Facebook foible

Many of us would say Facebook probably has a lot of those. But here’s the one that’s on my mind: it’s hard to disagree on Facebook in a way that it is clear that you are disagreeing.

If I comment on a post, or a link, or a photo it shows up on my friends’ News Feed saying, “Mike Christie commented on a photo,” or whatever. I think the default assumption is to assume you agree with the item. Most people won’t bother to look at the comments, and if it’s an item with several hundred comments it may be close to impossible to find mine. So if I see something that I think is incorrect, misguided, or just plain outrageous, registering an opinion puts me at risk of being misunderstood.

There’s nothing I can do about it, but I’m just sayin’ …


my tradition points me to God

I don’t agree with everything John Shelby Spong says, but he has it exactly right here, to my mind at least.

God is not a Christian, God is not a Jew, or a Muslim, or a Hindu, or a Buddhist. All of those are human systems which human beings have created to try to help us walk into the mystery of God. I honor my tradition, I walk through my tradition, but I don’t think my tradition defines God, I think it only points me to God.


writing and television

I’ve written before about how little television I watch. I do catch part of the morning news, and when I’m heating up my hot tea during the week I have been known to catch a few minutes of Rachel Ray, but please don’t tell anyone that.

There are times when I’m sitting down and actually watching, but that’s the exception, not the rule, as was the case on election night. In the evenings when our feet are up we listen to jazz and I am surfing my iPad. The only things I record are Giada at Home and Mexican Made Easy. Terry has her favorite shows which keep the DVR somewhat busy, but I just take a quick look as I pass by.

In her course Writing Creative Nonfiction from The Great Courses, Tilar Mazzeo recommends that people who want to write for a living, or at least for part of their living, not own a TV at all. She says that television is a story-telling medium and by watching it you can have your story-telling needs met and not need to tell your own story.

I have no illusions about making my living by writing, as much as I would love that to be the case, but I do see her point. Even as a blogger I can see that not watching TV dramas and comedies perhaps helps me to be more productive in my own story-telling.

In any case, I don’t miss those shows, and I would rather be at the keyboard writing this blog than watching them. That, I think, is a good thing.


Sacred Music Friday: Lauda Sion Salvatorem

another from Chanticleer


Onion Talks

If you’ve ever watched TED Talks, you know they can be fascinating and thought-provoking. At the same time, as Salon points out,  “the series has also been criticized for its tendency to repackage the ordinary.” And in any case, any institution, and I think it’s fair to say TED has become an institution, deserves a little parody now and again.

The Onion has done a great parody of TED. Enjoy!


Robbers Cave

When I lived in Oklahoma City in the early 1980’s I was a member of the Unitarian Church there. I loved the church, the minister, Dick Allen, and the program there. One of best parts of being part of First UU OKC, was our annual visit to Robbers Cave. It was always around the third weekend in October.

Robbers Cave State Park is in Southeast Oklahoma in a very rural area. It is a good two plus hours from Oklahoma City. We would leave Friday afternoon, and many of us would stop for dinner in Krebs, just outside of McAlester. Krebs is known for its family-style Italian restaurants. We would reserve a room and have a marvelous dinner to start the weekend.

To get to Robber’s Cave you have to drive through some narrow country roads where a security light lit a circle in front of each house. Them is rough folks, and I would not want to have had a flat tire out there.

Once at Robber’s Cave, Friday night was singing, talk, and fellowship. Saturday was a variety of workshops and Sunday was worship and sermon that Dick preached at the base of the amphitheater in front of a sparkling lake. Then the long drive home.

With apologies to Billy Joel, I loved those days.


liturgy: not always what we want

Paul Fromberg, of St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church in San Francisco, wrote about the experience of worshipping rather than presiding while on sabbatical. He said:

The thing about worship and prayer is that it never gets delivered in a neat package. It is always a mix of what you want and what you don’t want.

That caught my attention. I love where I am at St. John’s. I miss the pipe organ, but we have a marvelous pianist. I value having confession most every week, something that I missed in my Lutheran sojourn. I don’t particularly get a kick out of saying the Nicene Creed every week, but that’s the price of admission for participating in Episcopal worship.

The Lutherans changed the color for Advent from purple to blue with the publication of their 1978 hymnal in order to present more of an idea of expectation rather than penitence. I like that. For us Episcopalians it is still a purple season of penitence, and at St. John’s we do a somber, almost funereal, if you will, version of the Kyrie. That is fine in my mind for Lent, not so much so for Advent. But I don’t put the liturgy together, and the color of Advent in the Episcopal church is indeed purple.

But, as Paul writes, it’s not about consumer choice:

Liturgy is the exact opposite of consumer choice; what you get is what there is, not always your preference. In that sound of liturgy, prayer is made. It makes itself known to everyone who stops to listen. Grace abounds in everything.

Thank you for that, Paul.