Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Why I grow lettuce (sometimes)

I hate gardening. I pretty much hate any kind of hard physical work.

I do like pretty flower beds. So some effort is necessary on that front, although admittedly my husband does 99% of landscape maintenance because he does not hate gardening and actually seems to enjoy it.

Flower beds and lawns are much more expensive than the dirt or gravel yards that my grandparents had up until the 1950s, but there are circumstances that make landscaping worth having for most of us. So clearly cost is not the only consideration when it comes to landscaping.
Sometimes I take one of my flower beds or a container (less weeds) and plant tomatoes during the summer and lettuce and other assorted greens during the fall. I live in the south, so I have a long growing season. This year I will be too busy working three jobs to plant lettuce, but I am sad about it.

Why am I sad? Certainly with three jobs I can buy some lettuce. I could have bought tomatoes all summer too. But my tomatoes and lettuce taste better. They taste better because I pick them right before I eat them. Because they taste better, I eat them faster. Because I eat them faster, I rarely end up throwing out tomatoes or lettuce.

As someone who has fought a battle with lettuce for my entire adult life to find some supermarket lettuce that is not already half spoiled and then to take it home only to have it spoil after only one salad and have to throw it out, ~that~ is why I grow lettuce. As someone who has eaten one too many terrible no-taste watery factory farmed tomatoes, even during summer, ~that~ is why I grow tomatoes.

By growing lettuce, clipping it off the plant and washing it right before making salad, I have ended my battle with half-bad lettuce. And by growing tomatoes, I am able to almost forget that terrible nothing taste of grocery store tomatoes. It may seem stupid, but after at least 10 battles with produce managers over the years due to finding only pitiful produce on the shelves of my local store, the peace of mind that I get from my agricultural efforts is absolutely priceless.

A different kind of economic calculation, maybe, but it works for me.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Beloved Community, Troy Bronsink cont.

Artists and activists are moving into the empty space where they can experience love.

Challenge is not to acquire more and more, but to receive what the universe is giving.

Troy began his talk with a song on guitar and ended it with the same and then a q and a session. Unfortunately being late afternoon there were not that many questions.

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Beloved Community, Troy Bronsink cont.

Evangelicals are now longing for a third space to talk about social justice. Willow Creek has now learned that their formation was not working like they believed it would. Mainline churches are now looking at people as capital, not as possibilities for following the spirit into the future.

We don't pause.

Knowledge management, get a group of ideas, to organize together, get experts to find out the best answers on this, so we can collectively see the best possibilities of knowledge. Boomers began developing through software.

Social media, connecting people for genx and millenials.

Millenials are born into complexity, genxers are into it, boomers are against it.

Best practices are not possible, but take a picture of the whole, and best participate in that whole by stepping into it. The spirit is sending gifts to guide us. We are tasting the future, how are we equipping people to be aware of that.

Broadcasting narrowed to narrowcasting which narrowed to egocasting. Boomers may say you should put my info in your egocast, but don't consider that people recalibrate that according to the usefulness of their information to you.

Industrialization made it hard for anyone to see the whole, Institutionalization made it hard for people to make their own decisions-all came from the big boss at the main office-not connected to community, the Information Age gave people the option to make choices for themselves but still focused on the right answer-can prooftext based on the whole of known information to prove our points, Future will require empathy, creativity, synthesis-taking for granted that info is everywhere, but that true talent is bringing together the needed parts and let go those unneeded as we go into the unknown.

Being open to risks and experimentation.

Stages of an organization-emergence, everyone is involved and open.
Turn to practical matters-setting up systems
Systems get better and better
Then systems break down for some reason
Back to wandering
Then back to emergence.

What does the church have to offer people? Also need to ask how will people coming toward the church change us? Are some of us for all of us?

Churching is artistry.

Where are god's purposes and where do we need to go in them?

We're God's work of art, allows for intuitions and the movement of God that we are a part of
We're God's artists, we are doing the work and shaping the movement, suspending time for a moment to really look and listen to the medium
We're curators of God's art, we must look and see what is out there and how it is a part of the story and the community and nurture and be a patron of that.

Suffering and affliction is also something we must pause and determine how it is a part of the story as well.

We join the suffering and go forward, not about winning or defeating the suffering, but going forward now seeing and doing a new thing.

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Beloved Community, Troy Bronsink

Emergent Community, beloved community, joining hands.

Grew up in Charlotte, NC megachurch, conservative, somewhat pentacostal. Attended Liberty U. Participated in YoungLife, had a spiritual director, with ideas about silence, discernment, etc. Being around people who are different than you can give you ideas about what is truly good news. In Washington State, discovered Presbyterianism, ideas about call and Calvinism. Read about postmodernism and its applicability to religion. Attended Columbia Seminary, discovered Brueggeman's ideas about text and subtext, stories having multiple levels and meanings. Also discovered Newbigen's work in missiology and postcolonialism through Dr. Guder. Then found Doug Pagitt and Emergent Village.

In all experiences, felt pressured to choose sides or agendas and line everything up behind them. Posture of awareness, readiness, willingness to have conversation presented itself as an alternative through missiology. Image of upper room and Jesus breathing his spirit on the disciples. Spirit actively putting us all in play. How we are all part of the same story.

Made a space for the unknown that he wanted to step into.

How are emergent and progressive christians both letting go of structures of limitation and use new knowledge and thought to move forward into a new unknown space. Quantum. Evolution.

Learning that takes place in this process.

Had a house church, then pastor of a church that wasn't ready to step out, then neighbors suggested that they start a church in their neighborhood. They began to have opportunities for spiritual practices in the way of Jesus, and excitement is starting to form.

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Beloved Community, Fred Plumer

We may be in the midst of transitional churches into the death of "traditional' christianity which will make way for the new way of living into the teachings of Jesus.

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Beloved Community, Fred Plumer cont.

Spiritual practices have to go along with ethical implications of the teachings of Jesus. Create opportunities for people to take the teachings of Jesus and walk into them. How we treat eachother, the stranger, the enemy. How leadership is created and operates. How sexuality and gender is navigated without relying on cultural taboos to enforce our behavior. How to be fully spiritual and fully human at the same time.

Small groups have trouble in liberal community, because our love for community is greater than our zeal to deepen spiritual engagement. But we need non-judging communities where we can talk about our experiences of spirituality. Need mutual accountability, how to improve our living up to our own expectations and efforts.

Authentic community-transforming model of God's realm.

Work on our theology, let go of God in heaven randomly answering prayers. Need new models and new languages for God. Be clear about what they do and do not mean by God. Describing faith as the unknowable, not as religiosity. Get comfortable living with the mysteries of creation, dimly lit path that might lead to an experience of the holy.

Connect spirituality with a love for earth. Strong connections with mother earth, through beliefs and actions. Alternative ways of living.

All this is already happening.

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Beloved Community, Fred Plumer cont.

How can churches of the future change and still stay true to their Christian roots?

Focus on experiential spirituality. Practices rather than expression. Expression requires conformity. Holy moments, touching on the wholeness of life. Celebrations of life: art, silence, singing, dancing, drumming. No more sermons, using ancient rituals of Christianity and other traditions. Active participations, ample opportunities for spontaneous joy. Clear teaching path with concrete steps. Jesus was foremost a teacher. Let Jesus be the teacher again-both internal and external path. Not oughts, but opportunities to experience the realm of God. Trusting the universe, forgiving lack of judgment and prejudice, developing compassion, seeing God in one another, learning to avoid fear and anxiety, bringing out the best in self, others, and community.

Leaders have to live the wholeness they are teaching and promoting.

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Beloved Community, Fred Plumer, cont.

Purpose of church is to transform people, to dissolve their self-constructed walls, to dispel their illusions, and to change their lives.

Black and white tv to hdtv in color.

Why in the hell does anybody go to church?

There is a hunger for spirituality. Zukav, Tolle, sold millions of books.

People are seeking ways of living more intentional, ethical, sustainable lives.

Beyond religion, people are creating alternative paths for building spiritual lives outside of traditional religion. Depths of personal experience greater focus than ancient religious truths. Religious structure is not feeding that hunger for spiritual experience.

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Beloved Community, Fred Plumer, cont.

What will the future church look like?

We have lost our way. Built to Last, a book for business but highlighted exceptional and long-lasting organizations. The long-lasting ones had 3 things in common:

1. Everyone understood the fundamental reason for the organizations existence

We no longer know what the church is supposed to be. The author of the book now consults with mega-churches. When we have conversations about the purpose of the liberal church, we descend into confusion and trite language.

We complain about lack of people at communion but we are serving low nutritional fare. People have infinite choices. 60% of young people have never been to a church, synagogue, or temple. If you can not give them a good reason for spending their time or money at your congregation, they would go elsewhere.

Can you articulate why someone might come to your community.

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Beloved Community Conference-Fred Plumer

"Creating Progressive Communities of Faith"

Mainline churces are aging and dying. Trying to help churches enter the 21st century. Wondering if we are rearranging the chairs on the titanic. There is no magic bullet but we are in the midst of a big change. Phyllis Tickle-500 year rummage sale, church in the midst of it right now. All types of church are losing members as a whole, but in evangelical they are moving into megas, so it's not as evident. Charismatic pastors can hold it together only so long.

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Beloved Community Conference Saturday Morning

This morning at the Beloved Community Conference, we began with some fellowship and coffee and good networking time. Then we got to hear from Peter Laarman, from Progressive Christians Uniting. His topic was "Mercy and Truth Will Meet: What it Takes to Be a Movement That Matters."

He began talking about our current economic crisis, and how it might be a good thing for Christians in that it will expose idols such as wealth and nationalism. He called for a prophetic rather than pastoral response to this crisis, one that can point to the rainbow of hope beyond our current situation by telling truth with mercy about the brokenness of our system. Such truth-telling can cause anger, which can drive change. He said that passivity is cultivated by consumerism, debt, and overwork, and called for a return to a sabbath economics of rest and restoration.

He said that Progressive Christians United is driven by four elements: growth in faith, strength in eachother, seeing the world more clearly, and liberating ourselves and others for social transformation. He said that movements must be driven by coherent vision and ideas plus a sustaining culture.

He pointed to persistent patriarchy as a major cause of homophobia, and said that examples of equal justice love are an important part of changing people's minds and hearts on this issue.

He called for creating hives of busy activism around social justice, incubators or communities of leadership development, networks to link progressive Christians to each other, and basic consensus on public issues to communicate to others.

He did point to a few issues he suggested for the basic consensus:
inclusivity of other faiths into the kingdom of god
demonization of youth of color
debt peonage through usury and student loan system

There were great questions afterwards, and now we are hearing some wonderful praise music by Kemo, a praise group from Christ Church Uniting in Northwest Atlanta.

More later

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Sunday, February 03, 2008


Awesome Video about Obama

I was for Edwards, but that's over, and I feel that I am really more drawn to Obama at this point anyway. I just want a candidate that will change the way things are going in this country. It seems like most people believe Obama can do that. I hope so. I found this by that I really found beautiful and inspiring. Video and statement originally from

The Yes We Can Song

I was sitting in my recording studio watching the debates...Torn between the candidates
I was never really big on politics...and actually I’m still not big on politics...but 4 years ago, me and the black eyed peas supported Kerry...And we supported Kerry with all our might...We performed and performed and performed for the DNC...doing all we could do to get the youth involved...
The outcome of the last 2 elections has saddened me...on how unfair, backwards, upside down, unbalanced, untruthful,corrupt, and just simply, how wrong the world and "politics" are...
So this year i wanted to get involved and do all i could early...
And i found myself torn...because this time it’s not that simple...our choices aren’t as clear as the last elections ...last time it was so obvious...Bush and warvsno Bush and no war...
But this time it’s not that simple...and there are a lot of people that are torn just like i am...
So for awhile I put it off and i was going to wait until it was decided for me...
And then came New Hampshire...
And i was captivated...
I reflected on my life...and the blessings I have...and the people who fought for me to have these rights and blessings...
and I’m not talking about a "black thing"I’m talking about a "human thing" me as a "person"an American...
That speech made me think of Martin Luther King...Kennedy...and Lincoln...and all the others that have fought for what we have today...
what America is "supposed" to be...
freedom...equality...and truth...
and thats not what we have today...we think we are free...but in reality terror and fear controls our decisions...
this is not the America that our pioneers and leaders fought anddied for...
and then there was New Hampshire
it was that many great speeches...that one moved me...because words and ideas are powerful...
It made me think...and realize that today we have "very few" leaders...maybe none...
but that speech...
it inspired inspired me to look inside myself and outwards towards the inspired me to want to change myself to better the world...and take a "leap" towards change...and hope that others become inspired to do the same...change themselves..change their greed...change their fears...and if we "change that""then hey"..we got something right...???...
1 week later after the speech settled in me...I began making this song...I came up with the idea to turn his speech into a song...because that speech effected and touched my inner core like nothing in a very long time...
it spoke to me...
because words and ideas are powerful...
I just wanted to add a melody to those words...I wanted the inspiration that was bubbling inside me to take over...
so i let it..
I wasn't afraid to stand for stand for "change"...I wasn't afraid of "fear" was pure inspiration...
so I called my friends...and they called their a matter of 2 days...We made the song and video...
Usually this process would take months...a bunch of record company people figuring out strategies and release dates...interviews...all that stuff...but this time i took it in my own i called my friends sarah pantera, mike jurkovac, fred goldring, and jesse dylan to help make it happen...and they called their friends..and we did it together in 48 hours...and instead of putting it in the hands of profit we put it in the hands of inspiration...
then we put it on the net for the world to feel...
When you are truly inspired..magic happens...incredible things happens..(and with that combination)
"love, and inspiration"
change happens...
"change for the better"Inspiration breeds change...
"Positive change"...
no one on this planet is truly experienced to handle the obstacles we face today...Terror, fear, lies, agendas, politics, money, all the above...It’s all scary...
Martin Luther King didn't have experience to lead...Kennedy didn't have experience to lead...Susan B. Anthony...Nelson Mandella...Rosa Parks...Gandhi...Anne Frank...and everyone else who has had a hand in molding the freedoms we have and take for granted today...
no one truly has experience to deal with the world today...
they just need "desire, strength, courage ability, and passion" to change...and to stand for something even when people say it's not possible...
America would not be here "today" if we didn’t stand and fight forchange "yesterday"...Everything we have as a "people" is because of the "people" who fought forchange...and whoever is the President has to realize we have a lot of changing to do
I'm not trying to convince people to see things how i do...I produced this song to share my new found inspiration and how I've been moved...I hope this song will make you think...and be inspired just like the speech inspired me...
that’s all...

Let's all come together like America is supposed to...Like Japan did after Hiroshima...
that was less than 65 years ago...and look at Japan now...
they did it together...they did it...
"We can't?...
Are you serious..?..
Yes we can...A United "America"Democrats, Republicans and Independents together...Building a new America
We can do it..."TOGETHER"
Please visit
Thank you for reading and

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Why I haven't been blogging

I exhaust easily under the pressure to be interesting.

Friday, January 19, 2007



We bought a house! This has been quite the saga, mostly taking place over the Christmas Holidays. I am just starting to resurface a bit, but plan to post some of the chronology, in case anyone is curious how a seminarian and teacher come to own property in a fairly decent neighborhood with almost no money in the bank. I mostly blogged the progress in constant emails to my mom. So I will go back through them and give the entire scoop as I have time.

In other news, school started. I am swamped and am barely staying one step ahead. But I haven't turned in anything late so far, and hopefully can maintain that high standard throughout the semester!

Friday, January 05, 2007



The trees outside my window are stark against the white sky. Their brownness and stickness is all there is, except for a few dried used up leaves left hanging there, not even worthy of joining the pile at the bottom of the hill. This time of year I can see streetlights through the nature preserve behind our apartment when the trees sway back and forth. It is a tiny bit of nature that is preserved there, and January, when I can see the floor of the valley and the parking garage beyond, is the month of its tiniest tinyness. Our apartments will be torn down in a year, and in their place will rise a many-storied structure of stores and apartments and newness and sterility. These apartments are old, only post-war old, but still old and they hold the remains of the breaths and lives of college and seminary students from years and decades and half-centuries ago. Their modern design has fallen out of favor but I find them beautiful. The university is less pleased with them and must practice more efficient land use than 50 apartments in 10 buildings spread over 2 acres of hilltop. They will quickly sweep away these structures, these remnants of breaths and lives, wash it all away down into the tiny valley I suppose. The creatures that live there are protected, yes, but only somewhat, only from new structures in their valley and not from new construction on the hill. The trees, the soaring many-storied trees, will not know what is now blocking their view of the skyline. They will only know that they can’t see the horizon through concrete, no matter the season, because buildings don’t thin out for the winter, and never sway to the side revealing mysteries beyond.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Links Grab Bag.

I decided to go through my bookmarks which have accumulated over several years and post some of them I found interesting. It's a grab bag because I am too tired to annotate, but all are safe for work.

UCC Disabilities Ministries

UCC Congregational Vitality

Thoughtful Christian Sunday School Lessons

I really want a cabin

Out in Scripture

Where I take Belly Dancing

Atlanta UU Cohousing Project

Cool Old Atlanta Apartment Building

Great Archive of Film Footage from the Past

Sunday, November 19, 2006



Here are a couple enneagram types found in my family. I'll post more when I get more to take the test. I am enjoying reading about the different types and how they affect our lives:

Scale (%) results:
Enneagram Test Results
Type 1 Perfectionism 86%
Type 2 Helpfulness 60%
Type 3 Image Focus 69%
Type 4 Hypersensitivity 41%
Type 5 Detachment 62%
Type 6 Anxiety 80%
Type 7 Adventurousness 46%
Type 8 Aggressiveness 72%
Type 9 Calmness 52%
Your main type is 1
Your variant is social
Take Free Enneagram Personality Test

Scale (%) results:
Enneagram Test Results
Type 1 Perfectionism 42%
Type 2 Helpfulness 58%
Type 3 Image Focus 50%
Type 4 Hypersensitivity 34%
Type 5 Detachment 46%
Type 6 Anxiety 46%
Type 7 Adventurousness 30%
Type 8 Aggressiveness 46%
Type 9 Calmness 50%
Your main type is 2
Your variant is social
Take Free Enneagram Personality Test

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Treatise on Atonement, p. 187-192

Suppose we alter the circumstance of the father and his ten children: suppose the father has provisions enough for the whole, and his object in the bestowing of it upon them is to cause the greatest possible happiness among his children. Which way would good sense and parental affection choose, either to feed five to the full, and starve the rest to death, that their dying groans might give the others a better appetite and their food a good relish, or to let them all be hungry enough to relish their food well, and all alike partake of it?

I will take notice of a certain passage of Scripture in this place, which some have endeavored to accommodate to the argument which I am disputing. (See Rev. xiv. 10, 11.) "The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name." It is not because I am afraid of wounding this beast, or of affronting its rider, that I do not enter into a particular explanation of the passage recited; but because it deserves the labor of more time than I have now to spare. However, the idea of my opponent is easily refuted; and this is as much as the reader ought to expect in this work. The common idea is, that the punishment here spoken of is altogether in eternity, and not in this world of mortality; that it being in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb, it indicates that it affords pleasure in those heavenly mansions where they dwell.

First, I request the reader to observe that the verbs, ascendeth, have, worship, and receiveth, are all in the same tense, which at least favors the idea that the sulphurous smoke of this torment ascendeth up at the same time that the tormented worship the beast. If the apocalyptical beast be worshipped to an endless eternity, it follows that his worshippers will be tormented as long. Until it is proved that some will worship this beast in another world, or endlessly, it cannot be proved from this passage that any will be tormented in another world, or endlessly. It is said in the text that the worshippers of the beast have no rest day nor night. If it can be proved that day and night are reckoned in another world, or in eternity, my opponent has better ground for his argument than I think he has.

This beast, undoubtedly, is Antichrist; the worshippers of the beast are apostatized Christians of all denominations since the Christian apostacy. They have always been in wars and commotions, and have had no rest; and as for their being tormented, in all their public worship, with fire and brimstone, no argument is necessary to make it obvious.

Another objection, which has often been stated against the salvation of all men, stands in a pretended axiom, namely, "A God all mercy is a God unjust." The force of this pretended axiom, as used against the salvation of all men, is, if God should do justly by all men, He would be an unmerciful being ; or, if He should show mercy to all men, He would be an unjust being;. There is nothing self-evident in this axiom that I can see but its own want of propriety; it represents justice and mercy at an eternal variance. According to this axiom, and the argument deducible from it, justice may be compared to a monstrous wolf in pursuit of a number of lambs, and mercy to a shepherd who is obliged to give up a large number of them, to gorge his omnivorous appetite, while he makes off with the rest.

I have already sufficiently refuted the idea of justice requiring the endless misery of the creature; and, until that notion can be supported by Scripture or reason, an objection against the salvation of all men cannot be stated, from the nature of justice. I have also showed that in order for justice to require the endless misery of any moral being, it must of necessity require the endless continuance of sin, than which nothing is more absurd. Again, it is objected, as many are going out of this world daily in a state of sinfulness and unreconciliation to God, and there being no alteration in the soul for the better after it leaves this natural life, millions must be miserable as long as God exists.

The force of this objection stands on the supposition that there is no alteration for the better after death. Could this supposition be, proved, I grant it would substantiate a formidable and (I think) an unanswerable objection against the final holiness and happiness of all men. I have often heard the objection made, but never heard an evidence brought from Scripture or reason to support the declaration. Divines being sensible of the want of Scripture to support this (their) supposition, have, very liberally, been at the expense of making some; and the notable passage which they have coined and brought into very frequent use is not to be found in the Scriptures of the Old or New Testament; but is frequently to be heard from the pulpit, read in many of their writings, and recited by many of their adherents. It is as follows: "As the tree falls, so it lies; as death leaves us, so judgment will find us." I shall not contend about a different explanation of this addition to the Scriptures from the usual one; but will only say, if the tiling which my opponents would prove by it be true, namely, that souls cannot be altered for the better after death, all our Christian people must remain eternally as unsanctified as they are in this world of infirmities.

Again, many contend that God deals with mankind as moral agents; that he sets life and death before us, and leaves us to make our own choice, and to fare accordingly. That, as our eternal state depends on what use we make of our agency, millions will prove rebellious, and, therefore, miss of salvation. But I query, if one soul can obtain salvation on the principle of moral agency, why another cannot as well? If it be granted he can, I ask, again, why all men cannot as well as any? If it be still granted, I say, as I have before said, that which can be done may be done; therefore the objection fails. But the objector will say it renders universal salvation uncertain; I answer, no more than it renders universal damnation certain. All may be lost forever as well as one; therefore my opponent's hopes are subject to the same shipwreck to which he would expose mine. I would further inquire, if God deals with man upon a system of moral agency, is it God's revealed will that all men should be saved agreeably to their agency? If it be granted that it is, I further inquire, whether God's will in the moral agency of man will be eternally frustrated? If not, no objection stands against Universalism; but the proposition on which my opponent endeavors to substantiate an objection favors the doctrine as far as it goes.

In my observations on the liberty of will, I have given some of my ideas concerning agency as it is generally understood; but moral agency may be very differently understood by different persons. If by moral agency be meant an ability to love an object or objects which appear agreeable, I have no objections to make ; but if it mean an ability to hate that which appears agreeable and to love that which appears disagreeable, I contend no such agency exists in any being within the compass of our knowledge. It is certainly reasonable to suppose that all the agency possessed by man was given him by his Maker; and that when God gave him this agency it was for a certain purpose, which purpose must finally be every way answered, providing God be infinitely wise. I cannot but think it incorrect to suppose that God ever gave any creature agency to perform what he never intended should be done. Then, if any soul be made endlessly miserable by its agency, it follows that God gave that soul this agency for that unhappy purpose; and if any be saved by their agency, God gave them their agency for that blessed end. If any wish to make a different use of agency, let them state fairly that God gave man an agency intending man's eternal salvation thereby; but man makes a different use of his agency from what God intended, whereby the gracious designs of Deity are forever lost!

If my opponent will not fix his agency on some of the above noted principles as it respects the issue of the argument, I am sure he can do nothing with it to any effect. If agency be stated on the principle of God's intending the creature's salvation by it, and it be granted that his will in the affair will be done, it is an acknowledgment of the doctrine for which I contend. But if it be stated that although God gave man his agency, for the glorious purpose of his endless felicity, yet his purpose may fail. Could this statement be proved true, it would not only refute universal salvation, but everything else as being a divine system on which we may, with any confidence, depend.


Treatise on Atonement p. 184-186

Against these statements I argue, if, in order for the greatest possible happiness to exist, the greatest possible misery must also exist, I wish to reverse the subject. Then the proposition would stand thus, in order for the greatest possible evil to exist the greatest possible good must exist. Then, if God, in his universal plan, has produced as much good as was possible, lie lias also produced as much evil as possible, which renders the statement, that he consulted the greatest possible evil, as just, as that he consulted the greatest possible good. Of course, there is no more propriety in calling him good, than there is in calling him bad!

If it be said I carry this evil, or misery, too far, even beyond my opponent's meaning, I will endeavor to show him, according to his own statement, that I do not. He says, every degree of misery in hell will produce many degrees of happiness in heaven ; if so, if the wretched be not made as miserable as possible, the blessed cannot be made as happy as possible; if they are not made as happy as possible, they must experience some want; and, of course, some misery themselves. .On the other hand, if the wretched be not as miserable as possible, they must have in possession some remaining convenience. Then, neither the greatest possible happiness, nor the greatest possible misery is produced.

Almighty God, being put to the necessity of making some of his rational offspring eternally miserable in order to make the rest forever happy, may be rep­resented by a parent who has ten children, but only provisions enough to preserve the lives of five until he could get more. In this awful dilemma he sits down to consult the greatest possible good; says to. himself, if I divide my provisions equally among my children, all must surely starve to death; but by neglecting five, I can save the lives of the other five, which he finally concludes to do. But I ask the rational, I petition the reasonable, I request the im­partial, to guess the feelings of a father on such an occasion! Before him are ten children, all in the image of himself; he sees his own eyes roll in their heads, hears his own voice on their tongues, while his own blood frolics through their veins; how could he make the division? how could he decide on one for a victim ? Would he not rather give his own flesh to be their meat, and his own blood to be their drink, and fervently pray for plenty? But is the Almighty poor? Has he not enough and to spare? When the prodigal came home, did the father turn away his brother so that he might have a plenty for him? Is there not fulness enough in God to satisfy the wants of all his creatures? Why the necessity, then, of making some miserable eternally? My opponent will say, the blessed are happified in consequence of the misery of the wretched. . But what reason can be given for such an idea ? How do we look on a person in this world who manifests joy and happiness in the misery of one of his fellow-creatures? Do we say he manifests a godlike disposition? Surely no. From whence came charity; from heaven, or hell? If souls in heaven possess it, they cannot be happy in consequence of the misery of any rational being; and should the divine principle be found in hell, it would banish misery, and annihilate the place!
Again, if a soul in heaven derives happiness from seeing, say, one-half, or two-thirds, of the human race in misery, would he not yet enjoy more, providing the whole, except himself, were in the same torment? If it be granted that he would, then, in order for a soul to be made as happy as possible, the whole human race, except that one, must be endlessly as miserable as possible! If it be argued that it is not the number or multitudes of individuals who are made miserable that thus constitutes or enhances the happiness of the blessed, but that it is the nature, justice and intense-ness of this misery which is necessary for the above purpose, it makes it very plain that the eternal misery of one would produce as much good as of ten thousand, or more.

We have now got so far, even on our opponent's ground, as to see that there is no need of more than one soul's being endlessly miserable; and it still further appears to me that the misery of one may be dispensed with without departing from what my opponent has acknowledged; and that by letting each individual of the human race for a moment, or any limited time, experience the nature of the misery contended for; and then giving them a memory to retain it fresh in mind forever; this must of necessity produce the effect as well, and without the expense of a single soul. I do not think it would absolutely require omniscient wisdom to concert a better plan than the one I am opposing.


Treatise on Atonement p. 182-183

Part III.

IN this last inquiry, I must be a little more lengthy than in either of the former, but I hope not to be too tedious. What I shall contend for, as the consequences of atonement, is the universal holiness and happiness of mankind, in the final issue of the Redeemer's process. In doing this I will —

First. Make a fair statement of the doctrine of universal salvation, as I understand it.

Secondly. Take notice of the most frequent objec­tions stated against the doctrine by various denomi­nations. And

Lastly. Give my reasons for believing in my general proposition from Scripture and reason.

I will make the statement of the doctrine which I believe, as short as possible.

1st. God created man in Christ the Mediator; in which creation, the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, of which St. Paul speaks to the Romans, was the whole governing principle of his nature.

2d. After the creation of man in this divine constitution, it pleased the Almighty to reduce him to a state of formation in flesh and blood; in which constitution, the law of sin, which St. Paul said he found in his members, became the governing principle of the whole man.

3d. God has revealed his divine and glorious purpose of bringing man back from his formed state, and from under the law of the earthly Adam, to his original created state, forever to be under the governing power of the law of the heavenly constitution.

The objections, of which notice will be taken, stand opposed to my third proposition. The first that I notice is found in a proposition frequently stated by modern divines, thus, "God, in the. great and infinite plan of moral government, consults the greatest possible good to the whole system; and in order for the greatest possible happiness to be produced, it was necessary that some of God's rational creatures should be eternally miserable. Agreeable to which all men cannot be saved." This is the only ground on which an objection can be stated against universal holiness and happiness, while we admit the existence of an Infinite Supreme.

I cannot go into an examination of any authorities on which the above statement is supposed to stand; for I know of none. All I can do is to examine the statement itself. It is argued, agreeably to this prop­osition, that the infinite and inconceivable miseries of the wicked, in the world to come, will enhance the happiness of the glorified in heaven.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


The Christian Left

Here's an interesting take on progressive Christianity on wikipedia.

Also, there were quite a few protesters present for Bush's trip to south Georgia in the last week. Articles are here, and here, and video here. I got a photo attachment of the Statesboro protest from a friend, and there were some nice "Who Would Jesus Bomb?" signs, etc. I think that the fact that the president is being protested in rural south Georgia is a sign that political change is on its way. I just hope it begins with next Tuesday's election. I haven't had much time to campaign this time, but am trying to encourage everyone to vote, so to all of my readers....Vote!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


How to Find Other Progressive Christians

Here are some good ways to find other progressive Christians if you feel like a lone ranger out there:

At, you can find people with similar interests on all sorts of topics. After you sign up, sift through the religious topics, then click on the ones that interest you, and enter your zip code. If a group is not formed in your area yet, you can put up your info on the page for those waiting for a group to form. You can see others that are also waiting for that group to form in your area. You can even get the group started if you are so inclined. I've started meetups in the past, but lately haven't had the time. Some groups I am waiting for in my area are:
Christian Mysticism
Christian Peacemakers
Emergent Christianity
Historical Jesus
and of course
Progressive Christians

At Yahoo Groups, you can find groups on all manner of topics. Some that I have been a member of include:
New Kind of Christian (not much activity lately-focusing on the Brian McLaren books)
Larger Faith (progressive universalism-also less active this year)
AtlantaJulianMeeting (a local group that meets face to face at a cathedral to discuss mystic Christianity-I haven't made it to the meetings yet)
Emergent Spirit (a local organization providing progressive Christian adult education in churches around the metro area)
Here are some other Yahoo Groups I am interested in looking into:
Progressive Theology
On a Left Wing and a Prayer - Christian Faith+Progressive Politics
Liberals Like Christ

Sojourners has a directory of people who agree with the progressive evangelical stance of the magazine. You can add yourself and your email address also so other lone rangers can find you.

Finally, The Center for Progressive Christianity has a list of affiliates to which you can add yourself. They also list congregations which have affiliated with TCPC principles, which is great for those of you searching for a church. They have message boards, too, another great way to find progressive Christians in your area and around the world.

Well, I guess that's enough for now. Hope that this message finds some of you lone rangers , because I remember what it was like in South Georgia, trying hard to feel less alone in my beliefs. Now that I've found others like me in Atlanta, at Candler as well as at Virginia Highland Church, I want that for all of you other progressive Christians feeling alone out there.


What am I at...once a month now?

I admit it...seminary has been kicking my butt! Well, not just seminary, but work, home life, everything. I am burning the candle at about a hundred ends. But I am inspired to post again based on my increased private journaling of late. And I am chock-full of ideas. So look for some activity in the days to come, maybe even some later tonight! And now that I've promised that, I have to keep it, or I look like every other blogger who backslides, repents, and promises to do better from now on!!

Friday, September 29, 2006


UCC/UUA Dialogue at Andover Newton

I thought this was interesting news:

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


If they say that about Atlanta, imagine what they say about where I'm from...

This just hurts my feelings.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


What I’m Reading Today:

Skid Row Makeover (daypass required) Good article about the gentrification of Skid Row in Los Angeles. I found it relevant in some ways to the situation in the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, where recent laws against panhandling and other quality of life crimes have been passed to rid the area popular with tourists and conventioneers of homeless persons.

Monday, August 07, 2006


Recent Reading

Recent Reading:*


Theology in America Excellent history of American Theology written by E. Brooks Holifield, one of the professors here at Candler.

The Temple Bombing The true story of a hate crime during the 1950s against The Temple, a prominent Atlanta synagogue, after their rabbi spoke out in favor of civil rights. Written by Melissa Fay Greene the author of one of my favorite books of all time, Praying for Sheetrock.

The Mind of the South My husband had to read this for a course in Southern History, and it is amazing how some of the characteristics of Southerners described by W.J. Cash in the 1940s can still be found in the deep rural South, even after 60 years.


The Believer (daypass required) A conversation with the scientist behind the Human Genome Project, who is also an unapologetic evangelical Christian who believes in miracles, the resurrection, and a personal God. His answers aren’t exactly what you might expect, and provide a possible third way for believers trapped in between the Creationists and the scientific argument for Atheism. While I found some logical problems with a few of his statements, I also found his arguments compelling and appreciated his distinction between what falls into the realm of science and what is in the realm of religion.

Apocalypse soon (daypass required) Salon’s take on the recent speculation by rapture enthusiasts that the situation in Lebanon is a clear sign of the imminent end times. Good background on the history of end-times and rapture theories for those who aren’t in the know. Certainly a short glancing blow but a good starting place for further research.

Blog Posts
What Happened to the Universalists? Discussion over at Boy in the Bands.

Same over at Live from Thessalonica

Discussions about How (Not) to Speak of God at Pomomusings, Jesus Creed, TallSkinnyKiwi, JonnyBaker, BradandGeo, and Existential Punk kept me up late reading about Derrida and deconstruction, and made me really want to read that book.

*My mom and I are thinking about starting a newspaper with a web component. I am trying out the Amazon Associate program to see how I like it, in hopes of using it for that project in the future. If you are opposed to this sort of thing, just look for the books above at your favorite bookseller instead of clicking on the links.


Recent Reading

Recent Reading:


Theology in America; Excellent history of American Theology written by E. Brooks Holifield, one of the professors here at Candler.

The Temple Bombing; The true story of a hate crime during the 1950s against The Temple, a prominent Atlanta synagogue, after their rabbi spoke out in favor of civil rights. Written by Melissa Fay Greene the author of one of my favorite books of all time, Praying for Sheetrock.

The Mind of the South; My husband had to read this for a course in Southern History, and it is amazing how some of the characteristics of Southerners described by W.J. Cash in the 1940s can still be found in the deep rural South, even after 60 years.


The Believer (daypass required) A conversation with the scientist behind the Human Genome Project, who is also an unapologetic evangelical Christian who believes in miracles, the resurrection, and a personal God. His answers aren’t exactly what you might expect, and provide a possible third way for believers trapped in between the Creationists and the scientific argument for Atheism. While I found some logical problems with a few of his statements, I also found his arguments compelling and appreciated his distinction between what falls into the realm of science and what is in the realm of religion.

Apocalypse soon (daypass required) Salon’s take on the recent speculation by rapture enthusiasts that the situation in Lebanon is a clear sign of the imminent end times. Good background on the history of end-times and rapture theories for those who aren’t in the know. Certainly a short glancing blow but a good starting place for further research.

Blog Posts
What Happened to the Universalists? Discussion over at Boy in the Bands.

Same over at Live from Thessalonica

Discussions about How (Not) to Speak of God at Pomomusings, Jesus Creed, TallSkinnyKiwi, JonnyBaker, BradandGeo, and Existential Punk kept me up late reading about Derrida and deconstruction, and made me really want to read that book.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


Wish I were there.....

This crazy arts festival in Edinburgh is focusing on religion this year, and it sounds like an absolute blast.

Sunday, July 16, 2006


Little 5 Points Shuttle

I am very excited about this:

Mostly because every time I go to Little Five Points on the weekend, I am endlessly exasperated by the sometimes present, sporadically enforcing, "two dollars...two dollars"* slacker parking attendant at the Junkman's Daughter/Savage Pizza parking lot. Also the traffic at Edgewood Retail District is insane.

I want to try to keep my driving down to one day a week this school year, by using free shuttles whenever possible, marta when necessary, and walking more (even on the big hills, which I hate). The new Emory shuttles to North Dekalb Mall, Stonecrest Mall, and Lenoxwill help with my efforts. I figure I can take the Tech Emory Shuttle downtown if I want, and hook up with the Tech shuttles throughout that area, or take the CCTMA to downtown Decatur. There's also the new Marta downtown loop that sounds useful, if not free. I'll keep you all posted on my efforts.

*Better Off Dead

Monday, July 10, 2006


Living On-Campus

I received a request from a fellow blogger for info on living in the Candler on-campus housing, and I wrote her back but I thought I should post it here for anyone else who was interested.

My husband and I really like living here. In fact, as soon as I signed the lease for this year, he started asking if we can stay another year after this, which would make it 3 years total, the maximum allowed. The community is great. You ride the bus and do the laundry and get the mail alongside the people from your classes. We have made some good friends here.

The complex is beautiful. If you're into modern architecture, which I am, there is an award winning conference center and chapel on site which I can look at for hours. There are lots of old trees and it backs up to a protected forest, so it feels like you are not even in the city. Then you walk to the top of the hill in front and you see the skyline. Our unit is very quiet, but we do hear the occasional siren from the ambulances of Emory hospital, maybe 3-4 a day, tops. I don't even notice it anymore. The traffic is fairly heavy on the street in front of the complex, but I can usually get out when I need to. The Marta bus and Emory bus pick up here. The Emory bus is free and goes to campus every 20 minutes (5-10 minute ride, depending on traffic). You can walk to classes in about 15 minutes also. Most people do have cars, you can go without if you ride the buses a lot, but the buses don't come that often on weekends, which can be fairly annoying.

The apartments are small. There is a kitchenette size kitchen (6x9) but with a full fridge, stove, and double sink which means NO counter space. There is a bigger kitchen in the two bedroom units. We did have room to put in a portable dishwasher we had which adds a little counter space plus a rolling island cart which also helps.

Other than that, the living/dining room seems fine to us (11x20), we have a 4 person table, a couch, a bench, a bunch of side chairs, and a 2 person game table, plus a cedar chest for a coffee table and a skinny little cabinet behind the couch. Storage furniture is good because it serves two purposes. The bedroom (11x11) is about average for an apartment I guess, but we have a bed, a desk for the computer and a bookshelf in there . The closets are enough for us-one closet for me and one closet for my husband. We store out of season clothes and spare linens under our bed and sporting equipment in our car trunks. The bathroom is normal size (5x9), but you do have to walk through the bedroom to get to it, which makes having overnight guests a little awkward, so we use a curtain for extra privacy in bed when people are here.

A lot of people have said Turner Village apartments are small for them or too expensive and have moved after a year, b ut we moved up here from a huge arts and crafts house and we were ready for a break from taking care of 6 rooms we never even spent time in. I was sick of paying all the different people for utilities and internet and cable and phone, etc. We had gas heat and an old AC in that drafty old house and sometimes our utilities would be $200 and up. Here I just pay one payment to Emory once a month. Even though the electricity at Turner Village is our responsibility it is never much. And we run the air a lot!

When we first moved in I had to get the maintenance to come bring a new fridge, paint some walls that had been messed up, and service the air conditioner, but they were very prompt and helpful. I think it has been a great place for us to start out in Atlanta, and you can always move out after a year. It makes moving here easier, without having to worry about a lot of logistics. If you are on the most bare bones budget, there are cheaper places to be had in Atlanta, especially if you go without cable, DSL, phone, etc. But that can also add a commute into the mix, with all that entails. And with evening or weekend events, it is often tempting, even living on campus, to just stay home once you get there and not go back over to Candler. I would imagine that living off campus I would never come back over here.

That is all the stuff I would have wanted to know from someone last year. Of course, it is all about the one-bedroom since I don't know much about the larger units. I hope it helps, but it really will be a different experience for every person, so take what I said with a grain of salt. I was really worried about it before I signed the lease, but we had seen the guest unit and just decided to take the leap. In the end, I think it depends on where you are coming from, and what your needs are in a living situation.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Out and About

We had a great time running around town on Sunday. In spite of much lack of sleep I went to church anyway, and heard a great sermon from a friend of mine. Then after coming home and eating chicken and soup I had made the night before (note to self-always do that, it makes Sunday rock so much more than fighting for the suchi buffet at Rusan's) along with leftover communion bread. The bread was a great sourdough. We normally use wafers, but the sacristy lock became jammed requiring the minister's wife to take a quick trip to Publix. After a brief rest watching the Braves on TV we went to a driving range out on Buford Highway where I practiced putting while my husband practiced driving, chipping, and putting.

Then we went to Plaza Fiesta, an old mall turned into a Mexican style open market inside. It reminded me a lot of parts of Tijuana without the seedy. Lots of families, good mariachi band, great international farmers market. We got a spring roll along with some nori and crab stick for sushi at the farmers market and intended to get a taco or pastry or something later in the open market but we got too hot. So later we went out to Lettuce Souprise You for a nice dinner of salad which helped beat the heat. What a great day!

Also, Friday, we went to a Braves game with a friend of ours from Korea who lives in our apartment complex and goes to school with me. That was lots of fun as well because we won! and there were fireworks! All in all a very cool weekend.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Back online

Well, I lost my computer for about a month, due to the detachment of the internal socket for the power cord, which is irreparable! So due to this tiny part, my perfectly good computer will never power up again. I am going to get an external enclosure for my hard drive to use it for a backup and extra storage and sell the rest for parts. I had to buy a new one but I got a good deal at Dell outlet for less than $500. So that wasn't too bad.

I had all sorts of blogging ideas when I couldn't really blog, now lets see if I follow through on them.

Anyway, here's an amusing diversion:

You are 22 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.
What Age Do You Act?

Wednesday, May 31, 2006


What I'm reading today

The Perfect Man
Good Sci-Fi short story at Salon (Membership or Day Pass [watching an ad] required)

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Chinese Bible Exhibit

Last night I attended an Exhibition on the Church in China. It was very interesting, and I had no idea that Christianity had as much freedom over there as was portrayed in the Exhibit. I guess I just don't know that much about modern China. I picked up a lot of materials and plan to read them in order to learn more. Check out the exhibit if you can in Atlanta before Wednesday or in NYC June 5-12th.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


What I am reading today
Ongoing conversations between Christians and atheists, inspired by an atheist who sold (on ebay) his services of visiting churches and offering observations on the experience.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Two cool alternative news sources in Atlanta

Atlanta Progressive News
which has a good article about the history and current resurrection of
The Great Speckled Bird
which was the Atlanta underground newspaper in the 60s and 70s when the counterculture was still hanging around midtown.

My mom said the other day that she remembers going to clubs in midtown in the late 60s when they lived in North Georgia and seeing hippies, which were still a rare sight in Georgia at that time. She's pretty radical now, but very sheltered then, so I wonder what it was like to be faced with that alternative to the life she was living, just out of UGA, married, student teaching, with a husband soon to enlist in Air Force pilot training to avoid the worst of the draft.
I'll have to ask her more about that later.

No RSS feeds on either one yet, but hopefully soon.


Thursday, April 13, 2006


I heart the Dixie Chicks

If you haven't heard it, hear it. What a powerful statement that really captures the feelings of someone told to shut up and get over it! The voice of conscience is a powerful one and it should not be silenced.

"Not Ready to Make Nice"
-Dixie Chicks

Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting
I’m through with doubt
There’s nothing left for me to figure out
I’ve paid a price
And I’ll keep paying
I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should
I know you said
Can’t you just get over it
It turned my whole world around
And I kind of like it
I made my bed and I sleep like a baby
With no regrets and I don’t mind sayin’
It’s a sad sad story when a mother will teach her
Daughter that she ought to hate a perfect stranger
And how in the world can the words that I said
Send somebody so over the edge
That they’d write me a letter
Sayin’ that I better shut up and sing
Or my life will be over
I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should
I’m not ready to make nice
I’m not ready to back down
I’m still mad as hell and
I don’t have time to go round and round and round
It’s too late to make it right
I probably wouldn’t if I could
‘Cause I’m mad as hell
Can’t bring myself to do what it is you think I should
Forgive, sounds good
Forget, I’m not sure I could
They say time heals everything
But I’m still waiting

Monday, April 03, 2006


Speaking of Biblical Interpretation

Here's an interesting intro to some different methods of looking at the Bible. Not comprehensive, but a start.



I went to a peace march this weekend and my sign said "Swords into plowshares=God's Political Platform." I love prooftexting for peace. However, I recognize that it is not compatible with my beliefs surrounding Biblical Interpretation. I tend to be all about Scripture+Reason+Experience+Tradition, in no particular order, with all of the above acting as checks on the other. But in truth, I have to say I lean more towards experience than anything else. I feel called toward certain interpretations because of my experience of God in my life.

Anyway, who cares about all that, right? But I am soooo tired of seeing blog conversations where people just keep arguing past eachother because they don't recognize that there are different schools of Biblical interpretation. And that Scripture interpreted only by using other Scripture was not handed out by Jesus, but Westminster. And that Scripture only is a Reformation thing, not an entire history of Christianity thing. In fact, people who have no knowledge of the midrash Jewish traditions and assume that Paul's reference to other texts in his letters to the churches is done in the same spirit as modern prooftexting just make me want to give up.

Could we get a little instruction on the history of Christianity in the churches? I mean is it that scary to admit that learned theologians framed these ideas, not the big Guy himself? Or is this going on, and people are just getting from that instruction to a completely different place than me somehow?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Just a thought

How is it that a nation that fought a revolution to be free of the whims of the ruling elite is now willingly submitting itself to the whims of a ruling elite? And could there be a connection between the lack of support for education on the part of said ruling elite and the knowledge that an educated populace might just make the above connection and turn them out on their elite heads?

Saturday, March 25, 2006


Old Friends

I had an incredibly vivid dream about an old friend last night. We were catching up on things and talking and having a great time. She had moved back to Georgia, but I'm not sure how we ran into one another.

I looked for her all day on the internet, but am not sure where she is now. I am not in touch with her family anymore. I just feel like the dream is still urging me to talk to her, but I've had to give up for today. She has a very common name, so google spit out so many results, my head is spinning.

I feel very silly for working on this for so long, and yet...

I still haven't found her.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Creating an interesting life is possible no matter where you are

I left the following comment on Salon in response to another commenter bewailing the mind-numbingness of life in a boring town:

I have spent most of my 31 years on earth in small Southern towns. As a fairly interesting and brainy (IMHO) person, I had to create my own stimulating life. Here are the methods with which I have found success:

1) Help others, especially those deemed unworthy by the social norms: those with addiction, those living with poverty, those with no or unstable housing, the differently abled. People who are willing to work with those society does not see tend to be more interesting than most.

2) Teach or Take classes. Most interesting people in smaller or more rural towns continue to stimulate their intellect by teaching or taking classes. I have made some lifelong friends among professors and other students. Plus you get to talk about intellectual stuff, if you take the right classes.

3) Be a joiner. Join arts organizations, literary magazines, meetups, political groups, nature clubs, outdoor expedition groups, liberal churches (UU in particular) or at least attend their events. You will find the other interesting folks there. I promise.

4) Make your own organization and post announcements in the paper and on the community calendar. Literary club. Liberal religious thought club. Political Party chapter. Sierra Club chapter. The possibilities are endless.

5) Network with those with your interests outside your area. Go to conferences. Meet people on the internet and then have lunch when they are passing through your area. They may know someone interesting who lives in or is moving to your town.

6) Create a collection of the interesting people that you meet at these places and start inviting them to do things with you. Have dinner or coffee with them often. Introduce them to eachother at dinner parties. Go exercise together. Meet their friends. Soon you will have a whole mess of interesting folks and won't have time to be bored.

6) And most importantly...get over your prejudices. Bible College and believing dogs go to heaven are not mutually exclusive with an enjoyment of literature or the arts. That attitude will get you nowhere in creating an interesting life. You must be open to interesting people wherever you find them, even if they are seemingly very different from yourself. You are going to be astounded with the hunter who completely agrees with you on gun control and environmental protection. You will find yourself amazed by the country girl who is a pagan and creates her own altars in nature and also creates amazing photographs of nature which are exhibited in regional art shows. You are in for a big surprise at the Bible College graduate who has a tattoo you can't see and believes that heaven does not exist and that everyone should read Flaubert.

As my mama always said, "Only boring people are bored." We are now in a big city and the same skills have created a social network for us in less than six months that is so extensive that we have to turn down many invitations. You can cultivate this life for yourself. Please give it a shot.

PS Tell me your town and I will make you a list of how to develop an interesting network of folks, or at least how to get the ball rolling. 99% of the research for this type of endeavor can now be done on the internet.


Another liberal Baptist link

Description from their site:
"Thinking Baptists is a community of seekers, questioners, dissidents, and other folk from a variety of backgrounds. We began as a discussion forum created on a lark for liberal baptists, and continue to be a safe haven for theological liberals and expatriates of various stripes. We've grown beyond our roots, however, and have become a place where liberals and conservatives; atheists, evangelicals and Roman Catholics; and all sorts of other people can come together to ask serious questions without being ridiculed or labeled as heretics."

Monday, March 13, 2006


The Codependency Tree

A commenter on Hugo's blog says:

"I didn't whine about "Not having any "me" time" or "MY" goals, or what "I" would rather do. A good parent - the only people fit to be parents - get the "me" out of it, and put their kids at A-Numero-Uno priority, bar none.

And until people can do that, frankly, the world is better off that they don't breed. Show me a dysfunctional child, and I'll show you one which has to at least compete for being top priority in their parent's lives."

I thought codependency between children and parents was a bad thing. As a matter of fact, most of the jerky people I know in this world show no sign of the knowledge that their parents don't exist solely for their benefit, to enable them to do whatever dimwitted idea pops up next, and to rescue them from any negative consequences of their actions. I'll never forget when a teacher I once knew taped her students cussing at the teacher and other students, and when presented with the tapes, the parents of the children denied that the voices belonged to their children. I happen to know two of those children got into big big trouble (criminal type) later on and were bailed out of that too, with no time spent in jail or anything.

It's okay to consider your family your highest priority. But when kids understand that their parents will set aside anything at all, including moral convictions, in order to make them happy, that produces jerkiness. There is a place for balance, and I think they need to hear that their parents can't drop everything at any moment for them because parents have emotional, spiritual, and physical needs too.

See my previous post for a similar theme.

Saturday, March 11, 2006


Koinonia Dreaming

Scott has blogged Briars in the Cottonpatch, a film about Koinonia Farm near Americus, GA. There was a class at Candler last semester on intentional communities that used the film, I believe. There is also a good book I have read about it called Interracialism and Christian Community in the Postwar South: The Story of Koinonia Farm.

Koinonia's one of my favorite places on earth. We don't learn about it in school in South Georgia, in spite of growing up right down the road. In fact, for all I knew there was no civil rights movement below Atlanta, until I grew up and started exploring local histories on my own. When I found out about Koinonia, I just had to go see what that was about. This was during a very non-religious period in my life when I was very deep into exploring issues of race in the areas where I grew up. I took my much younger cousin with me, I think she was in high school and so not me, I don't think she gave a hoot about it, but wanted to ride around the back roads with me anyway. I met Ellie then, I believe, and watched a short film, and toured the exhibit on the history. I have since been to 2 GA Peace and Justice organizers retreats there and maybe one other drop in visit.

I feel so at home there, and have had fantasies of joining the community, but I have a deep and abiding attachment to a) my stuff and b) my internet. So it will have to wait until retirement so I can take my rv containing the aforementioned stuff and internet and be there as one of the community volunteers who come for a time in their rvs to help out, rather than a permanent resident.

And of course, the Cottonpatch scriptures just blow me away. I resonate so much because the places there are the places I knew growing up. I am still fuzzy on some biblical geography, but I know where Atlanta, and Valdosta, are with my eyes closed.

Scott also notes that the Americus Disciples Church was once a Universalist church! Next time I'm down there, I'll check it out. The thought that a Universalist conference took place at Koinonia! Now I love it even more...

Aside from Koinonia, Americus is a neat area of south Georgia. In addition to visiting Plains (Home of Jimmy Carter)and Andersonville (former site of Civil War POW prison) and the Habitat for Humanity Global Village two winters ago, my husband and I spent our wedding night, back in 2002, at the Windsor Hotel in downtown Americus--in the tower room. We drove the rest of the way to Atlanta the next day to leave for Maine. For South Georgia, that's high living and I felt like quite the princess! So if you've never been to the area and are heading down I-75, it's definitely worth the detour to spend a few days in that section of the state.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


The Glurging Tree

We had a discussion in class recently about the gender roles in The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and whether the book is of any value in teaching about love or Christ. I think it's terrible for any purpose. I compared it to glurge emails that make you cry through sheer emotional manipulation, but have no lasting value. I could be wrong, but my mom taught me that codependency is a bad kind of love, even between parent and child. I think that as a unconventional Christian I can follow my developing theology wherever it leads, but now I am going to be very careful that it doesn't lead down the road to some codependent model of Christ. Here's a similar debate:

Debate on The Giving Tree


One reason I don't like creeds

Do not attach yourself to any particular creed exclusively, so that you may disbelieve all the rest; otherwise you will lose much good, nay, you will fail to recognize the real truth of the matter. God, the omnipresent and omnipotent, is not confined to any one creed, for, he says, “Wheresoever ye turn, there is the face of Allah.”

-- the Sufi mystic Ibn al-Arabi,
quoted in The Spiral Staircase, by Karen Armstrong
Courtesy of Grateful Bear

Saturday, January 28, 2006


Incompatible Infill

Interesting Discussion at Atlanta Metroblog

The only thing I don't get-from one of the commenters-is why families would need such large (6000sf+) houses and bans on infill would prevent them from moving into town. Most families today are 1-2 parents and 1-3 kids. I just don't see why each family member would need their own personal thousand+ square feet. So they never have to see eachother?


Some neat articles on congregations and social action

Urban Congregations as Social Actors

Religion and Social Capital

Congregations and Economic Development

Urban-Suburban Congregations' New Teamwork

Thursday, January 12, 2006



My plot to take over the world is slowly taking shape:

 Posted by Picasa

This is hilarious. Thanks to Amber



I really like stuff like this.  It kind of goes along with my obsession with stuff like this.  I have no idea why.  Thanks, Boy in the Bands.

Also, this is really funny.  Thanks, Peacebang.

Monday, January 09, 2006


New Years Resolutions

Didn't make any. But I think I am going to try to post more links here to articles I find interesting on other blogs or in publications.

For example, Harper's Magazine had a good article recently about Thomas Jefferson's bible (he edited out all the woo-woo supernatural stuff, "just the facts, ma'am" seems to be his approach) and the Gospel of Thomas (collection of the sayings of Jesus thought by some to be a very early Gospel, found with the Nag Hammadi scrolls in Egypt in 1945). It's not online, so check your local library. [Jesus Without the Miracles: Thomas Jefferson's Bible and the Gospel of Thomas, by Erik Reece. Harpers December 2005]. However, a lot of really cool stuff is online at Harper's, with a nice selection of articles on religion. Go to Harper's website and look around.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Reason First Casualty of War on Christmas

This story about the "War on Christmas" is really astounding.

What do we do as a country when belief in internet rumors is not dissuaded by actual visible firsthand evidence to the contrary? How can we ever have true participatory democracy when so many people can't be bothered with the facts?

Thursday, December 08, 2005


Something Fun to do in Atlanta

Courtesy of Troy Bronsink:

Emergent friends, music lovers, activists, and city dwellers:

This there will be a garage concert, benefiting The Sullivan Center a southwest Atlanta non profit that has been around for more than 20 years. Capital Coffee is providing coffee and pastries, and a keg of beer will be tapped The proceeds of coffee sold, suggested $2 cover, and donations for beer (which will be "free" on tap) will go to the Sullivan center to assist families this Christmas who are in their homelessness prevention and vocational training programs.

There will be five great bands/performers:

Jade Hollow
The Cobalt Season
Michael Johnston (of Small Town Poets )
Troy Bronsink (with Bill Davis and Dave Stephen)
Beggars’ Guild

Come from 2-6 with friends to be generous this Christmas, get in some great music, and enjoy some beer and/or coffee!

Capital Coffee is located in the Coeur d'Alene Lofts at the edge of Capital View and Adair Park. From east, north, or northwest go south on I 75/85 and exit two exits south of I 20 on "University Drive". Turn right (west) onto University Dr until you hit Metropolitan Pkwy (former Stewart Ave) Turn left (south) on Metropolitan, and turn right at traffic light onto Dill (Dill is called Manford to the left). Continue four blocks and take your second right onto Allene Ave (a red storefront sits at the corner, if you get to Sylvan you've gone too far). We are two blocks ahead on the left by the RR Tracks.
Click here here for a map.

Thanks, and Merry Christmas!

Troy Bronsink

Monday, November 14, 2005



I don't moderate comments, yet. I do, however delete comments that are off topic. Or advertising something. Or threatening. Or gossip-y about folks that are not in the conversation. Also, if a comment is borderline I might leave it there, unless it becomes clear that a link provided leads to any of the above types of material on a website.

It's my call. This blog is my experiment. So I get to decide what's going on.

I do not delete comments just because they disagree with me, however. It's more that they are respectful of all other humans (inherent worth and dignity and all that) and that they are relevant to the discussion.

I never thought I would have to explain this, because I get so little traffic, but in honor of those folks who have been deleted, I just wanted to let everyone know the general guidelines for commenting here. On topic, respectful, nothing about someone without them. Hope that's clear.


Thursday, November 03, 2005


Great quote!

"Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof." -- John Kenneth Gailbraith

Friday, October 21, 2005


One God?

Over at pomomusings, a post on praying with Muslims drew many questions on whether or not Christians and Muslims are praying to the same God? The general consensus was that no, they are not, due to the trinitarian beliefs of orthodox Christianity.

This is so weird to me, because it seems like orthodox Christianity is also monotheist. So there is only ONE God.

Unless there are a bunch of Gods out there for different religions, which is certainly one method of dealing with pluralism but not one I hear very often, isn't the actual question whether the ONE God hears prayers of those who use the wrong name, or don't believe he came to earth, or think he is revealed through a prophet and a book that is not the Bible?

I just see the problem as more in what the ONE God will tolerate as far as differing beliefs about him than in the question of to what God are people praying?

Am I off base on this logical progression somewhere?

Saturday, October 15, 2005


Nice Day with the Parents

My mom and stepdad came up to visit this weekend. They made me a headboard and today we installed it and rearranged the bedroom around it. We also built a bathroom cabinet.

Before that, we went to Virginia Highlands and walked around. We saw some neat mid-century modern furniture at a few shops down there, then went to Highland Hardware, which was a really cool hardware store with lots of woodworking tools and books, and we ate at Everybody's Pizza, out on the patio, which overlooked the trees behind the shops. It was such a nice day for a walk and eating outside.

We also went to Best Buy for a flat screen monitor, which was necessitated by the rearranging and a little pricy, but when I got home with it, I found out I got two different $50 rebates with it, rather than the one I was expecting, so it only ended up costing us about $145. That was awesome.

What a great day!

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Liberal Baptists?

As I have posted, we have been going to a very liberal Baptist/UCC church now that we're in Atlanta. I like it because it has communion every Sunday, is liturgically oriented, and is welcoming to all, without all the conditions you find in many churches, such as baptised only, straight only, etc.

Today I got an email from the advisor of the Baptist Studies Program at Candler asking if I wanted to get involved in some of their activities. I said yes, but then I thought, maybe I should do a little more research into this Baptist thing.

Here are some places I looked:
Alliance of Baptists-This organization, with 9 churches in Georgia, formed in 1987, is a network of pretty liberal Baptist churches. It has an ecumenical agreement with the United Church of Christ and the Churches of Christ, Disciples. This is the organization to which Virginia Highland Church belongs. There is some overlap with:
American Baptists-This is the other half of the Convention that split over slavery and produced the Southern Baptists. Moderately liberal and racially diverse, with 22 churches in Georgia, one of which is Georgia Avenue Church, the church which houses my Con Ed site, Georgia Avenue Community Ministries.
Cooperative Baptist Fellowship-Another network of churches, 40 in Georgia. Moderate, with an emphasis on individual and congregational freedom, it does not take positions on issues, but focuses on networking congregations. Surprisingly, a church from my hometown is a member, but not First Baptist, which is Southern Baptist all the way.
Progressive progressive Baptist blogger, getting a PhD at Brite Seminary.

I will post more resources as I find them.

Monday, October 03, 2005


A few cool links

There is an emergent cohort in Atlanta now:

Emerging Phoenix/*

*For those of you who don't know, "One of the city's nicknames, "The Phoenix City", relates to its rise after the Civil War. The phoenix appears in many of Atlanta's symbols, including its seal and flag." wikipedia

I haven't made it to the meetings yet, they had one last week, but things are still so crazy for me.

Also the description of this blog is fairly close to my theology, so I added it to my kinja blog feed:


Went to Oakland Cemetary/ for a Cemetery Festival yesterday after church. It was so fun, there was old time music and a victorian costume contest, and I ran into an old friend from college.

Last week was pretty crazy and we ate out way too much because today is the first day I felt totally awake ever since the Edelman event. I have three short assignments to finish up this morning and then laundry and reading this evening, with a fun break for soap operas in the afternoon.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Marion Wright Edelman

This morning I worked at the ICMma Prayer Breakfast featuring Marion Wright Edelman. Her speech was very inspiring. But I worked full days on Monday and Tuesday in addition to classes and reading, and had to get up at 5 this morning to be downtown by 6 to set up, stayed there until 10 AM, and am totally beat.

I fell asleep while studying at lunchtime and was 5 minutes late to class, so I missed a quiz. He drops the lowest three, though, and I have been making 100s. I was so disoriented due to fatigue, though, that I didn't even know I was late until I got there and heard him talking as I walked down the hall toward my class. In my mind, the class started at 1:30, and I was early, even though all these weeks it had started at 1:00. It was almost like I was still dreaming. Very strange. I hope I can catch up on my sleep tonight.

Sunday, September 25, 2005


Virginia Highland Church

We've been to Virginia Highland Church about 4 times now, and can't seem to get up the energy to go anywhere else right now. It is very comforting as far as the people and liturgy is concerned. We tell them how we will be visiting other churches because I need to see different denominations and worship styles as a seminarian, according to my professors and classmates, so hopefully they understand we will not quite be "regulars" for a while. I would like to find a church we feel at home in by Christmas season if possible, but I don't want to rush things either. It is hard to navigate this church hunting thing, both logistically and emotionally. It's so much like dating, searching for "the one" without jumping in to deep commitments too fast, but wanting to spend enough time with one to see if they are "it" yet not too much so deep commitment doesn't occur. I've always been more of the going with my gut type, which actually did serve me well in finding my husband, but I'm trying to follow everyone's advice this time and not go too fast.

Saturday, September 24, 2005


All three of us outside our apartment when we got back! We were very tired! Posted by Picasa


Behind us is the play area for kids, where they can run around a base, and stand on a play pitchers mound. They just ran and ran. There was a line to run those bases the whole time we were there. Also behind us is the giant coca cola bottle made out of baseball equipment and the cannons, both of which shoot fireworks, so it was fun to be that close to the fireworks every time there was a home run! Posted by Picasa


Me and our new friend Hyun Ho from our apartment complex. Posted by Picasa

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