Thursday, May 24, 2007

A Day in The Life of Casa Hogar

This coming Saturday my husband and I will traveling once again to Oaxaca, Mexico with 15 others and our two pastors to work with the children of Casa Hogar children's home. While we are there we will play with the children and also build a house for one of the many families that lives and works at the Oaxaca City dump. If you wish to follow our progress, visit Simply Smiles where you will find postings from our group and photos of the week's happenings. Any and all prayers are received with gratitude.

Hasta luego and Dios te bendiga.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Mid-week fun

There was only one real member of the Village People and his name was Christopher.


My mother sent me this...

I was walking down the street when a particularly dirty and shabby-looking homeless woman who asked me for a couple of dollars for dinner approached me. I got ten dollars out of my purse and asked, "If I give you this money, will you buy some wine with it instead of dinner?"

"No, I had to stop drinking years ago", the homeless woman told me.

"Will you use it to go shopping instead of buying food?" I asked.

"No, I don't waste time shopping," the homeless woman said. "I need to spend all my time trying to stay alive."

"Will you spend this on a beauty salon instead of food?" I asked.

"Are you NUTS!" replied the homeless woman. "I haven't had my hair done in 20 years!"

"Well," I said, "I'm not going to give you the money. Instead, I'm going to take you out for dinner with my husband and me tonight."

The homeless woman was shocked. "Won't your husband be furious with you for doing that? I know I'm dirty, and I probably smell pretty disgusting."

I said, "That's okay. It's important for him to see what a woman looks like after she has given up shopping, hair appointments, and wine."

Not to be pigeon-holed

You scored as Emergent/Postmodern.

You are Emergent/Postmodern in your theology. You feel alienated from older forms of church (but I appreciate the richness of tradition), you don't think they connect to modern culture very well (yet I recognize the power they have). No one knows the whole truth about God, and we have much to learn from each other, and so learning takes place in dialogue. Evangelism should take place in relationships rather than through crusades and altar-calls. People are interested in spirituality and want to ask questions, so the church should help them to do this.



Modern Liberal


Classical Liberal


Roman Catholic


Neo orthodox


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan




Reformed Evangelical




What's your theological worldview?
created with

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Faith and education

Sunday morning my husband graduated from Fairfield University after three years of part-time coursework, earning a Master's in computer and electrical engineering.
(((((Cheering in loud monosyllables!)))))
Being a Jesuit school, there were very different expectations of the graduates. Much emphasis was placed on helping the poor with one's education, that with knowledge comes responsibility. The magis or the more, one of the Jesuit mottos, was stressed numerous times, that is, the highest degree, the greater extent, as much as possible, when living out one's calling in life. The motto of the school is per fidem ad plenam veritatem, through faith to the fullness of truth, along with the preeminent Jesuit motto, ad majorem Dei gloriam, for the greater glory of God.

Granted, none of this Godspeak entered into my husband's scientific and mathematical curriculum. But having felt called to use his intelligence for a greater good, i.e., the solar power industry, he knew he would have to back to school in order to accomplish this calling. And it was very fitting that he went to a school that believed that one's mind ought to be connected to one's heart, that what we do with our lives should be a natural extension of our beliefs and values. That one statement alone speaks volumes about my husband and what kind of person he is. If you've ever read Ruth Gendler's Book of Qualities, look up the word 'commitment': it describes David to a tee.

It was a very inspiring commencement ceremony, closing with some words from Thomas Merton set to music. The tune was awful but the lyrics were wonderful.

There Is Way to Glory
There is a way to glory.
There is a way to glory, clear and straight.
But not for men of blood.
They shall not stray upon my road.
Nor the unclean whose hands had taken life:
They shall not find this holy way to Jerusalem
where the Lord of Peace, the Lord of peaces rules in glory.
Love is the way to glory.
Love is the way to glory.
Love is the way to truth and mercy.
No beast of prey shall be there,
no angry wolf or bear by my highway.
Murder shall not stain that way with blood.
But forgiveness everywhere, forgiveness everywhere
shall teach my people how to go to glory.
Songs of love and joy echo everywhere, echo
everywhere, and the holy people travels there.
Glad and free, forgiving and forgiven,
Ah, riding on to Sion, riding on to Sion,
where the Lord of Peace, their defender, their
Redeemer, their Defender, their Redeemer, rules in glory.
There is a way to glory. There is a way to glory.
There is a way, there is a way to, there is a way
to, there is a way to glory, glory, glory, glory.
Even with all our knowledge, love is the way: sacrificial, forgiving, redeeming, justice-making, joyful love. Use what you know for the sake of love to make plain the way to glory, for all people, for all creation.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Monday Madness

Hey, I won a contest, judged by MP himself! What would you guess is on Benny's iPod? What songs would be on my iPod (if I had one)?

Oh, and the Madster is back and already hard at work.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A statement of faith

This past Sunday our church confirmed 16 young people into the faith and their faith. That's where the visible and the invisible meet, isn't it, between the faith we've inherited and our faith. That's where our relationship with God is lived out, where we hear the call of God, where worship takes place: in the reconciliation between the visible and the invisible.

Throughout our lives we are called upon to give account for our faith, to articulate it in a way that communicates our understanding of how the invisible is enfleshed in the visible. This year's confirmation class wrote their own statement of faith and most eloquently too. Given the wringing of hands (and necks) over creeds in different corners of the Church, this is a very-needed breath of fresh air.

Confirmation Class 2007 Statement of Faith
  • We believe that God is a Creator and Spirit-Giver and can't always be defined in terms that we can understand.
  • We believe that Jesus is the son of God, but we are still figuring out what that means. We are not always sure about the historical facts about Jesus' life, but we know he was a good person and a teacher we should follow.
  • We believe that the Holy Spirit is like a wind that blows through all of us. The Holy Spirit is like a touch from God. The Holy Spirit is a mystery.
  • We believe that prayer, worship and the sacraments of communion and baptism are ways for us to connect to God.
  • We believe that sin is unavoidable in life and makes us feel bad. We need to admit when we've done wrong, make it right and move on.
  • We believe that everyone deserves God's always-present love. God's love is eternal and constant. God's love is different from the romantic and friendship love we experience with other people.
  • We believe that people who follow other religions also have a relationship with God. Believing this does not take away from our own faith.
  • We believe that we can change this world into a more peaceful place by learning more about God's justice. God's justice is concerned with fairness. We don't always agree on what might be a justice issue, but we keep trying to make our world better, with Jesus as our guide.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Mother's Day

"Over There" by C.F. Payne as seen in Reader's Digest, May 2004

For all those moms who can't make it home, who have to be away from their families for one reason or another, who give more than what is asked of them, who parent on their own, trying to make the rent and pay the doctor bills with no health insurance, who work on Wall Street and Main Street or walk the streets or patrol the streets, for all those mothers who won't get a card tomorrow for whatever reason, this is for them. God bless all the mothers and all the children (fathers, your tribute is next month).

Friday, May 11, 2007

Do as I say, not as I do

from Google News:

Pope: Youth must stay away from 'snares of evil'

The newspaper articles focused mostly on abortion as the number one 'snare of evil'.

NPR's lead-in highlighted the Pope's admonishment not to seek after wealth and power, something by which he is surrounded every day.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Mid-week fun

I love a classic, and nobody gets a laugh like Johnny.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

With blogfriends like this...

For those who are experiencing MadPriest withdrawal:

Of course I could be on vacation

Dennis, of the OCICBW community, has taken it upon himself to lampoon the Mad One and grant us succor in the absence of the Mad Presence. Well worth a visit. Especially since MP turned off the comments in his own's like a gag order. The masses will not be silenced!

Monday, May 07, 2007

In and out of the light

Every now and then I amble over to my dark side, and I don't mean anything akin to dirty jokes, swearing, or any other adolescent behavior that only skims the murky surface. I mean wrangling with God, demanding to see the divine Presence, only to limp away the next morning. I mean questioning my place in the universe, thinking that I have followed the call of God, only to feel hoodwinked at best; at worst, lost.

Sometimes I get to this 'valley of the shadow' by way of carelessness: I neglect my relationship with God and then claim that I am the one who has been abandoned. Other times it is through reading a book that is both the hole and the finger in the dam and having no one with whom to mull it over. And still others it is the undertow of being female and over 40 and just letting the wave wash over me, holding my breath until I can rise to the surface again. When it is all three at once, it can feel like an emotional tsunami.

One of 'those books' I just read was The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell and its sequel, Children of God. The former was recommended to me as 'the best book on theodicy' that my colleague/acquaintance ever read. Theodicy is defined as 'the defense of God's goodness and omnipotence in view of the existence of evil' (Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, 1979), certainly a highly relevant topic given the events of these days. In fact, there is no question of the existence of evil, but as for God there are times we must search and stretch the very fabric of the cosmos and of the human soul in order to find any meaning. No wonder the atheists are having their time in the limelight. Evil is at its apparent zenith, making one headline after another while God hardly makes the news at all, and if so, is not named explicitly.

Which is where you'd think the Church would come in, or the synagogue, or the mosque. But most of the time it's the sensational, fundamentalist, right-wing conformists that make the news and whatever the progressive folk are doing seems to come in under the radar. Jesus was an 'under the radar' kind of guy but in this day and age of information technology the existence of evil tends to drown out God's goodness and supposed omnipotence. It can be easy to despair when the voice of reason, hope, and compassion is barely heard in this land that has become so foreign to itself. So venturing toward the darkness of this human life seems less like a spiritual course correction and more like following God into a maze, not sure that one will ever see the promised land.

When I get like this, writing poetry helps. I am not acquainted with many people who want to talk about such things, which would also help. Writing poetry takes this darkness and helps me understand it and transform it into something of beauty, hopefully. Beauty, in all its forms, bestows mercy, that is, the knowledge that somehow we are not alone. This is my latest attempt to make sense of that which makes no sense at all.


Moonlit thanks
Paper joy
This is how I
experience God

The Word made flesh
This is how I
experience God

‘God’s eye is
on the sparrow’
the sparrow
This is how I
experience God

Do not
hope for more
for God will
break your heart
This is how I
experience God

And yet
my husband made
me laugh tonight
from the belly
to my eyes
brimming with black
rivers down my face
My side torn in two
where the wound
of despair had been
And this is how I
experience God