Monday, September 29, 2008

transformation (worth more than a hill of beans?)

I have a whole bunch of blog posts swimming around in my head.  Mostly, I haven't committed them to actual words yet.  So, in that spirit, I start this post with a picture.  I don't have any deep thoughts to accompany it; I just thought these beans had wonderful colors.  They came out of the garden as I was tearing out the last of the summer garden.

After the help of many friends and a load of compost, the winter garden is now doing its underground magic.  There's something daring about starting with seeds.  It feels much more dangerous and beautiful than seedlings from the nursery.  And it reminds me that garden life starts with dried up, dead things: seeds from old plants and a pile of decaying compost.
Speaking of dying things, or at least, things dying to their previous selves, I've been taking note of the gulf fritillary that love my passionflowers, and enjoying their transformation.  I caught this one in the act of making its cocoon.
Thanks to recent conversations with Colleen, my dad and others, I've been pondering the transformations that may be life-giving for the church.  As I read the communion liturgy, proclaiming that Jesus Christ saves us from "slavery to sin and death," I mourn the way our own, institutional fear of dying seems to occupy much of our attention.  As people of resurrection, I pray that we might trust more (and more fearlessly) in new birth.  

And, as Colleen helped me consider just this morning over coffee, birth is not simple, clean or solitary.  I wonder what it would look like for the church to put more energy into the life-giving, painful, uncontrolled process of helping prepare for new life and new birth?  (Perhaps we should put energy into dying well?)  I suspect our priorities would need to shift a bit, and that we'd need to be open to a considerable bit more uncertainty.

I wonder what our caterpillar is thinking as it forms this cocoon.  Does it have any idea what life might be like on the other side?

Friday, September 19, 2008


a little urban passionflower
and some butterflies learning about the birds and the bees

My garden is really a mess.  I haven't taken good care of it for a while.  So, I'm just counting it as grace that beautiful things are lurking in it, if you look closely. 

Monday, September 08, 2008

crossing over

So, in preparation for this Sunday's worship and sharing the story of Moses leading the people of Israel across the sea, I've been trying to think of other dramatic and transformative water crossings, from the world of film.

So far my list includes:

-this clip from Man from Snowy River where Jim Craig follows the wild horses on down the edge of the ravine and through the snowy river.

-Into the Wild, where Christopher McCandless crosses a river to get to the bus where he makes home in the Alaska wild, and then gets trapped by that same river when it's risen.

-The Mission, where Robert DeNiro's character keeps trying to carry an incredible load of armor and things up the waterfall, as if penance; he finally gets cut free from it.

Who can help me with more?

Thursday, September 04, 2008

jazz worship

I've been playing with ideas for how to name and promote jazz worship this November, and I came across this gem.  I couldn't resist posting.  It comes from here.

Several years ago, in my Bible study at the Rescue Mission, the women there talked me into going through Revelation with them.  One day, as we were beginning conversation about end-times, I asked how they thought we'd know if Jesus were coming.   I was imagining we'd have rich conversation about how to discern what's "real."

"There's gonna be trumpets," one woman said, without missing a beat.

I guess she didn't grow up in the church with the sign.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

labor day creations

I spent part of my holiday weekend making stuff, inspired by my garden.  First came these cupcakes, which were really an excuse to use my first passionfruits in the kitchen.  That's a mango and passionfruit curd you see, right on top of a rich, dark chocolate ganache.  

"Ganache" and "curd" are new cooking vocabulary for me this year.  Exotic, eh?  I also put a little tangelo-pineapple marmalade into the yellow cake, for kicks, so this little guy could become an attempt at a 5-minute tropical getaway.  And, it's a getaway partly grown in local backyards: new heights in imaginary eco-tourism?
My adventure from yesterday involved playing with fruits and vegetables, exploring their printmaking possibilities.  Turns out I really dig the look of limes and onions as stamps.
Slowly, they're becoming napkins and placemats, I think.  I printed them onto pieces of an old duvet from the thrift store.
Here are the stamps I tried.  I wonder what else I could use out of the refrigerator...