1. I know it's become almost trendy recently to hate on denominations, to say that we shouldn't put up divisions between one another and that we are all one body in Christ, and i agree to an extent. But then i read things like this and think, "Differentiated instruction is a good thing." I still think we need to do things together, so that we can be reminded that "other" does not equal "wrong" or "lesser" or otherwise bad, but i don't think it's a bad thing to say, "I like contemplative prayer and long services with lots of space for meditation and quiet, and you like praying in tongues and energetic services with dancing and shouting and call-and-response, and it's okay for us to worship separately." Of course, most denominations aren't divided this way, but wouldn't it be cool if they were? Wouldn't it be great if we made room for differences without building fences and alienating?
"All my life, I've just assumed that everyone else had maps of the year in their head that may/may not be similar to mine. It never occurred to me that something so basic as how one sees the calendar year could vary so much in between people. Within a few seconds this morning, my entire world shifted and grew larger.
Perhaps part of the issue of continuing disagreement in human life and, more narrowly, the church isn't necessarily chalked up to the theodicy explanation of "brokenness" and "sin," but to the simple fact that some people literally see the world differently. People literally experience God in different ways."
2. This was SO interesting to read. I love how Rachel always allows for so many voices, and so many points of view. It's so refreshing to see a bunch of smart, thoughtful people tackle a problem (especially such a sticky [no pun intended] issue as masturbation), and to see that all of them have come to different perspectives and still love and respect one another.
3. If you don't spend a lot of time in churchy circles, you're probably not familiar with conversations about "biblical inerrancy", and can therefore ignore this link. But if you do, this post may help you clarify some of your thoughts.
"You see, it's ok to believe that Noah's ark was filled with all the animals on earth when you're 5 years old, and then change your mind when you realize the physical impossibility of that when you're an adult, but still have faith in that story. Why? Because the truth of Noah's ark is not found in zoological arrangements. It's found in the message of a God who watches over and cares for His creation even in the midst of a storm."
4. Okay, when i read this, i kind of felt like someone had been reading my diary and posting it on the internet. Except that i don't really keep a diary anymore; it's pretty much been replaced by this blog. But still. This is so much of what i've been thinking and feeling about God in the past few years.
"Scripture references and sound logic are dangerous when the God they paint is a monster.
Words about God are heavy. Don't sling them about carelessly."
5. I don't just read about theology and feminism, FYI. I also read hysterically funny essays about home taxidermy.
"In order to fully explain what went wrong, in stages, I would have to look up the thesaurus entry for 'inexpertly' and then deploy every word listed and that would getting boring, so let's just say: I did some crimes.
. . .
You watch how their legs fit together, how their wings don't go like how you made them go like when you got all excited while stuffing that duck. One day you might notice one of them dead on the grass. In real life . . . (We could pretend this is hypothetical but obviously that would be lying.)
. . .
I wanted to explain but I was too embarrassed. I used words like "time sensitive delivery" and "awkward" and "no really". I envisioned a pair of mouldering squirrels in a bloated parcel in the Post Office depot with my name on them. Literally with my name on them. I further envisioned myself marching back to the Post Office with the unopened package and returning to sender. 'DEAR P STAINES,' began the letter in my head. 'UMM.'"
6. I am neither gay nor Mormon but this still made me tear up big time.
"I told her that some people are taught that [being gay is] wrong and don't want to believe differently. And that this parade was to celebrate the fact that being gay is no more a mark of one's character than being straight. She nodded and then asked, "Is there going to be candy?"
7. Oh God. I had so many of these conversations with my parents. In fact, over Christmas, i had them again. I am twenty-three years old and my parents still feel like they can and should comment on my size. (NB: Let me just say that my parents are awesome and affirming in many ways, but fat shaming is so deeply ingrained into the collective consciousness that even awesome people don't think twice about saying, "You've gotten bigger and should get smaller again. Let me give you some tips.")
8. It sucks, but sometimes we are just stuck with our feelings for a while. That's just kind of how it works.