Saturday, May 24, 2014

Theology from Exile: Matthew

Legal note - "Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this product for free from The Speakeasy in hope that I would mention it on my blog, with no requirement to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR. Part 255: 'Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.'"

Theology from Exile on amazon.

on good reads

Gaia Rising, Sea Raven's blog

theology from exile cover I'll begin by stating a few years ago I'd sometimes make a theological observation and then add, "the Jesus seminar notwithstanding." Author Sea Raven has Jesus Seminar connections, but I'll leave it at that because I found so very much to like about this book, and I'll use it as a reference whenever Lectionary Year A, aka "Matthew's Year," rolls around.

Her constantly referring to the 1992 lectionary compilers as the Elves (she told us where she found that idea), and her endless comments about their "Cherry Picking" texts and portions of texts began annoying me by the 101th or so instance. With a quick search I couldn't find a synonym for cherry picking, and though I'd heard the term, I still needed a definition:

Wikipedia: "...suppressing evidence, or the fallacy of incomplete evidence is the act of pointing to individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position."

Merriam-Webster: "to decide to accept (someone or something) from a group of possibilities."

Like Sea Raven, I've been distressed when the RCL's gathering of texts seem to imply or at least point toward supersessionism. I've been at least annoyed when they've broken up a key text between a couple of Sundays. It irritates me almost no end when they've grouped texts together in a way that implicitly support our more theologically conservative brethren and sistern in Christ.

Sea Raven frames her thoughts on the RCL texts by presenting the God of the bible as nonviolent, inclusive, oriented to distributive (rather than retributive) justice, and to deliverance. But she seems to insist on only a single style of scriptural interpretation that apparently excludes mystery and paradox! Jesus' way is comprehensive, and though my theology tends toward the confessional traditions of the Reformation, I have almost no disagreement with the content of Theology from Exile, only long for at least some acknowledgment of the mysterious, paradoxical, humanly unexplainable ways in which God frequently self-reveals and acts in the world.

The omission of texts for Holy Week seemed like the big thing it really was, but the Speakeasy sent me a copy of Sea Raven's parallel Theology from Exile volume on the gospel of Luke that does include Holy Week; I plan to blog and review that book, too.

The mostly 3 or 4 pages long, relatively lightweight commentaries on each Sunday's RCL readings all incline to highlight ways that particular Sunday's texts come together―or sometimes don't cohere. Although like probably many of Sea Raven's readers, I attended a mainline (liberal, progressive... what terminology does one use these days?) seminary, and received instruction in twentieth century theological trends, that doesn't mean my entire theological perspective remains thus. Or ever was entirely grounded in what some folks have referred to as fundamentalism of the left―the type of apologetics that suddenly discovers or discerns the way scripture recorded an event is possible after all, because (after all) modern science has deemed it possible. But Theology from Exile still is a useful, insight-filled resource; it's a keeper for my library!

my amazon review: Theology from Exile: Matthew

Friday, May 23, 2014

trash treasure tea 5

trash treasure tea 5, hosted by Deb. Today we get to be excited about one of my all-time fave activities, experiences, and places—thrift stores, charity shops, [usually church] rummage sales, yard and garage sales, etc. I adore our local freecycle group, and have freecyced at least a coupled hundred items. In addition I'll explain that most of my stuff had been in storage for a few months, so in anticipation of one or two short-term local moves and eventually relocating north of here, prior to then I unloaded a lot, and can't legitimately answer 2 or 4 and also can't provide pics at this time.

1. TREASURE: What is the best thing you’ve ever found at a rummage sale? Was it a bargain or just something you’ve longed for but couldn’t afford?

life stuff buttonBecause I've found so many treasures, this is Impossible to answer, but for now I'll go with the two white Heller plates designed eons ago by iconic designer of almost everything, Massimo Vignelli. If I remember correctly, thy were about $2 each, and currently would be in the $20 – $40 range on eBay.

2. TRASH: What is an item you couldn’t WAIT to donate to a sale like this, and then were surprised that someone not only bought it, they were so excited to have?

The Angelical Kitteh Tree my kittehs had played on and loved very very well that got lots of hits when I offered it on freecycle; it had been a wonderful, fairly expensive piece and even included a pawprint appliqué, but had turned into an eyesore even the kittehs ignored. I got at least 5 or 6 hits from people wanting it, and I'd posted a bunch of pics from every angle, so the condition was clear! On the other hand, I was very surprised that only one person wanted a semi-upholstered green chair that once had been a nice piece, was unraveling some, never had been my taste. I knew lots of folks would want to revitalize / re-upholster it, and I was so mistaken.

3. BUDGET: How disciplined are you at these kinds of events? Can you stick to a budget, or do you empty your wallet?

Most things aren't all that expensive, so in general I'll pay for and carry home whatever I think I might want, which means I'll probably find myself with a few things to re-donate very soon into the future.

4. TAKE IT AWAY: What’s something you’d gladly donate right this minute if I would just come pick it up?

Per my intro to this post, since I knew I'd be temporarily moving to another place or two within the same city, I'd pretty much donated most of the stuff I wanted to unload.

5. TEA: Do you have a favorite tea? Or a special teapot? Tell us more!

I'm far from a connoisseur of tea, so no faves here, but in general I prefer black teas to herbal. Unsweetened tea literally makes me nauseous, so it needs to have a fair amount of sweetener and preferably some milk. However, I love the various fruit- and berry-flavored ice teas that have become popular in recent decades. I realize there's a distinction amongst what people typically refer to as "tea" drinks, but I couldn't find it with a quick search, so I hope you know what I mean.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

FOW Opening Prayer

Opening Prayer for today's meeting of the Faith, Order & Witness committee.

mission valley August 2013God of Creation, Lord of the Church, your Holy Spirit calls us together here to unity, to conversation, to agreement, to disagreement. As individuals and in our diverse theological graduations, we differ on interpretation of scripture, yet agree Jesus Christ is the ultimate interpreter, the Living Word of God.

How timely that the lectionary has been bringing us the gospel of John with Jesus' command to obedience and his pleas that the church might be one. As we soon celebrate and rejoice in the festival of the Spirit of Unity on the Day of Pentecost, may be one in your Spirit of Unity. We thank you for the healing in N's life, and ask your healing presence with all those who cannot be with us today.

We pray in Jesus' name―Amen!

Picture of the parking lot; you can see the building where we meet on the third floor reflected on the glass in the middle of the background building.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

wednesday of easter 4

14 May

Beginning on Ash Wednesday, for the first time in five or six years I've tried to publicize more of my own individual story, but despite tweeting each post several times, not a single one has registered higher than 20 hits, so I quit. telling the story buttonFor now. In any case, for this particular narrative in-person probably is best, but I still want the world out there to know more.

Short version: shortly after going on staff of Sizable Suburban Church I flew down a flight of stairs and sustained what an astonishing number of years later I finally realized was a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (MTBI). The event caused a couple years of seizures, and then a mistaken diagnosis of a major psychotic illness. That dx surprised me immensely, but (apparently I presented with and) I complained about negative symptoms of flat affect, impoverished speech... me?! Emotionally flat, not wanting to talk endlessly and gravitate toward every person within a country mile? You can't live without defenses, and at first I assumed some of my experiences weren't worth an emotional reaction of any magnitude; although historically I've felt passionately about people and events, we sure ain't never been talkin' about Latin Temperament here! I also had a substantial family history of major depression, bipolar I, agoraphobia, suicide, etc., and my own struggles with claustrophobia, OCD, panic disorder. Although those are disorders of mood and not disorders of thought, no one is immune to an episode of psychosis. I still agonize over, wonder about how to move beyond the devastating cost of losing my friends and career I assumed easily would reweave.

Most likely I'll label some future posts with tellingthestory as I try to continue conveying some of it locally. Where I am. Where people live.

Friday, May 09, 2014

better late than never 5

Again it's Karla's turn to host—better late than never 5.

draw a bird day seagulls
1. I cannot imagine any one bird being my fave, but since I had a convenient version of one of my drawings of seagulls from this year's Draw A Bird Day, I'll claim gulls in general for now. I love watching and listening to them along the shore; the California Gull is the state bird of Utah, and they even have their own formal monument in Temple Square in downtown Salt Lake City! Other contenders include Cardinal, Eastern Bluejay, Western Bluejay...and I have a serious case of ornithophobia.

2. Typically I'm most forgetful about almost nothing, but for some reason I'm still spacing answering the email from the Justice Overcoming Boundaries organizer I met at a meeting during the season of Epiphany. Yes, I truly do want to meet her for lunch or a snack. Really I do.

3. I love both, but prefer the psychological, spiritual, and physical experience of sunrises, though sunsets tend to be prettier, and I also love the sense of the fulness of the day sunsets often convey.

4. What ever happened to Grape Soda? Did the Fanta company bite the dust? I don't know, and didn't google the answer (yet).

5. Using words in a sentence: Needing to make a U-turn sign annoyed me so, especially since I already was late and could have obviated the need to turn back with a quick click of a mouse before leaving home, but by turning abound, at least I got to enjoy watching a bat fly solo over the cerulean blue ocean!

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Wednesday of Easter 3

07 May

Since Lent began, I've been blogging more about myself than I have in several years: Tuesdays of Lent 1, Lent 2, Lent 3, Lent 4 and 5... now the world is moving well into the fifty days of Easter.

telling the story buttonPeople know only what they observe (see, hear, touch, taste). Since no one who's in my current life knew me "way back when" everyone knew me as ambitious, accomplished, and a high achiever, going only with evidence, I'd guess most folks perceive me as unambitious and unaccomplished—I don't know how many people have informed me I "don't have any education." On the one hand, "who cares about them," but fact is, we live in society where other's opinions and perceptions strongly influence the social and professional opportunities we get. I fear I'm going to die of grief, loneliness, and social isolation before I even leave for Future City. In some ways there's little point in observing Claire and Sarah at the UC rowhouse helped make it close to ideal transitional housing because that's over... but I also recognize I've spent so much time affirming what has gone right and well, that I've been in denial about the many disappointments.

When I obsess so about my own situation I actually feel guilty (correct word), but as I've mentioned, this is not a hunter-gatherer society and even minimally one can expect their gifts, education, and (yes) hard work to pay off some―if not in dollars and cents (hey, the economy!), at least in opportunities for participation. But at least once I've quoted Walter Brueggemann's telling us "bright, gifted, accomplished people are valued and sought after" and also his mentioning people feeling "nullified." It happens. Maybe especially to "bright, gifted, accomplished" people. Again a couple weeks ago someone started informing me what my interests and values were, telling me I didn't care about... but I do care about nice clothes, lovely houses, high-end cars! I'd fully expected to subscribe to and enjoy another symphony series—back in City of History we typically did a 6-concert series, which was fine. I do care whether or not people perceive me as accomplished and gifted and educated. I care very much and it has become devastating when people say "someone like you" – "anyone like you" – "disabled... " I'm way far beyond not letting people wag me, not letting anyone rent space in my head, because we need to live in society, and I so desire to be part of mainstream society again. And you know I know everyone has insecurities, doubts, secrets, and devastations.

People are correct that meaning and purpose keep you sane! I feel like a stored value gift card or debit card that's been totally depleted to the extent of carrying a negative balance, and still fear I may die of grief, loneliness, lack of community, and lack of basic social supports before I even leave here to move there. But friend who pastors Church On The Hill assures me "grief, loneliness, and social isolation are dreadful but, for good or for ill, they don't kill you," ... and I even have a positive balance, which to me sounds a lot like more of my own denial, rationalizations, and lies about the clearly unambiguous. I need some kind of encouragement and formal counsel. "Meaning and purpose?" I fully appreciate the almost entirely online design opps I've been getting, and love recognizing how I've come full circle as a designer (pre-kindergarten that's what I determined to do!), yet as I observed in one of my #tellingthestory posts, real life is local.

More later; may shalom-full peace and infinite hope be yours?!