Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday five: there's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza; let's plug it with money

Singing Owl of the RevGals writes:

I wrote this Friday Five a while back but was unable to post it. Just saying, so you know I am not ill! :-) Actually I am heading out of town and will not be able to read your posts till sometime early next week, but I'll do so then. Have fun, and don't think too hard about this one. I figured we were due for some fun after Lent and Good Friday and Easter and all that churchy stuff! Four days of being mostly in bed with a reallyhowever, has been cheated in my case and I am up and taking nourishment. In that vein of thought, do you have a "Bucket List"? In other words, from the movie of the same name, five things you want to see, do, accomplish, etc. before you kick the bucket?

This is a biiiig bucket. :-)

Get legally married, knowing that we'll have the same rights and protections as any other couple as we age in the state where we live. Things are starting to look promising as momentum builds across the country!

Go back to seminary: maybe chaplaincy, maybe full ordination. If ordination, focus on homiletics. Learn to read Biblical Greek & Hebrew.

See a sunrise over the Grand Canyon, leaf-peep in New England, sail through the Fjords of Norway, dogsled on the Alaskan Glaciers, go on a "culture spree" in NYC, see the ancient wonders of Rome, eat my way through Tuscany, hear great German music in person, and lie on the beaches of the Mediterranean. Hmmm... and maybe, once, Christmas in London--including Lessons & Carols at King's College, a pilgrimage to Aldeburgh and time at Iona, while I'm in the neighborhood.

Keep my choirs growing and healthy. Keep challenging myself as a conductor. Learn to play trombone & bassoon, and spend some time in a community orchestra (playing one of those or taking up cello again, with Lori as my stand partner), just for the fun of it. Maybe conduct one.

Suffer a near-miss with a big bag of money falling from the sky. Though it won't fall on my head and kill me, it WILL make possible all of the above, as well as a quiet spot on a lakeshore to call our own, with regular time:
  • to be with Beloved and watch her create things
  • to read
  • to hang out with our pups
  • to write music and poetry (maybe publish something?)
  • to just be in nature

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Calling all chorolocovores

Food shelves are having a tough go of it, at the moment. Demand is way up; locations are down. So, Minneapolitans, here's an opportunity for you to help.

InVocation, my choir, lives by Frederick Buechner's definition of vocation: where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet. We're spending the first two weekends of May concertizing to raise money for Second Harvest Heartland. It's a great investment; for every $1 we raise, Second Harvest can distribute $9 worth of food.

It's a good deal, and it's an important time to help food shelves. So come on out to one of our concerts; we're doing some terrific music:
  • the world premiere of a new work entitled “Invocation,” written for us by Montana composer Thomas Keesecker, and based on a traditional Navajo prayer

  • psalm settings by Bobby McFerrin and Carol Barnett

  • a buoyant Hebrew peace prayer arranged by Alice Parker

  • Christian music from Hugo Distler and Francis Poulenc (four of St. Francis’ prayers, set for men’s voices)

  • settings of the poetry of Rumi and Rilke by local composer J. David Moore

  • Gustav Holst’s Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda (Hindu prayers arranged for women’s voices) with harpist Tonya Anderson

  • chants from the Brazilian rainforest, the Buddhist tradition, and a Japanese temple song
The program, "The Beauty We Love," is based on some of the writings of 13th-century Muslim mystic poet Rumi:

If you think that there’s an important difference
between a Muslim and a Jew
and a Christian and a Buddhist
and a Hindu and a Shamanist,
then you’re making a division
between your heart
— what you love with —
and your ability to act in the world.

Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

So, come on out to a concert if you can. Feed the hungry...and maybe get a little fed, yourself! Hope to see you there:

Saturday, May 2 @ 7 pm
St. Joseph’s Catholic Parish
13015 Rockford Rd
[ map ]

Sunday, May 3 @ 4 pm
Calvary Lutheran Church
3901 Chicago Avenue South
[ map ]

Friday, May 8 @ 7:30 pm
Macalester Plymouth United Church
1658 Lincoln Ave
St. Paul
[ map ]

Saturday, May 9 @ 7 pm
Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church
12650 Johnny Cake Ridge Rd
Apple Valley
[ map ]

Monday, April 20, 2009

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Colbert Report and same-sex marriage

Freakin' BRILLIANT. Seriously. Laughed my butt off.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Colbert Coalition's Anti-Gay Marriage Ad
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorNASA Name Contest

Friday five: it slices! It dices! It even makes julienne fries!

Sally of the RevGals writes:

As I write this I am waiting for my new dishwasher to be delivered, it along with my washing machine and vacuum cleaner are household appliances that I consider indispensable! Others not so much, we decided not to replace our tumble drier when the old one finally gave out last year, and I can honestly say I haven't really missed it. My hubby Tim and I often disagree about which household appliances are really necessary and which ones aren't, we also enjoy a few luxury items, one of my favorites is a juicer, and Tim's is our all-singing-all-dancing filter coffee maker--it has a thermos jug so the coffee stays nice and hot without the aid of a heat element.

So being in a domestic frame of mind I thought I'd ask:

1. What is the one appliance you simply couldn't be without?

I live in Minnesota. This is, in part, because I prefer being cold to being too hot. But August...well, as they say around here, "It's not the heat; it's the humidity." YECH. And so...our bedroom air conditioner gets my vote here.

Because a Choralgirl that sleeps through the night is much more rational and pleasant than a Choralgirl that sweats and swears her way through the 2-4 a.m. period.

Oh, and we've got a George Foreman grill that's not going ANYWHERE. Panini...mmmmmm.

2. What, if anything, would you happily give up?

The 1000 mysterious gizmos that clutter the kitchen cabinets.

3. What is the strangest household appliance you own?

A vaporizer shaped like a penguin.

4. What is the most luxurious household appliance you own?

When we had a housemate, our (rather small) refrigerator was always stuffed beyond usefulness. So we got a mini-fridge for beverages and tucked it under the counter. Best. Idea. Ever. Buy soda in bulk (cheaply), stock the little fridge, and there's always one cold. And it's possible to always have beer and a couple of bottles of wine in there, they would have said in the sixties (on TV), "It makes entertaining a breeze!"

5. Tell us about your dream kitchen--the sky is the limit here...

It has beautiful wood cabinetry, is sunny, and is staffed by Padma Lakshmi, full-time. ;-) Nah--just kidding. Actually, ours is very nice--it's big and colorful, it's sunny, and it is occasionally staffed by my Beloved, who is lovely and gifted in the kitchen.

But I'm only partly kidding about the personal chef. We're always on the run; it'd be terrific to have someone whose raison d'etre (at least professionally) was to provide us with fresh, healthy meals! FAB. I'm just too adept at eating fast food in the car.

Monday, April 6, 2009

This just in from the Lake Wobegon Genome Project

Yesterday morning, I was sitting in the church office, proofreading the Easter bulletin, when a bunch of Sunday schoolers trooped by on their way to the sanctuary. They were going to practice processing, waving palms and singing "All Glory, Laud and Honor." All of a sudden, I was given a glimpse of Lutheran DNA in action when one of the little sprouts expressed an earnest concern to his/her teacher:
I don't know if I can do this.
They want me to sing and smile at the same time.

Had a difficult time not anointing the bulletin proof with a mouthful of coffee.

Blessed Holy Week, everyone!

Friday, April 3, 2009

A crisis is a terrible thing to waste

That came from Majora Carter, as told to Krista Tippett in Speaking of Faith's ongoing conversation entitled Repossessing Virtue--Wise Voices from Religion, Science, Industry and the Arts. In this excellent, thought-provoking series, Krista and her staff are gathering perspectives on our current economic crisis, it's moral overtones, and what to do about it. I find it a fascinating kind of reframing. One of my favorite ideas came from Rachel Naomi Remen; I've synopsized it here:
  • Money is stored energy.
  • Energy follows belief.
  • We need to be careful what we believe.
  • This crisis is an opportunity to create a new story about who we want to be, as individuals and as a society.
LOVE that. I'll be walking around with it for the next little while, I think.

Friday five: Holy Week-a-thon

Sally of the RevGals writes:

Holy Week is almost upon us, I suspect that ordained or not, other revgal/pals calendars look a bit like mine, FULL, FULL, FULL.....

Jesus was great at teaching us to take time out, even in that last week, right up to Maundy Thursday he withdrew, John's gospel tells us he hid! He hid not because he was afraid, but because he knew that he needed physical, mental and spiritual strength to get through...

So, faced with a busy week:

1. What restores you physically?

Sleep. Quiet time. Good food. A brisk walk around one of the many lakes in town.

2. What strengthens you emotionally/mentally?

Time with Beloved. Poetry. Music (of which there will, thankfully, be a lot). Rubbing a puppy belly.

3. What encourages you spiritually?

Prayer. Music (see what my friend Mags has to say about this; it's wonderful!). Poetry. Walking in the woods or by the shore (though I usually can't manage that during Holy Week!).

4. Share a favorite poem or piece of music from the coming week.

This is a favorite hymn of mine because the plaintive melody is so well matched with the text. I'm an especial fan of the Carolyn Jennings's arrangement for SSA voices and cello, but her colleague (and my teacher...actually, both of them were in grad school) John Ferguson's arrangement is great, too. Here he is, accompanying it at the organ:

5.There may be many services for you to attend/ lead over the next week, which one are you most looking forward to and why? If there aren't do you have a favorite day in Holy week if so which one is it?

I'm a Maundy Thursday fan. It's intimate and honest, and it calls us into relationship with God and with one another in a refreshing way. Our service this year will be candlelit, in the round, with the bread and wine passed hand to hand instead of lining up for it. Simple Taize refrains by the congregation, and I'm going to sing this hymn that Bonhoeffer wrote in prison:

By gracious powers so wonderfully sheltered,
and confidently waiting come what may,
we know that God is with us night and morning,
and never fails to greet us each new day.

Yet is this heart by its old foe tormented
still evil days bring burdens hard to bear;
oh, give our frightened souls the sure salvation
for which, O Lord, You taught us to prepare.

And when this cup You give is filled to brimming
with bitter suffering, hard to understand,
we take it thankfully and without trembling,
out of so good and so beloved a hand.

Yet when again in this same world You give us
the joy we had, the brightness of Your Sun,
we shall remember all the days we lived through,
and our whole life shall then be Yours alone.