Lots of stuff to think about, and write about...so each entry will necessarily be brief:
The Celebration blog has brought up some interesting comments, and experiences. I'm actually looking forward to a weekend fast - although it goes against virtually every fiber of my being to even consider it. It will be interesting...
By the way, if you check out this week's program notes for This American Life on public radio (consult your local listings!), you'll see that one of the featured articles will be about fasting as a spiritual discipline, which should be interesting. In Chicago, we can hear TAL on Friday night and Saturday at 11 - but for our international contingent, it will be available for free as a RealAudio download in a week or so. TAL tends to be fairly secular, yet at the same time willing to encounter the divine, so it will be interesting to see which way this plays.
The Katrina/Rita aftermath - First, if you didn't get to listen to "After the Flood" on This American Life, detailing three powerful stories of the horrors of surviving Katrina, you can either listen to it in RealAudio, or you can read the transcript via this Adobe PDF file. I'll say it again: you really need to do this.
In all the blaming and finger-pointing and scapegoating going on, the larger issues of how people in power dealt with people of lower economic status seems to have been shunted to one side. There is a quote from this transcript that is informative:
TAPE OF BILL O'REILLY: If you're poor, you're powerless. Not only in America, but everywhere on earth. If you don't have enough money to protect yourself from danger, danger's gonna find you. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina should be taught in every American school, if you don't get educated, if you don't develop a skill and force yourself to work hard, you'll most likely be poor, and sooner or later you'll be standing on a symbolic rooftop waiting for help. Chances are, that help will not be quick in coming.This may sound stupid and simplistic - but this should not be happening the world in the faith-based United States of America, boys and girls. Red state, blue state...wherever you are, we need to get angry, and stay angry, about this.
And I don't care how expedient it may seem to use the armed forces for disaster recovery...the folks who passed the posse comitatus act did so for a reason. And it's still a good one - especially given the power that a president could wield by moving the military into one area or another for whatever reason. Don't screw with what's not broken, folks...
Working in limbo - I've been putting in long hours to do three weeks worth of bank-reconciliations in one week - and until tonight, I truly believed that this Friday was going to be my last day at my current employment. But no one was saying anything...so tonight, I finally said to my supervisor, "Is it a safe assumption that I'll be done here after Friday?" And she said, "No...not really... if you don't have anything else going on, there's probably a couple weeks worth of stuff to do around here." Well, there are a couple strong "maybe's" but no definite "yes" on the horizon, so this was a blessing. But it also ended up strengthening my resolve to find something else - anything else.
In related news, I heard through several folks who are connected in the accounting world that the payroll-outsourcing firm that sounded like my best bet so far "has a tendency to have some high turnover," as one person put it. While there's lots of reasons for why employees leave after relatively short durations, mostly it's because the employer tends to chew people up and suck them dry - which is exactly not the environment I'd like to get into. So it's "just keep looking..."
A tragic situation - my home congregation, Atonement Lutheran in Overland Park, KS, has been promoting their Power In The Spirit conference, which was slated to have Leonard Sweet as the keynote speaker and Denver & The Mile-High Orchestra as the Friday-night opening concert. Well, ticket sales for both have been slow, but for the conference it has been, well, abysmal. So the organizers are asking questions about "what's plan B" if there isn't a stampede of folks in the next 48 hours who want to attend the conference. It's been pretty heartbreaking for them - they were dreaming big, and so far their hopes and dreams have not been fulfilled. I'd believe that any person in ministry within a hundred miles of KC should want to be there - but evidently no one's listening to me out there.
That's it - it's after midnight, and time to put my sorry butt to bed. More tomorrow, hopefully...