Archive for December, 2012

Poor Marie

Monday, December 17th, 2012

That’s what they would say behind her back, “Poor Marie.” I thought I was the reason she was poor. That much was true.

But the truth was worse. My father died when I was 15 days old, after a long illness, large bowel cancer. It was particularly awful I guess; I overheard them saying he had his Hell on earth. My mother was left with a baby, she had to move back in with her family, he didn’t leave enough to bury him, and she had no income. So “Poor Marie.” It happened in the middle of World War Two, so there were rationing and food shortages, I guess. Oh and I was born Caesarian, to add injury to insult.

Luckily there was some relative or other connected to Pet Milk, so she had the means to feed me. Just as luckily , a job was found for her doing war factory work and after the end an office job as a file clerk. She never learned to type. She had dropped out of school at age sixteen to go to work to help support her family. It was 1929. She collected Social Security as a widow. She refused to apply for welfare. She wouldn’t take charity. So all my childhood years we lived with her family. There were her parents, a brother, his wife and their child.

And I was not the most ‘normal’ kid, I wasn’t who was expected, I wasn’t who was wanted. For one thing I was a boy, She wanted a girl. She told me once she wanted to name me Judy.

She also had as little contact with my father’s family. In later years, when she was angry with me, she would tell me I was like my father. She told me he punched her in the stomach when she was pregnant with me. And she avoided his family. I was taken a few time to see my grandparents but very seldom. I last saw them when I was twelve, just before we moved a thousand miles away.

Much later she got in touch with his sister Pauline and her husband Bill and put me in touch with them. I visited and Aunt Pauline had pictures of me when she was keeping me. That was news to me. She also called a neighbor lady who knew me when I was a baby to come see me all grown up.

The Wrath of God

Monday, December 17th, 2012
Thinking of Fred Phelps and his clan this morning at Morning Prayer:
Psalm 52
You tyrant, why do you boast of wickedness *
against the godly all day long?
You plot ruin;
your tongue is like a sharpened razor, *
O worker of deception.
You love evil more than good *
and lying more than speaking the truth.
You love all words that hurt, *
O you deceitful tongue.
Oh, that God would demolish you utterly, *
topple you, and snatch you from your dwelling,
and root you out of the land of the living!Psalm 52
You tyrant, why do you boast of wickedness *
against the godly all day long?
You plot ruin;
your tongue is like a sharpened razor, *
O worker of deception.
You love evil more than good *
and lying more than speaking the truth.
You love all words that hurt, *
O you deceitful tongue.
Oh, that God would demolish you utterly, *
topple you, and snatch you from your dwelling,
and root you out of the land of the living!

Is The City a Whore?

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Isaiah 1:21-31 (NRSV) Morning Prayer 12-4-12

How the faithful city
 has become a whore!

This lesson spoke to me quite strongly of our current situation, especially our economy.
 She that was full of justice,
 righteousness lodged in her—
 They do not defend the orphan,
 and the widow’s cause does not come before them.

The disparities in income and wealth are egregious and well documented. The Occupy movement has underlines them so well that we cannot avoid reading them. Widow’s and orphans and we poor in general do not come before the institution of the rich; we are not taken into consideration. The primary consideration is the increase of income. It is incumbent on industries and corporations to generate income for the owners, that is, the stockholders. Indeed it is the corporations’ fiduciary responsibility in law to do so. many, if not most, of us are dependent on that increase. Many own stock, many have retirement accounts, many have college funds for their children. Our institutions are dependent, if they have endowments. Our churches depends on them. Where would be be without them? The problem is structural; it is deeply entwined around all that we do as a people. So well might Isaiah say, as he did of his own people:

She that was full of justice,
 righteousness lodged in her—
 but now murderers!
 Your silver has become dross,
 your wine is mixed with water.
 Your princes are rebels
 and companions of thieves.
 Everyone loves a bribe
 and runs after gifts.

Advent is an advantageous time to consider this. We look forward, as Isaiah did, to a world of righteousness, where all have what they need, fruitful and abundant life, true life, deep life, Godly life, the life God intended for us. But it has gone wrong. Just look around. Look at our lives, look at the lives of those we love, the lives of our neighbors. God created the world to be a certain way; what we have is not it. God gave us guided to how to live in the Godly way. There are the Ten Commandments, or better Words, counsel from God. And many other words of counsel on how to be as God would have us be. I suspect that is the nature of Torah, a deep description of how God meant life to be. The prophets wrote of punishment for violating the law. But I don’t see a wrathful God hurling thunderbolts, plagues, floods, droughts, and famines. At least not out of personal wrath. God made the world to be a certain way, to work this way and not that. This has consequences, as putting your hand in a flame burns. It’s just the way things are. This is the God whose ways we discern though science, through our best understanding of the Way Things Seem To Be. This is the God of the Wisdom literature. This might even be the God of Torah as Tao.and this is the God of the prophets’ understand of the world such as we read in today’s reading from Isaiah.

First the wrath, the pain, the punishment, the Threat:
Therefore says the Sovereign, the LORD of hosts, the Mighty One of Israel:
 Ah, I will pour out my wrath on my enemies,
 and avenge myself on my foes!
 I will turn my hand against you;
 I will smelt away your dross as with lye
 and remove all your alloy.
 And I will restore your judges as at the first,
 and your counselors as at the beginning.

And then, ah, then, afterwards, the reward, the Promise if we turn again to the Torah, the Tao:
 Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness,
 the faithful city.
Zion shall be redeemed by justice,
 and those in her who repent, by righteousness.

Do note that this is a Process, this turning back to God and as always there are consequences.
 But rebels and sinners shall be destroyed together,
 and those who forsake the LORD shall be consumed.
 For you shall be ashamed of the oaks
 in which you delighted;
 and you shall blush for the gardens
 that you have chosen.
 For you shall be like an oak
 whose leaf withers,
 and like a garden without water.
 The strong shall become like tinder,
 and their work like a spark;
 they and their work shall burn together,
 with no one to quench them.

Think about these things. Advent is the advantageous time for that.


Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

I was very depressed yesterday. I wanted to stay in bed. I pulled the covers over my head. But I got up and made sure the the $50 I need was sent on its way to me. Here’s hoping that it makes it in time before the penalty hits. But the depression. What was going on? Two bad thoughts were besieging me. One, I was not worth the trouble people were taking to help me. Good money thrown after bad.That has its origins in earliest childhood. It must just be resisted; I am worth the trouble. One work against it would be to do useful things, yes, this blog, but also study of scripture and its language. And also, I wish I could volunteer in some really useful way. I have some dreams/ideas for that. The reason I haven’t done it is that I have to believe that if I get a job, I would have to abandon people who need and trust me. So the job is to speak against the evil thoughts. And to think how I might volunteer. If only I had just enough to live on. Another working against it to to keep applying for jobs and advertising for roommates.

The other is a question. I have sent out numerous resumes and cover letters. I have gone to stores looking for work. I have advertised for a roommate in Craigslist. Why does nothing work? Am I somehow self-sabotaging? Is my self-presentation at fault? I know that I have a poor self image in a lot of ways. The good things in my image of myself are not easily monetized. I know I don’t know how to fake it. I do know that once I get to the interview stage, I am more comfortable and do better. I’m good at coming in second for a position. I have no idea how to look at this and try to change. But at least it has my attention. And to keep applying for jobs and advertising for roommates is working against this one as well.


More Poverty

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

The sad cycle has caught up with me. I am $50 short of the amount of rent I need to be able to pay to get help from the local church community ministry. I guess I have to try to hit someone up for it and talk to the Ministry. If I don’t make it, I will have to pay late, at $100 extra. My car insurance will hit before my social security, so that will be a $35 fee. I will ask my DSL people to hold off til I get the social security so I don’t incur yet another $35 fee. The car insurance people are intractable. Then once I have the social security I will have to pay utility bills. then I wont have enough for rent.

And so the cycle goes.

My hope is to find a roommate situation. I will be calling some who have advertised on Craigslist tomorrow. This situation will give me disposable income. And if I move I can set up something different for Internet access. Maybe cable and a cell phone. Probably depends on my credit, which is not good, let me tell you. And I would be defaulting on my lease.

Coming Attractions:

The positive side of the Monastic Theme Park

What I would like to do had I the income to live on, -ie, non-monetizible skills

Newspaper Reading as a life of prayer

Am I a Hermit or What

Stay tuned.