"Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Paul to the persecuted at Philippi (2:5-11)

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sunday Unplugged... and somewhat silent.

Okay, so I have laryngitis.  Delightful.
Saturday was a joyful, incredible day, with an ordination in the morning and a Happening (teen ministry) event lasting late into the evening.  I left home early Saturday morning and arrived home in the wee hours of Sunday.   Thankfully I can generally get by on little sleep.

On the ride home from Happening, I began to lose my voice.  Not a common thing for me.  Not amusing.  So much for reading the Gospel or much of anything else useful in church the next day. I woke up Sunday morning with nothing more than a whisper.

To make matters more fun, we had planned to spend the entire day with the kids unplugged, no internet, no cell phones, nothing.  We had planned to go get a Christmas tree, decorate it, play games, make hot chocolate.

Cough, cough,  whisper, whisper.  Yeah, I'm kind of useless.

But in the end it was a blessing. My middle child offered to be my voice so I could join in the goofy games.  My own enforced quiet caused the world to seem quieter by evening.  And my compete inability to be useful in church is a reminder that we aren't loved by God for our usefulness, but because we just are. 

Yes, I was going a little stir crazy (still am) from the lack of both vocal and typewritten communications.  But I was reminded that there wasn't anything that couldn't wait until the working week.  Enforced priorities are not always a bad thing.

So today I'm much improved.  I can squeak and sound like a teenaged boy.   This is not amusing.  But I should be back in the rat race by tomorrow.

I'm not sure that's a good thing.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Taking College for a Test Drive and Drunken Anglican Chameleons

Sometimes parenting is like being initiated into the mysteries of the universe.  Not just birthing babies and late night feedings and the still that happens for the ten minutes a day that the little stinkers are asleep and you're awake.  Life's mysteries are more ongoing than babies. 

My eldest has been accepted into two colleges, one very Reformed Protestant and one very Roman Catholic.  Okay, that's only funny if you're an Anglican.  I know.  For the rest of the Christian world, its just weird.

We talked this morning about how Reformed Protestant College (henceforth referred to as RPC) has mandatory chapel.  I have mixed feelings about mandatory chapel and I wondered if he did, too.  On the one hand, chapel is good!  On the other hand, nobody should be required to worship, it should be a freewill offering.  And making chapel mandatory means that the college tends not to be very diverse, not outside your particular brand of Christianity.

As I said this, my teen replied, "but we're Anglicans, we blend in." 

I answered, "We blend in like a drunk chameleon shouting "you don't see me! you don't see me! Oh wait, you hear me... um, hi!"  We blend in so that we're almost unnoticeable in a Catholic setting, until we start knocking over the furniture.  And the Protestants will happily have us over for social outings, until we put on our liturgical lampshades and become a little unruly.

Needless to say, my teen thought that was hysterical.  Because I am seriously funny.  Or because it was very very inhumanely early in the morning and we were both a little loopy. 

Anyway, he's off today and tonight at RPC taking it for a test drive.  He texted that he's having fun (yay).  He'll be doing the same at the Roman Catholic College (RCC, of course) later this month.  He has to decide on which side of the fence his undergraduate education will fall, no doubt based on such teen priority as where are the people friendliest, the proximity of tasty food (RPC has the ticket there), and what the classes are like (at least the math classes, he cares nothing about the rest of his education, best I can tell.) 

But here's the mystery I've discovered.  College test drives are not just for the kids to see what the next four years could be like (if you choose door number one....).  They are also for the parents to remind ourselves, at this tender point in our development, our parental growing up, that they can survive on their own.  College test drives give us the chance to test drive what it is like to have a kid somewhat out on his own.  While they test drive adulthood, we test drive, well old-adulthood. 

And he's having fun.  Cool.  Maybe this mom can grow up. 
Or at least let him grow up.... maybe.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Homeschooling....

Homeschooling is dreadfully inefficient.

I stumbled across a photograph today which was supposed to represent homeschooling.  A mother was drawing a clock on a chalkboard and in the foreground we see the backs of three little attentive blonde heads of varying ages, no doubt in rapt wonder over the miracle that is time. 

And I thought to myself, homeschooling is dreadfully inefficient. 

If you want efficiency there is nothing like a school building.  All the little students (future products) are grouped together by need (academic or otherwise) in order that one teacher might impart information into several minds at once.

More efficient, were it equally optimized, would be the internet, where there would be no limit to receiving minds.  Like a line of cars at the gas station students could arrive en masse and teachers could just fill 'em up.

Homeschooling is dreadfully inefficient.  I should be teaching my production line what I know best, and line my own up with all the other little products in the great educational marketplace.

But it is internet education, which is the classroom efficiency blown out of scale, that shows exactly the flaw in the argument.  You see, I teach motivated students online.  They're adults, and they're engaged.  And they learn. 

Still, I don't feel they learn as well as they'd learn in a classroom.  They cannot see what I demonstrate.  Asking a simple question in a lecture is a production.  They cannot find study partners in their classes or sense that I am genuine when I tell them they are doing well.  They don't have a foundation for staying at the table when they struggle.  In short, they don't have a relationship with their instructor or their classmates, and in doing so they lose an aspect of their relationship with the material.

Learning happens best in community, in relationship.  Every single anti-homeschooling zealot on the planet will agree to that. 

But the internet classroom demonstrates where the relationship flaw lies.   Efficiency is the opposite of relationship.  Efficiency is quick and task oriented.  Relationship is a slow plodding stream of contact hours, conversations and even at times conflict.  Relationship is people oriented.

The flaw in the efficiency argument is that homeschooling is the ultimate in relational education.  The teacher is trusted and known, the learning and wonder are mutual and shared.  Correction and struggle are accomplished in direct relationship.  It is slow, plodding education.

Make no mistake, the inefficiency of schooling is at times necessary, at times even preferred.  But even then, the element of trust and relationship makes the excellent schools look dreadfully inefficient.  We all want schools where we're more than a number, but those schools make demands on our lives that many do not want.  Community and relationship are built on the athletic field as much as in the classroom. 

By the end of next May I will have dedicated about 2340 days of my life to the formal education of my eldest son.  2340 days, one largely indistinguishable from the one before it, but somehow we plodded along from counting buttons to calculus, from phonics to Plato, one day at a time.

That's no more days than a public school would require, no fewer.  But in slow plodding relationship, somehow, a small child became a man.  And he doesn't see life very efficiently at all, but he has become a man along the way.  And I look forward to the next phase of our relationship.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Just do it....

Hello dear readers. 
I want to apologize for my absence.
And especially for not blogging about the genocide of Christians in Iraq, because it needs to be blogged.  I know a lot of you are aware anyway, because you're that kind of readers.
And you probably want to know how you can help, because you're also that kind of readers.

So now,  without further ado:

How you can help Iraqi Christians through the Anglican Relief and Development Fund.   For those of you who aren't Anglican, that's okay... I know these folks.  I trust them.  They are making use of a global Anglican fellowship to get aid to those who need it!  Nothing less that awesome.  

http://anglicanaid.net/can-help-iraqi-christians/

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A few worthy quotes....

 "For the people on the other side of that issue, for me I feel we need to honor them and respect them and treat them royally."  Archbishop Foley Beach (on the ordination of women to the priesthood)

"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others." St. Paul to the Philippians (2:3-4)

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”  John 13:34-35


Treat them royally...
Love one another...
Count others more significant...

Maybe this Anglican experiment might work.
Maybe we can stitch back the fabric of the last thousand years.

Maybe.

Or put otherwise, "we cannot claim that our division is anything less than a scandal and an obstacle to our proclaiming the Gospel of salvation to the world."  Pope Francis to Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby




Sunday, June 22, 2014

A New Archbishop

So today the Church elected a new Archbishop for the Anglican Church in North America, Archbishop-elect Foley Beach. 

And I'm encouraged.

And most of what encourages me has to do with the currently difficult topic of women's ordination.   Archbishop-elect Beach does not ordain women to the priesthood.   But that's neither here nor there.  What encourages me is this:
  • The folks who felt marginalized by Archbishop Duncan's pro-ordination-of-women stance and practice will feel a sense of returned balance.
  • The folks who were uneasy enough to consider walking away from the table will no longer have this as a motivation to destabilize the ACNA.

Those things are good and helpful, but even more importantly, I have already seen and heard encouraging signs:
  • Everywhere I looked at today's reception I found bishops who don't ordain women greeting women clergy as friends and respected co-laborers in God's vineyard.  Do not tell me these guys are misogynist jerks; these are men who love all people but have discerned through prayer and study that they should not be ordaining women.  I may not agree with them, but I sure do respect them.
  • And then I turned to Facebook and heard from the other side of the equation, as women priests, who I also love and respect, who have long been conditioned to fear an archbishop who might not support them, poured out their support and kind words for Archbishop-elect Beach.  This election was not about their rights to an ordination (no one has a right to be ordained) but about the good of the church and goodwill among Christians and even respect for godly authority.

And so today, both sides are showing their best sides.  And I'm encouraged.  Maybe we can keep it up all week, by God's grace, and enjoy the upcoming Assembly on a high note.  Oh there will always be internet trolls, no doubt, but if we don't feed them, they will have to be quieter.

And after all, now we can say:
"Life's a Beach... and so's the Archbishop."

Congratulations, Archbishop-Elect Foley Beach.  Here's to the next five years!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Transgender priest to preach at National Cathedral

An openly transgender Episcopal priest is set to preach at Washington National Cathedral.
The Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge, the Episcopal chaplain at Boston University, will be a guest preacher on Sunday. He'll be the first openly transgender priest to preach from Canterbury Pulpit at the cathedral.
The Right Rev. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, will preside at the service. It's part of the cathedral's celebration of LGBT pride month.
The service will also include readings and prayers from members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the cathedral, says he hopes Partridge's appearance "will send a symbolic message in support of greater equality for the transgender community."

(borrowed from Foxnews.com)
______________________________________________

You know, just when I think enough has been said, the world has moved on, and what's done is done... something like this happens to remind me that liberals are throwing the rest of the church under the bus day by day. 

None of these names are new to me.  Cameron Partridge is surely setting him/herself up to be the first gender confused bishop of TEC.  That's neither secret nor surprise.  The Attention-Deficit church of what seems like a good idea at the moment is looking for its next starlet. 

Pride itself being one of the seven deadly sins, 'goeth before a fall' and most clearly cometh along right after a fall also, has no place in a "national" cathedral.  Sexual sin has no place flaunted about in a church. 

Anyway, I guess I should leave the commentary to the pundits.  I put this here for your information, nothing more.