Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Blessings and joy to you all on this Christmas!

A Word from St. Nicholas

In my own heart I cannot separate Christmas
from that Boy Child born in Bethlehem
some two thousand years ago.

I believe that Boy Child
was the Child of the Divine Mystery,
and He came into the world for love of us all.

I believe He came to bring healing,
freedom, and peace.

I believe He also came to invite everyone
to forget themselves and remember the needs of others.

For me, the religious meaning of Christmas
is a source of deep joy.

You must understand that my message
echoes the message of that Child born so long ago.

I am not the offspring of the Divine Mystery,
only His unworthy servant.

I am Saint Nicholas,
and the religious meaning of Christmas
will always be close to my heart.

—"Saint Nicholas"

Monday, December 19, 2005

Why I'm a Feminist, Part Three: My Story

Some women can cite the exact moment of their “conversion” to feminism. My story, on the other hand, is more of a process.

Childhood shapes us in ways we don’t often fully acknowledge. I am the oldest of two girls and grew up with an inherent understanding that I could do or be anything. My parents encouraged me to try many things. The Bible was my central teacher for life and my parents repeated its lesson of “God loves everybody the same” over and over. My first big “when I grow up” dream was to become the first female president of the U.S. In all my eight-year-old wisdom I felt that a woman could run the country, and because someone had to be the first, it should be me.

My first interest in activism was in pro-life organizations. As a teenager I helped out at crisis pregnancy centers and abstinence programs. I remember thinking that pregnant women needed to be encouraged and assisted in keeping their babies and that abstinence was a brave choice that showed a woman’s respect for herself. I found the message of God’s love and spirit at work within me to be very empowering.

Skip ahead to college where I served as the first female president of the BSM at my university (see, some of my childhood dream came true). It never occurred to me that I shouldn’t hold that position, even though this was a Baptist organization we’re talking about. During my undergrad years I went through a phase where I didn’t want a male to open the door or to lift anything for me, as I felt that undercut my abilities (I have since come to realize the difference between chivalry and misogyny). I felt that a lot of people didn’t know what to do with me, a young, intelligent, Christian outspoken female who was neither a bookworm nor a member of sorority. People often told me I was “intimidating”.

I chose to go into women’s studies for several reasons. First, my self-proclaimed “raging feminist” history professor during my master’s study had a pretty big influence on me. Second, and most importantly, I hadn’t heard of any Christians in the field (since then I have met several). I wanted to help infuse it with the love of Christ and the Bible’s messages of equality and morality. I wanted to equip young women to view themselves as important and competent, to educate people about history that is typically ignored, to assist in the aid of women who cannot speak for themselves, and to cultivate understanding and compassion for both sexes. I wanted to make a difference, no matter how cliché that sounds. These goals have remained.

I didn't wake up one day and become a feminist. I had been heading in that direction for most of my life, I just articulated it differently at different points. My story is not finished… I might very well be at the height of my feminist consciousness at this moment. Or I might become more outspoken in the future, who knows. We’ll see.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Good Stories

A good friend of mine is writing a curriculum for a church telling the stories of Genesis and Advent in his own poetic words... It's a very impressive collection, so go check it out:

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Things that change

Pain of new birth
Awakens me to bring
The loved parts of me
To the surface.
Judging from my reflection
I am still too unworthy
To fly,
Though I see grace in progress
Every Day.
Finding who we are
In the middle of it.
I am lonely,
Yet surrounded;
Yet fulfilled;
Yet full of life.
Posing all my intricacies
As depth incarnate
I press on,
And I wait,
And I move,
And I exult
In the One who does not

(Copyright LK, 12/16/06)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Letter to Lucy

Like many of you, I am a C. S. Lewis junkie. I believe Mere Christianity to be the sole training necessary in apologetics. I am Ungit and Redival and Psyche and I too want to wander away and see strange and wonderful things. I think Surprised by Joy is the most detailed and long autobiography but the most honest. And I find his articulation of grief extraordinary in my own mourning processes.

That said, I am re-reading the Chronicles with the book set that belonged to my schoolteacher grandmother when she read the entire series to her fifth-graders every year. I came across this letter to Lewis' goddaughter Lucy and I think it warrants attention. I often fear that I am in the span where I am too old and too young for fairytales. Then again, I am swept away by my imagination when I let myself be. And that is good.


My Dear Lucy,

I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand, a word you say, but I shall still be

your affectionate Godfather,
C.S. Lewis

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Why I'm a Feminist, Part Two: History

It would be impossible to identify the exact starting date of the feminist movement in the United States. History’s causes and effects are complex and deep rooted. Further, women have always contributed to history, even if not in the forefront. And keep in mind that there are layers of race, class, religion, nationality and other factors that complicate this history even more. So here is an incomplete list of feminist history landmarks in America’s story:

The women’s rights movement came in waves in the U.S., starting in full swing in the 1840s. Building on their platform as abolitionists, women spoke publicly about the need for women’s rights and held the Seneca Falls Convention in NY in 1848. The women and men present at this conference (organized by Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton) signed the Declaration of Sentiments , modeled after the Declaration of Independence, detailing specific rights they felt that women deserved.

It wasn’t until 1920 that women received the right to vote, after a long and sometimes violent battle. Since the inception of the United States, female citizens voiced their desire to speak their minds through the ballot (for example, First Lady Abigail Adams, who wrote to her husband reminding him to “remember the ladies”). Women donned the popular “Votes for Women” banners, consistently pestered the government, and educated the public on the need for women’s suffrage. “Forward out of darkness, forward into light,” goes the slogan of the National American Women’s Suffrage Association (NAWSA), and it paid off.

Jump ahead to the 1960s and 1970s when the women’s movement took the country by storm. Male-bashing, sexual liberation, anti-discrimination, workers, political, and reproductive rights along with organizations such as NOW took center stage. Crazy protests such as crowning a sheep Miss America in 1969 terrified the general public. Most women were lumped into one of two categories: the submissive housewife or the radical feminist. Feminists of the ‘60s and ‘70s pushed for legislation to ensure their equal rights and openly displayed their cause.

Check out Sara Evans' Born for Liberty for a good overview of U.S. women's history. Also, the LOC has a pretty good timeline of women's history in America.

Stay tuned for a discussion of how this history has contributed to what feminism is today…

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Teaching Highlights

I have a really great group of students this semester. They are witty and sharp and half of them want to take my other class, which is flattering. Since the semester is nearly over I'm reflecting on highights of the semester, so here they are:

--I invited one student to be in the honors program, and it had not previously occurred to him that he was that good of a student

--After reading a book on female slavery (Arn't I a Woman_Deborah Gray White), a student told me she thought the author was arguing that the women were not accepted and were discriminated against. As slaves? I asked. No, as people, she replied. Very good.

--I tell my students to question everything, and of course they try that out on me.

--We watched a Civil War documentary and I commented that one day I hoped to be "that guy," referring to a bow-tied historian sitting in an armchair surrounded by books, giving his two cents about history. One student countered... "but not a guy, right?" That generated more laughter than any joke I planned.

--Preparing to play the second disc of the Glory dvd, I found the second disc of Gladiator in the case. That's what I get for ordering dvds on ebay.

--I was out sick and had a substitute fill in. The next class when I came back, a room full of grateful students looked back at me. The few "we missed you" and "welcome back" comments meant a lot.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I Do/n't

I don't know who I am
But I do.
I don't want to leave
But I do.
I don't follow the crowd
But I do.
I don't fear the future
But I do.
I don't know how to love
But I do.
I don't' need you
But I do.
I don't remember your face
But I do.
I don't save you
But I do.
I don't want to be alone
But I do.
I don't realize your luck
But do.
I don't care what you do
But I do.
I don't forget you
But I do.

(copyright LAK, 11/26/05)

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Why I'm a Feminist, Part One: Definitions

"I have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat."
- Rebecca West, 1913.

I’ve been posting so much lately on my views about women in the world that I thought I’d expound on them. Being a Christian and a feminist simultaneously might seem really contradictory, but I disagree. So first, some definitions.

According to Webster’s, feminism is:

1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
2 : organized activity on behalf of women's rights and interests

That’s a good start, but I would have much more to add to it. For starters, add “spiritual” to the above list. I’m going to define it this way (I'd welcome other additions):

1 : the belief in the equality of all people regardless of, and considering, gender
2 : the right to choices in all aspects of life
3 : see 2 above

A word about choices... The tenets of Christianity do not condone all choices, though we are given free will. Judging someone's choice is not what I'm talking about, but merely the right to exercise free will.

Finally, to quote the Femist Majority Foundation,

"Feminism is the radical notion that women are people."

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


We celebrated Thanksgiving a day early because my sister is working tomorrow. My immediate family, my brother, my aunt, two cousins, and our Canadian friend shared this table. We'll be eating leftovers for weeks!

Remember Relief

Tonight I volunteered at my church for a Thanksgiving dinner for hurricane evacuees. I spent most of the evening visiting with a 20 year old woman displaced with her 3 year old son, husband, and her mother. We've all heard these stories, but I will never get used to them.

For this family, they evacuated from New Orleans to Baton Rouge during Katrina. Then, they left to Atlanta in anticipation of Rita. They found no assistance in Atlanta so they relocated to Houston. While he was away working, she, her son, and her mother, were robbed at gunpoint. Due to the robbery she missed her shift at work and was subsequently fired. They again moved, this time to another part of Houston. They are now trying to get settled, they need basic things like a coat for the baby and beds.

It's the most remarkable thing, sharing in the suffering of someone else. I am by no means anywhere close to experiencing what she has, but I sat down and let her talk and held her son and gave her food, and I tried to be there. I didn't do much to help the relief effort shortly after these storms hit, but I'll do something now. I am going to call this family and give them the material things I can and try to help them. Please hold me accountable to this, it would be so much easier to let it go. But it's too important. They are too important. And God is our relief.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Cancer Survivors Survey

A friend of mine is working on her thesis in speech communications and needs participants for a survey. If you or someone you know is a cancer survivor, please see the info. below. I've been through the thesis process and I know how difficult it is, so contribute if at all possible. The thesis project is "Assessing the role of communication competence and social support between cancer patients transitioning to survivor roles and their oncologists." I feel that the study is groundbreaking and worthwhile, so there's my personal endorsement. Read on below.


Would you like to volunteer a few moments of your time by participating in a study for cancer survivors?

1. Are you also an adult over the age of eighteen years old?

2. Are you an individual who has undergone cancer treatment and is now in remission?

3. Do you have access to the Internet?

If you answered "Yes" to all of the above questions, you are eligible to participate in a study for cancer survivors. To find out more about how you can participate, please visit this website ( study has been approved by the University of Houston Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects (713) 743-9204. The faculty supervisor is Jim Query, Ph.D., (713) 743-8608.

Thank you,
S. B.
University of Houston

Monday, November 21, 2005

Inesperado (Unexpected)

My foster brother just finished a Spanish cd and last week he had a release concert for it. He lived with my family for 8 years and I still consider him my brother. But we don't talk much, don't really have much of a relationship to be honest. I see him on holidays and a few other times a year. But he was really excited for me and my sister to come to his show, and we were excited and proud to be there. I always wonder if he thinks about us, if he cares about us or realize what we tried to do and be for him. I don't mean that in a selfish way, but it's hard not to wonder.

After the show he gave us each a cd. I came home and listened to it (it's amazing... quite a long way from when his only song on guitar was the star spangled banner, hendrix style). And I read the thank yous in the liner notes... on the third line, in black and white, I read "to my sisters, thanks for never giving up on me."

I haven't, and I won't, and I'm glad he knows it, and I'm glad I know he feels it.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Organizations for Women in the Church

The Center for Emerging Female Leaders in FL

Mission: To provide social, spiritual and learning opportunities for women to realize the fullest measure of their gifts in all areas of human endeavors. We will strive to do this by discovering, developing, giving voice and visibility to emerging and practicing female leaders in the church or society so they can lead and impact their immediate circles of influence positively.

My favorite quote: "We believe each person is a unique expression and therefore inherently valuable."

Inspire Women in Houston, TX

Mission: To inspire, train, and mobilize women across ethnicities and denominations through educational conferences, award events, gifts assessment and scholarships for biblical training.

My favorite quote: "Will you dare to take a chance for God?"

Note... these two organizations are valuable for both men and women. CEFL is a new find to me, but I know Inspire funds men as well. Both strive to create understanding and positive dialogue for all.


"Aslan a man?" said Mr. Beaver sternly. "Certainly not. I tell you he is the king of the wood and the great Emperor Beyond the Sea. Don't you know who is the King of the Beasts? Aslan is a lion--the lion, the great lion."

"Oooh!" said Susan. "I'd thought he was a man. Is he--quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion."

"That you will, dearie, and no mistake, said Mrs. Beaver, "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking is either braver than most or else just silly."

"Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy.

"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."

from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C. S. Lewis (76-77)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

What's a Modern Girl to Do?

Last month Maureen Dowd wrote this article in the NYT Magazine. Her basic argument is that the women's movement of the 1970s produced a lot of conformity among women--women thought, dressed, and acted alike--and that today women have returned to that conformity, only now trying to conform in different ways. For example, early feminists embraced sexual liberation but vehemently opposed the notion that women should be sex objects. Today, Maxim covers are what women conform to, the message is be a sex object.

Conformity is stifling (apart from conforming our hearts and minds to be more like Christ). When my female students care more about shopping, pop culture, and boys than they do the history of women's rights and how much our mothers and fathers struggled to create a more egalitarian society, it frustrates me to no end. But on the other hand, what I want to be sure I am teaching them is to honestly analyze themselves and how contemporary politics and social mores affect them. I don't want to teach them to conform to all feminist ideals any more than I want them to conform to magazine covers and MTV reality stars.

Hopefully the trends will change and women will tire of Paris Hilton's example (don't even try to argue that she's a feminist!). History does tend to repeat itself so we shall see. I'm waiting for the day when a Christ-loving, feminine, Gloria Steinam can grace the cover of our most popular publications.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Mountain Harbor

I spent the weekend with my mom at Mountain Harbor, a place on Lake Ouachita in AK. AK is the 25th state so it fit quite appropriately with my recent birthday. (Does anyone know where TX fits in the line-up? I feel like I should know.) Here's some trip highlights:

--The view from Hickory Nutt Mountain
--Bathing in the hot springs
--Chaning leaves
--On horseback, spotting two bald eagles very close by in the Ouachita Mountains
--Listening to "On Fire" standing on the edge of a boat in Lake Ouachita
--Visiting a spa
--Spending time with my mom
--Scenic drives
--Clean air you can smell
--Clearing my head

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Why Switchfoot Should Rule the World

1. They are the best band ever
2. They promote equality
3. They bring attention to world events
4. They don't compromise their spiritual beliefs
5. They have great hair
6. They appreciate the little people
7. They draw inspiration from C. S. Lewis and Plato
8. They make the word "stars" sound melodic
9. They are loyal to their fans
10. They bring a lot of hope!

(did I mention they are my favorite band?)

Monday, November 07, 2005


I was pretty bummed about this birthday at first. Many of my plans fell through and I just felt like I should be more at this point in my life (one of my biggest insecurities). Although many would say that feeling is irrational, and really, for the most part it is, birthdays make you think about the passing of time like nothing else. A good friend of mine whose birthday is very close to mine (we were even born in the same year) passed away this summer . I miss him. I'm seeing his favorite band in concert tonight and it will probably make me miss him more. Why am I celebrating this birthday and he isn't? There's really no explanation for that.

But now I'm excited about 25. All I have lost and gained this past year is making me stronger for the next. I had most of my friends together for my birhtday. I made some new ones. I'm seeing my favorite band, saw a modern dance show, ate Cuban food, my best friend is finally going to come in town, and I'm going on a trip with my mom. It's going to be a great year.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Remembering that I am just one person,
I hold onto the light
That I cannot control.
I am complex,
Full of double entendres and
Multiple meanings.
Trying to redeem myself
And unequivocally failing,
Trying to unearth my joy
And generally falling short.
Hoping to see
That this is not the end
I lean on the hope
That I am more.
Find the music
Deep within,
Discover the story
Hidden underneath
These years of a broken girl
Yearning to breathe free
In light of all I have endured.

(copyright LAK, 11/04/05)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

La Vida es la Lucha

This Spanish phrase means "the struggle is life." I heard that for the first time about one year ago, and at first I took issue with it. If life is struggle, then when is there rest? If life is fight, then where is there peace?

But the more I think about it, the more I like this phrase. There is peace and rest in struggle. Struggle indicates motion, whether it takes the form of passive resistance, full on force, or refusal to give up. The Zapatista movement says that the struggle is the destination, a philosophy that indicates that once we have resolved to resist and to attempt to make our lives better, we have reached a good place to live. Regardless of whether we accomplish that for which we are struggling, we have resolved to move. And that is our peace, that we persevere for something greater.

Friday, October 28, 2005


"Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice."
(Psalm 51:8)

Discontent can take us several ways. It can bring us down so completely that we are unable to do anything. Or it can inspire us to make our lives better. Sometimes it takes being so completely unhappy with our circumstances to push us to bettering them.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Astros Fever

That's right, we're in the World Series. Even I, the non-sports fan, am beside myself with enthusiasm about this. I got a free ticket to Game 4 last Sunday and screamed so much I didn't have a voice for 3 days. Even BBC thinks this is cool (pic is from them). Really, they hit a ball with a stick for 4 hours. But I'm a sucker for anything that brings people together, so I'm not wearing socks this week and I'll watch the games and probably cry. What have I become? God only knows at this point. Go 'Stros!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Founder's Day

This Sunday I went to the fiftieth anniversary of the church where my parents met and married. Three generations--me, my parents, my grandparents--got to celebrate this together. My mom pointed out the stained-glass she always loved, my dad reminisced with a high school buddy about their "crazy" times, my grandparents introduced me to old Sunday school companions. Fifty years is a long time to be a church, particularly the same congregation meeting in the same place. A woman just bequeathed 1 million dollars to the church and they used it to build some much needed expansions. She had never been to the church, but the pastor visited her in the hospital everyday, and it touched her so much she wanted to give back.

What struck me most about this community was its diversity. About 15 years ago the church leaders decided that in the course of the following years they needed to hire a female, African American, and Hispanic minister in order to follow the teachings of Christ about inclusion. They've completed the first two tasks, and its evident. I sat next to an elderly African American woman who knew all the hymns by heart and stood for everyone, even though she had to use a cane to get up. Kids ran around together, it being perfectly normal to be around people of such different ages and races.

Sometimes it pays to be intentional. Sometimes we have to conciously seek diversity. This church would probably still have only white congregants if not for their decisions. I truly believe that Christ is inclusive and that God desires us to live in harmony with one another. Tolerance is one thing, but loving and living with people who are completely different than me is a totally different story. But the results... incomparable.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Filling Shoes

Some people try to fill the shoes of others; I’m just trying to fill my own. The great people never talk about burn out, or their failure or their doubts. Someone needs to say that it’s ok to become something you didn’t intend to be, or remind us that we have less control over everything than we think. I have walked many miles for the sake of moving forward, but I have also tripped and fallen and laid still for fear that I might disappoint. Few people would disown me if I decided to be less than great, but I would always wonder if I’m selling short of what I can be. I do everything on a large scale, unable to comprehend what life might be like if it was lived only for a few people and not for the world. I have such grandiose ideals and sometimes the world is just too hard to save. Teach me to do more than rely on my personal political. I am just one person, interconnected with all people and hoping for greatness even in the small things. Even there You will guide me and hold me fast.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Vita Sanctus

Since a lot of you have asked to see this I thought I'd post digital prints of the art exhibit. Now I hope you can also make it to Vine Street, but for those of you who don't live nearby here's our piece:

This is the statement that goes with it:

“From the womb to very old age, the sacredness of a woman's life is a vital part of 21st century feminism. These photographs tell the stories of remarkable women of varying races in different stages of their lives. Each woman—adopted children, mothers, and the unborn—hold stories and mysteries in their faces, skin, and scars.

The intentional markings on the women's bodies are derived from an ancient symbol representing the Creator reaching down toward humankind, and inresponse, humankind reaching up towards the Creator. The sideways markings represent the equality of humankind, and our need to love and be loved by reaching out to one another. Finally, the circle represents the completeness of life in all of its stages.”

Sunday, October 09, 2005


Time for the day to bring new things, for the end to be the second beginning and for my name to mean something more than it does. Inner workings transform the heart and mind and I am forgiven and changed. Frustrate the feet of the wicked for I cannot move too fast. I'll undo the undoing if it brings me to You, brings me to the land that I can taste but cannot feel. Surrounded by the light I press on, fighting the current and welcoming it, drawn to the past and my tomorrows.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Everybody Art Show

My roommate and I collaborated on an art piece and entered it into a juried exhibition. We've just received word today that our piece was accepted! The exhibit is for the Everybody Art: Show Us Your Feminism. Ours is a photographic exploration of the life cycle of a woman from the womb to very old age, incorporating symbols derived from ancient Christian symbols of God reaching down toward humankind and us reaching up to our Creator. The exhibit will be up for about three weeks in October.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Finding the time to change I reach up into the sky where the stars shine and wait for Your resistance. Fly past the wounds and You invade my space in all the ways that only You can. All the times I can't find myself I find You. Spinning in the latest growth is the fight that I take to live, to know You, to be free. And You find me, breathing in Your love and looking up toward hope.

Hunker Down

When Hurricane Rita threatened to ravage the city of Houston, the mayor told all us citizens to either leave by Friday or "hunker down" where we were. We chose the second option, and spent three days preparing for the non-storm. I don't mean to make light of the situation for those who were affected, but here are some humorous anecdotes from my experience:

--To brace a glass door, we screwed a picnic table across it
--One house near mine boarded up their windows and spray painted "go away rita" and "bad rita" on the plywood
--While stuck in the horrendous traffic trying to get back to my house, a car with four guys passed us, then passed us again with all the men sans shirts
--When my grandmother got lost coming to my house, we went to look for her... we found her just minutes from my house but I had to jump out in traffic to get her attention

You have to laugh, right?

Saturday, September 24, 2005


My Grandma just gave me a Book of Etiquette published in 1921 that belonged to my great grandmother. It includes topics such as how to run your home, how to handle correspondence, and proper protocall for courtship, engagements, and weddings. It's hilarious. Some examples of good etiquette as set forth by Lillian Eichler are as follows:

--the first intimation of recognition after an introduction must always come from the lady
--extra engravings and crests on a woman's card indicate bad taste
--a "friendly" letter is different from a "social letter"
--after a man proposes, he must explain his financial and social status to her parents
--birthday parties for children are from 3-6 in the afternoon (unless you turn 16, in which case it's from 5-7)
--a cultured man is never angry, impatient, or demonstrative
--40 years of marriage is the woolen anniversary

The author suggests that this volume is written "not for the exceedingly ill-bred or for the highly polished, but for those who find a certain sense of satisfaction in doing what is correct (vi)." Approaching others with dignity and respect and conducting yourself in a gracious manner are important, to be sure. But living to the letter of the law in either faith or "social graces" simply leaves us all unhappy. However there is some good advice in this volume... having self confidence v. conceit, owning up to your mistakes and faults, possessing a friendly nature, and, of course, purchasing a typewriter as it is a social necessity.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Tradition, Part Two

Feminist stay at home moms... it's possible, right? I think so. But what about this reaction: women in entrenched patriarchal structures really don't have that many choices. Just because one can see agency in a woman who chooses to move within and influence her surroundings, culture, institutional structure, etc. doesn't actually mean that she has any real choice in the matter. Society is still keeping her down.

I don't know. I guess there is a danger of making every woman a feminist (even those who reject that label) if application of the term is placed on every woman who chooses to be strong and influential within their life structures. Perhaps I'm forcing the concept of feminism because I want all of my Christian sisters to identify with the broader cause of women in the world. All women just aren't feminists, I suppose. Still, I think it's important to look for human agency in all people, because we all have elements of control within our circumstances, we all make decisions within our strictures.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Overcoming a Legacy of Inequality

We're all guilty of it. Treating others as less equal than ourselves, treating entire groups of people that way. It's become painstakingly apparent to me with recent events, recognizing systemic, generational poverty that in many cases has to do with racism. And even in teaching the history of our nation, so full of greedy men and women who thought themselves better than everyone else, and therefore feeling they possessed inherent rights higher than others.

But what I've realized is that regardless of my gender or race or class or whatever, I'm a beggar in the kingdom of God. In God's sight we're all on one plane, there isn't Jew or Greek or Gentile or male or female or intelligence level or status. We're all equal.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Living, She Grows

Living, she grows, anticipating the silence
Of a life walked out in the shadows, a life
Vivid, yet unrefined; redeemed, yet undercounted.
Still the silence is unwavering, forgiving,
Owing its treasure to the strength of its influence,
The influence of a life well-lived.
While counting the dreams, she wrestles with the
Undercurrent, wrestles with the questions
Of how best to work out salvation, how best to enjoy
The sunlight, how best to live. The decisions of
Today seem so far beyond yesterday, so far, beyond
Even the reaches of her own soul and intellect. Yet
There is relief, there is strength in that shadow if
That shadow is Your wings. Living, she grows, moved
To underscore a greater Name that bears the answers
To all the moments that leave us silent, leave us here.

(Copyright LAK, 10/14/04)

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Someone Else's Smile

Trying to recreate.
All the outward signs of anything unworthy
Lead me to
Redemption, or the things
That make me whole.
Waking up
I turn to embrace
Someone else's smile in the way that
Only I can.
Leading up to the doorway
Of imminent success
Is my attempt at loss,
Counting it all rubbish.
Accepting You as gain.
Believing that You are more.

Copyright LAK, 9/2/05

Thursday, September 01, 2005

First Day of School

I love the first day of school. Even though I was homeschooled my sister and I always got new clothes for that first day, when summer had become boring and my brain was ready for a workout again. Now I can't sleep the night before the first day of teaching. I'm excited and anticipatory, usually a little nervous also.

This semester my school has such a high enrollment that we've brought in temporary buildings. Every time I move into a new classroom I'm a little unsettled, not quite knowing where to stand, or where to put my things. I got to school quite early so I could set up, and soon thereafter three students came in asking if I was Mr. Lopez for political science. I am indeed not Mr. Lopez so I called our division secretary and found that I was supposed to be next door. I then proceeded to call the IT department for a remote for the projector; they sent someone who promptly showed me that the remote was right there on the wall by my desk, where they said it would be.

The longer I teach the more I think I will have it together, but the opposite is really true. And I don't think that's a bad thing. There are so many things we can't control and even the one's we can I take too seriously sometimes. Thank God for the crazy days that turn out to be favorite stories.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Church's Place

My church has just had our last service in our current building. We are moving into a much smaller, newer venue that is completely different. West End is 100 years old, while Taft is a refurbished building in a different part of the city. If you spend any time in church you hear a lot about the church being the Body, the people, and not a building or a place. Though I hear that all the time I realize that my conception of church is greatly tied to place.

Each church I have been a part of has been defined by where they meet... my grade school church that was named after the rock formation next to it, my high school church with the orange carpet on the run down side of town, my college church that met in a high school, and now my church that is moving from a historic building into a coffee shop.

I think this is a testimony to the fragmentation of the Church, that I conceptualize it as several different bodies tied to a certain locale instead of a catholic and far-reaching community. Though it's only natural for a church community to take on its place and tie that place to its identity, I think to a certain extent we should be wanderers, ready as a family to pick up and move together, to stand on a street corner or in the desert and function as a Body. That we should extend across our places and be one with all the believers in the world.

This church is the redeemed and those in need of redemption... no walls to keep me in or keep anyone else out...every single tribe, tongue and nation...

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Story of Five Minutes

(Apologies to Kate Chopin)

She stood waiting for the bus. A man, who looked to her to be half crazy, approached her and handed her a little, stapled bundle of papers that looked like a comic book from the 1980s. She thumbed through the five spiritual laws, or maybe there were four, and listened to the man drone on about saving grace and rescue from damnation. He said a Name…

Without her consent, her mind drifted to a place that dreamed of better times. There her apartment, where she lived alone, wasn’t so cold. There the job she hated was better and less deprecating. There she didn’t feel alone because someone always walked with her. There the poor boy that begged on the street corner by the bus didn’t have to sleep in a dirty alley. There today’s rainy day was a clear one, and the sky was always blue even when it was grey.

She wandered in this dream to a place where she actually felt fulfilled. This place was more like a state of being, one that she owed entirely to someone besides herself. She felt loved and was loved. She never had a need to feel guilty because she was forgiven and could forgive. She always had a reason to be glad and to share that joy.

Here she was a part of something. Other people knew her name and valued who she was, what she could give. No one lived alone and no one was left out. Everybody meant something for their own part.

And then she heard a voice, calling her name. Distantly, now becoming clearer. And then she felt her heart start to come awake, come alive, and she felt her heart embrace the dream. Her name was louder. The calling was sweet, the calling was nearer…

The thunder clapped overhead and she came back to herself as she ducked further under her umbrella. She acknowledged the rain and the sky that was always grey. The bus pulled up, the crazy man was still talking. She let the papers fall, sighed, and hurriedly stepped into the bus, ignoring the calling, forgetting that someone offered her better times, offered her a sky that was always blue even when it was grey.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

System of an Upstart

Meddling in the confusion of all we do not understand, trying to break the system or enforce it, we press on knowing that life is worth more than ourselves. La lucha finds its home in me as I beat against the current, trying not to be swept up into it and lose myself. Centering myself on the better way, where the best idea is to be lost entirely in One who is greater. Bringing myself to try, to move one day and linger the next. Why not allow all those connected with fear to open wide their hearts to mediocre miracles, the kind that get us through the day and allow us to reach for what is good and pure and worthy. Following the truth, panting for the light. Where rules and interconnected roadblocks meet circumvention and perseverance, and means justify ends. Finding it so impossible that I have to surrender, not to the system or to myself but to You. Losing myself for You and in You. Running with weariness this race marked out for me, and I will live abundantly.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Feminist Mistake?

I just received Mary Kassian's The Feminist Mistake in the mail and though, admittedly, I have not read it yet, I flipped through it and pondered on the title for some time this morning. Has feminism been a mistake? Where would church and culture be without 20th century feminism?

Well, I must say that I call myself a feminist, and did so before I knew what it meant... back when I began college and gave a lecture to any males who dared to open a door for me. Many years and countless conversations and books later, I still call myself a feminist, somewhat more informed of what it means but still a bit confused. The thing about feminism is that everyone defines it differently. The way I define it, feminism means that women have the right to choices. Whether that choice be lifestyle, or employment, or health, or whatever. Now there are a lot of choices I don't agree with, of course, but I do agree with the concepts of rights for women.

The feminist movement has diversified quite a bit since its inception, particularly since the women's liberation phase in the '60s and'70s. Take, for example, Feminists for Life, one of my favorite organizations. They are a pro-life feminist organization encouraging women to carry their babies to term and then equipping them with the knowledge and resources to care for themselves and their child. For instance, the college outreach program fights for more on-campus housing for single mothers so that young women don't have to drop out of university.

Here's my question: would FFL exist if it were not for the feminist movement, or does it exist because of the feminist movement? In other words, do we have an organization initiating the right to choice for pregnant women (meaning beyond abortion) or one responding to feminist clamor for abortion rights?

I am inclined to think that feminism has done both harm and good, but has not entirely been a "mistake." I think women have been struggling for rights for most of history and I think we now have to sort it all out, to wade through all the dialogue and theories and issues to find what really matters.

Friday, August 19, 2005

I am She

All these things I want to be.
All these stories I want to create.
All these people I want to become.

She reads and she waits and she ponders.
Caught up in the reverie that is her song.
The idea takes over and she waits.
The final idea is the beginning.

The only time to be anything is now.
I was a wanderer and you were a child.
Take the bleeding hearts and make them one.

She finds the time to wait.
Taking over the restlessness that instills.
Fighting the anger and ranting and raving.
The thoughts get muddled and she waits.

I taught the world to listen and I left.
Battles to fight and wars to win and I want peace.
Take these sisters and show them mercy.

She dreams in reverent freedom.
Finding the reality of these penetrating songs.
Still whispering liberty to all she sees.
She herself sings like a child.

She calls the name of Most High.
Wants to find the answers but most of all peace.
Be at one with herself and all these questions.
What time to bring the news of redemption.

She bows, she curtsies, she rests.

I underestimate You all the time.
I regather my strength in You.
I last long enough to find You.

The final idea is the beginning.
I am she who wanders and thinks
And rants and raves and writes
And dreams and longs and wonders
And stops and rests.

I am she who stops and rests to

Freedom may come in tireless work
But it comes first in Rest.
Free me.

I am she who stops and rests.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


The Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack will most likely enter your head sooner or later, so you may as well get it over with now.

Lynn Davidman's book on why many women are choosing Orthodox Judaism stirred up some irony, as far as I see it. She follows women in two different settings, the liberal Lincoln Square synagogue in NYC and the very conservative Bais Chana residential institute in Minnesota . Lincoln Square primarily attracts career women who want to do something socially and intellectually stimulating, while Bais Chana brings in women who desire live with other hasidic Jewish women for three months, take classes about Jewish faith, and learn about womanhood in the Orthodox sense (this facility even arranges marriages for single women who request it).

Here's the irony: these are women who are choosing traditional, religiously defined gender roles. For Bais Chana participants, they are choosing long skirts and submissive lifestyles. For NYC residents, Lincoln Square offers a more liberal interpretation of Orthodox Judaism but still requires that men and women worship on different sides of the room. There is much more to it than this, I'm over-generalizing I'm afraid, but it struck me that the women in this study for the most part came completely on their own volition, many times to the chagrin of their families and friends.

I think this is a perfect example of how 21st century feminism should be sure to include traditional women. There is an element of choice that has long gone unnoticed in the way many women live out their lives in "traditional" gender roles with fulfillment. We can all think of stay at home moms who love their lives or pastor's wives who play the piano and also love their lives. I am quick to judge these women because I have made decisions that do not fall immediately into the June Cleaver stereotype, but I have realized how beautiful tradition is in many senses. Not tradition for tradition's sake, but for the meaning behind it all. Further, I hope that the feminist movement will continue to see the agency and influence "traditional" women possess. Every woman has a voice, regardless of who wants to acknowledge it.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Something New

Desperate times call me to be desperate; desperate enough to want You, to want change, to want joy. I'm such an island sometimes, floating not so freely in a sea of confusing waters. I just know I want to be new. I want to be so new that I recognize more of You, and I decreasing in rapid secession to increase You. I am strong and ready to be strong, to break free and to understand the broader purpose for the story in which I play a part.

My hope comes from You. Streaming down in the sunlight and dancing on the hills You pour out hope on those who fear You. I'm the redemptive song, even when I don't feel like I have the strength to work out anything with fear and trembling. You consume all the parts of me that I hate, You embrace my darkest parts and shine Your light so brightly that I cannot look away.

Joy will find me even still, hiding in the corner and afraid of the cold, I will rise and overcome because You overcome.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Break and Stir

The sky breaks and bleeds and cracks
And I’m Yours.
Feeling remotely
Out of touch,
Grasping at straws
And leaving out the others.
I am more than affliction,
Suffer more from
Than from
I am alone for no good reason
Incapable of taking back
My own faults,
Discussing them for worth
Unhinging them for indecision,
Riding on the waves
Of my own island
Recovering the uncontrollable
And thrashing about
When I need to.
Still my heart
Stir it up
Make me lonely
So I crave You
Your body.
Breaking so many cycles
To be whole.
Picking up the beautiful mess
Coping with it,
In the endless skies
That bring me hope,
Cracking and breaking and bursting open
With good things.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Unveiled Faces

The Muslim Veil in North America discusses the meaning, impact, and interpretation of Muslim women who choose to wear the hijab (veil) in Canada. According to the authors, most women choose to wear the veil because they feel it is part of being a good Muslim woman. There is a great deal of fluidity of interpretation for these women, some of whom reject the veil as old-fashioned and culturally inappropriate to those who see the veil as vital to Muslim faith.

My only real experience with veiling stems from my visit to Israel and Jordan, where I saw varying degrees of hijab on most Muslim women, and an American friend of mine who lived in Pakistan and wore the veil as a cultural precedent, who felt very lonely behind it. This book helped me to learn more about the meaning of hijab and what it means to different women. Unfortunately, women who wear the veil often come under scrutiny and persecution. I have a great deal of respect for women who wear the hijab because it is brave, particularly in a society where such attire sticks out. Further, the devotion veiling requires is very commendable.

The subject of veiling made me think of the verse in 2 Corinthians 3:18--"And we who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the spirit." Am I, either by physical statement or faithful devotion, reflecting the Lord's glory? If I am being transformed into His likeness, I don't want to hide behind myself, but to reflect that glory.

Monday, August 08, 2005


Living feels like dying sometimes, fighting to be awake and alive. All the beautiful, messy people filing down toward the Cross and redemption and all the things that make them whole. I'm lagging behind, watching the tide ebb and flow and staying out of it completely. Where I sit I see the tragedy and the chaos and wonder why I try to comprehend You, wonder why I trust You as I do. Wake me up, help me to live and to die in all the right ways. I'm the reason things come undone, why things stay wound up so tightly that only You in Your strength can break me out. It's the tide and all the people and Your love that give me the courage to stand and walk forward, to join the Narrow Way and try not to go it alone.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Prayer for Families

"Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who settest the solitary in families: We commend to thy continual care the homes in which thy people dwell. Put far from them, we beseech thee, every root of bitterness, the desire of vainglory, and the pride of life. Fill them with faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness. Knit together in constant affection those who, in holy wedlock, have been made one flesh... and so enkindle fervent charity among us all, that we may evermore be kindly affectioned to one another; through Jesus Christ our Lord."

From The Book of Common Prayer

Friday, August 05, 2005

No Place for Abuse

I just read this book by Kroeger and Nason-Clark for my sociology of women in the church class (yes, that's an actual course, I sort of created it with a fantastic ex-nun turned married sociology prof.) The authors expose rampant abuse against women in the evangelical church and encourage the Church to respond appropriately. The basic premise of the book is to condemn abuse, acknowledge fear, and offer choices to those in abusive relationships. No Place for Abuse represents many of the findings of the International Task Force on Abuse of the World Evangelical Fellowship. The task force was formed after an African woman bravely stood up at one of the world meetings and asked when the church was going to recognize abuse. "Some of you men in this very room are abusing your wives!" she said.

It made me rather sad to see statistics and narratives on women who are abused within the church. It also made me realize again how important it is to intervene in those situations. We often think that it's none of our business, or that it will get better, but that's just not the case. The Bible condemns abuse, abuse does not speak to the character of God, and we are called to defend the defenseless.

For more information on the task force on abuse go to


Thursday, August 04, 2005

How Pretty Am I?

Drawn to the sides
Of every white robe,
Dirty and somehow ashamed…
Can’t face Your sacrifice,
Can’t anticipate Your grace.
Turning to be healed
I interpret Your message,
Embrace Your fight.
I want to come alive
Like I know I can,
I want to believe
Like I know I was made to.
I’m somewhere inside,
Confused as ever,
Dressing the scars
And finding the Source.
Because all this life
Means more than me,
And I’m abased so
You can rise,
Help me rise higher,
Rise above,

(LAK, August 3, 2005)


I've had pretty wretched insomnia several nights this week. It's for a combination of reasons, but I'm running out of things to do. Here's a few things that have kept me occupied:

1.) Set up a blog
2.) Watch romantic comedies
3.) Plan vacations I'll never be able to afford
4.) Play mind-numbing card games on the computer
5.) Read, write, or revise school related material
6.) Make a game of scanning the room with my eyes (without moving my head)

Any better ideas? I'd love to hear 'em!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Here's a new poem to start it all off...


I think I will fly.
Standardizing Your calling
Will not bring me fulfillment,
But I will trust You
To bring me hope.
Four corners of the world
And I will go,
If only on the wings of others.
I’m too stubborn to sit here,
Too hungry to leave,
Desperate to be Martha
Because she accomplishes something.
Remembering those promises
You gave me to memorize,
To burn into my heart
For every season.
I’m the battle,
Part of the problem,
Part of the solution,
Scrambling to believe
That You mean what You say.
I keep holding to the ideas,
Holding to Your coattails
But not to You.
Trying to ride the wings
Of the dark,
Not the dawn.
I know these words
That accomplish nothing,
These songs
That bring me closer.
So I’ll cling to You
To know You
Or just to be near You,
Flying on Your wings
In the midnight sky
Where I hear Your voice
And follow.

(LAK, August 1, 2005)

Here I Am

OK, so I'm blogging now. It just seems like a good idea. So expect to hear some rambling, see some writing, and answer some questions. Blessings!