Friday, July 15, 2011

A Friday Five about Gratitude

Over at Rev Gal Blog Pals, Jan says, "A wise person once told me to make an ABC list of things I am grateful for any time I feel sad or depressed. It is a good practice when one is feeling happier than that, too. So for this Friday Five, I suggest that you use your name or nickname of about five letters and express your gratitude about something that starts with each letter. Some people have longer names, so you decide how you will go about this! (Last names, middle names, and nicknames count!)"

Since my name is six letters, that's close enough!  Here's my list:  Feel free to join me.

D.  Daffodills are my favorite flower.  I've always liked them because of the vivid color and the little "trumpet" shape (that says "rejoice" to me) but I have grown even more fond of them living in a snowy, "up north" state.  Winters are long and monochromatic and about April we start watching (it's way too early, but we watch anyhow) for some sign of color.  Usually by May we see the daffodills and tulips poking up.  It is like a peal of song, a ray of light, a glimpse of joy and hope after a difficult time.  I like dandilions too, but that's another issue...

O. about...organ music?  I remember the first time I heard the music I'm about to share.  I was about 12 years old, and pipe organs (being from a very simple Baptist church) were not generally part of my life.  What is more majestic than a really big, beautiful, organ played by someone skilled?  It's almost enough to make a low-church woman into a high-church one.  The video is pretty long, but have a listen to at least a bit of this glorious music!

R.  Rhubarb!  If you go to my cooking blog The Owl's Kitchen and look up my Strawberry Rhubarb pie recipe, you wil see this at the top: "I remember my first taste of rhubarb. I was about 10 and had never heard of it, but I was served a bowl of warm rhubarb sauce at the famous fried chicken restaurant at Knott's Berry Farm, Anaheim, California. I thought it was about the most wonderful thing I'd ever tasted, and I told my mother I could not understand why we had never had it before. She had never tasted it either. We had a large and healthy stand of it by our mobile home at Trinity Bible College, and I've since learned that it is beloved in the cold states."  I go on, and finally get around to posting the recipe.  You can find several others ( rhubarb ones, I mean) at that blog too. 

C.  Children are one of the greatest blessing I can imagine.  I miss my children.  I love the adult versions, of course, but I miss the child versions.  I am so glad for Trinity (age 4, and spoken of often in this blog) and now little Noah, aged one month.  Post and pictures coming soon!

A.  Apricots.  We used to have an apricot tree back in CA where I grew up.  Haven't had a really good one since I left the state about 35 years ago!

S.  Song.  I had a much longer post, and I don't know why but somehow the A and the S disappeared. So, I have to rush and can't explain. I'll just leave it at, "What is life without a song?"

Friday, July 08, 2011

Casey Anthony and Angry Church Folks

I almost fear to write this post. Almost.

I have been grieved along with many others every time I see this picture of Caylee Anthony.  Mostly because knowing what happened to the sweet little girl pictured--well, it's just horrific.  And partly, if I am honest, because this particular picture, and the dark brown eyes looking up so sweetly, could be of our granddaughter Trinity about two years ago.  It gives me a physical, gut-level reaction to the events that perhaps I wouldn't have otherwise. I grieve for the life that was stolen. 

 I was among the many who were surprised by the verdict.  Clearly, Casey Anthony is deceitful, disturbed, and has no credibility.  Her story is hard to believe.  In fact, I don't believe it.  I find her actions (or lack of action) perplexing, disturbing, alarming, and disgusting. Did she kill her daughter?  I don't know. Few believe we will ever really know what happened to little Caylee.

Still, there are other disturbing things these days following the "not guilty" verdict.  For one, the reaction of many people towards the jury.  I have an opinion about the case--but let's face it--I wasn't in the courtroom and I didn't have to be a juror, and I don't know all that they heard and saw.   I know that our justice system is deeply flawed.  But I still rejoice that, at least in theory, we are "innocent until proven guilty."  Do we have any respect whatsoever for the fact that the accused was found "not guilty" in an American court of law?

I am perplexed at the comments I have read and heard about the attorneys who represented Casey Anthony--that they are "scumbags" or "as guilty as Casey" or similar sentiments.  If I ever find myself in a courtroom as an accused person, I will want a lawyer who does what they are supposed to do--defend me to the best of their ability.  Is that not the job of the defense, for goodness sake?  Do we not know that accused people are not always guilty people?  It may be a flawed system, but I'm glad we have a system!   

Most of all, I am disturbed by the hate-filled, venomous statements (often referencing God, Hell, judgement, and so on) from people who probably would call themselves Christians.  

Here are a few samples from the Internet: 
“The jury may have found her ‘not guilty,’ but she'll get what’s coming to her. God will make sure of that!”
“Casey, you didn't win. You have a dead daughter, a guilty conscience, a society that hates you and a date with God.”
 “Dear Casey Anthony, God will deal with you. Good luck finding a lawyer that will help you lie to Him.”
"There is a special place in Hell for you, Casey."

Surely I am not the only one who is disturbed to hear or read Christians hurling judgment in anybody’s direction.  Is this what we should do? 
A recent column from J. Lee Grady said, "But in the end, people who follow Christ should not be grabbing pitchforks and demanding vigilante justice just because a trial didn’t turn out the way we thought it should. Our response should be tempered with redemption."


Have we forgotten that Jesus said he did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance  (Luke 5:32)?  Have we forgotten his words to the religious individuals who brought a woman caught in adultery to him?  "Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone" (John 8:7)?  Or Romans 3:23 which reminds us that ALL have sinned? 

If we truly know the forgiveness of Christ, how can we rejoice that someone else will"get what's coming to them"?  Our attitude should be guided by Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has forgiven you."   If I understand that I am not righteous, I can hope that others find forgiveness and peace.  Is that not the Good News, after all?

One thing I know, God's love is not just for the "good" people.  Sometimes I wonder if those who are the loudest in condemning Casey to God's wrath are not, as Shakespeare said (paraphrased) protesting a bit too much? 

Will you join me in praying for Casey and for her fractured family?  It is certain that God loves them--flaws, sins and all--and they desperately need God. 

And will you also join me in a prayer for the abused children whose stories do not make the headlines?  One organization involved in abuse prevention has said that every 10 seconds a case of child abuse is reported.  Think of the unreported ones...the little ones who are, even now, afraid.  Let's stop minimizing abuse, especially in the church, and let's be vigilant in  in addressing child abuse in all its forms.  Let's make sure we are aware and careful and loving toward children around us.  Let's stop all the rhetoric and do something constructive with our frustration.  And let's be known as people of grace and mercy.  Let's put down the stones.

Summertime Friday Five

I note that my last post was one I DO intend to return with more than Friday Five is the Rev Gal Friday Five. 

So, what's up, Rev Gals and Pals? How are you spending your summer? (I know, some of you are in a different hemisphere and it may be chilly...sorry!) Are you experiencing fire or floods or tornados? Vacationing? Working harder than ever? Experiencing change? Longing for change?  Share five things that are happening in your life, personally or professionally or some of each, in this season of life.

1.  I'm preparing to sell insurance.  Specifically Medicare supplements.  Yes, really.  More about that some post soon.  Not my life's ambition, nor exactly my "calling" but not all bad either.  As I said, more later.  Life has not allowed for blog posts, but that WILL change.  Hopefully soon.

2.  I'm trying life with sorta red hair.  In the last three years I went from nearly white to dark blonde to medium blonde to light blonde, to dark brown (the natural color of my younger days) and now I'm trying out a sort of burgundy?  Am I having some sort of identity crisis?  Undoubtedly.  See number one.

3. I'm reading as much as possible.  I love to read, and somehow in the last few years that enjoyment was waning....and THANK GOD now seems to be back.  So I have my nose in a book lots of the time.  This is a god thing.

4.  I'm enjoying my granddaughter, the beautiful and brilliant Trinity, of course.  You knew that, right?  She is such a delight.  Last week we went to the pool (finally the weather actually got warm enough to want to) and to fireworks.  She's four now, talking like a much older kid, excited about 4-K next fall, and growing tall and thin.  (Hope she stays that body type!)

5. And I saved the best for last.  It deserves a blog post all its own and I hope to post one, maybe tomorrow. Our son, Josh is a new father so that means I HAVE A NEW GRANDCHILD! His name is Noah Kenneth (guess whose middle name he has?) and here is a picture of him with his proud Papa (Trinity's name for her grandfather, and so likely to be Noah's too). Sadly, he is six hours away.  He was born June 12th, and we saw him a couple of days after that and not since.  I hope we can manage to fit in several trips to Minnesota this year.  More pics soon!