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Spring is in the air!

At the beginning of February, when the earth appears frozen and lifeless, there are stirrings below the surface and above us in the sky. The light is returning; today there is nearly an hour more daylight than there was on the Winter Solstice.

Mid-January through mid-February is when the Great Horned Owls begin breeding and nesting. While the rest of us look out at the wintry landscape here in North Central Blogistan – and wait for spring – the owls are already beginning their nesting year.

(Don’t forget to hover* …)

Tuesdays in Mooseville – The Problem With Wine 1/28/20

Two weeks ago, after reading my explainer on the potential schism within the United Methodist Church, I was asked why Methodists use grape juice rather than wine at Communion. After all, Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding at Cana, and it’s assumed that he was using wine during the Passover (Last Supper) which has become the basis for the eucharistic tradition. So why do Methodists have a problem with wine? The answer is made up of many different threads: history, social justice, entrepreneurship, and the unique Methodist creativity that ties all the threads together.

Tuesday in Mooseville – SHEnanigans, Twitter Style 1/21/20

1893 oil painting of women at the church of San Pietro in Pistoia (Kristian Zarhtmann, 1843-1917)

The original plan for this week was to respond to a question asked by a reader of last week’s post. But there has been a change in plans; I’m going with a female-centric tweet-a-rama today and will use my free time later this week to prepare the requested post for next Tuesday. So no, I will not be continuing to post in the future, but that future doesn’t start until after January 28th. My apologies to the readers who came today looking for that promised post, but next week, I promise, it will be here.

Tuesday in Mooseville – “Meet Me Halfway” and the Proposed United Methodist Protocol 1/14/20

Memorial to John Wesley

Every week, Moishe would pray to win the lottery. “Please God,” he would say, “let me win the lottery. I need to win the lottery.”

After several years of this, God finally replied and God’s booming voice rattled Moishe more than a little bit. “Moishe,” God said, “meet me half way. Buy a ticket.”  (Hey, God, the Joke’s on You!)

Although the joke above came from a Reformed Judaism website, as far as I’m concerned, the joke could have been written by anyone, for anyone…except for a Methodist.  Methodists are not supposed to buy lottery tickets; the stance against gambling in any form goes back to the beginnings of the Methodist movement and even today  is enshrined in the social principles (What does the UMC say about gambling?) While the Methodist position on gambling may not be commonly-known or understood (sometimes even by church members), the general public would generally view the principled stance as part and parcel of Methodist DNA. The reputation of the church has long been described as mostly liberal and a leader on social justice issues. That reputation is part of the reason the current homophobic, anti-LGBTQI policies and practices of the church are so baffling to non-Methodists. I would argue, as a lifelong Methodist, that both the policies and the recent, proposed protocol for change are far more consistent with Methodism than most assume, and our reputation is a combination of aspiration and reality; history and hagiographic storytelling; and inspiration and contrivance. This is only one Methodist’s opinion (and these days, I’m more lapsed than not), but after reading the proposed protocol, what some people are calling “schism” in the United Methodist Church, I am considering to be the logical conclusion to an unnecessarily torturous process.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Be A Dreamchaser 12/31/19

One Detroit Center. (Detroit, MI)

Pete Saunders (@petesaunders3 on Twitter) is one of my favorite bloggers; he writes a small blog, The Corner Side Yard, which generally focuses on urban planning-related issues. On Twitter, he describes himself as “Urban Planner. Editor/publisher, The Corner Side Yard. #Rustbelt lover. Detroit born/raised, Hoosier trained and Windy City polished.” I stumbled across his blog when I was reading and writing about Thomas Sugrue’s The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (a book I strongly and wholeheartedly recommend to anyone with an interest in history, race in America, urban planning, and/or cities). In his most recent blog post, Saunders discusses what he sees as the new narrative coming out of Detroit after years of catastrophes like the Kwame Kilpatrick administration, the Great Recession, and the city’s bankruptcy. He identifies rebranding, resilience, and redemption as the key narrative elements coming out of Detroit and discusses how they differ from the usual messaging employed by urban areas.

Rather than the standard “we have all the amenities you love!” that most cities try to promote, touting urban sameness rather than distinctiveness or authenticity, the message coming out of Detroit is, “we’re still here! We made it and we’re stronger for it!” (Detroit: Rebranding, Resilience and Redemption)

Throughout his post, Saunders has sprinkled videos which illustrate his point, and as I watched the videos, it occurred to me that while the post was about the rebound of Detroit, it could just as easily be a message of hope for 2020. So I include the videos for your viewing, whether as cheerleading for a city I love or as a reminder that while we have miles to go before we sleep, together we have the resilience to start the work of redemption.

Tuesday in Mooseville – Sweets for the Sweet 12/24/19

We had this when I was a kid; unfortunately, my cooking skills never advanced much beyond this level.

Aphra Behn, who some might remember for her stellar Herstory posts and her involvement with the old Hillary News and Views days, tweeted this yesterday:

It’s a fascinating story, and it also reminded me a bit of part of the premise of Michael Twitty’s, The Cooking Gene, which I’m currently reading.

The Cooking Gene is about the influence that the enslavement of Africans by European settlers has had on foodways and history of the Old South. The Cooking Gene includes personal narratives, history, recipes, and folk songs. The recipes have African, Native American, and European roots as the author integrates his Jewish faith into African-American cooking. Twitty emphasizes the African flair that has been added to European and Native American ingredients by African American cooks. Additionally, he discusses plants used in cooking that are native to Africa such as sesame, okra, and sorghum. The Cooking Gene)

We don’t really have any food stories or food legacies in my family.  Part of that is because my grandmothers’ recipe boxes were either lost or thrown out when they passed away.  Part of that is because the food heritage from Germany and/or England/Scotland is not all that distinctive (as compared to other Western European countries), so even if I have a heritage, I probably wouldn’t recognize it.  And part of it is because my immigrant ancestors were so focused on assimilation that retaining a heritage (beyond Whiteness) was not a priority.  I can recognize more recent influences:  the Depression on the cooking of my grandmothers and mother; the 1950s with the introduction of convenient (AKA processed) foods; WWII on the food my mom was “allowed” or “not allowed” to set before my dad.  My dad was more of a feminist than my mom ever was, but that didn’t stop him from decreeing that no lamb should ever be cooked in our home; the smell reminded him of the mutton he ate during the war, and that triggered other memories.

Despite the lack of stories or recipes, I’m still capable of appreciating food.  So when I realized that Aphra’s tweet was going to lead to a post, I decided that for the holidays, it was time to go back and dig out some of her anti-troll recipes.  As a Village, we never got around to gathering all of her/our recipes in one place, but I wanted to share some of those that would make tasty holiday and New Year fare.  So major h/t to Aphra for writing today’s post.

Welcome, Returning Light!

The winter solstice “occurs exactly when the Earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun at its maximum of 23° 26′. Though the winter solstice lasts only a moment in time, the term is also a turning point to midwinter and the first day of winter.”

That moment will occur tonight, December 21st, at 10:19pm Central Time (which is my time zone), in universal time that will be tomorrow, December 22, UTC 04:19.

Wolves Don’t Fly

 

Her looks were unusual: was she really who she seemed to be?

The wind was high that gray December afternoon as we passengers stood obediently in line to board the jet from Dulles Airport to Seattle. Looking out the windows next to the jetway entrance I could see the wind blowing a man’s hat off and a windsock flapping in the stiff breeze. But then I forgot about the wind as I walked down the jetway to the plane and rejoiced that my frequent flyer miles had secured a good seat in Row Eight for me.