Sunday, October 27, 2013

Rock-N-Roll Trumps Church

It's the typical Sunday morning at the Antolick home. 
Me: "Honey, are you going to be ready on time?"
Matt: "Have faith, Babes. Don't be anxious. [then becoming silent and visibly tense]

Me: [sighing and pouting, with a furrowed brow] "Okay...oh, this is not about anxiety. Remember when we left for church a few weeks ago at 20 til 9 and we ended up late? Maybe we should leave a little earlier." 
Matt remains silent, and I then stop talking. I wait by the door while he gathers his last few things. We are both still in good moods and we make it out the door at last, at the original agreed time. We have no idea what is coming. 
As we drive out of the gated parking lot next to our building, we are eager to go and worship with the rest of the folks at the Journey, our church in Tower Grove South. 
Heading east towards the arch, and towards the next street leading us to the freeway, we see that the road is blocked off. No one is going through and police officers are redirecting people away from the area. So we turn around and go the other direction, hoping to re-route. That too ends in a dead end. So we turn around again and try another way. Road block after road block. At one point, my exasperated husband drives up to one of the police officers and asks him how we can get on the freeway. 
Police Officer [pointing into the air]: "Well, first ya go that way and then ya go that way." 
Matt: "Okay, thanks." We pull away.
Me: "Did you understand what he said?"
Matt: "I have no idea what he was talking about." 
Me: "Well, there's a Baptist church right there [me pointing to a church on the street corner we were stopped at]. Want to try that?"
Matt: [anxious]: "No, I don't think so. Let's go home. There is no freaking way we are going to church today." 
Later today we find the email from our building management company warning us that there will be street closures on this particular Sunday because of an annual Rock-N-Roll Marathon.
Church has been trumped. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Free Write Thoughts from Today's Devotional Musings

I told God that he was weird today. The old prophet in Israel went to eat at the other prophet's house in Bethel because he was told by the inviting prophet that God said to do it (it was a lie). He was later cursed. (see 1 Kings 13) The hosting prophet sent the other prophet away on a donkey and along the way a lion came out and killed him. The lion did not eat the man or his animal, but just stood there, along with the donkey. Why is that story even in there? I'm ignorant, for sure, but on the surface it's such a bizarre tale. Why did the prophet have to die for such a "little" offense, and that which he did in ignorance? I do not understand.
Then reading James today about not being a forgetful hearer. The doer of the Word will be the blessed one. I want that. I want more "do" in my life. It goes along with my readings in Bonhoeffer. He talked about how ones theology had to be backed by practical living. "Real faith and love...were identical for him." This is the message of James: faith without works is dead, being alone. Visit the fatherless and the widow...give no respect to the rich, but give equal acknowledgement to the poor. 
Bonhoeffer also liked the idea of confessing your sins and faults to each other (also comes out of James!). He felt that this was healthy, not in an intercessory way, but in a pray for one another, encourage one another way. He felt that Lutherans had thrown the baby out with the bathwater when they broke away from Catholicism and did away with any sort of open confession. 
In the book it talks about how he confessed his struggles to his close friend Eberhard Bethge. One of Bonhoeffer's trials was depression. I can relate somewhat. Sometimes the darkness comes out of nowhere. Feelings can be so changeable and make a beautiful picture or a horror story out of life.
Who are your friends? Who are my friends? Who do we share and confess with and to? How have we been helping to heal one another through confession? 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Lessons From Church & How to Not Follow Her Lead

Cold theology in the church helped give rise to the Nazi regime.

Lutherans, and all Christian peoples need to know this and be afraid of the dangers of apathy and religion.
When our theology is disconnected from our lives, and it is a ritual that we take part in an hour a week, we perpetuate a type of religion that is actually very dangerous. 
It was the fanatical and proactive, vision-casting and passionate Third Reich that helped fill this void. Churches and their peoples distanced themselves from the hurting and poor. Dry form, passiveness, unbelief, and intellectual skepticism made up the irrelevant orthodox establishments. 
It was this problem that gave Bonhoeffer the desire to visit Ghandi in India. He wanted to see what it looked like for non-followers of Jesus to actually attempt the life of the Sermon on the Mount. 
Bonhoeffer believed that "Lutheran theological education...produced not disciples of Christ, but out-of-touch theologians and clerics whose ability to live the Christian life -- and to help others live that life -- was not much in evidence." (from Bonhoeffer, Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, by Eric Metaxas) He was convinced that taking the Sermon on the Mount seriously was the anecdote to this lukewarmness.
I want to take Bonhoeffer's exhortations to heart:
"It is high time we broke with our theologically based restraint towards the state's actions -- which after all, is only fear. 'Speak out for those who cannot speak.' Who in the church today realizes that this is the very least that the Bible requires of us?"
"The restoration of the church must surely depend on a new kind of monasticism, which has nothing in common with the old but a life of uncompromising discipleship, following Christ according to the Sermon on the Mount. I believe the time has come to gather people together to do this."

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sobibor & Ethical Excavation

Entrance to the St. Louis Holocaust Museum & Learning Center

Dr. Richard Freund (with arrow) sits and chats before the presentation
Tomorrow marks the anniversary of the Sobibor Extermination Camp revolt in Poland. There were about 300 who escaped, but only 50-70 survived the war.

I had the privilege today of hearing Dr. Richard Freund of the University of Hartford speak before we watched the pre-release of his film "Deadly Deception at Sobibor" at the St. Louis Holocaust Museum & Learning Center. 

About 60-70 of us gathered in a side room and listened to Freund discuss his excavation efforts at the site of the Sobibor Extermination Camp. 

He is a short man with glasses and dark hair and he talks with a Boston accent. He wore a dark navy suit coat and had a yarmulke on his head. 

He told us how that in the Jewish tradition, one does not dig up the bones of the dead when excavating an area; that to do so in the case of a Holocaust site is to murder the person twice. Dr. Freund explained that he uses ground-penetrating radar that maps the entire subsurface. This allows the digger to know what is underneath before attempting to penetrate the soil. 

Despite having to peer through shadows of heads that blocked out chunks of the lower part of the screen I enjoyed the film. It was fascinating and sad. It was very interesting every time the camera zoomed in on an object that one of the workers pulled from the dirt. There were pieces of jewelry, piles of luggage keys, bones, a set of teeth, bottles, glasses, a Nazi eagle emblem, and even a Mickey Mouse pin.

It is good to be reminded of the cruel extent of racism in our world. To remember the loss of humanity and to pray against the tendencies in our own hearts to reject people that aren't like ourselves. It goes along with the sermon today I heard, taken from the book of James about rejecting or accepting people based on their outward appearance (James 1:27-2:13). We are all level at the cross. We must first recognize we are rescued people then we can accept other people. We are not special or elite. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

ADD & Massage

Today I had a 6-year old client on my table. Her daddy and younger sister came in with her for her first massage appointment.

She had been begging her parents for a real massage "with oil," for awhile, and finally they decided to set one up. 
Her dad was a little concerned she'd be able to spend the 30 minutes they'd booked laying still on the table, especially since she was ADD. Dad did wonder, however, if massage might be just the thing she needed, something that would help to reset that seemingly always on-button that never seemed to be able to go off.

We all crowded into the small cozy massage room, my little client under some flannel midnight blue sheets, while Dad and her sister sat in the corner on a wooden chair, playing games on a computer tablet. 

Most of my clients are adults, so it was fun and cute to work around such tiny scapulae, arms, and neck.

She barely moved for the 30 minutes she lay on the table. During some points she even started to fall asleep. 

When it was all done I asked her how she liked it and she told me that she liked it a lot! Her dad was really impressed she had settled for that long, It was a moment of realization for both of us that massage is helpful for those active minds that struggle to relax and process the world around them.

Massage: it really does do a body good -- and a mind!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Top Five Fall Favorites ~ What Are Yours?

  1. Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Via Instant Coffee
  2. Scarves 
  3. Falling Leaves
  4. Baked goods, including anything pumpkin! See my Pinterest pin for Pumpkin Bars:
  5. Tights & Leggings

Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Last Sunday at the Journey Church Darrin Patrick preached on anger. He's been going through the book of James, and this past week's sermon was taken from the following portion:
James 1:19-21
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
Here are some notes I took on my iPhone:
Anger can manifest in two ways: shutting down & outward expressions. The exhortation is to be slow to anger. Slowness in anger is right. Exodus 34:6. The phrase "slow to anger" literally means "long of nose," which comes from the idea that anger starts in the gut and eventually makes its way to the face, causing the expression to distort and nostrils to flare. God does get angry, but it takes him a long time. Anger in its purest form has its root in God. You cannot love without anger. Good anger wants elimination of the thing that is hurting the person. Unrighteous anger wants pain and revenge. Source of our anger:
1) people
2) circumstances
The anecdote to anger is patience.   
Anger likes to hide. We may say, "I'm just really impatient. I'm misunderstood. I'm a direct person. I'm frustrated," etc. 
Anger hides in our language. Anger hides in our families. We all grew up in a home that dealt with anger a certain way, whether through screaming and throwing things, or pushing down emotions, or even having a time-out session. All strategies in some ways are good, but our anger hides and we perceive these things as normal. Our anger hides in our temperaments. We can be a bottler, or we can be an outward processor. We say, "This is the way I am." We moralize the way we handle anger. It is a sin to never get angry. It is a sin to control anger without dealing with the root. It is a sin to explode in anger. 
How do we deal with the source of our anger? What causes us to lose our temper? If we are quiet, we may have a harder time figuring out where our anger comes from. Some people work out to deal with their anger. The ones who push down or "time-out" their anger have a difficult time finding the root of their anger. 
Our anger has to do with our devotion. It impacts our emotions. When our devotion is committed to ourselves, it is blocked. God is our first need. He is more than what we are looking for from others. 
We need to be quick to hear. We need to study to listen. We cannot pretend to listen. There is a big difference between showing and taking interest. 
In the text, our focus is to be on God, not others. When hell breaks out, all other stuff drowns out His voice. We need to stop and listen. Do we need to gripe to God? Not necessarily. Before I speak to God I've already spoken to myself. Be slow to speak, even to yourself. Your words guide your heart. 
Don't manage, embrace, etc. your anger. Repent and receive God's Word into it. What does it look like to repent? See his forgiveness for your sin a great thing. As we understand our forgiveness, so we will be able to forgive others. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Live from St. Louis!

Lots of people have asked what my husband has been up to lately. 

So in an attempt to help Matt's mom, who is presenting his work tonight at her church, we threw together this video. It only took 20 takes and 3 hours! Here it is: