Saturday, November 28, 2009

Today she is two!

My great-niece, who lives in Portugal with her big brother and her mother and father (who is also known here as Nephew the Elder) is two years old today!

I still haven't met her face to face, but I am determined to get to Lisbon this coming year. Meanwhile, I gush over the pictures.

Happy Birthday to B! She is, by the way, a strong and determined young lady. Is anybody surprised?

And a belated Happy Birthday to the Fabulous Father of Acts of Hope, who turned 91 three weeks ago. Now both my parents are 91 years old.
Photo: Lisbon, Portugal

Last year's sermon for Advent I

In the process of working on Sunday's sermon, I looked back at last year's sermon for the First Sunday of Advent.

The theme of mindfulness will be there this year, too. Beyond that, well, we'll all have to wait till Sunday to see what else comes up. Still pondering.

Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. ... And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake. (Mark 13:33, 37)

Greensboro and Triad area folks: you're always welcome to join us at St. Mary's House, 11 a.m. Sundays.

Icon: Our Lady of the New Advent, by William Hart McNichols

Friday, November 27, 2009

Updating the book list, and a plug for Anita Diamant's new novel

I am digging out from under all manner of things. In the midst of this and the usual house-cleaning, literal and metaphorical, that accompanies the advent of Advent, I am updating this blog. I hadn't updated the reading list at the right in months. It isn't complete, but it gives you a snapshot of what I'm reading or re-reading these days.

The Aquino and Rosado-Nunes book is composed of the proceedings of the first Inter-American Symposium on Feminist Intercultural Theology. This was the first ever formal gathering of Latin American and U.S. Latina feminist theologians. Some social scientists also participated in the meeting. Why is this book significant? Because, one of its introductory essays notes, for the first time in the history of Christianity in the Americas, feminist theologians of the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean were able to meet together to share our common concerns and visions about the present and the future of our theological work, on the basis of intercultural hermeneutical frameworks. ("Hermeneutical" in this case means "interpretive.")

The book by Renate Wind (which is way overdue at a certain library in California) is a biography, the first, I think, of the late Dorothee Sölle. {This next sentence added a day later after the original post:} Wind has previously written about Dietrich Bonhoeffer; it's not surprising she would be drawn to Sölle, who in so many ways was spiritual and theological heir to Bonhoeffer. The eco-books by McFague and Ruether (the Ruether one is an edited volume featuring writings from Asia, Africa, and Latin America) are triple-purpose books: they are part of my reading and referencing for the Big Tome; I have students reading a couple of them; and I am looking at them as I ponder my sermon for this coming Sunday, the first in Advent. I haven't preached since September. What does the environmental crisis have to do with Advent? You'll find out after I preach. Unless the Holy Spirit sends me in another direction.

I actually cheated by listing Anita Diamant's new book, Day after Night, because I read and finished it last weekend. Anita gave it to me last Friday when she came to my talk on prayer at Harvard (about which more later) and I started reading it that night and finished it on the first of my two plane flights the next day. It's both deep and a page-turner.

I am just starting Louise Erdrich's The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, which a colleague lent me. "It's about a woman who dresses up as a man so she can work as a Catholic priest, so you can see why it made me think of you," he said. (!) The priest in the book is a member of the Ojibwe Nation, as is Erdrich.

You may or may not have noticed that these are the first fiction books I've listed in eons, or perhaps ever since I started blogging. I am starved for fiction and haven't let myself read any, except for the occasional mystery novel, in something like four years. Ridiculous. Just because I've been trying to finish a work of non-fiction doesn't mean I shouldn't be reading fiction. I find reading fiction life-giving. Do you?

Friday cat blogging, deferred: a message from +Maya

It is I, Maya Pavlova, Feline Bishop Extraordinaire. I have been napping in an open drawer here in the study. The Canon to the Extraordinary has left the drawer open because she doesn't use the soft things in it that much, and frankly, I look and feel cozy and adorable in it and I can keep an eye on her if I need to.

The Canon tried to take a picture of me a few minutes ago. She has a new camera -- well, a no longer new to her lovely hand-me-down (thanks to You Know Who You Are) which for some bizarre reason she did not learn how to use this summer; something to do with a Big Tome and concentration. She finally got the batteries in it while I was napping and printed out the Big User's Guide and came up to me and pow! A flash in my eye. But she's not sure whether she really took a picture and she needs to study the manual some more, and that will take her an hour, which is going to have to be tomorrow, because she has to write. Silly human.

I am very well. I have the Canon close at hand and I keep close tabs on her. She has been away far too much for my taste. It's not that I starve or get cold, but I like my human and in those hours when I am awake, I like to converse with her and butt into her business. So I have been sleeping a little less than usual since she settled down at home for a few days and spending extra time butting in. I also jump on counters and on the kitchen table -- a lot.

I must go supervise the Canon, who is trying to get some work done on that Tome thing. I think she needs help.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving, cont'd

Paul the BB has some beautiful prayers, Christian and Native American, for this Thanksgiving Day which is also a Day of Mourning. Bop on over and read them.

Click on the photo of the plaque to enlarge it.


This here is an Array Mbira, which is a modern U.S. adaptation of a Zimbabwean Mbira. Enjoy the music.

In other news, I invented a dish involving collards and caramelized shallots for today's dinner, and on Monday evening, I went to a "Thanksgiving rebellion" dinner hosted by the Native American student organization at Guilford. Tomorrow, blogging will return. At least that's the plan.

Sorry for the long absence. It's partly Facebook's fault and partly due to my insane work schedule and to my having been in a bit of a funk -- and committed to getting enough sleep to stay healthy on the job. Which didn't keep me from getting sick before and during fall break.

We've had a lovely Thanksgiving so far, +Maya Pavlova and I. We wish you and your loved ones a peaceful night (or day, if you have begun the new day on the other side of the globe) and we remember with respect and gratitude the First Peoples on whose land we live, the earth and its waters and skies, and the farmers who worked to grow our food. Her Feline Grace, who was in a playful mood for a good part of the day, is now asleep in an open sweatshirt drawer. Perhaps she will allow her picture to be taken tomorrow. Over and out.