Friday, August 31, 2007
I think I'll choose bed with cool sheets and purring kitties and soft pillows - whether I sleep or wake.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Christology of the Later Fathers, ed. Edward Hardy
The Cost of Discipleship - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
"Toward Full Communion" and "Concordat of Agreement" Lutheran Episcopal Dialogue, III
Two Types of Faith - Martin Buber
The Problem of God - John Murray, SJ
Apologetics and the Biblical Christ - Avery Dulles, SJ
Models of Revelation - Avery Dulles, SJ
Metaphorical Theology - Sallie McFague
The Apathetic and Bored Church Member - John S. Savage
Activating the Passive Church - Lyle Shaller
Being Christian in the Age of AIDS
If there are other older theology books that you are craving, let me know. I don't preach or teach any longer; so I might be willing to part with more.
Book postage is usually small.
email me at marsmoore at suddenlink dot net or leave a comment on this post.
Friday, August 24, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
But, my finest memory of her and figs is that one day she wanted to get all the figs off the bush before the birds got them. So, she got the boys at the cable company where she worked to bring around the cherry picker - you know, that lift thing that a person can stand and work on a platform. She climbed into that lift and worked her way around the fig tree - all the way to the top - picking off those wonderful figs that she loved.
Maybe I did inherit some "derring-do" from her, huh?
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
I have lived in Mississippi, Arizona, Tennessee, Alabama, South Dakota, Connecticut, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Florida, and Bermuda.
I have witnessed the protests at the court house following the shooting of Martin Luther King Jr in Memphis; St. Anne’s Episcopal Church in Winston-Salem, NC, winning the trophy for best float in the PRIDE parade, the arrest of undocumented immigrants, the abandonment of a child by its mother at a soup kitchen, the face of a baby only 15 minutes old held in my arms (my nephew), the death of a close friend from AIDS, the space shuttle lift off in both day and night; the riots at Ole Miss when James Meredith was admitted there as the first black student; the counting of ballots at a city election; the death of a woman with Alzheimer’s from starvation because she no longer knew how to swallow.
I have heard Maya Angelou read her poetry; Peter, Paul and Mary/Joan Baez/James Taylor/Eric Clapton sing (not at the same concert); my father preach an excellent sermon while drunk; my mother cry; my best friend sing and play the guitar the day before he died; a cat purring next to me; a lion roar (albeit in a zoo); the sound of a jet boat’s exhaust/rumbling for almost an hour at which time I was ready to throw rocks at the driver; the trumpets on the organ in St. John the Divine when I was right in front of them; the silence in the eye of a hurricane; the laughter of children.
I have lost my fear of spiders (unless they are actually on me); my way while on a trip and driven an hour before I realized I was going the wrong direction; all of my immediate blood family; my godson to cocaine; my concern about what people think about me (most of the time); my respect for many super-stars; my desire for Coca-Cola every day; my faith in God for a while; two husbands to divorce; my desire to drink liquor.
I have found the love of my life; a happiness that I never dreamed existed; therapists to help me over the rough spots of memories and the problems they trigger in everyday life; medication that helps me feel well; doctors who care about my health and do things to make me well; great joy in riding a jet ski; peace in watching a creek and the ocean; that money can make a difference in people’s lives; friends/family of choice that make my life great; and music for all occasions.
I love bread; 70s rock music; my partner; our home; the little red Prius; thrift shopping; clothes, writing; two very spoiled cats who live with us; and people.
I can drive a semi; set type by hand; take award-winning photographs, make jewelry; tell stories; do fund raising; lift 100 pounds; cry in public; talk about intimate things with strangers and friends (their things or mine); stick to a budget.
I loathe gloating; cooked spinach; the smell of cinnamon; large cruise ships; lies; bass stereo sounds that vibrate my chest; war; stupidity; people who talk all the time; my inability to adapt to change sometimes; ?
I hope to skid into heaven laughing all the way; to do a bit more traveling before I’m too old and stiff to go; to maintain my friendships; the “family stuff” will have meaning for a generation without the stories; this thunderstorm cools off the temperature a little bit; to have a good night’s sleep;
I am trying to lose weight for the first time in my life; to choose my volunteer activity carefully; to take care of my health; to trust God; to be faithful in my promises to my partner and my friends; to be a good steward of all my blessings; to be grateful even when I’m depressed; not to scream at the cat when he irritates me; not to worry about things past or things future.
Monday, August 20, 2007
What is the motivation for the original question?
Well, that’s a bummer. I have to figure out why I’m feeling this way about Mom – not just because I actually felt that way then and allowed my perception of her messages to continue even though she’s dead. I have to figure out my motivation for writing and the source of the pain right now. Why am I thinking about her manipulation of me so many years ago? Why does that make me feel bad? Am I reliving the pain? In the retelling, do I let a little bit of go that doesn’t return? My motivation is to stop the pain – that’s also why I overeat and go on binge buying sprees (not big ones and usually in thrift shops). I want to stop hearing the messages that I internalized over the years. I want to close the gap between the way Mom acted and what she said. That’s part of the “hole in me”.
Are we talking about God’s justice or is there something else that’s going on (like, “That’s not fair.”)
Ooooooh, I wonder how long I’ve been blaming God for letting her make me feel lowly. Yeah, I realize that I can change some of that as an adult – letting her continue to make me feel lowly is not a choice, but I can do things to mitigate that. But, where is God in all this? Where was God when she made me listen to Daddy drunkenly rant and rave so that she could get things done? I don’t like the answer. I want to blame it all on Mom and God. But, the truth is that I know God was right there with all of us. God felt my horror; God cried in her dishpan with her; God sat on Dad’s shoulder and grieved for/with the addict. No, life isn’t fair. Humans have free will that is not always God’s will, and we can make life hell for one another – most especially those we love.
What are our expectations of God’s intervention in the world?
I do believe that God intervenes in the world, but I don’t know how or why or when. I don’t know how prayer affects God’s intervention if at all. I know there were times when I expected God to strike Dad dead for the harm he did to us. But, naw, didn’t happen that way. Pretty messy way Dad died, but not God’s fault – just the result of being drunk. My expectations of God’s intervention have decreased substantially over the years though I am still amazed when my prayers are answered. Even little ones like finding my keys or the directions to where I’m supposed to be.
Is God responsible for what happened?
Is my tragedy worse because it was me?
It’s my tragedy and the pain of it is mine. Someone else may have more pain, different pain, less pain, extended pain, but it’s not my pain. My pain is real, was real all through my life and is reborn when certain events happen to trigger my memories. Don’t demean my pain because you think some else’s pain is worse. Don’t tell me about someone who had no feet if I have no shoes. That doesn’t put shoes on my feet. Wash my feet and massage them, and give me shoes if you can. Then go to the one with no feet and do whatever needs to be done, but don’t dismiss me and my pain because someone else’s may be worse.
Is there a difference between an Act of God and a natural disaster and God’s will?
I’m not sure how to define an Act of God, everyday miracles maybe, but disasters? I don’t think so. I don’t believe that God wills bad things to happen to anyone. I don’t know why we have natural disasters – some of our choices through the years have created climate changes that begat disasters, but things happen and we don’t always know why.
How do we view death in light of these questions and our faith?
I’m interpreting this question to mean the loss of something precious – the loss of joy – the loss of life – not necessarily the actual bodily death of a person. We die a little each time we recognize a loss. Recognizing my Mom’s humanity was a death for me. Praying the “Our Father” after listening to my Dad was a death for me – the death of God as male. Interpreting well-intentioned advice as a put-down is/was a death for me – the death of my dignity as a person.
But, God came to earth and lived as a human just like me. Think about his mother’s nagging at the wedding, his mother’s carping at him while he was preaching and healing. Think about his grief at the loss of his friend Lazarus. Think about God’s pain as a human. I do and remember that where I am, God is and has been. Where I go, God is there and has been there. So death is not the end. Tomorrow will be different.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
You're South Africa!
After almost endless suffering, you've finally freed yourself
from the oppression that somehow held you back. Now your diamond in the
rough is shining through, and the world can accept you for who you really are.
You were trying to show who you were to the world, but they weren't interested
in helping you become that until it was almost too late. Suddenly you're
a very hopeful person, even if you still have some troubles.
Take the Country Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid
I perceived your message to me to be that I was not worthy of anything better than the crumbs under the table. In fact, you asked me when I began dating my partner if I were “selling” myself. I figured you thought I was unlovable and unable to attract someone for anything more or less than sex. And, that was an anathema to. Certainly, this relationship is not about just sex although that was exceedingly fun in the beginning. Intimacy is perhaps the most important thing that holds our relationship together. Intimacy formed by touching and being near one another and enjoying many of the same things in life and having similar values and working together and talking about what’s important to us.
And, Mom, you were wrong. I am humble, not proud...at least not full of the kind of pride that you attributed to me because I was hard-headed and strong-willed. Neither of those attributes are hindrances to being humble. Humility is loving God more than anything else. It’s not that I have to give up loving good food or good times or good vacations or being happy or being assertive; humility is putting God’s work first in my life. And, I’ve always done that by loving others.
These past few months you’ve tried to tell me that these people were coming to use me and what I have now. Truly, I am blessed and grateful for all the things and joys of my life. But, the visitors were coming to see me and meet my partner. They love me/us. You may have been the only person to consider me unlovable. And, you were wrong. I have friends all over the country who travel great distances to be in my company, and whom I travel great distances to visit. We are friends; we are chosen family. I am loved and I love.
As for worthiness, I am not worthy. No one is. But, I have been blessed with God’s grace in having good things in my life. And, I/we use our assets well – to benefit those who have less – both corporately and individually – as well as to provide ourselves with some of the things of life that we have never had before. We have toys, some expensive toys, that other folk like to play with and we share happily. That’s one of the reasons that we have them – to share them with others – to make life a little better for someone who doesn’t have all the material things that we do. But, I do not need to be worthy. God has made me worthy of whatever comes my way – good or bad...and I/we have our share of the bad as well as the good. Life is not easy, not even when you have the material things of life. Life is still hard.
I know you loved me as best you could, but I am not the person you believed me to be. And, some of the things about me that you disliked were caused by your own messages to me. Messages like, “You’d better get a teaching license because you’ll never make a living as a journalist.” “You’ll never be successful in that job because you think you’re too good.” “You change jobs too often; no one is going to want you.” “You don’t have a degree and you don’t stay in one place long enough to be successful.”
You always said that I could be anything I wanted to be, but when I wanted to be someone outside your comprehension, I was wrong and was not going to succeed. I don’t know how you measure success now that you’re dead, but I remember your telling me that success of a woman should be measured by how good a wife she was, how good a mother she was and how good an employee she was. You always felt you didn’t measure up in any of those areas because Dad was an alcoholic, I was a free spirit, and you didn’t get the business perks you though you should have. And, I certainly didn’t measure up because I married someone who became a drug addict and seller and divorced him. I had no children, and I changed jobs often enough that success, indeed, was always just out of reach. Perhaps I did that so that I wouldn’t disappoint you in what I thought were your expectations of me.
Now about how my partner and I use our material resources. No, I don’t deserve a new kitchen. That’s not how life works. Few of us deserve what we get, thanks be to God. But, we have the resources to renovate this house and make it a delightful place, a refreshing place, a place that will provide space for happy gathering, peaceful times and the surrounding beauty that helps make those possible. So, get off my back about wasting money. In the first place, it’s just money. I know that you’ve had to bail me out of financial scrapes often during parts of my life, and I know that only a week or so before you died, you recounted to me the amount of money you had spent on me throughout my life. This renovation is not an irresponsible thing as your messages to me indicate. It will increase the value of this house when we sell it someday. The house will be more convenient and more beautiful. We and our guests will enjoy the reconfigured space. So shut up about wasting money. Anyway, it’s not your money that would be wasted; so bag it.
You always wanted me to make decisions for you, and I (having an opinion about almost everything except where to eat) was glad to do that. But, you considered whatever went wrong in any project or decision to be my fault. Not so. And, if things go wrong with this project, they won’t be my fault now. I don’t begat problems as you seemed to think.
Life is good. God is with us. You’ve always proclaimed that, but I don’t sense that you ever believed it. Well, I have news for you. Life for me is good. God is with me/us. Even in my deepest depression, I know that tomorrow will be different and that God is with me, whoever, wherever and however I am. I am a beloved child of God. I’d be a beloved child of God regardless of what I did or did not do, regardless of who I am or who I am not. I am me. God loves me. That’s it. So, will you please shut up.
Friday, August 10, 2007
You're the Lionel Christmas Train!
While you've gotten older and perhaps more cynical, you have
a better grasp on your childhood than most anyone else. After all, everyone
has their toys at any age, right? You enjoy going around in circles and
conversing with people who look perfect but don't have much to say. Though
you're a big fan of snow, you would also say that pine needles are a
favored kind of precipitation. Wherever you go, it feels like the most
wonderful time of the year.
Take the Trains and Railroads Quiz
at RMI Miniature Railroads.
But, we began to look at the drawing, make changes, then called a contractor. He called in specialty subs to check things out. Drawings were made.
After calling the contractor, my anxiety soared because, of course, I take as little of my anti-anxiety medicine as possible. My depression got worse because of the heat and hot, humid summer. So I was a mess. I have worried over every little thing that has happened to any of my friends...excessively so. My therapist suggested an increase in my anti-depressant, and I decided I'd best take the anti-anxiety more like it is prescribed.
Yesterday, the contractor came back with a price. A reasonable price! So I was relieved. We could do it.
Then I began to add in all the things not covered by his contract - moving everything out of the house and storing it for three months, moving me and partner and the cats to the condo, possibly need a new refrigerator if this one is moved, what if the cost of the flooring (which we haven't picked out yet) is higher than we estimated, time and effort to paint (we're doing that), cost of the cabinets for the kitchen (think I'm using Ikea but not sure) - and the price soared. I was anxious again.
Then we began looking at financing options - what could be paid out of current assets, how much might be financed, where to finance. Then we came upon a way to pay for it that is reasonable and not too costly.
I'm still a bit anxious, but, as you can see, the anxiety fluctuates. By this afternoon, I will be worried silly again.
"it's cloud's illusions I recall, I really don't know life at all."
This morning, I'm fine. It's hot as blazes here, as in most of the rest of the country. I considered just going to Iceland for a few months but vetoed that because I couldn't take all my hobby stuff. Yesterday the heat index was 119 degrees - a humid heat when I couldn't breathe.
On the other hand, I got out anyway and lived to tell about it. At Weight Watchers weigh-in, I had lost six tenths of a pound - after all my binges, I still didn't gain. Tee, hee, hee. I ate a wonderful chicken salad for lunch with partner and our friend. All of us managed to continue losing a bit of weight.
My life has been a jagged line of ups and downs, and I'm trying to level off the sharpness of the peaks and valleys. Old habits die hard. Lately, I've been trying to make sharp peaks of things that are really ant hills (regular ants - not the fire ants we have in our yard), and I've exaggerated the lows into lakes instead of mud puddles. My conscious mind can't see what I'm doing. My therapist can. I'm seeing her again in a week. We're going to keep that sharpness down to manageable humps.
For all and any of you suffering from both depression and anxiety, I send my love and prayers. Mine really is mild. But, mild is painful. So I hug you and hope your peaks and valleys become ant hills and mud puddles.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
You're a Ladybug!
Most people assume you're female upon seeing you, even though you
might very well be male. Don't let this gender-bending get you bent out of shape,
though... you just happen to exhibit the quiet dignity and soft demeanor that
people associate with the feminine side of things. Your favorite fruit is the
watermelon. For some reason, people think it's fun to sing about horrible things
happening to you and your family.
Take the Animal Quiz
at the Blue Pyramid.
I don't even know how to begin this - the picture and the word "Ladybug" are key. My Mom's nickname was Ladybug - a nickname becoming more and more common in the South. My hair stylist calls me that, and each time I think she's talking to my mother.
Guess by now, friends, you've figured out that I'm a pretty sensitive person, and, while I'm crossing this road of life, I do look both ways - backward and forward - never mind that semi coming 'round the bend to the left. So, when I took this quiz, I was startled to find that I am a ladybug.
But, I don't want to be like my mom - but I do want to be like my mom. I feel the same way about the Bible - can I pick and choose which part I want? I want to have my Mom's ability to multi-task. She could play cards, smoke, drink coffee, and cook a full Southern dinner for six all at the same time. I do really well to walk and chew gum at the same time.
As I was knitting the other day, I was saying a particular thank you with each stitch - some were for people in my life (past and present), some for those who make life easier for us, those who grow our food, for physical things like air conditioning. Then I kept going in a stream of consciousness sort of way - one name leading to another - God bless Momma and Daddy and David. Tears began forming and I wiped them away with the sleeve of my t-shirt. So, I changed tactics.
My therapist told me that I should journal about my anxieties and fears - and not do it on a blog; so I thought, okay, I'll do it with each stitch, taking longer with the stitch if the fear, anger or anxiety merits longer. So, I began with being angry that I cannot function at all in the heat/humidity we've been having. I was anxious about having had so much company that I might not have been the proper hostess. I was anxious about my relationship with my partner (unfounded). I was fearful about the proposed renovations to our home (well founded, but premature). I hated myself for the mess in my study. And, I went on with more personal things that I won't put on the blog.
Finally, I got to a point where the tears were blurring my stitches; so I quit knitting and cried a while. Cleansing tears. Relief.
And, so much grief that has been crammed into the "hole inside of me" that I cried for a while, a long while, sniveling, bawling, various forms of crying as I thought about the losses and potential losses (see, I really am good at looking both forward and backward). You know, there's not a blessed or damned thing I can do about any of them. I can't change the losses that have happened, and I can't prevent those losses that are to come. People will die. People will be born.
And, speaking of that, my god-daughter is a grandmother - a girl, born yesterday. Healthy. Does that make me a great grand godmother? Fancy name for one twice removed. But, I suspect that she is a great grand god-daughter! Hooray for Layla Irene Kurland. May God's light be upon her now and always.
And, there you have it folks. Life! the grief, the joy.
And, you can throw away dried paint but not liquid paint. So, you set the bucket outside and let it dry out, then put it in your trash. I think I've missed the point on this one. If you can't send liquid paint to the dump, wouldn't letting the dangerous fumes and stuff evaporate into the air be harmful?
I think I don't understand some of our trash disposal and recycling. I keep reading, but different areas have different rules. Through taxes and utilities, we pay for recycling of glass, metal cans, plastic and newsprint. They won't take magazines and junk mail. We have to collect them and carry them to a separate site (operated by the same company that picks up our recycling). Likewise with yard waste, cardboard, packing styrofoam, etc. Our trash pickup is Pay as You Throw - put a sticker on your can for every three kitchen size trash bags - stickers cost $2.50 each.
We're told that washing a full load of dishes in the dishwasher takes less water and energy than washing them by hand. But, unless I use the drying cycle on my diswasher, I get mineral spotting on my dishes - some of which becomes permanent. So, I'm probably not saving anything by using the dishwasher except my sanity.
And, this brings up the subject of water. Our county water is very soft, very full of minerals like calcium and chlorine. It tastes terrible and upsets my stomach. We got bottled water and a dispenser when we first moved here. Then we noticed that our skin was itching all the time, despite lotions and changing soaps and all the usual stuff. One morning I was overwhelmed in the shower by the chlorine odor. So, we had a whole house water filer put in that takes out the chlorine and some other things. Finally, we resorted to a reverse osmosis system for one small tap in the kitchen so that we could cook and wash food safely. Yet, all the required reports for our county water system are good.
So where does all this water go? Into our septic tank. Our county offers residents in our area hookups to the county sewage system. This is somewhat misleading. What they actually offer (for several thousand dollars installation and a monthly fee) is a pumpout of your septic tank when it reaches a certain overflow level. For $100, I can get the septic tank pumped out by a local for-profit company.
We do what we can. We recycle everything that the recycling center will take; we wash only full loads of dishes and clothing. We drive our high mileage cars most of the time - hard to fit a sheet of plywood in one of them. But, I did put five people in my Prius recently for an all day outing. No one was unduly crowded.
Learning to conserve our earth's resources is not easy. I've worried so much this morning that I think I need a Twinkie, now.
And, our household puts out 19.73 tons of CO2 per year. The average household in England puts out 10.22 tons of CO2 per year. This is a substantial difference. One problem is that we live out in the country, and, even if we did live in town, we have no public transportation at all. Well, we also own four vehicles - one high gas mileage car, one hybrid car, a truck and a medium-sized SUV. The latter two are used for special things - going to the dump, hauling around our friends who visit, making trips when lots of luggage is required. And, no, I can't justify having four vehicles. Someone once asked if we were running a used car lot. Bleah.
The calculator also asked about flying and one section included local (within the country) trips. Trips within the United States are vastly different. And, some questions - well, check it out.
What this told me was that our household probably uses more than its share of energy and puts out more than its global share of CO2. If this were compared on a global basis, I'm sure that the figures would be much different.
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Much comment is happening on the HOBD listserv and in blogs throughout the world. Keep your ears open for reactions and comments.
I am impressed with the metaphor left in a previous message by David Charles Walker of those left standing alone (like Ephraim Radner) are like icebergs floating alone, which could be towed to a place needing fresh water and could create new growth.
Time magazine has an article about how the melting icebergs are feeding the whole aquatic ecosystem as they melt.
What a rich heritage we have that we could all share, forgiving one another as we are forgiven. There's a short video of Sr. Prejan on Episcopal Cafe that talks about one victim's father who could only repeat the Lord's prayer when confronted with the body of his child....forgive as we are forgiven.
As I have said before in other places, Ephraim was my TA at Yale Divinity School - very conservative, very rigid, but very honest. I applaud his standing up for what he believes is right and separating himself from those whom he feels are going too far.
Of course, what that leaves is one very lone Ephraim Radner with no place to stand in unity with anyone. He's already expressed his very conservative views and disagreement with the Episcopal Church; he allied himself with a group that seemed to share his beliefs. That group seems to be disintegrating somewhat.
The Anglican Communion now seems like a frayed rope: first, the end of the rope separated into two or three large pieces. Now those pieces have unraveled and the end has become very fuzzy. The rope is unusable for its original purpose - in this case, the strengthening of Christ's mission of healing, love and salvation. Unfortunately, this metaphor doesn't lend itself to the possibility of reconciliation. Putting fuzzy rope back to its original state means cutting off the frayed part and ensuring that the cut is sealed and the tightness of the rope is maintained.
I'm not sure what is needed to heal the Anglican Communion, but there are some very angry people and some very hurt people standing alone - like little pieces of frayed rope ends. I think only God can mend this one without cutting away the seemingly unusable part.