Friday, June 26, 2015

(why not) marriage notes

Synopsis: Please, no marriage anywhere for anyone any more.

celebration balloons

News and social media outlets just announced the United States Supreme Court's approval of same-sex marriage—marriage equality. You realize "same-sex"isn't necessarily GLBTQ marriage, just as opposite sex marriage isn't necessarily not-GLBTQ? Social media resounds with sights and sounds of celebration today; not much jubilation from me, though. But why not?

The whole structure of marriage and legal commitment must change. After all, it's been evolving for millennia, anyway! It was so wonderful and freeing when a lot of people started committing to significant otherships rather than legal marriage! There needs to be some way of reliably indicating your desire for hospital visitation, etc. as well as protection for kids, but the legal (pertaining to, under the formal regulations of the states of the USA, the feds, or of other *legally* constituted governments) apparatus of marriage? Marriage has become an anachronism, though as long as the legal institution exists and subsists, everyone who's not already legally married needs the right to get married. But then again, as long as govt involves itself (governments involve themselves) in this yoking up biz, why not guidelines and allowances for plural marriage? Why not? You know that's a form of biblical marriage!

It's a different topic for another day, but while we're referencing scripture and marriage, why make the church and other religious entities agents of the government? I don't know if I've made myself clear. I've wanted to blog about this for several years, so here it is. I hope you'll consider this for what it's worth.

10 minutes later: I updated post title to include (why not).

another edit the following morning:

I very very much support publicly committing to (hopefully) a lifelong, (hopefully) an exclusive relationship with a significant other, but please do not involve or include legalities. If you're religious, how about during the Saturday or Sunday liturgy? If you're not religious or have other preferences, how about gathering at the beach, in the mountains, or in a lovely garden? During a chilly winter, someone's home that's large enough to hold your guests, or maybe a restaurant or other function room? You gotta have good eats, of course! BTW, this perspective has almost nothing to do with my libertarian spirit or my classical liberal heart.

Monday, June 22, 2015

welcoming one another: june synchroblog

Welcome one another, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. // Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. Romans 15:7

This blog post is part of the June Synchroblog that invites us to consider Hospitality. To jump start our inspiration, they suggested some ideas. Although I'm mostly drawing on my own experiences and on scripture, I'll also address their first question: Is hospitality an essential element of imitating Christ?

Rublev Trinity icon

I'm synchroblogging again! Hospitality long has been a hot button topic for me; I've blogged about it at least a couple dozen times, so why not one more time? Hospitality is a central biblical theme; in scripture we learn about Israel's and the Church's essential call to welcome the stranger, to make a place for the passerby and passersby, for the sojourner (remember, "resident alien?") in our midst.

My header image for this topic is the credence table at one of the churches I often attend; the painting is a trinitarian icon, the Hospitality of Abraham by Andrei Rublev. It illustrates the account of Abraham’s three visitors in Genesis 18:1-15. The artist drew this icon with the side of the table closest to us wide open: a place for each of us at God's Table of grace.

The history of God's people Israel and the New Testament stories of Jesus demonstrate how God's presence often is literally embodied in the stranger, in the other-than-us. At the same time, that visitor often experiences God's grace in our welcoming hospitality. I have a story to tell! For the past few years I've sometimes helped prepare, usually helped serve Thursday evening community dinners at Church Around the Corner. We call these free of charge meals (donations happily accepted) family dinners, yet to expect anyone to interact with strangers or even with new, grafted-on family (in-laws, far-flung cousins, adoptees) as they do with biological family and other lifelong or longtime intimates is far removed from everyone's reality and most people's capabilities. Any kindergartener realizes people who are new to us can be threatening, dangerous, and challenging on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels.

condiments and food condiments and food

Ritual, repeated, structured, actions can help bind people together, can begin to create community among unlikes and unequals. However, even fairly simple worship services and liturgical practices can seem strange (possibly threatening?!) to church newcomers. Walter Brueggemann reminds us, "justice is important, but food is essential." Thursday evening diners typically consist of members of that particular congregation, close friends of that congregation (like me), parents and kids from the church choir programs that meet late Thursday afternoon, low income and other nearby residents, a few folks who mostly live under the bridge. Structured, ritualized Thursday evening activity starts out with everyone gathering in a circle for prayer at 5:30; 6 or 8 of us donning gloves and standing behind the serving table; everyone else getting in line in order to be served, then returning to the seat they've staked out at one of the round tables that each seats 8, or finding a seat with someone they already know or never have met. Sometimes checking the serving table for seconds. Always traveling to the dessert table for two or three ice cream flavors, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, cookies and/or cake. Busing your dishes to the station near the kitchen. Along with the leveling experience of sharing food, these weekly, repeated, actions have been creating community among people who are somewhat like one another, somewhat different from, similar in education or interests, different in income and experience. What a wonderful, safe, essential ministry by, for, and to everyone involved! Side note: after necessarily banning a couple of people, we finally posted a list of behavioral and self-presentation guidelines for participants.

pentecost Sunday 2015Anyone who knows me knows I'm everyone's Best Friend Forever, yet scripture's vision for hospitality is far removed from the social and psychological intimacy of Best Friends Forever—it's closer to welcoming without questioning, including without reservation. So honestly, even though I may be (and you know I am) everyone's BFF. there still are people out there and closer at hand that I don't want much to do with. Yet I know – in the church we all know and have experienced – God's promised presence in the Lord's Supper, in literal Holy Communion, where God is our host and offers unquestioned, inclusive hospitality at the Table of grace and reconciliation.

Does our everyday practice of inclusion (or of suspicious questioning, possibly of exclusion) align with the model for hospitality we know at the Lord's table? Does our practice of Holy Communion create a model for our every day of the week grace-filled hospitality? In Rublev's trinitarian icon, the side of the table closest to us is open: a place for each us at the heavenly banquet. How about us? Do we leave an open place at the table and a comfortable chair for others? Is hospitality an essential element of imitating Christ?

Welcome one another, just as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. // Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. Romans 15:7

Other June Synchroblog Participants:

A Sacred Rebel – Hospitality

Carol Kuniholme – Violent Unwelcome. Holy Embrace.

Glen Hager – Aunt Berthie

Leah Sophia – welcoming one another

Mary – The Space of Hospitality

Jeremy Myers – Why I Let a “Murderer” Live in My House

Loveday Anyim – Is Christian Hospitality a Dead Way of Life?

Tony Ijeh – Is Hospitality Still a Vital Part of Christianity Today?

Clara Ogwuazor Mbamalu – Have we replaced Hospitality with Hostility?

Liz Dyer – Prayer For The Week – Let us be God’s hospitality in the world

K.W. Leslie – Christian Hospitality

Christine Sine – True Hospitality – What Does It Look Like?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

along the 8

flowers along the 8 June 2015
along the 8 June 2015
along the 8 June 2015 along the 8 June 2015
along the 8 June 2015 flowers along the 8 June 2015

Along Interstate Hwy 8 in San Diego, CA on Wednesday 17 June 2015

Monday, June 08, 2015

world oceans day 2015

world oceans day 2015

World Oceans Day website

The WOD theme for this year is Healthy oceans, healthy planet.

prompt from the WOD site: "Why is a healthy ocean important to you? Share your hopes and vision for a healthier ocean!"

The ocean is the earth's circulatory system. Labels for this post include water, world oceans day, creation. Previous WOD post labels have included Oceanic Blog-a-thon (CrazyCris' blog has gone inactive), sacraments (well, yes, of course! We can't have sacraments without a healthy creation), and "life stuff," which is one of my labels for some relational, hopeful, and experiential goings-on in my very local spaces and places. Given that I had no additional inspirations for this year, I'll simply we all need healthy thriving waterways coursing through planet earth because Water Is Life: you know the rest of the story!

world oceans day 08 June

Friday, June 05, 2015

hither & yon friday 5

Today on RevGalBlogPals, 3dogmom hosts a Friday 5 because, "After traveling through 13 states to arrive at 6 distinct destinations over the last five weeks, I am road-weary, and ready to be home for a good, long stretch. The sojourning inspires today’s Friday Five."

Share with us:

1. a favorite city, and what makes it so.

Amsterdam: all-around excitement and energy; (especially culinary) diversity; museums; music (maybe esp the Concertgebouw Orchestra in the Concertgebouw; easy access to lots of other fun cities.

2. a favorite getaway spot, far from the maddening crowd (far being a relative term).

The desert! Always the desert! Notice the name of this blog? The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a zoo, natural history museum, aquarium, and botanical garden all in one place.

Desert Museum Welcome

3. a great local eatery that you stumbled upon while passing through from one place to another.

I don't remember its name and I've no clue if it was an eternal feature or ephemeral, but I need to tell the world about the diner in the Smoky Mountains in Gatlinburg, TN, with some of the best pancakes imaginable. Fun, funky, irregular shapes, lots of butter, some kind of generic maple-flavored syrup. I also had the best vanilla soft serve ice cream imaginable during that passing-through to the next (land-locked) port of call.

4. a landscape that inspires or nourishes you.

The desert, always, the desert! Ramsey Canyon Preserve has the greatest ecodiversity possible within a given space.

Ramsey Canyon Preserve 5 Ramsey Canyon Preserve 12

5. a place you long to visit.

In whatever order someone offers them to me: Singapore – Hong Kong – New Zealand – Australia.