The regulars around here will know that I mention pancakes from time to time, as in, “Daddy made pancakes for breakfast again!” People tell me “offline” that they really like my pancake posts — and I didn’t even realize I had any kind of theme going. But I’ve mentioned pancakes as a Sunday morning family activity, a theme which made my open letter to Stuart McLean. Not to mention the Shrove Tuesday tradition of the Pancake Turtle. In these and other posts, I’ve mentioned that I make pancakes for the kids, who are generally thrilled by the whole affair and have been known to issue special requests on a not entirely infrequent basis now. So considering all this and by no demand whatsoever, I’m going to offer my very own pancake recipe for general consumption.
I remember well the days of my youth when the Christmas catalogues would arrive from Sears, Eaton’s, and The Bay. Pouring over those catalogues and circling our most-desired items was a cherished tradition during the run-up to Christmas, when visions of cars and trucks and G.I. Joe and helicopters and spaceships and chocolate and “Christmas oranges” would dance through our heads before a background of tinsel and baubles and bubble-lights hung from a sparkly tree. And in case anyone’s wondering, the 1904 catalogue was a bit before my time ;^) …the ones I recall were much glossier than this.
It was around noon by the time I remembered today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day… and it’s been a looong one. Today is/was my youngest daughter’s seventh birthday. But I should begin a little before the beginning.
Sometime yesterday or the day before, my wife promised blueberry pancakes for breakfast on her birthday. On a school day. Then last night she got called in to work (she works nights) which left the pancakes up to me. I premixed the dry and wet ingredients separately last night so I’d just have to combine them this morning. This morning began earlier than usual when I awoke to the excited sounds present-opening: I guess big sisters can’t wait to give birthday gifts. I managed to get seven blueberries into each pancake, and we stuck a candle in the first one. She’d lost a tooth before breakfast was done, following up on the one she lost yesterday.
Even my Wife is Cynical
A friend was telling us about a recent encounter that a mutual acquaintance from our CLB had had — this out of some desire to not let their handling of the coals from the Lakeland fire (or however they put it) fizzle without becoming in some way evangelistic. Our friend thought about a book she picked up about how to stop making God look bad and I characterized it as a drive-by prayer-bombing, but apparently the subject in this case was quite touched and began coming to church. Allowing that God genuinely seems seems used the encounter in this case, I said that I still had a hard time making a pattern of an exception. My wife said that “of course,” this encounter is the one that will be continually touted as a testimonial, ignoring the other “fruitless” encounters (the ones that make God look bad). “Of course,” I replied. “It’s the post-conversion embellishment.” What a phrase, eh? If it resonates, what does that tell you?
I had some trouble getting psyched up for the road trip we’re currently on, a point which is in no small way related to my recent disclosure about my present mental status. Noise is bothersome to me, and nonsensical noise or a general loud din is quite aggravating for me to endure. Sometimes I just slowly begin to feel my grasp on clear-mindedness slipping away, leaving me feeling dazed and confused, unable to answer a question. Whether or not this is an exaggeration, it describes the feeling accurately. My kids have been great about the long hours of driving, but everyone has their limits… and when everyone in the car reaches their limits, it’s not pretty. The kids get ornery and start bickering or they get giddy and emit no end of meaningless babble and sound effects, which waft from the back seat to my increasingly overloaded circuits. Bad combination, and on the road there’s no place to hide like there is at home. Sometimes they’re just being kids, after all.
I’ve mentioned Philip Zimbardo’s “Lucifer Effect” a few times now, but the take-away I’ve been struck with has to do with heroism. Inasmuch as people prove capable of unthinkable evil, in different circumstances they also prove capable of heroic acts. The question is how we instill the kind of thinking that not only resists systemic evil but also watches for the everyday opportunity to do extraordinary acts of goodness. Regular acts of everyday heroism. It’s a way of thinking that is largely unfamiliar these days, as the “don’t get involved” attitude is more prevalent, along with the “somebody else will help” mode of delayed response. The counter-attitude to try and instill is a form of heroic imagination, one which readily enables responses that are to someone, in some small way, heroic. This is something that we would of course like to see in our children.
I was poking around some old draft posts and found this one — I probably wrote it at least two years ago.
I’m on record belittling certain forms of children’s ministry, the forms which are entertainment-based. The ones which focus on keeping the kids busy and out of their parents’ hair while they have their sermon. The ones which are more concerned with the kids having a program than with the kids having spiritual formation. I summed up it up by saying these were only concerned with the kids getting a story, a craft, and a cookie.
You have to admit the formula is familiar. These three elements are of course the basic arsenal of the children’s ministry worker. And, I must grudgingly admit, they’re not inherently wrong.
I’ve never done much Lent blogging, though I tend to get a bit more seasonally contemplative in the week leading up to Easter. I should be blogging Lent more thematically, but for a variety of reasons, this was not the year to start that tradition — although quite a number of folks asked me about it after my Advent project. Perhaps next year. In the meantime, I’ve decided to give you the preview collection of what I’ve composed for the week, which I tend to review every year.