Friday, July 31, 2020

July 2020 • Into a Future

July 2020 blog header

Virtual Sunday School

• Since March my mostly lectionary Sunday School classes have been Reflections on Scripture during a Worldwide Pandemic; link's to my four for July.

Fourth of July

Fourth of July Independence Day 2020

• Most people with any smarts and/or common sense had a quiet #SaferAtHome – #StaySafeStayHome Independence Day, Fourth of July, Spirit of 76. Macy's fireworks show on TV felt like the very best ever. I assembled this picture honoring the Fourth out of design elements I got via Creative Market during 2017.

Living Local

Living Local 2020

• Before the world outside China knew anything about COVID-19, I declared 2020 my year of Living Local; necessarily staying local has been one of the paradoxical gifts of this global pandemic. Thanks to a friend's generosity, farmer's market bounty throughout the month has included—partial list:

• Lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, grapefruit, potatoes.
• Eggs, avocados, apricots, peppers, persimmons.
• Blueberries, blackberries, cherries, strawberries, raspberries.
• Basil, mint, cilantro, onions, peaches, plums.
• Cucumbers, green squash, yellow squash.
• Radishes, corn, lemons, limes.

Porch Stories

• The upper right quadrant of this month's header features the porch from one of the Porch Stories buttons I used when Kristin Taylor hosted a regular linkup. During July I front porch socialized a couple of times with dinner and conversation, though we kept more distance than in the picture.

18 Year Blogoversary

July 2020 desert spirit's fire 18 years

• To help celebrate, I've claimed a suite of five cupcakes pics from px here; with its preponderance of not chocolate, this one's my fave.

In May 2002 I graduated from the Community Economic Development (inner city economic self-reliance) certificate program at San Diego State with a mini-MBA in entrepreneurship. My future felt expansive because I planned to network intensively and extensively come autumn, but on that sixteenth day of July, beginning a blog felt like the thing to do. For substantial starters, I'd saved a lot of what I'd written on the UCC theology, book discussion, and evangelism forums.

As I sat with Suzanne on the back stoop of the Koreatown place on Catalina four and a half years ago – also known as fourteen years later than May 2002 – I sensed the same boundless future and said to Suzanne, "Was LA worth such a long wait? I need to say, I need to believe yes!"

Eighteen years, four and one-half years, a quarter century or a few more months, what now?

I often remind myself many things can't be quantified. Some things can. At least as often I remind myself scripture constantly testifies to resurrection: the inbreaking reign of heaven is the end of the old, the start of a new almost completely discontinuous with what has been.

Eighteen years have passed too fast.

This year the 16th, that middle day of July literally fell on a Thursday. With Teena in Toronto no longer popping over with reminders, 2020 wasn't the first year I'd ignored this blog's anniversary. Today? During this pandemic I wonder if anyone anywhere has a future, though you might scroll down to the end of this post, and even before pointing out the historical reality of resurrection from the dead, the centrality of hope to God's people, all of us might remember despair and discouragement fall solidly within the traditions of the Psalmists.

What else? "Practice resurrection!" What time is it now? Time to wait, to expect the future God has been preparing.

Ice Cream Day / Year

July 2020 National Ice Cream Day

• It's official! National Ice Cream Day happens every year on the Third Sunday in July! Although I'd planned a Sunday outing with a non-household member (technically forbidden to anyone abiding by statewide directive), instead we did a couple of errands on Monday afternoon with interspersed Hot Fudge Sundaes at BR31. Some insist it's really national ice cream month; can anyone go wrong believing that?

Pioneering Latter-day Saints

24 July Pioneer Day 2020

• Awash in sweet memories of festivities in Liberty Park followed by fireworks later in the day, every so often I "do something" for Utah's Pioneer Day that every July 24th recollects because it can't forget Brigham Young's This Is The Place declaration. This version #3 for 2020 is the only wide one—specifically engineered to accommodate my always centered monthly summaries.


• …not commodities markets. Talk about declarations—Living Local, This is the Place?! Last month's blog header announced Into the Future; for July into August I'll go Into a Future. Despite no big judicatorial gathering this year and as a result I won't have an art workshop, with life gradually opening up I'm in an excellent position to offer activities such as expressive art for almost any age (3rd grade and up… please no tiny kids). As I emailed a friend, I'd like to find a spiritual director. I'm thinking probably a Jesuit because of their reputation for wisdom and discernment. Why do all those protestants (esp so many PKs) attend Jesuit schools? I realize it probably will be masks and distancing until they have a vaccine, and that's fine with me. I cannot abide another virtual anything.

• Every week I open my SS lesson with a prayer—often one I write based on the lectionary readings, frequently the appointed responsive psalm. Last Sunday's was from The Rt. Rev. Steven Charleston, retired bishop of the Episcopal Church USA and Native American of the Choctaw People. I counseled my blog readers to "trust God's future" as they prayed.

Something sacred is coming this way.

That is how my ancestors would have said it. In the midst of all this turmoil and confusion, when we cannot clearly see the path before us, when we feel trapped in a situation we cannot control, then I believe the wise elders of my holy heritage would climb to the high place of the heart, draw the circle of reason and faith around them, and stand to sing their prayers into the open sky of the history to come.

They would not shrink into a corner afraid, but rise up to catch the first light of what was coming into being all around them.

We are living in a time of emergence.
We are the witnesses to a great renewal.
The world is full of the fear of birth and change, but that transformation will one day be our blessing.
Do not be afraid, but be believing.
Come to the place where the ancestors are already standing.
Come and see.

Something sacred is coming this way.

• For myself and for all the teachers, preachers, designers, artists, musicians who create, say, sing, play, proclaim, and acclaim what they themselves most long for and need, during the past year I've talked a fair amount about the previousness of God. Exactly as Jesus promises, God always goes before us to prepare a way before leading us there. (During advent we imagine we're waiting for God to show up, but reality's the opposite). God already has been to our future! Your future and my future as individuals. The world's post-pandemic future.

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