"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer."--Dorothy Day


Why We Fight.

I went to see a movie tonight called Why We Fight. It documents the evolution of the military-industrial complex from its beginnings after WWII, focusing mainly on the military events of the past 20 years or so. It recognizes every military action taken by the United States, all taken in the name of "freedom." Freedom from what they cannot say.

This film renewed my outrage at the current world situation. I am, as ever, mortified that human beings are referred to as collateral damage; that we as a nation lack any sense of empathy for the citizens of these nations we destroy in our own self interest. That the world had such sympathy for our nation in the days after September 11th, but we lack the ability to see that because of what we have done they now live their daily lives in such a place. This film spoke of the first days of the war in Iraq, of how the first missiles of what was referred to as a campaign of shock and awe struck not the political/military targets they aimed for, but rather homes nearby where people had just awoken and were getting ready to start their days. 90% of the casualities in those days were civilians, collateral damage. And our government has done this countless times before--Chile, Lebanon, Laos, Vietnam, Boliva, Panama, Grenada and the list goes on. How can anyone justify such devestation? What price must the world pay for the United States to maintain its position of power? Is anything worth that cost?


The Good People of New York.

Right before I moved to New York, I read a book called The Good People of New York. A good read, very funny (I loaned to another temp and never got it back). However after the day I've had, I wonder if they exist. This morning as is my usual I took the F-train into Manhattan for work. It seemed more crowded than usual. Three stops before exiting Brooklyn, a woman, in her haste to get off the train, punches another woman. The puncher swears to the punchee that she just tripped and accidently hit her. The punchee says "No [swear] [swear] [swear]. You [swear]ing hit me." And sweary, word match ensues. Puncher gets off the train and goes about her day. Three stops later...in Manhattan now, a horde of people are getting on the train and from behind me I hear "Get outta the way." And "I would if you'd [swear] stop pushing me." The punchee and I chuckled, recognizing the kind of day ahead. [Here's to you girl who got punched on the F-train leaving 4th Avenue at 8:15, from the girl who go kicked on the 4-train heading for Grand Central sometime in 2003.]

The mean person is ever-present in NYC. From nasty deli counter man to foul CBGB girl, they plague our daily lives. What is the purpose of mean people? Are they put on this earth to make me miserable, find mean mates and raise mean children, and spread it all around? Or are they here, as my mother said about mosquitos, to remind us that there has got to be something better ahead?


The Things We Learn From Too Much TV.

I've been sick this week and have thus watched even more TV than my usual. On Tuesday night, I watched two, yes two, episodes of Sex & the City. This is two more episodes than I've ever admitted to watching...ever. (Notice how I say "admitted".) But I learned something from Carrie Bradshaw that night. She was musing about her fabulous New York life and said, "In New York, a girl is always searching for three things. A job, an apartment and a boyfriend. Why is it that two out of three isn't good enough?" "Hey, she's right!" I said to myself.

I have lived in NYC for almost 4 years. When I moved here I gave myself three months. This explains why my dishes are still in my parent's garage. And I think, I've done fairly well for myself. I've got a very nice apartment. The job I set out to get. And a wonderful group of friends. So why isn't this enough? Because this is America...the land of never enough. I know I've tiraded about that before, so I'll stop myself. But this applies in all things, not just monetary ones. I've talked about this with alot of my friends, who are also women from the South. We set out to do things that are not what we grew up being told we were supposed to do. We set career goals and have achieved them. We are enlightened, intelligent women. And yet....

When I turned 25, I had a grand quarter-life crisis, being that I was well-older than any woman in my family had ever been before having committed to her first marriage. I had no children. I did not own any property. I discussed this with one of my friends from high school and she said she had experienced the same thing. She has a very successful career and has yet to be in a place where she felt ready to get married, and yet there is was. 25 and single...a pox on all things Southern.

So I resolved after my second episode, that I will be do my best to be happy with what I have. I have done great things that my grandmother and great-grandmother would been proud of. I have finished high school, college and graduate school. I have read more books than I ever knew existed...some of them twice. I have a job that I love and am loved by those around me. I have an open mind and an open heart. I have written a play and a half. I have worked for four days in a donut factory. Maybe this should be enough.


Does God Care About Football?

First of all, I must say GO HORNS! I don't know that I've ever been so elated as I was last night watching my beloved Longhorns win the National Championship. It's well deserved. TEXAS FIGHT!

Now on to my question...does God care about football? Everytime I watch the Horns on TV, it makes me smile to see a player, after having scored a touchdown or won a game, point to the sky and thank God for that. It makes me happy that all the publicity and hype hasn't gone to their heads and that they still know that their talent, like all things, comes from God. But does it really matter that much? I know that there are many fans, especially at high school football games in Texas, who pray before the game for their boys to be safe and for them to kick some butt. In the South, we pray for everything (ie. parking places, sandwiches, spelling bees, etc.), so it should come as no surprise that organized butt-kicking makes that list as well. But does God like it when we kick butt? Or would he rather us engage in a less agressive competition, like a competitive poetry reading? Are tackles and fumbles and interceptions given freely by grace of God?


The Year in Review.

It seems cliche I know, but I feel it must be done. As a milestone passes, it should be acknowledged for what it is. So as we leave 2005 behind and come rushing into 2006, I feel I must sum up 2005. It was in a word....hmmm....frenetic (defined in the Mac dictionary as "fast and energetic in a rather wild and uncontrolled way"). This year I finished graduate school, and got my first real, with benefits and holidays, job. I got a new and messier roommate. I had friend from childhood die, very unexpectedly. And several of my good friends moved away. And all this happened in the space of about a month. And the rest of the year before and after was spent preparing for the changes that could be prepared for, and then dealing with them as they came.

I was asked to prepare a reflective year-in-review prayer for my church, CCFB, tonight. As I did this today, sitting in front of my television where I do all my best work, it hit me that it was not only my world that was "frenetic". Many of my friends have had whirlwind years, both in good and not-so-good ways. And I think for the world as whole, this year has been very taxing, to say the least. With the numerous natural disasters that have struck many parts of the world and the poor government response to these things, and the continuance or escalation of wars in many parts of the world, we can do nothing but hope and pray for something better this year.

Here is CCFB's prayer for the coming year:
Holy father on this the first day of 2006, we stop to reflect on the past year both in the world community and in our own. Lord we pray that we will be ever mindful of what is going on far outside these walls. That we will continue to be a church that is aware and willing to be involved bringing justice to those left behind.

Holy father, we pray for hope. Lord we remember today the victims of the tsunami in the Indian Ocean, the earthquake in Kashmir, the mudslides in Colombia and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. We ask that you be with them as they recover from these tragedies and as they mourn the loss of their loved ones and their way of life. We pray that they are not forgotten by the world community, but that we continue to remember them and tend to their needs, even a year later.

Holy father, we pray for peace. We pray for peace in Africa, as many countries are torn apart by civil war and disease and poverty. We pray that people in power will speak up for those who are merely innocent by-standers in these evils. We pray especially Lord for the children of Africa, as many of them have been left orphans. We pray that they are protected from exploitation, that they are allowed to be children. We pray for peace in Iraq. We pray for the young men and women fighting this war to be safe and home with their families soon. We pray for cool heads to prevail and for negotiations to be driven by hope rather than by greed and prejudice.

We now turn our focus to our own community. Holy father, we remember the wonderful events of this first year of Christ’s Church for Brooklyn. We praise you for our newest additions, Jasper Adam Brooks and Ira Lester Hays. We thank you their presence in our lives, for their sweet smiles and their wonderful futures. We praise you for the marriages in our community this year. For Brian and Liz, and Tom and Regina. We pray that you strengthen their marriages and be with them as they build relationships based on faith. We pray for those of in this group who have lost loved ones this year. We pray that your hand be over their families and that they be comforted. We pray blessings over Jen and Brent as they anticipate the birth of their child. We pray that this pregnancy will be easy and the baby will be healthy.

Holy father, we pray that you be with us in the coming year. That you will continue to be present here. That this will always be a place where questions can be asked and matters can be discussed freely and without hesitation. We pray that we will continue as individuals and as a church to act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.