Monday, February 19, 2007

I hate these long silences, don't you?

especially because that means I have so much to catch up on when I finally log in again, and I don't really have time. although I've seen a lot of blogs that lie fallow most of the time, so really I'm not daily but I wouldn't say I'm inactive.

Anyway life goes on. Today is really cold and rainy and two days ago was almost 90. Now there's snow on our mountain over there. Weird.

I did my first pastoral call (as part of the internship) yesterday and it went very well. I really enjoyed it. I found myself inspired to pray and such a lovely prayer came out. It was so meaningful. I'm sure I enjoyed it as much or more than the woman we visited. Turns out that people are so happy to have you, it's not really a scary thing at all.

Yesterday morning I read a horrible article about our governor's health insurance ideas. He wants to make a "disaster" plan mandatory, with subsidies. Well we are about 1% over the subsidy mark, which means we'd have to pay $100 or more a month for a plan that wouldn't do anything unless J got gravely ill (probably with something that wouldn't have been expensive had it been caught early, but of course there's no preventive medicine included so there's no such thing), and if we didn't we'd be breaking the law. Ugh. I don't like it. I don't like it, first of all, that neither of us could qualify for insurance alone if we wanted to, because of our histories with depression. The only way we could be insured would be through a state program or through a group (as I currently am with Fuller's disaster plan, but it's cheaper than the proposed state one). People all say that employer health insurance is over. Well fine but don't give up on universal healthcare! I realize that I'd be paying more taxes if everyone had healthcare by the state, but I'd rather do that, knowing I can go to the doctor, than pay a couple thousand a year to NOT go to the doctor but subsidize others' disasters. The people who complain the most are those who can afford healthcare however they want it, or who have a cushy plan through work. Believe me, when I lost my benefits my whole attitude on this changed. When I realized just how hard it is to get my basic, fairly inexpensive needs met (birth control and depression meds), I began to see how miserable this is without insurance, especially when you can't afford any "real" doctor visits (but only sitting in clinics and waiting for hours, sometimes weeks, for appointments).

Anyway, the way I see it, if we all had to kick in a little more tax-wise for universal healthcare (on a sliding scale, of course, that would charge more to those making more money - yeah, I think the rich should subsidize the poor - what of it? It's what God says to do) but could then actually GO to the doctor, we'd all be much happier. And the richies can go to their expensive docs and hospitals, but at least the rest of us wouldn't have to stress every time we get the flu or a UTI or cut ourselves, because we could go get it taken care of instead of suffering because we can't afford care.

OK, off that soapbox. Boy, I've been preaching lately. I gave my poor sister such an earful b/c she made the mistake of asking me "What's wrong with eating meat, anyway?" and I went on to give a looooooong argument about the industry's practices and the health effects, without even touching animal cruelty. We've been limiting our meat consumption considerably, mostly just by committing to only buying natural free-range, which means it's very expensive (b/c it reflects the real cost), which means we get it on special occasions only. And I really think that's what we all should do. It's certainly what's up in most of the world.

Oops, I started climbing back on there, didn't I? Well let me quickly advertise that Friday night is a screening of "Black Gold," a new movie about the coffee trade (coffee is the 2nd most traded commodity in the world after oil, and is grossly unfair), at the Ten Thousand Villages store on Lake Ave (across from Borders). I've heard really good things about the film, and there will be fair trade goods to buy! I'll post the notice below.

Also Weds night at 8:30 is the next meeting of the GLBTIQetc support group at Mary Marjorie's. If you want details, email me (address is on my profile page). We'll be watching All Saints Pasadena's "Voices of Witness" dvd, having a discussion, and also talking about how to get out the word on our group.

Finally, ya'll can pray for me. I'm going to try a regimen of fasting over Lent this year. I'm really looking forward to it, and will try to post any interesting phenomena (I've been struggling about not letting my piety show before others, but I feel like it might be helpful if you know how it feels, so I'm going to talk about it on here, if not in person). I'm easing into it quite slowly, starting with 12 then 24 hours, then 36 and 48, all with days off in between. The idea is to eventually work up to the entirety of Holy Week. We'll see how it goes. I'm doing the bits and pieces because 1) Richard Foster says it works better that way and 2) John said I'll have less chance of failing if I do it that way. Great point. I don't want to try to go whole hog, fail, then think I can't do it and it was a bad experiment. I hope it's a discipline I'll enjoy and want to continue for some time.

Plus my Weds class is cancelled, so I can take it very easy on day one (which will be about 12 hours, sunrise to sunset). I will keep you posted on how it's going. Let me know about your Lenten disciplines also, so we can mutually encourage one another!

Here is the announcement about the screening, and I must sign off now, so I can get some Galatians translation done!

Friday Feb. 23rd - 7:00 p.m.@ Ten Thousand Villages

Ten Thousand Villages is proud to present a free screening of the widely acclaimed film about coffee and the politics surrounding the international coffee trade - Black Gold. The screening will be held upstairs at the store where we will provide fresh brewed fair trade coffee and other treats for your viewing pleasure. After the movie join friends for continued discussion over drinks at Magnolia Urban Lounge located right next to the store. Seated is limited so arrive early. See below for movie info.

Black Gold tells an unresolved modern version of the age-old David and Goliath story.
By Stephen Holden, new york times

Multinational coffee companies now rule our shopping malls and supermarkets and dominate the industry worth over $80 billion, making coffee the most valuable trading commodity in the world after oil.

But while we continue to pay for our lattes and cappuccinos, the price paid to coffee farmers remains so low that many have been forced to abandon their coffee fields.

Nowhere is this paradox more evident than in Ethiopia, the birthplace of coffee. Tadesse Meskela is one man on a mission to save his 74,000 struggling coffee farmers from bankruptcy. As his farmers strive to harvest some of the highest quality coffee beans on the international market, Tadesse travels the world in an attempt to find buyers willing to pay a fair price.

Against the backdrop of Tadesse's journey to London and Seattle, the enormous power of the multinational players that dominate the world's coffee trade becomes apparent. New York commodity traders, the international coffee exchanges, and the double dealings of trade ministers at the World Trade Organisation reveal the many challenges Tadesse faces in his quest for a long term solution for his farmers.

Friday Feb. 23rd @7:00 p.m.
Upstairs at Ten Thousand Villages Pasadena
496 S Lake Avenue
Pasadena, California 91101
626-229-9892

2 comments:

Bea said...

I have recently translated an article on meat eating and the Bible into English. It might not be new to you, but it was for me. (The fact that the first part of Genesis does not refer to people eating meat -- indeed, quite the contrary...) You can read it here:

http://fruitfulboughs.blogspot.com/2007/02/tu-bshvat-new-year-for-trees.html

Bea

Kristen said...

You will be in my prayers duing lent. I too am fasting. I'm fasting on Mondays of lent and good friday.