Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Don Imus and Women's Hair

Yesterday I worked out a response to Don Imus. Zondervan has posted it under April 24th (you will need to scroll down) here. It's my thoughts of his "nappy-headed hoes" comment in regards to the Rutger's women's basketball team.

After re-reading my Zondervan post, I'd like to add one thing. I'm not certain Imus should have been fired (I think Imus is capable of redemption in this and using it as well as he uses his ranch for children). But, I do think people who make their millions from cutting into the soft spots of others should be paid substantially less, much less than school teachers. If we pay them so well aren't we saying we value his type of perverse humor? Solomon says it well,

A worthless person, a wicked man,
Is the one who walks with a perverse mouth,
Who winks with his eyes, who signals with his feet,
Who points with his fingers;
Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil,
Who spreads strife.
Therefore his calamity will come suddenly;
Instantly he will be broken and there will be no healing. (Prov. 16:12-15)

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Woman Curse

Last week I condensed the last chapter in Ruby Slippers into one short article. It's been published online at Radiant Magazine entitled "The Curse of Eden".

I love the purple flower graphic they've put above the article, falling, drooping. It's a good way to show how it often feels here, living east of Eden--not at full strength, undernourished, cut off from life, harried, frazzled. I felt like that last weekend, sick with a cold, constantly aware of my raw throat.

In our weakened state, Christ said "I am the true vine, my Father is the vinedresser." It would help me to remember that this morning.

"Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. Jesus is the vine, I am the branch, the blossom connected to his source of nutients, water, energy, passion. If I abides in him and he in me, I bears much fruit, for apart from him I can do nothing" (Jn 15:1-5).

Without Jesus I am cut off from life. The reverse is also true, with Jesus, I can do much, much more than I dared believe possible.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Beth Moore and Eating Out

I'm not critical of Beth Moore, but I am of us. My feelings towards Beth Moore are like my feelings about eating out. I have this ambivalence: I'm glad she's around and that she's speaking and passionately propounding the beauties of Scripture, I'm also troubled by how easily her Bible studies become our bible studies.

Last week I felt tired and uncreative almost every evening. When 7:30pm rolled around and both Fincher bellies were empty, the last thing I wanted to do was scrounge around in the fridge for some suspicious smelling leftovers. Mostly, I opted to eat out, because it was made-up, served-up and cleaned up and over with in about a 1/2 hour. Since, we have to eat, let's go out. Panera is a lot simpler than home-made paninis.

Don't get me wrong, I love eating at home (even if it's just a microwaved meal with carrot sticks). The home-cooked meals offer me a chance to customize, to notice the details, to present the food and to make sure it's really good for us. Though with our schedules it's becoming more rare (One of the things I miss on the road is cooking our own food, yet when I get home, where's the time?!) when I cook our meals, both Dale and I can sigh with contentment afterwards.

There is a dying tradition of mining out the good foods at the market, feeling the tomatoes for their quality, smelling the melons for their ripeness, then lugging it all home, unloading, putting away. Then, a few hours ahead of your hunger pains peeling, dicing, paring, simmering, sauteeing, baking, cooling, slicing, serving. Eating is just the last part of a longer process.

Eating out all the time is like doing another person's Bible study all the time. Sometimes we need to eat-in.

There is a dying tradition of mining out the old, old stories from Scripture, of poring over long passages at a time, or of meditating on one verse for a half an hour, wondering what one word means and cross-referencing it with your concordance or looking it up on Bible Gateway.com to see what other versions say, of getting caught up with what one passage means and following it like Alice followed the white rabbit, losing all track of time. Few people set aside hours to read Scripture, if we're really disciplined we get 20 minute chunks a day, or 2 hours of frantic filling the the blanks the day before Bible study. But if we do spent this type of time with Scripture, we will get a satisfied feeling in our souls. This food was something we dug for, something we found, a first person, un-mediated experience of the God we want to know better.

I'm an old-fashioned believer in the goodness of the process. That when I take time to cook, the eating is better. That when I take time to be with the Triune God, he will show me something about the passage that will be a long-term satisfaction, lasting me through the weeks. I'm not saying don't listen to Beth Moore anymore than I'm swearing off eating out (though I have in the past and it was a good season). What I am saying is that if we rely on a Bible study to find out about God and never approach him one-on-one, we might miss the quality of Scripture, just like we miss the quality of a home-cooked meal.

Once in a while we need to shop and cook and eat for a meal at home. It will be a lot more work, but we will be glad we did. Once in a while we need to meet God as our only Bible study companion, no book, no list of questions to guide us, no video to propel us. We might get frustrated that we're not in and out in 30 minutes (home-cooked meals usually take a good 1-2 hours) or that we cannot find the right measurement tool (we may get stumped with the mysterious places of the Bible--that happens to me every time I study it). Regardless we need to do it. Why? Because Bible studying shouldn't always be an eating-out experience, with pre-packaged, mass-produced bullet-points and meditation questions. God can customize for us better than that.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Thoughts on finishing Ruby Slippers

Photo taken by our photographer extraordinaire, Jeff Lefever (www.lefever.com)

I feel like Jacob, limping out of my old views, but renamed by the Living God who knows women better than I.

I know more fully what it means when God thought Man and the world needed Woman.

I understand why God chose Mary as the first person to bear the weight of his Son’s entrance onto earth, why women were last at the cross and first at the barren tomb. (This picture is from my Mary Magdalene monologue--see previous posting--performed in Laguna Beach, Easter, 2007)

I realize why Christ dignified women more than I dignify myself.

I have noticed and am beginning to accept (though not without resistance) that God identifies with women, that God holds all the good feminine traits (and good masculine ones, too) in his being. For the Triune God made male AND female to bear marks of God.

This last few weeks have been so rewarding: hearing friends share that Ruby Slippers is hitting bookshelves around the country, hearing how these ideas impact men and women, sharing the journey.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The Day the Ink Dried

Writing a book is like birthing a baby. The work ends in one sense, but new work begins. The ink is dry, the books are in stores and Amazon is finally shipping (today I noticed they only have 3 books left, but plan to stock up soon--oh good!).

Now I sit at my desk and wonder about some of the pages that never made final cut.

There were several sections I chose to cut out of Ruby Slippers. One was a series of short stories highlighting women from Scripture, ranging from Leah to Esther to Mary. I've saved them up for other opportunities.

One opportunity is coming up this Easter Sunday when Dale and I team up to speak.

I'll be dramatically reading a vignette I wrote. It's the story of Mary Magdalene's life and how one woman's testimony was key to Easter. My part will be integrated into Dale's message on hope. The event is hosted by our Little Church by the Sea, but it is for all of Laguna Beach. The city wide Community Sunrise Service (6:30 am or 9 am) might be a different way for you to approach Easter morning this year.

If you live locally, please consider coming. More details at our website here. Afterwards 100 copies of Ruby Slippers will be available.