28 April 2009

Without a Camera

Dear God,

Thank you for, in all your power and wisdom, allowing me to leave my digital video camera on the train Saturday.

Actually, I was depressed Saturday night because I just felt so small and worthless. But Sunday was a new day and I began learning to be thankful. Thanks for Sunday. The self-absorbed depression turned more into humility and joy. I'm able to laugh at myself and because of the irony of winning something through losing.

And thank you for letting me be absent-minded for that brief second on the train. I don't blame you for not reminding me or intervening. I don't blame you as if you intervened to make me forget the camera. I'm just saying I attribute the good that came out of it to you and your generosity.

I'm thankful because several times in the last few days I wanted to take some video of Ella being amazing. I said to myself, "Oh, I can't take a video. I'll have to just watch her and be with her now." I paid extra close attention to her and tried to memorize her movements and faces and sounds. I felt especially connected to her and her dad.

I'm thankful because I experienced Nicole's forgiveness. You know how she responded to my absent-mindedness. The weight of losing such a valuable record of important moments in our lives and the technological ability to record many more memories all makes the depth of her forgiveness more encouraging.

I'm thankful because I also realize the blessing it is to record image and video of people and things. It seems to say, The person herein pictured is important and significant in this very moment and should be remembered. I'm thankful that I've been able to take so much video and so many pictures of Ella and Nicole and other people we love and scenes of God's creation we care about.

What a blessing, God, to have a camera and not to have a camera! You certainly do send both rain and sunshine to the just and the unjust. Whether I'm at my best or worst, you're patient and eager enough to wait for me to become a blessing.

And thank you for the Mullinses' camera and generosity so we could have afternoon tea with them and have Ella's nine-month old picture taken.

Please let us have the camera again if that's your will.

Let all my life be all yours. Amen.

23 April 2009

The Rescue

To save my own child I would do anything no matter the cost. To save other children, even if it meant giving up a bit of comfort, I'm not sure I would do it so eagerly, especially when there's no guarantee the children will actually be rescued. Would I be giving up some comfort for nothing? I don't see any easy options for doing any great things.

22 April 2009

Ignore God: the domino effect

Shouldn’t I feel sorry for this important city, Nineveh? It has more than 120,000 people in it as well as many animals. These people couldn’t tell their right hand from their left. -Jonah 4:11 GW

A righteous man has regard for the life of his animal, But {even} the compassion of the wicked is cruel. -Proverbs 12:10 NAS

Or, The righteous know the needs of their animals, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel. -Proverbs 12:10 NRSV

. . . 1 There is no faithfulness or loyalty, and no knowledge of God in the land. 2 Swearing, lying, and murder, and stealing and adultery break out; bloodshed follows bloodshed. 3 Therefore the land mourns, and all who live in it languish; together with the wild animals and the birds of the air, even the fish of the sea are perishing. -Hosea 4:1-3 NRSV

19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God;
20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope
21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now;
23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. -Romans 8:19-23

Happy Birthday to me! 34 years old and looking forward to the redemption of my body!

Happy Earth Day, too! God, set Earth free from its bondage to decay and let Earth see your children when they're revealed. Amen.

17 April 2009

Ancient Momma's Poem

I thought I'd share an ancient poem that has meant a lot to me since that week we found out we we're having a girl and we had a lot of anxiety about the placenta previa and so on.

Ella's born now. No more previa and she's not yet weaned. We still have pressures and ambitions from without and from within . . . This poem helps me to find calm:

Before the Lord
I'm not proud in passions or logic
I don't occupy my self with things too great and too marvelous for me
But I've calmed and quieted my soul
like a mother calms her weaned child
My soul is like the weaned child that is with me
Hoping in the Lord

Psalm 131 with some poetic license.

10 April 2009

Chaste Good Friday

The preacher said, "Drip, drip, drip, . . . our innocent Savior's blood from the horrible crown of thorns . . . every one our sins bringing lash after lash of the whips made of bones and sharp steel . . . nails driven through bone and flesh . . ."

This is often how I've heard Good Friday told by Christians. It's also a brief sketch of Mel Gibson's the Passion of the Christ. Lots of physical violence and gruesome depictions and descriptions and elaborations of the Son of God's crucifixion.

The Gospel of Mark is different, and I think for a significant reason:

I begin reading about Good Friday in the 14th chapter of Mark and the first time I encounter physical violence against Jesus is verse 65:

Some began to spit on him, to blindfold him, and to strike him, saying to him, "prophesy!" The guards also took him over and beat him.

Then, Mark gives no more attention to physical violence against the Son of God until chapter 15, verse 15:

So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.

What brevity! In a single sentence Mark says "flogging" and "to be crucified" without gruesome depiction. Then, in 15:17 and 19:

. . . and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him . . . They struck his head with a reed . . .

Restrained, the violence depictions in Mark are limited to four verses out of about 38 since Jesus' arrest. A "violence" verb list would be:

after flogging

Eleven verbs, four of which inherently imply violence, none of which does Mark elaborate. Each time violence comes up, Mark moves on past it.

So what of Good Friday does Mark emphasize and bring out? I think the clue is in 14:51-52 and in the frequent mention of clothes. The closest Mark comes to belaboring violence against the Son is when he says, "they stripped him of the purple cloak . . ." 15:20.

Here is 14:51-52:
A certain young man was following him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him, but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked.

It's a metaphor for the disciples' shame. In fact, the verse just prior says, "All of them deserted him and fled." I think the point is that Jesus suffered the shame his disciples and friends deserved. There are no Jews, Empires, or instruments of torture. Just naked shame.

Listen again at the chasteness and brevity of Mark's crucifixion description:

And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take. It was nine o'clock in the morning when they crucified him.

Mark has something we've often missed. Or, put another way, we feel like we've got to add so much ornamentation compared to Mark's simple telling.

Perhaps we can learn to tell the Gospel the way Mark does it. What are some ways we can tell the Good News more like Mark does and less like the movies have?

One way I thought of doing this is concentrating on just telling the Easter story instead of emphasizing elaborate explanations and atonement theories (not that they're bad). Perhaps chastity is a powerful seed for conversion we've overlooked in the past.

09 April 2009

Reptile or Mammal?

Reptiles are deadly serious.
Mammals are playfully curious.

Sharks, though not reptiles, and dolphins, certainly mammals, demonstrate this well.

Sharks simply swim, kill, copulate, react, and survive.

Dolphins, on the other hand, have a more abundant life. They play, laugh, kill, mate, act, even save humans (although they've also been known to hurt humans). They don't just survive; they really live.

I want to be the mammal. How do I do this?

Copulate or mate?

Be reactive or proactive?

Survive or thrive?

Be cynical or curious?

Withdraw or explore?

05 April 2009

Life . . . What It Is!

Life . . . is what it is . . . Life is good, then it's bad, then it's good again . . . Life is just absolutely wonderful and amazing! . . . Now I'm ridiculously hungry! . . . The whole world loves me, doesn't it! . . . Won't you take me out of my car seat so I can play? . . .

No prejudgment . . . No terrible memories rehashed . . . Now is what I have and I'm thankful for it and have decided to eat it and enjoy it . . . I'm free and I can move so I will! . . . What is that? . . . You love me, too, don't you! . . . Good. Now what is that flavor? . . . Why aren't you smiling? . . . Why aren't you picking me up? . . . Can you put me down? I'm in the mood to play . . .

Those are some phrases that I think express the tone of Ella's life as well as some of the sentiment of the book of Ecclesiastes.

Oh, and one more phrase that Ella says quite clearly: LOL.

Press "Play", then press "HQ" to view in High Quality . . .