My TV News Debut

If you’ve been a believer for any length of time, then you know that we Christians like to chow down. The apostles liked to eat, too. Heck, they hosted a dinner party for 5,000 where the actual head count came to over 10,000. I know, crazytown right? We have a few euphemisms for eating, words like fellowship, koinonia, doing life together. Some are even brazen enough to simply label it breaking bread together. Even our most sacred remembrance of the Savior {communion} involves the act of eating. To prove He was fully resurrected, Jesus Himself ate a piece of fish-apparently He knew Peter would relate.

One way the early church met the needs of one another was by making sure that no one went without food, shelter, or clothing. And, while most people in my life have these things in abundance, they remain real, physical needs to live out life here on earth.

A few years ago, I joined in freezer meal swap parties with some friends of mine. I loved the way this allowed us to serve one another while also serving our own families. The way it works is that we each make 8 meals. Then, we show up and trade 7 our meals and go home with 8 completely different meals. The work is done, and we get to revel in NOT cooking for at least 8 meals. Holla!!!

As a Supermomma to three rambunctious boys, cooking has become a luxury. I used to love trying new recipes and hosting dinner parties at least once a week. But, I haven’t quite figured out how to make that work in my current life season. :( However, these boys still need to eat. And, I still have to cook, or figure out a way to feed my family on something healthier than frozen pizza.

So, the pop parable? There’s like all kinds of directions I could go with this one. For me, I feel like this is sharing a workload with my sisters in Christ. Because we invest so much less time in cooking freezer meals as opposed to traditional meals, it leaves us more time to do other things-like serve our families, volunteer in the community, or simply take a night off. My friend Kellie mentioned in the news story that one of the benefits of the freezer meals is the ability to share a meal at the drop of a hat. I’ve been so abundantly blessed by friends who have provided meals when I was really sick, after the birth of a baby, or even simply because I had a rough day. It’s meeting the needs of another person while expecting nothing in return.

I think Philippians 2:4 is an excellent summary of this way of serving one another:

Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.

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Wanna catch me and my girlies on the news? You can watch the whole thing go down right here:


If you’re interested in making freezer meals work for yourself, check out my friend Angela’s blog The Coupon Project where you can all the details.

 

 

 

 

 

How Lucky You Are

I’ve facilitated a women’s book club known as Bibliotherapy for over 5 years now. That’s like 35 in dog years! I’m pleasantly surprised that we’ve been able to maintain our monthly commitment through births, divorces, transitions, moves, and most importantly, some horrible reads. I just finished up our pick for January, Kryistyn Kusek Lewis’ How Lucky You Are.

The Amazon summary reads:

an engaging and moving novel about three women struggling to keep their longstanding friendship alive. Waverly, who’s always been the group’s anchor, runs a cozy bakery but worries each month about her mounting debt. Kate is married to a man who’s on track to be the next governor of Virginia, but the larger questions brewing in their future are unsettling her. Stay-at-home mom Amy has a perfect life on paper, but as the horrific secret she’s keeping from her friends threatens to reveal itself, she panics. As life’s pressures build all around them, Waverly knows she has some big decisions to make. In doing so, she will discover that the lines between loyalty and betrayal can become blurred, happy endings aren’t always clear-cut, and sometimes you have to risk everything to gain the life you deserve.

I haven’t figured out if I liked it or did not like it. Part of my disappointment is that I was expecting chick lit, literary junk food on my night stand. But, what I got was Brussels sprouts. Alas, there is no emotional porn to be found amidst these pages. Nope, this here novella includes real life drama that hits home. If I wanted that, I would’ve just read one of those World War II memoirs.

None the less, Lewis’ work of fiction begs some important questions about our non-fiction lives. Why do we find it so easy to keep secrets from even our closest of confidants? Why do we shirk away from revealing our deepest pains? Why, when a friend reveals something heavy, do I wince and nod as if it’s unfathomable, despite the fact that I share the same sorrow? {Don’t tell me you’ve never done that.}

If I place the model of the early church on top of my 21st century American life in da burbs, I realize that it’s not about meeting the physical and financial needs of others. There is a time for that, but it doesn’t happen as often in my circle as it did back then, when they were being forced out of homes and families for confessing the name of Christ.

The needs of those around me are much more emotionally and spiritually based. These are the things that I gloss over by making small talk about kids’ activities or a home improvement project. I dismiss the fact that my friend doesn’t seem like her normal self for weeks now. I don’t ask why she keeps rescheduling our coffee dates. I don’t pursue her when she doesn’t show up to regular commitments for weeks on end. Then, I’m utterly astounded when she reveals that her husband has moved out.

Waverly is completely taken aback by the secrets of her friends. She is caught off guard, not even suspecting them in the least. The struggles of my friends should not come as a surprise to me. These things should be shared well before the big crisis strikes. Lewis’ characters are missing out on the blessing of true community. I’m writing all about what that looks like in the context of marriage over at Bohemian Bowmans today. Here’s a snippet of my post:

We need others to point out patterns, to affirm what we’re doing well, and to ask us the hard, awkward questions that reveal the true state of a union-especially when we’re not willing to admit it ourselves...read more here.

One Last Kiss

Have you heard the most recent Maroon 5 song, “Daylight”? It’s a song about hanging on for one more night before finally admitting a relationship is over. What I have with Pop Parables has long been over, but now we’re finally laying it to rest and moving forward. Before we have our final kiss, we’re gonna revel in the good things about us in a few more posts.

Since July, my bloggy mojo has been resuscitated by my creative pursuits at Bringing Crafty Back. I’ve been making things like this:

 

and, this is what I’m most proud of:

I’ve also been dabbling in poetry:

 {click the images above to be magically transported to these posts}

While being creative has fulfilled me in a way than Pop Parables never did, I have missed wrestling with my faith through the written word. I have also found myself craving the sharpening of my friends in the blogosphere. So, I’m developing a brand new bloggy project that will be a spin off of Pop Parables. It will be a broader and more varied approach to life and faith. I really hope you’ll join me there come 2013. For now, you can continue to follow me here on Pop Parables or on my Pop Parables Facebook Page, as I’ll be sure to provide all the details there first.

Next week, I’ll have some brand new Pop Parables to share with you. Ya’ll come back now, ya hear?

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What have you been up to lately?  Leave me a link to your best post that I’ve missed!

 

Pop Diaries: Declaration of a Writer

Photo courtesy of Joel Montes at Creative Commons

I started blogging at Pop Parables primarily out of self-preservation.

My third born son was 6 months old, and a sense of urgency had befallen me. I had to rescue my ever dwindling brain, the best of which was slipping away with each diaper change.

Somehow, I got the idea to start a blog.  I knew as much about blogging as I knew about living in the Arctic.  My knowledge was so severely lacking that I didn’t even have a Twitter account.  {GASP}

During my first year of blogging, I came to realize something about myself that God had not specifically revealed to me before:

I AM A WRITER.

Continue reading

The Repurposed Church

We all have irrational thoughts from time to time.  One such thought of mine is, “Lemme me just look at this blog for a quick sec.”  A “quick sec” inevitably turns into an extended foray into a particular blog nice.  Most recently, I’ve been stewarding many of the cracks in my day to the black hole of home design blogs.  Some of my favs include Young House Love, Design Sponge, Simple Design, and Apartment Therapy.

Last week, Apartment Therapy ran a post entitled The Ultimate in Upcylcing: Homes in Converted Churches.  {A quick glance through the comments reveals that many readers did not like how the term “upcylcing” was applied in this context, perhaps repurposed would have been a better choice.}  Be sure to click over to the post to see some amazing images of converted church spaces.

There is a new trend in the design world whereby buildings formerly used as houses of worship are being transformed into single family dwellings.  They suit the modern home owner, who covets open spaces, a sense of grandeur, and an homage to the vintage, repuprosed, eco-friendly lifestyle.

Images via Desire to Inspire

 I was particularly fond of this one in the city of Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Images via Homedit

This trend could easily be turned into a variety of pop parables.   But, the one I chose is something I’ve been chewing on for quite some time.

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A church as a home?  For many believers, church IS home.

In fact, we even refer to our churches as “homes”.

I’ve often found myself asing a new acquaintance, Do you have a home church?

Home.

The  very word conjures up feelings of warmth.

It’s inviting, like freshly baked chocolate chip cookies from Grandma’s kitchen.  A place you want to curl up and get cozy, maybe share a cup of coffee with a friend.

The idea of a church as a home is a very nice notion.

But, is this what church is supposed to be?

Most church buildings today are multi functioning.  Some churches even have a sanctuary that doubles as a gymnasium or auditorium.  A church is no longer simply a place of worship, but a gathering place for a variety of purposes.

The downside of this is that one could easily find themselves at church every night of the week,  completely wound up in “ministry commitments”, taking classes or just hanging out with others from the congregation, being a “homebody”.

Those things sound nice to me, very comfy and homey.   I get to hang out with people who pretty much see eye to eye with me on the things I value most.  I’m surrounded by those whose  lives very closely resemble mine.  I don’t have to get “uncomfortable”.

But, again, is this what church is supposed to be?

The purpose of this post is not to fully explore the exact purpose of “the church”.  There are various theological and doctrinal ramifications to that discussion that I’m not fully educated or even inclined to discuss.  However, the purpose of the church that I keep coming back to is very simply summed up by Jesus Himself in the Great Commission.

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of this age. {Matthew 28:18-20}

Doesn’t sound like you can stay “home” and do that now does it?

Doesn’t sound like spending 4-5 nights a week at church now does it?

Doesn’t sound like putting on your favorite sweats and getting cozy on the couch now does it?

The picture that I get of the church in context of the Great Commission is what is known in the military as a Forward Operating Site {FOS}

An FOS is defined as a scalable, ‘warm’ facility that can support sustained operations, but with only a small permanent presence of support or contractor personnel.

This is different from a Main Operating Base {MOB} that is much like a self-sustaining, small city, offering most of the comforts of home, community, and convenience.

The FOS is meant to support the larger mission and the operation of the armed forces.  It’s a place of sending out and going forth.

If the church operated as an FOS, it wouldn’t be a home.

We would only return to be better equipped to sustain the mission of the Great Commission.

And, we wouldn’t spend the majority of our time at church, because we would be out in the field making disciples and fulfilling the mission.

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Would you want to live in a home that was once a church?  Which room would you choose for your bedroom?

Do you think of your church as “home”?

What are some good things about considering a church a “home”?