Friday, December 12, 2008

The Little Boy

by Helen Buckley

Once a little boy went to school.
He was quite a little boy
And it was quite a big school.
But when the little boy
Found that he could go to his room
By walking right in from the door outside
He was happy;
And the school did not seem
Quite so big anymore.

One morning
When the little boy had been in school awhile,
The teacher said:
"Today we are going to make a picture."
"Good!" thought the little boy.
He liked to make all kinds;
Lions and tigers,
Chickens and cows,
Trains and boats;
And he took out his box of crayons
And began to draw.

But the teacher said, "Wait!"
"It is not time to begin!"
And she waited until everyone looked ready.
"Now," said the teacher,
"We are going to make flowers."
"Good!" thought the little boy,
He liked to make beautiful ones
With his pink and orange and blue crayons.
But the teacher said "Wait!"
"And I will show you how."
And it was red, with a green stem.
"There," said the teacher,
"Now you may begin."

The little boy looked at his teacher's flower
Then he looked at his own flower.
He liked his flower better than the teacher's
But he did not say this.
He just turned his paper over,
And made a flower like the teacher's.
It was red, with a green stem.

On another day
When the little boy had opened
The door from the outside all by himself,
The teacher said:
"Today we are going to make something with clay."
"Good!" thought the little boy;
He liked clay.
He could make all kinds of things with clay:
Snakes and snowmen,
Elephants and mice,
Cars and trucks
And he began to pull and pinch
His ball of clay.

But the teacher said, "Wait!"
"It is not time to begin!"
And she waited until everyone looked ready.
"Now," said the teacher,
"We are going to make a dish."
"Good!" thought the little boy,
He liked to make dishes.
And he began to make some
That were all shapes and sizes.

But the teacher said "Wait!"
"And I will show you how."
And she showed everyone how to make
One deep dish.
"There," said the teacher,
"Now you may begin."

The little boy looked at the teacher's dish;
Then he looked at his own.
He liked his better than the teacher's
But he did not say this.
He just rolled his clay into a big ball again
And made a dish like the teacher's.
It was a deep dish.

And pretty soon
The little boy learned to wait,
And to watch
And to make things just like the teacher.
And pretty soon
He didn't make things of his own anymore.

Then it happened
That the little boy and his family
Moved to another house,
In another city,
And the little boy
Had to go to another school.
This school was even bigger
Than the other one.
And there was no door from the outside
Into his room.
He had to go up some big steps
And walk down a long hall
To get to his room.
And the very first day
He was there,
The teacher said:
"Today we are going to make a picture."
"Good!" thought the little boy.
And he waited for the teacher
To tell what to do.
But the teacher didn't say anything.
She just walked around the room.

When she came to the little boy
She asked, "Don't you want to make a picture?"
"Yes," said the lttle boy.
"What are we going to make?"
"I don't know until you make it," said the teacher.
"How shall I make it?" asked the little boy.
"Why, anyway you like," said the teacher.
"And any color?" asked the little boy.
"Any color," said the teacher.
"If everyone made the same picture,
And used the same colors,
How would I know who made what,
And which was which?"
"I don't know," said the little boy.
And he began to make a red flower with a green stem.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I recently watched this video of an atheist talking about why she couldn't believe in God anymore. I was very interested, because often times people become agnostic or atheist after experiencing religion and so I'm intrigued by why or what events led them to think the way they do.

In this video, it seems to me as though this very smart and caring girl had an event happen where she had to rethink everything she believed. He brother was gay. This is such an emotional issue for anyone who has to deal with it. The homosexual themselves, their family, their friends. For all, this is an emotional topic. Some react in healthy ways, and some do not. For this woman, she thought that she had to choose: God or my brother. She chose the one who was more tangible. And I don't blame her. She chose her family. Her brother. She had a God, who in her mind doesn't accept or love her brother, and she does love him, and so she had to try to mold God into her new perspective on life, and the way her church preached God, He didn't fit that mold anymore.

Sometimes I wonder if we're all just trying to make God fit our molds. In all cases, religious or not. My thoughts on this get kind of shadowed, inconsistent and confusing the deeper I try to think about it, but I think it's worth looking at. I'm not a theologian (Though I am dating one). But I am someone who still believes in God even though my thoughts on some subjects may look different from the mainstream. I'm just wondering how much of us we put into religion, and how much is God. Can we even know? Where do we start to try to get to the heart of Jesus?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dec. 2nd Tuesday: Week 1 of Advent

Malachi 3:1-3 "See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire or a launderer's soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver.

God will come and refine. As I ponder on these verses my initial response was negative. My first thought was "judgment" and that left a bad taste in my mouth. But why? I have forgotten that refining, judging, is not condemning. It is taking something beautiful underneath the roughness and making it smooth. I should be humbled by God's judgment.I should welcome it. I should pray for it.

I think I have let myself become an unexamined person lately. One who isn't letting the refiner, the potter, mold me into who I am continually meant to me. I've become okay with allowing myself to be unchanged. And there is no freedom in that. Freedom is in the nothing where God changes. Where you are so close and intimate with God that He can change you. I pray that tomorrow, I am given the chance to let go, and let God mold me into the Amanda I am in His eyes.

May we praise God for His gift in Jesus Christ, and may we open our hearts and minds to refining.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Dec 1st. Monday: Week 1 of Advent.

"Learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart." - Matthew 11:29

I don't think I have ever read this verse before, but it really makes Jesus personal. It makes his essence and mission clear: to be gentle and humble in all interactions, both when people are watching, and when they are not. Christ came to bring the world together, and peace comes from being humble and gentle with our neighbors. We sing a song at the end of service at church that reflects this.

"Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me.
Let there be peace on,
The peace that was meant to be.
To take each moment,
And live each moment,
In peace eternally.
Let there be peace on earth
And let it begin with me."

The peace that Jesus embodies through humility and gentleness starts with me. And you. One person at a time, being peace to those around them. May we always remember the humility of Christ, and may we share in the work of that humility.

Thanksgiving Hope

Thankful. Thanksgiving.
Full of thanks. Giving thanks.
Grateful. Humbled.
I am thankful that You never give up
On this place. On these people. On me.
I am thankful for Your vision of restoration.
In the big pieces. In the small pieces.
Big Peace. Small Peace. All Peace.
All pieces. All parts.
One part. One People.
One God. In love. With a People.
In love with a potential for Peace.
A potential for people to love
Beyond the surface.
Beyond the arguments.
Beyond religion and politics.
To a love between human and human.
Reflecting a love between God and humans.
I am thankful that You never give up.

Thursday, November 13, 2008



People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered,
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives,
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies,
The good you do will be forgotten tomorrow,
What you spent years building may be destroyed overnight,
People really need help but may attack you if you help them,
Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth,

author unkown

This was taken from a sign on the wall of Shishu Bhavan, Mother Teresa's children’s home in Calcutta.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A (good) anger.

I'm not sure exactly how to put my thoughts out there sometimes, but I cannot keep them inside anymore, even if they come out unorganized.

I almost cried today because some people that are close to me have shown themselves (conscious or not) to be sexist, racist and demeaning towards homosexuals at some level, even small. They are oppressive, and I don't even think they know it. 

I sat with them, eating lunch, and politics came up. I never talk to them about politics. All they know is that I'm voting for Obama and they are voting for McCain. One person says to us, "I just get a bad feeling, that Obama's name is one letter away from a known terrorist, Osama's name." All I could think was, 'Are you serious?!" A last name dictates a whole individual? A last name makes someone a terrorist? Makes you WORRIED because it SOUNDS like someone elses' name? All I could say was, "That's just silly. It's like when they said Reagan was the anti-christ because his first middle and last name all had 6 letters in it." And another person just said, "Well....he was the anti-christ."

Then the conversation went to Palin. The people I was with obviously love her, but one person said, "I hope McCain doesn't die, because I don't think a woman should be president." WHAT?! It wasn't even a matter of whether she was qualified, it was the fact that she was a WOMAN. She continued, "I just don't think women are stable enough...unless she was actually a man. Maybe she's a transvestite!" And then began the talk about homosexuality...

"I can't wait to see if the next one to run is going to be gay," another person said. "Yeah, can you image it? "Here's the president and his first man!" A younger friend added as they all laughed. "Yeah, and next an animal could run for president!" Really? The next step from someone being gay is someone being an animal. And this isn't the first time one of these close people has demeaned homosexuality to animal level. Just the other night we watched an add for a Prop about gay marriage, and someone said, "Yeah, and next they'll let people marry their pets." These are two PEOPLE who think and feel as PEOPLE. They are NOT animals. And it is oppressive and rude to put they at the same level as animals. It makes me very upset that Christians could even think this. But they do! AND SO MANY OF THEM DO. It breaks my heart. And some day when my son or daughter asks me if I was apart of oppressing homosexuals and imposing my religious belief system on them to say that they can't get married because my particular God says they can't, I will say "No, baby. No I didn't."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Missing the Magic

I sat with my family as we watched Criss Angel tonight. It wasn't very enjoyable, not only because Criss Angel is just weird, but because everyone in my family room would pause the show and nitpick the entire illusion, trying to figure it out. "There's no way he could be walking on water, because why are those girls not swimming in front of him. There's glass under him, there has to be," my mom kept repeating. And then it wasn't magic anymore. There is something very beautiful about just enjoying a magic trick. Of course Criss Angel didn't really walk on water, but that isn't the point. The point is to enjoy a great artist doing something he's very good at. Enjoying the magic of "seeing" a man walk on water.

And then I was reminded of how as Christians, we can do something similar. We can take something as beautiful as the story of God and His people and instead of just enjoying the simplicity and complexity of this story, we try to analyze every sentence and every word, and we end up missing the magic.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Straight to hell...

I walked into the doctors office with my mom for her appointment and sat down while she checked in. There was a big television with CNN showing clips of Clinton and Obama, showing their stand on gay marriage.

"Both Obama and Clinton support civil union" the newscaster said. Within seconds I was interrupted by another woman in the waiting room who loudly said to her elderly mother, "Oh my gosh. Our nations going to hell!!" I was confused and saddened. Who knows, maybe our nation is going to hell...but I'm pretty sure it won't be because of our stand on gay marriage.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The sinner at the well?

"And Jesus was trying to tell the Samaritan woman that she needed to get rid of her sin before she could drink the water that would never make her thirsty again. That's the point of what he was doing. Jesus points out our sin, and we have to deal with it first!"

These were only some of the words I heard while listening to the preacher on the radio last night. I was not angry at the words, but I was deeply saddened. They are missing the point. They are missing the beautiful encounter that this woman and Jesus shared. A moment that shouldn't have even happened, by their cultures standards. This encounter was much, much deeper than getting rid of your sins before you can come to God. In fact, I don't see that at all. I see the oposite. I don't have many other thoughts on this, as I am not educated in the story of the woman at the well, but I do know that it just felt wrong.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Micah 6:8

I sat as I waited for the car ahead of me to drive out of the driveway so I could get out on the road. A woman was trying to talk to the driver through the window but quickly walked away. When it was my turn to drive through I noticed the woman. She had sat back down next to a man under the bus stop bench. They seemed to be traveling together and looked like they needed some money, or food, or anything, really.

As I drove by my heart was saddened. I wanted to help them. But I thought about the streets of LA county and the dangers of being alone.

"But God,' I said. "How do you know when it's safe to go out?"......

And he replied, "I never asked you to be safe."

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Survivors Guilt

My boyfriend Wes and I went down to Mexico with our church and our friends Ty and Danny. Our time there was amazing, and I'll probably write more about that specifically later, but for now I want to write about another event that happened on the way home.

On our way up the 15 freeway the truck we were in caught on fire. For a more detailed account of the event check out what Wes wrote here. But to sum it up, we were informed by another driver that our car was on fire, we hopped out, and then in a "blessing" we were not harmed, other drivers stopped to help up and with the "hand of God" a passing fire truck, not on call, finished up the job.

Here's what I'm really struggling with though: After the incident passed and we were on our way back up to the church, we saw two accidents on the freeway, far more harmful than ours. So why were we "blessed" and not the man and woman lying on the freeway pavement. Why did we live and miraculously save everything out of the truck before the flames engulfed the front of the car?

I do not understand the order of this world. In Yarchin's class here at APU (Hebrew Poetical and Wisdom Literature) we talked about consequences and actions in the Bible. In Deuteronomy there are specific rules and specific consequences or blessings that follow and it is NOT addressed as a "This might happen" but a "This WILL happen". What are we suppose to do with this when experience has told us that bad things happen to good people and sometimes blessing and wealth comes from taking advantage of immigrant workers?

We discussed this in class for quite some time and come to the conclusion that the Bible is telling us to critique it. The Bible wants us to say "hmm that's not what I see" and use the minds that God has given us to look at what is in front of us.

So maybe there is no black or white. But that doesn't help me. That just frustrates me. Not always. But in times like these. When I want to know why I didn't die. Why would God chose to save me? Did he close to save me? Did he have any part in it at all? I don't know. Maybe I'm just suppose to accept that this is just the way things are. We can't know why things happen because we can't see the bigger picture. But maybe God can't see the bigger picture either and he holds me and cries with me too and wonders why the man on the freeway had to die.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

My Proverb

This is the proverb that I wrote for my class. Let me know how you interpret it or how it makes you feel.

As a fool aggravates an angry bull,
So is the one who provokes a pointless argument.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Wes and I pulled up to the gas station to fill up my car. He got out while I stayed buckled in. As I sat in my seat, I noticed a man digging through the trashcan to the right of me. He pulled out old bottles and cans, anything that could be recycled, and put them all into his own trashbag. Without realizing it, I reached for the lock. I hate that I do that. He moved over to the trashcan to my right and began the process again, and once finished, walked away. Wes finished filling up the tank and got back into the car.

"The homeless are better stewards of the environment." I said.

"Why's that?"

"They recycle."