Last night I started to write up some of what Tanya Erzen said at the presentation she gave at my church the other night, which was about the two years she spent studying the "ex-gay" movement and how it fits into the agenda of the "Christian right". But, man, was some of that stuff depressing and anger-inducing. So I decided to share some other things first, which fit in with the notion of churches (and individuals) practicing "radical welcome".
Radical welcome kicks welcome to the next level. It asks, Who would never even come to the door, because they are so sure we will not receive them, and because, historically, we have not?Click here to read Now *that's what I call "good news"!
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 7:44 PM
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
|Episcopal bishops reject ultimatum from Anglican leaders|
Episcopal bishops risked losing their place in the global Anglican family Wednesday by affirming their support for gays and rejecting a key demand that they give up some authority to theological conservatives outside the U.S. church.Read the rest here.
Wish I had time to write something about this, but I only just learned the news when Demetrius read me the headline on Yahoo, and I have to get to sleep soon. But I've pulled together a few links...
An Important Letter from The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson
Presiding Bishop's homily at House of Bishops' closing Eucharist
From Father Jake: House of Bishops to Primates: "NO!"
Integrity Applauds Bishops' Strong Stand Against Primates
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 11:09 PM
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Also at Booman Tribune and My Left Wing, ePluribus Media and Street Prophets
Meet Daniel Tammet, a 27 year-old math and memory wizard. He can do things with numbers that will truly amaze you. He is a savant. . . with a difference. Unlike most savants, he shows no obvious mental disability, and most importantly, he can describe his own thought process. Join correspondent Morley Safer as he explores the extraordinary life and mind of Daniel Tammet.
He, like our son, has Asperger's Syndrome. Demetrius and I watched one of the video segments together yesterday morning. In the evening, one of the mothers at Son in Ohio's social skills group had a copy of Daniel Tammet's book, Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant. I'm very interested in reading the book, but in the meantime I'd like to share a bit of what I've found captivating about Daniel's story. And it's not the "gnarly number powers" that many people focus on, but rather how he experiences the world differently. His anxiety:
That anxiety keeps him close to home. He can’t drive, rarely goes shopping, and finds the beach a difficult place because of his compulsion to count the grains of sand. And it manifests itself in other ways, like making a very precise measurement of his cereal each morning: it must be exactly 45 grams of porridge, no more, no less.When Son in Ohio was 4, he was obsessed with the number 4, having 4 of anything, etc. It was imperative that we park on level 4 of the parking garage at the library, or he would have a "meltdown". Crying, absolutely beside himself. I have to admit, I found it hard to be sympathetic. He had a little sister who was two, and with kids that age, any outing can be a challenge. So, once we'd finally arrived at our destination, to have the level we park on become a life or death issue?
But as time went on, and we learned that his difficulties were due to Asperger's Syndrome, we had a better understanding of the importance of order and control. In a world that seemed chaotic, unpredictable, and alien, it helped to have a handle on something that was reliable, orderly, and unchanging. I had to smile when I heard Daniel Tammet say that "numbers are his friends", because Son in Ohio's imaginary friend was named "Mr. Alphabet". The alphabet was his longest running special interest, spanning the course of several years, but others included states and capitals, planets, and rainbows.
Rainbows? That one threw us initially. But rainbows were always the same, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. Well, they are *supposed* to always be the same. But there are plenty of people out there who have no idea how vile an offense they are committing when they omit Indigo. You do *not* want to leave colors out, or there will be hell to pay! Oh, and if you're doing an alphabet book, don't even *think* of cheating on the letter X--saying it is for eXtraordinary or some nonsense like that. If our son found a new alphabet book at the library, the first thing he did was flip to X to see if they used a real X word. But I digress--the point is that all of his special interests were orderly systems of one kind or another, and that seemed to provide a measure of comfort.
Here's the other segment from the interview that really caught my attention:
But at the end of the day—genius or not—that brain does work a little differently.This brought to mind the time when our son attended summer "day camp" in the same classroom where he'd gone to preschool that year. Exact same classroom, but different teachers. When I arrived to pick him up at the end of that first day, he remarked to me, "Sarah is calling herself 'Donna' now." Now, "Sarah" and "Donna" did indeed have some similar features, such as hair color and length, and the fact that they both wore glasses. But I imagine most kids would said, "My new teacher looks a lot like the teacher I had before" or something like that. The fact that he went straight for the conclusion, "Apparently my teacher changed her name" was one of our first big clues that the world did indeed *look* different to our son, because he naturally focussed on different things.
Our son lives with us in our home, but in a way we live in different worlds. Of course, we could say that for any two people, but we don't think of that most of the time. I think most of the time we assume we are operating on the basis of some shared reality. But we learned over time that our son did *not* experience the world in the same way we did. Looking back, I feel a little bad about not being more patient in dealing with some of those early fixations and sensitivities. But then again, I was navigating in uncharted territory myself.
One of the memories that stands out from right before our son's diagnosis is another mother suddenly running up to me and screaming that my son had knocked her child down. I was completely blindsided and never did figure out what happened. My attention at that moment had been on my daughter, who was in a toddler gymnastics class, and I'd been helping her walk across a balance beam. The other woman was in full "protective mother mode" and that's understandable as her child was smaller than my son. But at that moment I felt utterly confused, helpless, and clueless about how to respond. No doubt the world of parenting I experienced was very different from hers.
Wrap this thing up with some sort of conclusion? I wish. For now, all I've got is that we really need to work on being gentle to each other, because we have no idea what kind of world our neighbor might be inhabiting.
More links about Daniel Tammet:
Transcript of the 60 Minutes Segment here.
Audio on NPR's Talk of the Nation: A Look at an Autistic Savant's Brilliant Mind
Daniel Tammet's website and blog
From the Science Channel (includes more video) Brainman.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
This action alert is from Faith in Public Life
Posted by Guest Blogger at 1:31 PM
Monday, March 05, 2007
This is related to my post about A Black Theology of Liberation from the other day. In addition to the overview link I posted, I had also looked at a PDF that went into detail about what is meant by a Black Value System. This part stood out to me, and I think I heard it echoed when listening to Barack Obama speaking at an event in Selma commemorating the voting rights march that took place there 42 years ago.
Disavowal of the Pursuit of "Middleclassness"
Anyway, I thought that excerpt was worthy of some reflection. In yesterday's post, I linked to the lively exchange between Sean Hannity and Barack Obama's pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, about whether Trinity United Church of Christ espoused a "radical separatist" agenda. What I failed to mention at the time is that I do "get" why many White people are uncomfortable with the wording Hannity referred to from the church's web site--commitment to the Black family, the Black community, etc. Hannity asked, wouldn't it sound racist if you substituted the word White--if there was a church that openly stated it was all about supporting and strengthening the White community.
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 5:51 PM
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Crossposted at the Independent Bloggers' Alliance
Let’s remember that, for now, nothing has changed. The Episcopal Church has been bold in its inclusion of us, “risking its life” for us in dramatic ways over these last few years. Not perfect, but bold. Just because The Episcopal Church has been invited to subvert its own polity and become a Church ruled by bishops-only, a Church that is willing to sacrifice the lives and ministries and dignity of its gay and lesbian members on the altar of unity, does not mean that we are going to choose to do it. That is yet to be determined. Let’s not abandon hope simply because that is possible. The Primates have the right to make requests of us (nevermind the threatening tone of those requests). We do not have to accede to those requests in exactly the terms in which they are made.
Read the rest here. I don't really have any thoughts of my own to add, but am happy to hear from Bishop Gene. As I was searching for a word *from* him, Google searches yielded more than a few words written *about* him. I admire his strength and am thankful that he has the strong faith needed to carry him through times like these.
Also, click here for a transcript of Bishop Katharine's podcast this morning, and here for additional thoughts from Bishop Gene.
And I just gotta add, there is something about seeing that man's smile that just makes me feel a little better about the world. Thank you for that, +Gene.
Alternate link for comments
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 12:24 AM