Super Moon

Wow, kitty cats.

PeaceBang has certainly been a mouth-breathing space cadet the last couple days!. It felt like it took superhuman effort to host a lunch for 10 colleagues yesterday, and that’s the sort of thing that is usually easy and fun for me. I kept feeling vaguely like I was forgetting something all afternoon, and just felt ungrounded in general. Not anxious, not distracted, just not. quite. all. there.

I suppose some people spend their entire lives in that state, but I don’t and I don’t like it.

I followed the luncheon by stopping by a new Sephora to pick up a few things. Lesson for us all, my dears: NEVER STOP BY SEPHORA FOR A “FEW THINGS” WHEN YOU’RE FEELING SPACED OUT! Ouch, my wallet!
I had the intellectual capacity of a raccoon: “Oooh, pretty! Shiny! Want!” To make matters worse, I got an e-mail message that informed me that Justin Timberlake is now following me on Twitter, which just made the day that much more surreal (I’m sure he has an automatic add-on feature on his account that adds any Tweeters who mention his name, but still. It was hilarious and terribly strange).

Accomplished nothing last night more impressive than eating dinner, stopping by a PetSmart and almost adopting a cat (thank God I was with a friend), then going home and knitting while watching a movie. My dreams were like a Ken Russell movie. The dog and cat huddled close, because they know to do that when Human Mom is under the influence of the cosmos.

Today I’m just grateful that we have an intergenerational Equinox celebration planned for tomorrow. I have a song to learn, and I put together a slide show of evidence of spring for the children’s message. I have a little message for them and a walk-around, all-ages-appropriate sermon to prepare but I’ve already put a lot of thought into it, thank God.

Being what I call a “psychic sensitivo” is a wonderful trait for the ministry except when it over-functions and I feel like an enormous sponge, soaking in all the chaos and yearning in the world. I don’t like to indulge in flights of fancy, but could it be that the earth really was knocked off its axis by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan? And how about the Super Moon? If my cat goes kooky at the full moon, why should I not just admit that it affects me, too? We’re just mammals made mostly of water. We have little tiny tides within us.

So this is just to say, HOLLA, psychic sensitivos! Let me know you’re out there! You are not alone! I’m going to have some coffee and something carnivorous for lunch to see if I can snap out of it. But take it from me and stay the heck out of big make-up emporiums until this phase passes.

Pence Amendment And HR3

Completely switching gears for a moment, I just want to say something personal as Vicki Weinstein.

I am incredibly depressed and angry right now about the war on women being fought right now in Congress.

I cannot believe that so many of my sisters and brothers are falling for the misleading information, inflammatory rhetoric, skewed facts and “moral” outrage of the conservative right who support the Pence Amendment to defund Planned Parenthood (and 102 affiliated organizations).

Have you been keeping up with this, I hope?

Here’s a good article by Daily Kos.

I am working on a form letter that I will post on my PeaceBang Facebook page that I hope many readers across the country will send to their local newspapers. I hope everyone will call their senators. I am not sure when the Senate vote will happen.

I am also unclear on the status of HR3, which you can read about here. Public outcry against the attempt of sponsors of the bill to redefine rape caused them to drop the word “forcible” from the proposed language. Here is the outline from Open Congress.

Activism was never my strong suit because my brain doesn’t naturally attach itself to the way the political process works, but over my years in ministry I have learned how to make my voice heard. I think it is a moral imperative. It is a moral imperative not to be taken by sound bites and emotional manipulators (or by the entrapment tactics of groups like Live Action), but to learn for myself what is going on and what it means for ordinary women who will never make the news.

As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t matter what I personally feel about abortion. It matters that I do not make my personal feelings and moral beliefs into policy and inflict them on the bodies and futures of other women and their families. Planned Parenthood does provide safe abortions but it also provides pre-natal care, cancer screenings and STD screenings, infertility counseling, and contraception to 1.4 million Americans. I don’t want to have to walk by any one of those Americans on the street anywhere and feel that I did not raise my voice when their health provider was taken away by a bunch of politicians who get awesome health insurance paid for by your and my tax dollars.

I know that you don’t come to this blog for heartfelt calls to action on behalf of reproductive freedom, but on the risk of offending some of you I thought others of you might appreciate the round-up. As I said, I will be posting form letters on my Facebook page today or tomorrow. Finally, there is this, an easy way to put your opinion out there via the Religious Coalition For Reproductive Choice.

I’m sorry for not being sorry if I have offended you. 😉

Don’t Just Sit There


When you are on the dais, you are ON.
Please be so.

I am always astonished by the lack of formality exhibited by some clergy folk during funerals and memorial services: when not actually speaking from the pulpit, they sit in their chairs or pews looking totally relaxed and happy, as if they were at Starbucks waiting for a friend.
You’re PRESIDING OVER A FUNERAL. One would presume the presiding clergy to therefore be connected to deep realities for that hour, non?

This is something I would not advise you to try to fake, as it can’t be faked. It is not religiously appropriate for any of us to let our minds wander to the budget meeting, the Florida vacation, the fight with the spouse, or the sushi dinner we’re looking forward to for any length of time while leading worship. There is such a thing as spiritual discipline, and that involves disciplining the mind. The presence will follow.

What you are thinking about shows on your face and in your demeanor. PeaceBang finds an overly-comfy pastor presiding over a funeral (crossed legs, wiggled foot, slumped down as if he’s watching a football game, casual grin, tousled manner) a deeply upsetting presence on such an occasion. It causes her to wonder, “Where is this guy or gal, really? Because they sure ain’t here now!” The hail-fellow-well-met Scripture reading tone makes me cringe perhaps even more than an overly-theatrical, maudlin reading would have done. There’s a wide territory between Junior High Drama Club-level funereal tones and casual tossings off of the Good Word : find it. Know it, and please practice it. An extra clouting about the ears for those who give cutesy sing-song cadences to Scripture at any time, and yes, I’ve heard men doing it, too!

It is not necessary, either, to erase all evidence of your own personality when you preside: PeaceBang would NEVER promote that. She is simply saying that you should actually BE THERE, at the solemn occasion, at all moments and to be disciplined about it. Never take it for granted, never slide into a funeral or other formal occasion without being mentally prepared to do so, and never “get used to” funerals. Never. When we are consigning a soul to God’s grace, we are not a casual presence.

Pay attention. Conduct your energy and life force appropriately. It is not fair to zone out during the musical pieces or during other people’s spoken or sung participation in the liturgy. Never preside at the Eucharist in a perfunctory manner, as if you’d like to be done with it already to get to the grocery store.

That was a stern talking-to, wasn’t it?
My, I must have needed that.

By the way, because some of you like to know who and what, specifically, inspire these rants: I keep tiny notebooks of liturgical outrages for years and then I write about them from a safe distance from the actual event. In most cases, however, my diatribes are the result of no one specific event but from descriptions from colleagues and my own observation of behaviors of which I have collected several examples.

That’s my methodology, darlings.
Kiss, kiss!

Clergy in Elizabeth, New Jersey at a recent rally for immigration rights. All clearly engaged, all dignified and even if relaxed in their legs, showing by their posture and tension in neck and face that they are listening respectfully and they CARE.