Would you like to read more than stories of our kids? Visit the other blog.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Well, I don't even know what to say...

Bunnie did such an excellent job of reporting on this that I don't feel the need to add or subtract. In most cases when I think that something is worth a good read I'll just post a link, but I think this is so interesting that I'm just going to paste her whole text here to save everyone the trouble, and ensure that they give it a good read. So here you go:

Pro-Choicers Don't Seek Truth

Dennis DiMauro, a leader of Lutherans for Life, wrote the following essay on what pro-lifers are up against in the war against human life:

Talk Radio, Stem Cells, and Postmodernism
I don't know about you, but I love talk radio. I just can't get enough of Rush, Hannity, Imus, and Laura Ingraham, just to name a few. So you can bet that whenever I'm driving in my car, I'll be listening to some banter on topics of current debate. On Friday the 23rd of June, I got a little tired of the conservative talk shows I usually listen to, and I tuned in to the local Air America radio station. Air America is the relatively new liberal talk network, and I like to listen to this station because it gives me a lot of perspective on how the pro-choice side thinks, and how to counter their arguments.

The Al Franken show was on and his guest was Alta Charo, a professor of bioethics at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Charo is also a board member at the Alan Guttmacher Institute (the research and statistical arm of Planned Parenthood). The topic was stem cells and President Bush's May 24th press conference which praised the so-called "snowflake babies" and their parents. For those of you who haven't heard, "snowflake babies" are children who are born from mothers who adopted other couples' frozen embryos and had them implanted in their uteruses. These embryos are commonly leftover after the in vitro fertilization process, since in vitro often uses only a few of the embryos that are created in this fertility treatment. The rest are frozen, and recent estimates have determined that about 400,000 of these embryos are currently frozen and permanently stored in
U. S. fertility clinics.

In his press conference, President Bush showed the beautiful babies that were the result of these embryo adoptions. And he honored these "snowflake babies" to show that human embryos have value, and should never be killed and utilized for scientific research.

After learning that Al Franken's guest was a Professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison (long a hotbed of liberal radicalism), and a board member at the Alan Guttmacher Institute (the statistical arm of Planned Parenthood - which is the largest abortion provider in the United States), I expected the normal pro-choice arguments on stem cells. These arguments usually state that embryos are merely "potential" life and that their destruction could provide numerous cures for those suffering from Parkinson's and other neurological diseases. This area was covered, of course, and a few attacks on pro-lifers and the politicians who support the pro-life cause were thrown in for good measure.

But the conversation really got interesting when the discussion turned to when life begins. Al Franken asked Prof. Charo when life begins, and he seemed genuine in wanting to get a definitive answer from her. I was expecting the normal, pro-choice answers of "Life Begins at Birth," or "Life Begins When a Child Can Live On Its Own Outside the Womb."

But I have to admit that I was genuinely shocked by the answer Professor Charo gave. She simply responded, "I Don't Care."

Continue reading "Pro-Choicers Don't Seek Truth"

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Book tag

John H tagged me, via Devona. "Everyone's doing it!" I've always been a sucker for peer pressure.

1. How many books do you own?
Between four and five hundred, I'd guess. I don't know where they all came from. I think they reproduce when we're not looking.

2. What was the last book you bought?
Getting Things Done, by David Allen. I could be more of a nerd, but I haven't yet figured out how.

3. What was the last book you read?
Getting Things Done, by David Allen. I guess I "got it done."

4. What are some books that have meant a lot to you?
Getting Things Done, by David Allen. Wait, I think I just figured out how to be more of a nerd...

At the time I read these, they made an impact:

  • Mere Christianty, C.S. Lewis - The entire book was excellent. Not perfect, but great for something to think about. I've always loved Lewis' use of his imagination to explore the Christian faith.

  • The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis - This essay (and the other essays included in this collection) made me take a U-turn in my view of life. Prior to reading Weight of Glory, I was a pretty gloomy person. This encouraged me not to be.

  • Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster - I'd probably disagree with about 80 percent of Foster now, but this book was a landmark in the slow growth of my faith. I read it with three of my best friends over the course of some pretty important years. When we started reading, we were all single and in our freshman or sophomore years of college. By the end, all of us were married and finishing school. I will always have attached to this book countless memories of heartfelt conversations between brothers.

  • Desiring God, John Piper - Similar to Weight of Glory, this one helped me start enjoying life.

  • The Iliad, Homer - Classic stories like Homer's go a long way in preparing a heart for the true myth of Christ Jesus. They also teach you a lot about human struggle and failing, courage, fear, death, and honor.

  • The Odyssey, Homer - See above.

  • The Elements of Style, Strunk & White - Did I mention that I was a nerd?

  • Dune, Frank Herbert - Read this book for any extended period, and you'll start looking at the world differently. When I imagine what being on drugs must feel like, it's a little like it feels to read this. It was written in the sixties...

  • The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis - Everything I've said about Lewis applies. My mother read these books to me when I was only five years old, and I've re-read them many times since. If the last few chapters of the Last Battle don't fill you with longing, you have no soul.

  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, J.R.R. Tolkien - It would be cliche to put these on the list if they weren't so incredible. One of the greatest stories told in the last hundred years.

Next, I guess I'll tag Andy.

New music: Deadman

"This whole record is about the idea of Eternity," Steven says. "I feel like it's a challenge, because what are you going to do in the face of that? It's not a unique idea. But it's something that American music, at least in the last 20 years, has really run away from. It's like what Bob Dylan says to the Time magazine reporter in the documentary Don't Look Back: he says, 'you know, we're all gonna die someday, so you've got to do your job in the face of that; if you don't do it that way, you're not really living.'
- Steven Collins
Deadman, the husband and wife duo of Steven and Sherilyn Collins, is our latest find. Their EP In the Heart of Mankind sounds like Leonard Cohen met Daniel Lanois in Texas and cut a record for long night drives across desert highways.

Lyrics to Mankind:

In these times of trouble,
I will love mankind
When my cup runs over,
I will love mankind
When I'm feeling all is lost, that the race is up,
That the evil we do is killing us
When the trails that we face are just too much,
And the wounds that we nurse are killing us,
I will love mankind

When my friends betray me,
I will love mankind
When my accounts are empty,
I will love mankind,
I will love them because I'm commanded to,
I will love them because that's what we're meant to do,
For we're living our lives in a finite place,
In a world that has endings to all our power plays,
I will love mankind

When all hope is lost,
I will love mankind
When I can't bear the cost,
I will love mankind,
And I don't know how to tell you how important this is,
How much suffering can be ended, opportunities missed
To just stop hating and start loving instead,
And to see God above is really interested
In loving mankind

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Indoctrination station

In the comments to this post, Eric remarked on our plans to read the Lutheran Hymnal and Small Catechism to our children:

indoctrinate your children in the way they should go so when they are older they will rebel from it...

This hurt Devona's feelings, and ticked me off a bit. But hey, no biggie. We've written things that have done the same to others. After all, we're Lutherans. That's what we do.

But I'm left with a few questions. If reading to your child from the Small Catechism and singing songs to them from the Lutheran Hymnal qualifies as indoctrination guaranteed to create a rebellious monster, what doesn't?

Maybe Liv would be better off if we raised her without absolutes. We could end each day with readings from a variety of religions—Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and paganism would all be given equal billing as "possible truth."

I'm sure this would develop in our child an excellent moral compass. Give it a try, and let me know how it goes, okay?

Comments (like the one above) I've received from old friends on the blog and in person betray a serious misunderstanding of the place Devona and I have come to in our faith. The fault is probably mine. I can do a pretty bad job of explaining myself. Rather than try to articulate the reasons for our exodus from modern evangelicalsim for the ten-thousandth time -- further categorizing myself as a polemic ass bent on burning all bridges with reasonable Christians -- I thought I'd pose a few questions to my friends and myself.

I don't think I have all the answers, if any. But contemplating these might help us all understand one another a little better.

  • What is your definition of orthodoxy?
  • Does orthodoxy exist on this side of heaven?
  • If it doesn't, what does it mean to be a Christian?
  • If it does, are you under orthodox teaching?
  • How does a person decide whether or not a teaching/practice is orthodox?
  • If a person found orthodoxy, how should he handle unorthodoxy?
  • How did Jesus handle unorthodoxy among the religious?
  • Are we called to handle it in the same way?
  • What is the relationship between orthodoxy and unity?
  • Which is more important?
  • Assuming orthodoxy exists, is it okay to call unorthodoxy "wrong"?
  • Assuming orthodoxy exists, and unity is a goal, how is that goal pursued?

Let me know what you all think. I'm sure all we Lutherans will agree on our answers, and will spend a good deal of time high-fiving in the end-zone after we've strung up Rick Warren and blasted Michael W. Smith to Venus. But hey, some things just can't be helped.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Hi, nice to meet you, my name is Ma.

I am officially Ma. Liv says, "Ma" now and I have melted to the floor. I came after "Da", "Doh" (dog), "Keeh" (kitty), "Nana", and "Bobo" (I'm not sure if that ever meant anything, but it was cute). I don't care though, because I am Ma.

We also hit a milestone yesterday at the doctor's office. Liv associated pat-a-cake with clapping her hands. She didn't realize how to clap until Tuesday when her good friend Connor (Remember the cutie from "Stay away from boys"?) showed her how to do it at play group. Now she claps whenever I sing her a song. It's very darling.

And then, about 30 minutes ago, right before her nap, Olivia gave me the first intentional snuggle. She usually fights and pushes when she's tired. In fact she's kind of a touch-me-not baby. But today she was sitting in my lap and she just snuggled her head right to my chest and let out a big sigh. Then she held on tight and just hugged me.

It's all over now. I'm wrapped around her finger.

Book tag, Liv-style

Hi. I'm playing this game that all the grown-ups get to play. Book-tag is a little different than pat-a-cake, which is interactive. In book-tag we just write about books we like, I guess that's fun.

Books I like:
Anything I can get my hands on, really. I like the crumple and taste of paper. But some books Ma and Da read to me, and I like that. Here they are...

Goodnight Moon, Margret Wise Brown.I like the little bunny, and the quiet rhythm of the words.

The poetry of Robert Frost. More rhythm. And he talks about trees and horses, which I like.

Where's Spot? Eric Hill. That silly doggy didn't want to eat his supper. I really like doggies. When I say doggy it sounds like this, "Doh Doh."

The Very Busy Spider, Eric Carle. Bugs are really neat. I have lots of bug toys, and this is a book about a bug. I don't know why Ma doesn't like bugs. She's always putting them inside cups and then making them go outside. Sometimes she squishes them. She doesn't' even try to eat them! I will never understand grown-ups.

Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak. I am a Wild Thing myself, so I can relate to this book. All the rumpusing and mischief. Plus, when Ma reads it she makes some really silly sounds. I love to laugh at Ma's sounds.

Luther's Small Catechism. Ma says that we should read it more often. I agree. There are lost of nice black and white pictures in there which are still my favorite kind. Also, this has the regular paper pages, so I like to crinkle them when Ma's not looking.

The Lutheran Hymnal. I love this book. I'm not going to tell Ma and Da why though. I like to keep a little mystery in my life. You can always find me trying to grab it in church, though. Sometimes I even try to grab it from an unsuspecting stranger. One of these days they will let me hold my own. Maybe if I just keep grabbing...

Book tag!

Theresa Kiihn, Minnesotan extraordinare has tagged me. And so has one UK Confessional.

Number of books I own.
Being at the start of my book collecting days, I'd say we own about 400 or 500 books. I should own more, but for some reason I left books with my old roommate and sold back books to the bookstore that I should have kept. That darned hindsight...

Next book to buy:
The new Book of Concord. For sure. How can we call ourselves Lutherans without one? Plus I want to be certain that Olivia grows up knowing not only what we believe, but why it is so important. Thus, I think that Rob and I both need to know, even more so, why it is so important.

Currently Reading:
Nothing! Can you believe it? But, I guess in the summer an English Major needs to take a break. I'm planning on reading a couple of books any day now, though, and those are:

The Skystone, Jack Whyte. This was recommended to me by my friend Rachelle, it's historical fiction about pre-Arthurian Anglo-Saxon Europe.

The Iliad, Homer. That's right. I haven't read this yet. That's pretty bad. I keep picking it up and putting it down over the years. I am committed to reading it by the end of the year though.

Getting Things Done, David Allen. This is the book that has been eating all of Rob's time lately. He's actually "getting [more] things done" though, so I thought I'd better become more productive and stress-free myself.

Last book I read:
I'll give you two books. One I read for class, and the other I read because I know nothing about money, and it was a gift from Rob's mom.

The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous and Broke, Suze Orman. It was a bit "trendy" and almost tried too hard to make the reader feel like they deserved to be rich. But, it did a great job of teaching me about FICO and IRA and 401k, which was the ultimate goal of the book. I recommend it to young singles, the group it is actually targeted to. We weren't "fabulous" I suppose since we're married and have a baby and all.

A selection from Le Morte D'Arthur, Sir Thomas Malory. It was great, and I recommend reading it in the original language since it is an easy transition to Middle English. The dialect is almost modern since it was written so late and after the printing press had really begun to standardize language. On a side note. When they teach you in school about the printing press, and why it was such an important invention, they don't explain the half of it. No one ever mentioned that the printing press played a vital role in the reformation, or in the standardization of language. All they ever said was "Now books were more common, and they didn't have to be written by hand anymore." Woohoo. That doesn't mean anything to kids. Then again, maybe the rest wouldn't either.

Books that have meant a lot to me:
There are so many.

The Bible, of course.

The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis. These books had me on the edge of my seat as a child. I wasn't from a very Christian family, though, so I had no idea. Then I read them again after becoming a Christian as an adult and I was shocked. Now I can't wait to read them to Olivia. I am purposely not reading them yet until she is old enough to understand. I really want to cheat though since the movies are coming out and I want to double check their accuracy.

The Spirituality of the Cross, Gene E. Veith. This was the first place that I saw a good reason to believe what the Catholics believed (at least in part) about the sacraments. I was raised Catholic, and even though every spark of faith that was in my family had fizzled out, when I returned to Christianity in the Modern Evangenerical church I knew something wasn't right about the purely memorial viewpoint on the supper and baptism. That was exactly what made it ok for me to be a Lutheran. I kind of already wanted to be one anyway, but that was the great excuse I had for making the leap.

Rob's journal. I don't know if he knows I've read this, but when I was hugely pregnant and feeling like junk, I was finishing moving in to our apartment and I came across the journal he was writing in when we met. He had a crush on me, but I was crazy. He also was slightly interested in this other girl we both knew. I was way too hot, though, so he picked me. No, I'm just kidding. He had said very shortly after meeting me that he was afraid and excited that I might be "The One" but he didn't know how it would work because I was so confused and not ready to date. I got to read through the process of my sanctification from his perspective. I got to see how his love for me grew, and how I grew to truly love him as well. It was truly moving, and it helped me feel a lot better about myself in my whale-state of pregnancy.

Till We Have Faces, C.S. Lewis. This book was loaned to me by one of the best friends I've had in my life. She loaned it to me for two years, in that time I read it twice. It was a good change to the Christian literature that I had read previously. It was the most meaningful to me because I realized that a book from a Christian perspective does not have to be "out-reach" oriented. A Christian can take the themes of their faith and write a great book about the state of humanity. I hope that I can write a book this good one day.

The Creighton Method of NFP. That's right. We do NFP. This was one of the most difficult decisions of our lives. (I couldn't find a good link to the book we use with our doctor, so this website I've never seen before will have to do. ) I have a fertility problem, and so I went to the doctor and we talked about the Creighton Method. We talked about birth control and we talked about what it really means to be pro-life. After reading this book we decided that we were definitely not using the pill, and we then further decided not to use any other method of contraception. That has made a huge impact on our marriage, it has changed the way we view sex, the way we view family, and the way we view vocation.

A book that changed my view of the world:

Go Ask Alice, Anonymous. I read this book as a confused teenager. It was frightening and comforting all at the same time. It was the personal journal of a teenage girl in the 60s. You can imagine what happened to her. I would say that it meant a lot to me because it changed my view of the world, but probably not for the best. After reading it I decided that I should run out to the west coast and open a jewelry boutique and become a hitch-hiker. The closest I ever came was selling my own jewelry at a Christian art show, and hitch-hiking on Nantucket Island for one day. That was fun, but not exactly what I had planned after reading this book. That probably is for the best.

Funny and Regional:
Calvin and Hobbes, Bill Watterson. I grew up reading these. John H. reminded me of them. Watterson lives about 15 minutes from us, and as far as I know he always has. So there you go, Two topics with one book.

Western Culture:
The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer. How can you not love the English language after reading this? It's vital to the history of our language, and Chaucer did such an amazing job of proving it was worth being revived. Mmmm. Plus the Parson is an awesome character when juxtaposed with the Pardoner. That's a great view of the extremes of medieval Catholicism.

The Norton Anthology of American Literature. I love anthologies. This was specifically important in my life because it has tons of work by Jonathan Edwards. While Rob and I were briefly skirting Calvinism I was extremely put off my how many Reformed love Edwards. I think he's a crazy mystic and legalist. That is one of the factors into why I couldn't be Reformed.

This anthology also has Emerson, Poe, Hawthorne, Dickenson, and Melville. All of this will come in handy if I ever homeschool or teach literature in a charter school, both of which are possibilities for my future.

I don't have anything that I can think of that I am embarrassed to have as a favorite. But I do have a ton of books that I am embarrassed to have in my library, so that is what I will make a list of.

The Purpose Driven Life
A Max Lucado Collection
3 copies of My Utmost of His Highest
2 copies of I Kissed Dating Goodbye
Every Man's Battle

I'm not going to go through trouble of making those hyper-links. If anyone is interested in finding them, I'm sure you can figure it out.

And the topic that I want to add...
My favorite book as a child:
Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll. My mom had an old leather bound copy which I have stolen. I have read this book more than 30 times. I will definitely read it to Olivia. This is on the top of the list for me when it comes to fantasy. Well, I guess LOTR is pretty top notch, too, but I didn't read that until after I met Rob.

Now I have to tag people. I was going to tag John, but it's too late now, so I tag...
Andy Stager
Twylah (If you don't think you should do it on HWS then you can post it here, or completely avoid the issue)
Erica Olson

Hope my response wasn't too boring, and I can't wait to read the next people's answers! This is such a good idea.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Now I get to be the spoiling-Aunt Devona

Since they made it public, then so can I!

Congrats to the Stagers. All three of them. :)

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Not a rodent falls...

29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. 30And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

That's right! Not a sparrow falls.

This was part of the Gospel reading today in church. Pastor Kozak gave a great message from this text, but I have my own message that relates in a non-law-gospel way.

Not a mouse will fall into a spring-loaded trap baited with peanut butter apart from the will of our Father either. Sorry Squeaky, but your days were numbered. Just like your little furs on your back were also numbered. Thank God for humane ways of ridding your house of unwanted pests. They're gone before they know they're going.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Forgive as you have been forgiven

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
2 Corinthians 1: 3-5

Thanks be to God. It is a blessing to have been forgiven of our sins. And the thankfulness and joy that one receives from being forgiven flows over.

I am thankful that I have been able to be a comfort and a friend to people I know who are hurting because of their sins. I am thankful that because I have been forgiven much, I am able to speak much forgiveness to those who need to hear it.

To those who are hurting today, know that there is eternal life despite our wickedness. Know that although we have not been perfect, there is a solution. Jesus Christ, the God-Man, has been born to live a perfect life. He has died a sacrificial death in our place, and therefore imputes his righteousness to us. He has risen and conquered death so that those who are in Him will not need to fear its sting.

We will be risen up on that day to live in glory with our Father. Thanks be to God that I know this is true. Thanks that I am able to proclaim it because it has first been proclaimed to me.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

crawling img. 1

Originally uploaded by Devona.
She's officially crawling now. I'd have blogged about it sooner, but we've been soooooooo busy. She started going full speed and forwards last monday. There has been no stopping her since.

Now she's pulling herself up and transfering from the couch to the chair, and the chair to the table. There's nothing our baby can't do!!! I'm certain that she'll be walking in a month. Liv seems pretty determined to get going. Crawling is for babies any way. ;-)

crawling img. 2

Originally uploaded by Devona.
She's almost here!

crawling img. 3

Originally uploaded by Devona.
Here she is!