This blog has sat dormant for a year and a half. On a whim, I went and updated another one of my blogs. I hadn't really planned on posting over here, but then I looked at the stats. Over a thousand page views? 19 comments posted?
OK, that's really small.
But for little ol' me, that was kind of a big deal. Like maybe this blog wasn't completely pointless.
So maybe I'll start posting again. Do book reviews, rants, and rambles. The thing is I struggle with discipline, and maintaining a blog is a discipline At least when you want it to be a little more than one more black hole on the internet. So, no, I don't have a vision for this blog. No big ideas of what to cover or even what to do from this point. And this blog might just sit dormant for another year and a half.
But maybe it's time for me to start actually trying to articulate what I think. My husband is the "amateur apologist" in the family. The idea of even entering into any kind of debate or trying to sensibly express my thoughts and beliefs leaves me feeling faint. But I'm kind of tired of being a Christian Cowardly-Lion. There is a lot to be said for living out your faith, but if you never express what that faith is, is it really doing anyone around you any good?
So here goes nothin'.
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (ESV)
Something to think about as we start the season of Lent.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
I just finished up Revitalize Your Spiritual Life: A Woman's Guide for Vibrant Christian Living. It's a compilation of excerpts from some of the women writers over at Thomas Nelson publishers, featuring snippets from books by Shelia Walsh, Stormie Omartian, and others. It could easily be described as a sampler of the publisher's women's interest books. The book is set up topically, covering two broad motifs: "The Things That Keep Us Stuck" and "The Things That Set Us Free".
These aren't authors I normally read. In fact, I have never read anything else by any of the authors featured. Stormie Omartian was the only writer I recognized, and the featured book Confessions of a Good Christian Girl was the only book I had considered purchasing out of all of the books featured. Normally I am very cynical about Christian living books geared toward women. They all seem to say the same thing and just add to already existing feelings of inadequacy. The genre seems to promote the image of that perfect modern Christian woman (the Proverbs 31 wife in khakis and pastel-colored blouses).
So I set my cynicism aside and starting reading. I didn't really like the sampler style as it felt it jumped around a bit, and I had to adjust to each writer's style from page to page. I was able to pick out author's I would be interested in picking up some more of their books - and others I would probably avoid.
As for the content, I have to admit I was surprised. Yes, there were bits of the same-old, same-old content. But I honestly found the book re-freshing. Even if the content wasn't completely new, I was challenged and encouraged by the writers. It began as a book I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy and it ended with over a dozen sticky tabs sticking out of the side, marking portions that really spoke to me.
So here is my final opinion: if you want deep, theological teaching you might want to skip it (not that the writer's aren't theologically sound - but if you're wanting straight theology, doctrine or apologetics, this isn't it). But if you want a little boost, a book that's easy to read and that will encourage you, it's a good read.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
"Knowledge of the Bible never comes by intuition; it can only be got by hard, regular, daily, attentive, wakeful reading. Do we grudge the time and trouble this will cost us? If we do we are not yet fit for the kingdom of God." J.C. Ryle, Commentary on Matthew
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
I just finished reading The Christian Atheist: Believing in God but Living as if He Doesn't Exist by Craig Groeschel, so I thought I would write up a little review to have something to post. The title is pretty self-explanatory. Groeschel is addressing what seems to be a growing problem in today's church: those who call themselves Christians but go on living their lives any sort of way. Each chapter is geared toward a specific way we may profess Christ, but live contrary to those beliefs. They range from the basics (chapter one being "When You Believe in God But Don't Really Know Him") to very specific topics (such as chapter eleven: "When You Believe in God But Don't Share Your Faith").
When I first stared reading The Christian Atheist, I thought I was going to have to force myself through the book. I don't know much about Groeschel himself, and I'm usually a little uneasy of a book when I'm not sure of the author's theology prior to reading it. The first few chapters covered general topics like not really knowing God or being ashamed of your past. The book really started catching my attention in Chapter 4 with "When You Believe in God but Not in Prayer". That's when it started truly getting challenging, and it seemed to just keep building from there. By the time I got to the last two chapters, the book was hard to read, not because it was boring and generic, but because it was so convicting. I found myself racing through the chapter about sharing your faith because evangelism is extremely hard for me (being an incredibly shy person). I had to force myself to slow down and really focus, because so much of what he was saying made me uncomfortable - because it made me realize I wasn't really living like a Christian after all!
Over all, I would definitely recommend The Christian Atheist. It's easy to read, with plenty of humorous anecdotes to keep your attention. But the focus of the book is the call to truly live your life out for Christ. Groeschel brings the reader's attention to the supremacy of Christ and how we are called to live differently from the rest of the world.
Friday, February 4, 2011
I have been losing weight. Trimming up. My pants have been loose and I was feeling pretty good about myself. Until I stepped on the scale today.
I've gained three pounds.
And my whole day turned sour looking at those ominous numbers glowing red. I cried. I swore I would eat nothing but raw veggies for the next week. Work out every day. Only drink water. Cancel my breakfast date with my husband to stay at home and eat fat free yogurt instead.
All over three pounds.
As I drove home this afternoon, still teary eyed, and full of regrets, I had a heart to heart with God. In the First Place 4 Health book the author challenges the reader to confront his/her negative eating habits and look for why they indulge in unhealthy behavior. I have to be honest, when I read that, I skimmed right over the "take a moment to journal" space and kept on going. I felt like I didn't need to dwell on the reasoning behind my bad habits. I had a poor self-image, I ate when stressed, blah, blah, blah, moving on now. But on the commute home I asked God to really show me why I overeat and choose nutritionally-poor foods.
The answer is really simple. I self-medicate with food. Feeling glum? I'll eat a piece of cake. Stressed? Give my husband the puppy-eyes and ask him to go pick up fresh doughnuts. That time of the month? Gotta have chocolate chip cookie dough to offset my crankiness.
In other words, I don't rely on God. At all. I don't trust Him to get me through a rough day, but I trust a Hershey's chocolate bar. Rather than leaning on my Savior to support and sustain me, I eat. I'm always justifying that one little splurge...and that little splurge comes almost once a day.
The scarier part is I honestly don't know how to overcome this mindset. I've lived this way since middle school, probably longer. I will literally have to unlearn a frame of mind that I've had for over fifteen years. I have no choice but to trust God more now than ever before. Otherwise, I'll keep focusing on what the scale tells me.