I walked to work and the HBS flag was at half-mast.
I later saw the following at the top of the myHBS announcement page:
September 11 Remembrance: To commemorate the fifth anniversary of September 11th, the United States flag on the Baker Library lawn is being flown at half mast, and the bells at HBS and elsewhere at Harvard University, including Memorial Church, will toll solemnly at noon. There is a commemorative event in the Forum at the Kennedy School at 6pm to which all members of the Harvard community and the public are invited. (9/11/06)
A lot of the LJ reactions I saw today included/emphasized anger at the purposes for which this tragedy is being invoked (defending the Iraq war, etc.) which makes me uncomfortable given my own opinions on the war and my history with this discussion (this statement not intended as a judgement on any of my flisters or as a statement that it is in any way wrong to express those frustrations).
penknife quoted the Emily Dickinson poem which begins "We grow accustomed to the Dark." That poem is a new one to me, and I was worried it would be about complacency and otherwise easily tied to heavily politicized themes and would upset me, but instead it's an extended metaphor about how our eyes adjust to the dark:
Either the Darkness alters—
Or something in the sight
Adjusts itself to Midnight—
And Life steps almost straight.
karabair likened it to Bruce Springsteen's "You can get used to anything. Sooner or later it becomes your life," commenting: "I can't decide if I think it's good or bad, or if it just is."
Layna said that the Mass she went to yesterday was about hope: about how there are still good things in this world and how we're all still showing up, willing to do the work we are here for.
And I wish I could promise you a beautiful world
That would never break your heart
Maybe that's what we are here for
We try and fix what comes apart
-Catie Curtis, "Love Takes the Best of You"
Andrew -- CAUMC's intern minister whom I met at the wedding reception -- led tonight's book study, on the Book of Esther.
I recalled that Esther was one of FCCN's "Women in the Bible" series but neither reread this writeup nor read the entire book of Esther in advance. This was probably a combination of restraint and laziness.
We started with a Veggie Tales clip -- an idea which I was strongly resistant to (it's Bible stories told for children by CGI vegetables...). We started with the scene where the king's life is threatened, so Andrew was recapping for us who was who and what had happened so far. This included: The king asked Vashti to make him a sandwich. Yes, I was doubled over ded from laughter. "Woman, make me a sammich!" was in my head for the duration of the night. My ultimate conclusion (based on two scenes) was that Veggie Tales is MADE OF AWESOME -- in that way where that phrase does not mean what it usually means. And if I knew somewhere that would publish it, I would be all over watching all the Veggie Tales and writing papers on how they translate the stories and suchlike.
We read Chapters 3+4 aloud. Andrew said there are difficult names and to
Andrew mentioned the banality of evil, talked about systems etc., which then made me think of Modernity and the Holocaust (yeah SOC 101 of awesomeness).
We also talked about how God is never explicitly named/invoked in the text and why that might be.
I feel like we would have had a much more productive discussion if we all (myself included) had a lot more familiarity with the text, but it certainly wasn't bad.
We had new faces. Not only was Michelle (whom I had met previously at wedding events) back at group for the first time since June (ditto) Andrew but we had people who had just come to church here once: Mariah (newly transplanted from Pittsburgh, working as an engineer after years of being a student) and Catherine (newly retransplanted from Florida, teaching high school math). At Affirmations, Catherine said that Mariah was so welcoming to her, that she didn't even realize it was her first night here as well. She was so articulate, and succinct, in her Affirmations of everyone, which really impressed me (but she went after me, so I couldn't officially Affirm her for that :) ). Meredith+Mike are having a brief hiking trip on Sept. 23 but will still come to my party afterward, and I've really gotta just send an invite to the group; yay for peopleyness. Oh, and tonight Meredith made spaghetti with bland tomato sauce I could stomach and pumpkin pie which I had two slices of. Oh, and Andrew brought up Song of Songs/Solomon multiple times, and I would love it if that were our study text next week. (Its very existence/substance was news to Mariah and Michelle, both of whom grew up Catholic complete with that "We only know about the Bible what our priest tells us.")