Commentary on Matthew 4: 12-17 (from NT Wright)

(read this morning)

“But the trouble was that many of his contemporaries were eager to get on with the fight. His message of repentance was not, therefore, that they should feel sorry for personal and private sins (though he would of course want that as well), but that as a nation they should stop rushing toward the cliff edge of violent revolution, and instead go the other way, towards God’s kingdom of light and peace and healing and forgiveness, for themselves and the world.

What would happen if they didn’t? Gradually, as Matthew’s story develops, we begin to realize. If the light-bearers insist on darkness, darkness they shall have. If the peace-people insist on war, war they shall have. If the people called to bring God’s love and forgiveness into the world insist on hating everyone else, hatred and all it brings will come crashing around their ears. This won’t be an arbitrary judgment or punishment; it will be what they themselves have been calling for. This is why they must repent while there’s still time. The kingdom is coming, and they are standing in the way.

The message is just as urgent today, if not more so for us who live on this side of Calvary and Easter. Matthew would want to say to us that the kingdom which Jesus established through his own work, and his death and resurrection, now faces us with the same challenge. Are we working to extend God’s kingdom to the world? Or are we standing in its way?”

Matthew for Everyone (Part 1), N.T. Wright (p. 30)

#searchingforsunday

Once upon a 2014, I stumbled into the writing of Rachel Held Evans. She was one of the companions that I met along my path when I desperately needed the wisdom and friendship of others in a way that I couldn’t even put into words for my family. It was one of those rare situations where I was certain this stranger had been skimming my journals or somehow listening in on thoughts that weren’t even clear to me. She *got* me even more than I *got* myself.

I read “A Year of Biblical Womanhood” first. The title is catchy and there is some ‘funny’ to the book. What I loved most about this book was the intelligent scholarship that Rachel brought to the conversation. It was such a relief to not have ANOTHER book full of proof-texts and gender stereotypes and first century household codes.

Soon after, I read “Faith Unravelled” (previously called “Evolving in MonkeyTown”), which she wrote first. Again I was treated to intelligent, honest writing as Rachel shared about her faith journey. I loved this book so much that it became part of Caleb’s Bible class this year.

I was over the moon thrilled to be allowed to be part of the launch group for Rachel’s third book, “Searching for Sunday”. I have read and begun to re-read this continuing spiritual autobiography this winter.

Searching for Sunday” is a continuation of Rachel’s journey of faith with the Body of Christ through the grid of the sacraments of Baptism, Confession, Holy Orders, Communion, Confirmation, Anointing the Sick, and Marriage. In each rite, she talks historical, academically, and personally about how these holy ancient demonstrations forms us and continues forming us into Who We are Called to Be individually and corporately.

Rachel’s gift is that she asks great questions without looking to pick a fight. She has strong (and I think right on) criticism’s of the Church, but never is there a question of how much she loves the Church.  She has a strong respect for her roots and much love for the Church of her childhood. Her writing oozes with compassion even in her questions and critiques.

In trying to write this blog-post, I have started about 29 other other blog posts. Some much too personal to share right now. I count running into Rachel Held Evan’s writing when I did as one of the kindest interventions God has ever orchestrated for me. I was almost ready to hang up my HopeHat and trade it in for a shawl of cynicism. I am so thankful for her questions, her honesty, and her courage to share her journey.

This is not a book that I can summarize in 500 words or less. Over the next week, I will be peppering my FB and twitter streams with some of the amazing quotes from the book. I may keep blogging about it and sharing some of the work other folks on the launch team has developed. Searching for Sunday is available tomorrow. If you like your answers, then I don’t recommend it. But if you are a pilgrim with more questions than answers  like me, then I think you will really enjoy this book.

Mixed Up Files…


The bonus of using a homeschool curriculum that is ‘Literature Heavy’ like Sonlight is that when the urge strikes and time allows for reading in one’s pajama’s for two hours on a particular morning, there are plenty of good books to choose from on our shelves.  I love my Kindle, but some occasions call for the smell and feel of paper. And this is how I met Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

I have never read The Mixed Up Files…. by ELKonigsburg. I’m so glad that Caleb will be reading sometime in the next couple months.

I made it to page 8 last night before the book hit me in the face. Offended at it’s forwardness I put it down in the dark for the night. I forgave and finished it this morning.

Here is a gem from the end of the story that I am going to chew on for many days.

Claudia said, “But, Mrs. Frankweiler, you should want to learn one new thing every day. We did even at the museum.”

“No,” I (Mrs. Frankweiler) answered, “I don’t agree with that. I think you should learn, of course, and some days you must learn a great deal. But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside of you until it touches everything. And you can feel it inside you. If you never take time out to let that happen, then you just accumulate facts, and they begin to rattle around inside of you. You can make noise with them, but never really feel anything with them. It’s hollow.”

 

Dreaming is good for Marriages

“We have found that if we don’t dream about our lives 

then we are simply

swept along by the torrent of demands, feeling like hostages

rather than mature adults taking charge of our lives.

It is the simple reality of calendars.

You only have so many free days.

If you don’t grab these days and hold them for all they are worth,

they will vanish so fast it’ll give you whiplash.

So this is a really good question for marriage.

What are you looking forward to together?”


***

Love & War, John and Stasi Eldredge

100 Pound Loser – eBook review

300x250-01I had the opportunity review Jessica Height’s new ebook “100 Pound Loser”. Without even knowing what it would be about, I was excited to get the chance to read (and review it). I first ‘met’ Jessica at the Allume conference in October. She is the co-founder of the conference and was one of the keynote speakers. Jessica is a delightful, fun, engaging speaker and her book delivers every bit of her personality on each page and in each word.

“100 Pound Loser” is Jessica’s story of weight gain and weight loss.  It is honest, funny, and  dripping with grace. In a time when there is so much information about health and weight loss – this book keeps it simple. Jessica offers the perfect amount of information to make you agree ‘I can do this’ and encouragement to make you say ‘I am worth this’ about your health.

I honestly had no plans to make health resolutions for 2013. I have been working on morning routines that include workout for about six months and am focusing more on maintaining those as we head into the isolated winter months in Maine. But reading Jessica’s book reminded me that there are small habits, small goals that I REALLY do want to focus on as I maintain what’s been going right.

728x90-01

 

This book will be a great addition to your kindle. You don’t have to read it now. But some afternoon or evening when you get to feeling *that* way (I know I’m not the only one), it is a book to pull up and be reminded of this truth – on every page:

“To every woman who has ever looked in the mirror and frowned:

you are loved. “

(from the introduction of the book 100PoundLoser)