Water, women, and Jesus

Yesterday was World Water Day and the lectionary readings for today were also about water, including the story of Jesus and the woman at the well, all in the month of March, which is Women’s History Month in the US.

Women and girls are most likely to be dealing with water access and pollution problems as they are usually the ones most in charge of fetching, carrying, cooking, washing up, laundering, etc., especially in the parts of the world where clean hot and cold water do not run abundantly from the tap, as they do for me and my neighbors. Water is a necessity of life and access to it is a justice issue.

In the gospel story, it is a woman who comes to fetch water from the well of Jacob, her ancestor. She is in a socially vulnerable position, female, a Samaritan, sexually exploited. Yet Jesus asks her for a favor and engages in conversation with her, breaking with the norms of the society both on gender and ethnic grounds. What is even more astonishing is that he reveals his identity as the messiah to her and that she, despite her lack of community standing, becomes an apostle of the Good News, one who “goes and tells” others of salvation.

Preaching on this gospel often revolves around the woman’s sinfulness, because she has been married five times and is living with a man who isn’t her husband, but Jesus, although he tells the woman that he knows this about her, never condemns her for it or discusses any need for forgiveness. He offers her the living water of the Spirit, truth, salvation, and the love of God, which she gratefully receives and, energized, brings other people to meet Jesus so that they too can encounter him and believe that he is the messiah.

The woman, unnamed as are many of the women who encounter Jesus in the gospel, stands for all the other nameless women who are exploited or marginalized because of their gender or their ethnicity. Her modern descendants in spirit might live in Syria, Sudan, Ukraine, or might be victims of human trafficking in Thailand, Brazil, the US. God offers radical, unconditional love, not guilt or blame about their exploitation.

We are called to do the same.

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My response to EDF’s climate confession email

This message from the Environmental Defense Fund: http://support.edf.org/site/MessageViewer?dlv_id=65441&em_id=35201.0
really upset me. They have been giving cover to the oil and gas industry to keep fracking, so I took their invitation to write to them and sent the following:

I am distressed with your climate confession email because your hopeful graph isn’t telling the whole story. The graph only tells about carbon dioxide emissions from the energy sector. It ignores other sectors and, even more disturbingly, ignores the emissions of other greenhouse gases, such as methane. Methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and is particularly damaging in the twenty year timeframe, which is the critical time period in which we can temper climate change to make it only damaging to the planet and its inhabitants, instead of catastrophic.

It sickens me that EDF has fallen into the trap of the oil and gas industry to push ramping up unconventional fossil fuel extraction by HVHF in the name of helping the climate when what we really need to do is withdraw all support for fossil fuels and convert to renewable energy as quickly as possible.

comment to Nat’l Geographic on “green” fracking

After I had already commented on this article:  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2014/03/140319-5-technologies-for-greener-fracking/#, a call went out from a fracktivist blogger that we should also blog our comments, so here is mine:

No fossil fuel can be green. Period. All of the things that are in this article have been around for several years and get trotted out by the industry to try to give themselves cover, but they are not widely implemented and some of them are not widely implementable. Fracking with gelled propane is not only more expensive, it is also much more dangerous and cannot be used close to people because of the explosion hazard. Most of the methane that leaks is not from the wells, although some is, but from processing and underground pipelines. The horrible explosion in NYC recently highlights the deplorable state of methane infrastructure in the US. The only green choice is to stop going after unconventional fossil fuels and use remaining conventional sources as we move to renewable energy sources as quickly as possible.

Daylight Savings Time

Time for my (semi-annual) rant about changing clocks. Daylight changes a few minutes at a time. Changing what the clock says when sunset happens does not “save” daylight; it just re-names it.

DST puts me out of sync with the seasons. At my latitude, going on daylight savings time when it is still winter means that many more weeks of getting up to start the day in the dark. In the summer, it barely gets dark for bedtime. In the fall, we are back to dark mornings for a much longer time than we should be.

Admittedly, changing clocks is difficult for me personally. My circadian rhythm is very stubborn. Even one hour’s change throws me for a loop. I joke about being a “delicate flower,” but changing my sleep pattern can quickly devolve into multiple body systems going haywire. (And writing a blog post at 4:30 AM on no sleep.)

As you can guess, I don’t do well when I have to cross multiple times zones…

Mardi Gras

It’s Mardi Gras! So, theoretically, I should be gorging on all the fattening foods in my house, consuming as much as possible before Lent begins tomorrow.

But that’s not my way.

While I will observe the traditions of my church in regards to fasting and and abstaining from meat on certain days, I don’t find it spiritually useful to give up chocolate or dessert or some other food or drink.

Instead, I strive to live moderately and thoughtfully in general, so that, when a special season such as Lent occurs, I can concentrate on spending additional time in prayer/spiritual reading and service, as well as making special monetary donations to charities.

I am certainly not discounting those who truly find fasting and giving up luxuries a spiritually beneficial practice. I am only sharing what works for me.

So Happy Mardi Gras! You can have an extra doughnut or pancake for me.

What I wish would happen in Ukraine

I, along with others in the US and around the world, have been anxiously watching the situation in Ukraine. It’s disturbing to see people in Crimea raising the Russian flag over Ukrainian government buildings and to see masked Russian troops controlling the airports and streets. The Ukrainian transitional government can’t fight the huge Russian army.

It seems strange to me that so many Russian-speaking Ukrainians consider themselves Russian. Putin apparently considers them Russian, too. Violating Ukraine’s sovereignty is not a good way to deal with this problem. I wish they would institute a peaceful way to resolve this without violence and without dividing the country. Perhaps Russian can set up a mechanism to re-settle ethnic Russians who do not consider themselves citizens of Ukraine in Russia. During a ninety day transition period, Russians and Ukrainians could patrol together to keep peace and those who choose to leave could settle affairs in Ukraine before leaving for Russia. Russia could still retain its military base in Crimea. If the US can have a military base in Cuba, Russia should be able to retain a military base in Ukraine.

I don’t know what will happen, but hope and pray that the situation can be resolved peacefully without dividing Ukraine.