Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mudhouse Sabbath

Mudhouse Sabbath

By Lauren Winner

2003, Paraclete Press

“It [the book] is, to be blunt, about spiritual practices that Jews do better.”

First drawn to this book for its unusual title, I soon found an intelligent discussion of spiritual practices, some of which I grew up with in a Christian household, and others that were foreign to me.

Lauren Winner converted from Orthodox Judaism to Christianity and this book is a collection of her thoughts and experiences in relation to traditions and practices common to both Judaism and Christianity. In this book she highlights 11 spiritual practices from Judaism that enriches and deepens the faith of those who put these into practice. The practices include prayer, the body, fasting, aging and mourning.

When talking about mourning, she discusses the Jewish "rhythm of mourning" that acknowledges the slow process of bereavement, a spiritual discipline that readers of all faiths would be wise to study.

Kashrut or Kosher is a spiritual practice that Christians do not follow, but Lauren Winner describes what Christians are missing out of because of it. Kashrut, she states, “.. shaped my spiritual life. Keeping kosher transforms eating from mere nutritional necessity into an act of faithfulness.” She does not, however argue for the Christian churches to start to follow the rules of kosher, but instead outlines her efforts to bring thought and intention to her eating.

While spiritual practices have been neglected in churches for a long while, Lauren Winner reminds us that spiritual disciplines do not have to be legalistic, but instead imbue our lives with meaning and enrich our spiritual lives in a way that nothing else can.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Redeeming Love

Redeeming Love
By Francine Rivers
Multnomah Women's Fiction,1999

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is a compelling retelling of the biblical book of Hosea. Set in America in the 1850’s, Angel, who was sold into prostitution as a child has lived a life of only mistrust and fear. Michael Hosea is a God-fearing man who seeks to do God’s will. He is told by God to marry Angel, which he does, despite his misgivings and society’s condemnation. Slowly, day by day, he defies Angel’s every bitter expectation until, despite her resistance, she begins to thaw. But with her unexpected softening come overwhelming feelings of unworthiness and fear. And so Angel runs. Back to the darkness, away from her husband’s pursuing love, terrified of the truth she can no longer deny: Her final healing must come from the Him who loves her even more than Michael Hosea does, the One who will never let her go.

On the surface, this story is a wonderfully written romance, powerful and heartbreaking. But shining through is the truth, this story is an allegory of God’s love for us and how His love redeems us, no matter how sinful we are.

Redeeming Love is a book that Christians should read to understand the grace and love extended to us by God, and His unrelenting pursuit of us.
However, Redeeming Love is not a book for young teens for two reasons:
The subplots deal with incest, rape and the pain caused by prostitution, but these are dealt with sensitively and never without being necessary to further the plot.
And the book also deals with sex within marriage, not in a voyeuristic way, but to show how God’s view of love and sex is different to how the world views them.

Redeeming Love will take you on a journey with remarkable characters to discover, love, and worship God. It is a long journey, filled with obstacles of rejection, hatred and terrible sin. But finally, and most importantly, coming to Christ. Rivers makes this novel so realistic that it becomes a journey you will never forget.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Future of Jesus

The Future of Jesus
Dr Peter Jensen
2nd Edition, Matthias Media, 2008.

The Future of Jesus by Peter Jensen discusses one question: Does Jesus have a future in our society?

This book is based on the 2005 Boyer Lectures by Dr Peter Jensen, featured on the ABC National Radio. “I wonder how the future of Jesus and the future of our civilization will intersect” Jensen speculates. Through seven chapters, the ideas that Western society use to minimalise or marginalize Jesus and Christianity are reviewed and discussed.

Many arguments against Jesus, Dr Jensen recognizes, is a reflection of the damage that churches have done by failing to live up to Christ’s example. Rather than an argument for a return to the institution of the traditional “Church”, he is critical of institutional churches, despite heading the largest Anglican diocese in Australia. He states: “Traditional Christendom my have collapsed and the denominations may be weak, but individual churches, congregations and communities are still there in their thousands in Australia, and they still intend to provide us with a family that transcends and enriches our personal families. As long as that experience continues to be available, the Christian faith retains a powerful presence.”

Instead, Dr Jensen’s aim is “to inspire a widespread, adult reading of the New Testament Gospels” so that his readers will “see what a surprising man Jesus was … and whether Jesus can speak with something like his old power about central cultural issues such as personal freedom, human relationships and the future of our country”.

A short book, at 127 pages, The Future of Jesus is an intelligent and well written discussion of the issues that Western society as a whole, as well as many individuals have with the person of Jesus. This book is a fantastic resource for those who are seeking Jesus, and an important and stirring read for those who have already found Him.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


The Latin credo means literally "I give my heart." The word believe is a problematic one today, in part because it has gradually changed its meaning from being the language of certainty so deep that I could give my heart to it, to the language of uncertainty so shallow that only the "credulous" would rely on it. Faith.... is not about propositions, but about commitment. It does not mean that I intellecutally subscribe to the following list of statements, but that I give my heart to this reality. Believe indeed, comes to us from the Old English belove, making clear that this too is meant to be heart language. To say, "I believe in Jesus Christ" is not to subscribe to an uncertain propsition. It is a confession of cimmitment, of love.

Diana Eck, Encountering God

Friday, June 26, 2009

The poem that I wish to be read out at my funeral


SINCE I am coming to that Holy room,
Where, with Thy choir of saints for evermore,
I shall be made Thy music ; as I come
I tune the instrument here at the door,
And what I must do then, think here before ;

Whilst my physicians by their love are grown
Cosmographers, and I their map, who lie
Flat on this bed, that by them may be shown
That this is my south-west discovery,
Per fretum febris, by these straits to die ;

I joy, that in these straits I see my west ;
For, though those currents yield return to none,
What shall my west hurt me ? As west and east
In all flat maps—and I am one—are one,
So death doth touch the resurrection.

Is the Pacific sea my home ? Or are
The eastern riches ? Is Jerusalem ?
Anyan, and Magellan, and Gibraltar ?
All straits, and none but straits, are ways to them
Whether where Japhet dwelt, or Cham, or Shem.

We think that Paradise and Calvary,
Christ's cross and Adam's tree, stood in one place ;
Look, Lord, and find both Adams met in me ;
As the first Adam's sweat surrounds my face,
May the last Adam's blood my soul embrace.

So, in His purple wrapp'd, receive me, Lord ;
By these His thorns, give me His other crown ;
And as to others' souls I preach'd Thy word,
Be this my text, my sermon to mine own,
“Therefore that He may raise, the Lord throws down.”

I do not love you - one of my favourite poems

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Pablo Neruda

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I am having some time off from work. My anxiety and depression has gotten so bad that I cannot work properly, so I am having 2 weeks off. I am counting the days I still have to work, now only one to go!

That gives me 2 weeks to have the medication that the doctor gave me to work. And to see the psychologist to get myself sorted out.

Grant, my boss, seems to be understanding, but I don't know if it is my depression filter, or if I am hearing correctly, I think he expects for everything to return to normal when I get back. I hope it will, but I think it is a faulty assumption. I may need more time off or something... I hate letting him down, we have worked together for over 5 and a half years and we have a close relationship. Joan is going to have to take over my work, and I am sorry, but I cannot help it.

Husband is wonderful and supportive. He still doesn't understand but he is learning.

I am looking forward to 2 weeks of rest and recovery.

The Crystal Gazer

I shall gather myself into my self again,
I shall take my scattered selves and make them one.
I shall fuse them into a polished crystal ball
Where I can see the moon and the flashing sun.
I Shall sit like a sibyl, hour after hour intent.
Watching the future come and the present go -
And the little shifting pictures of people rushing
In tiny self-importance to and fro.

- Sara Teasdale

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

If I had but two little wings

If I had but two little wings
And were a little feathery bird,
To you I'd fly, my dear!
But thoughts like these are idle things,
And I stay here.

But in my sleep to you I fly:
I'm always with you in my sleep!
The world is all one's own.
But then one wakes, and where am I?
All, all alone.

Sleep stays not, though a monarch bids:
So I love to wake ere break of day:
For though my sleep be gone,
Yet while 'tis dark, one shuts one's lids,
And still dreams on.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A quote to make us think...

Eucharist, Mass and Communion all have their place, but I want to start a campaign to revive an older name for Eucharist: the Viaticum. Viaticum was a Roman term; it designated the food, clothes and money that a Roman magistrate took with him when he traveled on state business. It was the necessaries he needed to get him though his trip. In the early church, Christians called the host you gave to one who was on the verge of death the Viaticum. Like the money and food that outfitted the Roman envoy for his journey, the host was the provision dying Christians neded as they stepped out on their journey from this world to the sweet hereafter.
Somtimes, early Christians used Viaticum to designate not ust the deathbed Eucharist, but any Eucharist. The Eucharist, the Viaticum, was the necessaries for our journey through this life. It was, in the words of one minister, "the sacrement of maintainence". It is like what the angel said to the exhausted and broken prophet Elijah, collapsed in a sleep under a broom tree. The angel waked him and said, "Arise and eat, else the journey will be too great for you."
And that is the Eucharist. If I did not eat, the journey would be too great"

Lauren Winner, Girl Meets God, 2002

A blog about Hope

Here is a link that was meaningful for me, where I am today. Thank you "Rocks in My Dryer"


Monday, June 22, 2009

How we met

I should probably say where and when I met Husband.

We met over the Internet.... yes, cliche, I know. I was actually on a dating site, had put up a profile because I was bored one day and promptly forgot about it.

A few months later, Feb '05, I got an email from Husband, introducing himself. We emailed for 4 months, talking about pretty much everything. Then we decided to meet. Sarah and Voltron offered their house as a good meeting place as you can never be to careful meeting people from the internet.

So it was on. The night before the meeting I got an email from Husband saying his grandfather had died, but he would still be coming. Then I got an SMS from him half an hour before we were meant to meet, saying he was running late. Great. My pet peeve. Lateness.

But I was too nervous to really care. When he rang the doorbell, Sarah went to get the door and I pretended to run out the back, which Voltron thought I was serious about and tried to stop me. Then I met Husband in person for the first time.

We spent the night like stunned mullets, not knowing what to do or say, so it is just as well that Sarah and Voltron were there. We ate dinner and played Brainiac, I think. Voltron is a teasing kind of person and was telling Husband to stay away from me (he was on the other side of the loungeroom) as I had "poisonous tentacles". Then Husband referred to my hair as "Medusa Hair". I thought it was funny. But Husband confided to me later (much later) that he thought he had blown it with me. Thankfully I have a better sense of humour than that.

So I walked Husband out to his car, and he asked to meet up again, to see a movie, which I agreed to.

And the rest is history....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I want a baby

I admit, I want a baby. Lots of babies.

Husband and I have been trying for 9 months, even since my birthday. I am sick and tired of being disappointed every month. It feels soul destroying for God to keep denying me the thing that I so wish for.

Rebecca has 3 children and is pregnant with her fourth. When they announced their fourth, I went home and wept. I am happy for her, but why does God give so much to some and so little to others?

But I have to stop fighting with God. He always wins. His is wise and gracious and will give me children when it so pleases Him.
Please God, let it be soon.

But, I am learning that God sancifies us through trials.He is not destroying my soul, but building it up to suit His will. God has been gracious enough to give us trials and blessings to grow us. God is teaching me many precious lessons during this time. The main one is: Patience. I am learning to be patient with many things. Not the least with my husband. He is a wonderful husband, but I do not think he totally understands what torture this past 9 months have been.

We lost a baby just before Christmas. It was very early, only a couple of weeks along, but it was devastating. I have told almost no one, and I continue to pray that I may conceive soon, but I continue to mourn my baby.

But I will live in hope, as I love my Lord, The God of the Hopeless.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Black Dog

Yes, I admit I have depression. I have always had it. I was a melancolic child, and was diagnosed with clinical depression in my early teens. I was on anti-depressants for 8 or so years, before I weaned myself off of them because I was sick of taking them.
Most of the time I can handle it and keep it under control.

Not now.

Since losing the baby in December, I have been spiralling downwards. I had been feeling "off" and a few months ago I figured out what was wrong. The depression was back. I figured it would cycle back out within a couple of months, as it had so many times before. But then it didn't. I am in deeper than ever, and I am afraid I will revisit my bad old days.

My bad old days was just as I left high school. Sarah had a break down and she pretty much lived in her bedroom for a year. My best friend just stopped communicating with anyone. And then my depression which I had been able to keep reasonably in check bloomed into something really scary. It took me many months to be able to function again. It is an experience that I would wish on no one.

And now I am afraid that it will happen again. And now I have Husband that I will end up dragging down with me.

I told Husband before we were married that I had depression, and that at the moment it was under control, but it probably will flare up occasionally. He said he understood. But he doesn't, not really. He is part of the 80% of society who does not suffer from depression, and never has, so cannot understand. He is wonderfully supportive, but just doesn't "get it". I feel guilty for doing this to him, but I cannot help it anymore than I can help my eye colour.

I have seen my GP, who is a lovely young woman who has referred me to see a psychologist (Thank goodness for Medicare and Mental Health Care Plans). Her name is Barbara and I will be seeing her this Saturday. I am nervous.

I have another admission, I also have an anxiety disorder. So it is either Clinical depression with an anxiety disorder, or an anxiety disorder with clinical depression. I can never remember which is the right way to say it. I have thankfully not had a panic attack for years, but I can feel it rising up inside of me. At the moment, I wake up in the night, panicing over stuff, and spend a couple of hours like that, before being able to fall back asleep.

I hope that I can get the help I need soon, I cannot cope with how things are.

I am sick of people saying that a Christian cannot be depressed, that if I prayed enough/believed enough/was a proper Christian, I would not be depressed. I would like to say to all of them, fine, if I cannot be depressed as a Christian, you cannot break your arm, or catch a cold. Depression is an illness, and God never said that Christians will be free from all illnesses before heaven

Guide to the people in my life

Well, because I am going with the anonymous theme here, I really should work out what to call all the people I know I will end up posting about.....

The list:
My husband - Husband
My best friend - Sarah
Sarah's husband - Voltron
My sister - Rebecca
Sister's husband - Edwin
Youngest brother - Daniel
Brother (eldest) - Stephen
Eldest brother in law - William
My second Brother in law - Wittle
Wittle's fiance - Angelica
Youngest brother in law - Matthew
My eldest niece - Princess
My eldest Nephew - Mate
My youngest niece - Sweet pea
My boss - Grant
Some of my workmates
Joan, Leslie, Jon

I will post more, as I add people.

My best friend

Yesterday I had a great talk with my best friend, Sarah. She has been unwell for sometime and it was really great to catch up as well as speak of deep and meaningful things.

When I say she has been unwell, I mean that she has an Anxiety disorder and recently had.... well, I suppose I could call it a breakdown. So bad, in fact, that she went to be an inpatient at a St John of God facility.

That was the best thing she could have done, she is now out, after about a month in, and has an "exit strategy", she is going to a therapy group and a psychologist. She is so very much healthier than last time she had a breakdown.

Anyway, back to yesterday's meeting. We got to talk for about an hour and a half, which is pretty good for us, about our lives the past week or so, as well as her and my, mental health. She is so caring and lovely, and bought me flowers, which are beautiful.

Sarah and I have known each other for.... since March 1996, which makes it over 13 years. She is a wonderful friend, the kind of friend that I know will be around forever.

"There are few people out there with whom you fit just so, and, amazingly, you keep fitting just so even after you have growth spurts or lose weight or stop wearing high heels. You keep fitting after you have children or change religions or stop dyeing your hair or quit your job at Goldman Sachs and take up farming. Somehow, God is gracious enough to give us a few of those people, people you can stretch into, people who don't go away, and whom you wouldn't want to go away, even if they offered to" - Lauren Winner, Girl Meets God.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Inaugural Post

Well, my first post. Cool.

Well, first about the name. My wonderful husband said that I had "medusa hair" the first time that we met. Strange I know, but I couldn't think of any other names.

What to write?
Well, I decided that I wanted to blog, as it is cathartic, and no one I know will see the blog so I can write pretty much whatever I like.

I am a 25 year old Christian married to the most wonderful husband ever.
I work as an Assistant Manager at a Christian Book Store.
I am sure that there is much more that I could say, but now that I am writing I am not sure what to say.

Tonight is Friday night, and I really need sleep.....