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burning like matchsticks in the face of the darkness
 
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Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

Time Event
8:34p
IT SNOWED!
Thanks to digital snow signals (as TBQ would say), I'd been hearing about snow in New York via the flist throughout the day today. After CWM service tonight, Tallessyn's girls were excited that it was snowing out, but I didn't actually see for myself until I left around 8:15pm. It was no longer actively snowing, but it was beautiful. Just enough snow to cover everything and still have white showing even under people's footprints. I of course would have been happy with more snow, but I'm content with this for our first "real" snow of the season.

[Sidebar: Coming home tonight, I noticed multicolored lights through the windows of our upstairs porch. Roomie-Katie must have decorated, since that's where her room is.]
11:30p
[Wednesday-Friday]
Wednesday

gymCollapse )

***

via friendsfriends I saw http://speedtest.10-fast-fingers.com/

I did it a bunch of times and my average seems to be about ~480 characters per minute, with 80+ correct words and <10 wrong words.  [Amusingly, the previous day I had been typing an e-mail while MaryAlice waited at my desk to go to lunch, and she said my fingers just flew over the keyboard.  I laughed and said my mom typed way faster than I do.  I can type fairly quickly -- and also fairly accurately -- but my mom can type at dictation speed.]
I was totally noticing that I use my right (dominant) hand like 3/4 of the keyboard.  And also that I would glance down at the keyboard even though I don't think I actually registered any of what I saw.  Though sometimes I did look, because apparently I do have muscle memory, but I couldn't actually tell you where any of the keys are, so if I get too off I have to visually re-set, 'cause I can't (or don't trust myself, possibly) reset via blind muscle memory.

***

rachelmanija has been posting a multi-part essay on PTSD. It incluies the admonition to "NEVER EVER hug a stranger from behind," which I have a bad habit of doing. I mean, not that I go around giving surprise hugs to complete strangers, but I'll hug people I know from behind, not announcing my presence/intentions beforehand, which I should be better about not doing unless I know the person's okay with it.

***

via musesfool:
Quote from Kripke, via Ausiello:

Question: [...] Tell me if Supernatural ever plans on exploring the good side of the supernatural world. You know, guardian angels, the spear of destiny, stuff like that.— Jeff

Ausiello: [...] Here's your answer, courtesy of Supernatural creator Eric Kripke: "We have a firm belief in the cosmology of this show that evil, in terms of demons, etc, is very tangible and real and out there. Angels and supernatural forces of good are much more elusive. But in my opinion — and the opinion of the writers — if God is out there, he isn't sending angels to fight the battles; he's working through a very human, sweaty, outgunned and overwhelmed group of hunters. For us, these are the angels. I think the point that's very important to us to make is that the forces of good work through humans who are flawed and imperfect and trying to make the right decisions. And that's the way God works. So we try to present that."
***

Thursday

gymCollapse )

Wow, I went to direct a visitor somewhere and I totally fail at Left and Right.  I gestured left and said Right and then gestured right and said Left -- and then as he was walking away I realized my error.

Nicole visited Tuck yesterday, and she said while it's in the middle of nowhere it has a lot of great stuff.  She said the staff-faculty-students have a jovial, cordial relationship, "you wouldn't even recognize it."  Is somewhat comforting to know it's an HBS thing not a b-school thing across the board :)  Though later I thought I should have asked her if the students there stood in doorways, especially in the cafeteria ;)

After work, I was in the mood for a fruit smoothie, and the day's special was banana-pineapple-persimmon.  It was tasty.

Friday

gymCollapse )

I didn't bother putting my jacket on when I walked from the gym to my building.  Greg saw me and said: "You must be coming from the gym.  Otherwise you are one cold camper."

Katie and I walked to the T together, but despite her having moved 6 weeks ago, we still haven't taken the Red Line home yet (she was going home today, but I was going downtown).  She's gone to the gym all 5 mornings this week, which is largely my influence.  (She had a gym membership elsewhere before, but went after work and definitely not every day.)

My mom said that her mention of the Black Nativity inspired her boss to get tickets for his family.

I'm not used to being inspiring :)
11:31p
[CHPC] Matthew 3-4 [2007-11-28]
We talked some about the idea of preparing the way, and I mentioned Tiffany's sermon on that Luke passage.

Edit: I forgot to mention that I pointed out that Matthew was misquoting Isaiah -- saying that Isaiah says, "A voice is calling: 'in the desert, yadda yadda,' " so in Isaiah the speaker himself isn't necessarily in the desert, and that I know it's not a substantial difference I'm just apparently that obnoxious that I have to bring it up.  Karl talked about oral tradition, and I said wasn't it written down in like 400 BC and after all we have a scene in one of the gospels where Jesus picks up a Torah scroll and reads from it.  Karl said that Jesus quotes Scripture a lot and when he does so he's quoting from memory and he sometimes misquotes.  I said, "That's problematic, because he's God."  Mike suggested that the people who wrote down what Jesus said might have gotten it wrong, and said I was willing to be okay with that.  (Though it does raise my recurrent problematic of how people decided what was God-breathed Scripture and what wasn't and how we can trust their discernment.  But that's a huge issue all on its own.) /edit

Mike mentioned how John seems like a bit of a whack job -- living in the desert, wearing camel hair, eating locusts and honey -- and how as he said last time, it's the stuff like this that makes him feel like this is more likely to be true, because if you were making this up you wouldn't include this kind of stuff.

I brought up the "Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?" line, how it seems so bizarre to me.  Mike suggested that the Pharisees and Sadducees were coming to get baptized by John because that was the latest trendy thing to do, not because they were truly repentant or anything.  Karl's reading was that John says God's judgement is coming and cannot be avoided.

We talked some about baptism, about what baptism might have meant for John and the people he baptized.

Karl mentioned that the baptism of Jesus scene reminds him of the Transfiguration.

Karl read the desert temptation scene as the 3 internal temptations -- focus on yourself, testing your God, and earthly power.

Karl said Matthew 4:23 is a succinct mission statement -- teaching, preaching (his translation had "proclaiming" the good news, which he preferred, as it's more distinct from teaching than preaching is) and healing.  I pointed out that it may be a succinct mission stateent, but it doesn't say anything about what you're supposed to teach or proclaim.  (Yes, I know we get to that later.  I'm just saying.)

Karl asked us how we feel the Church is doing in fulfilling that mission statement, and I said I thought the part that churches tend not to do so much is healing -- being a healing space for people, providing a community where people can be vulnerable and can make their sufferings known, etc.  Other people mentioned the Presbyterian Church's historic involvement in getting hospitals built and stuff, and how most of those things are self-sufficient now and how there's focus on that sort of stuff in missions now.
11:32p
[CAUMC] Forgiveness [2007-11-29]
E-mail from Trelawney:
Tonight: Forgiveness - i heard this cool sermon in lebanon all about forgiveness. i finally got a copy of it. it's something we've wrestled with a lot in our group, and i thought this preacher did a good job outlining it in ways some of us will find useful in our lives. so that will be small group. Eric will put on supper and i'll join you a little late b/c of a lecture i need to attend by my adviser at harvard.
[I've misplaced her handout, so I'll have to finish this writeup another time.]

***

I was tired, so I didn't really say much (another reason I've gotta start getting enough sleep regularly, f'r serious), so I thought it would be really hard for people to come up with Affirmations for me, but I actually got a really nice round.

+ At the beginning of dinner, Eric was debating what seasoning to put on the green beans, and I snagged some for.  Michelle said, "Yes, green beans are generally better left alone."  I said, "Of course, I think most food is better left alone," and in Affirmations she brought this up, said stuff like that is part of what she loves about me :)
+ Trelawney Affirmed my positive demeanor, said we don't get to talk much but whenever we do, she always comes away from our interactions feeling positive.  I said I suspected this was a function more of her than of me, but I accepted the Affirmation.  Jess said she agreed with Trelawney about my positive demeanor.
+ Jess also Affirmed my ability to tell stories -- that she tends to tell stories very briefly and not very interestingly, so she's impressed when people can tell stories well.  Jenny echoed this.
+ Eric Affirmed my listening and being present -- and also that I retain things, that he'll often listen and be present but then he goes on to listen and be present in the next moment and forget what the person had just said.

***

Before dinner, I was talking about my VCR issues, since I had been on the phone with my brother on my way in, and Jenny was saying she kinda wanted to go check it out.  She did in fact come back to my apartment with me after group (we stayed to help wash dishes first), and she couldn't in fact improve my VCR situation any, but it was nice to have someone over.

[I bought a programmable VCR-DVD player, but its only coaxial cable connector is for output, so I can't have it receive the signal that way, and my TV only has red-white-yellow plug connectors for input, so I can't record anything.  I don't understand why finding programmable VCRS is so hard, and now apparently I also need to find one with a coaxial input -- which a lot of them don't specify; my brother said I should look for if it has a tv tuner, since that's basically what that's used for, but they don't all say.  The manual says I can connect to a cable box, so I need to find out from RCN if their cable boxes have those connectors -- since if they're all coaxial that doesn't help me.  It's tempting to get DVR or something to solve my problem, I'm just not excited about spending very much money on that since I really don't watch much tv.  I'm bummed that I can't tape the Tin Man miniseries, though.]
11:34p
Handel's Messiah // UCN church fair
Fri. Nov. 30, my mom and I went to Handel's Messiah.

I waited for her at the Starbucks near Symphony Hall -- ordered a tall peppermint hot chocolate, finally beginning to use the $10 giftcard I got from a couple at First Churches for my college graduation 2.5 years ago.

We had dinner at, I think it was called Pho & I.  After my hot chocolate, I felt really full (my stomach'd been weird like all week), so I just got a coconut juice and a Saigon Salad sans meat, which I merely picked at.

I'd ordered [online!] first balcony, center.  When my tickets came, "PLEASE NOTE: The seating you requested was not available at the time you placed your order.  We have given you the best available seats in substitution."  BALC2CTR

I was in second balcony last year and it felt really high up, but I was on the side near the edge overlooking everything, and the center has more rows and we weren't quite so close to the front, so I didn't feel like I was close to falling off.

I wasn't particularly into the concert at first (though I was very impressed with myself that, despite the not-enough sleep I'd gotten all week, I easily stayed awake through the whole concert -- and I was particularly struck by the Alto, and the conductor was great).  However, at this part, I fell in love with the Reason for the Season.

Chorus
For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called: Wonderful Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace!
(Isaiah IX, 6)

I wasn't really into the suffering Christ parts, sacrificial atonement and all.

From Program Notes:
Handel's other oratorios are all dramatic re-tellings of Biblical events.  Messiah is something very different.  The libretto is entirely made of Biblical quotations that comment on the events at hand, instead of enacting them.  This was an elegant way around the chief eighteenth-century objection for sacred oratorios, for Jesus himself never actually sings.

The idea of putting the central story of Christianity on the concert stage was a novel and potentially shocking idea.  Putting the story entirely in the form of quotations from both the Old and New Testament avoided making the Passion story into an unstaged opera.  But this also opened the way for a far greater breadth of symbolic reference.

Charles Jennens used a passage from St. Paul to sum up his musical sermon: "God was manifested in the Flesh, justify'd by the Spirit, seen of Angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on in the World, received up in Glory."  All this is more than a simple retelling of the life of Christ.  Jennens' web of quotations draws our attention away from the actual events and towards the theological implications of Jesus's story.  In Part II, for example, the tremendously dramatic story of Christ's crucifixion is conveyed entirely through the language of the Old Testament, since these are the prophecies that the Crucifixion is seen to fulfill.  And Part III has no plot at all; it is actually a version of the Anglican burial service, emphasizing the resurrection of the body and Christ's victory over sin.
***

I went back to Norwood with my mom afterward 'cause the UCN Fair was the next day.

The fair's 9-3, and my mom said if I got there around 10 that'd be fine.

I helped at the book table, per usual.

There was a far greater number of books than usual, so much so that it wasn't until around lunchtime that you could actually read the titles of all the books.  Carol kept handing me books, suggesting I might be interested in purchasing them.  At one point I asked her why she kept trying to push romance novels on me.  She hadn't realized they were romance novels ("Wicked" had a white cover with a dove on the front, "Rebel" had a white cover with a hummingbird? on the front), but I proved I was right by flipping them over to find bodice-ripper scenes (they were hardcovers).  I was amused, because I didn't recognize the author names at all, just somehow knew they were romance novels, because what else would they be.  Carol said she was a bad influence.  I said I'm so far gone... said it's a church book fair so doesn't have real bad influence books, just medium bad influence books like romance novels.  I looked really virtuous, though, because I got 3 Christianity books:
+ Mysteries of the Bible: The Unanswered Questions of the Scriptures, by Reader's Digest Association)
+ The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Spirituality, ed. Gordon S. Wakefield
+ The Lenten Labyrinth: Daily Reflections for the Journey of Lent (Daily Reflections for the Journey of Lent), by Edward M. Hays

Bev was running the fair for the I-don't-know-what-th year in a row, and her good friend Ginny H. whom she lives with (in a gen way, I swear!) has been in and out of the hospital since like October, so she was kinda stressed.  I was massaging her back, and she said she was gonna move in with me.

The fair was 9-3, so I'd thought I might swing by the library before getting the 5:05 train home, but I helped box up all the leftovers, and then I picked up a little kid to keep him from going down the stairs to outside (guys were coming by carrying a table, otherwise I would have just blocked the stairs until the kid's mom came and got him), and he put his arms around me.  I had never seen him before.  His name is David, and he'll be 2 in January.  I'm not much of a kid person, but I was happy to just hold this sweet kid, kinda rocking him.  Every once in a while he would wanna get down, and I'd follow him somewhere, and he'd walk around a bit, and then I'd pick him, and he'd hang out for a while.  At one point I tried singing to him a little bit (softly, since his ears were so close to my mouth) and yeah, I so can't sing.

When I was first holding him, his grandfather David said I was practicing for when I got older.  I said I didn't actually want to have kids, so I was practicing to be an aunt, but I was okay with that.

I saw Mike F. later, and he said he wished he were smaller, so I could hold him like that.  (He'd been working outside all day.)  I told him about my conversation with the kid's grandfather, and he said I'd change my mind when prince Charming came along, that I'd want to reproduce him.  I consciously decided not to Come Out as bi, and just responded to the other part, saying that it's a lot of work and you never get an exact replica or even a combination of the best parts of you and your partner, that if you do a really good job you hope to get a good unique person whom you are glad to have in your life.

My parents left at a time when if I went with them I would make the 5:05 train, so I did.
11:37p
[CHPC] First Sunday in Advent [2007-12-02]
"Come, Let us walk in the light of the Lord" (Isaiah 2:5)

We light the candle of . . . Hope? today.Collapse )

***

CHPC has an "Advent Readings and Meditations For Advent and Christmas 2007" booklet ("Meditations by Members and Friends of Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church").  The cover says "Unto Us A Child Is Born" with a child's drawing of a woman kneeling in prayer beside a manger containing a baby.

In the Introduction, Pierre explains:
    Five issues ago, we purchased cover paper for these Advent booklets.  The packages contained five colors and paper enough for five years.  This year we're left with blue.  My Presbyterian wife and Advent booklet collaborator, showing signs of 25 years; marriage to a Catholic husband, took this as a sure sign that for this issue we should have a Marian theme.  (I swear it wasn't my idea!)  [....]
      Unto her a child was born, and not just any child.  She is a model to us because she accepted and carried divinity within herself [...].  Christian tradition early gave Mary the title Theotokos, a Greek word often translated as "mother of God" but meaning literally "God bearer."  I prefer "God bearer" because, while only Mary was the mother of Jesus, any one of us might be---and we are every one of us called to be---God bearers.  In Isaiah's words we affirm: Unto us a child is born.  [...]
  But who among us is worthy to be a God bearer?  By the standard of the Immaculate Conception, none.  Yet God is born to us anyway.  This is the remarkable thing: that though we are what we are ---limited in so many ways, fragile, broken, mired in a human condition of sin and suffering, so far from comprehending the Divine Other---God in Jesus comes to us, even entrusts God's self to our care.  Like Mary, we are asked to be God bearers, nurturers of God's life within ourselves and bearers of that life to others.
    We do that, in part, through these readings and shared meditations.  Unto us all a child is born.
+

Today's reading was Isaiah 2:1-5 (RSV).  Craig did the Meditation, blah blah blah Israel-Palestine and peace.

***

joy sadhana for Advent (1)

I decided last weekend that I wanted to do joy sadhana as my Advent discipline this year.

"Joy Sadhana is a daily practice in the observation of joy." -mylittleredgirl [more info]

And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before our God to prepare the ways, to give knowledge of salvation to God's people by the forgiveness of sins.  By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace."
-Luke 1:76-79


Five good things about today:
1. Beautiful cold weather!
2. Yummy filling Chinese food for dinner at CWM.
3. IT SNOWED!
4. I wore my sparkly gold sweater (again).
5. Not having an unhappy tummy at all today.  (This had been happening a lot this past week.)
6. My Internet didn't cut out at all today.  (It had been doing so for some weeks now.)

Three things I did well today:
1. I stayed awake through the whole sermon at CHPC.
2. I helped with the setting up of the creche at CHPC during Coffee Hour.
3. I talked to Gusti and Rachel about not fitting in at liberal churches.
4. I asked Rachel for her contact info.
5. I did laundry (and put it away) and dishes.
6. I lifted up dialogue with those with whom we disagree in a discussion about peace at CWM.
7. I finished my most recent batch of LJ writeups.
8. I lifted up Certain People in the Prayers of the People at both my churches today.

Two things I am looking forward to (doing [better]) tomorrow:
1. free cupcake!
2. Making an electronic folder (I already have a hard copy folder) for the visitor evaluation forms, because it occurred to me that I will probably need those later on.
BONUS: Having fewer writeups to finish.
11:38p
[CWM] First Sunday of Advent: Preparing the Way of Peace [2007-12-02]
We're in the chapel for Advent, which is lovely.

I'd forgotten that CWM's Advent theme this year is "Preparing the Way of Peace" until I picked up a bulletin.

Prelude and Silent Meditation:
"Peace is the generous, tranquil contribution of all to the good of all.  Peace is dynamism.  Peace is generosity.  It is right and it is duty."
-Bishop Oscar Romero

Read more...Collapse )

***

In the post-dinner study group on the lectionary text, Tiffany asked us for our visions of peace.  Marla said isn't it frightening that Peace feels so impossible that she can't think of anything besides caricatures of rainbows and puppies and rivers of Kool-Aid.  In the discussion that followed, she(?) mentioned the polarization of opinions.  I suggested that maybe that was one way we could work toward peace, working to reduce the polarization, to engage in respectful dialogue with people with whom we disagree.  This was well-received.

Later, David mentioned what do you with situations where it seems like the only way to stop violence is with violence, like the Nazis in the Holocaust, what do you do with situations where someone deeply believes that life begins at conception and that abortion clinics are thus performing murders.  We didn't really get into this, but I was glad that it was brought up because those are two kinds of problematic twists on nonviolence etc. which I think of a lot, and I think he presented them better than I would have.
11:40p
I am so overdue for bed.
I glanced at the news item (and hey, at least this was actually posted on news, snerk), but didn't click on the cuts, so I didn't realize until I refreshed my flist/Inbox that it's a Russian company that SixApart has sold LiveJournal to.  That should be . . . interesting.

In other news, thelastgoodname pointed out to me that Netrillium's Terms of Service say, "All pornography, uploading or linking suggestive, explicit or obscene material is prohibited."  Clearly I didn't read their TOS thoroughly when I signed up.  Now I have to figure out if I wanna go elsewhere when my "lease" runs out in a couple months.  Sigh.

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