Thursday, August 9, 2012

Why I Was Ashamed to Call Myself a Christian Today

As I’ve said, I grew up as an evangelical Christian and recently went through a crisis of faith where I very seriously considered atheism.  I came through my crisis and still consider myself a Christian, though not an evangelical Christian.  I’m working out what all of my beliefs are, but the core belief is set.  I do believe in Jesus Christ.  Sometimes, however, I’m really quite ashamed to consider myself part of the group known as Christians, mostly when people who call themselves Christians do unbelievably stupid, rude, or hateful things.  Today was one of those days.

I work in a fast food restaurant.  It’s not the worst job in the world, but I don’t think it’s anyone’s idea of an ideal job.  Today I was cooking French fries, and the fryer is right next to the drive thru window, so I got a firsthand view of an ignorant Christian doing an ignorant thing.  As they were coming through the drive thru and as they were picking up their food, they handed my friend Ken, the drive thru worker, a tract and started preaching at him, asking him if he knew Jesus or whatever Christians tend to use as their opening line when they have negative five seconds to get their point across and get someone “saved.”  Ken’s a pretty good natured guy.  He laughed it off, since he’s pretty firm in his pagan beliefs, and the manager made the car pull on ahead.  After that, I put my head in my hands and said “sometimes, I’m ashamed to call myself a Christian.”

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

On Gymnastics and Gender Roles

I’m starting this post with a big huge congratulations to gold medal winner Gabby Douglas and to the whole U.S. women’s gymnastics team.  I was so proud to watch the beautiful artistry and athleticism of each and every athlete, and I was happy to be part of history.  An Olympic three-peat for the U.S. in women’s individual all-around, the first black individual all-around gold medalist, and the first year the U.S. won both the team and individual gold medals.  And I watched every moment of it!  Why did I watch every moment?  Because I loooooooooove gymnastics!

And here comes the gender roles discussions.  Gymnastics is typically considered a “girly” thing to like. (Even though men’s gymnastics is equally impressive, especially events like pommel horse which don’t even exist in women’s gymnastics).  It would be easy to say “Oh, Marian likes gymnastics because she’s a girl and girls like gymnastics.”  It would be easy to say that, but it wouldn’t be all true.  Why do I like gymnastics?
Because when I was seven years old, I watched the Magnificent Seven bring home the first U.S. women’s team gold medal.  I watched as Kerri Strug sprained her ankle, then bravely performed that beautiful vault and stuck that landing one-footed, and then had to be carried off because she was in so much pain.  My imagination was captured, inspired, and ever since that day I have been unapologetically in love with gymnastics.  A lot of people like gymnastics.  A lot of people my age probably like gymnastics for the same reason I do—the 1996 Olympic gymnastics team inspired them and ever since then they’ve just enjoyed the sport.  But this is my story, and this is why I like gymnastics.  If you assume it’s just because I’m a girl, you miss out on getting to know the real me.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Allow Me to Introduce Myself

There's a little bit about who I am in my profile, but let me share a little more about myself.  After all, it's more fun talking with a friend than a stranger, and I hope that all my readers will become like friends.

So I'm 23 and I just graduated college.  I got a degree in sociology and eventually want to become a counselor, but between now and grad school down the road, I'm looking for a job in the human services field.  My favorite thing in the whole world is curling up with a good book and getting lost in it.  (Usually with a bag of popcorn or chips or something... I'm working on that part!)  I like stereotypically girly things, like shoes and the color purple, and I like some stereotypically guy things too, like video games.  I've been married for five years now... just celebrated an anniversary actually!  So let me introduce you to my husband next.

He's 24, the cutest guy I've ever met.  He graduated college two years ago with a degree in religion, and is working at our local church part time as a volunteer youth pastor so he can get some experience.  He and I actually grew up together from the time I was 8 and he was 9.  We've been best friends ever since his mom started babysitting my little brother and me.  We got married when I was 18 and he was 19, but we make it work!  His name is Lee, and he's the best daddy to our little girl.  So without further ado, I present...

Olivia, the smartest, most beautiful, most mischievous little girl in the whole world.  Obviously I'm biased, but I think she's pretty special.  She's 21 months old, and currently her favorite toy is a rubber snake.  She even sleeps with it some nights!  Her favorite things are dancing, helping mommy do chores, and visiting the farm animals next door, especially "Togg" the sheep.  She amazes me every day with the things she picks up, and I'm lucky to have her in my life.

So that's me and my little family in a nutshell.  Now that you know us a little bit, stay awhile and I'm sure you'll learn more.

Much love,

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Why "Values From Scratch"?

Welcome to my new blog.  Right now it doesn't look like much, but here's the plan.  I want this to be a safe place to have a conversation.  Conversations about life, about love, about religion, and about politics.  In short, conversations about values, and what people value in life.  If you're a Democrat or a Republican, a Christian or an Atheist, Single or Married, Dead or Alive, or any other category that doesn't fit into my nice literary dichotomies, I want you here.  In fact, I need you here, to join the conversation with me.

Because the safe place to have the conversation isn't for you, it's for me. Ah, see how selfish I am?  But truly, this is why the values are "from scratch."  Because I grew up my whole life as an evangelical Christian knowing exactly what I was supposed to believe.  Then about a year ago... I stopped.  I couldn't believe it anymore.  I didn't know what I believed.  I couldn't believe in God anymore, but I couldn't NOT believe in Him either.

Here's where I am now.  I'm still a Christian.  I do believe in God (most days).  But on a lot of issues that Christians care about, I feel uncertain.  In fact, I think the opposite about a lot of issues.  It's left me feeling like I don't fit in anywhere.  It's left me feeling like there's nowhere safe to sort through my beliefs, my values.  And it's left me feeling like there is no one to talk to, no one who will listen.

So if you're here, welcome.  Please listen.  Please talk.  Please join the conversation.  I don't have it all figured out yet but I'm excited to start the journey... and be part of the conversation.

Much love,