Meditation is still new to me, despite that I do regular yoga. In a yoga class, the movement helps me focus my mind, either on the poses, or on the breath, and I can cut out all the thoughts about what I need to do at work tomorrow and what I’m eating for dinner. I’ve tried meditation apps but haven’t found one I connect with. Instead, I keep coming back to the same YouTube video, which I listen to in bed as I’m going to sleep.
You may be familiar with the idea of a zero-sum game. If one side wins, the other side loses. If people disagree, in order to reach a resolution, one or both must give in. If you fall in love with one person, you reduce the amount of love you have to give to other partners later on.
This attitude is native for humans and creeps its way into religion. For some of us to be chosen, or to be forgiven, or given a route to heaven, others must go to hell.
My favorite part of this meditation, created by life coach Debra Berndt-Maldonado, is that it goes counter to this attitude. I’ve come through life thinking I have to give in order to receive, and then getting upset when I’ve given and my efforts and generosity are not matched by others.
It’s also a tenet of American culture that we should give, give, give, and things will get bigger, better, and bigger. It can be easy to get caught in this cycle, and forget what you really want, and consider yourself never-quite-worthy-enough to receive it.
Is there really enough in the world, for all of us? It seems too optimistic to believe, but…
I listen to this meditation at least once per month (usually after a long bath and with a candle going). It doesn’t get old and I always hear something new.
I was working at a coffee shop when I read Velvet Elvis. Literally.
After college, I worked at an independent coffee shop hidden in the a shopping center between a scrapbooking store and a Blockbuster video rental store. Business was often slow; the six or so employees rarely overlapped shifts. I’d often get a good ten minutes of reading in between customers. Velvet Elvis had already been out for a few years — I had heard of it; it was a big deal. Once I read it, though, my reaction was: Shit. This guy wrote my book already.
My final year at a Christian college, I quit going to church with friends and started church-hopping, but with no intention of finding a church. I had only gone to evangelical churches and was curious what Episcopal, Church of Christ, Methodist, and all the other denominations were like. My skepticism in organized religion was building. I was angry; I was disillusioned. But also, like true evangelical, I wanted to fix it and set everyone straight. Continue reading “How Rob Bell Influenced My Writing Career”
I put Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” on my running playlist when it came out in 2010 and reminisced on the year just following college when going clubbing in downtown San Diego was a regular event with my roommates. The song captured perfectly how we’d get ready together, sometimes swapping dresses or shoes, and definitely guzzling some booze before going out the door. As a Christian, I saw Ke$ha’s music as bringing out a latent secular side of myself — dangerous, but fun — and I never would have expected to be loving her music seven years later for totally different reasons.
Over the years, I’ve been to a good number of Christian weddings. This first started in high school, when the girls at church who were older than me started getting married in their early 20s. Then I finished college, and my friends in serious relationships tied the knot. Then, in my late 20s, there was a second wind of weddings for former roommates from my Christian college.
It’s possible I have fewer close friends who are not Christian, or my non-Christian friends are less likely to get married, but I haven’t been to as many non-Christian weddings.
Dating is hard. Especially when people come from different backgrounds or cultural norms, based on religion or geography, for example, it can be difficult to know what another person’s expectations for. Spelling out expectations can feel unromantic. Plus, you may not know exactly what you want right away — a big part of dating is about figuring that out!
So, how can you be sure you are setting boundaries, but also exploring love and romance in a way that is healthy?
One question that comes up often is around consent. As a conservative Christian, I was taught to never date non-Christians, because we would be “unequally yoked” and it was “missionary dating,” which “never works” — i.e., you won’t likely convert your non-Christian boyfriend into a Christian. I was also taught that all men want is sex.
The first time I heard “Every New Day” was at a church youth group in junior high.
It was the kind of church where the teenagers met in a basement room and played foosball before the service started, and they’d put us on teams to play games based on popular TV shows, like challenges where kids would count marshmallows shoved in their mouth without swallowing, or races where teens would drive other teens around town in their parents’ minivan on scavenger hunts. Of course your parents always felt safe dropping you off at a church event, and that’s what made the apparent danger so delightful.