Sunday, August 28, 2011

Thoughtful Food (article)

I just read this wonderful article in the current issue of VegNews Magazine. Imagine my great surprise to find that the author was a UU Minister, the Rev. Mary Margaret Earl! The article discusses the connections between food, homelessness and hunger. I would very much encourage you to pick up an issue and read it. Rev. Earl really captured what I have felt for such a long time and, unfortunately, was not able to express very well. My congregation hosts a lunch once a month for the hungry and this article has re-inspired me to up my vegetarian/vegan efforts. I am also going to ask the food ministry at our church to see if they would be interested (with my help ;-) in sponsoring a Healthy Body Mind and Spirit event like the McAuley House. Thank you for the inspiration and ideas Rev. Earl!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Train People

This past weekend, I took a train ride up to Bloomington/Normal (then continued on to Chicago via car). It is fascinating to people watch on the train. I was at the Alton station at 7.00am on Friday and it was packed. I quickly discovered that this weekend was a two game Cardinal/Cub series in Chicago. Thankfully I was meeting someone who grabbed the train in the City and saved me a seat, otherwise I may have ended up standing for the two hours. I get on the train and there are the people who have obviously been on the train for LONG TIME, the families, and the drunks. People had started drinking on the train platform and that continued right on to the train. I was thankful that I was getting off at Bloomington, because I can only imagine how loud and crazy it was going to be by the time it rolled into Chicago. Because of its affordability, the train attracts everytype of person. I have seen youth groups, families, just released prisoners, college kids and every person in between. Trains are truly a study in humanity!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Frustrated with the UUA

I want to lead a bible study for our church this fall. I am certainly not an expert in bible studies and am looking for a guide. I figure it will be a forum for discussion and discovery. UU comes out of the Jewish and Christian faiths and I feel that it very important to understand the books important to these faiths for a greater understanding of Unitarian Universalism. Anyway, I went to the UUA website to see if they might have a progressive Bible studyguide. They don't. I then checked out the UCC's website and found a great deal of information. Why don't we have this?! Why do we continually deny our heritage. Why don't we try to understand it better? Along that lines, why don't we publish our own bible? Where are the progressive bibles? Shouldn't we take this on? Is it out there and I just missed it?! After viewing the UCC website, I am feeling that the UUA could learn a lot.

For those who have led bible studies - any suggestions on how to go about it? Any good sources you know of?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pagans, Witches, & Christians

(photo from Amazon)

I recently finished this book. While it is a fictionalized account (based on historical details), it gave me a lot to think about. Roughly, it is about the Salem witch trials and a modern day decedent of one of the victims. What I thought the author did a fantastic job of was connecting the close tie between Christianity and pagan beliefs. She really captured that point in time when these ideas were closely linked. So many people think that witchcraft was an "evil" trade. What the author demonstrates, though, is how this was not at all the case. What was "evil", were the accusers condemning innocent people to death. Most of these healers were devout Puritans who started each incantation with the Lord's prayer. They helped through knowledge of herbal medicines and energy transfer (often characterized as New Agey today). The point being, though, it was perfectly acceptable to be a Christian and draw upon the earth's energy - they were not mutually exclusive. Of course, this idea is not unique to the Salem trials. Looking into paganism, it has a long history of partnership with Christianity and Judaism. How did we lose this connection? Why did it become sacrilegious? While I am not planning on converting to full-on paganism, I think it has more to offer then we give it credit. I am thankful, though, that I am part of religion that is completely open to understanding what it brings to the table.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


This past weekend I was in Iowa for my mom's 60th birthday. It was a lot of fun. My sister also came in town and we got to spend some girl time together. One of our favorite activities is to go wander around downtown. Cedar Falls has really spiffed itself up since we were there and has totally revamped the downtown area. It is now full of quirky and fun shops and restaurants (oh, where were they when I lived there!?!). Anyway, as we went to into Crazy Girl Yarn Shop, we realized that they were shooting a commercial. Evidently, Google is looking to host small business sites and is making commercials to help promote the program. Crazy Girl was randomly selected, as was I! I have no idea if I will actually make it into the small commercial (most likely just my hands making a purchase), but it was still fun. Thankfully we had come from getting family pictures done, so I looked a little more put together then my usual self. My sister couldn't believe this happened. She is known in the family as having lots of drama surrounding her, I am known for having randomly weird things happen. What is strange, is that every time I go to Germany (sounds like I go a lot, but only three times over thirteen years ago), I get interviewed for German TV. Each time I am pretty sure I made a fool of myself and ended up on the cutting room floor. As I have noted before, my command for the German language is pretty sad and I know I frustrated quite a few interviewers. I have no idea why this keeps happening, but I suspect it is because I am very generic looking. I stand out because I am just middle of the road. I think they are looking for the "everyday" person opinion and I fit that bill. Anyway, my sister about died when this happened to me again. I will keep you posted if I actually show up on the commercial. I warned the video guy that I might look like a good choice, but I really don't photograph well! (and it did take a couple of takes....)