Monday, October 29, 2007

another murder

News article here.

I am pondering the questions about people that are “evil.” Or apparently evil. Why isn’t this more evident? Or perhaps most of us are capable of such evil????

I used to watch Roy Rodgers on TV when I was little. I truly thought that when we grow up, we would kill people. Roy was the good guy and he killed people. When I was an adult, I saw an early Roy Rodgers TV show. He “solved” every problem with violence. Yet in “real life,” he was a Christian.

I saw an interview on TV regarding bombings in Iraq. The policy is that it is OK to kill 30 civilians to get at one bad guy. However, the person interviewed said that they had killed hundreds in this way without ever getting even one bad guy.

I’m sick……..

ed. note: Due to SO's comment, I decided to slightly edit the above comment, since I didn't provide the name of the official who said that.



Packing

I’ve packed a suitcase for a trip at least 18 times in the last year and a half. I thought I had that down to a science. Well, not really, but there always was the backup plan: There are numerous stores, such as the mega grocery store, the variety store, and the big box stores, within a few miles to fill in any gaps in my packing, to satisfy any whim, and also to entice me to buy way more than I’d ever need.

Now we’re packing for a trip to Uganda. The airlines have weight and size limits on checked baggage. That wouldn’t normally be a problem, but we received donations of clothing to take to a school for needy children, so we are carefully weighing our three duffel bags. We hope that we can share the remaining suitcase for our personal items.

We don’t have to bring cold weather jackets for Africa, but on the way back, we’ll be stopping over an extra day in London, so that undoubtedly means cold, damp weather and appropriate clothing.

In Uganda, we’ll be doing physical labor, and we’ll be attending church and visiting a national park. I understand that someone will be hired to wash our clothing, except our underwear. We’ll spend all but about 4 nights in areas where there is no electricity and no running water.

We’ll be bringing our own “luxuries:” flashlights, ‘Sun Showers,’ shampoo and soap, toilet paper, bedding, peanut butter, books. We actually need hardly any money.

There will be no backup plan.

Friday, October 26, 2007

100 Truths in 30 Years with Christ

Dan Edelen posted an interesting and inspiring list at the blog Cerulean Sanctum.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Saving Marriages

Roland Martin writes that Americans tend to work hard when they want to accomplish something or overcome problems. Why do so many people not apply this same ethic to marriages?

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Living in the Questions

“If you had to choose one thing that you believe your church or tradition does the best, or one contribution you believe your church body makes to Christendom as a whole, what would that be? “

Weekend Fisher posed this question for this month’s Christian Reconciliation Carnival. I’m late with my entry; I should know better since I was a previous host.


When thinking of what the Lutheran Church brings to the "Christian Table," I started thinking of what our Parish Nurse calls “living in the question.” Other words that come to mind are “tension” and “paradox.” I started making my own list of concepts that Lutherans might say that they can hold on to at the same time, and then I turned to the web.


From the Fall/Winter 2002 Ministry Link reports on a sermon by Bishop Hanson: “Lutheran tradition is rich with examples of representing real-life experience by holding opposite concepts in tension. We see that creation is both good in God’s eyes and fallen, he said. Each of us is both saint and sinner. God’s work in the world is both hidden and revealed.


“Our “consumptive, multi-taking” culture, presents a challenge to the Lutheran tradition of seeing these dialectical tensions in faith and life, Hanson said. ‘Folks want a roadmap to life. They don’t want the paradox of life and God’s grace revealed in weakness,’ he said. Yet that understanding is one of the Lutheran movement’s great gifts to the Church, he said, calling for Lutherans to engage in ‘public prophetic speech’ and to present a Lutheran understanding of Scripture to counter the ‘fundamentalist’ interpretations that are prevalent in the culture.'”


Certainly Lutheranism isn’t the only tradition to think about some of the paradoxical tensions in faith, but this way of thinking is certainly in contrast to some of the prominent statements that come from some churches (or perhaps independent preachers) that use the media better than Lutherans do. In my mind, being somewhat comfortable with living in these tensions is a recognition that we humans can’t grasp the fullness and complexity of God. We’re not trying to pin God down to the finite words in the Bible, even as we believe that God is indeed revealed in the Bible. We recognize that God’s ways are not man’s ways; they can’t be reduced to formulas or simplistic statements.

And yet…..I will mention a few more of these paradoxes or tensions, summarized with some simplistic phrases.


The Kingdom is both Now/Not yet

Law/Gospel

Cross/Crown

In the World/Not of the World

God is both transcendent/Immanent

Jesus is both True God/True Man

The communion elements are both the True Body and Blood/in the form of the bread and wine.

I’ve often thought that life would be so much easier to deal with if everybody thought the same way, my way. There would be more predictability. I’d feel less anxiety. But perhaps because I’ve been steeped in Lutheran thought, I can be more realistic about what life is all about. There will always be tensions between life and death, guilt and innocence, slavery and freedom, and good times and bad times.


Ok, I’m supposed to just write about one topic that is a strength of my denomination, but in the research I did for this essay, I came across this statement by Bishop Hanson, “It’s a well-kept secret that the largest provider of social services in this nation is Lutheran Social Services.” see here and here.


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Undo-Plasty

This article about Undoing Plastic Surgery

struck me as both sad and, well, not exactly funny, but..., hmmmm, ironic???I saw a TV program about a newly retired couple who both went through plastic surgery as a sort of new start to their new life. The camera showed them at the doctor's office. Even the doctor looked "altered." That wasn't a compliment.

A few days ago, a friend noticed that I didn't look so great. I was very tired. I'm not sure that surgery could fix that look.

I wasn't sure what category to put it in either, so I chose "God's World." Maybe, just maybe, the Creator knows best.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Lots of Typing

We've all heard that a million monkeys banging on a million typewriters will eventually reproduce the entire works of Shakespeare. Now, thanks to the internet, we know this is not true.


Note: not original


Monday, October 15, 2007

The New Hymnal Has Arrived!

Our congregation started using the new Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW or Cranberry Book) last Sunday. The council had asked for donations, with the goal of 225 hymnals. Enough money was donated to purchase 244 hymnals, along with 5 accompaniment books.

The pastor has a plan to ease us into the new hymnal. For the first Sunday, we used a liturgical setting that was almost identical to one of the settings in the green book. We also sang hymns that were old favorites. The sermon traced the use of music and singing in the Bible story of our salvation, and we sang portions of hymns that carried this theme.

For the second Sunday, we sang some hymns that might be new to Lutherans but were actually old favorites for the Choir. For several years, the choir has used an number of hymns that have been published by Catholic music publishing houses. Now many of these are in our hymnal.

So far, there is nothing new there for me. And I do hope we soon try other liturgies since I never did care for the melodies of the green book liturgies.

The Lady and the Haircut

Or random thoughts after being back home.
Where’s the grace?

I was away starting 9/28, for 9 days. Nine long days and about 1300 miles of driving. I’ve been both emotionally and physically exhausted since I got back home, so I haven’t had the energy to write. Unfortunately, that means I also don't have the energy to fly "out east" to see the new grandbaby.

The trip started with a drive through 75 miles of pea soup fog and a stop at a clinic so I could get an immunization. The doctor determined that I needed three immunizations which probably caused the fatigue I started feeling the next day. Then I had lunch with my best friend. I think of S as “grace.” I know she has and will accept me as I am, and she has been honest with me when she thought I’ve been off the deep end on some things.

Then I drove to an annual gathering of relatives. Seven of us spent two days laughing, eating, remembering a recently deceased aunt, and just enjoying each other’s company. Every year we wonder if and when this group will change since one of the members is 91 years old and one is very debilitated by a disease. We also went out to eat and to a museum, where we took in the “Omnitheater.” I really have a hard time with seeing the “you-are-there-flying” movies. I got stopped by a cop who told me that I had caused a car to swerve. This was unnerving. Actually, I had been forced to go back to my lane when that car was driving up on my so fast that I wasn't able to change lanes. I was also accused of "fleeing" from the cop. Hey, I was going about 5 mph for one block before I found a place to stop!

Then I drove east through rain, across the neighboring state, to visit three other elderly relatives. It is always a challenge to figure out when I can visit each one because they all take naps and go to bed early. I run a few errands for them, if necessary, and for one, I check on the care being given at the facility where she resides. I let myself get too anxious about this aspect of the trip.

I also attempted to deal with the insurance company, since I’m listed on the power of attorney papers, but they wouldn’t talk to me since I’m the alternate. HIPA rules, you know. The alternate is supposed to take care of business if the primary POA is unavailable. Well, that was exactly the case, but they wouldn’t deal with me without a notarized paper regarding the situation. However, the primary can’t leave her home to get a paper notarized due to serious illness. So, the insurance company was supposed to FAX some papers to deal with this in an alternative way. How long should a FAX take? That is a rhetorical question with no answer in this situation, because even after being told that they would FAX the papers on two different days, it never arrived during the week.

At least I had the files to review and I was able to make copies and write a letter to try to get the bills paid. This same insurance company had sent multiple letters saying that the claim was in process and we didn’t have to do anything. Yeah right. How about telling us that they were missing multiple papers? I sent them 26 pages of copies.

I took a longer-than-usual way home so that I could visit my sister, who has recently had serious surgery, but seems to be recovering, and see her daughter and her grandbabies. Going home, I had about 100 miles of fog again.

Where’s the haircut? Here it comes:

About 3 months ago, I got my hair cut shorter because I just didn’t have time to get appointments very often. I don’t like fussing with my hair at all. Since that time, wherever I’ve gone, people have commented on how much they like my hair. It is a nice, though odd, feeling to receive so many compliments, dozens actually, for so long a time.

I’m not responsible for the type of hair I have; I only do wash-and-wear hair dos. I’m not the one who cut my hair. I just smile and say, “Thank you.”

These compliments are somehow like grace: UNDESERVED. But I’ll take them!


The Lady and the Haircut part two: One of my relatives recently got a new pastor at her church. She hasn’t yet met the lady pastor, but has talked to fellow council members about her. It seems that the not-so-young pastor has short hair, so some of the people were “wondering” about her. Code word alert. Ah-ha. They found out that she has a husband; relief was felt by all.

So is “this” sort of thing the first thing that pops into people’s minds these days?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Thank God this happened at home.

Yesterday, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the car going backwards on our driveway, faster than normal, for backing up. Since my husband is Mr. Cautious when it comes to driving, this was definitely unusual. Then I looked out another window, and saw that the car had backed into a small tree. The brakes had gone out! Fortunately, the brakes failed at home. And fortunately, thanks to Mr. Columbus, my husband has today off to take care of this. And the car dealer has an opening this morning.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Just a peek.


ND one half day old.

Smush,,,,,,,

I received a picture, thanks to the marvels of the 'net, but, sorry, I'm doing the sandwich generation thing today, so no picture uploaded yet. Plus, this computer and internet is a POS, as my kids would say. The sandwich was smushed today. I am hoping for a nap.

Arrival!

New grandson, yesterday! But he is "out east" and I'm in the Midwest visiting my elderly relative and helping out here. Too many miles between family members in this family.