I have often said that you can tell a lot about a person by spending time with their dog. I really do believe that.
I know a man who does foster care for German Shepherd rescues. He's brilliant at it, and loves doing it too. He keeps dogs which have special needs; either they were abused, or they have some other issue requiring great care. Over the time I've known him, he has cared for three dogs. Each took on a nearly identical character. They played and ran with abandon, loved to cuddled, and were almost insatiably curious. Of course, these are traits that you expect from all German Shepherds. But, his have these traits uniformly.
I know of another family which has a German Shepherd. It never plays. It's always on guard and frequently growls, even at me. The owners are defensive and suspicious by nature. They are closed. Once the wife deigned to show me some of her art collection and I remember thinking that it was the first real conversation we'd had. Ever. Come to think of it, she sometimes emits a low-level growl too.
I know a woman who is guardian to a beautiful Standard Poodle. She is bright, stubborn, and oppositional. Am I talking about the dog or the woman? Both. Truly.
One interesting question is whether we choose pets which reflect our own character traits or whether our pets naturally pick them up?
A better question, better for me anyway, is what does my own dog's behavior say about me? He is a self-important little man, isn't he? Always running around the backyard doing important duties. Oh, he's most impressed with himself, he is.
But, he was a stray, you know. And, I often see in his eyes a little insecurity. Am I really lovable? he wants to know. My dog, so beautiful, so smart, such a great dog, can't get past his past. He's had hours, hours totaling days, of me petting him and telling him that he is good and wanted. But, it's hard for him.
Earlier this evening someone asked me to tell them what I did today. It was such a boring list of little tasks. Going through this spreadsheet. Writing a Big Memo. Phone calls. Ick! Am I just running around in the backyard of my own self-importance doing my duties?
I have quit this soul-killng work so many times I can't count them. But, I always come back because... cha-ching! Because I can't face my past without the venere of self-importance than money gives me. That's the naked truth of it.
I am a dog.
So, anyway, if I haven't put you totally off the idea, pay attention to what your dog might be saying about you.
I have often said that you can tell a lot about a person by spending time with their dog. I really do believe that.
Corinth Baptist Church in Magee, Mississippi was destroyed by a tornado last Thursday. If you're real interested, you can read about it here. Maybe it's because I'm not much of a Christian, but I was not all that interested. I did have one thought: There was probably a gay in there. It's always the gays you know. It's hard to believe that God, who directly controls these things, would destroy a perfectly good building if there weren't a gay or two in there. I wish I felt a little more compassion for the congregation. I was raised by Baptists, you know. But, I don't.
And, of all the beauty and good in this world, why am I posting this? Because Iam feeling fed up with stupidity in the name of God. I am tired of being blamed for decling church attendance and all manner of natural disasters. Tell the truth, I am tired of being gay.
Or, maybe I'm just tired...
And, it's another bird picture. This little fellow visits me regularly. There are several others too, male and female. Plus, some little birds too. They are just outside my window and I hear them whenever I am reading or working. I sometimes wonder what the chirps mean. Maybe they are calling to one another, "Hey, food over here...." But, probably not. A little anthropomorphic license please.
These little birds are everywhere. There's a river just, I don't know, maybe a hundred yards from here. Very wild. Yet, for their ubiquity, not even one of these little birds falls down but that God doesn't know about it. And, one presumes that if God knows God also cares.
I am thinking that if God is concerned for them, I should be too.
If God cares so much for little wild feathery things, shouldn't I take more care with the big-brained mammalian things in my own life? The birds make me want to be more gentle with others, and to walk a little lighter on the planet.
As long as I am in bird-posting mode I think I'll show you this one I took at Surfside last week. I had a little old bread I took out and gave to the gulls.
Bread is not very good for them so I stopped at a bait stand and bought some bait shrimp too. Gulls love 'em. I knew I would enjoy getting a closer look at the birds. None were willing to take food from my hand so I had to throw it to them. Good little catchers.
I thought about the haigographical image of birds bringing food to humans. God always provides...
I am very into nature these days. Maybe because of Spring. Maybe the recent drought was resonate. I don't know. But, I've been noticing things lately.
I saw this hawk last week and thought it was so spectacular that I just had to take a picture.
This is just a few miles inland from Sargent Beach. Sargent is primarily a fishing community but there are lots of beach walkers too.
I watched the hawk for a long time. He even flew a lap around the field I was in. Hunting probably. He seemed so alert, aware of even the thinnest scent in the air.
Truly, a marvel.
You know, I was over on the You Tube and I was looking for a very funny Purim video for you all. In the course of that... and there are no funny Purim videos, btw... I found this:
And, because there was no one around to share this profound thought with I thought to myself, Why in the Hell aren't we doing this in church?
I mean, really? Why not?
I had a Sunday School class do it once as part of a series I taught on the Roger Ferlo book, Opening The Bible. I was illustrating the different contexts in which we read the Bible and making some points about something or another along the way. Thing is, people loved it. They had never experienced reading the Bible together in that way. It was great.
What about if we did ALL the mitzvot of Purim? None of them are anti-Christian or anything.
By isolating Christian practice from the Hebrew culture that spawned it we essentially gut it of meaning, and we've removed most of the fun too. Where's the fun in religion, that's what I want to know. What? Only the Jews are allowed to have fun?
Without going too deeply into my theology of drag, just let me say that I'd like to dress up like a princess or a king once in awhile and drink until I can't tell my enemies from my friends. And I think that might be a good idea for some of the rest of you too.
Imagine gathering all your friends and enemies, throw in some annoying and stupid people too, and everybody hear The Megillah together with a grager in one hand and a beer in the other. Then dance to klezmer music until you all fall down from exhaustion. Drink until you love one another, however long that takes. Tomorrow we can get back to our disagreements but tonight -- even if we have to get drunk to do it -- let's be friends and dance.
There is so much to say about Purim that I am not even going to try. You all can work out your own salvation on it. But, for the love of Esther, have yourself some fun!
Love and peace...
an L'Chaim! and lobe.
I have updated the sidebar with a new Special Feature and a new quiz.
The Special Feature is a daily joke. We all need some humor just now and, to be totally honest, I was getting a little carried with the snow ball game.
The quiz will tell you something about your theology. Initially I chose a quiz that told you which theologian you were most like but I scored Paul Tillich and quickly decided on something that would put me in a more favorable light.
I thought about taking down the Theological Word For The Day because sometimes I don't think the definitions are very good. I remember being especially disappointed in the definition for Anglican. But, sometimes I learn something I didn't know before. And you all are smart enough to know what's what on that.
Fran reminds us that it's Purim so get out your gragers. Lent can wait!
Last week, in the comments section of this blog, someone said that they weren't feeling particularly loved by God. And, you know what? Sometimes we just don't feel the love, do we? Me too sometimes.
But, do you want to know what I tell the kids about saying The Shema? You know we say or sing the first line clear and strong: Sh'm Yis'ra'eil Adonai Eloheinu Adonai echad... But, when we get to the next line, it's almost a whisper... Sssssssssh. Real quiet now: Barukh shem k'vod malkuto l'olam va'ed. And the kids will sometimes cup their hands over thier mouth to show that they are saying it real quietly. It's so cute. But, anyway, reason we do that kind of silly thing is to remind us that sometimes we feel that HaShem is near, as near as our voice! And sometimes we feel that HaShem is so far away we can hardly hear Her at all. But, God is still the same either way... still one God, still the king of a glorious realm, and still longing for all our love.
We all sometimes feel the love more, and sometimes feel it less. Personally, I wish it were more. But, either way, each one of us is loved by Love itself. And the love alone is enough.
"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful."
Gotta love that Buddha man. H/t to Jan at Yearning For God.
I used to actually have a blog called that: What I Saw Today. You can still see it on the internets. It helped me be more aware of the things I saw, look more closely, find beauty in the ordinary. I sometimes feel like doing that blog again.
Anyway, I saw a Roseate Spoonbill the other day and I wanted to tell you all about it. I've heard that they are pretty common around here but I always think it's special when I see one. So unexpected.
Actually, until I started looking for an image, I called them Pink Spoonbills. Roseate is the proper terminology. You know, according to the computer.
So, I wanted you all to see this because I think they are pretty.
Of course, nature is full of surprises and I suppose we shouldn't favor one beautiful miracle over another. But there is something magnificent about them, isn't there?
Lent is not going well. Not well at all.
Maybe it was the lack of pancakes, or the absence of any real ashes in my life. Or it could be my hard heart. Which do you think? Pancakes, ashes, hard heart... Not too hard to figure out, is it?
I tell you my hatred of the church grows with every holiday that I am left outside. And I do mean to say that I hate it. True hate, not hate relative to, oh, I don't know.... say, broccoli. I hate it. I hate it mainly because I love it. And if any of you can figure that one out then you're one up on me.
Of course I could go into any church I wanted and there is an almost 100 percent chance that I wouldn't be escorted out. Even an Episcopal church. But, could I do it without my heart breaking? That's the question.
I have been very disquieted lately. It's beyond annoyance, more than an irritation. And, I can't even say what it's about. I am just deeply unsettled. Something is wrong.
I am also angry. Really mad. I mean, if you think the young woman who threw her body across Pennsylvania Avenue to protest the administration's AIDS policies was mad... honey, you should see me now. Just add on to that anger and grief twenty years of being a good homo, twenty years of being polite, twenty years of pretending that evil is just another policy position. I've had twenty or more years of being good. I am really not sure how much longer I can do it.
I thought that as I got older I'd see more shades of gray, that I'd be more tolerant of dissent, even a little bit jolly about it. But, it is not turning out like that. I have less and less tolerance for homophobia, racism, and stupidity in general. I just about punched an old man the other day for telling me a racist joke. Me! I don't even kill mosquitoes and I was thinking that I ought to belt that guy. An old man.
See, something is wrong.
I had hoped that if I sat down and started writing that I would come up with a decent blog post but it is now apparent that it's not happening. I did promise a post on honoring your parents a few weeks back so maybe I'll do that later. I have found that if church doesn't want me, at least the blog world does. I need to blog to feel connected. I think I also promised a post about some saint. I believe he was being persecuted by his sister-in-law or something like that. Hummm, wonder why THAT resonates?
Apparently I am going to have a busy evening of interruptions. I am having a big garage sale tomorrow and there is quite a lot more involved than I realized when I lightly made the suggestion. The experience of preparing for the garage sale is a very good incentive for me not to acquire so much stuff in the future.
And, there it is again... time for me to go put out signs. Who knew you had to do that?