Friday, April 25, 2008
Here's my happy crew. You will need one of those with what they have in their hands. Also, you will need supplies. We had:
8 curved scalloped-topped cement garden edgers (red)
2 straight scalloped-topped cement garden edgers (red)
3 bags garden and bedding soil
1 flat bedding flowers (we had 36 begonias and one amaryllis)
First we set up our design, which was a fish, an ICHTHUS. The boys knew that we are all little fishes attached to our One Fish, Christ--or, as my oldest student said, "branches living from the larger Branch." After that I scribed the soil with a knife. You don't have to use a knife. Just use something to mark the outside of the dimensions. Then we dug into the soil.
This was so we could set the landscapers into the soil, not merely upon it. That way they'd be solid.
After that, we lined the area with weed fabric.
Here you can clearly see the outline of the ICHTHUS shape. We used the soil dug out from the middle to backfill around the pavers. That way they were stable from the outside. The garden soil we added kept them stable from the inside. We used only three bags of garden and bedding soil to fill our planter. It was even a bit too full!
Here is the final "product" and the proud crew. The amaryllis planted at the center was a gift one of the boys gave me two Christmases ago. It finally bloomed this year. It needed a larger space to grow properly, so we moved it to a new home. They did a great job, and not one dirt fight in all of it!
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Get Office straight, and everything else falls into place: from Office follows all other offices or vocations, and from that station. Office is, first of all, located in Christ. It is the keeping and living in the First Commandment, the First Article, and the First Petition. What do these have to do with Christ? No one comes to the Father except through Christ (Jn 14:6). When Christ is one’s Head, then living as one in the Body of Christ means that love toward neighbor is the habitus of daily living in one’s Baptism (1Co 11:4; Eph 5:23;). This is the lesson Jesus taught the young lawyer with the parable of the Good Samaritan when He turned his question around. It is not “Who is my neighbor?” but rather, “To whom am I a neighbor?” (Luke 10: 25-36).
Last night John and I watched Gone Baby Gone. Ben Affleck both co-wrote the screenplay and directed this film. His younger brother, Casey, was cast in the starring role. Ed Harris, Michelle Monaghan, Amy Madigan, and Morgan Freeman also star in this film of a little girl who was reported missing, and the young man who was hired to search for her. I will try not to reveal too much of the movie’s details for the sake of those who have not yet seen it.
The movie is a fascinating study of office and vocation. There are those who have God-given vocations, yet abandon them. Some take up vocations that are not properly theirs to have. Others are given offices into which they have been place with trust, yet through which they have been abusive. Another is like the last of the Old Testament faithful women, Anna, praying and fasting, faithful in her vocation. She lashes out in righteous anger, “You are an abomination!” Her pain stings the greatest, for she sacrifices all she has, and loses all in the end.
There is, too, a Christ-figure—one who sacrifices his own life so that another might live. Fascinatingly, there is also a hireling. The twist-ending allowing for “What would you have done?” questioning reveals who the hireling is, who the Christ-figure is. Christ said, “Feed My sheep” (Jn ). Certainly the primary meaning of this is directed to the Office and the administration of the Mysteries, the Sacraments. Still, in Gone Baby Gone, we have the distinction between doing right because it feels right, and doing right because it is right.
“If you do this thing, I will hate you forever,” said the tempter in the movie. How many prayers have ascended to God in this way? And yet Joseph declared, “You meant it for evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Ge 50:20). A religion centered in the heart; a religion that does not rely solely on what God has done and gives for us; a religion that cannot be satisfied with Christ’s declaration, “It is finished!”; is a religion that can lead one to hating God when He does not give one the desires of one’s own heart. This is why we pray, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” When we pray these words, we literally ask God that He carry us away, even if it means into an early death rather than into even greater evil than we currently face.
Gone Baby Gone is not merely a fascinating movie; it is also a genuinely Lutheran movie. It gets Office straight, even if by demonstrating by way of the negative, and through instances of the positive through vocation. It’s a movie worth watching for the sake of its theme. This must be said with a great caveat: the language is very strong. Some might find that offensive due to the volume.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Rev. Rick Sawyer of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, Brandon, MS, has written an excellent website responding to the favorite retort of the Baptist Country's refutation for Infant Baptism. You can access it here.
In fact, while you're there, take a look at his piece on Historic Faith. and then at his one titled He is Risen.
Monday, April 07, 2008
After the storm finished its destruction in Little Rock on last Thursday, it headed on over to Jackson, Mississippi, where it unleashed five more tornadoes on Friday afternoon. In fifteen minutes, Jackson and its environs endured more damage than Katrina did to it in a day and a half.
The tornado ripped through about 1/4 mile from her home near Little Rock, Arkansas, last Thursday night. The most memorable damage was to her high school, Sylvan Hills. So on Saturday Sarah went over to a friend's house to commiserate their mutual loss.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Mary writes a beautiful post at the Concordian Sisters of Perpetual Parturition titled Why pregnancy is good for me. It is a gripping confession of a young Christian woman rejoicing in her pregnancy.
Æons ago when my own babies were very young, I picked up C. S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy. Apart from whatever else it is, it is the finest treatise on feminism that I’ve read—especially That Hideous Strength. I’d not suggest reading this last volume without having read the first two, but it is in this final work that the previous two come together.
In That Hideous Strength, Jane considers herself locked in the opposite of what she regards marriage to be. Marriage ought to be a source of mutual comfort, but she finds hers to Mark to be a source of solitude. They have mutually consented not to have children. They are a mutual source of small unspoken irritations to each other. The silence between them is the greatest of solitudes.
Jane is confronted, at last, by her decision not to have children. The Director, a sort of Father-figure, reminds her that she is not a Christian wife. And since she chooses not to have children from this married union, she is living as though she were a virgin. She is a neither-nor.
“You mean,” said Jane slowly, “I’ve been repressing something?”
The Director laughed; just that loud assured bachelor laughter which had infuriated her on other lips.
“Yes,” but don’t think I’m talking of Freudian repressions. He knew only half the facts. It isn’t a question of inhibitions—inculcated shame—against natural desire. I’m afraid there’s no place in the world for people who won’t be either Pagan or Christian. Just imagine a man who was too dainty to eat with his fingers and yet wouldn’t use forks!”
Reading this Trilogy was when I began to really understand the insidious grip of feminism on myself. Ask me truly and I will tell you sincerely: the greatest feminist alive today is me. I do not say that for bragging rights. I tell you this because in all my years of trying to combat the feminism within me, I am unable to do so.
There is a simple reason for this that is not so very simple. Although feminism and original sin are not the same, because feminism mocks original sin, it is nearly impossible for anyone now living today to escape the influences of this all-pervasive worldview. First, feminism is a deception. It deceives the hearer to thinking that is an authoritative voice for woman and her needs, as well as society in general. Second, because feminism considers itself to be authoritative, it presents itself as a movement for empowerment. The individual is her own authority. This is the key to the wrongful use of individualism. This is the same thing that the serpent promised our First Mother when he said she would be “like God.”
Eve was deceived into thinking she had to do something in order to be like God, when she was already made in His image. We spend much energy trying to do anything but our vocation—that which God has placed in our hands to do—and trying to take credit for it as if that is what will grant us salvation. This is the core of feminism, and its root is original sin. Mary speaks eloquently of how God has reclaimed her through the repentance of pregnancy.
I can no more free myself of my feminism than I can free myself of my sin. Still my pastor frees me of it, often and much with his word of Absolution in my ear and his hand upon my head. And daily and much my Baptism keeps me free of it, daily and much. In this there is much to rejoice about feminism, as Mary has found—for it brings women back to Christ.