Demeaning.

So I’ve been thinking about the power of words this morning and ironically decided to use a few words to convey those thoughts. Words are powerful. The written word provides many people yearly salaries as they devote themselves to various online and written publications. The musical word is passed from generation to generation and has a distinct way of connecting otherwise disconnected peoples. The spoken word as it is communicated can have a tremendous effect on the receiver. Words can be life-giving or they can be shattering. Words can build one up or let one know that he/she isn’t worthy enough of the time it takes to produce a kind word. It is all to easy to insert one’s negative opinion about one’s self in self-deprecating humor or one’s negative opinion about others in sarcasm laced with subtle, hurtful innuendos. It is often times much easier to demean others for their opinions, looks, beliefs, endeavors, and attractions than it is to listen and love them for or in spite of their opinions, looks, beliefs, endeavors, and attractions. I often see grace presented in the church from the pulpit, but then that grace is abandoned… lost to preferences, self-righteousness, and pride. I’ve seen and experienced the same in relationships, often times finding myself the guilty perpetrator. So I am reflecting on extending grace through words–though I certainly don’t mean to negate the importance of grace through action.

If you agree that words can be life-giving or shattering, consider the magnitude of messages that the media extends to girls and young women that let them know how thin, tall, and tan they must be. Some of these messages are subtle and some not-so-subtle, but they are all words expertly used to convey an apparently necessary image. Having experienced this message via the uncanny number of hours teens spend watching television (a whole other blog post for another day), the girls then walk the halls of a school where fellow students who are trying to live up to the same image recreate. In the midst of this striving, unkind words are spat back and forth and everyone is left feeling that he/she is not enough in some way or another.

What if someone were to come along and tell that girl, “Sister, you are so beautiful!!! … you are beautiful in your uniqueness, you are beautiful because you stand for justice and mercy, you are beautiful because of the way you love people, and you are enough. Don’t you dare let a television commercial or a show like Toddler’s and Tiara’s tell you who you have to be. Be a woman who cares, who fights for justice, who shaves her head if she wants to. Because that is beautiful. Not air-brushing and the newest mascara.”

Let’s get some truth out there and use our words to give life… to fight for equality, to express love, to illicit change in our broken country and political system, and to build each other up. We can disagree, but don’t demean me because you can’t reconcile my beliefs with yours. Keep your beliefs, just give me words of grace. For summation of all these thoughts, here’s a powerful Ani Difranco line:

“I’ve never tried to give my life meaning by demeaning you”

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The Art of Writing

So I have been slightly lackadaisical about blogging these days. Proud to have a blog. Not proud enough to keep writing in it with any frequency… which is to my detriment, I think. My favorite writer seems to believe that writing brings forth life. And I believe her. She also can hardly work a toaster. I can identify.

The thought of writing bringing life is significant and one worth testing. I’m always up for an experiment. Science geek in me. Lover of biology and all things science. Anyway, I submit that writing makes one take ownership of the action, the event, the emotion that occurred. It is essentially saying: “that happened and it mattered to me.”

So I will begin writing here more often. Because life matters. People matter. And in my writing, I hope to become brutally honest. I think that’s the way to life too. Honesty. I think people are sick of religion and desperate for someone to give grace. Someone to extend a hand to you when you need help getting up.

So extend me your hand. I could use it these days. Let’s walk together down this tricky road of life. And let’s write about it along the way. Whether a journal, a blog, or a napkin… let’s write.

i wanna love like Johnny and June

So, although I’m an infant in the blogging world, the art of penning is not foreign to me. I love journaling, love the fresh white paper, ready and waiting to be touched and changed forever; forever bearing the words of my heart. So similarly, I must try to reinvent this wonderful feeling of journaling in this new millennia via the electronic realm.

“I wanna love like Johnny and June”… a touching hit by country diva, Heidi Newfield, and a song that conveniently serves as my catchy ringtone. The phone belts it out whenever a call comes in, using no discretion of where I may happen to be at present.

For me and all hopeless romantics out there, this song is a banner we wave…carrying this overwhelming desire to love… and be loved passionately, without restraint. Though I never knew Johnny and June Carter, I know they were in love… and when June died, Johnny went too…determined not to live long in either life without June. I find myself singing the tune in my head, wondering why that love is so rare, and if I will be lucky enough to experience it.