Chartreuse Ova

scrambled lamentations, psalms, parables and ramblings of a Christian mommy

Friday, February 23, 2007

Wood and Stones

Yesterday, LutheranChik had a great post entitled Turn...Turn...Turn. As I reflected on " turning", I thought of wood. I tried to post a comment but either blogger or my brain wasn't cooperating. So the thoughts were left marinating in my mind overnight. This morning I awoke to thoughts of turning and stones.

Turning Wood. As an Occupational Therapy student many years ago, I took a class that prepared students to do basic woodworking in a workshop with lots of power tools. This was important because we might work with clients in this type of setting or need to create or adapt equipment. I have done neither. I never ended up as a practicing OT but I remember fondly my classmates and our projects.

And I remember the lathe. You put a block of wood on it and it spins horizontally. As it rotates the wood, the craftsperson applies a chisel to the surface and trims away the unnecessary wood to reveal the potential of the piece. Most woods merely yield to the hand of the creator. And when more has become less, suddenly the beauty of a spindle emerges, not for it's own glory but to become part of something larger and functional.

Turning Stones. Each morning for the last few, a whirling, grinding noise erupts from our basement. The rock tumbler Little Sprout received for Christmas is set on a timer so that we can sleep through the night. But shortly after breakfast, it begins. The transformation. The turning. The sandy grit grinds away the debris, the ugliness, and the unnecessary. It is a long consuming process. I think there are three stages as first coarse grit is used to chip away large pieces then finer and finally a very fine substance is used to polish.

Each day the turning and grinding continue. The stones resist at first, but gradually the work is completed and a gem emerges...more valued and beautiful than the rough stone with it's hidden potential. Agate, malachite, obsidian, tigers-eye, lapis, hematite, and turquoise become something more as they became less.

Today I feel myself turning.

Will I yield or resist?

What will emerge?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lunchtime Listening

Emmanuel: A Musical Celebration of the Life of Christ. My Little Sprout selected this for lunchtime listening. It might be more typical fare during the Christmas season than Lent, but as usual her mature taste in music has inspired me.

Although all the music and words are compelling, I was especially drawn into "Man of Sorrows". Perhaps I need to do lunchtime listening more often.

2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Isaiah 53:2-5 KJV

Monday, February 19, 2007


I learned a new word today, metanoia. Obviously I'm not talking about the album by the rock band, but the theological concept.

I am open to grace and God's loving forgiveness.

i am.
We are.

Confessions Part 3

I confess that some days I have stood at the door and refused to knock.

I confess that I have stood at the open doors that present themselves outside my local church and refused to step through.

I confess that I have meekly accepted responses I interpreted as my interest doesn't fit what the church wants/needs...perhaps I could be doing something else or that my passion doesn't have a place within the structure of our church. I confess that I used it as an opportunity to wrap up my gifts tightly and safely when I should have been standing up and speaking out. This is my sin. These are my gifts, my calling, my responsibility to journey with Christ.

I confess that I've looked to the approval of and validation by others and often ignored the voice of God giving me words of truth.

I confess that I have taken the easy, convenient road even when I felt the leading towards a more challenging path. I confess that I did not trust enough to walk into a dark unknown future but chose the well-lit and more acceptable route.

And as one might expect from the above words and Parts 1 and 2...I confess that I am a woman without a denomination and potentially without a church to call home. Sometimes that feels overwhelming...not having a connection. But in this moment it also is strangely freeing.

Confessions Part 2

If there is a part one, you know there must be a part two or maybe more.

I confess that the foundation of my faith is very weak. I am immature. I am often lazy in regard to my faith.

I encountered God as a child. I picked up what some would call bits and pieces of scriptural truth through the years. I didn't question much that was presented to me. More recently, I remember discussing several books (I still haven't read) with UDH about scientific evidence that points to the validity of several basic Christian beliefs. He really gets into that sort of thing. Me, I just believe it and don't need the proof. Or so I thought.

But there were the gray areas. The issues where I had accepted that the Bible or Jesus "clearly states" (or so I was told) such and such. Some of those things I accepted without thought because they are probably right, some I felt uncomfortable about but didn't know quite why, and some I didn't know how to handle because the information conflicted with my view of my Savior and God. The last category, I just ignored as not particularly important for my faith. It's about Jesus and God's love for I really need to worry about the details? Well, that question has been answered. Obviously, sometimes I do.

I suppose there are many people like me in the church today, sitting in the pews each Sunday. We pray together. We worship together. We believe our basic beliefs together, without really knowing why. We are seldom challenged or step beyond our comfort level. But just because I know I am not alone does not make it acceptable. We are called to something more than complacent Christianity. And the last few years God has been calling me to build a stronger faith, closer relationship, a greater love for others. And of course that other call, but I can't even go there in my mind today. I have struggled. There was little except a few superficial bricks upon which to build.

And so with a weak foundation, it seems that some divine demolition is needed before the building. Scary!

What started as a Bible study, prayer and research into one issue that led to a stronger long held belief has led me to question almost everything else I thought I believed. I thought I knew what I believed about so many things. Now I wonder is the Bible inerrant? Is it truth, corrupted by human failing? Is it an epic story repeated through the ages? But the answer to those questions is probably less significant than why do I believe that? Because answers like "because that's what I learned in Sunday School" or "Pastor Bill preached it from this view" just isn't an appropriate response.

And now I sit here surrounded by a pile of chipped and crumbling bricks.

Confessions Part 1

I confess I have been unfaithful to Jesus, to my local church community, the universal Church, and to myself.

I haven't been inside a church since the first Saturday of February for morning prayer. The time before that was an evening prayer meeting and before that a Women's group meeting.

Part of this can be explained away by illness (Little Sprout's and mine). Don't worry it was just a nasty cold. But there is more to it than physical illness. I missed church, but I didn't miss being there. But still I did miss being in a church community. I'm not sure if that makes sense.

I haven't blogged more than a Friday Five for quite awhile, either. Again, it can be explained away by the illness and other priorities. But there is more. There have been lots of thoughts but I couldn't pull them together into a coherent set of words.

Lent is coming. Now, you'd think that Lent wouldn't be a big deal, really. The church I attend, when I attend, doesn't mention the word. They don't talk about Advent either.

During Advent, I experienced a crisis of sorts. I set up the advent candles and made an advent prayer chain with Little Sprout. UDH (Usually Darling Hubby) said "Advent is not Biblical." [He wasn't anti-advent, but trying to explain why it wasn't necessary for others of the local church to join me in a tradition.] My response was, "Neither is having a kid's Christmas program, a July 4th party, or other traditions...some of which I'd like to abolish." So Advent was personal and Christmas was communal. The dichotomy felt wrong.

Lent approaches.

On Ash Wednesday, I will begin the Lenten season with others. On Wednesday, February 21st, UDH will attend a midweek service with others at the local church. But daily in the coming days and weeks, we will pray together for clarity and faith. And perhaps this Sunday we will all be well and join our local church for prayer, worship, song, and study. But I realize that some days during Lent, you will find me somewhere else.

A different solution; a different dichotomy. Still feels wrong.