Thursday, May 25, 2006

My Spiritual Director is so much cooler than yours. Neener.

Names have been pseudonymed to protect the guilty (namely, your o'b't Sister).

Hey [Director Extraordinaire],
I'm having some issues with getting my rule of life revised. I know I'm supposed to have it to you by Sunday, but can I have another week?
[Sr. Mary Hasta, OSI]
* * * * * * *

Hello [Sr. M-H],
What kind of trouble? External issues, or internal?
[D E, which doesn't mean Death Eater]
* * * * * * *

[D E],
Some external stressors, but mostly internal. I'm just kinda hormonal and having mood swings of DOOM!, I think I only really need another week or so.
[Sr. M-H]
* * * * * * *

[Sr. M-H],
You're letting your depression make you a wuss. In penance, listen to all of Hot August Nights II. When you get to Holly Holy, start writing again.

Think about it, if you create a rule that you can carry out when you're in one of these funks, then it'll be super-easy to carry out when you're better.
[D E]
* * * * * * *

In a totally unrelated bit of news, not only is today the Asenscion of our Lord, not only is it the Feast of St. Bede, it is also the Feast of [St.] Douglas Adams, commonly known as Towel Day.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Do you believe in the one big song?

I've been reading Cynthia over at Mormon 2 Catholic 'cause she's pretty cool, and I've got this wierd fascination with all things Mormon. One of my life's dreams is to go to Salt Lake City and stand in Temple Square and ask awkward theological questions of the fresh-faced Mishie Sissies (Missionary Sisters) who double as tour guides. Because I am a cruel woman. I also like convert stories, and Catholics, so, all sorts of things to get my groove on there.

So I read this post at Cynthia's place. Here's the bit that jumped out and bit me on the ass (she's actually quoting something that Ma Back said at the Ward Wide Web and has her own meditation on this, my response does not in any way reflect on hers, bla bla bla, usual disclaimer stuff, don't yell at her if you don't like what I say, but go read Cynthia's blog 'cause consarnd it, she's cool!):

Every single time you stand in the line to receive Holy Communion, you're making a statement to the world.
This statement includes the following:
I believe in every single item of the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds.
I believe 100% in what the Catholic Church teaches about homosexuality.
I believe 100% in what the Catholic Church teaches about contraception.
I believe 100% in what the Catholic Church teaches about capital punishment.
I believe 100% in what the Catholic Church teaches about Euthanasia.
I believe 100% in what the Catholic Church teaches about abortion.
I believe in the Papacy, and I believe in the succession from St. Peter to Benedict XVI.
I believe 100% in the mystery of transubstantiation, and I believe in the Church's teaching that in order to receive our Lord in Holy Communion, my soul should be in a state of grace. For all but the most heroic of Catholics, this probably means Confession at least once a month.

So, beyond the Anglo-Catholic pedantery that it should be ROMAN Catholic Church in there... what the heck?

No, seriously. Call me an intellectual if you want, but I don't 100% believe ANYTHING.

Sun's gonna rise tomorrow?
I want empirical proof.
First person to say "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believed" will get a withering glare.

So, maybe I'm not good enough to be a member of the [Roman] Catholic Church, then. Sorry. I don't believe every part of the Apostle's Creed. Jesus went to Hell? And did what, had a surf party? Couple of mai tais with his estranged buddies, the Fallen? How does that ring up with what happens in Revelations? What about Hell being a seperation from God; how can God be seperate from Godself? Et cetera, ad hominem, monkey flys. First line, ninth word in, I'm kicked out of the club.

One of the hardest things for me to do is get up out of the pew and take the long walk to the altar. Dude, I am sooo not worthy. I'm probably not the greatest of sinners (I don't think I've ever kicked a puppy), but I've done my fair share of sinning today, thought, word, and deed. Why do I take that long walk, heed that altar call, fall on my knees with my face to the rising sun?


Because I'm broken. I hurt. I'm not perfect. I doubt. I sin.

And each and every time I make that long walk, I acknowlege that I am imperfect, that I am in pain, that I need help. I acknowlege that I cannot do this thing called 'life' on my own.

I reach out my hands in supplication, and grace is freely given.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever, amen.

*Today's post title is a lyric from Comfort Eagle by Cake.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Despierta, mi bien, despierta! Mira que ya amaneció!

Estas son las mañanitas
que cantaba el Rey David.
Hoy por ser día de tu santo
te las cantamos a ti.

Despierta, mi bien, despierta,
mira que ya amaneció
ya los pajarillos cantan,
la luna ya se metió.

Today is the feast of St. Rita of Casica. On Thursday, the Ascension of Our Lord Jesus Christ is bumping the feast of St. Bede. These are my two patron saints. And I must have the absolutely wierdest story about how I got these two patrons ever, seriously.

You have to understand, I was raised as a United Methodist in California. Our confirmation class taught us a lot about church history, sure, but our culminating trip involved attending five places of worship in San Francisco, and only one was Methodist. I was 12 years old and in my heart, an atheist.

I think all 12 year olds are atheists to one degree or another, really.

So, no patron saint for me at my confirmation. Nope.

I picked up St. Rita as a patron due to an advertisement for margaritas in a Mexican restaurant when I was 18. My friend, who was eating with me, decided my name should be 'Rita' (we did this kind of renaming thing all the time, I still answer to 'Steve' thanks to the movie Multiplicity and a NYE party involving more sugar than should be consumed by teenagers, ever). About two hours later, we passed by St. Rita Catholic Church, and my friend thought it was hysterical. I started keeping an eye out for St. Rita things, and wound up with a collection. The more I read about her, the more I realised she and I had some things in common about our lives. When I finally got over my Methodist-bred aversion to the Saints, it made sense to me to ask for prayers from the one saint who I'd already collected sacramentals of: St. Rita.

St. Bede became my patron saint during an all-nighter in college. Because yes, I am the kind of person who thinks that a break from writing about genocide in Yugoslavia entails Googling information on the lives of saints. I happened upon a story about one of St. Bede's fellow monastics wandering by in the middle of the night to find a light in his room. The brother peeked in, and there was St. Bede reading, a little angel sitting on his shoulder to give him enough light to see the pages. That just tickled me pink, and so I printed off a copy of an ikon of St. Bede and taped it to the side of my monitor.

See? Told you they were silly stories. I'mna going to have to make cookies this week.

Today is the little mornings
That King David sang about.
Today is your [Name] Saint's Day*
And that's why we sing to you.

Wake up, my dear, wake up!
Look, see, it's dawn.
The birds are already singing
and the moon has set.

*this part is often translated as 'birthday'.

Friday, May 19, 2006

DaVinci Code vs. Hudson Hawk, and I Don't Care About Anglican Politics

This is a two-part post, because I've got two things I really want to talk about, and they are nowhere near related. So if you don't care about movies, skip to the asterisks, if you don't care about Anglican politics, stop reading after the asterisks, and if you are bored already, go learn important life lessons from Ebenezer and Snootch.

So. The DaVinci Code. Didn't like the book, it was boring. Don't like Tom Hanks, he's creepy. Do like Alfred Molina, but he's not in it enough for me to actually make the effort to see the movie. Instead, I rented Hudson Hawk.

Hudson Hawk, for those of you who have never heard of it, is a comedy from 1991 starring Bruce Willis as a cat burglar just released from jail. He and his partner in crime (Danny Aiello), get caught between the CIA and a multinational corporation's quest for world domination (the completely insane heads of teh evol corporation are Richard Grant and Sandra Bernhard) using Leonardo Da Vinci's Maquina de Oro. Since the Vatican owns most of Da Vinci's stuff, they get involved, too (their rep is played by Andie MacDowell).

Meanwhile, Bruce and Danny sing, stuff blows up, there's great commentary on the cultural turmoil from the early 90s, and, as a caffeine addict, I can completely understand Bruce's quest throughout the movie to just get a cappuchino.

Final score: Hudson Hawk 1, DVC 0 -- Go rent Hudson Hawk.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Now, on to church politics, and the ramp-up to General Convention 2006. Has anyone noticed that the self-proclaimed Prophets of the Destruction of the Anglican Communion keep pushing back the Day of Doom! farther and farther? They were all certain it was going to be when the Dio.Cal elected a new bishop (and as Fr. Jake pointed out, there are more than three dioceses in CA, mea culpa). But oh, noes, that didn't happen, so they're circling GC06 like a pack of vultures. So much hot air is floating around, the Snarkwors and the Nom-Noms are circling their wagons, words are being exchanged, plans are being made for "When It Happens".

And honestly? I don't care any more. Split, don't split, what the flaming ever. If I woke up Sunday and the Anglican Communion was no more, I'd still be heading down to A Certain Church for the celebration of the Eucharist. If I woke up tomorrow and the Anglican Communion was no more, I'd still be heading down to A Certain Church to help feed the hungry coming to our door.

I just want to grab some of the bloggers and pundits and yes, even priests and bishops on both sides of the fence, who are making such a fuss, and gather them in a room, and clap my hands and say, "People, people, PEOPLE! No more frelling talk! There are mouths to feed and hands to hold and graves to dig and tears to wipe away! We've got a job to do, now get to work!"

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Tacos and Comics Day - Spider Jerusalem

Before we jump feet-first into Tacos and Comics Day, I wanted to relate this little thing that happened when I was spending some time meditating on revising my Rule of Life.

So, there I was, with my Bible open, dutifully reading along in a quiet corner of my room and praying for the Holy Spirit, and there was a song stuck in my head. And I was cheesed off. Even though I love the band that sings the song, confound it, I was trying to be holy! Then I bothered to listen to the words running over and over through my head:
Excess ain't rebellion,
You're drinkin' what they're selling.
Your self-destruction doesn't hurt them.
Your chaos won't convert them.

So, of course, I put that section of lyric as the header of one of the sections of my Rule. The song, by the way, is Cake's Rock and Roll Lifestyle.

So, on to the series Transmetropolitan, and its main character, Spider Jerusalem. Transmet is, alas, no longer a floppy, but you can get the collected issues in trade paperback form at most major bookstores (I can check them out at my public library, because I'm cool like that). Transmet is not for the faint at heart. How can I put this delicately? Oh, yeah, Spider's superpower is pottymouth and his main weapon is a bowel disruptor, which, when you're hit with its beam, makes you immediately poop your pants.

He's a jerk. He's not the kind of guy you want to bring home (unless you really, really hate your family). He does the bare minimum amount of work that he can get away with, beats up friends and enemies alike, and then gleefully trumpets his (and others') violence across all the news channels.

So, why do I like Spider Jerusalem? Because for all that he's a big ol' jerk, he is trying to make the world a better place. He actually cares about people, in a world where when you get sick of being a person, you can easily change your species. He challenges the ruling powers, and they fight back. He goes from riches to poverty to riches as regularly as a clock, and he still keeps writing the truth, as he sees it. You might even say he's a prophet for his age.

Sometimes, sometimes his words have great and profound effect, like stopping riots with his words. And other times, he just makes a little girl smile.

I like Spider Jerusalem because, when I think that this world can't get worse, and that I can't do anything to help, I can look into his world and see that, even when it does get worse, there's still ways to help.

And sometimes, it's just fun to watch him use the Chair Leg of Truth (it does not lie!)

If you want to read one of the Transmet issues, and I want to warn you, it's got all the usual goodies of nudity, cannibalisim, bad words, and dirty streets, go here. Dialup beware.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I've been arguing on the Internet / Even when I win, I lose

You want to quibble over language? Become a lawyer, and then you, too can debate what the precise meaning of 'is' is.

You want to quibble over language and denounce people's souls to Hell? Become a Christian and get a blog.

You want to laugh your behind off? Read this article called The Interpretave Dance Theocrats, that defines some of the... special words that Christians use.

This is the belief among some Christians that, ever since Jan. 1, 2000, it has no longer been possible, in the words of the Prince song, "to party like it's 1999." Postmillenialists are those Christians who believe that it will always be possible to do so, while Amillenialists believe that in this context, "1999" cannot be understood literally, but must be read as an allegorical term roughly meaning "a time at which it is especially appropriate to party."

Wait, wait, one more...
The Emerging Church
This is a term that refers to churches attended exclusively by white people in their 20s and 30s who have at least one tattoo or body piercing. Their distinguishing characteristics are a refreshing, "up to date" interpretation of Christianity, and a reluctance to directly answer questions.

(Thanks to Rev. Sam at Elizaphanian for the link.)

Monday, May 15, 2006

Prayer Requests

Pisco has a question for everybody. How do you go about organizing your prayer lists?

Mtr. Mother always gives me three things in my Christmas stocking: a toothbrush, a grocery bag of tchotchkies and pens she picked up at trade shows, and a very fancy, very expenisve journal. This year's is about 3x5 inches and covered in handpainted watered silk. The first seventeen pages or so are labeled with days of the week and my family and friends are divided amongst them (I restricted family to first level, and it's about 59-62 people). The back pages are filled up with individual situations as they come up, and they get little stars when they no longer apply. A Certain Church has an insert in the bulletin every week, two pages, tiny font, that is the prayer intentions for the parish (and every name on that list is read, out loud, during the Prayers of the People). It gets folded up and stuck in the back of the journal. I carry it with me in my purse, so when I'm digging through looking for a candy and have a minute or three, I open it up and scroll through.

I also signed up recently for, which is basically an online version of my expensive paper journal. I haven't fiddled around with it much, yet (bleaurghy), but for those of us who spend our days traveling from computer to computer, it could be useful.

While you're here, I'd like to point you all to this article by *Christopher, who says some things that I've been thinking about, but says them much better than I could (poke me with a stick if you want to hear why I call Seminary "The S Word of Doom"). It's a long one, but it's worth reading, re-reading, then printing out and leaving in strategic places in your church (such as the sacristry, the discernment director's mailbox, and that pew that's full of all those people who show up every Sunday but turn down every ministry opportunity offered to them).

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Remember, thou art mortal.

A couple of weeks ago, I fell down on a totally flat, completely uncluttered piece of The Convent's floor. Since I'm terminally klutzy and therefore used to operating under a panoply of aches and pains, I didn't pay much attention until about a week later, when I was trying to figure out why my left foot was horribly swollen. Since I was able to walk on it, and it only hurt if I twisted it juuust right, I determined I'd sprained it.

Now, before everyone starts hollering, I don't have health insurance, but I do have nine years of classical ballet and seven of martial arts training (western sword), I know the difference between fractures, sprains, strains, tears, et cetera from personal experience.

I immediately called Sr. Sister, who had done some time as an Assistant Sports Therapist, for a refresher course in sprained ankles.

"How long am I looking at before I can start exercising?" I asked. Not that I was exercising when I hurt the ankle, but I've been thinking about joining a gym.

"Six to eight weeks, depending," Sr. Sister replied.

Flash forward to this Thursday, when I got some kind of stomach bug that's tearing its way through Portland. I decide, heck, I haven't been all bleaurghy in about twelve hours, it's been three weeks since I fell down went boom, it's a lovely day, I should start some mild physical therapy (PT), both to get my ankle back into shape, and myself back into something approaching going-to-the-gym shape.

Remember all that dance and martial arts training? My idea of mild is a three mile walk, followed by a half-hour of calisthenics and then another forty-five minutes of drills. I got about halfway through my warmup stretches and ditched everything but a couple of strength and balance drills. One of the balance drills is standing on one foot, unsupported. I used to be able to do this for upwards of fifteen minutes. When I was standing on my injured ankle, I think I made about two seconds.

I'd had these ideas of what my current physical shape was, and where I could go from there. I've had to drastically reevaluate them in these last few days, and resolve them downwards. I probably will never bench-press 350 again, I'd known that, but I'm now having to realise I'll probably be lucky if I can get up to 150.

I'm going to be looking pretty hard at my (personal, individual, no vowed obedience to any bishop, pastor, or book club) Rule of Life in these next few weeks. This was a scheduled review with my spiritual advisor. I know I'm nowhere near what I have written down, ergo the review. I'm a little scared about how much it's going to have to be reduced to actually fit into what I'm able to do. I've had these ideas of who I was, and who I wanted to be.

I think I'm ready to let them go, though. There's just no way I'm getting up at 5am for Morning Prayer and an hour of lecto divina, that's not who I am.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Christian Body Image

This morning I woke up with Rosary Face.

For those of you not familiar with this, it's what happens when you fall asleep with your prayer beads in your hand. Mine tend to migrate all over the bed, waking me up at odd times of night so I can fish them out of the small of my back, or from under my elbow, but they always wind up under my face in the morning.

Which means I spend a good amount of time rubbing, trying to get the marks off of my face. Especially if the crucifix winds up imprinted in my cheek.

So, now comes the question: why? It's something that happens, people have pillowface all the time. But it's not appropriate to show up to work with pillowface, right? I'm of course not talking about those of you who have real jobs, the kind where you can be called at any hour of the day or night to do your duty. I'm talking about us office workers, cubicle dwellers, meeting minions.

I've been watching America's Next Top Model (when it's not competing with Bones) recently. The first time I watched about five minutes before I said, "Waitaminute, I don't have to watch this stuff!" But the next week, I made myself flip over and watched forty-five minutes of it, because something about it had really disturbed me, and I needed to figure out what it was. Took me forty-five minutes to do so, too, which is a sad thing.

Here's what the problem is: These women, by virtue of being chosen for this show, had been told by everyone, including the media, that they were the height of beauty. And they were moving awkwardly, uncomfortably, they were moving in a way my dance teachers would look at them and say "they're uncomfortable in their bodies".

Let me explain: I am not a small woman. I weigh as much as three of those models put together, and that's not an exagerration. I'm also very short. I'm probably the only woman in any gathering of women who's not on a diet, and that information always shocks people, because of COURSE the fat girl wants to lose weight, right? Be skinny and therefore pretty, right?

I've done the starvation diets, I've done the pills, I've done the Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig and what I came out of there with was the knowledge that 1) due to my activity levels, I was in better shape than most of the thin women held up as exemplars, 2) muscle weighs more than fat, and 3) I really should not give a matched set of flying monkey's buttocks what people other than my physician think I should weigh.

It's very much a fear response, I think. We must be assimilated into popular culture, resistance is futile, all your base are belong to us. If we spend all our time worrying about what we're eating and what we're wearing and what celebrities are eating and wearing (one word: Oprah), then we are too busy to look around and say, "You know what? There's something fundamentally cracked about our world, and we need to fix it. Let's start loving our neighbor and see what happens."

I'm going to keep wearing clothes that fit well and flatter my shape, and get up and wash my face and comb my hair, and if I show up to work with Rosary Face, well... People are just going to have to deal.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Sunday Naps are Holy to My People

Ever since I've become an adult, my entire schedule has revolved around Sunday.

There's the church component, sure. In the beginning, when I was practicing to be a reclusive crazy cat lady, Sunday was often the only time all week that I'd physically touch another person (Peace be with you). Choir, meetings, potlucks, those all take priority on my schedule on Sunday.

Then there's the Sunday Nap. Which is also a priority. It's usually between 3-6 hours long, and makes up for all the late nights. In the old days, those late nights were from studying and/or working, now they're just 'cause I've discovered late night TV.

Everything in my week looks foward to Sunday. I *like* going to church. I *like* sleeping. Sunday's a day where I have both of my favorite things, usually back-to-back. Sunday is a good day.

So now I've been poking at this hypothetical situation in my mind for a couple of weeks: what if they came out tomorrow in the newspaper with irrefutable proof that Christianity is a hoax, that there is no God?

Welp, I'd probably drink a lot that first night.

I'd like to think that I'd continue on continuing on being a good person, whether out of a belief that even one small person doing a few small things is making the world a better place, or because I'm too lazy to change my ways. I'd have some more free time to play videogames (I will beat Halo 2 without resorting to cheating, I will!) Sundays would have no purpose, though. I could sleep away the whole day, if I wanted to, but it would be that gross, I've-been-in-bed-too-long kind of sleep that I always associate with being stuck home sick.

Are we done poking this?
Hmmm... *poke, poke*
Yeah, seems to be done for now.

So let's do the flip: The newspaper tomorrow has gigantic headlines GOD EXISTS! JESUS CHRIST WALKED THE EARTH! How does that change my life? How would I act differently?

Welp, I might indulge in one or two "I told you so!"s. Then I'd probably do a lot more praying, and be a lot nicer to people, and... um, stuff.

Stuff I should be doing now, right? Since I don't need newspapers to tell me this, right?


*poke, poke*

Monday, May 08, 2006

Feast of St. Julian of Norwich

I still can't believe it. Barry is gonna be a bishop.

Of course, I keep saying, "I know that guy!", and everyone is like, "You know +Andrus?" and I'm like, "Dude, no the OTHER guy." and they're like, "There was another guy? And seriously, stop bouncing, how much coffee did you have?" and I'm like, "Ten cups!" and they're like, "Sister! Get off the ceiling! You're gonna leave fingerprints!"

California is freaky-wierd when it comes to Episcopalians. Which should be expected, since, you know, California. Three diocese: Diocese of California (Dio.Cal), Diocese of Northern California (Dio.NorCal), and the Diocese of San Joaquin (Dio.SJ).

The Dio.Cal has its Cathedral in San Francisco, and includes Berkeley and all of Middle California. I'll leave the determination of their political slant as an exercise for the class.

The Dio.SJ is Los Angeles, which to someone from North of Fresno means everything South of Bakersfield (Fresno on that map is covered up by the word 'California'). They don't ordain nor allow women to be priests. I'm not even going into that right now, because it's a whole 'nother kettle of fish.

The Dio.NorCal has its Cathedral in Sacramento, and it encompasses everything north, all the way to the Oregon border. There is a lot of variety in that much acerage, beaches, mountains, plains, vineyards and orchards, cities and suburbs, liberal college towns and conservative strongholds. In Sacramento alone, there are 126 seperate languages spoken by the schoolchildren.

The Dio.NorCal, my friends, is the one to watch. They are dealing with the same Culture Competition that the entire Anglican Communion is dealing with, but on an individual level.

Also? When you've drank* a whole bunch of coffee and are blathering on about how much you hate sheep because you used to have to help your grandmother with hers, make sure you're not talking to your priest right before Good Shepherd Sunday, 'cause she will TOTALLY quote you in her sermon.

*I can't help the amount of coffee I drank, I just got a shipment of Bishop's Blend in, after being out for most of a month and surviving on instant and Blue Gardenia, which is good but not as good as Bishop's Blend, and is also wayyy more expensive. Plus, every time I go in there, I leave with a cinnamon roll.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

License to Vote

The Episcopal Church of the United States of America is a democratic institution.

For those of you who don't know or understand what that means, it means that every single person in the diocese votes for representatives to the election crew, and then that election crew elects the bishop.

Of course, I'm condensing several years, millions of words, thousands of meetings, and a lot of votes into a few sentences.

And you know what? The thing that the media forgets, the thing that we all forget, is that we spend those years praying this prayer:

Almighty God, giver of every good gift: Look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a bishop for this Diocese, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

These are not mere humans casting those ballots; these are agents of the Holy Spirit.

May God bless the Diocese of California and the Diocese of Northern California and their bishop-elects, the Rt. Rev. Andrus, Rev. Canon Beisner, and may God bless the Diocese of Tennessee as they continue their search.

I had the great privlegde of working with Barry Beisner once (I was a member of the NorCal diocese until last July, which means I spent a lot of time praying that prayer for that diocese) and I was impressed with his patience, his prayerfulness, and his ability to reconcile diverse groups. And boy howdy, will he get a diocese full of diverse groups!

Edit: Karen at Kinesis was a registrar and teller for the election of the Bishop of the Diocese of California, and she tells how it all went down here. But I'm going to quote the best part, for those of you too lazy to click the link.
After Bishop Andrus spoke to us via telephone hookup we moved into the liturgy of the table. We sang "The Church's One Foundation," took part in the Eucharistic prayers, and received communion. As I stood in the long line to receive the blessed bread and wine I noted with some amusement that most of the reporters had left. There was no Big Story now, only ordinary Christians doing what we always do, which is in itself the Biggest and Best Story of all.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Elizaphanian: Rowan in Chelmsford

Elizaphanian got close enough to spit at the +Rowan (but I'm pretty sure he didn't spit at the Archbish, at least I hope so, you know, I'm starting to think drinking that extra cup of coffee wasn't a good idea, it's given me run-on sentences).

Go read what the ABC said. I think a lot of us who are far, far away from England and don't hear from +Rowan 'cept in the media can sometimes forget he's an actual person instead of a sound bite.

In other news, Happy Jedi Day! May the Fourth be with you!

Your love is teaching me how, how to kneel.

Feast of St. Monnica of Hippo.

Wow. I'm running around the Blogosphere today like a chicken with my head cut off. We've got people yelling 'terrorist bomb!' about gays in the Bishop of California's Chair, poor Cynthia is getting yelled at for saying she's not only standing up for her gay best friend forever's committment ceremony, but she also *gasp* went clubbing with him, on the ecumenical front, the Velveteen Rabbi takes on those pesky lines in Leviticus, and I really, really, REALLY don't want to get into the Illegal Personages debate (how can a human being be illegal? I hadn't noticed a law against existing [yet]).

What, in the Name of all that's Good, Blessed, Right and Holy is going on here?

I'll tell you what's going on here. We're treating love like it's a finite commodity, that's what's going on. We're drawing these lines in the sand (gay/straight, legal/illegal, conservative/liberal) so we can say "Yes, yes, I'm on the right side, and I will feed the hungry and clothe the naked, and visit the imprisoned and bury the dead... but only if they're from my side of the line! The people from the Other Side, they're different from me and they're bad and naughty and even EVIL and I am NOT going near them, 'cause they're going to taint me and make me not!perfect."

'Scuse me, people, but if you're a Christian, your job is to go right up to that line, kick sand over it as you cross, and get busy loving your neighbor, no matter the status of their documentation, the direction of their orientation, or their political party.

*sigh* Oh, it's so easy for me to jump up on my soapbox. I think the blog phenomenom has just created a giant Hyde Park, where we can pontificate as well as any old German guy in Rome. "How am I living this out in my own life?" my concience asks me. "How can you tell people to love their neighbor when you're so very pissed off at your cousin?"

"Hey, I'm working on my anger!" I tell my concience.

"Taking it out, looking at it, giving it a good polish, and then putting it back in the box is not working on it," my concience snaps back. "Start forgiving your cousin for all the real and imagined hurts."

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
"Don'wanna!" I whine.

"You're a Christian," my concience says, smacking me upside the head. "Whether you like it or not. So get busy lovin', or get busy dying."

"Why are you quoting Stephen King movies to me?" I ask my concience.

"Stop changing the subject."

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Pretty urgent set of prayer requests

Please pray for my grandmother, who's in the hospital for a third time due to some kind of infection.

Also please pray for my idiot cousin, who's just been diagnosed with an enlarged heart.

Tacos and Comics Day - Astonishing X-Men

Wednesday is known in my neck of the woods as "Tacos and Comics Day". Because all day, I'm very, very, very excited about the new comics being available at the comic store, and about the tacos available about a block down from the comic store. The employees at both these fine institutions all know me by my secular name, because Wednesdays are a holy day to my people Tacos and Comics Day!

So, I like comics. I like to tell people about comics. I like to watch the glassy look come over people's eyes as I talk about comics, because the plots are convoluted, the histories are murky, and most people, when you say the 'c' word, dismiss them right out of hand as 'kids' stuff'.

Which means short lines at the comic store. Yay!

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So, this is the cover to Astonishing X-Men #2, which came out in 2004. AXM is a good place to start, because most everyone has at least a little familiarity with the X-Men, thanks to the new movies. AXM has something else going for it, though, it's written by Joss Whedon.

You did NOT just ask "Who is Joss Whedon."
No, no you didn't.
Seriously, if you did, get off my blog now.

(If you're too lazy to follow the links, let me put it this way: if you've seen a television show or a movie that was quirky, filled with inappropriate humor and deep themes that the critics slagged, the networks axed, and the fans adored, Joss or one of his minions was involved. But it was probably Joss.)

Joss, like all writers, has a couple of drums he likes to beat. One of them is redemption. Take a look at that cover again, it's Scott Summers (aka Cyclops) with Emma Frost (aka The White Witch). If you've been living under a rock for the last decade or so, Scott Summers is a good guy. Emma Frost? Used to be a bad guy. But nobody really trusts her as a good guy, except Scott, and they're cohabitating.

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This one's also interesting, it's issue #12, the last in the first 'series'. I'm not going to tell you much of the plot, but can't you just figure it out? (The artist is John Cassaday, who is famous in the comic world for being really good.) Over the years, this kind of plot has been played out repeatedly (parts of it will be rehashed in the new movie this summer), but Joss really twists it into something new, painful, and personal.

The first twelve issues are collected in two trade paperbacks, if you have a cool library, they might have them (or, you know, you could go to Barnes and Noble and read them in the aisles). I really suggest you do, because Whedon and Cassaday just started another 12 issue run on this series. The fun part is, now they have to not only deal with the things they brought up in the first run, but also the fact that Marvel made an executive decision to basically un-mutate all but 198 of the planet's mutants. In AXM 13, they deal with the students who are still left at the school, while the rest of the student body was sent home 'normal'.

Of course, Wolverine gives the motivational speech, so it's, um... unique.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Another (One-Sided) Conversation with God

What the EVER LOVING HELL was that?
No, seriously.
What were You thinking, You stupidhead?

These are children. You're supposed to love the little children. You're supposed to take care of them! You're supposed to watch over them!

Yes, well, I guess it is true there were people nearby who helped-- but why did You put these kids in this situation to begin with?

And teachers, oy, teachers are the ones who have to stand in the breach, between hockey and soccer and ballet and music lessons, teachers spend more time with these children than their own parents. Then they're the ones who are hit just as hard when something like this happens, and if they're lucky, they've got a support group who can take them out for beer and burgers and let them cry about it (and You made my best friend CRY!) and then, when I'm sitting there and the tears are all gone, what am I supposed to say?

Yes, I know what I said, "Let's go get chocolate." I don't think that was what my best friend wanted or needed to hear right then. I think what my best friend wanted and needed to hear right then was something profound, something that could make it all better. Something that You said. I would have even let You speak through me. You know I didn't know what to say. Ergo, chocolate.

And today, my best friend has to walk right back into that classroom. I tell You what, You'd better be there with my best friend, and you'd better be with every one of those children, and with every other teacher and administrator and social service worker and parent.

Or else. Amen.

God our Father, you see your children growing up in an
unsteady and confusing world: Show them that your ways
give more life than the ways of the world, and that following
you is better than chasing after selfish goals. Help them to
take failure, not as a measure of their worth, but as a chance
for a new start. Give them strength to hold their faith in you,
and to keep alive their joy in your creation; through Jesus
Christ our Lord. Amen.

Monday, May 01, 2006

I'm in a bad mood.

I've got the Johnny Appleseed blessing song stuck in my head.

I was one of the chaperones on the Metro East Convocation Youth Event last night.

You try herding 53 teenagers through a mall and see how you feel the next day.

You try explaining the difference between the Episcopal and Roman Catholic Churches to a kid who can't spell "Garage Sale".

You try explaining to another chaperone from a much more affluent church that one of the kids isn't being a pig grabbing three pieces of pizza at a time, but that's how many you told that kid to take at a time, and that kid's hungry 'cause they haven't eaten anything today except a couple of cookies, and their guardian refused to take the 'charity' groceries offered them from the food closet.

You try explaining to the kids that we have to wait another three months for another big event like this because we don't have the money to put it on as an individual church every month.

After a night like I had, I really don't give a flying rat's ass about the American Anglican Council or +Akinola's latest rantings or who the next Presiding Bishop's going to be or even the Da Vinci Code.

I've got kids here who need me.