"Among some talk of you and me..."

Thursday, January 08, 2009

So I've been thinking a lot recently...

...about the principle of living what you believe (and the converse reasoning of "if you're not living it, you don't really believe it"). And as such I have been considering what it means to live humanely.

I am planning to take the online MOGO ("Most Good") seminar from humaneeducation.org in the month of February (http://www.humaneeducation.org/sections/view/mogo), and I'm really excited about it. I can't think of anything more God-honouring than living a life that embodies my values (which are Christian values), and I know it's time to step up.

It says in James that "if you know the good and don't do it, you sin." In other words, you are held accountable for what you know. And I have chosen to be a learner, which means that I am going to be held accountable for a lot. But I like a challenge, and I like to feel challenged the way I have recently. So I'm looking forward to finding the tools to live what I believe not just about God, but about my responsibility as a child of God towards my own self, my physical neighbour, my global neighbour, animals and the earth.

I believe that I am called to lead others in "the Way" as I follow Christ, but I must first follow, so for the next season I plan to focus on following instead of leading.

Step one for me is a decision to explore the vegan lifestyle. I can't say that I believe animal cruelty is wrong and be an advocate for companion animals but not other animals. I don't have a problem with eating meat or eggs or using animals for clothing etc., but I DO have a problem with what these industries have been built into and the way they treat the animals. I have also been studying the terrible effects that meat and poultry and dairy have on our health because of the way the animals are doped up to over-produce.

It will be an easy switch for me --- I'm one of those people that eats pretty much the same thing every day and never gets bored of it. There are only a few things I would need to cut out and lots of things I can add it. For example, today I put tofu in my pasta sauce, and it rocked! I'm looking forward to meeting with my doctor in February and getting an appointment with a nutritionist to make sure that I'm getting what I need. I'm looking forward to helping my body heal itself through my choices. I'm looking forward to being able to say with all integrity that my lifestyle reflects my belief that cruelty to animals is a reflection of a heart not surrendered to God, and as an act of worship I will not be a part of it.

So yeah. I've been thinking a lot recently.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I found this recently on my computer. It is a listing of things that one of our Bethany professors said that made me laugh, in or out of context. I don't remember if this was from one class, one year, or a grand collection, but here it is for the enjoyment of my BBC compatriots. Mr. McMillen is truly a good man who I have a lot of respect for. And, of course, I have great memories of the random and sarcastic things he said :)


“Lord, give me the gift of singleness.”
“I am acting like a fool, but you’re forcing me to do it.”
“Not having been beheaded, I’m not sure how it feels.”
“I’m a great teacher. Come listen to me.”
“I really don’t know the full history of paper.”
“Me, I prefer to watch Murder, She Wrote.”
“Yes, I agree. Anything goes.”
“I’m just special.”
“I’m not Jesus, you see.”
“I was raised to say that the “Y” is silent.”
“I’m bread. Eat me. Start chomping on my ears. Forget what Greg has to offer.”
“I embody truth.”
“Am I really a Christian?”
“I get anachronistic every now and then.”
“I don’t have an address.”
“I’m fighting God? Oops! That’s not good!”
“I know, I’m an atheist.”
“I can’t talk today.”
“That leaves... ME. Period.”
“I don’t know the history of Christianity on Crete.”
“I don’t know why Paul was wearing an apron.”
“For some reason I did a whole course of suicide. It wasn’t a how-to course.”
“I tend not to revel in great trials.”
“I can’t blame Peter if I’m having trouble.”
“I just randomly went to the Ouija board and came up with some letters.”

SIMPLE TRUTH - “I think that’s good theology.”

“There’s no need to look elsewhere for fullness. You can’t get fuller than full.”
“Throw your Old Testaments away.”
“There’s some hair removal going on here. That much we know.”
“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist. You just have to know Greek.”
“We might be talking about a feather.”
“All angels are green and travel in little spaceships.”
“There are no ducks on the board.”
“Cannibalism is the secret to salvation.”
“That’s expediency, and that’s okay.”
“That’s dying for some other reason quite different than Christ as a matter of fact.”
“Well, they both start with C and they both have R’s in them.”
“It’s doable. Do it.”
“The gravity pulled the gospel down.”
“Maybe we don’t even need Jesus or something.”
“If they don’t, then you do.”
“He’s with, which is out, not in... So coming in can be described as a with... That’s God’s math.”
“Children kept getting born.”
“All babies are small in stature.”
“Who does that? God does that!”
“Second Peter is a whole other kettle of fish.”
“Peter had a vision of a sheet with all kinds of eccentric and delectable items on it.”
“God will take all your enemies and melt them.”


“A demon is controlling you.”
“Look, you incestuous character!”
“I don’t know why somebody didn’t kill him.”
“Did I hear a voice of heresy?”
“I know you desperately want any date you can get... Some for different reasons than others.”
“Don’t feel you need to cancel [your plans] because of 1 Cor. 7.”
“Just because you’re a toenail doesn’t mean you’re not important.”
“I don’t mean to insult you in the process.”
“Yes, you are a sinner.”
“You’d better pay attention to what you heard, not to all the garbage that’s coming at you now.”
“I know you’ll be delighted to be exposed to some heresy.”
“Yeah, wrap your mind around THAT.”
“If you want to open the tomb... Well, anyway...”
“You killed Jesus! How dare you!?”
“That wasn’t quite appropriate!”
“You bought into this garbage from these poor deluded fisherman.”
“Don’t anybody quit just because Paul didn’t go to Bethany.”
“I don’t know how you would respond if some demon possessed guy or gal said “listen!””
“I hope you do, too.”
“I do want you to know that there’s some Biblical evidence for some of these points.”
“That’s an important text to keep in mind if JW’s knock at your door.”
“How are we going to get any sleep with all THAT going on??”
“In a 50 minute class period, 32 Christians are martyred. Add 15 more minutes and you’re all gone.”
“You’re just bubbling over with great joy.”
“Are we encouraged yet?”


“Certainly forgiveness. Who needs that? We’re all fine and wonderful!”
“The god of our world...Well, let’s see. There’s several.”
“[Mark was the] First streaker...”
“Life and death... people just fluctuated between the two.”
“He’s saying this BEFORE he’s killed.”
“Why would God give a law if the law’s garbage?”
“Peter punched his lights out. Branded him a heretic.”
“He decided Timothy should go to hell, so he had him circumcised.”
“The demons won that one.”
“Titus is THE MAN.”

“And speaking of monks making copies...”
“I thought I’d throw that in just to accent the point.”
“Oh well. Rip that out of the Bible now.”
“Look at that. Look at that.”
“No, that’s a prophesy.”
“That’s a good word for any believer, anywhere, at any time.”
“You probably DO know, but just a little refresher.”
“That’s not the kind of stuff we like to read for our devotions. Maybe we SHOULD.”
“It’s a strong message focused on truth.”
“Oh, it’s so hard to tell! Was it through God, or through alcohol?”
“Sometimes it will be shocking.”
“This isn’t somebody who just fell off a turnip truck.”
“It might be helpful to look at the following information.”
“That’s what I think happened...among other things.”
“And I don’t recall if Stott mentions this at all.”
“How should I word this?... NO.”
“One does want to keep in mind the full context.”
“...Looks like, acts like, feels like.. Whatever.”
“I haven’t had a word from heaven on that so I think I have free reign.”
“That is no the image one is trying to portray as on e shares the gospel.”
“If you take all that literally, it’s pretty hard to say.”

Thursday, October 02, 2008

On fire like a peasant.

An update:

My sister Tammy had a baby recently, and it's been difficult for me to process from the standpoint of what IS and what COULD have been. As many of you know, Tammy is my birth sister, and I only met her for the first time less than a year ago. If things had been different, I would have been there, because that's what sisters do. As it is, she's a stranger to me. (And yet I love her; how does one love a stranger?) Anyway, I am an aunt, again -- this is #6 for nieces, two of whom I've yet to meet. I need to get on that; this is ridiculous.

My Person Jill also had a baby, and she's perfect.

I've been limiting my reading lately to the Harry Potter series and I've just reached the last book. I think the 6th has been my favourite so far because obviously the movie isn't out yet, so I got to experience the suspense. I'll be happy when I'm finished because I've found myself using expressions like "blimey!" and "bloody hell!" and "ruddy" in general conversation.

Our cat count is up to five: Emma (ours), Pajamas (ours), Emma (rescue), Cinnamon (rescue), and now little Reyes, who was live-trapped right before the recent hurricane. I've discovered that once you've made it to four, extras don't seem to matter that much. We're overcrowded, but they're all cute; Reyes is a darling. I have high hopes that after next week's adoption fair at our church's community carnival, a few will be leaving us. Finally.

I travelled to Indianapolis for a meeting with the Campus Challenge committee last week. People, if you're a pastor or youth pastor at a Wesleyan church that's not too too far from Bethany, please tell your kids about Campus Challenge. Seriously. Because helping them prepare for their education and encouraging them to attend a Wesleyan school is important. So please, tell them. And if you're coming to Encounter (nee Booster), it's happening during that weekend. So. Tell your kids. If you have questions, ask me, or visit http://www.bbc.ca/encounter/challenge.html. THANKS :) While I was on my trip I went to IWU to see Graham and my sweet Abby Jones, and it was magical.

My health recently has been the pits. But I'm alive and breathing and don't have a fatal condition, so I don't care a bit. As long as I can speak and type I can contribute, so I'm happy with that.

I don't like having too many TV shows on the go, but with satellite time shifting I can catch most of my programs late at night (like, 10) so nothing interferes with life. Grey's and Private Practice both hit home runs with their season premieres, so they're here to stay. The Office as well. House not so much, but I'm going to watch it anyway because I know it CAN be good. And I'm going to stick with The Mentalist to see where it's headed. After the first episode of CSI, I'm done with it again (I stopped watching when Sara left). And I like Ghost Whisperer, but don't tell anyone, because it's ridiculous.

Our youth night is called six:fortyfive. It starts at 7. Everyone is late here for everything, so if they think it starts at 6:45 they'll be on time.

Life has been pretty reactive lately. I think I'm in a rut. I look forward to having the will to be proactive again, and I'm hoping that I will get the funding to work with the animal shelter society so that my pent-up creativity will have a ready-made outlet and will spill out into other areas of my life that should be important to me.

I just played Peasants Quest from start to finish (using the cheat notes on the Internet) and I won but was burninated because Trogdor is, it turns out, invincible.

I have many questions about life recently. Last night I decided it was very important for me to know how honey is made by bees. And how records work. It's all very mindblowing. I'm going to look it up today.

Speaking of bees, I'm also watching Pushing Daisies, which had a solid premiere.

Now I am going to eat French fries.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

John Symonds is MY hero

I don't know how I could have missed this; it has mostly people I know, so it must have been not long after I graduated. But gracious. Classic.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Irresistable Revolution

"Ask the poor. They will tell you who the Christians are." - Gandhi

I'm one of many, no doubt, who have read this book by Shane Claiborne and wondered what to do about it. I haven't even read the whole thing; I'm stuck on chapter 6, and don't want to move past it.

My current paragraph of "stuckness": "Simplicity is meaningful only inasmuch as it is grounded in love, authenic relationships, and interdependence. Redistribution then springs naturally out of our rebirth, from a vision of family that is larger than biology or nationalism. As we consider what it means to be "born again"...we must ask what it means to be born against into a family in which our brothers and sisters are starving to death. Then we begin to see why rebirth and redistribution are inextricably bound up in one another... It also beomes scandalous for the church to spend money on windows and buildings when some family members don't even have water. Welcome to the dysfunctional family of Yahweh."

I learned as much as I could from the rice diet, which has since been abandoned but I will probably return to several times a year to RELEARN the valuable lessons of simplicity and empathy. It was a really good jumping point to getting stuck on chapter 6, though, where it is pointed out that "rather than being bound up by how much stuff we need to buy, we can get enslaved to how simply we must live."

The Bible says that "Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none." (Luke 3:11) It is so easy for us to say, "I don't know anyone that has no shirt." My newest question is, what do I have to do so this is no longer the case? What is my responsibility? Jesus said that the poor would always be among us. Shane Claiborne suggests that this wasn't just a descriptive statement, but was pointing to one the fundamental tasks of the church, and that if the poor are NOT among us, we are not in the right place.

Forgive us, Father. You've told us EXACTLY what we are to do, but we've spent so much time asking "What does this mean?" that we've stopped looking at Scripture and asking "What can I obey?" We've insulated ourselves from the plain truth of Scripture by making everything so complicated that was never intended to be.

God solved the problem of poverty ages ago by setting up the system of Jubilee; this is something that only recently came to my attention, and it is SO intriguing to me. We don't have a right to ask, "Why does God allow poverty?" because frankly he did his bit --- the Israelites just never carried it out. But the principles remain. So what do we do?

"Folks always say the Israelites never fully lived out the Jubilee. But... Ched Mysers says, "That's no excuse to ignore God's commands. That's like saying we don't need to worry about the Sermon on the Mount since Christians have never fully practiced it."" (Irresistable Revolution, Pg. 171)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Read this carefully

Of all of the things I've read recently, this is by far the most compelling. This is from the rule packet for the game "Tichu", a card game I don't know how to play properly, but do so enjoy reading the rules for. If this doesn't make you want to play it, you have no sense of humour. This is not the exact wording of the rules including in the English game --- it is a rough translation directly from the German. Enjoy!:

We thank Mr Chuang for everything. Tour leader, German language section, Nanking (Nanjing). Highly recommended. He knows everything. Lengths of bridges, meaning of Buddhas, number of lorries in the province. On request also meaning of bridges, number of Buddhas and length of lorries. Some monument with five goats and a heap of 38 resistance fighters is the landmark of the town. Or perhaps only three goats and 58 figthers - anyway, there are basically more fighters than goats. And to tell the truth - that stuff about landmarks could also be said of Canton (Guangzhou) or Wuhan. But in Nanking there stood a thousand Buddha temple - the area most certainly has a landmark.

Yes, Mr Chuang is an outstanding tour guide. He casts his own Nanking aside into the Yang Tze and leads us into an unknown land: a rock concert, a psychiatric clinic and a private audience with magician. Only with the game was he not so outstanding. Naturally he knows them - he knows everything. Yet the strange card game which the people are playing everywhere in all the parks and squares seems to be frowned upon. Again and again he lures us away from the knots of people. The game is not to be explained.

Tichu is not to be explained

(If we had believed that there would be no rules with this pack. But we brought Mr Chuang round. He drummed up a game in the backroom of the souvenir shop of the Confucian temple. At first we were only allowed to watch. Then we played and the Chinese experts gave us good advice. A first rate introduction to the game, by the way. We recommend this method of learning most warmly.)

Another of my favourite parts (there are many) is the following; it comes from a variation of the actual game: "The objecttive of the game does not exist. It is all for fun. At any rate the Great Lord should be able to enjoy unrestrictedly all privileges and comforts of the house (a cup of tea, a little dance performance, a parasol, choice of TV channel, even the desire to continue this lordly game for another round) "

If you are a player of this game, please let me know! I have questions! For the rest of the rules, visit: http://www.fatamorgana.ch/tichu/Tichu_english.html

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Why I don't like myself on T.V.

Not ON T.V. --- I mean ON, as in "on drugs".

In my lifetime, I've had several television loves, which have fulfilled different purposes and filled different holes as needed. My interests were chronically romantic --- it wouldn't matter what the show was about; if I was watching it, I was doing so for the relationships. While the Grey's Anatomy type shows which are all about relationships are good for a quick fix, I find I'm more drawn to the House type shows where all a gal can do is hope.

X-Files was my show of choice for years while in high school. My best friends and I shared an obsession, and really our obsession fueled our friendships. So in that way, it was good. In every other way, it was a waste of time.

I'm not against recreational TV watching, within limits (though as I'm starting to question the nature of our economy, I'm developing a philosophical beef with the entertainment industry which I haven't fully developed or internalized enough to change my own consumption. More on that will no doubt follow). But I AM against what it does to those of us who are prone to such obsession. Go on the Internet and hit any kind of comment board about a current hit show and you'll see it: thousands of people who if their passions were directed toward the real world could change everything, but instead who are settling for the lesser, vicarious thrill of ready-made adventure and drama.

My husband and I are going through the X-Files on DVD right now, and sometimes I catch those feelings coming back. I find it's not a big deal when watching completed series on DVD, because there's no week-long or summer waits to find out what's next, and when it's over, it's over. But with the X-Files movie now out I find myself not wanting to see it because when I do it will mean it's all over and there's no more hope for WHATEVER it is that the stupid show is fulfilling for me.

What would change in our world if the potential for vicarious living, through books, TV, movies and video games, was removed? Would we withdraw into the stupor of the mundane and kill ourselves with boredom? Or would the need in each of us to be a part of something exciting and meaningful force us to seek it out or create it in reality?