Thursday, April 28, 2011

Another edition of things that are ridiculous and in the news

1. The Royal Wedding:  Who cares?  Honestly.  We have MUCH bigger things to be worried about than an over-extravagent event between two people across the pond.  On one of my favorite blogs, Regretsy, there has been a running chronicle of all of the bizarre handcrafts people have made to commemorate the big event.  And just yesterday on the news, I learned that some really strange individual decided to tattoo (yes, tattoo) a picture of the royal couple on his teeth.  Now I am not sure what the logistics of tattooing on one's teeth are, but I am not sure I want to find out.  This man will perpetually have people telling him there is something stuck in his teeth, and unfortunately, it cannot be removed with dental floss. 

2. The "Birther" Controversy:  Give it a rest Tea Party.  You were proven wrong this week when Obama finally revealed his long form birth certificate that proves indeed, Obama was born in Hawaii.  Except, apparently some crazies in Colorado who now want him to release his school records and passport.  And crowing from the sidelines is Donald Trump, who brings me to my next point...

3. Donald Trump on the campaign trail for 2012:  The real estate magnate with bad fake hair has usurped Sarah Palin as my "political" figure mockery of choice. 

Trump has been trumpeting his own horn about getting Obama to release his birth certificate, Trump says:
"Today I am really proud that I managed to accomplish something that no one else has managed to accomplish."  And the rest of the world goes on...  Trump has actually never accomplished much of anything, unless you count a gross sense of self-importance, a reality television show with D-listers and quite a few unfinished real estate projects.  Lord have mercy. 

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Tolerance and Loving One's Neighbor

Alright, tolerance is kind of a social buzzword.  Practicing tolerance is important and if you don't practice tolerance of others you are backwards and ignorant.  So on and so forth.  However, practicing tolerance is easier said than done when it comes to tolerating people with whose social and political views I disagree.

I am not going to lie, I nearly did a little dance this week when I found out Glenn Beck was leaving Fox News.  Fox News is bad enough as it is, but having Glenn Beck at the helm of his very own platform (cable news show) for spewing hateful rhetoric and misguided opinions took it to a whole new level.

Where I struggle with tolerance is with people like Glenn Beck or Fred Phelps or Joel Osteen or Sarah Palin.

One of the blogs that I read on a pretty regular basis is the God's Politics blog from the Sojourners site.  This morning there was a pretty interesting article called Glenn Beck and Teachable Moments with a link to another article called Love Glenn Beck As You Would Love Yourself.  As Christians, we are called not only to love the people around us who are easy to love, but those who make us crazy too.    Because we can never understand Grace, we might never understand why these people are deserving of love.  But I know there are definitely things about me (and indeed, about all of us) that can be difficult to love, and people do so anyway.  So in the meantime, I just try to do the best I can, and give thanks for the radical Grace that means even when I CANNOT stand someone, I can at least attempt to practice tolerance.  And know that God loves them too.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

creative space

A long time ago I used to fancy myself a creative person.  I played multiple musical instruments, sang in ensembles, took photographs, made jewelry, painted with water colors, and wrote short stories and poems.  I reflected on things in a creative way and made space for thinking about more than just the next item on my to-do list. 

As I have gotten older, the amount of creative space in my life has diminished to the point where it is nearly non-existent.  I think it had something to do with the highly analytical nature of my College education and subsequent professional experience.  Writing lost its joy in the midst of rhetorical criticism and persuasive campaigns writing.  Creativity in prose is sort of frowned upon in grant-writing, case studies and legal briefs.  Writing became less about expression and more about accomplishment.  When you work full time (and then some) and hold down several volunteer gigs, there is just not a lot of time left at the end of the day for painting or drawing or strolling about your neighborhood to find photography subjects.  However, when life is nothing but a never-ending list of things to complete, it becomes very boring indeed. 

In the month of April my friend Richard clued me in to something called the NaPoWriMo challenge (National Poetry Writing Month), in which you write a poem everyday for for a month.  (As a side note, Richard is a fantastic poet and brilliant attorney.  Traits that seem to be mutually exclusive in everyone else but Richard.)  Poetry is something that I have always been a bit self-conscious about, but the beauty of this challenge is that your poems can be terrible, and you never have to share them, but the important thing is that you write one everyday. 

My perfectionist tendencies can prevent me from ever starting a poem at all.  So the fantastic thing is that I need to write a poem every day, and there is freedom in that, because it does not matter if the poem is perfect, follows a specific form, or is even good. If I was demanding perfection from myself, I would never actually get around to writing anything.   Richard told me (in response to my hesitancy in poetry writing), "Perfection is the enemy of accomplishment and everything good and fun." So there.  It is better to try something and not have it be perfect, than never doing anything at all.  Sometimes I need to be reminded of that. 

So through mediocre poetry, I am slowly reconnecting with my creative self.  I am certainly not going to pick up the trombone or trumpet again any time soon, or maintain easels with works of water color paintings in progress in my dining room.  However, it certainly won't hurt me to write creatively every once in awhile or take time to take photos of the things around me I find beautiful, not just waiting until I head to Europe every few years.  It also probably wouldn't hurt me to play the piano again sometimes and continue to participate in choral ensembles. 

Monday, April 04, 2011

Interesting thought...

"American Christians have so reduced the religion to individual salvation that we can’t even talk about coming together as a community without someone screaming about socialists and big government. Jesus never talked about “individual salvation,” but instead brought communities of people together—an ‘ekklesia’—that continues today in the form of church communities." 

From an article titled "Gluttons for Jesus" by Candace Chewell-Hodge on the Religion Dispatches blog.  Yet another one of those fantastic bits of commentary on why individual Christians can be so ridiculous.  

Read the article at Religion Dispatches