The airplane church dream

One of those random detailed and able to be clearly remembered dreams. Uh oh. lol

The dream took place at the college I attended, or at least I knew thats where it was. It didn’t actually resemble it at all.

So starts with a random malfunctioning elevator in my old residence hall. Entirely a normal occurrence there! But this time it meant that I was running late.

Everyone was dressed in a uniform, black shirts and a skirt that was plaid with a black background and green as the primary other color. No idea why, but it seemed normal. And the area outside the building was really busy, like the crowded halls between the busiest class times.

But this time we were going to a church, that was off campus… down a mulched hiking trail through a sort of forest. (none of this exists in real life… the area it filled would have been where the sports arena was)

I was supposed to be catching up to this girl named Amber, who was apparently a fairly close friend of mine, but I couldn’t get through the people to catch up to her. (Amber in real life is someone I knew vaguely in high school… but basically only enough to put the name to the face. She was a best friend of an acquaintance of mine from a bible study… and i think we may have had an english class together once)

While the conversation wasn’t really part of the dream, I knew that the reason I was following her to this church was because it was somewhere that K might attend. (K is someone I know online only through blogs, facebook, and chat… but know that she’s searching. She recently opened up a blog entry asking people how important God was to them and why… explaining she was raised catholic and wondering whether or not to return to that church when she didn’t feel anything there and didn’t feel any connection to God)

K was not in the dream after this point.. not at the church, nor did I notice that she wasn’t there. She was just the reason to be going.

Amber disappeared, and I ended up not able to see her. The church split into separate sections, each about 15 ft wide or so and long, set up more like a waiting room than a church with small groups of chairs facing different directions. But the decor was that of a very fancy church.

Eventually Amber showed up at the entrance to the section I’d been sitting in, and waved for me to follow her to another one. I couldn’t get through the main aisle from all the people still coming in, so I had to go down a side aisle, which meant a huge drop that I had to sit down and slide down… probably 6 feet or so… then an equally large climb into her section nearby. By the time I got there, I couldn’t actually get a seat next to her, but at least I could see her about 6 foot away from me, and behind me.

As everyone was settling down, a couple of girls behind me but facing the same direction started asking others in the area how much preparation they had done. It sounded more like studying for an exam type of questioning, but seemed weird to me even in the college setting, and sounded like they meant it as preparation for church, and as if a lot was expected.

As soon as everyone abruptly got settled down, they announced communion. But there were two different types of communion. The regular one was back in the direction we had come, and was the little cracker type and tiny cup of grape juice. But it was announced there was another one in the center area that had better “snacks”, for a fee. But it was also said that next week they would have even better snacks.

I stayed put after the effort to get where I was, but Amber went towards the regular communion. As she passed, I asked her if she had done any preparation, and she said no, and gave me a shrug that it was just silliness and didn’t matter. She went on past, and this was the last time I saw her.

So as everyone gets settled again, the sermon starts. And before I realize what is happening, the church sections are flying, like in a large circle… sort of like the swing ride at an amusement park. I then realize that they are actually airplane bodies that have been converted into a church…. and as my section flies around, I see an airport about 100 yards or so away.. so then it somehow makes sense.

The inside remains looking like a fancy church… though somehow my seat which would have been facing the inside of the circle is now facing the outside of it.

It flies around for a while, the sermon going on the entire time, but at a volume soft enough to be easily ignored. I’m starting to feel airsick.

And then, suddenly, we are plunged underwater… still going in a circle. The water level seems to be up to the top of the windows. But this water is filled with giant sharks and such.

One of the sharks is biting at my window… and his mouth is big enough to cover most of it. Even though it seems like we are still spinning, the shark stays at my window as if we were not.

Somehow this makes sense of an ocean being by the airport, so they must have just diverted part of it under us. (Have I mentioned I went to college in Illinois? No oceans.. and the airport was half an hour from the college)

Again, the sermon continues… I have no idea about what, as I was a bit distracted by my shark and worries of exactly how strong the glass was.

The church “lands” I guess you would call it, and everything comes back together… nothing looking wet or anything, all just as it had been before.

Most people are leaving, but some are going over to get another round of communion… of cheese. I catch someone I vaguely know (I think she was one of the girls talking about preparation), and I ask why cheese… and she tells me that cheese turns into a rock. She gets her cheese, then files into another elevated section thats narrower, and apparently has some sort of bench to kneel on that I can’t see from my angle, as people are kneeling in a single file row along the sides with their cheese and praying, but they aren’t low enough for it to have been on the floor.

I find another side door just past the cheese kneeling area… and find myself out of the crowd, on a paved sidewalk outside a very normal looking church. And the dream ends.

I think I’m a bit nervous about church this morning.

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ReChurch by Stephen Mansfield

I received ReChurch from Tyndale House for reviewing the book just a few days after I’d been trying to figure out exactly what I thoughts of the recent developments in my current church, sort of interesting timing.

But the book actually surprised me a bit, being focused not on the church problem itself, but on helping you and your healing from being hurt by issues with a church, or even with Christians in general.

And it does so really well, leading you through dealing with the pain, forgiving even when you don’t feel like you even want to or when it feels like all you are accomplishing is trying to manufacture different feelings, fixing the wounds, and reducing chances of future wounds without avoiding the church entirely or remaining detached.

It’s very understandable, not so lofty on its concepts that you feel lost on meaning, but neither does it feel like its been overly simplified that you feel like its the remedial course. Stephen openly admits areas that were hard for him, and gives lots of examples and analogies, making it really relatable and interesting.

As someone who has gone through a lot of “recovery” style books on other issues, ReChurch reminded me a bit of some, but on a much more down to earth and connectable level. A lot of the same sorts of elements are involved, but its very straightforward, and very human.

I think this book would do well for people needing for healing in their life from being hurt by other people in general beyond just church hurts or even Christian hurts, but it was also really nice to have a book that directly addresses the particular feeling of hurt in cases where the hurt is caused by those who are supposed to be loving as God loved them.

Tydale’s page

Amazon’s page

Having a bad day

Just felt like whining a bit.

  • I was already fighting allergies and sinus goop when I forgot to take one tiny pill one night. I remembered it the next day… as I was mowing the lawn. Roughly an hour before allergies had then pushed into an ear infection. Which then reached the “needs treated” level of being unable to pop my ear.
  • Swelling is down a bit, but it still hurts, and is still ringing. Still can’t breathe very well, and just in general feel crummy
  • I figured out today that the $32 prescription would have been $4 if I had gone to walmart instead.
  • Antibiotic has to be taken at least 2 hours after a meal, and at least 1 hour before the next meal… twice a day. Everytime I remember, its shortly after I’ve eaten something. So the even spacing has left something to be desired.
  • I’m now about 4 days behind on everything I was trying to get done.
  • Mom gave me a longer hose at the end of last summer. Went to use it today to wet the lawn to do weed stuff, and found out it needs new little washers in both ends. Drenched first thing in the morning is not my idea of fun even when I’m not feeling sick.
  • Car is running a lot hotter than it should be, and making visible heat waves come from the hood on even a short trip. Checked antifreeze/coolant… a little low, but not that much..
  • Found out today that for whatever reason Boo’s quarter incident from last fall still hasn’t gone through payment right… need to call and fight on that tomorrow
  • Which reminded me that the reimbursement on her dentist appointment still hasn’t come through either, and I need to go see what the deal is with that too
  • Unknown cat was apparently on my bed when she had a hairball
  • Phone company came out this afternoon to connect the first landline I’ve had in about, oh, 9 years or so. Needed to qualify for a particular job possibility. In spite of previous owners having phones all over, they had to completely rewire from the pole to the house… which they have contractors bury, so I have an orange cable draped across the back yard till who knows when. See the unfinished weed issue that needs to involve water above.
  • But apparently there is a short in one of the house jack wirings somewhere… which is messing up the main line. Not really a big problem I thought… easy enough that even I have wired a couple of jacks before.
  • Went into the basement. There are literally phone lines going everywhere across the top. Everything all splicing into each other, and then all into the same splitter. Who in the world wired this mess? I am so hoping problem is fixed by just unhooking everything at the splitter and taking a new wire from there.
  • At last count, the house has 6 phone jacks, 2 of which I previously did not know existed. Who in the world puts a phone jack into a kitchen cabinet in the back corner under the bottom shelf, and why?
  • And what kind of job actually requires a landline anymore anyway? Even the police department I worked for accepted cells for emergency notification numbers.
  • I’m sure I have forgotten to do something. I’m not sure exactly what, but something

And I will be very glad to see tomorrow… if only because it isn’t today!

Used books whining

What I wish.. on the topic of books… is that someone would buy out one of the large independent Christian bookstores (that still carry older books too, unlike some of the chains)… and turn it into a library.

Our library frustrates me. Their christian section hasn’t been purchased for since the early ‘80s by the looks of it. They do have some good older books, but a lot of times when you do find something listed, its status is listed as lost years earlier.

And they have a used book sale of donated books each year that I used to get a lot of good books from, but now they only accept books published in the last 10 years. That perfectly good book from 1999? Nope. No CS Lewis or other classics… for that matter, even most modern authors only have 2 or 3 books that recent.

I’m not someone who holds on to many books compared to how many pass through my hands. I do keep some, the ones that I know I will find myself wanting to read through again enough to probably buy it again if I didn’t keep it.

But the random good books usually get passed along their way to someone specific that I feel like needs it and continue on its helpful journey. And the not so great ones get sent out via various means to try to find someone who will like them more than I do. Ok and I’ll admit… occasionally some really bad ones get put out of their misery.

But sources of really good, inexpensive, used christian books to start with are getting harder and harder to find. Even online.

Paperbackswap and bookmooch have both gotten to the point where they just frustrate me. Both are at the point where their selection is roughly anything that walmart carries. Nobody seems to list the books I am waitlisted on, even when they are relatively common. Seriously, not a single beth moore book listed available on either site when I looked a while back hoping for finding one in particular and couldn’t remember the title. Only one by brennan manning. Nor does anyone seem to want the ones that I list, even when seemingly popular authors elsewhere. I’ve purchased credits before on paperbackswap to get past this last one, but even that doesn’t help a lack of books I want and non-moving waitlists.

Ebay it seems like most of the ones I try are frequently in a lot of 10 other books I don’t really want, but with a price higher than the price of buying the one book that I do want new. I still try here, but its actually been a long time since I’ve actually gotten a book from ebay.

Half.com and amazon are better… when they have good sellers and have the book in stock. These are the two I’ve been using the most lately, even though shipping makes all books about $5 minimum. But still its at the mercy of people listing them… and i’ve lost count of how many books I get repeated notices of someone listing from my wishlist only to see that they have listed it for more than twice the price of buying it new. There is one cookbook that you can literally buy direct from a site associated with the author for 20, that some goof keeps listing at 90.

Supporting sources

How much do the sources matter?

If the product of the source is a good product, how much does the source itself matter?

If the product is good, does that overcome a questionable provider? Or should a questionable source make their product questionable in spite of seeming ok?

This came to mind lately partially out of the food train of thought.

Yes, I like going to the local farm style places and getting fresh produce, knowing who the source is.

But really? I trust the grocery store stuff just the same most of the time, having no clue where a lot of it is from, and knowing that everyone involved between here and there had profit as their main motive.

And I trust them even when I know at various times, these products haven’t been of a good quality, or worthy of that trust at all.

Because I know most of the times, its good enough to meet my needs, even if not ideal. And even if not produced with its safety as its highest priority above profit.

But should I?

A much harder question… particularly in an area without a long growing season, and without many better source options for much of the year, and at a steep price increase when they exist.

I run into this same sort of question off and on about soap.

Dr Bronners liquid soap is awesome.

It’s one of the few soaps I can wash my hands with in winter and not feel like I need to apply lotion immediately afterwards. Except for the lavender, its one of few things, including sensitive skin products, that I can use on my face without it feeling dry and red afterwards.

It’s also one of my favorite things for cleaning my glasses, as it removes face and finger oils much better than the eyewear products, but still doesn’t leave streaks or a film.

It’s also a “crunchy” product. Organic, free trade, no weird chemicals, etc.

However. The founder is a nut case.

The bottle is covered with random thoughts of his, including several on religion, claiming all gods are one, etc.

Far from what I believe. But then, a lot of them are so odd, I don’t think many people would agree with him entirely.

Does the soap’s quality justify the soap itself, ignoring the source’s views on non-soap topics?

Would it make any difference if it had been sold in a normal style of bottle, having the same source and the same soap, but just keeping his views less in my awareness?

Does it make any difference now that the original guy is dead, and its run by his family instead?

While I’m pretty sure that the soap itself is unaffected by his views, and I admit that I would buy it if it had been in a plain package and probably would have never thought to consider much about the company owner’s views on anything, I still wonder a bit if supporting it by purchase is supporting those views and their spread by supporting it financially. Though, again, his views are so out there on some things I’m not sure there is much of an audience that would follow them anyway.

I waffle back and forth on this. I go through spells of buying it, and spells of not buying it.

Taking a step a but more abstract… a fairly popular christian musician and songwriter came out as gay earlier this week.

As with the one who has done so previously, this person hasn’t released anything in years. But where the previous person had no plans to return to music, this newer person has a new album out soon… though they openly admit they expect the church to reject it in spite of no real content reason to do so.

So, being the typical church, there’s been lots of stones thrown, lots of old songs pulled and cds destroyed.

But how much should it matter?

If an older song points someone’s heart to god, or aids them in worship, how much should it matter that years after the song was written the writer’s non-music actions changed?

Is it able to stand alone on its own quality, or is it forever tied to the person who made it?

Should the song be removed on principle even if it can stand alone?

Does whether the person does their particular sin publicly or privately change the way the song should or shouldn’t be used?

And what about the new songs? Does it make them entirely questionable now knowing that the source may be questionable?

And where is the line of questionable, in a world where we are all sinners, and know that we are all to some extent questionable in actions and motives?

I’ll admit, I’m not as saddened by the loss of most of these songs as I was by the earlier ray boltz loss. The church threw out a lot of good songs that have touched a ton of people over the years, written by a then married man with children, who later changed his actions, and somehow that taints them beyond all the good they have done over the years.

But I know, there are some, to which these songs will be the songs that have touched them. Or which may someday touch them.

But if we don’t remove them from christian stations and use in churches, are we then supporting their source’s views? including financially?

My views on this are as waffling as they are on the soap.

Energy vs volume

In preparation to make an eventual amazon order, I was on the popchips website looking at the flavors, and found myself checking calorie count on each to see if cheddar was much higher than plain, etc.

But, no. Oddly enough, every variety has the same number of calories per serving, 120.

What varied for each flavor was the serving size. As high as the 22 chips I was used to seeing (but with these, rarely eat the whole amount.. they have a bulk to them from the texture), down to either 20 or maybe 18 for the low.

It just struck me as interesting.

I know its not unique, the 100 calorie packs set their serving size (usually tiny) by calories all the time. But this is really the first time I’ve noticed it in something not clearly sold in an individual serving sized package. I’m sure there are others that do, I just haven’t paid attention.

But it struck me as a bit different. Because its not usually how I think of measuring.

I’ll either measure by my own definition of serving size… for the chips example, handfuls… a handfull probably having 20 or more of standard chips, roughly twice the official servings size, or probably 10 of the popchips, roughly half its serving size… then estimate calories compared to their definition.

Or I will work from their serving size, and judge how reasonable it is on one or more servings. For example, peanut butter, serving size two tablespoons, reasonable amount for a normal sandwich usually being 2 servings worth unless I want it really thin. Then I just have to add or multiply to get calories.

But its rather rare that I’m on a strict enough diet that I find myself going “ok… i need 120 calories of this” and going what seems like backwards to me, to then figure out how much food that 120 calories gives me. I tend to avoid diets that require that precise of monitoring that it puts me into a spot where I start looking at things that way.

The more I think about it though, the more doing that makes quite a bit of sense.

I mean, that’s really how the body measures when you think about it.

It needs x number of calories per day, y number of them containing this nutrient, z number of them containing that one.

It doesn’t see that I need 1 chicken breast, or half a chicken breast, it sees that I need at least so much protein, whatever size that ends up being.

Maybe it actually makes more sense to measure that way, by the needed contents vs by the bulk of the carrier.

But, I don’t think I would really like the working of that in practice. I don’t particularly feel like making 3/8th of a chicken breast, or measuring 7/16th of a cup of something else.. or having things in a salad in a weird balance based on which ones I need how much of.

And so we come back to the thought from the other day. I’m lazy when it comes to spending effort, even when I know it would be of benefit in eating better. Sometimes I’ll make the sacrifices in equally scarce money, but effort? Meh… I’ve got an app to be playing on facebook.

For the asking

I’ve been trying to find popchips around here for a while, having heard nothing but good things about them from people.

But the targets here that are supposed to carry them don’t have them. The health food store has been out every time I’ve checked.

Just before easter, I was in a suburb about half an hour south of here, making a trip to a farm supply store, and I decided to go by the target down there to get something I needed for easter while I was only a mile from one.

Next door was a grocery store, and a large one, in a chain that I know has sushi kiosks in their larger stores. (And in spite of being a grocery store, it’s made fresh, actually not bad, and fairly cheap.) So I decided to run in to see if they had one. And they did.

But the sushi area was right near their organic section. And there, at the end of the row, were the popchips. Yay!

And yes, they are totally awesome, and well worth the hype people give them. 🙂

But I didn’t really want to drive that far to get them the next time.

I checked with both of the smaller stores of the same chain that are nearby, and neither of them carried them still, even though one has a large organics section.

So I asked at both about the possibility of ordering them. Since they had to be at the warehouse anyway. And I could… if I bought 24 bags. Umm… bit much.

So I gave up on that idea, and then noticed that amazon has groups of 12 bags, much cheaper. Splitting an order with my mom, we could each go through 6 bags fairly easily.

Then the other day, I was getting ezekiel raisin bread for cinnamon toast, at the store with the smaller organics section, and had turned the corner and went down that row, not even needing anything on that row… and there they were!

Only 2 flavors, plain and bbq, and 50 cents more than the suburb store… but still! Popchips within 2 miles of home!

Maybe my effort of asking wasn’t so pointless after all. (Though I still want to do more flavors from amazon.. lol)