The idea that we ostensibly have a presumption of "innocent until proven guilty" and yet most times once charged with a crime you are stuck in jail until trial unless you have the money to post bail is really distressing to me.
In the federal courts, the only purpose of bail was to prevent flight, until the passage of the Bail Reform Act of 1984. Part of a package of tough crime legislation, the 1984 law changed the calculus of the presumption of bail, weakening the presumption that people should not be jailed until conviction. (Capital cases have always been exempt from bail, creating an exception for the very worst crimes.) The bill added the amorphous standard of danger to the community as a determining factor in setting bail. On top of that, in the intervening years federal judges began confiscating bail bonds not only for actual flight but for all sorts of violations, making it harder for defendants to find bondsmen (who get paid 15 percent of the bail, which they keep whatever the outcome—a cruelty that's hard to miss) to put up collateral.***
Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church
I went to CHPC for the first time since the first Sunday in Advent (that means I had been absent for 6 Sundays, albeit over the holidays). I told Katherine I was wondering how many weeks I'd have to not show up before anyone actually got in touch with me. She said she'd thought of me like five times this week but never when she was actually in front of a computer or anything. I know that experience well.
I walked into the sanctuary and Karl greeted me and I reiterated what I'd said to Katherine and he said, "Were you testing us?"
I said, "No, I just had better offers."
There weren't many people in attendance so apparently an executive decision was made to just read some Scriptures about hope and some conversation about that and then trying out some new music. (It occurred to me later to be annoyed at the idea that we couldn't have a regular service with just a few people 'cause, nevermind the fact that we often don't have very many in attendance, Rest and Bread does a full service in like 30-45 minutes with attendance that often doesn't/barely break/s double digits.)
Up at the front of the sanctuary was a framed poster of that Barack Obama portrait with "Hope" at the bottom. I am still v. low church and was uncomfortable. I appreciated that the first reading Karl did (btw, I am not impressed with Karl's Scripture reading voice at all) included the line "Do not put your hopes in princes or mortals" (from Psalm 146).
There were no bulletins, but when we were going through new music, Karl asked for feedback on the Call to Worship as chant -- something they've been doing for a couple months now and no one's given him any feedback (positive or negative), and LizC said she hadn't been in a couple weeks so she didn't really know the new Call to Worship and so Karl went and got copies of what would have been today's bulletin. I really liked the unison Prayer of Confession.
Prayer of Confession (unison)***
Gracious God, our sins are too heavy to carry, too real to hide, and too deep to undo. Forgive what our lips tremble to name, what our hearts can no longer bear, and what has become for us a consuming shadow of guilt. Set us free from a past that we cannot change; open to us a future in which we can be changed; and grant us your grace to grow more and more into your likeness and image; through Jesus Christ, the light of the world. Amen.
("The Worship Sourcebook," adapted)
Cambridge Welcoming Ministries
When I was skipping CHPC week after week and really not missing it, I was thinking I should just quit -- I mean, I was considering quitting last fall (not '08 but '07) -- but I would still feel like I should go somewhere Sunday mornings (because I can) and we've already established that I just cannot do First Church Somerville, so I'd be back to church-hopping. I was realizing recently that while I like the freedom to go anywhere I want on Sunday mornings (like interesting-sounding sermons at Somerville Community Baptist or First Church Somerville UCC), I'm not highly motivated to find a new regular Sunday morning place because I already have a church "home" -- CWM.
Nothing was particularly striking about the service tonight, and I'm not madly in love with lots of aspects of it like many of the congregants are, but it feels comfortable and natural and "right" and "home."
Carolyn was complaining about the recent stipulation for UMC ordination re: "fidelity within marriage and celibacy in singlehood," and Marla said that while the latter is bullshit, one can interpret the former in a way that makes it feel okay to sign off on it (even though yes of course we would like for that requirement to be removed) and mentioned that if you're interpreting "marriage" as "partner-relationship" then it even allows for polyamory, and she was so matter-of-fact about it and I wanted to be like "Thank you!" but I couldn't think of a way to interject that without disrupting their conversation.
In an earlier conversation, Gordon College came up, and Marla talked about how it's problematic that our Annual Conference is held there ('cause it means we're giving them money) but also talked about how there are always student workers there who will ask them about their rainbow stoles and she tries to have as many of those conversations as possible. I remember her talking about those student interactions before (probably after the last Annual Conference) and it continues to make me really happy.
[obligatory snow report]
There were only a couple inches of snow on the ground when I left for church around 10am, and it was soft snow, and it wasn't windy, temps in the 20sF, so I just felt like, "yes, this is winter."
Laurel gchatted me around 2pm and said, "ugh, the weather sucks. I shoveled for an hour, then took a shower. there are now probably 1.5 to 2 more inches of snow on my car. if I move my car, i will likely have to shovel for an hour efore I can repark it. when one has a car, snow stops being pretty and starts being a pain."
The snow stopped around 2:30, and walking to church around 4:30pm it was picturesque. Walking home around 8pm it had started again -- big flakes, but falling lightly.
-mylittleredgirl [more info]
Do not be afraid, I am with you
I have called you each by name
Come and follow Me
I will bring you home
I love you and you are mine
-"You Are Mine" (David Haas)
Five good things about today:
1. I drowned a couple items in Shout Action Gel last night and laundered them today, and that actually got rid of the fluorescent pink splotches.
2. I like this green sweater I got at Sears more than I'd sort of expected.
3. Cat IMed me.
4. CWM = home.
5. Surprise bonus phone conversation with la bff.
Three things I did well today:
1. Stayed for Coffee Hour at CHPC.
3. Sussed something out while talking to Ari.
Two things I am looking forward to (doing [better]) tomorrow:
["anything that you're looking forward to, that means you're facing tomorrow with joy, not trepidation," as Ari says]
1. Getting enough sleep, maybe? (I keep failing at finishing LJ posts -- and thus getting to go to bed -- at a reasonable hour. I actually laid(?) down this afternoon from like 3-4 'cause I was feeling tired.)
2. Facebook-messaging Elyse.