Saturday, November 10, 2007

Dynamic Tradition

JN1034 has a post today on Holy Tradition as something radically other than static, fixed, and past-oriented. The title summarizes the content:
Holy Tradition — Dynamic Generations of the Holy Spirit, Incessantly Expanding God’s Energies, Forever Constant in Essence
I recommend reading the whole post; it's not very long though the translated text is full of technical Greek theologisms. You will catch the drift at least.

What this brought to my mind concerning tradition (paradosis in Greek) is that Christ did not hand us dogma, he gave us the Spirit ("his own first gift to those who believe" as our Eucharistic Prayer D says).

And that is pretty amazing.

Nothing could be more dynamic or future-oriented.


--the BB

A sign of the times

I saw this photo over at Group News Blog and felt compelled to share it.

And speaking of that fine site--a group that kept on blogging after the blogging community lost the brilliant, informed, passionate, and eloquent Steve Gilliard--I commend to your attention the article by Lower Manhattanite on wiretapping posted today [link].

It says in part:
Which is why this fight over the telecom immunity proposal is something that should NOT be given up on, even after it passes through the Senate like the corn-studded abomination we all know it to be. Yes, the “consideration” was ”delayed” a week as news like Klein's bombshell hit the bill's superstructure...and yes, our good friend, Dianne Feinstein—Cali's biggest whore since Mary Carey, is running a “Specter”—feigning concern now, so she can quietly relent on news-dump Friday next week as her check from her telecom masters clears. We—me, you—need to contunue to make this an issue all through the election season, and post-the 08's.

Because dammit, that's the last bastion, ya'll.
And may I just say that Dianne Feinstein surpasses Mary Carey and any other whore California has ever produced. Voting for an anti-flag-burning amendment to the United States Constitution was the last straw for me and I told her I would never vote for her again. A rather long succession of abominable votes has followed that incident. She clearly does not care about Constitutional government or the People of this nation. Now that I am in New Mexico , voting against her is not an option but if it were I'd fly back to my home state of California just to do it.

The Wikipedia article on Steve Gilliard is here.

UPDATE: Be sure to check out Glenn Greenwald's article in Salon on Feinstein, whom Greenwald calls "Bush's key ally in the Senate." Says it all.

A taste of Greenwald:
Dianne Feinstein may be betraying the overwhelming majority of her constituents. But as a result of her "heroic" work in the Senate, her husband sure is getting richer. And she is beloved -- just beloved -- by Arlen Specter, Trent Lott, Fred Hiatt and George W. Bush. And in Beltway World, that is far, far more important.

Yes, in my mama's way of putting it, DiFi has made me lose my Christianity on numerous occasions.
--the BB

Passing on the faith

Episcopal Café has a post up titled "Appealing to emerging adults." It discusses an article in Christianity Today's Books & Culture magazine about "emerging adulthood," the period from roughly 18 to 30 years of age. The original article by Christian Smith is called "Getting a Life: The challenge of emerging adulthood." Smith looks at factors that shape this period, something anomalous in most of history where children enter adulthood early and definitively.

EC looks at part of Smith's article that considers Jeffrey Arnett's interviews with over one hundred emerging adults and concludes:
The most interesting and surprising feature of emerging adults' religious beliefs is how little relationship there is between the religious training they received throughout childhood and the religious beliefs they hold at the time they reach emerging adulthood … . In statistical analyses [of interview subjects' answers], there was no relationship between exposure to religious training in childhood and any aspect of their religious beliefs as emerging adults … . This is a different pattern than is found in adolescence [which reflects greater continuity] … . Evidently something changes between adolescence and emerging adulthood that dissolves the link between the religious beliefs of parents and the beliefs of their children.

My first reaction is that this "something" that changes might be learning to think for oneself. Homogeneous cultures appear to place a higher value on conforming to traditional belief than a multi-cultural society possibly can. When there is one item on the menu, that is what you eat. Even if you have dozens of creative potato dishes, if potato is all there is you will be consuming potatoes, whether baked, fried, roasted, mashed, curried, scalloped, or elegantly piped à la dauphine. A larger menu with all manner of foods allows choice. If you have ever been in a cafeteria line behind someone trying to decide, you realize this is a gift and sometimes a dilemma.

Here is what I began writing to a friend in response to the EC article:
If the beliefs that parents teach are a load of irrelevant claptrap, can you possibly expect their offspring to carry it around forever? Whereas if you teach children honesty, integrity, tolerance, compassion, generosity, and openness to the world around them, might that not have a better survival rate than mythologies do? And might your mythology not survive better if it actually ties into the values mentioned above?

[I am not using "mythology" in any pejorative sense but in the more technical sense of language and stories about the divine (god-talk and tales of origin and ultimate meaning). If you are more comfortable with "creed" or "doctrine" in place of "mythology," please make the appropriate substitutions.]

We are currently going through vast cultural, technological, and historical shifts. A framework that may have been adequate for a few hundred years might not survive a decade now as the ways we conceive the world (social, physical, and technological) changes rapidly.

If we are teaching the externals of mythologies instead of the timeless internal truths and values the stories and imagery are meant to convey, then we are dealing not with something living but with hand-me-down clothes. Teaching one's children a religious faith shaped in the days of one's Victorian great-grandmother is not likely to equip them for life in a post-modern world. Inculcating in them a literal belief in a three-story universe is so totally retro that words almost fail me. [But you know I will keep typing anyway.] We use three-story language because it fits our ordinary perception and there is nothing wrong with that but we need to move beyond that limited perception, just as children move into abstract thinking and realize that the larger body of evidence shows that the world is not flat.

All of which makes me wonder what the emerging adults interviewed by Arnett were taught. What sorts of religious beliefs did they abandon and why?

I am interested because by the time I was a senior in college I was putting everything I believed up for grabs except that Jesus was Lord and I was (and remain) his. All else was on the table for examination and potential rejection. Much of what I was taught did not survive. The essential parts of Christian faith (at least by my standards) remain and inform my approach to everything. I still preach from the Bible, use Jesus' life and teachings as my standard, am assertively trinitarian, and believe (thank God) in grace. Like Grandmère Mimi, I continue to desire personal holiness. I could provide a long list of what I have junked but aren't the essentials more important?

Clearly the Global South Primates would not agree with that last rhetorical question. Their problem, not mine. I am not going to play the "we're all in this together" game when some of the players refuse to play nice, in other words: when they insist that we all play by their rules and not a larger encompassing structure we can all agree on. Frankly, it's not their football or mine, it's God's football. We had better hope the Holy One does not take that football and go home or we are all out of the game. I think it might help if we all stop acting as if the football belonged to us.

Go Bears! Go Bruin! Go Sagehens! Go Lobos!

There, that's all the rah-rah you are getting out of me this Saturday morning. Shabbat shalom!
--the BB

Friday, November 09, 2007

Yes, I would rather like a (paid) vacation

El Rancho del Obispo, Russian River Valley
Diocese of California retreat center
--the BB

In your heart

St Nektarios the Wonderworker,
of Ægina, Metropolitan of Pentapolis

Photo courtesy of JN1034

SEEK GOD daily. But seek Him in your heart, not outside it. And when you find Him, stand with fear and trembling, like the Cherubim and the Seraphim, for your heart has become a throne of God. But in order to find God, become humble as dust before the Lord, for the Lord abhors the proud, whereas He visits those that are humble in heart, wherefor He says: "To whom will I look, but to him that is meek and humble in heart?" [Source]

--St Nektarios, whose feast is today

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Friday Prince Blogging

The Royal Laotian Flag
The glamor!
The blue jeans!
Crown Prince Soulivong Savang of Laos

There are tidbits one wants to know: " Prince Soulivong Savang is a good dancer, singer and musician." (Source) He lives in exile in Paris. He was born on my 17th birthday, so we share the feast of Dame Julian of Norwich.

The constitutional monarchy of Laos was done away with in 1975 when the Communist Pathet Lao took over.

An article in the New York Times from August 13, 2000, says:
Nearly 20 years ago, an 18-year-old prince, heir to a doomed Asian royal line, commandeered a small boat and sailed unnoticed with his brother and their nanny across the Mekong River from Laos to Thailand. Laos had become a Communist nation, in the orbit of neighboring Vietnam, and the prince, Soulivong Savang, feared being co-opted or killed.

Two decades later, the prince -- grandson of the last king of Laos, who died mysteriously in Communist captivity with the prince's father and other relatives -- is beginning to reassert his claim of leadership.

Poetry Poll

No, not one of those statistical thingies; way too techie for me and not really what I'm after.

I thought it might be fun to share answers and musings on the following question:

What poem has affected you deeply?

There may be more than one, of course. Encouraged variants include: What poem did you enjoy memorizing? Do you still like to recite? What poem opened up new vistas for you? What poem's words still send shivers down your spine? What poem shocked you into mindfulness? Changed your point of view?

To all of which must be appended: Why?

I have to think about this one myself, so I will post with an update.

Methought we might be introduced to new works, new poets, and new insights to "old" poetry this way. I am eager to read what y'all have to share.

UPDATE: One poem that has affected me profoundly is Vergil's Aeneid. You can tell I actually read it (or much of it) because I spell Vergil the old Latin way (for Publius Vergilius Maro). I fell in love with Vergil's language and the oft-touted Vergilian simile. I became so engrossed in the whole complex of stories around the Trojan War (with a decided bias for the Trojans) that I will often begin to cry when parts of it are retold or re-enacted.

At age 16 I was translating the scene where Queen Hecuba finds King Priam doddering over to put on his armor and she tells him the battle is lost, he's too old to fight, and it's time to hang it up. Amid this conversation one of their sons is chased into their presence and slain right before a holy altar. I wept. In my mid-50s I was recounting this tale to someone unfamiliar with the whole myth of Troy. She was a Spanish tutor so I sat down and translated the same scene only this time into the best Spanish I could muster instead of English. I used the original Latin and a couple of English translations to do it. And I wept again.

I had read the story of Troy but the Aeneid made it more personal. When I read the Greek tragedies in later years they too were very human, very personal, very immediate.

Every once in a while I try to come up with a good simile, very much wanting it to be lovely, apt, and haunting in the way that Vergil's were. Ya gotta have a dream.

Conticuere omnes intentique ora tenebant
inde toro pater Aeneas sic orsus ab alto:

Infandum, regina, iubes renouare dolorem,
Troianas ut opes et lamentabile regnum
eruerint Danai, quaeque ipse miserrima uidi 5
et quorum pars magna fui.

--the BB

Nada te turbe

Mount Tamalpais viewed from Mare Island (15 March 2005)

Nada te turbe;
nada te espante;
todo se pasa;
Dios no se muda,
la pacïencia
todo lo alcanza.
Quien a Dios tiene,
nada le falta.
Solo Dios basta.

Saint Teresa of Ávila

Alert readers may have noticed alternation between angry or downcast posts (the political ones) and calming or uplifting ones. I am clearly trying to bring myself back to center but I cannot ignore the atrocities being done in our name (around the world and on the Hill).
--the BB

Fitness to serve

Photo courtesy of

I was thinking that, in line with the issues we face today on both foreign and domestic fronts, it might be appropriate to add an item to our screening for presidential appointments. No one should come before the Senate for advice and consent before being waterboarded. I am certain that if Mukasey had experienced this procedure he would not have so much trouble deciding whether it constituted torture or not. The weasel in the White House came to Mukasey's defense by saying the nominee had not been fully briefed on this issue. Well, what could inform him better than to experience it first-hand?

You want to be Attorney General? Then you should know what you will be authorizing. Or, perhaps, you might realize that no sane person with any morals would ever authorize such a procedure.

Might do a world of good for Dick the dick and President pissypants too. Whaddya think?
--the BB

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Thursday Constitution Blogging

Article. VI.
Clause 1: All Debts contracted and Engagements entered into, before the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.

Clause 2: This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

Clause 3: The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.

This little review is here to remind us all about the supreme Law of the Land. You will note that it includes the Constitution itself, laws made in Pursuance thereof, and treaties made under the Authority of the United States. That, my friends, includes the Geneva Conventions,

Note also that members of Congress and other pesons acting in official capacity as part of our government shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation to support this Constitution. Are your elected representatives upholding it? Are thy upholding the Bill of Rights, for instance? These are good questions to ask--to ask ourselves and ask our representatives. They are accountable to that oath.

Oh, here's a nice little item: no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States. I like that. Have you heard questions about the candidates' religious beliefs in the current presidential campaign? Now just WTF does that have to do with a secular government of a pluralistic nation? Nothing! Very good. You may belong to any religious group or none, possess any religious belief or none, and be fully qualified, under our supreme law, to hold office and fulfill it with competence and integrity.

Perhaps you've heard some yahoos rattle on about non-Christian influences in our society. Do these yahoos hate our nation? Why would they raise such a non-issue unless they don't like democracy and would rather have a theocracy? Well, if they want a theocracy, perhaps they might like to join with other theocrats like Osama bin Laden; but that must makes me wonder why they hate America? And then question the loyalty of people who do love our Constitution. Hmmph. Asshats.

Well, this post has been brought to you by the Founders of the United States of America and the wonders of modern technology that allow me to look at texts online and share them with y'all.

What it's all about:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Remember--Democracy is not a spectator sport.
--the BB

Start anew each day - updated with new link

[Sunrise photo courtesy of Jim Wegryn]

Akhnaten had his hymn to the sun. Here is a portion of mine, from my fantasy series.

Kindle anew the life of every creature
Melt the ice of our hearts and water our souls
Daystar, lifegiver, accept this morning song
Raised with gratitude from earth to sky
Journey bravely forth, we welcome you
Brightest of stars, beloved of heaven and earth

(c) 2006, 2007 Paul E Strid

--the BB

There are times

...when you just feel under attack. I look at our national political situation and feel that the weasels are definitely winning.
Breathe deeply.

Sit upright.

Gently close eyes.


--the BB

Save us and guide us safely home

From the Lindisfarne Litany, (c) 1996 Paul E Strid:

Most High and Glorious,
Lowly and Generous,
Sweet God, Strong and Swift to Save,

By your joy in making all things,
By your passion in saving all things,
By your grace in keeping all things,

Hear the prayers of your servants,
Give ear to the prayers of your friends,
Hearken to the voice of those who love you,
And show mercy to those who know not your love;

Fashion anew your image in us,
Keep us by your tender love,
Save us and guide us safely home;

For your own sake, Who pity mortal flesh,
For your own dear sake, Who took our mortal flesh,
For your mercy's sake, Who are the Life of mortal flesh,

Holy and Glorious, Gracious Three,
Save us and guide us safely home,
Save us and guide us safely home.

--the BB

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Death to the PG-13


No, "fucked" didn't even come into the equation.
This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

death (10x)
torture (9x)
dead (4x)
pain (2x)
pooped (1x)

So, I ask y'all: how can one talk about what is happening in our world and "keep it safe"? You can't. The world is not safe, or tidy, or nice.

A glorious adventure? Yes. But messy and painful.

Death of a Nation

From the N Y Times
WASHINGTON, Nov. 6 — The Senate Judiciary Committee voted on Tuesday to approve the nomination of Michael B. Mukasey as attorney general despite opposition from most of the committee’s Democrats over Mr. Mukasey’s refusal to label a harsh interrogation technique used on terrorist suspects as torture.

Times Topics: Michael B. Mukasey
The vote, 11 to 8, with two Democrats joining all of the committee’s Republicans in supporting Mr. Mukasey, all but assured him of final confirmation by the full Senate. The Senate’s Democratic leaders are expected to schedule a vote by next week.

America cannot be destroyed from without. She is too strong, too diverse, and too resilient. We would unite in an instant against an attacking, invading, or occupying force. (Precisely what the Iraqis are doing with respect to us--duh!)

But we can be destroyed from within. Should it happen, it would be gradual.

Did I say "should it happen"?

My friends, it is happening.

Free speech? In restricted zones.

Free press? Not with deregulation and the consolidation of media into a few hands.

Privacy? Not when the Fourth Amendment is shredded and warrantless search and seizure are allowed.

Right to a speedy trial, confrontation by accusers, and knowledge of charges? Not when you can be seized on the President's sole say-so and "rendered."

Human rights? Civil rights? Legal rights? You don't have any in the eyes of Chenery, Bush, and their gang of thugs.

Is waterboarding torture? Historians seem to think so when it was used by the Inquisition. American jurisprudence thought so when it was used by the Japanese in WWII. The world thought so when it was used by the Khmer Rouge. People who have witnessed it or voluntarily submitted to it think so. It certainly violates international law to which the United States is a signatory. The whole world thinks it's torture.

But Mukasey is not sure, because if he came out and said waterboarding was torture, then that would put the highest echelons of the administration in violation of the law. Yes, the US Code. Can there be any question that authorizing torture constitutes a high crime?

Mukasey is not certain whether the President is subject to the law either. There might just be exceptions, you know.

And the United States Senate is likely to consent to this man being the chief legal officer of this nation?

Granted, we are not going to get an AG that is not to Bush's liking. If the Senate doesn't consent to one, Bush will establish one with a recess appointment. Is that really worse than the United States Senate being a co-conspirator in lawlessness?

I am watching the United States of America die around me, piece by piece. How can the People of this land take back our power, our laws, our rights, our freedom, our country, our pride?

DiFi and Schumer should, as my mama would have phrased it, be horsewhipped in the public square. And that's too good for them. I am ashamed of Congress and, as usual, outraged at the White House.

God is merciful, but she is not going to "fix" our own self-destructive stupidity. Redemption is not that simple or that magical. My beloved country is fucked beyond belief.
--the BB

Getting down on All Souls' Day

My friends Lin and Richard held a Day of the Dead party last Friday (All Souls' Day--or as my Latin-loving mind likes to think "pro animabus omnium fidelium defunctorum"). I took this photo of the ofrenda early on, before the house filled with a wonderful and eclectic group of interesting people. Some folks, at one point, shared stories about those whose photos they brought. Delightful, moving tales. Lots of good food and drink, of course.

One highlight was when a figure came clomping up the stairs. Long black overcoat, a death's head and shawl--our mortality come to visit and remind us, no doubt. Death embraced one of our hosts, then went back down the stairs again.

It was our parish priest. I noted that we are all canonically required to remind parishioners annually to make their wills, but this seemed a bit dramatic.

Just wanted to share a pic of the great ofrenda. Click the photo to enlarge for details.
--the DD

Criminal conspiracy ... and for what?

It is a fact startling in its cynical simplicity and it requires cynical and simple words to be properly expressed: The presidency of George W. Bush has now devolved into a criminal conspiracy to cover the ass of George W. Bush.

All the petulancy, all the childish threats, all the blank-stare stupidity; all the invocations of World War III, all the sophistic questions about which terrorist attacks we wanted him not to stop, all the phony secrets; all the claims of executive privilege, all the stumbling tap-dancing of his nominees, all the verbal flatulence of his apologists...

All of it is now, after one revelation last week, transparently clear for what it is: the pathetic and desperate manipulation of the government, the refocusing of our entire nation, toward keeping this mock president and this unstable vice president and this departed wildly self-overrating attorney general, and the others, from potential prosecution for having approved or ordered the illegal torture of prisoners being held in the name of this country.

Thus begins Keith Olbermann's special comment from yesterday.

The United States of America tortures. George Walker Bush has structured our nation to allow this to happen. He stands before us and says America does not torture. He lies.

All the political kabuki going on in the Capitol is to protect Bush and his cronies.

They deserve no such protection.

They are criminals.

War criminals.

They have violated their oath to uphold and defend the Constitution.




--the BB

Mi ofrendita

This year my ofrenda for the Day of the Dead was in my cubicle at work. Since so many folks put up sundry seasonal decorations and secular Hallowe'en stuff was all over the place, this seemed reasonable. One co-worker even added a photo of her parents for this remembrance, invitation, celebration.

As you can see, especially if you click the photo to enlarge, there were icons of César Chávez, Oscar Romero, Mohandas Gandhi, and the Resurrection (along with my usual ones of John Maximovich II and the Compassion Mandala). My parents can be seen leaning against Romero. Other family members are there and friends from St Cuthbert's whom I have fed with Christ's Body and Blood, anointed, loved, and in some cases buried. In the middle is Kazan, the most beloved of all our family's dogs. He is very special to me and I look forward to seeing him at the gate of heaven. St Peter can take the day off; Kazan will greet me and we will roll around on the ground and romp together again.
--the BB

An old poem

Abba Poemen

Dozens of distractions beckon daily, calling me
Out of any purposeful path, saying, “Follow me!”

None of these alluring voices, each mimicking Jesus,
Offers more than a semblance of life.
They ask for my heart but offer nothing in return.

Giving my heart to you
Is scary beyond belief. Do not suppose I
Voice no doubts within my midnight mind,
Each quiet pause a chance to freeze with fear.

You did not ask for my heart, you
Only sent me a compliment,
Unaware of the reaction that would follow, the
Response that went from short notes to love poetry.

How many times have you wondered,
Every day, each night, whether there could possibly be
Any chance for happiness with a stranger from so far away,
Reaching in the darkness for a dream you long pursued,
Too tired to follow and too lonely to give up?

Touching you, eyes connecting first, then dreams, and
Only at the last fingers, lips, bodies,

There seemed some fresh new possibility on this earth,
Hope, long buried, bursting through the fertile soil of old decay.
And what my heart has yearned for seemed present with me
Those few days we were beside each other, facing life.

When I think of our comfort with each other, no need to
Hide anything, freely giving and receiving, playing with some grown-up
Innocence that knows of dangers yet feels strong and unafraid,
Chancing our emotions with each other, testing but not
Hurtful, I stand amazed.

Do you think I now will disbelieve what I saw and felt
Once time and distance settle in like dust to cover
Everything? Memory deceives but I am not that distrustful.
Sitting quietly, something I rarely do, I have a certainty.

Now is the time to see if we can build something
Over the miles, yes, and up close too.
To work together toward a common vision, if we can.

Surely we will test each other’s glorious strengths
And probe each other’s hidden weakness. Frailty too can serve
The good if it is embraced with wisdom and compassion, woven into life.
If we would know what is possible, we must seek what is possible.
Surrendering too soon to finding ways to deny, destroy, and part
Falls prey to all the old ways we have defeated ourselves.
You and I must seek what can be, we have settled far too long for lesser things.

You clown outrageously and make faces for my laughter, but
Oh, when you do not try for effect and simply smile, a radiance
Unfolds that cannot be measured. You also play with
Rage, a force I know and lived with, but not an anger that was cruel.

How far do we want to test, or see how much pain we will sustain?
Easy answers are useless. This I know: my heart requires
A solid sense that you want me. This I offer and know it is
Real: I want you, nobody else. This may change as we explore, but
This is the beginning and ground of the heart’s satisfaction here on earth.

June 14, 2002
[It is an acrostic. Slightly altered to remove names.]

“Do not give your heart
to that which does not
satisfy your heart.”

—Abba Poemen

Abba Poemen was one of the Desert Fathers
famous for his holiness and wisdom.
He lived in the 5th century.

With all the wonderful animal postings of late

The Feats of St Laika and all just seems to have us reveling in our fellow animals. I thought I'd share more prayers from the Blessing of Our Relatives service.

God has placed us among our relatives—those who swim in the waters and fly in the heavens; those who walk with us upon the earth, or creep or crawl; the mountains and valleys, meadows and plains, the trees and the plant nations; the flowing waters and shining stars; the sun and moon and planets. We are part of the web of life, charged by our Creator with serving the balance and harmony of all things. Let us praise God, saying: “How wonderful are the works of your hands!”

Blessed are you, O God, Maker of heaven and earth.
How wonderful are the works of your hands!

Blessed are you, O God, who created all living things.
How wonderful are the works of your hands!

Blessed are you, O God, for sharing with us the beauty, the wisdom, the cunning, and skill of your animals.
How wonderful are the works of your hands!

Blessed are you, O God, for providing all things necessary to sustain the life of all creatures.
How wonderful are the works of your hands!

Blessed are you, O God, for weaving all things into one fabric of life.
How wonderful are the works of your hands!

Blessed are you, O God, who through your lowliest creatures never cease to draw us toward your love.
How wonderful are the works of your hands!

--the BB
[I have no idea where I got the photo. If I am violating copyright let me know and I will delete it. It's just such a warm fuzzy photo!]

Just because

It seemed seasonal.
--the BB

Monday, November 05, 2007

Thought for the day

We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality,
tied in a single garment of destiny.
—Martin Luther King, Jr.

Enjoying the scenery

Let us suppose you are traveling in a country where you do not speak the language, having a lovely time. You are riding a train and enjoying the scenery. You like to take pictures so you can remember your travels. You take some photos as you ride.
You are taken into custody at the next stop. There is no way to contact the friends who expect you to arrive at the other end.

Not my story, though the photos above were taken as I rode a bus in Russia.

We're talking about America. Or should I spell it Amerika?

[Read the story at Episcopal Cafe by clicking on the link above.]

What is happening to us? What are we allowing to happen?
--the BB

Urban Haiku (26 September 2003)

Laughter is better
in most everyday things

than hot, bitter tears.

Photo courtesy of Laughter Network (check them out).
--the BB

A prayer for a November Monday morning

Here is an invocation drawing on indigenous spirituality. I do not have a footnote for a source but looking at the text I see multiple indications that I wrote it, using the imagery I learned from Peter Brokenleg (Sicangu Lakota). It begins in the west, following the pattern of Black Elk. We used it in our Turtle Island Mass at St Cuddy's several years ago.

Grandfather, Grandmother, Sacred One,
Creator of heaven and earth, Giver of life,
We are here before you, Hear us!
Thunder Beings, Medicine Bear,
Waters where the Sun goes down,
We are here before you, Teach us!
Buffalo upon whom the People depend,
Land of Snows and Winter Gales,
We are here before you, Strengthen us!
Rising Sun and fresh Breezes,
Elk Nation, Seeds of all Beginnings,
We are here before you, Fill us with life!
Ripening Time, Plant Nations,
Winged Cousins, Sheltering Trees,
We are here before you, Nurture us!
Round circle of the Sky,
Father Sun, Sister Moon, Star Nations,
We are here before you, Shine upon us!
Mother and Grandmother Earth,
Crawling and Burrowing Clans, all Grasses,
We are here before you, Sustain us!
Great Circle of all Beings
And all Powers who serve the Sacred One,
We are here before you, Behold us!
Gathered with All Our Relations,
Holy Creator of All Things,
We are here before you To praise you!

National American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month is celebrated during the month of November.

Help yourselves to the prayer if you have a use for it.

--the BB

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Merits the detour

The header here borrows from that delightful phrase from Michelin guides that indicated a particular historical, cultural, or natural site was worth going out of one's way. Way back when, I had such guides in French so I recall the phrase as: "mérite le détour."

This is an interview on Bill Maher's show with Ambassador Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame Wilson. It merits the detour.

My favorite moment comes when the subject of treason comes up. Maher notes that the penalty for treason is death. The whole episode is worth it for the look on Ms. Wilson's face in response to Maher's implied query.

I do not support the death penalty. Nonetheless, my fallen nature would love to see a few individuals fully prosecuted for this crime. I will settle for life imprisonment. Anything less is a travesty.

Article. III.
Section. 3.
Clause 1: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.
Clause 2: The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

h/t to Larry Johnson at No Quarter for the clip
--the BB