Monday, January 19, 2015

Holy Housewifery

It looks like an old-fashioned manual on how to be holier-than-thou.

It's not.

The book is a delightful combination.
If you can look past the occasional references to praying to the saints, you find humor and pretty decent theology.

Imagine a combination of Martin Luther, Matt Harrison, John Kleinig, and Peter Bender -- on topics of vocation and joy and marriage and contentment and suffering and serving-the-neighbor (albeit a bit short on the Gospel).  Stir in a hefty amount of humor similar to Erma Bombeck's (yes!!).  Sprinkle lightly with some Roman Catholic perspective.  

It's a very quick read. 
By Ethel Marbach. 
Published in 1964.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Reading Challenge 2015

Challenge is probably too strong a word.  Maybe "plans."  Or "tentative plans."  Or wish list.

How to Respond to Eastern Religions -- finished Jan 7
Crunchy Cons, by Dreher

The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You,  by Aron
Let's Roll, by Beamer
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
Light in the Dark Belt: The Story of Rosa Young
Wild Swans, by Chang
On Being a Theologian of the Cross, by Forde

Holy Housewifery (because somebody mentioned it jokingly on Jenny's FB page and I happen to have a copy)

Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good, by Karon 
Beyond the Mists, by Benchley
Cutting for Stone, by Verghese

Harry Potter
Hammer of God

With Maggie:
Anne of Ingleside
Rainbow Valley
Rilla of Ingleside

Broken: 7 "Christian" Rules Every Christian Ought to Break

Swallows and Amazon series
or Little House series (again)
or Little Britches series
or Five Little Peppers

Friday, January 09, 2015

Kid's Choice: Mom-at-Home or Mom-at-Work

The story comes from many different families.  Kid says, "Mommy, don't go to work today.  Stay home with me."  Mommy says, "Well, I could quit my job and stay home with you.  But if I do, then we don't have money to buy the things you like.  Don't you like going to the go-kart track?  Don't you like going out for pizza?  Don't you like the toys we buy and the Buzz Lightyear sweatshirt you chose last week?  If I didn't have a job, I wouldn't have money to buy those things."  Kid thinks a bit.  Kid says, "Go to work, Mommy."

People laugh.
People think it's so cute.

I would be embarrassed to announce proudly that my kid would prefer material stuff from me than my company.  (That is, assuming that Mom's income is not buying necessities such as rent, groceries, and medicine.) 

My question:  WHY does a kid answer, "Go to work, Mommy"?  Because the child is accustomed to day-care, does he see only the loss of stuff and not the gain of his parents' attention?  Is it that the child naturally prefers indulgences to being with parents?  (I suspect not but may be wrong.)  Has the child learned that the parents think the toys and outings are a higher priority than copious time together as a family? 

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Community -- Consumerism

find and express their personal identity through the consumption of products.  Its ultimate goal is the spread of happiness and well-being through the improvement of material conditions, and the creation of general increase of wealth.
There's nothing objectively wrong with material progress, and a great deal right with it.
The problem is the way we relate to our materials gains.
Crunchy Cons, page 29

A society built on consumerism must break down eventually for the same reason socialism did: because even though it is infinitely better than socialism at meeting our physical needs and gratifying our physical desires, consumerism also treats human beings as merely materialists, as ciphers on a spreadsheet.  It cannot, over time, serve the deepest needs of the human person for stability, spirituality, and authentic community.
Crunchy Cons, page 49

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Community -- Technology

Americans naively accept new technologies, thinking only of what these technologies can do, but never what they can undo.
Crunchy Cons, page 33,
referring to Neil      
Postman's Technopoly

TV.  Facebook.  Smart-phones.  Email lists. 

But they're here.
No undoing it.
How do we respond, 
using the technology wisely,
and yet preserving what that technology will undo?

Monday, January 05, 2015

Community -- Individualism

Free-market, technology-driven capitalism, for all its benefits, tends to pull families and communities apart by empowering individuals and encouraging --even mandating-- individualism.  Most Americans would say, "Hey, what's wrong with individualism?" not thinking about the social costs of strained and even broken familial and communal bonds.  
Crunchy Cons, page 41

Christmas Pictures: Time for Games

Big girls played "Ticket to Ride."

Younger set tried their hand at Battleship.

The fellas pulled out their Magic Cards.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Community -- A Book

Eight years ago, a bunch of my friends started a book-discussion group.  I wanted to join.  But I was still homeschooling three kids.  Somebody's artery was beginning to fail and surgery was being planned.  It was the wrong time for me to be reading for myself. 

So now I'm ready. 

The book was published in 2006.  Rod Dreher wrote Crunchy Cons

I think now is a much better time for me to be reading this book.  I've been struggling with questions that I didn't have eight years ago.  Moving to suburbia and starting a job-for-wages has brought with it an unsettledness.  An unsettledness which I haven't been able to make sense of.  And this book is helping.

The book is about how certain traditionalists can't stand the liberals because so much of what they're about is fulfilling their lusts, unrestrained.  And yet, these same traditionalists can't stand the conservatives because so much of what they're about is fulfilling their greed, unrestrained.   The book is about how this basic premise coincides with a plethora of topics: obesity, immigration policy, how everyone bemoans that we don't know our neighbors, the fussing betwixt our township and the nearby village, organic veggies and food co-ops, a new Meijer's or a new YMCA, the tremendous importance of stay-at-home moms, and so much more.

What I'm pondering most is the thesis that many who consider themselves conservatives, aren't.  They may be in the "conservative" political party.  They may be in favor of the free market.  But if they're still driven by the consumerism that dominates this culture, they're fooling themselves.  Getting more stuff and "growing the economy" isn't conservative.  Spending time with family, appreciating beauty, serving the neighbor, working hard, being in touch with the natural world -- that's what being conservative is really about.

More Christmas Pictures

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Fixing Pietism

Joe has been accused of being a pietist.  He wonders, "Am I?" 

What's the solution?

Usually the person cusses, gets drunk, and does other decidedly impious things.  Hey, if he's not pious, then he can't trust in his piety, right?  Problem solved!

Except it's not.

Sometimes the flip-side is a response.  "Am I a pietist?  Am I looking too much at my own devotion, my own prayers, my own obedience?"  So I look closer at myself.  I pay more attention to my devotions and my church-attendance and my prayers.  After all, I need to pay attention to my efforts to not pay attention to myself.

What did I just say?

you see the conundrum plain as day, huh?

Maybe there actually is a solution.
A solution that looks nothing like the two common fixes.

Maybe the solution is, "Lord Jesus, I am a pietist.  I want You to like me better than the next guy because I'm such a good Christian.  This is self-idolatry.  I beg You to have mercy on me, a sinner."

Do you think He will?

Christmas Pictures

Mr Photogenic

Matthias weighed down with medals.

Philip's height provides a grrreat view.

Papa and some children.

I love this happy picture!

Friday, January 02, 2015

Pre-Christmas Pictures

Church's choirs singing with the symphony orchestra.

Alia and Zoe -- shepherds in the SunSch Christmas pageant.

Broken in 2014

Broken car.  The deer ran into it.

Broken brain.  Who knew there was an aneurysm waiting to burst?

Broken garden.  But Katie helped.
Broken body.  Side effects of the hospitalization and medications.
Broken garage floor.  Last winter was COLD.

Broken pipe in the septic system.  Last winter was COLD.

Broken furnace.  Again: last winter was cold.

Broken water-filtration system.

Broken lung.  Antibiotics can do wonders for Pneumonia-Girl.

Broken car again.  Another naughty deer.

Broken different-car.  Just some aging.

Youth group began reading Fisk's Broken this year, so Maggie and I read a chapter together before the discussion meetings.  Hey.  HEY!  It was NOT supposed to be an omen!  Here's hoping for a less broken summation-of-the-year twelve months hence.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sins and/or Ills

At Lessons and Carols the other night, we sang the LSB version of a Gerhardt Christmas hymn:
Children, from the sins that grieve you,
you are freed.

It struck me because TLH says,
Brethren, from all ills that grieve you,
you are freed.

It's like what Matthew tells us (chapter 8).  While Isaiah says, "He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows," Matthew quotes it as "He took up our infirmities and bore our sicknesses."

Even though the sicknesses wouldn't be here but for sin,
even though sin is the cause of illness and death,
sometimes it nice to know that Jesus isn't "just" the cure for our sinfulness, but is also the one who bore the brokenness of our bodies, our snotty noses, our achy joints, our headaches, our mental shortcomings, and our physical weakness.  And because He took those infirmities to the cross, that gives us a cure.  The cure.

"From all ills that grieve you
you are freed.
All you need
I will surely give you."