Saturday, May 11, 2013

Summer

We officially kicked off our summer this week by surprising the boys with a trip to Disney World. Early on Sunday morning, we woke them up, gave them gift bags with Disney goodies, and told them we were on our way.

Isaiah said, "Right now?!?"

It was a great few days. The boys loved every minute of it and Nana and Poppa were there, too. We are so thankful we were able to go there with them.

When we got back, Corrie had 14 more papers to grade and I had a retreat with my student leaders. Those two days were tiring, but now we're done. The summer is upon us! The boys wil
l finish in the next week and a half, and then we'll all be done!

Our summer will be busy, but it will be good. I'm mostly looking forward to some of the work that is in front of me. Aside from leading a summer Bible study, I will also be doing a lot of reading and writing. My ordination paperwork is due the first week of January, but my goal is to be 80-90% done before school starts in August.

But I think today we will go strawberry picking. Just because.

Friday, February 3, 2012

It's natural.


About five years ago I began reading the Bible a little differently. I began seeing passages I had never seen before. Imagery and metaphors for God gained new meaning. What had changed? Why was I seeing Scripture with new eyes?

I am a stereotypical man in many ways. I love sports, a good action movie, and making anything in to a competition. So it should not surprise anyone that I had not really thought about breastfeeding until I was confronted with it face-to-face. My wife and I read together that breastfeeding was ideal for nourishment and building up the immune system in newborns and I was all for that. (Especially since it also meant not having to buy expensive formula!) But when my wife bought a nursing cover so that she might breastfeed more easily in public, I thought, is that really necessary? Can you not just go to another room?

This sparked a discussion about the nature of breastfeeding. My wife lovingly explained to me that she should not have to hide or be ashamed of doing something that is completely natural. Of course, my argument was, but won't you run the risk of exposing your breast? She responded that there are plenty of women who breastfeed and do not use a cover because there is nothing inappropriate about feeding your baby. And I said, "Well, I know. But…it's your breast!"

Eventually I figured out where my thinking went wrong. I was unable to see the female breast as a non-sexual part of the body. As a man, I am conditioned by my culture to view breasts sexually. Breasts are glorified and sexualized in every form of media so that they become a symbol of sexuality for both men and women. The first time bare breasts are seen is a rite of passage among adolescent boys. For adolescent girls and young women, it is about when the breasts emerge and how big they are. Female breasts have been reduced to sex objects and status symbols when in the history of the world they have primarily been seen as everyone's first meal!

My wife was right; there's nothing wrong with feeding your baby. Yes, it is physical. But it is not sexual. It's natural.

This bring me back to the Bible.

Around the time my wife decided to wean our son, I came across Psalm 131.
My heart is not proud, LORD,
   my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
   or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed myself
   and quieted my ambitions.
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
   like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore. (TNIV)
This simple psalm is powerful. It speaks of the trust and hope the psalmist has in the LORD. The psalmist is not concerned with things outside of his/her control, but is content to hope in the LORD. In fact, the psalmist is so content, he/she is like a "weaned child with its mother."

Have you ever seen a hungry child that's not weaned? They mouth for their mother's breast and sometimes for others' if they are being held by someone else. They know milk is near and want it. They are not content.

God is like a mother who nourishes us and helps us grow, but eventually will wean us to trust that in all "great matters" we can have hope and be content.

Is the psalmist sexualizing God? No. 

Yes, it is a physical and graphic metaphor. But it is not sexual. It's natural.

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I am writing this post in response to a challenge given by Rachel Held Evans, a blogger and author who wants to hear from men who refuse to buy into "masculine Christianity." Her challenge is rooted in recent comments made by John Piper.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Attitude is Everything

Don't you hate it when your parents turn out to be right after all.

I'm spending a Friday afternoon at home with the boys. The first in a long time. I've had a busier summer than expected that ended with a two week class in Atlanta, followed by the start of the fall semester. Corrie finally gets a long stretch of time to work on the last chapter of her dissertation.

When it's 100 degrees outside, these afternoons can be very long, especially since Ezra doesn't always nap. Staying inside the house all afternoon gets old, but if we try to go somewhere else, Ezra will fall asleep, taking a late nap which then throws off bedtime.

This afternoon, however, it's been pretty easy. The boys are relatively happy and Ezra's not to cranky (yet!). But I think the biggest difference in this day than others is actually ME. Not me in the sense that I'm a super-parent and able to keep my boys happy, but me in the sense that my attitude or mood is in check. I have a tendency toward crankiness too (shocker! I know), especially when I am tired and lack a lot of good alone time. My crankiness results in impatience and an unwillingness to be understanding or creative when interacting with the boys. I am very conscious of my attitude today, and I am making sure I stay positive. The result is a conflict-free afternoon (so far), and even the boys are in good moods. (I could write a whole other post about how kids' moods reflect our moods.)

Right now, I'm writing this blog post. Ezra is outside playing by himself...oops, I think he just climbed up on top of the lawn mower…

Where was I…oh right. And Isaiah is "recycling" using his recycling truck. I'm sure in a few moments I'll be asked to be bad guy to Isaiah's super-hero, but that's OK. It's easy to be bad buy when you're in a good mood.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

ahhh, spring

Wow. What a winter!

I've not blogged in a while. I could write up all the reasons why I haven't blogged, but let's just say I've had a crazy winter. Which leaves me to say, ahhh spring.

The weather has broken in Macon. The cherry blossoms have bloomed, the grass has had it's first cut, and we are planning what veggies to grow this summer. (Probably heirloom cherry tomatoes.)

And with spring comes baseball. Or in our case "wee-ball" (t-ball).

Isaiah is playing for the first time. While we've always played a bit in the backyard, there's a little more to it when there are 10 other boys you have to share the ball with. There's also that thing of trying to teach the fundamentals. Eye on the ball, glove on the ground, step and throw, run hard, always hustle, etc.

The first couple of practices were rough, and the first game wasn't much better. But this past week, Isaiah's team did pretty well not creating a pile-up on top of every ground ball. Wee-ball is really just about having fun anyway, and I enjoy the fact that there's no competition involved yet. The boys just get to play. And the parents get to help, teach, and laugh. A lot.








Saturday, January 29, 2011

Saturday

It could not be a more beautiful day; 70 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.

We did some projects around the house today. One of which was building a birdhouse. So if you see any homeless birds, send them our way.

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Morning Drive

A few mornings a week I drive Isaiah to his preschool. Sometimes we never speak, but sometimes we have some pretty in depth conversations. This morning was one such conversation (as best as I can remember):

Isaiah makes spitting noises.

Me: What are you doing, Isaiah?

Isaiah: I'm just pretending to spit fire like a dragon.

Me: What color is the fire you're spitting?

Isaiah: Ummm, it's purple and yellow and green and blue.

Me: Wow!

Isaiah: Yeah. It's lots of colors because he's a striped dragon. He has lots of colors.

Me: Can I roast marshmallows in your fire?

Isaiah: NOOOO!

Me: Why not?

Isaiah: 'Cause that's dangerous. You can get hurt!

Me: Oh.

Lesson Learned Today: Don't roast marshmallows in multi-colored dragon fire, you can get hurt.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Road Trip Essentials

Sorry I've not posted in a while. Right now, it's Friday after Thanksgiving and I'm at my parents' house in VA. I've been road tripping the holidays since I was in college, and though I do get tired of the driving sometimes, I think I've come close to perfecting the art of the road trip. There are certain things I always do when preparing for a road trip (which I probably get from my dad).

First, it's always a good idea to start a road trip with a clean vehicle. I didn't wash the van, but we did clean EVERYTHING out and vacuum it really well. We also vacuumed the car while we were at it.



Second, you have to be sure to pack all the right things. Aside from clothes, toiletries, etc., we have to be sure pack food, snacks, and different forms of entertainment for the boys. We like to limit the amount of TV the boys watch everyday, but when it comes to road trips, we're a little more lenient. After all, it's nice to be able to drive at lease 3 hours at a time before stopping.

Here's a picture of Isaiah, seemingly in a trance from watching a couple of hours worth of Winnie the Pooh.

Third, when driving with small children the food may get eaten, the videos may get old, and the trip is not over yet so other forms of entertainment must be discovered in order to survive the last leg of trip. The other day, Ezra decided to nap 20 minutes before our scheduled stop, so we kept on driving. Corrie was driving, so I moved to the back of the van to prepare our lunch, but also to help keep Isaiah occupied. This is where I recommend having an iPhone. Isaiah and I watched some videos of our recent trip to the zoo, looked at pictures of silly things we had done at home, and also took a couple of silly pictures ourselves.

Finally, no road trip is complete without a flat tire. This happens to be my first flat tire in all the miles I've driven over the years, and thankfully, the tire went flat in the driveway overnight after we arrived.



And there we have my quick guide to road trip essentials. Happy Thanksgiving!