Monthly Archives: February 2010

Ash Wednesday

Preface:  I am stealing this idea from my dad.   He forwarded me the article and told me that he was going to do his Ash Wednesday service on this concept.  I love it.  So great job to my dad for coming up with the concept…I wish I could hear his sermon tomorrow – but here’s the idea…

Last September, the island of Samoa – with its 180,000 inhabitants, decided to change from an American style of driving (cars on the right) to a British style (cars on the left.)  This was to make it easier for people in Australia and New Zealand to export cars into their country.  How does one completely change an entire country’s driving habits?

Preparation.

The country widened roads.  There were large media campaigns.  And the country declared a two day national holiday starting the day of the switch to reduce traffic.  No alcohol was sold in the country for the 3 days before, and the day prior (a Sunday) churches had organized prayers for driver’s safety.  Speed limits were temporarily reduced.  A few speed bumps were added.  People’s minds were changed, and thus, their habits were able to change as well.  This was a well thought out process.

At the appointed time, 6:00am on Monday morning, the police minister went on the radio and told all drivers to pull over wherever they were.  After a few minutes, he explained how to make the switch to the other side, step-by-step, inch-by-inch, and as scores of onlookers cheered, drivers moved to the other lane.

And the first day, not a single accident occurred.

Isn’t that a little of what Lent is?  As we were chatting about it, my dad said, “It’s not about changing your direction, it’s about changing your lane.”

Easter requires preparation.  I have to get my mind reset.  My heart.  I have to declare a holiday from things in my life that clutter up my path.  I’m still going in the same direction – but if changing lanes helps me better understand the miracle – the mystery – that is Easter, then I need to do whatever I can to be ready to receive.  And, still moving forward, still running the race set before me, I bet the road will look a little different, and hopefully a little clearer from the other side of the road.

“Create in me a pure heart oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me…” Psalm 51:10 (TNIV)

For more on Samoa’s driving change:

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia-pacific/2009/09/200997231022247340.html

http://article.wn.com/view/2009/09/08/No_glitch_in_Samoa_driving_switch/

Valentine’s Day

Aah.  Tomorrow is Valentines Day.  Or to me, it’s simply called “Sunday.”

Wikipedia talks of 3 saints named Valentine.  All were martyrs.  Valentine of Terni was martyred on February 14.  Little else is know about any of these men.

What else happened on February 14?  Oh yes, a massacre in Chicago among the rival mafias.  But I digress.

Over the past few days, on every talk and morning show, there has been much chatter about how to make your Valentine happy, how to now screw up gift giving, warnings to men about making their dinner reservation (and babysitter reservations!) early, etc.

The greeting card association estimates a billion Valentine cards are sent each year.

And they follow that 85% of all Valentines are purchased by women.  Hum.

73% of Valentines Day flowers are bought by men.

15% of all flowers sent on Valentines Day are by women, to themselves.  (antivday.com)

Maybe I’m glad I don’t have to worry about that.  I’d rather celebrate the love that I probably don’t give enough credit every day, to people I see every day.  And who know that dark chocolate and flowers need to be a part of every day life.

Happy Valentines Day to my amazing community of beautiful, strong, successful, funny, wise women who I walk through life with.  Maybe some day, some sexy, strong, successful, funny, wise men will realize that they have been missing.

Happy Valentines Day to my family, who I love deeply.

And Happy Valentines day to you who are reading this.

Now I’m off to a wine, chocolate and cheese tasting with some of the lovely ladies mentioned above….  We’ve got making the most of this single thing down. We’ll raise a glass for you too – especially if you don’t have a valentine of your own.  Happy Sunday everyone!

A Review…Sex, Lies and Religion by Randy Elrod. (prepare to blush when reading this book)

To censor, or not to censor…that is the question.  I really doubt that any pre-teens are reading my blog, but just in case (and to save a lot of questions from my parents and grandma – who I do know read this blog…) I will do my best to, um, tame this review.

In multiple conversations over many an adult beverage, a topic has been coming up over and over – why is the church so afraid to talking about sex?  Of dealing with the fact the people are having affairs, teens are having abortions, couples are sleeping in separate rooms….and probably a good deal of this dysfunction is simply symptomatic.

Symptomatic that the one place we are supposed to go to be healed, to be guided, to grow, to change, to have community is one place that you will never, ever get in a conversation about having good (or bad) sex.   Organized religion has been amazing about completely avoiding the subject – and I think there are a lot of frustrated, confused, lonely couples out there who are proving this point.

And in Sex Lies & Religion, the new book by Randy Elrod, there is the implication that in order to truly understand and see God, sex is pretty essential.   The book is a remarkable redemptive and refreshing look at sex and it’s place within every day life.  I completely love that finally someone has the (dare I say) * balls * to openly and explicitly talk about how sex is part of a holistic worship and understanding of God.

It’s a quick read, and I will admit to blushing once or twice.  I will also admit to wishing I had read this book before or during the time I was married.

The book starts with asking the simple question – can spirituality and sexuality coincide?  Or is the question actually that spirituality and sexuality are inseparable?   The question is followed by the lies that we are told by organized religion.  About everything from nudity, to what is beautiful,  and (ahem) self-pleasure and fantasy.

“But for many of us, our view of sexuality has been so legislated and permeated by religious lies, particularly a division between body and soul, we can’t seem to reconcile our biological and spiritual needs, much less understand a theology of sexuality.”

Randy’s got a good point.

But he follows this by the idea that sex, in it’s true form –between two committed adults who love and respect each other and have a shared relationship not only with each other, but with Christ- sex is an amazing way to get a new understanding of God.

“Religion worries that “living by the Spirit” instead of rules leads to immorality and sin. Just the opposite will be the case. A relationship with the Spirit produces the moral qualities that epitomize a life of unconditional sexuality.”

While I might not completely agree with everything in the book, I really hope Sex Lies and Religion begins to break down the barriers and start opening the conversation about sexuality.

“By now we understand that sex is not just about sex. It provides a way to understand God. Where religion makes simple ideas about God complex, sex can make complex ideas about God simple. The way we live out our sexuality expresses who we are, who God is, what love is, how we relate to others, and why we are here. It is the essence of existence.”

If you’re intrigued and want to check out the book, check out amazon, bn.com, borders or direct from the author at – http://sexliesandreligion.skyroo.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from cre:ate 2.0 Publishing to read and post a review on my site. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255