Party Down in Godliness!

Work is always there.  Eventually, I will have to talk about keeping a good attitude on the job and all that stuff that you know but don’t want to do.  But for NOW — we are still talking about fun! 

I went through a stage, and perhaps other girls have too, where I didn’t know what to do with my friends.  I saw them once a week at drama, but other than that I was at a loss!  I have given it some thinking since then, and I have come up with some great ideas for fun, some of which can be just girls, and others can be a mixed crowd. 

Spa Day:  I haven’t been to a real spa (yet!) but when my girlfriends came over in the summer I used to get out my Klutz natural spa book and we would make up face, hand and foot masks.  These are all-natural — like the banana and honey mask I did on my sister’s face (she looked… interesting).  There are also hair rinses and masks we would do outside.  One recommendation:  don’t rinse out an egg yolk hair mask with hot water.  I had scrambled eggs in my hair all day.

Shopping!:  One of my best friends (the one pictured in the last post) loves to shop, and so do I.  Often we go downtown and window-shop, or when the district has a Spring or Winter Open House, and the streets are closed off for shoppers, we go together and help pick out Christmas and birthday presents for each other’s families.  It helps knock items off the lists and is a great time together as well.

Movies:  I usually check the ratings before I head to the theater, simply because of one mistake I made with three girlfriends.  We all had recommendations for the movie “Mamma Mia” and were appalled with what we saw.  We thought it was PG, but I guess it was PG-13.  The theater didn’t show ratings on the board!  When there IS a good movie in theaters, my friends (guys and girls) usually get a group together and watch it.  We had a great turnout for the latest Indiana Jones movie — I think we had 15 homeschooled and graduated movie-goers!

Horseback Riding:  My family has horses, so for those who ride, we take on trail rides out into the country.  It’s a blast, and the more experienced the friend, the more fun it is.  There is so much wildlife and nature to see, and depending on the time of year, we can eat different wild fruits, berries and plants. 

Dancing:  Our local arts school offers dance lessons of all kinds, so for several months (before I started working late) my sisters and I, along with a group of guys and girls, would go Tuesday nights to ballroom dance lessons.  Afterward was an open dance that we stayed for.  Twice a month the local Big Band played at an old ballroom for special swing and ballroom dances.  I never made it to one of those, but my friends did.  This type of dancing is clean, elegant and beautiful — and SO much fun!  We had a blast learning the steps and hope to continue it when we can.

Skiing and Skating:  Depending on where you live, the snowy sports can be a great place to go with family and friends.  Of course, as my readers may know, don’t spend any quality time with the lift runners (see ‘A Little Flirt Don’t Hurt’)!  If you know how to ski or skate, or are at least willing to learn, these are some of the most memorable sports for wintertime. 

Go to a Game:  What sports do you and your siblings and/or friends share a liking for?  My fam is really into hockey — it’s a multi-generational sport with us.  I also like baseball.  And I will watch football, although I don’t understand it.  My cousins and sibs go to the hockey games that my dad and uncle play in, and I went to a baseball game this past summer with the church.  This is another great group event. 

Kayaking, Canoeing and Rafting:  Now we’re getting more athletic, and slowly moving out of my area of expertise!  I do participate in these sports though, and this past summer we had such fun kayaking the Crooked River with friends.  Canoeing is my personal preference, although I did go rafting with the college group as well.  If you have water nearby (and Michigan does, I assure you!) there are plenty of great outlets available.

These are just some options for a great time that are still honoring to God and including family.  This is one of those ‘fluff’ posts you write when you can’t think of anything else :-).  I will be talking about making brothers and sisters best friends next time.

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The ‘Good’ Kind of Party

When I went downstate to spend a weekend with a friend who was at college, she told me how some other students in her apartment complex were constantly inviting her and her roomate over for ‘a party’.  They never quite defined what ‘party’ meant.  From the thumps, shouts, and raucous laughter my friend rightfully inferred that it was the kind of party she didn’t want to be at.  “Why can’t people just party the GOOD way?!” She exclaimed to me.  “WE know how to party down in godliness!”

This isn’t exactly an astounding, controversial or life-changing topic.  It’s the topic of Fun.  However, fun is a part of life too, and how we go about having it directly affects us and our witness.  How can we have a good time without sacrificing our walk with God?  It’s very possible.  But it comes down to what you want.

The world advertises a specific kind of fun to us, saying that if we aren’t doing these specific things, then truly, we aren’t having fun at all.  The world’s definition of fun is, from a Christian perspective:  “sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft… fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like…” (Galatians 5:19-21).  These things come wrapped up in neat, pretty little packages — like cocktail parties, ‘romantic’ nights out that escalate to greater proportions, clubs and groups that dabble in cults or witchcraft, and ‘harmless’ visits to bars and nightclubs.  To our world, these things are just part of life.  Yet for the Christian, these are representative of the life they left behind. 

For Christian girls and boys, usually homeschooled, doing these things is the last thing on their minds.  It wouldn’t even occur to you to go to a bar, much less to attend a drinking frenzy on a beach somewhere.  For the Christian, the problem comes from compromise.  We can’t just say “I don’t drink” and call it good. Our commitment requires us to go deeper in evaluating what we do and where we go.

I have been invited to parties where they would be drinking.  I have been places where drinking was taking place.  Being in the presence of drinking does not motivate me to join in, but at the same time, if I were endorsing the goings-on with my presence, then perhaps the better choice would be to leave.  This is not simply for my sake, and my reputation, but also for my witness.  People judge Christians by their actions — if we seem to be compromising a life of purity for the sake of a good time, our representation of Christ is sullied.

This post is not about drinking.  Drinking is just one of those widely accepted aspects of our culture that is too often taken too far.  Alcohol in and of itself is not evil:  it is not a ‘demon in a bottle’.  But we must ask ourselves:  who is my God?  Can I give up drinking this at a party even if I look like the stick-in-the-mud?  Can I give up anything so that God is truly God in my life?

It could be drinking; it could be an occultic game; it could be a questionable relationship; it could be gossip — it could be anything that feels like fun!  In that moment we have decision to make.  Do we sacrifice Christ on the crucifix of Good Times, or do we allow Him to reign over every circumstance?  It is perfectly possible to have a wonderful time with friends without turning our backs on the grace of God.  I will discuss how to ‘party down in godliness’ in my next post!