Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Freaky squirrel

So this is a random post but there is a squirrel seriously determined to come in the back sliding glass door. I'm sitting in plain view, literally 6 feet away and this thing is looking right at me as it bangs its little squirrely fists against the door. It is freaking out in a very human way. It even looked like it was feeling along the edge of the door as if it could get a paw in and slide the door the rest of the way open. Remember that scene in Ghostbusters where Rick Moranis is running away from that devil dog thing and he's banging on the window of the restaurant but no one see anything but him? That's this squirrel. There is nothing else out there, I just checked. And the squirrel wasn't afraid of me, it just kept freaking and trying to get through the sliding door. Which is glass. And is closed. Funniest thing about this? When it first started, it almost sounded like knocking, to the point where I looked over expecting to see the guy who had been working on the gutters for us. But instead, I look over and it's a squirrel.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Facing question #2

Onward with those hard questions I asked a while back. I mentioned that the second thing I had been thinking on and dealing with was hard to talk about right now. It is. I feel terribly guilty about something, or more specifically, someone I feel I let down. I've been trying to push it back and not worry about it, but it won't go quietly. I just spent an hour writing about it and I'm about to start crying and it still doesn't make any sense. So I guess I need to get my act together and try this again some other time.

Let's change the subject. My church is super cool. Sherri is one of the very most incredible people ever (is "very most incredible" even a legitimate phrase?). I played a real bongo drum today. A big ass one. Huge. And I sounded pretty good. And Betsy sat next to me and she sounded even better. Betsy is cool too. And I got to paint. And got called an "artist" which still thrills me and throws me at the same time because I wrestle with the feeling that someone will pop in and say "She's not a real artist because no one has ever heard of her and she doesn't make money making art" and I'll have to slink back to the corner in embarrassment. It's a thing with me. I'm dealing. Anyway, I was "the artist" for Sherri today and it was so incredible to be allowed to take part in the seminar as well.

Betsy and Sherri (and Ashley, and Deedie, and Beth, and...) are the people that quietly call to me to come to Cedar Ridge. They don't say anything vocally. But they are so unique in themselves and their friendships with me -- some more personal, some still growing. I am drawn to them and the place where they gather to worship in the hopes that I can become more comfortable in a church setting because each of them are there doing their own thing and allowing me to take part in some way. I don't know if that makes any sense? It's the only way I can think to put it. There are women (and men too) that I look up to for various reasons and they have accepted me as a fellow pilgrim, fellow believer-in-training. It frees me to stop worrying about the people and thinking more about the worship. I don't worry that Sherri and Ashley will stop one day and say to each other "That Stacie girl is really weird." (though they may have already said that since they've both seen me break down and cry over Britney Spears. It was a spiritual thing, don't ask. Really. Don't.) Or that Betsy will look at me and think "what a moron" (though maybe I should worry if she ever sees my lack 'o mad knitting skills). But by now I've decided I'm keeping them, and Cedar Ridge, and it won't matter anyway. And that's not supposed to sound stalker-ish. I have little kids. I have no time to stalk. Not that I'd want to stalk. I don't. Really. But you know what I mean.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

And no, I don't like Kerry either.

**NOTE: for those of you who know me, I hope you remember that I'm not a raving lunatic. I'm not a liberal weiner or a right-wing nutjob. I'm a 32 year old mother trying to work through her faith and find the true ground of being as Christ-like as possible and leaving the rest of the "Christianity" and "Church" baggage behind to those who want to argue about the tiny little itty bitty rules.

Ok, so why do I dislike, or even fear, church? Let me explain what I mean by "church" first and go from there. I love the Cedar Ridge Community Church here in Maryland. Its a great group of really good honest imperfect people. What I fear is church as an institution. I hate that Christians in American seem to be symbolized by George W. and Jerry Falwell. I really don't think it's fair that my faith in God comes into question because I don't back George Bush 100% no questions asked. I hate the blanket label of "Christian" right now because it only seems to apply to one side or the other in this election and there's no room for questioning. I guess this election has made me feel like I had to choose sides and I don't feel like I fit in anywhere. I would be really honored to meet someone, become friends, honestly help them through a hard time and have them say "Oh. I didn't know you were a Christian" because they didn't feel any judgement or disapproval from me. That would be so much greater than to have someone avoid me at all costs because they heard I was a Christian and didn't want to deal with my presumed judgement upon them.

As a "Christian", "Believer", whatever you want to call me... I have been taught that being homosexual is wrong according to the bible. Ok. That's enough for me. BUT -- and you'd better stop reading now if you have no room in your minds for working through this with me -- BUT I don't think that my convictions regarding homosexuality give me the right to hate homosexuals. Ok, I can hear it now, "I don't hate homosexuals. I just think it's wrong and don't want them to be able to be able to get married." Again, I believe in the sanctity of marriage between men and women. BUT -- again... get ready to either try to work through this or get out now -- BUT SO WHAT?! So what if I believe that? I really believe that I am called to be accountable in my life and be as Christ-like as I can. Isn't there a song or saying or something that says "You may be the only Christ some people will ever see"? Well... from all accounts of Christ, I don't remember ever reading about him being involved in politics even when the politics of the day had the Romans ruling the Jews with an iron fist, killing innocents, etc. Yes, the Romans were pretty bad. But Christ worked at a much lower level on the radar than that. He loved each person he came into contact with. Each really gross sinful person. And He was Lord of all, perfect and holy!

So I'm left with a dilema. Isn't it my job, as a Christian, to ignore the "Big Issues" and make day-to-day contact with the people around me? Do I really believe that picketing at an abortion clinic is going to do anything more than make that one desperate "sinner" (a.k.a. woman getting an abortion) is my picketing and guilt-tripping going to bring her closer to Christ? Is my rejection of gay people going to bring them -- as people, as individuals -- is it going to bring a gay person closer to Christ?

And here's where it gets hard for some people to open up and be honest about. Bush and the war. I know of at least two of you who have said you don't agree with the war but you're anti-abortion and Bush is anti-abortion. So I'm brought to a question I read a few weeks back -- "Is abortion the only pro-life issue that Christians are called to act upon?". I can't believe that it is. I hate abortion. I think it's a hideous thing. I think it's a sad thing for the women involved. I don't think it's an easy out. I think it's a hard thing for most people. Maybe not all, but most. BUT -- and here we go again with the "buts" -- BUT are unborn babies more precious to God than people who happen to not be American and/or living in America? Are Muslims not as loved as I am because I am a Christian American? Are Iraqi's lives automatically forfeit because they are Iraqi and not American?

I didn't really think much about it until our pastor told a story about an American he knew visiting Bagdad earlier on in the war. A bomb landed right next to his hotel and the hotel guests streamed out to see the crater that was left. Being the only American there, he noticed an Iraqi whom he knew to speak English standing nearby. He asked the man what he thought about the American actions, etc. The Iraqi man said that if the Americans had to come in and bomb the country to remove their president from office then it was understandable. But he then asked what the Americans would think if Iraqis decided to do the same thing. There are a lot of variables to that -- Bush vs. Hussein and the differences, etc. I'm not saying Bush is evil. I'm just saying... it's something to think about. **NOTE: don't send me email saying I'm anti-American, anti-troops, anti-whatever. I'm not. So don't. I'm just a person trying to make sense of stuff. No one asked you to read this and if you don't like it, please move along.

I guess the idea of this post is that I'm tired of having big Christian issues to "stand for" -- being against gay marriage, anti-abortion, pro-war in Iraq/Pro-George Bush, whatever. I'm tired of the big "Christian" issues driving a wedge in between us as followers of Christ and them as people needing love and support regardless of their sexual identity, whether they've aborted, practice Islam, etc. If Christ did in fact die for all people, where do I get off judging whether someone is ok?

I don't want it to sound like I'm condoning doing whatever the crap you want. I just want to make sure that my beliefs don't get in the way of someone else coming to know Christ. Because knowing Christ is the very basic bottom line of this. Being saved from our state of sinfulness and being free to live our lives in Him. I remember being taught that a sin is a sin is a sin. Abortion, drug addiction, being a big jerk to people - it's all sin. I certainly don't want someone picketing me, throwing bricks through my window, etc. because I lie, or am sometimes very rude to my husband and I don't have good money managing skills. Sin. Me = sinnner. Just like everyone else on earth. If Christ is is witholding judgement until we die, why can't we?

Monday, November 01, 2004


Rusty and I haven't been to church in two months. No. We're not heathens. We are parents. And we are still moving and unpacking. And we're human. But I will be honest. Rusty is a lot more willing to try to get to church than I am lately.

This morning, when we woke up, Rusty said "Let's try to get to church" and I felt this knot in my stomach. I don't want to go. And I've been trying to figure out why. This is what I'll be working out in my head and on here, so bear with me.

Good god. I just wrote eight very long paragraphs. Too much for me to read, let alone someone else. Summary? Born Catholic, divorced parents, mom remarried and we became Baptist. Baptists messed up a few years later, family migrated to Assembly of God church (next door to my Christian school) by default. Sent to Christian school for entire life except bizarre break from reality when attended Catholic school for first semester of second grade to appease my grandma. Tossed out of Catholic school when they found out we weren't, in fact, Catholic and would not be allowed to make first communion with rest of class. Yay, fun. Saw a lot of pretend Christians at school on weekdays and church on Sundays. I was a pretend Christian myself. "Became a Christian" at age 21 and have been evolving and learning what that means to my life ever since.

There are a few specific things I need to work out:

1. Why do I dislike church? I love our church here in Maryland (Go Cedar Ridge!). And I loved Vineyard in Cincinnati. But for some reason, I forget that in between Sundays and when I hear the word "church" I seize up.

2. I feel like I let someone down in a very serious way. Such a serious way that I'm not sure I can talk about it right now. We'll work on that and get back to you.

3. I have had thoughts about my faith and beliefs lately that seem like revelations but at the same time scare me because some of them don't seem particularly "Christian".

OK. So. That's about it for me.
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