Monthly Archives: January 2012

G is for Guitars

Inside and outside,
music plays a central role
in life on the ranch.

Courses focus on music.
Music fills the air when the community gathers
to worship,
to play.

The sounds
of strumming guitars
echo gently off red rock.

 2 August 2009

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Giving thanks for song

Originally written for my work blog:

I give thanks today for those who cannot keep from singing.

Song sustains us, guides us.
Song expresses our deepest fears and our most profound hopes.
Song challenges the powers and proclaims an alternative vision.
Song leads us into living that alternative.

The January Term Doctor of Ministry class meeting at the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations attended chapel at the Church Center for the United Nations today. Chaplain Kathleen Stone reminded us of the power and roles of song. And I thought of:

Victor Jara
Odetta
Pete Seeger
Paul Robeson
Sweet Honey in the Rock
Vedran Smailović
Tommy Sands
and musicians through the age whose names I cannot remember, whose names I do not know, will never know,
but whose songs touch and inspire and bless people,
cause tyrants to tremble,
shape and support struggles for justice.
For each, for all I give thanks.

And it seems to me that since I believe Love is Lord of heaven and earth, it might be time to get out my guitar.

See you along the Trail.

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Off Tucson’s list, onto mine

Those who ban books have done so again. This time in Arizona.

Reports indicate that the Tuscon United School District claims the books were “confiscated” not “banned.”

Apparently these were the books:

Again, the report by Robert Cintli Rodriguez in the Guardian indicates that the action affected more than seven books.

The effort to control what students – or anyone – reads, offends me. As my friend Joann Haejong Lee puts it, “This is outrageous!”

A number of responses seem in order.

One that I believe is particularly important to read these books. I own two of the books. I have read Rethinking Columbus (and used parts of it in antiracism trainings) and parts of three others.

They all appear on my reading list now.

It also seems like a good night to listen to Los Lobos as I fall asleep.

See you along the Trail.

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Stay in Ohio, commutation in Delaware

This post comes late.

In no way do I condone the crimes. The crimes appall me. But I am grateful that two executions scheduled for this week did not take place.

Stay in Ohio

The Columbus Dispatch reported on January 11:

U.S. District Judge Gregory Frost today blocked next week’s scheduled execution of convicted murderer Charles Lorraine because the state has not adhered to its own execution policies.

Lorraine, 45, was slated to be executed Jan. 18 for murdering 80-year-old, bedridden Doris Montgomery and her 77-year-old husband, Raymond, in 1986.

Ohio will appeal the decision to the United States Supreme Court.

Given the age of the Montgomerys, their efforts to reach out to Lorraine, and the brutality of their murder, I have no sympathy for him. I grieve for the Montgomerys and those who love them. But I do not believe that his execution resolves anything; I believe it would diminish us all.

Commutation in Delaware 

On January 17, News.Delaware.Gov posted the following statement from Governor Jack Martell:

Pursuant to my authority under Article VII, Section 1 of the Delaware Constitution, I have decided to commute the sentence of Robert Gattis to life in prison without the possibility of parole, subject to the conditions set forth below.

I realize my decision may cause pain to the family and friends of Shirley Slay. For that, I deeply apologize.

In reaching this conclusion, I give great weight to the decision of the Board of Pardons. In the exercise of its constitutional duties, the Board thoroughly reviewed Mr. Gattis’s application for clemency and the State’s response. The Board studied the entire historical record of this case, carefully listened to the statements made by parties on both sides, and had the opportunity to look Mr. Gattis in the eyes and question him. Having done so, the Board took the unusual and perhaps historic step of recommending, by a 4-1 margin, that Mr. Gattis’s death sentence be commuted to life without parole. I take the Board’s considered decision seriously.

Governor Markell added some conditions to the commutation:

That is why I have conditioned Mr. Gattis’s commutation on the following: (1) Mr. Gattis shall forever drop all legal challenges to his conviction and sentence, as commuted; (2) Mr. Gattis shall forever waive any right to present a future commutation or pardon request and agree to live out his natural life in the custody of the Department of Correction; (3) Mr. Gattis will be housed in the Maximum Security Unit of the James T. Vaughn Correction Center for the remainder of his natural life, unless constitutionally required medical care is necessary; and (4) Mr. Gattis, after consultation with counsel, shall knowingly, willingly and voluntarily accept these conditions, as determined by the Superior Court.

In agreeing, Gattis gives up his rights to all appeals. According to Governor Markell, this means that “Ms. Slay’s loved ones can at least know that they will never have to go through the painful process again of trials, hearings or requests for release.” I wonder if this can serve as a model in future situations?

The execution of Robert Gattis was scheduled for January 20. He stands convicted of the murder of his former girlfriend. A number of factors, including sexual, physical, and psychological abuse that Gattis endured as a child, entered into this decision. I grieve for I sent my thanks to Governor Markell. You can do the same.

Next scheduled execution

Attention now returns to Georgia which has scheduled the execution of Nicholas Tate for January 31. Tate stands convicted of the 2001 killing of Chrissie Williams and her 3-year-old daughter Katelyn.

Tate has not challenged or appealed his conviction – essentially asking the State to help him commit suicide.

I grieve for Chrissie and Katelyn and those who love them. I shudder at the brutality which can violate and kill a child.

Yet, I do not believe that the State should kill – even those who commit such heinous acts – even those who, at least apparently, go to their death willingly. And so I ask Georgia to choose life.

See you along the Trail.

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Filed under Capital Punishment, Death Penalty

F is for Frisbee

In front of the dining hall,
frisbees fly.
Morning, noon, and evening,
frisbees fly.
Sometimes even
frisbee players fly.

8 August 2008

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E is for Energy

Energy.
The College Staff has it.
In abundance.

7 August 2009

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D is for Drive

Beauty surrounds Ghost Ranch,
revealing itself on the journey,
inviting visitors to stop,
providing photo ops.

27 October 2009

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C is for Cross

The amphitheater provides space
for reflection,
worship,
and programming;
it also provides a reminder
of the faith
in which we are rooted.

2 August 2009

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B is for Bleach

His hair is normally the same shade as his beard.
Little more needs to be said.

28 July 2009

 

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The moment

For days beyond counting, he had
wondered,
imagined,
dreamed
of the moment.

To his delight, to his surprise,
when the moment finally arrived, it
surpassed wonder,
outstripped imagination,
exceeded dreams.

Now memory ever gently
mingles with wonder,
stirs imagination,
fills dreams,
until the next moment.

14 January 2012
Shire on the Hudson

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