Friday, July 16, 2010

A while ago, I created this booklet for those who might be interested in reading the Book of Concord.  I wanted to give them a sense of what they would gain, a general overview of the contents, and some tips for starting.  Pastor Paul McCain graciously allowed me to use his words I found online for the heart of the booklet, mine serving as an introduction and the tips section.

Well, Cousin D so generously created a website for me where people can read the booklet online or download PDFs of either the plain version or a version set for printing.  I am so thrilled, truly, to be able to share this, to have it available as a tool, a resource for those who would like to discover the joy that is the Book of Concord!

So, if you are interested, check out:!

I got to see my sister's cherubs today, play a game with them, read some Frog and Toad, have Frog and Toad read to me.  SIGH.  Lovely time, to be sure.  My sister is really struggling right now with a hard thing of life.  I wish her lessening of pain, but it is a battle she has no choice in facing.

I spent some time this evening not studying Greek or Doctrine or anything else.  Instead, I took up the cleaning/organizing task I left off with my writing student.  The other day, she had graciously come over to help me start reducing the things I wish to recycle, donate, and/or trash.  I will not be moving as I thought would happen, but I still wish to downsize in the hopes some day I might find a home that will fit this weak and weary sinner.  Some of what we did was going through things of the past, both professional and personal.  We hauled many boxes down from the attic and cleared those out, started working on the closet in my office that is chock full, floor to ceiling, with book, articles, and stuff, and addressed one of the three baskets filled with more things resting on the study floor and one of the drawers of my antique secretary.  I have three more drawers to go, as well as three other closets. 

Something that I decided to discard were all the journals of my childhood and on into my mid-twenties.  I kept only the letters I wrote from Africa when I was a missionary.  The words in the journals are sad and are based on false catechesis.  There is nothing to be gained in reading them, for me or for anyone else.  Tossing those into the recycling bin was like shedding an elephant off my back. Sheer relief.  I look forward to learning more of the proper sort of catechesis, no matter how hard that might be for me.

Nothing, absolutely nothing aside from the sweet, sweet Gospel, brings peace and quiet like organizing and cleaning out.  I used to help people do this sort of thing all the time; primarily I served as the hard line they could not bring themselves to draw.  Katie Bess was mine.  Should I keep this?  Nope.  Into the box then.  While we worked, each box emptied became one more step into the future.  Heady stuff for such mundane work.  I really do miss helping others do this.

And I had forgotten, in the turmoil of this past year, that cleaning and organizing has long been the best way for me to calm my mind or, in the words of Joss Whedon, step aside from the moment and let it pass.  When emotions raged, I would empty out all the things from a closet, sort and reduce and replace.  If I had a bad day, I could always tackle the drawer beside the refrigerator that always turns a mess, despite my best efforts to keep it straight.  Or I could just do some organizing in my office or amongst my bookshelves.  I also gain peace by puttering in soil, mowing, and pruning, but doing so is not really an option to me with the heat.  Can you garden in winter?

Any way, we had left two more shelves in the study closet for another and then all the research articles.  I am considering seriously, just recycling them all.  They are tremendously out of date.  If I ever were to make it back to a professor slot, I could always use the college library.  I want to scan them all, which I could do binder by binder at work, but the very thought of tackling that makes me weary.  The only argument in keeping them is that they are tucked away at the top of the closet, out of sight.  Why do I want them?  Because were they easily accessible, I would open them from time to time to keep sharp on literacy studies.  I miss being a teacher, a professor.  I do.

Some of the things we recycled were all the collateral samples I have been keeping, collected over six years.  I really do not need them. We were very environmentally friendly in the process, pulling off all the top-loading sheet protectors and keeping all the usable binders.  Now, should you be in need of any top-loading sheet protectors, please shoot me an email and I will send off a hundred or so in the mail.  Even doing so for all my "readers," I should never again have to purchase a single sheet more.  The whole process would have been embarrassing had it been anyone other than Katie Bess.  She never once made a comment about my needing to attend a top-loading-sheet-protector anonymous meeting!

Tonight, as I was tossing books and papers and making more room, I thought about the patterns in my life that need to be toss out as well to make room for the good things Christ has for me, wondering if I will ever be able to accomplish as much in my heart and mind as I have already in my attic and study.  What I do know is that the one change I do need I already have.  Monday is the one-year anniversary of my baptism.  I am hoping it is a new beginning, of sorts, for me.  But I am also aware that the one thing that can help me happened 363 days ago.  I might not see the change I wish, but I know that Jesus Christ is the one writing the pages of my life and He makes no mistakes...even now.

Do you want to know my lesson on forgiveness today?  I am not un-forgiven because I only ended up, once more, hurting someone in trying to talk about my thoughts and feelings.  I am forgiven precisely because I failed so miserably.  I failed because I am a wretched sinner; even in my best intentions I am still only a wretched sinner.  I am forgiven because in my sinful state Christ loved me and offered Himself in my stead so that I might have eternal life.  Now, still, this day when I am awash in my wretchedness and inability to speak without causing more harm, I am forgiven.  Oh, Lord, help me remember this now in this period of time and space.

It is a very good thing the Lord's Supper is but two days away.

Strange to me, the coincidence of the thing Jesus has done for me slotted for yesterday but put off until today...

Beloved, we are God's children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed.  What we do know is this; when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see  him as he is.  ~I John 3:2


Watching old TV shows or movies is more fun when they feature someone who went on to become famous. In their younger faces, when they smile or squint a certain way, we can see traces of who they will become.

In the same way, we bear traces of Jesus.  When we first began our journey with Him, He began working in us, making us more and more like Him.  And He has continued that work in our lives, slowly chiseling us after His image of longsuffering, kindness, and holiness.  As we walk with Christ, we grow into His image more and more every day.

Lutheran Doctrine note:  How is this done?  Word and Sacrament...the Holy Spirit working through the means of Grace.

Lord, I believe.  Help my belief!

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