Category Archives: Arts, Culture, and Media

Art, Videos, Books, Music, Movies, Poetry, Podcasts

Heart it Races

I’m sitting writing this in midtown Manhattan before my Portuguese class and nearby there’s a couple fighting and another couple with their arms around each other and someone else eating dinner out if a styrofoam container. The buildings around me are many stories tall a few stars beyond them are already shining because we’re well into fall.

I’ve been thinking lately about being small.  Also about small decisions and how they add up. How you find yourself in New York City, taking a Portuguese class so you can communicate with your Brazilian in-laws in Times Square. All the things that led you here, and all the little decisions and moments that will lead you to wherever it is you end up next.

On my way home. I like the way the clouds in Brooklyn make the sky feel like a ceiling which makes me feel both larger and smaller. I like the number of people on the subway and the sidewalk. A man and a woman sit down on the train, the women pulls out lined yellow paper with two packing lists, one labeled “dogs” and the other “humans.” The guy across from me keeps looking around and shaking his head. There’s so much I’ll never know.

I like how Jesus rarely gave any straight answers. There were just questions answered with questions and stories. Understanding always eludes us. But he did say this “Love your neighbor as yourself,” which, in the end, doesn’t require enlightenment, because it isn’t so much about a dramatic life-change as a thousand small decisions, made daily, to love.

A Great Way To Start Your Monday 9/22/14

Happy Hobbit Day!!  As a lifelong fan of the book, this made me laugh   🙂

A Great Way To Start Your Monday 9/15/14

… three things I love…..Fallon, The Roots, and Steve Harvey!   🙂

Have You Seen My Son?

I’ve been listening to a lot of Benjamin Booker, which is why I’m sharing it above. It’s pretty great, kind of raw, stuff. Also, I’ve been reading Robert Capon’s book, The Supper of the Lamb, which is kind of a cookbook, I think, but more of a reflection by an Episcopal priest and amateur cook. The beginning is all about looking closely and lovingly at what is. So here’s a part I love:

Nothing is more likely to become garbage than orange rink; but for as long as anyone looks at it in delight, it stands a million triumphant miles form the trash heap.

That, you know, is why the world exists at all. It remains outside the cosmic garbage can of nothingness, not because it is such a solemn necessity that nobody can get rid of it, but because it is the orange peel hung on God’ chandelier, the wishbone in His Kitchen closet. He likes it; therefore, it stays. The whole marvelous collection of stones, skins, feathers, and string exists because at least one lover has never quite taken His eye off it, because the Dominus vivificans has his delight with the sons of men.

Maybe the world isn’t – maybe you aren’t – there to serve a purpose, but because it is – because you are – loved.

 

Overturning Tables

Early on Monday morning, I went to the post office to pick up a package. They send all the people with package slips to a separate window, but this morning there was no one at the window. We waited awhile. Someone left. Someone got very angry. I snapped at a lady. She wasn’t listening to what I was telling her, but I still felt a little bad about it. It probably was not her fault. Maybe they are understaffed. Maybe someone didn’t show up for work for some reason.

I rarely get angry. It’s just not in my temperament. Often this serves me well, but I do think there is a place for anger. There’s a time to knock over tables and call people out. Maybe at 9am in a post office isn’t really the time.

Last weekend I went to a march on behalf of Eric Garner, who was killed when police held him in an illegal chokehold. People are angry about this and other recent shootings, and rightly so of you ask me (I know you didn’t, but anyway).

photo (16)

Of course, the anger I felt in the post office is nothing like what others are feeling about the real injustice in the world (I’m not even certain it’s the same emotion).

I think anger is often the right response to many of the things that happen in our lives, and can be useful. An important question is what you do with that anger. Do you take it out on those who are powerless or just struggling to do their jobs, do you harm others, or do you channel it against the people in power, those who abuse their wealth and privilege?

I don’t know how long you can live angry before it starts to eat at you, but it seems like there’s a kind of anger that can be used to create change. The kind that Jesus demonstrated when he threw out the moneylenders from the temple. This anger isn’t petty or self-centered. It ultimately comes out of love for others and a desire for justice.

Thoughts for Thursday

Or, A great way to start your Thursday.

Times have been rough lately. All the stresses and pressures of life building up, personal woes and hard times falling on dear friends. And then there are other things to consider, like the events in Ferguson and Iraq and Africa. Not to mention the debates going on in social media about whether or not to drown myself in a bucket of ice water for charity. (Which I still don’t get… shouldn’t we like…. pay money to see someone get ice water dumped on them? like, if we raise $10,000 then Lebron James gets it? I just … am not getting it. I can give money, with or without ice.)

So with all of these thoughts and digressions swirling around in my mind the last week, I was clicking through my rounds of social media and came upon these gems on the YouTube. And I fell in love, instantly and passionately. A friend posted them on Facebook and I absolutely cannot get enough.

They are just the right mix of nostalgia, positivity, good beat, and great clips.

Sometimes I need a little something to remind me that it’s not all bad; that the Holy Spirit is working to bring peace to this broken Kingdom. These silly remixes put a smile on my face, lift my heart, make me laugh, and bring joy. And while those previously mentioned stresses and sad things are still there, they still exist and they aren’t going away–I feel like there’s still hope.

This one’s my favorite:

Freshness is essential. Bring on the roasted potatoes!

O Captain! My Captain!

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;

Rise up–for you the flag is flung–for you the bugle trills,

For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths–for you the shores a-crowding,

For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning…

–Walt Whitman

 

My heart is heavy today, as are many of yours, at least on this side of the world.  A great light has gone out.  A voice has been stilled.  Though we know that the moments we have with the people who elevate their art to a professional level–making so many of us laugh, or think, or escape our mundane little lives for and hour and a half while they give us a good show–it’s still a shock when they are gone.

Robin Williams made so many people laugh.  My best friend Ryan put it best, “It makes me so sad that he died from being so sad.”  It’s hard to fathom the depth of that sadness, for most of us.

Part of experiencing human life is feeling the emotion of depression.  For most of us, that’s how we experience it–an emotion. But for some of our brothers and sisters in this life, depression is a disease.

Depression is as serious as cancer, or heart disease, or a variety of metabolic dysfunctions.  And just like all those other illnesses, depression can be terminal, even with a great treatment plan, even with lots of support, even when things seem to be going in the right direction.  Just like massive heart attacks after years of clean eating and good exercise, or a relapse after extensive remission, or a devastating little infection that won’t clear up with any medicine known to exist.  And that sucks.  It’s brutal and scary and hard.  But it’s true.  And unless and until we stop pretending that depression is something someone can help having, something someone has control over, we will continue to have people we love, famous and ordinary and next door, die from it.

We have to stop talking about how people who die from depression are selfish.  You’d never say that about someone who died from a brain tumor.  We have to stop shaming people for taking appropriate pharmaceutical steps to treat depression, and from seeking professional counseling.  You would never say that about someone who needed to take insulin, or a blood thinner to stay alive.  We have to make mental healthcare check-ups as important as our yearly physicals–and they should be affordable for everyone, including and especially children.  Most importantly, we have to be willing to talk to the people in our lives we are concerned about–we must not wait until they start acting out.  Don’t put the burden on someone who’s hurting to come and talk to you.  Think of it like being aware at the airport–if you see something, say something.  And for the love of little green apples, be kind and loving.

If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, please know that you are not as alone as you feel.  You are not stuck.  You are amazing.  You are beloved.  Your place in the world–who you are and how you are–is holy, and important.  You give joy in ways you cannot imagine.  People are praying for you, right now.  People are loving you, right down to your toes, right now.  Good things are coming.  Hold on.  You can do it, and all the people who love you want to help, in good and kind ways.  Your friends at thedailycake.org are grateful that you read this, and if you want to email any of us to talk about your stories, or to reach out for more information on how you or someone you love can begin recovery, please contact us by following the links on our “About Us” page.

Robin Williams…you were a piece of my happy early childhood, with your lovable alien Mork, clips of stand up I was probably too young to really appreciate, star in some of my most favorite movies, and the best James Lipton interview I’ve ever seen…may you rest in peace, and rise in glory.

Watch this…

 

love,

rachie

 

 

A Great Way To Start Your Monday 8/11/14

…Happy Birthday Joe Jackson!  Try to stay still during this 80’s classic   🙂

 

Thoughts for Thursday

Come out of sadness from wherever you’ve been
Come broken hearted let rescue begin
Come find your mercy, Oh sinner come kneel
Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t heal
Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t heal

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time I feel like you know me pretty well. I love all things high church, Episcopalian, rubrics, liturgy, smells and bells, organs, the whole spiel. I’m staunchly traditionalist, let’s-bring-back-Rite-I, and it will be a cold day in hell when there’s a screen in my church.

I never went to another church, but I did go to some Christian schools growing up so I had a weird time in my youth where I didn’t know what was going on. I had two very different experiences of “church” and Christianity and they were so opposite. On the one hand I had my church, full of mystery and wonder and an old white haired priest and robes and organs. On the other hand I had contemporary worship music in mid-week chapel, pressure to “accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior”, and a bunch of other theology I didn’t really understand. Jesus during the week was different from Jesus on Sunday, so eventually I chose Sunday Jesus.

In doing so I completely did a 180 on this other type of worship. I mocked it, openly, and reveled in how MY church was better, was different, was more holy. (I was a teenager, okay?) This attitude persisted as I got older, maybe a little more toned down, but when I saw so many young people flocking to more traditional churches after having such bad experiences with other Protestant denominations I felt justified. I felt smug. These aren’t particularly good Christian things to feel but I’m only human. And I’m Episcopalian for a reason, and I have chosen to stay Episcopalian for a reason. (many reasons, really, but that’s another post.)

So God does what God does best and sent me someone to challenge these elitist, smug feelings and it has been such a humbling experience. A friend from high school moved to my town (a friend who, incidentally, in my youth I would go to her very Baptist youth group with occasionally) and introduced me to this wonderful man who is SO involved in their church he rivals me in churchly enthusiasm.

And this has been one of the most surprising and beautiful things: when I visit their church, when I sit in worship with them, I am challenged. The judgmental feelings that come up have to be dealt with, because the more I sit there and listen to the worship team and read lyrics off a screen and hear the word of God preached so passionately from the pulpit, the more I realize that there is no “right” or “best” way to worship God. There are preferences, sure, but however people connect with God and with one another is a beautiful thing. And there is always something I can find to connect with.

The song I posted above was sung on a Sunday that I wasn’t at their church but kind of wish I had been. I really, really like it. And that’s unusual and weird and challenging for me, in all kinds of good and healthy ways. I’ve started dealing with a lot of that weird baggage I’ve been carrying around for a decade, and laying them down.

Spoon and a Link

It’s been a busy week, friends. This song by Spoon is helping me through. Give it a listen. No spiritual themes, that I can discern. Just a great song.

Also, I’d like to recommend to you this short piece about grief and the kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is like . . .