Saturday, October 22, 2011

Lift Up Your Heads

I have long struggled with what Psalm 24 is talking about. "Lift up your heads, oh you gates, and be lifted up, you everlasting doors, that the King of glory may come in. I noticed this week that the next psalm opens with "To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul." And then, in Psalm 27, we pray, "Now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord." I wonder if that means anything.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Old Fashioned

On one of those blustery days earlier this week, we tellers were frequently chatting with customers about the chilly weather, the grayness, turning on our furnaces or not. One customer said, "We didn't turn on the furnace yet. This is good weather for cuddling up with the old woman."

"The old woman." Gary has never called me that. I don't think Dad ever called Mom that. I don't think Gramp ever called Nanna that. I don't think I've ever heard one of my friends refer to his wife as "the old woman." Maybe "my better half." Maybe "my sweetie." Often "my wife." But never "the old woman." I find that a rather offensive moniker.

The gal that I was working with said after the customer left, "Wow, I didn't realize he was so old-fashioned." I was puzzled. Why would she call him old-fashioned? I racked my brain to come up with something he had done or said that would peg him as "old-fashioned." When I asked, she said she didn't much care for it when a man calls his wife "the old woman."

I agree with that.

But where did she get that that was "old-fashioned"?

I guess I tend to think that "old-fashioned" is generally a good thing, whereas my co-worker must think it's a bad thing.

A Prophet Like Moses

In our Bible story for today, we hear that God will raise up for His people "a prophet like Moses" from among their brethren. The word in the Septuagint for "raise up" is the same word used in John 6 ("I will raise him up at the last day") as well as the same word used to describe Jesus' resurrection. So God isn't merely saying that He would turn Jesus into a well-known teacher or a famous prophet. He was saying that He would resurrect a prophet like Moses.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Old Pans

I bake our bread.
It is delicious bread.
With fewer people in the house, I usually make bread only once a week now (four loaves at a time).

I started making bread 27 years ago. It was too hard to find time to go to the grocery store to buy bread. Baby's naps never coincided with Toddler's naps, so I had a booger of a time leaving the house. Talk about being grounded ... that's what happens when it's easier to bake your own bread than buy it from the store that's only a quarter-mile away. (Come to think of it, my parents never grounded me. It was my children that did that.) Anyway, the point is that my pans are old.

About 5-10 years ago I bought new bread pans. The old ones were ugly. I mean seriously ugly, even rusting. But those new bread pans didn't bake the bread nicely. After months of trying, I admitted that I'd wasted the money and relegated those pans to meatloaf or non-bakery type of food.

I hunted online for bread pans that might work. What I found was $20-35 per loaf pan. That's a hunk o' cash even if you know the pans are good. But what if they were no better than my last set of new pans?

Recently my aunt offered me my grandma's pyrex loaf pan. Hunky-dory! But you know what? The bread sticks to that one too, no matter how much I grease it. She also gave me some metal ones that she needed to shoo out of her cupboards. The bread sticks even worse to those.

So now I'm back to my trusty old (old old old) bread pans. A couple of times each year I may have to scrub with steel wool to remove rust spots. The pans may be ugly on the outside too. But the bread bakes evenly and nicely. And I can remove the hot loaves from the pans!!

If any of you have advice about how to find reasonably-priced kitchenware that works properly, I'm all ears. But I suspect I'll be going to my grave with those bread pans still in my kitchen.

A Faithful Saying

Our Bible verse for the week is from 1 Timothy 1: "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief."

Now, I am no Greek scholar, but I know a little (enough to tutor beginners). And there's something I find odd about this translation. The word translated "a saying" is the same word that John uses for "the Word," as in "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." Also, the word that's translated "that" frequently indicates a quote, as it is in most translations of this verse. But another common translation of that word is something akin to "because" or "for" as it shows the purpose of what came before.

So it seems to my simplistic mind that the verse could be saying, "The Word/Logos is faithful and worthy of acceptance, for Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." Why do we know that He (the Logos/Word) is faithful? Why should we desire Him? Because He saves sinners. Because He saves me.

I suppose scholars might know something about translations and why all the Bibles translate "the Logos" here as "a saying" instead of the way it's translated in John's Gospel. Did they think it didn't make sense to translate it "the Word"? It sure makes sense to me ... and is even prettier than the way it's normally translated!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Homeschooling Camelot

In short, there's simply not
a more congenial spot
for happy-ever-aftering
than here in Camelot.

Kate Fridkis writes about going to college after a lifetime of homeschooling. My heart melted over this article. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry or shoot HOORAY. One tidbit about "the real world":
For my whole life, people have been telling me that I must not know what the real world is. People always think that home-schoolers live these small lives in a constricted little world. I don’t know how to explain my life to them. I don’t know how to clarify the open-ended world of my childhood, in which the rules made sense and I worked hard because it was fun to be productive. What world is that? It isn’t normal. There are no grades.
Kate also blogs, and I'd love to delve into everything she's written there. Let's just say that the parts I've read really resonate with me! But it probably would mean even more to my kids and some of their homeschooled friends, like the article about not being "for" homeschooling but being it.

I'm not suggesting that homeschooling is a bed of roses. (Well, maybe it is, but that means it comes with some thorns, right?) I'm not suggesting there is a one-size-fits-all decision about where to send your child to school -- or not. I'm not saying that people can live in that lovely World Of Unschooling for decades upon decades.

But for one brief shining moment -- the moments that make up a childhood, the moments that are so influential in how we see ourselves, how we view work, how we view family, how we view our peers -- there can be joy and freedom, there can be learning for the sake of the sheer joy of learning, there can be a life for a child that is lived in the here-and-now and not merely in preparation for the some-day.

It may not be perfect.
But honestly, I really don't think there is a more congenial spot.

Who Is "You"?

Our Bible story for the day was the second giving of the law -- Deuteronomy 5. It's getting time to go into the promised land. The Israelites have been wandering around in the desert for nigh onto 40 years. Moses calls them all together and says, "Listen up, I'm going to tell you what God said when He made the covenant with us back at Mt Sinai."

What I find most intriguing is verse 3: The Lord did not make this covenant with our fathers, but with us, those who are here today, all of us who are alive. The Lord talked with you face to face on the mountain from the midst of the fire.

Except for Joshua and Caleb and the then-kiddos who are now the old folks, everybody who was there at the first giving-of-the-law is now dead. The people who are hearing Moses on this day might have been teenagers or little kids when the Israelites left Egypt, but most of the people listening hadn't even been born yet. Moses doesn't even start in with "Hey, guys, this is what God tells His people." He starts by telling them that God made this covenant with them --even before they were born. With THEM. Not their parents. YOU, the ones who are alive today, whose bodies didn't die in the wilderness (as God had told them would happen when they hated Caleb's advice about going into the promised land 40 years earlier), YOU are the ones with whom God spoke that day at Sinai.

This is beautiful.
It means what God did in those stories of the Bible is for ME and not just the people that it happened to: the healing of the lame and the blind and the deaf, the preaching to the hard of heart, the absolution for Mary Magdalene.
And I think this verse in Deuteronomy 5 also says something about election, and how God chose us to be His own before the foundation of the world.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


It's bad enough that I have had to avoid milk for the last couple of years. No cold milk with warm cookies. A pot of coffee to go with cookies or coffeecake might be good, but not nearly as fantastic as cold milk alongside warm baked goods.

But now it's looking like cheese might be a problem too. I've had to give up potato soup and clam chowder and sausage-gravy with biscuits. But pizza? Cheese-and-tomato sandwiches? Nachos? Pizza lentils? Cheese & salami & crackers?

Please, NOooooooooo.....

We're due to go out for pizza at Tony's on Thursday night. I hope -- I hope -- I hope -- I hope I feel okay on Friday morning!

Mark 10:18

In the story of the rich young ruler, John Mark came to Jesus and asked what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. Jesus asked him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, and that is God."

Looky there -- even Jesus preaches and catechizes from the Scriptures. "No one is good" comes straight out of Psalm 14 and Psalm 53. God Himself sticks to the texts once given. That is amazing to me.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Private Confession and Absolution

From a discussion between Dr Korby and Todd Wilken:

We are accustomed to confessing our sins to God in privacy, and then we remind ourselves of His love and forgiveness. We think, "Who needs to go to a pastor?" However, God doesn't need us to tell Him about our sins; He already knows. But there is a humiliation in confessing to the pastor or to the Christian-brother instead of confessing to God in the privacy of our minds. (Don't let the word humiliation put you off. Even though it is indeed humiliating to be humiliated, remember that's what it is to be "humble." The words are related.)

What is the point of confession? So that we might hear the absolution! How does forgiveness come to us anyway? By the word of forgiveness!

We have it backwards when we are confessing sin for God's sake and then applying forgiveness to ourselves. We need to confess for our sake, so that we are ready to hear the word (from God's spokesman) which forgives us and which creates and vivifies faith.