writer’s block week

I've got a lot of ideas going around in my head, but right now I don't seem to be able to get them onto my computer screen and into the TypePad cloud. So I hope you'll indulge me as, for the rest of this week, I share with you some quotes I've accumulated over the past few month, gathered in large part from my oh-so-literate Facebook friends.

Terry and I are heading up to our favorite Bed & Breakfast, The Goose & Turrets, next weekend for President's Day. I hope to have some quality writing time on that trip. And perhaps the change in the weather will help as well. This unseasonably warm and dry February weather has not benefited my writing. It's good to see the rain returning.

So with luck, I will have new, fresh, interesting blog entries for you next week.

If not, I have more quotes saved back.



We are already one.
But we imagine that we are not.
And what we have to recover is our original unity.

—- Thomas Merton, via Jane Redmont

perceptions on health and wholeness

The loss of Jack Lalanne last month had a lot of us recalling our memories of him. I remember watching him growing up. It had to have been only during the summer and on school holidays and vacations, because he was on weekday mornings. But this video immediately reminded me about how, when he wanted to talk to the audience, he would turn his chair around backwards and lean on the back as he spoke.

The video must have been from a show in the late fifties or early sixties. It was interesting to hear him talk about healthy nutrition and fresh food, and about how material goods don't buy happiness, just because those are not attitudes we associate with that era.

It's well worth your three minutes: both a time capsule and an uplifting message at the same time. Enjoy! (And thanks to Mark Sandstrom for this.)




I was looking at and thinking about my book collection the other day. I still have some books from my childhood. I have some books from my college days. I've got books from my B. Dalton Bookseller days. I've got books from my Religious Science days, and books from my once-and-again Episcopal days. I've given away, donated, or otherwise gotten rid of books from all of those eras. And yet I still have a lot of books from all of those eras. I'm not sure there's a lot of rhyme or reason to what I've kept and what I've let go of. Some books I've gotten rid of I wish I still had. Some books I still have I wonder why I've kept.

I have no answers here, just some random thoughts. Anyone have a similar experience?


media ministry

I wrote yesterday about online faith and an article on the subject in which my my Facebook friend and Catholic blogger Fran is quoted.

The article veered from online faith to a discussion of a Catholic parish in which multimedia is used in worship: "During liturgies, prayers and song lyrics are now projected on a screen. Videos and images are displayed during homilies." I cringed. I really, seriously cringed.

The technique conjures up images for me of huge, evangelical mega-churches with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of multimedia equipment and multi-million dollar church budgets. (Here's a humorous video look at such worship.)

I realized, after I got done cringing, that this is nothing new. This was happening in the late sixties and early seventies in churches. And who was doing it then? The progressive churches. Probably churches that were also involved in the antiwar and civil rights movements.

The director of media ministry at the church mentioned in the article was quoted as saying, “What I’ve noticed from this is that more people are praying and singing aloud during the Mass; it keeps their attention rather than distracting them from the real reason we’re all there: Christ.”

Wow! Really interesting.

Still, as high tech as I am, I just don't want to see multimedia becoming part of my Episcopal Rite II liturgy. At St. John's, I appreciate the convenience of the entire liturgy being printed in a single worship booklet, but honestly, I'd really rather have the Book of Common Prayer in my hands, even if it does mean flipping from one section to another, and switching back and forth between the prayer book and the hymnal. Adding multimedia? Not for me. Not in that environment. Please.

online faith community

My Facebook friend and sister blogger, Fran, wrote about online faith and mentions an article on the subject in which she is quoted extensively.

Certainly a big part of my my own online experience involves religion and faith. A large percentage of my Facebook friends and pages are faith and religion related. I have a lot of Episcopal connections there (and you know that that experience is in large part what got me back to the Episcopal church) as well as Unitarian, Catholic, and others.

The world of faith online is no doubt here to stay. The publisher of the Episcopal daily devotional, Forward Day by Day, is shifting a lot of its resources to an online ministry. The Episcopal church has discontinued its print monthly newspaper and is directing members to email, the Web, and RSS feeds for national church news updates. My own parish, St. John the Divine, sends out a weekly email with a PDF newsletter.

Like any technology, it can, of course, be abused. But there's nothing new there. Look what evangelicals have done over the years with printed pamphlets.

Just as early Protestants in the wake of Martin Luther and John Calvin took to the printing press, there's no reason for us not to embrace the technologies that will reach the largest number of people.


prayer and wonder

  To pray is to take notice of the wonder,
to regain a sense of the mystery that animates all beings,
the divine margin in all attainments.
Prayer is our humble answer to the inconceivable surprise of living.
It is all we can offer in return for the mystery by which we live.

—Abraham Joshua Heschel, The Wisdom of Heschel
via inward/outward

Kindle update

Kindle I'm pleased to say that my new Kindle light has worked out every bit as well as I had hoped. It has a nice, bright light that covers the entire reading area, and it does not get dimmer as the charge goes down. When the charge runs out, poof!, it goes off. I connect it to the USB port on my desktop computer and after several hours it's ready to go again. Love it!

Of course, my case of Kindle Overwhelm has not improved in the least. It's just gotten worse. I keep accumulating samples (as you can see) at a rate faster than I finish books. The nice thing is that when I'm ready to buy a book it's right there on my Kindle, and just a couple of clicks away. (Well, except for the samples on my Android, but even those I can send to my Kindle with just a couple of taps.)

One thing I can be sure of: I'm not going to run out of things to read any time soon.

the shuttle and the space program

There was a lot of mention in the news last week about the 25th Anniversary of the shuttle Challenger disaster. I remember the time well. I was working at Metro, the San Jose alternative news weekly. One of my co-workers said, "The shuttle blew up!" I said, "What do you mean, 'the shuttle blew up'?"

On 1 February 2003, it was a Saturday and Terry and I slept late. We had breakfast and went upstairs. The shuttle Columbia was due back that day. Terry was on the computer looking at the news. She said, "The shuttle broke apart!" I said, "What do you mean, 'the shuttle broke apart'?"

Two similar tragedies separated by seventeen years.

I grew up with the space program. I watched virtually every Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo launch on television with Walter Cronkite as my guide. I was in front of the television when Neil Armstrong said, "That's one small step for man, one Giant leap for mankind."

We've somehow lost our way since those days. We have a couple of ancient shuttles about to be decommissioned. We haven't been to the moon since 1972.

I know that there are federal budget issues to grapple with and enormous social and environmential matters here on earth to be addressed. But humans in space can somehow be an inspiration to us to address our earthly problems.

I would love to see a reinvigorated space program. I would love to see the memories of those who lost their lives on the Challenger and the Columbia be honored by a renewed era of exploration.


Interesting note on church history from Diana Butler Bass:

Did you know the word "doctrine" did not show up in English until the 14th century?
"Doctrine" displaced an older English word (related to the German),
"leren" that simply mean "teach, instruct, or guide."