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What is it about walking?

What is it about walking that provides mental clarity? Why do people, when they storm out of an argument, take to wallking to clear their heads? 

At a very troubled time in my teenage years, I walked a lot. We were living in Calgary, and I had a part-time job at a local mall, which was about a thirty minute walk from home. I often had my dad drive me and pick me up, but I walked there a lot. If there was anywhere in the city I wanted to go, I walked and took public transit. At that time, there was a lot of conflict in our home, and in order to be away from it, I walked. 

I walk every day; sometimes twice. I have two Beagles. My younger one, who is three, is energetic (read: out of control) and lives for those moments when his nose can hit the ground and all else fades away. There is some sort of connection between a Beagle's nose and his auditory nerves, because when his olfactory senses are at work, he's as deaf as a post. When we're walking and both of them stop to sniff a blade of grass, it's like being jerked to a halt with great force. And sometimes, it's a lot of work to get them going. Even dogs have this connection with walking. What goes on in their doggy minds when they're walking?

When I am in school, I find walking helps me make sense of things I'm working on. Last semester, as I waded my way through my pentateuch paper, I found I would always return to the task with renewed focus after a good walk. One afternoon, when I was taking Greek Exegesis, and I was trying to come up with some clarity for an exegetical paper, as I walked, I had a moment of illumination that left me rushing to get home to write it down.

Walking soothes a wounded heart. There are times when the burdens I carry are too much, and the act of walking makes me feel like I'm doing something about them. Walking seems to allow the mind work well. I wonder if there is a physiological connection between our feet and our emotional state. For some people, I guess running provides that, but I don't enjoy running as an exercise.

Next year, when my husband and I go to Ireland and Scotland, we want to do some hiking. I have been doing a lot of looking at maps and travel sites, and I would love to walk part of The West Highland Way. There is one tour which is seven days but I'm not sure I want to spend that much time in one location. I definitely want to get into the highlands, but I also want to have time for other places.

I can't wait to do some walking. It will be the best thing following what promises to be a good school year.


Rebuke by shunning

I saw an article online last night that I really appreciated. I thought about sharing, but I thought better of it. Based on the people I interact with on Twitter, the article reallly didn't fit in. The writer was not complementarian. And yes, I was afraid to share it. And the reason I was afraid is because some folks like to shun you online if you share information that comes from another "tribe." As an aside, I don't like how that word has been co-opted. Used as a way to describe little pockets of like-minded Christians, it really doesn't express fully the meaning for which is it intended.

Christian women, especially, are good at rebuke by shunning. Or rebuke by silence. Perhaps it is because we learned that well as little girls in school. It's happened to me since I began seminary. It has happened to me again because I refused to do a happy dance because Rachel Held Evans died. It has happened because I dared to suggest that there was nothing wrong with a woman wanting to be modest in her dress; or if a woman felt uncomfortable being in a cab alone with a man who isn't her husband.

Be careful about seeing both sides of an argument. You may be rebuked; by both sides.

In the end, I decided to follow my husband's advice and just leave it alone. He's a big advocate for ignoring online life. I'm not afraid to read articles by egalitarians and complementarians alike. I'm a big girl. But sometimes, that little girl just doesn't want to be shunned.


Time, time tickin'

I had promised myself that I would probably start reading more blogs and writing more when June 1st arrived. It is just around the corner.

Here are some things I've done lately:

  • painted my living room
  • actually went shopping to look for area rugs
  • read a few books about the Celts
  • bought a jump rope
  • lost a couple of pounds

The one thing I have not done is felt a pressing need to read blogs. And that is a problem. Because I like blogging. Part of blogging is being among other bloggers. But I can't find any that I'm dying to read other than the few I have been reading for a long time.

Maybe I'm just an old crank.

Maybe I'm too critical.

I am feeling hesitant about particular Christian blogs that, while popular, just irritate me. I'm tired of blogs which beat dead horses or are "one hit wonders," ie, don't write about anything but one single issue.

I'm at a loss.

Any suggestions for good blogs to read?

But I did three cycles of 40 seconds of jump rope today and three sets of 40 seconds planks. I read Matthew 1:17-25 in the Greek NT. I made sourdough dinner rolls. The day wasn't a total waste.


Is blogging bad for me?

In the past couple of weeks or so, I've been busy with the regular stuff of life. I have been reading, but not a lot of theological reading, other than Bavinck and a hermeneutics book by Grant Osborne. After a very reading-heavy semester, I'm reading about other things. I've also backed off quite a bit from social media and blogging, and I'm definitely avoiding many areas of social media to the point where I've muted a lot of stuff until the beginning of June.

When I heard that Rachel Held Evans died, I waited for it; the inevitable dialogue. And I was not surprised at the voices which basically sang "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead." Because that was how some people reacted to her. I read her first book, and it was a very compelling read and distubring at the same time. I didn't spend much time thinking about her after I read her book, and I never read her blog or followed her on Twitter. When she died, all I could think of was her parents, her two little children and her grief-stricken husband. Her death was sudden; that means they will deal with trauma and grief. I can't even begin to imagine.

I was troubled by two kinds of responses to her death. The first, I've alluded to. Some people barely waited hours to weigh in on how they were thankful she could no longer pass on her false teaching. Some sounded like they believed her death was the result of her beliefs. When you open your comments with, "I'm sorry for her family, BUT . . . " you really should stop and ask yourself if what you're saying needs to be said.

The other kind of response was more patronizing. It came from people who actually didn't know her well, but capitalized on having had a few exchanges with her. "Rachel Held Evans died. Look how sympathetic I am. Look at how gracious I am that I can grieve her death while in life being totally opposed to her. Come read my post about her." Yeah; not my cup of tea.

What kind of blogging world do I live in? That was my question. I love blogging. I love theology. I love writing about it and reading about it. But judging from my own reactions, I began to wonder if this was the best place for me. What is the point in "following" someone on Twitter if I must mute?

The time I have spent thinking has been useful, and I still have more thinking to do. In addition to how I use my writing time, I'm also thinking about where my education is going and a few goals I have. I'm supposed to be contributing to Out of the Ordinary by including links once a week, but honestly, I can't bear to read much beyond news and the progress of the Stanley Cup. 

Paul Carter, on Twitter the other day talked about "self-appointed scrutineers." That is one of the best phrases I've seen, and that is one of the things I have struggled with. Those scrutineers seek to do nothing but condemn, criticize, and point fingers. And when others point fingers in their direction, they label them as "heretics," and "apostate." I can't take it. I'm tired of the phrase -- in abbreviated form -- SJW. I want to yell, "Go back to your jobs and families, please, and give them your attention instead of wasting time online." 

So, I'm thinking. I want to keep writing, but I don't know what that will look like. I would miss the interaction, but I just don't know if this is where I am supposed to be. I know who I am and what I am able to do, but where does one spend her time? Is it detrimental to be involved with blogging social media? That is what I want to figure out. In the meantime, I'm exercising more, decorating my house, walking my dogs, and planning our trip to Scotland and Ireland.

That will do for a little while, anyway.


Mind, body, and soul all need to be healthy

In the last three weeks, I have been more faithful to my exercise program than I have in years. End result: more energy!

When I am in school, I sit. A lot. I noticed frequently last semester coming home from school that when I got out of my car, my hips were tight and and my lower back sore. I determined that when school was out, I would get into a good habit with my fitness. It can take a while to get into a regular pattern. Much easier to develop bad habits. Next month, I'm hoping to re-vamp our eating habits to contribute to feeling better overal. I was inspired by my 94 year old next door neighbour.

Wally has never slowed down. As early as five years ago, he used to get his snowblower out when it necessary and do not only his driveway, but mine. Having lived next door to him for 14 years, I knew that he was just the type of man who didn't quit. It's only been in the last three years that he has stopped walking his dog and hired someone to do his lawn and driveway. Well, actually, his son arranged for those things. I suspect it was not his choice.

Wally was in the hospital in April. The woman who walks his dog was concerned about him and contacted his family. Ultimately, he had a mild heart attack. I wondered if I'd ever see him again, and assumed he wouldn't be returning. He's home now. His son is staying with him as they ponder long-term solutions, but he's home. And he finally quite smoking. His son told me that when they did some lung function tests, his father had better lung power than he did himself. I think his son is about 65. I don't necessarily want to be on my own at 94, but when I'm 65, I don't want to be on my way to being housebound. If I should have grandchildren some day, I want to be an active grandmother.

Being in school and a lover of reading means that I often pay too much attention to the life of my mind than my body. And it's also easy when you're in seminary to pay less attention to your spiritual life because you're so wrapped up iin the academic part. I'm determined to be a more balanced person. I want to feel good physically mentally, and spiritually.

I see a lot of older women trying to stay fit so they can look young. That is not my goal. I just want to feel strong. I don't want to be winded when I go up the stairs with my laundry basket, or feel like I can't get on the floor to play with my dog (or a grandchild in the future). 

Part of my lack of blogging and social media decrease is helping me in that regard. And with that, I'd better get busy.