Category Archives: analogies

Kristin Herdy’s Quest for the Holy Landfill

I’m an auntie! More on that later. On the way to and from the hospital to see my nephew, I drive along a country highway, dotted with several large estates and ranches.

What you notice as you pass are the iron gates, large houses, softly rolling green hills, cattle, pristine estate grounds and long drives, and the signs. Those houses all have signs up right now. STOP THE LANDFILL, they say. The signs are large, professional, and look costly.

I can’t help but think about the “sides” of this landfill issue. I wouldn’t want a landfill in my backyard, either. I wouldn’t want my groundwater potentially compromised by rainwater runoff over mounds of trash. I wouldn’t want the stench. On the other hand, landfills have to go somewhere, right?

Who should bear the brunt of the landfill?

Those who produce the most waste?

Those who can’t afford to stop the initiative?

Who deserves to live in a landfill-free environment?

Those who pay the most for their houses?

Those who bear the lion’s share of property taxes?

Matthew 23:27 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.”

Reading those signs, I couldn’t help but feel that, as human beings, we know our waste, our excess, our sin, will come back to haunt us, but like the Pharisees, we also believe we can keep the facade looking clean and pristine and avoid the consequences.

We might try to hide it away in someone else’s area. We might try to slap a new coat of paint on it. We could rebrand and repackage it. We could recycle it or shoot it into space. We can’t seem to eliminate it, though, not through all our efforts.

No one wants a landfill in their backyard. No one wants to live in their own waste. No one wants the consequences of their sin to pile up and over their fences and spill into their flower beds.

If your sin were represented by a mound of trash… what is the capital of Assyria? how much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood? what is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow? look! a baby!!!!

In other words, what absurd things do we do to avoid the punishment of our sin, instead of asking forgiveness and accepting the consequences?

Death by GPS, part I

The girls and I traveled, along with my mom and sister, to Dallas this weekend for a girly getaway. On the way home, we turned to the GPS to get us back on the road. “Nancy,” our GPS, kept trying to get us on a highway blocked by large orange barrels and flashing lights.

Nancy continued recalculating, instructing us to “when possible, take a left” and (maybe it was my imagination), but seemed to get more and more angry and insistent the farther away from her path we tread. It’s tempting to take the GPS as an authority, and just follow that route.

A few weeks ago, though, I read this piece on NPR, that discussed our over-reliance on GPS and the flaws in that trust, especially in dangerous locations, like Death Valley, which was so named because of a wagon-train’s ill-fated “shortcut.”

Some have found themselves on long-forgotten logging roads, desert paths, ice roads, and a few each year die because help doesn’t find them in time.

Many people have been misdirected by their GPS systems because of over-reliance on the map, and as Korzybski says, “the map is not the territory.”  The green tree icons are merely representations of reality, a cheap simulation of the richness of nature.

‘Somebody had a map, and somebody said, this is a faster way to get to the gold fields,’ Callagan says. ‘Deep down back in the brain, the common sense says, you know, this is not the wisest thing.’

That’s what makes the difference between our trip home yesterday and dying on an unmarked road in Death Valley: common sense.

I’ve got this idea that following a GPS to your death (turning directly off a bridge into icy waters) is a lot like those who elevate Scripture above the Spirit.

“The Letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” – 2 Cor 3:6

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Legalism is following the map, not being guided through the territory. You can use the Scripture as a guide and SHOULD use it as a guide, but call it common sense, call it intuition, call it what it is, the SPIRIT should discern the best way to proceed.

Look for Part II of Death by GPS next week.

Has your GPS ever led you astray?

How do you know it’s the Spirit and not the Letter that guides you?

Let Him Lead

My tiny dancers got to waltz, two-step and hip hop their shoes off at a wedding on Friday. At first, they danced with one another.

Then, they danced with me.

My mother is not the world's best photog...

**I deeply regret that what I’m about to relay has no photographic evidence: Then, as I was sashaying around the floor with my ultra-handsome date (who felt compelled to go buy something in brown because I said my dress was brown, but it actually looked gray- sorry, Mr.!), I felt a bit of a blur rush past me.

That blur, as it turned out, was Mia, dancing on past me with A BOY! He’d asked her to be his partner and everything. I’d noticed him before, getting his little boy groove on, which was adorable, but dancing with my daughter…

I didn’t have to worry long. Before my green eyes got misty, I could see that even the twinkle-toed Casanova was no match for my bossy baby. She ushered him around the floor like Jack Lemmon’s character in Some Like It Hot.

I leaned over to her after I dragged my placatory partner to the square of floor occupied by the pushy princess and her prince. In her ear, I whispered, “let HIM lead now!”

Ever let something completely hypocritical fly out of your mouth and not catch it until hours or days later? Guilty!

Every instance of not letting HIM lead me came rushing back when I reviewed the scene. Every time I tried a spin or step or flourish without God’s direction, I may have looked like I was dancing, but I was really struggling for control with my infinitely more assured partner.

The steps of a righteous (wo)man are ordered of the Lord – Psalm 37:23

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It’s true that Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but backward, and in heels, but, it was choreographed, precise, determined and she trusted where he led. I want to be like Ginger, letting God lead me in the steps he’s ordered.

What’s your go-to dance move?

As a “dance” partner… how well do you follow?

Sleepless over Sprechstimme

Has God ever kept you up late at night, or awoken you from a deep sleep with a thought? It happens to me, sometimes, and it’s always motivational. First, it motivates me to prayer, then, once I’ve discerned the meaning, motivates me to action. Recently, I awoke with one word, not my one-word for 2011: green,  but Sprechstimme.

** This is an illusion**

 

It’s an operatic term, one I haven’t given thought to since approximately 1998, when I competed in Academic Decathlon and we studied opera for our musical selections. Sprechstimme means to approximate speech by messing with the tonal composition of song, there is lilt and rhythm, according to the free online dictionary, but not precise pitches.You can hear an example, here.

Tone markings are something like suggestions. You might sing higher or lower than the note on the page, singing around it, but not on target.

Why in the world would God speak to me through composers like Schoenberg? After prayer and seeking, I am starting to get it. I’ve been getting close, but not hitting the mark.

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14.

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It reminds me of a creative writing term: verisimilitude. Verisimilitude means to add enough details to create the semblance of truth in fiction.  Verisimilitude, like trompe l’oeil, it just a picture that stands in the place of reality. It’s an approximation of the truth, but not the Truth at all.

I don’t want to be missing the mark. I want to be hitting the target, shooting for accuracy, following what is written, not playing around with the pitch of my life.

I still need to follow this thought farther. I still need to seek discernment on this matter in my life. What is God trying to tell me? What areas of my life represent simulation and how can I strike the right note?

I wish  there were Spiritual decoder rings available, so I could move some dials and voila! the meaning to my late-night epiphanies would appear! For now, I’m going to be watching my life closely to make sure that my life isn’t a cheap imitation, or even an exquisite imitation, but the true mark.

Have you ever been woken up by a Spiritual message?

What word sounds just too, too, weird if you repeat it over and over?

 

 

Rocks will cry: A boobie post

Let’s talk boobies for a moment, shall we? If you’ll recall, I’ve talked about how breasts are precious in God’s sight,  before, but there’s more. In addition, guys, I know how much you hate talking about boobs or reading about them, but this is different, so, keep reading, ok?

A picture of boobies

China is developing a group of cows to replace boobies! You may or may not have “herd” it here, first, but here’s more information.

I’m not a breastfeeding freak, the kind that militantly demand that everyone planning on formula feeding their infant is deranged and abusive (and I’ve met some like that), but I did nurse both of my girls- one for 11 months, one for 17 months. They were not EBF (exclusively breast fed), but got enough of mommy milk to say they were breastfed, certainly*

So, even though I’m not a rampant opinion-giver on the issue of breastfeeding, I say… I think the cow business is bovine, I mean, asinine. Our bodies, our boobies, were made to feed children. Udders were made to feed… baby cows.**

I have no problem with cow udders supplying me with milk – I drink a ton, but, cow proteins are not easily digested by tiny little digestive systems, thus why infants should not be given cow milk.

From the article, the genetically modified milk is “80% the same as human breastmilk.”That’s close, but I’m afraid, close doesn’t always cut it.

My research has found that we share 96% of our DNA with chimps, 60% with mice and 25% with daffodils. With those kinds of numbers, maybe we should stop milking cows and start milking apes? Close is not equal.

I believe what bothers me most is that we’re looking for a substitute, a simulation, because it’s something we don’t want to do ourselves. Even with milk banks, breast pumps, storage systems, heck, even wet nurses, we’re looking to cows to feed our babies.

Now, you might ask, how are boobies like worship? (I know that’s what you were thinking!)

Our worship is organic, comes from within us, overflowing from a full breast in love. Jesus said that if the people would not worship and kept silent, the rocks would cry out (Luke 19:40). Substitutions will be made, but God desires the worship of his people, not the moss-covered green rocks or cracked earth!

Humans won’t feed their children human breastmilk, which is better for mother, baby, the environment, the economy and the bond between human beings, and so we must look to cows. When we refuse to worship, the rocks, like engorged milk-filled breasts, will pour forth praise in our stead.

What’s your favorite flavor or type of milk?

How much would you pay for a gallon of breastmilk from a cow?

*I realize this may disqualify me to speak on the subject in the eyes of many

** Click at your own risk, but I thought it was apt and funny.

Movin’ on up (to the new shell)

Have you ever had a life-changing moment that didn’t change your life? In the moment, you were sold out, on-fire, motivated to … get organized, start a new business, give it all up and go into ministry, transform your strained relationships into new ones., and instead of reordering your household, just rearranged the furniture.

Pastor Brad talked about that very thing yesterday in worship, the times we have let excitement for change and growth dwindle. It look me way, way back, to last weekend, in a gift shop on the beach, watching the hermit crabs.

Their shells were painted in bright colors, some shells were designed to look like the Green Lantern, soccer balls and others like a hamburger. My kids stood for a good, long while trying to determine which they should take home (hint… none of them).

Hermit crabs have soft abdomens. They cannot exist outside their shells, because any piece of debris might puncture that defenseless body.

Hermit crabs come in a variety of sizes. Once believed to be short-lived pets, hermit crabs can actually live up to 20+ years, but they have to keep moving on up to a larger shell, or they will die, cramped into a space that is too small.

Once thought to be solitary creatures, hermit crabs thrive on community, where crabs line up at a potential new home, largest to smallest. As the largest vacates its shell for a new one, the next crab steps up to take over HIS shell and so on down the line.

We can learn a lot about growth and change and living in a community from hermit crabs. We might also learn from the early Church, but whichever epistemological catalyst works for you….

All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.  Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,  praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. – Acts 2:44-47

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When you do more than rearrange the furniture, when you throw off things that hinder you (possessions, buildings, unnecessary time drains), growth is possible. Living in community means that the answers to basic needs can be provided. Sometimes it takes stepping out of the safety of your shell to move to the next phase of your development.

What do you have to pass on to the smaller crabs behind you? What big change do you need to step out in faith, today, to make?

 

 

Takes a lickin’

Summer’s coming. I know it by the tell-tale increase in temperature, here in Houston, from the low 90s to the mid 90s. Summer, you see, makes me think of ice cream. There’s little better than sitting on a front porch, legs dangling, barefoot, swirling your tongue around a disappearing tower of goodness.

Half the fun of eating ice cream is trying to finish it before it melts. I have a strategy. Let’s take a cone of my favorite, cool mint chocolate chip. I will lick all around the outside, slowly narrowing the sides of the ice cream back until none hangs over the cone’s edge. Then, I begin making trenches around the rim of the cone. Finally, wholesale eating commences.

I firmly believe Satan has a similar strategy for our lives. Trials = licks. Tribulations = licks. Belittling licks. Demeaning licks. Taunting licks. Tempting licks. Angry licks. Envious licks. Deceitful licks. Demoralizing licks, lick, lick, lick away at our good character. He makes headway with quick little licks, then starts making trenches. Finally, we’re so far separated from the boundary of the cone, he can just lap us up.

Growing up, my pastor used to say “Don’t let the Devil lick the sweet off your candy.” I’m going to go ahead and say, Don’t let him lick the sweet off your ice cream.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39

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I’m not letting the author of confusion have any part of me.

What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream? What homemade axioms help you when the going gets rough?