Scenes From A Preschooler’s Bedtime

Beginners BibleDialog, almost verbatim, from last night’s bedtime ritual:
Me: [Having just read the story of Moses getting the Ten Commandments from God] What did God tell Moses to tell the people?
Me: He said “Do not…”?
Will: Kill!
Me: And “Do not…”
My Wife: [Suggesting helpfully] “Do not st…”
Will: Steve!
Me: [Covering my mouth so as to obscure the smile now plastered across it] No, son, God did not tell Moses to tell the people “Do not Steve”. He said “Do not steal.”
Will: …Oh. Yes, do not steal!

On Loss, Grief, And Giving Thanks

I’ve been trying to figure out how to write this post for a month now, so I figure it’s about time for me to just go ahead and do it, else I might never blog again. I’ve rewritten this post in my head so many times that I simply need to sit down and spell it all out. It’s been a rough few weeks, so here goes.
We lost our baby the day after Thanksgiving, an occurrence which took the metaphorical wind out of our young family’s sails, to say the least. It’s been a strange grieving process — I’ve felt alternately hyper-emotional and completely detached. Random things will call to mind the baby and bring tears to my eyes, while most of the time, I’m fine. This entire stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas has been surreal.
Our church provided meals for the first week or so, which was great, but as we plowed through to the 25th, things just seemed “off” to me. I’ve struggled on and off with God over questions of “why?”, “why now?” and “how could a God that is (loving, all-knowing, etc.)…?” but have largely been at peace in the knowledge that He, ultimately, knows what He’s doing. My wife and I have been trying to be more committed to doing Advent every night — reading the progression of passages from the Bible outlining the Old Testament prophecies and the New Testament passages on Jesus’ arrival and, for me, at least, reading about God coming to Earth in the form of a baby has been comforting. It reaffirms the fact that He cares so incredibly much for the littlest ones among us and that He (as we have told Will) needed to call the baby back to Himself early, certainly earlier than we would have preferred.
With the baby dying at Thanksgiving, Paul’s words of 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 have been with me almost continuously:

16Be joyful always; 17pray continually; 18give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

(Emphasis mine.)
This is a tough word in many ways. It’s difficult to think in that manner in the face of adversity, but I feel personally thankful to God for:

  • my wife
  • my children
  • my parents and siblings
  • my church
  • a roof over my head
  • a well-paid contract

…and the list goes on. I have been blessed, truly blessed, and while I don’t, nay, can’t know the mind of God on this, I am comforted and thankful that He is in control.
I’ve felt preoccupied by all these things and it seemed just, well, disrespectful somehow to blog about other things while leaving our loss unspoken. Hopefully I will be able to get back to near-daily blogging again soon.

Variations On A Theme: Is Our Congresscritters Learning Scripture?

No. No they isn’t. Whoops:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is fond of quoting a particular passage of Scripture. The quote, however, does not appear in the Bible and is “fictional,” according to biblical scholars.
In her April 22 Earth Day news release, Pelosi said, “The Bible tells us in the Old Testament, ‘To minister to the needs of God’s creation is an act of worship. To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.’ On this Earth Day, and every day, let us pledge to our children, and our children’s children, that they will have clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and the opportunity to experience the wonders of nature.”
Distinguished biblical scholars, however, cast doubt on the existence of the passage.

Seems she likes to trot the quote out rather extensively, truth be told. Ed Morrisey tries to help her out, but, well, if it ain’t in the Bible, cain’t nobody help her find it.
As many other commentators have noted, though, Genesis 1:28 does speak to the same issue, although it’s pretty much diametrically opposed to Ol’ Nan’s invented Scripture.

Holy Cuppa…!

Cup. O. Chino.
It’s a bit of a running joke amongst my family members that my parents tend to make coffee a tad on the weak side of the spectrum. That, coupled with their penchant for decaf tends to make each coffee-drinking episode at their house a frustrating one for one so caffeine-addicted as I.
Recently, on our way back from my parents’ place, my wife and I were discussing this phenomenon when I quipped “Well, they’ve always made ‘Catholic Coffee’,” an expression that was met with a look of confusion on her face. I explained “You know, they take a handful of coffee grounds, make the Sign of the Cross over a pot of boiling water and call it ‘coffee’.” Without missing a beat, she returned “So does that make French-pressed coffee ‘Baptist’?”
I knew there was a good reason I married this woman.
We spent a good while afterwards suggesting other potential religional correlations, such as Episcopal (exactly like Catholic Coffee, except you make sure your back is facing Rome when you make it), Presbyterian (coffee by committee), Methodist (the end product doesn’t really matter and isn’t assured, it’s the process of making the coffee that counts), Scientological (“75 Million Years Ago, Dark Lord Valdez Ruled The Universe With An Iron, Java-Laden Fist…”), and even Mormon (“Coff-what now?”). Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments.
(Picture courtesy of/© Refracted Moments)

Easter Observations

A few items of note, brought about by an Easter weekend spent with The Fam:
I believe that there is a Federally-mandated scent that all church restrooms’ hand soaps must contain. It appears to be unique to church bathrooms, as I have yet to smell an analog in any other public dispenser.
Handel apparently wrote “Messiah”‘s bass line in the key of “Doug”, as I was able to perform my annual belting-out this morning with aplomb.
My wife’s birthday fell on Easter Sunday this year – it became apparent to me that this stinks almost as much as having your birthday fall on Christmas Day and certainly more so than having a birthday around Christmas.
It’s a bit of a cliche at this point, but we as Christians expend far too much energy on Christmas and too little on the truly important holiday, Easter.

Well, There Goes My Support For Giuliani

I have been wrestling with whether I could support Rudy Giuliani in the upcoming GOP Presidential primaries and had decided that I could most likely hold my nose and vote for him based upon his Basically Right stances on most issues, but then he had to go and restate his 1989 position that abortion is a Constitutional right and should be publicly funded in an interview with CNN. Reprehensible, absolutely reprehensible.
C’mon, Admiral Painter – run!

A Regular Stand-Up Kinda Goy

Over the course of a Seder dinner, an event filled with history, solemnity and a good deal of tradition, have you ever inadvertently:

  1. Almost choked to death on a sip of grape juice?
  2. Brought your 18 month old son to tears with a bite of matzoh and horseradish?
  3. Poured piping-hot matzoh ball soup down your wife’s back while trying to avoid pouring another bowl down her front?

No? Why do I ask? Well, you see, I have this friend who just happened to…
Umm, well, y’see, it’s like this: I tried to, I mean, he tried to…
Crap. I’m never going to hear the end of this one.