Saturday, September 13, 2008

And Even More Ludicrous

The Obama campaign is deeply distressed over the mean, vicious, dirty, low-down, scummy lies that the McCain campaign is spreading. Whatever will they do about these ads with the outright lies?

What lies?

I followed hot-links. I hunted online. I googled. Couldn't find the "lies." Finally I found something. The mean terrible lie that the McCain campaign is spreading is that Obama's comment about "putting lipstick on a pig" was a jab at Palin. Well, silly! That comment had absolutely nothing to do with Palin. It wasn't a sexist comment. It wasn't a slur toward her.


This is less disjointed than it will first appear.

Claire (all of a whoppin' age 5 at the time) told her mommy a couple of months ago that, one day, she just pretended she was outgoing instead of shy, and then she was able to talk to some people she didn't know very well and be nicely friendly.

Due to some pain, I have barely jogged at all in the last 5-6 weeks. One morning I just had to get out and get some exercise and be forced into some really deep breathing. About a half-mile around the corner was a big tent in a neighbor's yard, and lots of flags, and decorated tables, and porta-potties, and a cool blow-up Moonwalk toy. The sign said, "Welcome Home, Sean!" It was obviously for a soldier returned home, and the celebration would be commencing later in the day.

In looking for employment, frequently my son and son-in-law have not made it to the top of the list. Veterans and minorities take priority over guys like my fellas. Sometimes that bothered me.

But that day, as I jogged beyond Sean's home, I thought about what he'd done. (Just to be clear, I don't know him. I don't know his parents. I don't know where he fought. But he was a soldier.) I thought about Rueben over there too, almost ready to come home after his long stint of duty, and then recalled yet again. I thought about Melody's sons. And there's Alex and Lynn and JJ's brother and so many others.

Our country was attacked on our own soil seven years ago. It hasn't happened since. We don't live in a war zone. That lovely Saturday I was out jogging in shorts. I wasn't wearing a burkha. I wasn't being shot at. I wasn't even passing by armed soldiers who kept the enemy at bay. I knew there would be food for lunch; enemy soldiers weren't raiding my pantry and my garden. I knew my church building was still standing, whole and undefiled, with the pastor free to preach the next day.

Soldiers give us that freedom.

They sacrifice their comfortable bedrooms, their time with family, their good home-cooked meals, the joys of their local communities. They sacrifice those things to give us the freedom to go to a movie, or hold down a job, or teach our children the catechism, or go jogging on a pretty Saturday morning.

If it weren't for the soldiers who protect us, it's very likely that many of our jobs would become non-existent. Maybe it's not so bad after all to allow that the ones who protected our homes and our jobs and our farms and our businesses --and our lives-- be the ones who are first-hired at those farms and businesses.

For those of you with kids, remember how great it was/is when a stranger came up to you in a restaurant and complimented you on your children's behavior? That message sticks with you for a long time. Even decades. That compliment is a quiet little voice in the back of your mind, encouraging you to go on and continue doing the right thing, disciplining those children, when you'd rather be lazy. And it reminds you how wonderfully the rest of the world sees this child of yours whom you know to be not quiiiite perfect.

I figured Sean or his parents should hear the "thank you" to him that was rattling around in my mind.

I remembered Claire's wise discovery. Just pretend you're not shy. So I stopped and spoke briefly with the family while they were prepping for all the company that would descend upon them later to celebrate Sean's homecoming.

When they're surrounded by the media telling them their son's sacrifice was worthless, I hope they remember my "thank you" just like Gary and I remember the stranger at the truck stop who purchased stuff animals for our wee kids and who thanked us for the job we were doing raising this brood. I hope there were lots of other people who have said thank-you to Sean and his family.

And thank you to Rueben and Annetta and Ralph.
And thank you to Matthew and Ethan and Jay and Melody and John.
And thank you to Liesl for giving up Lynn for those months.
And thank you the Hammonds.
And thank you to all those others, too many to list.

This You-Tube video has been flying all over the blogosphere. You've probably seen it. But if not, check out this soldier's message.
And why is it that Lee Greenwood always makes me cry?...

Friday, September 12, 2008

Next Obama Shocker

The ad came out on Friday. McCain "admits he still doesn't know how to use a computer, can't send an e-mail,..." The AP story about the ad says, "McCain has said he relies on his wife and staff to work the computer for him and that he doesn't use e-mail." And the reason he can't use the internet or send an email is because of the damage to his body, the injuries to his joints, the trauma he sustained when he was a P.O.W.

So, in essence, Obama is mocking McCain for having been repeatedly beaten up by the enemy when he was captured during the war. McCain could've spared himself the beatings, but his honor prevented him from putting himself first and hurting his fellow-soldiers. And now McCain is being mocked for his injuries???

This is just absolutely stunning. I mean, would Obama mock a soldier returned from Iraq for having lost his leg in battle? Would Obama mock a fire-fighter for burn-scars that he wears for having rescued a child from a burning building?

Because this is the exact same thing.
I keep thinking that I can't be shocked any more by the next low-down dirty trick. I keep thinking that they've gone as low as they can go. And yet, they keep coming up with new ones.


Being in 1 John 4 for Bible class right now, gnosticism came up. (For those who don't like to follow links, gnosticism is a belief in gnosis, that is, knowing, and finds no value in the material world. Think of scientology as a modern example.)

What are God's first words in the Bible? "Let there be..." and there was, and God called it good.

So not only do the gnostics reject Christ's incarnation. But they start at the very beginning, taking issue with the primeval word: "and it was good."

Definition of Pietism

Somebody asked about pietism in Bible class the other day. Pastor explained it in many and various ways -- all of them very good. But I am a bear of very little brain; I think in soundbites. I need something less lofty to think on, something tight and succinct to puzzle over (even though I myself am never succinct!). And here's what I figured out once-upon-a-time.

Communism is a belief that we all should share everything in common.

Environmentalism is a belief in the importance of the environment. And not just that it is important (as I believe it is) but that the environment is the most important thing we must guard and protect and promote.

Consumerism is a lifestyle that puts consuming consumer-goods near the top of one's priorities. We gotta keep buying buying buying or else ... uhhh... or else the economy will fall apart, or else we will "lose" because we have fewer toys than the next guy, or whatever.

Ism is a belief in something, a trust in something.

Piety is a good thing. It is good to pray and to attend church and to meditate on the psalms and to do good works for the neighbor. Those are habits that flow out of the heart and life of a pious and devout person.

Pietism is a belief or trust in piety.

Piety is good. But when the person begins to promote piety even more than he promotes the forgiveness of sins bought by Jesus' atonement, then the piety has morphed into pietism. When the Christian's eyes are focused on his own piety (or worse yet, his neighbor's piety) rather than focusing on Christ's blood-bought redemption of sinners, pietism has trumped the Gospel.

And that is not a safe place to be.

(Problem is, when someone speaks against pietism, many Christians "hear" him speaking against piety. That's not only sad, but also sometimes hits us where we don't want to even begin to see subtle pietism in our own hearts. Here too, the call to repentance is necessary, and God's gift of the Holy Absolution is the only way to make faith right and to increase true piety.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Some Little Lessons

My friend Ed was asking about cantaloupes a couple of weeks ago. He's got a lot. Mine appeared to be doing well. Seems to be a great year for cantaloupe. But in the conversation, I happened to mention my small miniature plot of so-called garden. When I said that I had planted both cantaloupe and cucumbers in this tiny patch, Ed's eyebrows went up. He went on to tell me how he'd done the same thing one year, and the flowers of both vines cross-pollinated each other. Once he said it, it made perfect sense: the vines are similar, the seeds are nearly identical, and the flowers look very much alike to me. So a little more time passed. We harvested more cucumbers. We are watching the melons grow and ripen. But the other day I found these:
I guess we did cross-pollinate a few. Fat fat things, they are. And funky tasting. Not terrible, but nothing I want to use in anyplace where I'd normally put either cukes nor melons.

Somebody has been wanting to try beer-butt chicken for a long time. I seldom buy whole chickens, though. This week, leg quarters of Smart Chicken were unavailable, so I bought a whole bird. Here's our opportunity to try that recipe.
I almost think she looks like she's kneeling in prayer, albeit minus her little head... Anyway, the chicken was very good. But not good enough to warrant the mess of the beer can nor the costly amount of butter used in the recipe. Next time I'd just as soon crock-pot the birdie.

Men who build Belegarth swords must know how to sew. Andrew got a lesson today in deciding how much fabric, what order to piece it together in, and how to run the handy-dandy sewing machine. (Maybe we should've looked online before we started to wing it!) His weapons turned out lovely!

Sensenbrenner's Opponent

Knowing I would be out of town on primary day, I had requested an absentee ballot. When the ballot arrived, the only contested election on the whole page (for any party) was the primary for congressman. In Wisconsin we don't have to declare an allegiance to a political party; we are free to vote in any primary, but only one party per election day. I dutifully looked up information on the two candidates. I immediately became suspicious when I saw a picture of the challenger; hair like that on a politician or on a pastor makes me nervous. (I know you agree, Mrs SK!) But I realized that I was stereotyping and that this attitude was completely unfair of me. I owed the candidate a fair look at his position, even if he does have executive-hair.

Then I found out he was running a "co-campaign" with someone from the other party. That sent up red flags. Not that I'm necessarily for or against either party. But what is a CO-CAMPAIGN? It sounded to me like a stunt, pure and simple.

Then I came out of church on Sunday to find a flyer from this fellow on my car's windshield. The same thing apparently happened at all LCMS churches in the congressional district. This flyer told me how we need more LCMS politicians. It told me that I should vote for this man because he is LCMS and works at the LCMS college my daughter and son-in-law attended. Like, those are credentials??? Does this man understand the doctrine of the two kingdoms? I figure anybody who tries to manipulate people this way is someone to be wary of in the future, even if he should espouse good positions on many policies.

#1, this guy claimed to be "100% pro-life" and nevertheless said he supports embryonic stem cell research. I'd rather vote for a guy who was 90% pro-life and honest about it than one who claims to be 100% pro-life but is only 95% pro-life. #2, this guy had as part of his platform the problem of high gas prices, and his solution was to immediately stop imports of all foreign oil. Anybody who is that clueless about economic conditions of supply & demand really ought not be in public office. (C'mon, CUT a huge amount of the oil supply, and that's gonna be the solution to high gasoline prices? Somebody buy this fellow a copy of Penny Candy!)

There for a few moments I was worried that the pastor and/or elders had okayed this campaign literature endorsing a particular candidate. I was much relieved to find out that my church was on the right track after all, and that it was the candidate (or his campaign staff) who just assumed it would be acceptable to campaign in the church's parking lot without getting permission first.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Glory of the Lord

Today's Bible story was from Leviticus 9, the consecration of the priests. God told Moses to tell Aaron what to do, what to sacrifice, what to do with the blood, etc. "This is the thing which the Lord commanded you to do, and the glory of the Lord will appear to you." Pastor pointed out that the glory was seen in the sacrifices for atonement. Likewise, in John 13, Jesus says, "Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in Him" which is all about the immiment crucifixion.

Pastor also pointed out something else interesting from the story. Aaron was to put the blood of the sacrifice on the horns of the altar. What do we calls the "horns" of the altar? The corners. What is on the horns (or corners) of our altars? Those who have sewn altar linens or who work on altar guild know that there are little crosses embroidered on the fair linen, at the corners of the altar and in the center ...
the blood on the horns of our altar.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Lots of socializing been going on in recent days. Laura has pictures of some of today's good times. It's going to take me some catch-up time (laundry, meals, errands, cleaning, etc) before I get to posting my pictures.