Saturday, December 01, 2007

Thin Places

I just wanted to share this tonight...

Thin Places are ports in the storm of life, where the pilgrims can move closer to the God they seek, where one leaves that which is familiar and journeys into the Divine Presence. They are stopping places where men and women are given pause to wonder about what lies beyond the mundane rituals, the grief, trials and boredom of our day-to-day life. They probe to the core of the human heart and open the pathway that leads to satisfying the familiar hungers and yearnings common to all people on earth, the hunger to be connected, to be a part of something greater, to be loved, to find peace.

This sermon expands on the idea...
But thin places aren’t always literally places. The arts are sometimes thin places for some of us. Music. Poetry. People can be thin places. Marcus Borg believes one of the best ways of understanding Jesus is to think of him as a particularly thin place where the transcendent reality Jesus called the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of heaven shone through.

One of the emphases of the Celtic Christians about thin places is that they are porous and permeable. Marcus Borg says: “They are places where the boundary between the two levels becomes very soft, porous, permeable.”
Haloscan comment thread

World AIDS Day

Click here for a listing of World AIDS Day events planned by members of the One campaign around the country.

From the UN Chronicle

World AIDS Day is an opportunity to raise awareness and fight prejudice about HIV/AIDS and express global solidarity with people living with the disease. Commemorated on 1 December every year since 1988, the Day provides an occasion to remind Governments and world leaders of their commitments to fight AIDS.
More here.

Haloscan comment thread

Friday, November 30, 2007

Rehab-ing a Pine Grosbeak

Well, we've had QUITE the afternoon-evening!

A female Pine Grosbeak hit our upstairs window, leaving a few tiny feathers and a teeny red spot (I strongly suspect a hawk swooped through the yard, because ALL the birds dispersed.)
I went to the living room windows and spotted her under the (heated) birdbath, with one wing out a few inches more than the other.

I watched her from the window for a long time, while consulting Son*in*NC the wildlife biologist and Daughter-in-law*in*VT who graduated pre-vet.

After a really long time she hadn't expired; in fact she began to turn her head from side to side! But she didn't move around and the cold wind was blowing from behind her. So I set a box over her, cut open on one end so she could be free if desired.

About 40 minutes later she hopped out of the box! Then she proceeded to hop clear across the back yard, but, sadly, she could not fly. With the day dimming and a very cold night ahead, I set her into a box and brought her in.

I called the vet who had me call the VT Institute of Natural Science (VINS), who had me call a rehab-er, who had me call a different rehab-er, who had me call a third rehab-er who won't be home until this evening.

So we have Ms. Grosbeak all set up with seeds and cherries, and water. She is in the Guest Room and had enough warmth without being too warm (we want to keep her acclimated, if we can).

Hopefully she will wake up and be able to fly. If so, we'll watch for her mates to return to the cherry tree out back and release her to rejoin them. If she cannot fly she may need expertise and long-term care than we can provide.

I am encouraged that she was more alert when we moved her to the more spiffy box set-up. I had my thin leather gloves on and could feel her struggle a bit, and she felt stronger than earlier. Hope, hope!

Caring for Creation is a huge job! It's amazing how complex this world is.
Keep the hope coming! ♥ listener

Haloscan comment thread

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Special Election in IL-14: Is Everybody Confused?

by W.A. Thomasson

Dennis Hastert’s resignation from Congress, effective now, means there will be a special election to fill his unexpired term. The dates have not been officially announced, but it is anticipated that the special primary will be Feb. 5, to coincide with the regular primary, and the special general election will be sometime in April.

Although having the special and regular primaries on the same day will save money, it is also generating a good deal of confusion. Some things even the Illinois Board of Elections is unsure of. The special and regular primaries are technically separate elections. Does that mean voters will have to cast separate ballots? With duplicate sets of touch-screen and optical -scan counting machines at each polling place? What about election Judges? One set or two? And — OK, maybe this is a stretch. But since Illinois is an open-primary state, would it be legal for someone to take a Democratic ballot for the special primary and a Republican ballot for the regular primary?

One thing for sure, however, is that candidates will have to file new nominating petitions. The ones they filed earlier this month are only valid for the regular primary. That means they have three weeks to collect a minimum of 873 valid signatures from registered voters in the district. Since challenging nominating petitions is something of a tradition in Illinois, that means they really need 2000 signatures. Or maybe 3000 to be on the safe side. There is little doubt that all the current candidates will be able to do this, especially since Hastert’s resignation has been rumored for months and they have all had contingency plans. Still, it means that for the next three weeks they are going to have to focus on signature gathering rather than voter persuasion.

There are two Republican and four Democratic candidates. On the Republican side, archconservative State Sen. Chris Lauzen is p;ositioning himself as Hastert’s heir. Dairy magnate Jim Oberweis, who finished second in both the 2004 senatorial primary and the 2006 gubernatorial primary, is a flaming radical rightist. He and the state Republican leadership openly loathe each other. Oberweis was not named the senatorial candidate after the primary winner withdrew because he had campaigned explicitly against George Bush and his “soft-on-immigration” guest worker proposal. And after the gubernatorial primary, he described the winner as “another Hilary.” Oberweis won’t win this primary if the party leadership has anything to say about it. But given the current state of Illinois Republican politics, they may not.

There is a really excellent diary at Prairie State Blue that gives a lot of detail on the Democratic candidates as well as other aspects of the special election. I think there is a great deal to like about each of the candidates, although in different ways. John Laesch, the 2006 candidate against Hastert, is the most progressive on the issues. He’d probably agree that he’s basically in the Kuchinich mold. Jotham Stein has the most innovative ideas on the issues and is running a strong campaign. I have donated to him simply because he personally called me, even though I am dozens of miles outside the district. Those things matter. I like Bill Foster both because of his scientific background and because of his emphasis on fiscal responsibility, a la Howard Dean. Additionally, he is in a position to put a lot of his own money into the campaign and, even though a first-time candidate, has a lot of political savvy from the 10 months he spent as a volunteer staffer with Patrick Murphy’s campaign in Pennsylvania. Those sorts of things will matter in April and November. I don’t know much about Joe Pera, the 2004 candidate, because he got into this year’s race very late. That may make it hard for him to catch up to campaigns with established momentum.

A lot of people are looking to this special election as a barometer of how well Democrats will do next November. It’s maybe a biased barometer, since Bush carried the district 55-45 in 2004. But between declining GOP fortunes, shifting demographics, an open seat, and maybe even an Illinoisan at the top of the Democratic ticket, it could be winnable.

Haloscan comment thread

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Heart Radio

A post by Subway Serenade/Astral Technician (who is celebrating his birthday today).

Imagine that you're driving in your car listening to your favorite music from your favorite radio station. If you live in a major city, thousands of people are listening to the same song you are and all of your hearts are beating to the rhythm of the music. Your brainwaves are also keeping time. As the songs change, so do your internal rhythms. I demonstrated this principle at the mini DeanFest in Vermont earlier this year.

Now, if you didn't have a radio, you wouldn't be able to hear the music. Songs of all sorts, from every station would be passing through you unnoticed, and your internal rhythms would be going their own merry way.

However, those who hear the music share a bond, a focal point that has all of the hearts dancing to the same tune, even though they don't realize it. I have found in practical terms that not only do the internal systems receive waves and react to them, but we also broadcast waves of our own to which others react. We are in fact, exchanging waves of various sorts all the time. Not only that, but we and everything around us are just a series of complex, but simply ordered waveforms.

Today I was thinking of how so much of the world seems to be listening to some radio station that plays nothing but Rush Limbaugh droning on and on. Yet we don't realize that a really beautiful music station is just a few stations up the dial. What if Peace on Earth were made possible simply by having enough connected hearts reaching up and changing the channel?

Haloscan comment thread

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Howard was right, example 4597

From the comments...

Howard was right, as usual. We need to appeal to people with Confederate flags on the backs of their pickup trucks. But who would have thought an African-American would be the person to do it?

Story from last night's Obama for President/Democratic Party of Oak Park Meetup: Rob Baren, the local party's political director, has been visiting his father in the hospital in Dayton. He couldn't quite believe everybody telling him everyone they knew was voting for Obama. But driving back through rural Ohio, a guy in one of those big, fancy pickup trucks waved as he went past. And in the back window of the pickup were three signs:

Nitional Rifle Association

Confderate flag

Obama for President
Bill Thomasson | 11.27.07 - 11:15 am |

I am currently in the middle of end-of-the-quarter craziness, by the way, so I'm probably not going to be posting much. Remember, if you'd like to do a guest post, you can e-mail it to me at ohiorenee(at)

Haloscan comment thread

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Changed comment settings

I just remembered that it was possible to choose "new posts have no comments" under the comment settings. This way, I can still have the traditional Blogger-integrated comments available for use when Haloscan is messed up--for a while there, Haloscan seemed to be messed up on a regular basis, if you'll recall. But with this change, people won't be coming to this site and commenting in the wrong place.

Haloscan comment thread