samedi, février 21, 2009

Nerd revival

"Nerd" she says to him, in the same vaguely cheeerful tone with which she might say: "how was school?"

She loves to dish out the insults, my 13 year old child. And so I'm going out of my way to reassure my studious, enthusiastic, tournament playing son that, actually, it's cool to be a nerd.

Well, he's never going to play baseball for the Phillies (though miracles have happened). He's probably not going to teach skiing (more enthusiasm than skill, though he's getting better). He's not going to be a minister--though he's wonderfully perceptive.

But he does love to play chess, and participate in the Reading Olympics, and watch the news and the History Channel. He's the type of 11 year old who asks me if that peanut guy has been arrested yet--and what happened with the stimulus package.

So when she calls him a nerd, I tell him it's cool.

Too bad no one ever told me.

jeudi, février 19, 2009

Post Porn

Read the link above, and you wonder--what was he thinking?

OK, it's the New York Post. They aren't famous for their taste.

But to compare the stimulus bill to a splattered chimpanzee pushes beyond what is mildly disgusting to revolting.

The people protesting the cartoon thought the chimpanzee (how many times have blacks been compared to apes?) was supposed to suggest President Obama.

It beggars credulity not to believe that they were right. The cartoon is disturbing, to say the least.

There's a woman fighting for her life tonight because some other woman was stupid enough to keep a chimpanzee in her house.

There's a dead chimp, who was apparently was givin medication he wasn't supposed to get.

And theres a country sinking under the weight of greed and corruption, with more and more people out of work each day.

Linking these tragic events takes a warped mind. Perhaps it is a sign of the times.

mercredi, février 18, 2009

Charles and John

It's 150 years since Charles Darwin published Origin of Species. Say that, and you've said a heck of a lot.

His theory of evolution has revolutionized science, with the Vatican holding a conference this year on evolution--and trying, apparently, to figure out how they can "baptize" his ideas into the Catholic tradition. As in--what do Darwin and Aquinas have in common?

It's also the 500th birthday of the theologian and proponent of predestination John Calvin. His influence is pretty enormous, too.

What would the two men have thought of each other's ideas? Not a whole lot, I assume. But you never know. If they happen to have ended up in the same place, or even adjacent places, one can imagine a very interesting dialogue.

lundi, février 16, 2009

I'm a bit bruised by the faux games abetted by the internet. And I'm not solely talking about volleys with men--although I've had a lot of odd experiences with men online.

Actually, it isn't the faux part-I'm not bad at scoping that out. It's the other emotions surging in the virtual world that actually aren't virtual at all. When faced with those, I often feel like I'm in a fight with one hand tied behind me.

Is that irritation...or something more frightening?

Is that specific desire, or generic flirtation?

Does he (or she) have the same boundaries I do?

What signals am I sending? How can I keep my hand off the keyboard for long enough to say what needs to be said, instead of responding in pique or in suggestion? Is that shared interests, or coincidence? Is that kindness...ah, I choose to believe it is kindness.

Mostly, I have a hard time arguing that the emotion evolves out of an online interaction between two people who don't know one another very well. It's the previous girlfriend, the father, the husband--and I just happened to trigger it. But I am beginning to realize that I don't have all the communications skills required to maintain long term online relationships without real interaction. And I have sat at my keyboard and sensed darkness often enough to know that I don't really wish to.

The lion and the lamb?

Yesterday in church I got up and talked about leprosy--and pointed out that in many ways, we are really all lepers. As children, we see people dividing themselves into cliques. We soon learn who is popular, and who isn't. It's so hard to stay popular--but it's not difficult to stay unpopular.

All of this, viewed objectively, is a bunch of cow poop. Yet at that age, we aren't secure enough in ourselves to know that God gave us minds to figure things out for ourselves--and sees special beauty in all of us.

One of my favorite songs about how hard it is to see that loveliness is:

So yesterday, as I do so often, I urged the congregation to admit to their brokenness to be vulnerable, to understand that they are both forgiven (if they ask) and redeemed.

But I must admit that today I wonder. How strong is the power, of well, power? When someone who is vulnerable opens up to someone else, aren't they taking the risk that the other person will judge them, condemn them, bring their own unresolved conflicts into the mix?

Yes, probably. I've had people in the past jump me. The only difference is now I know not to take all of their "stuff" on myself. I've got enough of my own.

So I encourage you to claim your own strength. Know your limits. Pray for God's protection before you reveal your wounds....And remember, in the words of that all too ephemeral song...

You gotta be, you gotta be bad, you gotta be bold, you gotta be wiser,
You gotta be cool, you gotta be calm, you gotta stay together,
All I know all I know is love will save the day.

dimanche, février 15, 2009

You know you are getting old when

You hear the title of a song "My life would suck without you" and think...did I just hear that?

And what's worse, you listen to the song and then look at the, I can see where Kelly is coming from.

Only I'm not the type to throw his nice shirts out the window, no matter how mad I am.

I might recycle all the unopened bottles of beer, instead.