Son in Ohio and I were looking at the Flying Spaghetti Monster web site, after a discussion of the separation of church and state, prompted by my attempt to explain why we *really* don't want to see Ken Blackwell become governor. Anyway, I was reminding him that the FSM site, which he appreciates for the sheer absurdity, was created in response to the push to teach intelligent design in science classes. From there we found this fun walk-through tour of a Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster made out of Legos. (Don't miss the Shrine of the Lost Meatball on page 2.)
Here's the writeup from Ship of Fools:
Ten Plagues Finger Puppets
For anyone not familiar with the Ship of Fools site, they don't actually sell this stuff, but find it and tell you about it. I followed the link to JewishSoftware.com and couldn't find the product, but a Google search revealed that, yup, there is such a thing.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 8:39 PM
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Rev. Forrest Church, Senior Minister at All Souls Church (UU) in Manhattan is going to be one of the guests on Air America's State of Belief today. The show starts at 5 p.m. E.S.T.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 4:56 PM
A coalition of American churches sharply denounced the U.S.-led war in Iraq on Saturday, accusing Washington of "raining down terror" and apologizing to other nations for "the violence, degradation and poverty our nation has sown."
See also US Churches Again Denounce Iraq War, by Chuck Currie over at Street Prophets.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 9:57 AM
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Crossposted at Howard-Empowered People
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 2:26 PM
Sunday, February 05, 2006
Tonight at my EFM class, I was signed up to lead worship, which meant bringing the munchies and leading the opening and closing prayer. Thankfully, Demetrius helped me out with some of the baking, because I kept getting sidetracked while looking for something to use as a prayer. I had thought of using something from Desmond Tutu and something from Fred Rogers. I was thinking there would be something good from Fred Rogers in the book Important Things to Remember, which is a collection of brief reflections that his wife Joanne assembled into a book after his death. But I don't actually have a copy of that book, so I tried to search for some excerpts online. I kept coming across stories I'd never seen before. And getting weepy. Anyway, I'd like to share some of what I found, in case others hadn't seen some of these stories before.
once you entered into Fred's life, well, there was no doubt that he would enter into yours. He was not only the kindest man I'd ever met but also one of the most fiercely disciplined, to the degree that he saw nothing but the good in other human beings. When he saw the good in me, he fixed on it, and there was a never a moment in which he didn't try to make me live up to it, by word, or by example, or, most often, by prayer.
Junod goes on to write that it was a source of regret when Fred Rogers died that his wife Janet had never had the opportunity to meet him personally. But he did touch her life, as the author goes on to say, after Janet had received a hurtful verbal attack during a phone conversation on Christmas Eve.
Janet has lived a nearly blameless life; she has never been attacked that way, ever, especially by somebody with whom she supposed a bond, and that night, when we went to bed, she couldn't sleep. She was consumed with anger and ill wishes, and as Christmas Eve turned to Christmas Day, she was still awake, and still tortured by what the attack had done to her own spirit. Finally, in near desperation, the thought came to her: "What would Mister Rogers do?" And the answer came nearly as quickly: "Pray."
I also found this in a sermon by Dave Weissbard at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Rockford, Illinois. He describes what happened when Fred Rogers visited Chataqua some time in the early 1990s.
It was an unscheduled visit. He was there to see some folks and agreed to an informal gathering to meet fans. It was announced at the end of the morning lecture that there would be an opportunity to meet Mr. Rogers that afternoon at 4:00 at Norton Hall, the auditorium at which the operas are performed. The place was packed. He finally arrived and walked out on the stage to tumultuous applause - a standing ovation. He spoke for about 10 minutes and then announced he would accept questions. There were several, and then a woman stood up and asked what she, as a grandmother could do. He son and daughter-in-law were getting divorced and she was afraid she was going to lose contact with her grandchildren whom she adored. And then she broke down. It still wipes me out. Mr. Rogers put down his microphone and ignored the other 999 of us and went down into the audience and put his arms around that grandmother and talked only to her for 5 or 10 minutes while we waited, patiently. I knew, at that moment, as did the rest of his neighbors, that we were in the presence of a saint.
Then I went back to look at the profile Tom Junod had written for Esquire back in 1998, entitled, Can you say hero? The article is 10 pages long, and includes this amazing story. I think I remember reading it when it appeared in the magazine all those years ago, but it still brought tears and amazement when I read it a second time.
ONCE UPON A TIME, there was a boy who didn't like himself very much. It was not his fault. He was born with cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is something that happens to the brain. It means that you can think but sometimes can't walk, or even talk. This boy had a very bad case of cerebral palsy, and when he was still a little boy, some of the people entrusted to take care of him took advantage of him instead and did things to him that made him think that he was a very bad little boy, because only a bad little boy would have to live with the things he had to live with. In fact, when the little boy grew up to be a teenager, he would get so mad at himself that he would hit himself, hard, with his own fists and tell his mother, on the computer he used for a mouth, that he didn't want to live anymore, for he was sure that God didn't like what was inside him any more than he did. He had always loved Mister Rogers, though, and now, even when he was fourteen years old, he watched the Neighborhood whenever it was on, and the boy's mother sometimes thought that Mister Rogers was keeping her son alive. She and the boy lived together in a city in California, and although she wanted very much for her son to meet Mister Rogers, she knew that he was far too disabled to travel all the way to Pittsburgh, so she figured he would never meet his hero, until one day she learned through a special foundation designed to help children like her son that Mister Rogers was coming to California and that after he visited the gorilla named Koko, he was coming to meet her son.
What an amazing human being who, again and again, demonstrated his ability to look beyond the reality most people saw, and, as Jurod said in the first piece I linked above, find the good in people. Here, finally, is what I selected as my closing prayer tonight. It is from a commencement address Fred Rogers gave at Marquette University in 2001.
A few years ago, I was asked to be part of a White House meeting about children and television. Many broadcasters from all over the country were there. Since I was supposed to be one of the speakers, I was seated beside Mrs. Clinton, who afterward said, "Congratulations," and was whisked away to her next meeting.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 11:54 PM
A quick reminder that State of Belief is coming up on Air America.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 4:57 PM
Saturday, February 04, 2006
About three years ago, troubled that the public face of Christianity often seemed to be pro-war and anti-compassion, I started a web site called The Religious Left. Now that the voices of groups like Ohio Restoration Project and Reformation Ohio are growing louder and more strident, and seeking to use their numbers and influence to promote an agenda that is harmful to "the least of these", it is vital that other voices of faith speak out.
In November, about 150 religious leaders quietly gathered Downtown at the First Congregational United Church of Christ on E. Broad Street, where Ahrens is senior minister. And from that meeting, a movement is budding – a push back of pastors and rabbis.
This development is exciting and encouraging to me, and I want to do what I can to help this group, and other compassionate religious voices in Ohio, be heard. And to help us find each other--sometimes progressive people of faith can feel a bit isolated, and it is reassuring to be reminded that we are not alone.
But while I felt moved to start this blog, I know that I won't be able to keep it going without help. What if I build it, and nobody comes? Could be embarrassing. So, starting this blog, and publicly announcing it, is a real leap of faith on my part.
Here is what I am asking for.
--help watching for relevant news articles, like the one I linked above.
--relevant links to add to the sidebar
--submissions from people in Ohio, expressing how your faith compels you to work for social and economic justice.
Please email ohiorenee at gmail.com if you have something to submit. And click here to visit the Faithful Ohio blog.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 1:39 PM