Let’s all ramble around like Banned Books

All the spiders in Tennessee are the size of the Hamburgler and Michelle Obama is still not my best friend but everything else in life is really good right now. I’m really thankful, in fact. Patti Mayonnaise is returning to Nickelodeon and my hubby loves me and my kids aren’t yet throwing acid glares at me when I walk into a room. It’s a pretty sweet season.

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This morning I realized, whilst standing in my underoos, that today was the morning I had signed up to be chaplain in Baby Girl’s class. It’s amazing how dressed a person can become and how fast a person can drive a scooter when she has 15 minutes to prepare a worship thought for some primary schoolies. I was reminded how completely ape a classroom full of 7 and 8 year-olds can become when they are commissioned to shove their desks back and sit on the floor. Go ahead. Change our seating arrangements? We gon’ get totally crunk. It was a good exercise in patience for me, though. Nothing frustrates me more than poor listeners, poor rememberers, poor engagers of people right in front of them. And to God, I am way worse than a second grader at class chapel. I can’t sit still to listen to Him, I have to keep learning the same lessons over and over, and I constantly skip off LA LA LA rather than face the music of a well-deserved rebuke.

Thank you, second grade, for chapeling the chaplain.

It’s banned book week and it’s capturing my heart this year with a vice grip. We’re such a nation divided right now, standing with Planned Parenthood or visiting with Kim Davis. Those are your two options, pick a lane. It’s terribly easy to curate one’s world; to control the narrative so that it doesn’t allow for any manner of truth to break through from a disparate viewpoint. Isn’t that the spirit that those who ban books want to ignite? That there is no common ground, nothing of worth to learn from radical texts. Rather than invite the germs of truth they may offer, it is easier and perhaps better to pull a book from the shelves, to effectively silence a voice so others in disagreement won’t have to suffer it.

I just want to encourage all of us to ramble around like a banned book, focusing less on our disinvintation from the party, believing fervently in the truth of our contents within.

Here are a few of my favorite “banned books:”

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Review: Wild in the Hollow by Amber C. Haines

I live in a shoddily-constructed rental home and I’m worse than ashamed about it. I’m irritated with the ground wasps that multiply in August that sting my husband whilst he’s trying to cut the grass. I’m annoyed, generally, with the lack of well-configured space and the moody windows that usually don’t stay open and the ugly countertops that are forever being stained in my kitchen. I’m full-blown ticked that I’m nearly old enough to run for U.S. President but am so broke as to need to rent property from a colleague.

I’m malcontent and it’s not okay and author Amber Haines seems to understand me.

Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home is something of a masterpiece.

Truth: this is the best book I have read about spiritual conviction and the spiritual landscape in North America.
Truth: I am so jealous of Haines’ eloquence for writing about said conviction and landscape.

How can I be both jealous and in awe of a writer at the same time?

I just am. I cannot recommend this book enough. I’ve marked it up something fierce with my pen of conviction and I’ve already got it slated to lend to my girl Brandy who also teaches me things about spiritual convictions and landscapes and who reminds me not to be cranky about my rental home because I am a rich woman indeed and good things come to those who wait and hope in the Lord.

Here’s the trailer:

Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home from Matthews Media on Vimeo.

Please go read this book if you have ever:
– felt a bit too wild for your environment
– wondered why you have an ache for something more at the end of each day
– known anxiety, depression or some combination thereof and wondered why you couldn’t pray it away
– desired community but were afraid you had nothing to offer
– felt despondent about church or the capital “C” church and didn’t know what to do about it

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What the World Cup is showing me about grace

Full disclosure: I haven’t watched any of the World Cup. Even more shame in my game is the fact that I am deriving this news report from Kathie Lee and Hoda’s Thirsty Thursday episode, watched on the treadmill yesterday. Seriously, WHO AM I?

Regardless of my newsfeed, one of the most beautiful images I have seen recently hails from the English women’s soccer match against Japan. England defender Laura Bassett managed to kick a goal. Into her own goal. Causing her team to fall and hand Japan a 2-1 victory.

Bennett was described as inconsolable. She is obviously shaken to the point of incredulity in the pictures and videos I have seen. How could this have happened? I was perfectly positioned–how did the ball ricochet so strongly in the wrong direction? How was my goalie unable to defend our net?

Photo: FOX Sports
Photo: FOX Sports

But then her teammates emerge and tell a different story. They lay hands on her, they shield her entirely, like she is the goal they need to protect. We can imagine their words unspoken. You are our teammate. You made a mistake. Remember all those times you were amazing and strong? This was just one time. We’ve all been there. We are all here for you. We share in this defeat but our sadness is divided.

Friends, what if this was how we handled a failure in our communities? Instead of castigating the mistake-maker, what if we treated him who has made a public blunder less as a pariah and more as a teammate? What if we rallied around them, blanketed them in mercy, told them how this was just an accident. Reminded him of all the other times he shined, he made a difference for the better on our team?

This is grace in a womens soccer jersey. This is the Gospel running around in cleats.

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