In Defensive of Defensiveness, or not?

April 29, 2011 § 2 Comments

I’m a pretty defensive kid.

Seriously, there are times I feel like I’m almost managing to look like I’m handling criticism well, but inside I’m squirming.  Pride is my vice of choice, and my bruise-able little ego rails against being corrected like it’s the worst. thing. ever.  I’ll call myself out, sure, but being called out, um, sucks.  If it’s me admitting my faults in a way I can control, I’m all for transparency.  If it’s you pointing out a flaw I’d thought I’d managed to successfully disguise, I’m a cornered wildcat.  A calmly manipulative, use-my-debate-background- brain-and-sales-training-to-argue-you-into-submission wildcat.  This is possibly not my greatest metaphor.  Bottom line: I hate being found out.  I hate falling short.  I hate to be criticized, constructive or no.

You’d think that’d be something I’d grow out of eventually.  We’ll see.

The only thing that is perhaps harder for me to handle is when someone or something I love is criticized.  In this delightful circumstance,  my natural defensive nature is suddenly validated because my anger is righteous.  I’m defending whomever cannot defend his or herself, or the thing that has no voice, or the wronged organization or misread text.  I am the Lorax, I speak for the trees!  I will stand up!  I will feel justified in my name calling!  I will hurl sarcastic, biting insults with assassin-level accuracy and I will feel no shame!

And blogs are such a problem.

There isn’t, in my opinion, an effective way to respond defensively to a spiteful, ignorant, or justplainwrong blog post.  Blogs are personal platforms – they’re pure opinion, completely subjective, and nearly impossible to argue against.  If I don’t like what’s posted, I don’t have to read it, so any defensive comment can be easily dismissed as petty, lame, impotent.  I can try to respond with opposing evidence, but if I’m defending from a Christian standpoint, I’m two short steps from being accused of being arrogant, boastful, prideful.  I can try to gracefully accept the criticism of the thing I love, and respond with a kindly “I see your point, and I’m sorry you feel that way.  Godspeed,” but that feels so darn close to affirmation that it makes my skin crawl, especially when I think the criticizers are just plain wrong.  I can read cleverly crafted comments by others who share my viewpoint and perhaps lack my defensive blinders, and pray that they are correctly interpreted, read with love, understood, only to watch them be dismissed or shot down because this, admittedly, isn’t their platform.  None of these options satisfy the desire in me to yell, to point a finger, to tarnish a reputation with a fatal blow of scathing wit and somehow convince everyone in the internet universe that the blogger in question has no idea what they’re talking about.

What are we meant to do, friends?  How do we communicate love in the face of attack?  Take it, turn the other cheek, say nothing, walk away?  Defend the truth with fiery swords of justice?  What does radical love look like in the face of ignorance, hatred, or libel?  Do nothing, do something… stay silent, speak out?  How do you phrase love without getting caught in a trap starting a comment war?  I wish I knew.

There are days I wish so badly that Jesus were here, physically, humanly here.  Jesus would know what to do.  The Holy Spirit in me that knows what to do, well, He has quite the defensive, stubborn filter of my faulty human mind and heart to get past.

I know you don’t fight fire with fire.  I know the only answer is love.  I’m just stumped as to what love looks like sometimes.  I wish I were better at grace.

(Not your job to have the words, kiddo… not your job to save the day… not your job to fix it…)

At least we know it doesn’t matter.  At least there are voices that will yell truth as loudly as others will yell hate.  At least criticism gives us the opportunity to grow.  At least we serve a God who loves our floundering, helpless little selves.

Today I’m resting in the knowing that all things work together for good, that each of us has a story full of ugly that colors our opinion and we’re all doing the best we can, that Jesus loves the stubborn socks off of meanypants bloggers AND frustrated commenters, that what He’s doing in this city is soooo much bigger than anything any of our words can touch.  I’m resting in the knowing that He holds the injured in the palm of His hand and whispers to them words that are true.  I’m praying for the folks I want to defend today, simply that they’ll hear Him.



Open My Eyes

April 27, 2011 § 1 Comment

There are as many as 300,000 children in the USA who are working as prostitutes.

Isn’t that appalling? If you’re like me, when you think of children being used as sex slaves, you think of Cambodia, or India, or some other remote location that you’ll probably never visit and where you probably couldn’t do anything substantial anyhow. But we’re talking girls who live blocks away from us. My neighbor’s daughter. Someone on your child’s soccer team. That homeless teenager he gave a dollar to on his walk to work. People we can touch, speak to, who are inches from our everyday.

What are you doing about it? I’m doing nothing.

It’s amazing how easily I’m able to turn off the part of my brain that recognizes the pure intolerability of this sort of activity. How easily I can go humming about my day, passing people in crisis without a second thought. I can pretend a problem doesn’t exist with such practiced skill that I truly forget that I ever knew about it. I consider myself to be a relatively compassionate human, and I can walk whistling right on by.

Isn’t there something terribly wrong with me, with us?

The good news is, some folks out there are doing something. I’m applauding them today, with the hope that I’ll be unselfish enough to join them. Favorite and I attended the Exile Poster Project last night – an art exhibition to raise money to fight the complete ridiculousness that is children in peril, lost little girls, who are suffering here in pretty, liberal, eco-aware, progressive Portland, Oregon. Hundreds of lost girls. Potentially thousands.

You can see the exhibit at  You can purchase prints of the posters there, which were designed by local artists and are beautiful, moving, and catalytic.

I’m vowing today to remember to be horrified… to rage against the numbness that my selfishness advocates, to keep my eyes open, to practice empathy, compassion, resurrection, grace.  The first step toward making a change is acknowledging the problem.  In order to truly acknowledge, we need to start re-learning how to feel.


Cheap Thrills: Salemarked

April 26, 2011 § 3 Comments

I know some seriously brilliant people.

Today’s Cheap Thrill might actually wind up saving you money! Or making you spend more money. Either way, it’s totally rad.

By the way, I’m a TaborSpace in Portland as I’m typing this, and I swear they made the playlist out of my soul… Over the Rhine, Sugarland, The Band Perry, old jazz… magical.


You know when you’re looking at the Anthropologie website (you do that, right?) and you happen upon a dress that you just plain love, but it’s $210 and nowayjose are you going to spend $210 and you vow to wait until it goes on sale but you forget to check back and by the time you find out it’s $45, they only have a size 0 or 16 remaining? Don’t you just hate that? I’m here to tell you that will never, ever happen to you again.

Meet Salemarked.

My brilliant friends Koes and Lindsay conceptualized and designed a site that will track sales on specific items for you… all you have to do is sign up, use the bookmarklet to mark your faves, enter the price you want to pay, and go about your life. Salemarked will email you when the item reaches the desired price! I’ve been waiting for this website for basically my entire life. Not even kidding. You can even share you list with friends, for inspiration or gifting or whatever. Love, love, love it.

Go mark some stuff, would you?


In Other Words…

April 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

I had to read this three times before it sunk in.

I like that in a poem.

Descending Theology: The Resurrection
by Mary Karr

From the far star points of his pinned extremities,
cold inched in – black ice and squid ink-
till the hung flesh was empty.
Lonely in that void even for pain,
he missed his splintered feet,
the human stare buried in his face.
He ached for two hands made of meat
he could reach to the end of.
In the corpse’s core, the stone fist
of his heart began to bang
on the stiff chest’s door, and breath spilled
back into that battered shape. Now

it’s your limbs he comes to fill, as warm water
shatters at birth, rivering every way.

He is risen.


The day the Lord created hope…

April 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

“The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day he created Spring.” – Bern Williams

Just wanted to share the bits of Spring that have been showing up around our little house:

This is the cozy new spring space I made on our back porch.Poor birdie.Caper has a shadow!  Can you believe it?  I never thought I’d be so happy to see a shadow.

Today I am thankful for the beautiful woman who used to live in our house and her sweet love of flowers, may she rest in peace.  I’m thankful for strings of sunny days and shadows and proof of rebirth, new life, resurrection, creation.  For the rising of nature, the rising of tulips, and the rising of a Savior.

I’m wishing you petals and sunshine and renewal and joy.


Cheap Thrills: Tias!

April 19, 2011 § 1 Comment

Today’s cheap thrill is $3.95 at the grocery store.  Hooray!

Instead of being a person who craves salt, or a person who craves sugar, I am a person who craves salt and sugar, usually in combination.  Which is lovely for the manufacturers of salty and sugary products, and terrible for any healthy eating plans I come up with.  However, I make an effort to make decent, or at least semi-decent, salty and sugary selections.

I often get hung up on chips.  Do you know how hard it is to find a tortilla chip that is good for you?  I mean, potato chips, non-issue- the baked ones taste better anyway.  But tortilla chips are basically one big fat greasy unsolvable issue for me.  Enter Kettle Chips Tias! (that exclamation point is part of their branding, although it is also an accurate representation of my mood).

Now, they aren’t really good for you.  Don’t get all excited.  But they are made from organic corn, and all of the ingredients that make up the todiefor Chile con Queso flavoring are words I recognize and can pronounce.   They are about as good for you as a deep fried (in “the finest oils,” so saith the website) flavored chip can be.  And OMG are they ever tasty.  Eat-the-whole-bag-in-one-sitting-if-you-aren’t-careful-and/or-supervised tasty.   They kick Doritos in the pants.  Hard.  By being less radioactive and significantly tastier.

Do these chips.  With guac if you’re feeling especially indulgent.  And probably chocolate.  Then go for a run or something. 😉


In Other Words…

April 18, 2011 § 1 Comment

Today I want to introduce you to a girl who crafts her pants.

Seriously, or not so seriously, Destiny comes up with and posts some fantastically inspiring craft projects, most of which seem excitingly attainable in an afternoon or by someone who may not be Martha Stewart.  Plus, she’s delightfully funny, and I giggle at every post.  I mean, anyone who calls her blog

Destiny Craft Her Pants

is okay by me. 🙂


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