"The call to simplicity and freedom for Christians is the call to move from achievement-oriented spirituality to a life center on a shared vision of relatedness to people and things, a relatedness of gentleness, of compassion, of belonging to one another." - Richard Bower
That faith isn't about achieving something, but about relationships, God's love. I truly believe that Christianity begins and ends in God's love... So it is hard for me to evangelize or even explain my faith... I am a Christian because God loves me, more than I have ever been loved or can comprehend... Because in God, I know I am loved no matter what, and I know God understands me, knows my heartbreak, knows my faults and insecurities and the problems that come out of me because of those, ... and in that God loves me just as much or more than when I am doing something right... all else of faith comes out of that... trusting and seeking God's will because God knows me better than I know myself and knows where I will find fulfillment and joy and growth, seeking justice because God's love fills me to overflow and desire to love others in the same way (though my own love is always faulty, or most often, half-baked), and it is hard to love someone when you are oppressing them or dependant on their place beneath you or as cheap labor that sustains your wealthy lifestyle. But if it is not love that is authentically prompting these things, they are... I don't know... not enough... lacking. Empty? So I see Christianity about love, how love acts, what it demands, and its unconditionality, and the Bible as a story of God's people beginning to understand that love, going through a journey of that love.


Love all God's creation, the whole of it and every grain of sand. Love every leaf, every ray of God's light! Love the animals, love the plants, love everything. If you love everything, you will perceive the divine mystery in things. And once you have perceived it, you will begin to comprehend it ceaselessly, more and more every day. And you will at last come to love the whole world with an abiding, universal love.
-Fyodor Mikhail Dostoevsky

I want to live like this... I have missed living with awe of life around me, the "divine mystery in things." This is my resolution for the week... to actively love what is around me.


They worked hard at Hyoi's boat till noon and then spread themselves on the weed close to the warmth of the creek, and began their midday meal. The war-like natue of their preparations suggested many questions to Ranson. He knew no word for war, but he managed to make Hyoi understand what he wanted to know. Did seroni and hrossa and pfifltriggi ever go out like this, with weapons, against each other?
'What for?' asked Hyoi.
It was difficult to explain. 'If both wanted one thing and neither would give it,' said Ransom, 'would the other at last come with force? Would they say, give it or we kill you?'
'What sort of thing?'
'Well- food, perhaps.'
'If the other
hnau wanted food, why should we not give it to them? We often do.'
'But how if we had not enough for ourselves?'
'But Maleldil will not stop the plants growing.'
'Hyoi, if you had more and more young, would Maleldil broaden the handramit and make enough plants for them all?'
seroni know that sort of thing. But why should we have more young?'
Ransom found this difficult. At last he said:
'Is the begetting of young not a pleasure among the
'A very great one,
Hman. This is what we call love.'
'If a thing is a pleasure, a
hman wants it again. He migth want the pleasure more often than the number of young that could be fed.'
It tood Hyoi a long time to get the point.
'You mean,' he said slowly, 'that he might do it not only in one or two years of his life but again?'
'But why? Would he want his dinner all day or want to sleep after he had slept? I do not understand.'
'But a dinner comes every day. This love, you say, comes only once while the
hross lives?'
'But it takes his whole life. When he is young he has to look for his mate; and then he has to court her; then he begets young; then he rears them; then he remembers all this, and boils it inside him and makes it into poems and wisdom.'
'But the pleasure he must be content only to remember?'
'That is like saying, "My food I must be content to eat."'
'I do not understand.'
'A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered. You are speaking,
Hman, as if the pleasure were one thing and the memory another. It is all one thing. The seroni could say it better than I say it now. Not better than I could say it in a poem. What you call remembering is the last part of the pleasure, as the crah is the last part of a poem. When you and I met, the meeting was over very shortly, it was nothing. Now it is growing something as we member it. But still we know very little about it. What it will be when I remember it as I lie down to die, what it makes in me all my days till then - that is the real meeting. The other is only the beginning of it. You say you have poets in your world. Do they not teach you this?'
-p.72-73, Out of the Silent Planet, by C.S. Lewis

... i love the way this passage presents a different way of looking at the world, a different norm. that greed and hoarding are not the norm, but don't make sense, and trust in God, Maleldil, does. and i love the way it describes memory- as part of the experience, not as separate from it, and continuing on. so even when i leave my friends, we are still meeting, and we will not know what our meeting means until we see how it has shaped us in the end... it is more than the idea of leaving a part of oneself in another person, but a transformation through the knowing of a person that continues, so in a way the person is still there even when they are not physically there anymore. and it deepens my understanding of how relationships are the most real and definite way to change the world... not through some institution or program, but through being real and authentic and loving the people around you.


some reflections from my journal triggered by last night's conversation...

it is still hard for me to picture You as Mother... it's weird because it's not like my father was perfect, yet i can imagine You as Father so quickly... mostly because i've done it so often, for so long - and my mother is wonderful, yet I have no idea what it means that You are my Mother - still the Biblical God, but as mother - I just don't understand, probably because there are almost no writings from that viewpoint, and there are tons from the other, describing and explaining You as father

... and truly something in me shies away and even cringes when i try to imagine what it means that You are Mother - uniquely and truly feminine... perhaps it is true, I have succumbed to the claim that women are the weaker sex, the dumber ones, the less valuable ones. I devalue myself when I believe that... and yet, somehow, arrogantly, I feel I am part of the minority that is greater than normal females or maybe less feminine in some of my qualities...

I have given into the lies that label men as the stronger sex, the provider, the sturdy and consistent ones, while women are moody, unconstant, weak, sensitivie and generally dainty. What has this done to my self-image and view of women? I think this is why I hesitate in picturing God as woman. How do I fight these lies? Why is it that the good qualities in strong women are labeled as masculine, while her weaknesses are uniquely feminine? Why can't I see a new image of woman, especially as the indigenous woman, who works just as hard as the man and often is given more responsibility and leadership:
woman is mother - who births new life, nurturing life inside her and so around her as she cares for the earth. woman is in tune with the rhythms of the earth through the cycles of her own body - let us see this not as a curse, but a blessed part of life and creation... woman is therefore in tune with herself, understanding and dealing with her feelings. woman works hard in the field to provide the every day sustenance for her family. she teaches her children to become adults; so often in this country, she does it without a partner. woman longs for peace - she teaches these ways to her children and so can teach these ways to the world.

... and even after all that, I have trouble seeing God as woman... but maybe it's the tiniest bit better... and so it must be, through practice, it will become more and more natural.
I still have much to work through - it seems clear to me that this problem is linked to my own personal identity problems and my weaknesses and faults and how i see myself as a woman. It is hard to love myself as I am, in my imperfections, and still see a perfect example of a woman in God's identity.

God, please reveal Yourself to me as mother; give me a chance to experience You as woman, as the divine feminine.
Another thought I had as I continued to reflect on this is that I truly don't know what it means to be woman... all the definitions I have come from the way culture and society has forced women to be through time, or as a reaction to that definition... but what are women- truly and honestly, if women became what God created us to be as humans in the Creator's image? without the years of oppression and inequality, with imposed roles as housewives or virgins to be wooed? what does it mean to be a woman? i am at a loss.


It is not enough to talk. Our Western societies are sick of marlizing about world poverty. We need a thoughtful, convinced minority that will live in such a way as to challenge the cherished beliefs of the consumer society and defy its compulsions.
p. 65, enough is enough by john v. taylor

...Yet, inasumch as the systems often impose the attitudes, we have to defy them also; and this calls for a counter-culture of families and groups that cannot be conned or manipulated because they simply do not accept the accepted values or pursue the ambiions that are expected of them... We need a rapidly increasing minority that is entirely counter-suggestible, a minority that calls the bluff of the trend-setters, is a dead loss to the advertising agencies and poor material for the careers advisers... Our need is for men and women who are free with the freedom of Christ, free to ask the awkward questions that have occurred to no one else, and free to come up with startling answers that no one else has dared to give.
p. 69

i have been working on this course for work about saying enough and living simply instead of succumbing to the consumerism that is so prevalent in this country, and there are so many passages from this book, written thirty years ago and now out of print, that are still completely relevant and could have been written today. this idea, too, is something i have been thinking about a lot lately... that the way to change the world is simply to live- to live authentically and honestly and to really live up to what we believe... knowing that the greatest impact we have is on people we live with and around... i'm really beginning to long for this life where i can set down roots and commit to a people, a community, to love and live with them, to be there for the long haul and put my own word and body in when things need to change, to be a part of a people who make change by loving people, and loving them holistically... and there is this idea that people are drawn to those who are living in a different way, that this kind of life is contagious and grows like a weed (or a mustard seed). *sigh* i'm slowly learning to give up this savior complex... i can't save the world, but i can live, i can love my neighbor wherever i am... and perhaps that is what i am really called to- as a human being and as a child of God.


something in the air today had this feeling, like it reminded me of something, or sometime... and i kept trying to remember what... but something in it felt like home... like a cool summer's day, or maybe late spring, with just the right breeze and the right scent in the air... i don't know what it was, but it just made the day that much better.


children bouncing on furniture, music up, grills outside, slight chill, leaves on ground, abundance-feast of food, amazing people... this is pure joy.
sharing life, meals, common bread and wine, conversation, honesty, vulnerability... this is Christ's body.