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I have been waiting until I have something interesting, or more importantly, coherent to say, before I blog. I don’t. But I’ve got a lot on my mind, so I’m going to put down incomplete and incoherent things instead.

I’ve been working my way through the book “The Spirit of the Disciplines” by Dallas Willard. Eddie Parish, one of my favorite people ever, introduced this book to me last year. The basic premise is that in our rush to distance ourselves from the idea that “works” can save us, we have tossed out the spiritual disciplines that are modeled by the apostles and Jesus himself, all throughout the New Testament– disciplines designed by God to be powerfully transformative.
Here’s a little excerpt:

Our mistake is to think that following Jesus consists in loving our enemies, going the “second mile,” turning the other cheek, suffering patiently and hopefully– while living the rest of our lives just as everyone around us does…whatever may have guided us in to this false approach, it is simply a mistake…It is part of the misguided and whimsical condition of humankind that we so devoutly believe in the power of effort-at-the-moment-of-action alone to accomplish what we want and completely ignore the need for character change in our lives as a whole.  The general human failing is to want what is right and important, but at the same time not to commit to the kind of life that will produce the action we know to be right and the condition we want to enjoy…

I suppose what he says is perfectly obvious and clearly true, but truly, when I read it, it was like a kick in the stomach.  That’s all I have to say about that right now.

We don’t really know what’s up next for us– we always intended to take stock of things after Tim finished his first degree, and decide what to do next.  A lot of things are on the table.  Actually, pretty much anything is on the table.  I am glad we have a year to consider and pray.  I have been missing Africa a lot recently.

A lot.

Church.  Church has been interesting.  We’ve been worshiping with a home church since we got here, and we love them.  But we have…well, some kids.  And the group we worship with has many teens and one other child under 13.  Last week we went to a beautiful park near our house and had services just the 5 of us.  We talked about the parable of the treasure buried in the field, and sang and prayed and had communion.  It was really fantastic.

Also.  It occurred to me that I had better make dang sure that I believed what I have grown up believing about women in the church…traditional gender roles in the church is not an issue I spent much time considering.  My spiritual gifts are such that I have never felt constrained (mostly relieved) that I would never be expected to teach or pray or lead singing in an assembly.

But I have these 2 daughters, and they are beautiful and created in the image of God…and if that God did not intend for them to remain silent in church, if he has not determined that it is a bad idea for them to publicly share from their knowledge and wisdom about Him…if this is not his design…then teaching them that He did, and it is…well it breaks my heart.

And so, for the first time in 28 years, I gave myself permission to consider that I might have it wrong.  And I did.  I had it wrong.  And even though I never consciously felt damaged or belittled by this tradition that I was raised in, I cannot describe the relief and the gratitude and freedom that has washed over me.  It absolutely brings me to tears to think that I will not have to think of a way to explain to my children, whom I love more than life, why, even though they are all created in the image of God, who also loves them more than life, God only wants to hear one of their voices in Church.

I got new glasses.  I haven’t had a new prescription since before I was pregnant with Casal.  And when I was pregnant with Elinor, I sat on those glasses, so I have been wearing a 7 year old prescription for about a year.  I love my new glasses.  And I got sunglasses!  Prescription ones.  My eyes are ridiculously sensitive to light, and so I am very excited about my new (gigantic) sunglasses.

And I have cute kids.  See?


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summer fun