Saturday, September 29, 2007

Things I Love

In no particular order (other than the first two!)...

1. The Trinity.

2. The Communion of Saints.

3. A Good Book. (Like...700 Sundays by Billy Crystal)

4. Dark Chocolate.

5. Cards.

6. Letters.

7. Snickerdoodle Coffee from Common Grounds.

8. A Good Laugh.

9. A Good Cry.

10. Conversations.

11. An Inspiring Quote.

12. The Cone (If you're in it, you know who you are and that this encompasses oh-so-much).

13. My Southern Gentleman of a Boyfriend.

14. My Adorable Nephews.

15. My Unbelievable Family.

16. Quiet Time.

17. A Good Movie.

18. Hiking.

19. John Denver (First on a long list of guilty pleasures in the music department...).

20. Good Lyrics (Welcome to Our World by Chris Rice is an all-time favorite).

21. Writing.

22. Road Trips.

23. Long Walks on the Beach. (especially with # 13...)

24. A Well Placed Comma :).

25. The Smell and Taste of Coconut (Bath & Body Works Exotic Coconut is fantastic).

That's all for now. Your turn now!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Adventures in Missing the Point

Each week I receive student ministry articles via e-mail. There's a section at the bottom called "Stranger Than Fiction" that always interests me. This week's was equally intriguing...and more than a little infuriating.

Stranger than Fiction
Dissin' Jesus at the Emmys - On September 8, Kathy Griffin, a bawdy, foulmouthed comedian, accepted an Emmy Award for her reality show, My Life on the D-List, and in her acceptance speech she explained that while other actors might thank Jesus for such an honor, she wouldn't consider it. "Suck it, Jesus," she exuberantly added, waving her statuette in the air. "This award is my God, now." Outrage from Christian groups followed, and newspapers reported that E! Television would scrub the speech before airing it the following weekend, which triggered an equal and opposite outcry from liberal groups accusing E! of censorship. When the awards show aired the next weekend, edited but not completely airbrushed, a small Christian theater company based in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, took out two full-page ads in USA Today at $90,000 a pop, decrying Griffin's remarks and pleading for a new civility. Griffin, meanwhile, went on Larry King, who played the unedited clip and ignited the entire thing all over again.(Newsweek, October 1)

This made me angry. Not for the reasons you would expect (Unless you're familiar with my post about Imus.). I can't say that I agree with what Griffin said. I believe it was in bad taste and completely unnecessary. On Larry King, she refused to apologize or back down. However, she readily admitted that it was a joke. While it was a deplorable "joke" (if that is what it was), was it any worse than those who do choose to thank Jesus and turn around and deny him by their lifestyle, their career choices, and their actions? That's another blog...

What really upset me about this article was the price-tag on the two full-page ads that the Christian group took out in USA Today. $180,000? Come on! Was that good stewardship? Do we honestly think Jesus is applauding these people for "defending" Him? It is hard for me to picture a whole boardroom of people who thought it was a good idea to spend such an exorbitant amount of money on a useless add that few will read and even fewer will respond to positively. It is a poor representation of the Gospel we say we believe.

People are not alarmed when Christians get angry and protest things. This is just an opportunity for a world of lost people to roll their eyes at us again. "Here we go again...another Christian rant. Those people are always mad about something?" Is that how we want to be perceived? More importantly, are we really representing Jesus well when we do things like this?

Jesus doesn't need us to defend him. He calls on us to love him. And he takes it one further and also asks us to love our neighbors while we are at it. Who are those people? The poor. The weak. The girl or boy next door. And even the difficult ones that say things that offend us.

I am not saying Kathy Griffin was right. I've already said that I think what she said was in bad taste. I am not calling on Christians to support what she said or condone it. But no two page spread in a magazine is going to convince her that Jesus loves her and longs for her. I am doubting it will do that for anyone. Perhaps it made them feel better to make a statement against her and plead for "a new civility," but it did little or nothing to advance the Gospel.

How about using that money to feed the hungry in our backyards (and all over the world, for that matter). I don't know much about that area of Tennessee, but I am guessing it is a safe bet that there are people right there in Pigeon Forge who are hungry - physically and spiritually. How about spending that money to reach out to them and say to them with our actions that there's a God who loves them? That is the kind of "response" that causes people to take notice...

I have much more to say about all of this, but I'm more curious as to what your response is to this scenario. Agree? Disagree? I welcome your thoughts on this. I don't have it all figured out myself, I just know that my gut instinct tells me this was poor stewardship on the part of the church and a poor representation of the God we say we love.

A quote I love that I believe speaks to this (especially the last sentence)...

"You know, we say we are followers of Jesus Christ, and yet I fear that we crave a life almost in opposition to the one he lived. We want what's easy; he chose what's hard. We want life for ourselves; he chose to give his life for others. We want approval for our own deeds; he chose to do the deeds of his father in heaven. We seek the condemnation of others who are not life us; he wants to redeem us all." - Stan Gaede

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sneak Preview

I am well aware that I have been a "blogger slacker" lately and I am sorry. I assure you it is not for lack of thinking about it and wanting to write. It is nailing down the time to actually write that is the problem. Things are a little crazy around given that the school year is well underway and I work with college students. I promise to offer you a solid blog this week.

As a "sneak preview," just know that things are going fantastically well in my little world. I love my job, my church, and the people I work with here. It is such a great church with people who are generous with their prayers, encouragement, and support (financial and otherwise). It is also wonderful to be able to take a short trip home for birthdays (my nephews, my mom's) or any other reason. I do miss the boy, though...but things are going remarkably well there, too. He's unbelievably thoughtful and adorably Southern. Treats me like a queen, even from a distance. (That is likely all you'll get from me on this blog about that...!)

More to come soon, I promise!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Movie Release Update

It looks like the release date for August Rush has been moved to November 21st. If you're unfamiliar with this, see my blog from or just go watch the trailer online. It looks like it is going to be one remarkable film!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Serendipity and Saints

ser·en·dip·i·ty (sěr'ən-dĭp'ĭ-):
1. an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
2. good fortune; luck

Serendipity. Fun word (under-used). Great movie (I [heart] John Cusack. Supposedly fantastic restaurant (in NY).

I'm in a serendipitous season in my life. Those "desirable discoveries" seem to be happening rather frequently lately. Little and big ones. Twice I've found myself walking through the mall (and I hate to shop!) aimlessly, only to run into people I've been trying to connect with for weeks. One of them was just on a 6-hour break from the camp where she was working for the summer. Strange.

I had a beautifully serendipitous moment the other night at my first Disciple Bible Study class. We were making introductions and this 91-year old lady was telling about herself and where she had gone to church in the past. It was the same church my grandmother attended while she was alive, so I asked if she knew her. She did not...but the older man next to me did. Making that connection almost made me cry. It's that "communion of saints" thing...makes you feel like you're not so far removed from the people you've loved and lost. I have a feeling that our little connection will only deepen as we walk through this study together.

I wanted to share that moment because I have long been thinking of writing a blog about my grandma. We were very close. We laughed together, cried together, dreamed together, and just loved each other deeply. She had her struggles, but they only made her into the unbelievable person I grew to love and admire more than I could ever express in words. I tried once...and the results are below in a poem that I wrote for her. Keep in mind that I was 18 years old, so it is raw and unpolished.


Heroes come in all shapes and sizes
With masks and capes and many great disguises.
But none so discreet as this one does appear,
And in my heart, this hero’s very dear.

Some say a hero must be strong and bold.
If that’s the case, let the story be told
Of a woman of wisdom, strength, and love,
Who follows the Lord and His plan from above.

She’s quick with a hug or a shoulder when you need one,
And of course a great joke or a laugh for some real fun.
She’s my inspiration, my strength for each day.
In just who she is, she has shown me the Way.

Her cape you won’t see, for she’s not wearing one,
But you can bet on a halo when it’s all said and done.
For she’s the kind of person who loves from within
With no thought of what she may lose or win.

She has blessed me, touched me, and loved me so
In all that she’s done, she’s only helped me grow.
All things considered, she fits right in
As a hero, a legend…my grandma, my friend.