Friday, March 30, 2007

Idée d’jour

A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill.
— Robert A. Heinlein, science-fiction author (1907-1988)
Best known for his novel Stranger in a Strange Land. Heinlein was a Libertarian; some of his contemporaries characterized him as a radical conservative (the people in question did not intend this as a complement).

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Idée d’jour

Better to meet a she-bear robbed of its cubs than to confront a fool immersed in folly.
— Proverbs

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Idée d’jour

If you have no feelings about worldly things, they are all Buddhism. If you have feelings about Buddhism, it is a worldly thing.
— Zen Saying
St. Paul couldn't have said it better!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

1B1 B Gone

I worked with Sheila for about 2 1/2 months in 2000. It was a wonderful working relationship. She respected my opinion, honored my creativity, and was good company besides.

Sheila was recently diagnosed with cervical cancer. She has been undergoing chemo as well as radiation. She's about half-way through the chemo treatments, and has 13 radiation treatments left.

Rob, who works in her office, created the slogan "1B1 B Gone". Purple plastic bracelets have been made; I wear one.

Her assistant, Rita, organized a meeting of the people praying and caring and sending Sheila positive vibes. We met at a church around the corner from Sheila's house. There were about 55 of us. I knew a few, and struck up conversations with new friends.

This was good.

We walked to Sheila's house. She was surprised. You can see us here. I'm the tummy at the far right.

Sheila seemed glad to see me. She thanked me for posting positive notes on her blog. She had good color, and good spirits.

I have confidence she will beat this foe!

Idée d’jour

Although the wind
blows terribly here,
the moonlight also
leaks through the holes
in the roof
of this ruined house.
— Shibiku

Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday Five: Rivers in the Desert

This week's theme is suggested by Songbird, who writes:
As we near the end of the long journey toward Easter, a busy time for pastors and layfolk alike, I ponder the words of Isaiah and the relief and refreshment of a river in the desert.

For this Friday Five, name five practices, activities, people or _____ (feel free to fill in something I may be forgetting) that for you are rivers in the desert.
  1. Music. I've programmed a pair of play lists on my iPod, Ambient and Ambient – Night. Each consists primarily of music without lyrics, so I can listen while I work. To date, my employer has not complained, and I'm very grateful I have the choice to listen to music through the day.
       In any list of things I could not live without, music would be number one. It is the foundation of my spirituality.
       There are times, primarily when I've tranquilized my ego, when singing really does become a form of prayer. "The who sings, prays twice," to paraphrase St. Augustine.

  2. My feline companion. There's no comfort quite like her small warm furry body curled up on my lap. The rumble of her purr soothes me, and is somehow reassuring.

  3. A good book. A weekend afternoon spent sitting in my recliner with a book (I'm currently reading Gary Wills' What Paul Meant) is time well spent.

  4. I wonder about "relief and refreshment". Some activities are relaxing, but are the spiritual equivalent of empty calories. I am thinking, of course, of TV. TV can give my mind a break, and is often a relief. But does it refresh, as Living Waters? Does it make my soul sing?
       Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Seems to me, much depends on the mindfulness I bring to it. Most art has a spiritual message - even drek like Two and a Half Men. It may not be a positive message, mind you, but it can be found.
       And discerning that message can be a fun game to play. Or, it can be a bit of work.
       So: TV is relaxing, and can offer temporary relief. Proper selection programming, or proper attitude, increases the possibility of refreshment.

  5. Now and again, I can sit quietly and reflect on my breath. This happens most often Sunday mornings at church, as I empty myself prior to the service. The process is pure gift.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Idée d’jour

To draw, you must close your eyes and sing.
— Pablo Picasso (by way of the Mutts website)

The Episcopal Bishops' Proclamation

We proclaim the Gospel of what God has done and is doing in Christ,
of the dignity of every human being, and of justice, compassion, and peace.

We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ there is no Jew or Greek, no male or female, no slave or free.

We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including women,
are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church.

We proclaim the Gospel that in Christ all God's children, including gay and lesbian persons,
are full and equal participants in the life of Christ's Church.

We proclaim the Gospel that stands against any violence,
including violence done to women and children
as well as those who are persecuted because of their differences,
often in the name of God.

We proclaim a Gospel that welcomes diversity of thought
and encourages free and open theological debate
as a way of seeking God's truth.

If that means that others reject us and communion with us,
as some have already done,
we must with great regret and sorrow accept their decision.

The House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church, March 20, 2007

As formatted by The Rt. Rev. Dr. Omed. Who, by the way, wishes you an equitable equinox.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

I Lost Your Mirror

Will we ever meet?
Or have I sculpted your image
from Morphean sand?
Yes, I built you from chance unfinished tales.
Yes, you built me from hints and visions.
Let us melt the mirror
and meet among our refracted reflections.
Spirited winds ride
the tightly woven strands
of your long dark hair.

I have seen death walk the old café.
She wears my mother's pale mask.
Her hair was once black, but is now all grey.
She is dark star hunger.
She is infinite need.
She is intimate chasm, intricate cataclysm.
Her porcelain mask has yellowed.
Her legs are gangrene trunks.
Her hands have wounds for fingers.

That is not your reflection.
This death mask is the sentinel I pass
to bring you from the mirror's mercury side.
Mercury melts the dust.
Your hand grows through the glass.
The protector stands to one side.
The sentinel has forgotten her false name.
Your face draws near to mine.
Our tale begins, again.
We return from the forgotten country,
being sure
not to turn our gazes back.

after seeing Cocteau's "Orphee"

Idée d’jour

Nothing will work unless you do.
— maya Angelou

Monday, March 19, 2007

Prayer for Today

Maya Stein's latest poem is worth reading, and praying. It begins:
if ever there was a time for laughter
let it be now
this perfect hour
this infinite instant
let us laugh at the world around us
whichever undying part remains
not verging on the lip [of] annihilation,
poised for the eternal forgetting.
Read the rest here.

Ms. Stein posts something once a week, generally poetry. I commend it to your attention. The link for One Paragraph at a Time is on your left under "Sites to See".

Don't Resign, Bertie

At my last count, three Republicans had joined a number of Democrats in asking Alberto Gonzalez to resign as U.S. Attorney General. And surface appearances would seem to indicate that it would be proper for him to do so. The whole business stinks.

If, however, this scandal concerning the firing of seven Federal Prosecutors around the country teaches us anything, it is that the B*sh administration values loyalty above competence. In fact, recent history ("Doin' a heck of a job!") suggests that B*sh values incompetence most of all.

Maybe he hopes he will look good by comparison.

The point is, the next appointee is not likely to be any better than Bertie.

By the way, I'm just guessing what mildly embarrassing frat-boy nick-name B*sh has given Mr. Gonzalez. For all I know, it might be "Taco."

This is the president, after all, who nominated Harriet Miers for the Supreme Court. The same woman who originally suggested the U.S. Attorney General office fire all 93 Federal Prosecutors around the country. I shudder to think who he would put up for nomination if Mr. Gonzalez did resign.

If Mr. B*sh were smart, he would nominate Robert Fitzgerald. Let it never be said that I accused Mr. B*sh of being smart.

There's another reason that Democrats should oppose Mr. Gonzalez' resignation, and the Republicans should favor it: the longer he is in office, the more protracted the scandal will be. The more information will be released as headline news.

There is still about 30% of the American public, some polls tell us, who think Mr. B*sh is doing a "heck of a job". These people were not convinced of the Administration's incompetence after the post-Katrina disaster. These people have not been convinced, even after the Pentagon admitted that U.S. troops are effectively shooting gallery pigeons between the sides of a Civil War. These last rosy-eyed hold-outs may require something more than a 2x4 to the side of the head.

There is at least a slight possibility that daily headlines will finally persuade them. There is some small hope that a few of those 30% are more intelligent than the man they admire.

This is not just a B*sh thing. It is endemic of how Republicans have done business since the Lewinski fandango. Any means necessary to maintain power. Not only do the ends justify the means, they prefer the dirtiest means possible. Perhaps, as some of them moan, the Democrats have done the same thing. Republicans, however, have perfected it.

With just a little effort, the Democrats can make Alberto Gonzalez and George II poster boys for Republican malfeasance and hubris.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Here I am in full-on photog mode. Got my snap-brim cap turned backwards. Concentrating on catching the shot under challenging circumstances. Picture taken in a reflective column at the east edge of Leadership Square in downtown OKC.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Friday Five: Whatcha Doin'?

This week's theme suggested by Reverend Mother, who has to work on a day she normally observes as Sabbath. She writes: "Name five things you plan to do today. Bonus: If today is about 'have-to' for you as well, share up to five things you'd like to be doing today."

But first, a comment on "Sabbath". The Jewish Sabbath begins at sundown on Friday. Most Christians claim to observe Sabbath on Sunday. Since clergy work on Sunday, they have to choose another day. We often confuse Sabbath with the notion of "a day off" but it's more than that.

True Sabbath means no labor, whatsoever. Especially observant Jews don't drive on the Sabbath. The Torah tells us not even to drive oxen on the Sabbath - even the beasts of the field get a day of rest.

Taken that seriously, few of us really observe Sunday as a Sabbath. We run errands. We attend committee meetings. Sometimes our search for relaxation can seem almost as desperate as our time during the work-week.

A review of RevGal blogs suggest that people in many congregations resent the time their minister takes off. People can get awfully persnickety about that one day a week (often Monday or Friday). People get testy about a minister taking vacation. And heaven forbid that a minister take an extended sabbatical!

The notion seems to be that the minister is super-human, and is capable of being on call 24/7, 365 days a year. This notion has been applied as much to male ministers as it has to women.

Ministers are human. There may be a slightly higher standard - which is why sex abuse scandals shock us so - but ordained folk need their rest just as much as I do. In this regard, at least, the standard should be applied equally.

End of sermon. On to the business at hand.

I am not an ordained person. My "sabbath" is - nominally, at least - Sunday. This Sunday, of course, I have a task scheduled (to walk for Peace). But today, as I write this, I am at work. Here's my plans for the next few days:
  1. Play my guitar. Not associated with the Peace Walk. I'll be part of the chorus, and playing harmonica, for that event. No, I just want to play.

  2. Watch Ragtime. I now own a copy of this movie, and plan to watch it this evening. I remember I made a point of reading the novel (by E.L. Doctorow) before seeing the movie the first time, and was thoroughly disappointed. However, the movie has grown on me over time (probably as I've forgotten favored details from the novel). The movie has the distinction of featuring Jimmy Cagney in his last role - and he does a fine job, too.

  3. Saturday is up in the air. I've committed to edit a presentation of a First Century Eucharist. Basically, as I understand it, I'm supposed to paste the best bits from two existing scripts (both based on the best scholarship available to their separate authors). I may add a piece of my own - Gary Wills' translation of the words of institution: "... the Lord Jesus, on the night before he was betrayed, took bread, and, after blessing it, broke it and said: 'This is my body, which is for you. Do the same to keep the memory of me.'" (Wills' translation of I Cor. 11-23-26, from his book What Paul Meant, pg 46-47).
       I may also go to the peace rally Saturday morning, but that will depend entirely on what time I get up and where I'm at in working on that script.
       Time, money, and energy permitting, I may also take myself to the dollar movie. Otherwise, I may just content myself with checking a movie out from the library. The lastest version of Pride and Prejudice, with Keira Knightley looks appealing.

  4. Would you believe I consider reading books like What Paul Meant fun? I'll probably read at least a chapter at lunch today. Quite possible I'll read more over the weekend. It's due to the library by next Friday.

  5. "Let's go surfing now...." When in doubt, surf the Internet. Failing that, take a nap with my favorite feline.

Idée d’jour

Over the old wooden bridge
   no traveler
— Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Oklahoma City Peace Events

Sat.Mar.17  - Rally for Peace: State Capitol
Sun.Mar.18  - Spiritual Walk for Peace: Diocesan Episcopal Center

Aligning with the National March on the Pentagon, Washington, DC
State Capitol: South Plaza
10:30 a.m. Gathering Music and Drumming
11 a.m. Speaking:  Rev.Dr.Robin Meyers, Sen. Connie Johnson, Rep Al McAffrey, Col.Katherine Scheirman,MD,USAF(ret), Iraq Vet Brandon Johnson, Gold Star Parents Kay & Warren Henthorn, and Others

Episcopal Center, NW 9th & Robinson, Okla.City
"Is this the time to say NO to more war?"
People of all faiths are invited to gather for a silent walk around the Murrah National Memorial to mark the date of the US invasion of Iraq four years ago. We call our leaders to begin withdrawal of US forces from Iraq, toward peace.

1:30 pm: Music by Mary Reynolds, Louise Goldberg, Elyse Angelo, Terry "Buffalo" Ware, and others (including your correspondent).
2:00 pm: Invocation, Speakers, Silent walk, Pause at Jesus Wept statue, return to Episcopal Center.
Speakers include the Very Rev. George Back, Rev.Dr.Robin Meyers, State Senator Connie Johnson, others.

More information at the Oklahoma Peacehouse website.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Emotional Composite

Composite 07Mar10

Reading right to left:
Happy, Joyous, Ecstatic, Elated
(Props to Gary Larson)

Post #1830

Haiku: Dogwood

Jonquils trumpet spring —
where gray grass once burned
snow petals now kneel
Cross-post from Jonah 365

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dr Omed Believes in Fred

Another make-good from the Friday Five. Here's the opening paragraph of Dr. Omed's essay:
I believe in Fred. Who, or what, you may ask, is Fred? Fred is the term my friend Kathy uses for her (unconscious) mind. I appropriated the name and apply a wider meaning: Fred is the personal representative, so to speak, of the collective unconscious in all of us. Fred is the psychopomp, a liminal guide, in many guises, of the soul to the underworld, the shadow you cast into the collective. Fred is transitive, that is to say, he gets around a lot. Fred is different for each of us, and he appears to each of us in many forms. Polymorphous perverse, that's Fred.
Read the rest at the "This I Believe" site, and judge for yourself whether "Fred" is all that similar to Carl Jung's theory of the Collective Unconscious.

Brother Dave Believes

In discussing "Matters of Taste" in the most recent "Friday Five", I make a statement regarding Brother Dave's beliefs. My statement was actually founded on a supposition (that Dave was an atheist) based on anti-religious comments Brother Dave has made over the years.

I should have known better; being anti-religious, or opposed to established religion, does not necessarily mean a person is an atheist.

Brother Dave posted an extended comment elucidating his views. It is so clear and well-written, I believe it deserves to be moved "up front":
I do, in fact, think (rather than believe) there is a non-material aspect to the world. I do not worship this aspect, do not build monuments to it and certainly do not advocate massive institutions with ordained orthodoxy, rituals and authoritarian structures.

It is my sense that this thing we call "life" is a state of nature akin to matter or energy. Just as physicists are coming to suspect a sort of "connectedness" across space/time of matter and energy, I think it reasonable to posit such a connection of this thing called life. Such is the non-material aspect of life I think may well exist. Respect is due to that aspect, as it may serve to bind life across the universe (whatever that may actually be).

To hold this view, I long ago rejected the notion of the uniqueness of homo sapiens. Certainly our species has unique characteristics, we tend to suggest self awareness as among these, though how we would know if a horse is self aware or not eludes me. But those unique characteristics do not constitute a "specialness" that is posited in most of the belief systems that rely on a uniquely human deity of some variety.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Elevator Moment

— It's a beautiful day.
"Yes, it is," she said.
— I'm even warm,
in this black costume.
"You look good in it."
We traded names.
The doors opened
and we parted.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Memory suggests this picture was taken in the fall of 1984. All I can say for certain is, the picture was taken sometime shortly after I had acknowledged that I was an alcoholic. The date I've written down for that momentous date is Sept. 22, 1984.

This picture has a companion, posted at Jonah 365. That picture was taken yesterday, Saturday, March 10, 2007.

I remember I had gone to visit Andrea. I think it was Andrea. I know her husband who took this picture, but it seems like they were divorced by the time this was taken.

I'm going to remember the details after 20 years?

Actually, the picture was taken at Andrea's mother's house. It was on the west side of Norman. The good side of town.

I look happy. Compare it to the picture I took Saturday, I which I look very serious. I tend to look serious when I'm posing for myself. I'm focused on beating the timer to my chair. I'm focused on being posed just so before the camera triggers. So, the seriousness you see in that new picture may be misleading.

That's all I'm saying.

I don't remember the details of this day, but I remember feelings of the time. I was wound up. Tight as a cheap watch. I was wired for sound, as I like to say. Not that I needed a drink, per se, but I did have to reassess my identity as a person who did not drink.

And Larry asked me if he could take my picture. At the time, I didn't like to have my picture taken. So, I was nervous about that, too.

That's not necessarily happiness you see. I think it's a nervous smile.

I think I'm better centered now. I am walking a contented road. I walk the beauty path.

Not counting communion wine and the occasional O'Doule's, I haven't had a drink since that Sept in 1984. Not bragging. I have other bad habits; the difference being the other bad habits are not self-destructive.

I walk a sober path. Yet I also dance. I dance for sorrow, cry for joy. I breath cleansing air.

I know about resurrection. It's not much. Can't brag about that, either. I wasn't near death. I wasn't sticking needles in my arms. I had long before quit speed, and had stopped dropping acid. I hadn't smoked "wacky tobaccy" in a long, long time.

I drank to get drunk, is all. Even when I swore it would be only one, it turned into five. I passed out at parties. Nan still remembers the evening I wrapped around the large wooden spool - the kind used for heavy cables, then as post-hippie furniture - and feel asleep. Well, I was tired; the party was boring; I went to sleep.

I didn't die. I had a job that got the rent in on time. I had a room full of books and records. I had friends, and I had the proper proportion of spiritual hunger.

The last time I drank was at a church function. The college group at church. It was cheap box wine. I didn't get drunk. I didn't act inappropriately. I only had the one plastic faux stem-ware glass. I may not have even finished it.

Thing is, I had promised myself I wouldn't drink that night. I didn't even care for cheap box wine. May have been a sweet wine, which I don't like. But I still drank. I can't remember why.

Somehow, all it took to convince me I had a problem was an unfinished glass of cheap wine.

Yes, I didn't die. But I can truthfully divide my life into "before" and "after". But, isn't that a kind of resurrection. Can I say, as John Newton once did, "I once was lost, but now I'm found"?

Yes, I can. The path on this side of before/after is the better path. It is the healthier path.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Idée d’jour

Your soul isn't in your body; your body is in your soul!
— Alan Watts

Friday, March 09, 2007

Friday Five: Matters of Taste

This week's theme suggested by Songbird, who writes, "Name five things you like a lot that some close relative or significant other did/does not like. This could be food, movies, hobbies, music, sports or whatever springs to mind."
  1. The first thing that springs to mind is a "Higher Power." I believe in a transpersonal existence beyond full human understanding which I choose to call God. Brother Dave and Dr. Omed claim not to believe in anything beyond that which can be delineated by the "senses five".
       That being said, sometime back Dr. Omed wrote an essay intended for NPR's "I Believe" series titled "I Believe Fred". I can't find the link at the moment, but as I recall, Dr. Omed's definition of "Fred " bears a remarkable similarity to Carl Jung's theory of the Collective Unconscious. Given my interpretation reflects my own prejudices, it seems to me the difference between "Fred", "the Collective Unconscious", and "God" is only in minor details (such as the preferred name).

  2. Elsie, one time girlfriend, did not like raisins. I love 'em. Her dislike for raisins was so intense that she would pick them out of her cereal.
       Long-time readers may remember Elsie, who is a Methodist minister. She is currently a school chaplain in Tahlequah, and is reportedly very content in that placement.

  3. Bob, frequent lunch companion, is a Civil War re-enactor. Not my idea of fun.

  4. I like beer. Nancy did not like beer - she could not imagine anyone would like the taste. She believed the primary reason people drank beer was for the buzz.
       I now drink "non-alcoholic" beer (0.5% alcohol). It tastes as I remember beer tasting - it having been over 20 years since I've drunk even 3.2 beer. I know many recovering alcoholics would say I'm cheating, or playing with fire. I recognize the risk, but have yet to experience a problem associated with drinking one or two NA beers a week.

  5. Jim, occasional music partner, loves opera. I have yet to develop a taste for it - although I do enjoy the occasional cantata. In fact, I hope to burn a copy of Bach's Coffee Cantata sometime in the near future.

Idée d’jour

History is a vast early warning system.
— Norman Cousins, editor and author (1915-1990)
Which some, sadly, choose to ignore.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Into the Labyrinth

Two different labyrinths were at the Cathedral this week. The first, which was at the church this past Sunday, had been borrowed from St. Dunstan's, and was as large as our parish hall. The second had been borrowed from a Methodist church in Norman, and was about a fourth the size as the first. The second was at the church last night.

I didn't walk the larger labyrinth on Sunday; just didn't feel like I could fit it in, what with my journey to Tulsa (see Jonah 365). Once I saw the smaller labyrinth last night, I knew I wanted to make a special effort to walk it.

During Lent, the Cathedral has regular Wednesday programs: Evening Prayer, followed by a light meal, a brief (~15 minute) presentation, then break-out "learning opportunities" or small groups. The presentation last night was on labyrinths. Christina, who had made the arrangements for the loans, showed images of labyrinths dating back prior to the Common Era. Something I didn't know until last night – even southwestern Native Americans had labyrinths.

Most of Christina's presentation focused on the labyrinth at Chartres, which is one of the best known. One tidbit I had not previously known was that the equally famous Rose Window was coordinated with the labyrinth in such a way that light from the window would shine on the center of the labyrinth (which is also a type of rose).

Both labyrinths which had visited the Cathedral were patterned on the Chartres labyrinth; I believe the first one had as many courses, or circuits, as Chartres (12). The second had seven courses. A course, incidentally, is the number of circles from the center (counting the exterior).

I went straight from dinner to the location of the labyrinth. I was the third or fourth person to arrive. I chose to wait until those people had gotten a ways into the labyrinth before I entered. As it turns out, I was the last adult to enter, and the last one to exit.

I stood with Christina for a few minutes watching a group of four or five walk the labyrith. It looked like a Renaissance dance, or a Mideval clock. There was something calming and meditative about just watching people walk the courses.

Christina had brought an Anonymous 4 CD which played as people walked the labyrinth. This heightened the prayerful atmosphere.

In time, I too entered the labyrinth. Within moments, I noticed something new: within a few feet of the entrance, one is immediately brought to the center. In other words, the path from the entrance goes directly towards the center. It would have taken a single stride for me to go straight from the path into the center – I would have stepped over only one wall.

This seemed to me a metaphor for what St. Paul calls "baby Christians". These are people new to the faith, full of the enthusiasm of newly discovered love and freedom. It's common, during this time, to think one has "arrived".

Yet, if one maturely continues walking the path, and does not get stuck in that first romantic blush, one quickly discovers s/he is far from the center. In time, one will come close to the center again, only to wander far from it. It is a sort of pond-ripple, which reflects not only our faith journey, but our life journey.

As if to prevent me from getting all high and holy, there were still plenty of worldly distractions. One could hear the children's choir, which was downstairs, drumming. The soda machine was just around the corner from the labyrinth, and I could hear money and cans dropping.

Of particular interest were the two pre-teen boys who were as drawn to the labyrinth as bees to a rose. They saw the paths as a course to be run, like a race. Yet, though they sped through the labyrinth with the energy of youth and typical male enthusiasm, they made a point to bow to me each time we passed on the path. One boy stopped to quickly say the Lord's Prayer each time he reached the center.

It seemed to me that those boys were going slow, in relation to their normal pace. It's all relative, y'know?

I completed the labyrinth shortly before the children's choir was dismissed. Once they were, the whole group flocked to the labyrinth and transversed it in their own unique ways. Two children sat at the center, with first finger touching thumb - a classic meditative pose.

Mother Susan reflected how her three year old granddaughter danced the labyrinth, the last time it had been at our Cathedral.

What a marvelous image!

May I have the grace to dance through life. May I have the grace to walk my life-path with the same equanimity and peace I found in the labyrinth last night.

May the Lord of Life, the Prince of Peace, hear my prayer. May it be granted to all pilgrims.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Idée d’jour

Humanity, take a good look at yourself. Inside, you've got heaven and earth, and all of creation. You're a world – everything is hidden in you.
— Hildegard of Bingen

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Libby Falls Toward Sword

The big news of the day, of course, is that the wrong man was convicted of the wrong crime.

Well, no doubt Libby lied. And, sure, perjury should be punished. But it's such small potatoes compared to the bigger crime committed.

However, Libby should have been convicted of revealing the identity of a CIA agent. That is a federal offense.

The man who really should have stood trial, IMHO, was the shadow master with the bum ticker. The man who declared Joe Wilson and his wife persona non grata from the moment Mr. Wilson published an editorial that revealed the American people were being sold a bill of goods regarding Nigerian yellow cake.

Again, revealing a CIA agent's identity is a federal offense. Don't matter if you're the VP or his aide. Doesn't matter if you revealed the identity under orders, of if you're the one issuing the orders. It's called a conspiracy.

Republicans didn't invent conspiracies. They have perfected them, from the time of N*x*n to the present.

Send the guy with the bum ticker to the slammer. Send his boss, who is guilty of aiding and abetting the enemy, to Gitmo.

Do it for our brave military heroes! Do it for freedom! Do it for democracy!

Do it because they deserve to reap what they've sown - whole out-houses full.
Commenter "C", below, questions the phrase "whole out-houses full". Think about what is in an out-house. Consider how this phrase may be more appropriate for general viewing than the more common phrase referring to buckets.

The Words

This past Saturday, I bought Rickie Lee Jones' latest album, the sermon on exposition boulevard. The lyrics are based on a project begun by Lee Cantelon, to present the words of Jesus in modern rendering. According to this article, Ms. Jones improvised the lyrics after reading a portion of the text.

All I know is, the hairs stood up on the back of my neck the first time I heard the opening track, "Nobody Knows My Name."

The Words is available on-line at The Words. This is not only a modern rendering, the text is arranged thematically. The first chapter, The Problem of Religion, is striking - especially when the words echo what I'm reading/hearing in other sources (e.g., Gary Wills' What Jesus Meant, the Intelligence Square debate, "Is America Too Damn Religious").


Friday, March 02, 2007

Friday Five: Artsy Crafty

Suggested by Reverend Mother, who says, "[Our church is] working on the notion that everything we do can be considered a beautiful thing — a creative offering to God — whether it's gardening or scrapbooking or accounting or sorting clothes at the clothes closet or child-rearing."
  1. Would you call yourself "creative"? Why or why not?
       Yes. Whether individuals on the RevGal list acknowledge it or not, they are all creative; they create entries for their blogs on a regular basis.
        Here's one way to look at it: the ancient Edenic myth has it that God created us in God's image. Since God is creative, we can't help but be creative as well. It might be even more accurate to say (a) we are co-creators with God; or (b) God continues to create through us.
       Now, we often belittle our own creative efforts. "I'm not an artist or a writer," we might say, "so I'm not really that creative."
       The psalmist extolls us to "Make a joyful noise until the Lord"; notice the emphasis is on "joyful", not "tuneful". Even the word "noise" could be instructive.
       I think the same applies to all our creative efforts — when we find joy, we find the place where we meet Divine Spirit. The quality of our creative effort is not necessarily ours to judge; not even society or history is the judge, if it comes to that.
       When we offer God our joy — however it is expressed — God is well pleased.
       All that said, on my more egotistical days, I think of myself as a sort of renaissance person: singer, poet, writer (witness the current page), photographer (see also Practicing Patience), artist.

  2. Share a creative or artistic pursuit you currently do that you'd like to develop further.

  3. Share a creative or artistic pursuit you have never done but would like to try.
          Hmmm. Seems like I've tried most things that appealed to me. Some more successfully than others.
       For example, I tried to knit early in February, and learned I don't seem to have a knitting gene. Either lack of coordination or tendency to overthink.

  4. Complete this sentence: "I am in awe of people who can Dance with ease."
       Likely, another one of those Y chromosome type things.

  5. Share about a person who has encouraged your creativity, who has "called you to your best self." (I'm pretty sure that's from the Gospel of Oprah).
      So many to choose from - Padre, Kathleen, Dr. Omed. Who should be on that list I haven't talked about in the past?
       Brother Dave. Last time we visited, in looking at my photographs, he said "Your camera has really expanded your creative palette." Sometimes I think of Dave as a complement to Van Gogh's Brother Theo, because Dave has supported me financially (he loaned me the money for a down-payment on my house). Happily, I have not needed to call upon Dave's financial assistance as often as Vincent did, but he has always been there.
       His support has gone beyond the financial, however. His house is a loving retreat space. His admiration and love are sincere. We had our years of sibling rivalry, but it seems to me the worst of that is behind us. If not ended altogether (which seems to me to be the case).

Ideé d’jour

Everyone who delights in a multitude of words, even though he says admirable things, is empty within. If you love truth, be a lover of silence.
— Isaac of Nineveh

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Idée d’jour

I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections.
- John Keats