The Disturbing Story of King Ahasuerus

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This is a story from the Bible but Rev. Michelle L. Torigian has captured the “backstory”. Esther (flawed?) was a faithful and powerful woman but look what she was against.

Michelle L. Torigian

V0034399 Esther faints before King Ahasuerus. Engraving, 1767, after Wikimedia Commons

Once upon a time, there was a king who ruled over many provinces.  His name was King Ahasuerus.  While he was on his throne in the Citadel of Susa, he threw a tremendous party.  The palace was decorated in marble, silver, various colors of stones and, of course, GOLD.

On the seventh day of the great banquet, in his state of mirth, he commanded his wife, Queen Vashti, to remove herself from her separate banquet and parade around his banquet full of men wearing her crown…

Probably ONLY  her crown…

…Because, of course, he was king.  And rich.  And celebrated.  Some would say a star, perhaps.  And he could demand such exploitations.

Queen Vashti was fair to behold- possibly a “10.”

But Ahasuerus failed.  Queen Vashti refused to become another prop in his life, to be objectified by not only her husband but the many men who may grope…

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A Dear John (Dorhauer) Letter

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To our UCC friends: This a truth not to be denied!

Tidings of Comfort & Joy

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Dear John,

It’s not you. It’s me.

How could it be about you? You, the Rev. John Dorhauer, have been nominated to serve as the next President and General Minister of the United Church of Christ.  The search committee checked you out.  People commenting on the press release are singing your praises. I don’t know you; they do. I cannot deny your qualifications, your engaging personality, or your valued contributions to the UCC all these years. Surely, you will serve faithfully.

You are going to be the face of the UCC!  And, you know, nice face, but I just didn’t want to see your particular face. Not this time.

It’s not you. It’s me.

I notice things. Details. Telling details. Like the fact that your search committee co-chairs were Bernard and Kent. And now, as the UCC’s new General Minister and President, you will step into the big (boy) shoes that have…

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Make Sure Your Wedding Fits You

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Pre the swinging ’60s, when your grandparents were young adults, the idea of living together before marriage was socially unacceptable. While some couples dared to try it, they dared not do so openly – for the judgment of society could be cruel. Gay couples also were in jeopardy of social condemnation.

In 2014, however, living together before marriage has become more the rule than the exception – the “new normal.” And gay relationships too are becoming mainstream in the eyes of most Americans. Recognizing this cultural shift is important for Justices of the Peace who help couples design their wedding ceremonies. Often the old words and assumptions underlying the “traditional” wedding ceremony don’t work anymore and need to be updated.

In the last few years, every couple I have married lived together before tying the knot. Some brought children to the wedding. We worked to bring these little ones into the ceremony. While traditional wedding verbiage might still work in these cases, the modern wedding ceremony should be able to accommodate the reality of children born before wedlock, or the realities of second or third marriages. The outdated Victorian notions of the “virgin” bride and groom – and one marriage for life – rarely reflect the circumstances of couples getting married today, who deserve nevertheless to have a wedding that honors them.

In addition, same-gender couples are entitled to feel that the modern wedding ceremony captures and respects their experience. I worked with an older same-gender couple a few weeks ago to remove heterosexual biases from the language of their wedding script. After 25 years together, with two children entering high school, the laws of their state and country have finally recognized the legitimacy of their union. They deserve to have a wedding ceremony that befits and validates their deep love and commitment to one another and their family.

With the turn of the 21st century, our culture has turned a corner in our views of sexuality and marriage. Today, many young couples test the waters with each other before taking those serious steps down the aisle, and gay couples are delighting in their freedom to participate fully in our societal rites and customs.

If you are gay, have children, contemplating your second, third or fourth marriage, or simply have a different idea about what your marriage ceremony should look like, don’t be shy about asking your Justice of the Peace to modify the language of your ceremony to fit your circumstances and ideas. Of course, most JPs are more than willing to adapt your ceremony in any way that feels meaningful to you. But make sure you select the JP that you feel respects your need to be fully “you” in your wedding ceremony.

(This blog was originally posted on the FindaJP.com blog. FindaJP.com is THE site to find advice and guidance about wedding officiants.)

Marking time is not the ideal (by a long shot)

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What does a run-of-the-mill blogger write about having three successive flights cancelled and ending up stranded 1500 miles from home? Probably nothing new except for a few unique experiences attributable to our whims.

To wit, we visited the Textile Center in Minneapolis. In this high-tech digital age, it is refreshing to see what artists can do with small strands pulled from the cocoons of worms or a bunch of one inch square scraps of fabric. Such a place makes it easy to ignore sub-zero temperatures outside.

Another personal quirk, liking to wander aimlessly in a city, took me to the downtown Minneapolis skyway system. I parked in an indoor ramp near the Metrodome and entered the maze of fast food, convenience stores, ATMs, and the entries to every variety retail establishment one could imagine. All this covering blocks and blocks without ever going outside in the cold.

Several times this week I have seen the light rail train sliding back and forth between Target Field and the Mall of America and thought that maybe a couple of round trips might be fun. I wouldn’t even have to go out because I could park near the Mall door and drop down to the Metro Transit station to jump on board. However you may be happy to know I haven’t gone completely stir crazy because I headed for the MOA Apple Store instead.

This whole parallel universe thing seems about to shift back to normal. We have our place in the boarding line for tomorrow evening, the weather has moderated along our route, and even if we get cancelled again we are driving the rental car back to New Hampshire. However, never let it be said that we just sat around and fumed. We did stuff. Isn’t that what life is all about?

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A Deadly Habit

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We know we shouldn’t text and drive…but our phones are programming us to do just that.

The next time I contact you by cell phone from my vehicle it will be only after I pull over and put the car into park. So if you don’t hear back from me quickly enough, practice your patience because I will be practicing my new habit of turning off and stowing my phone while driving. 

The title of this blog post and the quote above are from “The last word” column of THE WEEK (November 8, 2013). In this startling article, which I hope you will read, a study shows “that drivers who are texting are twice as likely to crash, or almost crash, as those who are focused on the road. “

Now, like the Geico ad, everybody knows that, right? Then why does it not change? Are we suicidal or homicidal or just what? The article sheds new light by pointing out that “For many people… using a smartphone may be less a decision than a habit–a move they make without initially thinking about what they are doing or why.”

So clearly the answer is to break the cycle, start a new habit that will greatly increase your odds of avoiding an automobile accident. As a schoolbus driver, I force myself to mute my android and stick it in a shelf where I can’t see it but, up until now, I have kept it next to me in my private vehicle. No longer! After reading this article I decided that even if I don’t care about myself, I at least owe it to the other drivers and pedestrians to pay complete attention to what is happening in front and around my two ton moving steel missle at which controls I am in sole command.

If I catch you or you catch me, let’s remember “Friends don’t let friends text and drive”!

 

30 Days, 30 Posts: NaBloPoMo is here!

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As this article points out so clearly blogging is a very versatile means of communication. It also reminds me that of the infamous Three P’s: Perfectionism ; Procrastination; Paralysis. Just a couple of thoughts for those who write and those who read our blogs

The WordPress.com Blog

There’s a lot of buzz each November around NaNoWriMo — you may notice some of your favorite blogs dedicating themselves to churning out 50,000 words this month.

If 50,000 words seem like 49,000 too many or you’re more interested in blogging than writing a book, NaBloPoMo — National Blog Posting Month — might be your speed: a challenge to post once every day for the entire month of November. No theme, no word count, no rules; just you, your blog, and 30 new posts.

NaBloWhatNow?

NaBloPoMo started in 2006 in response to NaNoWriMo; not every blogger has the time or inclination to write a book, but the idea of a challenge that forces participants to stretch themselves, grow as bloggers, and be part of a supportive community is undeniably appealing. As founder Eden Kennedy, the power blogger behind fussy.org, put it:

If there’s one thing creative people…

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