Category Archives: Ordinary Time

Growing Season

A peculiar artifact of my family culture is the widespread belief amongst the matriarchs that I am unable to make good decisions.

This was decided when I was five years old.

Therefore, as I was incapable of making good judgements and decisions, they were made for me. What I would wear. What I would eat. When I could talk.

Every so often, my mother would attempt some self-determination thing and ask me to make a decision for myself. The most memorable one was senior year in high school, where I was told to decide where I would go to college.

I had a nervous breakdown.

My mother found the hidden stash of applications under a pile of dirty laundry well past the due date. After some berating (see, Mom didn’t know about the nervous breakdown, I was spending 10-15 hours a day at school for various activities and my friends were doing their best to shield me as I went mad), she asked, “What do you want to do now?”

“I want to go to Hayward,” I said. I had friends going there.  

The flat response: “You don’t want to go to Hayward. It’s ugly. Let me call Chico.”

I’ve got a BA from Chico State. Not a bad school, mind you, I enjoyed it there, but I have absolutely zero friends from that time. I was too shy to talk to anyone without the social buffer of another person I already knew.

Moving to Portland came out of left field, and I think that’s the only reason I got away with it. Getting up here was easy. Learning how to make decisions for myself was hard.

Learning it’s okay to make mistakes? Even harder. I’m finally getting a grasp on that, though. I’ve become rooted in the new (damp) soil here in the Northwest.

A long stretch of green faces those of us who use liturgical calendars. Ordinary Time. A time of growth, theoretically. Growth can be another word for ‘slow’, though, in a Church context it can mean tiny steps.

That’s good for big trees that have been stable for several centuries. But for the little plants, the ones just barely rooted, they don’t grow in increments. They grow exponentially, turn around and they’re taller again and again.

It’s growing season. Let’s see what comes up.

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Mazel Tov!

This was one of those weekends where by 10pm tonight I’ll have done 40 hours of work in 4 days (and filed an injury report, the damn conveyor belt bit my hand!)

And at the Big Blue Box, we get two Sunday papers. They go into the break room, where they are instantaneoulsy disassembled into individual sheets and scattered about like so much confetti.

So along about my 7pm break, I finally tracked down the front page (and only the front page, it had been ripped from the back page for some reason).

And saw this:

Domestic Partnerships Allowed in Oregon

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A state law allowing gay couples to register as domestic partners belatedly took effect Friday after a federal judge ruled the state’s process of disqualifying petition signatures was consistent enough to be valid.

The state quickly announced that the domestic partnership applications were available online, and jubilant gay-rights activists predicted hundreds of couples would line up on Monday morning at county offices to register.

“We’re a family. We’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” said a beaming Cathy Kravitz of Portland. She said she and her partner of 21 years will be among those registering on Monday.

The next paragraph, though, was the scary one:

The petitions fell 96 signatures short of the 55,179 needed to refer the law to the November 2008 ballot. The petitioners claim that county clerks rejected signatures improperly.

So, to those 96 people who could have signed and didn’t, THANK YOU.

(To the 55,083 people who did sign, especially those who did at the request of their pastor who passed it around the congregation [true story, wish I was making it up, Jesus weeps {loudly and often}], the dozen roses I’m taking down to the courthouse tomorrow to hand out to the newly registered couples are dedicated to you.)

And to all the couples who will have their relationship legally recognized FINALLY!



Filed under Ordinary Time

Now is the time on Sprockets when we dance!

Semi-official word from Maddy’s Place:

Okay. We’re still sorting stuff out but I can tell you that we definitely have:


… in our grubby little mitts at the moment.

This figure may get higher. It shouldn’t be less.

As I said in the comments over there… EVERYBODY MAMBO!

(wait, the good stuff’s at about 0:57)

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Filed under Ordinary Time, singing

I Love to Tell the Story

‘Twill be my theme in glory,
To tell the old, old story
Of Jesus and his love.

If it’s stuck in my head, it’s gonna be stuck in yours! Hahaha. Suckers.

Christianity is a story. It’s a really big story, starting from the Big Bang (wherein God, doing his best impression of my mother, Says Something and it Gets done), through the Israelites to that guy named Jesus, then through the apostles and saints and Church right down to the parts of the story we’re writing here today, in our individual lives.

Christianity is about sharing the story. That’s how it’s passed, from mouth to mouth, from hand to hand, one theological book quoting another down to the words the Man Himself said on a dusty road.

As bloggers, we’ve got this storytelling thing down pat. We pull out the stories of our own experiences and send them out into the universe, tumbling through space and time until they fetch up on someone’s computer screen to inspire, to make people laugh, to share tears and joy equally. We’re passing on the Christian story one pixel at a time.

But we are privleged. We have great wealth, not just in being able to access a computer and the Internet, but in the knowledge to use it, the specialized skill set that is required to be able to type, to access the Internet, to use a mouse.

Ours are not the only stories. Ours is not the only Christianity.

Ours is the calling to become the Storytellers. To go into our churches and communities, to not only tell the stories we have gleaned with our computer skills, but to learn the stories that are being written in the parts of the world that are far removed from computers. To bring those back to the storytelling tools, the computer, the Internet, and share these other stories.

This is my story.
This is my song.

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Filed under meditations, Ordinary Time

The WGA Strike, or Love to the Writers!


I straight up support the Writer’s Guild of America strike, yo. What the studios are trying to do is INSANE!

…you have no idea what I’m talking about, do you?

For the video inclined:

For the wordy among us, an excerpt from the really well written John Rodgers, who writes my favorite comic book, Blue Beetle, and also does some writing for the teevee and the movies.

There is some grumbling among the screen-bloggers of various levels that the strike is being driven by the rich writers who can afford to take some time off work. That the middle class writer will be hosed. This is a bullshit complaint. I keep saying this, over and over again, and will restate it before the end of this post: We are all writing for the box set now. There will be no middle class of writers if we don’t get a good deal on internet downloads, just as there’d be more working writers now if we’d gotten a better deal on DVD/home video back in the day. I have immense amounts of sympathy for young beginning writers who are seeing their first staff jobs evaporate, and for all the below the line people who will suffer when production stops. But we gotta do this now.
Writers: “We want residuals in internet downloads, let’s start at a 2.5% for a negotiating point, an increase in our DVD residuals from .3% to a nominally less pathetic .6%, and a bunch of other bullshit that’s on the table for negotiating purposes.”

Studios: “How about ZERO PERCENT, not only of the new stuff but we also redefine existing residuals so that you won’t get any of those, either? Oh yeah, and here are some other rollbacks, all financially punitive and some actually morally objectionable!”
The Studios’ position on internet streaming is patently ridiculous. It is not “promotional” to show an entire episode, with commercials. Trailers are promotional. Clips are promotional. An entire episode, and again son, pay attention heah, with commercials —

— with commercials —


— is a frikkin’ rerun.

Now, here’s the wild thing: last time there was a major strike was 1988. It went for five months.

But back then, there wasn’t the Internet and crazy, crazy fan communities who do stuff like, oh, send pizza to the picketers with signs that say “You fed our minds, we’d like to return the favor.”

By the by, the pizza folks? Are fans of a show that was CANCELED YEARS AGO. Bwahaha. My fandom so crazay!

Going into reruns is gonna suuuuck. So is the reality shows you just KNOW they’re going to try to fill with. The only way to get it to not-suck is for us consumers to also step up and tell the studios “Start playing nice, we want our shows back!”

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Filed under movies, Ordinary Time

It’s Hard To Hit A Moving Target

For a day in your courts is better
     than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
     than dwell in the tents of wickedness.
Psalm 84:10*

Finally made it back to St. Thatguy and dealt with all the “Where have you been?” questions in true Mary Sue fashion– I showed up late, sat in the back, and didn’t even go into the fellowship hall after service, I bailed for my car.

One of the issues with showing up late is that I didn’t get a service bulletin. Which made me a wee bit nervous, but I discovered that in the last four years of being Episcopalian, I’ve finally memorized the Nicene Creed via osmosis. I knew when to sit, when to stand, and where in the BCP to find Form IV.

It was sliding back into a groove, it was coming back to the comfortable, it really was better than a thousand Sundays sleeping in.

Then I had to go to work.

Things at the Big Blue Box come in two sizes: Tiny and Huge. They also come in two types: Sharp and Heavy. In the Staff Caf at any hour of the day, there’s usually a groan session where people are showing off their war wounds (I’ve got a nifty scar on my hand from a midbeam and an open incident report from when I attempted to spurn the laws of physics and have my shin and the trailer hitch of a customer’s truck occupy the same point in space/time). And a goodly portion of those injuries (I’d say about 30-40%) come from customers attempting to ‘help’.

Because somehow, when I’ve got a 100 lb. dresser precariously balanced on one shoulder and I’m trying to put it into a cart, pulling the cart out from under the dresser is ‘helping’.

I know it’s not really the customer’s fault. The customer is trying to predict which way I’m going to move, and I’m trying to predict which way the cart is going to roll when 100lbs of MDF and birch laminate slam into it. The best thing for both me and the customer would be if they held the cart perfectly still, then I could drop my load without fear of it falling on someone’s (read: my) foot.

A dear friend of mine who’s Orthodox was visiting me recently and she wandered over to my prayer corner and started flipping through my Book of Common Prayer and she remarked, “It’s so confusing! Everything changes!”

“Not really,” I said. “Certain things are always the same.”

That’s something I think people who create ‘innovative services’ forget about my generation: Everything around us changes at a speed that’s absolutely ridiculous. Ten years ago, I thought it was wild I could download one song to my computer in about two hours, and right now I’m listening to an iPod with 28 hours of music on it that swapped from my computer in thirty minutes. Those of us who grew up with the tech appear to be adapting faster, but given half a chance we’ll go back to the interfaces that we are familiar and comfortable with (‘fess up, how many of you Windows XP users have it set up visually like Windows 98?)

When everything around you is moving so accursedly fast, there is something comforting in the old rituals and familiar rites. Being able to pop back in after a time away and know that certain things are going to be the exact same as they were for my grandmother and her grandmother**.

Yeah, I’m talking about years and generations, sure, things that are hard to quantify on Annual Reports. Time moves much more slowly these days than the world, and we rush to punch as much into our weeks as possible. Is it too much to ask for one sacred space where we can walk in cold from the street and be warmed in the same old ways as our ancestors?

*Yes, that link takes you to the DO lectionary and you have to scroll waaaay down to see Psalm 84. Suck it up. Why did I do it that way? ‘Cause I find it terribly amusing that the first hit for “Psalm 84 Book of Common Prayer” spits out the DO lectionary for mah birfday!

**You know, if they’d been, like, Anglican and some junk.

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Thinky Thoughts on Coming Out

I didn’t read all my blogs yesterday, which means I kind of forgot that October 11th is National Coming Out Day (if you’re new, hi, welcome, I’m a big ol’ bisexual) until I got to the Big Blue Box and several of the Steering Group (read: upper management) were wearing ginormous ALLY stickers.

Some days I really heart the company I work for.

But then comes the morning, and I wonder about those who yesterday passed by as just another normal day in the struggle to be themselves without letting others know who they are. It’s not fun.

Then I’m thinking that, well, when’s the day for those people? When can they know they’re supported and loved no matter what? Because my God doesn’t live just inside or just outside a closet, my God’s in the closet, outside the closet, around the closet, made the wood for the closet door, sticks his metaphorical head in every so often and asks, “‘Sallright? Need anything?”…

The closet’s not the nicest accomodations, but it’s where some people live, and we’re called as Christians to meet people where they live, take them the Gospel if they live in mansions on a hill, shanties in a dump, or even a closet.

So’s I’m declaring October 12th Day of Global Prayer for the Closeted. And here’s my prayer:

May God grant you all the strength, love, and peace you need, and then some more. Amen.


Filed under meditations, Ordinary Time

I’m too lazy to be a fundamentalist.

I’ve tried, several times in my life, to follow a more– drastic version of Christianity.

I’m just too lazy to be a fundamentalist (either liberal or conservative), and I’m reminded of that fact when I read articles like this one. There are just so many *rules* to follow, and too many things to worry about all day (OMG, is my chest covered enough that I’m not a temptation to others, and exposed enough to show I’m not ashamed of being female? Was that television show blasphemous for showing demons, or misogynistic ’cause the demon was totally going to sacrifice a woman? Is my desire for a doughnut shaped like a voodoo doll a sin of gluttony, a sin of overcomsumption of the earth’s resources, encouragement of witchcraft, insensitive to Vauduan practitioners, or just plain coveting my cubicle-neighbor’s breakfast?)

[Dangit. Now I really want a doughnut.]

Sometimes, though, it would be very, very nice to have All The Answers™. Although, as I read more and more on what draws people into fundamentalist groups on both sides of the fence, the most common thing that draws people into these groups is the people are nice to them. They invite them to meetings. They share food. They invite them to come back.

They listen to their hopes, fears, and dreams, and then give people a goal greater than their individual selves to strive for.

Is that what’s missing in these big, empty churches?

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Filed under my life, Ordinary Time

Grumpy Friday

I really, really, REALLY want one of those t-shirts that says “My manner of life poses a challenge to the wider church.”

Unfortunately, if I wore it around Portland, no one would get it. 85% of this town does not go to church, and of that teensy-weensy percentage that do, an even smaller percentage are Episcopalian, and of that eeeny-meeny percentage of people who go to church and are Episcopalian, a squinchy-winchy percentage are the kind who keep up with Church politics and know that more went on at GC2006 [quota!] than electing someone with girl cooties as Presiding Bishop.

Actually, that would be a better t-shirt. My Presiding Bishop has girl cooties!

I’m thinking a lot about what the Church looks like to the rest of the world right now because A Certain Church has formed a Communications Committee, and I’m on it. I now know that the Greatest Commandment I learned when I was a United Methodist is a direct result of Apostolic Succession, since Episcopalians also follow it. The Greatest Commandment, by the way, is Wherever two or more are gathered in My name, form a committee and bring a covered dish.

Everyone’s getting excited and deciding where we should spend our not-yet-allocated advertising budget. They’re talking about logos and outreach and I’ve even heard someone mention the thing that strikes fear into my heart: Saturday Night Young Adult Services.

I must be turning into a reactionary in my impending old age (I’ll be turning 27 in September), because my first thought was, “I don’t want to change!” I joined A Certain Church because it’s small, because in such a small place I’m known and my skills are not just that I’m a Young Person™, but my ideas and talents and energies are also needed just to get things done on a weekly basis.

And my second thought was, “How will these advertising budgets and SNYAS distinguish us from the other bazillion tiny churches in the area? How will they show off the special callings of A Certain Church, the things that make me return every week and throw so much of my ideas and talents and energies into it?”

And the reason I’m grumpy? I don’t know if I have even a hint of where to find the answers to these questions.


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Filed under I'm Just A Girl, Ordinary Time

The Sunday Naps are Holy to My People

Ever since I’ve become an adult, my entire schedule has revolved around Sunday.

There’s the church component, sure. In the beginning, when I was practicing to be a reclusive crazy cat lady, Sunday was often the only time all week that I’d physically touch another person (Peace be with you). Choir, meetings, potlucks, those all take priority on my schedule on Sunday.

Then there’s the Sunday Nap. Which is also a priority. It’s usually between 3-6 hours long, and makes up for all the late nights. In the old days, those late nights were from studying and/or working, now they’re just ’cause I’ve discovered late night TV.

Everything in my week looks foward to Sunday. I *like* going to church. I *like* sleeping. Sunday’s a day where I have both of my favorite things, usually back-to-back. Sunday is a good day.

So now I’ve been poking at this hypothetical situation in my mind for a couple of weeks: what if they came out tomorrow in the newspaper with irrefutable proof that Christianity is a hoax, that there is no God?

Welp, I’d probably drink a lot that first night.

I’d like to think that I’d continue on continuing on being a good person, whether out of a belief that even one small person doing a few small things is making the world a better place, or because I’m too lazy to change my ways. I’d have some more free time to play videogames (I will beat Halo 2 without resorting to cheating, I will!) Sundays would have no purpose, though. I could sleep away the whole day, if I wanted to, but it would be that gross, I’ve-been-in-bed-too-long kind of sleep that I always associate with being stuck home sick.

Are we done poking this?
Hmmm… *poke, poke*
Yeah, seems to be done for now.

So let’s do the flip: The newspaper tomorrow has gigantic headlines GOD EXISTS! JESUS CHRIST WALKED THE EARTH! How does that change my life? How would I act differently?

Welp, I might indulge in one or two “I told you so!”s. Then I’d probably do a lot more praying, and be a lot nicer to people, and… um, stuff.

Stuff I should be doing now, right? Since I don’t need newspapers to tell me this, right?


*poke, poke*

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Filed under meditations, my life, Ordinary Time