Category Archives: currently reading/listening to

Ch-ch-ch-ch Changes (turn and face the strain)

People deal with change in their very own, unique way. Some people truly hate it, some people get all giddy over it. I am the kind of person who acts like I hate it but inside I am secretly all giddy.

Everyday I get to know myself a bit more. This time I have discovered that I actually really enjoy change, even if it’s scary or uncertain. I feel all excited that something is stirring and I am a part of it. I can always see the positives of the change. Always.  Unfortunately somewhere along the way I have picked up a bad habit of acting really stressed and complaining about it the whole time.  Why do I do this? I don’t know. It makes no sense. Maybe now that I see the truth, that I love change, I can stop pretending to despise it and start receiving it with giddiness and positivity.

Naive? Yeah, maybe. Oh well, I’ve definitely never said I wasn’t naive.

As David Bowie said:

Strange fascination, fascinating me
Changes are taking the pace I’m going through

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-Changes
Oh, look out you rock ‘n rollers
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes
(Turn and face the strain)
Ch-ch-Changes
Pretty soon you’re gonna get a little older

David_Bowie

More about these changes next week…

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Filed under aiming at heaven, BABY, church stuff, currently reading/listening to, in my opionation, Life and Marriage, life questions, right?, rockin' out, So it begins...

Jesus is not Ghandi

david_bazan

Last Thursday Dustin and I saw David Bazan perform a “house show” at our friend Josh’s place. There was about 50 of us nicely packed into the living room where Bazan strummed his guitar and played a great acoustic set that even included some classic Pedro the Lion songs.

Bazan always has a question and answer time at his shows. Dustin saw him a few years back and was really struck by some of the answers he gave. So I was really interested when someone asked him if he believed in an afterlife. I’m not going to write out the whole reply because I don’t remember it accurately enough to do it justice and also I’m a blogger not a reporter. But there was one part that stuck out to me- Bazan said that he is no longer afraid of death and hell. He said he has come to realize that hell is something that some mean people made up as a threat. (He didn’t talk about heaven so I don’t know if he feels that it is something nice people made up or not.) After stating some disgust at the state of the Evangelical church he went on to say that he would just like to see people follow what Jesus taught. There were supportive “yeahs” and light clapping around the room.

I’m not trying to single out Bazan, but he is a good example of a common theology among our culture. It has become popular to see Jesus as a sort of Ghandi figure, quoting the couple of verses that fit their personal idea of who Jesus is- love your neighbor as yourself, take care of the widows and the poor, turn the other cheek, ect.

I find that they often leave out the parts where Jesus talks about the divisive things: the kingdom of Heaven advancing by force, worshipping God and serving only Him, how Jesus will turn people away from heaven, how real hell is and how many will end up there, and don’t even get me started on the parts where Jesus starts predicting the future and talks about a final judgement. These are not the things that you hear when people reference how great Jesus was-WAS-and how we should all follow his example.

People think of Jesus as some really great guy who taught us how to live in love and peace with humanity. The ultimate hippie. That is partly true, in a very pathetic, watered down way. Jesus didn’t see himself that way. He said: “Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace on the earth! No, I came to bring a sword.” Surprised? Read Matt 10:34-39.

Is this the Jesus that you know? If it’s not then it’s time to open a Bible and read who it is you claim to know and follow.

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Filed under aiming at heaven, church stuff, currently reading/listening to, groupies, i am feeling feisty., in my opionation, life questions, more like Him, my friends., right?, stuff I don't like

Bitterness Sucks.

Each year we do 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting at our church. This year the Pastors were asked to take 1 of the days and write a blog post on the verse/topic of the day. I thought I would post mine here to share. It’s a bit long, but give it a chance. 😉

Today is day 3 in our 21 days of prayer and fasting. I pray that God is showing you mighty things as you go through each day. The theme for today is “Deliverance from Bitterness and Rebellion” and the verse we are meditating on is Hebrews 12:15 “Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” NLT

In my life I have found few things as sneaky and damaging to my walk with Christ, and my relationship with others, as bitterness and resentment. Something as simple as a mean look or insensitive comment can cause an offense to enter our hearts and unless dealt with properly, a poisonous root begins to take hold. Hurts will happen; it’s unavoidable and out of our hands. Yet what we do with those hurts is our choice. Unforgiveness leads to bitterness and resentment, and nothing drains you like bitterness and resentment. But we don’t have to live with it. We must remember that Christ has forgiven us and we should forgive others. “You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember the Lord forgave you, so must forgive others.” (Col. 3:13) NLT

If we choose to bury a painful offense no matter how seemingly small and insignificant, instead of forgiving, it is guaranteed to grow into an ugly monster. This monster is insatiable; always looking to be fed with agreement from others. It usually sounds something like: “Have you ever noticed how unfriendly so and so is?” “Have you seen the inappropriate things she wears to church?” “They should have never hired Pastor so and so”. Going back to our verse for the day, this is the very place where this bitterness is now “corrupting many”. Our bitterness has become a stumbling block for others. How often do we participate in these conversations where someone’s bitterness is on display and instead of lovingly encouraging them toward forgiveness we participate and join in? I am sorry to say that it happens all too often in my life.

Paul would be disappointed. In this verse he is speaking to us with urgency: “Look after each other!” The mandate that Paul gives is for you and I as the body of Christ. Many times bitterness and resentment lives just under our radar: living, growing and waiting to bring death to our relationships. Paul is saying that it is our job to recognize these deadly traps and lovingly lead one another to the healing ministry of Christ.

We should remind each other that we have been forgiven so much and in return need to forgive others. Remind each other that if we want to experience God’s grace in our lives, we need to extend grace to others. (Mark 11:25). We are a team, we are not called to live separate lives, we are the Bride and in that we need to hold one another accountable.

As Pastor Brian talked about yesterday, the next three weeks is a time of laying down and sacrificing. Choosing to forgive and let go of bitterness is an act of obedience, a true sacrifice. Let us be obedient to Matthew 5:23-24,

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.”

I urge you, before you go any further in your time of prayer and fasting, find reconciliation. Whether it’s to a family member, a church friend, a co-worker, maybe it’s even your spouse! Go to that person and make peace. This is the true sacrifice that God desires of us. As you do this you will see that root of bitterness dry up and die, leaving room for love, peace and victory!

Much love to you, my church family,

Pastor Kate Groeneman

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Get the heck out of here.

I just read that Ryan Adams married Mandy Moore. Mandy frickin’ Moore. This better not change the love-sick, depressing music I have come to love from Ryan Adams. How can an artist continue writing about love and loss after getting married? I had the same fears when Chris Martin married Gwyneth Paltrow. Coldplay’s music was little less heart-sick with love and a lot more political. I do like the songs that are about Chris Martin’s kids, those are so great.

Well, congrats you two love birds. Hopefully this will make Mandy Moore’s music more credible and not make Ryan Adams’ less.

mandymooreandryanadams

A tall girl with a short guy. I like that.

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Beauty

I am currently reading Captivating by Stasi Eldridge for a small group that I’m in. It’s not a book that I would necessarily read on my own, but I don’t mind reading it for the group. I finished the first chapter yesterday and a certain excerpt really stood out to me:

My daughter Emma–nearly six years old–came to me all aglow this morning. She lay at my feet on my bed all stretched out as if she hadn’t a care in the world. “Mommy,” she said, “I had a wonderful dream last night.” “What was it about?” I asked. “I was a Queen,” she answered. And as she did her cheeks blushed pink.”Really!” I replied. “What happened in your dream?” “I was wearing a long, beautiful dress,” she said with hands gesturing downward, flowing. “Was there anything on your head?” I wondered aloud. “Yes, a crown.” “Hmmmm, why was that such a wonderful dream?” “I just love feeling that way!” “What way?” And with a sigh she spoke one word . . . “Beauty.” (Emma’s Dream, as told to her mother)

I love the carefree way that Emma describes the dream to her mom. Emma is a queen, and she is able to see it and feel it with no shame and even, now here’s a biggie: no fear of disappointment.

I can learn a lot from this little six year old.

little_princess

This is one excited little princess.

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Filed under book worm, currently reading/listening to, in my opionation, more like Him, right?

Book Review: Ian McEwan

Ian McEwan has written eighteen books, three of which I have read. My goal is to read all eighteen. Until then here are 3 short reviews of the McEwan books I have read.

Title: Saturday//Published:2005

saturday

Saturday is a “conscience” novel, meaning the author shows us what passes through the mind of a character during a single day in a specific time and place. Saturday takes place in London on February 15, 2003; which happens to be the same time I was living just outside of London myself.  Henry Perowne, the lead protagonist, is a neurosurgeon married with 2 talented kids, one a daughter who is a published poet and a son who is a jazz musician, who are now young adults. His day starts with him waking up in the middle of the night, looking out the window and witnessing a plane on fire flying in to land at Heathrow Airport. This surreal moment sets the tone for the very eventful day in which Henry is tested and pushed into difficult decisions.

Favorite quote:

“There are these rare moments when musicians together touch something sweeter than they’ve ever found before in rehearsals or performance, beyond the merely collaborative or technically proficient, when their expression becomes as easy and graceful as friendship or love. This is when they give us a glimpse of what we might be, of our best selves, and of an impossible world in which you give everything to others, but lose nothing of yourself.”

Title: On Chesil Beach//Published: 2007

on_chesil_beach-ian_mcewan

On Chisel Beach introduces us to a newlywed couple who has just arrived at a bed and breakfast set on the beach at Dorset, England in 1962. The couple is nervous for the upcoming newlywed “activities”, and in Ian McEwan’s incredible style, we experience their thoughts and fears in a very vulnerable light making each character feel familiar and understood by the reader. For anyone who has been married and has experienced that first night together, this book rings true on many levels, from the precise and intimate depiction of two young lovers eager to rise above the hurts and confusion of the past, to the touching story of how their unexpressed misunderstandings and fears shape the rest of their lives, On Chesil Beach is an extraordinary novel that brilliantly, movingly shows us that “This is how the entire course of a life can be changed: by doing nothing.”

Favorite quote:

“Their plan was to change into rough shoes after supper and walk on the shingle between the sea and the lagoon known as the fleet, and if they had not finished the wine, they would take that along, and swig from the bottle like gentlemen of the road. And they had so many plans, giddy plans, heaped up before them in the misty future, as richly tangled as the summer flora of the Dorset coast, and as beautiful. Where and how they would live, who their close friends would be, his job with her father’s firm, her musical career and what to do with the money her father had given her, and how they would not be like other people, at least, not inwardly. This was still the era—it would end later in that famous decade—when to be young was a social encumbrance, a mark of irrelevance, a faintly embarrassing condition for which marriage was the beginning of a cure. Almost strangers, they stood, strangely together, on a new pinnacle of existence, gleeful that their new status promised to promote them out of their endless youth—Edward and Florence, free at last! One of their favorite topics was their childhoods, not so much the pleasures as the fog of comical misconceptions from which they had emerged, and the various parental errors and outdated practices they could now forgive.”

Title: Atonement//Published: 2001

atonement

Atonement, my favorite of the three, is set on the hottest day of the summer in 1935. McEwan takes the reader from a elegant manor house set in the English countryside, to the horrors of World War II, then finally to a present-day London. McEwan captures childhood fantasies, love, war, England and class in a vivid light, enthralling you into this world of misunderstandings, false accusations, revenge, shame and forgiveness. The ability for me to be captivated by this book was helped by my own time living in a manor house in England much like the one described in Atonement. My own love story unfolded in this house tucked away in the country, much like Cecilia and Robbie. Our story is not a story of loss and tragedy, but still consisted of drama all the same.

If you are interested, be sure to read the book before you see the movie. Allow yourself the oppurutnity to create these characters instead of having a director create his own interpretation for you.

Favorite quote:

“Cecilia wondered, as she sometimes did when she met a man for the first time, if this was the one she was going to marry, and whether it was this particular moment she would remember for the rest of her life – with gratitude, or profound and particular regret.”

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a mix fit for a president

mix_for_obama

Dear Mr. President,

First off let me just say Congratulations on your historic nomination! I may or may not have voted for you, but it really doesn’t matter now, does it. I was thinking of ways to welcome you to your new role and to the White House, a plate-of-brownies-for-the-new-neighbor type of gesture. I personally enjoy receiving Mix CD’s from new friends, it helps to get to know them a little better. I decided I would create a Presidential Mix CD for you. It is quite eclectic, mixing a few things together. I’ve heard you really like “Gimme Shelter” by the Rolling Stones, so I made sure to include that one for you, Mr. President. Overall it has a political feel, but it doesn’t take itself very seriously. Kind of like me!

Thanks for serving our country. Wishing you all the best!

Kate Groeneman

P.S. check out my blog thatgirlkate.wordpress.com


My “Welcome President Obama” Mix:

  1. Panic-The Smiths
  2. Gimme Shelter-Rolling Stones
  3. Coldplay-Politik
  4. Under Pressure-Queen and David Bowie
  5. Blowin’ In The Wind- Bob Dylan
  6. Pride (In the Name of Love)- U2
  7. Ring of Fire-Johnny Cash
  8. Bonzo Goes to Bitburg- The Ramones
  9. Paper Planes- M.I.A.
  10. Michael Jackson- Bad
  11. Star Spangled Banner

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