Thursday, December 25, 2008

A tent among us
[via this article, HT: slacktivist]

Let Dawn Break In Us

Let healing dawn in our wounds.
Let comfort dawn in our afflictions.
Let honesty dawn in our half-truths.
Let forgiveness dawn in our bitterness.
Let compassion dawn in our indifference.
Let joy dawn in our sorrows.
Let courage dawn in our fears.
Let hope dawn in our despair.
Let dawn break as the song of the angels bursting forth to sing in our hearts. {full post}
[from Dr. SusanM. (Elli) Elliott, HT: Ponderings on a Faith Journey]

Thank-you God, for sneaking ever so quietly into this world. Keep being patient with us. {full post}
[via Tim Sean Youmans]

Just In Case

"One time on Hollywood Boulevard I saw a young girl with a baby. It was a crisp winter morning & her hair shone dark purple in the sun. She was panhandling outside the Holiday Inn & the door clerk came out & told her to be on her way & I wondered if anyone would recognize the Christ child if they happened to meet. I remember thinking it's not like there are any published pictures & purple seemed like a good color for a Madonna so I gave her a dollar just in case." -storypeople
[via biscotti brain]

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Abuse

In the course of my on-going research on domestic violence I keep an eye on the news. Right now there are articles literally every day about how the economic downturn is sparking a rise in the rates of domestic violence. DV rates are usually up this time of year and with the additional stress of people losing jobs and the overall economic recession, marital abuse rates are even higher than usual.

It occurred to me, however, that for women walking in this situation it would be very easy to see the reality backward. I would have seen it that way — I did see it that way when I was in it....

No matter how much the holidays may bring additional stress or how much additional stress the economic recession may cause, these are not an excuse for marital abuse. All these circumstances do is provide an opportunity to reveal a person’s choices to be an abuser. The abuser is an abuser because that is their choice - the circumstances just give them another chance to show it. {full post}
[via Because It Matters ~ Abuse & Christianity]

If You Were Born Today

This song gets the meaning of Christmas about as clearly and as jarring as possible. Truly fantastic song and it packs a theological punch.{more}
[via Notes From Off-Center]

Not Holiday-only

Is The Onion on this? Is this National Lampoons ? Or Landover Baptist ? Or the Daily Show ?

Check this out: German Politicians want holiday pews reserved for regular congregants, not the holiday-only attendees. Yes, it's true! {continue...}
[via Hacking Christianity]

Church and State on Jan. 20: An Advent Reflection
[via ThinkChristian.NET]

For You...A Savior

You’ve been given a great gift in your honest struggle and confession of being a loser. You’re on the way. You’re on the road. Don’t whine about it. Don’t make the mistake of seeing the broad evangelical Disneyland as your destination. You’re at that point where George Bailey stood on the bridge. You can despair….and jump. Or you can know that God has sent his hope, love and good news to you in a barn, where shepherds worship in tearful silence; where a man receives a gift he never created; where a virgin says yes even to the unthinkable that grace can do the impossible.

Go there, Ted. Find that place. Go as a struggler, a loser, one with nothing. Go and know that this, and all it means and will ever mean, is for you. For you….a savior. A savior of strugglers, losers and worse.

your friend and fellow loser,

Michael {full post}
[via, HT: My End of the Stick!]

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Looking For A Kinder Way

I'm a day late. Yesterday, my friend Adele (Existential Punk) posted an e-mail she sent to Parag Mehta, Barack Obama's Lesbian Gay Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) liaison, regarding the president-elect's recent announcement of inviting Rick Warren to give the prayer invocation at his inauguration....

On one hand, I think Obama's pick was politically daring and even savvy. Perhaps he can prove himself to some of the naysayers calling him a "Secret Muslim." But do those paranoid folks deserve to be placated?

I also think Obama's pick is an important reflection of his own character: Obama doesn't see the world in black-and-white, and he is tirelessly committed to building bridges and finding common ground. I can always get behind that!

But I do understand why my friend Adele is hurt by this move. And so I am wounded with her. Warren's political stance on homosexuality (apart from his theological stance, which could be manifested much differently) is inappropriate for a so-called progressive, 21st Century evangelical who claims to care about human rights.

Let James Dobson and Pat Robertson fight their culture wars. I wish Warren had emerged as a clear alternative for conservative-leaning Christians, looking for a kinder way.

Instead, this is becoming the wrong kind of political fodder, at a time when American needs hope, unity and grace the most.{full post}
[via Emerging Christian]

Ambitious Bit

I have mixed feelings about President-elect Obama’s selection of Rick Warren to deliver the invocation at his inauguration in January.

On the one hand, liberals are throwing a hissy fit, which is always nice (though I continue to pray for their ultimate salvation, of course). And it’s good to see a fellow Southern Baptist pastor receive such public validation, especially when he has recently jumped aboard the anti-gay marriage bandwagon.

On the other hand, I fear that Warren, who is a bit of a Pollyanna, will blow this opportunity to aggressively promote the evangelical agenda.

Any preacher worth his salt knows that an invocation is not really a prayer—it is a chance to tell God things He already knows as a means of educating your listeners on right-thinking values. And Warren will have a boatload of listeners to educate come January 20th! So here is a suggested “prayer” that I will be passing along to Rick: {continue...}
[via Reverend Right`s Blog]

Thursday, December 18, 2008

But If You Are Alive...

One note said:

“It wasn’t bad. I just went to sleep.”

That is a gift,

if you are dying.

That is the only thing you can give your family and the people that love you....

But if you are alive,

if you still have years ahead of you, if you are still above ground, breathing and living, that note is not a gift.

It is a curse. {full post}
[via The Prodigal Jon]

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Celebration For The 'Have-Nots'

As I chat with people, loneliness is named most often as the reason why people find Christmas difficult.

It’s easy to say lonely people have the wrong perspective. Let’s look deeper. Our letter-boxes contain sales catalogues with jewellery that lovers can exchange for Christmas, spa packages for couples, and menus for the family roast. We walk into shopping centres filled with people rushing, pushing, bumping, focused on making their Christmas perfect. Around the corner are pictures of starry-eyed children singing Christmas carols. The television airs movies about love, and families. Everything seems geared up to tell those feeling they have not, how much they are missing out on.

If we are using this time to celebrate Christ’s birth: let’s get with it! Christmas is not about the ‘haves’, it’s a celebration for the ‘have-nots’.....

If God had decided to hang out only with agreeable heavenly beings, where would we all be?

What do we really need to celebrate Christmas? {full post}
[via Musings of a Third Culture Kid]

That Would Take An Inspiration

Anyone else inundated with bright colored dancing cute things' ads telling you life isn't complete if you don't go to (your ad here)? And I got a kick out of seeing somewhere that there is a new way to view the festive Saturnalia/(your holiday of choice here) which is a big new sales event on Saturns.

This isn't just a season that threatens those now jobless with a bad time, it seems to be hell on wheels for shopaholics. I may have to get that Chia pet... to put away for next year. Okay, what I really want is some flight shoes....

Without the rampant buying spree that the Saturnalia season has become for those businesses, there will less for all those welfare CEO's.

Desperate times might remind our corporate sector that without a living wage, consumers mysteriously disappear. That would take an inspiration. Well, 'tis the season.{full post}
[via cab drollery, HT: The Seminal]

Have Yourself a Peace and Justice Christmas
[via cheaper than therapy, HT: Jordon Cooper]

The Reason For Everything

Ponder this for a while: Jesus isn’t just the reason for the season; he’s the reason for everything!


Jesus is the reason everything exists in the first place.

Jesus is the reason anything exists at all.

Jesus is the reason anything still exists.

All of creation, that includes you and me, is for Jesus.

And he became one of us, so that he might reclaim that which was his by right anyway...only because of the incarnation, death and resurrection, everything becomes his in fact.

My question for you:

How should this truth affect how I think, act, feel and live? {full post}
[via The Thinklings]

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Being Warm in the Cold

(also on Twitter: salvationarmysk)

Salvation Army Community Centre: It's cold outside

How we handle the extreme cold at the Centre
[via Weblog: News from the Salvation Army Community Centre, HT: Jordon Cooper]

Since we are now thigh deep in the giving season, I feel it is pertinent to share my complete and total disgust with the fact that shoppers trampled a man to death on Black Friday. If you're not familiar with the story, and don't mind having your faith in humanity tested, read more here. A few onlookers even stopped shopping long enough to make jokes about how overweight the person was that they had just killed in their haste to save five bucks on a panini maker....

In order to maintain my giving spirit in the face of such a dreadful story, I've decided to give you five good reasons to do your shopping at your local Deseret Industries, Salvation Army or other community thrift store: {full post}
[via East Coast Frost]

Wonder and Space...

Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar 2008
[via The Big Picture, HT: Bene Diction Blogs On]

How Long?

How long, now, have we been waiting for you to come back to us?

Almost eighty generations. Almost two thousand years.

How long, now, have we been waiting for you to come back to us?

Countless wars. Countless plagues and famines and floods.

How long, now, have we been waiting for you to come back to us?

We are bleeding.

How long?

We are suffering.

How long?

We are dying.

How long?

Our hearts are breaking.

How long?

Our minds are breaking.

How long?

Our bodies are breaking.

We are still waiting.{continue...}
[via On Journeying with those in Exile]

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Envy, Justice and Dogs

Scientists have demonstrated that dogs can feel envy. So says The New York Times and so says National Geographic.

But scientists have not, in fact, done any such thing. What they actually seem to have demonstrated about dogs is far more interesting. The experiment in question actually had little to do with the deadly sin of envy and quite a bit to do with the cardinal virtue of justice. {continue...}
[via slacktivist]

Monday, December 08, 2008


Last year, someone gave my family an "Elf on the Shelf." If you're not familiar with it, it's essentially a small elf in a box and a book. The book tells you that you're supposed to hide the elf each night during the holiday season and let your kids find it. It's magic or a messenger of Santa or something. It was wildly popular last year and is probably continuing to sell well this Christmas too.

But as I started to think about the whole "real meaning of Christmas" debate and "is Santa bad" discussion that you almost are required by law to have if you’re a Christian blogger, I started to think about that elf. He was just sitting there with a smug look on his face perched on the fireplace mantle looming over our nativity scene below on the hearth. Instead of the traditional Santa vs. Jesus discussion, I began to imagine what would happen if that elf ever ran into the characters from the nativity scene. What would that conversation look like? I present you:

Elf on the shelf meets the characters from the nativity scene.{continue...}
[via Stuff Christians Like]

Saturday, December 06, 2008

For December 6th...

There are many reasons Amir and others are so harsh toward predators and abusers, especially toward children. One of those reasons is the long-term struggle of the victim/survivor to understand and identify and accept healthy love and affection throughout their lives. This is certainly true of me. I have prayed for many, many years that God would reveal His love to and toward and for me in tangible ways that would enable me to internalize real love.

I have mentioned before that my fiance is not what I was looking for but is everything I need and was afraid to need. What he is and has been is a man who loves me unconditionally and with extreme patience. When I share (appropriate) details about how he treats me with my close friends, their jaws drop in awe and shock. He is truly rare among men, and God is using him to express His love in real and tangible ways that I will eventually internalize over time.

I know this may seem simple to many, and I know it is difficult to explain to those who have never experienced abuse. My parents, grandparents, ex-husband, ex-in-laws have all abused me. So, for my whole life I have longed for this kind of love. How odd, then, it is that I have such a difficult time receiving this kind of love. I continue to be cautious, fearful. He continues to be firm, patient, solid.

These truths became poignant again this evening. {continue...}
[via Amir Larijani and the Order of Recon]
what is your pain

i will stop being woman and
become a human being

here i tip the contents out
that i hope others share
not some private event
not what has happened

but what is real to all of us
we suffer from being human

[from this poem via Suzanne's Bookshelf, also: A Sombre Trio]

Happy Birthday, Dan!

Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.

(Anais Nin)

Friday, December 05, 2008