Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Break...from blogging

Things are super-busy for me right now and probably won't let up until the after the New Year.

So, I am simply going to take a break from reading, commenting, and blogging for the most part.

Be well and have a Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Soccer Pics

The Rationalist is the furthest kid on the left in the orange Jersey. His team was so evenly matched with the opposing team that the entire game went by with no goals on either side.....several near misses for both teams...but no points. They each had good goalies defending the goal.

The Rationalist, while being much smaller than everyone else on his team, always makes a few good strategic moves in getting the ball away from the opposing team. He is a good support member and always gives it his best shot.

The Intuitive got to try his hand at being goalie for the second half of his game. His team is a lot like the Bad New Bears of the soccer league.

However, even though his team lost by several points, The Intuitive did make several important saves that kept the defeat from being even worse.

He was very pleased with himself.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Fourteenth Apostle

I have become convinced that as far as Evangelicals are concerned, C.S. Lewis is officially the Fourteenth Apostle of the Christian church, St. Paul being the thirteenth.

Countless conversations that delve deeply into theology that I have been involved in will inevitably have someone bring Lewis into the picture, with a quote from one of his essays, or more commonly a reference to one of his novels, be it the space trilogy, or the Narnia series, or The Screwtape Letters.

He has affected the way modern, Protestant, Christians think and express themselves so deeply that most don't even realize the debt that they owe him.

Most interesting to me is the way that Lewis' stories have resonated with Christians and, sometimes, seem to carry a general authority in their portrayals. Conversations about hell will have someone quoting The Last Battle or The Great Divorce. Discussions about temptation or spiritual warfare will have someone referring to Screwtape and Wormwood.

Lewis' work has become so absorbed that there is no self-consciousness in even mentioning it within the context of theology and practical church matters. No one seems concerned with the fact that these concepts come from fictitious fantasy novels.

My point is not demote the stories' importance....but to turn that observation to something else.

Lewis' work successfully captures the imagination because he has taken our sacred stories and made them bigger . He has expanded ideas about God, mankind and salvation and sewn them into other dimensions and worlds. He has left the door open for a future that might indeed be perplexing to us; worlds with sentient, alien life, worlds with talking beasts, and dimensions of a reality just outside of our senses.

Whether those worlds do, or even could, exist is irrelevant. What is relevant is that he provides a way for us to imagine how it might be, or could be...and that speaks to people in powerful ways.

Jeff Dunn, over at internetmonk.com, has a post up about his disappointment with the newly released Voyage of the Dawn Treader. His disappointment is almost completely tied into his assessment that the theology of the book was somehow lost in translation in the making of the film. In a strange way his severe reaction highlights the weight given to Lewis' work, because although most book-lovers are frequently dissatisfied with movie renderings, few are so upset at the loss of meaning that he attributes to the rendering. He even goes on to discuss how a portrayal from the book has changed his life, or given him hope.

This jogged my memory of another post at internetmonk in July in which a father recounts reading a passage of Lewis to his children, barely able to keep from breaking down at the emotional impact it had on him after he had received bad news about his daughter's health. His post so closely identifies Jesus with Aslan, that I found it startling.

Part of my former evangelical self read his post disapprovingly. The more liberal part of me recognized that what this man was doing was what all people in all times do...they use the stories that convey deep meaning to their lives...stories that may, or may not, be literally true, factual stories.

This is a strange mixture of things. In circles in which people feel the necessity to defend the literalness of the biblical stories, there are also people who are incredibly touched by a modern fictitious story which they know is not true, but which has been equated as a valid representation of the sacred story.

This is how cultures incorporate and systematize their symbols, through the broad acceptance and reliance on particular distillations that speak to a particular group.

In my fanciful moments, I wonder if 500 years from now,--after more authors have continued to study and read Lewis and write books about him, and his influence continues to grow within Christianity--Lewis' work and symbols will be so ubiquitous that Jesus will be represent as a lion with a full mane.

And...I wonder what future generations would think of such a development.

Friday, December 10, 2010

DH's Links

DH sends me links all the time. I keep telling him he needs his own blog to feature the things he sends me...but he hasn't taken me up on the idea.

Here are a few links from him:

Dr. Seuss animates Star Wars

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Tax Cuts and Unemployment

So...let me get this straight. Republicans and Tea Party members who were overwhelmingly elected on a platform of cutting spending because of the doomsday scenario of our debt and deficit....are OK with extending unemployment benefits with money that we don't actually have.

And...Democrats are willing to not raise taxes, or revert them back to pre-Bush era rates, even though they know there is no way to dig ourselves out of debt until we bring in more income into the government in order to pay for things that we have already bought.

This is the worst of both worlds and part of why our country is so screwed up.

Politicians are not capable of unflinchingly doing what needs to be done. Either keep the tax cuts and don't continue to spend money we don't have....or spend money to alleviate the financial woes of the citizenry and raise taxes to help pay for it.

This makes Republican leaders look bad because it seems as if they are really only concerned with saving people within their own tax brackets from paying into the system.

It makes Democrats look bad because it seems like they are willing to just spend and spend and spend money that we don't have.

I don't think this is what "bipartisanship" is supposed to look like.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Instinctual Response


Today, as I was walking to pick up the kids from school, I encountered a little, blond hellion of a boy who had just spit on another child and was inciting general violence. It wasn't his first time. I've caught him kicking and hitting at the same group of kids in the past as the sidewalk streams with kids on their way home.

This afternoon, without thinking, I caught him right after he had spit on another child and was dashing away.....and by "caught" I mean that I swooped my arms out and physically stopped him.

Automatic reflex. I didn't even think about it.

He began talking about how the other kids had said something mean to he and his sister on the "first day"...whatever that meant. I replied that it's not OK to spit on people, or hit them, or kick them just because they say mean things. I told his sister, who was older, to take him home and make sure that he stayed away form the other group of kids.

They left, and I finished walking to the school thinking to myself that I had done a really stupid thing by physically stopping the boy. I didn't grab him, or roughly handle him, but I did stop him. And....it's never a great idea to touch another person's child, no matter how completely awful they're being or how gentle the touch.

As I wondered whether or not I had made a huge mistake in intervening in the situation, I figured that I had better talk to one of the teachers and let them know what has been going on for some time.

This is when things get slightly worse. I approached the PE teacher, "Coach", and asked if he knew these children, who I described as a short, little, blond boy and went on to describe his older sister as taller, with blond hair and who is a little bit chubby.

Let's see...how could this go wrong?

Well, in the midst of my description, I hear a woman from about 5 feet away say, "Those are my children!"

Open mouth, insert foot. I hadn't said anything horrible, but who wants their child described in terms of being a "little bit chubby"?

I told the mother what had happened and she left pretty quickly, saying that she was looking for her children anyway.

Later, I went to the office and spoke with the Assistant Principal and told her about the escalating incidents and she took some notes and said that she would work on it.

Now I am sitting here wondering if this is all going to backfire on me and if I am going to have an irate mother in my face tomorrow.

Hopefully, she won't spit in my face and run away.