Saturday, September 30, 2006

Following a Thread

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I have a friend who tells of her early years being very conscious of God. She tells moments where she experienced extraordinary devotion and worship of Christ as a young child. They must be stories from family lore as she recounts it like she is reminiscing from a photograph.
Some childhood stories have to be like that. You know, the type of stories your mother tells about frantic travels to the hospital or how you were such a fussy baby who wouldn't let Auntie Maude hold you.

But when does the consciousness of God happen? When do we start the narrative from our own experience?
God is sometimes described as Other. Holy, as in set apart. When do we become aware of His separateness?

I, for my part, cannot remember being unaware of God. There was no dramatic conversion. I had my middle school years in which I was challenged to pray and read the Bible. This began the Great Segregation of Time for God from the time when everything else happened. Did the effort of others to instruct me end up creating a great fault line in me that now must be ratified? I spend so much effort reassuring myself.

So I read books and talk with people. When my Mom was alive, we would talk for hours about faith and how we thought it should be. She had a dramatic life with real grief, qualifying her for wisdom and heart. We often ended the conversation with an "I don't know" and a shrug of the shoulders. And we kept on watching. We both seemed to be literally fascinated with Jesus. I would often ask her tell me stories of him that anyone would call the gospel. But for me they just felt like family stories, not unlike the ones she would also tell about her brothers keeping the farm.

When the books don't sound like her voice, when they don't speak from her trusted vantage point of real suffering, when they don't have the affection for the Nazarene Jew in their tenor, I find I am guarded.

The eclectic background of Catholic/Protestant/Recovery serves me to narrow the choices. I want to hear of faith as it holds up a mirror to what I want to see in myself. But I have a home of heart.

As I knit together my days, what's left is the hollow where light can shine. I make a life, but I also create an emptier space in order to be filled up with more stories that woo me home.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

One of the Many Reasons

Sometimes I am reminded of how much I miss Joel.
How long has this photo of the chandelier from our old house
been sitting on top of our current hall fixture?

He left breadcrumbs that say "this is still my house too!"

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Can I enjoy the fruit but not the tree?

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I am taking my cues from this book for my journaling. Like Fr. Driscoll, I am taking a word and enjoying what I have to say to myself about it. Authors of books become kindred spirits. I feel that affinity with Jeremy Driscoll.
I began to research him, and the publisher of his book. What I find there leads me even farther from home and I am skeptical. Cautious and not easily convinced. This publisher does not do the deciding for me. It offers many books on other philosophies and religious practices. And even as I am casually curious about my new literary friend, I get set off today by the vast heading of "Christian" books. It's a big wide world, and although I am ready to listen, I am not ready to buy the cow and farm, as it were.
I feel that over the past year I have examined many erroneous lines of thought on my part and have been willing to change and become more accepting. But there are limits. I am reminded that there are limits. And the truth that I pursue is served by limits. What those need to be is beyond my declaration, but I am happy with the choice to examine and say "I don't know." At least not yet.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Not a Cobbler

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So along with my new conviction to be my own Cottage Industry, I took all the clothes that gather unless dust in my closet to the somewhat local Buffalo Exchange. They gave me money for my, what, hip clothes and then sent my more likely unhip clothes to the needful unclothed.

So with this cash, I went to Nordstrom.
My long story shorter is that I need (nearly) orthopedic shoes for work. After being gone from the "floor" for nearly a year, I have discovered I feel my youth after 8 hours of heavy lifting.
I went to the internet and researched that in fact the USA makes ugly shoes.
They tend to make ugly cars and apartment houses too, but that's not what I'm talking about.

How can you possibly buy shoes that are not made in China? You can't buy them cheap that's for sure. You can buy shoes that you wear out and re-sole. You cannot please peer-pressured children. I'm sure conscious shoppers have all their own set of hurdles.

But here is where I discover that somewhere in my childhood I've heard this discussion before. Then I never had the realization that other people might not like making 3 cents and hour. My not buying shoes from their bosses hardly handles their paystub, but where else can I start?
I cannot make my own shoes. My mother, in her own deprived childhood having tried, told me it is not meant to be. Slippers, yes. Back supporting treads, no.

Funny, ironic, surprising as I looked at labels, thinking a European origin was better for my conscience, I got to meet the VP of ECCO shoes right there on the sales floor of The OC's Mecca. Since I am hip, I liked the styles. Ecco seems to be turning a new leaf in the fashion department. I think their bread and butter clients may be dying off.
I made the sales rep who organized the product event nervous as I asked the introduced VP about outsourcing. He explained that his company was part of the 3% of shoe manufacturers that own their own tanneries and factories. Not minding that a cow gives her life for my shoes and that people who crafted them were actually making a livable wage, I bought a pair with my recycled money.
Funny, ironic, surprising that I found what I was seeking. I wonder if my questions to a VP sifts down somewhere among marketers? The sales guy commented on my concerns as unique. I'm sure they were.
What kind of questions are you prepared to ask out there in the marketplace? I'm sure we're asking "Where did that spinach come from?" these days.

What other questions could we be asking? One never knows who might actually cross our path who could really provide the answer.

Monday, September 11, 2006

the Corp

Finally saw it and it just reinforces my desire to live a sustainable life right here in my own kitchen and closet. I cannot wait to downsize, live more simply and cheaply and get back to making all my own clothes again. I am committed to not getting anything until I understand where it's coming from. I am too powerful with my choices to not take heed.
I'm so glad K is working at Buffalo Exchange. I'm so glad I can have the option to get a hybrid car. I am finally glad I live in a Democratic state that is getting some clean air legislation on the books. I'm so glad we can sell this home and make a choice to live near where we work and worship.
I am overwhelmed after seeing Inconvinient Truth and now this movie. Even though some issues might be politically super-charged, I want to live in my conscience, grateful for the wisdom and the will to do what's right.
About fifteen years ago I really began paying attention to all the garbage I generate. I hated giving my kids juice boxes and happy meals with trash for toys. I got overwhelmed by the mega-super markets with the endless supply of 12 to 24 packs and the leaning tower of paper towels at Cost-Co. I am happy now to have the spell broken. I was right! It isn't good, all this garbage! I'm excited to think about how much money I'll save now that I'm not shopping even at cheap Old Navy every other week. I won't be having anything new except what I make with my own hands. I am running my own sanctions protest against my own spending.
What would our lives look like if we truly were sustainable as families?
I am ready for this.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Joel Bond has a new tune. Let him know what you think.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I've been reading Manning's Abba's Child. I'm hoping to be able to sit in on his talks at Vanguard in October. We'll see if I can sneak get into the closed sessions with Karin. I found this article on Brennan. I hope to act on love with as much courage as he has.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Let's Turn it Down

Kester Brewin has a challenge for us. Who will lead? I just turned it down and got myself a tall cool glass.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Leon Leyson

Leon Leyson is the youngest person on Schindler's List. It took an American movie maker to encourage him to open up his story, but now Mr Leyson is gently and insistantly telling his life.
My friend Margie McCoy, who works for the Dean of the School of Education at Chapman University in Orange, Ca. invited me to hear Mr.Leyson as a part of the school's Welcome Week. Chapman has an active and flourishing Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education.
I was able to meet Mr. Leyson and the kind individuals who work on campus for the Center and it's Library.

When Mr Leyson took up the podium he spoke with the universal humility and truth of all survivors. He explained his method of witness: no prepared notes with only an intent to open to us as he "let the events roll out from behind his eye, coming as he remembered them".
It was a moment.
He took us there with him and he shielded us from the horror as he once again re-lived the memories, occasionally pausing to feel the tip of grief. He would breath and then proceed. He shared the irony of being forced to the back of the bus in pre-ghetto Germany and then forced to the front of the bus in the pre-civil rights South. He spoke of his respect for Schindler and his still child-like amazement of the rescuer's attentive capacity.

I think his silence all these years prior comes from thinking, along with many other valid reasons, it could never happen again. But now we see that it might not for Jews, but it is for countless other people groups. We all must listen in order to be watchful.
"violence will not be heard again in your land"... Is 60:18
Our work is cut out for us.