Friday, October 03, 2008

A Franciscan Friday Five

On this feast day of St. Francis, the RevGalBlogPals Friday Five has a Franciscan slant.

1. Saint Francis experienced a life changing call. Has anything in your journey so far challenged you to alter your lifestyle?
Moving back to the old hometown and living with one's parent as a middle-aged adult was a lifestyle-altering experience -- some of that good, some of that not so much. And transitioning from entrenched singlehood to couplehood has been, as I think Luther put it, a school for character -- mostly a school for my character as I'm forced to think and act like a grownup in a relationship. Never a dull moment, I may add!

2. Francis experienced mocking and persecution, quite often in the comfortable west this is far from our experience. If you have experienced something like this how do you deal with it, if not how does it challenge you to pray for those whose experience is daily persecution?
I am ashamed to say that I do not remember the persecuted Church in my prayers as often as I should...perhaps because we live such complacent lives, we folks of faith, in a free society.

On the other hand...while "persecution" is too strong a word, I've certainly experienced discrimination in other areas of my life. I still remember my encounter with a local backwoods skinhead in a grocery store near my church; his deliberately standing in my way and bumping into me as I tried to navigate the aisles. More recently, FT and I found ourselves sitting in a local tavern that was supposedly open for breakfast...and never being served, despite the presence of other diners enjoying their eggs and toast; I'm quite sure this was "accidently on purpose." We wound up walking out. How do I deal with stuff like this? By not apologizing for who I am. Life is too short to live in a continual self-conscious cringe.

3 .St Francis had female counterpart in St Clare, she was influenced by St Francis sermon and went on to found the Poor Clare's, like the Franciscans they depended on alms this was unheard of for women in that time, but she persisted and gained permission to found the order. How important are role models like St Clare to you? Do you have a particular female role model whose courage and dedication inspires you? If so share their story....
I think I've shared this before here: My maternal grandmother was a kind, creative, curious soul whose evil stepmother -- this nasty woman was right out of a Grimm's fairy tale, to hear the family history -- pulled her out of school at age 10 and more or less kicked her and her equally inconvenient sisters out of the house to go fend for themselves. (My great-grandfather was evidently quite a spineless wonder to have allowed this.) Which they did -- Grandma became a domestic in a progressive Jewish family of intellectuals and attorneys, including one of the only female attorneys in Detroit at the time. They loved her, and actually wanted to set her up with one of their boys...but instead she wound up marrying my grandfather. She led a very, very difficult life as a sharecropping farmer in mid-Michigan; the family was always at the brink of financial disaster, she was sick to the point of being homebound much of the time, and her marriage was unhappy. But she never lost her love of learning; she enjoyed the domestic side of farming as much as she was able to do; and she was a kind, conscientous parent. Even though I'm at the tip of this particular branch of the family tree, I like to think that my own life has been a kind of vindication of both her aspirations and her experiences; that in the end they weren't in vain.

4. Francis loved nature and animals. How important is an expressed love of the created world to the Christian message today?
I think it's vitally important. I think that sectors of Christianity, particularly those preoccupied with eschatology, are rife with a kind of Gnostic indifference to or even contempt for the created world. This is just wrong, theologically and every other way, and gives detractors of Christianity yet another reason to assume that Christians are ignorant and otherworldly to the point of being no earthly good.

5. On a lighter note; have you ever led a service of blessing for animals, or a pet service, was it a success, did you enjoy it, and would you do it again?
Well, if we weren't dropping The Girls off at our friend's and heading up north for a mini-vacation this Sunday, we might have been participants at a local blessing of the animals conducted by a LARC (Lutheran-Anglican-Roman Catholic) trio of churches in the area. Although we suspect that Cassie and Gertie might benefit from full-blown exorcisms, not just an ecclesiastical sploosh of holy water.


RevDrKate said...

Love the picture of Francis and the story about your grandmother. Thanks for sharing both.

Sally said...

I am sorry you have been treated so badly and amazed by your ability to walk away with a life's too short attitude.

Thank you for posting today

"PS" (a.k.a. purple) said...

"thinking and acting like an adult"...oh so true in so many situations. Enjoyed your play.

Joolie said...

Loved your naming of the gnostic indifference...I suppose because I agree! Peace to you, in this beautiful Michigan autumn.

karlajean said...

loved the sentence about exorcism rather than blessing for your animals. I have two poodles that fit that description!

have a wonderful weekend, and thank you for your interesting play. I enjoyed reading it.

p.s. I also appreciated the reminder to Never Apologize For Who You Are. thanks!

Dina said...

Shalom from near Jerusalem.
I'm happy to have stumbled upon your interesting blog just now and will be back soon to read more.
Strange, just after I did two posts about St. Francis . . .