Tuesday, October 28, 2008

BookJournal :: bookfest!

On Saturday morning, my mother and sister and I loaded up our car with those wonderful green fabric Woolworths bags and drove to the Rotary Club bookfest not far from here. I'm guessing they have a couple a year, because we went last in May, but obviously their book stocks are far from being depleted.

There are seriously few things more fun than digging through piles and piles of old books. But I wasn't completely well this particular sunny morn, so I found the whole experience slightly more overwhelming than usual. Also: prices were too expensive! Oh lovely Rotary people, if only you realised: you would clear so many more books out from those death-trap towers of boxes if you just reduced your prices!

Nevertheless, we found some treats, and then when we had spent all our money, we found ourselves in a kind of overflow room which was highly disorganised and yet was full of wonderful non-fiction. I found three wonderful books I wanted to take home -- my favourite finds of the day -- and the lovely older man with the adorable accent (I remembered him from May and I think he remembered me) offered them to me with a discount and a compliment, both of which were delightful.

So now I am happily dipping into Meet the Authors and Illustrators volume 1. I was given volume 2 years ago, and have devoured it over and over. I'm pretty sure it's meant as a resource for grade school teachers, as an accompaniment to literature studies. But to me it's like fairyland -- profiles of sixty different children's book authors (many of whom I love) with stories of their childhood, tales of their inspirations and motivations, and details of their writing processes.

I am a process person, completely fascinated by how others go about their creative work. This is, quite possibly, why I love reading craft blogs so much; they provide an insight into the mind and workspaces of very clever people. And seeing how and why others do things is probably the biggest inspiration I can grasp hold of. It just makes me want to make stuff!

If you are even remotely similar, I think you'd love this book. Plus: there are cool writing prompts based on the authors' works or suggestions. And plus plus: I discovered that Elizabeth George Speare (one of my favourite authors ever; she wrote The Bronze Bow) loves Ellis Peters (one of my other favourite authors ever). This information makes me feel like I have good taste.



Beth -- I can definitely, definitely relate to your comment. It's funny, but when the Word or prayer seems driest to me, I'm tempted to let it slide. Crazily, that's the time when I really need it most, so why would I give it up?

Staish -- Thank you for your pixellated intervention! Introspecting ceased.

Meaghan -- oh, I'm a rebel from waaaay back :). And re. your other comment: yes, I can definitely relate! There are few words that quite fit those times.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Beware the double-minded [wo]man

Sometimes the all-or-nothing tendencies that want to run rampant in the creative parts of my life get me confused. One teeny example: yesterday I was fed up with the sheer paltryness (may have just invented a word right there) of my own writing and was ready to vow never to let another word see the light of day -- unless I was sure to the millionth degree that it was the most right, most perfect, most impossible-accurate-to-the-point-where-it-gives-you-shivers word for the job.

Today, I am thinking about signing up for NaBloPoMo, a method guaranteed to provide quantity of words but not necessarily quality.

What is wrong with me? Oh to be sure and stay sure!



Staish -- Yippee!! Manly Mousse Date!! *gulp* Oh my! I hope my little memory didn't put scarifying thoughts into your mind :Z.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Flashback Friday :: the great bubblegum sting

Hello again, Flashback Friday! Did you think I had forgotten you?

When I was seven years old, I had two best friends. Jenny was five months younger than me and in my grade. Sam was five years older than me and in grade six. Practically a grown-up.

Sam was like the big brother I conjured up in imaginings but never actually had. He let me join in on his big-guy conversations with his pals, and he sought me out to say hi and talk with me about stuff. On my seventh birthday (a clown party), I rode home on the school bus and Sam followed all the way, pedalling madly on his bike. That's how cool he was.

One day, though, my friendship with Sam got me into trouble.

At lunchtime, Sam unzipped his parka -- one of those magical puffy affairs with dozens of secret pockets inside -- and opened it out to show me what was inside. It was exactly like you see the watch smugglers do on cartoons. Only Sam's secret pockets weren't lined with watches but a different kind of contraband instead: bubblegum. It was expressly forbidden at school.

I felt partly like a devious co-conspirator, and partly plain-old sneak. Sam told me not to say anything and I could have some gum after school.

We didn't make it that far. In the middle of afternoon lessons, when we were all sitting cross-legged on the floor -- it was a one-room, one-teacher school and all the grades studied together -- the principal came out.

"It's come to my attention," he said, "that someone has brought bubblegum into our school. We know who is responsible. Sam L, please come and stand here by me."

Stumped, Sam went and stood by the principal while most of the other students gasped.

"Anyone else involved in this, please come and stand here also."

I watched as the grown-up boys slowly got to their feet. Daniel went and stood by Sam. Andrew joined them. Then, awkwardly, I made my way out the front, too, and stood in that line of tall boys.

I don't remember what the principal said after that. I don't remember what our punishment was. I don't remember if we found out who spilled the beans. I don't even remember if I got a piece of the promised bubblegum.

All I remember is the ignominy of standing there, like the condemned smuggler I was, and the mingled look, half fear, half awe, beaming out at me from the faces of the other little girls as they saw me standing there -- a small girl among the big boys. I was one of them.



Beth -- who's afraid of the big bad Cecil?

Caitlin -- isn't mail great? (I have such a giant stash of letters saved from you -- your should see it sometime!)

Staish -- Manly! Pizzeria! Let's go sometime!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The List of Good on a Wednesday

I've been thinking a lot today about home-based industry, trying to earn money through the arts, and how all of it fits in with the Current Economic Crisis*. I haven't come to any sensible conclusions -- so far all I'm sure of is that jobs most likely to survive a meltdown would involve selling food and selling televisions, the two staples the western world seems unable to live without -- and I'm tempted to gloominess, so instead I present you a list of the Good Things about today:

i. Eighteen pages of handwritten loveliness all the way through the air from Kansas right to my mailbox. In this day, when the Art of the Letter is dying a slow death with every gratuitous LOL and G2G, they are even more precious. I think it was John Donne who said, 'letters mingle souls.' It's true, you know.

ii. Strong breezes and grey clouds coming up off the bay. Yes, the gentle warmth is lovely and it makes me feel like Christmas is coming (it is), but sometimes I just hanker for a good storm. And clouds and wind are just as delicious.

iii. Fish and chips consumed on polished wooden benches, with the tangle of a million masts in the marina for view.

iv. A giant-sized scoop of chocolate mousse with real chocolate and cream and chocolate sauce in a little plastic cup, all for $3.50.

Not bad for a Wednesday, I say.

*(A note about this Current Economic Crisis: I'm sure if we called it the CEC, and considered it as an abbreviation of Cecil, we wouldn't be quite so scared. It's hard to be scared of anything called Cecil).



Abbie -- Every new little thing that the munchkins do is like a little discovery -- and it just gets more and more fun as they get older! It won't be long and you'll be having big long conversations with that little nephew of yours :).

Bethany -- they just get more and more amazing and intriguing the older they grow!

Caitlin -- Hooray!! We are the Super Aunt Society, I do believe.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Weekend XII :: of small people and their delirious aunt

I spent this weekend down in New South Wales indulging my auntness.

I used to squirm at the word aunt. It's so... inept. It makes me think of elderly spinster women living together in dim houses, staring intently at their crochet work through tiny round spectacles perched on their sharp little beaklike noses.

And niece and nephew? Just as awkward. Those two words don't begin to describe the amazingness of knowing that this tiny laughing girl and this little sleeping koala of a man in a tiny blue Bonds suit are a part of my family, for now and forevermore; that, even though they're not mine by the laws of parentage, they are mine in a small way by the wondrous claims of aunthood, a claim I am determined to exploit to the uttermost.

I hope this kind of coolness is one that I'll never get used to. I haven't so far; things just get more fun as the kiddies get older.

The little wombat that is my niece is seventeen months old now -- not a baby any more, and suddenly busting out with hilarious and random interactions that prove she understands pretty much everything that's going on around her. She's enamoured with her new little brother. When baby gets up from one of his (frequent) naps, big sister's little fish-mouth starts working in a bizarre kissy motion and she's not content until she's planted a little smooch on the fuzzy round head.

She also loves books, which makes me all kinds of happy. "Wanna read a story?" I say. "Yeeeeah!" she says in this little American accent that she's picked up from nowhere. So we read. Mostly Miffy but sometimes A to Z Down on the Farm and occasionally a lift-the-flap book whose single repeated word is 'Peekaboo' ('Rhubarb,' anyone?). It's fun, we finish, and then she says "Mmmmore?" We read some more, and I am perfectly content. I am working on getting a reputation as The Book Aunty as well as The Crazy Aunty.

The little lad is turning into a pork pie. In the five weeks since his grand entrance into oxygen, he's gained a solid kilo. It's all chub, and it's adorable. I think it makes him snugglier, for he's very good at snuggling. He's also good at looking at the world through big deep blue eyes and contemplating life as a (very likely) redhead. I look forward to discovering his thoughts on the subject in the years to come.

Babies are super. Now to return to the real world and wrap my head around editing.



Sarah -- yes, definitely get some Piper into you! At first his books feels like hard work (well, they did for me) but then his words grow on you. So much meat!

Staish -- Spurgeon is da man.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

BookJournal :: marriage advice to singles?

My aunt's recent blog post discusses how a single woman can benefit from reading a book about being a wife and mother. I laughed when I saw her post: I'd just begun reading Carolyn Mahaney's Feminine Appeal myself.

And I must confess that when I hit the second chapter, 'The Delight of Loving My Husband', I groaned. So little of the way into the book and I'm already up against something entirely irrelevant to my life just now? But my obsessive-compulsive streak kicked in and I determined to read through the chapter, rather than skip it so early on in the piece.

I was glad I did. Mrs. Mahaney's advice on loving a husband slotted right into what I needed to hear just then about loving the people in my life. Any relationship founded on Christ, whether it is a marriage partnership or one of casual acquaintance with the other kids at Bible study, must be motivated -- and dominated -- by selflessness and a desire to serve. I was mired in a selfish cycle of thoughts, most of them to do with how I wasn't getting anything out of certain friendships in my life. Ugh.

This quote from Spurgeon was particularly cutting:

He who grows in grace remembers that he is but dust, and he therefore does not expect his fellow Christians to be anything more. He overlooks ten thousand of their faults, because he knows his God overlooks twenty thousand in his own case. He does not expect perfection in the creature, and, therefore, he is not disappointed when he does not find it.

So there you go, Aunty Nell! This single girl's only two and a half chapters in and already learning some powerful stuff.

(The rest of you go check out the post; the list of benefits you'll find there is much more general -- and therefore more relevant -- than my little moment).



Bethany -- sounds like a great sermon series to watch! When I Don't Desire God was like manna to me when I was reading it; definitely what I needed to learn.

Damian -- I'm always nervous about coming across like a creepy stalkerperson, too :), but then I'm usually blessed when someone else with some nerve leaves a comment or message. I look forward to keeping in touch with your Christ-walk through your blog.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Taggishness :: favourites and other things

Many many moons ago, the lovely Bethany tagged me for this foray into favourites. I give you fair warning: I can never pick favourites. So this will, instead, be more of a first-thing-that-comes-to-mind or a reflection on my current favourites than my all-time, forever and ever best beloveds.

Who is your favourite author and why?
Let me give you about a million -- or six. I love John Piper for his wisdom and godly coolness. I love Elisabeth Elliot for her commonsense amazingness. I love Rosemary Sutcliff because her flawed characters are always easy to love. I love Ethel Turner because her little Australian people are just so beautiful, and they offer an amazing insight into upper-class Australia of a hundred or so years ago. I love Ellis Peters because her characters are as awesome as Rosemary Sutcliff's. I love Gene Stratton Porter for the pure deliciousness of her words.

(and Dickens! and Angela Hunt! and Laura Ingalls Wilder! and Ivan Southall! and SE Hinton! The list could, quite possibly, be endless)

What is your favourite book?
Again, there are too many to list. Let me offer one from each of the authors I just mentioned:
John Piper's When I Don't Desire God
Elisabeth Elliot's Passion and Purity
Rosemary's Sutcliff's The Lantern Bearers
Ethel Turner's Little Mother Meg
Ellis Peters's The Scarlet Seed
Gene Stratton Porter's Keeper of the Bees
(oh, and The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare needs to be in this mix, too)

What is your favourite Bible verse, passage, or chapter?
These always change depending on what work God is doing in my life. Currently I've been clinging to many of the most basic Scriptures -- the promises of His unconditional love and salvation, the reminders that it's all Him and none of me.

What is your favourite animal?
I know it will pain some of you, but I'm really not an animal person. Shall we rephrase it to Favourite Living Thing Other Than A Human? In this case, it would be my little water bamboo plant, Bambi.

What is your favourite girl's name?
These always change, too, and -- probably quite happily for any possible future children -- I tend to use them up on story characters. Just now, one of my favourites is Aspen.

What is one of the silliest things you've done?
Taken a great running leap to swing from a semi-detached palm tree branch. I'm sure you can imagine the rest of the story.

What is your earliest memory?
I'm tempted to say "womb surfing", but I didn't make that up myself. I remember lots of things from when I was about four or five: my grandfather driving a ute (with Santa in the tray) onto the street where we lived; my uncle giving me a little yellow Care Bears suitcase; our dog Jasper jumping all over me and licking me half to death; crashing my bike in the middle of the road and being paralysed with fear when I saw a car coming.

I'm not going to tag anyone because I'm so late in chiming in, but if you feel this out, do share your link because I want to read it.



Staish -- mm, Jerry Bridges! I may have to request a loan when I am finished with the current mammoth pile of books I have of yours. (Looking forward to tomorrow evening! xox)

Melody -- it's amazingly encouraging knowing someone else can relate. I've heard of that book; I'll have to look out for it. Finding my identity in Christ is something I could learn a whole lot more about. *hugs*

Sarah -- it's so lovely to be in contact with you in this way! I'll add your family blog to my sidebar so I can keep checking back. And, oh, leave loooong comments whenever you want: they make my day! (especially if we're discussing books) Isn't Laddie delicious? It's one of the best EVER. And are you liking Freckles? It's delightful, too, in a very lovely Porter-ish way.

Beth -- your blog post is in my favourites for when I can stop and read and digest. You can expect a comment when I'm done! Thank you so much for sharing that.

Caitlin -- oh yes; I love the parcel man, too! I hope your day was delightful!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hope built on nothing less (or mine should be, anyway)

Last week was a busy one. Busy hands, busy feet -- and busy mind. Curiously, although it seemed strangely detached from what was actually going on round about, the mind stuff was the most exhausting of all. I (repeatedly) came up against something I've struggled with a lot during the past eighteen months: insecurity.

In this day of self-esteem and self-talk and, yes, self-infatuation, insecurity has become a word that we all hear a lot but don't always understand. It may be something different to everyone. For me, it manifests itself in a complete lack of confidence which undermines my ability to make decisions, be courageous, welcome new experiences, and even interact with others. When I am feeling insecure, I want to become a hermit. (Seriously.)

Moving from Western Australia to Queensland early last year launched me full-speed into this journey of insecurity. I had thought, before, that I was a secure, capable, confident woman. What I didn't realise was that I felt secure, capable, and confident -- mostly because I was surrounded by people, places, and a lifestyle that was familiar and comfortable. Moving to an entirely new state, a new city, finding a new church, and having no regular form of income -- it stripped me down to myself, and I realised there wasn't a lot there. I had become my home, my friends, my church, my money (however little of it there was), and my lifestyle. With all of that taken away, I felt like a shadow.

God has used this season -- and continues to use it (more than conquerors, anyone?) -- to remind me that the only true security is God-security. Even knowing ourselves, having "self-confidence" or a good concept of our own "self-worth", is not security. It's empty and as vain as a puff of wind. If I cling to any of that, then a bad hair day or a thoughtless word spoken in anger can shake me from my settledness.

At a Bible study a little while back, the very wonderful Anastasia challenged we little handful of girls to write who we are, without defining ourselves by our work, our appearance, our family, our history, our possessions, or our roles. It was incredibly thought-prokving (not to mention hard!), and it reminded me yet again how much of my identity tends to be wrapped up in what I do rather than who I am -- or, more importantly, whose I am.

Last week, slopping around in the mire of identity distraction, God used some amazing lyrics to help me re-focus. I walked into the room where my sister was sewing (the grey cloud over my head was almost visible by this time), and this was playing:

I'm not the clothes I’m wearing
I'm not a photograph
I'm not the car I drive
I'm not the money I make

I'm not the things I lack
I'm not the songs I write

I am, I am, I am who I am
I am who I am

There are true things inside of me
I have been afraid to see
I believe, help my unbelief

Would you say again
What you said to me?
I am loved I am free
I believe, help my unbelief

I'm not the house I live in
I'm not the man I love
I'm not the mistakes that I carry
I'm not the food that I don’t eat

I'm not what I’m above
I'm not my scars and my history

To your love I’m waking up In your love I’m waking up

There are true things inside of me
I have been afraid to see
I believe, help my unbelief

Would you say again
What you said to me?
I am loved I am free
I believe, help my unbelief.

(JJ Heller, True Things)

It all comes down to two things: we are loved and free in Him, and to seek our identity or security in anything other than this truth is unbelief. I want to remember this. Lord, help my unbelief!


  • Happy, happy birthday, oh lovely Caitlin!


Beth -- hooray for literacy indeed! (Scooting over to read your response to the meme now...)

Caitlin -- books that are challenging to the point where it hurts sound super. I must read me some Jerry Bridges!

Staish -- :) you make me feel like my little words aren't just going out into the great void of the interwebs. You are awesome!

Bethany -- nooooo! You could never sound like an idiot! I thought that a meme was simply a little thingummy that the blogging world has bred. But according to Wikipedia, the concept extends far beyond blogging and refers to any idea or behaviour that can pass from person to person. With regards to the internet, it mostly denotes a little survey-ish type form that is passed from person to person to share ideas on a similar theme. Since most memes are kind of self-centred in tone, I pronounce it me-me :), but the real pronunciation is, I believe, closer to 'meem'.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

BookJournal: a very meme beginning

Sorry to have gone all Quiety McQuiet on you this week here at the blog. It's been a busy one. I have been studying, working, making, talking, reading, planning, updating, socialising, risking, worrying, learning, and even a little unwell.

Because my head is elsewhere, I cling today to that beloved lifebelt of the blogger with an empty imagination, the humble meme. Today's meme has a purpose other than simply taking up space in your feed reader, however: it's the beginning of a beautiful new thing, the first of a bunch of bookish discussions I want to have with you all. I was thinking Thursday would be a great day to talk books -- but they might slip in anywhere -- and I'm starting with The Great and Wonderful Book Meme:

What was the last book you bought?
Hmm. This is a hard one (particularly since I've been poor superawesome at not buying books lately). No. Wait. I've got it. It was The Guardian of the Veil by Gregory Spencer.

Name a book you have read MORE than once:
There are many, with the Bible being at the top of the list as a constant re-read. Little Women is also a biggie. I probably read it ten or twelve times between the ages of ten and twenty.

Has a book ever fundamentally changed the way you see life? If yes, what was it?
I'll steer clear of the obvious answer here and mention a more unlikely life-changing book. L'Abri, by Edith Schaeffer, gave me a whole new insight into the concept of community and relationships within the body of Christ. It was pretty cool. I think I need to re-read it.

How do you choose a book?
If I'm at the library, I'll take a chance on a book based on its title and the blurb. Sometimes I'll pick one up if it has a really cool cover. But mostly I go with books others have recommended to me or authors whose books I've loved previously.

Do you prefer Fiction or Non-Fiction?
I couldn't decide! I read more fiction, because it's delightful and so easy to read. But non fiction has definitely impacted my life in greater ways than (most) fiction.

What’s more important in a novel - beautiful writing or a gripping plot?
Neither; the characters are the most important.

Most loved or memorable character:
I don't like "mosts" and "favourites" because they change too often and one could take hours to decide. So I'll play the first-thing-that-comes-into-my-head game and say Daniel, from Elizabeth George Speare's The Bronze Bow. I could identify with him heaps and would also like to marry him as he was on his way to becoming a great man. Too bad he's fictional.

Which book or books can be found on your nightstand at the moment?
My little ESV.
Postern of Fate by Agatha Christie.
The Chosen by Chaim Potok.
Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney.
Did I Kiss Marriage Goodbye? by Carolyn McCulley (reread)
Solo by Eugene Peterson et. al.
God's Guidance by Elisabeth Elliot.

Yes, I'm in the middle of them all. Ridiculous, isn't it?

What was the last book you’ve read, and when was it?
I'll say last book finished, since I'm in the middle of a few just now: The Guardian of the Veil by Gregory Spencer, and I finished it at the end of September.

Have you ever given up on a book half way in?
Heaps of times. It's disappointing, but usually I quit because a) the content is worthless, b) the writing is incredibly poor, or c) the book is not right for just now.

What are you reading just now?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Monday meme :: poetry

monday; the forecast --
a high pressure system
hovers off the coast.

thoughts gather:
grey thoughts,
cluttered thoughts,
bunched together in storm-size strength.

lightning strikes;
a piercing electric current
of worry

tension mounts;
the climate rises.
the air --
thick, suffocating, humid --

stop a while;
stop and dip your fingers
in the cooling stream
of living water.

[prompt here]



Staish -- sometimes you wonder. But the cool thing about God (correction: one of the many cool things about God) is that He won't let us languish in ignorance or misinformation. It's so relieving to know that we can stumble along and yet, 'He is able to keep [us] from falling'.

Abbie -- thank you for your encouragement!

Anonymous -- there is definitely a fine line between the extremes of putting God's provision to the test and refusing to trust Him at all. How good to know that He also makes provision for our weakness and guides us to a better understanding of His ways (and, as a result, our responses) through the Word and the Holy Spirit.

Meaghan -- it's very cool. I would be mental without that knowledge! No, I haven't seen the movie; you'll have to let me know what it's like if you watch it! xox

Friday, October 3, 2008

P.S. I Love You[r Comments]

A big shout-out thanks to Beth, Sarah, Staish, Abbie, Caitlin, and Meaghan for joining the Wednesday discussion about causing love to happen vs. loving others and then seeing what happens. Go read their comments because they make for good thinking matter.

I wouldn't have minded if some of you disagreed with me, but it was strangely heartening to find that all of those who took time to comment are essentially on the same side of the fence; heartening in a purely personal way because it's usually in trepidation that I send my little thoughts out into the world of interwebishness -- (does anyone even believe the same things any more?) It's encouraging to know that there are a few who do -- just as it keeps us on our toes to be in discussion with those who don't. That way, we continue learning.

This whole concept of trusting in God for love rather than trying to crash into it ourselves is a pretty precious one to me. As a single woman in my late[r] twenties, it's tempting to look over the past and think, "What have I done wrong?" Others ask the same questions. Am I too fat? Too skinny? Too small-town-girl? Not assertive enough? Not holy enough? Not Proverbs-31-Jennifer-Hawkins enough?

Every now and then, the insecurities can become overwhelming. Are the in-your-face girls the only ones who become brides? Perhaps we're hanging too hard on to old-fashioned mindsets?

Yesterday I was pondering this subject some more. There are all sorts of answers from all sorts of perspectives. But, ultimately, I ask: how does grace fit into the picture?

Everything God has done for us in the realm of eternity is flooded over and dripping with grace. If He chose to bestow the dual gifts of eternal life and fellowship with Him in one gigantic act of unconditional grace, how can we assume that lesser gifts will be characterised by lesser grace? He did not call us to be "good enough" for salvation, or to work our way to its end. Is He going to hold out on offering the gift of marriage because we're not "good enough" or not working hard enough, either? Our Lord is one of grace.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Looking for love in all the right places?

If you've been reading my blog for a little while now, you'll understand that I love Boundless. So the following jumble of thoughts is in no way a bagging out of a ministry I respect just about as hugely as is possible. I may respect John Piper a little more than the folks at Boundless. Yes, yes. I believe I do. But Boundless is definitely tops.

However: I am a little disappointed by Thomas Jeffries' recent blog post, Delivery Not Included.

He addresses an issue he calls a variation of the "Yeah, but..." syndrome, a concept that puts the blame for the high percentage of single young Christians fair and square on the singles themselves. Jeffries speaks of God's sovereignty,

Yes, it's true that God is in control of your destiny. Yes, it's true that God can cause that special someone to happen across your path. Yes, it's even true that God can have Mr. Right parachute into the remote jungle village in Borneo where you've been serving as the only English-speaking missionary for the last 10 years. Yes, it's true that God can do anything He wants.

But then says:

That said, how likely is it that He will make sure every Christian who wants to get married will experience an unscripted meeting with just the right spousal candidate at just the right time?

He follows with an analogy from his own life:

I'm reminded of my (slightly) younger days, back when I dreamed of success as a rock musician. The bands I played in were for the most part filled with talented musicians, singers and songwriters, but we never experienced the success that leads to lucrative record contracts or nationwide tours. At least one reason for this is obvious: We didn't make ourselves available to the right people. Sure, we played at a few local clubs and recorded a decent-sounding demo, but we never performed our songs for well-connected promoters or music industry executives.

Mr. Jeffries goes on to say that many single Christians are approaching their search for a mate in the same way by not putting themselves in the right places for romantic success:

You may have lots to offer as a spouse, but if the only times you leave your home involve work and the grocery store, then your odds of meeting a potential mate are greatly reduced. If you've never been willing to be "set up" by friends and family, then perhaps it's time to make yourself available. If you live in a rural community where the only single man at church is a World War II veteran, then you might want to reassess whether it's the right place to be if marriage is important to you.

My biggest concern with this post is the underlying attitude it seems to imply. I believe Thomas Jeffries to be a godly and faithful servant of Christ. However, read on its own, his post seems to suggest that finding a marriage partner is the one single goal of life. The implication is, that if you spend too much time in your own company, you'd better get out more to increase your chances of finding a spouse. If you live in a small community populated mainly by elderly folk, maybe you should move.

This has it all backward.

We should get out more not because we want a husband but because Jesus told us to shine like stars in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (Phil. 2:15). We move to a community (or church) not because of the vast numbers of eligibles there but because this is where God has called us to show love and service.

The New Testament has little to say, specifically, about finding a mate. It has a lot to say about pursuing love from a pure heart and loving people as Jesus did. This has less to do with creating a blissful romance with a special someone and more to do with laying down our lives for the people we are surrounded by now.

Moving from church to church, social group to social group, and town to town in pursuit of a mate seems to me to be desperate at best and self-serving at worst. Ultimately, a marriage is for here and now only, just a portion of our three score years and ten or maybe more. Relationships founded on the love of Jesus endure for eternity.

And it's not a proven fact, but I tend to think that anyone who is pouring their life out in selflessness is bound to "get noticed" by a person of awesomeness somewhere along the way.



Beth -- oh do, do enter!

Meaghan -- well said!! We could never cram all our many conversations onto the page! Oh, and I'll bring the Twitter updates back, just for you :).

Staish -- :D

Sarah -- commenting on blogs most certainly counts!
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