Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Five - The Royal Wedding

The RevGalBlogPals have wedding fever.  Or some do.  It's a Royal Wedding Friday Five:

1) Will you be watching? If so, is this your first royal wedding?
I did watch it.  Live.  I got up about 3:30.  I didn't even need the alarm.   It is not my first wedding.  I watched Charles and Di as well.  Live.  I was younger then and believed the whole fairy tale thing.  I'm older now and I buy the "this is different, they are smarter and really in love" this time.

2) The bride has chosen as her wedding cake a fruitcake. Where do you stand on this pastry?

Fruitcake is a much maligned and wonderful food.  I make a mean fruitcake.  I say good for them but chocolate would have been a better choice.

3) The dress code for royal weddings has not seen the same sad decline as that for most other weddings. If you could design your own royal wedding hat, what color would it be and what special decoration would it feature?
I don' t design hats but I would wear something outrageous.  I am a hat person.  I love that these supposed reserved Brits wear these crazy things on their heads.  And they pull it off.  My favorite is socialite Tara Palmer-Tomkinson's hat.  I want that hat.  I want the shoes.  I'm not so sure about the gloves.

I just don't know about this hat.  But I really really admire Princess Beatrice for wearing this hat with a straight face.

4)  Any chance the Archbishop of Canterbury is using a Sustainable Sermon (tip of the mitre to the Vicar of Hogsmeade)? What would you tell the couple were you offering the homily?
All kidding aside, it was a WONDERFUL sermon and I will likely steal lines from it for years to come.   Like this:

Faithful and committed relationships offer a door into the mystery of spiritual life in which we discover this: the more we give of self, the richer we become in soul; the more we go beyond ourselves in love, the more we become our true selves and our spiritual beauty is more fully revealed. In marriage we are seeking to bring one another into fuller life.

You can find the text here.

5) Believe it or not, kathrynzj is getting up early mostly to see the wedding dress. By the time this post is up, the world will have seen it. Did you like it?

I thought it was all enchanting and the service was beautiful and the music wonderful.  I like congregational singing at a wedding.  We sang "Love Divine" at my wedding as well.   When I hear people huffing and puffing about the cost I remember when I visited India (I went around the world on a Semester at Sea (long story) and in my youthful arrogance said something about the cost of a beautiful church amidst all the poor and hungry.  And the gentleman showing me the church said "If you sold the church to feed the hungry, tomorrow we would be hungry and we would have nowhere beautiful to go." 

We need beauty and pomp and circumstances.  Even in difficult times.  Perhaps more so in such times. 


And hats.  We really need hats.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Holy Saturday First Communion Workshop

This is just about my favorite class to teach.

I started this practice about 20 years ago and only skipped the last five years because the church where I served didn't want their young people receiving the gift of Christ's Body and Blood until they were confirmed (gee could I have worded that in anymore loaded?)

Today I got to do it again after the five year break and in my dread of giving up four hours to spend with 5th graders I had forgotten how much I enjoy it and how quickly the time goes by.

It's a one day four hour preparation and then following ancient tradition, they come to the Lord's Table for the first time on Easter Sunday.

 I still use a lot of material from a really old source that I can't remember the name of the book -Augsburg Fortress, out of print from the late 80s or early 90s, back when they still thought 5th graders were smart enough to actually learn some theological concepts.  Although this year I added the new Fed & Forgiven and was happy with some of it but would never use it alone.  

I divide sessions up according the Small Catechism.  

I've made my own power points with the catechism, and material from that old book whose name I cannot remember and Brick Testament pictures of the Exodus and the Last Supper.

I make them learn the first part "What is Holy Communion?" (which I still have yet to learn the new version - maybe next year.)  To me, that is still the best, most concise defintion of Holy Communion

Holy communion is the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, given with bread and wine, instituted by Christ himself, for us to eat and drink.

I also expect them to tell me what three things make a sacrament and what are the three benefits of Holy Communion (Forgiveness of Sins, life and salvation - clap while you say it --it has a rhythm)  

We go marching outside reciting these things at the top of our voices and in Southern, German and Italian accents.

We also bake bread for Easter Sunday. 

This is the recipe I got from my first call church cookbook from Hope Lutheran Church in Madison, WI.  I like to use a rising bread to show how long yeast takes so they can understand why for the Exodus they did not have time to use leaven, but also so they understand that there is nothing particular holy about unleavened bread, bread with yeast is fine too.

Whole Wheat Communion Bread

21/2 C warm water
1 pkg active dry yeast
1/4 c. soft shortening
1 tbsp salt
1/4 cup light molasses, honey or brown sugar
2 C whole wheat
2 C white flour

In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add shortening molasses and half the flour to the yeast, 1 cup at a time.  Beat with a spoon vigorously. 

Add remaining flour and when you can no longer beat with a spoon, knead with hands. (make sure every kid gets a chance to try knead it !)

Cover with towel and place in warm spot and let rise about an hour, until double.  Then beat down, divide into six loaves. 

Shape into ovals and flatten.  Let rise again about 1/2 hour. 

Mark with a deep cross by dipping knife in flour before each cut.  Crossways cut needs to be cut almost to the bottom to help break evenly at Communion table.    Bake for about 20 minutes.

Be sure to make an extra loaf so kids can eat it.  I had to make more when I came home today.

We also decorate a wine goblet with craft leading and stained glass window paint and then the whole family receives the wine out of the chalice they make and then they have a keepsake.  

Add a half hour lunch and run around outside or play hide and seek in the church and the time goes by pretty fast.  

And fifth graders are so precious, they still care and are not too cool for this stuff yet.    It was great to be able to do this again.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I Learned How to Work a VCR Because of Erica Kane

And now she and All My Children will be GONE GONE GONE come September.   To be replaced by cheaper talk shows and "reality shows" 

It's the end of an era.  I've watched all my Children since it's near beginnings back when I was in junior high.  I got pregnant with my son at the same time she conceived Bianca.  (Of course Erica was only pregnant 3 months and Bianca was in high school when my son was only seven but that's Soap Opera time)

I was never ashamed to admit I loved my shows.  I think all the tears and suspense over the dark secrets, switched babies, dead come back to life, long lost grown children showing up, amnesia,  girl meets boy, boy loses girl, boy trades girl with his brother and father and guy down the street and tragic death scenes as a helpful emotional release for me throughout the years.

My daughter  likes to tell a story of her slapping her preschool teacher because I let her watch soaps and she thought that's how people dealt with each other.  I don't remember hearing about her slapping her teacher.  Too busy watching soaps I guess.

Erica's Daughter Bianca's Wedding to Reese
People like to make fun of soaps.  But Erica Kane was the first one on TV to get a legal abortion in the 70s.  AMC was the first to deal with homosexuality in the 80s and a few years ago they were the first to have a gay wedding.  They dealt with AIDs, teenage prostitution,  addiction, domestic abuse --all kinds of real life issues nighttime TV wouldn't touch.

It was over the top but there was some good stuff.  A lot better than stupid talk shows and "reality shows"  But as an old departed organists used to tell me "Well ya know, nothing lasts forever"

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lutherans, Hogs and Social Statements Part Deux

A couple of weeks ago I went to a Forum on "Genetics and Faith" led by my Bishop Steven Ullestad who is on the task force that put together the ELCA Social Statement on Genetics Faith and Responsibility.

So I've been meaning to write about this and then  Clint Schnekloth over at Lutheran Confessions has to go and beat me to it.  Good thing he did because I started writing a LONG comment on his page and thought "Hey - why not save all this for MY blog!"

So my first comment is to answer the what I think is dumb criticism from people who say the church has no business sticking it's nose in this and stick to religion.  Um.  

Well, the only problem with that is that there are Christian scientists and geneticists.  

Yes really!  Bishop Ullestad told of hearing from people of faith  who work in this field saying "Why does God let me see what I see and give me no one to talk about it?"  One woman was scolded by her pastor for being in the field of genetic work and then derided by her co-workers for being involved in church. 

Look at the people on this task force, it's not just about of pastors sticking their nose in something they know nothing about.  

There are brilliant scientists who are highly regarded in their field on this task force.  There are also farmers and people schooled in agriculture.  

This is not about ivory tower theologians telling people what to do, these are real people, grappling with real issues of science and faith, some of whom for the first time have had an opportunity to talk about this with other Christians.  

f you don't know that there are people out there facing these issues then you are up in a tower somewhere.

Pastor Schnekloth wonders why their embryonic stem cell research is not addressed.  Well, apparently that is old news.  They have found other ways of getting those cells without using embryos and so it's no longer an issue.  The question they are asking now is "At what point to you inject so much human genetic material into a pig (to harvest organs) that it is no longer a pig?"

Yes, friends, we have been so busy worrying about who loves what gender that we have ignored some REAL moral dilemmas growing up around us.  

The study comes out against cloning human beings.  But says something very interesting. 

 However, if individuals are cloned despite societal and ELCA rejection, this church will respect their God-given dignity and will welcome them to the baptismal font, like any other child of God

You know why they put that in there, don't you?  They believe it is going to happen.  Whether the church approves of it or not.   Wake up and smell the coffee people!

There is some very good stuff on creation and care of creation and what I think is a very provocative statement:

Today, the meaning of “common good” or “good of all” must include the community of all living creatures. The meaning also should extend beyond the present to include consideration for the future of the web of life. The sphere of moral consideration is no longer limited to human beings alone.

But lest PETA (an organization for which I, an animal lover have NO respect) get too excited - there is this

The pursuit of genetic knowledge and its applications will rightfully give priority to serving the needs of existing individuals and the human community, with particular attention to the needs of the most vulnerable. These efforts, however, must not compromise the integrity of future human generations and should consider the integrity of the rest of the biosphere—animals, plants, soils and the ecosystem as a whole, including the water and air on which it depends.
A measured, Lutheran middle of the road position. Humans first, but concern for the rest of creation.

I think it is an EXCELLENT EXCELLENT study and you should have your folk read it.  Because this stuff is going to affect all of us.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Ham Balls

There is some midwestern food I will never learn to like.  Like "beef burgers". (You really have to see my face to know how I feel about those)

But Ham balls are another story.  I love these.   I don't even know if you can get ham loaf outside of Iowa but if you can, you have to try some ham balls.  Here is my version.  I even tried to figure out measurements just for you.

  • 1 lb ham loaf
  • 1 cup bread crumbs or crushed crackers  (I actually did not have either one and used oats and it was fine)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 can drained crushed pineapple (save the juice for the sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp Penzeys American Barbecue spice

Mix that all up and form balls.  Put them in a pan and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes.
While they are in the oven make the sauce:
  • 1 Tbl butter
  • 1/ 4 Cup Ketchup
  • 1/4 Cup Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Brown sugar
  • 2 Tbl Honey mustard 
  • 1 tbs Penzeys barbecue spice
  • 1/2 tsp Ginger
  • The rest of the crushed pineapple & juice

Melt the butter in the ketchup in a small saucepan.  Add the other ingredients and mix.  Bring to a boil.  Simmer for a few minutes.  When the 15 minutes are up, spoon  it on the ham balls and bake another 45 minutes.

What I'm wasting my Time on These days

Free TV Show from Ustream
This is a web came on an Eagles Nest in Decorah, IA, about 10 miles from me.  One has hatched already.  The nest is 6 feet across and weighs a ton and a half.  Check out the rabbit they caught for their first meal.  Very cool.

I'm gong to post something substantial pretty soon.