re|think everything




[in singular] a reassessment, especially one that results in changes being made.

I am thinking about many things including the future of this blog.  I was particularly challenged by a conversation this weekend.  My sister questioned why I “live so much in the past?”  She was wishing for me that I would be able to “get on with my life.”

Long before that conversation, I have asked for a clear insight about what is next for me.  I have been seeking — praying — listening.

Rethinking What I Know about Myself.

  • I need to know  that my life contributes to a grander and larger story than simply my own.
  • I have certain passions — God-given, I believe.  Most notable photography.  biblical studies.  women.  any injustice.
  • One spiritual gift I have seems to be Mercy. My heart breaks over the corruption and greed in some that leads to poverty and pain for others.  Over persecuted people groups.  Over homophobia, racism, sexism.  Over anyone being homeless.
  • My voice, in writing, is loud and clear and sometimes even challenging.  Out loud I am meek and unclear, which I experienced this weekend to my dismay.

Rethinking Biblical Translation & Interpretation.

I have a hunger to understand scripture for myself.  Dare I say this?  It frightens me that so much of (most or all) biblical interpretation throughout history was done by men.  It gnaws at me from inside out.

I am not a raging neofeminist or even a strong proponent of a feminist or liberation theology.  (I guess I don’t know enough about them to say one way or another.)  Simply put, things have been stacked against us:women

  • A patriarchal society& culture brought us the message of the scriptures that we live our lives by. 
  • Another group of men translated it into the language for “everyone.”
  • And, then in most churches today men stand up and interpret scripture every Sunday and all week long.

“The Bible has shaped the life of the church in a way that nothing else has done and Christians today are the product of the history of its interpretation.” 1

Why should I trust their translations and interpretations categorically without question?  This is simply foolish, in my opinion.  And still I pray for a spirit of humility — that I would be a fertile ground.  I ask why do I think these things and if my motives are wrong or I am simply being foolish in my thinking, that this thinking would change.  And, I have thought of many responses to this conundrum, from applying to be an unpaid intern at my church in biblical hermeneutics, I would hope, to bring a feminine voice to the teaching being done, to going to seminary.

Rethinking My Role.

As I seriously consider the perception of being a “woman of leisure” which I wrote about recently, I get mired in my own frustrations and can’t pull together clear thoughts.  Because it is emotional for me!  I don’t care about the money (perhaps I should) but I want respect.  And I know if I don’t respect women who stay home, then how can I expect others to respect me?

And before you email me about the value of being at home with kids, know that I’ve had more than ten years to ponder this subject.  I don’t need “encouragement” in that regard.  It is an incredibly complicated personal decision for every women and I do respect the difficult place women (so much more than men) are in.  So if you are a man, butt out. No one can make this choice for a woman or explain away her doubt, fear, aspirations, goals, or desire for “accomplishment” or get why she cries to be away from her babies.

Recently, First Lady Michelle Obama was named Most Powerful Woman of the Year, beating out heads of state, chief executives and celebrities in Forbes magazine’s annual listing.  Some women came out saying Ms. Obama talks about herself as a wife and mother and were questioning how that makes her influential?   Gr…..

But I digressed into an issue that is only a side story in my search for a place to make an impact and contribution.

And I am still left thinking at this point, is this blog much ado about nothing?  Is it time to stop?”

Rethink Everything.

It is difficult for me, at times, to look back over the last decade of my life.  In human terms — quitting  a meaningful, challenging job, succumbing to clinical depression, becoming addicted to alcohol, and straying far away from the LORD — it was all failure on my part. And yet, it was through those experiences, as mortifying as they are and were to me, that I have come to recognize many things.

I am actually grateful to have been brought so low.  I can only hope that I am still learning and am becoming a person useful to the LORD.  I had to trudge through the violence of my childhood and my feeling of betrayal and disappointment towards my parents — and forgive them.  This has opened me up to a new life.

Christ’s broken body for me was real and meaningful in a new way never understood until my humiliation.  And gratefully I can say, this drove me to my knees.  I went from someone who felt she was competent, powerful, knowledgeable and puffed up with my importance to a broken reed, hardly knowing up from down.  Alcohol devastated me — became the thing that I lived for.  The passion, the dreaming, the hoping, the living stopped.

I am so grateful to not have lost everything. It is humbling to sit here in the comfort of my home knowing that I am loved by my husband and adored by my children.  Undeserved, as I know how close I came to losing  all that I now hold dear and even my life.

As I consider what the future holds for me I want to be fertile ground.  Looking back, mostly glad to have fallen.  To have learned.  As I look ahead there is no perfect plan.  I must trust while serving, not knowing the future.  Trust that I have a contribution to make, but if that “thing” the “plan” never happens, hope that I will continue to be grateful and if I am never made whole, still I will ask for it.  And hope.  And stay open.


I have more than fifty poems I have written here.  This one, is called addict.

Being an addict catches me by surprise.  Today,

seemingly innocent things — a drink, a smoke, a purchase, food, even exercise can become



In the time that it takes to feel a flash of happiness, sadness or regret;

less than 60 seconds of my life

and I remember,

I am an addict.  How could I have forgotten?

Today I must ask what brought this on?

For tomorrow I must fill the need

with OTHER.

As for yesterday, I can only look back and remember

I am an addict, but I am stronger than my need.

And as for this moment — I know I am an addict;

I am. I was. I always will be, always will be

an addict.

ADDICT written april 9, 2009 by melody harrison hanson

Those that have no background in addiction look at the word ADDICT and the word alcoholic as kind of wicked and weak.  Face it, our culture doesn’t understand.  But if you’ve been there, if you live there, if you love someone who does or has you know exactly what I mean.  And I thank you for understanding.

1 Bray, Gerald.  Biblical Interpretation: Past & Present, 1996, IVP

Ack Americans! Is it time to head for the border?

from Smithsonian :Folio from a Koran :9th-10th...
Image via Wikipedia

Seriously, the lack of compassion for and understanding of Muslim culture and the Koran by your every day American has me thinking.

Although I kind of take pride in the fact that I am an open-minded person (not like the Crazies), I really don’t know anything about Muslim culture. Like, is it the Koran or the Qur’an?  I don’t know.  So I picked up a copy at Borders the other day.

Like the Bible, there are  many and varied translations and I had no idea which was better than another.  So I based my decision on two things.  First chose a trusted publisher so that they will at least treat the translation like literature.  And second, the price.  I’m a practical person.

$12 for the Koran published by PENGUIN CLASSICS and translated by N.J. Dawood born in Baghdad.  He published the first book of the Koran in contemporary English.   It is also available in a parallel English-Arabic edition but I decided I should stick to my native language. From the back:

N.J. Dawood’s masterly translation is the result of his lifelong study of the Koran’s language and style, and presents the English reader with a fluent and authoritative rendering, while reflecting the flavour and rhythm of the original.

“Across the language barrier Dawood captures the thunder and poetry of the original.” THE TIMES

And so, against the advice of the introduction, I proceeded to read the first chapter, called a surah. The introduction said that a beginner should start with one of the shorter (easier) chapters.  I’ve never been one for listening to advice like this.  Don’t think my brain is meaty enough, huh?  Stubbornly I ventured into the beautiful and poetic verse.

But reading the Koran got me thinking.

How many Christians not only have never read the Koran but have never read their own Holy Bible through?  You don’t have to raise your hand, but I will.  Never.  Not straight through.  I mean, c’mon, some of it is freaking boring and it is downright disturbing in places.

I consider myself to have studied a fair amount.  Taken many classes and done many studies of books of the Bible.  But it hasn’t been since high school that I took a survey of the Old Testament.  So I’m going to also put myself on a plan for reading through the Bible.

Not wanting to be overly aggressive and make goals that you and I both know I will fail to carry out, I found one on-line by Margie Haack which she calls ‘The Bible Reading Plan for Slackers and Shirkers because you don’t have to do it within a timeframe and it has variety with a focus on genres not books.

I have a confession to make (please do not tell my husband*) but I love ORDER.

I love the tradition and stability of the high church.  My soul kind of craves knowing that over a period of one to three years the church would present the full picture.  Obviously that renders the opposite, where churches pick and choose and seem to flit about based on the whim or indigestion of the pastor or whether he had a fight with his wife, scares the shit out of me!  My church seems to find a balance though it could lean a bit more toward the liturgical calendar for me, but then it’s not about me is it?

*You see, though I crave order I am rather ADHD in my life — Books I am reading, housekeeping, relationships, in my writing, in my heart & mind!  I would love to see a flow chart of my brain.  No I wouldn’t that would be crazy!  Anyhow, my brain wants order.  And so when I set my alarm every night to wake at 5:30 am and I get up, make my coffee, take my pills and then sit down and take my reading  from A Guide to Prayer for Ministers & Other Servants (that’s me, Other) I feel grounded.  I usually have an hour before anyone in the house is awake to follow my plan for the week of reading and prayer.   In this structure I find a peace.  A tranquility. A sense of order to my chaos.

I sit down alone,

Only God is here;

In his presence I open,

I read his books;

And what I thus learn,

I teach.

(I would say “And what I thus learn, I try to live.”)

— John Wesley

So, back to the plan for reading the Bible.  Here’s how it works:

  • Sundays: Poetry
  • Mondays: Pentateuch (Genesis through Deuteronomy)
  • Tuesdays: Old Testament history
  • Wednesdays: Old Testament history
  • Thursdays: Old Testament prophets
  • Fridays: New Testament history
  • Saturdays: New Testament epistles (letters)

What’s great is if you do miss a day – just pick up with the next reading the next day.  You get to the end, when ever.  What’s even better, for a big picture person like me, is this plan allows us to see the many interconnections between sections of Scripture.  There’s nothing better than a plan that offers discipline and order that I crave and the grace to accomplish it!

Read on!


Here’s a  link to where you can download the plan from Ransom Fellowship.