Category Archives: Uncategorized

Kernlieder

Laurie Vogt sings from the Lutheran Service Book with her childr

Here we go! We’re taking an overdue stab at planning out the hymns we’d like to help our little preschool-age daughter learn by heart. These are seed hymns — otherwise known as kernlieder, that we have lined up for the next year:

September — Lord, Thee I Love With All My Heart (LSB #708)
October — Lord, Keep Us Steadfast In Your Word (LSB #655)
November — By Grace I’m Saved (LSB #566)
December — O Come, O Come Emmanuel (LSB #357)
January — I Am Jesus’ Little Lamb (LSB #740)
February — Chief of Sinners Though I Be (LSB #611)
March — Glory Be To Jesus (LSB #433)
April — Christ the Lord is Risen Today (LSB #463)
May — God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It (LSB #594)
June — At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing (LSB #633)
July — Come My Soul With Every Care (LSB #779)
August — On My Heart Imprint Your Image (LSB #422)

In most cases, we will tackle the first stanza if it’s a long one, otherwise we ‘ll do all of them. Whatever is age-appropriate.

Our own parish’s repertoire is fairly limited. It contains mostly British hymns of praise, some classic American Protestant favorites, and several from the “Redeemer” section of the Lutheran Service Book. From time to time, we sing hymns about one of the sacraments or sanctification, too. And while all the hymns seem to have a strong, melodic tune in common, there is much left on the table that our children (and us) still need to learn about our Lord. Far greater riches remain unexamined and await discovery. Music and hymnody can do a lot to teach the faith to young (and old) alike, so why would we leave the best stuff behind?

In our previous church, the take-home family devotions each week provided Sunday’s hymn of the day for use at home, allowing it to take deeper root. Our church in the town we lived in before that provided a hymn of the month, and that’s actually the track we’re going to follow, considering the age of our little one. With our own kernlieder, we will reach into our own faith tradition and use quality Lutheran hymnody to pass along treasures for both mind and heart. As her parents, we hope to gradually fill in some gaps in our young daughter’s knowledge of the Christian life, using hymns that discuss Jesus’ work on our behalf, shine a flashlight on our sinful human condition, confess what His death and resurrection mean, and take us deeper into our justification, hope and comfort, baptized identity, prayer, catechesis, and many more layers of the holy faith and what Scripture teaches.

Her understanding is simple right now, but it’s stunning to see her capacity for learning and memorization. Parents and clergy sometimes underestimate kids, or perhaps the underestimate the Holy Spirit at work within them. Music works to make early mental pathways — and this is wisdom to grow into and savor as she matures. Our hope is to help reveal a higher-resolution picture of life under the cross, coming into a fuller understanding of what Christians know, and find a daily purpose in learning these gems as we raise her in a faith that is tangible, tactile, and as fully-dimensional as life itself.

What hymns does your congregation really own? Not just enjoy singing, but embrace as the best hymnody for encapsulating Christian truth and the divine narrative between God and man? Does your pastor have some that he wants to teach you to know especially well, hymns that will stick with you for the long road of life?

Advertisements

What are your blind spots?

I don’t care how old you are. You will benefit from a mentor, a coach, someone to look up to. Hopefully, you will have the opportunity to be that for someone else. For me, it’s one of my professional joys that overlaps a great deal with the personal. I currently have a shortage of mentors, and the one I finally found a few months ago today took a job in another part of the country. Yet also today, the one who opened the door of my first legislative job replied with an invitation to lunch. I may turn out to have another one, back in DC, though there are fewer expectations associated with that one.

I am grateful. I freely admit that I wouldn’t be where I am without the help of others, and it’s my pleasure to encourage others with whom I serve to find their very best and do it, too. We all need it, and in the age of the anti-hero and the arrogant, I hope I am never done improving and growing. That’d be a self-imposed ceiling, and I’m not going to settle for that. Neither should you. Humility and virtue go farther than swagger and power – and the best men (in this case) that I know already get that. I have everything to gain, and always will. Getting outside perspective is not for validating me, but challenging me. And doing it for someone else is bigger than paying it forward, it’s about commitment to success.  It’s even about the willingness to give and receive honest judging and critiquing, something our feelings usually get in the way of, because how else will you know how to address your form, focus, and follow-through?

Relationships these days suffer for so many reasons. And yet, ones that are sacrificial – in one way or another – seem to be the most worthwhile. I am thankful.

 

Good Saturday morning from San Diego! 

On our end, though there is not rain in skies nor leaves changing
colors, there ARE jackets on the backs of the chairs in the office
cubicles. And that seems to be the indicator that the seasons are
changing in San Diego. I even saw a co-worker with a puffy vest jacket
on during the day this week. Another wore a flannel shirt and a fleece
pullover. Be that as it may, we officially kicked off autumn this week
with hot cider and doughnuts, in keeping with family tradition. We
waited to celebrate that with sister S, who is spending a couple
of weeks with us and embedding in our own daily adventure of life in
our zip code.

We’ve kept it low-key around here, though, brewing coffee in the
mornings for those who will take it, working slightly longer hours at
the D’s job to make up for lost time due to business travel — and back
to normal at L’s work since her project concluded. Otherwise, it’s the
normal chores and routines, and some rest and niece-playtime for
sister S. It’s concert week, too, as the San Diego Master Chorale’s
season opener is tonight… so that means a few extra rehearsals, a
tuxedo fitting, and even helping with putting out a news release this
week. Tonight is the big show, and we’ll be accompanied by the San
Diego Baroque Soloists, who will be performing on authentic period
instruments to help bring alive the sound intended by those who
composed it.

Yesterday, with a day off from work, we all took a family outing in
the morning to the world-famous San Diego Zoo. What a beautiful day!
Our visit started with a 40-minute guided bus tour, and then strategic
wanderings to the various lands within the park in order to spend more
time admiring God’s creation, up-close.

This morning, we’ll check to see if the plumeria branch we planted in
the backyard is showing signs of taking root, and then do some laundry
and clean the kitchen. Beyond that, sister S asked about visiting the
Mission, so we might go for that, too, before this afternoon’s dress
rehearsal. Tonight, we’ll go enjoy His gift of music,
performing/hearing Handel’s “Dixit Dominus” (Thus Saith the Lord) and
Muhly’s “Bright Mass” in the Episcopal Cathedral downtown. Little E
will have babysitter for this one, though.

Time to go strip the bed and get things going, Thank you, all, for the updates!

Hands-off

A kind of neat story came out this week about a family that returned an American Indian artifact to a museum, after realizing what they had in their possession. I had mixed feelings about it at first, given how common it is to beat people up into a self-obsessed pile of guilt over any perceived infraction of political incorrectness. But, the story had a kind of cool ending, so it was fine.

Not like the usual stories. Normally, the powerful — you know, the self-appointed judges of victimhood — manage to condemn innocent consciences with charges of “cultural appropriation.” Whatever that is. All I’ve been able to figure out is that somewhere is a panoply of every cultural stereotype, and unless you can prove biological heredity with the original practitioners of that tradition, you’re appropriating the culture. Which, on some grounds or other, is considered wrong.

Now, none of this makes sense. I’m not sure how appropriating something means that any less of it exists in the place from which is was appropriated, at least when it comes to imitation or replication or anything like that. It’s like oxygen. Suck up as much as you want; I’ll be fine. You haven’t hurt me any, unless by some warped view of mine I’ve decided to let myself feel angry at you… which is still my attitude, not yours.

But, anyway. How does cultural appropriation exist? And where? If it’s real and not made-up, show me. And if you can show me, then what? Why is it yours and not to be shared? Who says you own any of it? Is it copyrighted? Do you have a legal basis? If I go around pretending to be like you, regardless of my motive or authenticity, who besides you cares? And why should any of that matter?

These are honest questions I still haven’t seen answered, at least in a manner befitting someone who has made it through kindergarten. Whining isn’t a solid substitute for showing actual harm. Trust me; we have a three-year-old.

Don’t be three. The fact you have a culture is not an exclusive claim against others who want to adopt it in whole or in part, to “appropriate” it. Let them mock it, let them improve it, let them do what they want. You still have it, at least as much as you had it before, because — get ready for this — no one took anything away from you. Check your pockets. It’s all still there. Your problem is with freedom, so really, just do your thing. Show us how it’s done. The rest of you, appropriate all the culture you can. Enjoy. You’re not hurting anyone except for their own entitled sense of godhood, and that’s just obnoxious.

Save the guilt for actual theft, not pretend. And don’t listen to three-year-old bullies when they act demanding and ridiculous. It’s an empty threat, and you have a culture to “appropriate,” freely. Go for it.

What we have is the human spirit

Peter Scaer’s post, Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid;

The emperor has no clothes, and yet we fall over ourselves complimenting his choice in fashion. And now, he says he’s a girl, and we smile, and say she’s beautiful. Put him on a magazine cover, in grotesque parody, and we cheer, as if hoping to receive a gold star from our betters. I would like to think that we have bought into a lie, that we’ve been deceived, but it’s much worse. We know it’s not right, yet we go along. By our silence, we become complicit, and by flying the rainbow flag, we become evangelists of the great fraud.

Our cowardice may save us for a day, but not to live to fight another. What really is there to fight for? To protect hearth and home? To defend our moms and wives and children? Such categories matter not a whit. How is it that a man might even dare open the door for a woman, if he can no longer identify one?

Don’t be deceived, the LGBT agenda is fascist, and even worse, it’s totalitarian. It demands not simply a place in society, but demands an immunity blanket, a world in which your lips must be closed, your pen must not write, and even your thoughts must be cleansed. This is not a new enlightenment, but a ban on thinking, a manipulation of the mind, and deadly blow against the conscience.

During World War II, American POW’s were often treated in the most dehumanizing ways, especially in the Japanese camps. The Japanese beat the prisoners physically, but aimed deeper, that they might strip the soldiers of their very humanity. In response, the American soldiers actively sought out little ways to sabotoge their captor’s plans. Forced into hard labor for the empire, they built guns that wouldn’t work, they put sugar in gas tanks, did anything they could to put sticks into the spokes of the Japanese war machine. Did the sabotage have great effect? Well, it didn’t hurt the Japanese that much, but it kept alive the spirits of the prisoners. They were after all still men, still soldiers.

And so it is with us. We live in a world which no longer recognizes women or men. But, if we are to keep our sanity, to see things as they are, and to save our souls and the souls of our children, we must engage in acts of sabotage and resistance. Women might steal a line from Helen Reddy and say, “I am woman, hear me roar.” Yes, be women, and be proud that you are. And men must remember that they are men, and together they are called to be that most subversive of all institutions, the natural family, with mom and dad and children.

Most of us recognize the politicians are not much help. Most of our Republicans have been gelded by the gilded age of corporate money and elite public opinion. Deny reality, and your betters will pat you on the head and give you a doggie biscuit. But make no mistake, fellow dogs, they want the puppies in your litter, that they might train them in the way of the lie.

The Japanese had Tokyo Rose, and we have network tv. Sad to say, when it comes to the LGBT propaganda, even FOX is mostly gone. But we do have the federalist.com, and we have a whole generation of younger writers who are our Radio Free Europe. And even more, there is thepublicdiscourse.com, led by Ryan Anderson, and there are other voices of resistance, like Robert George and Robert Gagnon. And even more, there are some churches left that actually still speak the truth. You know, out loud, so that it can be heard.

Indeed, there is nothing more soul killing than living the lie, for in doing so, we’ll have no idea who we are. We’ll become nothings, stripped of our manhood, our womanhood, our fatherhood, and our motherhood. We have precious few leaders who are willing to speak, and in that sense, they are no leaders at all. What we have is the human spirit, which must be nurtured, by acts of subversion, by resistance, by keeping alive the flame of our humanity. This is the battle of our day. This is our World War.