Monday, May 25, 2009

Have you heard about....

Playing for Change? If you haven't, it's time to sit down with a cuppa whatever and check out their website. Musicians around the world are making music together without being in the same physical space. It's a movement to promote peace and friendship around the world through music. And they're turning out some absolutely stunning work...



And I couldn't choose just one song! This is the one that started it all:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Thousand Word Thursday

One of our favorite parts of the May Day Parade this year was the band that played while lying down in the intersection:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

So, why did God plant the tree?

This is cross-posted at if life is a highway.

The question that stuck with me after my most recent meeting with my Bible study group was this: Why did God put the tree in the garden in the first place? I mean, ultimately, the tree represents the ability of people to choose their own destruction. If God did not give people the ability to choose, life would still be perfect in the garden of Eden. Perfect. Instead, the "gift" of free choice means that we live in a world where murder, rape, hunger, disease, and greed exist right alongside compassion, generosity, abundance, health, and joy. Love crashes and shatters against evil every day. Perfection does not exist.

So, why?

The best answer that I know of is that God wanted us to CHOOSE. God wants us to freely choose relationship with God, which means that there has to be another choice. Otherwise we are robots, creatures who worship God because that's what we were created to do, but not because we choose God. And, honestly, I believe that God wants to be chosen. God doesn't desire relationship with beings who have no choice.

God gave us the dignity of being free. God grants us the respect of autonomous beings.

I mentioned (in my Bible study) that it's a little like being parents. We could, potentially, protect our children from risk (and also choice and freedom) for much of their lives, maybe even their whole lives if we did a good enough job of isolating them. But then who would our children be? We've all heard of people who have been so isolated they can hardly function, and they certainly cannot think for themselves. They have no personality, no individual personhood.

Having read a fair amount about different types of parenting, I know that kids who are raised by more strict parents, especially strict conservative Christian parents may be less likely to endure a tumultuous adolescence, but they are also less creative, less adventurous, and less engaging than their peers who have been allowed more freedom...including the freedom to make some stupid choices.

Another wise parent in the Bible study group responded that, of course, she allows her son some choices...but she wouldn't let him set himself on fire and dance naked on the kitchen table. ;) In other words, she limits his choices to protect his life.

It seems that God didn't do that. God put that tree right there in the garden and did not prevent people from eating the fruit that would lead to destruction...to unspeakable pain and evil.

I'm sorry to admit that I became swallowed up in my own thoughts after that and lost the discussion, and by the time I returned the topic had moved on (we were discussing The Shack, and there's plenty there to talk about).

Here's what I was thinking, though. It's true that while my children are young, I protect them from the serious choices, choices that could mean the difference between life and death. I don't let Mane run out into the street or set herself on fire. But, very recently, I've been faced with the fact that I cannot do that with Vespera. I cannot protect her from every choice that has the potential to harm her.

If I remove her choice, her freedom, even in cases where her life could be in danger, I destroy our relationship. I'm willing to beg, plead, and persuade when I think she's making an unwise choice. But if I cross over the line into removing her freedom, I open a chasm between us. We can talk, negotiate, and argue...unless I take away her freedom. Then I've shut down communication, broken the lines, built a wall, or whatever else you want to call it. And we are left with a quiet, empty chasm between us.

And God is a God of relationship, a God who wants to communicate with us, even if it's to argue and persuade. There's simply nothing to say if we don't have any choices. So, God gave us choices to keep our relationship.

I've been trying to post this for 3 days and keep changing it. So, go easy on me. I'd love a discussion if ya'll have anything to say, ask, or argue.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Music Monday - Tic Tic Tac

Tic Tic Tac by Carrapicho...It's in Portuguese, Vespera's fourth language.



...and a link to side by side Portuguese and English lyrics: Tic Tic Tac.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thousand Word Thursday

My Mother's Day present:




Backyard Honeysuckles:


Spring has definitely sprung:

If you ever wonder whether or not spanking is OK...

Here's a beautiful story I just read:

"Never Violence"

a story told by Astrid Lindgren

[Author of Pippi Longstocking]

"Above all, I believe that there should never be any violence." In 1978, Astrid Lindgren received the German Book Trade Peace Prize for her literary contributions. In acceptance, she told the following story.

"When I was about 20 years old, I met an old pastor's wife who told me that when she was young and had her first child, she didn't believe in striking children, although spanking kids with a switch pulled from a tree was standard punishment at the time. But one day when her son was four or five, he did something that she felt warranted a spanking - the first of his life. And she told him that he would have to go outside and find a switch for her to hit him with. The boy was gone a long time. And when he came back in, he was crying. He said to her, "Mama, I couldn't find a switch, but here's a rock that you can throw at me."

All of a sudden the mother understood how the situation felt from the child's point of view: that if my mother wants to hurt me, then it makes no difference what she does it with; she might as well do it with a stone. And the mother took the boy onto her lap and they both cried. Then she laid the rock on a shelf in the kitchen to remind herself forever: never violence. And that is something I think everyone should keep in mind. Because violence begins in the nursery - one can raise children into violence."

I think that too often we fail to feel situations "from the child's point of view," and that failure leads us to teach our children other than what we think we're teaching them.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Definitives

I wanted to come back and clarify a bit from yesterday's post. I want to be really, REALLY clear that what I'm saying is that it's my own life that's lacking in "definitiveness," "conclusiveness," "clearly defined or formulated" anything (definitions from en.wiktionary.org/wiki/definitiveness, www.sfaf.org/custom/glossary.aspx, & wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn).

You see, the minute I think I've got everything figured out, and I've got all my ducks in a row nodding their cute little ducky heads, something else makes a huge splash in my pond and all the ducks are bobbing every which way.

And so I grab on to the only one and true definitive I know, I crawl on that shore while I wait for the waves to settle.

You know what I'm going to say, right? It's God. But it's more than even that. Are you ready?

...God is LOVE...

...not just some huge being in the sky, but active, living LOVE...Love so vast, so attentive, so persistent, and so REAL that Love put on a body and walked among humans in the person of Jesus. Go on over to If Life is a Highway and watch the videos in How Great IS Our God if you want to try to bend your brain around just how significant that is. We're talking about the creator of the galaxy walking around with skin and a body. Extravagant love.

This is the Definitive. I can rest on that shore.

My life? Not so much. But my life within the God who is LOVE? Perhaps...someday...I'll know the answers. ;)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Music Monday - Closer to Fine

I cannot begin to tell you how many times this song has been quoted at The Midnight Cafe...by either myself or Mango. I'm not sure how many other songs by the the Indigo Girls I actually even know, but this song has spoken volumes to me over the last 10 years or so (yes, even before itunes).

Most recently, I've grabbed on to this part:
Well darkness has a hunger that's insatiable,
and lightness has a call that's hard to hear.
I wrap my fear around me like a blanket,
I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it.
Now I'm crawling on your shores.


There's been way too much fear and anxiety around this house for the last many months, and I gotta say, that little ship of safety sinks pretty quick. Often, OFTEN, I've found myself crawling onto the shore, weary and sore.

And what does this song tell me? There are no definitive answers. Nope. None. I mean, of course there's God, my Source. But, after that, well...

The less I seek my Source for some definitive,
the closer I am to fine.


I find that I very seldom get the answers, at least not definitive ones, and, especially, not when I want them. In many ways I think the only answer is...well...God. Which is really hard to grab onto. I just finished reading The Shack, and at the end of his time with God, Mack asks what he's supposed to do when he gets back home. God tells him, basically, that's it's not about "doing" something. It's about knowing God and living life out of that relationship.

Easier said than done.


Thursday, May 07, 2009

Thousand Word Thursday

This is the treehouse in the back yard that we want to fix up this summer. Mango used to play in it when he was a kid!

Monday, May 04, 2009

A quote from The Shack

Yes, folks, I'm finally, FINALLY reading The Shack (by William P. Young). My Bible Study group is making me do it. ;) So far, I've stumbled upon one very good quote that I want to make sure I write down. Here it is:

There are times when you choose to believe something that would normally be considered absolutely irrational. It doesn't mean that it is actually irrational, but it surely is not rational. Perhaps there is a suprarationality: reason beyond the normal definition of fact or data-based logic; something that only makes sense if you can see a bigger picture of reality. Maybe that is where faith fits in.


I can say that I am absolutely fascinated by the concept of this book, though I'm not personally in love with the actual writing. So, I'm hooked because I want to know how all the ideas play out. This is going to make for one very interesting book discussion.

Music Monday - Everywhere I Go

Everywhere I Go by Jackson Browne

I hear your heart beating everywhere
When we're apart I can hear you there
I hear your heart beating everywhere
Everywhere I go

People say that I must be in love
The way I forget what we're speaking of
The way I stand there smiling straight ahead
And walk away without hearing a word they said

I hear your heart beating everywhere
When we're apart I can close my eyes and hear you there
I hear your heart beating everywhere
Everywhere I go

In the middle of the football game
At the beach in the pouring rain
Standing on a hillside staring at the sun
People hurry by the unfortunate one
With the faraway eyes and the mystery smile
Moving my body in a ragamuffin style
I can't sit down when I hear it start
I hear your heart everywhere I go

People say that I must be a fool
Cause when I'm near you I cannot be cool
I don't quite make sense when I talk to you
And when you smile I forget everything I knew

I hear your heart beating everywhere
When we're apart I can close my eyes and hear you there
I hear your heart beating everywhere
Everywhere I go

Standing in the market where I buy my bread
With a hunger in my belly and a rhythm in my head
Looking all around for something good to eat
Between the butter and the beans and the mops and the meat
Coffee from the mountain, honey from the bee
Nothing tastes as good as you taste to me
Rocking in the aisle to my inside song
People staring at me think I got a walkman on

I hear your heart beating everywhere
I hear your heart
I hear your heart beating everywhere
I hear your heart
Beating everywhere I go