Quilting: Step 1–fabric selections

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If you ever have a couple of hours and nothing better to do, ask me what denomination I am. And then, wait five minutes, and it’ll change again.

I have identified as a Quaker—the Religious Society of Friends—for a long time now. I remember going on to BeliefNet and answering some pointed questions regarding… what else… my beliefs, and was specifically looking for a group that would not subject me to Christmas and Easter. The word was that Quakers held every day alike. After some research about their non-creeds and silent meetings, I looked up a nearby meeting and was gathered with them.

Well, the stuff about Christmas and Easter wasn’t exactly true; this particular meeting, while it definitely had Christmas and Easter in a decidedly Quaker, unadorned fashion, still observed those days. And while the silence was at first challenging (ask any Buddhist about the monkey mind) it wasn’t as challenging as a Meeting for the Purpose of Business. The Religious Society of Friends runs on consensus and that’s sometimes really maddeningly hard to come by.

I could start at the beginning and give you a long list of church “begats,” but suffice it to say that I’ve covered most of the major Protestant denominations along with side trips to high church, non-denom, inter-denom, Buddhist, and even New Age. Oddly enough, given my Santa/Bunny aversion criteria, I never ventured into Judaism. Sorry.

Along the way I’ve learned about simplicity and the worshipfulness of silence from Friends, liturgy and ritual as pathways to worshipful feelings from the high churches, modesty and religious-observant dress from Conservative Quakers. I’ve loved the depictions of Christ in the art of the Latter Day Saints. From “mainline” churches, I learned apologetics and also that little “Gentiles Eat Pork Chops” way to find Paul’s letters to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians. I’ve had to overcome a bit of reticence in the non-denom worship whose worship vigor was much less aligned with my personality than silence but, ya know. I really appreciated Mary Baker Eddy’s (seemingly) unwavering faith and the way she wrote about Christ in her “textbook” Science and Health, which is also laid out with consistent pages and line numbering that I really, REALLY like. Eddy also instituted the idea of the book being the pastor of the congregation instead of any human leader. Moving back further, I can remember asking my mother at a very young age if I could be a nun (because my bestie was a Catholic); her answer made me think Catholicism was a gene I didn’t get but I still love the idea of nuns wedded to Christ and the engaging pageantry and the stained glass.

Recently I’ve been investigating Messianic congregations through their Web sites and YouTubes, drawn by a presentation on headcovering given by a young lady (asisterofchrist) who is apparently in that. I liked what she said and how she said it so I watched another of her videos—this one about Yom Teruah in which she offered about the Hebraic betrothal process and how it relates to words of Christ (“Behold, I stand at the door and knock….” and “I go to prepare a place for you in my Father’s house….”). I’ve read the Bible through a few times but those things had never taken on the life she gave it. Thus, my curiosity piqued, I ventured on through more Web sites and things about the Messianics. What I’m taking away from that is the rich Hebrew texture that embroiders the entire Bible text.

Okay, so now I have this pile of pieces of varying shapes, colors and fibers. In my next post I’ll start laying them out to see if I can arrange a pleasing pattern or if this is just gonna be one of those “crazy quilts” where there is no geometric or other design, but the effect is just as nice.

Controversial. Sorry.

Day before Halloween, 1938. The CBS Mercury Theater had just begun its normal programming when an urgent voice broke in. “Ladies and gentleman, we interrupt our program…to bring you a special bulletin from the Intercontinental Radio News.” That “news” was the invasion of aliens from Mars (how would we know that again?—was it on the side of their spacecraft?) near New York City. Details and eye-witness accounts of the carnage followed.

Gullible listeners—and that was a LOT of people—thought it was actually happening (because the media told them it was) and hysteria spread like wildfire. People packed up their cars and fled while others took to the streets screaming. Some of those who did neither quickly improvised gas masks while others prayed to Jesus as this was the end. Other news broadcasts began alerting their audiences. It took weeks to convince the American public that the program had been dramatic adaption by Howard Koch of Wells’ book War of the Worlds. H.G. Wells went on two years later to publish a book called The New World Order, which at the time seemed nearly as bizarre as alien space invaders. But—I digress.

Last December a few days before the holiday known as Christmas, the American people were shocked and saddened by a crime of incredible magnitude. Only…the crime was the hoax perpetrated on them—not the alleged school shooting that occurred in Newtown, Connecticut. What Mr. Wells and CBS were able to do with mere early 20th century technology—the galvanizing of an entire country, it seemed—70-odd years later has been done again, only with much improved technology and much more sinister implications.

If you doubt the “facts” of Sandy Hoax, I challenge you to watch the video of the medical examiner. I won’t link it here in case you think I’m stacking my deck. In the face of simply the most heinous crime anyone can remember, this buffoon put on quite the show. Standing there in a lab coat (who does that for a press conference?), which was quite frankly the only “evidence” that this idiot went to medical school even, this man alleged that he was a firearms expert due to the thousands of shootings he’d investigated in his career. Really? If there had been that many, wouldn’t Newtown be known as Crime Central and not a place where well-off families moved to to escape violence? His entire demeanor reeked of “staged” and acted BADLY. Maybe they should have tried to get Jack Klugman for the part—Quincy did a much better job as an M.E.

Another player (and I use that word pointedly) was Robbie Parker, supposedly the dad of Emily who had been murdered in the rampage at Sandy Hook. A day later he’s caught on a recording laughing and looking for cues. Really, Mr. Parker—if that’s who you are? You had to work up some tears for your dead child?

Facebook devotees have already been treated to the fact that Victoria Soto had a memorial Facebook page up FOUR DAYS before the incident occurred but which was quickly removed (why?) when it came to light via screenshots that began circulating.

The ‘neighbor’ Gene Rosen who didn’t bother to call 911 to alert them about the six children in his home. The bus driver (?) who had brought them to safety in his driveway (without calling 911 either, apparently) changed gender depending on which teary-eyed-but-no-tears interview you watch.

The list goes on and on. Where was the rifle that Lanza allegedly killed everyone with? Where is the video from the swanky brand-new school security system that shows him shooting his way into the building—or maybe just walking in dressed in commando gear—depending on which story you want to read. How did the dead principal give a statement to the Newtown Bee about the incident? The police commander who totally changed the subject. The discrepancy about how many people were seen where, the parents of the dead who were content to just drive away (we’re told) instead of grief-stricken attempts to get to their children at the school. Who were the nuns that mysteriously showed up and why did one resemble a linebacker? Bad acting from nearly everyone involved. Miscues, Photoshop and lies, oh my.

If you still want to believe that Sandy Hook actually occurred, I hope that Santa Claus was good to you this past Christmas. And I’ve got some beachfront in Kansas I can let you have cheap.

Happy New Year

Yes, it’s the third day in but punctuality isn’t on my list of resolutions. Here’s what is:

  • (almost a cliché but….) A better diet by 1) purchasing food, not packages, 2) learning new recipes for non-meat based dishes, 3) seeking out farmers and others and develop relationships with them since it’s hard for me to grow anything up here.
  • Join a faith community and participate.
  • Fill a new address book (yes, the paper/bound kind) with names and information for new friends I meet this year.

That’s it. That’s enough.

jec 2013