Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Long Underwear

How's that for a title? Give me a break. . .it's not even 7 o'clock yet.

I got up early this morning to wash the load of clothes containing my long underwear, as the high today is in the 30's and my dress slacks are none-too-warm. Rather than go back to bed while they were washing, I made the responsible decision to type up the lesson plans I neglected to put on the official form over the weekend. Now that is finished, the washer is almost done, and there is no sense in me going back to bed for the 5 or so minutes before I need to put them in the dryer. Although, I should go cook some oatmeal for my breakfast, so I will be back momentarily. . . .

While that cooks (it's a mixture of real rolled oats and a seven-grain hot cereal, so it takes a few minutes), I will share an excerpt from a Dietrich Bonhoeffer devotional I was reading last night. I picked up a collection of Bonhoeffer's Christmas sermons a few weeks ago, in an effort to understand more of the Church celebration of Advent. The author uses Christmas and Advent somewhat interchangeably, but does understand the purpose of Advent, and the majority of the sermons thus far have penitent focus. To understand where I am picking up, first read Daniel 10:1-2, 8-9, 15-19. Without further delay, here is the excerpt with appropriate citation below:
Such a moment is strange to none of us, certainly not to any owho have seriously sought to live with God. When we are disturbed by the chaos in our own personal life, when we are not ready to face it, when again and again every security fails us and there is no firm ground under our feet, when our life hangs between good intentions and shame, when it becomes inevitably clear that we are weak, when some unmanageable fate comes over us, a great sorrow or a great passion and we are horrified at the inevitable working out of this fate, when we can see only how faithless and hopeless we are caught in our errors or when friendships are finally broken, when withthe best will in the world we cannot find reconciliation with the other, in short, when we take seriously the whole human chaos in which we are stuck--then it all comes over us and we say to God: Lord, I can bear no more. I can't take any more. No, I don't want any more. I am too deep in the mire. God', don't speak any more to me, for I will not hear you. God, we have nothing more to do with each other.
And then it happens that we want to hear something new and at that moment, we hear afresh: "Peace, courage." Courage, which God gives is like a mother taking hold of her child who is out of control with so many faults and failures, who is now very unhappy and begins to cry. She takes his hand and gives him a new chance: "Now, let's try that once more." Courage, courage--so God speaks to us when we are disgusted with ourselves.
And now what happened to Daniel can happen to us. His was a special occasion, which we today can understand as scarcely ever before. God says, "I will speak to you," but Daniel cannot hear. Can we? Is it not so with us, that in this unholy turmoil and helplessness, we say, "God go away!" Yes, we know it is stupid. But if you come, then it is all over. Untold anxiety, God's judgment on our people, on all we do. . .courage, courage! To what end? That we become stregthened men and women, who hear God's voice of judgment on our people and it will lead one day to a more obedient people and greater faith."

"Fragment of a Devotional Talk During Advent," December 1, 1932
taken from Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Christmas Sermons, edited and translated by Edwin Robertson

I confess that I have often been guilty of this kind of attitude: the one that says to God, "Enough. I can't take any more. I can't talk to you or listen for you to talk to me. I am too weak." The second sentence in the first paragraph resonates with my own memories of these times. And at such times, I often feel like the child he describes, being gently but firmly told, "let's try this again." To what end? That we beome strengthened men and women, who hear God's voice of judgment on our people and it will lead one day to a more obedient people and greater faith.


Bishop Remington

The appearance of this quote--
I am wishing for you this day a happy Christmas. I would send you those gifts which are beyond price, outlast time, and bridge all space. I wish you all laughter, and pure joy, a merry heart and a clear conscience, and love. . . . I wish that the spirit of Christmastide may draw you into companionship with Him who giveth all.
--prompted a somewhat-involved Internet search for biographical information on Bishop Remington, to whom the quote is credited. I found numerous other citations of the same quote, or parts of the same quote, but information on the speaker is not forthcoming. Assuming that "Bishop" is his title, not his name, I believe it may be Bishop William P. Remington, Bishop of Eastern Oregon for the Episcopal Church during the early to mid 20th Century. Would anyone like to accept a challenge and see what else you could find?

In the process, I found this page of Christmas quotes, which I share in the spirit of the season.


Six minutes and counting. . .

Another Monday, another lunch period. . .which means my 2 most difficult classes are up next.

I've just enjoyed a handful of mixed nuts, a cup of yogurt, and a piece of fruit leather (read, "fruit roll-up with real fruit). Tonight, putting up our Christmas tree (FINALLY) and making biscotti. After a too-short weekend break, it seems that Christmas break can neither get here fast enough nor possibly be long enough to suffice.

My cousin had her baby last night. . .weighing in just under 10 pounds, and this from a girl who had never topped 120 before the pregnancy. All are safe, however, so that is good. His name is Logan.

My time is up. Fare thee well.


"Painting the Town Red"

This is an excerpt from my dear Yankee friend in honor of my favored scandalous red sheets. She neglected to tell me where it comes from, so you'll have to check the comments to know whom to credit. . .after she fills in the blank, of course.

He's talking about the idea of "painting the town red".

"But taking the case of ordinary pagan recklessness and pleasure seeking, it is, as we have said, well expressed in this image. First, because it conveys this notion of filling the world with one private folly; and secondly, becuase of the profound idea involved in the choice of colour. Red is the most joyful and dreadful thing in the physical universe; it is the fiercest note, it is the highest light, it is the place where the walls of this world of ours wear thinnest and something beyond burns through. It glows in the blood which sustains and in the fire which destroys us, in the roses of our romance and in the awful cup of our religion. It stands for all passionate happiness, as in faith or in first love.

"Now, the profligate is he who wishes to spread this crimson of conscious joy over everything; to have excitement at every moment; to paint everything red. He bursts a thousand barrels of wine to incarnadine the streets; and sometimes (in his last madness) he will butcher beassts and men to dip his gigantic brushes in their blood. For it marks the sacredness of red in nature, that it is secret even when it is ubiquitous, like blood in the human body, which is omnipresent, yet invisible. A s long as blood lives it is hidden; it is only dead blood that we see. But the ealier parts of the rake's progress are very natural and amusing. Painting hte town red is a delighful thing until it is done. It would be splendid to see the cross of St. Paul's as red as the cross of St. George, and the gallons of red paint running down the dome or dripping from the Nelson Column. But when it is done, when you have painted the town red, an extraordinary thing happnes. You cannot see any red at all.

"I can see, as in a sort of vision, the successful artist standing in the midst of that frighful city, hung on all sides with the scarlet of his shame. And then, when everything is red, he will long for a red rose in a green hedge and long in vain; he will dream of a red leaf and be unable even to imagine it. He has desecrated the divine colour, and he can no longer see it, though it is all around. I see him, a single black figure against the red-hot hell that he has kindled, where spires and turrets stand up like immobile flames: he is stiffened in a sort of agony of prayer. Then the mercy of Heaven is loosened, and I see one or two flakes of snow very slowly begin to fall."

It makes me think of one of my favorite lines from Macbeth: "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red."

Which quote, in turn, reminds me that a "little yeast works through the whole batch of dough." To interpret on the flip side of usual, a splash of color, in the right place, brightens all of life. I stand by my beautiful red sheets.


Another Week Successfully Past

It's Friday, and I have 9 minutes to post.

This has actually not been a bad week, aside from the infuriating griping of a few particular students about the lack of respect THEY receive from teachers. That was hard to swallow. . .you'd understand if you knew the students. Otherwise, it has passed fairly quickly. We're 2 days into Julius Caesar, after a day of background reading. I actually had a mostly successful day getting students to read about Caesar from Suetonius, an ancient Roman writer. Very impressive.

This weekend: Christmas, coffee and biscotti, and the eternal grading. I haven't made lesson plans yet, either, but that should be relatively simple: Monday, read Caesar; Tuesday, read Caesar; Wednesday, read. . . . Well, not quite that simple, but close. There is still a lingering hope that I will be caught up on grading by Christmas break and have a whole 10 days to forget school exists. If my hope is thwarted, I may despair, but we'll cross that bridge if the river rises.

3 minutes to go.

The following quote was on my daily calendar yesterday. I found it amusing and offer it in the hope that you will, too.
Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like clearing the drive before it has stopped snowing.
(Phyllis Diller)

So long.