Holy, Holy, Holy

26 Sep

My contribution to our church’s blog this morning.

Tabernacle for Today

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Psalm 46:10, “Be still and know that I am God:  I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”

Has God ever called you into a period of “holy darkness” in which you clearly knew that He was in control of a situation in which you, personally, had no answers?

He did that recently with me.  The stillness, the darkness, the lack of clarity, the absence of answers–these did not stir me up, but rather calmed me down.  Due to my Saviour’s guiding hand alone (because my heart can be very naturally stirred up by events around me), I was able to rest, knowing with all my heart that He knew the answers I wished to know and that if/when He wanted me to know, I would be told these answers.  If not, He is my answer, all life long.

The older I get, the…

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22 Sep

http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2016/06/second_wave_feminism_gets_a_bum_rap.html

Although pro-life, I was a second wave feminist, regarded as too radical by Generation X and not radical enough by Generation Y.

It is important to set the markers out to make this distinction as second wave feminists fought for, and received, Title IX funding for women’s sports on a level that approached parity with men’s sports. I don’t believe, in that fight, we ever foresaw a time when the transgender movement would move under Title IX auspices.

That is problematical in the sense that we fought for funding for sports for women in bodies that were not the same as men’s bodies. Now that male and female are perceived as social constructs in many circles, there is nothing to stop those in male bodies who perceive themselves as females from taking on, and breaking, every women’s sports record ever made.

Some definitions will need to be forthcoming on this. If women and men are to maintain separate teams, there will need to be a way to ensure that those in the less strong bodies (typically called women’s bodies during the second wave of feminism) are not cut out of the pattern by those in stronger bodies (which we used to call men’s bodies).

Even if we do away with separate teams, this will still need to be addressed. We fought long and hard for those traditional women’s bodies to get a chance to play sports, excel, and break records. They still need to be able to do that today.

Just Sheer Joy!

22 Sep

While I am posting our son’s graduation video from June, I must not omit the Baccalaureate service that occurred the Wednesday before graduation. It was pure, unbridled joy!

You see, when you have a special needs child, you wonder for years whether you will ever see this day arrive.

So glad we did!

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God’s Faithfulness

22 Sep

This is my son’s graduation day in June. Such joy!

Tabernacle for Today

 

https://vimeo.com/172042139

The above video shows one of the most joyful days of my life.  Our son, our only child, has autism.  Raising him has been quite an adventure with times I was not sure there would be any of me left when the adventure was done!

Times of blackness, times of joy, times of sheer panic for what would become of this child we love more than life itself. 

If you are only able to watch the first ten minutes of the video, at least see the flag ceremony and the processional of this graduation.  They are full of more joy than any graduation I have ever attended!  Let me explain how we got to this day.

Three years ago we left our son in Wisconsin to embark on an adventure away from us—Shepherds College for people with intellectual disabilities.  Every August we drove him to Union Grove; every…

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Downton Abbey Redux

5 Sep

Rewatching the Downton Abbey series as a marathon this weekend (meaning I have had it on while awake and have used it as the background while I washed clothes, ironed, washed the floor, cleaned up my online accounts, read the paper, etc.), I have developed a whole new appreciation for this work of 21st century art.
I think one could watch the series five or six times and see something new every time. Like art throughout the ages, it has many levels and facets.
For example, one could watch the series just to concentrate on the history of the early 20th century. Or on the love stories/marriages of the characters.
One could watch it as a series of character studies of deeply drawn, complex characters. One could watch it as a study of good vs. evil, and how the fault line between the two runs through every one of us.
One could watch Downton Abbey once just to see the clothes and fashions, the ways of doing hair and wearing jewels.
One could watch it once just to concentrate on the furniture and once just to see the architecture.
I think one could watch Downton Abbey one complete time just to concentrate on the wit and wisdom of the quotable Dowager Countess.
This time through I am impressed with the richness of the way the plots and characters are drawn. They are like a warm, lovely, and complex tapestry, composed of many threads below the surface that hold the finished product together.
Some who are addicted to shows that supposedly expose the evil below the surface of every happy family complain that Downton Abbey is simplistic because most of the plots resolve happily at the end of each season; all of them resolve happily at the end of the series. To that, I would say “to each his own.” If someone needs to have misery or unresolved tension at the end of each work of art in order to regard it as art, I would claim that person has a narrow definition of art. Darkness has not always been a prerequisite for art. In our era it sometimes seems to be so, but that does not make darkness and uncertainty the only factors that define whether or not something is a work of art.
I noted this time that of about thirty marriages portrayed in the series, approximately 27 of them are happy marriages, with the couple showing mutual respect and having deep dialogue in their private moments together. That is a template to which I can relate! Those who want to claim that every marriage is secretly miserable behind the scenes simply have to turn revisionist about history and either claim that Downton Abbey misportrayed the marriages of its era or that marriage has gone severely downhill since then.
I also noted this time through how the dialogue at the Downton Abbey dinner table has much substance and richness, so much more than the dialogue at many communal meals I have attended within the last ten years. In this case, I do see a shift in social mores. We as a society have become both crude and obsessed with popularity to the point that we will prattle on in the crudest terms possible if we believe it will earn us a big enough audience of our peers. It is like we play a real life version of Facebook and its system of “likes.” We talk in shocking terms because we get more attention that way than by merely discussing deep ideas or remarking on the beauty around us.
Thankfully I know enough people who will engage in real and deep conversation that my heart and brain are not starving but I am not at all impressed with our societal shift to the banal and shocking.
In conclusion, Downton Abbey is one of my favorite pieces of 21st century art because it is a canvas on which we can reflect on modern life, with a palette to help us see both what may be better than those years a century ago and what may be worse.
Downton Abbey makes us think and feel and for that I am truly grateful to Julian Fellowes and his team.

Autism Challenges

17 Jul

My Son Has the Kind of Autism No One Talks About- Term life

Our son has high-functioning autism and is about to get a job and an apartment.

His life thus far has been an adventure for all of us–I am not trying to discount the hard work that he, my husband, and I have done to get him where he is. And God’s grace in making it all possible.

Nonetheless, for reasons known only to God, there are scores of kids with low-functioning autism who will not know the future our son has a chance to embrace.

For them, I run this post. We need to see what their parents and families see. And even what these precious children themselves see . . .

Can a Pro-Life Person Kill a Terrorist’s Kid?

4 Jun

A friend challenged me along these lines this week. What does it mean when the Republican party calls itself pro-life, yea, even has a pro-life plank in its platform, while running a candidate who says that, as commander in chief, he would consider giving troops a direct order to kill the families of terrorists?

Here is where a challenge can be issued specifically to Christians. Those who are not Christian believers, read if you like, but be aware this is not directed to you.

My friend’s first cut on this was that a terrorist’s kid stands more of a chance than your usual run-of-the-mill kid of growing up to be another terrorist. So . . . if you have to choose between, say, abortion of a random baby or targeted killing of a terrorist’s child, she thought maybe you should go for the terrorist’s child.

Only . . . God forbade that, even in the latter part of the Old Testament. He said the sins of the fathers would no longer be visited on the children. That each man or woman would bear responsibility only for his/her own personal sin. So . . . there is that. We can’t justify doing what God has forbidden us to do.

There is also a theological flaw running straight through this entire issue–we are missing the idea of total depravity being inborn to us all. Is a child in utero a sinner? Yes, for God said through King David “in sin did my mother conceive me.” That doesn’t mean that marital sex is sin. It means we are all born with the stain of original sin. We have it from conception onward because we are humans.

Babies are adorable and we long to protect them. That is good and right. But it does not mean that they are not born as sinners. They are. We are self-centered from the moment we emerge from the womb. We may even be that way in utero.

If we make the pro-life argument out of a belief that a child is born sinless until he commits an actual sinful act . . . we miss a huge part of our theology related to why we, as a human race, needed a redeemer.

Don’t you think that miscarried babies will sing of God’s grace in heaven someday, if they are not already doing so? Why is that? Because they, too, will be forgiven for the original sin they bore as humans, even humans who were never born.

Yes, His grace is amazing. Let’s not diminish it by a mistaken belief that children in utero or newborns are innocent and lack a sin nature.

So, in summary, we cannot preemptively kill a terrorist’s child in the belief that he might someday be a terrorist. God can gloriously save him. And we cannot kill a child in utero without having blood on our hands either. Both are equally bad. Both are murder.

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