8.31.2006

happy thursday

When I was a senior in college, my dear friend invited me to live in her grandparents' cave. She had been living there for a year with another girl. That girl got scared of the bats and man-eating spiders that came out at night, so she left. Living in the cave alone was completely unacceptable because the furniture and interior decoration was far too swanky and uncomfortable to be managed on its own. So I took up the invitation and lived in that basement with my two friends, three blocks (also known as a 11.4 minute walk) from campus.
It was the life.
Together, we survived the plethora of flamingos that lived on the walls, the complete lack of natural lighting, the 1940's mechanical beast once called an ice box that usually froze our milk, and a record collection that included an album promoting everyone's favorite herbal cigarette additive. Our survival hinged on a little weekly festival that we came to know as "happy thursdays." Happy Thursdays had three main ingredients: chocolate, drinks, and friends. For one happy semester, we celebrated the fact that the week was ending and we wouldn't have to sit through another lecture on masonic cult rituals for two whole days. Happy Thursdays will forever be ingrained in my body's hedonistic routines.
Tonight, I will be celebrating this Happy Thursday with the two people who made it all possible: The Professor and his wife. They charged us pennies to stay there. She made us cookies. He told us stories. We loved them and tried to be quiet at night (Praise God for hearing loss!). They are driving through town on their way out of the country. I'm not sure if they are escaping the authorities for unknowingly hoarding old drug legalization propaganda or if they are going for pleasure. Either way, I get to listen to his wonderful stories and enjoy the people who taught me how to tell time without a watch in a windowless room.
I hope you have a Happy Thursday, too!

8.29.2006

three more weeks and the rest of my life

Sometime in June, amiga Chris decided that it would be a good idea for us to train for a half-marathon. I, in a rare easy-going do-whatever-you-want-me-to-do moment, agreed. Nevermind that I have been telling the ex-roommate for years that it is one of my life goals to finish a half-marathon and a marathon.
Now my free time is consumed by three things: running, catching up on lost sleep, and catching up on the lost calories.
Saturday mornings which were once a time for sleeping in and reading good books or hanging out with the mini-munchkins are now filled with words like "hitting my wall, thirsty, knee hurts, avoid the hills, and kick it up!" Did I mention this all happens prior to 9am? Mid-day Saturdays are filled with lying very still, eating carbs out the wazoo and regretting that I won't paint those kitchen chairs this weekend.
Because the social life hasn't changed and keeps me up all night Friday, I have to sleep all day Saturday and Sunday to catch up on the hours lost. Now Tuesday, a.k.a the best day of the week because I don't EVER work, is consumed by sleeping. I just woke up. It was great. But the bathrooms didn't clean themselves. They are still in training.
The upside of this whole thing is I've found that no matter what or how much I eat while on this asanine training program to kick the concrete's butt, people still say to me "You look like you've lost weight." Funny... I haven't. And I haven't lost any inches either. The youthful glow radiating from my blistered feet is decieving. This has not been good for my pocketbook. I've spent more money at the local grocery store this month than on MY CAR PAYMENT. (No, I did not purchase copious amount of my favorite bottle of wine. lay off.)
In between all of this sleeping, running, and eating, Chris and I decided that it would be a good idea to train for a half-marathon again in the spring and to use the half-marathon to train for a full-marathon.
I wonder if this is what it feels like to lose my mind.

8.28.2006

guilty, as charged

There is no clause in the Gospel that says outsourcing compassion to the shelters is an alternative to working the streets ourselves.

I've ignored my street. I've pretended like I don't live on it.
I know that everyone has a different role and place in the world. Somehow I think, I know, I am still guilty of outsourcing.
I am a strong believer in the concept of lifestyle evangelism (I may have made up the expression, but let's pretend that people actually say it). That is to say that Jesus' words were powerful, but because his life, his death, and his back-to-life reinforced his word, they were more powerful, more truthful, more real. But I fall short in living my life in a way that shows his words. I struggle in the busyness of life and find myself grieving that I wasn't able to truly show Christ at the end of the day.
My youthful idealism takes over me and I pretend I can take over the world. I know this is ridiculous and idolatry of self. But even when I put that to the side, I am still failing to care and pray for the streets that I live on, my part of the world on which I am called to have compassion.
It's easy to wallow in this self-condemnation. My motivation cannot be like my seventh graders' "because I am supposed to." That is living the shoulds and shouldn'ts. Suffocating. Not living the love of Christ.
He had compassion on us because his love for us filled him with passion. His love does fill me with passion, but it is too often dampened by ritual and norms. How do I love the people on my street? The Hindu family next door. The family next to them. My friend who is a textbook case of post-modern sadness. My believing friends with no place to call home. The people who come in our doors and take what isn't theirs.
I pray and ask for opportunity to love.

to catch a thief

cabinet doors torn

skateboard markings

missing laptop... instrument... money

flustered papers

flustered people

lock your doors, officemates

even the church isn't safe

8.24.2006

poverty

"When we think of poverty, we must think of more than food, shelter, and clothing. There are girls sold into prostitution whose enslavement in some small way mirrors the suicidal Ivy League co-eds who hate the way their bodies look. We find poverty when we look at children of divorce sitting next to children who grew up without fathers. Equally, men who are addicted to porn are trapped in a poverty of spirit that demands intervention.
The truth is disturbing, familiar, haunting, and normal all at once. Issues abound on the streets of our cities for all to see and point their finger at, while similar issues wreak havoc in the suburbs, behind gated communities and closed doors where no one will notice. More and more, these images describe a group of people known as the church. And this fact is both invigorating and instructive when we recognize that the ones commissioned to reach out to the poor are also quite poor. "


Bo White's words are so cutting. So true.
Living in suburbia is a new thing for me (if a year is still considered new). I've been shocked by the extremes of overparenting and underparenting. I've been disturbed by the emptiness, yet complete reliance, on materialism. It's wickledly contagious.
I know that God has called me to this place through the words of my congregation, through the work that He has put before me. But it is easy to covet the sensationalist ministry of the missionary or the emerging church down the street (across the country, same difference). In fact, I read so much in Christian "literature" that promotes my coveting. They ask me what I have done lately for the poor. It's never enough that I have a compassion child, Ruth, in India. That I give food and clothes and money regularly to food banks and emergency relief. If I am not giving food and clothes, I am not serving God and his people adequately? The people that I am called to serve here do not need food and clothes. They suffer from Bo's poverty, the soul kind.
It's arguably worse. I wonder what Hosea would say.

8.23.2006

thanks, hosea.

For the last four months, I have been trudging through the first four chapters of Hosea. Yes, I've only made it three pages into the biblical exposition of whoredom and unconditional love. But I've been in whoredom for four months and it gets depressing. It's like reading about Esther Greenwood's descent into depression and oppression in The Bell Jar without getting to last line when she steps into the room and knows that she is free.
The thing about biblical whoredom is it is completely inaccessible to the modern, post-modern, post-post-modern, or whatever type of un-categorical mind I have. Vibrant language describing one woman's deception against her husband and a people's deception of their God. I just don't get it. I know that Hosea loved his whore-wife, Gomer. I know that God doesn't just love the cookie-cutter youthworkers like me, but the people don't fit into society--the whores and their compatriots.
But then there is me. The not whore, not whore-compatriot, rather the cookie-cutter youthworker. I sometimes wonder what my non-compatriot, non-sensationalist lifestyle makes me in God's world.
What Hosea has taught me is that I am:
a) boring as hell
b) in need of some serious life examination
c) ready to get to the part where I walk into the room knowing I am free.
According to the first two points, I am a borderline pharisee. You know, the judgmental annoying creeps that taunted everyone that wasn't just like them in Jesus' time. That thought alone is enough to freak anyone out.
I read ahead (okay, so I am not actually reading Hosea, but examining each verse and cross referencing it with every similar or related passage in the biblia). I wanted to know when the room-entering would come. Chapter 11. I am seven chapters away. At this rate, I won't get there until March. But maybe I need that much time to get ready. I suppose that I can't control that.
I will keep trudging and I will keep asking why it is important for the boring cookie cutter to read through this, why it is important for me to understand a different side of God's love, and where it is taking me as I explain his love to other people.

8.22.2006

not yet, but almost

I woke up this morning hacking the lower part of my lungs out into a kleenex. Fun huh? I just hope the hacking quits before those stupid five miles I have to run this morning. Sometimes I wonder if I am mentally ill.

Make fun of me for waiting 4 years to start a blog. I'll chalk the delay up to writing elsewhere and chasing after swarms of munchkin-sized people for a living.