Friday, November 24, 2006

i didn't really mean to buy anything today...

Today's RevGalPal Friday Five seemed just right for now. I just had a BLAST a Home Depot, in spite of it making me mad, and am now realizing that I bought something on Buy Nothing Day, even though I didn't really mean to. Does it count if it's just shingles for a family house that you're rebuilding afer a wildfire burns yours down?

1. Would you ever/have you ever stood in line for something--tickets, good deals on electronics, Tickle Me Elmo?
I'd stand in line for u2 tix, and am very grateful to have a sister-in-law who did that for me last year! ;) And I wished my folks would stand in line for a Cabbage Patch Kid once, but that was a long time ago.

2. Do you enjoy shopping as a recreational activity?
Tonight, I had a blast shopping, but there were a lot of extinuating circumstances.

My husband and I, plus his siblings and parents, got back from a day of working on the house in Julian. The guys intended to go to Home Depot to fetch the 20 more bundles of shingles that we need. A "man" errand. But they got distracted in the workshop garage, and weren't going to make it. So, Shannon and I convinced them that we could run the errand. And, as grace would have it, we ran into Emily as we pulled out of the long driveway, and convinced her to come on our girly mission. With just 20 minutes 'til closing time, we sprinted through the store, begging for forklift assistance and dragging a half ton--literally, a half ton--of shingles to the checkout. It was more fun than I know how to convey, and the odd looks of those who were in disbelief that these 3 girls could handle or want a half ton of shingles were priceless. The pathetic service only served to buoy our own sense of accomplisment.

3. Your favorite place to browse without necessarily buying anything.
the internet and the garden store

4. Gift cards: handy gifts for the loved one who has everything, or cold impersonal symbol of all that is wrong in our culture?
depends entirely on the situation. And while gift registries (another thing entirely) can feel like obligations rising out of materialism and commercialism at their worst, I also love the image of a community coming together to get the things a couple or new parents will need for their life. What a beautiful way to embody our belonging together than to have a house full of the things you use every day, or even on special occasions of hospitality, that are also tokens of the love and support that come from their givers. I think giftcards sometimes function this way--they let people buy the stuff they really need, and honor that there can be a blessing in being able to contribute to that.

On the other hand, I still have a $50 gift card from Tiffany & Co that was a wedding present. Touching, but not my style. And you can't buy a darn thing at Tiffany's for $50... :)

5. Discuss the spiritual and theological issues inherent in people coming to blows over a Playstation 3.
that's just sad.

Monday, November 20, 2006

five things i'm still grateful for on monday

ok, so the revgal pal assignment was from last friday, but i had this crazy cold, and my head wasn't working.

here's what i'm grateful for today:
1. a loving husband who checks in on me, and when he can't get me on the phone, comes by in person
2. lettuce that's growing in my front yard garden, in spite of my ignorance about gardening
3. curiosity--today manifest in tangential online exploration only vaguely related to sermon preparation (Did you know that "Christ the King" Sunday didn't exist 'til Pope Pius XI made it a feast day in 1925? 1925, like when Mussolini was just in power...interesting time for Christ to be true King...)
4. friends, both far and near--especially the ones who are still fabulous to be with, even tho' our visits are way too few and far apart
5. my family, the folks i was born with and the ones i married into and the ones i chose who are as-good-as
(6. grace)

those are in no particular order. and i figure that if i'm late, i might as well blow the assignment and include a 6th.

Monday, November 13, 2006

gotta learn spanish

Tonight, I walked to my friendly neighborhood mercado. They have a fabulous deli/lunch counter. And tortilla chips to die for. Matt swears by their carne asada burritos. Says they're better than Hilberto's. That's pretty incredible. So, when I got home from work and Matt was starving, I headed over there.

I decided it was a pollo night. So I attempted to order two ("dos," I know) pollo asado burritos. And I was utterly unable to convey that to the woman working the counter. She had to get, no kidding, help from about 5 other people. My Nebraska-style pronunciations just aren't cuttin' it.

I felt ashamed. I am totally unable to do really basic things. I gotta learn Spanish.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

on conservatives and liberals

I heard Peter Beinart, recent author of The Good Fight: how liberals--and only liberals--can win the war on terror and make america great again, speak at a local event yesterday.

I haven't read his book yet, and am not ready to wade into the debate about whether or not he's a good spokesperson for the kind of liberalism that I love.

I have, however, been intrigued by what seems to me to be an ironic mis-paring between the conservative politics he describes and the conservative Christianity that so often support them.

He defined conservatives as folks who think USAmerica's problem is that we don't believe enough in ourself. By advocating the strength of America, a good and virtuous nation which has accomplished democracy and ought to spread it around the world, conservatives gain momentum.

He defined liberals as those who see USAmerica, like any human endeavor, as a nation in continual need of shaping, as we seek to become virtuous but deal with the reality that we are subject to the same flaws as all human institutions. Our strength is in our down doubt--our own commitment to ensuring that no one within our nation has too much power, and that our foreign policy is shaped in concert with less-powerful nations. They will keep us honest, and just.

What strikes me as ironic is how much this definition of "liberalism" shares in common with the basic theological anthropology that evangelical Christianity espouses--it begins with the sinful nature of humanity. Our "fallen" condition. (We liberal Christians tend to focus on this a bit less, though we're still glad to find redemption and grace!)

I would think that liberalism--acknowledgement of our own failures and inadequacy--would resonate with evangelical Christinaity.

Of course, I write this as Yahoo headlines tell about a leader of USAmerican evangelicalism, Ted Haggard, who is accused of meth use and of having hired another man to have sex with him. I'm not yet sure what to think about this. It reminds me again of how our understanding of sexuality is broken, in the church; perhaps Haggard was yet another victim of the sort of spiritual violence that convinces gay and lesbian people that they are unacceptable in God's eyes.

Somehow, though, it feels to me like it's time for an invitation to acknowledge our own brokenness: as a nation whose foreign policy is far from righetous, as Christians who--though we are practicing at getting better--are not yet perfect, as humans in need of each other and God to be reconciled.