Thursday, October 19, 2017

More than Three Wishes

A book from my own library came across my path.  The author is the well known Joerg Zink, theologian, poet, activist.  Along with poems it features lovely nature photography.  The tittle is  "More Than Three Wishes"  ("Mehr als drei Wuensche")

We received it from an Aunt and Uncle, as per signature on the front page,  and I am guessing, they gave it when Stefan was suddenly taken from us.

At this present time, I am considering passing it on to a relative in Germany who has taken seriously ill with a brain tumor.  

But before I pass it on, I have to quickly read it again.  :)

This is a poem that caught my attention:

"Was ich dir wuensche?
Nicht, dass du 
der schoenste Baum bist,
der auf dieser erde steht.
Nicht, 
dass du jahraus, jahrein
leuchtest von blueten
an jedem Zweig.

Aber dass dann und wann
an irgendeinem Ast
eine Bluete aufbricht,
dass dann und wann
etwas Schoenes glingt,
irgendwann
ein Wort der Liebe
ein Herz findet,
das wuensche ich dir."

Along with the poem we find a picture of tree branches that are very bare, except for scattered, scarlet irregular blosssoms.

Here it is in English translation (mine).

"What is my wish for you?
Not, that you are the very most beautiful tree,
that stands on this earth.
Not,
that you shine, 
year after year,
with blossoms
on every branch,

but that from time to time,
on any branch,
a blossom opens up,
that, from time to time,
something Beautiful succeeds,
that at times,
a Word of Love,
finds a heart,
--that is, what I wish for you."

It almost makes me cry because it so humble, yet profound in its aspirations, a prayer, a hope, slim or wide, taking into account all the suffering and frailties we experience in a lifetime...

The language, too, is humble.  It reminds us of the fairy tales with three wishes for oneself, but here someone has a wish for someone else, for that person to receive and give some things of beauty and love, any thing, any time, any place.





Image result for tree branches with a few blossoms



Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Luther's 95 Theses

Read Luther's 95 theses all here.

This morning, I read quickly through all the theses, realizing how the indulgence trade sparked the reformation debate.  The indulgence sale for the sins of those in purgatory, was the opposite to the Christian faith, a perversion, a greater one could not be imagined.  The sheep were being fleeced while deprived of pastoral care, without the preaching of repentance and faith in Christ.  A wolf was pretending to be shepherd.  The indulgence salesman was authorized by the papacy.

Former critics had been put to death.  Savonarola, Hus, were the first martyrs of the Reformation, even before Luther came along.  He, too, was to be killed, but he lived, and wrote, and spoke, and argued, and set the world on fire for freedom in Christ who is the true Lord and lover of the church.

I love here, the reversal of how the gospel makes the first, last, and indulgences make the last, to be first.  The Gospel is a reversal, but indulgences reverse the reversal:  the ones with the most money to spend can make it into heaven the fastest. The closest to the ecclesiastical levers of power, can even be the ones to profit from it all monetarily.  It was as sick, as sick could be. And how does Luther go about it?  He writes and calls for debate.

 "The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep."  The church of the day, asked the sheep to lay down their lives for the false shepherds.

1. When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said “Repent,” he intended that the entire life of believers should be repentance.


62. The true treasure of the church is the most holy gospel of the glory and grace of God.
63. But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last.
64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first.

94. Christians are to be exhorted to be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, death, and hell;
95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven through many tribulations, rather than through the false assurance of peace.


Image result for Good shepherd

Drugs and Trucks

Blogging is such a thing, pro's and con's.  On one hand, it lets you get stuff off your chest, and vocalize what moves you.  On the other hand, it seems to become too easy to just complain and oppose, and that about many and various things.  So.

Lately, we observed, that families fall apart.  A wife moves out with the children or the man is kicked out.  One or both partners find new partners, and the children live with a step-parent.  It so then turns out, that a man lives with a woman and her children (they don't actually get married but talk about their "fiance"), and somewhere else the father lives in another new family.  Both men will be required to pay spousal and child support.  So in each household, money flows out to another household, and money flows in from another household.  You would think, all could be considered well, but obviously, the parents are living in biblical sin, and the children are mostly separated from their fathers.

There are many sides here that could be discussed, but one we talked about over dinner was, that in the end effect the money ends up in the mothers' hands to support the children, whereas before, the fathers, unfortunately, especially in Alberta, might have spent the money on "drugs and trucks".  Many a fellow made a lot of money in the oil patch, and was--sadly--gone from home a lot.  And so it went.  Such are some everyday tragedies that happen in these parts.



Image result for beautiful pick-up truck

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

White Linen

There has always been something particularly festive and beautiful about white linen.  Not only is it very clean and bright, it signals a special occasion and joy, also seriousness, decorum and good manners.

For Canadian Thanksgiving, yesterday, I had decided to reconfigure my little living/dining room to be able to seat 12 people and also be able to remove the tables again.  I ended up with using five bistro tables from IKEA--two I owned already, and purchased three more.  To cover them, I cut in half several white table cloths in my stash.

(I used to own  some monographed heirloom linen, passed down through the generations from unknown individuals.  They were incredibly tough and irregular, the real item, something everybody should have a chance to handle once with their own hands.)

So, in the end, I had five tables covered in white.  Afterwards I realized that my meal might stain the cloths fairly permanently, with the type of sauces I had chosen to make. I almost opted to run to Home Hardware to get some custom size vinyl covers.  But no, vinyl covers ruin the whole effect.  NO, no, no, no, no.  We will see how it goes.



















OF COURSE, we ended up with some spicy red stains on the table cloths.  Thanks to our trusty new programmable washing machines these days, I could choose a nice long, very hot wash with extra long spin cycle, etc.  All, said, by washing the cloths hard and adding some bleach, they came out beautifully white and shiny, again. --Whew.

My husband asked me about the cloths, afterward, as I folded them after drying.  "How did the stains come out?"  I said to him: "This is the beauty of white.  You can wash it like crazy, add the bleach, and voila, it is white again."

You can always clean and bleach white again.

And again.

All of which reminded me of the multitude of Saints who are before the throne dressed in white.  It is a white that has been given them, by the lamb, through trials and tribulations.  There is nothing easy about this white.  And it needs tough rewashing all the time. It needs very hot water, and lots of tumbling, to get the stains out.  It is a beautiful and costly white, but one that can always be recovered again.  Such, also is our life.


Friday, September 8, 2017

Just Breathe or Smoke

We have arrived in some sort of post-cognitive age.  It's not pretty.

We are supposed to relax and meditate and stop thinking.  Fine.  Sometimes, it's good to just be quiet.  But this has become the "answer" to everything.

Oh, sometimes, they "pray" for things to "just go away".  Yes, right.  If we just breathe, maybe things will just go away.  Actually, no, mostly they won't.  The problem will stick around and get worse and worse.  And then you will take some marijuana, which will now be legal, and everything will be better.  No, it won't.

Funny, everyone is trying to get us to learn to think, think from a free and clear mind, unencumbered by history and moral teachings.  But I think we just end up breathing and smoking, and maybe go to a demonstration, to which they have a counter-demonstration, and everyone just breathes fire. Then they can go and just meditate and breathe after that.  Oh, they may have some free sex from the gender-fluid life, in between.

If you have some actual points to make about something, you will be derided as "not loving", as "unkind", as "rude", as "aggressive", or possibly "micro-aggressive."  That seems to be the flip-side of the the just stay cool and breathe message.  Breathe, stop thinking, stop talking, stop arguing, stop saying what you think or believe. The more they breathe and smoke, the less you are allowed to say something to them or discuss any actual problems.


Image result for breathe and relax


Someone, I know, is praying right now (I don't know to whom), that his problems will just go away.  He has messed up his family life, messed up his financial life, messed up his health, and he is hoping his problems are just going to vaporize.  It does not work that way.  Denial has never yet solved a problem.  Shouting down those with unpleasant messages, has not yet solved anything.  You are in trouble.  Big trouble.  You do need a plan.  There are consequences to stupid decisions.  There are also consequences to doing nothing and saying nothing.  Often, we are just talking about not wanting to be responsible for anything.

I looked up Mandy Hale, whose quote I pasted above.  She seems to be a lovely, young woman, who can't seem to nail down a relationship with a man, and makes a living giving dating advice.  I suppose this just happened to her:  her relationships don't go anywhere and voila she has found a lucrative calling.  How nice.  I don't want to put her down, but the women in my life who are ready for marriage and who are committed Christians and solid in many ways, have married and found permanent and lasting relationships.  What kind of dating advice can Mandy Hale really give:  breathe...

Then there is this guy on Youtube:  "How Yoga ruined my life".  It's a misleading title.  But hey, I clicked on it, and he made income from the advertisement I watched.  Really, he wants to tell you, that he found his calling being a yoga teacher.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyX6_todmrg  Here, I am sending you to it.  He will make a little bit more money.  He is going to be a teacher, who teaches you nothing but to relax, and he will make money from this message.  We are indeed, hopeful idiots and people can sell us anything that is easy.



Saturday, September 2, 2017

"Das Feld ist weiss" / September 2

Image result for reaping


Decades ago, I learned a song our religion class teacher asked us memorize.  The German language text is further down, with a link to the melody with chords.

"The field is white,
the the full ear of the grain is bowing down,
to show honor to its Maker.
They call:  Come Reaper, the the sickle ring!
Let the praise of our Lord sound loudly."

This is an amazing verse.  It has echoed in my mind over the years.
There is the picture of the harvest.  The ear of grain and the honor of God have the same sound in German:  "Aehre" and "Ehre".   The grain, the harvest give honor and sound like honor.  They are the same.  And they give honor as they are ready to be cut down by the reaper.  This is the harvest we bring in in the fall and the harvest of souls that belongs to the Lord, Almighty.  He has a reaper with a sickle, our death.  Wow.   I have never harvested a grain field.  I don't know what ringing sickles sound like.  Hm. The ringing stands for the singing of praise.

"One year, All Gracious, you let it grow,
until the seed ripened for us, which will nourish us.
Now you grant it to us and we gather in the gift.
From you comes all that we have."

"Your glory remains to all eternity.
May your arms always accompany us with protection. 
May the praise of our lips please you!
With joy we sing of all your works!"





LIEDTEXT

Das Feld ist weiß, die Ähren all sich neigen,
um ihrem Schöpfer Ehre zu bezeigen.
Sie rufen: Schnitter, laßt die Sicheln schallen
und unsers Herren Lob laut widerhallen!

Ein Jahr, Allgüt'ger, ließest du es währen,
bis uns gereift die Saat, die uns soll nähren.
Nun du sie spendest, sammeln wir die Gabe.
Von deiner Huld kommt alle unsre Habe.

Dein Ruhm besteh in alle Ewigkeiten!
Uns Arme wolle stets dein Schutz begleiten!
Laß unsrer Lippen Dank dir wohlgefallen!
Fröhlich wir singen deinen Taten allen.


September/ harvest /legacy

September has arrived and it is getting a little cooler.  The aspen are sporting yellow leaves even without there having been any frost, as yet.  I love the fall if we can hang on to the colorful leaves for a while and the storms don't forcefully blow them all off. Our Northern Alberta apples have turned red and are extremely tasty.  We can eat them right off the tree, sparing us the purchases from the grocery store.

It is a time to take some stock.  Where has the summer gone;  what did we do with it.  What are the plans for the winter and what are the plans for further down the road;  God willing, there will be time further down the road.  Sometime one thinks that the time is getting short.

Which brings me to a word that I have heard several times lately--it is the word "legacy".  What kind of "legacy" are you leaving?  What kind of "legacy" are you building?  What kind of "legacy" has someone left?  The word jars me.  For one thing it jars me because I am not used to hearing it.  How has it become fashionable? It also jars me because it speaks of accomplishment and pride and reputation.

I have mixed feelings about it.  As a Christian, I don't think in terms of "legacy".  I think in terms of "faithfulness."   Did we do the right thing?  Did we persevere in trials?  Did we honor God's glory before ours?  Did we acknowledge God's grace and help in any or all accomplishments?  Did we wish to serve before wishing to shine?  But also, did we manage to be productive and rule a household well and pass on the faith to succeeding generations, or if we did not have our own household, did we manage to contribute to other people's lives and hopes.  It is in this way that we "build a legacy".

But it seems to me that people apply the word in myriad different ways.  Some seem to mean:  "Since there is no eternal life, let me live on in people's hearts."  Some seem to mean:  "Let me be a progressive activist, so I can think that I have helped change the world for better (by destroying bourgeois values of family, etc.)".  Some mean:  "Let me rise in my profession and career, amass a little fortune, and have something to show for myself."  Some of these things have some value.  (Some not.)   However, in a strictly atheistic view, it is hard to determine any meaning or value in anything, at all, theoretically speaking.  In actual fact, no one can live without meaning.  So what is the meaning behind the word "legacy" for them?  It is a good question.  We should ask them about it when they use the word "legacy."


 Image result for harvest

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Two more Weekends




Two more weekends!  We are on the marathon to finish a summer full of events such as weddings, wedding anniversaries, birthdays and family reunions.  To make it busier, I have been engaged to play piano and organ at some of these.

Overlaid over all this celebrating was all the world-wide political turmoil, and this reminds me of Jesus' saying, that he will come like a thief in the night while people are busy doing their business, getting married... Even Luther said, in any case, if he knew ahead of time, he would still plant that apple tree, do what he loved.

Nevertheless, as we know, man is like the grass, here today, fresh and green, and gone tomorrow.  I did feel very mortal this summer.  I did lose some sleep worrying over Korea and the new missiles. Fall will come and after seasons or weddings and anniversaries come seasons of funerals and losses.  But please not such a horror as we can imagine.

We've been reading Romans, at home, and it helped me.  One, if Abraham is the father of faith believing that from death can come new life, so can we.  And also, if Christ died for all of us, we can die, too.  We shall, by God's grace, follow in their footsteps, dying and rising.


Image result for Romans letter

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Discernment

It has happened to me lately, that people who profess to profess Nothing, have written off anyone who believes Something, as "divisive", "stupid", and "full of phobias".

When they have said this to me, directly, to the face, as a confessing Christian/Lutheran, even though I have tried to treat them with consideration and care, have fed them, given them free lessons, helped their children--even though they profess to believe Nothing--I don't think they really have thought about what they are doing to the interpersonal relationship in the community we actually live in.

As Jesus said:  "Father forgive them, they don't know what they are doing."  He said this while they were nailing him to the cross.  I don't think they have really thought about it.

We must note, however, that they have made it very easy for themselves.  They don't know what you believe, don't want to know what you believe, don't want to know the reasons why, don't want to know how these beliefs contrast with others, they only know one thing:  they are better because the confess Nothing.

It is really quite a magic trick.  By a slight of hand you can accuse others of everything and anything, and absolve yourself of everything and anything, even "without" "religion".

I mean, even the famous Dalai Lama, sits and smiles and wishes everyone the best, but condemns monotheistic religions and anyone who has a God with "attributes."

Or the other day, Pope Francis, in the name of global citizenship, critiques all conservative American Protestants and their Roman Catholic supporters.  Somehow, he expects American Roman Catholics to have no political views, all the while he meddles in American affairs by commenting.

Of course, nobody professes Nothing.  The Dalai Lama advocates acquiescence but campaigns for Tibet.  The Pope has his own political ideas, just not in line with a number of conservatives in the world or his curia. The friendly atheist is about as fervent as anyone can come in his non-ideology.  And indeed, he is rarely friendly, by the way, but I don't think he sees it.

It is one thing to accuse someone of some real faults, and there we all should have our ears opened.  We all have major issues.  And as Paul and Jesus point out to us all, there is not one righteous.  (Read the Sermon on the Mount, and also the Letter to the Romans.)  (Not a single one.  Not you.  And not me.)  Fine.  I certainly confess exactly that, that I am not righteous, but only that my Lord is righteous.  But when someone is accused of stupidity, just because he believes Something, we have someone acting as an accuser who would like to be righteous on his own terms.

It does not work, though.  It never has.




Liberal Onslaught on Christianity Continues - Here's the Proof an Anti-Christian Bigotry Map

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Funeral for German Roman Catholic Bishop

Just to mention:  I don't follow Roman Catholic teachers and bishops, but someone sent me these two links to Cardinal Meisner.  They were very interesting and somewhat edifying, but they are in the German language.  In one of them Cardinal Meisner recounts the events of his life under dictatorships and expulsion from Silesia.  Since my father and his family was expelled from Silesia, and many ethnic Germans where I live in Canada have refugee background, this was important to me, touchingly and well told.

Here is the link to the funeral.

Here is the link to the interview and life story telling.

I enjoyed the sermon at the funeral when it focused on adoration of God and how we become important and human to each other when we adore God.  It reminded me of Bonhoeffer's "Life Together", where he shows that we don't live to manipulate each other, but that we are brothers and sisters to each other in Christ, and only in Christ.  Jesus is with us and between us.  All of this made me push harder to have evening devotions with my husband, he and I now being our own little home congregation of two.

In speaking about the expulsion from Silesia, Meisner points out, how many people had to go through heroic efforts to get their families out alive in severe winter weather, traveling the roads and relying on help from strangers.  His group survived intact, but we also know of plenty of tragedies.  These things are hardly treated in the media and history telling, which is unfortunate, he observes.  Yes, spoken like a Silesian.

He also tells stories about being Catholic in East Germany and contrasts his approach to Angela Merkel's. He explains how he was moved to Cologne from Berlin, by the Pope, against his own wishes to remain in Communist Germany to bloom where he is planted, so to speak.  He obviously was a thorn in a few people's sides, but he always considered this a good sign--it meant to him that he was on the right path.

So much about that, but now I have the links here.


Image result for Cardinal Meisner

Friday, August 4, 2017

Dear Blog



Dear Blog:  I have neglected you for three months.  There are a number of reasons for this.  Firstly, the world seems to be going from bad to worse, and I really did not want to write about it since everyone can read about it for themselves, though it does seem that quite a few have their heads in the sand, not bothering with much besides themselves. Nevertheless, there are many things that worry many of us, from North Korea, to Trump, to Trudeau, to transgender-ism pushed on little children, to the persecution of Christians around the world, and so on.  But I want to leave all that alone.  It is a vale of tears, and one day our Lord will sort it all out...  We pray, and vote and discuss where it makes sense to.

The second reason is that we have managed to go on holiday to Germany for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. This kept us busy, but I can write some things about that, which could be interesting and which might be fun for me to reflect upon.  I also picked up some cookbooks and maybe I will post some recipes and things I've tried. I have mostly given up on dialectics and discussions, as they have seemed mostly fruitless.  Maybe the men should hash it out among themselves.  Let the fighting-cocks keep going at it forever, and ever.  I have promised myself to stop wasting my time.

I do want to write some things because I am finding that after three months of summer fun, I need to pull some of my thoughts together. We started bullet journal-ling in our home, one for him and one for me, which has helped us tremendously in staying focused and in touch with each other about items for the calendar or shopping, etc. In the back, I write some some thoughts, but mostly, I let some other people write thoughts in it.  This has been fun, but it is not reading and blogging.

I seriously do recommend the bullet journaling to everyone, as we are pulled in so many directions these days, and it can really help you put your mind to things.  Seriously.  My bullet journal is a pink Leuchtturm.  I love the feel of the paper and after all this typing we have been doing since the advent of the internet, I truly adore the feeling of paper between my fingers.  Adore.  The Leuchtturm paper is buttery and luxurious and such a thrill.


Saturday, May 6, 2017

Boys and Girls

The other day, on the Saturday before Easter, to be precise, and this matters, I was driving around finishing the last shopping for the holiday, or rather "Holy Day".  As I used to do often, I was listening to the CBC talk radio.

However, judging by the radio programming, there was no such thing as a holy week, or holy day.  A beautiful, warm, practiced, professional baritone read out an article highlighting the evils of toys that are pink or blue.

The whole experience was somewhat jarring, except we are now getting used to this sort of propaganda and lecturing at all corners.  Some of us still remember having home-made toys from various brown-colored things, such as thread spools, wood, hay, straw, and so on.  We had puppets that had clothes of all colors:  kings, queens, devils, crocodiles, jester... things that belonged into any stock puppet play.  Perhaps, it was inappropriate that the devil was red, and the queen had a red gown, made by my grand-mother, that the princess was pretty and the jester looked crazy. Whatever.

According to the article read out so beautifully, professionally, during the 50's and 60's, or when-ever, in America, or where-ever, with commercialization the boy's toys became blue and the girl's toys became pink.  Perhaps, our set was lucky to escape this sort of commercialization somehow.  The evil involved with this, however, was that girls were somehow conditioned to become domesticated.

Aha, here we have it. From experience, I must say that I have worked in childcare settings and in pre-school settings, and I have noticed that the little girls like to play house in the kitchen set no matter what color it is.  They imitate their parents, if not their mothers.  These days, they perform all plastic kitchen set duties with a pretend plastic phone squeezed between their ears and shoulder.  They are already learning that women must multi-task rather than really attend to the baby. Maybe that is the really sad part.

Anyways, as I am driving around and listening to the sanctimony from the CBC radio, I wow again to give up listening to the CBC, as they are not increasing my Easter devotion, (which is something it could have attempted to do and used to do through music selections, and such).  (These days, I only take in the six o'clock world radio news over the dinner housework, in order avoid all the transgender stories, such as "a man who is transgender is a pianist and he/she--I forget--hates the shape of his/her hands, as they don't match his/her image of himself/herself.  There is way too much of that sort of thing, endlessly.  I hope CBC reads this, as I was always a loyal listener and deeply appreciative of its services.)

Nevertheless, I did make a discovery the other day at the second hand store.  I donate and sometimes pick up little things, there, like books or toys.  Lo and Behold, within 5 min., on one shelf, the whole Boy and Girl thing displayed itself before me quite vividly and tangibly:  1.  a little wooden treasure chest from the Grand Canyon for "boys", a book of prayers for "boys", and a book of stories for "girls".

Well, well, well.  For some reason, I was completely spared this sort of phenomenon.  How is it possible?  Was it the non-commercialized childhood I enjoyed?  We had a children's Bible with a brown linen cover and hardly any pictures, and they were not in color.  We had a similar thick tome of Grimm's Fairy Tales, unabridged and uncensored with hardly any pictures, but in color.  We played outside and did our own thing. Our Mom's tended the kitchen, and since they had children, the Dad's helped. We had a Lego train set and we all played with with.  And so on.

The first time I ever  felt excluded from an activity as a girl was when we visited Canada and my uncle would not take me on the boat saying that fishing was not for girls.  It struck me as rather insulting, at the time and hurt me an awful lot.

 But in the end he was right.  Fishing is not for me.  (But I know many women who love fishing.)

Just to reiterate, in my childhood, I had never seen such a pink monstrosity.