Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Blog

In case anyone actually visits this blog anymore, my new blog can be found at http://www.christisrealm.blogspot.com/

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Bless the Broken Road

I recently stumbled across a courtship website -- one of the many floating around cyberspace --that uses the catch-phrase "Courtship: Never Know a Broken Heart." Additionally the site suggests that "courtship is God’s royal plan for believers to find the love of their lives in His time. It produces strong, stable, permanent marriages without all the pain and rejection along the way. " (Nevermind the fact that a university study found that courtship marriages statistically have a higher divorce rate than marriages in general.)

The site "was birthed in the heart of [the founder]... during a time of prayer and fasting, God began to reveal the sorrow of His heart for young people who go through painful journeys to find love. [The founder] heard the heart cry of the Father God that the brokeness must stop."

(It is baggage like this that caused me to avoid using the term "courtship" to refer to our relationship).

The danger in this way of thinking is that it actually sets people up for a broken heart. Out of my personal friends, there are as many "courtships" that did not end in marriage as actually did. Following a model of courtship does not guarantee that you will not experience heart break. If that is your goal upon entering a relationship, you just might be setting yourself up for a disastrous marriage. The whole point of courtship is to make sure that you are compatible for marriage and that God is in fact calling you to that. If it becomes apparent that you are not, it is far better to end the relationship than to proceed into marriage!

And ending it may leave one or both persons heartbroken. Having your heart broken is not the worse thing that could happen to you. And definitely preferably than an unwise marriage. Marriage is permanent (or at least should be). The heart mends. Depending on how you handle the heartache, it may even mend to stronger than before.

I know. In a little more than a week, I will be marrying my sweetheart (who in my humble opinion happens to be the best man alive ;). But neither of us can honestly say that we've never cared for anyone else besides each other. We've both experienced the pain that a broken relationship brings. Neither of us regret it. I would not go back in time and change that past relationship if I could, because I grew and matured from it in ways I would not have otherwise.

That's not to say that I actually recommend that everyone go out and get a broken heart. God's plan for every life is different and individual. There are many people who will not have a broken heart... romantically. But they will experience pain in other ways. A life without pain is like a life without happiness. We cannot truly feel joy without knowing what sorrow is.

We live in a fallen world. It is not God's design for us to always be "happy." James 1:2-4 says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." It is not just romance that can cause one's heart to break. Sickness, death, friendship, sin, repentence... As long as our heart still beat, they will break.

Monday, May 01, 2006

An overlooked definition...

There's a topic I feel strongly about and am frequently reminded of, for one reason or another. The latest reason was attending an annual homeschool convention. The topic is modesty.

In my opinion, the homeschool community has been improving in that area. However, many people would disagree with me. Why? We have different definitions of the concept of modesty.

In the past, homeschool conventions and other events were dominated by a certain "look" - something along the lines of denim or homemade calico jumpers, dresses, and skirts. For women and girls, that is. Men and boys oddly enough always looked a lot more mainstream, but that's a side issue. In recent years though, there has been a gradual shift in female clothing styles toward trendier skirts, tops and even, Heaven forbid, pants and jeans. I have heard this change criticized as being "wordly" and "immodest." My view is that we're finally starting to dress modestly.

Modesty is a big issue -- and rightly so -- in homeschooling circles. It is the topic of many books and convention workshop speakers. I am not suggesting that it is not important and should not be emphasized. My point is that it's been incompletely taught and as a result, incorrectly embodied.

Modesty is primarily taught as a lust issue: women should dress "modestly," ie, not inviting lust from men, not causing a brother to stumble, etc. That is absolutely correct, but not the full definition of the word. A seldom-mentioned aspect of modesty and the truest definition of the word is not attracting attention to yourself. Yes, that includes not causing lust, but also means not attracting attention, period. As in, causing yourself to stand out. Which even goes beyond clothing itself, it emcompasses attitude, body languge, one's inner spirit. But my original topic pertains to clothing.

That's why I think the homeschool "look" misses the point of modesty. If you're walking through a store and repeatedly turning heads because of the outfits (often matching) that you are wearing, that is not by definition modest. It no doubt is successful at discouraging lust, but still makes one the target of prolonged and often negative attention. That's why I referred to homeschoolers' clothing style shifts as an improvement in modesty. While still maintaining appropriate coverage/concealment, more and more are turning to styles that are actually currently in style. And by style I'm not talking about the very latest fashions or anything copied from popular actresses and trendsetters. Just the basics of inobtrusive modern style, yet modest. Style and modesty: they don't have to be contradictory terms.

P.S. I still enjoy the occasional denim skirt. In fact, I wore one to the convention.

Monday, April 03, 2006


I think I forgot about this poor blog. And I'd venture to guess that most or all readers have forgotten about it as well!

In lieu of a real post, how about a picture of the most handsome and charming man alive?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Thoughts on Relativity

One of the things I distinctly remember learning somewhere along the way in my homeschool education was the importance of absolute truth. We were taught the error in the modern concept of all truth being relative, no truth is absolute, etc. I've never forgotten that.

However, this does mean that every single thing in the universe falls into the category of absolute truth. While it is important to recognize that there do exist absolute truths in many important areas, we sometime fail to recognize the relativity of other areas. A quick illustration of relativity is how weather is viewed regionally. There never has and there never will be an absolute definition for what constitutes warm and cold. For someone living in New England, a 50 degree December day is warm. But for someone living down South, that is considered cold. Similarly, in Rhode Island, we get a 1/2 inch of snow and think "Wow, we got off easy!" In Texas, you get a 1/2 inch of snow and they call it a blizzard. (Okay slight exaggeration there! :) But I have lived in both states, so I am qualified to make these observations.)

I was musing the other day about gas prices. Last spring, around May I think, I distinctly remember not filling up my entire gas tank, because gas prices had risen to the $1.90s. I was waiting for it to fall back to the $1.70 range. [It never did.] Gas prices continued to rise slowly throughout the summer, until suddenly the Katrina disaster caused prices to spike practically overnight to over a dollar more per gallon. I went from thinking that $2.40/gallon was high, to being faced with paying $3.50/gallon. When gas dropped down to $3.10 range, it was a huge relief. Suddenly gas was cheap again. [Not.] So anyway, I was contemplating this the other day when I noted gas prices as low as $1.97/gallon. I was thinking to myself that this was amazingly cheap until suddenly I remembered last spring, when I had considered that price to be too expensive to fill up my entire tank. It's amazing how your perspective can change in just a few short months.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Pretending to be Christine

While in Missouri in August, during our costume photo shoot at Julie's, I got to wear the beautiful dress her mom made. It's a replica of the "Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again" dress that Christine wears in the stage version of "The Phantom of the Opera."

Sometimes it seemed, if I just dreamed, somehow you would be here...

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Being a Single Young Woman

[My blog URL has officially changed to christicipolla.blogspot.com - so please take note!]

Anyone who has read my Xanga blog probably realizes that the topic of the appropriate roles for single young women is something I'm particularly passionate about. Which is natural in the light of the fact that my position as a live-in nanny is condemned by many as being outside of my proper sphere. Admittedly, I have a personal bias here. But my bias is meaningless if it is in violation of Scripture, so I have wrestled long and hard over this. And I sincerely believe that Scripturally, there is nothing wrong with young women living outside of their parents' home, whether it be for college or jobs.

Which is why I find it particularly distressing when I am directly or indirectly told that I am in rebellion, sin, somehow outside of my role, outside the umbrella, or whatever cute phrase you want to use. I've battled against this for years (literally) and frankly, I am tired of it. My patience, unfortunately, is very very low. And I seriously fear that the next time I have to deal with this, I will just explode and react totally inappropriately. So maybe if I react here, that can be prevented.

When people get on their soapboxes (and yes I am on my own soapbox right now!) and tell young women that the Bible forbids them from living outside of their parents' roof, they are lying about the Word of God. When people tell me that I am in rebellion because I don't live with my daddy, they are making judgment calls that they have NO right to make. If they could point me to Scripture indicating that all young women are required to live with their parents until Prince Charming comes and carries them away, I would be more than happy to concede the point. There are no Scriptures that indicate this, directly or indirectly. Instead, there actually are Scriptures that directly REFUTE this. You need look no further than Exodus 21:7:

"And if a man sells his daughter to be a female slave..."

It kind of puts a hole into that theory that God requires girls to remain under the so-called "umbrella" of their parents. Because it seems to me that if that were the case, selling your daughter into slavery would kind of be forcing her outside of this "umbrella" and I'm not quite sure how a father can protect his daughter when she is legally owned by another man.

So Biblically speaking, if it's okay for my daddy to sell me as a slave, then why is it not okay for him to give me his blessing to work and live outside of his home? Would it be okay if he sold me to my employers instead?

The problem with the patriarchy movement and any other movement that adopts this way of thinking is that they aren't using the Bible as the authority for their beliefs. They are basing them on their own preferences and then exploiting and twisting Scripture to back them up (on the rare occasions that they actually do quote the Bible, instead of the latest book by a patriarchy guru). I've been told by proponents of patriarchy that if I left my parents' home (even with their blessing) that it would be like leaving a marriage. I found that statement extremely offensive on a number of levels and I was given no Scripture to back up this ridiculous assertion. I think it's time for people to stop inventing things about the Word of God and then judging those who don't conform to their warped view.