Tuesday

the impossible will take a little while



i heard it whisper, quiet recollection
stirring just beneath the surface.
a heart-memory from a moment
long faded and forgotten.

there is beauty in the winter-dark.
even now, day arches her back toward the sun,
stretching longer and further
into tomorrow.

within trees as cold and bare as death,
sap soon will flow.  elixir of life,
exquisite resurrection.



The difficult I'll do right now
The impossible will take a little while 
-Billie Holiday




Friday

my heart i hear beating


she's just like her daddy, wide-eyed for adventure, lover of snow, cold, and outside.  enthusiastic dreamers, they plan big and live loud.  his childlike wonder dances in her every leap.

but when she comes in from the cold, clapping for honey-kissed cocoa?  she climbs under my arm and pulls blankets high; we read poetry and wild tales of princess and prairie.

in those tender moments, it's my heart i hear beating inside one tutu-clad wondrous girl.







Monday

footprints fade



boots crunch ice and light is fading, but it sparkles all the same across the snow.

trails tell tales of chickens, deer, and bunnies here and gone.  we remain as afternoon disappears over the horizon.

i ask for a photograph, but he'll have none of that, cheeks damp from an outburst even kettlecorn couldn't quell.  he's a boy-storm of intensity, and he's busy stomping paths.

powerful.  deliberate.  definitive.  every footprint tells a story.

I WAS HERE.

i am.

see me.  look what wonders i have wrought!

some footprints fade, but you, sweet boy, are written on my heart.









Friday

be Right or be Love


we're having two different conversations, we are.
over one another and at top volume

families, churches.  in politics, parenting,
theology and everything else

we're speaking in tongues most of the time.
{shouldn't we know better?  where's
the interpreter to encourage
the Body in worship?}

talking at is never quite the same as talking with.
no wonder we misunderstand.

our caricatures are vivid:
a trace of truth
fleshed out in lies, and
have we even noticed?

we launch insults and laugh
at safe distance. we
cast stones and wonder
why glass houses shatter and
everything else stays the same.

should this day be different?
i'll have to decide:
do I want to be Right, or do I want to be Love?







shared with the saturday evening blog post and five minute friday. prompt: vivid.



Tuesday

we're lovers and biters, we are



We have a biter.

My two year old, he of sky blues eyes, open-mouthed kisses and bright grins, is a biter.  He bites his sister hard and my heart breaks open wide.

We don't bite. We don't hurt. We love each other. 
We are gentle. We are kind. We love each other.
We listen with our ears. We help with our hands.

We. Love. Each. Other.


He's usually remorseful.  Tender kisses, loving pats and baby-signed "I'm sorry"s aren't even a show.  He means them, and her quick forgiveness makes my heart catch.

But he means the biting, too.  Enough to draw tears and red welts.

*****

She's such a verbal processor.  They scuffle over toys or paper or God-knows-what, and she prevails because she has words.

She smells weakness.  If only he could argue his position satisfactorily...

When words are law, she'll always win.

(i'll always win)
(but words aren't law)

His bite is worse than his bark.
(he just wants to be heard)

We are gentle. We are kind. 
We listen with our ears.

We Love Each Other.














Friday

homosexuality is(n't) a sin | un-truth, hurt & the limits of language



"Homosexuality is a sin."

How many times have we heard that? One hundred times? One thousand?

The trouble starts when we begin reading "homosexuality" into the biblical text, because that idea as we understand it just isn't there. Although it condemns various same-sex sexual activities, like prostitution and pederasty, scripture is silent about what modern readers understand as sexual orientation, same-sex attraction, or monogamous relationships between adults of the same gender.

Christians say "Homosexuality is a sin" and mean "Same-sex sexual activity is a sin", but those statements have different meanings and ramifications, don't they?

Homosexuality is not a a sin. At most, homosexuality could be considered a temptation, and temptation is distinct from sin. 

[Bible-believing Christians disagree about its implications regarding homosexuality, and I'm not unpacking, refuting, or defending the "same-sex sexual activity is a sin" statement today. Honestly, I have more questions than answers, but of two things I am sure: God's love is vast, and interpreting scripture in context is rarely as simple as we sometimes imagine.]

My hope is that whether we believe that God calls gay people to life-long celibacy or that each of us, gay or straight, can honor God within committed relationships, we agree to change our problematic and destructive language.

When Christians insist that homosexuality is sinful, we may think we're "loving the sinner, hating the sin," but in reality we are condemning people made in God's image, and that is not the place of a people called to love our neighbors as ourselves.

Homosexuality, like heterosexuality, is a direction of romantic attraction, and it exists regardless of sexual activity. I was straight long before I ever "acted on it," and if I were celibate, I would still be straight.

There are ways to honor or dishonor God with our sexuality, and that is true for each of us, regardless of the direction of attraction. But we don't talk about that. Instead, we speak the language of condemnation and conflate sin and sexuality with personhood and identity.

How many stories have you heard or lived in which gay Christians are kicked out of communities simply for wresting, questioning, and hurting--people who haven't even begun to "choose the gay lifestyle," whatever that means?

How do we expect gay Christians to remain faithful to Christ? If we're honest, do we offer those who experience same-sex attraction anything more than:
  • "Homosexuality is a sin,"  
  • "Don't be gay,"  and  
  • "Don't let the door hit you on the way out" ?
I have to believe that Jesus would respond wholly different than his Church does when it comes to loving our gay brothers and sisters.

When Christians insist that homosexuality is a sin:
  • We draw lines, make assumptions, and misunderstand. 
  • We exclude gay Christians and seekers from feeling welcome in our churches. 
  • We make sexuality and sin the primary markers of a person's identity. 
  • We fail to wrestle through, articulate, and live out together a sexual ethic that honors God and includes everyone: young, old, gay, straight, married, single, divorced, widowed, and celibate.
We pretend that:
  • Being gay is a choice to get us out of wrestling with harder questions about scripture, God, community, sexuality, politics, law, privilege, equality, and more. 
  • Being a Christian means being straight. 
  • Anyone who wants it enough can just "pray the gay away." 
  • The answers are easy and we know them all.
Claiming homosexuality as a sin is dehumanizing and dishonest. It stops conversations, burns bridges, and compromises Christians' ability to live out the gospel and love our neighbors well.

Homosexuality isn't some abstract political issue. People matter. Language matters. Sin matters, too, but that's true for any of us. We're not exactly closing our doors to the greedy, lustful, or self-righteous among us (can you imagine?!), so why has the Church made homosexuality into its deal-breaking, flagship sin? That's not in the Bible anywhere.

The gay and transgender men and women within our churches and communities aren't projects to fix but our sisters and brothers. The last thing that Christians are called to do is drive seeking or hurting people away from Jesus with hard or careless rhetoric, easy answers, and lack of grace.

If we truly desire to be faithful to Christ, we must be known by our love above our theology, politics, and anything else. Straight Christians have had more than enough to say about homosexuality for too long. Let's love our neighbors by listening better this time around, remembering that Jesus had not one word to say about homosexuality.

Even evangelical churches with traditional beliefs about sexuality are realizing that loving well means supporting equal rights and marriage equality. We don't need to legislate our theologies from the halls of power. Christ's love ought to be fleshed out among us first, infusing and transforming our neighborhoods with new life.

As we practice listening, humility, and faith together, may we learn what it looks like to honor God as one Body with our language, our love, and our lives.



Thursday

a fleeting beating of hearts






April all an ocean away
Is this the better way to spend the day?
Keeping the winter at bay

I've been writing--just not here--and I miss you, lovelies.  But I've got these ones, I do, and we're still coming down off our holidays.  Sometime I'll tell you the story of how we interchanged all our bedrooms over Thanksgiving, and we're still finding homes for everything.  The wee set share a room now, which has been its own adventure.

Vinyl butterflies still decorate walls that now belong to Jim and me.  Will I know when it's time to surrender and pretend that "monarch" was our intended master bedroom motif all along?

Blessings, friends, to you and your new year.  xo




Friday

a new year's blessing {for epiphany & home}


ONE: The Lord be with you;

ALL: And also with you.

ONE: Peace be to this house!

ALL: And to all who enter here!

ONE: Let us pray.

O God, your star once shone to show the world that your Son, our Savior, had come. May the light of the star that guided wise men from the east now guide us. Grant us, like them, eyes to recognize the holy in the humble and respond with faith and worship.

As we work, serve and play, keep us in the light of your love.

ALL: May Christ bless our home!


ONE: May all be welcome here,
friend and stranger, near and far.
May each be honored as they enter
and blessed as they leave.

ALL: There is a friend's love in the gentle heart of our Savior.
For love of him we offer friendship
and welcome every guest.


ONE: May God bless this house
from roof to floor, wall to wall,
end to end,
from its foundation and in its covering.
In the name of the triune God,
let all disturbance cease and
captive spirits free.
May God’s Spirit alone
dwell within these walls.

ALL: Christ, in our coming
and in our leaving,
be the Door and the Keeper,
for us and all within this place,
this day and always.
Amen. 


Now, door lintels are marked in chalk with:

20 + CMB + 12

The numbers signify the new year, the crosses represent Christ, and CMB stands for Christus Mansionem Benedicat, Latin for May Christ Bless This House It also recalls the (apocryphal) names of the three wise men [Casper, Melchior, and Balthazar], who followed the star from the east and symbolize that the Light of Christ is for all people.

This house blessing is inspired and adapted from liturgies found here and in Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals.



Sunday

let love grow

i love the new year. the romance of a fresh start in the bleak mid winter beats back-to-school shoes every time. possibility whispers my name as crisp new calendars replace the ragged, and i'm enough of an idealist to believe that it's never too late to be the change.

discipline and intentionality are both areas where i desire growth  this dawning year, but ultimately, the word that best captured my heart's cry is Love.



is there anything so simple or radical?

there are no short cuts in Love. God knows i love the short cuts, but this year, i'm taking the long way: the one that serves and gives and hopes and protects and reflects the very image of God.

that Way.

i know that my own love is insufficient. my love has limits. most days, my selfishness is bigger than my love.

but God's Love is big. his Love is transforming this world and this heart, and his power is made perfect amid weakness.  he is faithful to complete the good work begun in us. i'm leaning into that promise.

in 2012, i'm leaning into Love.



Let love and faithfulness never leave you; 

   bind them around your neck, 

   write them on the tablet of your heart.

{Proverbs 3:3}  



shalom 2009
cultivate 2010
upward. outward. do the work. 2011


{image source}


want to link a favorite post to my 2011 best-of linky?  are you a new year's fan or not?  did you pick a word for 2012?
happy new year!




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