Friday, April 20, 2012

Cultural Christianity

Okay, I'm going to take a stab at this.  If you don't want to read a rambly, perhaps nonsensical, maybe even slightly controversial post, you've been warned to stop reading now LOL.  At any rate, I'm hoping that thinking hard (you can just see a few extra wrinkles forming as I'm typing) will district me from the allergic reaction going on with my face, the newly minted pen drawing on my cedar chest cover (thanks Colin), and the unfinished costumes hanging on the china cabinet.  Here goes. 

I think organized religion is in crisis.  Now, that doesn't sound so shocking - we hear that frequently.  But the threat isn't coming from atheists, secularists, humanists, or liberals.  It's coming from the inside, making it all the more destructive.  People are becoming what I term Cultural Christians, under the leadership of many churches and preachers.  They've substituted a brand of patriotic, political conversatism for a living, breathing relationship with God and the Word.  I see it frequently in the online forums for Christian mothers I frequent, and from my Christian friends on Facebook.  People assume that if you are a Christian you must be in full support of the Republican Party.  If you are not, many openly and disgustedly question the sincerity of your faith.  It's commonplace to see and hear "How can any Christian support..." or "I've never known any true Christian to support...".  I recently ran across (not literally, via the web) a sign supporting a state amendment that says "Vote How God Votes - Yes to Amendment 1".  How anyone can have the temerity to say without equivocation and humility that they know God's mind on a matter so wordly and temporal is beyond me.  Especially when we are talking of something as complex as politics.  I also hear frequently the assertion that America is or, at the very least, should be a Christian theocracy and that somehow God's perfected design for this world is American-style freemarket capitalism, and that differing ideologies are inherently evil.  Just yesterday I came across an old 1960s speech by Paul Harvey that several of my Christian compatriots were swooning over in which he equated ambition with godliness.  Ambition!  Not hard work or integrity or responsibility, he actually used the word ambition.  This then turned into a religious-tinged diatribe against socialism and all I could think was no, no, no, buying into political tribalism is downright Darwinian and anything but what God wants for us. It is cheap Christianity - that which demands little of us, because all we have to do is listen to our chosen "leaders", vote a particular way, and throw a little money into the mix for good measure, and we're patted on the head and told that we're "approved" Christians, somehow earning God's special privilege as Americans.  Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world.  If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews.  But now my kingdom is from another place." John 18:36.  As a God Girl, I think we need to be very, very cautious about wading into the political and culture wars and always keep our eye on the prize - that this world is not our home.  Too many times we want to know what God can do FOR us, rather than how we can bleed for him and for others, to the glory of his name.          

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Reoccuring Theme

It's been a low week and a half. I can't even pinpoint the major cause - I think it's the combination of a dozen or more small things. I'm also starting to realize, as I go longer without being pregnant than I have since I was 19 (crazy to think, although I'm not quite there yet - I didn't get pregnant with Colin until Ian was 2.5 years old), that I'm started to be more effected by regular female hormones. I don't like feeling controlled by the hormonal roller coaster, especially without the buffer of pregnancy, when people forgive you for being a little bit crazy. I have a feeling I'm really not going to like the process of getting old as it relates specifically to being a woman. Philosophical things have been weighing heavily on my heart and I want to get it out in a blog post, but the words aren't quite coalescing in the way I want them to. Maybe next week, after we get a breather from all of this crazy figure-skating competition stuff, God will help me assemble the words that are all sitting in my heart. And speaking of stress, forget the girls and the pressure on them to actually go out there and compete - I'm feeling so much of it I'm almost ready to climb into a cave for the duration! I think I stress because it's so expensive and I have such high expectations for an appropriate return on our investment. But I know that's not a right mindset to have either, because I don't want to turn into a scary stage mom. Ack, this parenting older kids stuff is hard. Gimme poopy diapers and messy highchairs, I think!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Mommy Toy

Okay, it's not THAT exciting, but in trying to be an optimist and look on the bright side of things, I'm going to enjoy our new dishwasher. Our old one finally died on us, and there is just no way I can survive without a dishwasher (yes, I'm being melodramatic). so on Monday night after Allegra's choir concert we headed over to the store to pick one out. It finally arrived on Wednesday, James started installation on Wednesday night, ran into a kink (a leaky fitting on the old supply hose) that stopped the process, and then finished it up last night. I love the stainless with the cabinets and the paint, although our kitchen is really a mutt now, with two stainless appliances and two old white ones. Ah well, frugality before beauty, some times, although we're working hard at saving to get to upgrade/replace stuff in our home. I'm trying not to hate the new dishwasher, as far as usage is concerned. You know how you get a routine down, and you know exactly how to use something and how to maximize space and all that? Well, it takes time, and I'm definitely not there yet with the new dishwasher, so for now it seems SO small (it's not, just a different interior configuration, of course). This too shall pass, and I absolutely am grateful, I promise.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Couldn't Resist

There was no way I was going to pass up the opportunity to post this photo of Elinor. She's so cute. All the younger kids have a "name song" - basically I just sing their name in the tune of a popular classical piece. Elle's is set to the William Tell Overture. She's so funny because she sings along with it; her favorite part is saying "nor, nor, nor" after three repeats of her name. Ah, my little baby girl, who is fast approaching two, I love you!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

When Mom's Away

the kids will play - with my camera, apparently. The little ones like to find my camera and use it fairly frequently, as I have a bad habit of leaving it in random places. Usually their pictures consists of super close up fuzzy nostril shots or Mario Brothers scenes on the tv. But I was surprised when I downloaded my latest batch of pictures taken by the kids to see Hero in them too. I guess she must have had one of those moments where she forgot she was supposed to act like a typical 12 year old girl (cough, cough, of course I mean 12 year old girls are the best ever ;-P).

Monday, April 9, 2012

He is Risen Indeed!

Easter was so stressful! I let too much of the nonimportant stuff get to me, I know, but it seemed llike one disaster after another. First of all, James had to close on Saturday night, so he wasn't home until 12:45, and we stayed up til 2 finishing up stuff, so we were both rather tired. So we started the day with four hours of sleep and immediately the list of "seriouslys?" started.

#1 - The dress I planned to wear had a broken zipper, which I didn't discover until I was trying to put it on, five minutes before we had to walk out the door - so a complete change in plans was necessary. Luckily we made it to church only two minutes late.

#2 - While at church, James spilled coffee all over himself and the chair and my Bible cover. He had just a small cup, but it looked like he'd dropped an entire coffeepot. When I came back to our row to sit down after playing in the orchestra, my seat was covered in coffee, so James had to sit on the end all by himself.

#3 - Where, he apparently couldn't stay awake, due to the aforementioned four hours of sleep and lack in coffee. Nothing says "God is glorious, let's praise His name" like having to elbow someone 20 times during the message to make sure they stay somewhat awake. I'm not sure who the devil was working harder at getting - him or me LOL.

#4 - I hosted Easter dinner and it was a disaster. The timing was all wrong, and although everything tasted good, we didn't get to eat until 3:30, an hour after I had planned. We didn't have enough refrigerator room and the backyard didn't get cleaned and the gazebo top didn't get put up so we couldn't eat outside, but there wasn't enough room inside, so we sent the kids outside and the adults ate inside.

#5 - Our dishwasher really was acting up, so I had to wash and dry all the dishes by hand (my hands were bleeding by the end of it all, because hand eczema and dishwashing does not mix well), which took about an hour all told. James took a siesta on the living room couch. All of you women reading this totally understand the tone conveyed in that sentence, I hope.

#6 - Elinor grabbed off an entire 18pk crate of hardboiled eggs off the table and they promptly crashed to the floor, breaking all over the place. I didn't have the heart to be too angry, though, considering she has a horrible concrete burn on her forehead where she face-planted on the patio walking down the one step that leads to the backyard.

But, in spite of it all, life is good. God is good. I love how our Easter pictures (sorry, James is missing, we gave up after doing my pictures with the kids) reflect the chaotic day we had LOL. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!