Showing posts from June, 2013

Embodied Faith

I am extremely opposed to dualism, or at least the extremes of it that are so prevalent in both the secular and spiritual world.  It's a big subject, but just a few points:
1.  Jesus took on flesh.  That's enough to sanctify the body.
2.  We will get new bodies, not new spirits, at the end.
3.  The body is not the same as "the flesh" in Romans.  The body can be the vehicle of good or bad.

So I was pleased to read this prayer this morning in The Valley of Vision.

I bless thee for the soul thou hast created,
for adorning it, sanctifying it,
though it is fixed in barren soil;
for the body thou has given me,
for preserving its strength and vigor,
for providing sense to enjoy delights,
for the ease and freedom of my limbs,
for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;
for thy royal bounty providng my daily support,
for a full table and overflowing cup,
for appetite, taste, sweetness,
for social joys of relatives and friends,
for ability to serve others,
for a heart that feel…

Why I Like Film Noir

As I have said before, I watch only two things on TV:  Turner Classic Movies, for which I forgive Ted Turner all, and the news.  Oh, occasionally I'll sit and watch Pawn Stars, a car repair reality show, Barrett Jackson car auctions, or even Duck Dynasty (which really is quite funny), if my husband has them on, but that's it. 

On TCM one gets to see all the greats, although there are a couple they have never shown (Laura being one), and I have found that my favorites are film noir.  This might seem strange coming from a middle-aged Southern Baptist lay Bible teacher in redneckville, but I like to surprise people who think they have me figured out from my outward looks and my job as an English teacher.  Why do I like them?  Let me count the ways (no, I won't break out into iambic pentameter; it mystifies me how poets do that!)

1.  They are in black and white.  A film noir in color makes absolutely no sense.  Technicolor overloads my senses.  There are a few exceptions.
2.  …

Poetry from the Puritans

I am deeply drinking from and enjoying The Valley of Vision.  Today's reading is from "God Honoured."

O God,
Praise waiteth for thee,
and to render it is my noblest exercise;
This is thy due from all thy creatures,
for all thy works display thy attributes and fulfill thy designs;
The sea, dry land, winter cold, summer heat
morning light, evening shade are full of thee
and thou givest me them richly to enjoy.

Enjoy is a word we do not study or live.  The enjoyments of life should be simple.  A sunset is better than a Hollywood spectacle; a ripe strawberry better than processed foods; a walk than almost anything.  We do not enjoy because our "wanner" is broken, because our enjoyment calibration is off.

Kallmann's revisited, part II

I went to GALILEO today (it's the database for the UGA libraries) to see if there was anything on Kallmann's in later life--50 and above.  I haven't found it, and of course most of the articles were far too technical for my eyes.  My knowledge of genetics is not even rudimentary.  So maybe I'm throwing this out:  Does anything know anything about the lives of Kallmann's patients in the second half of life? 

I do not define myself by Kallmann's. 

Thoughts on Baptism

Our church was going to have a baptism service at the lake a few weeks back, but it was pouring rain so the service was moved to the family life center.  We watched video this morning of the 43 people who were baptized, in short snippets of people being "dunked" (a term I have never been comfortable with) over and over.

Of course, these were full immersions, and the pastor wore a t-shirt and basketball shorts, as did most of the baptizees.

It was neat to watch so many people go through this rite, and I realized four things about the typical Baptist version of baptism.

It is total.  These people came up wet from head to foot, cold, sputtering, wiping eyes, dripping.  They needed towels as they came up out of the water and walked over another trail of towels to the bathroom.  No sprinkling here.   The top of the head was not the only wet part.  The participants have said, I am all in. 

It was public and communal.  The whole church watched.  Not just family attended (as at a c…

Does God Change?

If someone comes to scripture with a Calvinistic mindset that God’s purposes are eternal, the answer to the question above would be, “No, of course not.”The Old Testament alludes to places where God repented, relented, or changed his mind.I think the differences is this.God’s purpose does not change, nor does his character, but the plan (and how it is executed) is.It has to be, otherwise prayer is meaningless.I know we are given all these clich├ęs about “Prayer changes you” and “Prayer is getting your will in line with God’s” but prayer is not necessary for either of those to happen.Prayer is meant to change the reality, or at least the appearance, of the circumstances.
It seems to me that we talk about God sometimes, even in church circles, as if he has evolved, or grown and developed.  We think we know more about God than people in the past did (because we have more research, more archaeology, more Bible versions) and we understand how much more open-minded God is now than in the pas…

How Transparent Can We Get?

Is the pastorate the sine qua non of Christian leadership?

Food for thought.  I have to admit I am rethinking my views on women in spiritual leadership, and I welcome comments here.

Chattanooga Chatter Recommendations: Thanks!!!

Little self-promotion here.  Yesterday a colleague told me that one of my books was recommended for summer "e-reading" in a local magazine that has a lot of readers.  I am thrilled.  On page 43 of the Chattanooga Chatter, my first novel is listed first!  Of course, I think my second two are better, but maybe people will read them.  All proceeds go to World Vision.  I am not sure how I rated a recommendation there, but I really, really do appreciate it, whoever did that.

Links to Amazon and Barnes and Noble are on this page.   

Great blog on why we should read the good stuff

A Puritan Looks at "Young Goodman Brown" and "A Good Man is Hard to Find"

How's that for a title?  Thought it might get some hits.  However, this post is dead serious.  Last night I taught, for the first time, this fascinating "tale," which might be called an allegory. I taught it in conjunction with "A Good Man is Hard to Find" by Flannery O'Connor.  Both must be read in light of the Christian world view or metanarrative, that of perfect creation, fall, redemption through Christ, and an eventual return to a perfect creation.  As I told my students, different churches interpret that sequence differently but all hold to the same basic sequence. 

But of course, they are very different stories. "Young Goodman Brown" is set in the Puritan landscape and more specifically in Salem.  This is not just any New England town in the 17th century, but the site of the hysteria and hypocrisy of the witch trials, a time engrained into American consciousness especially through The Crucible and the McCarthy times.  (These are, of course,…

Addendum to Imaginary Friendship

One of the things about blogging is that it means more thought goes into the posts than those on Facebook or Twitter (I just don't get Twitter, though).  However, one can still post before totally thinking, or post something that comes across very negative.  The post on Imaginary Friendship might have seemed that way, but I want to add this addendum.

Christians may be afraid to be real and authentic because we live in this in-between world of grace and justice.  We mistake justice for judgment or judgmentalism.  On one side, I think we wonder how much honesty we can take from someone else before we get "discerning" and "prophetic" or "encouraging" or "admonishing." If someone says, "I feel sometimes like God doesn't exist, or doesn't love me, or isn't fair,etc." I have to be honest, my first response is to not take part in this lack of faith, to step away from it, not to go towards it.  I don't want, in my nature, t…

Link to Writing and the Brain

I am fascinated by brain research, especially when it comes to learning and communication.  This link is about how writing and storytelling helps the brain.

I lead a writers group where all of us are at least "middle-aged." I think the writing is a way for older people to achieve many goals:  it keeps their minds  and brains fresh and plastic.  It allows them to write something for their children.  Being in the group is a social event (I really fear that as we get older we get more isolated).  It encourages us to read more (not a problem for me, but I think it is for others).   When I have the time, if ever, I would like to do more research on the relationship of writing to brain health.

Imaginary Friendship

Have we let modern life bar us from friendship?  And are Christians the worst at it?

I have been thinking about this since yesterday morning.  My SS class decided to watch a Beth Moore series this summer (it's easier on the teachers to take a break in the summer).  It's John the Beloved Disciple.  I have written about Beth Moore elsewhere, and nothing in this post should be taken as criticism of her or her ministry.  She has been given, and carries, a wonderful ministry that most of us could not.  She leans on the emotional side a bit too much for me, but she is a student of the word.  So, with that out of the way, let me get to the point.

She was talking about how a woman who listens to her videos wrote and said that Beth was her best friend even though they had never met.  And Beth had some gracious things to say about that.  However, I looked at my other classmates and said, "I understand what she is saying, but that is really sad to me."  I got some agreement, al…

Anger, Suffering, and Discipline

I have come to the conclusion that we are a very angry society.  We are impatient--does the impatience come from anger or the anger from impatience?  We are selfish, almost narcissistic (the very fact I am blogging my opinions, and have Facebook pages, shows how much I want the world to know about me).  Does the anger come from the selfishness, or the selfishness from the anger?  We are depressed, which is often said to be anger turned inward.  We see unspeakable crimes reported on the news, and we move on after shaking our heads.  I watched Capote last night and am musing over the fact that his greatest book is over the murder of a family of four, and these kinds of things happen weekly if not more so today (although more likely to be domestic violence today rather than violence by strangers, but that is no consolation and only proves how angry we are as a society). 

Where does the anger come from?  To say bitterness seems glib, but I don't know where else.  And where does bitte…


We have a station around here called "This."  It's not just in this area, but it is available without cable (we found out when our cable was down after the tornado two years ago).  I think "This" is a bizarre name for a channel, but "This" often shows interesting movies. Unfortunately, it shows ten minutes of movies and then ten minutes of commercials for lawyers who will help clients with Social Security disability and suing medical companies.

Last night, about midnight, Capote came on.  I became fascinated and watched almost all of it, despite the ridiculous commercials (after 2:00 a.m. I had had enough).  What an excellent movie, and how strange that Hollywood made two movies on the same subject within a year of each other.  I am not motivated to watch the other because Capote was so good. 

I have not read In Cold Blood but feel motivated to now.  Capote is portrayed fully human, sometimes sympathetically, sometimes not, and sometimes as nothing b…