Sunday, November 23, 2008

Advent Conspiracy

In catching up with the Rev Crystal K (formerly seminarymamma) on her new church blog, I discovered a great organization/web site and I'm helping the viral phenomenon by passing it on here. You don't have to agree with everything in it, but please check out the video below and let me know what you think about it. It's a radical notion, that Christmas was - and still is, or at least could be - something so revolutionary.

I'm still trying to learn more about this group - the website doesn't seem to say much about who they are or why/how they're putting this message out there, but it intrigues me nonetheless. In these economic times, I'm especially curious to see how much people start talking about the "true" meaning of Christmas and ways to celebrate with less money. Do you think this message would play as strongly in another economic climate? Do you think what they're saying makes sense? Is fair? Let me know!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Five on Remembrance

Sophia writes:This week's Friday Five invites reflection on the theme of remembrance, which is also present in the feasts of All Saints, celebrated in many liturgical churches on November 1, and All Souls--known in Latin@ cultures as the Day of the Dead--celebrated in some the following day.
1. Did your church have any special celebrations for All Saints/All Soul's Day? I believe they did an All Soul's Day service, but I was not there for it. My favorite All Soul's Day service I ever had was in the Catholic church where I did most of my "growing up" back in NJ. They had a large size, beautiful book of blank paper that they set out in the atrium for about a month before the service and invited people to write or draw the names, a story, or something about whoever they wanted to remember. My grandfather and grandmother (not from the same set of grandparents) had died within a few months of each other that year and I loved that I had a sacred place to express what was important to me about them. Some people got very creative in their presentations of their loved ones, doing things like collages and beautiful pictures.
2. How about Veterans' Day? No, we didn't do anything for Veterans Day - that was actually our Reconciling Sunday, where we celebrate our congregations' choice to claim the title of "Reconciling Congregation" (which in the United Methodist Church means that we explicitly welcome all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity).
3. Did you and your family have a holiday for Veterans' Day/Remembrance Day? If so, how did you take advantage of the break? No, my workplace (Habitat for Humanity Kansas City) is closed on Sunday and Monday, so we were already off for Veterans' Day. I used the day to clean the house, do some laundry, sleep in, and run some errands. Trouble, my partner, had to work at Children's Mercy hospital, but was sure to wear her "Veterans for Peace" arm band with her uniform.
4. Is there a veteran in your life, living or dead, whose dedication you remember and celebrate? Or perhaps a loved one presently serving in the armed forces? There are several veterans in my life and I can't think of how I would celebrate one's service more than another one's; they are all people I would hold up for their dedication, sacrifice, and service. That being said, I know the most and have personally been involved with Trouble's service more than that of my uncle, grandfathers, or anyone else's service. Trouble gave me a whole new insight into the life of a military service person and that of their family members (which isn't held up near often enough - they often sacrifice just as much as the service person does).
5. Do you have any personal rituals which help you remember and connect with loved ones who have passed on? Nothing in particular to remember each and every one, but there are certain things that remind me of each of the people in my life that I've lost. Music is something that has always connected with me on a deep and often spiritual level and there are songs that for whatever reason remind me of loved ones that are no longer with me.

Now that you have my answers, feel free to share your own, either in a comment here or posted on your own blog (and let us know in a comment so we can check it out).

I also wanted to take this chance to say thank you to all of the people around the world who give up part of their lives to serve the greater good. I think it's interesting that in this country we have several holidays rooted in military service/events, but there's not a holiday for police officers, fire fighters (although September 11th may be becoming more of something like that), teachers, missionaries, refugee aid workers, Peace Corps and AmeriCorps members, and all the other people who give up a signifcant piece of their lives to serve others sometimes making the greatest sacrifice of all. What does that say about what is valued in our culture? Is it accurate?

Friday, November 07, 2008

Friday Five: Funnies Edition

After an exhausting election here in the states it's time for some spirit lifting! Join me with a nice cup of tea or coffee or cocoa and let's sit back and read the Funny Papers!
1. What was your favorite comic strip as a child?

I don't know if I really had a favorite - I liked all of them! It just made me feel like a grown up to be reading the paper next to my dad after church. I guess if I had to pick, my childhood faves were probably Garfield and Peanuts.
2. Which comic strip today most consistently tickles your funny bone? Isn't it interesting to see how tastes change as we get older? My favorites now tend to be Get Fuzzy, Pearls Before Swine and sometimes Brevity. I guess I grew into quirky humor.
3. Which Peanuts character is closest to being you? UGH! Much as I hate to admit it, I'm a Lucy. The doctor is usually in...
4. Some say that comic strips have replaced philosophy as a paying job, so to speak. Does this ring true with you? I don't know - was philosophy ever really a paying job? HA HA HA! I think comics are one way of dealing with our culture and current events - they're the comic relief of society. Philosophy doesn't tend to make me laugh like the comics do, but I do admit that comic strips are often philosophical.
5. What do you think the appeal is for the really long running comic strips like Blondie, Family Circus, Dennis the Menace as some examples? Like any classic movie, they deal with themes that everyone can relate to - particularly the way children see the world so differently from adults and often shed light on some things we as adults just do without thinking about it. For the record, Dennis the Menace and Blondie tend to grate on my nerves. Blondie, like Cathy, tends to play a little too much on traditional gender stereotypes for me.
Bonus question: Which discontinued comic strip would you like to see back in print? I can't think of one that I really miss that much.

So what about you and your answers? I'd love to hear your thoughts and perhaps learn about some new strips I'm not familiar with. If you have links, please share!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The last one - for now

This is the longest presentation with lots of pictures of volunteers, houses, and our partner families. 2008's been a good year for us!

Not just another Habitat house

This is the second Animoto presentation I put together showing one house pretty much from start to finish in under 30 seconds. This house was even LEED certified! Habitat houses aren't simple boxes on concrete slabs anymore - these are homes that people WANT to live in for a long time.

Habitat KC presentations

I put these together after a class I took and have had so much fun! I just wanted to share - more coming in a few...