Saturday, October 21, 2006

Inclusive Language

I started looking at TLH hymns last night, and which ones were kept in LSB, and which ones were changed significantly. One of the things that struck me was the amount of inclusive language that was popped-in here and there. But somehow, most of it is relatively innocuous. There are a lot of places where "He" is replaced by "God." But not everywhere, like is done in hymnals in some of those rabidly feminist denominations. I even found one place where "Creator" was replaced by "our Father" which is definitely going the wrong direction from the politically-correct crowd. There are a lot of places where "mankind" is replaced by "people." I guess that's not so bad. The one that bugs me a little more is when the change is from "sons of God" to "children of God." That has a little more theological import. Jesus is the Son of God; we are in Him; we (girls included) are thus sons of God.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Murder by Handgun

Milwaukee talk-show host Charlie Sykes is talking this morning about the girl who aborted her own baby. Early in the pregnancy, she couldn't afford an abortion. So when she was about 9 months along, she shot herself in the belly with a handgun. The baby died.

Now, a lot of things could be discussed. Abortion. The value of life. Depression. Society's shock (!) when a person behaves consistently with a lesson we've been diligently teaching. How judges and juries should respond when the law is clearly wrong. But I'm going to try to refrain from discussing these things, other than at the dinner table.

But Charlie made one very interesting point. This is one case where the liberals will not be against handguns.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


A man showed up at the door of the parsonage today, looking for "Pastor." That's not usual. Most people are looking for "Mr Somebody" or "Pastor Gary" or "your husband." But this man politely asked for the pastor. I was kind of taken aback because he was wearing a yarmulke. We've occasionally had Mormons and JWs show up, but never had Jews show up to proselytize.

Turned out he wasn't on evangelistic duty. He was the new Quill salesman. He found the door of the church locked, so was checking out the parsonage to find the pastor.

I was impressed. He was very respectful toward the Office of the Ministry.

My youngest son was impressed. He'd never seen a yarmulke in real life -- just in the movies.

My husband was impressed. When they were done talking, he offered to take the man to the parking lot through the direct route, which would've involved walking in the nave, seeing as how our church is only one room, one huge room. (Well, except for the bathrooms.) But the man didn't want to walk through the holy space just to take a shorter (and warmer) path to his car.

Can we sign this guy up to give lessons in reverent behavior???

What Could've Gone into LSB from ELH

Chris wrote -- "... which hymns I need to make sure to incorporate in the future. If I don't know which ones they are I just might get used to living without them."

Christopher's comment piqued my interest. I knew it would be a much smaller job to look at Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary than to look at The Lutheran Hymnal. So I buzzed through ELH tonight while the rest of the family was watching Simpsons. :-)

These are the hymns that I think really really oughtn't be missed from ELH:
#484 Christ Alone Is Our Salvation
#272 O Sinner, Come, Thy Sin to Mourn

also high-priority (but not as completely absolutely necessary)
#129 I Stand Beside Thy Manger Here
#150 In This Our Happy Christmastide
#70 I See Thee Standing, Lamb of God.

Some stanzas that are missing in TLH and LSB that are available in ELH:
#43 Holy God, We Praise Thy Name
#182 One Thing's Needful (especially stanza 8 in ELH!!)
#226 By Grace I'm Saved (particularly the last stanza in ELH)
#227 Salvation Unto Us Is Come
#505 Thou Who the Night in Prayer Didst Spend
#539 Jerusalem, My Happy Home.

And some hymns in ELH that I really ought to take the time to learn, but I don't know when I'll get to it, given that we never sing them in church or use them for family or church devotions:
#95 (an Advent hymn)
#79 (a take-off on Luther's morning prayer)

also #62, 208, 220, 229, 312, 405, 430, 437, and 498.

This is, of course, my opinion only. I am not very familiar with ELH nor with the Scandinavian poets and hymnists. So I may very well be missing things that Rolf Preus would shudder over.

I'll get to looking through the MUST-KEEP LIST from TLH that didn't make it into LSB. I don't know when. But I will get to it "soon." (Taking into account, of course, that being a mommy, I consider a 3- or 4-hour project to be an all-day commitment!) If I remember correctly from when the hymnody committee was taking comments from the public, everything on the MUST-KEEP LIST from LW actually was on the keeper-list! Hooray for that!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Kids Stirring

The trick of turning good gumbo into great gumbo is stirring the roux for a long long time. Ideally, I like to keep the roux cooking for 30 minutes on low (which is why we usually have good gumbo instead of great gumbo), letting the flour get nice and dark brown. But it needs to be stirred, and the bottom of the pot needs to be scraped constantly, so that the flour doesn't burn on to the bottom, but just gets nice and crusty brown on the outside of the celery and peppers and onions.

"Yoo hoo. I need a kid to come stir for me while I pick the stewed chicken meat off the bones."

Obedient child comes traipsing into the kitchen to help with dinner. Hooray!

WHY, though, do these people not understand that "stirring" does not mean simply moving the contents of the pot around a little bit, but that the important part of stirring is keeping the contents of the pot from sticking to the bottom of the pot and eventually burning???

I keep thinking "when will they learn?!?" And yet, when will I learn that I should know by now that they won't remember, and thus I should nag .... I mean, remind them every single time?

Dobby on "Freedom of a Christian"

Pr Stuckwisch's favorite line in the sixth book of Harry Potter is at the climax, when Malfoy is threatening to kill Dumbledore, and says, "You're at my mercy." Dumbledore responds, "No, Draco, it is my mercy, and not yours, that matters now." That line is precious. But one I like as much (or better) is at the end of chapter 19, when Harry sent Kreacher and Dobby off to spy on Malfoy.

For those of you who don't know the story, Kreacher is a house-elf (servant). He used to belong to one of the evil families who supported the Dark Lord. But after a few deaths and inheritances, he ended up as the property of Harry, bound to obey his master. However, Harry is the one who the prophecy declares will destroy the Dark Lord. Kreacher murmurs and complains about his awful new master. Dobby, on the other hand, used to be a miserable house-elf for another evil family who supports the Dark Lord. Through a little trickery, Harry managed to get Dobby's master to free him from slavery. Dobby loved Harry while he was still in bondage, and loves Harry even more now that he is free. Now that that's established, back to the quote.

Harry wanted Kreacher to spy on Dobby's former master. Kreacher of course went quite grudgingly. Dobby wanted to go too. He didn't think Kreacher would do a good enough job. Dobby's response made me think of the second half of Romans 6. It made me think of what Pastor has said about Mary Magdalene being freed by Jesus, and how she didn't use her freedom to return to her previous employment.

Harry said, "Dobby, I know I'm not allowed to give you orders...."

"Dobby is a free house-elf and he can obey anyone he likes and Dobby will do whatever Harry Potter wants him to do!" said Dobby, tears now streaming down his shrivelled little face onto his jumper.

:-) Isn't that just a nifty example of "you are not under law"?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

My Day in this Parsonage

I love it that I can fill an empty gas tank in my car for less than $30!

My son is filling out applications for employment in Japan. It would be good for his acquisition of fluency in Japanese. It would be a good career move. And all I can think is that it's hard enough to find a good church in America, so how will he ever find one in Japan?

I wonder if y'all have heard of "Smart Chicken." The organic birds are about double the price of regular chicken. However, the stuff that's not organic free-range chicken costs only about 20% more than the regular chicken at the store. But it's not injected with liquids. The chicken is raised without antibiotics. The chicken is not fed animal by-products. And it comes chilled but not frozen. I simply can't afford the organic ones, but the plain ol' Smart Chicken just seems like a good plan. If mosts of the chickens and turkeys are regularly injected with broth solutions that make up 1/6 or more of the weight, then Smart Chicken actually costs about the same. But the chicken is a lot healthier, for essentially the same price. "Ask for it at your grocery store." :-) I now have twelve leg quarters cooking in the crockpot for a humongo pot of gumbo tomorrow. Ummmmm.

The church voters assembly met on Sunday. They discussed the need for the parsonage to be painted. Last time they painted, they trampled all my flowers around the house. Some recovered the following year. But many were killed good-n-dead. How do you tell volunteers who want to hurry and get a job done that they ought to be careful of your plants? After all, it's their house, not mine. It's their responsibility to paint, not mine. If I want the job done right, I should be willing to do it myself. But I'm not willing. But I know the roses and the hostas and the asparagus and the sedum are doomed.

The trustees also looked into getting a rust filter for the well water. The voters approved using last year's profits from the turkey dinner for a good filter system. That means that our underwear will no longer be orangey-pink. That means that when we clean the rust out of the toilet, the red stripes in the bowl won't be back in less than 24 hours. That means that I can actually wash the altar linens and purificators, and not have them come out grungier than when I took them off the altar. That means that I won't have sulfur odors wafting through the house whenever we open up the faucets after having them off for several hours. Pretty cool!

Although Lutheran Service Book has all sorts of great things in it, I just can't get over the loss of some of the really good hymns. The stanzas they left out of "O Lord, How Shall I Meet Thee" and "Jesus, Thy Boundless Love to Me." The translation changes in "Lord Jesus Christ, Thou Living Bread" and "Lord Jesus Christ, With Us Abide" and "From God Shall Naught Divide Me." The ones that got left out altogether ("I Will Sing My Maker's Praises" and "To Shepherds as They Watched by Night") are almost better, because we can still get them out of TLH. For some reason, these things just have me immensely sad today.

But, for good news, my dad came home from the hospital on Sunday. Things are going well at home. Test results confirm that the mass removed was malignant, but (yeehaw!) was encapsulated and had not spread at all. They expect that he should not need radiation or chemo.

We went to the last two hours of the live broadcast of "Issues Etc" yesterday. I couldn't believe how the time flew! I thought they were taking a quarter-hour break, and it turned out it was the half-hour break. (That's what I get for not wearing a watch....) For the last half-hour of the broadcast, Nathan's prof was on, and Nathan and his roommate from freshman year were also on the show. They didn't get a chance to say too much, but I thought it was pretty nifty nonetheless.


The video series Connections by James Burke is one of the things I require of the kids for their high-school work. I'm on my fourth or fifth time through this series, and every time I love it more. My husband, teens, and I watched the second mystery in the history/science series this afternoon. There are 10 one-hour videos in the series, each gathering the scientific and technological developments through history (and luck) that went into something that is common to us today. And most of the developments seem to be quite unrelated to the invention that comes together in the end of each show. Granted, the series is $150, but if you can't get this at your library, I can't think of any homeschool expense that would bring comparable benefits. It's worth it. Within the last month, some of us were discussing what "classical education" is, and one of the points someone made was about the interconnectedness of the disciplines, and how our studies shouldn't be about "subjects." This video series exemplifies that connectedness beautifully! And Mr Burke is quite witty too!

Monday, October 16, 2006


Maggie's been asking to make brownies for several days. This morning I finally relented. She looked at the recipe: "2 cups sugar." She wanted to know what that meant. Good grief.... I was about ready to call off the baking! But then she explained that she wanted to know what kind of sugar: brown or the regular white or the powdery white or what? I told her that "sugar" means the white regular sugar that's in the canister on the counter, unless the recipe specifies otherwise.

But then I had a second thought. The best fudge recipe in the world is a pretty standard recipe, but made with brown sugar instead of white. It imparts a bit of a caramely taste to the fudge. (And of course anything chocolate is improved by adding caramel!) What if we tried making the brownies with brown sugar instead of white?

The experiment turned out deliciously delightful. I'd encourage anybody to try it. Especially Glenda.

And while I'm on the subject of food,...
I noticed Marie's blog last week was waxing eloquent over whipped parsnips. She put me in the frame of mind where I start drooling over recipe ideas. My stroganoff was already simmering and the potatoes were boiling prior to being mashed. I started to think of the zucchini sitting in the fridge. I tell ya, I've had so many compliments on my zucchini. And all I do is saute it in olive oil, and then add a little salt, pepper, garlic, and sometimes parmesan. I think it's the olive oil that does it. Zucchini always used to strike me as one of those bland ol' things that you had to eat sometimes. But now I could eat two platefuls for supper and forget the rest of the meal. Ah, food is such a wonderful thing!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Back Home; the Nunc Dimittis

Dad's home from the hospital! Wooohooo! He'll be a lot happier at home. Interesting how my mom and my sister-in-law were saying that it's kinda nice to be in the hospital, having them bring your meals, with no laundry or dishes to do; also, not wanting to get home too early, but wanting to wait until you knew for sure your body was doing okay before leaving the doctors and nurses. But I'm more like Dad -- I want to bust on outta there as soon as possible.

Sitting in the hospital the last couple of days, I realized that sudokus make an excellent distraction. They can very easily be interrupted and picked up again later, unlike books or editing. I also realized that I'm going to have to be diligent about getting out to jog while Maggie's in the hospital; it's too easy to stay there with the patient all day, just wanting to be near and know everything that's happening.

Issues Etc is broadcasting live from Milwaukee tonight and tomorrow afternoon. I had wanted to take the kids to Shorewood tonight for the show. I thought it would be educational, and fun too. But I got up this morning at 5 (not my best time of day!) and drove back home from my parents', even getting here with time to jog and shower before church. I'm thinking that going to the city, with plans to get home at 1:00 a.m., would not be tremendously wise. However, tomorrow they're broadcasting from Mequon. The 4:00 hour is on justification. Seeing as how I've begged a few times for a local repeat of the Justification Seminar that was presented last May in California, I'm thinking that it might be good to go for that hour of Issues. Also, Nathan's favorite prof has the last half-hour of the show, and I've been wanting to meet him or at least hear him speak.

For the last year or so, one of Pastor's emphases has been on "according to Scripture." Like in the Creed: "rose again according to the Scriptures." And how that's got to do with what the Old Testament said about the Messiah, and not merely what is recorded in the Gospels. Today I noticed in the post-communion canticle that Simeon said something similar. "Lord, now let Your servant depart in peace according to Your word." For some reason, I particularly liked that today. The ending of the confessional rite is:

The God of peace Himself will sanctify you wholly and keep your spirit, soul, and body sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who called you is faithful and He will do it. Go in peace.

And there are the words prior to the Agnus Dei: "the peace of the Lord be with you always." And the words at the end of the sermon: "the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Even back at the start of the service: "Glory be to God on high, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men."

After all those many declarations of peace throughout the Service, we respond with "all righty, You SAID that You were giving peace, now I'm holding You to Your word. Let it be done for me according to Your word. The peace is what You promised. Amen, amen, yes, yes, it shall be so."