Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Hi friends,

I've abandoned Blogspot for Wordpress so find me over there! --->

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why Christians Can Have It All

Hymns about Heaven help me meditate on limits
Last night, my church hosted a panel discussion for the ladies on “Women in the Workplace.” I have a supreme appreciation for our elders’ view on women working. They both exalt masculinity and femininity in marriage while encouraging many women in our congregation to be faithful in the public square day to day. It demonstrates a desire to help the women of our congregation fight idolatry of both family and career. And, as happens with many discussions on this topic, it made me think about limits.

The first passage the pastor moderating the panel, Andy, had us look at was Genesis 3. Why a basic exposition of the Fall to start off a panel on women and working? Because Adam and Eve’s first sin was a direct assault on the concept of humanity as limited. God put Adam and Eve in the Garden with complete freedom to choose what is good, not absolute freedom: they could not eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. These limits were perfect and kept them in communion with God. The first sin, then, was a denial of the limits that kept them in right relationship with their Creator. Adam and Eve noticed their humanity and were ashamed; they covered their nakedness.  In light of Adam’s sin, choices can make us resent our humanity and, as Andy said, “as long as we’re in a world that frustrates our desire for infiniteness” we will be plagued by the desire to “have it all.” The Fall was a denial of the true nature of the children of God.

While God never has to make tradeoffs - the supreme example being the display of both mercy and justice on the Cross - humans are bound to have to choose one thing over another. It is apparent in aspects of our lives as obvious as time and space: I can’t live in San Diego and Washington, DC at the same time no matter how much I might miss my family while simultaneously wanting to live in the same city as Dear Boyfriend. Andy pointed out that without a context for human limits, we tend to blame what is outside ourselves for our “frustrated infiniteness.” He said that we tend to say “there’s something wrong with the world because I can’t have both.” It reminded me of Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article in The Atlantic. While I agree wholeheartedly with her premise - women cannot “have it all” - her solutions were entirely based on the assumption that it is the culture’s fault. It’s the work culture, it’s the family culture; she blames anything but the lie that anyone should have everything he or she desires in this life.

But! the miraculous news for Christians is that we can have it all, albeit in a way that looks foolish to the world. The Christian’s supreme joy is in embracing her limitedness by praising her limitless God. When I say “His grace is sufficient,” I loose this world’s claim on me. If to live is Christ and to die is gain, the “all” of this world is nothing but rubbish. The great irony of the Christian life is, in embracing our limits, we inherit true, eternal and infinite freedom, only a taste of which we can have in this life. This theme has been coming up in my life more frequently and I am continuously struck by how freeing meditating on this has been. While God has given me just one life, I am to use it to glorify his name, no matter what happens to mine, and I can do that in ways that defy all of the expectations of the meritocracy that shaped me. I think of Great Awakening evangelist, George Whitefield’s (ironically) famous phrase: “Let the name of Whitefield perish so long as Christ is exalted.”

So here’s to limits. May we embrace them.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Where have I been?

This is my NYTimes “Recommended for You” section. It gets me, y’know?

Where have I been?

God has blessed me with some writing opportunities that have been pretty great.

Juicy Ecumenism: I am interning for the Institute on Religion & Democracy this summer and it’s been a total blast. I get to write a lot and have been linked on Real Clear Religion (I have an author page!), First Things, Crisis Magazine, and Touchstone, places I would read almost daily in college.
Mind Over Media: Some friends from church started a Patheos blog to discuss Jesus and books and film, three things I love. My first post on Wallace Stegner’s Crossing to Safety is here.
Writing is funny. Now that I have an audience (albeit very small) writer’s block (which, in my life, can sometimes be a euphemism for laziness) is more rampant. It amazes me how, even in things so small as seeing my name in pixels, God has been merciful to me in revealing my sin so I can repent of it. The first time an article I wrote appeared in RCR, I spent a good portion of my lunch hour praying over my temptation to pride and its timid cousin, fear of man. Even just this small taste of “success” is enough to think much of myself.
To fight these temptations, I desire to make a habit of meditating on God’s character. Instead of minimizing these good gifts, I remember the Source. I think I am wise? It is only because Wisdom himself has given himself to me. Beautiful? Because Beauty has created me. I serve a good God from whom every good and perfect gift comes. So I will, relying on his grace, behold his glory – the glory of the one and only – and, because the veil is torn, be transformed from one degree of glory to another.
I hope to blog here again soon. I’ve been carrying a little black notebook around to scribble down ideas. I used to make copious “crazy person” jokes about a friend who adopted this practice. Hanwell resident, heal thyself.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

What's love got to do with it?: Power and Mutuality

Evans and her "year of biblical womanhood"
Blogger Rachel Held Evans recently hosted a "Week of Mutuality" on her blog. In this series, she and others advocate for an egalitarian relationship between the genders in the church and the home, including abolishing separate roles in marriage. She makes a few fine points, especially that, too frequently, complementarians invoke the June Cleavers of the 1950s feminine mystique as the ideal instead of the Ruths or Tamars whose femininity is expressed through complete trust in God; however, I have noticed that the picture of authority given in Evans' posts belies a fundamental philosophical difference between egalitarians and complementarians that goes beyond disagreement about gender roles and feminism's contributions to society.

Throughout the Week of Mutuality, the most common accusation thrown at those who believe men are given special responsibility to lead their families and women are given special responsibility to follow is that they create a power-based hierarchy that cannot help but be oppressive. Evans criticized Russell Moore for embracing the word "patriarchy" because "For patriarchalists, the power struggle between men and women only ends when men win." Patriarchy, she argues, is a result of the Fall. God curses Eve for her disobedience with this: "Your desire will be for your husband, and he shall rule over you." Evans uses this as evidence that all male leadership is a result of the Fall. "It is within the context of judgment, not creation, that hierarchy and subjugation enter the story of man and woman," she writes, dismissing the narrative that, before the Fall, Eve was created as a helper fit for Adam. A power struggle began after the tree and now, in light of the coming restoration of the Kingdom, hierarchy should be abolished because of its perpetuation of sinful power dynamics.

The question I want to explore here is whether the Christian view of authority can allow for equating hierarchy with power-based oppression.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Gifts, Lolo, and Covenant Love

Lolo Jones interviews with Bryant Gumbel
On Thursday, Emily Shire wrote an article on Slate commenting on Olympian "Lolo" Jones' announcement that, at age 29, she is still keeping her virginity for her future husband. It was insufferably condescending ("If it’s what she wants, I hope Jones will give her future husband her virginity. But she should keep the 'medals' for herself." Really??and I don't understand many pop-feminists' double standard of worshipping choice when it comes to women's decisions unless said choice approaches something resembling pre-sexual revolutionary norms.

This part of the article especially perturbed me:
If virginity is commodified into the “perfect gift,” it becomes about a woman pleasing a man rather than herself, and it is difficult to picture the determined and forceful Jones being that submissive in any other aspect of her life.
Shire's comments betray a broader idea that sex is primarily about personal, private pleasure: nothing more.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Post-Grad Life

I graduated from college last Saturday. It's strange, but expected, and probably won't sink in until next Fall when I will not be moving into campus housing, but to Philadelphia for a season. Walking across the stage, shaking President DeGioia's hand, and getting "hooded" were a profound reminder of the grace and faithfulness of my kind and sovereign God in my time here on the Hilltop. I am thankful for the extraordinary work on my soul he has begun the past four years and will finish to the end.

Senior week was full of exhortations to and excitement about choices - we have more choices than earlier generations did because we don't have to get married or find a steady job right out of college, we can choose to go "set the world on fire" instead of going home, we can choose our passion, ambition, which consulting company we want to work for - and my waffling distress over my cynicism for "inspirational" talks. What if instead of living in endless "what ifs" I want to live in certainty? Dear Boyfriend and I were talking over dinner during Senior week about how beautiful the sovereignty of God is: small events that seem meaningless are all ordained for him to delight in them. This truth motivates me more than any other exhortation to do "big" things.

Now I'm home with my family for a bit. My room still has a Pirates of the Caribbean poster hanging on the walls and my softball trophies adorning my young adult lit bookshelves that have been (rightfully) ransacked by my younger sister. I have grand plans of fulfilling the telos of Pinterest by taking advantage of my mom's sewing machine to attempt some projects from my "domesticities" board. I bought Bill Mounce's Basics of Biblical Greek, which has been mercifully simple so far due to the Russian case endings boot camp I got Freshman year. And, lest I make myself seem productive, I've watched a lot of TLC the past few days. I'm trying very hard to understand gypsy culture.

I look forward to figuring out more to blog about this summer. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The telos of Pinterest

My friend sent me this question the other day: What is the telos of Pinterest? When I stopped being offended at his obvious mocking tone, I admitted that I had been thinking about it. 

In his last lecture my professor asserted that if Memory is mother of the Muses - the Arts - then memory must be the basis of culture. In this case, I would argue that the domestic arts, too, must be based on memory. In the past (perhaps a glamorized past, admittedly) mothers would teach their daughters to quilt or knit or, more generally, keep a home; however, the shift from traditional mores and familial culture has fragmented families through individualism (I'm going to keep beating that drum) and the mass consumer culture has made housekeeping less of an art and more of a chore through devaluation of unpaid work and increasing dependence on modern appliances.

So, I come to the question: what is the telos of Pinterest?