Ink for 15

According to the lists I found on the Internet, on the 15th wedding anniversary the gift should either be watches or crystal.  I have a works-well-enough-for-me watch and no desire to own any crystal.  Like, ever.  So Kullervo and I decided that we would forgo tradition and go for ink instead.  While he has a handful of tattoos, this would be my first, so I wanted to make sure it was just right.

Our next decision involved figuring out what the tattoo should be.  What would represent us–fifteen years of us–with all of our inside jokes and arguments and values?  On a long road trip home from Tennessee, we made a list.  We wrote down all the things that we could think of that described Kullervo, and me, and us, looking for something to jump out at us.

Nothing did.  Or, rather, nothing did in such a way as to really capture who we are in a form that would translate to skin.

Driving down the Interstate, we grew quiet.  The radio was playing, the kids were reading, and we were lost in our own thoughts.

Some time later, Kullervo said that he might have an idea.  At the same moment, I thought that maybe I did as well.

He wanted me to listen to something, and cued up a YouTube video for me to listen to.

While we waited through the ad at the beginning, I butted in, “What about a mason jar?”

His video came through, and we listened to this together.

This is a part of a series called “For the Life of the World” and is really a fantastic video series.  And in this chapter about love, hipster Adam and hipster Eve say yes to each other.  To sacrifice and to pouring themselves out into the world, into children, into messiness and brokenness.  They say yes to each other.

As it happens, when Kullervo and I got married in the Mormon temple, we didn’t say ‘I do’… we said ‘yes.’

And right then, we both knew that our tattoo had to say yes.

But what about the mason jar?  Why that?

We only drink out of mason jars.  Water, chocolate milk (don’t judge), beer, wine… we serve it in a mason jar.

And if you know us, you might know that we have intentionally structured our life in such a way as to follow Jesus Christ as best as we can.  And one of the ways that we really try to radically live that out is through hospitality.  What’s radical about hospitality?  After all, it sounds like the same kind of radical that geometry homework is.  Or being told that your talent is that you’re a compassionate person.  It sort of sounds boring.

But here’s the thing.  You can come to our house.  It will be messy, it will be chaotic, but you are welcome here.    At midnight, you can show up at our door without notice, and we will bring you in and feed you and love you and not resent it even one bit.  More on that here:

Not only that, but a few years ago, we started canning our extra food and making our own jam.  We grow some food, we preserve it, and when we pop open a jar of tomatoes to toss into our spaghetti sauce, we wash the glass and it joins the other glasses.  And when we have too many glasses, we realize it’s time to start canning again.  There is something really neat about the ebb and flow of having, and then pouring what we have out for the sustenance of our family, and then taking what’s left and pouring into it for the short term needs of hydration.  Our mason jars are work horses.

For us, the mason jar represents following Jesus and living into the gifts He provides and the ways we can use those gifts to provide for others.  It represents our marriage because we intentionally live into that, with all of the messiness and sacrifice that it brings.

So, sitting in the car that day, we realized we’d both just had the right idea.  And we realized that a mason jar, which usually has the brand name written on the side, could say Yes instead.  All of a sudden, we had our tattoo.

*Note:  I asked Kullervo what to say when people ask what the tattoos mean, because this is sort of a long-winded explanation.  His response?

“Just say that it’s some hipster shit.”

IMG_1081

Dinner at a hipster restaurant post-tattoo.

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To Homeschool or Not To Homeschool

If you know us, you probably know that we have been considering homeschooling for our kids, on and off, for about as long as our kids have been in school.  It’s an incredibly complex decision, and not for the reasons that I would have guessed.

Here’s the thing.  We have special needs kids.  They aren’t delayed and they don’t have any of the other issues or problems that people assume when they hear the words ‘special needs’.  But, all the same, they have special needs that a school is going to be hard pressed to meet.  Oliver and Hazel are off-the-charts smart.  Both were reading at age 3; Hazel is in kindergarten and reads on at least a second grade level.  Oliver is in second grade and reads on at least a sixth or seventh grade level.  Oliver intuitively understands mathematical concepts and remembers everything he reads.  Hazel’s writing skills and attention to detail are incredible, considering her age, and her spatial skills are probably better than mine. Continue reading

Bible Blue

Kullervo has this really nice Bible that I was coveting.  Of course, I could have just read it myself, but it always feels like you should use your own Bible–somehow more personal or something.  His Bible had a soft cover that was just, nice to touch and hold.

So I got a new Bible the other day.

It's pretty!  It's blue!

It’s pretty! It’s blue!

Not only have I been sinfully coveting Kullervo’s Bible, but also, in our small group at church we have been talking about practices that we should be making into habits to be better Christians and bring us closer to God.  I need to read the Bible more often.

Not only have I been considering stealing Kullervo’s Bible and hiding it away for my own use, and condemning myself for my lack of hard core spiritual practices, but Oliver has been reading the Bible.  And he’s read more of the New Testament than I have.  I’ve read more of the Bible overall, but I’ve never read Acts, and he’s almost finished with it.

And he can’t win.

He is a MONSTER!!!!! (-ously fast reader)

He is a MONSTER!!!!!
(-ously fast reader)

 

So, I got my new Bible, and I’m reading Acts.  And I will stop the evil in my heart towards Kullervo for having such a cool Bible.  And I will stop self-flagellating for being a lazy Christian (in other words, stop scratching my pregnancy rash until I bleed).  And I will BEAT MY SEVEN YEAR OLD IN THE BIBLE READING RACE.  Dammit.

 

 

Literally

You know what’s a minor pet peeve of mine?  When people mispronounce the word literal.  Instead of saying literal (three syllables) they say litrel.  Or when they say something is literal when it isn’t.  “It was lit-relly, like, bigger than the planet.”

Anyway, are Adam and Eve literal?  Lots of people think that they are, and it’s a really fun idea.  So while thinking about them, I like to come up with ways that Adam and Eve could really be real people, 6000 years ago, when we have fossils of people much earlier than that.

So, there’s the standard ‘we don’t know what the measurements of time were that were used–a day could mean an era of some sort.  Especially since this was all written later, if someone was sort of having a vision of all that happened and then tasked with writing it down, well, God would sort of have to speed up the process.  So a vision with a time-stop thing that sort of showed the creation could make it seem like, okay, this was a day.  (Do you know what I’m talking about?  They do it in the movies all the time but I don’t know the technical name for it.  Let’s just say that if you were in the Twilight movie universe, you’d be spinning around a chair showing the seasons going by.)  Then the next thing happened.  And that was, like, another day.  If Adam and Eve were real people, that probably makes the most sense.

But!  What if God isn’t talking about the very first man at all?  What if there were totally men and women hanging out, living lives, herding, hunting, gathering, farming, whatever, but Adam and Eve were the first of God’s people?  So, evolution happened the way that we think, but the Bible has this record of the Israelites, who were some of the descendants of Adam and Eve.  But what if there is some other -ible, the Gible or Zible perhaps, about Ronald and Sue, the first people of another set of people.  Why haven’t we heard of these people, you ask?  Well, there’s the flood, after all.  I bet a lot of paperwork was lost in the flood.  Also, have you heard about all those fires that California keeps having?  Stuff that’s written down is notorious for just, like, disappearing when there is a wildfire.  (And obviously all this stuff is written on pieces of paper, right?  I mean, my NIV is, so I extrapolate that to all documents by every culture ever in history.)

*Note that in all of this, I haven’t said that I actually think that Adam and Eve were real people.

So, now, what if Adam and Eve were not real people, but are in fact myths, stories of the beginning of time that aren’t supposed to be literally interpreted, but mined for the wealth of information that they give.  I suppose it is also possible to very narrowly interpret the story, possibly putting too much emphasis on ideas that could then skew your entire perception of the Bible.

If Adam and Eve were not real people, there are some questions.  What about all of those random descendants who are named but (as far as I know) never really returned to or seen again?  Why bother with the cameos of these children who didn’t turn out to be the ancestors of Abraham?  Perhaps they had (have?) more meaning to the Jews at the time that it was written.

Also, when did the people start being real people and not just myths?  It’s possible that there is some blurring here–maybe Abraham was real, but more has been attributed to him than actually happened, or stories about a few people were combined into one.  You see this a lot in the Greek myths–depending on which stories you read, you get different versions of which god did what, etc.

*Note that in all of this, I haven’t said that I actually think that Adam and Eve were mythological people.

So, is it time for my opinion?  I warn you–it’s going to sound wishy washy.

I don’t know if Adam and Eve were literal people or not.  And I don’t really think that it matters.  Whether they were literal people or not doesn’t change the lessons that we have to learn from them.  It doesn’t make or break my faith.

In any case, I think it is a beautiful story about the origins of mankind (civilized mankind?) with so much to learn about man and God and what our relationship should and could be with God.  And for what God thinks about people and how He treats us.

Wishy washy?  Maybe.  Post-modern?  Probably.

The Tumble Outta Eden

Genesis 3: The Fall of Man

So, reading about the Fall of Man in Genesis 3, this is what I was thinking about and focusing on.

In vs. 16, Eve is given the consequences of eating the fruit.  Specifically, God says that He will “greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children.  Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.” Continue reading

My Genesis of Bible Study

Before I begin discussing Adam and Eve, and while I was reading it, there are a few important issues that I sort of have to mentally rummage through.

First, do I believe that the story of Adam and Eve is literal?  Was there really a man, Adam, and a woman, Eve, who lived in a paradisaical garden wherein there was a fruit tree that would give them knowledge of good and evil and a snake that could talk and tempt?  (Now that last part sounds sort of derisive, but obviously if it is literal, my disdain of the talking snake is just part of the enmity between me (woman) and the serpent, and I’m crushing its head (ego).  So, please, literal readers of the Bible, don’t get all up in arms about me yet!)

Second, if I do believe that the first few people in the Bible were real people, and it all happened exactly as Genesis claims, how do I reconcile that to dinosaurs and early fossils of humans, as I don’t really buy into a fossil-hiding god.

Third, if I don’t believe that the first few people were real people, but are in fact mythological (as in, early stories that evolved through years of retelling to explain the beginnings and nature of humankind, through which a person can find rich life lessons and meaning about life), when do I believe that they start being real?  If not Adam, then Noah?  Abraham?  King David?  Jesus?  As someone who has absolutely no understanding of the actual history of the times of the Bible (or, you know, recent history), if I don’t believe that everything in the Bible is literal and exactly as written, I have to make decisions (prayerfully, hopefully) about what I believe were real miracles and what are good life lessons.

Also, something worth noting as I begin discussing Genesis, is that I began reading A New Kind of Christianity by Brian McLaren.  In the first chapter, he discusses the narrative question, specifically, how should we approach the narrative of the Bible, and is the way that we’ve historically approached it the best way?  (Note: my words and how I understood the chapter.)  I found the chapter to be incredibly rewarding and generative of a ton of questions to ask while reading.

Basically, McLaren suggests that we (Christians) historically have looked at the Bible from a Plato-esque worldview, with perfection, the fall, condemnation, salvation, heaven, and hell.  And that the Bible is messier than that.  And more real and earthy and dirty and alive than that, if that makes sense.  Anyway, he said it much better than me, so go read the book (although I might blog more about it later).

So, without further rambling by me, I will begin my discussions with some thoughts on Adam and Eve and the so-called Fall.