Friday, June 26, 2009

Talkin' Bout ....Pop Music (Friday Five)

OVer at RGBP we read
The sad news of Michael Jackson's untimely death has me thinking about music and its effects on us - individually, as cultures, as generations. Let's think about the soundtracks of our lives...
1) What sort of music did you listen to as a child - this would likely have been determined or influenced by your parents? Or perhaps your family wasn't musical...was the news the background? the radio? Singing around the piano? A variety of things. My father put many many vinyl albums onto cassette. But for years he refused to buy the albums on cassette, preferring to buy the record and then copy it. We had a spectrum that included Olivia Newton John, Jim Croce, Cat Stevens, Carpenters, Kingston Trio, Glenn Yarbough, ABBA. ANd then the bass section of the church choir was known to practice at our place as Christmas or Easter drew near (although this is more in my late teens)

2) Going ahead to teenage years, is there a song that says "high school" (or whatever it might've been called where you lived) to you? In grade 10 we had the "famine songs" (I always liked Britain's Do They Know It's Christmas and Canada's Tears are NOt enough far more than We Are the World). My high school years also carry the memory of pop/disco/dance music mixed with a dose of metal (my grade 9 class was sharply divided between in his point--especially on the question of Duran Duran). A listening to '80s rock always brings me back to those days--through the rose coloured lenses of memory of course.

3) What is your favorite music for a lift on a down day? (hint: go to and type in a performer/composer...see what you come up with!) SOmething with a Celtic lilt or a country beat most often these days. Mind you I am still wondering how Jon BOn Jovi shows up on CMT or why country artists are covering pop/soft rock songs of my teen years.

4) Who is your favorite performer of all time? Honestly? I really don't have one. Mind you the total lack of concert attendance might account for that.... There are artists I like most of what they have done but no real favourite

5) What is your favorite style of music for worship? A mixture. Not fond of praise choruses. Not fond of a lot of classic hymnody. But some classic hymns I love (out of curiosity, what exactly makes a classic??) and certainly a lot of newer hymnody and worship music I love. And of course in part it depends where I am at on that particular day whether a piece speaks to me. In the interest of full disclosure I will note that choosing music for worship often forces me to use pieces I don't like, but of course worship planning isn't all about what I like/need/want is it?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bible Scholars in TRaining???

In this congregation there is a tradition whereby the UCW presents each baptised child with a children's Bible. And so we have three of them in this house.

Until recently they have been put away for safety since when the girls were younger they tended to be very hard on books. But two weeks ago Beloved used one of them to read the story of Ezekiel and the valley of dry bones during Sunday SChool ( the same day that I read a different version of the story for children's time and we listened to Dry Bones in worship).

This was a hit. They were fascinated by the story but also with the Bibles. Now they are the favourite book. Beloved will read out of one while the other two follow along in their copies. ANd they want to have the stories read -- Beloved says they will flip through and see a picture they like and ask for that story (tonight was "the four men in the fire" [Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego]).

Youngest was really excited last night yelling out "I found my leg bone" when she found the Ezekiel story. Her other favourite, the one she often asks for help finding is "the (or my) baby" which is from the beginning of Exodus.

The joys of PKs

Sunday, June 14, 2009

"I Found Jesus!!!"

LAst year we bought a bath book of BIble stories for the girls. Included with the book were some cut out figures to go with the stories (an ark, Moses in a basket, Jesus walking on water etc). The girls greatly enjoy the book (although rarely in the bath, more often as bedtime reading).

ANyway, a month or so ago Beloved was checking that all the figures were in the storage net on the back of the book and noted that Jesus was missing. A quick look around produced no results and since it was bedtime the search was suspended.

A couple days later Monkey suddenly gets very excited and shouts out I found Jesus!,
Awfully young to become an evangelical isn't she?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

BUt I thought Dogs were Hunters??????

Dogs, as is well known, are in the same animal family as wolves. SO they should be natural hunters right?????

Apparently not.

Yesterday afternoon we were all outside and a chipmunk came around the corner. Said chipmunk walked right past the dog who was facing the other way and was halfway across the yard before being noticed. Then tonight, not 30 minutes ago, same thing.

I let the dog (who has Labrador, DAchshund, and Golden Retriever blood in her -- all hunting dogs) out and as I hook her to the chain I notice that there is a bunny sitting in the yard. Bunny is at a spot which, depending how the dog went around things, would be just about the end of the 30' chain. But dog goes the other way, sniffing the ground intently and doesn;t notice. Bunny sits and watches the dog wander across the yard for about a minute and then nonchanlantly hops towards the back of the yard, pauses to look back, then continues on its way. Dog notices NONE of this.

Did I mention that this dog has hunting breeds for lineage????

THe Problem of Suffering

I just finished this book tonight.

Ehrman tells the reader that he was so struck by his struggles with the problem of suffering that it led him out of the faith. In this book he discusses a variety of Scriptural answers to the question of suffering and why he finds all of them unsatisfactory.

I share the struggle with theodicy. I too wonder why bad things happen to good people (and the corollary of why good things happen to bad people). ANd, like Ehrman, I find that many of the answers are unsatisfactory.

The thing is that it just doesn't make sense. As it has been put before, if God is Good then God is not GOD, and if God is GOD then God is not Good. Why do people starve? Why are people so cruel to each other? Why do earthquakes flatten whole villages? If God is, as Scripture claims repeatedly, in charge of everything then why does GOd cause or allow these things to happen?

On the whole I liked the book. HOwever, I had trouble figuring out how Ehrman approaches Scripture and theology. He claims that his academic work forced him away from a literalist approach to Scripture but it still seems at times that he holds on to that literalism. Same with theology. As someone with a doctoral degree in theology you would think that he knows there is a multiplicity of atonement theories in Christian thought but he maintains there is only one -- substitutionary sacrificial satisfaction. Admittedly this ties in to what he is trying to say about what may well be the most common answer to suffering (punishment for sin) in Scripture but still...

In the end I answer the question of suffering with a combination of SCriptural and non-Scriptural answers. It is a mystery (the poetry of Job and the philosophy of Ecclesiastes). It is a reality that will be changed when GOd's reign comes to pass (apocalypticism). And overall, maybe God is not GOD (meaning that God is not all-powerful, all controlling).

But the book is well worth a read. It gives one a chance to explore this issue that, honestly, troubles many people of faith. ANd even if there is no answer we need to ask why there is suffering and what our appropriate response to to that suffering is.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday Five -- Grocery Shopping

1. Grocery shopping--love it or hate it?
A neccessary evil I'd say.

2. Who is the primary food shopper in your household?
Generally all five of us go together. ANd sometimes that is quite an adventure.

3. Do you have a beloved store like TJ's which is unique to your location or family?
We have one grocery store in town.

4. How about a farmer's market, or CSA share, as we move into summer? Or do you grow your own fruits/veggies/herbs?
We grow some root crops and lettuce, just planted them today.

5. What's the favorite thing you buy at the grocery store?
No real favourite, but it is worth noting that we often go to buy milk "and a couple of other things". A full cart and $100 later....