Real talk on Religion with Bristol Palin

Ok, I’m not talking WITH her, I’m just talking TO her.

Bristol Palin is pregnant again.

However, lest any of you judgy-mcjudgerson’s want to pass a verdict down from your lofty bench of responsibility, abstinence, or safe sex-i-ness, she planned the pregnancy this time.

So there!

She doesn’t want your lectures or your sympathy, and she cares “this much” about negativity. In fact, if you don’t like her choices you should just “deal with it.”
What she presumably DOES want, however, is for you to continue reading her blog on “faith and being a mom,” buy her book, and watch her on reality shows– (she relied on her faith to get her through Dancing with the Stars). Oh, and also, support her in her important causes (for which she is paid), such as preventing unplanned (teen) pregnancy.

*blank stare*

Here’s the thing: If Bristol were the “single mother who lived next door to me, ” I like to think we’d be friends. I bet she’s fun. I like her tenacity and boldness, and I resonate with her desire to speak her mind. Alas, we aren’t neighbors or friends. But as a woman, a mother, and a Christian, I am her sister.

So, I am left with saying this here; Bristol, Please stop it.

Please stop publicly using your faith and projected moral superiority, as a reason that no one should judge you, all the while judging other people.

Please stop standing and shouting on the moral high ground when you’re knee-deep in a pothole.

If you are going to make a living out of broadcasting your life and your faith to the world, please stop being confused and frustrated when others have commentary on it.

The problem with a “deal with it” attitude is that it paints Christianity in an ugly light to the rest of the world. The beauty of our Christian faith is that we get to be gloriously imperfect, and ugly, and still redeemed. A little humility, particularly at this juncture, would go a long way toward endearing others to you, but also–and more importantly, to me–in drawing the world to God. “Christ came to save sinners, of whom I am chief “- you know, that kind of preaching.

I don’t blame you completely, though. The faith community is obsessed with public displays of faith in the sense that we love to relate to someone in the public eye – and we often have the mistaken idea that somehow being famous makes those people a “better” advocate for our faith. So, we repost their quotes, blog posts or speeches, as if somehow by osmosis, our religious purposes will be accomplished. I can’t tell you how many Facebook memes I see daily with “Christian” quotes from celebrities or politicians, coupled with a proverbial “Amen” from the posting party.

If you asked the human brother of Jesus Christ what “real” religion is, you might have heard him say this:
True devotion, the kind that is pure and faultless before God the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their difficulties, and to keep the world from contaminating us. – James 1:27

I have a friend. He’s not famous. He plays basketball with prisoners at a large prison most weekends, and loves them in their brokenness. This is pure religion. Another friend collects coats and blankets for the homeless in our city, and hand delivers them with love and prayer. Another friend organizes backpack drives for foster children. Yet another friend works tirelessly to eradicate juvenile sex trafficking. None of these people have a national platform, but if they did – I’m pretty sure they would use it in the good cause of “pure” religion.

Instead of being snarky to your critics, I suggest you welcome them, Bristol. Don’t blow them off with smug pictures and trite sayings. BE about what you talk about. And use your public platform at this pivotal time in your life to affect some real change in the world, and not just spare change in your pocket.

I write this to encourage Bristol Palin and other public people of faith; Instead of talking about your faith and cloaking your public persona in it, and then being annoyed when others use it against you, WORK out your own faith with humility in the public square. It’s pretty hard to criticize someone who is in the trenches doing the good work.

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Aside

Do you Believe in Magic?

Do you Believe in magic?

Can I tell you a secret?  It’s really NOT a secret, but it seems to escape so many people, that it almost feels like inside information.

Serving others is a balm for your soul.

Seriously, it’s the “magic” cure for a complaining spirit.

The day after the U.S. presidential election I woke up with a political hangover.  After staying up all night to watch the election returns, and listening to the pundits and so-called “experts”  discuss the ins and outs of the political game, I was feeling very…umm….introspective – just a little downhearted about the spirit of division, and the philosophical divide that separates “right” and “left” in this country – and what that says about the state of our union, and more importantly – our hearts. I was concerned for the future – for my children’s  future, and my family’s future.  I was frustrated about the gloating and moping I was hearing/reading from my friends whose candidate had won or lost. And I just felt blue.

But, life had to go on.  I had a busy day scheduled.  On my crazy agenda for the day was;   1.) Home school my boys  2.) Clean my house  3.) run errands 4.) Direct a public school Christmas choir rehearsal 5.)  Make AND deliver beef stew and french bread to a church member recovering from surgery, and 6.) Host three families and their children in our home for dinner and a Bible study/discussion about parenting in today’s world.  I’m tired just typing all that.  🙂

After the last person left my house, and my husband and I managed getting our hyped-up boys to bed, (much too late),  I sat down for the first time since morning.  And, yes – I’m tired…but I’m just sayin…..I feel better.  Less worried.  Less despondent.  Less discouraged.   Instead, I feel renewed.  I feel energized.  And I feel a sense of hope in the power of real and true relationships with others – the kind Jesus taught us about.

For even the Son of man came not to BE served, but to serve others, and give his life a ransom for many.  (Matthew 20:28)

There’s just SOMETHING about serving, and physically DOING things for others that makes you feel better.   I promise.  Try it sometime.

In this broken world, it’s easy to be discouraged about things.  Wars, rumors of wars, and natural disasters surround us.  Just this past week, we’ve seen the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast part of our country.  Many struggle with debt, or are having to work harder and harder to make family life work – spouses are traveling and working more, mommies who previously stayed home full-time  are having to get jobs to make ends meet, and culturally, it often feels that the onslaught of values which don’t match mine come from every angle.   In this world, it can be an easy to fall into the trap of our emotions, and get downtrodden and disheartened.

I’m suggesting a better way.

When you have that moment – that feeling of doom and gloom – stop looking down, and look around.   Find someone to serve. (You won’t have to look very far).   Purpose to do something for the good of another.  The world will instantly become a brighter place.  I love the quote that says, “Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others, cannot keep it from themselves.” (James Barrie – creator of Peter Pan.

It’s like magic.  Good, Old-Fashioned “magic.”

That Jesus guy knew what he was doing.

In Praise of Family Night

In our home, we try to have at least one night each week which we dedicate to a family night.  Depending on my hot date schedules (ahem….with my husband), family nights generally occur on Friday or Saturday night. This usually consists of some kind of fun meal (either out at a restaurant, or cooked together as a family), and a planned activity that all three of us will do actually at the same time. 

I know that’s an odd way to say it, but let me clarify. 

My husband and I have a pretty good system worked out for most evenings – so that we alternate who is the “on” parent.  This means that while we are all usually together at home most evenings, both of us have time to do a thing or two without the kidlet (hence, I’m blogging at the moment, and kidlet’s bath is being facilitated by the husband unit.)

So, on family night, we purpose to put our “other things” aside to all focus on SOMETHING together. 

Our family night exploits have included such simple thrills as homemade pizza and a game of LIFE (the board game) – which is amusing to play with a precocious five year old.  Last time we played two things happened; 1.) He cried when he didn’t land on the square which forces the player to pay $40,000 for an SUV.   When we asked why, he explained, “I have three kids now, and I need a van…this car is too small, and the kids keep falling out of my car.”  2.) He danced around the living room in glee when his “college tuition loan notes” were paid off, chanting in a sing-songy voice, “I’m debt free, I’m debt free!”  Stifling our giggles, husband and I exchanged knowing glances, and I silently prayed that only ONE of these would happen again in his lifetime. 

Rarely, we choose outrageous evenings, such as a 9pm trip to a fancy restaurant for appetizers and ice cream sundaes or the classic pajama run to McDonald’s for French fries and milkshakes (don’t judge).

Tonight, we did something so quintessentially American that I nearly broke out in a rousing chorus of “Yankee Doodle Dandee” on the way home.  I know, I’m dramatic.

We began the evening at a place called, “Jimmy’s Diner.”  Yeah  – it’s really called that.   At said diner, we ordered a tuna melt, a patty melt, and a shrimp louie – seriously, how cute are we? And then, the pièce de résistance……we went to the drive-in!  Yes, the movie kind!!  Now, let me just be clear – the drive-in theatre in our town doubles as a flea market on Saturday and Sunday, so there’s a little strategic driving maneuvering necessary if you want to avoid taking home a stall with you.  But, it’s a drive-in, nonetheless.  We all sat in the front seat of the truck, and shared blankets, popcorn and a kit-kat, while we watched Tangled, which was surprisingly entertaining. 

Yes, I’ll be hanging the star-spangled bunting on the eaves in the morning. 

Seriously, kidlet couldn’t have been happier, and I was reminded again that it’s the simple things done TOGETHER that make life special. 

Maybe we’ll have TWO family nights this week.  

As for you, you still have time to make a special family moment – the weekend is just beginning. 

Go out and play!

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