Archives for category: culture

I really like to make bulleted lists of things I’ve done. So here’s a little snapshot of my time in SoCal:

  • 2 carne asada burritos
  • an afternoon in balboa park
  • 2 trips to the beach
  • worshiping at ACR with Julie–we raised our hands during the Nicene creed
  • meeting a very important man and eating exotic ethnic food
  • breakfast and laughter with an insightful friend
  • quality time with my brother-in-law
  • lots of 24. too much, in fact
  • return of the stabbing chest pain. crap.
  • lots of movies: It’s a Wonderful Life, the Dark Knight, Under our Skin
  • laughing in the sunshine

I really expected a siren of San Diego to be calling to me to move out there and it just wasn’t. I’d love to live there one day, but VA is home–for now. It’s where I belong, it’s where God has [comically] led me and kept me and I’m going to stick around for a while longer. Maybe the beach will be next on the list. We do have to move to live near water, mountains, friends. For now, I have friends near and I am happy.


if you’ve known me for any length of time, you know i have church angst. I was raised in a diverse cluster of churches that would make Brian McLaren proud–and me feel schizophrenic. i joke (with the right people) that my family is the circulatory system in the body of Christ. Here is a brief list of churches I’ve attended for 3 months or more:

  • Missionary (Baptist-ish)
  • Vineyard
  • United Methodist megachurch ala WillowCreek
  • Messianic Jewish
  • Reformed Episcopal
  • Charismatic Non-Denom
  • Baptist
  • Anglican
  • Presbyterian

in a crazy turn of events, i’m currently working with someone who aligns herself with the charismatic tradition and simultaneously joining a PCA church. the juxtaposition is striking and funny.

it’s really interesting: i vacillate between great pride and great shame for my own personal church history. i went to a huge missions conference a few years ago and the leadership tried to make the worship time as inclusive as possible and i knew most of the songs and prayers and readings: black gospel, old hymns, 80’s worship choruses, new passion stuff, etc. i know the 1928 Book of Common Prayer communion service, but i can also dance the hora and sing the sh’ma in hebrew and jump around with the charismatics. *wry smile*

however, i don’t have any denominational loyalty and my theology on the less-important issues is really confused. What do we do with Israel–are they still God’s chosen people in any sense? Can I stay a pan-millenialist and not think about end times?   Does God still do miraculous healings, or was that just for a specific time and place?  How many sacraments are there?  Is baptism a symbol of joining a covenant or a sign of becoming a believer?  What about baptism of the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in tongues–is that for everyone, or just a few people?  What about the rest of the gifts: for some, for heretics, for the faithful?  How much does my faith impact my quality of life?  What does suffering mean–is it discipline, God refining me, God punishing me?  What is communion–snacktime or the very body and blood of Christ?

And besides these theological questions, I have odd worship preferences: What if I’d like to raise my hands and say the nicene creed?  What if I like all the earmarks of the emergent church with a little more stable theology?  Can I ditch the movie clips and still take a culturally-relevant sermon?  Am I allowed to cheer about most of the reformation and still want my worship space to be beautiful and speak of transcendence?  I know that no church is perfect and that I’ll probably never feel truly at home worshipping til I get to heaven.  (I also realize this all sounds terribly arrogant)  Anyway, that’s a little window into my church angst. I’m excited to join the PCA in three days.  It’s all a little crazy, though.

r: “where are you girls going?”
j: “to a denison whitmer show in arlington”
r: “oh yeah? what kind of music do they play?”
j: “he’s a singer/songwriter–mostly indie folk”
r: “eww, folk. i could be on board for the indie, but no folk”
j: “have you heard of Sufjan?”
r: “who?”
j: ….
r: ….?
j: “have a nice evening!”

No, thanks.  I just read an article from Wired called Twitter, Flickr, Facebook Make Blogs Look So 2004. The article encourages people to stop writing blogs and to just post videos and blurbs on facebook and twitter. ugh.

I’ve had a blog since fall 2004 and I really enjoy having a creative outlet. maybe other people don’t think in monologues, but I do, and I love being able to get the words just right in a forum other than my journal. I’ve thought about blogging a lot: is it inherently narcissistic? is it just adding to the noise and drivel on the internet? is it creating a false sense of knowing through an impersonal medium? hmm, maybe. and yet, here I am. I feel like there are too many things to be written about and I am glad that technology has given me the opportunity to post a few words in a place where dear friends can read them. Also, if I am adding to the noise and junk on the internet, I’d prefer to do it with complete sentences rather than with awkward fragments on Twitter.


i like country music. i’m a little ashamed to admit it because if you meet me in the right context, i can wow you with my indie cred. i like to be all arrogant about how the Photo Album is Death Cab’s best. i saw Sufjan Stevens at the pabst theater and cried. i can part my hair so it completely obscures one eye. hip. emo. whatever.

but i like country. a lot. my ipod got stolen a few weeks ago and i’ve been fairly content toggling between country, rock and mix radio, going really heavy on the country. i used to hate country and for a long time i was ashamed to be a farm girl. only recently have i come to realize what a rich heritage i have and contrary to what i thought growing up, an area with lots of [agri]culture. my distain for this twangy genre changed to respect one misty night in michigan when a dear friend introduced me to a dixie chicks song. i was hooked. now here i am, listening to pop country on the radio. i haven’t bought too much country and i barely know who are the artists i like, but i’m learning. a friend helped me to see that country songs are compelling because many of them tell a story. i’ve compiled here for your pop country education a short list of songs that are catchy, clever, and heartwarming: my favorite songs from the radio over the last year or so. most of them have links to youtube videos for simplicity but the videos are sometimes weird or cheesy or high school slideshows set to music, so for best results just open it in another tab and listen. I hope you enjoy these. I’m going to go put on some chucks and dark eyeliner now.

Where the Green Grass Grows – Tim McGraw
Amarillo Sky – Jason Aldean
International Harvester – Craig Morgan
Holler Back – The Lost Trailers
Baby Girl – Sugarland
Born to Fly – Sara Evans
Who I Am – Jessica Andrews
Bbq Stain – Tim McGraw
Cleaning this Gun – Rodney Atkins
Cowboy Take Me Away – Dixie Chicks

this part is real:
girl: “so what do you do in your free time? do you have a job?”
boy: “no, i don’t really have time for a job. i spend too much time drinking beer and playing video games.”

and, just so you men know, this is the girl equivalent:
boy: “So, are you into dating and making out and that kind of stuff?”
girl: “nah, i don’t like doing that because i’m too busy knitting and picking at my pimples.”

A: “I wanted to celebrate Rosh Hashanna by throwing stuff in a river, but I just don’t have time”
B: “You could celebrate Ramadan instead by eating a lot and smoking”

well, i saw it. i wanted to see it in theaters at the beginning of the summer, but i didn’t have a willing accomplice and i knew all that sex would be bad for me–i figured watching it at home i’d be more able to flip through the bad scenes.

first: things I liked. it was great to see all of those clothes. also, there was a fantastic exchange between Carrie and Miranda:
M: Why did you flip through the Vogue–today of all days?
C: Because I’m an emotional cutter.


As for the movie overall, I’m a little cheesed off. I had ill-defined expectations, so I can’t say it was or wasn’t what I had in mind.

*plot spoiler ahead*
Stupid Thing #1: At the end of the movie, when all the stuff is said and done, Carrie got both her feminist i-can-make-it-on-my-own-and-don’t-need-no-man ending as well as her fairy tale one. she got the romantic proposal on one knee and the resolution that she didn’t need marriage–that she was just fine without it. it makes me sad, really. Stupid Thing #2: Carrie’s advice to Miranda to not use logic and instead to get back with her husband based on emotions? really sad. Stupid Thing #3: Samantha decides that her relationship with her man (who was the most unbelievable character of all) is not worth any sacrifice or giving up any of her time and energy. it’s like commitment is not really an option, except for charlotte, who walks the line and gets everything she wanted and she’s even happy all the time. i guess that’s the theme of the movie: do what makes you happy. buy designer shoes, have sex with who you want, forgive when it’s convenient, marry if you want–but don’t make a big deal out of it. i sound like a slamming writer from focus on the family. guh.

I can’t criticize Carrie too much. I enjoy the show in spite of my values [it was my guilty pleasure when I lived in Madison to watch it on weeknights]. I mean, look at me, right now, i’m writing monologues about my relationships and just today i bought a new pair of shoes (my shoe spending threshold is around $30, not $700), but, man, i wish she was giving a little more hope. i feel bummed out after watching this movie. it had a feel-good ending with India.Arie and everyone getting what they wanted, but I feel like it’s not really believable. Miranda, Charlotte, and Carrie are now all happily married and samantha is happily promiscuous–at 50. where will they be in another 10 years? it’s just not sustainable, especially with vows like, “I will love you”–what does that even mean?

i was talking to my friend (the DC-is-a-dude revelation friend) and she said, “I just wish there could be a show with 4 women who go out to eat and talk about relationships according to what the Bible says. it would be a great way to absorb truth” i guess i’m longing for some good art that is compelling and speaks the truest truths of the universe in a language we can all understand. I want romantic comedy that’s good for the heart. I mean, romance is at its core the story of the gospel and commitment speaks of God’s love for his bride. It’s not bad to want a good love story. I just want one that’s sustainable, good for the soul, and reflects real love. Any ideas? I’m going to go to bed now and I’ll wear my new shoes tomorrow.

thanks to SG for most of the good ideas in this post.

i love ideas.  this concept is really fascinating to me and explains our collectively fractured interests and tastes in the last 20 years.  just click on the picture and read the article.  it’s great.

I was slurping pho with my friend on Saturday and we were speculating about our futures and where we’d be in a few years when I mentioned my favorite metaphor for Washington DC.  My relationship with this city is like dating someone I don’t really like.  An overly self-assured late 20/early 30something.  Someone a little like Ryan from the Office.

You see, DC always seems to be on the defensive, trying to get me to prove myself.  Oh, you think you can park here?  no, you’re wrong.  Did you want to cross the city between 5 and 7?  no, you can’t.  You wanted to merge into my lane of traffic?  I don’t think so.  I know i’ve written about this before, but DC is no place to rest.  It’s a place for striving, for showing how competent and fast and self-assured you are.  DC doesn’t take no, or even later, for an answer.

More than this, DC is not a city I’m sure I want to commit to.  I mean, he looks good to people back home–successful, hard-working, polite enough, but, really, I don’t think I want to spend the rest of my life here.  It’s not him, it’s me.  but it’s also him.

In conclusion, DC (and by extension, NoVa) and I have a tenuous relationship.  I’m glad to be together for now, but I’m not sure how long it will last.  after it’s all over, i know we’ll be able to just be friends.