Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mum and Pup

Mum and Pup

I cannot show the actual photos of my mother and father.

They were calm and well behaved, like the pair shown in this photo.

I was taught to blend in, stay calm, wait my chances.

If I stayed vague and non-threatening, they promised, I would go far in the Lutheran Church.

"I'm not much of a student," I protested.

"That does not matter, Tim." They called me Tim, short for Timid. "You will do far better if your grades do not annoy others and you keep up that friendly, devil-may-care attitude."

I stayed under the radar.

When people argued about all those non-essentials, like worship and doctrine, I would hold up my side of the conversation by saying, "It all depends."

I would say favorable things about each side of the argument. They made them try to bring me over to their side. Instead of appealing to 50% or only 33%, I found all of them trying to convince me.

That has served me well in the last few years.

We are going to get along much better if all Lutherans do the same. If I send a letter or a message, I say, "I am thankful for your passion and dedication." That makes them feel good without committing myself to one side or another.

We should all work on ambiguous, feel-good statements. If some decision appears to be completely devastating and polarizing, I answer a question with, "The proof of the pudding is in the eating."

Debate that. The answer is so Delphic that no one can untangle it. Can you imagine someone shouting, "The proof of the pudding is NOT in the eating!" Doesn't work.

But on those other issues, oh boy.

My yoke is easy and my burden is lite. Go lite on everything and that will create happy campers.

This is my evil cousin.

He belongs to a Midwestern sect.

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