beginning, it wasn't something I took too seriously.

But as tends to happen, I started reading other blogs. Some seemed similar to mine: light reflections on ministry or daily life or whatever passing thought that popped into the person's head and demanded sharing.

Other blogs, however, were Serious Blogs by Serious Writers. Each post clocked in at thousands of words and garnered hundreds of hits and had dozens of comments and were leading to Serious Book Deals and Serious Feature Articles in Serious Magazines.

This all caused me to want to be a Serious Writer, too. A Real Writer. Not just one who played around on his little internet toy but who'd be scoring some of those same articles and books.

Just to show how Serious I was, I started mentioning it in my bio. I'd list myself as an "aspiring writer" or "writer wannabe." Something that said to the …

Book Review: Faraway by R.K. Kline and Daniel D. Maurer

Looking back, I know that my existence has been defined most of all by those events of my fourteenth summer. I divide my life into two: the periods of time before and after those summer months of '75. I didn't intend for it to be this way. But I understand now that the Kevin before 1975 doesn't exist within me anymore. Sometimes it feels like he's out living a normal life in a parallel universe. He's got his own normal story. But I'm left with mine. - R.K Kline, Faraway

Late last year, I read and reviewed a book by Alisa Jordheim called Made in the USA. It included a series of firsthand accounts from victims of sex trafficking, as well as some pointers on how to assess whether someone might be a victim themselves. The accounts were shocking not only due to their abusive elements, but how they started and where they took place. In one form or another, every story started with the trafficker earning the victim's trust, either themselves or through a liaison o…

A Time of Cleansing - A Prayer for Lent 3

Based on Psalm 19 and John 2:13-22

All the world is yours, O God. The morning dew on spring grass. The chill of winter wind. The smell of autumn rain. The bronzing summer sun. In these hours of cold and dark, perennial bulbs soon to sprout will signal the bloom of renewal. Conifers towering over our heads remind us that life is ever-present, even in the face of death’s uncertainty.

In this holy season, we prepare to receive your life-giving good news once again. You call us to a time of cleansing, of owning up to the lies and half-truths we tell ourselves. You call us to repent of the ways we use your name for our own ends; the deceptive methods we employ to exploit what you have created; the ways we’ve transformed the spaces in which you dwell into a marketplace of our own desires.

You call us to account not to break us down, but to build us up. You are ever enacting new life among us and in us. Sometimes we stray from your ways because we don’t fully believe it. We need yet another…

Small Sips Keeps Dropping the Mic

I know this well. Jan Edmiston reflects on every church's desire for a pastor who will attract young families:
Let’s be honest about the “why.“ Are we saying that we want these rare and valuable Young Families for what they can give to us?  What if – instead – the “why” of this demographic quest was about feeding souls and sharing authentic community? I always hoped – as a young mom – that church would provide adults that could help me nurture my children. I always wanted to know that – if my kids couldn’t come to me or HH with a problem – they would have other trustworthy adults to whom they could go (and they did.)  Young families are great. Old families are great. Families made up of child-free couples are great. Families of single people are great. Imagine if every church simply wanted A Pastor Who Could Bring In Broken People. Now that’s a church. As a younger pastor, I've certainly encountered this expressed desire, among other common assumptions about what a young pasto…

God's Anonymous Ones

As I enter through heavy wooden doors, I encounter a hush that is understood rather than enforced. I sign in; the woman sitting at the desk looks up and smiles pleasantly, asking me who I am there to see. The smile gives way to a look of recognition as she points me toward the hallway and tells me the room number.

I pass a nurse's station that is more bustling than I am used to. Maybe I never wanted to notice the amount of noise that exists here. Maybe I'm the only one who thought that such a place deserves as little conversation as possible. I pass through the midst of another family standing in the hall, members gathered in groups. They pay just enough attention to allow my passage.

I arrive at the room, but am told to wait outside for a moment. I lean against the wall, not feeling hurried. It is while here that I begin to catch snippets of conversation from the other family. I don't look at them directly in an effort to minimize my voyeurism, but I inevitably …

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