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.

Interesting Things IV

Link dump of some cool, interesting, encouraging, and/or insightful things I’ve come across lately.

A Bishop who Stood in the Way at In Communion – Orthodox Peace Fellowship

I spent quite a bit of time researching non-violent resistance during World War II for Resisting Hitler: Roses, Not Rifles. I wound up focusing on women in that post, but there were many other stories I found of people who risked their lives in order to follow Jesus’ commands. People often say, “Well, that’s fine that you’re willing to risk your own life. But, what if some group of innocent people were being threatened? Wouldn’t you use violence to defend them?” They don’t seem to realize that we don’t have to use violence in order to defend others.

Kirill pushed through the SS officers guarding the area his authority and courage were such that no one dared stop him and made his way to the Jews inside the boxcars.

According to some accounts, as he reached them, he shouted a text from the Book of Ruth: “Wherever you go, I will go! Wherever you lodge, I will lodge. Your people will be my people, and your God, my God!”

Reclaiming Innocence by Kelley Danahy at Adelaster

This is a beautiful reflection on innocence.

Whatever it is, innocence is subversive. When violence seems the easiest action, when bitter retorts the best response, maybe we reclaim a bit of that shining innocence when we choose peace and love.
Maybe we reclaim innocence when we see the reality of our abuse and say no. When we leave because this is not how it should be. Maybe innocence is seeing things as they should be.

Look Up (Why I Hated Women’s Ministry) by Kate Conner

Yesssss. Most women’s ministries come across to me as super patronizing. I was never interested in learning how to be a Proverbs 31 Woman (whatever that means). But, I am interested in participating in something that doesn’t focus on just one part of who I am. I’m not just a woman, after all. (I’m also an introverted, sanctimonious, shoe-hating, research-obsessed whoopie pie addict thank you very much.)

I don’t like women’s ministries that are about Christian womanhood. I like women’s ministries that are about The Gospel.

And not The Gospel*

*for women.

Just The Gospel.

The Captioned Adventures of George Washington at rally ’round the history

This is the greatest thing ever. Just trust me.

Christianese

I grew up surrounded by Christianese and it still confuses me. WTH is a “hedge of protection”?

Interesting Things This Week III

Link dump of some cool, interesting, encouraging, and/or insightful things I came across this week.

Why I Think You Should (Sometimes) Ignore Your Children by Esther Emery at A Deeper Story

The noise and chaos level in my house drives me crazy. I’m not just introverted. I’m hyper-introverted. I’m not just introspective. I’m hyper-introspective. I need time and space to think. I’ve often wondered if I missed my calling as a hermit. It’s difficult balancing the needs of a family with my own need for solitude.

I am not the one to tell you how this happened, but collectively we have framed a mother’s desire for contemplative time as something selfish. It’s right here in our language. We take our alone time. We take time for ourselves. I believe strongly that this deserves reframing. Maintaining a contemplative practice is not a selfish act.

31 Signs You Might Be a Pastor’s Kid. by Barnabas Piper (Guest post at Stuff Christians Like)

I’m a PK and thought this was a cute list. Oh, if only I were the blackmailing type…

. . . you involuntarily volunteered for all church functions.

. . . You could blackmail half the church.

What If Hitler Invaded Your House? by Brian Zahnd

<3 <3 <3 (See, I love this post so much that I’ve reverted to a 13-year-old.) I’ve lost track of how many times someone has asked me what I’d do if an intruder was threatening my children (as though it’s somehow not weird to randomly talk about my children being murdered as a thought exercise.)

In every interview I’ve been asked this question: “What would you do if Hitler invaded your house?” Well, it’s not exactly that question, but in every interview these two questions have come up: What about Hitler? What would you do if someone invaded your home? Hitler and home invasion. These are the two arguments that allegedly make the Jesus way of peace impossible.

Adopted by Rev. Melissa Fain at Fig Tree Christian

I’m in love with the phrase “wounded healer”. I think it’s important for those of us who have been wounded to tell our storiesnot so that we can shame the people we feel wronged us, but to let other people who have also been wounded know they are not alone.

I was a beloved child of God, accepted into the family through divine adoption. My potential is the potential God gives me, filled with possibility. I discovered, because of this path, I showed compassion over anger. Showing compassion over anger actually brought me closer to the physical world. I can, with the help of God, accept my call as a wounded healer.

Go Ahead, Say the Wrong Thing by Rachel Marie Stone, Megan Hill, and Gina Dalfonzo at Christianity Today

Sigh. Sigh. Yes, that would be egg on my face. I pick apart other people’s language sometimes instead of looking for the message underneath it. I passionately attack Christianese. Funnily enough (though it really isn’t funny at all), I also tend to unintentionally offend people…like, a lot with the words and phrases I choose. We could all stand to be more charitable and truly listen to the message someone is trying to convey.

When we create lists of things never to say or publicly rebuke people over what amount to trifling missteps in their language, do we not often do [so] out of a sense of pride: that we, not they, know the right words; that we, not they, are righteous in our indignation, even if their intentions were innocuous?

 

Interesting Things This Week II

Link dump of some cool, interesting, encouraging, and/or insightful things I came across this week.

You love gay people? That’s great. Prove it. by Justin Lee at crumbs from the communion table

I don’t even know what to say about this post. There’s nothing I can add that would improve on Justin’s words.

You know why LGBT people have such a bad impression of Christians? It’s not because of protesters with “God hates fags” signs. We know they’re extremists. It’s because of daily being dehumanized by the Christians who lecture and preach at us, treating us as issues instead of as human beings—and because of the Christians we know who stand idly by, thinking that if they’re not actively hating us, that counts as loving us.

What Do Women Want? Full Inclusion in the Church by Gail Wallace at the Junia Project

I can’t cook (I actually burned dinner last night and I almost blew up a microwave while re-heating pizza once.) I can’t sew. I can’t quilt. I’m just starting to figure out how to crochet. I don’t do “womanly” things (I even wear one pair of shoes every single day…shoe shopping is my hell.) I used to feel like I couldn’t serve the church because I’m dangerous in the kitchen and nobody should trust me with sharp objects. I was under the impression that women do those things. We’re supposed to handle potlucks, make blankets, and wrangle the children. I was pretty useless because I’m no good at any of those things. So, this excerpt from the poem especially hit home for me.

I didn’t go to church today because each time I have volunteered, rather than being invited into a discussion about my gifts I have been asked to fit my non-traditional peg into a gender-specific hole. 

Please can I have a God by Christine Valters at Abbey of the Arts

Yes, please can I?!

Please can I have a God
the color of doubt, the shape of uncertainty,
who sees that within me dwells a multitude,
grief and joy, envy and generosity, rage and raucousness,
and anoints every last part.

MC USA, Sexuality and the Church (Part 1) by Michael Danner at provoke+love

I’m not directly involved with the Mennonite church right now. It still makes me sad to know that the people who taught me about reconciliation and loving our enemies is being torn apart over loving our brothers and sisters. Michael’s post presents some important questions and is a good reminder of what this is really about.

What gets lost in all of this is real people. These things are not abstractions and theological issues, they are about life and faith and community and church.  There are too many questions we aren’t asking on the ground.  What are our fears?  What is at stake in this for you and for us? What is at stake in this for others? How is the gospel shaping our engagement with each other?  What can I learn from the other? About them? And, the truly scary, about myself? How does all this impact the way I read, understand and apply the Bible?

Slut Shaming Evangelical Style by Kelsey Munger

I sighed my way through reading this post. I know exactly how it feels to be singled out in front of your youth group like this. I know what it’s like to be hounded by overly zealous youth leaders who see S-E-X everywhere they look when what they’re really seeing is normal, innocent kids doing what normal, innocent kids do. I wonder how our generation of Christians would have turned out if the focus had been on Jesus instead of avoiding basic human contact. (I’m sighing again.)

I don’t remember specifically what was said next, but I know that it ended with one of the other girls bragging about how, unlike me, she hadn’t hugged any boys over camp; she’d been a good Christian girl and hadn’t allowed a boy to touch her. Small Group Leader nodded approvingly. The other girls, as I sat right there glowing crimson, promised that they wouldn’t be like Kelsey; they’d behave themselves when it came to boys. They wouldn’t be like me.

…I was shamed for being a little slut — for accepting a concerned sideways hug when I was crying from my new friend.

8 Illustrated Truths About Getting Sick In AmericaBuzzfeed

Some days I feel super irritated that a huge chunk of my money has gone toward paying off medical bills (for tests, physical therapy, and doctor visits and consultations that didn’t “fix” me), despite the fact that (until recently) I always had insurance. I’m having one of those days.

Interesting Things This Week

Link dump of some cool, interesting, encouraging, and/or insightful things I came across this week.

Why English majors make lousy fundamentalists by Morgan Guyton from Mercy Not Sacrifice

This might be my favorite thing this week. First, Morgan talks about personality type (which I have an unhealthy obsession with). Then, he goes on to explain some of the nuance, beauty, and depth of meaning that is lost when you read the Bible in certain ways. I may not agree with every interpretive example Morgan uses, but that’s not the point. The point is that you have to understand something about literature in order to have a fuller understanding of the Bible.

When the Bible is “nothing but the facts,” then it’s been robbed of a critically important layer of its beauty.

Wanna Save Marriage? Stop Patronizing Women by Yaholo Hoyt from Red Letter Christian

Yaholo takes a look at how seemingly self-deprecating jokes can further the tension and misunderstanding between men and women. It amazes me that certain Christian cultures continue to paint women as overly emotional, unreasonable, and downright crazy when that same culture claims men are the ones who are unable to control their animal urges (which is why I’m supposed to wear floor length skirts).

We may get a chuckle with our little “guys are stupid” and “women are crazy” jokes, but they are pointing to a major problem. The picture often painted by church culture is that women are unreasonable and over-emotional. Therefore, the only way to a healthy marriage is seen as the man just making sure to be “humble” and apologize a lot. This kind of thinking leads to growing resentment on both sides.

Who are the meek? by Paul Walker from As above, so below

I’ve been studying the Beatitudes lately and came across this post. Not only does Paul do a great job of explaining what “meek” means, he also asked, “Christian scholars, leaders, bloggers and authors to ‘tweet’ me their definition of meek”. He did a wonderful job of pulling everything together and it was interesting to see what the experts thought.

The Extra Burdens Faced by Young People with Chronic Illness by Toni Bernhard, J.D. from Turning Straw into Gold  on Psychology Today

I’ve lost count of how many people have said, “Oh, you’re too young for that. You should just exercise more and you’ll be fine.” (Sure, exercise will magically rewrite my DNA.)

This ignorance about young people with chronic illness has other consequences. Several young people have told me that they’ve been openly challenged when they park in a disabled spot, even though they have the required placard or sticker… A young woman with multiple sclerosis told me that someone spit on her when she didn’t give up her seat to an older person on the subway.

When God Calls a Complementarian Woman into Ministry by April Fiet at the Junia Project

I appreciate April’s honesty and her willingness to go into ministry despite her reservations. I’ve often seen woman ministers painted as prideful, power-hungry, militant feminists that are trying to wrest power away from men. April’s story doesn’t look anything like that.

I had already come to realize that you could take God’s Word seriously and believe that women could be used in church leadership. I wasn’t doing it because it was easier to follow cultural trends of equality.  I was being faithful to God’s calling and the Bible.

The Church Can’t Afford the Muskox Model by Jayson D. Bradley

I’ve been known to go off on rants about how Christians tend to view anyone who isn’t exactly like them as “that other group”. I get frustrated when we start other-ing instead of trying to understand and love. Christian culture has taken “in the world, but not of the world” to the extreme in some cases. A friend of mine flipped that phrase around in a way I thought summed it up even better “of the world, but not in the world”. We have Christianized everything that the “world” has to offer, but we keep ourselves separate so that we don’t have to actually interact with the world. That separation is more illusion than anything. We just stamp CHRISTIAN on everything that pop culture has to offer and hide out among our “own kind” so that Christianity won’t actually cost us something.

The problem with adopting the defensive strategy of the muskox is that we begin to live at odds with the message we say we believe. We talk a big game about taking care of the poor, but talk down to people who live on government subsidies. We speak endlessly about grace and forgiveness, but refuse to let people experience it until they’ve become a muskox themselves.

101 Amazing Facts from mental_floss

I really like random bits of trivia. I know way too many completely useless facts, but I just can’t help myself when I come across more of them.

Most Shocking Second a Day Video

War always involves civilians. When we’re talking about war, we can’t forget that.