Sunday, September 25, 2005

Interesting Question

Today, the 7th and 8th grade Sunday School teacher asked me a very interesting question on her way to class. Apparently, they were discussing what parts of themselves they hide from the outside world.

Her questions, "What do you miss most from your childhood? Did you have a secret pleasure that you miss giving up?"

My answer that came without hesitation: playing with Barbies. What?! That was the best that I could do? Still, as I look back on her question, my answer remains the same.

When I began 6th grade at the middle school in my hometown, I made two drastic decisions the week before school began. First, I would have my waist-length, perfectly straight hair cut and permed. Second, I would pack up all of my Barbies. Both decisions still leave a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

That first day at our middle school brought all sorts of changes for my girlfriends. Looking down the hall that first day, I noticed many girls who had snuck to shave their legs without asking their mothers. Secret lipgloss and padded bras filled lockers and backpacks down that long, sixth grade hall. Who were we trying so desperately to impress?

Looking back, my sadness comes for two decisions made based on the opinions of others. At that point, I still loved my long hair and playing with dolls. Both kept me a little girl just a bit longer. I pray as my life as a twentysomething quickly ticks to an end, my decisions will not come as a result of someone else's opinion. My life is between God and myself right now, and He keeps making things clearer and clearer.

Grace vs. Karma (according to Bono)

(found someplace i don't quite remember. . . interesting, though)

In an interview featured on the Christianity Today website, U2's Bono talks about the difference between Karma and Grace.

Here are a few excerpts. . .It's a mind-blowing concept that the God who created the universe might be looking for company, a real relationship with people, but the thing that keeps me on my knees is the difference between Grace and Karma. I really believe we've moved out of the realm of Karma into one of Grace. . . .You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics—in physical laws—every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I'm absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that "as you reap, so you will sow" stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff. . . .I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I'd be in deep s---. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. Bono also talks about meeting with Pope John Paul II and giving the Pope his wrap-around sunglasses ("as a gift in return for the rosary he had just given me"). More of the interview, from the new book Bono: In Conversation with Michka Assayas, is on the CT site: Bono: Grace over Karma.

Friday, September 23, 2005

What Classic Movie Are You?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Eyes Wide Open

Yesterday, I heard a quote in a sermon that has stuck with me all day. "If justice is blind, then grace is living with our eyes wide open." Seeing all the gifts of God around us would overwhelm our lives. Grace: the supernatural gifts of God that we do not deserve and cannot earn.

The collection of Biblical men and women living with their eyes wide open is astounding. Think of that woman with the alabaster jar, the sinful woman, the prodigal son, or the thief on the cross. Each of them saw Jesus pouring out gifts to them that they did not deserve.

Wesley tells that "ye are saved from your sins, from the guilt and power thereof, ye are restored to the favour and image of God, not for any works, merits, or deservings of yours, but by the free grace, the mere mercy of God, through the merits of his well-beloved Son: Ye are thus saved, not by any power, wisdom, or strength, which is in you, or in any other creature; but merely through the grace or power of the Holy Ghost, which worketh all in all." May we live in the grace of the Holy Spirit today!

What Famous Leader Are You?

My results came up as "a Gandhi." Funny, I saw a guy's result come back as Hitler. Yikes! Try it out and let me know what your results are.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Ideas About Grace

I've been re-reading through Philip Yancey's book, What's So Amazing About Grace. He made a few comments that caught my attention. "Never, ever, underestimate the power of grace. It is a gift from God, and it holds within it a supernatural power."

The idea of grace holding a supernatural power seems the missing piece to my confusion about grace. What makes grace separate from kindness or forgiveness? It holds power. How has grace affected your life recently?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The Science Of Failure

This quote caught my attention today as I read another blog:

"Failure does not strike like a bolt from the blue; it develops gradually according to its own logic. As we watch individuals attempt to solve problems, we will see that complicated situations seem to elicit habits of thought that set failure in motion from the beginning. From that point, the continuing complexity of the task and the growing apprehension of failure encourage methods of decision making that make failure even more likely and then inevitable. We can learn, however. People court failure in predictable ways." (The book is called The Logic of Failure by Dietrich Dorner. Originally published in Germany in 1989, it was reprinted in the United States in 1986.)

How do we "court failure"? This term connotates a romance or a dance. We flirt, impress, and seduce failure until we claim it as our own. This idea overwhelmed me this evening as I returned from an incredibly long day.

This morning, I filled in for a local teacher in a high school Special Education Dept. The class was titled "Severe & Profound." The three students in the class, all ranging in age from 15-18, were severely physically and mentally disabled. Two ate through feeding tubes in their stomachs. One missed school yesterday to have an injection of a muscle relaxer in his pump around his kidneys. Of the three, only one had the ability to comprehend numbers (1-5) or any colors. All three needed to be changed three times during the course of the day.

With these three students in mind, how can we look at the patterns in their lives? None are able to dream of future independence; however, each extended love and affection to everyone throughout the day. All hugged me when the day was over. Could their lives be counted as failures? Absolutely not.

M three new friends illustrated great true to me today. As I focus on my inabilities and failures, my mind is flooded with the illusion of doubt. We must break those cycles.. . . end this courtship with failure. How can we recognize patterns and speak out truth to overcome our failure? Is it even possible?

Each of those students has a folder with goals for the year listed inside. They include goals such as the following: recognize the numbers 1-5, distinguish between blue and red, open and close hands, push a button by turning head. What are my goals that show success? Can I list them life those students?