Friday Five: A Little Bit Random

Sea oats in coastal South Carolina

Sea Oats in South Carolina
Deb writes:
I have been busy writing “professional” papers, where it is required that staid, measured prose be properly footnoted, annotated and credited. I am tired of living there!

However, my creative brain is somewhere in the land of strange to illogical. So join me in my flight of thought and tell us:

1. A color that you enjoy (and where you find it)

I really like these colors

2. A food or drink you have discovered recently that is just da bomb!

I dont’t know that there’s one I’ve recently discovered, but I’ve recently re-discovered my favorite spring salad and have been indulging in it for lunches at work. It’s mixed greens, strawberries, dried cranberris, walnuts and fresh mozzarella with cranberry walnut gorgonzola dressing from Trader Joe’s. Bon appetit indeed.

3. A simile for tiredness

Worn out as a one-legged man at a butt-kicking contest

4. A random picture from your phone, camera or computer

5. Your least favorite bill: car mechanic, dentist or plumber?

Dentist and mechanic. Both feel like hostage situations because you have no choice but to spend the money and it’s money that would be so much fun spent elsewhere.

BONUS: If you are going to have a Lenten practice or discipline, what is it? If you have a book or on-line resource, be sure to share it!

I’m going to be reading through An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor

PS – had no idea “sea oats” was a thing

In Case of Discrimination, Kick out the Gays

This conversation between Anderson Cooper and Arizona legislator Al Melvin is worth a watch. It’s 10 minutes long, so grab a cup of tea and a biscuit and settle in. Again – totally worth it.

The point is made over and over by Melvin that the issue is about a religious liberty bill and it’s not about discrimination at all. Discrimination is wrong. It’s bad. In fact, according to Melvin, no one in Arizona does it. That’s a relief. I was afraid I’d moved to Bigot Town. Never mind that federal and state law doesn’t include sexual orientation in its listing of protected classes and so it’s ALREADY legal in most places in AZ (except Phoenix and some other towns who have passed ordinances preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation) to deny services, hire or fire based on sexual orientation. But, since this law isn’t about discrimination, I guess it doesn’t apply.

I’m sure this was on Anderson’s list of questions but he just didn’t get to it. I’d love to ask Mr. Melvin if he thinks it’s ok for a Jewish or Muslim business owner to refuse service to someone based on their religious liberty. Back it up, Jack. There’s where we’d have a problem. Mr. Melvin claims this bill is about religious liberty but really it’s about him and people who share HIS religious beliefs to be able to legally discriminate against people who do not share their beliefs, specifically discriminate against one sector of the population who they assume disagrees with them. This isn’t about religious liberty but about being able to legally protect conservative Christians so they can try to gain back some of the power they think they’ve lost.

Another point that Cooper got Melvin to own is that there has not yet been an issue of religious liberty being infringed upon. This is preemptive legislation. You know, just to get a jump on all the gays that want to have lunch.

Finally, Mr. Melvin is running for governor of AZ. I’m thrilled that he made himself look so stupid on national television. I know that his refusal to say that firing someone just because they’re gay is discrimination will come back to bite him at the ballot box.


Yesterday my mom and I went to see Philomena, the film based on the true story of Philomena Lee, an Irish woman who spent 50 years looking for the son who was taken from her when she was a teenager. Because of lack of sex education and available birth control, there were a number of teenage girls who found themselves pregnant and alone in mid-20th-century Ireland and ended up in Magdalene Houses for lack of other options. Philomena was essentially enslaved in one of these houses from the ages of 18-22 where she worked in a laundry 7 days a week and was permitted to see her son for 1 hour a day until he was essentially sold to an American family and his mother never saw him again. Her son, Anthony, was never out of her mind for a moment as she left the house, became a nurse, married and had other children. On her son’s 50th birthday she tells her daughter about the existence of this son and that she’s always wanted to find him. Her daughter by chance meets Martin Sixsmith, a cynical journalist who has recently been sacked from a position in the British Prime Minister’s office. She asks him if he’d help her mother and he rather pointedly explains that he doesn’t do “human interest” stories. Sixsmith ends up changing his mind and the two end up on a rather winding journey to find Philomena’s son and resurrect Sixsmith’s career.


The journeys of these two individuals are somewhat disparate, as Sixsmith goes on this journey motivated by his atheism and his disdain for the Catholic Church and Philomena, a devout Catholic, goes to prove God’s hand in her experience. During the search for Philomena’s son, now known as Michael Hess, the name given him by his adoptive parents, Philomena & Sixsmith discover that Michael was a successful attorney who worked for Presidents Reagan and Bush 41. They also discovered that he died 8 years earlier. This is a heartbreaking moment in the film that momentarily derails Philomena’s resolve and she almost returns to England. Knowing that there are people she can talk to who knew her son she and Sixsmith continue to seek out people who knew her son and who could tell her what she wanted to know – did he think of her?

Philomena and Sixsmith finally get Michael’s partner Peter to talk to them and show them pictures. Philomena explained that he had been taken from her and that she had wanted to find him all along. It turns out, Peter and Michael had gone to Ireland and visited the convent where he had been born andin a shocking twist, learned he was in fact buried there. Their initial visit where they had been told all records were burned and no one knew anything of Michael was a lie. Philomena was baffled, as one imagines a naive believer might be, whereas Sixsmith was enraged, feeling justified in his disdain for the church. When they returned to the convent, he confronted the old nun who had been around when Philomena had her son and the nun was recalcitrant. She angrily proclaimed that these girls had gotten what they deserved. Philomena heard the commotion and interrupted, chastised Sixsmith for his rudeness and offered the nun her forgiveness.

I’ve recently been thinking about forgiveness and wondering if I truly have forgiven a couple of people. I’ve had recurring dreams about them in which they are trying to reconcile with me and I won’t have it. Then I’d feel guilty in my waking hours and trying to figure out what was going on and why I couldn’t let go of this. Turns out I’m ok. I feel like God said, you’re good and you’re being fooled. So my dreams, which have often been a tool of oppression for me, had once again been used to make me think I was not as far along on this journey as I actually was. That was a relief. Forgivenss is hard. Philomena said that when Sixsmith accused her of taking the easy way out. It’s not easy. But it is right. In that moment, Philomena was Jesus and it was beautiful to see.

Strange Bedfellows – You’ll get that joke in a minute

Recently there have been a rash of state laws that are attempting to guarantee “religious liberty” to business owners who want legal protection when they want to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. Apparently, making a cake for a gay wedding means you are automatically invited to be in the wedding party, obligated to buy an expensive gift, and be first in the receiving line. I’m curious if the makers of these wedding cakes give their customers some sort of questionnaire regarding their lifestyle in case they are living together before marriage or involved in a poly-amorous relationship so they know not to make cakes for them either. I’m assuming this questionnaire includes questions about whether any potential cake-eaters gossip, lie, are disobedient to their parents, or cheat on taxes. Those people don’t get cake either.

These 21st century Jim Crow laws have brought out a lot of protesters from all sides and I’ve actually found articles that make me agree with Fox News contributors and Andy Stanley, of all people. The end, dear readers, is very near.

Kirsten Powers, the aforementioned Fox News person, wrote:
“It’s probably news to most married people that their florist and caterer were celebrating their wedding union. Most people think they just hired a vendor to provide a service. It’s not clear why some Christian vendors are so confused about their role here.”

Couldn’t agree more. With a Fox News contributor. I’m already freaked out about my next birthday and my job and what I’m going to be when I grow up, ministry-wise, but now, I’m agreeing with someone from Fox News. It’s a sign of the apocalypse.

Then we have Andy Stanley. He said: “Serving people we don’t see eye to eye with is the essence of Christianity. Jesus died for a world with which he didn’t see eye to eye. If a bakery doesn’t want to sell its products to a gay couple, it’s their business. Literally. But leave Jesus out of it.”

Seriously. An evangelical making sense? Again – the end. Near. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

There are also people who are using platforms to say that their religious liberty is being threatened. There are lots of pastors, mostly evangelicals, who believe their religious liberty is being threatened. It’s totally not. No one is going to take away their churches, make them say things in sermons or make them marry gays. They can still do/say/preach whatever they want without being persecuted by the government. Evangelicals cry religious persecution when they’re asked to treat people of all faiths fairly and when they are no longer in power. White male evangelicals are the worst about this. It’s highly disrespectful to the Christians who are actually being persecuted around the world.

I’m not exactly sure what these state legislators in KS or AZ are thinking they’re going to accomplish by bringing back pre-Civil Rights era legislation and allowing businesses to target the gay community. They will hurt the economies they’re trying to protect. They will limit tourism, commerce and incomes. They are pandering to the far right of their bases and will ultimately lose the middle and somehow, in a mid-term election year, thing that’s a good idea. The mind boggles on so many levels. The KS law has been abandoned but the AZ law is still in play. There’s a protest on Monday that I’m going to try to make, and I hope that our dumbass governor keeps her law-signing pen sheathed.

Update: Our two Republican Senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake have asked Gov. Brewer to veto this bill. As have Mitt Romney and a group of 3 of the state legislators who originally backed the bill. It’s a world gone mad.

May Have Also Left My Ministry Mojo in San Francisco

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m going through a ministry mid-life crisis. Maybe it’s 20 years in ministry fatigue. I’ve just found that I don’t at all feel comfortable in a traditional church any more. I can visit, but at this point I don’t really want to be heavily involved. I am anticipating some major transition in the next few weeks (fingers crossed) and until then, I see myself on a sabbatical from all things church.

The thing that did it was the weekly newsletter from my church in San Francisco. I’m still on their mailing list, and I think I may even still technically be a member. Anyway, I saw in the newsletter that the church is doing their Ash Wednesday service in the 16th Street BART station in San Francisco and that’s sort of the straw that broke it for me. That’s the kind of thing I want to be involved with. No offense to churches that aren’t there, but that’s where I want to be. I don’t want to be preoccupied with buildings. I don’t want to be worrying about entrenched ministry teams not communicating with other ministry teams. I don’t want to be part of a denominational structure that hamstrings ministry efforts. I don’t really even want to be part of a church that talks about doing ministry in BART stations. I want to be part of a church that does it. I don’t want to talk about it. I want to do it.

I would think that there must be more disaffected church people around, here and in other places. How does one find them?

Friday Five: Five Favorites

janintx writes:

Just getting back from four days of silence, I am suddenly thrust back into the world. Wrestling with choices and seeing elderly decline in others, I am flummoxed about a Friday Five–so think of a favorite off the top of your head for:

1. food – all things Mexican food

2. drink – Margarita. Duh.

3. animal – I like small dogs, like yorkies, pugs, shih tzus.

4. color – right now I’m into mint green

5. time of day – sunset

Friday Random Five!

revkarla writes:

Hello Gals and Pals,

Happy Valentine’s Day!  I know that some (a lot) of you are digging out from snow and ice and lack of electricity.  We feel for you, and love you!     Some of you have a love-hate relationship with Valentine’s Day.  ‘Nuff said.     I happen to enjoy Valentine’s Day in spite of having exactly one date ever on VD (before I was married).   I love celebrating Love!   So, all that is to say is that our Friday Five is to tell us about five random things that you love.

Personal Note:

Ok, so I hate Valentine’s Day. And not for the obvious reasons. I just don’t think it’s romantic to do something romantic when all of society is pressuring you to DO SOMETHING ROMANTIC. I find flowers for no reason on a Thursday in June much more romantic. Just me. I also think we should tell people we love that we love them often, and not once a year because Hallmark tells us to. That said, I’m willing to play here without being a Bitter Betty.

1. I love the weather in Arizona this time of year. Sorry for those of you who are digging out of snow and out of electricity. But seriously – it’s in the 80s here. It’s perfect.

2. I love spending time with my niece and nephew. I love seeing their little personalities form and getting to know their preferences. They are hilarious and adorable.

3. I love shopping. I know – shallow – but I love it. I love following fashion trends, I love watching the runway shows from fashion week, I love watching my niece develop her interest in fashion design, I love all things about fashion and retail.

4. I love the Bible. In seminary I had the privilege of taking both Greek and Hebrew and reading the Bible in its original language. I personally hated Greek but possibly because the teacher wasn’t great. I LOVED Hebrew. It was like reading the Bible in color and English is black & white.

5. I love enjoying a meal with people I love.