Welcome to the new blog! Enjoy the crappy picture of me from DC (complete with humorous caption)!
Category Archives: pilgrim
Remind me again why I flew 3000 miles across the country?
Boss: How was your trip?
Moi: Fabulous! It was so great!
Boss: You’re smiling bigger now than you were before you left.
…oh, yeah. That’s why.
Something nice and fluffy that I’m totally stealing from Fr. Jim (since I’m slogging through not only a backlog at work, but 428 posts on my Bloglines– you folks were sure chatty while I was gone) but I made up the title all by myself. And what have we learned from this? No more Miyazaki movies before bed.
iPod Shuffle-rama Yeehaw Amazing Friday Whoopie!
The rules, for bloggers who want to play:
Get your ipod or media-player of choice, select your whole music collection, set the thing to shuffle (i.e., randomized playback), then post the first ten songs that come out. No cheating, no matter how stupid it makes you feel! Maybe link the songs to online music stores for readers’ convenience.
1. “Free at Last” G. Love & Special Sauce
2. “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” Ensemble, the Original Broadway Cast of Spamalot!
3. “Going Out of My Head” Fatboy Slim
4. “Bend Down the Branches” Tom Waits
5. “Fair” Remy Zero
6. “River’s Afraid / Niska / Torture” Greg Edmonson, composer, soundtrack to the TV show Firefly
7. “Theme from Spider-Man” Original TV theme
8. “Siente Mi Amor” Selma Hayek, Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to Once Upon a Time in Mexico
9. “Pawn Shop” Sublime
10. “Open Book” Cake
That’s how much the Internet access at the youth hostel costs.
Anyway, preliminary report on the Investiture of Bp. Katharine Jefferts Schori:
And you can quote me on that.
More will come on Wednesday or therabouts. As for now, I’m going to go poke at the holes I wore in my feet from all the walking. And possibly go smack the contingent of American Christian Patriots I’m cohabitating with with my BCP/NRSV.
In Christian Love, of course.
OMGI’MGOINGI’MGOINGI’M REALLY TRULY GOING! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!
Pray for us pilgrims as we journey to reaffirm our common prayer!
Ain’t nothin’ gonna to break my stride
Nobody’s gonna slow me down, oh-no
I got to keep on movin’
Ain’t nothin’ gonna break my stride
I’m running and I won’t touch ground
Oh-no, I got to keep on movin’
—Men at Work
I was trying to get things organized for my trip (and for my novel, ’cause for the fifth year in a row I’ll be participating in National Novel Writing Month— and yet I’m not taking my laptop to DC. This is going to be INTERESTING). Last night, I paused for a moment to sit on the couch and watch a little Van Helsing with my housemates*… and promptly fell asleep.
So now, not only do I have none of my packing done, I didn’t even get a chance to prepare anything for Los Dias De Los Muertos, the main celebrations of which begin tonight and continue through All Souls on the 2nd.
My family never really was one to go picnic in the graveyard, but I still like to have a little memorial up for my loved ones, little sugar skulls, some marigolds, and of course tequila and dulces.
Pause sometime in these three days and welcome home the memories of those who have passed on.
Cry if you must.
Laugh if you can.
Love them always.
* Not counting myself, there are six people living in my house. And we still have one empty room.
This is my first, long-distance pilgrimmage. I’m quite terribly excited. It’s not just a pilgrimmage to the Seat of the Presiding Bishop of the ECUSA, it’s also a pilgrimmage to the seat of US Government.
When your college degree can be summarized as “The United States of America’s International Relations during the Late 20th Century”, you become a little attached to Washington, DC. I even tried getting hotel reservations at the Watergate.
The ECUSA and the USA were born at the same time, which explains why their governing bodies and policies resemble each other.
Which kind of sucks because that means both systems were designed to consolidate power among a select group of people. For all that the United States promotes itself as a democracy, we are not. We are a republic, where everyone votes for a few people, who then go and make all the important decisions that the rest of us aren’t smart enough to make.
Read the US Constitution, the whole thing in its original format, and you’ll see the pattern written there as clear as day. The checks and balances are there, of course, to keep that small group of people who we put in charge from totally running roughshod over us, but it’s pretty clear that while we may assert we are all created equal, the Founding Fathers did their best to try and keep the wrong sort of people out of the decision-making process on all levels.
The Founding Fathers weren’t total jerks, though. They understood that things would change, that their document was just a set of hypothesies to frame the great American Experiment, and that change was neccessary. They put in ways that the Constitution itself could be modified as needed. Damnable difficult ways, which increased the likelyhood it wouldn’t be amended without serious discussion, thought, and demand by a popular majority. Which has lead over the last 200 years, to several important changes that have put more of the power into the hands of the populace, from simplifying the Electoral College (yes, it’s actually simpler now) to voter-initiated referrendums.
Despite the fact there are other democracies and republics in the world, some of them even based off of our own, the USA is an anomaly, an exception, a freak accident of politics. There is no other system in the world that matches ours. We have over 150 years of continuous governance with no coups, no competing governments, no mass invasions. Almost a century with no warfare on our soil. Almost a century of continuous, compulsory education for 12 years, which serves not only to create an informed populace, but to indoctrinate generations with the unique American paradox.
This is why people like Kim Jong Il and ++Peter Akinola will never understand the American mindset. Because America has refined individuality into an art form, and yet we can work together in groups without forcing one another to give up our individuality. In fact, we can bring in people from other groups, from societies and nations and churches that do not believe in individuality, that believe we should all work, act, talk, dress and behave the same, and include them without demanding they become wholly like us.
There are Americans who subscribe to this mindset, also. As a historian, I can tell you in honest, factual truth: there always has been. And always, always, always, the American Experiment has won out because there is room for every opinion, even the opinion that the American Experiment in individualism is wrong, bad, evil, and must be stopped.
This experiment in government has lasted 200 years, both in its secular version and its ecclesiastical version. It has grown and changed in 200 years. I believe that neither the USA nor the ECUSA will be ending any time soon, but I see a growth spurt and change in its future.
And that’s kind of exciting to this historian.
Lord God Almighty, you have made all the peoples of the
earth for your glory, to serve you in freedom and in peace:
Give to the people of our country a zeal for justice and the
strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in
accordance with your gracious will; through Jesus Christ our
Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Quick update: Yes, I’ve spent most of this week getting my behind kicked by the nasty cold virus going around. Don’t be me, suck it up and get some Dayquil and Nyquil, it will make life much easier.
Exactly two weeks from now, I will be in Washington, DC. Probably looking for lunch.
This is my very first trip to the Nation’s Capital by my lonesome self. I’ve been twice before, but both times I was with my family and the most recent (in 2003) we were in town for five hours before heading for Backwoods, VA and my sister’s college graduation. My mother asked where I wanted to go in DC in the five hours we had there, and as a brand-spanking new Episcopalian, I immediately chimed, “National Cathedral!”
And so my parents and I traveled to the nation’s Cathedral, and pretty much as soon as we got in the door and I saw that big ol’ altar and bowed to it, I knew I’d made a misteak. Mom was cool and all with the Cathedral, and had toured it on one of her previous trips, and she’d known intellectually I’d switched churches, but her baby daughter was CROSSING HERSELF OHEMGEE!
It was a kind of awkward tour, until we got into the gift shop. Because if there’s one thing I’ve inherited from my mother, it’s the ability to find inappropriate humor in all places. No, I won’t tell you what tchotchkie had my mother and I giggling madly and yelling, “Da! DAD! Get over here and look at this!”. Because then they won’t let me back in for the Investiture.
The important thing is that on this trip, my mother will be about 3000 miles away. And I will be navigating the Metro without the aid of my father’s Metro-map t-shirt. And that means I can go pretty much wherever I want to go.
(The astute will note that I have made no mention of the Episcopal Majority meeting, which begins exactly two weeks from today in DC. Because I’m not going. Damnit, I am flying 3000 miles across the country on a financially-ill-advised field trip, to a city with a wealth of museusm filled with cultural and national treasures that provide free admission. Free national treasures, or $25 to sit in a parish hall. Hmmm.)