Monday, September 19, 2011

Talk Like a Pirate Day - the Text for the Week

When he be enterin' th' temple, th' chief priests 'n th' elders 'o th' people came to him as he was teachin', 'n said, "By what authority be ye doin' these thin's, 'n who gave ye 'tis authority?" Jesus said to them, "I gunna also ask ye one inquiry; if ye be tellin' me th' answer, then I gunna also be tellin' ye by what authority I do these thin's.

Did th' baptism 'o Johny-boy come from heaven, or was it 'o human origin?" 'n they argued wit' one another, "If we shout, 'From heaven,' he gunna shout to us, 'Why then did ye not believe him?' But if we shout, ''o human origin,' we be a-feared 'o th' crowd; fer all regard Johny-boy as a prophet."

So they answered Jesus, "We do not be knowin'." 'n he said to them, "Neither gunna I be tellin' ye by what authority I be doin' these thin's.

"What do ye think? A scurvy dog had a pair sons; he went to th' first 'n said, 'Son, be off 'n set the sails in th' vineyard this day.' He answered, 'I gunna not'; but later he changed his mind 'n went. Th' salty sea-dog 'o a father went to th' second 'n said th' same; 'n he answered, 'I be off, matey'; but he did not be off.

Which 'o th' a pair did th' gunna 'o his salty sea-dog 'o a father?" They said, "th' first." Jesus said to them, "Truly I be tellin' ye, th' tax collectors 'n th' prostitutes be goin' into th' kin'dom 'o God ahead 'o ye. fer Johny-boy came to ye in th' way 'o righteousness 'n ye did not believe him, but th' tax collectors 'n th' prostitutes believed him; 'n even after ye saw it, ye did not change ye minds 'n believe him.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Project Order from Chaos, Reflections for a Tuesday

I've long wondered what the purpose of all this downsizing really is - what the drive to do it consist of - where the drive comes from.

Part is sheerly reactionary. The amount of stuff to keep up with is overwhelming.  Bill and I have inheirted way too much stuff.  We have accumulated tons of furniture, clothing and knick-knacks just by passive accumulation.  Literal tons.  Tractor trailers full of it.  At a certain rate, we could keep up with the dissolution of the material goods.  But like Lucy in the Chocolate factory, eventually we could *not* keep up and we started shoving it anywhere it would fit. (  You can't keep that up indefinitely and it began to spill out into everyday living areas.  At a certain point, you have to go through it, making decision all the time.

In fact, that's the key to all this - making decisions all the time to keep, trash, donate or sell.  Every single item that comes into a house needs to either have a place made for it, or you have to make a decision as it's eventual disposal.

Right now, I'm fussing with books.  I have made a decision: I cannot think of purchasing a book - theology, fiction, coffee-table, whatever - without deciding either 1) which other book gets the boot or 2) how will I dispose of this book when I'm finished?  I'm purchasing more books on iBooks or Kindle just for this reason, although I do believe there is nothing that will replace the feel of a book in your hands.  

I did go through a phase of active accumulation, especially when we first married.  The house seemed so empty and what was not new was what I called "Salvation Army Reject" or "Early Married Impoverished."  Most of those furnishings have gone away, but I definitely spent a phase in my early marriage of accumulation.  I was trying to fill myself up with something - I guess I was mourning a bit the fact that I was no longer an independent adult, that I now had another person to think of.  I also was mourning the single life.  No one warned me about that!  And no one warned me about the loss of "self" that comes with having children and the fact that you are never alone again - no, not even to use the restroom!  I mourned the fact that I had to put my desires on the back burner for the greater good of the family.  It's really not as selfish as it sounds; most new mothers go through it.  But again, I began to purchase and accumulate to deal with these feelings.

I started accumulating again passively as my parents and grandparents died.  However, I didn't mind because the items reminded me of them - they were physical relics, memories.  Again, the stuff filled a void.

However -- stuff can't fill these voids.  Stuff can't replace that sense of self identity or self worth or dead loved ones.  Those voids have to mend on their own; and of course it can be filled by God.  Interesting that this society has made "stuff" equal to God, is it not?

Enough of this -- time to sort more books.  Of course, we purchased 6 yesterday so at least 6 must go out today!

Friday, September 09, 2011

Question of the Week

 (These are from John Wesley's questions that he developed to help people in his circle of influence come closer to Christ as they went over these questions and held each other accountable.)
Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?

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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Project Order from Chaos?

Project Order from Chaos either went away or went light speed.  In January, I had decided to give away 4 items a day for a year.  I did well in this for quite a while, documenting all of it by taking pictures –well at least for the first couple of months.  I pressed on until June when God, the Bishop, the DS and the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church moved us.

Now, Project Order from Chaos has hit light speed.  There is no contemplation about items, no playfulness in arranging little pictures, no joking around and making puns.  We are big time serious about this thing at the moment.

I didn't realize I was just playing around with downsizing, simplifying and streamlining until I was thrown into this thing called "moving."  Now my task is to take the material that filled up one 1100 square foot parsonage, one 2400 square foot house, a storage unit and a few other odds and ends and make it fit into a 1400 (or so) square foot parsonage.  Big news here: it won't all fit.

I'm no longer having to make decisions about the *excess* of material, but having to make decisions on things I didn't think were excess.  For instance, I own two very complete set of dishes: (1) the dishes that I grew up with, whose very pattern brings me comfort and eases my anxiety (Berkeley by Syracuse, just in case anyone is interested) and (2) the set that Bill and I selected as wedding presents, registering at every conceivable department store and shopping for on our honeymoon (Folk Art by Pfaltzgraff).  There is no room in this house for both.  Which do I use?  Actually, there isn't room for all the Folk Art, just bits and pieces, as we own LOTS of it.  Right now and because it was in the Monroe parsonage, we are using the older set that I grew up with.  I love these dishes, but there is discussion in the family about swapping them out.  I am having to choose between the pattern I love and reminds me of my childhood and the pattern that I love and reminds me of this family.  I don't want to have to make this choice!  I'm always a both/and rather than an either/or.  

Of course, I could resort to some conspicuous consumption, donate/pitch/sell both sets and buy more, but is that really really and option? (NO)  Today, I'm sticking with convenience - I'd rather have the Pfaltzgraff (maybe) but the Berkeley is in the cabinets here already (and they match the kitchen (and you know that coordination of color in home decor is more important than functionality.))

So I’m a little stuck.  I’m going to play like Scarlett and think about it tomorrow.

Likewise, if we store all the stuff in the Loganville house and rent/sell it, I will have to do something with the piano.  I love my piano.  I miss my piano.  There are seasons in my life where I play it for hours.  I’ve named it Isaac.  It’s a real antique originally owned by my grandmother.  So if we rent/sell the Loganville house, I am going to have to move it to this house. (NO!  NO storage for piano.  It needs climate controlled love and care.)  However, the only place to put it is where I’ve placed my mother’s cedar chest.  The cedar chest is one of the few pieces I have of my mother’s in the parsonage.  It meant a lot to her – it was her first furniture piece that she purchased with her own money after going to work Southern Bell at age 18 and saving up for 3 years.  And it’s full of things that I don’t want to go away: Hairy the fur coat, the coverlet that my g’g’g’grandmother made, my fur muff from 1st grade, some of my children’s clothing from when they were babies.  So which goes away to sell or to storage?  I don’t know.

It’s not the excess clothing that bothering me, or the unnecessary books or boxes of pens and pencils.  I easily can go through and dispose properly of all that – it’s the things that one might consider heirlooms that I’m struggling with.

Now what?

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Working too Long

OK, I've been working too long. Just read "Monogamy in the Age of Dan Savage" as "Mammography in the Age of Dan Savage." I know I must keep abreast of current topics, but I think it's time that I stop now.