Bindings: Reflections on faith, life, and good books

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Posted 11/20/14 at 1:19 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

The Generational Lies Women Believe and Why They Must End: One Woman’s Story

I remember the day my mom got liposuction. I was ten, and I’d walked into her closet. Her naked thighs, stomach, and breasts were covered in small bloodied gauze bandages. She walked stiffly and winced as she stretched her arm into the shirt she was holding.

I asked, aghast, what happened to her. She told me not to worry about it.

When her wounds healed, and her skin displayed small divet-like holes, I placed my finger against one and asked, again, what happened. She explained the process in a hurry and, annoyed, told me to stop fingering the divets.

My mother, I found out later, is not alone. Hundreds of thousands of women are caught up in an ideal that doesn’t exist. We don’t say “thin,” because now it’s more socially acceptable to say “healthy.” Women in my family are no exception. It is, frankly, a generational thing.

Let’s start with the matriarch. My grandmother never speaks well of her body. If she does, it’s coated in sarcasm. Every visit, she reminds me that I’ll look just like her and makes a rolling motion with her hands from ground to chest to imitate saggy breasts. Disturbing? Yes. FULL POST

Posted 11/19/14 at 2:01 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Anatomy of a Strong Lady

The definition of a strong lady appears in newspapers, academia, and social media. Marching in lockstep you hear the same phrases repeated over and over. It’s shouted by some of the angriest ladies I have ever encountered. Not sure much of anything would make these ladies happy. They tell us we should demand respect, our rights and whatever we deem necessary for our existence. These ladies don’t encourage and inspire me they just make me weary.

It’s not those ladies I find strong. In fact if I wanted to have a girls night out, they aren’t the ones I’d invite. If I could, along with some of my best girlfriends, it would be two ladies who currently reside in heaven; my great grandmother, Ethel Bunger and my husband’s grandmother, Minnie Brock. Now those were some strong ladies.

Watching how they lived provided me with the best definition of what that looked like. Possessing every component needed; they exemplified on a daily basis without angst or effort what earned respect from those they encountered. FULL POST

Posted 11/16/14 at 10:46 PM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Defining the Church in the 21st Century

In the thick of traffic, I hugged a bumper. A sticker read, “Nature is my church.”

Various reactions stormed my brain. Stuff like, “There goes another disillusioned tree hugger . . . That person had a bad experience with a local church . . . She’s confused about God’s design as expressed in the New Testament.”

Mostly, I felt sorry for her. Grieved that somewhere along the way, Satan had successfully deceived her about the true nature of Christ’s Church. And that perhaps His followers had not represented His Body well.

The beauty. The unity. The peace, humility, gentleness, and patience. The hope of His calling. The expression of His gifts in love to those within and those without.

And my heart broke. For how many times had my actions/words given the wrong impression of the Church? Perhaps at some point in my journey I’d left a sour taste in someone’s mouth and s/he’d turned aside to seek God elsewhere. FULL POST

Posted 11/12/14 at 1:30 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Video Games = Interactive Movies = Art

Ted Eytan, "Art of Video Games Exhibit 15105

Let me tell you a story. A man from Eastern Europe arrives in America, and lives with his poor cousin. His cousin, a poor taxi company owner, has struggled to make his life in America. The man has come seeking revenge against a man who killed his friends during the war, and along his warpath discovers something about love, the futility of the American Dream for the modern immigrant, and the inescapable nature of crime.

What is this story? It’s not from a movie; it’s not some new book. It’s the plot of a video game. That game is Grand Theft Auto IV. Though surrounded in controversy, the game’s story is one which rivals that of a novel. Despite the controversies, video games can’t be ignored anymore. In 2013, the video game industry made almost $15.5 billion. Why is this medium so popular? I argue that it is an emerging art form that, while usually primarily only for entertainment, is more and more becoming an artistic medium. FULL POST

Posted 11/9/14 at 11:58 PM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

What the Empty Crib Means to Us

In P.D. James’ novel, The Children of Men, couples are no longer able to conceive children. The novel introduces us to a society that lost the ability to produce offspring after the current generation of young adults. A wistful, lonely, alienated people remain in this childless world.

Though it is doubtful we will ever reach the circumstances portrayed in this book, some developed nations (Japan and Italy, for example) are seriously concerned about enough children not only to support the elderly but also to supply the citizens necessary for a vibrant society.

Parenthood is the unsupported career. Though an emotionally involved parent is in a sense always attached to a child, the most physically taxing part of the career is over with by the time the child is five or six. By the time the child reaches ten or so, the parents have shaped most of his or her character.

Back when families had five or ten or more children, parents spent the majority of their lives at the job of parenthood (while also working on farms or in small businesses.). Nowadays, birth control allows most adults to have children only if they’ve chosen to—at least, if they recognize the responsibility procreation requires. FULL POST

Posted 11/7/14 at 12:01 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Two Funerals and an Obituary

The funeral service for my brother last January was in the Southern tradition: service in the church a few days after his death, followed by another in the cemetery before burial. The one I attended recently for a church member here was technically not a funeral. In the Pacific Northwest manner, it was a memorial service weeks after his death. People were asked to share their experiences about the one whose passing we remembered. Both services were emotionally satisfying.

End of life occasions remind us of our responsibility for a time on earth that is, in the scope of things, terribly short and precious. We recognize an end point, a conclusion toward which to work.

By chance, my husband and I meet regularly with a group of friends, and the next meeting was scheduled the afternoon after the memorial service. Our topic: we each brought ideas for our own obituary and end of life wishes. FULL POST

Posted 11/5/14 at 12:09 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Art Fights Back: Emma Sulkowicz Inspires Young Women to Speak Out About Sexual Assault

“Welcome back rapists,” read one sign.

“Rape happens here,” declared another.

“We won’t be silenced.”

“Red tape won’t cover up rape.”

“Dean Valentini, why are you letting my rapist stay on campus?”

These are some of the signs held by Columbia University students in protest of the institution’s handling of sexual assault cases. As reported by Columbia University’s student newspaper, The Spectator, the rally was held in support of Columbia and Barnard rape survivors, specifically Columbia senior Emma Sulkowicz, an art student whose senior thesis project tells the story of her own rape on Columbia’s campus. Sulkowicz’s project makes her the latest in a long line of young artists to use art as a means of responding to sexual assault.

Sulkowicz was one of three women who accused the same student of rape. All three cases were reported and all three cases were dismissed. The rapist remains at Columbia to this day. Sulkowicz’s project, titled “Carry That Weight,” requires her to carry a twin-sized mattress around Columbia’s campus every day. It symbolizes the emotional weight she holds and the physical rape itself, which occurred on a dorm mattress identical to the one that she carries. FULL POST

Posted 11/3/14 at 1:20 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Bacon Biscuit or Ice Cream Bar?

At the ripe old age of six I lit out to conquer the world through first grade. I was so highly advanced in my grasp of early academics that I skipped kindergarten and started directly in the first grade. I honestly don’t think the fact that my school did not have a kindergarten class had anything to do with this but it might have. In my first year of school I learned letters, numbers, and how to do business.

At that young age I knew exactly what I wanted in life - ice cream bars. You know, the kind with vanilla ice cream encased in a hard shell of chocolate and placed on a wooden stick. The problem was those bars cost a nickel and I normally did not have one. The solution to my problem was Bert Crowell. I figured Bert must be rich because every day he came to school with his lunch money and an extra nickel.

My Mama sent me to school every morning with a quarter for lunch but no nickel for ice cream. Every time I asked she said, “You don’t need all that sweet stuff.” She feared I might lose my quarter so she put it in a handkerchief and tied it in a knot. Every morning when I untied that handkerchief I hoped to find an extra nickel. I never did. Mama got up every morning and made me a hot breakfast before I left for school. She usually made biscuits - from scratch. She wrapped up one of those biscuits in foil and sent it with me for recess. She usually put bacon, ham, or sausage inside. I was so embarrassed. While my fellow first graders snacked on store bought gourmet items I had to eat my old cold biscuit. One day I noticed Bert drooling as he stared at my biscuit. He asked, “Is that ham in that biscuit?” I realized that a whole new world of entrepreneurialism verged on opening up. I asked, “Would you like a bite?” He nodded with anxious consent. I said, “Well you can’t have one but you can have the whole thing for the low price of one nickel.” Ole Bert reached in his pocket and pulled out a nickel that looked as big to me as a number two wash tub. He didn’t even have that thing in a handkerchief. It just ran loose in his pocket. He put that coin in my hand, I put a ham biscuit in his hand, and I headed out for the school’s store. I was happy, Bert was happy, and mama never knew. Our transactions lasted for the rest of first grade. I tried to raise my price periodically but Bert never had more than that one nickel. I seem to remember that Jerry Don Craig offered me six cents a time or two but Bert had been such a loyal customer that I couldn’t bring myself to mistreat him! Besides that Jerry Don and Bert were cousins and I didn’t want to cause family problems. FULL POST

Posted 10/31/14 at 12:38 AM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Why Christians Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Halloween

Christians and Halloween haven’t always been the best of friends. At best, Halloween has been an excuse to hand out Jack Chick tracts, and at worst it’s been a day of looking down at all the devil-worshipping children out on the streets. Christians preach fiery sermons designed to instill a fear of the devil and all his minions. They hold separate parties in their basements so their children have a better alternative to trick-or-treating. They make the words “Haunted House” akin with communing with the spirits. Simply stated, Christians are afraid of Halloween. But I say it’s time we put the Christ in Halloween.

I’m not talking about dressing up as Jesus for Halloween (really, please don’t ever do this. And if you do, don’t tell people I told you to). But maybe instead of being scared of Halloween, we could embrace it. Jesus wasn’t scared of spirits or ghosts or demons. He spent a lot of time talking to them and driving them out of people. For a while they were the only beings that recognized Him as the Messiah. So why are we so afraid of even mentioning them now? FULL POST

Posted 10/28/14 at 11:16 PM | Bindings: Reflections on Faith, Life, and Good Books

Poisoned Apple: Are Apple Products Still Cool?

If you have friends or internet access, you probably heard about the iPhone 6’s release on September 19. Reviews of the phone are very good for the most part, and sales of Apple’s newest product broke sell-through records. In spite of releasing such a great product, I think that Apple has already reached its climax.

Now, I don’t think this will happen all at once. It will be more of an IBM type decline, where a once great and innovating company slowly fades into the background. It will be years before any noticeable change is felt, at least in terms of physical sales. But Apple just isn’t what it used to be.

Remember when the first iPhone launched? And how everyone believed that it would change the phone industry? Same thing with the iPod and the iPad. These products rocked the market, introducing terms like “MP3 player” and “tablet” into the common vernacular. They changed everything. But it’s been years since the iPad came out, and Apple hasn’t released anything as groundbreaking since then. FULL POST

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