Thursday, August 26, 2010

We the People … Forming a Better Union

It took over 70 years of blood, work, and persistence, but the movement prevailed and on August 18, 1920, women where given the right to both vote and run for office. In 1971, Congress proclaimed August 26 "Women's Equality Day" to recognize the Suffrage Movement. Christians should be proud of this day as not only was the dignity of women that St Paul recognized in Galatians 3.28, the Suffrage movement has its roots in the Second Great Awakening (1800-1840). Christians were instrumental in the adoption and passage of 19th amendment. The spirit moved and the oppressed were liberated, just as the Bible promises.

Today, in both parties and from a wide range of the political spectrum, women are involved and active. Whatever you may think of Sarah Palin, Hilary Clinton, Kay Hutchison Bailey, or Nancy Pelosi, there can be no doubt that women have taken their rightful place as members of political world. Moreover, Suffrage Movement made the ideals of the US revolution of self-determination, self-government and self-reliance to build for the common good available for all of the people.

Joining in praising the wisdom of our ancestors, who recognized in the political world what St Paul recognized in the Spiritual world: all are one in Christ. For recognize today, August 26, that all humans are created equal and endowed by their creator with abilities and talents. By recognizing the rights to vote and run for office, we simply recognize the rights creation and God grants to all.Though their is still work to do. Woman can be scientists, senators, and soldiers, they are still paid less for the same work as men. We have to continue to find and live into Galatians 3.28.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Love Poem for wife, Lace


Here is a poem, love sonnet, about my wife just because I feel so much love her.

Ritual of Love
to my wife

Carefully, she gathers the fresh vegetables,
the angel hair pasta, the flaxen cerminis. Her hands
stroke clean the skin of red roma tomatoes. The pan
starts to heat up from an outside flame. My
rhythm chops the provisions all into pieces that will fit
within our mouths. Pesto, olives, balsamic sweet
vinegar all blend their flavors in a scorching pan.
The strains of pasta looses their stiffness in searing

water, preparing to contain the meal’s sustenance.
The light of the growing dusk outlines the redness
in your hair. The bread blends with garlic and butter
in the oven. The salad is tossed and we precisely set

the table. A blessing, bread, glasses of crimson
wine and we are eating with grateful hearts.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Poem in honor of a friend, Gunnard Johnson

Today, I missed a friend who recently passed away. This a poem about him and the lesson he taught me about human dignity and God.

On Seeing a Good Friend Rise from His Wheelchair
at Christmastime and Suddenly Finding Myself
Being filled with the Holy Spirit
To Gunnard Johnson

The dignity of a life long faith finds expression
in the simply act of lifting his body to stand
before his God in prayer. To join others as a man,
in humble adoration leaves an impression.

Humbled, God’s Spirit breathes in to us
Joy. At being with each other, at being
With love, we discover the act of seeing.
God came in the form of animated dust.

I have known Gunnard for years, and then
I have yet to know him as God knows.
God seeing the whole, though our lows
And heights that our souls reach and sends

Us to the timeless place in the House of the Lord.
Gunnard responded to the music, the eternal chord.

Monday, August 9, 2010

And God saw that it was Good ...Life and love

The Stone, NY Times's philosophy blog,  published an interesting piece by Simon Critchley. Love, as the theologian Kierkegaar saw it, is about the divine - human relationship.The article sparked how I think about love.

Love is the affirmation of life. It is God declaring the creation good after each day of creation. On going creation is good. Love seeks to relate and not to possess life.

For many, love is the affirmation of desire. To love as affirmation of desire is to posses it. In order to possess something it must become an object. Such love is no love at all, but a turning the other into an it to be controlled and own. Ultimately, that process must make the self and it as well.

The love that say life is good doesn't seek possession, such a love meets the world in wonder and awe. Love meeting the world reveals grace.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Balls of Discovery and a thank you to everyone

Yesterday, my son held two balls. He had just learn to say "ball," and he was so proud of himself at his discovery. He held them out, and repeatedly said, "ball." Wanting and waiting for his parents to repeat after him the word, "ball."

He held onto the balls even as he tried to crawl. We gave him a cracker and some cheese and he still held onto the balls, though managing to pick up pieces of the cracker with his pinky, the power of the human spirit. The glimmer of understanding that the objects he held were related to the funny sound, "ball" made these objects precious to my son. He held onto the two balls; he held onto his beginning of understanding of the world; he held onto his connection to others. Balls are interesting in that at any one point on a ball any direction leads to back original point. Balls are metaphors for life.

I tell this story as way of saying thanks for all of the support shown by everyone at my work. Last week they held a fundraiser for my family to help with all the expenses.  They held a lunch spaghetti feed for us. My son came and was greeted with love and care. He giggled like only a toddler can, lighting up the world. I wanted a week to reflect on the support to say thank you. I wanted to respond and react in gratitude.
In a way, I am learning how connected we are to each other.

 Yes, the money has help, and so to has the other support. The kind questions after my son surgery. The comments about how cute he looks in his video. The thoughts and goodwill throughout his struggles. The offers of help emotional, financially, spiritually are beyond what I could have hope for, or even expected. I am grateful for this sphere of concern and support. It is hard to respond to love as it is so humbling. All of this to say that I am grateful for everything done for my son.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Time, Time, Time…See What’s Become of Me

Waiting, waiting for the economy to return, waiting for the jobs to return, waiting in line, waiting for green energy, waiting until Christmas, waiting on the Lord, waiting for this post to make its point, waiting, clearly, is something despised by Americans. Like hyperactive kids needing a sugar fix, we want what we want now. That has been the promise of consumerism. Isn’t it? Why wait. We can have it all now. Could it be we are all witness to the biggest cultural change in American history?

Dr. Philip Zimbardo, sociologist of Stanford Prison Experiment fame, has a theory of time perception that he elaborated on in his book, The Time Paradox. He, using the results of the Marshmallow Experiment, created typology of six different perceptions of time, two poles, positive and negative, for past, present and future. In the Marshmallow Experiment, almost forty years ago, four year olds were given a choice of having one marshmallow now or wait to eat the marshmallow for a few minutes and receive a second marshmallow. Only a minority of the kids could muster the strength to wait and get second one. The researchers found that the children that waited went to have better academic performance later in life. Planning for the future made them better students and led to richer lives.

He has a great little video explaining his ideas. Don’t worry it is not long.

A couple of questions popped up in engaging Dr. Zimbardo’s work. First, how does the world of advertising and marketing affect us? It is clear that one of the major aspects of advertising is to push us into what Dr Zimbardo calls hedionistic present. This is the same perspective of time that all addicts have. We are pushed to impulse buying and getting what we want now. Second, how did the older protestant view of eschatology affected us? Christians were taught and believed in the future as in the future return of Jesus. The Kingdom of God was both here and fulfilled in the future. It did make us a people who would sacrifice for a better future, and this eschatological view formed the backbone of protestant work ethic. In many ways, we are product of planning for the future by our ancestors.

Have we seen in just a couple of generations a switch from a people who see and prepare for the future to now a people who live for current pleasure? This dilemma of time can be seen in the climate deniers, who, at their core do not want to give up their way of life even if it means a not to distant future disaster. This dilemma of time is seen in our not wanting to invest in the future by supporting projects for the future. Duty and sacrifice have been replace by, “I want what I want now.” The final question and the most important, how do regain a since of the future? Or will our future be colored a hazy shade of winter?