FreshRSS

🔒
❌ About FreshRSS
There are new articles available, click to refresh the page.
Before yesterdayPianowhispers

Tribe Fallacy

25 April 2021 at 12:49

About 10 years ago there was this big push to “find your tribe!”. Your tribe consisted of, “like minded” people. I spent a lot of energy trying to find my tribe, I was always disappointed. I tried churches, para-church organizations, I tried my neighborhood, I tried a bunch of things. I finally settled down, rode my horse, played my piano and got really comfortable with myself. 

What dawned on me, is that this kind of thinking is what got society in the mess it is in at the present time. Somehow we started believing that a “tribe” would consist of “like minded” people. 

Maybe a tribe should consist of a group of individuals that have different opinions about all kinds of things. A group of people that respects each other in spite of differing opinions. A group that values diversity and individuality. A place that nurtures the odd ball and embraces the lonely. 

I think my idea today, unlike my idea 10 years ago, is that a tribe is a group of people who love you as the unique person God created you to be. A group of people who don’t try to change your ideas but respect the fact that you have a different take on the situation. People who don’t demonize another person with which they disagree with comments like , “if you did your research….”, or “…. the Bible says….”, or the simple phrase “that’s dumb!”. 

This kind of demonizing plays out in the political arena all the time.

I have watched political signs go up that hate and want to impeach whatever President is in office. I have watched the blatant disrespect for the office of President become a personal pride thing and I wonder if those people will ever stop the hating anyone who belongs to the opposing political party.

I purpose that every President has a journey they could share that could inspire, empower and enable possibility in the future. We could be inspired by their stories if we would allow ourselves to listen. They have obtained one of the most prestigious, powerful seats in our world. Notice I did not say anything about if we agreed or disagreed with their politics.

I remember looking at a shelf at the library full of biographies, when I was a kid, I loved reading about John F. Kennedy, Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan, Martin Luther King jr.,and many other historical leaders.

I wonder if our world would look different if we took the time to listen and learn each other’s stories. If we took the time to learn and appreciate the people who are living in our time. I personally would rather be known while I am alive. Maybe famous people would as well. 

In a way, I am still looking for my tribe. But I have found a few straggled, tired souls, that allow me to be myself. We tell our stories, we speak our opinions, we rarely agree…..and so the tribe building begins!

conniewindecker

Tribe Fallacy

25 April 2021 at 12:49

About 10 years ago there was this big push to “find your tribe!”. Your tribe consisted of, “like minded” people. I spent a lot of energy trying to find my tribe, I was always disappointed. I tried churches, para-church organizations, I tried my neighborhood, I tried a bunch of things. I finally settled down, rode my horse, played my piano and got really comfortable with myself. 

What dawned on me, is that this kind of thinking is what got society in the mess it is in at the present time. Somehow we started believing that a “tribe” would consist of “like minded” people. 

Maybe a tribe should consist of a group of individuals that have different opinions about all kinds of things. A group of people that respects each other in spite of differing opinions. A group that values diversity and individuality. A place that nurtures the odd ball and embraces the lonely. 

I think my idea today, unlike my idea 10 years ago, is that a tribe is a group of people who love you as the unique person God created you to be. A group of people who don’t try to change your ideas but respect the fact that you have a different take on the situation. People who don’t demonize another person with which they disagree with comments like , “if you did your research….”, or “…. the Bible says….”, or the simple phrase “that’s dumb!”. 

This kind of demonizing plays out in the political arena all the time.

I have watched political signs go up that hate and want to impeach whatever President is in office. I have watched the blatant disrespect for the office of President become a personal pride thing and I wonder if those people will ever stop the hating anyone who belongs to the opposing political party.

I purpose that every President has a journey they could share that could inspire, empower and enable possibility in the future. We could be inspired by their stories if we would allow ourselves to listen. They have obtained one of the most prestigious, powerful seats in our world. Notice I did not say anything about if we agreed or disagreed with their politics.

I remember looking at a shelf at the library full of biographies, when I was a kid, I loved reading about John F. Kennedy, Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan, Martin Luther King jr.,and many other historical leaders.

I wonder if our world would look different if we took the time to listen and learn each other’s stories. If we took the time to learn and appreciate the people who are living in our time. I personally would rather be known while I am alive. Maybe famous people would as well. 

In a way, I am still looking for my tribe. But I have found a few straggled, tired souls, that allow me to be myself. We tell our stories, we speak our opinions, we rarely agree…..and so the tribe building begins!

The Freedom of Knowing Nothing for Certain

13 September 2020 at 12:55

I try to write things that I am personally processing. Sometimes, at least I hope, it also speaks to someone out there who reads it. Lately, I have been missing the certainty that I had in my youth. I could tell you how to live, how to succeed, what to believe, I sang songs about things I knew and understood. I lived my life with periods and exclamation points. It was only after I experienced the loss of my brother that my world of certainty crumbled into the ruins that exist today. I know very few things for certain.

I have family members that live their lives with certainty. Some of them believe we are living through the end of time, as foretold in the Bible. Some of them know for certain that I am not growing spiritually simply because I am not going to church every Sunday. I do understand living with this kind of certainty, it is quite similar to the way I used to live my life. I understand the self righteousness of certainty. It is comfortable and feels like security. But I believe, however, that it is in fact a false security. It crumbles in the face of grief. I believe it will crumble in front of God as well.

Grief is an expression of love for someone who is lost. I ran into grief when my brother died of cancer. It was a heavy, cloud that I was unprepared to handle. I was quoted scripture, I was told that, “the righteous do not grieve like the world…”, I was told to “get over it!”, I was told so many unhelpful things by well meaning people. What it boiled down to is this… grief is a form of love. If you have loved deeply and lost someone, you are beginning to understanding the full unapologetic power of love. It is multi faceted and I am only beginning to grasp a small part of it.

The power of love makes me look differently at certainty. It makes me less judgmental, it makes me more empathetic. It makes me live my life with more commas and question marks. It creates questions that have no answers. It forces me to live with uncertainty. Life starts showing it’s true colors of paradox which stand out like a golden highlighted cloud against a dark mountain range at sunset. At first it shook my foundation, but here is the thing, I am not God. I do not have to know things for certain. There is so much more freedom in simply living life. God knows things, my job is to love and listen.

Love and listening are both very similar to commas and question marks. There should never be a time when I put a period on love, or on listening. They are ongoing, continuous and should only be paused for brief moments to embrace, hold, think, breathe. I  always need to remind myself to breathe. Just breathe!

*The idea of living with commas and question marks instead of periods and exclamation points comes from a friend and colleague of mine Jim Sawyer.

conniewindecker

The Freedom of Knowing Nothing for Certain

13 September 2020 at 12:55

I try to write things that I am personally processing. Sometimes, at least I hope, it also speaks to someone out there who reads it. Lately, I have been missing the certainty that I had in my youth. I could tell you how to live, how to succeed, what to believe, I sang songs about things I knew and understood. I lived my life with periods and exclamation points. It was only after I experienced the loss of my brother that my world of certainty crumbled into the ruins that exist today. I know very few things for certain.

I have family members that live their lives with certainty. Some of them believe we are living through the end of time, as foretold in the Bible. Some of them know for certain that I am not growing spiritually simply because I am not going to church every Sunday. I do understand living with this kind of certainty, it is quite similar to the way I used to live my life. I understand the self righteousness of certainty. It is comfortable and feels like security. But I believe, however, that it is in fact a false security. It crumbles in the face of grief. I believe it will crumble in front of God as well.

Grief is an expression of love for someone who is lost. I ran into grief when my brother died of cancer. It was a heavy, cloud that I was unprepared to handle. I was quoted scripture, I was told that, “the righteous do not grieve like the world…”, I was told to “get over it!”, I was told so many unhelpful things by well meaning people. What it boiled down to is this… grief is a form of love. If you have loved deeply and lost someone, you are beginning to understanding the full unapologetic power of love. It is multi faceted and I am only beginning to grasp a small part of it.

The power of love makes me look differently at certainty. It makes me less judgmental, it makes me more empathetic. It makes me live my life with more commas and question marks. It creates questions that have no answers. It forces me to live with uncertainty. Life starts showing it’s true colors of paradox which stand out like a golden highlighted cloud against a dark mountain range at sunset. At first it shook my foundation, but here is the thing, I am not God. I do not have to know things for certain. There is so much more freedom in simply living life. God knows things, my job is to love and listen.

Love and listening are both very similar to commas and question marks. There should never be a time when I put a period on love, or on listening. They are ongoing, continuous and should only be paused for brief moments to embrace, hold, think, breathe. I  always need to remind myself to breathe. Just breathe!

*The idea of living with commas and question marks instead of periods and exclamation points comes from a friend and colleague of mine Jim Sawyer.

Civil Discourse: a lost art

14 July 2020 at 11:40

I feel like we as a society have lost the ability to reason together. We have lost the ability to talk through philosophies that may or may not be followed by one communities normal way of thinking. I cannot fix society, I can however, work on myself.

I keep thinking, “I miss civil discourse”, but to be honest, I have rarely experienced civil discourse. It occurs to me that in order to have a civil discourse both parties must be mutually seeking of the truth. They cannot already know they are right. Secondly, both parties must be willing to truly listen to each other. Even when it makes them a little uncomfortable. Finally, both parties have to be willing to be wrong. Without recognizing that they may not have everything figured out perfectly, they are in no position to enter into a civil conversation.

Often when I enter into a conversation my motive is wrong. I enter the conversation with a predetermined mind set. I find that I often think I am seeking truth but at the same time, I think I know the truth. I am learning that the certainty of truth is a conversation stopper unless you surround yourself with people who believe exactly like you. 

Church groups, para-church organizations, political parties and even families fall victim to this kind of thinking. The “nice” thing about these conversations is that you go home feeling really justified in your stand. I find that often these conversations voice the opposite opinion as if that point of view is stupid. They never represents the opposite side in a fair manner.

When I start a conversation, but I already know the “truth”, I am no longer seeking truth so I just disqualified myself as a member of the civil conversation. This not only shuts down civil discourse but usually one party or the other will shut down because they feel judged. After I set my mind to seek truth, the next step seems to be to listen to the other side.

I think I am good at listening, when I want to be. I base this on the fact that I find myself switching sides, as I listen to the other side of an issue. I can always summarize what both sides are saying. Conversations in which I listen carefully are a bit disconcerting. I often have to reevaluate my previous opinion.

The last step is that I have to be willing to be wrong. I am pretty good at admitting to others that I am wrong privately but in a group it is more difficult. I am also not very good at admitting I am wrong to myself. Without opening my mind to the fact that I could be wrong, I am not going to even consider another person’s argument.

I am working on myself, so that in the future maybe I could actually engage in a civil conversation. If each of us spend a little more time evaluating ourselves, maybe we can learn to have a civil conversation. Even if we disagree, we should be able to discuss politics, religion, public policy, racism and anything else if we are seeking truth together.

I yearn to talk without judgement. I long to truly discuss ideas ,while seeking truth. I want to discuss God with atheist, agnostic, Christian, Muslim and Jew. To seek truth with people who are also seeking truth. I know that I have to change myself before this can happen. Maybe someday I will discuss racism with people who feel it and people who don’t even believe it exists. I will discuss politics with republicans, democrats, independents and even those who don’t vote. 

In the mean time, I will work on myself and someday I will engage in true civil discourse.

conniewindecker

Civil Discourse: a lost art

14 July 2020 at 11:40

I feel like we as a society have lost the ability to reason together. We have lost the ability to talk through philosophies that may or may not be followed by one communities normal way of thinking. I cannot fix society, I can however, work on myself.

I keep thinking, “I miss civil discourse”, but to be honest, I have rarely experienced civil discourse. It occurs to me that in order to have a civil discourse both parties must be mutually seeking of the truth. They cannot already know they are right. Secondly, both parties must be willing to truly listen to each other. Even when it makes them a little uncomfortable. Finally, both parties have to be willing to be wrong. Without recognizing that they may not have everything figured out perfectly, they are in no position to enter into a civil conversation.

Often when I enter into a conversation my motive is wrong. I enter the conversation with a predetermined mind set. I find that I often think I am seeking truth but at the same time, I think I know the truth. I am learning that the certainty of truth is a conversation stopper unless you surround yourself with people who believe exactly like you. 

Church groups, para-church organizations, political parties and even families fall victim to this kind of thinking. The “nice” thing about these conversations is that you go home feeling really justified in your stand. I find that often these conversations voice the opposite opinion as if that point of view is stupid. They never represents the opposite side in a fair manner.

When I start a conversation, but I already know the “truth”, I am no longer seeking truth so I just disqualified myself as a member of the civil conversation. This not only shuts down civil discourse but usually one party or the other will shut down because they feel judged. After I set my mind to seek truth, the next step seems to be to listen to the other side.

I think I am good at listening, when I want to be. I base this on the fact that I find myself switching sides, as I listen to the other side of an issue. I can always summarize what both sides are saying. Conversations in which I listen carefully are a bit disconcerting. I often have to reevaluate my previous opinion.

The last step is that I have to be willing to be wrong. I am pretty good at admitting to others that I am wrong privately but in a group it is more difficult. I am also not very good at admitting I am wrong to myself. Without opening my mind to the fact that I could be wrong, I am not going to even consider another person’s argument.

I am working on myself, so that in the future maybe I could actually engage in a civil conversation. If each of us spend a little more time evaluating ourselves, maybe we can learn to have a civil conversation. Even if we disagree, we should be able to discuss politics, religion, public policy, racism and anything else if we are seeking truth together.

I yearn to talk without judgement. I long to truly discuss ideas ,while seeking truth. I want to discuss God with atheist, agnostic, Christian, Muslim and Jew. To seek truth with people who are also seeking truth. I know that I have to change myself before this can happen. Maybe someday I will discuss racism with people who feel it and people who don’t even believe it exists. I will discuss politics with republicans, democrats, independents and even those who don’t vote. 

In the mean time, I will work on myself and someday I will engage in true civil discourse.

The Sinner’s Prayer

2 February 2020 at 20:09

My last essay ended with, ”I found Peace. I found it by loving beauty and ultimately loving God. It wasn’t logical. It didn’t come through, “The Sinner’s Prayer”. It came through beauty and learning to love and accept love.” I admit that I wrote that trying to get an emotional response.

I would like to explain. In the church I grew up in, “The Sinner’s Prayer”, was the ultimate goal, we counted how many people said it and advertised it. As a child, I was encouraged to, “get right with God”, when I misbehaved. This involved saying, “The Sinner’s Prayer”,often in my case. I don’t think I really understand what I was doing because, believe it or not, you can actually say the words and not understand. I lacked life experience.

Once again, I go back to when I lost my brother. The grief and lose of never seeing him again (at least on this earth) brought me to a new low. I was alone with my retched self. It wasn’t pretty, as I came to terms with my many short comings. No justification, no redeeming good works, no righteous life, only me placing myself on the alter of God’s grace. It was as St. John of the Cross put it, “a dark night of the soul”, for me. When I said it this time it was an act of desperation and surrender not a regurgitation of words.

It was also the beginning of my journey towards a new, fresh relationship with the Creator of the Universe. I often listen to addicts who talk about hitting rock bottom. It is that rock bottom point where, “The Sinner’s Prayer”, is powerful. It is not a group of words, it is an act. 

It is an act of total and complete surrender to God’s grace and mercy. It is like laying your head in a the crook of a guillotine, knowing you are guilty. Waiting for the executioner to drop his judgement. Knowing full well that you deserve nothing but death. I do not believe you can bring someone to this point. It is the work exclusively of the Holy Spirit alone. 

It is not comfortable, it is not peaceful. It is the beginning of learning to love yourself. It is the beginning of learning to loving your neighbor. It is the beginning of learning to love God.

conniewindecker

The Sinner’s Prayer

2 February 2020 at 20:09

My last essay ended with, ”I found Peace. I found it by loving beauty and ultimately loving God. It wasn’t logical. It didn’t come through, “The Sinner’s Prayer”. It came through beauty and learning to love and accept love.” I admit that I wrote that trying to get an emotional response.

I would like to explain. In the church I grew up in, “The Sinner’s Prayer”, was the ultimate goal, we counted how many people said it and advertised it. As a child, I was encouraged to, “get right with God”, when I misbehaved. This involved saying, “The Sinner’s Prayer”,often in my case. I don’t think I really understand what I was doing because, believe it or not, you can actually say the words and not understand. I lacked life experience.

Once again, I go back to when I lost my brother. The grief and lose of never seeing him again (at least on this earth) brought me to a new low. I was alone with my retched self. It wasn’t pretty, as I came to terms with my many short comings. No justification, no redeeming good works, no righteous life, only me placing myself on the alter of God’s grace. It was as St. John of the Cross put it, “a dark night of the soul”, for me. When I said it this time it was an act of desperation and surrender not a regurgitation of words.

It was also the beginning of my journey towards a new, fresh relationship with the Creator of the Universe. I often listen to addicts who talk about hitting rock bottom. It is that rock bottom point where, “The Sinner’s Prayer”, is powerful. It is not a group of words, it is an act. 

It is an act of total and complete surrender to God’s grace and mercy. It is like laying your head in a the crook of a guillotine, knowing you are guilty. Waiting for the executioner to drop his judgement. Knowing full well that you deserve nothing but death. I do not believe you can bring someone to this point. It is the work exclusively of the Holy Spirit alone. 

It is not comfortable, it is not peaceful. It is the beginning of learning to love yourself. It is the beginning of learning to loving your neighbor. It is the beginning of learning to love God.

Finding God

30 January 2020 at 13:08

I remember sitting in philosophy classes talking and thinking about God. I remember justifying God and the realization that I believed in God. I remember my Bible classes where I learned to lay out a theological argument. I remember the arguing, the debating, and the resolves. 

I do not remember peace. I do not remember love. I do not remember beauty. 

I grew up in a Christian home and attended Oral Robert’s University. I finished my degree at Colorado Christian University. I spent 12 years teaching junior high and high school students in a Christian School. I say that to point to the fact that I tried really hard to approach and find God with my logical mind. 

The funny thing is, I thought I had found God and no one could have argued me out of my very logical approach to God. I recognized that there was an element of faith which justified anything in my mind that was unverifiable. 

I needed an iconoclast to break me out of my thinking cycle. Death became that ice breaker that changed my world. It was hard and difficult realization, but what I really wanted out of life was not a logical argument. It was peace.

I didn’t want to convince people anymore, I had a deep knowing that God was there but I was alone in this world. Despite my training and my oral proclamations of a personal relationship with God, I felt that God was distant and uninterested in my heartbreak. Was I just me being selfish?

I found myself in a spiritual desert, alone. I felt like a wounded animal in a cool cave alone, sleeping and trying to heal from some life threatening attack. As I lived this desert experience, I felt the very slow but profound heartbeat of beauty. It didn’t appear often but every now and then.

I would see a sunset and be raptured in its beauty. I would put my feet in a cold mountain stream and feel the crisp, cold movement over my feet. I would glance at a meadow and be entranced by the wildflowers. I started walking through the Denver Art Museum and I found pictures that I reacted to on a spiritual level. I would go to a concert and be uplifted with the beauty that took over the air around me.

I listened, I looked for beauty. I found it in graffiti on the side of a building. I found it in my music. (I have always been a piano player.) I found it at the museum. I found it while I hiked. I even found it in the wind blowing through me hair as I drove with my window down. Beauty started showing up everywhere. I was like a hug that I craved. A kiss from the Almighty quenching a longing.

I started seeing it in street musicians. I spotted it in people I meet at different times of the day. I marveled at beauty in all of it forms. As I did this, I started recognizing that I was loving beauty, I was loving God and in that loving I was finding the very thing I was seeking. 

I found Peace. I found it by loving beauty and ultimately loving God. It wasn’t logical. It didn’t come through, “The Sinner’s Prayer”. It came through beauty and learning to love and accept love.

conniewindecker

Finding God

30 January 2020 at 13:08

I remember sitting in philosophy classes talking and thinking about God. I remember justifying God and the realization that I believed in God. I remember my Bible classes where I learned to lay out a theological argument. I remember the arguing, the debating, and the resolves. 

I do not remember peace. I do not remember love. I do not remember beauty. 

I grew up in a Christian home and attended Oral Robert’s University. I finished my degree at Colorado Christian University. I spent 12 years teaching junior high and high school students in a Christian School. I say that to point to the fact that I tried really hard to approach and find God with my logical mind. 

The funny thing is, I thought I had found God and no one could have argued me out of my very logical approach to God. I recognized that there was an element of faith which justified anything in my mind that was unverifiable. 

I needed an iconoclast to break me out of my thinking cycle. Death became that ice breaker that changed my world. It was hard and difficult realization, but what I really wanted out of life was not a logical argument. It was peace.

I didn’t want to convince people anymore, I had a deep knowing that God was there but I was alone in this world. Despite my training and my oral proclamations of a personal relationship with God, I felt that God was distant and uninterested in my heartbreak. Was I just me being selfish?

I found myself in a spiritual desert, alone. I felt like a wounded animal in a cool cave alone, sleeping and trying to heal from some life threatening attack. As I lived this desert experience, I felt the very slow but profound heartbeat of beauty. It didn’t appear often but every now and then.

I would see a sunset and be raptured in its beauty. I would put my feet in a cold mountain stream and feel the crisp, cold movement over my feet. I would glance at a meadow and be entranced by the wildflowers. I started walking through the Denver Art Museum and I found pictures that I reacted to on a spiritual level. I would go to a concert and be uplifted with the beauty that took over the air around me.

I listened, I looked for beauty. I found it in graffiti on the side of a building. I found it in my music. (I have always been a piano player.) I found it at the museum. I found it while I hiked. I even found it in the wind blowing through me hair as I drove with my window down. Beauty started showing up everywhere. I was like a hug that I craved. A kiss from the Almighty quenching a longing.

I started seeing it in street musicians. I spotted it in people I meet at different times of the day. I marveled at beauty in all of it forms. As I did this, I started recognizing that I was loving beauty, I was loving God and in that loving I was finding the very thing I was seeking. 

I found Peace. I found it by loving beauty and ultimately loving God. It wasn’t logical. It didn’t come through, “The Sinner’s Prayer”. It came through beauty and learning to love and accept love.

Christmas….Christmas!

28 December 2019 at 10:00

Christmas. Christmas….It brings many things to mind. Is it candy, trees, tinsel, and bells, or Santa, reindeer and snow, or maybe angels, shepherds and a manger. I venture to say we all wish for something more during this time of the year. It is said by Dickens and others that the spiritual world and the physical world are separated my a thin veil this time of year, and that occasionally, we see a crack that allows us to gaze into the other with wonder and love. 

I don’t know if this is true, but I do know that I long for that glimpse of love at Christmas time. I long to talk to loved ones who are gone, to hug once more my grandparents, to listen to my brother and crawl into my Dad’s lap. These are no longer possible but the longing remains. I wane for peace on earth but more then that I long for peace inside of me.

I often find it in the little things of Christmas. In the wave of a friendly hand, in the giving of an unexpected gift, in the bending low to kiss a child…Those little things grow in significance. The quietness that surrounds a new fallen snow, is magical. Yes, I not only love the magical, I look for the magical and I find just a little more magic at Christmas time.

That looking and wishing, causes some to fall into despair. I wish that wasn’t true and all the happy emotional Christmas stories often paint a picture of magic falling on everyone else. Like Facebook only the good is pictured;  the vacations, the cute pets and the fancy dinners are portrayed. No one likes to post the bad, the frustration that followed a chewed up couch or the dinners that burnt when you ran to find your phone that was sitting upstairs next to the bed. Somehow we need to bring reality to Christmas stories without loosing the magical.

I always want to be closer to my family at Christmas time. That is mostly not true. My family is just my family with their quirks, weird appetites, and religious jargon. I love them all and I love seeing them at Christmas. I often find myself eating things I never eat, talking about things I never talk about, wishing for things that will never be. Am I alone in this weirdness of Christmas?

I guess I am wishing for the six year old wonder that used to surround Christmas. I want the magic of looking at shop windows with moving Christmas figures magically handing gifts to each other. I want the magic of snow slowly floating down and snowflakes melting gently on my cheek. I want the magic of not knowing how things appeared under the tree and the anticipation of Christmas morning.

Of course these will never be again. I guess I have to find these things in the faces of children. In the silence of a snow storm. In the love of offering a blanket to a friend. In the kind smile of a stranger and in the peace that washes over out world at this time of the year. 

conniewindecker

Christmas….Christmas!

28 December 2019 at 10:00

Christmas. Christmas….It brings many things to mind. Is it candy, trees, tinsel, and bells, or Santa, reindeer and snow, or maybe angels, shepherds and a manger. I venture to say we all wish for something more during this time of the year. It is said by Dickens and others that the spiritual world and the physical world are separated my a thin veil this time of year, and that occasionally, we see a crack that allows us to gaze into the other with wonder and love. 

I don’t know if this is true, but I do know that I long for that glimpse of love at Christmas time. I long to talk to loved ones who are gone, to hug once more my grandparents, to listen to my brother and crawl into my Dad’s lap. These are no longer possible but the longing remains. I wane for peace on earth but more then that I long for peace inside of me.

I often find it in the little things of Christmas. In the wave of a friendly hand, in the giving of an unexpected gift, in the bending low to kiss a child…Those little things grow in significance. The quietness that surrounds a new fallen snow, is magical. Yes, I not only love the magical, I look for the magical and I find just a little more magic at Christmas time.

That looking and wishing, causes some to fall into despair. I wish that wasn’t true and all the happy emotional Christmas stories often paint a picture of magic falling on everyone else. Like Facebook only the good is pictured;  the vacations, the cute pets and the fancy dinners are portrayed. No one likes to post the bad, the frustration that followed a chewed up couch or the dinners that burnt when you ran to find your phone that was sitting upstairs next to the bed. Somehow we need to bring reality to Christmas stories without loosing the magical.

I always want to be closer to my family at Christmas time. That is mostly not true. My family is just my family with their quirks, weird appetites, and religious jargon. I love them all and I love seeing them at Christmas. I often find myself eating things I never eat, talking about things I never talk about, wishing for things that will never be. Am I alone in this weirdness of Christmas?

I guess I am wishing for the six year old wonder that used to surround Christmas. I want the magic of looking at shop windows with moving Christmas figures magically handing gifts to each other. I want the magic of snow slowly floating down and snowflakes melting gently on my cheek. I want the magic of not knowing how things appeared under the tree and the anticipation of Christmas morning.

Of course these will never be again. I guess I have to find these things in the faces of children. In the silence of a snow storm. In the love of offering a blanket to a friend. In the kind smile of a stranger and in the peace that washes over out world at this time of the year. 

Can the Crucifixion be Beautiful?

27 September 2019 at 11:14

Sept. 26, 2019

Can the Crucifixion be beautiful? This was a question discussed on a pod cast, “Believe to See”, from The Anselm society, an artist group in Colorado Springs. It sent my brain on a ponder that has lasted several weeks now. I admit, I was raised in an Assembly of God Church. We didn’t glorify the Crucifixion. When asked about that my mom used to say, “We don’t leave Jesus on the Cross, we raise him from the dead.”

What I know is that my church adorned crosses with flowers, scarves, vines or any number of things to adorn the cross, but we never put Christ on that cross. When I saw crucifixes they always stood stark and cruel in contrast. The outstretched body of Christ, nails in his hands and feet, a pierced side and a crown of thorns adorning his head, loomed grotesque, on the sacred cross.

I admit that my first response to the idea that the crucifixion could be beautiful baffled me. Sure it was beautiful in what it represented. The unconditional love of our Savior, the self sacrifice of a Father’s love, and universal suffering of all, for all. 

The crucifixion can be art. The type of art that disturbs the comfortable. The type of art that makes a statement by representing a truth that is often overlooked. Perhaps it cannot be beautiful because of the suffering it depicts. Like the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, It makes a life altering statement, but the memory of human suffering is not what most of us consider beautiful.

….and yet true art and true beauty possess both high and lowlights. Both light and darkness must exist together in order for beauty to shine. I am coming to the conclusion that the crucifixion is indeed beautiful within the context of meaning. It however stands ugly and grotesque apart from that context. 

Crosses are the icon that some, wear around their necks like a badge of honor, or a shield against evil, or a simple declaration of their faith. I see the cross and the crucifixion as a more universal sign. It stands with all who suffer the indignities of life. It stands beside those who are persecuted. It stands with the weak, the young and the inconsequential. It stands for the poor, the homeless, the persecuted. 

The crucifixion is beauty. The kind of beauty that ministers to the sick and the broken. The kind of beauty that stands with the accused. The kind of beauty that hugs the unlovable. 

I am sad that the crucifixion often gets lost in the icon-ablility, because of its simplicity it is easily marketed achieving wide recognition but often context and the depth of its meaning is lost. When context is lost much beauty is lost as well. 

A bird is beautiful but when put in the context of a forest it can be spectacular. How spectacular would it be if we could truly understand the crucifixion in the context of a Savior’s unconditional love and the self sacrifice of a Father’s love? or What if we understood, truly understood the Universal suffering that it represents?

conniewindecker

Can the Crucifixion be Beautiful?

27 September 2019 at 11:14

Sept. 26, 2019

Can the Crucifixion be beautiful? This was a question discussed on a pod cast, “Believe to See”, from The Anselm society, an artist group in Colorado Springs. It sent my brain on a ponder that has lasted several weeks now. I admit, I was raised in an Assembly of God Church. We didn’t glorify the Crucifixion. When asked about that my mom used to say, “We don’t leave Jesus on the Cross, we raise him from the dead.”

What I know is that my church adorned crosses with flowers, scarves, vines or any number of things to adorn the cross, but we never put Christ on that cross. When I saw crucifixes they always stood stark and cruel in contrast. The outstretched body of Christ, nails in his hands and feet, a pierced side and a crown of thorns adorning his head, loomed grotesque, on the sacred cross.

I admit that my first response to the idea that the crucifixion could be beautiful baffled me. Sure it was beautiful in what it represented. The unconditional love of our Savior, the self sacrifice of a Father’s love, and universal suffering of all, for all. 

The crucifixion can be art. The type of art that disturbs the comfortable. The type of art that makes a statement by representing a truth that is often overlooked. Perhaps it cannot be beautiful because of the suffering it depicts. Like the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem, It makes a life altering statement, but the memory of human suffering is not what most of us consider beautiful.

….and yet true art and true beauty possess both high and lowlights. Both light and darkness must exist together in order for beauty to shine. I am coming to the conclusion that the crucifixion is indeed beautiful within the context of meaning. It however stands ugly and grotesque apart from that context. 

Crosses are the icon that some, wear around their necks like a badge of honor, or a shield against evil, or a simple declaration of their faith. I see the cross and the crucifixion as a more universal sign. It stands with all who suffer the indignities of life. It stands beside those who are persecuted. It stands with the weak, the young and the inconsequential. It stands for the poor, the homeless, the persecuted. 

The crucifixion is beauty. The kind of beauty that ministers to the sick and the broken. The kind of beauty that stands with the accused. The kind of beauty that hugs the unlovable. 

I am sad that the crucifixion often gets lost in the icon-ablility, because of its simplicity it is easily marketed achieving wide recognition but often context and the depth of its meaning is lost. When context is lost much beauty is lost as well. 

A bird is beautiful but when put in the context of a forest it can be spectacular. How spectacular would it be if we could truly understand the crucifixion in the context of a Savior’s unconditional love and the self sacrifice of a Father’s love? or What if we understood, truly understood the Universal suffering that it represents?

My Painted Sign, My Protest, My Heart!

30 June 2019 at 18:04

The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage that they did not know they had. Finally it reaches  the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconciliation becomes a reality.” Martin Luther King, Jr. STRIDE TOWARD FREEDOM

I have often wondered how demonstrations change anything. Some brave person paints a sign and stands in front of a capital building and it seems a bit futile. The older I get however, the more I recognize the actual process of how things change, they almost always start inside a person and work out to the rest of the world. I don’t actually like change even if I am campaigning for it. I mostly like the status quo. The comfort of what is, is my default setting. 

When I read Martin Luther King, Jr. I am stuck by his wisdom in a time when that wisdom was dangerous. He was a man with a gift and a mission. He not only changed his generation but through his writings will continue to change many things in the future. 

If I am demonstrating for a hateful cause does that also change my heart? That is a scary thought. I doubt if it changes the heart in a good way. I have to admit, I have never demonstrated for any cause loving or hateful. I have been the silent, don’t get involved person on the couch watching it on the news. I am opinionated just not publicly. I write to change my heart, I write to express my opinion and I write because it is good for my soul. In some way writing is my way of painting a sign.

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor never the tormented.” Elie Wiesel

I am a hypocrite. I have been to the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. I have read many books both nonfiction and fiction on the holocaust. I like to believe myself to be the person who would have stood up for the Jews. But in reality, it is easy today in America to stand up for the Jews. But at the time would I have opened my arms and welcomed the Jewish immigrants into our great country? America had many chances to except the Jewish people fleeing hate and bigotry.

 The Jews would have been flooding into my country. They would have placed stress on American’s economy. They would have taxed America’s welfare system for a period of time until they got settled. They may not have lined up to be American citizens immediately because, although thankful for American they might have still held on to the hope that they could return to their country someday. 

All of this would have cost me, as an American tax payer and yet I think the benefits to my great country would have outweighed the cost. Many of the six million Jews who lost their lives would have been living, contributing, raising their families in this fine land and we would have been changed, as a country, and as individuals. We perhaps would not be voting with our pocketbooks but rather our hearts.

I see little difference between the Jewish immigrants of WWII and the Immigrants fleeing persecution from Venezuela. We as American citizens, need to open our border. I speak for the oppressed and I speak knowing it will cost me, as a taxpayer. There is no monetary value that is too much to save even one person from a life of persecution. 

This is my painted sign, this is my protest, this is my heart.

conniewindecker

My Painted Sign, My Protest, My Heart!

30 June 2019 at 18:04

The nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage that they did not know they had. Finally it reaches  the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconciliation becomes a reality.” Martin Luther King, Jr. STRIDE TOWARD FREEDOM

I have often wondered how demonstrations change anything. Some brave person paints a sign and stands in front of a capital building and it seems a bit futile. The older I get however, the more I recognize the actual process of how things change, they almost always start inside a person and work out to the rest of the world. I don’t actually like change even if I am campaigning for it. I mostly like the status quo. The comfort of what is, is my default setting. 

When I read Martin Luther King, Jr. I am stuck by his wisdom in a time when that wisdom was dangerous. He was a man with a gift and a mission. He not only changed his generation but through his writings will continue to change many things in the future. 

If I am demonstrating for a hateful cause does that also change my heart? That is a scary thought. I doubt if it changes the heart in a good way. I have to admit, I have never demonstrated for any cause loving or hateful. I have been the silent, don’t get involved person on the couch watching it on the news. I am opinionated just not publicly. I write to change my heart, I write to express my opinion and I write because it is good for my soul. In some way writing is my way of painting a sign.

“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor never the tormented.” Elie Wiesel

I am a hypocrite. I have been to the Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. I have read many books both nonfiction and fiction on the holocaust. I like to believe myself to be the person who would have stood up for the Jews. But in reality, it is easy today in America to stand up for the Jews. But at the time would I have opened my arms and welcomed the Jewish immigrants into our great country? America had many chances to except the Jewish people fleeing hate and bigotry.

 The Jews would have been flooding into my country. They would have placed stress on American’s economy. They would have taxed America’s welfare system for a period of time until they got settled. They may not have lined up to be American citizens immediately because, although thankful for American they might have still held on to the hope that they could return to their country someday. 

All of this would have cost me, as an American tax payer and yet I think the benefits to my great country would have outweighed the cost. Many of the six million Jews who lost their lives would have been living, contributing, raising their families in this fine land and we would have been changed, as a country, and as individuals. We perhaps would not be voting with our pocketbooks but rather our hearts.

I see little difference between the Jewish immigrants of WWII and the Immigrants fleeing persecution from Venezuela. We as American citizens, need to open our border. I speak for the oppressed and I speak knowing it will cost me, as a taxpayer. There is no monetary value that is too much to save even one person from a life of persecution. 

This is my painted sign, this is my protest, this is my heart.

Music in silence

4 June 2019 at 07:34

I am struck by the idea that dichotomy exists everywhere, that life is found in death, that music is found in silence and yet we hold so tight to one side of the equation without allowing it to balance. Like an algebra problem or a chemical equation, the equation has to be balanced. We must have both light and darkness in our lives. We must struggle and rest. I think that is life. Too much of one without the other and the peace of balance dissolves into chaos. 

Yet we as people have a propensity towards one side of the equation. We migrate towards the light, but light all the time would make us crazy. We prefer music but we must have a substantial amount of silence or peace evades our efforts. The age old question remains: How do we achieve balance? Continuing to echo in the canyons or our lives, this question never really goes away it is always in the background with no solid answer.

I lived through, “The Minute Manager era”, where multitasking was the order of the day. I embraced it. I found myself filling my mind with ways to read more books, plan more meals and watch more of my kids basketball games. What ended up happening is I missed many of the day to day joys that sitting quietly would have given me. I was never really present in any one moment because I was always planning and plotting my next activity. 

Our society loves this idea, we are always acting busy for our bosses. We cannot let them see us casually talking to a co worker.. I am reminded of a commercial that was popular in the 80’s. It showed a woman saying, “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget your a man.” I tried to be everything to everybody but in the end I hurt myself. I eventually had nothing left to give.

I tried meditation but I have to admit that I am not as good at sitting with myself, as I am at keeping myself busy. I have learned to sit in the silence of meditation and I have grown. I choose the word meditation because prayer for me, at the time, consisted of a formula that did not require me to be silent. 

I admit I started sitting in silence at a time when I was broken beyond repair (at least that is what I thought), but God is good and he pieced my life back together. He taught me many things as he showed me that music exists in silence. He showed me that healing flourishes in darkness and peace is possible.

I have found that by embracing the darkness, and facing the grief that exists in life, allows the light and the happiness to flow through and too me. It seems so counter intuitive but it seems true in my experience. When the highs and lows cease, it is time to embrace grief through tears. Somehow that allows you to dance again.

You are both young and old, happy and sad, peaceful and chaotic! Enjoy the highs and lows of life and when they disappear……embrace the lows to find the highs. Be grateful for the blessings and the struggles. They both play a part in a full life of growth and happiness!

conniewindecker

Music in silence

4 June 2019 at 07:34

I am struck by the idea that dichotomy exists everywhere, that life is found in death, that music is found in silence and yet we hold so tight to one side of the equation without allowing it to balance. Like an algebra problem or a chemical equation, the equation has to be balanced. We must have both light and darkness in our lives. We must struggle and rest. I think that is life. Too much of one without the other and the peace of balance dissolves into chaos. 

Yet we as people have a propensity towards one side of the equation. We migrate towards the light, but light all the time would make us crazy. We prefer music but we must have a substantial amount of silence or peace evades our efforts. The age old question remains: How do we achieve balance? Continuing to echo in the canyons or our lives, this question never really goes away it is always in the background with no solid answer.

I lived through, “The Minute Manager era”, where multitasking was the order of the day. I embraced it. I found myself filling my mind with ways to read more books, plan more meals and watch more of my kids basketball games. What ended up happening is I missed many of the day to day joys that sitting quietly would have given me. I was never really present in any one moment because I was always planning and plotting my next activity. 

Our society loves this idea, we are always acting busy for our bosses. We cannot let them see us casually talking to a co worker.. I am reminded of a commercial that was popular in the 80’s. It showed a woman saying, “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget your a man.” I tried to be everything to everybody but in the end I hurt myself. I eventually had nothing left to give.

I tried meditation but I have to admit that I am not as good at sitting with myself, as I am at keeping myself busy. I have learned to sit in the silence of meditation and I have grown. I choose the word meditation because prayer for me, at the time, consisted of a formula that did not require me to be silent. 

I admit I started sitting in silence at a time when I was broken beyond repair (at least that is what I thought), but God is good and he pieced my life back together. He taught me many things as he showed me that music exists in silence. He showed me that healing flourishes in darkness and peace is possible.

I have found that by embracing the darkness, and facing the grief that exists in life, allows the light and the happiness to flow through and too me. It seems so counter intuitive but it seems true in my experience. When the highs and lows cease, it is time to embrace grief through tears. Somehow that allows you to dance again.

You are both young and old, happy and sad, peaceful and chaotic! Enjoy the highs and lows of life and when they disappear……embrace the lows to find the highs. Be grateful for the blessings and the struggles. They both play a part in a full life of growth and happiness!

❌