Thursday, July 29, 2010

Shireen goes to church...

I have a confession to make. I have not been to church since I left Los Angeles, Until today that is. I know, I know, bad postulant! Anyway, I went to my mother's church this morning. Obviously there were things that are not really my preference, liturgically that is. But there were things that I rather liked. The prayers of the people were read in a way that included the entire congregation. Anyone who felt moved to read the names was allowed to. You would think that this would cause long pauses or make the prayers of the people seem disorganized, but it was not like that at all. It went smoothly and quickly and really seemed like the prayers of the people. That being said, I have been rather spoiled at St. Thomas. Ya know it has been 5 years since I have gone this long without participating in some kind of liturgy, I got truly homesick during the service.

The sermon was good. All the readings had to do with idolatry in some form or another. I think we do make idols of too many things. It is such an easy thing to do; to get so wrapped up in a desire or a feeling of being wronged, that you give it more importance than it deserves. Money is the most obvious idol, but there are plenty of other things that can be just as distracting. A desire for personal justice, a need for something to be perfect, politics...the list could really be endless. Idols, idols everywhere and what are we to do?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Making the most of my time...

I've been in Virginia for about a week now. The new rectory my parents live in is really great. I'm sort of in a holding pattern right now while I wait to begin school. August 11th is coming quickly and I am getting more nervous every day.

So to distract myself I will watch Craig Ferguson. I have learned great things from him. Did you know, the difference between budgies and parakeets is that budgies believe in transubstantiation and parakeets don't? Who knew. He is the only late night talk show host who makes history and religion jokes, but also has a robot skeleton with a mohawk for a sidekick.

But I shouldn't be up this late. I need to get in the habit of waking up early in the morning, because that is what I will be doing while I am in school. Getting up early is really the hardest habit for me. I am always tired in the early morning, even if I do get a full night of sleep...

It is now 4am. Only an hour and I should be getting up, ideally. But I am afraid approaching the 5 o'clock hour from this side is not the best way of going about this whole morning issue. I guess I will have to try again tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Aliens Need Jesus Too...

Well, this has been a long week. I am currently in Deadwood, SD, but on July 4th I was in Roswell, NM. It was a normal 4th of July weekend, full of fireworks and snow cones and aliens. I love fireworks, but I am not a fan of 'patriotic' country music. I say this because that is what they blasted during the fireworks display. Still, it was a pleasant evening. After the fireworks a band called Ufoetry played.

They were strange but fun. All their songs were themed around the Alien lore that surrounds Roswell. We were not able to make it in time for the big costume contest, so it was nice to see some weird alien related stuff. I suppose the lesson of the trip is 'Do your research', because not only did we miss the big costume day, which was only on Friday, but we also missed Saint Thomas' very own Julian Sands! Apparently he was one of the guest celebrities for the UFO Festival. Unfortunately he left 2 hours before we got to Roswell, oh well. Someone at church will have to ask him what I missed.

Anyway, we left Roswell on Monday (after touring the UFO Museum, of course) and headed up to Las Vegas, NM; another example of why you should always do research before going somewhere. Doc Holliday was said to have been in a noted gunfight there before following Wyatt Earp to Tombstone. The problem is, while Las Vegas, NM tries to promote its historical points in brochures, it does very little to actually preserve its historical sections of town.

So we moved on. We went to Chimayo which is a place that is known for its sacred dirt. There is a shrine run by Roman Catholic friars. The picture to the left is outside the church; no picture taking is allowed inside the chapel. In it is a room filled with children's shoes, crutches and walkers; all left there by people who were cured by the earth found in that region. Next to the chapel there is a well, of sorts, filled with the earth. From there we went to see the Anasazi cliff dwellings,
which were pretty amazing. Then, in conjunction with our Wild West theme, we stopped by the St. James Hotel. Now we are in Deadwood and had dinner at the #10 Saloon where Wild Bill Hickok was shot and killed. It is not the original #10, that one burned down a couple of years after Hickok was killed, but they had this cheesy reenenactment of Bill's murder and it was all Saloon themed, it was fun.

This morning we leave to go to Devil's Tower, Mt. Rushmore and other monuments.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

My trip so far...

So I am finally out of Los Angeles. Right now I am in a Lutheran retreat center called Spirit in the Desert, in Carefree, AZ. It's a nice retreat center, it has a pool and the room is huge, very comfy.

So far we have been to see the sequoias, and we have been to Las Vegas. We drove to the sequoias in a Prius, which was fine but I am not used to driving that far. I will probably not be doing much of the driving on this trip. The sequoias were amazing. They are big of course, but what I found most fascinating was the fire scars that they all possessed. I didn't know that fire was so necessary in order for sequoias to grow and thrive. Fires clear out other trees so baby sequoias can get enough sunlight, and the ash is good for seedling growth. Even the smoke from a forest fire helps spread sequoia seeds. They are phoenix trees. I am amazed by the interconnectedness of things. And human beings, thinking we are doing the right thing for the forest, struggle to keep the fires from burning. Fire suppression really inhibited sequoia growth. After all, allowing forest fires to burn seems counter intuitive.

We are not all that different from sequoias, ya know. Danger and pain, we try to protect ourselves from them, but they are the very things that allow us to grow.

Anyway, we finally left L.A. for good on Wednesday, and we headed for Vegas. We originally were booked for two nights at a Days Inn, but when my mom saw just how pathetic and off the main strip it was, she cancelled our second night and moved us to The Luxor. The Luxor was pretty cool. The elevators go up and down on a diagonal which is really the oddest feeling in an elevator. In the evening we walked down the strip and were able to see the Bellagio fountain. My mother was so impressed that we stood there and watched three consecutive water displays.

We left late the next day with the intention of going to the Grand Canyon but we decided to skip it and head straight to the retreat house. We also decided to skip Tombstone. The long hours of driving is already getting to us.

Tomorrow we leave really early to go over to Roswell. I am excited, it looks like it will be a lot of silly fun. We will be there for two nights.