Friday, December 17, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Raisins in Cookies

Some people like raisins in their cookies. Those people can click onto the next blog on their list right now.

Some people complain when their wives or mothers put raisins in the cookies. Big old lumpy chewy things. But sometimes that mother wants to put raisins in the cookies. Oh, y'know, because maybe she likes the raisins. Or she wants to sneak some extra nutrition into the cookies. Or other equally evil subterfuges.

When you're mixing together the cookie dough, save out about 1/4 or 1/2 cup of the flour. Put the raisins into your food processor. Sprinkle that reserved flour on top of the raisins in the food processor. Turn on the machine, and let it grind up your raisins into little pieces. (The more you have to hide them, the smaller you chop them.) Into the batter they go. If you ground them small enough, none of your raisin-haters will even notice ... except for how sweet and tasty the cookies are. "These are better than usual, Mom!" "Yes, dear, they are, aren't they?"

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Hello, It's Me Again!

Six days in a row I show up at chapel in a dress and hose and nice shoes. And then on the next day, I show up at chapel in my jeans, hoodie sweatshirt, and tennies. Several people said, "Oh, you don't work today?"

And I thought ...
"Ah, I look like me again!"

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Lutherans have been told that transubstantiation is bad bad bad. That's what the Catholics believe, right? On occasion, when I have mentioned bread and wine "changing into" the body and blood of Christ when joined with the Words of our Lord, I have been scolded by Lutherans. "We don't believe it changes into Jesus' body and blood," they say. "That's what Catholics believe."

I don't understand. It wasn't Jesus' body and blood. Now it is. Something changed. What's so wretched about saying "changes into"?

I have been told by some folks that Lutherans believe in consubstantiation. Other folks have said that Lutherans do not believe in consubstantiation. That one puzzled me too. We often use the prepositions "in, with, and under." "Con" means "with." So what's so wretched about that term?

Well, there's been a lot of talk about these matters during Bible classes the last couple of months. And here's what I've learned:

"Consubstantiation" has too much of a location sense to it. It's almost like saying Jesus' body is with the bread, like Bob and Joe go to the hardware store with each other. But Bob isn't Joe, and Joe isn't Bob. So "consubstantiation" isn't a good term, because the bread is Jesus' body.

So what's the deal with transubstantiation? We Lutherans do not argue with the Roman Catholics about the bread really being Jesus' body; we agree. The disagreement we have with Rome is that they don't really quite think the bread is still there; they think it just appears to be bread but is really Jesus' body. Not a huge error -- certainly not like the error which sets aside Jesus' word "This is My body" and considers the bread to be mere bread which symbolizes Jesus' body. But why do they think the bread is no longer there?

It sounds like it's just too much closeness. Too much of God condescending to us. Too much dirtying Himself with mere atoms and molecules. How could God be bread? How humiliating that would be for Him!

But if we believe that He made matter and called it good, ...

if we believe that He took on human flesh and joined Himself to our race, incarnated in the womb of the virgin so that He might be our brother and save us, ...

if we believe that He doesn't want to maintain distance between Himself and His creatures, ...

then we believe that our God's joy and delight is to be joined to us! He does not want to keep His distance! He doesn't have to change the bread so that it is no longer bread but is only His body. He chooses to come in this very concrete [even fleshy] way.

The problem with Rome's transubstantiation is NOT that they think too highly of what that bread is, or what is in that chalice. The problem, rather, is the subtle little separation: Christ's body and Christ's blood couldn't possibly be so intimately joined with the bread and wine.

But He is! And He is joined to my flesh. And your flesh. Rejoice in the Lord always! Again I will say 'rejoice'!

Oh, Christian heart,
whoe'er thou art,
be of good cheer and let no sorrow move thee.
For God's own Child in mercy mild
joins thee to Him --
how greatly God must love thee!! (TLH 81:4)

Monday, December 13, 2010

First Week of Work

My feet hurt. No surprise there -- LOL. And last week there was a lot of sitting in the training room, with only a couple hours a day on my feet. This week will be lots of standing.

I managed not to become dehydrated. I usually do that when I get out of the house instead of living in close proximity to my stove, fridge, and kitchen sink, with occasional forays to the washer & dryer.

The disadvantage of being older is that I don't bop around the computer screen at a high rate of speed, finding links to click to give me the information I need to take care of a customer. And then there are a gazillion different user-id's and passwords to remember for work. The advantage of being older is that I have a lot more understanding of how a bank works, how the whole economy works, and what sort of products banks have available (especially ours, because I've been a customer there for a year before becoming employed there).

There were five of us being trained last week. Two had been tellers before. Three of us had never worked in a bank. It was SO comforting to know that the other two newbies were struggling as much as I was to follow directions and remember procedures. The scariest part is going to be learning to identify counterfeits. Right now, I suspect every check I see of being faked and want to examine it closely. I can just see myself with lines of 20 or 30 people, waiting impatiently to get their turn at Miss Pokey-Teller's window.

Last week was training in a meeting room. The next two weeks are training in a real bank, with real live customers depositing & withdrawing real live money. The one delight in seeing my schedule for the next two weeks is that I don't work Saturdays yet (because my mentor doesn't work Saturdays) ... so I get to go to Lessons&Carols rehearsal next week and sing and sing and sing. Singing Christmas hymns can be antidote to whatever is wrong in life.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


In a conversation last week, several people were talking about their cool "vintage purse" or "vintage sweater" or "vintage bowl" or "vintage chair." I sat there quietly, listening, not wanting to reveal that I didn't know what "vintage" meant. Silly me -- I thought "vintage" had something to do with vines (as in, grape harvests or wine) or possibly something classy and old.

Turns out that "vintage" apparently is the new word for "used." If you have a hand-me-down purse that's 3 years old, it's just "used." But if your used purse is 20 years old, then it's "vintage" and you can consider yourself classy and trendy-but-with-respect-for-recycling.

Huh. And here I thought "used" covered "antique" and "vintage" and "used." Color me cheap.