The following assortment of articles originally appeared on my weblog, "Reflections of a Perfectly Normal Childhood." For more articles, visit https://steverempe.wordpress.c...

Transforming the Political Culture

In a previous blog post, I lamented the current state of the republic, and the complicity of many Christians in the debasing of the political culture. The tone of that piece might be described as pessimistic, expressing my frustration in where we currently are and how we got here. In general, however, I am a “silver lining” kind of person, finding possibility in the face of frustration, and glimmers of hope when hope is in ill-supply. In that vein, I would like to offer my thoughts as to how Ch

Bigger than Ideology

The American political system is broken. This has been the case for quite some time, but recent elections and events have served to lay bare the dysfunction which has become the norm in Washington. The balkanization of the nation into micro-tribes has been thorough, with utter enmity evident between political parties, within political parties, and between the administration and the media. If democratic politics is the art of compromise, then politics, as we have known it, is dead. The combinati

On “Toxic Masculinity”

A term that that has been popping up on news feeds and television screens more and more frequently of late is “toxic masculinity.” It has been identified as the root of everything that is wrong with modern America—from mass shootings to the rise of Donald Trump to the recent slate of sexual harassment charges. It has been uncovered as the dark underside of the Jedi Order in the Star Wars movie franchise, and is said by some to be inherent in carnivorism. The basic premise behind the phrase is t

When Silence Is Not Golden

There are two truisms I’ve come to know as a parent.  First, you will spend a great amount of time hoping and praying that your kids learn to self-entertain, thus allowing you at least a modicum of time to accomplish the ever-growing list of parental responsibilities and duties.  Second, those very rare moments where your kids indeed do find a way to occupy themselves are the moments to be most feared. Case in point: this past weekend was my weekend to tend the kids on my own.  (Beth works two

A Letter to My (Unborn) Son

This is your daddy!  You don’t know me yet – well, you don’t actually know anyone yet – but we’re going to be spending a lot of time together. I’m the guy who is going to teach you ride a bike, who is going to take you to your first ball game, and who is going to introduce you to the joy of a good root beer float.  I’m sure there will be late-night science projects and early-morning raids of your Christmas stockings.  But first, you have to get here. Your mother and I have been eagerly awaitin

The Butter Knife Story

As the title might imply, this blog will from time to time look back at stories of my childhood and assorted Rempe lore.  For starters, I thought I would begin with the story portrayed in the above banner—what has come to be known to friends and family alike as “the butter knife story.” In recent years, some have called into question elements of this account.  The objections generally center around the nature of household current, and its ability to propel small children considerable distances.

Childhood Heroes and the Disappointments of Adulthood

Most of us can remember a time when we weren’t so jaded and beaten down by life.  These were days of great possibility, when life was what you made of it.  The future was something greatly anticipated, with new things to experience and lessons to learn. In these halcyon days of youth, we always saw the best in things, and in people.  It was okay to have heroes—individuals to whom we could look with unwavering admiration and affection, without the slightest hint of cynicism or fear that they mig

Saving College Football from Itself

Ladies and Gentlemen, We are once again nearing the end of another exciting college football season. There have been some stellar individual accomplishments, great team performances, and heart-stopping finishes. Traditional powers and perennial doormats alike have made their way through the minefield of the college football season, and are preparing for the upcoming conference championships and bowl games.

Why the Incarnation Matters

A merry Christmas to everyone!  No, I am not late with that proclamation—it is, as I write this, the 10th day of Christmas.  (Be sure to go out and pick up your ten lords a-leaping while they are no doubt on sale.)  At least, this is what I plan to tell all those people who have yet to receive a Christmas card from me. The holidays were enjoyably hectic at the Rempe house, which, I guess, is to be expected with three kids three and under.  Grace and Caleb have just recently bought into the seas

Snowman on the Roof

Well, it is officially winter here in our nation’s capital.  Here in northern Virginia, we had our first measurable snowfall last week (a full inch – I’ll wait for those of you reading this in the Midwest to pick your jaws up from the floor).  This was, of course, accompanied by hysterical weather forecasters warning of the impending end of civilization, and the brave citizenry buying out local supermarkets of bread, water, beer, and other staples of life.  (I have often joked that if terrorists

Giving Thanks, and Giving Up

I’ve always thought Thanksgiving an under-appreciated holiday.  Any holiday that revolves around food, family, and football is fine by me.  Add to that the fact that I, by virtue of my date of birth also occurring on the last week of the 11th month, usually receive gifts on or around Thanksgiving, and it truly is the most wonderful time of the year. For many, Thanksgiving has essentially become an opening ceremony for the Christmas season.  This is increasingly true as “black Friday” sales cont

A Family Legacy

Regular followers of this blog know that there are few things the author finds more appealing than road trips and family reunions.  Last summer, the Rempes (one member less than the current contingent) embarked upon a trek across the Midwest to visit family members of both clans.  We went to zoos, stayed with a great aunt, visited a great grandfather, and took a ferry across Lake Michigan before even arriving at our ultimate destination – our family reunion in Wisconsin.*  Despite long hours in

Lessons from a Children’s Sermon

Lutheran worship is a very structured and orderly thing.  There are moments to stand, kneel, or sit, all of which are specifically laid out in the worship bulletin.  We have elements like the kyrie, the gloria in excelsis, and the nunc dimittis in our services, and while we might not know exactly how those words translate into English, we probably have the lyrics memorized, and can sing them with multiple harmonies.  Vestments and paraments are color coded to match the liturgical calendar, and t

Lessons Learned by a Dad of Four

I know, I know … it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything to this blog, and many of you have been wondering, ” So Steve, why aren’t we hearing more from you about your newly expanded family and those sweet, cherubic children of yours?  When are we going to see more pictures and hear more about their humorous escapades?”  My typical response to this is, “I’m getting around to it, mom – be patient.” The truth is, the reason I haven’t written more about the madhouse I share with four children

A Sad Masterpiece

It has now been close to a week since the conclusion of Saturday’s Bengal-Steeler playoff game (working title, “The Bungle in the Jungle,” patent pending, all rights reserved), and I am just now getting a chance to collect some thoughts in an attempt to describe the indescribable—to explain the inexplicable. To put it mildly, the game was brutal.  The conditions were brutal.  The play on the field (and on occasion, off of it—I’m looking at you, Mike Munchak) was brutal.  Most of all, the conclu

Making My Mother Cry

The following post was written in February 2011.  As I type, Beth and I are about three weeks out from meeting our third child.  Rest assured, Children of the Heavenly Father will be sung at his baptism, and yes, I will probably cry again. One of the lasting memories of my childhood was seeing my mother cry in church.  This was not for anything my brothers or I did, mind you (although I’m sure such moments did occur), but because of one particular melody that had (and has) the unique ability to

Preschooler Art: An Appreciation

Welcome to Art Appreciation 101 – An Introduction to Preschooler Art.  Today we will be looking at “mixed- and multi-medium expressionism,” an exploration of the many and varied artistic approaches that can be undertaken by a single artist.  Our case study for this session will be the young, upcoming artist Grace Rempe. For starters, we need to acknowledge that Ms. Rempe’s art is quite controversial in certain circles.  Some critics have argued that many of her pieces (or, “projects,” as Grace

(Not) About Me

When I was young, my parents gave me a Dr. Seuss book entitled My Book About Me. In typical Seussian fashion, the book pairs simple rhyming patterns with some fill-in-the-blanks, enabling the book’s owner to create a sort of time capsule, revealing the likes, dislikes, and insights of a six-year-old mind. I still have the book, and I recently pulled it out of my collected effects to do a little reminiscing. There weren’t any major revelations—I was a serious football fan (alas, I still am); my
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