Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Oddly enough, only having computer access for one hour a day at the public library makes it real hard to follow lots and lots of blogs. So, instead, I've been haunting the Christianity section of Powells and finding some interesting books.

The best one ever, though, is In The Spirit of Happiness by the Monks of New Skete. I'm reading it and every page I'm going, "This is me! This is so me!" It's all about how to seek true happiness in a secular setting by using insights the monks have discovered. It also talks a lot about how you can't just be 'spiritual' on your own, and learn things from books, but you need to hook into a community of some kind. I really wanted to type out secions for y'all so you could see how good it was, but the library gets a little tetchy if you bring in outside books (I don't get it). Anyway, go, pick up a copy. It's well worth it (and if you click around a bit on that site/go in to the Bradshaw store, they've got bunches of copies for like, six dollars).

Another book I picked up because I'd been hearing things about it was Unveiled: The Hidden Lives of Nuns. It, frankly, sucked. It focused completely on Roman Catholic nuns, despite the author being a convert to Orthodox Catholicisim. It also focused on nuns whose lives clashed with the traditional vows, and on ones who embraced the Vatican II reforms wholeheartedly. There's about one chapter with sisters who are under 40, and they're in one of the still-cloistered orders. I wasn't looking for something political, but that's what this was, so it left me feeling unsatisfied and quite annoyed.

On the home computer front, a dear friend is supposed to be sending me a loaner laptop soon. Until then, I'll be spending time at the public library and baking bread (because that's what I do when I'm bored).

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

If you see two cholos hawking a 14-session Women of the Bible study, let me know.

Well, I had planned to post a long thing about how one goes through the 7 steps of the grieving process when they find themselves elected to the Vestry (especially if, like I did, you forgot that you'd said you could be nominated).

However, last night, the Convent was broken into. My six-month old laptop, Bro. Landlord's laptop and Palm Pilot, and about $400 of Bro. Housemate's cash were stolen. They left everything else alone, including credit cards, checkbooks, and a third of a fifth of Jack Daniels that was sitting next to my laptop.

The windows were all intact and locked, and we can only surmise they got in somehow through the back door, which I made sure was deadbolted Sunday night.

Archangel, being the fearsome guard-cat he is, probably meowed piteously at the invaders because they weren't giving him pettins and gooshyfood.

I don't know when I'll be able to get a new computer in the Convent, as I'm pretty skint. I have access at w*rk right now, but God only knows how much longer this temporary gig will last (and I'm praying not much longer!)

Friday, January 20, 2006

Book of Daniel Episode 1.03 - Acceptance

It made me cry.

That's very hard to do.

Couple of quick things of note

Today is the feast of St. Fabian!

Ahavas Torah excerpts a book by R. Zelig Pliskin called Patience. Which is something I sure need more of.

Over in Purgatory, there's a discussion of the Rosary and rather than the age-old 'vain repetition' claim (although that is covered), it's being attacked for being 'legalistic'.

Voice from Eden has posted three of seven parts of a series on postures and gestures in worship.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Three dimensions do not squish into two.

Someone directed me to Eugene today, and I'm always turribly jealous when someone says something that I am thinking about, but says it much more eloquently. It's hurting me physically to cut this into bite-size teaser chunks. So just click the link. NOW!

{snippity snip. Ow.}
I think this also goes a long way toward explaining just what's so dangerous about pornography. Pornography reduces human beings to two-dimensional images on a page (or monitor) that exist solely to titillate the viewer. They have no life of their own, no real personality, no soul - and it's very easy to begin viewing the people around us in those same lifeless, self-serving terms.

In fact, many sincere Christians have fallen into a similar trap. In their zeal to apply the Bible to their lives, they've focused on what they can extract from its passages to the exclusion of all else. We spend our days reading books, listening to sermons and 'studying to find ourselves approved,' and we reach all of our conclusions about life based on Greek word conjugations before we ever set foot out the door.

In doing so, we have reduced the world around us to two dimensions, as we filter everything in it through the lens of our preconceived conclusions.
{snippity snip. Ow.}
And thus we see the failure of the church when it comes to dealing with the issue of homosexuality. The actual lives and experiences of gay individuals are completely irrelevant, since we have already reached all of our conclusions about them based on word studies and cross-references. As with every other life situation, it becomes unnecessary to consider the effects that our doctrines actually have in real life, since our theologians have already determined them to be true.
{snippity snip. Ow.}
But are they really the ones at fault? What happens when you try to fit a three-dimensional object into a two-dimensional space? You smash it. You distort it. You crush the very life out of it. How much more, then, do we become bringers of death when we try to impose two-dimensional ethics onto the three-dimensional people around us?
{snippity snip. Ow.}

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Daily Office (Short, Short Version), the Rosary, and Bible in 90 Days

As has been repeated repeatedly, I am a freelance nun. Like a freelance writer, I can call myself a nun because I said I am one, and sometimes I do things that other nuns do. Like pray the Daily Office.

However, I am also not a morning person. So praying the lovely, long Morning Prayer (Episcopal or Roman) is really not an option. Ergo, I've got the short, short version memorized, and I usually pray it in the shower. Some people sing in the shower, I sing the Our Father.

I usually pray a chaplet in the morning. Chaplets evolved from the Desert Mothers and Fathers, whose Rule of Life mandated reading all 150 Psalms a day. 'Cept some of them couldn't read. So they said 150 Our Fathers and/or 150 Hail Marys a day. Keeping track is hard, so they gathered up 150 rocks to help keep count. Then someone got the bright idea to put the rocks on a string. Then St. Dominic has a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary and she told him to say fifteen sets of one Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and a Glory Be while meditating on the life of Jesus. And the most famous chaplet ever, the Rosary, was born.

A lot of people from all spectrums don't understand that you can say pretty much any prayer you want to the beads. The Divine Mercy Chaplet is the next most famous, but pretty much every saint from Katerwaia to Terese Liseux to Patrick has a chaplet of varying lengths. Anglicans, due to our contrary nature, have decided that it's up to the individual to make up their own prayers. So I usually just use the Dominican formula, or "Jesus Christ, son of the Living God, have mercy on us and on the whole world."

What do I get out of it? I think chaplets like the Rosary are the perfect ADD prayer. You're moving your fingers over the beads, you're moving your lips along with the prayer running through your head on one track, and that base line drives and keeps my meditations on track. I don't always meditate on the traditional Rosary mysteries. Actually, today's meditation was on Jeremiah. Because last night I started the Bible in 90 Days plan. It doesn't start at Jeremiah, but I always quit around Leviticus if I start at Genesis, and at John if I start at Matthew. I know a lot of other people are blogging their thoughts on the scripture every day, but this is probably one of the last mentions you're going to hear from me. Until, you know, I finish and some junk.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Speaking of jokes the 'verse plays on you...

I've been quoted in the Washington Times!

Of course, they didn't use my name, and they called me a Roman Catholic nun... but that was me!

Bwahahaha! *snerk*

People need to stop taking themselves so bloody seriously.

That goes double for you, you Christians, yes, you!

Because this is funny.

Also? This is funny, but I would have phrased it as "Complaining makes the Baby Jesus cry."

This is thought-provoking, and you can put whatever denomination floats your boat in place of Catholic. As my vows as a nun are between me, God, and the Blogger Terms of Service, I didn't bother with the perfect chastity clause. Sure, I'm chaste according to my very single status, but hey, if God wants to send me a partner, I wouldn't be adverse... Anyway, even as a single woman wandering about, I can be an example to young people in the church by leading a holy life. And that doesn't just mean being Yoof Group Director. Talk to the kids in the congo, especially the ones who don't dress like perfect little ladies and gentlemen. Invite them to retreats and quiet days and even the evening Rosary program that you think they may not be in to. The statistics are showing that the kids today are reacting to the fluffy bunny free-form worship of the 70s and 80s and that abomination known as postmodernisim by returning to more traditional, liturgical, tangible things.

Wow, that got preachy for a joke post.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Book of Daniel Live Blogging

Oh, that's especially comforting, coming from You!

I'm typing along as I watch the show, just some quotes and things.

First of all, there's a reason I'm seeking a monastic path instead of a pastoral one: I wouold have not been able to keep from breaking a golf club over the smarmy parishoner's head.

Fr. Daniel: Our doors are open to everyone.
Smarmy Parishoner: In theory...
Fr. Daniel: No! Not in theory! In fact!
Sr. Mary Hasta: Amen! Preach it!
Br. Landlord (O.V.): You okay?
Sr. Mary Hasta: *embarrassed* Just talking to the television again.

Anyone who thinks this is not a comedy needs to meet reality for a little while. Stuff happens, and if you don't laugh, you're going to wind up with a heart attack or an ulcer or both.

Oh, yay, they mentioned the Vestry. Points for Real Episcopalianisim. Also? Anyone who was complaining about the housekeeper can sit down and hush up.

The Shrine of the Holy Conservatisim is kind of like St. Barnabus, except they actually did sell seats. It's one of the reasons I started attending A Certain Church part-time, too.

Being a geek and someone who loves working with kids, Yoda made me crack up. And just in case you wanted to know, I'm watching professional lacrosse during the commercials. Yes, there is such a thing. Go Lumberjax!

Oh, it's The Sermon (that everyone who's not on the West Coast) is talking about. And it was about a 6. Sorry. I hear better at A Certain Church. Oy. One day remind me to tell you about my encounter with 'Just As I Am'. And the altar guild server in me is wincing at how they are treating those choir vestments!

Anyone who thinks that people only marry their son's ex-wives on television needs to go to my hometown for a few years. And I have been to that dinner. Except Grandma threw a roll at someone's head.

I. Love. This. Show. As a friend pointed out, it's one of the only marriages on television where the two adults work at communicating.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The Church's one foundation is: "Jesus Christ, you're wrong!"

I used a term in my last post, "The Religious Self-Righteous". I did use it in a context where it could be construed as just focusing on those 'conservative' elements of Christianity.

Puh-leaze. 'Liberal'* Christians are just as capable of being the Religious Self-Righteous as anyone.

Oh, look at those conservatives over there, they don't allow women to even be altar servers, let alone priests/pastors! Poor, deluded things, not aware of all the things that science has to say. I bet they're ill educated, semi-literate, oppressive, hatin' fools.

Might as well swap the words 'snarkwor' and 'nom-nom' for liberal and conservative any more, for all the meaning those two words have for people.

You'll usually hear the Snarkwors and Nom-noms bemoaning how sad is the lack of Christian Unity, what a poor witness is is for the Body of Christ to be so broke up. Well, the first thing we gotta do is stop calling each other names, stop the little death of a thousand keystrokes, the bitter backstabbing that goes on (and, in my opinion, has only escalated on the Global Hyde Park that is blogging).

Your humble servant,
Sr. Mary Hasta

*Your o'b't Sr. took many, many Political Science and Economics classes, wherein liberal referred to a person who favors an economic theory of laissez-faire and self-regulating markets. I kid you not, look it up.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Even Sisters Get The Blues

Your o'b't Sr. Mary Hasta here, with a bit of Real Life sneaking through.

I'm currently working a temporary office job, waiting for various licenses to go through so I can work in a public school classroom.

Well, today I've got an interview for a classroom job at a private school (look Ma, no need for licenses!)

If you're wandering through, please pray I get the job!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Why do Epiphany Processions make me cry?

A Certain Church is very small, maybe a total of 45 people for a service, including the choir and the altar servers. The population was practically double that on Sunday, though, because not only did we have a baptisim, we had the Sunday School Epiphany Procession.

If anyone's scrolling through here who's never seen one, that's where you have a Mary and a Joseph and a baby doll Jesus, and three (or more) kids dressed up like the Wise Guys Men who bring up representations of the three gifts (Melichor carried the thurible).

And I cried. They were so cute!

Before you get the wrong idea, your o'b't Sr. does not cry at silly things. Okay, well, I used to not cry at silly things, I used to be able to count the amount of time since I last cried in years. Now, well, the last time I had a heart-wrenching sob was in October, and it was when a character died in the movie Serenity.f

*ahem* Anyway, in other news, I am in love with The Book of Daniel. Most Christian blogs and boards are not, because they think there were too many problems. Most non-Christian blogs and boards who liked it thought that he had the right number of problems and that it reflected Real Life. I have to go with the latter opinion here. Anyone who is expecting a prime time network comedic drama to give solid, orthodox Christian teachings really needs to reexamine the culture we live in and the way that television shows earn revenue. And everyone who's getting all het up about him being called 'Reverend Daniel' and his chasibule being on backwards needs to GET OVER IT!

I fear the show is not long for this world, though, even with all the good buzz. Because in the show, the only one of Fr. Daniel's kids who he has a loving, normal relationship with is the gay son. We All Know that a priest/pastor who has a gay child needs to be tormented by it, and that child needs to be the wild and promiscuous one. Not a well dressed medical student whose father hugs him and whose mother says his last boyfriend was all wrong for him and she can't wait for him to meet a new, good boy. The Religious Self-Righteous can't stand for that image to get into the American conciousness. When it becomes accepted, they can't use it as a fear tactic, and they use those fear tactics to raise money.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Or better still just don't install/ The idiotic thing at all!

If anyone comments with the source of the subject line, they get a cookie! (No fair resorting to Google).

If you haven't heard about The Book of Daniel (NBC 9pm PST), you probably don't have a TV or the American Family Association doesn't have your contact information (which is a good thing, in my mind, they wrote the book on spam). Or, you know, you live in a civilized country.

The Book of Daniel is the story of a vicodin-addicted priest whose son died of cancer, his wife is an alcoholic, and his surviving, teenaged children are having premarital sex.

Anyone who knows a priest personally is saying to themselves, "Yeah, so? Sounds like House meets Seventh Heaven. *yawn* Wake me up when Numb3rs is on."

The big thing that's getting everyone's knickers in a twist before the show has even had the chance to air its first episode is that Jesus appears to Rev. Daniel.

Apparently, Jesus isn't saying what some people want him to say. And that gets them cheesed off beyond words.

As for your o'b't Sister here, I'm going to watch it. Mostly because it seems to be the kind of show I like (Dogma is my favorite Kevin Smith movie). Mostly because it's on before Numb3rs. Partially because I just know as the Resident Christian on several boards I frequent, there are going to be people asking questions about the Episcopal Church.

And in a wee, tiny bit, I'm going to watch it to thumb my nose at the AFA. Yes, I'm not a perfect pseudo-nun. Sorry to shock you.

The Blog of Daniel has been put out by the Diocese of Washington as a place to discuss some of the issues of the show. The creator of the show has posted a couple of comments, so we know he reads it.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Baruch dayan emet

The Hebrew words I use as the title of this post translate to: Blessed is the Righteous Judge. In Judaisim, it is traditionally said upon hearing bad news, especially upon hearing news of a death.

I went to bed last night, all warm and cozy in the Convent, thinking that 12 mine workers in West Virginia were just waiting to be saved.

I woke up this morning, and they were dead.

And in the next minute, I am reading Daily KOS and discovering the mine had been cited repeatedly by OSHA, but:
[T]he slow creep away from enforcement, led by people like Cass Ballenger and Petetr Hoekstra and their GOP allies is what really caused this. Just think, what is more profitable?

Paying a total of $3,600 for 168 fines or paying a couple hundred thousand to fix those problems?

Sad as it is, it's more profitable to pay those cheap fines, especially when you know the inspectors are going to come ahead of time anyways.

Where is the righteous indignation? Who will stand for these people? Who will make sure our workplaces are safe?

Blessed be God, the Righteous Judge, and may He send peace to the survivors and justice to those whose only choice is to go back down into the mine or starve.