Saturday, March 31, 2012

But Isn't That Arrogant?

I have more understanding than all my teachers,
for Your testimonies are my meditation.
I understand more than the ancients,
because I keep Your precepts.  (Psalm 119:99-100)

Once upon a time, when I was talking with a friend who was considering leaving the Lutheran Church to be Eastern Orthodox, he told me that I ought not disrespect my fathers.  The church fathers are our fathers.  We ought not act like petulant teenagers who think we know everything.  He certainly had a point.  Sometimes fathers do know things that the children "know" to be oh-so-stupid, and it will take a few decades before the kids find out Dad was right after all.

So what's up with this verse in Psalm 119?
Who had the audacity to say this?
Oh, yeah, it was somebody who was inspired by God.

Didn't Paul praise the Bereans for searching the Scriptures to see if his message was faithful to the doctrine of the Old Testament?  There seems to be a place for asking questions.

Can we sometimes say, "I have more understanding than my teachers"?  When Luther came along, did he say anything different from the church fathers who preceded him?  Or did he just refine what had been said earlier?  When problems arise, we learn something as we deal with them.  There's a problem with the plaster in the house, and maybe we learn something about drywall.  There's a problem with the stove, and we learn to adjust the settings, or maybe we even learn how to replace a heating element with the help of a you-tube tutorial.  There are other problems too.  Some dude is selling indulgences over in Mainz in the 1500s, and somebody has to say why that's wrong and how Jesus' blood is my righteousness.  We have some other pastor-guys fighting about election in the late 1800s, and how God elects His chosen ones, and why, and when, and what it means, ... and maybe there are personalities involved and not just doctrine, so that maybe we today have insight that even our fathers didn't have in the midst of the controversy.

Is that really arrogant?  I know it can be.  I know the temptation is always there. 

But it's not wrong to say "I understand more than the ancients" when our view continues to be illuminated by the light of Jesus' cross.  When I am navel-gazing, and when my teachers have their eyes fixed on the Savior and His work, then I understand bajillions less than they do.  But sometimes you hear a toddler or older child confess the Faith purely and sweetly, and the teacher is embarrassed to see that her own faith is cluttered with garbage.

We are blessed to "understand more than the ancients" when our heart is captured by the things into which kings and prophets longed to look but could not see (Luke 10).

Friday, March 30, 2012

Medicinal Uses for Incandescent Lightbulbs

Save some of the incandescent bulbs you hoarded.  There are certain skin problems that need sunshine for healing.  Diaper rash, for example.  There are other rashes too that respond well to sunlight.  Some superficial infections heal as well from light as they do from medicines, with none of the prescription's side effects.

But there are times --especially in Wisconsin-- where the sun is not available for medicinal use.  Are you going to expose a baby's bare bottom to the sun in January in Wisconsin?  What happens when baby is feeling sick, nurses too often, and Mommy gets sore?  Although we may be advised to expose our nipples to sun for the healing effects, few of us live in an isolated enough place to try that.  A fungal infection on your foot could be exposed to sun easily enough, but there are other parts of the body that are not meant for display at the park or in the backyard. 

That's where an incandescent lightbulb helps so much.  Several ten-minute stints each day, with the light shining on the sore spot, makes good headway on healing sore nipples, cuts, superficial infections, and skin rashes.  Maybe I need to hide a few of my good old-fashioned lightbulbs with the first aid supplies, so they won't be used up for silly little things like providing light in the kitchen.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Squeegee in the Shower

Don Aslett taught me to clean.  So we have a squeegee in the shower.  The shower walls should be squeegeed after every use, unless people are getting in the shower,  boom-boom-boom, one after the other.  Sometimes people forget.  Sometimes we have company that doesn't know or doesn't want to bother squeegeeing.  (Let's be realistic here -- how many people would know that they're supposed to squeegee my shower before they dry off?)

So is this too fussy?  Is this necessary?  Does it really make any difference?

Evidence #1 -- We were on vacation.  Seven adults in a cabin.  No squeegee in the shower.  No daily spritz-spritz quick-clean as we do at home.   You know what?  A bathroom gets nasty pretty fast that way.  I can live with one middle-of-the-week cleaning on vacation.  After all, it's vacation.  We're not supposed to be doing all the regular cleaning.  But I don't think I could bear a bathroom (used by that many people) that went uncleaned for a whole week.

Evidence #2 -- A few months ago we had company.  I think less than half the showerers were using the squeegee.  After a week, I needed to [gasp] clean the shower walls.  Y'know, like, scrub them.  With a cleanser.  What nonsense!  Who has time for that?  Who wants to spend money on the chemicals to do that?  When you squeegee the walls faithfully, you only have to scrub the walls once or twice a year.  [Oh, now, don't give me that.  It is NOT gross to clean the walls twice a year.  Not if you squeegee all the time.  That's how awesome the squeegee is!]

Go to the hardware store.  Spend the five bucks to buy a squeegee to hang in your shower.  Take the 45 seconds daily to use it after your shower.  Even if you're in a hurry.  It saves so much time later!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Maggie, Alia, and I were having a "picnic" at the "beach."  We sat on the living room floor, with our beach blanket spread out, arrayed with toy food, and filled our mini-teacups with water from the teapot and the lemonade pitcher.

Alia carefully poured water tea for each of us.  I raised my teacup and toasted the beach.  "To the beach!"  Maggie repeated, "To the beach!" and we clinked our teacups.  I said, "Hear, hear!"  Maggie said, "Hear, hear!"   And Alia clinked her cups to ours with a hearty, "We're here!"

The Old Adam and the Old Eve?

I heard a sermon recently (not here!) that referred to the sinful nature as "the old Adam and the old Eve."  The pastor said something about how the "old Eve" couldn't be reformed but "she" had to be put to death.

It kinda creeped me out, and I was thankful that the preacher accepted my objection.

There's a reason the Apostle Paul and Luther talk so much about the old Adam.  Neither Scripture nor the church fathers referred to the sinful nature as "the old Eve."  Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."  We are sons of Adam, not "sons of Adam and daughters of Eve"  --  C S Lewis notwithstanding.  Christ is the second Adam.  Christ is the Man who continues to be what man was intended to be and who does all that man was intended to do. We are joined to Him.  Therefore God sees us (whether male or female) as His son/sons.

This is not sexist language.  Neither is it sexist to refer to male Christians as members of "the bride of Christ."  When we depart from scripture's vocabulary and start in with the gender-inclusive language, whether we realize it or not, whether we intend it or not, we begin to do damage to theology.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Tent

Two girls.  Giggling and fun.  Day after day of early-summer temperatures.  Olivia spending the night here.   Two girls decide it would be fun to set up the tent and sleep outside. 

Tent is erected.  About 9:00 the girls head to their outdoors bedroom.  After a bit, it begins to sprinkle.  No big deal.  They have a roof.  But then ... it begins to really rain.

At 11:00, two wet girls straggle into the kitchen.  The tent had collapsed.  They had to slither out, with the wet nylon draped across their backs.  We all headed out --in the rain-- to try to prop the tent up enough to haul out the wet sleeping bags, wet blankets, and wet pillows.  You know what?  In a rain, it's hard to lift even a light nylon tent.  But we retrieved the contents of the tent.

Two days later, it was no longer sopping, soaked, and dripping, so that we could set up the tent poles again, letting the muddy nylon begin to dry.  Another day, and we could take a bucket of soapy water and try to wash the mud off the inside and outside of the tent.  Another day, and we can try to finagle a way to dry the underneath side of the tent floor.  Maybe we can have it fully dry before the next rains come.

Problem is, we don't even know why it happened.  So how do we avoid a repeat?  Poor girls -- they may be traumatized for life.  I'm sure they'll remember this every time they crawl into a tent for the rest of their lives.  Hopefully they'll laugh.

Typo in LSB

A sharp was left out of the music.  At least, it was in the first printings of the hymnal.  Wide Open Stand the Gates is LSB 639.  Same tune at LSB 674, Jerusalem, O City Fair and High. In the last score of 639, middle measure, the G is supposed to be sharped.  It's the same run of notes as occurs twice earlier in the hymn.  In 674, the G needs adjustment in the second measure of the last score, where the three notes are tied.


Sometimes kids have a booger of a time remembering in which order to light the candles.  I heard an explanation recently that seemed so clear and easy-to-remember. 

The cross is in the middle, over the altar.  See it?  Jesus is the light of the world.  So when you're lighting the candles, start in the middle and work out from there, because it's like the light is spreading out.  When you're extinguishing the candles, you start at the edges and work toward the middle, because even when there's darkness, there's still light from Jesus.  So it's always that the candles nearest the center --nearest where Jesus hangs on the cross-- are the ones lit even when others aren't.

Isn't that simple?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Neighbor Kids

A crew of boys were outside next door this afternoon.  They looked like they were having a grand time with their Airsoft guns.  I assumed they'd be in our yard part of the time, and they were.  That wasn't a problem.  But while I was washing dishes, the battle-zone changed from north/south to east/west.  Pretty soon, one of the fellows was escaping the enemy, running right through my muddy strawberry patch and asparagus patch.  I hurried to the back door, feeling like the Cranky Old-Lady Neighbor, and and hollered, "Guys, please stay out of the garden!  There's already stuff coming up out there."  They quickly scooted away and I hollered, "Thank you." 

The dad had just come out, and he witnessed this.  He called them together.  I didn't know what to expect -- if he'd be scolding them or complaining about me.  About five minutes later, there's a knock on the door.  The whole group of boys are there to apologize for being in our yard.

Wow!  I told them thank you, and that being in our yard wasn't the problem, but it's the garden that particularly needs to be avoided.  They again apologized and went back to play some more. 

Wow.  It's amazing what a little thing like an apology can do to soften the heart of a Cranky Old-Lady Neighbor.