Category: Politics

Five [Awesome] Things I Read This Week

My draft content calendar has two ideas for “Friday”-themed posts and I am having a hard time deciding which one to choose. Today we will try out option one, which is a Five Things I Read post, with a quick shout out to some of the articles and blogs and books and such I’ve enjoyed that week. I LOVE reading blogs and articles and always jot down my favorites, but I usually like to weave those into my blogs throughout the week, so I’m not sure I’ll be able to maintain a fresh Friday list without repeating. We will try this out for a bit and then, if this idea seems flat or if it gets too hard to maintain an interesting selection, we can start doing something different.

And so, without further rambling introductions:

Five Awesome Things I Read This Week copy

  1. Sarah Bessey’s discussion about the difference between the people that we are in real life, with all the mess and drama and mistakes and problems, and the people that we appear to be in our personal stories. Balancing authenticity with discretion can be a real challenge, and I share that burden with her. Oh, and it has something to do with Madeleine L’Engle.
  2. The New York Times’ discussion about the value [or not] of law school today: the original article here, and a few select responses here. Do I think law school is a good investment in this market? Not necessarily for everyone. . . but I am absolutely so glad that I did it. I hate my debt, yes, hate it, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. It was perfect for me.

  3. A blog post by a new professor at my undergraduate university whom I have never met, but sometimes internet stalk because he is a lawyer and an undergraduate professor and that’s exactly what I want to be when I grow up. Anyway, I’m not sure I really agree with the premise of his post, since it makes quite a few assumptions about the life of a person he doesn’t seem to speak to at all, but it was interesting to me because of the subject matter: I personally LOVE playing the slot machines and I get super excited when there are lottery tickets in my Christmas stocking, but forget that others may struggle against addiction to the false hope it can offer. I am glad for that reminder this week.

  4. Literature and Libation’s honest and entertaining discussion of how to edit your work — not just check for typos, but to really cut down, remove, rearrange, start over, edit. Also, L&L was Freshly Pressed this week, which is wicked exciting and well deserved.

  5. Sarah Markley’s timely discussion of Forgiving Yourself, posted by her over on the (in)courage blog and discovered by me just hours after I posted how much I struggle with this. It was a little coincidental and a lot awesome and made me feel a lot better.

Okay, that’s all for today! Leave a note if you like this Friday idea or if you’d like something a little more glamorous and original. [And THANK THE LORD for weekends. I mean, seriously. Great idea.]

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A kind protest

This is only a half-post, a tiny dot on a Tuesday evening where we are twenty miles from h’s grandmother’s home and I’ve already dealt with a work crisis I couldn’t solve, eaten Cracker Barrel for dinner, and taken two unfortunate naps that mean I will certainly not be cute when I see the grandmother-in-law for the first time in a year or more…

But this. Can you just take a moment to read it?

Truth will set us all free, but wouldn’t it be a beautiful world if our hardest truths could be wrapped up in love the way Preston has wrapped up his disappointment in the Church today? Wrapped in commitment and long suffering and confusion and mystery.

And love.

Is it right to protest in this way? Should we instead fight tooth and nail for truth and justice no matter the collateral damage to that thing, those people, we love? I’m not sure. But I like this. It feels right, in this moment.

Go with peace, He says. Peace is beautiful.

America!!!!!!!

We voted! Lucky for us the line ahead of us at 6:20 tonight included only two senior adults — we were in and out in 4 minutes. AND Maryland uses touch screens too — how modern!!

Tonight we are drinking wine and eating ribs and blueberry pie with some of our favorite friends…and coloring the electoral college maps in! It’s not too late to join in on the fun: a colorable map is available here!

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Open and Exposed

I’ve mentioned before that I took down some of my posts while I was serving in a “further restricted” position on a rotation this year.  Well, that ended over a month ago and so, now that I’m back to being a “regular”-ly restricted person, I have re-published the posts.  There were only a handful of them that I hid from public view and even that effort was probably over-kill:  since I didn’t write them while I was further restricted, but before, and since I didn’t solicit for any campaigns during the process and just wrote about my own personal opinions of people and issues, there was really nothing to worry about.  But I’m a goody-goody and I like to follow the rules all the time, so I went the extra mile to be careful.  No surprise there, really.

But now, I’m back, and so are the hidden pieces of this blog’s history.  It may be of little point to make public posts from 6 to 8 months ago that were already read by my [very tiny] reading public, but I read a blog about this a while back that made me decide that any posts that could be reposted would be.  The post was written by one of the main BlogHer contributors, Melissa, entitled “Deleting Your Blog is like Going Back on a Promise.”  And basically, if you don’t want to click over and read it [you should!], her point was that blogging is kind of a weird phenomenon.  We can write a blog and it becomes a creation, a living part of the internet world.  Readers or writers may link to it, comment on it, disagree with it, respond to it, creating something else that is separate but still connected to the original creation.  However, so easily, almost without a pause, the original creation can disappear and the responses, comments, links, and citations are just hanging out there, missing a piece, no longer quite the same.  She didn’t say there was anything wrong with deleting or removing content — these webspaces are personal, and each of us can control, shape, and change what we post — just that removal of content has a butterfly-effect that we often do not consider.

It’s a big responsibility, this weird thing we do.  And some of the posts that I hid from public view were the ones that made me feel most creative and alive, and that connected me to new friends.  For example, the series I started explaining that student loan forgiveness is a more complicated mess than the dialogue seems to acknowledge is now back online, as is the post-State of the Union response that connected me to a new blogger-friend named Molly.  It feels good to bring those little gems of my writing life — the ones where I felt excited to get high volume views and comments from outside of my usual circle.

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m beginning a new book this week entitled A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans.  If you haven’t purchased it yet and are interested in the modern conversations about whether the bible really says that women belong “in the kitchen,” please purchase it and leave a comment here so I know you are thinking about these issues and we can discuss further.  I’m planning to read the first chapter this evening, but am already affirmed that this is an important conversation for me, for today:  H and I returned to our church after a bit of a hiatus, and they were scheduled to vote on the ordination of two [female] candidates who have been called to full-time ministry.  It’s beautiful and weird, the way our lives our pieced together.

The Storm is Over: a [disorganized] collection of thoughts

As you have undoubtedly heard, Washington, DC escaped most of Sandy’s destruction and we are headed back to work today (some as early as yesterday afternoon). The coastline was not as lucky, and many of our friends and yours are without power for an extended period and battling severe flooding. Our prayers are with them.

Here, H and I are pulling ourselves out of the apartment-pajamas forever-never going outside party that was the last few days, and it is a rude awakening! Homework, laundry, dishes, etc. can really cramp your style. :) But we’re getting it done. I’m currently on the metro with my gym bag in hand, hoping to burn off the hundreds of calories of unnecessary snacks I consumed on the sofa this weekend…

One week from today, the elections will be over. Wow, right? This year, it has felt like the election propaganda would never end. I’m ready to get to work and know a little more about the future: both politically and whether or not my job will still exist, if my bosses will all change, and if agency policy will shift. The election seems oddly personal, given the immediate impact on my day-to-day.

Today is Halloween! I honestly couldn’t care less about this day, but it does make me think fondly if a few friends who love to dress up and watch Hocus Pocus. Missing you guys today!!

The woman beside me on the train is threatening to call of her wedding, hanging up on (I’m assuming) her fiancé and then calling him again. Drama. Thank you Lord for my husband! I’m so glad to have never had to date someone in DC. Guys here suck. [Plus he’s all-around pretty great. :)]

I’m doing the Yale Open Course in the history of the New Testament and really enjoying it thus far. It’s very different from the course I took at Union (obviously) and I’m enjoying ithe contrast. I’ll hopefully have more insightful commentary than the previous statement as I dig deeper into the materials, but it is early yet.

Thanks for sticking with me through this post and through this season; I haven’t had a lot of issues to discuss lately, but promise this blog will be much more exciting when the election is over and there are no more “candidates” (and thus fewer rules).

Catching You Up

It’s been a weird summer, and an even weirder week. Most of you know that I started a job rotation in late April, and that my husband moved away for the summer to take a fantastic yet far away internship. You probably noticed that the blog was floating in and out of focus, but you haven’t heard that I’ve been contemplating big life changes like pursuing a Ph.D. and teaching undergraduate classes, becoming a full-time reader and writer and thinker, and throwing in a potential cross-country move.

But this past week, my dad got sick. His sickness is neither permanent nor debilitating (for long, although he might argue that point), but it changed my perspective. This summer I’ve been a bit of an island: a pocket of humanity floating along mostly alone. Thinking about my future and my country and my politics. Spending the last few days intensely with my family was therapeutic.

It’s funny how your life is more exciting and “cooler” when you see it through another’s eyes. How having someone who knows you affirm your dreams of writing and thinking and teaching because, to that person, it’s obviously a central part of your creative made-in-His-image Soul. It’s funny how knowing that H will be home on Sunday makes Monday morning seem like a good idea.

My speech is still limited so my politics are still mine (you’re welcome, America), but I’m feeling a lit less lonely and embracing the fact that this life is not mine and the game is not mine to win or to lose. My gifts, talents, struggles and blessings are not for me, but for you. For shining light into darkness, for extending compassion to those in despair. And whether that is as counsel or teacher, professor or special friend, it’s pretty much the same.

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Randoms

1. Bon Iver + Bella and the Flecktones on shuffle is one great combo.

2. Tonight’s dinner of homemade hummus and fruit salad with pita chips is more nutritious than last night’s dinner of a margarita. But equally delicious.

3. I remembered this week how great it is to have smart, political and interesting friends. And I was only a hermit on Sunday and Monday.

4. Last night i sat in the National Archives and heard senators and congressmen talk straight about our country. Today, I sat in the senate gallery and heard a senator speak empty shenanigans. Perhaps we should make laws at the Archives from now on?

5. I want to quit working and write a book. In a log cabin in the mountains of West Virginia. With a fireplace and high-speed internet.

6. I’m going to see Magic Mike on Friday night. Let the wrath of conservative Christianity fall on me, but I am an equal opportunity stripper-movie-watcher. And I only even knew it was a thing because of your Facebook posts about how you would never “let” your women/wives see it. I’ll let you know if it is really more morally repugnant than Pretty Woman…or every other movie ever made. Bring it on.

P.S. I have “permission” to attend from H. Like me, he has no idea what the big deal is.