Thursday Night Thoughts by Mrs. H

26 03 2009

As part of my job, I’ve started going to a local church’s young adult group with one of my clients.  It’s a large church, conservative and for all intents and purposes, non-denom.  Last week was the first time I went.  The young adult pastor passed out scratch paper before his lesson and here’s what ended up on mine.

What is hell?    Seperation from God.

Why do people go to hell?…
I don’t believe it has anything to do with what we say.  Is it just about being a nice person?  No not really, but it’s not about a formula either.
It’s about having faith that there is more; faith that there is a creator and believing that living in harmony and pursuing peace and justice and LOVE is how we honor this creator.  And if we truly believe in a creator, how can we NOT praise this Being?
How can I not set aside part of my week to focus on this part of life?  No wonder I struggle so much with balance!  No wonder I always feel that I’m barely keeping my head above water.

(after the pastor read the end of the beatitudes, Blessed are the peacemakers…. and kind of dismissed the whole war and pacifism issue)
“Peacemakers show someone who is at war with God, how to be at peace with God”  Really?  hum, maybe, but I’m not comfortable with refocusiong that scripture.

(after the pastor claimed racism is built into us… trying to support the idea that we are sinful from birth)
Is racism biological at all?  I’ve always thought of it all completely as socialized.  I think it is socialized, but the cues are so subtle and pervasive that we don’t always see the cause.

God is NOT a man.  God is not limited to a masciline identity.  WHY then do we limit God by using the male pro-noun.

I don’t believe in the Old Testament as history.  It is the oral tradition of one people.  Are we really expected to not understand it as storytelling?  It doesn’t make it irrelevant, but seeing it as unaltered fact is not simply problematic, but dangerous, and we’ve seen how it can be used in awful, hurtful ways.

He totally pussyfooted around the issue of non-violence.  For shame.

“Evangelism by works or example is a small part of evangelism”?  Really?

Bible hopping bugs me.  He’s used 7+ passages a verse or two each.  context? cohesion?

With everything going on a teaching on “converting” is the most effective use of our time?  What about all the people who don’t have enough food right now, are losing their homes, power shut off, etc.  I know there’s a passage some where about meeting people’s physical needs before we can evangelize.  But I guess this is my first time, maybe that sermon was last week.


Interview II

29 04 2007

These questions come from Nicole whose blog first inspired me to start this project.  I’ve been getting some great questions!

1.  Has being a nanny affected/changed your views on motherhood, and if so how?
It has a lot, but instead of making me want to be a mother more or less, it has opened my eyes to the complexities of motherhood.  I’ve seen how hard it is to be a parent.  Loss of sleep, loss of autonomy.  The guilt of not being with your baby at every possible moment, because that’s what a good mom does.  Frustration over not being able to lose the baby weight.  The expense.  The maturity it takes to stay sane and keep up your marriage and other relationships while caring for this little being who is totally dependent on you.

But I’ve also seen how the girls reach for their mothers above all others.  How they will be calmer in their mother’s arms than they are with me.  I’ve experience great joy caring for these two wee ones, but nothing compared to what I can see their mothers experience.  I look forward to having that some day.

I think being a nanny had deepened my already strong desire to have children, but it has also strengthened my desire to wait until I am much more mature and have a well-established marriage.

2.  If you could only use one spice for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Curry.  I love oregano, but it would have to be curry.  I love Thai and Indian food too much to give it up.

oh wait… does salt count?

3.  What is the one political/moral issue that you try to stay away from (because you think it’s silly, it makes you uncomfortable, etc.)?

Abortion.  Because I have a view that not many people appreciate.  I think abortion is completely wrong.  I think that it is psychologically unhealthy for the mother and that we do not have the insight to know the point when life begins.  At the same time, I am not pro-life in the political use of the term.  I don’t think abortion should be illegal and I am bothered by how many resources are used to try and make it so.  Why not use those resources instead to alleviate the “need” for abortions?  Isn’t there an old proverb about the man who kept pulling drowning people out of a river until he went up river and stopped the man who was throwing them in?  Sort of like that.  There are social issues that lead to the prevalence of abortion that need to be solved before even thinking about making abortion illegal is really going to help anything.  We know from history that making abortion illegal does more harm than good.
Ok, it’s not completely true that I stay away from it.  I actually said basically the same thing in a recent post, but in my “real life” often I won’t get into it.

Oh, and legalizing marijuana.  I’m not saying it should be legal, but please… cigarettes, alcohol, even some prescription drugs… I feel that it’s hypocritical of our government and doesn’t make any logical sense to make it illegal when there are much worse things that are “acceptable”.

4. What is your favorite quote/passage from a book you’ve read?

I adore quotes.  I have to choose one!  Humm… well, I don’t want to be clique, but I Corinthians 13 is the most meaningful piece of writing I’ve ever read.  If I had a creed this would be it.  I wish I could love in the way this passage describes.

Taken from the NRSV:

13 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast(a), but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror, dimly(b), but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

(a) Other ancient authorities read body to be burned  (b) Gk in a riddle

and because I can’t help myself, here’s a quote from “Memoirs of a Geisha” (the book) that has been very meaningful to me in the last year.

“Grief is a most peculiar thing; we’re so helpless in the face of it.  It’s a window that will simply open of its own accord.  The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver.  But it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it.”

5. If past lives exist, what are you convinced that you were (and in what time period)?

Definitely a cat.  And hopefully in ancient Egypt.  They worshipped/pampered cats.

Thanks for the questions 🙂

More interviews to come, but I’m in Niagara Falls with Mike right now, and trying to store up as much of him as I can before he goes abroad in a few days.

High school and me

11 04 2007

First I want to direct you all to a blog I recently started reading. Alex writes intelligently about issues he is obviously passionate about, and his take on the issue of legal rights for homosexuals made me very happy. While I don’t agree with the theological side of what he said, I can totally get behind separating the ideas of legal union from religious marriage. The Church needs to deal with the issue of homosexual marriage, but what’s the government got to do with it? Alex says it much more eloquently.

Second, I want to say how grateful I am to see a fellow Western grad (Alex was a class below me) finding his own voice and religious/social/political views and not just swallowing the lines we were given. I’m sure many alumni go on to do this, but I also wonder how many don’t. Looking back, I can see how some where, probably due to outside influences, already learning this skill, but I for one certainly was not. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me backtrack.

I went to a conservative Mennonite high school in Oregon. I boarded,so in many ways that school was my entire life. I have many fond memories from my four years there, and I do not regret having been sent by my parents who were living in Washington state at the time in a town with a pathetic excuse for a school system. I received a good education, made some wonderful friend, had the opportunity to be highly involved with quite a few activities, and was sheltered from many of the negative choices that so many other high schoolers are presented with.

What I don’t appreciate was the close-mindedness that the school embodied. I do not think Western is a bad school, only I hope that it can develop a different environment. One that encourages students to find answers for themselves. One that provides all the information and then equips its students to find their place among the choices. I feel that we were told what to think and believe. That we were presented with alot of one sided worldviews. We were preached at instead of guided. We had a few teachers who encouraged the idea of “courtship” and waiting to have your first kiss on your wedding day. We had a mock election when Bush was running for the first time, and he won by a landslide. There were very little discussions about the complexity of many moral issues. Were they so afraid that we couldn’t make good decisions for ourselves that they had to spoon feed us the answers? Homosexuality? Wrong. Abortion? Wrong. Per-marital sex (or anything for that matter)? Wrong.

Now this environment was due in part to the students as well as the faculty, and there were those among the faculty who I can see now tried to present alternatives, but they had to be discrete about it or jeopardize their positions. Stick to the script or your not welcome here. Our bible teacher was one such person. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I have come to appreciate him as a teach more and more. I remember discussing women leadership in the church during New Testament, and how he set Paul’s writing in a cultural context and the idea that it belonged in that context and not necessarily all contexts as a possible interpretation. I remember him stepping on some toes with that one. This same teacher’s job was recently in jeopardy when he gave his yearly “Swearing” lecture where he demonstrates the difference between using socially unacceptable words or “dirty language” and swearing an oath or using the Lord’s name in vain. He prefaces this lecture with the invitation for anyone who would rather not hear “swearing” to go to the library yet he still was required by the school to write a letter of apology because of parental complaints.

Another story I heard that boiled my blood also happened after I graduated. A graduate of Western (and Goshen) is now a successful opera singer living in Germany. She also happens to be a lesbian. She visited the school one year and graced our humble school with her presence. The next year after the music teach had invited her to come again, he was told to uninvited her. She was not welcome on campus. She was not coming to talk about her live style. She was coming to sing and to interact with the choir. When asked if she could at least come and spend time with the choir, the answer was no. She’s an alumna for goodness sake! She’s not allowed to visit her own high school? Is this what we call the acceptance of Christ? Is this following his example of welcoming the lepers, the whores, and the tax collectors? Not that I see it that way, but even if they don’t agree with her lifestyle, isn’t that still being hypocritical?

Needless to say, I’m still figuring out how I feel about my alma mater. There’s still some bitterness that I need to work through. It was hard getting to college and realizing that I was behind many of my classmates when it came to being able to make my own moral discussions. I had a long road ahead of me breaking down walls that had been built in me. I have not abandoned all that I was taught at Western. (I still don’t agree that abortion is a morally sound choice, but I also realize that social issues involved make it an issue that cannot be solved by making it illegal; there is so much more that needs to happen before that can be a feasible option. First let us eradicate poverty, discrimination based on race and gender, the subjugation of women, rape, etc. Then let’s talk about the ways to get rid of the other causes of abortion.*) But I found that I had so many beliefs that I didn’t really understand. I’ve also dealt with quite a bit of guilt about rejecting some of those beliefs. Mostly I just hope that the school can grow and learn how to help their students develop strong moral convictions based on open discussion and a clear knowledge of all the different facets of the topic at hand. Maybe these changes are already taking place, and I just haven’t heard about them. Mine is also just one story, and there may be graduates of Western who experienced something very different. But that is my story, and my beef. Kudos to anyone who actually made it to the end of this post.

* A rant within a rant.  How do I ever stay on point?

Watching the green

3 11 2004

Music: Ada plays from Cold Mountain

It can be very inspiring to watch my plants grow. Ever so slowly, but I see progress and discover new shoots everyday 🙂 And they’re not dying which is amazing with the fact that I really have no green thumb what so ever, I think it might even be slightly black 😉 Life is…… right now in this moment life is good, I have wonderful friends, a warm room, an incredible man who loves me, more food than what’s good for me, and direct access to the ultimate power of the universe. You know that last on is really the most amazing, but the one I think I take the most for granted, or at least capitalize on the least. Humm… something to work on. I felt really beautiful today 🙂 That’s always a nice thing. Oh! and I voted for the first time. Exciting. Please, Kerry win. Please, please, please, please. Sigh, Bush for another 4 years might be more than I can handle. At least I’m going to be in China next year. Wonder what they think of him over there. Probably hate him like the rest of the world. Sigh.


28 10 2004

Music: I Hope I Get It from a Chorus Line

So I just discovered that the site that I’ve been getting the daily thoughts from is THE Bruderhof, like the communal living communities in New York, Germany etc. The ones that Abby’s been talking about. How random is that. And I got to their website really randomly by searching under “quotes” and didn’t even bother to look at the site really. I just figured it was some christan right organization. So I was suprised when I started getting messages that were very meaningful about sustainable living, peace, etc. Wow, funny how these things work. Here was a comment I posted on the full article that I took an exerpt from in my last blog. Here’s the where you can see the full article. I was especially affected by the story of the driver who’s daughter aborted during a bombing raid. Regardless of how you feel about abortion, how can you ignore this? I just don’t understand.

I was greatly moved by this article. The thoughts presented in it were ones that I’ve been mulling over recently because of my close contact with people who seem to follow two different standards. They support the war, but are against abortion. Abortion is one of the key issues in the current election for a few people I know. What do I say to them? I think my biggest struggle is that there doesn’t seem any way to have meaningful conversation. These people are my friends and family. I love them. But when it comes to the war, we can’t understand what the other person is saying. I can’t understand their arguments for the war, because it seems so very clear to me that violence begets violence. Yet they cannot see an alternative. We need alternatives, ones that I or you or anyone can understand, at least the philosophy behind them. If these alternatives are out there, than we need to be shouting them from the rooftops. Please.

Who Is Pro-Life? by Emmanuel Charles McCarthy …

28 10 2004

Who Is Pro-Life? by Emmanuel Charles McCarthy

As I read the triumphant headlines in the newspapers day after day–“U.S. Pounds Iraq from Air”–and saw the pictures of missiles streaking into Iraq, I could not help but hear the silent screams of all the little Iraqi children in utero who were having their lives ripped from them…Yet the silence on this matter of abortions induced by war–silence in the church, in pro-life circles, and in peace and justice efforts–is thunderous.

It is as if abortion for saving a person’s reputation is absolutely evil; abortion for saving a family’s economic life is absolutely evil; abortion for saving a person’s job is absolutely evil; abortion for saving a person from what he or she perceives to be an intolerable personal future is absolutely evil, but abortion to save oil fields for the present and future control and profit of American and British oil interests or to save the world from non-existent weapons of mass destruction or from a local dictator is morally permissible! It is as if patriotic earplugs have been discreetly employed by pro-lifers in order to not hear what they have been telling others to listen to for over thirty years–the silent screams.”

I get these things in my inbox everyday from a website called Bruderhof…. they’re really really interesting. I don’t know anything about the website, and I kind of signed up on a whim.

I also get quotes to my inbox here’s todays~ “If the automobile had followed the same development cycle as the computer, a Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get one million miles to the gallon, and explode once a year, killing everyone inside.” – Robert X Cringely

Interesting thoughts by Thomas Merton

6 10 2004

Despair is the absolute extreme of self-love. It is reached when a person deliberately turns his back on all help from anyone else in order to taste the rotten luxury of knowing himself to be lost…Despair is the ultimate development of a pride so great and so stiff-necked that it selects the absolute misery of damnation rather than accept happiness from the hands of God and thereby acknowledge that He is above us and that we are not capable of fulfilling our destiny ourselves. But a person who is truly humble cannot despair, because in a humble person there is no longer any such thing as self-pity.


5 10 2004

I found this, it strikes some sour cords with me, and I think it’s a miss use of the image of Christ, but I think it’s important for us who oppose to be aware of those who do chose to fight. To try and understand the other side.

Understanding Soldiers from Iraq

People think they understand

(but they really have no clue)

the life of a soldier

and what it is we have to go through:

Crying families, crying children,

“Daddy, please don’t go away!”

Smiling, you say, “Things will be fine,”

while inside you’re crying, praying to see another day,

fighting for those who cannot

and for those who burn what you swore to defend,

constantly questioning life’s purpose,

hoping it will all make sense in the end.

There’s no one to talk to

except the angels that guide us through the fire,

frozen in a silent scream,

being led by God’s divine power.

I have nothing to do

but wonder why I am here.

Is it out of pure patriotism,

or is it strictly out of fear,

the reasons why I do this?

For faith, sacrifice and love,

and to defend our nation?

When push comes to shove—

hunger, homesickness, anger, sadness, fear,

thirst, exhaustion, loneliness, and disgust—

sometimes I feel small, helpless, and alone,

in a world hard of finding trust,

with nothing to do

but wait for another day.

God is my refuge,

and to him I always pray.

We are soldiers; men of honor

holding steadfast and strong without fear.

Even though most of us soldiers

are not yet old enough to have a beer.

Even so, we will be haunted

by the images left in our heads,

by the phantoms, the ghosts

and the nightmares we will have in our beds.

You will look upon us as a child,

but men we are—more so than some,

and we will continue to grow

even when the fighting is done.

Always being asked:

“Why put yourself through that?”

If only I had an explanation;

If only they could think backto a time long ago

when a Man suffered for all our sins…

Are we as soldiers

any different from Him?

Maybe then

their understanding may begin.


26 08 2004

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Well, Interpretation’s going to keep me really really busy! But I’m excited about it too. It’s just so nerve racking when you’re supposed to be interpreting something and you can’t understand one sign and it throws you completely off! Grrrr….

Currently Playing Love Scenes By Diana Krall

First day of work at the coffee shop tonight. Definitely have some bugs to work out, but nothing serious. It was pretty slow, but that was probably because it was 11-12. We didn’t get done cleaning up till 1. And then I was locked off my floor because I forgot to take my keys so I sat around waiting for security and read the Inferno. I read the chapter about the souls of the Carnal- basically those who’s sins were those of sexual passion. Very interesting chapter. I was kind of expecting more out of the book as far as talking about why certain things were sinful. I can’t say that I agree much with his theology. I can’t imagine people left out of Heaven just because they died before God sent Jesus. I really like the image of God as a woman, not that I think God has a gender (which is exactly the point) but if I had to chose one gender I like female. Probably partly because I’m one, but also because of the mothering instinct and because women are just such beautiful creatures. Ok, yes I’m being really random right now, but that’s because it’s 2:30 in the morning. Ugggg…. This is a big problem with me, staying up way too late. I just function better at night. Small group was good tonight. I really enjoy getting together with a group that’s so mixed as far as ages. We have a couple and a single woman who are in their 60’s, a couple in their early 50’s….maybe late 40’s, a single guy mid-30’s, and a couple late 20’s. Well, my conversation with Joel is wrapping up…’s now 2:40….so I think I’m going to end this. Good night, pleasant dreams, bien noche.

Currently Playing Mclachlin~ Dear God

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The Hands of Believers

With hand on head we bless,

With hand on foot we serve.

With hands and arms around each other we comfort,

With hand on shoulder we pray to our living Savior.

With hand held open we offer peace to a broken world.

With hand in hand we join together as one body.

With hands lifted high we praise our God.

In this way, the blessings of Christ

Flow through our community.

~Stephanie Anne H********

Currently Playing Nickel Creek


25 08 2004

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The day definitely got better. The ASL get together went really well and I think I did a really good job grilling! Not something I’ve really done before. And it didn’t rain, even though it looked like it was going to the whole time and sprinkled a little bit once or twice. And then there was an icecream social at westlawn and I got my curtains and I didn’t have to work in the coffee shop after all, and I had lots of visitors in my room, and I got to play cards with Jess, and………… It’s been a good day

Currently Playing Cold Mountain

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

ASL get together tonight! I have so much to do to get ready for it, but I don’t feel like doing it quite yet. And then I’m working at 11-12:30! grrrr….. it’ll be fun, but I don’t think I’m going to like such late shifts. Classes start tomorrow. I’m not feeling ready yet! partly because I don’t have my books etc. Grrr………. I just tried to order my books online and went through the whole process before it let me know that I’m 2 days late to order for this semester! Wow, today’s just not my day.

Currently Playing The Sound of Music (1965 Film Soundtrack) By Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Julie Andrews

Monday, August 23, 2004

I’m tired….. and I’m worried about stuff that I shouldn’t be worried about. Like the fact that Jenn hasn’t e-mailed me back (this is very strange), and that my ASL skills are going to be so behind that Myron’s going to kick me out of the program or something, and that the people I care about are not happy, or struggling with things or…….. mostly it’s just cause I’m tired. But I’m also very sensitive to slight vibrations in group and personal “carma”. My own is pretty low at this very moment, but life will improve when the sun rises tomorrow morning. I love how that happens….. a new day comes and you get to start off fresh.

May you have warm words on a cold evening, a full moon on a dark night, and the road downhill all the way to your door.

Currently Playing The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Can I say right now that I’m really disappointed that it feels like this election is turning into another “lesser of to evils” choice? I really don’t want Bush in office, I don’t trust him and I hate the decisions he’s been making for our country. But I really don’t think I’m going to like Kerry all that much more. They seem to be cut from much too similar cloth! There’s something wrong with a country that has to chose between to men that they don’t really like either of. It’s just so frustrating. I wish I felt that either of the candidates were worth my time. I was mad when Dean dropped out of the running. Grrrrrrr….. It doesn’t seem like it’s going to change anytime soon! Sigh

Currently Playing Cafe De Paris: 25 Grandes Succes Francai

Libby’s back And I finally saw Luke today! I was getting worried. He was scheduled to move in on Wed because of track, but never showed up. I never did ask why he didn’t come….. The transfers on our floor seem cool. I’m looking forward to getting to know them. MYF (Mennonite Youth Fellowship- basically our version of youth group) lead worship today at Assembly and I was really impressed by what each of the MYFers who spoke had to say. It’s good to know that the generation that will directly follow us has such strength in their ranks. Today was great. Twice I had groups of people in my room hanging out! It felt soooo good. I love my room. I love being on campus and having people come visit me. Especially after last year. And my room really does accommodate quite a large group of people if needed That’s great, because I’m hoping my room becomes sort of a hang out type place. Of course I’ll have to be careful to make sure I’m using my time well and studying appropriate amounts I’m going in at 8 tomorrow to have an interview to be a big sister! I’m a little nervous about it, but I’m really looking forward to being part of the program.

In other news: I’m falling in love with a man named Jesse, and I haven’t been this happy for a long time, if ever. I’ve always known God knew what He was doing, but sometimes it was hard to see. Now I realize that it took all my other experiences to get me to the place where I’d be ready for this relationship and all the joys and challenges that go with it. I just couldn’t help but share my wonderment at that. God is good, of course that’s easy to say on the mountain tops of life. Now learning to say it in the dark places is the next step.

Currently Playing Classic Sinatra By Frank Sinatra