Optimism!

Oct. 15th, 2010 09:45 pm
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
Here are some of the best words I've heard in a long time. This is sweet and loving and oh so very hopeful. It's water in the desert.

Baptism

Jan. 14th, 2010 07:47 am
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
There is a beautiful article by Garrison Keillor (BTW, who names their kid "Garrison"? Seems cruel to me) about, of all things, baptism. Apparently, Episcopalians renounce "evil powers" instead of the devil. It starts with a bunch of reflections on political polarization and goes from there to a wider reflection on baptism more generally.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
I was whining - I admit it! Oh, it's a sorry state for a person to get into. Then my cousin M. said, "You sucked up a cord? While it was plugged in? You're lucky you didn't get shocked!" That was the cold water of perspective thrown onto my bad mood. After that, I was referred to this page by [livejournal.com profile] seraphimsigrist. I encourage you to read it - especially those of you who are puzzled that my brand of Christianity isn't quite what you might have expected. Reading it made me happy enough to giggle and dance.

And it is a relief to have a clean(er) house.
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
I managed to reserve a rental car for Thanksgiving weekend (next step, see if my parents can send me the money in advance, as otherwise I won't be able to pay for it). I am getting very excited about going back to Idyllwild, where we spent most of my childhood Thanksgivings. So that's good.

Also good is having gotten two packages today containing my anniversary presents. Hooray for Pollyanna! That would cheer anyone up.

Overall, I have to keep reminding myself that I am a very lucky woman. Despair is not good for the health, mental, spiritual, or physical.

Skeptical

Jan. 11th, 2009 02:49 pm
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
I'm skeptical of churches that try to appeal to a single group of people, or walk any kind of cultural or political line. I'm skeptical of people who are certain they know what God wants. I am especially skeptical of church leadership that seeks power continually, and will not tolerate dissenters in any form. That is why I was so disturbed by this article in the New York Times today.

Opposing views don't bother me. I think God can work with (and through) any material at all. But that hunger after power, after absolute answers to your questions, and using the name of God as an excuse (even a reason) for it all, really bothers me. It also saddens me, because a lot of people will never see God as being anything but a reflection of these impulses.

OK, that's my theological musing for today. :-) I haven't been able to get to church in two weeks because I can't put any weight on this ankle of mine, so I'm feeling a little deprived. Especially during such an important time in the church calendar. *sigh*

Musings

Oct. 23rd, 2007 01:23 pm
debboamerik: black-and-white cat (Default)
Sorry, everyone - this is too important to me personally for a cut.

In July of 2002, I found myself walking, at the break of dawn, with two large bags and a medium-sized puppy, down the sand road in Djeol. I was on my way to Kaedi, thence to Nouakchott, thence to Paris and Los Angeles for the baptism of my godchildren. The journey was going to take me about a week.

I'm not good at handling material objects. I drop them. So I was struggling down the road, the puppy (Rufus Sy, may his furry little memory be eternal) foremost in my mind, when an old, old man came out of one of the nearby compounds. This kind man took one look at me and said, "I'm going to help you." He unceremoniously took the largest bag and placed it on his head, while I, mortified, stammered my thanks. He carried my bag all the way down to the "taxi brousse" at the entrance to the village. I've never been so grateful for anything in my life (quite aside from the kindness, he wasn't treating me like a curiousity or a pet, and it was nice to be with someone who saw me as a person), and I hope he gets his eternal reward.

This Sunday, the Gospel reading was the parable known as "Dives and Lazarus." I found myself thinking of the parable differently this week than I have thought of it previously, which led to a related thought, which in turn relates to the story above. I've long had a fascination with this story, due in part to a beautiful piece of the Catholic funeral service, where they mention "Lazarus, who once was poor." There seems to be so much of both joy and pathos in that statement; Lazarus, who once was poor, and now rests on Abraham's bosom. Dives and Lazarus is about not ignoring the misery of the people around us. This week, it occurred to me that this wasn't just about seeing the poor around me; it was also about seeing my privilege. Right now, I am cash poor - quite cash poor, really. But... I've been poorer, and I've seen many people who are poorer still. I get so caught up in the day-to-day of my life, and in my own difficulties over money, that I sometimes forget that I have a large collection of CDs, DVDs, and books, two cats, a nice apartment, running water, people who will feed me if I can't buy food, a car, etc. I'm really in the position of Dives. Blindness to my many layers of privilege causes me sometimes to ignore Lazarus. This kind of cruelty (ignoring Lazarus is cruel) is not acceptable to me.

Dives and Lazarus also reminds me of the Widow's Mite, another parable which I believe ([livejournal.com profile] seraphimsigrist, can you confirm?) we hear during the Lenten Triodion (Lenten season, which includes Lent and some weeks before). The message of that parable is that giving out of your poverty is more blessed than throwing money at a problem out of a position of riches. And again, thinking in a slightly less literal way about this leads me to the man who helped me carry my bags through Djeol. How blessed was this old Muslim man! Out of his age and weakness, he could see the trouble of someone relatively young and strong, and gave help out of his relative poverty. These are the kinds of small, significant gestures that I believe have the greatest impact on people's lives.

So, my task, I guess, is to think of more ways in which, by my attitudes and actions, I am not doing all I can for those around me - and then to start doing something about it.

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