A Reasonable Life

Hello, all you beautiful people who bizarrely have never dropped your subscriptions in the last two years of silence here. Beginning today I will be writing a weekly post for The Samizdat. For the time being I will continue to post links here to those weekly posts, but I encourage everyone to subscribe to The Samizdat. Today’s piece is about life after faith. Check it out!

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The second best writing advice I’ve ever read

Hey there. I’m still writing, I promise. I can prove it to you if you head on over the The Samizdat and read my newest piece.

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So I’m still writing, just…not here so much

Come on over to The Samizdat and check out my list of 18 things I want my daughter to know. While you’re there check the place out. We have some crazy talented contributors.

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Parole, silence, and cool Russian words

Things have been silent here. There have been reasons, and none of them have to do with writing, unfortunately. They are likely to stay silent here a little while longer.

In the meantime, you can read my first article at The Samizdat, an online journal a friend of mine started and asked me to write for every few weeks. While you’re there, click around and learn about the journal. It’s a kick ass idea.

No teenager believes he’ll stay in his hometown if it’s a small one. We all think we’ll get out, like deluded parole candidates. Our fellow inmates don’t have the heart to tell us the truth because they need to believe the same lies. Some of us get out for a time and later find ourselves back where we started, like salmon or Sisyphus. I made my escape to a college five states away. I came back. So it goes.

Click here to read the rest.

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On community: food for thought (guest post by Erin Compton)

I’m honored to have the inimitable Erin Compton writing for me today. Erin’s blog showcases her brave and astute writing about a variety of topics, from depression to the loss of the sacred feminine in modern Christianity to struggling to connect with a church. Check out her site after you read her post below on the healing power of breaking bread together.

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I am a firm believer in the power of food, and I’m pretty sure Jesus was too.

I sincerely believe something spiritual happens when you share a meal with someone, a bond is created in the mutual filling of bellies that for some reason cannot be replicated as effectively over such a short period of time. It is part of the reason that I fully support any Eucharist that is accompanied by an actual feast rather than just a bit of cracker and a sip of grape derived beverage.

In my experience with intentional communities and home churches, food was central. Creating the meal that we would share together was a huge part of our gathering, from deciding what we would make, to figuring out who would bring what ingredients to actually preparing the meal together, the opening of all our Sunday gatherings revolved around food.

Creating a meal together involved a certain amount of contribution and cooperation. It was a solid activity that reminded us in a physical way that we relied on each other for a basic need, to fill our hunger at the very least. Everyone became aware of one another’s basic dietary allergies, likes and dislikes and cared for one another by providing something everyone could eat. Even if we gathered with low blood sugar and nasty tempers as a result, by the time all our plates had been cleared we were in a better mindset to discuss scripture, to disagree amicably, and to support one another.

So naturally when I think about what community means within the church, the faith, the followers of Jesus, I think about food. One of my friends recently shared this quote with me that has been accredited to another spiritual guidepost, the Buddha: “If you knew what I know about the power of giving, you would not let a single meal pass without sharing it in some way.” Speaking from experience, it is very hard to stay irritated with someone you’ve shared food with. I’m aware it happens from time to time, but I also know that sharing food with people I have been in conflict with has been incredibly healing.

I think there is a reason that Jesus’ final goodbyes were said over a meal, I think there is a purpose to loaves and fishes and dining with drunkards, prostitutes and tax collectors, and I think it has something to do with the fact that God knows that our stomachs are intrinsically connected our hearts.

Be blessed, (and fed!).

Posted in Faith, Friendship, Guest Posts, Intentional Community | 2 Comments

Friday Five: Musical loves I owe to my friend Honey

My friend Honey turns a year older tomorrow. In my teens she introduced me to some of the musical artists who have spoken to and for me so, so many times in my life. Happy birthday, Honey. The world’s better with you in it.

As always, these are not in any intentional order.

1. The Smiths – As evidenced here, The Smiths are my go to when I feel crummy and need a band who understands. No one gets angst, insecurity, relational fear and existential dread like Morrissey. And if you have 5 second to spare, I can tell you the story of my life: Sixteen, clumsy and shy – that’s the story of my life.

2. The Cure – If Edgar Allen Poe were still alive, Robert Smith would be his favorite songwriter. He’s androgynous and fucked up and beautiful and he just positively bleeds in his lyrics. Campy at times? Sure. But he makes campy as classy as it gets. Don’t wake at night to watch her sleep, you know that you will always lose this trembling adored tousled bird mad girl.

3. Echo and the Bunnymen – I have to confess, this is the artist I’m least familiar with and attached to on this list. I love their sound, but they’ve never quite cracked the Cure/Smiths/Depeche Mode group in my head. Still, there are times when they’re exactly what I want to listen to.

4. Suzanne Vega – Vega’s Solitude Standing album easily makes my top ten albums of all time list. Her music if haunting and her lyrics cut deep. I won’t use words again. They don’t mean what I meant. They don’t say what I said.

5. Depeche Mode/Martin Gore – I don’t know that the 80s saw a better rock lyricist than Martin Gore. Their music is fantastic, but I don’t know if I could take it as seriously without his at times pitch perfect words over top of it. I don’t want to start any blasphemous rumours, but I think that god’s got a sick sense of humor, and when I die I expect to find him laughing.

Posted in Music, Pop Culture, Top Tuesdays / Friday Five | 3 Comments

The fits hits the Shan #9: homesick for their light

There are stars sewn under my skin.  I used to keep them in my pockets, but they fell out too easily; I lost them in tall grass and bounding up stairs. Once I climbed a tree over a creek in the middle of nowhere and hanging upside down, saw reflected my dismayed look when more than one sprinkled down to the surface, floating away to Somewhere.

And so I learned, not quickly, absolutely or painlessly, but I learned. I learned that stars can be lost.  All their soft, shimmering resilience is now tucked away where I can feel their slight pulse between muscle and dermis.  It is comforting to keep them safe.

In recent days, though, I have realized my pupils are  empty buckets, homesick for their light.  Are they still luminous there in the bloody dark, unseen?    I’ve wondered more than once when I’ve thought how bereft a crescent moon looks alone in the sky.

Wikipedia and Leonard Nimoy tell me that stars are not eternal – they can die; and when they do, they change the gravity of lives worlds away. Stars do not die quietly. Dying stars kill. That I am here to wonder at their life, it seems they must be living still.

That is the secret, then, that goes with me everywhere: under my skin I am a million points of light.

Tonight I am only wondering if the tragedy is an unlit night sky, or a scalpel.

Posted in The Fit Hits the Shan | 4 Comments