Housewife Theologian

The Gospel Interrupting the Ordinary

Women of the Word

Written By: Aimee Byrd - Jul• 14•14

Wilkin women of word pic_1405028999Books at a Glance has posted my review of Jen Wilkin’s new book, Women of the Word. Here’s a short teaser:

“The Bible does not want to be neatly packaged into three-hundred-and-sixty-five-day-increments” (75). No, no it doesn’t. But too often we think this is the only way to spending personal time in God’s Word. While we all know we are to be good Bereans (Acts 17:11), the sixty-six bound books of God’s living Word can be intimidating. And so Jen Wilkin begins her book disclosing the “mountain of biblical ignorance” she had after church hopping her whole life. Growing up visiting many different denominations, she wondered who had it right:

“Was there a rapture or not? Did God have to answer our prayers if we prayed a certain way? Did I need to be baptized again? How old is the earth? Were Old Testament believers saved differently than New Testament believers?” (16-17)

You can read the rest here.

Sunday Mornings

Written By: Aimee Byrd - Jul• 11•14

So I was sitting on my back porch, all ready to answer my own journaling questions for Housewife Theologian, Chapter 10. As it turns out, making the questions is a lot easier than answering them. I was preparing to lead a small group, and thought I would breeze through number one pretty quickly. It’s meant to be more of an introduction question before we get into the theology of the church:

1. How would you describe your current attitude toward regularly attending church on Sunday mornings? How do you think your attitude affects your family’s view of the church service?

This one should be easy enough, since I love going to church. And yet, I have found that the devil works the hardest in the Byrd household on Sunday mornings. It’s inevitable: I will be challenged with multiple obstacles while we try to get out of the door by 9:00 AM. One child will come waltzing in my bedroom with a ridiculous outfit choice, the dog will NOT come in, and there is of course the expected breakfast stain all over someone’s (by someone, I usually mean me) church attire. This shouldn’t be difficult, since I’m awake three hours before “go time.” But it’s seems like the Sunday morning version of myself is like those slow-motion dreams when you’re being attacked. I’m clumsy, ineffective, and can’t seem to get the right words out of my mouth.

Sure, we always make it out of the door. But often my family ends up seeing an annoyed, stressed version of me on Sunday mornings. So I titled my answer: What I want my family to see on Sunday morning. Here’s my bulleted notes that provoked some great discussion that evening:

Read more here, and I’d love for you to come back and comment about some practical ways that you and your family try to iron out the Sunday morning wrinkles.

 

MoS Catches Trillia’s Vision

Written By: Aimee Byrd - Jul• 09•14

trillia-newbell-unitedTrillia Newbell is one spunky woman. And she is driven by a passionate, biblical goal. As a matter of fact, Trillia has written a book about it: United, Captured by God’s Vision of Diversity. She takes John’s vision recorded in Revelation seriously and is working to encourage Reformed churches to represent this future reality:

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Rev. 7:9-10)

Trillia pushes us to move outside of our comfort zones for the sake of getting to know our brothers and sisters in Christ better. After reading her book, I got to thinking that Carl and Todd needed to experience this in a concrete way. So I invited them to your typical women’s small group, crafting time to have our discussion with Trillia. And I think they really enjoyed themselves.

Trillia pointed out that diversity isn’t always about race. She noticed that Carl, Todd, and I are very different from one another as well, and yet we come together for our podcast. Boy, was she right! As a matter of fact, the three of us have done all kinds of different exercises to move past our differences and become more unified. It just seems like no matter how hard we try, there is always an odd man out:

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I guess we need to take Trillia’s advice and direct our unity to the One who truly created us differently and unites us in Himself. Take a listen here. And if you visit the Mortification of Spin website, you can enter to win a copy of Trillia’s book, United, where she writes about God’s vision for unity and diversity.

The Pastor’s Wife

Written By: Aimee Byrd - Jul• 07•14

sabinaWhat are you all reading on summer vacation? My friend, Anna Anderson, commented about a book she just read at the beach and I asked her to write something about it for the blog. Maybe it will be one you would like to pack in the suitcase:

On the bookshelf of the beach house where we recently vacationed, I found a treasure: Sabina Wurmbrand’s autobiography, The Pastor’s Wife. I usually prefer autobiographies to biographies, and I have not changed my mind since reading this one. Transparency with humility resonated on every page. Sabina writes of the trials and suffering that she endured as a Christian in post-WW2 Romania. A Jew in Bucharest during the German-occupation, she lost most of her extended family in the Holocaust, only to face the next wave of persecution as a Christian under Communism.

First her husband, a pastor, disappeared, and then the authorities came for her. For the next three years, she lived in severe deprivation, both in prison and labor camps. Interestingly, her account really did not center on her physical suffering, which reduced her and her fellow workers to eating grass in the fields where they worked. They lived in absolute squalor, at times denied even the most over-looked blessings of our existence, like circulating air and sunlight. They endured abuse by their guards, which threatened Sabina’s life more than once.

Instead, she focused on her inward journey. And not the author’s alone, but what she could read in those that suffered beside her — prostitutes and other common criminals, Gypsies, the Romanian aristocracy and elite, as well as political prisoners, and idealists who had fought for Communism, only to be betrayed by comrades reaching for the next rung of a ladder they had sworn to destroy. It was regret that haunted them most as a never-ending reel of misdeeds played in their minds and drove them to despair and eventually insanity. Sabina’s journey led her instead to a deeper understanding of the  gospel and the sanity of seeking Jesus, as suffering did the promised work of purifying, and she found true His words, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

There are so many lessons to take away from this book, yet it will take a conscious effort to retain them. Sabina’s world seems far away this morning as I sit at my computer in my bright kitchen overlooking my garden beds. What I believe I have glimpsed through Sabina is something of the essence of our lives, interred in our abundance until it is dug up and revealed as life or death within us. There is nothing like the winds of suffering to separate the chaff and prove to us what has substance in us.  On page 85, Sabina wrote this:

“Society” women were often the most pitiful. Life was harder for them than for anyone. They’d lost most, in the material sense; and they had fewest inner resources to fill the gap. A rubble of old games of bridge, hats, hotels, first-nights, lost weekends and lovers rattled about in their heads like junk in the back seat of a car. Their nerves gave way first, as did their soft white hands ….Those of us who had faith realized for the first time how rich we were. The youngest Christians and the weakest had more resources to call upon than the wealthiest old ladies and the most brilliant intellectuals … (who) when deprived of their books and concerts, often seemed to dry up like indoor plants exposed to the winds. Heart and mind were empty.

Since our return from vacation, I have been concentrating on 1 Timothy 6 to combat the ever-present temptation to forget what my life is about. Is it not a blessing to be surrounded by reminders of transience as well as transcendence? I was busy airing out clothes that had begun to mildew in our basement, when I began to see corruption everywhere—its work without, and more especially its work within, that leeches on the corruptible. And I ask God (yes, with trepidation) for a pure heart unto the sweet blessedness that Sabina tasted, that I might use what time and energy are left me to seek the kingdom of “the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen” (1 Timothy 6:15,16).

Anna Anderson is a housewife theologian from Greencastle, PA. She and her family attend Hope Reformed Presbyterian Church in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania​

Lock Up Your Daughters?

Written By: Aimee Byrd - Jul• 02•14

Carl, Todd, and I thought we would discuss ”The Feminist Father” T-shirt for our MoS Bully Pulpit since it has gone viral. Take a look yourself:

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It’s quite a conversation piece. Of course, that is a play off of this popular shirt:

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I’m pretty sure that the original “Rules For Dating My Daughter” is to be taken more as an intimidating joke. But feminist father is serious.

So what is the responsibility between dads and daughters? And is it just our daughters that we should be worried about? Is it okay to intimidate? Can we feel confident that our daughters will make good choices if we raise them strong? Take a listen and please, leave us some valuable advice in the comments. Funny advice will also be accepted…

Will There Be Mulligans in Heaven?

Written By: Aimee Byrd - Jun• 30•14

My daughter asked me such a good question the other day. She wanted to know, if Adam and Eve did not sin, would we do everything right on the first try? Would there be mulligans and mistakes? Would everything we do be just right? Would everything we create be perfect? I found myself wishing she would have asked something about the dinosaurs, or about pets in heaven. This one had some hairs to split.

So I began with the reaffirmation about sin and all the consequences of sin: our minds are depraved, we are constantly tempted to usurp God’s glory, to disobey his law, and to sin against one another. There is pain, decay, sickness, death, sadness, and yes, interference in our work. I talked about the new heavens and the new earth, where all temptation to sin will be removed and we will have eternal health. There we will joyfully serve God without all the intrusions and interferences of sin.

But still, is sin to blame for everything we don’t do well on the first try? Are we all going to be experts at everything in heaven, all equally gifted and equipped? Will there be no more striking out in baseball? Will we automatically know how to solve difficult math equations without making mistakes? Will everyone be artists and every work be a masterpiece?

While the Bible doesn’t give us details here, I don’t think that’s the way it works. There will certainly be no error that is a result from sin on the new heavens and the new earth. And I guess a pitcher will never have to worry about throwing out their arm. But I don’t think we are all going to magically become experts in every field. I know God is a worker of miracles, but he has given me no clues that my husband will ever be an exceptional chef. I believe we will still be gifted with different capacities to serve in our vocations, although we will be able to grow in our knowledge and sharpen our skills. We are different from God in that way.

I’m confident that there will still be learning in heaven. For one thing, we will always be learning about God. How could we ever exhaust our knowledge about the almighty, eternal God? I look forward to forever learning about his Person and his work without error. This is hard for us to comprehend because we are finite beings. Our capacity to learn will be like nothing we can fathom in the state we are in now.

Think about the new creation. As I look forward to beholding the beatific vision of Jesus Christ who is our great reward, I’m also in wonder of the beauty that he has shared with us now. One thing that is apparent is that beauty is diverse. We are not going to all look the same in our new resurrected bodies; we will all be different. And I believe that just as God has equipped us to serve differently now, he will do the same for eternity. We will have eternity to discover and explore God’s great artistry as we serve alongside one another. And if we will still be serving God and one another with our gifts, fulfilling the great commandment, how can we do this without further growth? As we learn more about God, more about our brothers and sisters in Christ, and more about the new heavens and the new earth, I would think we will become even better in our vocations.

And what if I wanted to learn something new, like how to play the harmonica? Will I just pick one up and automatically know how to play it well? Or will I have to learn from scratch with much practice to become good? I think the latter will still be the case. There is joy in learning, putting in the time, and being rewarded with improvement.

So while I do not believe that there will be mistakes on the new heavens and the new earth in the sense that we will have clear minds and bodies that can function without the interferences of sin, I don’t believe everything we do on the first try will be as good as it can be. I think we will be able to improve upon our work as we learn and grow.

What do you think? And what about mulligans?

IMHO

Written By: Aimee Byrd - Jun• 26•14

Seriously, creeping on my daughters’ Instagram accounts can give me all kinds of writing material. I can’t keep up with the trends, and am constantly getting an education in social media. Matt and I unashamedly find ourselves looking up texting shorthand on the internet on a regular basis, just trying to understand the dialogue on our teenagers’ phones.

t_e3bba1d439444c36beadb25e2c2af442When I saw TBH as an Instagram post in my feed, I was confused. But this wasn’t my normal confusion. I was pretty sure TBH was short for “to be honest.” So why was it a picture post all on its own without any context? What were they supposedly being honest about? Why were so many people liking it? And then I saw that someone else posted the same thing with the comment, “I don’t normally do these, but…”

Heh?

So I asked the experts: my teenage daughters (well, one’s 12 ½, which is pretty much the same thing, right?). I asked them what TBH means and they spewed out “to be honest,” like I was an even bigger moron than they had thought 8 seconds ago. But I continued, “Well then why are girls posting it on Instagram all on it’s own? It doesn’t make any sense.” It turns out that if you “like” the post, the one who posted it is obligated to compliment you with a TBH. For example, “TBH, even though we don’t talk that much, I think you’re really pretty and you are great at sports.”

Are you kidding me? Have we stooped to an all new low in fishing for compliments? DBEYR! I’ve heard people say that if you have to begin a sentence with to be honest, or honestly, then you probably aren’t planning on telling the truth. Maybe this is the case sometimes, but I have used it myself to buffer something that I’m about to share that could sound harsh. In other words, I’m saying, “You might judge me for this one, but I’m just going to cut through the fake niceness and go ahead and say it anyway.” And I don’t ever remember using it as a compliment.

But a compliment loses its value if you have to ask for it. What does it really mean to “like” someone’s post in exchange for a TBH? With the tap of a finger you are saying “I’m desperate.” Or, “I haven’t heard anything wonderful about myself in the last seventeen minutes, I’m jonesing here!” “Somebody notice me!”

And to post a TBH, well that is the height of all hubris! In exchange for “like” currency, you will be offering your most valued opinions in the form of a public Instagram compliment. It reminds me of the old kissing booths. Maybe I am the one filled with pride because I think my kisses are worth more than a quarter and my compliments can’t be bought with a like.

The Top 5 Reasons Why Frank Turk Stood Us Up at the Biker Bar:

Written By: Aimee Byrd - Jun• 25•14

Since my Mortification of Spin cohosts have shown me the joys of Tullamore DEW and Pliny the Elder, I thought it would be good for them to experience the almost heaven that is Jack Daniels in West Virginia. And so we figured Dan Phillips and Frank Turk would be great to bring along. It just seems right to bring a couple of pyromaniacs to a WV bar. And since we can’t help ourselves from mortifying spin, we thought we would talk to them about the perpetuation of niceness in contemporary evangelicalism. It all sounded perfect, until Turk bailed on us at the last minute. Now, Carl was talking some trash leading up to the interview, trying to cause a little housewife-pyro rivalry. I was looking forward to a good, healthy rumble. But alas, Dan was left all by himself.

We had a great time, and we just couldn’t imagine what kept Turk from joining us. So I contemplated the Top 5 Reasons Why Frank Turk Stood Us Up at the Biker Bar:

5. He heard that not even Batman would brave a WV biker bar.

4. Nunchucks make him uncomfortable.

3. He thought he was going to be having an interview with himself.

2. We do not know, or care, how Captain America’s shield works.

1. He mentioned something about a “job”, and having to be “responsible” to people that day. Carl, Todd, and I had no clue what we was talking about.

biker-bar-1Frank, I’m sorry you couldn’t make it, and we wanted to share part of our experience with you in some way. As a kind, but in no way nice, gesture, the four of us emptied our pocket change and collaborated on a WV biker bar to go for you. Sorry, we drank all the Jack.

Take a listen to how we mortify the spin on nice here.

The Ordinary Rock Star

Written By: Aimee Byrd - Jun• 23•14

IMG_1662.JPG-2Back in the day, I owned a pretty awesome coffee café in downtown Frederick, MD. We had all kinds of cool stuff going on, but one thing that really drew in a crowd was the live entertainment. And Andy Carrigan was one of the favorites. Andy was just a cool guy, a dad who worked fulltime for the Board of Education, but also could entertain a room with covers from Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, The Beatles, James Taylor, and many more classics.

My younger brother and sister worked for me and the coffee shop had an open kitchen in the middle of the café. So while Andy was performing and all eyes were on him, Luke, Brooke, and I would do what we could to try and distract him, mess him up, and make him laugh. He’d be playing along, and when we saw his eyes come our way, we would duck behind the counter, and slowly stand back up with funny faces. We would make signs that said something nonsensical and hold them up. We’d do some crazy dance to his tune, all the while pumping out espresso drinks and making Panini sandwiches for the unassuming customers. Sometimes it worked. Whether we made Andy crack or not, we all had fun. We loved what we were doing, and the our patrons knew it. In fact, many of them became our friends.

Fast-forward 15 years to this weekend. It was my husband Matt’s birthday, and he suggested we go to The Main Cup for dinner. Now The Main Cup is one of my favorite places to eat, so I suggested that we go to one of his favorites for his birthday! But then Matt said, “Andy Carrigan is playing at The Main Cup tonight.” That settled it.

Read more.

Make Yourself a Dang Quesadilla

Written By: Aimee Byrd - Jun• 20•14

enhanced-buzz-21791-1363899804-10This photo from awkwardfamilyphotos.com is a work of art. It truly captures the adolescent culture that we have been perpetuating. All it needs is a cell phone somewhere stuck to the overgrown kid. And I emphasize the word we because I am certainly guilty.

I had a clarifying moment the beginning of the last school year. I call it the “pizza revelation.” In the middle of pulling off mom-juggling miracles, I asked my 14-year-old daughter to take a pizza out of the oven. Immediately she began complaining about how she was going to burn herself or drop the blessed Pampered Chef pizza stone. In complete disbelief, I told her to just take the dang pizza out of the oven already. In the middle of our bickering she replies, “Never mind, Katie’s got it!” Katie’s parents are divorced and she is a much more independent kid. This is the moment I realized that my happy-housewife-loving was crippling my children.

My husband and I have made some changes since then, but we are still struggling with the line between enabling our kids to enjoy their childhood, and preparing them to be responsible adults. Because really, we don’t want to raise permanent adolescents. I am embarrassed to say that just this week I ran my daughter back and forth to the high school for volleyball “camp” 15 times (and made special breakfasts and lunches for her each day), Matt has taken our middle daughter to softball all-stars practice every night for three hours (and helped coach), I’ve taken my son to MMA lessons twice, and my Matt is going camping with him for MMA this weekend. In between all that, I am trying to keep some kind of healthy dinnertime schedule, and there is the whole social life to manage for teenage girls. Everyday Matt and I have a barrage of decisions to make about what we are going to facilitate and allow our girls to do with their friends.

There’s also a whole can of drama that permeates a teenager’s social life. Matt and I can’t believe some of the issues that we are already talking to our children about. These are great opportunities for maturing, both for us parents and our children. In this case, Matt and I are tempted to be the ones with our eyes closed. We are also tempted to blindfold our teenagers and carry them through all these messes unscathed. This stage of parenting is so difficult. As our children grow and participate in the world, considerable measures of their innocence and naivety must shed. And that is much more painful for the parents than the kids, I think. I have been thinking a lot about God’s purposes in sanctifying us in the world (but not of it), and not in some Christian, separatist bubble.

And of course there is our church life as well. This week is pretty tame in that area with a youth group and a men’s group meeting, both on Sunday. Which brings me to family devotions. This awkward family photo illustrates another way I can over-coddle. My kids are too old to spoon-feed them their devotional time as well. So we are mixing things up a bit. I bought them each a summer journal, and we are all doing the same Scripture readings, but the kids have to do some of the lifting on their own. Instead of Matt and I asking all the questions and perfectly shaping each answer, we have them journaling their answers for us to discuss later. They have to carve some time in the beginning of their day to either read independently or with one another before Matt and I get to them.

Too often the kids don’t grow up because the parents aren’t ready to mature to the next stage. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m not ready! But I have to do it anyway. The title of my post is a line from Napoleon Dynamite. When he is complaining to his grandma for not being there to make him dinner, she blurts out, “Knock it off Napoleon! Make yourself a dang quesadilla.” And she pronounces it, Kase-a-dilla. It’s a line we throw around the house all the time. As funny as it is to say, it really is my job to prepare my kids to actually become adults. Maybe I will write it in their high school graduation cards, “Now knock it off and go make yourself a dang quesadilla.”