There is no doubt that by now you have heard news reports replaying Mel Gibson’s rants to his girlfriend. I am not going to comment on what he has said.  It is really none of my business.  I will say that the media has no business playing these tapes and the public has no business listening.  It is an egregious invasion of privacy. I realize that people are hungry for gossip and ready to gorge themselves on any hypocrisy that can be scrounged up.  But no one I know would want to be cannibalized in the same way.

If the woman has a legitimate complaint of physical abuse against Gibson then she should get the authorities involved. Other than this, the playing of these tapes is malicious in intent and serves no real redemptive purpose. The tapes should not be used in court and should be inadmissible as evidence.

 Would you want tapes of all your bad/hysterical moments played to the public?  No, you wouldn’t. Mel, a devout Catholic, should know though, that God, the Operator, is listening in.

In Joy So High, So Very High

When two of my children were much younger they were home schooled.  In the evenings after dinner I would read to my son and my daughter from Hans Christian Andersen: The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories

Here’s what we read…

The Little Mermaid

The Princess and the Pea

The Little Match Girl

The Emperor’s New Clothes

The Steadfast Tin Soldier

The Ugly Duckling


The Snow Queen

And so many more…

…I remember reading the Snow Queen while snow was falling quietly one winter evening.

From Hans Christian Andersen’s diary, a prayer:

 “Almighty God, thee only have I; thou steerest my fate, I must give myself up to thee! Give me a livelihood! Give me a bride! My blood wants love, as my heart does!”

I recommend reading this book to your children:

Hans Christian Andersen: The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories, translated from the Danish by Erik Christian Haugaard,

Here are some excerpts:

“And the matches gave such a brilliant light that it was brighter than at noon-day: never formerly had the grandmother been so beautiful and so tall. She took the little maiden, on her arm, and both flew in brightness and in joy so high, so very high, and then above was neither cold, nor hunger, nor anxiety–they were with God.” The Little Match Girl

“”I cannot bear it!” said the pewter soldier.” I have shed pewter
tears! It is too melancholy! Rather let me go to the wars and
lose arms and legs! It would at least be a change. I cannot
bear it longer! Now, I know what it is to have a visit from
one’s old thoughts, with what they may bring with them! I have
had a visit from mine, and you may be sure it is no pleasant
thing in the end; I was at last about to jump down from the
drawers.”” The Old House

The Old House

Week in Review – July 5, 2010 –July 11, 2010

I don’t remember Monday.

 Tuesday, on Nova, I learned that the universe is rapidly expanding away, from where to where, I don’t know.  But this explains my need to be going somewhere right now.  I also heard about red shifts and blue shifts (not the loosely hanging dress but light speed wavelengths) and that light travels at 186,000 m/sec. Physicists have not been able to break this speed record first clocked by Einstein.  Nature has, though, and right after the Big Bang.  The hyper-speed is called inflation. The temperature of the universe is universally uniform, a lovely green on the light spectrum. I also learned that light slows down when refracted by water or a prism.  This will come in handy when I wear a bathing suit this summer. There was also a news report that there is a big hole in the universe. “Not only has no one ever found a void this big, but we never even expected to find one this size,” said Lawrence Rudnick of the University of Minnesota reported in a paper accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal.  I somehow think this will involve me someday (or George Bush). (Perhaps it is the effects of progressivism waiting in the wings.)

 Wednesday, during my regular doctor’s appointment I was told that I could go on roller coasters but I must wear a neck brace.  This piece of news was of special interest to me especially since I hadn’t mentioned to my doctor my desire to ride a roller coaster or even the inclination to be near one.  All I told my doctor during my appointment was how fragile I felt since having two surgeries on my neck for a herniated disc (C5-C6 for all of you ER nurses).  I never mentioned to him that last Sunday night I saw a Great America commercial on TV.  At that time I mentioned to my daughter that I would love to go but I felt I couldn’t risk it anymore with my weakened spine. My daughter didn’t care – “roller coasters are for throwing up.”

 Thursday night I saw commercials for the World Cup and still felt no desire to watch the human pinball machine in action.  The guys are cute, though.  If the World Cup was ninety minutes of soccer guys doing underwear commercials (ala the Vanity Fair June 2010 cover), well then, I would become a soccer mom.

 I don’t remember Friday night. I went to work on Friday, got on the train at the end of the work day and arrived home on Saturday morning.

 Last night, sitting in my favorite Mexican restaurant, I was an OR nurse for about fifteen minutes.  No, I didn’t cut into anyone. Rather, a woman pointed me out as being a nurse she knew who worked with her in the OR at Rush-Copely Medical Center.  She said this because she noticed my eyes, the only part of me that would stick out of a surgical gown. Prior to coming over to me, she had her picture taken with an “El Puente” sombrero on her head and a lighted cupcake. Her scruffy boyfriend ducked under the hat with margarita in hand just in time to have his picture taken next to her. After the photo shoot she waved “Hi” in my direction and I waved back in birthday courtesy.  When she walked over to me later I told her that I was good with knives and forks but that I was only a lowly electrical designer who worked in Chicago. I again wished her Happy Birthday but without my imaginary scrubs.  She returned to her Margarita, one of two influences in her life at the moment.

 This morning I head to church. I hope to make sense of all these things or to at least make a clean start for next week.  The Lord is my Shepherd and I need to get back to the fold.

This Is Where I Get Off

Standing at the corner of State and Madison today, waiting to cross the street,  I saw a huge CTA bus drive right up close to me and then go down the street  In the front window of the bus was a small almost obscure sign which read:  “Training Bus”.  The writing of the sign was such that you couldn’t read it until the bus was right up on you.  Maybe the innocuous sign is posted as a federal regulation:  to let the reader know why they were almost hit by a bus.  Or, maybe these are your last words, posted at the intersection of heaven and earth.

“The safest road to Hell is the gradual one — the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts. “  From the Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

The Taste of Chicago

With a friend of mine from work, I walked over to the Taste of Chicago today.  This yearly event held in Grant Park is jam-packed with great food samples from restaurants throughout Chicago.  The weather for past Taste events has been extremely hot.  Our midday lunch weather this year was warm and breezy – perfectly enjoyable.

 We bought our tickets and then wandered through the smoky air past barbequed ribs, jerk chicken, Satay chicken, pork tacos, polish sausage, hot dogs, brats, Chicago deep dish pizza, gyros, cheese cake and dozens more local and ethnic food booths.  The smells embrace you as you walked past the open-faced booths.  In the distance a Latin group could be heard singing on one of several stages.

  My usual stop is a Billy Goat’s Tavern.  This is where you’ll hear Cheezborger! Cheezborger! No fries, cheeps! No Pepsi, Coke!”? This year was no different.

I can’t resist the spiel, so I buy a cheeseburger, chips and a Pepsi.  Deon wanted the Upside Down Caramel Cupcake from Abundance Bakery.  (It’s funny how God reminds me of certain things.  See my previous post!)  Later, she and I later walked past Eli’s Cheesecake booth.  We both lusted after the Turtle Cheesecake with Vanilla Ice Cream.  Mmm! Lord, have mercy!

 At last year’s Taste, Deon and I followed the food booths to Buckingham Fountain.  There in the gardens surrounding the fountain we found the Budweiser Clydesdales.  They stood majestically in the shade of the high arching trees. Though I stood on tiptoes, I could not reach the top of their heads. We didn’t see the horses this year, though. Instead, Deon and I and thousands of others were the one’s putting on the feed bag.

 I may have to return to the Taste later this week and check out the Carbon booth for some steak tacos and then some awesome cheesecake at the Eli’s booth.  It’s a good thing that I walk there and back from work. I may need to walk home, too.

Embrace the upSide Down

“But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.”

The words “upside down” came into my head last Sunday night.  I’m not sure why.  When these words showed up on my radar I immediately thought of the above verse from Dr. Luke’s account, The Acts of The Apostles.  I have been seeking the Lord about some ways for me to live out my life for the Kingdom of God – to return a profit for the Kingdom.  As is my nature I looked for something exotic to fill my days with:  some grand cause to devote my time, energy and money towards.  But, the “grandiose cause” turns out to be just my own desire to control the cause, make it mine and receive all the credit: “You are truly magnanimous!”  That type of thinking doesn’t get you very far in God’s Kingdom.  In fact, it only digs a rut to your own slough of despair.

Well, the Lord got my attention on Sunday night. I asked for wisdom and He gave it to me – pressed down, shaken and in good measure.  Words both old and new began to fill my head:  “when you pray…”; “when you fast…”; “when you give…” 

Now, I know what I need to do.  Who knows?  I may become one of those “who turn the world upside down.”

N.T. Wright: Simply Christian

N.T. Wright Home Page:

Receiving Yourself in the Fires of Sorrow

. . . what shall I say? ’Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. ’Father, glorify Your name’ —Gospel of John, 12:27-28

“As a saint of God, my attitude toward sorrow and difficulty should not be to ask that they be prevented, but to ask that God protect me so that I may remain what He created me to be, in spite of all my fires of sorrow. Our Lord received Himself, accepting His position and realizing His purpose, in the midst of the fire of sorrow. He was saved not from the hour, but out of the hour.

We say that there ought to be no sorrow, but there is sorrow, and we have to accept and receive ourselves in its fires. If we try to evade sorrow, refusing to deal with it, we are foolish. Sorrow is one of the biggest facts in life, and there is no use in saying it should not be. Sin, sorrow, and suffering are, and it is not for us to say that God has made a mistake in allowing them.

Sorrow removes a great deal of a person’s shallowness, but it does not always make that person better. Suffering either gives me to myself or it destroys me. You cannot find or receive yourself through success, because you lose your head over pride. And you cannot receive yourself through the monotony of your daily life, because you give in to complaining. The only way to find yourself is in the fires of sorrow. Why it should be this way is immaterial. The fact is that it is true in the Scriptures and in human experience. You can always recognize who has been through the fires of sorrow and received himself, and you know that you can go to him in your moment of trouble and find that he has plenty of time for you. But if a person has not been through the fires of sorrow, he is apt to be contemptuous, having no respect or time for you, only turning you away. If you will receive yourself in the fires of sorrow, God will make you nourishment for other people.”

Oswald Chambers, from this website, June 25, 2010 reading:

A Temple of the Holy Ghost

Flannery O’Connor’s short story, “A Temple of the Holy Ghost” is a comical story filled with Christian symbolism. There is a “freak”, a hermaphrodite, in the story. The story reveals to us how God regards His creation. Below is a quote from the story. A little twelve-year old girl has just gone to bed after hearing about the freak from two visiting girls.  The girls had just returned from the carnival:

“She lay in bed trying to picture the tent with the freak walking from side to side…She could hear the freak saying, “God made me thisaway and I don’t dispute hit,” and the people saying “Amen. Amen””

Some commentary about the story:

“O’Connor used the hermaphrodite to illustrate that The Holy Ghost or love of God dwells in each of us, whether pretty, ugly, rich, poor or anywhere in between. Even in the body of the hermaphrodite, a grotesque symbol of the unity of man and woman, a temple of God is a holy thing. The hermaphrodite knew that because God dwells in us, we are all reverent beings, and we should mutually treat each other with care, love and respect.”

Commentary from:

“A Good Man Is Hard To Find”

Here is a quote from Flannery O’Connor’s story, “A Good Man Is Hard To Find”:

Alone with The Misfit, the grandmother found that she had lost her voice. There was not a cloud in the sky nor any sun. There was nothing around her but woods. She wanted to tell him that he must pray. She opened and closed her mouth several times before anything came out. Finally she found herself saying, “Jesus. Jesus,” meaning, Jesus will help you, but the way she was saying it, it sounded as if she might be cursing.

“Yes’m, The Misfit said as if he agreed. “Jesus thown everything off balance. It was the same case with Him as with me except He hadn’t committed any crime and they could prove I had committed one because they had the papers on me. Of course,” he said, “they never shown me my papers. That’s why I sign myself now. I said long ago, you get you a signature and sign everything you do and keep a copy of it. Then you’ll know what you done and you can hold up the crime to the punishment and see do they match and in the end you’ll have something to prove you ain’t been treated right. I call myself The Misfit,” he said, “because I can’t make what all I done wrong fit what all I gone through in punishment.”