June 28, 2009

Reconciling in Christ Sunday

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. These riots started the gay rights movement that continues even today as our GLBTQ friends fight to be accepted as they are.

Today my church, the United Church of Rogers Park celebrated 'Reconciling Sunday.' This event involved celebrating how our church is open and affirming of people who identify as GLBTQ and they announced that they will be replacing the big pink triangle that has hung on the outside of the church and is definitely beginning to show its age with a new installation. They will be having a design contest to get the GLBTQ community involved and the winner's design will be made into a new symbol to announce our church's open and affirmingness.

This triangle is something that made me come to this church originally. Though I do not identify as GLBTQ, I know that I could never attend a church where my friends were not also welcome as they are. I get frustrated with churches that are teaching messages of hate for the GLBTQ community when the church is supposed to be all about love. The Bible says "God is love" (1 John 4:8b) and if we are not loving our brothers and sisters, we are not loving God. I want to worship in a place that is filled with God and filled with love and so I must attend a place where all are accepted no matter what.

June 10, 2009

Today at church we had a peace rally against violence in Chicago. 36 school aged kids died this year because of violence in this city. 36! One is too many. To encourage the kids to have a safe summer, we handed out hotdogs on the front lawn, had games, had some community organizations with tables, and then held a rally and peace march around the neighborhood.

It was wonderful and it got me thinking. I love the feeling I get at events like this. We come together as a community and pray. There is laughter and there were tears. Events like this leave me feeling so good and I question why I don't feel this way more often. There are three big areas I see that are present at these events that I feel are not present in my everyday life.

First, there is community. This is a huge one. People come together and care about each other. We joke and laugh. I made friends with a little girl who's name was Fatima today. I'm pretty sure didn't speak much English, but she'd smile at me and come and talk to me all day. I had a man joke with me while waiting for his hotdog. He didn't speak a word of English and I very little Spanish...but we laughed and joked anyways. I love standing on the corner handing out food to anyone who walks by. Why don't we do this more often?

The second thing stems from the first. This community is diverse. I get so frustrated in my daily life. I hang out with a bunch of rich, white people. Today we had the whole spectrum of colors with people speaking multiple languages. There were rich and there were poor. But no one knew who was who. We were just one community.

Finally, there is spirituality. Faith does not have a huge place in my life and I miss that. It's something I'm trying to understand but feel really lost about. I used to be really into church and my faith, but I don't like that person I was then. I judged people and didn't care about justice. Those are huge things and I have ended up associating my faith with those things. I know that that's not right, but I do. I need to work on reclaiming my faith. I love how we come together to pray and sing and it's just normal feeling.

My goal is to work to incorporate these things in my life more. I know it won't be easy and it will be uncomfortable at times, but I think if I can bring these things into (or back into) my life, I will be a much happier person.

June 4, 2009

I am obsessed with worms.

Last fall, one of my friends mentioned that he had worms under his sink. My response was "What? Ewww....gross." Then someone else mentioned it and some of my other friends started talking about it. This began my obsession. I set up my first worm bin and have been composting ever since.

One of my goals in life is to spread this cool way to compost your garbage. So far I have set up two other people with worms from my bin, plus made a mini-teaching bin to be used at Uncommon Ground with school groups.

I hope this is something that can catch on more and more. Apparently there is a Dunkin' Donuts in Florida who has 800 pounds of worms in a bin in their parking lot. So now I think I need to move on from spreading to individuals to spreading this to businesses too. No more organic waste in our landfills!

June 3, 2009

I am currently reading "Last Child in the Woods; Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder," and I am finding it fascinating. Richard Louv talks about so many things that I often think about.

I grew up in the dirt. We had a huge backyard and my brother and I would spend the summers outdoors. We would build forts with the help of our dad, play trucks, my Barbies would go camping, we'd hike and explore, and so much more. I think that has greatly affected my love of nature and caused me to care greatly about our Earth. It's frightening to think that many kids don't have these experiences and thus don't have this love of nature or environmentalism. There is so much talk about the green movement right now, but if people don't have these passions hardwired into them as I do, will this fad fade in a few years? It can't or we will be in huge trouble.

This book has also made me think about how much time I spend indoors. I need to reach out and reconnect and cultivate my love of nature. This is not always easy living in the city. But if I don't, I feel as if a huge part of myself is missing.Link

June 1, 2009

I want community.

Right now I feel as if I live alone. For many, this would be an ideal situation. I get privacy and can do as I please as I am often the only one home. This has it's advantages, but it's also incredibly lonely. I am a social person and need other people around me.

This is why I am so excited to live in an intentional community next year. I have wanted this for years. I want someone to ask how my day was when I come home and I want to ask someone that too. I want people to share my same values and who want to take on projects with me. I want to eat dinner with a group of people.

August can't come soon enough.