Monday, May 11, 2009

Moving Day

I've heard recently that a couple people still check this space, mostly because they say "aren't you going to blog again?"

With all the changes in our lives, I've decided I want to keep better track, so the answer is yes. However, with all the changes in our lives, I no longer want to keep track here. I'm moving to a new blog page and if you'd like to know where it is, you can email me at nuevacantora at gmail.
Thanks y'all.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Thats what another clergy friend called these days you take off from work but don't really go anywhere. I've been skeptical of the idea that just hanging around the house can be relaxing or restful. How do you resist just doing all the house stuff you've been putting off because you've been at work? After our just-under-a-week staycation (yeah, this summer got a little crazy), here are my tips.

1. have a friend visit you. I recommend Dave, or A, but your friends are probably nice too. Its especially great if the whole visiting vibe can be laid back - walk to the ice cream store one day, go to the movies one day, have lunch at the vegetarian restaurant.

2. Go ahead and do some of the house stuff, because its actually more relaxing to have two rooms set up instead of in boxes, then to have the "to-do" list hanging over your head all the time. Not too much work, and nothing you really hate if you can avoid it (turns out, you still have to do the dishes). But fun stuff like spray-painting a bookcase for the guest room makes you feel accomplished, which is nice.

3. Friends are good visitors, house invaders are not. If a bat is going to fly towards your head while you are chatting with a friend in the dining room, be sure that you've already gone back to work. There is no need to ruin the laid-back summertime vibe with shreiking and swinging brooms and hiding under the dining room table. Just sayin.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sunday's Sermon

Well-behaved women seldom make history.

Perhaps you’ve heard this quote from Laurel Ulrich before, or seen it on a button or t-shirt. Even if you haven’t heard it before today, maybe you know exactly what she is talking about. It has become a slogan – even a battle-cry – for anyone who chooses to act in a way that prioritizes speaking out over the status quo standard of “sitting and looking pretty.” It calls to all of us who have been told that we CAN’T : who have learned from a young age that as women we can’t be assertive; that as children we can’t be heard, only seen; that as men we can’t be passionate or emotional: this simple phrase reminds us not only that we CAN bend the standard expectations of society, but that in fact, great things might happen if we do.

The Caananite woman probably never heard this idea phrased in this particular way, but it seems she didn’t need the words. This woman had so little power in this world that her particular identity – even her name- has been removed from the history books. As a woman, she should not have approached a man in such a bold and public way. As a Caananite, she was an unwelcome stranger among the Hebrew people. And as a person in any kind of society – well, we just don’t like it when people stand there shouting at us and won’t go way, and certainly not in front of an important person like the Rabbi!
The Caananite woman is one of those women who do make history, tossing out the standards of culture and decency in order to seek help from Jesus. She seems to be a poster-child for those who long to use their voice, for the strength of a mother’s devotion and a woman’s fierce determinationon behalf of her tormented daughter.

Yet, the temptation to reduce the Caananite woman’s strength and boldness to that of a desperate mother, can too easily shield us from the other great force at work in her story. Because at the end of the story, Jesus does not commend the woman for her great devotion to her child, or even her great boldness in seeking out help. Jesus answered her, “Woman, great is your FAITH.”

Only deep and solid faith in God’s love could bring this woman to the feet of a Rabbi, and keep her there through silence, irritation and rejection. Her great faith in the mercy of God allowed her to bring her whole self: her desperation, her need, her wit, her flat-out stubbornness to her encounter with the Lord. On that day, and in that region, she alone believed that God’s grace was big enough to hold both her vulnerability and her boldness.

Great faith is not the absence of questions or struggle: rather, it is trusting that God is big enough to hold our struggles and our vulnerabilities as well as our joys and strengths.

Great faith is knowing that God does not need to be protected from our emotions, our questions, or even our demands for healing and justice. Great faith allows us to know God in such a way that we free to be known by God.

The challenge of the Caananite woman to me is wrapped up in the traditional hymn, There’s A Wideness In God’s Mercy:

Theres a wideness in God’s mercy, like the wideness of the sea
Theres a kindness in God’s justice, which is more than liberty
There is welcome for the sinner, and more graces for the good
There is mercy with the Savior, there is healing in his blood…
If our love were but more faithful… we should take God at her word
And our lives would be thanksgiving for the goodness of the Lord.

Do we who proclaim the good news of God’s love for the outcast, believe that grace extends to all our being? The wideness of God’s mercy held the pain and the strength of the Caananite woman, the irritation and embarrassment of the disciples, and even the hesitation of Jesus. Will we allow ourselves enough faith to reveal our irritation, our determination, our hopes and gifts to God – and will we allow others to do the same, even if it shakes our notions of being “well-behaved” Christians?

Some days, our faith will not be so great. We will forget that God can take whatever it is we have to offer, we will wish that others would simply behave and not bother us or God with all of their questions. But on those days and in those moments when we allow others, and even ourselves, to live entirely embraced in the depths of God’s kindness and mercy, we will be living in the reality we call the kingdom of God, we will hear Jesus say to us, “Child of God, great is your faith,” and our lives will be thanksgiving for the goodness of the Lord.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Color Vision

Our new home is really great, and we are definitely in love with it. One of the things that attracted us to the house is that is doesn't look like the other houses on the street. We're actually in the kind of neighborhood where none of the houses look like the one next door, so it isn't that our house is so special (though it is), it's just that kind of place.

Still, we particularly like the "curb appeal" of our place - the symmetry, the bright red mailbox, the pointy thing over the door. As we walked home from a comedy show and ice cream last night, we were talking about the interesting housing colors in our neighborhood. There is one a couple blocks over that is a great shade of green, and I said "That's about the color I'd like in the living room." Luke commented that he liked the shade of green on our house.

Here's the thing about that. Our house? Not green. Its really tan. I'll give you khaki even. But it is most definitely not green. I thought about not sharing this information with Luke, but that seemed unfair. So I broke the news to him that our house is khaki-colored. Green trim, definitely, but the house itself is khaki.

As we approached the house, the new information clearly matched up with the sensory intake. It was like he saw for the first time that our house was in fact khaki, not green. It wasn't a look of disappointment, or even surprise (well, maybe a little.) It was recognition.

If only changing our preconceptions and mis-perceptions were always so easy. In the meantime, I'm off to find that green I like so much, because I'm sure it's exactly the way I'm imagining it in my head. Where *did* that house go??