Monday, October 30, 2006

burying talents and bulbs

I've been feeling pressure to get bulbs planted lately, so much so that I got myself a blisted in the middle of my palm. I've planted a bunch, am excited and hopeful about what the spring may bring.

This past Saturday, as I was trying to dig some holes in the Julian soil--having sworn that I would never again attempt to move a shovel through it after we finish the foundation on this darn building project--I was thinking of commentary on the Parable of the Talents I read once. As I recall, it was by Ched Myers and someone else. (I couldn't find it online when I looked just now. The Other Side has ceased to exist online, and that makes me sad.) In it, they offered a fresh view of the parable. The man who buried his talent in the ground, they suggest, may actually be the hero of this story, told to working-class folk. They'd see the clever pun--and know the difference between the kind of amazing things that are able to multiply when buried and the things that just rust. (They have a whole commentary about how the rich man who gave out the talents must be a greedy rich man, and how the little guy saw through that.)

But the piece that feels fun to me, as I think about the parable, is how desperate I now feel about getting these things buried.

The bulbs I have now are ones that my sisters-in-law and I dug up in Julian. They'd been planted by Matt's grandmother years ago, and multiplied themselves into a bounty of springtime yellow. And though the Cedar Fire destroyed the house, the next spring, those bulbs burst forth into life again.

It still amazes me that a fire that could melt cast iron skillets did not destroy bulbs. It gives me hope.

SO, the problem is that the new house we're building went right on top of where most of the bulbs were. So, one day late in that spring, we drove up to try to dig as many bulbs as we could. Now, I'm no expert in these things, but my understanding is that bulbs need to keep their leaves as longs as posslble so they can shift from giving out their blooms to storing up food for the next year's season. And we most certainly cut that process short.

These bulbs already have a lot against them--a too-short life cycle, and, now, they've been out of the ground through one whole year's cycle.

I feel like, if they're gonna go on living, they need to get in the ground this year. Which leads me to my blister-inducing activities.

And it all feels very bold and daring--getting something buried so it has a chance at living.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Happy Warholidays?

I read today in the NYTimes that Warhol is hip this year. A marketing genius, all these years after his early death.

"'But Andy wasn’t pseudohip,' Mr. Doonan said. 'He is the primordial mulch from which all cool in Manhattan sprang.'"

Somehow, combined with the YahooNews that Weird Al is "kind of a pop culture icon at this point," it feels like our world may be folding in on its own mockery of itself.

And this all comes as I'm contemplating what an "alternative" Christmas Eve service might look like.

I think it should be not so original: same story as every year, same songs, candle light for "Silent Night," and communion. Just what it needs to be.

I do not mean to suggest that Weird Al and Andy Warhol will tell me how to worship, but maybe they're reminding me that there's something rich about repetition, about redoing old things.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

stolen beauty

Since we moved into our house, I believe that 3 things have been stolen from us:
our mailbox
a geranium off the front porch
blossoms of my new passionflower vine

I have no idea why the mailbox went missing. And, technically, it happened before we moved in. Now we have an ugly, duct-taped-on box.

But the other 2 things have my puzzled and searching for the right internal response.

They were things of beauty, which I don't feel like I can possess on my own.

The geranium grew from a cutting I took from Matt's parents' house--part of a proliferation of a rapid-growing plant. It easily took root in a new pot, and graciously offered new blooms. Who am I to own it? And, if someone wanted a bit of beauty for their front porch, I guess I can be happy to share.

The same goes for the passionflower blooms. I am struck by their bold beauty, and can't blame anyone who wanted one. I just wish they were still attached to the growing plant.

I guess I'm sort of excited that someone noticed their beauty.

But I miss them.

I hope they continue to spread an appreciation for the beauty of this world.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

i am not alone!

this blog-o-world is crazy. with just a click of a button, i discovered that there are MORE THAN FORTY people willing to list "Rubin and Ed" as a favorite movie.

shear insanity.

but, somehow, the world feels warmier, friendly, cozier.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

job as advocate

This morning, reading Job with women at the Rescue Mission, I finally realized how wonderful Job is, as advocate for all those whose lives are hard. As a reminder, against judgemental people, that it's not the case that we deserve the hard stuff we get.

I don't think we, the Rescue Mission women and I, have ever moved as easily between our own contexts and biblical contexts--we shifted back and forth through the poetic metaphors that seemed to thick when I read them in college. Job's "friends" are all those people who try to tell us that if we just repent, our lives will get easy. We'll have nice homes (and will always have our rent money on time), and will regain custody of the kids the CPS took away, and will be free from addictions.

And Job had some really quick, cutting come-backs to the smooth and easy religious cliches those friends try to lay on him.

I want him on my advocacy team.

Friday, October 06, 2006


This morning, Matt and I made pancakes on our new, old stove. My stove-with-an-old-griddle fantasies began to be fulfilled, and it was good.

Our kitchen is still a long ways from, well, being fully functional. But the little victories are sweet.

It's hard to compare the delight of griddle-made pancakes to the convenience of a fridge that's indoors, so I'll just say the goodness continues to grow.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


i decided that my counter-apocalyptic activity of the day would be planting bulbs.
(for more on the counter-apocalyptic, see catherine keller's "apocalypse now and then: a feminist guide to the end of the world.")

it felt good.

i'm liking having soil to garden in.

the cosmos is telling me that we need a new administration

I like to think that I'm a pretty politically active person. And, I like to fancy that my politics should be obvious, given what I talk about around church. (Of course, I think my political beliefs flow pretty naturally from my view of God--like that we should care about poor people and that we should be careful to protect people who live on the margins of our communities and that we should care about the earth. I think it's pretty obvious.)

Lately, though, I keep getting messages that I need to be clearer. Or more explicit.

I've been encountering people who are uncertain about whether there's a place for the in the church, as a political liberal. Some of them even come to church.

I certainly don't say right-wing things. Are they imagining them? Do we expect them as Christians in USAmerica? When I say "Jesus," do I automatically take on the baggage of America's Christian Right?

Today someone came by the office who sees a much broader conspiracy at work in our current administration. 9/11, this war in Iraq, our sidelining of those living in poverty today, the accumulation of greater wealth in the hands of fewer people. Apocalyptic, prophetic conspiracy, quoting from Daniel and Habbakuk and Revelation.

And, though not being one given to the anxiety of apocalyptic conspiracies, I thought he had some points. Among them that we churches need to be more vocal.

So I'm pondering what degree of vocal-ness I'm called to.

And praying for a new administration.