Mom to the Left

I'm a mom who tends to live just to the "left" of most of the people around me here in Indiana.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Missing God's Flashing Neon Signs

Before I get into today's post, I just had to add a comment related to yesterday's post. Remember I posted about the part in Luke 6 which spoke of the importance of loving ones enemies? I said I considered it one of the most important parts of the Bible as it is central to Jesus' message. Well, I went to the children's Bible that my MIL got for E Easter before last. This Bible (The Bible for Children from Good Books) is written for elementary age kids. The stories are chunked together (like the stories that are found in more than one place as in the Synoptic Gospels, etc.) into one version. So it isn't a direct verse-by-verse copy of the Bible. And I realize some things had to be pared out to make it more readable for kids. But the bit from Luke 6 about loving your enemies isn't in there! How can such a central and important part of the Bible and Christ's message be omitted from a Bible for kids? That's just crazy and makes me angry. The focus, as usual, is on how Jesus died and what people believe happened afterward. A more minimal focus is on what he supposedly did (as in the miracles). But the thing they included the least of is what Jesus said! If only they had eyes to see and ears to hear! Maybe I should add to my own eventual "to do" list that I should write a children's Bible that focuses on what Jesus taught. I wonder if such a thing exists anywhere. I find it hard to believe it doesn't.

Okay...enough of that...on to today...

Today was D's first day in the preschool class at church. I also volunteered to teach today considering that I wasn't sure how he'd behave on his own. I've never taught kids this young so I wasn't sure how it would go, but it went surprisingly well. They loved making collages with glue and beads, yarn, dried beans and pasta, tissue paper, etc. And it wasn't even a huge mess at the end.

I keep getting these spiritual nudges too. I haven't been to church often this summer, I confess. But the last couple of times I've gone I've had separate people come up to me and ask me about the UU Christian group. When I put out my initial informational blurb in the church newsletter early last spring, I only had two people contact me with interest. But since then I've gotten trickles of interest. This morning a woman spoke to me about a Christian friend of hers who was considering coming to our church but wasn't sure she'd be welcome. This woman told her friend she thought she would be welcome and she mentioned me. She had forwarded a recent sermon Rev. Don had given called "Was Jesus a Unitarian?" to her friend (an excellent sermon, BTW, about the first century Christians and the early unitarian/trinitarian debate). She asked if I minded if she give her friend my name and number. I said not at all.

I can't help but think that God is nudging me to get on with it. I know I've been dragging my heels on setting up this Christian group for fear that there was lack of interest or maybe even hostility toward the idea. But I think I need to get over it and just do it. Our DRE told me a few weeks ago that Rev. Don mentioned maybe starting a Bible study group this year. I find that exciting. And I am also going to be the RE Curriculum Associate which, among other things, should involve me adapting a Bible-based curriculum for our older elementary kids. How many more hints to I have to get before I hear the message? :-)


Saturday, July 30, 2005

Love Your Enemies

One of my favorite things to do is to sit outside in the mornings when the weather is right and drink my coffee and read and be mindful of everything around me. It is the time of day that I feel closest to God. I am able to be alone (usually) because the kids are still in bed and Big J is either at work or inside doing something. I enjoy things I used to ignore because I was so busy : the sound of the birds in the trees, a dog playing in a nearby yard, the slant of the sun as it moves over my neighbor's roof, the dew before it dries off the grass. I make time to notice these things for the wonders they are. I also like to use this time to do my lectionary readings.

This morning I was catching up on a few readings from this past week. I read what I think is probably one of my favorite parts of the Bible because it pretty much sums up what I think is the point of it all. Luke 6:27-36. This is the part where Jesus talks about loving your enemies. It includes the Golden Rule: "Do to others as you would have them do to you." Luke 6:31 (NIV). It goes on to say that "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?" Luke 6:32 (NIV). In other words, it is easy to love those who love you, those who agree with you. Where is the challenge there? The real challenge is in loving those who do not love you or agree with you. Our world would be a much better place if more people took this particular passage more seriously. It seems like lately everyone (even supposedly religious, Godly people) are all about finding reasons to divide from other people. They want to turn away from those who are different from themselves. What we really need is for people to do what Jesus said and not turn away from those with whom we disagree but turn toward them. Show them love and compassion. We should "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." Luke 6:36 (NIV).

What a wonderful world that would be! One might call it a Kingdom of God!


Friday, July 29, 2005

Not Just for Kids Anymore

I have been away for a couple of weeks because I have been revisiting my younger days and taking classes again. Actually I took two graduate level education classes at the same time in order to renew my teaching certification before the next school year. The classes were very interesting - New Children's Lit and Internet Safety - but taking two graduate level classes at the same time in an intensive summer session kicked my butt. In order to get everything done, I had to ignore all non-school aspects of my life including my home, grocery shopping, and even my kids. So I've been spending this week trying to get caught up on everything. I'm still not there, but at least our laundry is caught up. Next time I have to do this I'm going to remember not to take both classes at the same time. Whew!

Despite being busy with my classes, I did manage to find time to read Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince which appeared in my mailbox right in the middle of my classes. Sigh. Being the Harry Potter fanatics that we are, there was no way I could wait before starting. So J and I read most of it together (me reading aloud to him like I've done ever since he was little). But by Thursday of last week I was knee-deep in coursework and didn't have time to read. J, however, was getting ready to spend the weekend away with his best friend's family and didn't want to leave without reading the ending. So he finished it on his own on Thursday. I had to wait until early Saturday morning to finish for myself. Oh, Harry, Harry, Harry...I'd hug that boy were he real.

Meanwhile, earlier this week I took the boys to the public library to occupy them during our latest heatwave. J picked up an interesting book called God, the Devil & Harry Potter : A Christian Minister's Defense of the Beloved Novels by John Killinger. J started reading it but it includes a lot of biblical references that he just doesn't get. I picked it up the other day and I am mesmerized. This is almost as good as reading the books themselves. It combines two of my loves: Harry Potter and religion. I'm finding this book very spiritually fulfilling as Killinger points out the elements of the series that stem from Judeo-Christian values and history. I highly recommend it for Christian Harry Potter fans.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

God Bless London

What a way to wake up this morning. Big J came in before leaving for work and told me that several bombs had gone off in London overnight. I rolled over and covered my head. How does this keep happening? We keep killing each other. It is so messed up.

I avoided CNN for most of the morning. Took the boys out for a nice drive up to church so that I could prepare the cards for the July birthdays. The weather is warm but the humidity is much more tolerable than it had been. We drove along with the windows down and singing along to Radio Disney. E thought we were going to church (as in worship) and I had to tell him, no, today isn't Sunday. He was confused that we were going to church on a non-church day. I guess he didn't realize we were all wearing shorts and flip flops and I had no make-up on. Oh to be nine years old again. Anyway, we were only there for 15 minutes or so, but I think it was long enough to get on the secretary's nerves. The minister came out and said hi and then retreated back to his office. The secretary said my boys reminded her of a couple of puppies. She was right - they were in the meeting room across from her office wrestling on the sofas. Why they can't behave for 15 minutes, I don't know. As we were leaving, E ran into (literally) an elderly man in the congregation who just happens to be a worship associate as he was bringing in some plants for, I assume, the minister. He laughed and was good natured about it. I, however, was ready to go home. Lord, give me strength.

Anyway, we came home and I got the boys settled watching a video in the backroom while I made their lunch and then I turned on the TV. One station said "over 40 fatalities so far" while another one said "37 confirmed dead" and over 360 injured. The biggest attack on London since World War II. I don't even know how to react. It just makes me sick. God, be with these people as they face the aftermath of these attacks. And be with those who perpetrated such terrible things on humanity and turn their hearts.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Not your average soccer mom

I tend to want to describe myself as a soccer mom. After all, I have kids who play soccer, I drive a minivan, do the shuttling-the-kids thing. But in recent years there has become a certain view of what is meant by "soccer mom" that is SO not me. When it comes right down to it I am a walking oxymoron (no, not a moron as my teenage son might be inclined to dub me). Maybe I should say I'm a contradiction of terms. I am a liberal Christian, left-wing democrat, pro-choice, anti-war, recycling soccer mom.

As I said, I drive a minivan, have been a stay-at-home mom for several years, have 3 kids, a dog, a house in the suburbs. However, I am a closet (or not-so-closet depending on who you ask) liberal. I always vote democrat (and often they are too conservative for me). I believe in equality, peace, and universal love - all of which seem to have become radical concepts in recent years. I am a religious liberal. I am not an atheist, I believe in a God. But the God I believe in would never condone the acts of hatred, judgment, and intolerance that are being done every day in His/Her name.

I get so frustrated by the turn our society has taken over the last 6 or so years. I find it truly scary. And probably one of the scariest things is that you can no longer speak your mind freely in this country without incurring someone's wrath or being called unpatriotic. I mean, it's one thing to disagree with people, but when it comes to discrediting and demeaning (or worse) anyone who disagrees with the establishment - well, I think our founding fathers would be rolling in their graves at what we've done. I love this country which is why I feel so strongly about how things are going. If I didn't care, I wouldn't care, you know?

And so. I find myself here on the stress-relief valve of the new millenium - the blog. Here I can rant in relative anonymity. It would be nice too, if I am able to find some joy to spread here too. That would be a better use of my time and yours. And probably more Christlike to boot. We'll see what happens. So here I go...