Friday, May 2, 2008

Beautiful Birds

Red-winged blackbird.

I think these are barn swallows, but I'm not completely sure.

Tree swallows.

Budding branches.

Leaf buds.

All from Fort Snelling State Park, of course. A large flock of swallows can be seen now near the fishing dock. Here's a 1-minute video of their activities:

The large white birds are gulls. It's hard to get good close-up still shots of the tree swallows, because they're just so darn quick. After I'd stood still long enough on the fishing dock however, they apparently forgot I was there, and a few of them swooped right over, within inches of my head.

And now for a complete change of subject, I just want to give a little shout out for this interesting article, written by Rachel Barenblat, the Velveteen Rabbi, "Blog Is My Copilot: The Rise of Religion Online." It's about "godbloggers."

"The bonds that forms across orthodoxies and faiths may simply testify to a basic dissatisfaction with the level of public discourse about religion. Given mainstream reportage in America today, it's easy to conflate "religious" with "fundamentalist." The Passion of the Christ, the Federal Marriage Amendment, usage of "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, and the question of whether or not John Kerry deserves Communion all got major ink this year, but for the most part the media didn't address the broader religious questions at the root of these topics. Where media coverage often reduces discussions of religion to wild-eyed fundies vs. atheist culturalists, godboggers live to show gradations instead of stark dichotomies. Most of the godbloggers I read don't fit the mainstream mold: We cherish our sacred texts, but roll our eyes at posting the Ten Commandments in schools. We blog our all-night Easter and Shavuot and Laylat ul-Qadr vigils, but scoff at the televised National Day of Prayer."

She's an exceptionally good writer. Check it out.

Today I'm grateful for: the possibilities within Twitter and other social media sites for doing good, and for all the people doing good in those spaces; my local community; my health; a peaceful day; all the really cool and interesting things of ordinary daily life; RH, BL, and all good listeners; the Harry Potter books, the fine ministry of Archbishop Harry Flynn to the people of this archdiocese.
Holding in prayer: the 18 members of our
CSJ community traveling in France; ML and LM moving to a new home today; R getting used to carrying oxygen around; MK,JK,PC, and others recovering from surgeries and illness; the people affected by the storms in Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee and other places, esp. ML who has been offline since last night-hope she's ok; peace for BT; calm for NC; J, S and all immigrants whose status is tenuous; Lilly in Mexico; people who work for ICE and Homeland Security; for the Sisters of St. Joseph in Australia.

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