Welcome, 2011!

Wow. 2011 already.

I honestly feel like this past year has flown by. We’ve had some hard times and some great, but overall, I feel like 2010 was a hard, hard year.

But I don’t want to be someone who looks back and groans, shaking their head.

I want to be someone who looks to the future with their head held high and a smile on their face.

Here’s to 2011 – let’s hope it doesn’t suck!

I’m not really one for resolutions. In fact, I don’t have a terribly good track record for sticking to them, so I won’t make any of those. However, I do have a few goals that I’d like to flesh out here, hopefully meaning that I can look at them and assess how I’m doing throughout the year.

  1. Use as few chemicals as possible – both on my body and in my house. I got turned on to spotless by a friend and I love it! In fact, this website revolutionized my no-poo project and I’m back to fully no-poo. Yay! As a token of good faith, I used the last of my dishwasher soap on December 30th and ran my first load of chemical-free dishwashing this morning – they’re already put away and are squeaky clean :) I’m planning that when I run out of cleaning products, I’ll begin making what I need and I won’t buy more. That way, it won’t be in the house.
  2. Work toward becoming the kind of parent I know my kids need – this means more listening, more partnering, and more working on myself. I’ve had an introductory appointment with a counselor and I’m hoping that will help me move forward. I’m going to purchase and read Families Where Grace is in Place (Jeff VanVonderen), going to give Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves (Naomi Aldort) another read, and Brad and I are going to take at least one course in Non-Violent Communication.
  3. Deepen my faith – in a way that is authentically following Jesus. I’m hoping to talk to some people who are interested in the simple church movement and get my family involved in Christ’s body again.
  4. Re-discover what brings me joy – this is, I think, going to be the most difficult goal. Somewhere in the past few years, I’ve lost myself. In becoming a mother twice in such a short period of time, I’ve forgotten who I am and what I find fulfilling. Add to that the loss of the outward expression of my faith, the difficult times had within our immediate families, more job responsibility on Brad, and a head-strong toddler, and most days I’m not sure what end is up!

Four goals. I think I can do it. Cheer me on, peeps!

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Jesus is an attachment parent

I haven’t been in a great space lately. My head is swimming and I’m having a hard time getting coherent thoughts out – especially into blogland. It’s a combination of all sorts of things, but mostly, I think, a lot of growing pains.

This subject, though, is one that took me by surprise. It might be shocking to some of you that it’s been over 2 years since Brad and I have been to church with any regularity. We were part of a church that we loved and moved into an intentional community with people we felt drawn to and then, well … and then we had Gwen. She turned our entire church experience upside down and that, coupled with some other stuff, has left us not attending church regularly. That’s not to say that I don’t think about faith and God much – I do. I think about that stuff a LOT. But, sharing my space with a toddler and a (very busy) baby all day means that when I do think about anything, it’s gone just as quickly as it came.

Again, this subject just keeps coming to the front of my brain … and I thought, “Hey. Maybe I should blog about it.”

So, here I am. And here’s my crazy thought process. Read the rest of this entry »

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Book Review: Reimagining Church

Can we please be daring enough and creative enough to change this five-hundred-year-old ritual – which incidentally doesn’t have a shred of biblical warrant to justify it? Can we accept the challenge to equip God’s people to function under the headship of Christ without human control? And if we don’t know how to do this, can we please be humble enough to bring in someone who can and see what happens? (Reimagining Church, p. 266)

What a fantastic book! While Pagan Christianity exposes the non-scriptural nature of most of our church practices, Reimagining Church: Pursuing the Dream of Organic Christianity discusses what church would look like without them – and challenges its readers to act on their new knowledge. Author Frank Viola walks the reader through reimagining the following:

  • the church as an organism
  • the church meeting
  • the Lord’s Supper
  • where church is held
  • the family of God
  • church unity
  • leadership
  • oversight
  • decision-making
  • “spiritual covering”
  • authority and submission
  • denominations
  • apostolic tradition

This book packs a big punch and led me, for one, to see what church could look like done in the tradition of the apostles and the first century Christians – truly a Christianity of which I would be unashamed to be a member, and Christianity for which my soul cries out!

The biggest things that stood out to me is that being a passive spectator to a once-weekly ritual is waaaaaay easier than being in real relationship with other Christians. Consider the following quote:

“There’s a price to pay in responding to the Lord’s will for His church … You’ll bear the marks of the cross and die a thousand deaths in the process of being built together with other believers in a close-knit community. You’ll have to endure the messiness that’s part and parcel of relational Christianity – forever abandoning the artificial neatness afforded by the organized church. You’ll no longer share the comforts of being a passive spectator. Instead, you’ll learn the self-emptying lessons of becoming a responsible, serving member of a functioning body … And you’ll incite the severest assaults of the Adversary in his attempt to snuff out that which represents a living testimony of Jesus.” (Reimagining Church, p. 278)

Interestingly, while my intellect shudders at that description, my spirit jumps with joy – or perhaps it is His Spirit within me? Either way, I’m excited – excited that perhaps I’m not crazy. That I’m not alone in feeling that if Jesus were here on Earth today, He wouldn’t exactly be thrilled with the way we “do church”.

I’m not sure where to go from here. I’ve signed up to a forum for organic churches and have been invited to a conference event to hook up people looking for organic church. I don’t think that there are any organic churches in our area – not that I’ve been able to find. So what do we do? Wait for someone else to plant a church? Pursue planting one ourselves? Do we even know enough people passionate about this type of Christian living to make this a reality?

Questions, questions. I’m hoping to purchase Finding Organic Church. It is apparently a very good book – discussing finding, planting, and sustaining organic churches.

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Book Review: Pagan Christianity

I was lucky enough to piggy-back on an order that Brad put in for some programming books a few weeks ago. He ordered me The Birth of Hathor (which took me completely by surprise!), Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves, Pagan Christianity, and Reimagining Church. I quickly dug into Pagan Christianity and would like to offer a short review here. Read the rest of this entry »

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Christmas Deception?

Check out this fantastic post by my friend Kathryn @ Home Spun SoulChristmas Competition. Here’s the comment I left:

TWO HUGE THUMBS UP!!!

It disturbs me how much emphasis is placed on Santa. Our children will know that Santa is a fairy tale based on a true story and adults like to pretend he’s real and many kids therefore think he’s real too. I don’t plan on getting their picture taken with Santa or “doing Santa” in our house, although I think the spirit of the idea can be fun :)

What do you think about the Santa debate?

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What are you listening to?

A blog I frequent, Sarahthedoula, wrote about the language of worship and was asking for suggestions for decent worship music … this quote was really what intrigued me:

For years I have heard people like Michael Frost express the idea that most of the Christian music on the market today is more like a love song than a worship or faith song. I disagreed. I felt that the songs I was singing accurately expressed how I felt about my relationship to God. And then I got married. I suddenly realized that if I substituted N’s name at every mention of God/Jesus/Holy Spirit, the song would still make sense. In fact, it felt like it made more sense.

Brad and I have been in a bit of a funk lately – angry at God, disappointed in The Church (as a whole … not specifically mine). It’s been a long time since I’ve talked to God or sat through a church service or listened to any uplifting worship music, so when I first read her post, I didn’t think I had anything to contribute. Read the rest of this entry »

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Twelfth Night

On January 5, the Kirkendall Cluster – as we affectionately call ourselves – had our first commitment ceremony. After a lovely meal, we shared a liturgy and committed ourselves to the community and to one another with vows (and the lighting of candles!). Read the rest of this entry »

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Lest We Forget

On this day, I’ve been thinking about the incredible monuments I saw on my trip to Europe in 2000. The most impressive, by far, was the Vimy Ridge Memorial:

pic_wonder_vimy_lg

(picture from here)

It was surrounded by grass with sheep grazing behind fences. The reason? There was a possibility that live shells were still buried in the ground, so people weren’t allowed to walk freely.

We walked up and down the craters in the earth created by bombs, we traversed the trenches, we looked out across the (shockingly long and tall) ridge to the fields below, and we stood reverently by the stately rows of cross-marked graves, sprinkled with poppies. It was amazing, and someday I hope we can take Gwen and share its solemn grandeur with her.

Thank you, Veterans, for your incredible sacrifice. My prayer is “Never again, Lord.”

Lest we forget.

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Hallowe’en … a week late!

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a week, but everytime I had a minute to it, Gwen was sleeping on me and the cord I need for the camera was upstairs!

So, after much praying/researching/discussing, Brad and I decided that we won’t be Hallowe’en haters =) I have been feeling a bit confused by Hallowe’en’s pagan underpinnings and relationship and whether or not we should join in the festivities. We decided that we won’t carve pumpkins or dress/decorate scary, but dressing up and candy? We’re down with that! (If anyone wants to know more about our decision-making process, leave a comment and I’ll write up another post about it!) Read the rest of this entry »

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Jeremiah

So in my new Bible reading plan (which I’m going to post about every so often, helps keep me accountable!!), I just finished Jeremiah. It’s a book that’s made me go “Hmmm …”. Read the rest of this entry »

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