Monday, June 29, 2009

watchful or mindful

Faraj Hermez is an Iraqi Christian. Targeted by jihadists in his homeland, he fled to Lebanon with his wife and ten children. National Geographic had a cover story on Arab Christians last month.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

called on to be honest

This is not the promised post on David Dark's, The Sacredness of Questioning Everything. I wrote my original notes for that in a bit of a frenzy during that last week at my job - in a tiny scrawl on two post it notes. Writing it definitely helped my thinking and my sense of where I am, but I think it would be fairly incomprehensible on the blog (at least the way I write at the moment). But I do want to give another shout out to Mr. Dark's book, which is challenging to me in all sorts of ways that I had not expected. Losing the job is causing me to re-evaluate a lot of things. I am deeply thankful for the opportunity that is tied up in this and I am determined to work from the ground up. There is a temptation for me to second guess what I should be doing and how I should be living. This manifests itself in dogmatic thinking (when applied to myself) and a certain lack of engagement with others (what should I think/feel rather than my actual response). From the get go, the book tore this thinking apart, starting with the ways that we get trapped into certain views of God. I am very grateful.

yesterday in Tehran

via Andrew Sullivan

Friday, June 26, 2009

the view from my office

So, yesterday was my last day at work. A strange day in lots of ways and I am not sure what to say about it. Strange to have been laid off. I am excited about what's to come but wish I knew more about what that is. Job? Vocation? Place in the world? This was the view from my office for the past year. It looks like quite a sad picture to me.

More to come.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

'and no one exists alone'

My next post was going to be on David Dark's book. That one is coming, I hope. He has a short section on Auden that I wanted to reference. This morning, though, Andrew Sullivan quoted from Auden's poem, September 1, 1939 and it hit me right between the eyes. Thinking about what has been happening in Iran and quoting the last two stanzas of the poem here articulates more about at least one of David Dark's theses (this poem is the news) than I could say in a whole raft of posts.

All I have is a voice
To undo the folded lie,
The romantic lie in the brain
Of the sensual man-in-the-street
And the lie of Authority
Whose buildings grope the sky:
There is no such thing as the State
And no one exists alone;
Hunger allows no choice
To the citizen or the police;
We must love one another or die.

Defenseless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

from SEPTEMBER 1, 1939 by W.H. Auden

Thursday, June 18, 2009

on vali asr

I like this picture from the protests today in Iran, which I found here. I like the wild thing. I particularly like that the woman to the left is looking at the camera with a question. People coming together and hoping for change. Humour and hope.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

'people who don't give up on the things they can't have'

I like this OP-ED on Iran from Roger Cohen at the NYT today.

And (random association alert) there was also an NYT article at the weekend on the film $9.99, from short stories by Etgar Keret, which I am intrigued by.

Monday, June 15, 2009

on vali asr

I spent a lot of the day watching Iran.

Most of this came to me through Twitter posts, which Andrew Sullivan has gathered into a feed here. The unfolding story fills my thoughts, prayers and emotions.

Andrew's blog, at the moment, has been entirely given over to what is going on in Iran. He is hopeful for the protesters facing violence and massive opposition to change. I have no idea (really) what it is like on the ground there but seeing pictures like these and reading the information coming out of the country I am hopeful too. And will continue to be so, whatever the short term outcomes of the protests are.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

on vali asr

When I drew this yesterday some immediate and positive change in Iran looked a lot more likely than it does today. I am not saying that Mir Hossein Mousavi would necessarily bring the dramatic turnaround that one might hope for but that he, at least, embodies a widespread longing within the country. Now I am not sure what is going on. I think Andrew Sullivan, whose wonderful blog I go to for a lot of online news, sums up well where things likely stand. Yesterday most of the updates I was aware of came from the equally insightful Talking Points Memo and its various news sources.

The Slacktivist quote was not intended as a commentary on the state of affairs in Iran. I left it in because perhaps it functions as such. It was a comment instead on three songs called "Wanderlust": 'Each of those songs, one way or another, aspires to get at the unsettling refusal to settle for anything less [than telling what we want, what we really, really want]. Some people sleep, some people yearn.'

Thursday, June 11, 2009

when the boat comes in

In the aftermath of my fish post a couple of days ago I read two sobering articles on the crisis facing the fish population. There was a good editorial in The Independent on trawlers as weapons of mass destruction. And the New York Times had a piece on the many questions we must ask before eating a fish.

On a more buoyant note, there was also a great NYT article on urban food foragers, who have been building networks of people willing to share the harvest from their city trees. That's where I pulled the quote from.

And Kyoto, from 3 posts ago, came up in an encouraging NYT editorial by Pico Iyer on living a simpler life. Some of the piece felt a little too neat and tidy but I need to be reminded about a lot of what he is saying again and again, especially as I try and begin to think about what to do next. And I don't really know how long, or how circuitous a route, he took getting to where he is now.

'Even in Kyoto
Hearing the cuckoo's cry
I long for Kyoto'

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

no laity

A few weeks ago, in the midst of a particularly taxing few days at work, I decided to re-read The River Why. I was looking for something that would not stress me out further, but would challenge me, as it does every time I turn its pages. (My previous read was Darkmans, which I love, but found almost unbearably disquieting - the characters' plights allied with my own, which was a very unhappy collusion.)

Having an end date for work puts me in a strange head space while there; difficult to ignite other thoughts in the midst of it all. So I am once again very glad for this novel and the journey the central character is on.

Another thing, which I meant to post a while ago is this, from the Slacktivist, one of the first blogs that I got really excited about:

'John Howard Yoder noted that that idea of the priesthood of all believers is often misunderstood as -- or is accused of being -- an attempt to abolish the clergy. Actually, he said, the opposite is true. The priesthood of all believers requires the abolition of the category of laity.'

I wish I had had the perspective to summarize this way when I was thinking about the same things.

Monday, June 8, 2009

how then should we live

Came across this here, which was a nice surprise.

The singing started for me when the Ellul quote connected with the one from Moltmann I pulled up the other day. All presents a challenge I have not really begun to grapple with.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

'i bring what i love'

We went to see Youssou N'Dour last night at BAM. One of the best, most inclusive, and celebratory concerts I have ever been to. The audience was on its feet, dancing in the aisles of the opera house.

I was very happy (grinning, clapping, dancing), with a wee side mix of sadness...

My favorite haiku:

'Even in Kyoto
Hearing the cuckoo's cry
I long for Kyoto'

Some blogging on the concert with photos here.

kitchen post its

I like these. They are probably my best drawings this week. The work saga continues (and will through the end of the month). Then some new story will begin. I suppose it already has.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

nothing is wasted

Jim Gordon posted on Gordon MacKay Brown last year. I do not have a clear memory of his poetry, though I know we studied him in school. I love the extracts that Rev. Gordon posted because of the reminder of the holy importance of everything.

We are folded all
In a green fable
And we fare
From early
Plough-and-daffodil sun
Through revel
Of wind-tossed oats and barley
Past sickle and flail
To harvest home,
The circles of bread and ale
At the long table-
It is told, the story -
We and earth and sun and corn are one.

from Christmas Poem

necklace reckless

Kanye West - Can't Tell Me Nothing Video from Brian Rauschenbach on Vimeo.

When I was growing up the 5.35-6pm timeslot on BBC2 was reserved for old black and white classic short films. While I continue to feel a great deal of affection towards Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin, my favourites then and now were Laurel and Hardy. Stan and Ollie worked together so long and hard that it did not look like work any more. I am sure that Zach and Will worked hard on this too but mainly it looks like they had a good time. (A lot of Will's work seems to have been to keep from laughing.) The video reminds me of the films that filled the time between the end of the school day and dinner - and not just because Zach Galifianakis = 2 x Will Oldham. Laurel and Hardy's comedy was a deliberate comment on and tonic for the depression: the heroes were often down on their luck and faced hard times. The rural setting of this video, and much else besides, makes for a pointed commentary on the song. And it is very funny.