Archive for the 'churchy things' Category

joy to the world

church was hoppin’ today.  i go to a little white church tucked in the historic district.  we have pews.  and sing hymns.  you know, the ones in books.  anyways, someone sneaked a christmas song in this morning.  the organ lady was rocking out, but the people were singing so loud you couldn’t hear the organ.  (i know, you’re jealous.  organs are hip.)

joy to the world, the savior reigns!

let men their songs employ;

while fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains

repeat the sounding joy,

repeat the sounding joy,

repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

a pastor once said you could listen to a congregation sing to tell how they were spiritually.  when you turn the sound system off, what do you have left?  it occurred to me that one of the reasons our congregation could sing was because they had never stopped.  i was in a room full of praise band virgins.  they didn’t come to church to enjoy a performance, they came to lift the roof.  the other reason they could sing was, well simply, they couldn’t help it.

the savior reigns indeed.

a few english churches

you can’t go anywhere without bumping into one.  it’s the easiest way to mess up an itinerary, since you simply can’t help but stop.  that and they leave them all open.

i hope christianity recovers enough from her long haired, loose, sheet rock, and acoustic panel ways to go back to making churches out of rock.  (the way jesus intended.)

it is sad that they are so unloved though.  the english do a great job keeping up on “restoration.”  they have whole businesses that revolve around the care and maintenance of steeples.  but they just don’t dust.  it’s like you walk in and the place is wearing a fat sticker that says, “hyacinth me.”

just give me half a chance baby.

this one was my favorite though.  nestled in some tiny town right outside bath.

i imagine it’s not too exceptional until you realize it’s scale.  so note the car parked on the side.  and that’s an english car, which amounts to half of a real car.  it’s like a hobbit church.  we drove up and i was like, “thomas kinkaide, eat your heart out.”

inside there was enough room for three pews.  it was the most sickeningly adorable thing i have ever seen.

then, poking around in the cemetery, i found this.  a tombstone for “fanny anna.”  get out.  i remarked to my husband, “that’s more of a school yard taunt than an actual name.”

but that was before i factored in the surname.  dig it.

sao jose dos campos

that would be somewhere in brasil i think.  hubby just got back a few weeks ago from a short term mission there.  a little crash course for his portuguese.  which he speaks very suavely, if i might say.  i seem to make a point to butcher all foreign languages.  i can’t say the word “tortilla” without it sounding like i fed it through a chipper.  here is a photo he took  of a steady stream of trucks heading to some city.  home to the patron saint of…big rigs.  indeed.  they roll in once a year to get blessed.  serious.

random roadside scenery.

here he is with his team, mostly canadians i think.  our church here heads up something called “church partnership evangelism.”  they do a great job connecting with local churches and reaching out to friends/family/coworkers of existing members.  that way new converts are immediately drawn into the body and discipled.  also, that way the mission organization escapes the stigma of being para-church.  everything is under the jurisdiction of the local pastor and the entire congregation is deeply invested in the process.  they do tons of prep work and training  and each candidate is prayed for extensively for months.  which sounds kinda dangerous.  at the end of a few months most people are ready to cry uncle.  i teased my sister violet mercilessly when god dropped a chunk of ice on her head off a church roof and laid her out on the sidewalk with a concussion.  it’s not all fun and games.

here is a picture of a tree.  i think every other picture was of a tree actually.

boy says he would ask people what kind of trees they were and unless it had a mango hanging on it most people had no idea.  this one made explode-y poof balls and spikes.

if anyone knows my husband they know how strange it is that he would shave off his gruff-stache and go be sociable with people.  i think he just likes brazillians.  he thinks they are nicer than americans.  and he says the girls are cuter.

which reminds me, i don’t know who this is.   but i don’t like it.

a few of the families marc got to share the gospel with.  i could tell when he came home that he truly enjoyed himself.  he was a little wistful.

cool architecture.

oh look, a tree.

a neat village.

and more trees.

yes, please notice how swank my husband is in this picture.

he was also telling me about how clean everyone is there.  here is his host’s house.

it kind of disturbs me how everything shines.  my house definitely has a matte finish.

see, clean.  amazing.

and of course he brought home goodies.  i now have a complete tea service and the children all have matching soccer jerseys from the village team.  because every village has it’s own team.  that’s how seriously they take this stuff.

welcome home daddy.  we missed you and are so proud of you.  love you forever and ever.  *m


a picture…


and my favorite quote (so far) from notes from the tilt-a-whirl:

infinite regress isn’t possible.  the world cannot be resting on the back of a purple turtle on the back of a purple turtle on the back of a purple turtle on the back of a purple turtle on the back purple turtle…  it doesn’t even help if you work in anti-turtles.

here is the moment of my amaze.  the olive that i hold in my hand along with its friendly minced pimento, this olive that i now taste and eat, that former olive was, on some level, made out of something that was…not made from anything.

there is another word for not anything.  the word is nothing.  at some point, that is the answer to the question.  what is it made of?  what is it made of?

nothing.  and yet…it is.

words.  magic words.  words spoken by the infinite, words so potent, spoken by one so potent that they have weight and mass and flavor.  they are real.  they have taken on flesh and dwelt among us.  they are us.  in the christian story, the material world came into existence at the point of speech, and that speech was ex nihilo, from nothing.  god did not look around for some cosmic goo to sculpt, or another god to dice and recycle.  he sang a song, composed a poem, began a novel so enormous that even the russians are dwarfed by its heaped up pages.

you are spoken.  i am spoken.  we stand on a spoken stage.  the spinning kind.  the round kind.  the moist kind.  the kind of stage with beetles and laughter and babies and dirt and snow and fresh-cut cedar.

yes, by all means, run out and buy it.


i almost hate to admit it, but I’m a canon press junkie.  only a poor canon press junkie (i have to spend all my money on a mortgage and organic whole milk).  in which case this makes my heart go pitter pat.  but then again, so do most sales.  like my husband says, “just because it’s 75% off doesn’t mean you have to buy it.  and no, you didn’t save any money, you spent money.”  pshaw.

here are some of my favorites:



how to be free from bitterness is a must read for any human being.  and building her house just looks so dang nice on the shelf.   it should have it’s own little rack.  you could hang it.


future men is my favorite from the wilson family series and is a must have for raising boys.  against christianity is very thought provoking and a good read-over book.


the wilson family series has a lot of practical, easy to read advice.  that for some reason, you most likely haven’t heard anywhere else…  for a glory and a covering is fundamental marriage etiquette, “my life for yours.”  just to sober you up a bit and get you to quit your whining.


and some peter leithart books.  oh my.  i couldn’t put down a house for my name, it just made me giddy.  the way he peeled back layer after layer in the old testament making it make sense at a whole new level.  and easy to read to boot.  i think it was actually written for family study.  anyways, i would love to get my greedy little hands all over 1 & 2 kings.


and here’s some that i haven’t read but want to.  i did listen to the interview with debbie maken on getting serious about getting married.  that lady scares the poo out of me.  if i was a single christian, i would be afraid (very afraid).  blessed are the hungry unpacks some of the significance around the lord’s supper.  which i would love to dig into.


a great mystery is peter leithart having a go at marriage.  i love the way he unpacks a subject, he just seems to hit things from so many different angles that you start to wonder if you’re looking at the same thing.  how did he see that?  it’s insane.  and if you do check out canon press don’t forget their audio sets.  the party is just getting started.  if i had $125 to my name i would gobble up marriage as manifest glory.  i would.  marriage is more than mars and venus getting along, it’s god showing himself to the world.  unless you screw it up, of course.


wise words is another peter leithart book for kids.  this time going through proverbs.  i need this book.  but i have a few years while the pudding in my children’s brains sets up a bit, so i can wait.  and trinity and reality is self-explanatory.  the trinity is the funnest/bestest subject out there.  the perfect, inscrutable building block of life.  …god as a monad breeds conformity, god as gods produces chaos, god as trinity overflows in love.  (all while tying up the justice vs. mercy, unity vs. diversity dilemmas nicely.)  and it doesn’t bother me that at the heart of it there is a paradox.  did you think you could put the essence of god in a box, tie it up and stamp “god” on top?  i would be more worried if you could understand it.  anyways, the trinity always kicks around the ol’ brain.  it’s like playing with the best good out there; it’s in everything, goes everywhere, it’s what’s left when you boil everything down and it never gets old (unless you thought we were going to diagram sentences for eternity.)  fun fun.

so yes, i am a canon press junkie.  and even though i’m not a calvinist (i’m a little weirder that) it does seem like they have more fun than everyone else.  in fact, everyone else gives me the willies.  my favorite is when mark driscoll portrayed jesus walking into a christian book store, jumping up and down on all the michael w smith cd’s while the self-help section went up in flames.  but yes, most christian book stores make me nervous.  with canon i feel like i could close my eyes and pick a book and it would still be good.  try it, you’ll like it.

blogging fresh from the church parking lot


believe it.


while hunting the internet in search of ipod fodder, i eventually bumped into faith by hearing.  these little guys made me laugh.  i thought i was the only one with such proclivities.  my husband sometimes catches a glimpse of my playlists and exclaims, “what the hell do you listen to?”


well,  dr. j.i. packer, the rare recordings of jim wilson, early mark driscoll, doug wilson (much to everyone’s horror), also doug jones, alistair begg, doug batchelor, ken meyers, evan wilson and our very own, joel van hoogen.  but mostly, i have no idea who i listen to.  i’m not selective, just desperate.  i reached the point where i couldn’t clean my kitchen one more time unless i was plugged in and on auto.


it’s now my auxillary brain, i listen to around 3 or 4 sermons a day.  and so far, so good.  i don’t run into very many that annoy me, even if i don’t agree with them all.  the result: i now have a knee deep, stockpile of favorites for anyone else who might be desperate as well.  not to mention, there are already some in side bar under “audio” (which i will try to keep updated).  and if you’re the type who thinks “heavy breathing, over emotional, tv evangelist, with a southern accent” when you hear the word “sermon,” think again.  this is much more fun.


not only do i have curtains, i have a picture.  *a* picture, mind you.  only one.  in the entire house.  i guess i’m not the kind of person who moves in and breaks out the throw pillows and aromatherapy candles.  we’ve only lived here for six months.  much too soon to get a couch or break out the family photos, really.  but i was excited about this.  some day i will get around to poking holes in all the walls.


after i finish taping them, texturing them and painting them that is.  i don’t know why i’m so neurotic about decorating.  i think i’m secretly afraid that if things got “comfortable” the baseboards would never actually get nailed on and no one would buy door knobs for the basement.  but i’m sure one picture won’t hurt.


i already posted that you can snag the free pdf of this print (pink or not pink).  and if you do, the floating frames at joanne’s fit an 11×17 nicely.  i painted this one white and was very pleased.  until the kids broke the glass and i had to buy a replacement.  (which i secretly knew would happen all along.)

song of songs

i haven’t been blogging.  sad to say, i left my camera cord at my mum’s.  but it should be coming in the mail shortly.  i thought i would share this instead.  it’s a series on the song of solomon by that crazy man, mark driscoll.  (a little seems to go a long ways if you ask me.)

but watch one and you won’t know what hit you.  or at least watch the animation at the beginning, with the sweet, rockin’, pink bambi.

to the point

i’ve always liked this synopsis of the gospel. and now he went and made it pretty. very exciting. if anyone else thinks it’s pretty, he’s offering the printable version. just leave him a note.

(and by the way, for once, something on my blog gets big if you click on it. i just find that most things are better left to the imagination. and my floor looks cleaner when it’s small.)

now if i could get him to change that red to fuchsia, i think it would look very nice in my living room. plus it has the gospel on it and all.

but i still think it should be pink.

keeping up appearances

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