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Archive for May, 2008

Today, one of our students put me onto this website, My Cycling Log. I had been keeping track of my miles in a spreadsheet since I got back on the bike in April, but this site offers some additional features:

  • It computes the reduction in CO2 emissions that result from me riding instead of driving.
  • It computes my savings on gas, based on my car’s actual gas mileage and gas prices.
  • The log is publicly accessible, which might bring me more of an accountability motive to keep making the choice to ride instead of drive.

May I add that today was a gorgeous day to be commuting by bike? Anyway, I hope that this will help me in my efforts to train for the upcoming MS ride in July. (BTW, thanks to those who have contributed to the MS Society in my name.) I had thought about a 40-mile ride tomorrow out to Oakland Univ. for the annual International Ground Vehicle Competition, but there’s a 60% chance of strong thunderstorms, plus my memory of doing it last year is that the last 3-5 miles are simply grueling, and I may not yet be ready for that kind of workout yet.

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Worship that works

I recently had a visitor to my blog who sent me the link to his own web site, called “Liturgy – worship that works, spirituality that connects.” Fr. Bosco Peters is a priest in the Anglican Church down under in New Zealand, and has a lot of good stuff on liturgy, prayer, worship that I encourage you to check out.

Amazing how my experience on this blog and other electronic networking sites has brought me into contact with people from all over the world.

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I just came upon a website that I thought I’d mention. If you know anyone who is discerning a vocation to religious life, you may want to pass this on to them: VISION Vocation Match. The site guides you through questions about what kind of community experience, ministry, prayer styles, etc. you are attracted to, as well as some other things about yourself, and then provides results with links to communities that might be a good match for you. The site even lets you choose a “guide”, an avatar named Sister Monica or Brother Victor to explain the process.

Being a techie kind of person myself, it’s good to see religious communities reaching out to millenials in ways they relate to.

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OK, this may seem to be a little too “crunchy granola-ish,” but keep in mind that in my CLC group, we are in the 4th Week of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises…

My house mate has a list of spring chores that need to be done around the house, and I received my first introduction to a tool called a dethatching rake. So I’ve been finding a little time over the space of several days to dethatch the lawn. I’ve come to think of this process as giving the earth a massage. Somehow makes what might otherwise seem like drudgery have a bit more meaning to one like me who is not particularly into gardening and yard work (probably because of allergies and back pain).

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Last night, I watched the documentary, “For the Bible Tells Me So.” Very powerful and well done. Here’s the synopsis from the web site, http://www.forthebibletellsmeso.org.

Can the love between two people ever be an abomination? Is the chasm separating gays and lesbians and Christianity too wide to cross? Is the Bible an excuse to hate?

Through the experiences of five very normal, very Christian, very American families — including those of former House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt and Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson — we discover how insightful people of faith handle the realization of having a gay child. Informed by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, Harvard’s Peter Gomes, Orthodox Rabbi Steve Greenberg and Reverend Jimmy Creech, FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO offers healing, clarity and understanding to anyone caught in the crosshairs of scripture and sexual identity.

And here’s a trailer from the film.
Vodpod videos no longer available. from vodpod.com posted with vodpod

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Well, after several years, my friend J. finally talked me into it. On July 12 and 13, I’ll be riding 50 miles each day in the 2008 Bike MS event here in Michigan. I’m not much of a road biker, but since they now have a 100-mile route in addition to the usual 150-mile route, I decided to give it a shot.

I’m trying to raise $500 for the MS Society. If you’d like to help me meet my fundraising goal, please click on the graphic at the right, which will take you to my event home page, where you can make a donation.

If you are interested in participating yourself, there are similar events all over the country, so you should be able to find one in your area.

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Amazing…in a country where voter turnout is embarrassingly low, we have states putting up new barriers that are preventing citizens – 90-year old nuns included – from exercising their constitutional right to vote!

See this article…I used to play clarinet for the liturgies at the motherhouse of these nuns.

I suppose if there were some evidence of voter fraud, some measures would be called for, but when fixing a non-existent problem prevents home-bound elderly citizens from voting, I have to wonder what definition of democracy is in operation.

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I had an e-mail recently from New Ways Ministry, talking about a recent press conference prior to the recent visit of Pope Benedict XVI. The three panelists answered the question, “What would you say to the Pope if you had an opportunity to have a conversation with him?” One of the panelists was Gregory Maguire, the author of the novel, “Wicked.” He gave a warm welcome to Pope Benedict, and a touching account of his life as a gay Catholic, raising 3 adopted children with his partner. To me, it was a gentle, respectful, AND direct speaking of truth to power. I don’t know if His Holiness will have the opportunity to hear this beautiful account or read its transcript, but if he does, I hope he can hear it with an open heart as well as with his great intellect.

I thought it a good example of the kind of nonviolence I aspire to – being able to face injustice (of course, people of good will may have different perceptions of injustice in various contexts) directly and respectfully, not giving in to rage and bitterness on one hand, nor to passive resignation and despair on the other.

I’ve included his talk for you to listen to…have some Kleenex handy.

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From Wikipedia,

Nonviolence is a philosophy and strategy for social change that rejects the use of physical violence. As such, nonviolence is an alternative to passive acceptance of oppression and armed struggle against it.

It seems to me that a better definition would include rejection of all forms of violence, not just physical. Makes it more challenging, but it seems to me that violence and abuse of power take many forms, and a commitment to live nonviolently must include transforming all the ways I perpetrate violence to myself, others, and the earth.

By the way, notice that nonviolence is not passive acceptance of oppression – it implies actively resisting injustice. To me, nonviolence is truly a spiritual discipline.

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I’ve been pondering my desire and efforts to live more nonviolently for some time, so I thought I’d offer a series of reflections on it, and invite you all to join in the discussion. First, I’m very encouraged that nonviolence is a core value in our Baden CSJ directional statement, that has guided us for quite a few years now. In fact we say directly, “We commit ourselves to live non-violently.”

So as we prepare for Chapter, I’m also encouraged that one of our core areas for deliberation is “CSJ spirituality of nonviolence.” It signifies a new re-commitment to this way of life.

Wondering and hoping that this may be a new moment of life and grace for us as CSJs and for all those whose lives we touch…

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A disclaimer as I prepare to leave town for a few days… my next two posts on this topic will magically appear while I am away from internet access, so if you leave me a comment and wonder why I’m not responding, it’s because I’ll be gone until next Friday.

Play nice while I’m gone…

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