Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Spewing Paperwork

Whoa. I haven't been this swamped since I taught English. Semester grading... seems like every single class I teach got tested within the last two weeks.

I'll be back to blogging when I get some energy or passion for anything. Right now I feel like the living dead.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Yes, it was an historic occasion. I am delighted to see a black man attain the highest office in America. He is to be congratulated for running a great campaign and capitalizing on the disasters of our nation's recent past.

Yes, some things will be different in Washington. Heaven only knows how different.

Yes, Rick Warren was probably as clear as he was allowed to be in his honoring Jesus. Apparently "Isa" is a muslim version of Jesus and therefore not honoring to the biblical Jesus. However, the tolerance police probably would have demonstrated their intolerance had he prayed any more Christianly.

So, no, he probably shouldn't have accepted the opportunity. It muddles his true beliefs with syncretism.

Yes, I was amused and touched by the Rev. Dr. Real Short Black Guy who gave the benediction. He was humorous, a little down on white people, and obviously a character. However, he also demonstrated that he didn't truly know to whom he was praying. As he is an old man, I'm confident that Almighty God, the King of Glory, will make that abundantly clear to him in just a few short years. Something about not sharing His glory with another or His praise with idols. Still true.

Yes, it will be fun to have children in the White House again. I wish the girls the very best growing up under media scrutiny and the heaviness of their daddy's job.

No, Mr. Obama probably will not lead the nation in the right direction. Big government, social liberalism, and societal meltdown, here we come.

Maybe we shouldn't call it the White House anymore...

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Odd Thing About It...

Blogging Time. I'll think I'll give an update on the many, many pieces of my life.

Last Thursday I took a friend out for lunch. During lunch Evan and I found out that our friend hasn't had enough money to buy proper groceries. Mindful of James 2, we started to figure out how we could help. I made an appeal at a men's breakfast and a brief comment later, which so far has brought in over $400 to help him. If you'd like to join us in this effort, just get together with me sometime in e-mail or person. The Lord is good and He will provide for the needs of His children.


Evan and I have also been playing Monopoly again. This is bad because Evan beats me virtually every time we play. However, we play in the evening, so if I'm really discouraged, I just declare it bedtime and we end the game! Last time Evan called me on it, and I said, "Yep, you've already whupped me pretty thoroughly; it's just a matter of the next hour for you to finish me off. So we're going to skip to the death scene."


We had Jayson and Christi over for dinner tonight with their kids. Two large families together requires a lot of table space, so we put two tables in the dining room and lined everyone up. It was a lot of fun and a blessing to see different childrens' approaches to the world.

After they went home, we were cleaning up Aidan and Toby's room when suddenly Aidan went over to his bed, pulled out a broken mini-blind, and said, "Here, I broke this."

Since I was in a pretty relaxed mood (and somewhat tired) I didn't start yelling or any of the other bad parenting behaviors that certainly could happen in a situation like that. I just sat down on his mattress with him and started asking questions.

Me: Aidan, how did it break?

Aidan: Well, I was just pulling on it a lot and then it came down.

Me: Did you not know how to use it?

Aidan: I know how to use the curtains in your room.

Me: The curtains or the blind?

Aidan: The blind. I just know how to use it.

Me: Maybe when we get you a new one, I'll teach you how to use it.

Aidan: I don't think you should get me a new one.

Me: Why not?

Aidan: (sad face) I'm just like a cat with strings. (accompanied by hand motions similar to a cat's paw batting at the strings of a blind.

Me: Oh. I get it.


The boys and I went tractor-sledding yesterday again. That is absolutely the best winter sport. The guys love it. Evan and I went all the way from our house to [insert local radio station name here] on one of our runs.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Renewed Sense of Zeal for Ministry

Sometimes when Kevin goes out of town, I get a chance to preach at our church. Since 2006 I think I've had a shot from the pulpit maybe 1-2 times per year. Most recently I delivered a message on December 28th, 2008. It was an encouragement to approach 2009 as an opportunity to build with God. I finally had the courage to review it online tonight and was happy about what I had said. I didn't say anything too stupid, and I agreed with all the applications! You can listen to my sermon here.

Since this speaking opportunity didn't turn into a memorable disaster, and since I actually enjoy preaching (and since I have a passion for spreading the God's word, God's ways, and God's hope in this world) I've often thought about (logistically) how I could do more preaching. Would that mean going back to school for some kind of seminary degree? Seeing if some congregation somewhere would be interested in me as I am? Serving as a lay minister in a situation where a vocational pastor was unavailable? As you can see, there are more questions than answers in this paragraph.

I think one of the most frustrating things in life is what I learned in econ class to call the "opportunity cost". Essentially, if I do one thing, I have to give up something else because there just won't be time to do them all. For example, I would find it interesting to be a vocational pastor, a missionary in Bible translation, an author, a business owner (I've thought about owning bookstores, restaurants, hotels, B&B's, anything where I vaguely understand the business), a counselor, and a traveling, seminar-giving speaker. For all of these choices I have different specific motivations, but for most of them, the delight is getting the worship of God and the reality of the gospel in front of as many people as possible.

Also at the heart of this internal discussion is the fact that I like my current job and have spent many years building the infrastructure that makes my workload manageable.


Evan is into looking for "Christian Worldviews" (as he puts it) in any movies he watches or books that he reads. Sometimes I can't believe how blessed I am as a parent to have children like these who really listen to what you tell them and then try to apply it as quickly as possible. A word of qualification... Evan's not a sophisticated literary analyst yet, and so some of his read-into-the-text attempts seem hokey, but he was able to discern for himself the scene at the beginning of LoTR II where Gandalf is taken by the monster and disappears into the flaming abyss. He perceived Gandalf as a type of Christ in his "death" and descent into "hell". When he reappears, he is clothed in light: no longer Gandalf the Grey, he is Gandalf the White who has triumphed over his enemy. Evan easily recognized the majesty of Jesus pictured through these cinematic masterpieces.

Aidan asked this evening if I would teach him Latin words and if I would please read to him from his Bible. What problems to face!

Toby's wound continues to be... wound-y. He has another appointment tomorrow in which we will see if he has made any progress. Please continue to pray for Toby.

Avery is becoming remarkable in her own way. She understands a lot of what we say and is picking up some mothering traits from Tara (or maybe just instinct...). For example, she heard me talking this morning about not being able to find my gloves or my ear brassiere. She toddled into another room, picked up two non-matching gloves, and brought them to me. Last night when she thought dinner was ready, she planted herself at the top of the basement stairs and yelled, "Boys! Table!" over and over again. Now, she's not that articulate and they aren't that moved by someone babbling at them from the stairs, but Tara and I understood perfectly and were just delighted.

Well, back to school tomorrow morning. Finals start on Wednesday.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

End of the Day

I taught some classes today.

I corrected lots of papers.

I talked to students.

I listened in chapel.

I would like to write a Latin curriculum.

I have nothing more to say.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Record and Scraper-Breaking Ice

Every few years some kind soul takes pity on me and my miniscule salary and gives me a car. For the past few times it has been my friend Phil. This is ironic because he earns about the same amount that I do. But I digress.

Phil's latest offering was a 1992 Toyota Corolla (he just doesn't like the messiness of selling old cars). Having been raised in a world that melded pastors in black robes and foraging through other people's garbage, I happily accepted. I have been driving it for a little over a year now, and it's not very pretty. The incidents with the skunk and the deer didn't help.

Though we have a two-car garage, I'm not very good at putting all the vehicles inside (refer to upbringing). So when the ice storm hit on Saturday, my Corolla was parked stolidly in the driveway. I had no need to use it on Sunday since I was busy giving the CHEX TALK and trying frantically to grade papers and do lesson plans before school this morning. On Monday morning, I was stunned to discover a layer of ice at least a quarter inch thick welded to the windshield. Evan and I worked at it, but we only succeeded in breaking two scrapers. I stumbled back into the garage in search of better things.

And I found them. Chisels! With chisels in hand, I returned to my ice-sculptured vehicle and began...uh... chiseling away at the ice layer. When I pulled out this morning, there was a 10"x15" aperture on the driver's lower corner of the window. Unsafe? Probably. But I am a persistent little bugger, and the prospect of giving up and switching to Tara's van didn't appeal to me.

We parked in the south parking lot, facing south.

After my fifth grade class today, one young lady (initial "A") came back with a sheet of paper and a question. "Mr. Kluth, I made up a Latin sentence and I wonder if I did it right."

Her sentence said: Avus longus in Europa hiemo.
Now, I'm sure that if her Latin had been accurate, you'd be able to translate. But it wasn't, so I don't fault you at all.

So I began to translate: "The long grandfather...?" I looked at her in amused confusion.

"No, I wanted it to say, 'The grandfather longs to spend the winter in Europe.'"

[This is where you imagine our conversation where I help A differentiate between long as in "not short" and long as in "desire". We were pretty much out of time, so I just grabbed the pencil and wrote:

Avus in Europa hiemare desiderat. (You'll have to imagine a macron over the final "a" in Europa.)

"Oh," she said, in that way you say "oh" when you realize that you don't know how to get where you'd like to go.

Then she tried for a new path. "You know that thing L comes to with you? Is that just for her?"

(See one of my previous posts for context: one of A's classmates sacrifices her recess every Thursday because she wants to learn all about Latin and how to use it as soon as she possibly can.)

So I say, "The only reason L gets to do extra Latin is because she asked. If you want to be a part of that, you probably could, too."

It appears that I may be able to develop another little Latin nerd in the days ahead.

When I left school for the day, the sun was shining and the ice layer had completely vanished.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Everything You Wanted to Know about Chex

So I went to bed with a stomachache last night and didn't sleep a whole lot. I didn't become badly ill, but some wussy virus attacked me, leaving a headache and strange elimination. I suppose you don't need details of that.

After church we got into something of a discussion about marriage, and I told Evan that if he wanted me to, I would teach him about marriage and related matters. So I was correcting papers in my office around 2:00 and he came in and said, "OK, Dad, you were going to teach me about marriage?"

So we went to his room, flopped down on the bed, and I asked him if he had ever wondered where babies come from. And he said, "Oh, I know about that already."

So I said, "How do you make a baby?"

And he explained in pretty correct detail the female side: ovary, egg, tube, uterus, baby. (Apparently I'd explained this in good detail right after Tara had her tubes tied.) He just didn't realize that Daddies had anything to do with the process. So I asked, "So where does the daddy come in?"

And he looked at me very strangely. And then I explained to him exactly how the daddy is involved in making the baby. After making a face, he said, "Do you have to do that every time you want a baby?"

I explained that it wasn't quite as much of a trial as he perhaps thought it was.
Evan asked a few more very funny things as well, things that you just wouldn't think of if you'd been biologically aware for say, more than 20 years.

But they were great questions and a great discussion. And I explained that God only wants you to do this activity with the person to whom you are married. And then he asked, "So how did [unmarried person Jane Doe] get her babies?"

I almost swallowed my tongue.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Surprise Visitor

Like most people, I went to high school. Like most people, I've done my best to forget about high school. And then, wouldn't you know, a friend of mine from high school called about 11:00 this morning and said that he was in town.

I was at Walmart South, and he was at Best Buy. I asked if he needed directions, and he said he had the GPS, which made me think of minivan in Cars that told the cars of Radiator Springs, "Don't need a map. Got the GPS... never need a map again." Of course, Terry, being a farm boy from north of the Cities, doesn't have a minivan but rather a 2007 Ford F-1000000 or whatever the number is. Actually, it's probably an F-350, but I didn't look.

So Terry stayed for lunch, told us all his stories from the past few years (we haven't seen him for 10) and then helped us move some mattresses between our house and Grandpa's. Tara would like me to say that she stretched some potato soup so that it fed another eight people for lunch today after it fed eight for supper last night.

I would like to say that it was good to see Terry, and that some of us will probably make a visit to his Wisconsin farm sometime this winter or spring. We'll just have to see where it fits in.

Evan is now reading The City of Ember.