Friday, June 30, 2023

June 2023

floral beauty in Sylmar Los Angeles California
• Header reveals natural beauty from the Twin Valleys Festival

Five for June on my City Paradise-Urban Wilderness Lectionary Project

strawberry full moon
• One of my all-time faves illustrates the Saturday 03 June Strawberry Full Moon

boat hibiscus helpful honda
• Helpful Honda helped out on Monday 05 June, which was World Environment Day. I've combined it with a boat off in a field in Sylmar and a closer to home hibiscus.

world ocean day
• World Oceans Day on Thursday 08 June is so worth a reblog

• Since this rundown is basically chronological, I'll mention Twin Valleys Festival (please see header collage) on Saturday 10 June in Sylmar featured a fabulous local band and amazing catered Mexican food
• Juneteenth 2023 was on a Monday

• Summer Solstice 2023 was on Wednesday 21 June

• Pomegranates phased throughout the month—fruit isn't quite ready

living local 2023
Yellow California beauty

Monday, June 26, 2023

Detroit City Is the Place to Be

Detroit City is the place to be book cover

Detroit City is the Place to Be by Mark Binelli on Powells

Mark Binelli's website

Is "afterlife" death? Is it a variety of living modified by the adjective after—meaning in the wake of something else? You've probably heard of urban prairies and renatured yards.

Like all great cities, Le Détroit du Lac Érie began and then flourished along a river—the Detroit River is both a river and a strait between Lakes St Clair and Erie.

This book chronicles the place that became the Motor City from its founding in 1701, follows with its growth in population, economic importance, and global impact. Binelli describes Detroit's decline and outlines some of the reasons. And no, Detroit doesn't resemble any postcolonial African state.

I've previously blogged about how Detroit draws me. Family of origin on the side I know something about hailed from Detroit. As a seventh grader I took my first solo flight (as a passenger) to Detroit. Attended my first MLB game at Tiger Stadium, RIP 2009. Those facts relate to my lifelong passion for cities in general, my lifelong resolve to beautify the inner city, and my adult sense of call to serve the urban church.

Binelli's bona fides include growing up in a Detroit suburb and becoming acquainted with the city proper when he worked for his family business as a teen. His reasonably objective perspective as a mainstream journalist is another asset. He moved there to get firsthand experience of Detroit's afterlife; the resulting field reports clarify both the human cost of the past and illuminate hope for the future

Detroit City is the Place to Be is copyright 2012. It's now 2023. The prose and characters engaged me, but without an updated sequel the book left me hanging. Not in terms of wanting more of what I'd already read, but because I need to know about now. I've read about the city exiting bankruptcy. I know a little about neighborhood farms and river restoration projects. I rejoice that wildlife again is at home along the river, but I can't feel what's going on. I often tell people I'd relocate to Detroit if it weren't for the weather. Is living there the best way to discover what's transpired during the past decade? "Imported from Detroit" became an American auto industry buzz-phrase. How about if I expatriate myself to Detroit?

On page 95 the author quotes Corine Vermeulen: "the birthplace of modernity and the graveyard of modernity." I fully trust "…hope literally growing from the fallow soil of the post-industrial necropolis." [page 56] Renatured yards and urban prairies because… nature has a way of stripping away the past and opening doors to newness.

• My Amazon Review: Urban Prairies, Renatured Yards, Revitalized City
Detroit skyline
Downtown Detroit skyline from Windsor, Ontario
by Ken Lund on Flickr

Friday, June 16, 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Sunshine

sunshine and water

Five Minute Friday :: Sunshine Linkup

This time I'm picking up words and design from my poster for Earth Day 2012. Why not add in some "Walking on Sunshine and don't it feel good!" from Katrina and the Waves?

…live in the sunshine
swim in the sea
drink the wild air…

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Southern California has become world-renowned – more accurately "well known" – for May Grey and June Gloom, two months that contradict the stereotype of a perpetually sunshiny southland.

Water is life for sure. But in very the beginning God spoke "let there be light" and there was light. Because it was a "real" physical thing, God was able to separate the light from the darkness. [Genesis 1:3-4] God then designated the greater light in the sky to rule over the days. [Genesis 1:16-18]

West Los Angeles shadow and light
There's nothing like sunshine! As you walk out the door and your whole being gets sun-kissed by the glow and the warmth of the sky's great light, it feels like everything's okay again, after all. I often tell people I love early morning light. I love the quality of late afternoon light. But in both cases it's not simply sunshine, because there are no shadows unless there's light and my enchantment comes from sunshine and shadow interweaving and dancing as they create space for each other.

It definitely was more than a couple of years ago when I asked the Vacation Bible School kids what it meant for us to be the body of Christ, and one of them yelled, "that we can be city lights!"

Two Wednesdays ago we were planning worship on zoom (as tiresome as virtual everything has become, for meetings with a certain content and particular expectations that really don't require intense in-person time plus lunch, zooming ain't all that terrible)… as we were planning worship via zoom and wondered what music would help illustrate Matthew's Sermon on the Mount, I instantly thought of Kari Jobe and "We are the light of the world; we are the city on a hill" along with "Light of the World" by Lauren Daigle. It even was bonus time because I already knew both songs had several good videos we could use and maybe later we could learn to sing both songs.

Whatever it looks like outside our windows, May Grey, June Gloom, a cloudbreak or a snowstorm, we can take Emerson's counsel to immerse ourselves in creation so we're all walking on sunshine all the time—and don't it feel good?!

So yeah. Jesus in Matthew's gospel tells us we are the salt of the earth, the light of the world, the city on a hill. We are city lights. We are sunshine!

# # #

Friday, June 09, 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Hidden

hidden manna words on many loaves of bread

Five Minute Friday :: Hidden Linkup

To anyone who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give them a white stone with a new name written on the stone, a name no one knows except the one who receives it. And I will give them the Morning Star. Revelation 2:17, 28

For Israel of the exodus, manna was bread from heaven, bread of heaven. They'd trusted God's supply, but then the desert wanderers asked what it was, so it received the name manna or "what is it." Strength for the day at hand along with the possibility of a future was hidden within God's gift that rained from the sky, and not inside anything they might plan, design, or stockpile themselves. After all, they'd learned producing, counting, and anxious saving when they slaved for Pharaoh! Much later on at the autumn ingathering, the land they tilled and cared for would yield provisions to store over the winter months. Much later on. Not right now.

Scripture tells us, our experience shows us, God's presence frequently is hidden, isn't exactly apparent to our senses because many layers of more obvious stuff conceal it. We sometimes discover the Holy Other hidden in people who feel strange to us. In a criminal convicted and crucified by imperial powers. When expectations turned upside down, inside out, suddenly point the way to that new thing God had hidden along the way. In the joyful energy of spontaneous dance. In waters that drown us into oblivion while they birth us anew. We find the divine presence hidden in the emptiness of a once occupied tomb, but why do we still keep seeking the living among the dead?

With nutrients for our bodies, sustenance for our spirits hidden in, with, and under the grain, the yeast, the salt, and the heat that created it, this bread is holy manna. With the surprise of friendship hidden and then revealed when we break bread together, a well-baked loaf leads to the heaven on earth of human connection.

# # #
fresh bread loaves
FMF hidden illustration with worn door
five minute friday icon

Thursday, June 08, 2023

World Oceans Day 2023

World Ocean Day 2023 beach fence dune grass sea shells
Two years ago I wrote, I've blogged […a whole lot about water…] WOD almost every year since 2011—missed only 2014.

But then I [completely inadvertently, of course] missed last year, 2022, and this year is a squeaker, which wouldn't be a concern except missing 2022 and barely getting to 2023 is majorly distressing because despite all the emails from the many nature, environment, and planet-related causes and organizations I follow, how did that happen?

Back when Crazy Cris / Cristina B held an annual Oceanic Blog-a-thon, I did some interesting stuff. Later on, for 2017 I even composed a nice poem. This year I finally updated my fave WOD graphic with my two best beach fence, dune grass, sea shells WOD photos. By the way, back in those earlyish internet days, the WOD peeps provided some exceptionally colorful and inventive graphics.

Notwithstanding the lack of fun new ocean art, the official World Oceans Day website contains a ton of fascinating, helpful, and actionable information. I recently discovered and enjoyed World Oceans Day on World Wildlife Fund UK.

In any case, we gotta remember the theme for 2023, Planet Ocean: Tides are Changing. Hashtags include #WOD2023 – #WorldOceansDay – #OceanFirst. Here's another reminder to stay aware of your watershed, too. And you know #WaterIsLife!

Saturday, June 03, 2023

Five Minute Friday :: Quick

follow your heart there is a place in the quick of existence
Five Minute Friday :: Quick Linkup

Header Phrases

• Follow your heart
• There is a place
• In the quick of existence
• Where the mind sees more than the eye
• Peace
• Friends
• 3
• Go Slo
• We, according to his promise,
Look for new heavens and a new earth
[where righteousness dwells]. 2 Peter 3:13


And behold, I am coming quickly, and my reward is with me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming quickly." Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22:12, 13, 20

"Quick" in this passage from Revelation sometimes gets translated soon; the Greek supports both. My most frequent connotation of quick is without much delay. Though not necessarily the yesterday we often wish for, quick isn't lightning fast, definitely not at the speed of light.

Quick bread comes to mind. You need to get the recipe and the ingredients. Recipe may already be in your file box or folder, or you may need to search online for one with the best pictures so you can know what'll come out of your oven. Do you have ingredients in pantry and fridge or do they mean a trip to the store? This won't be slow bread, but it's not done yet because you need to mix them up.

Put it all in the oven and wait a short eternity for your so far fairly quick bread to bake. You probably need to let it cool some before enjoying a slice or two with butter or cream cheese and a friendly companion. Yet that procedure is short and quick compared to yeast bread that needs to rise a while, sometimes a very long while; it approaches instantaneous compared to acquiring sourdough starter.

I like the percussive sounds of Jesus promising a quick arrival in contrast to meeting him "soon." We still need to wait longer than our heart's yearning, yet when we seek Jesus he'll be in our midst, fulfilling his coveted promise of new heavens, a new earth. Amen? Amen!

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen! Revelation 22:21

Zucchini basil quick bread by Tiny Banquet Committee on Flickr

# # #
zucchini basil quick bread
five minute friday quick
five minute friday icon