Saturday, October 07, 2006

Hospital Update

This child is still snotty-nosed and coughing. Still no fever. If we're leaving for a week, we need to spend tomorrow afternoon packing. But at this point, we don't know what things will look like Monday morning and whether surgery will remain scheduled for Tuesday or not.

"Not knowing" is always so wearying. Are the kids keeping house next week for themselves or not? If we're going to be in the city, will it be for 4 days or 12? Do we have a place to stay at the Ronald McDonald House, or will we be staying with friends who are 20 minutes from the hospital? And when will we even know? I'm not sure we'll know until Monday lunchtime what next week's plan are. This drives me nuts.

That Slick-Fella's Yardsign

Well, my husband mentioned to the church council what had happened with regard to the candidate's yardsign on the church property. They all thought it was pretty rotten of him to do that, but they decided that nothing should be done other than phoning him and asking him not to do it again. So my husband did, and the man asked if he could come pick up the sign. My husband warned him that he will probably have to face an irritated woman when he comes to fetch the sign. :-) He was supposed to have come on Monday or Tuesday, and he hasn't shown up yet.

So on Monday I called the county clerk, the state elections board, and the sheriff's office, asking about the rules regarding signs. Two things amazed me. First, it seems generally agreed upon that candidates aren't supposed to place signs without asking permission, but apparently it's not a "rule." However, what seems much clearer than placement of yardsigns is that no one is supposed to remove a yardsign. The elections board even said that I should call the police and have them remove the sign rather than taking it down myself. Second thing that surprised me was that the suggested recourse (from both the elections board and the sheriff's office) was to charge the man with trespassing.

Doesn't having a guy arrested for trespassing seem a bit like overkill? I think people should know about his sleazy campaign practices, but having him arrested seems like it's going a bit too far.

I was stunned by how many people told me that it's "only common courtesy" to give the sign back. (I did find out, however, that the law does not require me to give it back.) Everyone who told me about "courtesy," though, seemed oblivious to the fact that the candidate hadn't used common courtesy in asking if he could put a sign in the neighbor's yard. And he didn't have common courtesy to honor my instructions that there be no sign in my yard. I guess they think that I should respond with common courtesy no matter what he does. I suppose that's why fathers aren't supposed to shoot intruders who drop through their ceilings in the middle of the night [see "Guns in the Home" from Sept 27]. I bet these are adults who scold a little child when he grabs his toy back from the bully.

Another thing that bothered me about the conversations is the general acceptance of the idea that we should never take matters into our own hands. We should call the police and have them take the sign down, have the police return the sign to the candidate, but WE ought never be so bold as to take down a sign ourselves, even if it was put in our own yard after we said "you can't do that." I was told a similar thing once before by police, when I was reported to police for making a child leave our property when she'd been vandalizing us. The policeman knew who the trouble-maker was in that incident, but he also knew the way the law worked, and he advised us always to call the police to handle even the smallest incidents. This country is going to go broke on trying to buy enough law-enforcement.

Friday, October 06, 2006

A Hog's Head?

Son phones from work. Oh, no, panic time. This week he's learning to solder and he's already given himself a couple of minor burns.

No, it's okay. The phone call isn't about injuries.

"Mom, do you have any idea of what to do with a hog's head?"

I didn't know what was behind that question.

"Well, they are having a contest at work."

I assumed this was a contest for creative ideas of what to do with a hog's head. In a lovely fit of community spirit, the company bought one of the hogs at the county fair last month. They roasted the victim today and treated the employees to dinner.

I proceeded to explain that some people make head cheese.

"Well, ummm, I won it."

He won WHAT?

"The hog's head. They had a raffle for it, and I won. Turns out I was the only one who entered. I figured if anyone knew what to do with the head of a pig, my mother would."

Hmmm. I think that might've been a compliment.
It's hard to know for sure.

I'm certainly not surprised that he's the only one who entered the raffle.

I guess tomorrow we'll be boiling the head until we get the meat to fall off, and we'll throw some barbecue sauce on it, and have sandwiches. Any other suggestions? I sure don't have time to mess with anything complicated when we're getting ready to leave for a week or two on Monday morning.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Hospital Update

Three and a half days to pre-op, and this kid has a runny nose and froggy throat. I hope it's allergies. We haven't been good about taking the dietary enzymes with meals the last week. I've noticed my allergies have started acting up without the enzymes, and it's reasonable that hers might be too. I've started putting zinc and C and raw garlic and echinacea into her, along with a renewed commitment to the enzymes. Boy, I wonder how long it would have to be put off if we have to reschedule surgery because of a cold. At least there's no fever. Yet.

Tolerance of False Doctrine

For years I had a really hard time with the fact that so much false teaching is allowed to go unchecked in our church body. But in the last few years, Pastor has helped me understand that we believe in the "holy Christian Church" as we state in the Creed. We don't see the holiness of the Church. As individual Christians are weighed down by sin, so are church bodies. We are, individually, declared pure and righteous for the sake of Christ; so too our church is declared pure, and we don't experience its purity yet. I've had dear friends contemplating leaving the Lutheran church because it's not pure enough. So when I read Rev Rolf Preus's comments recently, I agreed completely and wanted to pass them along. I found this at Beggars All dated October 2.

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The LCMS permits false teachers. You will likely not be removed from the LCMS if you promote false doctrine. It happens, but rarely. Paul Bretcher denied the deity of Christ. It took a while, but he was removed. Benke is made into a folk hero and his supporters claim to represent the true position of the LCMS.

On the other hand, the W/ELS will remove pastors for teaching the truth. The failure to submit to the doctrinal authority of the synod as synod is grounds for removal and the breaking of fellowship. Those who express fellowship with those removed are themselves threatened with the breaking of fellowship. This is the real "unit concept" at work.

Independent congregations develop strange and sectarian tendencies in a very short time. Pastors and congregations need mutual support and encouragement from other pastors and congregations devoted to the same truth.

Little synods that break away also become quite sectarian. Witness the self-destruction of the LCR as confessionally grounded pastors are hounded out of the fellowship for daring to apply what the Lutheran Confessions actually say to the life of the church.

How to set boundaries? It's a never ending task. I offer no solutions, just the problems we face. I've been in a synod that tolerates error while officially teaching the truth. I've been in a synod that exercises discipline on the basis of extra-biblical authority. I believe that it is better to permit the guilty to remain free than it is to convict the innocent. Call me a liberal. They say that a conservative is a liberal who just got mugged. Well, a liberal is a conservative who just got arrested. When you face unbiblical authority that lays claim to your doctrinal allegience you are facing a spiritual wickedness that poses a far greater danger to the church than does the weakness of soft-hearted Missourians who think that the Benkes of this world are just a little misled and can by means of dialogue be brought around. Tolerance of false doctrine within a synod is not nearly so bad as the intolerance of the truth. It was Dr. David P. Scaer who said that to me years ago. When I reminded him of it he had forgotten that he said it. But I have not forgotten. Scaer was, without knowing it, prophetic.

The next few years and decades will be a challenge for all confessinal Lutherans who want to belong to a truly confessional fellowship. I offer this advice to confessional Missourians looking for that ever illusive orthodox synod. Be careful! There is something more valuable than what you are seeking, and that is the truth that you already have.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

One of those days

I started the grain soaking for the bread last night. When I went to put the other ingredients into the dough and knead, there was no yeast. There's always supposed to be a pound of yeast in reserve in the basement, but there's none in the kitchen nor in the basement. By the time I manage to get my hands on some yeast, the wheat is going to be way over-soaked.

I picked up the little old car from the repair place yesterday. The oil light flashed at me on the way home a few times. I checked the oil and there was nothing on the dipstick. The people that drive that particular car have been forgetting that Zippy guzzles oil like crazy. So we put two quarts in her and need to check again how low she is.

Different kid was in a car wreck. All the humans are fine. The vehicles are not.

Found a moth and two worms in the rice jar when I was making lunch.

Waiting to hear test results of a friend's biopsy.

Went to deliver papers to the paper-carriers today. It had to start pouring just as we got to town. I managed to get all the papers into the garage of the guy who has the biggest route, without getting the papers tooooo damp. And then I remembered that he's out of town and I was supposed to deliver the bundles to his substitute. Put all the bundles of newspapers back into the van, got there to the sub's house, found his whole driveway was entirely full of broken-down vehicles, and the street was entirely full of puddles.

The slimy Democrat was supposed to come by last night to talk to me and pick up his yardsign. He never showed.

Distressed about something that happened Monday night. There will be a chance to talk about the problem tomorrow.

On Saturday, our little area of the world became overrun by box-elder bugs. They're everywhere. On Sunday, that infestation was joined by centipedes. They were everywhere outdoors, crawling on everything, more than you could possibly count. It's been raining for several days, and the centipedes have migrated indoors. At least they are (so far) confined to the floor of the basement, and not the furniture nor the upstairs.

I'm ready to quit everything now and go watch tv and eat Snickers. But I can't. The laundry beckons. The children need to be fed. The bread needs to be made ahead of time for next week. I need to go to work. And one child is insistent on my helping her with schoolwork right now. Can't we just deal with FOOD first?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Romeo & Juliet and the Seal of the Confessional

Friday we went to APT for our last show of the season -- Romeo and Juliet. It's not one of the plays I like, but it was being produced by one of my favorite directors there, so we organized a small group of homeschoolers to attend a school matinee.

It was the best play we saw this season! The first act was hilarious. No stuffy romance here, but all the silly fun of giggling at infatuated teenagers.

The thing that got me was the tragedy of the second act. I think the message I'm supposed to get from the show is about feuds and grudges and fighting. But instead, I kept wondering what would've happened if the pastor had been a faithful father-confessor.

Confessors must not only pronounce forgiveness to the penitent, but must also honor the seal of the confessional. This means not only that they "don't tell," but also that it is as though they never heard the confession themselves -- Jesus did. The priest in the story refused to "let God be God"; he wanted to interfere with circumstances. He wanted to settle the family feuds. He wanted to arrange temporal peace in their city. And so he took matters into his own hands. And it didn't turn out very well, did it?

Of course, there wouldn't have been much of a story if the priest had told the kids to honor their parents, if he'd refused to marry them against their parents' wishes, if he hadn't suggested the whole feigned-suicide thing. I guess stories always need a bad guy. But maybe Tybalt and Mercutio weren't the real bad guys here.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Psalm 91 + Matthew 21

Pastor keeps talking about how the job of the angels is to minister God's word. He keeps telling us how they preach in the unseen realm the things he preaches where we see and hear. He keeps telling us that it is not the angels' job to keep us out of car accidents; they are preachers.

Okay. Sounds good. But it's hard to get that through my head when that's so entirely contrary to what's out there in our world.

So this morning I'm reading the psalm appointed for the day in Congregation at Prayer.
He will give His angels charge over you
To keep you in all your ways.
In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

Well, think of all the times Jesus is considered a stone. He was the Rock in the wilderness that provided water to the children of Israel. He is often referred to in the psalms as a rock or a fortress. At the end of Matthew 21, Jesus applies Psalm 118 to Himself:
The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
This was the Lord's doing
And it is marvelous in our eyes.

Then He goes on to talk about people falling on this Stone, or this Stone falling on them. So when we hear about "dashing your foot against a stone," ought we maybe to be thinking of tripping over Jesus and stumbling over the message of the gospel of forgiveness in His cross? (After all, the passages that are flitting through my mind are Ps 118 and Mt 21, and we can't get a whole lot more messianic than that!)

But I keep thinking of all the things we normally say about the protection of the angels. And yet, WHO was it in Mt 4 that quoted this Ps 91 passage and turned it into a promise of protection from owies and booboos? He's not exactly the most trustworthy commentator. The more I think about this, the more it seems that Ps 91 is saying that the angels shall bear you up in their hands lest you renounce the gospel of God's love seen in Christ's cross.