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We googled ideas for Harry Potter cakes and Atticus really wanted a quidditch cake so she whipped this up for us.

Through A Glass Darkly

Everyone got Harry Potter glasses. So the kids each got glasses, a wand, and a snitch as their party favors. After we were done with that, the kids popped bubbles, did some more potions, and just generally ran around. This was a surprisingly inexpensive party to throw, plus the kids got to play together for most of the activities, which we prefer. I thought I would post this because I was looking for Harry Potter party ideas and some of it was pretty complicated, but ours ended up being fairly easy. What more does a girl need?

I found this book to be absolutely charming. Jessie was a great character to be with and root for, and even though I was pretty sure I knew who SN was going to be, I enjoyed the ride. I thought the reveal was a little bit overly dramatic but everything else was utterly enjoyable. Tell Me Three Things comes out in April, and you should definitely check it out then. I got to preach this week at church and here is the text of my sermon. I have been listening to a lot of the Hamilton Original Broadway Cast Recording over the past few months.

In what Mike considers a questionable parenting decision, I have been letting Atticus listen to some of the songs with some strategic turning down of the volume at certain words. Actually, Mike might object to the extreme nerdery even more than the language.

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As a mother, I understand the idea that the love of a child can help you to discover new depths, but I also see how it can change the game dramatically. The angel has appeared to Mary and given her the astonishing news of her pregnancy. In her song, she speaks prophetically of a world in which things are different than we are used to: the proud are scattered, the humble are exalted, the hungry are filled.

I have noticed that in these books Mary is portrayed as meek, sitting to the side and watching the baby. But the Mary in this passage is empowered. You could say that the presence of Jesus has empowered her, and that is surely true, but I think she is also speaking here specifically in her new role as a mother. She has been a mother for just a few verses but already she is thinking about the changes that her child will bring about in the world, the deeper meaning of his existence.


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In her song, Mary embodies the famous quote by Cornel West: Justice is what love looks like in public. I have reflected deeply on this passage in recent years because I personally felt a surprising shift in the way that I approached the world when I became a mother. I was less concerned with how others would see me and more concerned with setting an appropriate example for my child.

His presence has led me to speak out where, in the past, I would have worried about offending or about being considered improper. I have written to my public officials about refugees and public schools, I implored friends and family to vote against Amendment One, and I have taken Atticus to Raleigh for Moral Mondays. Like Mary, I believe that motherhood has given me a voice.

Like Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, and like Mary, all revolutionaries in their own right, I have thought about the world that our children are inheriting and what I am going to do about it. The driving force behind these actions is not simply parenthood, but love. Opening your heart to another person is a risk, and we all know the risks that Mary took to bring Jesus into the world. Jennifer spoke last week about the physical risk of childbirth for both women and children. I would add to her quote that love can do the same.

Love and faith can and should be expansive forces in our lives. This Advent, we have focused on the theme of clutter. We could say that Mary had a clutter-free birth because there was no birth plan or playlist or community of women to help her. In other ways, the story appears to have a lot of clutter, what with all the animals, hay, people traipsing in and out, and that little boy who shows up and plays the drum really loudly. Can you imagine? I think about her often, how Jesus came to promote this upside-down kingdom and how the first step was being born to a pregnant teenager in a cave or a stable.

The love she experiences complicates her life but it also gives her life new purpose and meaning that she could never have imagined. Her prophetic vision for the world surely informed his message and her influence should not be discounted.


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His mother sang him protest songs for lullabies. I am unqualified to speak on the topic of clutter. On the best of days, I am a person with a messy desk. Just this morning, we had a frantic search for missing Legos! In our house, we return almost daily to the question of how much in our lives has to change and how much should stay the same. The obvious examples since Atticus was born have to do with the physical, the train tracks that are residing in the sun room and the cars strewn about the floor of the extra bedroom.

The internal examples have had to do with recognizing, as Alexander Hamilton did, that there is more inside of us now. We do things now that I would never have anticipated, planning activities that complicate our lives but that offer our child a chance to learn and grow. We answer difficult questions about God and faith and injustice and Santa with honesty and humility and a lot of prayer because we do not want to screw it up too badly. To return to the idea of clutter, this is the kind of clutter that resonates most deeply with me now, the clutter of love.

Not just the raggedy way that my house looks now, not even primarily that. Let me stand up for this kind of clutter in our lives: Living simply has its benefits but there is something to be said as well for the beauty of a life overflowing with compassion. My heart is more raggedy and cluttered, a little bruised at times, but with that comes a little bit of magic.

Like the tents in Harry Potter, or the trunk of Mr. Barry Shoemaker mentored Mike as he began to take steps to reinvent himself and imagine what kind of life he might be able to have, as well as teaching him how to arrange furniture. Ginny Olson has let me cry on her shoulder more times than I could really say. I have been inspired by the work of our activists and our truth-tellers and our educators an important form of justice.

I have been slow to learn this lesson, but they are still modeling for me how to open my heart, both to others and to the pain of the world. One in particular that stands out to me was our former member, Scott Smith, who has since moved to Texas. These contributions give our children more than we could give them individually, and they also expand my own view of what is possible in the world. Offering ourselves to each other, to our children, and in service to the community complicates our lives unquestionably but it also offers clarity and sense of purpose that can change us. America, you great unfinished symphony, you sent for me.

The mother love of God is embodied in these words of Mary, and whether you have children or not, as a child of God this is the work that God is calling us to.

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The work of justice and the work of service. The work of her son Jesus, and his upside-down kingdom. There was only one Mary, and yet all of us have the chance to catch her vision. We see it in young women like Malala who refuse to stop going to school. And we see it in small acts of love here in Greensboro: kind words sent to the Islamic Center and firm rebukes sent to Liberty University. Casseroles and hand-me-downs for new babies. Serving at GUM. Going with our children to camp.

Like Mary, we have the opportunity to birth the needed change into the world. What happened after Mary complicated her life and her heart by accepting the words of the angel?


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We do not hear a lot of her in the gospels after the birth of Jesus. This is her big scene, and all we can do is guess at what she was thinking and feeling as she watched Jesus grow and teach. She was present for his death and we see her in the book of Acts, present also at the very beginning of the church. That says to me that she continued to believe in her own prophetic words and embrace the work of love — loving her own son through difficult times and believing in the community of his followers.

Her actions are not those of someone who is uncluttering her heart or forgoing the tangle of relationships, but instead they are of someone who is open to participating in the work of God. We are here in the pause between Christmas and the New Year, a perfect time to reflect on the messy inconvenient power of love. How will you risk opening your heart this year? How will you let the clutter of love offer you new clarity and purpose?

Blessed is Mary among women. Blessed are you when you take seriously her words, when you live out her song of love and revolution. I read Pastrix and I loved the second half of it. Accidental Saints is more in line with that second half, as Bolz-Weber tells stories of her life at her church.

I understand the impulse of not wanting to be in community. But I think the experience of bumping up against other people has changed me in ways that I never could have been changed if I was just reading books and practicing meditation. There are no easy answers to some of these questions about loving God and loving others.

My two favorite stories were about taking the time to really see other people: when a congregant named Bobbie saw Nadia, and when Nadia had a conversation with a girl on a plane who needed someone to notice her. This is a short book but it packs a lot into its size. Lane via Speakeasy. These two books complement each other in surprising ways. Accidental Saints is about seeing and hearing God in the people around you, and Lessons in Belonging is about the search for a church and the ways that your service, your voice, your presence should be important to your congregation.

As Erin S. Lane is trying to find a church in Durham, NC, she struggles with giving of herself as well as questions of theology. The book does not end with Erin S. Lane happily ensconced within a church but she does seem more sure of her own gifts and what she has to offer. On one hand, as Nadia Bolz-Weber points out in her book, whenever there are people around, we will not experience perfection. In this book, Erin S.

It was pure coincidence that I read these two together and I am so happy that I did. Story time! Back in the spring, I applied to and was accepted at a local divinity school with a plan to go part-time for a while and then try a different sort of career path.

I was so excited. And then a job I had always wanted at a local Episcopal school came open and I applied and they hired me! I was also excited about that. I am a little bit sad about it because I had to choose but the good news is that I like my new job. Plus, we have chapel at my new school and I offered to help with chapel, and the priest let me give the message one day a few weeks ago.

I thought I would post it here along with a covert no-cameras-allowed-in-chapel picture because I was happy with how it went. My school is PreK-8th grade so keep that in mind as you read my message. It was somewhat scary but I loved doing it and I hope I get to do it again! I also heard a rumor that there was a discussion in at least one house about whether I am actually Taylor Swift just pretending to be your librarian. I love this idea, that Taylor is in our library reading stories to the kindergarteners, shelving books, and fixing iPads.

I bet Taylor could host an amazing book fair!

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I have bad news, though, I am not Taylor Swift, though I am flattered by the comparison. One reason that I am especially pleased to be compared to Taylor Swift is that she seems to be a genuinely kind person. I have seen news stories about her buying Christmas presents for her fans and donating to people who are in need.

I have seen her admit when she was wrong and graciously accept even very strange apologies. She seems like a good friend to the people both in her squad and out. Those are all things I strive to do in my life and that I think we all hope for here in our lives and here at school. There is no secret Taylor Swift library takeover, but we have already had a lot of discussions in the library about Halloween costumes.

Sometimes we go for something scary or something that we might want to be when we grow up. Sometimes we go for a superhero or a villain. We have the opportunity to be kind, to encourage people to be fair, and to help people in need. Every time we take that opportunity, we are using our secret identities as children of God to make the world a better place. It applies to the people we love and the people who are sitting next to us and the people who get on our nerves. Every single one of us is important to God, and so every one of us should be important to each other.

So remember that when you show kindness and help to others, you are both helping Jesus and being Jesus in the world. It might not seem as exciting as being a celebrity or a superhero, but this secret identity is one of the most important things about us all. As you move through your day, be sure to remember your real identity and let it help you guide the choices you make. I had been saying for a while that I wanted to go, and then he made the announcement about his cancer and I realized that I needed to quit messing around and actually make it happen.

Jimmy Carter is a particular hero of mine for the same reasons that you would probably expect: his integrity and his faith and his work for women. I felt that I needed to go and see him for myself, to pay tribute in some small way. Actually making the trip happen, though, was quite a lot of work, with a long drive and not much sleep on Friday night just to be sure I got a ticket. They called them tickets but they were really more like vouchers.

Okay, they were scraps of paper. I was number 48 out of a possible Ticket secured, I explored Plains, texting pictures and stories to my friends, calling it a southern version of Stars Hollow. He was sure to offend you one way or another in two minutes or less. The woman at the antique shop who lent a stranger her car — I swear this happened — to drive a couple of blocks away and get tickets to see Mr. Jimmy in Sunday School. The flip side of that is that your warmth and kindness and welcome is less hidden as well.

Bumping up against other people can clarify who you really are in a lot of ways, and I saw kindness and quick apologies and grace this weekend. The main event was meant to be the Sunday School class, and it was an honor to attend and to hear a former president talk so openly and honestly about his faith and to see his gentle spirit and glowing smile.

It is amazing to see him and I am unbelievably grateful I did it while I had the chance. The tale engages and stalks forward with sinister inevitability. Again, the images are breathtaking! The flagellants, the burning of the witch worthy of Carl Dreyer and the finale, as Death dances off with all the doomed people to the nether lands in one of the most memorable shots in all movies. View all New York Times newsletters. Bergman is prolific, and the films that followed these early works were rich and varied, as his obsession moved from God's silence to the tortured relations between anguished souls trying to make sense of their feelings.

Actually, the films described were not really early but middle works because he had directed a number of movies, not seen here until after his style and reputation caught on. These earlier films are very good but surprisingly conventional, given where he was going.

His influences by the 50's had become well assimilated as his own genius took command. The Germans still impressed him. Also Chekhov, Strindberg and Kafka. There are atypical ones like ''Shame'' and ''Fanny and Alexander,'' which provide their own special pleasures, and even an occasional stumble like ''The Serpent's Egg'' or ''Face to Face. Yet always in Bergman's less successful experiments there are memorable moments. Examples: the sound of a buzz saw whining shrilly outside the window during an intimate scene between the adulterous lovers in ''The Touch,'' and the moment when Ingrid Bergman shows her pathetic daughter just how a particular prelude should be played on the piano in ''Autumn Sonata.

A digression here about style. The predominant arena for conflict in motion pictures has usually been the external, physical world. Certainly that was true for many years. Witness the staples of slapstick and westerns, war films and chases and gangster movies and musicals. As the Freudian revolution sank in, however, the most fascinating arena of conflict shifted to the interior, and films were faced with a problem. The psyche is not visible.

If the most interesting fights are being waged in the heart and mind, what to do? Bergman evolved a style to deal with the human interior, and he alone among directors has explored the soul's battlefield to the fullest. With impunity he put his camera on faces for unconscionable periods of time while actors and actresses wrestled with their anguish.

One saw great performers in extreme close-ups that lingered beyond where the textbooks say is good movie form. Faces were everything for him. More close-ups. Extreme close-ups. He created dreams and fantasies and so deftly mingled them with reality that gradually a sense of the human interior emerged. He used huge silences with tremendous effectiveness. The terrain of Bergman films is different from his contemporaries'. It matches the bleak beaches of the rocky island he lives on. He has found a way to show the soul's landscape. He said he viewed the soul as a membrane, a red membrane, and showed it as such in ''Cries and Whispers.

See ''Persona. All this, ladies and gentlemen, and he also works cheaply. He's fast; the films cost very little, and his tiny band of regulars can slap together a major work of art in half the time and for a tenth the price of what most take to mount some glitzy waste of celluloid. Plus he writes the scripts himself. What else could you ask for?

Meaning, profundity, style, images, visual beauty, tension, storytelling flair, speed, economy, fecundity, innovation, an actor's director nonpareil. That's what I meant by the best, pound for pound. Perhaps other directors excel him in single areas, but nobody is as complete an artist in films. It's a lot about stomach problems. But it's interesting. It's random, anecdotal. It's not chronological, as one's life story should be. There is no building saga of how he began and gradually worked himself up to dominate the Swedish stage and screen.

The story skips around, back and forth, apparently depending on the author's spontaneity. It includes odd tales and sad feelings. An odd tale: as a young boy being locked inside a mortuary and becoming fascinated by the naked corpse of a young woman. A sad feeling: ''My wife and I live near each other.

One of us thinks and the other answers, or the other way round. I have no means of describing our affinity. One problem is insoluble. One day the blow will fall and separate us. No friendly god will turn us into a tree to shade the farm. His films, for instance. Well, maybe he doesn't leave them out exactly but there's much less than you'd expect, considering he's made over There's also not much about his wives in this book.

Through a Glass, Darkly

He's had plenty. And lots of children too, though they're hardly mentioned. I've tried. Knowing the ending really changes the re-viewing experience. It's wonderful. If that's something you're interested in, let me know. Leave that to Him since He's God and we're not. But it turns out, it's something that St. I wanted to pass on the amazing things I had learned in college and give students the formation that I never had in high school. But with no teacher training and about six weeks under the bridge, I couldn't stand most of my students.

That seemed like a logical paradigm for a while: "I'm giving these kids gold and they don't appreciate it. To hell with them, then. I needed good spiritual direction. Thankfully, I got it. It sounded just as impossible as the first puzzling aphorism. The kids are heathen idiots!

Through A Glass Darkly (Ingmar Bergman 1961) - Theme

And you'll never reach them if you don't get to know them. Loving them was enough to keep me in the classroom.