On children’s awards and complicated figures in history

Once upon a time there were children, children who would one day grow up to learn that people are complex, messy, a mix of good and bad words, deeds, and thoughts. That day is not today, so lets just chill out a second with all the ruckus concerning the formerly named “Laura Ingalls Wilder Award.”

The Association for Library Service (ALSC) bestows the now titled ‘Children’s Literature Legacy Award‘ annually to an author who has made significant and lasting contribution to children’s literature.”

Many have responded to the change with much angst and gnashing of teeth labeling it as another attempt to rewrite history.

These people do not understand what re-writing history looks like.

No one is saying that Laura Ingalls Wilder, who was the first recipient of said award, has not made lasting contributions to children’s literature. No one is saying she did not inspire generations of authors and readers. No one is saying she did not inspire a just short of a decade long television series that took a whole lotta liberties with the text near the end there…

What they are saying is this. Perhaps we don’t need to continue celebrating them the way we used to? Maybe? Just maybe this many decades later we don’t need to celebrate with full abandon an author who during the time it was fully acceptable for her community to other Native Americans, blacks, and i’m just gonna take a swing and say she probably sometime said some awkward insensitive things about Asians.

But in a way removing her name from the award is more honorable than not. In so we further acknowledge Laura Ingalls Wilder not as some one sided cartoon but as a real live person whose mind and work we continue to dive into, turn over, and rearticulate for future generations. This is the work for adults, not our children. And I certainly would rather the next generation have a few years of ignorant bliss before they realize how horrid we have been (and continue to be) to each other.

I am certain of this…

I am certain of this: neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nothing already in existence and nothing still to come, nor any power, nor the heights nor the depths, nor any created thing whatever, wil be able to come between us and the love of God, known to us in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 probably NRSV

For sometime now I have attempted to follow the Divine Hours, as arranged by Phyllis Tickle. Arranging one’s day around time’s of prayer and contemplation arose from the monastic tradition. Personally I have enjoyed the since of connection following such a daily pattern brings me. I am not alone. God is always present in worship. So are the great cloud of witnesses, those saints (not to say they weren’t sinners too) who continue to be with us. Today’s Midday scipture passage is an expanded portion of the above from Romans. The verse is of course better understood and felt within it’s context. But these two verses in particular are rather climactic.

There is nothing that will separate us from the love of God.

Nothing.

It is time we started to act accordingly.

Blank Pages

Suddenly I had something to say. A sudden bright spark of personal insight needing articulation. Turned on the tablet, put fingers to the keys and suddenly nothing. The insight garbled, the something involved time travel, looking back at the last decade of my life through the lense of the last two months, and being too busy to put anything down.

Charles Yu’s How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe was the perfect book for the last two weeks. I had started the book a couple years back but put it down finding it too slow, too introspective for a guy in the middle of graduate school. At 26, I only looked forward, imagining all the future had in store for me. Soon I would earn my librarian’s cardigan and would be helping the world with their information needs.

Last few months not so much. At 31, I have become annoyingly introspective. Stuck, spinning my wheels, asking myself how much longer? This time, Charles Yu’s time travel metaphor resonated. The termporal paradoxes, time loops, whole universes made of grammar all spoke to me. Couldn’t put the story down til the end. Highly recommend it for any thirty year old science fiction nerds going through a third life crisis.

I can’t change the last decade of my life, it is what is. Would not be where I am, who I am, or have the opportunity to become what I will if not for before.

Progress Expected

Excuse the mess, or don’t. Actually, yeah… it’s better that you don’t. Please leave a comment on how this blog can be better organized.

Was looking forward to some mouseover effects for sorting out Christianese, but this seems for now not to be happening. I’ll figure out something in the meantime.

But Stephen, why would you need to explain Christianese? All you’ve done so far is post a few pretty pictures.

True, but either tonight or tomorrow night I will post my first theological reflection. The rant will concern last week’s lectionary reading from the gospel of Mark. It will, with a lot of editorial assistance, be balancing my authentic rant rambling with a more down to earth model of communication. I’ll be limiting myself to two footnotes ^ in a post and aim to write in such a way that those unfamiliar with church speak may understand what I am blabbering on about.

* Refering to the lectionary calendar, a three year cycle of verses for preaching on which take the congregation through a good chunk of the Bible.

^ or three.