Servant Leadership Revisited
Nov 29th, 2006 by Sonja

A while back I went cow tipping with some friends.  We were having a grand time thinking about the sacred cows in the Church and then tipping them to see what they looked like from the bottom.  One of the cows I tipped was a Guernsey. If you click on the link, you’ll find some additional comments from my good friend, P3T3.

I’ve been doing some additional thinking about servant leadership since then.  I think that servant leaders are often unrecognized.  They are unknown even by those who are following them.  There is an element of nurturing in what they do, protection.  They are, in a certain sense, farmers.

The seed doesn’t know about the care and concern given it so that it may grow, but it tilts it’s flower towards the sun and thinks that that is where all the food is coming from.  However, if it weren’t for the farmer keeping the weeds at bay, the soil moist and healthy, and the scavengers and worms away, the plant would never survive or grow.  Or it might grown, but it’s chances would be much slimmer and the resulting plant less healthy.  Still the plant does not recognize the farmer, it only turns it’s face to the sun.

Voting Rights
Nov 28th, 2006 by Sonja

Here’s a bumper sticker I wish I would never see again:

“I Vote Pro-Life”

I see those all the time.  It’s so antagonistic and supercilious.  It’s symbolic of how polarized the political conversation has become in our country.  We have to be able to get beyond one sentence declarations of our platforms.

I was stuck in traffic behind one shortly after the most recent election.  I decided I would like to make my own version of that bumpersticker:

“I Vote Anti-Death”

It’s Supposed To Be Fun!
Nov 27th, 2006 by Sonja

What on earth have we come to? This was one of the headlines in my new-fangled personalized Google page today … “Man kills friend over $20 football bet.” So I read the story. You can too, if you click on that link. In fact, you ought to. Or maybe you ought not to. It’s depressing. Two guys made a bet on the Carolina-Clemson game on Saturday. Then they sat around drinking beer and watching the game. Then they had an argument and the guy that won the bet got his hunting rifle and killed his friend.

It’s $20 dollars folks. Whether the friend paid up or not, this is not life or death. It was supposed to be fun. Watching football together. Laughing. Eating (I’d bet … probably Doritos or something nasty). Making fun of each other’s team.

It’s all fun and games until someone gets an eye poked out.

… or ends up dead.

Really … what have we come down to? Why is it that in our culture everyone is so determined to win, we end up shooting our friends in order to win, really win, a $20 bet. Is it really worth it? What makes Playstations and bets and bits of plastic so much more important than people? How is it that we have so lost our center? When did that happen? I bet a lot of people read this and think, “Well, I’d never take a gun and shoot anyone.” Yeah … but how many times have you used words instead to grind your opponent into the dust? We all do that … and then we laugh and everyone laughs with us. Hell … even our opponent laughs, because it’s all in good fun. Right? Right? Everyone is doing it, so it must be okay.

Well … just think about it next time because words can do as much damage as a gun. And just because everyone laughs doesn’t mean they don’t hurt too. There has to be some point at which we stop this cycle of violence. When we declare that people are more important than toys and guns and machines. When we begin to recognize all the weapons is when we’ll begin to understand how to move forward. Then we’ll learn how to really have fun.

On Vows and Shopping
Nov 25th, 2006 by Sonja

Yesterday was “Buy Nothing Day” here in the U.S. I participated in this. I hate shopping the day after Thanksgiving. It’s a fate worse than … well … it’s not worse than being accused in Singapore of selling drugs. But it’s pretty close. LightHusband did purchase some pingpong balls, but this was for the purpose of playing on the newly re-established pingpong table. He and the LightChildren had cleared space for said table and wanted to play. I think it still counts as non-participation.

I am steadily attempting to unhook from the economic machine. It’s impossible, I know, to do so completely. But our culture has an unhealthy attachment to the opiate. I’m not sure what would replace it. I know I haven’t thought this through adequately, but still … being able to make do without being attached is making more and more sense to me. Excepting, of course, for when I’m sick and need to be a princess and have my groceries delivered. Then, all bets are off.

It was reassuring to read that “Buy Nothing Day” has an international element. People are doing this in other countries, particularly the industrialized nations of Europe, I would imagine. I can’t imagine that many people in the Third World need to be told to “Buy Nothing” today. “No, I know you have no money, but just in case you were thinking of buying some food for your family to eat today, it’s Buy Nothing Day, so just wait, please.”

Maggie Dawn is talking about “Buy Nothing Day” on her side of the pond. She didn’t think that “Buy Nothing Day” had much impact there. I don’t want to disabuse her, but I don’t think it has much impact here either, except for in the characters and psyches of those of us who participate. She also has a link to a great new religion on her site. Really, I think it’s the religion for our age. It’s time has come to fullness and fruition. Seriously, tho … check out the new religion. I’m sure you know someone who is a novitiate, or perhaps even a high priest/priestess.

Thankful …
Nov 24th, 2006 by Sonja

It’s not often I take time out to actually make a list. I don’t do it often enough. So here (in no particular order) are some of the things I’m thankful for this November 23.

-For being sick … it’s given me a chance to sit still and reflect more deeply on some things that I needed to. Even though my brain is fairly clogged I’ve managed to do that.

– For coffee … I’m always thankful for coffee. I love coffee. Regular, with cream, no sugar. Iced in the summer. I especially love Fair Trade coffee from Green Mountain Coffee Roasters made in a french press. I’m grateful to the Incans or the Mayans who first looked at the beans hundreds of years ago and saw potential there.

-For my parents … they both grounded me and gave me wings. Most importantly they taught me how to learn and what was important to learn. How to ask questions. How to be curious about the world around me and within me.

-For my children … they continue to ground me and give me wings. They help me to continue to be curious and love to learn.

-For my quilting sisters in my quilt guild … they consistently build and encourage the spirits of all who are there.

-For my faith community who allow me to explore rabbit holes of theology with them and they come along happily.  Sometimes they find new rabbit holes of their own.  Who pour out grace and mercy in abundant supply and remind me that Jesus isn’t just one person anymore and that’s a good thing.

-For Smaug (the dragonification of my panic disorder and depression) he’s helping me to learn new and healthier manners of living in the world.

-For Fair Trade and other shopping opportunities that allow me to use my money in a way that benefits real people who really need it.  It feels like a two for one deal.

-For my friends who share their lives with me and I get to share with them.  Who share their Thanksgiving dinners at the last minute when we’re sick and we’ve shared with them under similar circumstances.

-For all of our siblings … and their spouses … they make us laugh and help stabilize our keel.  There is something about being with your siblings that cannot compare to anything else.

-For good beer … need I say more?

-For beautiful fabric and friends to oogle it and plan for it’s consumption with.

Yea … my cup runneth over ….

Black Friday Five
Nov 24th, 2006 by Sonja

As posted on RevGalBlogPals …

So this is a “Black Friday” Five (aka Buy Nothing Day) in honor of the busiest shopping day of the year:

1. Would you ever/have you ever stood in line for something–tickets, good deals on electronics, Tickle Me Elmo?

Well … I’ve never stood in a literal line.  But I’ve stood in a virtual line … I had access to early tickets to U2’s Vertigo tour.  I had to load, reload, reload, until I finally got into the site and got my tickets.  It was high energy and sort of fun.

There was another time when LightGirl was little and a special Barbie was on sale early on Black Friday.  I refused to stand in line and thus lost out on this super special dealio.  So did LightGirl.  Oh well.

2. Do you enjoy shopping as a recreational activity?

No, not really.  I’m more tolerant of browsing than LightHusband, but generally I need to have a list in mind to venture into a store.

3. Your favorite place to browse without necessarily buying anything.

Oh well … that would be any one of several on-line fabric stores 😉 … I often play on their design walls for an hour or two and then “go home” empty-handed.

4. Gift cards: handy gifts for the loved one who has everything, or cold impersonal symbol of all that is wrong in our culture?

The tired, overworked part of me says they are handy gifts for loved ones … especially my nieces and nephews who love to pick stuff out for themselves.  On the other hand, the creative artist in me loves to make small gifts for friends and family and is horrified by impersonal pieces of plastic.  I think they have their place, but they can also be overused.  And, I would much rather have a gift card from a fabric store than another tchochke that I have to dust (speaking as a recipient).

5. Discuss the spiritual and theological issues inherent in people coming to blows over a Playstation 3.

Hmmm … well, actually I think this is a cold impersonal symbol of all that is wrong in our culture.  It would be easy to say it’s greed.  But I don’t think it is.  I think it’s short-sightedness.  It’s more like an inability to wait one’s turn.  Even when it appears that the turn may take several weeks.  I’m not sure why this happens.  But people decide that they have a “right” to have a certain thing at a certain time and decide to assert their rights over that of someone else.  I see this failure of our ability to wait our turn at many levels in our culture, and I wonder if this is how we handle Playstation 3’s what will happen as we begin to run out of oil?  Or perhaps we handle Playstation 3’s in this manner precisely because of how our leaders are handling the potential for oil shortages?  I’m not entirely sure which comes first….

Emergency Room
Nov 22nd, 2006 by Sonja

So … here I am still wrapped up in my afghan. I’ve moved slightly. Now I’m in the recliner. This was where I spent a good deal of last night in a vain attempt to sleep. I know I’d be getting better if I could just get a good night’s sleep. But this has been a lifelong battle with me. I can still hear the echos of my mother’s frustration when I was child and my brothers and I were sick. She’d say, of LightBrother1, to LightBrother2 and I, “Look he sleeps and then he gets better in just a day or two. You two, you lie around and you are sick, but you won’t sleep and stay sick for days and days. Why?” We’d look at her in bewilderment. What did she mean by that? How did we know why we couldn’t sleep? It’s not like we liked being sick. She knew that too. As a mother myself, I can empathize with the weariness of knowing what your child needs and them not engaging it. I’m so jealous of people who can sleep.

I’ve become a daytime television watcher. That’s the level of boredom I’m at. The books I’d like to read are too heavy for my mucus-logged brain. Sewing is right out. I tried that the other day and … well … unsewing is just frustrating and unproductive, at best.

I watched ER this morning. I’ve never watched ER on it’s regular night and time (i.e. on NBC). I’ve only ever watched the syndication on TNT and that with no regularity at all. Just often enough to get a certain sense of some of the major players. This morning’s episode was mainly about Dr. Weaver. Dr. Weaver had apparently revealed that she is a lesbian at some point in the past. In this episode, she is reunited with her birthmother who is a conservative Christian. She revealed her sexual orientation to her birthmother during the episode and the mother’s reaction was as one would anticipate and understated at the same time. It wasn’t that she reacted negatively (which she did, but without animosity), but that she attempted to blame herself for giving Dr. Weaver up for adoption. It was very interesting to see the clash of cultures, although that sounds rather more bombastic than what was played out.

I was fascinated by Dr. Weaver’s reaction. She revealed that she had at one time had a flourishing faith. Perhaps she still did, but felt completely rejected by the Church and it’s people who were supposedly her family. The closing scene was particularly poignant. Dr. Weaver asked her birthmother (Helen) if Helen would be able to accept her as she was. Helen responded by saying that of course she would love Kerry always. Dr. Weaver just looked back at her and said, “I don’t want your love without your acceptance.”

That line got me thinking.  How do we love others?  How do we love people who do things we don’t agree with?  Who’s very lives are an affront to some part of us that we hold dear?  What is love and how do we express it?  Indeed, how can we claim to fully love someone if we don’t accept the very nature of who they are?

Happy Bleeping Thanksgiving
Nov 21st, 2006 by Sonja

Thanksgiving is coming. Here’s what I would usually be doing. Cleaning. Baking pies. Shopping. Anticipating good smells. Good tastes. Planning the schedule for the big day. Anticipating whatever company would be coming. This year we’d invited some friends from the Eastern Shore. We haven’t seen them in a year or so.

Here’s what I am doing. Sitting on the sofa, wrapped in an afghan, coughing and hacking. Yesterday, LightHusband and I got matching prescriptions for our matching illness: bronchitis and sinusitis. Sweet. Some couples get matching towel sets, we get matching prescriptions. We had to tell our friends, “Sorry, some other Thanksgiving.” Which kind of stinks.

I am, however, still able to browse the web. So I did the grocery shopping via Peapod. Our dinner will arrive at my doorstep. I do not have to browse the literal aisles and hope that I don’t forget anything. I browsed virtual aisles and have time to remember what I forgot. The ingredients for our feast arrive tomorrow morning. So … whenever I feel up to the preparation, we’ll have our dinner.

I’ve been reading blogs. My friend, the Macaroni Duck pointed me to this article about obesity in dragonflies. Fascinating stuff that. Really. It is. What this study discovered was that obesity in dragonflies could be traced to parasites in their digestive systems. The study authors went on to speculate that perhaps (perhaps) the recent dramatic increase in obesity might be traced to a change in the microflora of our digestive systems. If that is the case, no amount of exercise, dieting, etc. can help. It made me wonder if the dragonfly husbands left their wives when they let themselves go like that.

But mostly I’ve been ever so grateful for an afghan that a dear friend made for me about a year ago. I’ve been wrapped in that afghan for the better part of five days now. I’ve spent a portion of a couple of nights in it as well. So, today I sent my friend an Ode to My Afghan. This is an indication of how far down into boredom and shrunken braincells I’ve fallen. But I wanted you all my dear readers to know what a wonderful friend I have to make me this special afghan and how much I love it.

Ode To My Afghan

Oh my afghan, so blue and so red
You are beautiful, warm and cozy.

I love you my afghan,
You lie at the ready,
Always there to surround me
with warmth and love.

You greet me each day
and at midnight should I need it.
Just the right size
Definitely not too small
You are comfortable
and comforting.

I love you my afghan
You almost make being sick
Worth it.

P.S. Yes, I realize I’m two days too early for Bad Poetry day.

Women Revisited
Nov 20th, 2006 by Sonja

Wish You Were Here?I was out browsing the web the other morning and this pop-up ad appeared on one of the sites I visited. I tried to ignore it. I found myself thinking, “No … I don’t wish I was there. I wish I had that body.” Yeah, well … if I ever did have a body like that, I never will again. Not even close. No matter what I do. Gravity and time have removed the possibility. I wondered why it is that having such a body is so important. I have the body I was born with. It’s healthy and never given me too much trouble. So why do I think I need something else?

It made me think about the hoo-raw in the blogosphere over a certain pastor on the west coast and his ill-thought out words about pastor’s wives letting themselves go in the aftermath of the Ted Haggard incident. In the main, I think that this pastor is somewhat of a lightening rod. He prefers it this way. He loves the spotlight and attention given him when he uses his potty-mouth. Somewhat like a small child, negative attention is better than nothing at all. He stirs the pot and people run around waving their arms and calling for his dismissal. It’s standard fare. Yes, his paradigm is harmful to women. It is. There is no doubt. But we cannot change that. We can’t make him change his stripes.

There are two places my thoughts about all of this have gone. The first is that I’ve continued down the path of wondering how one goes about forgiving those who do not repent. This pastor is not ever going to recant or turn from saying the words he said. He doesn’t think they are wrong. In his paradigm of how the world works, they are not. We can’t expect an apology for wrong thinking from someone who doesn’t think he is. If I have been hurt or offended by him, how do I go about forgiving him? How exactly does that work?

I started to think more deeply tho, about how that paradigm is harmful to women. And to men. We talk in the Christian community about how the male-female issue is not central to issues of the faith, therefore we need to let our brothers and sisters who believe differently alone. I’m beginning to question that philosophy tho. Because the Traditional/ Complementarian point of view (that is that women are subject to men) is harmful to women and ultimately it is harmful to men as well. I read this post on a blog I follow regularly and couldn’t help but wonder who was served by the Traditionalist viewpoint that was being lived out. This is not a healthy relationship by any measure and both the woman and the man are being harmed by paradigm they are living in. So while this may not be an issue central to the faith, I have to wonder, if it is harming brothers and sisters, oughtn’t we to be doing more to protect them? I’m just not so sure anymore …

If we as a community are called to be the Body of Christ, called to continue his mission, then that means we are called to continue the ministry he announced in Luke 4:18. We are called to set the captives free. I believe that means observing who in our society are captives. Who is being constrained in our communities because of the accident of race, gender or class? What can we do to redeem that? There are paradigms which are wrong and cause harm. Which cause captives to remain captive and strain against their chains. So just what do we do with that?

How To ….
Nov 19th, 2006 by Sonja

This was funny.

I think I may have mentioned in an earlier post, that I’ve personalized my Google homepage. Now I get a “How To …” everyday. It’s interesting to see the “How To” of the day. Some days it’s “How To Make a Purse Out of Candy Wrappers.” One day it was “How To Regain Control of An Unruly Camel.” I wondered how many people found that advice useful. Around Halloween there was “How To Make Realistic Fake Blood.” That was fun. I’ve found all sorts of useful and useless information by clicking on the links provided.

The other day there was a link on “How To Buy a Christmas Tree from a Tree Farm.” Hmmm … sounds interesting. So I clicked on the link and read the information. There were indeed a few tips in there that I’d not thought of and could prove useful. At the end were some other related links, including one that said “How To Celebrate Christmas.” Well, I thought, that could prove interesting. I wonder what’s in there? So I clicked on it. Okay, well that information was fun and it was different, reading about the holiday from a more objective perspective. There were, of course, related links … among them, “How To Accept Jesus As Your Saviour.” Whoa … what’s this? In a WikiHow site? How strange. So I clicked on it. It was pretty standard fare (except that I disagreed with step one … I think it is possible to believe in God **and** that evolution is a valid biological theory). If you’re not interested in faith, it might seem fairly obnoxious and slightly cult like. Among the related links? “How to Avoid Becoming a Religious Zealot” … oh … yeah.

How to get from buying a Christmas Tree to Not becoming a Religious Zealot in 4 easy steps. 😉

»  Substance:WordPress   »  Style:Ahren Ahimsa