a quiet-ish weekend...

i know... AMAZING... a quiet{ish} weekend for us.

especially since the last 10 weekends for the marshalls have involved...

a) guests in town with us at the house

b) being out of town

c) being at the beach house with one or more noblin families with us

d) combine several of the above

so even though we were supposed to have guests this weekend AND be at the beach with my brother’s family... we had to put a stop to all the madness and take a weekend off. especially when we realized that the next 6 weekends would also include one or more of the following...

a) guests in town with us at the house

b) being out of town

c) being at the beach house with one or more noblin families with us

d) our kids at summer camp (which will be restful for us BUT we won’t all be together, which might be a nice thing for a weekend or two this summer)

so to fill up your weekend with as much reading material as possible, here is a little combination of two entries from the “other” place i blog sometimes... the village square.

the first part:

i sent this quote to liz and she put it on the blog AND had a cute photo of me RIGHT UNDER the name c.s. lewis... it is like she is making ALL of my dreams come true.

From C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity:

“Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one’s first feeling, ‘Thank God, even they aren’t quite so bad as that,’ or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible? If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything — God and our friends and ourselves included — as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.”

The liberal  Washington Monthly blogger who brings us this quote continues:

If you give in to “the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible”, it’s easy to see how you could end up thinking things about them that it is implausible to think about any group of human beings.. Your opponents become cartoons in your mind, and the normal duty to be charitable and generous, or even realistic, in your views about other people seem not to apply to them. You stop thinking of them as fellow human beings, and start thinking of them as enemies…

No one — not liberals, not conservatives — should forget that their opponents are human beings. And no one can afford to start down the road Lewis describes, in which you allow yourself to be disappointed when your opponents aren’t as bad as you first thought, or want them to be as bad as possible. And no one should get so wrapped up in political fights that in focussing on the mote in someone else’s eye, they lose sight of the beam in their own.

Worth noting is that Lea originally saw this post echoed on a Christian blog Cranach: The Blog of Veith. An iconic Christian author quoted on the blog of a cornerstone left-leaning publication (that I should add my sister used to work for); the left-leaning blog subsequently quoted on a Christian blog.

If you really think about it, all of this makes black a lot less black, eh?

*In the vernacular of this ugly political war we’ve found ourselves in, Lea is my “enemy” and I hers. If you find it impossible to believe that we’re dear friends, you really need to get out more.

and the second part:

so then in response to that whole idea... i wrote this... which liz then published on the blog with a photo of jon & kate + eight. it is like she is making all of my nightmares come true too...

i have a list of “when i get around to it” blogs to read. a majority of them are people that i highly respect their work, their words, their vision, and their lives. a lot of them are incredibly rational and real Christians. then i can count it as Bible study time when i read their blogs (just kidding-ish).

as you may have noticed i keep finding little quotes and blurbs to send in about being civil and looking beyond the differences that separate, several prominent Christians are trying to find those lost pieces of the puzzle in discourse: civility and grace.

they wrestle with that at times (and i sometimes check in on a time when they are wrestling which i don’t think is a coincidence. i don’t think anything is a coincidence). i know that i wrestle with it often and i am always relieved when someone i respect has a bit of wrestling going on as well.

of course NO one wrestles with civility on the scrapsmack blog that i read sometimes as well. it is a blog that smacks (criticizes) famous scrapbookers. yes, there really is such a thing as a “famous scrapbooker” and there really are people that smack them. and there are people that read that sometimes. sigh, and i am really one of those readers. or the other blog that i sometimes read that bashes the jon & kate + eight television show on the learning channel (one wonders what i am learning from it).

one must have her vices to make her virtues shine brighter… or is it that my vices start to dim my virtues when they outnumber them…. yeah, i think it might be the second of the two choices.

and so i thought that this was a point to note for myself and my civility issues:

that c.s. lewis quote is spot on to the whole jon and kate nastiness. i am referring to the nastiness coming from the general public/myself. it might be the problem of their own marriage nastiness, but i am no marriage therapist but i did live next door to a christian sex therapist for 10 years and that make me qualified to throw that little neighbor fact out at dinner parties where everyone is shocked to hear the words “christian” and “sex therapist” linked together but it does not make me qualified to judge someone’s marriage lest i be judged on mine.

i think i was doing that same thing c.s. lewis wrote about “thinking your enemies as bad as possible” to jon & kate.

and how did they get the auspicious job of being MY enemies? it was jealousy as much as anything (and isn’t it usually jealousy?). i mean what does “jon & kate + eight ” have over “adam & lea + three”?

our names rhyme with the # of children that we have! why isn’t tlc filming ME?!?!? where is my new HUGE house?!?!??! where is my ski trip?!?!? trip to hawaii to renew my vows?!??! where is my nanny?!?!? my public relations person?!?!? my book signing?!?!? hey, i was in CELEBRITY high school musical shouldn’t i have all of those perks?!?!??!?!?!

and as i watched the show with that attitude i began to see their gray areas as black. and blacker and blacker… i saw EVERYTHING jon did as wrong and everything kate did as wronger and those kids were in NO way as cute as MY kids and not nearly as well behaved as mine were at that age. not that i really remember exactly how they were and there weren’t 8 of them, but in the photos in my scrapbook my kids look MUCH better behaved.

and then i went further into that dark night. i started reading online gossip about the show. i was picking up people magazine and reading the articles quickly in the check out lane while waiting for the cashier to ring up my groceries (speed reading is a wonderful skill). and i had the attitude of “they made their bed of fame, let them LIE/LAY in it”. (wish i knew whether it was “lie” or lay”). anyway i was the one laying or lying in a whole heaping stinkin’ pile o’ judgement and painting them with a darker and darker brush until EVERYTHING kate or jon said was a point for me to criticize. and everything their kids did was evidence of all their wrong choices (yet, please NEVER judge me by what my kids may say or do)…

yes, i can be civil to liz, a democrat, and count her among my dearest adoring fans and friends. i can pick up atheist AND liberal, john marks, at the airport and drive him around town all day and love doing it and see the good and right in him…

but had i seen kate grocery shopping in publix… well, it would have made the news and this line would have been in there, “also injured in the fracas was the organic produce section”.

oh, civility is a slippery thing to hold on to when it comes to politics and pop culture and pretty much everything else in our lives. and when we see the world as BLACK/WHITE, US/THEM, LOOK WHAT THEY DID/I WOULD NEVER, THEY DON’T DESERVE/I SHOULD HAVE we end up losing sight of who we are (imperfect and sometimes wrong), who they are (imperfect and sometimes right), and who God is (perfect and always Righteous)….

amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. i once was lost but now am found. was blind but now i see (dimly through a glass darkened mostly by my own painting of black).

kate… call me. i can now be civil and gracious. and i know the phone number to a GREAT christian sex therapist.