Archive for December, 2007

May whatever peace and joy you have be doubled and tripled this holiday season.

We are off to California to see the fam. I guess that means oh, half my readership will be in my presence for the next weekish. We were going to try to drive there via Chicken Springs Road but I think I got Dr. G to give up on the idea.

Later, Gators!

11 respondents
5 correct– 4
7 correct– 4
8 correct– 2
9 correct– 1

Survey results. 13 people played, but only 11 reported their results. All of them said they got at least half right. I was fascinated by the variety of incorrect answers:
Africa, South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia;
Iran, Turkey;
Hong Kong, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand;
Mexico, Chile, Canada;
France, England, Germany.

Between us We got a lot of the world covered.

What would you say are currently the 10 most populous countries in the world? No cheating and doing and internet search. Someone at work mentioned the surprising fact that Vietnam is #13, which started this whole thing. Okay, here’s the quiz link.

Click Here to take survey

My youngest brother returned from a backpacking trip with his roommates to find a disturbing voicemail from his landlord on the cell phone. “WHAT is the meaning of this?” she asked. His roomates all had similar messages. They knew it must have something to do with the open house. She had called them all constantly in the days leading up to the trip, to make sure everything in the house would be just right and none of the quirky college guys would be around when potential buyers came through. Like good renters, the boys did their duty, cleaning and tidying and absenting themselves. What could it be? they wondered. Did they overlook something?

Well, just one little thing: A dozen signs taped all over the house, threatening violence and destruction in giant red letters.
“You dine in hell tonight!”
“A thousand nations descend upon you! Our arrows will blot out the sun!”
“Picture it reduced to ash at my whim.”

and so on.

They were quotes from the movie 300– decorations for a movie-watching party the guys had held the night before their trip. Whoops. It created a very nice, homey feel, as you might imagine.

Okay, the singer of O Holy Night has revealed himself. It is a Nashville music producer and arranger, who recorded the song on a dare at the end of a long recording session in the 90′s. So, while he is not a singer per se, he knows music and deliberately tried to recreate the many errors he hears beginning singers make. At first he was non-plussed that it got out; now he sees it as a fulfillment of his calling to lift people’s spirits with his musical talent. More info available from fred mckinnon, the blogger and radio personality who broke the story. Includes audio interview with the singer.

UPDATE: Well, someone has added an alternate possible source in the comments section. So, I feel I must clarify that there is still room for doubt. The person on Fred’s site a) does not have any corroborating witnesses (such as the sound engineer who recorded it) b) has only circumstantial evidence and c) doesn’t offer the ultimate proof that I was hoping for: singing at least PART of the song during the interview. However, his speaking voice, the story of the song’s recording, the timing, his musical background, and his speculation on how the song got out all offer a good enough case that I’m quite happy to go with it. Like so many things in life, you pick the best option with the evidence you have, and revise later if necessary. That’s my story and I’m stickin to it!

Tara, a new wife and soon to be new mother, wrote a great post about taking care not to elevate certain life experiences (childrearing and marriage) above others, particularly in their ability to teach commitment, cooperation, and selflessness.
Although I have been married ten years, I have no children. The question of kids always comes up, and with new acquaintances I answer simply: “No, I don’t have any. You?” Often this statement causes an awkward pause. In my Uncharitable Mind Reader moments, I interpret the pause as a mental process wherin the person tries to decide if she should feel sorry for me, or question my priorities. Once a stranger, after the pause, cheerily corrected me: “Yet!” she said. “You mean you don’t have any children yet.”
Yowch! Motherhoodisthepinnacleofwomanhoodism creates some major cultural minefields for me, despite my desire to raise a few mini-mes.
Tara’s post reminded me of some thoughts I’ve had on women’s experiences, and in particular, the experiences of christian women in the protestant church setting. The old strategies of discipling women by preparing them for marriage and motherhood have become inadequate. The reality is that marriage and motherhood are becoming smaller and smaller portions of womens’ lives. We are marrying later, postponing children longer, and having fewer children. We are also living much longer, and often outliving our husbands. An 85-year-old woman may have spent 45 years as an adult without children in the home. She may have spent 40 years or more of her adult life without a marriage partner. In the meantime, she may have travelled the world, earned multiple college degrees, led a nonprofit, patented a magic trick, started a business, taken up gardening, and helped raise a few grandchildren.
Limiting our support of women to mid-day Bible studies and Christian parenting classes just won’t cut it. My current church does not provide any gender-specific ministries as far as I know, which is one solution. But the protestants might could learn a thing or two from the Catholics on how to support single or childless people.
I have always loved, in principle, the idea of convents and monasteries, because they so unequivocally value the lives and experiences of those who do not marry. Convents in particular have the potential to create a community that is as nurturing as a family for women, while still giving them the opportunity for leadership, meaningful careers, and spiritual guidance. Because the religious communities are under the official umbrella of the church, their members are accorded as much or more respect as married women.
Contrast this with the (gradually becoming less?) typical protestant view of singleness or childlessness as a temporary situation to be waited out. Well, many women are “waiting” for decades. In the meantime, real life is happening, important decisions being made, and characters being tried and forged. The organized church is missing some wonderful opportunities.
Now. Caveats, as usual. The reality of some of Catholic organizations is that people abuse their authority, both within the walls and without. There can be secrecy, oppression, extremism, and abuse. The stories in the paper and from family and friends illustrate it over and over. That said, if religious communities for unmarried people worked the way they were supposed to (and I expect that some do), existed in much larger numbers, and were supported out of church budgets, people would flock to them.