Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Fat women shouldn't wear orange!

Well, there goes another precept of my mom's about proper dress for all body types. Last night I wore flip-flops, which, I guess, is another transgression, especially in October, as were white shoes before Memorial Day. Sorry, mom.

On this last day of October, I felt very Halloweeny, therefore the bright orange long-sleeved tee-shirt. I'm sure I look like a barrage balloon which has broken loose. Who cares? I am fortunate to have one of those jobs where you make decent money and they don't care how you dress, a situation I take increasing advantage of as I continue to slough off the fashion lessons of my youth.

Actually I feel very close to my mom today, though she's been gone for nearly 11 years. Tomorrow both parents' names will be read aloud at our church's All Saints' Day service, and I will sniffle as I always do. Some things never go completely away.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

On spiritual warfare

I have just about finished a very challenging book recommended to me by someone at church: Holy Vulnerability, by Mike Flynn, an Episcopal priest. What an eye-opener! Fr. Flynn is part of the charismatic renewal movement within the Episcopal Church, and this book reflects that perspective. But what a different perspective from my own!

The matter arose at the Church on the Pike when a friend asked me to pray that our church's own renewal might be successful and not fall prey to the "Evil One." I guess I got a funny look on my face when she said this to me, because I was immediately handed Fr. Flynn's book.

Now, despite having seen The Exorcist 4 or 5 times when it first came out, and having read with great interest Malachi Martin's book Hostage to the Devil, I'm just not sure what I think about the objective reality of demons in this world, where so many problems can be attributed to man himself.

But maybe not all problems. I have a good deal of thinking about this to do yet.

Friday, October 13, 2006

A change in the weather

The mercury fell into the high 30s last night, so I guess I can say fall has arrived. Meanwhile, they have two feet of snow in Buffalo -- I'm happy not to be dealing with that yet!

My son had left for work and everyone else was still asleep when I left this morning. It was a perfect fall morning: the air was so cold I could see my breath, but there was no wind, so a little mist still hung in the trees, which have just started to turn to their fall colors. I stood still for a minute, just saying a prayer of thanks. If I'd had time, I would love to have made a cup of tea and sat on my front porch, all bundled up. The air was so clear it was like looking through crystal.

I hate having to leave the house in the mornings. I am definitely, at least in middle age, quite the homebody.

Tonight, if it stays chilly, I will definitely have a fire, and stay up late, reading. For some unknown reason, I have decided to try to learn a little biblical Greek (!), and got myself a textbook with a workbook and a CD-ROM. Naturally I am so intimidated that I have not yet really opened any of them! In fact, after peeking once at the alphabet I scurried upstairs and got out my Vulgate so I could stumble through a little of John's Gospel and feel a bit better. But it's really easy Latin, of course, and I already know what it says, don't I? But it felt good nonetheless.

So, tonight ... maybe a little Greek.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Grieving for the Amish

Like everyone else, I am horrified by school violence, a problem I never had to worry about when I was in school myself. My kids were in high school when the Columbine shootings took place, and I remember well the paradigm shift I underwent as I had to acknowledge that my kids might not be safe after I dropped them off in the morning, and that I had no control over what might happen at the school, beyond my sight and hearing. Before Columbine, school violence certainly existed -- but it was the simple scale of the Columbine violence that reordered everyone's thinking. What darkness might be lurking in the hearts and minds of my kids' classmates? What violent plans might be hatching in fecund teenaged brains?

And now it's a whole new ballgame, another paradigm shift, as I read somewhere the other day. Now we have to fear not only alienated, hate-filled teenagers, but alienated, hate-filled adults who have discovered in nearby schools an easy target for their rage. Adults who may be far better at planning and carrying out their murderous plans.

So tonight I'm grieving for the Amish, who now more than ever have become a symbol of innocence, and now of innocence lost. Growing up in northern Delaware, I was taught to admire and respect the Amish, and spent many a Sunday afternoon riding in the back of my parents' car as we drove through the "Amish country" of nearby southeastern Pennsylvania. That the Amish community, which has striven to avoid so many of the excesses of our culture, should have been the victim of such violence, seems to me unspeakably wrong. No one deserves to be the object of a murderous rampage, but that the peaceful Amish should have been the most recent victims of such an outrage is just another sad commentary on the sickness lurking just below our civilized surface, waiting for any opportunity to escape.

And tonight I'm thinking of ten little girls, shot execution-style in a place that was supposed to be safe, and I'm thinking of the five who have already died. And I wonder if I could forgive as the Amish have begun to do, and whether, if someone shot my daughter, my Christianity would be more than a Sunday veneer, or whether I would succumb to grief and loss, and, yes -- a rage of my own.

And I pray that I never have to find out the answer.