Welcome to the party! We’re going to start off by opening up our box of crayons and just taking a moment to appreciate the entire rainbow!! I was excited to see this National Geographic photographer’s photo on my Instagram feed this week:

Photo by Keith Ladzinski @ladzinski | A fleeting beam of sunlight draws out a prismatic rainbow on a stormy day in Grindelwald, Switzerland. This rainbow lasted mere minutes, dominating the landscape among a scene of dramatic storm clouds that shrouded the tall peaks of the valley. To see more photos of the #Alps please visit @ladzinski. (Full credits given as above!)

A fleeting glimpse of God’s majesty at work! Isn’t it beautiful?! Now, there’s a whole lotta science that goes along with rainbows, but let’s just look at the simplified version, shall we? Basically, you need some water droplets still hanging around in the air… and then some light from the sun. Then scientists include a whole bunch of things like reflection, dispersion and refraction. If you are interested, you can check out this link from the Smithsonian. The arc, or curve you observe is because you can only see a rainbow from your specific spot relative to the distance from the light source and a whole bunch of other mathematical stuff. That’s why we sometimes see a double rainbow or circular rainbows can be see from airplanes. And the colours? Traditionally, we say that the rainbow contains red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. But technically, the rainbow is a continuous spectrum of colours — the human eye can only see a few. Rainbows are sooo much more than we perceive! And I say perceive because rainbows are really optical illusions — you can’t reach out and touch one, and there really is no “end” point. Sorry, no pot of gold, either. Just a fascinating blip that shows up in our world every now and then. Especially if you happen to be in just in the right spot at the just the right time!

Perhaps this illusion is why we are so drawn to them, and why rainbows have come to mean so much more to us than simply science in the sky. We’ve associated the arcs with God’s promise (we’ll get to that), ancient writings in various aboriginal folklore and chinese writings associate it with creation and new beginnings, and rainbows have often been paired with bridges and the idea of “crossing over” to better places. We know they are something special. Something spiritual. More recently, rainbows have been adopted with peace, love and freedom. Often in our own attempts to make ourselves more “in tune” with the divine, we assign rainbows more “magical properties” than their original meaning intended.

The Ark Encounter Gift Shop

When we visited Kentucky’s Ark Encounter back in 2018, I was intrigued with their merchandise advertising the idea of “taking back the rainbow”. At first I wondered: take it back? Doesn’t it belong to everyone? Obviously referencing the LGBT+ community’s use of the rainbow in it’s Pride flag, this campaign is drawing attention to the differences between the Biblical account of God’s rainbow and the Pride’s adoption of it. We live in a city that hosts one of the largest Gay Pride Parades every year. Many of our public schools and community centres display the rainbow flag. It’s a common sight in our neck of the woods. Digging a little deeper for this post, I did discover that the original Pride Rainbow Flag contained 8 colours, but now is represented by only 6; a fact many conservative Christians are quick to point out in their defence against the homosexual lifestyle as a perversion of the original rainbow. It is important for us to take a stand on Biblical Truths in our society — but even more important to do it accurately and not simply copy and paste or “like” posts without investigating first. Answers in Genesis does make a good point in reminding us that “…Before you accept the claims on social media, take care to consider whether they are accurate, and then indicate your approval or share them with others. ” The science states a rainbow is a spectrum, remember? It’s not 6 colours or even 8. I encourage you to investigate more at Answers in Genesis and other Bible believing sites to make our arguments consistent with both the Bible and science as we engage in conversations with the LGBT+ community and their allies.

So let’s delve into the Biblical accounts of the rainbow! Rainbows are mentioned in three books: in Genesis, and then again in Ezekiel and Revelation. The later accounts use them in description of brilliance and specific colours, so we may touch on those later in our colouring party. Genesis 9 is our description of the very first rainbow and it’s promise for Noah — and for us. The flood is over, Noah has built his altar, made his sacrifices, and once again inherited the land, and God says this:

” 21 The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.22 “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night
will never cease….

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.” GENESIS 8,9: verses as listed.

So there you have it. The scientific wonder of the rainbow is so delicately placed in our world, when all the conditions are right, to remind us that God is still in control. That even though our human hearts are “every inclination of evil”, He still loves us. Rainbows, like the one Ladzinski captured on the Alps, are reminders to us that God has the power to destroy, but His grace and mercy are abundantly more than we deserve.

I’m excited to be hosting this colouring party here at mittonmusings.com! I can’t wait until we pull out the next colour from our box of crayons next week! Don’t want to miss the adventure?! Join us and receive the muses each week via email! Subscribe here.

Hosting a Party!

Happy Blog-a-versary to us!! This week, mittonmusings.com turns two years old! I can’t believe it! What started out as a little “learning experience” has grown into a full fledged toddler — complete with the meltdowns of a terrible two year old! (I recently had to delve into the world of website analytics. Let’s just say I don’t get it — yet.) But, I have learned a lot. A lot. And I want to thank you all for supporting me and this little adventure with your comments, encouragements and “likes”.

You’ll notice some subtle changes as we “grow up” a little. I’m hoping our new look is a little more streamlined and easy on the eyes. It’s been fun learning blips and blobs of this huge world we call “technology”. And it changes fast… so we are learning to keep up! We’ve just about hit 200 followers with just under 2 000 views. We’re active on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and you can find our Facebook page here. We are not YouTubers yet, but maybe we’ll be cool enough for that someday. Won’t the kids be so impressed?! Videography is on the list of things to learn. We dove headstrong into our first ever daily email campaign, 30 Days of Blessings, and had lots of great feedback. God has truly blessed our little ministry.

So what are we going to do to celebrate all our slow, but exciting progressions?! We’re hosting a party! Well, sort of. As much as I’d love to have you all over for cake and ice cream, the introvert in me says ” uh, no.” So, we are going to do the next best thing, we are going to all sit at home and drink warm beverages on the couch — and colour!!

Colour, you say? Yup. For the next several weeks, mittonmusings will be studying all about colours! I’m no artist, but I’ve enjoyed colouring since I was, well, two years old. So I thought it would be fun to do a study on colours, their symbolism, their psychology, and why God gave us such a rich resource to play with! We might even look into Bible Journalling and colour coded study. Are you up for it, my friends?! Fabulous!!

And what would a party be without presents? Oh, we are going to have those too! How can you get one?! By joining us on the adventure! And sharing it with others! Throughout the colour party, I’ll be looking for likes, shares and new followers! It’s how the internet decides we are “worthy” of taking up space in it’s crazy world! Simply click on the side “follow” button, or join the adventure when prompted in the pop up! Then pick your favourite post, write a raving “colour commentary”, and share it on your favourite social site! It warms my heart to think that I have had a little impact on making people think, helping them grow, and encouraging blessings along the journey. Will you help me celebrate?! I’ll meet you on the couch next week, with crayons in hand!!

Can’t wait to have you join us!

What Makes a Good Teacher?

There has been much going on in my neck of the woods with regards to education recently. Teachers strikes, contract negotiations, optimum class sizes, budget cuts. It is all becoming a little cumbersome. We are parents in a somewhat unique situation, in that we have grown (well, almost grown) children and one still in elementary school. So we have a broad base of comparison. Youth is a whole other entity and we should have a prayer list a mile long for these blessed creatures. Then a double prayer list for their mommas and dads. Oh no, parenting is not for the weak. Or the squeamish. Especially if you have been blessed with boys, or an over dramatic girl. Or a partner who cannot handle barf. But, I digress. I’ve been working on a baby gift that I have to send off to some new parents soon, and pondered about how differently their little one will grow up — even compared to my youngest. The world changes so rapidly and we must do our best to keep up.

I’m not here to debate the pros and cons of one particular type of education. It’s not my place… although I would love to sit down with you and discuss home schooling vs. private school vs. public school vs… well, let’s just say I would love to sit with you. I have my own views and opinions that may differ from yours. Which is okay because I am not raising your kid. For the record, I am not an educational expert, either. I’ve seen a few systems, though. And most, if not all, of them are broken. There is not a “perfect” way to raise a child — because there are no perfect parents, and no perfect children. Oh, and here is a big revelation… there are no perfect teachers, either. Or class sizes, or budgets, or salary caps, or… you get the picture.

Which is why I always say that you must be involved in your student’s education. It is vital you know what goes on in the classroom and in the system. And in the heart of your student. But let’s back up a bit and think about that: “education”. What does it mean? The short answer is this: Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. (Wikipedia — which may not be your choice for “educational” definitions, but serves my purposes here, so let’s all move on, shall we?) The acquisition of knowledge. You can get that from sticking your finger in a light socket. No system necessary there. But “facilitating learning”? Much deeper thoughts. How does one do this for such a diverse generation? Can we do it for our own kids? For ourselves?

What about those values and beliefs? Who is responsible for those? The high priest? Pastor? Youth specialist? YouTube? We were teasing our church’s youth pastor, recently, that because he wasn’t a skilled ice skater and didn’t know how to play the guitar, that somehow he didn’t have all the necessary “qualifications” of youth leader. (It’s not true, of course!) but what should our teachers possess in order to make them “good” and “qualified” teachers? Four years of seminary? Greek study? Summer mission experience? Married? Single? Oh, we fiercely debate such things. And so I muse: What does make a good teacher?

I think it is someone who cares about the student. Dare I say loves the student so deeply that they want to see them succeed in that “acquisition of knowledge”… so that it changes their lives forever. Someone who can foster a lifelong love of learning. My favourite teachers were the ones who inspired me. Frankly, I hardly remember a thing they taught. I remember the comments or the encouragement, or the way they made concepts come alive or applicable to me and my measly existence in the universe. People who may have thought differently than I, and challenged my way. In turn, solidifying my core values and/or correcting my habits. So, you see, it is all of us. Formal education is only one part of the puzzle. It’s people who challenge the norms, it’s intergenerational mentorship, it’s cross cultural experiences, it’s formal learning in traditional sessions and it’s being creative and using the gifts God gives us. I don’t care if you have your own kids or not, when you come in contact with mine, you are teaching them. Whether you like it or not.

And we fail. Often. But failure, too, is part of learning. Overcoming the failure and the ability to move forward shapes the next mistake, and the mistake after that. So, be encouraged, my friend, that there is only one perfect teacher who walked the Earth. Yet Jesus also grew in “…wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man…” (Luke 2). He was taught, and was the Teacher. His goals were clear, but loved the students so much that no one was denied the learning experience. Learned men, women, children and outcasts and sinners sat at His feet and were taught with patience and love. Sure, we have our preferences. We have our strategies and pedagogies and they too, ebb and flow as our society changes and the next generation leads the way for a new one. But we should never stop learning. And teaching.