Friday, July 31, 2009

well, i'm an american

so revolution is really a part of my DNA. I can't help it, I believe in standing up to injustice and fighting for what you believe in. (I guess sometimes that includes fighting for the right to fight for your rights, but that's another story for another time.) I loved this quote from the Western Civilizations text book I'm borrowing from my sister: "The English Peasants' Revolt of 1381 was the most prominent of all. It was a product not of desperation but of rising expectations."

it breaks my heart

I was reading in Mark this morning when my heart was broken:

"They came to an area called Gethsemane. Jesus told his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." He took Peter, James, and John with him. He plunged into a sinkhole of dreadful agony. He told them, "I fell bad enough right now to die. Stay here and keep vigil with me." Going a little ahead, he fell to the ground and prayed for a way out: "Papa, Father, you can - can't you? - get me out of this. Take this cup away from me."

It reminded me of what I read this summer in The Signature of Jesus by Brennan Manning:

"The cross is both the symbol of our salvation and the pattern of our lives. Everything that happened to Christ in some way happens to us. When darkness envelopes us and we are deaf to everything except the shriek of our own pain, it helps to know that the Father is tracing in us the image of his Son, that the signature of Jesus is being stamped on our souls."

When I read this and remember the times in my own life when I was so hurt that all I could do was scream out to God and think that Jesus went through the same, maybe even worse, experience I am overwhelmed by his love for me.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


so I was working on a brilliant new play list when I remembered that I never told you about the last brilliant one I made. I think I said about the autumn one, a bit on the soft and slow side and then promised to share the details of the upbeat one I was working on at the time. Well, it turned out great so I'm fulfilling that promise now. (I'm sure you've been on tenterhooks!)

1. Untitled ~ Ingrid Michealson
2. Old Cayote ~ The Weepies
3. Chicago ~ Sufjan Stevens
4. New Slang ~ The Shins
5. Oh Sister ~ Andrew Bird
6. Lucky Day ~ Jonathan Edwards
7. Tuesday Morning ~ The Pogues
8. Sons & Daughters ~ The Decemberists
9. Put There By the Land ~ Great Lake Swimmers
10. My Moon My Man ~ Feist
11. The Refugee ~ U2
12. Hey There Delilah ~ Plain White Ts
13. Anti-Anti ~ Snowden
14. Rehab ~ Amy Winehouse
15. Fidelity ~ Regina Spektor
16. Funky Nassau Pt. 1 ~ The Beginning of the End
17. Under the Weather ~ KT Tunstall
18. Sleeping In ~ The Postal Service
19. Clarity ~ John Mayer
20. Staple It Together ~ Jack Johnson
21. Someday ~ The Strokes
22. I Want You Back ~ Jackson 5
23. For the Price of a Cup of Tea ~ Belle & Sebastian
24. Life in Technicolor ii ~ Coldplay
25. Crazy ~ The Kooks
26. Trolley Wood ~ Eisley
27. Ocean and a Rock ~ Lisa Hannigan
28. Don't Wait for Tom ~ Over the Rhine
29. Three Little Birds ~ Elizabeth Mitchell
30. Get Back ~ The Beatles

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

the contents of my purse

1) blue and white little girl's hair clip
2) diaper and wipes
3) toddler sized t-shirt
4) sippy cup
5) wind-up inch worm
6) discarded bag from Claire's Accessories
7) plastic harmonica
8) lollipop
9) ballerina hippo finger puppet
10) baby einstein travel discovery cards
11) crackers
12) two empty boxes of raisins

Sunday, July 5, 2009

i feel like having a little rant

Rant may not be the exactly right word. I just have these thoughts rolling around that I want to get out. Thoughts about praise and worship.

I think I have a very specific and, in the wider Christian world, unique view on what worship is and what it looks/sounds/feels like. This view is very definitely the influence of years of teaching from Don Potter, Ray Hughes, and Suzy Yaraei and experiencing worship led by them and others at MorningStar where I went to church for nine years.

When I left MS and Charlotte to head to England I knew that experiencing worship in this new place was going to be a lot different to what I was used to. And I want to say from the very beginning that I have experienced the presence of the Lord just as strongly in the back room of a pub with an acoustic guitar and no sound equipment as I have in an auditorium of people and a full band with state of the art equipment.

I just feel like the word worship is used too frequently, in too flippant a manner, and also in a limiting way. If you go back to the Hebrew and dig into the seven Hebrew words for praise you will very quickly see that there are only one or two that refer to singing and only a couple more that refer to music. Most of the words have to do with a physical act of expression. Not to mention the Greek word for worship implies a relationship like that of a slave to master. The act of a dog licking its master's hand.

You've probably heard a lot of this before. We're told in the Psalms to bring the Lord a sacrifice of praise. I just wonder how much of a sacrifice it really is to get dressed in our pretty clothes, go to a meeting with all our friends, and sing songs that make us feel good.

There's also something really powerful about offering the Lord something that is uniquely you. Something that no one else in the world can offer him. Why is it that so many "worship" songs and leaders sound exactly alike? Each of us is created as a unique individual with something to bring to the Lord and to the body of Christ that no one else can bring. I believe, and believe it passionately, that our worship should reflect this.

A few weeks ago I was listening to a worship album that is 10 years old. (This, in fact, is what stirred the thoughts that led to this post.) Ten years ago this album was ground breaking, fresh, revolutionary. And somehow, 10 years later, it still is. I believe that is because the artists wrote songs that spoke directly from their heart. The music is a reflection of their individuality. The passion they have for the Lord and for his church is obvious. (That album is Enter the Worship Circle by 100 Portraits and Waterdeep.)

Worship should be a response, the deepest parts of us call out to the deepest part of God. Singing a song which is a prayer for the Lord to bless us is not worship. I'm not saying there isn't a place for songs like this. Songs that ask the Lord to fill us with his Spirit and courage to go out and minister to the lost and hurting world are very powerful. They are intercessory prayers. But they are not worship. Songs that reaffirm the Lord's love for his church are also very powerful. But again, this is not worship.

Worship is about acknowledging the awesome worthiness of the all powerful God who created the universe and every living thing in it. Worship is about realizing that in comparison man is dust and of no account. The reason that we have any worth at all is because this God, this majestic, beautiful, powerful God loves us and values us. And that is what worship is about. Not about making us feel better about ourselves. Not about calling the church to action. Simply about realizing who God is and giving him his rightful place in our lives.

Now I think praise and worship are two different things. Praise is about expressing our love and thankfulness to the Lord. Blessing him and honoring him for who he is and what he has done for us. Praise is about verbalizing (though maybe in paint or dance, not always in words) how we feel towards God. It is often God's response to this praise that leads us into worship. That deep place of (inner) silence where we (at least begin to) truly know him.

There's a lot more I could say. I've just really skimmed over the surface of this vast subject. (I haven't said anything about living a life of worship, being a living sacrifice.) But maybe this will help still my thoughts about this a little bit. I hope you don't mind.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

more women should dress like us

So two weekends ago I visited my youngest sister Lacy in Tennessee where she goes to college. We had a great weekend. On Friday we went into Chattanooga and explored the city a bit. Fabulous independent bookstore where I found a copy of Pablo Neruda's Love Poems and Lacy found a wonderful little journal with birch trees. We saw The Proposal which was entirely predictable, but still enjoyable. We had great salads at Panera for dinner then crossed The Walnut Street Bridge for some ice cream from Clumpy's. The sunset from the bridge was beautiful and we just sat and enjoyed the evening. We walked past a man who said to us, "Good evening girls. Ya'll look great. More women should dress like you." We decided this must be because of our impeccable fashion sense and not because he thought we looked slutty. Sunset from the Tennessee River

The Walnut Street Bridge

On Saturday we went hiking in the Cherokee National Forest which was an adventure! The first half hour or so was fine, just following the trail and crossing the stream on rocks and fallen logs a couple times. Then we had to climb up the side of the mountain. That's when it got a bit interesting. As much as I love trail walking scrambling through the brush and decaying leaves full of large insects and possibly snakes is not my favorite thing. We made it down to our destination, a beautiful waterfall where we had lunch and soaked up the day and Lacy swam in the pool at the base for a while. (A short while as it was VERY cold.) When we decided to head back was when the fun really began. Lacy couldn't find the trail. You loose it on the way in and then have to climb back up to where you leave it to head back out. We were scrambling up and down and across the side of the mountain for a good 15 minutes when we came across an army back pack that had been lost or dropped or something. It had been there for a week or maybe less. Animals had gotten into it and strewn the contents. Prescription medicine, tins of food, a large package of ivory soap. And a machete. That was slightly disconcerting as we were half expecting to stumble on a body or hear the weak cries of an injured soldier. Anyway, I got tired of going back to the waterfall to start again and pushed ahead, blazing a trail in roughly the right direction. After a few minutes Lacy, who was lower down than me, called out, "I found the real trail!" Which was a huge relief to both of us! The rest of the day was taken up with snow cones and movies and easy dinners.
Giant millipedes were everywhere!

Lacy swimming in the pool.


The waterfall and me

Staring up at the sky... This was my view!

The Waterfall
Snail and mushroom on moss

On Sunday we meandered our way to Atlanta where I caught a plane to Jacksonville, Florida. I'll be here until the 30th of July. So far, we're having a blast.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009