Apr 22, 2013
I have big news! I am working on a project that just might change the way that we teach our children about God and spirituality. Intrigued? Read the bottom of this post for details on how you can get involved.
Wild Geese :: Engaging with Kids in the Mystery of God is a digital book that will launch July 15th, 2013 on Amazon. It will include three major parts:
- The first is the Inspiration bit – a few dozen guest authors will help me create it, delving into topics like Feminism, Sexting, Spiritual Disciplines (for kids!), the Liturgical Year, the Third Way (or creative nonviolence), and many, many more. It will include special pieces for teachers and parents of children from preschool to high school. Its aim is to spread shalom straight to the heart of parents and teachers everywhere.
- The second section will contain a detailed Curriculum. Based on Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind, I am working on a curriculum that will teach us to teach using his six senses: Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, and Meaning. The teacher will be able to choose whether to start at the beginning of the school year, the beginning of the calendar year, or the beginning of the Liturgical Year. It will include correlating spiritual practices for each lesson that will engage kids on their age level, in-depth study of other religions that is not shallow or dismissive (the goal here is to teach and learn what Brian McLaren calls a Strong Benevolent faith identity – from his book Why did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?). My strengths and education lean more towards capturing content rather teaching specific age levels, so I will keep the syllabus open-ended with lots of room for adaptation.
- The third section will harbor the Resources: all of the books, websites, prayers, and blessings that went in to creating this book. I am a research maven. The hope is that this section alone will be so expansive it will be worth the cost of the book by itself. Of course, that is the goal for the other two sections as well.
I am currently seeking submissions for the Inspiration section of this book :: 500-1000 words toward inspiring the teachers and, effectually, the children we hope to reach. I am also putting together a focus group to help make sure the curriculum is nothing short of amazing. If you’d like to submit or be a part of the focus group, please email me your topic idea and anything else you think would be relevant at email@example.com. I’ll be taking submissions until May 1st.
Apr 18, 2013
Think Love Create was the first (e)book I ever wrote. It’s my love child and I’m intensely proud of it. Click here to download it and save it to your computer. This is an excerpt:
The faith I live urges me to love my enemies. Sometimes I think
that’s too wild a love. Often, I’m not even very good at loving my
friends and family. If I fail them, where’s the hope?
There’s a man somewhere in the world, he hurt my little girl. I don’t love him. Most days I hate him. And I can’t help
but wonder why my God wants me to love this . . . man.
What is the good? How does it help?
There are people from my past; our souls collided in our journeys
toward destruction. Some of them used me. I used many of them.
They don’t want my love. How do I love someone like that?
I could pray for them. But that seems weak. I could seek them out
and offer a sincere apology for the things I’ve done. I could. I have
in some cases. But it hardly seems loving if what they really want is
to have nothing to do with me.
I don’t have clear answers to these questions. Love is messy and
there is lots of room for mistakes. I think that’s why God looks at
If we don’t love, we can quickly find ourselves spiraling into bitter
fools. There are signs. Do you find it hard to give someone who
hurt you the benefit of the doubt? What are your triggers? What
makes your blood boil?
Jesus wasn’t always kind. Sometimes, brutal honesty is the most
loving. Love is work. You must sift and comb and tarry until you
know how a person needs to be loved. I penned the following
[letter] to practice loving wildly. [It is] intensely personal. And it
feels odd to share. But I didn’t want to just talk about love; I wanted
to do it.
As I type this, you’re kicking me. We’re 8 months along and my belly already
feels too big to hold you. I can’t wait to meet you. I’m already smitten. If you
are anything like your dad, you’ll be wonderful.
I’m nervous to have a boy. I need to confess that to you. I’m nervous I won’t
know how to relate to you and I’ll muck everything up. It’s hard for me to be
close to boys. But as your mom, I can’t expect you to understand that. I’m so
afraid that the horrors from my past will come back to hurt you.
I am bawling as I write this letter. I’m sorry I wished you were a girl! I didn’t
fully understand why until I started writing. I’m glad I get it now. I think it will
help me love you better.
In this moment, I’ve changed my mind. I no longer want a girl. I want to learn
how to love my precious baby boy. I hope you’ll be patient with me. Right
now, you sit under my heart. Please know, dear one, it’s yours, always.
With deep gratitude,
Apr 16, 2013
I didn’t read her post because I was afraid she’d weep about what a horrible person she is. And I get it, we’re all sinners, but that is not what this is about. Perhaps we all are screwed up from the moment we’re born, but when I look at my infant, so full of innocence and possibility, I have my doubts.
David sounds so wretched. We read it and we think in celestial terms. But he lived in the there and now. Forgiveness is for today. Because nothing else is promised or certain.
Grace is the baker’s dozen. The lagniappe. The bit we can’t pay for. The bit we just get.
I wanted to get angry. I wanted not to get it. But I felt the calm rush over me as I read the words David had spilled and I knew there was something below the surface. I scanned the commentary but I didn’t see it right away. I went back to read the words one more time. Just in case.
And there it was.
The word meant womb. The motherly compassion of God. The God that is not angry at you. The God that plays in the mud with you. The God that sings silly songs to you and kisses your tears away. That’s to Whom David was speaking.
This poem was inspired by Psalm 51. I am participating in the Psalm’s Journey, hosted by Steph of Everyday Awe. We’re exploring the second half of Psalms with poetry. I’ve decided to play because, I am learning, I can’t call myself a digital pastor and not, at some point, dive—head first—into the Bible. Even if it upsets my stomach. If you’d like to join, you can get all the details here or link up your own post here. And if you’d like not to miss my weekly poetic musings and get a free book with a tank on the cover, you can subscribe to brandyglows here.
Apr 11, 2013
“The saving of our world from pending doom will come, not through the complacent adjustment of the conforming majority, but through the creative maladjustment of a nonconforming minority.”
I have a dream. I believe that the restoration of all things is possible. We have the technology. We have the desire. We have the intellect. We have TED.
The question isn’t: can we? It’s: will we?
Will we love when we’d rather hate? Will we confess when we’d rather blame? Will we give when we’d rather get? Will we move mountains when we’d rather sleep?
Will we save some pie for future generations?
There are some things in our social system which I am proud to be maladjusted and to which I suggest that you, too, ought to be maladjusted. I never intend to adjust myself to the viciousness of mob-rule. I never intend to adjust myself to the evils of segregation and the crippling effects of discrimination. I never intend to adjust myself to the tragic inequalities of an economic system which takes necessities from the masses to give luxuries to the classes. I never intend to become adjusted to the madness of militarism and the self-defeating method of physical violence. I call upon you to be maladjusted . . . the world is in desperate need of maladjustment. Through such maladjustment we will be able to emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of man’s inhumanity to man into the bright glittering daybreak of freedom and justice. - Martin Luther King Jr.
What gets you out of alignment? What can you do to fix it? If you don’t know what to do, share your maladjustment in a comment below and we’ll brainstorm together. Everyone is maladjusted somewhere. It’s uncomfortable for a reason. Feel it. Find it.
And then do something.
Apr 8, 2013
“My sister-in-law gave me books. She felt sorry for me. I felt sorry for me. The books didn’t help. They were all about the joy of bringing new life into the world and what to expect when you’re expecting. But what the heck do you expect when you’re completely unprepared to have a baby?
I needed to quit smoking, but I couldn’t. If I had known the guilt I’d have to carry around for the next ten years every time my daughter’s asthma flared up, it may have been easier. I looked for the book I needed. The one to show me how to become an adult and take care of an infant and navigate postpartum depression. I couldn’t find that book . . . “
This is the beginning of a post I wrote for Early Mama, and, effectually, a news series here, on brandyglows. For moms of all ages, but especially the young ones.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about how I found out I was pregnant the first time. I wrote it in third person, I think, because it’s hard to admit that’s where I was at that time. It’s hard to admit, in part, because people can be jerks when it comes to kids. Parent shaming is rampant.
Of course, I get that it’s important to take good, loving care of your children. I believe it is the biggest job in the world—for both moms and dads. But, the honest to God truth is that some people get pregnant before they’re ready. And I have to believe that somehow, God understands that and made it that way because God believes [more than we could ever grasp] that every single person is a precious gift. If we had to have everything 100% together before we brought a child into the world, we’d go extinct.
I believe in mistakes and grace and learning on the job. I believe it takes a village and that it’s okay to be a mess in front of your kids. That’s why I was yelling at my computer screen when I read this post that was a response to this post. The responder, Alison, wrote:
This same blog post went on to say that when older people advise,”Enjoy your kids while they’re little, they grow up fast!” that he normally laughs off their comment but inwardly wants to hold them under water, just long enough to watch them squirm. So. Not. Funny. Not only is this a wicked, murderous thought(even if he was joking, a Christian should never make a mock a sin,) but it shows that this generation has no respect for their elders. This present generation of parents tend to view their elders as uneducated fogies, but this same generation is the one raising a bunch of irrational, overly medicated children. Our parents and grandparents did not need to medicate children to make them listen in school or obey. Their kids also did not throw screaming fits in the grocery store when they didn’t get their favorite candy bar. Now, who is the more successful parent?
regretfully, almost 95 percent of the feedback to the previous mentioned article were professing Christians that were saying,”I feel that way exactly! I tell my kids that if they don’t leave me alone we are both going to end up on the front of the newspaper!” Again, they are threatening their kids with abuse or murder…only with words, but those words must hurt! I can’t imagine the hurt i would feel if my mother said those words to me when I was a kid!
We’re like vultures, picking each other apart. She hated that the original post had resonated with so many people. I don’t normally write response posts. And I hardly ever write response posts to responses. But her post got me all up in arms.
After reading some of the comments that she received, I feel like it’s important to point out that the joke that the author made was NOT about holding children under water. And also, that it was very very obvious that he was joking. Humor and empathy are healing instruments and I do not believe what he did was sinful. And, thirdly, lighten up? Please?
I found it frustrating that in her entire post, she did not link to the original post. I found myself wondering if she was afraid to—for fear her readers might agree with The Actual Pastor. I feel like she misrepresented him and the people who found such solace in his words. I’m friends with some of those people. And I know that they love their children to pieces. Even though sometimes they want to box their ears.
The elders rant was a weird tangent. My elders aren’t the only ones who like to give me cliché, unhelpful advice. Plus, he didn’t even say that it was older people doling out these words. And seriously, whether or not our generation has respect for our elders has nothing to do with one blog post from one guy. Even if he is a pastor.
I think his post resonated with so many people because we love to throw swords with our eyes and our hearts and our words. We love to point out how those parents have got it all wrong. And I think we do it because we’re afraid that the parts we hate in those parents can be found in our very own hearts.
It’s scary to consider. And to top it all off, parenting may just be the hardest job in the whole effing world. But I have a sense that we can teach and learn and love our kids without putting other parents down. I guess I have a real big soft spot for the young mamas because in addition to the shame we love to pile on top of their heads, they face real obstacles that would be difficult for even the most grown up of grown ups – but they’re still growing up! And possibly they landed themselves in these sticky positions. But who the crap cares? Let’s start from this moment. Let’s remember that this is the first day of a new week. And change is real, yo.
I still mess up as a parent. I yell at her to hurry up when we’re running late—even when it’s my fault. I box her into unhelpful feminine stereotypes. And, hardest of all to admit, I think because I see her as so much like me, I take out my frustration with other people out on her.
I was sharing this with a friend the other night who is suffering from a gnarly eating disorder. We talked about the link between how she was raised and where she is now. I asked her what I could do to save my daughter from the same fate.
“Validate her. Let her know that it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to be frightened.”
I think that’s true for parents, too. We don’t raise our kids in a vacuum. We stand on the shoulders of our parents and their parents and their parents’ parents. And if don’t we realize how their mistakes hurt us, we will very likely make the same ones with our kids. But, here’s the thing—we are amazingly resilient. We’ve all been hurt by our parents. We still love them. And many of us are happy, healthy, and contributing to society.
I want to create a safe space for us. Where we can be free to express our feelings and emotions and off-color jokes in all their messy, abundant reality. Where we can share our regrets and triumphs. Where we can learn soft, open, wholehearted parenting. Together.
I believe in a God that meets us where we are. Not where we’re supposed to be. You are not late to the party. You can love your children even if you want to run away from them sometimes.
I hope to fill this space chock full of resources, humor, and hope. I want you to get excited to read it every week and get a heady dose of encouragement. To kick things off, I offer you this prayer.
If you’re looking for space like this, sign up for free here and make sure you don’t miss a thing.