Thursday, June 17, 2010

Contemporary Christian Music

When I was growing up, our Catholic church's idea of “contemporary” worship music consisted of acoustic guitars and folk music.  We sang such contemporary classics such as: Turn, Turn, Turn, Get Together, and of course everyone's favorite Kumbaya.  Maybe I'm just getting old and sentimental, but rather than evoking a worshipful spirit, these songs evoke images of teen hippie wannabes doing bong hits around a campfire...or a living room.  Especially Kumbaya.  Gag me.  Even now when I hear one of those songs I think, “Yup, lite rock for stoners.”  Anyway, it goes without saying that we did not “put our hands together” nor did we ever have a “Holy Ghost party” in our church service. (See the Kirk Franklin video and you'll understand).  We either attended a traditional service where we sang the usual hymns, or the folk service.  Consequently, I've had a negative view of contemporary Christian music until recently.  A few years ago, we started attending a large evangelical church with a well-known worship leader, Lincoln Brewster.  On our first visit, it was loud: electric guitars, drums,  I didn't think I would like it, but as I focused on the words in the songs I began to appreciate a new generation of Christian musicians.  New isn't necessarily better - I love many of the old hymns.  But old isn't necessarily better, either – old can become stale and smug with a “we've always done it this way” attitude.  So, rather than bicker about which type of praise music is better, let's give thanks to God that each successive generation of Christians continue to sing His praises.  Here are a couple of my faves.  Enjoy.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Crapmobile

Batman has the Batmobile.  Minivan Mom has the Crapmobile.  OK, so there's not really a superhero named “Minivan Mom” - it's really just me.  Be that as it may, I'm still trying to figure out how my car got so trashed after having kids.  I was never a neat freak, but still, I always managed to keep my car tidy.

In fairness, the minivan has definitely taken a beating that my previous cars never had to take.  Between kid barf, cat barf, coffee stains, ink stains, juice spills, mud, sand, snow, grass stains – you name it, the minivan has endured it. Whenever we go on a trip, we take the minivan; whenever we haul something to the dump, we use the minivan; whenever we do any kind of shopping, we bring the minivan.  The minivan is the multi-use, all purpose vehicle in our household.  We have definitely gotten our money's worth from this vehicle.

Even though it's 10 years old with a little over 135,000 miles on it, I have no plans to ditch the minivan just yet.  Why? Well, there are a few reasons:
  1. I'm too cheap to buy a new car right now because I don't want to make car payments.  For what it's worth, the minivan is paid in full.
  2. I'm too cheap to buy a used car.
  3. I'm on a quest to see just how long the minivan can last before it dies completely.
The longer I put off buying a new car the more money I should have saved up when it finally comes time.  Theoretically at least that's how it should work. That doesn't mean that I'm not thinking about my next vehicle.  In all likelihood, it will be another minivan. Speaking of which, it's time to clean out the old one.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

He Can Hear, Right?

Ordinarily, I don't feel the need to explain my youngest son's disabilities to complete strangers.  For all intents and purposes it's pretty obvious that (and I don't mean to be crass) there's something "wrong with him".  Without going into alot of details, let's just say that the biggest tip off is that he uses a white cane.  A white cane.  This is the biggest indicator that a person has some degree of blindness.

In spite of this obvious indicator, at least several times a year a complete stranger tries to engage me in a conversation about his blindness.  This usually happens when I'm held socially captive like when I'm standing in line at the store.  Usually I don't mind.  As much. Anymore.  Because sarcasm is one of my spiritual gifts, I have to restrain myself from getting snarky.  It's not that I'm a complete jerk; it's just that I am constantly amazed at the things people will say to complete strangers. The conversation usually runs along these lines (with my thoughts in italics):

Q: So, he's blind and he's so young with a cane.
A: Yes, he's getting along pretty well.  Nice detective work, Sherlock.

Q: But is he completely blind?  I mean can he see shadows or some light?
A: He's what's called "legally blind".  He can see some, but not enough to go without a cane.  WTF difference does it make?

Q: Was he born blind? How did he become blind?
A: He had a brain hemorrhage at birth that damaged the part of the brain that controls vision. Would you like to read his medical records?

Q: So his eyes are OK?
A: His eyes weren't damaged, no.  Yeah, they're OK, they just don't see.

Q: But he can hear, right?
A: He can hear, yes.  Dude, "blind" and "deaf" are not synonyms. He can't talk though.

This last one always gets me and I have to fight to keep myself from laughing.  And I am almost always asked this question.  The reason why it's funny to me is that during this exchange he might cover his ears, laugh at something he's heard, try to get my attention, I have to tell him 'no'.  It's obvious that he can hear.  The only thing I can think of is that being blind must elicit some deep-seated fear in people and they just have to make sure that he 'can hear, too' otherwise it would be total devastation.  Seriously, that's the only thing I can think of.

I realize that it's not everyday you see a young blind child with a cane about town with his mom.  It's an oddity.  People are curious.  Perhaps they feel sorry for him.  I get it, I really do.  But before you think I'm an a**hole filled with snarky comments, please try to understand the situation from my point of view: I have to balance my kid's dignity and his right to privacy with being kind and polite to a total stranger who has absolutely no business knowing my son's medical history.  I really don't like to make people feel bad, but I won't sacrifice my kid's privacy in order to satisfy someone's curiosity.  By the way, I was kidding when I said that sarcasm was a spiritual gift.  It's not a gift.  I had to work at it. 

Dear God, please help me to not be so sarcastic. Please help me to be funny and to have a good sense of humor. Seriously, I need a good sense of humor cuz life is not always funny.  Amen.


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