Archive for November, 2009

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Coming to Die Like a Man

30 November 2009

Yesterday, November 29, marked the season of Advent, the Christian holiday in which one anticipates the coming of the Messiah.  Because it looks forward to Jesus Christ’s final coming to deliver the world and raise the dead, Advent calls for a time of lament, grief, prophecy, and hope.  Because Advent is able to remember the time leading up to the first appearance of the Messiah, it is also a season of memory, promise, and joy. 

For Christian tradition, the Christmas season does not begin until December 25.  Accordingly, my absolute favorite album for December is Behold the Lamb of God by Andrew Peterson.  Most of the songs on the album are Advent songs, recalling the (broken) covenants of the Old Testament, and how they converge in two insignificant Jews named Mary and Joseph, and ultimately in an impoverished little boy named Jesus.  The whole album is bookended with a wonderful chorus based out of Philippians 2:

Sing out with joy for the brave little boy
Who was God, but He made Himself nothing
Well, He gave up His pride and He came here to die like a man

God is brave! – when men are cowards.  God is humble! – when men have spurned the covenant with their pride.  The mystery of God’s incarnation in this man Jesus Christ blows apart every category, including what it means to act “like a man.”

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Facial Hair in the News (November 2009)

22 November 2009

Yesterday Visanthe Shiancoe of the Minnesota Vikings chalked up the extension of coach Brad Childress’s contract to his new beard.  And his leadership skills in producing an 8-1 record thus far, of course.

In an attempt to comfort readers of Us Magazine worried about Brad Pitt, Dr. Alan Peterkin assured them that Pitt’s beard is simply a developmental issue that will resolve itself.  “Most men growing facial hair around his age are being ironic. It’s a bit of a wink of the eye; ‘I’m not taking this too seriously and nor should you.'”

In an unrelated development, glittery pop starlet Mariah Carey has played a frumpy social worker in the upcoming move, Precious.  “I had to lose all vanity,’’ Carey said. “I had to change my demeanor, my inside, layers of who I am, to become that woman.’’  Most shocking of all was her willingness to sport a mini moustache, which some working on the set claimed was genuine.  Carey has vehemently denied the accusation, as has her lawyer.

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Pheasant Hunting and Fatherhood

9 November 2009

It was interesting to see my son’s reaction to a pheasant I had shot.  There it was: a fully-feathered, colorful bird, wrapped in an orange Hy-Vee plastic bag.  My son, who has seen animals only in the context of dog parks and zoos, literally took several steps back.  He wasn’t recoiling in horror so much as discomfort with something totally alien.  After I made a joke and started laughing, he reluctantly took a feather offered to him.

Admittedly, I’m not sure how to teach my son about hunting.  I believe it is a perfectly acceptable form of entertainment.  I also believe that hunting, if not taught properly, can promote a cult of violence.  How, in a world where hunting isn’t necessary for survival, does a father teach his son to enjoy the sport without justifying it through bloodlust?