Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mother of Acts of Hope is 91 today!

The one and only Mother of Acts of Hope is 91 years old today!

Father of Acts of Hope, a younger man who will not turn 91 till November, is a romantic and has written a sonnet for the occasion, and of course given his beloved a bouquet of roses.

We children can't be with Parents of Acts of Hope this weekend, but hope to converge on them in a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, Happy Birthday to our indomitable mother!

Photo: Autumn scene, Vermont. Nicked from somewhere on the Web. Mother of Acts of Hope's parents founded a summer camp in Vermont, and many years later my parents bought an old house near there, site of many happy summers and family gatherings. We no longer own the house but we still love and visit Vermont.

Health care, cont'd: let me draw you a picture

Yes, yes, I will get back to blogging! Thanks for bearing with me, friends. I am cooking in my head a post that combines a report on the local forum on health care reform and a tribute to Senator Edward Kennedy, whose wake and funeral I have been watching during the last few days.

Meanwhile, here is a new animated cartoon explaining why we need government-run (akh! socialized! just like your fire and police departments and Medicare) health care. Skeptics and advocates, whoever you are, have a look here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Greensboro, NC people: Health Care Forum TONIGHT

Citizens, time to show up.

a) if you are sick of uninformed, stupid, and hate-filled rhetoric
and b) if you would like us to we have genuine health-care-delivery and -insurance reform and keep the public option* on the table.
* or some proven workable alternative, see Krugman or better yet, this (which also quotes Krugman but is more factual and is a nice clear summary of the options)
Oh, and c) if you have a body and are a U.S. citizen or resident.

* * * * * * *

The State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC) is hosting a
Town Hall Meeting on Health Care Reform
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19 (tonight)
6:30-8 p.m.
at the Teamsters Union Hall (Sandy Ridge Road & I-40)

The meeting is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. It will give state employees, retirees and other community members the opportunity to ask questions to elected officials, and medical and business professionals about how the current debate over health care reform will impact people in N.C.

Please help spread the word about this event. (Jane says: Please show up!)

For more information about the Town Hall Meeting, contact Heather Welborn at (704) 609-5906 or

If you would like to contact your U.S. Senator or U.S. Representative directly, contact information is listed below. Web sites listed have "Contact" links for sending e-mails.

Senator Kay Hagan
Greensboro Phone: (336) 333-5311
Washington Phone: (202) 224-6342
Web site:

Senator Richard Burr
Winston-Salem Phone: (336) 631-5125
Washington Phone: (202) 224-3154
Web site:

Representative Brad Miller (District 13)
Greensboro Phone: (336) 574-2909
Washington Phone: (202) 225-3032
Web site:

Representative Mel Watt (District 12)
Greensboro Phone: (336) 275-9950
Washington Phone: (202) 225-1510
Web site:

Representative Howard Coble (District 6)
Greensboro Phone: (336) 333-5005
High Point Phone: (336) 886-5106
Washington Phone: (202) 225-3065
Web site:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dorothee Sölle on the church

As promised in the post below.

I believe in jesus christ
who was right when he
like each of us
just another individual who couldn’t beat city hall
worked to change the status quo
and was destroyed
looking at him I see
how our intelligence is crippled
our imagination stifled
our efforts wasted
because we did not live as he did
every day I am afraid
that he died in vain
because he is buried in our churches

from "Credo"
in Dorothee Soelle
Revolutionary Patience
translated by Rita and Robert Kimber
Maryknoll: Orbis, 1977

*****In the face of the Christian church and its role in the First world, I feel alienation, aversion, disgust, and sometimes even shame. I see this empirical church as a structure "from above," based on injustice and continually betraying it s own truth. I often think that the church is like Judas, who handed Christ over to the established religious authorities. Sometimes I think that the church is like the other disciples who, discouraged and defeated, left Jesus alone and fled. And then there are times when I think the church is like Peter, who denied that he had ever known anything about peace and justice. Very seldom do I see the church, like Peter, shedding bitter tears.

*****Nevertheless, I have never regarded myself as post-Christian. I have also experienced something other than what I have just described. I have seen the church in a group of women who did not flee, who stayed, and on Easter Sunday went to the tomb because the one who had gone was not dead for them. However, my overwhelmingly bad experiences have changed my image of the church. It is not a house for me any longer; instead, it is a tent for the wandering people of God. Then tent is not always where I am, but sooner or later I encounter the tent people again --on the street or in the courtroom. The sacred is not so much a building or an institution as an event, something that happens. Not long ago Daniel Berrigan, in conversation, employed the image of an umbrella that shelters us from the cold rain. Sometimes it opens too slowly, and we are left standing in the rain. Sometimes it is not very effective. Still, it is there, and I would not want to be without it. But the image of the church that continues to impress me most is that of an old woman looking for food in a garbage can --an unmarried mother with bent back, unattractive, unhealthy, of indeterminate age-- my older sister, whom I need and who needs me.

*****I suspect that the post-Christians do not want to have anything to do with the dialectic of a religious institution. But it is just this self-contradictory experience of the church as traitor and the church as sister that stares me in the face, and I have to live with it. Post-Christianity seems to me like a slick formula that covers up the two-sided encounter with the church and reduces it to the "church from above." Then the church from below is forgotten, and with it what tradition has identifies as the "mystical body of Christ."

Dorothee Soelle
The Window of Vulnerability: A Political Spirituality
Translated by Linda M. Maloney
Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990

Homeless woman and bicycle, Oslo, Norway (BBC)
Dorothee Sölle

And so we return, with bits of theology, of the readable kind

I am back in North Carolina and will be easing back into blogging with bits of theology, since I have been immersed in theology for most of the summer. Not treatise theology, but theology that often speaks in narrative and poetry and liturgy. A bit of treatise theology too, but not much.

Her Grace the feline bishop, who received food and water and cuddles from a series of cat-sitters (or as the Rev. Liz Zivanov calls them --the term actually came from one of her cat-sitters, Dr. Elizabeth Drescher-- au-purrs) was mightily peeved at me when I returned. First she gave me the silent treatment and pretended to ignore me. That lasted about thirty seconds, tops. Then she yelled at me. All this time I sat still on the floor and waited for her to come to me. Eventually she did and began by sniffing my feet. (They and their shoes had been in California and on two airplanes and in a car belonging to the best friend of the Adorable Godson --both boys picked me up at the airport-- so there was plenty to sniff.) Then of course she climbed on me and we had a good snuggle. She scolded me on and off for several hours and slept on my chest at night. Now we are back to normal, whatever normal is.

I am happy to be back with +Maya Pavlova. I am not so happy to be back in muggy weather with bugs ready to bite the minute you walk out the door, after six weeks in the Mediterranean climate of Northern/Central California.

So, on to a little theology. It will be readable, I promise. It's not my writing, it is that of others, for your pondering pleasure (or distress -- theology should disturb as well as console).

Oil painting by Harry Simpson

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Times editorial on napping!

The New York Times, that is. +Maya will be so happy with this! Check it out. I love it.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Fabulous Father of Acts of Hope Takes on Health Care Reform

Current Events:

[Father of Acts of Hope] & [FoAoH's Friend], MD

What's wrong with our present system?
What are the proposals for reform? What are the options for reform?
What is the "public option" ?
What about single payer?
What is the timeline?
What's the issue over money? How do we finance reform?
Who are the stakeholders?
What can we do as active citizens?

To discuss this and other related questions
in one of the most crucial
issues of our time,
the next Current Events forum will take place on
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
[time, place]
[at my parents' retirement community]
Both presenters are ninety-ish years old. Go, Daddy!
P.S. FoAoH favors single-payer health care.