"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)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Little Internet Accountability

My friend David Wilson posted the following comment with regard to TEC-Pittsburgh on his blog:
"Recently I was told that: “There are three openly partnered gay or lesbian priests licensed and functioning in the TEC Diocese, there is a priest licensed and functioning who has been divorced three times and married four times and a heterosexual priest living with a woman to whom he is not married."

It's worth scooting on over there to read the whole thing.

I cannot either confirm nor can I deny his information. I just don't know. But I repeat it here for two reasons... one is that if it is true it needs to be out in the open. Hiding away on one little blog, mine or David's does not deal with the issue, the accusations made. The other is to offer my friends in TEC-PGH, some of whom I know read this blog, the chance to be aware of the rumor and, if appropriate, make a rebuttal. So I pass along the rumor as such, not as truth, but as an accuasation that demands a hearing.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Runner Dude

(Let me say at the outset, that I would like to reply to everyone's comments on earlier posts, but for some reason my laptop isn't talking to that part of Blogger... weird. Anyway, you all are cool and I love reading your comments. And thanks to my friend David over at Anglican Yinzer for the link to the previous post!)

Okay, so they warned me that my kids would grow up to be their own people. But sometimes, admittedly, I forget. I had this neat conversation yesterday with a couple of other homeschool moms about how our kids are "carbon copies" of someone else in our family. My eldest, for example, often reminds me of my mother-in-law. He's a wonderful, whimsical child who shares some of his grandmother's gifts and foibles. But of course he's also himself. Different from anyone else. My second son is my dad made over, and sometimes the differences are harder to find. (Our third son is adopted.... a constant study in nature and nurture. He fits right in but sometimes that's in his complimentary differentness, and it makes me wonder what his Korean parents are like.)

Its easy to think of them for their genetic sameness. And sometimes, especially when they're little, its easy to miss their uniqueness.

I picked up my eldest from taekwondo camp yesterday and he told me that he had discovered that he was the fastest sprinter in the group. Not a big deal, but he was giving the instructor a bit of a run for his money (quite literally as apparently they were racing for pennies), too. I was a little surprised. My son has a friend who runs track, and now he's interested in it too. So suddenly I'm in danger of becoming a track mom.

My husband ran track in high school. But for me, running is what you do when the only other option is getting eaten by something nasty. Even then, its a tough choice.

Later in the evening, my son's martial arts instructor told me (twice) that my kid is fast and should really consider running track. Yikes, an outside confirmation! My kid? A runner? Weird. But if he's this fast and hasn't had any training, then maybe there's something to the idea.

So he's going to try it, kind of informally. His dad is his coach for now. And they're running a 5K together next month, just to see how he likes it. How different, and unique. Like his dad, he has the body for it. But I never ever expected my child would be a runner.

Someone asked me when I was expecting him if I wanted a kiddo just like me or just like my husband. Off hand I replied "like my husband, I chose to live with him. I'm not sure I could live with another me." My runner dude is definitely different from his dad, but in his uniqueness, he has plenty that's the same too.

Kinda cool.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

On Meyers-Briggs and Marriage

Young idealistic couples planning to get married, listen up. Sit down together and take the Meyers-Briggs and find out which one of you is a J (Judging) and which is a P (Perceiving). And if you're both J's, more power to you. But if you both happen to be P's, draw straws or vote or play Rock, Paper, Scissors and decide which one of you is going to be the J in the household. Somebody needs to be a grownup.

J's for those of you who don't know the MBTI language, are those bizarre people who keep their desks clean, finish what they start, show up on time for things and can work with a plan. P's are the rest of us. The aimless mental wanderers of the world. One of my friends is noted for saying "J's get more done, P's have more fun."

My household is what it looks like when two P's have children. Dinner time is a prime example. It is currently 5:30 PM and all the good little J mommies are making dinner for their happy little families. If I'm in the kitchen at 5:30,I'm as likely to be making play-dough as dinner... with every pot and pan and dish out and dirty, because it seemed like a good idea at the moment. Dinner gets made when someone gets hungry and makes it. Sometimes that's not until 8:00 or so, when we realize its an hour until theoretical bedtime and we ought to feed our kids. Bedtime doesn't usually happen at bedtime either, because that's when we realize they haven't done their music practices and so bedtime comes after that.

Sometimes dinner simply consists of me asking when my husband walks in the door: "What did you bring me?" And if that's groceries or pre-prepared, I'm cool with that.

My husband, theoretically, is the short-straw, the elected J of the family. He pays the bills and does the requisite griping about how I leave everything scattered about on "every flat surface in the house." Not true, the ceilings are perfectly clear. But his J-fu is not nearly as strong as my P-fu. I overcome his attempts to organize.

Not sure if this all has any point... P's don't need a point. But it was what I was thinking about at 5:30 with the kitchen torn up, non-dinner food in the oven, the husband coming in the door with a grocery bag of something, and an evening playdate in a hour. Maybe we'll eat something. Or maybe dinner IS banana bread.

Who cares, I drew the long straw.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Why Casey Anthony Demonstrates That the System Works

Okay, I'm not one to often say that the system works. My stance on the death penalty is that the government has a right and responsibility to bear the sword, but I tend to be against the death penalty because I don't think our government bears it responsibly most of the time. I find putting someone's life in the hands of twelve unprepared strangers to be unsettling at best. Jurors aren't lawyers, yet they're called upon to judge the place of the person in respect to the law. This, I admit, unsettles me.

And every armchair juror in America thinks Casey Anthony is guilty. And we all know, without hearing the evidence, that OJ did it, too.

In America, the majority is supposed to govern. And the majority has judged, without hearing the evidence or being present in the court room or in any way giving the suspects a fair trial, that the defendent is guilty.

Other nations allow the tyrant (in this case the majority voter) to judge a person guilty until his trial proves him otherwise. This is why other countries have historically seen tortured confessions as valid (they were guilty anyway, since proof to the contrary was not satisfactory, right?) and trials by fire and drowning were par for the medieval course. Throw her in the pond and if the water rejects her, kill her for a witch. If she drowns, the water had accepted her and too bad an innocent woman died. Well, she'll go to heaven, right? Collateral damage.

Somehow, in that courtroom twelve jurors were not convinced. They understood that the burden of proof was on the prosecution, beyond any reasonable shadow of a doubt, and they held doubts. They understood that the American way is to risk letting a criminal walk free before risking the imprisonment of an innocent person. And they were honor bound to let her go.

I didn't hear the evidence. I don't know what gave them that seed of doubt. I wasn't there, and so, in this, I don't get a vote. I just know that the majority doesn't rule here; the tyrant-majority cannot execute the believed criminal in the court of public opinion.

I also know that Scripture tells us that we are not to assume the role of judge, and that even when an earthly court of law is mistaken, we can trust justice to be done. And so I don't really understand the fascination and outrage. I have my opinions, but I know they're not worth anything in either this world or the next. Now if only the media would leave it alone and let America get on with life.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Three miles an hour

Driving through Pittsburgh last month, on the way to a game with my baseball loving friend, Ann, we ended up on a street that was new to me. Its funny how we get in our routines, we were only a block down from the street I ususally take, but I was following her directions in case she knew a better way. Direction-wise and traffic-wise it was about the same as my usual route, but aesthetically, it was a treat. A new road, with cute facades, obviously the work of some enterprising urban renewal with a mind to "walkable neighborhoods." During the conversation sparked by our drive through town, we remarked also on the older buildings, the gratuitious nature of art, how the older buildings had built into them a reason to look up and around. Moldings and patterns and waves where modern buildings have monochomatic straight edges make the older facades worth seeing. They were not at all functional, someone had to put them there just to make beauty. Art is, by its nature, rarely necessary. That's why its so important.

But today's world drives by, and the old art blurs past our windows at sixty miles an hour. The reasons to preserve the old art are lost, and the new art is never born. No one will ntoice. Why bother?

Today, a little road construction forced me and the children to park a little further away from a common destination, my eldest's piano lesson. As we parked a two blocks over and walked, I looked down and spotted a piece of gratuitious whimsy... I can't exactly call it art... But here it is:

It's not every day you see a case of "road sharks." Kind of like Dave Barry's "Lawn vampires" only more obvious to the casual observer.

I've driven by the road shark more times than I care to count over the last couple of years (as my son has progressed through quite a lot of piano lessons) and I have never before seen the road shark. Its companion items stuck in the concrete are much worse for the wear, so I am certain the road shark has been there a good long time; its just that he's made of a more durable rubber than the other items imbedded in this particular driveway. He's nothing new that I should notice him. Its just that today I slowed down and walked.

My mother-in-law is a regular walker. I wish I were, but I get bored. I don't mind walking if I have somewhere to go or someone to walk with, but its days like today that I realize how much I miss when I don't slow down and leave the car in park.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

True Confessions of a Mean Mother

I have never bought a girl scout cookie from an actual girl scout. Once upon a time, when my kids were little and only one or two of my friends had kids of scouting, schooling, selling random stuff, age, I thought I would simply require that the kids be the ones to ask me to buy something. I really don't have an easy time saying no to kids anyway.

But then the actual phone calls started coming. I failed to insist that the kids make the calls. I realized that to do so required correcting the adults. No, I'm not interested in you selling me gift wrap on behalf of your kid. So if its girl scout cookies, I buy. If not, I tend to think of a reason to just say no (or ignore an email! Email! not even a phone call) and not buy whatever some poor parent is trying to sell me. Frankly, I don't care about you kid's school fundraiser. I may care about your kid, but since your kid isn't actually the one asking me...

My kids are homeschooled, and one of the things I've always liked about it is not selling overpriced garbage that nobody needs. And so, in fourteen years of parenting, we have, this week, encountered our first peer-pressure enforced fundraiser. For 4H. Bunny Club. At least they're only selling those $1 candy bars that actually are pretty good.

Nathaniel was the one assigned with selling these things, since he's the bunny boy. My husband's first response: "I'll take them to work."

No way, no how. I love my husband, but I shut him down hard on that one. He knew I was right, too. No way were we selling those candies for our kid. He was the one who wanted to be in bunny club, he can sell the candies. I bought my obligatory parental allotment of three bars. (One for the kids to share, one for my purse, one for my desk drawer.)

The next day, I took my younger two to the local "splash pad" (a sprinkler park). Middle boy was armed (and actually eager) with his candy bars. No splashing for him until he'd worked the crowd. We set some rules (stay where I can see you, don't approach anyone with little kids nearby (we moms have to stick together and I don't want to start some kid on an "I want one" whine) and remember your manners. I watched from a distance as my little redhead chatted up every single person at the splash pad. When he came back, he had two bars left. My friend bought one, I bought the last one for his little brother. Sold out and off to splash!

My kid was so proud of himself! He had exercised a new social skill (not like this kid is lacking, he's my chatty one) and found himself successful. And while other parents may cry stranger danger, my kid had no irrational fears and was never at risk. He earned his bunny money.

And while you won't find me signing up for any fundraisers any time soon, I'm thankful I didn't rob my child of the opportunity to try on a new role and succeed. And I may still buy a box of girl scout cookies from a 45 year old mommy, but unless your kid calls me himself, you can keep your gift wrap catalogues, candies, and entertainment books.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Poem for the Diaconate

When I die, I want one of the deacons of my diocese to read this at my funeral. I love this poem by fourth century saint Ephrem of Syria. How clearly he shows his heart, his love of the order, the ideal of the deacon's ministry. Surely he wrote this poem, in part for himself. Ephrem was bold with his poetry, even daring to tell his new bishop how to be a bishop, I read his poem "On the Death of a Deacon" as a note to himself.

But this beautiful poem is out of print, not published in any currently printed volume of Ephrem's poetry that I know of. Its not even on the internet (until now). But I wanted to share this with my deacon friends, so here it is.

On the Death of a Deacon by Ephrem the Syrian
Behold! Our member is departed
From this troubled world,
To that tranquil light;
On his departure let us pray-
That his Guide may have mercy on him!

Well disciplined in public duties
He was chaste in private life,
In gentleness and peace
He abounded toward his brethren-
Make him happy in Thy tabernacle!

His eyes were watchful
In standing before Thee:
And they wept in prayer,
And made entreaty for his sins-
May they see thy loving-kindness!

Thou dist count him worthy
To ministry in thy sanctuary,
And to distribute thy body
And thy blood to thy flock-
Nourish him with thy lambs!

He was cheerful and full
Of affection to his brethren:
And his hospitality
Was fervent in its tenderness-
Number him with thy beloved ones!

He loved to proclaim
The words of thy doctrine,
And delighted to listen to
The utterances of the Spirit-
Let him hear the sound of the trumpet!

He wondered at and admired
The riches of thy oracles;
And his heart exulted
In the words of the Holy Ghost-
Unite him with thy glorified ones!

He despised worldly pleasures
And slighted ease:
Let him rest at thy table-
Let him find enjoyment in thy light-
With the upright who have loved thee!