Midday Connection

A safe place to process your story.

Archive for the month “November, 2013”

Midday blog: A Day in My Life

I enjoyed reading Elizabeth Esther’s blog (where she mentioned another blog) about documenting a day in your life.  I love peeking into the lives of others… and after watching a video on how we use our time, I thought I’d give it a try.  I didn’t want this to be a narcissistic project, though – I wanted to think deeper about it.  How am I spending my days?  I think I look past a lot of detail as I hurry through my day.  As I snapped pictures, I was surprised at the new awareness I had to details and moments of beauty.  I felt like I was looking at my life from a fresh perspective.

In Way of the Heart (Nouwen), it says:

“Our calendars are filled with appointments, our days and weeks filled with engagements, and our years filled with plans and projects. There is seldom a period in which we do not know what to do, and we move through life in such a distracted way that we do not even take the time and rest to wonder if any of the things we think, say or do are worth thinking, saying, or doing.”

It made me pause and wonder…How often am I thoughtful and present in my own life?  Doing this little activity helped me to see that I can build in moments that will make me more aware of God’s activity and direction in my life (such as the Daily Examen – prayerfully looking back on the day).  It helped me see that a little planning could help tone down some of the frenetic pace of my life at times.  It also helped me see what some of my least favorite and most favorite parts of my day are – and I starting to think about what I could do to make those least favorite parts better.  And, most of all, I realized in a new way how all of these small moments, interactions, activities are building my life.  (If you’re interested, you can check out the day in my life on my website.)

Have you ever documented a day in your life?  If not, what do you imagine you’d learn?  If so, what did you find out about yourself?

lorineffnewLori Neff is the senior producer of Midday Connection and editor/contributor for Daily Seeds: From Women Who Walk in Faith and Tending the Soul (Moody Publishers). She grew up in a small town in Ohio, spending more time outside in nature than inside. Lori is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and is currently studying Spiritual Direction in the Christos program. Her interests include art, humanitarian aid efforts, cooking, gardening, coffee, thinking, learning and spending time with her husband, John (and their three fiesty cats). For more information and her blog please visit Lori’s website.

Midday blog: The Judging Machine

Most of us have things we think about, but dare not say out loud. At least not in a space where others actually might hear us and judge us. And let’s face it; if you are a recovering Pharisee like I am, then you might assume every one is a ‘judging’ machine like I used to be.  And, unfortunately, there is plenty of evidence that shows this to be true in the church. Since I wrote What Women Tell Me, back in 2010, the idea of keeping things to myself went out the window, so I might as well open my mouth on another topic I’ve been thinking about.

Protestantism and Catholicism. There, I said it! I get tired of all the snide comments Protestants make about Catholics not really being Christians, or saying we are better than them because they have that awful theology of praying to Mary and to the Saints, or they believe the Eucharist is the actual body and blood of Christ. Or, you fill in the blank. What do you make backhanded comments about whether you’re Protestant or Catholic?

I read a blog post recently that got me thinking about this ongoing conversation. And lest you think I’ve gone rogue and left ‘the faith’, whatever faith you think I might have left, read this thoughtful blog post I found on the Facebook page of a Moody Bible Institute Professor.  And, while I’m on a bit of a rant, I think there are way too many good people in the ranks of Protestantism who have jettisoned their intellect. On Midday Connection last week, we had our book club discussion. Our selection was The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene. Dr. Rosalie de Rosset, Moody Professor of Literature and Communication had barely opened her mouth to say Graham Greene was a Catholic author when the emails began to roll in. “How could you elevate Catholicism, do you have any idea what you are doing?” Well, actually, yes, we were having a book discussion about a great work of literature. For me it begs the question, “What are we really afraid of?” That’s a blog post for another day.

I think we talk out of both sides of our mouths about the whole Catholic/Protestant debate.  We’ll say be careful how close you get to ‘those’ people, shore up your beliefs so you don’t head into heresy. But, Protestants are okay to publish books by ‘those people’, like The Confessions of St. Augustine, and Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton. And have you ever read C.S. Lewis’s story? If you don’t like to read anyone who believes anything slightly different than you do, Lewis’s story will leave you scratching your head and wondering if you should continue reading his books or letting your children watch the Chronicles of Narnia Movies.

Now be nice in your comments!

Anita Lustrea
Anita Lustrea is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and has worked for Moody Radio since 1984. She is a sought-after conference and retreat speaker and loves to connect with Midday Connection listeners face-to-face. Anita lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Mike, and her son, John. To learn more about Anita, her speaking schedule and her blog, please visit her website.

Guest post: I Don’t Believe Everyone Should Adopt

In you the orphan finds mercy.

Hosea 14:3

adoptionA few years ago, I received a phone call from a woman I’d met just once or twice. She was nearly breathless and clearly on a mission. She said she knew my husband and I had adopted our younger daughter. She wanted me to help spread the word about an adoption event and the message that every family should adopt a child.

Everyone?

“I have to stop you,” I said. “But I don’t believe that everyone should adopt.”

There was silence for a moment, but then she began speaking faster, citing figures about the number of orphans in the U.S. and abroad and reminding me that God mandates that we care for them. 160 million orphans. True religion is caring for widows and orphans.

“We are so fortunate,” she said. “Look around. We have so much to share.”

I had to explain that of course I agreed that every child deserves a family. I like how the ethical adoption organization Both Ends Burning puts it: “Growing up in a family is a child’s most basic human right.” And I’m quite sure as people of faith, we are directed to serve and protect vulnerable children.

In my adoption memoir, I explored what I believe is a Christian’s responsibility to the poor. I also tried to articulate, as clearly as I could, that there are many, many effective ways to care for widows and orphans that don’t entail adopting a child. We can, for example, support humanitarian organizations such as World Vision, CARE, and Sustainable Harvest International that work to alleviate poverty and empower women and girls all over the globe.

In Love You More, I wrote that, “In finding our children and falling in love with a country far from home, many adoptive parents find a calling to change their lives and serve those whom they have met there. They know that members of their children’s first families struggle just to survive; suddenly the crisis of global poverty is personal. Is that part of the divine plan of adoption? Not only to give permanent loving families to orphaned children and to answer the prayers of the childless, but to link those who have much with those who do not have enough? To make us all, truly, extended family?”

November is National Adoption Month. In what ways can you and I be Christ’s hands and feet in the world and show mercy to orphans?

jennifer grantJennifer Grant is the author of Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter, MOMumental: Adventures in the Messy Art of Raising a Family, Disquiet Time: Rants and Reflections on the Good Book by Skeptics, the Faithful, and a Few Scoundrels (co-editor, forthcoming, 2014), and 12: A Daybook for a Wholehearted Year (forthcoming, 2014). She is a grateful believer, a reader, a sometime poet, a dog lover, and, with her husband of 25 years, mother to four wonderfully creative and quirky tween and teenaged children. Learn more at jennifergrant.com.

Jennifer Grant’s memoir, Love You More (in e-book format) is now on sale for just $1.99 for National Adoption Month (November).

Midday blog: Does Everyone Look Like You at Church?

Dave and I have wanted to visit a Chinese-American church near our home, so when I got to know Chen, a student from China, in one of my grad classes and found out he attended there, Dave and I decided to visit.

After couple of visits Dave turned to me and whispered, “This is refreshing.”

What we’ve appreciated is being in the minority. One Sunday four congregants stood at the front of the church to serve communion. Three were Asian and one was a Caucasian. It looked so out of the ordinary to me. I wondered: Is this what it’s like for minorities in church: To look to the front of it and see themselves as a minority representation? To be outnumbered by faces different than theirs – all the time? I’m not saying it’s either good or bad – I’m simply being faced with a different perspective.

Along with being a minority face in the crowd, I am also learning the stories of people who do life and faith from a different cultural perspective than mine. In Addition, the weekly message is given with an appreciation for the diverse ethnic and generational perspectives in the church. Out of the ordinary.

I resonated with a quote from this blog. “When you have always been in the position of power and privilege, it can be difficult to understand what it’s like to be in the minority.” You can read the rest of what Liuan Huska has to say here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/women/2013/october/making-ourselves-strangers.html?paging=off

I’m appreciating being a minority…on Sundays at least.

Melinda Schmidt

Melinda Schmidt is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and holds a Broadcasting/Bible degree from Calvary Bible College. She has served with Moody Radio since 1980 in various hosting capacities. Married with two young adult children, Melinda lives outside Chicago, loves reading, developing her creative interests and hopes to be a life-long learner. Twitter: @melindaschmidt

Midday blog: In Defense of Science Fiction

One of my favorite science fiction books, Ender’s Game, was released as a movie this weekend. I thought in honor of that release I would repost this week my first post on the Midday Connection blog. Also, Ender’s Game was a pretty good adaptation of the book, especially given the limitations that movies have, I enjoyed seeing it and would recommend it.

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You may remember when I was recently on the Millrose Club and I mentioned the book Ender’s Game and that there were aliens in the book. There was a negative reaction to “aliens”* – so I am here to defend science fiction! Or at least hopefully give you some reasons why it should not be a genre we neglect. First, here is a definition of the science fiction that I found helpful.

To be science fiction, not fantasy, an honest effort at prophetic extrapolation from the known must be made.

– John W. Campbell

So, science fiction doesn’t necessarily mean aliens (although it doesn’t rule them out either). In fact many widely read books would fall into the genre of science fiction, such as Fahrenheit 451 and more recently The Hunger Games.

Why read science fiction? The first reason is that it can provide a prophetic warning, we see this with both 1984 and Brave New World and in fact have seen many parallels between Brave New World and our own world. As we look at the many bioethical issues facing the world today, and that we’ll face in the near future good science fiction can help the reader to better understand some of the issues and implications.

Another reason to read science fiction is because of the change in setting. By removing the reader from their current world the author is able to help the reader see issues and interact with ideas that they might normally think about, or to think about them in new ways. For example, The Hunger Games trilogy explores issues of power and makes assertions about what power does (whether those assertions are right or not the reader must decide for herself).

I hope that these two reasons help you to see more value in science fiction. And if you’re interest is piqued, here are some books to check out**

Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card

Space Trilogy – C.S. Lewis

Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury

His Majesty’s Starship – Ben Jeapes

The Foundation Trilogy – Isaac Asimov

The Hunger Games Trilogy – Suzanne Collins

*I’m sure the Anita, Melinda and Lori were just joking around…right?  🙂

**Note, not all of these books are written from a Christian perspective. But they all present ideas that are worth wrestling with, whether you agree with what the author says or not.

Josh Klos is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute with a degree in Radio Communications, he has served as the engineer for Midday Connection since 2010. He is also a part of the volunteer College & 20’s group staff at his church and enjoys spending time outside, as well as at libraries, bookstores and various coffee shops. He’s busy these days with graduate school, where he studying communication and culture.

To learn more about Josh and read his blog, please visit his website.

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