Tuesday, November 4, 2008

election day 08

so it is here...today! finally the nation will vote and decide who our next president will be.  paramount history changing stuff. right!?!?

today i got a little reminder just how paramount it is.  i was reminded that my president, my king, my lord had been decided long ago (over 12 years ago!) now don't get me wrong, i'll wear my "i voted" sticker today with a small sense of pride and gratefulness that this whole process involved me at all AND i'll continue to "root" for the guy that i believe is best for the job and reflects most of my beliefs on the world...AND i'll probably be a little bummed if my guy looses BUT how i live my life today or tomorrow or next week shouldn't be affected at all (an won't be) by the outcome of the race for neither candidate will put forth the kingdom of jesus policies that should reign in my life...granted BOTH candidates do have some kingdom principles and ideas embedded in their platforms  AND BOTH candidates have huge holes in their platforms that completely disregard the kingdom, the least of these!!!  Neither reaches the perfection of the sacrificial love jesus calls me to.  neither reaches the bar for the pro-life, pro-love, pro-freedom, pro-inclusiveness, pro-equality, pro-mercy, pro-justice, pro-love god/love your neighbor like jesus political platform in matthew 5 or luke 4 (really all throughout his life!)

so if you are interested in shifting your focus today give this a listen! a little sermon given by greg boyd as a reminder what our lives as followers SHOULD be about today, November 4, 2008, election day AND tomorrow, November 5,2008. may history really be in the making, jesus would you rise your church!!!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

i am not my hair...a brief adventure with my locks...

exactly one week ago today i sat down for a long evening of knotting.  that's right, i sat down and got dreadlocks.  our new friends from the live lightly tour came in town and since sara had such awesome locks and i have been talking about it for so long i decided that it was time to give it a shot.  two years of talking (maybe even longer)... 6 hours and 50 some odd locks later, i had a new dew... 

and last night i combed them all out.  every last one of them. 

this week has been crazy.  it has been one of the more challenging weeks i have faced in a long time.  the journey of these locks is short, but the week has taught me so much.  i think that if i was honest the minute sara finished the first lock i knew. i looked at it and said to myself this isn't me. but i pushed on and carried through for the week because i wanted it to be me (or more appropriately i felt like it should to be me).  i wanted to have them, be the kind of gal that carries then and does it so well.  i wanted to be the girl who walked into kimbal's classy christmas dinner with funky shoes and dreads as to say, "i am different and i won't fit in." 

but the moment they were on me something changed.  my world was flipped upside down.  i didn't feel right.  i couldn't put my finger on what was happening in me but as the days went on the not feeling right morphed into an highly emotional state where i began lashing, fighting.  i stared becoming different, thinking different.  my insecurity was shining through and my heart was beginning to become weary and hard.  the pressure of keeping them was heavy. i had set out to have them, i had talked about it, i had spent time and money doing it.  i couldn't go back, stubborn? pride? commitment?... and yet, in my quiet moments playing with judah this week, walking down town, cooking dinner, the thought would just come in and i would think "i don't want this.  i don't want them.  this isn't me." i just wanted to take a shower, feel the water run down my scalp.  i wanted to jump in the lake and go water skiing.  i actually wanted my curls i haven't loved my whole life back.  i felt i was an impostor, a fake. everyone kept telling me that they looked awesome, that it suited me, that i had the perfect hair to do it...but inside i was feeling something else.  

it came down to two things last night...was this adventure like a fast. a fast from standard quo beauty.  something physical that i was doing, sacrificing, that was teaching me something about myself about strength and beauty. was it challenging me to fight through it? 

or on the flip side was it and adventure learning about who i am and who i am not.  was it challenging me because it wasn't me but instead it was me ratting my hair in hopes that it would prove to everyone else (probably more myself) that i am like all the other radical, crazy, amazing jesus loving folks that have changed my thoughts on what it means to follow jesus.  was it challenging because somewhere deep down inside i was hoping that doing something radical would make me radical, would make me significant, different and somehow i would feel more comfortable in my skin knowing that i was indeed "radical."  as the saying goes (a popular one these days) you can put lip stick on a pig but it is still a pig...

maybe it was both. maybe there were lessoned to be learned on both sides of the choice...the one i learned (or am learning) is tough...maybe they both would have been.

the decision finally came to me last night when i was chatting with my amazing husband.  kimbal wanted me to keep them, but he also wanted me to be able to go through whatever it was that i needed to go through in order to be at peace.  randomly in the conversation he told me, "kellen,  do want you to know that you are one of the strongest women that i know.  and when you put your mind to something you do it.  it is not will that lacks." i think he may have said them to encourage me to keep them but those words gave me the freedom to let go. i was reminded in that moment about running a marathon, having a baby, breast feeding, praying for weeks on end. commitment wasn't lacking. it was that wanting bit, that piece about knowing that i was either doing something that i really wanted or feeling convicted enough about it to keep pushing through.  in an instant i felt peace and the ability to let them go...

that wasn't where the lesson was though. the lesson came in the torture of actually taking them out. 

one by one i un-ratted everything.  the same 6 hours and 50 some odd locks later.  i began thinking and singing an old hymn...it is well, with my soul... i knew i was moving where i wanted to go. i felt peace that i hadn't all week. i didn't want them and i knew it. eventually the un-ratting became tiresome and my head hurt. tears swelled up in my eyes and i was in pain. that was the moment that the lesson came...

i never ever ever again want to be radical for the sake of radical-ness.  i don't want to do radical things because they are radical. i want to follow jesus.  the last three years have been hard.  but i think that i have been waiting to do something radical, different for the sake of it rather than for him who has called us to it.  the call of jesus is radical enough, i don't need to be doing things to make it more so. seriously just a quick glance at matthew 5-6 the radical call of jesus goes way beyond having hair that doesn't fit in.  LOVE. LOVE. LOVE that is where jesus leads us.  and if i sit and think about it long enough it isn't shane claiborn's dreads that draw me, it is the way he loves jesus and his neighbor.  it isn't my dear sweet bess's crazy, funky-ness that draws me, it is jesus. they way she loves him and is secure in him. 

i have felt insignificant, alone, afraid that this life is going to land in a place that is far far away from the desires of my heart and so i want to push it there. i want it to be radical, significant... if i could rat my hair maybe then my heart would be there. if i could give everything i have maybe then i would be there but i am told that it profits me nothing...for the greatest is love. 

in my search for significance and radical-ness i haven't loved you all very well.  i have been judgmental of where you are on my scale of radical.  i have pushed things in church, in my home, in my marriage to fill that sense of radical not because they were always jesus...but when i got a piece of my different i wasn't very good at doing the most radical thing of all, being patient and kind and peaceful. i wasn't gracious, wise...love lacked.  for this in the last week i am sorry, and over the years i am as well.

as a family we are talking about doing some crazy stuff...but i want to do those things because he calls us, not because they are crazy.  i want to do them because my heart breaks and i can't help but move closer and love... in the meantime i want to learn what it means to love jesus, my son, my hubby, my friends... 

i hear judah stirring, this mom is going to take her curly locks (a little dry and crunchy locks) and go upstairs, change a diaper! maybe if i actually do it in love i could change the world.

"we can do no great things only small things with great love" -mother theresa 

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Luxury Fund

ran across this today while i was catching up on some blogs...amazing idea...TOTALLY doable.  check them out.  it is about taking the "small" amounts of money that we spend on random luxuries through the day (coffee, ice cream, sodas, etc.) and tossing it in one big pot (the luxury fund) and redistributing it all over the world through organizations that are on the ground feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, speaking up for the voiceless and setting captives free.  

Thursday, August 21, 2008

the justice that is injust

so i have been wanting a rug for our front room for awhile. judah is just getting to the age where he is army crawling pretty much anywhere and on our hard wood floors he wiggles around and pretty much "sweeps" my floor picking up specs of junk along the way.  our friends have a little one just a few days younger than jude and when we went over to the house she just plopped him down on their soft rug and went to do other stuff.  the rug alone provided entertainment for both kiddos AND kept them somewhat clean and i can only imagine more comfortable.

anyway, this would all be great and i would have just gone out and bought this amazing shag rug from a local store EXCEPT i have this knowledge of the fact that much of what we buy as consumers in america is not just made with cheap labor but often SLAVE labor, and with children at that.  rugs just happen to be one of the top commodities that we purchase that also have huge links to the modern day slave trade.  here is where my problems, issues, quandaries come in. 

i took this class awhile back on the modern day slave trade and learned about a group (rugmark, www.rugmark.org) that certifies that the rug you are buying did not use the little hands of children or slaves to make.  really awesome!  i did some research on their sight and found a few local dealers that happen to have a few of the rugs stashed in their collections. Three out of the floor places had rugs that were made by modern designers, REALLY cool but just wouldn't work in our room (although my architect hubby wishes we would have changed our entire house to a modern style so they would have).  so i went to the fourth place on my list. the rug source of denver. sounds good right? well, not exactly.

i pulled up to a building (the design center of denver, right by the sculpture that looks like french fries, for you locals) and i quickly became aware that i might have an issue.  i got my 8 month old out of the car and entered into the building.  i walked past stores that i had NO clue really existed.  i mean i thought HM Home and Room & Board really marked the high end for furniture.  but that day i learned there indeed were places that sold gorgeous hand made dishes straight from italy, couches that no one would ever sit on and chandeliers that may cost more than my home.  i should have turned around, but i wanted so badly to know that the purchase i was going to make for this rug was socially conscious and remembered those chained to rugs all across the globe.  so judah and i continued walking.

we found the store. in it were amazing, beautiful intricate rugs.  the shapes, colors, textures were unbelievable.  i was soon met by a semi-friendly women who wanted to know if she could help me with something.  i told her that i was on the quest to find a rug and that i didn't care about much but the fact that it was rugmark certified and wouldn't mind if it were less expensive.  she humored me by continuing on the conversation and gave me the low down on which designers in their store were certified, however the condescending tone in her voice began to confirm my thoughts that i may just be in the wrong place.  and then the question came..."are you working with a designer? in order to buy a rug from us you must have a designer."  i told her we were not. she assured me that they could set me up with one if i would like, but i couldn't just purchase a rug.  she also told me to feel free wandering around looking at the rugs.

it didn't take long for me and my little man to walk right out the door.  the cheapest rug i saw was only a mere $4,000.  i wondered how much more it would have been to pay my "designer" on top of that. there were others for $10,000, certified and not certified.  i wondered which ones would still have the blood stains from the little fingers that were forced to weave them together if they hadn't been washed for our homes.  

as i walked out the door and past the shops, i help my son and just wanted to cry.  i felt like an idiot...for walking in there, for asking my questions, for wanting a rug, for caring, for not having a "designer", for having to have a "designer" to purchase a rug...and then it hit me. injustice is taking its toll through out attempts to make just decisions.  it is like it knows the heart behind choices that we are trying to make (fair trade coffee, slave free chocolate, rugmark rugs) and flips the whole thing on its head where we are encountering a different kind of injustice.  

it seems pretty freakin unjust to me to spend over $10,000 on a rug that we walk on.  to spend $4,000 on something so you know that slavery wasn't involved in the weaving of the rug (what about the bricks that made the building where it was made or the cotton that was picked to make it...will it be another $4,000 to get that certified????). not to mention the fact that this nice amazing rug will be taken prisoner soon to a little toddler who will spill god-knows-what all over it, trample his muddy feet on it and i would probably find myself uptight and yelling at him to get off our nice rug. YIKES, local kellen-centerd-initiated-injustice!  and all these decisions get even messier when you throw in the fact that i claim to be a follower of Jesus who said "whatever you do unto the least of these you do unto me." so would that mean spending my $4,000 on a certified rugmark rug while today tens of thousands of children will die because they didn't have enough to feed their bellies???? 

in his book, jesus for president, shane claiborne makes a comment about the revolution that it will take for us to become ordinary radicals following jesus again.  he says he wonders if it will look less like us walking around drinking our organic fair-trade latte in our certified organic fair-trade shirts but more like the amish.  a life of simplicity that works directly for much of what it needs.  that day i think i came head on with the question. and i must say the answer that my heart is coming to is a hard, scary, unbelievable one that may require me to loose this life in order to really live...(familiar words to us as fellow believers???) oh Lord, i am not sure how to live. i want to be willing! make me willing!

i did get a rug.  i found one at target for $80. made in the USA, machine made.  looks like someone just cut up a piece of cheap carpet and trimmed the edges...i guess it settled some of my conscious though.  i mean at least i know now that i won't be yelling at judah every time he walks on it!  

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

the alabaster jar...a journey

so there is this story about a sinful woman who came to jesus while he was hanging out with all of his friends at dinner.  she fell at his feet, crying and wiping his feet with her hair.  then she did something strange...she took out the perfume, worth months of pay, and broke it at his feet.  she wiped his feet again.  although all those at the table were harsh with their words and ridiculed her (...and jesus for that matter) for wasting her money, her time.  jesus spoke tenderly to her telling all of them that she had done something brilliant and pleased god. he loved her much, forgave her sins...she loved him so much in return.

later, after jesus had been crucified some women went to the tomb to burry him properly.  they brought all they would need to honor his body, including an alabaster jar.  when they arrived at the tomb they found he was gone...he had risen.  and it just so happened that the only one to anoint him, his body, his life would be the women. the sinful, wasteful women. 

i want my life to be an alabaster jar. i want my life to be broken, and poured out on my jesus' feet.  i don't want it to be 50 years from now that i realize i should have honored him when maybe it didn't make sense. finding out that it would be to late.  so this is the start of a "blog" a journey of thoughts, hopes, dreams, my life...which jesus i pray you would be well pleased.