...writes the following:
We must become ignorant
Of all we've been taught,
And be, instead, bewildered.
Run from what's profitable and comfortable
If you drink those liquers, you'll spill
The spring water of your real life.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy yoiur reputation.
I have tried prudent planning
Long enough, from now
On, I'll live mad.
from Creativity: Where the Divine and Human Meet by Matthew Fox
Friday, October 28, 2005
CREATIVITY vs. creationism
One of the most inspiring things in my life these days is the creativity of young people. When I skim through the many left-leaning blogs that I come across, I'm amazed at the freedom and expressiveness of young adults. I'm of the generation that was taught to color within the lines. We have to re-learn this freedom. For I believe that every human is born with the potential for enormous creativity. Shoot, I used to work at the local jail as a volunteer and I saw first hand what those women were able to make out of some toilet paper and torn t-shirts! There you have folks who have been using their ingenuity to hurt themselves & others. But most of us, squelched as little grasshoppers, just go mainstream and give up. We are actually embarassed to dance, sing, laugh, or make art! I see this regularly in my congregation, where resistance has been steady to the efforts of the music director and me to get them to occasionally sing without hymnals. Anyway, one of my sabbatical plans is a study of creativity. Right now I am reading Matthew Fox's book called Creativity (okay, so the title belies the theory!). I never ceased to be amazed by this de-frocked Dominican priest who is now teaching a form of worship called the techno-cosmic mass. Fox says that not only is it our divine inheritance to create, it is our responsibility. He quotes Otto Rank and Rollo May (I will read them next), and makes the connection between the spiritual and the creative. He says, "The artist is one who wants to leave behind a gift....The artist is not in denial about death.... Furthermore, the artist is not exiting quietly.... the gift is to life itself...the gift is always to God." Right now I see the autumn colors and it reminds me that awareness of death can spark creativity. Look what the trees leave behind as they go still. Read Matthew Fox's 95 Theses at www.matthewfox.org
Wednesday, October 26, 2005
Rosa Parks Lives On
Although this woman of courage and conviction has died, the spunk that took her on to that bus lives on. Rosa Parks has been romanticized for school children, and that's too bad. She didn't just sit down on that bus because her feet were tired (in an interview, she said that her feet weren't even tired). Rosa trained at the Highlander Center in Tennessee for civil disobedience. As her conviction grew, so did her willingness to take the risk of arrest and even bodily harm. It's demeans her creativity and fearlessness to make her action a story about someone who was just too weary to move back. Even though the holiday and all of the fuss is about MLK (and tends to be focused upon the male leaders), there were incredibly strong women who made the civil rights dream a reality. Meanwhile, who is the Rosa Parks of today? One I have met is Cindy Sheehan. When I first saw her, in April, she was somewhat reluctantly beginning to speak out about her son Casey's death in Iraq. I saw her at Riverside Church in New York, and I was so moved by her suffering (it was the one year anniversary of Casey's death, and the 40th anniversary of MLK's speech against the Vietnam War) that I could not stop crying. It was like a punch in the gut to me, for my son (who is not in Iraq--but could be) and I are Cindy & Casey, too. I saw Cindy Sheehan again in June, when she spoke here in Kentucky at a rally. We sat on the grass and talked about our sons, and I tried to encourage her to keep speaking out and to understand how much her mission meant. She has a unique voice because of her very real and very legitimate suffering. So, when I learned of Camp Casey in August (I even heard about Cindy in Romania, where barely a scrap of news from the USA can be found!) I felt so proud and honored to have met her. Cindy is the real thing. You can read about her mission to stop the senseless killing in Iraq at www.meetwithCindy.org Women of courage and conviction are finding creative ways to bring peace and justice to the world. This will never stop as long as there are mothers and daughters and sisters and lovers. Thank God. May Rosa rest in peace, and may she be assured that the truth will never die!
Monday, October 24, 2005
Twelve years ago, I was studying Reinhold and Niehbur with Dr. Philip Wogaman at Wesley Seminary. My daughter was a baby of about six months. I brought her to school with me and left her with a graduate student's wife after I nursed her. One day, the traffic into DC was worse than ever, and I didn't have time to breastfeed her before class, so I slipped in and tried to do so discreetly (it was a small class, though--only about 6 people, as I recall). Dr. Wogaman was talking about God and he pointed to me, breastfeeding my baby, and said, "That's God." It was a bit embarrassing, but affirming, too. Dr. Wogaman was, at that time, the minister to our then-President, Bill Clinton. Since then, I have come to understand more clearly why he said, "That's God." Breastfeeding is not just a powerful metaphor; it is, I would say, central to our human quest for wholeness. Still, there are those who would impede it or place it in the closet. Woe to them! Here's a link to a new organization that I'm excited about: www.breastfeedingkentucky.com
Sunday, October 23, 2005
It means "God Bless You" in Hungarian. In a million years, I would've never guessed that I would know how to say anything in Hungarian, but life has its surprises. The original Unitarians were in Transylvania (now part of Romania) and there are still thriving communities there. Our North American (and British) congregations have partnerships with churches there. In Nyomat, a small village nestled in a beautiful valley, the bells are rung by hand each Sunday at the old (I mean really old--almost 800 years) church to summon the villagers to the Unitarian services. Right now, it's almost 4 AM there--soon the farmers will get up, the carts will roll through the dirt roads, the roosters will announce that another day has arrived. It's a world there in that tiny village, a whole world away. Each time the members of the congregation meet, they pass the greeting: Isten aldjon! God Bless You.
It's Sunday afternoon--do you know where your minister is? At home, blogging! That's because I'm on sabbatical, and even though I'm not working, my brain still works overtime. Maybe this will be a place to deposit a few of my ideas and inspirations. We'll see.