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Tag: guest post

Why Christians could use a little adventure (Her.meneutics)

If you stopped by from Her.meneutics, welcome!

I already started my day with an adventure: I was awakened before 4:30 a.m. by banging on our front window. This went on for a while before I sent my brave and gracious husband to go make sure it wasn’t the sexual assaulter who’s been roaming the neighborhood (and also reportedly caught, but, at 4:30 a.m., who really can be sure about these things?). It wasn’t. It was somebody named Marisol, who wanted to know if “Michael who lives upstairs” was there. This was strange, since Michael Who Lives Upstairs ostensibly lives upstairs. But she very much wanted us to let him know she stopped by.

I left a note for Michael Who Lives Upstairs inside the front door to our apartment building, letting him know Marisol was here, and I really would like to hear this story. I hope he comes and shares it with me.

Then I thought, since I already was up, I’d be a real “Proverbs 31 Woman” and read today’s Proverbs 31 devotional on Women Living Well “while it is still dark.” (That’s Proverbs 31:15— see what I’ve learned from this study?) Instead, there was a note “Unglued” by Lisa TerKeurst is out today. So I clicked through to the “Unglued” website, which is where I ran into this:

“If this is the worst thing that happens to me today, it’s still a pretty good day.”

Lysa has a pretty great Agent, if He’s all but sending people to my front door, waking me up and telling me I ought to read her book. I downloaded the audiobook. That’s how I “read” her last book, “Made to Crave,” and it was a pretty great pep talk on my hours-long commute to work each day (read my review here on Lean Girls Club). The first time through, it inspired me to spend more time exercising and thinking about what I eat. The second time, at the start of the year, it inspired me to spend more time alone with God. In short, it inspired this whole blogging-freelancing adventure.

So there you have it: adventure. You can read more about adventure, rightly considered, in my post today for Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics blog. If you live in the Chicago area, you also can buy a wedding dress with a pretty good story — on Craigslist, naturally.

An adventure doesn’t have to mean sneaking onto a set or sending your husband up a tree with a spear or getting banned for life from Disneyland and somewhat inadvertently faking a doctorate degree like the guy who wrote his own obituary this week in The Salt Lake Tribune.

“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered. An inconvenience is only an adventure wrongly considered,” G.K.Chesterton writes in On Running after One’s Hat, as London was flooding and his Battersea neighborhood was “particularly favoured as a meeting of the waters.”

The author was in the country at the time, and imagined his neighborhood as a “vision of Venice,” or, as “perfectly poetical” as an island. He imagined running after one’s hat in the wind was no more inconvenient than running after a ball during a game or pulling on a jammed drawer; no more tiresome than tug-of-war or pulling a lifeboat from the sea.

In this way, every day is an opportunity for adventure. Every day is an opportunity to hear the sometimes inaudible voice of God: To know Him better, to discern his will.

For the rest of the story, read Why Christians could use a little adventure (Her.meneutics).

To see (or buy!) the wedding dress that started it all, read my posting on Craigslist, Elegant wedding dress (with a story!) — $200.

Also, congratulations, Obehi Janice! Random.org has picked you as the winner of my first-ever giveaway! I’ll be in touch soon to get you my review copy of “Stress Point” by Sarah Francis Martin. To purchase “Stress Point,” if you didn’t win, visit Sarah’s website.

Linking up with:

Beholding Glory

Photo credit: The front page today of Her.meneutics. Unglued.


Pre Engagement Question #5 – Can you talk about marriage? (Guest Post on Devotional Diva)

If you popped over from Devotional Diva, welcome!

This past year, Renee Johnson Fisher and I have bonded, from halfway across the country, over writing for Start Marriage Right, getting married about six months apart and having conniptions over Debi Pearl’s book “Created To Be His Helpmeet.” So when she asked me to write a guest post for her blog, where you may know her best as the “Devotional Diva,” I jumped at the chance. When she asked me to write about pre-engagement questions, though, I thought I might have to jump ship. Joel and I didn’t ask a lot of questions pre-engagement, which you can read more about in the post.

Then my friend Shannon, with whom I also have bonded this past year over writing for Start Marriage Right, pointed me to this video by Francis Chan (embedded at the end of the post). And I’m pretty sure a light bulb visibly appeared over my head as I was listening to it: The most important questions weren’t the ones Joel and I hadn’t asked each other. It was the one we had asked ourselves — and God. It was, as Chan said whether we could “do this better, if you can please God better and reflect Him better … as a married person.”

If you read anything I ever have or ever will write about marriage, I hope it’s this post. Because this is what I want you to know: There’s something bigger. It’s not about you or him or the ring or the dress or wedding or your special and wonderful and incredible love story. It’s about God.

Our pastor asked my now-husband and I an important question at our first premarital counseling session.

“When did you first start to talk about marriage?”

And, we answered honestly, we really hadn’t talked about marriage in the two years we had dated until Joel gave me a ring.

Not unless you count the time he asked, hypothetically and completely without context, how many kids I wanted to have someday. Or the time he asked, generally, what kind of “jewelry” I liked.

Of course, we hadn’t talked about dating until after we had been friends more than a year and he snuck his hand across the couch to mine and said he thought we should go on a date. (I said I thought it was about time.)

This is not generally what pastors like to hear, I take it.

For the rest of the story, read Pre Engagement Question #5 – Can you talk about marriage? (Guest Post on Devotional Diva).

Read all posts in Renee Johnson Fisher’s “Pre Engagement Questions” series here. (Also, sign up for her email newsletter for a free download of her new eBook, also titled “Pre Engagement Questions.”)

Photo credit: Thrive Photography, Renee Johnson Fisher.

Zoning dispute or religious discrimination? (RELEVANT)

If you popped over from RELEVANT, welcome!

So it was clear from my first piece for RELEVANT, “10 Summer Date Ideas,” I am one serious, hard-hitting investigative journalist. (Ha ha NOT. But Senior Web Editor Tyler Huckabee went to college with my husband and our paths crossed all too briefly in Chicago at the point when I just had landed a full-time gig in journalism. If you’re not already following Tyler on every | social | network, you really should be. He’s cleverer than you or I can ever hope to be. He’s like a velociraptor that way.) That’s why the good folks at the magazine/website contacted me again last week when that pastor in Arizona was jailed for holding a Bible study in his home. Or for his refusal to get the correct permits for the ostensible church he built on his property. I tried to pull together everything you’ll need to decide that for yourself.

I’m interested to hear your opinion: Is this a simple zoning dispute or religious discrimination? And if you have any ideas for future hard newsy-sort of articles you would like to read on RELEVANT, let me know.

The video, posted on YouTube in June 2009, shows seven police officers swaggering up the driveway, all bulletproof vests and weapons and search warrant in hand. They’re followed by what we are told is about 10 officials from the city of Phoenix.

Parts two and three of “Pastor Michael Salman Home Raided By Police” since have been removed from the video-sharing website “due to civil litigations against the city,” according to a note posted below part one.

But the narrator, identified as Salman, explains what happened next: “They were coming to our home because they received a complaint from a neighbor … stating we were having church services at our house.”

“What law are we breaking? The law of gathering? The law of religious expression? Is that the law we’re breaking? We’re in America,” he said.

That video by Salman, who posts as harvest777123, has been viewed more than 3,200 times, and the flurry of videos he and his wife Suzanne have posted to the site in the last three weeks, between 10,000 and 49,000 each.

That’s when the Arizona man was sentenced to 60 days in jail “for worshipping on his property,” according to the Salmans’ videos and “Jailed for Home Worship” Facebook page. He reported to jail last Monday.

The law Salman is breaking is not one of religious expression, according to the city of Phoenix.

Since then, news outlets like FOX News and pretty much everybody on the Internet all have jumped on the story of the Arizona pastor jailed for having a Bible study in his home.

But the law Salman is breaking is not one of religious expression, according to the city of Phoenix.

“It’s the building and fire codes,” said Derek Horn, the city’s assistant planning and development director.

“The city has really tried to work with him on this. It’s given him ample time. It’s had different meetings to try to work through this with him. But basically the building does not comply.”

For the rest of the story, read Zoning dispute or religious discrimination? (RELEVANT).

Photo credit: RELEVANT.

10 Summer Date Ideas (RELEVANT)

If you popped over from RELEVANT, welcome! I always have wanted to write for RELEVANT, ever since my church in college was featured in the magazine and passed out copies after the evening service. I discovered the music of Eisley and Sufjan Stevens in its pages, and more recently have been challenged (and relieved) by articles on its website, like “Who Submits To Whom?” and “Beauty vs. Sexuality” and my favorite author Lauren Winner’s reflection on “Why I Am (Still) A Christian.”

And while “date ideas” isn’t really my sphere of expertise (hence the “list of 10 magical, memorable and maniacal summer date ideas,” according to @RELEVANT), I jumped at the opportunity when Stephanie Smith contacted me and suggested the topic.

Special thanks to my husband, who I think has taken me on every one of these dates, except maybe mini golf and trivia night. And if you have any ideas for future articles you would like to read on RELEVANT, let me know.

“That sounds awesome.”

Recently at a summer bonfire, I overhead the tail end of a conversation between my husband and his friends as Joel evidently described our first date. Joining them mid-conversation, I wasn’t sure what part of the date it was that sounded so awesome.

My first guess, because this was a group of guys, was the part where Joel and I had carved a Jack-O-Lantern, jabbed a bunch of sparklers into its mouth and ended our first date holding hands and watching it burn on my back porch. But no, he hadn’t made it to that part of the story yet.

This left the parts of our first date where we browsed records at an antique store for a friend’s birthday, wandered around some random neighborhood looking for a bookstore Joel had been to once (I love nothing so much as a bookstore), caught a movie at an independent theater and ate Korean barbecue.

All of this sounded awesome, the guys said, because our first date sounded like one big adventure. And it was.

So for the adventurous among you, here are a 10 summer date ideas for you to try.

For the rest of the story, read 10 Summer Date Ideas (RELEVANT).

Photo credit: My first article on the RELEVANT website!