Monday, October 24, 2005


Of Pumpkins, Saints, and Reformers

Halloween is fast approaching and I will be off blog for most of this week so I wanted to share a few thoughts here before I take a break.

Found this poem by Nancy G. Westerfield , published in 1997 in Theology Today. It is an interesting combination of things going on here. I am not sure I fully understand the poem yet but I like it and I offer it here for your Halloween/Reformation Day reflections.

All Hallow's Eve

Brother Martin has turned on the monastery's
Portal lights to welcome any trick-or-treaters,
And Brother Matthew, manning the entryway,
Has set out his p ampkin-colored party cups
Of treats. They wait. Only a neighborhood
Few will come tonight, from those parish
Families who remember the monastery's friendly
Lights from their own childhood, Most
Will be driven out to the Mall
For its strobe-lit ghoulishness. Evening
Deepens. The steps have been ascended
By scarcely a dozen solemn witches, clowns,
And Cinderellas. Brother Martin yawns,
When the bell is .rung. The foursome at the doorway
Are curiously costumed, curiously crowned by masks,
Their hands extended more as in giving than asking.
Dimly in that wan light, they loom alien
And yet familiar, friendly: one tall and leonine,
One eagle-headed, one ox-horned, one a man.

Yes, my kids will go trick or treating, one in the clown costume an older woman in my church (Nina Shedlov) made for me when I was in first grade, the other as either Smaug the dragon or Batman, he's not sure yet.

Anyway, while I understand at some level the issues some Christians have with what can be the darker side of Halloween , I don't fully get it. In my mind if we point our kids to appropriate costumes and appropriate celebrations (ie trick or treating, a party at a home vs. egging and tping houses) we are being a witness to the world rather then acting afraid of the world. Christ has won the victory, conquered death, demons and hell in an ultimate sense and while the principalities and powers are real and to be taken seriously I don't think that means avoiding things like Halloween altogether.

I know many churches will have Reformation Day Celebrations on Halloween. No problem, that is when Luther did his thing and it is an important part of our Christian Heritage. I just don't feel they need preclude each other as so much presented on the subject seem to assume they must.

I grew up in the Episcopal Church were all Saint's Day is celebrated on Nov. 1st each year, generally with a communion or morning prayer service that includes the listing of those who have died in the congregation in the year past and other deaths, recent or not so recent that are important to the members of the congregation. I have heard some misidentify this as praying to or for the dead. While I suppose that may be how it is seen or presented in some congregations it was never so in my experience. Rather it is a rememberance of them, their faith and witness to us and praying that we would not soon forget them or what we learned/gained from them in this life and being thankful to God for His influence on us through them.

The collect for All Saint's Day from the 1953 Book of Common Prayer reads:
O Almighty God, who has knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son our Lord; Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all various and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys which thou hast prepared for those who unfeignedly love thee, through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Also relevant to my remembrance of that celebration is a favorite children's hymn, I Sing A Song of The Saint's of God.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


Piqued my Interest this week

It has been a busy week, only getting done some of what I wanted to. But there were a few interesting things that kept me happy and thinking while I worked.

Today on Studio 360 they did an episode on Monsters, including an interview with Anne Rice, a piece on Golliwogs and a piece on "Creepy Kids". I was particularly intrigued by the "creep kids" segment, not because I like horror movies or creepy kids but because of the social commentary it included with comments like: "Fragmentation of the family is the locus of horror" and observations by Anne Rice about modern confusion about what a child is and that late 19th and all of 20th century we have been "terrified with regard to children".

Thursday night Paul and I actually got to go out to a movie!! We went to see Serenity.
We had really enjoyed the canceled tv show Firefly, out of which the movie came and wanted to see it before it left theatres. I was not dissapointed. I really enjoyed the movie, included some unexpected events. I am mostly just sorry that the series was canceled necessitating a movie to tie up the loose ends. I would have enjoyed watching the characters develop and finding out the information in a slower manner.
The hardest part of the movie was that a couple had brough their 7 or 8 year old son with them. The movie was fairly intense in many of its battle scenes, lots fierce foes, death, skeletons, destruction etc. Though not too gory, it was intense. I was not sure if I would fall asleep right away and couldn't help worrying about how it would effect this child. In the parent's defence the movie was rated PG and had no sex and no profanity. I know I don't do a perfect job in what I expose my kids to but it just worried my heart for this kid.

A friend told me how much her teen was enjoying The Lemony Snicket, Series of Unfortunate Events books. So when we went to the Library I went to check the first one out. It was only available on tape so I have been listening to it while I do dishes and am enjoying it and intrigued.

My interests in both Archaeology and Museums were fed by The Getty Museum's current legal woes related to looted/stolen works of art. It seems that a number of their holdings have questionable proveniances. (Unfortunately this is not uncommon in the museum world) In this case though the country of origin (Italy) is going after the material and seems to have a case. I agree that this needs to be taken seriously because the market for ancient art leads to the looting of sites and the loss of information for everyone and of cultural patrimony for countries of origin. I agree that it makes it hard for museums to collect certain types of material and when museums don't take this material it can mean more of it goes "underground" to private collectors where it is not in the public domain for research or enjoyment. However, that is not a reason for an institution to traffic in illegal or ethically dubious practices. The sadest part here is that the woman who was director of the Getty at the time the law suit was brought, though not apparently when the material was acquired, is the one being taken to court and she had been working to reform the Getty's acquistion practices.

Monday, October 17, 2005


Complete Makeover the Garage Edition?

This bit of breaking news sure makes me glad we did some spring cleaning on Saturday. Seems you never know when an AP reporter or your spouse might be having a slow and desperate moment.

Wonder how well some of their garages would stand up to inspection?

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Home Sweet....

Our senior pastor, Phil Ryken, gave a very moving "window on the world" as part of the service last Sunday night. It was prompted by the occasion that his parents have recently moved from his boyhood home. He shared his memories and then reminded us where our real home is. Its one of those things you know but that it is good to be reminded of from time to time and especially in a way that was so personal and obviously heartfelt and not just being said as a "truism".

My parent's moved from my childhood home many (20?) years ago. But I still have strong and important memories of that house and the fun times I spent there. We moved my husband's parents out of his boyhood home 3 years ago. That house too holds special memories, in fact tonight my daughter held up an orange bear we"inherited" when they moved and said "I used to use this for the Momma Bear when we played Goldilocks on the stairs at Grammy's old house, that was one of my favorite things".

Here are a few of my favorite memories of my childhood home. What are some of yours?

1) The way the Christmas tree sparkled through the front door as you drove up the driveway on cold snowy night and just made you feel welcome and warm.

2) The tree out back where I would go climb up and sit on a branch with my back against the trunk and read when my mom told me to go "play outside".

3) The sound of my parents playing bridge with friends or of my mom typing a paper for me in the kitchen as it wafted down the hall while I lay in bed.

4) The lime aftershave smell of the basement bathroom that my dad always used.

5) My sister's double bed and the wide headboard it had which we used to stand on as a mountain when playing "sound of music" and how we both slept there on Christmas eve along with every stuffed animal we both owned.

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