Lent, Luther, and a Whole Lot of Confusion

ashwednesdayI was a freshman in college.  And, in order to attempt making small talk, I’d just asked a Protestant student from one of my English classes—whose favorite topic was talking about his church—if he was doing anything for Ash Wednesday.  He stared at me as if I’d just asked him what he was doing for Chocolate Moon Day.

“It’s the first day of the season of Lent,” I said, trying to jog his memory.

“What’s Lent?” He blinked at me looking confused.  Guess there was nothing to jog.

“Well, it’s when some church-going folks set aside special time for God.  Sort of like Advent during the holidays—when people read a section of the Bible and light a candle.  Lent is a reflective, thoughtful time, so some people will sometimes fast or give something up in order to focus.”

Looking skeptical, he asked what kind of church I went to.  At the time I was identifying as a displaced Presbyterian and I was somewhat irregularly crashing at a local Lutheran church while I figured things out.

“Lutheran?”  He questioned.  The word sounded foreign to him as the syllables left his mouth.  “Is it a Protestant church?”

“Of course, Lutherans are Protestants!  Martin Luther is who the Lutherans are named after.”  A surprised but not snarky reply.

He just blinked at me.

“Martin Luther … as in the Reformation?”

“Martin Luther, huh?  Are you sure you’re not a Catholic?”  He looked at me suspiciously.

“Well, I’m not really a Lutheran …. but, yes, I’m sure Lutherans aren’t Catholics.  Lutherans broke off from the Catholic Church during the Reformation.”

More confused blinking.

“Really, they’re not Catholics, Lutherans were the very first Protestants.”

“Well, I’ve never heard of them before.”  He said still looked highly skeptical, but commented how it was “interesting” and that he’d never heard any of the stuff about Lent or Luther before.  He self-identified as being Protestant and he’d never heard of the Reformation or Martin Luther?  I invited him to attend the Ash Wednesday service with me, but he was playing Frisbee with his church youth group and that took precedence.

I thought my classmate and I had finally made some headway, but the next time I ran into him at school he asked: “So, Kelsey, how’s Lent going?  Hey, what religion did you say you were again?”

Sigh.

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The Cow that Ate Baby Jesus

Copyright 2011 Kelsey Hough.  All rights reserved.

j0227579Paper snowflakes and candy canes hung from the ceiling, the windows were now the stage for two-dimensional holiday scenes, and a small, wooden nativity sat in a corner. It was just about as festive and tacky as a four-year-old Sunday school classroom can be in the middle of December … and the kids loved it.

The majority of my small class played with the wooden nativity scene as they acted out the Christmas story with some minor artistic licensing unless, of course, there was a Lego© family and a T-Rex present at Jesus’ birth.

“Teacher, do cows eat this stuff?” asked Nate, a cute little boy who was playing with a black and white dairy cow, holding up a few pieces of hay in his chubby hand. I answered in the affirmative, so the plastic cow continued munching away on the hay in the feeding trough where the little wooden baby Jesus was sleeping.

As Nate looked down at the toy bovine towering over the manger, panic suddenly shot through his whole body like a bold of electricity. He dropped the dairy cow as if he was holding a smoking gun. “Uh, Teacher?” he asked in a shaky voice. “Was .. uh … baby Jesus eaten by a … uh … cow?”

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I’m a 3D Person

1950s-3d-movies“Well, you see,” the man on the bus said turning to me, “I’m a 3D person.” 

He said it they way someone might inform you that they’re a banker, hippie, or Republican, as if it would somehow explain why they like this or do that.  But the fact that he identified as being three dimensional only brought with it more questions. Perhaps he was just saying he fancies 3D movies?          

They are trying to discourage me,” he continued in a low voice.  “The one-dimensional people, they’re trying to bring me down!”   

Or perhaps he was just being haunted by one-dimensional beings.

The Shopping Cart Phenomenon

MP900444028Recently, a gentleman on the bus informed me that he’d singlehandedly solved the age old question that’s been irritating oh so many of us—why do some people push their carts directly down the middle the grocery store aisle?

“It’s because their houses are too square,” he said simply.  “They’re used to lots of room on either side of them when they walk around, so they really can’t help it.”  Apparently shoppers are like goldfish—they take up space based on the size of their home aquarium.

Despite their annoying behavior, he seemed to pity them.  And he theorized that the only way to fix their quirk was to change the shape of their homes (rectangular being the obvious ideal shape since it closest resembles a grocery store aisle).  He also worried that if houses continued to be built so boxy it could have more dangerous social repercussions like people driving right down the middle of the road. 

I guess, all things considered, maybe the shopping cart phenomenon isn’t as bad as it could be since the poor little shoppers really can’t help that they live in little boxes.

“Little Boxes”

Top 10 Signs You Need New Glasses

MH9004070161. You have to use your hand to feel your way safely past furniture, even when the light is on.

2. When cracking an egg, you miss the pan entirely and the contents of the egg lands with a splat on the counter.

3. You’re afraid to open the cupboard door because every time you venture to take out a glass, your nose takes a beating.

4. You watch a movie feeling completely lost while wondering, “Why doesn’t it tell you where the characters are now?” Only to discover later that it had had subtitles the entire time and you never noticed.

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Misquoted Verses: The Bible Doesn’t Say That

eve_appleIf it sounds proverbial or has a “thee” or “thou” thrown in to somewhat resemble King James English, people will often mistake the quote for being directly from the bible.  But some of the most popular “verses” to quote appear nowhere in the text and were actually coined  by people like Benjamin Franklin and William Shakespeare.   

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How to Tell a Hipster from a Gangster

bogart_010_as_gloves_donahue

“Fashion can say a lot of things,” Elisabeth Piedmont-Marton states in her essay Reading and Writing About Fashion. “It cannot, however, say nothing.”

Whether we like the fact our personal daily fashion choices communicate to the world around us or not, everything from the Abercrombie and Fitch t-shirt we pull out of the dryer to the classic little black cocktail dress and matching stilettos we slip into for a night on the town is a text just waiting to be read. Regardless of the time we spend planning our “text” for the day, our clothing is not-so-silently whispering something to each person who comes across our path. The only question, therefore, is will they read the intended message?

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