Thursday, September 15, 2011

Have Mercy on Me, Lord, A Sinner

I've been thinking a lot about testimonies lately, the stories we tell to share how we were saved, but more importantly, what we were saved from. I have some conflict in my heart about the nature of testimonies. Certainly what we often think about while hearing someone's story of salvation is related to the depth of the sin and depravity, and the amazing knowledge that somehow that person was yet saved after all, from the depths of their sin. Certainly the Bible tells us that Christ died for all, but in our humanness sometimes we tend to imagine that certain sins are past forgiving.

But the aspect of the Christian testimony that has bothered me lately has been the idea of the Christian testimony often doing a little more glorification of the sin than the savior. I think of a program I went to see once at a very flamboyant church where the message was all of the glory of the world, and the Christian was the dark, quiet, unassuming...I didn't understand why the sin had been made so appealing and by contrast, the spiritual was so dull and boring. It didn't seem like an appropriate message for evangelism. I disagree with the idea of selling Christianity for its greatness, but it cannot be contrasted with such brilliance. The true contrast cannot be shown between the two worldly existences at all, but between the two post-worldly existences. How else could it be done properly?

Perhaps my complaints in this area are overly sensitive, but I can't help but think of these things in some cases. Sometimes I simply think that the Christian testimony spends a lot more time talking about all the sin that came before, when in God's eyes, sin is sin, regardless of its extent. He died to save sinners. End of story. Our testimonies should be to God's glory, not to ours. We shouldn't magnify our sin as if our salvation was better than another's because of what we've been saved from. After all, we've all been saved exactly the same. We've all prayed, "Have mercy on me, Lord, a sinner," and to Him, we are all the same.


Thursday, September 8, 2011

An Indie Girl

I consider myself to be an Indie girl.

What is Indie? Many would say it's a do-it-yourself culture, stemmed from the idea of independently made (Indie music, Indie film, etc...) and if I really think about it, that's me: independently made.

Okay, before a bunch of people get all hot under the collar, let me clarify. Certainly I realize that there have been hands in my upbringing and education. But what about the parts of myself that I've made myself? Those are the areas I'm concerned with now.

First, I am a writer. This is something that no amount of coaxing or prodding ever put into my being. I am a writer and have been one, in spirit and in action, since I first placed a pen to paper. One of my earliest memories is of this action. I tried to write with crayons, but their large, blundering lines were agonizing; I wanted something smooth, something that could curl and flow and resemble the beauty that I wanted to portray. I was three years old. I couldn't even read yet. By the time I was four I was reading well, and by the time I was in kindergarten I was reading the second grade reading book. I wasn't a child prodigy though, because if I was, it came to nothing. I was, however, self-made. I wanted something and I got it, without letting anything--not the restrictions of being "too young," or the stereotype that kids love crayons and directionless exploration--stand in my way. I've always been like that.

Second, I love creative crafting. Just this weekend I was talking with my future mother-in-law about the kinds of crafting projects that I enjoy, and I realized for the first time why I don't like crocheting and knitting projects: they are just the same things over and over and over again! (The rest of this philosophical examination was unexplored in the mother-in-law conversation; I've saved this part for my private and blog-related musings.) I enjoy painting, embroidery, and sewing. I am a true nineteenth-century lady. Except I lack talent in music. But anyway, I find it hard to believe that after all of my dreams of writing--and to be honest, the furthest my actual dreams went beyond writing were into photography and painting, both of which exhibit only average talents on my part--I am suddenly the go-to person for custom wedding veils. I wish I were the go-to person for other creative things besides that! I have big dreams now of making all kinds of neat things, and I have to say a DIY wedding is a great outlet for some of this creativity. I also look forward to decorating my own home, especially my office-library, and having the freedom to be creative whenever I want. I look forward to trying new things and getting my creativity on as a new housewife.

Third, I have always thought my fashion sense was a little subdued. I prefer a single bold accessory--eyeliner, lipstick, a sexy shoe, or curly hair--but seldom more than one of these. For a long time I felt like I didn't fit into any fashion category because I wasn't particularly interested in being less modest or placed deeper into debt or being dressed up all fancy all the time. Then emerged the Indie style. Unless you have it, you can't understand it. I like the self-made style, the craftiness, they creativity that goes into style. I don't like wearing things that everyone else wears, or looking like everyone else, or being like anyone else at all. I enjoy being "self-made" and continuously self-constructing. I'm never ready to be done making my own creative identity!

Fourth, I appreciate other self-made individuals, those who are self-taught and creative. I appreciate the music and film made by people who are without the influence of industry professionals. I appreciate homemade goods, like the clothing my grandmother used to sew, and the accessories my mother used to make. I love the Etsy community, the creative world of handmade. I respect the photographers who trained and taught themselves how to be brilliant, my sister Michelle among them. This is what I am here for...these creative individuals who inspire me to continue being what I am!

An Indie girl.