Why do Evangelical Christians care about “showing christ” to the world?

"Friend"Asking for a friend…

 Why do Evangelical Christians care about “showing christ” to the world? And by world I (think) I mean non believers and maybe people of other  denominations/faiths?

I grew up Catholic. Raised an eyebrow at that whole transubstantiation  thing. Gave a suspicious side eye to other beliefs that seemed just as  magical. Followed that line of thought to, hey, you know, I’ve never agreed that gay people are bad or wrong or shouldn’t fall in love and get married. Which led me to other revelations like: maybe there isn’t a sometimes mad, sometimes kind all being, all-seeing white man chilling in the cosmos watching us like a Sims game on high free will.

In the last 3 years I’ve become horrified? intrigued? both? by the proselytizing christian scene. Especially since learning about my husband’s background as a southern Baptist and hearing stories about his evangelical writer, blogger, speaker ex wife who doesn’t exactly practice what she preaches. I really have no framework for the beliefs and ideas I keep coming across. When I try to read or understand more I feel like I’m watching a bunch toddlers let loose in an empty room. No harm meant with that metaphor, really, it’s just the best way to describe the feeling.

I searched "crowd of toddlers" and this is what I got. Still scary so I think it works.

I searched “crowd of toddlers” and this is what I got. Still scary so I think it works.

Because I keep thinking, what are you doing? Why are you doing that? And now you’re fighting! Why are you fighting? Oh my god, why are you climbing on me now? Why are you forming a circle around me? No, no, don’t grab my nostrils! Please stop trying to choke me with your well-meaning love! HELP HELP HELP-

Sorry. Got carried away.

So, yeah. That’s my question: Why do Evangelical Christians care about “showing christ” to the world? 

Part 3: My Brain is a Sniper Rifle

Image

Half of my other half.

When I first met him, I knew in a moment I would have to spend the next few days re-arranging my mind so there’d be room for him to stay. – Brian Andreas

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When I was thirteen I suddenly realized that there were no absolutes in life. I remember the distinct feeling of, wow, I’ve had some sort of real, live adult revelation here and okay, this could potentially suck. At 13, I already knew that the majority of people expected to get married and have families someday. But what happens, I wondered, if you never meet anyone? Or you meet people, but they aren’t at all what you want? What happens then?

I don’t know what happened to other people, but what happened to me was this: I decided that I would find ways to be happy and content without the expectation that someone else could and would make me happy. Because, realistically,  I might never meet that smart musician who could make me laugh like nobody else and understood that I personified my own personality in my head. Maybe it was because I decided this that I was never really interested in anyone who came my way. I might as well, I thought, fully buy into that revelation I’d had at 13. But life is funny and has a way of working out not at all like you plan. In fact, I’ve found, that if you make a desk declaration that you will remain single and devote your life to other things that make you happy like friends and family and teaching, or maybe creating a corgi farm where all the great fatties can frolick (it’s a lifelong dream, ok?), life will, in 7 seconds flat, render that declaration null and void. Just because it can.

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Which brings me back to Other Guitarist and an innocuous October evening. There was never anyone, until right then, that exact moment when Other Guitarist walked in and brain said ‘yep‘. That loud and suddenly distinct part of my brain, sitting in a wingback chair, already had it all figured out.

IF my brain were an inanimate object it would be a sniper rifle with who else but Smoking Jacket Nancy at the trigger. The best way I can describe the sudden shift in my life was this way: Smoking Jacket Nancy (who is an incredibly good shot due to the years she spent in Africa hunting Poachers. That sounds like a C list movie. I should immediately abandon all plans of doing laundry and write that script.) trained her sights on Other Guitarist and those crosshairs were never going to come untrained from that mark.

I’m going to date him, I thought, in very assured way, as if it had a sneak peek into the future and already knew what were to happen. Damn, Smoking Jacket Nancy is good. I’m going to flirt with him all night and I’m going to date him. 

But first, I had to ask him his name again, because it was definitely not Matt, but that’s what my brain heard in the smash up of a moment of our first (real) meet. His name was actually Chris (Chris, Matt. Preeeetty close, brain) and about three seconds after he tried my infamous guacamole and gave me the Fonzi thumbs for a job well done,  Bushwhacking, gun toting, Smoking Jacket Nancy raised her glass in triumph. 

Part 4: Jazz and Broken Glasses

Part 2

Part 1

Mysteries of the Pantsless

Don't judge the wrinkles.

Don’t judge the wrinkles.

The plains and the people in them were finally taught a lesson after two years of sticking our thumbs in our ears and going “pbbbbfffft” at the weather. Or maybe it’s just me that does that. Around February 15th every year I dare Mother Nature to get colder, because, please, I can practically see March and Spring Break, you wouldn’t dare, Nature.

She dared. There is a snow drift practically up to my big picture window and I’ve been inside for two going on three days. I am anxious to go outside but also, no thank you, because it is cold, I am short, and I might get lost in the hip deep depths a few paces from our front door.

So, excuses to stay inside: I haven’t written anything in a while and I am trying to do that more. Excellent. A reason to stay in my jim jams for another half hour and entertain no one but myself with another teaching story.

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It is a well-known fact that Miss G. does not wear pants. The 6th grade children, who somehow cannot remember homework or that they should, yes, please, write their names on all their papers, run into one another because they have no spacial awareness, have sharp eyes for inside out sweaters (I wish this had only happened once. I did it again this year, too. ) and fashion.

 The weekend after I bought a very trendy cape coat one 6th grade boy says, “Miss G.,” as he runs past and into the room just as the bell rings, “that is a very fashionable coat.”

See?

So they have noticed that I do not wear pants. Ever. Coldest day of the year? Who cares. That’s what tights and boots are for. It becomes a point of curiosity. And concern.

After a fun day of writing six word stories, they turn in their assignment: Write 6 different 6 word stories. One reads, “Please wear pants. It’s winter time.” Five words technically, but clever. Another, not about pants, but so sweet and endearing it has to be shared: “I still wish I could fly.” And you wonder why I love to teach middle school.

Another time a little girl turns to me with a serious question. “Miss G., would you rather wear pants or be chased by a bear?” Naturally, it depends on what kind of bear I am being chased by.

And just after the year turns over into 2012 and it is cold, cold, cold I finally do wear pants and they ask what I have done with Miss G. and it becomes a story that spreads to the whole of sixth grade. “Have you heard? Miss G. is wearing pants.” And they all come to look and tell me I don’t look like myself at all. It was a big mystery why I didn’t wear pants. I became much like the bearded lady at a carnival when both my legs were jammed into uncomfortable sausage casings. I mean, pants.

I wear them now. My current 6th graders have no idea what I put my kids through last year. If they saw me now, they might keel over in surprise.

And why didn’t you wear them, Miss G? They would ask.

Because it’s funny. Also, they pinch. Now let’s talk about grammar.

Shrug

I don’t know what I want this to be.

A place to store all my teaching stories?

A place to reflect and therefore write?

A place to write fiction which I miss doing a lot lately?

A place to share my art?

A place to talk about music?

All?

None?

Too many choices!

About a Smoking Jacket. And love.

Part 1: Desk Declarations

Smoking Jacket Nancy’s Perch

 It happened like this:

I had seen him once three months earlier. Best Dude Friend was playing a set at Small Coffee Shop and he was there with a guitar and backup vocals. I remember thinking, Other Guitarist is cute, and because of happenstance and maybe, because the cosmos thinks it makes a better story, I left early after the Best Dude Friend’s concert, which I never had in the history of any of his shows. I left and went to a bar and Best Dude Friend and Other Guitarist went to another bar equal distance from Small Coffee Shop. I thought nothing more of that night until 3 months later on an  unobtrusive Saturday evening in October when Other Guitarist walked through the door again.

I don’t remember his walk down the hallway or even Best Dude Friend introducing us. But I do remember the handshake, accidentally calling him ‘Matt’, and one elevator look (in which brain was giddily checking off the following things: brown hair! hipster glasses! handsome! your pants fit! and converse! I always say, Bless a man in good footwear, fall for one in converse. No, I never say that, but converse!).

And suddenly, loud and distinct, over all the other rapid fire senses invading my head, brain said, Yep.

You see, I have this sliding scale of neurosis and calm in my head. Calm, together Nancy, or Smoking Jacket Nancy, as I like to call her, is a BAMF. She drinks brandy out of a heavy crystal glass, sits in a fancy red leather wingtip chair in silk, striped pajamas and a majestic purple and gold embroidered smoking jacket and she knows everything before it happens. She gives good advice and I’ve never seen anyone rock fancy house shoes like she does. She’s the part of me that always keeps her calm and shakes her head slowly and knowingly when the other side of me takes over.

That other part of me, Neurosis Nancy, doesn’t come out often. She freaks out about money unnecessarily and scares me into not buying paper towels because what if my heating bill is 8,000 dollars  this month and if only I hadn’t bought paper products I wouldn’t have overdrawn the checking account! And she yells things in my head while I’m driving like, “OH GOD! Remember when you were in that accident! That car over there is is going to smash into- Oh, no false alarm. You’re fine. Drive already.” I would like to clarify that Neurosis Nancy never rules my head, but sometimes she grabs the microphone  and yells incoherently for 30 second to 5 minutes before Smoking Jacket Nancy can sick her highly trained pack of dobermans on her. Typically, I exist much more toward Smoking Jacket Nancy on the spectrum.

So, in my head on that day, Smoking Jacket Nancy was raising her brandy glass and wiggling her eyebrows knowingly as I accidentally called Other Guitarist the wrong name and I could hear her voice saying, Yep, this is something. And it was, because nothing like that had ever happened, ever, in 24 years.

Part 3: My Brain is a Sniper Rifle

Part 1: Desk Declarations

Pressure Kid

Me, but smaller.

I heard that name from a Kevin Drew song called “Farewell to the Pressurekids”. When I was 17 I was introduced to the band Broken Social Scene and, as dramatic as it might sound, yes, the following is true: their music changed my life.

Ok, it changed parts of my life. Like the kinds of music I listened to and how much music really mattered to me, which is to say, a lot.

Besides the fact that the musicians who comprise Broken Social Scene are just absolutely fantastic, I think I fell in love with their sounds because at 17, the world felt so huge and I was filled with hope and a little bit of anger and a little bit (or a lot) of fear about how I couldn’t stay with my friends forever and soon everyone was going leave and I’d have to start figuring the whole life thing out. BSS was a good soundtrack to being 17.

And I remember listening to Kevin Drew’s solo album thinking, we’re pressurekids. I think, anyway. I feel like that’s what I am. I’m going to say that I am.

Even at 17, I was already nostalgic for the years of 5-7. The climbing trees, skinning knees, cutting my hair so I looked like a boy, running through summer, cannonball into the pool years. I was scared about the future and I wanted to run away from Kansas (which I did eventually, actually, and then I was the only one of my gang of ne’er do wells who came back and stayed, but that’s another story). So I was afraid and unafraid and man, was that a weird time in life.

It felt like while the whole world was before us, everything was rushing, scrambling, time was ticking down and our existence was going to wink out. I found out later that was true, in a way. You can’t go back to that mix of naiveté and fearlessness and for me that ended up being a good thing. Each year I’ve lived (25, so not many) is better than the one before, except of course for that fantastic nosedive of a 7 months that was the last part of 2010 and first part of 2011. That sucked. But 2011 was also the start of the best years of my life. 

Anyway. I still use pressurekid as my moniker here and there and everywhere because I think that song and its meaning apply now more than ever. I’m not that indie-kid-who-didn’t-quite-know-what-she-wanted-and-was-just-going-to-hurtle-in-a-direction-that-felt-pretty-safe-but-wasn’t-quite-what-should-happen anymore, but I was once and I spent a lot of time in my own head trying to figure life out, pressuring myself to get through the ages of 17-23.5 and do it all right. But now, those years seems so far away that they’re like a dream.

So I guess it’s just like Kevin Drew sings:

Farewell to the pressurekids.

Part 1: Desk Declarations

It happened like this:

Sitting at my desk on a plan period, grading papers and looking around the room thinking, how could anyone possible have the time or energy for another person? How could anyone have enough leftover to give to someone else?

For the first time in my life when I thought, I want to be alone, I don’t want to date or think about dating or worry about meeting someone, I meant it. Before, there had always been a 1% part that cared about being single or alone or insert some societal expectation about dating. Not this time though. I really and truly didn’t care and couldn’t fathom actually dating or caring about dating. I was busy being a first year teacher. I’d lucked into a full year of subbing after my dream job at my dream school fell through. I was crawling out of a year of depression and worry and I was feeling pretty good about the future. ‘Tie a cape around your neck and stand in super-hero pose’ good. I was content, even edging toward happy.

My best dude friend and I were on parallel paths in the 2010-2011 year. We had become friends, oddly, on our last day as college students. We were in caps and gowns making jokes about middle names and somewhere between dubbing one another ‘cash money’ and ‘bling bling’we became friends. We became close through the stresses of our first year of graduate school, student teaching, and life in general.

Once, we spent a forty-five minute car ride listing nothing but the things that made us happy.

Once, when winter still clung to spring and the trees had yet to bud, we cataloged his comic books under an open window and didn’t speak a word for an hour.

Once, a waiter spilled beer on him the night before his big interview for his first teaching job and I laughed so hard I almost thought I was a bad friend, but no, I’m not, he’d have done the same and after he came back from mopping himself up with cheap brown paper towels we talked about loneliness and dissatisfaction and he said one of the kindest things anyone has ever said to me.

He said, you deserve to be doted on, and I almost cried into my unspilled beer because I didn’t always believe those words even though I had said them in one hundred other ways to the young woman who starred back at me in mirrors and glass.

Well, it happened that two days after my ‘I can’t believe busy people my age date and I don’t ever want to date anyone ever’ desk declaration that this friend, more like a brother now after the year and a half we had, called and said, get-together and grilling and beer and conversation and today and I said, ok.

There are evenings that live in infamy in your memory because they are proof of a life well lived. I remember evenings with summer still clinging to the setting sun, long shadows, and open windows, conversation, and laughter in this way. Those moments are the makings of happiness. Those are the moments that if you were the director of your own movie life, you would record and edit into the perfect indie film about 20-somethings, honesty, and truth, and the magical capabilities of being young, and free, and hopeful. Those are the nights you can’t manufacture. They’re just good. It was one of those nights. The backdoor was open and the sun still refused to set too early. I was still in a summer dress and sandals despite the creep of a colder October.

Best Dude Friend and I hung out in the early afternoon before the rest of the mutual friends arrived. We grocery and liquor shopped and I made my infamous guacamole. And some ten minutes before the real shindig was supposed to begin, there was a knock at the door and an early arriver walked in and shifted everything in my brain and life around so easily it was as if it were always meant to happen.

Part 2

(I wrote this last year, March 2012, but read it today and liked it a lot and decided to tell this story over the next bit.)

Writing and Forgetting

I forgot, again, that I have this thing. And it’s been so long that WordPress and I have hung out that I had trouble finding the most simple of things. (How in the hell do I change that 6 year old picture, I muttered to the empty living room.)

Every now and again I get that itch to write. I’m a teacher now and sometimes I think, oh, man, these kids are hilarious and I have a decent sense of humor! I should actively try to tell these stories! But I never get past posting little snippets on facebook. I wish I could just DO IT, but I don’t think I have the energy or the desire to keep up any of my numerous websites. I have no less than 4 separate tumblr pages (personas?). Indie kid (oops, too old for kid. So, Former Indie Kid, then), half-assed funny teacher tumblr, and music tumblr, and then one that I never decided to do anything with because MY GOD, WOMAN, THREE IS PLENTY.

I used to post sad indie kid things here, but, you know, I’m like, all grown up and not sad about, uh, anything anymore. Life is good. Really good. So, as usual, I’m in the mood to write but I have no clear purpose or reason to write anything. No audience, no schtick.

I kind of miss those days when I had an internet persona. I used to write elsewhere and I had a pretty big following. Well, it’s the internet so that’s a lie. It felt like a pretty big following to me, but in reality it was nothing. I also used to run a cooking blog and I like to say I got locally famous for a week on that. That was pretty fun but, uhg, cooking and filming, and editing, and then posting it just takes forever and no thank you I have to go grade 60 6th grade essays.

But I miss the process of writing a lot. I’ve been reading more this year and it’s created this very dull longing to write again and since I don’t really have a clear purposeful outlet, I end up writing on here once or twice a year about how I keep forgetting that I still have this thing. Ah, well, at least I got to type a bit of my brain all logically out today. That will have to do for now.

Now, can someone remind me how to change the header picture? Great. Thanks.