Monday, December 17, 2007

A Change of Pace

My honey got to do something that most other guys get to do a lot more often....laze about on Sunday. It was the first time church has been canceled in the 4 + years we've been here.

The storm that came through left the roads in bad shape yesterday, and despite it being the time for our Sunday School Christmas program during the Sunday School Hour, it was very clear that it was not safe to expect people to come out yesterday. So after a few calls, he was able to come back to bed and we all got to sleep in.

This was an unusual blessing, considering that he'd thrown his back out earlier this week and has had difficulty moving. An extra day of rest really made a big difference. Each day he moves around a bit better.

An End and a Beginning

I must confess I was close to tears when our dear "Luther at the Movies" decided to close shop two days ago. And I can't tell whether the tears were due to sadness or laughter, because he was funny even in his au revoir.

But in his farewells, he leads us to another blog which is a treasure, and that is the blog of First Things. I have thoroughly enjoyed the three days that I have read it, and his assistant (wink wink, nod nod), Anthony Sacramone definitely lets a bit of Dr. Luther through in his writings, even if his ironic style is a little more subdued.

But I have to say, I really appreciated this post by another blogger on First Things, Professor Robert George of Princeton University. It is a clear and concise reasoning as to why abortion should be illegal in the United States.

"For now, what I hope you will consider is simply this: The child in the womb either is or is not a human being–a member of the human family. If he or she is, then he or she is entitled as a matter of basic justice to the protection of laws and, indeed, to the equal protection of the laws. For a voter or public official to seek to deny to the unborn elementary legal protections against killing that we favor for ourselves and others we regard as worthy is a gross and appalling injustice. There is no way around this. Once one concedes the humanity of the child–as one must in view of the plain facts of human embryogenesis and early-intrauterine development–the principle of the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every member of the human family requires the legal protection of the unborn."

His letter is a response to Anne Rice, who states that she is Democrat because she is Christian and Pro-Life, and who has endorsed Hillary Clinton. While I could take issue with a lot of things that she has said in her endorsment, I really am going to focus on one statement:

"As a student of history, I do not think that Americans will give up the legal right to abortion. Should Roe vs Wade be rolled back, Americans will pass other laws to support abortion, or they will find ways to have abortions using new legal and medical terms." says Ms. Rice.

As a student of history, has Anne Rice noticed that the very reasons why we are told that abortion should remain legal are the very reasons why we were told that slavery should remain legal? That slaves are not quite human? That in order for a way of life to be maintained, the institution needs to be kept in place? That this particular class of people are only entitled to have any control over their own lives whatsoever is if those who are responsible for their well-being (slave owners or the mothers) choose to give them that right (through liberating them or allowing them to be born?).

The American government used this argument to rationalize the continual violation of treaties with Native Americans. The same arguments were also used by the Nazis in exterminating the Jews and other "inferiors," by Stalin in dealing with various classes he didn't like, the Turks in dealing with the Armenians, the British treatment of the Irish, Muslims in dealing with infidels, and one could take this all the way back to ancient times with Greeks, Assyrians, and Cain vs. Abel. And abortion is every bit as much an atrocity as those listed.

This theme repeats itself throughout history. The person/people/class/goverment/empire that is in control has a right to decide what rights those inferior have. But as an educated society, when we look back at history - we always see the injustice that was perpetrated. We need to be able to see the gross injustice that is being perpetrated now.

Every year we are slaughtering MILLIONS of PEOPLE whose very existence is viewed as an insult by the very people whose own actions brought them into existence.

With slavery, people fought long and hard to eliminate it, and it was an act of law that did so. With genocide, we have repeatedly gone into countries to put a stop to it, to destroy governments that condone it (most recently in Afghanistan and Iraq, and our presence in Iraq is continued in part to prevent this from happening again). Through our study of history, we have looked back at how we have treated other human beings, and grieved and learned from our mistakes not to repeat them (though as long as we are sinful, and as long as there is power, they probably will be repeated).

And THAT is what we should be seeing from history, if we are students of it.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Memories

I was tagged by Glenda for my three most precious Christmas memories...

1. The first one was my first Christmas with Jeff. I drove down from Vegas to his parents' house in Los Angeles early in the morning on Christmas Day, after spending Christmas Eve with my parents'.

I remember stopping in Pasadena to find a payphone to call him to let him know I was about 45 minutes away. I found a phone booth (a fully enclosed glass phone booth) in front of a car wash on Walnut St. Little did I know that five years later, I would be living 1/2 a mile from that car wash (the phone booth was gone by then) and Jeff's first congregation would be only a mile north.

I will never forget how cute he looked when he opened up the door and kissed me out on the porch. We just sat and held hands for a while like two people who hadn't held hands in 3 months. Well, we hadn't!

He gave me a coffee table book on Ireland and a stuffed giraffe, because besides hating being called Jeffrey Giraffe, it still was his favorite animal, so graceful and beautiful. He wrapped it so that the giraffe was sticking its' neck up out of a whole in the wrapping paper. I got him a museum print of "Irises" by Van Gogh. For one of our first dates the previous Summer, he took me to the Getty Villa to see it), not long after they acquired it (once upon a time, all of the Getty's collections were displayed in it houses their ancient collections. I like the Villa so much better than the new Getty, only problem is, it is so beautiful OUTSIDE, that it sometimes was hard to go INSIDE. We just sat there and stared at it, amazed at the depth of texture created with the paints. He literally made the paint stand up off the canvas. No print or picture will ever do it justice. This print hangs in our dining room. I also got two ornaments with our names on it. Ever since then, our tradition is to get an ornament or two for the tree that reflects something important that happened that year. Decorating the tree is always a very nostaligic time for us.

Then, after Christmas, I took him home to meet my parents. Eeek. That was a bit scary. But everything went fine. My mom told me later that she said to my dad..."this is the one."

2. The second Christmas was the next year, when Jeff asked me to marry him. He had told me that he was going to wait until after he preached for the first time in his home congregation on the 27th, because he was nervous about that. But on the 23rd, when I'd laid down for a nap, he built a fire and came and woke me up and he proposed by firelight. In the middle of it, his mother came through the door after a horrendous evening of last minute Christmas shopping and ordered him to help unload the car. "Can it wait a minute?" "No it can't wait a minute! I've got to get the groceries in." She exclaimed. So we went outside, and I said "yes" on the porch.

Then we went back to my parents' and Jeff told my parents that we'd decided to get married (my dad wasn't really the kind of guy who wanted to be asked for my hand, though Jeff was the kind of guy who wanted to ask, so there was a compromise). I saw my dad's body tense up, and Jeff said, "we're going to
wait a year and a half until Lora graduates." It was as if all the tension gushed out of my father's body all at once. Apparently, that was the big concern. :)

3. Our first Christmas with our son Chris was probably my next most memorable Christmas. It was the first one where we bothered with a tree and where our home seemed complete. He was so tiny and we put so much thought into it. I can't even describe how it was special, so I'll just show you (It was a big day for him, too!)
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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Which Harry Potter Character Are You?

You are Hermione. You're a bookworm always in search of answers. When pressed, however, you can always be counted on to put away the books and help your friends.
Find Your Character @

Now Here's One I've Never Tried....

What Kind of Drink Are You?

You are a Cosmopolitan. You are quiet and content. You don't stand out too much, but you don't mind and don't care what people think of you. You don't need everything to be perfect, as long as you get what matters. Sure, you may be 'girly' and you may not be the smartest, craziest or most refined, but you really like yourself, and that's fine by you.
Find Your Character @

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Before I go on, I want to make this clear. I LOVE the Harry Potter books. I have read the whole series at least 3 times through. I think there are few works of literature that do as good a job at addressing so many virtues -- the sanctity of life, responsibility, duty, honor, mercy, justice, the evils of prejudice, truth vs. happiness, honesty, and goodness vs. evil --not to mention what happens when for the sake of these virtues, you compromise them by allying to evil for their preservation.

Christianity is not about virtues, even the virtues that have defined the Western World. Even if they epitomize God's law written on our hearts. Something is Christian if it points to the bodily death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. There are many Christian churches that will tell you that these virtues in and of themselves are what Christianity is about, and therefore Harry Potter is Christian. J.K. Rowling will tell you this, herself.

That's why I found this post on Get Religion by tmatt to be very interesting, especially this quote:

For several years now, I have been arguing that Rowling is, in fact, what her writings suggest that she is. She is a very articulate, liberal mainline Protestant storyteller (Church of Scotland, in this case) whose academic background has baptized her in ancient Christian language and symbolism. It’s hard to read the coverage of the final book in the series — heck, it’s hard to read the final book itself — without seeing evidence of both sides of this equation.


When I turned eighteen, one of the first things I did was go down to the post office and register to vote. My parents, registered Republicans, had always actually encouraged their kids to register as Democrats. There really weren't that many Republicans in Nevada at the time, and the Democrats were generally conservative, and they just wanted it to be worth our time to vote in the primary elections.

I couldn't do it, though. I knew almost nothing about fiscal and social differences between the parties. I also had been brainwashed by liberal teachers toward liberal taxation policies (sales tax isn't fair because it is even across the board, graded income tax still isn't high enough for the rich, etc). But I was going to register Republican and there was ONLY one issue that made up my mind. Abortion. The Republican Party was Pro-Life, and it was very clear to me that abortion was killing a defenseless human being. I hadn't stepped foot in a church in years, but that was obvious.

Knowing history, I also took pride in belonging to the political party whose very inception centered on rectifying the evils of slavery. It was also the first political party to favor women's suffrage. Over the next few years, I learned a lot about conservative economics, social policy, and how these shape legislation.

There has been a lot of fuss this year about certain evangelical groups threatening to not support Guiliani if he gets the nomination. I have also heard from other Republicans that the main thing is party unity, and whether Guiliani gets the nomination or not, it is crucial that we stick together and support whatever candidate gets the Republican nod, because we cannot hand the White House over to the Democrats.

As a joke, I told a friend that I would vote for Hillary before I voted for Guiliani, if nothing else, just to tell the Republican Party to never let this happen again. I could not in good conscience vote for Hillary or any of the other Democratic candidates. They just do not represent my values or outlook on life. But for that very same reason, I could not vote for Guiliani or Romney, either. Both have pro-abortion and liberal political leanings that I cannot endorse with my vote.

The Republican Party was born on the platform that slavery was evil. That slaves have been denied their rights as human beings, and are entitled to those rights beyond anything else. They took a country to war over this -- a terrible but a just war. They also fought and pushed for the rights of women to vote for their representatives, to be heard by a court of law, and to own property. To abandon the history of standing up for those who are denied their human rights, as human embryos are now denied their right to their own hearbeat, their own existence -- would be turning their back on everything the Party has ever stood for, because in the end, it is saying that some do not have the right to basic existence, to have the opportunity to rise to their own potential, to the value that they were given by God. Those are the values that kept me Republican. To say that a human baby is not entitled to those rights unless its mother and its society says that it is worthy is against the party's very core foundational values. The party will not stand if it treats abortion as something that does not matter, and instead places the value on the party-name itself.

The Republican Party is not what is important. What is important is the role that it serves in representing those who register as Republicans. I am not Pro-Life or small government because I am a Republican. I am a Republican because they claim they are Pro-Life and small government as well. If the party should cease to represent its constituency, then the party has ceased to represent those who chose them. I would go elsewhere.

And while I would grieve this happening, I also am reminded that parties come and go. The Federalist Party collapsed and was replaced by the Whig Party, which was replaced by the Republican Party. If the Republicans cease to be truly conservative and are no longer the party that will right terrible social wrongs as it has done so well in its past, another party will rise up to represent those that the party abandoned and take over that role. I have no doubt.

See, I'm Not Blog-Lazy, I'm Focused on Other Pursuits....

Which Peanuts Character Are You?

You are Schroeder. You are brilliant, ambitious, and brooding; you tackle tasks with extreme focus. People don't always interest you as much as other pursuits, though, so you can come off as aloof.
Find Your Character @

I don'tknow if this is quite right though. There were a few questions on this one where none of them sounded good. Personally, I think I'm the Red Baron.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Poetry In Motion....

I am the tanka.
The attention of others
Is unnerving, and
Since I try not to draw it,
I'm left alone. Which is good.

What Poetry Form Are You?

My friend Dogmom had this on her blog. I just had to try it.

Now to go find out what a tanka is.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tootin' My Own "Horn"

You know the Bible 100%!

Wow! You are awesome! You are a true Biblical scholar, not just a hearer but a personal reader! The books, the characters, the events, the verses - you know it all! You are fantastic!

Ultimate Bible Quiz
Create MySpace Quizzes

In reality, it is never good to feel like we know it all and don't need to return to it constantly to be fed.

But if they want to tell me I'm fantastic, I'm not going to disagree ;)

Sunday, December 02, 2007

RPW's Amazing Wonderful Chicken

I have been getting requests for my chicken recipe (yes, this is the one served at the Fort Wayne Mamapalooza as well), so after writing it down repeatedly, I decided to post it to my food and diet blog - Tending Our Gardens. It is a great one for family or for entertaining and feeding several people in a relatively easy, inexpensive fashion.

Hope you enjoy it!!!

One More Day.....

This time tomorrow, I will be doing laundry.

Excitement...I know.

But tomorrow, my new dryer comes. We've been without a clothes dryer for several months now, and with the good weather, and extended good weather at that, it really hasn't been an issue (well, aside from the fact that my dog thinks it incredibly fun to take clothes off the line). I thought it would be novel to line dry, and in some ways, it has been very nice. Now that it is cold though, they are drying on a line in the basement (that the previous pastor so kindly set up), and things are starting to not be so pleasant.

It would cost almost as much as a new dryer to get a repairman in. My father-in-law looked at it, but despite all his efforts couldn't get it to start again (actually, I think they felt its loss more strongly than we did). And honestly, with disposal fees, lacking a truck, and many other aspects, getting a used one just was going to be a huge headache....

Hanging clothes outside was meditative and enjoyable. But when push comes to shove, I don't like the way clothes feel coming off the line (though I do love the way sheets smell). In all my efforts to return to traditionalism, sometimes, it is amazing how much I find myself getting in the way. So we return to modernity. It is amazing how easy it is to take something for granted. I've always had a dryer, at least one in our apartment complex. This has been an good experience, and who knows, if Scully mellows out by next year, maybe we will hang stuff out in the summer. But my sweaters are smellin' a bit musty from drying in the basement. blech.

So we scrimped and saved and I worked, and other expenses came in (like new tires) and depleted those savings.

But Friday night, we bought it, and tomorrow it gets installed.

There will be a veritable orgy of laundry going on tomorrow, and I just might take off all my clothes and try on every piece of cozy-radiant clothing that comes out in all of its softness and joy (I hope nothing shrinks).

Oh, I'd better run to the store for dryer sheets!!!