Friday, November 30, 2007

Friday Five

Will Smama posted a fun Friday Five at Revgals this week. Here goes:

Please tell us your least favorite/most annoying seasonal....

1) dessert/cookie/family food
The ice cream logs at our annual family Christmas Eve party. Don't they sound gross? Well they are. They are huge logs, cut crosswise into pieces so you get a round thick disk on your plate. It's ice cream (like spumoni or something) and the edge is coated in walnuts and in the middle there is a shape of a bell or a Christmas tree made out of sherbet...they are seriously disgusting but it's a tradition.

2) beverage (seasonal beer, eggnog w/ way too much egg and not enough nog, etc...)
Definitely egg nog.

3) tradition (church, family, other)
the ice cream logs.

4) decoration
Okay, this is kind of a toss up between my least favorite and most favorite: the Christmas Poo. Yes, it is a stuffed poop with a Santa hat on it and a smiley face. My brother gave it to my baby daughter a few years's from a South Park episode. It was funny in an irreverant way for few years but I had to draw the line when last Christmas my 3 year old (who loves to dress up as Mary) was sitting in the middle of the livingroom wearing a veil as mother Mary cradling the Christmas Poo, nursing it, and singing "Away in a Manger." That was it. It had to go bye-bye.

5) gift (received or given)
hmmm...gonna pass on this one. Just too lazy to think too hard.

BONUS: SONG/CD that makes you want to tell the elves where to stick it.

Oooh, Will Smama definitely has it right with Feliz Navidad. I guess I'd have to say "I'll be home for Christmas" because it is SO SAD. Or Judy Garland's rendition of "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas" for the same reason.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Stuck in Black and White Land

My church is hosting a very progressive adult formation class this year. It has been good...stirring up good conversation, etc. But it has made me realize how I still tend to try to see things in Black and White. I try to do otherwise, but I seem stuck. The curriculum for this class is presented in DVD sessions with various scholars being interviewed. On the most recent installment, focusing on incarnation, Spong talked a lot about how we need to do Christology and the church and basically Christianity all over again...give it a good overhaul. I can go with this idea of approaching Jesus from below...really emphasizing his humanity and our humanity. But Spong believes that Jesus was different in degree, not kind. It's so interesting, but just hard for me to go with. I know it was the early councils that struggled with a developing theology and came up with their truth: Jesus was both divine and human. Spong debunks this a little. He believes that there is a continuum and humanity is on one end, and divinity on the other, and Jesus was the most fully human possible. I do like this idea that Jesus showed us our human potential, showed us what it is to be fully human. But what I struggle with is that so much a part of our humanity is our darkness. Yes, we are gorgeous creatures, full of creativity and beauty and potential. But there's a lot else. It's such a huge part of us. Hard to imagine that we were created to be completely devoid of this pain that is such a part of our existence. Ah, but that is the mystery. And in the end, it doesn't really matter what percentage of Jesus was human/divine. But what does the resurrection mean if he was just human? Just a human completely infused with Godself? I know it's semantics, but it makes a big difference. I don't need to believe in the virgin birth. It may have happened. It may not have happened. Regardless, there is great truth in that story. I don't even have to believe in the bodily resurrection. At least I don't think so. There is still great truth that somehow Jesus is still present. Still alive. But walking away from the evening at church, I felt a bit lost as to who God is. Yes, MYSTERY. With a capital M. But as I contemplate becoming a feels scary not having more of a grasp on where I am. Where God is. etc. But I know this happens in seminary anyway and it's normal and it's a hell of a lot better admitting cluelessness than claiming certainty. shiver. don't want that. It's just that the evangelical folks I'm around a lot are so certain as to doctrine and what you have to believe. It's seductive because what if they're right? And it's so nice to have things that clear. I'm tempted to really explore what feels to me as dangerous and stimulating possibilities. I'm just somewhere in the huge middle. But last night it saddened me because I felt like the evangelical community in which I have a lot of friends, and the community of my progressive church...well...they truly seem like different religions, not just denominations or expressions. And that's sad. Because I want to hope for more unity in the church. There's just a wider spectrum than I ever knew about.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A poem for fast-approaching Advent

Withered leaves panic
Before the knives of wind.
They scurry directionless,
Longing for peace,
Burial in a swansdown of flurries.
Deadblown, yet swirled into false life,
Their nature calls for a return to earth--
To become bits and pieces of the kingdom
From which new life will grow.

Darkness drives down the sun,
Loosing the night cold as blue metal;
Together we beg the return of fire
And you hear, O Lord.
Sun's slow revolve enthrones a
Little one on wood warmed with straw.
Childbirth is risky--he comes
As he goes
In a rush of blood and water.
In the night, with loaves and wine,
We become the little one;
Blood brothers and water sisters,
Bits and pieces of the kingdom.

- "Leaves in Solstice"
Dennis Kennedy

Sunday, November 18, 2007

still here

Hello, readers, if there are any out there after my blogging fast. It was unintentional. Just life going on and me being lazy and not feeling like engaging in thought. All is okay. My daughters are delicious scrumptious cuteness these days. My husband is in the other room grading with candles lit. I'm tired of discernment. I'm tired of myself. I'm supposed to talk to my committee more specifically about my call next time (Dec. 13th) and I don't feel like thinking about that. I'm so happy Thanksgiving is coming. I love this time of year. I love Thanksgiving Day. I'm bringing two homemade pies to my parent's house Thursday. Yum. Today was misty and chilly, a welcome relief from the 85 degree weather of a few days ago!! I know, you who live elsewhere, I shouln't be complaining, but it doesn't feel like fall when it's hot and I'm FROM this part of the world, too! I'm sipping a yummy glass of red wine. I made taco soup for my family tonight. I'm just living in the more material world these days and it's kind of nice. good night and I'll try to be not so much a stranger. Oh, and I've been tagged by Mrs. M, so I must get to that!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

the dark

As today is All Saints Day, I was reading through some of my Madeleine L'Engle collection and I came across a story she told in one of her Crosswicks journals. As I re-tell it here, I am paraphrasing. As a young woman, L'Engle was at a conference at Yale Divinity School and the speaker was a child psychiatrist of note. He opened the discussion up to questions, and one woman asked, "Why is it that everything falls apart at home around 5pm? What is it about that time of day that is the witching hour?" He replied with the obvious reasons: tired and hungry children, mother irritable after a long day at home, father comes home tired from work and not wanting to deal with the stress of the home, etc. (this was obviously a more "traditional" generation). And then he said, "Do you want to know the real reason? We're all afraid of the dark." Woah. This struck me today as very profound. And true. The doctor continued to speak, "And what do with our children who are afraid of the dark?" One mother answered: "We give them night lights." Yes. And Madeleine has been a night light for me. She is someone who is very aware of the dark, of the evil and hateful forces. She engages them in her writing and she does not deny them at all. Yet her theology and life are so full of hope and affirmation. Thank you, Madeleine, for being a night light in the dark.