Poison Dart Frogs are some of the tiniest and beautiful creatures on the planet; they are also incrediably deadly. So, why call this blog "Tiny Dart Frog"? It goes back to the old adage - good things come in small packages. We are all created exactly as God has intended - unique, strong, and beautiful.
Every year around Pentecost I am reminded of this conversation with my oldest son. He's 13 now, but I still recall this as if it was yesterday. Fire, wind, dove, water, tongues...swan?
You know the drill... the kids are called up front for the children's message and the pastor asks a fairly innocuous question related to God and the lessons of the day. One Sunday when my boys were aged 7, 5, and 3 the pastor of my home congregation called all the kids up front and asked, "Why do you come to church?"
They raised their hands and answered his question with things like:
"To talk to God."
"To learn about the the Ten Commandments."
"Because my parents make me..."
My oldest son raised his hand and said, "To learn about the secret of the white swan."
The pastor looked at me, looked at him, and then said, "What?"
My son adamantly said, "You know! The secret of the white swan."
The pastor quickly brushed it to the side and moved on with his lesson, because what do you do with that?
Well, later on, as we all climbed into the car, I said, "Carter, tell me about the secret of the white swan..." Now he's totally frustrated.
"Mom," he says, "you know...the secret of the white swan!"
"No, I'm sorry I don't know, honey."
With an exaggerated sigh he starts to explain with large hand motions from the back seat of the van.
"You know...it's when they take the baby and put him in the bath tub and then the big white swan comes down [large rushing hand motions] and lands on the baby's head."
Ah, now I have it, but this is a very comical image to me. A giant swan plopping down on a baby's head. I envision the baby hardly being able to breathe. So, through my stifled giggles I say, "Oh. Carter you mean when a baby is baptized...".
He looks at me as if I'm the one who's finally getting it. "Yeah, Mom. Uh - the secret of the white swan, that's what I've been saying."
"It's a dove and a font," I say.
"Dove. Swan. Same thing. Who cares. It's still what church is all about and that was the question."
A few weeks ago my dad visited me and my boys to help out with childcare while I was at a conference and to tear down a wall.
My dining room had a hideous built-in bar, which I hated! I've been told that no man in their right mind tears out a bar...one always needs a place for their whiskey, scotch, and gin. Well, since I'm not a man and have no need for a bar built out of glossy olive green tiles and mirrored walls...out it came.
I actually wasn't at home to see the demolition, which I think is a good thing. I came home to the walls being rebuilt with drywall and tape and paste and possibly a few more nails than necessary, since my house was built in 1935 and everything seems to need to be 'retrofitted'.
My dad vowed to have the walls ready to be primed by the time he left. Painting I can do, but building walls is not my gift. True to his word, the walls were done and it was 'cleaned up'.
I use the words 'cleaned up' very loosely. Firstly, (and maybe this is only my experience) men just don't have the same idea of clean as women do. So, yes, all the tools and paste were put away, but what remained was dust.
There was dust in the china cabinet, in the rug, on the baseboards, in the grooves of the wood floor. And, if I walked into that room I soon carried that dust with me into other rooms in the house. I was inundated.
So, I set to work to wipe and vacuum up all the dust. This could not be more of a frustrating task. I would wipe the table with a damp cloth to pick up the dust and half of it would come up and the other half would remain - leaving gooey, pasty streaks.
So, I would wipe again. Vacuum again.
Eventually, I got most of it wiped up, except inside the china cabinet. I'm leaving that for a day when I have nothing to do and feel like polishing silver or something (which won't be until Jesus comes, so I'm basically ignoring it).
But, this morning...there's dust again. It's in my ductwork, I think. I just can't seem to get rid of it.
And for some reason this seems like such a nice marriage of Ash Wednesday and Pentecost. Dust and wind. Maybe we should use drywall compound on Ash Wednesday? I'm kidding, of course.
But I am thinking today about how I thought that dust was gone - and it wasn't. How I hadn't really considered the airducts in this whole scenario - and their hidden movement.
In an age when I feel like we are constantly wondering, "Where is God?" and "What's God doing?" and "Why doesn't God just do something?"...I am reminded that God remains, even when we think we don't see Him and that we can't get rid of Her no matter how hard we try. Praise God for that! And...the Spirit...She's quiet and powerful at the same time and He's simultaneously subversive and revolutionary.
On you. On me. In the core of the earth and the stars light years away.
My name is Christine Stephan, although I answer mostly to Mom or Pastor.
I am a Lutheran pastor for an amazing group of Jesus' disciples just outside Washington DC AND a mom to 3 of the best boys in the universe.
I blog here about family and faith and frustrations....That thing we call 'life'.
My boys are passionate about all things legos, anything involving a ball, video games, and chocolate.
I am an avid runner, a lover of interesting books and deep conversation, a very amateur writer, and also a lover of chocolate.
I also love theology (which is weird, I know), but I don't love theology more than Jesus.
This blog is hardly ever profound, but it is real. As a pastor and I mom, I find 'real' to be more helpful in my journey with Jesus than crossing all the t's and dotting all the i's.