Showing posts from 2014

Advent: Waiting for It

To wait idly is the worst of conditions.  -Robert Falcon Scott

When I was little our advent wreath was not a wreath at all. Ours were advent logs which stretched the length of my parents maple kitchen table and were still rough from their life outdoors and sticky with sap. The logs held 25 candles between them, counting the seemingly interminable number of days until Christmas.  Each night during Advent after the dishes were cleared away, we would turn the kitchen light off and set flame to another purple candle as my mom read from our advent book about how advent meant 'coming.'

As we read about different aspects of the Christmas story we ate sugar cookies in the shape of the Bethlehem star, wise men, or a shepherds crook.  Great sugar cookies; decorated with coloured sprinkles and those little silver balls that are so hard they might as well be made of titanium.  I loved Advent. I loved everything about December and the waiting in anticipation for Christmas.  I loved candy ri…

You Only Go to Church

I recently had to write out my testimony for a class I was participating in at church and, like any of us who became Christians early in life, and have lived relatively tamely, I dreaded the task.  I dreaded it because I was afraid to find that there wasn’t much of a story to tell.  I was afraid I’d be that inevitable bridesmaid at the banquet crying and boring the crowd with her interminable speech about a series of nothings.  (Better to decline the opportunity to speechify altogether, or, if you must, raise a glass and say, “You rock, Betsy Ross!” (Or whatever the bride’s name happens to be.) Then just sit back down.  The crowd will thank you.
That approach wasn’t going to cut it for my testimony, though, as much as I might like to charge a glass, point to the heavens and give Jesus a shout out.  I was supposed to be telling a story with a turning point.  Problem was, I couldn’t really think of one.   There was no stark before and after photo to say, “Look at the mess Morgan was maki…

Scary Big

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver.  Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe.  But he’s good.  He’s the King.” --C.S Lewis, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”

Sometimes, in order to understand something, you need to be looking at it from the inside out.  Faith is like that.  I can talk to you about Jesus and how I know Him, but unless you know Him, too--it won’t really mean that much to you.  You’ll probably assume I mean that I know of Him in an intellectual kind of way.  Sort of like me telling you that I know Abraham Lincoln because I studied the American Civil War and read a biography or two.  That’s nice.  He seems like he was a good guy.  Or, like when someone says that they love a celebrity.  They might love the idea of him, but they don’t love him--because they don’t know him.  They’ve just created an image in their mind to admire and attributed worth to it.  To know someone, to truly understand them, is to know them from the inside out.  Unfortunately--due to a lack of om…

Pass the Spoon

I realized this week that sometimes all God is asking me to do is pass a spoon.  You know, like when you are making dinner and hoisting a heavy pot over a serving dish and pouring out the contents; you need a spoon to scrape out the pot but, inevitably, none are within reach.  Then, someone else walks into the kitchen.

"Can you grab me a spoon, please?"
"Sure, here you go."
(Nota Bene: If you ever read this kind of dialogue in fiction you need to close the book and seek out a better usage of your time.)
This is not a monumental request with a prerequisite self-sacrificing response.  Neither the spoon passer or the pass-ee would even think the exchange worth mentioning if asked what they did with their day.  It wouldn't be worth recording in your life annals.
May 23, 2014
Dear Diary,
Today I fetched a spoon for someone who needed it.  I know.  This stuff just keeps happening.  
Stay lovin', Me
P.S  Also, the next Christian who uses the phrase: 'do life togethe…

Advice from the Fridge

At risk of being too inspired by the banal platitudes inscribed on fridge magnets and erroneously attributed to Oscar Wilde, I put forth the following statement:

“Be yourself.  Everyone else is already taken.”
An obvious assertion, or a profound one, depending on how long you think about it; sort of like the way that words go weird when repeated several times. 
We’ve all worn various masquerades in our lives.  Some costumes might have sufficed for an evening or maybe even a season while others have become such a comfortable second skin that is is almost indistinguishable from the real flesh beneath; the true self that has never seen the light of day.  No one starts out in life intending to stay hidden.   But like those heavily made up women who have become drag queen-like caricatures of their real femininity, we keep accenting the disguise instead of revealing the truth about ourselves.  The disguise grows coral-like, until the artifice is a ponderous mass; the result of a thousand conce…

"Who told you that you were naked?"

Who told you that you were naked? Who told you that you were exposed?
Who told you what shame is?
Who told you that you were naked?

“I --
I did--
I did.”
Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat?

“I -- I did.
I didn’t know what I was doing;  though I thought that I did.”

Who told you that you were naked?
The answer is always the same.
"I did."

I used to think that the answer was the serpent.  He was the deceiver.  He was the one that set up Eve and Adam to fall like dominoes with just the right push. But it wasn’t him, though I am sure he was pleased with the result.  He knew he was making a mess.  He was crafty.  But he probably couldn’t anticipate all the outcomes of Mankind’s eyes being opened.  No one else seems to know our weaknesses like we do. The serpent wasn’t the one that told them that they were naked.  It was the knowledge of Good and of Evil.  It was Adam. It was Eve.  They grasped it.  Their eyes were opened.
They knew.
And shame was born--
And fear.

Who Does That?

Ever been watching a movie and been struck with the thought, 'Who does that?'   A quick poll of my acquaintance reveals the answer: No one.

Here is a sampling of filmmaker misconceptions about life:

1.  Only in Hollywood films do women wear matching bra and underwear.  This just seems to be the norm.  In reality, realizing that you are wearing matching underthings is sort of like finding out it is February 29th. "Wow! Really?  Huh. Well, that's a heck of a thing."  The choice of these garments is almost entirely predicated upon the colour of the article of clothing a woman plans on wearing over it.  End of story.  Underthings demystified.

2. Car doors do not require shutting.  In real life, I think only minivans have this capability.  But you still have to pull on the handle or something.  It's not like you jump out of the car and your Honda Odyssey just knows. "Don't worry, buddy. You get on with your day.  I'll button up."

3. People don…

Good Friday Thoughts - "It is finished."

When Jesus said, “It is finished”, it looked like death.  
Jesus said, “It is finished.”  And Satan thought that he had won.
Place yourself at the Place of the Skull where the Author of Life was brought to die.  Maybe you would stand only a few feet from the foot of the cross--close--where the air was heavy with pain and punctuated with gasps of agony from those on the crosses and those who watched as their beloved ones began the slow, hard work of dying. Or, maybe you would hang back with the crowd further away because, you’re not quite sure, but there is something about this Man. You’re waiting to see what will happen. You want to see God show up.   Your ears are assaulted by the crowing of those who called for Jesus to come down from the cross if he really was who He claimed to be.  Send a legion of angels, Lord.  Send a punitive bolt of lightening from heaven. Rend the earth so that everyone knows who You are.  So that everyone knows Who they are messing with.  Then the darkness  cam…

Rally Cry for the Forgotten Girls of my Tribe (Part 2)

"You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling."
This is my manifesto to the forgotten girls of my tribe.  This is my call to arms--my rally cry to being alive--because someone somewhere along the line told us that life was a waiting game.  Wait on God. Wait on the right circumstance.  Wait on sex.  Wait on the right moment.  Get a Promise Ring and True Love Waits.  Someone handed us T-shirt slogans to live by instead of living water.  And while we may feel we've done everything right--trimmed up our lamps with extra oil and whatnot--we still feel like the foolish virgins locked out of the feast.

I think all the waiting is wrong.  Or, I think that it sent us all an unconscious message that we were never meant to read.  Wait on God, sure, absolutely.  But let's not just blanket apply that slogan without context--without individual circumstances--because it might reinforce the impression that God is one tardy fellow and that really isn't the impressi…