Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Family reunion
Recently my family joined up with the rest of the Mathews clan in Baton Rouge, LA, to celebrate the 90th birthday of their remaining grandparent, "Gogo" Ellen Ervin. A descendant of the Scottish clan Campbell, she proudly wore her colors for the event.

Here the clan gathers. All 40-something of us. Children, grandchildren, greats, and a few grand-nephews and cousins. The only thing we regret about the event (other than the slow food service) is not scheduling enough time for visiting all around. There just weren't enough minutes in the evening to make the rounds so that everyone got to talk with everyone.

At dinner...my sweet oldest boy.Happy 90th birthday, Gogo! We love you :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More to Learn from Natasha Richardson's Death

This morning I logged in to ABC news, where reports about Natasha Richardson's recent death abound. I've been one of those in shock, finding it difficult to grasp that this beautiful, healthy, vibrant mother and wife could take a simple tumble on her ski lesson and end up brain dead within hours.

I've been reminded of the surreal fog that surrounded so many when Diana died; sudden, untimely, unexplainable--or at least indefensible--deaths of public figures whom we feel we know at least a bit because they lived partly on stage, as it were, causes perfect strangers to mourn. In Richardson's case, attention has focused on her brain injury, and how it could have happened. Or been prevented.

So this morning, I read this short piece on "a lesson" from her death. I'm glad they used the article "a" -- implying only one of many possible lessons -- because I was appalled that this is the best they can come up with. "I guess we'll all have to start wearing ski helmets now." Sheez.

I would hope that Richardson and those she leaves behind would want a more meaningful legacy than "be safe on the slopes." How about "make every moment count...love well...don't take your time for granted..."

I was struck by the truth that our bodies are fragile, complicated creations. I remembered that God numbers our days--we don't. We live our time by His grace. Society likes to say "life is a gift" -- I know the Giver. I hope Natasha did, too.

So hug your mom today. Hug your kids. Tell your loved ones that you love them. Be aware of and grateful for your blessings.

Monday, March 16, 2009

"Dead Sea Scrolls Shocker"

Clever title for a new Time Magazine article heralding the newest theory related to the ancient biblical texts. One Israeli scholar now believes that the Essenes, the 1st century Jewish group believed to have written the scrolls, never existed. She contends that Josephus, the Jewish-Roman historian, fabricated them in an attempt to impress the Romans.

So who wrote the scrolls? Probably a group of outcast priests who took the source of their faith's wisdom with them, according to this new theory, which has sparked some outrage among scholars studying the Dead Sea Scrolls today.

I wonder what all the fuss is about. No one is arguing the veracity of the scrolls, only who might have written these copies and hidden them in the caves. The existence of the Essenes is in question--not the scrolls' significance. It seems that if they indeed originated in the temple and were secreted out by priests for safekeeping, their importance would be emphasized all the more.

Perhaps our resident NT scholars will chime in soon. Would love to hear from Darrell Bock and others from DTS about it.

Coming This Weekend: The Christian Book Expo

Starting Friday, March 20, Dallas-area residents and any other willing travelers have a fantastic opportunity to experience the Christian publishing industry firsthand. Authors, publishers, and books books books--all will be available at this first-ever Expo open to the public.

Sue and I, along with Sandi Glahn and Claudia McGuire, are hosting a panel discussion Friday afternoon, 2- 3pm, called: When People Problems Invade Your Ministry (location: D 163). Between your visits to the Bible Exhibit or Kids' Zone or showroom floor, come ask your questions and listen to a lively discussion on relational problems that often occur between men and women, and women and women.

When you register, be sure to use the code cbe5off to get your discount. See you there!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lauren Winner, the Venerable Bede, and Seminary

Seminary students continually hear the warning not to let their studies become a substitute for their devotional life. In other words, reading about theology, outlining a book of the Bible, or parsing Greek verbs do not replace prayer, meditation, confession, and worship. To let the academic tasks overwhelm one's relationship with God is to miss the forest for all the trees.

For the intellectual types that usually end up at seminary, this is a hard warning to heed. We LOVE books. We enjoy studying, crazy as that sounds. We feed off it, often getting lost in the intricacies of philosophy and our favorite writers. Besides, what student has time for more Bible reading? We're already behind on our assignments...

I find it reassuring to know that the church fathers and scholars of old struggled with similar tensions. The Venerable Bede, an 8th century monk, wrote, among innumerable other works, the famous Church History of England. At the end he listed his 70+ publications, then added a prayer:

I pray You, noble, Jesu, that as You have graciously granted me joyfully to imbibe the words of Your knowledge, so You will also in Your bounty grant me to come at length to Yourself, the Fount of all wisdom, and to dwell in Your presence forever.

My new favorite author, Lauren Winner, comments on this quote in her memoir Girl Meets God:

"That prayer is why I love Bede. Because he knew that knowledge and books were just a nice way to fill the time until he came to dwell with Jesus. It is a good prayer for a graduate student."

And I would add, "for a seminary student."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

How to Make a Mama Cry

The members of my family each enjoyed an adventure this past weekend. I took a rare plane flight to a conference for women leaders (more on that another time), my husband took the boys on a YMCA Guides' campout, and my dad and step-mom had the girl over for a sleepover. Yes, we ALL had our special fun activity.

So my step-mom sends me a link to her newest blog post (I never knew she even HAD a blog) this morning. Way to make me cry at 7:30 a.m.! Take a look and you'll see why.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Story Time

It's my turn to blog over on Tapestry. Click the big button over on the right to see my post about stories...our stories. My friend Susie tells hers. Maybe you will, too.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

How People Become Real

I was first introduced to The Velveteen Rabbit in college. Yes, college. My friend Becky Styron, one of the early Friday morning bible study girls, mentioned that story one day as she tried to illustrate what a new life in Christ looked like. A new believer, she said, is like the toy rabbit who became real because of the love his boy had for him.

I had no idea what she was talking about.

I will never forget her incredulous look as she realized I'd never read that book. Three months later, I opened my birthday gift from her and found a gift-book quality copy of the Velveteen Rabbit. Yes, I laughed. But then I wept.

Her inscription reads, "Kelley, I hope you love this book as much as I do! It reminded me of how "REAL" you are in your new identity in Christ. Happy 21st birthday! Keep seeking Him..."

In Christ, I am the real me, the Kelley He created for His purpose. Without Him, I'd be an imitation, a toy, an image not quite living up to my creator's intentions. It works like that for everyone. God's love frees us up to be ourselves, to reach our potential. His love transforms us!

2 Corinthians 5:17 "Therefore is anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone; the new has come!"

You can see "The Velveteen Rabbit" on DVD starting March 17. Directed by Michael Landon, Jr., this version is partly animated, partly "real." My friend Sandi interviewed Landon here.