Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Going on a Trip

I get to go on a retreat this weekend! I have never been on a retreat. Well, except for one venture in my teens that baffled and disturbed me and completely turned me off organized religion for a very long time. But that's another story. The retreat is in North Georgia, so I'm looking forward to quiet, nature, fellowship, quiet, walking, a bit of contemplation, prayer, and did I mention the quiet? Actually, quiet is a prayer in itself for me.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Gates of Hell

Have you heard of a judgment house? It came up in a conversation recently, and I had to ask to be enlightened. It's a "christian" alternative to the haunted house. Visitors are treated to tableaux of the end times, with mayhem and destruction and, I presume, the unsaved marched off to the fiery depths.

Really. I'm not making it up.

Wow! What a great evangelistic tool! Not.

I started thinking of some alternative presentations. Instead of car wrecks and airplane crashes, we could have reenactments of Bergen/Belson, Darfur, Guatemala, the Spanish Inquisition. Oh, the possibilities are endless. Why do people think hell is below us or floating off in the hinterlands, when we are so good at raising hell ourselves?

We've all met people who take such delight, such sick delight in the wrath of God. Lovey dovey God just doesn't do it for them. Yes, heaven help us if our God were too loving. But, they point out that God was quite clear on that point, and I agree. God says very clearly that his wrath is kindled by those who opress or ignore the orphan and the widow. Hmm. Now, could that have any connection to the thousands of children who have to go without health insurance and health care every year? Every child has a right to get born, but who said anything about life after birth? Or how about the many widows we create with an outrageous war?

Christ said the gates of hell could not stand against us, and yet we are timidly tapping at those gates. We cry out, "Come, now, Lord Jesus." And then we slam the door in His face.

Monday, October 13, 2008


This is the name of an event at our church in which Bibles are presented to the third graders, who then participate in a special Bible study. The boys received blue Bibles and the girls pink ones. That’s one of those details that make me go hmmm. There are male and female Bibles—who’d of guessed? Goodness knows the Bible publishers have taken “niche” to a whole new level. Perhaps we should go with God’s Little Princess Bible (which does exist) and the Monster Truck Bible (which may exist, for all I know). They can take up a place on the shelves next to High School Musical Bible, Camp Rock Bible, Barbie Bible, and Pokeman Bible. There is in fact a Manga Bible, so I’m not far off. Name a life event and there’s a Bible for it. A demographic—there’s a Bible for it. If a Bible isn’t hip enough and you feel awkward pulling it out on the subway, you can get one in magazine format, with jazzy little sidebars and cheerful graphics. No one need ever know what you’re really reading. I’m waiting for the Recession Bible, with special essays about God’s provision during difficult times and a handy pull-out card of inspirational verses.

Anyway, DramaQueen appeared after class with her Bible wrapped in brown paper. When we got home she gave us a little presentation. The brown paper represented the age of the Bible. We took that off and under was shiny gold paper, representing how valuable the Bible is. Under that was newspaper, to show that the Bible is full of stories about our lives, and finally white paper, to represent Christ. When I finally got to open it, what I noticed right away is that the type is too small for me to read without putting it in the middle of the room and reading it from the doorway. Really have to get those progressive lenses soon. But I digress, which is an interesting way of life, actually.

DramaQueen was very happy that the boys and the girls got different color Bibles, and that hers has a pink ribbon bookmark. Right now she thinks boys are a different species, and it’s best for girls to differentiate themselves from a people group that likes to make fart noises. (Firecracker, on the other hand, has been trying to emulate them.)

DramaQueen sat right down and started reading. She piped up now and then with questions about unfamiliar names for people and places, and then…

“Mom, what's a prostitute?"

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Musical Interlude

The Director periodically gives me the CDs from his Paste Magazine, which is sweet. He doesn't listen to them; I think the only reason he gets the magazine is because his son is a musician, and perhaps because it's run by people from the denomination, although you would never guess it. Anyway, I usually find one or two artists that I like. Here's a video from Anna Ternheim, who seems to specialize in moody and plaintive. I've been obsessively playing it over and over for the past week.