Saturday, October 20, 2007

House Blessing

There were two house blessings on Thursday. Pastor forgot to make handouts for us to follow along. So theoretically we weren't supposed to be speaking the psalm. But when he said, "I lift up my eyes to the hills," we forgot that we weren't praying the psalm responsively. But the second half of the verse came out in a variety of Bible translations. That was a shame, because it seemed like most of us had memorized Psalm 121.

Same thing happened with the hymn. We knew "O Blest the House." But in the Pastoral Care Companion it was the LSB version instead of the TLH version. About a month ago, that hymn was the hymn-of-the-week (to go with the catechism portion for the Fourth Commandment). So for the hymn too, Pastor had to cut it off early (only two stanzas) because we no longer all know the same words and can no longer sing our hymns together without our noses in the book.

I find this very sad.


"We have personally selected a small group of alumni to participate in the 'listening process'" for an "initiative" whereby "the Board of Regents will be seeking greater alumni involvement," because we "are committed to reconnecting and re-engaging with our beloved and important alumni." The Board "recently began articulating a long-term strategic vision for further stability and growth." This was in a letter that I received last week. Do I believe that I have been personally selected as part of a small group of alumni? How about you other grads of my college? Were you too personally selected as part of this elite group?

One of the men at church is head of the board of stewards. He is excited about three "new initiatives."

Whenever I see a church with a "mission statement," I become suspicious.

I like big words. I do! I have a hard time with sign language because the vocabulary is smaller than English, and I like finding just the right word, a more precise word than some generalized word. But buzzwords drive me bonkers! Why can't they just speak English? Plain simple English? Would it be too demeaning to say, "We have a new plan"? What is "strategic vision" anyway? And why do I always think that someone who talks that way is trying to schnooker impress me?

TLH 144

Much of "Jesus, Grant That Balm and Healing" is about avoiding temptation or overcoming temptation by meditation upon His cross and suffering and the love that motivated Him to rescue us. But recently I was struck by the second stanza.

Should some lust or sharp temptation
Prove too strong for flesh and blood,
Let me think upon Thy Passion,
And the breach is soon made good.

I always thought that meant that we could think about what Jesus has done for us and avoid falling into sin. And it is true that other spots in the song allude to such things. (At least, in English that's how it comes out.)

But I think this part of the hymn isn't talking about avoiding it. Like it says, the temptation proved "too strong." So even then, even when we succumb to the temptation, the solution is still to "think upon Thy Passion." The breach between what God demands and what we actually perform, that breach is made good by hearing the forgiveness of sins.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Cost Cutting

There are some money problems at church. A survey was sent out (I'm not sure by whom) to the members of the congregation, asking for suggestions. One helpful soul submitted a list of cost-cutting measures. One was to turn the lights off at church. (During the services? They're already off the rest of the time.) Another was to lower the thermostat at the parsonage during winter. (Depending on the amount of wind, daytime temps fluctuate from 62-65 degrees, and it runs 48-56 during the night.)

But there was one that is beyond my understanding. We could save money on wine* if we had communion only twice a month.

* Footnote: Doing so would save 15L per year.

Tagged (Sevens)

The tag-game running around [ha ha!] the blogs these days is to tell seven true things about yourself. Laura and Melynda and an amusing one tagged me. And now I
1) have to think of seven things, (ooooh, the brain strain!) and
2) come up with taggees. It seems like most of the homeschoolers have been tagged, so I'm going try tagging Kirken and Emily and Erin, and the youngsters: Liz, Anthea, Katie, Rachel, Cassie. (Shhhh. 3+5=7. Shhhhh. Yes, it does. This is a tag meme about sevens. I can do the New Math if I wanna!!!)

The rules of this are:
1. Link the person who has tagged you.
2. Tell seven true things about yourself.
3. Tag seven new people.
4. Leave a message with the person you have tagged so they know about it.

1) I cannot remember the color of my toothbrush. Old age and fading memory make it hard enough to figure out which toothbrush is mine. Buuut having to keep track of TWO toothbrushes, annnd having their colors change every six months (luck of the draw in what the dental hygienist hands me in my goodie-bag), that's just too much. So I have a pony-tail band wrapped around the handle of one toothbrush to distinguish. On the other, I've marked my initial with a black Sharpie, but I have to re-ink the initial every few weeks.

2) I have friends (couples and widows) and family members who are DOWNsizing to retirement condos larger than the house I live in with five other people. And I didn't even think our house was that small.

3) The first time I got called "ma'am" was in 7th or 8th grade. Because I was so tall, the saleslady knew that no kid could be possibly that height, so I was called "ma'am" instead of "miss" or "hey, kid." I suppose "freaky tall-person" may have worked just as well.

4) I don't recall ever hanging pictures of boys in my bedroom as a teen. If that memory is correct (which is definitely not a sure thing -- see item #1), then my first "pin-up boy" was a picture of David Scaer from a CTS calendar about 4-5 years ago. I liked that lively picture so much that I didn't change the month on the calendar for the rest of the year, and I lobbied to get that particular classroom-photo used in one of his books. (I doubt my begging worked, though.)

5. I used to be a gymnast. It is hard for a very very tall person (see item #3) to fit the required number of backflips into a pass on the diagonal of the floor-exercise mat, without falling off the edge of the mat and crashing into the spectators' seats. And you had to screw and screw and screw the knobs forEVER to adjust the parallel bars to be big enough (far apart enough and high enough) for me to circle the bar without smashing my head into the other bar or the floor.

6. I'm more used to white noise than I thought. I had to sleep at a friend's house the other night. They have bedrooms upstairs. The noise of the quietness throbbed loudly. No refrigerator motor cycling. No noise of dehumidifiers running in the basement. No cats thumping through the house. No traffic passing. No computer fans. Even the sound of constant wind was missing.

7. I don't know how to relax and play any more. Except by watching tv. I only know how to work feverishly. This is not a good thing.


If somebody ran a marathon on Saturday, it'd be goofy to try to go cut and haul firewood the next day. If somebody had been sick and feverish for a few days, nobody would expect them to pop up and dive into housework. Then why am I foolish enough to tax my brain to the uttermost, wear myself out, and expect myself to be able to think today? I keep thinking that brains are different from muscles, though. Maybe... no reasonably intelligent brain would expect an exhausted brain to be able to teach physics, or even figure out what to make for dinner. Ah, but maybe I've pinpointed the problem -- an exhausted brain may be incapable of analyzing the self-exhaustedness of itself?

I'm gonna go make pizza.
I bet I'll have a hard time figuring out how high I should set the temp on the oven.

Philip's Car

I was awakened this morning at 6:30 by the phone ringing. Philip was stranded and needed rescue.

When he was car-hunting, it seemed to me like he didn't have enough money to buy an okay car. When Gary and I were younger, drivable used cars could be had for $700-1500. It's not like that anymore. Well, he found a car that looked pretty decent for $2500. My thought was that, given the good shape of the body and the dependability of Toyotas, he was probably getting a good deal... well, as good a deal as one can expect if you're not going to spend $7000 on a used car. He spent money on new tires and new brakes, and was good to go.

For a month.
Then he needed a new engine.
Still... even with the new engine, we know that he's spent less than he might've, has a car with a "new" engine (only 80,000 miles on it), has lower insurance premiums because it's an older vehicle. The only thing we worried about was if there should be a drunk driver or other problem, and having the car totaled-out at a value which the insurance company would've priced too low. However, even that has an up-side. The car dealership said that our receipts showing a new engine and new tires could be used to prove a higher-than-Blue-Book value to the car, should there be an accident.

One week after getting the car back, one week after no longer shuffling cars between us to get everybody to work at the right time, and there was an unavoidable road hazard on his way to work. Ripped the exhaust system and catalytic converter from the undercarriage. So today we got to learn about tow-trucks and calling the police and stuff like that. There were really other things I would've preferred to do than learn those lessons.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Musing on John 13:2-3

And supper being ended, the devil having already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, to betray Him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself.

It's probably stupid to even attempt a blog-post. I've attempted to do 150 pages of editing theology in the last 24 hours (on only 4 hours sleep), so my brain is fried big-time. And here I am, musing....

Bible class this morning was on John 13. Pastor was talking about the Father having given all things into Jesus' hands. He talked about how Adam was given dominion over all things. But Adam used his authority and his dominion to take for himself what God had not given. Jesus, on the other hand, had all things from the Father, and did not use them for Himself. What motivated Him to die was "His great love for the Father and for me and other sinners."

Pastor was saying great stuff, but on little sleep and with brain-fry I wasn't picking it up very well. Besides, I was distracted. He keeps telling us that things in the Bible (true and historic though they be) are not there merely for historical information. So why is that business about Judas there, anyhow??

So when Pastor started talking about "all things," it made me wonder. The first Adam betrayed "all things" God had put into his hand and under his dominion. Throughout all of history, man continued to squander the good gifts of God. Here is Judas, betraying not only the almighty God [think on that for a moment, the almighty God being sold, but that's an aside], but betraying His love. And here is the true Man, the "Adam" who poured out Himself, even though He had "all things" temporal, as well as "all things" including communion with the Father. His version of power and authority is sacrificing Himself to be able to give us (part of "all things") back to the Father.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Thinking Like a Scanner

With the editing I'm doing right now, most of the articles have been previously published. So there's not as much stress on the brain to sort through commas and dangling modifiers and subordinate clauses. However, there are some amusing spots. Because some of the articles have been scanned into the computer, the computer didn't always translate the "picture" of the words on the page into the correct electronic bits.

There are easy mistakes. "Not" for "nor." "Or" in the place of "of." "Tlie" instead of "the." A couple of places it said "all then are" instead of "all men are."

But there was "come to teens with" which should've been "come to terms with."

"We are entitled to Hip blessings" instead of "His blessings."

So sometimes I have to think about how a scanner might "see" the letters in a word, particularly if there might be a stray spot on the paper, or a place where the ink wasn't fully laid down on the original page. The one that confused me was "one-tittle justification." I didn't know what "one-tittle justification" was. I figured I was just dumb, and it was some theological phrase I was unaware of. But then Pastor asked me what "one-tittle justification was." Hey! Not fair! He's supposed to know these theological terms! Huh? Maybe it's not a theological phrase? Hmmmm. Now what? Thinking like a scanner, though, I finally figured out it was "one-time justification." Suddenly, the whole sentence made sense. And I'm still laughin' over that one! (Although "Hip" blessings from God is worth a giggle too!)