September 21st, 2009

nice is different than good

// They were off my path so I never had dared //

(1) This post makes me want to see the movie Jennifer's Body.

(2) A flister recently linked to this this NY Times article on prayer which has one paragraph which, as she put it, "basically plagiarizes inaccurately paraphrases closely adapts an excerpt from this 2008 news article" (and I'm here quoting from the 2008 article):
Among the most innovative -- and controversial -- aspects of the Siddur soon to be released by San Francisco's main gay synagogue is a prayer for "unexpected intimacy." The new prayer is intended for meaningful encounters with strangers, including, according to some involved in the project, anonymous sexual relations.

It is featured in the forthcoming Siddur created by Congregation Sha'ar Zahav, a 31-year-old synagogue in San Francisco affiliated with the Reform movement.

"In the dark, in a strange place, our father Jacob encountered a stranger with whom he grappled all night," the prayer begins, referring to the biblical story of Jacob wrestling with the angel. "He never knew the stranger's name, yet their encounter was a blessing, which turned Jacob into Israel and made him realize, I have seen God face-to-face."

The prayer, titled "Kavannah for Unexpected Intimacy," goes on to ask God -- "who created passion and wove it throughout creation" -- to permit the encounter to be a blessing "that allows us to both touch and see the Divine."


Ramer, who describes himself as "fiercely monogamous," stressed that the prayer was not intended solely for gays and lesbians. He also emphasized that it need not refer solely to encounters of a sexual nature, but to any exchange with a stranger that was deemed meaningful.

"Isn't this one of the things we're told the most, to honor strangers?" Ramer asked. "In an anonymous act, this is our chance to recognize the sacredness."
I have thoughts on the NYT prayer article, but I'm much more struck by the stranger-encounter prayer idea.  My friend suggests that the question we ask (and not just about sexual ethics) shouldn't be about Right/Wrong but rather should be, "How can this activity reflect and deepen the presence of God in my life and the world?"

(no subject)

Today is Tiffany's first day back from sabbatical.  I passed her and Grady on my way home from work.  She was late to meet her partner for dinner.  ("See you on Sunday?" she said.  "Yup," I replied.)  She said I should email her and we should get coffee.  I nodded, and in my head I thought, "Because you want to talk to me about vocational discernment and how I should work in the church.  I am a little bit impressed that you remembered this."  [Since she had brought it up the Sunday before she went on 12-week maternity leave.]  "Because it's been a long time," she said, and I nodded again, thinking, "Okay, I am choosing to believe that you are not just interested in catching up with all your parishioners now that you're back from maternity leave."

Farther up the road, Molly's kids had a lemonade stand (with the proceeds going to an orphanage in Mexico) -- well, Rafe and his friend had a lemonade stand, while three-year-old Carmen walked around with her shirt off.  "I have the biggest shadow," she repeatedly declared, walking backwards down the street.  (It was about an hour and a quarter before sunset, so her shadow was indeed long.)