Sunday, September 23, 2007

Righteous Anger

I have had an absurd number of conversations with women this week who do not understand what beautiful creations they are. Some of these conversations have started as the result of hearing about terrible things that have been done to some of the most amazing women i've met.... abuse given by people that we should be able to trust. and something i've heard come from the mouths of each of these women.... a thought that part of this must be their fault, that they could have stopped it. and it is at this point that i want to both yell and cry. we do terrible things with power, and i've heard some of those stories this week. it's sickening.

at the same time, i've been reading Mary Pipher's book Reviving Ophelia. She talks about what happens to most girls in pre-adolescence... about how most girls find that they can't truly be themselves and be accepted. They find that they must choose one or the other. This makes me so, so sad. It makes me sad because i relate. It makes me sad because i look around at so many of the beautiful girls and women in my life and I know this has taken place in their hearts. And it makes me wonder what the church's role is in all this... as a community of faith, what is it that we can do to let girls know that we deeply accept their true selves? How do we communicate that God made their true selves and accepts them?

It makes me realize that THIS is the task of community. To let each other know that we do not merely accept a figment of one's persona, but that we accept the true versions of ourselves, because that is what God does for us.

In the beginning of Pipher's book she says something to the effect of, "It takes a village to raise a child. Most girls don't have a village." I don't want to just be angry and sad about this statement-I want to work to change this, because this is NOT how God wants His people to live.

There is a much better way waiting to be found.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


it is nearing 2 in the morning, and i cannot sleep. i would like to be asleep, because i need to be up in about 6 hours. so much is on my mind. a conversation i had earlier tonight. a conversation i need to have tomorrow. needing to confess. needing to confront. my own shortcomings. new friends. the beauty and pain of community life. attempting to trust God with so many unknowns. trying to be sure of who i am. living into the beauty and grace of God. wrapping my head around the mystery of the plans of God. trying to find balance in my life. why chocolate exudes such joy. you know...the normal stuff.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Speaking Life

"To always be relevant, you must only say that which is eternal."

-Simone Weil

this makes me stop dead in my tracks.... i definitely say a lot that is not eternal.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Random Notes

it's been a good first couple weeks of school and settling into my new abode. i'm really exciting about living in the '05, and about being able to hang with some cool people. after the loneliness of the past year, this has been a breath of fresh air. we've already had people over a couple of times to play games, aaron comes over when he gets locked out of his house, and i feel like we've got a house full of warmth and love, and i'm excited about that.

i'm taking a class about forgiveness and counseling this semester-i think it'll be really good. and i also think that it will intersect with many areas of my life that i didn't really expect. on the first day of class, toddy tells us that we won't talk about self-forgiveness, because she doesn't see self-forgiveness mentioned in scripture, since that is a western ideal. this, of course, has gotten me thinking about a lot. and then i start reading.... about how forgiveness really should be a communal practice, but we've privatized it in the west. and if we really think about it, forgivenss is about the "restoration of communion." it's not about making me feel better about how i've hurt someone, but about restoring me to both God and community. there's something to chew on there, for sure. i think forgiveness is one of those words we throw around a lot, but i wonder if we really understand what it means? if we really know what is encapsulated in forgiving someone else? if we understand what it means that God forgives us? is it just a lofty, soft word...or is there power behind it?

we're going on a community retreat this saturday... i think it will be good. and tomorrow i'm cooking breakfast for ian and elizabeth so that we can talk about some crazy community ideas we have. i'm pretty pumped.

have you ever had a really great hug? i'm a hugger.... and i love to give and receive big, bear hugs. last night after church i saw my friend becky, who lives down the street from me. she got really excited when she saw me, and gave me one of those big, long-lasting, embracing hugs. it made me happy. there's something about a good hug... i think because you are both giving and receiving love all in the same moment. it's really kind of a beautiful thing. and it was just so affirming to see how much becky wanted to love on me... it's nice to have those moments some days.... right up there with little joe running down the church hallway yelling, "maggie! maggie!" with a huge smile on his face. i needed that (of course, as soon as he saw me, he says, "hey bad nanny!"...but i'll take what i can get).

so... i may not get any schoolwork done this semester, and perhaps i'll fail out of my third year of seminary.... but at least i'll be loved along the way.....

Thursday, September 06, 2007

New Eyes

here i am. starting my third and (almost) final year of seminary. i can remember my first semester like it was yesterday.... questioning if i had made the right decision, wondering if i should go somewhere else...but not sure where, bursting into tears at the thought of seeing how i had done on an O'Malley Church History exam. and here i am now... feeling like i've somewhat found my place, feeling, again, like i'm on the edge of something. it's a cool, scary, overwhelming, funny feeling. to look back and see all that worried me, and to see where God has brought me. it's weird to look back sometimes, but necessary...and humbling. and now i'm here, telling others about seminary and ministry and life and community and all the rest... still learning... attempting to grow...praying through it all. sometimes a little perspective goes a long way.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

New House

i've been in my new place for about a week, and we're still working on settling in, unpacking, all of that stuff. i can't tell you how much i love this house! but really... it's more than the house.

i love how God has worked all of this out. i love the roommates He has provided. I love being near so many cool people. i love the relationships i see unfolding. i love the fact that we had about 10 people over last night to play games. i love that i'm sitting in kim's house doing laundry right now. i love that it only takes me about 3 minutes to get to church. i love that some of the church kids are already coming over to bug me and see if i'm home. i love the relationships that are coming about because i'm in the neighborhood. i love this community i'm in... that i feel more loved and a "part" of something than i've felt in a while. i love that i'm among people who really want to love on me and encourage me. i love that God is showing me ways i can serve this community.

and another cool moment this week: there's this family that many other individuals have been pouring into for a while, and this family recently moved really close to where i'm living. i've spent a bit of time with the mom and kids, but not tons, but I really feel like God is doing something here. and i'm realizing, too, what a blessing this mom is to me. they are in need in a number of ways, but this woman has also blessed me by just loving me and showing me hospitality. the other night it's raining and thundering and apparently their power went out a couple of times. so she calls me to ask if we're ok, if our power had gone out, to check on us. how awesome is that?