Sunday, June 28, 2009


fly me
diamonds are
it's too darn
see the pyramids
cept for me and my monkey!
hush little
of angel hair
lady is a tramp
green eyes
to fix you
lucy in the
blackbird singin
belong to
but you're just
turn me into somebody loved


It's funny how snatches of songs conjure up the entire verse, or song... the above list goes from jazz to coldplay to beatles to random artists...   I just read a bit of e. e. cummings and feel unconventional.  

I wonder how it would be to change your entire name to lower case letters, and if cummings ever did it officially. Probably not.  
s. e. littlefield.  Kinda like it.  Except littlefield is a bit long.
stacia e. l.    Except now I'm a slimy fish.

I saw the mother of one of my show choir girls today at church, and it took me a second to place her.  Has it really only been a month since the Mann days?  After church I saw their whole family, including the girl.  weird.  Wonder if it was weird for her--to see Miss Littlefield in the summertime.  Not that she'd see me again anyhow, even if I went back to Mann; she'll be a 9th grader this fall.  Maybe that's what got me on this name kick--I must have heard "Miss Littlefield" several million times this past year.  Well, 100,000 at least.  :)  

Miss Littlefield can I go get a drink?  Miss Littlefield I need a pencil (27x a day).  Miss Littlefield my throat hurts.  Miss Littlefield can I go to the bathroom?  Miss Littlefield the teacher let us out late so we're not tardy, right? Miss Littlefield I hate worksheets Miss Littlefield why are we singing/writing/doing this Miss Littlefield there's only three, two one weeks left! 

Miss Littlefield are you married Mrs. Littlefield (so often) how old are you Mrs. Littleton (yup) can I change seats??  Can I change seats today?  Now? Tomorrow?  Miss Littlefield he swore at me Miss Littlefield look at the bruises my Dad gave me Miss Littlefield it was his fault he pushed me Miss Littlefield she kicked me Miss Littlefield can I write on the board Miss Littlefield this is your new student, his name is Buddy (plush pink bear) 'Welcome, buddy, nice to meet you--here's a worksheet.  Make sure he writes his name, ok?'

Buddy did very well in class.

Teaching.... way too much for this post.  I had better leave it to another time.  in it, Time is crammed full, close to exploding, and each day is rich in anecdote and exhaustion and growing people. 
do I even want to do it again?    Very divided...

set up chairs each day
scrape white to words on the board
listen talk learn teach?

a little haiku for ya.  Would you believe it, I have another paper to stop procrastinating about now!  (hehe will I even write when I finally finally graduate?  procrastination is just such a marvelous literary tool!)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Switchfoot and music

Wish I had what I needed 
To be on my own 
'Cause I feel so defeated 
And I'm feeling alone 

And it all seems so helpless 
And I have no plans 
I'm a plane in the sunset 
With nowhere to land 

And all I see 
It could never make me happy And all my sand castles 
Spend their time collapsing 

Let me know that You hear me 
Let me know Your touch 
Let me know that You love me 
Let that be enough 

It's my birthday tomorrow 
No one here could now 
I was born this Thursday 
22 years ago 

And I feel stuck 
Watching history repeating 
Yeah, who am I? 
Just a kid who knows he's needy 

Let me know that You hear me 
Let me know Your touch 
Let me know that You love me 
And let that be enough 

My sister and I traded a bunch of music a few months ago, and I discovered this song.  Neither of us knew who wrote it; it was just in a random playlist.  But ever since I first listened to it (maybe...March?  April?), it captured the essence of so many things that are 'me' now.  I didn't even know it was Christian--thought that the "You" in the last verse was just another family member or friend.  
But today when I googled it (I was trying, unsuccessfully, to have it play on my blog), I found out that it was from an early Switchfoot album!!!  And I'd listened to that album a lot, back in the day (or actually when I started getting into Switchfoot and then listening to their older stuff, too), but that song had never stuck out.

It's interesting to see what speaks to you now, and what is simply saved until a more auspicious time.  That's why the same things are still new, and perhaps why we don't have to fear growing old.  Because there is still wonder--mercies are new every morning.

I love how a simple song can capture so much.  It seems like the great musicians never shied away from simplicity--the familiar I IV V vi (ooh!) V I.  And yet there is so much creativity there.

They also reach far beyond the regular progressions, but it isn't forced... they have the creative maturity to handle weird and wonderful things like French 6ths.... unlike when I was taking Music Theory and tried to force the new chords I was learning into songs I wrote.  Just stilted and weird.

I guess it goes back to the right time.  We need to be content with where and who we are now, with what God is doing in and through us.  This isn't embracing stagnation, but instead lifts burdens of misguided expectations.  Which goes back to the song-- 

let me know that You love me, and let that be enough.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

A new small group

I visited a new small group this week with a few friends, and had quite a reaction to it.  I don't want to make this post into a cynical diatribe, and I don't want censure anything to which I've only had a one-time exposure.   SO I'm going to stick strongly to what I felt, emphasize that they're initial reactions, and hopefully give them some grace.  Rather, give him some grace.

I say 'him' because it kind of seemed like a one-man show.  To be fair, I think I just had different expectations, and came from the background of other small group that are discussion based.  I vaguely agreed with the leader's conclusions, in part because they were so general (we must be in Christ, and not just say a sinner's prayer to be saved, we ourselves must be found in Christ), but quite a few things that he said on the way to those conclusions rubbed me the wrong way. 

For example, he frequently mentioned how we can't trust our minds, how they are wicked and corrupt.  He even alluded to the uselessness of professors/theology/books, etc, because you need to go right to the source--Christ.  The Holy Spirit is our teacher (format: talking at us a while generally, reading I John 2:6 to the end of the ch, talking at us almost verse by verse, taking a couple questions at the end.).

He rejected the idea of spiritual seasons: eventually, you will come to a place where your spiritual walk does not change.  Other things may change, like your job, living situation, etc., but God does not change, and you will comprehend his rock-like faithfulness.

He also said 'brethren' a lot.  There were a lot of brethren in the room, but there were at least 4 or 5 'sistern' too.  :)  Ok, maybe that's a little unfair.  The passage lent itself to that kind of talking, speaking to the "old men" and the "young men".  I've gotten spoiled with my TNIV translation--I had "old men" and "young people" and "dear children" instead of "little children."  
Before any gentle reader jumps to nazi-feminist conclusions, maybe I should add my view about the whole gender translation thing--in a nutshell--
I don't think you can get around the idea (I would even say perhaps, the truth) that language affects thought.  What you read shapes you, from the ability to reason, grasp concepts, and enlarge your world and perspectives.  This places importance on how gender is translated.  If the Greek means anthropolous (sp??  it's been a while), then:
1.  Your audience (all of it) needs to recognize that it is MANKIND--male and female
2.  It should be translated as 'people'.  Or something to that effect.

I think that people take it way too far, even changing the lyrics to some hymns (I heard a horrid example of trying to change a verse in "Holy, Holy, Holy," because it said, 'though the eye of the sinful MAN thy glory may not see," which is such a fabulous verse and my favorite).  And the whole he/she thing is just a mess.  But when possible, I think there is value in ensuring that everyone really does know that it is mankind, not male.

One more thing--it may be valuable to recognize that we're coming up against centuries of patriarchal dominance in theology, and so it's not simply a matter of clarifying language and the thought processes behind it, but perhaps even reversing some of it. 

And just as a woman, I find that it does make such a difference to see 'people' and even, when I'm just reading the Bible, substitute 'women,' 'her,' etc. for the masculine.  More personal.  It also keeps me from letting men take all the heat--they meant me, too! :)  

So there you go...I'd be interested to see if the above views qualify me as a feminist or what different denominations would think of them.

Back to the small group leader--like I mentioned above, I did agree with some of his conclusions--of course God is our rock and is unchanging.  But of course our spiritual walks change!  I mean, I see what he was getting at; it is valuable to have consistency with your habits of drawing closer to Him, and in the process of maturity, there are some things that you take more and more for certain--e.g.  I do trust you, you do love me, I will live to glorify you.
But WE change, and it seems like at every turn, those same foundational beliefs are questioned and put to the test and re-learned in a newer, deeper way.
What would a person in a season of doubt, who can't hear God even though they are longing to, feel about his statement?  
He said something to the effect of, "Don't let scholars or people tell you that there are spiritual seasons, ups and downs."  That made me wonder if he had ever been in a serious relationship, romantic or otherwise (he is recently married...I wanted to meet his wife, but didn't get a chance to.  I always want to meet people's wives.  It's interesting).  Of course there are ups and downs, seasons of breaking apart, seasons of rebuilding, seasons of seemingly-distance, and seasons of close intimacy.  

And that leads me to the point where he seemed to really contradict himself:  throughout the night, he said hundreds of things that were of himself (not from a book, not directly from the Bible, but just his thoughts offshooting from... whatever).  He did this with all the forwardness and authority of one who was telling the gospel truth.
Yet at the beginning of the night, he cautioned us that whatever he said, and whatever any preacher might say, was not to be taken as automatically from God, but that you needed to ask God yourself what He was revealing to you.  And ok, I'll give you that.  But not to the extent that you should reject the insights of those who have devoted their lives to studying the Scriptures.

It was the classic 'just read the Bible for yourself.'  Take it for face value.  But without taking into account that you are a product of your generation and of those who came before you--you are reading it through the filter of the Reformation and American culture.  And by studying theology or other pastors' sermons or listening to professors, perhaps we can be aware of our own biases and learn more.   In contrast, the leader mentioned how he had refused to read a certain theology book because he was learning from the source--the Holy Spirit--and knew that he wouldn't get anything out of it.

Anyhow, to wrap things up, I wasn't sure how to respond.  Apparently I hold an equally pompous position of thinking that I know exactly what's 'wrong' with him, and am much more enlightened.  And it is interesting that we did have a few vital things in common--e.g. being open to and listening to the Holy Spirit.  Not being satisfied to simply listen to sermons, but striving for direct intimacy with God (kinda like Glenn Packiam's series on "Secondhand Jesus").

But I just saw so many things that are so stereotypical, especially in...ok I'm going to unfairly slaughter a label here...the evangelical community.  That leaves no space for cross-cultural awareness.  Or women in leadership, frankly (heck, we're saved through childbearing, right? Paul says so!). 

And I'm not sure how to respond.  Do I cowardly go back to the groups of people that agree with me?  Post a blog in safety, pretty sure that most of the people who might read it are also on the same page?  

Or do I continue to go to the group with the mission to enlighten them all (how prideful is that??)?  

I was going to ask a few pointed questions couched in gentility, e.g. "What do you think of seminary?  useful/useless?"  and " You mentioned quite a bit that the mind is wicked and deceitful...How do you feel we love God with our minds?"  But then question time was over.

But I really don't know how to respond.  There was some value in what he said, and some people seemed to get a lot out of it.  Maybe it was what they needed to hear--maybe, at this point in their walk, they need someone to be 'god' for them and led them through what to think (even though he was telling them not to, he seemed, at every turn and in every mannerism, to be setting himself up as the sole authority on Scripture).  WHO KNOWS!!

Now that I've gotten some stuff out and have come to this happy conclusion, I need to read and go to bed.

Monday, June 22, 2009

ramblings...mostly music and those crazy Greeks.

Man, how do you start a blog?  I suppose I'm starting mine in keeping with my long tradition of procrastinating papers by blogging.  Today I'm putting off a summary/reflection of Plato's "Symposium"  and Petrarch's "Secret Book" (I have no idea how to apply them to a discussion of education anyway).   And besides, after you write papers you rarely remember them, but after you write a blog it often continues to shape you (now there's a commentary on education for you).

enough with the ( ).  

I think I'll just have fun with this post and not really turn it into any certain subject, unless one especially presents itself.   

Things on my mind:

traveling Africa Aaron going to South Africa people in Burundi missions TCKs outreach Taiwan changes memories 
story vs truth, story and truth, story = truth
how I learn so much more about truth from Madeleine L'Engle than I do from science textbooks or any textbooks 
how facts can get in the way of truth 
are all TCKs postmodern?  
everything connects
i'm such a hippie

maybe truth is like music --reaching out across the perfect measurable expanse of math and science, 

then enmeshing itself in philosophy and literature when math/science demand a theology, an outlook on life (for they do, so people tell me), all the while innately being an art form, even a spiritual exercise...

knitting the psyche, body, and mind together...

the singing cosmos.

Those Greeks, chasing after their beautiful boys and Socrates with his endless questioning (wonder if anyone ever slapped him to shut him up), with all the wisdom and damage they imparted on Western thought, are redeemed by that crazy concept.  The planets and universe are moving in perfect order that creates song simply through their harmony.

Sing to me of the song of the stars.....  the morning stars sang for joy.... 

What is it about stars?  And singing?  Rob Bell mentioned that he would talk about singing and worship in a few weeks, and I was so happy and thanked God for Mars Hill.  :)

Not that I'm a singer myself...I'm not.  no false humility here.  I sing and I love to sing, and do it quite frequently (consciously and unconsciously), but I'm more of an instrumentalist at heart.  Or something.  It's strange, even though outwardly my life seems so logically outlined, I feel like I fell into this degree, this line of work.
Yeah, I majored in music education, took voice and piano lessons, and am now going to get my license in K-12 music (but really can teach general or vocal music, not band or orchestra).  and I'm applying to music educator jobs.  

But that profession feels disconnected from me, like a job that I'll do for a few years before I actually get into what I'm supposed to do.  It was a toss up my senior year between education and seminary.  I feel like God really has led me to where I am now, the way everything worked out with much prayer along the way.  And this IS my life--I'm in my 20s and am living--I can't wait until a certain event or milestone to mark when I truly embark on my life.

Seems that God greatly values the mysterious and the art of weaving a story together; I believe the Talmud says that God created people because God loves stories.

And so it follows that God births seeds of dreams in our hearts that take different forms when sprouting and growing--maybe we never truly know what they will become.  Or, if we want to take it back to music, perhaps he writes a song one note at a time.

he apparently is not afraid of dissonance.  

But every crazy chord eventually resolves, and we're told never to be afraid.

It all comes back to love, as always.  God doesn't just love stories, God loves us.  Only then are things alright... then maybe we can actually get serious about the commands not to worry or fear.  

Love binds all things together in perfect harmony (and makes everything sing).