Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Banned Book Week

Deacon Tim reminds us all it's Banned Book Week. (And reminds me that I really need to update my links to add a bunch of people. Sometime after the move and before November, I promise.)

Top 10 Most Challenged Books as compiled by the American Library Association:
1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
2. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
3. Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
4. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
5. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
6. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
7. It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
8. Scary Stories series by Alvin Schwartz
9. Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey
10. Forever by Judy Blume

I've read all ten of the top 10 challenged books/series of the 21st century. Go me! I've also read 46 of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of the 1990s, AND I've taught three of them to public schoolkids (Julie of the Wolves to 6th graders, A Light in the Attic to 6th graders, and To Kill a Mockingbird to mixed high school teen parents).

I also think the Capitan Underpants series is hysterical. The principal turns into a giant baby wearing a pair of y-fronts! If you don't find that funny, you lead one sad life.

The horribly sad part? Most of the demands for books to be pulled from shelves come from people who think they are unChristian. Um, hello? Christian here. Enjoy Harry Potter, me + Capitan Underpants = ROFL. I didn't like Forever or Of Mice and Men, but that don't mean I think no one should be allowed to read them.

So, exercise your freedoms this week, go to your local library or bookstore and pick one of these books up.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

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Those are the shiny keys to my shiny new house.

Thank you everyone for your prayers.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Prayer request

Hi folks:
A couple weeks back I mentioned I'm being evicted from my house, due to my landlord selling the place. Well, I've got ten days until the deadline, and still no stable housing situation has popped up (I have a couple of couches that people have offered up for surfing, but if you haven't done it before, let me tell you: it sucks donkey balls). If'n you all could pray for me, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

My view during vespers today.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

I Heart My Music Committee

We're singing Faith of our Fathers AND Blessed Assurance on Sunday.

Neener neener neener!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Happy, shiny people holding haaaaands!

For nearly two millennia, Christian women have learned to pray in the language of other people's souls. From worshiping God as father to envisioning a holy life as a military campaign, they've been taught to approach the Divine with the hearts and minds of men.
--from the description of the book She Who Prays on

See, *this* is why I rarely read spirituality books written for women. What the ever-loving flying monkeys? Last time I checked, Deborah, Miriam, and the Blessed Virgin Mary all had girl parts. And that's off the top of my head, and not even getting into the great Mothers of the Church, from St. Mary of Magdalen to St. Brigid to St. Julian, St. Clare of Assisi, the Ss. Teresa (Avila, Liseux, Calcutta)...

I haven't read this book, but I think I know what it's all about, having read others of its ilk. It's about how to be a strong, loving, caring woman without ever raising your voice or causing the status quo to tremble-topple-fall, because God is a big, fluffy bunny who wants everyone to just be happy.

Right now, I tell you what, the language of my soul is mostly obscenities.

When you become a Christian, you aren't issued a Get-Out-of-Life's-Shit-Free card. You have to deal with the same stuff everyone else does. And sometimes dealing with that stuff means taking the hard line and putting up a fight for what's right.

Yes, there's some nice, fluffy, pretty pastoral poetry in the Bible and other spiritual writings, and that can be a comfort. The battle has ultimately been won, Jesus Christ has conquered death, but death has not conceeded defeat. We still have to do battle, Kill Bill style-- twin swords of truth and love freeing our friends, neighbors, and ourselves from the darkness.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tacos and Comics Day: Runaways

So, what DO you do when you discover your parents are the supervillans known as The Pride who control pretty much the entire West Coast?

See comic title.

Let's go over my checklist of Things I Enjoy In My Entertainment:
Good, solid, writing? Check.
Character-driven, with realistic characters? Check.
Things blowing up? Check and mate.

They're teenagers, so they tend to do teenager things, like buy burritos and sugar cereal for breakfast. But they're also gifted with a wide variety of super-powers, from magic to unpowered flight to a telepathic velociraptor from the 82nd century to a poor upbringing. They try to use their powers for good, but most of the time they simply are trying to use them to survive.

While the group is diverse in an after-school special kind of way, Brian K. Vaughn does an excellent job of keeping them from being stereotypical. I think you grow to love these kids not because of their excellent use of pop culture references (when the cops show up in an early issue, they yell, "West Wing!"-- which of course means 'walk fast, talk fast') and not just because we've all felt like we were let down and lied to by our parents, but because they are real, fragile human beings trying to make it in the world.

And they don't always make it.

So far, two of the main Runaways team members have died. Both were, at the time, my favorite character. And, considering the current story arc is called "Dead Means Dead", I don't think we're going to have unstable molecules bringing them back again.

Now, the main reason why I'm dusting off the Tacos and Comics Day format after a looooong hiatus is because the original creators, the aforementioned Mr. Brian K. "I Kill Everyone You Love, Dance, Monkeys, DANCE!" Vaughn and Adrian Alphona are leaving the series after issue #24. When this was announced last week, it was the first thing my Comics Guy said when I walked in the door of the shop. "Did you hear!" "I heard!"

Well, earlier this week, it was announced who was going to take over for Messres Vaughn and Alphona. Art will be handled by Michael Ryan. Writing will be handled by some guy named Joss Whedon.

Who, if you may remember, I've mentioned before.

My first reaction (well, after the jumping up and down and squealing like a fangirl) was, "Oh, crap! EVERYONE'S gonna die!"

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sept. 11th

I wasn't going to write anything to commemorate this day. But if I hear "never forget" one more time, I am going to hurl. I will puke my Wheatabix and my lasagne all over the keyboard.

Why? Because America has forgotten.

Oh, no, we haven't forgotten the tragedy, the families and friends who still struggle today with the senseless death of their loved ones. May light perpetual shine upon those who died, and may God's comfort be with those who still grieve.

What was the motivation behind this attack? Why were the numbers 9/11 engraved upon our memories in dust, fire, blood and smoke?

Oh, the simple answer "Because they hated America."
Why did they hate America enough to give their own lives?

Because of our freedoms. Because our society gave us options on how to act, dress, speak, eat, read, worship. We were a nation with many different peoples, all managing to more-or-less live together in peace.

Now? We've forgotten that. We are a nation splintered, each faction hollering louder than the next that they are the One True Way that will save us all from the Adversary. Tick off the hot buttons on your fingers: war, homosexuality, immigration, wiretapping and domestic espionage... It's all us vs. them.

We've forgotten what happened in those weeks after 9/11. Complete strangers rented cars together and drove cross-country, some towards home, some towards the rescue and recovery efforts. We emptied our pockets into jars for charities. We prayed, ferverently, for peace.

And in five years, we've forgotten everything that united us, and latched on to the fear that divides us.

St. Mychael Judge and all the martyrs of New York and Pennsylvania,
Pray for us.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

First Night of Choir Rehersal

Whomever said "They who sing, pray twice" was a liar.

Because when you're singing in the choir, you're so worried about where you are, and how to pronounce the word "the", and whether or not you're drowning out the person next to you, and whether the sweat rolling down your back (in January) is leaving salt stains on your choir robe, and dear God, am I sharp or is that the piano?

Oh, and yeah, there's a worship service going on, praise God, where are the cough drops and WHO STOLE MY HYMNAL?!

Someone once told me "The Devil enters the church through the choir." And that has NOTHING to do with the fact that, as a young choir member, I once started a water fight during the Children's Sermon.

I didn't volunteer for the choir. As a matter of fact, I was invited to join at several times during the last year I've been attending A Certain Church, and each time I plead conflicting appointments. About two months ago, however, they sent in the big guns.

No, not the music director, someone with even more power and prestige: one of the Elders.

(Yes, yes, I know Episcopalians don't really have appointed and anointed Elders [and why don't we?], but trust me, they are around.)

"You're joining the choir this year," she told me.

"Okay," I said. Because, well, what else could I say?

(If you say, "Well, you could have said 'No', you've never been faced with an appointed and anointed [unofficial] Elder.)

So, on Sunday, for the first time in over a year, I will once again put on vestments and become a part of the worship leaders. I have my pencil, post-its, hymnal, music binder, and fan all ready.

God bless the singers, who pray twice (at the beginning of the service "Dear God, don't let me mess up!" and at the end "Thank God it's over!")