Friday, April 29, 2011

God is Good

As Christians (humans), we tend to be happy when we experience good things or when bad things pass us by.  For example, there was a tornado that just went by my brother and sister-in-law’s neighborhood and it missed their house. The tornado also missed their truck but destroyed everything that was across the street. They were extremely thankful and I do believe that this is a good thing.

This video and a couple others were posted on their Facebook page. Again, nothing wrong with that.

It is good to be positive, but it is not ok to avoid the reality that terrible things just happened to our neighbors.  Our thankfulness should not blind us to the reality that even though God is good, not everything in life is good.  Just because it was good for us does not mean it was good (or even ok).

The part that always makes me think is when you see or hear comments like “God is good! I am so glad y’all are ok,” and “thanking God you are both ok.” Again I agree with these statements.  I am thankful that my family members are safe and that their house wasn’t destroyed. But the reality is that people just a couple blocks away did loose their houses and there are people that are not ok.

Why are Christians often really only concerned with their friends and family? I didn’t comment on the video (posted on FB) because all I could think about is what is being done for those families who did loose their house.  How do we show/tell those people that God is good.

I guess there needs to be a balance between thanking God for out blessings and privileges and realizing that others are not always blessed and don’t always have the same privileges, while keeping in mind that we did not earn these blessings. 

One way that I think we can address this problem is by helping those who are not as fortunate as we are and understanding that negative situations and blessings are not any indication of how good of people we are.  The people whose house had a tree fall on it did not deserve that or earn it in any way.  We need to remember that we are not better than others.  We also need to avoid the mentality that "gee, I am glad I am not in their situation."

Any other thoughts out there?  How can we avoid thinking that we deserved to be blessed?  How can we be thankful and humble at the same time? 

I am also curious to know how this relates to the Problem of Evil (not the Problem of Pain as posed by C.S. Lewis)...I think this might become a future post!!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Complete Window

Well here is the final window.
Click here to see more about the individual sections.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Haiti Journal Entry 1 or He is Risen Indeed

Disclaimer: Well this post is a bit of rambling (I'm not even sure if there is a complete thought, but I know there are at least two partial thoughts)…If you follow, great. If not check back later because I might try to tidy it up a bit (but for now I need to get back to studying...)

Wow, I am not even sure how to explain the power of Jesus’ resurrection other than amazing. Sometimes it hits me like a great big brick wall of love and grace and other times I seem to shrug it off (I think because I don’t fully comprehend it).

The process of trying to get my passport has been a nightmare. I wont go too deeply into the problems that I have been having but every time I have gone into the courthouse so far they seem to find a new reason why I cant just hand in the paperwork.  It is also frustrating because I cant help but wonder what the experience would be if I was a white male (I know people don't like to admit that racism still exists but it does especially in situations like this).  Anyways, I followed the directions online perfectly but the people at the courthouse keep telling me that this and that wont work but will not give me reasons why or how to fix them.  The most recent time they told me that they can’t accept my drivers license because it is out of state and the time before that they said that the photo paper my image was printed on wont work (The Copy Center used the paper that their (Passport people's) website had posted and the office couldn't tell me what paper to use).

Jim is convinced that the devil is trying to thwart the process and tell me that “God doesn’t want me to go.” It sure seems like God is telling me that I am not supposed to go for some reason, but I do agree with Jim that God rarely tells people not to serve. 

Today at Easter breakfast with some people from my church, I was really encouraged, and finally think that I have the information about how to fix the details of the problem. The church service was great too. Talk about the resurrection power of God when it comes to changing things around (The sermon went much deeper than a missions trip in content and make-you-think-ness). I am pretty confident that I am supposed to go and things are looking like they will work out.

Thanks you God for you son and all that he/you did throuhgh his birth, life, death and resurrection. Amen!

I think that the sermon from today (4/24) should be up soon. It was wonderful.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Typology Quatrafoils

A simple definition of a typology is something that connects the Old and New Testaments.  A common example in Medieval art is Ecclesia and Synagoga.  Ecclesia represents the new church and Synagoga the Old.  In one window Christ has one hand on the head of each to show that both books are written by him, but also because the OT is the Foundation of the NT.  Some other interpretaions of the two characters are much more political.  For example Synagoga may be represented as being blindfolded, with a broken spear, tripping and dropping the tablets.  This Synagoga was representative of the Jews and how they were "unable to see the truth of Christ and seen as lower class citizens."

The typologies in my window are not political but lighthearted and fun.
Jesus and the Lamb.
Noah Discovers Wine and the Communion Chalice
Christ standing on the Law
The Root of Jesse.

Can you think of any other typologies?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Sarah Kay is a spoken word artist. She is the founder and co director of Project Voice, and organization promotes the use of spoken word as a form of self-expression. Spoken word is so often a powerful form of speaking truth (spiritual, religion, political and historical). 

Click here to watch Sarah Kay perform Hands

Lyrics to Hands:

People used to tell me that I had beautiful hands
told me so often, in fact, that one day I started to believe them
until I asked my photographer father, “hey daddy could I be a hand model”
to which he said no way,
I don’t remember the reason he gave me
and I would’ve been upset, but there were far too many stuffed animals to hold, too many homework assignment to write, to many boys to wave at, to many years to grow.
We used to have a game, my dad and I about holding hands cus we held hands everywhere, and every time either he or I would whisper a great big number to the other, pretending that we were keeping track of how many times we had held hands that we were sure, this one had to be 8 million 2 thousand 7 hundred and fifty three.
Hands learn more than minds do,
hands learn how to hold other hands, how to grip pencils and mold poetry, how to tickle pianos and dribble a basketball, and grip the handles of a bicycle how to hold old people, and touch babies , I love hands like I love people
they’re the maps and compasses in which we navigate our way through life,
some people read palms to tell your future, but I read hands to tell your past, each scar marks the story worth telling, each callused palm, each cracked knuckle is a missed punch or years in a factory,
now I’ve seen middle eastern hands clenched in middle eastern fists pounding against each other like war drums, each country sees they’re fists as warriors and others as enemies
even if fists alone are only hands.
but this is not about politics, no hands aren’t about politics, this is a poem about love, and fingers.
fingers interlock like a beautiful zipper of prayer.
one time i grabbed my dads hands so that our fingers interlocked perfectly but he changed positions, saying no that hand hold is for your mom.
kids high five, but grown ups, we learn how to shake hands, you need a firm hand shake, but don’t hold on too tight, but don’t let go too soon, but don’t hold down for too long, but hands are not about politics, when did it become so complicated.
I always thought its simple.
The other day my dad looked at my hands, as if seeing them for the first time, and with laughter behind his eye lids, with all the seriousness a man of his humor could muster, he said you know you got nice hands, you could’ve been a hand model, and before the laughter can escape me, I shake my head at him, and squeeze his hand, 8 million 2 thousand 7hundred and fifty four.

What is your favorite line. I like how she addresses politics, says hands are about love and then goes back. What spiritual references do you see in this poem? 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Is Hip Hop Religious?

Well this question has caused some great debate in my African American Religious Culture class.  Instinctively many people do not think that hip hop is/or can be religious.  I understand why people don't think that hip hop is a religion or even religious; however, there are some pretty strong reasons why hip hop is often seen as both a religion and religious (even secular rap) part of life, especially when we use Charles Long's definition of religion (I will post some on this and add a link soon). 

There is a really interesting book at the library. (I read half of it last year but never finished it.) Its called “The Soul of Hip Hop: Rims, Timbs and a Cultural Theology” and it argues that “yes, hip hop is a religion.” It starts with a brief history of hip hop and then breaks down the theology into a theology of suffering, community, the hip hop Jesuz, social action and justice, and the profane. It relates these areas back to the Bible and religion in general. The book finishes with the hip hop missions (which I never got to). From what I remember, it compares hip hop to church and some of the artists being like pastors. It also talks about the vulgarity as being a necessary, and real, aspect of life for kids in the ghetto.

The Soul of Hip Hop (pt. 1)

Another example of how hip hop could be a religion comes from slam poets and a few artist that have performed in Laramie (Saul Williams, Slam NUBA and Mo Brown). It seems like some of them immerse themselves in it so deeply, it is a major aspect of who they are beyond just music but in a deep spiritual sense as well. The workshop with Slam NUBA was kind of about how art comes from the soul and truth.
Blog post about Slam NUBA and workshops

Another Slam NUBA video

Adrian Molina (Mo Brown) and Saul Williams also have work that incorporate religion and spirituality.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

More on Mormons - Photographs

Here is a photo that I took when we were at Temple Square in Utah.  My husband and I celebrated our one year anniversary in Utah because were were driving 17 hours from WY to WA. 

It was the perfect city for us to explore, and spend some time, together.  If you want to see more photographs check out my photography blog (More from Temple Square).

Though I am not Mormon I do find this temple quite stunning.

Monday, April 4, 2011

More on Mormons - Mormon Myths

Here is a video that I found interesting.  It addresses the common understanding of several Mormon myths and explains why they are not true.

I am not saying that this video is wrong as I am sure whoever created it knows much much much more about the religion than I do; however, I would like to explore where these myths come from.

Here is a list of myths

1. Most Mormons live in Utah
2. All Mormons practice Polygamy - Plural Marriage
3. Mormons don’t believe in the Bible - Keep in mind they may not see it the same way as other Christians and Joseph Smith rewrote the Bible (thought it is my understanding the Mormons do not use the rewritten version), but rahter the King James Version, here are some of the reasons people may think/believe that Mormons don't believe the Bible
4. Mormons are Not Christians (it has been argued that Mormons do not believe in Christ as The Only Way (Jesus Plus Program)
5. Mormons Worship Joseph Smith - God and Jesus are seen as separate beings? Eternal Progression Eternal Progression Chart
6. Mormons don’t Smoke or Drink - This is True…Tricked you

I don't know a lot about the Mormon church (which is the point of study) and I realize that there is misinformation all over the place. Please share your views below. Especially if you disagree...That is the only way to learn. I am certainly not anti-Mormon, just a curious person.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Dave Allen

I have never heard of Dave Allen before to know anything about him.  This video is pretty clean, which I like.  It does include laughing at a young boys experience with Catholicism.

My favorite part is at the end.  Enjoy! 

Watch the Video on YouTube

What were your thoughts?  Is it ok to laugh at yourself and your beliefs?  I would say that it is and here is why this video does not offend me.

When I was in high school I wrote a series about my favorite two sports.  The stories made them sound pretty terrible time wasters.  Softball was composed of several people running around in a circle after hitting a ball with a stick.  Meanwhile another group of people is trying to get the ball where you are going, faster than you can get there.  My explanation of golf was hitting a ball into a hole with stick.  Now these are not funny but they do make two things that I am passionate about sound pretty lame.  I guess that is how I look at this video (except his dumbed down explanations are funny).

If you enjoyed this, here is some more humor...