Monday, March 31, 2008

NC event: "The Wright Stuff: Obama, the Black Church, Prophetic Preaching, and Politics"

Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 1
4:00 p.m. (will last till 5:30 p.m.)
Bryan Jr. Auditorium
(in the Frank Family Science Center)
Guilford College
Greensboro, North Carolina

"The Wright Stuff:
Obama, the Black Church, Prophetic Preaching, and Politics"
********************
Moderator:
Rev. Sekinah Hamlin, Director of Multicultural Education
Panelists:
*****Local ministers and activists:
Rev. Cardes Brown, New Light Baptist Church
Rev. Carlton Eversley, Dellabrook Presbyterian Church
Rev. Nelson Johnson, Faith Community Church
*****Guilford College professors:
Kyle Dell, Political Science
Jane Redmont, Religious Studies
****************
I'm a local minister and activist too ;-) but I'll be wearing my official professor hat.

Dith Pran, RIP

Paul, the Byzigenous Buddhapalian, has posted a tribute to Cambodian journalist Dith Pran, survivor of the killing fields, who died this past weekend.

May we never forget.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Top 50 eco-blogs (according to Times Online)

Must... stop... websurfing... But once a day it's just too tempting, and this evening brings this interesting piece of Yet More Information from Times Online. (That's The Times of London, not The New York Times.)

The top 50 eco-blogs. A good resource. Bookmark it.

Photo: Ruffled Lemur, South Africa. Mike Hutchings, Reuters, via Time (that's Time Mag)'s "This Fragile Earth" slide show.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Visiting an old speech full of life

I am reading Pablo Neruda's Nobel Lecture. (He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971 and died two years later at the age of 69.) This is a translation. If you read Spanish, you can find the original here. There is also a sound recording on the Web page. I listened to most of it because I love reading Neruda poems aloud and I had never heard his voice. I hear sadness in it.

The narrative of the first part of Neruda's speech is a lot like his poems in its descriptions of nature. It's worth listening to for a short while even if you don't know Spanish. I used to read Neruda's poems aloud even when I didn't understand all the words. The sound of them alone was beautiful. Having a bilingual edition, of course, helped me cheat and understand what I was missing.

But language never fully translates. A translation is almost an entirely different work from the original.

Go to the right hand column and you can click your way around for a biography of Neruda and other resources.

...

From all this, my friends, there arises an insight which the poet must learn through other people. There is no insurmountable solitude. All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance and sing our sorrowful song - but in this dance or in this song there are fulfilled the most ancient rites of our conscience in the awareness of being human and of believing in a common destiny. ...

The poet is not a "little god". No, he is not a "little god". He is not picked out by a mystical destiny in preference to those who follow other crafts and professions. I have often maintained that the best poet is he who prepares our daily bread: the nearest baker who does not imagine himself to be a god. He does his majestic and unpretentious work of kneading the dough, consigning it to the oven, baking it in golden colours and handing us our daily bread as a duty of fellowship. And, if the poet succeeds in achieving this simple consciousness, this too will be transformed into an element in an immense activity, in a simple or complicated structure which constitutes the building of a community, the changing of the conditions which surround mankind, the handing over of mankind's products: bread, truth, wine, dreams. If the poet joins this never-completed struggle to extend to the hands of each and all his part of his undertaking, his effort and his tenderness to the daily work of all people, then the poet must take part, the poet will take part, in the sweat, in the bread, in the wine, in the whole dream of humanity. Only in this indispensable way of being ordinary people shall we give back to poetry the mighty breadth which has been pared away from it little by little in every epoch, just as we ourselves have been whittled down in every epoch. ...

As far as we in particular are concerned, we writers within the tremendously far-flung American region, we listen unceasingly to the call to fill this mighty void with beings of flesh and blood. We are conscious of our duty as fulfillers - at the same time we are faced with the unavoidable task of critical communication within a world which is empty and is not less full of injustices, punishments and sufferings because it is empty - and we feel also the responsibility for reawakening the old dreams which sleep in statues of stone in the ruined ancient monuments, in the wide-stretching silence in planetary plains, in dense primeval forests, in rivers which roar like thunder. We must fill with words the most distant places in a dumb continent and we are intoxicated by this task of making fables and giving names. This is perhaps what is decisive in my own humble case, and if so my exaggerations or my abundance or my rhetoric would not be anything other than the simplest of events within the daily work of an American. Each and every one of my verses has chosen to take its place as a tangible object, each and every one of my poems has claimed to be a useful working instrument, each and every one of my songs has endeavoured to serve as a sign in space for a meeting between paths which cross one another, or as a piece of stone or wood on which someone, some others, those who follow after, will be able to carve the new signs.

By extending to these extreme consequences the poet's duty, in truth or in error, I determined that my posture within the community and before life should be that of in a humble way taking sides. I decided this when I saw so many honourable misfortunes, lone victories, splendid defeats. In the midst of the arena of America's struggles I saw that my human task was none other than to join the extensive forces of the organized masses of the people, to join with life and soul with suffering and hope, because it is only from this great popular stream that the necessary changes can arise for the authors and for the nations. And even if my attitude gave and still gives rise to bitter or friendly objections, the truth is that I can find no other way for an author in our far-flung and cruel countries, if we want the darkness to blossom, if we are concerned that the millions of people who have learnt neither to read us nor to read at all, who still cannot write or write to us, are to feel at home in the area of dignity without which it is impossible for them to be complete human beings.

We have inherited this damaged life of peoples dragging behind them the burden of the condemnation of centuries, the most paradisaical of peoples, the purest, those who with stones and metals made marvellous towers, jewels of dazzling brilliance - peoples who were suddenly despoiled and silenced in the fearful epochs of colonialism which still linger on.

Our original guiding stars are struggle and hope. But there is no such thing as a lone struggle, no such thing as a lone hope. In every human being are combined the most distant epochs, passivity, mistakes, sufferings, the pressing urgencies of our own time, the pace of history. But what would have become of me if, for example, I had contributed in some way to the maintenance of the feudal past of the great American continent? How should I then have been able to raise my brow, illuminated by the honour which Sweden has conferred on me, if I had not been able to feel some pride in having taken part, even to a small extent, in the change which has now come over my country? It is necessary to look at the map of America, to place oneself before its splendid multiplicity, before the cosmic generosity of the wide places which surround us, in order to understand why many writers refuse to share the dishonour and plundering of the past, of all that which dark gods have taken away from the American peoples.

I chose the difficult way of divided responsibility and, rather than to repeat the worship of the individual as the sun and centre of the system, I have preferred to offer my services in all modesty to an honourable army which may from time to time commit mistakes but which moves forward unceasingly and struggles every day against the anachronism of the refractory and the impatience of the opinionated. For I believe that my duties as a poet involve friendship not only with the rose and with symmetry, with exalted love and endless longing, but also with unrelenting human occupations which I have incorporated into my poetry.

It is today exactly one hundred years since an unhappy and brilliant poet, the most awesome of all despairing souls, wrote down this prophecy: "A l'aurore, armés d'une ardente patience, nous entrerons aux splendides Villes." "In the dawn, armed with a burning patience, we shall enter the splendid Cities." ...

... I wish to say to the people of good will, to the workers, to the poets, that the whole future has been expressed in this line by Rimbaud: only with a burning patience can we conquer the splendid City which will give light, justice and dignity to all [hu]mankind. ...

***************- Pablo Neruda


Neruda always wrote in green, the color (he said) of hope, esperanza.

Rabbit

I didn't upload these test results right away when I took the test yesterday, just sent them to myself in an e-mail, so no cute solo-Rabbit-portrait here. Like many other people, I saw the test over at Elizabeth's Telling Secrets and I took it right away. Call it Pooh Procrastination.

No surprise in the results.

And I do need all that advice below in the last paragraph. It is, in fact, Made For Me.

This is definitely one of the better tests. (It is probably accurate because its questions were more complex than those in other the other internet tests.)

Rabbit was never my favorite, though. I'd rather have the others for friends. Which proves that we need people who are Not Like Us, and that if everyone were like us the world would be an Even More Terrible Place Than It Is Now. I'm not even sure I like Rabbit that much, which may be related to the fact that I tend to be Hard On Myself. Which doesn't mean I don't go around Organizing People and Sending Out Letters, because Someone has to do it. Sometimes, though, I sleep in my burrow all morning, as I did today. What you see in Rabbit is not always the whole picture.

Hippety-hop.

Rabbit
(You scored 19 Ego, 17 Anxiety, and 14 Agency!)


"It was going to be one of Rabbit's busy days.

As soon as he woke up he felt important, as if everything depended upon him.

It was just the day for Organizing Something, or for Writing a Notice Signed Rabbit, or for Seeing What Everybody Else Thought About It.

It was a perfect morning for hurrying round to Pooh, and saying, "Very well, then, I'll tell Piglet," and then going to Piglet, and saying, "Pooh thinks--but perhaps I'd better see Owl first."

It was a Captainish sort of day, when everybody said, "Yes, Rabbit " and "No, Rabbit," and waited until he had told them.

You scored as Rabbit!

ABOUT RABBIT: Rabbit is generally considered Clever by his many friends and relations. He is actually a much better reader and writer than Owl, but he doesn't consider it worth mentioning. Instead, Rabbit's real talent lies in Organizing Plans. He organizes rescue parties, makes schemes to reduce Tigger's bounciness, and goes on missions to find out what Christopher Robin does when he's not at the Hundred Acre Woods. Sometimes, however, his Plans do not always go as Planned.

WHAT THIS SAYS ABOUT YOU: You are smart, practical and you plan ahead. People sometimes think that you don't stress or worry, but this is not the case. You are the kind of person who worries in a practical way. You think a) What are my anxieties about and b) What can be done about them? No useless fretting for you. You don't see the point in sitting around and waiting for things to work out, when you could actually work them out today and save yourself a lot of time and worry. Your friends tend to rely on you, because they know that they can trust you help them work things out.

You sometimes tend to be impatient with people who are less practical in their ways. You don't have much patience for idiots who moan about things but never actually DO anything about them. You have high expectations of everyone, including yourself. When you don't succeed at something, or when something goes wrong despite your best efforts to prevent it, you can get quite hard on yourself. You need to cut yourself some slack and accept that everyone has their faults, even you, and THAT IS OKAY. Let yourself be faulty, every now and then, for the sake of your own sanity.

Take it!
http://www.okcupid.com/tests/7755608336260521742/Deep-and-Meaningful-Winnie-The-Pooh-Character

Friday, March 28, 2008

Friday critter blogging (cat is busy); Part Two: DOGS!

Miss Maya Pavlova is busy contemplating squirrel movements outside the study window and we are promoting interspecies understanding. So here, with deep bows and shoutouts to our many Dog People out there, including MadPriest, Clumber, Lindy (whose canine companion Rowan also blogs), Padre Mickey, Doxy, and many more, is the latest canine news. These are seriously cute pups, so prepare to drool.

1. My friend PeaceBang, a fine preacher if there ever one, and stage mother to clergy in need of sartorial uplift, has a puppy. More precisely, she and her beloved, known online as SweetieBang, have a puppy.

The saga began unfolding at Easter.

The puppy came home on Monday.

He spoke up on Tuesday.

Miss Ermengarde, the resident feline, has a few things to say about the new canine. She held a press conference today, on Cat Blogging Day.

Who can resist this boy? His name is Max.


2. Iris and Josh of Greensboro Birds, who already had one dog, have gotten a second dog, or rather, he has gotten them. He just showed up one day this week and stayed. Have a look at his fuzzy face here, with the saga of his arrival. (I'm not posting the photo here because Iris prefers that one not lift her pictures.)

The handsome fellow's name is Tito and he is already posing for pictures with his new pal Happy. Iris and Josh are thinking CD album covers.

3. A friend and colleague, whose name I will not reveal because I haven't cleared this post with him, and who is an Episcopal priest, has an irresistible and rambunctious companion named --oh wait, I had better not give the dog's name either. Let's just call him Golden Boy. Golden Boy is young and enthusiastic and, well, still learning his limits. This week, he chewed on, you guessed it, a Book of Common Prayer. I mean seriously chewed. I saw it.

Maya Pavlova would never dream of doing such a thing.

Friday critter blogging (cat is busy); Part One: BIRDS!

In the interest of interspecies understanding and in keeping with the open and inclusive values of Acts of Hope, we bring you non-feline creatures today. Miss Maya Pavlova is busy watching Kitty TV anyway. (Kitty TV is the word a couple of friends use to describe cats watching birds and squirrels at the window with rapt attention.)

Greensboro Birds's Iris prefers that we not lift her fine photos from her blog and that instead we link to them. So via the links, with many thanks to Iris, are some of the birds of spring here in the not too deep South. Click and gaze.

Eastern Bluebirds and other feathered friends on the first day of spring.

Purple Finches and American Goldfinches (a.k.a. "Flying Lemons") here and here. Molting goldfinch here.

Let's not forget the grey birds. Everyone has to wear a cassock sometime, you can't always wear the full liturgical finery, and we'd all look quite silly if everyone strutted around in a chasuble. This here is a Dark-eyed Junko.

Here in another neighborhood of Greensboro, on the edge of the college campus, what strikes me is the birdsong. Twitter, twitter, sing, call. The feathered folk have been all musical noise for a couple of weeks now. I listen to them on my walks.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

More on the Italy-Turkey rivalry

At Acts of Hope, we bring you prayer, we bring you chitchat, we bring you a little theology, we bring you the incomparable Miss Maya Pavlova, and once in a while, we bring you journalism you won't find in the U.S.

Usually, it's in the form of an article by the Beloved Elder Sibling of Acts of Hope. Previous articles are here and here.

Today's contribution is, once again, from the Turkish Daily News, Turkey's English-language newspaper, and did you have any idea what was going on between Milan and Izmir? Be honest, now.

A news story on the same Milan-Izmir topic (not by my bro, as far as I know) is here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Gay and gray - and loving and thoughtful

My friend Jan of Happening Here is now writing a regular column called Gay and Gray, and her latest, which she just mentioned on her personal blog, is about two men from San Francisco, their partnership, and their impending move to Ohio. Read it here. It's interesting, moving, and well written.

(JohnieB: one of the men is a Vietnam vet, too.)

Jan's Gay and Gray column appears on the blog Time Goes By.

Obama in Greensboro

A student assistant just phoned and said Obama was speaking in Greensboro today at 1 p.m. but that one had to be there at 11:00 (the time of our meeting) to make sure to get in.

"GO!" I said. The price of rescheduling the meeting is that she has to give me a full report.

Me, I have to stay at my desk and take advantage of the two free hours before my early afternoon seminar to catch up on desk work. I still have to finish the New Preface By The Author, too -- but may not get to this till after tonight's class. It is way overdue, but I had a way overdue refereeing thing due at an academic journal and that's what I did yesterday evening. (Yes, I got a full night's sleep afterward.)

Refereeing an article is a form of peer review. A journal sends you a proposed article by another scholar and you evaluate it re: its worthiness for publication and offer helpful critiques. I didn't start getting asked to do this kind of thing till last year. It's a Good Thing because it means the people at the fancy theological journal respect me as a scholar. Either that or they think I'm a pushover. It is an honor of a sort, unpaid of course, and can go on the list of things that count toward tenure. (It's considered "service to the academy.") I teach at a school that cares much more about teaching than about publication and academic service, but those do still count.

The non-leisurely life of academe. (In which my church work feels almost -- I did say ALMOST -- like a vacation.)

Did I mention I was thinking about going to Paris?


Um, how did I get from Barack Obama to the Ile Saint-Louis?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Annunciation

I almost posted the same icon as last year because it is so beautiful.


Instead, I am posting this one from the same online collection of Coptic art. It is less beautiful in the classic sense, but that's why I am posting it. Because it is less stylized --perhaps it is older-- and the figures look slightly more human, it forces upon us not so much the idea of the Annunciation as its reality. We all have Fra Angelico on the brain of course, we Westerners, and so in our mind's eye the Annunciation is full of delicacy and light.

But was it?

And what are our standards of beauty? Do we impose them on angels and on the mother of Jesus? What happens when an icon shows what appears to many of us a slighly lumpy, ungainly Mary? When the angel, despite the beautiful robe and the eye shadow, is not exactly smiling or serene?

What do our lives look like when the surprises of Godde land in them? Are they, and we, all smooth and round and radiant?

Take a break from the primary coverage and visit with Martin Sheen

Speaking of presidents we like...

This interview with actor-activist-Catholic Martin Sheen on moreintelligentlife.com came here by way of the Paris-based blog of New York-born Maîtresse.

I'm having a got-to-get-back-to-Paris attack. It must be spring.

Maybe this summer, if funds allow. Way to spend George Bush's tax refund. On Air France. ;-)

The A-word is back! With a little assist from Mozart and Dame Kiri

Enjoy. ALLELUIA!

Another baby

LutherPunk, or rather the esteemed and blessed spouse of Pastor LutherPunk, also known as Mrs LP, has given birth to an Easter baby! Wish the family happiness and blessings and some sleep (they have two other children so it's going to be a busy time) here.

Monday, March 24, 2008

March 24: San Romero de las Américas


Whew! Easter Monday, when Church Lady brains are made of mush. I always remember Oscar Romero's feast, but even though I taught his life and works (sermon excerpts et al.) to the students in my Liberation Theologies class earlier this semester, I would have forgotten today's commemoration had I not stopped in, as I do almost daily, c/o the Byzigenous Buddhapalian and Caminante. Thank you, friends!

Here is a link to my post from last year, which has a wonderful mural of Monseñor Romero with his people --we never remember him alone, he makes sense only in the midst of his people, as a pastor.

We cannot segregate God’s word
from the historical reality
in which it is proclaimed.
That would not be God’s word.
The Bible would be just a pious history book
in our library.
It is God’s word
because it enlightens, contrasts,
repudiates, praises
what is going on in this society.

November 27, 1977

A remembrance by U.S. poet and activist Renny Golden is here.

There is a related collection of resources on Romero here.

20th anniversary remembrance with lots of resources here.

A 25th anniversary memorial essay by John Dear, S.J., is here.

Do not let the serpent of rancor nest in your hearts.

There is no greater misfortune than a vindictive heart,
even though it be turned against those who have tortured your children,
against the criminal hands that have placed them among the missing.

Do not hate.

December 1, 1977

Here's a meditative guide to the movie "Romero" (Slightly fictionalized version of Romero's life story but well worth watching -- it was one of the turning points of the semester for my students, and Raul Julia, may he rest in peace, did a remarkable job as Archbishop Romero.)


A religion of Sunday Mass but of unjust weeks
does not please the Lord.
A religion of much praying
but with hypocrisy in the heart
is not Christian.
A church that sets itself up only to be well off,
to have a lot of money and comfort,
but that forgets to protest injustices,
would not be the true church of our divine redeemer.

December 4, 1977

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Resurrection

Syriac, 13th c.

He is risen

God of terror and joy,
you arise to shake the earth.
Open our graves
and give us back the past;
so that all that has been buried
may be freed and forgiven,
and our lives may return to you
through the risen Christ, Amen.

Easter Day collect by Janet Morley

Who will roll away the stone?

Who will roll away the stone?
Hanna Cheriyan Varghese - Malaysia


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Arcatao Stations of the Cross: The Fourteenth Station

From the walls of the church in Arcatao, El Salvador.
Photos of the Stations have been traveling as an exhibit
"Stations of the Struggle" during Lent. Photographer Roland Torres, from Madison, Wisconsin, took them during a delegation visit. Madison is sister city to Arcatao.

Arcatao Stations of the Cross: The Thirteenth Station


Arcatao Stations of the Cross: The Twelfth Station


"Silence, Grief, Wonderment" - a Holy Saturday meditation by Ann Fontaine

The Episcopal Cafe offers us this essay by the Rev. Ann Fontaine, who, from Wyoming and with memories of the coast of the Oregon, beautifully captures the mood of Holy Saturday.

Pietà - a short poem for the 13th Station of the Cross

As I mentioned earlier, St. Mary’s House (Episcopal), Greensboro has a Good Friday Stations of the Cross service at which 14 different people offer meditations (some verbal, others musical or visual) at each of the 14 stations.

This was mine.


The Thirteenth Station:
Jesus is taken down from the cross
and placed in the arms of his mother


They brought me my boy.

They placed his broken body
in my arms.

I cannot tell you what I felt
now
these many years later

even knowing
what I now know.

It was as if
the world imploded
into silence
or a scream
perhaps mine
I am not sure
silence or scream
it made me deaf

They brought me my boy.

Who brought him?

I do not remember.
Someone did.
There were others there.

Miriam.
The other Miriam.
Friends.
Soldier?

They brought me my boy.

His body in my lap.
His body which had come
from my body.

As my womb tore open
and bled
to give him to the world
my heart
tore
bled
dry.

They brought me my boy.

There is no meaning when your child dies.
No voice speaking.
Only the great void.
And the holding
holding his body.

His body.

His body.

My boy.


Jane Carol Redmont
Good Friday, 2008

Holy Saturday

O God,
you have searched the depths we cannot know,
and touched what we cannot bear to name:
may we so wait,
enclosed in your darkness,
that we are reading to encounter
the terror of the dawn,
with Jesus Christ, Amen.


A collect for Good Friday
by Janet Morley
(from All Desires Known: Inclusive Prayers for Worship and Meditation,
expanded edition)

Arcatao Stations of the Cross: The Eleventh Station


From the walls of the church in Arcatao, El Salvador.
Photos of the Stations have been traveling as an exhibit "Stations of the Struggle" during Lent. Photographer Roland Torres, from Madison, Wisconsin, took them during a delegation visit. Madison is sister city to Arcatao.

Arcatao Stations of the Cross: The Tenth Station


Friday, March 21, 2008

RIP Frederic McFarland of Anglicans Online

It's been nearly a week since I checked Anglicans Online, one of the best of the blogosphere. I knew one of their team, Frederic McFarland, was dying, and indeed I found when I checked just now that he died Monday, March 17. He was 63 years old.

There is a fine obituary with photo here.

As the obit says, may Frederic rest in peace and rise in glory. And may his beloved spouse Cynthia and his friends find consolation in the love of Godde, in their friendship, in the beauty of the earth, and in their common work.

In awe and love: the Body of Christ

Our small congregation has a beautiful custom on Good Friday of holding a Stations of the Cross liturgy in which each of the 14 stations has a meditation, poem, musical piece, or other creative reflection by one of 14 people. The Stations are otherwise quite structured, with collects and verses of hymns and responses and silence, and we process around the church with a simple wooden cross, stopping at each station.

I wrote a small poem or meditation for the 13th station this year, but I will wait to post it, since I am mostly in the great silence and pondering everyone's words, and gazing upon the Cross --and, earlier today, the Pietà. All I can say is that the Body of Christ is a wondrous thing and that I am grateful both for Jesus and for his friends, who spoke of him so eloquently today and who all led us into deep, deep prayer.

Stations from Arcatao will resume and conclude tomorrow sometime, too.

Good Friday: another collect by Janet Morley

Christ, whose bitter agony
was watched from afar by women:
enable us to follow the example
of their persistent love;
that, being steadfast in the face of horror,
we may also know the place of resurrection,
in your name, Amen.

Arcatao Stations of the Cross: The Ninth Station

From the walls of the church in Arcatao, El Salvador.

Photos of the Stations have been traveling as an exhibit
"Stations of the Struggle" during Lent. Photographer Roland Torres, from Madison, Wisconsin, took them during a delegation visit. Madison is sister city to Arcatao.

Arcatao Stations of the Cross: The Eighth Station


Arcatao Stations of the Cross: The Seventh Station


Good Friday

Christ our victim,
whose beauty was disfigured
and whose body torn upon the cross;
open wide your arms,
to embrace our tortured world,
that we may not turn away our eyes,
but abandon ourselves to your mercy,
Amen.

A collect for Good Friday
by Janet Morley
(from All Desires Known: Inclusive Prayers for Worship and Meditation, expanded edition)

Arcatao Stations of the Cross: The Sixth Station

From the walls of the church in Arcatao, El Salvador.

Photos of the Stations have been traveling as an exhibit "Stations of the Struggle" during Lent. Photographer Roland Torres, from Madison, Wisconsin, took them during a delegation visit. Madison is sister city to Arcatao.

Arcatao Stations of the Cross: The Fifth Station


Arcatao Stations of the Cross: The Fourth Station

From the walls of the church in Arcatao, El Salvador.

Photos of the Stations have been traveling as an exhibit "Stations of the Struggle" during Lent. Photographer Roland Torres, from Madison, Wisconsin, took them during a delegation visit. Madison is sister city to Arcatao.

Colleague Jeff update

Thanks to you who have prayed for my Guilford College colleague Jeff and for his family. Jeff's condition has been improving. Updates are here. We continue to welcome prayers, and continue to be grateful.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Maundy Thursday

Christ, whose feet were caressed
with perfume and a woman's hair;
you humbly took basin and towel
and washed the feet of your friends.
Wash us also in your tenderness
as we touch one another:
that, embracing your service freely,
we may accept no other bondage
in your name, Amen.


A collect for Maundy Thursday by Janet Morley
(from All Desires Known: Inclusive Prayers for Worship and Meditation,
expanded edition)

Blogswarm against the war, 3

From Newsweek's Perspectives page:

You shoot at men who are fathers: war is completely stupid.

******- France's last surviving World War I veteran, Lazare Ponticelli, reflecting on his experience of war shortly before his death last week in Paris. He was 110.

Arcatao Stations of the Cross: The Third Station

From the walls of the church in Arcatao, El Salvador.

Photos of the Stations have been traveling as an exhibit "Stations of the Struggle" during Lent. Photographer Roland Torres, from Madison, Wisconsin, took them during a delegation visit. Madison is sister city to Arcatao.

Blogswarm against the war, 2

Among the friends and cyberfriends who blogged against the war today: These folks. And this one too. (Scroll down when you get to his blog, he's been prolific today -- and he has five blogswarm posts.)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Blogswarm against the war: hope in the rain


There were perhaps thirty of us, in the rain and wind, standing at a corner. Some held signs, others made peace signs with their fingers, others simply stood.

Several were from my congregation; its oldest members, in fact. A few were students. One was a little girl in a pink slicker, standing under the protective arm of her mother. She was the only child out on this night. Two photographers snapped pictures. At least four, maybe five of those in attendance were clergy; not young ones, but the young ones were tending to Holy Week duties and perhaps families; the retired ones were there in the rain, in clerical collars and raincoats and wrinkles.

After one of the MoveOn local coordinators spoke (one coordinator is a retired clergy friend, another his spouse), we cheered for the families of veterans in attendance. A mother spoke. She wore a clear plastic bag as a poncho and had a warm round face and curly hair. Her son, she said, had joined the Reserves against her warning. It was at least two years before 9/11, she remembered. Don't do it, she said to him. There's going to be a war. And it will be in the Middle East. "I just had a feeling," she said, "and I was paying attention." She read, she listened. She knew. Her son dismissed her prediction. A medical doctor, he shipped off the day the war began. She said goodbye to him at the airport, and four hours later she watched bombs begin to fall on Baghdad on the television. She was one of the fortunate ones, she said. Her son came back, six months later. But the war changed him, even though he was not in combat. Bullets whizzed by his head. He saw things, she said, that none of us should see. He is still in the Reserves. Thank you, she said, thank you for coming, in this rain, which is nothing next to what the soldiers endure, and which we endured tonight because we simply could not stay home.

We were a tiny group. Did we do any good? Did we make a difference?

Dorothee Soelle (1929-2003), one of my favorite theologians, writes in Against the Wind: Memoir of a Radical Christian:

.... for the first time I found myself attracted by a tiny group of people who were taking to the streets. I had a long conversation with my mother about the older peace movement. She was passionately opposed to war, and I have rarely seen her cry so terribly as in the summer of 1938 during the Czech crisis. .... Our conversation now in the fifties focused on re-armament [in Germany] and what could be done to stop it. I said, "I'm going down to have a look at those people," to which my mother replied, "Go ahead, but you must know that it won't achieve one little bit." In light of two different considerations, I thought long and hard about that remark --especially later, when we blockaded the nuclear rocket sites at Mutlangen and elsewhere. I had no doubt that Mother was right. At the same time, I knew that I belonged "there," and belonged with those "crazies." I sensed even then that the label "success" is not one of ultimate value, that as Martin Buber said, "Success is not one of God's names."

In her book of poems Revolutionary Patience, published in the U.S. in 1977 (the poems were first published in German in the late 1960s and early 1970s), Soelle writes:

*****He gave answers to questions they didn't ask
*****sometimes they didn't dare
*****open their mouths anymore
*****not because they hadn't understood
*****he was taking from them
*****everything sacred and safe
*****he offered no guarantees

*****Fire was not sacred to him or neon
*****not singing or silence
*****not fornication or chastity
*****in his speech foxes breaddough
*****and much mended nets became sacred
*****the down and out were his proof
*****and actually he has as much assurance
*****of victory as we in these parts do
*****
*****None.

CHRIST HAS DIED.
CHRIST IS RISEN.
CHRIST WILL COME AGAIN.

END THE WAR. END THE WAR. END THE WAR.

Arcatao Stations of the Cross: The Second Station

From the walls of the church in Arcatao, El Salvador.

Photos of the Stations have been traveling as an exhibit "Stations of the Struggle" during Lent. Photographer Roland Torres, from Madison, Wisconsin, took them during a delegation visit. Madison is sister city to Arcatao.

Arcatao Stations of the Cross: The First Station

From the walls of the church in Arcatao, El Salvador.

Photos of the Stations have been traveling as an exhibit "Stations of the Struggle" during Lent. Photographer Roland Torres, from Madison, Wisconsin, took them during a delegation visit. Madison is sister city to Arcatao.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Rev. John H. Thomas responds to the Rev. Wright brouhaha: the whole text, because it's so good

I have long been an admirer of the Rev. John H. Thomas, General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, the church to which Senator Barack Obama and his pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, belong. Obama and Wright's church, Trinity UCC in Chicago, is one of a very few African American and Afrocentric congregations in the UCC, a largely White denomination. It is also the UCC's largest congregation.

A friend read me this statement by the Rev. Thomas over the phone earlier today and I found myself cheering. I reprint this statement in its entirety rather than giving you only a link to it because I think it is an outstanding piece of analysis and public theology. I hope that many people read it. I fear that today's speech by Senator Obama and its coverage have eclipsed this insightful essay. It is, I think, the strongest response to the recent controversy about Pastor Wright and Trinity Church.

If you feel as I do about the speech, please spread it far and wide.

March 17, 2008


What Kind of Prophet? Reflections on the Rhetoric of Preaching
in Light of Recent News Coverage of Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr.
and Trinity United Church of Christ

The Rev. John H. Thomas
General Minister and President
United Church of Christ

Over the weekend members of our church and others have been subjected to the relentless airing of two or three brief video clips of sermons by the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr., pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ for thirty-six years and, for over half of those years, pastor of Senator Barack Obama and his family. These video clips, and news stories about them, have been served up with frenzied and heated commentary by media personalities expressing shock that such language and sentiments could be uttered from the pulpit.

One is tempted to ask whether these commentators ever listen to the overcharged rhetoric of their own opinion shows. Even more to the point is to wonder whether they have a working knowledge of the history of preaching in the United States from the unrelentingly grim language of New England election day sermons to the fiery rhetoric of the Black church prophetic tradition. Maybe they prefer the false prophets with their happy homilies in Jeremiah who say to the people: "You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you true peace in this place." To which God responds, "The prophets are prophesying lies in my name; I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. . . . By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed," (Jeremiah 14.14-15). The Biblical Jeremiah was coarse and provocative. Faithfulness, not respectability was the order of the day then. And now?

What's really going on here? First, it may state the obvious to point out that these television and radio shows have very little interest in Trinity Church or Jeremiah Wright. Those who sifted through hours of sermons searching for a few lurid phrases and those who have aired them repeatedly have only one intention. It is to wound a presidential candidate. In the process a congregation that does exceptional ministry and a pastor who has given his life to shape those ministries is caricatured and demonized. You don't have to be an Obama supporter to be alarmed at this. Will Clinton's United Methodist Church be next? Or McCain's Episcopal Church? Wouldn't we have been just as alarmed had it been Huckabee's Southern Baptist Church, or Romney's Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints?

Many of us would prefer to avoid the stark and startling language Pastor Wright used in these clips. But what was his real crime? He is condemned for using a mild "obscenity" in reference to the United States. This week we mark the fifth anniversary of the war in Iraq, a war conceived in deception and prosecuted in foolish arrogance. Nearly four thousand cherished Americans have been killed, countless more wounded, and tens of thousands of Iraqis slaughtered. Where is the real obscenity here? True patriotism requires a degree of self-criticism, even self-judgment that may not always be easy or genteel. Pastor Wright's judgment may be starker and more sweeping than many of us are prepared to accept. But is the soul of our nation served any better by the polite prayers and gentle admonitions that have gone without a real hearing for these five years while the dying and destruction continues?

We might like to think that racism is a thing of the past, that Martin Luther King's harmonious multi-racial vision, articulated in his speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 and then struck down by an assassin's bullet in Memphis in 1968, has somehow been resurrected and now reigns throughout the land. Significant progress has been made. A black man is a legitimate candidate for President of the United States. A black woman serves as Secretary of State. The accomplishments are profound. But on the gritty streets of Chicago's south side where Trinity has planted itself, race continues to play favorites in failing urban school systems, unresponsive health care systems, crumbling infrastructure, and meager economic development. Are we to pretend all is well because much is, in fact, better than it used to be? Is it racist to name the racial divides that continue to afflict our nation, and to do so loudly? How ironic that a pastor and congregation which, for forty-five years, has cast its lot with a predominantly white denomination, participating fully in its wider church life and contributing generously to it, would be accused of racial exclusion and a failure to reach for racial reconciliation.

The gospel narrative of Palm Sunday's entrance into Jerusalem concludes with the overturning of the money changers' tables in the Temple courtyard. Here wealth and power and greed were challenged for the way the poor were oppressed to the point of exclusion from a share in the religious practices of the Temple. Today we watch as the gap between the obscenely wealthy and the obscenely poor widens. More and more of our neighbors are relegated to minimal health care or to no health care at all. Foreclosures destroy families while unscrupulous lenders seek bailouts from regulators who turned a blind eye to the impending crisis. Should the preacher today respond to this with only a whisper and a sigh?

Is Pastor Wright to be ridiculed and condemned for refusing to play the court prophet, blessing land and sovereign while pledging allegiance to our preoccupation with wealth and our fascination with weapons? In the United Church of Christ we honor diversity. For nearly four centuries we have respected dissent and have struggled to maintain the freedom of the pulpit. Not every pastor in the United Church of Christ will want to share Pastor Wright's rhetoric or his politics. Not every member will rise to shout "Amen!" But I trust we will all struggle in our own way to resist the lure of respectable religion that seeks to displace evangelical faith. For what this nation needs is not so much polite piety as the rough and radical word of the prophet calling us to repentance. And, as we struggle with that ancient calling, I pray we will be shrewd enough to name the hypocrisy of those who decry the mixing of religion and politics in order to serve their own political ends.

Welcome, Lucia Violet!

After all the deaths of the past several weeks, it is good to celebrate a birth among my circle of friends-family-church. I just received news that a healthy baby was born here in Greensboro on Friday, March 14, after what her mama called "a long hard haul." Everyone is well, including the baby, her big brother, and her mama and daddy. The baby's name is Lucia Violet. Isn't that beautiful?

Gracious God of all creation, we bless you and thank you for new birth and for health and wholeness. Bless this expanded family and in your grace, give them some good nights of sleep! In the name of Jesus who loved and welcomed children, we pray. Amen.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Palm Sunday

God, our hope of victory
whom we constantly betray;
grant us so to recognize your coming
that in our clamour
there may be commitment,
and in our silence
the very stones may cry aloud
in your name, Amen.


A collect for Palm Sunday by Janet Morley
(from All Desires Known: Inclusive Prayers for Worship and Meditation,
expanded edition)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

The (New) Media Monopoly

One last useful rant before Holy Week begins. (Though who says we forego wordly concerns during Holy Week? On the contrary, if Christ entered the suffering of the world, so too should we.)

Several of my bloggy friends have been complaining, and rightly so, that Big Media is not paying attention to important matters. Well, guess who wrote the book on Big Media, way back?

The wonderful Ben Bagdikian, that's who. I had the pleasure of studying with him at UC-Berkeley during my doctoral studies at the GTU (there is a cross-registration agreement beween the two schools), and I told him he was the liberation theologian of media studies. Others have written in a similar vein since, e.g. Robert McChesney, but Bagdikian is the granddaddy of them all. He first wrote The Media Monopoly in 1983, and it was in its fifth edition when I sat at his feet to study ca. 1998.

Now I see there is a new edition, so new that it has a new title, The New Media Monopoly.

Ben has been watching this scene and warning us for decades. Don't say no one had sounded the alarm. God bless 'im. (He is getting on in years, by the way --he is of my parents' generation, and they are collegial friends-- so a little prayer wouldn't hurt either, though he is a fervent mostly-secular humanist --being a PK will often head you in that direction--, so make those respectful prayers. Lovely bio and autobiographical statement here.) Wonderful man. Superb journalist and researcher. A treasure.

Read the book. I'm going to order a copy of that new-new edition next month. (The big car trouble bill this month has eaten up all the book money I had been saving, waaaah.)

A poem for the beginning of Holy Week

I don't think Kathleen Norris wrote this for the occasion, but it seems apt, as we stand on the threshold of Holy Week this evening.

It is one of the poems, prayers, and spiritual exercises at the end of each chapter (in this case the chapter on the inability to pray) in When in Doubt, Sing.


The Companionable Dark

The companionable dark
of here and now,
seed lying dormant
in the earth. The dark
to which all lost things come – scarves
and rings and precious photographs, and
of course, our beloved
dead. The brooding dark,
our most vulnerable hours, limbs loose
in sleep, mouths agape.
The faithful dark, where each door leads,
each one of us, alone.
The dark of God come close
as breath, our own companion
all the way through, the dark
of a needle’s eye.
Not the easy dark
of dusk and candles,
but dark from which comforts flee.
The deep down dark
of one by one,
dark of wind
and dust, dark in which stars burn.
The floodwater dark
of hope, Jesus in agony
in the garden. Esther pacing
her bitter palace. A dark
by which we see, dark like truth,
like flesh on bone.
Help me, who am alone
and have no help but thee.


****– Kathleen Norris
******(from the collection Little Girls in Church, 1995)

Snow, Greensboro, Valentine's Day: another view

Snow on the edge of Guilford campus, Valentine's Day morning.

Photo by Jane Redmont. Click to enlarge and see detail.

People in the military: an update

Thanks very much to PJ, without whom I would have forgotten that the "Winter Soldier" conference is going on right now in Washington, DC. I read about it a while back and in the last couple of weeks it went clear out of my mind.

The conference features testimony from U.S. veterans who served in the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, giving an accurate account of what is happening on the ground, with video and photographic evidence.

The conference also includes panels of scholars, veterans, journalists, and other specialists to give context to the testimony. These panels will cover everything from the history of the GI resistance movement to the fight for veterans' health benefits and support. Spread the word, please, and go to the conference Web page for information on conference. PJ also has a link to a video of conference testimony on her blog.


As for our men and women in the military, they also endure sexual harassment, especially the women. A new Pentagon survey reports that one-third of the women in the military suffer sexual harassment, as do six percent of the men.


P.S. (a few days later) FranIAm has had a fine post up during this time, "Long for Peace, Work for Peace, Live for Peace, Be Peace," which has touched the hearts and minds of many, as witness the many comments in response to it. Thank you, Fran. I was grateful for the reminder of the words of the Talmud:
Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief.
Do justly, now.
Love mercy, now.
Walk humbly, now.
You are not obligated to complete the work,
but neither are you free to abandon it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Laughter and justice

Some friends and I just went to a hilarious and moving one-woman show by Jennifer Lanier this evening. I almost didn't go, but it was well worth it and everyone needs a good laugh.

I recommend Jennifer Lanier to you. Note that she does shows for schools (high schools, colleges, et al.). The show we saw is called "None of the Above." The title makes sense as soon as you learn that Ms. Lanier is part African American, part American Indian and a little bit of White Euro-American and that she is a lesbian who tried for seven years to be both heterosexual and "feminine" -- and is much, much happier and saner now.

One of the evening's sponsors was the local organization GSAFE, which stands for Gay Straight Advocates for Education. Their mission statement is here. (With passive verb forms, oy, but the mission is a worthy one.)

There were also people there from
Equality North Carolina with information on the School Violence Prevention Act, which "would require schools to adopt strong policies against bullying and harassment, including bullying based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression."

Another sponsor was the
Johnnetta B. Cole Global Diversity and Inclusion Institute. Dr. Cole (an Oberlin alumna, yay!) is president emerita of Bennett College for Women, a historically African American institution in Greensboro. (She was president of Spelman College before that.)

The evening was also sponsored by New Garden Friends School, the Quaker private school down the road from Guilford College (yes, they have common origins), and by Greensboro College, where the performance took place.

Friday cat blogging: this one's for Padre Mickey


I couldn't think of the right music for Padre Mickey when I was doing my blogiversary dedication posts a couple of weeks ago, but here is a cat post he will like. Here's to you, Padre!

(I know, bad day to do this when the Chinese government is being repressive with Tibetans... Gimme a break, okay?)

More cat world domination stuff here, and if you canine lovers click around the site you'll find dog stuff too.)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Gorgeous Bosphorus view with a tear in the film

Or something. Not sure how this happened but it was there on the CD of the photos when I got them back from the shop two months ago, and I haven't gone back to find out whether it was the film. It makes me sad because this was the most beautiful day on the Bosphorus, as you can see.

But life sometimes feels that way: our beautiful world, with an unexplained tear (that's tear as in torn, not tear as in weeping) right in the middle of the beauty, unexplained and unexplainable, impossible to get rid of, impossible to avoid, impossible to fix.

So I decided to post the picture.



Bosphorus: Shadow and Light.

Photo by Jane Redmont, December 2007. Click to enlarge.

Death comes for the Archbishop: the forgotten Chaldeans of Iraq


These are parishioners of St Elya Chaldean Church in Baghdad, one of about 52 local emergency shelters established by the Middle East Council of Churches (MECC)-ACT(Action by Churches Together).

Several acquaintances and friends have been keeping the Chaldean Catholics of Iraq in public view -- including Grandmère Mimi and Young Fogey in the blogosphere and Roberta Popara, O.P. on the Sister-L listserve -- but most of the public does not know this religious minority exists. (There were also Jews in Iraq, once an important group and now a handful. More on them in another post.)

Today Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho was found dead (yes, passive voice, we don't know who found him) near the city of Mosul. More from the BBC here and English-language Al Jazeera here. He had been the victim of kidnapping two weeks ago. He was 65 years old and in poor health. He was Archbishop of Mosul.

This is Theresa, one of approximately one million Christians in Baghdad (yes, one million -- at the time the photo was taken, 2003).

Except for the photo of the Archbishop, the photographs on this page are from the World Council of Churches. They are from a 2003 collection. We do not know whether the people in these photos are still alive.


This picture is from before the war. The children are from a kindergarten class run by the Chaldean Catholic Church in Basra.

And here's a map of Iraq to refresh your memory (and mine) on the location of the cities.


************************* *Kyrie Eleison
************************* *Christe Eleison
************************* *Kyrie Eleison

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

On the banning of the passive voice and HoB statements

I am thinking of banning the passive voice in all writing assignments for all my courses next semester. As it is I end up correcting verbs in the passive voice almost every time they occur, so I might as well ban them. My colleague Eric had the brilliant idea of banning "they" and other such pronouns in his classes this semester. He thus avoided writing the many, many notes I have had to write on student work saying "To what or to whom does this 'they' refer? Antecedent unclear." Of course many of the students don't know what an antecedent is. Sigh. For this I went to school for a dozen years to get a Ph.D. in theology and over $100,000 in debt?! I love my students, I really do, but I do not like correcting people's English. ****************************
(Yes, the students have taken English 102 by the time they get to my classes. No, I have no idea what high schools are teaching students these days. Or middle schools. Or elementary schools, for crying out loud. Some of my students write in perfectly grammatical sentences and others seem as if they haven't passed 7th-grade English. But 7th grade has changed, from what I gather.)

So what does this have to do with the Episcopal House of Bishops and its statements? (I also have many students who don't know the difference between its and it's, and why should they if even newspapers and department store signs are failing to make the proper distinction these days? Harrumph. Say amen, someone.)

Have a look at this statement, which responds to the Lambeth non-invitation, and see how it might have read if the House of Bishops had banned passive verb forms. With the active voice, you have to name who is responsible.

It's not a bad statement at first glance, and it doesn't contain many passive verbs. There are just one or two (depending how you count what qualifies as the passive voice.) The statement is mostly in the active voice, but take this, for example:

....hurt that is being experienced by so many in our own Episcopal Church...

Right. True. "Hurt that is being experienced." Yes. The focus is on the feelings of those who are in pain.

But hurt by whom and by what? Isn't there also the issue of who is causing the hurt to whom? (Yes, to whom. I am so peeved at The Nation for its current cover story headline "Who Would Jesus Vote For?" that I may just write them a grammatical rant. That's "whom," boys and girls. Not "who." You're not helping me in my job here. )

I understand that the bishops phrased their statement very carefully. I understand that they do not want to blame. I understand that people are hurting on the left, right, and center, and that we need to focus on the people first. The pain is what matters, and saying who hurt whom won't help. So this was a justifiable use of the passive voice.

Still...

I say we should screen all statements for the passive voice, or at least notice the syntax in statements and ask ourselves what it says or connotes.

This statement isn't an egregious case of bad syntax or style. It's not in total passive-voice bureaucratese. The commitments and observations are largely in the active voice.

And the HoB did 1) remind people that Bishop Robinson was duly elected by the Diocese of New Hampshire and 2) ask for the kind of forbearance, charity, and faith we all continue to need.

But I am a grammar nut (even though I do things like starting sentences with "but") and a style freak and I just had to comment.

Here endeth the partial rant.

Happy anniversary to my favorite couple

Mother and Father of Acts of Hope have been married 68 years today.

Snow, Greensboro, Valentine's Day Morning


Photo by Jane Redmont. Click to enlarge. Really. You want to see the detail.

Middle Name Meme

Okay, okay, okay. It was only a matter of time before this thing found its way to me, and that fine gourmet cook, JohnieB, has tagged me, so here we go.

Here are the rules:
1. You have to post the rules before you give your answers.
2. You must list one fact about yourself beginning with each letter of your middle name. (If you don’t have a middle name, use your maiden name or your mother’s maiden name).
3. At the end of your blog post, you need to tag one person (or blogger of another species) for each letter of your middle name. (Be sure to leave them a comment telling them they’ve been tagged.)

3. I'm not going to tag anyone, because I'm like Mimi and don't like to tag people. Though I might change my mind tomorrow.

1. Done. I like doing things out of order. Maybe that should be in the meme.

2. My middle name is Carol. After my maternal great-grandmother, Karoline, born in the German Rhineland in the 19th century, emigrated to New York, where she met and married great-grandpa Bela, the Hungarian with the handlebar mustache.

C is for Charismatic. That sounds like boasting, but I am a good public speaker and also I keep getting plunked in leadership positions. Of course that could just mean I am Crazy.

A is for Artsy. Nuff said.

R is for Ready for a Vacation. Now.

O is for Olive Oil. Gotta have some in my kitchen all the time.

L is for -- I was going to say Literary, but I'm not there yet (maybe in six years or so when I've finally written a novel), so let's say Literate. I love reading and words and writing. And Languages. Also Liturgy. And, um, I'm Long-winded.

No surprises. I'd better go on to my confirmation names. Which are Marie, for Herself (the French form of the name) and Catherine, for Siena, that uppity holy woman (okay, she was also highly neurotic, but no one ever said you had to be perfect to be a saint).

M is for Musical. I love to listen to listen to music, I love to sing, I love to dance, I even love to chant in church. I do not, however, know how to do the Mambo, but if someone wants to teach me, I'm game.

A is for Auntie Jane, which is what I am. To my nephews and to my elder nephew's children (well, Great-Aunt to those, but let's not push it with the elder-titles) but also to several other young adults and children. Soon to be more numerous because I have three colleagues at work who are pregnant.

R is for Really Ready for a Vacation.

I is for Independent. Fiercely so. Which is funny because I am also a very community-bound person. Go figure. So maybe Interdependent is the better word.

E is for Extroverted-but-much-less-than-I-used-to-be. Somewhere during Ph.D. studies, which also coincided with the advent of middle age, I moved almost to the border between Extrovert and Introvert on the Myers-Briggs scale. Which people don't believe, but it's true, I am no longer a wild extrovert. I really need that time alone.

and

C is for Creative. Probably goes with the "Independent" above, or vice versa.

A is for Adventurous, though definitely Not Athletic and sometimes Anxious. And Anglican, of course.

T is for Travelin' Jane, who loves to be a homebody but whose family and dear friends are scattered around the globe, so off she goes, now and again. Plus it's nice to get out of Town once in a while.


H is for Humorous Though Not Sarcastic. And Homebody. Also Hot Tubs, which California had lots of and North Carolina does not, boo hoo.

E is for Enthusiastic.

R is for Radical, I hope.

I is for Intellectual.

N is for Napping, though not right now.

E
is for Entertaining, Episcopal, Elegant (or so we wish), Empathetic, Erudite, and occasionally Exasperating.