Friday, March 27, 2009

Food for thought

Appropriate title, since I've been blogging over at FoodiEvangelist a bit more lately.

But this quote seemed more to fit in over here. Thanks to my FB friend Tony Mills for the citation...

The world is barren enough. It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work. And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling. With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do? With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate... this is what your heart tells you to do?
- Keith Olbermann, the host of MSNBC's TV news show Countdown, shortly after Proposition 8 was passed in California.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Heads up!

Hi friends and neighbors...

I've created a new blog to cover my interests in food and spirituality. I'll post all the foodie stuff there, as well as anything that is related to what would have been my dissertation work/might be my Christian bookstore book if I ever have time to actually write it.

So if that's why you check this blog, bookmark me over at:
http://foodievangelist.blogspot.com/

Bon Appetit!

Portia De Rossi Apologizes For Marrying Ellen

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

eat, drink, bleed, and live in communion

This is a sermon by Sara Miles, and I post it with her permission because it is just so darn beautiful particularly in light of the stuff I've been posting in the last week or so. (did I mention I stood up in church and talked about breastfeeding? I don't think that could have happened in the congregation of my childhood...)

Sara Miles • St Gregory of Nyssa

Sermon 7:30PM • 24 August 2003

…Jesus said, Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in that person. As the living Father sent me and I draw life from the Father, so whoever eats me will also draw life from me…..After hearing this, many of his followers said‚This is intolerable language. How could anyone accept it? Jesus was aware that his followers were complaining about it and said, Does this disturb you?…Many of his disciples went away and accompanied him no more. Jesus said, What about you, do you want to go away too? Simon Peter answered, Lord, to whom shall we go?

Eat my flesh and drink my blood.

Does this disturb you?

What about you, do you want to go away too?

Yes, I want to go away, fast. Because this disturbing demand of Jesus, that we eat him and become him, is just so intolerable, so invasive, so shocking I can’t accept it, want to go away.

But to whom shall I go?

I plan to talk about children a little bit tonight. But not their cuteness or their niceness or anything sweet or pastel. I want to talk about children as the gift of life. That is, about sex and pain and blood and eating.

And no, I’m not going to tell you amusing stories about what it’s like to be a mother. (It’s pretty wild.) You may not have kids, so what I’m going to tell you, remind you of, is what it’s like to be one. Because we all are.

You are somebody’s child. Think about this. You grew inside a woman, you came out of her, you ate her. You ate her body, literally, to live. You became her and she became you. She’s in you in ways that ––if you’re like me—can still feel as elemental and violent as the moment when you were pushed out from between her legs in a great rush of blood.

This is intolerable.

You are somebody’s child.. A man helped make you, in ways that are ridiculously mysterious and absolutely powerful. He went inside somebody else’s body and became a part of you. The shape of your hands, the way you clear your throat, the color of your eyes—he lives in you, literally in the code that turned on each cell of your being, and in your spirit.

He became you, and you became him, in ways seen and unseen, that will follow you all the years of your life.

This is intolerable.

We can read tonight’s Gospel story as being about the ways Jesus’ disciples and the people gathered at Capernaum were shocked by his breach of religious convention There certainly was enough in Jesus’ claim to set the teeth of the faithful, and their priests, on edge: who was this man daring to come into the synagogue and use the language of blood and sacrifice? How dare he talk to them about their ancestors, who ate manna in the wilderness and died there? What was he doing, telling them to be cannibals? Some of this story is about the ways God, through Christ, turned religion on its head. And the idea that God may still, through Christ, be doing that today is certainly hard for us to take.

But I think what we really find intolerable in this story is the literal truth. God’s truth, that Jesus tells us without flinching. Without pastels. That we were made out of flesh, and are also suffused with a huge longing spirit we can’t entirely understand. That we each are someone’s child–– a new body made by other bodies. That we hunger to eat our parents, that we do eat them, that we are eaten ourselves, that our bodies help make new people. That we are penetrated by and inside each other, irrevocably and indivisibly connected to each other, that we live through each other’s flesh.

Do you want to go away, now, too? Yes.

But to whom shall we go? There is nowhere in Heaven or Earth to hide from the intolerable fact of our own bodies and blood connected so intimately to others; nowhere to escape the vivid reality of our unseen spirits, nowhere God is not. God is in our mouths, our stomachs, our flesh, in all the blazing facts of creation.

I took communion for the first time in my life about five years ago. But that’s backwards. The truth is, communion took me.

I had no intention at all of doing this. I grew up without ever going to church. I never heard a Gospel reading, never said the Lord’s Prayer. I was certainly not interested in becoming a Christian—or, as I thought of it rather less politely, a religious nut.

I walked in here at eight o’clock one morning because my wife, who also had no intention of joining a church, just wanted somewhere quiet to sit and pray. We came here and sat down and stood up, sang and sat down, waited and listened and stood up and sang, and it was all peaceful and sort of interesting, and then we started moving up to the Table. And then we gathered around it. And there was more singing and standing, and then someone was putting a piece of fresh bread in my hands, saying, “the body of Christ,” and then giving me a cup saying, “the blood of Christ,” and then something outrageous and disturbing and terrifying happened. Jesus happened to me.

It was intolerable. I could not accept it. But I was so hungry I kept coming back. This went on for a while–– me taking the bread and crying and drinking the cup and crying. I started to read the Bible. I sat by myself a lot and mused about God. I thought I got control of myself and thought I understood things. I started to feel pretty sanctified and pleased about where this little adventure of mine was headed until, a year or so later, I began to serve as a deacon.

So I started to deacon. And then I had to pass the body of Christ to you, the body of Christ. Well, that was to lead to my baptism. Which is another story. And to the setting up of St Gregory’s food pantry, which is another story, though maybe it’s really the same one.

But right away it disturbed my nice, pastel plan for my religious future. What happened once I started distributing communion was the truly disturbing, dreadful realization about Christianity: you can’t be a Christian by yourself.

And while you can work quite hard to find the religious community, the denomination, the particular church where you feel comfortable, and while you can make a real effort to impose rules that keep the wrong kind of people out of your cozy tradition, sooner or later you’re going to have the inescapable reality of your connection to other people, without exception, right up in your face.

You are going to be touching Christ’s body through the angry old guy with the clenched jaw. Looking into Christ’s eyes, through the face of the self-satisfied yuppie with the sports car. Listening to Christ’s voice, through the middle-aged woman with the annoying nasal whine. You are not going to get to sit by yourself and think loftily about how much God loves you in particular. You are not going to get to have dinner, eternally, with people just like you. You are going to get communion, whether you want it or not, with people you didn’t choose. People you don’t necessarily like. Screwed-up people, with bodies. The people God chose for you.

Sort of like the way God chose your parents.

These are hard words, Jesus’ followers say, and they’re right. Each of us has to be born, eat, drink, bleed, and die in the most intimate communion with strangers – our mothers, our fathers, the boring, infuriating, unacceptable, intolerable people around us. Like you, Christ is in them, and they in him. Like you, they are becoming God.

Each of us on Earth has to eat, drink, bleed and live in communion with other people’s bodies, and with their souls. And with God, whom we didn’t choose. Who chose us.

So, are you ready for some bread and wine now? Come, let us draw eternal life

I neglected to mention...

BTW I should have also said that I met wonderful, amazing people at this gathering the last couple of days. I'm delighted with the new friends I've made. And I'm not even kissing ass; I really am excited about knowing these people. Particularly the awesome Minneapolis contingent - who knew the Spirit was blowing her wind so strongly there? I thought Chicago was the windy city, ha ha. (groan)

Now I have all the more reason to take Maggie to see her cousins there, because she's blessed with a whole new set of aunties to love her. We are so blessed to have such a village willing to raise this child with us (now if only we could somehow live in 15 places at once...).

The whole General Convention thing is starting to sink in and get a little scary, but I've already heard from some LA people who will team up with me. I almost feel like maybe I was specially prepared for this job by having the connections down there that are needed to help pull together the strands of this web. It is at once daunting and exciting.

OK, I can't spend too much of naptime on the computer - got to eat, do housework, take a shower (!!), all those things we try to cram in before the inevitable cry calls a momma back to her primary job.

Monday, March 16, 2009

anglimergent

I spent the last couple of days at a gathering of people who self-identify as “anglimergent” – or at least, spend some of their time networking on a website entitled “anglimergent”. It’s a tricky group to pin down: many of them are uncomfortable with labels, particularly labels that identify them with the rather evangelical world of emerging church. I find the label helpful as a way to shorthandedly say, “people who are interested in seeing the church move forward in whatever way works” or “people who want to help write the next chapter of the Episcopal story (as my husband puts it: not rewrite the former chapters, not write a totally new book, but write a chapter that builds on the chapters that have come before and adds our generation’s input).”

So that is the kind of person we’re talking about – someone who wants to see a new era of ministry going in the Episcopal Church that makes it open and relevant and generally the kind of place that I’ve already been lucky enough to find it to be. Turns out that many people have had horrendous experiences in TEC, and I feel awful about that. I’m super spoiled to have only gone to churches that, for the most part, got it right. At least, they were authentically who they are. And I’m not going to pretend I haven’t been burned – we just have to revisit the sad pathetic story of my ordination process(es) to know that my attempts to serve have not always been well-received (or well-offered, I hasten to add).

All that to say that there actually ARE Episcopal churches that need to be dragged kicking and screaming into the postmodern era, or into the 1979 prayer book (which hasn’t nearly finished being mined, as Louis Weil reminds us), or just into a general sense that the church should be kind of an open and loving place and not so much an exclusive club or a political stance or a family tradition. It is, after all, about God’s kingdom on earth; about spreading God’s love; about Jesus’ way of living into the most abundant life possible. These are the things that the folks I met with are about.

Oddly, I was really only there because Sara Miles asked me to be. I didn’t feel remotely like I belonged. But as I was preparing to attend and was thinking about my experience with emergy type stuff, I realized I had a remarkable amount of background in that world (especially for someone who never officially has been a member of an actual emergent church). I was pretty involved in the planning process for Thad’s in LA (until they decided not to have regular Eucharist, which I couldn’t live with), and I helped write some of the liturgy for Barry Taylor’s services at All Saints’ (including parts of the Eucharistic prayer that they still use). Then there was my independent study on the EC, which led to our (unfinished) documentary on COTA. At seminary, one of my closest friends was a founding member of Three Nails in Pittsburgh, and another had lived and served in an intentional community in East LA long before emerging became a thing (incidentally, both of these people had left that kind of church to join more traditional Episcopal congregations, citing the liturgy as what drew them to the tradition…gee! Ya think?). For heaven’s sake, I never would have gone to seminary if Carol Wade hadn’t told me to, and she’s in this conversation too! I never would have become Episcopalian without being discipled by Christopher Martin, and the whole thing with him was doing spiritual disciplines – the real hard-core monastic stuff that you can’t really do just once a week at church. And now, I go to St. Gregory’s, and I used to go to All Saints’ BH, and even at St. Barnabas – all these churches have one thing in common: they are unapologetically authentic to themselves. They don’t try to be something appealing, they don’t try to find a niche and fill it, they don’t try to be relevant. Hell, St. B’s didn’t even have bulletins and everybody had the liturgy memorized! But all these places we were drawn to, we realized, were places that – though there was NO alt-worship going on – embodied the principles of the anglimergent group (or at least those who had gathered). They are open, nurturing, playful, incarnate, sacramental (!!), collaborative, passionate, and deeply contextual. They are places of freedom and hospitality. Sure, they have their stumbles and drawbacks, and not all these values are lived every moment. But they are held, I believe, by the majority of the membership. And they are what keep the churches living and, in some cases, thriving.

A word on the sacramental bit: Sara pointed out that most of the people in the room were serious about sacraments, particularly about gathering around a Table where everyone is welcome. And I realized, making “sacramental” one of the core values of “anglimergent” would exclude some communities which believe that sacraments are not necessarily…necessary. Or perhaps that they are something quite different from what the church has said they are (e.g., Eucharist isn’t important, but perhaps there is something else which takes its place?). And I suppose that, to be true to our principles, we’d have to say yes, you can still be anglimergent and not give a rat’s ass about sacraments. Because you can’t define anglimergent, or at least, it seems, you can’t make boundaries around what it does and does not define.

Which actually is really confusing. Like, they kept saying there’s “no such thing” as anglimergent and there’s no “there there” – but obviously something brought all us people together, and isn’t it helpful to have (as my friend Andy put it) a “handle” to call it (since apparently “label” is too loaded of a word to just throw around)? I don’t know, maybe it’s the meds or something, but my brain starts to hurt when I try to figure out how something could be nonexistent but yet we’re talking about it and identifying with it (but it also can’t be defined or have boundaries...ouch, headache).

One really interesting moment was when someone suggested that if a group formed that wanted to drop bombs on muslims and call themselves anglimergent, that obviously they wouldn’t be. And Sara, God bless her, actually had the cajones to say no, you can’t say that – you either have to let everybody in or make really strict boundaries. So far, the group is resisting boundaries, is resisting placing authority in any person or group or even set of rules, so that kind of leaves the field open for nutjobs. But I guess that’s better than getting stuck obeying one small vision of what anglimergent could mean.

It’s so easy – especially in a room of people who are almost all the same generation or two, and probably all hold the same views politically and mostly the same theologically – it’s really easy and really tempting in that scenario to start thinking we know what everybody thinks, to start believing that we’re all the same. But we’re not. And more importantly, we have to be OPEN to other expressions of what church can be, because without diversity the kingdom just isn’t Godly.

So that means, as hard as it is, we have to drop our own agendas and reach across the aisle. We have to do like Fuller’s Episcopal/Anglican group did – people from churches that had left and churches still aligned with the diocese would meet weekly and pray together and pray FOR each other. And there wasn’t any way to reconcile our churches on a large scale, but one-on-one, we could at least talk, at least agree that we all loved Jesus, and we actually did help bust a lot of myths about each other.

But all that is simply to say that if a group wanted to form and call itself part of the anglimergent community that was not like us, not like our vision of what emergent or Anglican or even “cool kids” are…I guess we’d have to be stuck with it. I personally feel like there should be some kind of boundaries – I mean, to call something Anglican there should at least be a modicum of Anglicanism involved (I could care less about the emergent label) – but perhaps that’s why the name isn’t helpful and should be rejected….perhaps we need to just be who we are. And for me, that would involve something interfaith and certainly interdenominational, so right there you have to lose the Anglican handle (or DO you – I love the tension-holding value of TEC – is it really anything goes??)

Anyway this is all getting a bit rambly and confusing and of course it’s just my own thoughts and in no way reflects anybody else’s impressions, I’m sure. Plus please recall that I’m chronically sleep deprived, and had a margarita this evening. So if I’m totally misremembering things, I apologize to my colleagues who were there, and I look forward to your musings on the meeting. These were just some of the thoughts that came up in my head as I pondered our discussions. And as you can see, I’m really quite a confused little girl. Oh well.

Somehow in a fit of excitement I wound up volunteering to go to General Convention and do…well we don’t know what yet, but do something. This was possibly a very na├»ve and ridiculous move. God knows I am not at all qualified to talk about the emergent church, having always been on the fringes of it. Then again, if it’s just about being a kingdom gal, that I can do.

Ay. I’m tired of writing now. Hope there was something worth reading there.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Breastfeeding: Pro and Con

OK, I have to post these links. First an article that made me feel rather like a fool for believing all the hype and going ahead with breastfeeding even though, at first at least, it was incredibly difficult, stressful, tiring, and time-consuming (these days it's rare, something I anticipate, always floods me with joy and peace, and makes me feel super-close to my daughter). Had I read this article 9 months ago, I would have given up probably in about week 3 or 4. Stuck where I'm at, having played the fool for 9 mos now, I was at least glad to be in the meager 17% of people who bfeed exclusively for 6 mos (until I realized I hadn't: Maggie wanted solids at 5 mos, so oops - but she still mostly breastfed - we didn't do more than 1 "meal" - more like a few teaspoons - per day until after 6 mos. Still my tiny rush of pride faded, as I realized I was just another of the dupes).

The Case Against Breastfeeding

Then my friend JTB alerted me to The Case Against The Case Against Breastfeeding, at the "mother of all parenting blogs," Strollerderby (love that name). There, Madeline Holler eloquently expressed many of my feelings about the former article, including the main points which are: the workplace system in this country can't handle motherhood, and those who cannot breastfeed shouldn't be judged or made to feel "less than" (in my more soapbox moments, however, I do feel that those who just "don't like it" maybe should try a little harder, like I did...but I realize that's bitchy of me. Wanting others to suffer like you did is one of the worst things women do to each other - especially in the workplace and academia - so I really have no place adding to that misery. Still it's sure tempting).

For more on fixing the first situation, see this older article in the Atlantic: The Parent Trap.

As for those who can't breastfeed and really want to, my heart goes out to them. For those who don't want to, I've said enough above. But I don't find it helpful to present a case that makes those of us who managed - who did grit our teeth through the pain and endured the endless nights and finally, finally found that perfect latch that made it actually pleasureable (which lasted about 10 minutes until teeth set in and everything changed...including the wonderful new world of biting!) - I don't find it helpful or feminist (in the sense of promoting what's best for women - which includes our baby daughters, I add) to make those women feel like tools because we haven't figured out that we could really be liberated by science if we'd just get over ourselves.

Bleh. The line that keeps sticking with me is when she says that breastfeeding is only free if you consider a woman's time to be worth nothing.

Good point. Except: what in the world could I be doing with my time that is more important or fulfilling than feeding another human being?! Than providing her everything she needs - not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually! The whole problem is thinking of bfeeding as a waste of time, as something you have to get through to get on to whatever in your life is more important than this little leech that just wants to suck your life juice out.

Or...you can think of it like this: there's a helpless human being that knows nothing in the universe except the sound of your voice and heartbeat, who trusts you with her very life, with everything she is, to provide her warmth and love and fill her tummy, all while giving her the only thing she needs besides nourishment: your attention, your self. Yes, sometimes it's all of yourself. Yes, sometimes you lose yourself in it. Yes, you don't have your own thoughts or worries for a while.

Wait, isn't that a good thing?

I have gotten to the point with breastfeeding that not only do I derive great pleasure from the act, both chemically and just from the closeness it provides, but I welcome the respite from the busyness, and I am glad to have something to offer that almost always serves as a comfort and a sanctuary of peace for us both, and you know what? It is good for this mommy. It's not taking anything away - it's adding to my life. It's so much better for me than if I were trying to mix bottles and convince J to offer half of them. How much nicer to just lay down next to my darling one and pull her close to me? It's so relaxing, and there's no wondering if she's had enough, and no forcing more on her, and no waste at all. And when I can remember to calm down about it and just be there with her, I derive so much satisfaction and fulfillment from the act. I feel complete as a woman.

Maybe that's horribly un-feminist to say; then again, what is more womanly than using what God gave me? I not only helped to create life; I help to sustain it. In this way, I emulate my Mother in Heaven. What's more awe-inspiring than that? Why in the world do we think that is somehow less than going to an office all day?? If it is what I want to do, what I feel called to do, then I'm not selling myself short at all.

Lately Maggie has been rather fascinated with my nipples; she stops feeding and then kind of plays with them and looks at them with I swear is love in her eyes. She clearly knows where her food comes from and she's grateful. She kind of has this amazed look - like she's starting to understand the difference between what I feed her on a spoon and what comes straight from momma. I love that she's getting that.

This morning when I'd had enough of her play I said, "OK, nursing goes bye bye" and I closed up shop. And she actually waved bye bye to my boob! Then she said, for the first time ever, "bye bye." And I stopped and I looked at her and said, "What?!" and she repeated, "bye bye."

It was so adorable (I love her little voice - can't wait for her to talk more!). My child actually bid adieu to the breast. It's basically a friend to her; it's definitely her security as well as her food source. It's so much more than a bottle could be. So while not diminishing those who cannot, let me just add that for those of us who breastfeed, there IS a lot to be said for it. I, for one, am in no hurry to give it up (may feel differently with future kids, of course), and I no longer EVER do it out of some sense of guilt or dispensing medicine. Maybe at first, but those days are long gone. And in the future, I will know that this feeling is coming, even if it's not there at the beginning, so I really can't see myself not pushing through to get to the wonderful stage.

OK, that's more than I meant to write, but this really got me going! Time to get my little helper and be off to church.

scary

You know what is scary and humbling? Googling the words "the Feminarian." I didn't exactly do this - J showed me how to look up the IP addresses and referral sites of the people who visit this blog (so watch out...I know who you are now! Who's reading from USC by the way? Fight on!). As I was noodling around on there, I clicked on one of the referral links, which was a person who'd googled those words. And what a scary lot of stuff came up!

Mostly I found other bloggers who had found me back in the glory days when I was writing my posts on sex and/or stuff about theology and exclusivism that totally makes me balk now (not the sex, the exclusive stuff). It's actually pretty wild to look at another person's questioning take on my views (cough...Hugo), that I now totally agree with.

That is what has made writing this blog so worthwhile: I've sensed that I'm changing so much through these last few years, and through the blog I have actual evidence that it's so. I can track the twists and turns in my journey, the days I was stupid and the days I got it right. I guess this is why people keep diaries, huh? Somehow I never could journal on paper (my handwriting can't keep up with my thoughts, I suppose), but I've managed to keep this blog going for what, like 5 years now? And I'm really excited that one day I will be able to show it to my daughter and she'll learn way more than she ever wanted to know about her mom. Ha. My own mom learns way more than she wants to know about me by reading this...although I don't think I can surprise her anymore.

These days, I feel so guilty because I know I'm not up to the par I used to be at, and I post so irregularly (but you can be a "follower" now if you have blogger, so you don't have to check - or I've just posted the blog on the networkedblogs app on facebook, too, which I think will send you updates). My brain's a little consumed with other business, or is so fried when I have a moment to write that nothing will come out.

So to those of you who've stuck with me thank you, and I'm sorry, and I will try to be brilliant again one day. I really am serious about trying to make a go at writing, so I need to stay in practice. I can't let my brain lose all its theological brilliance quite yet.

BTW if you didn't already know it the job market sucks and is especially crappy for newly-minted Phds in the humanities. So if you're one of those lucky ones in school, stay there. Seriously, there's no reason to finish. Poor J is rushing through his dissertation but only Starbucks awaits on the other side. At least he'll have good conversations with the other highly-educated baristas.

I'm kidding: J can't work at Starbucks. He once was hired there and stopped showing up when a Hollywood gig came along. Little did we know that after two masters and a doctorate he'd need to be knocking on their door again. Oh well, at least there's always Peet's.

As usual I wind up being the one who's imminently employable. It makes trying to be a SAHM very difficult. And maybe we'd just send me off to work and let J stay home except he hates that and I do too. Bummer.

But I found this amazing job opportunity: it's a campus ministry position at UC Santa Cruz. It's part time. It's progressive. It's for a ministry called "Feast," for crying out loud. I was born in Santa Cruz (well, close by). There are a lot of funky stars aligning on this one. It's the one thing I could see myself coming out of "retirement" to do. We'll see. They're not interviewing until after Easter, but I sent in my resume and I really genuinely want to go for it. Of course, me working p/t isn't enough, but it's better than nothing.

Anyway I am thrilled that it is Friday so I get to go to the Food Pantry, the highlight of my (and Maggie's) week. I've even gotten a new friend from CDSP to come along this time. No matter where I go in life, I now know that I must find a way to feed people. It's one of the most wonderful things any of us can do.

But back to my original topic, the finding out of what other people say about me & the blog. I always stayed blissfully ignorant of my "press"; I preferred to pretend nobody actually read this stuff, which kept me able to be honest and forthright. Now I know who reads it (too many relatives! and colleagues) and I'm all self-censoring and nervous and I can't get all uppity like I used to. The Feminarian has been spayed. Not really, but it's no longer a separate character - a crazy out-there version of my extreme viewpoints. It's a lot more just me these days. Which has good points and bad points and is probably a lot more boring.

Well I have to run too soon, as always anymore. Glad a few of you are still out there, even if nobody's written about the Feminarian for a few years. She's not completely retired. Perhaps now that I've got a tiny bit more time, she will rise again every now & then.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

45 Questions

So these crazy lists have been going around facebook and I already did my 25 random things on there (become my friend to see it), but I figured might as well answer this one here on the blog, because I find the questions sort of interesting and you all might want to see, and it will import to facebook anyway so two birds and all that.

I didn't do the list of questions to ask your kid b/c my kid can only say "Da" and "Cat." No "mama" in sight. Sigh.

Anyhoo, here's a list of random factoids:

1. Do you like blue cheese?
Very much

2. Have you ever smoked?
I tried one cigarette w/my boyfriend when I turned 18. I thought it was disgusting and threw it down after one drag. He, incidentally, wound up addicted (he finished that first pack so as not to waste it, and the rest is history...)
I had a chance to smoke pot but I had to preach the next day and I was worried about the after-effects (true story). I never got another opportunity and then those friends moved away, darn it. I would try it if I had the chance. Don't tell my mom.

3. Do you own a gun?
Hell no

4. What flavor of Kool Aid was your favorite?
I don't remember. Red, I suppose. We didn't get to have much Kool Aid (I'm grateful for that)

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
Yes, especially prenatal ones.

6. What do you think of hot dogs?
Once I found Niman Ranch Fearless Franks, I discovered they can be pretty damn tasty. They should only be cooked over an open flame, preferably followed by s'mores.

7. Favorite Christmas movie?
It was White Christmas for years and years, but nowadays it's Love Actually. I also watch Scrooge (the musical) every year on Christmas day.

8. Favorite thing to drink in the morning?
A latte, but usually I just have black coffee

9. Can you do push ups?
a few, tho I haven't tried since giving birth

10.What's your favorite piece of jewelry?
I love the celtic cross that John bought me at the Iona Abbey, and a diamond bracelet I got from my granny when she died

11 What is your favorite hobby?
writing and watching tv/movies

12. Do you have A.D.D?
No

13. What's one trait you hate about yourself?
I talk about myself and my baby too much and feel like I'm not a very good friend anymore

14. Middle name?
Grace

15. Best Birthday?
I think probably when we had the fiesta downtown in our loft, and did the pinata from the ceiling and it was catered by Ciudad (the Too Hot Tamales' restaurant). Yeah, that one was way fun. Although the one I spent in Scotland wasn't bad either.

16. Name 3 things you regularly drink:
sparkling water & pineapple juice (usually mixed together) and whole milk (not mixed with anything except the occasional cookie crumb)

17. How many siblings do you have?
Sister and brother both younger

18. Current "I hate it right now?":
I hate insecurity

19. Favorite place to be?
Los Angeles

20. How did you bring in the New Year last year?
Ha - at my in-laws, fast asleep

21. Where would you like to go?
India and Italy

22. Name three people who might complete this:
No.

23. Do you own slippers?
Yes, thanks to mom who got me some for xmas. Otherwise I have half a dozen pairs of slipper socks with sticky bottoms.

24. What shirt are you wearing?
Blue, textured fabric, and really old - had it since college.

25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
Yes, but I prefer super-soft cotton, and I hate flannel.

26. Can you whistle?
Yes

27. Favorite Color?
Anymore it's really pink, and I know how weird that is for a feminist.

28. Would you be a pirate?
Depends on the booty.

29. What songs do you sing in the shower?
These days it's usually whatever I was just singing to Maggie: either Taize or Baby Beluga.

30. Favorite girl names?
Lux/Lucia, Kumari, Serenity (eat it, J), Joss, Anastasia, Grace

31. Favorite boy names?
Joss, Peter, Ashley, Rufus

32. What's in your pocket right now?
Nothing, but earlier I had my license and a Starbucks card and a twenty.

33. Last thing to make you laugh?
I don't recall but I'm sure it was Maggie doing something

34. What vehicle do you drive?
1998 Mitsubishi Mirage, the little car that just won't give up (thanks be to God).

35. Worst injury you've ever had?
Tearing during childbirth! At least, that was most painful and longest recovery. I've never had anything major go wrong (knock on wood).

36. Do you love where you live?
No, but I'm tolerating it better these days.

37. How many TVs do you have in your house?
One in our part. There are two others in the part we aren't living in that belong to my landlady.

38. Who is your loudest friend?
Jett Whitworth. Sorry dude, it's true. Oh, and my niece Vallarie. She gives him a run for his money.

39. Do you have any pets?
Yes, two neglected cats, Kitty and Tyke.

40. Does someone have a crush on you?
I think Maggie does.

41. Your favorite book(s):
I really couldn't choose amongst them, but I guess I'd say the Bible (to be painfully cliche).

42. Do you collect anything?
I collected bears growing up. Now I guess I collect books and movies.

43. Favorite Sports Team?
USC Trojans (growing up, it was the Bruins. Yes, I'm a turncoat, but I know who butters my bread, so to speak)

44. What song do you want played at your funeral?
Faure's Requiem

45. What are you listening to right now?
John reading "Good Night, Los Angeles" to Maggie. Muted traffic and wind chimes outside. Some ringing in my right ear where the earwax has built up.

Friday, March 06, 2009

My church

Though I may quibble with some of the liturgical and theological choices my church here in SF has made (someday I will get around to writing about the importance of liturgical seasons, which I'm learning by being deprived of them, and some kind of gospel that does include sin or at least personal responsibility), one cannot argue with the fact that their ministries rock.

I've written about how much I've been blessed by working at the food pantry. Last night Sara served as guest chef for a guerrilla restaurant in the city, serving only locally-sourced (hyper-local - like neighborhood backyards!) food, with Eucharist at midnight, and proceeds going to the pantry. How cool is that? I'm sure it was a huge success...I only wish I could have gone (but bedtime duty prevented me). I was so proud when I opened my ideal bite email and saw them featured!

Now that we're in Lent, preparations are underway for Easter, the biggest deal at St. Gregory's. And I'm pleased to have been asked to participate. Looks like I'll get to do a reading or even cantor. I'm grateful to be involved directly in worship again. And I think after that, after Maggie's just a bit older and going in the nursery (hopefully), I'll start thinking about serving as a deacon, which at this church doesn't require ordination. It just means I'd be part of the welcoming and hospitality crew, and help lead various parts of the service and assist at the altar (basically the stuff I did at my field ed internship). So that will be cool. I've really missed being "up front" in worship, not because I care about anybody noticing me (in fact it's been lovely to be somewhat anonymous for a while), but because I really do feel I have some gifts to offer - projection, smiles, vocal range, memory, and so forth - that are best utilized in this ministry.

Oh, and it looks like I'm going to participate in a gathering of Anglimergent folks that is meeting at St. G's this month. If you're interested in attending, all are welcome. You should at least join the online community if you find these things of interest.

Overall I'm feeling really positive about our church choice. So much so that I'll be sad if we do only wind up there for a year or less. Things are so up in the air right now...more about that another time. Suffice to say that the job situation is looking pretty dire, and no job = no money for rent = possibly moving in with family. Definitely not anybody's favorite option, but there may be no choice.

Anyway the point of all this is that we're becoming members this Sunday, me John & Maggie. Yay us. That means we need to be more involved, thus my musings on ministry. Maggie and I already have our food pantry work, though. I have to tease J that Maggie found her ministry before he did. But he is meeting with the rector today to talk about what his ministry might be. I hope he becomes philosopher-in-residence. :)

I'll end with a quote my mom sent me that feels really pertinent right now:
"You are so young, so much before all beginning, and I would like to beg you, dear (one), as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."

—Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Tuesday, March 03, 2009