Dear Modesty Blog Posts

Dear Modesty Blog Posts,

It’s over.

I will not be reading you this year. I have a list of things I am going to do, and there’s just no space on it for slut-shaming, guilt, and women objectifying women. Last year I spent too much time crying and trying to explain that I’m not all “women should get to wear nothing and no one should care!” That posts like you paint a better picture of beliefs hidden deep in our hearts than what is hanging in our closests. And it’s not very pretty.

Also, my daughter is walking now. There’s just no way I would be able to stay on top of you. I’d get lost somewhere between how thick my tank top straps should be and why it’s okay for you to talk about women like they’re food items or objects. So, this is a break up letter. It was fun (I guess?).

Additionally, I just can’t fill my heart with that stuff anymore. It makes me angry, and if I’m honest, I’ve gotten a little prideful, a little annoyed. I need to fix my gaze somewhere else.

So I’ve decided I’m going to do something different with my time this year. I’m going to read about what Jesus actually said about women. How he treated them. How he talked to them and about them. I could be mistaken, but I don’t remember his first concern being how they looked.

Instead of getting angry about how the church treats women, I’m going to spend some time amazed by how Jesus treated them.

Instead of trying to raise a hue and cry about how wrong we’ve got things, I’m going to rejoice about how right Jesus got them.

And instead of judging everyone I see this summer based on how much or how little clothing they wear, I’m going to try to look at them like Jesus would. I’m going to try to look at myself like Jesus would.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from growing up Christian, it’s that I still have so much to learn. Thank God for a gentle, meek, and gracious Teacher who always tells the truth.

In short, I don’t really need you anymore.

Lindsey

Join me? Let’s just say no to the modesty blog posts and yes to everything Jesus says about us.

an album review and a giveaway

jtffca

It’s no secret how much I love folk-pop duo Jenny & Tyler.  This isn’t my first blog post about them, and I’m sure it won’t be my last.  Since I started following Jenny & Tyler’s career during my sophomore year of college, I have been amazed with each new album they release.  This is why I am so excited to share with you that their new EP, For Freedom will drop on 11/12/13, and you do not want to miss it.  For Freedom is a covers EP that Jenny & Tyler have created to support organizations that fight human trafficking.  That’s right. 100% of the proceeds from the sales of this album will go directly to the fight for human freedom and dignity. 

Aside from its great purpose, For Freedom is a fantastic album.  With covers of songs by U2, Coldplay, Louis Armstrong, and The Postal Service, you’re bound to love at least one of the tracks on this album and to find yourself singing along with most of them.  Jenny & Tyler have picked songs that shaped them as artists, and they pay tribute to them in a fun, unique, and musically interesting way.  From the guest vocalists peppered throughout the album to the virtual choir of over 300 voices, this album is a fun and engaging listen from beginning to end.

My favorite track on the album is We Will Become Silhouettes, originally by The Postal Service.  I found myself listening to this one over and over from the first time I listened through.  It’s faithful to the original but feels fresh with Jenny & Tyler’s unique perspective– basically what every good cover should be.  David’s favorite is Simon & Garfunkel’s The Sound of Silence.  They released this song about a year ago, and it quickly climbed the singer-songwriter charts on iTunes.  It’s haunting and beautiful, and it includes Jenny’s excellent clarinet skills.  A few other tracks worth mentioning are their cover of Dreams, my favorite Cranberries song–perfect for loud driving sing-alongs; What a Wonderful World, with a special appearance by their sweet baby, Jane, and I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, the track that features both Sara Groves and the virtual choir (is it fair to say I sang with Sara Groves?).

I think I’ve mentioned almost all the tracks, but while you wait with bated breath for the 11/12/13 release date, you can check out Jenny & Tyler’s website for the full track list and for explanations of why they chose the songs they did.

Also, I love this album so much I’ve decided to give a copy away to one of you– as a thank you for taking time to show up here on occasion, because I believe in what Jenny & Tyler are doing with this album, and also because it’s just so dang fun to sing along to.  So, first, scroll up and make sure you’re following this blog, then follow this link (a Rafflecopter giveaway) to enter to win a copy of Jenny & Tyler’s For Freedom EP.

This contest is only open to residents of the US and Canada.  Contest runs 10/30/13-11/4/13.  Winner will be notified via email within 48 hours of the contest end.  If the winner does not claim prize within 24 hours, a second winner will be chosen.  Questions should be directed to lindsey.writes.words(at)gmail(dot)com. This contest is sponsored by me. 

Ten Weeks of Tuesdays: Hope Not Wasted.

It was inevitable, really. If you’ve been anywhere near me, or even if you’re my friend on Facebook (which most of you are), you’ve  gotten an earful about Derek Webb since I went to his concert last weekend.  Sorry about that. Except not really. His was one of the best concerts I’ve been to in a while.  But that’s what I expect from D-dubs.  So, obviously, I’ve had his stuff on repeat for the last week-ish.

“It’s hard to keep from giving up

It’s easier to just close up your heart.” 

Last week, I wrote this post about not running away.  I was a little dissatisfied with myself, because one of my biggest struggles these last few months has been what now?  How do I go back to being a part of Christian culture without buying into the stuff that just. isn’t. true? How can I integrate what I’ve learned into my life?  It’s hard.  It seems a lot easier to just try to go back to the way things were or to walk away entirely.

It’s hard to trust in anyone

It’s easier to just fold up your arms. 

Preach, Derek.  I think this has been my response of choice.  You know what I’m talking about?  I’ll be here, but I won’t like it. I’ll participate, but I won’t really.  I’ll show up, but I won’t volunteer any details about myself. I’ll protest with my indifference. I’ll withhold myself from you and you won’t even know what you’re missing. It’s hard to open yourself up again, especially if it was Christians that hurt you the most. I get it. I really do.

It’s hard to keep on showing up

It’s easier to run away from home.

I love extreme reactions. You don’t have to know me very well to know this.  I love things. I hate things. And I decide pretty quickly which it’s going to be.  When I was right in the midst of getting my world shaken up, I tried to have discussions with other Christians, and about 1% of them turned out well.  The rest ended up being complete disasters. (Lindsey, what was that you were saying about extreme reactions?)  People didn’t know what to DO with me, so it was just easier to run away.

Even now, chances are, I’m going to be the one with the unpopular opinion, and for whatever reason, we really, really don’t like it when other Christians disagree with us.

Is the church broken? Yes. Do Christians make hhhhuuugggeee deals out of things that don’t matter? Yes. Are there things about church that annoy me? Yes.

Is this body of believers, this broken place filled with broken people my home? Yes. Yes. Yes.

I belong there.

And it’s my pride that wants to close my heart, fold my arms, and run away.  It’s my pride that wants to tell my own story rather than God’s story. It’s my pride that tells me that “going it alone” and perpetual dissatisfaction is the only way to honor the growth that God has brought in my life.  It’s my pride that says that the church is beyond the kind of restoration and insight that God, in his grace, gave to me through suffering and crisis.  It’s my pride that forgets that all of this– the last 3 years of struggling and crying and learning and growing– is grace.  I didn’t arrive here (where exactly?) because I’m super smart.  It is what God has done.  It’s all grace.

And like Derek said at his show, you can’t tell both stories.  You can’t tell the story of your own indifference, hopelessness, and pride while telling the story of God’s redemption and ultimate shalom.  You have to choose one. You have to choose what story you’re going to tell with your life. You have to choose what story you’re going to tell yourself. Especially on the days when it’s easier to close your heart, fold your arms, and run away.  Telling this story is harder, I know that.  I’m feeling it every. single day.  But it’s true.

Everything is going to change 

And nothing’s going to stay the way it is

One day you’ll wake and the curse will break

And even you won’t be the same

Your hope is not wasted on the day

When everything will change.*

*Everything Will Change, Derek Webb

P.S. Check back tomorrow for my first giveaway! 

FYI (if you’re the Hall boys’ mom)

Dear Kim,

I have some information that might interest you.  Your post (FYI: If You’re a Teenage Girl) broke my heart. Because I can’t help but imagine the way that the shaming words you wrote pierced the hearts of the girls you wrote them to.  And I know how they felt because I felt that, too. I grew up in a church that used shame to get girls to dress, act, and think the way that girls are supposed to. And so, I feel like I have to tell you something that I wish as a woman you already knew: Shame doesn’t make women whole.

I also feel like I have to let you know that I think I agree with you on a lot of things: I don’t want my daughter posting pictures like that of herself on social media one day.  I think it’s wonderful that you encourage an open dialogue with your sons about their use of social media and that you encourage them to be wise.

I just think your post could have been so much better.  I think that instead of shaming these women (because if you’re going to call your boys men, let’s call these girls women) in hopes of changing their behavior, you could have talked to them about their value.  Instead of warning them that they won’t be “good enough” for your sons,  you could have helped them think about the kind of women they want to be.  Instead of threatening to block them from being your son’s friends, you could ask them to coffee.  And instead of writing your post with an air of condescension, you could have been careful to ensure that you communicated love and concern.

I love that you asked questions, but your post doesn’t offer these women a safe place to answer them, all it offers is shame. Shame that they posted the pictures, shame that your whole family saw them, shame that you have decided they are no longer worthy to be your children’s friends. If you want to block them from your sons’ social media, that’s definitely your prerogative as a parent (and possibly wisdom), but it’s not the reason that what they’re doing is not what’s best for them.

And I guess that’s what I wanted to say to you the most.  The primary offense here is not against you. Or your sons. Or your family social media surfing time. It’s against God and against his image in another person.  Your words are so clouded by your offense that they don’t offer much healing, even though it seems like you honestly meant them to at the end of your post.

Kim, I don’t mean to attack you– I just see this as evidence of a bigger problem in the Church. We want immediate results and we want good behavior, so we do whatever we can to get those things as quickly as possible.  Unfortunately, we all suffer because we are more concerned with good behavior than what a person believes.  Let’s be mothers that raise children who think carefully, honestly, and biblically about what they do and say and who see and value the image of God in themselves and other people.

Favorite Things Friday

This afternoon, while I was sitting in my cube, eating a strawberry, I decided that I would start something called “Favorite Things Friday.”  I’ve just made it up, so I get to include whatever favorite thing I’m enjoying at the time.  Music. Books. Recipes. Hair Products. Kitchen Appliances. Etc. I can think of no better way to kick off Favorite Things Friday than with some FREE MUSIC by a duo that is very close to my heart.

Meet Jenny & Tyler

I started listening to Jenny & Tyler about 2 years ago.  They agreed to come play a few shows at our college, and I fell in love with them and their music.  Over the last two years they have not only been a favorite band, but they have also become friends.  Em and I recently had the chance to hang out with them in Nashville.  Soon, they will be releasing a new album, and rumor is it’s going to be WONDERFUL.  In anticipation of this release, they’re GIVING AWAY their most recent album, Faint Not and it is PURE. GOLD.  You can get their CD at this link: http://bit.ly/wpvPx5.

In addition to that, they’ve covered Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence,” and it’s available on iTunes. This cover is also PURE GOLD, and all proceeds go to fight human trafficking. you can get “The Sound of Silence” here: http://bit.ly/xLV8X4.

As long as I’m going link crazy, you can check out their website here: http://jennyandtylermusic.com.

Go treat yourself to some honest, refreshing, encouraging music written by two godly, passionate people. Go. Treat Yourself. Thank me later.

Happy Favorite Things Friday.

Bad Things Happen: A Super 8 Movie Review

As a seminary couple, we’re on what some might call a tight budget.  And by some, I mean everyone, and by budget, I mean “avoid spending money at (almost) all costs.”  Groupon has been like a dear friend to us since we still like  to go on dates.  Our most recent purchase was four AMC movie tickets for $1/each.  Can’t beat that. That’s only like 4 loads of laundry or 1 gallon of gas, so we can swing that.

The other night, to celebrate the fact that David finished up his summer classes, we hit an AMC near us to see Super 8.   After debating at the concession stand and coming to the conclusion that spending $16 on popcorn and soda would cancel out the awesomeness of $1 movie tickets, we found some seats and settled back for what we hoped would be a satisfying summer movie experience. Were we ever wrong.  If you haven’t seen the movie and you want to, consider this your spoiler alert.

As a devoted LOST fan, I expected too much from Abrams, I guess.  Some of you might bring something up about this being a tribute to Spielburg or something, but I really don’t want to hear about it.  Calling a dish of brussels sprouts a tribute to someone doesn’t make it any less smelly or more tasty.

Moving along, let’s talk about the story.  As far as I can tell, this whole thing was mostly about an misunderstood spider trying to get his legos back?  There were some kids making a movie too, and…dogs?  The dogs were probably my favorite part of the movie because they were the only smart ones.  About 15 minutes into the movie, all the dogs in the town being terrorized by said angsty spider/alien run to safety while we are left to watch as the humans take an hour to realize that the dogs were on to something.

The movie isn’t all bad, though.  The train wreck that begins the alien invasion is a work of cinematographic art.  Furthermore, the kids are great comic relief: both from the “suspense” and from the disappointment you might feel when you realize that yes, the scary monster really is just an angry giant spider who will be appeased by the deep, deep words of one 14 year old boy. “Bad things happen…but you can still live.”

And that’s it.  That’s all it took.  Spidey, who normally snacks on humans, releases the boy from his grip (apparently he lost his appetite), reclaims his legos, rebuilds his spaceship, and heads home.  Maybe the next time someone’s terrorizing y’all’s neighborhood, you can just try that line on him.  It’ll probably work.

I was expecting this movie to be at least a little bit suspenseful, but the rising action didn’t seem to lead to anything, and the movie just sort of fizzled out for me.  I was a little disappointed that we wasted our movie tickets on this film, but at least we got to laugh a lot on the way home.  If I were you, I’d save your money and rent this one with a bunch of your friends when you run out of other things to mock.