September 13th, 2010

professional me, self

Updating, right.

So, classes started in earnest last week. Tuesday I came close to feeling like I was treading water. All 3 of my professors had stuff for me to do. Yes, summer is over. Each day of the week was progressively calmer, though.

Friday night I went to Wicked at the Opera House with Allie because a friend of mine had a conflict come up and couldn't go (and so gave me the tickets he and his girlfriend were going to use). We went to My Thai Vegan Cafe (famed for its fake meat, apparently), and I was sort of overwhelmed by the fact that I could eat everything on the menu.

I am unimpressed by my Jesus and the Gospels class, but we shall see.

On Saturday I took another trip to the Fells.

Sunday morning, Ian H. preached on the 1 Timothy reading ("Even Me! Even You...."). He opened with reminding us what a bad guy Paul was before his conversion and then talked about his own faith journey and said that often God asks us to do something and we think, "No, I'm not good enough," but God meets us right where we are.

At CWM, Anthony Z. from Interfaith Worker Justice preached on Psalm 14 ("No Not One"). Eh, "worker justice" memes make me somewhat uncomfortable, and I felt a little like it was trying too hard to fit exegesis into what was really a worker justice speech -- though the sermon I have currently tabled for that lectionary set is the least sermon-y sermon I've written, I think, so I feel a little hypocritical lodging that criticism (and as I learned in trying to write that sermon for yesterday, I don't have a good solid definition of what a sermon "is").

(Our closing hymn was "Solidarity Forever" -- which is to the tune of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," and Pr. Lisa joked that hey great, she could offer this to all the churches in the South that don't like "The Battle Hymn of the Republic.")


After morning church was Rooftop People. I didn't really know what to expect, and it was more discussion than support group, which isn't exactly what I was expecting, but it was good.

We read Mark 2:1-12 (from whence the name of the group) and had a bunch of good conversations about it.

Think outside the box. Easier said than done when constrained by needing to not get fired, etc. The friends didn't know how Jesus would react -- they had a strong sense of what needed to be done to help their friend and so they did whatever they could to get their friend to a place where that could happen.

Were they cutting in line? Story implies that the crowds were listening to Jesus preach, not necessarily there for healing.

We talked about the fact that Jesus first says, "Your sins are forgiven," and only does the physical healing after the lawyers complain -- if the lawyers had just said, "That's interesting," would Jesus have not done the physical healing at all? I said that one of the things I was thinking about was all the disability politics I've encountered, about how physical limitations aren't necessarily inherently problematic, it's society that's the problem (people who are in wheelchairs, if buildings are wheelchair-accessible, then they're not at a disadvantage), so one way of understanding the story is Jesus recognizing that physical healing wasn't what was most needed, but that what was most needed was for the person to know, "You are right with God."
Someone else commented that in that socio-historical moment, physical infirmity was often understood to be a result of sin, so Jesus could have been understood as going to the root of the problem rather than just treating the symptoms. (I thought about mentioning the "Who sinned that this person was born blind?" story to emphasize that Jesus didn't believe in that causation model, but partly there wasn't opportunity to, and partly I felt like we all understood that and so it didn't necessarily need to be said.) Someone else commented on it as a holistic model of healing rather than focusing solely on bodily healing.
Someone else (who works in social work) commented that although we don't tell people, "Your sins are forgiven," but we do try to help people (e.g., abuse survivors) internalize the fact that it was not their fault. Someone who works as a nurse practitioner commented that yeah, we say, "It's not your fault," to people with cancer and etc., too -- and sometimes it is their fault (e.g., smokers who get lung cancer), but really, it's not our place to judge.
* cure vs. healing *
Folks who work in medicine can't necessarily "cure" people, but healing can be instantaneous. Healing is also a long process -- a lot of people self-sabotage, because okay you're gonna have this different life but "What will it be like?" Also, "What will be expected of me?"

Who are our Rooftop People? We know (from our jobs/roles as caregives) that people need help/ers, so why is it so hard for us to ask for help ourselves?


Autumn weather has hit!

I am considering investing in leggings to wear under my denim skirt, because finding dress pants (or even nice jeans) that fit and that I like has been fairly fruitless, plus I am not a fan of not having pockets, and women's dress pants are faily at pockets.

Future-sister-in-law sent me the final decision on bridesmaid dress -- this dress (in Wisteria -- a light purple). I'm not a big fan, but we'll see. Must hie myself to a David's Bridal and actually try one on.

wholeness is possible

From "Teshuvah, In Three Acts: A rabbi reflects on the struggle to restore wholeness in the lives of three congregants" by Rabbi Ayelet Cohen (emphasis mine):
I ran into one woman outside of the sanctuary on Yom Kippur. She was sitting on the floor playing with her young son. She had lost her mother earlier that year. “I am furious at God,” she told me. “Ever since my mother died I have been furious at God. I have no intention of going in there and praying or saying anything to God.”

But she had come to shul anyway. It was Yom Kippur. She and her partner were raising a child. She was angry at God that her mother had not lived to know the grandson who would surely have brought her so much joy. But this woman and her partner were creating a family, continuing the chain of their Jewish families. They wanted their son to be a part of their Jewish community.

She didn’t go into the sanctuary that year. She may not have gone in the next year either. But she kept coming to shul, with her partner and their son. Even as she raged with God she knew that for her Jewish family, marking the holidays and coming to shul was essential. She wasn’t asking God for forgiveness. She wanted God to ask her for forgiveness, for taking her mother away before her son had a chance to know his grandmother. And it seemed like Yom Kippur was the right time for that.

Each year as the fullness of summer begins to wane and the moon of the month of Elul swells and subsides, the season of teshuvah returns. Teshuvah is a gift and a challenge. It is slow work. There is no magic formula that will suddenly heal all that has shattered in our lives. We build community; we explore and reconcile with Judaism; we search for God. Every year as we return to this season we are painfully aware of what is still broken.

But each year doing teshuvah reminds us that we may begin to repair what is broken. We may recover that which has been lost. Teshuvah reminds us that wholeness is possible.