Crappy Christian

"Practicing" Christian, because one day I'll get it right.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

#Rednoseday #joykill

Somewhere in the Bible it says to give without over thinking it.
Screw it, I overthink it, but we give.
A co-worker alerted me that it is Red Nose Day. Now, I remember Red Nose Day from my time in the UK and because I love British Television. So I am aware of it. Not so much aware of how useful it is.
Red Nose Day has jumped the pond and is over here in the Land of the Free & Home of the Brave.
It would help if I actually watched more television but the gist I get is that they are raising money for childhood poverty with promises that lives will be changed. I looked at the website for more information. They are vague on the desired outcomes, well besides wearing red noses and raising money. Not too much on the dull stuff regarding how the money will be used. Couldn't find jack on which organizations will get any of the money raised.
And now my critical thinking skills kick in.
This is bull.
There is something in a charity you know, and you know what they do and you see their work on the ground. There is also something in knowing charities you wouldn't touch with a 10 foot pole because they are ineffective, have bad leadership, engage in things you despise, or something else that doesn't sit well with you. So I wouldn't be quick to support something where I can't see who is doing the heavy lifting and if any heavy lifting is being done and if it is just not a feel good exercise. Maybe there is a list of charities that are being supported by Red Nose Day but it's too buried in the site for my taste if it is there.

Want to feed people?
a. Find people who need food and feed them
b. Find who feeds the people in your community and give them money.

Want to help kids get out of poverty?
1. Figure out what gets kids out of poverty
    a. practice it in your own community
    b. give to organizations that do that thing or set of things that gets kids out of poverty
2. Learn about people who used to be poor children and aren't poor anymore. Tell people what you've learned.

Education is one of the things that helps get people out of poverty. Good education that provides marketable skills. But it is just one of several parts of a ladder needed to help, assist, people out of poverty.

But it is easier to have a party and focus on the spectacle than the hard work.

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Friday, May 01, 2015

Practice, Practice, Practice

My thoughts are on training. At the place where they pay me, we have lots (I consider lots) of training. Thankfully, most of it is on-line. We also get memos of policy, some of those are written in a form of English that I understand. I have a graduate degree. I have two graduate degrees, I should be able to understand a stupid policy statement. But alas, jargon, inside knowledge of what a vaguely named department that is 2 weeks old, and pretzel logic makes it difficult.
What does this have to do with faith, Christianity and such? Practice. Our household is of practicing Christians. Not just believing Christians. We pray, not as much as we should, but it is a daily practice. The Help reads the Bible to me nightly, not every night (esp. if we're really sleepy), but most nights before bed he reads a chapter to me. We're on Philippians. We go to church once a week, sometimes twice, not always the same church. As a Catholic, when we travel, we sure as heck attend mass. But unlike that practice which kinda sorta lines up with the happy thoughts in our head, the missives and training at work don't always line up with the practice.
The biggest problem is security, but it would be not in my best interest to talk about that in detail. Let's say policy and practice don't really line up.
There is training. That is not always practiced. We are told a certain system is to do X and certain personnel respond to it as so. But in the day to day, it does not live up to that.
There is trust. Or the lack thereof. Despite the memos and other communication, a certain practice says daily, "we don't trust you." There is no daily/weekly practice here of 'we need you to help us preserve this', 'we need you to help people find things', or 'we need to work together for a true common goal.'
Some training, not all, is forgotten after it is done, because it doesn't relate to the culture of the place. There is the training, and there is the way you really do it. The practice of it. 

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Monday, December 08, 2014

This Catholicism thing can be a PITA

Today is the celebration of the Immaculate Conception, or a day when I have to drag my butt to church and it is not a weekend day, a day of obligation.
Yes, I pondered forgetting about it and just confessing missing it later, but when I remembered it (a better person would have put the day in her calendar with an alarm) I had a good 20 minutes to hoof it over to the nearest Catholic church during my lunch hour. An hoof it I did, and when I showed up there was almost nothing but standing room, but after some looking around I managed to squeeze in a pew that had as much leg room as a cheap flight to Florida.
Nothing too hard about it, except my own church as spoiled me with the '30 minutes or your next mass is free' speed. To get a mass to be short it helps to cut out all the singing. The signing did not help because some churches have different music they sing parts of the mass to and since it has been years since I've regularly attended a singing mass, I have no clue. I know the words but the music throws me for a loop. I know I wasn't the only one because I heard a bit of confusion during the bits we the congregation say/sing. It didn't help that the acoustics at times made the speaker sound as clear as announcement on the metro.
I fulfilled my obligation.   Rushing back I was thinking, my schedule was way simpler when I was an Episcopal. But but then again, maybe I was tired. I went to mass on Saturday and then lesson and carols on Sunday....

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Songs for the saints

Being raised Baptist, I have uneasy relationship with the saints. I can get my mind around the idea of asking the dead for intercessions as we ask live friends to pray for us. However I see the relationship with the saints uneven.
A former, now retired, co-worker introduced me to the poem/prayer "Saint Anthony, St. Anthony, help me look around. Help make what was lost, now to be found." I only say this when desperate and I sing it. It sound like a minor song in a Broadway musical. Slightly jazzy, and slow.
When I started riding my bike to work, something I'm doing less of as it gets colder, I thought I needed a song for Saint Christopher, patron saint of travelers. I tried a song, similar to the one I gave St. Anthony, but it wasn't right. So I made up a song, a different, very bluesy song to sing while I biked avoiding pot holes and cars that seem to be blind to the bike lane.

St. Chris
St. Chris
St. Chris in the city
I ask that you pray and have pity.
Intercede for us
So I don't get hit by a bus.
Pray for the bikers, the walkers and the cars on the road.
Pray for the truckers who carry a load.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Redemption

I do not care for football. I don't watch it. I don't pretend to understand it. And really if I were queen of the world I'd eliminate American Football from the face of the earth. Despite my disinterest, I can't seem to escape the story of Ray Rice, a local (Baltimore Ravens) football player who knocked out his wife (then fiancee) in a hotel elevator. The response from the media has been one of shock and outrage. The news cycle doesn't seem to be done with the story, because an indefinite suspension, doesn't appear to be enough for the masses. Hopefully, the cycle will move towards redemption, for both Ray and Janay Rice, but right now I'm not hearing much about redemption.

What I am hearing is punishment and anger. The anger is justified and understandable. Punishment, necessary. Unfortunately, it has resulted in the NFL throwing both Ray and his wife out into the cold. What they need is love, paths towards forgiveness and redemption. What would have been nice, would have been for the NFL to suspend Rice for say a season, AND provide marriage/family counseling and anger management to the couple, to wrap their arms around this family and say, "we abhor what you (Ray) did and what we saw, but we want you to be a better man and a stronger woman, and we want to walk with you to that better place." But no, that's not what the masses want.

Thankfully, our Lord and Father is not the NFL. He offers redemption and forgiveness because he knows we are royal screw-ups deeply in need of both. I have seen G-d redeem my father, who was an angry drunk and abusive husband. When I doubt the Lord, I remember the miracle he worked in my parents' life how he brought back to life the dry bones of a marriage of 30 years after 10 years of divorce. No human could have brought forth that, no human (not his family nor friends) convinced my father to stop drinking and to heal whatever pain he was trying to self-medicate. 

Our Lord has redeemed thieves, murderers, and the like. He redeemed Saul, a man who sought to eliminate early Christians, we know him as Paul, author of several books in the New Testament. He redeemed John Newton, a slave trader in the 18th Century, who we know as the author of "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me...."

"for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."
Romans 3:23-24

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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Prayers and intercessions

Today was a hard bike ride. Not because it was hot, but that didn't help. No, it was because of two lost women who I believe did not understand English all that well, trying to get somewhere on the 1000 blk of M St. NW. They stopped me and asked for directions on N St. I, figuring the city is a grid and you go with the grid, pointed them towards M St and the direction they needed to go but, OH NO DO NOT ENTER- ONE WAY. Being on a bike I forgot that the street was funky. I did not make myself clear and they wound up following me. Long story short, they went in the correct direction down a street that wouldn't help them. Hindsight kept bugging me on the way to work. I should have led them to a route that would have got them back on to M. Hindsight.
So I did what I thought I could do, I prayed. Somewhere on Massachusetts Ave, I prayed to G-d that the ladies would find their destination, or at least someone who spoke Spanish. Then later I asked St. Christopher, as I held my St. Christopher's medal and prayed for him to intercede for the women. Then when I got to work, I called up my husband and asked him to pray for the women.
If you pray, please pray for those who get lost on DC streets.

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Watch what you watch

We used to watch TMZ for the entertainment value.
We don't have cable and we hardly watch network broadcast television so we miss out on the reality shows and latest anything, so TMZ was a way to hear about people we don't know nor care about. But we stopped, mainly because the show was too raunchy and I don't need anything from the show stuck in my head.
That is a problem I'm noticing. Maybe it is a sign of getting older because I don't remember scenes or outlooks from television getting playback in my head, when I didn't want it, when I was younger. Other stuff, like things I read would occasionally pop up in my younger days, but not often since I was in grad school and hardly read anything for fun. Now, and maybe at least since I became over 35, I noticed these things that I consume resurface, like a dead body in the river, when I least expect or desire them.
I can't watch Law & Order:SVU anymore. One reason, compared to all the other L&Os, this one was the worse. The others were more about the crime, not about the cops. Another reason, I prefer dead body police procedurals, not raped/abused person of any age procedural. A friend told me that since becoming a mom she couldn't watch L&O:SVU at all, it plants fear into your mind. I was bored and did watch one SVU episode and regretted it several days after when a script, a line of thought, kept replaying itself in my head. The problem was this script was distracting and countered all the other scripts that loop in my head that keep me happy and sane and focused on what matters. I don't need Hollywood's or NYC's writers to tell me of crime. When I first moved into my neighborhood I would hear gunshots often and I had 24 hour drug dealers on the corner. I figured out my own way of being safe in the city and TV warps it.
Though not television I had to take a certain song out of my workout playlist because it too was messing with my head. It must be an age thing. Things I used to listen to gleefully when I was a teen, semi-shocks me when I can't help but to get the double meaning. Back in the 80s it went over my head. But back to my pulled workout song, it was the clean version but I can fill in the blanks. The problem was I was constantly filling in the blanks in my head and I didn't like where my thought patterns were going.

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