Thursday, March 25, 2010

it's been a good month

1. Tonight I went to the Egg Harbor City Public Library. I saw the mom of one of my church bus kids. I want to be in Egg Harbor as much as possible so that my heart is with the church bus route I do. And so that I can establish rapport and hopefully friendships.

2. I have started following Justin Taylor and several other related pastor blogs again. I seriously love everything that they write. It's like they know what I'm thinking. (I mean, Chesterton on fairy tales, Hazlitt on Obamacare, St. Patrick on St. Patrick?!?!)

I recently decided that my somewhat unfeminine interest in all things ecclesiastical is going to have to be kept to myself. I mean, what single lady should pull up a chair to a church planting brainstorming session in Starbucks? Maybe reading these blogs is a way to vicariously be involved in these types of discussions. Lame, I know, but I gotta be me.

3. I love my life. I am a musician for my school's spring musical, which means I get to practice piano a lot and learn, from a student who knows, how to use a synth properly in that setting. No creating or managing on this project; just collaborating with great high school students and one amazing teaching colleague.

4. My parents, despite the one hundred and one million ways they exposed me to culture, must have hated musical theater. I am 27 and tonight was the first time I saw Annie.

5. Obviously my Lenten lack of Facebook is finally surfacing in an anemic need to express myself in non-creative ways like I am doing here. Oh, I can tell you what I am doing right now. I am very good at that.

6. I should be finishing my personal statement and studying German pronunciation for girls choir tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

virtual choir

I usually don't play my favorite choir music for my music appreciation classes. I know that seems contradictory; I guess it's just some type of weird defense mechanism. But in this most recent brain child of Eric Whitacre, the fusion of technology plus great music kept my seventh and eighth grade riveted. Ok, most of them were riveted.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

There is nothing new in Christ's church

What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there a thing of which it is said,
"See, this is new?"
It has been already,
in the ages before us.
I've heard this verse applied in lots of different ways, but not ever in the context of what we as Christ's church, are doing.

I love my local fellowship. Although I think most people in my church have never heard the word "missional" (I'm the only one who is nerdy enough or has the time to read pastor blogs), and while most of them are scared to death of a heresy called "the social gospel"; my brothers and sisters in church put me to shame in terms of how much they reaching out to those outside of our church walls. Just last week one couple shared that they took their Jewish dentist skiing and another lady shared that she convinced a coworker to read the Bible. Add to that the coworkers of two other congregants that discussed the Lord in the past week, and a retired friend who has made herself an establishment in the local McDonalds where everyone knows they can go to her to talk. I am merely scratching the surface of the myriads of ways my church is reaching out to individuals.

While I love to read some of the stuff younger pastors my age are writing, I don't see much difference between what they are talking about and what my older, more conservative church is doing. Making inroads into the community through relationships. Sharing Christ through example, kindness, and actual witnessing. There is nothing new under the sun.

I don't know if I'm bragging about my church or not; I think I am talking to myself. That the next time I complain that one of our ministries needs to be more "intentional", I'd better remove the beam in my eye and start reaching out a fraction of the time that my older brothers and sisters in the Lord do.

I do know that I am bragging on Christ and his church. Whether we are holding a coffee house or an old-fashioned revival meeting God will use us. God will use us when we're knocking on doors to tell the good news and when we invite someone over for lunch. God uses us when we're going to work, and when we plan to help someone out in our spare time, and even when we're relaxing and doing neither. God takes his church and builds it, and he has, and he will be.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Humility and sleep

There is something utterly humbling about being a person who needs sleep.

When I go to bed, it is like I am admitting defeat. I am putting my head on the pillow, and somewhere out there:

-my friend from church will be offering up prayers at least until midnight if not after.
-my coworker from school is going to do a grueling workout because she was too busy earlier.
-my mom is sleeping but will be up hours before I am.
-several thousand people around the world are practicing violin.
-an old crush is out with friends.
-my brother is starting his 976th book ahead of how many books I've read.

but I have to go to bed because if I don't I will not teach well.

(can you tell I'm a little unhealthily competitive?)

And my worst enemy is my own head. I have judged others. I had a friend in college who (it seemed to me) napped all the time. And I resented it because I never had time to nap. But she simply asserted that she needed the sleep, and I knew it didn't affect her self image a bit (like it would have affected mine.) I have judged people that needed to sleep and skip a church meeting. But now I'm experiencing the proverbial 'four fingers pointing back at myself'. (Remember that comeback from when we were, like, eight?)

I can't do everything I want to do, I have to sleep. I fall asleep and, BAM, eight hours of NOTHING being accomplished. Eight hours of my life.

"all men are like grass..."

I have no strength. A very small percentage of the ministry or creative ideas that come into my head will ever get accomplished. I just have to trust the Lord, that the job he has for me on this earth, will get done, because HE is sovereign.

"In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me to dwell in safety."

As a side note, I have been letting my diet and exercise slip lately, and I think if that gets under control I may start needing less sleep. We will see.

"Oh Lord, the way of man is not in himself. It is not in man who walks to direct his own steps. Correct me Lord, but with justice. Not in anger, lest I come to nothing."

Honda commercial

The commercial came out a few years ago, I think, but whenever I watch it I am inspired to create sound with the human voice. I showed the actual commercial to my fourth graders and they loved it. I actually like this video, where it shows them rehearsing, better.

Monday, March 8, 2010

my stream of consciousness this week regarding stories

They say stories like that make a boy grow bold
Stories like that make a man walk straight...

I've been reading a little more, probably due to my extra snow days. Last month I finished a work of fiction that was compelling enough to stay in my thoughts for days after I finished the book. The book was allegorical, almost to Bunyan-like proportions, yet the plot line still had me on the edge of my seat.

I realized a few days later that in my mind I was starting to presuppose the author's beliefs. In other words, Author X believes things I don't; yet after this masterful allegory I was subconsciously beginning to assume her ideas were truth.

And then I thought to myself, how wise was Jesus to use stories to teach truth.

But then I thought, how unoriginal of me to have that thought, since every trendy pastor and philosopher wanna-be has been saying the same thing for a while now.

But it is true! Not in the sense of let's throw out propositional truth for 'localized narratives' (my 'I've-heard-one-sermon-about-philosophy-and-I'm-gonna-refer-to-it' sentence) but in the sense of 'let's communicate truth with stories.'

I think there was a difference in my ten-year old mind when faced with a moral dilemma and I could remember the fictional 'Johnny' returning extra change to the store clerk. Remembering a 'thou-shalt-not' was helpful; but remembering 'Johnny's' mental anguish while making his decision, and comparing it to my own, was even more helpful.

It's surprising the children's stories that come back to me. And speaking of children's stories, I have for the past year, been heralding (in my mind) folk tales as the champion which will restore appreciation for beauty to a overstimulated culture. I had a very 'old' first grade last year that was bored of my first grade games and songs. They were riveted by simple folk tales, though. I started telling Brer Rabbit stories because beauty and simplicity and attention span are more important than covering my curriculum. That is a different topic though, and hopefully I will uncover some evidence for this last thought soon.

For me this week, Chesterton's Father Brown, to relax when I'm done work. Hoping it won't turn me into a priest, though, or conversely, a criminal mastermind.

Sunday morning

I wrote this two Sunday mornings ago, 'upon singing a favourite hymn' and 'whereupon I should have been listening to the preacher but was remembering another sermon I heard a year ago and writing a poem about my sin.'

Sunday Morning

David just danced,

But I became aware of my Michal too soon.

So praise him that the stones cry out

When a living heart becomes one.

Look at me I love to praise:

On another day I am sounding my trumpet before me.

Praise him that I’ve been made alive

Even though I’m acting like a coffin full of bones.

So loosen my tongue and give it a job,

Make me want one thousand opportunities to say

That your blood breaks the power of sin;

The power of Michals and trumpets.

Pretty sure this doesn't count as poetry, but just thought I'd throw it up here in the interest of giving attention to my forlorn blog.

Oh, and here's the sermon that kind of stuck with me. I had never heard the 'David dancing' story applied this way. Basic gist of the sermon: David was so thankful that he got to return the ark that he didn't care who saw how excited he was.