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Ancient History

Tetradical ~ Geek Out in the Yard #3

In the tender hours of April 4th, before the sun’s wrinkled forehead glimmered in the east, some of the kids and I tiptoed out the front door and into the yard to witness the third blood moon of the lunar eclipse tetrad.

I suspect one of the reasons I glommed onto this little tradition is because of the epic name. I knew the kids would be down with getting up to stand in the yard, bleary and cold, when I told them what it was called. I can’t inspire them with “Time to mop the entryway!” or “Let’s pair these 361 socks!”

They speak the language of drama, adventure, and let’s-pretend: “Do you want me to wake you up at 3:15am tomorrow morning to see the moon turn as red as blood?” Well, yes, and pass the pajamas!

NOTE TO SELF: Change the name of “mopping” to “entangling the hound’s hair in the dewy lavender-scented Wand of the Swiffer-Elf.”

One of the nice things about this go-round with the Tetrad was the timing. I rolled out of bed around 5am and shook little shoulders awake. It was more pleasant than the other two Tetrads, as I could justify turning on the coffee maker and calling it a good morning. The attendees of the third edition were Aidan, Sam, Tommy, Joel, Beatrix, and Archie. Ryley, Teddy, and Ollie missed out, as did Mr. Lifenut.

We slapped together coats and footwear. Some of them pulled snowboots over bare feet. I wore my slippers and a hoodie. We trekked to the front yard, which provided the best viewing angle and saw the moon was already nearly covered in shadow. I commanded them to whisper and even then, an upstairs light popped on at our next door neighbor’s house and I hoped they understood. We were a much quieter bunch than last time, as nobody had coughing fits or farted or exploded into the kind of laughter that only happens after an ill-timed fart.

They passed around the binoculars without fighting or shushing each other. I had to hand it to them. They are becoming pros at this Tetrad blood moon thing. Hopefully, we will be able to catch the fourth and final at the end of September 2015.

Here’s a link to what happened during the last eclipse: Sheer Lunacy

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Speaking of Geeking Out! The Denver Museum of Nature and Science has a new exhibit called Mythic Creatures. It’s packed with all things fanciful. People from around the world delight in the fantastical and improbable. Dragons, mermaids, unicorns, Big Foot, sea monsters—all are on display with scientific explanations, story telling, and even evidence?! We had a blast. Here are some photos:

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This is what it looked like to me!

This is what it looked like to me!

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Being Unoffendable in the Age of Perpetual Offense

“So what if—just dreaming out loud here—Christians were known as the people you can’t offend?” ~ Brant Hansen, Unoffendable, pg. 20.

The morning after I started reading Brant Hansen’s new book, Unoffendable, I was confronted by how easily I get offended. Angry, even. The pettiest inconveniences lead to tension. Teeth grit, eyeballs shoot laser beams, hands clench—when anger and offense are entertained, my whole body gets involved.

What set me off? The printer at the gas pump was out of paper. Filling the van with 30 gallons of gas is stressful in itself. I watch the dollar amount tick up from “Lunch at Taco Bell” level to “Box of diapers” to “Week’s Worth of Groceries” to “I Guess Tommy Can’t Get Braces.” When it finally stops after about 27 minutes, I screw the gas cap on, replace the nozzle, and hit YES for a receipt. I like to tear it off. It’s lamely satisfying. Also, I like to have receipts for three reasons:

1. What if I get reported for skipping out on the station? This is extremely unlikely, as everyone must pay in advance or the pump won’t work. It’s good to have proof when the imaginary squad of police surround you because there was a report of a large red van squealing out of the Shell station. A middle-aged woman was heard screaming “Heeee hawwwwww!” like Bo Duke. Was that you, ma’am? But my proof only lasts for about five seconds because…

2. I always end up using the receipt to contain gum or…

3. Blot my lipstick. Or both.

That morning, I was denied the chance to prove my innocence, I had no place to put my gum, and the chances of dreaded lipstick bleed were significantly elevated. How would people know I am a lady? My face grew hot. I muttered curses and climbed back into the van angry. No paper!? No receipt? How stupid were the gas station attendants? I bet they didn’t even care! My anger over a dumb inconvenience was slipping into dangerous territory.

But then I stopped. Remembered. Caught myself. Hansen’s Unoffendable unfolded. The night before, I found his words incredibly challenging and incredibly convicting. He asserts that taking offense is not only foolish and tiring, but it’s wrong.

Anger, in the hands and hearts of humans, is wrong. Every time. We are guaranteed to get angry. But we need to shove it off and away, pronto. It’s not for us to revel in, ever. Boy, do we love ourselves some righteous anger. I do. It feels good to get fired up.

Before I read Unoffendable, I read what it was about. I was a bit gobsmacked. Hansen’s assertion that offense is wrong offended me. I could think of dozens of situations where righteous anger was surely justified: Genocide, famine, drought, evil regimes, crimes against children, spousal abuse, torture, exploitation, human trafficking, slavery, innocent people imprisoned…the list is long.

I could buy that my anger over not getting a receipt was ridiculous and wrong, but nobody could ever convince me it’s wrong to get mad about teenagers forced into prostitution or the Holocaust.

However, he solidly builds a case, based on scripture, that anger separates Christians from being able to actually, you know, do anything about these horrible things. Some contend anger inspires action, but does it? What has greater power to get things done—with lasting, life-changing results? Anger or Love?

Hansen writes:

Jesus encountered one moral mess after another, and He was never taken aback by anyone’s morality. Ever. I can’t find any stories (maybe you can find one?) where Jesus sees an immoral person and says something like, “Wow! Okay. Well, that really is disgusting. That’s just too much.” ~ Unoffendable, pg. 33

Hansen’s contentions are radical in our age of perpetual offense. I encourage anyone intrigued by his outlook to read Unoffendable. He has a personable, breezy style that incorporates humor, quotes from other thinkers, and gripping, difficult stories. Most importantly, he backs it up with scripture and examples from the ultimate example of love. Jesus. If you know Brant from his gigs as a legendary Christian radio DJ and podcaster, you can hear his voice as you read. His wit, insight, and wisdom translate very well to the pages of a book. Chapter titles include “Bert and Ernie and Satan”, “The World’s Worst Bedtime Story”, and “Here’s the Part Where I Talk About Some Danish People.” Hansen reels readers in with humor and then hits hard with good, meaty insight. Personally, it’s my favorite way to learn. Laughing, then a big gulp as I recognize something large in me that needs to change. Wow.

He appreciates the reader’s skepticism and anticipates every argument. Hansen meets every objection with grace and truth. It got a little spooky. I felt like I was having a conversation as I read.

Unoffendable comes out on April 14, 2015. It’s available in the usual places, like Amazon and your local bookstore. I highly recommend picking up a copy. I am so glad I read it. I think about his words daily. It’s been a long time since a book about faith made me delve deeper into my own motivations and the truth about who I am in Christ. Redeemed. But can I be un-offendable? I’m trying.

Can you?

Parting Shot

Parting Shot

(I was given an advanced copy of Unoffendable for purposes of review. The opinions are solely mine. I am not affiliated with Amazon, either.)

Quiz: Are you Living with a Four-Year-Old Boy?

1. Old MacDonald has a…

a) Farm
b) Cow
c) Poop

2. A young child has a secret to tell you. What is it?

a) “I know what daddy got you for your birthday!”
b) “(Sibling’s name) took the rest of your chocolate!”
c) After giggling that sprays your ear with saliva, “Poop!”

3. Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

a) Spongebob Squarepants
b) Nobody. That’s ludicrous.
c) Spongepoop Poop-pants

4. Your young child is riding the penny horse at the grocery store. The horse:

a) Is named “Poop Star”
b) Is heading to Pooptown
c) Is pooping

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5) At the zoo, the biggest laugh of the day was thanks to…

a) The antics of the capuchin monkeys
b) Waddling penguins
c) When that elephant pooped during the elephant show!

Scoring:

Mostly As ~ You might have a 4-year-old boy. I don’t know.

Mostly Bs ~ You might have a 4-year-old boy. I don’t know.

Mostly Cs ~ You have a 4-year-old boy. Come sit by me and we can remind each other this stage won’t last forever.