Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I grew up "Christian," in that I was in a royal blue velvet pew from the day I can remember. I knew my hymnal and later "the praise and worship" songs of the early '80's. I didn't own a record or cassette that wasn't Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, or Steven Curtis Chapman. My movie and TV watching was much more restricted than my peers. And I do remember, though vaguely, a certain end-times movie involving a guillotine.

So I approached Matthew Paul Turner's memoir, churched, of growing up in a fundamentalist Baptist church, with some common ground. Though the churches of my youth were far more relaxed, I can relate to the language and the sensibility of being "churched."

I was ready for hilarity. And there were plenty of cringe-inducing episodes of a young boy trying to make sense out of God while witnessing Barbie-burnings and the annual pastor vs. Satan boxing match and asking Jesus into his heart any time the pastor preached on the Tribulation, Communist China, hell, or even the Mandrell Sisters. Turner relates these events of his childhood with wry observation and also thoughtful insight.

His analysis of his parents' motivation or inclination to be in a fundamentalist church was interesting. Turner sees his dad "pursuing God through self-discipline". That meant the getting the right hair cut, avoiding curse words, wearing a suit and not a golf shirt to church, and keeping the TV off. "Dad found something in our church that gave him hope." For his mother, Turner saw her easily becoming a fundamentalist for the security and structure: "who better to organize her life than God?" There was safety in living a life regulated by a church than experiencing freedom in Christ.

My favorite chapter though is "Fertile Soil." Here Turner shows how tender and compassionate his father is. After a conversation with a farmer who was open about just how lost he was, Turner asks his dad why he didn't "put Tuck in his place" like Pastor Nolan would. His dad's response demonstrates his understanding of relationships with non-Christians and not the ticking through a tract: "I'm probably the only person in that boy's life who even mentions God. Whether he becomes a Christian or not, I think I'm there for a reason."

Although Turner confesses he still struggles with God, the American church, and American "Christian" culture (he lives in Nashville, the "Christian mecca," he calls it), he's still pursuing Jesus and is more willing to forgive the blemishes of a church and its light shows. He's a Christian despite the church in some ways and because of it in others. After their first Sunday at their new church, Turner remembers the conversation in the car during the ride home:"One thing I did notice about the new God we worshipped: he followed us home." Turner's life and his relationship with God would be forever changed and shaped by this church. What a responsibility.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

In the mail...

Today, I'm officially a world-traveler...to-be. My passport arrived in the mail today, lickety split. I only applied about a week and half ago. Glad to see my tax dollars are hard at work with such efficient service.

I will need said passport when D and I go to Copenhagen and Dusseldorf in November! Granted, not the best time of year to visit a Scandinavian country but we'll take it! D has some customers to visit and a trade show to attend and I'm tagging along for the ride, er, flight. We'll spend about almost three days in lovely Copenhagen before flying to very modern and artsy Dusseldorf, Germany. We're hoping to get to Sweden too, just for another stamp at least! There's actually a bridge across the strand--looks amazing!
From all I'm reading about Copenhagen, it seems like a lovely, accessible city with neat architecture, modern design, and pedestrian and biker friendly streets. They love hot dogs and chocolate milk--together. This picture is of Nyhavn, New Harbor, once home to 17th century sailors and Hans Christian Andersen, and now a place for jazz clubs and restaurants. The Little Mermaid statue is the city's most recognizable landmark along with its palaces. I'm trying to talk D into a day trip to visit Hamlet sites like Elsinore, but so far no luck. I'm a little worried about Danish cuisine; so far I've seen typical Danish specialties include musk ox, beet roots, and prawns. Yikes.
This will be the longest time I've been away from the children--six nights!. And the first time I've been on a plane in over four years! I haven't been out of the country since a high school mission trip to Costa Rica--and I didn't even need a passport then.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Heard around the House

I haven't been in the blogging mood much lately, but sinking to the bottom of Debby's list makes a girl write about something. (Heck, KS's posted twice and even the Diva with baby girl has posted a couple of times.) I do have something more substantial in my head, but for now...getting caught up on all our chaos.

"wan dat" - B's "want that," spoken yesterday morning while I had a piece of pumpkin bread in my hand. Still the only consistent words (beside Momma and Daddy) he says.

"soakin'" - R's intensifier for everything now...."I'm soakin' tired," "I'm soakin' mad," "I'm soakin' hungry."

"Today I Will Fly" - kid's book by Mo Willems of the pigeon and knuffle bunny fame. This is part of a series of books about Gerald the Elephant and his friend Piggie. Like with most of his other books, the words are sparse but the simple pictures tell a lot. I really like this because it makes R analyze the pictures, make inferences, and help produce the meaning through her inflections and voice as she reads. She does great voices! And we like that Gerald's speech bubbles are in gray and Piggie's are in pink so you can guess which one she prefers to read. Also on our table from the library: another Little Bear book (perfect level for her reading) and Hilda Must Be Dancing (by Karma Wilson who wrote our favs The Bear Snores On and Moose Tracks).

Right now though I'm hearing the drip, drip, drip of my gutter. It kept me up last night so I must start the drip, drip, drip of the coffeemaker.