Sunday, February 27, 2005

What is the Ideal Church?

There is an interesting discussion here on Tod Bolsinger's blog about what an ideal church would look like.

Here is my musing on an ideal church...

Welcoming the lost and the wandering into the joy of being found.
Making disciples who live out Christ's life wherever they are.
Living in holiness and freedom, grace and forgiveness, purpose and calling as a community.

Does this exist between the now and the not yet?

Micah Girl

The Incredibles & Postmodern Womanhood

Last night we finally saw The Incredibles...a terrific family flick, funny, intellligent, wholesome, empowering, pro-marriage, pro-family with a positive countercultural message. That's a lot for a computer animated story to be, and yet it was!

I have changed my profile picture officially (for now) to Elastigirl. Not only is Holly Hunter a great voice-over actor, but the character is written with heart and depth--unlike so many parts for women these day. Is Elastigirl the great post-feminist archetype for the postmodern woman? She is strong and capable on her own, yet chooses the commitment of marriage and family over self-aggrandizement. She is tender-hearted but is nobody's fool. She is able to use her brains and talents to enable her whole family to achieve their potential. Her marriage is based on friendship and mutual respect, and she loves her husband no matter what. And when the going gets tough, she can kick butt with the big boys.

Micah Girl

Friday, February 25, 2005

Superstar Pastors-an illustration

Chrisitianity Today's Weblog, one of my daily reads, (click the link above) just illustrated the point I made about celebrity in my previous post...

I remember as a little girl in the 70's that "Jesus Christ Superstar" was offensive to people. Although it may have seemed blasphemous to some, at least Jesus Christ was supposed to be the superstar.

Weblog: $10 Osteen Tickets Going for $100+

Compiled by Ted Olsen | posted 02/25/2005 09:30 a.m.

Joel Osteen, superstar
"Tickets to see the Rev. Joel Osteen this weekend in Dallas are going for as much as 10 times their face value," the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram reports. Dallas' American Airlines Center has only about half the seats of Osteen's Lakewood Church in Houston, and now the $10 tickets—long since sold out—are selling for more than $100. (seems like it would be cheaper to make the four-hour drive to Houston).

"Joel Osteen is now to the Christian religion what Michael Jordan was to the NBA,"'s Gary McBride told the newspaper. "When Michael Jordan played for the Chicago Bulls, game tickets sold out months in advance. In Christianity, Joel Osteen is that much of a superstar."

Victory & Television Ministry

If you embrace a message of victory, then God will bless you with good hair and a television ministry. There are no losers in the Kingdom of God, and you, too, can have all the prosperity, feel-good optimism and spotlight that you can handle.

I watch most Christian television with the fascination of a commuter craning her neck at the accident on the side of the road. I want to know what is happening, but don't really want to see all the blood and guts.
Just let the paramedics do their work and the highway workers clean up the mess... Heaven help me to stay out of their way.

I'm not really anti-television ministry, but in a world of reality tv and 15 minute celebrity, it makes me uneasy that Christianity is represented as the American Dream and the Kingdom of Heaven is as close as your 24 hour television station. I do actually believe that all the media we have to communicate with can be redeemed by God for His message. But sometimes the medium becomes the message and the culture of southern accents and great hair products is stronger than Logos,the word of God. I don't mean to trash the efforts of my brothers and sisters who seek to share the hope they have found by any means possible, but I am so distrustful of the ability of celebrity to corrupt and puff up.

Lord, glorify YOURSELF in your people, however they preach your word. Let us worship you in word and deed and to be your hands and feet in our immediate surroundings so that many could come to know you.

Have mercy on American churchianity and restore to us the vision of your holy gospel of grace, reconciliation and justice for the oppressed.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Silly Quiz Results

You are the fox.

Saint Exupery's 'The Little Prince' Quiz.
brought to you by Quizilla

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Google-stalking and hiding in plain sight

When I started this blog it was a whimsical opportunity to vent and speak my mind without getting myself into trouble. I realize that most of what I have written about has been hardly controversial, although much of it intensely personal. Although I have some readers who don't know me in my real life, and a few who know me all too well, largely I am writing to myself. Not a bad thing, of course, and a creative discipline which has given me greater energy in all areas of my life.

Since becoming a blogger and blog-reader, I admit to some google-stalking. I google the names of people I know, some of whom have moved to other areas of the country, to try to find out if they have blogs. Then I read them and enjoy the peek at where their lives have taken them, while at the same time feeling a bit like a peeping tom. I also have my favorite personal reads, most of whom are people I don't know, but I feel like I know them more personally than many in my circle of acquaintances. People like the bloggers behind: Lily's Pad, Relevant Blog, What Would Jesus Blog, Deep Soil

Maintaining my anonymity while wishing to increase my audience puts me in a funny position. All the people that I would naturally invite to read my students, my colleagues, my friends, my church, are all the people that would cause me to censor myself. Again, I understand that what I have written is far from wild and wooly-- it's neither laden with admissions of pornography addiction, nor filled with the exploits of my taste for smoking illegal Cuban cigars. I do express my concern for the role of women in ministry, my dissatisfaction with church as usual, my desire to be part of the emergent church conversation, which are, I suppose, controversial in certain conservative circles, but would hardly surprise those who know me. I also go on and on about my husband and my kids and how wonderful they are, but again, no surprise there. I remember old stories from college, and touch on some of the deep grief and deep redemption I have experienced throughout my life... What am I hiding???

Micah Girl

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

What my husband is good for...

My husband is good for...

Reassuring me that I am a good mom. When I start wondering about whether or not I am good enough, he asks me to just look at the children and notice how smart, beautiful and happy they are. What's to worry about?

Getting excited about the things that excite me. I just found out about a conference next month in Maryland with Brian McLaren-a mentor to us both that we have never met. We are busily making plans to see if we can leave behind our lives in the middle of the week and go!

Keeping me safe. Just knowing that he loves me and knows me better than anyone else makes me feel safe enough to take chances in the world.

Making me blush. Just thinking about him can bring color to my cheeks and a smile to my lips.

Laying down his life. He lays his life down for me every day so that I can be the woman, wife, mom and minister that I was meant to be.

Love you, amor mio.

Micah Girl

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Funerals and Adulthood, (College Buddy, part 3)

College Buddy, part 1
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (College Buddy, part 2)

I have been looking back at my life and my old college buddy, Tony, keeps coming to mind. He was one of those friends that you make perhaps only in college when you are idealistic and philosophical and optimistic all at the same time. And Tony was the one that brought me to a real level of maturity not because of anything he said or did, but because he died when I had prayed so hard that he wouldn't. His leaving me, a good and devoted friend who had sat by his bedside almost daily for well over a year, crashed hard into my belief that if I loved him enough, shared my faith in Christ enough, and brightened his days enough, he would live through the lymphoma which took him at the age of 21.

He had some twitty girlfriend whose name I can't recall who visited him in the hospital once or twice to chat about her tap dance lessons and annoy him with her inanity before dumping him. I remember telling our friends that she was just his girlfriend, but we really loved him and would stand by his side. It was part edict and part prophecy. Girlfriends in college are transitory-friendship is not. So I would bring him gifts-a stuffed Snuffleupagus, a jar of sand from a trip to the beach, a gospel of John to let him know that I loved him. I would talk to his mom and his step-dad who had moved up to New York to see him through the crazy experimental oncology treatments that he was receiving. They were both Catholics, and we all relied heavily on our faith to get us through. I was particularly fond of his step-dad, Pat, a sweet and gentle man, and I knew that I held a special place in his heart because of my devotion to Christ and to Tony.

The day that he died I called his hospital room from work to tell him that I was on my way to see him, and his sister answered. She was crying and told me that he was gone...that his heart had just stopped. Just stopped. The cancer hadn't killed him finally, it was the treatments. I told my boss that he had died and began to weep. I walked home probably twenty blocks weeping loud and unashamed. Even hardened New Yorkers turned to look at me as I walked. One man asked if he could do anything for me and I said, no, no one could do anything for me. I don't remember when I stopped crying and it was days before I could sleep. I remember wondering if God had mercy on his soul, because as far as I knew, Tony had wanted no part of any God who would let someone so young and promising suffer so cruelly.

I also remember the day of the funeral...taking the train with my roommate who wanted to be the next Oprah, to meet our other friends the soon-to-be rabbi and the Jewish comedy writer. We met up with our other friend with the silly name who had accidentally dated a transvestite while backpacking through Europe. It was all so bizarre.

We all milled about in the lobby of the funeral home, shell-shocked and awkward. I decided to take charge and lead everyone into the room with the casket. There were flowers strewn across it and the words, "Beloved Ton" on top. All I knew was that I need to face the finality of it all. As I got close to the casket, my knees buckled and I nearly fell to the ground wailing out loud. My funny-named friend, grabbed my arm and helped me walk away.

The next few weeks were a blur of tears, headaches and angry prayers. I decided to leave NYC and move to Dublin with a student work visa. My roommate was mad that I was cutting out early on the lease, and a man from church that I had casually dated suddenly decided that I was the most interesting girl he had ever seen. I left them both without a regret because I needed to escape the pace of the Manhattan and find a place to start over fresh. I was neither going to become a great actress nor was I going to be the savior of my good friend's soul or life. I was empty and deeply sad, and I left.

It was a good decision.

Micah Girl

Click below for parts one and two of this memory...
College Buddy, part 1
Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (College Buddy, part 2)

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The Blessings of Ordinary Chaos

The most wonderful invention of theologians and administrators in my seminary was Reading Week. I didn't appreciate it when I had it because it meant that exams were looming and I had just enough time to finish reading thousands of pages and write papers and study. Now, without the pressure of tests and grades, I desire to institute Reading Week...a vacation from all other duties except putting my nose in book after book and perhaps taking the occasional walk to process my thoughts. There are so many books on my list...Generous Orthodoxy, It Takes A Church, Reimagining Spiritual Formation, Mitford Series, Charles Dickens, Jane blogs, blogs and more blogs!

Also, I want to play with my blog...figure out sidebar stuff, publish a blog roll, polish it up, write pithy articles, inspire parenting excellence like Mega Mom , discover a new emerging paradigm in ministry like Tod Bolsinger , comment cleverly on popular culture like David Bruce, write killer short stories like Real Live Preacher, talk about the experience of postmodern womanhood like Deep Soil...

But this week instead is filled with the usual ordinariness of my week...important tasks all...preparing for a retreat, planning worship events, managing young ministers, raising children, washing laundry, teaching geography, reading great books to my kids, loving on my phenomenal (and cute!) husband...

So Reading Week will have to wait until I am old and lonely and wistful for the busy ordinary rush of motherhood, ministry and housework.

Micah Girl

Win a free book

Study Bible

I've just entered this contest which appears to be legit, and if you click on the banner, you can enter, too.

Micah Girl

Friday, February 04, 2005

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (College Buddy, part 2)

The fun of friendship in college is adopting the passions of your friends. Tony & I had a friendship based on long intellectual conversation about great literature, big ideas, art, theatre and 80's technopop. OMD was his favorite band. They had it all-a cool British spelling of their name (Manoeuvres), pretty hair, infectious rhythms. I was hooked.

"If You Leave" was their one big US hit from the popular John Hughes film Pretty in Pink. Although some might consider them a one hit wonder in the US, they were huge in the UK and to us. To love a band that is underappreciated only adds to their coolness factor.

I haven't listened to them in years and wonder how they would sound to my grown-up ears.

Micah Girl

Thursday, February 03, 2005

College Buddy, part 1

My friend, Tony, was a writer. He had a computer to do his classwork at NYU which in 1985 was a pretty fancy toy. I used to borrow my roommate's memory typewriter to do my papers and it would only hold onto my document long enough to print it out, proofread it and give it back to her. The fact that Tony had his own PC was significant. It gave him credentials as a serious student as well as a writer. He also had a CD player which astounded me and I remember thinking that CDs were indestructible and luxurious, even as I spun my favorite songs on vinyl. This was not really all that long ago-because I'm not that old!-and yet it seems almost light years away.

Tony graduated high school in New Orleans which was much more glamorous than my home city. We met in Manhattan while I studied acting and he was consumed by political science and writing short story after short story in his big heavy desktop computer. He was born in Bogota, Colombia, while his parents were living down there working for some kind of oil company. He was mostly of Italian heritage but loved the Spanish language and the magical realism of Latin American writers like Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He was a Jeopardy fanatic and used to do the New York Times crossword puzzle in pen.

I so admired, Tony, because he was adept at capturing his thoughts on paper. I thought he would become a great novelist and that I would say, "I knew him when..." He was good looking and funny and we and our other friends the Jewish comedy writer, the rabbi-to-be, the promiscuous yet vulnerable actress and the neurotic yet adorable actress would all go out at 4:00 AM for coffee and hot gooey brownies at Tiffany's in the West Village. I wonder how they would all have described me back then...

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Vote for Micah Girl!

Musings of Micah Girl has been nominated for Best New Evangelical Blog at Evangelical Underground--pretty exciting stuff! So those of you who are out there (family, friends and random readers!) go and vote for me when the time comes. More information here.

Micah Girl

Mushy Love Prose

I started out to write a poem...but think that I am really a prosaic kind of a girl...

I wanted to write a love poem to my one and only that would evoke the warmth of his body curled up next to mine, the faint smell of his skin, the feel of his hands caressing me familiarly with the deep knowledge of years together. I wanted to let him know that sometimes when I see him sleeping beside me and my brain has not yet settled to slumber, I think about how hard I fell for him and how desperately I wanted to be known by him. I still feel it was miraculous that we felt we we were meant for each other.

And sometimes I look ahead with some fear to the time that we will be separated by death and mourn in advance for what will be lost when one of us is gone. I know that this life is but a vapor, and that it can be over in an instant, so I reach out into the dark with a deep gratitude for what I have now. It is more than I even dared ask for, but exactly what I need.

Micah Girl

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Moses or Pharaoh?

Reading through the one year bible on line (click on above title to see today's reading) still...

The commentary from about how God hardens the hearts of the Egyptians really got me thinking... The writer supposes that the hardening of the heart is a cooperative effort between Pharaoh and God...that Pharaoh sets his direction and God "hardens" it so that he cannot turn away from the consequences of his choices. He also began to discuss how believers' hearts are hardened...

It challenged me because I began to identify in the story with the Egyptians instead of the Israelites. Usually I think of how I am like God's people in the desert, confused, complaining, frightened, but ultimately under His grace. Instead I began to think of how I am like Pharaoh and his soldiers--stubborn, set on my own course, deciding that I will take on the God of the Universe! But, ultimately (praise God from whom all blessings flow!) I have been taken out of that hardness of heart, sometimes gently, sometimes roughly, and have been brought into a place of grace. I am grateful--because I know I am much more like Pharaoh than I am like Moses and yet I am forgiven.

Micah Girl


People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.

Saint Augustine

Blogarama - The Blog Directory Who links to me?