just one of the girls

I’m very much a heterosexual. On the Kinsey scale I’m somewhere between a 0 and 1. There have been times in my past when there were no females in the circles in which I travelled who happened to be both available and interested, but at those same times there have often been men who fit that description. In fact, I have been hit on by men more than once. But that’s not me. We were never interested in going there.

malefemaleAt the same time I have always had a strong feminine aspect. (Presumably one relates to the other.) When I was a freshman at Pitzer College we were in those days asked to take the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), and on the male-female scale my score came back somewhat skewed on the female side.

Back in the early 1990’s I was working at a small six (or so) person software company. We were having a small get-together at the house of the president, Ed. I was there with Ed’s wife Nancy and the Amy, fiancée of our marketing director Bruce. We were waiting for Ed and Bruce, who were running late. Nancy said, “Well, where are the men?” She then looked at me and said, “Oh, I am so sorry.” I responded, “Don’t worry about it. I’m just one of the girls.” But Nancy would not be consoled.

Due to a scheduling conflict some months back I went to our hairstylist on a weekday rather than on a Saturday, when men are more likely to be in the shop. Our stylist, Debbie, told Terry that I was not bothered by all the estrogen in the shop. Apparently some guys are.

That’s always who I’ve been.

audio books

I used to listen to audio books a lot. Mostly I would listen on my iPod while I was out doing my walking. I have to say that I have great respect for the readers of audio books. Not everyone can do it, and not everyone gets to do it. There is a small corps of readers who are known and respected who get most of the gigs. You have to be good, and you have to be able to read the text of the book without flinching, no matter how uncomfortable the subject matter. It’s a skill not everyone has.

audiobooksIf you’re an author for the most part you’re not likely to be allowed to read your own book. If you have the skills to carry it off and if you’re well-known in your field, then maybe. David Sedaris records his own books, but he is as comfortable behind the microphone as he is at the keyboard. Most authors have to hope that the producer of the audio book selects the right reader.

A few years ago I gave up audio books in favor of lectures from The Great Courses. I prefer the conversational style of the lectures and the thirty minute format fits perfectly with my walking time.

Still, I admire the skill of the reader of the audio book.

seeing God in metaphors

questlivingGodQuest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God
by Elizabeth A. Johnson
248 pages
Bloomsbury Academic
Amazon paperback price: $16.44, Kindle: $15.62

I read this some months back. While much of the book is theology and somewhat dense, Johnson has some marvelous points about how God is ultimately unknowable and can only be accessed in image and metaphor. She says:

All fruitful metaphors have sufficiently complex grids of meaning at the literal level to allow for extension of thought beyond immediate linkages. That is why God can be seen as a king, rock, mother, savior, gardener, lover, father, liberator, midwife, judge, helper, friend, mother bear, fresh water, fire, thunder, and so on.

And this:

If human beings were capable of expressing the fullness of God in one straight-as-an-arrow name, the proliferation of names, images, and concepts observable throughout the history of religions would make no sense at all. But there is no one such name. Rather, in jubilation and praise, lamentation and mourning, thanksgiving and petition, crying out and the final falling into silence, human beings name God with a symphony of  notes.

I find this very helpful.

Sacred Music Friday: All Bells in Paradise

Very cool! A (relatively) new piece by John Rutter. Composed on commission to coincide with the Kings College Cambridge choir launching its own label.

standing in awe of God

westernreligiousexperienceThe Significance of Religious Experience
Howard Wettstein
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press
List price $65.00 Amazon Price $41.49

I read a review of this book in Books and Culture and it sounds like fascinating reading. But take a look at the price in relation to the page count, and the fact that it is not available in Kindle format. Guess I’ll have to pass.

Here, however, is the reviewer’s summary of the essence of the book. Looks to me like material for considerable further thought and reflection:

The Bible is not a list of God’s qualities we must believe; it is a collection of narratives about God’s roles that helps us to live in awe of God. Liturgies are not a telescope by which our gaze can escape the world and see only heaven. Rather, the prayers and stories of the Bible are the means of standing in awe of God, fostering love for neighbors, and practicing gratitude.

turning sixty

Social media has certainly changed how we communicate and interact. Certainly Facebook has connected me with former classmates (high school and college), relatives, former work colleagues, fellow (and sister) Episcopalians, as well as others, and allowed a level of interaction that was not possible before.

sixtyOne thing that has been very noticeable through Facebook for me these past several months is the fact that most of my classmates from Hemet High School class of 1971 and Pitzer College 1975 are turning sixty this year. I wrote about that fact in May. As I wrote, it was good in that I had the chance to think about the fact and prepare. (Unlike the folks whose birthday was in January.)

So here I am today and it’s my turn. How do I feel? Good. I have a marvelous marriage to a terrific woman, a loving four-footed child, a great home with a remodeled kitchen and solar power, and a job that is less stressful than it has been at other times. I exercise and eat relatively well. I don’t feel sixty, even though I’m periodically offered the senior discount at restaurants without asking.

Not so bad.

How do I express this musically? I thought about He’s an Old Hippie, but it really doesn’t apply to me. The subject of the song is not up with today’s society and technology, and that is certainly not me. I tipped my hand in June, when I wrote that the song was “Forever in Blue Jeans.” I have not come up with a better choice during the last two months. That says it best.

“it wasn’t me”

The other day I was working upstairs when I heard the Dirt Devil loudly doing its thing downstairs. I went down there and Terry said that in doing one of her yoga stretches she noticed all this dog hair in the air intake for the wine cooler. The fridge was fine. Seems the cleaning ladies take care of that. But the wine cooler is non-standard and our cleaning service only does standard stuff.

Tasha6a.jpgAs we were talking, Tasha came inside and started jumping up on me, which she doesn’t normally do. I could swear she was saying, “Daddy, don’t believe Mommy! It wasn’t me. The hair came from somewhere else. Really!”

That’s our Tasha. We love her. (Or maybe it’s my imagination. But either way.)