Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Walk Like a Man, Talk Like a Man.....

Julie put up a link on the Emerging Women site to GenderAnalyzer - a site that supposedly will analyze your site and tell you if your blog is written by a man or a woman. The way they do it is also explained at the site.

So, just for fun I tried it. Here are my results:

Silhouette of a manWe think is written by a man (65%).

Is this correct?

Huh. Interesting. How about your blog??

Monday, January 26, 2009

How Dare We?

I'm frustrated with people who think depression is sin. And unfortunately it is a very common belief. Especially in our churches. If you are depressed you are not living in God's will. You are out of step with God. You don't read your Bible enough. You just plain aren't spiritual enough.

How self-righteous. How sanctimonious. It makes me furious!

Do you know how many times I have heard that? And from people who really don't know what they are talking about? Have any of these people been fine one day and had a black cloud descend the next? Have then been totally incapable of functioning? Have they stood in the middle of a grocery store aisle and not been able to put one thing in the cart?

Depression is real. It is an illness. Why do we make people feel like sinners if they need to take medication to help them during a dark time? As much as I wanted to help myself, as much as I read and read and read the Bible, and wept in prayer to God - the darkness did not lift by itself. I felt paralyzed and hopeless. I could not begin to be a functioning member of a church or contribute in anyway. Once on medication to help the darkness lifted. The paranoia lifted. The anxiety lifted. And I could once again be a contributing member to my church and through them to society.

How dare we kick people when they are down? How dare we serve up platitudes and Bible verses and "if only you would" ... All that does is drive that person deeper into despair and guilt.

When a person comes to us in the grip of depression we need to be willing to listen. To hug. To understand. To enter into their pain with them. To keep an eye on them. To suggest they get help. To offer to go with them, be with them, stay with them. We need to touch base with them often. And pray for them.

Not tell them they are sinners. Not dismiss their concerns. Not ignore the signs that they are decompensating.

We need to wake up before one more person who has been judged and reprimanded and yes, even ridiculed for their pain is pushed to the brink of taking their life because they feel so very, very hopeless, misunderstood and unfixable.

We need to stop hurting, and start helping.Stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution. No, we can't make it better. Nor can we talk anyone out of anything. We can't fix the situation. But we can stop blaming the depressed person for their depression. And walk beside them. And love them.

So we know, in the end, we did the best we could. And when the unthinkable happens I want to be able to grieve with the family. Just be sad. Period. I don't want to be furious as well with the church.

Like I am today.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Who's afraid of a little cold??

Jen came to visit this weekend! I have really missed her, and we have had the best time. I had a 4 day weekend thanks to an institute day as well as MLK Day. So, being the insane people we are we decided to hang out in Chicago. It was only 3 degrees below zero with a windchill of -20 or so!

So we bundled up, hopped on the train and spent a good four hours traipsing around the frigid city on Friday having a blast. All told we walked 4 1/2 miles and spent about four hours in places like Millennium Park, Pioneer Court and Navy Pier.

Of course, crazy people that we are, that was not enough. Oh no. On Sunday we talked Kim into driving us back downtown and spent several more hours running around Belmont Harbor, North Avenue Beach, the Museum Campus and Northerly Island. And we rewarded ourselves with lunch and drinks at Uncommon Ground near Wrigley Field.

Yes, we Chicagoans are made of hearty/hardy stock. And Jen? She is just a misplanted Texan. :)

Washington Street - does the bluish cast make it look cold?

Chicago is sooooooooo proud of Barack Obama!!

Cloudscape aka "the Bean"

Kelsey and Jen under "the Bean."

J. Steward Johnson's "God Bless America" at Pioneer Court.
Last time we saw this Jen and I were in Key West.
Slight difference in temperature!

I think the moose was at home in the cold!

Taken from the upper terrace at the north end of Navy Pier.

Stained Glass Museum at Navy Pier. Great way to warm up!

We were outside for 4 hours or so......except for coffee at Starbucks to warm up!

Kim and Jen at Belmont Harbor on Sunday.

Looking south from Belmont Harbor.

Karen's drink: Frida Kahlo: YUMMY!(vanilla bean vodka, omanhene fair trade chocolate, kahlua,spicy cinnamon-cayenne)
Jen's Drink: Tree-Tini: (organic ginger infused rain vodka, liquor 43, tart apple syrup
& apple cider)
BEST OF ALL? For every Tree-Tini ordered, Uncommon Ground plants a tree! Who knew a cocktail could help save the earth?

Kelsey's Drink. It was YUMMY! !
Haute Chocolat
(orange liqueur, omanhene chocolate, vanilla steamed milk,
topped with whipped cream, orange zest & nutmeg)

Hanging out at North Avenue Beach..... :)

Jen and Kelsey at North Avenue Beach.

Looking south from North Avenue Beach.

It was a gorgeous day!

While we were at Northerly Island the clouds started rolling in...

Jen at the Adler Planetarium.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ain't no Reason

This was put up on YouTube by a guy that runs a homeless shelter in Lubbock. Thanks to Jen's dad for sharing it with me!

Friday, January 09, 2009

What beliefs are important?

Over on the Emergent Village website today there is an excellent post by Don Heatley regarding the things we use to measure a persons spirituality and/or the correctness of their theology....
Check it out!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Playing telephone...

I wish I knew Greek. Or Hebrew. Sometimes I just wish I could read the Bible the way it was written - or at least close to that. Everything we read now, or think we know has been interpreted and even at times had the meaning drastically changed by translation. The best words/translation according to whoever was doing the translating are filtered through their understanding/lens. I'm tired of searching commentaries when I really want to know something. Or reading ten different theories to try and understand what was really being conveyed. (Especially, since goodness knows, I should only be reading certain commentaries anyway - the ones that are Baptist or some evangelical, fundamental variation of that and right of course....none of that mainline or Catholic stuff.) Certainly knowing the culture of the times helps with understanding. Historical context is critical. But even after all that, it still frustrates me. And if my understanding just doesn't mesh with what I've been taught, or what is being preached as the right way - well what then?

I enjoyed reading Doug Pagitt's book, A Christianity Worth Believing. I appreciate that he shows the differences between Western/Greek thought and reasoning and Jewish understanding. I appreciate him explaining how and why codification took place and why the creeds were written. I appreciate that he isn't afraid to say that we don't know the answers, and that even after re-evaluation, and different understandings there are still nagging questions that haunt him. Cuz they do me too. It's hard to put it all together. To sift through and decide what I believe and don't believe, what I think or don't think. Why some beliefs are held so tightly to, even if just maybe they don't make sense. There's a lot to think about in the book - and it challenges what you know about original sin, heaven, hell, Jesus, the kingdom of God, what the gospel is....

I also just read Phyllis Tickle's new book: The Great Emergence. I would recommend this book to anyone, even if you are not a history person. She does an excellent job of showing the cycles of religious thinking; why the church believed certain ways in certain times, and why it changed in the past, and why it will again. And why that seems to cause such concern and fear.

I also watched an couple episodes of the series on the Seven Deadly Sins on the History Channel. The one I really enjoyed was Greed. Amazing how the concept of greed then and now has changed. From bad, and some believe, the sin from which all other sins spring, to good - in the sense that capitalism is based on greed.... Very interesting stuff. I enjoyed the sound bites by Phyllis Tickle and the show left me with a lot to ponder. Again, showing the differences in how greed (and the other temptations as they were originally called) is perceived in Eastern thinking and Western thinking. In the Jewish culture and in ours....

As an aside; I thought of greed again when I read a rough draft of Julie Clawson's upcoming book on every day justice and encountered the question many people today ask when they are confronted with justice issues surrounding large companies who profit while the farmer/seamstress/whatever stuggles in poverty.

“But isn’t that the point of free market capitalism?” some may ask. "Isn’t making as large of a profit as possible the goal of any company?"
And what does this go back to? Greed! Does making a profit justify the exploitation of the worker? Wow, interesting rabbit trail! I bet I could post on the thought of greed all by itself...

So, again, I say I wish I could read the Hebrew scriptures and understand it as a Jew would have. I wish I could read the Greek scriptures understanding the climate and culture of that time - especially regarding the political overtones, and just how radical Jesus was at the time. And why he was perceived as being so dangerous.

Am I just weird? Or does anybody else ever feel this way? I mean regular people, not seminarians or scholars...

Just my thoughts for today.