Not Giving Up

112315 Psalm 25Over the weekend, I got my first mean comment on Ragtag Reveries. On the one hand, I can’t believe it took this long. On the other, it totally caught me off guard and ate my confidence. After reading that comment, I could feel myself shrivel up inside.

I talked to a few in my circle. We all need at least a precious handful of people in our lives who can help us see ourselves as more than the worst of what others say about us. In particular, I need help sometimes to know what’s bogus in comments others say about me, and what’s something I might actually need to absorb. More often the former than the latter, since the negative seeps in so much deeper and easier than the praises. I tend to forget the praises when I’ve been criticized.

I can’t help but wonder why is it that the shame voices are so much easier to soak in than the voices where people mention good things about me? This drives me nuts. I know this about me, and yet my brain refuses to intake feedback differently.

Continue reading

Vending Machines and Prayer

vending machineA few years ago, in one of my seminary assignments, I railed against the idea of prayer working like a vending machine — as though we toss up the right words and phrases and out comes our spiritual Snickers in response. God’s not a vending machine.  And I still stand by that statement. God isn’t a machine we manipulate and control.

Yet, as I’ve been thinking about prayer again for a class I’m teaching at my church, maybe the vending machine metaphor isn’t entirely bad for thinking about prayer.

Continue reading

Self-Awareness, Infertility, and Trying to Take the Bible Seriously

Red Leather BibleEach Monday I plan to write a reflection on my interaction with the lectionary readings for the coming Sunday; this week’s passages are Ruth 3:1-5, 4:13-17, Psalm 127, Hebrews 9:24-28, and Mark 12:38-44.

For those unfamiliar with the lectionary, it’s a prescribed set of Bible readings that various churches around the globe read and interact with each week. Usually churches follow a three year cycle with one year utilizing Matthew, one year using Mark, and one year reading Luke. John gets interspersed throughout each of those three years. I use the listing at Vanderbilt Divinity Library, if you want to look up passages and read along as well.

As I began reading, the interaction proved more difficult than I anticipated. When I read the lectionary texts, I read the Old Testament passage first, then the Psalms, then the letter, and finish with the Gospel. That’s not a statement about the “right” procedure for reading, but just an acknowledge of my habit.

I read through Ruth and Psalms 127, all the while getting my dander up and dreading writing today’s post. I moved to skimming through Hebrews 9 and Mark 12, hoping for easier passages to write about for this blog.

I had a light bulb moment as I thought about my desire to avoid Ruth and Psalm 127. As much as I talk about all Scripture being inspired by God (2 Tim. 3:16), I act as though some parts are a lot more God-breathed than others. Some parts feel like they got more breath than others. And the parts that I don’t like, that seem difficult, that leave me feeling like I’m standing on a thin wire over a deep canyon, those I want to ignore and push aside in favor of more comfortable passages. I noticed the tendency in others before, but ignored it in myself.

Continue reading