Monday, December 31, 2007

Out and About - December 2007

Above and below: As executive coordinator of CPCSM and a founding member of The Progressive Catholic Voice online journal, I was honored to one of a number of Catholics to organize the December 2 “Vigil for Solidarity with LGBT Catholics,” an event that drew over 300 people to the Cathedral of St. Paul, and included a powerful “die-in and rising up” ritual on the front steps of the cathedral (above).

Those who gathered on December 2 were determined to respectfully express their disagreement with Coadjutor Archbishop John Nienstedt’s
November 15 declaration that people who encourage and support their LGBT family members and friends, are “cooperating in a grave evil.”

For more commentary and images of this event, see the previous Wild Reed posts:
300+ People Vigil at the Cathedral in Solidarity with LGBT Catholics
Why We Gathered
Interesting Times Ahead
An Open Letter to Archbishop Nienstedt
NCR's Coverage of December 2 "Vigil for Solidarity"
Local Media Coverage of December 2 Vigil Falls Short
No, Really . . .

Above: Even though I’ve lived in the U.S. for fourteen years, this is the first year I’ve bought myself a Christmas Tree! And a pretty good one it turned out to be, if I do say so myself.

The tree itself came from Menards Hardware, at a real bargain prize. It’s a fake one, by the way, and deciding on purchasing it as opposed to a real tree was the ultimate “paper or plastic?” quandary!

Many of the ornaments that decorate my tree are what I call “vintage,” and were found at Value Village in Richfield and an antique store in my neighborhood. I never did find a star, though. Oh, well, that will be something to look for
next December.

The framed poster in the background of the first Christmas Tree photo is of one of my favorite movies, director Tim Robbin’s Cradle Will Rock.

Above: Members of CPCSM, Catholic Rainbow Parents, and The Progressive Catholic Voice editorial team lend a helping hand to the mailing of CPCSM’s annual Christmas Appeal letter – Tuesday, December 18, 2007.

From left: Rick Notch (CPCSM treasurer and founding member of The Progressive Catholic Voice online journal), Mary Lynn Murphy (CPCSM president, Catholic Rainbow Parents co-founder & coordinator, and founding member of The Progressive Voice), Mike Murphy (Rainbow Catholic Parents co-founder), Paula Ruddy (founding member of The Progressive Catholic Voice), and Mary Beckfeld (CPCSM, Rainbow Catholic Parents co-founder, and founding member of The Progressive Catholic Voice).

Above and below: A great aspect of Christmas time is the opportunities it provides to gather with friends so as to celebrate “the reason for the season.”

Celebrating with me in the photo above are my friends Joseph, Kathleen and Susan – December 22, 2007.

Above: Paul, Cass and Carrie – December 24, 2007.

Above: Leah, Nick, Kate and Rex – December 24, 2007.

Above: And hamming it up for the camera we have Luke, Gretchen, Mindi and Zakeya – December 24, 2007.

Above: Roger, Kath and Darla – December 24, 2007.

Above: “Out of Darkness, Into the Light”: A Candlelight Service for the Children of Iraq and Other Child Victims of War – St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, Friday, December 28, 2007.

Above: The speakers at the 10th annual “Out of Darkness, Into the Light” ecumenical prayer and candlelight service were Meg Novak and Peter Thompson.

Following is a brief excerpt from Peter’s talk:

All three Abrahamic religious traditions, as well as Gandhian and Buddhist teachings, see children as more than just cute and innocent. A favorite story from the Christian tradition gives us some guideposts to the deeper significance of children. “Jesus took a little child and put it among them, and taking the child in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me, and whoever welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.’” [Mark 9:36-37]

I hear in this message that the simplicity, truthfulness and powerlessness of children are what are needed to move toward the peace and justice of God’s Reign.

What led to this teachable moment? When Jesus put the child ‘among them’ he placed the child among the disciples. What immediately precedes this wonderful teaching is the argument amongst the disciples about who is the greatest among them, AND this argument ensues right after Jesus tells the disciples of his coming resurrection from death. The reaction of adults, when they hear about kingdom, is to grab for some of that royal power and prestige. They begin scrabbling for the best spot in the hierarchy. After all, they figure due to their risky association with Jesus they want their rightful reward, now that victory is at hand. THIS IS HOW ADULTS THINK.

But what Jesus is trying to show them with the child is just the opposite. A child wouldn’t care about a position near the throne, or the values of the dominant culture. To welcome God in this world doesn’t take domination, hierarchy, and power, it takes what children know and yearn for: loving relationship. Children teach us about alternative values such as equality, relationship and nonviolence.

Above: My good friend Garth (right) visited the U.S. from Australia in late December. Although much of his time was spent in Baltimore with his girlfriend and her parents, he made a quick 18-hour visit to St. Paul on December 29-30 to visit me. How lucky was I?

Garth was very impressed with the snow – the first he’d ever seen! On Sunday, December 30, my neighbor and friend, Aaron, drove Garth and I through the wintry countryside to his uncle and aunt’s farm in Maple Lake - a trip that included a visit to the huge Cabela’s store in Rogers.

With its large collection of stuffed animals and wide-range of firearms for sale, Cabela’s is quite something (in a surreal kind of way). It’s also uniquely American, given the fact that for the vast majority of people born and raised outside the U.S., the ease at which Americans can purchase all manner of different types of guns is not only disturbing but, well, quite ridiculous, really.

For more images of Garth’s all-too brief time in Minnesota, click

Above: Aaron – December 30, 2007.

I tippy-toe across your dream each night,
so as not to wake you, asleep in your summer.
A garland of flowers, yellow and white around your waist.

While I walk these paths of ice,
ice my breast and strings of ice my hair,
my hands, two hooks of steel.
Ice nose, snow eyes, frozen open pout.
Flakes of snow my bridal veils.

I come down the soft white path,
bouquets of poppies spring from my heart.

Buffy Sainte-Marie
(from the 1969 album, Illuminations)

For more images of winter beauty, click here.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Back in the USA
It Sure Was Cold!
An Energizing and Spirited Weekend
Out and About – April 2007
Out and About – May 2007
Out and About – June 2007
Out and About – July 2007
Out and About – August 2007
Out and About – September 2007
Out and About – October 2007
Out and About – November 2007

1 comment:

Tc said...

I was born here and I think that the small arsenal that they provide is a bit over the top! :-)