Sunday, February 22, 2009

To a man with an empty stomach food is God. ~Gandhi

I've been thinking a lot lately about being Jesus to others.

Sometimes I think of so many things I could do. But I don't know how to start a single one of them. Maybe I'm making them too complicated. Lately I've been reading about feeding the hungry. Food pantries. I would love to be involved in something like this. But I don't know how. And truth be told I'm a better worker than a leader. But it's intriguing. Food. It is so important in the Bible. It's mentioned over and over and over. At every important event. Breaking bread together. Miracles. Gleaning the fields. Hospitality. Food and Christianity is inextricably connected. Jesus ate with sinners. The early church had communal meals. The last supper. The wedding feast. And in none of these instances was this selective, well except maybe the Last Supper. Feeding the hungry. That is love.

And now I am reading about how food pantries work. I'm reading again how poverty contributes to obesity and heart disease. How the poorest of the poor often have no food other than cheap "fast foods" available in their neighborhoods and don't have the transportation or money to go to where the grocery stores are for food. About the way food is subsidized in this country and how often good, healthy food is plowed back into the ground due to US agricultural policy which allows farmers to hold their product off the market to support price. How school lunch programs tend to provide unhealthy food - cheap and fast to make, like bologna sandwiches and instant mashed potatoes. Fat is cheap,comforting and filling. Vegetables are hard to come by and not as quick or easy to prepare. Salty and sugary foods, the fatty foods, foods filled with high fructose corn syrup are the foods of the poor. Foods that make the belly feel full. Cheaply.

I have been reading how one woman wanted to start a food pantry in her church. What is more fundamental to loving others than to see that they are fed? And so she did her research and came up with a plan. The interesting thing was that this church had just purchased a very expensive altar, hand built of polished hardwood, inscribed in gilt letters with two quotations. The first: "This guy welcomes sinners and eats with them" referring to a quote insulting Jesus in Luke, and the second "Did not our Lord share his table with tax collectors and harlots? So do not distinguish between worthy and unworthy. All must be equal for you to love and serve." A quote from Isaac of Ninevah.
So when she suggested setting up the food bank around this altar to put praxis to belief she was met with reactions such as "When Hell freezes over" and "Over my dead body." Obviously there was polarization over the food pantry. So she asked for written objections so she could formulate responses and discuss them at a meeting. The objections were amazing, ranging from why the lazy people didn't haul their butts down to another pantry already in place, to we can't keep the church picked up and the kitchen clean as it is...and now you're talking about food, garbage, boxes everywhere. Not to mention a hundred people leaving their trash all over! One man finally stood up and yelled "What the fuck would Jesus do?" I feel his frustration.

It amazes me that people feel this way. That there is so much resistence. But I know it would happen here too. The old refrain Not in my backyard. There would be objections to the traffic, the rif-raff, the criminal element, the inconvenience to the comfortable people in the neighborhood. To say nothing of the time commitment and burn-out rate. I may feel deeply that this is a needed service, I would love to participate in such a program. But I am not strong enough to fight these people. I am not brave enough to fight city hall.

All she wanted to do was put food in the cupboard for really poor black mothers who used drugs, buy groceries for everyone living in the projects, and give away food without conditions. Not at a charity kitchen or soup pantry, but in a food pantry that didn't take away people's dignity and reinforce dependency. She wanted to provide groceries enabling families to prepare food in their own homes, keeping families together and giving them a dignified and normal life as they worked to escape poverty.

I wonder why a place like my former church (not Via Christus....) didn't ever do something like this? Even in the suburbs of Chicago there is great need. Now more than ever. And it's no longer just among those in poverty. People are losing jobs at a horrific rate. But for some reason I just can't see them opening their doors and their hearts to do this! They (and many other churches to be fair) would rather buy new carpet, or improve their media capabilities, or raise money to send to the "poor children in Africa" (sending money is a quick and easy way to feel absolved of guilt...) than serve these people that God loves here. I'm sure to suggest such a thing would bring the same kind of responses mentioned above.

But how does one go about starting a service like this without a church to help? By the time you rent a space, buy your food (even if greatly subsidized and augmented by donations) and incur other expenses, it is just not feasible to give food away. And just doing it out of your garage would bring the zoning police down on your heads.

Are there other answers? I don't know. How I would love to have a large piece of land where I could share space,time and labor and create a communal garden, a place to grow healthy food together and share with those in need.....

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Thank You, Sara

"Jeremiah tell me about the fire
That burns up in your bones
I want to know….

I was looking to myself
And I forgot the power of God…
I was dwelling on my hopelessness and doubt…

I was warming my hands by this little light of mine
but now I know it’s time
time to come in from the cold…

With the slightest invitation
You came with total detonation
Now that’s a fire"

.... sara groves

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Cobwebs in the attic

I know I haven't posted much here lately. It's not for the lack of material that I am thinking about. Rather, too much and too messy and too tangled right now. I'm letting it settle and hopefully it will become a coherent post at some point. Some days you just can't get your thoughts on "paper." They just won't sort themselves out. They may flow from my fingertips, but not in any cohesive or even understandable way. Ramblings. More questions than answers. More aggravations than understandings.

Today it is raining. Usually that really bothers me. But today it suits my mood... Contemplative, melancholy, seeking answers; withdrawing into me a bit and rummaging around. I don't always like what I see.....but that is for another day too. Right now I'm just gonna sit. Sit and think about the things I am finding as I push the cobwebs aside, and throw open the windows letting the light stream in. Exposing things scattered about as well as things locked away. Years of neglect can sure provide a lot of fodder for the mind!

I may be here awhile.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Weekend in New England

I can't believe we have been to New England and back so quickly! It seems like it took forever to get here, and now it is gone. But we had the best time! We flew in on Thursday evening, late, and it was actually about 1 am when we got to our hotel.

Friday morning we were up bright and early. We had to be over at Gordon College by 9 am to get Carissa's car keys so we could take her car to be serviced. And her Prom/Winter Ball dress so it could be cleaned. And of course we had to figure out our schedule for the day....

Schedule figured out, Kim and I took off in two cars for the Mini dealer. I had the GPS. Kim followed me. All was perfect until the Mini dealer was on the opposite side of the road (divided of course) from where the GPS said it was. So I tried to call Kim so I wouldn't lose him as I went around again to figure it out. Of course he didn't answer. And I couldn't see him in my mirror. So I took the plunge and got off on an exit, and low and behold he appeared and followed! He did well until he got caught at a red light. Bye Bye Kim. After more round and round and trying to call him to no avail, I gave up and went to the mini dealer. Miraculously, he found it too. Why hadn't he answered his phone? It was in my car. D'oh!

Then we went and grabbed breakfast at Denny's. I know. But with our time frame breakfast options were limited. We got back to Gordon just in time for me to go with Carissa to her Art History class. (Fun!) Kim went to financial aid and took care of a few things. After class Carissa checked to see if she had to work, and since she didn't the three of us headed out to lunch. At P.F. Changs. Yum. Their food is good!! :) It was fun just to sit and catch up on Carissa's life and let her catch up on what was going on at home. Then of course, we went shopping. For some reason Kim didn't wanna go to Victoria's he went to the Apple Store. Hmmm. Guess it worked better that way! And that North Shore Mall has the most amazing little Tea store with the BEST EVER Jasmine tea. I told Carissa Mother's Day would be here soon.....

Then we had to find a dry cleaners for the dress. Which we accomplished quite handily. And at a very reasonable cost. And we headed back to Gordon. I hung out with Carissa in her room for a while, met a few of her friends, got tickets on line for the play that evening....

KP and Carissa

We headed back to our room for a rest - so she could nap too before the play. We didn't need dinner, we still had leftovers from lunch.

"Saints and Poets"
The cast and crew of Our Town

The play. It was excellent! They performed Our Town by Thornton Wilder. It was amazing. And poignant. And sad. And because we needed cheering up, and never say no to food, and because we wanted to meet Carissa's cool friends, we went to The Cheesecake factory for desert.
And had the best time! We were a big group to say the least. The Key Lime Cheesecake was to die for. You practically had to roll me back to my hotel room. Which, again was late. 1:00 am. It's hard to hang out with energetic college kids when you get to be this old!

Sam and Carissa

Andrew, Carissa, Christina and Sam

Carissa and Christina goofing around

Carissa's roommate Kaitlyn (on left)

Saturday we just drove and explored new places - we try to find new things each time we are there. We ended up back in Gloucester at Passports for lunch. In the afternoon we just kinda hung out in the hotel room (read Kim took a nap...) We were completely unoriginal for dinner - but quite happy at Chipotle. I have to say though, the Chipotle food is pretty bland in Boston compared to Chipotle food here! LOL.

We did go back to the play again - there were two shows that day, but we went to the evening one. It was even better than the night before if that is possible. Of course it was closing night. Sad. We got to meet more of Carissa's friends. I love Carissa's friends! :) All in all it was an early night - only 12:30 when we got back to the hotel ;)

And on Sunday we had the most fun of all. We took Carissa and Andrew out to lunch. Seafood. Yum. And had a wonderful time. It was great to finally meet Andrew, and watch how the two of them interact. Of course we headed back to the dorm to see a few more friends, take the obligatory pictures and say goodbye. Carissa had to work at 2:30. But that's ok - we didn't want to wear out our welcome!

After taking a scenic drive around the cape to Rockport and taking a few more pictures we headed to the airport and home. I am quite exhausted. I'm not meant for late nights any more unless I can sleep til 11:00. :)

All in all we had a lovely weekend. Enjoy the pictures!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Guaranteed to make you laugh!!


So, Typealyzer thinks I am an ISTP based on my blog. Well.....yes, the I is right. And I can give them the S because sometimes I do test S, but usually I test N. The T? No way. Always, always, always test F. And the P is right. Not bad. Better than the gender analyzer that thought this blog was written by a man!! ;)
Results: We think is written by a man (65%).

ISTP - The Mechanics
The independent and problem-solving type. They are especially attuned to the demands of the moment are masters of responding to challenges that arise spontaneously. They generally prefer to think things out for themselves and often avoid inter-personal conflicts.

The Mechanics enjoy working together with other independent and highly skilled people and often like seek fun and action both in their work and personal life. They enjoy adventure and risk such as in driving race cars or working as policemen and firefighters.

Apparently this is the part of my brain Typealyzer perceives I am using when I write.....

Normally tho, I test INFP and this is the profile for that:

INFP - The Idealists

The meaning-seeking and unconventional type. They are especially attuned to making sure their beliefs and actions are congruent. They often develop a passion for the arts or unusual forms of self-expression.

They enjoy work that are aligned to their deeply felt values and tend to strongly dislike the more practical and mundane forms of tasks. They can enjoy working alone for long periods of time and are happiest when they can immerse themselves in personally meaningful projects.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Samm - this one was for you!

So, we went to TGI Fridays for lunch after church with friends of ours. In honor of the Superbowl they had half priced appetizers and and appropriately themed drinks. Anyone who knows me can probably guess which one I chose.....and for once I came down on the winning side! Of course. It was the better drink! :)


Combine 2 parts Vodka, 1 part Triple Sec and 2 parts Sweet & Sour
Top with Lemon-Lime Soda and a dash of Grenadine
Mix ingredients in a Boston Shaker
Pour into a highball glass and garnish
with a lemon squeeze and add a straw


Combine 2 parts Southern Comfort Amaretto, Pineapple and Orange juices
with 1 part rum, limeade and Grenadine
Mix ingredients in a Boston Shaker
Pour into a highball glass and garnish with lime squeeze, lemon squeeze
and an orange slice and add a straw