so here’s a story.

The summer in between my junior and senior years of high school, my old church took the high school students on a mission trip to Washington, DC. One night we went to a homeless mission in what was then a really sketchy part of the city to do a service with them. On our way back to the metro station, some of the dads that had gone with us moved to the perimeter–on the sides, in the front and the back–so that we kids were surrounded. Almost immediately, the guys, these other high school kids, moved with them so that we girls were in the middle, and my abiding memory of that trip is knowing that we were protected and safe, because our men, younger and older, gladly took up responsibility for the protection of our little part of the body. A good number of those young men are married and daddies now, and I think that was good practice.

* * *
I have a heart for the men of the church, especially the young men; I am blessed to have a large number of surrogate big brothers and fathers, in addition to my own dad (who is a wonderful, godly man, by the way). These days, when I think of you guys, I think of that night in Washington, the men leading the way through the dark, in joyful honor to us.

The sermon this morning was on Titus 2, and the qualities men and women in the church should strive for. Paul, and therefore our pastor, spent a lot of time on the young men, which my church is full of. After church the elders usually stand up at the front for anyone who wants to be prayed for, and while I was helping to tear down, I watched a number of our guys go up, which for this girl is an encouragement.

God is doing wonderful things in, through, and for our church. And I believe that as we go forward, we’re going to see our men rise up and lead the charge against the dark. So rise up, you mighty men of valor, the Lord is with you.

and i feel plenty different.

1. Sorry I haven’t blogged in a while. Lots going on–I’m going to a conference in a couple of weeks and have a presentation to prepare; I just had a birthday not long ago (27! still hard to believe) and had an excellent evening with friends and music; I’ve been eliminating wheat from my diet, which has been interesting; I’ve been trying to get more structure in my life, also interesting; and there’s some exciting potentials for the future coming up. So I’ve been busy, but also thinking quite a bit, and you’re due a good blog post.

2. I’ve recently realized that I have this tendency to try and live mostly as an entirely intellectual being, because emotions/affections scare me quite a bit, given my history toward volatility in that area (to say the least). However, I’ve also realized that part of that prayer in the psalms for single-mindedness is asking God to make those volatile emotions line up with the objective knowledge we have, which in turn translates into our behavior. This is hard for me, but as I see it slowly starting to happen, it’s also astonishing in the best way.

3. Also, part of the objective/subjective unity: I am a Christian because God has committed Himself to me before I even existed, and His commitment and affections toward me always, always line up. In my own limited, broken way I have also committed myself to Him–I have made the conscious choice to follow Him no matter what–and part of His working in me is to unite that commitment with my affections. That’s sanctification. In the meantime, even though I don’t always feel it, I still work through my apathy or guilt or doubt, because I love Him, but moreover, He loves me and won’t let me sit in whatever keeps me from loving Him.

4. Furthermore, this has implications for human relationships, because all relationships are living, breathing metaphors for the bigger relationship between us and God. For example, my parents just recently celebrated their 41st anniversary. The one thing they’ve always driven home to me is that they stay together because 41 years ago they made a promise to God and to each other that they wouldn’t leave, that they would work through any difficulty, and that promise has somehow driven the love, not necessarily the other way around. I hope I have that kind of marriage someday, but moreover, I’m starting to see that in other relationships around me, which is cool. 🙂

5. So, yes. Lots of thinking.

6. Anyway, so other than that I have a bunch of projects going, and am doing life with folks, and working, and so on and so forth. Grateful for this season of my life, even though it started off difficult, because it’s brought me here and is taking me somewhere even better. Yes and amen.

50 parties/gatherings I want to host.

1. Everyone brings their favorite picture book from when they were a kid and, if they want, reads them for the rest of us. Milk + cookies. Maybe juice, too. Books get donated to a charity at the end of the night.
2. Olympics watching party (complete with theme based on the host country).
3. Oscars party.
4. Fancy cocktail party for New Year’s Eve–get dressed up, have some mixed drinks, hor d’oeuvres, some good music and a dance floor, etc.
5. Lent fast-breaking party on Easter Monday.
6. A resource party–everyone comes with a list of five things they want to accomplish in the next year. We go around the room and read the lists, and then anyone who has resources (people, ideas, talents, etc.) for helping out shares them.
7. Regular Saturday night or Sunday afternoon Sabbath dinners.
8. Jazz Era costume party.
9. A picnic on the spring equinox or the summer solstice.
10. Get together in a public place and read something out loud together.
11. Hymn sings.
12. Once-a-month brunch.
13. Christmas cookie swap!
14. A retreat of some kind. With a speaker.
15. 10,000 day parties (for all my friends who are currently younger than 10,000 days).
16. My parents’ 50th anniversary party (January 2021).
17. Movie club! (Once- or twice-a-month movie viewings)
18. New members lunch for my church, whenever we get a new round of folks?
19. Guy Fawkes Day bonfire (maybe with marshmallows/hot beverages/s’mores).
20. Watch party for the Perseid meteors.
21. Talent show.
22. Christmas caroling (with cider/hot chocolate/whatever afterwards).
23. Backyard concert.
24. Listening party for a much-anticipated album.
25. Weekly communal watchings of a TV show.
26. Game night–I, for one, would love to have a spades tournament, because I’m a card game nerd, but there’s always Scrabble, Apples to Apples, etc.
27. Project night: bring whatever you’re in the middle of doing and hang out, ask advice, have snacks, etc.
28. Afternoon tea.
29. Regular potluck dinners.
30. Stuff swap–bring 5-10 things you have you don’t want anymore, set it all in a big pile on a table, let people pick what they want, take the leftovers to Goodwill afterwards.
31. A black-and-white ball.
32. Drive through Prestonwood Forest at Christmas time and look at the lights.
33. Christmas cookie swap (might be kind of tricky for the wheat-free people, but we can make it work).
34. Cooking classes–rotating through different people’s houses, someone teaches a particular skill or recipe.
35. Some kind of something for Pentecost. (I feel like we should have more Pentecost parties; not sure why.)
36. Church-wide pre-service Easter breakfast–giant batches of breakfast casserole, coffee, fruit, cinnamon rolls?
37. A public reading of the “I Have a Dream” speech for MLK Day.
38. Field trip to a Sacred Harp sing.
39. T-shirt-making party. 😀
40. Thanksgiving dinner for anyone who can’t go home to their families (I’ve been on the receiving end of a couple of these and they are amazing; I figure it’s time to give back).
41. An election night bipartisan tea party…put out different kinds of tea, have folks vote for their favorite, watch the results come in.
42. Ten-year, twenty-year, etc. high school reunions.
43. I want to host a grand opening party for something. I have no idea what, but it’d be fun.
44. A tweet-up at a conference.
45. I feel like it might be kinda fun to do something for Mardi Gras.
46. If I were ever to get married, I’d want to get a bunch of people together to stuff invitation envelopes, and make a party of it.
47. Also, I want to have a rehearsal dinner like the one in Rachel Getting Married. My parents’ house isn’t that big, but I’m sure we could figure something out.
48. A spelling bee for grownups (they do this in Austin as a fundraiser for something or other and I would love to do something similar).
49. Go to a Sunday matinee of a play or a movie.
50. Go to one of the crazy events at the Alamo Drafthouse.

from the postmodern maiden to her knight

The way you look tonight
it’s like the stars were shining in your eyes
while you rage against the dark machine
flaming sword in hand
to plunge into its mechanical guts
to salvage its heart
not so you can win the princess
but to protect your armor-bearer from its rattle and hum
so you can both keep slashing your way
through the urban jungle

the way you look tonight
it’s like you woke up this morning
and put on a wet suit beneath
your suit and tie because you never know
whether it’ll be rain or shine round here
and you just hate to be stuck with your umbrella
because it just keeps you from dancing
like you want to underneath the bass drum sky

it’s like you got no rest because
you were awake with some name breathing
from your lips, and with your name singing
from my lungs
and that is all the beauty we need

now hear me
i’m not saying you look good
that’s a compliment i save
for the ones i just like a lot

what i’m saying is that
you look like yourself
and yet you look like someone i can’t recognize
because i’ve never seen his face
but i keep hearing his voice from the other room

what i’m saying, love
is that you look like
exactly what i did not expect
to come find me in this tower of my unbelief
and like all the hero i need

things i’m pondering these days.

How to get more fruit and veg and fewer refined carbs and less meat into my diet.

How being in community with people has me seriously reconsidering how I eat. (Lots of people at church doing juice fasts or not eating wheat [myself included] or otherwise being really intentional about their eating.)

What it means that God made us specifically gendered people–what it means for me, being a woman, to be specifically feminine in the time and place in which I live, and doing that for the glory of God.

Tim Keller’s excellent advice to single people: Start off as friends first. Don’t consider potential partners for how good they look or how successful they are or how they can further your personal agenda in being an awesome person or getting emotional satisfaction, but how well you click as people and how well you think you can serve God together and be part of sanctifying one another. Does this person make you want to love Jesus more? Could you be part of helping them love Jesus more?

Packing up and moving for the heck of it. Except not really. But still.

How to love my family and friends better.

Coffee. Always.

The rather traumatic ending to Doctor Who season 2. (“Rose Tyler, I–“)