Thankful on an autumn day

Daisy the Dog has been recovering from an injury and today was a high point. Clean dressings, fewer drugs and no vet visit tomorrow. She’s on the mend.

We’ve gone to the vet every day for several days, and I usually pick up Daisy on the way home. But before we make it home, she needs a comfort break. And since she’s clearly feeling better, the walk was longer than usual. We saw commuters on the sidewalk, in cars and buses and on bikes. We paused to watch a motorcade with police blaze up Embassy Row. But I quickly turned back to the dog.

We made it to a grassy bank: a park-like area near a major road. Across the road stands a large tree, a plane tree, I think and so typical in cites. It’s leaves have already gone yellow, and a sudden breeze brought a flurry of the beautiful but dead leaves towards us. One stuck to Daisy’s fur.

I choked at the sight, and stifled a tear: I had a responsibility to care for this dog and there was so much traffic. Everything must, at last, die. The leaves have died and blow away. But Daisy is alive today. Alive, getting better and sniffing happily. And I was happy and thankful on an autumn day.

More thoughts on copyright

I got in a discussion behind the walled garden of Facebook about hymns, copyright and what we (as ministers and content providers) and I’ve brought some of my comments here. In particular, what do we do with hymn texts we think are in the public domain, and thus subject to republication, reuse or adaptation. But the text may seem a little one-sided…

It’s easier to show something is in copyright, than prove that it’s not. The before-1923 date is true, but there are works up to 1977 (when the law changed) that may be in the public domain. And that doesn’t got into the issue of licenture, including permissive licenses; see Creative Commons. It’s a tricky business. A fun place to start:

Another thing to keep in mind: liturgical elements that ministers write. Each of us have created copyrighted content. You don’t need to register an item to have copyright anymore. We can give permission each time (a pain), watch our works get cribbed without permission (annoying) or have it left untouched by the skiddish (a waste).

We can be good model of stewardship by providing our own “some rights reserved” licensing, using a Creative Commons model license. I’ve written about it, and license some works, but the Open Siddur people make a strong, maximalist case for licensing creative works, so they get the link.

So, you knew about the Universalist mission to Korea, right?

The Universalist mission to Korea didn’t last long, and tantalizingly little has been written about it. It was surely a subset of the Japanese mission work, and during this period — some time in the 1920s — Korea was occupied by Japan.

This photo, from the 1927 Universalist Year Book, is the first I’ve ever seen related to the work, but as you can see by the caption, there’s not much detail here either. It’s printed between two pages about the Japanese Universalist Convention, but there’s no reference within that convention’s entry.

Sunday School and Church Groups Our First Work in Korea -- Summer of 1926

Sunday School and Church Groups
Our First Work in Korea — Summer of 1926

Can’t wait to get the 1928 Year Book.

Upcoming blogging in October 2014

Given Daisy the Dog’s recovery and other must-dos, I think the blogging for the rest of the month (and early November?) will be light, and restricted to:

  1. Thoughts in progress about Universalist polity, particularly as it applies today.
  2. Historical documents which later blogging will reference.
  3. Perhaps some liturgical tidbits I’ll use myself and would want to share.
2014-08-20 18.38.17

Daisy, in August when she was in better shape.

Asking you for a meat offset

Our little Daisy the Dog suffered an injury earlier this week. She’s now under going treatments, and because she’s in a good bit of pain gets pain management medication. This means pills, and she’s not a good pill taker at the best of times. Because she’s already distressed — and not eating — we’ve relented on her usual diet. This is where I’d like you to come in.

Husband and I are vegetarians. We feed Daisy a balanced, vet-approved vegetarian diet. We love her, and we care about other animals, too, so much so that we don’t eat them. But we’re feeding her a particularly stinky (and vet-supplied) meat diet to stimulate her appetite and cover the bitterness of the pills.

As vegetarians go, we’re pretty mellow, not the least because I used to be an obnoxious anti-vegetarian not all that many years ago. Better to share a recipe or a dish, than to be a nuisance.

So the ask. Can you please put meat or eggs aside for a meal or two while Daisy recovers? And if given a choice, less boneless breast of chicken is probably best. Apart from the harm to the birds, it’s almost flavorless, hard to cook well and its preparation has a huge injury rate. It was the first thing I gave up in my path to vegetarianism.

And if not that, perhaps a hash brown breakfast in place of eggs? Skip bacon; a smaller steak?

We love Daisy, and would do anything for her. But it’s hard to to love one animal and not remember the harm to others.

So may I impose on you? A few less meat or egg dishes until Daisy gets back to normal?


A pastor without a car?

A similar post, like Wednesday’s. Musing on a reality that “might ought could” (as we say in the South) be examined, even challenged.

Is it practically possible, say, in a larger city or even a  large college town, to pastor a church without a car? I’m not sure it is. It assumes your home, church and most parishioners — not to mention civic events — are conveniently clustered, or accessed by reliable (and Sunday-serving) transit.

And a shame, too. Car ownership is a huge cost — and car maintenance a financial crap shoot. My husband and I haven’t had a car in six or seven years, and have saved a bundle, and that’s considering the occasional car rental or cab.

Reimbursements only go so far. I hear so much from ministerial colleagues about student debt and making ends meet. A car-free ministry would be a big help.

But, does anyone here do it?


A question for wedding officiants

Legislative and court successes have expanded same-sex couples access to legal marriage; my husband and I have benefited from it. It’s exciting to see the couples line up on the first “legal” day. Some of these will then get married on the courthouse steps, or some location nearby. It’s particularly encouraging to see Unitarian Universalist ministers take their place there.

And these often long-awaited, but surely quickly organized weddings make a visible challenge to the now-normal way of getting married, with expensive jewelery, elaborate arrangements and a cast of thousands. I usually advise couples to elope, and these courthouse-step services look only a short step away from an elopement. Not only do I approve, but I’m glad to see the option depicted so joyously.

But then I recall another norm, or former norm: pre-marital counseling. I’m not really qualified to do it, and I’m not convinced it’s necessary. So, for those few weddings I do these days, I don’t offer or require it. And I wonder if that was part of the arrangement that lead a couple and minister to meet on the courthouse steps?

Do you, dear wedding officiant, offer or require pre-marital counseling? Any particular reason, either way?

“Shown to denote limited duration”

John Simcox mentioned getting an 1880 book by interlibrary loan called “Aion-Aionios” in a recent comment. I have that book — and now you can get a copy, too.

The Greek Word Aion-Aionios, Translated in the Holy Bible, Shown to Denote Limited Duration by Rev. John Wesley Hanson, A. M.

Hanson was a demominationally-popular writer. But why care about this subject? To show that “eternal punishment,” that is, “aionian” punishment did not mean “ceaseless, without end” but a period of time applicable to that being discussed. He cites examples of “everlasting” or “eternal” (so translated) events that have, in fact, ended.


Black Metal Universalism

My attention was drawn yesterday to a site called Black Metal Universalism, the only obvious purpose of which is the sale of t-shirts emblazoned with “All Souls” in a design that is a bit too daring for this 45-year-old to wear non-ironically.

So is it “our Universalism” or not? There are certainly independent Universalists, but most (any?) aren’t so culturally edgy and the success of the Universalist Christian t-shirts at the UU Christian Fellowship table at General Assembly suggests this comes from within “the family”.

I looked up the domain registration. The site was registered the day before yesterday, but no name! Naughty, naughty.

But all is forgiven. I approve of this kind of material culture; it helps reinforce a sense of belonging without depending on real estate….

Today is Universalist Memorial Day

As we lope to church, let’s recall that the Universalist General Convention commended so many years ago

that the first Sunday of October, in each year, be set apart as Memorial Sunday, for commemorating those friends who, during the year, have been taken away by death.

I think it’s place there to anticipate the great and general thanksgiving and memorial — All Souls Day — a month later. Few, if anyone observes the day (also called the Sunday of the Commemoration) today, and some of the Universalist Christians who might chose it would rather observe the ecumenical World Communion Sunday, which is also today.

This service, from the extinct Church of the Redeemer, Chelsea, Mass. — a fountainhead of liturgical innovation — offers hints for its observance, and the date makes me suspect that many of the dead remembered died in the Civil War.