Archive for August, 2007

April, thanks for sharing . . . .

I love the Casting Crowns song Who Am I?, but does anyone remember the old Rusty Goodman song? What a powerful lyric!

Who Am I?

Rusty Goodman
©1965 by First Monday Music(A Div.of Word,Inc.)

Verse 1
When I think of how He came so far from Glory,
Came and dwelt among the lowly such as I,
To suffer shame and such disgrace,
On Mount Calv’ry take my place,
It’s then I ask myself this question:
Who am I?

Verse 2
When I’m reminded of His words,
“I’ll leave thee never,
Just be true, I’ll give to you a life forever,”
I wonder what I could have done
To deserve God’s only Son
To fight my battles ’til they’re won;
For who am I?

Who am I that a King would bleed and die for?
Who am I that He would pray; “Not my will, thine” for
The answer I may never know
Why He ever loved me so,
That to that old rugged cross He’d go,
For who am I?


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I’m reading Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott. Love her! But more on Anne later. I listened to a podcast interview with Anne earlier this year, and she quoted herself quoting a friend. The quote was so powerful I’ve not forgotten it.

“. . . you can safely assume that you’ve created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.”

—Anne Lamott (quoting her priest friend Tom), Bird by Bird, p. 22

Let that one percolate for a while.

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The story of “The Rat Trap” reminds me of a quote/poem attributed to Rev. Martin Niemöller (1892–1984), a Lutheran pastor and anti-Nazi activist who survived imprisonment in Dachau concentration camp during World War II. There are several versions of this poem, but they all make a powerful statement just the same. This is the version used by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC.

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out –
because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out –
because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out –
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me – and there was no one left to speak for me.

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A rat looked through a crack in the wall to see the farmer and his wife opening a package. What food might it contain? He was aghast to discover that it was a rat trap. Retreating to the farmyard the rat proclaimed the warning, “There is a rat trap in the house, a rat trap in the house!”

The chicken clucked and scratched, raised her head and said, “Excuse me, Mr. Rat, I can tell this is a grave concern to you, but it is of no consequence to me. I cannot be bothered by it.”

The rat turned to the pig and told him, “There is a rat trap in the house, a rat trap in the house!” “I am so very sorry Mr. Rat,” sympathized the pig, “but there is nothing I can do about it but pray. Be assured that you are in my prayers.”

The rat turned to the cow. She said, “Like wow, Mr. Rat! A rat trap. I am in grave danger. Duh?”

So the rat returned to the house, head down and dejected, to face the farmer’s rat trap alone. That very night a sound was heard throughout the house, like the sound of a rat trap catching its prey. The farmer’s wife rushed to see what was caught. In the darkness, she did not see that it was a venomous snake whose tail the trap had caught. The snake bit the farmer’s wife.

The farmer rushed her to the hospital. She returned home with a fever. Now everyone knows you treat a fever with fresh chicken soup, so the farmer took his hatchet to the farmyard for the soup’s main ingredient. His wife’s sickness continued so that friends and neighbors came to sit with her around the clock. To feed them the farmer butchered the pig.

The farmer’s wife did not get well. She died, and so many people came for her funeral that the farmer had the cow slaughtered to provide meat for all of them to eat.

So the next time you hear that someone is facing a problem and think that it does not concern you, remember that when there is a rat trap in the house, the whole farmyard is at risk.

Today was the first day of pre-planning for teachers. We were in training all day, but during a break a friend and fellow teacher told me how the story of “The Rat Trap” affected the life of her son. I have asked her to tell her story in the comment section of this post, so make sure you check out the comments.

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What Might Have Been

I came across this quote in my scrapbook last night. It applies to something that happened once to me.

For of all sad words of tongue or pen,

The saddest are these: “It might have been.”

—John Greenleaf Whittier, from “Maud Miller”

To read about my experience, click here: Nathan’s Uncle: Always My Angel

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I called my long-time friend and colleague Shelia today to ask for some advice. My female dog Aubrey is 17 years old, and her age is starting to show. Many of her bodily functions are failing, yet she shows no signs of suffering. She still has a light in her eyes, and her tail still wags. Still, I know the inevitable is not too far away. Shelia is the most knowledgeable and experienced dog person I know. I guess what I really wanted was for Shelia to tell me what to do. She couldn’t do that, but she gave me a lot of information and told me that I would know when it was time to let Aubrey go.

Shelia is also one of the most intuitive people I know. Our phone conversation ended with a discussion of some unique spiritual experiences we have had that some people might not believe nor understand. Shelia shared one recent experience that might make the average listener incredulous, but I’ve known Shelia long enough to know that if she said it happened, then it happened.

Before we said goodbye, several quotes started popping into my head. I shared them with Shelia, and now I share them with you . . . .

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin


You’ve heard it said, “I’ll have to see it to believe it,” but perhaps you’ll have to believe it to see it.

—paraphrased from an NBC Dateline special


If there were no unanswered questions there would be no need for faith.

—paraphrased from Menachem Daum, a Holocaust survivor,

in his documentary Hiding and Seeking


I’d rather die believing than live doubting.


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This is my paraphrase of a favorite anecdote . . . .

A businessman on vacation was walking at sunset along the seashore where thousands of starfish had been beached by the waves. Soon he came upon a native who was picking up starfish one by one and throwing them back into the surf.

The businessman laughed and said, “Working at that pace, you’ll never make a difference.”

The native leaned over, picked up another starfish, threw it into the waves, and said, “Made a difference to that one.”

I use this story when I introduce anecdotes to my sixth-graders early in the school year because it is so short, yet so powerful. And it makes you think.

What do you think?

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