via Feminine Forms
Our first exploratory trip Austin was a success! I got a ragingly good deal on a hotel. The purpose of the three day trip was twofold. It was a Christmas gift my husband and I shared with each other, and it was the celebration of our 9-year Anniversary.
As we drove into downtown I wore a massive grin on my face. For those of you that know me well, you know that I’m a city girl at heart. John and I both had a lovely time. We ate a lot of good food and saw some cool stuff. I would need a few weeks there to truly get a good look of the city, but the last couple of days were a great start.
Firstly, it’s beautiful in Austin. It has all the things I love about being in a big city; great food, great entertainment, beautiful buildings. And it lacks the overwhelming smell of urine found in other big cities. Sorry, San Francisco. You know I love you but DANG, you stank!
Food! I found Indian food to rival my favorite place: Naan and Curry in S.F. John and I felt like we were in heaven while we were eating our food from the Claypit.We highly recommend it! Waterloo Records, yes please, great selection of Vinyl and CDs. I found something I never thought I’d find Gray Album on Vinyl. I illegally downloaded it ages ago, a fact I’m not proud of, but it was only way to get it as I think the mix itself is illegal. (FYI I don’t endorse illegal downloading , all artists should be paid for their work!) Grey album is a mix of the Beatles White Album and Jay Z’s Black Album, it’s fantastic!
We hit the Blanton Museum. Very Beautiful and very inexpensive to visit. There are two floors. The 2nd, which houses their permanent collection, was closed due to construction. Bummer. However, the first floor was great! There were two Shows, Xu Bing’s Book from the Sky and a Warhol exhibit. I enjoyed both but my heart sang for the Warhol exhibit.
“If a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.” Mark 3:25
The prevailing attitude in politics today is one of hate, which would be disturbing in its own right. However, the real tragedy is that it prevails in the Church just as much as it does outside of the Church, and in many cases can be even worse. I call this position of the heart “hate for the other,” and I define it this way: it is when our emotions and intellect blame or demonize a person or group that’s on the opposite side of an issue, idea or set of beliefs than our own. I’m going to insist, as many others have done before me, that this is a dangerous and unproductive heart position, and neither gives us peace nor progress.
As a Christian myself, I have drawn a conclusion. “Hate for the other” is the rule in politics, not the exception. Extremists on the left hate the extremists on the right (more likely everyone on the right) and vice-versa. As a result we are constantly bombarded with media which is so lopsided, it can’t walk straight. For the most part, the only voices that are heard, Christian and non-Christian alike, tend to be nothing more than clanging gongs. But in my experience the people that are the loudest are not the wisest; in fact, it tends to be the case that the most judgmental and ignorant people are the ones constantly wagging their jaws.
This is not what Jesus has asked of us. No matter how afraid politicians and/or the media have caused us to be, Christians have never been given permission to make decisions out of fear! We are to make our judgments with faith, with love and with wisdom, “for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7) This polarization between the Right and Left is not a gift, but a curse. And I desperately want to say “thank you” to those who have rejected this polarization, who have oft-times stood in the middle of raging storms and mud slinging, those Democrats and Republicans who have fought to protect the lives of the weak.
I’m going to apply this “hate for the other” to a very difficult and emotionally charged topic, namely abortion. So, thank you Republicans who defend the unborn, care for single mothers, and adopt abandoned children. Thank you for not only loving the unborn, but the born, the lost, the drug addicted, and the lonely. You are the light of the world. And thank you to all of the Democrats that value both the unborn and the born alike, who do what is in their power to protect the vulnerable and hungry, who fight to win healthcare for mothers and families, and who seek to provide for the mentally and physically disabled. You are the light of the world.
The truth is that no politician can honestly make the claim that they will protect the unborn. A great example of this is the presidency of George. W Bush. He made promises that he would protect the unborn, yet our laws did not undergo any major change during his presidency. Therefore, we cannot count upon those elected to create a culture that values all life. The Church must do this work. I absolutely agree with the many Pro-lifers who say we must change our laws regarding abortion. However, the reality is that merely changing the law regarding abortion will not end abortion. Ending abortion requires something much harder: cooperation between Christians across the political spectrum. We must create a pro-life culture, which includes many things such as: care and council for expectant mothers, education, and comprehensive and affordable healthcare for everyone. We must feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, raise the minimum wage, create good jobs and adopt abandoned children. All of these things can and will have a positive impact on the number of abortions in our country. It’s not that I believe politicians can’t make a difference. I have great faith that they can. But when we over-value political promises, we become distracted from the real work that the Church must do. When we allow political agendas to feed our “hate for the other” because it’s packaged as “Christian duty” or “righteousness,” we have essentially accomplished the devil’s work for him. To counteract “hate of the other” pro-life Republicans and pro-life Democrats must rely on one another, because creating a pro-life culture is a great work that we cannot achieve as long as we’re wasting our time fighting one another!
It’s not the loud, hateful gongs of the world that will bring God’s Kingdom here on earth; rather, it’s those of us who value all life, simply because God himself created it. It’s those who take the long view, those that spend time examining their own hearts (rather the hearts of “the other”), those that speak up for the weak, those willing to let go of some of their own comforts for the greater good. Because we know that none of us actually deserve anything and that everything we have is a gift, whether or not it’s perceived as earned or a hand-out . We are all dependent on the charity of God and the compassion of our neighbors. These are the people who will make the world a better place, and I pray that someday I will be worthy of being counted as one of them. So I challenge you: pray for one another, respect and love one another, pray and continue to pray for whomever is elected our next president, whether or not you voted for them.
I’m thirty-five years old. I’ve been married to my best friend John Rosenbaum for eight years. He’s a Philosopher working on his doctorate at Baylor University. I am a professional artist and amateur theologian and writer.
I was raised in California by my grandparents. My parents were too busy ruining their lives to raise a child. I was raised in a Nazarene Church and felt a strong pull towards God at a very young age, but at the age of sixteen I began having some truly life-changing encounters with God. I was depressed and suicidal and had no tools for dealing with my dysfunction, except for one, prayer. I began to hunger to know and be known by God for the first time. But like most new Christians, I thought I knew a lot more than I did. But through many a trial and error I began to notice that I knew very little.
So, at age seventeen I began a pilgrimage, I began to read nearly any book that was recommended to me. I fell in love with the writings of C.S Lewis, N.W Tozer, Brennan Manning and N.T Wright. From this time forward, I would be involved in countless Bible studies. I would lead small groups of teens and college aged peers. I would go over seas to England to learn from Christians from around the world. At age twenty-four I would get in a car wreak that would both greatly humble me and change my life forever.
Although the car wreak greatly diminished my physical abilities, I continued my pursuit of becoming a Missionary. I did a six month missionary school with YWAM. When I returned home from school I married my best friend whose a man of great integrity, intelligence and kindness. I would continue in missions along with my Christian Catholic husband for a few years, all the while reading and praying and learning to seek intellectual integrity in my faith. During this time I converted to Catholicism, worked as missionary and Bible teacher in The States, Africa and Thailand, went to Art school, Created art and had Art Shows and struggled terribly with physical pain and depression. In very broad strokes, this has been my life.
During the 36 years of my life I’ve been a lot of things, a Nazarene, a Baptist, a Charismatic and a Roman Catholic. I’ve been Right, I’ve been Left, I’ve been Moderate. And in all of this God has taught me, humbled me and held me together. What I hope and pray is that all of these experiences and all of my failures and victories have formed me into someone worth listing to. Please Lord!