Tag Archives: redemption

Necessary Violence?

I’m finally reading The Hunger Games. Only five years and one movie late. No spoilers, please. Oh, and I’m tweeting my favorite lines as I discover them, probably to the chagrin of the handful of people who follow me on Twitter.

mockingjay pin

mockingjay pin

I’ve read through Part I: The Tributes. It was tragic, but not really violent. The violence is yet to come. Ever since I wrote Jeremy Spoke last month, I’ve been thinking and rethinking how violence in our culture influences our behavior. While I don’t retract, “Garbage in, garbage out,” I’m struggling with this in light of our stories.

There is no great, compelling story without conflict and crisis. That conflict is most dramatically manifested in violence. 

Lord of the Flies is violent. So is The Lord of the Rings. The Chronicles of Narnia. Les Misérables. Star Wars. The Godfather. The Matrix. Gone With the Wind. The Gospels. And so on.

Is some violence necessary in our stories? What makes it gratuitous? Should we shield our children? What flips the switch to unleash violent behavior in some people, but not others?

A few years ago I took a film analysis class at church. Yes, church. There’s no better place to consider human culture than within the context of God’s redemptive work for us through the death and resurrection of Christ.

We critiqued the messaging of movies. We examined what a film’s story and cinematography say about God, humans, our society, our destiny. We wrestled with themes Christians might shy away from: violence, nudity, profanity. We found our thresholds to be individual and subjective.

I think the point of a class like that, and a post like this, isn’t necessarily answers. Rather it’s to get us to pay attention.

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games

We all break God’s law. There is none righteous. No, not one. Left to its natural course, our law-breaking gets worse, not better. We’re capable of horrific behavior. God abhors those who love violence. The One Hope for our depravity is a core change from death to life.

Maybe the message of Heathers was satirical and Pearl Jam’s Jeremy was a warning. Maybe the conflict, crisis, and violence of our stories, fiction and nonfiction, serve to spur us on to the Redeemer.

Bring to an end the violence of the wicked
and make the righteous secure—
You, the righteous God
Who probes minds and hearts. Psalm 7:9 NIV

The Hunger Games movie site where you can watch the official trailer.

Is some violence necessary in our stories? Where’s your threshold for viewing or reading it? How does violence in our culture influence behavior?

photo credit: damnyeahnich via photopin cc
photo credit: cinderellasg via photopin cc


Filed under America, faith

Many Happy Returns

Returns. The ability to take things back. Don’t know how I would shop otherwise.

Sperry cute

The crazy town that is Macy’s during a shoe sale is no place to make a decision. It’s grab and go. Four pairs snagged at the pre-sale this past Saturday should be on their way to me from Kansas City as you read this.

Will I keep all four? Probably not. I don’t need them all. But I couldn’t decide in the store.

They all fit. All comfortable. All on sale. All gorgeous. If I left them in Macy’s unspoken for, I risked losing them to another suitor.

Remember The Limited’s old return policy? No sale is ever final. Those were the days.

Now you have to watch and make sure you don’t overstay the time limit. Sixty days are standard for generous stores and online orders. Thirty at the trendsetters. And always, always, keep your receipts.

put me in, Coach

My method is three-pronged. Try on once I get home. Make a decision as soon as possible. Return upon deciding. Not a moment to lose. While there is still time for the credit to hit my charge card’s current billing cycle.

From the pages of their books and blogs, wardrobe consultants urge me to go in with a list. Shop the list. Buy only what’s on the list.

I had a list this past Saturday. Silver sandals, black sandals, other comfortable shoes.

Macy’s, however, did not get a copy of my list when they sent their buyers a-purchasing for spring 2012. Maybe it’s too early in the season for sandals. Maybe comfort is out this year.

Nothing was a perfect fit for my list. Nothing except for the four pairs that fell into the catch-all category other comfortable shoes.

Sam Edelman stripes done right

Buying and returning is not an efficient way to shop. Yet I think the wardrobe consultants would side against efficiency in this case.

They consistently tell me dressing stylishly and within your means takes an effort. It takes time. And it’s worth the investment.

As image consultant Brenda Kinsel writes in Brenda’s Bible: Escape Fashion Hell and Experience Heaven Every Time You Get Dressed, “You’re allowed to change your mind. It’s one of the redemptions you have in life… (p. 42)”

Redemption in shopping and returns.

Sold to the lady wearing the gorgeous shoes.

I have swept away your offenses like a cloud,
your sins like the morning mist.
Return to Me,
for I have redeemed you. Isaiah 44:22 NIV

Nu Shooz? I Can’t Wait.

6 days left

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Filed under humor, women's studies

Falling In

fish on a bicycle

Try as you may, sometimes, some days you can’t help but fall in.

Last week, my son and I walked to one of our favorite parks. The one with the big pond and the statue of the fish on the bicycle. Gloria Steinem and Irina Dunn, eat your hearts out.

My child played on the slides and climbed trees while I checked the iPhone. Then from across the way I heard him cry.

“Momma!” he said. “I fell in the water!”

He’d bounced up and out of the pond by the time I reached him. He was soaked from the chest down with muddy smudges of pond slime on his cheeks.

We’d been to this park and this pond 657 times before. This was a first.

“Oh, honey!” I said.

“I’m sorry, Momma,” he said, near tears. “I didn’t mean to fall in.”

“No, honey,” I said. “Don’t apologize. It was an accident. Momma’s not mad at you. I’m just sorry this happened to you.”

“I was reaching in and my foot slipped,” he said.

“You okay?” I said.


“Yes,” he said. “But my shoes are wet.”

We giggled. Removed his shoes. Called my husband to come with the truck. Sat on the bench. Help was on the way.

As we waited, my little boy crafted the tale of falling in.

“I have to tell Ms. Donaldson I fell in the pond!” he said. “I fell down into the dirty water! My feet touched the bottom!”

“Not many people get to do that,” I said.

“Because there’s no swimming allowed!” he said.

The longer we waited, the more animated the telling became. Then he began to shiver with cold from his damp clothes.

Evening was fast approaching. We couldn’t walk home with him in bare feet. So we waited and shivered and told tales together.

The truck arrived with a warm cab and blanket. The shivering stopped and the stories wound down.

Falling in can be a harrowing thing. But recovering to be safe and warm and at peace again can make it all worthwhile.

no swimming

I called out Your name, O God,
called from the bottom of the pit.
You listened when I called out, “Don’t shut Your ears!
Get me out of here! Save me!”
You came close when I called out.
You said, “It’s going to be all right.” Lamentations 3:55-57 The Message

Mama said there’ll be days like this. There’ll be days like this Mama said.


Filed under family & friends

Bitter Pants

bitter pants

as seen at The Limited

Just put my bitter pants on. Hmm. Looks like they still fit.

So read my friend’s Facebook status. Splendid term, bitter pants. I promptly commented: What are you doing with my pants?

I wondered. Did she steal my pants last time she visited my house? Thought they were hidden away where no one could find them. Deep in my closet, behind my collection of silent, toothy skeletons.

See them there? Hanging next to my pink pity party panties and my emerald encrusted envy glasses. Pink and green. A preppy girl at heart. Where did I put those Tretorns?

My yellow slicker o’ slander hangs there too. Covers me well when the rains of gossip fall in fluid torrents.

There’s my angry red wool scarf and my grudgeful orange leather jacket. One poor, beautiful Guernsey died to make that jacket.

But the bitter pants? Those are silk. Thousands of white mulberry worms sacrificed themselves in Shanghai. Boiled or baked in drying ovens for their spun cocoons, for filaments twisted into strong, continuous threads.

bitter skirt

as seen in Ann Taylor

Wine-soaked artisans in the alleys of Paris caressed and worked the silk, dyeing it a glowing chartreuse. It radiates the ghosts of the caterpillars and Parisians. A matte luster of fogged up windows and lipgloss on glass rims.

The silk was whisked away to the house of Versace or Givenchy, I can’t remember which, and fashioned into the bitter pants. Haute couture, not because of their rarity but for their expense.

Oh, how they fit! No matter when I put them on, they are snug as a bug in a proverbial rug.

Lots of women have them, tucked away like mine for special occasions, or flown daily like a flag. A crisp shock of citron popping in the wind.

Men have them too, though they are harder to spot–usually look sullen or vengeful on men. On women you can see them a mile away. Cool. Sharp. Lean and mean. These girls wear the pants as much as the pants wear them.

I’ve thrown mine out several times. Somehow they keep finding their way home. Magic, homing, bitter pants. Destined to climb back into my closet of tricks. So for now I still own them should I choose to wear them again.

They’ll suffocate me if I do. Squeeze my life like a boa constrictor squeezes prey. Devour me, bury me, render me a useless, angry, forlorn frame of a woman.

bitter sweater

as seen at The Limited

I plead with God for protection, for the will to take off my pride and find something else to wear. Hand me my linen robe. Bring me my coat of arms.

The bitter pants. Magnificent zombie of my sin. Scary but lifeless. Dead with the old woman. Condemned to burn in a hot blue flame and boil in a river of fire. Then I will dance, finally completely free of them.

Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Hebrews 12:15 NLT

bitter prom dress

as seen at Macys

The music of Paul Simon is an American treasure. Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes. Wish I’d though of that.


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Filed under faith, life, women's studies