Monday, August 30, 2010

rounding out the weekend

Thanks to some free tickets being distributed at the county fair a couple of weeks ago, we attended last night's Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration show in Shelbyville, TN. This was the third time I'd been to the Celebration, and each time I marvel at the beauty of the horses and the deceptive ease with which some of the riders appear to set on their horses. I'm also a terrible judge of winners, as none of my "favorites," with one exception, took ribbons anywhere near first!

Oh well, I am not schooled in the traits of walking horses and don't have a clue what to look for. A couple of years ago we attended with a friend who trains, owns and shows walkers, but do you think any of what I learned from her was retained? Ha!

We attended with some friends from church and their neighbors, grabbed dinner en route to the Celebration, and had a ball. It was a beautiful summer night--nary a drop (ounce?) of humidity, a light breeze, and pleasant temperatures. The Celebration goes on for days and days, and this was early in the schedule so attendance was poor, but we had fun cheering on the youngsters (ages 6-11: so cute!), and the oldsters: 70+. Well, frankly, we cheered everyone we were having such a good time.

It was a weekend of outings, a very pleasant change from our usual stay-at-homeness, and I feel refreshed for the week ahead. It's going to be a Pampered Chef week, with a training meeting tonight, an all day training event tomorrow, open house Wednesday night and neighborhood party Thursday night. I've also got the September newsletter to get out for church, and put together a variety of other things for my day job, so it will be a full week.

Off to the hospital in a bit to see a parishioner who was admitted last night. This afternoon giving blood. On a roll!

Hope your week is off to a good start.
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Saturday, August 28, 2010

we love our dogs

Saturday night we trundled off to a small town in the southeastern corner of the county to celebrate our love for dogs. The local "New Leash on Life," formerly the county humane association, sponsored this fundraising event known as the Watertown Art Crawl. Local artisan shops hosted galleries of work by a variety of local artists featuring dogs, of course, and other works that might appeal to animal-lovers. Each of the sponsoring shops (four of them) offered hospitality by way of wine and nibbles, and one, a bakery, had lip-smacking offerings for sale, as well (see strawberry tarts, above).

I actually bid on a couple of pieces via silent auction, but was outbid by others. No harm done. One of them I would have given to my veterinarian friend in St. Louis, Caroline. The other was a nice, colorful rendering of four houses with a scriptural quote that would have gone in my office at the church. I guess my spare change can be hoarded in the jar in the bedroom for another month.

Events like this always inspire me. I feel moved to create something doggish that I can offer for next year's Crawl to help support the efforts of New Leash. I've got a year to work on it, after all! For now we're content to have supported a good cause and had a fun night out.

Friday, August 27, 2010

friday five: dorm edition

At RevGals Martha writes: Mindful that many others are heading off to further schooling or delivering their loved ones to the institutions that provide it, here are five questions about dorm life.

1) What was the hardest thing to leave behind when you went away to school for the first time?
My friends, and my dog. (Mom, take no offense--of course I missed you!)

2) We live in the era of helicopter parents. How much fuss did your parents make when you first left home?
My parents have never been the clingy sort. They encouraged my brothers and me to explore a variety of experiences and try new things. Going off to college fell into that category. I was 700 miles away and in another time zone, and though I missed home I wasn't homesick. They sent me into adulthood equipped with good judgment and a set of values that wouldn't get me in trouble. I had never thought about it before consciously, but I really benefited from a sound upbringing.Thanks Mom! (and Dad!).

3) Share a favorite memory of living with schoolmates, whether in a dorm or other shared housing.
There's a lot of dust on college memories so I will have to think about this one.

4) What absolute necessity of college life in your day would seem hilariously out-of-date now?
A typewriter.

5) What innovation of today do you wish had been part of your life in college?
The computer and Internet.

Bonus question for those whose college days feel like a long time ago: Share a rule or regulation that will seem funny now. Did you really follow it then?
I went to what would be considered a "progressive" school. We didn't have curfews, and I lived not only in a coed dorm but on a coed floor (this was in the 70's). Drinking, of course, was off-limits, and yes, I broke that rule. But I have never been a big drinker or a party girl, so my disregard of that rule was minimal.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

in lieu of post...

Overslept... running late... bible study this morning... will try to write later! In the meantime, more pics from Monday...
Cross takes his first steps without assistance!
I love my boys. I love my family!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

catching up

It's been busy around here! The last few days have been full for us. There have been hospital and pastoral visits, Ken is now a trained volunteer for Alive Hospice and has his first "client," our daughter and family were here for part of the day on Monday, and I've been nose to the grindstone preparing for some PC events. Well, and then there's been the usual church work! I've had limited time at the computer and hate when that happens.

The standout time from the last week has most certainly been the time with our family. The boys are growing so fast! We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at Luke's favorite, Cracker Barrel, then headed to a local park that is a wonderful place for families and kids. The large playground is full of things on which to climb, slide, navigate and test balance. It also includes a small "zip line" that captured Luke's attention and proved a great opportunity for the shutterbug in the family to capture some fun shots.

Cross has a new accessory. The helmet he wears is to correct plagiocephaly, a flattening of the skull that can occur during this stage of growth in infants. The helmet allows for more normal and symmetric development of the skull.  

This is only the second time we've been with the family since Luke was six weeks old (I don't count Kenneth and Trisha's wedding, when there was so much activity and no one-on-one time with them), so Luke is still a bit reserved with us, and doesn't quite know who we are. Ken, the extrovert, wasn't the least affected by this, but it was a little different for me. I am so grateful that we have turned a corner after some difficult years and are moving into a more comfortable and trusting relationship with Ashley and Travis. I am beginning to feel like a grandmother, though I think that will really happen when one of the boys initiates a "moment" with Nana!

Not to dwell on that: Luke loves being in the water, so I rolled up my pant legs and got into the wading pool with my camera. As he splashed around there was so much joy on his face. It was hard to capture those precise moments of elation as he spun about quickly, bu I managed a few good shots, and am happy with those.
Would love to show you more pictures, and maybe will another day, but this will suffice for now. Today I'm buckling down with other tasks on my plate, basking in the glow of growing Nanahood.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

making choices

I've been reflecting on matters of choice, and find that I have a conflict. I've been paying closer attention to two things in my life recently. One is my Pampered Chef business. Barely making ends meet from one month to the next, there are too many things on our to do list that require funding that must come from a supplemental source: PC. Repairing the lawnmower in the middle of summer is high on our priority list. The cost? $400. We could no doubt purchase a push mower for less than this, but we have a John Deere riding mower, the gift to me from a friend when she moved to Phoenix and determined she would no longer need it. It has served me well for 11 years, and when I had roughly an acre to mow, it was a godsend. Living with cardiomyopathy, heat is a danger to Ken's health, requiring a weakened heart muscle to pump harder than normal. Exertion in heat is a risk. No push mowers for us. PC are us!

The other thing to which  I am being attentive is my desire to be more effective in giving voice to gospel values. I don't mean preaching religion. I don't mean preaching Jesus Christ. I mean living the life to which I believe Jesus called us: loving God and our neighbor, honoring every individual, forgiving those who, wittingly or otherwise, cause us hurt or harm, serving those less fortunate than ourselves, advocating justice... You know, human stuff.

Along comes an opportunity via facebook for me to build relationships with PC customers. PC advises against political or other statements that might offend or send customers running away from the service I provide, or worse, from our products and our company. Okay. I tend not to be political on facebook anyway, but occasionally a "page" that I "like" reflects a point of view for all to see. A minor risk, perhaps.

But what happens if, when I'm at a party and customers begin to talk disparagingly about a person or group in a way that I find abhorrent? Do I speak up (tactfully, of course!)? At work I am definitely representing the company. Do I maintain silence so as not to hang a perception on this company I love, in a way that I have been advised not to participate?

What about my values? What about my faith? What about my conviction that, as Edmund Burke is noted for saying: all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing? (Evil is a bit strong here, but the question remains, however we might dilute the power and impact of that word.)  It is easy to say that there are other ways to make money, and perhaps if I am feeling that the constraints of company policy compromise my values, then its time to find other work. Easier said than done, not to mention that I really love PC, and we really need the money.

I suspect that, should these two priorities collide, I will find a way to face and address the moment appropriately. I do, after all, believe that the Holy Spirit empowers us with wisdom at times of significance. More than a belief, this has also been my experience. Just the same, the potential for this dilemma to come to fruition gives me pause to consider my choices, to reflect on what matters, and to weigh my options.

I would be glad to hear what you think.

Friday, August 20, 2010

friday five: the urge to purge

the need to declutter in my space is evident!
At RevGals Jan hit on a familiar topic: Since posting about decluttering, I am still muttering about the need for it in my house. How about you?

1. What things do you like to hang on to?
Photos. Though I have gotten very good at getting rid of pictures that are blurry, full of the backs of peoples heads (you know, those group shots taken in a room where people are mingling or sitting around tables), or redundant.

2. What is hard to let go of?
Things given to me by people I love when those things aren't my taste or don't have a place to "live" except out of sight.

3. What is easy to give away?
Clothes! I have no problem separating myself from what I no longer wear. The harder part is holding on to clothes I think I might fit into again one day. But even there I am getting better at giving those away.

4. Is there any kind of stumbling block connected with cleaning out?
The realization that my life has changed since I acquired various stashes of things: paper for scrapbooking, supplies for stained glass, a full on rainbow of embroidery floss for needlework, even fabric. Since marrying I haven't figured out how to appropriate time for those things. It's something that plagues me and needs attention. I don't mind paring down and parting with things, but neither do I want to yield these supplies with regret.

5. What do you like to collect, hoard, or admire?
It used to be scrapbook paper, but even after paring down I still have a very nice stash. I think fabric is my real achilles heel. Got lots of it, and I ache for more.

Bonus: Tell us about recycling or whatever you can think of that goes along with this muttering about cluttering.
I try to find places or people to give the things with which I am parting: Goodwill for clothes and household goods, the local Senior Center for craft items, and so on. I don't want anything to go to waste on my watch.
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

reporting in

It seems time to make an appearance here. I've not posted in several days because it has been too tempting to rant, and that just didn't seem reader-worthy. I'm afraid that I've been a bit immersed in news stories: op-ed pieces in the Times, Huffington Post (I confess, the site is a bit addictive, especially since I catch up with Jon Stewart there), local news... I'm not sure it's a good thing to be so broadly "informed," as it gets my wee bit of Irish up. On the other hand there's been some damn fine reading out there.

At the top of my reading list, the Islamic Center in downtown Manhattan now known as Park 51. I generally stay away from CNN and MSNBC to avoid becoming a news junkie, so I'm not a follower of Keith Olbermann, but his piece on Park 51 is outstanding. Put in context, reasoned and challenging, it settles the dust that is being kicked up by so many conservatives. By contrast, Bill O'Reilly's mosque rant on Fox News offers no reasoning whatsoever, but name calling, and "what about the feelings?" questions.

Here's what I think about the feelings part of this controversy. Of course the feelings of family members of 9/11 victims matter. Their personal loss is intertwined with a wound to the American psyche, and processing and dealing with the grief and horror of that day is beyond comprehension. Each of them has their own journey to travel as they move into a future that is forever changed by that day. But where they are on that journey has no bearing on this. Ground Zero is not impacted by this. No one is being mocked by the plans of Park 51. The presence of a religious center that represents love and transformation, and promotes mutual respect and understanding is not an insult to those families or the residents of Manhattan. If anything this is a gift, a balm toward healing.

Al-Qaeda is not Islam any more than the KKK is Christianity. And here's the analogy that cuts to the heart of this. If a Christian church was to be built two blocks from the home of a family whose son was lynched, would anyone even notice? Repeat after me. Al-Qaeda is not Islam. 

Combating those who demonize Islam is a challenge. Two members of my church's leadership are totally closed to the notion that anything good can come from that faith, one of them vehemently so. It saddens my heart no end that those who claim to love Christ have such a narrow view. It is not news to anyone that many Christians behave in ways that don't resemble the model or commandments of Christ. That's a tough nut to crack.

As for the Dove World Outreach Church in Gainsville (talk about irony in a name) and their plan to burn copies of the Quran, I heard this morning on the news that they have been denied a burning permit. It's a small strike against hatred, but it's something.

Some excellent reading about the case for gay marriage is found here. I know you all have time for this!

Tomorrow I'll return to a more "normal" rhythm of blogging. And I'll try to stay off the political stuff.

Thanks for stopping by.

UPDATE: Another article about the Islamic Center. This is very well stated.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

blessing the path

Last night a group of family and friends gathered to celebrate the 50th birthday of my friend, Nancy. A part of that celebration was the blessing of the labyrinth she designed and had built in her backyard, and I was honored to be asked to offer that blessing.
It is a thing "beautifully and wonderfully made," laid out according to the design of the labyrinth at Chartres, the most famous of labyrinths. Bricks placed carefully in the ground delineate the path clearly, while being flush with the lawn so as to allow easy mowing and maintenance. I love the symbol of the trinity at its center, as well as the stone benches that offer a place of rest to the journeyer. Solar lights indicate places of turning on the path so that the labyrinth may be used at night. In fact, by the time we had eaten and feted the birthday girl it was dark. Many of the guests walked the labyrinth after the blessing, a consecration of love and witness to the faith that guides and undergirds Nancy's life.

For me, it was also an opportunity to see again friends who bless my spirit with their friendship and their affection, and the hunger I experience for sisterhood found refreshment in their presence.

Thank you, Nancy, for the gift of being part of the celebration of your life, and for the honor of sharing that time with your wonderful family. Thank you, HSs (you know who you are), for loving on me. I love you right back.

Friday, August 13, 2010

friday five: too damn hot

a fresh summer tomato with mozzarella and basil from our garden. yum.
Here in the snow belt state of Wisconsin we long for the first signs of spring--perhaps a crocus poking up through the snow, or a pussy willow bud popping out even beneath ice. The first appearance of robins, that most cheery little hopper of birds, causes widespread rejoicing. Spring is followed by summer, a time for home-grown tomatoes, watermelon, corn on the cob, all sorts of "fests," back yard "fry outs" (what they call a barbecue here, for some reason) and trips near and far.

I love summer, and wait anxiously for it every year. So how is it that we have arrived at the hot and humid "Dog Days" of August, and I have not done nearly enough of what I planned to do? I want to pack in as much as I can before snow flies once again.

How about you? And what is happening for those of you who are in a different hemisphere than I, and it may be cold?

1. What is the weather like where you live?
I live in middle Tennessee. It is horribly, wretchedly, hot and humid, and has been for far too long. And our A/C is not functioning correctly. It was 87 indoors last night at bedtime. I'm thanking the compassion gods right now because the repair guy is here less than 24 hours after my desperate call for help!

2. Share one thing you love about this time of year.
I'm a Yankee transplant. I miss all kinds of things about New England, but this summer I am especially missing summers there: outdoor concerts and festivals, sailing, cookouts that could actually be held outdoors, cool nights, riotous color, craft fairs (I really miss those!)

3. Share one thing you do NOT love about this time of year.
Too hot to enjoy being outdoors for anything. Especially this year. You don't want to see the weeds in my garden.

4. How will you spend the remaining days leading up to Autumn?
Praying that they pass quickly.

5. Share a good summer memory.
My family spent summer vacations on Cape Cod, and I have wonderful memories of those times. I have lots of good summer memories from throughout my life. A standout memory is sailing for a week along the coast of Maine. Incredible weather, wonderful food, good times with friends. The sky was so clear one night that we could see the Milky Way above, and its reflection in the water. I wish there were more opportunities in my life to enjoy times like that.

Bonus: What food says SUMMER to you?
garden tomatoes and corn on the cob
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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

this and that

I'm feeling uninspired this morning, so I've decided to steal from someone else's blog. Kate at Chronicles of a Country Girl posted these questions yesterday, so I'm simply answering them here instead of at her place. Anyone want to play? Post your answers in the comments if you would.

1. What’s your favorite summertime drink?
That would be a gin and tonic when I want an adult beverage. Otherwise I pretty much stick to water with lots of ice.
2. When were you last in Ocean waters?
Technically, when I was on a cruise four years ago. With my own feet in the water? Summer of '05. Body in the water? (hiding my head, thinking it can't be this long ago) Summer of '97, in the Bahamas.

3. When did you last attend a sporting event?
I honestly can't remember. Does watching a game on TV count? I attended virtually! We often watch golf on the weekends (I love Tiger Woods). Oh, wait! Last summer we went to a ball game in which two of our young parishioners were playing!

4. What is your first name? How do you feel about it?
First name is Anne, named after the Ann above. I didn't like it when I was "young." My brothers and their friends would call me Annie Fanny. To this day I hate to be called Annie, although a handful of people can call me that without it making me cringe. Like my high school french teacher!  Otherwise I think I've grown into my name. If only people would spell it correctly now and then!

5. Can you keep a secret?
You bet.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

yes, you matter

I'm not always on a tear about politics. Really. I have a kinder, gentler side.

I suspect that the readers of this blog know that every vote matters. I know that some people only get interested in the big elections, like presidential ones. But local and state elections matter greatly. And there, your vote really does matter. How do I know?

I could tell you the story about a friend of my family who ran twice for public office (state rep, I think), and on both occasions won by one vote. Yes. One. One.

But a more timely example comes from my very own geography from last week's primary.

A race for state senator is hanging in the balance. One candidate appeared victorious as election night waned. Then a second count showed that his opponent edged him out by two votes. Two provisional ballots still needed to be considered, and once tallied the the scales tipped back to suggest a tie. Then a count of absentee ballots by hand, the result of malfunctioning machine that would have scanned the ballots electronically, threw the race into the incumbent's camp by 13 votes.A recount challenge has been issued, and the candidates will wait for two more weeks until the election can be certified.

A community of 2500 in Nashville's Davidson County voted whether or not they wanted to join the Nashville metro region and benefit from the services of that vast municipality. They voted to join the big city. By a margin of one vote. The results are being challenged.

Two Iraq veterans vied for the honor of representing democrats in the House in the district adjacent to ours. Their race ended by a separation of 222 votes. And the three republicans who just about tore each others eyes out during the campaign finished 1-2-3 with 2 and 3 being fewer than 600 votes behind the incumbent.

There were other close races, too, and in small towns and counties, the final tally really can be decided by a handful of voters. Each of us can make a difference in how our communities are governed, and by whom we are represented. Don't take for granted that your views will be carried by others of like minds. Pay attention. Get informed. Vote. Be a part of the process that is democracy, and perhaps we'll find a way to learn together to live together with a little more harmony.

Monday, August 09, 2010

gone missing

This picture is for my mother, who will totally understand its application to the first part of this post. For the rest of my readers, I think you'll be able to determine an appropriate application as well.

With a couple of exceptions I can't account for the last week of my life. In an effort to appease my other half I deferred my morning computer time so that we could have breakfast together. Everything went to you -know-what as a result. A shift in routine wrecked havoc upon my days, and this morning I am able to grasp at my sanity only because that other half is out of the house at an appointment this morning. I'm not blaming him. There's absolutely nothing wrong with the desire to have breakfast together, and that time at the table has been good. It's simply thrown me into chaos in all sorts of ways.

My routine is what it is for a reason, and has evolved to its present (until last week) flow because it is what works for me. The challenge now is to find a way to accomplish two ends: reclaim my sanity and my productivity, and show up for breakfast. If I go missing again for a while you'll know that I have not succeeded in the former effort.

Moving on.... I have to say something about politics. I usually leave this subject off the blog for obvious reasons, but there are days when I just can't keep quiet.

1) Leave Michelle Obama alone. So she and one of her daughters went to Spain. Oh! the expense! Well guess what? It would have cost the same for the taxpayers if she'd stayed on the continent. The secret service and other personnel would be along for the ride no matter where she went, and yes--GASP!--that just happens to cost money. A luxury resort? Where do you think they're going to go, the local Holiday Inn? This is the First Family. Get over it.

2) Mosques. Y'all who are fussing--do your homework. Thoroughly. Here in Tennessee, in New York, wherever a mosque wants to go. This is America, remember? Land of the FREE?? Free to worship, for instance? I understand the sting about proximity to Ground Zero, but I also understand that the greater good is served by the Cordoba Center being in that location. I could point you to a whole bunch of what has been written on the subject that makes so much sense about all this, and says it way better than I could. When times are anxious and uncertain, as they are now, history has shown that human behavior goes all primal, and fear takes control. Here's a newsflash. When life feels out of control, control what you can. That includes getting informed. Don't buy into the first bit of dribble that you hear and believe it to be truth. Get the facts. Learn from history. Better yet, get to know a Muslim. You know, the ones who have been as part of your community as long as you have been. That whole knowledge is power thing? It's true. Get empowered to be a positive, constructive force in this great land of ours.

3) Prop 8 no more. Thank. God. Judge Walker finally articulated something that has been on my mind for a long time about this whole thing: the separation between law and morality. Biblical law and civil law may have parallel applications, but the tenets of a particular religious body are applicable only to believers. By choice. By conviction. They have no business being imposed upon a legal system, especially in a pluralistic society such as ours. Walker's opinion is so clear about all of this. And the idea that his sexuality, whatever it may be, prejudices him? Um, by that argument no one is bias-free. Next?

The antics of all manner of people who claim to have THE angle on truth really worry me. Some of them are running for office, and some of them won primaries. It looks like we are in for some really messy, ugly times ahead. It's at times like this that I wonder what God is doing. Paying attention? It doesn't appear so. Intervening? Show me the evidence. More and more I am convinced that the Almighty's part in all this is to be a resource rather than an actor. God, what in the world were you thinking? I guess if we self-destruct it's what we deserve. Ouch. 

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

feel the burn

The conversations taking place in my head--and occasionally with others--about relationships after death have stirred up some interesting food for thought. I have come to terms, for instance, with the reality that the unresolved tensions in the friendship about which I wrote earlier are fully mine to address. The hurt stemming from a lack of reconciliation before her death arises from questions that can't be answered. Having acknowledged aloud the depth of my hurt, the very act of saying those words has released the pain and healing is underway (thanks, Mom) .There will always be a lingering sadness, I think, that misunderstanding clouded the relationship, but such is life. We carry on.

While contemplating the questions of what becomes of us after death, I had a fresh revelation about a different version of purgatory. The RC doctrine is heavy on punishment. From my view, punishment is unnecessary and fails to reflect a compassionate God. Rather, standing in the face of eternal truth, the process of aligning ourselves with that truth causes a kind of anguish and spiritual pain. Whether you want to call it sin, errors in judgment, actions of malice, or whatever, being stripped of the things that interfered with being and living a life grounded in wholeness and love for which we have not made some effort to atone, is painful. It is the ultimate refiners fire. And again, not literal fire, but the kind of inner pain that comes with transformation. I'm thinking of the moth or butterfly that emerges from the chrysalis, for instance. Spiritual beauty doesn't come without sacrifice.

Maybe the step that takes us from a lifeless body to whatever comes next is really as simple as going into the light, being taken into the arms of Jesus, the bosom of God or the choir of angels. I don't know. But the questions that rise up like the smoke of incense capture our attention and warrant reflection. I don't dwell on these, but for what it's worth the process of turning over in my heart and mind the pain of brokenness has served up a feast for consideration.

Whatever awaits me when that time comes, it is up to me to live a life now that is loving, supportive, giving, and radiates the love and peace that I feel comes from God. However I am able to do that, by whatever means, I seek to do. I fail miserably so often, but each day offers an opportunity to start again, to set my sights afresh on the possibilities and blessings that await, and to be thankful for the opportunity to give it the old college try.

Monday, August 02, 2010

what if?

Yesterday I spent some time talking with my Mom about my recent blog post querying the possibilities for relationships after death. After our conversation I continued to mull over the topic, and at some point I made a stray comment out loud about purgatory. I turned to Ken and said, "what do you think?" He's usually the one who starts theological conversations around here, so the out of the ordinary nature of my inquiry caused him to pause and sit down. We went on to discuss at length the implications of the doctrine of purgatory, as well as a few other theological conundrums, and with the state of the soul after death as our base point, took any number of side trips through the land of Church teaching, personal beliefs, universal salvation, letting Jesus into your heart, and so on.

In the midst of all this conversing McKinlee must have desired a need for attention, because she began making circles at the front door and scratching at her leash on top of the box where it resides nearby. With thoughts of all of the above swirling through my head, I clipped her leash on and opened the front door. And it hit me. A significant Aha!

What if the resurrection was a parable? Parables are used to convey a point. The features of the story didn't necessarily take place, they are told in order to illustrate a teaching, belief, or moral (as in "the moral of the story is..."). The story might be factual but doesn't have to be factual in order to convey truth or make its point. So, what if the point of the resurrection stories is to communicate the reality of God's power to bring new life out of what is no longer, to transform a former existence into something new and possible? Isn't that, after all, how we apply the story to our own lives? If the resurrection is a parable, then we don't have to get bogged down in the details of bodily resurrection and the state of the body at the time of death: how we recognize one another in heaven according to a physical appearance: the debate over cremation. If the resurrection is a parable, we focus on the meaning of it, not the facts of it. Does this not make sense? It does to me.

I'm not saying there was no resurrection of the body. I don't know if there was or not. My faith doesn't depend on the resurrection being factual, so if it's true, great, if it's not, I can live with that. My experience of God's transforming power came long before I paid any attention to the details of resurrection stories, or delved into the theological nuances of it all. This "aha" simply makes sense to me. Just sayin'.

Maybe tomorrow I'll tell you about purgatory!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

mazel tov

There seems to be a great deal of fussing and controversy over Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky's nuptials. Pooh on the lot of you. Whatever your feelings about the Clinton's, Chelsea did nothing to deserve the torrent of wretchedness that is being expressed. If anything, for all that she has endured over the years in the public eye, we should celebrate this time of joy in her life. Want to complain about how much this wedding cost (not that it's anyone's business)? Think about how it has stimulated the economy!

I am thrilled to see the pictures of her looking so radiantly happy, and wish the couple nothing but the best. Mazel tov, Chelsea and Marc. May your life together be long and happy.
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