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Say It With Flowers (via Mike Wittmer)

Mike Wittmer went to a school concert where he was bemused to see parents with bunches of flowers to present to their children after a group singing performance and makes some observations about the over celebration of the ordinary deeds of our children.
This may be the most subversive thing you’ll read today.

An excerpt:

Why so much fuss over a normal performance? The principal last night opened the concert by promising that what we were about to see would “take our breath away.” Really? One hundred kids singing “Little Drummer Boy” is perfectly fine, but anyone who got goose bumps needs to get out more. Why isn’t it enough to have our children sing a standard Christmas song and then thank them for their standard performance? Did any of the children behind her really think they were going to amaze and wow their parents with “Fa-la-la-la-la”? And if that really did take our breath away, what words would be left to describe the truly amazing events of life?

Read the whole post *Say It With Flowers* at Mike Wittmer.

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Ten Fourth Of July Facts (via Today I Found Out)

Happy fourth of July to US readers, wherever you are.
Here are ten fourth of July related facts.
Source: Today I Found Out.

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Rent-A-Mourners (via TIME)

A TIME online portal has a featurette about a UK company that provides mourners to attend funerals for a fee.

Worried that not enough people will show up your funeral? Let Rent-A-Mourner help. The ingenious and aptly-named company allows concerned parties to pay for professional grievers to fill a funeral home and make sure that the deceased gets a fitting and extremely well-attended sendoff.
For approximately $68 a head, the U.K.-based business will send “professional, polite, well dressed individuals” to attend your funeral or wake, and will weep, wail and generally appear sad about the passing of whatever person happens to be filling the casket for about two hours. Rent-A-Mourner promises that your paid grievers will be “discreet” and “professional,” according to its website.
Read the rest of the article here for more details.

The article points out that similar practices are part of non-western cultures.

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“When You Try To Make A Story Out Of Persuasion Then You’ve Done Something Wrong To The Story”

Thoughts on the difference between being a Christian who creates and Christian creativity by Jeffrey Overstreet at The Rabbit Room.
It’s helpful you find yourself considering a book, movie or music and wondering ‘Is it Christian?’

Something that has stayed with me is this quote from Katherine Pearson, which Overstreet uses in his essay.

Novelists write out of their deepest selves. Whatever is there in them comes out willy-nilly, and it is not a conscious act on their part. If I were to consciously say, ‘This book shall now be a Christian book,’ then the act would become conscious and not out of myself. It would either be a very peculiar thing to do—like saying, ‘I shall now be humble’ — or it would be simple propaganda…
Propaganda occurs when a writer is directly trying to persuade, and in that sense, propaganda is not bad.. . . But persuasion is not story, and when you try to make a story out of persuasion then you’ve done something wrong to the story. You’ve violated the essence of what a story is.

I think the essence of that quote is that it’s one situation to create a story and then find out it reflects a Christian theme, but something very different to start with a Christian theme and then compose a story communicate it.
They are different activities.
Read Why I Want to Be George R. R. Martin’s Neighbor by Jeffrey Overstreet at The Rabbit Room.

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My Brittle Bones by Philip C. Burcham (via First Things)

Phil Burcham is remembered by South Australian Presbyterians from his time here (he and his family are now based in Perth, WA), and is known by some around the nation.
In this extended article, published on the First Things website, he writes of his personal experience with the modern eugenics movement, now known as genetic counseling, and relates how, because of a mild genetic condition which results in bones which break more easily than normal, that medical wisdom believes it would be better if he, his extended family, and even his daughter were never born.
Read My Brittle Bones at First Things.
HT: Michael Bird.


Upon learning of the disorder affecting my family, the emergency-room staff in the local children’s hospital told us about a gifted doctor who knew a lot about OI. I was keen to meet the doctor, given my positive memories of the orthopedic surgeons who cared for me in childhood. A pharmacologist by training, I also knew that the bisphosphonates—a class of drugs developed for osteoporosis sufferers—were then being tested on OI patients. I hoped the doctor would know if they might help our daughter.
We found the doctor had little interest in the clinical management of pediatric OI patients and knew little of bisphosphonate pharmacology. The doctor and attending nurse initially engaged us in chatty small talk, but their intentions soon became clear: They wanted to know whether we hoped to have another baby. After my wife said we did, exasperated grimaces passed between them.

As one born congenitally frail, I have come to respect this mysterious disorder called osteogenesis imperfecta and even thank heaven for how it prematurely confronted me with my own frailty during my youth. By forcing me to face my limitations and find the fortitude to transcend repeated bouts of medical adversity, in requiring me to choose a vocation in which success did not depend on brute strength, OI made me a stronger and more mature individual.
In the end, we are all frail creatures. Maybe this is why some people wish to abort persons like my father and me: Perhaps we confront them with the inconvenient truth of their own mortality and the ultimate futility of their existential rebelliousness. Rather than pursuing the futile idea that humanity can live in perpetual defiance of God, we Brittle Burchams have found great hope and refuge in the arms of the strong God who became as weak as a newborn baby to conquer the evil that stains our fallen world.