Friday, November 25, 2011

The New Domesticity

"The New Domesticity, Or a Step Back for American Women?", a Washington Post article, is most fascinating.

I really appreciate its acknowledgement that a force behind the movement back to domestic skills is partially a political movement against commercial foods, and also a movement toward independence -- a desire to be able to take care of ourselves, not unlike the conflict posited in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (are you truly free on the roads if you do not have the skills to fix your own bike and you rely on others who have these skills, or are you becoming more and more disconnected from yourself and your experience? was one of the questions explored in the book.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Art And the Common Girl

One of the first dates that Jeff ever took me on was to the Getty Museum. Not the big collection on the top of the hill along the Sepulveda Pass -- no, the Getty Villa in Malibu. Mind you, this was twenty years ago, and not only were the ancient collections there, but the art collections were as well. They had just acquired Van Gogh's "Irises,"and Jeff was eager to see it.

The villa is a model of an ancient Roman villa, complete with fountains, herb gardens and a magnificent view of the ocean. It was so beautiful outside most of the many times that we went there, that it was sometimes difficult for me to go inside and look at the collections because the velvet walls, rich colors, and dark rooms seemed like such a heavy contrast.

But there was one painting that always struck me -- I could stand and gaze at the folds in the princess's gown forever. The painting was HUGE...took up a whole wall, and it always surprised me when it was meeting me as I turned the corner...probably because it was such a maze. It is a portrait of Princess Leonilla, Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn, by Franz Xaver Winterhalter. I admit it...I really just covet the dress.

From that first visit, the Getty has played an important part in our family life. Jeff and I went on several dates there, we used to take the kids there as well. I remember hearing about how one woman in my La Leche League group had been insulted there because she had nursed her toddler there. I found that incredibly ironic, because how I kept my toddler interested was by carrying him around there in a sling, showing him the many paintings of a standing Jesus nursing at Mary's breast. When we go back to L.A., we still go to the new museum, and while Jeff managed to get to the new refurbished Villa, I still have not made it. I would love to see a Greek play there.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Calls and Temptation

My pastor in college shared some advice from Dr. Robert Preus, back when Jeff was his summer vicar: "When you get your first call after your placement, you are going to look at the money. You can't avoid sinning."

Jeff has received two calls since becoming a pastor, and neither one would have been financial gains. When we moved to our current congregation, with cost of living factored in, it was very break even, and with state income tax and some other factors, it actually turned out to be a pay cut that was not unfelt. The call that he has received recently was pretty much the same, so at least with that out of the way, other things can be considered. And just to note, it is NOT a sin to make sure you can take care of your family.

Dr. Preus had it right, though...only he was too narrow. When a pastor's family has a call before them, it can really cause them to covet -- a church that has a heart for missions or confessional theology, a bigger or smaller town, the opportunity to own a house away from the church or getting to live nearby in a parsonage, a school -- or no school, maybe its near a seminary or near the beach, etc. It stirs up a desire to want what we don't have.

A friend of mine once commented that when there is a call before a Pastor's family, it almost feels like adultery....or at least flirting with it. I'd have to say she was very right. There's a lot of comparing the glamorous "other woman" with the one who is comfortable and familiar. Contemplating a call is a very uncomfortable process. And like flirting and temptation, it can be a very pleasurable one.

Not that all of this is entirely sinful. It's not. In going through the call process, we've met some wonderful people; learned a little more about ourselves and our current congregation, about what's involved in moving to a new country and a different church body, and about God's provision at all times. And while things were dang good in our marriage, I think it also has strengthened it even more.

On Sunday, my husband announced that he is returning the call to Messiah Lutheran Church in Waterloo, Ontario. Please pray for them that during this process, they learn more about themselves as well, and that God guides them to a faithful and loving shepherd.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

An Interesting Thought on Dating

One of my favorite shows is called "Bitchin Kitchen." It's out of Canada and is REALLY hilarious. Luckily, The Cooking Channel picked her up. Occasionally, in her quirky and sometimes disturbing way, Nadia G will drop some good advice. This is from her episode "The Dish on Dating."

"Much like making dinner, the first step to finding a mate is knowing what you want. But people are too funny. Ask them what they do and they'll say Í'm a microbiologist specializing in gram negative bacteria, specifically endotoxins. My hobbies include rustic Malaysian cuisine and collecting garden gnomes." But ask them what they are looking for in a mate and they'll say 'a sense of humor.'Come on! Be specific!

"...Same goes for finding a mate. You've got to figure out which ingredients will make them tasty to you. Otherwise, you'll never date (holds up a package of "Mac and Sleeze") outside the box."

Saturday, November 05, 2011

A Call

I haven't posted about this before, but my husband has received a call from Messiah Lutheran Church in Waterloo, Ontario Canada.

We just got back from visiting there for a few days, and had a wonderful time with the members that we met. Jeff is continuing to deliberate. There has been so much to consider, but he has set November 13th as the day that he will announce his decision.

Please keep us, Zion, and Messiah in your prayers.

Thank you.