Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
The house next door to ours has been foreclosed upon. Of course, this isn't a particularly unusual happening these days and being that the house was owned and "maintained" by a slumlord, it isn't particularly upsetting. For the past few days, I've been watching the men employed by the bank as they cleaned truckload after truckload of junk out of the house and carted it away. They told me a little of what they found inside, though, and that was something I did find somewhat upsetting. They found the usual rotting food and filth, but they also found evidence of (I know the neo-pagans would disapprove of this moniker, but it is what it is) witchcraft and black rituals. They removed spell books and Voodoo dolls and at least one bag of animal carcasses. I don't think this happening deserves too much attention, but I do believe that there are forces in the world that act as opposition to us as we try to walk with Christ and share something of his Light with the world. Even if we are woefully negligent in doing so.
Our beloved priest and his equally beloved wife (who happens to be our deacon) prayed for us and blessed our home before we even knew what was happening outside. And God heard and delivered us.I recite a litany of faithfulness. I proclaim the faithful hand of God my Father on my life. And that he has cloaked my in His protection and favor is especially evident in the unfolding of these circumstances.
This morning, I was reminded of God's faithfulness again at church when we were blessed and anointed by our Rwandan Bishop (yeah, I'm that kind of Anglican) John Rucyahana. He spoke powerfully about the failure of the Church to withstand the pressure of culture and
boldly proclaim Christ and his faithfulness. It was humbling and it was powerful.
Then, I read an excerpt from this article in Christianity Today in which another Anglican bishop
recounts some of the problems he's observed in what has come to be known as the emergent
church. Here it is:
Friday, September 25, 2009
Carrie in the roses on her very first birthday.
This morning, I feel like I've just woken up from a very long sleep in a very dark place. It's taking me a minute to fully come-to and remember where I am. I can tell that my writing has gone musty and frayed with misuse like the quilts I stack on my hope chest during the summer. I need to shake it out and put it to use.
This summer—this interminable summer—is finally fading away and leaving me as completely ready to see it go as I ever have been. I wore it out like a good pair of jeans. By the Labor Day horse show in Tennessee, it was soft and broken in and unfit for public wear. So, I let it go. And felt grateful. I spent two weeks at the beach at the end of August recovering from pneumonia and enjoying beaches that spread out like Caribbean travel brochures under an uncharacteristically cool sky. I made it to Lake Martin for a weekend and reveled in the way the water smells (and unfortunately, tastes) like decades of fishing and skiing and lazy Bourbon drinking. It was a beautiful summer. And it surrounded one of the hardest times of my life.
This summer, we seemed to go from difficulty to difficulty. My pregnancy became decidedly high-risk somewhere in mid-July and I've already been in the hospital three times. Our Golden Retriever has been diagnosed with untreatable lymphoma. And our spirits have been tried with any number of smaller troubles and clogs that probably wouldn't bear mentioning even if I could remember them all. It was a strange fusion of sweet and sour. To say the least.
But we have thrived in this rocky soil and we find it hard to attribute it to anything other than the grace of a benevolent God and the trials he wields like a surgical scalpel to dissect our sinful spirits. Whereas I began the summer in a perilous state of unbelief and rebellion, he has used difficulty to bring me back to faith and to further reveal and heal the collateral damage caused by too long a time in too dark a place.
These last few weeks (days?) before the baby's arrival are pearls He has given me to savor and admire and enjoy. And I am grateful.