Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My server's overloaded

I can't get on the internet after 10:45 AM, while everyone is on holidays, it seems.

Who is Matthew Parris?

Everyone else has linked or posted on this, also, but I want to keep it and think on it some more. I've never heard of Matthew Parris.



From The Times
December 27, 2008
As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God
Missionaries, not aid money, are the solution to Africa's biggest problem - the crushing passivity of the people's mindset
Matthew Parris

Before Christmas I returned, after 45 years, to the country that as a boy I knew as Nyasaland. Today it's Malawi, and The Times Christmas Appeal includes a small British charity working there. Pump Aid helps rural communities to install a simple pump, letting people keep their village wells sealed and clean. I went to see this work.

It inspired me, renewing my flagging faith in development charities. But travelling in Malawi refreshed another belief, too: one I've been trying to banish all my life, but an observation I've been unable to avoid since my African childhood. It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God.

Now a confirmed atheist, I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa Christianity changes people's hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.

I used to avoid this truth by applauding - as you can - the practical work of mission churches in Africa. It's a pity, I would say, that salvation is part of the package, but Christians black and white, working in Africa, do heal the sick, do teach people to read and write; and only the severest kind of secularist could see a mission hospital or school and say the world would be better without it. I would allow that if faith was needed to motivate missionaries to help, then, fine: but what counted was the help, not the faith.

But this doesn't fit the facts. Faith does more than support the missionary; it is also transferred to his flock. This is the effect that matters so immensely, and which I cannot help observing.

First, then, the observation. We had friends who were missionaries, and as a child I stayed often with them; I also stayed, alone with my little brother, in a traditional rural African village. In the city we had working for us Africans who had converted and were strong believers. The Christians were always different. Far from having cowed or confined its converts, their faith appeared to have liberated and relaxed them. There was a liveliness, a curiosity, an engagement with the world - a directness in their dealings with others - that seemed to be missing in traditional African life. They stood tall.

At 24, travelling by land across the continent reinforced this impression. From Algiers to Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and the Central African Republic, then right through the Congo to Rwanda, Tanzania and Kenya, four student friends and I drove our old Land Rover to Nairobi.

We slept under the stars, so it was important as we reached the more populated and lawless parts of the sub-Sahara that every day we find somewhere safe by nightfall. Often near a mission.

Whenever we entered a territory worked by missionaries, we had to acknowledge that something changed in the faces of the people we passed and spoke to: something in their eyes, the way they approached you direct, man-to-man, without looking down or away. They had not become more deferential towards strangers - in some ways less so - but more open.

This time in Malawi it was the same. I met no missionaries. You do not encounter missionaries in the lobbies of expensive hotels discussing development strategy documents, as you do with the big NGOs. But instead I noticed that a handful of the most impressive African members of the Pump Aid team (largely from Zimbabwe) were, privately, strong Christians. “Privately” because the charity is entirely secular and I never heard any of its team so much as mention religion while working in the villages. But I picked up the Christian references in our conversations. One, I saw, was studying a devotional textbook in the car. One, on Sunday, went off to church at dawn for a two-hour service.

It would suit me to believe that their honesty, diligence and optimism in their work was unconnected with personal faith. Their work was secular, but surely affected by what they were. What they were was, in turn, influenced by a conception of man's place in the Universe that Christianity had taught.

There's long been a fashion among Western academic sociologists for placing tribal value systems within a ring fence, beyond critiques founded in our own culture: “theirs” and therefore best for “them”; authentic and of intrinsically equal worth to ours.

I don't follow this. I observe that tribal belief is no more peaceable than ours; and that it suppresses individuality. People think collectively; first in terms of the community, extended family and tribe. This rural-traditional mindset feeds into the “big man” and gangster politics of the African city: the exaggerated respect for a swaggering leader, and the (literal) inability to understand the whole idea of loyal opposition.

Anxiety - fear of evil spirits, of ancestors, of nature and the wild, of a tribal hierarchy, of quite everyday things - strikes deep into the whole structure of rural African thought. Every man has his place and, call it fear or respect, a great weight grinds down the individual spirit, stunting curiosity. People won't take the initiative, won't take things into their own hands or on their own shoulders.

How can I, as someone with a foot in both camps, explain? When the philosophical tourist moves from one world view to another he finds - at the very moment of passing into the new - that he loses the language to describe the landscape to the old. But let me try an example: the answer given by Sir Edmund Hillary to the question: Why climb the mountain? “Because it's there,” he said.

To the rural African mind, this is an explanation of why one would not climb the mountain. It's... well, there. Just there. Why interfere? Nothing to be done about it, or with it. Hillary's further explanation - that nobody else had climbed it - would stand as a second reason for passivity.

Christianity, post-Reformation and post-Luther, with its teaching of a direct, personal, two-way link between the individual and God, unmediated by the collective, and unsubordinate to any other human being, smashes straight through the philosphical/spiritual framework I've just described. It offers something to hold on to to those anxious to cast off a crushing tribal groupthink. That is why and how it liberates.

Those who want Africa to walk tall amid 21st-century global competition must not kid themselves that providing the material means or even the knowhow that accompanies what we call development will make the change. A whole belief system must first be supplanted.

And I'm afraid it has to be supplanted by another. Removing Christian evangelism from the African equation may leave the continent at the mercy of a malign fusion of Nike, the witch doctor, the mobile phone and the machete.

Personally,when I have spent time in Japan visiting my sister, I've noticed similar changes in people. The Japanese Christians looked you in the eye, seemed natural and open. The regular Japanese reacted in two different ways: if you were not introduced, you did not exist; if you were introduced you became part of the hierarchical system of politeness (as white foreigner, vs. other Asians, for example, you were treated with much deferential bowing and politeness. We bowed back and behaved very politely, too. The women generally looked down or away, or held their hands before their mouths in way that seemed like they were embarrassed.)

The Treasury of Daily Prayer




The Treasury of Daily Prayer........ finally came in the mail. Too late for Christmas. Oh, well.

I am still finding out exactly what it is and how it is used, though Martin and I prayed a Compline and used all the readings and songs. We even did a section out of the Book of Concord, as suggested from the Large Catechism. It is strange that something like this should be new to us. Pastor McCain's intro hints at why we are not familiar with this discipline.

Have you ever been frustrated trying to juggle multiple books as you attempt to have a daily, structured, time of prayer and meditation on the Word of God? Have you ever wondered why it is that Roman Catholics and Anglicans have such fine books for daily prayer, called breviaries, but that Lutherans kind of/sort of do, but don’t—almost, but not quite there? Have you wondered why most one-volume prayer resources that are now out there are so complicated, complex and vexing to use, requiring you to turn pages until you are dizzy? Are you looking for a resource that will allow you to dwell richly in the Word, and engage in the ancient practice of lectio divina (divine reading)? Have you been looking for a daily resource for a full, complete life of prayer and meditation on the Word that reflects the rich heritage of Lutheranism with its keen focus on Christ and His Gospel? Well, your wait is over.


It seems to me both a completely novel thing and yet ancient and natural thing to join in the old liturgies and assigned readings, prayers, hymns for the day.

One of my doctrine professors had said that the unity of the church may be built on the liturgy. That's food for thought. Surely, we can agree on singing and praying the ancient texts.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas






Did you get something interesting for Christmas?

My daughter gave me Anne Rice's newest book, since I was blogging about her. It was most thoughtful of my girl.

I finished Rice's book in an afternoon. Not a hard read. She describes her very Roman Catholic upbringing in 1940/50 New Orleans in great detail. This was picturesque and interesting and I could relate to it, having gone to Catholic school myself, in Bavaria. She skips most of her 38 years as an atheist, which I found disappointing. She does speak highly of the secular humanists, the secular and religious Jews she got to know and all their conscientious efforts. Then she concludes with her return to Catholicism. What struck me about her return was her need for the Lord's presence in the sacrament. I can relate to that, too. When everything else gives way, there is the only sure ground, the Lord coming to you. When everything seems deader than a doornail, there is the life infusion.

Speaking of life infusions, something else we learned this fall and practiced this Advent and Christmas was to pray the Compline (Prayer at the close of the Day, LSB p. 253), at night. I think this started from reading Pastor Weedon's blog and Bo Giertz and from all the distressing news this fall.

We did this last night with our relatives before they headed out as well, and sang several hymns (though my nephew was insisting on Jingle Bells, which we did not sing. :) We take turns being "L" and sometimes I chant for everyone and sometimes we just speak it. I like to sing the Responsory:

Into Your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit. (L)
Into Your hands I commend my spirit. (C)
You have redeemed me, O Lord, God of truth. (L)
Into Your hands I commend my spirit. (C)
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. (L)
Into Your hands I commend my spirit. (C)

Anyhow, this has been a blessing, and I try to catch the news whenever I can, but not just before bedtime.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Cold Sunday in Bruderheim

The Delusion of Disbelief



Yestday, I bought a book at Chapters: "The Delusion of Disbelief", by David Aikman. I'm about half way done and have found it informative. His four New Atheist horsemen (Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris and Dennett) are introduced in a readable fashion. I am familiar with them and what they have to say from videos on the internet. I hesitate to spend money on their books, several of them available in the religion section, I noticed, so I am grateful for Aikman's review and response. Alister McGrath's "Dawkins Delusion" was not available at this Chapters.

I am concerned about the tone taken by atheists on the blogosphere. It seems positively hatefilled and abusive at times. These atheists, especially our four horsemen, seem to come mostly from the English speaking world--people who have not lived through Communism and Nazism.

This worries me. I grew up listening to stories about the horrors of Nazism and the Second World War. The English speaking world has spent too much time reveling in its glory and not enough time taking lessons from how the evil arose and affected civilian populations. They have not felt the horror of the populations whom they liberated. Think, people, think.

I grew up watching weekly documentaries about human rights abuses behind the iron curtain, about dissidents sent to psychiatric hospitals, about the Gulag, about churches turned into swimming pools and priests sent to labor camps. I went to East Germany and felt the oppression like lead hanging over everything, experienced the meanness of small people with a job that lets them intimidate and harass others. You don't want this Orwellian world. Don't minimize what atheistic ideologies have done to people. Millions upon millions have been affected. A recent statistic I learned from the Truth Project: 180 million dead by a handful of dictators.

You can believe or disbelieve what you like, but don't see fit to be on the offensive other than with reasonable arguments and proper dialogue. Be mighty with the pen, only.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Michael Behe


Michael Behe wrote among other books "The Edge of Evolution". Via mathematical calculations using the malaria parasite, he demonstrates, in my mind quite convincingly, how limited genetic mutations and variations are in producing various types of changes. There are some things that can happen, and some things that just cannot happen, as in -- zero percent chance. ZERO.

When you listen to evolutionists discussing books that try to shoot down macro-evolution, you end up getting comments like: "This and that book was so stupid, I just could not get through it." "Oh, Behe's book is already in soft cover, it never sold well." "They've discussed this and that so many times, it's not worth rolling out the argument again." It's not so easy to hear anyone refute the mathematics, etc.

I will be glad to read more about it in the places suggested by the folks at Proving the Negative. I would like to see what can be said against Behe's arguments that has any substance.

But, I do have to say, whatever may be just spiritual about Genesis, I just cannot believe that humans came down from one-celled organisms. It seems to me the ultimate in preposterous--especially after looking at the three dimensional model of a protein and studying cell biology. If one little group on the protein is rearranged the whole thing does not work. And the the whole fancy chain reaction does not work. And then nothing works right...

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Gentlemen at the Atheist blog/Reason/Luther


I'm working at lot this week and I don't have time/stamina/interest in debating the gentlemen at the atheist blog, just this minute. Plus it's almost Christmas.-- I should have my head examined.

However, you will find below some quotes from Luther re: the roles of faith vs. reason. The picture is from Matt Harrison's blog (without permission, hope it's ok). He took the picture of a wall in the town of Schmalkalden.

1. Reason has its sphere: In temporal things and human relations man is rational enough; there he needs no other light than reason. So God does not teach us in Scripture how to build houses, make clothing, marry, wage wars, sail on the seas, and the like; for there our natural light is sufficient. But in divine things, that is, in those which pertain to God and which must be so performed as to be acceptable to Him and obtain salvation for us, our nature is so star-and stone-blind, so utterly blind, as to be unable to recognize them at all. Reason is presumptuous enough to plunge into these matters like a blind horse.


2. Reason is a candle: Reason is also a light, and a beautiful light. But it cannot show or find the way or the path that will lead from sin and from death to righteousness and to life; it remains in darkness... Thus God's Word is a real sun, giving us an eternal day to live and to be glad. We find this Word very richly and beautifully given in the Psalms. Blessed is he who delights in it and gladly sees this light, for it loves to shine. But moles and bats, that is, the people of the world, do not like it.

3. Everyone knows that he is right: Because of sin everyone of us is, from the days of his youth, accustomed to think that he is right, that his head is the best, and to dislike giving way to another person.

4. You may reason in non-religious subjects: the Holy Scriptures requires no controversialist. God has given other branches of learning: grammar, logic, rhetoric, philosophy, jurisprudence, and medicine. Be wise in these subjects; controvert, search, and ask what is right and wrong.


5. Wrong methodology of reason in religion: We find many who have never heard Christ preached, coarse and wild people, who curse and swear as though they were full of devils; yet they begin their religious thinking by trying to determine Why God does this or that. With their blind reason they rise to the light and measure God by their reason. But we should adopt as our mode of procedure the method which God gave St. Paul and should begin at the foundation. The roof will then take care of itself. Let God rest with His hidden counsel, and do not climb up to the roof with your reason. He does not want to have you come up there; He comes down to you. He has made a ladder, a way, and a bridge, to come to you, and says: I descend from heaven to you and become a man in the body of the virgin Mary. I lie in the manger at Bethlehem. I suffer and die for you. So believe in Me, and have the confidence to accept Me as Him who has been crucified for you.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Quote

In my clean-up efforts, I've found another yellow piece of paper, which will go in the garbage, but I'll keep the quote on it here. I don't know the author, though.

VANITY:
We want to prove to ourselves that we are lovers on the grand scale, tragic heros; not just ordinary privates in the huge army of the bereaved, slogging along and making the best of a bad job.


This seems a little depressing, but it helps us deal with the fact that life is often difficult and we don't live up to the heroic standards we may have for ourselves, that in fact these heroic standards may be vain. It can be a letting go of self-righteousness and self-chosen works, which can be healing.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Practicing for playing at the old folks home

Hear us play "Lo, how a rose is blooming", today, third Advent.

video

Friday, December 12, 2008

LSB #348


Bror's suggestion #348 has a lovely, picturesque, poetic text about the coming of Christ the King.

The poetry almost asks for an art song by Beethoven or Schubert...
I like speaking it; the melody seems a little too heavy.
The King shall come when morning dawns and light triumphant breaks,
when beauty gilds the eastern hills and life to joy awakes.

Not as of old a little child, to bear and fight and die,
but crowned with glory like the sun that lights the morning sky.

Oh, brighter than the rising morn when Christ, victorious, rose
and left the lonesome place of death despite the rage of foes.

Oh, brighter than that glorious morn shall dawn upon our race
the day when Christ in splendor comes and we shall see his face.

The King shall come when morning dawns and light and beauty brings.
Hail, Christ the Lord! Your people pray: come quickly, King of kings!

Klaus und Irmi sent greetings with 3 verses of this song


My parents had a plaque with the first verse of this song.
I know the melody to this song, too, even though it is not in
the hymn books.

Von guten Mächten...
von Dietrich BonhoefferDieses Lied mit Tiefgang schrieb Bonhoeffer im KZ kurz vor Seiner Hinrichtung


Von guten Mächten wunderbar geborgen
erwarten wir getrost, was kommen mag.
Gott ist bei uns am Abend und am Morgen,
und ganz gewiss an jedem neuen Tag.

Von guten Mächten treu und still umgeben
behütet und getröstet wunderbar, -
so will ich diese Tage mit euch leben
und mit euch gehen in ein neues Jahr;

Noch will das alte unsre Herzen quälen,
noch drückt uns böser Tage schwere Last,
Ach Herr, gib unsern aufgeschreckten Seelen
das Heil, für das Du uns geschaffen hast.

Und reichst Du uns den schweren Kelch, den bittern,
des Leids, gefüllt bis an den höchsten Rand,
so nehmen wir ihn dankbar ohne Zittern
aus Deiner guten und geliebten Hand.

Doch willst Du uns noch einmal Freude schenken
an dieser Welt und ihrer Sonne Glanz,
dann woll´n wir des Vergangenen gedenken,
und dann gehört Dir unser Leben ganz.

Laß warm und hell die Kerzen heute flammen,
die Du in unsre Dunkelheit gebracht,
führ, wenn es sein kann, wieder uns zusammen!
Wir wissen es, Dein Licht scheint in der Nacht.

Wenn sich die Stille nun tief um uns breitet,
so laß uns hören jenen vollen Klang
der Welt, die unsichtbar sich um uns weitet,
all Deiner Kinder hohen Lobgesang.

Brazil/winter

There is someone who checks this blog from Brazil. Do you want to say hello? Hello to you! What is new there?

It's getting very cold here. The TV news seems to be reporting on the weather minute by minute right now, along with the car manufacturing bail-out discussions... One is supposed to keep one's animals inside, especially cats and short-haired dogs, take a coat along when you travel in a car, etc., etc. -- As if we've never had a winter here, before. But common sense is not so common and better nag the people into being safer.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wed. Truth Project

Yesterday, I made it to the Truth Project, once more. I so appreciate spending time with Christians from other denominations. There are some amazingly committed family men and women at my table. God bless them all and their families. Would the clergy find it compromising to sit and pray together? Is it unorthodox?

I am wondering if this kind of lecture series is what Michael Spencer at internetmonk.com calls the "culture war" and how he seems to find it distracting from the Gospel.

I find it valuable and would call it being more prepared to witness and hopefully being salt and light.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

more on music


Michael Spencer has a "beautiful" post about his childhood experience singing "Lo, how a rose is blooming" in school. Read it here.

I've known this song all my life, and Michael's telling of it, touches me. I'm not sure I've ever thought it about it much. I will try and re-appreciate it here.

First in German:

Es ist ein Ros entsprungen aus einer Wurzel zart,
wie uns die Alten sungen, von Jesse kam die Art
und hat ein Bluemlein bracht mitten im kalten Winter
wohl zu der halben Nacht.

Das Roeslein, das ich meine, davon Jesaja sagt,
hat uns gebracht alleine, Marie, die reine Magd;
aus Gottes ewgen Rat, hat sie ein Kind geboren,
wohl zu der halben Nacht.

Das Bluemelein so kleine, das duftet uns so suess;
mit seinem hellen Scheine, vertreibts die Finsternis.
Wahr Mensch und wahrer Gott,
hilft uns aus allem Leide, rettet von Suend und Tod.

O Jesu, bis zum Scheiden, aus diesem Jammertal,
lass dein Hilf uns geleiten hin in den Freudensaal,
in deines Vaters Reich, da wir dich ewig loben;
o Gott, uns das verleih!

In English:
From LSB #359

Lo, how a rose e're blooming from tender stem hath sprung.
Of Jesse's lineage coming as prophets long have sung,
it came a flow'ret bright, amid the cold of winter,
when half-spent was the night.

Isaiah 'twas foretold it, the rose I have in mind;
with Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
to show God's love aright, she bore to us a Savior,
when half-spent was the night.

This flow'r, whose fragrance tender with sweetness fills the air,
dispels with glorious splendor the darkness everywhere.
True man, yet very god, from sin and death he saves us
and lightens every load.

O Savior, child of Mary, who felt our human woe;
O Savior, Kind of glory, who doest our weakness know:
bring us at length we pray to the bright courts of heaven,
and to the endless day.



What strikes me today is the repetition of the phrase: "Wohl zu der halben Nacht", or "when half-spent was the night". There is this darkness, this mid-night, this winter, this blindness--in the very depth of which, this root of salvation began to bloom.

And still we pray, in the last verse, to be brought into the brightness of the courts of heaven. There will be endless day. Then the night will be completely spent. Indeed, Lord, bring us.

You can listen to it here.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Singing

Ok, I (we)'ve sung #510 three nights now. It's doing me good.
Give me another one. :)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

About Anne Rice

I've never heard of this author, nor read any of her books, but this newspaper article this week intrigued me. Any comments? I can't imagine it being a major theological work. However, her saying how difficult the atheist path is because there is no reason for anything, makes me think. God's reasons are often quite hidden, too. But, indeed, atheism, in contrast, has no reasons for anything at all.

Who needs Vampires when You've found God?

Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession by Anne Rice. In her first non-fiction book, the 67-year-old creator of the vampire Lestat traces her journey from Catholicism, through atheism, the death of her daughter and, in the '90's, back to God. Atheism, it turned out, was for her not a true expression of logic and reason but an emptiness, even a torment, and rice now thinks her vampire series was a spiritual response to her loss of faith. Atheism, she declares, is "a more strenuous path than the religious path, because... there is no reason for anything.... Rice is candid about her past and her failings, as any confession requires: She describes the chaos after the death of the Rices' young daughter, Mechele, and the importance of their son's birth and the pain that church laws caused her. Three years ago, she shocked some with Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, a novel about Jesus. A sequel, The Road to Cana, was published to good reviews this spring.

Friday, December 5, 2008

LSB # 510 (Lutheran Service Book)

Bror sings #510 at night. I looked it up. Completely unfamiliar to me. I see it is Swedish (Der Mange Skal Komme). That's why.

It is lovely and simple. I will try to learn it.

A multitude come from the east and the west
to sit at the feast of salvation
with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the blest,
obeying the Lord's invitation.
Have mercy upon us, O Jesus!

O God, let us hear when our Shepherd shall call
In accents persuasive and tender,
that while there is time we make haste, one and all,
and find Him, our mighty defender.
Have mercy upon us, O Jesus!

All trials shall be like a dream that is past,
forgotten all trouble and mourning,
all questions and doubts have been answered at last,
when rises the light of that morning.
Have mercy upon us, O Jesus!

The heavens shall ring with an anthem more grand
than ever on earth was recorded.
The blest of the Lord shall receive at His hand
the crown to the victors awarded.
Have mercy upon us, O Jesus!

Food info from Mary


Mary sent me this. I'm posting it because the apples I bought today start with "4". Personally, I'm not worried about the genetically modified.


For anyone interested: Today I learned the stickers with codes on them found on fresh produce, or on the bags, or ties around greens contain information:

If the PLU # begins with a 4 then the produce is grown conventionally ie. pesticides, synthetic fertilizer, etc.

If the PLU# begins with an 8 the produce is genetically modified

If the PLU# begins with a 9 the produce is organically grown ie; naturally, no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.

I have checked a couple of internet sites that confirm this. As of yet have not been able to locate official gov't information on this yet.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ethics/Morals/Government/Law/Truth Project

Yesterday, I worked a long day at the dental clinic and then went to the Truth Project at the Alliance church, again, straight after. Hubby was prepping for his Concordia Board meetings meanwhile. I am trying to get him to come to the Truth Project once, but as they say: "If you love your husband you leave him at home." Other people even manage to bring their children, at times.

The topic was obeying the government, as in Romans 13. There were quotes about the State from Hegel and Nietzsche and the danger of turning the State into your Savior.

What stuck with me most was the statement that if you have no God, if truth is relative then morality ends up being relative.

I've had this conversation with people. It is true, if they have no God, if everything is relative, their morality becomes quite flexible, and they become quite smug and unapologetic about their flexible morality. They are willing to give up nothing for what is right. Me first, and foremost, and only.

This may not be true for everyone. There are "good" atheists. But it is true for many. And they are quite hypocritical about it, too. All the other people they know, follow no laws, are greedy, etc. That's what they complain about. Then why should they behave morally if everyone else they are pointing their fingers at are crooked? It becomes one nasty business with a fake, smiling front.

This one person I was talking to, even told me the ten commandments did not make much sense. However, he admitted right away not remembering what they were. He claimed all the moral demands are made just to keep the herd in control while the top brass indulges in corruption.

I told him that the rule of law is a blessing in a country and certainly, he would not want to live in a lawless society. I wish I had asked him, which he wanted to be: one in the herd trying to live morally, or one on the top involved in corruption for himself.

It's a good question for me, too. Some of me wants to be the privileged top.

Pray for the Canadian government, or rather the lack thereof. We might finally break apart.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Issues' webcast

I just finished listening to Rev. Bror Erickson's interview on Issues, etc., for December 2, 08.

http://www.issuesetc.org/ondemand.html

It's very interesting to learn about Pastor/Bishop/Author Bo Giertz and his times.
Personally, I read the "Hammer of God" recently, and was amazed at how clearly and skillfully Giertz fleshes out a proper theology in the novella format.

Monday, December 1, 2008

What a day.


The wind is howling. There will be no more a few degrees above zero. Whoever has not changed his oil and put on his winter tires has only himself to blame. Tomorrow, I have to drive to Edmonton; hope it will be ok. Martin is cleaning up the garage, so more cars fit into it.

Canada is experiencing a coup d'etat. What will it bring?

The stock market is down lots more. Those who say: sell into rallies, are probably right.

I found my advent wreath and four huge tall candles. Tonight I will sing. I sing well and I have not felt like singing. Very bad form.

We always had to sing before we got our cookies, when we were children during advent. We sang: "Macht hoch die Tuer, die Tor macht weit, es kommt der Herr der Herrlichkeit." One of my mother's favorites. In English: "Lift up the gates". I can't say, the English words come to me.

My mother was a good singer; my dad, too. My siblings sing well. The entire extended family sang lots. It's a German thing. We know all the verses, because we had to memorize them in school and for religion class. And it was the time before all the electronic media.

I wonder if they still memorize and sing over there. They might. They still teach Latin and Greek in High Schools like they used to. Stefan's Polish cello teacher would tell me how the Germans she knew would sing on and on and one more verse. They knew all the verses. That is true. The Polish will sing a line and then go "la la la, how does it go?" That's what Gazjina said. I know many verses, myself.

It's a problem for the hymn book over here. Nobody has memorized all the verses and can sing a much with gusto from memory. That's why there is so much repetitive pop. That's my theory.