Found a gem…

One of my favorite series from the BBC is Inspector Morse.  Police drama set in Oxford, England, Morse is the atypical Inspector: he loves opera, good wine & beer(Bud Lite not one of them), good book and crossword puzzels. Not only entertaining but educational in the arts. It was only on for 7 seasons from 1987 – 2000. Series at the BBC are much different than here. But I digress – while watching an episode, his Sargeant Lewis recites a quote: treat triumph and disaster the same. Morse says, “Kipling”, and of course if watch many of these Lewis is not as familiar with writers as his boss. But the quote intrigue me and so with the help of Google, I found where it is from and it is a wonderful poem that should be studied further. Not sure if I will do it but finding it is a start. So here is Kipling’s poem IF…enjoy! If—  BY RUDYARD KIPLING: ‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies If you can keep your head when all about you       Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,     But make allowance for their doubting too;   If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,     Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies, Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,     And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;       If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster     And treat those two impostors just the same;   If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken     Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,     And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools: If you can make one heap of all your winnings     And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss, And lose, and start again at your beginnings     And never breathe a word about your loss; If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew     To serve your turn long after they are gone,   And so hold on when there is nothing in you     Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’ If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,       Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch, If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,     If all men count with you, but none too much; If you can fill the unforgiving minute     With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,       And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son! Source: A Choice of Kipling’s Verse (1943) http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/175772 So don’t discount television shows, some you do learn something. A more up to date is Big Bang Theory. Funny as hell but it does use and makes the sciences so cool! Since the arts are more my area, I haven’t looked up any vocabulary because most I can pronounce much less spell.😁!

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Ash Wednesday 2015

This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
cancel debts.
What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.  (Isaiah 58:6-7, The Message)

For this coming Lent – think about what you can take on as well as what you will give up(fasting).  For example – giving up Facebook – take on more prayer time/scripture reading when you would be on Facebook.  Add more volunteer time to the local soup kitchens, homeless shelters, reading books to children at schools, visits to assisted living and nursing homes…

Giving up is great but if we go back to that habit unchanged, what’s the point?  If we do not have a transforming of our lives because we giving up a bad habit, why did we give it up?  If our relationship with God is not strengthen then we have wasted a lot of out time not eating that wonderful chocolate we had left over from the Valentine Day’s sale or keeping up with friends sharing their witty musings they found and shared with us.

So as you “contemplate” in these last hours before Ash Wednesday what you are giving up, make sure you add in some relationship building with God and your neighbor.  Or make an appearance in worship, Bible Study or even start your own Bible Study, struggle with the hard questions with others – they probably have the same questions.

Whatever you do, make this a time of reflection, most of us don’t do it enough, including me.

“BUT what are you giving up?” As of this writing, I don’t know.  I still have today to figure it out.

This is a quote from the article on On Being with Krista Tippett (http://www.onbeing.org/blog/the-disease-of-being-busy/7023) The Disease of Being Busy by Omid Safi:

“Whatever happened to a world in which kids get muddy, get dirty, get messy, and heavens, get bored? Do we have to love our children so much that we overschedule them, making them stressed and busy — just like us?

What happened to a world in which we can sit with the people we love so much and have slow conversations about the state of our heart and soul, conversations that slowly unfold, conversations with pregnant pauses and silences that we are in no rush to fill?

How did we create a world in which we have more and more and more to do with less time for leisure, less time for reflection, less time for community, less time to just… be?”

Exactly – what has happened about just being a kid? I have two great-nieces & two great nephews and I am praying that their moms and dads do not fall into this “disease”.  Mud, dirt, running, screaming at the top of their lungs in response of the ecstatic fun they are having. Watching such a sight brings a high to me that cannot be replicated by anything else.

So this is for you Parents – let your kids be kids. Have one extra-curricular activity. Every afternoon does not need to be filled with stuff. They actually need you – you to hang out with and have fun, their friends and the dog. Let them get messy, dirty and loud – maybe not in the house – in fact get them out of the house and you go outside with them. Housework can wait, work from the office, grading papers, fixing dinner – have mud pies, run, throw a ball, laugh out loud and have fun.

OK that’s all I got to say – I am headed outside –

WaterworksPark

Did anyone really win Nov 4, 2014?

Wow – good thing I try to follow a different policy: “When you do it to the least of these, you do it to me.”(Matt 25) Not easy to do but is doable.

There was a time when policy did not rule the conscious and we took care of each other, we made sure folk were fed, clothed and were given treatment when they were sick. I think it is called being a village, being neighbors,,, I guess our jobs, our money, our stuff is so much more important than the well being of people – unfortunately this is bipartisan – each party has done a dis-service to the people they were elected to “represent”.  I am not sure that we as a nation will last if we don’t changed our attitudes.

We do not have a two party system that adheres to different policies, philosophies, or agendas. They seem to be the same but using different jargon so the average citizen is taken in to their rhetoric and are not able to see through it. But what are we to do? How can we changed when we have a population of drones who are being manipulated by remote control issues that no one is whiling to risk- their jobs, families, and what little security they feel they have.

Of course, how can the populace make informed decisions when the tools to get that information is manipulative by news media who are also being backed by particular ideologies that keep the mantra going that our ideas, policies, way of thinking is the right way:

“We have the answers, we know what you need to hear, don’t think let us do it for you – make life simple, easy and totally controlled by a machine that would rather have you live exactly how we want you to live. Your children are being programed with the curriculum we know is best – forget that the teachers who spent thousands of dollars in order to make sure your child learns and can think for themselves – that we have made millions convincing legislators who have no idea how to teach, so your children will be the drone workforce we need to run this country as we see fit. American Dream? Are you kidding – we control the American Dream and it is not for the masses but to those who control how the machine works.  So forget trying to work your way out of debt or your kids being able to go to college without coming out owing enough to pay off the National Debt. So get ready folks we politicians have it under control – Democrats and Republicans both – let us handle it. We will make sure you have no way of achieving the American Dream until we say so.”

Until the entire population of this United States has had enough of everyone – nothing will change. The party in charge will change, but what they are doing will not. It will not change with having more political parties created to run against the machine.  Because some of these are just as bad or worse that what we already have.

So what are we to do? Good question – my gut knee jerk reaction is full revolution against all of this mess but that can’t happen without an organized hub that is looking to be part of a solution that is about the greater good and not about creating the same thing all over again but “different”.

Jesus was the only one who successfully did this but even what Jesus achieved has been twisted and turned into a political agenda and use more as a weapon than as a way of life. See that is the difference is that Jesus was not spouting off a new set of rules or policies that enslave a people but a way of life so we can live with the intention to take care of each other, make sure we all have what we need, become community again.

Until we change the way we treat our “possessions”, that what we have is not what we are and be honest when die – well duh – all of that is left and we become the dust we were created from in the beginning. So think about what is more important –

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William Stafford (1914–1993)

From http://www.journeywithjesus.net/PoemsAndPrayers/William_Stafford_The_Way_It_Is.shtml

The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Stafford_(poet): Stafford was a poet and pacifist. In 1970 he was appointed Poet Laureate of the United States. He kept a daily journal for 50 years, and composed nearly 22,000 poems, of which roughly 3,000 were published. In 1975, he was named Poet Laureate of Oregon. In 1980, he retired from Lewis and Clark College but continued to travel extensively and give public readings of his poetry. In 1992, he won the Western States Book Award for lifetime achievement in poetry. Stafford died of a heart attack in Lake Oswego, Oregon on August 28, 1993, having written a poem that morning containing the lines, “‘You don’t have to / prove anything,’ my mother said. ‘Just be ready / for what God sends.’

This really spoke to me today, especially the lines:

People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.

How do we explain about our thread when most of the time we are not so sure about it? My thread has brought me back to my hometown and a profession I didn’t really want to be back because of bureaucracy of paperwork that is seems to be more important than the actual education of students.

So I wait holding my thread and waiting for the tug of God to take me to the next place I am to serve. But til then I will serve at this point of my thread. -Peace

Is Paula Deen a Racist? Who isn’t?

I read this fantastic open letter this morning(http://afroculinaria.com/2013/06/25/an-open-letter-to-paula-deen/) from a share of a facebook friend and started a comment, which was really good til FB froze on me and I couldn’t post it and wondered if that was not the place since I began to go in another direction – but I stopped before I did. LOL

So I will try to recall most of what I began writing and since now I am on my blog extend it some – not a lot but some.

I have to admit that I was disappointed in what Paula Deen was accused of saying but why all the hype? Oh – a very powerful and successful white woman said it – what about all those powerful and successful white men who have said some of the worst racist things but were and have never had the balls to apologize for it?  They still have their jobs and networks and sponsorships!!! Why are we so focused on on this? IMO it is because we as a society have yet to admit we are all racists. We have made statements that are racist in nature and haven’t a clue they are. I have made them – not with the taboo words which make headlines but with nicer words and innuendos, body language which only other racists understand, eg “those people”, “them” and “you who I am talking about”(with a nod of the head).  These are worse for they are disguise and subversive.  As a white woman I am privileged, not in status or class but just by being a white woman. I do not come near to admitting what others have suffered because of their race and gender. What this world has put upon people of color(and of the LGTB community), I don’t have that in my life.

I have made statements that I immediately been appalled that they were actually a prejudice comment and cannot take it back – throwing a rock threw a glass windw!

But this stuff with Deen is outrageous – why does the media have to focus on this and not the larger picture of injustice toward the poor, hungry and displaced.  I always try to treat my sisters and brothers as Jesus would treat them, but I am human and I screw up. We all screw up. Get over it!  Improve yourself! Admit you made a mistake and work harder not to do it again and if so recognize it. 

There are some who have no idea that they make statements and gesture others preceive as racist.  And when we hear and see this happening, do we bring it to their attention?

The author of the letter writes from a culinary and Southern perspective – and beautifully conveys how jointly the Black and White, Slaves and Slave-Owners created the hospitality and food that makes up the South today. but we still have a long way to go. Rev Bruce Reyes-Chow has just published a book on race(I Don’t See You as Asian) and he shares the subversive nature of prejudice affected his lif and what the Church needs to be aware of in discussing openly this matter of race.  It is a part of our cultural – our race does define us but it should not be the barrier that keeps us apart.  God create all and we are mandated to serve all, not just those who are like us. 

So, I am going to finish reading Bruce’s book, make a copy of this letter by Michael Twitty, and lay my canon of Scripture beside them to create a study for my context – a community in the Delta of Arkansas that has lost its vision and hope to grow and is in a survival mode that is choking the life out of us.

So watch out FC City Council and Chamber of Commerce – you are about to hear from me and others!

I will keep you posted-