You are a master of foolery. You tell me that you have the best coffee and espresso beans around, and although I have tasted better, I still believe you. You know the temperature outside and you draw me in with the perfect internal thermostat neutralizer. And then when I do come in from the heat and get and iced beverage, you freeze my core with your air conditioner that is so quiet I have no idea it's on, until I am so cold that I find myself ordering another drink, a warmer one. I fall for it every time. You offer me "healthy" options with a scoop of whey protein, and despite my careful research, I find my head convincing my rationale that whey protein is the equivalent to having a chicken breast for lunch. You offer me an array of treats that tantalize me when I am not hungry, but your sign that says "organic blueberries" or "whole grains" I begin thinking that I am doing myself a disservice if I do not consume your sugar traps. Your atmosphere makes my head spin. Is this a community or is it time to listen to Jewel and write in my journal? You set up tables and couches with just enough chairs that if I am alone, I am totally aware of the silence that surrounds me. And it is not long before I find myself emoed-out, brushing my bangs in my face and putting my earphones in my ears. If I am in a group, I am all too aware of our rambunctious nature, which is hardly our fault. It was you who caused this intense elevation in loud voices as you offered us a "free extra shot" with a wink. And we took it, because we believe in the quality of your beans, but then we are given scornful looks for our energy, from the dark poet that is writing vigorously in his journal. And what about your energy shot? It was vitamin B, so I may as well get this everyday instead of taking the vitamins right? Yes, that is what you want me to think. And just as I am standing waiting for my tea, served plain, I begin patting myself on the back for not falling for your antics, and I pity those that are in line, savoring the menu options and splurging for the venti. So as I am becoming prideful in my choice, I look down and see your new brochure: "Good". This is your master plan, because each Thursday you put out a small newspaper that folds neatly into my purse and in a small snippet you give me information that I am too lazy to look up on my own: Immigration. Carbon in the Air. Health Care. You point out which Presidential Candidate supports what, and I begin to fool myself into thinking I am well informed. I don't even check the source. And then, I find myself sitting down, reading that information like the Bible and finishing my tea when I just meant to leave. I look around and although I am alone, I begin to feel like we are all a community, learning about politics and getting filled with protein and vitamins together, and so I stay. I get cold, hungry, and I begin to fall into your trap.
Next time you come out with another one of your antics, I will be prepared. And I will not fall for it, until you pass out those sample that you make in those tiny cups, and I will begin to feel energized, cleansed, full of vitamins, or whatever else you promise and then I will start to feel a chill in the air, and your list of options will begin to entice me. And just as I want to fight it, I will see the pamphlet that gives me a Poly Sci degree in one sitting and I will order a venti, and decide to stay awhile.
I am always wanting to dress occasion appropriate. I think it's because my mom always knew what to wear, and how to wear it. It was never over done, and never flashy. It was always simple, and very classy. I would watch her get ready for football games and she wore simple red tennis shoes, and a red polo. Dinner dates with my dad when we were young were always a nice dress, that was enough to stand out, but simple enough to not take away form the best part of her: her face. I love that about her.
So, I am occasion conscious. I really do not like the feeling of wearing jeans when everyone is in formal wear. I don't like even more when everyone is in jeans and I accidentally put on my prom dress. I just dont like to stick out, especially if the crowd, the event, the everything is unfamiliar. So I really try and fit the mood, I get embarrassed when someone tells me I look "sooooo nice" dragging out the emphasis like usually I am wearing a trash bag. I also get embarrassed when people make comments about what I look like in my clothes. Skinny. Toned. Filled Out. AHHHH. There is something about those comments that make me feel like there was a certain way that I should be looking in my clothes and I missed it, I have dressed my fat count, bones, and and skin in the wrong proportions.
LIKE ITS MY FAULT!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?
So this brings me to my conflicted understanding concerning the activity I participated in today: A lingerie shower. It is totally the season of my life right now. Many of my friends are getting married and people are throwing and giving showers, and to the ladies that have decided not to have sex until we are married we just have no idea what people wear or don't wear, where things go, where they don't go and well really anything about sex in general. So we throw lingerie showers, cause I guess at least we will be dressed, or undressed occasion appropriate.
Tonight I travelled down the delightful road of allowing my palette the delight of sushi. I truly love sushi. I have had lots of good sushi. You know, where the rice sticks the perfect amount to the fish so that you can dip the roll into the soy sauce without it falling apart. And I have had incredibly bad sushi where the rice is so sticky that when I put it in my mouth it's like someone is making a rice mold out of every tiny hole, dent, and wrinkle in my mouth. I have been to very friendly sushi places, where they serve wonderful appropriate drinks, my favorite being Milk Boba Tea, and I have been to some odd sushi joints where the sign outside read "no tank tops". Either way, I am in love with with sushi.
Not surprisingly, so is the large majority of America. We are loving the tuna, the salmon, and the lobster, layered with cucumbers, cream cheese, apple slices, fried shrimp, mangos, avocados...the list goes on. Yes, it can seem like a random pairing to the untrained mouth, but anyone who has been to sushi more than twice begins to develop a sense of adventure for these outlandish pairings. On top of that, the health of these rolls on a wooden plate is a bonus. It's all raw, one of many new fad diets, and the amount of carbs can quickly be replaced with brown rice, seaweed wraps and even soy wraps. They are appealing for the exotic nature of the roll; it represents everything that American food does not. Its guilt free, yet full of an adventurous style of dining.
However, tonight as I was drinking my Boba tea in record time, and trying my best to be patient for the soy dish to be placed in front of me (because that means the rolls will soon be on their way), I could not help but think about this wonderful food option that has become a big part of an American fad, health conscious, and often exotic experience. I say that with a bit of disdain, because the more I think of things we incorporate into our culture, the more I am sad about what people may incorporate from ours, into theirs.
Now, let me first say that I have not been to more than 2 other countries. Yes, that is right. I have been to Mexico once and the Dominican Republic once. Two stamps on my passport, which I lost after I got them. Opps. I was only 17. So, I will be the first to say that I need to travel more, I need to add some stamps to that passport, and a bit of perspective and appreciation for our culture. But until then, please help me understand:
In other countries, do people visit McDonalds or In-N-Out as fad eating choices? Or is all that we contribute our pop stars and synthesized music?
Call me jaded. A cynic. I am not an America hater, just want to better understand what and how we contribute.
My fear is that we consume other cultures as a weekly flavor, and we switch religions, diets, clothing, and language to appreciate other cultures, but is all we do is what we do with our pop stars? Do we consume, watch, decorate, and play house with them incorporating them into our lives for a short season and then like the Britney have we chased the beauty but destroyed the girl? Our sushi fad soon leaves us sick of the food, and is it then a downward spiral of the culture and the people? Or worse, is our understanding of such places wrapped up in seaweed with the choice of reduced-sodium soy sauce on the side?
My husband is an amazing musician. On top of pure, raw talent, he has a passion for it like I have never seen. Tonight, a dear friend of ours, that is also incredibly talented, came over and after consuming dinner and conversations, we ended up in front of the screen watching John Mayer's Live from LA DVD. We only watched two songs, but it was enough to spark light in all of our eyes.
But it was different for me than it was for them.
They watched and listened with such an intense stare, nothing could have broken their concentration. They saw things that I did not see. They listened to every note, to every aspect of the arrangement, to the guitar chords and the melodies and they heard things that I did not hear. Intoxicated by the melody, the amount of inspiration that welled up inside of their hearts was enough to thirst no more, and the intense desire and longing that began to burn in their tear-stricken eyes would burn a hole through any discouraging thought. And as I watched the enamored love affair with a love that they wish they put more effort towards, I found myself in awe of their passion.
It has been far too long since I have felt that longing and that desire; to want to drop everything and want to pursue something so fast and so hard that for a moment I do not care that the ground beneath me has momentarily become distant and my ambitions no longer seem like dreams written in my journal, but a reality.
I watch them both, pent up with equal amounts of frustration and desire, I find myself humbled to a point of almost jealousy. Because to live with that sort of frustration means you have a desire to change by creating, to make this world a better place by adding something beyond yourself, but somehow has been given to you to add. I look back and forth from the two of them, one my right and on my left, and back to the screen and I find myself saying "Imagine if he got discouraged and just stopped playing, you know before he made it big. Think of all that we would have missed hearing." As they nodded in agreement, I told them that they, too, needed to think of such a consequence in their own desire to learn, to grow, to create, to mold, and to live the way the Creator has intended them to live.
In a world that offers to many soundtracks, it's a blessing to be given a song.
The librarian in me that has been passed down by my mother, has learned from far too many ridiculous mistakes to never, ever under any circumstances judge a book by it's cover. Never. For example, the Bible's cover was hideous. What if we never picked it up, because we did not know what that book was about and we saw the cover and ran? No good. Now, we have a Bible for every occasion (Precious Moments, Young Adult, Women's, Men's, College Student's) completed with assorted colors, scratch and sniff pages, and hypercolor covers. (This is used, of course, as means to monitor your spiritual growth. Is your Bible cover only one color? Then your sweaty palms have not been glued to your Bible for hours of diligent studying. Ok, I made that up.)
But, I must confess that today I did something that I think the "wine librarian" would be so incredibly disappointed in. In fact, I am almost certain he or she would shake their head at me mumbling: "amateur".
No, I did not just buy a bottle because it had the prettiest label. Nor did I buy it because the wine was pink and I decorate everything with pink. No, I am not that much of a rookie.
I choose my wine because the label looked like and reminded me of one of my favorite books.
I am embarrassed to admit that the chosen wine was:
It is still corked sitting my kitchen waiting for me to swirl it nicely in my blue wine glasses but according to the reviews, I should never, ever take a sip.
Because I could care less if you are laughing at my wine choice, but I care incredibly much if you are laughing at my book choice, I must defend the Twilight Saga. The books are anything BUT similar to the review of the wine; in fact it's the exact opposite: "full, with everything as notable and memorable." Obviously, if it's enough to control my beverage choices.
That's my mantra. or at least I act like it. I can not tell you the countless times I have asked for a guitar for Christmas swearing that if I had one I would learn to play.
or how about last summer when I almost bought a Roxy surfboard, because if I had one to learn on I could actually learn.
or when I got in they olympic spirit last month and swam 50 lengths in our apartment pool, with the voice of the announcer echoing in my head "she only started swimming four years ago in her apartment in Costa Mesa! Talk about the American dream!"
So, my mother, like a wise woman would be, is very cautious of these "needs", and usually explains that once I am a pro surfer, she will get me a board, or a guitar, or the newest baking gadget from Williams Sonoma, or a bunch of make-up to be a make-up artist. I'm very ambitious.
My newest need....ok want, is a digital camera. I have one that my mother in law gave me that I love, and I also have a nice film camera that I got when I graduated high school. Both are great, but both have different uses. So, I would like to get a new digital camera that I can learn with (I used to take photo in high school and college, so this is not that far removed from real life) as well as grow into. I am dying to learn about lighting, flashes, points of views, and get a real camera-woman's eye (that is for sure the technical term, I am so professional). In fact, some of my best friends, have their own photography businesses and are superb at it ...maybe I should be asking them for lessons and not just sitting here on my computer writing about it. Well, if I had a nice camera then I would ask for lessons...uh oh, there I go again. ha.
ANYWAY, I truly love a good shot. a moment in time. a glimpse of emotion. nothing at all compares to it. Our wedding photographer is a great family friend and she took our wedding photos as well as our Trash The Dress pictures:
How fun are these? They totally and completely capture the love, joy, passion and excitement we are having as newlyweds. They are spontaneous. Adventurous. Exciting. They turned out beautifully, but also they represent something so much more. We messed up our wedding clothes because our marriage is not about the perfect wedding. It's about sticking together, even when it's messy and having fun in the midst of it.
I only wish I had this talent, but for once, I am going to learn. I really am going to ask Stephanie and Kathy for lessons, and I am going to save my money and purchase a nice camera. I am going to give back what I learn and use it to capture God's creation, using it for good.
It's true. I have maybe, perhaps, guilted you into drinking tea if we went out to "coffee" and I agreed with you about how wonderful the Pumpkin Spice Latte is, how I just die for a Soy Cappuccino (I do get this, I confess. But decaf.) and how the holiday drinks are too much for my addiction and then just as you were about to consume your first sip, I rudely rattled off my statistics to you about the benefits of tea and then the not so good benefits of coffee. I am sorry. It's in your best interest.
I seriously can't stand when people write like I wrote the title of this blog. It takes so much effort. Which is crazy cause it's meant to look so jagged and out of sorts like someone just put their hand in a grab bag of written (or typed) letters and just threw them up there. But that took major coordination of my fingers and of my head. But, I did not feel like I could write it without writing it that way. Yes, I am referring to the new ipods. There are here and with a kick.
Now I counted and between my husband and I, we have seven ipods. Six of them work. I know, I am so embarrassed of this fact, and I would love to say that I have so many songs and podcasts and books on tape and vital information that we need all seven. But we don't. We just bought the first shuffle when it came out, got two others as gift, received a free one from a family member, and each own an iphone. So, if you need an ipod, you know where to turn.
But with all of these ipods flooding our house, I still saw the add for the new ones, and began thinking of really imaginative ways that I could use these new colored wonders. Wait, before you say, "bonnie that is so ridiculous. do you know how many you have?" The answer is clearly yes. I am not saying that I went out and bought one of these crazy awesome colorful ones, and I am very sad to admit that the thought of wanting another one even crossed my mind. BUT it did. I do not want all of them, I only want a few of them. A few of them to compartmentalize my life a bit more. ( I know, at 23, I have soo much going on. I am ridiculous).
Yellow for my podcasts. Purple for my books on tape. Green for my desire to pretend I am being green. Blue for the days that I need some blue in my life. Red because it reminds me of my mom's red Kenny's when I was little. Silver is way over done. Orange is sick. and then pink and black, we already have.
No, really I do not want all these ipods, for those of you that don't know me, I am kidding. Being sarcastic. And a little poking fun at the orange county desire to match your hand bag, car, phone, nail polish and even dog to our outfit. My desire to actually want a designated ipod for my podcasts is a true confession. But, I mean how many do I have downloaded that I just don't even listen to. I have big plans for myself that I will grow and learn all of these great things, be well informed and then do something with it. Sounds vague? Yeah, me too. That is maybe why they sit in my iTunes and the blue dot that says they are yet to be listened to never goes away.
But all this talk about colors reminded me of a cRaZy (sick) teacher that I had at Chapman in my undergrad studies. The class was called "Eastern Concepts of Health and Healing". I had been to a chiropractor once or twice, and my pediatrician from when I was little, (whom I call on a regular basis for medical advice anywhere from a reddish hue on my finger out of nowhere to when I had hernia surgery), practices eastern medicine. And, given I was a Religious Studies major I assumed I would be well equipped to take this class. It goes into way too deep to explain and because I want you to come back and read more of my blog, I am afraid that if I tell you everything you will assume I am lying. So here are a few highlights:
She told us she was the Chinese men's trainer at the 2000 Olympics in Athens. Apparently she was getting some deja-vu and so were a few of her other fellow "trainers" and one night, they came together and figured it out: (this is a direct quote) they were "a bunch of old souls that were re-incarnated and joined together at this olympics because they were the first ones to perform in the very first olympics in Athens." She was dead serious.
There are energy vortexes around the earth, in fact there is one in Sedona, Arizona. And, NASA has no idea about these things. And if they did, we would be way farther ahead in the space race.
If you have a friend who is having a bad day, just put their picture in some sun light and they will feel better.
If you or a friend is having a bad day, then you need to get a crystal (if no crystals in reach, then a "polished rock" will do) and you need to cleanse it of it's aura. How does one do this you may be asking, well, take some sage and burn it. As the smoke from the sage is billowing up into the vortex-centered air, waft the sage toward the crystal and it will be clean. Then, hold it in your hand and say out loud what you want to feel that day. Example: "Today will be a good day." Repeat it over and over, and then carry the crystal (or rock) in your pocket all day. If you are with a friend when you are doing this, and you want it to be a secret (in case they were not tipped off from the burning sage) then just think the good thoughts. It will be the same. Oh, and be sure to "slip" the crystal into his or her pocket, they will never know it is there, but they will have a good day.
These comments were always furiously written down in my notebook from which I should be taking notes, but since we never learned anything, I had tons of room. Later I always took them home and they became the dinner conversation for my roommates and I. BUT, my favorite topic has yet to be shared:
For those of you that did not get to take this ever-informative (gag) class, then I will briefly explain to you what these are. They are seven energy centers in the body, each that have a different color. So, because she is an Olympic Trainer, she uses color therapy on her clients. No joke. She carries around a suitcase with every colorpolooftherainbow. She then will study the client's aura, and whatever chakra, represented by a specific color, is heightened, then she will be sure not to where that color polo. If the client's base chakra (represented by the color red) is most intense, and my teacher happened to be wearing red, then she can do a quick change (behind her client's back?) into a polo that will off-set the chakra, thus calming the patient down. Or, for example, if she wants to have a good day of talking and communication, then she would wear blue for the throat chakra. She never was wearing blue in our class.
I wonder what my Olympic-Trainer-teacher would have to say about these nanos. Now, there would be even more reasons to get every color. One never know's who they will run into on the street. Too much blue will leave you blue in the face from all that talking.
*The views an opinions of my Olympic Teacher are not shared by yours truly. I am not liable for any burned skin from sage wafting, nor do I promote spending your entire paycheck on polos...or ipods.
My husband and I went for a nice walk on the beach this past weekend. Its been beautiful weather here...the leaves changing, the crisp air, the smell of rain and coming snow...oh, wait. It's 75 all year round. The place that reminds me of fall the most are the seasonal drinks at Starbucks.
The best thing about a good song is the beat. Now a days, people are always making iPod playlists, car soundtracks, and video montages with that perfect song because life is just a bit better when walking to a beat. This is most likely one of the biggest driving forces behind the sales and the obsession with the iPod. According to arecent study there are approximately 70 million current iPod users.  Take a second and think about that number. An average heart beats103,680 beats in a day. That means that if music was blood, there is enough music being played in to give 67,515 people breath. These white ear-buds give it’s owners the ability to drown out the societal noises of cars honking, baristas screaming and even their own thoughts and get lost in a rhythm that seems tobeat the same thump-thump of the emotions of their heart. But why, why must there be anelectronic phenomenon to create this rhythm? Is this world so chaotic that ears must be stuffed full ofbeats in order to truly hear? Must footsteps really be in tune to the latest and greatest song, or were they meantto hit the pavement to different sort of rhythm?
The Old Testament is filled with rituals, dietary laws, and festivals all centered around food. Celebrated yearly, at the same time, and with the same guidelines, these feasts and festivals imprinted a rhythm on the lives of the Jewish nation. They were feasts the Israelites could count on, rules they knew like the back of their hand, and blessings which they hoped for. These rituals have been continued on till today, and food holds the central part of the guidelines. One Rabbi refers to these festivals as a map of understanding and referenced these festivals as “lodgings for travelers making their way throughthe year.” They have become more than holidays, but instead sign posts of the cyclical calendar of food and Scripture. Remembrance of provision. This calendar puts into place a seamless connection between food theology and God, and unlike in the Church today, they went together like peanut butter and jelly,not like water and oil. Take the Passover meal. Today, it’s known as communion. Some take it weekly, some monthly and others never have really gotten the point of it. The communion meal began as Jesus’ Passover dinner. It commemorated the Exodusfrom Egypt and served as a reminder of God’s provision and faithfulness among His people. This story was knownby everyone who was Jewish, and so the Passover meal played a central role in their faith. Food, not only in Passover, but other contexts as well, became the beat that held the rhythm of remembering God’s faithfulness together. Could it be, that this rhythmic pattern of food has been lost in culture today? The number of people with eating disorders is three times the number of people who are diagnosed with AIDS. If that is not shocking, then perhaps the fact that 15% of women who are pregnant have eating disorders and will give birth to babies who are malnourished. Globally, the price of grains and bread has sky-rocketed by 83%,making something as easy as bread to buy be close to impossible to some foreign countries, yet in some parts of the world there is an over abundance of food. Didn’t Jesus teach His followers to pray for “daily bread?” Why, then, is it so hard to find? In 1970, the average amount of food available to an average person was 1,675 pounds of food in one year. Since then, it has jumped by16% and now the average person has 1,950 pounds of food available a year. With more food, then shouldn’t there be less starvation? The problem is that with the rise in food production, there has been a rise in food consumption. On average, people are consuming 42% more calories a day, and people are 74% more likely to be obese than in 1970 yet over half of Americans do not think their diet needs to change. The statistics are jumping all over the board, but so is humanity. Food in overabundance and in deficiency costs $250 billion dollars in medical costs a year with over half (53.3%) of caused deaths. On some level the issue is overweight and underweight-neither are healthy. But on the other, more prominent hand, the question should not be pertaining to the amount of food available, but what is done with that which has been given. God gives man authority to enjoy food and drink in Genesis. In the New Testament Christ feeds 5,000 with two loves of bread and a few fish. However, how come these essentials to life have become so incredibly mis-treated?
Over eating, hording, under-eating, starvation and wastefulness is an epidemic that is just as awful as the starving children in the Sudan, and honestly; it’s worse. Many can afford the food but it has so much control over their hearts that they choose to starve themselves. One of the top three causes of death in America is dieting.What sort of rhythm is that? Thisis just as awful as the consumption of food going up…whether we are eating too much or too little, there is not a rhythm in our lives and it is invading that which has been designed to remind us of God’s provision.
Close in on Sarah. She is a seventeen-year-old girl who, like most her age, is struggling with her body. Is she too skinny? Too fat? To dark? Too light? As she harmlessly posesthese questions in her mind, she begins to dissect her being. Day after day she dissects a bit farther and it’s not long until that scalpel has penetrated her core. She begins to hate the way she looks and she wants to change it, and so as she flips through the TV commercials, she can’t help but notice that food seems to be the proposed answer. Drink Juice for 72 hours. Eat only vegetables. Count calories. Get the results you want. Overwhelmed by all the choices, she walks away decides to try the mall. Determined, she begins to control her intake of food, her exercise habits…which eventually, will controlher body…her mind…and the way she views everything else.
About 45 million Americans diet each year, spending about $1 to 2 billion dollars on weight loss programs a year. Whatever happened to a balanced diet and regular exercise? The truth is that that takes time, money and effort, none of which people have excess of. Weight Watchers is the only diet that has proven effects of weight loss, and this program takes lots of time and effort. One must calculate out food, can’t eat whatever they want, and must exercise as part of the program. Other fad diets, like manufactured pills, eating only a certain kind of food, and never having to exercise give results for a few hours or few days at best, but do not show long term change. This is because food is not meant to be consumed in this way; it is meant for health, balance, structure and a reminder of that which is sacred.
God chose to use food to explain His Kingdom fully aware of the imbalance. Manna was given to Israelites in the Exodus on a daily basis, each day they were given what they needed for that day alone. No more and no less. In fact, if anyone tried to save some for the next day because they did not believe it would be provided, it would be inedible in the morning. In addition, Jesus begs His followers not to worry about food and drink, because He knows it will be provided for them. But in a culture that is obsessed with diet and control, he provision of God’s kingdom is not understood, because there is not a practice of understanding the provision of health that comes from food.
Fast forward six years down the road from Sarah’s teen years. She is now 23 and after long sessions of eating disorder counseling, countless sharing of her testimony, and daily battles, she has stepped over the bridge of mental turmoil and into a place of healing. She can eat her food now and not think of the calories, she can go to the gym because she enjoys it, and she can look in the mirror and believe that she is beautiful. However, regardless of what she eats, how much she eats, and what she does for exercise, Sarah seems to struggle with other issues in her life that never seemed to important before. She has no money. How will she pay off her loans? Payrent? She is constantly worried about the well being of her family. Are they safe? And after a string of hopeless relationships she begins to wonder if she will ever get married. Like any “good” Christian would do, Sarah opens her Bible to the teaching of Jesus. She is immediately faced with parables,examples, writings, of that which used to haunt her: food. Banquets. Feasts. Wedding dinners. Feeding 5,000 out of two loaves of bread and two fish. Jesus relies on food to tell about the provision of His Kingdom. It is open to all, and will provide for all. But Sarah is so used to controlling food and the results which it will produce, she is having a hard time fighting off controlling the Kingdom in her own life.
The treatment and understanding of food should be parallel to the treatment and understanding of the Gospel . Unfortunately, the power asserted over food and the effect it has, has been transferred into power over the Gospel. Paul warns the Church about this power struggle Romans 14. In fact, he uses food as an example of a divisive nature. He knows that food has the ability to separate and to judge, just as much as it has the ability to bring people together. So in a world that is divided much by food, a correct diagnosis of the problem is needed. In a recent study, 6 out of 10 Americans say that Aids and poor nutrition are the most serious problems in Africa. By ignorance, we have labeled Africa as the only place with these problems. What is not seen, is that globally, 88% of Africa suffers from poor nutrition and 80% of the rest of the world suffers from it as well. The problem cannot be diagnosed as only pertaining to under-developed countries. Foreign Aid policiesare often marked by needs which are thought the most important, but often they are grossly mistaken. Instead, it must be understood that it is an epidemic that has invaded humankind. As Christians, it as part of the cycle of this world, but also as having deep ties to Christ and the Kingdom of God. Unfortunately food as the source of life is marked by control, doubt, greed, waste, gluttony and pride and the deeper understanding that food is supposed to give has been lost. Is the current state of food consumption a reflection on the consumption of the Gospel? Pick and choose what tastes good, what will give the desired results, and throw the rest to those who we think need to hear it.
I wish I could meet myself...but younger. im not talking about the younger that you can get with botox or surgery which daily seems less shocking, but i mean the younger self: who you were before who you are now. i feel like all of us, love that self.
when i was little i used to cry and cry and cry every night because i was afraid of the dark and i knew that dad and mom would come in and comfort me and they would always take care of me. of course, after a few years (yes, years) this act got old and dad would threaten to put me in the cold shower. i never believed him, but one time, he came storming the room and I could only see the outline of his body as he reached down, picked me up and took me into the bathroom. the cold water knob was turned on to full strength and then the door opened, and i was shoved in, tears and clothes and all. i never cried in my bed again....not only to avoid a shower. but there was something liberating about that night. some freedom which was found in being saved.
we laugh now everytime we remember that story but as i sit here, i realize that i love that story. i love that self. i love that i was put into the shower. i love that story becuase that is me:
incredibly freaked out everytime that i hear a noise. incredibly in need of someone to save me when i cry out. and incredibly in need of some discipline.
i think we all are. i think that each one of us hates it at the time, but there is something refreshing and almost rewarding about being taken out of the hole we have fallen, or dug ourselves into, and brought into so much light that we must blink our eyes to see. I can not imagine a life without parents who sent me to my room, or a boyfriend who cared more about working things out then having his way, or a God who humbly carves away at the pride of my heart and gently uproots those weeds which are so deeply planted. as the weeds are being pulled, and the soil of my heart is being replowed, there is clarity that comes with the new found sun:
the noise i hear is the echo of the enemy's voice, speaking straight into wounds which have not healed, and hitting hard against the scars which i have so carelessly ignored. i cried out to the One who I knew could, and did, save me... and Jesus answered with loving discipline.
20 years after that cold shower i sit in my own room in southern california. i hear cars pass, roommates carry on conversation, and crickets whose voices echo from miles. what is different? nothing and everything at the same time. i still hate cold showers. i still wake up and night and feel like crying. i still cry. and now, as i have gotten older and i live away from my parents, not next to my sister and across the united states, i realize that i need that loving discipline more than ever.
the freedom i found on that night, and every cold showered night thereafter was the freedom to love myself. to clear the floor, lay out all of my tears, my fears, my insecurities, my pride, my sin and stand fighting to believe what i know is true. i am beautiful. i am loved. i am free.
" a rebuke goes deeper into one who has understanding than a hundred blows into a fool." proverbs 17:10
Ever since I can remember, I have gone to church and loved it. I loved the Sunday School games, the hymns, the Christmas programs, the energy, the potlucks...we were a church family. However, I was just a child then. I went to church where my parents went to church, and no questions asked. Now, as I am newly married, a seminary student, and am asked by my community, my family and my self, what type of person I will be, what I will believe, and what I will allow to define me; my husband and I find ourselves very seriously thinking about where we go to church. For someone who has always accepted church as being a part of the non-questionable Sunday routine (and youth night when the activity seemed fun enough to go), we are finding ourselves refreshingly shocked that we are not taking church with such openness. We are being very particular, and dissecting the sermons, the worship and, if I am honest, the leadership.
We are making our very best effort to not be judgmental and instead of putting up sermons, practices, and programs up against our preferences, we are trying to put them up to Scripture and see what the Bible has to say about church and asking God to lead us to the right community. One of the many resources that we have found very helpful is Gordon MacDonald's book, "Who Stole My Church." It's a fictional story based on over 45 years of pastoring experience, where a church is facing the difficulties of a changing culture. It's phenomenal. It deals with problems and issues that we encounter, and in a unique narrative way, MacDonald tells a story of a community who searches Scripture and invites you to join them. We also have been surprised to realize that many are leaving the church today. Some blame it on the church and they ways that they have been "burned". (Count me in) Others blame it on the poor exegesis that goes on in the weekly sermons (Count me in). What about the lack of programs or discipleship tools? Biblical Faithfulness? Although it is disheartening to see where the Church is going wrong; it is only by this knowledge that we can figure out how to make it better. I am not saying that we should leave the minute we have an issue; because that is what life is about. However, I am saying that we should always test everything, and weigh it carefully, and deal with it in a Biblical way. All that to say, here is a unique and telling blog that allows an inside look into the reasons that people are leaving church: Letters From Leavers.
If this many people are leaving the church building, are they leaving the Church?
According to PewResearch.org, in 2008 more than 25% of American adults have left the religion that they were raised in for another religion, or abandoned it altogether. 44% have changed religions, switched affiliation, or become dis-affiliated with religion, with 16.1% of American adults have declared no affiliation at all. Finally, 1 in 4 18-19 year olds say they are not part of a religion at all.
Why are people leaving?
What are your grievances with the Church?
What have you done about leaving, or staying and how did you walk through that?
1. This is the first year in the history of the world...(I repeat, the history of the WORLD) that more people live in the city than in the rural environment.
2. Although we speak of an ant's work ethic, their organization in their colonies, their ability to carry more than 10 times their weight...it has been shown through studies that at any given time, EVEN in a time of crisis that only 50% of the colony is working. The rest are just sitting there.
Every time the 9-5 life sets in, I begin to down coffee like it's part of my job. Not only does my checking account begin to go down (because I have fallen for the Starbucks lure) but my addiction sky rockets. In college, I would drink about 6 cups a day. Yes, you heard me: 6. I loved it. Loved the sound of it brewing, loved the taste of it, loved watching the milk swirl like a Monet painting as I poured it in....ok I sound crazy. But so was my addiction. I'd take it anyway that it came: steaming hot with a biscotti, over ice, no frills in a double shot, flavored with vanilla or carmel, or toffee nut, frozen and blended...you name, I would drink it. My addiction came to a halt when I came down with an awful cold and could not eat or drink anything except herbal tea. The bite the tea gave to my coffee-loving tongue was almost unbearable, but it was the results that kept me drinking it. Perhaps my other addiction you should know about it my love for buying books. (Which is why, although I think it's the neatest thing to be able to buy a book at the tip of your fingers, I will never buy a Kindle because just as Video Killed the Radio Star, I fear that Kindle will kill the smell of brand new turning pages....) So as I am sick, and beginning to like tea, I purchased The Ultimate Tea Diet. And in it I found a few daunting facts:
What coffee does for your body: 1.a lower risk of type 2 diabetes
2. a reduced risk of parkinson's disease
3. A reduced risk of liver damage in people at high risk of liver disease
4. A 50% lower risk of developing gallstones
5. traps body fat
6. increases stress
7. causes insomnia, anxiety and irritability
8. causes heartburn and indigestion
9. increases cholesterol levels in people who drink unfiltered coffee (including espresso)
10. contributes to an increased risk of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women
11. contributes to a worsening of PMS symptoms in some women
12. reduces fertility in women trying ot conceive
13. increases blood pressure
14. raises blood sugars
15. slows metabolism
16. negatively affects sleep, which can increase your appetite
17. leads to higher levels of inflammatory substances that have been linked to heart attacks and strokes.
Things tea can do for you:
1. raise the rate of your metabolism, causing an increase in fat burn
2. tea has an amazing success rate of helping to prevent cancer:
tea has EGCG that can inhibit the formulation of tumors and slow the growth of those already formed the antioxidant power of tea is 100 times greater than Vitamin C and 25 times greater than Vitamin E in protecting DNA from free radical damage that can cause cancer women that consumed at least 26 ounces of green tea leaves each year had a 39% reduced risk of breast cancer...this equal 300 cups a year, which is not even a cup a day! Woman who consumed two cups of black or green tea a day reduced the risk of ovarian cancer by 46%
So as I have put down my coffee mug and picked up my kettle, I can't help but think about other addictions in my life. If a drink can control my body, what philosophies, or ideas are addictions that no matter what I know about it to be addictive, control my way of life?
My friend Martha and I were in desperate need of a girls night out, so we splurged and spent the $10.50 ($1.00 off for attending Seminary. Not sure how $1,200 a class warrants one whole dollar off at the movies...but...) and we saw the movie The Women. I know, so very stereotypical of us, but I absolutely loved it. LOVED it. Meg Ryan, who is one of my favorites, for her excellent work in Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail and of course, When Harry Met Sally, is the quintessential chick-flick but for the more mature generation actress. Even though rumor has it that she has had a face lift, she is still so pretty and her hair made me wish that I never chopped mine off.
I'll just have to wait a year.
The movie was well scripted and the acting took many surprising turns. Jada Pinkett Smith plays a lesbian, and it was so hard for me to get at first because her husband is only one of the most handsome guys in Hollywood. But, her performance would make you question her loyalty to such a man, and that is a compliment. Mission accomplished Mrs. Smith. Eva was, as usual a tough character to like. She's gorgeous but also completely rude and ridiculous, plus the fact that she double crosses Meg, well then she is already on my hate this. But again, mission accomplished. She is the woman who cheats with Meg Ryan's husband, and therefore we are supposed to hate her. It's a movie with tragic and delightful moments, reflecting the ups and downs of adulthood, motherhood, love, betrayal, and the underdog finding her new place on top. The performances are not golden-globe, but they are definitely worth the 10.50 (or 11.50 if you are not sacrificing food to get your degree) to see it on the big screen with a bunch of girl friends. It's even a bonus if you are in a guy-hating mood because although it does not bash guys, it reminds you how close and special girl bonds truly are, and there is only one guy in the entire film. So from your dinner date, to the theatre audience and if you are lucky the ticket counter rep, ticket ripper and pop corn sales woman, you may spend your night dripped in estrogen, and loving every minute of it.
I just turned 25 and I live in Orange County, California with my husband. We love God, love life, and love trying new adventures together. In June I will have completed my Masters in Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary. I hope to some day teach like my parents, and write a book about how all of this somehow relates together. It always does.