Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Afternoon Tea - When you relate more to Calypso than Calvin

The research vessel, Calypso

It was the first warm Spring day early last week.  The first day one could open a few windows to let fresh air flow through the house.  The first and only day so far that the kitchen window was open while I cooked and washed dishes.

The music coming from the CD player on that morning was one of the "Best of John Denver" albums.  The CD which is sold in Cracker Barrel stores.  I was thoroughly enjoying the warm breeze, the scent of the suds in the sink (7th Generation Lavender Mint dish soap), and the music flowing through the kitchen.

Long time readers know that John Denver's music has a place of honor on the itty bitty iPod I use when walking.  Take Me Back Country Roads causes me to think of the beauty of the land and the mountains, Sunshine on My Shoulders speaks to my love of the outdoors and the trails I once hiked, Annie's Song most likely brings all of us the sense of the magic (Narnia magic) of nature, and I have been know to replay Back Home Again over and over on my walks.

But on that particular morning, it was Calypso which began and I had to stop what I was doing and sing along.  Fortunately, I was alone with just the kitty in the house.  There are loved ones in my family who sing like angels.  I am not one of them.  But I digress...

The song, Calypso, always causes me a twinge of delight mixed with guilt.  Delight because I love the story of the boat used by Captain Cousteau in his environmental studies.  In my younger years, I would have loved to take a trip with the crew as they traversed the seas for scientific exploration.  It sparked my land locked imagination.

Guilt because of the response my love for John Denver's music has brought from some Christians throughout the year.  Especially Calypso as it is the well known ship of the Cousteau Society.  I mean, really... they are (shudder)... environmentalists.

I've always felt at least a little different than many people I've met in the church.  Sometimes a whole lot different.  I guess I'm a lot like my mother, who marched to the beat of a different drummer.  Her sister, my aunt, was the good Bible toting Christian of the family.  The one who kept all the rules and reminded everyone what they were.

Mom... was not.  So at age fifteen, she eloped and left it all behind her. She was widowed with seven kids in her 30s and then married my dad in middle age.  I was born when they were in their 40s.  A long time from that day she eloped as a teenager.

Which explains how I came to be raised in a non-churched family.  Until Jesus sought me and bought me with His Redeeming Love... in the Jesus Movement where so many of us who were running away from Him were chased until His love captured our attention and our hearts.

Don't get me wrong, I believe in salvation through Jesus.  I believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God.  I believe Jesus lived and died and rose again to become the sacrificial Lamb for our sins.  I believe in the Trinity.  I talk to God!  Sometimes He talks back.  I believe in a relationship with Him.

It's just how we go about living all of that in which we can differ.

All the experiences of my life have brought about a Christian who didn't always fit the look and feel and expectations of the churches they attended.  Not all for there were churches where I felt I belonged but for many... I didn't. 

For since the beginning I have been more Calypso than Calvin.  While my politics are very conservative, I love health foods and unschooling and PBS nature shows and Enya and when I was healthier... finding God in nature.  Like John Muir, nature to me was a cathedral.

The challenges come when you don't fit quite anywhere on this planet.  You are way too conservative for the average health food store but far from the average church lady.  You have a lot in common with the New Age Environmentists type but you love Jesus and cannot understand why someone would not... especially when one worships the creation instead of the Creator.

Like the toys on the Island of Misfit Toys, many of us are just a little different.

How often are people judged for their music, or their clothes, or the fact they are a guy who wears earrings, or their tattoo, or their past sins, or that they have a hard time sitting in the pews, or their family background, or any hundreds of things that make them... different.

The things is... Jesus didn't fit.  He was crucified because He didn't fit. 

As for you and me, the enemy of our souls uses judging and condemnation to keep the church from uniting against him.  If possible (and I think it is), he will make every Christian feel like he or she does not fit in the church.  Not to mention every single second of every day he uses the whole "you will never fit" thing with the sinner longing for salvation.

I always... I mean always... feel better when I go back to the Bible and read what Jesus said and what Jesus did and how Jesus treated those around him.  Jesus was not a church lady.  Nope, Jesus was a master (the Master) of making the outcast feel they have an invitation to the party.

So what am I saying here as I ramble about music and ships and church ladies and how do we bring it all together?  Be Jesus to the people around you.  Don't care so much about their clothes, or the fact they don't look like you, or that they like their music a little louder than you like yours, or that some of their heroes are not part of the church.

And if you... like me... can relate a little more to Calypso than Calvin... it is okay.  Really.  You are not going to the Dark Side or anything.  You may hug a few trees in your life but then again, you also stop to smell the roses.  You're just a little... different.

The Wesleyan church I attended when we lived in Michigan had a quote attributed to Augustine in their bulletin each week...

“In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity."

Couldn't have said it better, myself.


LauraC said...

I attend a Wesleyan Church. If only that quotation was lived there as much as it is "preached." I am your opposite in some ways-pretty conservative life choices and interests, more moderate in politics. Let's just say "liberty" isn't flowing too freely in that Wesleyan Church these days. :( and "Charity" seems in short supply frequently too.

Vee said...

Ahhhh now, that explains it! =D

Always thought-provoking, Brenda!

April said...

I truly enjoy every post on your blog! I feel you are a friend. So many of your posts make me think, "Oh!I couldn't have said it better myself!"
I love John Denver's music and I often have a vague feeling of not quite fitting in anywhere. But I know when all is said and done, I will fit in perfectly :)

Susan Humeston said...

I know just what you mean. I don't fit a "mold" either. I'm conservative, but I love nature and want it preserved. I don't understand what makes the categories anyway - none of us should be in a category...thanks for another beautiful rumination.

La Tea Dah said...


lynneinMN said...

Amen, my fellow John Denver enthusiast. I, too, don't fit the mold of the "normal" Christian. Is there such a thing? If John Denver, and even Peter, Paul & Mary, sometimes play on my Cd player, and is actually preferred over a lot of today's Christian music, well, then so be it. And I will hug a tree with you, and glory in all that is His creation! God Bless! Lynne in MN

lives in the woods said...

I don't know if this would be any consolation or not, but it seems that you and I have a lot in common. I'm kind of a crunchy granola hippie church lady. :)

Hippie, not hippy. I hope.

Keep on marching to the beat of a Different Drummer. It is our daring to be different and daring to make a difference that helps us stand firm for Christ.

Anonymous said...

Appreciation of what our Creator made is not worship. I never have fit most of any group at all, churches included. But GOD still loves me and is with me. And where we are now? Heh, in some ways a bunch of misfits. I am so unlike most of them, but they seem ok with me being there too. They seem to understand what the meaning of family is. Because I think GOD's main plan was family...those HE gave us and those we gather around us, or are gathered to be part of, if that makes any sense. It is nice to hear how you feel, Brenda.

Deanna Rabe - Creekside Cottage Blog said...

I grew up on John Denver and Jacque Cousteau tv shows. As a kid I thought it'd be great to be a marine biologist.
I grew up hiking in the National Parks, too. I was raised in Southern California and I grew up listening to a lot of Jesus Movement music as well.

I agree with your statement of faith! I think you're terrific, especially because you don't fit a certain mold!


Anonymous said...

I think we are all *misfits*. That makes His Grace all the more glorious!!! Amazing in fact! Reading Collosians here recently has really spoken to what you are talking about Not Philosophy but Christ, Not Legalism but Christ!! Rejoicing in His glorious hope that has set us FREE!! He is much more concerned about our hearts than our outward (see pharasees) adherances!! Anywho, not meanin to ramble I relate more to nature myself, but liked alot of what Calvin had to say!! But, he is just a man. thanks for sharin your heart and no worries, i think you are more normal (:-) ) than you might think!! ;-). tammy a fellow souljourner!!

Laurie said...

Beautifully said Brenda. As a Catholic I don't agree with many things, but my faith in God sustains me. My mother in law always says "we're all trying to get to the same place, why do we have to be so hard on each other?"
I think I'll go hug a tree.

Unknown said...

I so enjoyed your comments today and have to smile as we are in the same boat.
Although I have a great love for the mooring of the Reformed truths. Please read the last section of Calvin's Institutes. Just about a page, entitled "The Tasks Appropriate To Our Calling." It is what God has called you to or you will not be in his will, empowered. I also take away freedom with Francis Schafer. His admonishment to love all of life, art, nature, music, food.
We are truly a blessed and loved people and must learn to live freely in Jesus, for all of life. There is truth in environmentally issues, but not all...truth in health food, home birth, unschooling, but again, not all. Where do we fit without our consciences being seared. There is that place and can walk happily. I am right there with you, Jesus said.

Ann said...

I, too, don't generally fit into the church mold but it has not hindered my relationship with my Heavenly Father; in fact, it probably has deepened it as I've gone through the trials of life. We each have to "work out your own salvation" remembering always that Jesus is the way.

hopeinbrazil said...

Thank you for your words, Brenda.

Cyndi in MN said...

You have put into words what I often think about - thank you! I have been part of many a church and family member disagreement over music I've chosen to listen to, including John Denver. How could I possibly listen to (fill in any number of names)& still be a Christian...? You certainly can when you love the Chief Musician with all your heart!

Kathy said...

Hey I like John Denver too! and the Wedding song was sung at my wedding almost 22 years ago. :D
I don't quite fit in, but I know that someday I will.
Thank you for your thoughts.

Marty said...

I believe in Christ and I'm a tree-hugger AND a political moderate. Praising God for the amazing natural world is a form of worship. You don't worship nature itself but you feel awe and gratitude towards its Creator. Good stewardship isn't just about money. And God is a lot bigger than politics, He can love Democrats as well as Republicans.

Kimberly said...

I was driving home a few nights ago and Calypso came on just after a song so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. The combo was so perfect. I smiled the entire drive. JD reminds me of some of the best days of my childhood. :)

Anonymous said...

Great post, my friend. It reminded me that I should put JD on Pandora! I went right to P. and put him in. Love the music, so sad about his life. Pam (SD)

Amanda said...

Such a great post. I too am a little more Calypso than Calvin and that is probably why I enjoy your posts!

Rachel H said...

Love this post! I am always struggling with this too. I think of my various grandmothers. One who wore dresses, had her hair styled, and reacted to anything the least bit scandalous by throwing her hand to her mouth with a huge exclamation of "oh my!". Then the one grandma who also wore dresses, but didn't seem to pay much attention to her hair, and sat around reading Harlequin romances, and like to tell a dirty joke once in a while. They both attended church and I have no doubt they are in heaven today. God make us as individuals, that's a glorious thing.

Sherry said...

You and I truly must be kindred spirits. I love Johhn Denver's music and John Michael Talbot and many of the same books and other things that you write about. And, of course, there's the birthday we share. However, we're just enough different to be interesting--otherwise one of us would be redundant, no?