- so, Kanye, Kid Cudi, and Childish Gambino were my companions during my own study time. Definitely NSFW; you were warned.
- for corporate study-dance-breaks: Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Robyn and Beyoncé (the ‘4’ album…I didn’t like the new one as much, don’t hate me. too late I already feel it.)
- Noah Gunderson was a new find this month. Beautiful, broken, honest prayers of songs.
- I also love this version of the eucharistic hymn, “Let us break bread together.“
- Jesus Feminist, by Sarah Bessey. Ok, I seriously started writing a review of the book in the flyleaf as soon as I started it–not because I had to, but because the book compelled it. (Also–I know some friends have been skeptical of the title, so let me address that right here. It’s not what you think it is.) I’ll compile all my warm and fuzzy feelings into a post soon, but for now, I’ll steal Leigh Kramer’s words about it, because this is exactly why I love it:
“Jesus Feminist bridges the gap between all of us, men and women, married and single, young and old, conservative and liberal, and so on. No matter how you define feminism, Bessey offers another look at the Bible’s view of women and invites us to have a better discussion.”
- Preparing for Christmas: Daily Reflections for Advent, by Richard Rohr. I know the Advent season is over, but let me just tell you to buy this $3 book right now and save it for next year because I may never use another Advent resource again. Rohr is great to begin with, but this little book is erudite, accessible, and extraordinarily compelling. The reflections are short enough to stick with you throughout the day, but not simplistic at all. New favorite.
- My Bright Abyss: Meditation of a Modern Believer, by Christian Wiman. This is another book I am still in the middle of, but I can already tell you it is going in my top favorite books of all time. Seriously, I am in love. I just don’t even know how to recommend this book enough, but I’ll say this–as I read, Wiman has been casting light into dark shadows while acknowledging his own, deeply convicting me and strangely encouraging me. This is going on my list of books that makes me a Christian all over again.
- Holy Fools, by Joanne Harris. I am still in the middle of it, but I have a hard time reading much fiction these days and it has me hooked. Beautiful prose that surprises you.
around the web:
- a few days before Christmas, Luke Harms, Preston Yancey and I got into a great, hours-long discussion on twitter about the overlaps and differences between Pentecostal experiences of God’s presence and Real Presence in the Eucharist, touching on several sacramental themes throughout. Chris Green joined us on the tail end with some wonderful insights, too! Anyway, I “storified” the whole thing so it would be readable. The whole thing was both fun and important for me; I hope you’ll read it.
- I am so glad Josephine+ posts her sermons regularly on the web. Here were two I caught and loved like whoa: “No Perfect Families” (an Advent sermon) and “Darkness is Real–Merry Christmas.”
- “The conversation is increasingly non-incarnational. Whereas evangelical church-planting culture is often plagued by shallow pragmatism, the Progressive Christian Internet goes to the other extreme, philosophizing its way out of any substantial, practical ecclesial application,” Resolved: Quitting the Progressive Christian Internet in 2014, by Zach.
- “Leaving fundamentalism is more about a laying down an irrational craving to be right [...] and a taking up of compassion and imagination and epistemological humility than it is about learning and using the right labels and theories,” The Ethics of Leaving Fundamentalism, by Hännah.
- “Feminism is prophetic grief: a voice crying “All is not as it should be” & weary feet that bring with them good news saying, “Oh mourner! Redemption is yet nigh,”” Now I will Show You a More Excellent Way, by Hannah (not to be confused with Hännah above. mind your umlauts)
- “Present over perfect. Quality over quantity. Relationship over rushing. People over pressure. Meaning over mania,” Present Over Perfect, by Shauna Niequist. (MAN has this bled into so many part of my life lately)
- I don’t know who pointed me to the poem Sometimes a Wild God by Tom Hirons, but goodness it is beautiful and painful. Here are a couple stanzas:
The wild god asks for whiskey
And you pour a glass for him,
Then a glass for yourself.
Three snakes are beginning to nest
In your voicebox. You cough.
Oh, limitless space.
Oh, eternal mystery.
Oh, endless cycles of death and birth.
Oh, miracle of life.
Oh, the wondrous dance of it all.
- I love Anne Lamott on social media. Just love. It’s like sitting down for coffee with a friend. I love this Facebook “status” of hers about New Years diets. Absolutely.
- This poem about the complicated nature of depression has been floating around tumblr and it is un-quotable and I just love it so there.
- 16 reasons why gin is the best. mostly for this quote: “SUCK IT, VODKA.”
- this amazing short animation of Brené Brown’s words on empathy. EVERYONE watch this:
to be honest, December was a rough month in a few ways, finals bowled me over in an unexpected way, and I have been battling some personal darknesses in a particular way this month. I’ll be glad to leave it behind in many ways. But here are some highlights:
- ok, I know I just said finals were crazy, but the experience heightened my awareness of the wonderful, caring people that I have found myself surrounded by–whether I am particularly close to them or not, I have received an overwhelming amount of support and grace from folks at Duke Divinity, and I am so grateful.
- celebrating with my wonderful classmates after the last final was turned in, like four times over. We know how to unwind around here.
- one time included my taking a line from Shauna Niequist when she writes in Bread & Wine: “This is what I want you to do: I want you to tell someone you love them and dinner’s at six. I want you to throw open your front door and welcome the people you love into the inevitable mess with hugs and laughter. ” I threw together some Magical White Bean Soup (I swear by this, oh my word) on a blustery evening and told people to bring drinks and fixings. “Present over perfect” (in the links above) turned into a beautiful night with laughs and truth-talk.
- good thing I made a double-batch of that soup because other friends opened their house up the next night and we kept the soup-party going with friends that didn’t know each other much previously. We killed a loaf of bread and got seconds and stayed at the dinner table for ages and asked hard questions and said good things. [these are the things I want to remember about December].
- The week after finals was also the week of brunching. I hit up both Monuts and Elmo’s Diner in Durham with friends who composed the right cast of characters for a sitcom. This is my brain not-on-school. Resolution for this next semester might just be to brunch more.
- highlights (in pictures) from being in New Mexico with family for the holidays:
rediscovering bits of this beautiful house:
as well as the beauty of Southern New Mexico:
- also, check out my little insta-video of luminarias on Christmas Eve. Favorite traditon.
What I wish I was into:
- buying my book$ for next $eme$ter
- returning to responsibility this week.
- making New Year’s resolutions. though I have one or two up my sleeve.
- NYE plans.
Ok, your turn. No, really. What has been going on with you this month? What have you been reading/wearing/doing/whatever?