Friday, April 23, 2010

Arizona's Republican governor signed SB 1070 into law. The bill "will make it a state crime not to carry proof of legal immigration status". Not only do you have to carry proof of being a US citizen or legal immigrant in your pocket at all times, you have to produce this proof at the request of any police officer. Mind you, the governor has insisted that racial profiling will not occur.

Excuse me. I can't imagine that a tall, redhead would be stopped for suspicion of immigration violations. But, in Arizona, I wonder how many US citizens of Mexican descent will be stopped.

I realize the following example is far-fetched, but imagine a group of kids playing basketball at the neighborhood church. The police arrive. Not a single kid has an id of any kind. The police call a van, and all the children are carted off to the police station.

What an opportunity for the athletic clothing producers! Now, marketed only in Arizona, special shoes where you can fit your "green card" or birth certificate and picture id. I know they already make special pockets and pouches and bags and armbands for carrying id, keys and such. But, in Arizona would such an armband convey legality to a police officer or just increase suspicion?

If I walk to the market three doors away with nothing but my house key and money, will I be stopped as a possible illegal immigrant? What if I'm wearing my old jeans and t-shirt with a floppy straw hat or a baseball cap. In the summer, my visible skin becomes dark. Will walking briskly make a difference? And, what if I greet my friends in Spanish? (Hablo Espanol un poquito.)

News reporters have presumed that this law will be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court - when it finally arrives there. How many people will have been wrongfully detained by then? I find it hard to believe people who write and pass and sign these bills into law can't see how unfair such a law would be. Why a member of the Legislative or Executive branch of the government might even be stopped! Wouldn't that be sad.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Honesty is What God is About

"is" - being. Honesty - faithfulness - confession. God/de, higher power, still small voice. About - not inside - doing.

Okay, let's get to the meat of this. I made a promise. I broke that promise on an impulse, and I only realized what I'd done three hours later. I was ashamed, guilty, and I could not undo what I had done (we seldom can). Trust is broken. All we can do is go forward in apology, hoping for forgiveness and maybe restoration of trust someday.

Honesty means keeping promises, and, when you don't or can't, you admit you didn't or couldn't and you make amends or apologies or whatever it takes. Sometimes those amends or apologies are accepted; sometimes not.

I think Jesus incarnation may have been one of God's amends. I know, I know, God doesn't make mistakes or break promises. Yeah, right. Tell that one to me again when I've been crushed by some Christian's betrayal or some atheist's broken word - doesn't matter whether they believe or not. If God doesn't make mistakes, then we're not made in God's likeness - and that I believe.

Jesus hedged when Pilate asked if he were king of the Jews - you say that I am. Okay. As ruler of this town, I can say anything I want; that wasn't the question. The question was, "Do you think you are the ruler here?" Jesus never answered directly. What was honest about that?

At the seder supper on Thursday night, Jesus hints that one of the group is going to betray him. Questions abound. Jesus doesn't answer them. "I know something you don't!"

After the meal and probably a lot of wine and heavy food, Jesus wanders off to a lonely garden when it's quiet. We don't know how long he was there, but his followers, or at least the men (the women had to clean up after the meal and get the kids to bed), wander along with him. They slump down and doze off. Who wouldn't want to do that after a fine meal and some good fellowship? Great night to be outside. Where's Jesus? Oh, he's right over there; we can see him from here. ZZZZZZ Heads dropped over on their chests and some of them probably stretched out amongst the olive tree roots. So, what is Jesus doing? Jesus is begging off from what the result of what he's created in the past three years.

Yeah, God, I went around and told everybody that I was your Son. I saw the sun come through the cloud and I heard you say, "You are my Beloved". And, all those miracles I did. That's what you wanted, wasn't it. Now it's come to this. One of these dudes who has been following me around and taking care of the money has decided the grass is greener on the other side; so he's bringing the guard here to arrest me tonight. And, I don't like the thought of what's going to happen. So, hey, how about renegotiating this deal we have. I won't do anymore miracles, and I'll quit saying I'm the Son of God. I'll even move away so they will forget me. I really don't want to die this young. That hurts.

God didn't answer. Jesus was arrested and died on the cross as a common criminal.

I guess you're wondering how I surmise that Jesus was God's amends, huh? Incarnation. Jesus refuted a lot of the harsh and unkeepable laws of the Jews. Jesus set up two major laws, Love God, Love Your Neighbor. Pretty simple. Do that and you will be forgiven. Yep. Simple. Don't really even have to ask forgiven of what - forgiven of whatever you think you need to be forgiven. And, if you Love God and Love Your Neighbor the rest of life will turn out pretty god. No dying on the cross for you.

God said, "Okay, okay. These laws don't apply any longer - just be sure you cook the stuff properly. And, remember that loving means you don't steal or lie or any of those things - you're honest."

So, we do it for a while - we love, we give, we reflect, we don't lie, we keep our promises,....then one day, we forget. We get caught up in some hole in our psyche and we lie, or we steal, or we break our promises, or we just don't give a darn. We're human; we're not God. Now what?

I guess that what making amends is all about for us - turn around from the lie, from the theft, from the apathy. Remember to Love God and Love Your Neighbor. Eventually, your sin is left behind. Honesty - tell the truth about what you do - right and wrong. Keep it simple.

Hey! God! Hey! You, the Creator! Jesus was a good incarnation, but don't you think it's time you did it again?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Fiber Fun and "Failure"

Hmmm. How big is a baby blanket? Three friends are having babies this summer, and I've committed myself to create a blanket for two of them. So, I ordered some wonderfully soft cotton yarn. First, I tried knitting it in mitered squares (imagine the corner of a picture frame), and the yarn was resistant to being knitted as tightly as I was knitting. So I frogged it (rip it, rip it), and started over. I knit a swatch (a 4 x 4 inch square) in a neat pattern. Well, the yarn is bumpy and the pattern didn't look right. So I frogged it.

Oh, but wouldn't it look great in a ripple pattern; I bought several colors to make a multi-colored blanket. I found some larger knitting needles and a good ripple pattern. My hands did not cooperate. I couldn't get a rhythm of knitting that pattern. So I frogged it.

Frustration! So, I grabbed my crochet hook and crocheted a ripple pattern. Not only was it too wide, the pattern would not stick in my mind and mistakes abounded. So, I frogged it.

I cut away the yarn that I had frogged so many times, and I found a simple ripple pattern. I tested the pattern on some acrylic yarn. Great pattern. Easy to remember. Easy to fix when I didn't remember.

I chained a length shorter than before so the blanket would be smaller. Um-hmm. Smaller so that I'd have enough yarn to complete it. I crocheted one ball of yarn, two balls of yarn, three balls of yarn - having fun seeing the pattern develop. Um-hmmm. I began the fourth ball of yarn, and my eyes were opened to the facts: the blanket was wider than I thought, I didn't have enough yarn, and I would be October finishing the blanket for a baby due in May/June. Somehow that just didn't fit, and after than much work, frogging was out of the question.

Right now, I have a very pretty, somewhat heavy, piece of crocheted ripple that is about 36 inches wide and 12 inches long. Each ball makes about four inches. I have three, well four if you count two of one color, balls left. Blanket would be 36 x24, and in ripple pattern that just doesn't look right. Good cotton yarn is not cheap; so this would be a very expensive baby blanket to finish it properly or even half properly.

I think I'll use a different yarn, a larger hook (to make it more lacy and less heavy) and keep this to finish as an afghan eventually. Since the Mom is a vegan, I will have to use cotton or wool - they are better for babies anyway. In a fire, acrylics melt and stick to the skin. Cottons and wools don't stick to the skin.

The ripple afghan will be beautiful. And, surely, I can do a baby blanket - a small one - in just a few weeks.