Thursday, December 15, 2016

So here's what I've been doing with my day.

I bucked the BBC as my main source of news a few years ago and switched to Al Jazeera, and they've been reporting on what's happening in Aleppo A LOT. Stumped by what I can do that will help the situation and more than a little tired of pleas for donations that I know won't get there in time, I did something I've gotten quite good at doing: writing letters to my representatives.

Here. Copy it. I don't care. Send it to everyone. Just do your part to make this not end in genocide.



I have been reading the news about the recent events in Syria and eastern Aleppo specifically, and I have become quite concerned with what is going on. What I read describes what can only be described as genocide: double-tap bombing (bombing one area, waiting for civilians to come help those in the rubble, and then bombing again), civilians being gunned down as they run to safety, systematic rape, and more horrible things. I have read of women being killed or committing suicide to avoid getting raped by regime soldiers. Surely you know there are no hospitals left in east Aleppo, and all the makeshift clinics can do is stop a civilian’s bleeding and send them on their way. Such things are too terrible to even hear about—I cannot even imagine living this nightmare. 

There is absolutely nothing I can do to help, and that frustrates and saddens me. I have given money to the White Helmets and other organizations that are on the ground in Aleppo. I am bombarded daily by requests from humanitarian leagues that tell me to donate more money to help the remaining civilians. But I know the truth: That money will never make it there in time. The organizations will only be there to clean up whatever is left of Aleppo. In the meantime, I fear total genocide. 

I know that only the world governments can step in in time to do something, and I hope that you will do what is in your power to stop the devastation in Aleppo. There is no advice I can give you. I know nothing about the military and diplomatic relations. I am just a sad constituent who is not content to hope and pray alone that this will end peacefully. I hope there is something our government can work together to do. 


Thank you for your time in reading this. It is my hope that peace can reign again in Syria. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Peacemakers

I've been reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer's The Cost of Discipleship leading up to the election (back when I thought Clinton's win would be a given), and today I'm in such a fog of disappointment and fear that I feel damned lucky to be this far along. I never imagined the New Fascists would gain the White House. But as I read, I found this--it's for my Christian amigos and hopefully won't piss off anyone else (as always, feel free to ignore me). And now's a good time to read Bonhoeffer, by the way.
"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God." The followers of Jesus have been called to peace. When he called them they found their peace, for he is their peace. But now they are told that they must not only have peace but make it. And to that end they renounce all violence and tumult. In the cause of Christ nothing is to be gained by such methods. His kingdom is one of peace, and the mutual greeting of his flock is a greeting of peace. His disciples keep the peace by choosing to endure suffering themselves rather than inflict it on others. They maintain fellowship where others would break it off. They renounce all self-assertion, and quietly suffer in the face of hatred and wrong. In doing so they overcome evil with good, and establish the peace of God in the midst of a world of war and hate. But nowhere will peace be more manifest than where they meet the wicked in peace and are ready to suffer at their hands. The peacemakers will carry the cross with their Lord, for it was on the cross that peace was made. Now that they are partners in Christ's work of reconciliation, they are called the sons of God as he is the Son of God. 

Now get out there and take care of your fellow man, pretty much all of whom but white males have been called out, and "quietly suffer in the face of hatred and wrong."

Sunday, September 4, 2016

There's a New Blog in Town

I've been writing poetry for several months now. They have a pretty common social justice theme, and that makes me want to get them out there for all the world to see and fret over and change the world, etc. Just one problem ...

DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO GET PUBLISHED?!

I have one poem in literary limbo (I may just withdraw it because I'm tired of waiting), and all the rest have been rejects. There was a tweet I read about how, out of 500+ submissions, this person had been published 19 times. NINETEEN. Not good odds. Oh, but the fame! The exposure! The submission prizes! How about the submission fees? And the only place I've looked at paying for poetry is giving you a whopping $15 per poem. Yay. Meanwhile, the great Warsan Shire is lighting up the world (seen Lemonade?) publishing on Tumblr. Hmm. In fact, I've heard that the best young poets are showing their stuff mostly on Tumblr and Twitter. I myself have put out a few poems on Twitter (I like those brief poems). #micropoetry is a thing--often, quite a stupendous thing.

Chris suggested that I give the lit mags a miss and go solo. My initial response was that someone would steal my stuff, but with a little internet sleuthery Chris found that anything stuck on a blog (or Twitter, or Tumblr, or whatever) is automatically copyrighted. And I did want this stuff in readers hands (or rather, on their blinding blue-screens) while it was relevant. So I am giving the lit mags a miss: Meet Loquacious Loquat - The Poems.

FYI: The only poem up right now is one I wrote on Twitter. There are two others somewhere in the depths of my TL--I'll put them on Loquat Poems as I dig them up.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Eulogy for Ma

I'm finally getting my eulogy for my grandmother up on the blog, complete with the quote from the book Holy Simplicity: The Little Way of Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day & Therese of Lisieux by Joel Schorn. Big thanks to those who laughed at my jokes. 

-*- 

I hate to start this little speech by throwing my dad under the bus, but one of the first things he said when he and my aunt met up at my house was that Ma’s obituary was not going to be as long as her husband’s was. My hackles went up because I erroneously construed this to mean that my grandmother was somehow less “important”, to use a worldly term. This stayed on my mind for the rest of the evening, with thoughts coming from all directions to flesh this out. Eventually, I remembered something from a book I’d been reading about the Catholic Saint Therese of Lisieux (and I only just found out that Ma was Catholic herself for a time, so it turned out to be deliciously appropriate): 
When Saint Therese lay sick and dying, she overheard two novices whom she directed chatting outside her window. They were speculating about the death notice that the mother superior would send to the other Carmelite communities, as was customary on the death of a sister. "I really wonder sometimes what our Mother Prioress will find to say about Sister Therese when she dies," one of the novices said. "She has certainly never done anything worth speaking of." 
Those who know of St Therese are probably laughing to themselves; those who don’t know must know that the book goes on to describe St Therese as having “a spectacular career as a saint” and receiving the much-revered title of Doctor of the Church. Obituaries and death notices, it seems, are not the best avenue for recounting the treasures a person has stored up in heaven. My grandfather did things that added up to a very expensive obituary in the Dallas Morning News. I’m not here to recount those things. What I’ll recount is how Ma stayed with me while everyone went to the Mavericks game when I had the chicken pox … in sixth grade … over spring break … the same week the FDA approved the chicken pox vaccine. And I’ll also recount how she took my mother out to shop for new clothes after my brother and I were born. And, my goodness, did you ever hear her hum or sing a hymn to herself? It just sounded right. And I remember when she took me out to lunch for my birthday and told my husband and me about about her job fitting glasses for WWII troops, and she said to us, “I swear, everyone in the Army needed glasses.” No, not the stuff of obituaries, which doesn’t bode well for my future obit. But like I said, these are treasures stored in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. That’s infinitely better. 


May you all have boring obituaries. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

What the Hell is this Blog?

I've been asking myself that question lately. A religion blog? A political activism blog? Perhaps, just a blog about voraciously knitting. All that and more! But not much more ... I'm not around here often anymore.

I wander the house now, clad in my jim-jams and a hooded cardigan, thinking differently about my glasses. You see, I read in N.T. Wright book that a "Christian worldview" isn't forcing your religion on others via a political system, but rather the lenses through which you see the world. That means something to someone so desperately blind as me without my glasses on. I think about that a lot now, so there's only one conclusion ...

THIS IS A CHRISTIAN BLOG. 

I see everything--my political activism (such as it is), my psychology, even my knitting--as one of many Christian acts. Often I see myself failing in the Christian realm. Believe me, I really suck at being a Christian. I told Chris just yesterday that sometimes I want to give up and just be a secular humanist because good works in the Christian world seem to come attached with ulterior motives. Thing is, though, I kinda like Jesus. And I kinda think He's God. Little complications.

So welcome, for the billionth time, to my Christian Spectacles. I'll try to blog more often.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Dear Linda, We Haven't Forgotten

Dear Linda, who art in Heaven ...

Last year, I called to wish you a happy Valentines Day. I got your daughter instead of you. She told me you died on February 4th, and I was glad to hear that you two had reconciled before your death. That was always near your heart. She apparently didn't know about your desire to have your body donated to science and cremated you instead. Chris laments that we don't have anywhere to go to visit you on this day. But we do plan to remember you in a little service of our own design. We'll light the candle on the sconce of Jesus the Good Shepherd; I will say Saint Francis's "Canticle of Brother Sun" because of your love of nature; and Chris will recite T.S. Eliot's poem "The Naming of Cats" due to your love of all things feline. Speaking of felines, I don't know how Mitzvah is doing. I know your last assistant claimed him, and I hope she's taking good care of him.

I admit that I thought you were a burden a lot of the time--even you have to admit you could be pretty demanding! But after you died, there were times when I'd get back from the psychiatrist and find myself wanting to call you to tell you about a new protocol or my latest prognosis. You know, I used to think you were schizoaffective, depressive type; now I just think you were a mystic whose ways we couldn't even begin to understand. No wonder you were depressed--I can't imagine a mystic who wouldn't be depressed! It seems like a hard thing to bear.

So many people loved you, yet you always said you had no friends. Now I'm doing that! I feel alone in the world, but there are so many people who care for my wellbeing, who miss me at church when I'm gone, who just come over for tea. You had a way with people, and I'm not sure you realized it. I remember being there when your former hospice caretaker came by. You were no longer in hospice care--she had no official reason to be there. People from your church came by all the time to see how you were doing. Heck, Chris and I always came to see you and called you long after the depression group therapy we met in was over.

The thing I regret most is not calling you to wish you "Merry Christmas" in the months before you died. I was with family, overwhelmed by my introversion and agoraphobia. My phone had no reception. I wish I'd called somehow. I wish I'd given you your present. You liked slow cookers, so I thought one of those Wonderbags that were so popular would be a good gift. I almost gave it to your daughter after I found out you died, but we ended up never meeting, and now the sentimentality of it is probably gone. I think I may give it to charity in your memory--for families who don't have everything they need. Methinks you'd like that.

I'd still like to help people who are alone. Maybe one day I'll be able to work--I don't know--stupid depression. For now, I think I'll try my hand at Meals on Wheels. They helped you fairly often. Anyway, I guess it's a little hokey to do this, but I wanted to say hi. And we miss you. And even though you might think you were just a housebound woman, you had an impact on us that we're not likely to forget our whole lives long. Chris and I love you.

Love,
Chandler