What I’ve Been Up To

I would say this will be summer themed, but… when was the last time I even did one of these??

Reading –I’ve read a fantastic amount this summer–among other things, I rediscovered public libraries and have been checking out all my local branches and, of course, walking out with books every time. I did some fun rereads: a few of the Mary Russell novels, by Laurie R. King; and House of Many Ways, which I adore (along with everything else Diana Wynne Jones has written) every time I reread it. And I enjoyed lots of new books: Meg Cabot‘s Heather Wells series was super fun; I went through a history kick and read a biography of Martha Washington and some Pennsylvania/Pittsburgh history; some Mary Roberts Rinehart Nurse Pinkerton stories.

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What I’m currently reading.

Writing–I am finally at a point where I feel like I have the mental energy to write more. I’ve been playing with a bunch of stories, and this blog has been more active: I’ve written about sermon writing and crocheting and trying to grow houseplants. I participated in Rosalie Valentine‘s Flash Fiction Dash and wrote a story about, of all things, fairies.

Off the blog, I have a piece published on Dear Damsels. I discovered them recently and they feature beautiful writing. Appropriately enough, my piece is about creating new habits in a new time of life, and the beauty of habits.

And, if you’re curious about my day job, you can find all of my sermons here.

Listening–I went on a bit of a podcast-hunting spree a few weeks ago and found some wonderful new podcasts:

  • 2298 is a fascinating science fiction podcast that I’m just starting
  • Everything Happens, with Kate Bowler, is heart-wrenching and emotional in the most honest way about the hard parts of life
  • Ologies is a funny, curiosity-filled look at different fields (-ologies!)
  • Saffron and Peri is a fun fairy tale-themed drama full of hijinks and good characters,
  • and speaking of dramas We Fix Space Junk is another one, about two women forced to run a space ship together
  • Tides is a fascinating The Martian-style story about a scientist stranded on a strange new planet, but there’s actual life as well
  • And Tumanbay is a fantastically acted and edited drama about a sultan’s city and a looming threat

I told you it was a spree!

Thinking about– The time I spend online. This article in many ways crystallized the discomfort I’d been feeling about how much time I’ve been online lately. Despite all the talk about Facebook over the past year, it sparked something that the rest of the conversation hadn’t: a reminder of how much social networks need us to be online, and the parallel realization that I’ve been spending more and more time online as a way to avoid so many other things in my life. It’s easier to scroll through whatever than it is to go do the dishes, let alone to figure out what I’m feeling after a confusing day.

OnlineThis article about caring really resonated as I try to figure out how to care more instead of ignore, just as this one about the importance of art even in the midst of really hard everything inspired me. And I couldn’t resist clicking on this article about learning from house plants and it was even more beautiful than I expected.

Watching–Lots of Stargate, mostly. I was watching and loving Castle and then my DVD player broke, so that’s on hold again for now. I’ve been dipping my toes into Star Trek Enterprise and not totally hating it?

Doing–Discovering new flavors of iced tea–my tea shelf is currently overflowing, which did not in any way stop me from going to Blue Monkey Tea Shop twice last month. TEA IS WONDERFUL. And, having lots of visitors from out of town, both family and friends. So, lots of board games, lots of chances to check out new places and show off favorites. Yes, please!

Going on lots of walks, because Pokemon Go is my not-so-new favorite thing and also because the weather is actually nice most of the time. Being outside is wonderful, and there’s a mini-park a two minute walk from my apartment. Everything is better done outside (and by everything I mean reading and writing and thinking).


 

I’m linking up today with Leigh Kramer. Go see what others have been up to for the monthly What I’m Into linkup!

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God Talk

I have a very vivid memory of that moment: grass too green to imagine, framed and dotted by lush trees and a few brick buildings. I was in the car with an acquaintance; I don’t remember where we were going. I just remember sitting next to her, watching the cultivated college landscape go by as she drove down the winding road and said about the most recent speaker, “She said she thinks of God as She.” 

I didn’t quite know what to do with that; neither did she, to be fair. It was an idea she played with as we drove, and I listened. 

That’s the moment that keeps coming back to me as I think about God as mother.* That wasn’t the moment when I accepted it, or even heard of this idea. I think it was the moment where the idea of God as feminine became a possibility, or maybe even the seed of an idea. 

If you’re curious about this idea, feel free to check out my devotion.* Here‘s another personal narrative of seeing God as mother. This article offers a good overview of Biblical sources that describe God as mother, and this site has a pretty comprehensive list of verses.


*They’ll ask for a login to see the devotional I wrote, since it’s been a few days since it posted–but it’s completely free to create one if you don’t already have one, and I never get unwanted emails from them. Don’t freak out!

Speaking of freaking out: there’s also no need to freak out about all this God-as-feminine talk. As the Creator of both male and female (Genesis 1:26), both genders reflect God but God has no gender. And so I prefer to use no pronouns at all to refer to God–but that also means that it makes sense to use imagery and ideas of and about both genders to talk about God.

Seeing God [Off the Page]

Mountains stretched to the horizon, mountain after mountain: most of them blue-green with evergreens, a few tall enough to be topped with rocks and snow. The closest had a peak covered by a meadow bright with flowers: gold, scarlet, and violet swaths, with highlights of creamy white and tiger orange dotted with jagged boulders.

That rainbow mountain was why I was here.


 

I’ve always loved nature and seen God in it. Well, almost always. There were a few years there where that wasn’t quite true, and today I’m over at Off the Page telling my story of seeing God in nature, especially in those few years.

(You may especially enjoy it if you love hearing about flowers, bees, mountains, beautiful nature things…)

Bees and light

Anyone who has known me for long enough has probably seen me excitedly run after a bee, or stand and watch one on a flower. It’s no secret that I love bees. So it’s rather fitting that my first devotion at the Upper Room is about a bee. I’m honored to be featured.

And, if you’re curious about how I came to see that particular bee, and the trip I was on at the time, I also wrote a blog post for them about the experience.

Vulnerable

I linked to my blog on my resume. 

It seemed like a brilliant idea at the time–look, all of my writings and sermon clips, all in one place!–but the first time I sat down to write a post after that, I blanched. Somehow the idea of sending out words into the anonymous internet is WAY different than sending out words into the internet that is now full of people who are considering you for a job. A job as a pastor, no less. What should I post now? What if they didn’t like it? What if I revealed something about myself, and they decided I was too imperfect for their church? What if they saw the flaws I struggle with and talk about here, and decided to take themselves far away from that?

So I posted something, so no one would think I wasn’t regular about posting (although anyone who scrolled to the next blog post would notice that there was a gap of a month and a half), but it wasn’t too revealing. Big news, but nothing too personal. And after that, every time I sat down to write a post, I would freeze up. What could I write that wouldn’t show churches that I’m a human being with flaws and problems??

Then I had the brilliant idea to ask Off the Page if I could write a hugely personal piece for them, and they said yes. Whoops

Yeah.

So, I’m being personal and vulnerable. To the Internet. Including all those people who might end up here because they’re considering hiring me as their pastor. Here it is: my problems, my human-ness, my sinfulness and struggles. And I know I just spent a while saying I don’t like being vulnerable, but please go check it out. Being vulnerable is important. I wrote something true and something that I love–and even if it’s also the scariest piece I’ve ever written for the Internet, I’d love if you went and checked it out. Please join me in my vulnerability.

The Secret Place

The Secret Place is a devotional magazine that I stumbled onto one morning because there was a whole stack of them sitting on the living room table in my seminary dorm. It’s a devotional full of every day moments, and I’m so honored to be a part of the most recent issue. I’m talking about perfection, because everyone needs to hear about it sometime, and my devotion is slotted for January 29.

Go check it out!