Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Works Cited

In my previous life (dating back to pre-Ryder times), I was an English teacher. I have, therefore, written many, many, many citations for articles, books, websites. It has never been fun. I taught my kids how to write citations. It was never fun...and I like to think that I made not fun learning things fun....but not bibliographic entries. Even the word is no fun.

But I just for the very first time (in either lifetime) wrote a citation for an article in a magazine that I had written. And well...yeah...that was pretty fun. (I am also a big nerd, but I'm pretty sure after reading that last sentence you didn't need me to tell you this :) Sooooo, the citation wasn't really needed, and it was posted at the end of the article I just posted on my blog. (I'm not a big enough nerd to have written an entire paper just so that I could cite my own least not yet, anyways!) But I looked up the format just to make sure that I hadn't forgotten it in the last four years of learning really important which superheros fight with shields and which ones can fly, or how to pack a diaper bag without leaving something important out (not sure I ever actually learned that one, come to think of it :)

Thanks so much to all of you who have left kind comments on the blog and on my facebook page. I've loved writing for my blog where I have no due dates, no grades, and fun background changes, and where so many friends have taken the time to read and to comment on what I have written. I have really enjoyed writing for the fun of it, and although my posts aren't regular, I am determined to keep the blog fun...which means no stressing about it...even if I haven't posted in a very long time or have not a single post about a birthday. But I am grateful to have realized that I actually do like to write and to play with trying to use words to create an emotion or an image or a moment, and I think through all the writing I had to do for school, I had forgotten how to write just for the enjoyment of it.

I was so excited when Cody's mom called to say congratulations on being published. But I was also surprised. I had sent in a few articles to Think magazine a few weeks earlier, but I didn't realize that any of them would be published until she called saying she had seen my article in the magazine while visiting in Middle Tennessee. She didn't have time to read it, so she didn't know what it was about, and it was fun waiting for the subscription to come in, so we could all see what I had written about :) I am very grateful to Think magazine for allowing me the opportunity to write for them, and to see my words on thick, shiny magazine paper! Thank you all for the encouragement you've given me as a friend, a mom, and a writer.

I've posted the article below, along with the know, just in case you might be as big of a nerd as I am :)

***The picture in the post is of Ryder in his Batman costume. This picture is not in the magazine, and the picture of the kid in the cape in the magazine is not Ryder, but the picture they chose is pretty amazing :)

When Christian is a Given

To add to his eating noise, my four year old now has a thinking noise and a loving noise. The loving noise is in Spanish. He likes to wear a cape, his good guy bracelet, and carry a shield while he carries around Mannienewt (his imaginary squirrel) in his pocket. There are so many things I love about this boy, whose name is Batman for today, but one of my favorite things about him is that he is not afraid to be himself.

So when a friend asked on her facebook page, “What one trait would you love to instill in your child. Christian is a given,” I thought about my answer as I read the responses of other friends. I read so many wonderful qualities that thoughtful, precious parents desired to instill in their children. I read each one and agreed that being gracious, or a leader, or grateful, or kind, or sympathetic were certainly qualities that I wanted my son to grow in. In thinking about how much I loved my son’s individuality and how I hope he never loses that under pressures to fit in with others, I decided to type this for my answer. But I was hitting delete before I finished my sentence, because I realized that no one has ever been truer to Himself, His purpose, and His identity than Christ.

I realized then that I needed to renew my definition of a Christian. Yes, a Christian is one who has heard, believed, repented, confessed, been baptized, and tries to live a faithful life. Yes, a Christian should be at worship and be one who is religious. Yes, a Christian should be one who lives a moral life. But, somewhere along the way, I had forgotten that the word Christian means so much more. It means to be like Christ. And in being like Christ, I will have obeyed the commands to become a child of God; I will be honored to assemble to worship my Father, and I will strive to live a moral and upright life before God and man, but really, those are just the basics; the givens among a life much fuller and much more conscious of striving to be Christ-like.

If I am to be a Christian, I am to be thankful. Mark 14:23 tells us that Christ “took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it.” Christ gave thanks for the cup, for the fruit of the vine that was to be a remembrance of blood that he would shed in a cruel and violent death for an ungrateful humanity. If Christ gave thanks in this instance, to be Christ like, I should surely be taking more opportunities to be thankful for the many blessings in my life.

If I am to be a Christian, I should be gracious. Christ was gracious to so many as he went about teaching and healing those who were sick. He was gracious when he told the woman caught in adultery to “Go and sin no more” (John 8:10-12). He was gracious to the children and their parents who wanted to see Him, and he told his disciples to “let the little children come to me and do not forbid them” (Mark 10:13-15). He was gracious as he told a tax collector to come down from a tree, and he went to visit at his house-despite the objections of those who were supposed to be religious (Luke 19). Jesus took the time to respond to people who were in need of graciousness and mercy, and He changed their lives. Perhaps by taking the time to respond to people with graciousness, I can lead others to Christ, truly believing He can still change lives.

If I am to be a Christian, I am to be a leader. Christ took twelve apostles who were largely uneducated, poor, and ordinary, and taught them to change not only their lives, but the world in which they lived through the gospel. Christ taught that His followers are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth (Matthew 5). If I am to be like Christ, it must be my mission to lead people to God.

And if I am to be a Christian, I must not change who I am in order to fit in with others. Others expected Christ to be born as royalty, to be a military leader, to set up an earthly kingdom. They certainly didn’t expect him to be born in a stable, converse with a Samaritan woman, and submit to a cruel death. Christ’s identity as the Son of God was steadfast in the face of temptation, betrayal, and death. If I am to be like Christ, I must know that I am created and loved by God for the person He made me to be, and not listen to the world’s attempts to have me fit in to any other expectations that are contrary to the will of God.

` I am thankful to my friend for her thoughtful question, and to the responses that prompted me to think so much more about what it means when being a Christian is a given. And since I have considered that being thankful, kind, sympathetic, gracious, humble, strong, a leader, a person who is unafraid to be Himself would all be present in one who is striving to be like Christ, I think my answer to my friend’s question would be something along the lines of hoping Batman learns to be a great cook who loves to clean the dishes.

Hinson, Kristy. "When Christian is a Given." Think June 2012: 24. Print.