Resolution for the Old and New Year…

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I have been racking my brain for the last year trying to figure out precisely what I will write about. Most of the time, it flows from my brain to my fingers effortlessly after a while, but it’s the getting started that’s the tough stuff. That is probably why I don’t write as much as I’d like to–without clear direction or plan, I feel paralyzed. I’m this way with most things in my life. I have never been a “fly by the seat of my pants” type of gal.

New Year’s Resolutions really only ever serve the purpose of giving me direction to move forward into the new year, but rarely do I stick to them for the majority of the year. Resolutions and goal-setting have always resembled more a jumping off point that leads to additional jumping-off points. Seldom does my goal at the beginning of the journey look exactly like the end result (assuming there is an end result).

So instead of waiting until the new year to develop and begin a “resolution,” I’m going to make a plan today that will help provide much writing inspiration for future blog posts and maybe even for (in the very distant future) a book or two. This idea of mine is really rather revolutionary, actually. Are you ready for this game-changer?

I’m going to…

Wait for it…

READ MORE and WRITE about what I read.

I know, I know. It’s almost too much to process all at once. It is mind-blowing.

Okay, so I’ll drop the sarcasm. My husband might say, “Other than care for the children and the house and watch some TV shows, when aren’t you reading (or looking at your phone)?” It’s true. I am usually reading. Often in a book. Sometimes in a magazine. Frequently on my iphone, computer, or kindle. Reading more may not exactly seem a revolutionary or even a new one. I suppose it isn’t. I suppose this is an oft recited goal or resolution for many. I believe that it was, at one time, one of my resolutions–or part of one. The point of this, however, is to give this blog some clear direction and inspire me.

I am not speaking strictly of book reviews, although, I am sure I will reflect after particularly poignant literary explorations. I won’t wait to post until the end of whatever book (books, is more like it, I am never just reading one book at a time) I am reading. I will write when something I have read–whatever it is–has struck a particular chord with me.

Since my memory is terrible these days, I have determined that I’m going to need to begin a book journal so that I can keep track of what I’m reading and the things that strike me. I’m going to always have a notebook available whenever I am reading or reflecting, so that I can jot down thoughts to use as potential catalysts to what I hope will be blog posts of interest to a broader audience than myself.

I suspect that most of these books will involve some degree of theology and spiritual exploration. This is, after all, the area where I will be a professional and one of my passions in life. Since, however, my interests do also tend toward popular culture, I will continue to read and write about popular topics and may discuss the trials and joys of being a mom to two boys, one with autism.

In the next month, along with starting on this journey, I plan to create a “to-read” list. I’m going to make it flexible and public. I will announce when I am reading a particular book and invite you to follow along. This will be an Over-Dramatically Stated Book Club of sorts, I suppose, and you are welcome to join me!

I’ll begin working on my book-list today and post a working-list within the week.

Why I Did Not Vote in the Midterms

Maya Angelou keeping it wisdomous.

Get ready to be irate: I did not vote this year. It was the first major election that I have sat out since I was of voting age.

I believe voting is important. It is so much more than our civic duty. It is a right not granted to all human beings. To have the ability for one’s voice to be heard and have an impact on the direction of one’s country, world, and future is vitally important. Men and women have fought and died for this right and it is not to be trifled with or taken lightly.

This is exactly why I sat this election out. The very nature of “the vote” is why I felt mine might be an irresponsible one this year.

Say what?

Yeah. This time around for me, not voting was, in my view, more responsible than voting.

I have written a bit here about my theological evolution, but paid little lip service to my political one. This is partly because politics seems to just make everyone angry, partly because I feel much less passionate about it than I once did, and partly because I feel there are more relevant things to spend my time writing about at this juncture. But it is mostly because, on most issues, I am still quite on the political fence.

For the first time in my life, I do not feel a particular allegiance to a candidate or party. I do not feel beholden to a certain set of political ideas and find myself increasingly feeling like there are so many issues that ought to be left out of the political sphere all together. I am one of the many voters disillusioned by the partisan nature of our politics and disgusted by extremism on both sides of the political spectrum.

I suppose it all began when my son was diagnosed with autism and my perspective on so many things shifted. I put more weight into things that mattered to him and “the least of these.” As my theological perspective grew, my focus aimed squarely on following Jesus’s example and striving to live by the greatest commandment as recorded in passages like Matthew 23:37-40, Mark 12:28-31, and Luke 10:25-28:

You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Actually, it probably began sooner than that. It stared in high school (I think) when I first considered that the bible, as we know it, was passed down orally and recorded by Man and that it was possible for it to be heavily laden with a cultural, historical, and social bias that may not have been entirely Godly. I was quickly shut down and told this idea was wrong, but it stuck with me. I would add here that starting seminary and moving overseas were each steps in this process as well. The impact of each of these components of my faith formation will be expanded upon in later pieces from me. If that interests you, stay tuned.

I want to pause for just a moment and make something explicitly clear: That I do not believe in biblical inerrancy does not take away, for me, the power and truth in the scriptures. Historical, literal fact is not what faith is about. It is not what truth is about. God’s power is not reliant on the literal truth (or not) of scripture. God is bigger than that. What this turn away from biblical inerrancy does do, however, is force me to look at all scriptural translation and interpretation with a critical eye. I am careful to read and interpret everything through the lens of Jesus rather than through the constitutional OT lens. Jesus came to fulfill the law. If you believe this, Jesus ought to be your primary lens as well.

But, I digress. My former perspective was partially about worshiping a country–America, one that I still dearly love, feel very thankful to live in, and whose people I serve in my capacity as a military wife. It was also about worship of a book–the traditional protestant canon, in which I will always find much truth, regardless of whether or not I find it inerrant.

My current perspective is not about worship of either of these things. It is about serving and worshiping God and serving God’s people, which are not limited to this country or to one biblical or religious perspective. I have become, for better or for worse (depending on your personal perspective) much more progressive and inclusive in my Christian approach to life. I believe I have become more wholly a follower of Jesus and less a follower of a holy collection of scriptures compiled and canonized by man.

In that way, my approach to politics and our government’s ability to function and cooperate within and outside of itself is incredibly important to me. Voting is not a responsibility I take lightly. As I am still figuring out where I stand on various issues and do not want to be a “single-issue voter,” I sat at home this election cycle. I was paying very close attention to what was happening around me. I know the results and understand the magnitude of the shift that happened on Tuesday night. I do not believe it to be the “end of the world” for liberals or a resounding victory for conservatives. These things happen every midterm election, particularly with a president who is, for better or worse, rather unpopular. I have said before that I am currently neither Republican or Democrat, conservative or particularly liberal in my politics. I’m still sussing it all out. Rest assured that my non-vote is not a vote of no confidence in our country, an indication that I do not care about the issues, nor a suggestion that I “couldn’t be bothered” to vote. I feel confident that I will vote in the presidential election of 2016. But in 2014, in an election as important as this one, I can’t throw away my vote on candidates I don’t believe in or do not trust. I will never do that.

If it changes your opinion of me, well then I’m sorry. All we can really do is our best. That’s all I’m trying to do.