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Listening: ‘Books Written for Girls’ by Camera Obscura

Reading: This would completely eliminate some peoples Twitter accounts.

Thinking: Being a Christian means that the cycle of violence, hate, and retaliation stops with you. And sometimes that *really* sucks. But in the end, I know that it is right.

How to Annoy Me: Act like you are above someone simply because you are more skilled at the task at hand then they currently are.

How to Charm Me: Be the answer to my prayers without even knowing it.

Quote of the Day: It is more important who they are as people and only then is it important who they are as dancers. – Marcia Haydee

Listening: ‘She is Love’ by Parachute

Reading: ‘Surprised By Hope’ by N. T. Wright

Feeling Guilty: For having a donut for lunch. Somehow I doubt that is on the list of good foods to eat.

Thinking: I will make my way back. Someday.

How to Annoy Me: Drive 10 miles under the speed limit, don’t pay attention at stop lights, and swerve all over the road while obviously looking for something in the passenger seat. Pull the SUV over and find whatever it is, DOCTOR, before I call the cops on your ass.

How to Charm Me: Call me and invite me to the state fair so we can finally indulge in our elephant ear craving.

Quote of the Day: What we say about death and resurrection gives shape and color to everything else. If we are not careful, we will offer merely a “hope” that is no longer a surprise, no longer able to transform lives and communitites in the present, no longer generated by the resurrection of Jesus himself and looking forward to the promised new heavens and new earth. – N. T. Wright

1000 Words: P1171584

They played this song at New Paradigm on Sunday and I cried and cried and cried. I love the part about dancing though.

Listening: ‘Gives You Hell’ by The All American Rejects

Enjoying: “The Christian Thought Police” (Again, so very sadly true.)

Thinking: I need a kid to blame this on.

How to Annoy Me: Go flying through an icy roundabout when you have a bus full of children in your care.

How to Charm Me: Do your best to make me feel better, even though there’s nothing you can really do.

Quote of the Day: “Do or do not. There is no ‘try’.” – Yoda 😀

Daily Photo: daily-19

Listening: ‘Stolen’ by Dashboard Confessional

Enjoying: *sigh* This is so sadly true of church people.

Thinking: I must be insane.

How to Annoy Me: Pull over into my lane without signaling and almost hit my car.

How to Charm Me: Be the person I can connect with over the sadness.

Quote of the Day: Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom. – Soren Kirkegaard

Daily Photo: daily-18

What does it mean to love someone? I’m not talking about the mushy romantic love that Hollywood would have us believe is real life. Rather the day to day, through the drudge of life, “yes, you sometimes piss me off but I still choose to love you” kind of love. What does that look like? Are we capable of loving accurately, as God intended?

I went to a prayer meeting last Wednesday where pastors and ministry workers from all over the city gather together to pray and encourage one another. I prayed with an amazing man named Geoff. I asked for prayer for wisdom in how to love and heal certain relationships in my life. Geoff believes that we aren’t capable of loving accurately. We can’t. We might be able to come close. But to truly love another person, to be fully patient, kind, not easily angered, never giving up, we don’t have that in us. Only Christ can do that. Only Papa knows when to love someone by holding them and when to use “tough love”. Because we can’t see everything and we don’t know everything. There are multiple sides to every story, which is why I always hesitate to rush in and only believe one side.

In the Bible, we read of a woman who had committed many sexual sins with many different men. The Pharisees dragged her out in front of the crowd and the crowd was prepared to stone her. I always found it interesting that the man whom she must have been caught with was nowhere to be found. They didn’t care about her side. They only wanted to make an example of her, to cause Jesus to lose His good standing in the eyes of the people. Instead of rebuking her or stoning her or guilting her or demanding that she be punished more, Jesus simply said “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, sir,” she replied. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

I have been in many circles and many settings where people are ostracized for their mistakes. The second that someone doesn’t fit into the box that a group has created, the second they screw up, the second they show that they are human, they are kicked out. There is no forgiveness. No mercy. No second chance. No “Today, I start”. People make mistakes. It’s a part of life. Our job, as Christians, is to walk beside them the best we can. Christ calls us to first love God and then to love others as we love ourselves. But I know too many people who call themselves Christians who only love as long as the other person meets their needs or fits their profile. Christ also called us to forgive our enemies. “What gain is there in loving those who love you?” Loving people whom you get along with, who love you, who you agree with most of the time, that’s easy. Loving the people who drive you crazy? Loving the people who you wish weren’t part of your group/church? Loving the people who hurt you? That is hard. It’s as hard as forgiving those people for the wrongs they commit against you.

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is an attribute of the strong.” – Gandhi

I would argue that the same can be said for love. Loving people is hard. It’s a choice. It takes courage and strength. It takes a willingness to be hurt. It takes patience. But can we really call ourselves Christians if we aren’t willing to do this? If there is a fault that I could live with having, I would want people to say “She loves too much.”

Loving someone doesn’t mean you have to hang out with them all the time. There is such a thing as a toxic relationship and I do believe that some people need to be kept separated. I don’t go looking to spend time with the man who abused me. But I forgive him. And I don’t wish him ill. I try to pray that God blesses his life. It’s hard and I don’t always succeed. But I try. Because otherwise I have no business saying “Forgive us our tresspasses as we also forgive those who tresspass against us.” Because being a Christian doesn’t just mean “Oh, I get to go to heaven when I die and screw the rest of you!” Being a Christian means you are an image-bearer of Christ. He was crucified on a cross because he loved people who spit on him and hated him and whipped him and called him names. In light of that, does loving your ex sound quite so hard? Does loving the person who doesn’t quite fit into the mold that your church/group has formed sound like the biggest challenge? It’s still hard. But we are not alone. If we believe the Bible, then the Holy Spirit is alive and at work in each of us and that means that we have His help. “Be holy as I am holy.” Love as He loves. Forgive as He forgives. Because nothing can separate us from the love of our Papa. And if we are His children, we should strive to imitate Him.

Listening: ‘Let It Be’ by The Beatles

Reading: ‘Superman as Jesus and other Christ figures in film’ (This is what I get for attending movies with Shane, Rich and Rob.)

Thinking: I cannot be held responsible for missing a day on the Daily How To when I’m house-sitting for someone with no internet! (Okay, so I can. But I rarely let reality mess with my delusions. 😉 )

How to Annoy Me: Have your iTunes set on shuffle so that the next song that pops up begins with a loud gunshot that scares me half to death.

How to Charm Me: Hug me tight because you know that I’m hurting.

Quote of the Day: In the center of your soul, the Shekhinah glory resides…the literal, real, overwhelming presence of God. – Larry Crabb

Daily Photo:

I’m not really one for making New Year’s resolutions. I used to be and like everyone else, I’d keep it up for a month….a week….a day. I’d be excited about it at first but eventually the excitement would wear off. To me, resolutions are kinda like praying the sinner’s prayer at a revival (or what have you). You do it because in that moment you know it’s the right thing to do and you’re excited and you’ve been pumped up for it! But then reality hits. This wasn’t just a one time thing.

If you truly want to follow through on that resolution to quit smoking, to go to the gym, the commitment to follow Christ, that means day after day, putting one foot in front of the other. Dragging yourself through when the excitement has worn off and your friends that were rallying around you at first have returned to their regularly scheduled programing. Picking yourself up and dusting yourself off when you stumble.

Now I’m not saying resolutions or revivals or the sinner’s prayer are bad. Not at all. They truly do work for some people. Some people make a resolution to lose 20 pounds and they do it! Some people never pick up a cigarette again. And some people are serious about their commitment that they make at revivals. But it doesn’t work for me. I can’t live from spiritual high to spiritual high. I can’t go from resolution to resolution. I can’t get swept up in the emotion of the crowd.

Following Jesus is hard. But it’s so worth it. Sticking to New Year’s resolutions is hard too. Which is why the only things I resolve anymore are this: love God and love others as myself. If I can be a blessing to those I touch, then my 24 years will have counted for something.

Listening: ‘Murder She Wrote’ by Chaka Demus and Pliers (Have I mentioned the eclecticness that is my taste in music? I blame Derek from Firm 57 for this one!)

Reading: “You’re supposed to be the leading lady in your own life, not the best friend.”

Thinking: Why is it if you want to be tan, you have two options: skin cancer or reeking like your brother’s shoes after a 2 hour basketball game on a summer day?

Feeling Guilty: For apparently being the one to teach Mikayla bad words…

How to Annoy Me: Put 3 of those “security enabled device inside” stickers on my DVD case. BECAUSE ONE OBVIOUSLY ISN’T ENOUGH!!!!!

How to Charm Me: Have skinny dipping on your list of things to do.

Quote of the Day: How unutterably sweet is the knowledge that our Heavenly Father knows us completely. No talebearer can inform on us; no enemy can make an accusation stick; no forgotten skeleton can come tumbling out of some hidden closet to abash us and expose our past; no unsuspected weakness in our characters can come to light to turn God away from us, since He knew us utterly before we knew him and called us to Himself in the full knowledge of everything that was against us. – A. W. Tozer

Daily Photo: daily-3

Listening: ‘Live Your Life’ by T.I. featuring Rihanna

Reading: ‘Virtual People, Real Friends’ (Thanks RWG!)

Thinking: What’s the point?

How to Annoy Me: Get in the way of me doing my job.

How to Charm Me: Sound completely exasperated when I apologize. Again.

Quote of the Day: When we sin and mess up our lives, we find that God doesn’t go off and leave us – he enters into our trouble and saves us. – Eugene Peterson

Daily Photo: daily-21

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