Things I Actually Like, 3-15
A few weeks ago I tweeted that I can only do three of these things per week: Eat healthy food, Maintain relationships, Sleep, Work out, or Meet writing deadlines.
This week I picked the first three.
I started out on fire, making some good progress in my organizing and spring cleaning despite a few hiccups (like, um, my bed breaking? This is why I have a spare bed in my garage, apparently.), and writing a few thousand new words about Modesty, Spiritual Abuse, and Patriarchy in my beloved church. Because those are the things worth igniting over right now, for me, in this place.
Then I hung out with Rachel Held Evans on Sunday evening. RHE is as funny and generous and southern-accented as you'd expect her to be. On Monday she had an entire room full of theologians, pastors, scholars and faithful people laughing and thinking critically about Evangelicalism. But on Sunday night she looked me in the eyes over my favorite cheap Cab Sav and said "You don't have to rush it. You don't write a book before you're ready."
So yeah, I guess I can blame Rachel for my silence in this space this week, right? You don't write a blogpost before you're ready.
And I need more time.
My new essays about Modesty are so jumbled, so impassioned and full of my own confessions, that they just don't feel ready yet. I need to figure out who I am writing to, since so many people perpetuating these myths simply aren't listening. Would telling my story again, with more details, even be helpful? Or would it play right into the same old arguments and enemies and shame?
I am fine with sitting and sorting it out.
So I stayed small this week, working on things like exhaustion and an empty fridge and sorting through all my books and clothes, which are no small feats for a Perfectionist English-BA Fashionista.
Maybe I'll need to do the same next week, too. I'm not sure. I've got a new housemate moving in, dear friends visiting, and a conference fast approaching. And I'm realizing that writing, for me, requires space. It requires my focus and a significant amount of time to just lie on my striped rug and stare at my static ceiling fan and think.
So while I'm thinking, here are some things for you, because I actually like them.
There's nothing I love more than being a little hippie glamour girl, and Lotus Wei products are my secret. Seriously, I've tried out multiple natural flower/herbal/essential oil remedies and these are the absolute best. This is Flower Power that you eat, drink, spray on your face, or rub into your skin. I put the Joy Juice drops in my water, put Infinite Love serum on my neck, and spritz the Inspired Action onto my face. (I just did that, in fact, and I perked right up enough to finish this post. I hope.) I'm fairly sensitive and am careful about the beauty products I use because so many of them, like, straight up cause cancer or hormonal disruption or allergic reactions. But Lotus Wei products make me smell pretty and feel great. They're expensive, but worth it.
Also, the front page of their website asks you to choose a flower that inspires you. It's like taking a test that you can't lose!
Into the Light by Rachel Held Evans and the upcoming Spiritual Abuse Awareness Week
"Thinking “biblically” (…or perhaps, more accurately, thinking Christianly…) about abuse doesn’t mean keeping abuse in the shadows or shaming those who would come forward as troublemakers. Thinking Christianly about abuse means bringing it to light, confronting it as evil, rallying around the exploited and marginalized, and calling out the powerful. And it means listening to the stories of survivors, identifying our blind spots, learning from our mistakes, and vowing to do everything in our power to make our churches and faith communities safer places to worship and grow together."
I am already nervous and heartbroken about these stories and this difficult topic, because it is so closely woven in my story and the lives of people I love. But, I am so full of hope. The way to stop Spiritual Abuse isn't to belittle it or ignore it or argue that it's a few outliers. It's to do the hard work of hearing and speaking up in turn. The way to stop Spiritual Abuse is to learn to recognize it, call it out, and change the systems that perpetuate it. I believe that an honest look at church systems and careful listening to stories are essential practices of healing and love.
Mirrors by Justin Timberlake
Just straight up in love with this song, you guys. I may have looped it for hours at work this week. Sorry, everyone near my office! Or mostly like, you're welcome.
Carrying the Banner by Dianna Anderson
"This is the church I know. The church that preaches justice for the marginalized. The church that does not let anyone fall behind. The church that pushes us to be better people but that understands the enormity of the takes before us. This is the image of God that carries me through the rough patches and the hard times – the Trinitarian God of love who is community in Themselves, the God in whose image we are made. We, the church, are the Imago Dei. We, the people, are his banner carriers. And when one of us falls, someone else will carry the banner while others help the fallen.
Institutions, principalities, powers of darkness fall before us, even as we scrabble for a foothold. Even when these institutions are the church itself."
I've been reading Dianna's work for over a year now, and we've become recent friends. I appreciate this piece because she opens up so beautifully, revealing the heart behind her precision analysis and unapologetic critique. It's challenging and beautiful.
What Do Hate Groups Think of Jennifer Lawrence
I am almost as delighted by this article as I am by Jennifer Lawrence.
And you, Friend, what things did you actually like this week?