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If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Youthful indiscretions and parenting

May 5th, 2008 · by fritzg ·

In 2000 George W. Bush said that when he was young and foolish he did young and foolish things. When his drunk driving arrest became public he said he did not divulge it himself because he did not want his daughters to know about it.

The cover story in yesterday’s Washington Post Magazine is about youthful indiscretions and whether or not parents should tell their kids about their history with such things as drugs, drinking, DUI, sex, etc.

I’ve dealt with this issue as a parent, and I consider it a serious one. Read the article and raise your awareness.


→ No CommentsTags: awareness · parenting

faux pottery, real art . . . real awareness

April 30th, 2008 · by fritzg ·

Today my workplace had a spiritual retreat where we slowed down and painted our own plates for the office. We went to a cute little place in Silver Spring where we got to pick out our plates and paint them in preparation for glazing and firing.

Having done pottery, I was disappointed the plates were from a mold and I was not able to choose my glaze (they use a clear one at this place, the emphasis is on the painting).

However, after I “quickly” finished my two plates, I was pleased with the experience. It was fun to be with colleagues and watch them embrace the artist within and work on their chosen projects. I found myself to be the constant editor (read critic), offering advice. LoL, me, offering advice on art, what a joke.

I was also pleased with how I dealt with the painting. I really don’t like it, but I let it go, and did what I could and what I thought was pleasing, and in the end was content with my effort and with my mark of art.

I need to do this more, specifically more pottery. I was surprised that my experience with pottery gave me a new perspective on what I “painted” today. It may have been “faux pottery”, but it was art nonetheless, and while I was no Van Gogh, I did what I liked, and made art the way I know how.

Each of us also slowed down just enough so that we were relaxed with one another instead of living our busy work lives.

Workplace retreats are important, just as personal retreats are. I’m thankful I work somewhere that recognizes that.


→ No CommentsTags: awareness · pottery

Free at last

April 26th, 2008 · by fritzg ·

Went to a PC(USA) geek event today at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. I say geek event, because really, only church polity geeks go to forums of moderator candidates on such a beautiful spring day. But I am what I am, and I love meeting up with other polity geeks like me. You know who you are . . .

I knew that NYAPC was Abe Lincoln’s church. But I did not know they had an original copy of his draft of the Emancipation Proclamation on display in their basement/Lincoln Parlor. Very cool. Very inspiring. This draft included reparations. See below and be inspired. I was.

Original Draft of Emancipation Proclamation


→ No CommentsTags: do · human rights · justice

iPhone pics

April 24th, 2008 · by fritzg ·

Ok. The flickr feed in the sidebar is a feed of my iPhone pics. Mary and I are using “technology to bridge the geographic divide.” Sounds so web 2.0, but so what, it works. We’re both taking pics and sharing them so we can still be a part of each other’s experience. Check out the pic below. It is one of Mary and I Skyping a little bit ago. I mean just look at her . . . makes me smile . . .

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→ No CommentsTags: awareness · walk

The Honda . . .

April 23rd, 2008 · by fritzg ·

Back in 2006 I wrote about our beloved Honda. It had reached 250,000 miles. We were pretty proud of that. An update.

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Late last summer as it was parked in front of my house a drunk driver crossed the street and totaled it. Thank goodness no one was hurt, but our car was no more. The funny thing is, it did not die. It ran and we drove it around sparingly for several months while we negotiated with insurance companies. It just cost too much to fix for us to justify keeping it as our only car. A deal was finally made and we now own a different 1994 car.

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This one is a Volvo. It doesn’t get as good gas mileage, but it is in great shape. It belonged to my mechanic’s parents. The photo is sleet on Easter Sunday 2008, but that’s another story.

We’ve also “replaced” using the car with public transportation. Mary has been taking the bus to work for years now, and her employer has made it even easier by negotiating with TARC that their employees can use their company badge to ride TARC for free, anytime, anywhere. A very good deal. If only all corporations were that forward thinking in this area.

I go days and weeks without being in a car now that I am working in DC. Yes, I do fly a lot, but I also take trains and buses and subways a lot more than I use to. I love it. Gives me time to unwind and decompress. I’m also walking much more.

We miss our Honda, but are also enjoying the benefits of good public transportation, including our feet.


→ No CommentsTags: awareness · economics · Uncategorized

Sacred Place, Sacred Art, Sacred Practice

April 18th, 2008 · by fritzg ·

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After close to an 18 month break, I return to blogging. A lot has happened in the last 18 months and that will be reflected in the coming posts.

This week I am experiencing the loss of something sacred.

A while back I began taking pottery classes at a local Franciscan Retreat Center and Arts Studio in southern Indiana, just 15 minutes from downtown Louisville. Mount Saint Francis is a beautiful place. They are situated on 400 wooded acres. It was a wonderful place to connect with the Creator even before I started throwing pots there, But since, well, it is about my favorite place outside of Florida beaches.

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I particularly remember a day last February when it was so cold the lake froze and kids were playing football on it. I took a walk on the frozen lake before and after throwing pots and was in a wonderfully content, spiritual place.

I also connected well with my young instructor. Norm understood the connection of pottery to the Earth and to our Spirit. He didn’t talk about it much, but he lived it in the way he threw and in the way he taught. He became a spiritual guide for me in the months I was a part of the studio.

This week I was told that Norm is moving on from Mt. St. Francis. I found this out as I was hoping to plan some studio time to reconnect and throw some pots for the first time in a while. Sigh.

With my time in the area limited and my teacher gone, I know Mt. St. Francis will no longer be the same. I feel like I have lost something sacred. The woods and the lake will always be a great place to go, and I am sure I will find a studio in DC where I can throw again. But that time of discovering the artist within and also finding God in a place and way I wasn’t expecting to, but could then depend on . . . that is gone.

Today I ate lunch with Norm and we reminisced about those classes and the late night firings. Thanks, Norm. You gave us all a great gift with your time at a very special place. I’m glad to call you a friend and to have you for a teacher.


→ No CommentsTags: awareness · walk

attention christmas shoppers

December 18th, 2006 · by fritzg ·

The Daily Kos has a great post about extended warranties. Simply put, don’t buy them.

I’ve known for a long time they were not worth it and have avoided them, but Kos’ post details just how much profit the big box places make on these things and shows them for the scam they are.

The sad thing is, I bet the employees have to push these things to make a decent commission during the holiday season. Ugh.


→ No CommentsTags: awareness · economics · justice

agreed

December 13th, 2006 · by fritzg ·

From today’s NY Times and Newsvine discussion:

Mr. Bush has no more time to waste on “listening tours” and photo ops. The nation is in a crisis, and Americans need to hear how he plans to unwind the chaos he has unleashed in Iraq. If the president is delaying because he is searching for a good option, he can stop. There are none. But Americans need to see that he is prepared to choose among the undesirable alternatives, and clear the way for a withdrawal of American troops that does not leave even more killing and mayhem behind.

My son, Brandon, is 20. I’ve noticed there are teenage-soldiers who are dying in Iraq. If my son or daughter were over there, I’d be demanding that this president work through the holiday to reach a decision on what his “new way forward” will be.


→ No CommentsTags: peacemaking · war

Human Rights Day, part 2

December 12th, 2006 · by fritzg ·

In today’s LA Times, Dave Zirin once again brings the issues of human rights and justice home to Americans in a way we can understand very well. Sports.

IN 1995, I went to Chile’s National Stadium to watch a soccer match. Soccer was something I neither enjoyed nor understood, but the game was hardly on my mind; instead, it was the arena.

. . .

All I could think of was: My God! This is National Stadium, where the bleachers were once filled with dissidents of every stripe after the coup, a mass waiting room for those about to be executed or tortured. This is where women were raped for the crime of wearing pants.

December 10 was Human Rights Day, and it was also the day Agusto Pinochet of Chile died. How ironic that this man—who was never held accountable for his human rights abuses—died on the day that celebrates those very rights. How tragic that the United States was so caught up with the Cold War that we supported Pinochet and his coup of the freely elected Salvador Allende. Colin Powell has said we are not proud of this part of our history.

May we learn from the lessons of history and not turn a blind eye to human rights abuses anywhere (even at home) as we fight the war on terror, now known as the Long War.


→ No CommentsTags: do · human rights · justice

Human Rights Day

December 10th, 2006 · by fritzg ·

Check out the United Nations page on Human Rights Day and celebrate that on this day in 1948 the UN General Assembly adopted Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The focus this year is on poverty. “Poverty is a cause and a product of human rights violations.”

The video is from the intro of the 1998 Amnesty International Paris Concert DVD celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the UDR.


→ No CommentsTags: amnesty international · do · human rights · justice · peacemaking · politics