Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit. The Journey of the Rabbit

As a children, we were told to say, “Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit” first thing each month to bring good luck for the coming month. These days, I try to start each morning with a Collect from the Lectionary. The Collect for this coming Sunday is

Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Perhaps, in some way, the two are related, in some sort of “Journey of the Rabbit”.

I think of the Velvateen Rabbit talking about what it means to be ‘real’. That too is a journey, part of the “Journey of the Rabbit”.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my life journey over the past few months and I’m very aware of being at this particular point in the journey, how different it was from when I was younger, and presumably, how different it is from what I am in the process of becoming.

This comes to mind after a discussion yesterday at a meeting about providing safe shelters for LGBT people. Many people are on different journeys as they try to understand their own gender identity or sexual orientation. Many people are on different journeys as they try to make sense of how they will react to people whose journeys are different from their own.

Yet one of the most important, underlying ideas, is to recognize that we are all on our journeys. What we thought yesterday, what we are thinking today, and what we will be thinking about tomorrow are all just different places on our ever changing journeys.

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The Pope and Kim Davis

Seems like everyone is talking about Pope Francis meeting with Kim Davis and it is a Rorschach test, confirming most people’s pre-established views of the Pope, Kim Davis, or both of them. So, I’ll take the Rorschach test and come out with a different view than many of my online political friends.

I view the Pope’s meeting with Kim Davis in the same way I view his meeting with Imam Khalid Latif and Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove. I view his meeting with Kim Davis in the same way I view his meeting with Speaker Boehner or President Obama.

We live in a world where people vilify those who disagree with them.

I believe this is contrary to teaching of Christ. I believe that Pope Francis understands this and lives it. Jesus spent his time meeting with the vilified in his society, the tax collectors and sinners, lepers and prostitutes. Jesus calls us to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute you.

It seems as if Kim Davis has become a symbol of persecution, both for her persecution of those she doesn’t approve of, and for the persecution she has received for holding onto a belief that is out of step with American society. Is persecution too strong a word? Is suggesting that she considers people seeking same sex marriage licenses her enemy, or that those who fight for marriage equality consider her their enemy too strong? I’m not sure persecution or enemy are too strong in this hyper partisan atmosphere of vilification.

To me, it seems as if the Pope has communicated the core message of Christianity incredibly well by meeting with Imam Khalid Latif, Rabbi Elliot J. Cosgrove, Speaker Boehner, President Obama, those who care for the homeless, and even Kim Davis. He has met with people that are hated and are symbols of hate for some, across the political and religious spectrum.

I also imagine the Pope having some of the same frustrations with people that just don’t seem to get it as Jesus had with people he met that just didn’t get it, and yet the both showed love to those that just didn’t get it.

Now, I’m not saying that loving your enemy is easy, or that I do a good job of it, but it does seem like something we should all aspire to.

Upcoming Events Oct/Nov 2015

Years ago, I used to put up blog posts from time to time about various events I would be attending. Much of this was to promote conferences that I would be covering in my blog. In recent years I haven’t been doing that as much. However, there are a bunch of things coming up that I would like to highlight, so here are some of the events I’m interested in.

Oct 1:
American Red Cross Blood Drive at CHC in Middletown.

First Thursday Opening Reception: BIG Art; Tiny House. This is at the community arts center where my daughter Miranda works, and where she is building a tiny house. Friends in the Boston area should try to get out to this.

Pope Francis' Encyclical: Climate Change Evokes Moral Change Unfortunately, I can’t give blood, but both of the other events are really interesting to me. We’ll see if I can make it to either of them.

Oct. 2:
Folk Friday concert: Kim and Reggie Harris! as part of CT Folk in New Haven. Kim and Reggie Harris are two of my favorite performers at Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, and this should be a great concert.

A Public Conversation at Yale Divinity School: Black Lives Matter. The odds are that I’ll just head home and go to bed early on Friday, but if I have the energy, I’ll probably go to the event at Yale Divinity School.

Oct 3:
Pledge-Per-Round: Knockout Domestic Violence. This is a fundraiser for New Horizons Domestic Violence Shelter, part of CHC. This is the second year we are doing this. I hope a lot of people participate.

I expect to be at home dealing with a family event. I am concerned about whether we will get heavy rain on that day, messing up both the New Horizons event and the family event.

Oct 4: The Feast of St. Francis
I don’t expect to do anything special for the Feast of St. Francis. Though I am excited about what is going on at my church that day. We will be having the second part of our community discussion about racism. The first part was really good and I’m so happy that my church is tackling this.

Oct 6: Fiona’s Birthday
I have jury duty on my youngest daughter’s birthday. I’ll do my civic duty and then come home to celebrate.

Oct 7:

#hcsmct Meetup. This is the monthly meeting of health care activists in Connecticut using Social Media. If this might apply to you, please consider attending.

Community Health Forum. This will take place at the end of the day up in Hartford, and I plan on going, presuming I’m not serving on a jury on that day.

Oct 10:
I plan on driving up to Boston to help with Miranda’s Tiny House and drop Fiona off for the weekend. It turns out that there is also an Ingress event in Boston that day, so I’ll try to work on the Tiny House for a while in the morning and then go to #Abaddon Flash Shards: Boston.

There is also a Saturday Morning poetry group that I would like to attend on that day, but I just don’t think I can make it.

Oct 16:
FOCUS – Fighting Our Cause – Undoing Stigma Against HIV/AIDS

Oct 19:
CT Health Second Listening Event is 10/19 in New London

Oct 29:
Reform to Transform Summit: Sparking Bold Action conference.

Nov 3:
Municipal Election Day in most of Connecticut. Woodbridge had its elections in May, so I’m not currently working on a campaign, but if I can make time, I’ll try to help with some of the local elections.

Nov 5:
(Save the date) The 5th Annual Town Hall Meeting on Health Disparities.

Nov 14:
Ingress XM Anomaly – taking place in New Orleans LA, Charlotte NC, and Pittsburgh PA. I may participate remotely.

The Coyotes and the Lunar Eclipse

It had been a long day, and the coming week also looked long, so I went to bed early last night and fell fast asleep. Soon, I had a strange dream. I was staying at some place, I wasn’t sure exactly where it was. I was trying to sleep, but there was a party going on outside in the street with lots of shouting and yelling.

It was enough to wake me up, and as I lay in bed, I could hear the coyotes howling at the red moon. It sounded like the party in my dream, only louder, as if there was a party at a frat house next door. I got up and gazed at the lunar eclipse briefly through the trees, and headed off to be, where sleep quickly returned.

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Journey Checkpoint

It has been quite a week, and the coming month is lining up to continue the same course. Perhaps it has been too busy. I’m tired, the house needs cleaning. People are around me are sick and need caring for. I even forgot that I was supposed to read the second lesson in Church this morning, something I enjoy doing, but it completely slipped my attention.

I have not followed the Pope’s visit as closely as I would like. I haven’t really written about it or shared about it online. I did mention it in my post about Speaker Boehner, but that is about it.

Friday and Saturday, I was at the CT Health Foundation’s All Fellow’s Retreat. I got a lot out of it and came out renewed and energized in the battle for health equity. I hope to write more about that soon. Yet that also, perhaps, contributes to my fatigue.

Church today, despite my failure, was especially moving. It seemed as if God was very present, as if God’s spirit was moving through the church the whole day. The sermon started off with our Seminarian talking about when the KKK burned a cross on her grandparent’s front lawn, or people talking about the darkness of her skin. I don’t have words to describe my feelings about receiving communion, the small piece of bread the seminarian placed in my hands with a smile and the sip of wine from the common cup shared by the senior warden. God was there.

At coffee hour, I spoke with a visitor from England who had recently become Assistant Curate of a church there. He came to the priesthood later on in his life journey and he spoke fondly of the encouragement he had received from a priest that is now retired, attending the church I attend, and is now sharing encouragement with me.

We spoke about our different journeys. I mentioned my interest in the Camino de Santiago as a metaphor for each of our live changing journeys. He wished me a good Camino and my eyes welled up a little as we shook hands and headed our different directions. I knew him as a fellow traveler.

Then, it was downstairs for an event I have been waiting for, longing for. After the shooting in Charleston, our Priest announced that in the fall, we would have a parish discussion about racism. The first of these discussions was to take place this morning. How would the discussion go? How many people would attend?

I would have liked to have seen more people attend the discussion. I would have liked to see us cover more ground, but what was covered was very meaningful, very powerful, very important. It probably reflects my own impatience. This is such an important topic to tackle. We will have the second part of the discussion next week, and we shall see where things go after that.

When I did get home, I took a nap. Later, I read, again, some of an email I received from the Dean of Formation for the Diocese of Connecticut. I had met with her this past week, to get ideas for continuing my own education. It seems like several of the options that looked so promising initially, pale on closer examination. Some may yet turn out to be incredibly valuable. Others, perhaps not so much.

One of the Canonical areas of study for those seeking ordination in the Episcopal Church is “Christian Theology, including Missionary Theology and Missiology.” As I read through the areas, this one has jumped out at me, and I asked the Dean of Formation specifically about materials in this area.

One name that keeps popping up, as I read through some of the recent recommendations from the Dean is Alan Roxbough. I searched for material of his that might be online, and found a bunch of interesting things. On the Facebook page, The Missional Network, was a link to Christ and Pop Culture, Living Local with Slavoj Žižek. I’ve been looking for people talking about writers like Slavoj Žižek and Christianity. As I explored deeper, I lost track of where I found that link and did a Google Search on Zizek and Missional and also came up with Zizek, the Space In-Between, and Mission. It is worth noting that this blog post links back to Roxburgh and The Missional Network.

Lots of stuff to explore here. Looking more closely at The Missional Network page, I find some interesting pages such as WHY LEARNING COMMUNITIES?

So, where is the learning community around a culturally informed missionary theology?

As a final part of today’s checkpoint, I watched some of the Pope’s mass in Philadelphia, dealt with a social media issue at work, and took a peak at the super moon, before the eclipse starts.

It has been a long checkpoint, but it kind of reflects what has been going on with me, as well as setting up some of what is coming for October.

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