WWVD? 9 Beautiful Life Hacks from Voltron, Legendary Defender

The new Voltron (Netflix) blows my mind. I never saw the original (ahem, Thunder Cats), but 30 years later with my own kids, I’ve been longing for cartoons with solid stories and, uh, steady volume. We even blocked a few “kids” channels since so much was like junk food.

But Voltron-Legendary Defender has been a revelation. Rich story lines, deep and diverse characters, 23 glorious minutes of adventure and self-reflection.

One day my little had a meltdown about biking to school. We were running late so my eldest had to bike ahead. I hated separating and spontaneously called out, “What would Voltron do?!”

That got me thinking, so here’s my top 9 Voltron – Legendary Defender Life Hacks for a little fun and encouragement.

Continue reading “WWVD? 9 Beautiful Life Hacks from Voltron, Legendary Defender”

Busting Religion: Why I Let My Kids Play with Ninjago, Elsa, Anna, Batman…

In February I got an email from my kids’ school to be alert for “trends and hypes.” All parents were encouraged to give extra thought to the cartoon figures we let our children wear or bring to school, via bags and lunch boxes. My kids attend a school that identifies as Christian, so we knew, in addition to extra singing/music, bible stories and praying, there would be attention to avoiding really frightening stories, or stories of witchcraft, zombies, etc. But this email called out Elsa, Anna, and even Superman. Uh, What??

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The Fourteenth Day: An Obscure Prophecy That Might Give Everything Purpose

I’m a bit bible nerdy and instead of skipping over peculiar texts, I sometimes dwell on them. It’s a quirk I’m trying to appropriate so here’s my take on a text you probably never heard preached in church: The fourteenth day.

It appeared during Moses’ instructions to Israel before the 10th and final, most gut-wrenching plague. Every first born was to be killed and this plague sparked the Exodus from Egypt.

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The Torch and Oven: A Christmas Story You Didn’t Hear

Christmas is a time to enjoy cozy lights, sweet treats, and Dutch gezelligheid – a wonderful word without pure translation, but roughly: nice/comfy/friendly/cozy- ness.

Some think of “baby Jesus,” or making everything just right, and still others wish to fast forward through the season. Holidays can be painful for some so I want to share a verse I’ve never heard at Christmastime which may give hope, especially to any who’ve ever been oppressed. Or maybe it gives more perspective beyond the baby in a manger.

Continue reading “The Torch and Oven: A Christmas Story You Didn’t Hear”

If God Was a Bear: “Brave” & Rebelling from Love

Disney’s Brave touched my heart like Frozen, but deeper. In Frozen we glimpse sacrificial love and our divine identity, but Brave touches something deeper: the reality of our love-hate relationship with God.

Merida, a fiery and fun-loving princess who wants to live on her own terms (who doens’t?) runs up against traditions that oppress her spirit. Her mother tries to prepare her for all the ways and responsibilities of a princess, including arranged marriage, but the pair are losing their minds and each other.

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A Rebel Christian Manifesto…or, Apology

This has been an extra hard post to write and share. The danger in revealing something of your heart is it becomes open for ridicule, but it can also spark hope in someone– do people know how loved they are!? So I write knowing some identifying as Christian will dispute, just like I dispute the Nashville Statementplease don’t think that speaks for me, other humans, or those  identifying as “Christian”, or even God *Himself

Religion can steal/steel compassion and common sense, resulting in misinformed, cruel statements, actions, policies. But bible verses have always been used against fellow man, woman, child, even the environment.

Even the devil quoted scriptures.

 

 

(*I use He and His as simple pronouns for God but fully recognize God with male and female “identity” -for lack of a better word- as demonstrated throughout the bible and blatantly through humanity. Related post here.)

So for those not wanting anything to do with God or “Christians” because of those calling themselves “Christian,” and to stand (or, ahem, #takeaknee) with rebel Christians who’ve been persecuted and pushed out of churches for thinking, doing, or flat-out being something “different,”

And for every child, woman, or man that heard your voice doesn’t matter because of your age, skin color, gender, marital or parental status, anything external,  and for every creature and all nature that was abused under the notion that those made “in the image of God” are superior, this is for You.

REBEL CHRISTIAN MANIFESTO, or APOLOGY

Dear Children, little brothers and little sisters, You are the Mightiest Warriors of all.
Your heart, ideas, dreams and very life matter, not because of anything you do, but simply because: You Are. We are humbled by you. You’ve gone through fire because of the grave failings of our own adult hearts (Proverbs 17:3), and our grief is bottomless. (What are these tears God wipes in heaven if there are no more tears there? Maybe the ones we cry when we see just how much you’ve endured on our behalf…)

child heart - adult heart - as we grow let our compassion grow too
All heaven will bow before you. Thank you for your willingness to exist in this time with us.

Dear Women, Sisters, “Equal but with separate/different roles” was a lie spoken over you like “separate but equal” was spoken over those with darker skin color before you. You ARE equal to your brothers and your value rests not in your (in)ability to birth or raise children, to cook or clean… Your “role” was never meant to be defined by society, culture, the church, or anyone. God has always challenged our perception and understanding of identity and contrary to popular belief/practice, your giftings and talents were never supposed to be checked at the door when you came to a church service.

Continue reading “A Rebel Christian Manifesto…or, Apology”

Tower of Bible: All that “Law” but Where’s the Love?

How do we have the bible in every language and version (e.g. NIV, NKJV, ESV, NASB, …), study guides, teen/mom/soldier/woman/early reader styles, Comic Bibles…. and still miss the main message?

love-your-neighbor-as-your-self-even-if-they-are-lgbtq-or-refugee-or-muslim-or
Translation: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Jesus) “And if they are a refugee or gay?”… or Muslim or Mexican, or Republican….?  Jesus: “Is there something wrong with your ears?”

I didn’t know I owned so many bibles–granted, I’m a self-proclaimed recovering pharisee so I shouldn’t be surprised, but it wasn’t until a friend visited from a country where being Christian is a crime and her daughter longed for a bible, that I really got thinking.

Continue reading “Tower of Bible: All that “Law” but Where’s the Love?”

Submissive God? 3 Bible Verses Exposing Mankind’s Freedom that May Blow Your Mind

If God really existed, why is the world so wrecked? And if *He is so “good,” how could He let those things happen to me…?
(note: I use He/His as pronouns for God but fully recognize God with male and female ‘identity,’ for lack of a better word, as evidenced throughout the Bible and the human race. 2-pt post here if you like).

Just one look at the suffering and oppression in this world –not just against people, but all creation– and it’s hard not to stumble on belief in a good God. But blaming (or denying) Heaven for all the woe ignores our God-Given freedom to destroy everything just fine on our own.

God is waiting for the miracle-save the world-justice-love-JasNotes-authorunknown

Hands can hurt flesh, and mouths can speak death, yet we rarely see God grab someone mid sentence, or mid swing. And if He did intervene every time we exercised our freedom, would we really be free?

Continue reading “Submissive God? 3 Bible Verses Exposing Mankind’s Freedom that May Blow Your Mind”

The Last Wall: How Our Hearts are the Last Border to Break

Our lives have been marked by boundaries: the boundary of the womb, the boundary of the crib, the boundary of the skies…  and we push these walls, kicking against the dark in the uterus, climbing out of cribs, dreaming of flight and touching the heavens.

It seems like all boundaries–from the glass ceilings to the Berlin Walls, were meant to be destroyed…

Breaking Berlin Wall.jpg

But some of the greatest walls rest in our Hearts.

Continue reading “The Last Wall: How Our Hearts are the Last Border to Break”

Racer X Like Jesus [Part 2]: Life with Passion and Purpose, Speed Racer Style

(warning, movie spoilers!!)

In Racer X like Jesus (Part 1), I shared how you can hear from God in unexpected places: timely counsel from a neighbor, that special song in the store, the wisdom of your kids, the breeze on your skin.. I got unexpected lessons from Frozen (5 Lessons I didn’t See Coming), so an encounter in Speed Racer should’ve been no surprise.

But once your spiritual antennae are up, movie dialogue touches deeper than simple script. Here were 6 gems I pulled:

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Racer X like Jesus [Part 1]: Love, Sacrifice and Justice, Speed Racer Style

I believe God can be found anywhere, from the breeze on your skin, to the wisdom of your kids. Sometimes He* makes surprise appearances in a theater or a Justin Bieber track (post coming!) and my latest encounter was during the Speed Racer film.

The more I watched Racer X, the more I thought of Jesus, and the more I watched Speed, the more I thought of myself. Racing is a great metaphor for life–tension, time,  passion, power— and every ‘Speed Racer’ can use a ‘Racer X’ in his corner…
[warning, spoilers!]

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Jesus: Homeless Refugee ‘Moocher’, Not Welcome in Today’s Church?

You know the story of the guest pastor who visited a church in shabby attire, unshaven and maybe even unshowered? Churchgoers sidestepped him and certainly didn’t seat him at the front, so imagine their surprise/shame when he got up to give the sermon.

It’s a good example of the authenticity of our Love, and while Love shouldn’t be swayed by sight, any flesh and blood wrapped in labels like “Refugee” -“Homeless” -“Foreigner” -“Moocher” -“Homosexual” -“Annoying Friend,” will test our hearts.

Do we love because we want to, or because we ‘must?’ If the latter, is that really love?

Continue reading “Jesus: Homeless Refugee ‘Moocher’, Not Welcome in Today’s Church?”

Love Needs “Limit” To Shine: Why We Won’t Trust God Unless He has a Last Piece of Pie

The garden of Eden taught some hard and sad lessons, including that we wouldn’t trust God without testing Him first. Parents warn their kids not to touch a hot pan, but don’t they/we ultimately want to know for ourselves?

Bieber had it right:

justin-bieber-ill-show-you

“I got to learn things, learn them the hard way.
Gotta see what it feels like, no matter what they say..”
(“Ill show you” Justin Bieber, Purpose album)

(Sure, some lessons we never want to learn firsthand, but maybe that’s because we saw the result in the life of another…) Continue reading “Love Needs “Limit” To Shine: Why We Won’t Trust God Unless He has a Last Piece of Pie”

Choosing Law over Love: A Sad Example of Broken Families from Ezra

This post is part of the #GodsOneLines series–breaking hate and/or shame caused by people wielding bible verses. Instead I want to use single bible verses or events to encourage and reveal God’s Heart if possible.

This story starts with Tears– mine as I write, and Heaven’s one fateful day.

It starts with the return of Jews from Babylonian exile. Their repeated offenses, including refusing to set servants free, caught up with them despite divine warnings. Sure, they listened for a time, but soon after changed their minds, re-taking men, women and children into captivity (sounds like the Moses story with Pharaoh, right?)

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Totally Unsatisfied with God – How My Son’s Tantrum revealed Heaven’s Painful Secret

Today my son was cranky. Going out for breakfast with four children– three of them 4 years and under– isn’t easy or fast and my eldest was annoyed. “It’s too druk!” he protested (Dutch for busy/hectic), and I tried to soothe and encourage him. I shared about family from the perspective of The Incredibles (many God-lessons come from kids movies, like Frozen), noting that when they fought side-by-side they were the strongest. But my son didn’t want to hear, much less see me.The incredibles-movie-families can work best together.jpg

I suggested he walk ahead so it was like I wasn’t there, but he started to cry: ‘You are always there!” 

The world got quiet and slow and in an instant I had a heaven-flash…

Is this what I said to you, God? Is this why we can’t “see” You? Did I not want anything to do with You and, didn’t trust You had my best interest at heart, and, from eternity, was totally fed up with “Your Presence”??  Ouch.

One of the saddest glimpses into God’s Heart comes from this paragraph from Paul of Tsarsus:

Continue reading “Totally Unsatisfied with God – How My Son’s Tantrum revealed Heaven’s Painful Secret”