Monday, March 28, 2011

Because...

I try not to use it.
I remember it so well from my own youth.
Gram patiently waits, knowing the answer, but also knowing my internal battle.
Finally, no longer able to keep the barrage of ::why:: at bay,
I open the antiquated shield like a trusty umbrella and say,
"Because I said so."



sigh.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Why is it the Women?

It's been a few days since Amendment 10-a didn't pass on the floor of our Presbytery. I was an advocate for this amendment and the speech I read can be found here.

If you are not a Presbyterian, the above link will take you to the exact language of the amendment, but suffice to say that the rhetoric is over the removal of the only ordination standard specifically listed which is: "...the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness."

Basically, if you're gay you can come to church but you cannot be ordained as a Deacon, Elder or Minister of the Word and Sacrament. Despite the fact that all of us fall short of the glory of God, you - as a GLBT person - are a second class citizen.

I have spent a lot of time the last few days running through a variety of alternative speeches that I could have prepared. None of them would have worked. Folks showed up knowing how they were going to vote, myself included.

As my emotions have moved from blind rage to simmering anger, I've been better able to put my finger on some of the things from our 'debate' that frustrated me so (the failure of the amendment to pass being primary, of course). Of all of the things there is one thing that I cannot seem to process enough to shake.

It's the women who I know for a fact came to our denomination from other denominations that would not let them have a voice in the church and certainly not an ordained voice. The one woman who spoke most vehemently (read:irrationally) about what "bringing in the gays" would do to the church and the denomination was one that I myself welcomed into our fold. At one time she and I talked about the wonderful gift that the PC(USA) is as it holds on firmly to the reformed tradition and is inclusive to women's voices as well. This denomination has been inclusive of women for the past 150+ years (Deacon), 100+ years (Elder) and 50+ years (Minister of the Word and Sacrament).

It is truly a gift to be part of a denomination that even if not at the forefront, does continue to evolve in its inclusiveness. So how DARE she slam that open door in the face of those who would like to step through next?!

I find this unconscionable.

Don't get me wrong, there were women on the 'for' side as well and there were men on both sides. But I find particularly reprehensible the act of suppressing another human being's voice and Call from God by those who once had their own voice and Call kept from them.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Social Media Giant!

I've been a part of the revgalblogpals community for a long time. Here is an interview on God Complex Radio with one of the founders, Martha Spong. Check it out here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Yes to Amendment 10-A

Below are the comments I made at the Presbytery of Carlisle meeting supporting the Amendment known as 10-A. Briefly put, this amendment would replace the language currently in our Book of Order that is mainly used to exclude homosexuals from serving the church as ordained deacons, elders and pastors. In Carlisle Presbytery Amendment 10-A failed, but nationally it may pass.

--------


I have been a Presbyterian since the babyfold room and in all stages of my growing faith – from baptism thru ordination - this debate has raged around me. Ten years ago I stood to be counted in a vote on this Presbytery floor to cease debate rather than hear even one voice for or against. I wanted this question to just go away.

Obviously the question remains and so I’ve asked myself why – forcing myself to engage with it – looking, praying, studying, questioning and praying some more.

What I have found from most is a passion and desire to be, as the Church, who God has called us all to be. To have God look upon us as Jesus did for so many and say, “Your faith has saved you, go in peace.”

Not your rules.

Not your law.


Your faith.

Outsiders and outcasts were who Jesus tended to and who the early church developed into leaders. Our standards of faith and trust in God in the 21st century should not be any less than these.

In the Gospel of Luke we witness a woman enter into the midst of Jesus and the religious leaders, break open her alabaster jar of ointment and cleanse the feet of Jesus and wash them with her hair (7:26-8:3).

This woman clearly does not belong anywhere near him. And yet Jesus receives her and in the process changes all the rules… and that can be hard for a group of his followers who really, really like rules and boundaries and decorum and tradition and quite frankly, for things to be clear. We want to know the rules so that we can get it right and know for a fact when others are getting it wrong.

If we say ‘yes’ to those who are used to hearing ‘no’ – what will our friends think, what will become of The Church? So we leave the door propped open, allowing them to be on the outskirts of the party… find their own way in… if they must. But we are sure to keep our distance.

As they reach for their alabaster jars of Call and service – full of passion for proclaiming the Truth – we keep them from the feet of Jesus deeming them unworthy. “How dare they approach. Don’t worry Jesus, we’ll protect you.”

And so I ask each and every one of us gathered in this room – what is it going to be? Do we languish in the order of the day, carefully marking what looks right and must be wrong?

Or do we dive at the feet of mercy, pouring out our love and trust; bathing in God’s faithfulness and forgiveness, not caring who else may be splashed in the process.

And if the choice is made for love and trust; for faithfulness and forgiveness…

How beautiful the jar…

How sweet the ointment…

How pure the love that will be bestowed upon us as we hear the words….

Your faith has saved you; go in peace.

Please vote yes on Amendment 10-a.

LOST: Mojo

I remember when I used to be funny. I used to be able to make people laugh so hard that, sides hurting and tears streaming, they would actually beg for mercy.

I'm not that funny any more.

I'm not sure when it happened. I can't really blame the divorce because on the trips I took afterwards, laughter and making other people laugh was a major part of my healing. I can't really blame the new job because the people here laugh with me more than in a previous position. They seem to 'get' my humor.

Maybe it's time. It's been a long time since I have just sat with a group of people and worked up to the kind of laughter I once was great at producing. But I have had those times recently and there was humor, but not like it used to be. There was a glimmer of it just a few weeks ago while hanging out with one of my favorite people. Even she remarked that it had been a long time since she had heard me joke around like that.

Maybe it's the world and my awareness of it. There is so much unfathomable pain, both here in the community and globally. I often feel it weighing down on my shoulders.

Maybe it's the responsibilities of the last 2 years. A new job with a steep learning curve, a son who entered the public school system, the death of my father, learning the dynamics of my mom living with us, continuing to juggle the ex-husband and his wife, trying to hold onto friendships through the strain of everyone's 'busy', negotiating new relationships, attempting to be the traditional Head of Staff that some folks need me to be all while pushing on my own edges of what might be next, working to move this small corner of the pcusa away from its policies of discrimination against those who are LGBT, and in the midst of it all trying to carve out time for rest, exercise and renewal.

Oh.

Monday, March 21, 2011

What Would Nicodemus Do?

(A sermon for Lent 2A March 20, 2011 Psalm 121, John 3:1-17)

Four years ago I was headed to Kansas to experience my first gathering with the lectionary study group known as The Well. In my bag I had my laptop, the two papers I had written and a folder of articles and other materials we were all supposed to have read before we got there. I climbed into my window seat, dutifully shoved the bag underneath the seat in front of me, clicked my seat belt and began to look through the folder.

I had hoped the seat next to me would remain empty, but as the plane filled that scenario became less and less likely. I hunkered down and tried to plug into the work in my hands. My rare introverted, academic reverie was interrupted by a backpack flung with a bit too much spunk that landed practically in my lap, “Hi! I’m Richard[i],” he declared.

I nodded my head. The less encouragement the better in these cases, right? I also noted that no one was in the aisle seat, yet he was dutifully seated in the middle seat and also seemed to be sitting in my seat as well.

I was stunned that this was to be my fate all the way to KANSAS and then it got worse. He leaned over my shoulder, way too close for comfort, and said, “Tell me… are you born again?”

Here were my blink of an eye thoughts: “oh my gosh I cannot believe that just happened if I were a real Christian I would talk to him but I don’t feel like it and if he finds out I’m a minister I’m going to have to defend that too ugh please make him go away what am I going to do can he see I’m reading

religious stuff maybe I can just say yes but I’ve taken a vow of silence… does this seat have an eject button?”

While I was running through my internal monologue he was pulling something out of his backpack – and here’s where I have to admit I was thinking, “Oh no… a Bible? A tract? No, it was… the same folder of materials I had? A huge grin broke out on his face as he said, “I’m just messing with you, I’m Richard Connors and it looks like we’ve been invited to the same lectionary group.”

And exhale.

It’s an interesting phrase, “Born again.” It sure had Nicodemus totally stumped. And some 2,000 years later I’m not convinced we’ve figured it out yet. It seems like all too often it’s used as a standard to keep people in or out.

Are you born again? = “Are you saved like us?”

Are you born again? = “Are you crazy like them?”



It’s an unhelpful label, coated in stereotypes either way you lean; heavy-laden with cultural baggage. Sometimes I wonder if we can blame a huge portion of our cultural divides when it comes to religion on that guy who had all of the great seats to sporting events, wore a rainbow wig and held up a sign everywhere he went that said, “John 3:16.”

It’s not Scripture’s fault that so much focus has been put on this one verse pulled from all context. I wonder how different the world would be if rainbow wig guy held up a sign that said, “John 5:21.”

Indeed, just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life

to whomever he wishes.

Please hear me when I say that I don’t think Jesus is wrong or the Scripture is wrong, I think that the way some have turned it into a line in the sand as some sort of Book of Life proof-text is wrong.

Faith is an ongoing work of the Spirit. It is a gift from God that informs our actions. It is not a one-time action that guarantees the gift from God.

Faith is not a yes or no answer – it’s a journey.

Our Psalm this morning was most likely written for and recited on journeys to Jerusalem by those who were pilgrimaging there for religious festivals. It also echoes of a journey from darkness to light:

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
your going out and your coming in
from this time on and for evermore.

On this journey the Lord will keep you. There is no ‘if’ the Lord will keep you – love will never let you go. God’s grace is for all – it rains on all, the sun shines on all – will we accept it? Will we accept God’s grace?

Will we accept that God’s grace is for all?

Or will we stick with that line in the sand.

A pole placed in the sand casts a shadow, but as the sun heads to its brightest point in the sky with the most light flooding the earth there is no longer a line to be seen. When light floods in, shadows are cast out - the boundaries and borders disapper - the line is lifted from the sand.

We aren’t forced to join the other side, the battle lines just disappear.

Nicodemus shows up in the dark. He is not just a curious onlooker or poor peasant. He’s a leader of the Pharisees. Unlike so many others who quickly follow Jesus in the Gospels, he takes his time. Of course he does – he has so much more to lose.

Even purposefully cloaked in darkness it is bold of him to go and find Jesus. To make matters worse Nicodemus basically doesn’t understand a single thing he says. Jesus teases him, “You’re a teacher of Israel?”

Outside the Temple weeks later the religious authorities are attempting to have Jesus arrested. Still one of them, but clearly torn, Nicodemus utters a legal technicality on Jesus’ behalf. They turn on him, “What are you, from the same place he is?”

Later still, at the Place of the Skull, Golgotha, the dead man on the cross bleeds. His side is pierced by the soldiers and the body is taken down. Nicodemus steps out of the shadows of his doubt and contemplation and together with another they take his body away. Nicodemus has arrived with 100 pounds of spices – an amount that makes clear to those around that this is not the official act of a leader of the Pharisees, but rather the faithful action of a follower of Jesus.

A pole placed in the sand casts a shadow, but as the sun heads to its brightest point in the sky with the most light flooding the earth there is no longer a line to be seen. When light floods in, shadows are cast out - the boundaries and borders disapper - the line is lifted from the sand.

Nicodemus didn’t join the other side, the battle lines just disappeared.

In his song, Fearless Love, David Wilcox tells the story of a church member encouraged by their pastor to attend a rally in the park. His lyrics sing out:

“That’s where the wicked planned to demonstrate and carry signs to set a spark.”

But while there one of the men you showed up to stand against is hit by a rock thrown from behind you. In front of you he bleeds:

(His) head is cradled in his arms (and) though his blood contains his death And though the lines are drawn in hate, you drop your sign of Bible verse and help the wounded stand up straight.

You didn’t join the other side, the battle lines just disappeared[ii].

The news in chapter 3 of the Gospel of John is Good News. It encapsulates the heart of the Christian message which is: God is love. And God is SO into loving us that he sent his Son to us to be and show us God’s love in this world. And God's love -- surprising, all encompassing, unasked for and undeserved – is given unconditionally. [iii]

A pole placed in the sand casts a shadow, but as the sun heads to its brightest point in the sky with the most light flooding the earth there is no longer a line to be seen. When light floods in, shadows are cast out - the boundaries and borders disappear - the line is lifted from the sand.

God loves us whether we like it or not.

God loves others whether we like it or not.

It’s okay to let the battle lines disappear.




[i] Name changed to protect the guilty.

[ii] David Wilcox. “Fearless Love” East Asheville Hardware, 1996.

Friday, March 18, 2011

RevGalBlogPal Friday Five: Spring Ahead Edition


From the RevGalBlogPals:

Whether we liked it or not, we all "sprang forward" with the change to daylight savings time in the USA this past Sunday. There is lightness and brightness slipping in as spring approaches, so let us consider what is springing forth in our lives right now.

Name 5 things that are springing forth, possibly including :

  • what you hope for - Personally, I hope that God is with me as I plan for a future of joy and love, Nationally I hope for an end to selfishness and greed that has led this country so far astray, Globally I hope for the people of Japan, Bahrain, Libya, etc., etc., etc... peace.
  • what you dread - That in all three anger and hate will win.
  • what you observe - People are good and smart and want to love and be loved.
  • what is concrete - This swipes from Love Actually, but in the airports the hugs are real.
  • what is intangible - Love. Or is it?

The Love Actually quote about love:
"Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspicion... love actually is all around."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Oh My God, Japan...


Ever since the BE4 and a tremendous presentation by Carol Howard Merritt, I've tried to be more intentional about writing on my blog.

I know, you can't tell.

I have been plugging away daily at 750words, but every few paragraphs of drivel I find myself wanting to scream, "Oh my God, Japan!" This is no tongue-in-cheek statement, this is a cry out to God for mercy on them and ultimately on all of creation.

I cannot even begin to fathom life there right now. I cannot look at the pictures of dazed and stunned survivors. I cannot comprehend it. I don't think any one can.

So I've been going about my days with petty this and semi-important that and suddenly it will hit me again, "Oh my God, Japan!"

I guess this is all we can do - pray, cry out in lament, seek other ways to offer tangible support.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers....

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bread Alone - Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7; Matthew 4:1-11

Way back on Tuesday of this week I was going to go with a light introduction into these texts. I had a few different options I was thinking about in my head, I’m not sure which one I was going to use, but something about how we should trust our lives to the God who created us, relying on the gifts God has bestowed upon us.

That seems so long ago now…

In the meantime the violence of Gadhafi against his own Libyan people has not let up and neither have our gas prices.

In the meantime seven young children died in a tragic fire in Perry County and the clan that goes by Westboro Baptist has declared they will come to picket the funeral.

In the meantime… Japan… 8.9 earthquake and aftershocks… tsunami… nuclear meltdown?

In your mercy Lord… hear our prayers.

Also Lord…. Where are you?

I know, I know… I should trust in the Lord and I should obey the Lord and I don’t need to know everything, nor should I act like I do know everything… but God… Father… Creator of us all… where are you?

We’re not the first who clamor to understand, nor will we be the last. Humanity has a history of it, we are legendary for our hunger for knowledge. Just ask the snake… you know the one who now slithers on the ground.

Centuries of art work has depicted it, Adam and Eve jokes abound, and yet I think the Old Testament passage that was read this morning is consistently misunderstood. I don’t think God asks us to choose ignorance and obededience vs. knowledge and disobedience.

I agree with my colleague, Andrew Foster Conners, who in his paper for our lectionary group wrote:

God does not require Adam and Eve to stay stupid. God doesn’t command them to choose ignorance. --Till and keep the garden together in community. --Work alongside God to preserve the garden for the purpose it was created - for life and beauty and love and community. --Till and keep it so that you can enjoy the countless blessings, the fruits, the bounty that is given. There’s no prohibition against learning, against knowledge, against thinking. There’s no prohibition against enjoyment or laughter or deepening one’s mind. There’s one prohibition - a command not to believe that you are so wise, that you are so important, that you are so godlike as to cross boundaries independent of God, boundaries that are there to protect you and the garden that gives you life.

And yet we cross those boundaries again and again. We believe our banks are too big to fail. We believe our bombs are too smart to miss… We believe our nuclear reactors are too secure to melt down.] And death follows just as God warned us that it would. We cross these boundaries so often that I don’t think this text is mostly about describing some historic event that made us into sinful human beings. I don’t think it is mostly about some “original” sin that now taints our life. I think it’s about who we are right now - human beings who have a hard time learning to trust God’s provisions, learning to heed God’s call, learning to live within a few important boundaries that God has set there for our own good.[i]

Trust God’s provisions… I can’t.

Learn to heed God’s call… I won’t.

Learn to live within the boundaries that God has set there for our own good… I don’t understand.

Sovereign God, omniscient God, omnipotent God…. please… fix this.

Thou shalt not put the Lord your God to the test.

Jesus was baptized and annointed for ministry and the Gospel of Matthew immediately sends him out to the wilderness to be tested. For forty days and nights he fasts and at the end of that time he is approached by the Tempter. Three different queries are made, but ultimately there is only one temptation - power.

Show me what you’ve got Jesus, “If you are the Son of God…” show us your power.

If you are the Son of God – command bread out of stones.

If you are the Son of God – command the angels.

If you are the Son of God – command the world to be yours.

Three times the Tempter is rebuked and Matthew’s narrative has the angels tend to Jesus and send him on his way teaching and preaching and healing but really it never lets up. All along the way he is faced with the same temptation – If you are the Son of God… show us your power: Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you... show us a sign from heaven.. reject the suffering that is supposed to befall upon you….[ii]

The final one comes moments before his death: If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.[iii]

And instead of claiming that power, he dies.

His resistance, we cannot understand. It’s beyond our knowledge. And you would think that his death for us would be enough to trust, but an honest look shows us not standing by Jesus, but instead mimicking the one who tempts him.

If you are truly the Son of God – PROVIDE us with more oil and food and wealth!

If you are truly the Son of God - STRIKE down that Westboro Baptist group!

If you are truly the Son of God – STOP the earth from moving in Japan!

Our frustration- just like the Tempter’s – comes in Jesus refusing to be who we want him to be, who we think we know he should be. “Jesus will not turn our stones to bread; he will not prove God to us; he will not turn from God to embrace the kinds of success we would recognize and applaud. He remains infuriatingly himself… he remains steadfastly God’s.”[iv]

And his response to us is simple, “Follow me.”

“Do you believe I am the Son of God?” “Follow me.”

“Do you know that this is the body of Christ, broken for you?” “Follow me.”

“Do you trust that this is the cup of salavation poured out for you?” “Follow me.”

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way

and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy place where the Most High dwells.

God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day.

Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the LORD has done, the desolations he has brought on the earth.

He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.

He breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the shields with fire.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;

I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. – Psalm 46

It's all we've got.... and it's enough.

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.




[i] Andrew Foster Conners. First Sunday in Lent: Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7. The Well, Davidson, NC, 2010. (Except for bracketed portion)

[ii] Matthew 12:38, 16:1, 16:21ff,

[iii] Matthew 27:40

[iv] David L. Bartlett & Barbara Brown Taylor, eds. Feasting on the Word. Year A, Volume 2. Patrick J. Willson. Matthew 4:1-11(Homiletical Perspective). p. 49.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Word

Like many I'm struggling with how to bring Good News from the pulpit tomorrow. There are too many live videos, twitter feeds and prayer requests out there. I'm feeling more than ever like a speck on a marble of clay and lava that at any moment could be flicked from existence... and yet the task of preaching the Good News is at hand.

And so I am thankful to Pastor Julia, whose face I now know and voice I can hear, for reminding me that sometimes what is needed most to preach the word, is The Word:

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.

The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Come and see what the LORD has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”

The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Friday, March 11, 2011

RevGalBlogPals Friday Five: Cars

SingingOwl at revgalblogpals writes:

Maybe it's just me, but I often remember how long ago someting occured or something about it by recalling the car we had at the time. For today's Friday Five, tell us about the cars in your life. Maybe we can even tempt some of the guys of the ring to join us. Specifically, tell us about:

1. The earliest recollection you have of a family car
I remember we had a station wagon that made a trip to Florida. On the way home, my sister and I both were sick with fevers and were sleeping in the back of the car. The seat was down and we were laying with blankets and pillows as if it were a bed. Seat belts? Not so much.

2. The first car you drove when you could (legally) get behind the wheel yourself.
It was a mini-van, the original Dodge Caravan. Maroon. My friends teased me about it but when everyone wanted to go to the beach it was me that they called.

3. A memorable road trip
Driving home from my college in Florida to my home in New Jersey with a dormmate who was full of book smarts but lacked the street smarts. We were driving north and needed to cut east to get to I-95. Instead, she got off the exit that pointed us west. When I told her that we needed to go the other way she said.... "No, you're just confused because we are in the south." (handslapsforehead)

Thankfully when she saw the sign with the mileage posted for Tallahassee, she turned the car around.

4. The car you drive now. Love it? Hate it?
It's a love/hate. Once again I have a mini-van (gray, 2001 - snore) and there are many utilitarian reasons to love it. But I really want a pick up truck and I miss the one I had.

5. An interesting story that involves you and a vehicle.
Well, it wasn't a vehicle I was actually driving, but when we went to Disney Studios last year The Boy was so excited to see 'Mater and Lightning McQueen that he was nervous to go up and have his picture taken. He also insisted on pulling out his Doc Hudson car to be in the picture too.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It's Not About the Hair

I remember the picture clearly, if not the year - 5th or 6th grade probably.


I was wearing a white shirt with thin maroon pinstripes and over it a gray, wool sweater. My guess is I was also begrudgingly wearing the maroon corduroy skirt that matched the shirt.


I remember them handing out our packets of pictures to us and my instant reaction at seeing my shoulder-length, wavy hair was like a punch in the gut. My brutal Jr. High assessment of myself? I looked like a dog!


My hair, parted way too close or maybe actually in dead-center middle had created the effect of dog ears. I made durn sure that my next appointment at the hair salon known as (I kid you not) 'Men's Hair by Women' included cutting all of that hair off into a very short cut.


I carried that cut through college and out the other side into my early years in Youth Ministry until the inability to afford hair cuts began my hair's return into a long something or a shaggy something... depending on the year. My hair was never anything except a bane to my existence and I did all I could to keep it straight. No waves please, no dog ears. I spent a lot of time and money and energy on keeping the curl that wanted to come out from making an appearance.


Every once in awhile someone would remark on the wave they could see in my hair. Or they would comment with envy on its thickness. It is thick. And if I bent down I could show them the curl that lay underneath, but I told them it was underneath. The top level won't do that. The times when it was mentioned by a stylist at a cheap hair salon as an 'old perm' I knew
to get up from the chair and walk away. I learned the hard way the first time, I walked away the second time.


I'm low maintenance and the irony is I had made my hair high maintenance. But all of that changed on a boat. After our group picture at BE 4.0, I was lamenting to my roommate my frustration at my 'Gilda Radner' (think Roseanne Roseannadanna) hair-do. I had spent a good hour straightening and waxing only to have the humidity take affect and the hair begin to rise like a pimped out sunrise.


One of the young women with beautiful hair heard my lament and said (approximately), "We need to talk! You have GORGEOUS curly hair, I can tell - why aren't you wearing it that way?"


I was stunned. I came back with my normal response that the top layer wouldn't curl. She wouldn't hear of it.


"No! I'm sure it does, but you have been straightening it into submission. It's so EASY! Come to my room with wet hair in the morning and I'll show you how easy it is!"


On the outside I cast my doubtful look, but on the inside I was pretty excited.


It wasn't just about the hair. It was that another woman (and at my age younger is the equivalent of popular) had seen past my ugly dog ears and past my gruff, tomboy exterior and saw the girl within.


Last Sunday I unveiled the look to the congregation and I type this right now with curls all over my head. It really is simpler than straightening EVER was. It means a new AM shower routine - I can handle that. Wet the hair, towel-dry the hair, put mousse in it, towel it again, dry it with a diffuser. Go.


Seriously, that's it.


It's simple. It's feminine. It's different. And I love it.

Those women who helped me are so adament about their curls, it's practically a ministry in itself. Because to them it's not just about the hair. It's about being who you are and not suppressing the natural beauty that God has given you because society demands something different. The women on the cruise taught me that and for them and the opportunity to learn from them, I am grateful.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Time Warp

Since I returned home from BE 4.0 The Boy has informed me that:
  • He no longer needs his blankies,
  • He will not wear certain pants because they have too many stripes (corduroys),
  • He does not need me to walk him up to the school door any more.
Was I gone 7 days or years? Tune in for updates on:
  • His treatise on Barth vs. Calvin,
  • His preference for the vineyards in Italy over France,
  • His abilities to make organic cheese.