Saturday, November 29, 2008
My grandson Isaac turned six-years-old the day before Thanksgiving. We are thankful to have him in the family circle. He is smart, and kind to others, and very, very handsome. We're proud you are ours, Isaac! May the Force be with you!
When I was one I had just begun.
When I was two I was nearly new!
When I was three I was hardly me.
When I was four I was not much more.
When I was five I was just alive!
But now I'm six, I'm as clever as clever,
and I think I'll be six forever and ever!
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
It's a sad thing that people have singled out the "Mormon" Church as a scapegoat for the passing of Proposition 8, amending the California Constitution to define marriage as a heterosexual act, overriding a state Supreme Court ruling. The backlash against the passing of this proposition has been responsible for a lot of hateful targeting of the LDS Church for exercising its right to speak up for what it considers to be a moral issue in a free election. Let me say, up front, that I didn't agree with the Church's meddling in California politics. While I think concerned folks from Utah had no business contributing to a political campaign in another state, I believe the Church had every right to advise its members in that state concerning what they believe to be a critical issue concerning the ultimate nature of the traditional family.
In fact, we were not alone. Months before the first ads ran on Prop. 8, San Francisco Catholic Archbishop George Niederauer reached out to Mormons (having been bishop of SLC for eleven years, he knows Mormons well) and asked for their help on Prop. 8--seeking the support of many other denominations as well to form "the core" of this volunteer operation. The money was grass-roots donated by concerned people of many conservative faiths. The Mormon Church did not contribute money to this fund. Nobody was coerced. Our young missionaries would never break into anyone's home and scatter decency to the wind as shown in that reprehensible TV ad.
It all seems a bit ridiculous to me, a simple matter of semantics. If the word "marriage" is the problem, then why not continue to call gay alliances "civil unions," or "gay inseparabilities," or whatever else they choose. Equality in every way except their use of the word. I think everyone agrees that giving everyone the same legal rights to make decisions for incapacitated loved ones, the same insurance coverage, and the same respect is the only decent way to go--which, by the way, the Mormon Church advocates, as evidenced by specifically pointed statements published in a Church News release concerning rights of hospitalization/medical care, fair housing, employment, probate/wrongful death rights and domestic partnership rights for gay couples, who have every right to live and love together in a state of gay bliss. Just not in marriage. The M-word.
LDS Temples across California (and in Utah) have been damaged, chapels have been vandalized. Facebook groups have formed telling people to boycott Utah in general (tourism, ski resorts, the Sundance Film Festival, etc.). Websites have formed calling for an end to the Church's tax-exempt status, saying things like: "We're going to bury you (shades of Nikita Kruschev!)," and "Destroy Utah--it is a Hate State," calling us a "religion of Bigots and Hate-Mongers!" We seem to have become a punching bag, and people feel free to shout profanities at us, spit on our cars, block access roads to our temples, shoot out the windows and glass doors of our chapels, and wield their cans of spray paint like weapons. This morning's news reports 2 more chapels in my neighborhood were vandalized overnight and two historic buildings were burned.
What I want to know is this: where are the protesters when other churches exercise their right to decry what they consider to be moral issues? Where are those others who also helped Yes on 8 and should be standing by us? Is Abortion a fair issue? How about pornography? Mormons don't like those things very much, either. Nor do I. Just call me old-fashioned. But please don't call me moron, or scum.
Well. Okay. I feel better now. Sort of. Thanks for letting me vent.
[UPDATE. Wednesday, Nov. 12th] The protests in California and Utah have spread to the East Coast. New Yorkers are now going at it, and protests against Mormons are planned in every state this Saturday: more harrassments and assaults, more horn-honking and spitting, more obscene gestures, hate-mail, and vandalism....
UPDATING THE UPDATE- Friday-Nov 14, 2008, Deseret News: "Envelopes containing a suspicious white powder were mailed (from California) to two LDS Temples and a Catholic fraternity (Knights of Columbus), prompting a hazardous materials response and a federal investigation into who is behind it...." The FBI will probably discover it is cornstarch, but it might have been anthrax.
UPDATING THE UPDATED UPDATE! My good friend Orlan (see comments) suggests you take a look at this article for a well-balanced view of this issue.
. . . .
Also, on this Veteran's Day, when I saw on GMA a tearful mother in a cemetery embracing her son's tombstone, I cried with her, and remembered why I am glad to be movin' on from Bush to Obama....
Photo Credit: Beetle Blogger
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Monday, November 03, 2008
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Last night the City Library offered a Dewey Lecture with poet and musician Joy Harjo, a multi-talented artist who is both an internationally known poet and a player of an Indian flute as well as the saxophone, which she said she learned to play at 40. She's played her original and native music around the world, and has been featured by Bill Moyers and Garrison Keillor. Her performance in Salt Lake last night was part of the award-winning PBS series American Experience called "We Shall Remain." We were privileged to see a film clip last night as part of the program. It will air in the spring of 2009. Be sure to watch for it!
Jo Harjo is a native American of the Mvskoke/Creek Nation. Her poetry (interlaced with lyrical Indian melodies) is both simple and eloquent and real. When someone asked her, during the short Q & A time at the end, what her imagery of horses, "means, exactly," Ms Harjo said you can never explain to someone what your imagery means, exactly. She told us not to look to hard for a meaning in poetic imagery (something akin to what Robert Frost said, that a poem should not mean, but be.) "Poetry," she said, "is a dream filled with language."
She said the image can be transformational. She spoke of the true power of the word, of the true danger of the word, and the true beauty of the word. And of what a journey poetry is. Here is one of her poems, from her book, How We Became Human:
IN PRAISE OF EARTH
We kept on dancing last summer though the dancing had been called subversive.
We weren't alone at the end of this particular world and knew
it wouldn't be the last world, though wars
had broken out on all sides.
We kept on dancing and with us were the insects who had gathered at the grounds
in the grasses and the trees. And with us were the stars and
a few lone planets who had been friends
with the earth for generations.
And with us were the spirits who wished to honor this beloved earth in any beautiful manner. And with us at dawn was the Sun who took the lead
and then we broke for camp, for stickball
We all needed praise made of the heart's tattoo as it inspired our feet or wings, someone to admire us despite our tendency to war, to terrible
stumbles. So does the red cliff who is the heart
broken to the sky.
So do the stones who were the first to speak when we arrived. So does the flaming mountain who harbors the guardian spirits who refuse to abandon
us. And this Earth keeps faithfully to her journey, carrying us
around the Sun,
All of us in our rags and riches, our rages and promises, small talk and suffering. As we go to the store to buy our food and forget to plant, sing so
that we will be nourished in turn. As we walk out
into the dawn,
With our lists of desires that her gifts will fulfill, as she turns our tears
into rivers of sweet water, we spiral between dusking and
dawn, wake up and sleep in this lush palace of creation,
rooted by blood, dreams, and history.
We are linked by leaf, fin, and root. When we climb through the sky to each
new day our thoughts are clouds shifting weather within us.
When we step out of our minds into ceremonial
language we are humbled and amazed,
at the sacrifice. Those who forget become the people of stone who guard
the entrance to remembering. And the Earth keeps up her
dancing and she is neither perfect nor exactly in time.
She is one of us.
And she loves the dance for what it is. So does the Sun who calls the Earth
beloved. And praises her with light.