To Think Or Not? To Reach Or Not? Those Are The Questions.

I think it’s pretty well accepted that if one has to ask, “What was she thinking?” she probably wasn’t thinking. I did that a few days ago. I did something really scary and did it before I filtered or second guessed myself.

I found myself in a “between” situation. You know, one of those should-I-say-something-or-be-quiet things. If I reach out and say what I want I’m vulnerable to censure, rejection, who knows what. If I don’t say anything it will stay here with me and eat away slowly during the rumination that seems to come almost automatically with these situations. What I had to say was a reaching out, where do we stand question, not a diatribe by any means. Well, I reached out, said what I had to say and all is well! So actually it wasn’t scary until after the fact and I asked THE question…What was I thinking?

Today I find myself in the same situation, different players, different scenario.And again I did not ask THE question until after the fact. Oops. I said what I felt I needed to say and am being called on the carpet as the saying goes. Now I am at the what was I thinking stage. I thought I was being courteous in letting others know of an action I took.  An action that was needed, helpful, involved no one personally, but now I find bruised someone’s ego. Do I leave it alone, allowing the other party to cope with their reaction? Do I reach out?  Do I, in a compassionate heart, let her “fix” herself, fix the seeming wrong she has done me?
Reach? Think? React? Explain? Is this a bridge to nowhere? Those are the questions that befuddle all of us one way or another. Sometimes we find answers. Sometimes we don’t.

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Birds, Butterflies and Bug Guts

My husband and I like to take road trips. We may plan a 3 week quest for new and exciting, a short excursion for information and shopping, or a day trip to somewhere familiar just for the fun of it. Recently on one of these jaunts, I found myself noticing the absence of bug guts on the windshield. This came on the heels of an earlier observation that there was a noticeable shortage of birds sitting on the wires. I remember when I was a kid traveling with dad, there were birds everywhere down the country roads we traversed. When we were actually going somewhere and took the faster routes, there were also birds. Meadowlarks and redwing blackbirds by the dozens sitting on the wires that stretched alongside the highways.

Okay, so that was Iowa and this is Texas, but still when I first got here I saw birds on the wires. Shrikes, scissortails, kites. And bugs on the windshield. And lots of butterflies. Then all of a sudden nothing. Um. Too much human encroachment? Maybe drought. We have had an abundance of dry years. Instead of a complaining about no rain, I say it that way so as to not anger the rain gods when they get here!

Things may be improving. On a late November trip last year, we had to look through three quarters of Texas’ bug population to see the road in front of the van. And then this trip last week there were not so many bugs, but some, and there were lots of red-tail hawks aloft and sitting on poles and fence posts. Of course, the fields are being plowed and planted here, this being March, so there is plenty of rodent type prey for those guys. I did also see birds on the wires, as of old. Many unidentified, but definitely birds. And I saw lots of butterflies, thankfully at a stop-for-a-walk-in-the-woods, not being desecrated on our windshield glass. 

And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. (James 5:18)

And now it’s June and we have had, thankfully, some really good rain. I am seeing many more birds on the well-traveled roads, not-so-well-traveled roads, in trees in the cities and butterflies in my backyard. The last of the Martin nestlings are flight-testing their new wings, sparrow babies are soloing and warblers and woodpeckers are gracing the branches of me mesquite trees.

So as eternally happens, spring renews the seasons, the earth and our human expectations of all being right with the world.

Mary, Mary, Wherefore Art Thou?

In “The Gospel of Mary Magdalene” by Mark Adamo, Jesus is asked to pass judgement on Mary Magdalene as an adulteress.
Being an opera, conflict and theatrics are necessary to the telling of the story. The composer’s fanciful expression has combined biblical characters to provide the drama. The author admits he purposely seeks to unsettle what we take as truth and to question Jesus’ motives. He did enough research to realize that the long held perception of MM as a reformed prostitute is fiction and yet he so portrays her.
This is yet another example of how so many false notions about what is in scripture get started. Jesus Christ Superstar (Webber and Rice) also played on unproven notions about Mary Magdalene. Accepting my human fallibility, I actually enjoyed that musical. But I did so fully aware that it was fiction and replaced traditional views with more contemporary language and allusions. It never purported to be more than a loosely based story built on imaginary interpersonal struggles not discussed in the Bible. It did not build on ideas discounted by the scholarly community.
I, personally, don’t think it is necessary or desirable to treat the Bible as art rather than a lawful guide to living. Is it even wise? Does it present a respectably true picture to those unfamiliar with the Bible? We certainly story-up the humanity of biblical characters in our literature, plays, paintings, etc., but does it help our understanding of the spiritual to fictionalize Bible stories and characters? Doesn’t it tend to put those we want to emulate in the “like us” rather than the “us like them” category?
I don’t necessarily believe that Jesus cannot be shown outside a sacred mode, but I have yet to see an undistorted depiction in a secular setting. Even the “Passion Play” has under gone much elaboration and expansion of what it was originally. People continually get tripped up by the difference between “Jesus” and “the Christ.” Jesus’ story may have dramatic, but it was not theatrical. Until we can make that distinction clearly we need to tread carefully when we enter God’s country.

No where in the Bible does it give evidence or intimation that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute, the woman who rubbed oil on Jesus’ feet, or anything other than a disciple of Jesus. An excellent article on this subject can be found at: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history-archaeology/magdalene.html

Grand Opera Jesus – Listen Magazine

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