14 October 2010
I have had many thoughts lately about this verse. Here is an excerpt from something I read today by Lisbeny Duran. More thoughts coming on this one.
"While some of us are called to impact the world in a tremendous and notable way, or to lead a megachurch in a huge city, some of us may also be called to resolve the conflict in the everyday, be it the widow down the street, the children who need a tutor in the local elementary, or the depressed girl who attends church every once in a while. Because honestly, if all of us were pastors and leaders, who would they lead?
I do not know if my calling is right here, or if God wants me on the other side of the world. But wherever it is that I am meant to be, I'm learning, bit by bit, day by day, how to open my heart up to it and accept the imminent and inevitable change."
02 October 2010
I was so excited.
For those who haven't participated in this minor drama in my life, I am a non-Facebooker. (I really need to come up with a more interesting name for this phenomenon.) I have waffled and wavered, I've hemmed and hawed, I've even lied about it, promising friends "I'll get one at the end of the year..." or "I'll get one when I go overseas..." or "I'll get one when I graduate..." But they were all flat-out, if useful, lies.
I wrinkled the pages all up in my rush to get to page 72. The main argument was that Facebook changes the way we think and the way we perceive and interact in the real world as well as the cyber-world. The author explains it simply: "Our thinking patterns begin to mirror the things we use to think with." Some of the changes seem to be neutral, some not so good, and some just interesting. Consider these suggestions by the author:
We now think in webs rather than lines.
We value flexible, fast intuition over hard, slow, laborious rationality.
We prefer short, simple messages over lengthy, uninterrupted essays.
He also has some more concerning observations:
"While there is a little voyeurism, there is a lot of exhibitionism on Facebook... Voyeurism is what happens when you steal glimpses into people's lives they don't intend for you to see. The people I'm looking at want me to see everything I'm seeing. They want me to know what they're eating, wearing, feeling and thinking in each moment... Such exhibitionism has an unusual effect on us... We become fascinated by the image we project. It's like having a mirror on your desk or in your pocket. And every so often, you pull it out to gaze upon your own image. Perhaps you want to adjust your hair or find postures of the head to smooth out the double chin. This kind of regular self-inspection eventually gives rise to a subtle narcissism."
"We endlessly noodle, refine, create and consume a digital projection we want others to see. However, we are rarely what we project. This image approximates reality, but it is not reality... This is hardly new, of course. In any social situation, we seek to control the impression we give. The problem is that in real social settings, there are limits to what we can hide... Over enough time, [Facebook's] subtle effect creates a minor split in us. A split between who we are, and who we think we are. This tiny fracture may seem insignificant, but if we remain unconscious, it leads us away from a life of wholeness and integration."
And finally, Facebook (and Twitter) "begs me to step out of the stream of experience long enough to record it... This may seem insignificant. But our presence matters. Our brief but increasingly frequent moments of absence add up. Imagine a father who flickers in and out of a child's life every time he checks his iPhone. He might be there physically, but he may as well be at the office or on a business trip. People can feel our absence... It is a ghost-like condition. It diminishes one of God's greatest gifts to us- a body. There is a reason God made us with bodies. There is a reason God became a body in Jesus. The incarnation is about becoming a body to bless the world through physical presence in the lives of others. To hold the hand of those who grieve, to feed and clothe those who are poor, to love those who are alone by being with them. Many of these technologies create a condition of absence in a world desperate for our presence."
I think the reason the first one hits home for me so much is that I have experienced a gentler version of this just by blogging. When I blog I am clamoring for people to look at me, look at what I'm doing and what I'm thinking and where I'm going and who I'm with. Obsessing over my image, even in a blog, is a huge temptation. I want to shape who I am into who I want to be. Which is not a bad thing. The problem is that when it comes to social media like this, who I want to be is not the image of Christ, but rather a cooler version of Megan.
This is why I can't get Facebook. I think some people can handle it fine and use it well. I'm terrified I wouldn't be able to, that it would suck me deeper into a self-absorption and insecurity I've struggled with all my life. I don't think I'm strong enough for Facebook, pathetic as that sounds.
The third point I think goes both ways. Yes, technology like this can make us absent even when we're present. But at the same time, it can also make us present even when we're absent. If I don't see a close friend all day, I can text her just to let her know that I'm thinking about her and I love her, even when I can't be in her presence. But I have to be very cautious and wise that when I am present with someone, I am fully present with them, and not darting away to talk to someone I find more interesting.
So I'll just leave you with a promise: I will try to be aware of my lurking self-obsession so that I can fight it back and be real with you and truly interested in you. Please give me grace as God sorts out this messiness in me, and know that I love you, even if I'm really bad at loving you.
Oh, and one final amusing, but insightful, snippet: "Updates may be profound, but more often they are mostly a twitch of the brain- a mental fidget adding to the static of the universe."
24 September 2010
two cool (maybe...) girls I've been lucky enough to get to know a bit lately, Toni & Ty
I almost put up a picture of this really cool shiny green and orange bug I found on one of my plants, but then I was afraid you'd think that Ty and Toni are on the same level as the bug in terms of how much interest they add to my life, which is not at all true. So just know that the bug was insane.
I've started working at an elementary school doing the before and after school program. I have twenty first-graders to plan activities for every day, and while their favorite things include tattletaling, crying, silly-bands, screaming, tugging on my shirt, and throwing their snack wrappers across the table at each other when they think I'm not looking, they also love giving hugs, holding my hand, and playing four-square, and so I think they're awesome. My favorite moment recently came from one of my girls who grabbed my hand during snack time, when they're all supposed to be sitting down, and asked if she could go get something out of her backpack. I said "What?" She said "Something." I said "What?" She, growing more impatient, said "Something!" I said "What?" She clenched her fists in frustration, and then, with her face grave and her eyes wide, tried to make me understand the urgency of the matter: "This is a serious silly-band situation!"
We had our first meeting last night for my new small group at my church, Redeemer Fellowship. Meeting people for the first time can be awfully fun to me because you get to create your first impression according to your whimsy. I wore Meredith's trendy bracelet to help me feel hip. (: It was beautiful. Our leaders are authentically warm and welcoming. There's a great mix of four married couples, four singles, and four freaking cute kids. I met people who share some of my passions. The atmosphere was free and embracing. I can't wait to get to know this group of people more closely.
Fall retreat is this weekend for camp, so I'll have some sweet photos after that.
In closing, what do you think of this?
"Christ died for men precisely because men are not worth dying for;
to make them worth it."
14 August 2010
That's not exactly true. I've spent some beautiful (if oppressively hot) days at camp. I've been calling all my freshmen mentees and getting to know them. I've been making homemade ice cream and watching meteor showers with my little sisters. All of which has been great.
Other breaking news:
- It's hot as Hades here in Kansas. I ate ice cream for lunch today.
- I ordered all of my textbooks for this fall and only spent $68.54. Oh, the benefits of being a political science major.
- I saw thirty-five shooting stars last night. They were magnificent. Number 24 was the most incredible one I've ever seen: the fire trail in the atmosphere stayed glowing for a good fifteen seconds.
- I get to move back in with my beautiful roommate in five days.
There are a few things coming up that I'm super excited about, and a few things that I'm terrified about, but I've been reminded in recent days that "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness." That is where I'm standing. It's the only place I can stand; everything else is pretty shaky right now: relationships, plans, achievements. Yet Christ has proven himself faithful and I cling to that once again.
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus' blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus' name.
When darkness veils his lovely face,
I rest on his unchanging grace;
in every high and stormy gale
my anchor holds within the veil.
His oath, his covenant, his blood
support me in the whelming flood;
when every earthly prop gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay.
When he shall come with trumpet sound,
oh, may I then in him be found,
dressed in his righteousness alone,
faultless to stand before the throne.
On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.
11 July 2010
Transition makes me feel like that though: like I have to withdraw outside of myself and manipulate myself, manipulate Megan, like a puppeteer to morph her to the situation.
Transition is sticky and messy and involves a lot of social ceremonies and repetitive conversations and weakness.
Transition seems to throw away what you've built and it won't even let you just rebuild, it demands that you construct something creative and new.
To sum it up, it's dumb.
But moving on to the present... what a week. Oh man.
Teen Girls Camp 2010.
Kelley got married. To Russ.
Slumber party of the decade.
It was sweet. Check it out.
Mis chicas bonitas:
Rowdy good times at Teen Girls:
I hardly had time to feel sad when my wonderful girls left, because that evening was the wedding of the year!! My wickedawesome dorm resident director for two years, Kelley, got married to her lucky pastor man, Russ.
And then so many of my favorite girls crowded into Luce's apartment for an epic slumber party. Yes please.
My blessings are pressed down, shaken together, and running over.
ps- This is my 100th blog post! Happy birthday little blog! How much can happen in 100 posts...
29 June 2010
Some thoughts: I miss my home in Oxford. I love my home in Kansas. My love for my home at camp is being clarified and illuminated.
Even now, reading back that attempt at communication, I want to delete it because it's not very articulate.
Dr. Alpern says that if you can't express something with the correct, accurate words, it is unlikely that you really know it. Maybe. Maybe he's just being his difficult self.
-adjective: expressed, formulated, or presented with clarity and effectiveness
20 June 2010
So lets just make a running post.
3:30 pm: Went to the Pitt Rivers Museum and it is freaking cool. A collection of all that is curious and curiouser, assembled by an eccentric collector in the early 1900s. I got to see shrunken heads, a mummy, samurai swords, and dinosaur eggs. Heck yeah.
10:20 pm: I'm packing. I weighed my suitcase before and after packing my tshirts. Learned that I have 10 pounds worth of t-shirts. I think I have a problem.
11:57 pm: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G92OgJ6ZGWc
All that I know is I'm breathing.
All I can do is keep breathing.
botanical garden- to do
dinner at Edamame- to do
wander Magdalen College- to do
coffee at Georgina's- check
Bodleian- to do
chapel morning prayer- check
Pitt Rivers museum- check
tea at the Vaults- check
love on people- can't get enough in
18 June 2010
Stood there soaking up the sweaty, loud, sticky, raucous, wonderfulness of so many people that I love belting it out at the top of their lungs, running around dressed like jellyfish and insects, dancing with absurdity. It ain't a sight to be missed. I want to brand it on my memory. I love it and I love them and I will miss them incredibly.
Bad news: ITS FRIDAY NIGHT OF 8TH WEEK TRINITY AND I'M SITTING IN THE LIBRARY WRITING A PAPER. I CAN HEAR SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE REMIX TUNES COMING FROM THE BOP IN THE JCR ACROSS THE QUAD. AND I'M NOT THERE.
Sigh. Almost there.
17 June 2010
15 June 2010
14 June 2010
She has been my travel buddy and my all-night essay crisis companion. She has forgiven my dirty dishes, encouraged me in Christ, and probably added three years to my life through laughter. We share a morbid fascination with all things Gaga, Bieber, and Twilight, as well as a permanent craving for Mexican food. She inspires me to run farther, write more, and laugh harder. I seriously could not have asked for a better housemate and one of the greatest blessings of Oxford has been the gain of her friendship.
I love you, babe. Thanks for being epically brilliant!!
13 June 2010
So that was Saturday night. But Sunday night was a bit different. The evening was filled with sitting with Liz and Hayley in the warm Spencer House kitchen, just laptopping and chatting and being together, heavy cleansing rain falling outside, hum of the dishwasher running, chilling to Carla Bruni. I don't know if it's a character flaw, it's certainly a flaw in my social development, but I'd take Sunday over Saturday any day. There's something about the quiet peace of being utterly relaxed with people and surroundings that the bright lights of entertainment and fancy dress and loud music and glitter can't compare with.
Sigh. So I have social issues. But I am deeply grateful that I have friends (and housemates) who give freedom and embrace me even at my oddest and most awkward. And I'm so grateful for Sunday nights.
02 June 2010
2. Bob MacIntyre. My hard disk was failing, but he replaced it and saved all of my data! AND he gave me more memory so my computer actually functions properly. Awesome.
3. My friend Dave. He's soft-spoken and gentle and always has a kind word to speak.
For all these things and more, I give thanks.
29 May 2010
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us." Romans 5:1-5
"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure." Hebrews 6:19a
But I'm struggling. Today was my first taste of the end of this piece of my life. At the beginning of the year I determined to be fully present here, loving people and life without being afraid of the fact that I was leaving in a year. And now I know I've succeeded, because it hurts so much.
That's it. That's the real and raw and honest deal. I am once again breaking.
28 May 2010
I can't believe we only have one row left. It's going to be great...
If you're reading this and you live in Oxford, get your bum down to the river tomorrow afternoon and cheer us on!
27 May 2010
"For over twenty years the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has terrorized communities in central Africa, attacking civilians and abducting tens of thousands of children in four countries. The bipartisan LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, which passed Congress May 13, 2010 will help stop the immediate violence and end one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts by:
1.Stopping the LRA, by mandating President Obama to devise an interagency strategy to prevent LRA violence, which should include a multilateral plan to apprehend top LRA leaders, encourage defections of rebel commanders, demobilize child soldiers, and protect civilians from rebel attacks; and
2.Investing in sustainable peace, by targeting US assistance to recovery and reconciliation efforts in northern Uganda, which are essential to rebuilding and healing war-affected communities and preventing future conflicts."
It's good. The United States government has finally publicly acknowledged that this is a massive issue and that it is our responsibility to be active in multilateral efforts to stop the violence, protect the innocent, and invest in healing the region. And now that it's law, there are plenty of well-equipped, passionate organizations that are going to hold them to their word.
And did you read that part about "apprehending top LRA leaders"? That's right, it is now LAW to pursue Joseph Kony, that man who has abducted 66,000 children into his rebel army and forced them to commit alongside him horrible atrocities against innocent civilians, including their own communities. Let the search begin.
If you want to read the full text of the act, you can find it here.
Oh, and I am proud to say that my senator, Sam Brownback, was one of the original five bipartisan cosponsors. By the time it was passed, the original five had been joined by 65 cosponsors in the Senate and 201 cosponsors in the house (including every Kansas representative). Obama had a special signing ceremony for the act and released a great statement about it that you can read here.
"Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard." Isaiah 58:5-8
"When the righteous thrive, the people rejoice;
when the wicked rule, the people groan...
By justice a king gives a country stability,
but one who is greedy for bribes tears it down." Proverbs 29:2, 4
"He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8
26 May 2010
Basically, boat racing at Oxford is bumps racing, which means that the boats start off a length and a half apart from each other and the goal is to achieve a "bump" by getting any part of your boat to hit the boat in front of you. (Dangerous, I know...) We bumped the Keble College boat in front of us very quickly, only a minute or two into the race, which was awesome!
Our men's team did well too. While they didn't get a bump, they didn't get bumped either, which is an achievement in itself.
Three more days of racing left to go...
23 May 2010
And so please notice the time on this post. Yes, that's right, it's 4:30 am. Why the heck am I awake?? Because I have to be at the boathouse to row at 5:10 am. That's all. I admit that I'm a morning person. But 4:30 hardly counts as morning. When I walk down to the boathouse, even the ducks aren't awake yet; they're still sleeping in the grass.
Only one more week of this, though. Summer VIIIs, the big race, is this week, and it's going to be a blast. If I get some pictures of it, I'll post them soon! (Like you really want to see another rowing post.)
21 May 2010
On a happier note, I was the one dominating at my tutorial yesterday.
Life lesson: you try as hard as you can, and at the end of the day, you give yourself grace.
17 May 2010
15 May 2010
Anyway, back to work. Books can't be checked out, so I'll probably be spending a lot of time here over the weekend. If you don't hear from me in the next few weeks, you might check behind the PAK 12 overflow shelf...
14 May 2010
Maria, Emma, and Charlotte.
Ruth, Abbie, Alison, and Nadine.
Maria cutting her birthday cake.
Alison, Ruth, Angie, Maria, Charlotte, Hannah, and Emma.
Broad Walk in front of Christ Church.
sunshine + picnic blanket + camembert + sweet girls = happy
05 May 2010
Not emotionally, just physically. Literally, WHERE is he?
Outside the known universe? Isn't that contradictory, the known universe is what we know exists? In some other dimension? All dimensions are physical, aren't they? Is he something other than matter and energy, and if so what? I mean, matter and energy are what are. Other things are really explainable through the physical processes going on in our brains.
I may be talking complete rubbish, because I'm very ignorant in science, but this is a question that really troubles an atheist friend of mine. I don't know, it doesn't really weigh heavy on my mind and I'm not particularly concerned about it, but to her, it's a massive question. And so because she cares, I care. Thoughts, anyone? I'll take any ideas I can get at this point.
04 May 2010
Today's new word of the day:
theodicizer [thee-OD-uh-sahy-zer] –noun, plural -cizers.
one who tries to create a theodicy. Ka-bam.
01 May 2010
We lost quite a few of our bunch in the crowd, and then waited half an hour for the promised thrill of the Magdalen choir coming out to sing from the top of the bell tower.
As you can see in the video, there are neon-garbed police guarding the bridge so that people don't jump off it and impale themselves on rusty bicycle bits at the bottom. When the magical moment actually arrived, it was... less than magical. We were so close under the tower that we could hardly hear the choir and there was more attention on the random attempts by staggering performers to streak across the bridge than anything else.
It's not all a let-down, though, because the vast majority of the restaurants in Oxford open up early to provide breakfast to starving revellers. And then, the crash. Good thing it's Saturday.
28 April 2010
Understanding that I am the problem changes everything about the way that I look at social ills, suffering, compassion, and my place in the world. I'm a pretty socially aware person. I volunteer, support movements, buy tshirts, email my representatives, go barefoot, give money, talk to people in different social strata. And so most of the time I think I'm pretty cool. I look for the problems on the outside: what other people have done, what our governments have done, what society has done, what natural disasters have done.
But really, the problem is on the inside. I am the problem. You can't see the deepest recesses of my heart, but I, sometimes, can, and I can tell you that there is darkness and nasty goop. When I'm honest, I can see quite clearly where all of these ills arise.
Torture comes out of my anger.
War comes out of my greed.
Poverty comes out of my self-absorption.
Oppression comes out of my lust.
The most twisted crimes come out of my indulgence.
That's fundamental. Because if the problem is inside me, the solution sure isn't. I need something on the outside to change me and heal me and make me capable of healing the world.
26 April 2010
24 April 2010
From Mary Jo:
This part of Megan's blog is for family and us old people. I doubt her friends would be interested in this. I told Megan we need to hear more about her life here and she said everyone wouldn't be interested in that, but those in her family are, I told her. So here is my boring blog:
We have all wondered what the restaurant was like where Megan works. So here is a picture or two of Morton's. You will see Megan behind the counter waiting on customers.
This is the London Eye that Megan and Tuila rode on, the second largest observation wheel in the world. Wonder why Allen didn't go :-). I had an excuse. Lloyd was exhausted and we stayed behind a bit and of course I had to stay with him.
I cannot believe I am still alive and living. I have never walked so far and so long, never walked up and down so many steps in my life. It seems you have to go up stairs to go down stairs and down stairs to go up stairs. This going up and down was in the train, bus and underground, tube, or whatever it is called. It seemed everyone in London was busy walking to wherever they were going, too fast for me. Few people drive cars, they walk, and walk, and walk and go up and down stairs.
Megan walks and walks and walks almost everywhere she goes. I understand she does ride her bike quite a bit and it is a wonder she is still alive the way the traffic is. I am amazed though that I haven't seen any dented fenders or any dead bodies lying in the street. We were at City Centre today and Lloyd took a picture of some of the many many bikes parked there.
The girls living in Megan's apt are very thrifty. I won't get into all what I feel are necessities that they live without. I guess when you are a poor student you learn to live without.
We brought wonderful weather with us from the states. Everyone told us to bring raincoats and umbrellas. We only saw a very light mist for a few minutes. It was colder in Scotland and Ireland that I had anticipated and we had to buy additional jackets. As warm as it was in the U.S. when we left I just couldn't believe it could be cold here and we did not heed their advise to take warm clothes. It was beautiful here today in Oxford, probably in the upper 60's.
The scenery is beautiful, georgeous old buildings and castles. But I still like Topeka best.
Don't know what we would have done without Megan guiding us around the train and bus stations. We couldn't understand what was being said when they were making announcements even though they were supposedly speaking English. All the time Megan was so cool and collected and didn't once make a mistake. There are many languages spoken here in the UK and we didn't hear English very often.
There is some delicious looking food in the grocery stores. I wish I could take some of it home with me but don't have room. Megan cooked us a couple delicious meals. She says she really enjoys cooking.
It has been great being here and traveling and especially being with Megan. But we are ready to come home and will see you all soon. Brittany - let Lucky out of the closet!!!!
22 April 2010
After three days in London we spent an entire day traveling to Edinburgh.
This is the first stop in Scotland.
The country is freaking cold, but gorgeous.
I was not prepared for the austere stone magnificence of Edinburgh architecture. Yet although the city has a cold, aloof appearance, the people are warm and vibrant. Check out this sweet city.
Seth was our fantastic and hysterically quirky tour guide in Edinburgh and he was the one who brought the cold city to life.
Tuila and Allen and I took a few hours and climbed an extinct volcano on the edge of Edinburgh called Arthur's Seat. We scorned the beaten trail and got into some sketchy rock climbing! It was hard to get a photo that captured how epic this little adventure was, but check this out,
and then calculate that we didn't climb the crag in the foreground where you see the people standing, but instead the one in the left background that was maybe twice as tall. Here's another angle.
All in all, I think Edinburgh was everyone's favorite. That's just because they haven't experienced Oxford yet... ;)
17 April 2010
Harrod's department store:
evensong at Westminster Abbey:
ice cream... oh yeah, it's a wonderful life.