Saturday, April 25, 2009

Today's Laugh

What's the recipe for a "Honeymoon Salad"?

Lettuce alone.
No dressing.

Friday, April 24, 2009


There must be something on the Y-chromosone that drives a person to vacuum the vehicle before taking it on a trip. Those without Y-chromosones tend to think that the 1-hour trip to the friend's house isn't much different than a 15-minute trip to the grocery store. And a 5-hour trip to Grandma's isn't much different from a 1-hour trip to the friend's house. At least, not when it comes to vacuuming a van. (But, hey, if he wants to vacuum periodically, I'm thrilled! That's one less thing that I've left undone for far too long!)

The President wants to require the small-print on our credit-card bills to be in larger print. If he does, if he does require this, won't the companies need more paper for the larger print? Doesn't the use of more paper mean that more trees will suffer a needless death? Isn't it ungreen to require more paper being sent to us in our monthly bills?

When we checked into the hotel last night, I noticed a line on the charge-slip that said a complimentary copy of "USA Today" would be delivered to our room each morning. If we chose to refuse this service, our bill would be credited by 75 cents per day. I asked the clerk to clarify. "So we'll save 75 cents a day if we don't get charged for the paper that I wouldn't read anyway?" He assured me, "No, ma'am. The paper is free. You don't get charged anything for the paper." I pointed out that he would charge me 75 cents less per day for the room if I chose not to get the paper. "That's right, ma'am." I decided it wasn't worth figuring out. Just knock off the 75 cents per day and keep the paper you weren't charging me for.

Guess what? A paper showed up outside our door this morning anyway. I'm not eeeeven going to try to figure this out!

Today's Laugh

A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.

Sorry, Karin!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Different Approaches to Parenting: How Do the Kids Turn Out in the End

Three babies have died in the last six weeks in Milwaukee. They were sleeping with someone instead of sleeping in a crib. The city is now trying to convince families that it's unloving to let a baby sleep in bed with its mother. (If I've got the different stories straight, one died sleeping with a grandmother, and one died sleeping with a drunk mother. I haven't heard details about this week's death.) Although there are loads of people who know co-sleeping is usually a safe and healthy practice, our society has lost so much common sense that we now have people saying that it's child neglect/abuse.

And then today we hear the story of a mother who was arrested because she stopped the car, told her bickering daughters to get out, and made them walk home. Some people are aghast that a mother could put her children in such "danger" as to make them walk home. They say it's child neglect. There are other parents who think that it's child neglect to allow the kids to squabble and sass and be unrestrained in their selfishness.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Luke 24:25

Jesus said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!" And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

The Emmaus disciples had just told Jesus this fellow the events of the weekend, how the women couldn't find His body, how the women said they saw angels who'd said He was alive, how Peter and John went to the tomb and found exactly what the women had said.

And then Jesus says they are slow to believe in all that the prophets have spoken. I'd always thought He was saying, "Why didn't you believe the women? Why didn't you believe the angels? Why didn't you believe the evidence?" But that wasn't what He said. It was "Why didn't you believe the Old Testament?"

Here we've got an empty tomb. And angels passing along messages. And an ecstatic Mary who got to hug Jesus that morning, and then have the men think she was nutso. And Jesus doesn't say, "Why didn't you believe them?" No. It was "Why didn't you believe what Moses said? what David said? what Isaiah said?"


For the Life of the World arrived in today's mail. Most of it was, in one sense or another, connected to apologetics. One of the authors, writing on whether we can trust the gospels as historical accounts, says that Christians are not required "to presuppose the inerrancy and divine origin of the Gospels" but are invited to "examine their veracity simply as records of ancient history."

I like what the article said about how the Scriptures stand up as verifiable historical documents. But what bothers me is statements such as, "Christians who ignore such challenges [to the reliability of the Gospels] typically turn inward, relying on an existential experience with their own personal Jesus."

"Their own personal Jesus" could be a reference to some mushy, ethereal concept of some God-like essence thing. And such "turning inward" can be no comfort, no certainty, no surety at all. But often I hear similar statements which say derogatorily that Christians shouldn't have to rely on faith to "prove" the truth of the Gospels, but that we know the Gospels to be reliable because of historical cross-references and an objective view of the historical documents.

I think Christians know the Gospels are true because "sheep know the voice of their Shepherd." Yes, it's circular reasoning. But this isn't about reasoning. This is about blindness and light. This is about the deaf being cured to hear the voice of the Savior.

It is the Gospel which creates faith. Those who have been drawn to Jesus, the blind who now see, the deaf who now hear -- they trust in the Son of God, they recognize His voice, and they know the Scriptures to be true.

One summer, we saw both Othello and Cymbeline at APT. Although one is a comedy and one a tragedy, what struck me is that both stories were heavily predicated upon how easy it is for trust to be broken and how hard it is to restore trust ... and how "proofs" of trustworthiness do not ever convince the one who is doubting. Okay, now, these stories were about relationships between husbands and wives, and not about religious faith. But the premise holds true in both places.

What history tells us about the gospels will never convince someone to be a Christian. Christians already know the Scriptures to be true, simply because they know Jesus, and the Gospels are His words and His acts. So what is achieved by "proving" the historical veracity of the documents? Well, other than Christians being able to say, "Ooooooh! Way cool! This is so neat! Well, of course, it had to be..."?


Yesterday's forecast told us that we were supposed to get snow all day today. IT IS APRIL 21st! Surely it would just be snow in the air. Right? We wake up this morning to find the ground covered in white. The car windows had to be scraped. Let me repeat: it is April 21. At least the driveway was clean; the black asphalt retained enough heat to melt the snow. Can I please get some of that global warming that everybody's talking about. Please?

Monday, April 20, 2009

More Grammar, Please

Finished a page of grammar. "Shall we put that away now?"

Kid says no.

NO? Really?

"Can we do another page, Mom?"

"You want to do another page of grammar? Well, sure, it's okay with me, I guess...."

"Well, yeah, it feels really good when you're scratching my back while we do this." Ah, I see. He had an algebra assignment to do on his own without me. No wonder he wanted to keep the grammar lesson going!


We were reading John 20 for morning prayers today. It's really caught Pastor's interest this year that Magdalena mistook Jesus for the gardener. John starts his gospel with "In the beginning" and throughout the passion account we hear about the Garden of Gethsemane and the garden where Jesus was laid in the tomb and where He appeared to Mary. Adam's job was to be a gardener; Mary mistook Jesus for the gardener (the new Adam). In the Garden of Eden, the woman was the one talking to the serpent; in the garden by Golgotha, it was the woman who met Jesus. Womanhood is redeemed here.

Pastor also pointed out this morning that John saw the linen cloths in the tomb. If the body of Jesus had been stolen, the thieves would not have unwrapped the body and left the linen. It was a bloody, messy body. The fact that the burial cloths were left there corroborates the resurrection story and not the Pharisees' spin on the missing body.

Expressing Gratitude

I know that we aren't supposed to do things for others and expect thanks for it. We "do" to serve them, not to be appreciated.

But sometimes, when a person can't tell whether he's being a bother or being helpful, it would be nice to hear a word of gratitude. It would give him a clue as to HOW to serve his neighbor best.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dead Soldiers

At the Easter Vigil, we hear the story of Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego. When they were tossed into the fiery furnace, who died? Not the Christians, but the soldiers.

Earlier in the evening, we heard the story of the Red Sea Crossing. There too, although the Christians were the ones in danger, it was the soldiers who ended up dead.

Mid toil and tribulation and tumult of her war,
she waits the consummation of peace forevermore,
till with the vision glorious her longing eyes are blest,
and the great Church victorious shall be the Church at rest.

Fire and Water

At the Easter Vigil, we hear the story of Noah and the story of the Three Young Men in the Fiery Furnace.

In the litany, we pray,
From all calamity by fire and water,
good Lord, deliver us.

And here, I'd always thought that was referring exclusively to house fires, lightning bolts, forest fires, flooded basements, tidal waves, and stuff like that.