Thursday, November 13, 2008

To Our Friends and Politicians

... not necessarily one and the same!

Dear Patricia,

Thanks for waiting patiently, friend.  I've had your email in my inbox since February, but as you can see, I'm behind on many things in email-land and the blog-o-sphere.  I really appreciated your comments (and was indeed convicted by some of them) and appreciate your friendship even more!

Much love,
Ch


Dear FBFs (Facebook Friends, ha ha ha!),

Thanks for your comments on my status.  I appreciate you rising to my controversial bait :) and really appreciate everyone's thoughts on the matter.  Yes, our two party system sucks, and I agree that I am not happy about the Democratic platform on the Freedom of Choice Act.  It makes me very sad.  

Having said that, the reason I voted for Obama in this election (aha!  People have been trying to figure out for whom I voted) can be broken down into three main thoughts: 1. legislation does not necessarily equal change, 2. I don't believe that the Bible defines the "least of these" as only the unborn, and 3. I agree more with the overall Democratic party platform than I do with the overall Republican party platform.  I'll explain more below.

Legislation does not necessarily equal change-- 
If Roe v. Wade were suddenly overturned, if Plan B (the "morning-after pill") were taken off the market, and if several other good things happened for the Pro-Life  movement, would the abortion problem be solved?  Would there be less abortions?  Perhaps.  But would these precious unborn children suddenly be given a chance for life?  The problem of abortion doesn't stop once the mother decides not to/is unable to get an abortion.  Even if the mother didn't seek out an illegal (and even more dangerous) abortion, what happens when the baby is born?  Where is the Pro-Life movement once that child needs healthcare, housing, sustenance, etc.?  Overturning Roe v. Wade would merely be the beginning of the "fight for life," not the end.  It would be cruel and ignorant to create a "culture of life" and then pat ourselves on the backs and call it a day because we saved unborn children from death in the womb... not thinking about their certainty or quality of life once they left it. 

And practically speaking, I didn't think McCain would be able to overturn Roe v. Wade.  So even if that was the only thing I were to vote on, I feel my vote would have been wasted.  It's not that I'm Pro-Choice (although I used to be), it's that I don't think there necessarily is a one-to-one correlation between my vote and little lives being saved.  I think that with such a charged issue, there are other ways for me to celebrate and protect life.  

I don't believe that the Bible defines the "least of these" as only the unborn--
In one of my earlier posts (hyperlinked above) about politics and religion, I mentioned the command to take care of the "least of these" (Matthew 25), as well instructions on what is "pure and faultless religion" (James 1).  In context, these passages are about the hungry, the thirsty, the outcast, the imprisoned, widows, orphans, and those without basic needs (Patricia reminded me that that doesn't mean it isn't referring to the unborn--thank you, Patricia, for speaking that truth to me!).  Where we as a church fall short, I feel that the Democratic platform addresses those issues more than the Republican platform does.  Yes, we believers need to get our backsides in gear and not leave it up to the government.  But I was raised to believe that some things need to happen at a national level for systemic change (i.e. "big government").  That is something that we may have to agree to disagree on.  :)  I say all this to say that my interpretation of the Bible is that abortion is only a part of what we are called to care about here on earth.  
I agree more with the overall Democratic party platform than I do with the overall Republican party platform-- 
I pretty much made this point above, but let me just conclude with the thought that while Jesus was neither a Republican nor a Democrat, he did care about political systems and he did weep for Jerusalem's pitiful state.  I feel that the things the Holy Spirit has called me to care about are better addressed by the Democratic platform (representing the poor and the middle-class), but I know a lot of you who have the same convictions and have been called to address these issues within a Republican framework.  The point is not so much who we vote for, but that we vote and then go out and be a part of the change/reform we desire.  Christ is making things right and new in the here and now, and he's using pitiful us to do it.

Thanks for listening, dear friends!

Love,
Your mouthy, opinionated, bleeding-heart Liberal FBF.  :)


Dear President Bush,

One of your loyal supporters, Amy, reminded me that I haven't been very respectful of your office for the past 4 years (even though I voted for you then--which is another discussion entirely!).  I apologize.  Thank you for being our President.  I haven't much agreed with you lately, but if I were in your shoes, I would have crawled under the bed and refused to come out long ago.  I need to remember the pressure you're under and respect you for that.  You aren't Jesus, but you are our President.  I'm praying for you.

Respectfully,
A Concerned Citizen Who Voted for You.


Dear President-Elect Obama,

I'm excited that another barrier of race has been broken.  I also appreciate a Democratic candidate who is willing to claim Christianity (don't get me started on John Kerry).  I'm excited to see the change that will come during your term, and I have high hopes for our economy, foreign policy, and environmental stance.  That said, your support of the Freedom of Choice Act makes me very, very sad.  And it makes me sad that it doesn't bother you.  Please reconsider. Please pray about it!  I cast my vote for you not just because of your stance on issues, but also because I think you have what it takes to lead this country.  You aren't Jesus, but you are our President.  I'm praying for you.

Respectfully,
A Concerned Citizen Who Voted for You.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

To Whom it May Concern

Dear Reader,

I really enjoyed the letter writing format on the "Panera Girls" post. So I think I'll try to do that from now on. There is much to tell about from the past month or so (the promised MPJ show review is finally here!), and I think this medium will lend itself to my particular brand of quirkiness quite nicely.

I'm not sure what that last sentence was about, but it sounded good.
ish.

Thanks for reading, friends!
Love,
Ch


Dear Teenybopper Band that Opened for Matthew Perryman Jones,

I give you an A for effort. It certainly wasn't a boring show. It was just very... contrived. Your stage decorations were weird--the empty wall frames wrapped in colored icicle lights might have been clever, but the fact that you wore T-shirts that matched them was just too much. Not to mention that although the lead singer/keyboardist's red shirt was an exact match for the red thingie, the guitarist's green shirt was also a good match to the green thingie, and the drummer's yellow shirt matched nicely with the yellow thingie, the bassist's teal shirt was NOT a good match with the blue frame-light-thingie. If you're going to be cute, please be consistent!

And I admit, I liked your song the first time I heard it. The second time you played it (oh, was that supposed to be a new song? Really?), it was okay. By the fifth time you had played your song, though, I could have quite calmly beaten you with your super-cool Vans. Or scratched your face off with the lenses from your hipster glasses. Or smacked you with your nearly empty can of hair product. There is only so much dramatic chord-banging, meaningful pauses and angsty high notes that one person can take. Well, one person out of puberty, anyway.

You asked me to go to your MySpace page. Something about "Musical Parachutes." You also asked me to tell my friends about you. Although I won't be adding you as my TOP FRIEND on MySpace, I will tell my friends. It's the least I can do.

And what will I tell them? That if Ben Folds, Dave Matthews (minus the band), Jack Johnson, and Lars Ulrich all had an orgy... 9 months later, we would be able to RAWK OUT to your fabulous sounds. Congratulations, it's a... boy(band)!

Oh, and keep drinking tall cans of "Old Milwaukee" on stage. That is so clever, and shows all the teenage groupies that you are cool like that.

Yes. Cool. Like. That.

Thanks for the memories,
The married couple who laughed a lot at the table in house right.


Dear Matthew Perryman Jones,

An hour? That's all we got to hear from you? That, my friend, was NOT ENOUGH. And since there was another act coming on, I couldn't even holler for an encore. I was glad that Smith's Old Bar is here in Midtown, just down the road, but it's not my favorite venue. There's none of the intimacy of Eddie's Attic nor audience attentiveness of a church setting, but it was loud enough that I could shamelessly sing along for some of the songs. I certainly did behave myself during quieter numbers like "Meghan's Song." Speaking of your lovely wife Meghan, good for you for wearing your wedding ring on stage. It may have made playing your guitar a little more difficult, but we're proud of you for making that subtle little statement. Good for you and for your family.

It must be hard to leave your family so often, but we sure appreciate it. I don't remember your exact setlist (and I'm not sure how Team Redd always manages to remember the setlists of every show they see), but I do remember it was a great show, and all too short. It was great to see you with a full band! I especially dug the sounds on "Echoes of Eden" and "Waiting for the Light to Change."

Shame none of your shirts matched the decor, though.

Thanks for coming by to say hello to us. It's fun being your groupie. Maybe one of these days I'll be shameless and ask you to take a picture with us for my Facebook profile. After all, I did with NT Wright!

Much love,
The Atlanta transplants who always hope you'll do "Machine-gun Love."


Dearest Kennan,

You're my favorite person ever. I had so much fun at the MPJ show with you, celebrating our 7 year wedding anniversary a little early. Hard to believe it's been 7 years! I'd say that evening pretty much summed up our entire marriage: lots of laughter and fun, sweet times, and just a little squabbling. :)

Thanks for letting me be your number one groupie, dear.

Always your,
Ch

Friday, June 20, 2008

To the Girls in Panera

Dear College Beauty Queens,

I can hear every word you say. I'm here, minding my own business, trying to get work done. And while I have accomplished a lot this afternoon, I must take a break now to tell you some things.

I don't care about your sex life. Really, no one else in this restaurant does. So if you could lower your voice a little, that would be great.

I also don't care about your new haircut, your problems with your boyfriends, or your most embarrassing moment. Seriously. I stopped reading Seventeen over a decade ago.

It's true that you're cute, skinny, and well dressed. Congratulations. If I had lots of money and time on my hands, I might look pretty fabulous, too. But let me tell you now, that without drastic measures, your looks will not last. After your metabolism slows down, your "freshman fifteen" catches up with you, and you deal with disappointments, a sedentary lifestyle, and pregnancies, your cute little backsides will enlarge. Even if you remain disciplined and go to the gym everyday, leaving your children with the nanny, some things are inevitable. I guess you'd better find a plastic surgeon that you like now.

And speaking of pregnancies and children, if you aren't supposed to tell anybody about Justin getting "that slut" pregnant, then why are you? I realize that someone ending up with a new life growing inside of them is a novelty and feels light-years away for you, but it isn't for everybody. I don't want to hear all the juicy details about someone getting to see a little fragile heartbeat because of an accident that they can't wait to move on from. While I agree that
she shouldn't be drinking caffeine and alcohol and she should be taking better care of herself, I don't think I'm bothered for the same reasons you are. I know you don't understand why this hurts me. I know it's just a weird thing that's interesting to talk about. I just wish you didn't talk so loudly.

And for all that I find you annoying, I have to say that I hope you don't ever understand. I hope that you will never have first hand knowledge of the sting that accompanies life after losing a child. But it would be nice if you understood what other people are going through because you're aware that they exist. And if I hear the movie Juno quoted one more time, I will scream. Right here in the middle of Panera.

It "ain't no etch-a-sketch," it's true. But just because you can't undo it (at least, not without a doctor's help and a lifetime of guilt), doesn't mean it isn't sometimes undone. As though it never happened, leaving just an empty space behind.

My tirade is done now, and I'll put in some headphones or something and get back to work. I just wanted to let you know. I wish someone had told me when I was 20. Because I'm sure I annoyed many an innocent restaurant patron with my drama, too.

Have fun in the Bahamas. I hear it's nice there. And I agree--you probably do look best in the black shorts. Happy first day of summer, girls.

Love,
The woman by the window with the laptop.

This post was brought to you by the letters C and O for "cranky" and "old"...
and the number
30.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Somehow, I got Old part II

Three decades. Really? I do indeed feel old.

Mehhhh! When I was your age...

Happy Sacrifice Day

I meant to post this yesterday, but I'm really behind on posting these days...

Finally, a video set to Mercy Me's "I Can Only Imagine" that isn't sappy or stupid. In fact, it's amazing. A true picture of a perfect father's love reflected by an earthly father.

Father's Day isn't easy for us this year. We are so grateful that my dad is healthy, and that Kennan's dad is on the road to a full recovery. Still, it's hard, knowing what we had and lost. It's hard to trust in our heavenly father, but we're determined to cling to grace.

The video really sums it up. Sacrifice. That was the point. Christ didn't just come to be good (and he was indeed perfect!) and then call it a day. God didn't just give his son to come hang out with us sinners and then move on. He made the sacrifice to let his son--part of the perfect, holy, triune God--come and make the ultimate sacrifice. Unlike with Abraham, there was no ram caught in the thorns to take the place of Isaac. Rather, we are Isaac, and Christ took our place. Willingly. In my book, the words "father" and "sacrifice" should be interchangeable, and I've seen that reflected in many men around me, Kennan foremost.

So, Happy Father's Day to our fathers, our friends who are and will be fathers, and those that have been like fathers to us. And Happy Sacrifice Day to all, for whom the greatest sacrifice was made.

I'll post about the MPJ concert, drive-in movies, Indelible Grace concert, etc. etc. (it's been a packed couple of weeks!) soon, I promise.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I Heart Hyperlinks...

and parenthesis.

That is all.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Wise Words on Church Membership

I love being in the PCA. After the mayhem of being in a congregationalist church for so long (WHY oh WHY does everyone need to vote on what color wallpaper should be in the ladies' room?), I have been quite happy--though I may not have always found it easy--to put myself under the authority of our church leaders and to seek the "peace and purity" of the church local and global.

I've become terribly brainwashed. I like being "reformed," (a neo-Calvinist, even--gasp!) I like having deacons and elders, and ones who answer to a presbytery. We own a copy of Hymns II, prefer the ESV over the NIV, and catch ourselves almost saying "Thanks be to God" when we visit our church back in NM. So there's your caveat. This article was written for a PCA audience, and as such, comes at the subject of church membership from a very specific angle. It does, however, address issues that plague a variety of churches with differing styles of government. And it's written by one of my favorite people. Walter left ChristChurch to plant a church on the Westside, which is so awesome. I heart a church planting (as opposed to mega-church) model... but that's another post.

I really liked the points he made about being stretched by church membership to bond with and love on people whom we don't have a natural link with. What else would I have in common with a 65 year old southern man but a common love for Jesus? And to be perfectly frank, why else would I choose to spend time with someone so different from me other than that Christ has asked it of me? I am reminded of my privilege and obligation to do so by our common membership in a local church body, and it helps that the local church body also has healthy structures and mechanisms to assist me in this pursuit. If left to my own motivations and devices, my natural instinct is not nearly so gracious or willing to take risks.

It's also a natural response to say, "what about caring for those outside of the church?" whether from thoughtful motives or a stubborn desire to disagree. I think that creates a false dichotomy because the two are not mutually exclusive. Rather, one flows naturally from the other. Being stretched in learning to love those that we don't naturally gravitate to results in developing good habits. And especially if this happens in the context of a healthy church that has a heart for service and outreach, loving the "least of these"--as Christ has called us to do--will be a natural result.

I also thought Walter's points about plugging into an imperfect church were well made. As Groucho Marx said, "I wouldn't want to be part of a club that would have me as a member!" I would add, though, to the statement "the reason a church may appear lacking in some area is because you aren’t yet a part of it!" that I'm glad our church isn't a "perfect fit." Otherwise, it is all too easy for me to turn it into an idol. God has helped me see what is non-negotiable and what isn't, and though I wish we had communion every Sunday (for example), there is no denying the communal heart for the city and the world.

In other thoughts, we got to see MPJ on Friday night, and it was lovely (as always). I'll try to write up a review soon. Get ready for his new album, Swallowing the Sea, due out in August! Whoo hoo!

Oh, and I'm not sure which items from my above PCA-isms list are actually PCA specific. Not only are we new to this denomination, but we also have an Anglican pastor and a Southern Baptist worship director...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Keeping the Faith

Jesus didn't promise sunshine and kittehs. Following him means taking up one's cross daily, and in a sin-stricken world at that. Thankfully, there are companions along the way--family, friends, and websites.

What? Did I just say "websites"?

Oh, did I. The past year has been (as my good friend and coworker Tony would say) a "Praise the Lord/ Lord have Mercy" rollercoaster. Ups and downs. We've had the joy of sharing in celebrating a dear sister (both literally and in the family-of-Christ sense) marrying a wonderful brother. The pain of losing of losing our first child. The overwhelming, chance-of-a-lifetime, wonderful trip to Asia to celebrate the Hwangs' wedding once again, to attend another wedding, and to finally meet up with my birth family. The struggles and frustrations and joys and pressures of our jobs and school. The fear of wondering if Dad Garrett had prostate cancer (he doesn't) and the fear of finding out that Dad Crane was in need of a heart transplant (keep reading). Sharing with so many the joys of marriages and births and careers and adoptions and graduations, and sharing with far too many the grief of deaths and illness and depression and abuse and theological despair.

Through it all, we've clung to our faith in Christ Jesus. How, you ask? (Let's pretend you did ask, okay?)

As I said, through websites. Okay, the primary (and easy) answer, is "by grace." By the gracious, constant presence and protection of the triune God. By community and sharing and crying and counseling and medicines (shocking!) and prayer and reading of the Word (sigh... far too little on those last two!) and pursuing spiritual disciplines and sheer stubborn God-given determination.

How else would we have gotten through the past couple of weeks, in which we traveled to four different cities (Denver/Colorado Springs, Raleigh-Durham, DC, and Houston/Galveston); celebrated/mourned on Mother's Day, pushed through what would have been the due date, attended a conference, freaked out/rejoiced in a donor heart becoming available for Dad Crane, celebrated/freaked out about the graduation (and thus departure) of so many fabulous students, and celebrated Mom Garrett's birthday, all in the same two days?

How? (Sorry, I'm getting there!) By a (growing) understanding of our sinfulness and God's holiness, a desire to see redemption...

... and a weird sense of humor. So I present, for your reading/clicking pleasure, sites that help me examine my faith, laugh at my failings, and praise God for loving us all anyway:

The character who does Bible scenes out of Legos (you have to see it to believe it!) appears not to be a Christian, but in some ways, I'd say he appreciates the Bible more than a lot of Christians I know (probably me included). He does have something of an agenda, though, which is evident in some of his interpretations of the passages. And there's some non-G rated stuff... but that's the Bible for you!

I mentioned the classic, sacrelicious Lark News in a previous post. My new, fabulous find (thanks to Tim and others for showing me the way) is all about Stuff Christians Like. Whoo hoo hoo hoo hoo! Wait. I do that. And that. Oh, and I do that, too! Ouch.

I've also stumbled upon the Wittenburg Door. Yes, they know they spelled it wrong. (No, I didn't know.) It's similar to Lark News, so when I find that I haven't procrastinated quite enough for the day, I head there. Particularly fabulous was the... interview... with NT Wright. (And no, I'm not quite sure if the entire thing is made up or not! Sheesh. Must I admit all my ignorance, all in one post? What will I do in further posts? Make sense?)

I also mentioned Snopes in that previous post. Specifically, if I need to feel superior about how intelligent I am (mostly after I go to the other websites and find that I don't get most of the jokes), I visit the Religion page, or the Glurge Gallery.

There are also several good sites (with less satire, more theological discussions, but still a sense of humor) that Team Redd could no doubt direct you to, that I've visited from time to time. When I really want to stretch myself, though, I go to a website for the "satirical church service for the thinking masses." It's basically a comedy routine that mocks the Western Evangelical church stereotype. These folks are not Christians, and I doubt they've ever met a Christian they liked, much less respected. While I could probably never attend a "service" (show), because even my irreverent self would probably get offended and "prove" their point that Christians are fun-haters, the website sure makes me think. About what I take for granted, what I practice and preach, and where I get distracted from Jesus and focus too much on me and "my" church.

And when I really need to get back to basics, I go here. Because I'm oh-so-pious... and a little bit of a tech geek.

Praise the Lord... Lord have Mercy!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Sigh.

My love to Sam and his family on a difficult day. Our prayers go with you.

My thanks to the women who have nurtured and loved me over the years.

My gratitude to those that have walked this difficult path before me, who have taught me the meaning of gracious strength.

My thanks to those that have loved on our little family over the past months, who rejoice when we rejoice and mourn as we mourn.

My love to my husband for walking this path with me.

We cling to grace and the hope that comes with Christ's resurrection, my friends. This alone sustains us.

Oh, and Pretzel the Bear says hello.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Somehow, I got Old

I may have a Facebook account, but that doesn't negate the fact that I'm old. Plus, I use it for work, which definitely cancels out any cool, young, hipness that I might like to ascribe to myself. Plus, I just used the phrase, "ascribe to myself."

While I'm typing this post, I also have to remember that it will automatically upload to my Facebook page, which is where this all started, anyway. But, I digress. Or more aptly, I regress. Maturity not withstanding.

Anyway.

Kennan always asks me why I click on things that are just going to piss me off when I read them. I don't know. It's like watching a car wreck. I just can't stop myself. So I stumbled upon a group (several, actually) devoted to someone that is not my... favorite... person ever. It was a flashback to my previous frustrations with differences in worship styles.

But this is not a post primarily about my forgiveness and anger issues. Although maybe it should be. This is a post about how old and crochety I am.

"Mehhhh! When I was yerrr age, I had to walk six miles in the snoooow, uphill both waays, jest to get to cherrrch! Mehhhh..." Yup, I'm a fun-hater. Check out the contrast to my grumpy old ways in this comment describing why folks are so fond of said individual:

"Crowd surfing? How many worship leaders do that?"

What? We won't even go into the theological issues. And yes, there was a time when I RAWKED OUT to Christian ska, hardcore, punk, etc. at concerts. I was "in the crowd, all a skankin' and a swimmin'..." (and if you get that reference, you're old, too!). But now, I'm old. I can't even stand up for the entire service because I have bad knees, much less dance. I no longer like music that's loud enough to make windows rattle. I can't stay at church past 9 PM without needing an injection of caffeine. Sitting on hard wooden pews makes my bum ache.

Suffice it to say, I'm OLD now and honestly not too upset about it. Time to take a nap before my 4 PM dinner. Mehhhh!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

How to be Difficult...

... it's worked for me, anyway!

Organize furniture so it is NOT feng shui.

Shoot the cats with the spray bottle.

Not answer the cell phone.

Curse.

Pick fights with Georgia fans.

Change the lyrics to praise songs that are theologically questionable. Sing loudly.

Multi-task.

Continue drinking from a Nalgene bottle.

Hit the snooze button. Several times.

Run 5-15 minutes late. For EVERYTHING.

Talk incessantly about things like ICHC, Stargate, and the cats.

Start reading 5 books at once but never finish any of them.

Take 5 big, heavy books on a trip. Read none of them.

Get weird urges to vacuum at 3 AM.

Support Obama just to spite Clinton.

Keep a blog. Pout if no one reads it. Repeat.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Guilty Pleasures

When I'm procrastinating, here are some of my favorite sites to go to, other than the obvious Facebook and Wikipedia options:

(Thanks to Kennan, Gaines, Jason, Kara, Tammy, and the gmail running banners)

T-shirt Mayhem.

Sheer Failure Brilliance (Kennan, I wrote that pun just for you)

So Wrong but so True!

Also hits a little Too Close to Home...

Safer than YouTube


Kind of Lame, but I dig the Mean Kitty stuff...

Stuff + Cats = Awesome.
(The ones of just "cute cats" are lame, though)

Our life in Grad School...


Debunking Urban Myths and all of Great-Aunt Edna's emails!


Yes, I checked Snopes on this one--it Really Does Help Breast Cancer Research! (as well as the other causes)

No guarantees on the ratings. Most are G to PG-ish. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Shiny and New

I've updated the look of our blog, and Kennan & I both really dig it. Pretty exciting.

In other changes, I just now figured out that the VenerableLauraStu is no longer. Sad. But NegusBoy now rocks the house with both Negii.

Oh, and a shout-out and love to Sarah-belle, on whose blog (now listed on our links :) I first saw the poll. Now that's a fun feature. Vote up, folks! The cats await news of who they must get rid of next.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Insult to Injury

May 12th will not be an easy day for us. We were ready to celebrate my Mom's birthday on that day with the due date of our first child. Now we will celebrate her birthday with a definite bittersweetness. It's also the day after Mother's Day, which I imagine will not be easy, either. And, May 12th is Emory's graduation, where several of my favorite students will be closing the grad school chapter of their lives and moving on to what God has next for them. They will be sorely missed. We will be in DC for a conference that Kennan is presenting at, which is exciting (and I'm actually glad to be out of town and away from subtle reminders of what we've lost), but it will still be a rough time.

Now, to add ridiculous insult to genuine injury, I have discovered that the postal rates are increasing on May 12th! AGAIN. So now we face the dilemma, once more, of whether to buy a bunch of "Forever" stamps or not. At this rate (pun intended), it may well be worth it.

Anyone else in? We can stand in line for hours at the Post Office, dress up like postal characters, blog and talk and read and think and basically obsess about what will happen next...

Sorry. I was having a flashback to an obsession from last year... I have to say, reading that post again (and a few others around it) was rather cathartic and encouraging (especially the comments sections). I should do that more often.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

No, Really.

I voted for Ron Paul in the Primaries.

I can eat an entire jar of pickles in one sitting.

I love small dogs that bark a lot.

My favorite colors are red and black.

I wish I lived in Texas.

I know all the words to "Enter Sandman."

My secret ambition is to meet Janet Reno.

I've decided to become a nun.

I once caught a fish this big...

I think David Hasselhoff is hot.

My cat likes to eat peanut butter.

My favorite magazine is Star.

I've been calm and obedient since 1978.

Yes, Happy April Fools' Day! You decide which ones are true.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Texass!

Well, we're back from our exile to Texas (with a short time of refuge in New Mexico). It's been a very stressful couple of weeks, and we are so grateful to all for the prayers and well-wishes. I have to say that although I'm still not the biggest fan of Texas, Galveston did grow on me. Either way, it's good to be home in Atlanta, where our license plates are in-state and we understand the local customs.

We've all been very impressed by and grateful for the level of care at UT Medical Branch in Galveston. The doctors and nurses have been fantastic, both in their care of Kennan's dad, as well as in tolerating all of us crowding into his hospital room to visit, play cards, etc. For updates on Charlie: www.caringbridge.org/visit/CharlieCrane.

The soundbite from Miss Congeniality ran often through my head during our sojourn in the Lone Star state: "Texass! Washington, nice apples... O-HI-oooo..." It is, indeed, a-hole 'nother state (no, that is not a typo), with quirks--and I'll admit, a charm--all its own.

Random thoughts while driving down the road in Texas:

State troopers are like trolls; they like to hide under bridges... Texas never ends... 3 bottles of Coke, 1 bag of gummy orange slices and 1 bag of m&m's will keep a person awake enough to drive... Bon Jovi on the stereo helps, too... did I mention Texas never ends?... there is a certain beauty to Texas... for the first 100 miles, anyway... boots and porn are the top sellers in Texas, if the billboards are any indication... family is worth the drive through Texas... if you get too into the music, you end up swerving into other lanes... Texas drivers are grumpy... seriously, TEXAS NEVER ENDS... when driving an automatic transmission minivan which has been loaded to the gills, it's good to remember that it's not an empty stickshift compact car... passengers get grumpy, too... if you think that the roads are crazy, try hanging out with some of the characters at fast-food joints along the way... gas prices are unholy, these days, everywhere... make fun of New Mexico and I'll scorn you, make fun of Texas and they'll just shoot you... and by the way, Texas never ends.

Okay, Texas does end. In the case of Interstate 45, it ends in Galveston (or the ocean, but we stopped just short of that), and is not after all such a bad place. Now I'm off to shoot squirrels, yep! Y'all come back now, ya hear?

Monday, February 25, 2008

How Would Jesus Vote?

I've stolen the title of this post from this article, not for the stereotypical reasons (I think WWJD? bracelets are atrocious), but rather because it can be a thought-provoking question. What parameters should I, as an Evangelical Democrat (gasp!), use in deciding for whom to cast my vote? While Jesus of Nazareth didn't overthrow the political powers the way that the Jews were hoping for, he did indeed have an opinion about Caesar's rule and the Apostle Paul gives clear instructions about praying for and respecting our political leaders (of any and every political party--don't get me started on churches who only pray for the presidents who are Republicans).

I hate the dichotomy that has emerged between a right-wing approach to controlling the voting bloc and bringing pressure to bear on political entities--all in the name of "Jeee-zuss!" (the way televangelists pronounce the name of my savior makes me shudder), and the left-wing approach of a somewhat necessary but still inexcusable withdrawal from, and lack of engagement with, religion and politics. It's frustrating to find that my party doesn't at all represent me in matters of faith and that the opposing party doesn't really mesh with my views on issues of justice and the environment. When is it, exactly, that we Christians all forgot about Genesis and our call to care for the earth and its creatures, and decided that to be a Christian requires a certain apathy and a willingness to watch the earth self-destruct? When did we lose sight of Jesus' call to care for "the least of these" and the proclamation that "pure and faultless" religion was to "look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world" (James 1:27)?

Maybe if we, the Church catholic, spent less time arguing (note: discussing matters of theology and orthodoxy is valuable, arguing over them is not) about hot topics and denominational issues, and more time being not "polluted" by the world but rather helping to redeem it--the two should be intertwined--there wouldn't need to be social programs that your average angry conservative so reviles. Perhaps if we voted on issues thoughtfully--not just because someone presses one of our buttons on issues of abortion, gay rights, the environment, etc.--there might be a higher standard set and met by political candidates. Although that may be wishful thinking!

Of course I'm going to have to vote for someone who I don't agree wholeheartedly on every topic. Jesus isn't running for president, because that isn't his way. But it's nice when I actually have more choices (and our two-party system is another discussion entirely) than Stupid vs. Evil. I'm glad that the Democratic party is starting to realize once more that we Christian Liberals (which is rather a different thing than a liberal Christian) actually exist!

Just because I believe that Christ will one day return to reign over the new heavens & the new earth doesn't mean I shouldn't care about the earth and its issues now. Rather than being two mutually exclusive viewpoints, they go hand-in-hand. Part of Christ's eventual return and redemption of all things is the work that he has started--in His church--and we are foolish to miss out on his call to be good stewards now. Man can't ever set things perfectly straight (sorry, modernism), but we can and should be a part of God making all things new.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Contrasts

I'm attempting a deep, meaningful, artistically chiasmistic post, so bear with me. Hee hee hee.

Chinese New Year:
a new beginning
enjoying dumplings and red envelopes
a time of well-wishing
a hopeful reprieve from bad luck and
death... Lent
the suffering and death of a King
a season of repentance
giving up good things with joy
a new creation:
Easter.

Happy Year of the Rat, friends! May the next >40 days bring you and yours a season of deep reflection and the true hope of being buried and resurrected with Christ Jesus our Lord.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Where to Start?

Aw, shucks. Sam linked us off his blog, and here I haven't posted in months. Let's not discuss how long it's been since Kennan posted.

So I now return, with gusto, in the name of international friendships and recycling!

If you are expecting anything epic (either in meaningfulness or length), this post may disappoint you.

If, however, you are expecting a bit of rambling of what our life has been like for the past several months, here it is... in no particular order... the good, the bad & the ugly:

we've finally started recycling, and I'm pretty excited about it... Kennan has become as addicted to Facebook (the applications, mostly) as I am... we got to leave the good ol' US of A for the first time ever, traveling to both Taiwan and Thailand to go to two weddings and to meet my Thai family... we lost our first child to a miscarriage in November, and though we're sad, are healing... the groups at Emory and Tech are doing well, and I'm still loving my job... GT lost to Fresno State in the bowl game (AGAIN) and I'm disgusted with my team (but pessimistically hopeful for next fall)... we got the complete series of Stargate SG1 for Christmas and it's fabulous... I've been using the word "fabulous" a lot lately, and I'm not sure why... our cats are as bad and as cute as ever... our unbelievable friends threw a surprise party (happy b-day Kennan/condolences/bon voyage) for us before we left for Asia, and I have never before felt so loved or humbled... seeing the Taipei 101 "explode" with fireworks on New Year's eve was fun, but a little freaky... I'm finally reading "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis, and it's excellent... I continue to be amazed by how God loves us even when we're angry at him... Aaron and Becky are engaged, and that's super exciting!... I'm pleasantly surprised by the array of choices in the presidential election thus far... 99.7 is now Q100 and 100.5 is now a rock station with some of the old 99x peeps, and it's confusing... it snowed in Atlanta the day we got home from being in 95+ degree weather in Thailand... our apartment flooded while we were gone, and the Hwangs and the Mustains saved the day!... I turn 30 this year and am a little freaked out by that... Paul and Sarah are eagerly awaiting the sprouting of The Bean and (I'm excited that) I'm excited for them... Pretzel the Bear is now a world traveler... it was great to see family at Christmastime and I don't know where 2007 went... we slept from 9:30 pm Tues. to 6 pm Wed. when we got home from Asia... we're doing much better about our sleep schedule now and it's 10:30 so I'm going to say goodnight!