Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Sibling Rivalry

Serban Enache | Dreamstime.com
The Wall Street Journal published a review (03/19/2012) of The Righteous Mind, which describes a research project that examines conflicting moralities. I read it the same day WSJTV host Gwendolyn Bounds called for Twitter comments about sibling rivalry—is  it more damaging in childhood or adulthood? I responded that unresolved sibling rivalry can play out in ugly ways at a parent’s deathbed and suggested adults should make peace before that happens. My remark was broadcast, prompting a friend to ask me for the link to the article. There wasn’t an article, so I’m writing one now.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fretting Over Worship

Ragre Kabanova | dreamstime.com
I’ve been wandering around in a spiritual desert with my ancestors, the Israelites. I close my eyes and see myself in a crowd of people looking for something new. 

God is not against innovation. In Deuteronomy 12:8 He tells His people: Your pattern of worship will change.  He points out that presently they are doing as they please, but that He’s got something different in mind for them.

When we look for churches to attend while we are traveling it’s tempting to recreate what we’re used to, but that’s missed opportunity. Today we attended Radiant Church in Surprise, AZ. Setting aside that it is a mega-church in full pastor search mode, it is a church full of young people with a healthy dash of elders for seasoning. Best of all, the young people are in charge! At least they were this Sunday.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Regional divides

There are places I travel where I still hear the old saw “Oh, you’re from California, the land of the fruits and the nuts.” That’s the time when my tendency to stereotype fires up on all four burners. If you want to talk about nuts, there are sections of the U.S. where fresh fruits and vegetables don’t appear on any restaurant menus (unless it’s okra disguised as a corn dog).

I get teased for being a fussy foodie. My idea of comfort food is sushi or the perfect dark chocolate sea salt caramel. In my mother-in-law’s hometown comfort comes battered and deep fried.

Thinking about the cheery man who last offered the stale commentary on my state of origin, I took a deep cleansing breath and began to consider what we all could do to cultivate an appreciation for our differences before we jump to ridicule.

  1. Relax and enjoy. Sample what another region savors. While I believe a steady diet of carbs will kill me, one hush puppy won’t hurt, and they taste yummy. Okay, I’m more likely to indulge in a hush puppy than you are to sample raw fish. I’ll give you that one.
  2. Open your heart. Yes it’s difficult to watch a man dance down the street in a pink tutu, but if you let a slender youth with spiked hair advise you on makeup, you’ll probably learn something.
  3. Remember. The divides are legion. Besides regional, we judge cultural, socio-economic and generational differences. Skinny jeans and stilettos may look ridiculous on you (or not), but you have to admit they look darling on your daughter. She’ll figure it out when she starts developing bunions, just like you did. Caveat: If it’s your mom adopting every new fad and she’s in danger in breaking a hip falling off her rollerblades, do stage an intervention. She won’t recover fast.
  4. Practice tolerance. I’m mystified how abstainers can get buzzed on soda pop, which I consider should be an illegal substance, then burn me over an innocent glass of Pinot Noir, which should be on the Surgeon General’s list of healthy foods.
  5. Embrace change. And if you can’t, at least don’t throw your body in front of the bus unless you have a cause worth dying for.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Baseball as Theatre

Not being a sports fan I watch a baseball game as if it were a stage play. Like any good theatre production, acting and staging are critical to my enjoyment. Admittedly a baseball game is longish—three hours to a play’s usual two and a half—and the chit chat in the air can be tiresome. Last game, every time De Jesus came to bat the woman behind me recounted how her niece married a De Jesus and was on her third pregnancy.  This commentary is not forthcoming at the Ashland Shakespeare Festival. But many of the elements of drama I do appreciate play out on the baseball field.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Light in the Dark (there's an app for that)

We grapevined through the pass, refreshed ourselves with date shakes at Hadley, gassed up at the Morongo Indian Casino gas station and then my phone beeped. An incoming text message wanted to know—did we really buy $500 worth of shoes at that gas station? USAA, who issued our credit card, was Johnny on the spot.