Friday, May 26, 2017

Porch Stories: Community

Kristin's Porch Stories for two days ago Wednesday offers an optimistic How to Find Community. As she pointed out,
Women need friendship like a flower needs water. ... Loneliness is a disease. The best cure for this disease is to find community, which often involves vulnerability, risk-taking, and letting people into our not-so-perfect lives. In an effort to make new friends, I began to ask girls to join me in a small group. Soon, a group of us began to gather for dinner and discussion once a month.
desert spirit's fire porch stories – community
Three weeks ago for the Fourth Sunday of Easter, the lectionary reading from Acts 2 gave us a basic biblical model that for a couple of millennia has been a blueprint for local church ministry:

Acts 2:41-43

They gladly received the word Peter preached and three thousand were baptized on that day! [Then] they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.

During the hours and days of your life, doubtless you've noticed God doesn't mind being anonymous and not getting credit for all the awesome stuff that happens that we know only could be by the inspiration and the work of the Holy Spirit? This Acts of the Apostles passage tells us Jesus' apostles had become the teachers and preachers; it tells us the newly baptized gathered for koinonia, a ripely redolent biblical word that's about far more than simple "fellowship" {oh, too many politely tame scriptural-translations-into-English) and camaraderie, as pleasant as that can be. Koinonia helps annihilate the disease of loneliness Kristin mentioned; that devastating disconnected isolation an ad campaign a few years back announced "can kill people." Breaking of bread likely references both dining together – maybe with a contemporaneous potluck equivalent – and to regular observance of the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation Jesus gives us in Lord's Supper.

Especially regarding hoping to Find Community / Koinonia... leads to letting others into our imperfect, sometimes messy lives, even parts we try to hide from ourselves. Kristin started her own Girls Time Out that may be workable for others, or possibly not. Almost two years ago I relocated to Current City that's an even larger major metro area than Previous City; I've been basking in the energy, wakefulness, and cultural diversity all around me. God in the Spirit directed me to a church that's been taking advantage of my background in bible and theology so I've been facilitating 10am mostly lectionary-based adult Sunday School every week. I've done some art and design for the church. But the biggest gift is every single week we have after worship brunch / lunch / Sunday dinner—depending on who's prepared what. As people typically do, each week I try to sit and visit with people I don't yet know as well as I know those I've already spent time in conversation with. Not many churches have that opportunity, but you could gather your own group for Sunday lunch or brunch at a nearby restaurant once a month or every other month; that becomes a way to sponsor local restaurants and keep $$$ in town. If you'd prefer not to do commerce on Sunday, a related idea would be to potluck in a park or in the function room of a member's condo or apartment complex. BTW, it wasn't quite exactly every single week, but church in former city offered both Second Sunday CafĂ© prepared by a member with her own professional chef business and a Third Friday evening potluck; you easily can guess I tried never to miss out on either!

But earlier in this Porch Stories post I did mention how God doesn't at all mind being anonymous and never insists on getting listed in the credits! I've joined some of the thousands of local interest-focused meetups and I've been to several concerts via that route, No fast friendships yet, but seeing the same people at different venues helps open a door to future possibilities. Depending on your geography, affinity groups and clubs still are safe ways to connect and cautiously begin opening your heart.

I began with shared meals at the beginning of Luke's Volume 2 Book of Acts; table fellowship – food! – is prominent throughout Luke's gospel. sharing a snack, a meal, or a feast is such a leveling experience! Doesn't food usually include conversation? And even some self-revelation? Koinonia includes that "fellowship" notion, but goes further to bring us into the quality of community we discover in holy communion, the astonishing revelation, "we're going to make this place you're home!"

Kristin wonders, "If God is inviting us to a table that is always open and never reserved, who are we inviting to sit at the table with us?" Who have you invited? Who would you love to invite for food, conversation, and homecoming?

porch stories button

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Porch Stories: Almost Summer

Kristin lives in the bluegrass state of Kentucky, where kids and teachers are out of school until fall. That means it's time to say, "Hello Summer Break!" Just as she did for 2016, Kristin has created a Not To Do list for summer 2016; at least from where I sit. and work. and try to make time to play... Kristin's made a stellar list for year-round considerations.

desert spirit's fire porch stories – almost summer

Because I plan to take Kristin's list to heart – probably with a couple of additions along the way – rather than another list, today I'll write a little about the magic that's (usually) summer. Usually because of I can't remember how many consecutive years earlier in this century I wanted summer to end soon because it had been a season of sadness, despondence, near-hopelessness. Though I almost never admit to endings, as an aspect of my ongoing acknowledgment of new beginnings, I've decided in an only semi-arbitrary manner that my LA days as a "San Diego transplant" will expire at the end of June 2017. I relocated to Current City very late June 2015; unlike previous places, in two years I've made solid professional and social connections and friends, which astonishes me more than my inability to mine and reweave new life sources in my three prior sojourns did. Why so surprising? This is rootless, anonymous, southern California. I'm still crazily needing longer-term, more supportive and stable housing, but everything else is going so well it's anything but sad, despondent, or hopeless.

I suspect summer evokes special memories for most people.

In my southern California world, weather's mostly been typical May Gray; June Gloom usually follows. Gray and gloom means a couple of months of cool, sometimes overcast misty days. But you know I know it's almost summer because about two weeks ago they hoisted this year's Where Summer Plays Hollywood Bowl banners onto lightposts and lampposts all over the county!

Summer couldn't be summer without open air music! I spent a summer in the Berkshires as a Tanglewood fellow and got to enjoy all the concerts under the big tent. That same Boston Symphony's Esplanade Orchestra plays at Hatch Shell beside the Charles. Summer Pops alongside the San Diego Embarcadero. LA Phil at Hollywood Bowl. Oldies blasting as dynamically as possible (without disturbing or irritating neighbors) in the car. More. More. MORE!

Summer memories almost always feature food. Short list: Friday night potlucks with grill on Mission Bay. Salads bountifully packed full of Mediterranean style veggies and savory vinaigrette dressing. Double dips of ice cream. My summer memories include directing and teaching in church summer programs, typically one week long more or less traditional Vacation Bible Schools, though those four years of six-week long summer day camp in City of History are among my lifetime best memories. In the same paragraph as food because VBS always includes snacks, sometimes BBQs or picnics, often features lunches out with other participants.

Blog post tile: almost summer, but I've done little more than present my own lists of music and food. Some of Kristin's counsel:
• Don't forget to play. • Choose joy. • Don't plan every moment of the day. • Don't shy away from spontaneity. • Don't hold on too tightly – to plans, to people, to things. • Don't always say yes. • Don't always say no.
If I want to, because I need to, duplicate and even recreate some of those memories of the magic that's usually summer, I'd be wise to take all her wisdom into my heart and own it.
summer 2017 not to do list

porch stories button

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Porch Stories: Fostering

May is Foster Care Month; Kristin Hill Taylor, who's passionate about fostering, adopting, and every other way to care for kids, offers us Six Ways to Help Foster Families. At the end of my post I've included her wonderful illustration of James 1:27: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

desert spirit's fire porch stories – foster

Fostering a cause, a kitten, or a kid helps advance their well-being, provides for their basic needs and then some, carefully nourishes them so they don't decline. All creation remains fragile and vulnerable and cannot even survive – let alone flourish – on its own, but as the witness of scripture constantly reminds us, we especially need to look out for those without more conventional support systems, aspects of God's creation in particular need—which could be anyone, anywhere, at almost any time. That's exactly what the scripture quote from James reminds us; to echo the liberation theology slogan, "God has a preferential option for the poor." A friend in Previous City is active in a new church start called "Flourish San Diego." Foster and flourish have the same goal; foster's the plainer word, while flourish blazes fanfares and unfurls banners. A church name like flourish followed by name of city or town expresses well what outcomes a healthy church will provide: nurture for its members' basic needs, and beyond that, sufficient additional support so they can reach beyond themselves and the walls of the church building (whether the structure is a rented office or school cafeteria, the living room or patio of someone's home, or a property specifically purchased or built for that church community) to foster and flourish the surrounding community. Some states of the USA designate themselves as commonwealths; to foster a kid, a kitten, a puppy, or a cause means to help incorporate them into the greater common wealth.

Beyond the classic fostering activity of taking a minor child, a kitten, a cat, puppy or dog awaiting adoption into your home for a while, I love the many other foster-related options we have. Big Brother and Big Sister programs for young humans. Humane Societies allow people to snuggle, cuddle, feed, and socialize younger and older critters. Whether we live in an inner city, as part of a suburban household, along a relatively pristine shoreline, work as a farmer or in the techie world, doing our best to be aware of our use and consumption patterns helps foster the entire planet, as does making monetary donations to organizations that provide on the ground caregiving for compromised and endangered species and habitats.

James 1:27 concludes with counsel to keep ourselves – the caregivers, who ideally others also care for – "from being polluted by the world," counsel that needs interpretation. The Greek word for world in this text is the same created-by-the-Word "world" God so loved that we read about in John 3:16. The world includes all creation, so encompasses land, waterways, trees, humans, critters, all flora and all fauna. Clearly we need to look beyond the basic word "world" and realize pollutions not only include unsavory, sinful behaviors that degrade all living things and wreck the planet (extreme cases include human trafficking and mining resources from the ground in ways that will take eons to restore), but frivolous, seemingly trivial, ultimately unessentials such as excessive retail packaging and buying produce that's been hauled long distances.

Thanks, Kristin, for helping me think more comprehensively about fostering and flourishing God has called me to do.

James 1:27

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Monday, May 08, 2017

F Willis Johnson - Holding Up Your Corner

Holding Up Your Corner: Talking about Race in Your Community by F. Willis Johnson on Amazon. Pastor Johnson currently leads Wellspring United Methodist Church in Ferguson, MIssouri, and serves as Vosburgh Visiting Professor of Ministry and Social Engagement at Drew Theological School.

You also can find Holding Up Your Corner as a standalone website.

Holding Up Your Corner book cover"Every issue is not our fault, but every issue of injustice, indifference, and oppression is our fight." Is Holding Up Your [Our] Corner mostly about inspiration, about practice, about God in the Spirit creating justice and safety for every human, health and well-being for all creation? Yes. And then some.

#Ferguson has become a buzzword for the worst racial profiling and resulting inequality, but Johnson explains assumptions people [you, me, everyone everywhere] necessarily make, prejudices they almost instinctively have about all those "others" in our lives are almost inevitable, because human brains operate by organizing and categorizing information and experiences. So the author constantly reminds us guesses about, even negative reactions to others tend to be value-neutral; what we "do with them" is the clincher. The social scientist construct of race dominates Holding Up Your Corner, but otherness includes any human with characteristics I don't possess, you don't happen to have.

I wouldn't quite call Holding Up Your Corner a handbook, a guidebook, or a collection of case studies, either. Though its 115 pages includes brief aspects of all those, it's not extensive enough or sufficiently comprehensive to serve as an model for activism and results. More than anything it excites and encourages Jesus' 21st century disciples and anyone else to "hold up their corner," a phrase derived from the gospel story in Mark 2:1-12 of the four guys who picked up the paralytic's cot and imaginatively figured out ways to bring the paralyzed guy into Jesus' presence. A lonely only person could not have done that on their own, but along with strategically positioned others, the person on that corner helped achieve the goal. That narrative from Jesus' earthly ministry opens chapter 2 that's about Empathic Models of Transformation—would you believe abbreviated EMT? To activate that model we need to Acknowledge – Affirm – Act in ways that affirm the Imago Dei – the image of the divine – in every human person.

Because Johnson's book is short enough and direct enough for everyone to read, I won't detail more of the contents. But I'll enthusiastically recommend this basic book, the related digital and print resources on pages 108 to 111, along with leader and participants guides for churches, other organizations, and anyone who wants to learn more and act more effectively. Remember, given the complexities of life, most of the inequality among others truly is not my fault or your fault, but responding to God's call through the Spirit of life to help create vibrant, life-giving and world-enhancing equalities is everyone's responsibility. "Every issue is not our fault, but every issue of injustice, indifference, and oppression is our fight," and like the pebble cast into the pond, even our seemingly tiny changes of attitude and minuscule actions are synergistic, adding up to more than the sum of their individual components.

My Amazon Review: for intelligent, empathetic activism

Friday, May 05, 2017

Green Team Talk: Ezekiel

Here's an approximation of my talk this morning to open our Judicatory Green Faith Team meeting; I paraphrased the Ezekiel text rather than reading it, though I've included actuals here.

Since we'd scheduled a meeting Friday after Lent 5 and I often default to lectionary because I appreciate both the discipline and the ease, I'd planned to reflect on the first reading for Lent 5A, Ezekiel 37:1-14. When we rescheduled for Friday after Easter 3, I decided to keep the Ezekiel passage. The RCL appoints it for Lent 5 of this lectionary year A and for the Day of Pentecost in year B. As one of our primary resurrection pericopes and also majorly about the gift of the Holy Spirit, it's the eighth reading for the Easter Vigil in all three years A, B, and C.

God called Ezekiel to the office of prophet when Ezekiel was in exile in Babylon; you know how it goes!
Ezekiel 37:1-14

1The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 3He said to me, "Mortal, can these bones live?" I answered, "O Lord God, you know."

4Then he said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them: O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. 5Thus says the Lord God to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. 6I will lay sinews on you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord." 7So I prophesied as I had been commanded; and as I prophesied, suddenly there was a noise, a rattling, and the bones came together, bone to its bone. 8I looked, and there were sinews on them, and flesh had come upon them, and skin had covered them; but there was no breath in them.

9Then he said to me, "Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, mortal, and say to the breath: Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live." 10I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood on their feet, a vast multitude.

11Then he said to me, "Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, "Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.' 12Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord."
The New Heart / New Spirit

Ezekiel 18:31The book of Ezekiel is long, influential, and dense; it probably didn't get written-down and readable until after the exile ended, likely around the time of rediscovery of the books of Moses that we read about in Ezra and Nehemiah when Israel / the Jews became a people of the book, so in what order Ezekiel and cohorts originally recorded everything is up for grabs. Earlier than chapter 37 I just cited we find three new heart – new spirit passages. God tells the people to get renewed hearts and resolve; God also promises to provided that newness. And why? Primarily for covenantal obedience. Not in order to get the gift, but in response to the gift, to put God first, to keep covenant with and care for all creation.

I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, so that they may follow my statutes and keep my ordinances and obey them. Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
–Ezekiel 11:19-20

Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?
–Ezekiel 18:31

A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. Then you shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.
–Ezekiel 36:26-28
The Valleys

We know agricultural valleys as fertile places of great richness. We also know how everything trickles down the mountain into the valley: the beneficial and helpful, the not so good, sometimes the toxic. When an ecosystem is in proper balance, bugs, aquatic life, and other factors help keep it healthy. God showed Ezekiel a vision of literal dead bodies. At least as much as the reality of those physical deaths, Judah felt the death of being cut off from their God in the strange land of Babylon. They also had a sense of death because they no longer were in the Promised Land where valleys had yielded bounty as streams and rivers flowed down the hills. Judah knew Yahweh as a fertility god, but they didn't yet realize Yahweh was not a place god, a deity confined to and connected only with a particular location.

The New Creation

Ezekiel 47:35Near the end of his writings, Ezekiel shows us the Land of Promise reapportioned amongst the tribes of Israel. Ezekiel was a priest in the holiness tradition of the Jerusalem Temple, the tradition of "You shall be holy, for I, your God am holy!" We sometimes use water as metaphor for the Holy Spirit. Ezekiel brings us a vision of the river of life flowing from the throne of God, into the valley and the desert, out to the sea. He tells us everything whithersoever the river flows shall live, shall be healed. His vision includes trees for food and for healing on the riverbanks. Everything in the path of this river lives because people with the new hearts and new spirits have cared well for the river as part of their keeping covenant with creation. Ezekiel concludes by telling us the name of this city is "The Lord Is There!"

God commanded Ezekiel, "the human one" to speak a word of life to the dead bones; to evoke the presence of the Holy Spirit, to summon the Spirit of life! How about us? Does the human gathering of the church speak a word of life? How does the church speak a word of life? When people look at creation, will they see it so healthy and green they'll be able to say The Lord Is There?!

The Prayer

Holy God, thank you for these days of May Gray and the June Gloom we anticipate, too, as they help nourish creation. You amazingly claim and call us by water, spirit, and word. May we hear, heed, and obey your charge to speak words of life that help revive the dead in our midst! Thank you for calling us together as your Green Faith Team; please help us complete the agenda for this meeting and offer useful resources at Synod Assembly. In the name of the One Crucified and Risen for the life of the world, for the resurrection of all creation. Amen!

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Five Minute Friday: Should

You can find and participate in the weekly Five Minute Friday linkup at Kate Motaung's place in cyberspace. Word of today is that terrible should!!!

cinco de mayo tacos

What's so terrible about should? For three years of Tuesday afternoons I facilitated an art-based recreation therapy group for a combination inpatient outpatient psych unit. Typically I'd present a possible technique to use with pencils, markers, crayons, and watercolors the facility provided and I'd also suggest some topical idea. Houses, feelings, abstracts, animals, landscapes, etc. At some point during my first ever session, I told the group something relatively innocuous such as "you should aim for at least three different colors in your artistic composition." When staff evaluated me afterwards, they gave me a flurry of praise with a single negative observation: please do not lay shoulds on these people! Many of them are here with a major breakdown because of expectations and demands others have voiced toward them. Instantly I got what they said; ever since then, I've been at least as allergic to "should" as I am to writing with unnecessary passive voice contractions. But given that it's cinco de mayo, I'll mention you really should aim to enjoy comida mexicana some time during the day. I knew I really should illustrate this post with cinco de mayo related art, so header image is my cinco de mayo taco group from a few years ago.

five minute friday button five minute friday should

Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Porch Stories: Hardened Ways Pardoned

In her Porch Story testimony to God's faithfulness, Kristin reminds us that in Jesus Christ our Hardened Ways are Pardoned, and tells us: "when we got to our church later that morning, we sang a song I hadn't heard in years and I knew that one paragraph was for me."
"Take this bread, drink this cup
Know this price has pardoned you
From all that's hardened you
But it's going to take some trust"

–From "Trust" by Smalltown Poets

desert spirit's fire porch stories – pardoned

I'd say that particular paragraph is for all of us! Interesting juxtaposition this week, because I've been working on a talk mostly based on Ezekiel 37:1-14 that's a central resurrection text; it's also one of scripture's primary proclamations of the Spirit of Life that fills creation that we celebrate in the most extravagant manner on the Day of Pentecost as the third of our major trinitarian festivals. Here's beginning and end of that passage:
Ezekiel 37:1-3, 11-14

1The hand of the Lord came upon me, and he brought me out by the spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. 2He led me all around them; there were very many lying in the valley, and they were very dry. 3He said to me, "Mortal, can these bones live?" I answered, "O Lord God, you know."

11Then he said to me, "Mortal, these bones are the whole house of Israel. They say, "Our bones are dried up, and our hope is lost; we are cut off completely.' 12Therefore prophesy, and say to them, Thus says the Lord God: I am going to open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people; and I will bring you back to the land of Israel. 13And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and bring you up from your graves, O my people. 14I will put my spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you on your own soil; then you shall know that I, the Lord, have spoken and will act, says the Lord."

I also plan to mention a trio of passages earlier in the book of Ezekiel related to the need for our frequently too stubborn, stony, self-willed human hearts to be softened and sensitized. Sometimes hard and stubborn, but at times humans don't have the energy or the will to obey because their hearts have been broken too many times and need mending. Those people need new hearts without too much scar tissue!
I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them; I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, so that they may follow my statutes and keep my ordinances and obey them. Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God. –Ezekiel 11:19-20

Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? –Ezekiel 18:31

A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. Then you shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God. –Ezekiel 36:26-28

Ezekiel 18:31 charges us to get new hearts and new spirits, but what our modern bibles know as Ezekiel chapters 11 and 36 both tell us God will gift us with this softer, more compliant heart – or will, since in Hebrew biology the heart mainly is the seat of will and determination rather than of emotions as we tend to think of heart. And then? Our renewed human hearts and spirits help shape us for greater obedience to God's "statutes and ordinances" – God's decrees and commandments that provide safety and freedom as we live in community with each other, as we carefully steward all creation. Hebrew Bible scholar Walter Brueggemann describes the commandments as Working Papers for our lives together: in family, in church, at work, anywhere God sends us, even those random places we wander without a sense of being sent.

Smalltown Poets paraphrases a whole lot of scripture and tells us God already has done this new heart thing for us, yet it's still going to take some trust on our part. Is this covenantal obedience in order to gain or possess? Never ever! Obedience responds to God's giving and grace, but never to fear, because just like our renewed spirits and fresh hearts, faith or trust in the ways of God also are gifts of the Holy Spirit of Life that sanctifies creation and fills us, too.

I'll sign off by quoting from another song that's been a standard part of the church's hymnody for a long time; hymnary dot org tells us we can find this in 144 hymnals, and they well may have missed a few, especially if they haven't recently searched:
Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven;
To His feet thy tribute bring.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Evermore His praises sing:
Praise Him, praise Him, alleluia!
Praise the everlasting King.

Angels, help us to adore Him,
Ye behold Him face to face;
Sun and moon, bow down before Him;
Dwellers all in time and space,
Praise Him, praise Him, alleluia!
Praise with us the God of grace.

Henry F Lyte, 1834

End Note:

The ecumenical Revised Common Lectionary appoints Ezekiel 37:1-14 for the Easter Vigil in all three RCL years, and in year B for the Day of Pentecost when we most spectacularly celebrate the reign of the gift of the Spirit. Only incidental that it's the eighth reading for the Easter Vigil? Maybe so, but still, Easter Sunday, the day of resurrection, as first day of the week is a day of creation; it's also the eighth day, making it the day of a new creation. The church observes the first week of the great fifty days of Easter as Bright Week and considers that entire week the eighth day of the new creation.

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Tuesday, May 02, 2017

In the City | April 2017

April 2017 in the city desert spirit's fire!

stained glass window heart at Glendale First Church immigration sanctuary workshop sign welcome place on Glendale campus

butterfly picture green butterfly yellow butterfly lighter butterfly another butterfly

Happy Birthday Vincent

sunflowers too starry starry night

• Immigration Sanctuary Workshop on Saturday 08 April sponsored by judicatory. As you can see, kids in the on-campus day school celebrated Vincent Van Gogh's birthday!

april 9 milkweed

• Milkweed in church window boxes on Route 66 in West LA blooms bright and yellow again!

hyde park library from across the street

hyde park library entryway

urban fiction book stacks

• Library Visit 1: Miriam Matthews Branch for the Hyde Park neighborhood

Triduum 2017

westwood hills church from street westwood hills UCC entryway table Maundy thursday chancel westwood hills UCC

• Maundy Thursday – evening "Soup Supper" and liturgy with our doubly – via A Formula of Agreement and because of proximity – ecumenical partner

good friday LCM sign with Route 66 traffic Friday to Saturday to Sunday

• Good Friday – Saturday – Anticipating Sunday

hanging white easter banners stained glass window reflection on chancel wall ready for brass quintet

• Saturday – decorating worship space for Easter Sunday. No Easter vigil for me this year.

easter day sign outside LCM easter palm and font looking toward chancel white ceiling banners on easter

• Day of Resurrection

earth day 2017 poster earth day 2017 profile picture

• Designs for Earth Day 2017 – we can give gifts of environmental and climate literacy to the earth: 11" x 8.5" poster that doubled well as FB cover photo without reformatting; profile pic.

subway restaurant 1972 in westwood on the way to westwood branch library

outside westwood branch library ten years westwood library in 2015

inside westwood branch library

• Library Visit 2: my first ever time in the LA public library in my old Westwood neighborhood. On the way I stopped at the Subway I frequented at least a couple times a week when I lived in the area.