Sunday, 31 October 2010

Sunday song: Papal bulls, indulgences and transubstantiation...

Happy Reformation Day... 

Or perhaps instead of a polka, why not something a little more 'street'...

Saturday, 30 October 2010

25 or so things...

Meanwhile, over on yet another 'F' word - Facebook - a friend decided to do the '25-30 things about yourself' tagging thing.
I played: and proved number #1 on my own list....

1/ I will do anything to distract myself from my thesis: that I'm responding to this is proof.
2/ Although I am a fan of chocolate, and have been known to frequent my local chippie, the idea of a deep-fried Mars Bar actually *does* horrify me.
3/ I don't drink alcohol.
4/ I do drink ginger beer.
5/ The thought that scurvy is a possibility has been growing for some time now.  This is, in part, due to the fact that most of the food I eat tends to be shades of beige in colour.
6/ Love sailing - especially about the Whitsunday Islands.
7/ Swimming in the sea is a wonderful thing: but it happened more when I was younger and lived in the tropics!
8/ I once did a sit-down stand-up comedy routine on Iona with friend Helen one staff party night, centred on a running commentary on folk-songs to slash yer wrists by, with suitable guitar accompaniment.
9/ Apparently, I am like my dad: when I went to Oz with a friend several years back, she looked at him, looked at me, and then burst out laughing whilst simultaneously quipping: 'well, no-one will ever say that you're the milkman's daughter, will they?'  I'm not quite sure what she may have been inferring about my mother, however....
10/ Scrabble fiend - but prefer real, not virtual, games.
11/ The current man in my life has been dead for 438 years.  Great beard however.
12/ A well-developed love for the bizarre, the ridiculous and the silly.
13/ Dislikes pomposity.
14/ Struggles a little with overly-earnest people.
15/ Also dislikes pigeon-holes.
16/ In a Turkish bath-house in Ankara, was once told by a hopeful masseur: 'Nikki, Turkish sex, nice... you like?'  I never found out, for the record!
17/ Thinks Williams' 'Fantasia on a theme of Thomas Tallis' is the music she will probably hear in heaven.
18/ Dislikes bad manners.
19/ Loves mangoes.
20/ Is currently reading her way through 'Acts of General Assemblies 1560-1618' and has uncovered the scandalous adultery of the Rev Paul Methven.
21/ Once dreamt of a WWF tag-team match - King Kong and Godzilla vs Knox and Calvin in which the predestined result was in favour of the two Johns.
22/ I rejoice when I see the first snowdrop of the year.
23/ Have just been prescribed varifocals and am coming to terms with being an aged hag.
24/ Purples and greens and blues are my favourite colours - remind me of the sea.
25/ I set aside time every year to re-read The Lord of the Rings and every year find something new.
26/ Friends are a tonic for the soul and I am truly blessed by them :)

Friday, 29 October 2010

the 'F' word, part two

Earlier in the year I was thinking about the 'F' word - the new, big, bad swear word that is apparently unacceptable in polite society... yup, 'feminist'.
I recall being rather frustrated with the expression I often hear -
'I'm not a feminist, but...'
I'd quoted from a postcard I keep on my desk which lists reasons for why one might be a feminist.  It's a good, strong, powerful statement.
I happened to pootle across to Mary Beth's blog: terrapin station a few moments ago.
MB has a postcard,
also on the 'I'm not a feminist, but...' theme.
It's neat.
I like it.
A more subversively upbeat tone...:)
[tho' I did point out that 'pants' mean something different over here! *grins*]

Sunday, 24 October 2010

zombies pt II: the inclusive and 'affirming' version

Public displays of mockery leave zombies' dignity in shambles

Well, it seems a small comment on facebook concerning zombies has ended up with a rather loooong thread.
I was challenged, quite rightly to come up with an inclusive and affirming version by a fellow ministry trainee last night [Saturday], to keep in line with our hymnbook CH4.  DMc observed:
'I think you should be making more effort to love the zombies. You're neo-imperialist religious zealotry makes for a rousing chorus but for CH4 purposes you may also need a more inclusive, Jesus would have dined with zombies refrain. A shine zombies shine, if you will.'
Of course, DMc is perfectly correct, and so, if you will, my humble attempt below:

[to the tune, naturally, of 'Shine Jesus Shine' -tried uploading a midi file, but no luck pardners] 

Zombies like to chase folk without warning,   
They find it fun to eat brainz in the morning.
Don't judge them all by their odd behaviour
...Even a zombie's in need of a saviour...
'dine with me...
dine... with ... me'

Dine, Jesus dine,
Even tho' it could be quite gory
Hey, Jesus, say,
They can sing in't choir.
O, zombies oh!
God's beloved undead creation,
We're not perturbed:
Lord the undead have rights.

Saturday, 23 October 2010

fear not the frenzied zombies biting...

So, there you are, faced with a teeming horde of brain-dead zombies in a manic and terrifying zombie apocalypse.  
Wotcha gonna do?
Indeed, WWJKD? [what would John Knox do]
Well, first, eat cake... courtesy of the excellent 'Apocalypse Bakery'
And second, write a hymn for the faithful to sing whilst fighting.
[Me? Thesis avoiding?  What gave you that impression??!]

[to the tune of 'Courage Brother, do not Stumble' see cyberhymnal.  Inclusive zombie language version.]

Courage, sister, do not stumble,
Though the zombies cause you fright;
There’s a star to guide the fearful:
...Trust in God and do the right.
Tho' their moans of 'brainz' be scary,
As they stagger into sight,
Fight them bravely; strong or weary,
Trust in God, trust in God,
Trust in God you'll be alright.

Some will hate thee, some will thump thee,
Some will splatter, when you fight;
Fling a pan, or fling a p.c.:
Trust in God and do the right.
The brain-dead undead need a hiding,
O fight the fiends with all your might,
Fear not the frenzied zombies biting,
Trust in God, trust in God,
Trust in God you'll be alright.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

the wearing of purple

I've always loved Jenny Joseph's poem 'Warning: when I am an old woman I shall wear purple'. 
Yesterday I, too, wore purple. 
And while I do sometimes feel positively elderly amongst the folk here at Uni., the wearing of purple was less about my old age, but more as a gesture of solidarity.
The recent spate of suicides by gay teenagers in the U.S., who were bullied for the crime of just being them, has been utterly tragic. 
It is bullying that is neither a respecter of people, nor of geographical boundaries.  LGBT folk are bullied worldwide - just for the 'crime' of not being heterosexual.
And it must stop before it claims more lives.

And it is why I wore purple: for Spirit Day 2010 -
a grassroots initiative posted on Facebook
aimed at honouring the memory of the teens who committed suicide rather than bear the bullying and humiliation any longer...
and to show support for LGBT youth and thus demonstrate that they are not alone.

As I wore purple yesterday I reflected on a meeting I attended earlier in the year in which a newly ordained young male minister was speaking in the middle of a discussion I've previously termed 'Voldermort' - that which can't be named in the CofS.  He stood at the microphone saying his piece passionately and loudly, finishing with the words 'and let's remember: they are an abomination unto the Lord!'  It was verbal bullying of the worst kind - implicit in his statement was the belief that there was probably nobody in that room who was LGBT, and so, it was completely fine to use such dehumanising language.  The group, although quite conservative, audibly gasped when the chap dropped the 'A'-bomb, and that at least was some small crumb of reassurance in what was a thoroughly depressing meeting. 

Symbol of solidarity, and yet in the church, also a symbol of penitence. 
This seems apt given that amongst LGBT folk I know, the church is largely seen as the face of the oppressor. 
We must repent for having allowed that perception to flourish by our behaviour.
We must repent for every dehumanising word and action that has caused people to wither and die, not blossom and grow and have life in all its fullness.

Over at the Huffington Post, Bishop Gene Robinson's column is worth a read.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Women and men in Christ...?

*sticks head above parapet*

I'm sure he is gracious.
I'm sure he is a lovely man and pastor.
I'm just not sure he should be on the list of nominations for Moderator of the Church of Scotland.
Why my disquiet over Rev. C. Peter White as a Mod. nom.?
As a woman training for ministry of word and sacrament within the CofS, a denomination which over 40 years ago through its system of governance passed legislation allowing for the ordination of women elders and women ministers of word and sac., I'm more than a little stunned to read his blog entry concering the role of women in the church.
To be fair, the blog entry is addressing a particular matter within his congregation, however, while I might disagree with some of his exegesis, the concern comes from the following comment:
Although I think Scripture allows for CoS women elders, a question remains in my heart.

To nominate someone for Mod who is not 'quite all the way there yet' with regard to particular roles of women within the CofS, namely women in eldership [and one is forced to consider the question - what about women ordained to ministry of word and sacrament?] ... and here I reiterate, an institution which recognises these roles in its law and practice, and which has done so now for over 40 years is just a bit of a bizarre thing to do - indeed a little bit of a situational oxymoron proceedurally, no?

This is not an argument about having to accept this opinion as a consequence of being a 'broad kirk'; it is a matter of kirk law.  
While we are indeed a broad kirk, we work within a particular structure in which there are regulations set down in order to faciliate how we go about being that broad kirk. It would be odd indeed to have someone who would seem to appear not to hold to the law of the kirk as Moderator. This particular broad kirk holds that we accept women for ordination both as elders, deacons and ministers of word and sacrament. This is not about bias, or even a matter for conscience, it is about keeping in line with thegovernance of the church structure one is working within.

That said, I do have to wonder: if this were not about women but about people of colour, and that there were entire presbyteries found in which there were white only sessions/ no ministers of colour, it would certainly raise a question with regard to the possibility of institutional racism. Maybe the question that is quietly being asked here is whether there is still institutional sexism?

Earlier in his blog, Mr White discusses the concept of male 'headship' and notes:
I appeal to those of you, therefore, who say that because there are no women elders, women are second class citizens in Sandyford. Hold on a minute. Respecting male headship does not make that young lady a second class citizen in her marriage, nor need it in church. Rather the reverse: look again at his commitments. When well obeyed it protects women and their ministries of service, cherishes their femininity and seeks their fulfilment.   

Here I would ask how we define what 'femininity' is exactly?  And further, who is it that gets to define the criteria?  But that, I think, is a discussion for another day.
I just find it extremely disappointing that at the highest reaches of the kirk's structure there are people who seem to think it is neither odd, nor proceedurally unfitting, to nominate someone who has difficulties with an aspect of kirk law that has been around for forty years.  While perhaps completely unintentional, particularly in view of this year's debate within the Ministries Council report which discussed women eldership and again affirmed women in ministry, it still does send out a negative message.
A little like a slap to all women who have been called into the various ministries within the kirk:
a wee reminder to us to not get too above ourselves, and that this situation could change.
And so, back to definitions: how do we define 'ministry'? And who is it that gets to define it?

In one of those fascinating little lectionary irony twists, this week's gospel passage is Luke 18:1-8, the story of the persisitent widow:

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’ For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" 

The widow keeps 'bothering' the judge, insistent upon justice.  Eventually, just to get rid of her, the judge listens to her, and gives her the justice she is seeking.  How long must we, as women in Christ, as women of the kirk and the wider Church keep insisting that justice be done?  How long must we keep bothering the institution by reminding them that we, too, have a place at the [communion] table, both in front of and behind?

Friday, 15 October 2010

today is Blog Action Day 2010

...which is a very good reason to rouse myself from this stupor of dullness I seem to have been in for the last fortnight.  Too sleepy and too busy to blog, oh dear.
However... it's Blog Action Day and this year's theme is on water...
Why water?
Check out the video below.

Blog Action Day 2010: Water from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

Am reminded again of the situation in the Niger Delta, where the water of life has become a river of death.

Why not, for one day, blog with one voice?
Dive in, and happy blogging!