Friday, April 29, 2005


Latina Liz has an outstanding article Do you hear what I hear? that you must read. She talks about how one prophetic act (such as a woman exercising her spiritual gift of teaching) gives courage to others to do the same. I have been realizing this about my own life and calling, too. Just by living out who I am with the talents that God has given me is an act that can encourage others to do the same.

Liz writes:
Every prophetic act builds on the one before it. Across the country, one by one, voices once silenced are rising up to join the chorus God created for them. Moved by the Spirit, more and more women are speaking forth the prophetic and transformative Word.

Listen! Do you hear what I hear? Women trusting their own voices as an embodiment of the Word, naming the forces which alienate and silence as well as those that encourage and release. Going from silence to voice takes courage but, as poet/artist Mary Anne Radmacher says, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, I will try again tomorrow.”

Women of God, try again, for there are many others in the world yearning to hear your voice.

It amazes me how blogging has been an opportunity for me to find my voice, to gain courage and even to be transformed spiritually. The blogosphere is a sounding board for me to think out loud and hear back from others on the journey. And then when facing my real world ministry my confidence is stronger, my dependence on God is deeper, and my passion for living out my own life with purpose is renewed.

Micah Girl

Dream College-NYU

NYU Named #1 Dream College for Second Year
For the second year in a row, NYU topped Harvard as the university that students would most like to attend, according to a March survey of high school students by Manhattan-based Princeton Review.

My alma mater is the #1 Dream College?? How cool is that!

Micah Girl

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Christian Carnival

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Subversive Secret Identity or Nom de Blog

The reason for anonymous blogging is freedom for me--freedom to speak my mind, no fear of people googling my real name and finding out all my inmost rants before a job interview, no fear of having my funding taken away if I take a different stance on an issue than the standard denominational line. But is that really true? Would I lose my job? Or have I lost my guts?

Before I got sucked into the vortex of the blogosphere, Real Live Preacher was my first real introduction to blogging when he got some press here at Christianity Today. He was anonymous, but not when I encountered him---he was Gordon Atkinson, author of Real Live Preacher. He posts about what it was like to come out of hiding here. After reading about him I googled "blogging", found my way to blogger, created my site and posted my first thoughts. I just realized that my first post and that posted interview both share the date of October 26, 2004. I guess that is Micah Girl's birthday.

Bobbie from Emerging Sideways, "a woman in a man's church" trying to find her voice, was my second big inspiration on what it means to be a successful anonymous blogger. When I found her site and noticed that she had a voice in the blogosphere, I really got excited. She could say what she wanted and not take the heat personally! And people acknowledged her thoughts and who she was--she had her virtual identity which was more authentic than her church face.

And yet I wonder if I am courageous to speak my mind or cowardly to have a nom de blog instead of my own lovely name plastered on my URL. Partly I fancy myself as a subversive worker in the kingdom of God, a woman in a man's denomination, who is profoundly influencing college students, yes, but also young men who are on the seminary track who serve under me for a time. One of these men actually went from telling me, "I have a problem working for a woman" to "I wasn't crazy about working for a woman at first, and I often disagreed with you, but you were always proved right." Then these young men go off and become the establishment, the ordained, the keepers of the conservative institutional church. And, I hope, they remember reporting to (dare I say submitting to the authority of) a woman. Hmmm...

In addition, there are the younger women, both students and ministry colleagues, who see me as a woman who has a call to ministry, but also a call to marriage, motherhood and domesticity. In my ministry circles the women in ministry are either single or have "wife" attached to their title--pastor's wife, church planting wife. Some of these women are the more gifted ministry partners in their marriages as well, which makes the title of somebody's wife a ridiculous diminutive. I am proud to be my husband's wife, and enjoy being called Mrs., but am so grateful that my identity is not wife of my husband's occupation.

Now as I develop regular readers and even blogosphere friends (many of whom know my name and can google me--feel free if ya know my name) I wonder how much all this secrecy matters. In my real world there are a handful of friends and family that know about this blog, although I think only my darling husband reads it regularly.

All this silly blogging angst over should I just say my name is ________________, and I grew up in _____________, and I currently work for ____________________ denomination as a _____________________. All this cloak & dagger seems a little silly, doesn't it?

I am taking the next big step of posting my picture below. I like the outfit because it's both practical and slimming...

Micah Girl

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Spunky Homeschool's Online Homeschool Convention

The ONLINE HOMESCHOOL CONVENTION is up at Spunky Homeschool. Check out the wide variety of voices that are Featured Speakers, including Micah Girl.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

66th Christian Carnival is up.

This week's Christian Carnival is up at Pseudopolymath . My most recent homeschooling post is included near the top. Check out all the other blogs--it's a great way to find new voices in the blogosphere.

Be sure to check out the post from Mark Sides of Stones Cry Out, Unto the Least of These. It's a good reminder of how to be Jesus to someone else.

Micah Girl

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Brilliant Articulation by Brian McLaren

Brian McLaren has an article at Christianity Today entitled A New Kind of Old Christian about the need for mutual respect between pioneers into postmodernism and settlers who stay in the contemporary church structures.

Following is an excerpt:

We live on the border of an emerging culture where no paths exist. Not everyone should head for the hills. But some should. They'll be criticized; at times, they may criticize those they (mis)judge as too timid to join the adventure. Instead, though, I would hope that the innovators would respect their cousins in the colonies, and vice versa. Both have a job to do. We need roots and leaves, settlers and pioneers. To fly, we need to lean back and kick forward, swinging new/old with joy and maybe even childlike laughter. --Brian McLaren

Yes, that's it exactly!

Micah Girl

If I had a million dollars...

The classic question that life coaches ask people to help them clarify their goals is, "If money were no object, what would you do with your life?" Well, what would you do? Comment below and let me know, or post on your site and I'll link to you.

I truly wouldn't change much about my life at all. I love living in our very nice, though far from McMansion house. I love homeschooling my kids. Working with college students is my idea of a dream job. Our multicultural neighborhood suits me perfectly, and our older cars are perfectly adequate for our needs. Money would just allow us to be more generous to others, and to not sweat car repairs. I could indulge my gardening habit with lots of annuals and exotic plants, and unleash all my bibliovore tendencies by buying all the books that strike my fancy without feeling guilty. (My book addiction has been curbed to only maxing out my kids' library cards and not to maxing out any credit cards.)

We would of course travel more frequently, which would be a boon to our kids' education and satisfy my hubby's and my own wanderlust and fascination with different cultures. We would support the local arts and culture, go to the theater all the time, and pour money into the museums and nature organizations that provide so much to our city. We would support ministries, missionaries, and relief organizations. I would start businesses and buy investment property and employ some of our underemployed friends. I would adopt kids to add to my brood.

I'm actually getting exhausted just thinking about it.

Micah Girl

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Flickr Collage

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Spell with Flickr yourself!

Friday, April 15, 2005

How to become a fearless expert in homeschooling

Spunky Homeschool has invited homeschoolers to participate in a virtual homeschool conference and here is my 2 cents.

I am an expert on own children, that is. Just as a new mom worries about whether or not she'll be able to respond to the cries of her infant, is frightened to bathe her baby for the first time and wonders if she'll ever be able to both be a mom and a presentable adult who manages a shower each day, so a new homeschooler feels overwhelmed by whether or not she can cut it as a homeschooler. The most helpful advice I ever got on being a new mom was, don't worry, you were given this baby for a reason and you will become an expert on her. Trust your instincts. Trust that God knew what he was doing by blessing you with this particular child. The same is true in making the decision to homeschool. You know what's best for your child and it is not dependent on what other people think.

I am also fearless of what others think and not crippled by the worries of what if I don't do this perfectly? Part of the reason I am confident as a homeschooler is that my husband and I began to think like homeschoolers long before our oldest was school age. We met other homeschoolers and I read and read and read some more about what it would be like. I learned to answer the objections that we might receive even before anyone could articulate them. I began to view homeschooling as a natural extension of the parenting that my husband and I were already doing. We love being with our kids, and to continue to keep them home was just a natural extension of our family life.

Homeschoolers are unique people, able to stand apart from the dominant culture, unafraid to be different. Our family is already unusual. My husband and I come from two different cultures and two different languages and are committed to raising our children to be fluent in both. We are committed to living out our faith in a practical way...not just assenting to some intellectual principles, but to try to live out what we believe with integrity. We are even unusual among some homeschoolers because my husband does about 40% of the teaching and I do the rest while also working in ministry. In many families that task falls almost exclusively on a full time mom at home.

We use curriculum but are not bound by it--it is a launching pad for us and it is supplemented by museum memberships, library books (especially in Spanish) and lots of day to day living with our kids seeking out the teachable moments. We are relaxed while being serious about teaching our children to think, to love learning and to live as disciples of Christ. We are the fearless experts on our own children because we have held onto the right and the responsibility to be the parents to our children and we cannot imagine any other way.

Micah Girl

Check out a new homeschool blog: Homeschool Mami

Thursday, April 14, 2005

2 of Time's 100 Most Influential--Juanes & Rick Warren

I haven't read through everyone on the big 100, but I have scanned through the list to see who strikes my fancy. Two of the honorees really leaped out at me. Juanes is definitely my personal favorite of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People. I am so excited when someone I really like gets onto one of these lists, even though I wonder who decides who gets to be on the list. Juanes is a Colombian rock star who writes beautiful music that ranges from romantic songs to political commentary. He is a simply gorgeous performer.

I was glad to see the ubiquitous Purpose Driven Pastor Rick Warren on the list because although he is not considered cool in certain circles, and is nearly considered a gospel writer by others, I do appreciate some of his practical ideas and his deeply evangelistic heart.

I find it funny that now that he is getting famous his press photos are very slick and he's always wearing black and spiking his hair, as opposed to his classic Hawaiian shirt wearing, simple Southern California casual guy style. Is that what success means?

Micah Girl

Sunday, April 10, 2005

The Benefits of Creative Discontent

Just back from a retreat weekend with my students. Great community building times, beautiful weather and some days away from the usual. The conference speaker was an interesting guy with passion for discipleship making, and a strong anti-institutional church bent. I picked his brain about what he thinks of the emerging church conversation and he told me that he believes they are behind the curve. He feels that emerging church is no different than modern church any more than a souped up Corvette is different than a Model T Ford...they are both just four wheels and an internal combustion engine. He wants to return to a first century model of making disciples in community and letting that be church. I found his thoughts challenging and interesting, though I am sure that if we had more time I would have found many areas of deep disagreement. What I appreciated about talking with him, though, is the creative discontent he has with church-as-usual. That is something that deeply resonates with me, even though I love my imperfect, funny little local church.

God is teaching me constantly, particularly as I struggle with what discipleship means. I know He is calling me to deeper, more sacrificial love and that I am to become a new kind of shepherd--more extravagant in my loving, more transparent in my struggle, more open in community. It's much easier to be business-like and seminary-educated and strong--the one with the answers, the one people come to with their problems. It’s easier not to truly love and not to forgive because then you don’t feel anything, don’t get hurt, its all very professional. I remember reading Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis, as a teenager and this quote has always stuck with me:

To love at all is to be vulnerable.  Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.  If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal.  Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries, avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket of your selfishness.  But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change.   It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, and irredeemable.  The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation.  The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell. 

I never wanted to be a “professional Christian” and I am still fighting against that. I want my life to be one whole piece…all connected organically, all flowing out of what God is doing in me. I want my role as woman of God, wife, mom, minister, friend, member of a local church body, extended family member, all to be seamless.

I am finding my voice more and more each day, and blogging is helping me crystallize what God is doing in me. I have not arrived, and must never be satisfied with a complacent sense of having arrived. If I stop growing, I will die, my ministry will die, and the joy of my salvation dies.

Micah Girl

Friday, April 08, 2005

Emerging Priest Karol Wojtyla

I was just reading the homily from Pope John Paul II's funeral. The whole text of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's message is available here. Following is an excerpt which highlights one part of his life as a young priest. He clearly always had a passion for the young and for preaching the gospel in ways that engaged them.

Follow me! In July 1958 the young priest Karol Wojtyla began a new stage in his journey with the Lord in the footsteps of the Lord. Karol had gone to the Masuri Lakes for his usual vacation, along with a group of young people who loved canoeing. But he brought with him a letter inviting him to call on the Primate of Poland, Cardinal Wyszynski. He could guess the purpose of the meeting: he was to be appointed as the auxiliary Bishop of Krakow. Leaving the academic world, leaving this challenging engagement with young people, leaving the great intellectual endeavor of striving to understand and to interpret the mystery of that creature which is man and of communicating to today's world the Christian interpretation of our being -- all this must have seemed to him like losing his very self, losing what had become the very human identity of this young priest. Follow me -- Karol Wojtyla accepted the appointment for he heard in the Church's call the voice of Christ. And then he realized how true are the Lord's words: "Those who try to make their life secure will lose it, but those who lose their life will keep it" (Luke 17:53). Our pope -- and we all know this -- never wanted to make his own life secure, to keep it for himself, he wanted to give of himself unreservedly, to the very last moment, for Christ and thus also for us. And thus he came to experience how everything which he had given over into the Lord's hands came back to him in a new way. His love of words, of poetry, of literature became an essential part of his pastoral mission and gave his new vitality, new urgency, new attractiveness to the preaching of the Gospel, even when it is a sign of contradiction.

I am so drawn to watching the hand of God in this man's life. I can begin to trace how his circumstances and passions were orchestrated to equip him to become one of the most influential individuals in history. I enjoy picturing him canoeing with a bunch of students, and feeling God call him away from a stage of life which he relished, only to be led to something higher and better. So often when God calls us to something new we grieve the part we leave behind so that we cannot or will not see the bigger picture. Yet this godly man set out in faith and did even more than he might have dared imagine. What an example to all of us seeking to emerge into what God has created us to be.

Micah Girl

Check out the link at the 65th Christian Carnival where this post was included.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Glimpse of Forever

I just got back from one of our college worship services. It was interrupted by hassles with parking and double parking and threatened towing, and my mind and my spirit weren't exactly in tune with the music or the praying. I know that worship is not always an emotional buzz and that it's not for me anyway--it's an event meant to lead my students in worship. And the worship isn't for their emotional buzz's to glorify God.

Anyway, I did have a moment that almost morphed into epiphany during a worship song about eternity (can't exactly recall which one.) For just a moment, I thought how could I wrap my mind around forever? What is eternity with God? How can I understand it? And I thought about those sweet moments that I want to hold onto forever...nursing my baby for the first time, answering deep theological questions from pre-schoolers, reading exciting stories with my daughter, having my son kiss my hand... Also the warmth of my husband's body cradling mine, the intimacy of watching ecstasy wash over his face, the sweetness of his voice on the phone calling from work. Now the joy of an eternity worshiping God, being in His presence, with all those who love Him forever is like actually being able to hold onto the purity of one of those moments magnified infinitely forever. Wow.

So in spite of the mundane annoyances that pulled my heart out of the place I was, God still broke through my ordinariness to give me a glimpse of forever.

Micah Girl

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Words of Pope John Paul II

Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.

Old Time Marriage Advice for Postmodern Marriages

The 20th century vaudevillian, comedian and actor George Burns was married to Gracie Allen for well over 30 years. Their marriage, though far from perfect, weathered years in Hollywood where the life expectancy of a marriage has never been great. When people would ask him for how to have a successful marriage he would reply, "I tell them the answer's easy--marry Gracie."

I am not holding them up as the ultimate marriage model, but I feel the same way about my marriage, because I feel like choosing the right life partner makes all the difference. When younger women talk to me about marriage, I often tell them to marry someone fabulous like I did. Even with a great spouse, however, marriage takes work. I need to submit to my husband everyday, even as he lays down his life for me.

I really love Eugene Peterson's paraphrase of the famous marriage verses in Ephesians, and especially appreciate his inclusion of verse 21, as opposed to the typical truncating of the passage by starting it after the verse which exhorts mutual submission among all believers, and not just wives to husbands.

Ephesians 5:21-33

Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another.

Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church--a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They're really doing themselves a favor--since they're already "one" in marriage.

No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That's how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become "one flesh." This is a huge mystery, and I don't pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.

Marriage is such a high calling, and so important as a stabilizing factor in society, and yet it is treated as disposable even in the church. Help us, Lord, to pour ourselves out to one another extravagantly as you have done for us.

Micah Girl


I am the Book of Ephesians, apparently

According to the oracle that is Quizilla...
You are Ephesians
You are Ephesians.

Which book of the Bible are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

I know that these quizzes are silly, and far from either predictive or prophetic, but when I like the answer, I'm a believer! God is indeed gracious to me, I have indeed made some big mistakes in my life, I fervently hope I am grace-filled, and I adore being on the non-traditional side.

Micah Girl

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Blogosphere Friends

Here is a great big THANKS!! to Nick Queen of Patriot Paradox for featuring this blog on the Out of the Wilderness New Blog Showcase. And thanks to you who are visiting me because of his link.

Also a grateful shout-out to Nathan Girdner of World Wide Wanderer. His blog reveals a prophetic heart for ministering to the poor, but in addition to that he kindly walked me step by step through posting stuff in my sidebar which was beyond me before. You will notice my breathlessly anticipated blogroll as well as a link to the Out of the Wilderness showcase there!

Thank you, thank you, my virtual friends.

Proverbs 13: 20 She who walks with the wise grows wise...

Micah Girl

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Kingdom Community & the Local Church

Being a member of the local church is a discipline, a way of growing in Christ-likeness, a way of expressing the Kingdom of God in a local way. It serves to encourage us, give us a place to belong and to strengthen us.

We need encouragement to turn away from sin and lead godly lives...

Hebrews 3:12-14
12See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. 14We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.

We also must encourage one another to love and doing good...

Hebrews 10
23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

I want to be a member of a church family because I want somewhere I belong. God is my father and all his children are related to me. Did you ever notice that you can pick your friends, but you can’t pick your family? And as much as you might not like them, or they drive you crazy, you belong to your family. God’s family is like that, too. Who comes into the family? Lots of random people…God is interested in the overlooked, the disconnected, the forgotten.

Psalm 68
5 A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows,
is God in his holy dwelling.
6 God sets the lonely in families, [a]
he leads forth the prisoners with singing;
but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

There are so many fatherless, widows, lonely souls and prisoners among us...

The fatherless are those of us who feel adrift because of the parenting we did or did not receive.

The widows are those of us who feel vulnerable and unprotected with heavy responsibilities.

So many of us are battling loneliness because of our life stage, our circumstances. My prayer is that we would be family and alleviate one another’s loneliness.

The prisoners are those stuck in sin and the past that won't let go.

But perhaps the best part is the likemindedness and common purpose that comes when we begin to really live in community. As we entwine our lives together we are strengthened…

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
10 If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

It is the strength of God's Spirit binding us together that draws me back again and again to my imperfect local church.

Micah Girl

Friday, April 01, 2005

Help me blogroll, blogging technogeek!

I so desperately want to publish a blogroll in the sidebar of my blog, but no matter how many searches I do at various sites, I cannot for the life of me figure out how to do it!

I also want to archive posts by category in the sidebar. It's all I can manage to do simple html code.

Can somebody help me??

Ayudame, por favor!

Micah Girl

Blogarama - The Blog Directory Who links to me?