Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Movin' On - Rascal Flatts

Few years ago, I just decided one day I'd had enough so I packed up my belonging and moved out of Seattle's grey skies and rain, back to the sunshine of home! Never looked back even once.

We must have played this song about a thousand times during that road trip. It's become the "soundtrack" to the times in my life where I'm "changing lenses" or writing a new chapter - the times when I'm transitioning from one thing to another.

The graphics on this version don't really fit with this song, but it's the best I can find on Youtube. So close your eyes and listen to the sound and the words. It's the perfect song when it's time for you to move on to the next "chapter" in your life. May it be better than the last one and not as good as the next!


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Faith vs Atheism Debate

Found this interesting quote after doing another "beliefnet" quiz someone suggested for fun. My score led me to a link for a Faith vs Atheism discussion between authors Sam Harris (The End of Faith) and Andrew Sullivan (Conservative Soul). Since I'm planning on reading Harris' book soon, I thought I'd read through the debate and see what what they said.

Thought I'd point out some of my favorite bits....

One of the best paragraphs IMO, came from Sullivan at the beginning of the debate. Although, I would have added something about sitting passively on your butt for an hour or more each week while someone else lectures you, I agree with his assessment of the problem with religious fundamentialism.

"The reason I find fundamentalism so troubling - whether it is Christian, Jewish or Muslim - is not just its willingness to use violence (in the Islamist manifestation). It is its inability to integrate doubt into faith, its resistance to human reason, its tendency to pride and exclusion, and its inability to accept mystery as the core reality of any religious life."

Further along in the discussion was this gem....

"I disagree with many of fundamentalism's theological assumptions; when fundamentalism enters politics, I will resist it mightily as an enemy of political and social freedom; when it distorts what I believe to be the central message of Jesus - love and forgiveness - I will criticize and expose it. But when I see it in the eyes and face of a believer, and when she glows with the power of her faith, and when that faith translates into love, I am unafraid and uncritical. I know I cannot know others' hearts; I cannot know their souls. I know further that the mystery of the divine will always elude me; and that beneath what might appear as a bigot may be a soul merely seized by misunderstanding or fear or even compassion. My sense of the fallibility of human reason and the ineffability of God's will leads me not to dismiss these "extremists" as fools or idiots, but to wonder what they have known that I may not know, even as I worry about their potential for evil as well as good (a potential we all have, including you and me)."

Read the rest of the "Is faith built upon Lies?" debate here.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sunday Funnies

My new favorite video!

Flame Warriors

Truly one of the funniest things I've ever seen! This guy is a genius!
See if you recognize any of these folks. You can view them all by using the drop down on the right side of the screen.

Words to the wise:

Do NOT say "Yep, that's ____!" unless it's something kind. Let's use some discretion here shall we? Those of us that blog together elsewhere are probably thinking the same thing anyway, so there's no sense saying it out loud.

Remember, this is one of those times that the phrase "less is more" most certainly applies! In other words, the LESS you say about them, the MORE friends you'll have left at the end of the day.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the characters themselves. Did the guy get them right? Do you think he's way off base? Which is your favorite? Which is the most accurate? Anyone else that needs to be on this list? (no names, just characteristics please!)


Saturday, June 23, 2007

no grace left

found here:

no grace left

give me the grace to believe
that those who tell me they know best
what path i must take to find freedom
do not know
how their words entrap me

give me the grace to believe
that those who tell me,
what true faith is
and why mine isn’t
do not know
how their words diminish and oppress

give me the grace to believe
that those who judge every word i say
and find each thought inadequate
are believers in the same
life and love
as me.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


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Went to the "Community Drum Jam" to celebrate the Summer Soltice tonight. It was a great group of people including kids and adults.
Perfect summer night out on the patio of the community coffee shop, fairy lights around the bubbling fountain, and great music. Relaxing way to start off the summer!
The drums we played were like the ones these guys I saw in Portsmouth, MA last week are playing. Not sure why they are wearing those Flinstone looking vests exactly, but their music was really good!
Drumming circles are a great way to focus energy into something positive, communal and creative!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sunday Funnies

Thanks to my friend Rick for the MadTV link!

Alan Johnston - Update

Alan Johnston banner

Looks like there may be some progress towards freeing BBC reporter Alan Johnston.
This article says he may be released as early as today.
Here's hoping!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Gossip is murder through words

Heard someone use that phrase in a sermon this week and although it was not the focus of the talk, just a quick comment at the very end, it occurred to me that maybe it should have been.

Too often people talk about other people without checking the facts first. They start talking to their friends, spreading rumours and the "killing" begins.

It happens in businesses when a boss decides that someone has complained to HR about something, but never checks with HR or with the employee before spreading it around to the rest of the team and destroying the morale.

It happens all the time in church circles, especially with the women. I've been wondering lately why that is.

Is it because women in churches are taught to "submit" and thus feel like they have no power? Is it because they've been taught that a "real woman" is meek and mild instead of strong and independent and the only way they have to be "strong" is through their shared dislike of someone? Is it because only those predisposed to gossip stick with Christianity and the church? Is it because the christian church isn't really teaching people how to effectively deal with conflict in healthy ways? Does it happen in other religions too? Are muslim, hindu and buddist women sitting around gossiping about one another as well?

I obviously don't have the answers.

But one thing I'm sure of, that preacher was spot on in his pronouncement of gossip as "murder through words"!! Gossip is hideous and it kills the relationships, respect, and reputations of all those involved with it.

I know first hand that it murders a part of the spirit of the one gossiped about (I refuse to use the word victim) And it kills the trust of those who know that person - they're never really sure if what was said is true or not, so they often quit talking to that person. The more the person protests that they've done nothing wrong, the more people back away.

Being the target of gossip kills the emotional sense of joy a person feels when they've been accepted into a group. It kills the belief that those around you are "good people" who are trustworthy and honest. It causes feelings of embarrassment, isolation and shame where there shouldn't be any.

I'd go so far as to say it even murders something inside the people doing the gossiping. Certainly, it must at some level kill off the trust and respect they had for the rest of the group. What's to stop them from turning on you next? After all, it happens all the time. That's why churches split, friendships end and communities fail. In business, careers are wrecked, promotions denied and opportunities lost.

It can be violent, pre-meditated and cold blooded! People are blindsided by it and find themselves disoriented by the shock. They find themselves feeling oddly insecure where once they were confident in their relationships with others. Perhaps they behave in ways they don't even understand as they try to sort out who's still on their "side" and who has walked away from their friendships.

It's not just the target of gossip that has to deal with the consequences either. The person's friends and family are often pulled into the situation in order to provide support. If they're loving, they will take the time to help the person recover. Otherwise, they ignore them and leave them to deal with it on their own, which can lead to depression, as the person withdraws into themself as a way to deal with the pain of being shamed, even when they know they are not guilty.

Gossip is a ghastly thing that can destroy the life of a church, business, or community if it's not stopped!

Women in particular need to learn how to deal with conflict in straight forward, assertive ways. To speak up when someone else is being gossiped about and commit themselves to not be afraid of standing up for themselves when they've been targeted.

We as women need to learn that strength does not come from getting with your friends and talking about someone else when you're offended and it certainly doesn't come from being meek, mild and mousy, like many are taught a "good christian woman" ought to be!

No, it comes from standing up for what is right, checking the facts and speaking directly and honestly to those involved, even at the risk of being misunderstood.

We should all remember the consquences the next time we plan on murdering someone else with our words!

Boys of Summer

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Just got back from a week in Cooperstown, NY where the Baseball Hall of Fame is located. Great time learning about the history of the sport as well as enjoying the little town. There's no franchises allowed in town which is decorated like something out of a Saturday Evening Post cover. All the stores and resturants are locally owned.

Doubleday Field, the alleged first place baseball was played in the US, is located in Cooperstown as well. We visited on a day when a bunch of local boys came back to town for their annual reunion and baseball game.

It was the perfect opportunity for me to get some practice shooting sports and trying to figure out the timing on my crap digital camera. A regular SLR has an instant shutter release whereas a digital camera has a delayed shutter release. It's incredibly frustrating if you're skilled at releasing the shutter at exactly the right time on an SLR.

After many shots of the back of the batter who's finished his swing, or the catcher with the ball already in his glove, I was able to calculate that I had to release the shutter button a whole second before the ball reached the batter. This is one of about 3 "successful" shots where the ball is still in the frame and the batter hasn't made contact with it yet. Never could get the shot of the exact second the ball and bat collided.

It was great practice in a small, nearly empty stadium where I was free to roam around and shoot from any location I chose. My time there was well spent even if the out come wasn't as good as I'd wanted. For me, sometimes it's the process and not the outcome that matters any way. I did decide one thing after seeing all those frames of the batter's backs...I'm using an SLR the next time I shoot a baseball game. That way, I can react as I see the shot in the viewfinder instead of trying to guess at the appropriate time to hit the shutter button.