vendredi, mai 14, 2010

Will we care enough?

I don't know if you were horrified by the fact that the Mineral Management Agency, the government bureau that overseas permits for drilling new oil wells in the ocean, wasn't bothering to get permits or do environmental impact analyses when they allowed big companies like BP to drill.

This sentence from the New York Times story struck me as particularly ironic: "The BP well that blew up in the gulf last month was granted an exemption from the NEPA process because company officials had assured regulators that it carried little hazard."

And now, of course, eleven men are dead, and countless mammals. As the oil moves almost inevitably to the beaches of Gulf Coast, it is impossible to know what kind of environmental impact it will have -- decades?

On NPR today a few scientists were talking about the possibility of multiple extinctions if we continue on our course without making significant alterations in the way we live.

The example that stuck in my mind was the box turtle -- which just doesn't exist in many parts of the suburbs any more.

And I can't figure out why we don't seem, as individuals, to invest more time in trying to make a difference. We get furious about Obamacare. We worry that perhaps someone is trying to take away our guns. We boycott Arizona (not that I disagree). We compare America to Greece. We picket the politicos who are making cuts in education and trying to impose a soda tax.

Can we look beyond our own personal context? In my more pessimistic moments, I have to admit that I wonder.

Or perhaps do we trust that our government will look to our interests and do what is good for all of us? Even now?

So nu? as my relatives would say. That's Yiddish for ...what are you going to do it about it?

While picking up more than a 100.00 of dry cleaning in Eagle today, I ran into a parishioner at a local Episcopal Church. As we were chatting, I confessed guiltily that I sometime feel like, as a mother, I spend half my time driving kids around. Both of us, we agreed, have a pretty big carbon footprint.

No stranger to ambivalence, then, I grapple -- and wonder if you are doing so, too. If you have figured out what to do next, please tell us.

Am I the only one who is concerned that we are in a time crunch -- and the door in which to change our behavior is closing behind us?

Talk about Huis-clos.

jeudi, mai 13, 2010

The (very) long view

I really didn't want to take the call. It was very cold last night in Eagle, Pennsylvania. The sky remained a stubborn gray, although the rain hadn't fallen for a few hours.

In a vain attempt to stay warm, I was looping the Hickory Park trails as Mr. C was warming up with his pals. Having gotten into an easy run, I wasn't happy to slow down.

Dave sounded like a lot of funeral directors with whom I've worked -- a genuinely nice person. You just gotta get past the black suits and cars -- behind them are often folks who have grown up in the local community, and have many decades of mortuary science in their ancestry.

We chatted for a few moments about an elderly lady who has now gone out to meet her Lord and who was being interred in our churchyard. I never knew Mary (Polly), but a number of the older folks did, and will probably attend her memorial service at the retirement community. Lots of Joneses in the graveyard. Lots of Talbots. Some Montgomerys. And many other families that go back in the area for generations.

Then we talked business -- and the long view.

Without any pride, because I am so new to the church, I can say that St. Marks has one of the loveliest graveyards I've seen in a while.

Not to be ghoulish -- but do you have a place that you have already chosen for your final earthly rest?

When our Bishop Rodney Michel came by last week to pay a call, he recommended that we begin to actively let funeral homes and potential plotters know about the St. Marks churchyard. Many churches, apparently, make a good income out of selling graves and a place in the memorial garden to those who might not have what one might term a church home.

Come visit us.

Put your feet up.

And consider staying a while.

mardi, mai 11, 2010

No knights in white satin

As a young adult, one of my favorite writers was the Scottish historical novelist, Dorothy Dunnett.

Dunnett wrote phenomenal novels about a character who crossed Europe, into Turkey and other places in the Renaissance world, and ended up back in Scotland. His name? Francis Crawford, black sheep of his family -- and an incredibly sexy, macho, but conflicted, sensitive guy.

He could seduce women with French love poems and English songs, spend a sleepless night, and the next day go out and fight the bad guys -- and win.

Anyway, one of the novels takes place, much of it, on the island of Malta. From whence I came to learn about the Knights of Malta.

But when I met a local rep for the Order, I realized that things have changed since the 16th century...

So come read about what the Order's up

dimanche, mai 09, 2010

So where did you spend the morning?

I spent it with our bishop at church.

But for a lot of Americans, church or synagogue or mosque attendance is no longer a meaningful part of their weekend rituals.

What about you?

For some reflections on the growing number of empty pews, take a spiritual trip over to the Philly Moms Blog, and share some of your ideas on why the ranks of those who don't find communal religion meaning are growing.