Mandatory Year-end Blog Post 2016

2016 started rough. I was still working on the first draft of my memoir, and writing a book is hard, y’all. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done (and I once managed to get my car out of a snowbank using nothing but McDonald’s bags). I feel like a wizard should show up to tell me I’ve fulfilled my destiny or some shit. Except I’m still revising a little, so the wizard will have to come back sometime in 2017.

Honestly, I haven’t done much this year besides write, read, watch Kimmy Schmidt, and eat insane amounts of wintergreen Life Savers. I have a super glamorous life.

 

Top Five Most Viewed Posts

What Does Being Stalked Look Like? 

Last year, my parents found several rolls of undeveloped film. When they developed them, we found a whole roll of pictures that were taken while I was being stalked. While working on my memoir, I pulled out all the pictures my family has of just before and after this time as well. Seeing a visual timeline spread out like that hit me harder than I thought it would. It was like watching my life fall apart. When I shared some of those pictures, I didn’t think people would be very interested in them. I’m still not sure why this post was so popular. Maybe it helps drive home just how young I was. Maybe people just like seeing me in tie-dye (I know I do).

 

When Supporters Strip Rape Victims

header imageVictims are often stripped of their voice. Because of fear or shame or people who won’t listen. It’s important to allow them to speak about their experiences, on their own terms, without projecting our own assumptions onto them.

Sometimes I write a post because I’m frustrated with a trend. This was one of those times.

 

The God Who Suffers

God knows what it’s like to be abandoned by the people you love. God knows what it’s like to be falsely accused. God knows what it’s like to be humiliated and shamed. God knows what it’s like to suffer.

While I don’t fully understand the Trinity (who does?), I have a much deeper appreciation for it. I’ve grown more attached to the crucified Christ through that.

 

What Does Forgiveness Look Like?

What does forgiveness look like when you’re still broken? When you’ll never not be broken? How do you forgive someone who doesn’t think they did anything wrong?

If you ever get down on yourself for being slow to forgive, just remember it took me 15 years just to get started. (Bonus: Y2K fantasies)

 

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Creeds

Credit: Steve SnodgrassChristians all over the world, in different traditions that wouldn’t normally agree on much, stand up together on Sunday mornings and as one body recite the same words Christians have recited for centuries. And that’s a powerful thing to be a part of.

More evidence that I’m some sort of denominational Frankenstein’s monster. (See? I know the monster’s name isn’t Frankenstein. How impressed are you right now?)

Mandatory Year-end Blog Post 2015

Well, I did some stuff this year.

I read a lot of books and a couple of them made me cry. (Not, like, wimpy tears, like tough-badass-bitch tears).

My sister and I took a trip that wound up being weirdly therapeutic and obnoxiously humid. (We both cheated on our low-sugar diet during that trip. Actually, I’m still cheating on it 6 months later… so, oops? Also, my jeans have shrunk.)

I did a lot of writing. Some of it didn’t totally suck. (Some of it totally did.)

I drove an hour just to see a giant crucifix at a Catholic shrine with my hardcore Anabaptist, ex-Catholic mother. (It was pretty great.)

Cross in the Woods

I’m too lazy to come out with a clever segue (really, what’s going to top a 28′ tall Jesus?), so here’s the top 5 list.

Top Five Most Viewed Posts

That Time a Fellow Church Member Wanted to Murder Me

I wasn’t sure what kind of reaction I’d get to posting this and almost deleted the whole thing, but writing this post was one of the best things I’ve done. It opened the door for me to work on some issues I’ve had on the back burner for a long time and I’ve heard from people who say it’s helped them not to feel like they’re alone in what they’re dealing with. I’m currently about 3/4 of the way through a first draft of a memoir that covers this period of time. I definitely wouldn’t be working on that if I hadn’t gotten so much interest and support after clicking that PUBLISH button on this post back in February (and then going, “Oh shit! What did I just do?!”) Sometimes being reckless and impulsive pays off, kids.

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“I noticed something in my family’s church mailbox. It was an obituary that had been cut out of the paper. He’d replaced the person’s name with my name. The police couldn’t protect me. My church council refused to even believe I was in danger. I didn’t want to just wait around until he murdered me or my family.”

 

A Halfway House for Post-traumatic Church Disorder Survivors

Sometimes I feel ridiculous for being afraid of churches. Like, what, are the pews going to come to life and drown me in the baptismal? (Actually, that does sound pretty freaky…) I wrote this to both poke a little fun at myself (this is an accurate account of how I visit a church) and as a defense against all the people out there who love to get all up in my business and tell me to park it in a pew. The reaction I got to this post was surprising. I had no idea there were so many other people out there who feel the same way I do. I don’t know what the solution is, but it’s a real problem when so many people are scared of church when they’re not necessarily scared of Jesus.

14926229827_a9d4ada8c6_k“I’ve gotten some flack for not attending church, but where do you go when church isn’t a safe place?”

 

 

 

 

Faith in the Eye of a Shitstorm

I said it on Facebook, and I’ll say it here, I really think this post was popular because it has the word “shitstorm” in the tile. You are all 12-year-olds and I love you.

“I’m supposed to say those hardships strengthened my faith. That I felt closer to God. That it gave me perspective or I had some sort of epiphany. But none of that happened. I didn’t feel closer to God. I felt ignored by God.”

 

 

True Love Waits (a little while)

Hey, everyone! It’s the post about sex! (We’re all still 12, right?) The 90s Youth Group Kids are all grown up now and some of us are a little scarred by our old purity pledges.

Love By Freely Photos“We’d garbled the gospel until it sounded like purity pledges and elevator pitch testimonies. Grace wasn’t in our vocabulary.”

 

 

 

Why My Stalker Was Never Arrested

After I wrote the first post in February about that whole stalking situation, I spent a good chunk of 2015 exploring that time of my life and trying to figure out how it could get so bad. I’ve done a lot of homework this year. I’ve dug into theological reasons (OMG, y’all, stay away from Christian Reconstructionists), cultural reasons (I’m so glad Y2K isn’t a thing anymore), and legal reasons. When people ask me about being stalked or make comments, usually they want to know about the legal reasons, so I wrote this post to explain that side of things.

“The activity in my case escalated very quickly from harassment to death threats. His attitude moved from wanting to have me to wanting to kill me in a matter of weeks.”

 

What Went Down in March

Most of March was taken up with a writing project that’s gotten a little out of control. It’s sitting at a little over 32,000 words of just the facts, ma’am and I’m not even halfway through my original outline. So, what I’m really looking at is a massive rewriting project. But, that’s OK.

I did manage to get some cake this month, though I had to turn 34 to get it. I decided I’m old enough that I need to start eating like a grown-up. Then, I made myself a peanut butter and banana sandwich because I have no idea how a grown-up eats. (Do you just drink a glass of wine with the sandwich?)

I’ve now won two things in my life. I won a copy of The Fathers Know Best by Jimmy Akin from Outside The Walls (because I know analogical and anagogical are two different things… even though I apparently can’t pronounce either one). I hope to read through it in April.

 

Most Viewed March Posts

#1 – True Love Waits (a little while)

#2 – Stalking My Stalker

#3 – The Things We Left Behind

 

Interesting Things I Read

AMBS holds lament service for Yoder victims by Rich Preheim for The Mennonite

Men Just Don’t Trust Women — And It’s A Huge Problem by Damon Young for The Huffington Post

 

What I Finished Reading

When We Were on Fire by Addie Zierman

 

What I’m Reading Now

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

 

Plans for April

Writing. A lot of writing.

I also hope to get around to eating the grapefruit that’s been mocking me from the fridge. He’s such a smug SOB.

What Went Down in February

I’m still working on identifying feminine archetypes in the Bible. It’s my fun side project (which tells you just how boring I really am) so I’m working on it sporadically.

I sat down with gallons of coffee to binge listen to Outside the Walls. I made it through 5 episodes before my kids came home and I had to go be a parent. I had a lot of fun tweeting my random thoughts to @OutsideTheWalls. Though, I did put on some extra weight since Timothy keeps using food metaphors. (Dude, how about you throw in some celery or lima bean metaphors for me? Please?)

 

Most Viewed February Posts

#1 – That Time a Fellow Church Member Wanted to Murder Me

#2 – How NOT to Talk to Someone Who’s Been Hurt by a Church

#3 – Sometimes Heathens Hide in Bathroom Stalls

 

Interesting Things I Found

Without Grace, We’re Just Hippies in Cassocks by Charles D. Beard at Pursued by Truth

Can ‘Harry Potter’ Change the World? by Hanna Kozlowska at The New York Times

The 50 Best First Sentences in Fiction at Gawker

This Is How Many Words Are Spoken By Women In The Bible by Antonia Blumberg at The Huffington Post

 

What I Finished Reading

books

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown

The Devil in Pew Number Seven by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo

Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd

 

What I’m Reading Now

The Well of Ascension (Mistborn, Book 2) by Brandon Sanderson

 

Plans for March

I want to wrap up a few unfinished projects (I always start procrastinating when I see the finish line). I might have a bigger writing project on the horizon and I want to tie up my other loose ends, Palingenesis being the exception. That’s going to take me a while.

I plan to harass @OutsideTheWalls on Twitter some more.

I also hope to eat some cake.

What Went Down in January

I made it through January without slipping on the ice (because I refuse to go outside in the winter time unless it’s absolutely necessary).

I think I finally figured out how Twitter works (@KristyBurm) now that it’s not the “cool thing” anymore.

I’ve got 5 1/2 chapters of Palingenesis written (well, 5 1/2 chapters of the first draft.)

I wrapped up the posts for I’ve Got a Bible…Now What? and I’m almost done formatting it for Kindle. I figured that might be more convenient for people.

 

Most Viewed January Posts

#1 – A Halfway House for Post-traumatic Church Disorder Survivors

#2 – Review: Coming Back to God When You Feel Empty

#3 – Stepping Stones On the Narrow Road

#4 – There’s Something About Matthew

#5 – Waist Deep in Hope

 

Interesting Things I Found

Scandal at the Cross a Lenten Devotional from Fig Tree Christian

Acedia: The Way Out from Adam Thrash

The world doesn’t need the early church by Justin Hiebert, Mennonite World Review

 

 What I Finished Reading

finished

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

Coming Back to God When You Feel Empty: Whispers of Restoration From the Book of Ruth by Tanya Marlow

 

What I’m Reading Now

reading

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown

The Devil in Pew Number Seven by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo

The Well of Ascension (Mistborn, Book 2) by Brandon Sanderson

 

Plans for February

I’m working on identifying feminine archetypes in the Bible. I’ll post what I come up with.

I keep saying I need to catch up on my friend Timothy Putnam’s radio show, Outside the Walls, and I plan on binge listening to the podcast episodes while obnoxiously live-tweeting my reactions at him. It’s the next best thing to prank calling.