Blonde moment

And the silver spoon.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Holy Innocents…

I’ve been learning about the church calendar, thanks very much to the Treasury of Daily Prayer I received for Christmas. Apparently, we commemorate the slaughter of babies by King Herrod. Pastor McCain wonders why there are no decorations for these infants .

Rightly, Pastor McCain points us to the slaughter of the Innocent, our Savior, who died for our sins. I would like to actually answer his question. We do not commemorate the Holy Innocents because we, as a culture, are no longer horrified by mass murder. In particular, Christians of my generation are no longer horrified by abortion. Further, accounts of crazy people, even parents, murdering children abound in our news.

Sit down and think about the last time you thought, I mean really thought about ALL of the Christmas Story. A couple of years ago, there was a movie in the theaters that told the Christmas Story, rather well, I would say. That’s the last time I acknowledged the slaughter of the innocents. But, I haven’t really sat down to think of it in a very long time, a decade or so, perhaps.

We do not commemorate these innocents because it doesn’t fit with the Christian stereotype of how post Christmas is supposed to feel. We are supposed to continue the warm fuzzy feeling throughout the New Years. We do not commemorate these infants because we are no longer shocked, nor horrified, and, quite honestly, we’ve been trained to think it is morally acceptable, or at least tolerable, or not worthy of our roughest punishment when children are murdered in cold blood.

God have mercy on our jaded, evil souls.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Mallory’s carbon footprint…

Mallory, aka Miss Sensitive Bum, will have a substantially reduced carbon footprint from this point on. That’s right, as soon as my order comes in, Mallory will proudly be sporting cloth diapers, Indian cotton prefolds with some pretty covers. Miss Sensitive Bum did just fine with sensitive bum disposable diapers. However, manufacturers of diapers must think that sensitive bummed babies get potty trained at 6 months. We tried the diapers for babies with normal bums, and the poor girl’s bum is chemical burn red after 2 diapers and spent the entire day screaming bloody murder. Josh went out and bought special organic cotton diapers this evening to last us until our cloth diapers come. Freaking expensive these special organic cotton diapers are, $10.99 for 34! They were made by some Swedish mom who wanted her baby to have compostable diapers. Who the heck in Sweden composts in the winter? Further, who in Minnesota composts in the winter? I’m not going to be that crazy new neighbor that composts her baby’s diapers in the middle of the winter, not to mention the summer! Wouldn’t the neighborhood dogs just love that! I’m going to be like everyone else and throw these special diapers in a plastic bag into my garbage can where they won’t easily biodegrade. Not because I’m difficult (though I am), I’m just thinking convenience here. These diapers are called biodegradable (and they may very well be) just to make people feel good about paying $11 for 34 diapers and throwing them away in plastic diaper genie bags like normal people.

I am actually pretty impressed with the pricing of these pre-fold diapers. I have hereby decided that when the time comes, subsequent babies will be exclusively cloth diapered. Low overhead, no chemical burns, happy baby, happy parents.

Poor Mallory… her first Christmas, and all she wanted was her two front teeth. She didn’t get that, she got this really bad, lousy diaper rash.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!

"For unto us a Child is born!"

(yup, that is Mallory performing as Baby Jesus, with her Godmother, Kathy, Godfather, Jon, and a little friend.)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The 12 Days of Christmas…

Go ahead. I’m renewing the quiz as a tradition of sorts, so what theological points can one use each of the 12 days of Christmas to remember:

A Partridge in a Pear Tree:
Two Turtle Doves:
Three French Hens:
Four Calling Birds:
Five Golden Rings:
Six Geese A Laying:
Seven Swans A Swimming:
Eight Maids A Milking:
Nine Ladies Dancing:
Ten Lords A Leaping:
Eleven Pipers Piping:
Twelve Drummers Drumming:
The True Love:

No fair looking back to last year. I’ll post the answers when I get a chance of it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Add five to the month...

Take each of my parent's birth months, add five, and you have their birth day. 12/17 is one such day. Happy Birthday, Mom! I love you very much and pray that you'll have many more happy, healthy birthdays! God bless you!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tradition! Tradition!

(All you Fiddler fans, sing it with me!)

Every Christmas Eve, my dad’s side of the family would gather at Granny’s house, some would eat lutefisk, all would eat pizza and lefse, silverware would be stolen*, the Christmas Story read out of the family Bible (Vulgate), and presents would be opened. Then, when Dad became Lutheran and the rest of us followed, we’d go to church on both Christmas Eve and Day, which made the family gathering later. Now, both my paternal grandparents are gone, so last year we celebrated at my mom’s and this year we’ll celebrate at Aunty Joy’s.

Traditions are fun. And writing about them is fun unless your daughter is trying to pull heavy books off the shelf… I need to do something about that… just a sec… I showed her the Winnie the Pooh Anthology, we’re good.

When we converted to Lutheran Theology, I honestly had no idea that Lutherans practiced liturgy, until I started reading the blogs. Rev. Russ, as I mentioned below, has a good post on the debate amongst LCMS members. (Full disclosure, my family belongs to his church.)
Though I go to a non-liturgical church, I personally prefer liturgy. And, while reading the arguments on both sides, I’d like to address some of them, and put in my revivalist background two cents. And keep in mind, I just like the discussion, have no intent on causing problems because my church doesn’t practice liturgy, and respect that people do things differently than I prefer.

Those who don’t practice liturgy often say something to the extent “Well, it gets repetitive, people become ignorant of what it means, and there comes a point when we don’t mean it when we say it.” I agree on all three points… but modern praise and worship is more repetitive and often less theological, so there is less to cling to. Do people know what all their praise and worship songs mean? Do they know why churches don’t practice liturgy? Further, how many rounds of “You are my strength when I am weak/Jesus lamb of God” can you go and still mean it? (I get bored after we’ve song all the verses once…)

I want to expand a bit more beyond my smarmy paragraph… I go to a Lutheran church to hear this: I am a dirty rotten sinner and Jesus died for my sins, I want to confess my sins, receive absolution, say the Lord’s Prayer and the Creed (every week the Creed and not just once in a while), hear scripture and sound doctrine taught.

If a Lutheran church decides not to practice liturgy, I chalk that up to congregational freedom provided this congregation doesn’t fall into the trap some liturgical churches fall into: No one knows why we do things the way they are done. Does your pastor regularly explain the worship service and why things are done? If not, the new non-liturgy becomes just as irrelevant as people claim liturgy to be. Arguably, poor catechesis exists on both sides. And the catechesis should be more complicated than “Well, this is what we prefer…” WHY do you prefer? Is it like chocolate ice cream and it tastes good or is there a real doctrinal reason? If it is like chocolate ice cream and it tastes good, perhaps one should revisit ones worship service. But, if there are sound reasons why things are done the way they are, we should be reminded. People learn by drill and repetition. There is nothing wrong with repetition. This is why Martin Luther told pastors to stick to one version of the Creed, the Commandments, and the Lord’s Prayer. Non liturgical congregations need to regularly hear that they are just as repetitive as liturgical ones. They just repeat different things.

Regardless of if one practices liturgy or not, the assigned scripture readings should be read. Again, I believe there should be freedom in the pastor’s sermon, but I stand firm about church calendar. Lutherans interpret scripture differently than the vast majority of American Christians. As such, reading from the church calendar teaches how to properly interpret scripture. For example, how does one accept the same Jesus who was prophesied to be despised and rejected by men? When someone asks “Have you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior?” how does that mesh with what Isaiah has to say about him? How does the message, “You’re just thinking too many negative thoughts” coincide with the man who was of sorrows and acquainted with grief? Oh, are those conflicting theologies? You see, often in non-liturgical churches, the Old Testament is neglected, as such bad theology creeps in.

On repetitious memory work… people abhor vacuums. So, they are going to fill their heads with something. The Apostle Paul teaches us that not everything is beneficial, though it is permissible. And here is the ultimate test: What happens when you fall into the depths of despair or your life is a graveyard of buried hopes? What happens when you are rejected and abandoned, even by God’s people who are supposed to care for you? What happens when you can’t feel the presence of God? When you walk through the shadows of death, what gives you more comfort, singing “I can sing of your love forever,” or reciting the Apostles Creed? Something of emotions that conflict with your own or something of great theological truth? It’s going to be the sound doctrine, the scripture, the words of the faith that you have learned by repetition.

Before summing up, I want to briefly talk about this, “Well, everyone else is doing it” “Seeker sensitive” stuff. It is inappropriate for revivalists to tell Lutherans how to worship. We should not be doing things just because everyone else is. We should not abandon the manner of worship that has been practiced historically just for popularity sake. Further, it is down right wrong for pagans to presume to tell Christians how to worship and preach. Enough of this “What will make our message/service/whatever more attractive to pagans” act. This line is said by people who don’t read the Old Testament as often as they should. (Again with this Isaiah thing…) Christians should continually ask, “How can I be a better communicator?” This is different than making things more attractive to non-Christians. If a Christian needs a brush up on grammar, history, the vernacular, etc., it is different than making Jesus, whom the Bible tells us is despised and rejected, more attractive. Jesus does not need us to win souls. The work is complete. He uses people as a tool in proclaiming his death for sinners and ressurection.

To sum up, liturgy should fall into the realm of Christian freedom, provided both the liturgical and the non-liturgical constantly, at all levels, remind themselves why things are done the way they are. Keep things objective, not subjective with worship. Don’t abandon the Creed, The Lord’s Prayer, Christ Centered teaching that preaches Jesus died for my sins, confession and absolution, and the reading of scriptures as assigned by the church calendar. Keep Lutheran Theology pure. And remember that worship services should also be friendly to those who contemplate such things.

*it isn’t breaking a commandment if you intend on wrapping the silverware up, placing it under the tree, and returning it to its owner, provided you blame it on someone else, of course.

If I were smart and did a muslin…

Here’s how I *would* have done McCall’s 3656… First, I would have tossed the instructions out. Worthless and not how McCall’s does their other dresses. Second, cut extras for the bodice, but cut the extras so there aren’t arm holes on them.

Here’s how I will assemble next time:
Assemble the back and put in the zipper
Assemble the front
BEFORE doing the under sleeve seam and the side seams, sew the shoulders and shoulder/sleeve seem. Then do a cuff of sleeve to skirt hem seam.

Collar: sew the collar on according to instructions, then take the extra bodice pieces, just doing the shoulder seams (remember, no arm holes as you cut those away) Sew the second bodice to the collar and dress bodice, right sides together, clip your circle and flip the second bodice to the inside of the dress, and stitch.

After I finish doing what I need to hand sew, I’ll post pictures.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sewing Grrr...

I'm making a dress for Mallory and my machine is too big for the sleaves. Sigh.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Random points of interest…

Do Europeans have lower Down’s Syndrome rates because of their pre-natal care? Frank from the Haut South seems to think so … but in a rather morbid way.

Rev. Russ has a point of view on whether or not to practice liturgy … I kind of agree with him and kind of disagree with him. I have this long post about it that I’ve been polishing. I’ll try to get it up this weekend after first rice cereal clean up.

L P Cruz reminds us that it’s OK to not know all the answers .

Dr. Vieth via Pastor McCain wishes us all a slappy Christmas.

Rebekah from the CSPP reminds us of child logic . For my part, I was told that Aunty Joy and my Mommy had babies in their tummies. I knew the babies had to come out, and based on my childish logic, I decided that they must come out of belly buttons. (Well, if you don’t know you need more information, why ask?) Ironically enough, I had a C-Section with Mallory and will be a C-Section only mom due to some complications with Mallory.

I’ve been following the story of a foster mom on The Laundry’s Never Done. Their foster son went home to his dad recently, and she provides an end to their story . Though I’ve never met her, I feel a bond to her for some personal reasons. Please pray for this wonderful family as they discern their next step.

A Rosenbladt quote via Eric Rapp: What the sad alumni need to hear, perhaps for the first time, is that Christian failures are going to walk into heaven, be welcomed into heaven, leap into heaven like a calf leaping out of its stall, laughing and laughing as if it's all too good to be true. It isn't just that we failures will get in, it's that we will probably get in like that. We failures in living the Christian life as described in the Bible will probably say something like, "You mean it really was that simple? Just Christ's cross and blood? Just his righteousness imputed to my account as if it were mine? You got to be kidding! And all of heaven is ours just because of what was done by Jesus outside of me, not in me? On the cross, not in my heart? Not in my Christian living, not in my ethics and behavior? Well, I'll be damned!"

King from SCSU Scholars points out that some people think it’s OK for healthy people to use cocain’s kissing cousin Ritalin and he ties it to other performance enhancing drugs. Nancy Reagan’s mission failed. Do we D.A.R.E. go down this path?

Baby Jesus pics up when I get them!

Also, does anyone have thoughts on the series: Great Books of the Western World?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Acting like Jesus...

Mallory portrayed Baby Jesus in our church's Christmas pageant. Usually, there is just a token Nativity scene incorporated in the last 5 to 10 minutes of the show and a curtain call. This year, Mallory was on stage 30 to 40 minutes per show for five shows. She did great the first four, but during "What child is this," she got this look of utter terror and I knew it was coming. "Mary and Joseph" who are also her Godparents did all they could, but I ended up walking her out early, the poor thing.

We're all kind of like that sometimes... I mean, we put on our "Jesus" costume and try to do the impossible when we are all really just scared, sad, sinful little babies. I think Mallory probably had it right, we should let Jesus be Jesus. Thanks be to God for His sacrificial death and resurrection.