Friday, August 30, 2013

Let Marriage Be Held in Honor

By now, pretty much everyone has dissected Miley's lude antics at the VMAs last weekend. If you really want to know how I feel, this musician's post pretty much does that:

It's not hard to see myself as Gomer or the woman at the well or Miley. I am aware of my depravity and what my "smallest" sins look like in the face of God's holiness and justice. In January, I stood in front of my peers at school and said I was another whore that Jesus condescends to love. 

What I am most disturbed about, however, is the fact that Robin Thicke's part in this receives maybe one sentence for every page that's been written. A married father singing a disgusting song while a 20 year old girl drapes and grinds all over him. Role models for girls? What about all the dads out there? What about marriage? 

Has our view of marriage crept so low that this is really no big deal? I would probably vomit if that were my husband. I would be so embarrassed, so painfully sad. I can't help but think of my two dear friends tying the knot this weekend; is this really all there is for them? What does it even mean for them to be married? Does it matter? 

 It took me 20 minutes to find a decent card for these friends that wasn't about the wedding but the marriage. Because our world loves weddings. Weddings are pretty and joyful and happy. But marriages are long and can be trying and messy, because it's always about two sinners trying to love well. 

And that's exactly why a high view of marriage is so important for those involved. Paula Patton has said that she's fine with everything that happened, but would she have felt more loved and honored and respected if Thicke had told Miley no? 

I don't know them, or their relationship, but I have to believe the answer is yes. And if the answer is yes, then we should be in as much of an uproar about Thicke as we are about Cyrus. Because if marriage is about that unconditional yada love, about knowing and being deeply known, respected and loved, then he is the real train wreck here. 

Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. Hebrews 13:4

In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. Ephesians 5:28

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


This morning I was reading from Leviticus, thinking about when Jesus healed the leper. 

It was a big deal. It was such a big deal that Jesus would even talk to that guy, that the healing probably wasn't even center stage. Here's why: 

The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, 'Unclean, unclean'. He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp. Leviticus 13:45-46. 

What a miserable existence. How lonely. 

And yet, this is exactly who Jesus came for, for those who know their uncleanliness and confess it. For those away from their Father. 

Like leprosy of the human heart, sin runs rampant in our race, alienating us from our Maker, family and home, causing us to groan for relief. And Jesus is the one who steps in and says, you are clean. Welcome home. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Shekinah Glory Cloud

Bare Mountain's trailhead is tricky to drive to, and if you're not looking carefully you will for sure miss the trailhead. The Washington Trail Association says that it's an 8 mile hike, the trailhead says 9, and Kate's Nike+ app on her ipod says it's 11. It really feels most like an 11 mile hike. It follows an old miner's road for the first two ish miles, with not one but two creek crossings, including a walk across a fallen tree! Elizabeth got ahead of me and accidentally took the wrong way, but at two miles, you're supposed to turn left. At this point, you start a series of long switchbacks, that progressively get shorter, steeper, and more treacherous as you go up. Seriously, when you think you're getting close, you probably have another mile. When you're about to die, that's when you know you're almost there. Blueberries were ripening, and were certainly consumed. The trail had great views almost the whole way up, and that, combined with the narrow trail, prompted a lot of pauses. 

The clouds were sitting on top of the mountain. It was so cool! We made it to the top at a perfect time. We got to see the great views, and then the clouds moved in. 

In case you haven't figured it out, we were quite high in the air. Over a mile, actually! As we hiked down, we'd look up and say, "Look how high up we were!" 

Seriously amazing. I've never sat in a cloud before. It's so chilly and you can feel the cloud move over you! It was an absolutely breathtaking experience!

When the cloud engulfed us, we had maybe 25-30ft of visibility. Think of pitch black, but instead pitch white. 

On this hike, I would stare out and remember John Owen, "Think greatly of the greatness of God". How can you think of anything else staring out at the endless evergreens and towering rocks?! I was so struck by my smallness next to His grandeur. I think hiking is a good metaphor for God's presence. You can read my blog and see the pictures and read the trail description and the reports, and you can know about the hike, but until you do it yourself, until you feel the cloud whisper on your skin, you won't really know this hike. It's the same with the Lord. You can know about Christ without actually knowing Him or experiencing His presence. It's about the experience. 

I was too thrilled about being in the cloud! I was still thinking about it today, and then I read this: 

Then Moses went up on the mountain, and (U)the cloud covered the mountain. 16 (V)The glory of the Lord dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud.17 Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a(W)devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel. 18 Moses entered the cloud and went up on the mountain. And Moses (X)was on the mountain forty days and forty nights. Exodus 24:15-18 

Like I said earlier, when you're in the cloud, you really can't see very far ahead of you. Imagine being blind to all things except that which shows the glory of the Lord! How crazy cool! It also made me think of the cloud that led the Israelites out of the Egypt; talk about walking by faith. 

Speaking of that shekinah glory - here are some selected quotes from the last few days of The Glory of Christ by John Owen. I'm currently obsessed with Owen beyond reason. He and Piper are the best on God's presence and His glory, and there is no match to Owen when it comes to Christ in the office of the Mediator. 

"Christ is the meat, the bread, the food of our souls. Nothing is in him of a higher spiritual nourishment than his love, which we should always desire" 

"And this is one reason of his prayer for them whilst he was on the earth, that they might be where he is to behold his glory; for he knew what ineffable satisfaction it would be unto them forevermore"

"Grace renews nature; glory perfects grace; and so the whole is brought unto its rest in God" 

"It is a great evidence of the power of unbelief, when we can satisfy ourselves without an experience in our own hearts of the great things, in this kind of joy, peace, consolation, assurance, that are promised in the gospels" 

"Without the diligent exercise of the grace of obedience, we shall never enjoy the grace of consolation" 

My soul finds rest in God alone; He only is my salvation. Psalm 62:1 (that's how I remember might be a paraphrase or mismatched translation) 

Monday, August 19, 2013

Coffee and oatmeal

It's my first Monday morning as a 22 year old with an apartment in her name. My roommate is stirring as I heat baked oatmeal and brew coffee. She catches me eating whipped cream on the oatmeal and off of my fingers. 

I drink the coffee, slowly and thoughtfully. The morning feels so quite, so still. Such a perfect day to be still and know that he is God. 

I've been reading a lot, but not always blogging. Last week, I was reading Malachi and was so struck by it. Not only do we rebel against God, but we are also blind to said rebellion. In Malachi, God's people actually think they are doing things to earn his favor when they are really working against him. They are also completely blind to their Father's love

"I have loved you," says The Lord. But you say, "How have you loved us?" Malachi 1:2a

I drink the coffee and name blessings, graces to myself. 

And I realize just how beautiful you are/and how great your affections are for me

And oh, how he loves. 

They shall be mine, says The Lord of hosts, in the day when I make up my treasured possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his son who serves him. Malachi 3:17 

Saved unto him. To be his. To know and to be known by him. 

And I remember this, read last night before drifting asleep: 

Love that allures and brings hope and causes us to sing. O to grace! 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

A Resting Place

I'm in my new home, guys. I assembled a bed and hung a shower curtain and bought a broom and dustpan and even a welcome mat. I baked a housewarming cake. There is food in our refrigerator and our cabinets. There is ice in our freezer. 

Elizabeth will be here in a half hour. It is strange to be in this new place. Stranger still to be living with EJ. We used to joke about it, but now it's real. If I want to, I can see inside her bedroom from mine. I'm not used to the noises I'm hearing outside. I will get used to it. 

I will turn 22 during this first night at our apartment. I have been feeling 22 for awhile now though. It all started when I went abroad; I feel like I grew up a lot in that and so I felt 21 some time before I actually was. So it set got me all off kilter. But I work tomorrow and you can bet my girls and I will be dancing to some Taylor Swift. Thanks, Taylor for making 22 not so lame. 

Also, for the next almost two weeks our home will all be 22 so hopefully we'll eat breakfast at midnight and forget about some deadlines. Falling in love with strangers, however, is not the wisest of choices and I think we will skip that one. 

I've called a lot of places home. When I signed that 11-month lease, it was a little strange to me. I couldn't quite figure out how I felt about it. I haven't spent 11 months in one place since high school. College has long Christmases and summers, and there were internships and studying abroad and that beautiful Beloit summer. Elizabeth, too has been abroad and biking and globe trotting. And now, the wanderers find a place to rest. 

I started singing that old hymn...

My faith has found a resting place/not in device or creed. 

I think of what I'm reading about the glory of Christ, about being satisfied, 

"Moses knew that the ultimate rest, blessedness and satisfaction of the soul, is not in seeing the works of God, but the glory of God himself" John Owen. 


Think on that. 

With the overflowing grace in my life, and all of the Lord's providences towards me, wouldn't it be easy to rest there, in his works? But it's not about the things. It's not about the wonderful roommate and roomy kitchen. It's what they reveal of God: that he knows my desires and my needs and is kind enough to supply them. 

By resting not in the provisions, but in the Provider my hope is built on nothing less than Christ himself so that when all else fails I remain secure. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Eating Feelings

Readers of Betsy's blog know this concept. Stress eaters get it too. And of course there's always Mean Girls.

I read a book called The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. I picked it out because lemon cake is my favorite.  I have told my mom for years that there will be lemon cake at my wedding. I needed to know why it was sad. 

Anyway, in the book, a girl develops the gift of being able to taste feelings in food. The lemon cake her mom makes is sad because of her parents' struggling marriage. She can taste the difference in factory made goods. The onion soup at the French cafe tastes like love and wholeness. She tastes her mother's affair in a roast. 

It made me think about what my food must taste like. The last times I've cooked for people, I haven't really used a recipe. I've taken my time. I've played music I like and enjoyed every minute. I hope that food tastes like contentment and joy and satisfaction. 

It was a really interesting read. It was kind of a silly novel, so I'm not sure the author was making the social commentary that I'm getting, but it does make you think about what you put in to what you make, and what you're bringing to the table. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Wound Up

Just signed my first real lease! And loaded a bed from my car into the apartment! And it's birthday week! And Liztowne is coming to make our new home together! There is just too much excitement right now. I feel like Maggie Cress when she drinks a triple americano.

So I'm going to watch Friday Night Lights until I feel sleepy. Except I am almost done with the last season and that's going to be a sad day.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Sunday Mornings

I love Sunday mornings. Right now, I get to walk to church, and even though that will change soon, I will still love Sunday mornings.

I love not being pressured to get up and get moving

I love taking my time, diving into the Word

I love making pancakes and reading the news

I love stopping for a nutella mocha at the muddy cup cafe on the way to church

I love sitting on the comfy sofa and listening to quiet music and reading books that proclaim truth

I love catching myself singing out loud

I love when stevehaus2.0 (I don't know how ok I feel with continuing to call him this ever since I found out he drove like 4 hours to go to a John Mayer concert but I digress) aka Trent opens the door for me and tells me he's been enjoying his weekend when I ask how he is.

I love when Craig tells me about his new job and asks about my apartment search and my roommate's transit

I love when Angeline fills me in on her pregnancy and house search

I love when Gab and Jen appear and we chat

I love when the lights are off because it's cooler and Seattle peeps can't handle heat past 83

I love when church actually started 5 minutes ago but no one is sitting in their seats

I love when the worship team tries to subtly get people to sit and like 4 of us actually do

I love when we start to praise together

I love when Victoria  somehow sneaks into the seat next to mine and whispers excitedly about book club when the announcements are made

I love when our pastor gets choked up during the sermon because he's that passionate about Jesus

I love when the songs start and we reflect

I love watching my church stand before the cross

I love taking communion in front of an old wooden cross and walking back to join the body in worship

I love the after, when we talk and don't want to leave

I love the walk home

I love Sunday mornings

Mount Defiance

I don't claim to have had hiking experience, but I've been on a few now, and this one was definitely the hardest. I wanted a challenge, and I got it. It's almost 1500ft higher than Mount Si, and much steeper and rockier. Oh, and the scramble to the top is harder too. There are some big pluses, though: you can see mountain views on and off the whole way up - every switchback is pretty stunning. Also, there is a lake somewhere in the ball park of half way. It makes a great place to stop on the way down; I definitely waded pretty far in.

I had a great time, and naturally made a stop at Snoqualmie Brewery and Taproom. They are pretty brilliant, putting that brewery within 20 miles of several mountain range trail heads. I was thinking about their wildcat ipa for the last hour and a half of my hike down.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Apartment roommate 22

For all concerned parties, EJ and I will no longer be homeless as of September 1st. I handed a check to the apartment manager this evening for our deposit. I talked to the Liztowne while standing in said apartment and she is coming to me on Taylor swift on repeat day (aka my 22nd birthday aka the 17th) 

We used to joke about living together and  now it's coming true! You know you live in Seattle when the manager asks if you and your girlfriend are together or just friends and it's just out of curiosity. I laughed and he said there's no good way to ask that question. 

Anyway, I get to start moving my stuff as early as Monday or Tuesday! And we aren't paying for these few weeks of August. Woohoo. 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Church, Let's Talk

I was checking a blog I read regularly and realized that there is more or less a rotation of subject matter: marriage, how involved Christians should be in politics, raising kids, preaching, studying the Bible, why young people are leaving the church blah blah blah blah blah. I'm tired. I read 17 different "Christian responses to prop 8" and I wanted to crawl in a hole and forget I knew those people burning bridges instead of building them.

Sometimes people make good points - new insight - but it's a lot of the same and it can be a lot of nothing. I want us to talk about the real, messy suffering that we seem to be missing.

Today I read the testimony that Castro's victims gave at the hearing during which he was sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years for the 937 counts of kidnapping, aggravated assault, sexual assault and a whole host of other horrible awful things. For 10 years, he held 3 women as prisoners; two of whom were minors. 1 had his child while there, and if you think these 4 people who have now been set free aren't going to deal with this the rest of their lives, you're crazy. Or stupid. The victims stood and faced the man who has hurt them more than most people will ever know and they told their story. For 10 years, they'd been silenced, and finally someone was listening.

And what, church, do we have to say to that?

I read about a half dozen big Christian blogs several times a week, and do you know what they had to say?


Castro is an extreme case, you say.


But I will humor you.

When, church, is the last time we talked about what it really means to respect women?

Did I blink when we were telling our sons that Eve was made from Adam's rib, and placed by his side so they could help one another, and not as an object to be used?

How have we reached out to victims of rape and sexual assault?

We will tell you how to pray and how to give money and go on mission trips and how to date and not date but ask the average church going evangelical to talk about rape culture and I bet you anything they will go quiet. (Ann Voskamp did write a brilliant piece on Stubenville. Point for you).

If this line of thinking is because I went to Beloit where we are encouraged to challenge norms and to think for ourselves and fight back then it is a really stinking great day to be a Beloiter because when it comes to this, the church should have everything to say.

And when I say everything, I mean do not throw out cliches. Don't say we live in a fallen and broken world. We get that. Don't say our views of relationships and sex have been perverted. We get that too.

And please, please, don't say our culture is out of control. Because we create and destroy culture by our participation or lack thereof.

God creates and will make all things new and Jesus, only Jesus can save.

But even though we can't rescue every soul, we are called to love our neighbors - all of them. And if you are going to love your neighbor, you have to know them. You have to be present.

We have to know how to react to rape "jokes" and how to support survivors and how to listen, really listen when they tell their stories.

Because silence does nothing. Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away, it just gives it room to grow. And if our silence contributed even one ounce to building a man like Castro, then we should be ashamed of the culture that we have created around ourselves.

So please, let's not be afraid to talk. And if we don't know the words, let's learn them. Because I don't want to go another day feeling like I am the only one bothered by the fact that the people who claim to know all about great sex don't care how desperately abused our neighbors are.