Thursday, April 26, 2007

On a dew-filled morning

A carpet of grass
shimmering, a path
of diamonds, liquid
crystals where buds
will burst forth soon
The only thing
missing was cows
midnight black
creamy white
warm brown
their muzzles moist
with slippery green
eyes bowed to
the sun ascending

having breakfast
in a cathedral

Monday, April 23, 2007

Good with words, especially "ineffable"...

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.

An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.

You are also good at remembering information and convincing someone of your point of view.

A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

Apparently it would not be de rigueur to also suggest that someone of this intelligence could be, perhaps, a preacher maybe?

You are Agnostic

You're not sure if God exists, and you don't care.

For you, there's no true way to figure out the divine.

You rather focus on what you can control - your own life.

And you tend to resent when others "sell" religion to you.

Who knew? Can one be a preacher and be an aggie at the same time? A well-spoken agnostic: 'full of sound and fury, signifying nothing'.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Every day is Earth Day

Today I walked to my local library (@ 1.5 miles) to return some videos. Since my backpack was empty I thought I would pick up some of the litter that lines the road. What you see in the photo below is what I gathered on half a mile of road. Had my pack been larger I could have increased my haul two or three times.

Looking at the contents of this garbage I could assume several things about those who litter: they frequent McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts; they smoke (I didn't bother with the butts, just the empty packs); they drink cheap beer (Rolling Rock, Corona, Budweiser, Coors); they play the lottery (two receipts from a numbers game); they drink bottled water, Odwalla juices, and Gatorade.

None of these behaviors make for a bad sort of person. But if they were carried out in different ways, they wouldn't result in a litter-ridden road.
  1. Eat at the restaurant or bring it home. If you don't like trash in your car, have a plastic bag at the ready. Or you could brew your own coffee (huh?) and put it in a travel cup.

  2. Cars come with ashtrays for a reason, and yes, the earth is not your ashtray--butts are not biodegradable. If you want to pollute your lungs, that's your business but keep the mess in the car. If it gets to you, think about what your lungs look like, or see No. 1.

  3. Drink better beer, either at the pub or at home; probably at home because you won't be able to afford gas if you're drinking Guinness or Becks. Keep the cardboard box the six pack comes in, put in the empties , and get back your deposit. At the least, recycle.

  4. Take the money you would have spent on the lottery and put it in a coffee can up on a high shelf. If you put in a dollar a day for 100 days, at the end you'll have $100, which is probably more than you'd have if you'd played the lottery for 100 days.

  5. In southern Connecticut, tap water is just as good as bottled water and it costs less. Fill a sports bottle with cold water, put it in the fridge, and the next morning you're ready to go. Refill at the water fountain at work. If juice is your thing, you can buy the economical half-gallon and pour it into a more portable container.
If we all took time to pick up a piece of trash here and there, this earth would be the beauty it was intended to be. So go out and get your hands dirty tomorrow!

P.S. The garbage photo is also being sent to my town's First Selectman, along with a letter as to why nothing has been planned by the town to pick up on Earth Day. The Jr. High youth group at my church is going to pick up litter after worship, but you shouldn't have to belong to a church to be invited to clean up.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Where in Hell...?

If you took the quiz about the circle of Dante's inferno in which you would reside, here is a flash guide to each of the circles. Wait patiently through the loading phase and read Dante's powerful words that warn those who enter.

(Note: Personally, I don't believe in hell as Dante or most other people describe it. I believe we create our own hells here on earth, possibly even after we die. But we are never beyond the reach of God nor the power of Love. If you have ever seen the movie What Dreams May Come, you know what I mean.)

Two poems that illustrate:

Dante by Wendell Berry

If you imagine/others are there/you are there yourself.

And from Yeats...

But Love has pitched her mansion in/The place of excrement;/For nothing can be sole or whole/That has not been rent.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Crackin' the Book

Try this simple quiz--it only takes about a minute, unless you think too hard or you're looking up the answers in the Bible. If you went to Sunday School or don't fall asleep during sermons, you should be able to get most of them correct. On the first one, I got a 90%. If you're game, put your own score in the comments. Each day for a month the quiz will change. Keep coming back to this April 18 blog entry to test your biblical prowess. Daily Bible Trivia

Friday, April 13, 2007

I thought I was a heretic but OCICBW...

In Which Circle of Hell Would You Reside?
Your Result: Circle Three

The Gluttonous: Your appetites drove your will instead of goodness. Since you lived a life of filthy consumption you will spend your time consuming filth.

Circle Seven
Circle Eight
Circle Two
Circle Six
Circle Nine
Circle Four
Circle Five
In Which Circle of Hell Would You Reside?
Create a Quiz

Thanks, Mocat, for the link to this incredibly informative quiz. I am enlightened and can now proceed to the third circle of Hell where I belong, though it looks like I'd be comfortable with the residents in any one of them. Where in Hell is circle number one?!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Got Wind?

HEADLINE: Plan for Wind Farm Off Massachusetts Clears State Hurdle

New York Times article by PAM BELLUCK

Published: March 31, 2007

BOSTON, March 30 — A proposal to build the country’s first offshore wind farm in the waters off Cape Cod won state environmental approval on Friday, bringing the project a major step closer to being built.

The project, known as Cape Wind, would involve 130 wind turbines in a 25-square-mile area in Nantucket Sound, and would provide as much as 79 percent of the electricity for the cape, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

Opponents of the project, including many residents of the cape and the islands, worry about its potential effects on the fishing industry, tourism, bird habitat, ocean navigation, the marine environment and views from summer homes. Senator
Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, whose family has a compound on Cape Cod, is one of the opponents.

On Friday, Ian A. Bowles, the state’s secretary of environmental affairs, said the environmental report for Cape Wind had passed state muster. Because the turbines are planned for federal waters, a federal environmental review must still be completed, a process that is expected to take much of this year.

Mr. Bowles, whose agency was responsible for reviewing the impact of the underwater cables that would connect the turbines to the shore, said the project “provides significant environmental benefits.”

He said that compared with electricity generated by power plants, Cape Wind would offset 802 tons of sulfur dioxide, 497 tons of nitrous oxide and 733,876 tons of carbon dioxide each year.

“This is equivalent to taking 175,000 cars off the road,” Mr. Bowles said, adding that those benefits, along with a $10 million mitigation package in which Cape Wind agreed to pay $5.6 million over 20 years and restore marine and bird habitat, were enough to outweigh any environmental detriments the project might cause.

Gov. Deval Patrick, a supporter of the project, said in a statement on Friday that it was “an important symbol of our commitment to clean energy.”

Several environmental groups hailed the decision. Philip Warburg, president of the Conservation Law Foundation, said in a statement that “projects like the Cape Wind offshore wind energy proposal are critically important in our effort to combat
climate change and lessen our dangerous dependence on fossil fuels.”

But the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound issued a statement calling the decision “wholly unacceptable” and saying it “reflects the current administration’s willingness to sacrifice Nantucket Sound to advance its renewable energy agenda” and “has opened the door to gross developer exploitation of an irreplaceable natural resource.”

The alliance also said the state’s report performed a “substandard review” of alternative sites for the wind turbines, which would extend up to 440 feet above sea level.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Kennedy, Melissa Wagoner, suggested that the ball was now in the federal government’s court. “The review of the Cape Wind project rests with the
Department of the Interior, the Coast Guard and the Department of Defense, which will release their findings in the months ahead,” Ms. Wagoner said. “Senator Kennedy hopes those agencies will give serious consideration to the safety, maritime, environmental and economic concerns raised by the Cape Wind proposal.”

Jim Gordon, the president of Cape Wind, has said the project will not be as unsightly as critics maintain. “Today’s decision brings a major source of clean renewable energy and the benefits of new jobs, a healthier environment and greater energy security one step closer to this region,” Mr. Gordon said.

He said that if federal approval was granted, the project would take two years to complete, although some of the turbines would begin operating as they were built.

(from my husband David) How ironic: a conservative government could allow wind turbines in Nantucket Sound and send the Kennedy's (and other liberals?) crying and screaming over an environmental issue.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Presidential "ic" picking

Title: Bush has trouble adding 'ic' to Democrat in press conference

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- When it comes to referring to Democrats, some habits die hard for President Bush.In his Rose Garden press conference Tuesday morning, Bush referred to the party in a way many Democrats find disparaging.

"Democrat leaders in Congress seem more interested in fighting political battles in Washington than in providing our troops what they need to fight the battles in Iraq," he said, dropping the "ic" at the end of "Democrat."

"If Democrat leaders in Congress are bent on making a political statement, then they need to send me this unacceptable bill as quickly as possible when they come back," he added.

Bush made the same mistake in his State of the Union Address on Jan 23, when he congratulated the new "Democrat majority." Several Democrats took offense to the president's mispronunciation -- one that many Republican leaders have made previously -- and Bush later said it was an oversight.

Later in Tuesday's press conference, Bush used the term a third time, but corrected himself. "In a time of war, it's irresponsible for the Democrat leadership -- Democratic leadership in Congress to delay for months on end while our troops in combat are waiting for the funds."

-- CNN's Alexander Mooney and Gary Nurenberg

COMMENT: So should Democrats start calling President Bush and his party "Publicans" (as mentioned in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, those who collected taxes for the Roman Empire and kept a nice profit for themselves)?

Hoax!! Scam!! Warning!!

(Thanks to Suzanne, who sent me this urgent message.)

This guy, please do not be taken in by him...

Important information: please pass on to your concerned friends. Don't let them be taken advantage of...

This man has been spotted in Wal-Mart parking lots in many areas. If you see this guy, do not be taken in by his SCAM !


You have been duly warned!!

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Physics of the Body of Christ

(This is the paper I submitted to the Craigville Colloquy five years ago, as mentioned in the post, "Love and power".)

Early one Sunday morning a pastor was getting ready for that morning’s worship. As she was readying her Bible and her sermon on the pulpit, her young son asked her about what different events or objects meant in the course of worship. He asked, “Mom, what does it mean when a baby has water poured on its head?” She replied, “It means we welcome that new life into the body of Christ, promising to be its family, and to teach that little one the faith of the church.” He asked another question, “Mom, what does it mean when we eat bread and drink juice in church?” She answered, “It means the bread is Jesus’ body and the juice is his blood. This is how we remember him and God’s love for us.” “Oh, I see. Then what does it mean when the head usher points at his watch when you’re preaching?” Slowly shaking her head back and forth and smiling, she said, “Not a thing, honey, not a thing!”

We could also insert a question about the confession “Christ will come again” and sadly the minister would give the same response as to its meaning: not a thing. Among today’s Christians in the pew, few actually give pause to think about what it would mean to have Christ in our midst once again. For this post-modern age, a dead person, resurrected, ascended into heaven and then coming back to earth again holds little promise and even much less meaning. Especially since so much time and so much violence and bloodshed have washed under the bridge, Christ’s return into human history seems moot at best.

I propose that the return of Christ has more to do with the Body of Christ, namely the Church, than with any supernatural intervention from a theistic Christ. Furthermore, the knowledge that we have about the human mind/body connection gives refreshing inspiration to the image of the Body of Christ in such a way as to invigorate that same Body that is seemingly groping and limping and, at times, severely wounded. The Church, indeed, all of humankind is thirsting for new insight, fresh understanding, honest self-examination, perhaps even reformation. For surely we cannot continue in the same path as the one that has led us here, continuing on the same circumscribed route. As Einstein said, “No problem can be solved from the same consciousness that created it.” (1)

Imagine a vision of the Church, indeed, a vision of humanity where all are of the same mind (Phil. 2:5), this mind being the Spirit of Christ. For I believe that Christ did not come to make us all Christians, but to wake us up from our sleep. Christ showed us what is possible for humankind. Through his life, death, and resurrection he made manifest that our humanity is our divinity, that divinity is our birthright. We cannot be the Body of Christ and still live our lives the same old way. Our redemption depends not only on a leap from God, (2) but also on a leap from God within us. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21, RSV). Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must become the change you wish to see in the world.” Emmanuel can mean not only “God with us” but also “God in us”. We hold dear the prayer that Jesus gave the infant Church:

“...that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, (or be one in us), so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:21-23).
Jesus’ mission was to illustrate in his relationship with God, that humanity, the earth, indeed, the entire cosmos are one: one with God, one with itself. Unity is not only that which will save us, but it is our witness as well.

Paul outlines this image of oneness beautifully in 1 Corinthians 12 in his discussion of the Body of Christ. “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ...”(1 Cor. 12:12ff). It has been said that the Church as the organic, continuing incarnation of Christ does not accommodate other images of Christ and the Church found in the Bible (3). However, if we take into account recent discoveries about the mind/body connection, we will see how intimately connected the mind is to the body, and thus how intimately Christ is connected to the Church.

Recent studies in the field of quantum theory have been applied to how we think. A quantum unit of light is a photon. It is said that a quantum unit of the mind/body connection is a thought. Neuroscience tells us that our brain communicates with itself through chemicals called neuropeptides. In our brain are receptors to these neuropeptides. This is the chemical manifestation of thought. It is now known that every system, every cell in our body has these receptors and has the ability to manufacture the same neuropeptides as in our brain. We don’t just think in our brains. Our thoughts are not only messengered to, but can be created within any system, any cell in our bodies. The mind is not limited to the brain. We have a thinking body (see Chopra, Magical Mind, Magical Body CD, 1995).

Imagine, then, applying this knowledge to the image of the Body of Christ. Christ is not only the head, Christ flows throughout the entire body. The Body, when it thinks, has the potential of thinking in the same mind of Christ. The Spirit of Christ has been working through the Body, the Church, for millennia. Oh, how hard the struggle has been to raise that mind to consciousness! But when the Body of Christ is able to put its fears aside and allow the mind of Christ to be primary throughout the Body, it is then that we see glimpses of the kingdom. We begin to see what the world would be like if the mind of Christ was brought to consciousness throughout the Body of Christ.

At Princeton, physicists and other scientists who deal with anomalies are studying the idea of global consciousness. Their proposition is that human consciousness and volition can affect the material world, especially with large scale events of deep meaning, such as any New Year’s Eve, earthquakes, a call to national or even global prayer, and September 11, 2001. Events where there is a collective identity and a depth of emotion and focus seem to be able to affect the results of random number generators. Numbers that normally hover around a horizontal line form a sweeping curve during such events. The curve for 9/11 lasted more than two days (4), suggesting a coherence that can affect the physical world.

In the area of leadership development and organizational structure, this same science is being applied, that there is a group consciousness to be trusted within all living systems. Chaos and order are not opposing forces but two aspects of one reality. Both need each other in order to accomplish the other. This is how we evolve and change. Changing the way we view Jesus, the Body of Christ, and ourselves in light of this new science would indeed be chaotic. But if we want the Church to survive, change we must and we must endure this chaos, trusting that we will organize again, but we will be a new creation. Maybe even a clearer view, a pungent taste, a heady aroma of that long-awaited kingdom.

All of this has profound implications for the whole Body of Christ, indeed, for all of humanity and the whole of creation. That may sound grandiose, even dangerous. Scientists would probably caution against making these leaps of understanding without knowing the math behind the theory. Yet both science and religion are about the pursuit of truth. Sue Monk Kidd once said, “The truth may set you free, but first it will shatter the safe, sweet way you live.” (5) I think it’s high time we exercised some of that dangerous truth in the Church. How we worship and live together as a people of God would change beyond our deepest fears and into our wildest dreams.

In worship there would be longer periods of silence, giving us opportunity to connect with that greater Mind within us and within the community. We would use more of our bodies with creative movement, dance, and drama. We would also use more of our senses, new “smells and bells” to encourage nonlinear thinking. Art, stories, and pictures would help to stimulate creativity. There would be more “testimony” from individuals, how they experience Christ within the community and in solitude. We would worship in a circle, to give witness to that living unity, and so that all present can see the whole community, with the one or ones leading worship as part of that circle.

There would also be witnessing from other corporate bodies, other churches, other denominations, other faith traditions. There would be time for imagining the future of the worshiping community, the Church, and the future of the world. There would be an emphasis on learning of the collective identity of the worshiping community. Who we are illumines personal patterns, how we contribute to the collective identity, and imbues individuals with the responsibility of changing oneself. (6) And most importantly, there would be no time limit to worship. Worship would move seamlessly from sabbath to daily life to sabbath once more.

Our living together and in the world would, therefore, be an extension of our worship. Having been changed by what we had witnessed, imagined, and sensed--having had a God-experience (7)--we would then go into the world, helping where there is no helper, praying without ceasing, witnessing the good news, and telling the truth of the reality of God’s realm on earth. We would live as Jesus lived, that is, live fully. We would love as Jesus loved, that is, love wastefully. We would be as Jesus was, that is, have the courage to be ourselves. (8)

We would take seriously the radical notion of the priesthood of all believers (1 Pet. 2:9). Laity and clergy alike would recognize their own authority and respect the authority of others. Our places of worship would become seminaries to educate and prepare laypeople as ministers in the world. (9) Knowing ourselves to be different from Christ only in degree, knowing ourselves to have that same mind within us and having the practice of it, we could change the world. There would be no distance between Christ and the Body of Christ. The bride and the bridegroom would have union, one body, one Spirit, one God (Eph. 4:4-6). They would be ONE.

Christ will come again. Come, Lord Jesus, come! Amen.

Bible quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

1. Margaret Wheatley, Leadership and the New Science (second edition), (San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1999), 7.

2. Hendrikus Berkhof, Christian Faith, (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1986), 528.

3. Ibid., 402.

4. Barbara Stahura, “Global Consciousness?”, Spirituality and Health. (Spring 2002): 29.

5. Sue Monk Kidd, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1996), 15.

6. Wheatley, 144.

7. John Shelby Spong, A New Christianity for a New World, (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001), 145.

8. Ibid., 145.

9. Elizabeth O’Connor, Letters to Scattered Pilgrims, (San Francisco: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1979), xiii.

Berkhof, Hendrikus. Christian Faith. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1986.

Chopra, Deepak. Magical Mind, Magical Body. Niles, IL: Nightingale Conant, 1995. Compact Disc.

Conzelmann, Hans. History of Primitive Christianity. Translated by John E. Steely. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1973.

Dawn, Marva J. A Royal “Waste” of Time. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1999.

Jahn, Robert J. and Dunne, Brenda J. Margins of Reality. Orlando, FL: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1987.

O’Connor, Elizabeth. Letters to Scattered Pilgrims. San Francisco: Harper & Row, Publishers, Inc., 1979.
Spong, John Shelby. A New Christianity for a New World. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2001.
Stahura, Barbara. “Global Consciousness?”. Spirituality and Health, Spring 2002, Vol. 5, No. 1.

Taylor, Barbara Brown. The Luminous Web. Boston, MA: Cowley Publications, 2000.

Wheatley, Margaret. Leadership and the New Science (second edition). San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1999.