Friday, December 24, 2010

Xmas Eve

I used to be mildly amused when the ignorant criticized the shorthand use of Xmas for Christmas. "Put the Christ back in Christmas!" they would shout. I would patiently explain that "X" in such a case was not the letter X, but rather the Greek letter Chi, the first letter in Christ, and long used as an abbreviation and symbol.

I'm less amused in these Fox News/O'Reilly/War on Christmas/Tea Party days. What has become clear is that the ignorant do not lack information. They simply ignore any information that counters their narrow worldview. I willingly confess my arrogant pride in my advanced education. I acknowledge how privileged and fortunate I am in that regard. Further, not everyone can or should pursue advanced degrees. But education? Education only requires willingness and the openness to new information. Perhaps taking some time away from "American Idol" or "Survivor" and dedicating it to self-improvement would serve.

No time to write more. I need to check my email, update my facebook profile and play some Farmville.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


It's dark. Yes, the sun is taking its sweet time in reaching the horizon, but that's not what I'm talking about. Anxiety about the economy, politics, and terrorism dominate the headlines. For those of us on the left, climate change is the label we use for a whole rash of ecological concerns. We have burrowed so deeply into our depression that we cannot even contemplate a brighter future.

There are four candles burning on the dining room table this morning. They shine brightly and cut through the gloom. On a sunnier morning I'm pretty sure I wouldn't notice them.

Perhaps this winter's darkness is just what we need. Perhaps if our despair becomes intense enough we will throw off the covers of our indifference and do something. Or at least try.

Monday, December 20, 2010

After a big day....

Yesterday was a big day. I preached at the early service and then did an hour presentation for the Spokane Humanists. After a few hours at home I returned to the church for a Finance Team meeting. As I reflect on the day I note that taking on future responsibilities rarely seems daunting from the secure distance of two or three months time. Then, as the fateful day approaches, the sense of dread settles like morning fog. What was I thinking? It all went fine, I slept like a log, and this week won't require the same energy output.

In the news....

I just read about the trend in big business to enforce increasingly restrictive dress codes, including standards for underwear fabric ( I wish to offer a reassuring word to anyone seeking employment with such companies: Don't worry, I'm sure your new bosses will support independent thinking and personal initiative. Like the Army.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Merry Christmoose!

There I was, sitting by the front window of the house when this enormous, dark brown mass eclipsed the light. In the familiar words of Clement Clarke Moore, Away to the window I flew like a flash, Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. Well, OK. I took a moment or two to pull myself out of the chair and straighten my aching back. Then I looked out that window. When, what to my wondering eyes should appear? There's a moose in the yard! Come see, Sally Dear!

That's when in the kitchen there arose quite a clatter, Sally jumped when I yelled and knocked over a platter.

OK, enough. But it was cool. It's been several years since Bullwinkle stopped by our place for a visit. He didn't stay long today, in fact, Sally didn't make it to the window in time to see him.
But the evidence was there - a series of moose prints crossing our driveway and yard, just a few feet away from where I was sitting.

I worry when Nature and civilization come into contact, Nature doesn't often fare so well. I hope our big brown visitor makes it home for the holidays....

Monday, December 13, 2010

Approaching the Solstice

It's dark this morning, unusually so. A pineapple express is moving through the area, bringing with it warm temperatures and rain. So, despite the fact the sunrise was to occur a few minutes ago, there is no appreciable difference in the ambient light. The winter solstice is just a week away. The enclosing darkness will deepen just a bit more before the sun will again move slowly away from the southern horizon that has captivated it for the past months.

These weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are filled with holiday parties and multiple activities at church. I welcome the busy and bustle, as it makes the dark days pass quickly. At the same time Evan reminded me yesterday of my advice to him not to regard life as something that will happen later... Today IS your life. Regard it as such.

Though my advice is usually more palatable when I'm dispensing it, I think I'll gratefully accept it this time and value these days for what they are. Too quickly the challenges of the moment will pass and I'll wistfully recall the good times when I was gainfully employed and fully engaged.

As the Longfellow poem exhorts: Let us then be up and doing with a heart for any fate. Still achieving, still pursuing, learn to labor and to wait.