Good News: The Chaff's Gonna Burn

Good News: The Chaff's Gonna Burn

I laughed when I read the gospel in the lectionary last week.

John the Baptist often has that kind of effect on me, which may be the point. I don’t laugh out of ridicule or mockery. Rather, John wakes me to the unexpected and absurd nature of good news.

The laughter was specifically centered on a verse actually skipped by the lectionary, a non-important juncture, so it would seem, in the flow of the story of our Lord’s baptism.

I read it anyway.

Right after telling us about chaff burning with unquenchable fire, John the Baptizer’s narrator says: “So, with many other exhortations, he proclaimed the good news to the people” (Luke 3:18).

Is that not hilarious? I could not contain myself.

Oh yeah, One is coming, John said, who will baptize us with Spirit and fire—sounds pretty cool—and then, smackdown, this Coming One will separate chaff from the grain and BURN IT WITH FIRE.

Which is good news, Luke says.

What the heck about burning anything with unquenchable fire is supposed to be good news? When is unquenchable fire EVER good news?

Why I Shave Ritually, Not Religiously

Why I Shave Ritually, Not Religiously

A year ago this week I shaved my legs for the first time in two years.

"’Bout time you shaved them hairy legs, ain't it?"

We were in a Chikfila parking lot, my dad and I. I remember.

He held some sway, for I started shaving that weekend.

I had been wanting to shave my legs. The older girls at church did it, so the idea held a special glow. There are few coming of age markers for girls and I craved one, needing something to announce my place on the cusp of young womanhood.

My mom had held me off a while. Perhaps she wanted to preserve my childhood. Perhaps she wanted a watershed experience for me, too, and maybe did not know how to give it. Perhaps it is difficult to watch your daughter grow up.

Regardless, at his words I got what I wanted. But it was not special. I remember feeling that I had been shunted to the bathtub to do the deed, isolated there with the shaving cream and the blue Venus razor.

I knew even then that I had gotten what I wanted at the cost of something dear.

The awareness still raises the fuzz on the back of my arms. The first rule of patriarchy is this: You can have what you want on our terms.

This time the cost was body-confidence. Evidently there was something wrong with my legs without shaving. Something was wrong with me. My body was wrong.

This is the way of patriarchy. Get what you want, but only if you feel bad about it. Sure, have it, it croons, because otherwise you are deficient and gross.

Sustainably Feminine: How To Bleed In Peace - Quick Switch #007

Sustainably Feminine: How To Bleed In Peace - Quick Switch #007

Sustainable body care is an absolute no brainer, especially when it comes to caring for one's most intimate body parts.

However, it took me a while to make the switch. It was a matter of ecological awareness and practical knowledge. Once I realized that my pads and tampons were forever sitting in a landfill, I wanted to make a difference. But I did not know how (even my doctor did not know about the DivaCup back in 2007!!). So it was also a matter of community--or lack thereof. I didn't know a single other woman who was interested in eco-friendly periods, much less actually using sustainable products herself.

Happily, I can now report that there are several women in my life--and millions upon millions around the world--who have "green-ed" their periods. Ecologically-loving and female-empowering period supplies are becoming more popular and, thus, more readily available to all. Woot!

I share this #QuickSwitch with the hope that it helps women who face the issues of awareness, knowledge, and communal support that impeded my steps toward sustainable feminine care years ago.

This post is also a whoop of joy with the many other women who have found a way to 'bleed in peace!'

A pastor and a seminarian walk into a mosque...

A pastor and a seminarian walk into a mosque...

A pastor and a seminarian walk into a mosque via separate doors and in stockinged feet.

She, the seminarian, was greeted by smiling eyes and colorful, fluttering veils. Laughter propelled her through the great room’s threshold.

The pastor, from the male entrance, observed flurries of activity and the excitement from those on left and right.

Neither knew exactly what to do.