Wednesday, July 21, 2010

july discussion preview.

Here are some questions to ponder before next Tuesday's chat, scheduled for 4:00 p.m. EST.  Feel free to add your own thoughts in the comments!

-Acts 4: 32-35: The passage about the believers being together and having everything in common, being of one heart and soul. What do you think that means?

-Where did the idea of community come from? Is that word even mentioned in Scripture? Is it the same as Christian brotherhood? Fellowship?

-In living in community with other Christians, we must be mindful of things that might cause our brothers to stumble (1 Co. 8:13, Romans 14). How was this played out in your lives?

-We are all a part of the body of Christ, each of us with a part that is a "manifestation of the Spirit for the common good," acc. to 1 Co. 12. Have you ever struggled to feel a part of the body? Do you feel confident in what role you play?

- Monastic/convent life versus what Bonhoeffer calls a "life not in the seclusion of a cloistered life, but in the thick of foes."

- Do you think often about how visible fellowship is a grace not enjoyed by believers everywhere? Does that change the way you think of it?

-Have you ever lived apart from Christian community? What was it like? Did you long for other believers the way that Paul did in his letters from prison (1 Thess. 3:10)?

- What do you think about Bonhoeffer's statement that "God has put His Word into the mouths of men in order that it may be communicated to other men"? Or the Rob Bell idea that worship is simply a place to gather and remind each other of the truth?

-What's the difference between Christian brotherhood and the extraordinary social experience that some perceive as being it?

- Despite the fact that “fellowship” has long been a mantra sung by churches across the country, the concept of “community” seems to be a fairly recent phenomenon touted in Christian circles. Why the recent increase in attention?

- How do our ideas of Christian community mesh with the ideas in Scripture of living in the world, yet not of the world?

- Does modern Christian community look anything like the Acts church? Can it?

- In what way does where we attend church impact our definitions of community? For example, is a “home church” a more accurate representation of the first century model, or can a mega church promote ideas of community as well?

- Is the blessing of community attractive to nonbelievers? Why or why not?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

chew* episode 4

Hooray! Our latest chew* discussion is finally up and running, and aside from the standard technical difficulties, I'm thrilled with the result. I got the impression that domesticity and the gospel is a subject we could all talk about for hours, and our brief discussion already has me thinking that we may need a part two. Below are some main points from last night's chat: 

- Despite the fact that some of us our single, some of us are married, and one of us is a happy mom to one, we all could agree that domesticity boils down to being free. Domestication, for all of us, implied being forced into something, but domesticity allows us the freedom to experience the work of our hands, to choose and to utilize our many different gifts. It's being comfortable with who we are and making others comfortable in our presence (at home and otherwise). 

- As one of our readers pointed out, domesticity is our way of mimicking the Creator. We were created to be creators, and, as Lindsey mentioned, we were also created to be servants. Genesis 2:18 describes women as help-meets, the same Hebrew term given to our Creator.

- Although domesticity has the connotation of women only, we're all called to be servant-minded. Just as Christ washed His disciples' feet, men, too, were created for lives of service.

- Just as we have spiritual gifts, we also have domestic gifts. Some of us are great cooks or bakers or decorators; some of us garden, others create. (See I Corinthians 12:14-18, MSG.)

- "Intentional is not perfect," said Lauren Winner. "We are not just meant to invite people into our homes, but into our lives."

- Domesticity can be--and perhaps should be--communal. We can learn so much from the women around us, but we also have to be careful of not falling into the trap that tends to befall us all: insecurity. We need to find relationships with others that help us balance and strengthen our own gifts.

- Perhaps part of the misconception with domesticity comes from the pendulum of feminism swinging too far one way or the other. The true beauty of feminism is that we can choose: mothers and wives, workers and creators.

- While all of us currently find work outside the home, there is a beauty and an adventure to be had inside the home (perhaps contrary to the more modern view that the domestic arts are mundane). Consider this G.K. Chesterton quote: "But of all the modern notions generated by mere wealth the worst is this: the notion that domesticity is dull and tame. Inside the home (they say) is dead decorum and routine; outside is adventure and variety.... For the truth is, that [...] the home is the only place of liberty. Nay, it is the only place of anarchy. It is the only spot on the earth where a man can alter arrangements suddenly, make an experiment or indulge in a whim."

Clearly we had a lot to say. Here are some links to things we referenced in this episode:

- G.K. Chesterton's What's Wrong with the World

- The Button Club blog and book

- Edith Schaeffer's The Hidden Art of Homemaking

- Lauren Winner's Mudhouse Sabbath

- Jane Brocket's The Gentle Art of Domesticity

And we close with a little bit of the girls. Is there anything better than a conversation that ends with a Gilmore Girls reference?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

may discussion preview.

Here are some questions to think about/ponder before next Tuesday's discussion. How does 7:00 EST work for everyone?

-How do you define (and view) domesticity? How does it differ from domestication?

-Going back to our discussion on simple intentional living, how do we balance that with hard work and productivity?

-How do we reconcile the Proverbs 31 woman with the fact that all women may not be cut out for the same tasks?

-What does feminism (particularly the most recent wave) have to say about homemaking?

-What (if any) delight do you take in cooking, crafting, sewing, knitting, gardening, and/or any combination of the "gentle domestic arts"? Why/why not?

-The discussion of these things often leads to feelings of comparison and inadequacy, as women naturally tend towards measuring themselves up to the successes/failures of other women. How can we give ourselves and others more grace in that?

- A question from a precious book, The Gentle Art of Domesticity, by Jane Brockett: What do we lose if we no longer value these skills and arts? What is their true value beyond their usefulness and visual pleasure of the end product?

-What do you think of finding community in these things through blogs and books?

- Is domesticity strictly a calling of the women of God, or is it something we're all called to do (in one form or another) as Christians? Could men benefit from some domesticity?

- What role does food play in the gospel message and in Scripture? Are we missing something when we fail to find the joy in cooking and eating together? Does God care about fast food vs. the slow food movement?

- When did attitudes about domesticity change? Is there a difference in how you see domesticity, how your mother views it, and how your grandmother views it? What direction is domesticity headed?

- If single, how do you balance caring for your community and also figure out how to live in the gospel while living alone? For example, what if a woman cannot seem to keep her house clean or cook for herself every meal, but her job includes caring for the poor and making sure they have enough food. Even though that is not in her own home, is it still "domestic"? When what God has given you is simple and lonely, how do you make it beautiful and life-giving to others?

Also consider these books: Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot and The Hidden Art of Homemaking by Edith Schaeffer.

If you have any other thoughts/questions to offer up for discussion, feel free to post here!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

It would be easier if there were questions. Instead, I will just ramble.

Hello! I'm Kari. I come from the great state of North Carolina, home of barbecue (always a noun, never a verb) and college basketball. I need for you to know how much I love where I live, so I am going to tell you a bit of a story. In Will Blythe’s sublime book about the UNC/Duke basketball rivalry, To Hate Like This is to Be Happy Forever, he talks about how his father wooed his mother by showing her the beauty of our fair state. And then he says, “He presented my mother with his love for North Carolina as if he were giving her a diamond necklace that would always remind her of him, which, in fact, it would, it did.” I like to think that I have shared that same love of my state with my husband, a transplant from Long Island by way of South Carolina. I am not one to have the travel bug, but I do like to visit and see new places. North Carolina, though, is my home that I feel in my bones. Also, the correct answer to the basketball question is always UNC.

When I went to college, I wanted to work in the Christian music industry. People who know me now would find that shocking, since it’s been years since I listened to CCM. I studied marketing and worked in a Christian bookstore and got very jaded about the system. In my last year of college, I commenced freaking out because I realized that I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. As I thought about the things that I value the most, books and information kept coming to the top of the list. And so I became a librarian. Yes, there were some things that happened in between, notably a master’s degree, but I haven’t looked back. I spent some time working in the public library, but these days I work as a librarian in a middle school. It is as wonderful and terrifying as you might guess. One of my favorite things about working in a middle school is that I can say it and big burly mechanically-minded men look intimidated by me. For the record, I am 5’2”.

I grew up in churches that tended to be more Charismatic, but now I attend an American Baptist church and take refuge in the space and time and grounding that the liturgy offers me. I believe in a God who knows and sees more than we do, and who is so good at taking our bad things and turning them into good ones that we don’t even realize he’s doing it most of the time. I no longer believe in the sort of God who is trying to Teach Me A Lesson. I try to believe in one who walks with me through the difficult things. And I do believe that, but I struggle with it, too. I believe it more for you than I do for me. I’m a work in progress, is what I am saying. I believe in the power of the stories we live and tell and share to change our lives.

I have been married since 2000 and have a large rabbit named Big Bunny. Some of my favorite things include excellent café au lait, Jane Austen, strawberry shortcake, that moment when a book just hooks you, swingsets, “Jabberwocky” by Lewis Carroll, my husband’s crème brulee, lazy summer afternoons lounging by the pool, and any and all Mexican food. Also, I have the greatest recipe you’ll ever need for pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. I will be glad to share it with you.

A little about me.

Wow, I have loved reading all the bios and how we are all connected through Annie, and how each of us is dealing with transitions in our lives.

My name is Jennifer, or Jenn. I am a sleep-deprived, gloriously happy wife of almost 10 years to the newly Dr. Todd Brenneman and the mom to the cutest little girl in the world, Chloe Elizabeth.

We moved from Tallahassee last December when Todd graduated from FSU and currently we are living in Oklahoma while he searches for a teaching position. I am a RN for a home care agency and I do quality management and get to work from home. Gotta love that!! My hobbies are singing, card making, scrapbooking, and decorating cakes.

I was raised in the church and have known the Lord for a long time but in the last year I have really grown to be in love with the Lord and am striving for a deeper understanding of Him. I have been in the deep, dark pit of infertility and wept and cried out to my God. He is always faithful and always in control. His ways are infinitely better than any I could come up with. In September of 2008 the Lord blessed us with Chloe. She was born on my birthday and I was there for her birth. To me this is an example of my cup being empty and then not just filled by the Lord but filled to overflowing.

Motherhood has changed my perspective on many things. I am honored and awed at the responsibility bestowed on me to raise this little human in the best way possible, to mold her and shape her and raise her in the love of our Lord. I look at her and think, how can I teach her to have a deep love for the Lord if I don’t model it for her. It makes me want to be a better Christian so I can teach her how to be a Christian.

I am really looking forward to our time together and getting to know each of you better.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

may chew* preview: domesticity & the gospel

Hello friends!

It's been a while since our last chat, but with everyone back stateside, we're shooting for a May conversation. The topic? Domesticity and the gospel.

We plan to discuss the role that cooking, gardening, cleaning, and creating play in our position as God's children. We'll be posting our own questions and thoughts here in the coming weeks, but we'd love to hear what you have to say.

Post your thoughts in the comments below, and we'll tackle some of your ideas in our discussion.

May's conversation will be recorded on May 18, so have your comments in before then!

Interested in joining the conversation? We're looking for a fifth chew* contributor.
Find out more here.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

chew* episode 3

Whew! After more technical difficulties than I care to count, our third chew* episode is ready to go! This episode can be listened to in five parts. Don't worry; our entire conversation was still about an hour. You can just listen to the chat in shorter "chunks" of information this time.

The three of us (Lindsey's still enjoying London!) shared our thoughts on good storytelling (inspired by Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years) and how God is pushing us toward making great stories out of our lives. Some highlights:

- How we choose to handle the conflict in our lives plays a big part in what our story looks like and how it begins to unfold.

- Comfort can stop us from living bigger, better stories. By choosing to stretch ourselves, we give God the ability and opportunity to write incredible twists and turns into the plot of our lives.

- Our stories might not be about us. What's going on in my story might be for the benefit of someone else's story.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on what it means to make our lives stories worth reading. Feel free to weigh in through the comments section, or email Annie at anniesbutterworth [dot] gmail [dot] com.