Friday, March 14, 2008

Visit me!

"I Just LOVE Kentucky! "

I spent a whole day thinking about how selfish people are. And mean! Mean-spirited, y'know? Tight-fisted, and .... stingy!

I decided to write my blog on the subject.

But then G.O.D. reminded me... I could write instead about how generous some people are. I could write about blessings instead of curses.

Here's one way to look at my chosen home... Kentucky. People stand up when they hear this song. And, they cry. It's kind of racist, though. I wonder what the young Black men in the video are thinking. I have mixed feelings about the song. After all, the original line was "all the darkies are gay." And, did you know that UK was like the last university to integrate their basketball team?

You gotta love it, though... what other state had someone named "Happy" as a governor? And he def. sings better than Bush!

Now here's another view of Kentucky. It's a wonderful place to live. It's beautiful, but mostly it's the people I love. They are amazing. I wasn't born here, but I'm going to die here.

Thomas Merton... Nappy Roots... Wendell Berry..... Adolph Rupp.... Ashley Judd... & me. Did I mention George Clooney?

I forgot about how selfish some people are. I live in a place where most people are generous with their smiles, their friendliness, and their time.

It's a blessing we woke up this morning, y'all.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

In Da Club wit God in the mix

Warning: please do not watch this if you are offended easily.

Confession: I like hip-hop. I wish there had been hip hop when I was a teenager. I feel like I would have had so much more... fun! When I think about the way we danced in 1973, it was kind of stiff and...very.... caucasian.

Most hip hop artists are Black, but hip hop fans are about equal Black & White, and almost every race, ethnicity, and religion in the world now has some form of hip hop. Even youth in Burma are using rap & hip hop to express themselves.

This video, which features a very gangsta- type rapper, 50 Cent, fascinates me. I just sit there and stare at it. I feel like I'll be skewered for saying this, but I actually like the song, even though I don't agree with the lyrics. The video is definitely sexist, and hints at violence, but its way better than some other rap videos I have seen. I love listening to hip hop. It makes me feel like dancing, but usually I don't because it would humiliate my children, and, anyway, my knee is shot (one year, eleven months & counting till knee replacement!)And, it's more honest than most churches, 99% of politicians, and 3/4 of the people I know. "I'm into having sex, ain't into making love," is so not politically correct, but it is the way many people feel at various times in their maturity & life cycle. It's kind of brutally honest.

I just have two questions: who would want Eminem to be doing experimental surgery on them (sorry, I don't know who the other guy is, but I'm sure someone will tell me), and why does 50 Cent need to have a legal tablet & read the lyrics while he's recording? I already know almost all of the lyrics & I am old & out of it.

Confession #2: I miss God. I don't think I ever really believed in a God, but I have at times believed in G.O.D. Just this morning I took my son to work, and he put a hip-hop station on. After I dropped him off, the announcer started talking about his relationship with God. I was entranced. I sat there in the 20 degree weather in the car, and cried. He said, "you got to have God in the mix." He spoke about how his plans always led him to the wrong places, but how, when he turned his life over to God, God took him in such a different/better direction. I am not so sure I believe in anything some days, but I like thinking about Providence. I could choose to believe that G.O.D./Providence/Grace has saved my son(s) from certain death, restored all of us to sanity, and given me strength to carry on. I don't mean that some "God" personally is managing our lives. NONONO! It's just that sometimes undeserved good comes, along with a great deal of undeserved trouble. So, maybe it's just randomness, or the law of averages. But maybe it is Grace. All I know is that it wasn't by my will, or their plans. The announcer said, write it down: God is great. There. I wrote it down! Skewer away!

Monday, March 10, 2008


Some of our teens who spent winter break in Biloxi building a house for Katrina victims.

I know there is supposed to be some controversy over funding of YRUU, but down here in Kentucky, it doesn't have much relevance to what we are about.

I don't think my bright, energetic, very committed Unitarian Universalist daughter could even tell you what YRUU is.

Nor, for that matter, could most of the High School age youth at our congregation.

I know that YRUU has worked mightily to overcome the culture that led folks like me to be disinclined to recommend its gatherings to youth in the congregation, far less my precious daughter. And I respect that. But I am beinning to wonder whether some things can be overcome.

Without any prompting from yours truly, she has come to the conclusion, via her powers of observation, reason, and intelligence, that the kids who come to Sunday morning HS RE, the kids who have time to go to "cons," and the kids who appear to have claimed the UU Youth territory, are some combination of the following: artsy (attend creative arts school); homeschooled; "emo"; or "goth." (If you don't get the last two, ask a youth). None of these things are bad or wrong: indeed these are great kids, wonderful kids. I'm guessing some of them need UU stuff more than she since they don't have as many other affinity groups. But does it follow that she doesn't need it?

Yesterday she stayed in church for the sermon. I didn't realize it until half-way through, and when I asked her, she simply stated she didn't want to go to HS RE and listen to the same thing one more time. At 14, she chose worship even with MOM doing the preaching! Maybe she'd rather be at home~ but if you read my recent posts, you know that ain't an option.

She's not alone. Almost all of the kids in our church who are involved in academics, sports, theatre & music programs either do not go to high school RE or GO TO OTHER CHUCHES!

This makes me angry, and sad. Something's wrong, and pushing YRUU and/or "cons" (maybe we should pick a new word.. one that doesn't sound like prison inmates??) harder is not going to fix it. Something has to change, and better minds and younger spirits than I will have to change it. We might start by paying YOUNG, SAVVY, clean-living, respectful and respectable youth leaders. Like the churches all of my daughter's friends flock to & try to recruit her to. You can't keep doing the same things & expect to get different results.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Hello? This is BURMA calling? You're too busy? Oh, OK, never mind then. Sorry to BOTHER you!!!

Those fortunate enough to live in societies where they are entitled to full political rights can reach out to help their less fortunate brethren in other areas of our troubled planet.

Aung San Suu Kyi

People had so many more reasons than usual to skip church today. It snowed! and there was the whole time-change thing. Very confusing. Did I mention the UK game? It started at noon (yes, a few people actually got up and left at noon.)

But for those who came, to contemplate the troubles in Burma aka Myanmar, to learn about working with despair and moving from denial to compassion., it was a good day.

About half of those who bothered to show up also remembered to wear orange/red, and I was able to acomplish my goal of having a picture to put up on the website -- a site that we hope will be seen by many people in Burma --

Was it a silly waste of time? Well, I don't think so. What do you think?
Use your liberty to promote ours... Aung San suu kyi

Saturday, March 08, 2008

.. so much depends upon a red .....

....disc harrow beside the white.. snow drift?

wouldn't cha know WCW was from new jersey, which explains why he was writing about red wheelbarrows & white chickens (well, explains it to everybody who is from New Jersey, not to everybody else who thinks it's a toxic waste dump and asks you "which exit?" when you say you are from NJ).

Anyway, I do love my birth state (OK, technically I was born in PA, but you-know-what-I-mean) but nothing is as sweet to me now as the blue skies of Kentucky and the rolling hills of Washington County.

But even at my farm, all alone, I couldn't completely forget. Which is a good thing....

Friday, March 07, 2008


... yes, I really wore this shirt to Southland Christian Church, when I attended the Dave Ramsey Live event last night.

But I wore it under a button-up oxford shirt & a jean jacket. It was supposed to be a joke for the other UUs I attended with, but, like so many "it's just a joke" statements, it masked some serious issues. Of mine.

More on Dave Ramsey later! I want to blog about WHY AREN'T UU churches teaching Financial Peace (because I see only one reason.. it's Christian) .. but it's now or never if I plan to get to Innisfree today. It's already snowing (are you jealous yet? The farm in snow!! NO phone! No email! No WORK!) and I have an hour's drive.

I should have worn something to camoflauge the big chip on my shoulder going into Southland. No one hit me over the head with crosses, or Bibles, and the 3,000 people gathered appeared to include all sorts of folks. I learned about more than Financial Peace.

The mega church way is NOT my way, but it's the way for many, many people. I don't have to be so judgmental. At least, not about that. There are far worse things for me to shine my prophetic light upon. And my passive-agressive T shirt is.. well, I still think it's cute. Duchess my goddess, I mean doggess, does too. Teehee!

Monday, March 03, 2008


I Love UU kids' names! They are so amazingly creative and expressive. In our own congregation we have Echo, Willow, Ishan, Malik, Zebulun, Bahni, Neileasha, Weston, Gethan, Daghain, Rique, Kirkland, McAuley, Oliver, Jules, Sarita, Zoe, Micah, seveal Elis and two Gareths.

In the picture, Cheyenne is lighting the chalice at the Inaugural Service of the Frankfort UU Community along with Liam.

They just keep coming! This week, a new family arrived with a baby named "Nia."

I believe that UU parents bless their kids with unique names, because they want to make s strong statement that each child is unique.

One of my student friends at UK, a young Black woman named Kimber, wrote one day on her facebook: I am the living dream of my ancestors.

She is, too. And so is every child.

But here's the best one yet: two weeks ago, a baby named Liberty visited our church with her parents.

Maybe we are coming out of a long tunnel of fear and disillusionment, and the names of babies being born show that. Maybe we as a people are becoming unafraid to dream of Liberty.What a beautiful idea!

I hope it is so.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Warning: Your Kids' Souls May be in Danger!

Here's my newsletter column. I feel good about speaking my truth on church attendance. Let's see what the rest of the gang thinks. Ha!

WARNING! If you do not want to know what I really think about church attendance, and especially children’s church attendance, read no further.

Okay, for everyone still reading, here it is. Church is a spiritual community of seekers, of servers, and of advocates for freedom, reason and diversity. We have important work to do on ourselves and in the world. That said, there’s nothing wrong with having lots of fun doing it! As you know, I am all for dancing, shouting, singing, eating, and playing together. And laughing. Especially laughing.

But, it’s no laughing matter that over and over, I see people who have allowed their children to eschew church attendance coming back around and talking about some very serious issues their kids have had to face. And, I see people who have themselves decided church is optional come crawling back when illness, tragedy, death and despair loom large, acknowledging that they really do need an actual physical place to go to tend to their spirits.

That doesn’t mean I think that all UU kids will avoid troubles and all who drift will be in danger! Heck, my own sons have hit just about every bump in the road you could dream up. They almost never come to church now that they are adults. But when I see them treat people with respect, stand up to injustice, and apply reason and wisdom, I know for a fact that a big heap of what’s strong and brave and true in their spirits came from their UU experience. And yes, I had to drag them, bribe them, the whole nine yards. It was not an option, and that was so even before I was “the minister.”

All kids, almost without exception, go through periods when they don’t want to go to church! It is the responsibility of the parents to make sure those kids keep coming to church. That’s what I believe. I’ve seen it, I’ve lived it, and you can try to convince me otherwise. If you don’t love, cherish, and feel strongly enough about this faith that you chose!!! to make sure it is the faith home for your children until they are adults, I wonder about that. This is where I think liberal parenting goes astray. Going to church on a regular basis, whether that is once a month or once a week, shouldn’t be optional. It’s not about whether your kid thinks Sunday is cool enough, entertaining enough, or stimulating enough to bother coming. Because the world needs you and your children, your gifted, courageous, phenomenal children, to be Unitarian Universalists. It’s not about what you and they can get; it’s about what they can give.

Everything I said above applies to adults as well. If you come to church with a consumer mentality, if you check the sermon blurbs like movie ads to see if you are “interested,” if you judge church by what you get, consider what I said. How about what you can give to a broken and hurting world? That Sunday you opt to blow off church might be the day that your smile, your handshake, your word of kindness could literally save a wounded soul. No, I am not exaggerating. You are that important!

And, shoot, I miss you when you aren’t here. I miss your kids. Think about it. Don’t wait until your spirit in danger to really join in this community. There is only now.

See you in church!

Below: A few of our beautiful, courageous youth bein' allies at the GLA Prom 2007...