living. loving. laughing.

living.  loving.  laughing.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

books: past and present

I am not at all complaining about Sundance - but I will say that I've been craving sitting down in front of the heater and holing up with a good book more than normal ... so much so that in the past week and a half I've finished four books and am now sifting through another stack. Mmmm. Did I ever mention that I can't just read one book? I have my genres. So first, the finished:

*The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: fun little Swedish murder mystery but the author who seemed to gain fame upon his death before the third of the trilogy was completed. I will say that reading book #2 is a viable option...

*Culture Making: This I "had" to read for my recent Fuller (ie: SUNDANCE) class, and it was good, but not my favorite (at least of the four recent reads). It's simply looking at the intersection of faith and culture, and how as and because God's created each of us individually and uniquely that he can and will use those as we become future makers of culture.

*Clinging: WOW. This was a book we "had" to read for Soul Care (a spiritual direction program I get to participate in this year), but I'm telling you for an easy, soul-filling, honest, short book on prayer, this is it.

*Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Now, truth be told, I've been trying to sift through this for the past year, so though that doesn't sound very good, this book is AMAZING! It's by a professor who spent 30 years in the Middle East, so KNOWS the culture. So many of our stories about Jesus stem from our own westernized interpretations - and he sets the story straight. I used it in quite a few preparations for speaking this year - it's that good!

So indeed, now the books that I'm slowly sifting through:

*The morning read: BeautyI love the mystic picture of beauty that's holy, that's real, that's present, and that's right there for me to grasp.

*The coffee shop read: God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality. Recommended by my friend Jamie whose getting her degree in counseling at Mars Hill Graduate School, this book looks at the truth of, well, God, and what he thinks about, well, sexuality. I love that it's continuing to break up some of the myths I've latched onto in/from the church.

*The BART read: The Witch of Portobello. I'm a big Paulo Coelho fan simply because I like that he makes me think outside the box. Even if I don't 100% agree with his spiritual beliefs portrayed through some of his characters, I like that he makes me think and realize that I've got a box. And he's a beautiful writer. Mmm.

*The bed-time read: The Family. I'll be honest: I was dying to read this after a week at the prayer breakfast, after and while friends have been and are involved with the Fellowship, after recent NPR specials. I appreciate that it's written from an outsider's perspective, but I have to also realize that it's written from an outsider's perspective, and hold its "truth" loosely.

*The work-out read: Incarnate Leadership. This is another "have to" read for Young Life, but I'm enjoying it, and getting a good sweat on at the same time. This idea I love: leaders are not supposed to be up on a pedestal, but down in the trenches. I think it's too easy as leaders within our communities (or wherever we find ourselves) to assume that we can only be real with those who "really" get us. But was that Christ's model? I'm gaining new perspective, and loving it.

And now, with Paul Potts singing to me in the background, it's time to go grab the bed-time read and skee-daddle!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

words at the NPB (National Prayer Breakfast), #1

...from our President:

“[L]et us be guided by our faith, and by prayer. For while prayer can buck us up when we are down, keep us calm in a storm; while prayer can stiffen our spines to surmount an obstacle -- and I assure you I'm praying a lot these days -- prayer can also do something else. It can touch our hearts with humility. It can fill us with a spirit of brotherhood. It can remind us that each of us are children of an awesome and loving God."

I am unashamedly a big fan of Obama, and will proclaim it without regret, including the fact that it would have been a tough climate for any presidential candidate to step into. And as his many critics attacked his lack of experience, this little paragraph above reminded me (and others in the room, regardless of political affiliation) that humility has smacked him in the face. So I love his words: we are to be guided by our faith, and through that faith, in relational connection with God. Prayer gives us hope, as we place our trust in a greater good, in the unexpected outcome, in that which we do not know. We are given peace in the midst of storms. And realizing that God's a wee bit bigger than us, we humbly step into community with one another, knowing that as children we all sit at the feet of a loving Father.

I am encouraged that this man leads our nation.

Encouraged.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

a quick recap

....went to high school camp, January 22-24. Probably looked like this the whole time:



Stress-free, that's me? ;)

...traveled to the Sundance Film Festival, watched 11 full-length films and participated in the Windrider Forum. I am still processing big-time the intersection of faith and film (and, for that matter, doing classwork). BUT, among the people highlights, lizzy and I got to hang out for the week:



And so did mark ruffalo and I. How do you like me NOW?!



...then hopped on a plane to DC for the National Prayer Breakfast, and again, am enjoying having the weekend to relax so that further processing can happen. Though we weren't of course allowed to take pictures, it brought tears to my eyes to be in the same ROOM as the Obamas. WOW. Hillary Rodham Clinton gave the keynote address, and that was powerful. So we went from faith and film to faith and politics - culture colliding with Christ, though not ever the way I assumed it'd be.

I thought I'd get more "shaking hands and kissing babies" pictures, but alas, most of the picture memories came from jaunts out and about town. One afternoon was quite memorable after arriving at National Cathedral having just taken an emergency "Holy &*$#! I can't hold it!" pee stop on the side of Massachusetts Avenue. So far I haven't received any tickets in the mail, but did manage to snap a couple of pretty pics:





And then of course, as much of the world knows, I'd planned to see James and MEET THE FAMILY down in Florida for the shuttle launching but got SNOWED IN, blizzard-style. Since joy comes in the morning, realizing that out of our group of 15, 9 of us were stuck, we decided to make lemons out of lemonade....er snowballs out of snow? We made do:





Dave and Siv (the couple above) gained a roomie as they let me tuck a roll-away into their odd-shaped hotel room. They made the holed-up, bummed-to-not-be-in-FL weekend lovely.

And now, I'm home....woohoo!