Friday, May 29, 2009

Christology for Boys

So here's a conversation between my 3 1/2-year-old boy and his older brother (and I'm not exaggerating this at all):

R:  My head is going to crack right down the middle.
L:  Yeah!  Down the middle!
R:  And it's going to break open.
L:  Yeah!  Break open!
R:  And blood is going to shoot out everywhere (lots of dramatic emphasis using hands).
L:  Yeah!  Blood everywhere!
R:  And the blood is going to flow all over my body.
L:  Yeah!  All over your body!
R:  And then my arms are going to fall off (more dramatic emphasis).
L:  Yeah!  Your arms!
R:  And they're going to rip apart.
L:  Yeah!  Rip apart!
R:  And blood is going to flow everywhere.
L:  Yeah!  Everywhere!
R:  And it's going to happen to everyone in the world.
L:  Yeah!  Everyone in the world!
R:  Except.....for Jesus.
L:  Yeah!  Except for Jesus!

My husband assures me that they're normal boys.  I surely hope they turn out normal.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Guess Not Much Has Changed in the Last 100 Years or So

"It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights.  It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it.  It drags itself out of a dark abysm...of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh.  It is rumble and bumble.  It is flap and doodle.  It is balder and dash."

--H.L. Mencken on a political speech by then-President Warren G. Harding

Yet In My Flesh Shall I See God

Today I had news that an old friend of the family passed away.  The news story is here.  I first met the Bettger family when I was probably about 9 years old or so and we went to church together for many years and I was friends with both their children.  Their father, Tom, was riding his bike home from an errand last Thursday when he was hit by a car while crossing the intersection.

Tom Bettger was a godly man who served his church, community, and family.  He was kind and compassionate and involved in many missionary projects throughout his lifetime.  If you think of it, please pray for his widow, Kathy, and their two adult children Molly and Andy and their families.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Well-Behaved Women Don't Invent History

So I've been having fun continuing the project of my massive family tree.  The next step was to do quick internet searches to find historical people in the line and write a short summary of who they were and what they did.  Yes, I know, the internet is full of bad information--but I've mostly just been looking to see if someone was known in history at all.  One thing that I noticed about halfway through the Middle Ages somewhere is that there were some pretty amazing women around then!  Here are some of the more interesting ones (both good and nasty):

Aelia Eudoxia (d. 404): She was the wife of the Eastern Roman Emperor, Arcadius.  She actively supported orthodox, Nicene Christianity and gave money to fund the anti-Arians.  She became an enemy of John Chrysostom when he condemned women's lavish dresses and parties, because she thought she was being targeted.  She had him exiled twice.  During his second exile she bled to death after miscarrying her seventh child.

Aelia Eudocia (401-460):  She was a servant who had been deprived of her father's inheritance by her evil brothers.  She went to court in Constantinople to plead her case, and her persistence attracted the attention of the emperor Theodosius' sister, Pucheria.  Pucheria hired her as a lady-in-waiting and taught her manners, introducing her to her brother.  Eudocia and Theodosius II were married and she became empress.

Basina de Thuringia:  She left her husband and went to Gaul (France), where she proposed to the King of the Franks and he married her.  She is known for saying, "I want to have the most powerful man in the world, even if I have to cross the ocean for him."  She is the mother of Clovis, the first Frankish king to convert to Christianity.

Theodelinde of Bavaria (570-625):  Married to the King of the Lombards, but when he died she chose to marry his brother, making him king.  She worked hard to restore orthodox/Nicene Christianity to primacy in Italy, fighting against Arianism.  She built many churches in Lombardy and Tuscany, including a cathedral.

Fredegonde (543-597):  A servant and mistress of the Frankish king Chilperic I.  After he murdered his wife she became queen.  She had one brother-in-law assassinated and made attempts on the life of her other two brothers-in-law.  When her husband mysteriously died, she took his money and her infant son and took refuge in a cathedral in Paris.  She had her infant nephew killed so that her son would inherit his lands.  Gregory of Tours says that she was "ruthlessly murderous" and "sadistically cruel" with "few rivals in monstrousness."  She may be the source of the evil stepmother in Cinderella fables.

Emma Welf of Altorf (d. 875):  Wife of the German King Louis.  She led an army against insurrectionists who tried to capture her husband.  The traitor was so frightened by the arrival of the queen at the battle lines that he fled to exile.  She had seven children.

Gisele, Princess of France (820-876):  Youngest daughter of the French Louis I and named after Charlemagne's sister (her aunt).  She was known for her piety and virtue and was the sole educator of all nine of her children.

Oxburth of Wight (810-835):  She was the mother of Alfred the Great who said she was "a religious woman, noble both by birth and by nature."

One of the bumper stickers that I despise the most is "Well-Behaved Women Don't Make History."  I've always tried to come up with a witty comeback for that one, and my husband finally helped me come up with one: "Well-Behaved Women Don't Invent History."  These Ancient and Medieval women were anything but pushovers and pawns.  They influenced entire nations and empires--either by their righteousness or wickedness.  Many of them even converted their husbands through their examples of faithfulness, or were only known because their powerful children praised them, like Alfred the Great's mother.  I'm not sure of the definition of "well-behaved" would be, but hopefully the feminists aren't asking for another Fredegonde.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fun with Swine Flu

I've been enjoying myself the last few weeks following the breathless pronouncements made by governmental authorities on how worried we should be about the swine flu.  Now, don't get me wrong, I have some missionary friends in Mexico where this has been serious business; but even they've been a little overwhelmed by paranoia.

So far, here are my favorite stories:
1.  You would think the Muslims would be grateful that they don't eat pork during this time, but even they're getting in on the action.  It seems like the lone pig of Afghanistan just got a little more lonely.

2.  This one I heard on the news yesterday and I thought it was a joke (if you didn't think #1 was a joke, which it isn't).  The WHO has stated that swine flu is not a pandemic...but if it was at least 2 billion people could be infected.  Isn't that a little like the USGS saying that there hasn't been a big earthquake in California...but if there was a lot of people could die!  It's a good thing we have experts in these things.

3.  The last one isn't a news story, but more like some literal swine flu fun.  The game is called "Sneeze," and although it starts out fun, it gets a little more creepy.  I started to wonder if that's what viruses do with their time off?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Just What I Needed

I love You Tube.  Every nostalgic bone in your body can be fed in an instant.  I just found a few favorite gems from years past, that also remind me that being over 30 isn't such a bad thing after all.

Check this out.  You can't beat the dancing girls, and the sunglasses.  Do you think their lead singer looks like Mark Hamill?

And how about these guys?  Don't you love the era when you could be manly, play guitar, have a bushy beard, and wear silvery, skin-tight pants?  I think the drummer's a caveman.

Aaahhh..those were the good times.  Of course I don't remember much of them, since I was either not quite born yet, or still in diapers, but I do miss their music.  And their clothes and their cars.

Can you tell I just figured out how to embed videos?  Welcome to the space age!