Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Monday, December 27, 2010
- liberation bibliography arises out of outrage at the injustice of the current system. it's not about saving money, it's about the empowering nature of knowledge and the belief that it shouldn't be a luxury good for the few.
- liberation bibliography must emerge out of a sense of solidarity with communities struggling for liberation. it's not just a matter of a few academics and librarians tinkering under the hood of the scholarly communication system to improve conditions for scholars; it's about action for the public good.
- liberation bibliography recognizes that the world is not separated into the scholarly and the ordinary. if knowledge matters, it must matter beyond the boundaries of our campuses...
- liberation bibliography recornizes that we are implicated in systems that personally benefit us, even when we recognize those systems to be unjust. whenever we publish in a journal that will resell our work for a profit and withhold it from those who can't pay, we have put our self-interest before social justice.
- liberation bibliography takes seriously the slogan...that the truth shall set us free--and that means freedom should extend to all of us, not just to a select class of employed academics and currently enrolled tuition-paying students.
- liberation bibliography recognizes that the liberal learning we promote must be beneficial to all people. as a consequence, our libraries should not serve our institutions' immediate needs but rather their higher ideals. toward that end, libraries and scholars need to remind our institutions of those ideals which still form the material for countless mission statements and taglines but are ignored in daily institutional practice. and...we must act on them.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Friday, December 24, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
he pulled off his helmet to talk. "nope. just got stopped at the corner by a car and the snow's so soft my machine sank right down. I'm heading home to get a truck and some rope."
"y'want a ride?"
"I only live a quarter mile this way."
"get in. I'm just going home anyway."
so he folded himself up into my little car. snowmobile outfits aren't made for manueverability but for warmth which is why I'm not surprised no one ever thought of creating a superhero who wore one: all the action would be him grunting and trying to get his costume to flex enough for him to get through a door. when he was settled in--he wasn't that tall but the suit puffed him up so he sat about a head taller than me--we took off down the crossroad.
we nattered a little and in the course of the quarter mile drive I found out his name was doug and he was a retired farmer. "all this used to be my land, bob. I had cows and pigs and crops. and then, well, everyone left. my kids didn't want to farm and the money got too tight and I just plain got old. we put up this modular place where everything's on one level and I got a shed for my toys and that's about it."
he was in good health it seemed but his spirits were beat. "I just got old," he said when I asked him if he missed farming. "I just got too old."
he got out and took off a big glove to shake my hand wearing a little glove and then he tromped on into his house and I did a 180 and headed out the driveway. I'd got no more than back on my regular road when this song came on the radio. sometimes people tell me things and sometimes things get told me.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
a day such as this, when the weather gets to a high of 4 degrees and we have been snowed in for 2 days and something like this makes the news over and over, it is good to be reminded of summer and warmth and butterflies landing on you...
Thursday, December 9, 2010
the assignment for class today was to create and comment on a service for a secular holiday and I enjoyed the work so much I've decided to post it.
Order of Service
Sunday, January --, 2011
Processional: Recorded excerpts from Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, 1963 March on Washington (1)
Welcome and Announcements
Lighting the Chalice: (in unison) Love is the spirit of this church and service is its law. This is our great covenant: to dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in love, and to help one another.
[James Vila Blake]
Opening Words: From Virtual Faith by Tom Beaudoin (2)
First Hymn: “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” number 149 (3)
First Reading: From The Spirituals and the Blues by James Cone (4)
Time for All Ages: My Dream of Martin Luther King by Faith Ringgold (5)
Sing children to Religious Education with “Go Now in Peace,” number 413
Community Sharing: This is the time we give to voice those things that give us pause, events that make us smile or make us cry, situations that lift us up or drop us down. We sit in respectful silence of others. Please be brief.
Second Reading: From “Only Justice can Stop a Curse” by Alice Walker (6)
Offering: We give willingly of the bounty of our lives to help this congregation.
“From You I Receive,” number 402 (7)
Third Reading: “The Network of Mutuality” by Martin Luther King, Jr., number 584 (8)
Homily: “Everywhere We Look, There is Work to be Done” (9)
Final Hymn: “We Shall Overcome,” number 169 (10)
Benediction: From “For MLK” by Toni Vincent (11)
Extinguishing the Chalice: (in unison) “Keep alert, stand firm in your faith; be courageous, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.”
[1 Corinthians 16] (12)
My first memory of Martin Luther King, Jr., is of my parents’ response to his death. They weren’t a part of the Civil Rights movement but they had friends who were black and on what must have been April 5, 1968, I remember a conversation they had at breakfast centering on the reactions of some of those friends to “The News.” I didn’t quite get what had gone on but I understood that Someone Important had been killed and that a lot of people were as upset and angry about it as when John Kennedy had been killed five years before. Prior to that I think MLK had been pretty far under the radar for me, which wouldn’t have been unusual for a small white boy in industrial New York.
But my mother told me to watch his funeral as it was “history.” I remember little of it beyond the grainy films and somber mood and weeping and the many, many, many black faces congregated together. I don’t think I’d ever seen that many black people before or been more than peripherally aware there were that many in the country. It was something of a revelation that there was that much going on with that many people outside my experience.
I think my experience was, if not indicative, then similar to that of a lot of white folks in the late 60s. We were suddenly brought face to face with the grief and pain of a large number of our neighbors and friends that previous to that we could choose whether we recognized. Since his death MLK has become the patron saint of both What is Wrong with America—the repercussions and towering injustices of slavery and its aftermath—and What is Right with America—the willingness to stand up in opposition to that overwhelming injustice with nothing more than a voice—and it is in the spirit of the latter role that we celebrate his birthday.
1. I think it’s important that people be reminded of that voice and its power. There is nothing better for doing this than MLK’s words themselves.
2. Beaudoin relates a remarkable story from his undergraduate days when a professor breaks down in class after playing a short excerpt of MLK’s March on Washington (“I Have a Dream”) speech. The professor had been a marcher years before with King in Birmingham.
3. This familiar work both relates MLK to the previous generation’s Worker’s Rights movement (which was the focus of the March on Washington) and features the words of James Weldon Johnson whose 1922 collection The Book of American Negro Poetry introduced many early black poets to American literature.
4. Last year I was introduced to the theology of James Cone which was in some ways inspired by MLK. Much of his work is a bit heady for reading on a morning of celebration but his evocation of what it means to people to hear their own experiences reflected in song is inspiring.
5. Ringgold’s short children’s picture book is a good introduction to who MLK was, what he was fighting against, and what he means for many people who aren’t black but benefit from his work. The pictures ought to be projected onto a screen so everyone in the congregation can experience them.
6. Alice Walker’s essay is a meditation on the experiences of one teenage black girl in the Civil Rights movement of the Deep South. This selection focuses on the epiphany she received when a young white man whose presence she’d previously been cool to places his body and the protection it suggests literally on the line with her.
7. At the congregation I served in Menomonie I started a tradition of this being sung during the offering. I think it’s especially apt for a day celebrating MLK.
8. One can’t celebrate the man without taking note of some of the incredible words the man wrote. This selection, from the UU hymnal, is meant as a call-and-response in the manner of black church tradition and the congregation can use it in that way, but it’s also powerful given a single, clear voice.
9. I like homilies, opportunities to tie up the loose ends of a message, and I thought this title, from a sermon I wrote in 2009 after Barack Obama’s presidential inauguration, was appropriate.
10. The tune everyone associates with MLK and his movement, it is no less necessary for current generations to experience its power and message, as it remains relevant in the contemporary world.
11. A brief reiteration of MLK and his impact on people and what his message means for those born after his death but whose lives were touched by him and his work nonetheless. Its invocation also charges us as we leave with the sense that we need to remember the lessons this celebration of his life may have given us.
12. This admonition from 1st Corinthians has always struck me as an accurate encapsulation of the lessons MLK tried to teach us.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
Saturday, December 4, 2010
a conversation this morning in the car
me: I'd like you to look at a video I'm thinking of using as part of my day-after-xmas multimedia sermon.
my wife: why?
me: well, the service will be intergenerational and you're more in tune with kids and I wonder if it would be scary for them. there's no violence but there are frightening images.
my wife: [after an uncomfortable pause] you have a pretty high tolerance for violent videos. [another, longer, more uncomfortable pause] I'd say as a general rule, if you question it, the answer should be "no."
A Krishna service is a misnomer. It’s more like a short, extemporaneous lecture punctuated by ecstatic dancing and chanting, very similar to Sufi celebration. The way this particular group operated was that individuals were invited to the house its members communed in, sat in a large room listening to one essentially tell the story of his conversion to Krishna or his recognition of Krishna’s influence on his life, then be invited to eat of the prana or gift that Krishna had for us, have short conversation for digestion, and then dance and sing to celebrate our acceptance of Krishna’s prana.
All I wanted was to eat. Having spent the previous days subsisting primarily on peanut butter and crackers, I had been lured by the promise of mounds of hot rice and raisins, dates, oranges, and of course the eyes of the shave-headed girl who’d invited me. I certainly wasn’t interested in a lecture, although the nascent anthropologist in me was open to experiencing it. Still, when the time came for the lecture/personal tribute, I managed to excuse myself to the bathroom and remained there for about 15 minutes, which seemed like the right amount of time.
It was an old house, one of those hundred year and older grand family mansions of the Hudson Valley burghers that had been subdivided and made into apartment housing over the decades and eventually remade back into spaces for family-type living. It had a large bathroom on the first floor, which was where we visitors were relegated to, with plants and guest towels and white walls (the Krishnas fetishize the color white) but it was also drafty and unheated. It was set up with books and pamphlets and I knew I could pass time there painlessly.