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Archive for May, 2009

I’m So Thankful

Lately I have taken to doing my gardening rather late in the evening.  Here in Minnesota, the days have grown quite long and if I go out after supper is cleaned up, while the children are cleaning the playroom, I can be out for well over an hour with good light, and cooler temperatures.

I’ve never been much of a gardener.  The work is often hard and physical.  Especially here, where the birds help grow trees that sprout unexpectedly in the middle of flower beds and are a bear to get rid of.  It’s also quite time consuming.  It seems an insane amount of time is spent getting an area to look mediocre, during which time weeds have begun to sprout in an area I wasn’t working in.

But lately, it’s become my peaceful time.  My contemplative time.  My time with God.  Some women may get this early in the morning, when they can be up before their families.  I’m not that kind of woman.  I pray often throughout the day, in the hope that God will center me, and now, at the end of the day, I have this time to pray and reflect with God.

So, the other day, I put on my iPod, started my Christian music playlist, and set out to prepare the flower bed for new seeds.  And that’s when the song came on.  It’s one I’ve heard a thousand times before, and yet, it had never struck me before how simple, honest, and true it was.

Caedmon’s Call, I’m So Thankful:

I ran across an old box of letters
While I was baggin up some clothes for Goodwill
You know I had to laugh that the same old struggles
That plagued me then are plaguing me still
I know the road is long from ground to glory
But a boy can hope he’s getting some place
But you see, I’m running from the very clothes I’m wearing
And dressed like this I’m fit for the chase

No, there is none righteous
Not one who understands
There is none who seek God
No not one, no not one

I am thankful that I’m incapable
Of doing any good on my own
‘Cause we’re all stillborn and dead in our transgressions
We’re shackled up to the sin we hold so dear
So what part can I play in the work of redemption
I can’t refuse, I cannot add a thing
‘Cause I am just like Lazarus and I can hear Your voice
I stand and rub my eyes and walk to You
Because I have no choice

I am thankful that I’m incapable
Of doing any good on my own
I’m so thankful that I’m incapable
Of doing any good on my own

It’s by grace I have been saved
Through faith it’s not my own
It is the gift of God and not by works
Lest anyone should boast

I’ve been listening to this song for years.  How did I not get it?  How did I not connect?  Did the Lord have to open my ears?  And why was it so important for me to get it, right then?  I know the Lord is working in my life to remind me that I am not in charge and that He is.  A concept that should bring me peace.  After all, who better to run the show than the One who created the heavens and the earth?  And yet I, in my fallen human state, keep trying to wrest control from His grip.  A futile and fruitless endeavor, I might add.

I said before that I rather fought becoming a Christian.  At my young age I thought myself wise and superior.  “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise” (1 Corinthians 1:27).  And it was after I read Acts 26:14 “We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.‘” that my own heart was touched and it became suddenly clear to me that’s what I was doing.  I was kicking against the goads, fighting my Lord and my God.  It was useless, and painful, and suddenly I knew that I didn’t have to fight Him anymore.

Surrender, however, is something I still struggle with.  Daily, hourly, sometimes minute to minute I seem to fight my own nature to surrender myself and all that I am to God.  I still forget, and kick against the goads.  Even now, when I have been a Christian for so long.  Perhaps that’s why God touched my heart through a simple song I’d heard so many times that every chord is familiar.  It may be an old struggle, but it’s one worth continuing.  Because He will not let me go.

And I’m so thankful.

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We’re planning on having a sort of round-table discussion with Stacy McDonald and a few others, on some of the issues brought up in the book Passionate Housewives Desperate For God.  What I’d really like to do is clarify issues brought up in the book, dispel a few myths and rumors, and get a better understanding of the material presented.

If you have any questions you’d like to be considered for the discussion, please send them to me at AnneBassoATgmailDOTcom, or to the White Washed Feminists e-mail listed on the sidebar.

Thanks!

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I’m done!  I’ve finally finished the book!  My appologies to the e-mails and phone calls that have been woefully neglected as I threw myself back into being a happy homekeeper, and trying to find time for reading (and blogging).  It’s been a particularly busy couple of weeks in our house.  And we’ve been passing illnesses back and forth between us, which really just makes more work for me!

I will say, despite everything I’d heard, I actually got a lot of really good information from this book.  Of course, I tried to read it and judge it based on it’s own merits, not based on anything else I’ve read and heard.  There are questions I have and things I’d like to talk about, but my overall impression was quite positive.  At the very least, it reminded me what joy there is in serving my family.

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I was raised in the Episcopal Church. My father was the choir director and so I had a good working knowledge of what went in to making a church service run.  I saw it as a mini-show.  One rehearsed and prepared for during the week, and performed on Sunday.

On Sundays I had a nice class where we sang songs, did crafts, and heard a story.  It didn’t apply to me.  It wasn’t personal.  It was all part of the routine.  The show.

When I was ten, I got bored.  I went to work in the church nursery with the babies, whom I adored.  By the time I was 14, I was being paid for it.  I made $10 an hour on Sundays for watching the babies.  It was like getting paid to play.  When I wasn’t doing that, my dad paid me to sing with the choir.  He needed more sopranos.  Now church was to me what I thought it was to my parents: a job.

At this point, I left the faith.  It had absolutely no personal meaning to me.  And I was fighting demons of my own.  I didn’t think church had anything to offer me.  When I was about 18 I decided to go with Jennifer/Cally to bible study.  Her faith was obviously a sham, and I thought I could reasonably prove it to her.

What I had failed to recognize at the time, was that God was already pulling me toward Him.  I’d find myself listening to Christian radio stations without remembering having turned the station.  I found myself drawn to religious television without understanding why.

So, to bible study I went.  And God led me home.  It was a Calvary Chapel, and they shared something I’d never heard before: Jesus loved me.  He cared about me.  He knew who I was and everything I’d done, and He loved me anyway.  This, the milk of my faith was something I’d never heard before!  It was the water my soul thirsted for, and I drank it up like the parched desert I was spiritually.

Of course, eventually, I had to move on.  I had to build on those essentials and learn more.  After all, we have to study our bibles, learn how the Lord wishes us to live, and what His plans for the world are.  We must learn what we believe and how to defend it and share it with the world.  Our faith must become more.  We must begin to be fed the meat of our faith.

But we wouldn’t sit down to a big steak dinner without something to drink.  And likewise, I don’t think that we should get so busy with the meat of our faith that we forget the milk.  A church full of baby Christians getting nothing but the milk isn’t healthy.  But likewise, a church so focused on the meat that it no longer serves the milk isn’t healthy either.

Just as we have to balance our personal faith with our relations to and within the body of Christ as believers, so must we also balance a deep and knowledgeable faith with the basics.  Jesus loves us.  He died for us.  He rose again.  He listens to our prayers.  He heals the broken.  He can meet us where we are and make a path our path straight.  He wants us to love others and treat them with kindness and respect.

Bible stories are wonderful, and I share them with my children.  Only, as I do so, I try to make each one relatable to them.  For example, today we talked about the Creation of the Earth.  I don’t want those stories to be abstract, or for them not to get the milk they so desperately need.  So, I made sure that each one of them was told that even before the creation of the earth, God knew their names, and loved them.

And He does.  He loves us.

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
1 Peter 2:2-3

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Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day!

Being a mother is harder than I ever imagined it could be.  From constant care to catechesis, it never ends.  That is not something I was prepared for when my son was born four years ago.  I said to myself “Mothering is a 24 hour a day job and if you’re not willing to do that, you shouldn’t have signed up for the job.”  I hope all of you more experienced mothers out there are chuckling at my naivete.  Caring for a baby through the night is NOTHING compared to teaching and discipling toddlers, preschoolers, school-age kids, tweens, pre-teens, teenagers…  It takes constant vigilance.

I am grateful that the Lord isn’t done with me yet.

The other night, my son woke up to go the bathroom and had a tough time going back to sleep.  I brought him into bed with me.  He turned to me and said “Mommy, I want to ask you a question.”  I replied “Okay,what’s your question?”  He thought about it for a minute like he was just coming up with something to ask… “Mommy, why did Jesus die on the cross?”  I’m thinking to myself “Aw man!  Its 2am and he’s asking me this awesome, amazing question and I have no idea how to formulate and answer that a 4 yo can understand at 2am!!”  But at the same time, I was darn impressed that he thought to ask such a question.  I decided to give him the best answer I could- I shared the gospel with my son.  Now, of course this isn’t the first time I’ve done that… but this time seemed special.  Maybe it was the lateness of the hour or the fact that he thought to ask me.  I don’t know… but I do know that this is a mommy moment I will cherish forever and I’m determined to think about THIS when he’s whining about what I cooked for dinner.

I want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day out there to all mothers, but especially to those who have been true examples to me:

My own mother is a wonderful example of perseverence, generosity, service, cheerfulness, a deep abiding faith, and positivity.  She has her own struggles, but she is always giving.  She is fun and FUNNY.  She has built a new life for herself after my dad’s death four years ago and she continues to amaze me day after day.

My mother-in-law is a warrior.  She works so hard.  She prays even harder.  She raised five godly sons who love the Lord.  They are not without their problems and even though they are all adults, she prays for them constantly- and for her daughters-in-law and grandchildren.

To all mothers who have touched my life: I rise up and call you blessed.

Enjoy your day!

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Words- William Hammond, 1719-1783


Gracious Lord, incline thy ear;

My requests vouchsafe to hear;

Hear my never-ceasing cry;

Give me Christ, or else I die

*

Wealth and honor I disdain,

Earthly comforts, Lord are vain;

These can never satisfy;

Give me Christ, or else I die.

*

All unholy and unclean

I am nothing else but sin

On Thy mercy, I rely;

Give me Christ, or else I die

*

Thou dost freely save the lost;

In Thy grace alone I trust.

With my earnest suit comply;

Give me Christ, or else I die.

*

Thou dost promise to forgive

All who in thy Son believe;

Lord, I know thou canst not lie;

Give me Christ, or else I die.

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Clarifications

I found a comment addressed to me in another blog that I had stopped reading.  I only went back to try to figure something out, rather unrelated to the comment I found, but upon finding the comment I feel I must answer it.  The original comment can be found here.

1)You moderate comments. You change your posts. You have changed the “Our Purpose” page to reflect your new-fondness for Stacy. And have deleted all initial posts that were critical of her and her brand of ideology.

We do moderate comments.  As we’ve said, this is a personal blog and we’d like to keep it on topic and without personal attacks.  We’ve had issues in the past.  We did not change the Our Purpose page, though we certainly could.  As I said, it’s a personal blog.  I have changed the comments page to reflect the current issues coming up on the blog.

But I want to clarify, that we have not deleted any old posts.  We want to be honest about who we’ve been, who we are, and our journey to get there.  The statement that we’ve deleted posts is false.

2)You are not logical! You would never use logic in your arguments. You would just hit out at irrationally at me! You called Cindy, a well-respected Christian and theologian, a “bully.” I don’t know what names you could call me. You didn’t attack Cindy’s arguments. You attacked Cindy as a person.

Actually, I didn’t call Cindy a bully.  Jennifer/Cally said that Cindy had bullied away three people.  As for the logic issue, there’s no response to that.  It’s one person’s opinion and she’s certainly entitled to it.  Of course I disagree.  I work very hard to argue the points with people and not get personal.

3)You have changed many things on your blog without telling us – the readers and contributers why you are doing so. I know that your past convictions and disapproval of Stacy http://whitewashedfeminist.com/2008/07/31/doug-phillips-lydia-sherman-jenny-chancey-and-stacy-macdonald-reject-the-virgin-mary/ must clash with your new friendship with Stacy.  But honesty is appreciated. Just like Stacy you are also making changes on your blog to suit your conveniences. That shows you prefer increasing the popularity of ur blog and its acceptability among the hyper-pat crowd – instead of a devotion to the truth.

I didn’t write that post.  Laura Croft did.  When the contributors here write, they speak for themselves, not everyone.  Laura and NormalMiddle left for their own reasons.  NormalMiddle got busy with her family, and Laura felt like she’d said all she needed to say.

While the title of that post always made me cringe, I understood the point of it.  I still do.    My concerns about Patriarchy haven’t changed, I’m just willing to listen to the other side clarify their views. The idea that I don’t care about the truth is simply not true.  Nor have I ever sought acceptance with the hyper-pat crowd.

*edited to add* By the way, doesn’t it seem that if we were trying to curry favor with the Patriarchal or hyperpatriarchal (I make a distinction) crowd, we would delete a post like that?  I mean, if we were deleting posts, one would think that might be first on the chopping block.  So, either our current views aren’t in line with our previous views (I, actually think they are but that we’re learning that not all Patriachalists are Patriocentrists) and we shouldn’t grow, learn and change, or we’ve deleted posts to make it more favorable to the Patriarchal crowd.  I don’t see how we can do both.

The few changes made to our blog were personal changes.  We haven’t done it for popularity.  In fact we’re no more popular than we ever were.  I’d also like to point out that I think it’s a dangerous argument to speculate as to the motives of someone else and state them as fact.  One can think we made the changes for one reason or another, but they can’t know.  To insist my motives were to be dishonest, or to seek favor with men, is a very personal attack against my character.

We change things on our blog as our ideas change, though we’ve left all posts intact.  I think it’s fair to allow us to grow and learn as Christian women.  That’s not being dishonest.

4)I remember all your outspoken remarks against Lydia Sherman, Stacy McDonald and Jennie Chancey. I am not likely to forget that WWF was once very eager to make catty remarks against this crowd. If you search the archives, you can still find Cally and Anne’s remarks on Stacy. Cindy, Karen or Corrie have always stuck to attacking their ideology and actions – they have never made catty remarks as to how some people were snobs, who would even reject the Virgin Mary.

I’m not sure I’ve made a lot of catty remarks, but if I have, I apologize.  I felt that I tried very hard to interact with ideas, though I admit I may have failed from time to time.  But I think maybe you didn’t read that Virgin Mary post very well (which, again, to be clear, I didn’t write), it wasn’t about people being snobs as much as thinking that the Patriarchy movement didn’t have much room for those of us who come to the faith as lost children and have a past.  I still think that’s true of some on the extreme side.  I have written a post about an article Jennie Chancey wrote, and I still stand by it.  As I do my Letter to Lady Lydia.  Both of those dealt with ideas and teachings, not personal character.

5)You are not mature enough to handle arguments. You would only resort to name-calling when you are cornered in arguments.

I really haven’t.

If you are sincere in wanting to discuss things, you can start by apologising to Cindy for calling her a “bully.” It was unwarranted and unnecessary.

I didn’t call her a bully, so I can’t apologize for it.  Sorry.

Then next you can put an explanation on your blog as to why you edited and made changes on your blog.

Done.

Unless you are honest and upfront, I don’t want to be dicussing anything with you and getting myself into a cat fight.

Theological dicussions interest me, but not below-the-belt name-calling tactics.

Ditto!  Of course, I also prefer discussing things with people who aren’t openly hostile to me, but that’s just a personal preference.

Bless anyone who got through that.  I don’t particularly feel like answering to this poster or anyone else, but there were some errors in the comment and I really wanted to clarify them for anyone who might think we’re being devious in some way.

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