Tuesday, July 31, 2007
And it makes me so angry.
I'm not sure why. I know that she's only 6. That she's feeling out her little areas of defiance and such things. And that for the next 14 years or so, she's going to be testing me and Sheryl to see what we'll let her get away with. Sometimes I wonder if I get so angry because I have a lot of my second dad in me. I have two dads: my bio-dad and my mom's current husband, also confusingly known as "Dad'. I doubt that I've ever talked about them here on the blog. I don't presume to that much because whether it seems like it or not, I don't talk about every aspect of my life here on the blog. I rarely talk about work as well.
At any rate, Dad was a pretty stern disciplinarian. It was his way or the highway, almost literally. My mom had a say in that too, but I always looked at her as the safety net. Dad had very high expectations for how we were supposed to act and behave and complete the tasks he set out for us. And if we didn't, there were consequences for that. It wasn't that he didn't love us. He did, there's no question of that. He simply had high expectations about our behavior.
Where I wonder if I have a lot of my Dad in my parenting. I wonder if I have too high of expectations for Kinsey and when she doesn't meet them, I get angry and frustrated. I try to control that, but Sheryl has said that I can look furious when Kinsey does the things that she can do.
I don't want Kinsey to be scared of me. I don't want to frighten her, so I'm trying to work on my anger. I want her to respect and love me, and from those, to decide to behave as Sheryl and I expect her to. Kinsey is a sweet and beautiful little girl, who is also 6 years old. Which means that she can be snotty and a drama queen. She also has a little brother, which means that she's not the only child she was for five years.
It's a complex time and it's only sure to get more complex, but I love that little girl so much and I tell her that a lot of the time. Mostly it's for her, but sometimes I wonder if I'm telling it to myself as well, so that I don't forget it too.
Addendum: I just want to be clear that I understand that the majority of this is my issue. Kids are kids and every kid is different. I realize that I have to get over myself, and while still having great expectations for Kinsey, understanding behavior is one of those "baby steps" things, and rarely the lightbulb going off-epiphany things.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Okay.....Just thought some would like to know, in case you don't check old posts' comments.
Based on everything I'm reading here, I'm going to do a little bit of extrapolation and assume that any/all of y'all would regard Mormons as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Is that correct?
Friday, July 27, 2007
A couple of interesting quotes. This one after visiting a "mega-church."
Why is it that I should not seek out possessions and money, but the church is permitted to do just that? Does taking 10% of every congregant’s income not count as seeking out money? Why should the institution be rich, and the congregation not? If you really believe you should be living the aesthetic life led by Christ and his apostles, why aren’t you doing it? If money and possessions aren’t important, why aren’t you meeting to discuss the meaning of Christ’s ideas and life in the local park? Notwithstanding the need to broadcast to your rather large congregation, and obviously you’d have to come up with a solution during the winter months, but really: why the son et lumiere ? I found the medium more than a bit out of whack with the message.And this after visiting a downtown church...
Which brings me to another point: all that razzmatazz kind of unsettles me. We live in a culture where distraction is often misdirection - like a magician who gets you to look at his left hand while he’s disappearing something with his right. I found myself wondering why a group that liked its preacher so straightforward felt most at home in a medium of flashing lights and sound.
I could tell then and there we had found what this experiment was set out to accomplish, a church that saw past the money, power and the heighten sense of moral superiority that we have grown accustomed to. Charity, real charity. About time....Now, it would be easy to write these reactions off as the desires of a youth culture that seeks substance over flash, or is seeking action without real meaning. In other words, these people might have found meaning in a Buddhist temple that engaged in social action.
I was floored, for close to a month now I have been told of all the wonderful things the Christian church provides without any physical evidence of its truth, but here it is, in the flesh. I have to smile, we have traveled to the city’s massive churches where thousands worship and yet we find what we are looking for in a turnout of 35 on Sunday....
This is the only Church where the majority of time, finances and energy is NOT spent on the Sunday service. At Sanctuary, it actually would have been unfair to only score them on their Sunday service, the smallest part of what they do.
What I think is more telling is that there are certain expectations built around what it means to be a Christian, and churches are falling way short. Maybe.
I grant that it is very, very possible that mega-churches aren't very involved in their communities. And it's frankly easier to believe that, which makes it easier to scorn mega-churches and their supposed corporate approach to doing church. (No really, I don't have a log in my eye, but thanks for asking).
Or maybe churches (even mega-churches) are doing good and the good that's going on isn't getting "publicized" more. Now that goes against some of our ideas about not letting the left hand know what the right one is doing, and humility in doing good works. Perhaps there will come a point that when you talk about how you're a Christian or follower of Christ, the natural assumption that someone will make is not about how judgmental we can be, but the good we're seeking to do in our communities, both those that come into our walls and those that would never think about darkening the door.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Naturally, I'm wondering what's happening, and to my utter shock, if you Google Deathly Hallows Review, my blog is the third listing. No idea why or how, but I guess it's one of those interesting little algorithms that happens on the web.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
In other stuff, he's also walking! Here's evidence...
And finally, one more reminder about the similarities between me and Connor.
Me at 13 months...
And Connor on a similar toy
He's so fun right now, just a wonderful joy in all of our lives.
Monday, July 23, 2007
However, I have and I want to post some thoughts. I'll leave plenty of spoiler space for my lovely Google Reader readers...
I loved it. Loved it. I though JKR did an almost completely brilliant job with most of it. I loved that we got to see the Harry/Hermione/Ron trio for most of the book. I loved the action. I loved that people died. I didn't love that people died. I loved that actions had consequences and there was real evil out there.
What didn't I love? I didn't love the never-ending camping trip. That got pretty tiresome. I didn't love chasing clues all over the country seemingly only to get to the end of the year, as JKR likes to structure her books. I didn't like that breaking into the Ministry and into Gringotts felt very similar. I didn't like that we really never got an explanation about how the Sword of Gryffindor came out of the Sorting Hat. Again. I wonder what Griphook thought of that.
Ok, so specifics.
I loved how JKR basically deconstructed Dumbledore for the whole series. He started off as this almost perfect character, but by the end, we know that he was someone who had dabbled in the Dark Arts, and had desparately wanted to be famous. He also was arrogant to the point of putting others in life threatening danger. And yet, he was right and Harry loved him.
Snape. I loved how Snape was doing good things, but all for the wrong reasons. He was doing it out of guilt and if it hadn't been for Lilly, he would have unapologetically been a Death Eater. I loved that every time he looked at Harry, he saw the eyes of the woman he loved in the face of the man he hated. That part was simply, simply brilliant JKR's part. I did love how showing his memories cleared everything up and how that was written, particularly understanding that HE was the nasty boy Petunia had talked about in Order of the Phoenix.
I simply adored the Battle of Hogwarts and I really think it could be its own movie. All the people joining back up: Dumbledore's Army, the Order, the old Quidditch players. The whole final third of the book was just so tightly written and done so very well. I can't wait to read that part again.
Loved that Neville became just the ultimate Hogwarts Bad Ass. Killing Nagini and organizing the resistance. And his Gran taking out some Death Eaters. AND MOLLY WEASLEY! Kickin' it and taking names!
I loved how Kreacher really did come around because of being treated kindly, and even respecting Hermione.
Speaking of House Elves, I was really surprised that the death that actually brought tears to my eyes was Dobby's. Dobby! The Jar-Jar of Harry Potter! He had been so brave and so resourceful that I simply loved how he was brought into the story, and so shocked that he died in the way that he did.
I even loved the epilogue, 1) for its blatant cheesiness, and 2) that it threw back into the face of all the fans that were just begging for a Harry and Hermione hookup: the Harmonians (yes, that's what they call themselves).
I really really loved it and I think it's my favorite book right now. I need to read it again and a smidge closer this time. And then, next year probably, do a full seven book reread. That's going to be fun.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
It does make me long for the promised resurrection bodies of the New Heavens and New Earth.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus, indeed.
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Monday, July 16, 2007
at the time of Paul Rome
- Military might
- Spreading their culture
- Cruel enforcement of their methods (floggings, crucifixions)
- As Western Christians, we have a unique insight into
- As Westerners, we enjoy many of the benefits of
- As Christians though we see the dark side of
- We see the floggings that Paul endured
- Ultimately, we also see the crucifixion of Jesus. (Crucifixion)
- So we see
as the victorious conquerors and we see it from the view of the conquered as well. Rome
- An ideology that has recently been gaining a lot of traction in Biblical interpretation is the idea that Paul was using Christianity in direct opposition to the Roman Empire, that he was saying that the Roman Empire was a hollow man and ultimately just a shell. That Caesar was a false god. Which requires some explanation.
- When Julius Caesar was famously murdered in 44 BC, his great nephew Octavius claimed that he had seen Julius’ spirit rise to heaven in a comet. Since the Comet was seen by everyone (possibly the Hale Bopp comet) and recorded by the historian/biographer Suetonius, that meant that Caesar was deified, that he became a god. Which meant that Augustus (as Octavian became called) was the son of a god. And in fact, Augustus put this ideology on one of his coins.
- The thinking is that Paul not only put Jesus as the promised Jewish Messiah, but that he was also the Lord of the world. And if Jesus is Lord of the world that means that Caesar is not.
- We see this most prominently in the book of Philippians, specifically Chapter 2:5-11
5Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
8And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
9Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
10that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
- The word Lord there is a very interesting one, really with a double meaning.
- The Greek word is Kyrios On one hand, it was the Greek word that was used in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures) for YHWH, the personal name of God that in many of our translations of the Old Testament is the word LORD So, on the one hand, this is a statement of Jesus’ divinity.
- On the other hand, one of the common phrases of Caesar’s power is that Caesar is Lord. And by saying that Jesus is the Lord/Kyrios Paul is saying that Caesar isn’t. And what he is ultimately saying is that where the Empire fails, where the Empire falls short, where the Empire uses force and fear and might to conquer, the community of Jesus is the counter point to that. I could go on and talk about some other Greek words, like evangelion (the gospel, the good news) and talk about how Paul subverted that language and subverted the Emperor, but you can look a lot of that up.
Questions so far?
- Another place in Philippians where we can see this subversion even more clearly is in Chapter 3, verses 17-21
17Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. 18For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. 20But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body..
- To give context, in verses 1-11 of this chapter, Paul has recounted his Jewish credentials. Talked about how all of that was refuse, garbage compared to knowing Christ.
- In 17-21, Paul talks about citizenship, a very important concept to the Philippians. Many, not all, but many Philippians were Roman citizens like Paul, and those that weren’t would have liked to have been. By making this statement, Paul is saying that citizenship is in the
Roman Empireis the same as Paul’s Jewish credentials: refuse, compared to what it means to know the Lord (kyrios again) Jesus Christ. Once again, another subversion of the Empire.
- One final place to look at which states this the most clearly is Acts 17:7
7and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar's decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus." here Paul and Silas are in Thessalonica and are dragged before the city officials with the charge that they are defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.”
- So I hope I’ve added some spiritual buttressing to this idea that Paul is trying to subvert the
Roman Empirewith the message of the and Jesus as the king. Kingdomof God
- One objection that might come up to this mindset is, “Phil, what about Romans 13, where Paul tells them to submit to the authorities?” To which I would say, “let’s take a look at it.” 1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
- Now, a couple of things that I think about this, guided by the Bishop NT Wright in his book Paul in Fresh Perspective .
- First of all, notice that Paul says that the rulers are appointed by God, which means that they aren’t gods themselves. A significant step down for Augustus or Tiberius or Caligula or Nero. It ultimately makes them answerable to God for what they do.
- Secondly, Wright says "precisely because of all the counter-imperial hints Paul has given, not only in this letter but indeed by his entire gospel, it is vital that he steer Christians away from the assumption that loyalty to Jesus would mean the kind of civil disobedience and revolution that merely reshuffles the political cards into a different order." "The main thing Paul wants to emphasize is that, even though Christians are the servants of the Messiah, the true lord, this does not give them carte blanche to ignore the temporary subordinates whose appointed task, whether (like Cyrus) they know it or not, is to bring at least a measure of God's order and justice to the world. The church must live as a sign of the kingdom yet to come, but since that kingdom is characterized by justice, peace and joy in the Spirit (14.17), it cannot be inaugurated in the present by violence and hatred." Which casts an interesting eye on the American Revolution, albeit Wright is British so that might cast an interesting eye on him as well.
- Another objection is that if Paul was such an objector to the Empire and to Caesar as a god, why does Paul not renounce his Roman citizenship or not use his citizenship to his advantage as he does in Acts 16:37 37But Paul said to the officers: "They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.", Acts 22:29 29Those who were about to question him withdrew immediately. The commander himself was alarmed when he realized that he had put Paul, a Roman citizen, in chains. And then even appealing to Caesar in 25:11 11If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!"?
- And to me, this is where the application to today can come.
- Now, I don’t want to make a direct comparison between the
Roman Empireand . I think it’s unfair and inaccurate. America doesn’t typically flog those that disagree with us or crucify those that rise up against us. However, much like Rome 2,000 years ago, America is the dominant force in the world. The influence of this country on culture, language, history, even the movies is unparalleled in the history of the world. And much like America of the time, not everyone likes it. Rome
- I will be honest. I think Paul would speak in much the same language to us today as American citizens as he did to the Philippians. That he would tell us that however highly we envision our citizenship as Americans, it should be rubbish compared to our citizenship in the Kingdom. In his outstanding book, Mere Discipleship our own Lee Camp had this to say about Nationalism: "When Paul asserted that all fundamental markers of identity, particularly those that buttress separation or estrangement, must be submitted to our identity found in Christ, he included three of the most powerful sources of estrangement in his day: ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic class. Since Paul wrote before the advent of the modern nation-state, we should add 'nationality' to the list, for it is, in the contemporary Western world at least, the most revered source of identitiy and separation from others. But Paul insists that Christ come first; everything else must either find its place underneath his lordship or be cast aside. Nationalism inverts this relationship, having us (whether theologically or practically) place national citizenship as the first marker of identity. Blood, country and homeland are powerful sumbols that are made to serve as gods. The god of 'God and country' is a nationalistic deity that does not baptize into the Spirit of Christ, but the spirit of homeland security; this god baptizes not in the blood of the Lamb, but the blood of soil and country."
- I think Paul would agree with that. That where our citizenship in this country contradicts the Kingdom, we’re called to be the voices against that. I don’t think we’re called to revolution (although we are the benefactors of a revolution).
- And to answer the question about why Paul doesn’t renounce his Roman citizenship is the same reason that we don’t renounce ours. It’s useful. Paul was able to use his citizenship to gain access to the halls of power. Our citizenships as Americans are powerful tools. With them we can travel throughout the world. We can be the ones that help the poorest of the poor. Our currency is extremely strong. With what costs few dollars to us, we can help those for whom a mosquito net can mean the difference between life and death. Our citizenship is in heaven, but most of us won the genetic lottery to be born here in
and that can be used for good. Just as here in America , the power that even many in this room here have can be used to affect positive change. Nashville
- To conclude, I don’t believe Paul was either/or. I don’t believe he was preaching politics or theology. I think they were intertwined, but both were so revolutionary that they reshaped the world and even succeeded in reshaping an Empire (although as Lee points out in Mere Discipleship, the Empire also succeeded in reshaping Christianity).
- I think we are called to be subverters of the Empire we exist in as well. I think we’re called to be the voice of God and to be the ones that continue to say, “No. This isn’t God’s way!” And perhaps it’s using some of the tools of the Empire, perhaps some are called to divest themselves completely of all aspects of the Empire, particularly pernicious ones like materialism and perhaps even security, but the truth is, whether Jesus returns today or 200,000 years from now, the Kingdom will continue. It outlasted
, it will outlast Rome , and whatever follows America . America
Friday, July 13, 2007
For the last two weeks, Tim Woodroof (not Woodruff) the preacher at Otter Creek has been teaching on Money and it's been really really good. You can listen to Week 1 here and Week 2 here. Last Sunday, Tim taught on the story of the rich fool in Luke 12, and related it to the story of the talents in Matthew 25. And what I noticed for the first time that the parable of the talents is immediately followed by the story of the Sheep and Goats, where Jesus says that even if someone claims him as Lord, but doesn't do the things of the Kingdom will be rejected. I talked a little about this in a post a while back called Saved By Grace, Judged by Works?
At any rate, reading it in this context brought something really home to me. If we believe in this is a true relating of what we will be judged on, it seems that God judges us, not by our statement of faith (although I will continue to hold that that is important), but by how we treat others, specifically the less fortunate. I don't think it's an accident that Jesus followed the Talents with Sheep and Goats. He basically says, "Don't be stingy with what God has given you. Go out and share with others. Because you will be judged on that." And of course, it's easy (and more comfortable to spiritualize it out. "Well, Phil, he's talking about our salvation there. And that we need to take the salvation gift that God has given us and make sure we share it so that other people don't go to Hell." That might be right, that might be complete Bovine Scat. Sometimes a talent is just a talent. What Jesus seems to be saying is, "The money that you have has been given not simply as a gift to you, but a resource to be used. And if you bury it, if you basically prevent it from being used, then you're not simply burying a gift given, but you're denying it to others. And if you do that, either with your money or the Good News of Jesus, it doesn't matter what name you wear in the end. You can claim me all you want; it's not going to help you in the end."
And perhaps, just perhaps, this chapter, these stories should scare the Scat out of us.
As always, I could be wrong and I'm always interested in conversation about it. Thanks to all of you who continue to walk in this journey with me.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
For first and second grade, I went to Eakin Elementary. It's the age I was when I filmed this. Because I was young and not as socially adept, I did second grade again at Woodmont Elementary (there's a park there now). We then moved to the Green Hills area and I went to Glendale Elementary from third to sixth grade. I then went to JT Moore Middle for two weeks and then transfered to Caldwell Middle Magnet (now Meigs). And for high school, Hume Fogg Academic.
I then wanted a fairly small college and one that had a Christian orientation (and honestly, I thought God wanted me to show all the Pharisaical hypocrites in the Church of Christ how to be a real Christian), so I went to Lipscomb University. And on one hand, I really pitied people that I called K through Life, people that went from Kindergarten through college. My feeling was that when "they" got out into the "real world," they were in for a terrible shock. This is also another reason that I'm not thrilled with the idea of the kids in a private school.
Now the consideration could be made that I wasn't either. Not only did I go to academic magnet schools from 7-12 grades, I went to a private school for college, and then taught in an academic magnet school for six years. I never really experienced "real life" until I got into the business world. And honestly, I think Sheryl and I would be very, very happy with our kids in a magnet school setting. I got a lot out of it myself.
Well, that's a lot more rambling, and perhaps more than you wanted to know about my educational background. Hopefully some video next week of Connor taking some steps...
Friday, July 06, 2007
How does that strike you? Is that quote just another sign of the watering-down of Christianity? Or does it give you hope for the future of Christianity?
As a pastor what would you say to someone who has become disillusioned with organized church or what they have seen of Christianity?
I would wager that the things that most turn them off are the things that most turn Jesus off. There is not one instance in Jesus’ teachings where he gets angry with somebody who isn’t a follower of his or someone who doesn’t love God. His anger is always for religious people who claim to speak for God but live in another way. So if you find hypocrisy absolutely revolting so did Jesus. If you find people who think they are the moral police of culture repulsive, so did Jesus. If you find people who are ready to throw stones at the next sinner very hard to take, so did Jesus. And if you think that people who use Jesus to accumulate political power, to coerce people to live according to their laws, well Jesus had a problem with such things as well. I would say that your anger is shared by Jesus. He’s angered by all the same things.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
One thing she told me is to get and keep our kids out of public schools. She said gangs are a huge problem and out of all of the friends of this child, 100% get high on pot everyday.
And it brought into sharp relief an issue that I feel strongly about and have a great deal of fear about. I've mentioned before my trepidation at sending Kinsey to school, as Sheryl and I stop being the people that she spends the most consistent time with during the week, and every now and then last year, we'd get a glimpse of some behavior that we knew she was picking up from some classmates. We'd correct it of course and she'd be better and we hoped she was having a positive influence on her friends as well.
Back when I was teaching, Sheryl and I were firm that we wanted our children in public schools because we didn't want to be one of those "white flight" families that pulled our kids out of there because we were afraid of the people with different colored skin, and that's still very true. However, when it comes to our children's development, we really want to be as cautious as possible that they don't end up with bad influences where they make dumb choices when they're young (and under our tutelage) that can affect them for the rest of their lives.
And so we think about private schools, recognizing the financial burden that brings and the insular provincial world that can exist among those who can afford such luxuries. And even recognizing the fact that some of the same bad influences in public schools can exist in private schools.
And so we think about homeschooling and the challenges and struggles that can bring.
This isn't a post where I have one of those firm opinions that I normally can have. This is a very difficult issue and it's really, really easy to have one of those opinions before your children are born, but then you look into the sweet face of your daughter and you will do what ever it takes to protect her and take care of her and the beautiful toothless grin of my son and know that you want to prepare him for the future.
I must have missed this section in the owner's manuals for the kids.