Saturday, February 17, 2007

Soup and Study at St. Stephen's in Columbus

From the Saint Stephen's Episcopal Church newsletter:

Sunday Soup and Study continues looking at Christianity in America: The Present. On February 18, our guest will be the Rev. John S. Paddock, Rector of Christ Church, Dayton, a church in an urban center. He and his parish are focused on issues of poverty, racism, homelessness, and economic decline. Christ Church - like St. Stephen's - is a member of The Center for Progressive Christianity. The title of his talk is "With Fingers Crossed Behind My Back: How A Progressive Christian Recites the Creed."

Friday, February 16, 2007

Just doing what the voices tell me...

I used that line the other night in response to someone who has tried to "reason" with me about the futility of my latest internet project. I was being tongue in cheek, but I was also referring to something I've addressed before, in my story God, the Blue Puppy. As the mother of young children who watched Blue's Clues, I enjoyed the idea that God left little "clues" to let me know when I was on the right track toward fulfilling the purpose She has in mind for me.

Of course, now that my kids are 11 and 13, that show is a distant (sometimes pleasantly nostalgic) memory, so I don't talk about "God's Clues" any more. But from time to time I do feel "called", for lack of a better word, to take action. How do I know it's something I'm meant to do? 1. It feels out of character and scary. 2. The damn thing just won't go away. So, while I don't have a name for that insistent feeling that there is something I must do, there is an image/metaphor that seems to pop into my mind: Joan of Arc. Of course, the big problem with that... that for Joan, it led to this.

And, you know, I am so not into that.

Of course I'm being metaphorical here--I don't expect to be barbecued. "Flamed" perhaps, in the good old-fashioned usenet sense, or potentially banned or reprimanded, depending on the site. Because the issue I currently feel that I must do something about, was spurred by the Orwellian-ly named Blogroll Amnesty Day. But it's not just about medium to small blogs being purged from the blogrolls of the "big dog" bloggers. It's about the increasingly evident consolidation of power that can be seen in some of the top ranking blogs. That's just wrong in my mind. The blogosphere has such potential to be truly democratic. As I wrote yesterday,

But the blogroll purge which, as I have already stated, does not affect me personally, has been the catalyst that prompted me to revisit some of these issues. Also an overarching issue that I have noticed over time: the man really tries to have it both ways. On the one hand, he's been quoted as saying that he is "not a leader" or that he's "just a guy with a blog". But on the other hand, he has often behaved like a very autocratic guy who just "happens" to have one of the most widely read blogs on the Democratic side of the aisle. And he has a great degree of power over what issues can see the light of day in front page posts.

This was starting to remind me of the situation with the mainstream media. They were controlled by interests other than "we the people", and they were too willing to play along with Bush during the buildup to the war in Iraq. They were also silent for far too long about the election integrity issues that many of us saw a mile away.

Anyway, in addition to work, digging out from the snow, and just generally the day to day responsibilities of an ordinary American who does *not* have ad space worth $9000 a week needs to keep up with, this is what I've been working on lately...

Read the point of view of the smaller bloggers on "Blogroll Amnesty Day"

Saturday, February 03, 2007

We Believe Conference--more to come

I received an e-mail from Heather, who does the web site at We Believe, that there will be minutes forthcoming, so those of us who couldn't attend the retreat, or who, like me, had to leave early, can be kept in the loop. In the meantime, I wanted to post a link to the keynote address Rev. Tim Ahrens gave in Washington D.C. at Faith in Public Life's Faith Leadership Meeting, which took place in December. He read the first part of it aloud to us at the meeting earlier this week, and it was the first time I'd heard it...
The day after the midterm elections, Katie Barge and I talked by phone. With her encouragement, I sat down and wrote these words:

This morning the sun rose once again over beautiful Ohio. It was, perhaps, one of the most beautiful sunrises I have seen here.

Yesterday, rain fell and a steady wind swept through our land. The rain brought cleansing. The wind brought change to our state. The change came in political offices. But, much more so, the wind blew through the hearts and minds of people who courageously stepped forward to vote their values. People stepped in the polls in 88 counties and said, "We believe the working poor deserve a hand up. We believe gambling is no way to pay for our children̢۪s education. We believe that smoke free air and a healthy environment is better for us than smoke-filled rooms." People said, "We believe in standing up for justice and against elected officials who 'stay the course' even when no one can tell what the course is and where we are going."

Today, I am proud to be a Christian leader in Ohio. I am proud of those in all faith traditions with whom I stand to make a brighter and more beautiful future. We love God with our whole hearts, minds, and souls. We love our neighbors as ourselves. We are multi-cultural and multiracial. We are bridge builders. We love humanity and don't seek to demonize others. We are faithful and moral to the core of our souls. But we will not impose our faith and morality on others.

We are uniting people everywhere and we are united in this effort. We are and will continue to be ones who seek to heal the world. We will not be silent. We will listen to the voice of God guiding us forward in faith and action.

Today, I stand in the sunshine of this state beaming with delight. I stand among all Ohioans who braved the wind and the rain yesterday to make a change. I am humbled to be counted among those, who on a rainy, windswept day lifted their heads, walked into the prevailing winds stood courageously and voted for a change - determined to show God and one another that wind itself could change.

On November 7th, The people of Ohio demonstrated the audacity to hope! Ohioans heard the cries of the poor and answered. Ohioans spoke out against corruption and greed. Ohioans stood up from the midst of the mud-slinging in this campaign season and declared, "We see what we need to do . . . and we will do it!" Today, in the sunshine of God's love, we step forward. That is what I see today as I soak in the sunlight. We believe in God. We believe in Ohio.
Click here for the rest.