Archive for ‘Life as a Woman’

September 14, 2015

Thoughts on Life’s Little Ironies

Well, friends, I finally updated my “About” page. In the process, I finally admitted to the world something I’ve been wrestling with for some time now. With a blog like this, I’m finding it hard to fess up, but I owe it to you, gentle readers. So here it goes.

I don’t really wear heels anymore.

{massive exhalation}

It all started when I was really sick (June 2012-August 2013). I mean, I really did balance better in heels back in the old days, but I barely walked for a long time. Flats were my jam, man. I think originally I balanced better in heels because my brain had to concentrate a little harder on what was happening at the end of my legs. True fact: the time I gave up heels for Lent I wiped out like 5 times. It was sad. But when I was sick, even when I could walk a reasonable distance I had to move slow and was in a lot of pain – I couldn’t afford to concentrate on anything extra. I guess you could say my brain was reprogrammed when it came to walking.

THEN, y’all, I met this really amazing, attractive, godly man who pursued me and we fell in love and the fact that I am three inches taller than he is didn’t bother us at all. And the incentive to wear heels diminished even more – it was indubitably in my best interest to remain within kissing distance. It’s not like I was making any kind of sacrifice; it just kind of happened. I didn’t squash down a facet of myself. I didn’t change myself to please him.* [My husband likes for me to wear heels – he likes for me to wear whatever I want.] I’m just not in the heel-wearing season of my life anymore.

When I was trying to come up with names for my blog originally (back in 2010), I was just smitten with this name a friend of mine came up with. I had a WordPress theme made on Fivrr specially for it. (It was super-scandalous originally, y’all – I had to ask the graphic designer to scale back the sexy-factor about 60%.) So naturally half of it would become kind of irrelevant. Naturally.

I am about to get rid of most of my high heels (which was the majority of my shoes for a long time) because I just never wear them. So if you wear a women’s 11 or 12, hit me up and I’ll let you know what I’ve got to give away.

___________________
*There’s nothing wrong with changing some things about yourself for your spouse or a friend. For example, thanks to my friend and former roommate Nancy, I now make the effort to consciously put the toilet paper on the holder the *right* way.

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August 2, 2014

In which my seminary background pays off in unexpected contexts…

Internet dating is weird. I’ve done my share, and oddly enough have had the most success connecting the right sort of men on okCupid. Of course, there are creepers and weirdos and all kinds of not-the-right-sort-of-men, but it’s been easier for me to identify those guys there than anywhere else – and to find likely candidates who ARE of the right sort.

If you have ever read this blog before, it will not surprise you to learn that my profile includes a “not interested in premarital sex” statement as well as a declaration of my love for Jesus, the Church, and Reformed theology. I get all kinds of responses in my inbox. Sometimes I get “What kind of freak are you?”  emails (I kind of think I already told you exactly what kind of freak I am, actually). Sometimes I get pretty hilarious pick up lines. (“You are the most beautiful animal I’ve ever seen. Are you domestic or wild?”) Sometimes I get guys trying to pick fights. (“What problem do you have with free will?”) Sometimes I get middle school yearbook messages. (“You seem awesome don’t ever change!”) And sometimes I get theology questions.

Yesterday I got a message from a fellow who has recently bought a Bible and is about to start reading it for the first time. He said he’d grown up in the Catholic Church, but had not ever really done the work of reading and interpreting the Bible himself. (I know that he’s not the only one – many people who grew up in all kinds of denominations have that same story.) He wanted my advice, especially on what helps are out there to aid interpretation.

So I wrote him this.


 

Dude,

This is a fantastic question. I am really glad you asked. Reading the Bible yourself is a really transformative thing. I am excited for you!

There are thousands upon thousands of books out there that intend to help readers interpret Scripture. Some of them are total garbage. Some of them are fantastic. Most of them are in the middle somewhere. I can point you in some good directions, but first let me give you some more general basics for first-time Bible reading and study.

1. Don’t start at Genesis and try to plow all the way through to Revelation. I recommended you start with the Gospel of John, and then hit up some Pauline Epistles like Ephesians and Philippians and Romans. Read these books before you open any commentary or book on biblical theology – get a feel for what they have to say before you start asking for other people’s opinions. From there, you can jump into most biblical books and have some idea of what is going on.

2. Find a legit Bible-preaching church and start going. If I were a single dude in Dallas, I would most likely go to The Village – their preaching pastor is probably the best exegetical (Bible text-based) preacher in the metroplex. But there are heaps of options, GOOD options: Park Cities Pres, Watermark, New St Peter’s, All Saints, Providence Pres, Northwest Bible, and Highland Park Pres are all solid choices, and I’m could list more. Here’s why I recommend this: 1) you’ll get a good sense of how the whole bible fits and works together, which will improve your understanding; 2) you’ll get to see how the Bible and its teachings are changing people, especially in the context of the church community (One thing you’ll notice big-time in John and the Pauline Epistles is how much the church community is a big friggin’ deal.); 3) you’ll be hearing Scripture interpreted regularly by a pastor who’s been doing this for years, wants his people to be reading and interpreting Scripture and so is intending through his sermons (in part) to equip them to do so well.

3. Pay attention to genre. Ok, so one thing that a lot of people suck at when it comes to reading the Bible is appropriately accounting for – or even paying any attention at all to – the genre of the part they’re reading. There’s not just one kind of writing in the Bible; there are bunch, and some of them overlap (for example, Revelation is prophecy, but it’s also an epistle). Here they are, in no particular order:

  • Gospels – These are historical narratives pieced together from either the author’s experience or the eyewitness accounts of people who were close to Jesus.
  • Prayerful Poetry/Songs – The book of Psalms is all this. It’s essentially a hymnal for Israel. There are other works in this genre, though, scattered throughout the Old Testament (and in fragments in the New) – for example, Mary sings a song of praise to God after the annunciation in Luke 1. That bit of Luke fits in this genre.
  • Erotic Poetry – Song of Songs. In case we couldn’t figure it out from the rest of Scripture, this book makes it abundantly clear that God is a fan of married sex.
  • Epistles – A good chunk of the New Testament is made up of these sorts of books, which are really letters. Personally, my favorite book of the Bible to read over and over and over again is Hebrews, which is an epistle. Its theme is Jesus > EVERYTHING, and it draws heavily on the Old Testament, quoting chunks of it and showing how Jesus is the fulfillment of every promise God makes, every accommodation He orchestrates so that He can have a relationship with His people. It’s so awesome.
  • Prophecy – There are some books that are straight-up prophecy, like Micah, but there are also a good number of books that are mostly this, but also other stuff. For example, the book of Daniel is about half straight-up prophecy, half narrative. The key to telling when you’re dealing with prophecy is when something “The Lord said to Moses” or “Thus says the Lord” pops up.
  • Wisdom Literature – Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes are the biggies here. Wisdom literature is not full of promises so much as it is full of descriptions of how things tend to work in the world. God, as its Maker, has arranged this so that if you pull a Proverbs 22:6 and “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it,” your kids will likely grow up to be responsible adults who love Jesus. Now, there are plenty of times that doesn’t happen. But the norm is that it does. You tracking with me? Another thing to keep in mind with wisdom literature is that it is philosophical. So even though Job is also a Narrative, it fits in the wisdom literature category as well because of all the deep issues explored in it like theodicy, why bad things happen to good people, and how to cope with deeply painful suffering. It’s interesting to note that in Job, it is incredibly obvious that these intense philosophical questions are 1) not divorced from Job’s personal experience OR his feelings and 2) not divorced from, but rather riddled with, theology. Also cool: God shows up and unloads some heavy direct revelation. So while it’s not predictive of the future, that portion of the book could fit into the genre of prophecy.
  • Narrative – The Gospels are a specialized sub-genre of this category, but the most common (percentage-wise) sort of narrative in the Bible is found in the Old Testament. (The book of Acts is another good example.) These books describe historical facts, and often do not directly offer commentary on whether or not what they are describing is good or bad. Just because David had lots of wives doesn’t mean God thinks that’s ok – in fact, in Deuteronomy 17:17, this is prohibited explicitly for future kings of Israel. So don’t think that just because some detail made it into the Bible and is not explicitly condemned immediately by God, God must approve.
  • Law – There are three kinds of law given in the Old Testament – moral law, ceremonial law, and civil law. The most famous, obviously, would be the ten commandments, but what most people don’t realize is that there is a lot of case law included in the rest of Exodus, Leviticus Numbers, and Deuteronomy. You wanna know about not committing adultery? There’s tons of stuff about not sleeping with your stepmom or a half-sibling or a random chick you think is hot, and recommended punishments. Part of the deal here is to help Israel figure out how to interpret and enforce the law in their civil government, but part of it helps US to learn better what God thinks about such things. The ceremonial law includes LOADS about the building of the tabernacle and the temple, which point forward to Jesus, Who came and lived skin to skin with us. Way better access than the Shekinah Glory hanging out in the Holy of Holies in the temple, where only the high priest could access just one time a year…
  • Genealogy/Census Data – Ok, so these can be tres boring. But there are certain things to remember about them and why they are cool: 1) after Genesis 3, those who believe in the promise of God to provide a “seed” of Adam and Eve Who would crush their serpentine enemy are looking for Him. Where is He? That’s one reason genealogies are important; 2) sometimes, they tell you how flippin’ enormous Israel has gotten (see: Numbers); 3) sometimes, they record who trusted God and was faithful and obedient to Him (see: Nehemiah); 4) sometimes, they just remind you that God cares about every single one of His children. So you don’t have a clue who Matthan was? Neither does anyone else in 2014. But God knows. God cares. Matthan was precious to God. (In case you’re curious, he can be found in Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus. He was Joseph’s grandfather, Jesus’s adoptive great-grandfather.)
  • Diary – I’m not making this up: Nehemiah is mostly the guy’s DIARY about rebuilding the city of Jerusalem. You can totally tell, too, because he says all kinds of weirdly personal stuff.

**Hopefully this is helpful and not overwhelming.**

4. This is going to sound weird, but… get your hands on a Jesus Storybook Bible and read the whole thing, preferably in one day. I did that, when I was in seminary actually, and it was so GOOD. It gives a big-picture view of the whole story of the Bible – indeed, of human history – which helps you see Jesus everywhere. And believe me, He’s EVERYWHERE.

5. Let the Bible tell you what it’s all about. One thing you may notice as you read John and some of those epistles is how much cross-referencing there with other parts of Scripture. Where the Bible tells us what some other passage means, we should take advantage of that interpretive help.

Ok, so once you are ready to start checking out commentaries and books on biblical theology, where do you go?

  • This article by Tim Challies (whose blog I love to follow) is very helpful.
  • Dale Ralph Davis is my guy for Old Testament narratives like Joshua, Judges, 1 & 2 Samuel, etc. He also has a commentary on a small chunk of the Psalms. He is so stinking helpful.
  • Anything The Gospel Coalition turns out is legit.
  • Find a preacher you like and go hunting in the archives of his church’s website for sermons on whatever book you’re reading. A lot of excellent pastors preach straight through biblical books most of the time, and it can be extremely helpful to listen to sermons while you’re working out or driving around town, or to read them if there are available transcripts.

The Bible is not an ordinary book. You can read all about Abraham Lincoln – read what we have of his personal papers, read his speeches, examine the testimony of people who knew him and interacted with him and worked with him, look at his administration’s actions and the way he led, read oodles of biographies, and at the end you will know a ton about Abraham Lincoln. But Abraham Lincoln won’t know jack about you. Your brain is now loaded with facts and opinions, but there is still a disconnect because there is no personal relationship there. However, when you read the Bible, you learn all kinds of facts about God (His preferences, His habits, what kind of God He is, what He’s done, what He will do) AND you actually meet Him in it. Your study of the Bible can be fruitful in a different way, a relational way. And the point of knowing more about God and what He is like is really, at the end of the day, to love Him more.

Well, hopefully your head hasn’t exploded from this long email. I’ll be praying that God reveals more and more of Himself to you as you open His Word.

 

Lauren

July 27, 2014

How many of us have said and sung with all our hearts ‘Anywhere with Jesus,’ but at the same time we did not realize all that it meant for us. Indeed at home, and surrounded by all that home means, we could not know. When the test comes we must not forget that ‘anywhere’ means for missionaries something different from life in England, and let us take very good care not to make a misery of anything ‘anywhere’ brings us.

To us in Algeria it must mean sometime or other, Arab food. Do we object to it? And mice, do we mind them? And mosquitoes, do we think them dreadful? In some parts it means close contact with dirt and repulsive disease. Yet if Jesus is there, what have we possibly to complain of? It means living among a stiff-necked and untrue people and struggling with a strange and difficult language. And yet let us evermore write over all our miseries, big, and for the most part very little, these transforming words ‘With Jesus.’ And then the very breath of Heaven will breathe upon our whole being and we shall be glad. 

– Lilias Trotter, as quoted in Noel Piper’s Faithful Women & Their Extraordinary God, 66 (emphasis mine)

This quote has brought me great comfort as I’ve been struggling with severe pain of late.

July 15, 2014

Yellow Chrysanthemum

‘These are for you,’ he said, thrusting [the bunch of chyrsanthemums] at me. I saw that the stems had been broken very roughly and that they were not tied together at all. 

‘Are they out of your garden?’ I asked 

‘Yes; I snatched them as I was hurrying for the train.’

Somehow they seemed a little less desirable now. He had not chosen them, had not gone into a shop for that purpose, they had just happened to be there. If he had gone into a shop and chosen them… I pulled myself up and told myself to stop these ridiculous thoughts, wondering why it is that we can never stop trying to analyse the motives of people who have no personal interest in us, in the vain hope of finding that perhaps they may have just a little after all.”

– Barbara Pym, Excellent Women, 221

June 11, 2014

Linky Love: Dating, Sex, and the Single Christian

Gentle Reader,

Surely it comes as no surprise to you that I think sexuality, like everything else, has an awful lot to do with theology. And while I appreciate what is at the heart of the abstinence movement of my youth, many folks have struggled with this formulation of waiting – and understandably so. It turns out that treating sexuality like something you can just shove down into a tiny corner of your soul and then magically let loose when you get married is unhealthy and, frankly, absurd. To focus on abstinence is to focus on inactivity – almost hoping our sexual natures can somehow be rendered comatose until the wedding. But chastity is something different. Chastity, you see, always says “YAY MARRIED SEX!” (even when neither party is remotely good at it yet). It looks at sexual desire and says, “Aha! I know what you are for!” Chastity is both protector and celebrant of the marriage bed.

I feel like this something a lot of Christians in my generation, especially women who were raised in the Church, struggle with understanding. But the only way we can get any kind of handle on this sex stuff is if we are talking about it in its real-life contexts – marriage, dating, and pining for a spouse. In fact, I would argue that our sex drives ought to act as another motivation to pursue marriage – and we should let them!

Below are some recent articles and blog posts that I found helpful as I’ve recently again though through all this sex, dating, and the single Christian stuff. Hopefully you’ll find some wise and significant thoughts here to mull over, whether you’re single yourself or just walk faithfully with those of us who are as our friends.

“Should I Be Content with My Singleness?” – I think about this a lot – that sometimes God works through unmet desires. Childs does a fantastic job taking this sort of musing further and deeper, connecting my story as a single woman with the greater story of what God is doing in the world. I love it. (I also really appreciate Childs’ conceptualization of abstinence before/until marriage as fasting. I find it encouraging and affirming: This waiting is an active thing. There is love in my abstention.)

“What If She’s Not the Right One?” – This is an excellent article on fighting against a consumer-attitude in dating, one that I found full of helpful reminders and cajoling. Sure, it’s aimed at the gentlemen in the crowd, but I found it convicting too.

How to Respond to a Man’s Pursuit” – I have a lot of respect for Carolyn McCulley, especially because of the way she is so careful to regard men with respect and a desire to understand. This is a heartening piece, and one that serves as an excellent reminder to love our brothers well, whatever the awkwardnesses in our relationships. Key premise: “While we women exercise trust in God by waiting to be pursued, men exercise trust in God by risking rejection.”

“How to Pick a Life Partner: Part 1 (and Part 2)” – Need a little reality check in your daydreaming? (Who doesn’t?) I think this is cleverly written common sense, but as a “hopeless romantic” (so described since 3rd grade), I still need these kinds of reminders.

“Sexual Desire and the Single Woman” – Though I wish this post went further than it does, it is encouraging to read someone who is open about the strong sexual desires many single women deal with, and who sees the application of the transformational effects of the Gospel to the hearts of women in this area. Here’s the truth: If we belong to God, we have Christ. That radically impacts everything, including how we understand our sexuality and what we do with it.

“5 Lies That Make Sexual Purity More Difficult” – This article is a nice corollary to the one above, but hits home for men and women alike.

“4 Lies the Church Taught Me about Sex” – This is so outstanding and really needs to be heard and absorbed, especially #4.

“Why I Didn’t Wait” – This woman walks us through 10 lies that informed her ideas and practice of her sexuality during a long phase of her singleness.

“Walking the Aisle Without Your Virginity” – Piper has some good, Gospel words for a fellow who is struggling to know how to offer himself to the woman he will marry. Absolutely beautiful.

May 26, 2014

This is a great comfort:

Well, every man likes to be thought wonderful. A woman need not necessarily be stupid to admire a man.

Barbara Pym, Jane & Prudence, 103

February 1, 2014

The One-Year Mark

Exactly 366 days ago I was in the San Francisco Bay Area recovering from my third surgery (in less than 4 years) for endometriosis. The 364 days between that day and this haven’t been a cakewalk – recovering from surgery was hard and long – but boy, it sure has been better than it was before. These days, I’m fully functional most of the time, and pain is the exception, rather than the rule. I can work, and go to church, and hang out with friends – it’s lovely!

But when you’ve become suddenly, incapacitatingly ill more than once in a few years, you start to feel a little paranoid. You start to think that the bottom could drop out any moment – which of course it could, for anyone. For me, this turned into a distrust and squelching of hope.

From where I’m sitting, it seems the most important thing I have learned in the last year is how to hope again, about major life stuff (not just that the new Doctor will be awesome, as nice as that would be). Hope is a profoundly Christian thing. I recently read Paul Miller’s A Praying Life (from which I posted several quotes in December), and found great encouragement in this area. He writes about the abundance of hope for the Christian:

Many of us believe in the Christian hope of ultimate redemption, but we breathe the cynical spirit of our age and miss the heart of God. This was brought home to me when I discovered from a widow that her husband’s philosophy of life went like this: ‘Expect nothing. Then if something good happens, be thankful.’ He had been a dear friend and godly counselor to me, but I was so surprised that I blurted out to his wife a confused mix of Romans 15:13 and Hebrews 13:20 – ‘Sue, that sure sounds so different from “May the God of hope, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”‘ Paul and the writer of Hebrews were bursting with the goodness of God. It spilled out of their hearts.”

I have done this try-to-expect-nothing-so-that-my-hopes-aren’t-dashed thing. I’m not very good at it, and then I feel like a sucker for thinking things might turn out differently. But that attitude makes me hard, and I don’t like what my heart is like when it gets hard. A hard heart is spoken of as a bad thing in Scripture (see Pharaoh, the Israel of Ezekiel’s day, the natural fallen state of man), something to be avoided (see the Penteteuch, the histories, the psalms), to be replaced with a heart that lives and beats, a “heart of flesh.” And of course, there’s that famous C.S. Lewis quote from The Four Loves, which I think says a lot about hope even though it’s about love. (I think hope is as much a heart thing as it is a will thing.)

To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.

That self-protective instinct, while not all bad, has to be held in check if we are going to run the risk of love, of hope. And you know what? Suppose my hopes do get dashed. This is not the worst thing that could happen, shockingly. After all, Christ “binds up the brokenhearted;” “a bruised reed he will not break.” He totally knows what to do with people who are a mess. 

Putting all this understanding into practice – incarnating it, if you will – can be hard work for me. My friend Sarah wrote a great piece about hoping for marriage. It does such a great job of connecting the dots – taking hope all the way from concept to life. 

I could not say all this if not for Jesus, if not for the Big Hope that will be realized. This strange time we live in, the already-but-not-yet, is marked by 1) restoration beginning, brokenness being healed, sinners being sanctified, God dwelling in the hearts of His people; and yet 2) brokenness  evil scoring points, saints who are still hot messes, God seeming to be far away sometimes. The kingdom has come, but not all the way. My understanding of the kind of days we inhabit informs – even empowers – my hope.

I mean, let’s face it – if ALL my hope is invested in things I don’t get, or that don’t satisfy me like I thought they would when I do get them, that makes for a sad, sad story. But because of the Gospel, I know – KNOW – that my story ends like The Taming of the Shrew, not Romeo and Juliet. History, it turns out, is a comedy! There is an ultimate “happy ending” for everyone who is united with Christ. That ending won’t happen until Jesus returns and makes all things fully, really new – and the ending turns out to be a new beginning.

This frees us, friends, to hope, because our joy and happiness and prosperity and health and wisdom and riches and relationships and holiness are all ultimately guaranteed – our fulfillment is a sure thing. We can love people who treat us poorly, or who are throwing up on us at 2 am, or who drive us nuts. We can hope to see someone change who seems completely set in her ways, or that our sickness will be cured or treated effectively, or for a godly spouse. Because we have an unshakeable foundation, we can hope without putting our whole selves into the hope.

Hope itself is not the goal. The goal is glory. The goal is being with Christ, face-to-face. The goal is the new heavens and the new earth. The goal is fully living as a child of the King of the universe, forever. One day, as that awesome hymn reminds us, “hope shall change to glad fruition, faith to sight, and prayer to praise.” We’ll get to put hope on the shelf. But until then, we need its pointing us toward that day, when

…the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine, of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. And He will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of His people He will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken. It will be said on that day, ‘Behold, this is our God; we have waited for Him, that He might save us. This is the LORD, we have waited for Him; let us be glad and rejoice in His salvation.’ (Isaiah 25:6-9)

Friends, I am counting on it. In hope.

June 18, 2013

I’ve Found a New Book to Flog

Y’all know how last year I was rather insistent on the marvelousness of Tullian Tchividijian‘s Jesus + Nothing = Everything. I believe I said something to the effect of, “If you read one book this year, let it be this book.” Right? You totally remember that. 

Well, I’m pretty sure Lauren’s 2013 Book of the Year Award will be going to Rosaria Champagne Butterfield‘s The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert

Carl Trueman said this about the book:

I cannot recommend this book highly enough. I do not agree with everything she says; but I did learn from everything she wrote. It deserves the widest possible readership.

It’s a pretty rare thing for someone to be able to say, about any book, “I did learn from everything she wrote.” I can only hope to one day write that sort of book. Or, heck, that sort of blog post.

Butterfield’s style is unlike that of any other writer I’ve read. She’s writing a memoir, but in a very strongly retrospective voice. We hear her thoughts from a certain time, but also her thoughts about her thoughts, and her thoughts about her thoughts later, and sometimes also her thoughts about her thoughts now. I’m not saying she’s myopic. In fact, the beauty of her story comes in part from the communities that she’s been a part of throughout. We learn a lot about people – many people – who were and are important to her. This little book covers her life from peak of her professional career as an English and Women’s Studies professor at Syracuse through last year sometime, including along the way her incredibly life-disrupting conversion to Christianity, a number of moves, a few dogs, and an incredibly fabulous use of a quote from Jane Eyre.

Incidentally, I hear this was the book that was flogged like crazy at RUF Summer Conference this year. (BEST WEEK OF YOUR LIFE! That was for all you RUFers out there.) It’s a bit heady, but not in the theological language sense; and brilliantly, it’s less than 150 pages. The way Butterfield writes practically begs you to pace yourself and be thoughtful.

There are all kinds of delicious bits, but here is my favorite (at the moment). It comes near the end:

One time, Kent [Butterfield’s husband] was filling a pulpit at a small church in a small town. These places scare me, and for good reason. Knox was asleep on my shoulder and Mary was asleep in the car seat. A man walked up to me, not knowing that I was the preacher’s wife, and said: ‘So, is it chic for white women to adopt black kids these days?’ I took a deep breath and stood up to meet his gaze.

‘Are you a Christian?’ I asked him.

‘Yes, ma’am,’ he replied.

‘Did God save you because it was chic?’ We locked eyes until he dropped his head. He stammered something unintelligible and backed away slowly, seeming to understand that even when the bear does not look like the cubs, the trauma of having one’s head ripped off by a protective mama can be bloody business.” (111-112, emphasis mine, because clearly that is the best part)

[I feel I should clarify that, in the context of the text, Butterfield clearly does not think that she is “saving” kids by adopting them. Adopting children after the same manner in which God adopts us means choosing them, not because they are going to make us “look” a certain way to others, or make us feel better about ourselves, but because of love. This is the same God who “sets the lonely in families” (Psalm 68:6) – and He has principally done that in adopting His people as coheirs with Christ to join the family of the Trinity. Which – think about that for a second – is awesome and crazy and weird.]

It’s really, really good. So read it.

June 7, 2012

Linky Love June 2012

– Dannah Gresh isn’t reading Fifty Shades of Grey, and neither am I. I think all of the reasons Dannah brings up apply to me as a single woman, too.

– Don’t confuse the aforementioned Fifty Shades of Grey with Jasper Fforde’s Shades of Grey, which I hear is pretty great and is not remotely erotica.

– My favorite seminary professor weighs in on an important phenomenon – human begins are prideful, even in ministry. So we need to watch it in ourselves. [Also… how great a name is “Canon Fodder” for a NT biblical scholar’s blog?!]

– I had no idea who this Jason Stellman guy was, but I noticed that his departure from a Reformed denomination (turns out, it’s mine) for the Catholic Church has been fodder for quite a bit of blogging, so I read this post by Carl Trueman. As usual, Trueman is legit.

April 3, 2012

Linky Love

A few things I thought I’d share with the class…

– For those of you who have been thus far deprived, I’d like to introduce you to Criggo. It’s a collection of quite dreadful (read: hilarious) newspaper errors and human stupidities of various kinds, from ads to articles. Here are a few gems to get you started. Good Trade. railroad. Do the math. Yep, I need those teeth NOW!  Unfortunate juxtaposition. Didn’t study for the final.

– As if college admissions wasn’t crazy and pressure-filled enough…

– Just found this fantastic online magazine called Darling: The Art of Being a Woman, and I’m rather enamored of it. Here’s my favorite article so far: Watching Not Searching: Giving Up Fill-in-Maybe-Men.