Saturday, May 23, 2009

FRIENDS


My daughter was upset with her friends, because they were hanging out together alot, without her. Tonight they had a sleepover and she decided she would tell them.


Turns out the sleepover was a BIG surprise going-away party for her (she'll be in Spain all year) and that's why they've been leaving her out of things.


She's so lucky to have friends.


I miss mine...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Don't Kid Yourself.


Does anyone else listen to conservative talk radio? Can't do Limbaugh, but here in KY the local AM station is enuf.


I can not believe how many people **think** that racism is now a thing of the past. Now that we have an African American president, these whiners and victims are going to have to "get over it," because this PROVES racism is done with. What??!!


Then tell me something: why is a Black colleague of mine a bit fearful to visit my farm in a rural county just one hour from Lexington? We all laughed about this, but his words struck me, and stayed with me all day. That fear is real, is logical, and is utterly honest.


What about sexism?


You might think that one's been solved, too. But listening to Elizabeth Edwards tell the story of her husband's infidelity, here was my thought: this still happens to way too many women. Sure, women cheat, too, but let's line up the women in positions of authority who sneak around, lie, and humiliate their spouses with the men who do. It just seems as if men, not all, but way too many, get a pass in our society for cheating. Why, in 2009, are things still so unequal??


Homophobia a distant memory? Good Lord, no! If anything, it's growing amidst the Joe Kentuckys, in response to the number of states that permit gay marriage. The whole ugly ball of yarn is tangled up in the current kerfluffle over Miss California and her anti-gay marriage "opinion." She represents white, heterosexist, male-oriented culture so well.


If you happen to live in Berkeley or Denver or Portland, don't kid yourself. Hate & fear are alive and well.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mothers' Gardens




In her essay, In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens, Alice Walker writes of Black women who were forced into literal and figurative prostitution for generations. And although some of what she says is applicable to Black women only, much of it applies to women. Especially women of our mothers’ generations and many generations before:


…they forced their minds to desert their bodies and their striving spirits sought to rise, like frail whirlwinds.. and when those whirlwinds fell, no one mourned.



Our mothers and grandmothers, some of them: moving to music not yet written. And they waited.



They waited for a day when the unknown thing that was in them would be made known.



They were Creators, who lived lives of spiritual waste, because they were so rich in spirituality – which is the basis of Art – that the strain of enduring their unused and unwanted talent drove them insane.


She was writing -- in that section -- about prostitutes, but the essence of her message is the same for many, many women: they could never fully realize the Artist within, although they did find ways to express their creativity.


Since my own mother died so young, I can not ask her how this was for her, but I can guess from what she left behind: the scraps of evidence I piece together like a solitary sleuth; trying not to romanticize her, I sometimes trivialize her. She, too was an Artist.



Although she left behind no musical compositions, no paintings, no unpublished poems or novels, she arranged the world around her in ways that celebrated and honored its inherent beauty, grace, and symmetry. She was a curator who celebrated the bounty, the colors and shapes and gifts of God’s Creation. Here’s what I know:



· She dressed with flair and exceptional taste. She was a quintessential forties siren.. southern woman, wearing tailored suits and dresses with just-right shoes and hats. She adorned and carried the body God gave her with pride and even a bit of self-love. She allowed herself to be a work of art.



· Her home was adorned with things passed down from her mother and grandmother, things of beauty, texture, color, and shape, old things honored, not discarded. Collections of milk glass, lace doilies made by her ancestors’ arthritic fingers, colorful afghans, rocking chairs placed just so.



· Her vegetable gardens were huge and magical places filled with beans in rows and fat pumpkins and bright red tomatoes. There is almost nothing more beautiful than an old wicker basket filled with yellow squash and green beans and red tomatoes to be eaten for dinner.



· She arranged for her children to have ballet lessons and French classes. Although these stopped abruptly when she died, it was always clear to me that she wanted for us an appreciation of the world’s culture and artistry. To this day, I can not watch a ballet without crying.



So, even though my mother, Marjorie Lee Patton Cain, did not leave behind any traditional works of art, she affected the world around her. She died, some say, from grief.. losing too many siblings to our family’s disease, addiction, and losing her own parents too young, and spending and wasting her energy trying to save them all and when she couldn’t, worrying about them – she left something more. In her short years of parenting, she created a legacy of appreciating the world’s artistry. She did not live in vain.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Prom 2009 ~ Some Things Change..



Prom.


It hasn't changed all that much since I last went to one about thirty five years ago.


"The last century," my daughter will remind me when she has had enough of my hard-earned wisdom. She's the one on the left, above. Next to her is our exchange student from Germany, Anke, and two of the seniors who are in the Spanish Immersion program with Marjorie, Elizabeth McCorvey & Jasmine White. Mar's just in tenth grade, but she will be away on exchange next year, so she decided to get a "date" to prom with an eleventh grader.


You can see that the girls still shop for pretty dresses and wear their hair styled. Flowers, music, lots of photographs, even the pre-prom dinner at a fancy restaurant. Dancing, high heels, a bit of magic. Get Aunt Eileen to come up in the BMW so she could arrive in style. It's as if time stood still. Some things just don't change, and that's nice. Who doesn't like a bit of tradition, ritual, predictability, nostalgia?


But some things change.


None of these girls had an actual "date" for the prom. Marjorie went with Anke, and they both went with a large group of girls and boys... very few of whom were "paired off." It wasn't expensive. My daughter found a dress on sale for $20, shoes for less than that, and used her own makeup and did her own hair. (This last astounded me.. but I think years of watching TV makeovers paid off). She and Anke split the dinner of Fettucine and drank water at the fancy restaurant; total cost for the evening -- less than $100, including the $30 ticket.




I am sure that some kids stayed out all night & broke lots of rules. But not this group. Did they have as much pleasure as those who, over the years and across the country, have rented limos, visited spas, purchased shoes worthy of Sex in the City? I think they did!


I think they may have even have had more fun. It poured rain, and their high school rented the old & rather dilapidated Red Mile facility here in Lexington, while the mostly white, well-to-do school, Dunbar, is renting a castle at what I understand is a $35,000 per night fee, but their expectations being down to earth as opposed to sky high, there was no crash of hopes and dreams.




Just good, old-fashioned (with some new-fangled twists) fun! Go, kids. Ya done good.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

OBAMA GETS IT!!!!

Here's President Obama's declaration about a truly interfaith Day of Prayer, and the response from the Interfaith Alliance.


For Immediate Release


May 7, 2009



NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER, 2009


- - - - - - -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION


Throughout our Nation's history, Americans have come
together in moments of great challenge and uncertainty to humble
themselves in prayer. In 1775, as the Continental Congress
began the task of forging a new Nation, colonists were asked to
observe a day of quiet humiliation and prayer. Almost a century
later, as the flames of the Civil War burned from north to
south, President Lincoln and the Congress once again asked the
American people to pray as the fate of their Nation hung in the
balance.


It is in that spirit of unity and reflection that we once
again designate the first Thursday in May as the National Day
of Prayer. Let us remember those who came before us, and let
us each give thanks for the courage and compassion shown by so
many in this country and around the world.


On this day of unity and prayer, let us also honor the
service and sacrifice of the men and women of the United States
Armed Forces. We celebrate their commitment to uphold our
highest ideals, and we recognize that it is because of them that
we continue to live in a Nation where people of all faiths can
worship or not worship according to the dictates of their
conscience.


Let us also use this day to come together in a moment of
peace and goodwill. Our world grows smaller by the day, and
our varied beliefs can bring us together to feed the hungry and
comfort the afflicted; to make peace where there is strife; and
to lift up those who have fallen on hard times. As we observe
this day of prayer, we remember the one law that binds all great
religions together: the Golden Rule, and its call to love one
another; to understand one another; and to treat with dignity
and respect those with whom we share a brief moment on this
Earth.


The Congress, by Public Law 100-307, as amended, has called
on the President to issue each year a proclamation designating
the first Thursday in May as a "National Day of Prayer."


NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the
United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 7, 2009, as
a National Day of Prayer. I call upon Americans to pray in
thanksgiving for our freedoms and blessings and to ask for God's
continued guidance, grace, and protection for this land that we
love.


IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this
seventh day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine,
and of the Independence of the United States of America the
two hundred and thirty-third.


BARACK OBAMA






Interfaith Alliance Praises President’s
National Day of Prayer Proclamation

Washington, DC – Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement in response to the proclamation issued this afternoon by President Obama for the National Day of Prayer:

President Obama did the right thing today by issuing a proclamation for the National Day of Prayer that is inclusive of all Americans. We must cherish the freedom in this country to pray or not to pray.

The reality is that we don’t need our elected leaders to instruct us in the ways of religion just as we don’t need our religious leaders to tell us for whom to vote. However, if we are going to have such a day, I am glad to see that this president understands that it should be inclusive.

Interfaith Alliance, along with Jews on First, sent a letter to the president in April calling for him to support an inclusive day of prayer and reject the exclusionist version supported by Shirley Dobson’s so-called National Day of Prayer Task Force.

Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance has 185,000 members across the country from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition. For more information visit http://www.interfaithalliance.org/.

A Less Critical Mass..


Don't ask me why...since I have been involved with the Interfaith Alliance, they have not taken stands on GLBT issues... but check this out:


maybe we are finally reaching critical/ or.. not-critical but accepting, affirming & celebratory mass!




For Immediate Release
May 6, 2009

Contact: Ari Geller, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications
202-265-3000

Interfaith Alliance Praises legalization of Same-Gender Marriage in Maine

Washington, DC – Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement in response to the legalization of same-gender marriage in Maine:

Maine’s decision to legalize same-gender marriage continues a growing momentum in support for this issue. Like the Governor of Maine, John E. Baldacci, more and more people are coming to recognize that government support for same-gender marriage is “a question of fairness and of equal protection under the law.” Expanding civil rights and respecting individual freedom for all persons pulsate at the heart of American democracy.

Given our nation’s constitutional commitment to religious freedom, nothing in today’s action will deprive anyone of the right to practice the teachings of their respective religious institutions. But the state of Maine will treat all citizens fairly. Members of the GLBT community in Maine no longer will be denied access to the right to marry based on a civil prohibition shaped by some people’s religious convictions.

Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance has 185,000 members across the country from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition. For more information visit http://www.interfaithalliance.org/.

# # #

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

....& A FEW UUs..... CLERGY CALL 2009

Years ago, UUs would have led this effort. Now, it is truly interfaith and UUs were a small fraction of those who attended. That's progress!

Still, I hope we (and I include myself!) don't forget our responsibilty to our LGBT members and to the wider community. I was a bit disappointed that almost no local UU clergy were there, but I am glad I went and SO PROUD of Manish Mishra, who spoke at the rally, raising up the story of Largo, FL Town Manager who was fired for being transgender.

He's in the front in the blue stole!




Clergy Gather in D.C. to Lobby for Gay Rights
Associated PressMonday, May 4, 2009 12:40 PM



The U.S. Episcopal Church’s first openly gay bishop is among hundreds of clergy members urging Congress to support gay rights, including the passage of an expanded hate crimes bill that would give gay victims of violence new federal protections.



V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire and more than 300 clergy of various faiths will spend Tuesday on Capitol Hill lobbying lawmakers to push through a bill that broadens the definition of hate crimes to include those motivated by a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and disability. The legislation was passed by the House last week.



Clergy also will push for legislation providing protections against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.



“They’re not here to grind political axes,” said Harry Knox of the Human Rights Campaign, which is sponsoring the event. “They’re here out of a pastoral concern for real people in their congregations who have to deal with the ramifications of hate violence and employment discrimination.”



It is the second time the lobbying effort known as Clergy Call has been held on Capitol Hill; the first event was held two years ago.



This year’s event comes amid significant victories for the gay-rights movement, including the recent legalization of same-sex marriage in Iowa and Vermont.



On Tuesday, the District of Columbia city council is expected to hold a final vote on legislation recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. The vote will place the issue before Congress, which has final say over the city’s laws.



Robinson, who delivered the invocation during a kickoff concert at the Lincoln Memorial for President Barack Obama’s inauguration, said that despite recent momentum, an uphill struggle continues for gay rights supporters in the religious community. He said that’s because their message is often overshadowed by many on the religious right.


“Religion in general still presents the greatest obstacles we face in full equality,” he said Monday during a speech at the Calvary Baptist Church in downtown D.C. “Ninety-five percent of the oppression that we know in our lives comes from the religious community.”



Robinson’s 2003 consecration has divided the Episcopal Church in the United States and abroad. Last year, theological conservatives upset by liberal views of U.S. Episcopalians and Canadian Anglicans formed a rival North American province.



Robinson said he continues to deal with threats. On Monday, he spoke of a scare earlier this year in which a man was arrested while driving with a sawed-off shotgun, a map to his home, and photographs of the bishop and his partner taken from the Internet.



Still, he spoke of the importance of clergy members who are reaching out to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.



“We actually are the bridge between the LGBT equality movement and those institutions which are afraid of it,” he said.



Knox, the director of the Human Rights Campaign’s religion and faith program, said Tuesday’s daylong lobbying effort will include 325 clergy members from various denominations ¿ including Christians, Buddhists, Jews and Muslims.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Clergy Call: Just Do It!


When was the last time you did something just because someone told you to?


I took my sons on a camping trip all around the Continental US about twenty years ago. They were quite young, and rambunctious, and my friends predicted I'd be back in about four days (or did they say four hours?). We were gone for almost eight weeks, and our camping trip turned into a mystical, surprise-laden journey filled with places and people we'd never forget. I know that both boys (men now) recall this summer as a highlight of their lives.


Quite early, we decided to do whatever anyone suggested. If we met a local, and they said, "you should go up that road and buy some honey from the lady with the crazy mailbox.. she'll give you a tour of her farm...," or if they said, "Leave at night so you will just arrive at the Grand Canyon in time for sunrise," we did it. Fortunately, no one suggested we jump into the Grand Canyon.... Years later, I bought a Rick Steves Guide to Great Britain and did almost everything he said, but this was a bit less predictable!


Since that time, I've returned to the usual human behaviors of planning and controlling my own plans so tightly that happenstance, serendipity, and plain old novelty couldn't squeeze in if they tried. Recognizing a frantically busy person, they haven't tried much anyhoo.



So, it felt a bit like twenty years ago when somoene from the Human Rights Campaign called to ask me to come to Washington, DC for the second CLERGY CALL. "Right now, we have only one person coming from Kentucky," she said. "OK, then, I'll get there," I promised, astonishing myself, and no doubt the caller, since the conference was about ten days away. It took some doing, but I'm here.


Maybe it was seeing the film Milk not long ago that got me started thinking about how much still needs to be done for GLBT rights.


Or maybe it was the young woman who came to a membership meeting last week (her mother came along), having found the church all by herself at age fifteen, and having insisted upon joining because she noticed our street-side banner proclaiming our support for same-sex marriage.


I'm no expert on GLBT rights, but I know Kentucky is no easy place to be gay or transgendered.


Last night, here at my host home, I met a woman who grew up African American in Oklahoma. Hard enough -- but she also had a brother who was transgender and who suffered so much injustice and intimidation that she determined to become a pastor at a GLBT-inclusive congregation. She walked away from her former church because the pastor wouldn't acknowledge her calling to serve queer folk. Something about her courage to stride into the unknown just startled me into remembering that once, I was spontaneous.


I'll keep you posted on what I learn.