The Paradox Paper #20
Hey! Wow. It’s so great of you to open this email. I mean really, of all the emails you could be opening. What a treat you picked mine.
I write to you from my mother’s house. Earlier we had the following exchange:
Mom: Have you seen the wet wipes? They’re not in their spot on the counter.
Steph: Yes. They’re in the middle of the kitchen floor where I last used them.
And that’s the deal with us. She visits me and makes my home more orderly and beautiful. I visit her and, together with my filthy children, leave every single thing exactly where I last used it. God bless her.
Anyway let’s get into it.
Welcome to The Paradox Paper, a monthly newsletter that honors paradox in the every day. If a friend forwarded you this email, click here to subscribe:
In this edition:
A bingeable book series to start your summer right
Some convoluted pain metaphors that I think you’ll get anyway
A book that’s helping me find some answers to my politics-and-faith questions
A prayer for when pain is overwhelming
Renegades Series, Marissa Meyer
What if Gotham City had teams of heroes? What if some of the villains were complex and misunderstood? What if some of the heroes were just power hungry jerks? This is Nova Artino’s world. She’s a member of the Anarchists, a band of rebels seeking to restore freedom and order to their beloved city. In a plot to overthrow their tenuous government, Nova joins the corrupt Renegades as a spy, and hijinks ensue. I blew through this entire series in about five days. Think Hunger Games meets Marvel. Well developed characters, fast-moving plot, no content warnings needed.
I bet the hardest part of being a mustard bottle is right about 86% empty. Everything is a squeeze. A stretch. A scrape. A big impatient hand always slapping and pounding, trying to expel the last dregs of your insides by sheer force of will. My month has felt this way, with the impatient, ever-slapping hand being the mundane things of life. A husband with new-job-stress, the end of school festivities for my babies, graduation for my friends’ grown kids, preparing to host company, preparing to be company, road trips, what to have for dinner, should I order that shirt? Is it the right color? Is it too much? Why are my nails always breaking? Slap. Pound. Squeeze.
Sometimes pain is being a mustard bottle.
Sometimes it’s a hollowing. A sudden punch of emptiness where your heart should be. The crushed hope of a friend’s lost pregnancy. The waking nightmare of grandmothers and children shot down in the same week. The familiar ache of a lifelong grief.
God be with us, in the scrape and the hollowing.
Is “political” a dirty word for Christians?
What does it mean anyway?
Aren’t we supposed to be citizens of Heaven?
What does that mean for how we live together on earth?
If the government isn’t my hope, does that make it my enemy?
How to I steward my earthly citizenship for the good of others?
These are just a few of the questions I have about faith and politices. The Liturgy of Politics by Kaitlyn Scheiss has been helping me answer them. I’ve tried it both ways, and found the audio book easier for me.
It is a true joy to write for you each month, and I always love to hear about anything you tried and loved or anything that stirred your heart. Simply reply to this email or leave a comment to let me know.
Until next time, hold the paradox, don’t panic. Love you.
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