29.2.12

The Simplicity Project - Refine the Schedule

The Simplicity Project she laughs at the daysLast year I finally got over my fear of Excel and learned to use spreadsheets. This is relevant because for the first time ever I used Excel to make up our new schedule. I even had 3 different sheets going on in 1 workbook, one for the basic schedule, one for the daily task list for each child, and myself, and one for the weekly subject plan. It was so easy to do it this way, I could just move things around at will until I liked where it fit.

I just made a list of everything they needed to get done and then pasted it where it fit, which showed me what was actually possible and what needed to be dropped. For a few years I used the MOTH system, which was really daunting actually, at first. I like this simplified version for me. MOTH takes the schedule thing so seriously that I feel like I have to also to be doing it right. Never tell a perfectionist there's a right way to do something, or she won't get anything done unless she's sure she's doing it that way.

It occurred to me, as I went through the kids school books laying out a revised daily and weekly schedule that will ensure that they get through all of their curriculum by the end of the year that I should do the same for myself. I should look at everything I want to get done this year and then put it all in my calendar in bite sized daily chunks to accomplish. That was kind of a DUH moment. So I'm working on that.

But putting together our schedule and discarding things that are no longer working helped m realize some things that continue to work really well for us so I thought I'd share them here.

It really works out well to tell the kids what has to be finished by the end of the week before they can go and have fun. I used to just have them work as much as I could but they thrive on knowing that they are no finished their work for the week and can play instead. I need to give myself that same limit. Once I get this x done, then I can play.


I love that my children do chores. It seriously makes the whole day easier and lighter. Here's what my kids do.

Morning Jobs
The Boy - clean the bathroom: wipe down sinks and counters, put things away, pick up the floor, wipe and swish the toilet bowl, etc.
The Girl - unload the dishwasher or fold a load of laundry if the dishwasher isn't full enough to run.
Little - make her bed
Judah - stay asleep until mommy finishes pilates and showers (He's very bad at this.)

After Meal Jobs
The Boy - Sweep
The Girl - Clear and put away
Little - wipe the table

Afternoon Jobs
They each pick up one of the main rooms in the house after school and play is done. Usually before heading outside to play. It's best to come to my house right after they do this. It's the only time it manages to look tidy.

Dinner Helper
They alternate nights helping in the kitchen and setting the table.

I never would have imagined that my kids would be the reason my house manages to be tolerable to live in most of the time now, but it's great. Sometimes when they are out and I'm trying to clean up I find myself wishing they would come home and help me.

Now that it's March I'm going to move on to the most looming, yet exciting part for me, because it involves visuals. I'm going to start going through my wardrobe and try to reduce it, a lot.

I have a few rules, to keep myself from doing something I may regret.
1.I won't deal with clothing that is currently too small for me, other than putting it away. I've been pregnant enough to know that I will forever regret that dress I gave away thinking I would never be that size again.
2.I will also not get rid of special occasion items and dresses, because I always regret that, and it's not like I have a lot of those.
3. I will not cull summer items until summer when I have a better idea of their usefulness.

That said, it's time to get rid of the wardrobe clutter. I'm excited. First me, then the kids.


27.2.12

To be Alive

It's almost 9am and I am struggling to give a squirmy toddler turned little boy a haircut as he sits in the bathtub. The cinnamon buns rise in the the pan in the kitchen and the husband newly returned from another business trip let's me know the the oven dinged it's readiness and I ask him to put the pan in for me.

photo by Zie

My sister gave birth to a baby girl 2 weeks ago. She's beautiful and perfect.

On Saturday I went to the funeral of a 26 year old mother of 4 who died suddenly of a heart attack. One minute she was there, celebrating a milestone, and the next she was gone. I find myself seized with thankfulness for the chance to tuck my children into bed another night, run my hands over their hair, and kiss their flushed cheeks.

photo by Zie


A friend gave birth to a baby boy on Tuesday, 3 weeks early. He had a congenital defect that they knew about. His lungs and his kidneys would never work right. He died 4 hours later, having spent those hours cradled in his parent's arms. His name was Jacob.

I run my fingers through Bam Bam's hair, marveling that he is 18 months already, that he is healthy and whole and still with me. How did I get to be so lucky?

Another friend gave birth to her baby, also early, on Thursday morning. She took him home 3 days later and is figuring out new motherhood. I try to imagine what it was like for her when Jacob's parents came to see her and meet her baby less than 48 hours after their baby son passed away. I try to imagine what it was like for them. I cry whenever I think about it.



We sit at the table, the 6 of us, eating fresh warm cinnamon buns altogether and I look at them, the children I'm raising, the husband I love, and I marvel that we are here, together, like this, as though it were completely normal to have this much abundance, as though we are unaware of the miracle that each of these moments is.

More ordinary miracles

photo by Zie
Rain coming down sideways and making a racket.

Baby soft hair

Bam Bam hugging people by wrapping his arms around their legs and laying his head there.

The Boy making tea.



lemons

generous friends

the kindness of strangers

snow capped mountains looming over desert heat

Scrub hills looking like the backbone of some giant lizard.

The way Bam Bam waves good bye, urgently, and then slams the door.

The gift of knowing that many things I used to think important really don't matter anymore.

Wild lilacs

Sheepskin boots

A boy asleep in my lap.

A phone call with my dad.

A new niece, tiny and perfect.

Dinner with a friend and gallivanting navy officer returned for a moment after 2 years away.

This song by my SIL.
ComScore

24.2.12

Little trashes the dress + an adventure

We went out to the sticks for Lemon Week with Brenda and Bug.

See Bug patiently smiling for the photo while my child deliberately makes that face and shovels food in? Yep, that's her in a nutshell.

That was after they came to visit us and we took them on a very long walk.

Brenda graciously said I could show you some of the fabulous pictures she took of our hike here, which is good, because she's a way better photographer than me.

It was beautiful.

Bam Bam rode the whole way.


It was a long steep climb and Little was really running out of steam. This picture is when Bug went back to help encourage her. It was so sweet.


And I really like this shot of all of us sitting at the top for a second before starting the long walk down. The Boy is using my sunglasses so he can try and see the bit of ocean visible in the distance in the glare of the setting sun.


It was dark before we got down and the park ranger met us on the trail and personally walked us out. They could hear us a long way off and waited for us to get off the mountain safely before they could go home to dinner. They were pretty nice about it.

Anyway, Little is just a bit smaller than Bug and happily receives several unwanted items from her. When Brenda showed me Lena's halloween costume, fashioned from a real old wedding dress, I overcame my reluctance to add something so big and bulky to the things taking up closet space because I knew she'd be enchanted. She has barely taken it off since then.

See?




Thanks Bug for the most pouffy princess dress ever.

23.2.12

The Rules of Inheritance - A book review

disclosure - I was compensated for this review by blogher but the opinions expressed are my own.

From the first sentence I loved this book. At first glance it seems depressing, and I wasn't very hopeful. It is after all the memoir of a girls who's parents were both diagnosed with cancer when she was 14 and they passed away when we was still young. But Claire Bidwell Smith paints such a gripping picture with her prose that you can't help but be swept up in the things she is feelings, the events of her life, and the turns of her story.

The book is organized into section, based on the 5 stages of grief. It is not chronological but flashes from snapshot to snapshot of Bidwell's experience, based on which stage of grief she is in.

That it begins with denial and then moves through the other stages is brilliant, because the reader is able to go through the stages with her and we all start out in denial. As the book continues all the other emotions begin to spill out and we are there with her, as she struggles to forget, or cope, or ignore, or accept all the implications of her loss.

She's shockingly honest, from sharing how she missed being there when her mother died because she stopped 3 hours away to see a boy she liked, to the telling of her relationship with men. I love the way she describes people using details that help you see their quirks, what makes them unique, and never too many. Through it all we see a real person and can't help caring about her.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone. It's a compelling story and extremely honest. I would especially recommend it for someone who has lost someone, or is close to someone who has lost someone and wants to understand.

For more about The of Rules of Inheritance join the blogher book club discussion.

22.2.12

The Simplicity Project - Stop Multi-Tasking

It's the first day of Lent. Here's day one of my Lenten Meditation for Children.



The Simplicity Project she laughs at the days


Parts of this experiment were just one big giant fail. I can't not multitask. I can't. I'm a mom and it's such a habit for me that I just couldn't remember that I was trying to focus on one thing at a time. It took at least 6 days for me to get through most of a day only focusing on what I was doing.

It helps that I have 2 extra kids in my house now several days a week. They're older, and just need a supervised place to do school work while their mom is at work but they still need help with their work and supervision. Apparently 6 kids to supervise is the point at which I stop feeling bored with what I'm doing and like I'm idle. So I don't have that urge to go off and find something else to do. So mornings started to go pretty well. I don't even open up my laptop until after lunch. I teach school, check work, stay on top of chores, and to keep myself busy I remember things like putting a load of laundry in before lunch time, and hanging it while I listen to a child read to me. I'm such a good homemaker when there is no internet or work to distract me.

It's harder to focus on just work in the afternoons, because I still have to supervise children and work. But I've been doing that for years, so it's second nature now. But it's horrible for my blogging. I used to blog in bits and spurts as thoughts came I would run over and type them out before they escaped and then get sucked in and forget something else I was doing. Making myself finish something else before writing means that it gets to be 11pm and I'm so tired and Hulu is mighty tempting when I've only got an hour left before bed time.

Speaking of which, after I spent so many days sort of finding a stride in not multitasking, and going to bed on time, I had a grant proposal opportunity come up for The Charis Project. I had 3 days to get the package together. I pulled an allnighter all Saturday night to finish it, and that was after 2 really late nights. It completely wrecked me for a day.

Real life wreaks havoc with my plans.

However. Not multitasking has reminded me that I need to assign times for everything, and not feel guilty if I use up all the time for one thing and switch to another before actually finishing. It's the only way to fit in a few of the things I love but lack time for.

So this week's project is to make a new schedule/routine/fit everything in where it will actually fit sort of deal.

I've been putting this off for a while because our old schedule was impressive, but needs tweaking and doesn't allow enough time for somethings with the toddler situation brought into consideration, not to mention the extra children. So I will sit down and do it this week.

If you have any schedule tips and trick that work for you PLEASE share them with me in the comments section. I'd love to read them.

If you did a simplicity project and would like to link up please do so. Grab the button here.


18.2.12

Grace wins

She describes the scene to me over the phone and in my minds eye I can see it, the gleeful, almost boyish way he darts forward, envelope in hand, and the church foyer, where they both still attend, decades later, studiously avoiding actually talking or looking at each other. But I am not prepared for what she tells me was inside.


Just 3 words fill the envelope, and my heart, to over flowing. "I FORGIVE YOU."


She tells me she was working on a letter after reading this post, apologizing for some things, but she hadn't delivered it yet. Softened heart turned to softened heart and forgiveness preceded apology but the apologetic heart was ready to receive. The healing is far too late for so many things to be as I wished them and yet it is good. It is right, and grace wins in the end.



I noticed that he was unusually silent when he picked me up from Bible camp my fourteenth year. But I was full with the silliness of camp stories and brand new songs that I sang to him all the way home, my heart lighter than it had been in months.

It was on a bunk, teenaged counselor in front of me, that I finally let go. I released the responsibility I had shouldered for my siblings, my parents, and their marriage. I had washed my hands of the whole things and given it to God to deal with. Looking back, I wonder if she knew, that counselor. Maybe my mother called her.

She wasn't home when we got back. No one was. She was at the neighbor's house. I still hadn't a clue what was about to happen, what had already happened, how my life would spin out of place and the years I would spend trying to set it right again.

"I've decided to leave your father," she announced. "I asked him to let us stay in the house but he said no, so we're staying with Mrs. Knapp for a while. Pack up your things, and then bring them over."

She left then, left me alone in the house with him, with my grief, and for a while the spinning was so fast I had to do something to cope with it.

I turned every book on every shelf upside down. I put all of my favorite things in my room and locked the door. I shrouded that house as though for a funeral that day. It was appropriate, for something had died.

There was a framed piece of paper on which were typed oft quoted Bible verses about marriage and love. I took it down, turned it to face the wall.

My bewildered father, following around behind me, stooped to put it back again and I unleashed all the fury, all the pain as I yelled. "NO! Leave it down. It's a lie. It doesn't belong on the wall in this house. It's not true of you and mom."

They had betrayed me you see, broken every vow, every promise.

I coped with the fighting, the yelling, and the tears as I hid in closets clinging to the words, "No matter how angry we are we will stay together. We will work this out."

My parent's separation, and ultimate divorce, made me question everything. At the top of the list was the faith they had raised me in. If it wasn't enough to help them work through things than was it worth believing? If it was true why were they acting so contrary to it's tenants on so many points?

I wondered how a parent who seemed to so passionately love God could side step so often the direct questions I asked. "Have you forgiven her?" "Did you ever love her."

For me, in my youth, it was black and white and there was someone to blame and they were hypocrites.

It's been decades since then. Forgiveness, once for me a necessary daily practice to get through a conversation with gritted teeth, is now such a wide worn path that there is joy in our relationship again and the hurt is past.

But there is gladness to be found still in that moment, so many years coming, when the 2 who brought me into this world and taught me how to be in it can lay aside blame and defensiveness and give to each other, but more to themselves, the gift of forgiveness. If I still had it I would dust off that piece of paper in it's frame and hang it once more on the wall of my childhood home. For the truth of it still shines out, no matter how long it took them to find their way back to it again.

I am glad they are free.

**I found this sitting in my drafts folder from last year. It's been a crazy week so I thought I'd publish it in lieu of having time to post. I think I was waiting for permission from my dad to publish it, which I did get months ago.

17.2.12

Dear Religious Right, you might be doing this wrong

Dear Santorum and Co. et. al,

I know. It was supposed to be about religious freedom, about the right to conscientious objection and the laws of this country. It was supposed to be about preserving, or establishing, the right of employers who believe that certain issues of a woman's reproductive health might be in violation of their conscience to not have to pay for it. (Of course, as the Queen of Spain mentioned,

You thought you were going to be arguing, in a nationally televised panel, that you should be allowed to object to something against your conscience. In this case, you believe the pill is something that kills babies, and you shouldn't have to pay for something like that. You don't want to pay for a woman's abortion because you believe it's murder. I get it.

I actually agree with you, a lot.

But I think you failed to tell the more important story, and it really mattered to the millions of women in this nation that you did.

You'd probably like me. I think. I mean, I'm not Catholic, or Mormon, or an Orthodox Jew. I've never taken birth control pills. I researched and researched and in the end decided I didn't want to mess with my bodies chemical and hormonal makeup. I try to eat clean food too as a result. I wasn't raised to believe this, by the way. I got here on my own, through lots and lots of reading.

I eschewed prenatal testing, convinced that I was going to bear my child no matter what was wrong with him or her. I've had 3 home births and caught my own babies. I would bear a Down's Syndrome child to term without a second thought.

I waited until I was married to have sex and I've only ever been with one man. A lot of people would consider that proof that I am too naive to discuss this issue. If by naive they mean I have experienced a lot less pain and heartache than many women then yes, I probably am naive. People probably think that's why I agree with you, and thanks to how you are presenting this issue they're not gonna have much cause to think anything different.

I also don't want my money to go to pay for an abortion, or for a woman to take drugs week after week, year after year, that may be harmful to her.

But my reasons appear to be different than yours. You see, I came to my conclusions based on a few things that you seem to have forgotten.

Here's how what I believe got me to the page you appear to be on.

1. All people are created in the image of God. In the ancient world it was the Christians, and the Jews, who had this idea of the sacredness of each person, of the reflection of the divine that each life was capable of who rescued rejected babies from garbage heaps, and raised them as their own.

2. Sex is more than a physical act, as is true of most things we do to sustain life, because our spirits inhabit our bodies and what we touch and what we do is all spiritual. In fact, separating sacred and secular is about as ridiculous as separating blood from sinew.

3. Because of 1 and 2 we ought to treat each other with dignity, both men and women for we are dealing with the image of God, with a person's spirit, in every encounter.

4. The Pope objected to contraception because he believed it would lead to the objectifying of women. He believed that divorcing the physical act from the realization of 3, that you are dealing with a person clothed in the dignity of being made in God's own image, and that the actions between you were designed to be treated with far more reverence than modern men and women treat sex, would lead to men who had no real care for women using her for sex and then discarding her. After all, if you divorce an action from it's consequences, if you can now blame her for getting pregnant because she should have been born all of the responsibility for the outcome of your intercourse, and you none of it. Then you have men, and women, entering into deeply immature and shallow relationships with each other that end in heartache more often than not.

Personally, if a man is going to touch one of my daughters it should be after he thought long and hard about whether or not he was willing to give his life for her, his whole life. I don't mean he should be willing to die for her, though if it should come down to it he had better be. But he had better be willing to live for her and with her, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health until death do you part.

Her father didn't even kiss me until he was ready to do that. So no, I don't think it's an unreasonable thing to expect of a man. I will teach my sons this exact same thing.

I won't have my daughter's body, it's reproductive ability and it's sexuality treated as an object by anyone, for any reason. Not if I can help it.

In fact, I won't have any girl's body treated as an object, by anyone, if I can help it. I want for every girl, and woman, in the world what I want for my own daughter. I want for her to know that she is special, that her sexuality, among other things, is valuable, sacred, even. I want her to know that no one should ever treat her as an object and with anything less than reverence.

I do believe that the common use of birth control has led to the cheapening of women in the eyes of men. I do believe that abortion is a sad and horrible thing. I do care about the aborti-facient properties of the birth control pill and believe that sex without reverence for life is far more shallow and less satisfying than it was meant to be.

So I am concerned, dear clergyman and congressman that you would approach this subject in the political arena with so little regard for the women your beliefs are supposed to protect.

You see, you weren't just talking about your own religious freedom and your right to conscientious objection, and you weren't just talking about health insurance. You had the eyes of the nation on you and a chance to tell people about how your faiths care deeply about women, their bodies, and their children, and instead you made crass jokes that were disrespectful, and flippant, and glib. Or at least, you let the people around you do so.

You failed to demonstrate love and concern for women.

I am concerned for women, for their self respect, for their ability to see themselves as something other than sex objects, for their ability to command the respect of their partner such that the onus of pregnancy prevention isn't on them, that they are with men who are willing to commit to the point that a pregnancy, even an unplanned one, isn't a disaster.

I'm concerned for the women, like a very dear friend, and the mother who adopted my nephew, who had ectopic pregnancies and would have died had it not been removed. They grieved for those children, even when they submitted to the surgery that saved their life by taking the life of their infant.

I'm concerned for the women who found out early in their pregnancy that their baby had a condition that they were not likely to survive outside the womb so they had time to prepare and were not surprised when the life of their little one was so brief after being born. They are brave, brave women who gave life to their babies for as long as they could, and they were mothers to their children, even if they only held them for a few hours.

I'm concerned for all the women who are RH negative, like I am, who's babies would have likely died 50 years ago if it were not for antibody screening and the invention of Rhogam.

I'm concerned for the very brave women I know who endure great physical trials during pregnancy for the sake of their convictions and commitment to not using contraception in spite of the health risks.

I'm concerned for all of these women, and their stories, that you trampled on last week with your grandstanding.

I'm just wondering, are you?

You did none of these women justice by your words or actions, and it's a shame, because they deserve it.

Why is it, do you you think, that the modern world thinks of Christianity and Judaism as so repressive of women? How is it that a faith that was shockingly liberal in it's attitude toward women, compared to the rest of the ancient world, is now considered oppressive?

You may win the legal battle. I actually hope you do. But I hope that you are even more concerned with the people caught in the middle of that battle and how they are cared for.

It's something to think about.

9.2.12

The Weird Sisters - blogher book club

If I weren't being compensated by blogher for my review of this book, all opinions are mine of course, I would have put it down at the end of chapter 7 and never picked it up again. It's not that it's a horrible book. I was excited to read it from the description. It's just that I have enough in real life of real people I actually care about making foolish and harmful decisions that hurt themselves and others. I just really didn't have the emotional energy to endure watching fictional characters I don't really care about do the same thing.

But I kept reading, because I had to, hoping that at some point the plot would take a redemptive turn. I'm glad to say that it did, and that at the very end one of the characters said something that I heartily agree with.

While I endorse the telling of a story of women growing up and finding their way and the bonds between sisters, and I enjoyed the last half of the book, somehow this story left me cold. I think it says more about me than of the book. Perhaps I am too old to be able to identify with the emotional difficulties of women who are self absorbed while lacking in self awareness. I like them at the end, I do. I especially enjoy how the youngest sister Cordy starts speaking the truth, and saying what needs to be said.

One of the things that bothered me most though was an odd sort of moral ambiguity that ran alongside what was supposed to be true remorse. The true wrong it seems, in a sisterhood filled with bad behavior, is to snitch on each other and to judge. It comes off as disingenuous that one feels so guilty when guilt seems to be taboo.

The story is told in 1st person plural, which is an interesting trick and sort of reads like all three sisters are sitting together in the same room telling the tale. It's well done, though I found the repeated use of "our mother" and "our father" jarring and not conversational enough to match the overall tone.

Overall, I think a lot of people would enjoy this book and get a lot out of it, if you're not old and crotchety like me with too many places where this book hits too close to home that is. It is ultimately hopeful, but just like real life, it takes it's own sweet time getting there.

For more on The Weird Sisters go to the blogher book club.

8.2.12

The Simplicity Project - Establish a regular bed time

The Simplicity Project she laughs at the days When one is setting out to change old habits and establish a regular bedtime, at a reasonable hour it would be best to first inform one's spouse of one's intentions, rather than assume he read your blog post about it. Because if he doesn't know he is very likely to get in the way of all your efforts unawares.

Night 1- I get ready for and in bed by midnight my target bed time for the week. Aaron is feeling chatty and starts a conversation when he gets into bed a few minutes later. However I can't talk to him because I am trying to get an awake toddler back to sleep and he's really restless. I eventually fall asleep.

Night 2: Toddler doesn't wake up, but 5 year old does. My family doesn't want me to get regular sleep. I do make it to bed in the area of midnight. Have to tear myself away from something interesting the husband is doing to do it.

Night 3: There is marital nudge nudge winking and a timely bed hour that is completely thwarted by first Bam Bam waking and then Little, who likes to sleep in our bed and we're trying to teach her not to unless she really needs comfort. I fall asleep beside Bam Bam, then Little, then Bam Bam again.

Night 4: My birthday party. Good friends staying late and talking about interesting things. By 11 I am starting to nod and feel tired. By 11:30 I can't do it anymore and slip away to do some quick clean up because I need to head to bed. This night owl is being reformed.

Night 5: In bed on time.

Night 6: Dinner guests from out of town that stay until 1am. It's awesome to see them. I get to bed at 2am. I am completely destroyed the next day. How did I ever do this before?

Night 7: trying to make a button for the simplicity project. Get to bed at 12:30am, Aaron is still watching something.

Thoughts

I'm going to keep doing this for the rest of the year. It appears that a night owl can change after all. I feel better in the mornings also. I think it would be very good for Aaron to do also but that's obviously his choice, not mine.

Having a set bedtime made me use my evenings better. I was eying the clock so that I could get to the tasks, like loading the dishwasher, and kitchen clean up, in time to still get to bed on time. My evening where actually more efficient than without a bedtime.

I need to figure out when to fit in talking to my spouse though.


This week's project in time management comes from this article that I read this week. How (and Why) to Stop Multitasking. I will this week only do one thing at a time. As much as possible. Obviously I always have to parent and watch Bam Bam. But I will only do school during school time. I will do one task at a time during work time. I will not try to catch up on facebook and make sure the kids are getting ready for bed at the same time. I expect this exercise will drive me crazy because waiting for children to finish things can be extremely boring, and frustrating. However, I also intend to make them wait for me to finish something before expecting me to answer them. As I type the Girl is waiting beside me because I told her I would talk to her when I I was finished typing this paragraph. This could be good for all of us.



Want to join in?

Grab the button here, and link up your post about what you are doing to simplify your life. You can do the same projects that I am doing, or projects of your own. Feel free to do last weeks project this week.


6.2.12

Thank-you



A few weeks ago I told the story of some wonderful friends who came to the rescue in ways that were very needed at the time. What I didn't expect was that that would inspire some more of you to do completely spontaneous and generous things that are bringing me to tears every day.



Like the  blogging turned irl friend who sent a $40 my way via paypal for a "teeny little Trader Joe's run" because she knows me so well.

Or the reader who offered to help pay for me to get my tooth fixed.

outdoor party lighting


Or the friend at church who called his brother the dentist and arranged for him to do the work we needed for free.

Or the guy Aaron works for who helped to pay off what was left on the credit card bill.



And then there were the friends who came to a last minute birthday party and brought food, and the friend who planned it and decorated.

He always makes my cake. Greek lemon with whipped ganache frosting this year.


I'm out of words, but my heart is full.

I love you all.

4.2.12

On not feeding boogeymen

So this guy named John Piper caused some brouhaha in certain circles I travel on the internet. You see, he was quoted as addressing a room full of male pastors and saying that "God has given Christianity a masculine feel". This of course offended a lot of Christian women, and men, who had some choice and rather creative things to say in response. Many of which I completely enjoyed reading.

However, set aside the fact that Piper is wrong, and that to be this wrong he has to conveniently set aside whole swaths of scripture that personify God with distinctly feminine characteristics, such as a nursing mother, and ask a more important question.

Why should anyone care what John Piper thinks?

Sure, he's a man with influence and people are hurt when he uses his influence to denigrate and belittle an entire gender. But he's also a man who comfortably believes that God specifically created millions of people just to torture them for eternity in hell. He believes in double predestination, that God created some people to go to heaven and the rest are destined for hell, and they don't even get a say in the matter.

I don't know about you, but compared to that bit of evil the recent statement that God intended Christianity to have a masculine feel is a bit innocuous.

If I were to pick a hill on which to pitch a tent and start a battle it would be over the former statement, rather than the latter.

Which brings me to my earlier question again. Why does anyone care what John Piper thinks in the first place? He's a guy, a fallible human being like the rest of us. Devoting energy to arguing with him, tweeting the link to the article about him, is only feeding the problem. You can bet the guy who wrote that article, with that headline, knew he had hit link bait pay dirt the instant he heard John say that. He's watching his hits count go through the roof, on a little church leadership blog nonetheless.

So, why are we feeding this?

Setting even theology aside for a second, there are 2 different ways to make a name for yourself and establish yourself as an authority in a field these days. One is to attack and engage in debate others in the field that you disagree with. The other is to go out and do something awesome that everyone gets excited about. Then they all come to you and want you to tell them about it.

In my opinion, if modern Christian women want to change the way the traditional church views women, engaging guys like John Piper is not the way to go about it. Traditions change because people force them to change, by doing things so incredible that it causes a paradigm shift.

What if we create our own conversation about women in the church, and we choose who gets a seat at the table? What if we just ignore the guys who are squeaking baloney way out on a limb, shut out their voices with words that heal, bring life and preach, yes, preach, the gospel. What if we just continue to do awesome, paradigm busting things until we ARE the authority on what a Christian woman is. Since, you know, we might know a little bit about it, being that we are, in fact, Christian women.

Just a thought.

What are yours?

2.2.12

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real - The LMLD meetup

Pretty

The place


Rosie blowing bubbles to keep the kids entertained.


Everyone that came, really. Lovely women.

Happy

Little drawing in the dirt with a stick.


Bam Bam doing whatever it is that he is doing here.


Pippo finds a stick.

Funny

doesn't he look like he's making a break for it?
My special birthday chair (Kung Fu Panda)

Little's version. (I sat in this one at lunch time.)

pretty decorations? (they did these themselves.)
Real

How much they fought with each other while doing that silly chair. It was awful. I had to make them stop and go to separate rooms more than once. (le sigh)


round button chicken

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