Friday, October 22

Single Lady: Thoughts sparked by, the post on Thursday October 21st. I simply can NOT figure out how to do the Trackback thing on here.

I am working through two main questions right now.

Number one: What am I going to do with my life? A large chunk of it has been freed up by deciding not to get married. However, this also means that more of my life will probably be spent working, since I will not have a second income to fall back on. I have no idea what sort of job I want; ideally, I'd like to mentor other girls in some way, both in education and in life.

Number two: How do I become more of a lady? I have spent most of my life resisting being "ladylike." My preference for jeans is well known, and my distaste for pantyhose is legendary. However, I've realized lately that somewhere along the way, I have started to not only become more ladylike, but also to care about whether or not I am acting like a lady. Some of this has been illustrated by my new love of wearing skirts and trying to restrain my usual temper. does a single woman who has to make her own way in the world also remember to be a lady? I'm not sure.

I think of the true ladies I've known. There's the lady I am named after, Elizabeth Joy Wilson; and the ladies I've known growing up. There is my dear friend Sharon, who is serving as a missionary in Africa right now. There's also the two ladies in my family, my mother and her mother. (I can't speak for my dad's mom, because I don't really remember her, unfortunately. I like all the stories I've heard about her)

My grandmother is amazing: she graduated from school in California, and I believe work into the workforce with her friend for a few years. She then met my grandfather and moved to Texas to marry him. She lived in the Texas panhandle for years, raising her family and helping run the farm. My grandad died when my mother was 16, and my grandmother took over the farm. She continued to run it for many years, then moved back to California to care for her aging parents. She helps at Awanas at her church, as well as Vacation Bible School, and is active in her Sunday School. Everyone in her church knows who she is. Her house is tasteful and homey, always a pleasure to visit. She is also a good cook. My mom is much like her: involved in church, good with money (something I sadly did not inherit), a tasteful decorator. Our house does not look like a page out of Better Homes and Gardens, but it does look nice, almost everything has a story, and it's ours. I always love getting out the Christmas decorations because they reflect so much of my family's life together. We have made many of them ourselves. My mom and dad have worked to make a house that is not only functional, but homey and tasteful as well.

I want to do many of these things as well; but I'm not sure if I will ever be able to afford a house of my own, particularly out here in Southern California, where I plan to live. But I do want to be able to extend hospitality to others, both older and younger than myself. I want to be able to welcome people to a place that truly is my home, a place that I have cared for, decorated, and worked on myself. I don't like buying culture, I like creating it. I want to create a space of my, that does not conform to anyone else's ideas of a fashionable home; one that will stand the years, and only age in the best ways. After all, age is so often a good thing. No-one wants to drink new wine, but we try to value youth in everything else. I want to be a true lady, like the ladies I've grown up with; I want to grow better with age.

Thursday, October 21

Updated version! More comments please!


Biola is often known as a marriage school. Jokes on this subject abound, ranging from the "Bridal Institute of Los Angeles," to comparing Biola to a cobbler's shop (they take you in, mend your soles[souls] and send you out in pairs). But perhaps this is too often taken for granted, and we forget to think about the other option.

Many of us don't know much about celibacy--and sometimes even assume that it is based on the idea that sex is evil. Before I continue, let me take a few moments to explain the basic ideas behind the practice of celibacy.

First of all, celibacy is thought to allow a person to be devoted to God alone. This is not to say that celibacy is the only state in which a person can be devoted to God; most people can marry and be devoted to God. Look at people like Billy Graham, or Jim and Elizabeth Elliot. Marriage itself is service to God; it has been known as the "bloodless martyrdom." But some people need--or wish--to be free of relationships that could distract them from God. I know that in my own life, celibacy is in some way a concession to a weakness, since I cannot--at least at this stage of my life--focus on human love and the love of God at the same time.

Secondly, celibacy leaves one free to do whatever God may call on him to do. Wht does God call most people to do? Get married, have kids, love their family, and serve God. But perhaps God leaves a few people unattached who can drop everything at short notice, and do something drastic that needs to be done. Could Mother Theresa have given up everything to work with the poor in India if she'd had a husband and children to care for?(Yes, I realize there are exceptions to this, but they are few and far between.) But even without great dramatic things, the celibate person can devote lots of time to helping people in their communities.

This being said, why should we at Biola think about celibacy? After all, most of us don't come from churches with a monastic tradition, and we grow up thinking about "when I get married..." Also, if the majority of us neither need nor want to be celibate, why should we think about it?

Firstly, Christianity has a long monastic tradition: many of the great saints were celibates. If nothing else, most Christians at most places at most times have found celibacy to be a good thing, whether they themselves were celibate or not.

Secondly, celibacy might be God's will for some of us. Let's face it: not all of us will get married, for one reason or another. The only options that Christians have been given are monogamy and celibacy. If we do not marry, then we must be celibate.

This leads to the third, and perhaps most relevant point. Even those of us who will get married but are not married yet must be celibate. This should not be a passive celibacy, one that is merely waiting for marriage, but an active one. Know who you are and who God wants you to be. None of us are half of a soul, looking for a missing half. We are whole people, made in the image of God. In the time of celibacy before marriage, let us learn how to be a whole soul and to serve God in the way He designed us to. Celibacy can, after all, be a preperation for marriage.

I hope I have made it clear that not all or even most people should be celibate. But we should learn the value of it, since we are all called to celibacy before marriage, and a few of us may take it as a permanent lifestyle.

Monday, October 18

Move to the Music

I am sitting here, ostensibly at work, listening to a favorite Christmas cd on the computer (Yes, it's early for Christmas music. Yes, I always listen to it this early. No, I never EVER get tired of Christmas music. Not even in July.)

There are two songs on here, and both of them really make me want to dance, especially if I was wearing a wonderfuly swishy skirt. I don't want to dance with anyone romantically, but I do want to dance with people. I'm about to get up from my desk and start dancing to this music by myself!

As a kid, I was exposed to the idea that rock music was evil because it made you want to "move your body." Ok, sure, I'll grant that. Most people would. But the point was never made that a lot of music makes you want to move, including most folk tunes, and anything that's upbeat and Celtic. Some hymns would be excellent for dancing to.

Why is this, music making you move, assumed to be a bad thing? If music is what created the world, then we should move to music, at least to good music. Those of us who, like me, are not very good at making music, should at least learn to be influenced and guided by it. Should we all learn to dance?