What comes between you and your children? Before you answer, consider this:
But what will our children see? Too often, as I observe, the above picture represents what our children see of us during such “big moments” of their lives.
I will make a concerted effort this morning not to let my camera come between me and my children.
It’s not worth it. Even if I think this will help my memory of “the event” years from now, I have to wonder what their memory will be. I don’t want the above picture to by the memory my children have of me.
Bill Cosby, in the interest of helping men understand the agony of giving birth, likened it to “taking your lower lip, and pulling it up over your head.” I’m not sure how close a match that would be, but I know it is closer than this:
Rachel was in the hospital the day after giving birth to our son Liam. I had gone down to the first floor for something and got onto the elevator to return to the Labor and Delivery section. I rode with a man and a woman, who I quickly identified as a father and grandmother of a newborn.
The man mentioned that his back was hurting. He had not slept well on the pseudo-bed the hospital provided for partners of those giving birth. Then he said this, “my back hurts so much I know how my wife must feel.” (I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP)
No, sir, you don’t. You can’t
My own wife had, the day before, gone through a rather brief labor. She delivered Liam without any pain medication, in less than 3 hours. I think I would rather pull my lower lip over my head.
His wife, he explained, had endured 36 hours of labor and then had a C-section. I don’t care what kind of mattress he slept or tossed-and-turned on; it didn’t match what the mother of his child had just done.
I know we are wired to make comparisons. Sometimes, when motivated by empathy and compassion, such comparisons may be helpful.
I don’t think this man’s was.
There are things men don’t know, and can’t know, about being a woman – including giving birth. Even if you (or a comedian) offers us an analogy, we will not and cannot really grasp it.
There are also things women don’t know, and can’t know, about being a man.
Categories are now flooding my mind of all the possibilities of limits on comparison here. We are all humans, but not a single one of us is *just* a human. Every one of us is identified in multiple other ways, too, that limit the ability of some to really grasp everything about us.
However many hyphens this adds to your self-description, I believe it is incredibly helpful for us to humbly acknowledge not only what we *all* have in common, but how very much we don’t.
Definition: the time and space when, under the guise of claims to freedom, cheerleaders take over.
Word in context: Kountze, Texas, appears no longer to be a democracy, but a Cheeranny.
A judge ruled yesterday in favor of the Kountze High School Cheerleaders and their right to print whatever they want, including Bible verses, on their banners for football games.
Here’s one you (hopefully) don’t want to see on a banner:
A blessing on the one who seizes your children and smashes them against the rock! (Psalm 137:9)
But, then, it’s not up to you; it is up to the cheerleaders.
I wonder what will happen to Cheeranny when a Moslem or Hindu is chosen to be a cheerleader and wants to cite a verse from the Koran or the Bhagvad Gita .
I watched some video of interviews with cheerleaders involved in this case. They are right; freedom of speech is a tough one, but, as it’s inclusion in the First Amendment shows, it is an important one.
A very REAL challenge of free speech, though, is when one fights for it on the behalf of others, rather than for oneself.
Another challenge of free speech is when, as in this case in Kountze, it pushes up against other rights. Another right enumerated in the First Amendment regards religion. In fact, it comes BEFORE free speech in the amendment.
Without getting into case law regarding the religion clauses of the First Amendment, it seems clear to me that a reasonable person could construe the inclusion of Christian scripture references on run-through banners as connecting the school administration (government) with a particular religion.
This may or may not be the case. We may know until the first cheerleader of another faith tries to paint something about it on a banner.
Every Wednesday I get a few minutes with the children of our Preschool and Kindergarten. Today I shared about helium and a lesson about God that it can help us understand. I got this idea from our Children’s Minister.
It is a simple object lesson: we cannot see the helium, but we can see what what the helium does, like we can see and experience things God does though we cannot see God. Simple, right?
Not so simple if I have enough time to think about it. The polka-dot balloon is the one I bought this morning to illustrate my point. the solid red balloon is the one that provided the same illustration yesterday.
Whatever affects the helium had on that balloon yesterday are all but gone today.
So, just how much like helium is God?
As it turns out, not all that much.
This does not make it a bad object lesson for children. This merely is a clear, straightforward illustration of what happens with every analogy we use to understand, explain, illustrate, etc., God.
While I do not make nearly as many absolute statements as I used to, I will make and stand by this one: EVERY analogy we use for God is limited.
This is true not only for the analogies we use to try to explain God to children (or youth, or adults, or people from another culture), but also of every single thought we think or word we use referring to God.
Let’s face it: if God could indeed be captured by your words or my thoughts, that God would not be much of a God, now would he?
Don’t worry; I did not lay all of this discussion of the limits of analogy on those 3-5 year old children.
I decided to share it here, though, because I believe we are all better off realizing that there are limits to our understanding and expression of said understanding, of God. I believe also that the more aware we are of our own limitations, the more open we can be in learning from the analogies other people use.
I would like to propose an adjustment in Christian terminology. I mean, after all, approaching someone who isn’t Christian and hanging the title “Lost” around his or her neck isn’t really very inviting, is it?
As I drove down the highway past some set of car dealerships the other day, I once again noticed that we don’t call used cars used anymore. Now we call the “pre-owned.” The implication being that someone owned, rather than merely used them before. And we all know that with ownership one takes on some level of responsibility, right?
Reading this morning some articles about the Gosnell trial in Pennsylvania, I was plunged anew into the abortion debate in America. Here, too, I found adjusted terminology. The “unborn” are now the “preborn.” Apparently, in the battle over terminology, abortion opponents believe that the word “preborn” evokes more and stronger feelings of connection and empathy than does “unborn.”
This, of course, is just the latest step in the terminology battle regarding abortion. Surely you’ve noticed the tendency to refer to one’s own position as “pro-” something and the others as “against” something. Hence we have pro-choice v. anti-choice OR pro-life v. anti-life.
I wonder if non-Christians among us would take more kindly to being thought of as “pre-saved” or “pre-redeemed” than the word we have historically come to use regarding them: “lost,” “unsaved,”unregenerate,” etc. (Pre-regenerate has a certain ring to it…)
Car dealers and abortion supporters and foes are surely onto something; the words we use affect how we understand issues. Sometimes these words follow from a position, sometimes they draw us toward one position (or away from another).
Here’s my request for the day: are you willing to make your claims in a discussion using the terminology of someone with whom you disagree? Rather than battling over words, I believe that if we make an attempt to communicate with others using their words, we are far more likely to reach a place of understanding.
I did not know precrastination was a word when I made it up this morning during my run. Now that I have found it is a “new word or slang,” I want to enter the fray. I want to fight for the right to define precrastinate.
Instead of putting off or planning to procrastinate, I want to claim precrastinate as doing something ahead of time so that you aren’t caught later facing the likelihood of procrastinating.
For instance, take my run this morning. I really, really didn’t feel like getting up and going. I knew, though, that tomorrow morning would be very cold and that I am likely to be out late tonight. However I felt this morning, I knew tomorrow morning I would feel LESS like running than I did today.
This is what put me over the motivational hump to run this morning! As I slogged through the first half mile, I seriously considering stopping after one mile. As it turned out, though, the motivation of skipping the run AND the guilt tomorrow energized me to complete a bit more than 3 1/2 today.
I kind of like this precrastination thing. I am going to see if I can make it work in other areas of my life.
Someone shared this with me in an email titled: Church Services of the Future. (It can also be found at places other than FreeRepublic.com. I believe the idea behind the email (I was among a good number of recipients) was to engender discussion of the ways technology is, or seems to be, or threatens to be, infringing on worship.
My first thought was that this was posted by a traditionalist, strongly opposed to any technology in worship.
Of, by that I mean (or the traditionalist means) opposition to any recent technology in worship. I assume, anyway, that there is not widespread opposition to the use of electricity – whether it be in the lights or sound system.
(I don’t know if distribution of cassette tapes of sermons is more acceptable than downloading digital copies. Find a traditionalist and ask.)
FYI, I am not, at least in the technological sense, a traditionalist.
Neither am I one who insists that proper, relevant worship of God must be on the cutting edge of technology.
So here is my response to the email discussion of this alleged “Church Service of the Future”: I do not believe worship (at least Christian worship) should be about technology. By this I mean Christian worship is about Christ and not, specifically and clear NOT about either
- the use of the latest technology
- the avoidance of technology.
God has no more (and no less) issue with your being distracted from worship by your smart phone than by worrying what that other person is looking at on her smartphone.
When I was a youth, we sometimes passed notes to one another during the sermon. Offering envelopes served well for this. When caught, we were admonished that we should be paying attention.
I don’t remember whether or not the notes were ever related to what the preacher was saying or not.
I know people who taking notes on their phones or tablet computers during sermons.
Is writing notes on by hand more worshipful than writing them electronically? Not a chance.
Worship is about worship – worship of God. It is not about technology – whether that means for technology, or against it.