life

Just Be Your Sweet Self

I watched a documentary on Netflix today.  I’ve watched a lot of Netflix on my computer these past 11 days, camped out on my living room floor with my beagle while she recovers from abdominal surgery.  Three more days.

But that’s another post.

The documentary is entitled The Mask You Live In.

If you have Netflix, watch it.

Or stream it from The Representation Project website here.

“That was well done,” I said to my daughter, who joined our little camp out to watch the film with me, “It makes me want to do something.”

“We need to have another retreat,” I continued, “for women, because seeing those young women happily participating in their own dehumanization makes me sad.”

My daughter shared snippets from recent conversations she’s had with young women who are in families that actively teach that it is all about the men.  A woman’s only role is to make men happy.

“In this day and age,” I shook my head.

“If I had had a son, I wouldn’t have raised him the way the men in the film were raised.”

“I know you wouldn’t have,” she replied.

“I feel sad that I’m too old to really have much of an influence,” I said, “but you’re young, you can do things both personally and professionally. If you have a son you can rear him to be a fully human being.  As a therapist you can help young men become fully human through counseling and you can help the moms of boys to rear them well.

“Young men won’t generally go to counseling unless they are mandated to go,” she said, as she folded up her comforter and headed upstairs.

Where my daughter works, counseling is mandatory and some of the men she counsels are really opening up to her as they become re-humanized. It’s a beautiful thought. And a sad thought. A tears-just-below-the-surface thought because she is starting a new job in a week – one where counseling is not mandatory.

I’d love it if you would watch the film and tell me what you think.  Tell me how you were raised. Tell me what we can do.  Help me plan a retreat.

#youdon’thavetostrut

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Halloween: yay or nay?

We wanted to do something fun, since it was her birthday, so the two of us headed to Northville to have lunch and look around.

We had plans to go out for a big celebratory dinner, so we decided on a light lunch at Lucy and the Wolf.

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The fish tacos were just the thing.

And then I spotted the mini donuts with bourbon smoked sugar and maple syrup. You know me and donuts.

“But they’re not chocolate,” my daughter pled.

So we headed across the street and down the block to share a carafe of French Press coffee and a Nutella crepe.

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If you look closely, you can see a skeleton seated on the Bistro’s patio. The town is loaded with skeletons.  Just about every establishment is adorned with one or two.

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This one, with rollers in her hair, is my favorite.

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Though the spaghetti tester outside the Italian Ristorante is pretty cool, too.

The skeletons reminded my daughter of an article which, she said, was not a parody. She pulled out her phone and read me excerpts as we walked.

“We think because we are not performing any demonic rituals or human sacrifices,” she read, “that we are on safe ground, but did you know that as soon as you dress up, whether you color yourself or put on a costume, the enemy owns you? Because by doing so, you have turned over your legal rights, and you have dedicated yourself and your kids to celebrating the devil’s holiday. You have just made a pact with the enemy, and you are already sacrificing your children spiritually by dressing them up and changing their identity.”

Celebrating Halloween might be akin to neglecting to tear down Ashera poles, I thought to myself, but…

“That’s kind of extreme,” I said.

“When you were three, I dressed you up as an adorable little lamb with a little red heart, carved of wood, pinned to your chest.  We went to a few houses in grandma’s neighborhood. You, a Light in the darkness, me holding your little Lamb of God hand. No ownership was transferred that night.”

Which brings me to this creative little video:

So what do you say, Halloween yay or nay?

#identity

P.S. Click the quote to read the full article.

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life

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Jesus didn’t involve Himself in politics when He lived among us and that’s one of the things I love about Him.

His people wanted and expected their Messiah to be their champion, to render powerless any political authority over them.  And since Jesus had no interest in politics, He was disqualified and rejected.

And so with the intention of entangling Jesus in His words – a political strategy still in use today – those who rejected Him sent a delegation to ask: “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?”

Jesus answered, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.”

So they brought him a denarius.

“Whose likeness and inscription is this?” He asked.

“Caesar’s,”  they answered.

“So render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”

When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.  (Matthew 22)

Let’s marvel at the little phrase, “and you do not care about anyone’s opinion,” because it’s one of the things I love about Him.  He didn’t care about being politically correct or about being popular. He knew who He was, He knew His mission and He knew the truth.

His mission had nothing to do with politics and power.

Case in point: James and John. They wanted to sit at Jesus’ right and left in glory, so they asked if they could.

When the other ten heard about their bid for power, they became indignant with James and John.

So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

It’s not about power and prestige, it’s about heaven.

Jesus sent a bunch of guys (72) out ahead of Him to every town to which He was about to go. “I’m sending you out like lambs among wolves,” He said. He sent them with the authority to bring peace and healing to households.

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”

Jesus replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.  I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

That’s His mission – not to defeat political, or even spiritual, enemies – but to write names in heaven.

So I cringed a little, one recent Sunday, when I passed this sign on my way in to worship:

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Not because I disagree with it but because it’s political.  And Jesus wasn’t.

I want people of all nationalities to feel welcome everywhere.

But the sign, in typical political fashion, oversimplifies the issue.

It’s not about where a person is from, it’s about how a person behaves.

I decided to ignore the political implications and embrace the sign at face value. I began to hum along with Mr. Rogers each week as I approached it.

“Would you be mine, could you be mine, won’t you be my neighbor?”

And then last Sunday our pastor announced that the sign was found tossed in the bushes.

And a message had been spray painted on the back of the church.

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And I wondered two things:

1. What does the sign have to do with worshiping devils?

2. Are we glad our paint-can-wielding neighbor is our neighbor?

I wondered whether we should put up another sign, spray painted in the parlance of the perp, “No matter how you express yourself – as long as you do so legally, peacefully and respectfully – we’re glad you’re our neighbor.

Because the issue is, after all, behavior.

As the pastor set the Eucharist table he said all are welcome – even our graffiti spraying neighbor.

That’s what I like about him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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life

Just Watch and Smile

If you haven’t seen this on Facebook yet, and even if you have, I am about to make your heart very happy.

The stills of that little chicklet could not possibly be any cuter, but those little chicken feet walking so confidently down the street tops all cuteness for all time.

#exceptional

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The Beauty of Blogging

When I was a kid I read Jelly Side Down by Erma Bombeck every whatever-day-of-the-week her column appeared in the Detroit Free Press.

Somewhere in my subconscious I wanted to write a column, too.

And that, right there, is the beauty of blogging.

You don’t have to wait until you’re invited to write a column. You don’t have to work your way up, or know someone; you don’t have to hope and pray someone will publish your words.

For that matter, flashing back to today’s earlier post*, you don’t have to blow anything or anyone up in order to be heard. We may not have even had a unabomber had blogging been available back then (except that Ted hated technology).

All you have to do is click the Publish button in the upper right hand corner of your post.

So what if you don’t get paid.

So what if only a handful of people read it.

Or is it that you didn’t want to write a column so much as you wanted to be a rich and famous columnist?

“Do what you love and the money will come,” Dr. Morris said.

And I say do what you love even if the money has no intention of coming.

If you’ve always wanted to be a coach, coach little league.

If you’ve always wanted to be a counselor, volunteer – the non-profit will train you.

If you’ve always wanted to be a mom, be a foster mom.

You get my drift.

I’ll never get to be Perry Mason without first going to law school, however, and knowing what I know about how the legal system works, I’ll never get to be Perry Mason even if I do go to law school.

But I got to kind of live out my desire to be Perry Mason and my desire to be a counselor all in one during my juvenile court days as a social worker.

And now I get to kind of be Erma Bombeck, sans her humor and her audience.

What have you always wanted to do that you are kind of doing?

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and I could say, “I used everything you gave me.” – Erma Bombeck (one of my heroes)

*Forgive me for breaking my no-more-than-one-post-per-day rule.

 

 

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life, Light

Manipulation & Weenies

“Christian manipulation at its finest,” my daughter said, as she walked into the kitchen.

“Let’s hear it.”

She proceeded to read a Facebook message from some random guy who wants to connect:

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[link removed]

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Free Dream Interpretation Line?

Needless to say, she denied the request.

“It isn’t the same kind of manipulation,” I said, “but it reminds me of a time, when I was your age, that I received a letter in the mail at work.  It started, ‘Dear Julie, You are unattractive, no one likes you and you are a failure at work…’ The letter continued to insult me for several paragraphs before inviting me to a seminar on self-esteem.

What? You’re going to tear down my self-esteem and then invite me to pay you $250 to build it back up?

Unfortunately for the letter’s sender, I was really cute back then, had lots of friends, and I had just received a raise, so I couldn’t have been too much a failure at work…”

Manipulation of the Weeny Sort.

The hub was away fishing this morning so my daughter and I went out for breakfast. Over omelets and pancakes she told a familiar tale of manipulation of the weeny sort.  One of her friends, who has been seriously dating the assistant minister of a hip downtown church, just got dumped.  They had been dating for a very (4+ years) long time.

“He probably said something like, ‘The Lord told me it isn’t His will for me to continue in this relationship,’ ” she said, “because that’s what they always say.”

They being the “fine” Christian men who date, dump and then blame it on God.

“Four years of her life,” my daughter said, shaking her head, “and then trying to pass himself off as all spiritual.”

“If I were the young woman being dumped,” I said, “I’d want to know whether God mentioned anything to him about the relationship not being His will FOUR YEARS AGO.”

Because the fact is, he’s a jerk.  He can pretend that the break-up is him being all godly and obedient, but where was his obedience 4 years ago?

If the relationship is not God’s will now, then the relationship was not His will then. So either he ignored God then, or God has nothing to do with it.

Chances are good that it was the hip young minister’s idea to date her – take her off the market for 4+ years with no intention of marrying her – and it was the hip young minister’s idea to dump her.

Because God doesn’t string people along.

“I want to smack him silly,” I said as I finished my orange juice, “because how is anyone supposed to argue with, ‘blah, blah, blah, blah, blah … and I must be obedient to God.'”

As if God has any part in breaking a young woman’s heart.

 

 

 

 

 

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