Monday, August 15, 2011


Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines disenchant as "to free from illusion".
Well, I'm here to state that though I have never been fully enchanted by the popular culture today, I am disenchanted by it in almost all aspects.
What we need today is a true disenchantment with Hollywood, the "music" industry, and even the world of politics. The latter is not something I will rant about today.

My true disenchantment with Hollywood became complete when a few of my favorite wholesome books were realized in the utterly wrong way onscreen. After viewing The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, I felt nothing but disappointment, ire, and sadness. The filmmakers took a wonderful Christian story and turned it into New Age spiritual nonsense about defeating the darkness inside yourself. Instead of being a beautiful journey to the End of the World and Aslan's Table, it became a completely me-centered adventure. The themes of sacrifice and redemption were almost nonexistent. To be brutally honest, I was appalled. Why did Hollywood have to change the story at all?

As far as the last installment of Harry Potter goes, I don't actually want to get into that. But I will say one thing: for the entire series, I was upset because Hollywood changed things and left huge gaps in the story. Yet when it came to Deathly Hallows Part Two, I was shocked at how empty it felt. Again, the underlying themes which are so obvious in J.K. Rowling's books were just not there. Why?

Well, Hollywood, it's because you don't even know what sacrifice, redemption, and true love look like.
I pray for celebrities as a whole, but it's hard to allow a smidgen of hope for most of the actors and singers and talent-less socialites that make up Beverly Hills and more.
You know why I sometimes wish for old Hollywood?
For the actors and actresses that played parts in black and white films?
Because at least they didn't flaunt their perverted and screwed up lives.
It wasn't "okay to be gay" and even though some of those men were, they didn't make it obvious.
It wasn't okay to be promiscuous and have children out of wedlock, so things were kept under wraps.
I'm certainly not trying to say that old Hollywood had better morals than today; in reality they were no different.
They just kept things clean on the outside, for the most part.
Films didn't need an R rating, or heaven forbid, an NC-17.
Television wasn't so graphic that all you see is body parts and buckets of blood.
Nudity wasn't acceptable onscreen.
Profanity was kept to a minimum.
Yeah, okay, everyone smoked and drank, but I think that's minor compared to other things.

What has happened to America? To the world? I do not find it acceptable when I go to a movie theater and the teenagers in the row in front of me are talking in such a way that their entire conversation should be bleeped out. On Sunday my pastor talked about going to sporting events and feeling like he should be wearing headphones, or even sitting in a coffee shop and feeling the same way. I know exactly how he feels.

I know I mentioned the "music" industry at the beginning of this post, but I'll save that for another day.
What I will say is that when we have people like Lady Gaga and her horrible song called "Judas", rock groups and rappers that scream strings of profanities and glorify drugs and pre-marital sex and same-sex relationships, I actually am half-okay with someone like Justin Bieber. At least he is still clean, for the most part. I just pray he doesn't go the way of Miley Cyrus and the rest of them.

My prayer and hope is that one day soon America will grow disenchanted with its own popular culture. The comments I read on YouTube videos and internet news stories show that this isn't going to happen to the general public anytime soon. I will place blame partially on education, because so many of the people that spend their time commenting online clearly don't know what they're talking about.

But now I charge my fellow Christians with something. Please, please, please stop trying to make yourself, your church, your music, and God "culturally relevant". That's not the point. Peter writes the following:

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belong to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." (1 Peter 2:9).

Two verses later, he charges Christians with this:

"Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us." (1 Peter 2:11-12).

Always remember that we are set apart from the world because of Christ's sacrifice for us. This sacrifice and our subsequent salvation gives us cause to live good lives and do good deeds. Christ gave His all that we might stand before God in heaven and be washed clean. Why do we not remember this more and show it during our lives here on earth?

I may be disenchanted with popular culture in general, but I think the time has come to allow an even greater disenchantment: Christians need to step away from being culturally relevant and hold the Gospel high. We need to show Hollywood and the rest of the world that we are different. If all we do is try to fit in, then that's all we ever will be: conformists.

And we shouldn't be.
Let the world be disenchanted by bubblegum Christianity.
Let the harshness of the Law be brought to light that the power of the Gospel may shine all the more.
I, for one, will gladly proclaim my Savior's grace and mercy everywhere I go.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

musings no.6 [wedding registries and feelings of selfishness]

One of my favorite things about the wedding planning so far has been creating wedding gift registries.
It's fun to browse the internet and add all sorts of awesome home things to a list that people will pick from.
Honestly, it feels a little selfish.
I mean, really, how much is too much?
How expensive is too expensive?
Is registering for personal items allowed?
Hard to say.
In the end, though, as long as the necessary items are on the lists, I suppose anything else is fair game.

I certainly find it amusing how the ratio of items for each room/section of our new house differs.
The room that has the most items is obviously the kitchen.
Now's the time for me to get all those random kitchen gadgets that will be tons of fun to use!
Yeah...I'm a sucker for kitchen stuff.

But really, the idea of a gift registry for new couples makes so much sense.
It would be rather insane to expect a newly married couple to buy everything they need to start a life together.
And with a registry, then they're more likely to receive items they actually like.
It's fun, and kind of addicting, even.
I only wish it didn't feel like I'm being selfish by "wanting" all these things.
My conscience needs to take a break while I'm planning my wedding.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"By the shores of Gitche Gumee, By the shining Big-Sea-Water"

Does it make sense to have a deep longing for seeing a place again?
In the same way that one longs for the company of a close friend who they have not seen in many days?
I like to think it does make sense.
I have a deep longing for places I have never even set foot in, except possibly in my dreams.
I think I am meant to travel.
To new places.
But right now, I specifically want to return.
I want to feel the cool of Lake Superior on my skin.
I want to feast my eyes upon the glory that is the sunset God paints above the water.
I want to be there, among the splendor that God has created.
Obviously, the splendor that God has created is all around us, but there is something special about Gitche Gumee, the shining Big-Sea-Water.
I don't know what, exactly.
I also don't think it matters.
My heart just wants to be there.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Thirty-Nine Steps

Most films and television shows are based on books. Everyone knows this.
When I watch a film or television show, especially a period drama (like Pride & Prejudice), and especially one I haven't heard of before, I want to discover where the story came from.
This past winter, I decided to watch Masterpiece Theatre on PBS. I hadn't watched it in a very long time.
And I mean a very long time. Try years.
Lucky for me, there was a single episode period drama/mystery being shown on that particular Sunday evening.
This drama was entitled The Thirty-Nine Steps.

I enjoyed the story, and soon afterwards learned from a friend that Alfred Hitchcock had filmed an adaptation of this same story in 1935. I then was lucky enough to find a DVD set of 20 early Hitchcock films for five dollars at Target and it had this film on it! So, I watched it. Black and white films are bloody brilliant! No, really. There is just something about old B/W films. They have a certain charm. But at the moment, that's not really the point of this story.

The best part about this story, however, is not the film versions. I had searched Amazon for an edition of the original book shortly after watching the BBC adaptation. I discovered that it was a very old story, almost one hundred years old. Naturally. There were a few editions of the book available online, but at the time I decided not to order one. I was finishing up college, after all. So, I forgot about the story for awhile.
Until yesterday. A friend and I were at Babbitt's Books, an awesome used bookshop in Normal, and we were just browsing. She shares my love (read: obsession) with books. While I was scanning the top shelves of the fiction section, I noticed a book that said The Thirty-Nine Steps, John Buchan. I was slightly unsure of the author's name right then, but I stood on my tiptoes and plucked the red volume carefully from the shelf.
I flipped through the pages, noting that the book was old and in good shape. The price was thirty dollars, which made me curious. Most books I buy at Babbitt's are between two and seven dollars, so there had to be something special about this one. Sure enough, it was a first edition. From 1915.
Naturally, I bought it. Now I just need to read it, but the discovery of the book itself was quite amazing.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


It may be the summer weather, but I am restless. Ever since school ended, I have been feeling this way. But why? Come to think of it, the feeling cannot be solely because of the summer weather; summer weather has been greatly lacking. I enjoy the cooler temps, so that certainly isn't it. I have this feeling of urgency, of somehow missing something that is to come. I never sleep well, and even when I think I do, I'm still exhausted. There are so many things that I want to accomplish, and yet they never get accomplished because I spend all my time thinking and never doing.

I suppose I have accomplished a few things this summer. I have managed to read a number of books simply for the joy of reading. I have bought the fabric and other supplies to sew my wedding dress. And there are other, smaller, things. But the feeling of restlessness remains. I don't like it, and it's upsetting me.

The sad thing is that part of me knows why I am restless. I don't want to be here. A lot of what I would like to accomplish requires being there, in Wisconsin. I am tired of Illinois, tired of the distance, and tired of the scenery, since I'm being honest. It's not that I don't want to be with my family, or my church family, or my very few friends here.

The time has come for a permanent change of scenery. I just wish December didn't feel so far away.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Times They Are A-Changin'

I realize that Bob Dylan's song has absolutely nothing to do with the changes in my life, but the title seemed appropriate. So, what's new with my life? Well, I graduated from Concordia University Wisconsin exactly a month ago. I don't quite know how I feel about this yet. It will be so strange come August when I don't have to pack up and move back into the dorms. I have no homework left to do, at least until I begin the work for my MLS degree.

But I have not truly said goodbye to Concordia. After all, in less than six months, I will be wearing my handmade white gown and standing before the altar in the Chapel of Christ Triumphant exchanging vows with my husband-to-be. I swear, I have butterflies just imagining the moment!

Suddenly, the moment does not seem that far away.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sound and Silence

Greetings from Lake Michigan! It is 62 degrees and sunny; a simply gorgeous day.

Yes, I know. It has been spring for nearly a month now. But who's counting? Spring in Wisconsin in almost nonexistent. Nothing but winter, winter, winter, mud, then -- BAM -- it's summer.

That's not the point of this, however.

Have you ever noticed how the world is so much quieter in the wintertime? There is a silence that blankets everything, like the snow that blankets the grass, trees, and houses. The wind does not sweep through the trees with the same sound; there are no leaves. There are no birds singing; they spend winter in warmer climes. There is even a silence where you expect to hear the bugs and insects.
In the winter, though the white snow is one of the most beautiful sights, the world is dead.

And then in the spring we see the grass once more, though it may be brown and lifeless for a short time. But suddenly the world awakens! You can blink and the green appears. Birds sing once more, leaves bud on the trees that no longer look barren and haunted. No longer is the world silent.

What a perfect picture of resurrection! It is no wonder that we celebrate Easter in the springtime. Just as the world dies in the autumn and appears lifeless all winter, Jesus Christ died on the cross on that first Good Friday and was dead in the tomb for three days.
Just as the world awakens to new life each spring, Jesus Christ rose from the tomb, fully alive, on that first Easter morning.

Cherish the changing of the seasons, just as God cherished His fallen creation enough to send His only Son to die a horrible death and rise again that we might receive eternal life with Him.

Monday, March 7, 2011

musings no.5 [the coming of Lent and other things]

"Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" As Everything But A Children's Book

When I first had the idea, it seemed like it would be wonderful to write my senior project on Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-glass and What Alice Found There. Now, I'm not so sure. Because of the very nature of the Alice books and the mystery surrounding their author, the criticism available is...extensive and entirely too varied, to say the least. And honestly, I don't enjoy much of the criticism, because I am a firm believer in not reading too deeply into a text. I suppose that you might argue that I should not be an English major, but I have learned much relating to literature in other ways during my college career. I simply do not appreciate every other critic I read implying that there was a romantic attachment/sexual relationship/what have you between the real Lewis Carroll and the real child-Alice. Charles Dodgson (Carroll's real name) and Alice Liddell (the "real" Alice) were friends, of course, but to be perfectly frank, not even history can tell us if their relationship was more than strictly proper between a child and a shy young man! Of course, the main problem I have with researching the character of Alice is that I rather despise feminist/gender criticism. Much (not all) of it is written by women who appear to have some severe issues with the male gender, and as I am most certainly not a feminist, this irks me exceedingly.

But I digress; I did choose to study the character of Alice in Carroll's books and how she has changed in adaptations throughout the last 150 years. And I have been reassured by a (small) number of critics who do not agree with the supposed relationship between Dodgson and Liddell. And having a legitimate excuse (reason!) to watch both Disney film versions a few times is quite nice.

The Coming of Lent: Ash Wednesday

Now that I have ranted about my senior seminar project, I turn to a more appealing topic to write on. The season of Lent is one of my favorite parts of the church year. Well, that is an unfair thing to say, since I love the whole church year and the solidarity I find in the repeating seasons and festivals. I wish more church denominations paid any attention at all to the church year; it bothers me greatly when people do not even know what Ash Wednesday is.

I love Lent for many reasons, some perhaps a bit superficial in the big picture. First, the altar cloths are purple; I like that, because it is a somber purple, but also symbolic of Jesus Christ's royalty. Second, I simply adore the Lenten hymns. I cannot describe the haunting and sorrowful melodies, the deep and rich lyrics of each one. And some of the hymns we still sing were being sung 1000 years ago! I do not want the empty "Christian" "praise and worship" songs of today; there are very few of them that truly proclaim our sinfulness and Christ's ultimate sacrifice! The point is not to try to give God our all, because the truth is that we cannot....

But I do not want to rant about contemporary Christian music right now. I will, however, leave you with a hymn that I can say is definitely a favorite, though I love the whole hymnal.

"Alleluia, Song of Gladness" (Lutheran Service Book 417)

Alleluia, song of gladness,
Voice of joy that cannot die;
Alleluia is the anthem
Ever raised by choirs on high;
In the house of God abiding
Thus they sing eternally.

Alleluia, thou resoundest,
True Jerusalem and free;
Alleluia, joyful mother,
All thy children sing with thee,
But by Babylon's sad waters
Mourning exiles now are we.

Alleluia cannot always
Be our song while here below;
Alleluia, our transgressions
Make us for a while forgo;
For the solemn time is coming
When our tears for sin must flow.

Therefore in our hymns we pray Thee,
Grant us, blessed Trinity,
At the last to keep Thine Easter
With Thy faithful saints on high;
There to Thee forever singing
Alleluia joyfully.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

[~life-changing moments]

It has been awhile since I last wrote; much has happened.
I should be reading The Tragedy of King Richard III, but it can wait.

The Green Bay Packers won Super Bowl XLV!!! I am still celebrating this astounding victory. Anyone reading this blog should count themselves lucky that I did not update immediately after the Super Bowl because I would have gone on and on about the game. As it stands, the game has been talked about more than was absolutely necessary; I don't mind, of course, being so incandescently happy that my team fought against such odds in the world of American football to gain the highest title that rightly belongs in Green Bay -- after all, it is the Lombardi Trophy! The Packers were the first sixth-seeded team to win; that says something right there. Aaron Rodgers is only one aspect of this team to be reckoned with. I will admit that when I realized that we had won that night, tears came to my eyes. It had been such a long time, and I wanted to see Aaron Rodgers win a Super Bowl. The night was epic, in so many ways.

The night did not end there, however. I was still on a high from the victory of the green and gold when my boyfriend mentioned it was "the opportune moment" for something. I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about, still seeing the shiny Lombardi Trophy in my mind's eye, but all that fell to the wayside as he pulled out something else shiny -- a beautiful ring. He did not go down on one knee, but he did take my hand in his and gently remove the ring I had been wearing on my ring finger; this other ring is a purity ring from my parents, and I will wear it still, only on my other hand. Because of course, when Nate asked me if I would marry him, the only possible answer was yes. And he slipped the new ring onto the ring finger of my left hand.

It took a number of hours for the whole thing to sink in -- even now, I'm still surprised that, in less than a year, I will be getting married! Though it is definitely nice to have something other than homework to obsess over -- I think I like this whole wedding-planning thing!

When it was New Year's Eve, barely two months ago, I knew that 2011 was going to be a year of life-changing moments. I can see now that that feeling is coming true even more quickly than I imagined it would. The Packers won the Super Bowl (which no one could have predicted!). Nate and I are engaged. I graduate from Concordia University in May. Nate and I are getting married before Christmas. I will be officially moving to Wisconsin and away from home.

And yet, it's those life-changing moments that make us truly who we are. I cannot fathom the mind of God, nor would I want to. But I can be thankful for His hand in everything I do.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

[~a heart's desire]

The Packers are going to the Super Bowl!! -dances-
This is so exciting; unbelievably so.

January 2011 is nearly over already. I sit here in my dorm, staring out the window at the snow that blankets the courtyard and I can be happy. To be perfectly honest, I hate being at school. Perhaps hate is a strong word, but it is a fact. I enjoy my classes and I love going to chapel and I love my friends, but for some reason just simply being here causes me to feel depressed.

So why can I just be happy? Well, because.
Because I am almost done. I can see graduation from here, and the road to that exit doesn't look so long anymore. But what am I going to do after that? There are many things I would like to do, but I think God has priorities for me at the moment. I won't muse about those in this particular post, but I do know that my life is going through more changes than graduating from college.

Of course, now that I am going to graduate from Concordia, I've begun to look back at some of the things that I missed. I wanted, so badly, to study abroad. I wanted to study in England, at Oxford specifically. I guess that wasn't a path God allowed me to follow. I'm having a difficult time accepting this, as a few people know. Studying at Oxford, even for a short while, had been my heart's desire for many years; it was a dream I've had since I was a child. But the thing about a person's heart's desire is this:

It can change, shift, the way the winds shift and change.

My heart's desire did shift, without my consent nor my expectation; but now I wouldn't change it for anything. Now what I want most in the world is to get married and begin a new journey with a certain special someone. I am afraid to even talk about it, for fear of jinxing something so special. Yet I know without a doubt that this is the path (or part of it) that God has laid out for me.

Now, I am going to share a few Bible verses that are not particularly relevant to this topic, exactly; but they are what I read this morning.

"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth,
where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,
but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
~Matthew 6:19-21

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

musings no. 4 [a new year has dawned]

Yay for 2011! Another year, another chapter in the life of God's green earth.

Another chapter in my life has begun, too. Though if I spent the end of 2010 watching Ghostbusters 2 with my, it was fun. And the end of that movie takes place on New Year's Eve, so I think it was appropriate. And we did see the Harlem Globetrotters at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee, which turned out to be awesome.

But now it's 2011.

The year I graduate from college.
The year my life changes forever.

Am I ready to take hold of the future?
Am I ready to leave behind some of what I've known my whole life?
Am I ready?

God must believe I am ready, and therefore, I am.

[Jeremiah 29:11]