Monday, February 15, 2010

Therapeutic Fun

I found this template online for creating your own unique poem. It's a mix between MadLibs and true sentimentality. You can see mine below. If you do one, please let us all have a peek.

Poem Template

I am from _______ (specific ordinary item), from _______ (product name) and _______.

I am from the _______ (home description... adjective, adjective, sensory detail).

I am from the _______ (plant, flower, natural item), the _______ (plant, flower, natural detail).

I am from _______ (family tradition) and _______ (family trait), from _______ (name of family member) and _______ (another family name) and _______ (family name).

I am from the _______ (description of family tendency)
and _______ (another one).

From _______ (something you were told as a child) and _______ (another).

I am from (representation of religion, or lack of it). Further description.

I'm from _______ (place of birth and family ancestry), _______ (two food items representing your family).

From the _______ (specific family story about a specific person and detail), the _______ (another detail), and the _______ (another detail about another family member).

I am from _______ (location of family pictures, mementos, archives and several more lines indicating their worth).

Charity's I AM FROM...

I am from a butterbean patch, from Grapico and melting asphalt roads.

I am from the cabin hidden behind the kudzu walls sprinkled with wisteria.

I am from the mossy glade in the woods, the sneezy air of the fescue season.

I am from cinnamon rolls on Christmas and straight A’s, from Fredericks and Momans, Smiths and Abercrombies.

I am from the love of grits and chocolate, just not together.

From the watermelon seed my mother swallowed and the rainy days made by dead snakes hanging on fences.

I am from song books and their covers’ crayon rubbings and from altar calls in humid campmeetings.

I'm from Sand Mountain, goldwater salad and tomato biscuits.

From the trenches of the Battle of the Bulge, the army kitchen in the Philippines, the pulpit and pastoral studies.

I am from dirt roads, dark narrow hallways lined with people’s faces, the South.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Disappointment and True Love

I'd been secretly planning a Valentine's getaway for a couple of months. I'd always wanted to surprise Nathan with a sneak-away-from-work, childless weekend in some jaw-dropping romantic setting. I found the perfect spot, even made reservations at the perfect restaurants, found the perfect attractions, dropped by my favorite gift shop to get the perfectly scented candles, assembled some perfect outfits (at my local thrift store ;o), and bought some perfectly romantic jammies (NOT from the thrift store - everyone draws the line somewhere- right?)

So last week, Nathan gets sick. He stays home from work, and I feed him Vitamin C and Zicam with hopes of having him well by the weekend. But the weekend brought a snowstorm and even the kids began the sniffles. But we decide to press on. After a few hours of driving through snow, we arrive at my selected destination, meanwhile missing our reservation at the fancy restaurant due to inclement weather. Oh, well. Walking up to the door, we chuckle to see the owners are members of the Optimist Club of America (this should be interesting, we think).

The room was upstairs, the ceilings were low, the room felt claustrophobic. I suppose charm might be an apt description if you were shooting for your great-grandmother's mountain cabin bedroom. We found it utterly depressing. The only thing missing was the mothballs. The bathroom was a veritable closet, closed with a outhouse-style door stapled over with burlap on the inside to prevent overexposure. We ran out of hot water, the shower head was rigged up with a twisted clothes hanger. Thoughts of that bubble bath surrounded by floating rose petals vanished when I saw the icky interior of what had been billed as a claw-footed tub (which was clawless, I noted) By the way, the next morning another guest on her first Bed and Breakfast excursion dragged me into her much nicer downstairs room to show off their modern bath and SUNKEN JACUZZI. So it was just our room, I guess. Our "headboard" was a set of old wavy-glassed windows that were definitely not energy efficient. We found Old Man Winter curled up on the pillows. So, we stuffed pillows against the glass and turned on the little heater (the one that could not be on when you turned on the bathroom vent, unless you wanted to find a breaker box somewhere).

Time to find a fine dining experience to redeem the evening. We found a close one online with decent local reviews. When we walked into the building, the lights were out in what may have been a nicer dining area. We were escorted to a back ex-office, with three other small wooden tables, an inflatable beer can and a poster of a scantily clad woman. We were handed a fine wines list and a menu with entrees in the $20s and $30s. They didn't take a drink order at all, so we inched out the door when we were abandoned. Cracker Barrel to the rescue.

The next night we DID find a cute coffeehouse in town, and settled down on their sofas in relief. Unfortunately within 10 minutes, there were two toddlers racing around the room. The parents even joked to us about our childless romantic evening being ruined by their kids (how considerate of them ;o)

OK, so I curled up in bed and cried last night. I cried in the car on the way home, and in the shower when we got home (their water was too soft to remove the shampoo from my hair, and I looked like a grease-head). I felt so childish, petty, irritated that all my plans had fallen through. And I still feel super-frustrated. God did pop in for a chat while I washed away my sorrows with the shower. He reminded me so gently (in His own special way) that marriage is about two imperfect people living by His power in an imperfect world. That our love transcends rose petals on the floor and candlelight. And perfect suites. And a sunken jacuzzi in the room BELOW US! ;o) Here's hoping your MARRIAGE has a wonderful year, even if your romantic expectations, too, were a bit high this weekend.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Slavery in the Bible

Wow! What an interesting study this has been! I've been all over the Bible in this one, and I'm about to do a very non-scholarly thing. I'm going to give you a smattering of all of it with no references. I can hear the boos- stop it! I've looked it all up, but between caring for children and such, have misplaced my various scribblings and jottings. If you have time to fill in the #s, go for it. Of course, this is not going to be comprehensive, but here we go.

So. Why talk about slavery in the Bible? Well, it's February- Black History month- the time when Christian radio (my intellectual stimulation when Nathan's not available ;o) is flooded with chatter about slavery, modern and ancient. And I keep hearing about the evils of slavery. How we're all 'endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.' Which by the way, is a direct reference to the Stoics, not the Scripture. What is your answer to this question: is slavery morally wrong? is it evil to own another human being?

What is slavery, anyhow? Is it not a complete lack of say-so over one's own destiny and responsibilities? (By the way, aren't the masses of the world born into societies where they live under varying degrees of this?)

So I'm a bit confused. What about Job, whom the Bible calls PERFECT; he had manservants and maidservants. And Abraham? And Rachel and Leah had handmaids. According to my father-in-law, there's not a different word for the 'slave' that Joseph was and the 'servants' of these men. Pharaoh gave Abraham servants. Hagar ran away; God told her to return and submit herself to Sarah's authority. The law is full of regulations for slaves and masters. The Gibeonites became servants to the Israelites after they tricked God's people into not annihilating them. Philemon was a slave-owner (think Onesimus) and the church at Colossians had more than one in the congregation. Where are the "Slavery is a moral evil. Release all your slaves!" statements?

Non-Christians love to point to the lack of condemnation of slavery in Scripture as a strike against the morality of God. What did God really think about slavery as a social system? According to scripture, slavery was instituted as a penal system. Think slavery instead of debtor's prisons. And as they interacted with and were attacked by other cultures, think slavery instead of annihilation. There doesn't seem to be any scriptural evidence of owning another person being wrong.

There WERE laws against kidnapping other people. It could even be punishable by death. That is what makes the black slavery of early America immoral. They were stolen people groups. They did not attack us, nor were they indebted to us. Also, the American slave movement was based on the superiority of the white race to those of color (which goes completely counter to the Genesis account of one set of parents for all races).

God told masters in Colossians to be fair and just to their slaves, keeping in mind that they, too, had a Master in heaven. And when the Israelites broke their pledge of safety with the Gibeonites, they suffered a plague because of it. God obviously cared about the conditions of slaves.

Conclusion: It seems to me that, biblically, slavery as a social status is not inherently immoral. It was an alternative to prisons and death sentences. How one acquired a slave and how one treated a slave seems to be the areas of judgment. God blessed Joseph in his slavery (even though he was taken immorally), and Joseph submitted until asked to commit sin. Thoughts?