Wednesday, April 26, 2006
My tolerance for little boy barnyard and bathroom humor reaches its limits quickly. Now anyone who rushes to mark me as a prude is one who simply doesn’t know me well. There is a difference between crass potty-mouth for the sake of being obnoxious and the refined art of articulation that could still cause my granny to blush. Boors pride themselves in the former; Luther was a master of the latter. I appreciate Luther and quote him (sometimes with discretion for the sake of the audience) while at the same time I discipline my students in the ways of a “wise and eloquent piety” because of their use of the former.
Every year we take the darlings to a local pumpkin patch and petting farm. Last year my crew was too cool for school. They stood back from the “little kids” and observed. They also maintained a running commentary on the animal behavior, announcing what each one was doing. The more bathroom-related, the more delighted they became, barely stifling their snickers and giggles.
“What? Like you don’t do what they do?” I’d ask.
“Well, no. It isn’t that,” they’d lamely say. “It’s just funny to see it. And they’re using the outside as their bathroom.”
Imagine that. Animals actually using the out-of-doors for a bathroom. What was the world coming to?
When we got back to school I was called out of the classroom for a few minutes. As soon as I retuned they all converged on me. “Deaconess! You should see what Isaac drew! It is awesome.” They shoved a full-page cartoon in my face. Isaac is quite an artist even at ten.
It was a running sight-gag with only four words, “Oh, my rear itches.” These obviously provided the source of their hilarity. The students could see from my face and demeanor I was not amused. Jacob immediately told the crew to sit down. I grabbed two books, told them I would return soon, and left the room.
Dead silence met me when I came back. I went straight to the board and began to write:
A R T I C U L A T E
After defining the word, we got down to business. The animals they had seen were performing certain functions. I was not aware of the fact that I had picked up different colored marked with which to write, so it came out on the board like this:
When I finally noticed that I had written in different colors, I said, “Well, lookie see there. The colors are perfectly picked out to suit our purposes.” The poor little dears were grossed out! GOTCHA!
We moved on.
The point was articulation. The cartoon displayed none of that. Bathroom humor appeals to the widest audience because it is the lowest common act of humans and the animal kingdom. So what is so special about that?
Finally I dropped the word they liked to sneak in when they really wanted to be “cute.” It was Friday, and for the first time they would have weekend homework.
“Since you all think writing only four words about an itchy rear is articulation; and because you all think talking about flatulent animals urinating and defecating is the highest form of intelligence, this weekend you all are going to do what you like to do best. You are going to spend it writing about asses.”
They were appalled. The Deaconess had gone nuts. They were certain of it. She had sworn in front of them. One looked as if he was going to call his mother and report me post haste.
“You said ‘ass’ they accused.”
“So I did,” I confessed. “And you say ‘hell’ every single day in chapel.”
“No we don’t. That’s a cuss word.”
“Yes you do. ‘He descended into hell…’ Now, you want to know how ‘ass’ can be used properly?”
Their assignment was to read an Aesop’s Fable and re-write it, the “Ass and the Dog.” They also illustrated it. They thoroughly enjoyed doing it, which was good, because they got several more of Aesop’s “Ass” tales ove the following weeks. Eventually they became so used to the word they no longer giggled when they heard it. Nor did they any longer consider it unusual when finding goose droppings on our long walks. “Where else would a goose do that ‘d’ thing?” they’d say.
God created our mouth to speak and sanctifies the language which comes from it. It is we, through sin, who have made the one a cesspool and the other spewed sewage. A word has its proper use as well as its abuse. We reclaim its proper use when we catechize our children to use their sanctified common sense and articulate rather than either act out or react.
This year’s class is different. It includes the Troublemint Twins, who find giggle-source in the word “bathroom” itself. Say it and Jeremiah will look at Byrne with a wide grin and both will need to work hard to suppress their giggles. Today they couldn’t.
Sean has difficulty reading sometimes. He’ll let his brain over run his eyes. He saw the letters b-a-r and never got to the n before his mind rushed to assume “bathroom.” Rudeness knows no limits when there is giggle opportunity for a Troublemint Twin. They erupted into great fits of glee. Sean was beet red with embarrassment.
What to do? Easy. Jeremiah and Byrne received sentences for mocking their neighbor’s difficulty in reading. That was a given. The next part was to cure them of the bathroom giggles.
Jacob could sense it coming almost before I spoke it out loud. “The extra desks?” he asked.
Jeremiah took the Boys’ room; Byrne the Girls’.
For the sake of privacy, I posted an “Out of Order” sign on the Girls’ door.
Normally it takes Jeremiah a good half-hour to write his seven sentences. He nailed them in ten minutes flat.
Monday, April 17, 2006
From time to time I have been referred to as “the anti feminist” for my staunch defense of God’s order of creation against the tides of feminism.
Hogwash and patooey!
For the finest confession of femininity and woman as God created her to be, no one speaks with as fine a voice as that which comes through at Favorite Apron and Sew Liturgical. Libraries of books and pages of rhetoric cannot speak with the eloquence of one faithful wife and mother joyously engaged in her vocation.
Both of these blogs are a “must read” if only for this reason.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
What my husband won't do for himself he doesn't hesitate to do for me. He has the 7 year old system with barely 2GB, and no room for anything more to be put onto it. I've been after him to upgrade, but he's happy to live with it. Recently my 3 year old laptop crashed- the DMA controller simply fried. Without a blink he ordered a new system for me. He's quite a man!
That means I have Eudora newly installed, including the recent upgrade (they've offered it at a cut-rate). Normally I turn off the Mood Watch, those little pepper thingies that tell me to watch my language, or that screen the language of emails coming through to me. I'm a big girl. I can both govern myself and handle what comes along my way. I don't need little peppers to warn me. Still, like I said, I've not turned Mood Watch "Off" in the "Options" section yet. So what's the first piece of email that gets flagged as "too hot to handle?" One of Rev. Scott Murray's "Memorial Moments." Consider:
bound by chains and cords
passionate and bloody embrace
skin to be nailed upon the stake
This reminded me of a web-based computer program a while back that scanned your system to see of you had any pornographic and potentially illegal material on it. I tried it once. My computer was flagged as in "critical danger" because it had a huge amount of literature dealing with blood, sacrifice, sex, and violence. Every flagged source led straight back to Libronix (Logos) or Bibleworks files- all scripture and theology resources.
On the surface this demonstrates only that machines and the computer programs used to search for specific words can't sift between the connotation and denotation of a word. All the programs look for is a specific word. Once it is flagged, it is marked and regarded as suspect. Machines and programs do not, nor can they, understand how words are used according to the Faith. They simply know certain words are to be learned, marked, and outwardly avoided by little peppers, regardless of their connotation in any circumstance. This highlights mystery.
The First Commandment teaches us that we do not love God as we ought, for we do not "fear, love and trust in God above all things." Therefore, as the Third Article teaches us, we cannot believe in Christ by our own reason or strength. Yet the Holy Spirit calls us by the Gospel and sanctifies us with His Gifts. Without the working of the Holy Spirit upon our hearts and minds, we are very much like those machines and programs processing words, but with little use for their actual God-ordained meaning. God's Word remains as a list of words and nothing more. To those without faith in Christ, scripture remains a tangle of undecipherable contradictions. According to His gift of faith, those of the Body of Christ- His disciples- are the ones who remain in His word . To these He says, "The truth shall set you free" (Jn 8.31).
Monday, April 10, 2006
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Vox Visual's first production, The Lutheran Faith: A Mighty Fortress, has won another award, a bronze Telly Award in national competition. The Lutheran Faith had already a second-place Addy Award in state-wide competition in Florida.
"The Telly Awards honor outstanding outstanding local, regional and cable television commercials and programs, as well as the finest video and film productions. Last year's competition received over 12,000 entries from all 50 states and from 5 continents. "The Lutheran Faith: A Mighty Fortress was submitted in the category of non-broadcast video production and received a bronze award.
Thanks to everyone who has been supporting us. We are looking forward to beginning our next production- Holy Baptism: Water of Life- this summer, Deo volente!" (Quoted from Pr. Sawyer's email.)
Check out Vox Visuals. The crisp, clean filming and production is suprpassed only by the solid Lutheran- i.e., Christological- scripting that grabs the attention and holds it.
There's another way to consider this article.
We now have scientific proof that women ought not be ordained: Men aren't able to hear their preaching properly.
As if that is what was necessary to settle the issue in the first place.
Ain't we just havin' fun?
Saturday, April 01, 2006
Now I know why my boy students don't listen to me.
Of course, it doesn't explain why one of them closed his eyes and zoned out during the sermon in chapel yesterday. Or why he denied knowing any of the Latin verb endings he's been learning since the beginning of the year. I don't preach, and I don't teach Latin. Pastor does.
At least now I have the comfort of scientific proof for why my boy students don't listen to me. Pastor doesn't.
Maybe one day there will be a pill to control or cure that boy's listening problem, like there is for ADD, ADHD and toe fungus. Then I would have a class filled with boys listening to me. Poor pastor. He'll just have to struggle along with simple ignorance and disobedience.
How will I know the boys are listening? Because they will also be boys who are doing what I tell them to do. My, my. What a wonderful thing that would be. I like that idea: a room filled with boys who become men listening to me and then doing what I tell them to do. Why, isn't that the very image of... well... we'd very nearly control MEN, wouldn't we, gals? How goddess-like!
And all the while there's still the problem of guys falling alseep during the sermon and then not doing. No scientific reason for that little problem, so that one's just going to fall through the cracks, it seems.
On the one hand, science is soooooo feminist! On the other, it can ultimately demonstrate God's truths. God said following the first sin that men and women would now struggle against each other. Our physical being was affected by the fall. Distortion in hearing is one of these ways. To use findings such as these an excuse for not listening to each other, especially to "parents and other authorities," is another way that Satan continues to wage the war between the sexes.
Men don't listen to men any better than they listen to women. This is nowhere more evident than where God's word is rightly preached and His Sacraments administered accordng to His institution of them. For it is in such places that men will despise what is proclaimed and seek ways to remove the messenger- just as was done to the One who sent them.