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  • Occupation
    writer, write, writing
  • About my avatar
    My hair, too, is always messy.
  • Favorite movies
    The Colors Trilogy, Chariots of Fire, The Matrix, LOTR, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Casablanca, The Thin Red Line, Swing Kids, Magnolia, Adaptation, Bourne Trilogy.
  • Favorite music
    Terry Scott Taylor, Bach, Sting, U2, Irish, blues, jazz, Samuel Barber, Rachel Austin, folk, bluegrass, classical ...
  • Favorite creative writing
    William Blake, Mary Oliver, William Wordsworth, Ellen Glasgow, T.S.Eliot, Gerard Manley Hopkins, 'Child from the Sea' by Elizabeth Goudge, 'The Severed Wasp' by Madeleine l'Engle, 'Moby Dick', 'Beowulf' translated by Seamus Heaney...
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    I collect Madonnas, or mother-and-child paintings; I also enjoy the work of Mark Chagall...

Annelise's Achievements


Member (5/5)

  1. I am part of a Facebook group where we discuss radical theology. We are looking for novels with themes of doubt, redemption, etc. to discuss in Google hangouts. This should be good summer reading, not too long, but with good storytelling.
  2. Of her books, I've only read "On Beauty," which I found to be a fascinating look into marriage and our unwillingness to live without beauty.
  3. Five years ago, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, it shook me to the core. Was I going to die? I was 51. My husband and I told our kids, my siblings, very close friends, church friends. I really did not want anyone else to know about it until I was settled with it. By that I mean knowing where I stood emotionally and with my faith. Pre-Facebook, I did have a public vehicle for broadcasting news. My weekly column, which at that point had run in the paper for 14 years. Lots of people in this community know me. They come from all different experiences. I wanted prayer, yes, but not "Oh my God she's going to die" prayer. I didn't want to run into people and have them be like, "Oh my God! I feel so bad for you!" You see, I had to get oriented with God. Would I get through this? After more tests and consults with doctors and much prayer, I decided to have a mastectomy, followed by reconstructive surgery. Then I had to sit with that decision for a few weeks, get used to the idea - if such a thing is possible! Two months to the day after the diagnosis, on the day of my surgery, my column appeared, telling the world what I was undergoing that day. By the time the column appeared, I knew everything was going to be all right, that I would go through the surgery and chemotherapy and would be fine. This was reflected in my column. It must have been reflected in my face, too, because people would say to me, "You're going to be all right." It emanated from me and came back to me, energizing my faith even more. The only exception was a call from my brother-in-law. An alcoholic, he cried about how chemo killed his mother and how it would kill me too. I handed the phone to my husband and the next day got caller ID for my phone. How did people respond to my public announcement? They sent cards - beautiful, thoughtful cards, full of love, faith and goodwill. I have them still. So this is my recommendation to you. Go pick out a card and write them a heartfelt note, something they can hold and look at again.
  4. Here's a link to Rachel's video of "Baby Doll," using a really imaginative format! Baby Doll Rachel is recording in November with Brian Beattie in Austin, Texas, whose worked with the Danielson, Sufijan Stevens, Okkervil River, Woven Hand ... once you see the video, you may agree that Beattie's style is a good fit for Rachel. Here's the IndieGoGo link that describes her project with Beattie. My link Enjoy!
  5. Franky followed "Crazy for God" with another book? More ranting about his parents, their sexuality, his sexuality? The only thing I can say is he must be doing for the money. That, and he really is nuts.
  6. That IS sad, Peter. Because when I go through periods of skepticism and doubt, somewhere inside me I am depending on Jesus to show up and show me he's here, some way that's tangible only to me. And even in saying that, the fact that we are saddened by the loss of faith in Jesus is a sort of withholding legitimacy. I do wish, when people are struggling with such questions, that they would talk about it. In my experience, they don't start talking about it until it's too late, if you know what I mean. I recently had a young man who's been friends with my kids for a long time write to me about losing his faith in Christ. I mistakenly assumed that he was in the throes of questioning, but apparently his doubts began years ago, and he was ready to throw in the towel. My question to him was this: Is it God you no longer believe in or the things you've been taught about God? Which are of course two different questions.
  7. He's right. I don't know that. The problem is...Jon has no evidence. He backs it up with what amounts to "I am sure of it!" Yeah, Ojo (or myself) cannot say he has definitely not met Christ. And that was the very point I started to question. When I realized I was going off of "a feeling I had that it was true." I also find it immensely frustrating that so many Christians think, "walking away" is so darned easy. That it is "comfortable". In spite of the fact that each time I tell a friend, it becomes harder and harder. And the exploration has been painful. And the things that people presume are always flat out wrong. It has nothing to do with how "hard" the Christian life is. Or fear of having to give things up. For me, the greatest fear was losing the comfort that faith so easily gives. No, sticking with faith and ignoring the doubts? That is where the comfort is. Looking into the questions? It's hard. It hurts. And the reaction from Christians to presume it was anything but a tough process? That is like a dagger in the heart. And it makes wanting to return less and less attractive. Amen on all points! Ojo is so full of grace. He is not an angry-at-God atheist. His questions reverberate with my own. I have been asking many of the questions, too. This has happened to me before many times, going through a period of doubt, and then getting some revelation of God's love for me and all is well. For awhile. But this most recent period has been deepening for years. Can you tell me a bit more about your own journey? I can say more later about mine. Gotta get ready for work!
  8. Good for you, Peter, for engaging him. And good questions, on both your parts. I must admit, I am more intuitive than I am intellectual, so that is how I engage with people, including my discussions with Ojo. I appreciate that he is willing NOT to answer the questions, but continue asking them. I did not read the de-conversion story, but I've heard it from him, and there may be two different versions. Like difference between C.S. Lewis's two testimonies: "Mere Christianity," the intellectual version, and "Surprised by Joy," the experiential version. I've heard Ojo's experiential de-conversion. The two divorces, raising 5 kids as a single father, the cut-throat Christian music business, so many unanswered prayers, etc. Ojo does need Christians to engage on an intellectual level. He's had way too many Christians (who can't handle the possibility that it's possible to know Christ and turn away) questioning the legitimacy of his prior relationship with Christ. Way too much fundamentalism -- which as you know, is not the same as orthodoxy! Most of his best friends are Christians, and I daresay that in the end, love could win him back.
  9. Or what about the premises upon which all knowledge depends, but which can't be proved? Like the premise that we're not brains in vats, or otherwise in some epistomologically perverse situation? That sense experience actually corresponds in some way to objective reality? That the universe didn't just spring into existence yesterday, with physical processes and our memories and all in medias res? What about other minds? What about knowing other people? Is that a form of knowledge, or does it fail because we don't subject our friends and loved ones to double-blind tests or attempt to measure and quantify their friendship or love under controlled conditions? What about historical events, which can be studied but can't be replicated or experimented upon? Finally, is moral knowledge a form of knowledge? What does it mean to say that the Holocaust was wrong, or that rape or genocide is wrong? Ojo says he no longer worries about the line between temptation and sin. Is there such a thing as sin, or is all human behavior simply that -- behavior? Strategies that can be more or less successfully leveraged? Compassion and altruism can be successful strategies; so can rape, genocide and general assholery. Some people prefer the former; others choose the latter. Is that all we can meaningfully say on the subject?
  10. Yeah well Ojo seems pretty sold on the whole academic emphasis on research, peer-reviewed, as he says. When I see him next week I'm certainly going to talk with him about numerous points in this essay. I guess my question is, What about other ways of knowing? Like, revelation knowledge, intuition, etc.?
  11. In his essay/blog, Ojo says this (italics mine): "There is no framework in Christian orthodoxy for treating people who have lost or suspended their faith with dignity and equality, those genuinely asking legitimate questions, trying their best to navigate the maze of suffering and elusive meaning in every human life. They are considered backslidden, rebellious, hard-hearted, in error, blind, apostate, sinful, in all kinds of language, less-than. Their faith must not have been genuine, it must have been shallow, of dubious and weak commitment, insincere, fraudulent, perhaps for illicit gain. 'They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.' I get comments like these all the time." I can't say it any better than that!
  12. In spite of the immoral acts that take place in the book -- which horrified me, as well -- I was strangely attracted to this book. Of course the language is beautiful. I like the structure. The last chapter left me with the feeling that when we are caught up in passion, the future does not matter. The choice that we make right now to follow this passion -- whether it's moral or not, and no matter the consequences -- is a desperate act. We romanticize this at times, but no matter how we do so in our minds, consequences will come. Ah, but in that singular moment of rapture ... I was also struck by how the little boy (it's been several years since I read the book and I don't remember the characters' names) experienced a seemingly momentary brush with molestation. It meant nothing to the adult. But oh how it changed the boy! It reminded me of an experience I had as a child -- not molestation -- an experience which meant nothing at all to the adult involved, but how 50 years later I still struggle with the trauma of the experience! As for the immoral act which supposedly brought solace to the two involved, I must say I don't know. Perhaps it shows how skewed they became in their emotions, that they were incapable of processing their experiences in normal, genuinely healing ways. It could be that later on there were consequences for them, too. No matter how beautiful the passion of the moment.
  13. Since the concert, I've actually become friends with Ojo and have had many talks with him about his beliefs. He's been gone to California for the summer, busy teaching and recording, but is due back in about a week. I am really excited about hearing how the recording went and get a preview of of the songs on the album. You see, the rest of the guys -- Gym and Sim especially -- are still very much Christians. So I also wonder what they've come up with ...
  14. This is all very nice but it's not coming to a theater near me anytime soon. How do you guys plan to see it?
  15. DA is, yes, among the very best. I had been a typical evangelical Christian until I heard DA. I could never go back to CCM -- or any other platitudes, for that matter -- after Fearful Symmetry. DA led me to the other good musicians such as Undercover. DA led me to William Blake, then to other poetry, then to English lit, now one of the passions of my life. I saw DA at a little riverfront bar here in Richmond, Va., a long time ago. The Choir opened for them. Then I saw DA at Cornerstone too. The concerts have been too few.
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