Sunday, May 30, 2010

Food for thought on a hot Sunday....

Wow. Two things to think about today. Huh. I went to church and I watched a movie, and both prompted thoughts.

First, church. The passage was Colossians 2 and the speaker was talking about the infomercial pitchman of the day in Colossee, and how Paul countered the gimmicks. It held together well at points, but others were definitely a stretch. However, near the end it was interesting that we were told that Paul was telling them to weigh everything by the Scripture and not fall for all they are hearing from the religious leaders. I agree with that. But the interesting part was we were told that Scripture trumps tradition, and experience, and rules. I find it ironic that we can see this to teach it, but our evangelical churches don't see the fact that they are guilty of this very thing! So much of the teaching we have grown up with is often taught and retaught and not weighed by the Scripture. And not necessarily because it contradicts Scripture, but because it isn't even part of Scripture. We have made it so by interpretation. We take the teachings of early leaders of the evangelical movement as our Gospel. Why? Because somewhere along the line someone decided that was the truth. Yes, to be fair, the interpretation was likely based on Scripture in that persons mind. Their interpretation. And perhaps it wasn't far off base. But it grew and morphed like a cosmic game of telephone and we often don't really know why we do what we do and why we believe what we believe. It's the lazy way out. We do so because we've been taught to. Because it's always been accepted as "gospel." And so as I listened I saw the irony, and also grasped the fact that the majority of Christians will never ever question anything or think about anything any differently then has been spoon fed to them. And in the very preaching of the sermon the tradition taught as truth has been perpetuated.

This afternoon we watched The Invention of Lying. The premise is that no one lied - ever. Everything said was truth. No lies, no self censorship or tact when speaking. Everything was out there. Until one day the main character told a lie and because lies had never been told before everyone believed and trusted him. Ergo - his word was truth. He learned how to use it for his gain, and how to spin a story. And for awhile it was good. Until one day he was sitting at the bedside of his dying mother. She was afraid to die. And so he lied. He told her not to be afraid that she would go to a better place when she died. Where she would be happy and have a mansion. People marveled that the man had this knowledge. And they sought him out to find out what else he knew. He embellished heaven - much as we think of it today. And then people wanted to know about "the man in the sky" and he made up more stories. And made a persona for this good man who ran everything from the sky. He caused and cured illness. He caused tsunamis. He caused financial windfalls. The good and the bad. He was the puppet master. And the myth kept growing. And then the people wanted to know the rules. The main character writes down all he "knows" of the rules on pizza boxes and addresses the crowd with these "tablets." He talks about good and bad, sin and lack there of. How many bad things one is forgiven of (three) before they go to the horrible bad place instead of heaven. And then people want the rules interpreted down the very last jot and tittle. They want everything spelled out for them so they don't do it wrong. Is it intent that makes the act a sin? And on it went.

I saw this as an interesting social commentary, first as the way men see God and religion. Stories made up and passed down. Panaceas to soothe the soul. Smart men should realize this is a bunch of hooey; that a much smarter man capitalized on this when he realized he could and that he was able to greatly benefit from it. And secondly, it speaks to the way some things have been addressed in evangelical circles regarding all aspects of Christianity. The rules, the traditions, the stories - which is which? Which are the stories and which are the truth. And that brought me back to the message of the morning.

I'm still processing it all - there is much food for thought here.

Spinning merrily.

Friday, May 28, 2010

I Like Giants
Kimya Dawson

When I go for a drive I like to pull off to the side
Of the road, turn out the lights, get out and look up at the sky
And I do this to remind me that I'm really, really tiny
In the grand scheme of things and sometimes this terrifies me

But it's only really scary cause it makes me feel serene
In a way I never thought I'd be because I've never been
So grounded, and so humbled, and so one with everything
I am grounded, I am humbled, I am one with everything

Rock and roll is fun but if you ever hear someone
Say you are huge, look at the moon, look at the stars, look at the sun
Look at the ocean and the desert and the mountains and the sky
Say I am just a speck of dust inside a giant's eye
I am just a speck of dust inside a giant's eye

When I saw Geneviève I really liked it when she said
What she said about the giant and the lemmings on the cliff
She said 'I like giants
Especially girl giants
Cause all girls feel too big sometimes
Regardless of their size'

When I go for a drive I like to pull off to the side
Of the road and run and jump into the ocean in my clothes
And I'm smaller than a poppyseed inside a great big bowl
And the ocean is a giant that can swallow me whole

So I swim for all salvation and I swim to save my soul
But my soul is just a whisper trapped inside a tornado
So I flip to my back and I float and I sing
I am grounded, I am humbled, I am one with everything
I am grounded, I am humbled, I am one with everything

So I talked to Geneviève and almost cried when she said
That the giant on the cliff wished that she was dead
And the lemmings on the cliff wished that they were dead
So the giant told the lemmings why they ought to live instead

When she thought up all those reasons that they ought to live instead
It made her reconsider all the sad thoughts in her head
So thank you Geneviève, cause you take what is in your head
And you make things that are so beautiful and share them with your friends

We all become important when we realize our goal
Should be to figure out our role within the context of the whole
And yeah, rock and roll is fun, but if you ever hear someone
Say you are huge, look at the moon, look at the stars, look at the sun
Look at the ocean and the desert and the mountains and the sky

Say I am just a speck of dust inside a giant's eye
I am just a speck of dust inside a giant's eye
I am just a speck of dust inside a giant's eye
And I don't wanna make her cry
Cause I like giants

Thursday, May 13, 2010

For want of a Nail....

One drop in a pond, one flutter of a butterfly's wings, call it what you will, but just know, it changes everything. No matter what you do, no matter how small and seemingly insignificant, it effects others and things in ever widening circles. It's not a new concept, but I was reminded of it today watching rain drops fall from a tree branch into a pool of water. Making contact, it spreads concentrically, and quickly, until it hits dry earth. The effect on each thing, whether in the pond, or on the dry ground, is different. But make no mistake; they all feel the current, the push of the water, the final result. And it changes their course. Their response is in reaction to the original drop. What we say, and what we do matters. This thing is bigger than us. And we are responsible to live the best way we can, honoring God, loving our fellow man, and respecting the earth.

I know I'm mixing metaphors, but I was reminded of this rhyme I was taught as a child:

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Small decisions today can change the world tomorrow.
We don't know who's life we'll effect.
All for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom

Maybe not so politically correct, but it sure was fun, and obviously memorable! 40 some years later and I can still sing the song....

Then, this got me to thinking about another grade school classic, although this was a record: Go You Chicken Fat Go! (Thank you President Kennedy!)

"alright're in this too! Arms overhead, flop. COME ON girls!"

A little history about this song and the President's Council on Youth Fitness.

On July 16, 1956, President Eisenhower established the President’s Council on Youth Fitness.

One million schoolchildren took part in Council sponsored pilot projects to test children's fitness levels.

Go You Chicken Fat Go was commissioned by John F. Kennedy for his new Youth Fitness Program. In 1961 a copy of this record was sent to every school in the U.S. with the idea that it would be played over the P.A. every morning while students did calisthenics. I remember doing this in gym class.

In 1966, Lyndon B. Johnson established the Presidential Physical Fitness Award for exceptional achievement. It was originally adminis­tered by the American Alliance of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. The award recognized children in good academic standing who scored in the upper 15th percentile on activities such as a softball throw, a broad jump, a 50-yard dash, and a 600-yard walk/run.

I remember going outside in the spring to participate/compete in these activities.

And to think I started thinking about/remembering this stuff because the Go You Chicken Fat Go song started running through my head!

There is still a President’s Council on Youth Fitness active today - we just don't hear much about it. It has also grown to encompass adults as well.

In July of 2003 President Bush and launched, the Council’s interactive physical activity and fitness online program. The new President’s Challenge offered an award for active lifestyles (PALA) and for points logged toward earning medals (Presidential Champions award). The more than 100 activities included in the program range from traditional sports and activities, such as walking, running, swimming, baseball and soccer, to yoga, tai chi, dancing, housework, and gardening.

But nothing will EVER measure up to Go You Chicken Fat Go!! :-)
Now you know....

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Well, that's just ducky!

Right outside my classroom window, in a sunny corner, a duck has made a nest. The momma sits patiently in the sun all day protecting and warming her eggs. The daddy duck struts around occasionally, and being the flashy dude that he is, he has caught the eye of the students. Now they know there is a momma duck in the corner of the building. Sigh. Every day a few students decide they want to see this duck and try to get too close. Momma is stressed and quite protective. She lets out a god-awful squawk and that alarm lets me know there are kids to be chased away.

Why am I the duck protector? Because I'm here. And I'm a momma. And I know what it feels like to have your babies threatened or gawked at. And I don't want to see anything happen to the babies. I don't like thinking that momma's heart is beating like crazy and her adrenaline is pumping and her brain feels fear. That's just not right. Yeah, sure, she chose a bad place for her nest. We all make bad choices at times. But now we need to help her make the best of a bad situation until she is able to make a wiser one.

And that should be all it takes. But unfortunately, the principal made an announcement today to tell the kids to stay away from the duck. (Ironically because she does not want them to get bitten - not because it's common decency and respect.) So now all the students know there is a duck nursery on the school grounds. Even the twelve year old tough guys who would like nothing better than to terrorize a duck and smash the eggs.

It makes me anxious and worried for the duck. I feel her fear, and her desire to protect those babies. But I can't do anything else to help. And that makes me sad. Every day when I get to school I check to see if she is ok. I dread the day when I will come and she will be hurt and the eggs destroyed. I wonder, if she had to do it again, would she make the same decision?

We can only do so much to protect others and things. Only so much. I can't help the duck. I can't watch her twenty-four/seven. I can't be here to make sure others don't harm her or take advantage of her bad choice. Ultimately it was her choice. And she will have to live with the consequences.

I just wish I didn't have to witness it.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Hope Springs Eternal

Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
Man never Is, but always To be blest:
The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
Rests and expatiates in a life to come.

-Alexander Pope,
An Essay on Man, Epistle I,

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

"Hope" is the thing with feathers

"Hope" is the thing with feathers --
That perches in the soul --
sings the tune without the words --
And never stops -- at all --

sweetest -- in the Gale -- is heard --
And sore must be the storm --
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm --

heard it in the chillest land --
And on the strangest Sea --
Yet, never,
in Extremity,
It asked a crumb -- of Me.

Emily Dickinson

Monday, May 03, 2010

Out of the Blue

I loved you. Oh, how I loved you! You could never fail to make me smile and bring joy to my heart. I would dream about spending time on your bricks and cobblestone, sand and grass. I would sit beside you, content. Happy and carefree, drinking in the salty tang and the letting your cool breezes caress my face and heal my wounds. I couldn't wait to get to you and never wanted to leave.

Now all I see is hurt, and pain, mocking winds and relentless waves. Places of comfort become sharpened swords, cutting quickly and deeply. Wisps of joy have become clouds of sadness, heavy and suffocating.

How quickly love turns to dread, carefree to halting, safety to fear.

Saturated with sorrow.
Powerless to stop the rain.

Without warning.

I run.