Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Jimmy Carter's Decision

I have been pondering Jimmy Carter's decision to leave the Baptist church over the "women's issue." In his resignation essay (published many places--Google it) he calls that particular church's stance "repugnant." He goes on at length to cite all the many woes brought on women all over the world because of misbegotten mistakes by men (my words) in misinterpreting the Bible's view of women.

I have two questions to ask: Why did it take him 60 years to realize the interpretation was wrong? Does it have to do with his daughter Amy? Did his wife never talk to him about it? ???????

And why has it taken so long for other good men who doubt the interpretations to come forward? Perhaps their wives are not interested in such topics; perhaps their wives don't want "to make waves." Perhaps the men don't think it important. I think they will when their granddaughters and nieces begin to leave the church for those more open to the gifts of women. Or when they see bright, young educated professional women refuse to come to the church which refuses to allow women to communicate in prayer, teaching, and speaking to other believers.The time will come when little, scared female rabbits will see their daughters walk (or hop) out the door of the church of Christ. There may come a time when the honored and revered Sunday School teacher will quietly begin to teach her students that in the kingdom where salvation and freedom lie, there are no distinctions between male and female--there is just the place where Jesus loves all of us and expects us to use the gifts he has given us.

I guess I am being hard on wives because I have been in churches where the husbands and men of the congregation are ready to open up and the wives shrink back. Example: A time when the elders and their wives were asked to serve communion to the congregation and some of the wives refused. In congregations where the elders have decided to open up serving communion by women as well as men, some say it is difficult to find women who will serve. Tell me, what is the difference in serving right to left and walking down the aisle to serve?? It's a puzzlement. I know that not all women are convinced they have more to offer than baking cookies and folding bulletins, and that is o. k. with me. There are, however, many who wish for more.

Another question: How is it "diminishing authority" for the woman to stand before a microphone and lead a prayer in the worship? I was almost taken ill when I heard a man recently say how wonderful the prayers of women were at a
regional spiritual conference he attended. He seemed astounded that women could actually voice a prayer to God as well as men.

I am waiting for others to see the repugnance.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Season Firsts

I had a chance to go to the Franklin Farmers' Market last week and got my first real peaches of the season and the first home grown tomatoes--yum!

So that gave me an opportunity to make nachos:

Small round Tostitos
banana peppers (hard to find here--I am growing them)
home-grown tomatoes
shredded cheddar cheese

Cut up peppers and tomatoes on chips and sprinkle with cheese--Place under broiler for a few minutes--keep checking, they burn easily. Enjoy!

Real peaches--just dig in and let the juice roll over your tongue--glorious.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Best Kids' Books Ever #3

This list should better compare with Kristof's. These books are for the middle or slightly older reader:

1. Charlotte's Web by E. B. White, 1952. A must for every kid's reading shelf.

2. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, 1998- A magnificent set of imaginative and wordy tomes--wildly loved by most readers.

3. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry, 1989. One of the richer Holocaust books for young readers.

4. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Barbara Robinson, 1972. Funny, funny. You will never see another Christmas Pageant without thinking of this book and the Herdman children.

5. Sarah, Plain and Tall, Patricia Maclachlan, 1985. One critic called it a jewel...a perfect novella.

6. The Stinky Cheese Man, Jon Sciezska, 1992. A take off to end all take offs which spurred many other rewrites of fairy tales.

7. Pink and Say, Patricia Pollaco, 1994. A poignant Civil War book about friendship between a young white boy and a black boy who happen to encounter each other.

8. Miss Rumphius, Barbara Cooney, 1982. One of the first environmental children's books--a picture book with a deeper meaning than most.

9. The Watsons Go to Birmingham, Christopher Curtis, 1995. The Watsons leave their eastern city to visit relatives in the South and arrive just in time to witness a terrible tragedy. Sparks of humor enliven the heaviness.

10. The Little House series, Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1932- These books never won major awards except in the hearts of all children who have read them. The single best books for a pioneer series.

Any responses will be welcome--I love making lists.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Best Kids' Books Ever (Picture Books) #2

Any "best" list is immediately open to question. One titled " best books for children" is particularly vulnerable. One has to consider ages, gender, reading interests, and reading ability of the readers covered. Also to be considered is how much the "lister" knows about children and childrens' books. Any two people can put together a list of the best, and those lists would be very different. With all that in mind, here's my list of the best childrens' books ever. Since these are all picture books, it cannot be compared to Kristof's list which contains books for older readers.

1. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, 1963. A misbehaving child, monsters, and a mother's love--great fantasy (and I don't like fantasy) .

2. The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter, 1902. Yes, this is old and British; however, it is the best-selling children's book of all time. A mischievous rabbit escapes all kinds of dangers only to be stopped by camomile tea and a stern mother.

3. Goodnight, Moon, Margaret Wise Brown, 1967. A perfect bedtime story with rhyming words and bright colors.

4. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Bill Martin, 1967. Rollicking, rhyming, responsive fun.

5. Llama, Llama Red Pajama, Anna Dewdney, 2005. A newer and funnier entry into the bedtime story list.

6. Lily's Purple Plastic Purse, Kevin Henkes, 1996. Wonderful picture of a vibrant, young school girl and a terrific teacher.

7. Koala Lou, Mem Fox, 1988. An outback tale of familial love.

8. The Snowy Day, Ezra Jack Keats, 1962. One of the first books featuring an African American child--satisfying and
beautifully illustrated.

9. The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss, 1957. I am not a fan of Seuss, but he singlehandedly changed the world of the
easy reader genre with this one and buried Dick, Jane, Sally, Puff and Spot.

10. Strega Nona, Tomie DePaola, 1975. a magical cooking pot and poor listening skills bring chaos.

So there it is. I will probably want to change it tomorrow. Later is a list that would compare to Kristof's.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Best Kids" Books Ever #1

On July 8, Nicholas D. Kristof, an op-ed columnist with the New York Times wrote about the best kids" books ever. The books he listed are interesting.

#1 Charlotte's Web--a story of friendship by E. B. White who enjoyed writing about the animals on his farm. It is a must have for a child's library.

#2 The Hardy Boys series--not one I would include, but definitely on a list of "books for boys which most motivated reading ". Captain Underpants and the series of books by Jon Scieszka do the same thing today.

#3 Wind in the Willows--(A British classic, as many on his list were) Although a classic (a book which stays in print for 50+ years), I have never liked the book and find it boring.

#4. Freddy the Pig series (again a British series). About a lazy pig detective. I can't imagine a child reading it today unless it were the only book available.

#5. The Alex Rider series--A thriller series I have never hard of.

#7. Harry Potter series--What can one say here? Highly motivating reading, terrifically imaginative. Must read.

#8. Gentle Ben--friendship between a boy and a bear in the Alaskan wilderness. Dated and probably out of print.

#9. Anne of Green Gables--strong girl character. Although well-written, not read by many girls today. (Again British--or Canadian)

#10. LIttle Lord Fauntleroy--Huh?

#11, On to Oregon--pioneers--written 90 years ago. Another unknown to me.

#12. The Prince and the Pauper. What modern child would pick this up?

#13. Lad, A Dog. A very good dog story, but dated.

So you see this retired children's librarian and former university children's literature teacher thinks his list is too dated and too British. Go Charlotte's Web and Harry Potter! More later.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Barbara Brown Taylor

Dr. Taylor's address to the Christian Scholars" Conference had a wonderful title: The Power of Narrtive in the Age of Twitter. She perfectly described this age of technological communication as "one with minimal nutritional value in a house with nothing to eat."

We must all choose what we want to give our time to in such an age and discern what has meaning and what does not. The stories we choose to give our lives to should:
1. honor people not like us
2. let us argue with them
3. level with us about the cost of love
4. not lie about the messiness of life
5. teach us to care.
The list certainly caused me to think about what I have spent the last few days giving myself to.

She said that she had purposefully chosen the Bible as one of her narratives (stories).

She ended powerfully in saying that we should ask ourselves as we go about "bearing the Word in our flesh" if the stories we encounter are too small for our soul's use.

Thursday, July 09, 2009


Yes, I was one of the millions who spent two hours Tuesday watching the funeral of Michael Jackson. It was a worthwhile experience in showing me just how judgmental I am. As the speakers continually pointed upward to where Jackson was, I could not help but think---- no--look at the sins, the sins.

And as I observed the funeral of Steve McNair and heard again about the good things he has done in the community, I could not help but think--wait a minute--he was shot by his mistress!

And then the Spirit whispered to me, Jesus would have taken the broken, childlike body of Michael Jackson in his arms in comfort and sorrow. He would have taken the huge, smiling body of Steve McNair into his arms and said, Well done; you have performed many acts of service for me.

Who am I to think that I have the right to judge these men to hell? I certainly do not--thank God. He, He, the Creator and the giver of gifts to these two men(and he only) will judge them....

God bless their families and their losses.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Madeline Gail Thomas

Maddie is eight years old!!! Her party was fun yesterday as I watched her and her buddies swim, decorate flip-flops and enjoy cake and ice cream.

But I sat in a haze of amazement that she is already eight. She had her bright red hair in a long pig-tail, standing in a bluegreen knit dress, freckled on her forehead, nose and cheeks--looking for all the world like she had just stepped out of a Norman Rockwell painting--what a girl. And besides that she is smart,sweet, loves reading and writing, and is an artist. What more could a grandmother ask? I could eat her up! Grandmothering is such a wonderful task when the grandchildren are like Maddie, Ella, and Sam. I am thankful to God that I am still here and live in Nashville to watch them grow so fast.

Saturday, July 04, 2009


Women in black swim suits lying like beached whales on lounge chairs, super-model wanna-bes (sp?), sporting tiny bikinis parading up and down the beach, daddies and children building sand castles and fortifications against the rolling waves----yes, this is the beach at Sandestin, Florida.

Pictures in my memory box: Maddie "digging in China" in the wet sand, Sam helping Dad build a moat around a castle, Ella's screams of delight as she rode the waves in on a boogy board, Sheryl patiently positioning Ella over and over in the rolling surf for the best ride, Brandon bent over their sand castle molding forts----and, Sam's face as the Black Bart pirate ship glided silently past the Harry T's restaurant window, Ella's joy as she bungee jumped, Maddie running in and out of the fountain on Grand Blvd. like a water sprite----and, me, sitting in my canopied chair far enough out on the beach so that the waves came washing in on my legs and feet..

What a grand five days!