Friday, June 25, 2010

Splitting my world wide open

"Most writers, like most children, need to tell.

The only problem is that much of what they need to tell will provoke the ire of parent-critics, who are determined to tell writer-children what they can and cannot say.

Unless you have sufficient ego and feel entitled to tell your story, you will be stymied in your effort to create.

You think you can't write, but the truth is you can't tell.

Writing is nothing if not breaking the silence."

Image Credit - Tara F - Slow Traveler

I ended last year with this quote. It summed up where I had been in my inability to blog and give voice to my thoughts. Sadly, six months later, this is still true. Now that school is over and I have a bit more time on my hands I'd like to change that, and I think that taking a risk is the best way to begin.

Anyone who really knows me can tell you that I am quite able to give voice to things that most people would or could never say out loud - I am able to talk about the things that silence most people.

Ironically the thing that silences me is that I have a voice. That I am a teacher, even a preacher and that I have opinions and beliefs that might be different than those around me. I have not wanted to bear the rejection that could come with owning that.

It feels like a big risk. My blog isn't a random internet address anymore, it's linked to my Facebook page and hundreds of friends who have known me throughout my life. Many of those from a time when I was silent and head-covered.

I do not want to hurt or offend or ostracize any of those people or myself, or to provoke their ire, but I long to own who I am and what I am and stop being ashamed of that any longer.

"By their fruit, you will know them."

The crazy thing is that when I am given the opportunity to teach there is fruit. Good, wholesome fruit. I am not a rebel by any means, but owning this feels so rebellious, so risky. So I asked myself, what are the real risks?

Will owning this make me loose some friends on Facebook?

Possibly, but as I'd tell my kids they probably weren't my real friends in the first place.

Will it cause me to be secretly judged?

Always - I can't seem to do anything without that happening.

So why then should I stay silent?

Why then should I not own this very important part of myself?

I truly have no idea.

All I know is that it feels so risky.

I love this part of me, I treasure it, it feels like the pearls of my life - and I know I have no control over the audience. I don't know if it would even find their radar screens, but what I do know is that there are so many people I adore who do truly love me for who I am. I am in a place where my voice is heard, welcomed and invited. I have a place at the table, and I treasure it.

Another quote I found while looking for the one above made me feel warm inside:

Source: Muriel Rukeyser,From Cries of the Spirit, edited by Marilyn Sewell

Crack, crack, crack...

So here is my big risk. Here is my voice.

This is a link to my talk I gave a couple of weeks ago at my church, I'm really happy with it:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

For all of your farming questions, needs and supplies go to

You're welcome Chris :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

James K.A. Smith on Redemption

Beautiful thoughts on redemption from James K.A. Smith - Via Cardus:
So our redemption is not some supplement to being human; it's what makes it possible to be really human, to take up the mission that marks us as God's image bearers. Saint Irenaeus captures this succinctly: "The glory of God is a human being fully alive." Redemption doesn't tack on some spiritual appendage, nor does it liberate us from being human in order to achieve some sort of angelhood. Rather, redemption is the restoration of our humanity, and our humanity is bound up with our mission of being God's co-creative culture-makers.

While God's redemption is cosmic, not anthropocentric, it nonetheless operates according to that original creational scandal whereby humanity is commissioned as ambassador, and even co-creator, for the sake of the world. In an equally scandalous way, we are now commissioned as co-redeemers. Redemption is the re-orientation and re-direction of our culture-making capacities. It is we who have invented the twisted cultural systems that deface and despoil this good world; restoring creation to its lush plenitude and fecundity will not happen by divine fiat or magic—it will require the hard, patient, Spirit-inspired work of building wellordered systems, creation-caring institutions and life-giving habits.
Complete article here: The Story: Creation > > Fall > > Redemption

God Alone is Enough by Claudia Mair Burney

My long-time blogger bestie Claudia Mair Burney has just published her first non-fiction work for Paraclete Press. Titled God Alone is Enough, a Spirited Journey with St. Teresa of Avila - it is such a joy to hold the work of my dear friend in my hands. We have read each others words for more years than I can count and watching her journey has been a true joy.

I am the ninth step on a blog tour through the book and was asked to blog on Chapter nine - Ecstasy is Not a Drug - an appropriate chapter for a "redemption junkie" :)

Before talking about Chapter 9, I want to explain the book to those who aren't following the tour.

Claudia makes Theresa's writings so accessible. It is a beautiful primer for the saint(s) - and a beautiful introduction to centering prayer. It is fun, funny and filled with the reality of both the author's and the saint's struggles and joys. The only criticism I might make is that the cover shows a prim and proper woman in prayer - it belies the very nature of this book. If this book was my neighbor I wouldn't have to clean my kitchen, or even get out of my pj's before I invited her over for tea. It is as real as it is lively - just like my friend Mair.

I think a more "Rosie the Riveter" kind of sister on the cover would have been a more accurate visual representation of the sense of the book. Don't get me wrong - it is a beautiful cover - I just am such a visual person that I do unfortunately, at times, judge by said cover. Okay, on to chapter 9...

If anyone is at all familiar with St. Theresa and her Interior Castle you will know of her ecstasy.Theresa opines that there are four stages of prayer that the learner passes through. She uses the metaphor of watering a garden to explain:

"Now let's see how we need to water the garden, so we'll understand what we have to do, how much the labor will cost us, if the time and work we put into it is worth it, and how long it will last. Our garden can be watered in four ways: We can draw water from a well, which is a lot of work. Or you can get the water by turning the crank of a waterwheel and drawing it through an aqueducts. I've tried this myself and know it's not as much trouble to do as the first way. And you get more water.

Or you can channel the water from the flow of a river or stream. The garden is watered much better this way because the ground is saturated and you don't have to water it as frequently. This is a lot less work for the gardener.

Or the water may come from an abundant rain pouring on the soul; the Lord waters the garden himself, without any work on our part. This is by far the best method of all." (pg. 43, 44)

Chapter 9 is focusing on that fourth level of centering prayer - when God sends the rain - Theresa calls it "that sacred kiss" - this is the intimacy of the ecstasy with God that very few, myself included have ever experienced. Theresa explains, "The soul detaches itself from everything, daughter, so it can abide more fully in me. It is no longer the soul that lives but I. Since it is not capable of comprehending what it understands, there is an understanding by not understanding."

The holy longing for that level of intimacy with God - where our soul is joined with God has been lost to most of the church these days. We spend our time hauling water and building aqueducts instead of praying for rain. Centering prayer is a lost art form to the evangelical church and we are poorer for its lack.

This is a book I will be passing on to my daughter and one I'd use regularly with teen girls to teach on centering prayer. Thank you Mair, both for the book and for venturing into non-fiction. I adore your story and look forward to one day holding THAT book in my hands.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Finding the right name

There is nothing in your life
too terrible or too sad
that will not be your friend
when you find the right name to call it,
and calling it by its own name
it will come upright to your side.

--Laurens van der Post