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Archive for April, 2013

I don’t know if I can think of something apropos to describe last week. It was so very long and thick, but somehow never felt like there were enough hours to just stop in. It was following several other similarly feeling weeks, filled to the brim, overstuffed. So, I felt like I was showing all my seams and needing to sleep an extra 16 hours a night, and mostly unable to hold on.

Weeks like last make me feel like I am not enough. They make me feel stuck and make me feel like the only possible solution is to drastically cut out every single thing that consumes any amount of time and start over. Fortunately, I don’t do things like that, because weeks like that happen, and maybe they happen too often.

While I dreamed of a new city and a new job (as though it would quiet my soul), I found that the most life-giving things I did last week were to make Thai turkey burgers and to paint my nails red.

What I wanted to do was one of two things – something dramatic – a huge leap, designed to immediately make a change. Or nothing. Go to bed immediately. Or watch more tv than what’s good for me. So the simple act of making myself dinner, of painting my nails, was my small step of rebellion.

I have a tendency to think in giant leaps. This month went by unusually fast? Well, then I’m practically aging a decade in my head. I’m moving forward in anxiety, sure that I have missed something, frantic about life passing me by. I think that things have to be done in huge steps, free-falling leaps. I too often think in a world of cold-turkey quits, roof-top declarations, and flash mob confessions. Thai turkey burgers and red painted nails teach me to think in small, quiet steps. That sometimes, the only way to change is a million inches forward, one inch at a time.

When I look back at my life, what I often see are not the big, defining moments – they are there, the one decision, one step life changers. But, more often what has changed me have been those small, scared, barely trusting, but I’m still moving steps. I forget, too often, the great faith it takes to move forward when you can’t see the end of that long winding road.

And so I will continue to feed myself well, paint my nails red, and trust in the work of small, scared, barely trusting, but I’m still moving, holy steps.

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I suppose one does not have to know me for very long to know the things I care about deeply. Community. Adoption. Oh, and gender.

I spend a lot of time thinking and studying about what people and the Bible says about gender roles because in my heart of hearts I believe most what Paul says in Galatians – “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male or female, for you are all one in Christ.” (emphasis mine) So, when I stumbled upon Rachel Held Evan‘s book, A Year of Biblical Womanhood – I was ready for a little hope and a little more digging into this idea. 

If you’ve ever read Rachel’s blog, then you know that she is thoughtful and well research (two of my favorite characteristics in a person), so I knew that this dense little book would be more than an exercise in gimmicks to sell books. What I did not expect was to find a book that was as freeing as it was. Rachel’s honesty and research continually point back to the Bible, but does so in a respectful way. I would feel comfortable suggesting this to some of my more complimentarian friends because – although she disagrees with some of their tenets, she does so in a way that does not alienate and I think the very way she tries to live out some of those tenets invites a conversation that I think it important to keep having.

But, my favorite part? The part that had me crying and praying hallelujah? That would be reclaiming the Proverbs 31 woman. Rachel befriends an Orthodox Jewish woman, Ahava (wife of a Rabbi), and when she gets to her month on Proverbs 31, she turns to Ahava for advice – as Proverbs 31 has become an exhausting to do list for Rachel and many other Christian women. Ahava’s response is liberating. That idea of a valorous wife (eshet chayil) is a blessing. In Jewish cultures it is the men – not the women – who memorized Proverbs 31, so they can sing it as a blessing to the woman. How beautiful!

So, basically, buy this book. It will make you think. You will add no less than 12 books to your Amazon wishlist as you go through the footnotes. And you will become a fan of the thoughtful, bright, hungry voice of Rachel Held Evans.

 

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