Friday, 27 May 2011

A Dinner Conversation

Snippets of a typical dinner conversation at the Heinrichs table (except that we now have an M. Div student added to the mix - hello, Rachel!):

Mom: Did somebody put something in my water? It tastes funny.

Dad: You mean the plastic cup in the sink?

Mom: Did I just drink CLR?

Dad: Uh...

Mom: WHY WOULD YOU PUT CLR IN MY CUP?

Dad: It was in the sink! And it wasn't much. You'll be fine.

Carla: The container says to call 911.

Dad: Nah, it was diluted. Only a drop or two. She's fine.

Carla: This cantaloupe tastes moldy, but I don't see any mold.

Mom: I know what you mean! It kind of does, doesn't it? It's got that sort of aftertaste.

Justin: Well, I'M SORRY I'M A HORRIBLE CHEF!

Dad: I ate strawberries that tasted like soap today.

Mom: That's because I washed them with dish soap by mistake!

Justin: You're making me hungry.

Carla: Everything makes you hungry. Even watching Naruto eat bugs makes you hungry.

Brianna: I think my friend's dad is dying.

Carla: Hey Justin - who do you think will die next in Naruto?

Justin: Everyone. But then they'll come alive again. I hope Karin dies. I mean, I hope she's unconscious for the rest of the show and is never mentioned again.

Carla: Do you not like death anymore? You still kill people for fun in your video games.

Justin: But I'm not as bad as Mathias. Death is bad.

Dad: Is death inherently bad? I don't think it is. Jeff would say it is. Pastor Murray seems to think it is.

Brianna: It's bad my friend's dad is dying.

Carla: Indeed. That sucks.

Justin: Suckers.... yummmm.

Mom: I took my kindergarteners to swimming class today. Imagine - 15 little naked bodies running around the change room.

Dad: You were all in the same change room?!

Mom: No, we split the boys and girls up.

Dad: You brought the boys in with you?!

Mom: No, we were in the family change room.

Dad: Everyone was in the same change room?!

Mom: No, dear, just the boys and a few parent helpers.

Carla: I should go to Bible study tonight, but I feel like staying home. I want to watch "Merlin".

Dad: So it's Bible study... or ancient witchcraft?

Carla: Well, if you put it that way...

Justin: If God hardened Pharaoh's heart, aren't we all predestined?

Carla: I know I should go, I just don't feel motivated.

Justin: I'll flip a coin! We'll see was God says.

Dad: Don't tell her if she's defying fate until she's acting on her decision. Then we'll be able to see if it's predestined or not.

Brianna: I think I've met that missing girl they just showed on the news. I know where she is.

Carla: Hey Justin - if Kakashi suddenly went missing, do you think Naruto or Sakura would recognize him if he had no hair? It's not like they've ever seen his face.

Brianna: Everything I say you relate back to whatever TV show you're watching!

Carla: Sorry.

Mom: How do you know it's the same girl?

Brianna: Gut feeling.

Justin: Ok. Heads Carla goes, tails she stays.

Brianna: It's kind of a tough situation. She ran away from some horrible stuff.

Dad: Witchcraft is pretty horrible.

Carla: But is magic always unethical? Didn't the prophets of the Old Testament pretty much just get high to receive their visions?

Mom: Ethics aren't always clear cut.

Carla: Is it unethical to assassinate a dictator?

Dad: Maybe something isn't unethical just because it's wrong.

Justin: The coin is flipped!

Brianna: One of my friends got engaged.

Carla: Justin! Do you think Naruto and Sakura will get married? I'm assuming you already know Arthur and Gwen are getting married.

Brianna: You're doing it again!

Dad: Are you going to Bible study, Carla?

Carla: Yes.

Dad: What did the coin say?

Justin: Yes! Twice! She has no free will!

Mom: Which friend got engaged, sweetheart?

....and so on...

Note: This post is based on real conversations and our standard dinner conversational style (Rachel can attest to that), but is not a verbatim transcript.

"If you think anyone is sane you just don't know enough about them." Christopher Moore

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Secret Diary

Hello! My name is Carla. I am 6 years old. Do you now who my BOYfrend is? SCOTT! Hes reilly funny. He is 6 to. And when he does sumthing funny I laff at him then he wood say "What" evin tho he knows. Scott is 10 days yungir then me. Bye!

Hi my name is Carla. I am 6 years old. Soon I, Brianna, Dady, Mom, Justin are gioing to reigina! In reigiana we are gioin to play sneicup!* On the secind paige we tock about Scott? On the next page we will tock about Scott.

Hi agin reemmemder my name? C-A-R-L-A. I am 7 now. Bye agan.

Hi! I am playing Book store. I am 7. I am in a little bit of love with Sott! So is Joy. Bye.

Hello! I have some friends over! Thare names are Kim, Cindy, and Amy. We are playing school. Have a good time! Do you know I snore? Love you! Have a good day!

Hi! Did you know three squirrls came to live our back yard? I named them Peter, Patrick and Whitney. I LOVE squirrls. Do you? We think they came from fish creek park. Do you have squirrls liveing in YOUR backyard?

I'm 8! I love to read the Bible! My favorit movie is eney story keepers! Every person in my family loves God! All exsept Justin, he's only 2. Oh-well.

Olla! (Hello) I know some spanish words. Groseiss (Thank you) De nede (Your welcome). I have been in Mexico (Meheeco) for about 2 weeks. We have no spanish lessons. :-(

Hmph! Today was was bad. The memory is too painful. Bye!

Hi! As you know I am Carla and I am 9. Today was Brianna's birthday party. Gail (the puppet performer) was really funny. I liked Chuckie Beaver, Short-cake + Crumb, the bunny, etc. PAUSE... Sorry about the pause, I had to get my P.J.'s on. Toad on the Road is funny because, Pause... Sorry, I had to clean up. Because, Gail spayed us with water. Well, Bye for now.

If you haven't been able to guess, those were select excerpts from my secret diary, the precursor to this blog. It was a perfumed thing my mom gave to me as a reward for practicing piano when I was six. I loved that little book. It's too bad I only filled it one third full...

I wonder if one day I'll look back at this blog and find it cute and amusing like I now look at 6-year-old me.

Anyway, I pulled out my old secret diary because next month I will be heading to Saskatchewan to be a cabin leader at Dallas Valley for TWO CONSECUTIVE MONTHS, and I figure that a journal with a lock on it could prove strategic. I am going to be bushed by the time September rolls around. Needless to say, this blog will probably not get a lot of attention while I'm trying to inspire and control hordes of hyperactive, homesick, yet fawning kids. Still, I'm hoping to get at least a few posts in before July hits.

Speaking of things kids say:

"I'm all rectangled up, Mommy!" my wee little brother (admit it, it's cute)

*Sneak up [on the grown-ups]

P.S. The friend, Kim, mentioned above, just had her first baby! Welcome to the world baby Jacob!

Monday, 9 May 2011

God's Army in Old-School Music

Let's take a short trip down music memory lane. Who remembers the old days of CARMAN? I remember running around the living room as a kid with my sister, "dancing" to Sunday School Rock and then later doing a better job of it as a part of Corps Bara (or was it still "Dance Choir" then?) 7 Ways to Praise was the finale my first year at Crossings, and I remember watching other students dance to R.I.O.T. Crossings used a lot of Carman music in the early days, probably because he was one of the few Christian artists with dance-worthy music available at the time.

Recently, on a trip to visit family and poke through old photos in Saskatchewan, I packed a bunch of Carman CDs to help while away the long drive. It was a bit nostalgic and quite enjoyable, with the exception of one track that made me shriek and think my windshield had just badly cracked. I sat there hoping the entire thing didn't shatter onto my lap while I was zipping along the highway for a good few anxiety producing minutes until I had the brainwave to repeat the last song and see if I heard the glass cracking again.

Breaking glass sounds aside, I still appreciate Carman's musicality. You can't really get bored listening to his stuff - there's a wide variety of instruments and styles and each song is distinct from the last. I particularly appreciate his narrative story-style tracks, a style I've never heard imitated before, but tend to enjoy. However, I guess that over the last decade I've become a little more critical of some of the content of his songs. His theology occasionally gives me pause, as in I'm not sure that speaking to demons like dogs is a particularly good idea. And I don't know that his word-picture of heaven is exactly accurate. Also, I can point out places where I would be concerned as a producer that he is possibly going to unnecessarily offend someone, such as when he puts on a thick German accent and plays up German stereotypes as a joke. Being of German descent myself, I'm not offended, but I could see it rubbing some people the wrong way.

Perhaps the most repeated issue that leaves me cocking my head is Carman's heavy use of militant language and imagery. It keeps coming up. Our Turn Now speaks of rising up to take back schools by storm, and Satan, Bite the Dust talks about being "authorized and deputized" to "blow away" Satan and his influence. Again, Revival in the Land ends with a call to do battle against Satan and his legions while Jericho-Shout of Victory follows the theme of war and battle. God's Got an Army and R.I.O.T - well, I don't have to explain the content of those ones, do I? These are just some of the examples. It's not always about the military per se, but the idea of forceful, battle-ready, powerful Christians is easily apparent.

I can't help but think back to some of the sermons our pastor delivered recently on grace. Pastor Murray discussed how we want to have power as Christians, how we want to be a force to be reckoned with. We want to "take back" our world for Christ. He pointed out, however, that this isn't really how it's supposed to be. We come up from underneath, quietly, subversively, with grace. We forgive, we love, we are completely counter-cultural, we don't dictate culture. Scripture itself says we are to be in the world, not of the world. Is it possible for us to rule the world and yet not be of the world? I don't think so.

Emperor Constantine tried to do the whole regulated, powerful Christianity thing, and look at how it cheapened and distorted things. Christianity became a religion, not a faith. It became something you did to be popular, not something you did because you believed. Even if people are successful at bringing back Christian values into the legal systems of their nation, does that mean that any souls have been won? Or does it just mean that we have the legal right to punish wrongdoers? And if we are busy punishing people for not obeying the rules, when will we be able to show them grace? Will they listen?

Again, there is a limit here. I am not suggesting that we abandon people to their bad decisions and let evil carry the day. If the government is trying to do something patently evil, of course we are called to oppose it. If someone is running around killing people, of course we need to stop him. And I'm not saying that Christians shouldn't run for office or should never hold high-ranking positions. I'm saying that the basic tenets of Christianity, that is Christ and His grace, aren't things that you can bean someone on the head with. It just doesn't work.

The Bible talks about putting on the armour of God and no one can claim that Revelations doesn't have militaristic imagery. Elsewhere, archangel Michael was doing literal battle with demons. But is it our job to march into a place, try to take control, and "blow away" evil, top-down? Or are we called to sneak in where no one expects us, stun them by showing grace, and otherwise start a grass-roots, bottom-up movement that just keeps getting bigger and bigger but that never knocks people around? I agree with my pastor that grace is subversive, not aggressive.

Perhaps I would be more comfortable if the militant language in Carman's music were replaced with spy imagery. Oh wait, he did do some of that, too. Mission 3:16, anyone?

Tangentially related to the topic at hand, by means of my trip to Saskatchewan, this year is seeing the most back-and-forthness of the Albertan and Saskatchewanian Heinrichs relatives ever. Our worlds are kind of merging. This is good.

"There will be moments when you will feel perplexed, especially in the presence of human sin. You will ask yourself: 'Must I combat it by force or try to overcome it by humble love?' Always choose humble love, always." Elder Zosima in The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky

P.S. Neither am I suggesting that we try to show grace to demons - I'm just not so sure it's a good idea to being "commanding" Satan around.