Monday, October 23, 2006

A Bit Random

Sunday afternoon was the 90th birthday party for my tante Leine. She is my mother's oldest sister, and like her mother before her, she is of sturdy stock. Grandma lived to be 94 and was sharp as a tack, right up to the last 9 months of her life.

I always enjoy these family times, especially now that I am older, and I attend them by choice. Its probably kind of stupid, but I'm always pleasantly surprised how we've all grown up to be real people, with opinions, experiences, and stories that we couldn't have anticipated when we first met as children in tante Leine's basement.

Last night, I got into it deep and dark with my cousin-in-law Wendy. Seems everywhere I go in recent years, people are hungering for more authenticity in their faith. We're weary of programs, image, and the perceived pressure to fit into preconceived, tidy boxes. I trust in the largeness of God whenever I encounter this. I remember how much energy Jesus spent trying to explain to the religious experts of the time that they were MISSING THE POINT of his message.

I don't want to miss the point.
Which brings me back to yesterday's conversation. It may be connected to the facts that I
(a) work at home, and (b) generally hang out with wanna-be hippies such as myself but......
I was more than a little shocked to hear her tell me about what SHE is sick of with church people. It seems that women are buying into some sort of church-lady image ideal and going so far as to pursue breast implants and liposuction.

Yeah. That'll feed the hungry.
Are we REALLY willing to spend our entire lives not admitting to one another that we're **GASP** not perfect? Are we going to minister more effectively if we're not "lacking confidence" due to our saggy breasts and doughy thighs? Maybe we should have 12 board meetings in order to launch a new church program: A beauty pagaent! Then women would have a platform from which to reach out to other women. We could all sign up for seminars to learn more about world peace. Maybe we could raise money to send some gals to Darfur to hand out some Mary Kay samples.

I'm penetent of any associations I have built between myself and this ridiculous beauty ideal that North America has paralyzed us with. Are we smart enough to know they can't take away our vote, but so stupid that we don't notice how ineffective we are when all we think about is what our bodies look like?

When you come to my 90th birthday party, may my breasts sag proudly beneath the hem of my dress. May grey haired wrinkled women surround me with their love and passion for living. May we lean into each other, lost in discussion of what a full, useful, purposeful life that God has directed us through.

Its time to get real.


Heather Plett said...

Okay, I had a wise thought to add, but then I read Brian's comments and got a picture in my mind of sagging testicles and titties, and totally lost my train of thought!

That'll be some party! My titties already sag to my waist, so I'll be in great shape by then!

I was reading about the Franklin Graham festival this weekend, and the whole thing made me kinda sad. Because as much as all my friends are talking about a new kind of faith, it seems like the influential people of faith are still dragging in huge numbers talking about hell-fire and brimstone. And bombing the evil nations.

joyce said...

And (at risk of offending some readers here...) churches banding together to raise exhorbitant amounts of money to bring in trendy christian bands, and trendy christian speakers to inspire all the trendy christians out there.
when will we get out of the lecture hall and get our hands dirty? When will our hearts break? And believe me, I'm aware of my hypocracy. God forgive me.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you Joyce. Brian's freaking me out a bit though.

joyce said...

Heather, and Heather. Hey, that's cool. Its Brian's best thing... To freak out Joyce's commenters. i think he must be feeling threatened! :)

Anonymous said...

OH! I'll be dead for sure when you are 90. I'll miss the party!

Broken people are used by God. Why, oh why, are Christians so frantic to 'fix' themselves when God wants us broken?

Judy - Anybody Home -

mmichele said...

rob tells the GREATEST story about a time his friend tried to meet some nice women at the beach and the friend was unfortunately dangling some important items out of his 1980s bathing suit.
and frank... about frank. i haven't even dared blog. and have pledged to speak of it no more. but if you ever have a spare 1.4 million hanging around, i know what to do with it.

jb said...

real faith means really seeing. really seeing that the franklin graham crusade used people to increase God's kingdom and I DON'T see anything wrong with that! i don't believe he preached hell fire and brimstone. but i know a lot of people when their hearts are not turned to jesus and thus open to the spirit, can only interpret the message that way. and yes, we should use our money to further God's kingdom in as useful a way as possible (jesus calling us to help the poor, fatherless and widows). but if God uses certain bands to minister to certain people, then i see that as a good thing.
my actual point for commenting was that i for sure agree that we need to get real about our bodies and increase our confidence in who we are in the INSIDE. i want to stop comparing myself to everyone around me because then and only then will i actually start seeing the needs of others. this is something i struggle with daily.
sorry for my rant joyce. i hope you don't mind!
btw, thanx for your comment on my blog. i really appreciated it! i felt really encouraged.

Roo said...

i hate masks.
they make me feel like i am gonna suffocate. its hard to breathe and even see clearly when you wear them.

i totally hear your heart on this post and my heart is crying out for this too.

Cherrypie said...

It's only my enormous stomach that prevents my boobs flapping about my knees already.

I hope I make it across to meet you before your 90th though, Joyce. You are at the top of my 'To Do' list, right above the pyramids, Ankhor Wat, Macchu Picchu and Niagara. And you are truly more wondrous than any of those manmade things

esther said...

love it joyce!!!
preach it sister...

Brian the Mennonite said...

Hey Jude...I was disturbed to read some of what you wrote. I wrote a much longer comment but decided to backspace over it because it probably wouldn't have produced the desired effect. The effect I wanted to have was to let you know of the feelings which your kind of thinking projects. It's much like the feeling that some people get in their mouths when they think of something distasteful. The lips get pursed and the nose becomes pinched, and the hand waves in front of the face to dispurse a bad smell. With your initial statements you have judged people for having a particular point of view. That is a pretty harsh thing to do seeing as you have no clue who these people are, what their thought process was, and circumstances surrounding their statement. Is making a statement like theirs the litmus test for showing a "heart turned to Jesus", or one that shows a heart not "open to the spirit"? It becomes a bad taste in the mouth when they feel that they have been laid bare and you have been elevated as one who has it all together. This may not have been your intent, but it was the effect. There are as many places along the spirituality continuum as there are people in the world. Where people are at, is the right place to be. Let's not knock them about it hopes that this will help them along. You don't have to agree with them, but it's always a good idea to listen.

jb said...

Brian, thanks for your comment. I realize I was too quick to speak. My sincere apologies. I agree, it IS good to listen to all points of view. Will you, and anyone else offended, forgive me??? I certainly DO NOT nor probably will never have it all together, and i'm very very sorry that i seemed to give that impression. I feel terrible.

Brian the Mennonite said...

Here's the thing...I am also at a given point on that continuum of which I commented. My particular place is a place where I feel the need to give out loads and loads of grace to everyone, because I haven't always done that. I was very comfortable with handing out judgement because I thought that it was my place to do so. In my new evolved "better place" I am more than willing to tolerate and accept anyone and any point of view because everyone is on a journey, right?

So...that brings me to you, Jude. My words have now had an effect on you which may have been a little more that what I expected. But that's what happens, because I don't know your story either, do I? You may have had your own set of reasons and circumstances for saying what you did. So, then, let's be friends. We are both human and fragile, and learning. There are people in both of our lives that love us, so we must be alright!

If you feel terrible, then feel what you feel. But try to move beyond that quickly. There are better emotions just around the corner. :)

jb said...

I am generally not (actually rarely) so direct with words... people say (at least used to) that i'm somewhat softspoken. I can count the times on one hand where I said what I thought (if I disagreed) and generally it came out all wrong, and that's what happened again this time. I have a lot of respect for Joyce and you, even though I don't think we've even formally met. And I think you're a great guitar player with a beautiful singing voice. Please do forgive me.
judy braun

Anonymous said...

Great post and great comments! And I hope Darlene and I make it to your 90th. We'll both be in great shape by then.

Anonymous said...

dearest Jude-
I think it would be tragic if you took this exchange of words as an indication that you should not disagree with people. I think expressing your opinion (even when it doesn't resonate with others around you) is an indicater of your evolving, confident, God-esteemed self. Call it growing pains, but don't wish it away. I think I understand what you were wanting to communicate in your original comment and although it appears to have "come out all wrong",you need to have the oppurtunity to express your perspective. if WE are not safe to explore our questions and disagreements with, then we owe the world an apology.

Sing it with me...WE ARE FAM-I-LY! I've got all my sistas with me!

If we can't be honest, will we have to resort to silicone, liposuction, and faking it? YUCH!
I love you. Love the lack of defensiveness (that's rare). I look forward to sharing your journey with you.

joyce said...

(draftyhouse is ME--Joyce--)

andrea said...

I loved the post and I love the comments. 'Nuff said.

Romeo Morningwood said...

I told you two about my experience as the film debut organiser for the Billy Graham Org in Winnipeg back in the 80s.
Trying to get the 400 'christian' churches to put aside their doctrinal differences for 2 hours on a Saturday morning to get together and watch a FREE 'uplifting' movie was like pulling teeth. Pathetic really.
I have always found the 'turf war'to be extremely counter productive and depressing.

Don't get me started on the prosperity gospel down south and the ma gawd is a rich gawd..he don't make junk!.
I guess Billy Crystal was right,
"it is better to look good than to feel good."

am I anywhere near the thread here?