Thursday, June 14, 2018

Updates and Kidbits

It's the last week of school!  Yep, summer starts tomorrow.  We'll be going to a picnic of their elementary school cohort today, the ones they had class with from 4th through 6th grade.  It's the third or fourth year of this tradition.  I think the parents like it as much as (probably more than) the kids.

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Bud and I are learning a piano solo together, Coldplay's "Viva La Vida."  I have the melody and Bud is doing all of the rhythm and harmonies.  Because I'm not great at counting/keeping time, I rely on Bud to give me clues.  And I'm trying to practice a lot.  He's a very patient teacher and we're having a lot of fun; we definitely make our piano teacher laugh.  I'm also practicing "Amazing Grace."  I love the tune and it will be great to know for hospice.  I find that when I play the hospice piano, people like to stop and talk.  One time, when I was playing "Greensleeves," a woman came in--her mother had just died and it had been her favorite song--the daughter thought it was a sign.  I'm glad it brought her comfort.

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Sis had a horse show last weekend, riding Arthur.  She loves those horses.  She is less concerned with how the competition goes, especially now that she is in the intermediate group with more experienced riders.  She placed 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in equitation, pleasure, and then jumps.  Then she spent an extra 6+ hours hanging out with the horses.

She is taking a summer break from speedskating.  After Patience the horse stepped on her, Sis had to wear a boot and then loose shoes; speedskates are too much.  She'll resume with the next session.

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And Bud is learning a new kung fu form, "Eagle," which is another hand form (meaning no weapons.)  He loves the new moves and is practicing his aerial.  He's hoping to take parkour classes this summer to learn some more flips and jumps.  He loves to move and dance.  His favorite music right now is by BTS, the K-Pop (Korean pop) band that is taking the world by storm.  It's seven young South Korean men with likeable tunes and amazing dance moves.  Bud listens all the time, though half of the lyrics are in Korean.  And we're going to their concert in September, though it was a trick to get tickets (fortunately before the prices skyrocketed.)

-=-=-=-=-=-

I've finished all of my CPE papers--6 case studies, 19 weekly reflections, a long midterm evaluation, and an even longer final evaluation.  I still have about 40 hours to finish in the next six weeks, but that shouldn't be too hard (knock on wood.)   I was at hospice yesterday for four hours.  It was a doubly special day:  I saw our flock of goslings, eight of which are losing their down and earning their goosey markings, AND the cheese truck came!  It was a nice change for lunch and lots of us treated ourselves.  I had a great grilled cheese with a bit of pesto.  So nice to eat something different. 

The Dominican seminarians are now with us for the summer.  I was in the hospital when they arrived but have now had time to get to know them a bit.  They're young and very cerebral, doing good works but very caught up (righteously) on what they think is true.  They don't see it that way--as their truth--only as "the truth." I just listen and say okay, uh-huh--which is not the same as yes!--and they really don't seem to recognize that I might disagree--how could I disagree with truth?--they haven't even asked.  And they have no clue what a Unitarian might be (except wrong about the Trinity, obviously!)  They've lectured to me about Thomas Aquinas and his Summa and the various daughters of Sin everyday this week.  Well, at least I'm learning something. Our older Catholic priest just rolls his eyes!  He's practically a hippie from the 1960s, in line with Pope Francis, a fan of liberation theology and mostly focused on the love of Jesus.  The brothers like John Paul II and have rigid ideas about sin and salvation and the sacraments.  It's going to be an interesting summer.

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Gommie will be here next week!  We're still trying to figure out some new and fun things to do.  After 16 years of visiting Connecticut, she's seen and done a lot.  But we're looking.

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Last night, Mama and I went to a department party at a go-kart place.  We didn't ride--though she wants to go back with the kids and her brother.  Instead, we played Skeeball and ice hockey and had a lot of fun.  And there's always good food at the parties--squash tacos, carne asada tacos, quesadillas, empanadas, french fries, tater tots with lime salt, chicken wings, little pepperoni pizzas!  Yum, yum!

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In my next post, I'll introduce our new foster cat, Romeo . . . . he arrives tomorrow.  It's a long story.


Cooking a Little

We've been doing a little cooking!  And the kids will be adding another meal to their repertoires this summer.  I'm also planning on their cooking for Gommie, when she is here next week.


Mashed Potatoes
Best.  Food.  Ever.  I love mashed potatoes.
3-5 lbs potatoes, either Yukon or Russet, scrubbed and peeled (as desired; we don't peel Yukons)
salt and pepper
3-5 tablespoons butter
approximately 1 cup warmed milk or cream

Clean, peel (as desired), and quarter potatoes.  Place in cold water, with a 2" cover.  Add salt.  Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20+ minutes until tender.

Drain.  Add butter and then potatoes.  Begin to mash.  Add warmed milk, salt, and pepper to taste.  Finish mashing to desired consistency.

Mommy Hungry


Garlic Chicken
We all loved this recipe.  And it will be a great thing to serve to guests.  Save the oil for other recipes.
Bone-in chicken pieces (2 breasts, package of thighs)
40 cloves of garlic, peeled
10 sprigs thyme
1/2 cup olive oil plus 2 tablespoons
salt and pepper
lemon, sliced
(capers or olives might be good too)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Toss with a 2 tablespoons olive oil and brown on both sides in a wide fry pan or skillet over high heat. Remove from heat, add oil, thyme, lemon, and garlic cloves. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove chicken from the oven, let rest for 5 to 10 minutes, carve, and serve.
adapted from Alton Brown



S'Mores Bars
This is Bud's new specialty sweet, to add to his Jam Bar prowess.
5 Tbs butter
10 oz mini-marshmallows, divided
1 small bag mini chocolate chips, frozen
8 cups Golden Grahams cereal

Melt butter in large pot.  Add all but one cup of marshmallows, stirring until melted.  Remove from heat.  Add cereal, rest of marshmallows, and chocolate chips.  Stir til coated.  Pat into 9 x 13" greased pan.  Cool, cut, and serve.

Golden Grahams recipe


Sheet Pan Quesadillas
A great way to use up leftovers.  And we think it would be good with other non-Tex-Mex fillings.
14+ large flour tortillas
3 cups cheese (Cheddar, Mexican, etc.)
fillings--cooked chicken, taco meat, peppers and onions, salsa and squash, beans, etc.

Grease large cookie sheet.  Lay down tortillas, spread cheese and fillings, cover with other tortillas.  Spray bottom of other sheet pan and press down on filled pan.  Add skillet for more pressure.  Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.  Remove skillet and top sheet pan and bake 15+ minutes more until brown and crispy.  Cut and serve immediately.

adapted from Tasty.com


Summer Ideas

Here we go.

  • finish my Raptor Identification online class
  • practice painting mandala rocks
  • start embroidery project
  • organize photo book for first half of the year
  • finish several crocheted blankets for hospice
  • read down my nightstand pile
  • Practice "Viva La Vida" and "Amazing Grace" on piano
  • computer camp for both
  • GS camp for Sis
  • horse camp for Sis
  • Parkour classes for Bud
  • Birthdays!
  • teach Bud how to do laundry
  • Audubon family camp
  • celebrate 4th of July
  • Gommie's visit
  • GS overnight for family in Boston
  • get new upstairs floor 
  • foster new cat, Romeo
  • volunteer at cat shelter
  • backyard cookout
  • practice dinner skills--add one meal each to repertoire
  • add one chore each
  • weed the garden
  • go swimming
  • go to the beach
  • movies!!  Ant-Man and the Wasp, Pooh, Jurassic Park etc
  • make ice cream
  • putt-putt golf
  • go-kart racing

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Weekly Reflections


“What religion are you?” asked one of the administrators not long after I got to the ER in New Jersey. 

Unitarian Universalist.

“We don’t have that.  Do you have another religion?”

Is that like choosing soup when they don’t have salad?

“Um, Buddhist.”

They had that.

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Pain.  The unsmiley face.  A ten.  I surpassed my previous pain threshold on Saturday, breaking through Morphine, then Dilaudid, and finally finding relief with double Percocet.  At 3 a.m., before relief, there was Mama's hand and my breath.  Love and mindfulness, two of my spiritual practices.  With eight years of using breath meditation to address chronic pain and surgeries, I tried to use those techniques to get through the night.  Stay in the moment; don’t begin to tell stories about what had happened or what might happen.  Look at the pain closely—is it  sharp? Achy? Constant? Pulsing?  Really examine the monolithic idea of pain.  And breathe.  Keep breathing.  Through the nose, out the mouth, if you can.  I know I tend to huff when I hurt, expelling breath as a coping technique.  With the meds, my wife, and my breath, I fell asleep eventually.

-=-=-=-=-=-

Mama had left a voicemail for the chaplain on Saturday.

I left a written note for the chaplain on the desk on Monday when I borrowed a book from the chapel.

On Monday, near the chapel, I saw the chaplain walk away before I could say hello.  Later a man walked up to us, looking for me.  "Are you the chaplain?" I asked.  "Far from it," he scoffed.  He was one of my doctors.

We left late Tuesday night.

I never met with a single member of the chaplaincy department.

-=-=-=-=-=-

The chapel was beautiful.  A polygonal building on the hospital’s roof with 200-degree views of the surrounding Jersey Shore, the windows had both colorful stained glass depicting nature—turtles, geese, the sun—and clear etched windows of the nearby boardwalk.

There were a few rows of padded pews and a simple altar with various Christian reading materials.  One was Ernesto Cardenal’s Abide in Love, a small giftbook with short paragraphs on a variety of topics.  I borrowed it to read back in my room. 

Before we left, Mama and I sat in silence.  I meditated, offering metta for myself and all those in the hospital.  I think she was doing the same; or napping.

-=-=-=-=-=-

Abide in Love.  I can’t really respond to Cardenal’s theology, having read the book between naps and not having a copy with me now.  I do recall thinking that, by defining God as everything—except sin—in order to say that even atheists are religious (actually more religious if memory serves—something about atheists embracing the idea that God does not exist and is nothing, both apophatic ideas), Cardenal was hedging his bets. He focuses particularly on God as love; similar ideas exist in some of my CPE readings, including Karen Armstrong’s Case for God and the writings of Rev. Kate Braestrup.

Love as a practice.  Religion as an action.  Agape, philia, storge, eros. The Golden Rule.  1 John 4:16.

Everything Mama did that week was love in action.  I was surrounded by love—hers, my kids, my in-laws who rushed to help out, my family in Texas, our community in Connecticut and online, the doctors, nurses, aides, and staff members. 

Not the chaplain, though. 

This was religion in practice.   And it didn’t matter what the label in the computer was.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-

I have looked on this CPE as a period of discernment in my chaplaincy ministry.  To become a UU hospice chaplain, I would need to complete 4 CPEs and also earn an MDiv, in addition to other requirements.  I wanted to know if I loved hospice and wanted to follow the call to chaplaincy enough to complete the requirements of what would be my second career.  The answer, I have found, is yes. 


The 300 clinical hours and 100 educational hours I have completed have been eye-opening.   At hospice, I have held the hands of a woman deep in dementia, sung to a dying man, read to another.  I have prayed over the bodies of beloved family members; I have sat with a distraught teenager as her father’s life has ended.  I have prayed with Protestant and Catholics, Jews and Hindus; I have offered my ministry of presence to those who do not pray. 

I have reflected on those experiences in writing case studies and weekly essays.  I have analyzed them for transference and theological issues, considered better open-ended questions and prayers.  I have discussed them with both on-site and CPE supervisors and my cohort.   I practice taking the constructive criticism as a gifting and as a learning opportunity, striving to improve my skills as a chaplain and to reflect on myself.  I know there is still so much to learn, to practice.  I’ve grown so much in the last few months and am inspired to continue. 

Being in the hospital and home recuperating these last two weeks have clarified my call as well.  My CPE supervisor asked last night in our ZOOM meeting if not seeing the chaplain had affected my recovery.  And I had said no, but not because I feel chaplains have no effect.  Instead, I received the spiritual nurturing I needed from friends instead of the official chaplain.  I knew I needed the spiritual support and sought it; it does make a difference—and it lifted me during the hard moments in the hospital.  I know when I do the work of ministry that I make a difference for those I work with. 

And I love the work, both with others and on myself.  I want to continue and will be pursuing that MDiv and other CPEs later.  Until then, I will continue to volunteer at hospice.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Two Hours in Ocean city

Before things turned sour on Saturday, we had a good time in Ocean City, New Jersey.  I'd never been to the Jersey Shore before, not being fond of beaches much less the eponymous tv show.  We were going to spend Saturday at the boardwalk before Sunday's big competition, where we've spent most Memorial Days in the last several years.

I have only been to one other boardwalk, the one at Coney Island, where I enjoyed the sea otters at the Aquarium and the hot dogs and waffle fries at Nathan's.  Otherwise, it was kinda grimy.  But Mama and the Bud had been to O.C. two years ago for competition, when I'd stayed home with feverish Sis, and enjoyed themselves; they wanted to share it with us.

I knew to take it easy, doctor's orders on clear liquids only and not too much walking.  I had a pina colada Polish water ice which was mostly sugar and delicious.  And took many breaks--we also only walked two blocks!  It was delightful.  The beach was crowded but not packed, as was the boardwalk, with its nice wide wooden walkway and line of quirky shops.  There was Johnson's popcorn, Manco & Manco pizza (with a long line), Shriver's fudge and taffy, Freilinger's fudge and taffy, softserve ice cream place, Polish water ice place, Taylor pork roll place, curly fries place, the kite place.  And we stopped off to browse through many of them.  The candy places were such fun--bins of taffy, cases of fudge, assorted colorful lollipops, and tubs of "penny" candy.  Plus all manner of knicknacks, mostly beach based.  Sis and I got henna from one of the shops, little mandala-like designs on our hands.  And Bud got a set of nine-chain like rope tricks, which he demonstrated on the beach. 



Candy presses






Then we played putt-putt.  Lots of putt-putt places to choose from--Congo, pirate, medieval, haunted.  Bud chose Congo's Lost City, which was quick and fun.  And then he got a hole-in-one on the last "free game" hole and won a game!  Which they went straight to play while I sat and admired the water, the kites, the sky, the beach . . . and then the abdominal pain hit and our little excursion took a bad turn.  Still, it was fun while it lasted and I'd like to go back.

Next year for Memorial Day . . . .

Again

I'm still wrapping my head around it, but I spent the weekend in a hospital in NJ with severe but unexplained abdominal pain, similar to but not the same as the week before.  I'm just now home and following up with my doctors.  The diagnoses is uncertain, running the gamut from partial small bowel obstruction, appendicitis, diverticulitis, peritoneal inflammation to gastroenteritis, colitis, Crohn's, and inflammatory bowel disease.  We'll see where we go from here.  Taking it easy.  Eating rice and toast.  But at least we're back in Connecticut and altogether. 

We couldn't have managed without my in-laws, Ma and Gong, and Uncle Goo, who stepped up amazingly to handle the kung fu tournament and taking the kids home when I was still in the hospital in NJ, with Mama by my side the whole time. 

I'll have some deeper, reflective thoughts on the whole experience later--on the nature of love, navigating American healthcare, furthering my call to chaplaincy, illness and the self--but first I think I want another nap.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Patient Again

Yep, I'm a patient again.

Let me start with the end:  I'm doing okay.  I'm home, no surgery, on limited activity and liquid diet for awhile.  I even got an extension on my CPE hours so I'm not even too stressful about that.

Back to the beginning.  We went to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I and II this weekend.  When I stood up at the end of Part I, I had a sharp abdominal pain around my belly button.  I was nauseous and crampy, but it subsided after a bit.  I thought it might be the delicious Korean we had for lunch, but I never started vomiting; and it didn't feel like food poisoning.  I felt well enough to go to part II (which was wonderful, more on that later) and just took it easy.  I felt better when I sat, wore my brace, and didn't walk.  But I didn't have much appetite.

I taught RE--our last class--on Sunday morning and even ate some on Sunday with no problems.  And I went to hospice on Monday.  I was still tender and crampy but not like my obstruction three years ago.  Monday evening, while cooking dinner for the kids, I bumped the oven handle with my belly and it almost sent me to my knees.  This wasn't normal.  I couldn't get my GP on the phone (she's checking why the answering service didn't pick up) and so we opted for the urgent care.  But instead of ruling anything else, the doctor there said to go straight to the ER; it was probably a hernia or an obstruction.  I did not want to do this again.

I'm not going to revamp the ER visit--I had fluids, morphine, and a cat scan and a surgical resident who had absolutely no clue--and came away with no answers beyond that it wasn't a surgical problem.  This was good.  Not a hernia or an obstruction.  But no other answers.  We were there til 5 a.m., almost ten hours.  So I slept all day Tuesday.

And today I went to my doctor, whom I really like and respect.  Based on the hospital reports and her own examination, she believes I have a partial small bowel obstruction with an inflamed peritoneal lining, caused by all the scar tissue I have from abdominal surgeries.  I'm on bowel rest, which means mostly clear liquids, and limited activity so as not to inflame the peritoneal lining more, all while watching for fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, increased pain, redness. 

I'm glad not to have surgery.  I knew another obstruction was possible, even probable, with all my scar tissue.  I feel better than I did earlier.  I'll be okay. 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Neighboring Faiths

Today, we wrapped up a year of our Unitarian Universalist Neighboring Faiths curriculum which seeks to introduce UU kids to the religious beliefs of their neighbors. In our case this year, this included Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism (Presbyterians, specifically), Hinduism (with smaller discussions of Sikkhism and Buddhism), AME (African Methodist Episcopal, an American black Christian church), nature-based paganism, humanism, a review of UU, and Quakers.  We had class activities about different faiths, visiting speakers, field trips, and time for reflection.  It was an astounding year and I was so glad to teach it with three other co-teachers.  

I think I liked the Jewish, Islam, Hindu, and AME field trips the most, probably because they were least familiar to me.  And I liked our Muslim speaker most.  The kids least liked the Catholic and Presbyterian services--"too much Bible reading!"



Judaism (field trip):
  • historic Torah--Survivors' Scroll for Bar and Bat Bitzvahs was 450 years old, surviving Holocaust in Czechoslavakia
  • Ark by Ben Shahn; kids fascinated by Ark (where Torah scrolls are kept)
  • MLK dedicated building in 1961
  • story of the Menorah hand carved by student
  • righteous and most righteous at the time, story of Noah and Abraham, who argued with God in name of justice
  • in class, kids learned about Torah (first 5 books of the Hebrew scriptures) and Talmud (commentary); important prophets include Abraham, David, Solomon; minyan, or minimum number for service; kashrut (kosher laws) about pork and shellfish; yarmulke, tfflin; menorah as symbol of Judaism (not just Star of David); various holidays (Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Passover, Sukkot, which was occurring when we visited); differences between Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform, especially as relates to women; a bit of the history of the Jewish diaspora across Europe and into the US; 

Catholicism (field trip):
  • 8 altar boys
  • 2 priests, a deacon, 2 lay ministers
  • beautiful 19th-century Gothic Revival church
  • lots of incense!
  • Wise and Foolish Virgins--all well and good but you must convert and believe now!
  • NO girls as altar servers because they can't become priests
  • in class, kids had discussed rosary, Trinity, 7 sacraments (Baptism, Eucharist, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Sacrament of the Sick, Marriage, Holy Orders)
  • symbol: Crucifix

Presbyterianism (field trip):
  • rainbow flag, refugee help, homeless shelter program
  • focus on social action, justice, equality
  • in-depth textual analysis of Nathaniel story, being known to God and knowing God--answering God's call "come and see"
  • beautiful building--recycled telephone poles
  • minister saw her stole as the yolk of Christ
  • in class, kids heard about Martin Luther and Calvin; economic, political and religious focus of Reformation; stress on individual relationship with God, not through priest or Church; scriptural basis (Catholic church based on scripture AND tradition)
  • symbol: cross

Islam (speaker and field trip):
  • Belief in God/Allah; Prophets; The Unseen (angels, devils, etc)
  • Islam is the religion; Muslim is the follower
  • Five Pillars--belief, prayer, fasting, charity, pilgrimmage
  • song about the months--Ramadan is holiest month
  • Hijab--modesty; covers all but her face and hands; others don't wear headscarves and some wear niqab over entire face, also abaya/robe over close for some (see here); men were kufi/hats
  • fasting--also about refraining from sin, not just food
  • Prayer--ritual washing, prayer to Allah, bow, prayer to Allah, kneel, "Praise to God" x 3, and repeat from second prayer to Allah--5 times a day facing Mecca
  • Hajj--pilgrimmage to Mecca in 12th month; ideally once in lifetime
  • Koran--learn/memorize in Arabic, also many translations; Hafiz is person who memorizes it fully
  • Service--same prayers for men and women but sit separately; long sermon, short prayer, over in about an hour.
  • Bean pie!  African-American Muslim traditional food
  • symbol: crescent

Hinduism (field trip):
  • The four faces of Brahma, and the three main deities Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva
  • The oneness and multifaceted aspects of God (which are either believed to really exist or to be symbols of life, nature, etc.)
  • Rama and his story in the Ramayana; Baghavad Gita; Vedas; Upanishads
  • Krishna and his incarnations when life on earth is out of balance between good and bad
  • Elephant-headed god Ganesh; 
  • pooja, the ritual offerings; 
  • the animal spirits associated with the gods (and so there are many vegetarians); 
  • samsara, or the wheel of suffering; 
  • reincarnation; 
  • karma, which is not some kind of universal scale of justice, but is more about the sum total of your actions (I've heard it described as intention)--so not "karma is a bitch";
  • At the temple, we chanted OM , and other chants (shanti, shanti, shanti), plus two cycles of yoga forms (essentially what we would call salutation of the sun, downward facing dog, and others, called the Surya Namaskara);
  • laddua sweet yellow ball with (usually) chickpea flour, ghee, sugar, nuts (almonds or pistachios), cardamom, and this one had raisins
  • symbols: OM, 

Sikkhism:
  • Punjabi religion founded in 15th century, not to be confused with Islam or Hinduism
  • The 5Ks of Sikkhism--Kesh (uncut long hair); Kangha (small wooden comb); Kara (steel bracelet); Kachera (a type of undergarments); Kirpan (sword or knife); the Kangha and Kirpan are sometimes worn as little amulets in the turban.
  • The ten Gurus
  • One Creator, social justice, selfless service--they will feed anyone who comes to the temple and often deliver meals in times of crisis

Buddhism:
  • Siddhartha Gautama:  mom dies when he is born; prophecy about becoming powerful warrior or influential guru; hidden from illness, aging, and death; studies to be an aesthete; Enlightenment--"all beings and I awake."
  • The Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path ("Middle Way")
  • Three refuges:  Buddha, dharma, sangha
  • karma, nirvana (enlightenment), samsara (wheel of suffering), bodhisattvas
  • meditation
  • Theravada--focus on Middle Way and nirvana, divided into samatha ("calm") and vipassana ("insight"); Mahayana ("great vehicle")--Pure Land and Zen, focuses on bodhisattvas; Vajrayana--Tibetan
  • originally an oral tradition so no main text like the Bible or Quaran.  Sutras gathered in nikayas, which are part of the tripitakas ("three baskets," the Pali Canon)
  • symbols: lotus, wheel, Buddha (elongated ears, wheels on hands, top knot of wisdom)

AME (field trip):
  • African Methodist Episcopal (AME) founded when racism experienced in Methodist church in Philadelphia
  • Church we visited formed by ex-slaves is 1818 and is second-oldest AME church in the world;
  • Booker T Washington once spoke here;
  • near a lookout spot for the Underground Railroad;
  • focus on personal/experiential preaching, blending of music and spoken word, physical response to worship (hands raised, dance, movement in the aisles);
  • very loud music--one song lasted 15+ minutes ("Way Maker" and "It Could Have Been Me")
  • very traditional Apostles' Creed
  • Matthew 21:2--about being tied up (by challenges) and let loose by God--what challenges you makes you worthy to be called.
  • altar call, with one person saved
  • offertory conducted by everyone filing past the box up front
  • some women in gorgeous hats

Nature-based/Pagan (speaker):
  • This is the only class topic that I totally missed because we had just gotten back from Italy.
  • An email describing the class:  "I opened with brief overview of earth-centered religions, and the kids were pretty astute about why we see the earth as a "mother" and why this would be worthy of worship.  "Earth is a Mother" served as a good chalice lighting; 4 kids read a stanza each, and then I re-read it and we discussed its symbols.  They identified directions, we read "The Four Directions" while turning appropriately each way - and teacher drove home the point about how out of touch we are in so much of our lives with where we are on the earth.  She also spoke to the 7th UU principle, and the 6th source.  We used the photos and teacher had photos from the May Day celebration she attends each year, we discussed paganism, Wiccan, why there might be a focus in this domain on the moon rather than on the sun (tides, women's cycles tied to lunar cycles).  She talked about her experiences with shamanism, including sharing Tarot cards and some other practice elements.  We spent a few minutes outside, came back to the room, made a circle and shared thoughts and blew out the chalice."
  • Later, I told the kids about the 8 sabbats and the Law of Three, the individual practice, folklore as a sacred source.
  • symbol:  pentagram

Quaker (speaker):
  • Did a silent meditation and encouraged students to share when they felt called to, a la a Quaker meeting;
  • Watched two videos about Quakerism, including "What does George Fox Say?" (based on the hit song);
  • Speaker compared Quaker meditation, where you ask for insight and listen for the "still, small voice," to Buddhist meditation, where you do not focus on a question or a thought.
  • Speaker liked the very long silences
  • liberal religious tradition but still very Christian