Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Rocky Horror Taught Me Divine Freedom

Photo taken by mconnors
“I can’t wait for Friday!  It will be the coolest thing ever.” April said to Elysse at lunch.  We sat next to the chain link fence at the end of the corridor.  Brown bags crackled as we pulled out our lunch.  In 7th grade, these girls were the first school friends I made since moving to this California valley town in the 3rd grade.  They really wanted to sit and talk with me.  It was nice to feel accepted.

“What are you talking about?” I asked.

“THE Rocky Horror Picture Show! It’s playing at midnight and we get to go. It’s so cool!  You get to dress up and yell at the screen and throw food and spray people.  It’s so funny.” April gushed.  

Elysse giggled and nodded.

“Cool,” I faked.  It sounded fun, but I was sure it would be forbidden. 

Photo taken by ManicMorFF
At home I asked my parents about it. I received the typical lecture, explaining the demonic presence lurking and waiting to infuse my soul with chains of bondage. By the time it was over, I pictured demons sitting next to people, throwing food with them and entering their bodies to possess them. Fear overtook my thoughts.

The next few weeks I continued to sit with April and Elysse at lunch. Each day a looming presence weighed on my conscience. Thoughts of what might be controlling their minds and how it would affect my spirit, consumed me. I became afraid of them. Soon lunch was a lonely hour for me again.

My parents’ concern for our Christianity included the treatment of Halloween. Radio preachers who would urge listeners to avoid it altogether. Its origins seeped in deep mysterious magic and the occult. Participation would guarantee evil’s consumption, or at least interference, of a soul. God could not work if evil existed in
Photo taken by Kevin_P
one’s life. Your Salvation could be compromised. My parents disallowed the night revelries. I could participate at school so that we wouldn't be mistaken for Jehovah’s Witnesses, but that was all. Some years the light was turned out when Trick or Treaters came through the neighborhood. Other years found my Mom passing out gospel tracts laced with candy. The pumpkins carved with a fish or a cross beamed from the front porch. Before the night was over, someone would take them and smash them to bits in the street. Mom said it was just the Devil trying to discourage us. 

As a young adult, I met people who had been subjected to Halloween worship ceremonies. Cats would go missing because of sacrifices. Tainted candy hurt children and I felt the pain of those victimized. The holiday became pure anxiety and dread for me. Continuing in the belief that it was acknowledged at all, something of my faith would be taken away. My connection with God would weaken and I would be all alone. The day came to represent my darkest fears and deepest nightmares.  

Photo taken by AuntLaya
Yet Divine Love is the perfect teacher. Every prayer is answered and I learned to look at God as my loving Creator. My focus turned from what He couldn’t do to what He could.  I began to think of the message I wanted to share on the night. As a family we participated in different things; Harvest Festivals, family theater nights, pizza and movies. I met a woman who had the same struggles. She celebrated delight by decorating her house with lights, doors were open and candy handed out liberally. Through her example fear began to lose its hold.

Photo taken by ardelfin
In BoyA’s the class observed Dias de los Muertos. He learned the truth of how holiday was celebrated in Mexico: they do not celebrate death, haunting and evil. The belief is: loved one’s spirits come back and they have a night to celebrate with the living. BoyA created a memorial for his Uncle, who had committed suicide the previous April. For the first time he talked about his uncle’s death. As BoyA created his own story of Uncle, his soul was able to heal. This holiday no longer needed to be filled with horror and dread. It could be about celebration and remembering.

The cherry on the sundae was The Counting Mutant.

 “Do you want to go to Rocky Horror this Saturday at midnight?”  Mutant asked sheepishly.

My soul jumped with delight, “YES!” 

Photo taken by ardelfin
He arranged for tickets. We double dated with a friend and her husband. The Mutant and I spent the day on Saturday together collecting props and making kits. Giggling like kids, we shopped for our costume’s bits and pieces. I was amazed at the freedom I felt preparing for this seemingly forbidden thing.

Sitting in the theater, the four of us admired the bravery of many.  Peter Pan dressed in a vine covered Speedo won the costume contest. Anticipation rippled through the sold out crowd. The film started and we were united. All yelling, singing, and covering our heads with newspapers; the highlight was when everyone threw toilet paper.  The theater’s beautiful old ceiling covered with storms of arching toilet paper rolls unraveling. We were covered with tails of gentle white. I checked within myself. God still loved me.  I still felt close to Him.  He didn’t leave me. As the film came to its conclusion and I recognized a subtle morality within the film. Those who are evil ruled for a season yet in the end they are destroyed by their own. 


Exiting through the oddly dressed crowd into the cold breath of the night, I felt safe and warm. I was still me. Nothing was riding on my back or taking over my conscience. I still believed in God and He still loved me. I still need to be wise in choosing the influences in my life, yet I no longer need to be afraid of those influences being greater than the Creator I believe in.  I am loved.



A Mother Life

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Misperceptions

Originally Posted October 24, 2010

Photo take by click

Thoughts never stop percolating in my consciousness.

The other day and I stumbled over this verse, “And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled..." Colossians 1:21

Thought tires squealed; the Enemy within MY mind?  I always heard God was my enemy because of sin. He cast humanity out of the garden over a piece of fruit!  I began to dig and to my surprise I found this cause and effect verse:

”But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit; So He turned Himself against them as an enemy, And He fought against them."  Isaiah 63:10 

Considering my own relationships where a misunderstanding occurred, often the offended will treat me as an enemy. Anger sparks gossip. Words cut and damage other friendships around me like ripples in water. My response is to protect myself by stepping away. Not participating in a battle I cannot win. I cannot change the mind of the offended, so I leave them with their beliefs of me.

I considered the origin of this “God’s enemy” perception.

"And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die."  Genesis 2:16-17:  
Photo take by lisasolonynko

Why would God do that?
Why would he give a tree that much power?  

This thought occurred: what if it wasn't the tree?
What if it was the choice?  
When it mattered, would they turn to God for their knowledge of what was good and evil?

We know the answer from Genesis 3:4-6; the Serpent hinted that God was lying to them. Adam and Eve decided to rely on themselves instead of the one who made them. An enemy keeps secrets in order to imprison the weak. Maybe they weren't free. Possibly Eden was an elaborate prison. Adam and Eve needed to act and think for themselves.

This was the choice they faced. The result, instead of trusting the one whom they walked in the cool of the garden with regularly and knew intimately; they chose the Tree. This tree became the source of Knowledge of Good and Evil, instead of the One who created it.  
This perception severed them from the life giving Creator. The struggle of humanity began in that moment with a perception: God lied.

God had to keep His promise of Free Will. God cannot lie. God cannot cause evil. From that point on humanity seeks themselves for their own Knowledge of Good and Evil instead of God. We stumble around in blind innocence, trying to make sense of it all. Doing what is right in our own eyes.
Photo taken by taliesin

Therefore, he had to provide a way to restore the relationship. Jesus was that way. He brings us back to the garden in John 15:5, "I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing."   

Jesus creates a path for us to walk in the cool of the garden with, "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him" John 14:7.

We meditate on the horror of Jesus, praying in a garden. He was an innocent man, arrested, falsely accused then crucified as an enemy of Rome and the Jews. 

What if Jesus was portraying what Adam and Eve did in the Garden?  

They acted as if God was their enemy. In their understanding, he was hiding information from them. Maybe they needed to protect themselves, so they acted. The result was separation. That led to death of the relationship. This death was then laid upon Jesus. 
Photo taken by gracey

I stumbled upon a conclusion: through Jesus, I have the ability to seek God's knowledge of good and evil instead of my own knowledge.

Which brings me back to the original question:

How have I made God an enemy in my mind?  


Every time I blame Him for something that goes wrong or react to a situation instead of stopping to seek wisdom. Whenever I complain or tear myself apart over a mistake. God is not out to make my life miserable with unrealistic demands. Divine Love has not set me up to fail. It has set me free to make a choice. I need to set aside my inaccurate perception and believe in His intrinsic goodness. To ask for his direction, for his vantage point is clearer than mine. I can trust Him.


A Mother Life

Saturday, October 19, 2013

I Don't Miss It

Photo taken by gracey
I miss you.

Sometimes those words give my heart a warm pitter patter of fluffy bunny memories. Laughter until my sides ached and ice cream sundaes. Dance parties, horse back riding and secrets spoken in the dark. A place of safety, innocence and mutuality.

Other times...

My heart freezes, bracing for the next blow. Trapped in the torture of a toxic relationship these words are bait. Scars flame in memory of pain and rejection. Words spoken in the past bounce around my head - judgement, blame flavored with bitterness.

It took a long time for me to learn what my part in a toxic relationship was. Boundaries I overstepped. Vulcan logic heard as insult and judgement. Once I understood, I reached out to make amends and make a behavior change. I listened more intently so as to not make the same mistake again.

Only to step into a new minefield labyrinth of mistakes. Like a starfish, a limb would be lost, but I would grow it back again: all in hopes that at the end of the day the relationship would be filled with love, grace and equality.

Photo taken by sjs5769
Then I woke up. I made of an ass of myself. I assumed the person wanted me in their life. My presence was more than just geography and convenience for them. I believed the other person honestly liked me and valued the journey we walking together. The reality; my existence in their life was by default not desire. 

In order to thrive a paradigm needed a shift. I disciplined myself to reciprocate. If someone had a need, I could happily serve. As I watched satisfaction color their soul I felt joy. I needed nothing else. Some of my relationships now are one sided. Others are mutually beneficial. I have found fulfillment in both. The difference is, my worth as a person does not stem from the success or failure of these affiliations.

On occasions, my path crosses those past acquaintances which proved to be most painful. Three little words spoken and I freeze the urge to vomit. I wonder what is missed about me. Who would miss a bull after he left a china shop? Would anyone regret removing the pebble in a shoe? I cannot respond because of the word constipation in my brain. Those three words are irrational.

Tumblr (clipped to polyvore.com)
Then I saw this quote and understood. It put the word "miss" into a different context. I miss the smell of summer thunderstorms of my childhood. The romantic idea of becoming a famous singer/actor. It isn't the person, it is the idea. The presence. The fragrance. The romantic idea. 


That is logical. It hurts to visit that ideal, because it was so wrong. Contentment is within the reality of today. A peace of mind built on trust. Teaching myself not to jump to conclusions, but allow a camaraderie to grow organically watered with mutuality. Value for value. I weigh my words before they are spoken. Then ask myself: am I listening as much as talking? Love ebbs and flows. People weave in and out of life on their own paths. Finding the joy in the moment with them is what matters.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cracked Pots

Originally posted August 19, 2011
Photo taken by wallyir

The bulk of my experiences within Women’s Ministry are centered on these principles:

1. Have sex with your husband
2. Pray for your husband.
3. Smile no matter what.
4. Be kind to him regardless.
5. Keep a clean house.
6. Have sex with your husband.
7. ALWAYS look pretty- Check the lipstick
8. Have sex.


If you do these things everything will be fantastic. Your husband will be happy. Marriage will find blissful fulfillment.
Photo Taken by gregparis

Put in a scoop.
Turn on the machine.
Perfect load every time.

Now, I like sex. Steps one and five are never an issue for me. When the boys were little it was the only “adult” activity in my entire day. With the teens around now, it is a bit tricky. Our bedroom upstairs, teens awake until Dracula goes to bed. Sex feels a bit like a spectator sport. Sometimes I wonder if three sets of score cards will be slipped under the door to rate our performance.

Praying for my husband is not a problem. Often that man brings me to my knees and cry out for wisdom. But to pray for him to have “favor in the marketplace” or be “a spiritual leader” are no longer my focus. We are co-heirs in Christ therefore I pray that he would grow in his understanding of God’s love for him. That he would understand Father’s will and have the power to carry it out.

On a hot date one night we went to a mandatory homeschool meeting. The topic aimed at Husbands to remember that the wife is the "weaker vessel." The main point communicated was this:

Women: have sex with your husbands.
Men: remember they can't help it. They are the weaker vessel.

Feeling like Ingo Montoya and wanting to yell at the sweet, soft-spoken speaker:
“YOU keep saying that word. It doesn’t mean what you think it means! Vessel is not derogatory.”

Deciding not to allow subjugation to ruin a perfectly good date night, I filed it away with as we left. The Mutant and I went to see “Crazy Stupid Love" in order to salvage the night.  In it, the husband admits his anger toward the choices his wife made, but he is also angry with himself; for becoming lazy. For not appreciating her as he should.

Photo taken by lukeok
A breath of fresh air blew across my heart. What if living In Understanding is exactly that: an equality of appreciation. The topics tumbled around in my brain on the ride home.

Frustration won and spoke, “You know, It's not fair! Men can talk
about these verses all the time and women have to sit and listen. But, when women talk about them men feel emasculated then claim offence."

The Mutant replied, "I was thinking about what you said. Women are the weaker vessel; they need to be handled gently so they don't break."

"Yes!" I felt relieved, "We as women need to care for our men realizing they can be broken too. I acknowledge that, maybe..."

A Home Depot blazed past my window and the euphoria of understanding painted the perfect picture.

"…Maybe women are more like porcelain and men are like terracotta. Both can break if not carefully handled."

A Mother Life

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

In Understanding

Originally posted January 28. 2011

"You husbands, likewise, conduct your married lives with understanding.  Although your wife may be weaker physically, you should respect her as a fellow heir of the gift of Life.  If you don't, your prayers will be blocked."   1 Peter 3:7

The Weaker Vessel verse: the hackles on the back of my neck just went up. The song from Annie Get Your Gun, "Anything you can do, I can do better.  I can do anything better than you." screams from the recesses of my conscious.   

As women, we hear in a big thunderous voice, “Woman weak. We big, strong men should understand her inabilities and not expect much out of her.” Much of modern culture is motivated by this paradigm.

Women stay home, only capable to take care of house and children. Not smart enough for science. There is nothing worse than a book-learned woman. Especially in cultural christianity for the past 30 years, this dogma, force fed to girls and women create a millstone around our necks. Much of the subjection of women supported with New Testament words being taken out of context. 

Photo taken by pedrojperez
To answer this nagging question, a ventured into logic and began to research.  The word for vessel in the Greek grammar is an adjective. The application is different than our English noun.  A commentary written in 1871 by Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset and David Brown: The Commentary Critical andExplanatory on the Whole Bible explains the focus should be on God’s design of the sexes, instead of the actual difference. Men should give honor to their wife, remembering that they and their “wife are vessels in God's hand, and of God's making, to fulfill His gracious purposes.” A man needs to be aware of “his own weakness, and that she, like himself, is God's vessel and fabric, ought to lead him to act with tender and wise consideration towards her…because God gives honor to both as fellow heirs.”

Photo taken by Schick
Further digging brought me to John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes produced 1754-1765. Wesley wrote a man should “dwell with the woman according to knowledge …Both in heart, in word, and in action; as those who are called to be joint - heirs of that eternal life which ye and they hope to receive by the free grace of God.”


Both of these commentaries were written long before the Feminist Movement. Both express the idea to live with a wife in understanding is to: be sympathetic, considerate, to remain thoughtful, act kind and accepting. Awareness of her frailties will grant him grace when she falls. A man’s logical perspective is valuable when emotions are overwhelming. A husband who lives in understanding of his wife creates a beautiful harmony for both to live and grow in.

Simply comprehension is the counterfeit to understanding. Acknowledgement patronizes a wife’s complexity. A husband who loves with intention means he gets involved. Unpleasantness is experienced with conflict as a result. The challenge is, he is to indulge a little so that she can be picked up and supported by the one still standing. In this beautiful life dance of iron sharpening iron, both grow closer in Divine Love. 
A Mother Life

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Sovereignty and Parades

Originally posted on February 20, 2011


How powerful is God?  How far does his authority stretch?  What is really under his control? How is sovereignty defined?

 To some, God is an origin.  Once everything began rolling; he withdrew his hands and sat back to watch. This God stands in a pet store surrounded by tanks full of fish. He can see things working out, the colorful dance and school to a musical rhythm. Yet, big fish attack little fish, gold ones bloated with disease struggle for air and he simply stands there looking through the glass, helpless and limited.  

Photo taken by jessiecat


Photo taken by clarita
Others consider God a great puppet master. Giant hands pull and weave on strings attached to everything. Free will has no place in this scenario.Marionettes dance and interact without choice; bantered around by whims. A set story is in play and their wooden arms and legs helplessly clink to the plot and tune. God is small and restricted.

Photo taken by kconnors
A third view is God, flying a helicopter over a parade. The coordination is immense.  The path is mapped out. All participants know the destination. Those sitting on the curb watch the artistry flow past them. When the unexpected happens, blades of a helicopter tickle the hearing of those on the street. The pilot and coordinator can see the beginning and the end of the parade. They watch the choices of the bands, float drivers, parade walkers and spectators. Through radio, they advise direction changes. Listeners on the ground trust those in the air and follow the correction. The snarl is fixed.  In spite of what went wrong the parade continues.   


Photo taken by Alvimann
When I stumbled upon this definition my mind was blown. God sees all and knows all yet, he works in spite of it, limitless. He allowed Adam and Eve a choice; let His knowledge be enough or trust a piece of
fruit. They chose the fruit. Our Creator is above, watching the flow of that original choice play out. I am faced with a choice every day. I can to listen to His counsel or solve it myself. Pride says I can solve it myself. Humility tells me to listen to the One who has a greater point of view and follow those instructions. Any solution I concocted would fall short of complete. A deep gratitude wells within my soul. I feel awe that he is interested in me and satisfied that he cares for me.  


A Mother Life