Archive for December, 2010

Already And Not Yet

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

“Already” and “Not yet” are elegant, accurate descriptions of the kingdom of Jesus Christ — whether you’re a post-, pre-, or a-millennialist, and whether or not the Christ-followers in your life live out his teachings or spread the hope they promise.

All of us hunger for the time when “all things are made new,” when our Lord’s victory over sin — the “already” — becomes a visible reality to a world still choking in the grip of evil, the “not yet.” Lamentably, those of us who call Christ Lord have failed miserably to articulate, much less live out, what a world subject to Him and His Gospel would look like. We often live as though nothing of particularly life-changing effect has happened, not a whole lot ever really will happen, and if it does, it doesn’t have much to do with the people around them — especially those who, because we don’t like them, we’re pretty sure God doesn’t like them, either.

It’s not a question of eschatology. It’s a question of true discipleship, whether we live lives devoted to being righteousness and not simply “right.” Christ’s kingdom, the Way of the Gospel, and the fruit evinced in the life of the believer holds to a fervent conviction that love expressed in relationship — His with us, ours with others — is the foundation of all truth, virtue, and kingdom action. And in a Christian culture that too often derides love and calls for its full expression as “weak” and “worldy” — simpering accommodation to the world around us instead of our primary gift to it — the Church has to work to manifest the Kingdom Way in every part of our lives. Professing belief and proclaiming its truth can never be absent from the practice of self-sacrificing love for the glory of God, but they cannot be enough.

I’m indebted to Stephen R. Lawhead, the author of “Byzantium” and “The Pendragon Cycle,” the series I’m reading now about King Arthur, for his description of what a world — here and now, and yet coming — would look like under the full influence of the Spirit of Christ and His people:

“I have seen a land shining with goodness where each man protects his brother’s dignity as readily as his own, where war and want have ceased and all races live under the same law of love and honor. I have seen a world bright with truth, where a man’s word is his pledge and falsehood is banished, where children sleep safe in their mothers’ arms and never know fear or pain.

“I have seen a land where kings extend their hands in justice rather than reach for the sword; where mercy, kindness, and compassion flow like deep water over the land, and where men revere virtue, revere truth, revere beauty above comfort, pleasure, or selfish gain. A land where peace reigns in the hearts of men; where faith blazes like a beacon from every hill and love like a fire from every hearth; where the true God is worshiped and his ways acclaimed by all.”
(Lawhead, “Arthur,” 1989 Harper Collins)

I can imagine that all some of you might get out of this is a need to snidely remind me that Lawhead uses “his” and “he” instead of the inclusive “theirs” and “their,” and so my response is that I don’t believe that he intends to exclude or demean women and their activities in what he calls “The Kingdom of Summer,” given that it’s the sage and healer, Charis, who consecrates the young Arthur in the work to which he’s been called. Lawhead is notable for his obvious respect for women and their wisdom, neither placing them on a pedestal nor belittling them, and certainly, as many authors writing of medieval fiction do, never assigning them literal or metaphoric blame for sin and evil in the world.

Rather, what he does is remind all of us what the “plumb line” truth of the Spirit-filled life and world does, and will, and ought to, look like. Any “Christian” minister, church, organization, or movement that demonizes, hates, maligns, or dismisses others — a rank bigotry that often is disguised as being “on fire for the Gospel — falls short of Kingdom life and truth. There’s no preoccupation with class or racial division, no harassment of others, no leering preoccupation with “bedroom sins,” and no preening, masculinist faux christianity that reveres Christ as male more than Christ as Savior.

If all of us determined each day to protect each person’s dignity and proclaim the loving truth of Christ Jesus, I think we’d see tremendous results — results that, as they must, begin in our own hearts and then spread to the waiting, wanting, wounded world around us.

Nothing "Cleansing" About This Light

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

“I was sitting next to an Army Officer. The next thing I knew Maj. Nelson
was telling me about an impending flood of Biblical proportions.
Evidently, Muslims are planning on overtaking all the Christian nations of
the world — we can’t allow the world of our forerunners to fall. We
Christan nations have got to put together a covenant to combat this — a
coalition simply will not do. This is an enemy that will keep coming, but
rest assured their defeat will be a legendary achievement. The only answer
to their Basques, their ETAs, and their Spartans is our might and the
cleansing white light of our Religion may it spread across the Universe!”

- Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)

I have no idea what Representative Gohmert considers “his” religion, with its crusading, cleansing white light and might. But I’ll continue to give my heart to the religion of the Lord Jesus Christ, whose Gospel condemns lying, bearing false witness, stirring up factions and divisions, and, most of all, speaking with the kind of hate that Gohmert so energetically vomits here.

Is There Anything More Hideous Than . . .

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

. . . beauty pageants for little girls?

Beauty pageants for anyone, period, under any circumstances, are hideous. This is particularly detrimental where it’s most often found, and that’s in judging women and girls. One of the strongest indicators of a world saturated with sin is the primacy given to the external in determining a person’s worth.

The Spirit brings what has little value in an empty culture lusting after glitz, glamor, flash, and flattery. Where the Word speaks of inner beauty, the world lauds external prettiness that has less to do with genuine beauty of being and more to do with sexiness, flavor-of-the-day prettiness, and unabashed appeals to male approval. Where the Church honors character and virtue, our male-centric culture favors the ability of females to compete against others like dogs in a show ring. And anything that’s male-centric, or appeals to male-determined standards or argues for male superiority, is not God-centric, cares little for Spirit-determined standards, and argues against Christ’s superiority as Lord, Savior, and Arbiter of right and wrong.

It’s tragic that adult women choose to swim in these waters, no matter how good they look in their swimsuits; it’s horrifying that little girls are tossed into an environment that communicates, sometimes while they’re still in diapers, their worth as little girls based on their appearance, their ability to charm adults, and their grotesquely coquettish prancing around on stage. I’d heard of these events; I’d even disrupted one some 20 years ago at a mall in Lynnwood, Washington, and I suppose I probably knew that in a world even more brazenly sexualized, these displays of debauched mini-divas would continue.

But two shows on cable television, “Little Miss Perfect” and “Toddlers And Tiaras,” demonstrate that the hair-extensioned, spray-tanned, heavily made-up and boa-and-bikini-clad world of infant-to-teen posing and posturing has taken hold with a vengeance. In conference centers, shopping malls, and hotels across the nation, particularly in the South, adorable mothers glorifying in their former pageant, cheerleading, or homecoming queen days — or frumpy mothers determined to exact revenge for their own exclusion through the pimping of their daughters — fit their five-year-olds with dental “flippers,” false teeth that masquerade a kindergartner’s pride and joy, missing teeth, and submit their little girls to the jarring tutelage of pageant coaches and makeup-and-hair artists. Even fathers, in what thinking men and women can see only as unabashed if unwitting preparation for their daughters’ teen pregnancy or prostitution, are shown taking part in the primping. I can’t imagine the Monday-morning watercooler talk that sort of thing must lead to, but, as a feminist, I can assure you that none of us enjoys seeing guys tapping into this version of their feminine side.

The church culture of the South, especially, fails to see the incongruity of pageants and Christian faith, which isn’t at all surprising given the strength of “Christian” patriarchy in the Bible Belt. A doctrine of female subordination to men naturally gives rise to a practice of female appeasement of males and male lust, power, and pleasure, with the early-childhood mastery of such considered an important endeavor, albeit one that flannel boards and VBS curricula haven’t yet been designed for.

But a Church truly devoted to the things of Christ, while perhaps elsewhere eschewing pageants, would nonetheless never incubate the silliness of “God’s Princess,” “Captivated,” and other evangelical Christian phenomena that juvenilize women but fill arenas, sell books and trinkets, and promote mincing coquettishness as a viable fruit of the Spirit. These fads, just a step removed from actual pageants, trivialize women’s experiences and limit their contributions, demonstrating to a distressing degree that the Lord’s people have embraced the value of primping and eyelash-batting for half of its members at the expense of modeling, recognizing, and encouraging Godly female strength in them. Christian women and girls have as their mothers in the faith Junia the apostle, Priscilla the teacher, Mary the God-bearer, Hulda and Anna the prophets, and Deborah the warrior-judge. I long for the day that vixens, doll-babies, painted ladies, and seductresses regain their places as women the Church dedicates itself to reaching for Christ and not as role models for the little ones He died for.

Do I Feel Better? No. How Could I?

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Ashwin, commenting in disgust about what he sees as my obsession with Wilson’s “Southern Slavery As It Was,” asks if I “feel better” now that I’ve gotten my hatred of the Bishop of Moscow’s defense of slavery out of my system.

In the purgative sense, I suppose I do — it’s extraordinarily hard to live silently among people who boast of their understanding of Scripture but use it to justify the unjust and unjustifiable. Silence from the Church in the face of such abuse and ignorance, and the puffery and vapidity behind it, could certainly be construed as assent. I don’t ever want to stand in front of my Savior and Lord trying to explain why I chose to not contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints — a faith that surely would consider manstealing, race-based enslavement, violence, and bigotry, as well as insipid attempts to justify them by God’s Word, antithetical to the Gospel promise of Galatians 3:28 and, indeed, the entirety of the New Testament. I truly believe Wilson’s take on slavery, race relations, and the “godliness” of the Confederacy to be toxic, and I wish that preaching against it removed it not only from my heart, but from ever finding rest in the heart of any disciple of Jesus anywhere in the world.

But while condemning the defense of that which is clearly condemned in Scripture — that is, manstealing, slave trading, and racial enslavement, as well as continued division and hierarchy along racial, cultural, gender, and economic lines — does satisfy the calling of God on my heart and soul, the ugliness of such vile lunacy never leaves me, and never leaves me feeling relieved, refreshed, or restored. Nor should it. I pray, and pray in earnest, that the Lord would take me the day before I ever become comfortable with sin and accommodate that which should never gain entrance into a Spirit-filled Church or a Spirit-filled woman. Surely a largely plagiarized attempt to placate racial supremacists, historical revisionists, and white “Sothren” patriarchs with the use of a few Bible verses ripped wholly out of context and used to excuse that which offends a just and holy God would qualify.

So no, Ashwin, I don’t “feel better.” I feel obedient. And I feel curious — I truly want to know what it is about the twisting of Scripture and the defense of Antebellum slavery that you find morally neutral, perhaps even acceptable? As a man of God, wouldn’t you want to condemn kidnapping, violence, rape, the destruction of family, and the manifold injustice of an entire economy built on the backs of men and women and children stolen, bought, and sold by “Christian” men? And wouldn’t you, unlike Wilson and his fellow Sothrens, neo- and paleo-Confederates, want to distance yourself, for the sake of the Gospel, from those who would use the Bible to defend these things?

I believe truth matters to you. Why, brother, do you fail to embrace it here? Are you so afraid to condemn another Christian that you willingly remain silent in the face of evil and its defense, using your voice not to condemn the practice or those who defend it, but to rail against a sister in Christ who, like many others, is sickened by the proliferation of that which is untrue and that which panders to sin in the name of devout exegesis of Scripture?

“And I confronted Peter to his face, because he was wrong . . . ” The Apostle Paul

Revisiting "Southern Slavery As It Was" — With Twinkies

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

While I’ve taken a much-needed break from Moscow’s online discussion forum, Vision 2020, I waded in once more to comment on free speech, historically valid work, and Doug Wilson and Steven Wilkins’ odious “Southern Slavery As It Was” booklet’s relevance to either. Most of my readers live far away from Moscow, and yet I imagine they’re familiar with Wilson and Wilkins’ mind-boggling analysis that slavery in the antebellum South was a “paradise” full of “simple pleasures” for the women, men, and children kidnapped and sold to white, purportedly Christian masters. Vision 2020 has been abuzz for the last couple of weeks as some readers have defended “Southern Slavery” not only under legitimate free-speech grounds, but also, perhaps, as a valid, legitimate contribution to American history.

The one making that point acknowledges that he hasn’t read the book, which explains why he’s confused on the historical accuracy and significance therein. What’s astonishing, though, is that so many people who HAVE read it find it at all worthwhile. That may become my primary example of why I believe we’re living in a fallen, sin-choked world.

The obscenity of having to argue this point in 2010 was made especially clear to me earlier this morning as I was talking to a dear friend of mine, a professor of English and Afro-Caribbean literature and Women’s Studies at the University of Arizona. Geta, a friend of mine since I was in her high school English class 36 years ago, has been teaching a class on African Slave Narratives. I reminded her that Moscow is home to a movement that, in its absurdly and ultimately unfaithfully wooden approach to the Bible, argues that race-based slavery was sanctioned, even blessed, by the Scriptures.

She remembered; it’s hard for a scholar to forget any contention that her African forefathers and foremothers enjoyed their kidnapping, transport, ownership, and brutality at the hands of patriarchal “Christian” masters.

And so I added on Vision, and include here, my analysis of this purportedly “Biblical” approach to history. “Southern Slavery As It Was” is to valid historical research as a Hostess Twinkie laced with rat poison is to classic French cuisine. Like a toxic Twinkie, it’s a dense brick of artificial content, sugar-coated to appeal to the basest of audiences and full of preservatives — appeals to “Southern culture,” Christian patriarchy, and wooden Biblical literalism — that guarantee a long shelf life. Like a Twinkie, “Southern Slavery As It Was” is offered as a valid, important contribution to the field it purports to be an example of — cuisine, American history — and it deserves nothing but contempt from any literate reader, much less established, trained historians. Wilson’s “research” and conclusions are as embarrassingly idiotic as West of Paris’ chef Francis Foucachon’s offering a Twinkie during his dessert course would be. Unfortunately, the chef would have to add poison to the plastic-wrapped Twinkie to complete the analogy, because the conclusions of Wilson’s booklet are utterly toxic in their effect on race relations, historical understanding, Biblical hermeneutics, and Christian social and cultural engagement.

A diet of nutritionally empty starch, sugar, and artificial fluff guarantees poor physical health — but its effect, at least, is contained within the junk food junkie. Unfortunately, followers of Wilson’s theology, history, and manner of cultural engagement willingly gorge themselves on the fluff and filth he offers and then begin other churches and other “ministries” devoted to Wilsonian ideas and ideals. That’s bad for those followers, a disgrace for the Church and its witness in the world, a horrific way of living in the culture around us, and a toxic blow to the “truth, goodness, and beauty” Wilson insists is the fruit of the Gospel.

He has every right to say what he says; I have every right to judge what he says to be insipid and vile. And if there’s a Truth who is our ultimate judge, as both Wilson and I believe, I would quake before Him if I persisted in using His Word to defend the utterly, despicably indefensible.

The Great Gift Of Christmas

Monday, December 13th, 2010

With my husband’s new business prospering, God be praised, through the change of seasons and my eldest son preparing to move to the Seattle area just after the holidays, it’s been a little busier than usual around Mix Manor, and I haven’t posted as much as I’d like to. But now that I’ve finished several important tasks and the semester is winding down for Anthony — such that the intangibility of breaking his mother’s heart has been replaced with the tangibility of finding an apartment and beginning his student teaching — I have a bit more free time. So more Prevailing Winds will be blowing your way as 2010 comes to an end, and 2011 should be downright blustery.

(And yes, I’m aware that my son isn’t responsible for my heartbreak. Still, if he weren’t such a wonderful, kind, brilliant kid, it would be a lot easier . . . )

Anyway, much of what’s been occupying my time lately, as I imagine is true for most of you, is Christmas stuff — buying gifts, organizing them in my designated “gift closet,” and preparing for our December 23 trip to Western Washington, where we’ll spend that night, designated long ago as “Christmas Adam,” decorating cookies, drinking wine, exchanging gifts, and watching the Singularly Authorized Version of Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” the 1952 film with Alistair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge. It promises to be a good time, if a bit hurried and frosting-filled.

But there is a background to all of this that I need to keep in mind, perhaps a little bit more this year than others, and one of the most elegant reminders I’ve read recently of the true meaning of the holiday is in a devotional compiled by Norman Shawchuck and Rueben Job, “A Guide To Prayer For All Who Seek God.”

“As we learn more about the created world, we understand the unknowability of a God who has authored a creation billions of light years in size and growing. Our minds cannot grasp the vastness, the energy, and the complexity of such a creation, let alone the Creator who brought it into existence. Were we left with just the creation and the sacred texts, we might feel that God is distant, uncaring, and unapproachable. When Jesus appears as revealer of this transcendent God, God becomes near, loving, and approachable . . . The enormous truth of Christmas rests in the revelation of God’s self to humankind. At last we can talk about God in terms we understand, in human terms.

Because of Jesus, we can make sense of our lives and understand more fully who we are and where we are going.” (Norman Shawchuck and Rueben Job, Upper Room Books, 2003)

“Because of Jesus.”

The enormity of those words, the profundity of the hope and truth expressed in Him, and the intimacy of promise brought by Jesus’ Incarnation is, apart from grace, far too much for me to comprehend. But by the Spirit, I can know, by knowing Him, who I am and where I’m going. This time of year, some of us begin to wonder if who we are is defined, however vaguely and vapidly, by the gifts we receive, the guests we entertain, and the goings-on of our December calendar. My prayer for all of us is that the gift of the Emmanuel is fully expressed, richly lived out, in the hearts of all who seek Him — not in the cheap imitation of tinsel-and-glitter, gift-wrapped stuff.

Some preach that “stuff,” material, tangible “stuff,” best announces this Hope made real, this flesh-and-blood Incarnation of God with us. It doesn’t. It’s the stuff, the things, the gifts and ornaments and fudge and hot buttered rum, that can masquerade as a celebration of Emmanuel by seemingly representing, in tangible form, the tangibility of God made human. But they become distractions — idols, perhaps, to some of us — and falter in their mission. The true herald of Christmas is a heart softened and turned toward God, and the true call for each of us is to plow through the stuff and hold tightly to the Son.

May each of you know, in Christ, who you are and where you’re going. I pray that every step of the journey is made with eyes wide open, focused not on the things around us, but simply, solely, on Him.

Gandhi’s Seven Deadly Social Sins

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Gandhi, who once remarked that he was dismayed that Christians are so unlike their Christ, seems nonetheless to understand the mind of God in his list of Seven Social Sins:

1. Politics Without Principle
2. Wealth Without Work
3. Commerce Without Morality
4. Pleasure Without Conscience
5. Education Without Character
6. Science Without Humanity
7. Worship Without Sacrifice

I wonder what Gandhi would say about the recent midterm elections, the maltreatment of migrant workers who pick the food that we eat, and the devastation Wall Street has unleashed on the middle class? How would he respond to the grotesque hedonism in popular culture, the “teaching to the test only” emphasis forced on public education, and the dangers of technology that redefines relationships, privacy, and community?

More than anything, I wonder if any of us can deny that Christ also discounts worship that focus more on the trappings of Christiandom than the teaching of Scripture: “You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? . . . If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness …”

Isaiah 58:4-5, 9-10

Forgiveness, Even If He’d Likely Do It Again In A Heartbeat

Saturday, December 4th, 2010

Before anything else, let me say that I still love him, I’m not angry, and I forgive him completely. I wish he could know that; I at least want you to.

Within the last month, I discovered that someone I know well — a member of my extended family — has stolen nearly $3,000 from me by fraudulently charging things to a credit card he took from my wallet while I was otherwise enjoying a late-autumn family reunion in Arkansas. As you can imagine, it feels like a punch in the gut; as you can also understand, I can’t compromise the card-issuing bank’s investigation, and so there’s not much more I can say here about the theft, fraud, and its resolution. The store he charged the things to has cleared the charges from my now-closed account, so I’m not responsible for them, thanks be to God.

And yet what hasn’t, in financial terms, cost me a penny has nonetheless cost me greatly, and it will cost him much, much more. I’ve got to deal with my feelings of grief over his betrayal; I’m even more stricken by the effect all of this will have on his mother and on my relationship to her. It’s not fair, but, in a sense, it’s a whole lot easier for him. The guy who rifled through my belongings, stole my card, and in my name bought five laptops at four different stores — let’s call him Buck — may or may not get caught, either by the police or by the bank that issued the store card, and if he is, he’ll either pay the store back, which likely will satisfy them, or he won’t, which could send him back for a third term in prison. Some form of justice, imperfect as it might be, will resolve this; if the store can get him to pay it back, they say they’ll consider it closed, and the police then will only be involved if I file a separate report. Because that could look vindictive, I’m not inclined to do that.

Still, “conflicted” doesn’t even begin to cover it.

I can’t think of more ladylike terms for “gut-wrenching” and “heart-rending,” “mind-numbing” and “fist-clenching.” I didn’t ask for this, it wasn’t what I thought would happen, even though I know Buck is a two-time felon and thief, and a reunion whose entire goal, in my heart, was to gently bring salt and light to family members I hadn’t seen for far too long is now tainted and bitter. Only the Lord Jesus can make it right, and only the Holy Spirit can guide me in how to reach out both to Buck and to his mother.

But this is where being a disciple of Christ shifts from the day-to-day ease of devotion and generally uncomplicated walk to the rocky, blistering, bruising discipleship sometimes required of us who have been called by his name. It’s not a punishment; I’ve not sinned in this, and even if I had, the Cross and the Resurrection have done away with the punishing wrath of my Savior. Christ has saved us from our own sins; this is an example of how he also, graciously, saves us from the toxic effects of the sins of others. Sometimes that redemption isn’t pretty. Most times, it’s just pretty grueling as we wrestle with what to do, how to feel, what’s right, what’s wrong, and how do we best respond as Jesus would — without allowing ourselves to be overcome by the flesh, that way of thinking that wants to kick his ass more than to save his soul. By grace, I’ve so far escaped that, but the swirl of questions within me and the deep desire I have to witness Christ in this is infinitely more difficult than the fact that my stuff was stolen.

This is a test, a pruning, a chastening, and an opportunity, a precious one, a discipline that could only come from having been the one Buck chose to victimize as he sinned against God, and God only. I imagine I’ll always have a zillion questions for Buck, and I pray — beg — for one more opportunity to present him with the Gospel. I’m not angry at him, as much as I wish it hadn’t happened, and as much as I dread the devastation of presumed betrayal that his mother will very likely blame me for by my having reported it to the card issuer. I feel only profound sadness that Buck has run so far from the Savior and is now cavorting so crudely on the rockiest and most treacherous of paths marked by drugs, violence, and larceny. He is far from Christ — but he’s not too far, and as long as he has breath in his body, he can still be reached by the arm of the One who lives, and died, to save.

And in the midst of the storm, in the unending swirl of uncertainty about how best to represent Christ in this and how best to honor my Biblical submission to the authorities, there is, and has been from the start, one thing that’s clear: I love Buck. I’m not angry, I forgive him, and I pray that he’ll turn and follow the Way of righteousness. What he did was horrible — it wasn’t just theft and fraud, but a violation of trust and an undertaking so heartbreakingly common to him that his insouciance, not the theft itself, has lodged in my heart as the focus of my grief. If I thought five stolen laptops, or my paying three grand for things I didn’t buy, would result in his salvation, I’d do it. But it wouldn’t matter. Buck doesn’t realize that there is One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills (and all of the laptops in the world) and who paid with his own precious blood to bring him what I never could — forgiveness of his sins, a heart clothed in righteousness.

So all I can do for this one I love is pray, and forgive, and forget any anger that threatens to seep in while remembering only the forgiveness I’ve received. In my entire life, I’ve stolen a Barbie doll dress and a pepper shaker from a pizza parlor; I was six and flush with envy the first time, 19 and flush with stupidity the second. I’m not a thief — but I am a sinner, and I know the rocky, treacherous path Buck is on because I’ve walked it myself. As have all of you — which is why I’m sharing this. I don’t “do forgiveness” perfectly, or even particularly well. But maybe that’s why Buck’s actions, known to the LORD, were allowed to happen to me. Perhaps this will encourage some of you — not to follow my example, which is a perennially second-best course of action, but to join me in following the example of the Ultimate Forgiver. Please pray for Buck — the LORD knows his name and who he is to me — and please pray for me.

Because sometimes opportunity doesn’t knock. Sometimes, it pours out the stuff in your purse, paws through your things, runs off to Office Depot, and goes on a frenzy fettered only by the limits of my credit line and not the limits of conscience. Still, it is an opportunity, a hard road of discipleship that I pray will lead me to cooperate ever more fully as the Spirit does his work to conform me more and more to the image of Christ within me . . . the hope of glory, unfailing and unrestrained.