Saturday, June 30, 2007

Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

16th century Orthodox icon from the Balkans. (Thanks to St. Mary's Orthodox Church in Chambersburg, PA.)

Friday, June 29, 2007

Feast of Irénée de Lyon (Irenaeus to you estadounidenses)

The glory of God is the human person fully alive


the life of the human person is the vision of God.

Padre Mickey the hagiographer is on vacation, and I am flying to Portland, Oregon at the crack of dawn to celebrate the ordination of a friend there. (She's being ordained a transitional deacon and I will likely have to miss her ordination to the priesthood six months from now since I will be on duty in Greensboro.) So, two of the four Irenaeus things I want to share will have to wait.

The two quick ones I can offer right away are 1) the quote above, and 2) this link to James Kiefer's bio of Irenaeus.

Also, this image of Irenaeus, which is from Hungary.

I call the man Irénée because I first heard of him in relation to Lyon when I was growing up in France. It took me years to put two and two together and figure out that the early bishop of Lyon (then Gaul, now France) was the same guy born in Smyrna (present-day Turkey) who wrote Adversus Haereses. I am a little slow sometimes.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

It was bound to happen here: animated foodie film

The thing about the San Francisco Bay Area is that half the time, it's a parody of itself.

So now the local film folks at Pixar have made a sort of parody of that, in the form of an animated movie about, you guessed, it, food. The newspaper story about the film is, you guessed again, on the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle today, right next to the Tahoe fires and the new San Francisco health initiative.

Above the fold.

The film is called "Ratatouille."

It's about a rat who wants to become a chef.

I'm serious.

More Chihuly

I couldn't resist. See previous post, below, for information and access to the whole exhibit.

Gorgeous glass

A friend writes that she was in Pittsburgh for several days and saw an amazing exhibit of glass works by Dale Chihuly. Have a look! Once you're on the site, click on "Exhibition Overview" first to get a feel for the whole thing.

Summer Disco: get UP for this one!

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Light summer reading

You think all scholars do in the summer is eat pupusas?

Think again.

And again.

And again.

As you know, there was also this, a week or two ago.

A Summer Series post.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Foodie update, cont'd

(Click on picture to get a better view of the cheeses. What a friend we have in cheeses.)

Eclectic is the name of the game. It also depends who's paying.

Pupusas. La Santaneca de la Mission. Mmmm. And cheap.

Upscale foodie heaven. Oliveto, one of the children of Chez Panisse. (Eat yer heart out, johnieb.)

Baked goods, anyone? Cooperatively run, of course. Great politics, great eats. The Cheese Board. Yes, they have cheese. (You can get their book.)

Best cappuccino, hands down. Nefeli, Berkeley.

But the best local coffee beans are the ones already mentioned in the right-hand column of this blog. Blue Bottle Coffee. And they ship.

Speaking of good politics and good food -- of the sustainable-ecological kind with a Latin American twist: Café de la Paz.

Fresh squeezed citrus juices (orange, grapefruit). Also smoothies and coffee, but the coffee isn't my favorite. Good place to study or catch up with an old friend. Packed, but airy with high ceilings. Lovely owners. Brewed Awakening, Berkeley.

Eh. Dungeness crab cakes, but too greasy.

CHOCOLATE. Bittersweet, Rockridge district, Oakland. Serious chocolate. This one has been in the right hand column here since the blog started, but did you even notice? And they use Blue Bottle Coffee for their mochas.


More sushi.

The best sushi --which I didn't get to. Next time. Kirala. No reservations. Stand on line or get there very early.

Your nutritionist told you to get a good breakfast. At a neighborhood joint. Rockridge Café.

No one paid me to write about these. But some very nice friends did pay for lunch. Supper. Breakfast. And one stupendous cup of hot chocolate.

PG blog, torture

Online Dating
One "bitch" and several uses of the words "death" and "dead" got me that rating. Bill Carroll over at Anglican Resistance got an NC-17 for his use of "torture." No, it's not a real rating, just one more bloggy game.

Go read about the real thing. Torture, that is. Yesterday was International Torture Awareness Day, according to Bill. I didn't know, but I spent most of the day in the library working at the same table as a good friend who is writing (theologically and ethically) about torture.

Actually, June is torture awareness month. The 26th was the day of solidarity at the UN, and also a lobbying day in Washington, co-sponsored by several organizations. What, you didn't know about the National Religious Coalition Against Torture?

P.S. Now that I have used the word "torture" four times, my blog is rated "R."
Online Dating
Oops, nine times now. Still the R rating, though.

As Bill notes, let's be clear where the real obscenity lies.

Yes, more Maupin

A clever and entertaining review of Armistead Maupin's latest, Michael Tolliver Lives, by David Leavitt in this past Sunday's New York Times.

Cyril of Alexandria: who is he and what's the big deal? and a taxi story

James Kiefer, who writes the bios for saints on the Episcopal calendar which you find on the Daily Office website, has a funny story about Cyril of Alexandria (yes, it's getting pretty church-history-geeky this week) in today's bio. Check it out.

Even before he starts telling the taxicab story, he has a few touches of humor.

Must be another one of those crazy Anglicans.

16th c. icon of Saint Cyril of Alexandria and St John the Benefactor (more often known as St. John the Almsgiver), from the monastery of Saint Neophytos on Cyprus. (There's actually a third guy in the fresco, to the left of the two others, St. Basil. You'll have to go to Cyprus or to the Web to see him.)

You know you're a former resident of San Francisco (or the surrounding Bay Area) when...

... two years after moving away, you're back for a visit and you're downtown on the big plaza and
you think, hmmm, the last time I was here before I moved, was it for an anti-war demonstration or for a Symphony concert?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Summer Disco bonus: "Sweet and Low Down"

Actually performed by George Gershwin himself (says the eSnips page), recorded from a piano player roll he cut when he was 19!

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It's official: my mother's love of Gershwin's music has rubbed off on me. (Her father used to whistle his tunes when she was growing up, so it runs in the family. Gershwin, of course, was still alive at the time.)

A week ago (June 18): commemoration of Bernard Mizeki

A week ago today I was at vespers with the Order of the Holy Cross monks (Episcopal/Anglican Benedictines) and we commemorated Bernard Mizeki, martyr, but I didn't have a chance to post anything about him.

So here is his story, which we need to remember, full of honor and faith, interwoven as it is --as are the stories of many, many saints-- with the histories of mission and colonialism.

Almighty and everlasting God, who kindled the flame of your love in the heart of your holy martyr Bernard Mizeki: Grant to us, your humble servants, a like faith and power of love, that we who rejoice in his triumph may profit by his example; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Commemoration of Philipp Melanchthon and the presentation of the Augsburg Confession

Today the Episcopal Church honors an anniversary and a reformer we tend to think of as "Lutheran," but they belong to the church universal and to the ecclesia semper reformanda - the church always in need of reform (and always reforming!).

Information on Philipp Melanchthon (né Philipp Schwartzerd) and on the Augsburg Confession

Monday, June 25, 2007

Summer Disco -- and this time it really is disco

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And the title theme, friends, is for

a) dear ones recovering from various surgeries and illnesses;

b) those of us trying to survive in academe where they don't give you your summer research grant money till the summer is over and you end up scrounging busfare to the library at your research location and booking your travel as you go (hey, I could end up stuck on the West Coast forever -- there's a thought) and working-class academics everywhere;

c) yesterday's San Francisco Pride parade; and

d) some more good vibrations for dear ones recovering from various surgeries and illnesses and all those contending with the U.S. health insurance system(s).

Feast of John the Baptizer (with thanks to Mozart and SVO)

My friend the Simple Village Organist has a nifty new music thingie (like him, I specialize in highly technical language) and in honor of the Feast of John the Baptist, it is playing lovely music by Mozart, who says things in his language better than most of us ever will in ours.

In parts of Europe, the Solstice celebrations and St. John's Day were combined and thus great bonfires were lit to commemorate the birth of John. In some places they still are. Here's one.

Speaking of Jesus being Jewish...

The author of the article linked at the bottom of the previous post has a new book out. Read a little conversation about it here.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Yes Jesus, no Jesus

I've been tagged by not just one but two people.

Yet another meme, this one called "Five things I dig about Jesus."

Alas, memes take time, especially for me, fussy pastoral theologian that I am, and take a different kind of energy (how Californian do I sound now?) from my quick posts on the fly of this summer. (I know it may sound odd -- but from this end that's wht it's like.)

And I'm kind of preoccupied right now with my summer writing projects and my friend who is recovering from surgery and yet more travel coming up shortly. In addition to which, I have to spend time talking with Jesus, too. Especially given all the above.

So, respectfully, I must decline, with apologies to Kirstin and PJ (oops, it's pj, right, like e.e. cummings?), and please don't take it personally.

And don't forget that Jesus was Jewish.

Alan Johnston update: distressing new video

This just in from the BBC.

Alan has been held captive somewhere in Gaza (where he was the only permanent Western reporter) since March 12.

Thousands of colleagues around the world held vigils this week to mark the 100th day of his captivity.

Please continue to pray for Alan, his family, and his captors.

Right now, this is the only action the public can take.

Friday, June 22, 2007

You heard it here first (latest official Anglican, Roman Catholic, and ecumenical news)

From Ecumenical News International:

Catholic archbishop wins 'tense' Nigerian election

Abuja (ENI). Roman Catholic Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Abuja has been elected to succeed Anglican leader Peter Akinola as president of the Christian Associationof Nigeria. Onaiyekan defeated Akinola by 72 votes to 33 in a 19 June vote that had "some tense moments", Nigeria's Business Day newspaper reported.It added that the association's 5-6 July general assembly is expected to ratifythe election made by CAN's 105-member national executive council.
[325 words,ENI-07-0482]

A great day for me to be working on an essay on African feminist ecclesiologies, eh?

Saint Alban, martyr

What kind of Anglican would I be if I didn't honor Alban, martyr in Britain?

I'm in the middle of a day of writing work, with a bit of travel later on, so I refer you to the great hagiographer of the blogosphere, Padre Mickey, for a biography of Alban and meditation upon his life, but here are a couple of images. The first, of the martyrdom, is from the middle of the 13th century and the Web tells me it's by the historian and artist Matthew Paris, a monk of St. Alban's. Sounds awfully early to me for a signed work, but if we had Giotto and way before that, Praxiteles, I guess we can have Paris. Who knew? More evidence of the contribution of monasteries to civilization.

The second is a contemporary Orthodox icon by Adrian Hart. Alban is honored as a protomartyr by the Orthodox Church in the West.

Another Alban-related tip of the hat to my esteemed colleague in Greensboro, Padre Rob, Episcopal priest with an Orthodox heart.

And see (listen) below for a Friday musical meditation.

Friday meditative music (from Taizé)

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Per crucem et passionem tuam, libera nos, Domine.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

What I'm (you're) missing

The food is great, the weather is heavenly, the few friends I have time to see (or run into on the street or in the library) are wonderful, and I also have work to do and deadlines to meet. So here, to make us all drool, is some of what you and I are missing here in the Bay Area (and a little South of here --the Aquarium is all the way in Monterey, but it counts):

"Matisse: Painter as Sculptor” at SFMOMA

“Wild About Otters” exhibit at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

A whole Prokofiev series conducted by the fabulous Michael Tilson Thomas (a.k.a. MTT), the SF Symphony’s maestro. Note: MTT is one of the best Prokofiev conductors around. (Also Mahler. Also Gershwin!)

The “Salsa for a Cause” fundraiser for the Women of Color Resource Center in Oakland tomorrow (well, today – it’s after midnight)…

The annual Pride parade on Sunday (because I'll still be in another part of the Bay Area that day with my friend who just had surgery). Of course, there isn’t just the main Pride march. Huge list of events here.

Episcopalians and other Anglicans please note: Davis Mac-Illya is supposed to be marching with the Oasis-California contingent.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Summer Disco: love and a trip down memory lane

Well, it's San Francisco, so you have to have politics AND love. Here's the love part, and you 1970s types will go into raptures of romantic memories. (With God and politics thrown in -- or not.) This isn't to everyone's taste, but it's an old favorite I found on eSnips. Hope it fits your day too.

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Another California mural: Mission District, San Francisco

(Like the Los Angeles mural whose photo I posted, this comes courtesy of the World Wide Web, not my camera -- though I am in the neighborhood part of the day today.)

June 20: World Refugee Day

I am deeper and deeper in my summer writing and blogging about feasts and saints' days is going by the wayside (though in non-blog life I honor the days), but others among our distinguished visitors are writing about them.

Here is something to remember for today about the unsung ones: Today is World Refugee Day.

Refugees in Albania, 1999. Photo by the great Sebastião Salgado.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Monday, June 18, 2007

ACLU update and new book on civil liberties

Anthony Romero, head of the American Civil Liberties Union, is currently being interviewed on "Forum" on the SF Bay Area's public radio station KQED. He will be speaking this evening at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club.

His new book, In Defense of Our America, is about the issue of civil liberties since 9/11.

Alan Johnston: three months last week

BBC correspondent Alan Johnston, the only international correspondent still living and working in the Gaza Strip, was kidnapped on his way home from his Gaza City office on March 12.

Intensive international efforts have been continuing to secure his release.

Timeline here.

The Archbishop of York held a service for Alan, marking the third month of his absence.

Pray also for all those whose names we do not know and who suffer daily in Gaza and the surrounding region of Israel and Palestine.

Soelle on exodus and exile

A Summer Series post.

Exodus means a break, setting out, leaving home.... Perhaps it was not so easy at all for Abram --who was not yet called Abraham-- to tell the difference between exodus and exile. One of the difficulties with life transitions is that feelings of home and feelings of homelessness can exist in one and the same heart. We should learn to pay attention to both.

******** Dorothee Soelle, The Mystery of Death, 71-72

Summer Disco, Special Edition: Dame Emma Sings the Red Priest (2)

A re-posting of the Vivaldo as promised below, to make up for the fact that the player went kerflooey when I tried to edit the time on the post. (And by the way, it's 11:20 p.m. in California, not 2:20 a.m. as this post will probably say.)

Sunday, June 17, 2007

More from Dorothee Soelle, this time a poem

A Summer Series post.

The poem is from the same book as the long quote below (The Mystery of Death) but it's originally from a book (presumably of poems - Soelle wrote poetry throughout her life, it was part of how she did theology) published in German in 2000 and, as far as I know, never translated. Check out the theology of the communion of saints in this one.

At a peace gathering

We're not only ten thousand I said
there are more of us here
the dead of both wars
are with us

A journalist came and asked
how could I know that
haven't you seen them
i ask the clueless guy
haven't you heard your grandmother
when they started it up again
do you live all alone
without any dead who drop in
for a drink with you
do you really think
you are only yourself

Dorothee Soelle on the mystery of death

A Summer Series post.

Just a little light reading these days.

Dorothee Soelle, who died four years ago, was finishing a book on death days before she died. Her widower, Fulbert Steffensky, agreed to have it published and wrote the Foreword in the U.S. edition, which came out recently from Fortress Press.

Steffensky writes:

***The book is a fragment, as any human life is a fragment. Should one publish a fragment? Our family thought about this for a long time, and one of our arguments for publishing it is that she intended to do so. ...
***There was another reason we opted to publish the text as it is. After Dorothee Soelle's death we received hundred of letters in which people wrote that it was through her influence that they had found their way to the church, remained in the church, studied theology, or found courage for a pastoral vocation. We believe these people deserve to experience the intimacy of an incommplete text and its unprotected thoughts. ...
***Whoever reads this book will sense that her hands became tired. What never became tired is her wonderful, enraged passion for life.

From Dorothee Soelle's The Mystery of Death:

***[After a passage about her mother's last days and her mother's fear of having her life extended too long through technological means.] *These are new fears that have grown out of, and are still growing along with, advances in the medical field. The terror of death has in many instances been replaced by the terror of technocracy. The old fears--of starvation, death in childbirth, premature death-- are now distant memories. But does this mean we are living free of fear? The Swedish writing Henning Mankel spends most of his life in Mozambique, Africa, and his experience with old age and death there is completely different than in Sweden. He is fifty-five, and there that means he is among the aged population. The average life expectancy in Mozambique is forty-seven. Mankell writes of a "strange European revolution in the mid-1950s that removed old age from our life experience and deleted death from our agenda. ...Instead youth, energy, health are the dominant theme. Death has been transferred to the seniors' quarters. ... When death disappeared we became poorer. European culture has been ravaged by the forces of the free market just as a forest is ravaged by clear-cutting."


***.... We have become doers and have learned to see through the laws that govern processes: to intervene, banish illness, extend life, and to be makers of our own lives and our fate.

***In this process the human capacity for pathos, our ability to experience suffering, atrophies. Accepting life, admitting our limits, considering life meaningful even in its fragmentariness and brokenness, are skills we are no longer learning. The person who has learned to live only in the action mode, who finds self-justification only by doing, cannot cope with situations in which there is nothing he or she can do anymore, when limits impose themselves on us as doers. Can a doer stand to be powerless sometimes? Can doers preserve their humanity even in life's defeats, if the meaning of their very being is defined exclusively by activity and the reproduction of life? Can they be sick or die? Or are sickness and death now only to be considered sites of dramatic absurdity, best never thought of at all, to be overlooked or denied? ...

*** Death has no place in the lansdscape of life for those who are pure doers and winners. Our cemeteries are located outside the urban centers. We live in a landscape where everyone is young and strong, rich, intelligent, and good-looking --or must appear so. The weak, the old, the dying do not count. Thus life in its waning stages has no name. It is difficult to die in this landscape of winners who manage without memory.


[In a longer passage on the early days of November when Christians remember the dead. I will come back to this next November, I am sure.] *These days in November... make me remember. They send me to the cemetery, at least inwardly. They make me aware that I am not the giver of my own life. Into the cloak of my life is woven all the affection and tenderness of the people who are no longer here and whom I remember. I do not need to reinvent life or to be the first to do everything. I also do not need to finish everything I would like to have done with my life. I can live life as a fragment, just as the lives of my dead loved ones were fragmentary. ...

***...Perhaps the coldness in our country is increasing precisely because the dead have no place anymore and we ban them from memory out of fear of our own dying. Part of being human is remembering; equally important is looking ahead to those who will come after us.... There is an unscrupulous obsession with today, with now-ness, that is connected with forgetting the dead and that creates merciless consequences for all who are yet to be born. To be without memory is to have no need of a future.

***We are no longer needed --that is the real difficulty with growing old. But this not-being-needed does not need to turn into bitterness or despair. It can also lead to a kind of freedom in which I become freer, in which I have less fear and a greater sense of humor. I do not have to carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. It will not come to an end when I do. I am learning to let go of power and influence. If death really is more than an avoidable breakdown, if it is our sister, as Francis of Assisi thought, born with us and accompanying us like our shadow, then accepting it creates a kind of nonviolence in our dealings with others and with creation. It is not we who guarantee our life, this wonderful, self-renewing, indomitable life that is lent to us. This is not merely a philosophical insight: it is part and parcel of the belief in another guarantor of life.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Saturday foodie report

Downtown Berkeley Farmers' Market, Saturday:

1. *Signora Bariani is still at her post, selling the best olive oil in California.

2..* Today's bounty:

mixed baby lettuces

ripe apricots and ripe plums (very juicy and sweet and tasting of sunshine)

chèvre (two kinds, one fresh white and one ripened with a rind)

rosemary bread (organic, half whole wheat, half white flour)

peaches from the $1 bin (ripe and spotty but they are just as good as the ones in the expensive display from the same grower; maybe better)

tofu with cilantro and sesame oil (from the man who makes miracles with tofu, I kid you not)

apricot jam (for elder family member who can't travel to California to eat the apricots)

jar of applesauce (for local host, who asked for some)

3. *Sampled:

cherries **jams **nectarines** apricots** plums** peaches** interesting tofu concoctions

4. *Franklin, the nice man who has been selling the $1 Street Spirit (newspaper published by the AFSC with and on behalf of homeless people, with homeless people as vendors) for a few years at the head of the market recognizes me (I moved away nearly two years ago and haven't been here in a year) and gives me a big hug and kiss. *Both of us have new glasses. *He is using his, he shows me, to read his little Bible. *You know God is both "he" and "she," he says to me. Yes, I say, I do.

Eight Random Things Meme - at last

(Written in Los Angeles, posted in Oakland.)

Rockin’ Padre Mickey de Panamá and the artistically inclined pj, my distant kinswoman, have tagged me. I’ll get even with you somehow, you two.

1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.

2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.

3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog [post] about their eight things and post these rules.

4. At the end of your blog [post], you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.

5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

So here goes, but I’m doin’ it my way. (And the fact that I am writing this in an airport waiting area is a testimony to my devotion to you blogonuts out there, or to my own insanity.)

1. Rules duly posted.

2. and 3. Here we go:

(1) My maternal great-grandfather was from Tokaj, Hungary (home of the renowned Tokaji ["of Tokaj"] wine, pronounced “toe-kye”). We don’t know what his real name was; he left it in the old country and took the name Tokaji. So a branch of my family (not immediate, but cousins) has the last name Tokaji or Tokay. (Both spellings exist depending on the part of the family.)

(2) I am completely bilingual in English and French, except that I count in French. I have to make an extra effort to add, subtract, multiply, and divide in English, so most of the time I just do it in French.

(3) I used to play the guitar and sing. A lot. Folk things mostly, solo. In five or six languages, only a few of which I really speak. Now I hardly ever touch the guitar (I picked one up during my last vacation and it was really hard to play, because I no longer had the requisite calluses on my left-hand fingers) but I still sing. Mostly in church, but I took classical voice lessons two decades ago and I also do jazz, show tunes, and maybe a little scat, all of these if someone asks and accompanies me on the piano.

(4) Lest you think I am totally la-dee-dah, I must tell you that my parents both grew up in Brooklyn, New York. I have a theory that everyone in the U.S. East of the Mississippi has a Brooklyn connection of some kind. So far I have not been proven wrong.

(5) I was a French Protestant girl scout. Which to me wasn’t weird, but when you say it to people in the U.S. it sounds strange. How it happened: My parents were U.S. Americans living in France, where I grew up. The scouting movements in France are denominationally based: there are Catholic scouts, Protestant (Reformed Church of France) scouts, Jewish scouts, Orthodox Christian scouts, and because it’s France, secular scouts. There are now Muslim scouts, though there weren’t yet when I was a child. Given my parents’ humanism, the secular scouts would have made most sense, but because their closest French friends happened to be members of the Eglise Réformée de France and had been very active in the church’s scouting movement, my parents sent my brother and me to that one. I was a scout for about seven years.

(6) What my kitchen is never, ever, ever without, even when I am Supremely Broke: olive oil. Extra virgin, first cold press olive oil.

(7) I was baptized and confirmed at the only (as far as I know) joint Episcopal/Roman Catholic Easter Vigil in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1975.

(8) I loathe aerobics. I mean really, really loathe. But I love to dance. (Someone play “R-E-S-P-E-C-T,” please.) Just don’t ask me to join one of those dreadful loud classes at the gym with some skinny instructor named Tiffany yelling out instructions over seriously bad music.

4. and 5. Following the example of my mentor, Her Eminence and Serene Highness Grandmère Mimi (and my own example after the Six Weird Things meme, which I am partly plagiarizing here) I am tagging NO ONE. Hmph. So there.

But I’ll give you a 9th fact as a bonus.

(9) Despite the fact that I am a chatty social sort, I actually need and spend large chunks of time alone and quiet and I like being by myself. The last time I took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, I was on the border between Extrovert and Introvert.

Summer Disco, Special Edition: Dame Emma Sings the Red Priest (1)

AKH -- the sound thingie got destroyed when I went in to edit the time (long after the posting of the five comments below - so I do know it worked fine while it was still there) -- will repost above...

Nope, no video, only sound. But what sound!

Antonio Vivaldi: Griselda - Agitata da due venti. Sung, of course, by Emma Kirkby.

Congratulations, Dame Emma!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday cat blogging: still up for adoption

I met this little one back in October. Instead of taking her home, I took one of her shelter companions, a seriously cute critter to whom I turned out to be allergic. (Some cats are allergifying, others are not, at least to some humans. It's a dander thing.)

Then came travel and more travel. Not a good time to adopt.

Now I'm traveling again. But I see the lovely critter is still in foster care.

Oh, and they have named her Jane! I'd change her name if she came to live with me.

Since I'll be on the road a lot this summer, I can't really investigate the possiblities till August. Ms. Cat may or may not be around by then. But she's beautiful, and she has quite the personality.

I've always had boy cats, so this would be a change.

But it's all speculation and web-surfing at this point.

Maybe I'll stop in and visit her in July.

This is a local animal rescue league and the pets actually live in homes with foster families and are only at the shelter a few days a week, when there are adoption hours.)

Pure dish

Oh my oh my. *The Queen's birthday list of honors includes Salman Rushdie* (made a knight) and Dame Edna** (made a CBE, foreigners can't be knighted).

Just sit back and watch the columnists now, dearies.

* Now married to a much younger and fourth wife Padma Lakshmi, an actress; no word in the BBC article of his second wife, the writer Marianne Wiggins.

** Now --as his legal self Barry Humphries-- married to his fourth wife, who happens to be Lizzie Spender, daughter of Stephen Spender, the poet.

Read about other honorees, from cricketeer Ian Botham to singer Joe Cocker, here.

And Ed notes in the Comments below that Emma Kirkby is among the honorees! * Silly BBC article, putting her way down in the paragraphs; and silly me, not noticing.* (In the interests of gender equity in dishing, all I can tell you is that Dame Emma was or perhaps still is married to lutenist Anthony Rooley; it's hard to keep up with personal drama in the arts world, so best to enjoy the artists' performances and leave it at that.)

Here ends the gossip. *We now return to our previously scheduled theology. *Not that there is always a difference.

Interesting Anglican resource from South Africa (history)

A Summer Series post.

This from the website of Cluster Publications in Pietermaritzburg:

Compromise and Courage:
Anglicans in Johannesburg 1864–1999 - A divided church in search of integrity
Peter Lee
Published 2005
Price: $24.00 or SAR120.00
432 pages
ISBN 1-875053-50-6

Ever since Anglican Christians began to live and work in the then Transvaal in the 1860s, tensions were built into the life of the church: Imperial policy, colonial attitudes, black and white Christians meeting in different congregations, and deep differences about Christian witness in a conflicted society. At times the church showed remarkable integrity and courage over issues of race, land, housing and unity – not only under apartheid, but long before. Yet the church also reflected superficiality, racism and moral compromise. Peter Lee racks the story, reviewing previous debates and introducing much new material, including the first lives of some of Johannesburg’s bishops.

Peter Lee served as rector of three parishes in Johannesburg in the 1980s – Orchards, Alexandra and Yeoville – before becoming canon missioner to Bishop Desmond Tutu. At the division of the diocese in 1990 he was installed at Sharpeville as bishop of the Diocese of Christ the King. His first degree is in History.

“Bishop Peter has given us an outstanding, sympathetic and very well researched history of some quite splendid servants of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, in this history of the Diocese of Johannesburg.” --Desmond Tutu

Yet more Maupin

This one from the L.A. Times.

Have another heart-warming read. (Note: there is plenty of serious stuff in there too -- about aging, lgbt people, and the state of the country-- but Maupin always manages the light touch.)

The Healing Psalms of Rebbe Nachman

Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav (Braslov, Breslau, choose your spelling) was a Jewish mystic of the late 18th / very early 19th century who has become popular again during the last couple of decades. He recommended praying ten specific Psalms in situations requiring healing.

Some time back (a decade or two) a book of guidance and commentary on these Psalms came out and I have used and recommended it since then.

I had occasion to recommend it again in a note I just wrote to a group of friends about a compañera of ours who is having breast cancer surgery today, and I thought some of you readers might enjoy and appreciate it, whether or not you are Jewishly affiliated or inclined. (And the Psalms are the prayer Jews and Christians share, so Christians will find this book pertinent to their life and prayer as well.)

The commentators are rabbis, both women and men, from four different "denominational" movements within Judaism.

Have a look.

Ruth Graham, RIP

Story here.

Note how she remained a staunch Presbyterian (Presbyterians are always "staunch" somehow -- the way Catholics get described as "devout.") and did not undergo baptism by immersion.

North Carolina public tv documentary here.

Not a Granny D -- a different kind of older woman. She was a devoted partner and witness.

May she rest in peace and rise in glory.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Quick foodie report

Look what's in season.

Frog Hollow Farm apricots

Lucero Organic Farm strawberries

Basil's day, June 14

I wish I could reproduce here the rap (yes, as in song and b-box) that two of my brilliant undergrads wrote about the Council of Nicea last fall. The class was in stitches. And the rap was historically and theologically accurate, too. But I told the guys it was so fabulous I would get it copyrighted for them and I still need to do it.

Anyway, Basil the Great figures in it, naturally. But Padre Mickey can tell you all about him.

Me, I went and prayed Vespers with the local Episcopal Benedictines.

Protect our neighbors: the Matthew Shepard Act

This just in from a dear friend:

* * * * * * * * * * *

Did you know that one in six hate crimes is motivated by the victim's sexual orientation, and yet today's federal laws don't include any protections for these Americans?

What's even more outrageous is that the radical right is running an all-out campaign to stop Congress from expanding hate crimes laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity - something three out of four Americans support.*Please join me in contacting our U.S. Senators and urging them to pass the Matthew Shepard Act. *The Human Rights Campaign has made this very easy to do on their Web site.

Just visit here.

Thanks so much.

* * * * * * * * * *

In memory of Matthew Shepard.

See also here.

California poppies

Photo by Arthur Durkee, from his Road Journal series.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Well, he always finds my lost things! (Feast of Anthony of Padua)

But I hadn't heard about the marriage-making powers. Hmmm.

Happy Feast of Saint Anthony of Padua. (Who, identified as he is with the city of Padua in Italy, was born and raised in PORTUGAL, as my Portuguese sister-in-law never ceased to remind me, and as you will see in James Kiefer's delightful bio.)

And now, a word from Granny D

Older women rock.

Seems like this week we are paying particular attention to them here at Acts of Hope (here and here) but we ought to listen to them more often. Speaking of marginalized people... (You think older women are not marginalized? Look at statistics on income and at pictures of the halls of government -- or at any magazine or newspaper.)

Today, a word from the inimitable Granny D. Thanks to Truthout for her remarks. What do immigration and campaign finance have to do with each other? Read what Granny D (Doris Haddock) says about this.

Note: Bishop Nerva Cot, age 69, is a spring chicken compared to Granny D, who is 96.

Anglican update: Cuba

I am a few days late with this, but wanted to offer this great photo. You can read the full story at Padre Mickey's. The new bishop, in case you hadn't guessed, is the tall, bespectacled woman in the middle, just wearing her alb since this is immediately before the consecration. Felicidades and prayers to Reverendisima Nerva Cot Aguilera and the whole church!

Nice ACNS story here with more details. Image gallery here.

The blonde woman in the front looks like (and probably is) the Rev. Margaret Rose, who is head of Women's Ministries for the Episcopal Church. (An old buddy; we served on the Harvard Divinity School Alumni/ae Council together.) The others are women clergy from the Iglesia Episcopal de Cuba.

Chitchat update (and Eight Random Things coming)

I wrote my answers to the Eight Random Things meme two days ago but can't yet upload them here because I'm on someone else's computer and mine won't work with the house connection (well, it could, but my host is very un-tech-y) so I have to wait till I can get somewhere with WiFi. Patience, friends, patience.

And then I am going into Less Chatty Mode, which means I will be posting (maybe just as often, maybe less, maybe more [!!], not sure) but not able to take time to visit and chat. (I won't be wandering around in the comments section, mine or other people's. Though I will be reading comments here!) Talk amongst yourselves...

I just have a few monkette weeks during my time in Northern California and must take advantage of the very rare opportunity

There's already lots of reading material below.

Peace, all.

From San Francisco, more serious social and political analysis

Again, I can't say enough good things about janinsanfran of Happening Here.

Every day this past week, she has written and posted a piece on national or international politics, including human rights and the presidential race in the U.S. She presents both facts and commentary and helps her readers ask questions that even the better news programs don't put before us. She's been doing this long before this week, of course, but this week has been particularly rich. I have yet to catch up on my reading at her blog, but I've skimmed her entries of the last ten days and I recommend them all. Do have a look.

Recent posts include:

**Two posts on Rwanda based on Canadian Lt. General Romeo Dallaire's recent book Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda: here and here.

**A book review of Mike Davis's book Planet of Slums and Jan's related reflections, with a reference to the work of Franz Hinkelammert, whose work I know a tiny bit in relation to both U.S. Latina and Latin American (and other Third World) theologians.

**Presidential qualifications: the "authenticity" test and other matters, like calm in the face of terror. (That's presidential as in POTUS and the U.S. presidential campaign.)

**Also re: the presidential campaign, the place of the English-only issue. And of the war in Iraq.

**A tribute to recently deceased --at far too young an age-- political blogger Steve Gilliard of The News Blog.

**And then there was the imam held at the U.S.-Canadian border. Read about him here.

**Just a little farther back, there was a post on something called the Global Peace Index. There are some interesting comments there, too.

As her name indicates, janinsanfran also posts on local culture, society, and politics here in the Bay Area, particularly in the city of San Francisco where she and her partner live. (Some examples: here and here.)

Once in a while, there are bird pictures and other beauties of nature, too.

Also adventures in clearing logs and taking care of trails.

This is a lot of material, but you can keep it around as a reference or read it bit by bit. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Feast of Enmegahbowh

Grandmère Mimi has a beautiful and informative post about the saint of the day in the Episcopal Church, Enmegahbowh.

O sing and give thanks for Blessed Enmegahbowh, and for the ministry of the very much alive Mimi of Louisiana.

And speaking of aging...

A certain beloved sibling of mine, not usually a YouTube type, recommends this. (Need I say that I am the younger sib?)

MadPriest needs to see this one and comment on it. (He's probably seen it already since this looks to be a Brit video.) Jonathan, are you there?

This reminds me of a fine elder member of my congregation here (two congregations ago) who was a member of the Raging Grannies. A very classy woman.***

(More Grannnies here and also here -- I am making an exception to my usual snobby Wikipedia ban because this is a nice, short, readable, and largely accurate summary. MadPriest, you will like these women.) ***

More Maupin

Before settling down into solitary seriousness, a little more light news.

Not fluffy news, though, since Maupin, with his light touch, is taking on some very real and poignant issues in his Michael Tolliver Lives. Family, politics, health, they are all there.

I will be curious to see what local lesbian friends say of the book and how the life of older lesbians has differed from that of older gay men here.

Today is Michael Tolliver Day in San Francisco

And this was on page one of yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle.

God, I love this town.

P.S. When you get to the article, click on the small photo for a larger portrait and caption.

Summer Disco: Billie sings George and Ira

Get this widget Share Track details

And now, notes from the Ivone Gebara lecture (again from johnieb, heavily annotated -- by the same johnieb)

A Summer Series post.

(Gebara is the woman on the left.)

All the comments in parentheses are from our intrepid Senior Stringer (unpaid and it's gonna stay that way, but there's a glass of wine in your future, when Godde and the cosmos bring us together sometime), johnieb, who in the last few hours put this in the comments section above. I am only his electronic amanuensis (you wouldn't want me to stop using fancy words just because I happen to be in California, would you?) so the responsibility is his. (Besides which, I don't capitalize Capitalism.) I have corrected a few typos. And I have put in italics the sentences that appear to be johnieb's comments. Correct me where I err, bro.

Y'all Want Some More Hot Sauce Wit Dem Beans and Rice, Doncha--Verde or Reg'lar? The Second Helping of the Theology Lecture Notes from Hartford Sem 06/06/07 Ivone Gebara

One of my special tasks is making inclusion. (OK, who could resist? What a bold and powerfully voiced insight! The gospel is simple, enough for children "God loves you and is with you." Ah, but the implications, no?)

We must remember: Theology itself is produced as a Capitalist commodity. (Look at your bookshelf, and deny. Or see the report on the Religious Booksellers event at Deirdre Good's blog, to the right; what? You want everything right here?)

All--women, the earth, society, men--is connected to all; to believe and act is difficult; the whole is fragile, and harmony of the parts is difficult to achieve. (A dynamic harmony is implied in several images later). There are many ways to repair this harmony in the world at all times; justice for women is such repair. (And also a blessed way of participating with God's Present Word in the Power of the HS? in historical time "For the time being: Zwischen den Zeiten." Luke-Acts.)

"Subject-Object" epistemology is an outmoded frame of reference for fruitful work; the new paradigm is wholistic/holistic (?), interdependent, done as praxis of participants (Who, Ms. Ecclesiologist?). Some theology has become a pollutant, which harms the whole/(holy?) body (Body of Christ and the Redeemed Creation.) Male domination, greed/competition are examples of the results of theological (Results?!) pollution.

Apartheid, especially in some churches (audience: growing chuckles), OK, you know which ones, especially of women is theological pollution. Correcting our theological anthropology (Androgynology?) cleans up cultural pollution of the Patriarchy and Capitalism: garbage (or the Philippians expression Paul uses, which even Fred Craddock admits means "sh*t", in his charming way. Capitalist Patriarchs! Yo S**T Stink!).

In theological s**t, God is assumed to be "super"natural. Who? What God is this? Our God is Immanent. (The first song, and first thing I remember learning in church, starts "Jesus loves the little children")

What was the Pope saying in Brazil, about "non-violence"? Theology is non-violent. ( I noted the visit was roughly contemporaneous, but no more; perhaps a more knowledgeable observer?) Does tradition need to be "re-interpreted"? ( I think "changed or junked"; call me "old radical", hmmph.) Unconsciously maintaining theological power is the face of pollution. (Has it been an advantage to be a woman as a theologian, in that the Face of Power wasn't paying attention to da Wymynzz! Tsk. Excuses never sound good from unsuccessful dictators. Speaking of which, when was the last time an ex-President didn't bother with a memoir? I digress.)

Theology must be more inclusive and locally meaningful; Universal (ontologically?) meaning must be expressed in local concrete ways: inclusion in Incarnation. This may mean digging deeply into the tradition to re-think the basics: tradition. Christology, etc.

Some questions perhaps towards a synthesis, remembering the traps come from Capitalism and Patriarchy, especially as they dominate women. (and the rest of reality, including gender/ identity sexual roles, as in TEC?)

(I kept thinking of Lettie Russell's reflections which I read more than twenty years ago *Household of Freedom*, and the Image of God/dess in Wisdom literature: the Divine Estate Manager. More I shall not say in public)

To follow, in Part the Third, coming up: "Whatch'all having for a dessert/ nightcap, Cher?"

-- johnieb


Monday, June 11, 2007

Elizabeth Amoah on Ghanaian women and justice (guest post from johnieb)

A Summer Series post.

(Amoah is the woman on the right.)

Intrepid reporter and former spook johnieb (a.k.a. dontwantadamnedblog) has written a report in the comments section of a June 5 post here on what he heard from Elizabeth Amoah of Ghana, one of the two visiting lecturers at Hartford Seminary last week. (The other was Ivone Gebara of Brazil.)

It's a shame to keep his offering to us hidden in a comments section, so I present it here, with thanks. Tolle lege.

* * * * * * *

Some remarks on Theologian and Ghanaian Assemblywoman Elizabeth Amoah's lecture at Hartford Seminary 06/06/07 on "Justice in an EcoFeminist Perspective"

Ms. Amoah showed us the way Ghanaian women do theology in her report, centered on their question, "Who will give us justice?" Ghanaian women's theology arises from their concrete context and their need to understand it. Doing theology thus is neither impractical nor elitist, but is seen as part of the ongoing effort to act for their livelihood and survival.

Their historical circumstances confront them with injustice, which is an immediate challenge to the women's lives and that of their children. Nonetheless, the unjust powers cannot be identified easily or with complete certainty, due to internal contradictions within the Ghanaian context. (I did not get to ask her if this relates to Walter Wink's work, with which I am not familiar, though I suspect it may.) Nonetheless, the women recall the Ghanaian saying to themselves (paraphrase): "If you're sick, do not remain quiet, but speak out, and your sickness will finally be cured." The women realize they must continue to reflect, speak, and act.

Ghana, with West Africa, is tropical, with an economy based on the exploitation of natural resources through mining and plantations. Multi-National Corporations (MNC) control this process with the aid and encouragement of the Ghanaian government, which sees this as "economic development" and, importantly, as the means for personal accumulation.

The people are divided ethnically and linguistically, which gives ample opportunity for these powers to overcome popular dissent from their decisions. Many are recent arrivals from more remote areas, where living is even harsher. Those who work for the MNCs have comparatively good housing and other advantages, which is a continuing temptation for Ghanaians to drop out of school, education giving alternatives to the MNCs for development and well-being in the longer term. Those who do not live in company areas live in shantytown shacks, polluted by the toxic by-products of the MNCs. Investment in public sanitation and health , even at the most basic level, yields place to keeping costs low in the short-term, and to the rampant corruption and greed of officials, both company and Ghanaian government. Lack of sewage systems and public works leads insect-borne diseases, especially Malaria.

The MNCs create a staggering gap between the relatively prosperous employees, mostly male miners, and the very poor, here again mostly women and children.

Overall, conditions for the women in Ghana reveal the contradiction between the abundance God gives to all Creation as the means of life, and the powers who deny access to these gifts for the many, and shortsightedly damage the natural world upon which we all depend. The fruits of justice the women yearn for are the use of these gifts for all.

Conditions for this justice cannot be met without respect for the created environment; justice means the harmonious relations of humans, the land, and all that it produces to the benefit of all. Greed, corruption, exploitation of people and resources harm one part of the whole to serve the powerful part, but harm to one part harms the whole, whether we perceive this immediately, or at all.

Who must answer our cries for justice?

Government explicitly accepts its role to govern the whole, not a part; thus, the moral principle of sharing, which in embedded in the oaths of office, is violated when officials are individualistic and selfish. It is a violation of their oaths and their positions to place private gain before the common good.

Their choices to serve the MNCs are violations, for they are at best only part of the Ghanaian context. Their interest is not the livelihood of the people, but the taking of natural resources as cheaply as possible for use elsewhere. The Ghanaian government may pass legislation against de-forestation or mining, but the officials promptly ignore the laws they pass for their own gain.

The people cry for justice, and do so in hope; first, that their cry may reach others who are affected, and others who may support and join them. "Others who are affected" includes not only wider circles of solidarity in the present, but future generations.

The Ghanaian women are Christians, and read their Bibles with an eye to such understanding as will help them in their lives. They read the Parable of the Unjust Judge, for example, and remember the Judge has no reason whatsoever to do the right thing; they know unjust officials, and take their dealings with them seriously. But they cry out in hope--they meet and talk with one another. They join political groups. They petition officials at public meetings, and in private conferences. Ghana being football mad, they organize Soccer clubs for boys, who must be in school to play.

They (and we) cry out for justice, and live in hope.

All for now.

-- johnieb

* * * * * * * *

Except that johnieb also noted, in an earlier comment:

Ms. Gebara was nice enough to say I was in agreement with her at some specific points as to constructing theology within a capitalist patriarchy.

You ol' radical, you.