Tag Archive | Blogs

Someone Cooler than I

Promises, promises.  I said in this morning’s post that I would lead you to someone cooler than I am in tonight’s post.  I’m late with that, but it’s for a good reason.  I spent the evening in the company of my sisters and their families.  It was worth it.

Anyway, here is a person I think you should track: Brian McLaren.

Back in 2009, I was struggling to make sense of the fundamentalist fog I’d lived in.  I felt as though I had very little spiritual direction, but I could no longer subscribe to much of the theology that had informed my faith for twenty years.  The problem was, I didn’t have anyone at the time who had been through it and came out on the other side.  Nearly everyone I knew still held to all (or almost all) of the things I was ready to leave behind.

And then I read a little book called The Great Emergence by Phyllis Tickle.  She makes reference to Brian McLaren, among others.  I decided to check out some of the people mentioned in the book.  I quickly discovered that McLaren was the one who interested me most.  He appeared to have gone on a spiritual journey that mirrored mine, and he made reference to C. S. Lewis.  Those two things made him already a kind of kindred spirit in my mind, so I went in search of his books.

Our local library didn’t have a copy of A Generous Orthodoxy, unfortunately, and the one copy in the system was already checked out.  Fortunately, another branch carried some of his titles.  I brought home copies of Everything Must Change and A New Kind of Christian.

My husband quickly devoured Everything Must Change, but I wasn’t quite ready for it.  I started with A New Kind of Christian (ANKoC).  My world was turned upside down from page one.  Before, I had been unable to put words to what I’d been feeling, muddling through and hoping that I would just recapture the faith I thought I’d lost.  Instead, I found someone else who did have the right words.  He named it and embraced it.  I felt as though McLaren himself had stepped into my living room for a chat, reassuring me that I wasn’t crazy and that I wasn’t on the verge of turning into an angry former Christian.

Again and again, McLaren writes with this same conversational style.  I finished the rest of the series that begins with ANKoC (The Story We Find Ourselves In, The Last Word and the Word After That), then went on to read many of his other books.  Two years ago, I read A New Kind of Christianity and learned about the flawed narrative that overlays much of our theology and doctrine.  I listened to his series of podcasts walking through the Bible, while simultaneously listening to the entire Bible on MP3.  Last year, I learned how to pray again by reading Naked Spirituality.  In short, McLaren is my go-to guy when I need to read or hear something spiritually uplifting.

And that sums up what I like about his style—it’s a pick-me-up, gentle and humble in tone.  Although he does make some good points, theologically speaking, it’s never a matter of having to wade through theology-ese.  One doesn’t need to have a PhD in religious studies to make sense of what he says.  Heck, one doesn’t even need to be a Christian.

If you can, check out some of McLaren’s books from the library.  Read his blog.  E-mail him a question (as far as I can tell, he answers all of them).  Even if you end up disagreeing, he is worth checking out.  If you live near me, I will loan you my copies of his ANKoC series, because I believe it’s that important.

I’m looking forward to reading his next book.

A Valentine Worth Following

I’m not a huge fan of Hallmark-induced holidays.  But I am a fan of love, marriage, sex, and my husband, all things worthy of celebration on Valentine’s Day.  Because I adore him, today’s “follow me” post is about—you guessed it—my husband.

I could tell you all the things I love about my husband, and why you should love him too.  But I think I may be a bit biased, so don’t just take my word for it.

Even though I’m the one who writes, my husband does keep a blog.  It’s highly specific, and not everyone’s cup of tea.  He’s not all about his personal journey or his life experiences or finding new asinine things said by Mark Driscoll.  He leaves that up to me.

Instead, Hubby is taking a 9-year trip through the Bible, dashing off his thoughts as he reads.  He took a brief break in 2010 to lead our church through the Bible in one year, but returned to regular updates last year.  He is currently at the midpoint of the read-through.

If what you want is a daily chunk of Scripture and a thought or two to go along with it, then join my husband for the back half of his reading.  If you prefer to start at the beginning, you can find all his posts archived on his blog.

You can check it all out here: Nine Year Bible (the link is also in my blogroll). ♥

My Life, In Purple Font

I’m a scheduler by nature.  I like to have a calendar handy.  I use Google Calendar because there are four people under this roof.  It’s easier to have everyone’s life neatly typed in using multi-colored blocks.  I got the purple ones, of course.

I prefer a paper calendar.  It’s visually appealing to me.  It took a long time to get used to this new-fangled electronic planner.  In fact, the only reason I use it is that I can access the calendar on my phone.  I can now check everyone’s schedule before I make my next appointment at the dentist’s office, for example.  Very handy.

Anyway, I’m now wildly off-topic.  Sorry.

The whole point of bringing up the scheduling thing is that I want to be able to organize my blog a little better.  I’ve read that it’s best to stick to one general “thing” on a blog, such as faith, sex, writing, sex, etc.  I failed that test.  I tend to write about whatever pops into my head at the moment.  I don’t think that’s a bad thing, necessarily.  But it’s probably confusing for the three or four people a month who stumble upon my blog and find that I don’t write exclusively about sex one thing.

So I’ve decided, for the sake of the ten people who actually read my blog, that I will organize the heck out of it.  That way, if you only want to read my posts on sex (and who doesn’t like to read about sex?), you will know what day to visit.  Those of you who were blushing at my last sentence (you know who you are) can skip those posts.

Here’s the New and Improved! blog schedule:

Mondays: Faith, theology, and the Bible.  Here, more good stuff about literalism, interpretation, cool stuff I find in Scripture.

Tuesdays: Blogs, Twitter, and around the Web.  People I follow, blogs I read, stuff I find.  Featuring people a lot more interesting than I am.

Wednesdays: Women.  I think that sums it up, right?

Thursdays: LGBT issues.  Inspired by Naked Pastor David Hayward’s Gay Thursdays, I will also talk about these things on Thursdays.  Hey, maybe we can start a trend!

Fridays: Kids and Family.  Because I do like to talk about my kids, of course.

Saturdays: Everything else. Sometimes, there’s just no good place to put it.  So it goes here.  I suppose that includes my occasional rant about writing.

Sundays: I don’t post on Sunday.  Even God took a break.

So there it is.  If I don’t have anything to say that week, I’m giving myself permission to post exactly nothing.  And sorry, I didn’t include a category for sex.  I guess you’ll just have to be surprised.

Taking It Too Far

Today I got into a fight online with a stranger. The thing is, I have no idea why I took it so personally. Well, come to think of it, maybe I do.

It wasn’t because the other person was mean. She was harsh, yes, but not cruel. It wasn’t because I was right and she was wrong. I’m not sure there was a right or wrong. It wasn’t because she doesn’t like me. I have no idea what her feelings toward me are. And I don’t care if random people like me.

No, what bothered me is that I wasn’t able to come across as my authentic self. I would have needed an entire blog post of my own to explain the feelings and thoughts that the original article evoked. So I resorted to idea nuggets in the comments section. It was a bad idea.

Even worse, I failed to be anything like the Jesus I claim to love. Not because I was rude, nasty, or resorted to childish behavior, but because I didn’t express mercy or grace.

I’m not okay with that. I don’t want to be that sort of person, one who comes off as unconcerned about someone else. When I posted my comments, I wasn’t trying to be unkind. But I somehow wasn’t able to convey my real feelings about the issue being discussed.

So here I sit, reminded that how we interact online is just as important as face to face. Next time, I need to choose my words much more carefully, or say nothing at all.