Daily Examen, July 22-3, 2017

Daily Examen, Saturday, July 22, 2017

A day to rest and read
and still find time for chores
ends with peach pie.

Daily Examen, Sunday, July 23, 2017

Look at the world differently.
What is church?
What is sanctuary?
View the shades of blue
on the distant hills
and prepare to be part
of something bigger
than it might seem.

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Random Musing about McLuhan, Scaramucci, and Amazon

Yesterday was the Feast day for Albert John Luthuli. I posted a link to a biography of him, using hypothes.is, but today, the link isn’t working. I also shared a post about Marshall McLuhan. A friend of mine who also shared it criticized the article roundly, saying “McLuhan's ‘fallacy’ comment doesn't make any sense because you don't have a sense of humor.” You probably had to be there. Although the article does have an interesting film history tidbit as well as a good comment about proto-manslaining.

Today is the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene. On this day, a friend shared a post about the new Dr. Who, A Woman, Explaining Things. It has the wonderful line, “NEVERTHELESS SHE REGENERATED”. I reshared the post with this introduction:

This is absolutely brilliant, adding Dr. Who to the tradition of Virginia Woolf's Orlando, bringing in references to Elizabeth Warren, touching on issues of being transgender, and raising the question of whether North Carolina and Texas will pass legislation requiring time lords to use the TARDISes which correspond to the sex on their birth certificate.

Friends of mine have been struggling with how to engage on Facebook without adding to the overwhelming vitriol. I struggle with this a lot as well. I have been encouraging people to write poetry and post gratitude as an antidote. Yet there are things that just jump out at me that probably deserve comment.

As an example, today, President Trump was at the commissioning of the U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford. Recently, he’s been talking about presidential pardons, and the irony seemed noteworthy.

Then, there is the appointment of Anthony Scaramucci as Trump’s new communications director. This has led to many people quoting Bohemian Rhapsody, “Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?” There is lots to unpack here. Wikipedia has this to say about Scaramouche:

“Scaramuccia (literally "little skirmisher"), also known as Scaramouche or Scaramouch, is a stock clown character of the Italian commedia dell'arte. The role combined characteristics of the zanni (servant) and the Capitano (masked henchman). Usually attired in black Spanish dress and burlesquing a don, he was often beaten by Harlequin for his boasting and cowardice.”

Discussions of the Fandango also talk about a Spanish dance that starts slowly and increases in tempo. People suggest, in Bohemian Rhapsody, it is a dance with the devil, or at best a foolish or useless act.

All of this, together with the opening of Bohemian Rhapsody, “Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” somehow feels full of hidden meaning for our current political climate.

To further amplify this, someone found a tweet from Scaramucci from 2012, “Dance like no one is watching. Sing like no one is listening. Love like you've never been hurt and live like its heaven on earth. MarkTwain” While there is some uncertainty about where this quote originated, and while we’ve all probably misattributed quotes in the past, the Internet went wild with this. There are some really brilliant tweets about it. I reshared the tweets with the comment,

I'm not a big fan of making fun of someone because of their name or something stupid they've said, but... Some of the replies are incredibly funny.

As a final random thought for today. A friend shared a link to an article about Amazon Dash. Amazon Prime members can buy it for $20 and then get a $20 rebate on the first thing they order with it. In other words, if you are a loyal Amazon customer, they will give it to you, essentially free, if you use it to buy something from Amazon. I shared the link with this comment:

Just bought a practically free (after rebate) AI Trojan horse. It feels like it is something important to experiment with, even if it goes ends up on a shelf next to my Apple Newton and Google Glass.

Side note: There is a new update to Glass, but my Google Glass has been acting very flaky. Not sure if I'll get it working with the update. However, it seems like this is where Google might be wise. Mix Google Glass with Google Home.

Maybe call it Google Glass Home, and encourage people not to throw rocks.

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Daily Examen, Friday, July 21, 2017

Limping to the end
of a busy week
still leaves time
for prayer,
feeding the hungry
and enjoying being together
with friends.

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The Daily Office and Maximizing Mission

One thing I have asked of the Lord,
this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life;
to behold the beauty of the Lord
and to seek Him in His temple.

Recently, I’ve been attempting to pray Celtic Daily Prayer each morning from the Northumbria Community Daily Office. I save additional reflections on what it might mean to dwell in the house of the Lord in the Celtic context for a different post. For the time being, I’ll simply quote John Scotus Eriugena

Christ wears two shoes in the world: Scripture and nature. Both are necessary to understand the Lord, and at no stage can creation be seen as a separation of things from God.

Instead, I want to start off thinking about this story: Eric Trump Picked a Fight With Keith Olbermann on Twitter. It Did Not Go Well.

Eric Trump tweeted, “You mean the $16.3 million dollars I have raised for dying children (before the age of 33) at a 12% expense ratio.”

One thing I have asked of the Lord, to keep my expense ratio low….

To me, this seems to capture the fundamental issue underlying America today, what matters to you? Is it lower taxes, lower expense ratios, maximizing revenue?

I am not arguing against fiscal responsibility. I think that is important. The head of the health center I work at often says, “No margin, no mission”. Efforts to serve to common good must be sustainable. Yet the goal isn’t maximizing the margin, it is maintaining the mission.

Unfortunately, this focus of maximizing the margin has become a be all and end all for too many people.

Daily Examen, Thursday, July 20, 2017

Headline: Senator McCain
Has Brain Cancer
and all the pundits
to recalculate
the political calculus,

and I think of
the Late Senator
Edward Kennedy,
and a friend posts on Facebook
about her son
who has also died of brain cancer,

and I think of
another friend on Facebook
who lost her son
a few years ago
this month
to brain cancer.

We must listen to other voices
and pray for those who grieve.

At noon-time Eucharist
we celebrated the life
of Elizabeth Cady Stanton
and the importance
of women’s voices
in politics,
in religion,
in arts,
in life,

and a friend
whose brother died
on the shores of Dunkirk
said she couldn’t watch
the documentary;
it wasn’t likely to tell
her side of the story
hearing the battle raging
across the channel,
and we talked about
the importance
of women’s voices
in politics,
in religion,
in arts,
in life.

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