Tag Archives: Community

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

 

 

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Why aren’t we happy?

I did a workshop at a young adult conference one time about the pitfalls of technology.  I talked about the way the internet causes us to neglect and even fail to create relationships.  As Christians I feel like community is a major tenant of our belief system and using a device that forces us out of community is not the best thing for us.  I do understand that community can be created through the internet, but for the most part the interactions I see on the web are negative.  We seem to spend a lot of time saying things we wouldn’t say to each other in person.  It is beginning to bleed over into interactions we have face-to-face.  The written word is not the best way to get your true feelings across because so much of what is said is how it is said.  I have a husband who is a software developer and writes Android and iOS apps so I recognize that my livelihood is dependent upon these advances.  I think that means I have to try that much harder to create community. I do think Christians need to be doing the same. Continue reading

Video

“Humans will go to any lengths necessary to find and connect with each other”

This is a beautiful Ted Talk for those of us who love the art of choral music.

How do we overcome our treatment of others? – 10/18/13

I am a member of the Facebook page Pagans Tired of Being Misrepresented.  I enjoy seeing the things that they post and learning more about their beliefs and rituals.  This article from a Wiccan was posted on the page the other day and I found it wonderful and extremely sad at the same time.  Why do people of other beliefs have to write these kinds of letters to us?  Sometimes I get so frustrated by the limitations forced upon me by Christians I don’t understand.  I hate feeling like saying I am a Christian limits me from possible relationships.  Jesus was about being in relationships not keeping them from happening.  People should not be afraid to share their faith because they will be shunned.  Faith is to be shared!

Do you ever say that you are a Christian to someone you don’t know and they automatically shutdown?  It happens to me all the time.   I do what I call the Episcopal Dance.  I start with I’m a Christian – take a step back – but not that kind of Christian I am a nice Christian – take a step back – I like to learn from people of all faiths and from those with no faith – take a step back – I am an Episcopalian and we are very open, we ordain homosexuals and drink and have fun and don’t take our faith too seriously, we care more about people than we do about conversion – take a step back – I am not judgmental – and on and on until I am halfway across the country.  I hate it but I don’t ever know what else to do.  I don’t like having to talk about my faith that way but I also don’t like the shutdown and assumptions people get when I say I am a Christian.

I also don’t like the attitude that I am not Christian enough to some people.  Here in the South at least, Episcopalians are in an awkward position.  Most people have never heard of Episcopalians.  So when you explain our faith to them they put you in one of two categories – to non-Christians we are too Christian and to other Christians we aren’t Christian enough.  That adds to the ways we are blocked from relationship by the actions of others.  When will the day come when Christians are known for being like Jesus?  When will we be known for our loving, caring, and understanding hearts?  When will people look at us and say, that is something I would be proud to be a part of?  We are a long way off and the above letter, and the comments below it, make me wonder if it will ever happen.

The American Dream – 9/16/13

jfk2One hundred ninety-nine years ago on Saturday, Francis Scott Key penned the words from our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner.  In doing that, not only did he create a poem that would become the anthem of a nation 117 years later but he penned some of the most quoted words in our country, “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”  But do we still live in the that land?  The War on Terror caused our government to make some serious changes to then current policy in order to “protect us from terrorists” and those powers our government now holds continue to get stronger and more invasive with every administration.  Please don’t get me wrong, I think there are certain actions our government should be taking to protect us as citizens but when will this culture of fear to subside.  The attitude after September 11, 2001 has been more of fear than proactive protection (which is what we are told to believe is motivating our governments actions) and I think this fear that drives our government to seek more power without questioning has led us to do the same in our personal lives.  It has been twelve years.  Will we let this go on another twelve/twenty/a hundred years.

04_04_13_long-220970_466x180

I worry about what this attitude is doing to us as Americans and how this has affected the American Dream.  I feel like our fear of the foreign other has developed into our fear of the local other.  As the government takes more power over our rights to freedom we attempt, in fear, to take power back by protecting ourselves and our families from each other.  The most obvious way I have seen this happen is with our public assistance programs.  In generations past we were quick to help those in need and did so as communities.  With this new culture, we not only hoard our personal resources but we defend it by demonizing those we should be reaching out to the most.  The days of communities banding together to help one another are gone.  Most of us don’t even know the names of our direct neighbors.  Where we used to help each other, now we sit back as rumors fly around about those on assistance that are demoralizing.  If you have spent any time with anyone on government assistance you will see hard working people who need help not a handout.  The possibility of attaining the american dream and climbing the income ladder varies in different parts of the country but it is difficult everywhere in this economy.  Hardworking people everywhere continue to slip farther into poverty and become even more less likely to get out.

It has also reared its ugly head in our views on immigration which is almost universally fear based.  What about our demonization of Muslims?  Or the great divide between political parties.  How has our fear manifested itself in the battle of the sexes? Our seemingly nonchalant attitude towards the VIOLENCE that is rape and sexual assault?  Our denying women access to birth control yet outlawing abortion?  The list goes on and on but the constant in this is our culture of fear.  Fear is a powerful motivator, maybe the most powerful motivator.  How do we turn the tides of our fear and become hopeful again.  Are we attempting to change this culture or are we fueling it by stereotyping those on the other side of the political/gender/religion/whatever divide?

quote-we-fear-things-in-proportion-to-our-ignorance-of-them-christian-nestell-bovee-21910

So is the American Dream still possible?  How does our continued loss of control over our government feed into our fear of each other?  What can we do to fix it and where do we start?  I love being an American and I love the idea that people come here to escape persecution and make for themselves a better life, but I am not sure that is true anymore.  I am afraid for the world we are leaving for my daughter.  I don’t know how to protect my hope for her future when I am barely able to protect mine.

quote-i-have-learned-over-the-years-that-when-one-s-mind-is-made-up-this-diminishes-fear-knowing-what-rosa-parks-141942

Why can’t more people see this? Parts I and II – 8/26/13

Part I 

I think this is a great opinion piece about young adults in the church! I don’t see this as a hard concept, so why is it so hard for the church to adopt? Do you agree with this assessment?

I LOVE being Episcopalian but sometimes it can be lonely, at least here in the south. To other Christians we are not Christian enough and to non-Christians we are “too” Christian (AKA. Christian at all). This means we must look inside the church for support and acceptance but too often we are the only person our age we see. To make matters worse, we are then either ignored by the church or told how we feel and what we need to be a part of the church. It is hard enough to hang on to your faith in this day and age but having the church practically kick you out the door because of their horrible “outreach” tactics is enough to make most people throw up their hands and quit. And then we wonder why there aren’t more young people in the pews.

There are some very brave people doing some very brave things in our church that go against the grain and challenge the status quo. I honor their work and hope that the rest of the church begins to listen before it is too late to get any of us interested again. I don’t need the Episcopal Church to be Episcopalian but I do need a community to be who Jesus calls me to be. I hope I can find that community within the Episcopal Church. I don’t fit anywhere else in organized religion. 😦

Episcopal-Wedding-Reading

 

Part II

I just came across this blog post from our friend here at the Daily Cake, Scott Gunn.  He attended a conference a few weeks ago that sounds amazing.  This is his reflection on the conference and its theme of Freedom, Creativity, and Accountability.  I love his ideas about our duties as Christians and I love the challenge he gives us, both as lay people and clergy.  I enjoy being put in my place when it is needed and there were a few themes he touched on that did just that.

I am not exactly sure the direct link between his thoughts and the thoughts I previously posted but I do know they are two concurrent things that need to be remembered.  I don’t know what the answers to our “dying church” dilemma are but I wish more conversations like these were happening.  We have a beautiful gift to give to the world.  We have got to find a way to share it.

Online Communion….What?

Apparently there is a new idea in some parishes to offer church services, bible study, counseling, and now communion online. Is there anything that can’t change with the times? While the rest of the world goes online for community, should the church follow? Are there certain things that must be done in person…in community? Would Jesus want us to abandon the one-on-one or is there a way to balance both? I am completely torn but my gut says this is wrong.

Counseling from different places…is the even possible? I get bible study and in some ways church services but I feel like counseling needs to be done in person. How do you comfort someone over the internet? What happens if you lose your signal during an especially difficult moment? I just don’t think it is healthy. One of the pastors interviewed had this to say which I agree with but shouldn’t that mean that we should be offering communion more often and not moving it online as the first option. I don’t know what do you think?

“The way we operate now, if you want to receive [communion], you have to come to my church sometime between the hours of 9 and 12 on Sunday morning,” Mr. Langford said. “I don’t think there’s any other institution in our country that can survive on that kind of business model.”

How do we overcome our treatment of others?

I am a member of the Facebook page Pagans Tired of Being Misrepresented.  I enjoy seeing the things that they post and learning more about their beliefs and rituals.  This article from a Wiccan was posted on the page the other day and I found it wonderful and extremely sad at the same time.  Why do people of other beliefs have to write these kinds of letters to us?  Sometimes I get so frustrated by the limitations forced upon me by Christians I don’t understand.  I hate feeling like saying I am a Christian limits me from possible relationships.  Jesus was about being in relationships not keeping them from happening.  People should not be afraid to share their faith because they will be shunned.  Faith is to be shared!

Do you ever say that you are a Christian to someone you don’t know and they automatically shutdown?  It happens to me all the time.   I do what I call the Episcopal Dance.  I start with I’m a Christian – take a step back – but not that kind of Christian I am a nice Christian – take a step back – I like to learn from people of all faiths and from those with no faith – take a step back – I am an Episcopalian and we are very open, we ordain homosexuals and drink and have fun and don’t take our faith too seriously, we care more about people than we do about conversion – take a step back – I am not judgmental – and on and on until I am halfway across the country.  I hate it but I don’t ever know what else to do.  I don’t like having to talk about my faith that way but I also don’t like the shutdown and assumptions people get when I say I am a Christian.

I also don’t like the attitude that I am not Christian enough to some people.  Here in the South at least, Episcopalians are in an awkward position.  Most people have never heard of Episcopalians.  So when you explain our faith to them they put you in one of two categories – to non-Christians we are too Christian and to other Christians we aren’t Christian enough.  That adds to the ways we are blocked from relationship by the actions of others.  When will the day come when Christians are known for being like Jesus?  When will we be known for our loving, caring, and understanding hearts?  When will people look at us and say, that is something I would be proud to be a part of?  We are a long way off and the above letter, and the comments below it, make me wonder if it will ever happen.

The American Dream

jfk2One hundred ninety-nine years ago on Saturday, Francis Scott Key penned the words from our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner.  In doing that, not only did he create a poem that would become the anthem of a nation 117 years later but he penned some of the most quoted words in our country, “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”  But do we still live in the that land?  The War on Terror caused our government to make some serious changes to then current policy in order to “protect us from terrorists” and those powers our government now holds continue to get stronger and more invasive with every administration.  Please don’t get me wrong, I think there are certain actions our government should be taking to protect us as citizens but when will this culture of fear to subside.  The attitude after September 11, 2001 has been more of fear than proactive protection (which is what we are told to believe is motivating our governments actions) and I think this fear that drives our government to seek more power without questioning has led us to do the same in our personal lives.  It has been twelve years.  Will we let this go on another twelve/twenty/a hundred years.

04_04_13_long-220970_466x180

I worry about what this attitude is doing to us as Americans and how this has affected the American Dream.  I feel like our fear of the foreign other has developed into our fear of the local other.  As the government takes more power over our rights to freedom we attempt, in fear, to take power back by protecting ourselves and our families from each other.  The most obvious way I have seen this happen is with our public assistance programs.  In generations past we were quick to help those in need and did so as communities.  With this new culture, we not only hoard our personal resources but we defend it by demonizing those we should be reaching out to the most.  The days of communities banding together to help one another are gone.  Most of us don’t even know the names of our direct neighbors.  Where we used to help each other, now we sit back as rumors fly around about those on assistance that are demoralizing.  If you have spent any time with anyone on government assistance you will see hard working people who need help not a handout.  The possibility of attaining the american dream and climbing the income ladder varies in different parts of the country but it is difficult everywhere in this economy.  Hardworking people everywhere continue to slip farther into poverty and become even more less likely to get out.

It has also reared its ugly head in our views on immigration which is almost universally fear based.  What about our demonization of Muslims?  Or the great divide between political parties.  How has our fear manifested itself in the battle of the sexes? Our seemingly nonchalant attitude towards the VIOLENCE that is rape and sexual assault?  Our denying women access to birth control yet outlawing abortion?  The list goes on and on but the constant in this is our culture of fear.  Fear is a powerful motivator, maybe the most powerful motivator.  How do we turn the tides of our fear and become hopeful again.  Are we attempting to change this culture or are we fueling it by stereotyping those on the other side of the political/gender/religion/whatever divide?

quote-we-fear-things-in-proportion-to-our-ignorance-of-them-christian-nestell-bovee-21910

So is the American Dream still possible?  How does our continued loss of control over our government feed into our fear of each other?  What can we do to fix it and where do we start?  I love being an American and I love the idea that people come here to escape persecution and make for themselves a better life, but I am not sure that is true anymore.  I am afraid for the world we are leaving for my daughter.  I don’t know how to protect my hope for her future when I am barely able to protect mine.

quote-i-have-learned-over-the-years-that-when-one-s-mind-is-made-up-this-diminishes-fear-knowing-what-rosa-parks-141942

Why can’t people see this? Part II

I just came across this blog post from our friend here at the Daily Cake, Scott Gunn.  He attended a conference a few weeks ago that sounds amazing.  This is his reflection on the conference and its theme of Freedom, Creativity, and Accountability.  I love his ideas about our duties as Christians and I love the challenge he gives us, both as lay people and clergy.  I enjoy being put in my place when it is needed and there were a few themes he touched on that did just that.

I am not exactly sure the direct link between his thoughts and the thoughts I previously posted but I do know they are two concurrent things that need to be remembered.  I don’t know what the answers to our “dying church” dilemma are but I wish more conversations like these were happening.  We have a beautiful gift to give to the world.  We have got to find a way to share it.