Monday, October 15, 2007

Sin, Celebrations, and the Virgin Whore

Over the weekend I went to Davidson to see Colleen, and then I went home for a few days. And it was sort of a time of renewal. I really needed to get away - get out of Boone - and remember who I am and what I want to do, like in life. It was really good to be with people who remember. It was really good just to be.

Anyway, I observed my old english teacher's AP English 12 class, and they were talking about Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now and Hamlet and Million Dollar Baby and some poems. And the kids started talking about "the edge". Like where is that place when you are no longer really human . . . you are lost? And how do you get there? And how do you keep from getting there? And situations that require you to pick the lesser of 2 evils, and such.

As they were talking, my teacher brought up a very important point. And for me, sin was finally defined. Sin is something I have really been struggling with for the past few years. Not in terms of committing a lot of sins, although I am sure that has happened, but in terms of finding a definition I could live with. I don't buy into sin as being defined biblically . . . there are too many rules and laws in the bible, and they are too contextual. I don't buy into sin as something that separates you from God . . . I mean ok . . . but that definiton gets thrown at people and alot and really I think it would be different for each person.

But anyway, my teacher asked the students to think about times when they have done things that they know go against the person they were meant to be. And I think that fits. I think it works because you can feel it when it happens. And there is not a specific action that qualifies - it depends on who you are and who you want to be and where you are on your journey. And it works for things you honestly don't know are wrong - because how can you sin out of ignorance? I like it. I think it's true.

I think I have been doing a lot of things recently that go against who I was meant to be. And they're not big things. They're little things. But they build up. And I get caught in this monotony and this feeling of being stagnant. . . Like maybe where I am was fine a year ago, but I am not growing closer to that person that I want to be. I am just here, being. And it is sort of gross. Sort of like when you ride in a car for too long or somethiing. Nothing terrible, just a little gross. So I want to make a commitment to myself to take time to ask God, and myself, where I am going. To think about each day as a Creation. And to take advantage of chances I have to grow and change.

Also, I have been thinking about the women in my life, particularly those of you who are far away. And recently I've been looking foward to things to celebrate with you - like Halloween or birthdays or graduating or getting married (hypothetically). And I have decided that it is maybe the truest blessing to have people who can share your celebrations. Like of course a lot of people are always up for a party, but to have people who really understand what specific celebrations mean to you, and who are willing to celebrate them - even to celebrate a break up or a bad grade or a period - who understand you enough to understand why the celebration matters - and who really want to share in it - that is something beautiful. We tend ot think of close friends as people who can share in our suffering. And that is a blessing too, but it has been my experience that most times suffering is not really something that can be shared with another. Others can listen, and hug, and love - but they can not truly share. Celebrations, I think, can be shared. Truly. And I am excited about all the ones that are to come, and the beautiful friends I have to share them with.

Lastly, and I realize that this post is very random and also lengthy, I wanted to share a quote I came across about the Virgin Mary. Now lots of times I am not so much a fan of Mary, because she is so "pure" and such, and it gets old. Interestingly enough if anyone remembers my "virgin whore" poem/joke from high school it turns out that is a real sociological phenomena. Like women are expected to be pure but also seductive, which causes psychological confusion, and leads to sexism . . . but it is called the Virgin Whore. I learned that today in DEs. But anyway, Clarissa Pinkola Estes wrote about Mary so beautifully, and with such passion and realism, that it made me sort of fall in love with her. This is what she said:
"La Nuestra Senora, this Miryam, Maria, Mary, Madre Guadalupe, is no lanina pura, no nice, pure, obedient girl. She is instead pure woman, obedient only to the wildest Force imaginable: that Source without source, La Voz, The voice so much larger than her own voice, the One who asked that she lend her blood, her bones, and her spirit to create a Life that would forever be named Eternal Love."

Can you imagine anything more beautiful than that?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007


So today I was sort of yearning for osmething . . . holy. So I went to Howard's Knob. It was cloudy and hazy outside, and about 6:30. I just caught a glimpse of sunset. But it was such a peaceful, holy place. It was so beautiful to be surrounded by Creation. To take a step back, and think of what it means to commune with God. What it means to make something sacred. To make time sacred. To make a moment sacred. To make an action, or a task, or a relationship sacred. To honor the sacred in another. To honor the sacred in myself.

So often I lose sight of the sacred that is all around. I forget to stop and take time to acknowledge the beauty and power around me. I forget to humble myself and seek the sanctity of honesty, love, and selflessness.

As I was looking out over Boone, I thought of other sacred moments I have shared at Howard's Knob. Moments of prayer and study and worship - alone, but alos often with Abby. I thought about her journey to find the Sacred in Grenada, and of the blessing we share in prayer and love for one another. I thought about the Seminarians in Mexico. Perhaps the most important thing they gave me was the gift of a week in which everything became sacred. They gave a glimpse into true community, true worship, true sacrifice.

That is what I want to carry into my life. Through all that I do. I want my teaching to be sacred, my friendships to be sacred, my endeavors to be sacred. I want to love with all that I am, to worship with all that I am, to seek truth with all that I am. I don't want to lose sight of all that is to come, of all that is around in the monotony of every day. I want each day to be an opportunity for worship. EAch moment to be an encounter with the sacred. The special. The beautiful. God.

Monday, October 1, 2007


So . . . I am trying to start a long-distance small group. I know that sounds kinda lame. But I realized that there are a lot of really interesting, intelligent, open-minded people in my life that I would like to discuss things like God and faith with, but that at the moment most of them do not live in Boone. So I decided it was worth a shot. And I have gotten some interest. People seem pretty open to discussing some Bible-ness in a nontraditional format. Of course, we'll have to wait and see where it goes. But I am excited. It seems like it could be a great forum for discussiong questions and struggles and passions openly and honestly. We started another blogspot account where we can post our responses and questions to whatever readings we are following.

Today I taught my first lesson, and I think it went pretty well. It was about the First Amendment. The class I am in always, ALWAYS fills out a worksheet about the section in the book while the student teacher goes over a textbook-created power point presentation of the same information, so I was afraid to deviate too far from the standard. I did, however, create my own power point presentation. And I added a short video about the supreme court case Tinker v. Des Moines (about freedom of speech in schools related to protest armbands during Vietnam). Students filled out a little viewing guide worksheet about the video, and used the precedent to form their own opinion about whether or not the Confederate flag should be allowed to be displayed at school. Out of 3 classes of over 25 students each, about 4 kids are against the Confederate flag being allowed at school. Haha. Proof that I am not indoctrinating my students with my personal opinions . . . at least not yet. Interestingly, at Avery high school, kids are allowed to wear the confederate flag. It was against the rules at my high school.

Anyway, I think it went okay. It was kinda hard to get kids to talk. But that might be a little easier if I had known anyone's name so I could call on them. And noone was rude or mean or anything. And I think they go their boring worksheets filled out ok. And I felt sort of alive and happy and like I was actually contributing to something. So I guess we can count it as a success. The next lesson I am teaching will be about Swann v. Charlotte-Meck schools. Be excited.