Saturday, March 29, 2008

Luther Hears a Who?

So--my daughter and I went to see Horton Hears a Who tonight. Since my brain was still partially in sermon writing mode, it struck me that the character of Horton the Elephant bears more than a passing resemblance to Martin Luther. In spite of fierce pressure to "recant" his belief that there are small people on the dust speck, he boldly proclaims, "Here I stand. I can do no other!"

Think I'm losing it??

Well, an archived Village Voice article notes that:

Theodor Seuss Geisel was the son of a respectable Massachusetts German Lutheran family. . .

Crazy like a fox.

Friday, March 28, 2008

O Death, Where is Thy Sting?

Sadness at Chez Rebel. Peanut the Hamster died unexpectedly yesterday from unknown causes. He was fine in the morning, but dead when the kids returned from school.

My daughter, especially, was heartbroken. Yet she wanted to hold Peanut and stroke his fur, wanted to be the one to put him in the old business card box we selected as a hamster casket, wanted to be the one to put the box in the hole in the garden her Dad dug this morning.

Which makes me think--absent certain elements of the funeral industry and/or church stepping in to declare what is proper procedure, the natural human instinct is to care for our dead fairly directly and to walk with them to the very end of their earthly journey.

R.I.P. Peanut. You were a good friend.

P.S. No cats have been implicated in this unfortunate incident. The door to the room was closed and there were no indications the cage had been disturbed. Furthermore, the body bore no signs of foul play.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

99 to 1

They even look a lot alike. Same hair cut and color, similar body types, similar timbre in their voices.

Besides these similarities, they share this. They are haunting examples of times that, as a pastor, I chose the 99 over the 1.

"Sid" was a teenager. Smart, but angry. He pushed the limits during every youth group gathering. Some kids quit coming and told me it was because of Sid. There was pressure from some parents to kick him out of the group. I stood up to this and maintained that church should not be in the business of "kicking out" those who were obviously struggling. Finally, though, he did something so outrageous and violent that we had no choice. For the safety and continued viablity of the group, we had to say, "You blew it. We care about you, but you can't come back."

Fast forward 15 years.

"Bruce" is a bona fide adult. A former fundamentalist, when I met him he was already at the fringes of "traditional Christianity" even by my rather generous definition of what that term means. Within a year, he had moved beyond the fringes. LIke-- Marcus Borg was too conservative for him. This wouldn't necessarily have been a problem for me or the session--better to hold him close and continue the conversation than reject him in a way that might make a temporary trajectory over the fence a permanent alienation. But he wasn't content to be in conversation. He was right and we were wrong and anyone who couldn't see that traditional Christianity was bankrupt and over was a fool. Finally, in a small group he became verbally abusive. We weren't going to kick him out of the church, but we asked him not to return to that particular group and said that kind of behavior was not acceptable anywhere. He asked to be removed from the rolls.

I know about the parable and all. But doesn't a good shepherd sometimes put the 99 first?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


You know you've gone over to the dark side of Easter chocolate addiction when your daughter says:

Mom! My Easter basket is not your personal buffet!!


Friday, March 21, 2008

Another Rabbit

So my 8 year old daughter has written and Easter story. In diary form, it chronicles the preparations of an Easter bunny as Easter Day approaches. Quite creative.

She asked me for suggestions for a title.

I couldn't help myself.

I suggested The Audacity of Hop

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Holy Week Visit from Your Half Jewish Subconcious

What does it mean when, during the wee-est hours of Maundy Thursday you have a dream in which you and your kids run into the Cantor from the local Synagogue at the local pet shop? He is there buying his kids a large brown and white bunny and four baby bunnies.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sunday School and Girl Scouts

A few months ago my daughter came home with a flyer about a new Brownie troop forming at her school. There will be an organizational meeting for interested families and blah blah blah ...

I sat with the flyer in my hand and remembered my own girlhood. I was a Brownie, then a Girl Scout for a few years. I enjoyed it for the most part. I hated selling cookies and there was one leader who definitely over-emphasized the crafts, (She's heading for the glue and Popsicle sticks again! Run for your lives!) But mostly it was good. I learned stuff. I made friends. I earned badges. I went to camp. My Girl Scout career ended when we moved to a new town and I never hooked up with a new troop. I recall my Mom asking at one point, "Should we look for a Girl Scout troop here?" I shrugged non-commitally and it never happened. Before long, I had gotten involved in other activities in our new city and the subject was dropped.

I sat with the flyer and thought about my family's life now. Two parents working full time. A pretty full slate of extra curricular activities for both kids already. Was this something we needed to pursue? Really?

"Are you interested in Brownies?" I asked my daughter. She shrugged non-commitally.

I let it ride.

Why am I telling you this? Because I have a big feeling this is the way an awful lot of parents feel about Sunday School. It was a pleasant part of their own childhood. They recall it without horror or revulsion or regret. But when it comes right down to it, they don't see it as something they really have to pass on to the next generation. They think the lessons and values they learned there can be learned pretty readily elsewhere. Given the business of their lives and all there is out there for kids to do, this one thing is not really essential.

I saw a bunch of cute little girls in green outfits doing a service project in one of the local parks the other day. I felt a twinge of guilt for not making the effort to give my daughter the opportunity to have that experience.

But I still let it ride.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Do you want guilt with that?

My spouse's work has been requiring an awful lot of travel recently. This week he left home late Sunday afternoon and won't be back till Thursday or Friday. We knew this was coming, so I'd been scratching my head about how I was going to manage the 4p.m. until 8pm Presbytery meeting tomorrow. I was pleased, therefore, when the e-mail that went out a couple of weeks ago from the Presbytery office regarding this meeting stated, "If you will need childcare during the Presbytery meeting, please make those reservations when you make your dinner reservation. Let us know the names and ages of your children." There is always supposed to be childcare available during our Presbytery meetings, but lately it's been kind of hit or miss whether the host church actually gets its act together to have a sitter available. So I was glad to see that there seemed to be renewed effort in this regard--even though I've only ever needed to bring my kids with me one other time since we moved here.

Today I got a personal e-mail from the people actually doing the childcare. In the course of asking if my kids had any food allergies or special needs they should be aware of, they managed to mention that I was the only person who had indicated a need for childcare. Maybe I'm being over sensitive--but it seems to me that bringing this up was a not-very-well-veiled hint that perhaps I should just get over myself and not put them through this bother.

What are things like where you are? Is there childcare for major regional denominational meetings that involve pastors and laypeople? Does its availability or lact thereof make a difference in who participates?

Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Middle Name Meme

Thanks, Kathryn, for tagging me with the middle name meme. I seem to have misplaced my blogging mojo lately, so I needed a little nudge.

The Middle Name Meme
1. You have to post the rules before you give your answers.
2. You must list one fact about yourself beginning with each letter of your middle name. (If you don't have a middle name, use your maiden name or your mother's maiden name).
3. At the end of your blog post, you need to tag one person for each letter of your middle name. (Be sure to leave them a comment telling them they've been tagged.)

Christian. Purechristianithink is a literal translation of my full name. "Christine" is the Christian part.

Humorous--although my son has taken to responding to my quips, puns and jokes lately by looking askance and saying, "You're NOT funny, Mom"

Reader. Even in a family of readers, my fondness for books is seen as excessive.

Introvert. I'm near the middle of the Introvert/Extrovert spectrum, so I can go quite awhile before my extroversion energy tank runs out, but it DOES run out.

Scatterbrained. I lost my keys three times yesterday. Only for a few minutes each time, but still.

Thoughtful. But thoughtful isn't always a synonym for "kind".


Not neat. Or tidy. Even though I told my spouse this when we first met, he still keeps thinking I'll snap out of it.

Ebullent. My colleague remarked the other day that there seemed to be an awful lot of music and laughter coming from my office.

I have to tag nine people? Let's make it eight since one of the letters in my middle name repeats itself. Okay: the nine people who commented on my last post.