I promise never to say anything again
about my family or the calamities of spirit
they visited upon me. Today I went
with one of my dogs out into the woods,
where it is fall. The leaves transfused
by late afternoon sunlight preformed a glory
no memory of hurt can erase or ruin.
If you can demonstrate that your father’s
failure to have loved you as he should is
equal to one photon striking one atom in these
changing leaves I will admit the self is more
important that our prayers. It was religion
they used against me & it has taken me this
long to free my breath in the form of
a prayer. It wasn’t much—a short note
of thanks for all this. A note, I mean, like music,
though I’ve never been able to sing.
It may have been the dog taught me with his
short, sharp barks at leaf-rustle & twig-crack.
(With this I invoke Fr. Hopkins, the sad priest
so broken by his yearning & yet so glad.)
© Joseph Duemer
from Magical Thinking
I am a gadget kinda person, but sometimes the tech-y design look & feel can get a bit oppressive. I stumbed on a sub-culture called steam-punk, where modern utilitarian objects have been modded by enthusiasts into a pseudo-Victorian mechanical style. Here are some great examples:
(image via: Unplggd)
The cellphone is one of today’s most universal mod cons, and it sure does look it. Granted, phone designers have a small space to work with and a barrage of tech tools to implant within. That’s what makes the Steampunk Cellphone above so special - it dispenses with GPS, texting capability and other things that the average E.T. (English Telecommunicator) wouldn’t phone home with anyway.
(image via: Unplggd)
ESPN: The Worldwide Leader In Sports is a big part of my media diet. The sound calms me, the loop of Sports Center immediately centers me - and I even enjoy the bizarre rantings presented each Sunday morning by The Sports Reporters (tho I do miss Jason Whitlock) . I consider Pardon the Interruption to be a genuine work of daily art - I am always interested in who wins on Around The Horn. I am very pleased that Mr. Burgundy never got this gig.
ESPN is not just a media outlet - it is a master class in life. Yes, I just typed that - many of us know that it is not hyperbole, it is just the truth.
One of the many lessons of this master class is how to win or lose in a manner that is meaningful. The list of people who lose at some event, but manage to exhibit a sense of grace & even joy - well, that is your Buffalo Bills or Mr. Greg Norman. On the other, people who are sometimes considered "winners" can too often communicate a sense of....um....ah...I believe the kids call it skeevy. As in "Wow that Marge Schott, she was really skeevy when the Reds won in 1990".
On November 4, the supporters of Prop 8 in California declared victory, ammending the state constitution to restrict the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman. Their victory was by 500,000 votes among a total of roughly 12 million votes cast and counted.
The aftermath of this election says alot to me. There have been protests, most safe and legal. Some on both sides of this complex issue have turned to violence or threats of violence - that is not in any way something a civil society condones (exccept in hockey and baseball playoff games).
For the most part, those on both "sides" have continued their campaigns after the vote. For me, their rhetoric is telling.
Many of the "winning side" have played the victim, as Justin Hart does in this post on C11 Taking it on the chin for Marriage. Others in the pro-Prop 8 camp have continued to spin their sense of the consequences of same sex marriage:
On the NO to Prop 8 side, I must say that I have found a great deal of hope * in how the reaction to "losing" has shaped the conversation. It has been extraordinary watching Amy Balliet, the daughter of a Methodist pastor and the wife of Willow Witte, turn her reaction to this loss into constructive engagement via Join The Impact. As Nancy Scola descibes it,
In my lifetime, winning has been what it is all about, in terms of the broader sports and political narrative. Win - win at any cost, win now, win in a way that makes them lose. On soccer fields, in football stadiums, on political blogs - sadly, more and more in faith communities. Our unifying doctrine has been the words of Al Davis:
There is a counter-narrative: love.
image from it's.christi...
Love wins, it always wins, even we are down by 16 runs in the bottom of the ninth, even when we are hobbled with season ending injuries, even when we are out of the game. Love won in the garden, it won in the desert, it won on the cross, it won in the tomb.
In just over a month, many people - gay & straight, church member and not, women & men, winners and losers - will gather to celebrate Love coming down among us:
image from keso
Marketers are also beginning to learn that with direct links and relationships with customers, they may reduce ad spending. But relationships between companies and customers must be built on trust, and trust comes from handing over control. David Weinberger, author of Everything's Miscellaneous, puts it this way: "There is an inverse relationship between control and trust." Post-meltdown, the public will demand control — the internet and Google provide tools they will use to seize it.
Trust itself is becoming the basis for new business. eBay's systems enable customers to anoint merchants with trust; Amazon demonstrates that we trust the opinions of fellow customers over critics; PayPal and Prosper help us make trusted transactions; Google knows which sites we trust with our links and clicks. We don't trust banks anymore; hell, they don't trust each other. In Google we trust.
Google manifests the business of trust in its famous decree, "don't be evil." Etch that over doors on Wall Street. If enough people had asked whether getting and issuing toxic mortgages, and making and selling toxic assets was evil — instead of someone else's problem — I wonder whether we'd be in this mess. Our meltdown was not inevitable. But the transition to a Google economy is.
I can not wait to read What Would Google Do?
image from Stephen >
One of the most sobering parts of being an American these last few decades has been the meme that was "the ownership society". This has been part of our story for so many years, but somehow it started amping up in the Reagan years, hit a ridiculous air pocket in the Clinton years, then reached an illogical extreme during W.
It was the American Dream on steroids, a way of defining our value as a community by what we could buy and the things that we own.
Too often - these things - they own us.
And it seems, that since the beginning of time, these things are how we compete, how we play Cain to Abel, how we are certain our sacrifice and bounty is somehow more than others.
This is not how a different Kingdom would be - the Βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ , not the Kingdom this fellow was the head of.
The smartest prof I had in my time in the seminary barrel wrote a dense & randomizing book called Of Divine Economy: Refinancing Redemption. Marion is a scary smart, beguiling figure whose book frame this economy as "a mutual, cooperative exchange between God and the human", suggesting that the point of this living might be:
image from Jeff Clow
This economy, this way of gardens & kingdoms merging distinctions - it seems to me that it can not be about owning (or not owning), about dreams of a house to call our own (or no home at all). This economy, for me at least, is what Lewis Hyde calls The Gift Economy. If you have a few minutes & would like to learn a bit more about Hyde, this is a great intro:
The poet, philosopher, translator and scholar Lewis Hyde has spent his life trying to figure that out — and became a literary cult figure in the process.
Earlier this week, I posted about the destruction that the Tea fire wrought on Mount Calvary Monastery and Retreat House. The Benedictine Anglican monks have returned to there home - I am so moved by this quote from Brother Joseph Brown:
Two small artist’s studios near the main building were intact. An icon of Christ that Brother Brown had been painting with pigments made from egg yolk and mineral powder was still on a desk. A cello sat a few feet away, unharmed. In the chaos of wind and fire, a sheriff’s deputy had moved another monk’s telescope outside, where it remained unscathed.
“In the midst of all this destruction,” Brother Brown, 46, said Tuesday, “miracles happened all over the place.”
“The feelings right now are difficult to describe,” he said. “One of the hazards of monasticism throughout the centuries is we become attached to what we have or where we are. This is simply a reminder that what we are called to is not our stuff. This is a cleansing by fire.”