Saturday, October 28, 2006

Pumpkins Three

Sometimes it's difficult to recognize just how fast they grow, and to see how the little ones go even faster. Megan cut her own pumpkin when she was six. Madison did it last year at five. Now Mackenzie this year at four. But we sure do have a good time doing it!

They pick the pumpkins and draw their faces. I copy them to the pumpkins and make a lid. Then they do the rest with tools like dull jigsaw blades (ok, I did the mouths for Megan and Mackenzie, but it was just because Kenzie got tired and Megan was worried about the tongue). At the end, I clean them up so the edges are good and the light works well.

You can buy pretty cool designs now, but nothing beats seeing their personalities shine through ;-)

Can you guess?

2006 (above, clockwise from left): Madison's pirate, Mackenzie's scary face and Megan's hillbilly.

2005 (clockwise from left): Madison, Mackenzie, Megan.

2004 (clockwise from left): Madison's self-drawn, Megan's self-cut and Mackenzie's dad-did-it special.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


I'm not going to admit to watching the show because some of my readers are also our students, but it does intrigue me ;-)

I am struck by the way they have chosen lives that completely disregard the plan of God and that they so clearly suffer the consequences of life outside His provision. Repeatedly. They speak frequently about the pain they bring, yet they remain dedicated to these same afflicted behaviors. It is a beautifully disturbing view of original sin and the fallen state of man. They continue in the same pattern of sin and disregard for God because they are unable to do otherwise. The unregenerate, un-redeemed human is unable to climb out of the pattern. They see the pain. They recognize the consequences. They fail to change. They are trapped. Non posse non peccare. Not able not to sin.

But the writer adds an incredible irony--these same fallen and pitiful creatures devote their lives to the removal of physical pain and affliction. They are doctors, but more importantly they are surgeons and save human life on a daily basis. In a physical sense, they bring salvation, redemption to human bodies. Yet they themselves remain condemned, unregenerate, unable to lift themselves from spiritual bondage as they deliver others from physical bondage. There is one exception, and I wonder at the coincidence that her faith was established in early episodes. She is as frail and subject to failure as the others. But unlike them, she learns. Posse non peccare. Able not to sin.

Monday, October 02, 2006

An Amish Nocturne

Peter Berger calls it a signal of transcendence--an experience in this physical reality that hints that surely something more is out there. He names five: order, hope, play, humor and one other that seems to strike a chord today--damnation.

There are certain actions among humans that seem to demand more than mere justice can provide. Crimes that beg for a punishment greater than we can deliver. Crimes that make us long for a greater justice.

I know, that makes for a lousy theology of Hell and it implies that I am somehow less of a disappointment to God than a man who murders little Amish girls, but days like this at least clarify what Berger meant. That he chose girls is unfathomable. That he bound them and executed them with a 12 gauge is difficult even to type. That he is the third school shooting in a week weakens my resolve. That he took his own life and bypassed a trial is hollow and unsettling.

When we were children, we drilled for an atomic war. We would all joke of the lunacy of sitting beneath a desk to be safe right after we had seen video footage of exactly what a blast would do to us. But there was never a war. We feared it, but it never came.

For our children, life is so very different. They drill for lockdowns. Teachers know how to evacuate a room in secrecy. Administrator speak in code to avoid panic. They know what to do when the first gunshot is heard. And they use it. They used it in Colorado last week. They used in Wisconsin. I'm not so sure about Pennsylvania. This community of pacifists didn't have a lockdown drill in place....

It is quite sobering to consider what our students must feel when they walk into a building that seemed so safe when we were young. It affects the way I teach, or at least, it will.

God told Habbakkuk that it is in mercy that He withholds judgment, for if He so moves, He will judge all, not only those whom we would choose. But there are days when Habakkuk's request is hard not to utter. "How long, O Lord...."