Saturday, April 24, 2010

I've MOVED!!!

Hey Friends, I've MOVED! my new blog address is
It's a consolidated blog consisting of all 3 of my blogging locales.
I hope you visit soon;)
Julia Kate

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Church Rehab with Dr. Drew

i've been lazy about the church hunt as of late, but i've had anxiety and have needed to process some deeper issues before i reconnect. enter Dr. Drew, my favourite rehab specialist. imagine if there were a VH-1 Church Rehab. imagine if there were a shepherding type of counselor, like Drew, that helped you process the strings, the ties, the motives, the abuse, the anger, the hurt, the frustration, the isolation, the pressure to perform, the insecurity, the loneliness, the double-talk, the lies, the disappointments, the goofy doctrine, the beatings, the bruises, the deep need within, the effects of being in the system for 30+ years... imagine.

have you watched the rehab shows with Dr. Drew? i love how he makes his little pout when the patients tell their stories. it's like he sees the little child, neglected and misused, and is able to clump all the "violations" into one big sum of stuff that is the past... the valid horrific past, but the past. he gets them to focus on getting healthy so that they can live a normal life.

last sunday my family went out to breakfast, the farmer's market, and even the dog park. as we were leaving the dog park, my mom turned to me and said "i loved today. i love doing normal stuff. we missed out on a lot, you know. i had an alcoholic father and you had church-aholic parents." wow.

the church may be a very different dynamic to me than it is to you. to me, it is the source of much pain, frustration, and conflict. the church is "work". to you, it may be a haven, a place of hope, a glimpse of family. my story is not entirely unique. many people have a very similar view of church. but here's the deal... i refuse to give up on the church. we, as a family, have refused to give up on the church.

but i need a pep talk. i need a pout and hug from Dr. Drew from time to time. i need a shepherd to use his rod to protect me. i need a shepherd to love me whether or not i am serving him and his vision. heck, i'll be frank, i just need a shepherd. not a teacher, not an evangelist, not an anointed CEO, not a vision caster, not a perfect person, just a good old fashioned, kind, tender, and compassionate shepherd.
you know, someone like Dr. Drew;)
"I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd puts the sheep before himself, sacrifices himself if necessary."
John 10:11

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Losing Your Religion

christianity is a religion.
christianity is a religion that offers the common man relationship with the divine.
christianity is not a relationship without a form of religion.

religion is this:
the practice of religious beliefs; ritual observance of faith.
and this:
something one believes in and follows devotedly; a point or matter of ethics or conscience
it is also this:
a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe... usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.
the bible says that bad religion is this:
"They'll make a show of religion, but behind the scenes they're animals. Stay clear of these people."
2 Timothy 3:5 MSG
the bible says that good religion is this:
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
James 1:27 NIV

so why do we christians deny our religion? why are afraid of being associated with this term?

perhaps it's time to reclaim our religion and practice it righteously.

Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
I Timothy 4:16

Monday, April 5, 2010

the character of your God

just curious...

does the God you serve send earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunami's, fires, etc. as a sign?
does the God you serve take your loved ones by car accidents, gang fights, cancer?
does the God you serve spare one and allow the complete destruction of the other?
does the God you serve require what you have endeavored to prepare for sacrifice?
does the God you serve limit His grace according to your obedience/behavior?
does the God you serve favor you over the others or bless you because of your service?
does the God you serve wait until you repent before He can forgive you of your sins?
does the God you serve, mysterious & awesome, love you unconditionally?

just curious.

how you view the character of your God will directly reflect how you live your life.

The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.
Psalm 14:2

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful

my heart was bruised by disappointment, but my heart has healed.
my heart was torn by what i desired deeply, but i conceded and now it is being made whole.
my hopes were placed in foreign ideas and unfit destinations.
my mind was set on what seemed good enough, and my passion pushing for what seemed right.
but when i settled down, wiped away the tears, caught my breath, and could see beyond the clouded contacts, i saw something beautiful.
i saw me.
i saw me apart from the additives that i was busy compiling to increase my worth.
i saw me, just me.
and in that moment i had hope of something more resilient, something intentional, something purposed, something beautiful.
now seeing what is beautiful, i see His beauty all around me.
i see it in the flowers in front of my picture window.
i see it in the mountains covered in a gray haze.
i see it in a garden blossoming tomatoes and lilies.
i see it in YOU.
i see His hand in it.
i see that He has made it beautiful.

"All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him."

2 Corinthians 3:18 Msg

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

To the Secretary of Christ...

I don't feel rebellious. I don't feel uneasy about the course I am on. I just don't agree with who we've become.

I don't believe that 10% is what He meant. I think we hang on to it out of our need for checks and balances.

I don't believe in loyalty to the institution. I think we require it out of insecurity.

I don't believe in the priority of the 'Service' itself. I think we push it because of our need to control.

I don't believe in competing with the world. I think we do it because we lack identity.

I don't believe in the necessity of being 'cutting edge' or modernizing. I think the truth never needs adaptation, just clarification.

I don't believe in puffed up salaries that are funded by people's sacrifice. I think we are taking advantage.

i am bothered by our show when there is no sign of righteous living.

i am bothered when our song leaders are passed off as worship leaders.

i am bothered by sermons that are doctrinally incorrect and double minded.

i am bothered by the fact that many hearers wouldn't even know what is correct and what isn't.

i am bothered by the needs that go unmet because they aren't a part of our institution's focus.

i am bothered by the fact that ambition goes unrecognized and is often misrepresented as passion.

i have hope that we can do better.

i have hope that we will discover who we are in this world and to our God.

i have hope that we will grow in utilization of all we have been given.

i have hope that we will speak truth and walk out justice.

i have hope that we will one day give up our ideas
and our control of the institution
and allow ourselves to become
the Church,
a Bride,
and no longer a Secretary.
i have hope.

Isaiah 1:12-27

Friday, March 26, 2010


Can't take my eyes off of you. no distractions, no one even knows i'm here.

Hide me. fit me in. wrap me up in your meaning and wanting.

Relish me. let me rest here. no resistance, no fight or opposition in sight.

I am but yours and yours alone. uphold me as you so desire.

Show me how i may please you. show me the road and i will journey.

Take me with you. when its all over, i just want to be with you.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

the brighter side of meaninglessness

sometimes i wonder if i'd be a millionaire by now, if only i had tithed for the last 7 years. imagine all the closer parking spots i've missed out on, or the bargains at the grocery store & the mall. maybe i'd be married by now and have 9 kids (i'd birth 10 but tithe one of them)... oh tithing, you're always holding me back.

i didn't get the flu this year. i got the shot.
i didn't get the H1N1 either. i didn't get the shot.
i've kissed a few guys in my time and i never got mono.
i danced at a wedding and i didn't get pregnant.
i was texting while i was driving and didn't have an accident.
i had a piece of cheesecake and didn't have an explosion.
i yelled at the crazy driver downtown and didn't get killed.

i returned a kind answer to a bully and he told me to shut the hell up.
i kept my cool and didn't lose my head and she still got angry.
i played by the rules and gave all the right answers and still didn't get chosen.
i opened my wallet, my home, my heart and i haven't heard from them in months.
i submitted, i served, i respected, i loved, and i wasn't what he wanted.
"i let go, i let God", and i let opportunity pass right by.
i took time for a sabbath and i got a parking ticket.

so what's the point? where is my punishment? where is my reward? where is my consequence? 3 words: mercy, grace, & misunderstanding. as humans we crave punishment & reward. we need consequence or we feel that our actions are meaningless. i am one of the crazies within the church that thinks solomon wasn't off of his rocker when he wrote ecclesiastes. he was the wisest man and perhaps he has been misunderstood. for me, it isn't cynical or depressing to realize that "everything is meaningless", it is actually quite freeing. he concluded his teaching with this: "fear God & do what He tells you." that's it folks. paul spoke of the one reward promised, that your race will end. you will arrive at the end and that is your greatest reward. because at the end you will meet with your maker, your Father, your Sovereign God.
Break open your words, let the light shine out, let ordinary people see the meaning.
Psalm 119:130

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

You were made for greater things...

You’re okay. Everything is okay. You’re moving forward. You’re accomplishing goals. You’re seeing the difference. You’re setting your sights high. But your luster is lacking and your love has become lazy.

May I take a moment and elaborate on your beauty? Chaos surrounds, but your foundation was set and blessed to be unmovable. You were meant to last. You were meant to grow. You were meant to shine. You were made for His glory. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither does a man light a lamp and place it under a bowl. You were made to love and be loved. You were made to be a reflection of beauty and in essence become beautiful. You were made for greater things.

You were designed to make peace. You were fashioned to carry and deliver goodness. You were given gifts to disperse freely, without hesitation or qualification. You were meant to multiply. You were created for community. You were cultivated for covenant. You were set up to spread yourself. The wandering man may never realize his destination, but the man who wonders not only arrives, he arrives transformed. You were made for wonder. You were made for greater things.

I want to feel safe when I am with you, but I cannot. I desire to be cherished by you, but you are not able. I ask you to accept me, but you’d rather categorize me. I approach with my head down, but you are too weak to lift it up. I come with my burdens and you ask me to check them at the door. My understanding makes you nervous. My gifts get me in to your good grace. You collect them for your use and pleasure, and then look the other way when I’m spent. You were made for greater things.

Love never gives up…
1 Corinthians 13:4

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

the Risk of Enlisting

i was thinking last week that writing this blog without generalizations and metaphors is a big risk and letting my thoughts be known makes me quite vulnerable. obedience is always a risk. movement is always a risk. heck, getting out of bed in the morning is a risk. but we can't carry out obedience without encountering risk.

in the church hunt, i have felt the risk every time i walk through the doors of a new church gathering. honestly i wonder if they will use me or love me, if they will cherish me or discard me when they've had their fill of me. smiling faces and warm receptions can be so deceiving. i've been welcomed, pursued, utilized, and then forgotten time and time again. will it ever turn out any differently?

to me it's like coming out of a relationship with a hope for another that will be different, but a fear that it will again be more of the same. i have hope. i hope that's clear. i haven't given up on the Church. i serve the church well. i am an asset and a pain in the ass. it's the perfect combo really. they'll never have to pay me a dime for my time and they'll never have to put on a show or do a little dance to get me on board. they'll also never have to prove their worth to have my heart. the Church only has to love me, accept me, cherish me, and protect me.

is that a foreign idea, that the church would cherish you? we hear frequently about loving the church, protecting the church, cherishing the church, but is the institution looking after us? church managers, do you hear what i'm saying? there are people under your care that are feeling used and then discarded, courted and then rejected, spotlighted and then abandoned. feed your sheep. nurture them and protect them. they are risking everything, eternity and accountability, by submitting to your care... please do not take that lightly.

i may approach church differently than a lot of people, but i am not alone in my understanding. i am not alone in my nervousness and hesitation at the thought of joining in again. the church is a divine idea. the church is ordained by God. the church is a tool for His glory. the church is a bride in preparation. the church is an extension of His goodness. and the church is a very scary place for those that have been mishandled by its managers. but like me, there are those that continue the hunt and make ourselves vulnerable to risk again... because we refuse to give up on the Church, whether or not the Church has given up on us.

"Now it's up to you. Be on your toes - both for yourselves and your congregation of sheep. The Holy Spirit has put you in charge of these people - God's people they are - to guard and protect them. God himself thought they were worth dying for.
Acts 20:28 Msg

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fiction: Friend or Foe

when i was a little girl i went to sunday school. sometimes i even wore a bonnet. i remember being told fantastical stories about heroes, miracles, floods, and fires. i remember the colorful felt board that was somehow supposed to transport me, via my 5 year old imagination, into the the world of biblical times. i remember being told that there were 2 of every kind of animal on Noah's ark. i also remember being told that in heaven there were streets of gold and that we each got a mansion and maybe, just maybe, we'd be able to fly! i remember my favourite hymn was "I'll Fly Away". it's not that i was altogether anxious about the proposed rapture, but more that i had much interest in flying:) and if there was flying in heaven, then that's where i wanted to end up. i also remember, like one would remember a near fatal car accident, the day that i read the story of the Great Flood and found that there were more than just 2 of every kind of animal... way more. and then to add even more devastation... noah got drunk! i also lost interest in heaven when i realized that the ability to fly wasn't promised. "i'll get there when i get there", i thought. i just wasn't in any hurry. those are only two examples of my personal discovery of truth after being fed fiction.

my life has been a journey of uncovering mystery after mystery... pursuing truth and pursuing God. why do we adapt, simplify, or even sometimes offer half truths when sharing God's Word? there is an interesting debate to be had on whether Christ actually broke-down the Gospel or made it even more mysterious by speaking in parables. i side with the thought that he added to its mystery. God seems to like words like "reveal" & "revelation". He seems to move in "mystery". mystery provokes action and it taps into the "hunter" side of our humanity.

when i was very young my parents purchased a bible for me. it had my name embossed on it in gold and i was asked what color bible i would like. i went with the pink Precious Moments bible. my next bible was a Cambridge King James... fancy shmancy. after that i purchased, on my own, a NIV Thompson Chain Reference bible. and then lastly i purchased the Message Remix, lol! for the record, we had a lot of bibles in the house. my mom was the top bible salesperson at the local religious bookstore & my dad worked for the international bible publishing company, Editorial Vida. we had loads of bibles. my parents also encouraged me to read my bible. if i had questions, they would tell me where to look and read it for myself. they had their answers and i was prodded to get my own. as my brothers and i grew older we had more and more questions. "the preacher said blah blah blah, but my bible said blah blah blah." "Daddy who's right?" my dad had a degree in Bible and my mom had a deep love for it... both of my parents, in essence, were devout truth seekers and they passed this on to their children.

i often feel that a majority of those that are in management of the church fear the notion of truth being revealed, if truth is not being fed straight from them. do they fear that if we read Malachi we may see what is actually being stated? or if we read Acts we may see the layout for what a church truly is? can we not handle how many animals were really on the ark? could we not digest the possibility that heaven may be very different than what we've been told? this is the sure thing, the foundational truth, and upon this all other portions of truth find their rest... that Christ is the Son of God and through Him, salvation is ours. the bible says in 1 Timothy 2:4 that God wants all to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. whether we read truth or are told truth, we are afforded the beautiful yet quite painstaking journey of knowing truth. we must come to know it. this takes effort. this takes hunger. this takes time.

christians should speak truth and point to truth so that all may come to know what is truth. fiction may be easier, but it sets us up for mistrust. fiction may seem more clean cut, but it is the messy mystery that truly makes the miracle. fiction is our foe and truth is our freedom.

Psalm 25:4-5

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Poodles on Parade

since i am venturing on a church hunt, i thought i'd go back and read the first post that began my blogging service. is that funny, that i called it a service? i do sincerely believe that voicing honest perception and adding biblical truth is a service to the Church... for our betterment, our healing, our focus, and our future. if i had not love for the Church, i would also be void of hope. i am filled with hope! and so without further ado... so begins the Poodle Parade.

I don't want to get angry with the way things are, but I have to admit I am frustrated. It just seems as though there is so much wasted energy in the church. Everyone is running around doing something, but what are we accomplishing? What are we building?

I surveyed a few church websites recently and took a special interest in reading up on the ministries they offered. Most of the ministries offered were for the purpose of the weekend services. Ushers, Music, Greeters, Media, Parking Lot, Children, Youth, Translators, Custodial, etc. If we took away the "Service" could then the church find any other way to serve? The bigger the event, the more energetic hands needed, the more smiling faces required.

Remember when the church had ministries that served people beyond the armspan of a Service. Meaning, the Church itself is a service to everyone within reach and even beyond. The fact that people gathered made it church, the 'Service' is our ritual. I enjoy services for the most part. I like to sing songs with friends and smile and look pretty and even more than that I appreciate the encouragement through the word and the challenge to live louder when a decision is made by a "new comer" to choose Christ.
I go to gather. I go to hear. I go because it is a part of what keeps me healthy. I go to Give. I go to have conversations and experience the presence of God with others and not just on my own. I do not go to be entertained. I do not go to find the answers. I do not go to be noticed. I do not go to meet God.
So sometimes when I am walking through the double doors and I see the "festivities" beginning and the folks are taking their places, and the serious faces are speaking into hidden mics and the singers are awaiting their cue and the video roles and the lights begin to dazzle, I whisper to myself, "Oye with the poodles already". And then I stand and courteously join in.

Originally Posted May 27, 2008

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Church Hunting Season...

So it's about that time again folks... It's Church hunting season! I've been feeling lately that it's time to settle in somewhere and be a part of something, but oh what an adventure this can be.

There are a few things I had to settle on before I began my research: what area of ministry am I targeting, am I going "local" or outreach, & am I wanting to find support/friendship? The rest of the details seem to be worked out easily when these 3 questions are answered. Here were my results: Music is making a comeback in my life. Definitely a local church. And yes, I am looking for relationship building opportunities. Step one complete:)

Now moving on to the process of choosing a local church that would allow me to serve in music & is attended by people that I can truly relate to. I've got a few places in mind, but most are churches that I've never been to, only heard about. I am extremely uncomfortable visiting churches & a hand shake or a hug doesn't ease this anxiety at all. I hate the feeling of being in room with hundreds of people who claim to be family and have the hardest time being natural with each other. But in order to choose a church, one must attend a church.

First impressions are lasting impressions. When I finally make it past the lobby greeting, I'll proceed to find a seat. Are there tons of reserved seats? If so, boo! Is there loud music forcing a predetermined energy level? Boo! Are there young people and senior citizens? Yes? Yippee! Are there kids in the service? Yep? Hmmm... Wonder if the children's dept. sucketh. Enough of that, the service is beginning.

Is worship a production or an opportunity to unite us in the presence of our maker? What I mean is, are my eyes watering from the fog machines or the presence of God? Ha ha ha, I made a funny! Are the stage people diverse in age, ethnicity, gender, & personal style? It just matters to me. How many people on that stage have the same last name? Not a deal breaker, just curious. Do I get a sense that I am surrounded by genuine people or church droids? Hmm.

On to the word... 5 points or 7 points? Malachi during offering time? Is this being recorded for TV? Was the sermon pulled from trending topics or from the latest Christian self help book? It's just my process folks. Does the speaker disappear behind a curtain when it's all done or maybe he'll make his way to the back of the church and shake our hands as we exit. i love that! Does the worship team hang out with the congregation or do they head to the back for a snack & a chat with the other stage people? It matters. Does anyone even talk to me? We'll see.

If I'm thinking this may be the place, then perhaps I attend for a month or so playing secret agent, testing the waters, asking all the right questions, giving all of my honest answers. Will I have to clean toilets or work in the nursery before I'm allowed to sing? No? Woohoo! Glad to see grace in operation. Do I join a team, do a casual audition (not american idol style), and we'll see how it goes from there? Count me in. Umm wait... Is there a worship pastor? You know, someone with a revelation & vision for worship that's been granted spiritual authority & artistic freedom to genuinely lead the people in worship? There is? Perfect. How often does the team rehearse? Once a week sounds totally doable!

Then it's time to join a class, or a small group, or perhaps a bible study. I decided to go "local", so I'll join a group that's close by. I'll cross my fingers and hope to God that this is it... friends will be made! Are they doing a book study? If so, who's the author? Oh no, not that guy. Deal breaker. Perhaps I'll find another group. Wait, the whole church is studying that guy's book? Urggh! Okay, I'll go anyway and try to behave. Do the groups socialize outside of the designated time frame? Very cool. Are these people genuine, legalistic, ambitious, or well trained? Genuine!!! Yippee!!! I can see sparks!!! 3 weeks in, perhaps I'll join them on an outside venture. We're building homes for Habitat for Humanity and getting free Disney passes and then actually giving those passes to the kids of the families who come weekly to receive groceries from the benevolence ministry at the church? Hell yeah! I have found my home;-)

Okay okay, I know this may sound cynical, critical, nit-picky, or perhaps perfect, but what if we treated "choosing a church" the way we are instructed to "choose a mate"? Settling on a less than a "workable" fit for either seems foolish and hey...Partnership is partnership. It's church hunting season folks and this is my process;-)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

diving into love

This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. John 15:12 Msg

this is the type of love that i am pondering today. the love that you dive into, knowing full well that it may not have longevity or permanence. the love that you risk by giving yourself for a brief moment in time knowing full well that this moment may be just that... a moment. the love that pushes you to open wide the gates of your heart in hopes that it may provoke another to open wide the gates of their heart. and with that risk, perhaps for that season, you may know love. you may feel what it's like to connect with a soul. you never know. you never know where the dive will take you.

diving off of a ledge into a pool seems risky... but there are too few options and possible consequences. you are bound by the concrete borders and it's sink or do laps. perhaps a game or two, a little bobbing, and then a siesta on a brightly colored inner tube. you can bring a drink with you, you can have your toys, you can have your music and still keep your towel near by. but when you dive into an ocean there is a wild abandonment, a risk, a rush, a fear, a sense of wonder... you may never have to come back to shore.

what is the greater relief? that the shore is never out of site or that the concrete walls are non existent. the ocean is a road without lanes, a forest without trees, a sky without gravity. the ocean is unpredictable. the ocean is dangerous. the ocean is wild. but the ocean is still under God's domain and our God-gifted dominion. He blesses the discovery of love through abandonment. He identifies with this kind of love. He knows not of the love that fears. He hasn't felt the love that hesitates and retreats. perhaps because that isn't really love.

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.

Harriet van Horne

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

i'm the best and greatest... a blog about the flattery of the saints.

my name is julia.

i have the most amazing family.
i have the most amazing boyfriend.
i have the most amazing job.
i have the prettiest eyes.
i have the most potential.
i pray the best prayers.
i throw the best parties.
i support the most important causes.
i go to the best church. they have the best music.
i am the bestest friend.
i am the most beautiful woman in the world.
i am the greatest kid.
i am the most talented writer.
i am the most anointed worship leader.
i am the best singer up there.
i am the greatest nanny of all time.
i am the most mature person in the room.
i am the holiest & most righteous by far.
i am the smartest, brightest, and wisest.
i am the safest driver.
i am the quickest grocery shopper.
i am the most frugal.
i am the best house cleaner.
i am the greatest auntie.
i am the greatest sister.
i am the bestest girlfriend.
i am the most generous person you know.
i am the most thoughtful person you know.
i am the most nurturing person you know.
i am the most like Jesus.

by now you're probably nauseous! i don't blame you. this is silly. obviously i don't believe any of that stuff. but i have thought it. mostly because i have been told it. i remember sitting in my pew as a little girl listening to the guest speaker at church saying, "this is my lovely wife. church don't you know i was blessed with the most beautiful woman in the world! and in the first row are my 3 children. God has blessed me with the most amazing, talented, God-fearing kids." i remember thinking "hmm...that's what the most beautiful woman in the world looks like? and what's so special about those kids?" there was a seed of competition planted in me on that day and a seed of flattery planted within that man's family. when someone compares us to another human being (apart from Christ), it's as if we are being set up to fail... tested even. comparison kills.

since then i have heard it time and time again. sometimes word for word, but mostly in different variations. i often refuse to check my facebook on sunday mornings because i get urrghhdd with all the "best church", "favourite speaker", "pastor so & so really tore it up today" commentary. it's goofy. sorry, but it is. and it's... dare i say, "anti-Christ". it directly goes against the flow of what Christ set up for His Church. flattery kills.

i'm not in the mood to point fingers today. my hands are sore from all the typing of how amazing i am. but i just wanted to possibly get us to stop and think for a moment... "why do we say goofy stuff like that?" "how does it profit us and how does it endanger us and others?"

"...we will not compare ourselves with each other as if one of us were better and another worse. We have far more interesting things to do with our lives. Each of us is an original." Galatians 6:4 Msg

perhaps it's time to move on to those "far more interesting things" to do with our lives and steer clear of foolish flattery and mindless comparisons. perhaps;-)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

on loose living...

i woke up early and decided to actually follow through with the idea of going to the gym in the morning. i have always appreciated the concept of work first, rest later, but it remains just that, a concept. i found that after my workout i felt really good. i'm not talking about physically. i've got a bruised back, a broken toe nail and i'm fat... my body did not feel good. but mentally i felt great. i analyzed that "feeling" all the way to L.A. this morning. what is it about working out, and working out in the morning especially, that makes me feel good?

i started with the fact that i feel good whenever i get tons of stuff done before lunch. "it feels so good to be productive!" i also feel good when i have followed through with something that i said i was going to do... especially when it takes discipline. perhaps i feel good when for a few moments i actually resemble the woman i envision myself one day becoming.

is she a better person because she wakes up early? is she more disciplined because she does devotions at 6am? is she more amazing because she ran a marathon and lived to tell about it? is she more mature because she keeps a strict schedule and runs on a tight budget? is she going to be a better mom because she won't let her kids have sugar? is she a better wife because she has worked out all her sh!t and won't burden her husband with a single unmet need? i feel that at some point in my formative years someone told me "yes" she is better for that. i have never been convinced, though i have striven.

somehow loose living has come to connotate lack of focus and discipline. but i have seen a loose life lived with passionate focus and sincere discipline. i have seen a life lived with devout purpose and strategic mindfulness. Jesus napped in the middle of the day. Jesus napped while others worked. Jesus changed plans on a whim. Jesus prayed at all hours of the day. Jesus stayed up late at night. Jesus had no budget. Jesus was devoted and didn't carry a Daily Bread devotional. Jesus never had kids. Jesus never married. Jesus never trained for a marathon. Jesus ate and drank and feasted when given the option. Jesus fasted once. Jesus broke rules.

i am not making a case that those things i may have considered "good" or "disciplined" are actually bad or wrong... i am however pushing the idea that they are not what i thought they were... they are not essential, they are how some humans function. i don't want to feel good because i went to the gym early in the morning. i want to feel good because i am becoming stronger and as a result i am perhaps adding longevity to this life i have been granted.

oh to change my thinking... to rid myself of the non-essential, fantastical standards that man prescribed for our protection and containment and to take on the example of Christ... to live a life open and expansive, loose and flexible, devoted to my Father, grounded in love and fueled by His goodness. now that's an ideal worth holding on to.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

do you ever wonder who's watching you?

i have this nifty little blog and i get to write whatever the heck i want and it feels pretty sweet. well, not whatever the heck i want... i do use some restraint. a lot of restraint actually. perhaps i should just delete the line that says "i can write whatever the heck i want". hmmm... interesting thought. can i write "hell" as opposed to "heck"? guess i could get away with that and seem a little edgy. what about shit? could i write "shit" without people thinking i had lost my salvation? could i write a phrase like "lost my salvation" without incurring a debate with the baptists on once saved always saved? frankly, i don't give a flip. no wait, that's not true. because if i didn't give a "flip" then i would have typed the word that was really in my head instead of editing it, as if my blog had a big following in the 13 and under age group. anyway, the point is... i care.

i have this nifty little widget on my nifty little blog that lets me know how often my blog is visited and by whom (city, server, ip address). don't get scared, i'm not going to trace you. i don't have much interest in it. i have it because blogger doesn't do a count and though blogging isn't all about the numbers, it's good to keep a count on your traffic. sounds like the excuse churches use on why the numbers matter... lol.

lately, i have noticed repeat visitors. and when i say repeat, i mean everyday. it makes me wonder who is reading up on me and my thoughts. who even cares that much about what i might have to say. is it my bosses, making sure their nanny isn't using their wireless for religious fanaticism (that's a joke... just in case it is you guys)? is it the chic my boyfriend dated before me trying to find out what it is he sees in me (nothing short of amazingness i'm sure)? is it peeps from my last church missing me so deeply that this is the only way to hold on to what once was (hahaha... it's a joke folks)? is it my mom trying to encourage me with lots of hits..."keep writing Julia, see... you're reaching people!" (Thanks mom)? is it the Holy Spirit? does he have a MAC? my brother Josh thinks he would. is it a stalker... someone who used to wait by the green room door just hoping to run into me & have a few words exchanged (joking again!)? who the hell is it?!?

it doesn't really matter now does it. because as long as i am being read then i am content. and as long as i am making you think then i am useful. and as long as i can appease the urge to type then i am satisfied.

so here's to you... anonymous reader. may you feel every bit as content, useful, and satisfied as i. ooh an "i" at the end of a sentence. my dad would be so proud... if he ever read my blog;-)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Red Velvet

you're sitting there and i want nothing more than to just dive in, but i am restrained. why do i always feel so restrained in your presence. i can smell your cocoa from here. it's drawing me in. everyone knows of a great red velvet cake, but none of those stack up to you. i've tried them all. over time i've refined my pallet and now i know this one is good... so good. so tall and so smooth, so rich and velvety... just as i remember, just as i imagined you. what's the worst that could happen if i touched you? perhaps i would taste you and like you and love you and not be able to stop myself from having my fill of you. but you were made to be admired, enjoyed, devoured, and digested... and it would be my pleasure to help you fulfill your purpose;-)

Monday, January 4, 2010

on the local Church... my fair weather friend

Warning: this is a meaty subject and still in mid-process. i am currently processing the loss of fellowship and partnership. i am not bitter, but i am not obligated to process quietly. these are my thoughts...

i would like to include a chapter on "the Church: a fair weather friend" in my "one day to be released" book about the Insecure Church. [Don't steal that!] i am not alone in my experiences. i am not a special case or a rarity. i've heard the stories of the sinners and the saints... all forgotten and some even discarded. in serving for over 15 years as a church leader, i've experienced the process of leaving a local fellowship on 6 different occasions.

the Church likes to sell itself as a family, but i haven't experienced the follow through of that. when i chose to no longer serve at the local church, any need for me was severed. the phone calls stopped. the invitations ceased. the holiday wishes were non-existent. it's a bitter pill to swallow, but it's become par for the course. it can feel as though you were loved because you served them. you were appreciated because you assisted in their mission and vision. you were counted because you were a servant. you were included because you got the job done... for free. these statements may not be truth, but it's the struggle within the heart of the one that served and then moved on.

i am dealing with it and processing as i have done many times before, but i wonder if the local church knows that this is her m.o. i am curious if she realizes that she is in direct violation when she instills in us the importance of fellowship and accountability and then ostracizes us without a single conversation.

it seems to me that family is family regardless of vicinity or effort.

the Church has played the role of family, but hasn't actually made the leap to become family.

fair weather family? it's not possible.

the Church has been a fair weather friend.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Neither out of tune or out of place

I am usually a front foot singer. Its how I was taught. But for this moment I am stepping back...resting the weight on the back foot. I am taking the time to hear the options. I am interested in the interval that is not obvious. I am tuning in and waiting for a subtle difference. Perhaps it may not be the strongest blend, but strongest is not what I am in search of. Faintest has my attention. I sang loud, I sang strong, I sang without reservation. I can do as they ask...almost always satisfying what is required of me.
Before I arrived, I was on a search for a particular sound. I was diligent with the data gathered and the mysteries that were revealed. I heard differently. I saw differently. I walked differently. In Harmony, with what was driving me, yet not a smooth blend with the parts the others had chosen.
And now I remember. Now I long to return. To a place of Harmony, yet not blended in. Neither out of tune nor out of place, just different.