Saturday, January 03, 2009

Frost / Nixon

Seeing the movie dramatization of the interviews David Frost conducted with Richard Nixon stirred a lot of emotion in me.
About Bush / Cheney.

At the end, when Nixon confesses to wrong-doing, I experienced a sort of catharsis greater than merely the release of tension or a well-done denouement. Mixed into the reaction is my desire for Bush and Cheney to have a public moment like this. To confess they've done wrong, and that they're sorry. I'd like to see the awareness in their eyes that they've betrayed us.

I'm not hopeful I'll ever see that. And my reaction overshadows a really good movie, which merits emotion-stirring in its own right.

Oh, but wouldn't it be grand to see and hear Bush say how very wrong he was? To watch Cheney take admit to lying and be soul-sick about it? Not for the sake of punishment and humiliation, but for the sake of healing. Our nation's healing, and their healing.

While I remember the actual Frost / Nixon interviews, I wasn't old enough to understand all the ramifications. Richard remembers his reaction to the last session -- the one about Watergate -- and said it was at that moment that Nixon became a citizen again, started back on the road to rehabilitation. Because that's what confession does.

If Bush / Cheney maintain their triumphant "we're right and history will vindicate us" stance throughout their lives, they're only reaffirming their basic weakness of character and fearfulness. Weak men need to be right all the time. Fearful men can't exist without the iron mask of bravado. And if they never confess, they steal their own opportunity for redemption. More over, they rob this nation of a season of maturity and strengthening.

With Obama coming into office, there is a temptation to say "Thank God, it's all behind us now." But it's not. We won't be through this until there is some public accountability. I wonder if Frost is up for another set of marathon sessions with disgraced American leaders...?

Friday, January 02, 2009


I took this photo last year in Chartres, France; it's the common symbol for those on a spiritual pilgrimage. The seeking, the journey, the discovery. I realize I'm starting 2009 as a pilgrim.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thena's America

My friend Thena recently compiled a video montage for a song she has written -- America.

I am moved by her America video on a couple of levels. One of the things I have come to believe is that America lacks a true prophetic voice -- America as a nation and the prevailing culture of American Christianity.

Remember in the beginning of Acts when the disciples ask Jesus "is it now, Lord" that your are going to set up your kingdom here on earth? Jesus had to tell them again "you still aren't getting it" -- this is a kingdom of the heart, not an earthly kingdom where you're justified and empowered to tell others how to live and what to do.

I feel as though the bulk of America's churches are led by those disciples, who disregarded Jesus' words and keep trying to create something here that doesn't look at all like the true kingdom of the heart. Instead it looks like them instituting God's rule among mankind, with them in charge.

And because we as the Church are off track, because we don't have healthy leadership, we are failing (much of the time) to be the salt and light in our world -- with three consequences -- among many -- being:

* the body of Christ is broken, disconnected, and doesn't function in basic unity with the holy spirit or itself,
* the lack of the true, pure, humble, honest prophetic voice,
* people don't see the true beauty and freedom and joy of faith in Christ.

Not to mention that we don't do the simplest things that would help the poor, bring justice, feed the hungry, heal the sick, visit those in prison, etc.

Thena's song touches this intertwined bunch of things for me -- it feels like a piece of the voice crying out in love and compassion, not in judgment, and calling us to wake up, unite and change.

I love America and want our country to be the best it can, and I want the Church in America to discover her true calling from the Spirit and stop making up a religion out of our own ideas of God's Kingdom.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Yes we can! (Obama!)

Barack Obama 44th President of the United States. 
Yes we can. 

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Voting at the Firehouse

Early this morning, Richard, Bryn and I walked two blocks to the neighborhood firehouse, which is also our polling place. A friend from church greeted us -- serving as a poll worker today. There was a line with people of various races -- at least five distinct ethnicities. Bryn met a Dalmatian and we voted. Our red "I voted" sticker is in three languages. 

Happy times. 

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Two for Dancing Queen

Between us, the Man and I share a disparate taste in movies. Harry Potter, Harrison Ford,  the ensemble casts of mockumentarian Christopher Guest... not what you'd call a strong thread of continuity there. 

So would you figure I was straining at the leash to go see "Mamma Mia," and that he was more than willing to accompany? I'm not sure I even like Abba, or remember any of their songs except for the brain-gripping "Dancing Queen." But Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan singing Abba on a Greek Island -- gotta go!

We realize that if I can leave work on time today, we can make the late matinee showing of Momma Mia. It's a bit of a horse race though, and we jog up to the ticket counter in the very nick of time. 

"Two for Dancing Queen!" I call out breathlessly. The man gives us our tickets and asks if we want popcorn or a drink. Distracted, I make Italianate hand gestures (the nice kind). "I mean, Momma Mia, two for Momma Mia." 

He smiles, "I knew what you meant."

I don't think I was still for even one moment of the movie. Toes, knees, shoulders, head, vocal chords -- something was going the entire time. 

In my imagination, I'm Meryl and the Man is Pierce. Gotta whisk him away to the Aegean Sea. 

"You can dance, you can jive, having the time of your life
See that girl, watch that scene, diggin' the dancing queen"

Hero of the Day

Tom Sepa.

Officially listed as homeless, he holds down an internet sales job while camping out in Golden Gate Park. Tom has a car, a laptop, a cell phone, and a wireless card giving his laptop internet access even when he is out of wifi range (say, sitting cross-legged under the Eucalyptus trees in the park). He spends most days at the Zephyr Cafe, where Kristen and I have met to work on our erstwhile novels. He orders coffee, et al, puts on his headset, and starts work. 

Tom is one of the increasingly stressed middle class. As do so many of us, he lived a couple of paychecks away from trouble. When he and his wife split (causes unstated; she left) he could no longer afford the rent on their house. After trying and hating some of the homeless-lodging options offered by the City, he decided it was smarter and safer to camp out. 

He's on his way to saving $10,000 -- his goal before re-entering "normal" life. In San Francisco, it takes anywhere from $4,000--$8,000 to get into regular rentals, either apartments, flats, condos or homes. 

If I directed an affordable housing and rent-to-own non-profit (one of my ephemeral goals) I would sign him up. Since I'm a writer, maybe I'll turn his story into a screenplay. 

Tom, I may never meet you, but what you're doing really resonates with me. I hope your wife didn't leave because of anything sad, bad or scary you did. I hope you're a good guy, because I like believing in good guys. Regardless, I think your urban survival tactics are spot-on. I'm praying for the time when your tent will just be used for weekend getaways.