Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hee hee hee

Obama has to raise taxes on everyone because nobody in his administration is paying theirs. Hee hee hee (that's me laughing quietly and contentedly to myself).

Monday, March 30, 2009

Monday Mourning

Matt is trying to work up the moral fiber to go to the store, even at this late hour, and I'm turning my back on a shattered and filthy kitchen, and there are four children shouting with all their might for some reason unknown to me.

I know Stand Firm and MCJ are more than brilliantly dealing with this disaster, but I wanted to add two cents anyway. I recently had the opportunity to plead with someone, over the phone, who was contemplating an abortion. I have no idea if she carried through, probably she did. I had found out only one or two days earlier that I was pregnant and I was physically and emotionally wrecked after pleading and begging with this poor young woman, able to see in my mind's eye exactly the horrendous and painfilled course she had charted out for herself, the whimsy and triteness with which she spoke of her plans. It was days before I was able to let go of it. I've still been praying for her every minute that I think of it.

The fact is, poor Ms. Ragsdale, with her, "when a woman becomes pregnant within a loving, supportive, respectful relationship; has every option open to her, decides she does not wish to bear a child; and has access to safe, affordable abortion-there is not a tragedy in sight-only blessing...abortion is a blessing and our work is not done..." is in such a horribly precarious position. With the power structures momentarily and temporally on her side, as she flings herself farther and farther down a path of hellish destruction, carrying the most vulnerable and spiritually needy with her, she is laying up for herself millstone of unimaginable proportion. Honestly, if anyone needs desperate prayer, it is Ms. Ragsdale.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Quiet Sunday Evening

Signs of new babies around here always includes the periodic ordering of pizza which Never Normally happens. Turns out that one medium cheese pizza is barely enough to feed four children and me-well, it was exactly enough, so much for leftovers tomorrow.

Now we're watching Apollo 13 and the suspense is killing us. We're arguing about which astronauts these were, since the only ones we know about are Neil Armstrong (Which I inexplicably misspelled on my board for CC this last Wednesday) and Edwin Aldrin (Which is surprisingly hard to say if you're 4 or 5 years old). Matt is the only one who has seen this movie or knows anything about and he's not being helpful about telling us what is going to happen next.

Anyway, the reason I'm really writing is that Aloysius said something astute and wonderful after receiving holy communion today:
"Why do we eat a piece of Jesus every Sunday? Jesus must be awfully big if everyone gets a piece of him."

Oh, and, Grandpa, I took some pictures this morning, so now I just have to locate my chord and I'll post them. I can't seem to locate my cd's which means remembering to buy one when I'm out. Have a happy Sunday evening.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Youngest Babies

I have just been awakened from a deep and disturbing sleep by Matt tripping over a laundry basket placed carefully in the middle of the floor, just for that purpose, and it turns out I was dreaming that I'd just returned from an extended deployment in Iraq and was hugging a lot of unconnected people who identified themselves as my family. But there's No Way that could have been the case. Very weird.

So now, tealess and nauseated, I'm sitting here considering my options.
Gladys came in just now swinging a pot lid wildly and shouting 'Mommmmyyyyyy! Where is Daddddy?' I was not under the impression that she was old enough to speak in whole sentences.
'He's at church' I told her.
'Chhhhuchhh?' She repeated ten times. So that's another word we can add to her list. It heretofore includes 'Don't do that', 'Stop it', 'Stop crying', 'hi', 'bye', 'poppy' (potty), and everyone's name. You can tell that's she's not a first child, I think.

So now I need think about feeding the masses, and then we need to do some school and go the library and who knows what else. It looks to be a sunny day, so I will have to adjust my mood accordingly.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tu Imagine!

I can't resist. This is So Amazing. Hat Tip MCJ and the person he links.

I'm Back!

As usual, I did not intend to take a week and a half off blogging, but, well, since when do any of my plans really go the way I intend.

The Bishop and his wife were lovely. The weekend they were here, as you can imagine, was packed chock full. Friday night we had them here-fancy crostinis with mascarpone and blue cheese on some, and Micah's amazing hummus on others, with olives and roast red peppers on top to start, followed by salmon poached in a sauce of mayonnaise, wine, dijon, fresh dill and lemon, thinly sliced crisped in the oven potatos, salad, and for dessert, baked strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and peaches with cream or mascarpone on top. On the whole I think the food came out beautifully. The children were practically angelic. I don't know how I can complain about them any more because they were so golden-shaking hands, conversing politely, not throwing food, being helpful...now I'm bragging.

Saturday was a marathon run of touring the grounds, lunch, confirmation and vestry meetings, bible study, choir practice and finally a very fancy dinner out at the Kilmer Steak House here in Bing, which is the one place Matt and I choose to go if we go anywhere. I had the Shepherd's Pie and it was so delicious I found myself speaking French.

Sunday was an extravaganza of confirmation and food afterward. Boy, now that I think about it, we really just ate our way through the weekend.

Not surprisingly I lay on the floor on Monday and Tuesday and then Thursday. The children all either have allergies or a cold. Either way we're kind of stumbling along over piles of laundry and deeply grateful that we don't live on the lavish scale every day.

I've been trying also to tweak our vaguely disfunctional homeschool life. I've settled on Elphine getting into bed with me very early in the morning (she's a raving morning person and I am not) and reading to me while I try to wake up with tea. In this manner she is fresh and I am relaxed and she reads beautifully, rather than struggling with each other in the late afternoon. Then we do morning chores and carry on with the day as normal, only without the threat of reading over our heads. We do a sort of variable circle time with The Word of the Day, and This Day in History (I'll leave it to you to google, Cirlce Time comes from Preschoolers and Peace), and then the bulk of our memory work. Then lunch or something, and then math and other reading. It seems to be sort of going along.

But, if you want to know the Real reason I haven't been blogging its because we are happy to announce the news that another Kennedy Bun is on the way. We're so excited we can hardly stand it. All our family evenings are now given to trying to think of a suitable name, and arguing over whether it is a boy or a girl. So far my chidlren are lined up along the side of 'Jane' and 'Ted'. I have no idea where these preferences come from. As for me, I am totally sick-So Sick-I vowed to myself I would not complain, so I try to smile cheerfully as I lie dismally on the floor and direct traffic. But really, I've been complaining all the time. I'm probably about 7 weeks along but I haven't been to the doctor yet so I don't know.
'When will we have 100 children?' Alouiscious wanted to know yesterday.
'I don't know,' I said, 'why don't we start with 5?'
'Or ten' said Elphine, 'let's have 10'.
'Well, right now we're having five, that's a lot'.
'I guess,' they said.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The bishop is coming! The bishop is coming!

I have to clean and think of something amazing to cook for dinner and instruct my children as to the correct protocol during this exciting time. (That just means that Romulus will not be allowed to run naked, Elphine and Alouiscious will not be allowed to interrupt, and those of us who can't keep from throwing food-Gladys-will have an early dinner and go to bed). Also, I want to cram the bulletin in early so I can enjoy all the festivities. So blogging will be light.

Monday, March 09, 2009

my sermon, again

Monday, March 9, 2009

Download "Sermon: Coming into the Light" in MP3 format

See the full text here

You'll see that the ending is actually pulled together. It came to me what I'd been trying to say, as I said it. Enjoy.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

My sermon fro this morning-1 John 1:5-10

As usual, this has a rather abrupt ending. I am planning on praying since otherwise I could just go on and on without ever ending it. Enjoy!

If you will turn in your Bibles to First John,
chapter 1.
Micah tried to strong arm me
into only taking verses 5, 6 and 7 today,
‘You preach on the light bit’
He said to me last week,
‘I’ll talk about sin’.
Trouble is, as we shall discover today,
you can’t talk about ‘the light bit’
without talking about sin.
Don’t worry,
there is so much to say about sin,
especially as it is lent,
I’m sure there will be something left over.

Verse 5,
‘This is the message we have heard from him,’
Right, Jesus,
the message we heard from Jesus.
‘that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.’

Most all of you know that the day we moved
from the old rectory
to this nice new one,
our cat spooked and went missing.

For the next five weeks or so,
the specter of this missing cat
hovered over us in all his soft
dysfunctional absence.
First we went looking for him every day.
Then, the night before we turned the keys over,
I slept at the old house.
Then, I called all the shelters in the area
Also, we prayed at least three times a day for his safe recovery.
All the time it was extremely cold.
Figuring he was out in the snow,
We hoped against hope that he was surviving.
Then, as most of you know,
three Saturdays ago,
just as we were starting to think that we should get supper going,
and pick clothes for church,
and start baths,
and do the bulletin,
we got a call from Fr. Martinichio
that he was in the house
and that the cat was there.
Did we want to come get him?
Yes, yes we did.
We All got in the car,
three of us without shoes
and one without a coat,
and drove there as safely and as quickly as possible.
We went in the house—
empty and dim in the fading evening light—
down into the basement,
how many times did I want to rip that basement apart and redo it?
So many times—

and then began about an hour and a half
of trying to extract the cat from behind the basement wall,
from a little hole under the stairs
where he was hiding.
He was as far back as he could be.
We ripped a couple of boards down,
and when I say we,
I mean Matt and Fr. Martinichio,
and then a couple of other ones farther down.
And then I climbed up
and stuck my arm in as far as I could,
and managed to pet him a bit
so that he came towards me,
and then I grabbed him
and drug him out of the small hole.
Several times, throughout the ordeal,
we would shine a flashlight in through the hole
and see him staring at us,
moving himself back as far as he could to get away from us.

In the days and weeks that I’ve read this line from John,
‘God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all’
I have seen my own self,
in the dark,
backing away from the light as best I can,
trying to avoid the piercing,
truth revealing,
life changing
spotlight like gaze of a holy and perfect God,
in whom no darkness can reside.

This is the human condition,
Apart from and before the solution of Jesus
and this is what John taking on full throttle in this text.
As human beings we are in darkness
and most of us either don’t know it,
don’t care,
or like it.
And because God is holy, perfect, good,
darkness cannot exist were he is.
But if God is light,
and no darkness can have any part of him
or be anywhere near him,
where then are all of us?
Not with him,
because we are bound up in darkness.
Our hearts are dark and covered in sin.
We live underneath the stairs,
backing away from light,
We may not think that’s the case.
We may,
under the stairs,
boy its cozy down here.
I’m so glad I’m safe here in my hole
instead of in the big bad world out there.
And we back further into the corner.
If someone comes and shines a light in our eyes,
we insist that in fact we are not in the dark
and that they had better go ahead and leave us alone.
What have I just described?
An unregenerate,
pre real encounter with God,
unrepentant person.
Most of us don’t fall into this category
but we can remember what it was like.
More so because
even after you come into the light,
you come out from under the stairs,
the business of having light shone on our hearts goes on,
and its not always a comfortable experience.
But I’m jumping ahead of myself.
How do we even know if we are in the light?

Verse 6:
If we say we have fellowship with him
while we walk in the darkness,
we lie and do not practice the truth.
But if we walk in the light,
as he is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
8 If we say we have no sin,
we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

There are three things we might say in order to deceive ourselves
about whether or not we are in the light.

First, we might say that we have fellowship with God.
John is writing specifically to people
who claimed to have fellowship with God,
but did not have true fellowship with each other.
Not only so, some,
even as they claimed to have fellowship with God,
did not accept the apostolic teaching—
that Jesus, the Son of God, died,
was buried
and rose again in his body,
that Jesus was the full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice for sin,
They instead sought to undermine the teaching of the apostles
and to draw people away from the truth.
So their claim of ‘fellowship with God’
was in reality life in darkness.
Just saying it doesn’t make it so.
Just seeing the light doesn’t mean you’re walking in it.
Just saying that you walk in the light,
does not in fact bring you into the light.
Saying that we have fellowship with God,
while rejecting what he says about himself,
and rejecting true fellowship in the community of believers
is speaking a lie.
No, those who walk in the light
should evidence certain characteristics.
They love the truth.
They accept the apostolic teaching.
They love each other.
The apostolic teaching
and the fellowship of believers
hold you accountable.
The apostolic teaching,
that is the Bible,
acts as a brilliantly lit mirror.
We can’t avoid the lines and wrinkles
and troubling marks of sin.
The fellowship of believers likewise
doesn’t allow us to pretend that we live a certain way,
everyone can see what way we live.
Lest we try and lie to ourselves
and creep back into the darkness,
these two things shed light on us.

Second, we might say that we have no sin.
We might once have sinned,
but now we’re saved and we have no sin.
This is a big problem, isn’t it?
Because its not true.
If we say that we have no sin,
we’re pulling ourselves away from the gaze,
the cleansing fire,
the purifying spotlight of God’s loving sanctifying work.
Its counterintuitive.
If you say that you have not sinned,
the lie magnifies the state in which you actually live,
if you acknowledge that you sin,
and step into the light,
and tell the truth,
the act of stepping into the light
cleanses you of your sin.
So instead of standing in a spotlight
and having everyone see how awful you are,
you stand in the spotlight
and have everyone see that you’re forgiven.
It happens as you come into the light.
That’s what this means:
But if we walk in the light,
as he is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another,
and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.
You step into the light,
you walk in the light,
you tell the truth,
and you are cleansed,
purified, forgiven by the blood of Jesus.

And Three, go down to verse 10, we might say that we have not sinned.
Why is this not true?
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
There isn’t one single solitary person on this earth,
Jesus being the One Exception,
who has not sinned.
All of us not only sin on a daily basis,
we have sinned in the past,
and we will sin again tomorrow.
If we say we have not sinned,
we are calling God a liar.
Is he a liar?
So we must not say that we have not sinned.
But what happens if we tell the truth?
He is faithful and just,
he’s not playing mind games,
he’s not arbitrarily mean.
He is faithful,
and just.
If you confess—
that is, say that you’re sorry
and make every effort to walk in the opposite direction—
he will forgive and cleanse you.

Now, as I said,
most of us know this.
We are children of the light,
we’ve asked Jesus to forgive us.
We feel basically all set.
Why would we need to read this passage again?
Let alone memorize it, as I had to as a child.
I always thought someone must think I was a terrible liar,
that this passage was assigned to me all the time to memorize.

Look at the word ‘walk’ in your text.
‘Walk in the light’.
God is going to always be calling you out of the darkness.
Sin is tangled up in our hearts.
As Jesus slowly untangles the mess of each of us,
and puts our hearts and minds in order,
more and more light needs to be shown.
And each light switch that goes on
in a new messy dysfunctional room in our hearts
is going to hurt.
And we’re going to want to rush over
and flip it off
and ask Jesus to go do something else for the day.
But that would ask him to be a liar,
putting a lie to the saving work he has done on our behalf.
Don’t back away from his gaze.
Don’t flinch in the face of his holy fire.
It is a purifying gaze,
a righteous fire.

As you step into it,
the dross, muck and ugliness of sin is burned away.
Lent, this season of stepping intentionally into the fire of God’s love
is such a gracious gift.
As with all suffering,
It is to be endured with joy and thanksgiving.
Walk in the light.
God, who is faithful and just
will shield you in his glory.
He will give you his own holiness,
his own righteousness,
his own perfect beauty. Amen.

Friday, March 06, 2009

My speed obsessed son

A: Why are you speeding, Mommy?
Me: I'm not speeding. I'm going the speed limit.
A: It feels like your speeding.
Me: Well I'm not.
a few minutes later
A: Can you please go faster?
Me: No, I'm sorry, I can't go faster than the car in front of me.
A: Why not?
Me: Because then I would hit him and that would be bad.
a few minutes later
A: I'm really tired of you driving so slow.
Me: Please don't complain. I'm going as fast as I'm allowed.
A: Well, I really wish you would go faster.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

A Lenten Confession

I'm going to try and go to Catechesis training on Saturday. I'm planning to just go for the morning. Contigent on this crazy idea is that tomorrow I write a sermon, do the bulletin, catch up on the laundry, write a stack of letters, and reclaim order of some kind in some domain...Matt says he will supervise the children doing school.

It occurred to me, as I was writing out my list of things I expected to do, that whereas other people over indulge in food, alcohol, exercise, greed-I don't know, name a vice-I over indulge in 'things I plan to do in a day'. I'm so afraid of doing too little, that I always plan to do far far too much. And like any vice, I enjoy it, and most of the time, I spiritualizingly justify it to myself in order to make myself feel more holy than you.

Matt is an excellent prioritizing focus point. 'Breathe,' he says, 'list of what you have to do'.
I start listing and after each thing he says 'up' or 'down' meaning they go up or down in importance on the list. I was irritated, this morning, to hear him put 'take a shower' way down on the list. But he was completely right. By cutting that out, and all the housework, we did a full day of school, I made a bevy of calls, I made fantastic meals (Breakfast: soft boiled eggs and toast. Lunch: Ramen and grilled cheese. Supper: Buckwheat Banana Pancakes) and now I'm blogging.

I'm not making a true confession. I don't feel repentant enough about my way of life to desire to change it, yet, but at least I've noticed. So those of you who were waiting for a quiet moment to mention this huge character flaw to me can rest in peace that I already know.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Praying, as it were

A very long time ago someone asked what we do for morning prayer. Obviously, I never got around to saying, but I recently came across these old pictures I took when I meant to blog about it so long ago. I made up pretty little laminated cards with an abbreviated morning prayer-opening sentence, confession, short versicle, apostle's creed, Lord's Prayer, dismissal. In place of readings and canticles, we've been reading haphazardly around the Bible, memorizing ABC verses (A: All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; B: Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ...;E: Even a child is known by his acts by whether his conduct is pure and upright; etc.), singing Per Crucem in preparation for Lent (from my battered Taize song book), and adding our own petitions at the right moment. Plus, we worked really hard to memorize the service, verses and song and were thereby able to lead our CC group in Morning Prayer as our family prsentation. Well, I really led our CC group in MP because my two frustrating children stood mutely behind me with their hands in thier mouths, paralized to speak or smile or do anything. But they did know it, at least in the car on the way there. We're currently taking a break from it and doing a lovely and simple Lenten Family Devotional (thank you Sarah!). Come Easter I'll remake the cards with some new versicles and sentences for a new season and we'll start again.

Monday, March 02, 2009

A Quiet Monday Morning Thought

I have been vaguely paying attention to the recent "election" of a Buddhist/Episcopalian person to the office of Bishop in Michigan. I certainly haven't been reading everything, so someone may have noticed this, but after trying, unsuccessfully, to listen to a whole sermon by this poor man, I'm left thinking that the Buddhist part is really there essentially to make him more interesting. Were he just a regular Episcopalian, his theology wouldn't be near fascinating enough to make him bishop. The Buddhist part is necessary for him even being noticed. Its not enough to just be heretical any more, you have to belong to a whole other religion. I say this as someone who was trying to listen to the sermon in hopes that he would say something Buddhist. Unfortunately, even that tantalizing morsel was not enough to keep me listening after 10 minutes. I had babies to change, supper to start, and the first four elements of the periodic table to review.

When and how did it happen that the essentials of Christian Truth and Teaching became boring? Because that's why so many are flitting after other gods, isn't it? Because the Bible couldn't possibly be interesting enough on its own. God isn't big enough or fascinating enough to pursue on his own terms. But if that's the road you take, eventually everybody else will be bored and leave because its Not True.