Because I do not hope to turn again Because I do not hope Because I do not hope to turn Desiring this man’s gift and that man’s scope I no longer strive to strive towards such things (Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?) Why should I mourn The vanished power of the usual reign? Because I do not hope to know again The infirm glory of the positive hour Because I do not think Because I know I shall not know The one veritable transitory power Because I cannot drink There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again Because I know that time is always time And place is always and only place And what is actual is actual only for one time And only for one place I rejoice that things are as they are and I renounce the blessed face And renounce the voice Because I cannot hope to turn again Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something Upon which to rejoice And pray to God to have mercy upon us And pray that I may forget These matters that with myself I too much discuss Too much explain Because I do not hope to turn again Let these words answer For what is done, not to be done again May the judgement not be too heavy upon us Because these wings are no longer wings to fly But merely vans to beat the air The air which is now thoroughly small and dry Smaller and dryer than the will Teach us to care and not to care Teach us to sit still. Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.
In the afternoon, a couple of us gathered at the bus stop shelter at Randolph Ave and W 7th and offered ashes for foreheads and candles to light. Many walked by–curious looks and sideways glances. We had a few conversations with (guilt-ridden) lapsed Catholics.
Two Occupy kids paused and asked, “Will you give me ashes even if I’m holding this sign?” Um, of course.
(Read between the lines: will the church take me as I am? Or, will God take me as I am?)
Um, let’s hope so.
”—Pastor Jodi Houge, “Ashes, Bus Stops, and Parks”
I retain from my childhood and my experiences growing up, a suspicion of dogma. And I’m not somebody who is always comfortable with language that implies I’ve got a monopoly on the truth, or that my faith is automatically transferable to others.
I’m a big believer in tolerance. I think that religion at it’s best comes with a big dose of doubt. I’m suspicious of too much certainty in the pursuit of understanding just because I think people are limited in their understanding.
The Photopic Sky Survey is a 5,000 megapixel photograph of the entire night sky stitched together from 37,440 exposures. Large in size and scope, it portrays a world far beyond the one beneath our feet and reveals our familiar Milky Way with unfamiliar clarity. When we look upon this image, we are in fact peering back in time, as much of the light—having traveled such vast distances—predates civilization itself.
Seen at a depth thousands of times more faint than the dimmest visible star, tens of millions of other suns appear, still perhaps only a hundredth of one percent thought to exist in our galaxy alone. Our Milky Way galaxy is the dominant feature, its dusty arms sweeping through the frame, punctuated by red clouds of glowing hydrogen. To the lower right are our nearest neighbors, each small galaxies themselves with their own hundreds of millions of stars.
“The church has made us Galileo, who, legend says, whispered, “But still it moves!” when theologians forced him to recant his discovery that the Earth revolves around the sun.”—Maura Casey, “Catholic women must speak out about birth control,” Star Tribune
“Sure, this war on women from the right wing of politics is nothing new. But the fact that things that seem so basic – like birth control is important and should be accessible basic – coming under attack is pretty fucking ludicrous. I keep thinking the Republican presidential candidates have arrived in our dimension from 1952 via a hidden rip in the space-time continuum. But no, here we are in 2012 talking about why it’s bad to exclude women from the conversation when we’re talking about women’s bodies. Though, maybe that Indiana idiot is onto something – I was a Girl Scout and I’m a feminist and gay lady and while not a Communist, I do believe some careful application of socialist principles could help our country a great deal. Also, their cookies are delicious.”—Dorothy, “My Lady Business, Myself”
Shame and eating for a poor fat girl is a layered thing. There was the shame of being hungry, of feeling watched every time I put something to my mouth. And there was also the shame that had to be endured just to get the food in the first place. People make a lot of assumptions about poor folks on welfare. Like we’re all just taking a vacation on the system. Somehow my large body seemed to prove that point. So all of a sudden I was not just deciding on food for my ten year old self, I was also trying to guess at what would please every tax payer around me so that they wouldn’t think I was ungrateful. So I could earn the right to eat at all.
“The way for the creative community (and indeed, the entire world) to address anti-gay bullying is not through weepy portraits of its victims, but through SHEER RAGE. Forget “It Gets Better.” Show us a campaign against gay teen bullying called “THIS HAS TO STOP RIGHT NOW” and we’ll sign on in nano-seconds. Because the people who need to address anti-gay bullying definitely aren’t the victims – and not the bullies, either. it’s society that needs to change its attitudes toward gays, from the top down. And when the majority of people are righteously angered by any attempts to dehumanize gays or treat them as inferior – and more importantly, moved to act on that anger, rather than sitting at their computers and shaking their heads over it – then anti-gay bullying will practically evaporate. Every time a gay kid takes his life, it’s not he who’s at fault, nor is it the parents, the bullies, the church or the school district. WE ARE. WE ALL ARE.”—www.tomandlorenzo.com (via tomandlorenzo)
This is not a season of taking up self-denial, it’s a season of relinquishment. We let go of all the pretenses and destructive independence from God. We let go of defending ourselves. We let go of our indulgent self-loathing.
Like the prodigal son we then begin to see a loving God running with abandon to welcome us home. But we can’t begin to see this God until we turn from our arrogance and certainty and cynicism and ambivalence.
The Psalmist says that God delights in the truth that is deep in us. The truth. God doesn’t delight in the purity of our doctrine or the perfection of our piety. God delights in the truth and wisdom underneath all the overgrowth of despair and false pride.
Therefore there’s no shame in the truth of who we are; the broken and blessed beloved of God. There’s no shame in the truth that our lives on earth will all end and that we are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves.
It’s not depressing. What’s depressing is the desperation of trying to pretend otherwise.
“Because here’s the thing: while you can — if you really work hard to do it — find verses here and there supporting a more conservative political point of view on certain specific issues, there is simply no way to read the Bible I read and not come to the conclusion that it is overwhelmingly supportive of helping the poor, showing mercy to the weak, refraining from judging, treating others as you would treat yourself, calling on the wealthy to give their money to the poor, and all kinds of other liberal, lefty, progressive values. You would have to ignore a great deal of Genesis and Exodus, with their talk of being our brother’s keeper and bringing justice to the poor, oppressed slaves in Egypt; you would have to skip over a great many of the verses of Psalms with its poetry about justice and mercy for the poor and the widow; you would have to avoid the books of the Prophets almost entirely since so much of what they are angry about is the Israelite society’s mistreatment of poor people and immigrants in their midst. Then there is the New Testament, where between St. Paul, the relatives of Jesus, and the big guy himself, there are so many verses on these subjects that it is virtually impossible to ignore them.”—Mike Lux, “What Bible Is Santorum Reading?”, Huffington Post
But when sin is boiled down to low self esteem and immorality then it becomes something we can control or limit in some way rather than something we are bondage to. The reality is that I cannot free myself from the bondage of self. I cannot keep from being turned in on self. I cannot by my own understanding or effort disentangle myself from my self interest and when I think that I can …I am trying to do what is only God’s to do.
To me, there is actually great hope in admitting my mortality and brokenness because then I finally lay aside my sin management program and allow God to be God for me. Which is all any of us really need when it comes down to it.
”—Nadia Bolz-Weber, “Why I love Ash Wednesday and Lent, Part 1: Sin”
“Let every Apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord, but let him not stay more than one day, or if need be a second as well; but if he stay three days, he is a false prophet. And when an Apostle goes forth let him accept nothing but bread till he reach his night’s lodging; but if he ask for money, he is a false prophet.”—
Chapter four of the Didache, the document from 100 CE called “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles”, on how to identify a false prophet / apostle.
Basically: if you mooch off the hospitality and generosity of Christians, more than your due, you are a false prophet.
“On this Wednesday, we submit our ashen way to you —
you Easter parade of newness.
Before the sun sets, take our Wednesday and Easter us,
Easter us to joy and energy and courage and freedom;
Easter us that we may be fearless for your truth.
Come here and Easter our Wednesday with
mercy and justice and peace and generosity.”—from “Marked by Ashes,” by Walter Brueggeman
“True gender equality is actually perceived as inequality. A group that is made up of 50% women is perceived as being mostly women. A situation that is perfectly equal between men and women is perceived as being biased in favor of women.
And if you don’t believe me, you’ve never been a married woman who kept her family name. I have had students hold that up as proof of my “sexism.”
My own brother told me that he could never marry a woman who kept her name because “everyone would know who ruled that relationship.” Perfect equality – my husband keeps his name and I keep mine – is held as a statement of superiority on my part.”— Lucy, When Worlds Collide: Fandom and Male Privilege.
“But women’s ordination cannot be treated as a side issue, nor can divorcees, homosexuals, and the disabled be reduced to “complex peoples who … are greater than their troubles” (xii). This is not adiaphora. Either I can be taken fully as myself, or the body of Christ is not the body.”—
- me, on a book assigned for class
General rule for my professors: be warned that if you assign a text that, on the second page of the introduction, states that:
"Only so [by compassion] can we see behind the status of divorce, or homosexuality, or disability to discover complex persons who possess gifts and wholenesses that are greater than their troubles and unseen by the unloving" …
then I will get, as this culture calls women who stand up for themselves …
*Adiaphora: Greek word for things that aren’t essential to faith - what we wear to worship, for example. To say something is not adiaphora, for me, essentially means “the truth of the gospel hangs on this.”
“I am more and more convinced that the fewer options and choices we offer grieving families— the more we can say, “We will do eucharist and dine with all the saints, including your loved one. We will sing hymns and if you don’t know good ones, we do. Here are a few good readings to consider. We do what we do and you don’t have to make lots of decisions; we will handle it, just show up and the community will support you,” sometimes the better off we are.”—Erik Doughty’s great summary of the blog post “Why You Will Need A Priest, If You’re Lucky”
“We preach from the middle places, from the places that are between the rocks and hard spots of life. We preach out of our brokenness. We preach out of our sin. We preach despite ourselves, the words of hope and faith spoken through clenched teeth as we realize the words, even as they tumble out of our mouths, are for us. The Spirit takes hold of us and, despite all our protest, draws out our innermost selves, places us at the altar, and says, “This meal is for you.” “I’m not hungry,” we say, starting to cry, trying to refuse our stomach gnawing at our insides. And we eat, still in tears, because we realize - for the first time - the Voice telling us we are beautiful, that we are loved, that we are chosen, is Real.”—Mandy Brobst-Renaud, “Preaching from the Middle”
“Rather than change I won’t recognize, I’m more afraid of getting stuck in a deep unjust rut that we all recognize, but which we ultimately despise.”—Rev. Adam Copeland, “A Place We Don’t Recognize Anymore”
Congratulations (and the peace of the Lord) to Pastor Ann Svennungsen, the new bishop-elect of the Minneapolis Area Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Among our “mutual friends” on facebook are Rev. Barbara Lundblad (excellent preacher and partnered lesbian clergy); Rev. Bradley Schmeling (excellent preacher and partnered gay clergy); a fellow I know from the Gay Men’s Bible Study in my days at Saint Paul Ref; Erik Christensen (partnered gay clergy); and Professor Dirk Lange, liturgy and confessions expert and former brother of Taize.
I count all that as “good”.
Praise the Lord! Pastor Ann will be phenomenal. This is great news.
On a somewhat serious note today because of a conversation the other day:
I am sure every girl can recall, at least once as a child, coming home and telling their parents, uncle, aunt or grandparent about a boy who had pulled her hair, hit her, teased her, pushed her or committed some other playground crime. I will bet money that most of those, if not all, will tell you that they were told “Oh, that just means he likes you”. I never really thought much about it before having a daughter of my own. I find it appalling that this line of bullshit is still being fed to young children. Look, if you want to tell your child that being verbally and/or physically abused is an acceptable sign of affection, I urge you to rethink your parenting strategy. If you try and feed MY daughter that crap, you better bring protective gear because I am going to shower you with the brand of “affection” you are endorsing.
When the fuck was it decided that we should start teaching our daughters to accept being belittled, disrespected and abused as endearing treatment? And we have the audacity to wonder why women stay in abusive relationships? How did society become so oblivious to the fact that we were conditioning our daughters to endure abusive treatment, much less view it as romantic overtures? Is this where the phrase “hitting on girls” comes from? Well, here is a tip: Save the “it’s so cute when he gets hateful/physical with her because it means he loves her” asshattery for your own kids, not mine. While you’re at it, keep them away from my kids until you decide to teach them respect and boundaries.
My daughter is 10 years old and has come home on more than one occasion recounting an incident at school in which she was teased or harassed by a male classmate. There has been several times when someone that she was retelling the story to responded with the old, “that just means he likes you” line. Wrong. I want my daughter to know that being disrespected is NEVER acceptable. I want my daughter to know that if someone likes her and respects her, much less LOVES her, they don’t hurt her and they don’t put her down. I want my daughter to know that the boy called her ugly or pushed her or pulled her hair didn’t do it because he admires her, it is because he is a little asshole and assholes are an occurrence of society that will have to be dealt with for the rest of her life. I want my daughter to know how to deal with assholes she will encounter throughout her life.
For now, I want my daughter to know that if someone is verbally harassing her, she should tell the teacher and if the teacher does nothing, she should tell me. If someone physically touches her, tell the teacher then, if it continues, to yell, “STOP TOUCHING/PUNCHING/PUSHING ME” in the middle of class or the hallway, then tell me. Last year, one little boy stole her silly bandz from her. He just grabbed her and yanked a handful of them off of her wrist. When I went to the school to address the incident, the teacher smiled and explained it away to her, in front of me, “he probably has a crush on you”. Okay, the boy walked up to my daughter, grabbed and held her by the arm and forcibly removed her bracelets from her as she struggled and you want to convince her that she should be flattered? Fuck off. I am going to punch you in the face but I hope you realize it is just my way of thanking you for the great advice you gave my daughter. If these same advice givers’ sons came home crying because another male classmate was pushing them, pulling their hair, hitting them or calling them names, I would bet dollars to donuts they would tell him to defend themselves and kick the kid’s ass, if necessary. They sure as shit wouldn’t say, “he probably just wants a play date”.
I will teach my daughter to accept nothing less than respect. Anyone who hurts her physically or emotionally doesn’t deserve her respect, friendship or love. I will teach my boys the same thing as well as the fact that hitting on girls doesn’t involve hitting girls. I can’t teach my daughter to respect herself if I am teaching her that no one else has to respect her. I can’t raise sons that respect women, if I teach them that bullying is a valid expression of affection.
The next time that someone offers up that little “secret” to my daughter, I am going to slap the person across the face and yell, “I LOVE YOU”.
On the gurney lay a young woman the color of white marble. The red pool between her legs, ominously free of clots, offered a silent explanation.
“She arrived a few minutes ago. Not even a note.” My resident was breathless with anger, adrenaline, and panic.
I had an idea who she went to. The same one the others did. The same one many more would visit. A doctor, but considering what I had seen he could’t have any formal gynecology training. The only thing he offered that the well-trained provers didn’t was a cut-rate price. If you don’t know to ask, well, a doctor is a doctor. That’s assuming you are empowered enough to have such a discussion. I was also pretty sure his office didn’t offer interpreters.
I needed equipment not available in an emergency room. I looked at the emergency room attending. “Call the OR and tell them we need a room. Now.” And then I turned to my resident. I was going to tell him to physically make sure a room, any room, was ready when we arrived, but he had already sprinted towards the stairs. He knew.
“Racism is still a really big issue in this country especially around immigration right now. The way Mexicans are treated in this country is absolutely miserable. I mean let’s think about the major stereotypes of Mexican people. Mexicans are lazy. The other one, Mexicans take all the jobs. How the hell do those two things work together? Exactly. How can you be lazy and still manage to take all the jobs? Well you see, some Mexicans are lazy and some Mexicans work really hard. You mean like all people? You mean like all human beings? If your argument is that Mexicans are like all human beings, well, than you’re just a really bad racist. That’s some poor racism. You should just get out of the racism game.”—Hari Kondabolu - Mexican Stereotypes