Monday, April 30, 2007

Kairos or Chronos

I just heard another excellent sermon--this one about the gift of the Sabbath rest. Among other points, our pastor captured the distinction between "passing time" chronos and "the right time" kairos.
Do you LOVE music? Are there pieces you find painfully beautiful? I once heard a woman preach a sermon where Bach’s Air on the G String was used as an [excellent] illustration preceding her insights on beauty. The week before, she asked a conductor who attended church for help in arranging the music. Later, he and I shared other pieces that rose to the heights of searing, heart rending beauty. He suggested some of the Shostakovich quartets; my choice was the slow moment of Faure’s last piano trio. But today, in snowy Boston, is a "Sibelius Day. " Even the few short minutes of "Andante Festivo" moved me to tears. Does that happen to you? Maybe when the trumpets enter in the last movement of his Symphony No. 2? What about the English horn at the beginning of the 6th Symphony? Can you listen to "Mache dich, mein Herze, rein" (Make, O Lord, my heart pure and clean) from Bach's "St. Matthew Passion" without weeping? Has the first note of "Aus Liebe" --- For Love [My Savior Died]--- ever made your eyes moist? That even surprised me, but I knew the soloist, and I knew she was singing of love that had transformed her. Do you have a favorite piece you can only hear in Heaven? The last duet from Turandot? I remember a dream about Heaven, where giant angels, looking like tall gray statues, were singing Bruckner’s "Te Deum. " That’s sometimes used as the finale to his 9th Symphony, once thought incomplete. I want to hear him conduct it, complete and perfect, in Heaven! Anton Bruckner will be there, he who dedicated his symphonies "To God, should He choose to accept them. " So, I was thinking that maybe I’d missed the heavenly premiere–but I don’t think I missed it at all. How’s that? Time only exists on earth. I think every moment in Heaven will be the first moment, when we see God face to face, and know as we are known. "You can’t subdivide infinity. " How can there be time without the sun? Heaven has no need of it, for the Lord Himself is the light, eternal and beyond time.

Monday, April 16, 2007

What’s not worth preserving, and what must be preserved

See this link about Boston's City Hall, praised at its unveiling in the 1960's by the American Institue of Architects (AIA) and hardly anyone else:
I understand that some may want City Hall to stand as a tribute to the 1960’s. I beg to differ. Yale might be prudent in keeping a visually similar building on a university campus, but City Hall simply fails to serve the governed. As a compromise, perhaps the building can be preserved—if the AIA will purchase it—while we fill the lonely, impersonal expanse of City Hall Plaza with a functional and beautiful structure.
But a few blocks away, on Beacon Hill, is much that is far more worthy of preservation. Not just Chas. Bullfinch’s magnificent gold domed edifice, but the constitution enshrined therein, which each member of our government is sworn to uphold. Each is a servant of the same reluctant taxpayers that bought Scollay Square and built a concrete monstrosity in 1962. Forty-two years later, without the consent of the citizens, four members of the Supreme Judicial Court amended our constitution by fiat in the Goodridge decision. It is now up to the Legislature to permit the citizens to vote to undo that change via the Marriage Protection Amendment. I join the Legislature in wishing the best to my homosexual neighbors. My gay and straight friends would agree that I’m a quiet and gentle person myself. But marriage as an enduring union between one man and one women has been explicitly embraced by democratic societies for centuries. The thousands of citizens who have remained committed to their wives and husbands are an imperfect yet compelling reminder of the laws which unite us—and of the consent of the GOVERNed, not the GOVERNors, that protects us.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Gender autarky

or "Post a comment, save a life"
or "You heard it first here"
This is about as angry as I get, at least in print. Put the wee ones to bed--with lots of kisses--and read on:

"Hey, who you callin' nappy headed?" or
This emperor doesn't have any clothes, either:

To the Editor: Good riddance to Mr. Imus. I never knew who he was until "The Incident" and I'll bet I'm not the only one. His humorless slur has been repeated more times than it ought to have been.
But will Imus' firing help young, black women? Rap "artists"chant worse lyrics every day. And unlike Mr. Imus' "comedy" show, young black women actually LISTEN to these viler than vile lyrics. And some even date the men who threaten them with violence via the airwaves.
So why don't we take them off the air, too? If msnbc can afford to lose the $15 million that Imus brings in, what's a few hundred million more, right? Or could it be that Imus is being thrown to the wolves so the rap-rapists can continue to jump for their greedy radio station masters and do as they please with their prey?
D_______ H_________
So what's with all the titles? And what the heck is "gender autarky" (generates no hits on Google if you use quotes). Is there any connection to the letter? Well, it seems that rappist, as a synonym for rapper, is occasionally being spelled "rapist." Is there irony here, or just a sad accuracy?
Rape is such a hideous crime that I hesitate to write about it. (Only 1% of the victims are men, but I'll bet being less numerous doesn't make them feel any better.) Nonetheless, I can see that, for a female rape survivor, perhaps cutting herself off from men might be some sort of survival skill. But beyond this tragic case, I find the idea that women can live without men illogical and deeply sad. Women are supposed to be nurturing; liberals are supposed to be into multiculturalism(with only half of the world?). So autarky (not to be confused with autarchy) means cutting women off from the evil corrupting world of men, at least at the emotional and intellectual level. Doing so at the practical level would mean allowing men to exist only to provide sperm and tax dollars so liberal feminists can make the world a better place for themselves. Perhaps Nancy Pelosi can rewrite Huxley so that all the alphas and betas are women, and the men are just artisans and slaves.
And, getting back to the rappers, yeah, I know all their tough talk is just a "cry for help." Marching in the streets and voting is SOOOO 1960's, and doesn't pay very well, either. But "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" will still be read by my grandchildren, while no one will know who shot Tupac.

So, to my faithful readers, (if I have any) my "cry for help" is: Should I send this letter off today while the Imus story is hot? Or should I hunker down in my apartment and shut up, lest someone find my address and burn down my house if this is published? (3 of my last 4 or five have been, so....) Vote now; "Yes" voters: be sure to use the anonymous option or my landlady might sue you if this computer survives the fire. OK, that's not very funny, but...........

Friday, April 13, 2007

Quiz time

If you've been directed here from a dating site, Google on "Marry not an Engineer" and read the poem. Of course, just reading this quiz might give you the same info, though in much less eloquent form....
What sound is a measure of a material's stiffness (or rigidity, ore even "Modulus" for you techies out there)?
Post your one word answers under "Comments" please

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Happy 15th Birthday

Dear K_____
. Inspired by Jeff Jacoby,’m going to try and write a yearly birthday letter. Something smaller but more lasting than the presents you’ve already gotten.
. As fondly as I remember holding you and cuddling you, I don’t want those times to last!! Even if I recreate them briefly with a noisy kiss on your cheek, that’s all it is—a moment in the life of a wonderful young woman who is growing fast, just as her Loving Father intended. In this case, that’s God, who programmed your brain to be always changing—hopefully for the better!
Part of this change is the painful but necessary questioning of everything. You won’t really know what you believe until you’ve imagined what it would like not to have the Ten Commandments, for example. Many around you have decided they are old fashioned. You should think about this, too, really. Maybe they ARE out of date…
. What if people thought we were the only beings in the universe (No. 1)? I’d go crazy; what do you think?
. What if we never rested (#4)?
. What if we didn’t respect our parents (#5)? I know you and I disagree about chores and a few other things, but at night when we’re reading books we both adore, I know that I have your respect and that you are trying really, really hard to obey God in this and everywhere else.
. What if people had sex whenever and with whomever they pleased (#7)?
. What if people didn’t keep their promises(#9)?
. What if our lives were ruled by Lord Stuff(#10 and #1)?
. A while back, someone was feeding you the idea that Christianity is sexist. I think you should consider this seriously! [see Boring Footnote #1] I don’t have an answer as to why there aren’t more women in the Bible, or more of those "A hen shielding her chicks under-wing" images that help us understand God as both male and female. But imagine a world without Christians. No Ruth, no Joan of Arc, no Susan B. Anthony, no Condoleeza Rice[see B. F. #2]. Think of Pakistan—true, the daughter of a former Prime Minister ruled there for a while. But do any women want to live there just for that reason? No! Thousands of Muslims come here for our freedoms, based in large part on the dignity of each human, created male AND FEMALE "in God’s image" according to the Hebrew Bible. So there is enough of the female in God for all women everywhere. Don’t believe this ‘cause I said it, but think about it. Don’t just accept the images from TV & movies, and perhaps even from some of your teachers. Yep, Christians, or those calling themselves such, have done most of the horrible things done by Western nations. But Western nations have never had Muslim or Hindu leaders. So how could it have been otherwise??? Hitler is one exception, because he was not a Christian, but forcibly took over the State Church in Germany. After that, "Christians" were bad, and only "German Christians"—his code name for pagans—were free to practice their religion.[B.F. #3]
Well, I’m playing catch up here, almost 15 years’ worth—sorry my letter’s so long. But remember, I’m totally pleased that you’re smart enough to read and understand what I’m saying.
I want you to grow up to be a good person. Not a person like your Mommy or Daddy, whatever our strengths and faults, but a person like Jesus, who loves you an awful lot.
And I love you too,

Signed, Daddy

Really, really boring footnotes:
#1 I suspect the person who said that practices another religion, either "Secularism" or perhaps "Feminism without God."
#2 Technically speaking, Ruth was a Moabite and not Jewish or Christian! And I don’t know the others well enough to know how faithfully they practice(d) Christianity. But I know that their lives arose out of a Judeo-Christian culture, which is why they are good examples of feminists who DON’T hate Christianity in general or men in particular.
#3 As you may have noticed ;-) your daddy reads WAY too much about Hitler. Most of the above is from a book about Martin Niemoeller, a hero from the FIRST World War who dared to oppose Hitler. However, unlike Dietrich Bonhoeffer, he didn’t become a martyr.
OK, now go back and read the "I love you" part!

Sunday, April 1, 2007


Well, actually I mean "Buy Rickshaw Girl at Amazon or that cute little bookstore around the corner"
Here's my review:

This is a fun and engaging story. Your kids will love it.
You might love it, too. It's a subtle and heart warming story of women’s empowerment. Without an angry word, or a whiff of ideology, this story tells what poor families can do by enlisting the gifts of all their members. These women don’t wait for someone to act for them, but take risks. And everyone wins—there is no zero sum game here.
But my imagination is soaring—this is a kid’s story, and you’ll just have to enjoy it on that level!

The book can be found at