Monday, February 22, 2010

It Only Takes A Moment

I didn’t like the movie, Wall-E. Don’t want to talk about all the reasons why, today. Instead, I want to talk about what I LIKE about the film. And I promise, it will only take a moment.

In Wall-E, the main character, a robot, longs for love and affection. The plot line runs on the theme of his finding first love in a robot, Eve. He finds her, he meets her, he pursues her. He longs for connection in a barren wasteland of garbage. She represents hope; she represents the intimacy he needs.

You see Wall-E, a merely-functional, garbage-collecting, rust-laden servant of the planet, understands the matters of the heart. Like the proverbial Tin Man of Oz, he may be made of metal but his bosom is alive with passion, sympathy and spirit. Wall-E watches excerpts of Hello Dolly with the best Cornelius ever, Michael Crawford, and his heart melts. He swoons with the schmaltzy sentiment of the lyrics.....

“It only takes a moment
For your eyes to meet and then
Your heart knows in a moment
You will never be alone again”

Wall-E longs to never be alone. Do you know what that’s like? Do you remember it? Do you long for that even now?

“It only takes a moment
To be loved a whole life long...”

Do you think that’s true? I do! People who are looking for that kind of love show up at church. They do. Sometimes in the midst of the emptiness, the leftovers of life gone awry, they go seeking.... and WE are to be the hands and feet of Jesus to them.

It is so important that we not remove relationship from our midst. It is the only way Jesus works. And it only takes a moment. Take a moment with Jesus each day. Receive the fullness of His love for you. Take a moment to touch the hem of His cloak. Receive His healing. Then, eyeball to eyeball, ear to ear share that good news with others. We meet needs by touching others, hearing them and holding them up when the storm comes. Are you like that? Are you in a church like that? Do you know what that is?

I mourn the day that we have synthesized our faith to such an extent that we can no longer take a moment to dwell with others. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, isn’t it the least we can do? I mourn the loss the Body of Christ suffers when we amputate the voice of God with a substitute. Are we approaching the days when mankind will be so plugged-in they can not reach out and touch someone? My friend shares her thoughts on this topic here and if you can’t track with me, watch Wall-E and you’ll understand what I DON'T like about the movie.

It only takes a moment to pray for your pastor, your church and your believing friends. Pray that we would not miss life-giving opportunities in our tin can lives in our tin can world. I’ll close with a line from movie I love, “Now I know I have a heart, ‘cause it’s breaking....”

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Isn't it Romantic?

A Boaz by any other name would smell as sweet... okay, so that's not exactly what Shakespeare wrote, but after reading the Book of Ruth this week, I am feeling very romantic.  I am feeling romantic about this man named Boaz.  (sigh)

In fairness to cultural and historical authenticity and even theology, we could go on and on about the obligations of the kinsman-redeemer.  We can talk about the fact that in a sense, Ruth initiates the marriage proposal, not the other way around.  You could argue that this story is really unromantic.  But would you indulge me? It’s not the way I am reading the Book of Ruth today.

Upon her arrival in Judah, Boaz protects Ruth and makes sure she has more than enough.  I think it’s marvelous how he tells her to "go get a drink from the water jars."  Later, he offers her some roasted grain and finally he makes a real statement of his affection when he gives her six measures of barley so that she would not go away empty handed. (sigh)

Boaz has a stellar reputation among people.  Naomi even says, "He has not stopped showing his kindness to the living and the dead."  That can only mean that even years ago, when Naomi first lived in Bethlehem, he was known for being a really good guy. By Naomi’s statement we can know that Boaz hasn't stopped being a really good guy.  He is one of those faithful, steady types, loaded with integrity and everyone knows it. (sigh)

But what impresses me most is the blessing Boaz gives to Ruth. He goes out of his way telling her, "May you be richly rewarded."  Later he says, "This kindness is greater than that which you showed earlier."  He praises her further by saying everyone knows you are a "woman of noble character".  What an encouraging guy!  Ruth has arrived in a land where she is lowest on the social totem-pole of approval, a total nothing and yet she receives welcome, favor and blessing instead!  How romantic!  How like my God! (sigh)

But I gotta be honest.  When I look a round the church building at all the little kids running amuck, I meet a plethora of Joshuas and Calebs.  I meet Davids and Jonathans.  I meet Timothys and Thomases. I even know Isaacs and Jacobs (Jacob I have never understood since that unfortunate Bible character is known for so much deception!)  In the right church, I'll even meet kids named Jesus. I meet  Nehemiahs, Micahs and Ezekiels (when last did you read any of THOSE Bible books?)  But Why? oh! Why?! aren't any of these special, wonderful marvelous little boys named BOAZ?  I mean, he's most assuredly one of the most noble of Biblical characters!

Anybody want to name their precious new baby boy BOAZ?

How about naming your daughter Dorcas... or maybe that is a blog for another day.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Bored? Games!

I was inspired by another blogger to write about games. Her experiences and memories got me to thinking. It’s a simple thing, I guess, and one I am not always aware of. I don’t consider myself a “board game” type of person. When actually bored, I am far more likely to pick up my knitting, turn on some music or read a book. Heck, I’ll even go for a walk or get down on my knees and just pray. As you can probably guess, being bored isn’t a common occurrence, but since I like a little variety in my life, I try to incorporate some boredom on occasion. Don’t you? If you don’t, let me just finish this tangent by saying, I highly recommend it! Be bored once in a while, it’s good for you!

 And when you are bored, take out a Board Game!

Growing up, my parents played a lot of YAHTZEE. I know there’s no actual board involved, but you get the idea right?

In my youth, I also learned how to play RUMMY. My best friend from college and I played LOTS of Rummy and subsequently, Joe and I built our courtship around this simple card game.

But things have changed and where I’ve played my fair share of Hi Ho Cherrio and Candy Land, we have recently been introduced to some really awesome games.

I love SEQUENCE. We can all play it and little ones can partner with us easily. It’s a fancy matching game with strategy to keep the old folks like my in-laws thoroughly engaged.

I also love FARKLE. We played this game with Stephen and Nicole long ago in the days before they actually made little sets with matching dice cups and dice. None of us had children back then and when one of us farkled, well..... it was both funny and slightly profane.

I love PHASE 10. It’s not my fault that the first time we introduced this game to Sheffie and Julie they swore it was a conspiracy and they would never come back to our house ever again. Poor losers.

I love MEXICAN TRAINS. 2 questions: Does anyone know what’s Mexican about Mexican Trains? Would someone please buy me this game? Guess I should put it on my amazon wish list. Last time we played it, I happily lost to Carl and Jill and Joe... but I had so much fun pushing the little choo choo button, I didn’t care.

Much of the credit for our version of family fun games goes to my sister-in-law, Mary the Annihilator. She looks all nice and sweet and harmless on the outside, but get her in a game and watch out. She’s brutal!

Mary whoops us good with an incredibly fast and simple card game called WACKEE SIX. It’s whacky alright and if you are a speedy, highly competitive player, then Wackee Six is for you!

My nine year old, Jillian, has inherited her paternal aunt’s affinity for winning, absolutely and cruelly. But, I love to play SET with Jillian. She beats me, but hey, it’s my contribution to her brain development. SET is a fabulous game of visual perception and is highly recommended by MENSA.

Jillian also is amazing at GOBBLET. Another one of those award winning games.

We all got tired of losing to her in Blink and Blokus, so we bought her a latch hook carpet kit. Jillian has done 5 now and is the process of conquering her first 500 piece puzzle, by herself.

Speaking of old-fashioned entertainments, there are some other highly valuable diversions children should be familiar with.

Thank God for Duncan Yo-Yo’s, and Auntie Mary who remembered this irreplaceable treasure and added it to our What Do You Do When You Are Bored repertoire.

This year, the boys got juggling balls in their Christmas stocking. Humility has been welcomed into the Schneider Kid Kingdom. (wink)

Quite frankly, any parent who fails to make available original SILLY PUTTY and the colored funnies, is just un-American.

But there’s a NEW standby out there. It’s called the BILIBO... and where my kids have rather outgrown its use, you can be sure that subsequent generations of Schneiders will have this toy. To ensure it’s quality, I had one sent to my 3 year old Godson, Sam. See how he likes it?

What am I forgetting? I’m sure you have now conjured up images from your childhood and are reflecting on the indoor days you spend with your kids. What do you like to play?