There is a house on our street, typical of those in this South Valley, Albuquerque, neighborhood. Run down, with untidy yard, a broken window, it showcases two of our local culture's most prominent images: Our Lady of Guadalupe and a skeleton. I am fascinated and read them as poetry, like dreams—with endless and various meaning. This hallowed eve, I muse….
My husband and I recently took a short trip to Truth or Consequences, a small city in southern New Mexico. The place won its name in a 1950 contest celebrating the 10th anniversary of the radio show “Truth or Consequences.” T or C is also known for its mineral hot springs (the main reason we went). But the effect of its unique name on tourism has faded. The streets are quiet, buildings crumbling and patched with rescued junk, bright paint fading.
A few weeks ago two of my friends got married. Marriages in general are joyous and celebrated occasions, but this one even more so. They had been married in every sense of the word, except legally, for years, standing by each other through raising a child (now a teenager), job changes, house remodeling, cancer—you name it—the usual challenges (and pleasures and comforts) of a married couple. But they did so without legal rights and protections.
We share a birthday, Bernadette Soubirous and I. She was born in the year of the Great Disappointment, 1844, in Lourdes, France. Hardly superstitious, but terribly romantic, this means much to me. I have no expectation that anything will come of visiting the sacred place where aquero (“that”), the small young lady, the Immaculate Conception, visited Bernadette. But with my husband Peter and his Roman Catholic parents, I make the pilgrimage.
This morning we found a snake by the back door. Couldn’t be sure, from our timid distance, whether rattler or bull snake. If rattler, we’d grab hoe and chop. If it were in the wild, we’d leave it be, but this close to house, close to tender bare feet and curious dogs, it’s too dangerous. If a bull snake, we’d welcome it to make its home in the crawl space under the house. They’re harmless, handy actually, for eating rodents.
Since we couldn’t tell, we let it slither away.
Continuing Spectrum’s series on the Spirituality of Parenting, Joelle Chase picks up where she left off (see her previous post, Beyond All Odds: Prayer As Silence, here), finding yet another way to pray through her father’s cavernous malformation (abnormally formed blood vessels, leaking blood) in his brain stem.
Where I live near the Rio Grande, ecosystems of desert, river, mountains, and urban mixes of concrete and lawn meet together—portraits of conflict, coordination, creativity and change.
Change, life’s only constant, is stirring and shaking our churches. And not just Seventh-day Adventist congregations. Denominations across the Christian faith (and perhaps also across Judaism and other religious traditions) are undergoing a more than the “normal” dose of disruption.