girl growing

and a space for her to play in

Thursday, August 31, 2006


i've found lately that some of the most defining moments in my life are happening around the dinner table.

sitting in one of houston's nicest restaurants with my family celebrating not one, but both of my parent's births. being able to spend time with all members at one time-a great feat for us. listening to my sister as she manages to smile and chat despite her recent wisdom teeth removal... it's great to hear her voice. seeing my parents cuddle and steal glances at each other while my mom is just happy to be dressed up and enjoying a night with her kids. my father who i'm so proud of...and who is so proud he can drop $300+ on a meal for his family and not cringe. my brother who has been trying so hard to grow up and for everything to just..."click".

sitting with one of the wisest women i've come to love and respect in a restaurant that i swear should've been on 'sex & the city'. watching her as she listens and helps me through some of my fears and concerns about my life and the lives of those i love. feeling so honored to simply be in her presence...wishing so bad that one day i can be remotely like her. hoping i can make her proud.

the many meals i've had thus far with my pastor. some simply making fun of each other...mostly me and my flare for the dramatic. other meals with his wife who is so kind and so willing to allow us kids to overtake her home...listening to her as she shares recipes with some of the favorite boys in my life. popping open a bottle of wine and allowing us to relax on her couch with her and treating us like adults.

meals with my best friends where we struggle to find words and ideas that we're only beginning to understand. remembering that we're so young...just kids. that we've got so much left to learn...caught in the middle ground yet again and wanting so bad to make sense of the world. trying to be taught by those much wiser than us yet wanting to rebel against it and test the waters too. i love mid-town at night!

others where i feel as if the kingdom really could be here. where some of the biggest names in this whole church business have looked at me...really looked at me and valued my opinion. where we search to truly make a difference in this new and exciting church movement we've embarked on...if only the world knew what great conversations were tucked away in small corners. sometimes i truly feel as if angels are singing about what we're doing. where we struggle with what's been and what could's truly emerging. i can't wait. lunch with my dad in downtown houston. smiling at the crinkles on the sides of his eyes as he listens to me blah blah blah about boys and love and everything we silly girls care about. he is so proud of me...and i only hope that continues. he's only a drive away and yet sometimes days like today remind me that one day that won't be the case. he won't be around to help me change my oil or to comfort me after a broken heart. i want to embrace those moments with him forever.

catching up with old friends after being too busy and too absent. regretting how crazy i can let life get and wanting so badly for them to know how much i care. being sung happy birthday and given a card that, although silly, touched me deeper than they are probably aware.

the in-depth conversation after church on sunday nights and at group on thursdays...who knew that hot dogs and hamburgers could generate such great dialogue. such great growth...from some of the most controversial conversations to some of the silliest....trying so hard to get at what the heart of christ wants and desires for the world.

other meals where i sometimes stop...and wonder how in the world i got to be so lucky to be in this time and in this place. my friend karen is truly is about moments we find ourselves in.

great food. great people. great conversation. sometimes life is so good to me.

Friday, August 25, 2006

not quite superman

"i stepped from plank to plank
so slow and cautiously;
the stars about my head i felt,
about my feet the sea.
i knew not but the next
would be my final inch,
this gave me this precarious gait
some call experience."
-emily dickinson "experience"
yay for poetry... and for my friend rodney who seems to like it as much as i do.
i did something brave today. i have quite a few fears (hard to believe, right? ha.) and today i conquered one of them. i got over some inadequacy issues...and some intimidation ones as well. i decided to be a big girl and actually do something important. we'll see how it all works out...

why i like art

"the art of wrapping"

art doesn't always make sense. sometimes it does but it can't even be explained or expressed why. sometimes we get it...and sometimes we don't. sometimes it seems ridiculous and other times i want to cry in the mere beauty of it.

christo and jeanne claude are beautiful, and what they're doing is beautiful.
the world is a pretty place today.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

"i declare..."

"i'm disappointed."

that seems to be a phrase we're hearing around here a lot lately. funny thing is, i can't quite figure out why. apparently this little church thing we're doing is more controversial than i had ever thought.

today i listened as my pastor receive a phone call from a woman that attended the old church he pastored. she informed him that there were several of the remaining church members "talking" about ken's "situation".

last week he also got a call from another man...a deacon...that told ken he was disappointed in him. it's hard for me to nail down exactly where the disappointment comes from. ken said that maybe it's because he's no longer in the "box". he said that while be pastored that very southern baptist church he was within their conservative box. he was in their system. he did what was asked of him to remain in that system. he looked, sounded, and acted just like them. he fit. now he's out of that box and people at the church seem to see things that aren't within their system as wrong or even evil.

that blows my mind. ken put it nicely..."so even if your views change a little you can't try to listen? even can't be my friend? and so what if i'm wrong...but more, what if i'm right? what if what we're doing here is actually more in line with what jesus wanted? what then?" when did thinking slightly against the norm become evil? it's not like we're claiming the world is actually flat or something. or that jesus isn't who he says he is. when did thinking differently cause people to be so darn...disappointed?

ken said that while we're inside the box we can still have those feelings that are against the grain, but by being in the system we're declaring that we agree with it. once we're out...we're declaring that we're not. maybe that sends the message that we think we're more right than they are and in turn that signifies to them that they're wrong. why so angry though? why so mean and hurtful? it's frustrating and it makes me want to punch somebody.

my friends karen, ryan, rodney and i discussed the idea of grace for people like this. i was one of them...i thought i had all angles of the box figured out and i've painfully begun to figure out that i don't. i was critical of others that were inside the box and i was completely resistant to communication with anyone that thought differently than me. i had the system down and everything added up. i wish so badly now that i hadn't done that. that i hadn't excluded people that deserved to be listened to...and deserved the decency to at least have their ideas and views acknowledged. yay for retrospect.

even as i type this i'm feeling the weight of it. ken just walked in to the office where rodney, ryan and i are hanging out and began to read an article about this very topic. daniel wallace is or was a professor at dallas theological seminary and has recently written an article about his "take on inerrancy". there are several good quotes, but here are a few:

"after all, one of the things that makes an evangelical different from a fundamentalist is that an evangelical is supposed to be willing to wrestle with the evidence. one of the hallmark differences between a fundamentalist and an evangelical is willingness to dialog over the issues. a fundamentalist condemns; an evangelical thinks. a college professor of mine used to say, 'the christian army is the only army in the world that shoots its wounded.'"

"i believe it is disrespectful to my lord to not ask the bible the tough questions that every thinking non-christian ias already asking it."

"now, for the accusations against me. three specific charges come to mind:

1. i argued in one DTS paper that the words of jesus may need to be colored in pink instead of read at times; (the gospel writers may have written the gist of what jesus said instead of his very words)

2. i stated that paul's doctrine of justification by faith alone might not have been shared by james, peter, or jude;

3. i said that inerrancy and verbal inspiration are peripheral doctrines."

"nevertheless, it grieves me that some are so quick to condemn without understanding., that not one person reading (or writing) on the blogsite contacted me directly for clarification, and that most formed their judgments without reading what i had written in context."

"in conclusion, people obviously have the right to disagree with me. i'm glad that they do! but it strikes me as a gross caricature to insinuate that i am a heretic, a wolf in evangelical clothing, because the way i construct my theological convictions is different from theirs."

now....i'm not sure where i stand on the line between full-blown evangelicalism and the ultra-conservatism of dallas theological sem., but i think i might be getting beyond both. ken thinks we're pretty post-evangelical-so what does that make me? who knows...doesn't matter, but i sure wish we didn't come across as heretics either. it feels almost as if our place on the line is more dangerous than either side. finally, the conservatives and fundys may have a finally they can stop focusing on each other for awhile and begin to look for a new wolf. lucky us.

i want to give grace. i want to understand. i want to stop getting my feelings hurt and i want to be patient. i want to love and christ asks me to...and as humanity asks me to. i want to give others something that perhaps i haven't been given myself...and perhaps no one else is willing to try. i want to speak all church languages without condemnation or judgment. and most importantly...i want to be me. i want to hold on to all my convictions while still practicing differentiation and the discipline of mental models that ken's coaching me through. i want to hold my convictions out in my hand loosely without emotional attachment and truly evaluate all these beliefs i have. in the end...i don't know anything and it wierds me out when people are so completely confident-especially in their doctrinal beliefs. who knows...i'm just a little girl after all.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

bloc party

turning away from the light

becoming adult

turning into myself
i got to see these guys with two of my friends-ryan & rodney.
it was a total blast.

the birthday fiasco

"death is the only adventure you have left"

-captain james s. hook

i've been thinking a lot about peter pan lately. sometimes i feel like one of the lost boys that doesn't want to grow up.

i think this weekend forced me to begin the journey out of neverland.

ever since i've been little my mom has always made holidays special. no matter which one it is we always end up getting a little something. i think she may be one of the few women out there that can make a big deal out of st. patricks day, halloween or thanksgiving. (is it normal to get presents on those days? i'm still not sure) so this year when i found out that 5 of my closest friends had birthdays in the same week i was really excited! it was like a whole week of celebration and i was happy to help plan it all...i had almost even forgotten my own birthday was approaching.

the week was rolling along fine until i got to one of my best friend's birthdays. i guess you could say that he hadn't had too many memorable birthdays in the past and i wanted this one to be at least a little fun. well, it didn't turn out exactly as planned but that's just how things go, right?

this is the first year that i really didn't get to celebrate my birthday the way i wanted to on my actual birth date. not only that, but it felt as if i had way too many groups of people to celebrate it with. in the end, i felt too stressed and too responsible to even celebrate. i just wanted to crawl into bed and wait for it to all end.

sometimes life doesn't go as we'd exactly like it to. sometimes we have to grow up and actually work on our birthdays (this is still shocking to me). i suppose in the end, i'm not really ready to be a grown up. i just wanna be a toys-r-us kid.

i think that layered on top of all my selfishness is the realization that i'm getting older. now...hear me out those of you that are laughing at my complete naiveness. i have so many friends getting married this summer or graduating. some are even having kids or getting divorces whereas i'm still feeling like a 10 year old girl. when did everyone else my age decide it was time to grow up and why didn't i get that memo?

in the end, i don't want to be old. i don't want all of these grown up responsibilities. i look forward to the possibilites but yet i'm still running. i'm caught in that 'in-between place' of not being a complete adult nor a complete child. i'm a young adult (with a large emphasis on the young).

i suppose there's a compromise that i'll discover, and hopefully i'm ready for it.

"oh, no. to live... to live would be an awfully big adventure"

- peter pan

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

not waving, but drowning

sometimes the strength that we humans can contain amazes me.

only once in my life did i feel as if the whole world was crumbling around me and i was suffocating...only once. it was one of the hardest experiences in my life and i'm still not very clear on all the details of what happened, but i came out of it...obviously.

lately it seems that everyone but me is drowning. one of my mentors and best friends is going through a ridiculously trying time. through the past few weeks i have seen a strength in him that makes me smile. as each blow comes he continues to get right back up...i almost want to knock him down so he'll simply stay put until the storm blows through. perhaps it would be safer on the ground than in the pathway of such destruction. regardless of what i think, he has shown such a grace through it all. he and his wife are trying desperately to stay afloat and my mouth gapes as i'm revealed more of their recent story. instead of screaming out at the unfairness of it all, they're taking it all in perfect stride.

my other friend-who i would also consider a vital mentor-just got done helping her friend bury a relative. its scary because i know if i continue to go down this path as a pastor i too will one day perform a funeral. my friend continued to be accessible to her mourning friend and worked with her recently married ex-husband through it all. talk about finesse.

and another, who had the guts to get up and move his entire world out to texas. he decided that the hand he had been dealt simply wasn't good enough or wasn't for him. we've had several discussions about his past and most of it makes me want to punch somebody. (i promise i'm trying to learn grace and humility...promise) i guess it's just hard for me to give grace to people that continue to perpetuate the sickness that i feel is in the church. i was there once though, and so they deserve as much grace as i was given. i'm just glad that he's here journeying with us and that this huge change in his life is worth it. i think we're worth it.

and another, who is digging deep inside himself to begin a pilgrimage toward healthiness. he's hoping that there's a place of freedom from all his brokenness and i hope harder than i ever have that he's right. i want so desperately for him to be happy and fulfilled and it's so difficult for me to sit by and watch him go through this. i know it's worth it, but i can only relate with his experience to a certain extent. talk about frustrating. both of these boys i've just mentioned are doing all of this independently from the means of their parents-not something i can even fathom doing-so i'm completely blown away at their constant diligence.

there are more stories that i'm sure i could write about of people around me that amaze me. i know that one day i'll be the one reaching my hand out of the water as my lungs fill with water and hoping like hell that someone can pull me out, but until that day i'll pray that i can be used in aiding those around me.

WOOO!!! YAh!!! I got into Juli's blog!!

Rodzilla da killa here. Just wanted to mess up Juli's blog!! WOO!!! CAlifornia baby! Don't mess with Texas!

i've used my lungs

for everything

but breathing.


Dr. Perry Lyman: That's 'cause we all wanna be problemless. To fix ourselves. We look for some magic solution to make us all better, but none of us really know what we're doing. And why is that so bad? That's all we humans can do. Guess. Try. Hope. But, Justin, just pray you don't fool yourself into thinking you've got the answer. Because that's bullshit. The trick is living without an answer...I think.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

visit the pain

i got a new tattoo the other night. i had just gotten my wisdom teeth out and i decided that any pain was better than the one in my mouth. for some reason, the crazy medicine they gave me simply didn't agree with my body, and for a few days i was throwing up blood and fainting. my moms a trooper though and she kept me alive, but i gotta tell ya...i was way not cute. so my friend kevin and i decided we should finally go ahead and get these tattoos we'd be talking about getting all summer. i'm proud of him. he took the pain like a champ.

so everyone's asking me why i put 'hope'. mostly just because i think it's a pretty word and it looks cute...but there's always more than that. i got it because i think that out of all the words and passages and ideas that the bible conveys this is the one that remains with me the most.

i have issues with memorizing bible verses. i don't know why and i don't know if my feelings toward the activity will change, but at present i just plain don't like it. i don't want to be one of those kids who wakes up every morning and repeats a verse in my head so many times that all that remains is repetition. i want to know what's in the bible and where i can find it, but i don't want to turn it into a chore. who knows...maybe that's silly. i do have a favorite passage though and it's kinda why i got the tatt...

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.

i like it.

there's a lot to unpack with that verse and much of it i'm still debating on in my little juli mind. i have had many conversations lately on this idea of joy vs. suffering. i'm not really ready to blog about it yet, but i will. i just know that no matter what experiences i should expect to go through as i 'align with christ' and 'die to self', hope still remains. i don't care if there can be suffering without joy or joy without long as i have hope. that's all i need...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

'not ready to make nice'