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Archive for March, 2009

Oh, my, this is awkward. Apparently the week went by just too, too quickly. And honestly, between Bethany being gone for spring break, and my growing obsession with Twitter, political events to follow and blog, attempts to be social, Netflix DVDs to watch, a ridiculously slow work computer, a visit from my dad, and an upcoming missions trip to prepare for, I guess this blog had to be put on the back burner for a while. My apologies.

So today’s Friday Frivolity (these weren’t intended to always be video clips, btw, it just works out that way) is a clip from the BBC show, “The Vicar of Dibley.” Yes, the vicar is a woman, Geraldine Granger (played by the indescribably wonderful Dawn French), who never seems to find that love of her life. Plenty of men have asked her to marry them, of course, by which they mean they want her to conduct their wedding ceremony … as they marry someone else. But at the end of the series, her turn finally comes.

For any North and South fans out there, yes, that’s Mr. Thornton.

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The frivolities that I have to share today have been around for a while now, but they’re still good for some laughs, I think. Kind of like that uncle or cousin everyone has. Anyway, to start we have the obligatory YOUTUBE VIDEO:

And then, because the best (or worst) of them absolutely NEVER get old, I would like to share some of my favorite Christian pick-up lines:

–My parents are in town tonight. Want to come over?

–Excuse me, but I believe one of your ribs belongs to me.

–The Word says, “Give drink to those who are thirsty, and feed the hungry.” So … how about dinner?

–Is it a sin that you stole my heart?

–Want to practice speaking in tongues?

–So, I hear there’s going to be a love offering tonight.

–A friend told me to come talk to you, he said you were a really nice person. I think you know him—Jesus? Yeah, that’s him.

–Hey baby, you wanna take the church van for a spin?

–Hi, my name is Will … God’s Will.

–I never believed in predestination until this moment.

–You put the “cute” in persecution!

And my absolute personal favorite:
–Baby, you are so unblemished, I would sacrifice you.

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Don’t worry, Friday Frivolity is coming, but I felt a need to post this first.

This is one of those things where I’m writing to remind myself of something that I need to hear, and I’m hoping that it can be a blessing to others, as well.

One evening, I was driving home from my Tuesday night small group, thinking about what we had discussed and read, most of which had been related to our being single (one of the women, not present at the time, is engaged, but everyone else is completely unattached). I was also thinking about the women themselves. I found myself thinking the same thing I’ve always thought about my college friends, other church friends, some of my relatives, and pretty much every single girl I’ve ever been friends with.

My frustrated thoughts ran along this track: These are all beautiful, intelligent, talented, interesting young women here. There is no human reason why they should all be single!

Then I realized … if there is no human reason, then it must be a supernatural reason. God Himself must be preventing it, for some as-yet-unknown purpose.

If that is the case, who am I to interfere?

I try to remind myself of this whenever I get in those moods that involve, “*grumble grumble* Why her and not me? *fume fume*” or “What is taking him so long to get here?” and other, similar thoughts. If God wills it, it will happen. That’s all I need to know.

And to finish up this post, here are some scriptures:

I Peter 5:6-11 (NLT):

So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NLT):

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

Psalm 27:13-14 (NLT):

Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living. Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.

I realize that these verses were not orginially targeted to lonely singles, but that is one area of my life where I’ve particularly needed encouragement.

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I’m taking a break from a break (from a break) from working on my final paper. I did finally manage to make those cup-cakes I wrote about earlier in the week (Nutella frosting, anyone?) which turned out to be quite tasty but which took significantly longer to create than I had imagined. And significantly more eggs – though only becuase I spoiled the icing twice. Oops!

At any rate, I just wanted to share with you some lyrics from one of my all time favorite songs about singleness, a song which, actually, makes a good counterpoint to Emily’s earlier post about Christian music. It is a great example of what Christian songs can be – honest, funny, depressed, yet hopeful.  I think the songwriter, Derek Webb, would quite agree with what Emily had to say. If you haven’t, I’d definitely recommend finding out more of his views on Christian culture – very interesting.  It is too late for me too look for a link now – but if I run across something, I’ll post it.

I love this song, Table for Two (written by Derek Webb and performed by Caedmon’s Call) because it captures the cycle of self-pity and trust in God I find myself going through again and again when it comes to relationships (or the lack thereof).  But singing along to the resigned “everyone’s lonely but still we just couldn’t complain,” the amusingly self pitying “this day’s been crazy but everything’s happened on schedule, from the rain and the cold to the drink that I spilled on my shirt,” and hope-restoring “and you know the plans you have for me, and you can’t plan the ends, and not plan the means” always makes me feel better. I carry the words along with me, and they seem to come back and fit many different situations in which I find myself. What about you guys?  Any songs (or poems, paintings etc.) that do that for you? Let us know.

So here is Table for Two:

Danny and I spent another late night over pancakes
We talked about soccer and how every man’s just the same
And made speculation on the ‘who’s and the ‘when’s of our futures
And how everyone’s lonely but still we just couldn’t complain

And how we just hate being alone
Could I have left my only chance
And now I’m just wasting my time
Looking around

But you know I know better I’m not gonna worry ’bout nothing
‘Cause if the birds and the flowers survive then I’ll make it okay
If given a chance and a rock see which one breaks a window
And see which one keeps me up all night and into the day

Because I’m so scared of being alone
That I forgot what house I live in
But it’s not my job to wait by the phone
For her to call

Well this day’s been crazy but everything’s happened on schedule
From the rain and the cold to the drink that I spilled on my shirt
‘Cause You knew how You’d save me before I fell dead in the garden
And You knew this day long before You made me out of dirt

And You know the plan You have for me
And You can’t plan the ends and not plan the means
And so I suppose I just need some peace
To get me to sleep

That’s what I need right now. Some sleep. Thanks for tuning in!  Have a marvelous Thursday.

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Today, I was at the grocery store, and I thought of Bethany’s post about looking for love to go with the organic leeks and beef boullion cubes. I was kind of smiling to myself in the produce section when I thought of it, and then I walked by a tall, reasonably attractive gentleman.

That’s … really as far as the story goes.

But what I found most amusing was that the expression on his face was a lot like how I felt—kind of in a hurry, and not particularly happy to be there. Because, honestly, despite its promise of romance, adventure, and intrigue, I hate having to go to the grocery store. Some chores are better than others, and while I enjoy cooking with the fruits (and vegetables, and meats, and … well, you get the idea) of my visit, I don’t like actually having to go. So I’m usually in and out as fast as humanly possible, and I don’t think much about the people there.

Now I’m wondering, *gasp* Have I missed the opportunity of a lifetime??? Honestly, as amusing as his facial expression was, there was a certain forbidden vibe about that guy. Not exactly Beauty-and-the-Beast-never-enter-the-west-wing forbidden, but, you know, mildly standoffish and unapproachable. And since I have an expressive face anyway, it would not surprise me to learn that I was wearing that same look of “Grrrr … Don’t talk to me, I just want to finish my task and be done with it!!!”

And that kind of thing doesn’t lend itself to friendly chatter. So maybe I should be more aware of my facial expressions and my general appearance in terms of approachability. You know what they say about being happy—you never know who’s falling in love with your smile!

</sickening cheesiness>

On that note, what could you work on to be more approachable, for the sake of being a friendly person, or for your future relationship, or as a Christian witness, etc.?

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This post isn’t necessarily related to being single, but since we ladies are not defined by our singleness, I figured it was perfectly fine!

Do you ever feel like you’re the only person who holds a certain opinion—maybe not something life-or-death, but still something that affects your life, yet for some reason it may be taboo in certain circles? Have you ever, then, found out that there are other people who are on the same page? Isn’t that a fantastic feeling?!?!?!?

That’s how I felt this morning when I went to one of my favorite websites and read this article by Bill Barnwell: “Why Most Christian Music and Entertainment Stinks.”

Maybe you’re not a Christian, or you are a Christian and think “our” music, films, etc. are just fine. Whatever the case, this essay is definitely worth the read. I like to think of myself as “musical,” and I couldn’t begin to point out what Christian culture, especially the music, needs to do to draw more people and eliminate the “cheesiness.” Rev. Barnwell does a good job of identifying some of the problems and solutions. He puts words to many things that I have thought since high school, but for some reason can share with few people.

I always feel awkward when I’m with a group of fellow Christians and we’re sharing “our favorite music” and everyone is naming Christian groups and singers that I’ve never heard of. (This usually happens during one of those awkward “Get to know each other” activities.) Am I less of a Christian for not being immersed in pop Christianity’s “alternative” culture? Does the fact that I didn’t grow up listening to DC Talk mean that I hate Jesus? I mean, I have a couple worship songs on my iPod, but they’re kind of lost among the 90’s pop, Bollywood, Regina Spektor, Broadway soundtracks, Rachmaninoff, Muse, and Nightwish. (I have quite eclectic music tastes; music is pretty much the only thing I am incapable of being a snob about.) Perhaps I ought to be singing “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound” 24/7 and not, “Life is a cabaret, old chum / Come to the cabaret!” But seriously, which one is more fun? No offense to the late John Newton, but Broadway will usually win out in my book.

I have to include a few excerpts from Barnwell’s essay in this post, because some things were so painfully true, or phrased well, or eye-opening. Now, the author takes an economical approach to the problem and solution, and it makes sense, but if you think that Christians should never think about profit, and that God hates capitalism, you might take offense at this article. Just a warning.

Not to brag, but I have a pretty broad sense of humor—but my true talent lies in sarcasm. That’s why I so much appreciate remarks like this:

For decades Christianity has been retreatest [sic] from the realm of popular culture and the arts. There was a day when Christianity was on the cutting edge of the arts (and despite what you’ve been led to believe, science) but now have reputations for being hostile to these same cultural realms. Instead, the obsession has almost solely been on political activism. We all know that the average 15-year-old is far more interested in politics than movies and that they are much better at quoting House speeches from Nancy Pelosi than they are at quoting from movies like The Dark [Kn]ight.

Then I read the following, and wanted to just scream out, “THANK YOU!!” But I’m sitting at work, in a cubicle, in a very, very quiet office, so I had to do so only in my head. This is one of the passages that put into words things that I’d always thought, but didn’t know how to express.

The issue is not whether or not God or Christ should be directly mentioned. The bigger issue is that most Christian music simply isn’t relatable to the average person, including many Christians. … This isn’t meant to sound disrespectful towards God at all: But the typical person does more than just sit around and sing worship songs all day. I agree that for the believer, Christ should be the center of all we do. But where Christian music falls short is that it rarely ever addresses the loss of a job, the heartache of a loss of love, a battle with addiction, depression, and any other sort of “real life” issues. Instead it’s mostly a bunch of happy go lucky love songs towards God or “Jesus is my girlfriend/boyfriend” type stuff.

Honestly, I do love to sing Hillsong and, um, others of that type in church (see? not familiar at all), but not very often outside of church. When I’m struggling with something, I will be praying, of course, but I don’t necessarily feel like joyously singing “Mighty to Save.” Of course we must remember, in all times, that God is mighty to save, but we may not always feel like singing it. Yes, we are to be thankful in all circumstances, but we also shouldn’t be fake with our God, especially since He already sees into our hearts and knows when we “front.” Remember all He has done for you, obviously, but because He desires a relationship with us, I am pretty sure that He’s okay with us asking, “Seriously, God? What is UP with this??” (If He’s not, then I’m in huge trouble.)

That’s why I read a lot of Psalms when I’m in a crisis: I take comfort in the words of David crying out to God because he feels as though God has abandoned him, even though he knows in his heart that it isn’t so. If only there were more Christian songs along those lines. The Christian life isn’t always hearts, roses, and loveliness, and the music should reflect that. I usually don’t turn to the admittedly few Christian songs on my playlist when I’m depressed, nursing a new crush, or need an energy boost. I have Nightwish, cheesy Broadway love duets, and Aimee Allen for all of those things. (Don’t judge me.)

I wish Christian music was better. I really do. I would listen to more of it if it was, and I wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen buying/listening to it. And I believe that the culture problem may have something to do with the supposed decline in Christianity in the United States. Although the line between being “in” the world and being “of” the world can be difficult to toe, I think that immersing ourselves into the mainstream culture would be much more successful than the past few decades of dividing, angering, and alienating people through political activism.

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Happy Monday! Sorry if that’s a bit too much enthusiasm for a Monday. I’m just taking a break from term-paper writing (spring break is a blessed five days away!) to tell you about one of the loves of my life: the grocery store. I love the grocery store. I love everything about it, from fascinating produce sections where you really need a field guide to sort out the different varieties to the organic section with gluten-free cookies and Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese to the aisle with all the brightly labeled canned, powdered, packaged and instant foods to the 3,000 varieties of olive oil.

(I realized recently that my affection for food might be a bit excessive when I was talking with a friend and told her, “I love Columbus – it has wonderful restaurants and grocery stores!” I suppose there are more criteria for judging a place than just its groceries – I should have also mentioned the fantastic local ice-cream manufacturers!) There’s always such a feeling of discovery at a grocery store, of adventure. One might come home with a package of rice noodles and a particularly intriguing fruit and have to find a whole new recipe in which to use them. Or one might come back with 5 bananas and a squash. Or sharp white cheddar. Or popsicles. The charm is – anything could happen.

In addition to this feeling of discovery in the food-realm, the grocery store also holds (for me, at any rate) the promise of romance. What isn’t romantic about the thought of meeting one’s soul-mate in the dairy department: “O! You too like European-style butter? Come and kiss me, my sweet!” or what isn’t fully adorable about seeing guys buy canned goods and ramen? It awakens a rather housewifely instinct, methinks. Add to this that my current grocery somehow has a surplus population of young and fairly attractive male customers, and I simply cannot help but imagine picking up pears, cereal, milk and a man on my trip to the grocery store. Though I’m pretty sure I couldn’t pick up a man if he were 3’2” and weighed sixty pounds, I can’t quite shake the hope.

So I’ve gotten pretty good at figuring out who’s single and who’s a good catch by quick observations. Of course, there’s always the ring check, but sometimes you just can’t count on that. So, there’s the grocery check: 24 pack of Bud-light, not so much my kind of guy. Organic veggies, high-quality pasta – maybe a bit high maintenance but probably a cook. Good stuff. Baby food? Not available, but isn’t it great to see men out taking care of baby errands? I haven’t managed to acquire a super-market super-boyfriend yet, but I have become quite observant. (Oh! If I manage to become a single elderly lady, I will have the perfect set-up for a charming detective series…) Thus far, the only romance my grocery shopping has afforded has been this one:

Mrs. Butterworth and Frangelico! Aren't they cute?

Mrs. Butterworth and Frangelico! Aren't they cute?

Don’t they make and adorable couple? (Frangelico is going in these Nutella cupcakes. I’ll let you know how they turn out.) In the meantime, do you have any locales which, while not traditionally romantic, are romantic to you? Please share.

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