Wednesday, June 29, 2005


So here is a lament psalm. It was a class assignment, and it's not great. But I wasn't supposed to spend more than a couple hours on it. Maybe I'll keep touching it up.

O Lord, your temple is besieged,
Your holy dwelling-place filled with the unjust!
They perform empty ceremonies,
Making idols with your name.
The prayers of the unjust rise like smoke;
Like black soot are their praises.
They come before you as children,
As little ones without understanding;
Your priests strive to teach them,
Your apprentices seek to nourish them,
They offer food to the infants,
Their good food is rejected.

We are rent as a garment,
Israel’s fabric pulls at the seams,
We stress to the breaking-point,
Tearing away from our Lord.

The Lord is the mighty one of Israel
Who brought his people out of bondage.
He sent his son to proclaim good news of love
And apostles to prepare his Bride.
The Lord is full of steadfast love
And his faithfulness to his people endures forever.

O Lord, rise up and heal,
Mend the divisions of Israel!
Do not neglect your servants,
Who seek to understand your will!

The Lord will not stay silent,
He despises injustice in his name.
The Lord will not honor their ceremonies,
Nor let them worship falsely in his name.
He will hold the unjust accountable,
And will spit them out of his mouth.
He will guide his people to the comb
And with sweet truth he will fill them.

Therefore I will praise the Lord,
I will make my praise before the assembly.
I will study and gain knowledge,
I will open my mind to the wonders of the Almighty.
I will cry out to my God,
I will demand justice for the oppressed.
I will serve the Lord’s will,
And I will forever proclaim his desires to the people.

I et the pizza

And it was good.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


I get so overwhelmed and disgusted.

Last year, when I worked full-time for a journalism school, I kept on top of everything going on in the world. I read three or four newspapers every day, plus I read dozens of stories from all over the world pertaining to religion that I found on the Revealer or Christianity Today's weblog. I cared deeply about the election (there's some wasted energy) and about the future of our country, our planet, our faith. I even stopped eating animals, both for health, and also because I was sick of the violence it perpetuated. And I went to seminary because I cared about these things.

Now I am tired. I tried to look at the CT blog and it's still the same issues (ex-gay therapy, Anglican split, oh, here's a new one - the Southern Baptists have lifted their ban on Disney - lots of good I'm sure that did). I used to find world politics fascinating - now I find it depressing. I loved following American politics too - now it's veering so far from reality that it just pisses me off.

Sadly, I want to retreat into the ivory tower. I want to bury myself in my books and studies. Is the world going to care anyway? And what is the church's role in all this? It's so confused. What are we really supposed to be doing? I mean, what will actually advance the kingdom of God?

I do my homework and my job and go to class and when I get to rest I either read more about Christianity or, God help me, I watch reality television. At least that Kitchen show. And the one about being a Hilton. And the Beauty and the Geek (that one is actually very sweet - it's all these people learning to look past surface appearances). And the home makeover show, which makes me cry every time. I also have been escaping into movies. I bought Luther, Saved!, and Simone the other day. Man, that Saved is freaking hilarious.

I guess I did read the book about Iran (and have subsequently found myself reading everything I can about their recent "election"). Despite my best efforts, any honest attempt to discover some kind of truth about the world will, inevitably, lead me back to facing the world, and its problems, and my own inadequacy and fear and compassion.

You know what I want to do? Eat a pizza and move to Paris. How's that for indulgence? *sigh* We are just not called to such luxuries. But I am tired. Sometimes caring so much makes you so. I think JC knew that.

Little of this and that

So how was my conference?

Well it was fine, although much of it was retread from other classes and talks I've attended. The people not from Fuller seemed to enjoy it a great deal. There was a little more mime-ing than I care to see - I simply don't think it's something that many churches can present well, nor is it particularly relevant or very entertaining for people my age, and therefore it should not be so much of a focus. It seems like we'd benefit more from artistic suggestions that could actually be implemented at a majority of churches in an effective way. But of course that will always largely depend upon the particular ways the HS has gifted any given congregation. Perhaps what is needed is less showing-off of certain types of art (dance, mime, music by the guy who used to backup Elton John--like yeah, we all have musicians of that caliber!) that only an institution like Fuller can really access. Perhaps we should be instead educating pastors to a) find the gifts of their congregation's artists and then b) empower the use of those gifts. There are some curricula out there, but more could be written. Maybe I should get on that.

I'm supposed to guest write on another blog starting next week. I don't even have time to write on here! What have I gotten myself into? Well I will at least post a link to it when I write there.

I'm really loving my Writings class. It's all happening really fast (5 weeks total), and it's kind of swirling around me at the moment. But I love these stories! And I love the emotion in the Psalms and Ecclesiastes and Job. So much humanity. Lately I've been thinking maybe I should just become an OT scholar! But I have to see how Hebrew agrees with me first. It's what killed my Dad - he had to leave DTS and go to another sem that didn't require it!

So for writings I can write a paper about a couple of novels and/or movies and/or songs, about how they present what it means to be human, and how the Writings can enrich and inform them (not the other way 'round). Any ideas, guys? I just finished Reading Lolita in Tehran, which is great, by the way. I wonder if that could be used. I'm sure if I thought about it 5 minutes things would come to mind, but I'm just bouncing around in so many things at the moment that it's hard to focus.

I did have a talk with my professor about whether I belong at Fuller. He affirmed my suspicions that my Epis polity class was actually more conservative than the majority of Fuller students and particularly Epis Fuller students. That was a relief. I have to remember that I chose this denomination because
OH....Bob Dylan is playing..."like a rol-ling stone" that...excuse me while I jam for a moment.
right because they are so diverse! I love the broadness of God's mercy that is affirmed by the Anglican Communion. And I also have to trust, as Dr. G reminded me, that my faith has evolved to this place because God's led me here. I don't think I've been misled, and I certainly having been trying to drive this train. Things happen around me and I pay attention. Opportunities come up and I grab them. Disappointments happen. The future is uncertain. It's all life. It's all part of this journey, and I really am just enjoying the ride. Like a complete unknown. Like a rolling stone.

Oh, hell I can't write when Bob's singing to me.

Friday, June 24, 2005

A few thoughts on the women of Esther

Esther was a woman of her times, and the story was written in and for a patriarchal society. At first glance, she comes off as a victim of circumstance, used by the men around her. She is hauled off to a beauty pageant and made a queen without her consent. She takes her life into her hands when confronting the king at the behest (and guilt trip) of her guardian Mordecai. One could wonder if she had any thoughts of her own at all!

But there is more to Esther. She uses a uniquely feminine approach to getting her way: utilizing her beauty, a few good meals, wine, weeping, and fainting in the extended version – all things that women have used for centuries to exploit men’s weaknesses. She is skilled at using her “feminine wiles,” but that doesn’t necessarily make her three-dimensional. One could still argue that she only does as she is told by Mordecai, admittedly using some brilliant methods to accomplish her tasks.

Digging under the surface of the story we discover there is more to Esther than being men’s puppet. She must have been deeply conflicted at the discovery of the conspiracy against her people. Despite Mordecai’s arguments, in the end, she still had to decide to face the king. One moment she is refusing Mordecai’s request and the next she has resigned herself to possible death – obviously an inner struggle has changed her heart. She is brave and cunning, and uses her womanhood as her weapon.

Whether it is authentic or not, we learn much more about Esther’s inner life in the extended Greek (Septuagint) version of the story. In the additions, she is fleshed out into a three-dimensional character, with her own motivations and fears and thoughts, rather than just being influenced by the men around her. She has a healthy spiritual life and is quite a humble person, not enamored of her royalty at all. She is more obviously a woman to be emulated in the longer version. I highly recommend finding a copy.

Vashti: I recall that when I heard this story growing up, I was given the impression that Vashti kind of had it coming – she was portrayed as a “feminazi” who was being unreasonable. But in re-reading the story, I see that we are not told why she didn’t come to the king. Maybe she was sick, or it was that time of the month – or something more serious. It wasn’t necessarily just a bad hair day or her being obstinate. I think Vashti frequently gets a bad rap from a chauvinistic husband and society (both hers and ours). It would be a fun experiment to rewrite the whole story from her perspective. Some do see her as the ultimate feminist, standing up against the man (when Esther used more traditional "womanly" methods of getting her way). But we really just can't know, can we?

Zeresh is also an interesting character – she is another wise woman in the story. She pleases her husband with her vicious suggestion of a gallows, but she also sees through him and predicts his downfall. She is another example of the strength and insight of women, though in her case, she is beholden to the villain – she is the yin to Esther’s yang.

This is a time when people’s lives are not their own. The royal power decided whether they lived or died. Vashti’s refusal to acknowledge the king’s power led to her death. Mordecai’s empowerment of Esther’s position leads to the saving of their lives. The power of a royal edict – of the king himself – is recognized and exploited throughout the story by both Haman and Esther/Mordecai. When power is used to selfish ends (as by Haman), it becomes a satisfyingly destructive weapon. When it is used for the sake of others (as by Esther), it effects good. Interestingly, in using her womanly power, Esther subverts the king’s power (causing him to change his edict), and the ultimate power over life and death is granted back to the Jews (who don't necessarily use this power wisely).

The vision of womanhood in the story is difficult to discover under the prejudices we bring to the text. I believe the story understands women to be wiser, less emotional, and more rational than men (Esther is the one who points out the laws of the land to Mordecai, after all, and the potential hopelessness of his suggestion). However, because of the society in which they lived, they had to find ways to influence men, rather than exerting their own influence, to change their circumstances. Vashti rejects this power (for whatever reason), and is punished. Zeresh has won over Haman (by such great ideas as the gallows) and feels courageous enough to proclaim his downfall. Esther, though fearful, knows that she is uniquely positioned to influence the king, and finds the way of doing that which honors both of their roles in the relationship.

A final thought: As I read of the slaughter propagated by the Jews at the end, it sounds like they were not simply acting in self-defense, but going overboard. Suddenly they were feared by their neighbors, and they used this power to bloody ends. No one is innocent. Although the Jews are saved, they fall victim to the selfishness and greed of the power that was once used against them.

Corpus Christi

A sermon by Canon Howard Stringfellow, Diocese of Bethlehem.

+ In the Name of the True and Living God: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

The grass, sometimes, is greener on our side of the fence. We can be forgiven for thinking our ecclesiastical controversies are sharper and fiercer, and more consequential, than many of the past. And if we can be forgiven, we should seek forgiveness the best way we know: by hitting the nearest kneeler or hassock and asking for it and by taking comfort, which means strength, from the Holy Sacrament, the Sacrament of Unity, the very unity of Christ's body.

Many of us take that view, that our conflicts and our situations, beyond being ours, are somehow more difficult, more challenging, more daunting than those our forebears and predecessors knew. We like our problems, and we wallow in them, mired yet still fully able to wring our hands. But this narrowness and provincialism need forgiveness and correction which is ours by God's gift in the gift of his body and blood.

On July 16, 1724, the Blessed Sacrament was carried in procession around a church in the Polish city of Torun. One account of what happened next tells of a "mean Lutheran burgher" who, with exceptional audacity, refused to bare his head. Appalled at such blasphemy, one of the Jesuit students pulled off the offending hat from the head of the offensive Protestant. For these troubles that student was promptly assaulted by other Lutherans and locked up. Other Jesuit students, apparently unknown to their teachers, then kidnapped and locked up a Lutheran, with the intention of making an exchange of prisoners. This, in turn, prompted a mob to attack the Jesuits' college, where, having beaten up some priests and torn down some altars, they "hewed down the sacred statues and tore and hacked to pieces the images, and especially that of the Holy Virgin." They then dragged to the public square before the schools the statue of the Blessed Virgin and others, where they burned them openly, impiously exulting and leaping over and around the fire.

I am indebted to Jonathan Wright's account of this public spectacle in his year-old book, God's Soldiers, for reminding me by this example of the enduring Eucharistic controversy that our controversies have not yet been fully mined to produce a lode of the highest quality of discord, the purest ore of public degradation. If we think our controversies more important or unique, then we should ask for the forgiveness that narrowness deserves, and we should hesitate before we think ourselves more challenged, more attacked, and more put upon for standing up for our beliefs.

As the Sacrament of Unity, as the body and blood of the Lord, the Eucharist, and how we believe in it, understand it, participate in it, and celebrate it, witnesses to other Christians and to the world that we believe that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, as we read in the First Letter of Saint Paul to Saint Timothy.

For the first one thousand years of the church's history, the Eucharist was viewed primarily as a sacred action. The ancient church insisted that the Sacrament was instituted for the sanctification of the people of God. Thus, according to the early theologians, the purpose of the Eucharist was not so much to make Christ present among us as to be our sacrifice and sacrificial meal. The effects of the Eucharistic action, distributing the benefits of Christ's passion, claimed those early Christians' first and fullest attention, for through the Eucharist and by participation in the Eucharist, Christ saves sinners.

Our controversies, for the most part, touch upon other questions of the church's life. But we need to continue to understand something. The Feast of Corpus Christi is important to us not so much for knowing how Jesus is present in the bread and the wine as knowing why that Presence is a life-and-death matter. We must, as the Gospel today proclaims, eat his flesh and drink his blood; for if we do not, as Christ says to us in the Gospel today, "you have no life in you."

The Eucharistic action, the offering and the blessing of the bread and the wine, the breaking of the bread, and the distribution of both, incorporates sinners into the divine life: this is the heart of the Eucharist and the heart of the Gospel. We are not just spirits and souls; we are bodies as well, and sin wastes us, body and soul. When the Son of God took our nature, he particularly took our flesh and blood, and he dedicated them entirely to our salvation. Christ's humanity, body and soul, is in perfect union with his divinity. That union is not marred by sin. His body and his blood are medicine to our infirmity, food and drink to our hunger and thirst.

As food for our hunger and drink for our thirst, Saint Thomas Aquinas, too, elaborates the importance of the Real Presence, setting aside, if only for a moment, his definition of that Presence. Hear him do so: Christ "offered his body to God the Father on the altar of the cross as a sacrifice for our reconciliation. He shed his blood for our ransom and purification, so that we might be redeemed from our wretched state of bondage and cleansed from all sin. But to ensure that the memory of so great a gift would abide with us forever, he left his body as food and his blood as drink for the faithful to consume in the form of bread and wine."

As surely as the Jesuit sinned in lifting the "mean Lutheran" burgher's hat, and as surely as the Lutherans sinned in attacking the Jesuits' college, we also find ample occasions to sin in our controversies. Doubtlessly, we think we are right; doubtlessly, we think others are wrong; perhaps we believe we have to be the ones to hold out for the right. We might be happy in thinking ourselves right forever but for this. The humanity of our opponents and those with whom we disagree, too, has been incarnated. Christ took their flesh, not just ours. Christ shows no partiality. He is no respecter of persons. He came to save us all. Christ has opened the way of salvation for all sinners, whether they be right or wrong about this or that. And, further, being right doesn't relieve us of the need to partake in Christ's sacrifice and to eat his sacrificial meal. And neither does being wrong disqualify us from participating and receiving. The Sacrament of Unity saves us all in our blindness and in our sight, in our rightness and in our wrongness, and in our strength and in our weakness. On this great Feast and at the end of this and every day, in the Eucharist, Jesus does to us what he does to the bread and the wine in the miracle of the Mass: we become the Corpus Christi. So, let us take and eat with love and reverence, and let us by God's grace live up to what we have received and to what Christ calls us to be.

In the Name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

I thought we lived in Eastertide...

Here's something I wrote during one of the morning worship sessions at my conference. I hope it makes sense. I was typing on my lap in a pew. Still, pretty heady stuff for 8 am, if I do say so myself.

This morning the choir sang an anthem then we sang "In Christ Alone". Both songs heavily emphasized the death of Christ, especially his blood (that covers me). And I began to wonder if it was still Holy Week and I'd missed something. I was thinking about when my church would sing these songs, and I think it would primarily be on Good Friday. Maybe once in a while other times (though certainly not during feast seasons), but there would probably not be two songs in a row that would be entirely about the death of Christ.

I've read that the Protestant church is stuck in Good Friday and rarely makes it to Easter. Or at least, Easter is acknowledged but the life after Easter, the eternal life, is not really enjoyed or celebrated.

I believe that Christ's death is important to the Christian faith - but is it absolutely the central event? Or is Christ's life? Or is the incarnation itself - the death of God is certainly impressive, but the fact of God becoming human may have been even more a "crisis in the life of God", as Jack Miles puts it.

I don't know. I am receding from a sotierology that is so focused on death and pain. Somehow I find that not fitting to the character of God - particularly this idea that God somehow demanded the death of God's son. Or at least, that the death had to be so violent and painful. Could Jesus have died of old age and accomplished the same? Or better yet, could Jesus simply never have died, accomplishing the defeat of death?

Yet Jesus changed upon his resurrection into whatever this new form he is in now is. A form that some believe we will one day take on. Or will we remain in our normal bodies? As a child, I simply wanted to be able to fly, or play on clouds, or walk through walls. I thought the new body sounded fun. But I didn't think much about any deeper implications.

Do we stand at the foot of the cross perpetually? Must we forever proclaim the death of Christ? Or should we proclaim the life, or resurrection, of Christ? Or, should we be proclaiming the life we live now - the union with God,the communion with the Divine, which we are offered through apprenticeship to Christ?

What is salvation? My husband said once that it is the opportunity to live a life infused with the life of God. To join God's plan - already going on fine without you, mind. To quote a very popular, mostly incoherent book, "it's not about you." So salvation may not be about Jesus dying just for my sins or your sins. That might be just a mite too focused on us.

I don't know why I retract, and even feel angry, when the focus is so strongly on the death and suffering of Christ. I guess that just feels like an ugly religion. A religion focused on someone's death! And not just anyone, but the person we worship! Sounds a little nuts.

The focus is, yes, on the resurrection...but it's also on the incarnation. And the miraculous plan and actions of God throughout the First Testament. And the final victory proclaimed in Revelation. And the working out of Christian faith in everyday life as in the epistles. And dare I suggest the ongoing work of God for the last 2000 years - the continuing evolution of God's plan, of the Christian faith. There is so much more to our story than Jesus' death.

The death songs led to a song about being called. The death is supposed to be what makes us want to be called, to follow. I've never personally found death all that inspiring. I think it's a bad thing. I've had a lot of death in my life - particularly young people, and many members of my family - and it's really just not usually very pretty.

The death. Then the guilt. Then the call and perhaps the life. One song even said that "no guilt" was part of God's life in us. I believe with all my heart that is true. Yet in so many of our churches we behave as if the guilt is so necessary! For salvation (must recognize we are sinners and repent), for coming to the Lord's table (don't come unless you've made peace with your brother!), for keeping us "straight" in every day life (the guilt associated with any minor infraction).

I am so surprised and dismayed by the many Christians I know - some that I am very close to and love dearly - who are completely focused on their sinfulness. They cannot see themselves living as saints. And I would say they are not living the full life of God. Are they even living, truly, as Christians?

Christianity is a funny business. I think it is a lot more positive than we give it credit for. I think it's focused on very different things than we think. Let us enter the life of God - with fear, of course, but also not. Let us experience our life in God as a blessing. With thankfulness, of course - but also with confidence. It is God's good pleasure to love us and live with us forever. We need only accept.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Scratching backs

In the interest of payback, I'm posting a link to a new story by Jeff Sharlet. Jeff's given me a couple shout-out's over at the Revealer (which, sadly, isn't updating as often these days - a major loss), and I figure it's only fair. Although I highly doubt that I need to publicize for him!

So here's something I've been working on this morning: is Esther a feminist book? I think maybe. It was always presented to me as otherwise, but reading between the lines I'm getting the idea that maybe in fact it's all about the (subversive) power of women. I'll post some more of my thoughts on this later. I'm sure I'm behind the curve on this one, but I always appreciate it when such a well-known story can still surprise me.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Hi, I'm back

And I will sloooowly get around to posting stuff, but right now I'm trying to pace myself. We got home yesterday afternoon, and the cats had peed on everything. Then the rental car company (BUDGET!) screwed up and we paid for it. Then I went to class for four hours. Then I got up and went to work but my boss and I crossed signals and didn't meet, so it was a waste of 4 hours of time.

Anyway, I am tired and cranky and don't much feel like telling yet another person how was my trip, so you'll have to wait.

I will cut-and-paste some of what I doodled last night during my first class on the Writings (OT) with Dr. John Goldingay.

Tonight first class with Dr. Goldingay on writings. He's wearing a Coldplay t-shirt (in navy) and blue and white striped shorts. He's already gotten the class laughing and we've sung a psalm (As the Deer). We get a half-hour dinner break - that's a good thing and very considerate. He's also invited us all to his condo for a couple of evenings of discussion (with spouses).

(he says that's the first time we've laughed even though he's told 17 jokes)

The purpose of the OT is NOT to prophesy the Messiah. God inspired the writings to serve the community at their time.

Proverbs says: these are the rules for life, try them and they'll work; Job and Ecclesiastes say no they don't! (David Alan Hubbard)

Daniel is not a prophet to Hebrews (and not listed as such in the book). He's a "wise man".

Insists upon using a gender-inclusive translation and in papers.

Protestantism has replaced the Pope by Professors.

Prayer is saying back to God what God says to you - claiming the character of God.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Going silent

Sorry to the blog, I am going radio silent for a while. I have to finish up this quarter, and then I'm going to a conference and a very mini vacation. Then I'll start up a new quarter. We'll see what I have time to write about when the dust settles. I'm sure there will be many things to report from the conference. Here's where I'm going:

It's going to be very emergy. Hopefully I can handle it. I've started Eddie Gibbs' book and it's very good so far. It's called Church Next and it's about all the mistakes churches have been making that have led to their demise. He doesn't really offer solutions, though - at least he says he's not going to, in the intro to the book. We'll see if he can help himself.

I'm actually attempting to read a book for fun Reading Lolita in Tehran. J read it for a class this last quarter and liked it a lot, and it's been on my list for some time. So far I'm really enjoying it. I'm learning a lot about totalitarian regimes in the Middle East, too.

Anyway, must get back to work. Am helping to finish up a proposal for $700,000 for our program! V. exciting.

Cheers to you all. Will miss you.

Saturday, June 04, 2005


This is one of our favorite comics. It can't be published because of the "adult content." Sometimes it gets stupid. But it is frequently hilarious, poignant, and astute. Plus anything with God and the Devil (and a persnickity cat) as main characters gets my attention.

I'm enjoying the last couple days - Slick is presenting to God his list of what he does and does not like about the world. He proclaims that "God likes honest feedback." One of my favorites ever was when he was being attacked by the good Christians on the comic and he said, "Hey, I'm down with the Lord and shit." and they said, "I don't know what to make of that." That's my life comic.

There have been puppet shows from God ridiculing the devil, and the Devil's quit because he's felt trapped by fate in his profession, and the cat constantly mocks the dog. But the original is probably still the best:

Sorry I am not being more thoughtful. I am tired. Want to finish papers!!

Thursday, June 02, 2005

June Free for All

The fine folks at LA.Com have put together a list of free things going on in June. If you live in the LA area, check it out.

I'm always happy to find something free to do!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

To delete or not to delete...

I am struggling with what to do. It would be really easy to hit that little trash can icon and delete all the comments. But I feel like that's playing dirty. And I would be fulfilling the role of "hider from debate."

Plus, I see all these comments as kind of a snapshot of the power of anonymity and the new world of the blog. I mean, in the days when we could still see our neighbors (you know, before the 20 ft hedges), could we have approached someone off the bat with such vitriol? I imagine it would have taken at least some kind of relationship before you could really lay into another human being.

And I also think it's all just more evidence of the fallenness of this world. At one point last night, late when I couldn't sleep, I got all kinds of weird ideas like maybe I was being attacked spiritually. Does the devil blog? If so, does he delete comments? Maybe just those from God.

Anyway that is not like me, to go all spirit-wacky, but that's how weird the whole thing is. It's just so out of the blue to be sitting there one day, going about your business, and then a person - actually, just words, not even a person - goes ballistic on everything you've mused on for the last several months. Just think about that. It's weird. It's something that could only happen now.

So for the moment, the comments are staying, if for no other reason than anthropological interest. We are a strange species.

One more thing that I thought about today: I wonder if when Paul is talking about unclean talk, he's referring more to the content of speech than to dirty words. I mean, is my saying "fuck" about something really worse than someone else saying that "God hates fags"? Is my saying that I'm pissed off (righteously) because of a perceived slight to my Lord worse than someone who tears down the humanity of another being? I just don't think so. Probably none of it is very good. But it's definitely more a social thing than a Christian thing. I have a hard time believing God cares very much about the grunts we make in our primitive tongues (yet being a wordsmith, I have to hope my grunts speak to my fellow cavepeople).

You know, I have nothing else to say about that at the moment that I feel is worth sharing. I'm going to try to get back to freedom, but know that I'm self-censoring in a huge way right now.

And what about pints? Is anybody in LA? Or I'll be in Utah, Idaho, Colorado and Vegas in a couple weeks...? And then in Iowa...
(how about me, the big world traveler!)

God sends cats

Last night I was having something of a problem, and I tried to go to bed but of course the voices in my head were having trouble shutting up.

And I began one of these prayers that's like God what am I...who am I...why am I...

And then the cat jumped up, stuck her face in mine, snuggled up and purred.

I don't know if it is God or if it is the cat. But their little lives put things in perspective, don't they? To be a being that simply loves...what a concept.

They have a sense of what is wrong in the air - it keeps them alive in the wild, and it puts them on the laps of those who'd rather not take them. And it brings them running when we send our little stress pheremones into the air.

Here's something I wrote about my cat that was actually published in the Fuller lit journal this year (although I personally don't think it's that great):

The Messenger

I sit with eyes closed
struggling to Be Still
and Know

But she is weaving through my legs.

I give up and allow her on my chest.

She approaches me
with so little understanding of who I am,
so much selfish desire,
such inability to communicate.

She loves me, but only for her own gain.
She trusts me, but only insofar as I care for her.
She comes to me, but only for her comfort and solace.

But then she looks up at me
and her purr rumbles in my chest
and she closes her eyes
pressing her head in my chin,

And I realize
that no matter how vast the chasm between our minds,
I live for these moments.

And I realize
that He does too.

Jen, that one was for you. Be inspired! (hope you're not a dog person)

ps. Cat who doesn't like to cover in the box just left me a present. Coincidence? I think not.