November 25, 2008

  • General Thanksgiving—A Proclamation

    WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

    NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;– for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;– for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;– and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

    And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;– to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

    GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

    (signed) G. Washington

    Wow, what if a president talked like this today?

    ||||||  lynard

November 23, 2008

  • Quotable

    “It’s funny: I always imagined when I was a kid that adults had some kind of inner toolbox, full of shiny tools: the saw of discernment, the hammer of wisdom, the sandpaper of patience. But then when I grew up I found that life handed you these rusty bent old tools — friendships, prayer, conscience, and honesty — and said, Do the best you can with these. They will have to do. And mostly, against all odds, they’re enough.”

    This is one of my favorite lines from Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies.

    ||||||  lynard

November 19, 2008

  • Jury Jujubes

    Do you think it weird that everyone eligible in our household has been called to jury duty in the last year?

    ||||||  lynard

November 15, 2008

  • Former Futuristic Films

    A few years ago, my teen son, L,  was taken by Kubrick’s 2001: Space Odyssey—a film  released in 1968 at the height of the space race. It requires an acquired taste. The first word spoken is a half hour into the movie—and even then, there is very little dialogue.  One older friend of mine told me that the film was designed for acid-droppers. But the film was intriguing to my 21st century son because of its questions of exploration and space and, most importantly, the role of computers. L is a poet and in some ways 2001 is a visual poem. The score for the movie is a symphony and the images are profound—nevermind that the plot is slower than molasses.

    Because L liked 2001, we decided to rent Soylent Green a couple years later. This movie is poetic in different ways. It is about an overpopulated earth, where the people survive in a controlled community on “soylent green” food. Yum. Not. If you want to see a classic film (1973) with Charlton Heston, I recommend this wild science fiction proposition. Could we, as a society, get to this place?

    Beyond Soylent Green is Logan’s Run, made three years later, but also focused on a futuristic controlled community. The setting is the 23rd century, and everyone is encouraged to live a hedonistic lifestyle until they turn 30. At this point, their life clocks blink and they are encouraged to seek “renewal.” No one really knows what happens at renewal, but everyone thinks it must be wonderful. The population crams into a  Greco-Roman type amphitheater to watch the renewal process. One scene that struck me as prophetic was one where people could go to have facial and other plastic surgery. A computer monitor shows clients how they will look with “laser” surgery—a scene that is not so uncommon now.

    The interesting thing is that Logan’s Run is based on a novel from 1967, in which the society supports recreational drugs, but sends in the police for cigarette smoking. How could the author have foreseen the climate of the 21st century?

    Logan’s Run is being remade, supposedly for a 2010 release. I hope they base it more on the book than the 1976 movie.

    All these movies make great conversation starters regarding life origins and the issues of right and wrong. You must be discerning in watching them, though. Logan’s Run, which I saw first on TV actually has significant nudity during the snow/ice scene. Parents of teens would want to edit. Did I mention that Farrah Fawcett is in this flick in a supporting role?

    Are there other science fiction flicks that you found profound?

    ||||||  lynard

November 6, 2008

  • Traveling Thoughts

    1–When I go to other cities, I never fail to be amazed (for at least three seconds) as to how many “out-of-state” license plates I see. (“Wow, there are a lot of Illinois plates at this Chicago Target!”) I know. I know. But I am a real brunette.

    2–Why don’t people who are native English speakers or who at least have good diction give the routine emergency instructions on domestic plane flights? (“In kehs of cabin de-pressization, an ossygen mass….”) They inevitably pick the flight attendant who has the worst speaking skills to use the lame sound system…. Does this build my confidence in flight?

    3–Don’t leave your boarding pass in the little TSA plastic bin with your shoes when you walk through the metal detector. It will prompt hard, probing questions, like “What is your first name?” “…Um…Brunette?”

    ||||||  lynard

November 1, 2008

  • Michael Card

    Last night, we saw Michael Card in concert. He had 7 stringed instruments (mandolins, banjo, guitars), a piano, an accordion, a pipe of sorts, a baby grand, and a fellow musician as a backup. He played his right-handed guitar left-handed, mindboggling to this righty who likes her thickest deepest strings at the beginning of her strum.

    I had forgotten what a wise teacher he is, in addition to being a versatile musician. Sometimes his recordings are too much the same sounding for me—and very soft. In concert, the music is more raw, the emotions likewise. The lyrics, however, are the same—profound.

    Listening to his Hidden Face of God today, I found this quote about the album in a Christianity Today interview:

    “We can’t worship God without recognizing our woundedness. We have a
    worship revolution going on in the U.S., but we’re not worshiping.
    There is no woundedness in it. True worship celebrates God’s worth, and
    without experiencing woundedness, you don’t know his worth. You don’t
    have that experience of God’s presence over God’s provision. You
    experience his worth in the wilderness, not in the picnic grounds. ‘Amazing Grace’ says, ‘I once was lost, but now am found.’ Without that
    acknowledgment of loss, what do you have to worship him for, unless
    you’re just worshiping feeling good? Lament is the lost language of

    Card is not a lightweight Christian thinker. The Hidden Face of God is a an album about brokenness, silence, and loneliness, but begins with an invitation, a droplet of light in a dark place:

    If you are wounded, if you are alone,
    If you are angry, if your heart is cold as stone,
    If you have fallen and if you are weak,
    Come find the worth of God
    That only the suffering seek.

    Come lift up your sorrows
    And offer your pain;
    Come make a sacrifice
    Of all your shame;
    There in your wilderness
    He’s waiting for you
    To worship Him with your wounds,
    For He’s wounded too.

    He has not stuttered, and He has not lied
    When He said, “Come unto me, you’re not disqualified”
    When your heavy laden, you may want to depart,
    But those who know sorrow are closest to His heart.

    In this most Holy Place
    He’s made a sacred space
    For those who will enter in
    And trust to cry out to Him;
    You’ll find no curtain there,
    No reason left for fear;
    There’s perfect freedom here
    To weep every unwept tear.
    ****Come Lift Up Your Sorrows****
    by Vance Taylor and Michael Card

    ||||||  (six guitar strings)  lynard

October 24, 2008

  • Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

    Extreme Makeover/Home Edition is building a new house in an adjacent neighborhood, so my work colleagues and I checked it out at lunch.

    We went to the site by catching a free shuttle—a white van that says School Students on the front—near a white tent in a big abandoned parking lot. The staff in the tent wanted to know if we were volunteers or gawkers. If we were volunteers, we would have received white hard hats and blue EMHE t-shirts. We got nothing. Then again, we paid nothing.

    When we arrived at the site, there were two gated areas across from work site: one for the volunteers and one for spectators. We had bleachers, but were a bit farther away than the volunteers.

    The old house was destroyed on Saturday. Today was Thursday, and the “reveal” is tomorrow. The outside of the new house is refreshingly suitable for the neighborhood. If I was driving through, it wouldn’t stand out as out-of-place or new. There appears to be a sizable one-story roof off the back of the new house.
    The low-slung house to the right is what this house used to look like.

    The front porch pillars look like they are assembled from local sandstone.

    There were workers everywhere and trucks, lots of trucks. I don’t know how a neighborhood handles the intrusion. We saw Mayflower moving trucks, electric company trucks towing (whoa!) phone poles, water utility trucks, shiny yellow dump trucks, and lots of earth movers. The security and vehicles and white tents span a few blocks.

    Blue shirt workers were everywhere, but no Ty Pennington. We were told he does two houses at once: He is there for the destruction and then flies back for the reveal. (I don’t know when he paints and drills and saws stuff.)

    The reveal is tomorrow. I heard someone saying, “Well, no one is camping out yet.” It would be thrilling to be behind the MOVE-THAT-BUS moment, but taking my sleeping bag and a thermos of soup to that work site for the next 50 degree 20 hours sounds daunting.

    We watched as volunteers in their section were tagged for jobs: “Could you four go help move leftover baseboards from the livingroom?”

    The actual show airs in December. Forgive my poor cell phone pics. Here are more of the house:

    And now to prove that Lois and Ariana were there, I took a pic of them with the house, uh, I mean, PortaPottie, in the background. *shaking head*

    Oh man.
    ||||||  lynard

October 15, 2008

  • Paperless Paper—Reading Will Never Be the Same

    For years now at publishing conferences, D and I have been told about the technologies that will lead us away from paper and bound books. Some technologies have already dampened book sales, but there have been no offerings yet that have been as satisfying as a real book. But things are changing everyday:

    ||||||  lynard

October 12, 2008

  • Sabbath: Part 3, Work

    “In those days I saw men in Judah treading winepresses on the
    Sabbath and bringing in grain and loading it on donkeys, together
    with wine, grapes, figs and all other kinds of loads. And they
    were bringing all this into Jerusalem on the Sabbath, Therefore
    I warned them against selling food on that day”—Nehemiah 13:15.

    I’ve been writing about observing the Sabbath, which most Christians celebrate on the first day of the week  (but some still celebrate on the seventh day). I discovered this passage in Nehemiah in college, and realized what a strong statement God made about doing business on His day.

    Nehemiah ordered that the gates to city be closed, and no more business be done on the Sabbath. He did not want God’s people to be in a hurry to make money on a holy day.

    A couple decades ago, friends of mine had a roofing business called SIX DAYS. The idea was that their labor was six days, and that on their Sabbath, they didn’t do roofing. They had the right idea, I think.

    We, as Christians, are spiritual Israel. God wants us to rest. He told Israel:

    “Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that
    the LORD your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand
    and an outstretched arm. Therefore the LORD your God has commanded
    you to observe the Sabbath day”—Deuteronomy 5:15.

    Part of our release from spiritual slavery—being slaves to sin—is our celebration in this earthly place of our release. Someday, we will enter our eternal rest in its fullness. For now, we have the opportunity to enjoy a symbolic day of rest once a week—our Sabbath.

    So how does this work out in our family life? We ask ourselves what we, individually and corporately, are called to do in our normal six day labor. Whether it is our career, our daily chores, or our education, that is what we put aside on our Sabbath. Our kids are free to not do homework; D and I are free to not answer work emails or edit an extra paragraph for an article; all of us are free not to do laundry or mowing.

    Every family is going to have different freedoms on the Sabbath. Since our kids were heavily into sports on Monday through Saturday, we chose to rest from it on the Sabbath. This was tough when it came to Little League, but our Jewish league was very sympathetic. Our kids worked hard on their baseball on Monday through Saturday, so on Sunday, we rested. Sometimes that meant giving up the starting pitching position on the team. Sometimes it meant sitting on the bench for the next big game. Sometimes it meant missing a big game.

    The important thing was that our kids didn’t have to perform that day. They didn’t have to clean their rooms or finish their math homework. D and I have felt free to do the same. The day has been about rest, vacation, enjoying each other, going to worship with other believers, and doing acts of mercy. It has always been a day we could feel free to visit someone in the hospital, ride bikes in the park with friends, spend some time as a family, take a nap, invite someone home for dinner, or write a letter. We know that we have the time for these things because God gave us the license to do it. It has not always been easy, but yet it has been very liberating and restful.

    What kind of parameters do you set around your Sabbath? What ways do you guard the day? What ways do you celebrate the day?

    ||||||  lynard

October 2, 2008

  • Death Story Reaches Mile Marker

    A few weeks ago, T’s Lecrae video climbed over the 100,000 mark on YouTube. His senior project has affected many viewers—French and American. (It was picked up by a French Christian video site a while back.) The song confronts our mortality and our beliefs about the ultimate meaning of life. Viewers have been thankful and combative. The comments are fun to read, and have engaged T in some interesting conversations on the side.

    Salut, T!

    Incidently, Lecrae’s newest album released yesterday.

    Yep, I embedded the vid here again…Get over it.

    ||||||  lynard