The Beauty of Paradox: Guest Post on the Rebelution

The BeautyofParadox

Slime and Beauty. Not two words we would usually associate together.

Because slime is gooey and sticky and messy and bleck. But you know what, I saw beauty in it. I caught a glimpse of the delight of paradoxes the other day.

The rain steadily drummed off the porch, constraining the energy of the kindergarteners inside. But taking such simple ingredients as cornstarch and water, a magical portal was opened from this grey world into a new one — one full of green and yellow and pink and blue slime.

Delighted, powdery-whitened arms and hands mixed and mixed until they made a new discovery. It was hard — and wet! When they forcibly dug it up, crushing it between their chubby fingers, it was solid, hard. But after a few moments of inactivity it would melt away, escaping through the cracks of their fingers. (The scientific name for this actually is oobleck, or a non-newtonian fluid.)

It changed, it didn’t stay the same, it was confusing, a paradox! And they were ecstatic. This was the most fun they had ever had. I tried to explain to them, in their terms of course, the science and reason why. But what good are words and explanations when you have hands, touch, and movement already assaulting all your senses with delight? They didn’t really care why. They were just amazed, just thrilled, just delighted that it does.

And I wonder sometimes if in wanting too hard to just know, to just completely understand, to analyze until there are no more paradoxes — we kill our joy. Perhaps not understanding can be the most wonderful beauty of all.

Finish reading here on the Reb.

Guest Post Over At Reflections: The Messy Love of Easter

The Messy Love of Easter

My good friend Gloria gave me the privilege of writing for her blog Reflections this Easter, so I’d like to share the post with you all; and while you’re over there take a few minutes to explore more of her lovely blog!

 

Horrifying. Scandalous. These aren’t the words we usually associate with Easter.

Our normal thoughts fall more along the lines of pastel flowers, cute chicks and bunnies, and Precious Moments kids kneeling gently beneath a brown ceramic cross.

And those are sweet. Those are cute. Those are clean. But they’re wrong.

Because Easter, the whole of this great story, isn’t cute. It isn’t clean. There are no pastels; no, it’s stained in vivid hues of crimson and black and wretchedness and anger and violent love. Because Easter is nothing without the cross.

But so often we’re tempted to check out. We know the story, or at least, we’ve heard it many times. But we forget. We forget how shocking it is. How dreadful. Our sin is a horrifying, messy thing, and to think that the answer to it would be cute and clean and easy — It couldn’t be. We violently removed ourselves and were swept away from God and life and light; and only a violent love, willing to do and endure all for us, could win us back.

So lay aside your prior knowledge, your prior suppositions for a moment. Read back through all the accounts (Mat. 26-28, Mark 14-16, Luke 22-24, John 18-21); it’ll probably take about half an hour. Blow away the dust of familiarity, and read this as a story. (The Greatest One which ever was.)

As you read, can’t you feel the tension, the dread, the rising anger at this injustice?

Read the rest here on Gloria’s blog.

Don’t Forget to Keep Your Sacred

Don't Forget to Keep Your Sacred

I grasped something beautiful the other day. But I lost it.

It had been one of those maddeningly-long days, full of never-screaming-but-also-never-ceasing frustrations, where you clench your eyes and your sanity just to keep from losing it all. Tensed, tired, and dusty, my only thoughts were water for my throat and shower, but on the way there I picked up my tablet. As the water whooshed and steam filled the air, I absent-mindedly turned on my music, hoping perhaps the notes could wash away the heaviness soap and water couldn’t reach.

Fortunately, the living Water is very skilled at doing just that.

Standing there, alone, open, bare; I was overcome. I worshiped. I was renewed. I rejoiced in Him, in praising His name. I returned to my room cleansed in more ways than one; and sat down to continue working on a post started long before, worship music still playing and working in my soul.

In a moment, overcome by Him, I stopped and wrote one of the deepest, most heartfelt, most vulnerable and overwhelmed bit to Him I have ever known.

“Have you felt it? This longing, overwhelming urge to know Him more, this rushing out of your heart to become closer to Him? You’ve had a taste of His love and want to become drunk on it, to know Him more, to have more of Him, just more of His word, just more of His presence, just more of His awesomeness, in the old sense of the word — that, that only is enough to satisfy and you crave it overwhelmingly.”

But — that’s not it.

The sad part is, that paragraph is not what I wrote. That’s only the gleanings, the faded colors of what I remember, the distant echoes of a powerful prayer. Because somehow, I lost it. Continue reading

Mirrors and Photographs; Present and Past

Mirrors and Photographs

I looked in the mirror this morning.

Which isn’t unusual, because it’s situated in the walkway of my room, and I glance at it fairly often when I’m preparing for my day, because I work with children all week and want to give them the idea that modest and fashionable can be synonymous (but also because, if we’re being completely honest, I can be rather vain at times.)

And I’m grinning sheepishly at the view, of a bleary-eyed young woman, with her glasses bent slightly askew from adjusting them so much, her comfy, giant college-that-I’m-not-actually-going-to-they-just-gave-me-it-for-free-and-it’s-comfortable-shirt enveloping me, and my bare feet giving the impression of the princess from Tangled, which is a apt description of both my hair’s length and state.

And so I laugh gently at myself, pull my hair out of my face, and get started with my day.

But on my wall there are some pictures. (Actually, no, that isn’t true, they’re sitting on my dresser because in the busyness of life hanging-pictures-on-wall is so far down on the list that I still haven’t gotten around to it.)

And those pictures show a little girl, smiling and laughing, poised and pert, always ready with a retort or reply.

But you know what? I like the woman in the mirror better than that girl. Continue reading

Are You Offensive?

Are You Offensive_

I’m sure you balked at this title. I certainly would. “Offensive? Of course not! Isn’t that the exact opposite of what we as Christians are supposed to be?”

Because we don’t want people to get angry with us. We don’t want to be disliked. We work very hard to portray a pleasant image, a pleasing demeanor, and why would we want anything to disturb it?

And when that pertains to our own character traits and speech, that’s fine – good even. I shouldn’t try to be annoying. I shouldn’t use harsh, grating words. I shouldn’t be abrasive and loud, brow-beating and abusing everyone around me. That all goes against how we’re called to live as Christians.

But as Christians, we are called to be offensive in another way. Continue reading