Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

A BOOK REVIEW – Part 2

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Blankenhorn’s insightful analysis of the state of American fathers is disarmingly simple: the Unnecessary Father (Ch. 4), the Old Father (Ch. 5), the New Father (Ch. 6), the Deadbeat Dad (Ch. 7), the Visiting Father (Ch. 8), the Sperm Father (Ch. 9), the Stepfather and the Nearby Guy (10), and, our hero, the Good Family Man (Ch. 11). One of the reasons this book is destined to influence social welfare policy as well as social mores is that its structure is so inescapably simple and right. The Unnecessary Father (typical notion that dads are not necessary), the Old Father (the macho, mean, domineering father), and the New Father (the sensitive, liberated, androgyny dad) are the most common garden variety dads we will meet in our society today. The other five roles are minor but insightful. The Deadbeat Dad is the bad guy, the guy who does not pay child support. The Visiting Father is a victim, a pathetic example of what fathering has become, proof positive that fathers are not important after all. I really like Blankenhorn’s Sperm Father. The Sperm Father is a minimalist. “His fatherhood consists entirely of the biological act of ejaculation.” (p. 171). The Stepfather and the Nearby Guy are surrogate dads, magnanimously assuming the role of father of father for Deadbeat dads/jerks who have abandoning their kids. Again, though, the Nearby Guy/Stepfather is a rather innocuous version of what fathers should be. Blankenhorn uses the example of the Disney movie The Incredible Journey (1993) where a poor example of a father slowly earns the right to be a dad by sheepishly giving into his stepchildren’s wants.

But, by far, the strength of Blankenhorn’s book is Part III entitled “Fatherhood.” We meet finally The Good Family Man: the quintessential hope of all America. I mean it: this is the answer. This paradigm of Judeo-Christian virtue, the Promise Keeper par excellent, the “father without portfolio.” (p.201).

It would never occur to him–or to his children or to his wife–to make distinctions between “biological” and “social” fathering. For him, these two identities are tightly fused. Nor would it ever occur to him to suspect that the “male income” is more important for children than the “male image.” For him the two fit together. Consequently, he seldom ponders issues such as child support, visitation, paternity identification, fathers’ rights, better divorce, joint custody, dating, or blended families. His priorities lie elsewhere . . . (p. 201)

Blankenhorn’s image is powerful and so very true. We all thank him for pointing out to us fathers what we may have forgotten: that there is nothing wrong with putting our family first, with being a good and steady provider, and setting a good example by high moral character (p. 205). Yes, we all have much for which to thank David G. Blankenhorn.

The pastoral application of this book seems obvious. Finally the pastor has a well respected scholarly book on fathering, devoid of antiquated archetypes, for which he/she can point as a resource clearly offering an efficacious model of fathering for his parishioners. The cultural impact is equally obvious: Chapter 12′s twelve proposals of social imperatives will no doubt keep us all thinking for many years to come. Bravo! This book is destined to becoming one of the most important cultural offerings in this decade.

Dr. Blankenhorn is a senior fellow at a think tank in Washington, D.C.

A BOOK REVIEW

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

David Blankenhorn, Jr., Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem (New York: Basic Books, 1995), 328 pages.

David Blankenhorn, in his revolutionary work of cultural criticism, asks an anti-modern, almost heretical question: “So the question is not, What do men want? but rather, What do men do?” Blankenhorn goes where very few social historians dare to go before: he argues that men should be, very simply, good fathers–no matter how hard it is, or how foolish it may seem. “In a larger sense, the fatherhood story is the irreplaceable basis of a culture’s most urgent imperative: the socialization of males.” (p. 65). American children need fathers, American society needs fathers.

Blankenhorn begins his discussion arguing that having a father is very good for children. In the scheme of things, ironically, the notion that children have intrinsic rights and value is a relatively late developing phenomenon among social welfare discussions. In fact, not until America developed a social welfare profession corps in the middle 1920s were children’s rights seriously considered on any level. Now, Blankenhorn argues, that children are more important than any other priority. So why are children so often sacrificed for individual rights? Because of individualism. Blankenhorn attacks this insidious individualism rampant in American society. No one disagrees that fathers are absent from many American families–80% of urban American families have no fathers–but what concerns Blankenhorn even more is the fact that we no longer think that fathers are important (p. 67). Blankenhorn says that we no longer have a distinctive “cultural script” for fatherhood. In American social welfare policy (mothers receive money–not fathers), in the popular media (e.g., Mrs. Doubtfire), and even in family therapy theory (e.g., only a mom is necessary for a healthy family system) fathers are seen as superfluous.

Reading Philosophy

Monday, August 10th, 2009

I have always loved reading philosophy. I always have. Philosophy to me is what Plato calls “that dear delight.” I mean it. I love this stuff. You can see how much I love it in my book FIRE THAT BURNS.

As Will Durant explains in THE STORY OF PHILOSOPHY, we are like the character Mitya in THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV–”one of those who don’t want millions but an answer to their questions.”

Which may be why I am where I am these days. The English philosopher Francis Bacon says, “Seek ye first the good things of the mind and the rest will either be suplied or its loss will not be felt.” Indeed.

So I like reading philosophy these days. In a day where there is so much abstract, opinionated news, it is refreshing to read good old philosophy.

Young Christians you too need to read philosophy. Every educated person does. As Socrates understood, a society must be governed by its wisest men/women or it will fall.

It feels like I am being governed by people who are not so wise. Socrates warned his followers, “Woe to him who teaches men faster than they can learn.” It feels like the guys running the show are learning on the job. Slowly learning on the job. Socrates continues, “Now when a man has taken away the money of the citizens and made slaves of them, then, instead of swindler and thief he is called happy and blessed by all.”

Socrates ends, “For injustice is censured because those who censure it are afraid of suffering, and not from any scruple they might have of doing injustice themselves.”

My heart is breaking for my country. “They enslave the nobler natures, and they praise justice only because they are cowards (Plato, GORGIAS).” Every form of government tends to perish by excess of its basic principle. Has the American experiment run its course?

Immanuel Kant

Friday, August 7th, 2009

As I travel across country this summer, I have been blessed to have many hours of reading time. My son Peter, thankfully, is doing most of the driving and I have been able to focus on long overdue reading assignments.

One of those is Immanuel Kant. I highlight Kant in my FIRE THAT BURNS (2005) book as a “seminal 18th century thinker.” Will Durant says that “never was a system of thought so dominate an epoch as the philosophy of Immanuel Kant.” Kant as it were, brilliant no doubt, tried to reclaim philosophy from the cold stupor of 18th century rationalism (e.g., John Locke) and self-indulgent narcissism of French romanticism (e.g., Rousseau).

Kant makes a great observation–Knowledge cannot be derived entirely from the senses. Hitting one’s finger with a hammer, for instance, is surely a sensory catastrophe, but, in the long one, it can be much more: it may cause us to flinch everytime we hold or see a hammer which is more than a sensory response. Kant says there is knowledge that separate from experience a priori knowledge, so to speak. There is, Kant, explains a transcendent dialect that goes beyond the senses. And where does that take us? Religion. And what is religion? Why it is morality.

Later in another book. RELIGION WITHIN THE LIMITS OF PURE REASON, argues that “an interest in the beauty of nature for its own sake is always a sign of goodness.” Indeed. Sounds a lot like Ralph Waldo Emerson! Goodness is tied to nature. Hum . . .

To Kant, churches and dogma have value only so far as they assist in the moral development of the race (Durant).

Well, Kant is better than Locke or Berkeley but he ultimately misses the mark. The God we serve is not a moral dogma, however altruistic. He is not a good feeling or good moral. He is the I AM. He is the Creator of the Universe. He is, as Carl Henry later so eloquently explains, transcends even the Kant. In fact the God I serve leaves Immanuel Kant gropping in a metaphysical darkness. It is not so much that God is farther than Kant could reach; He is in another universe. The mind cannot take us to that universe.

But the heart can. And God reached down and touched our hearts. God so loved the world to create in us a transcendental dialectic. Ha! I don’t think so. Thank you very much Mr. Kant.

Out of the Silent Planet

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009

In Out of the Silent Planet, C.S. Lewis illustrates how humans on planet Earth are corrupted by and corrupt others by evil. To contrast and shed light on the spiritual plaques of Earth, the author created the planet of Malacandra to portray a utopian world where the inhabitants live together in peace instead of in fear and separation. On Earth, human beings have become motivated by selfishness and greed. Satan, the “Bent One,” rules Earth and has corrupted their souls. Because of Earth’s evil, the other planets and spirits in the universe cannot hear the cries from this “silent” planet. In return, humans cannot be healed or feel the love that is available to them from the universe. Sound familiar, Saints? Like the world before Christ our Lord came as a man? (Adapted from http://www.reemcreations.com/literature/planet.html many quotes are verbatim from this Internet site)

Lewis has a rather orthodox view of evil. The planet Mars or “Malacandra,” is an ideal world where the inhabitants coexist in harmony and peace. They are personal friends with their God, Maleldil, and are ruled by Oyarsa, the Great Spirit who protects and watches over them.

Likewise the Malacandra’s beings, the Sorns, Pfifltriggi, and Hrossa, realize their differences but accept and love each other nevertheless: “they can talk to each other, they can cooperate, they have the same ethics” (156). While humans dishonor and compete against each other for their own selfish gains, the beings on Malacandra love even creatures that are harmful to them. “The hnakra is our enemy, but he is also our beloved” (75). The Malacandrans also respect their planet and honor the cycles and balance in nature. “I do not think the forest would be so bright, nor the water so warm, nor love so sweet, if there were no danger in the lakes” (75). They are true ecologists!http://www.reemcreations.com/literature/planet.html

One of the major problems with Earth’s corruption is that humans compete against others in a “survival of the fittest” method. In other words the theist Lewis is critical of naturalism. They will destroy those whom they view as inferior to them. For example, Devine and Weston, the two captors who brought Ransom to Malacandra, think they can take over the planet. Devine and Weston believe they are superior to the ‘primitive’ Malacandrans. “It is in the might of Life herself, that I am prepared without flinching to plant the flag of man on the soil of Malacandra: to march on, step by step, superseding, where necessary, the lower forms of life that we find, claiming planet after planet” (137).
What Devine and Weston do not realize is that they live in fear of death, while the Malacandrans are aware that death is a natural part of life. “One thing we left behind us on the harandra: fear. And with fear, murder and rebellion. The weakest of my people does not fear death” (140). Threatening to kill off the Malacandrans cannot strike fear in their hearts. “It is the Bent One, the Lord of your world, who wastes your lives and befouls them with flying from what you know will overtake you in the end. If you were subjects of Maleldil, you would have peace” (140).

Out of the Silent Planet is a powerful apologetic piece where Lewis powerfully portrays the dangers of modernism and the potentialities of Christianity.

Horrors! Horrors!

Friday, July 17th, 2009

The reader finds out about Kurtz through Marlowe prying around and gleaning information from everyone he meets. Slo wly, Marlowe’s detective work reveals a very disturbing picture of an evil man. Kurtz appears to be a man with vision. He is driven. He is a man of substance, morality, and, most of all, of predictability. Marlow knows what he wants and goes after it. This is a comforting thought to the modern Marlowe, who is far more comfortable with the praxis, than the subjective, and whose world view offered an answer to everything.

What Marlowe found, however, was spontaneous and unpredictable. Kurtz’s story was not scripted by a Rational God, or a Theistic God. His story was scripted by a Naturalistic God. At the end of the book, Charlie finds Kurtz. Kurtz is very sick, and depressed. Marlow talks to a man who had been with Kurtz for a long time and he told Marlow what he knows. He told him that Kurtz was a monster. He was the most ruthless and remorseless of all the cannibals in the jungle. Kurtz started out with a clear mind but slowly became this ruthless monster. Kurtz began as a modern man, a scientific hero, a man who believed that knowledge could do everything. He went to an uncivilized land full of superstition and folklore. In other words, Kurtz was a “missionary” for “modernism” in a culture that was based on feelings and other abstractions. African society at this time, was prehistoric. Ironically, though, the pre-civilization African culture changed Kurtz’s sophisticated culture, not vice versa. Kurtz, a child of science, a child of modernity, had his life pulled from him when he realized science was not the way to find happiness and, to a large extent, it killed him.

“. . .supreme moment of complete knowledge . . . ” The “knowledge” is the realization that science cannot fix the whole world. That is what drove Kurtz to become this monster. It was the “The horror! The horror!” (Peter Stobaugh)

Heart of Darkness

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

A great story includes characters, plot, and other literary components (from Ch. 26, SKILLS FOR LITERARY ANALYSIS). It also has profound and eternal meeting. Its meaning, or theme, should transcend time and location. The following is a paper written on one theme in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. In this book the thoughtful protagonist Marlow is looking for the idealistic Kurtz who has disappeared while trying to enlighten the natives in Africa.

One evening coming in with a candle I was startled to hear him say a little tremulously, “I am lying here in the dark wishing for death.” The light was with in a foot of his eyes. I forced myself to murmur, “Oh, nonsense!” and stood over him as if transfixed. Anything approaching the change that comes over his features I have never seen before, and hope never to see again. Oh, I wasn’t touched. I was fascinated. It was though a veil had been rent. I saw on that ivory face the expression of somber pride, of ruthless power, of craven terror-of and intense and hopeless despair. Did he live his life again in every detail of desire, temptation, and surrender during that supreme moment of complete knowledge? He cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision- he cried out twice, a cry that was not more than a breath: `The horror! The horror!’

The adventuresome protagonist Marlow found the lost Kurtz, only to lose him again on his deathbed. Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad, has many different themes. One theme Conrad develops was a suspicion of modernity, a world view that argued that science and human knowledge could solve most anything.

Joseph Conrad wrote Heart of Darkness in the early 19th century when western culture was full of optimism. The Industrial Revolution was well underway, advances had occurred in medicine, and the horseless carriage–the automobile–was even devdeveloped. Human ingenuity and progress seemed to have no end! . Conrad, a Polish-born English novelist, in Heart of Darkness, in particular, we see Conrad exhibiting the vulnerability, limits, and flaws of human knowledge.

Heart of Darkness is a story that takes place in the mind of the protagonist, Charlie Marlow. Charlie Marlow, a young man who wants an adventure, sets off with money from an aunt to the Congo River. He hears rumors of a man named Kurtz. Kurt, a missionary, has disappeared into the jungle-wilderness of interior Congo. Marlowe is first fascinated, and then obsessed with Kurtz. Like most modern men, enthralled with knowledge, Marlowe desperately wants, or needs, to find him, and talk with him. He wants to know why he disappeared and why. He is on a modern, Hegleian search for truth–truth that arises from the struuggle. This search, however, takes Marlowe where he scarcely wished to go.

Life like a dream is lived alone . . .

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

Blog Life like a dream is lived alone . . .

I recently read again Joseph Conrad’s HEART OF DARKNESS (British Literature).

It is a story of a histrionic English official who visits the most uncivilized parts of late 19th century Africa to discover what happened to an erudite, arcane English station chief named Kurtz. The journey is nothing less than a naturalistic journey into the human soul.

We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness. It was very quiet there. At night sometimes the roll of drums behind the curtain of trees would run up the river and remain sustained faintly, as if hovering in the air high over our heads, till the first break of day. Whether it meant war, peace, or prayer we could not tell. The dawns were heralded by the descent of a chill stillness; the wood-cutters slept, their fires burned low; the snapping of a twig would make you start. We were wanderers on a prehistoric earth, on an earth that wore the aspect of an unknown planet. We could have fancied ourselves the first of men taking possession of an accursed inheritance, to be subdued at the cost of profound anguish and of excessive toil. But suddenly, as we struggled round a bend, there would be a glimpse of rush walls, of peaked grass-roofs, a burst of yells, a whirl of black limbs, a mass of hands clapping, of feet stamping, of bodies swaying, of eyes rolling, under the droop of heavy and motionless foliage. The steamer toiled along slowly on the edge of a black and incomprehensible frenzy. The pre-historic man was cursing us, praying to us, welcoming us — who could tell? We were cut off from the comprehension of our surroundings; we glided past like phantoms, wondering and secretly appalled, as sane men would be before an enthusiastic outbreak in a madhouse. We could not understand because we were too far and could not remember because we were travelling in the night of first ages, of those ages that are gone, leaving hardly a sign — and no memories.

Kurtz, apparently has gone off the deep end–he has, in effect, given into his “darker side” and become a savage. The irony in this turn of events is obvious: Kurtz the civilized man seeking to civilize the savage, becomes, instead, a savage himself.

Poor Kurtz, full of hope and faith, has lost it all.

“One evening coming in with a candle I was startled to hear him say a little tremulously, ‘I am lying here in the dark waiting for death.’ The light was within a foot of his eyes. I forced myself to murmur, ‘Oh, nonsense!’ and stood over him as if transfixed.

“Anything approaching the change that came over his features I have never seen before, and hope never to see again. Oh, I wasn’t touched. I was fascinated. It was as though a veil had been rent. I saw on that ivory face the expression of sombre pride, of ruthless power, of craven terror — of an intense and hopeless despair. Did he live his life again in every detail of desire, temptation, and surrender during that supreme moment of complete knowledge? He cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision — he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath:

“‘The horror! The horror!’

The horror! The horror! Poor Kurtz. Poor 2009 America. They(we) have looked into the abyss, and we see no loving God.

What is the horror to Kurtz? He has lost his faith in a loving God. His world is a naturalistic, impersonal, cruel jungle.

“I thought his memory was like the other memories of the dead that accumulate in every man’s life — a vague impress on the brain of shadows that had fallen on it in their swift and final passage; but before the high and ponderous door, between the tall houses of a street as still and decorous as a well-kept alley in a cemetery, I had a vision of him on the stretcher, opening his mouth voraciously, as if to devour all the earth with all its mankind. He lived then before me; he lived as much as he had ever lived — a shadow insatiable of splendid appearances, of frightful realities; a shadow darker than the shadow of the night, and draped nobly in the folds of a gorgeous eloquence. The vision seemed to enter the house with me — the stretcher, the phantom-bearers, the wild crowd of obedient worshippers, the gloom of the forests, the glitter of the reach between the murky bends, the beat of the drum, regular and muffled like the beating of a heart — the heart of a conquering darkness. It was a moment of triumph for the wilderness, an invading and vengeful rush which, it seemed to me, I would have to keep back alone for the salvation of another soul. And the memory of what I had heard him say afar there, with the horned shapes stirring at my back, in the glow of fires, within the patient woods, those broken phrases came back to me, were heard again in their ominous and terrifying simplicity. I remembered his abject pleading, his abject threats, the colossal scale of his vile desires, the meanness, the torment, the tempestuous anguish of his soul. And later on I seemed to see his collected languid manner, when he said one day, ‘This lot of ivory now is really mine. The Company did not pay for it. I collected it myself at a very great personal risk. I am afraid they will try to claim it as theirs though. H’m. It is a difficult case. What do you think I ought to do — resist? Eh? I want no more than justice.’ . . . He wanted no more than justice — no more than justice. I rang the bell before a mahogany door on the first floor, and while I waited he seemed to stare at me out of the glassy panel — stare with that wide and immense stare embracing, condemning, loathing all the universe. I seemed to hear the whispered cry, “The horror! The horror!”

My friends, brothers and sisters, I have looked into the abyss and I see a God. A real, loving God. A God who loved the world so much that he sent His only Begotten Son. Do you?

To the naturalist, as Marlow muttered, Life like a dream is lived alone . . .

The Birthmark

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

In 19th century romantic author Nathaniel Hawthorne’s short story “The Birthmark” scientist Alymer cannot believe how blessed he is. He is married to the most beautiful woman in the world. Georgianna is perfect–except for one minor defect–a birthmark (SeeSee Stobaugh, AMERICAN LITERATURE)..

Alymer, while he loves Georgianna dearly, cannot stand the fact that she is not perfect.

“Ah, upon another face perhaps it might,” replied her husband; “but never on yours. No, dearest Georgiana, you came so nearly perfect from the hand of Nature that this slightest possible defect, which we hesitate whether to term a defect or a beauty, shocks me, as being the visible mark of earthly imperfection.”

This is a similar storyline in romantic literature (e.g., FRANKENSTEIN by M. Shelley): a cold scientist messes with “nature” to advance “scientific knowledge.” He/she, however, does so at his own peril. Inevitably, the scientist creates a monster and/or destroys the innocent host.

To base one’s life on epistemology (i.e., knowledge) rather than the spirit (or faith) inevitably leads to heart ache. Even the pagan Plato saw that–when he argued for a “form” that transcended thee beauty of an “object.”

Alymer is modern America. He, we, dare to live our lives in cold rationalism, and we dare to ignore the God who is in control of everything. We live our lives as if there are no consequences. In other words, we are trying to be “god.”

“Aylmer,” resumed Georgiana, solemnly, “I know not what may be the cost to both of us to rid me of this fatal birthmark. Perhaps its removal may cause cureless deformity; or it may be the stain goes as deep as life itself. Again: do we know that there is a possibility, on any terms, of unclasping the firm gripe of this little hand which was laid upon me before I came into the world?”

Inevitably Georgiana will die. Frankenstein will be created. They will destroy us.

Alas! it was too true! The fatal hand had grappled with the mystery of life, and was the bond by which an angelic spirit kept itself in union with a mortal frame. As the last crimson tint of the birthmark–that sole token of human imperfection–faded from her cheek, the parting breath of the now perfect woman passed into the atmosphere, and her soul, lingering a moment near her husband, took its heavenward flight. Then a hoarse, chuckling laugh was heard again! Thus ever does the gross fatality of earth exult in its invariable triumph over the immortal essence which, in this dim sphere of half development, demands the completeness of a higher state. Yet, had Alymer reached a profounder wisdom, he need not thus have flung away the happiness which would have woven his mortal life of the selfsame texture with the celestial. The momentary circumstance was20too strong for him; he failed to look beyond the shadowy scope of time, and, living once for all in eternity, to find the perfect future in the present.

America listen well: The momentary circumstance was too strong for him; he failed to look beyond the shadowy scope of time, and, living once for all in eternity, to find the perfect future in the present.

I Stand Here Ironing

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

“I Stand Here Ironing,” by Tillie Olson is a heart wrenching story of what life is like for folks trying to raise their children without the benefit of home schooling, without the benefit of our Lord.

I stand here ironing, and what you asked me moves tormented back and forth with the iron. “I wish you would manage the time to come in and talk with me about your daughter. I’m sure you can help me understand her. She’s a youngster who needs help and whom I’m deeply interested in helping.”

This mom has no dreams left for her daughter.

Who needs help,……Even if I came, what good would it it do? You think because I am her mother I have a key, or that in some way you could use me as a key? She has lived for nineteen years. There is all that life that has happened outside of me, beyond me.

And when is there time to remember, to sift, to weigh, to estimate, to total? I will start and there will be an interruption and I will have to gather it all together again. Or I will become engulfed with all I did or did not do, with what should have been and what cannot be helped.

Haven’t we all felt the same way?

The problem is public school, adolescence–they all conspiredd to draw this mom’s daughter away from her. “Now suddenly she [her daughter] was Somebody, and as imprisoned=2 0in her difference as she had been in anonymity.”

Imprisoned in her difference as she had been in anonymity.

Finally her mom cries,

I will never total it all. I will never come to say: She was a child seldom smiled at. Her father left me before she was a year old. I had to work her first six years when there was work, or I sent her home and to his relatives. There were tears she had care she hated. She was dark and thin and foreign-looking in a world where the prestige went to blondness and curly hair and dimples, she was slow where glibness was prized. She was a child of anxious, not proud, love. We were poor and could not afford for her the soil of easy growth. I was a young mother, I was a distracted mother. There were other children pushing up, demanding. Her younger sister seemed all that she was not. There were years she did not want me to touch her. She kept too much in herself, her life was such she had to keep too much in herself. My wisdom came too late. She has much to her and probably little will come of it. She is a child of her age, of depression, of war, of fear.

Perhaps that is what we home school parents are doing–we aree snatching our children from their “age” and offering them another “age” another “world..”

Once upon a time Karen and I raised four home schooled children. God knows that we could have been20better teachers, probably better parents. But one thing is for sure: we loved our children and in our home they found a safe place to grow up.

Walter Wanegerin argues that the most important present we can give our children is a “name.” We name our children as we raise them. Karen and I hope that we named our children “good,” “pleasant,” “precious,” and “beloved.” What names are you giving your children?

Let her be. So all that is in her will not bloom – but in how many does it? There is still enough left to live by. Only help her to know – help make it so there is cause for her to know – that she is more than this dress on the ironing board, helpless before the iron.

We are not helpless! We serve an awesome powerful God who loves us more than we can love ourselves. At baptism he gave us a name and said it was good.

When you are ironing at the ironing board . . . think about that.