Friday, September 30, 2011
Songbird posted another interesting FF. I can’t tell if she is nesting or about to pull up roots. But it gets me thinkin’...
I've got home on my mind: what it feels like, how we make it, what we carry from the past and how we separate other people's leftovers from objects that really reflect our identity. My family has had one home for the past 13 years, the longest I've ever lived anywhere. As the time when all the children are gone comes closer, I wonder where my next home will be?
So here are five questions about home.
My first home was in Chillicothe, IL outside of Peoria. So how it “plays in Peoria” is very interesting to me. I remember the house. My brother was there just this spring for his 60th high school reunion. He says the house is still there across from the old high school.
2) Do you ever dream about places you used to live?
I used to until I moved back to TX.
My mom. But not EVERY meal! I would love to talk to her again about things around Ft. Worth and how they have developed the way they did. I would love to talk to her about genealogy and what I have found out about the family. She couldn’t talk her last 3 years of her life and just to be able to talk with her would be a blessing.
My new office. A couple of revgals came last week and help me organize the office and now I have a place to work, think, pray, study, write and just putz.
‘Home’ was not necessarily a pleasant place growing up and I spent much of my life running away from it—claiming who I was despite what my home environment was like. It is ironic that I have returned to the place where I grew up and am enjoying it. There is something to be said about the kind of healing that has gone on in my life, psychological and spiritual. ‘Home’ now has to do less with objects—I have moved too many times in my life to center on ‘things’, but home has to do with ‘who’ is there. (J. is standing on the far left in the blue flowered jacket)
J’s cancer has made me think a lot about what happens when the “who” might not be there. And for the first time since I was a child, I have really known fear. It is an important thing to think about, fear, because it makes strange one’s whole approach to life. The only thing that seems to calm it is prayer and friends.
Ooooh I think I have a blog article coming on….
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Today was the first gathering my first Bible Study as a member of the staff of my new church. I have been attending this program-sized parish for about 9 months now. I have preached and celebrated and sung in the choir. But on Sunday, the rector ‘regularized’ my status by adopting me as an ‘assisting priest’.
It is a neat parish. It is one of the few fairly progressive parishes that was not tainted by the Iker regime. It is in the suburb of Ft. Worth where I started teaching back in the late sixties when I was an undergrad. One of the kids I had in school is now the Jr. Warden. When I taught there, it was a small spot on the road where the kids were often late to school because “the cows jumped the fence.” There was one school K-8 with 2 classrooms of each grade. Now the system has 23 elementary schools! And it is one of the fastest growing cities and tony school systems in all of TX.
But today I met with 8 very active and rather vocal and thirsty senior women who wanted to learn more about the Bible. Some of them feel as though they know NOTHING and even though they may have been Episcopalians their whole lives, they feel woefully out of touch with the source of their faith. Some were raised in other traditions but in ALL cases they felt that the Bible had been mediated to them and carefully interpreted to them by men.
One woman who had been the buyer for her parish book store in another conservative diocese said that the rector only allowed her to buy books from conservative authors. Another said, she quite frankly didn’t believe in a lot the ‘BS’ that she had been taught in sermons. And I was able to say, I didn’t either. And we all laughed.
The whole idea of women studying the Bible together has, I am sure, been going on for 2000 years—whether it was allowed or behind closed doors. Even Paul found it scary what happened when women found the source of their power in the life of Jesus. These women are ready to step into the scary world of being free in their faith. Watch out, Church!
Friday, September 16, 2011
Jan is making us use our thinking caps: I was struck in our weekly Lectio Divina group by a few verses from Psalm 105:3-4:
. . . let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.
Seek the Lord and his strength;
seek his presence continually.
Seeking is rejoicing. Rejoicing comes from the seeking, NOT the end of glory, heaven, enlightenment, or whatever. Seeking is the journey--RIGHT NOW!
So for this Friday Five, list what you are seeking, whether it is trivial, profound, or ordinary--whatever you would like to share! List 5 and add a bonus if you feel like it!
2. Activity: I am way too restless to sit at home in front of my computer everyday. Retirement can't be this boring! I am starting to teach a bible study in my parish on Wednesdays so that will get me out of the house. The diocesan properties are still hung up in court so I don't know when I will have a parish again. It has been too hot to walk until yesterday. Today it is cool again too. Perhaps I can get out and walk a bit this morning. Now I understand what my mother said when my dad retired: "I married him for better and for worse, but not for lunch!"
5. A good recipe for Beef Bourguignon: I have a couple of recipes that require lard or other such vein clogging ingredients. Anybody out there got one?
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Things have been rather hectic around our house this past weekend. I had planned to write something on the anniversary of the 9/11 attack but J. cut her hands rather badly on Friday and I have been playing step n’ fetchit ever since. But I did see several good reflection pieces on the anniversary, not the least was a PBS piece on faith following 9/11—a rather pessimistic approach, I am afraid.
I was in California 10 years ago. I had just resigned my parish when it was clear that the Daddy Warbucks of the parish and the bishop were in cahoots to get me out of the parish. I had done what I was asked to do—start an Hispanic mission in the parish. And it had been so successful that it began to scare the wealthy Anglos in that parish. They felt that they were going to get swallowed up by the Mexicans that worked in their fields. I was angry. I was fed up with the politics in church.
My mother called me at 6am to wake me to the events on TV. By that time the first plane had struck the first tower and we watched in horror as the second one flew into the other tower. She was afraid we were being attacked by some military power at first. The remembrances of Pearl Harbor were dancing in her head. And I had heard those stories since my childhood.
I had also lived in NY and Washington, DC and was anxious about friends who I knew worked at the Pentagon or in the World Trade Buildings. I wanted to gather ‘my people’ for prayer, but I no longer had the keys to the parish. The local ministerium did gather for prayer in the largest Roman Catholic Church in town and it did get a standing room crowd. One of the prominent RC lay leaders had a son at the Pentagon that day. The son had been called to the other side of the building to advise the Chief of Staff when the third plane hit the building. His office and his co-workers were all wiped out but the son was able to call his father and tell him he was safe. We prayed in fear, in sorrow and in gratitude that day.
Later that week after the flight lockdown was lifted; I flew to TX to visit my family. I talked to flight attendants who had lost co-workers on the flights. J. had been a priest in Syracuse when the sabotage of the Pan-Am flight over Lockerbee, Scotland and there had been many Syracuse University students on that flight. I was beginning to understand deeply how precarious life is in a world that resorts to terrorism. I was being touched by events happening 3,000 miles away in ways that I had not experienced before.
And perhaps that IS what happened –Americans began to be touched by what had happened in other parts of the world. We could no longer be naïve about what happens in other parts of the globe. The poverty and the ubiquitous message of American idealism are explosive ingredients. And add to that religious piety and nationalistic jingoism, it is not surprising that we were targeted as the ‘evil empire.’
The kind of nihilism that Al-Qaida represented has been represented at other times in history. The assassination of Grand Duke Ferdinand that precipitated WWI did not have as many victims initially but certainly fanned a war that garnered many more. There was a whole series of bombings in 1848 which shook Europe. And I can’t help but be mindful of the fiery sermons of Bernard of Clairveaux that stirred the hearts of Europe to the folly of the Crusades.
I do not believe in ‘just wars’. I do not believe that there is justice in killing others to get what we want. I do however know that sometimes, despite our faith, we must fight to defend ourselves. It is something that no matter who is ‘right’ and who is ‘wrong’, when we resort to violence, we fail in what it means to follow Christ. That said, there are times when we must participate in war –survival is more important. But afterward there must be a place/time where we find a way to be reconciled.
In February of 2001 I flew to NYC and was seated next to a man who was obviously Middle Eastern. We began to chat. I asked him if he had any problems getting through security. He said no. Even though he was Iranian, he had an Indian passport. His family was Zoroastrians not Muslim and had left Iran when he was young. I became aware of how little I knew of the Middle East—the diversity of cultures that are there. I am still ignorant of the history of the antipathy between Shia and Sunni; I cannot comprehend the fierceness of the partisanship there. But I can only be reminded of the idiocy of the Thirty Years’ War between Catholics and Protestants in the 17th century. History does help in moderating opinion.
But I do believe that the 2nd Iraqi war was wrong. It was an emotional response to an emotional event. There was too much vengeance on the part of the US and it reminded me of the bullyboy who is just out for a fight and can't figure out where to apply his wrath. And the entrance into Afghanistan has never made much sense to me.
But we have been touched by the world like we have never been. We cannot resort to isolationism anymore. We cannot close our boarders anymore than Europe can. We cannot say “it isn’t our fight” anymore. There must be some balance between the haves and have-nots to keep from having this kind of ‘touch’ be epidemic and we will find ourselves battling from caves again.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Revkjarla posted this for the FF:
I don't know about you, but I am a notoriously messy creative worker. My workspace at home, and at my office is always littered with books and papers and mail and pens and keys and mugs....and tschotske (momentos, weird things, etc.) I am looking right now at a pair of dice that someone gave me that have "God" on each side, so that anyway you roll 'em, you end up with God. Different, right?
So, this Friday Five is all about YOUR tschotske in your workplace. Describe five things in/on your workspace (however you define workspace--I tend to spill over onto bedside tables, end tables, coffee tables...create wherever I land) that are special to you! Bonus points for pictures!
My workspace is now my recliner. The office hasn’t been set up yet. We have only been here a year! And after a lifetime of ministry, I have so many tschotskes that I am not sure I have much of substance. I am waiting for my new parish to have a rummage sale! But now I am going to just name the momentoes of that life in ministry that I can see from my recliner.
Tschotskes are not so much stuff to dust; they are mementoes of your life. They are like the cross or rings or even sacraments laden with people and events that make our lives rich. Revkjarla, don’t worry about having a messy desk. Your desk reminds you of people and friends and your ability to be flexible when necessary.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Secondly, I now know that I am dyslexic enough that I would have been put in learning disabled classes now--and probably still considered dumb. I learned differently from the way they taught. I am a kinesthetic learner--I learn by doing rather than by hearing. It is why I excelled in music because I enjoyed practicing. I love to do research now that we have computers. I am not one for sitting and reading ancient tomes in dusty libraries. I get very antsy in libraries. And I am allergic to either the dust in dusty libraries or to the library past of past years.
As an ENFP I am one of those intuitive persons who doesn't know how I know stuff but I know it. This is one of the most common personality types for clergy. We are only 10% of the population. One wag said that on any given Sunday that folks like us are preaching what we don't know how we know to 90% of the population who does know how they know stuff. No wonder the Christian message has had such a difficult time being understood!
I also speak and explain things by allegory (it is why I preach well) rather than repeating facts. But it does not serve when trying to do academic work. It has surprised me that I have gotten so much enjoyment about writing in the past 10 years.
But most of all, I do so enjoy those whom I have met on the various chats I have been a part of over the past almost 20 years I have been on line. I am still not too tech saavy. I have never learned techy language and so I still have difficulty telling the geek fix-it guy what is wrong with my computer. I just know that it is sick and needs some help--it doesn't work right. J's computer isn't much better. It is flinchy. But it also has Windows 7 rather than Vista which is on mine.
It is interesting how much of my life has been determined by how others thought I should learn-- even while I was doing doctoral work. I wonder if education means learning how to learn the way others learn in order to prove to others that I have learned rather than educators reaching into me and finding out how I know what I know. Just sayin'...
Friday, September 2, 2011
http://alantperry.blogspot.com/2011/08/why-i-oppose-anglican-covenant.html for this study. Alan is a canon of the cathedral in Montreal and is a canonist. He looks at the proposed canon in the light of not only Canadian polity but also of many of the different aspects that are raised by the wording of the AC.
Kathrynzj has posted a fall Friday Five:
Headquarters for me is the northeast of the United States. Here school is getting back in session, the tease of autumn is in the air (or the hope for the tease of autumn is in the air) and church life is gearing up to full throttle.
One thing I've learned with blogging and social media is that the where I live is not necessarily where you live. And so I want to know what September means to you, in your place of the world and time in your life.
This week's Friday Five is:
What are 5 things that the beginning of September mean to you?
Bonus: What's one thing you could do without?
Kathrynzj has posed a fall FF. But we are far from the fall I knew when I lived up north. And I am far from Texanized in my interior calendar so this is going to be more of a Yankee version than where I am living now. Also note that my left shift key is not working so if all the letters that should be capitalized aren’t…well, tough. The laptop goes to the fix-it shop this afternoon.
Bonus: Heat—did I mention that it is freakin’ hot down here?