Sugar rush

Took all four kids trick-or-treating tonight. It was a clear, starry night, which was a major improvement over the rain we got the year before.

The youngest was old enough to walk this year. (Last year, he rode in the stroller. Unconcerned with keeping up with his siblings, he sucked the chocolate off candy bars right through the wrappers.) Since the weather was nice, they filled up their buckets in half an hour and went back out for more on the next street. I'm pretty sure their haul weighs more than the two-year-old.

Hmm, I already wonder how many more times the oldest will want to go out with dear old dad trailing along behind.


Lutheran Guy

In honor of Reformation Sunday (tomorrow) and for your amusement, I present a song written by my wife's aunt. I think she did a great job.

LUTHERAN GUY (to the tune of American Pie)
By Cynthia Strieter-Boland

A long, long time ago
We must all remember
How the Reformation got its start

A boy to Hans and Margaret born
Was baptized on the following morn
The child of the Luther’s was named Mart

Young Martin Luther got the call
When a lightning bolt caused him to fall
He sold his books for law school
And took up studying God’s rule

He entered the monastic life
In the peaceful Erfort countryside
And something touched him deep inside
The day he took those vows


    My, my this here Lutheran guy
    May be famous, but he’s dangerous
    And a thorn in our side
    Them good ole boys at the Vatican cried
    Saying, “Just recant or you will be tried”
    ‘n’ he said, “Here I stand, I won’t be denied”
He started on his quest with love
And the utmost faith in God above
‘n’ let the Bible be his guide
But he stood up to the monks who told
How works could save your mortal soul
And tried to teach “by grace we’re justified”

Well, he said John Tetzel was a crook
‘cause of the indulgences he took
Then late one Halloween night
He gave the Vatican a fright

He nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door
Never meant to start a holy war
But this is what he was called for
The day he took those vows
Archbishop Albert with the Pope
And Cardinal Cajetan all spoke
‘bout Martin Luther’s heresy
So they called him back to Rome to see
If a Diet of Worms could ever be
Enough to make him stop his blasphemy

He was excommunicated then
By a jury of his former friends
The courtroom was adjourned
The verdict was returned

And while Martin left that day from Rome
To Castle Wartburg his new home
He recalled the fervor he had known
The day he took those vows
He met a girl who’d been a nun
And escaped the convent on the run
Katharina Bora was her name
In Wittenburg as man and wife
Mart’n Katy started their new life
And pretty soon six new Lutherans came

Now the printing press was all the rage
And Martin’s words were on each page
The Word was also spoken
For the rules had all been broken

And the three that he admired most
The Father, Son and Holy Ghost
Were praised with an angelic host
The day he took those vows

They let another one slip away.

The Cards have just beaten Detroit in Game 4, forcing a must-win for Detroit to bring the World Series back home.

Come on guys, bring it home. You really don't want your only win to be clouded by the stain of pine tar on Kenny Rogers' hand.


Michael J Fox isn't the only celebrity with an opinion

And not all opinionated celebrities agree with each other.

When it comes to stem cell research, maybe people will give Fox's opinion more weight due to his illness. I have sympathy for the guy, but his situation doesn't change whether the the relative value of adult versus embryonic stem cell research.

The truth is that I'm not convinced whether one is more promising than the other. I also remain unconvinced that embryonic stem would be worth harvesting embryos, even if we were certain of the benefits. Even if the benefits were beyond our wildest dreams.

The other thing which disturbs me is the idea that somehow when a celebrity (any celebrity) enters the political arena as a spokesperson for a candidate or an issue they are somehow above the fray. It's late enough in the political season that I tend to sigh or groan almost anytime I hear a poltical ad, because I've heard the ads once, twice, three dozen times in just the last week and I'm aware of the spinning and the truth stretching and the attempts at damage control. Like everybody else, I get tired of the spin from all the candidates.

But celebrities aren't above the kind of behavior that makes the average citizen sour on politics. From Fox's ad for Claire McCaskill:

"Unfortunately Senator Jim Talent opposes expanding stem cell research," Fox claims. "Senator Talent even wanted to criminalize the science that gives us a chance for hope."
According to Lifenews:
Though the ad makes it appear Talent opposes all kinds of stem cell research, he has voted in favor of spending millions in federal funds for adult stem cell research, the only kind of research that has ever cured a single patient.

What Talent has opposed is forcing taxpayers to pay for studies using embryonic stem cells, which can only be obtained by destroying human life.

H/T: Michelle Malkin

Decision time

I'm not a person who deals well with change. I avoid it whenever possible, and I delay it as long as I can. Even when I know it's going to be good for me, I procrastinate. This is probably one of my most frustrating qualities (certainly to my wife), but even to myself.

The big change I've been resisting lately has been to leave our church home.

I've changed churches twice in my life, and both were related to a change of residence. Both times were somewhat awkward because of the need to meet new people and learn new customs and accommodate slight variations in the liturgy. The Lutheran church, much like the Catholic church, leans heavily on an organized liturgy, which makes the general order of worship very consistent between congregations.

We've been members of this congregation for six years, and had two of our children baptized there. Our kids have done bible school there every year since our oldest was three, and it's the only sunday school they've ever attended. We've also made some good friends in our time there who have encouraged our growth in faith.

In the last year or two, though, we've felt increasingly called away from our church. Much of the problem lies in the progressively shrinking membership. Enrollment at our church, like many small mainline congregations across the country, has been sliding for some time. We've alternately attributed this to intra-congregational strife, bad seeds, poor organization, poor advertising, forgetful membership, an economic downturn, and competition from more contemporary megachurches. I've come over time to doubt that any of these was truly a cause, and some were mostly imagined.

Whatever the cause, the result has been that the sunday school has declined from 8-10 or 10-12 kids in a class to 3, 4, or 5 kids in a class. As the number of students has decreased, the number of parents willing to be involved has also fallen.

The same symptoms have hurt the nursery, which has existed only sporadically. There aren't many families with children younger than sunday school age who have a need for a nursery, but we invariably have one of our own - and for the last two months another. Our youngest son, who is threeish, doesn't belong in a worship service once the sermon starts, and an ambulatory foster child who's never been to church belongs there even less.

With little congregational support for the nursery lately, our options have been to leave worship after communion or to have one of us sit in the nursery every week. That didn't seem so bad when we were taking our second or third child out. Now that it's the fourth... and the fifth... We believe we've been called by God to be foster parents of young children. Should we assume He does not mean for us to be in church?

The idea of leaving is complicated by the fact that there aren't other Lutheran churches nearby that are attractive at first glance. That means we've had to consider other denominations, which is a particular hurdle for me. My grandfather was a Lutheran minister his entire life, and I grew up in the church where he baptized me - the same church where I was confirmed and where I later married my wife. Leaving that church was difficult, but staying was simply impractical because our home was in the city twenty miles away, and there were half a dozen churches within a 10-minute drive. This time around, I'm afraid moving outside the Lutheran church will be a lot like abandoning family. The liturgy, the hymns, the history... It's not part of my faith exactly, but it's part of me nevertheless.


No evidence of a young boy wrapped in a red towel was found

"Rare Meteorite Found in Kansas"

OK. Not that rare.


Haloscan comments

Found a link to The Logical Philosopher with some explanation of how to show Haloscan comments and trackbacks. Working on getting those implemented in my limited spare time, so if your comments have disappeared, that's why. Also helps to explain the infrequent posts.

When it's all done, the Blogger comments won't show at all.


Pwned, 6-0

Kenny Rogers and the Tigers over The Big Unit, that is.

8K's and 5 walks, vs 4K's and 5 earned runs. And did you see the line drive to Rogers's head, which he knocked down in time to make the play?

Nobody thought Rogers or the Tigers could perform like that. Well, maybe noone outside Detroit.