The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:22-23 NRSV

Saturday, August 30, 2008

2nd Choice

I have been thinking about posting on this subject for a week, since Barack Obama's announcement that Joe Biden will be his VP running mate in this election. I was a clear but not necessarily loud Hillary Rodham Clinton supporter during the primary season, and I admit to a great deal of disappointment that my dream team did not come to fruit. At the same time, I was relatively content with Biden as with Obama as a "second choice" who generally represents the same values of my "first choice," in both instances HRC. I understood that after all that had happened in the last 7 months, Obama was unlikely to choose to spend the next 2 months and with luck next 8 years with HRC and her famous husband at his side (or in his face.)

I am pleased that in the week since Obama's announcement, we have been treated to a week's worth of Democratic making up at the DNC. By the end of the convention, most Dems were content with our ticket and were feeling warm and fuzzy at the history Obama's nomination most assuredly represents. Although I myself was not teary during his speech, I understand the generations of Black people who were. Obama/Biden were second choices, for me, yes? But still very much good choices.

Then comes John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, for his number 2 spot. All I could think is that he must be crazy. For most HRC supporters, Palin is not an appropriate 2nd choice, especially not when she comes attached to the person (McCain) and constituency (Christian conservatives) who hate every progressive thing that Hillary stands for. I don't care that she calls herself a feminist or that she has a uterus, Palin represents no good option and would be a poor substitute for the leadership of a decent man much less that of an extraordinary woman, like HRC.

Now I am really not under the illusion that McCain picked Palin to appeal to women like me. I am firmly within the Democratic base and my views actually are probably to the left of everyone except Dennis Kucinich. And in truth, he's not after people who really liked what Hillary's positions represent. He smartly has consolidated the Republican base, as Christian conservatives describe themselves as elated at his choice. And he's after the folks who want to feel good about bringing change but only on the most superficial level, that keeps the powerful powerful and the disempowered weak. Shake up Washington? Yeah, right.

I am hoping that the next 2 months and Election Day, in particular, demonstrate our unwillingness to fall for such a ruse.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Imagining Calvary

I may regret having said this later, after my return and after I have given it more thought, but for now I have to say that I found the Galilee much more moving than Jerusalem on a spiritual level. It is Monday morning in Jerusalem, and yesterday I spent the day at church (Jerusalem Baptist) and touring holy sites in the Old City. I say "touring" rather than just "visiting" because it is nearly impossible not to feel like a tourist in a space that is so developed, by both the Church and the City.
For example, all of the sites related directly to the Crucifixion culminate in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, an extraordinary edifice that houses worship spaces for Eastern and Western Christianity. The only problem is that to build the church, they had to level parts of Golgotha or Calvary. There is no way to get a sense of what the hill of Calvary might have looked like, even though there are designated spots within the church where events are supposed to have taken place.

Don't get me wrong, the ancientness of parts of the city is striking. But the Sea of Galilee and the mountains around it evoke more for me of my Lord's life and ministry. The sea of Galilee I have seen. Calvary I still have to imagine.

Friday, August 15, 2008

In Israel

On Wednesday, I landed in Israel, the land of the Bible - a space that for Jews, Christians, and Muslims is THE HOLY LAND. The tragic thing about this precious space is that the common holiness that all three of the major monotheistic religions celebrate is what makes the land so valuable to each group. The holiness is what they are fighting over.

As a Christian, standing by the Sea of Galilee (called Lake Kinneret by the Israelis), I was so moved at the idea that God chose this particular place to become human. When the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, he lived in Nazareth of Galilee, he read in the synagogue of Capernaum in Galilee, he taught on the mountains in Galilee, he fed the multitude in Galilee, and he called his disciples in Galilee. I cannot help but be moved by the holiness of this space.

I am also struck by how different things are than I imagined. For example, the village of Capernaum was much smaller than I imagined, but the mountains are much higher.

Stay tuned. I will try to upload pictures of some of the scenes, especially pictures from my baptism in the Jordan.