Saturday, January 30, 2016

The thing about a Woman's true love...

When she truly loves you - you have her everything. You have direct access to her vitality. In folklore, women are symbolized as vitality, growth, fairness, safety, joy, security, freedom, strength, justice, beauty, honor, depth, home, emotion, and support. Our very planet is identified female - MOTHER EARTH - and no living thing could exist without her. If she loves you, you have her everything. You have access to all of her. All of her investable energy to encourage the development and growth of you, for your sake, for your happiness. The true love of a woman believes that LOVE conquers all, believes all, hopes all, and endures all. True love is not flippant, or common. True love is about sacrificial giving of one's self to another for the pure and unadulterated benefit of the other (not the self). The stories about the Velveteen Rabbit, or the Giving Tree are stories that tap into describing this kind of love. A strong woman knows that her investment, no matter how risky, is worth the life and joy that it will bring to those she loves. How deep her love is depends on many things, but if it is true love, it is likely deep. Think of tree roots. Without the root-system the tree would not survive. The roots entire existence is to bring life to the tree, to dig deep, grow wide, and seek out nourishment for the benefit of the tree above. And all the tree has to do is grow tall, reach toward the sky, and bask in the sunshine - which is enough for the root to keep going, to keep vitally investing in the life of the tree. This is of course not a perfect analogy because the woman herself is a tree and her roots represent her relationships. When a relationship ends if the love was true, it is absolutely devastating. If her roots are connected to you and the root is removed it is irrelevant how invested, how deeply she believed in you - losing you will always feel like a betrayal of her soul. Not that anything conventionally known as betrayal needs to occur! If the love is true, and she has invested so much of herself, it's a betrayal of her time, of her investment, of her care, of her joy, of her patients, of her vitality. It hurts so much to lose a true love. It may be a bit dramatic to compare it again to a tree, but if the wrong branches are removed, the tree could die - and when a true love is lost, it feels like she just might. But strong women know, true love is worth the risk, it's worth the pain. A strong woman knows that when a love is lost she will hurt and carry that hurt for a long time - not to torture herself, but because she truly loves you. Because when she loves you, you have her everything. Obviously this is my own perspective; also good to note is that sometimes women are so devastated that way they allow themselves to love is forever changed. This may not be how you see her love expressed, but I assure you, it's how we all LONG to love.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Passion Vs. Irritability

Passionate: (adj)
having, compelled by, or ruled by intense emotion or strongfeeling; fervidexpressing, showing, or marked by intense or strong feeling;emotional

easily annoyed; readily excited to impatience or anger
abnormally sensitive to a stimulus.

Recently I have found myself in more situations than usual where I am speaking with passion about a topic and the reactions of those around me suggest that they are perceiving my passion as irritability. After this miscommunication, the tone does in fact turn more irritable but not because I was irritable about the topic but more that it is a socially normative concept that only people who are angry or "abnormally sensitive to stimulus" will engage in such intense emotion about a topic. Anger/irritability is the only socially acceptable form of passion. Even if you say the exact truth and that truth is so poignant and convicting that the other person(s) question their own "moral high ground," if you say it in anger it can be written off. Anger is powerful and the dismissal of that power is all too common in this "out for myself" "sticks and stones" world.

There is a part of me that is rather offended by the culturally accepted norm that people in general and ESPECIALLY women do not and should not get passionate about something unless they are angry. Since when have we decided that it is alright for us to be emotionally castrated by denying the pure and simple fact that beliefs, especially any worth holding, are also worth our PASSION. I hold firm that if I'm going to bother to believe in something I will do so fervently. There is no reason for me to "calm down" or "take a deep breath" while I'm speaking passionately because there is NOTHING to calm down about! Calming down would only diminish my outward display of how strongly I hold to a belief that I am expressing. And to calm down or take a breath as to not offend others by how passionately i speak, am I not implying that my beliefs are less valuable to me than the opinions of others? How strong then do I hold onto those beliefs if I am so willing to lay them aside to appease the cultural norms that stifle passion and individual beliefs for the sake of not appearing angry?

Passion, not irritability or passivity, is what fills your being to enable you to do dangerous things for something you believe in. Passion is the thing that gives you courage to stand up for yourself and those who cannot stand up for themselves. Passion is what caused Christ to turn tables in the temple. And passion is also what caused him to allow himself to be put to death. His passion for us was radical, sometimes dangerous and always culturally uncouth. Passion is powerful because it's what allows cowards like me to speak truth and reason with conviction; a conviction that I suppose can bring conviction to the hearts of others; that is why it is socially dangerous. In a world that turns from the energy of autonomy, conviction and passion is a 180 from the path this world is on.

To be passionate is NOT to be irritable or angry. Likewise anger is NOT a display of your passion.
I intend to continue being passionate, continue speaking what is on my mind and heart. Beliefs are not things you should come to flippantly, nor should they be held so loosely that they will by thrown to the floor by the sideways glance of a social-manners-marm.

I'm passionate, deal with it.

I will not calm down.
I will not take a deep breath.

And no... i'm not angry.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

“Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a church that didn’t judge me?”

With great expectations also comes great disappointment.
I left the church once. I grew up in a church that was lively and spirited, but quite focused on looking like they all had it together. Me, being my messy self didn’t really fit that picture. Unfortunately I was judged, and judged harshly for decision I would make, or for the people I would invest in, and even more harshly for being a poor influence. Do I believe I deserved any of this criticism, no, nor do I believe that my decisions or the people I hung out with combined to display a poor influenced. But I do believe it was a messy example of what it is to struggle with life and Christianity, and it was definitely not polished. So I left. I said that I wanted a church that looked like Christ, and I decided that I didn’t like Christians. I even took the stance of saying that I was a Christ-Follower, but NOT a Christian.

I have since heard many similar stories of how people charge into the individual quest to follow Christ and leave church behind. And I felt vindicated, and justified in my own distaste and judgement of the Church and “so called” Christians. I really started to have a bad attitude about the whole religious thing.

To make a long story short-er, I found a place where I got along with a good majority of the people and they had good messages about following Christ and doing acts of service through the eyes of Christ toward your fellow humans. It’s a good comfortable place. It seems that the preacher was talking about the things that I was saying all along to myself out there in my rugged individual Christ-Follow-ship. BUT, it’s church. Therefore, I have been half-investing, and still trying to go it alone. Ironic how one of the biggest complaints about the church I left was that they wanted and expected me to show a put-together life, and now here in this new church I’m doing it myself regardless of the expectation to do so.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a church that didn’t judge me?”

Yes I would, but here’s the problem with expecting to find such a place, or even if that is the intention of the church, finding that everyone will all the time be non-judgmental:
Now I’m not sure if you have ever been to a school, but all the bad kids don’t become perfect angels in detention because they are gathered in the same place for the same goal. Prison is another not-magical place where criminals do not come together and behave like perfect law-abiding upstanding citizens because they are gathered together in a building for the sake of rehabilitation and becoming a little less messed up. Similarly, the church is also not some magical place where sinful messed up people come together and suddenly act exactly like Christ because they are gathered in the same place with the same goal of becoming a little less messed up and sinful and a little more like Christ.

I had to realize this when I started looking for a church again, and I think it’s tempered my angst toward churches and the people that go to church. After all, we all have opinions and sometimes we see others’ opinions as judgments, I know I’m guilty of being on both sides of that coin at times.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

And why shouldn't we ligislate morality?

In recent political history there has been several battles over morality. Notably are those that seem to divide the Christian world from the Secular world. And of these, the most volatile and precarious, include Homosexual Marriage and Abortion.

Now before you dismiss this entry, I believe that no matter your stance on either current issue, this blog will likely not be what you expect.

Here is the back-drop: Homosexuality and Abortion are two of the most private personal struggles, and at the same time are two of the most publicly hated. For the most part the Christian Camp identifies both as sin and therefore should be outlawed, end of story. For the most part the opposing Secular Camp do not identify sins in general, which makes the Christian Camp's argument seem insane. Interestingly, there has been some inclusion of science (a traditionally secular field usually seen as antagonistic to the Christian Camp's world view) by the Christian Camp to try and prove that homosexuality is un-natural (both in nature and in reproductive sense) and that abortion is murder (by pin-pointing the exact moment when the embryo becomes a life). Both of these issues have been topic for discussion in the legislative function of the U.S. Government. To this I ask, what is the goal? What is the reason for addressing these topics as potential decisions to be made by legal mandate, rather than individuals?

And now I take a step back.

Back in 1802, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter as a response to address the concerns of the Danbury Baptist Association regarding the potential persecution of the Church by the State. In this letter the following was written by President Jefferson (emphasis added):
"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man & his god, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, thus building a wall of separation between church and state."

This letter has been adopted as a staple and placed as the standard for the different roles and responsibilities of the Church versus the State. Supported and emphasized by the first amendment, religious and personal freedoms have been protected in the United States since 1802 (barring some significant historical lapses in better judgement which I will not address here).

Additionally the Word of God helps us all understand this separation. There are rules and laws that govern the Kingdom of God, these can be found in the Bible. There are also laws and regulations that govern the secular world. Referred to as laws of the wicked, laws of the Romans, laws of the Gentiles (depending on what version of the Bible you read). These are also alluded to in Romans 2:12 "All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law." THE LAW here is God's law, "Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, ... they are a law for themselves" (Romans 2:14). Thus humans are not lawless, but instead without God's Law, unless there has been a personal acceptance of God's Laws to govern the person, individually.

So, with the established separation of Church and State, the expressed difference between the laws that govern the citizens of a state and the laws that govern the hearts of individuals in the Kingdom of God, what's happening in politics? The Christian Camp is essentially trying to legislate in secular law the laws of the Kingdom of God, which have been distinctly separate. There is a relationship between the God of God's Laws and the individual who accepts that law upon themselves. The personal conviction that is experienced by the individual wrought by the Holy Spirit is what prompts the individual to abide by these laws. How then does anyone expect those not under God's Law to abide by those laws? Even in Psalm 50:16 says "But God says to the wicked: 'What right do you have to recite my laws or take my covenant on your lips?'" God Himself states that there is no sense, and even a bit of disgrace that comes with adopting the Laws of God when there is no conviction, and no relationship between HIM and those outside of His Laws.

Indeed there is a separation/difference between Church and State... and it goes both ways. The public does not govern the Church, reasonably the Church should not govern the public.

Our role as Christians is to love, unconditionally, to be an image of Christ to those who are lost and hurting. There are sadly far too many churches and Christians that become the reason conflicted and hurting individuals do not turn to the Church. Our role is to provide a place of healing, not judgement. Love your neighbor, and your enemy as yourself. Leave the convicting to the Holy Spirit, He's better at it, and more effective.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

"We all live in hiding. In one way of another each of us conceal parts of ourselves. Some hide because their lives depend on it. Others hide because they don't like being seen. And then there are those special cases who hide because, .... because the just want someone to care enough to look for them" - In Plain Sight.

I believe we all have a desire to be sought out.... I think this may be a quality we have recieved when recieving the Image of God (Coram Deo) when we were created.

I get to seek people out every day, and know that somewhere I'm being searched for.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The parable of the Mustard seed as it applies to Evangelism.

First lets break apart the sections of the parable a bit. There is reference to the Mustard seed itself, the mustard plant, Levin, which is yeast, and the scene that is produced by each item. A literary analysis may produce that the seed represents the smallest and most unassuming start to what grows into the largest and best place of rest in the fields/garden. The parable talks about how the mustard plant grows into a source of shade and a place for the birds of the field to get rest. Resting and calm patches of shade often represent restoration strength and recovery. Thus, the mustard plant is touted as a true prize to have in a garden, something that is special and worth cultivating. But as it is pointed out in the parable the mustard seed that produces such a large plant and strong benefit to the garden is the smallest seed known to the world of horticulture at that time in that particular area. So in the same way, the most unassuming and smallest of actions can be used and grown into the largest and most beneficial situations or experiences for man.
So what of the yeast in the parable? Just a small amount is combined within the dough and left to grow and do what it’s meant to do. It is also interesting to note that the parable does not say anything about the mustard seed requiring a skillful farmer for it to grow and flourish. Which leads me to believe that this parable is saying that the smallest and most innocent of interactions, when intended by the plans of God will grow and consume the “host” (if you will) when left to itself.

Now a look at that modern ideals of evangelism. I was taught as a child that if someone wasn’t a “believer” they were going to hell, and I needed to be the one to warn them about this inevitable situation. I was taught that essentially I needed to tell them repeatedly that they were going to hell if they didn’t stop doing whatever it is that they were doing that made them non-believers. Now as I get older this makes less and less since. First, since when has anyone been able to avoid doing X by thinking about it in any way without having an alternate activity? Second, and probably more important, since when has condemnation made anyone want to be more like the person spouting off the judgments? And Finally, isn’t it the holy spirit’s job to “convert” souls to the side of Christ? So all that to say that according to the parable of the mustard seed, we have this evangelism thing a bit off.

Saint Francis of Assisi is attributed to have said “preach the gospel every day, and use words only if you must.” So showing through actions the gospel is more impacting than speaking it. This is shown in other areas of life as well. Who are the best bosses? The ones who lead by example. Who are the best teachers or mentors, the ones who will show you how to do things by practicing for themselves how it’s done. Okay, so lead by example, show through your actions the gospel of Christ, and use words if you must. But how many words? If we take the parable into account the smallest token and least amount of active ingredients will consume and grow into exactly what it’s meant to be. So the least amount of words coupled with the appropriate examples will be the most powerful and influential evangelistic tools. Why? Because they are like the mustard seed, and the yeast. These small actions, these things that we are merely asked to do because we serve God are the things that are actually the most effective in showing the love of Christ and thus the Gospel of Christ to our fellow humans. It’s not easy to have faith that the mere consistency of believing and following Christ will actually be showing others what it is like to be a Christ-follower.

I’m not a huge fan of evangelism as it is defined today. But I evangelize every day by loving my God and my neighbor. By allowing someone into my lane in busy traffic, by saying “God bless you” when they sneeze. I do this by just believing in their humanity and lending the ear they need so desperately. I do this by having peace and humility. I show Christ by giving a shit about people who don’t “fit in” and don’t do it the “right” way. And when the time comes to answer the question of why I do these things, I’m ready with an answer… Because Christ would do the same.

I think that having the faith of the mustard seed is not about believing you can do great things but rather believing that the smallest and most unassuming things will be what makes the difference in the lives of those you interact with.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Florida's Education System

Before I go on to recount the insanity that i have been dealing with, it's good to know that i'm doing well. Vince and the Dog and I are getting along swimmingly. Apparently there's a tropical storm-a-commin' but i'm not worried about it. in fact i'll be the news room dog-sitter since we live like 5 min from the station and they will all have to be there 24/7 till it passes. .... woot fun!

but we'll see if that happens or not.

now for my insanity....

So now that I’m in a school officially and am registered for classes I can tell you about it.
I’m going to FGCU in Fort Myers, officially as a post bachelor-degree, non-degree seeking student (Post-Bac-non-degree student). This is so I can take the three pre-requisite classes that I need because I’m not already a teacher in FL, so I need to take Developmental Reading, Classroom Management, and Foundations of Curriculum Instruction before I can take any classes regarding counseling. (I’m still not sure if that will be helpful or not in the long run but that’s their requirements… whatever)

Now, that’s great because I can take those classes without being accepted into the program so I can work on my requirements before being in the program, with no problems counting those classes for the degree. BUT I’m now ineligible for financial aid because I’m not degree seeking. Tee hee hee! And I’m not accepted into the program because I still have to take the essay portion of the General Knowledge Exam. I have to take this because I didn’t not score a 1000 on my GRE. I got a 950. … but see the ironic thing here is that the “score” does not include the writing portion of the GRE in the point-score. I got a 5.5 out of 6 on the writing portion of the GRE but am now being held from being a degree seeking student because I have not taken the writing portion of the GKE because I got a 950 on the other portions of the GRE! (so the only thing that I knocked out of the park is the only section that is holding me back from getting financial aid.)

Besides that, I took the GKE while I still had intentions to go to USF in Tampa. So naturally I think that the FL DOE would work like any other organization with a standardized test where you have to request that they send additional scores to the school so that they are “official” …. Yeah not so. I called and asked how to request having me scores sent to an additional school, and they told me that they have to send them to me personally and won’t send them to any school not listed on the original list given when taking the exam. AND that you can’t order over the phone, AND that you can’t even order online. You have to go to the website (that the DOE operator has to tell you wrong once, and then say it correctly while being incredibly annoyed that you would ask twice) and you have to print the request to mail it to them (in Mass!?!?!?!) so that you can request your Florida test scores to be sent to you in Florida so that you can send them to the school in Florida that you want to go to so that they will accept you into their program because you didn’t get a 1000 on the non-writing sections of the GRE. So you can do this all over again when you do take the writing portion.


a) What kind of official testing center/organization refuses to send official scores to universities?
b) How can the operator not know that they are the ONLY organization that does it that way, and get frustrated at the caller for trying to do it how every other educational organization does it!
c) Why the F is my life so complicated!

So this is what I did this morning.
`Talked to the director of Financial Aid and discussed the possible options.
`Left a message for the Director of the College of Education to see about being accepted into the program with a pending status so that I can get federal financial aid.
`Called the admissions office to triple check what my application needed.
`Called CSU to find out how to order transcripts without having my ramweb ID
`Called CU Denver to find out how to get a transcript for my math credits that I took in 2002
`Called the FL DOE to try and order scores. Fought with their website…. Insane.
`Called Admissions office again to find out if I can bring in my copy of the scores or if they need a sealed copy from this illusive FL DOE
`Called the DOE certification specialist to see if this mess with my GRE GKE can be resolved… but even though their hours were stated in the teleprompting, no one was there… Insane, again.

All the while I’m on the phone thinking of how much I was over last month in phone minuets because of BS like this with USF… at least this time it’s with the FL DOE rather than just a school! WOOT Florida!

Ps. To the educators in my life… don’t move here!