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Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Time for Every Purpose

If you've never heard The Byrds's Turn, Turn, Turn, click the link immediately and relive my youth. I just learned today that Pete Seeger wrote the song, but it's the Byrds version that lives in my head. It was in the collective consciousness in our adult Sunday school this morning as we took up the third chapter of Ecclesiastes. Yes, that old hippie pop song comes from the Bible. 
For everything, there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die; 
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;...
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;...
a time for war, and a time for peace. 
Some of Ecclesiastes sounds pretty grim-- "All is vanity, a chasing after the wind"-- but this section gets reassuring. God has everything worked out, even the things that hurt. And the book assures us that simple things like food and drink and the work we have to do are gifts from God, and we can enjoy them. On top of that, "He has made everything beautiful in its time." 
We talked a little about youth as a time when human beings are beautiful. Being on the far side of youth, I thought about beauty in relationships. Then, as He often does, God gave me a little pat on the soul.
I sat down in the sanctuary a couple of rows behind one of the newer teenage girls. Soon, a girl who's been in the church all her life came over to say hello and give her a hug. You can be who you are in our church, and you'll be welcome and loved. Beautiful.
On the other side of the room, an eight-year-old girl was conversing earnestly with a young man in his twenties. She may have been showing him something from her Sunday school. After a minute, she threw her arms around his neck. They weren't brother and sister, but... yes, they were. Beautiful. 
That list of "times" includes times to heal, to build up, to laugh, to dance, to embrace, to gain, to love, and, in the end, a time of peace. I know it's not too late. 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Olympic Snippets

A good 35 minutes into opening night comprehensive Olympic coverage, NBC was interviewing a tennis player and talking about sour cream, because "context" or something.

Read in the Orlando Sentinel, "The event's creative director, Konstanin Ernst, dismissed the significance of the malfunction (of the unfolding Olympic rings): 'No normal person would get distracted by one snowflake that did not open.'" Sorry, Konstantin. It was one of the Olympic rings. We all noticed, normal or not. I also noticed the classic leftist snark, "No normal person." Right. If you don't agree with the correct position, you are not normal. You are stupid, reactionary, behind the times, a hater. In Soviet Russia, ring open you. 

Admit it, you wouldn't have been all that surprised if Putin had carried the torch into the arena, shirtless and riding on a bear.


Apparently, it is now a requirement for opening ceremonies to include at least one flying child.

NBC's introductory coverage: blah blah blah blah Obama blah blah blah blah. Riveting.

 This line in the NBC narration made my eyebrows pop up: "Through every stage of {Russia's} story, it’s resisted any notion of limitation." Um, yeah, that would be the problem. In other words, "They just have to try to take over the world."

But I have to admit the dancing and stuff was quite dramatic, artistically impressive. You could almost forget the Ukraine famine and the Stalinist purges and the Berlin wall and the gulags and the Christians thrown into insane asylums. Almost.

My fevered brain kept adding words to the ceremony's music. The bit from Borodin's Polovetsian Dances that goes, you know, da da daaaaa, dada da dada dadadaaaa demands that I hear "Take my haaaand, I'm a stranger in paradiiiise." From a 1953 musical called Kismet, that song was all over my youth. And the Russian national anthem, which apparently is to be sung only by large groups of manly men who ride in on bears, was parodied on talk radio: "Obama, Obama, our savior, Obama..." Glenn Beck says he couldn't get any active professional singer to record it and wound up with a retired man who didn't mind parodying the prez. Ah, America. 

You realize, of course, that skate commentators could be making up those terms as they go along and just faking us out with the earnestness of their expression. I mean, really, can you tell the difference between a Triple Clavicle and a Wrenching Maddow? OOHHH, look at that Truncated Toe Lop!

In response to the two-seater toilet stall photo from the men's biathlon center, someone posted a pic of a group toilet room at another event. Four toilets in a room. No stalls, no walls, no curtains. And, I bet, no users. Are you kidding me? This is the stuff of nightmares. Just remember not to flush any stray dogs.