Climbing, Searching, Traveling

Jun 30, 2010

Vocabulary Lesson #32: Resist

Jun 29, 2010



P.S. Don't know if ya'll realize it but the song title in all the Vocabulary Lesson post titles is a link to iTunes. Enjoy.

Half the World

Jun 28, 2010

Half the world cries
Half the world laughs
Half the world tries
To be the other half

Half of us divided
Like a torn-up photograph
Half of us are trying
To reach the other half

- Rush, excerpted from Half the World

Hope Is Not Always Logical

Jun 25, 2010

So, I was reading an interview with Rachel Held Evans, and got stuck on this comment: hope is not always logical.

This was predicated upon 1 Peter 3:15, where we are exhorted to "be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." And I was struck by this verse, like I have never read it before.

I have spent so much of my time listening to people give me answers to questions about doctrine, as though the Bible somehow needs a defense lawyer. And I've spent plenty of time defending my beliefs, as though logic is the only thing that matters. When, in reality, that's not at all what we're supposed to do - we're supposed to give reasons for our hope, not our beliefs.  Two different things.

Christianity has a long history of believing some truly outrageous propositions. Polygamy, slavery, subjugation of women, our planet the center of the universe - the list goes on and on. But Christianity has never been about doctrine; it's about grace, redemption, and hope.

I'm over here hanging on by my fingernails to a tiny shred of hope, when all around me, well-meaning Christians are answering the wrong questions. Don't tell me why I am doctrinally wrong. Tell me why you have hope.

I'll tell you why I have hope: Jesus resurrected.

There is no logic in that hope, no concrete proof, nothing beyond a quiet prayer in the night that it was real.

The Day It All Began

Jun 24, 2010

Well, it wasn't actually that day. Looking back now, I can see that it all began at lot earlier. But one fine Spring day in a classroom at a small university in West Texas, I got my first taste of what it feels like to be rejected for one's faith.

At a staunch Southern Baptist college, I had one radical professor who insisted we read the Bible with new eyes, like we had never been exposed to it before. Mind you, he was talking to a room full of life-long Christians, most (if not all) raised in strict, conservative evangelical homes. We had been memorizing scripture since before we could write. And this doctor of theology wanted us to read the New Testament without preconceived notions, to think for ourselves for the first time in our lives.

I was secretly thrilled for the challenge. So I did. Or at least, I tried.

It was in classroom discussion later in the semester, that I opened my mouth and uttered an interpretation that differed wildly from everything any of us had ever been taught. And the looks I got were some of the angriest I have yet encountered.

Several of my friends refused to speak with me. Some for nearly a month. It rocked my little world in such a way, that I never again criticized the accepted doctrine while attending university. At least not while the critics were listening, and only vaguely, tangentially when in the company of my dearest friends.

And for the next fifteen years, I towed the doctrinal line in public, and harbored doubts and questions in private. Until a couple years ago, when the exhaustion of all that deceit finally got to me, when I was maligned and judged by people who had no real insight into my life or my faith. When a casual comment revealed months of hurtful gossip, and I walked away.

I have mentioned before that I am not an open book. My internal workings, thoughts, hopes, and dreams are not on public display to be perused, discussed, judged, and dismissed. I developed the art of concealment in response to well-meaning Christians who behaved as though transparency was a requirement rather than an option. And I learned long ago, in that fateful classroom, that to avoid the pain of rejection and judgement, I had to keep my big questions, doubts, and ideas to myself.

It is thanks to dear friends like the Agnostic Pentecostal, and new-found sojourners like Rachel Held Evans, that I hold some semblance of hope that I can work out this faith and all its questions. And maybe this time, just maybe, I won't be rejected. Maybe I'm not actually wrong for seeing the world differently. Maybe I'll be ok.

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

-Robert Frost

Get Down With Your Bad Self

Jun 23, 2010


Neighbor's garage door wide open.

Music blaring.

Elderly neighbor in his garage.

All alone.

Doing the robot.

To Funky Town.

Small Blessings

Mighty Life List #9: Visit New York.

Jun 17, 2010

I'm going to New York City for BlogHer 2010, August 6-8.  And I'm going to walk the Brooklyn Bridge with my friend, Pam, who will be crossing off an item on her life list, too.

So excited!

Cooking in Jennifer's Kitchen

Jun 16, 2010

This week as been one of culinary experiments.  Well, controlled experiments with known ingredients, that is.

Monday was New York Strip in a mustard-red wine marinade, topped with mustard-butter and served with sauteed fresh spinach.  About the mustard butter - so good I wish I had doubled the batch and served it in a gravy boat.  One part softened unsalted sweet cream butter, one part organic stone-ground mustard; mixed till blended.  Eat-it-with-a-spoon good.

Tuesday was Orange Roughy with garlic caramelized onions.  I cooked the onions in the same pan in which I had seared the garlic-herb crusted fish, so the garlic flavor infused the onions.  It was like the fish and onions were made for each other, and the whole affair melted in the mouth.  Destined for frequent appearances at my table.

Go ahead, try it at your house.  You'll love both!

Life List #38: Grow a Kitchen Garden - the (Early) Fruits of My Labor

Jun 14, 2010

Last night, I finally served up five tiny cherry tomatoes that I grew myself. Allow me to present the results:
I prepared a Caprese-style salad with balsamic vinegar, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil from my garden. Well, it was really a Insalata Caprese amuse bouche so small was the serving.  Still - perfect.

Holy Tomatoes, Batman!

Jun 11, 2010

Look, I grew some tomatoes!  I picked the first four ripe ones this week, and they're sitting on my kitchen windowsill getting nice and red.  I'll probably eat them like candy tonight or tomorrow.  Sweet anticipation.

Out of Body

Jun 8, 2010

I'm about to get all oogy-weird* on you.  Sorry about that.

Last evening brought some disturbing news - the kind of news that has a life all its own and haunts you. And for the first time in a very long time, I felt myself drift away before falling asleep.

I don't know if I believe in spirit-walking or astral projection or any of that mystical weirdness, but I do know that there have been dozens of moments in my left where I've experienced this weird thing. Like last night. When my spirit went on walk-about and had a stern conversation with the prime individual involved in that awful news.

And, I really, really hope it was real, and that person was really there too. And that they listened.

*That's a technical term I'm using to lighten a post that is far heavier than it looks.

Future Black Swallowtails of America

Jun 4, 2010

I'm growing a couple butterflies.  Step one: feed the larvae copious amounts of parsley. (Warning!  Do not pet the butterfly larvae.  They will rear their heads and show you their scary orange horns.  But don't worry, they're not carnivorous, instead preferring your parsley to your hand.)

Mighty Life List #38: Grow a Kitchen Garden (Sorta)

Jun 3, 2010

So far, we have tomatoes:

and basil:
We've been enjoying the basil and parsley (in the same pot but currently being eaten by some butterfly larvae, which I am allowing to live and enjoy the herbs of my labor because I like butterflies and can't bear to destroy tiny living creatures. And really, if it only costs me a little parsley to grow a butterfly, it's totally worth the sacrifice.  I mean, I can buy more parsley at the grocery store, but I don't think I can buy butterflies.)  I also have rosemary in another pot, plotting to take over the world (because that's what plants do!)

Anyway, I'm really hoping the tomatoes ripen soon, so I CAN EAT THEM!  Nom Nom Nom