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Showing posts from November, 2010

And Another Thing About Spiritual Authority...

And another thing...

I remember my daughter's teenage years.  You would not know it to meet her now--she's poised, charming, generous, clearly intelligent and lovely.  But her teenage years were scary ones for us, her parents.  (More than average, I think.)

I have a gift for guilt and worry, insecurity and obsessiveness.  And I clearly remember when I realized that I just had to set that aside.

It didn't matter if it was all my fault, or not.  It didn't matter if I was a terrible mother.  It didn't matter if she was going to hate me or blame me or if I was going to hate or blame myself.  The  only thing that mattered, the only thing, was the question, what do I do now?

What am I supposed to do, what will be in any way helpful, now, today, to help my kid survive being an adolescent?

Spiritual authority is like that.  It's about when you don't have the luxury of blaming yourself, or worrying about whether or not you're adequate or lovable.  You have to se…

How Are We Doing? A Six Months' Checkup

As of November 26, 2010, six months into our plastic fast, Peter and I have produced a total of 13 lbs., 7 oz. of plastic waste.

By a reasonable estimate, that puts us at about 17% of the average rate of waste production for the United States, though we may be generating plastic waste at a rate of only 7% of the average, depending on which set of numbers you choose to use for the average amount of plastic waste per capita.

For instance, Beth Terry, of Fake Plastic Fish estimates that Americans produce between 85 and 128 pounds of plastic waste per person per year--based on EPA data for residential plastic use in 2008.

The University of Oregon's estimate is a bit higher: "Every American uses almost 200 pounds of plastic in a year--60 pounds of it for packaging." (Source: San Diego County Office of Education, cited in University of Oregon Campus Recycling page).

So how are we doing? Better than we could be, though not as well as we might like. Beth Terry, for…

Spiritual Authority

About a month ago, near the end of meeting for worship, I felt something rising up in me and nudging me for attention.

Sometimes a leading is a deep, powerful, physical thing.  When I was a teen, I used to go out sailing on a sailfish with a single piece of wood, a daggerboard, that was thrust through the heart of the little boat to act as its keel.  In a strong wind, you could hear and feel that keel moaning and keening with the work it had to do, keeping the boat headed where the rudder directed it.

Some leadings are like that--almost unmistakable piercings of the heart that power us forward.

Others are lighter, gentler, and more subtle.  At times I have thought of myself in worship as feeling like a cork, floating lightly and easily, able to respond to the lightest of touches, moving here or there at a mere breath.  At such times, I may feel drawn to talk to this person or that, not even perhaps knowing why, just that it's what's right to do.

Those leadings are delicate nud…

On Hunting

On Saturday morning, Peter and I put on our blaze orange vests, and took a walk together in the woods behind our house.

There's an old woods road back there, maintained by the local snow mobile club, and used by the vocational school's forestry program, as well as various hikers and hunters.  Since bear season is in progress now, I often see a jeep parked at the top of the V.A. Center's access road, the most common point of entry.  There's a muddy spot there made by the action of tires coming and going, but otherwise, the road is paved with leaves, generally in a loose, ruffled layer.

When we were out this morning, however, we noted that the leaves were flattened--clearly there had been vehicles driving farther along the road than is normally the case.

There were other signs to be read in the road, too.  I'd told Peter of a recent discovery, of a scenic outlook off a spur trail, an abandoned logging road that branched away from the main woods road to the east, and …

November

I've been home the last two days, yesterday on family business, and today because it is a school holiday.
I got to make soup, and bake a cake to freeze in slices for snacks next week, and tend my indoor garden.  And the day was mild and sunny, and I woke up very early, so I was able to wash a week's worth of laundry and hang it outside to dry one last time.
My dog is always very happy when I am drying laundry outside.  He gallops alongside me as I walk across the yard to the clothesline, and lolls about munching the grass--or rolling in it--as I clip socks and tee shirts onto the line.
Sometimes we stop together and peer overhead, or into the woods, at mysterious rustling animals or the wild cold calling of geese passing by.
There is a quiet to November.  After the flurry and rush of September and October, November's hush is a surprise and a relief.  Parent conferences, in-service days, school holidays and Thanksgiving punctuate the school year, but it's more than that.  I…