This is just to say

 

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This is just to say
I wasted almost every minute
of the last 24 hours.

Dishes languished in the sink.
Purchases went unreturned.
The laundry has over-run the basket.

You see, I downloaded 9 episodes
of Downton Abbey.
And I simply couldn’t stop
until I knew what happened
to Anna and Mr. Bates.

My condolences to the dishes.

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This is just to say

I know I should
have gone
to church
this morning.

But instead
I talked an hour
on the phone
with my darling friend.

I chatted
over sushi
and read
and ran.

I’ll dare to say
it helped
my soul more
than a sermon.

I guess this is
where I’m supposed
to say I’m sorry,
but I’m not.

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This is just to say

I have found myself
a bit disillusioned,
though just a bit.

But tonight,
I looked up from
the concrete

and saw the pale
yellow light
of a quiet,
setting sun
break through
the clouds
and reflect
off the pavement,
smiling back at itself.

I guess this is
just to say
thank you.
And forgive me.

I know not
how to live
this life
so gracefully.

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How to Find a New Church in 10 Weeks

The other day, Rachel Held Evans wrote a insightful and intelligent post about ambition and women and the “Top 200 Church Blogs“. You should read it. I’ll wait.

Near the end of point 5, I came across this line: “Do more “list” posts. Do more “how to” posts.” According to indomitable Rachel Held Evans, this is what the internet desires.

So, internet, is this true? Do you like How-To Lists? Well, I’m here to give the people what they want.

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How To (Not) Find A New Church in 10 Weeks:

Week 1: Sleep in. Moving is exhausting. Wake up late and make muffins. Read backlogs of Rachel’s blog and unpack most of your boxes* instead.

*Be sure to leave at least one box, in the corner, packed. Make it your nemesis. Add it to the top of every to-do list. Wake up every day with the determination to finish unpacking it. Glare at it every night as you crawl into bed. Leave it there for at least six months until you finally decide to donate it to charity since you obviously don’t need it.

Week 2: Set your alarm early. Be determined. But wake up late anyway and decide that if you can’t do your hair properly, you shouldn’t go. First impressions and appearances are very important in church hunting.

Week 3: Since you bought a new dress, this is a good week to try out your first church. Go to the big one, since it’s the only one you’ve heard of. But don’t go to class. Too much community all at once can be overwhelming. Plus it’s probably boring and you really want to like them. Make sure you stop by the visitor’s stand. They’ll usually give you free bread, and since it’s made by church ladies, it’s probably good.

Week 4: Last week was hard, and you deserve a week off. Sleep in again. On Monday, download your preacher’s sermon from your last church. Be sure to do this at work, so that there a plenty of people to see you cry when you realize how much you miss them.*

* Don’t really cry at work. You will be accused of emotional instability and no one will invite you to parties.

Week 5: Revisit the first church again. Even though it didn’t really fit, you don’t know where else to go. Plus, maybe it will be better this week. Optimism. Optimism. Optimism.

Week 6: Screw Optimism. Get upset about all the little things you don’t like, especially when they “make-up” a wonky second verse to your favorite song. This will hide the fact that you feel a deep theological rift with the people around you. Scribble furious notes about injustice and cynicism and egalitarianism. Don’t let anyone see them. Smile a lot. Hope it gets better.

Week 7: Do not under any circumstances try a different church. You filled out a visitor’s card; this practically makes you your fiance an elder. Go to class. Make sure you come in prepared to be offended.* Get frustrated. Write a blog about how frustrated you are.

*Later that week, read this beautiful post by Sarah Bessey. Feel very convicted.

Week 8: Give up on church. Go to Olive Garden and decide to start a house church with your fiance and another friend. Tell the only man that he will obviously have to be the minister, song leader, communion distributor, teacher, and prayer. Get “mad” when he “won’t let you” be an elder. Have a church split within the first half hour. Start your own church-of-one where you can be right. Community as God intended it.

Week 9: After realizing that a church-of-one is very lonely (and also not very biblical), try out a “young couples small group”. Wonder why young couples aren’t allowed to be in a “small group” with single people…or old people…or teenagers. Be late because you’re scared of being early*. In a discussion of Old Testament “parables” mention that many scholars believe the book of Jonah may be a Hebrew parable. You will be met with silence before the leader changes the subject. Say very little else in the discussion.

 *also because you’re bad with directions

Week 10: Go out of town, so you don’t have to decide what to do next. Listen to old summit lectures and sermon podcasts. Read lots of blogs by Christian authors who make you feel less alone. Micha Boyett, Richard Beck, and Addie Zierman are all good. Have arguments with yourself about how much you need to agree with a church’s theology in order to worship with them. Pray a lot.

See? It’s easy. Just ten weeks to a new church home. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

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My How-To background: In 3rd grade we went through a How-To writing section. We were each asked to pick an everyday process, and write step-by-step instructions. I chose baking chocolate chip cookies. Also known as a recipe. But Mrs. Hasson let it slide. I credit Mrs. Hasson with this blog post accordingly.