Wednesday, June 18, 2014

How To Avoid Death-By-Eucharist

glass of wineGrowing up in a Southern Baptist church, I became accustomed to eating from the Lord’s Table once a quarter. The words of institution were read from 1 Corinthians 11, and the organ droned “Have Thine Own Way,” until everyone had been served. While the organ hummed we examined ourselves to see whether or not we should have been partaking at all. Most of us sat with heads bowed and eyes closed. (I know because I often got tired of examining myself and looked around hoping someone was doing something interesting.) Afterwards we left the auditorium in silence, not talking or fellowshipping until we had made our way into the outer hall. It was very respectful, for which I am thankful, and very somber, for which I am not.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Margaret Sanger – The 20th Century’s Public Enemy #1

Hitler? Nein. Stalin? Niet. Mussolini? Nope. Pol Pot? Mao Tse-tung? Not even close. This woman’s got them all beat. Her minions are responsible for more murderous, torturous, barbarous human deaths than all of those wretched men put together. Her name is Margaret Sanger. She was a villain, and the world sings her praises.

Dr. George Grant has published a biography of Margaret Sanger, Killer Angel, as well as given lectures, on the history of Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood. Here is an excerpt from one of those lectures:

“I wish that hindsight really were 20/20. If hindsight were really 20/20, then we would be able to look back on the late lamentable history of the twentieth century with the jaundiced eye that such a century deserves. The twentieth century was the bloodiest century of all of human history. The 20th Century saw governments kill their own people in astonishing numbers. More people died at the hands of their own governments in the 20th Century than in every other century combined. The 20th Century – the century of science and achievement; the century of unparalleled prosperity; the century of ideology; the century of fighting wars to end all wars –  was an horrific disaster. I wish that hindsight were 20/20, because then we wouldn’t make the silly sorts of judgements against things like the crusades, or the so-called “Dark Ages” or the inquisition that we do standing pompously as we do on our 20th and 21st Century soapboxes and denouncing earlier generations for things that we’ve done blown up on steroids.

My Mower, My Nemesis: A Tragic Poem for Guys

Every hero has his nemesis, a villain still unbeaten
As Batman has his Joker, (both Christian Bale and Michael Keaton.)
Superman, Lex Luthor; Spiderman, the Goblin Green
I even have a nemesis, mine’s a Craftsman lawn machine.

Dark Chocolate: A Table Fable

Dark Chocolate: A Table Fable

by Marc Hays
A naked Crust once covered
In sourdough or wheat,
Post feasting had recovered,
And recently discovered
A friend who also suffered:
A Bone who once wore meat.
Through suppertime attrition
They’d more than feelings hurt.
Both needing a physician,
With leery-eyed suspicion
Beheld the competition:
The final course–Dessert.
She knew her mousse was fluffy
And chocolate tan was dark.
Her whipping cream was puffy;
She thought she was hot-stuffy.
To everyone rebuffy,
And friendly as a shark.
The Eater poised and ready
With spoon split silken skin.
His progress slow and steady,
Reloaded, cocked, and ready,
For Dee-ssert Armageddy,
Completely did her in.
So, Crust and Bone sat blinking
Without a disconcert.
Her ship–they watched it sinking;
Her beauty–watched it shrinking;
And right now they’re still thinking,
“She got her just dessert.”

Friday, June 13, 2014

Adopted & Adopting

imageBefore adopting the triplets, we only had one daughter. Our solitary little girl, being surrounded by adults twenty-four hours a day, often acted more like an adult in a little body than a four-year-old. She wasn’t perfect, but she was an easy child to be around. Then, we adopted. Three 7-week-old babies entered our world in one day; our peaceful world of a single-child was gone; and things have been rocking ever since. Also, contributing to this was the fact that three years after adopting the triplets, my wife conceived and bore twins. In a period of three years, my household increased by 5 munchkins. So, there are eight of us: one dad, one mom, three boys, and three girls.
A couple of the things I have learned about myself as a father through the years since the adoption: 1.) I am a man, for good or for ill, and 2.) I am only one man, never more, never less.

My Dad in the Mirror

20140404-101508.jpgAbout five years ago, I was 35, which is the age my dad was when I was 6. When I was a kid, my dad would take pity on me during the lengthier sermons at church to entertain me. He would tuck his thumb inside his fingers and allow me to attempt to pry his fingers open, thereby freeing his thumb from its bonds. It seems like that could become a raucous game during the sermon, but I guess I knew better, because it never got out of hand. Speaking of out of hand, that was the goal, but I was never able to free his thumb out of hand either. What I did do was spend hours looking at his hand–memorizing his hand. Around the time I turned 35, I looked down and saw my father’s hands attached to the ends of my arms. It was both pleasant and startling. I was pleased because I love my dad and hope that I am becoming like him in more ways than just physically. It was startling because when I was six I thought my dad was pretty old, and there I was with hands showing the signs of 35 years of use.

This morning as I was leaving for work, I stopped in front of the mirror to see if any hairs on my head were sticking up in embarrassing directions, and I used my hands to resituate my hair into a somewhat presentable arrangement. As I wiped down the cowlicks, there stood my dad in the mirror, reorganizing his mop on top before he rushed off to work. It was just plain freaky. Added to the motions of my hands and arms resembling my dad, I realized that my hair lies on my head just as his hair lies on his head. Once again, I’m not complaining, just realizing that as I age I become more and more like him.

Carpe Symphoniam: Seize the Symphony

Last Friday night, I accompanied my Classical Conversations, Challenge 2 students and their parents to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville, Tennessee, to hear the Nashville Symphony. The symphony orchestra, conducted by Christopher Seaman, performed three Mozart pieces, one of which was his 21st Piano Concerto, featuring Benedetto Lupo on the piano. It had been too long since I had experienced a live symphony orchestra, and, chances are, it has been too long for you as well. Even if you do not enjoy classical music, I think you should go. In fact, if you don’t like classical music, it is probably because it has been too long since you went to hear it be performed. Assuming that to be the case, I submit three reasons why it should not be very long until you attend a live symphony orchestra performing in their local concert hall. First, music is to be heard; second, music is to be seen; and third, music is to be felt.

Calvin Didn't Flinch

During my childhood years, my family lived in a 12’ x 55’ single-wide mobile home. When we bought it in 1980 it was already about 20 years old. The plan was to live in that home while my dad built a house on our property. Given the economic recession of the early 1980′s, we never built that house. As my brother, my sister, and I got older, and consequently larger, my dad closed in a front porch to create another bedroom. He completely remodeled the inside of the home over the 15 years that we lived there: drywall, trim, carpets–the whole nine yards. The exterior would occasionally get painted, the roof tarred, and the underpinning, which had rotted from ground contact, replaced. It was a lovely home, and I do not remember being particularly envious of my friends who had nicer homes than we did. However, that doesn’t mean that I was unaware that they had nicer homes than we did.

I can remember being 9 or 10 years old when I went to spend the night at a friend’s house from school. He lived with his family in a small brick ranch home. It couldn’t have been over 1000-1100 square feet, i.e., relatively small, but I remember being enamored by the fact that the house went all the way to the ground. This wonderful home had no underpinning; it had bricks. Its roof was not flat; it had a gable-ended roof with shingles on it. It seemed so sturdy. So strong. Once again, I was not beset by the fact that our home sat upon concrete blocks 2 feet above the ground with the resulting void between floor and earth being hidden by plywood, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t plan on living in a site-built home when I grew up.

I've Stopped Yelling. Can I Stop Scowling?

by Marc Hays

Over a year ago, I stopped yelling at my children. The urge to vent my displeasure became increasing distasteful until I could hear myself snap at them just before I did it. Whatever the child had done, whatever infraction had occurred, ceased to kindle my ire like the thought of hearing myself lash out at them.

Accompanying this conviction, my sin decreased. Go figure. It is encouraging to no end for a man to see that the deeds of his flesh can be mortified as Scripture says they must and for a man, alive in Christ, to experience the Holy Spirit at work, bearing good fruit on formerly dead limbs.

As my desire to shout the fear of God into my children waned, I found an increasing zeal to see my children flourish. Replacing the idle threats about their doom, should they fail to mend their ways, was an increase in instruction concerning righteousness and sin; wisdom and foolishness; repentance and forgiveness. I yell less, if at all, which is good, and instruct more, which is better still, but as with most virtues, too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing.