we need more than our sanity restored, Jon Stewart…

…we need our hearts made different:

One of the signs that an object is functioning as an idol is that fear becomes one of the chief characteristics of life. When we center our lives on the idol, we become dependent on it. If our counterfeit god is threatened in any way, our response is complete panic. We do not say, “What a shame, how difficult,” but rather “This is the end! There’s no hope!”

This may be a reason why so many people now respond to U.S. political trends in such an extreme way. When either party wins an election, a certain percentage of the losing side talks openly about leaving the country. They become agitated and fearful for the future. They have put the kind of hope in their political leaders and policies that once was reserved for God and the work of the gospel. When their political leaders are out of power, they experience a death. They believe that if their policies and people are not in power, everything will fall apart. They refuse to admit how much agreement they actually have with the other party, and instead focus on the points of disagreement. The points of contention overshadow everything else, and a poisonous environment is created.

Another sign of idolatry in our politics is that opponents are not considered to be simply mistaken, but to be evil. After the last presidential election, my eighty-four-year-old mother observed, “It used to be that whoever was elected as your president, even if he wasn’t the one you voted for, he was still your president. That doesn’t seem to be the case any longer.” After each election, there is now a significant number of people who see the incoming president lacking moral legitimacy. The increasing political polarization and bitterness we see in U.S. politics today is a sign that we have made political activism into a form of religion.

(Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods, p. 98-99)

my day today

Wake up. Lie in bed and pray. Get dressed. Eat peanut butter toast. Brush teeth, put on makeup, leave. Bus to metro station.

Train delay at metro station. Major train delay. First train stuffed to claustrophobic levels. Wait for next train. Fire off e-mail to colleagues that I’m going to be late. Get on not-as-stuffed-but-still-stuffed train. Get off, walk to work.

Eat half a brownie that was leftover from party yesterday (for October birthdays). Say hi to colleague. Work on finding appropriate sound effect for weekend show. Success! Go upstairs to get coffee. Work on some cataloging. Database gets effed up. Colleague calls tech people to get them to fix it.

Leave. Wait for friends who are in town so we can go eat lunch. Meet and hug friends (and their baby!). Walk down, eat lunch, play catch-up. Entertain baby. 🙂

Go back to work. Find out we won’t be able to catalog anything until they fix the database. Start shelving (and weeding) some CDs. (This goes on a while.) Go upstairs for a Tinier Desk Concert, thrown by Intern Edition. The band is a quartet of 13- and 14-year-old baby hipsters. Watch them sound-check. Wave hello to one of the All Songs Considered producers (he’s a super-nice guy). Move behind a desk and watch them from there. They’re actually pretty good. My rock star boss talks with their rhythm guitarist for a bit, which is cool.

Go back downstairs. Shelve some more CDs. Record some circulation stats, because that’s what librarians do. Tell people bye, have a good weekend. Metro. Bus. Grocery store. Walk up a hill back home. Put a frozen pizza in the oven. Put up groceries. Write this blog post. Getting ready to write some e-mails and postcards and watch some TV. Good day.

What about you? What’d you do today?

on the nature of things.

Robert Farrar Capon, The Supper of the Lamb, p. 20:

Things must be met for themselves. To take them only for their meaning is to convert them into gods–to make them too important, and therefore to make them unimportant all together. Idolatry has two faults. It is not only a slur on the true God; it is also an insult to true things.

Trying to learn this–how to love not only things, but my fellow creatures, fellow people, and even God for themselves and not only for how they can benefit me.

thursday 13.

This week: Thirteen things that you want in life.

1. I want to be known as someone who loves God and loves her neighbor, not for what they can give me, but for and as themselves.

2. I want to be a good wife and mother.

3. I want to find satisfaction in the work I do, but not be consumed by it. I want a job where I can help people, where I can add some shalom to the world, but also one that lets me pursue other callings.

4. I want to find ways to serve and love the community I live in.

5. I want a house where I can welcome people in–a place where people can eat together, stay if they need a home, feel like family. It doesn’t have to be big or fancy, just big enough. But it does need to have a porch and a backyard, just saying.

6. I want to serve the church. I don’t know exactly what that’s going to look like in a year, or five years, or fifty years, but I want to find some way not to just serve my own congregation, but the church as a whole.

7. I want to get to know my family better.

8. I want to be more conscious of how I treat the world.

9. I want to find a group of people to sing with.

10. Not gonna lie–I want a dog.

11. I want to get more politically involved and educated.

12. I want to check off a lot of the stuff on my bucket list, but not alone, if I can help it.

13. I want to figure out concrete ways to pursue all of this.

“go over your hill and see what you find there…”

1. “…with grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.” Gosh, I love Mumford & Sons.

2. Things that have gone on in the past few days–my friend and old roommate was here for the weekend and we got to hang out on Friday night, which was great; she is a great conversationalist and sounding board and I didn’t realize how much I missed her until she was here. Saturday night I went to what is apparently an annual tradition one of my new friends from church and her roommates do–they invite everyone they know in DC to their house to hang out and drink cider and hot chocolate and meet each other and hang out. And tonight, my friend Hannah’s friend Emily (who I guess is a friend of mine now too) invited me and a bunch of other folks to come over and eat homemade donuts and (sorry, Dad) drink beer. So, in short, I’ve gotten to hang out with a bunch of wonderful people, meet some new ones, and eat some good food in the process. Not a bad weekend.

3. I’ve been pondering the body, and how I tend to objectify other people’s bodies, and my own–and how I need to start loving people’s bodies for their own sake, as good creations of God and as part of their whole personhood. How can I better provide for people’s physical needs? How can I appreciate everyone’s body as both fallen and created by God as good, and not put them into the same categories the rest of the world does? How do I use my body to worship God–not just in church, but all the time? How do I behave to show my hope that one day this body of mine (and your body, too) is going to be raised?

4. Anyway, it’s after midnight. I am tired. I need to go to bed. But more to come, I promise.

thursday 13

This week: 13 dead people you wish had Twitter accounts. (Idea blatantly stolen from The Morning News.)

1. Paul. Can you imagine?
2. Martin Luther, though he might get into some trouble because of all the anti-semitism…
3. Actually, Kate Luther, his wife, too, although I don’t know when she’d have time to tweet.
4. Thomas Edison.
5. Jane Austen.
6. Ella Fitzgerald.
7. John Lennon.
8. Shakespeare. That’d be fun.
9. T.S. Eliot, even though I think he might heavily footnote all his tweets.
10. Sojourner Truth.
11. Ben Franklin would pretty much be built for Twitter, I think.
12. I would totally follow Jimmy Stewart if he tweeted.
13. Oh, or Katherine Hepburn.

thursday 13

This week: Thirteen things that you need or want to do this weekend.

1. Call my old roommate, because it will be her birthday. 🙂 Did it. Got her voicemail. But I’m seeing her on Friday anyway, so whatever.

2. Get a pair of black pants and a white shirt. And more black socks. Done.

3. Call my folks. Yay for parents!

4. Get some reading done–I’m in the middle of a couple of books and I’m kind of tired of juggling them.

5. Get some stamps. Done.

6. Call some other folks, because I feel like I have a lot of people to catch up with. Called a bunch of girl friends from college. Awesome. Planning on hitting some more people tomorrow.

7. Not feel like crap, like I am right now. (Ugh.) 10 hours of sleep is helpful.

8. There’s a place down the street that has these really good breakfast sandwiches, and I kinda want one. Done. (Yum.)

9. Do some laundry. Started it, anyway.

10. Watch the UT and Baylor games, even if I have to stream them on the Internet. No UT game this week. Listened to Baylor lose by a goal and an extra point. Sigh.

11. Get some new guitar strings. Done. Now to fix the guitar itself…

12. Drink some coffee. Done when I got the sandwich. (Yum.)

13. Write an update e-mail for the folks at home. Just did it, huzzah.


for all this stuff:

* Further confirmation of something good going on in my life that I don’t really think I can share in this venue–not yet, anyway. But it is causing a lot of soul searching and a lot of seeking God’s heart, and that in and of itself is good.

* I got hired by a temp agency today. It staffs events at the Convention Center here in DC, so my job now is to wait for them to call me to show up. And get a white shirt and black pants. But hey, it’s a job. 🙂

* Baylor beat Kansas 55-7. This is a minor miracle, which you know if you know Big 12 football.

* Getting to watch the UT-OU game with a bunch of Austinite friends via Skype and ESPN’s website. The game sucked, but it was good to hear people’s voices. I also weirded out my friends’ little kid by being a disembodied voice, but oh well. 😉

* The community I’m getting to be a part of here. I do hate, though, that I make all these pockets of friends all over the place, and they’ll probably never all meet each other.

* Seriously, I cannot get over Mumford & Sons. I bought Sigh No More the other day and it has been on repeat ever since. My favorite song of theirs:

* I (rather impulsively) bought an acoustic guitar off of Craigslist for $25. It’s missing strings, but it’s the perfect size for my kid-sized hands and I think I can whip it into shape. I am tempted to go busking with it eventually, but we’ll see. 😉

* The remark from my parents on the phone: “You sound happier than we’ve heard you–well, ever, really.”

* Rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.

* There exists a pow-wow chant version (done by members of the Blackfeet tribe) of the theme song from Spongebob Squarepants. I can’t find a clip of it, but it has to be heard to be believed.

* Deeper recognition of my idols, and of my need for dependence and help to kill them off. They can’t just be gotten rid of; they have to be replaced entirely with affection for something better.

* The perfect weather we’re having right now.

* Being able to own both my own sin and the deep grace of God through Jesus.

* My friend Hannah went to this writers retreat in the Hill Country last weekend and apparently some very good things happened, including her getting to eat breakfast with half of Over the Rhine.

* My other friend Steph is going to be in New York in a few weeks, and I might get to go hang out with her. Woot!