Thursday, May 31, 2012

faith, order & witness opening prayer

God of all creation, you have journeyed with the church through seasons of Lent and Easter; we have experienced the glory of the cross, the surprise of resurrection morning, and celebrated the Lordship of the Ascended Christ.

Today as we again gather gather from with own diverse individual histories and varied ecclesiastical traditions, we long to understand each others perspectives and we yearn for essential unity in Christ.

During this green and growing season of ordinary time, may our conversations continue to bear fruit in ways that extend far beyond this place and this time.

In the name of Jesus Christ, crucified and risen for the life of all creation—Amen!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

the five books of moses

The Five Books of Moses, The Schocken Bible, Volume 1, aka "Schocken Pentateuch." 5 books of moses

the sound and the sense…

…of the original. Newly translated by Everett Fox with (lots of) commentary and notes, this version of Torah brings with it a lifetime of devotion and scholarship; it is an outstanding study resource and an exceptional choice for public reading. Fox brings the sensibilities, rhythms, literary devices, and general styles of the original Hebrew into English in ways that make reader and especially anyone listening during worship wonder if they've really heard that passage before! As the translator explains, principles in the work of Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig influenced him—in many ways he's gone beyond those giants. And why not? After all, The Five Books of Moses is copyright 2000 though parts were published earlier, starting in 1983. The commentary is especially valuable to me as someone far more familiar and experienced with interpreting the New Covenant scriptures than the Old. One reviewer suggested it would be even better as an interlinear or side-by-side English/Hebrew bible and I agree, though keeping the same highly readable text size and style might make the book too awkward and heavy.

Printed in large serif type on quality paper, this paperback is solidly sewn and glued in signatures; the 1.75" thick book is a pleasure to heft and it easily stays open! If you're passionate about scripture, please consider adding this Torah version to your library.

my amazon review: the sound and the sense

Friday, May 25, 2012

friday of easter 7

…from the margins…

Easter 2012What's the essential condition for resurrection from the dead? You gotta be dead (of course).

Pastor Alan Roxburgh reminds us the poet and the prophet speak from the margins. I've been trying to explain I've spent too much time on the subverse, a location even more radical than the edges, but doesn't radical imply root and foundation as much as it evokes counterculture and unconventional? I've hung onto edges of mainline church and margins of mainstream society and I need to speak, I need to be heard. Abram was an Ivri, a Hebrew: one from the "other side"—not even from the edges or margins! In Christ Jesus we meet the God from the very other side...

In the past I've written lots about geographical and "other" centers, hearts, edges, margins but can't put many words together this evening. Earlier today I read something I wrote eight years ago and it truly wowed me. I've been trying to cull some books, especially those with content I easily can access online (no, not exclusively written by my professors) and I'm astonished at the heavy-duty theology I used to read for fun. Also surprised I'm not reading anything these days. Eight or nine years ago Marian C posted to me on a forum, "Leah, I think you're the kind of poet-theologian Pastor Roxburgh is talking about; the Church so needs your leadership at this time." I agree. The Church truly does need my voice and presence: call it leadership if you'd like! Interesting bit of my own history: long ago in city of history I was having a casual conversation with senior pastor who said to me, "You have some leadership ability but..." I finished the sentence: "I try to make sure everyone gets to participate," and he replied, "Exactly. And that's not always a good idea."

By definition edges and margins are parts of the whole and cannot exist with the usually larger main object that sometimes is called the center or at least presumably contains a center. Do you remember Gerry Rafferty's City to City? In "The Ark" we hear, "we'll meet out on the water, where all strangers are known." Water has no permanent edges, no enduring center. Still and forever I remain a daughter of the church. Paul Tillich spoke of the pain of our frequent human state if being separated and yet bound. These days in many ways I remain separate from the main stream yet eternally bound to the whole by Water and Word.

More recently than Gerry Rafferty, poet-musician Rascal Flatts sings "My wish for you is that this life becomes all that you want it to."

The habitat that's my street address reeks of death but you gotta be dead in order to be raised to new life!

What is my wish for myself? Life, community, a summer, opportunities, resurrection. You need to move out the old furniture to make room for the new. I'm considering neatly completing the Easter cycle with the Feast of Pentecost at Church up the Hill and then figuring out a "what next" place and location. How on earth did someone like me who thoroughly, intentionally, and passionately prepared for a lifetime of urban ministry (after all, "I appreciate the concentration of pathology in the inner city," a somewhat younger me explained) find herself at a location like Church up the Hill? No response to that one! For myself I wish, desire, long for life, community, a summer, opportunities, resurrection. Life only can be received, as a room receives light simply by being and not being an agent of anything. That's Will Willimon's analogy, though likely not at all original with him.

Sunday two days away we celebrate the Day of Pentecost, the Spirit of Life that raised Jesus from the dead.

My life cries out for resurrection.

inspirations 5

inspirations 5 on the RGBP site

Sally hosts and suggests, "Very quickly; this week,"

beach house 71. Realizing and remembering we live in the Pentecostal reign of the Spirit of Life that raised Jesus from the dead again has encouraged me; this coming Sunday we'll celebrate the Day of Pentecost!

2. More splashes of colour, pattern, line, typography have inspired me again... creativity! it chimes like a small, clear bell at the heart of the human spirit!

3. My ongoing attempts to do life on my own with zero response to my attempts to reach out and draw others into my world and vision along with futile attempts to find ways to participate with others in theirs continue to challenge me.

4. Working through more digital versions of a couple of my analog drawings made me smile; I've illustrated this post with one of them.

5. Watching another citizenship ceremony with a couple of hundred troops who've been serving in the USA military brought a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye in a good way.

Friday, May 18, 2012

friday 5: pests?!

5 about pests on the revgals blog; Jan hosts because...
After lots of rain and high temperatures, the flea population has mushroomed in Corpus Christi, TX, more specifically in our home! We have three dogs and one indoor cat, who have had their monthly flea treatments to no avail. Unfortunately, my female body is the one the fleas love to bite. So as you are reading this FF, our pets and ourselves will be gone from the house for 3-4 hours, after a pest company sprays all the floors.
With fleas on my mind and on my body, here is an insect-ious Friday Five.

1.In this broad geographical area of 4 microclimates (desert, mountain, beach, inland), termites are super-common.

2. My best guess is temperate, atmospheric pressure, and humidity (aka "weather") have some effect on insect and pest activity, but I can't say what or how.

3. This is my second longish sojourn in southern California, and both times termites have been the major concern; the termite experience was new to me the first time. Driving down the street you frequently will see houses or businesses tented for termites and it's especially fun when the biz is a restaurant!

4. Although in general I don't have major problems with insects and tend to get fewer bites than other people, way back in the day I had a kettlecloth dress I'd made in a kind of neon coral, and the mosquitos adored it, so I've a clue as to how other victims sometimes suffer. However, if I'm going to the mountains, desert (or beach) in season I usually wear insect repellant.

5. My anything else about insects and pests is that my late Dad, whom I never knew (I met him at least once, or I may have conflated several meetings as a pre-schooler into a single memory) was an entomologist for the forest service and my late grandmother on my maternal side insisted if she'd had a chance to continue her education she'd have become an entomologist, too. I've been involved some in the South African Sabi Sands Game Reserve leopard communities on Facebook, and learning a little about the ecological benefits of termites has been fascinating—leopards absolutely love to lounge on terminate mounds!

Thanks, Jan!

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Charlotte and the White Horse

Charlotte and the White Horse on amazon

charlotte and the white horse cover"Enchanting" is an overused word, but Maurice Sendak's illustrations and Ruth Krauss' narrative in Charlotte and the White Horse are enchanting without a quibble or a doubt. In this story about love, hope, newness, and possibilities, author Krauss sprinkles allusions to the biblical Song of Songs / Song of Solomon throughout the tale of Charlotte and her colt "— not a lion, not a fire engine —" Milky Way. The wind and the rains are gone, grasses sprouting, trees in bud. With radishes planted and winter over, spring and the time of singing have arrived in the land where Charlotte and Milky Way live. Sendak's full-color watercolor illustrations are simple yet wonderfully detailed. Charlotte and the White Horse would be a wonderful keepsake for yourself or a gift for someone of any age, from preschool to centenarian. Maurice Sendak died this morning, 08 May 2012, at the age of 83; I'd long intended to review and blog Charlotte and the White Horse, and finally, here's my review.

my amazon review: beauty and timeless hope

Friday, May 04, 2012

birthday 5

birthday Friday 5 on the RevGals hosted by KathrynZJ

cake sliceI found this wonderful slice of cake by Gracey Stinson on morguefile.

1) The first birthday I clearly remember was my 7th, maybe because I had 3 cakes!

2) With this quick play I can't immediately think of a a favorite gift, but I really enjoyed my birthday after my mother's passing. Heather gave me a yellow (my color!!!) sweatsuit (pants and top), almost enough earrings for all my ear piercings and my first ever and still the only professional manicure. Heather has an art degree and a cosmetology license, so it definitely qualified as pro.

3) That long ago surprise party was not fun, mainly because I thought someone had invited me to dinner with her family and it turned out to be a lot more people. It's strange that I was so ungracious and upset, because I crave an audience the way an addict craves cocaine and I adore being on stage. Life happens…

4) There are so many potential favorite birthday desserts… the cake illustrating this post looks yummy, though it needs a huge scoop of ice cream and maybe hot fudge or strawberry or butterscotch or caramel sauce. I love pies and cobblers; they need ice cream, too. However, I'm almost totally disinterested in sweets (which always need to be decadent and high-end)unless I've had a succulent, savory meal beforehand.

5) A perfect birthday would happen because someone had remembered it was going to be my birthday without a hint or reminder (Facebook birthdays rock, and what's more fun than a few hundred greetings from peeps who've happened to log in and notice but they are anything but sufficient). I'd like an opportunity to dress up. A nice restaurant, someone's home, the beach or any natural settings would be ideal. I don't need gifts, but I'd love the aforementioned succulent, savory meal and an amazing dessert. Tiramisu? Lava Cake? The cake in this blog post?

Thanks, Kathryn! Happy Birthday, everyone!!!!!