14 April 2006

Middle Eastern food on a Good Friday

I just got back from stuffing myself at Cafe Aladdin. My friend, Becky, and myself enjoyed a very timely middle eastern meal there. It seems appropriate to be eating middle eastern food on an Easter weekend. I had coupons for free pastries for dessert, so we got to try something I can't pronounce but that looks like an elongated hay bale doused in honey. Yum!
Last night Rita and I performed at A Woman's Perspective. This is a series of ongoing events by women artists for women. There are performing arts, visual arts, writing, hand skills like spinning yarn, other things like that. You can take classes; you can go to exhibits; you can go to programs. It's pretty neat. I didn't really like the theme this year, though. It was A Woman's Perspective on Mother Nature. I kind of felt like they were going for some weird pagan theme or goddess worship or something. It's interesting to see a room full of writers, performers, and dancers interpret this theme, though, because there really wasn't any of that at all. Some people talked about the nature of mothers, some people talked about environmental issues; we talked and danced about the naturalness of middle eastern dance--how it is made for a woman's body and how it is "noninjurious" (i like that word). Rita also wrote about how what is mesmorizing about the dance--how a dancer can be very powerful and skilled, but until she lets go of her power and becomes vulnerable, she won't move you. You won't be transfixed.
I thought this really paralleled a lot of the themes in a book that the women in our Bible study read recently. It's called "Captivating," and it is all about what it means to be a Christian woman--how God sees us, how we see ourselves, and how this all effects our relationships and effectiveness. They did some profiles in this book of really powerful women--and what made them that way. And it is a weird, weird dichotomy, because what makes powerful women powerful isn't just their power, it is their vulnerability. It takes strength to be vulnerable. It takes strength to have the guts to let down your guard, to let people in, to show parts of yourself.
I find this fascinating. Because I think it is true. Every powerful woman who impresses me has this balance between power and vulnerability. If you have only power--then you are an angry person. You are a neo-nazi feminist. You are mean. You are hard. If you only have vulnerability, you are weak, you are insecure, you are co-dependent. But if you have both of them together, you have a really pungent force. A system of checks and balances.
I think that is why we have men and women. One is not good without the other. Woman and man were to "help alongside" one another--to draw one another out, to sharpen each other, to challenge each other, to protect each other. Both have value.
So, this is what I was thinking about last night when one of the artists was doing her interpretation of the Queen of Sheba meeting King Solomon that lasted about 20 minutes longer than it needed to.
Proverbs 31 has a tall order for what makes a godly woman godly--a profile of a woman that we should all try to emulate. One of the verses has always stood out at me:
She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
There you go again--strength with vulernability.
And, by the way, foot fettish guy was NOT at the program, thank goodness.
Onto another subject--technology.
I have once again jumped into a new area of proficiency in my burdeoning knowledge of gadgets. Today I did my first text messages. My brother texted me this morning, I can only guess, from the seat of his tractor. He wrote me a horrible message filled with all of the words I can't stand. So, I wrote him back some even grosser things. This continued for quite awhile. Mostly, I was delighted that I figured out how to work the text messaging on my phone. I felt like a gadget geek for just a moment.
I know, I know, most people in the world already know how to text message. But just let me enjoy this moment.
Anyway, I think I must have won the grossout war because I wrote something very disgusting to my brother about someone we used to know, and he did not write back, I can only guess, because he was traumatized. I win.
Tonight Billy and I ride home in a five-hour car ride with dogs to our hometown. We will be there for a few short days and then drive back. I always in the past have expected it to be very relaxing. I now realize there is no way it is going to be relaxing when we have two whole extended families to visit with and a lot of people's expectations to meet. I like going home, but it is never the time of sitting on my laurels like I usually fantasize it to be. So, I am only going to bring one project with me this weekend and NO books. I have finally realized there will be no time for reading. One of the fun things about being home is that the dogs get to frisk around the farm unleashed and unfettered. And when we come back, they usually sleep for about four days straight because they are so tired. And that is fun for us.
Last night we had the first spring rain shower--with lightening and everything. Is there anything that smells better than the breeze after a spring rain? They should make a perfume that smells like that amazing dirt/ozone/humidity smell. I love it. It feels like an exfoliant for my soul--for my bad moods, for my irritability, all left over from the winter. It's great.
I am currently working my way through reading the book of Revelation in the Bible again. I have read this book probably more than any other, and the meaning of it is still often lost on me. Luckily, I remembered that I had taken a class on it in college, so this morning, I pulled out my old notes and dove in. And the symbolism actually started to make sense again.
So this morning was about the church in Ephesus. Ephesus was a great working church. In other words, they did a lot of humanitarian type work--work for the community. But the thing they were lacking was "their first love." I have heard this interpreted as their religious zeal from when they were first "saved"--when they had first come to a point of faith in Christ. What my professor was saying in this class, and what I believe, is that the point of that phrase "return to your first love" has more to do with a purity of devotion to Christ rather than a return to some emotional religious fervor. The point being that Ephesian church was very good at doing good works, but they were allowing some false teaching and some relativism to creep into their theology--thereby losing their full devotion to Christ and to the truth of scripture. I think that there were a lot of parallels between the Ephesian church and the church of today. There is a lot of relativism creeping into our teachings, into our worship, into our attitudes--often when we don't realize it--and sometimes when we do realize it. We would rather surround ourselves with teachers who "tell us what our itching ears want to hear" rathern than tell use the hard truths. And we are losing our devotion to Christ--to his teachings, to the Truth. Food for thought. I can relate to the church in Ephesus.
I wish you all a sunny, bright Easter full of the Light of the Good news of Christ's resurrection and the hope that his salvation has for all of us! And I wish you a big chocolate bunny, too.


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