Sunday, December 31, 2006

Fast away the old year passes

Last day of 2006 and I preached. You can view my sermon here. The Gospel for today is John 1:1-18, one of my favorites. It was easy for find preaching topics. The harder part was narrowing the focus. I got good reviews from the congregation, which added to the gift of preaching today.

I took the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) Wednesday and got good scores on the multiple choice part, Math and Verbal. I have to wait two weeks to find out how I did on the writing part. There are two timed essays. Having to write on a 45 minute and 30 minute deadline was very challenging for me. I’m glad the essay part was at the start. I would have been even harder to compose those essays after answering around a hundred tough questions. The computer GRE is set up so that when you answer a question right, the next one is harder. I’m glad I know that going into the test. At the end of the test I did not think I did well.

At the end of the test you are presented with a choice. You can cancel the test and have your scores not recorded or you can accept the test and see your scores. You have to make this choice without knowing what your score is. When you make your choice, you get another screen asking if you are sure this is what you want to do and they spell out again what your choices are and the consequences of each. You go through two more times before you come to the screen that says that your choice will be final when you click this button. I was sure I wanted to know my score. If it was bad, I wanted to know that so I could move on to plan B. Still I took a deep breathe before I clicked the button. I could not believe what I saw. I scored a hundred points more then I needed for the MA program. I wish I could have written them down, but they do not allow you to take any paper out of the testing room. You are only given pencils to write with so I could not write the scores on my hand. If I had tried that, I’m sure they would have invalidated my test. There is strict confidentiality around the test questions and every test taker is video taped while in the testing room.

Both places I applied to for Clinical Pastoral Education turned me down. It is very completive here in the Bay Area with seminarians from nine seminaries vying for positions. The CPE training programs want diversity in their summer intern groups so very qualified applicants may not get positions. I now going for plan B, applying to the CPE program at St. Luke’s in Boise. I talked to their CPE supervisor and he strongly encouraged me to apply. It is a good program and I think I have a good chance of getting in. It would be nice to spend ten weeks in Boise, with one exception. Teresa would not be with me in Boise. :-(

I wish all of you a Happy and Blessed New Year. May this year bring peace where there is discord and violence, light where there is darkness, joy to all sorrowing hearts.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

3 down, 3 or 5 to go

My third semester of seminary is over. Completely over. No incompletes. All papers done. What has been read has been read. What is not been read has not been read. I finish the semester in good shape both academically and physically. I can take a brief breather before I go on to the next Fun Thing, taking the GRE's. I am applying for a master's of arts in theology with emphasis on Christian spirituality. That means I will be down here yet another year and it means I will leave here with more options available to me in terms of ministry. I need to pass the GRE’s first though, so I appreciate all your prayers for me on December 27th. I will be taking them between 12 noon and 4 p.m. Pacific Standard Time.

In the meantime I'm also waiting to hear if I will have a summer Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) position. I also appreciate your prayers about this too.

This afternoon is clear and cold, that is cold for Berkeley. The temperature is in the 40s. The sun goes down quite early down here. It's dark, dark, dark by five o'clock. Twilight is very short. Still, there are flowers blooming. It's always spring in Berkeley. As I look out my window I can see trees with green leaves and trees which have dropped all their leaves. Just a block from here there are trees with their autumn colors. That's one of the fun things about Berkeley, even though it's always spring here, there is an autumn that lasts a long, long time.

It is the third Sunday in Advent and Christmas is only a week away! I hope you all will take some time to be still reflect wonderful mystery of God coming to us in human form. Many we all remember that in the Christian calendar, Christmas is a season, not just a day. It is a season of opening to the gift of God coming to us in human forms and in so many other ways in every day. Let us be awake and alert to the ways God comes to us and let us give thanks and praise.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Busy but Good

This blog has been pretty quite lately. I felt pretty busy lately. School has started up and I'm taking a full load: homiletics, modern church history and theology, Anglican ethics, and Field Ed. I have to a lot of writing so that drains my writing energy for this blog. However, my health is holding up and my energy is improving.

I’m going to try to do short posts more frequently instead of trying for longer ones. I know you all like hearing from me. Writing short notes would make it easier for me to keep you all informed. Peace!

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Hi gang. I've been on vacation! I've been taking it easy, no blogging and no writing. I've going places, watching DVDs and watching some of my favorite sci-fi programs on TV. Teresa and I have actually gotten out of town! We escaped the bonds of the Bay, traveled to Boise, McCall, back to Boise and then back to Berkeley. It was a long trip. We were gone from August 2nd to the 12th. The worst part was between Berkeley and Sacramento. I hate driving in four to six lanes of freeway traffic. You never know when some knothead is going to cross several lanes of traffic to swoosh right in front of you. Sometimes you end up having to cross several lanes of traffic yourself in order to get to the right exit. I-80 is much nicer though after you get past Sacramento. You climb up through the foothills and then you're in the high Sierra's and are back in the West. We stopped at the rest stop on Donner Pass, and there was a familiar yellow pine, sagebrush and granite country that I love so much. It was great to be at altitude and low humidity again.

We took two days to drive to Boise, stayed overnight in Boise then drove up to Paradise Point camp on Payette Lake. The camp is just beautiful, as you can see from the photos below. Going to Fat Goose Camp (St. Michael’s church camp) has been a tradition for Teresa and I. It’s a very relaxing, fun time with old friends and new friends, with kids of all ages.

We came back to Boise and visited with friends and family. I took care to plan down time. I’m a firm believer in not box-carring things – going from one thing to the next, to the next. We humans need spaces between events to rest, reflect and center. It is another principle in living a humane, contemplative, mindful and heartfelt life.

A dear friend Boise, who lived for a time in Walnut Creek, CA, suggested a way to avoid the Sacramento to Berkeley six lanes of traffic scene. So we took the levee road – highway 160 – to Antioch, then Highway 4 to I-80 and Berkeley. It was a nice sight-seeing trip along the Sacramento River into the delta region.

Overall it was a much need vacation, a time to touch base with home. If I sound a little homesick, not to worry, every time I would talk about GTU or CDSP, I could feel my energy rising and hear the excitement in my voice, which confirmed to me I’m in the right place for this point in my life. There is a lot I value about being here in Berkeley even as I miss Idaho and that is OK

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I'm Done!

I’m done. All the papers for all my second semester classes are done. My first academic year is now officially over with. Now I feel I can truly say I am a second year seminarian.

It has been a struggle with this stubborn respiratory tract infection which my doctor is now called pneumonia. Pneumonia, bronchitis, an illness by any other name would still be miserable! What matters is my symptoms are going away. No fever for two weeks. My chest no longer hurts. The cough is much decreased. Energy is coming back. Note - I am being cautious to not over do things.

So with perseverance and pacing (working when I felt good enough, resting when not) I have finished the class work for the year. I’m good at perseverance. Maybe I have that stubborn Scot gene. The question is, am I listening to the events I have to persevere in? Am I hearing the message, the wisdom they have for me? Heavy questions which spurn quick answers. Heavy questions I will have time to reflect on before classes start again.

Teresa and I leave tomorrow for Boise and McCall. I feel ready for the trip and excited to go. It will be great to visit with friends, to see my home town, to be in the mountains of Idaho. It will be nice to dry out. Humidity in Boise today is 10%. In Berkeley it’s 51%. I don’t think Berkeley has ever seen 10% humidity. Yep, I’m a desert rat, a daughter of Idaho. There are things I love about Berkeley, the Bay and the GTU, but my roots are in Idaho and they are pretty deep.

One thing I especially love here in Berkeley is the GTU library. It has just about every book, scholarly journal and reference work you need to do in-depth research on any religious or spiritual topic. When I walk into the library, I have real sense of the Scare, like holy work is taking place. The silence is a peaceful, encouraging presence. When I leave Berkeley, it will be one place I will miss.

Friday, July 21, 2006


This blog has been pretty quite for a few weeks. There are two reasons for this:

1. I’ve been fighting recurring fevers since June 17th, which has turned out to be caused by a bad case of bronchitis.

2. In between fevers, when I feel some energy, I’ve focused all my writing creativity on finishing my history papers. I finished those July 11th and now have one more ten pager to do for Pastoral Theology. That one will be easier since the topic is my illness and how people have responded to it and me. It’s more of a theological reflection than an academic research paper. It will help me to do some integration of what I’ve been through this year.

I’m not going to give all the gory details of what I’ve been through the past weeks, except to say I hope the 103.1 fever I had Monday night was high enough to kill the bronchitis bug. The fever has gone down since then and stayed down so far. I know I need to stay quiet, drink liquids and get lots of rest. I think one problem has been I try to start being more active too soon. Now I’ve been reasonable – I’d wait 3 to 5 day after my last fever to increase me activity, but the fever returned every time. So this time it will be at least 10 days, which is when I’ll have a follow up visit with my internist and go by her recommendation.

During my times of convalescence I've had a chance to read a great book, Maggie Ross's Seasons of Death and Life A Wilderness Memoir. It's a good book to read under a tree or by a lake, one of those books you read when you just want to relax. Yet it has great spiritual substance. Maggie is an Anglican solitary, which means she lives a life of prayer alone somewhere. She also has a blog at . From time to time she will give great commentary on events in the Episcopal Church. In the archive section for January, 2006 she has published A Rite for Contemplative Eucharist. It is well worth reading through.

Lord willing and the creek don't rise and my health continues to improve, Teresa and I will be coming to Boise the first part of August. We will first go to McCall for St. Michael's family camp, then be in Boise until the 11th. I do think that if I mind my P’s and Q’s and not over do, I’ll be OK. Teresa and I do so want to see family and friends. Berkeley is nice, but I do miss Idaho.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Why Stay?

General Convention has been a roller coaster this year. First came the election of a Presiding Bishop who is a woman. Then the House of Deputies rejected a moratorium on gay bishops. And the next day the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies accepted such a moratorium. I imagine that most LBGT the Episcopalians are little stunned right now. Nothing has come in my e-mail yet from integrity which really surprises me. They have been very quick to respond to or give news of actions of the Church that affect LBGT people.

I am saddened by this decision but I am as determined as ever to stay with the Episcopal Church. Andrew Sullivan said this Thursday night on Larry King Live, "And I will not as a Catholic be thrown out of my home and my church and my faith and my communion because of who I am. Because of how God made me and that's the bottom line, Father, and I understand there is diversity and I respect that. And I understand your faith. But we're not leaving and we exist and we're here and we're human. "

This is a man who doesn't have seat, voice and vote in his church, yet he stays. He stays because he knows this is where God calls him to be and he cannot do otherwise. Episcopalian LBGT’s have seat, voice and vote of General convention, diocesan convention, and on their vestries. I hope that every Episcopal gay man and lesbian stays in the church and everyone of our straight supporters stays in the church and continues to spread the good news of God's inclusive love in Christ Jesus. We are called to proclaim the Gospel in season and out, in fair weather and foul. To do otherwise is a denial of the love God has for us and for all creatures.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Useless worry and General Convention

Woke up yesterday morning at 3 AM, worried about global warming (yes, saw Inconvenient Truth this week) and General Convention. I spent the rest of the early morning trying to refocus on who I am – one beloved of God, who gives herself to me in and as each breath, each moment. I did Centering Prayer and other meditation and that did help. Worry is a very human emotion, but an energy sapper. It doesn’t do anything to energies oneself to do anything about what one is worrying about. If you can’t do anything about it anyways, worry is pretty useless.

Speaking of General Convention, the blogger to follow is Fr. Jake I trust his observations and instincts. He also practices Centering Prayer, which is a big plus. I think that is why he can write with equanimity on hot button issues. Today’s post offers hope for GC so check it out.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Do Few Things

I was reminded again how much better I am doing physically. I was able to do all the regular things folks do during an Episcopal liturgy, like stand and sing, stand and pray. In the parish I’m going to, we stand and sing a lot. Before I got off the chemo, I did not have the energy or strength to stand during the service. I sat through the service. Now I can stand and sing without giving it a second thought. It feels great to be able to do that.

Now that I have this renewed energy, the question is what do I do with it? The temptation is to return to life as usual. However, I'm getting the clear message that yes, I need to pay attention to my body. Yes, I can do more than I was able to couple months ago; however, adding a bunch more stuff to my to-do list is not the thing to do.

There is a song from a movie about St. Francis. The lyrics go:

Do a few things,
but do them well.
Take your time.
Go slowly.

This is so countercultural, so un-American. It is also so sane and so holy. It has been my aim to incorporate this value into my life for many years. I'm beginning to realize that the stakes are much higher now. My health may well depend on it.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Doing Better

I am well, or at least a lot more well than I’ve been in several months. The dizziness or vertigo is gone. I don't need my walking stick for balance anymore. Yeah! The rash is almost gone. I have more energy and endurance. For all this I'm very grateful, yes, more than I can really say.

Yet a nagging question remains, how long will this improved health last? My joints do ache at times. My kidneys are still spilling some protein. This thing is not over with yet. Mixed connective tissue disease is incurable disease. So, short of a miracle, it never will be over with.

Sounds depressing doesn't it? Yet my lot isn't much different from millions of other people. People with diabetes, people with HIV infection or AIDS, people with MS, all live with incurable diseases. And there are many other incurable diseases I have not listed. This week marks the 25th anniversary of AIDS. AIDS is again in the news in a major way, which is a good thing. AIDS brings to light the dark side of our society. It exposes the prejudices in our society, the injustices in our health-care system. I am reminded again of the line from Angels in America, "Americans have no use for the sick."

Pretty grim, uh? It's easy to see why so many people become nihilistic and cynical. Yet there is another way to look at this very grim picture. There is a different perspective that is based on compassion and lovingkindness, resurrection and the coming of the Spirit. In some ways this perspective is expressed in a poem by Mary Oliver, “Wild Geese”

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting--
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Now Mary does not say one word about God in all this poem. Yet, to me she speaks of God. When I hear the wild geese, when I look into the blue sky, when I behold the beauty of trees, I see God and I know my place in the family of things. Mary speaks without naming that which I base my life on. God, who is Love, is showing me how to live with an incurable disease and find a healing which does not depend on cure. Friends, I am just starting to walk this learning curve and it is steep. Mary's poem is a good companion on the way.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

One darn thing after another

It's been awhile since I've blogged and things have been tough. I have really been going through mood swings with the prednisone, but thankfully that has settled down. Friday the 12th I developed hives. I was able to see a doctor that day, who thought the hives were reaction to one of my medications. He said the high dose of prednisone could have been hiding the allergic reaction. Now that I've gone to a lower dose the reaction would show now. He gave me an antihistamine to take, but that made my dizziness worse and didn't make much of a difference after three days. So I stopped taking it and tried to get in to see a doctor. They gave me an appointment with a dermatologist on June 7, even though I said the rash was getting worse. I have a previously scheduled appointment with my internist though on June 1. In the meantime, the rash is kind of running its course, and I think it will resolve itself overtime. It will be my luck that by the time I get to see a doctor again, the rash will be gone.

So I've been having a raging rash and raging hormones for a while now. I really do think things are beginning to calm down. Classes ended this Thursday, which helps. I have a bunch of papers work on this summer, but that's okay. Teresa and I are going on retreat, this Sunday for 10 days and I am so looking forward to it. I do hope that my next blog entry, which will be after retreat will have some positive things to report.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Update number two

I apologize for leaving, y'all hang on for about a week about what I'm doing healthwise. It's been a rough week. My doc took me of all the medications that she could, because just about every medication I'm on has a potential side effect of dizziness. Dizziness is one of those side effects like nausea and vomiting that can be a potential for any medication. I've been on a high dose of prednisone as part of the treatment regimen that goes with the chemotherapy. She had may go down from 20 mg to 10 mg, but I will still need to be on 10 mg for another three weeks. One has to go off high-dose prednisone gradually or you can get into real trouble. However, from past experience, I know I'm still pretty sensitive to 10 mg of prednisone. My emotions have been all over the place this week, and I think a big part of that is the dose of prednisone I'm on. Again, this is based on past experience. The prednisone could also be what's causing my dizziness. The dizziness or vertigo continued at about pretty much the same level and sometimes even worse until Friday. It has been ever so gradually decreasing since then. At its present rate, it will probably take several more days to go away, but at least it's going in the right direction.

So I’m doing my best to cope with all this. I do so appreciate everyone’s prayers.

On other topic – in regards to the Diocese of California’s election of a new bishop, read this account from an excellent and wise woman who as there.

Friday, April 28, 2006


This last chemo hit me hard, which is why I have not blogged for awhile. Had problems with stomach pain and nausea and increased dizziness or vertigo. Went to the ER Sunday evening and was treated for dehydration – they gave me 2 liters of fluid IV and the same anti-nausea medicine they give me before chemo. Felt better after that but still had problems with vertigo. My doc suggested I try Dramamine. I took some Tuesday without any change so I tried the max recommended dose Wednesday morning. Within an hour or two it was worse, which was quite alarming to me. I didn’t connect it with the Dramamine, though. I called and left a message for my doc, then called the advice nurse as to whether I should head for the ER. She checked with a doc and said yes.

They did a CAT scan, EKG and lab, all of which checked out OK. My doc thought the dizziness was from the chemo – dizziness is a potential side effect of cytoxan and also prednisone -- , though I will see her Monday and there may be more tests if the vertigo has not abated significantly. It’s not as bad as Wednesday and I do think the Dramamine made the dizziness worse. Dizziness is a less common side effect of Dramamine.

We are stopping the Chemo treatments and this is a big relief to me. My kidney function labs have been normal for a couple of months now, except for one. That one is trending toward normal. Two years ago when I had kidney failure it was also the last one to go to normal. I will be seeing my doc on Monday and we will discuss next steps in treatment then.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Chemo round 3

Tomorrow, Thursday the 20th is my next chemo. I do have mixed feelings about this. I look forward to dropping my prednisone dose another 20 mg. to 20 mg a day. I'm going into this round stronger than I went into the last month’s, which is good. Nonetheless, it still means I'm going to feel sick Friday. How sick, I don't know. Most likely not as sick as last month, given I'm stronger but … don't know.

Now that I'm starting to feel better, though still not up to pre-chemo levels, I just don't want get knocked down again, to feel worse, even though I have a reasonable expectation that I will continue to build strength over the next month. And, of course, it is natural to not want to feel bad. I try to go into my chemo session as positive as possible, knowing that that helps the process. And being honest about my feelings is also important.

So I've been working with my mixed feelings.

I bought 3 guided imagery CD’s from
Health Journey's
. Teresa had brought home from Kaiser a CD on guided imagery for depression which Health Journeys published. I figured if Kaiser thought it was good, the company might be worth looking into. They have CD’s for all sorts of conditions, including sleep, chemo therapy, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus. The web site had pretty good, standard information on heath and guided imagery so I ordered those three CD’s. Belleruth Naperstek does a great job with the CD’s. On the first track she gives good information about guided imagery and that it is not a substitute for treatment, but an aid to treatment. She is very sound in what she says. I have found the CD’s very helpful.

I think it was on the Lupus CD’s she talked about being honest about one’s emotions, which was a good reminder to me this morning. It’s OK for me to have mixed feelings about chemo, to acknowledge them, allow them to just be. I don't have to reject them, push them away, try to change them, just let them be. Then they will follow their own right and proper process. So I'm at peace with that, most the time. The prednisone is making me somewhat more emotional so I take that into account also.

And I know God is in all of this. The Kingdom of God is now. All I have to do is accept it as a little child and I know more about how to do that. So I find myself coming back to simple acceptance of what is, of my Beloved God, my Beloved Jesus right with me now, healing me, caring for me and gently asking me to pray for those who this very minute are facing chemo tomorrow. This helps. It really helps.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Holy Saturday Reflections

It is Holy Saturday morning. Jesus is in His tomb, resting, Or is he Harrowing Hell ?

In some ways I like the image of Jesus just resting on this day. He has worked very, very hard all his life and he deserves a rest, a chance to just lay still for awhile. It is a comfort to me to think he is resting now, peaceable, his suffering and sorrow over.

Yet would he not be thinking of all those souls in hell, waiting for release? Would he not, after that stone had been rolled across the tomb, jump up from where they lay him, thinking, “Man, let’s go free those souls!”? Would he not leap with joy at the chance to bring salvation to all those people, to go find Judas, forgive him and bring him home?

Maybe he is doing both, resting inside and freeing others. Maybe he rested awhile, to share in the rest of the dead, and then rose to set all people, all creation free.

I reflect today on the service to come, the Great Vigil. I remember Holy Saturday Night services I have attended. Tonight I will be at All Souls hunkering down for the duration – I know it will be a long service – this parish does everything, they take their time, give each service its due. Last night’s Good Friday service lasted 1 hour and forty-five minutes. I knew it would be long one when the choir started to sing -- sing! The Passion. It was long and beautiful and God gave me a great blessing at the end of service, one I won’t forget.

But my heart tonight will also be at St. Michael’s , my home parish. I will not hear Deacon Mary Lou sing the Exultet. In fact I will hear no deacon sing the Exultet. All Souls does not have a deacon right now, though they do have a gentleman studying for the deaconate at the School of Deacons. I think deacons are cool, and a very, very, important part of the church. They lifted up the servant ministry that all of us are called to. They bring the concerns and needs of the world to the church, and the church into the world – again something we are all called to do. I think of the deacons who touch my life and bless me, which would be a long list if I named them all, and pray that all parishes everywhere may have the blessing of at least one deacon serving them.

So a blessed Easter to you all. May the grace of this Holy Season bring the whole Earth closer to peace.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Holy Week

This Holy Week marks the 25th anniversary of one of the most profound healings in my life. 25 years ago I was in the fourth year of clinical major depression. There were times during this depression, that I was very suicidal. At one point I literally had the gun in my hand and only by a sheer act of will returned it to the good priest who had give it to me to protect myself from an anal orifice that was at that time breaking into women’s apartments and raping them . These were the most painful and difficult years of my life – nothing since has been as bad.

During those years I was in counseling, trying to figure why I was depressed, trying to get healed. My sexual orientation was coming to consciousness but I didn’t connect it with the depression. I had lots of reasons for being depressed. However, an amazing thing happened Holy Week 1981.

Holy Wednesday I was listening carefully to the Old Testament lesson:

The Lord God has given me
a well-trained tongue,
That I might know how to speak to the weary
a word that will rouse themt.
Morning after morning
he opens my ear that I may hear;
And I have not rebelled,
have not turned back.
I gave my back to those who beat me,
my cheeks to those who plucked my beard
My face I did not shield
from buffets and spitting
the Lord God is my help,
therefore I am not disgraced;
I have set my face like flint,
knowing that I shall not be put to shame.
He is near who upholds my right;
if anyone wishes to oppose me,
let us appear together.
Who disputes my right?
Let him confront me.
See, the Lord god is my help.

Isaiah 50:4 – 9a

What I heard say to me was, "you can look at your sexuality and it will be OK." Well, I knew what my sexuality was. At that moment I felt such joy and peace. On Easter Sunday morning I felt the depression lift completely. It has never returned.

One may wonder how I got that out of the passage. A big part was I knew that if I accepted my sexuality I would face opposition. God though, would be my help. In this confidence and trust I could except my sexuality, and be healed

So I rejoice in remembering that time. Now I face a different healing challenge. I don't know if God will zap me on Easter like God did 25 years ago. Healing comes at many levels and in many different ways. In today's Old Testament lesson God says, "See, the former things have come to pass and new things I now declare; before they spring forth, I tell you of them." Isaiah 42: 9.

I am still weaker than I was before chemo, but at a greater level of strength and endurance than last month. I have a reasonable hope that I will continue to build strength and endurance as I continue with my treatments and great hope for putting this disease in remission. I greatly look forward for this Lent to be over with and an Easter to come, which to me as a sign I did Lent well.

Wishing you all a blessed and holy Holy Week.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Sophie Scholl

Teresa and I walked down to Shattuck Theater and watched Sophie Scholl this afternoon. This movie is incredibly powerful. Just go to the website and you will see what I mean. It is the true story of college co-ed in Nazi German whose non-violent resistance led to her death. The way she died, changed people’s lives.

This film is made possible because of transcripts of the Gestapo interrogations, which were hidden in East Germany, were released in 1990. The producers of the film spent hours interviewing people were close to the people involved with this case – family members, friends. The skill and diligence of the research is very evident. And the actors – what fine, fine actors!

Yes this is a must see film, on par with Schindler's list. For you Boiseans, it will be playing at the Flicks starting April 28th.

It is a timely film, especially for our country today. We have an administration that lies through its teeth and is more secretive than any administration in recent memory. We have an administration that thinks it is above the law. We have an administration the deliberately exports fear for its own ends. It exploits racism to its own ends. What do you think this immigration thing is all about? It is about fear and blatant racism. I can only hope that enough fair minded people will appalled by the racist propaganda of the neo-cons to turn them out on their heads in the November elections. If not, well, we get the leaders we deserve.

"Nothing is so unworthy of a civilized nation as allowing itself to be governed without opposition by an irresponsible clique that has yielded to base instinct. . . Do not forget that every people deserves the regime it is willing to endure!" -- First leaflet of the White Rose

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Climbing out of the valley of fatigue

Had a good day today. Teresa and I walked 20 minutes down to the Shattuck theater and watched Transamerica – indeed a great movie. Then we walked back home, an uphill walk and I did fine. Pretty exciting stuff as I know I could not have done that two days ago. I’ve learned from this is I can recover well when I listen to my body, rest and do exercise to tolerance. Saturday I pushed myself going to the James Finley workshop so needed lots of rest Sunday and Monday, which I got. I am so grateful for this day and the strength that is returning.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Down into the valley of fatigue

This time the chemo has hit me harder on the fatigue side of things. Some of this might be because the prednisone dose has been dropped 20 mg. to 40 mg and I’m feeling the fatigue more. The good news is I’m sleeping more. So thanks be to God its spring break and I am getting lots of rest and am able to catch up on sleep. In the long term this is a good thing. As energy and strength return, there will be more blogging. Got some things I want to commit on. In the meantime Rest!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Second round of Chemo tomorrow

Tomorrow I have my second round of chemo. Today I’m feeling pretty good, relatively speaking. I feel stronger, though I still get short of breathe easier than what I did before chemo. I’ve been able to workout logistics so that I can get the Cal Rec gym and do weights. Over the past week I’ve made some gains in muscle strength. One of the good things about working with weights is you can easily track progress. So I’m pleased that the muscle weakness is being reversed.

I will drop my prednisone dose 20 mg to 40 mg per day. Hopefully that will result in me getting a little more sleep. I’m not like really sleepy during the day – though sometimes I do feel that during class. I do lie down a couple times during the day and that helps. My mental processes seem to be doing Ok so I can continue to hang with this treatment.

I’m hoping that since I’m coming into this second round feeling pretty good, I won’t descend in the valley of fatigue for very long. I plan to rest, rest, rest this weekend and eat good food. I’ve learned a lot this month about dealing the fatigue and conserving energy so my hope is that this month will go well.

I look on this as a grand experiment. I not completely sure what will happen has I continue in treatment. There is an expected course but in medicine unexpected things can and do happen, both positive and ill. I have a healthy curiosity about what happens next, how this will go. My sense is that it will go fine. If not, I can deal with that, make adjustments and go on.

I do believe all the prayers for me are helping in wonderful ways. Tomorrow as I receive the chemo I will also take in all that wonder pray power. That thought alone keeps me positive – a very good thing! Thank you to all who are praying for me. To God be the Glory!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Scripture and Errors

Reflecting this morning on the experience of the studying deeply the four gospels over the past several weeks in New Testament class. Thinking about how each gospel tells the unique story of a community’s struggle to come to terms the challenges facing them in the lived context of their lives, struggling to come to terms with the presence of the Risen Christ in their midst, ever elusive, enigmatic, yet ever in your face, now we glimpse him, now we don’t.

Mark’s gospel – a call to return to God’s covenant, to care for one another as God care for us – a call to throw off Roman oppression by trust in God, opting out of the oppressive economic and political system of the Roman’s and the Temple – a plea to not seek a military solution, to seek a military Son of David to save them – a plea that went unheeded and Jerusalem was destroyed.

Matthew’s gospel – Reclaim your Jewish Roots! Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law and Prophets. Build a fence around Torah by loving more than the Torah requires.

Luke’s Gospel – inclusive table fellowship – extend the banquet of God, the feast of God to all people. Exclude no one.

John’s Gospel – Ah, here is a struggle! John’s community, their experience of Jesus as Bread of Life, the Light of the World, the Logos, that very high Christology, well, it’s not been so well received by some of their Jewish brethren. They aren’t listening to us, this community cries. They don’t believe the signs Jesus himself show us and them. We need to separate ourselves, set ourselves apart until they come to their senses.

Each Gospel has a unique story to tell, lesson to learn and live. Some of those lessons are about how the community got it wrong. God in Her wisdom does not dictate the truth to us. She wants us to develop our minds, hearts and spirits – to think – to love God with our whole minds, to learn to discern what is life giving from that which brings death. So God, in Her wisdom has allowed Scripture to come to us imperfect, with errors, so that we may not worship the words of the text, but listen to the Living Word speaking through the text. “See, my child, John didn’t quite get it right here, but here, yes, he got it right. Now let me take you deeper into the meaning of these words.”

Now in New Testament we will get into the mind of Paul. I look forward to learning more about Paul and his struggles. Paul is another person who got some things very right – 1 Corinthians 13 and some things quite wrong – 1 Corinthians 14:34, for example.

I truly believe that “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,” 2 Timothy 3:16, but not in the way many Christians think. I’m not saying the God inspired errors in Scripture. When God inspired humans to write Scripture, God is did not violate our free will, our humanness, our finite knowledge of God. So we fallible humans misunderstand what God was trying to say at times. And that’s OK because the Spirit is ever with us to guide us, if we slow down, be still and admit we don’t comprehend God perfectly, if we are humble and admit we do make mistakes, correct them and move on in the joy and love of God.

Sunday, March 19, 2006


Looks like my blog is getting hit by spammers - those two comments on March 15th that had nothing to do with my blog. I'm going to start monitoring the comments so your comments may not show up right away. I'm probably going to have a bit of a learning curve to get this tweaked right so please bear with me. Thanks

Saturday, March 18, 2006

A Blessed Day

Tilden Park

I am so blessed. Even in my infirmity I am blessed. Had beautiful walk in Tilden Park. Everyone I met on the trail was smiling. The sky was smiling, the clouds, the trees. Nature rejoicing in the glory of her Creator.

I’m listening to the music CD for the Book of Uncommon Prayer. It’s an incredible CD. Gotta read the book.

Good appointments with my docs yesterday. Kidney function is good. Cell counts did not drop but improved after this first treatment. I’m ready for the next round.

Aye, I am blessed.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Rejoice with me

I slept last night. Good sleep from 9 to 5. No classes today so will take more opportunity for rest. Another good thing – If my body is too tired to even sit up at my workstation and work, I can unhook my lap top, get comfy on the couch, my body fully supported and can continue working with less expenditure of energy. I love my lap top. If you are interested, it’s a Dell Inspiron 600M. I’ve notice that Star Gate SG-1 and Star Gate Atlantis are using Dell laptops on their sets. – Ah the joy of product placement!

Also, I know, in my heart and body that all your prayers are helping. They help my spirits when I feel discouraged or worried about how bad this may get when I feel weaker. I believe they are helping when I feel better and I’ve done nothing different. I think they work along with the physical interventions I and my docs are doing to bring healing. Thank-you. You are making a difference in my life.

Went to a very intellectually stimulating lecture on Thomas Aquinas titled “Language Without Reduction - Aquinas on the Linguistic Turns” I’m sure these last sentence solidifies my status as a church geek! :-) The presenter was Fr. Anselm Ramelow, OP (Dominican Priest – Order of Preachers), a German theologian. I was very pleased I could hang with him and his argument, given my knowledge of Aquinas has come in dribs and drabs through the years. I have an interest in language and as a software engineer I was working with very real languages so I could relate to how he was teaching on that level.

What was exciting to me is that in my liturgy class that afternoon, Rev. Professor Louis Weil talked about the problem in our culture where we have lost the idea and understanding of symbol. In many ways we are on one hand very literal in our use of words and on the other hand very cynical in regards to use of words. Ours is a spin culture now. Our leaders speak words to conceal their true intent. They call evil good and good evil. This is a tragic sickness that impedes the communication of truth, love and spiritual wisdom.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Eucharist and Infirmity

One of the difficulties I'm experiencing with my treatment regimen is waking up after four or 5 hours of sleep and not being able to return to sleep. I chalk this up to the effects of my high-dose prednisone. I do take a sleeping pill from time to time, but it's not totally effective.

One of the ways to cope with that is to meditate in bed, using various meditation techniques I know. I will start with centering prayer, and then if I don't fall to sleep I use various meditation tapes to enter a deep state of rest. I don't sleep, but at least I'm resting and have energy when I get up in the morning.

Other times like this morning, I find myself thinking, or perhaps anxious. If I sense I have the energy to deal with the task that is calling me, then I will get up. I have been thinking about Eucharist and its meaning to me, especially in relationship with my present illness.

To me the bread on the altar is not just bread that will become Christ's own body. It is also my body there on the altar, along with everyone else body. Indeed the whole world's there. But I digress. I am there on that shelter offering my body in union with Christ. When the body of Christ is broken at the fraction rite, so is my body broken to become bread for the world.

And yes my body is a broken body. I have kidney disease. My kidneys are inflamed too. They are not filtering proteins. My body is weakening and is fatigued. My immune system is out of whack, and it's attacking parts of my body. Yet has my body becomes the body of Christ in holy Eucharist and I receive from Christ in the person of the Eucharistic minister; His own body, the bread of heaven, in that moment, at a real and mysterious level, I receive healing, and the whole world receives healing with me.

I believe that all infirm persons who choose to enter into this healing process at a deep spiritual level, participate in the healing the world. The world is being saved through sick people. God chooses the things that are not to confound the things that are.

1 Corinthians 1:27-31 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, in order that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."

I recall again the words of that honest bigot in Angels in America, Roy Cohn.” The worst thing about being sick in America, Ethel, is you are booted out of the parade. Americans have no use for the sick. .It’s just no country for the infirm.”

Roy is oh so right. Yet my heart responds, the infirmed have a place in the Body of Christ. We are at the front of the parade. God has a plan, a purpose, a use if you will, for us.

One of my heroes in this strange place of odd-duckednss call CDSP is Will Hocker. He is a third year seminary with full blown AIDS. He preached a powerful sermon on healing in chapel on Advent. I commend it to you for your own reflections this Lent.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Webcams and Med Update

Rainy morning in Berkeley but blue skies coming.

There is a wonderful webcam on top the Berkeley ridge that lets me know what weather is coming. It’s the San Francisco Bay View from Lawrence Hall of Science link in the sidebar to the right. I’ve posted my favorite webcams there for your own enjoyment.

Healthwise, I am really dealing with increased fatigues, increase shortness of breath and decrease muscle strength. The 47 stair steps to the chapel are getting more daunting. I’m trying to think of workarounds for that. Yes, I can pray at home, and I do, but I like going to chapel, to pray with my community.

I take the increase weakness, fatigue to be due to the effect of the chemo on my bone marrow, meaning I have fewer red blood cells to get oxygen to my tissues. Also I’m high dose prednisone which can cause muscle wasting. For one who likes to exercise, be strong and healthy – aye it is distressing. I grieve my loss. Yet I approach this like a rehab nurse, one of my previous nursing practices. I try to do as much as I can within the limits of my infirmity. Yes there are things I can’t do right now, like hiking high in the Berkeley hills, but there are others things I can do. I can still walk and enjoy the little walks I can take.

When I was hospitalized for a month two years ago, I came home very debilitated. I came back from that. When I get off this prednisone, I will rebuild this body again and continue in the Lord’s work. I take comfort in that.

In the mean time I had labs drawn Friday that might shed light on the exact cause of my fatigue. I see my nephrologist on St. Paddy’s day and we will discuss any treatment options that might help with the fatigue. I’ll keep you all posted.

Peace and blessings during this Holy Lent

Sunday, March 05, 2006

el Tren de la Muerte (The Train of Death)

I was pawing through today's
San Francisco Chronicle when I came to the Book Review section. There was a headline that gripped me, "A child's nightmare ride". This picture broke my heart and felt me crying at the breakfast table.

Enrique’s Journey, The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite With His Mother by Sonia Nazario -- well, doesn't the title say everything, unless you are not aware of the reality of Latina Mothers who come to our rich country, who work in menial jobs, to send money back so their children may live? Our economic policies perpetuate this terrible reality. Read the review. Get the book. It is true.

Perhaps this review hit me hard because I too am now far away from my mother and I miss her. I can understand why young children would undertake an impossible journey on the chance they could find their mothers. Oh how their mother's must worry about them!

Perhaps it grabbed me because of a Latina woman I met standing in line at the Kaiser pharmacy. She is a young mother, a grad student and very anxious that she was missing class because of the long line we were both caught in. She also works for an agency that helps Latinos and Latinas who end up of the Bay Area, looking for work. Many now come from Central America. Some don't even speak Spanish, but speak their native Mayan. I sense that Enrique's Journey is lived by many people in the Bay Area, my home state of Idaho and all over the U. S.

I celebrate Lent, face fully Lent, because of stories like these. I am a woman of unclean lips who lives among a people of unclean lips.

God spoke through his prophet Amos to the rich in Israel,

"I will tear down the winter house as well as the summer house;
and the houses of ivory shall perish,
and the great houses shall come to an end,
says the Lord.

Hear this word, you cows of Bashan
who are on Mount Samaria,
who oppress the poor, who crush the needy,
who say to their husbands, ‘Bring something to drink!’
The Lord God has sworn by his holiness:
The time is surely coming upon you,
when they shall take you away with hooks,
even the last of you with fish-hooks.
Through breaches in the wall you shall leave,
each one straight ahead;

and you shall be flung out into Harmon,
says the Lord. " Amos 3:15 - 4:3

Yes, this was a time long ago but the situation is so damn similar to us here in the USA today.

What to do.

First, ask God what is your part in bring justice to the poor. Then listen. Listen with your eyes. Listen with your ears. Listen with your heart. Listen with your mind.

God's promise:
"I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding, whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not stay near you." Psalm 32:8-9

God gave us minds to think with, hearts to feel with, eyes to see with, ears to hear with. Use them.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

A Wall

Rain pours down outside, pounding the street, the roof. The predicted storm has come.. It is almost comforting to hear that rain. It came, it will endure and it will pass away. There will be beautiful clearing. The Bay Area is so beautiful after a rain. The air is crystal clear, fresh, invigorating. Everything has an exquisite sharpness to it, an aliveness.

I need these thoughts this night. Yesterday I hit The Wall. Hmmm. I’d rather call it “a wall”. "The Wall" sounds too permanent. It gives it too much power. Yesterday started at 2:30 A.M. with nervous energy, prednisone energy. I’m on high dose of prednisone now. In the past when I’ve been on high dose prednisone I didn’t sleep well, had this nervous, sometimes hyper energy. I’ve been looking for that since I started the high dose last Thursday, trying to be aware of the prednisone’s affect in my body without inducing the placebo effect.

Sunday, Monday and Tuesday were relatively good days for me, with recovering energy. I started thinking, “Gee, if this is all there is to this Chemo, I’ll be fine.” I felt some trepidation though at what the coming nadir of the chemo therapy would be like. Nadir means lowest point and in terms of Chemo Therapy, the point of greatest impact on the bone marrow. From the bone marrow's point of view, it’s point of lowest production of blood cells. Bone marrow is a marvelous organ that makes our red and white blood cells. That’s where they come from baby.

The Oncology Nurse told me the nadir would be in seven days. So I will have decreasing cell counts until Thursday afternoon or so. That will make me more prone to infection and increasing fatigue. How much depends on my body’s response to the medication.

Yesterday I could feel increase weakness, fatigue coming on. By afternoon my legs were telling me they just could not walk much anymore, too tired. I knew I would need to miss Evening Prayer in the Chapel. That was a bummer. I enjoy worshiping with my fellow seminarians. I enjoy hearing the Word of God proclaimed. I enjoy the prayers and times we sing. But that takes energy. The walk up those stairs takes energy. Sometime I can manage it and sometimes not. Wednesday afternoon those stairs loomed in mind like a great barrier and I knew it was not in my body to surmount them. I was so bummed.

Rested as I could last evening. Went to bed early. Had an awful dream. A bee was attacking me. I was trying to get someplace in Boise and the thing I was on – sometimes a car, sometimes a motorcycle, sometimes a bicycle – had a flat tire. The darn bee was keeping me from fixing the tire. It kept attacking me and I would whack back at it and it would sting me. It had the most exquisite deep, bright blue wings or some part of its body though. Its color intrigued me.

Ok, you guys who do dream work. What do you think?

I’m too tired to think now. I’m winding down and will head back to bed. I did read some of Alicia Parlette’s last journal entry. I have her link on the side bar -- Alicia's Story - Cancer, Despair, Hope and Faith. In this entry she talks about her fatigue. I could really relate to her experience of planning an outing and then not having the energy to do all the plans. It was a comfort to me to read her story. I’m not the only one dealing with fatigue and frustrated plans. Alicia keeps going though, doing what she can, finding the real beauty in life that really, really is there, whatever our state of life. She is honest about her frustration, pain and courage. Such is the path that I too try to walk.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Treating Disease with Compassion

This post is in response to Elizabeth’s question about how to treat disease, addiction with compassion. My practice comes from two teachers. The first one is Steven Levine. He is one of the most balanced spiritual teachers I have every come across. You can get a feel for him on this website, Thinking Allowed. Then go have fun on or Amazon. One of the things I’ve learned from him is to send lovingkindness and compassion into wounds and illness. Notice that when you get a cold, you get mad at it. You stub your toe, you curse it. This is sending hate and anger into the wound. Instead, send lovingkindness into the wound. Send compassion, which means doing the concrete things it needs to relieve suffering. This helps you to relate to the pain, not from the pain.

The next teacher is Pema Chödrön. She teaches a Tibetan practice called tonglen. The basic principle is to breathe in what is hurtful, painful, in yourself or others. Breathe this into your heart, into the depth of your soul. Breathe with your whole body, your skin. Then breathe out into the pain what it needs for healing. I like this practice because it affirms the inner divinity of people. When you breathe a wound or evil into your heart, you are breathing it into God. There, in your heart and God’s heart it is transmuted, healed, transformed into good. Breathing out, into the pain breathes God and our own compassion into the pain, the evil. This helps me to open to my own pain and to not be afraid of another's pain. There are other principles around the practice of tonglen so do go to the website.

Now Pema teaches this practice without using the word God. In my humble opinion, Buddhists talk about God a lot without naming God. They teach us how to love and God is love. To me, the New Testament tells us what to do – love. The Buddhists tell us how to do it.

Post Chemo Day Two

In nursing we have a terminology to mark the days of recovery from surgery. The day of surgery is called, the Day of Surgery. Ah, here is a piece of jargon that clearly says what going on. Say to anyone “Day of Surgery” and they’ll know what you mean. Then we get into the days following surgery. We call them post-op day one, post-op day two, and so forth. What might be a little confusing is on post-op day one, you’ve already been into the surgery-recovery process two days! This may go back to the problem the human mind has with zero. Zero tends to mean nothing or no-thing. But zero can also mean a starting point. When we count down for a rocket lift off, the lift off doesn’t start at one. It starts at zero. Day of surgery is Zero day, as it were. So in our human minds, sometimes we start counting at one, and sometimes we start counting at zero. It can be confusing.

Still, the terminology can be useful. Day of Surgery is an important day with its own unique characteristics and events. You go in for surgery. You get striped down to that silly little gown or huge gown, depending on body size (one size fits none). They put you under. You get cut on. You wake up in recovery. That only happens on Day of Surgery. I think you can extend this paradigm to chemo therapy.

From this point I am speaking mainly from my own very recent experience. I have worked in General Surgery, taking care of patients after their surgery. I have not worked in oncology, taking care of cancer patients, though I have had some training in that as part of my nursing education.

Day of Chemo – you go in. The nurse starts an IV on you, takes you vital signs (pulse, respirations, blood pressure, and temp.) and starts to pump a variety of chemicals, medicines into your body. You sit or lay back in big, fairly comfortable chair for a number of hours while the medicines are pumped in.

On my first Day of Chemo, I knew this going in so I brought school work to read – on Pastoral Theology no less, and a cassette tape to listen to if I liked – David Whyte’s The Soul’s Desire. He has a cool website, great one for the poet seeker in us. I also brought a CD player and Hildegard of Bingen. So I was prepared.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the need for conversation, conversation between me and Teresa – very important – and the need for conversation between me and the nurses who took care of me. So I didn’t get 4 hours of study done but other work, important work was done.

Day of Chemo went really well. I felt great, just maybe a little strange after a good 1000 cc’s of fluid and chemicals pumped into my body, but nothing big. I did work with visualization and relaxation and prayer and things were cool. It was like, is that all there is? Wow.

Then came Post Chemo Day One. I gained seven; yes count them, seven pounds. My legs felt like tree trucks. I called my doc and felt a message on her machine at 5 AM (That’s when I usually get up). As the day progressed I felt worse and worse. My stomach hurt, I was very tired. I did what I could. Doc called back at 11, ordered some Lasix for me, and later that afternoon Teresa was so kind as to drive into Richmond (20 minutes to 30 minutes away, depending on traffic) to get the med for me. I’m glad she could do that. By 3 o’clock I was feeling pretty puny.

Now it is Post Chemo Day Two. I’ve lost eight pounds. The Lasix worked. Doc ordered it PRN, as needed, so I’m not going to take it today to see if one dose is sufficient.

So much of medicine is trail and error. This is a fact of life and as a patient and a nurse, I’ve learned to go with that. Aye, I do wish we could just take a test, get the med and be done with it. Life and health just don’t work that way a lot of the time. Sometimes they do, though, and that’s the confusing part. I think the key thing is to be in relationship with want you are seeking to heal, not just take the med and ignore it.

God knows though, I’ve done a whole lot of ignoring with my disease process. Ignoring it is not all bad. It’s not good for the disease to run your life. The thing is to be in relationship with it in a right and proper way. It does have a place in your life. It’s there in your body. Relate to it with lovingkindness and compassion. Your heart will then feel the way forward for healing. This is easier said than done. I know from experience. It takes practice. Our culture does not teach this. And I am shamed to say my institutional church does not teach this very well. I have yet to hear a sermon about treating illness with compassion and lovingkindness. You can find the teaching in the Episcopal Church if you dig for it. I have, but I had to dig. I got this teaching elsewhere. Then I could see it in my own tradition.

So this morning I’m feeling better, but still a little puny. Hopefully with some more rest I’ll be back up to speed. I find peace though, when I return to this fact that God sustains me and loves me in my puniness. When I rest in that puniness, let go into the puniness, healing comes forth, not just for me, but for the whole world too.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Medical Update - Chemo went well

My apologies to my regular readers. I’ve left you hanging since my last post. It’s been an intense time. I’ve had a case of shingles, which thankfully did resolve nicely since I got on medication right away. This did delay the start of treatment for kidney disease though.

I finally got all my results back from the tests on my heart and lungs. Pulmonary function and my heart are normal. Several years ago I had an echo cardiogram that showed a mildly prolapsed mitral valve. That is not there now. Way cool. I have not had any more episodes of shortness of breath and my endurance and energy is better.

Also, there were still fears and anxieties around the Cytotoxan that I need to work through. I needed to reframe the way I thought about Cytotoxan. As a nurse, I am aware of the serious side effects that may come with Cytotoxan. Cytotoxan also has healing properties (that’s why it is prescribed). I have been able focus on those properties and I have sought to put on the mind of Christ about this whole matter.

Yesterday I had my first treatment and it went very well, thanks be to God. There was no nausea or other reactions. (Phew!) This therapy is truly a process and other side effects may not become evident until later. I have a whole slug of people praying for me, here in Berkeley and the whole seminary and in Boise and elsewhere. I take those prayers into my heart and clam the healing and love that is there. This is something I did two years ago when I was so very sick. Now I can do this at an even deep level. This is the joy of spiritual practice, it does improve with practice!

I’ve added a new link down in the Links of Note section. It’s called Alicia's Story - Cancer, Despair, Hope and Faith. Alicia is a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle and is blogging about her journey with cancer. Hers is an amazing story and will worth following.

Peace to you all and be well

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Duckedness, Angels in America and Brokeback Mountain

This post is in response to some of my sweet brother's comments.

Duckedness -- ever heard of the expression "odd duck"?

Why I'm in seminary.

I am pursuing a Master's in Divinity and perhaps a Masters in Theology. God willing, I hope to be ordained a priest for I feel that call in my life. I'm here seeking to be faithful to God's call in my life and continue to work that out, day by day for love of my Beloved Savior.

Angels in America -- living life on one's own terms.

As a nurse, I learned it is better to have a patient partially due healthcare behaviors than to do none at all. It is far better for an individual to choose to live life on their own life-affirming terms them blindly follow the terms of the prevailing culture. Prior may a life-affirming decision and chose to live that out. He was not saying “my way or the highway”. Yes, for the Christian the goal is that we choose to live life on God's terms. Pryor was not anywhere near that place in his life. Yet in Pryor's decision to affirm life he was certainly pointed in the direction of God's will for him and for all of us that we should affirm life. I think of the Second Vatican Council’s definition of the people of God. Tthey started out with defining Roman Catholics as the people of God, and then they expended the circle to Protestants. Then they expended it to include anyone who believes in divinity, and finally to include those who seek to do good in life.

Dear brother, I think you are misconstruing the "homosexual agenda". Our agenda, such as it is, is to have equal rights of every other human being. It is not that everyone should become gay. You seem to be basing your conclusions on the most extreme aspects of homosexual culture that the religious right likes to highlight. You have not listened to the thoughts and feelings, the fears and aspirations of the majority of homosexual people. I suggest you read Mel White’s Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay And Christian In America. Follow that with The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart by Peter J. Gomes. I think these books can help you to better understand the struggles gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people go through.

Brokeback Mountain

Concerning Brokeback Aountain. Aye, I felt homesick too watching that too. As I've hides in camps in raises very much like those in the movie. That Wyoming town could have been an Idaho rural town. I enjoy Berkeley, but oh, I do miss Idaho.

To me, the movie is a tragic testimony of what happens when people are not allowed to be who they are created to be. If our culture would allow people to be who they are those young men could have had the option of forming a committed relationship and not be forced to into false marriages. Their lives were tragic, not because they were homosexual, but because society did not accept them. This injustice still continues today, and it is a sin.

For all you readers out there, obviously my brother and I disagree on a few things. But he loves me and I love him and we both love Jesus and that's what counts. We both seek to respectfully disagree with one another when there is a difference of opinion.