Saturday, December 22, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I must say that I also like giving hand made gifts, if not made by me by others, so I seek out art and craft shows all year long. There is a delightful studio show at Nori Obata and Steb Prieto's studio on the overpass of Big Bend where you can buy porcelain, photos, crocheted objects, (by Nori's brother Gen) small rugs, hand made books, glassware blown right there in the studio and fabulous jewelry. Gen and Nori exhibited at our (now defunct) art fair Heart and Hands and Voices. Here is a link to Gen's blog. You can find the details of open studio as well as directions there. And while I am doing commercials, many of my nearest and dearest are getting chocolate products from Kakao, hand-made gourmet chocolates with the finest organic ingredients. My favorite is the Missouri Pecan Clusters with dark chocolate, followed closely by the dark chocolate coated caramels.
Maybe people will comment on this entry and say their favorite places to shop and/or causes to support for Christmas.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Even though it is shelved in the Fantasy/SciFi section of the bookstore, the Golden Compass and its sequels depict very real children caught in a very adult world. Each of the books ends with triumph tinged with grief and loss, much like life, without fairy tale endings.
I'm looking forward to the movie even though it always distresses me to see worlds that exist in my head transformed into pictures. A review said that the movie makes Mrs Coulter, whose hair is black in the books, into a bleached blond (Nicole Kidman) and that Pullman himself is so enthusiastic about the way that the film makers have translated his work that he said that it made him realize that Mrs Coulter's hair really was blond, not black as he had originally thought. I am not convinced. But I cannot imagine that such richly imagined world which invites those who enter it with Lyra to see their own world with new eyes could possibly be bad for anyone. The film, apparently, tones down the anti-organized religion themes. But in the books, esp. in the first one, when one reads about "the Authority" and "the magisterium" they represent a way of being church that no one could possibly defend or seriously believe was the church as we know it. Marcus Borg says that when his students tell him they don't believe in God, he asks them to tell him about the God they don't believe in. That God is cruel and capricious and all about judgement and not love or mercy and Borg says that he doesn't believe in that God either. The church and indeed the whole concept of organized religion Pullman casts as the enemy in this book is not the church I know nor the God I know. Indeed my experience of God is much closer to the rich description in book three of Mary Malone's mystical experiences of dust, her sense of being one with all that is, even if the way that I would frame or describe that experience is in theological terms.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Episcopal Relief and Development (ERD) has a catalog of gifts in a range of prices for purposes such as assuring clean water supply in a village in a developing country, providing for child nutrition, mosquito netting and anti-malaria medicine and much more. Certificates of your gift are provided in exchange for your donation. ERD also packages and sells fair trade “Bishop’s Blend” coffee and coffee gift baskets. The ERD website is http://www.er-d.org/. You can also call Episcopal Relief and Development to order a catalogue at Phone: 800-334-7626, ext 5129
A similar way to make charitable giving fun is by giving to the Heifer Project. They use your donations to provide animals to alleviate hunger and help people become self-sufficient. You can give something as small as a hive of bees or as large as an ark and they give you attractive acknowledgement cards to give to people. Their website is http://www.heifer.org/ or you can call for a catalogue: (800) 422-0474.
A local opportunity for “alternative Christmas shopping” is at Plow Sharing Crafts, a ministry of the Mennonite Church which works with disadvantaged crafts people around the world who are paid a fair wage for their work. (Plowsharing Crafts is part of Ten Thousand Villages). You can find them online at: http://www.plowsharing.org/ Ten Thousand Villages is online at http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/ There are two locations in St Louis, one in Kirkwood at 151 W. Jefferson (314) 909-9401 and the original location in University City at 6271 Delmar (314) 863-3723.
Another fair trade option is MacroSun International. They have a location here in St. Louis at 1310 Washington Ave., 63103 (314) 421-6400, or visit their website at http://www.macrosun.com/.
Trinity Food Ministry is selling Christmas cards for $1.00 a card or if you make a donation in honor of someone, they will send an attractive card as an acknowledgement. For more information on that, call Trinity at 361 4655.
Dr. Mark Manary, a Washington University physician and a member of Gethsemane Lutheran Church, has started an organization called Project Peanut Butter, a ministry with undernourished children in Malawi. He uses a high nutrient food to stabilize starving children which uses peanut butter (made from locally grown peanuts, so the project also supports farming in Malawi) as a base. $25 will feed 2000 starving Malawian children. Donations may be sent to: Project Peanut Butter, 7435 Flora, St. Louis 63143. They also send an attractive thank you card if you make a donation in someone’s honor. You can find out more on their website http://www.projectpeanutbutter.org/.
Magdalene is a two year residential program working with women in Nashville with a history of prostitution and drug addiction. As part of the rehabilitation of the women and as a financial support Magdalene began "Thistle Farms" a line of bath and body products. These are natural products that are as kind to the environment as they are to the body. We showcased these products at our Holiday Luncheon this year and samples for viewing in the parish hall. Please check out their website at http://www.thistlefarms.org/ .
And of course you can always buy fair trade coffee, tea, cocoa and chocolate here at St Mark’s or make a donation to St Mark’s or one of its ministries or funds like the organ fund or access fund, in honor of someone you love. We’ll be happy to send a letter to your friends or family telling that a donation has been made in their honor.
Friday, November 02, 2007
One of the difficulties about keeping a church blog is that many of the really amazingly wonderful moments in ministry are about being privileged to be part of the lives of other people -- I get to hear people's stories, to journey with people as they seek new direction in their lives, as they search for the sacred, as they make commitments to service in the world, as they face disappointment and setbacks, as they struggle with disease and approach death. But mostly, this is material that is not appropriate for a blog. I know there are people who blog about the most intimate details of their relationships but I don't think that a priest can write that kind of stuff about parishioners. But I thought I would post the homily I preached at a memorial service on October 19th on my moribund sermon blog. You can also listen to an old sermon there. Maybe more will appear to join it soon... Maybe not. Here is a quotation from Frederick Beuchner which a friend sent me yesterday
On All Saints Day, it is not just the saints of the church that we should remember in our prayers, but all the foolish ones and wise ones, the shy ones and overbearing ones, the broken ones and whole ones, the despots and tosspots and crackpots of our lives who, one way or another, have been our particular fathers and mothers and saints, and whom we loved without knowing we loved them and by whom we were helped to whatever little we may have, or ever hope to have, of some kind of seedy sainthood of our own."- The Sacred Journey p.74
Thursday, October 25, 2007
But as the parent of a child who identifies as "gender queer" and another who identifies as bi- (both of whom are not at all clear that the church is a place they will find nurture as adults, grateful though they are for growing up in it in some ways) I noticed the following:
In the lovely animated segment which was a parody of the sex-ed films many of us grew up with but devoted to explaining sexual orientation, the issue of being "bi sexual" was dismissed out of hand in a way designed to make the audience laugh.
There was no household with a child who was gender variant or self identified as "transgender". In fact, in various ways parents described their gay and lesbian children as NOT like stereotypical gay men --portrayed as ridiculously effeminate and "limp wristed" and not like "butch" lesbian women. In other words, the parents acceptance of their childrens' sexuality seemed to be predicated on the fact that the children were gay or lesbian but still stereotypically masculine or feminine.
Please understand that I loved this movie. I loved in particular the story of the Poteat family, where theological convictions about the wrongness of the lifestyle of a lesbian daughter struggled alongside a love for that daughter and a commitment to remain in relationship with her. I was moved by the tragic story of the mother whose religious beliefs made it impossible to accept her child's sexual orientation until it was too late. I loved the stories of parents whose gay and lesbian children turned them into amazing activists. I plan to show this movie when it is available on DVD in my congregation. I have recommended it to friends. But even though it seems too controversial for many PBS stations, it was a reminder to me of how much work we, as a church, have yet to do.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
These loan recipients are like the original ones in representing more than one area of enterprise, more than one geographical area and in at least one case, our loan helped the recipient achieve his or her total loan goal.
It is amazing to think that $550 could make such a huge difference in the lives of four people and their families, allowing them to take businesses to the next step and to be economically independent and able to educate their children. To most of us around the table, $550 is an amount of money we would notice-- not just the kind of change you'd drop on the street and not bother to pick up-- but for few of us was it a life changing amount of money, either. It reminded us of our many advantages and privileges as Americans and maybe made us think about our regular patterns of giving and whether as individuals we might want to become KIVA investors.
Saturday, May 05, 2007
So much has happened... so much to report... and I have not made time for any of it.
But I'm writing now to point out that I have made a blog for the General Convention Deputies from Missouri to respond to the Draft Anglican Covenant. If this is interesting to you, you can find it here: http://draftcovenantresponse.blogspot.com
I gather that the office of the bishop will be doing something when the House of Bishops' response is ready but I wouldn't want to miss the opportunity to offer input, whenever it is offered. I'll be offering discussion this Sunday and next at 9 a.m. at St Mark's.