Monthly Archives: March 2009

Vote for Faceless!

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Hey all friends!

Faceless International, an organization where I am a board member – is up for an Impact Award!

If we get the most votes between now and April 1 – we will have enough money to build a much needed school in Southern India – and be able to send teams there to help the locals with the construction!  This area of India is in a tough location – they were hit by the tsunami a few years ago, and it is an area where human trafficking is very prevalent.

So, PLEASE……….

I know that most of you are probably more in Facebook or Twitter land now, but please sign on to your MySpace accounts and vote for Faceless.  We appreciate it!!!

Myspace.com/impactawards.

For more information on Faceless – please check out facelessinternational.com.   Or better yet, come along with us to Ukraine in May!  I’m leading a human trafficking awareness trip where we will be working in an orphanage…and I’d love for all of you to come along!

Thank you—–I appreciate your support of Faceless.
-Lori

Call from the Court

“It’s like the faucets are already flowing before you even hold out your cup to be filled.  Before, giveness.” – Lamott

I read this just a few minutes ago.  7:56pm EST June 25, 2007  Just an hour ago, I guess my divorce was final  The phone rang, but I missed the call.  Not sure why.  I called back.  Was told to call back later.  I called back, and a man with a very strange name – Juden?  Juven?  something like that- answered from the Orange County Family Courts. Anyway, he wanted to make sure that 2 pieces of paperwork were signed on the same day, because a date was missing.  And they were.

So Ju—en said, something like “OK, I just filled that in.  You should be divorced in about an hour.  Thanks for calling back.”

And that’s it.  That’s how it ends.  A crazy film-style courtship, Seven years of marriage – four of beachside bliss, three just becoming awkward.  2 of trying to not be married.

And then a phone call. Congratulations.

There’s more ceremony when you try to disable your cable plan.

It seems that you should get the option of some sort of party, or a required cocktail. The former lovers should clink glasses, eat some onion rings and say, “remember the good times” a la the Sopranos.

Or maybe this is the way to do it.  You get a phone call when your driving in a big truck that’s pulling a Ratatouille trailer almost to Ohio and someone says “there ya go” and you just keep driving and watch the miles of corn fields zip by your window on repeat.

And you think about what you need to forgive.  And what you need to be forgiven for.  Any maybe it’s in that monotony when you watch the corn and the trees and the cows that you get to remember just what changed in your day-to-day life. That makes you think about how to make things right, how to do them over, how to let people know what matters…. and how to put your cup under the faucet of forgiveness that has been flowing all along, before you understood just what you needed to be forgiven for – and that cup runs over.  And runs over so much that you just can’t hold that cup anymore – because you have to pour it out to someone else.

Rapture Ready!

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A couple of years ago at Cornerstone, I met a very personable and humorous writer named Daniel Radosh.  He writes for a lot of magazines not often scouting the farmlands of western Illinois, oh, like Playboy, GQ, the New Yorker, and my personal favorite weekly read, The Week.  He mentioned that he was writing a book about Christian Pop Culture, which is always a favorite topic of mine.  Really stand up guy and  I was glad to get to know him a bit, and introduce him to a few folks.

Well, the time has come, and the book hits streets in a few weeks.

So not too long ago, in my mailbox was a copy of <span style=”font-weight:bold;”>Rapture Ready!  Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture</span>.  The cover hosts a innocent sunglassed girl in a bright happy pink dress apparently being raptured into the sky.  At this point, I was a little bit nervous.  Especially knowing that I had made it into chapter 10.

This is not your parent’s book – especially if your parents tend to run on the conservative  side of the spectrum.  The language is colourful, but always funny, and his observations of Left Behind (‘that’s right, there’s Buck Williams and Rayford Steele.  There’s also Steve Plank, Bruce Barnes, and Dirk Burton.  Apparently, having a porn star name is enough to keep you from getting raptured”), Christ of the Ozarks (“If Rio’s Christ the Redeemer married Mt. Rushmore’s George Washington and had a retarded child, it would be Christ of the Ozarks”) and the CBA Convention (“a pastor’s endorsement added, ‘This golf ball is the most effective outreach tool I have ever seen in golf,’ raising the question of how many golf-based outreach tools there are.  Does someone make a Cleansed by His Blood ballwasher?”) made me laugh out loud.

He isn’t really kind in many ways, but here’s the kicker –

He’s right.

Looking into the history of people like Tim LaHaye and Gerald L.K. Smith,  we really shouldn’t be drinking all the kool-aid that is packaged “Christian”.  We need to be our own gatekeepers of our own faith.  To research, pay attention and support artists and writers and comedians and who enhance our faith and promote the same ideals that are the basis of our religion – hope.  peace.  love.

One of his statements that really stuck with me was his statements on altar-calls at events, and keeping tabs on the numbers of people who respond.  He’s referencing that his sister-in-law and her friends literally join in at every event, and he refers it to a ‘second rate band carving notches in the altar for them’.  Concert time public response has bothered me for years.  Here’s what he says:

“And even if some of the people who come forward have been genuinely moved to confess their sins for the first time, are they really Christians now?  It’s one thing to get caught up with the excitement of a wrestling match or rock show or even a traditional sermon, but what happens the next day or the next week?  Do they read the Bible, go to church, talk to a pastor?  Maybe.  But maybe not.  The fetishization of the altar call as a single moment of victory seems to obscure the need for the hard work that is must take to bring somebody to a genuinely meaningful faith.”

And what’s nice too is, he actually promotes some of our little universe.  Not all of general pop culture is great, but some of it is.  And some of it is wonderful in Christianity too.  So thank you Daniel for not throwing out the proverbial baby with the bathwater.

“But the best aspects of Christian culture – the unabashed celebration of the transcendent, the challenge to crass materialism, the commitment to personal responsibility – helped me more clearly to see what is too often lacking in secular entertainment and media.  Jesus’s radical message of brotherhood, selflessness, and dignity may be just the antidote to our contemporary ethos of shamelessness and overindulgence.”

On the back cover there’s a quote from A.J. Jacobs that says “Daniel Radosh writes about Christian culture with brilliance, humor and understanding.  Everyone should read this book – with the possible exception of Stephen Baldwin (see page 143).”  I agree.  So get Rapture Ready on April 8.  Or just getraptureready.com and check it out for yourself.

Dream Doctor

Editors note – This blog is for girls.  It is not for boys.  Boys, please wait for the next blog.

So today was especially irritating.  House showing = dog moving = getting no work done.

Then I had to go to the women’s hospital to get films from the tests I took a few weeks ago.  My doctor felt a lump.  Which for some reason didn’t really freak me out.  It probably should have.  So I came in and did the whole gamut of tests that I’m certainly too young for.

For all you kids out there, let it be on the record.  Mammograms are not fun.

All the tests were fine, but the doctor still referred me to a specialist.  She said she wanted to know what was going on, and so I needed to go see Dr Ben.

So today I spend an hour at the hospital and they can’t find my films.  They CAN’T FIND THEM.  Which didn’t help me feel so safe and secure with their protocol.

So I’m a little on edge when I’m running over to the new doctor’s office sans films, irritated by the long line for the valet parking (there was no regular parking), and even more un-amused by the stack of paperwork that I now have to fill out as a new patient.  The girl who worked at the office was very funny and we made the best of the situation.

I’m lead back to a small room and told to disrobe down to my camo shorts and put on the always-fashionable hospital gown – opening to the front.  And then I wait, because that’s what you do at a doctor’s office. There’s a stack of Family Circle magazines.  I intend to steal a page from one particular issue thanks to a really delicious looking recipe for beef and rice noodles.

And then the door opens. And I forget about the magazine.

Flashback to the mid 80s, when Mel Gibson is on Saturday Night Live – the sketch is where he is the Dream Gynecologist.  Waiting room full of women, dressed to the 9s, waiting for their exam.  When their name is called, they brush their hair and sachet their way into the exam room.  Do you remember this?

Mrs. Scott: I’d like to book my next appointment now, please.

Secretary: Good idea, Mrs. Scott. Okay, the doctor can see you in six months

Mrs. Scott: No! Next week!

Secretary: [ sighing ] Please, Mrs. Scott. We go through this every time.

Mrs. Scott: I need another breast exam!

Secretary: You just had one.

Mrs. Scott: I’m extremely cautious!

Secretary: Okay, look – September 4th, six months from now. Take it or leave it.

Mrs. Scott: Alright, alright[ exits the lobby ]

Now this moment is completely disarming– what are you supposed to say when your breast specialist is hot? He says something wonderful like “so what seems to be the problem” and I follow up with something about being a hypochondriac.  He replies by telling me to breathe deep (he had that stethoscope thing, but I think that was all an act).  I already was, so it really wasn’t complicated.

It makes perfect sense I guess.  It’s smart to go into a profession where you work with what you know.  And I’m sure in High School and college, this doctor got his fair share of first hand knowledge of the subject matter.

And as the exam goes on, all I can think is how unfair this is.  I mean, I was expecting some old creepy doctor guy and now I’ll I can think is how embarrassing it is that I haven’t been to a nude beach this summer, so I have some apparent tan lines.

I paid $50 to be there, thanks to my generous Humana co-pay.   You can write in your own commentary there.

He had a very gentle and proper bedside manner, which made me think that he probably spends much of his off time on medical trips to third world countries, rescuing puppies and recycling.

It’s also slipped my mind that at any moment he could mention something about the impending hair loss and financial destruction that I could be facing.  The next words could have implications of moving back home with mom and dad where I get to wear fabulous colorful head wraps to cheer me up from the constant throwing up from the poison that I get to ingest to stop the C–cer from spreading.   And maybe that’s why he’s good at his job – he can get your mind temporarily away from your doom … and instead place your thoughts squarely into the gutter.

And now – the verdict…

I drink too much coffee.

What?  WHAT????

Apparently I have a fibrocycsiccondition which can mimic lumps in breast tissue.  Best remedied by cutting out caffeine and chocolate.  Oh, and you can take Vitamin E as well.

I think I said something to the effect of him being an evil man, but that I was relieved that I didn’t have hypochondria…or cancer.  And that everyone needed a vice, and mine was coffee and so if it didn’t lead to anything bad, I’d just rather keep drinking the coffee thank you very much.

But imagine my happiness when he said “well, you will need to come back for a six month check up.”

Take it or leave it.
I sigh.  Alright.  Alright.

African Grocery

**(I actually wrote this blog back in October sometime…but recently this store was robbed at gunpoint.  I hope to pop in and see how the ladies are doing — but if you’re in the neighborhood of Old Hickory and Nolensville in Nashville, stop into the African Latino grocery next to the Lowes, and say hello)…**

So I’ve made the move to Nashville.  The allure of cheap rent with fun people has drawn me in.  I’ve spent a good amount of time here over the years, and I have to admit, the city is growing on me.

One of my big fears, though, was losing ethnic food.  Having spent the past 15+years in Chicago, New York and LA, I’ve become a big fan of the neighborhoods where little to no English is spoken.

Until I discovered a magical place called “Nolensville Road” where apparently all nationalities live and work and eat and hang out together.  When I drove by a gas station at 3am that had a little taco stand all lit up with Christmas Lights called “El Tapatio III”, I knew I had new hope for dining in Nashville.  Granted, the girls I live with are not as convinced that eating from a “roach coach” is a good idea.  But they are slowly warming to the idea, and if nothing else are starting to eat better Mexican food.

Which brings me to today.

I wandered into the African Latino Grocery in search of nothing in particular.  Just excited at the prospect of white melty un-pasteurized cheeses and maybe a goat head or two.

But what I found was love.

Fidelis and Edith are the proprietors of the store, where community and family are as important as stocking the shelves.   I was greeted by Edith when I walked in the door.  She jumped from her seat in the back of the store with shouts of “Welcome!  Welcome!”  Perhaps the stunned look on my face gave me away – I’m not used to making such a grand entry – at least not when I’m going out for groceries.  She asked my name and gave me a big hug.  “Do you know African food?”

For the next hour, I got to see into the lives of Fidelis, Edith and little Angel.  It was a conversation all based in faith and wisdom.  “God brings people to my store, no matter what stores are around it.  I know where my help comes from,” Fidelis explains, her words punctuated with a thick Nigerian accent. Her tightly curled hair bouncing like springs as she goes on and on, “My job is to be here and let people know how good – how GOOD the Lord is.”

They gave me some delicious pastries with a ground turkey and vegetable interior.  “Our bodies are made by our God and we need to take care of them by eating foods that are real,” Fidelis insists.  We chatted about them setting up some cooking classes, laughed and talked about home.   And as I was thinking I was finally going to leave with my coconut milk and cheerios… Fidelis said, “First you must dance.”

Now, I’m a white girl made up of Lithuanian, German and British blood.  None of those are really known for their dancing abilities.

The Nigerian music started infiltrating the store, louder and louder over the speakers. Angel is jumping up and down as Fidelis yells at Edith to come and dance.  She promises to come and join.  And in the front of the miniature grocery, the three-some began joyously dancing – completely uninhibited.

When they danced, their shoulders almost sank to the ground.  They waved back and forth with a strange primal grace that was so comfortable and natural and strangely human.  Their backs slumped a bit and arms swayed.  It was beautiful.

I laughed at my obvious lack of dancing style when Edith just said “You lose yourself when you dance.  Stop holding onto you – this is praise music.  We’re in church.”

And I got it.

The difference between these women and people like me – the typical God-fearing suburban American Christian – is that we hold on to us.  These women had no inhibition.  No worries of who might walk in.  No second thoughts that you’re not supposed to dance and worship God in a grocery store.  But what I really saw was their shoulders.  When they danced, their shoulders muscles were down, relaxed, with terrible posture.  But that’s the posture of having no weight on your shoulders…at all.  The yoke is easy and the burden is light. They let go of any trial, tribulation or personal hang-up to just give it to God.  And dance.

And dance in the middle of African Latino Grocery on the corner of Old Hickory and Nolensville Road.  If you’re in Nashville, please stop in and get some love from Fidelis and Edith.  You might just forget you’re not supposed to find Jesus while you’re buying groceries.

I have a new blog!

Hey all — I have a new blog…time to move a lot of stuff over from my other one…but at least here, everything will be in one place. I’m also going to repost some things from my old blog, just because people have asked about them, and apparently the archive isn’t working so well over there….Also, I’m able to do more links and a blogroll on here, so let me know if there’s things I’m missing… Enjoy!

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