Half-Way Through Lent

img_6970Yesterday marked the half-way point of Lent.  I started out pretty good, but got lax after the first two weeks.  Kind of felt like making New Year’s Resolutions and only keeping them until the end of January at best.

Still wondering, after all these years, how to make real progress on keeping up with commitments to myself.  I seem to do ok with following through on my promises to others, but have a much harder time sticking to the resolutions that involve changing me!

Do others have that problem?  Would love to hear from you about your successes, failures, or even half measures.  Need some inspiration.

Advertisements
Standard

This February 14th is Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day

I don’t remember a year that Ash Wednesday fell on Feb. 14th which is Valentine’s Day.  Not quite sure how to celebrate/observe those two very different occasions this coming week.

Usually on Ash Wednesday, I try to fast and abstain from meat…and to begin a spiritual practice that I will follow for the next Forty Days of Lent.  This year I decided to practice a friend’s tradition of filling up 40 bags of things that I want to discard, pass along or donate to charity.  This will take some discipline as every day I will start out with a different area of my house that I want to de-clutter.  Hopefully, by the time Holy Week and Easter roll around, I will have made good on this promise to myself to do this.

For the last few years on Valentine’s Day, Ted has made a lovely lobster dinner complete with a champagne toast and perhaps even a chocolate treat for dessert.  That tradition seems a little decadent for Ash Wednesda, but at least it would be a “meatless meal.”  We often watch a romantic movie or perhaps play some favorite cd’s full of love songs.  That seems quite the opposite of going to church for the imposition of ashes and pondering our mortality.

Perhaps one way to observe both Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day this Wednesday would be to spend the morning and early afternoon focusing on the start of Lent, the penitential season of the church…and then to switch gears around dinnertime to focus on love and romance, the themes of Valentine’s Day.  I really don’t think God would mind such a creative way to spend February 14th this year.  What do you think?

PS. Just learned that the last time Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday was the year I was born…1945💖

Standard

Words Matter

Words Do Matter.  That is why I am so furious over President Trump’s use of the word “Shithole” when describing certain countries in Central America and Africa.

Two questions:

  1. Why does Trump use derogatory words to describe other human beings, organizations that he doesn’t like, and now foreign countries?
  2. Why do Republicans and Trump supporters put up with this behavior?

I am worried about what this is saying to our children.  Will they think this behavior is OK?

I am embarrassed that people around the world, including foreign leaders, see Trump’s behavior as a sign of moral and ethical decay in America.

Yet, I try to remain hopeful that once the Trump train jumps the tracks, that good people will rise up and right our ship of state.  I tell myself that it is only a matter of time, but it is so hard to sit by and watch the train wreck happen.

What words are you using to describe the situation that our country is in?  And are you hopeful that it won’t be too long until words matter once again?

Standard
Standard

I still give a darn!

I know it’s been ages since I have written a blog. Now that we are into the new year, it’s time for me to get back to writing “everyday blessings plus.”

We have been going through a cold snap here in Florida, and last night I wore my favorite “sleep socks” to keep me warm. When I woke up this morning, I noticed that they were a little worse for wear. They were actually “holey.”

Got out my darning spool/egg…and along with needle and thread, I managed to darn my socks to extend their life.

Wish it was that easy to fix other things that need mending in our world. I will do my best to seek out local opportunities to make this world a better place…because I still give a darn!

Happy New Year!

Standard

Why are Women who speak Truth to Power called “Nasty”?

This morning I woke up to the news that President Trump called the Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico “nasty.”  This does not surprise me because he has no tolerance for powerful women who speak their mind, especially when it involves his ego.  And believe me, Trump’s ego is bruised this week…even more than normal…after his Health and Human Services Cabinet Secretary had to resign in disgrace because of abuse of power.

Yesterday, as I watched the CNN interview  with Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, I realized that she was being goaded into speaking the truth to power.  The reporter asked the major if she had heard that Trump’s acting Homeland Security Director (also a woman) remarked that what was happening in Puerto Rico was a “good news story.”

Mayor Yulin Cruz just stared at the camera for a few seconds.  I felt that I could read her mind.  Do I tell the truth or do I hold back and hope that Trump will send the help that my people need right now?  She opted for the truth.

She made a few remarks and then said: “Damn it, this is not a good news story.  This is a people are dying story.”

Her people lacked housing because their homes were either damaged or destroyed.  Their hurricane supplies such as food and water were running out and could not be replaced as stores and businesses were shut down or not able to be restocked.  Medical care was in short supply as hospitals were damaged, and those still up and running depended on receiving more fuel for their generators.  Diabetics who relied on refrigerated insulin and kidney patients who needed dialysis were going without the treatments that were keeping them alive.

Bridges had been washed away and roads were blocked by fallen trees.  Fuel was in short supply to run generators or drive cars and trucks across the now dangerous roads.

Hampering emergency responders were two things: 1) lack of communication because cell towers were down, and 2) electric power had been knocked out across the country.

And this morning Trump responded like a bully as he tweeted from his golf course in New Jersey.  I will not repeat his comments except to say that they were unpresidential.

How long, O Lord, do we have to suffer his disparaging remarks?  When will the GOP establishment say “enough already”?

And when will women who speak truth to power be applauded rather than put down. It will happen when the general public rises up and says enough…”Enough!”

 

 

Standard

Time to Overcome Fear and Get Out of the Boat

As events in Charlotte unfolded, I was studying the gospel lesson appointed to be read aloud and preached on in many Christian churches this weekend. It is the story of Jesus’ disciples being stuck on a boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee during a terrible storm. Suddenly they saw Jesus walking on the water right towards them. They cried out in fear. Jesus said: “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” (Matthew 14:27b)

This gospel story goes on to say that Peter, at Jesus’ invitation, got out of the boat and began walking on the water too. But when fear overtook Peter, he began to sink. Jesus took his hand and saved him from drowning, and they both got in the boat and went to shore with the other disciples.

This weekend, I felt like I was drowning in the news coming out of Charlotteville, VA. I saw videos and photos of mostly angry white men carrying torches and chanting slogans that were reminiscent of what I thought were the bygone days of “night riders” terrorizing their local communities. At first I thought it was a lynch mob headed towards a diverse group of people who had gathered to pray at a local church ahead of the planned “Unite the Right” rally the next day. Everyone knew that the upcoming march would be racially charged. People of faith had gathered to worship and plan a peaceful strategy to stand up to the “alt right” who were invading the town. I was convinced that the night would end in bloodshed. But that would wait until the next day when a white supremacist terrorist rammed his car into a group of peaceful protestors who were there to stand up to the neo-Nazis, the KKK, and other white supremacist groups. It was an act of domestic terrorism.

One young woman was killed and nineteen others were injured in this attack…in broad daylight, with police presence, in a normally quiet Virginia college town, with the world looking on in horror.

Many people went to church the next day to pray for those who were killed and injured, and for our country, and for our leaders. Enough is enough. We are in the midst of a racial storm that is tearing our country apart. It is being fed by “fear of the other.” It is not a matter of Left versus Right, or White against Black, or about “Making America Great Again.” Racism is about fear and hatred.

Throughout the weekend, my newsfeed was bursting with stories about Charlottesville and people’s responses to the hatred and violence they were seeing. Among my clergy friends, one personally knew of a young woman who was at the protest and was now lying in a hospital with her skull split open. Almost immediately, a Go Fund Me page was started to cover her medical expenses as she was fighting for her life. In a way, she was an innocent bystander who had decided to get out of the boat and stand up to the hatred that was filling the city she loved.

I personally know of many preachers who tore up their prepared sermons on Saturday night in order to preach a new sermon on Sunday’s gospel that would address the events in Charlottesville. At the heart of every sermon, there was a call to overcome our fears and get out of the boat and to speak up against the sin of racism. And yes, racism is a sin.

It is time for all people of faith to take a stand and to speak out against the “alt right,” the neo-Nazis, the KKK, and other white supremacist hate groups. We need to overcome our fear of speaking up and keep marching, protesting, and making our voices heard. It is time for real moral leadership and courage. “Take heart…and be not afraid.”

 

Standard