Tuesday, October 27, 2009

no door, no line...

rather than repeat myself, i'm cutting and pasting this comment, that i made in response to this post by Jules, over at Queermergent following the Christianity21 conference.

i’ve been buried under a pile of books at school the past couple of months. so nice to get back here and read this wonderful post.
thanks for sharing this. sounds like it was a great conference. i’m sorry i missed it but and much more than that i am so glad it was such an enriching experience for you.
i’ve been thinking a lot recently about one’s means being one’s ends. that ‘being the change you want to see’ (i think that was Gandhi…) understanding – of acting like the justice you seek has already happened.
seems from what’s been written here that the conference embodied that… and as i think about it, i feel the need to push that further… that we are called as humans desiring to understand G-D as being drawn into a reality of welcome that already is…
once again, i keep coming back again and again to Nadia’s phrase, “it’s not our tent, it’s God’s tent”. the door is wide open (and i’m beginning to think there isn’t a door at all – maybe churches of the 22nd century will have removed their doors off their hinges) and all *are* invited and all *are* welcome since the very beginning and everyone’s already included. inclusiveness then, is not a choice for the church to create, unless by that we mean we are involved in recreating a reality that *is* the very fabric of G-D’s be-ing. “all are welcome” is then a statement of truth, a testament to that reality that in G-D ‘everybody’s in’.
in that light, i’m just the moment starting to see the feeding of the 5,000 in a whole new (to me) way…
the job of the church is not to choose to include, but to bear witness to the inclusion that “is”. G-D is inclusion as a given. so deep that there is no alternate reality as far as G-D is concerned. an alternative to inclusion is something *we* make, that goes against the very nature of what the divine happening is all about…
as we go on this journey, it’s only our job to keep asking, who am “i” not seeing as already being fully welcome in the way G-D is welcome itself? how do i humbly witness to every single human i encounter that welcome that is G-D? and if i understand Seth’s session correctly, “do i witness to myself as fully welcome and respond by welcoming all of me?”
the more i think about it the more absurd it seems to ask questions about being affirming and inclusive – as if we had a choice…
i grew up in a tradition that not only literally shuts the door but even in many congregations locks the door once the Sunday morning service is underway… that to me my whole life has seemed like a violation of all that is sacred. an act of heresy, if not in fact active blasphemy. to completely miss the point. it’s taken me 36 years to even begin to find the language to express that… as more and more i see how we persist in putting a door where there is no door…
thanks again for sharing…
be well, friend

and i'm adding to it, lines i have posted here before, more than once, a track we used at ikon's gb06, Fundamentalism...

come help me out im sick from the fight
from inserting a laugh where theres none
show me where this joke got tired
tell me you know cause im slow catching on..

your trying to break me down with your tuneless song
that kept me up all night
take me to the fair where the lifeless singers
will let you ride up beside them sometimes

and your putting a line
where there should be not a line
and your building divides..

come cut me out i got caught in the wire
from believing the filtering downs
show me where the stakes got higher
just goes to show how slow weve become

and your putting a line
where there should be not a line
and your building divides
and putting a line 
why are you building divides.
is it some failing in your life.
source: burn the map sleeve - even the lack of apostrophes and question marks seems to add to the subversive implicit
five years on somehow these lines persist in reminding me of the eternal-question-meets-
unfurling-answer-always-happening that is G-D...

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there
is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.


Monday, October 26, 2009

in the shelter of each other, the community celebrates

it was a weekend of nuptial celebrations... while Jude and Steve tied the knot in Nashville (congratulations folks!), Mark and Sara held a marriage blessing ceremony in NI for those of us who weren't able to make it Nashville for their own wedding last month. the ceremony was absolutely beautiful, as was the bride. Hillsborough parish church is one of the most lovely churches in one of the prettiest settings i've ever seen. Mark, Sara and Ian (who officiated) had crafted a gorgeous liturgy, Padraig delivered a sermon of pure poetry and i had a lump in my throat as i read, with a feeling of deep honour and privilege, John O'Donohue's blessing for marriage from Benedictus.

it was a real community effort - Jayne, aided by Willow, Emma and i transformed the church hall with candles and flowers and fabrics from our community 'party box'. if i say so myself, it looked lovely... surrounded by table cloths created with dozens of colourful fabrics gathered by friends over the years from all over the world was like being in a collective home. i hear the dance floor was packed in Nashville and in Hillsborough we too stomped with abandon. Ben gave us a fantastic set that seemed to have been taken straight out of Mark's undergrad days and once i got on the dance floor i couldn't stop and we enjoyed delicious cakes made by the wonderful queen of cakes, Harriet.
it was a day suffused with the collective personality and hands of creative community sharing in our interweaving story and all working joyously together to create something beautiful.

i got to catch up with many folks i was so looking forward to seeing, and there were many more i didn't get to speak to at all (Shirley - i'm looking at you and regretting we didn't get round to exchanging more than a wave across the room. you looked gorgeous. :) ) it was so good to be able to share good news and exchange stories of the last few months with those who will always be my family-of-choice.

so, all in all, a truly fabulous day.

here's a few photos... being on "team hospitality" and knowing the cake-maker has distinct advantages. tip: want to ensure you get some? head to the kitchen and offer to help serve it. 


so, back in Dublin after lovely time spent with Jayne and Willow on Sunday, which was warm and nourishing like the cozy slipper socks and gorgeous stripey woolen sleeves Jayne gave me for my birthday, this is Reading Week. i've a week without classes and without proscribed* prescribed reading in which we are meant to be... well, reading, funnily enough. given the number of hours i've been reading for the past couple of months, having a thing called Reading Week seems slightly bizarre. some are calling it a week off. i'm calling it cleaning week. Halloween will be spent in the company of the incomparable Joel Dark, who is making a visit to Dublin. i figure that's worthy of finally getting round to giving this place an out-of-season spring clean.

(* doesn't matter if you spell it right if it ain't the word you want!)

i'm hoping the grocers have finally got some pumpkins so i can do some spooky carving.
there's some genuinely useful tips at this website

and hoping too wherever you are and whatever the season is bringing, you find nurture and care and love in your midst...

oh, and finally, happy birthday to beautiful Anniebananie.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

the light of civil rights Pt 2

i was in a conversation last night about the civil rights movement in the US - about the choice to not fight hatred with hatred...to instead make the means the same as the ends being sought... you make peace by being peace... what i've taken to calling,
re-enacting the future...

here's a unique and valuable conversation those in Nashville should make or steal time for... i'm sorry i can't be there for this. the panelists are the very embodiment of living history.  full details of the line up available by clicking HERE for the Nashville Sister Cities website. 

even if you can't attend, please help spread the word today... tweet it, flag it, digg it, blog it, 'book it...


the light of civil rights Pt 1

for context - Maddow gives a clear run down of telling your YES from NO on Maine's Question 1.

yesterday, this was the must-see video on the Dish...

i hope this goes viral. facebookers and twitterers, if you feel so inclined, please send your friends and followers to YouTube to view this. this is the place where left and right meets. both supposed "sides" have something to learn from this.

there's a great Dish reader response to the video here
which includes the eloquent line, 

The two sides of the coin, the opacity of ignorance and the translucence of truth, can only be revealed in the presence of each other.

no less powerful is Sullivan's reply,

This is, indeed, the dynamic of civil rights movements. By standing up for real equality, we actually provoke more and more vocal hostility among some. What matters is the response to this hostility. Do we return it in kind - as we can often do? Or do we respond with the truth of our lives?
Sometimes, you have to bring the fear out in the open to dispel it. And that demands courage.

may the arc keep bending... 


more than DNA

re: the previous post, this is a (paraphrased) extract from a conversation i had with my brother last night...

cary: so, Chocky arrived. thanks! i love it! i was just blogging about it today.

ewan: oh, i look forward to seeing that. i'll check it out. i was waiting for [the dvd] to arrive. i didn't want to give away what your present was but i've been wanting to say, it turns out Chocky was written by the guy who wrote The Midwich Cuckoos! AND you might not know this, but i remember Pádraig told me he really loved Chocky so i was thinking it'd be cool if you two could watch it together sometime.
i woke this morning to see the comment below the previous post. 


seriously. :)


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

...a funny sort of bag

"You mean to carry carpets in?"
"No. Made of."


colour me sipping coffee, ignoring the pile of articles on Irish feminist activism of the early 20th century, listening to ep 5 of The Lake Effect and pulling out, if not a standing lamp, then a load of random stuff from the past few days...

i had the great privilege of one of my classes being led by Loretta Ross, National Coordinator of SisterSong - the Women of Color Reproductive Health Collective based in Atlanta, GA.
although focussed on reproductive justice for women of color, all women, and men, of all races are welcome to join Sistersong. their model of understanding reproductive justice and the process they use for building a coalition of diverse perspectives and particular causes is to me a remarkably strong one. Loretta was a joy to encounter and learn from. i thoroughly recommend checking them out and encouraging others to do the same.


over at the Daily Dish,
Andrew Sullivan shared this (to my mind) engrossing C-Span interview from 1995


i've been checking out Pete's blog entry, One Day I Hope to Believe in God

the ensuing online debate since William Crawley interviewed Pete at his last ikon before moving to the US has gotten pretty heated.
it's all been something of a storm in a teacup that would appear not to have broken out amongst anyone who actually participates in ikon. not to the best of my knowledge anyway. and if it had, i'd have been very surprised.

despite a wide range of perspectives, one thing the ikon collective doesn't tend towards is fighting each other over our diverse takes on what it means to ask if one 'believes in God'. i am always a bit bemused that others assume we all agree. and indeed that we agree with Pete, as if he had the monopoly on correct thought, rather than having a unique role within the collective and a wider platform to share his ideas.
so, i feel no need to intellectually defend Pete. his thoughts are his, and as a philosopher he can well take care of himself in that regard and do a far better job of it than i. but as his friend, even one who has openly differed with him, i find the tone of some of the critics weighing in to be unnecessarily barbed. and that's a reminder of why the process of ikon is not without value:

as a collective, we've hung in together in our diversity and even conflict over the years, and have persistently used creativity to draw us closer, as well as to express the nuance of our different perspectives. rather than sitting around arguing over our theological or philosophical differences, we continue to use that tension to fire our creativity.

what i have appreciated from Pete's posting and in particular, within the comments from site visitors, are a parable from Larry Tosh and a comment from Michael Danner. if i can find the space and time, i hope to write later in the week about these two offerings. i don't know either of these people but i found both of their contributions had strong resonance for me personally... 


my brother gives great gifts. this birthday's offerings were,

the gorgeous Beacons by Ohbijou

and, as just one of several sci-fi gifts from around the world, he gave me,
the DVD edition of classic 80s British sci-fi series, Chocky. i remember almost nothing about this show other than the name alone freaked me out and still does. just saying it creeps me out, though i've long forgotten why... very much looking forward to curling up on the sofa on a cold winter's afternoon with this.

the canon includes everything. except Noddy...
the Dr Who fans that visit here, or one of them anyway, might be interested to note that the series was adapted by Anthony Read - who also contributed to Sapphire and Steel ( i remember only one scene from that show but i know i loved it). and proving you can't move through the history of Dr Who writers without constantly tripping over Sherlock Holmes connections, he created yet another 80s series, The Baker Street Boys. but that's not what got me excited...

what i hadn't realised until now is that Chocky was a novel by John Wyndham. i remember David Dark recommending José Saramago's Blindness many years back. it was impossible not to read it as a contemporary rewrite of Wyndham's 1951, Day of the Triffids.
even more pertinent, however, is that Wyndham is the author of The Midwich Cuckoos, which in film form became an absolute late night cult favourite of Ewan's and mine - Village of the Damned.
a few birthday's back Ewan gifted me the 1960 original (featuring one of my favourite character actors of all time, George Sanders) the 1995 John (Halloween) Carpenter remake (featuring Kirstie Alley, Christopher Reeve & Mark Hamill - that it was Reeve's last movie before his accident somehow makes me feel a little guilty at calling it terrifically awful, but it is) and the 1963 sequel, Children of the Damned.


also in the sci-fi birthday mix:

Padraig and I share the same birthfest week and we made a deal this year to buy each other the same gift - Margaret Atwood's new dystopian novel, The Year of the Flood. it's a sequel to Oryx and Crake and although that wasn't my favourite Atwood offering by any stretch, it was too tempting to resist and the hardback cover and dust jacket are beautifully designed. i think i'm going to try and save it for my next transatlantic flight. until then, it'll be sitting on display as a coffee table objet d'art.

alrighty, closing the bag. back to reading what i'm supposed to be...


where in the world is Pete Rollins?

Pete's move to the US has been causing a stir in some corners of the blogosphere - most notably over at Will & Testament and his own blog (see blogs i'm following in RHSbar for both).
but a browse of this morning's news pages reveals Pete's transatlantic emigration and philosophical mission are all a front for launching his new sporting career...

“I’m all right. I had to curl up in the fetal position and throw some punches of my own,” Rollins said before taking a cream pie in the face from a teammate.
sounds just like a Monday night ikon planning meeting...

you heard it here first.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Strict Joy

album released 26 October
Fall/Winter tour dates and track samples (on RHS bar) here

don't know if it's on the album but the sampler includes a (possibly live) beautifully tender and simple version of The Frames deeply loved, Star Star**...

it's all yours Charlie, you've won the whole chocolate factory...

kind of sums up how i feel in this season.


times they are a changin'...

still trying to get back to everyone, but in the meantime thank you, thank you, thank you for such lovely birthday messages, y'all, here and elsewhere. this has been a very different birthday to all the birthdays that came before and has been lovely.

photos, i hope, are forthcoming.


in other matters... 37 years ago, Gloria Steinem exercises some remarkable self control. (from today's Meet the Press discussion on the Shriver Report and a 50% female workforce.)


Saturday, October 17, 2009

36 years ago today...

36 years on... i'm really really blessed. with so much love and family and dear friends.  
i've been invited to a birthday party on skype. which means i get to spend most of the day in my pj's on the sofa and watch people far away and yet so very close eat cake.

so much love...


Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Master's tools will never dismantle the Master's house...

i've been busy the past week getting my first paper written. i'm finally coming up for air.

the days and weeks have a definite rhythm at the moment built around commitment to nourishing personal relationship and the work of reading reams of material for school. it's proving a good balance and i've had the longest totally anxiety free number of weeks i think i've quite possibly ever had in my entire life. i have never been more consistently calm, content and happy. ever. and that's something for which i am very grateful and feeling a little protective of at the moment. but i'll write more in due course.

episode 4 of the lake effect is devoted to the gorgeous work of Final Fantasy - original works, collaborations, remixes. makes for a deliciously good combination of tracks. Arcade Fire never sounded better to my ears than here. i think this finally put them in the context i was always looking for without knowing it. 

colour me _loving_ this ep and listening again as i read about the second wave feminist, 'sex wars'. class today is going to be very interesting. it's one thing to discuss suffrage movements. it's another thing entirely to discuss the political philosophy of pornography, sado-masochism and sex work. like i said, it's gonna be interesting.


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

are you freaking kidding me? part 2

since the Conservative Bible project proved so popular, i'm guessing this additional offering from the dish* yesterday will likely have several of you laughing hysterically. and not in a good way.

this makes the conservative Bible seem like a sane idea... well, almost...
it's arse art! it's interactive! it's available for sale on canvas! and i think it'd make a fine addition to any American child's bedroom wall. they are, after all, the Rising Generation and good education starts with knowing Jesus wrote the US Constitution.

One Nation Under God  

don't say i didn't warn you...


* they call it "hathos" - a compulsive attraction to something you can't stand. e.g. this. (<--- so bad, i suggest taking medication)

Monday, October 05, 2009

are you freaking kidding me?

i really need to be reading for school but this is too good* not to pass on.
the link on the daily dish is broken so i did some investigating...

check out: Conservatizing the Bible.

i am struggling to believe this thing isn't a parody but the original page seems to be legit.


*that's not the word i wanted but i'm restraining myself

now _that's_ snazzy*

still available at your nearest Tie Rack.


*title dedicated to Ewan and Pád

Saturday, October 03, 2009

extreme right v2.0: slower, lower, weaker

i've been struck that the Olympic motto is not fastest, highest, strongest, but faster, higher, stronger... 

i was not only brought up to believe the taking part is what matters, but that it is good sporting spirit to commend your opponent. to compete with graciousness. and certainly not to laugh at those who lose. there is an uncomfortable gap between saying, "We won!" and "You lose!"

i know there are those, Sullivan included, who think Obama perhaps shouldn't have gone, but i like that heads of state these days make the effort to join their bidding cities - because imperfect though it may be, as all things are imperfect, the Olympics is for something. positive. global. i think it's something worth making time for.

as i watched the Olympic voting live online yesterday i wondered, with all the media chatter over Obama's choice to travel to Copenhagen, how the extreme right would react if Chigaco lost their Olympic bid.

there's not much sadder than folks actually falling below your lowest expectations...

The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well.
- from the Olympic creed.

consider this a round of applause for Chicago on the morning after. 

commiserations to Chicago. and Madrid. and Tokyo. well done Rio. and congratulations to all.

Citius, Altius, Fortius 


Friday, October 02, 2009


my mother passed away on this day 11 years ago. her father - aka Gramps - was born this day 100 years ago. my father is in Fife, Scotland, where Mum was laid to rest with her parents. he and Mum's favourite cousin are going to the cemetery today to pay their respects...


Under the wide and starry sky,
Dig the grave and let me lie.
Glad did I live and gladly die,
And I laid me down with a will.

This be the verse you grave for me:
Here he lies where he longed to be;
Home is the sailor, home from sea,
And the hunter home from the hill.

 - Robert Louis Stevenson




45 calibre Jesus

this is America, i guess that should be caliber. then again, this is John Oliver.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
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Full Episodes
Political HumorRon Paul Interview

Thursday, October 01, 2009

for me, it's a Christian thing...

i'm off school, sick with a horrid chest cold. today was spent under a blanket watching interesting stuff on line. this was the conversation that made me sit up and listen closer more than any other. the full conversation is here.
the strength in the weakness of the cross. brought to you by Porsche.