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

Thursday, July 28, 2005

One year of Love with lots of Blunder

Love & Blunder has reached its one year anniversary. Actually, it was yesterday, but I was at my mother-in-law's house doing the laundry so I didn't get a chance to post.

In celebration of this year of technological fun and fellowship I'm going to post my 5 favorite posts from L&B of all time. Get out your party noise makers, lets reminisce!

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Our first entry...

... is very short.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Deep Thoughts From a Turtle

I am a turtle. I can't flip myself over, and I get stuck in bed. I walk much slower than I used to, and I can't get around tables at work very easily. The other night I almost slid off of the toilet because I have no balance! It's my large round belly. It has become my shell, and I am now a turtle. These are my deep thoughts.
By the way, I'm not a computer guru like Rob, so I had to make my turtle body in Microsoft Paint!!!Posted by Hello

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Olivia Hope is born!

Olivia Hope Brazier is born!

Just a quick update, since so many are waiting to hear. She was born at 5:05 a.m. on Thursday, October 21st. She weighed 7 lbs. 3 oz., and was 19 inches long. She has big blue eyes and curly red hair!

Devona's labor was a long one, lasting just over 20 hours. By itself, the pushing stage lasted 4 hours. Of course, Devona is simultaneously exhausted and thrilled.

Thanks so much for everyone's support and prayers. I managed to sneak away to share this photo. We'll be posting more in the next few days. For now, I'm heading back to the hospital!

posted by Rob @ 2:27 PM

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Look, Olivia is cleansed of all unrighteousness! Posted by Hello

Monday, February 14, 2005

Evangelicals and brand dilution

John H. details the problems posed by the word evangelical's loss of meaning. He makes an excellent point, calling for a recovery of the term's proper definition.

Perhaps an ad campaign is also in order.

posted by Rob @ 2:09 AM
That's it. Those are my 5 favorite posts from Love and Blunder. I hope you enjoyed them, and if you think I forgot something great, go ahead and leave us a note in the comments.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Some rambling thoughts on communion

We Believe: Essays on the Catechism is a fine tiny book published by Concordia Theological Seminary Press that gathers essays from Lutheran pastors and was handed to me by Pastor ZImmerman this morning (for free! maybe it's always free?).

The essay The Holy Supper: A Taste of Heaven by Rev. Dr. William Weinrich got me thinking on that great mystery again. I'm sure whatever I post will be quickly followed by a searing note from Andy employing words larger than my head to shatter any excitement generated by the following words, but let's give it a shot anyway.

The very sensory character of the Lord's Supper indicates what we always assert by way of doctrinal statement. The Bread and the Wine are the very Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus, which He has commanded us to eat and to drink. The Lord's Supper is something concrete, particular, real; it is Body and Blood. It is not something merely other-worldly, spiritual, non-material; it is not merely "soul food." It is therefore received in concrete, particular and real manner--by eating and drinking. Because it is the Body and Blood of Jesus, it is eaten and drunk even by those who do not believe what their ears have heard, namely, "This is My Body; this is My Blood." Even unbelievers eat and drink the very Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus when they partake of the Bread and the Wine. Those who believe these words, "This is My Body; this is My Blood," rather faithfully eat and faithfully drink and receive in faith that which the Father gives through the giving up of His Son into death.

This is to say that the forgiveness of sins, and the Life of the Spirit which comes with that forgiveness, is bound to a particular Body and to a particular Blood. On the very night in which Jesus was betrayed, He "instituted" the Supper, which was His own. By means of this "institution" Jesus gave to His Church for all times and all places that Supper, which would be the place and the time of His death for the forgiveness of sins. We many put it like this: the death of Christ which occurred once is "for us" in the Lord's Supper.

I really like that bit where Weinrich illuminates one of the most profound examples of the incarnation of Christ: "This is to say that the forgiveness of sins, and the Life of the Spirit which comes with that forgiveness, is bound to a particular Body and a particular Blood."

If we are not receiving Christ's true body and Christ's true blood in the elements of the supper, then what are we receiving? And whatever it is, how is it going to do us a bit of good unless it is Christ Himself?

I will never again settle for an understanding of faith that cleanly divides the spiritual from the physical, as I did when I was younger. If I did, I'd be letting myself be robbed of the incarnate Christ--a Man Whose real blood was shed for me, and whose real body was broken for me. A Man Who is God.

It seems like many understandings of communion give the doctrine of the Trinity a good thrashing, and pretty much gloss over the Holiness of God. If Christ is being received in the Supper, then God and Spirit are also received. The gift given in the supper is a completely monergistic activity. In the words of Dr. David Scaer, "Since God is not morally neutral and does not choose to be holy, but He is holy, all His works necessarily share in His holiness." That holiness when received by a Christian is justification and sanctification all at once, because it is God Himself. That holiness, when received by an unbeliever is a sin of blasphemy and damnation--just like it was for those who dared touched the ark or the mountain where God dwelt in the Old Testament.

Any other understanding of communion sucks the Lord straight out of the Lord's Supper. And I guess that makes sense.

Why Concordia Theological Seminary is awesome

Pastor Zimmerman of Concordia gave the message at our church this morning. I spoke with him briefly following and he gave me a few pamphlets describing CTS's mission.

Here's an excerpt:

The incarnate Christ is the Knowledge of God--the crucified Jesus shows us the very nature of God.

In contrast to a would that reduces life to a series of discrete moments of consumption, Concordia Theological Seminary proclaims a life centered in Christ. The life is characterized by cohesiveness in theology and practice, classroom and community. CTS's curriculum is a theological construct, a way of articulating this theological vision, and a way of thought that determines life's shape. That theological vision embraces a hermeneutic, an epistemology, a way of knowing God as He truly reveals Himself--incarnationally, sacramentally, and christologically.

Theological study at Concordia Theological Seminary seamlessly joins the highest level of academic theology with pastoral formation. The content of theology is more than information. It goes well beyond the mere form of propositional truth. Theology is the encounter between man and God. It is a lived reality in fellowship with the Holy Trinity through the person of Jesus. The center of all our endeavors, then, is the crucified, risen, and ascended Christ who has taken away our sins through His blood and remains present with us through Word and Sacrament. This theological encounter with and through Christ is the basis for what pastors do and what people receive. It is the focus of all genuine theology.

Man. That sure kicks butt on the marketing materials of other schools--even schools that are training pastors. "We have a great basketball team," "Check out our accreditation!" or "In the spirit of the first century Church and many early Christian reformers, we choose to be non-sectarian," just doesn't cut it against "To know God is to be truly alive. Apart from God, all learning and all of life are reduced to the sensations of the moment--pride, power, pleasure--and then end in death."

Friday, July 22, 2005

spacious kitchen

spacious kitchen
Originally uploaded by Devona.
Did I spell spacious correctly?

Anyway, these following posts are all some pictures of the apartment we'd be living in if we bought the house we've recently been considering.

I couldn't take any pictures of the down-stairs apartment because it is occupied and I need permission. The guy is out of town though, so I couldn't get it.

What do you think?

open floor plan to den

open floor plan to den
Originally uploaded by Devona.

green dining room with cool light fixture

green dining room with cool light fixture
Originally uploaded by Devona.

skylight in bedroom

skylight in bedroom
Originally uploaded by Devona.

vaulted ceiling in bedroom

vaulted ceiling in bedroom
Originally uploaded by Devona.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

I'm 9 months old today!

Blue-eyes and smile
Originally uploaded by Devona.

That's right. Today I am as old on the outside of Ma as I was inside of Ma. That's old.

Did you know that I like to yell? I really really like to yell. There are so many things that are important to say loudly. So I yell about them.

Ma tried to teach me to swim. I swallowed a bunch of water and it made me cry. I like swimming as long I can put my face in when I want to. When Ma does it I choke.

I got my first black eye, and my first fat lip this week. I can almost walk, so I like to pull up on furniture. Well, I was trying to read a book from the book shelf, and it fell when I grabbed it. The next thing I knew Ma and Da were yelling and my eye hurt really bad. I was in a heap on the ground. Then I ate some mom-food and I felt better. Ma showed everyone my eye, they looked sad.

The next day I was watching Da get ready for work in the bathroom. I like to play with the shiny things in the tub, but when I tried that day I slipped and my mouth was attacked by the tub. I cried a lot.

Oh yeah, I am asking Ma to change my profile. I look like such a baby in there, and I like so many new books. So come and see it if you have some time.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Re: Devona's thoughts on sinners

Devona's post on our possible renting situation with a homosexual individual (or couple, not sure yet) has sparked some discussion on Andy's Puritan Board (see the comments on her post for details).

Though I haven't come to a final conclusion on the matter, here are some questions running through my head:
  • Would you clothe a destitute homosexual? Feed a starving homosexual? Give a cup of cold water to a thirsty homosexual?
  • If so, is there a moral difference between any of these acts and renting that same homosexual an apartment?
  • Are we all called to preach the Law to every sinner that crosses our path?
  • Would you rent an apartment to King David during his affair with Bathsheba? Or would you need to wait until he repented? Not that he would be able to meet the security deposit, that jerk...
  • What about Hosea and Gomer? Would you rent an apartment to a couple struggling through sins of infidelity?
  • Would you continue to pay your own mortgage if you were in the midst of an affair?
  • Are we really called to cut ourselves off from the entire world's unrepentant sin?
  • What about the adulterous woman in scripture, the one who the Pharisees pulled out of bed in the midst of her sin and dragged before Jesus? Certainly He admonished her to go and sin no more, but was that the entirety of His response to her?
  • Would you like to supersize that?
Honestly, I'm not entirely sure of the best way to love your neighbor in our situation. But to tell you all the truth, my conscience tells me that building relationships based on particular sins, habits, or t-shirts is what drove American Christianity into the pit it is in today.

What sins should be permissible in our apartment? Or should we apply to our renters the same standard Devona and I try to hold one another to: "Confess your sins to one another?"

I have to admit that I'm discouraged by all this. I have no doubt that if the renter in question were a single 20-something, non-Christian male who was living the typical promiscuous male life, it wouldn't have raised this sort of a flag--not in my own mind, or in the minds of others.

All of us--especially myself--have an insatiable appetite for cliques, inner rings, hierarchies. We love knowing who's in and who's out (no pun intended), what sins are bad, and what sins are REALLY bad.

Really, we just love knowing all the people that we're better than.

And besides, Devona and I can use the interior design tips. This guy has incredible taste in furniture.

Hermann Sasse is the man

This excerpt from Hermann Sasse's "The Lord's Supper in the New Testament" gets me more excited every time I read it:

A Lord's Day without the Lord's Supper is absolutely unthinkable in the New Testament. Without the Eucharist the church would have ceased to be church. It would no longer exist at all. And that goes for the whole New Testament, also for those writings in which the Lord's Supper is not directly mentioned; even there it stands in the background as a fact that belongs to the essence of the church. All this is only clearly understood, however, if all that Jesus Christ is and all that he brought, His whole person and His whole work, is indissolubly connected with the Lord's Supper. That is in fact the case, and no else than Jesus Himself has made the connection.

Therein lies the meaning of the action that we call the institution of the Lord's Supper. It is the last act of Jesus before His death, an act of unfathomable profoundness and immeasurable consequences. In the face of death, which is both the end and the fulfillment of His life's work on earth, Jesus gives His disciples redemption. What until then was only the object of the promise comes true in the moment when the Lord gives them His body and blood. Without the institution of the Lord's Supper the Gospel could be misunderstood as a teaching about redemption and Jesus Himself as the greatest of the prophets of the coming Kingdom. This misunderstanding is now no longer possible. With the Words of Institution the prophetic office of Christ is fulfilled, and his high priestly work begins. From now on wherever this Sacrament is repeated, wherever the Words of Institution resound anew, there redemption is something more than the object of the promise. It is actually given to whoever receives the Sacrament in faith. Under the forms of bread and wine what Christ sacrificed as "High Priest forever" (Heb. 6:20) and as "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (John 1:29) in the one sacrifice of the cross "for many" is received.

Prayer Request

We are reworking the numbers, and we can probably afford the previously mentioned house.

Could all you bloggers lift us up in prayer while we make this decision? That would be appreciated.

We love you all!

Thoughts on Sinners

Rob and I are one month into our hunt for an investment property. This Saturday we happened across the dream building. It's a little out of our price range, so I think we're going to pass it up for now, but looking at it got me thinking.

The tenant downstairs, which we would be inheriting if we bought it is gay. We happen to live in one of the most densely homosexual neighborhoods of Akron, so even if we don't buy this building, it's likely that we'd be renting to a homosexual, and possibly even homosexual couples regularly. Twice, upon revealing this fact to Christian friends I've had the friend reply that they wouldn't be able to rent to a gay person, or even to an unmarried, cohabitating couple because they do not want to support that lifestyle. My original reaction was, "Well that's discrimination, and that's illegal." Which it is. But something else has been nagging me about it.

I understand that we want to call sin sin. It's important, and it's one of the reasons no one likes a Lutheran Blogger. We call sin sin so loudly that it makes everyone uncomfortable. But I'm wondering if sometimes in our zeal to condemn sin, we forget that we ourselves are sinners. Is homosexuality or cohabitation that monumentally more sinful than me being passive-aggressive to Rob? Should I therefore not rent to myself? Or should I not rent to an alcoholic? How about a person who hasn't talked to their parents in years? How about a Muslim? By housing these sinners under my roof, am I condoning their sins? That alcoholic could be drinking to excess in my house and that Muslim could be praying to a false god; just as much as a gay couple or fornicators could be profaning the gift of sex.

I've been trying to write a sentence that explains the difference in these situations, why some are ok, and some are not. I can't think of that sentence. Is it because there is truly no difference?

One of the people that I talked to about it warned me to keep Olivia safe in this situation. I will; with all of my strength I will protect her. And there are dangerous, and predatory gays. We have a friend that used to work for a gay boss. He always thought that his boss was a little weird, but then all of a sudden his boss was gone. He had been convicted of sleeping with a 13 year old boy. I will definitely do everything in my power to protect Olivia from people like that. But just like not every homosexual is a sexual predator, not every heterosexual is safe. Look at BTK, for example. He's a husband, father and active member of his Lutheran Church. Even his pastor was shocked to discover the depth of his crimes. According to all outward appearances, Rader was an upstanding citizen, and there was no apparent reason why I shouldn't have rented to him, or someone like him.

The answer I come to at the end of my ramblings (which I've written on the fly to help further develop my opinion) is that we are called to love our neighbors. We are not called to dismiss our neighbors' sinful behaviors, but we are called to love them, even if they're gay. I am also called to love and protect my baby from all the evils of this world to the best of my ability. Because of that I will perform extensive background checks on all my renters. I will interview the renter in person in order to make a character judgment. And I will never leave Olivia alone, ever, when we are still living in the same building as our tenants. Hopefully, by the time she's old enough to be left alone, we'll have our own home, but who knows.

Even though I will do everything in my power to protect my baby, I will not discriminate, and I will try my best to be loving and fair. I will also try my best to be humble. If I ever do have an unrepentant sinner as a tenant, and they ask me, "So, do you think it's ok that I worship Allah?" or, "So, do you think it's ok if I sleep with this man?" I'll respectfully say, "No. I think it's wrong. God's law prohibits it, but you are free to sin in any manner you choose. I sin all the time. The only difference between you and me is that I've been called to repentance, and I have been forgiven. You can be forgiven too, if you repent and believe in Christ." Or something along that vein.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Baby Blues

Baby Blues
Originally uploaded by Devona.
Olivia is really enjoying music now. She dances when she hears a good beat and she loves to make musical instruments make noise. I let her play with the 88 key keyboard on the floor, and I let her do the guitar when I'm around to make sure she's not breaking the strings.

As I type this she is hitting the guitar and yelling "DADADADA!" She doesn't really play with her toys. She either grabs our stuff and pulls it on the ground to chew on it, or she plays with instruments.

I don't know how to get her play with her toys. :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Answering the "Cool Kids" questions

Now that I'm an adult and more or less comfortable in my skin, I can do what the Cool Kids are doing without feeling like a poser. So here you go, it's some tag-yourself-answer-game fun! Hat-tip Theresa, Beck, and The H.

Why do you blog?
I started blogging because I had no one to connect with. My best friend had moved away, and I was pregnant. The only person I had was Rob. Plus, we were baby Lutherans and I needed to spout out my ideas. I really only journal (or blog) in times of change. I am blogging now because I know it is a good exercise for me. I need to be in the habit of writing, and this is the only thing that keeps me going. I have made so many connections with other people that love the things I love that I am encouraged to write so that we can continue to share our ideas.

What has been your best blogging experience?
My best blogging experience. Hmmmmm....
I would have to say the support I had from all the Lutheran Bloggers when we were waiting for Olivia to be born was pretty top notch. That really helped me get through those last few weeks. Or months, it all feels the same when you're the size of three whales.

What would be your main advice to a novice blogger?

Blog about what you know. There are tons of people out there who know what you don't know, and you will learn from them. But you're the only one who knows exactly what you know. Rob knows about newspapers, graphic design, macs, music and theology. He's going to share his world with you in a different way than I would since I know about linguistics, medieval literature, mothering, making baby food, and do-it-yourself crafting. If you try to blog about what that guy over there knows, he'll soon discover you blogging about his knowledge, determine that you know nothing about what he knows, and then publicly blast you for it.

If you only had time to read three blogs a day, what would they be?
I can't only read three blogs a day. But I guess I'd read the ones that the most people I like are commenting on. That way I can connect with everyone as quickly as possible. So I think that would be Bunnie, John H. and HWS. I think I'd like to add that I'll be checking these lovebirds regularly, too, cause I'm a sucker for a good love story.

Who are your spiritual heroes?
Rob is my first spiritual hero. Then I guess it would be Jesus, Luther, and my pastor. I'm not a big theology reader so I don't have all the cool names you all have listed. I learn my theology second hand, from Rob and bloggers.

What are you reading at the moment?

Real estate listings. I am the kind of person who obsesses over whatever life stage I'm in. When I was pregnant I read baby books, when I was getting married I read wedding books, when I became a Lutheran I read Lutheran books, and so now that we're buying a house I can't read anything except house stuff.

What is your favorite hymn and why?
I come, O Savior, to Thy Table because I love communion more than anything else in the world. I'm going to share something weird about myself from back when I was a pagan highschooler.

I used to ask my closest friends this really odd question: "If I exploded, would you eat my fragments?" Gross, I know. I don't know where I came up with that, but I used to explain to my friends who replied, "Gross! Why?!" that if they did it was the only way I'd live forever. Then when they exploded, and someone ate their fragments, they would then eat the by product of my fragments, etc.

Thinking about that now, I wonder if there was any underlying Catholicism in my thinking. Did I know that it was only by the eating of flesh that I would have eternal life? I had known it before, so maybe it was spilling over. I don't know.

The reaction that my friends had when I asked if they'd eat me in jest was similar to the reaction that Jesus got in John 6 when he said that we'd have to eat him, or else. Only I was joking and I'd never actually be able to break my body for my friends the way Christ did. When I think about how absurd we think it is to eat flesh, but Jesus lets us do it anyway, I am moved. Jesus isn't out to give us what we want, he's out to give us what we need, whether we like it or not. That is why I love communion more than anything else in the world.

I'm sure now that if you didn't think I was nuts before I have you convinced now!

Can you name a major moral, political, or intellectual issue on which you’ve changed your mind?
I haven't made my mind up about most things yet. So I don't know how to answer this question.

What philosophical thesis do you think that it is most important to combat?

If you could affect one major change in the governing of your country, what would it be?
There wouldn't be two political parties, and there wouldn't be two media giants that make it impossible for the candidates to actually discuss their position on issues honestly. As it is now, we have to guess on politicians motives and that's just silly.

If you could effect one major policy change in your denomination, what would it be?
We'd all take communion every week.

What would be your most important piece of advice about life?
It's not always your husband's fault. I've seen a few marriages fail because the couple begins to internally blame the other person for everything wrong in their life. I mean, they married you because they love you, not because they're really out to get you and ruin your life.

What, if anything, do you worry about?
I worry that Olivia will be kidnapped and we'll never find her. Then she'll be alive somewhere in this world, and we'll never know. She'd be raised by some evil kidnapper guy, and never have any memory of us, and how much we love her.

If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything that you’d do differently?
Ton's of things. That's why Jesus died for me.

Where would you most like to live (other than where you do now)?
In a house.

I'm just kidding. I would probably want to live in the south, or in Ireland. Maybe in China, but not until I'm older.

What do you like doing in your spare time? There isn't one singular thing that I like to do in my spare time. I read blogs, I craft, I teach myself how to do things I don't yet know how to do. I walk, I eat, I cook, I paint, I sing, I play guitar (Not as often as I should), I play with Olivia. I love spare time.

What is your most treasured possession?
Hmmm... I am going to try to answer this as superficially as possible. I think that everything that I have made for our home is treasured to me. It reminds me of how much I love my family, and how hard I work. I try to show the people I love how much I love them by my creativity.

What talent would you most like to have?
I want to be a better writer. I also want to learn how to play the flute, and the hammer dulcimer. Oh yeah, I want to play the violin, too.

If you could have any three guests, past or present to dinner, who would they be?
I would want to invite all my blogging friends over, three at a time. I'd serve salmon and roasted veggies. I'd even make bread in my bread maker. Plus I have a bottle of really cheap wine in my fridge that I'd like to use to make smoothies, and you're welcome to try one.

Ok, your turn...

Friday, July 08, 2005

sweet and pretty

sweet and pretty
Originally uploaded by Devona.
This is a little chair that I made for Olivia. I like my little poem, too. I still haven't thought of how I should end it.

It's going to go in her room which I plan to decorate like a garden with butterflies and other cute bugs. She should get her own room soon because we are searching for a house. At the moment we live in a one room apartment, and we are definitely out growing our space.

We're looking to buy a duplex, and rent out the other half. That means that I get to have a part time job: land-lord. This will be the temporary step we take next before we buy our first home.

OK I'm going to go to bed. That's all the personal information I'm sharing for one day. :)

Olivia in her jammies

Olivia in her jammies
Originally uploaded by Devona.
She's my cutie. :)

Olivia and Uncle Ron

Olivia and Uncle Ron
Originally uploaded by Devona.
This is Olivia sitting in the lap of her "Uncle" Ron. You probably gathered that by the title of the post.

Ron is a sailor. He owns his own boat, and for the last 18 years he's been sailing around the world because he can. He's been to China, South Africa, New Zealand, and a bunch of places I've never even heard of. Ron has even drank the narcotic spit of people who live in the jungles of Africa. Gross.

Ron is my dad's step-mother's son. I had never met him before our recent trip to Vermont to see my Grandpa's house before they sell it. He just walked in the door, and my Dad's wife and I were like, "Uhm, Hello?" Neither of us knew he was coming. That was wierd. Then we were introduced, and the family all got acquainted over some tasty beverages (That's Rob's hand in the picture about to sip his yummy bass ale). He showed us a slide show on his laptop of the last year of his travels.

During that slide show he said things like, "Yeah, that's pretty much virgin forest, no one really goes there." And, "Yeah, we were pretty much out on our own out there." And, "The government of (I forget where) set up a little shack in order to bring in more tourists and we stayed there."

Even though I've been to China, and seen and eaten some strage stuff, this guy takes the cake. It was cool to have met him.

Olivia usually is pretty afraid of men with dark hair, but she took right to Ron. He's pretty fun-loving, so I see why. It still surprised me.

Anyway. This is a pointless post, really. Just thought I'd share with everyone what kind of odd-balls I'm related to. The cool kind.