Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday & Godlessness or not?

Easter then; getting dressed up, panic, late for churh as always and knowing we'll probably get a seat in the balcony of the mission, crowding into the pews, annoying those who arrived early, though they grace you with a Catholic smile of forgiveness, because we all have original sin in common. After a long service, going home andexcitedly scowering the garden for chocolates and plastic eggs filled with delicacies in the traditional easter egg hunt, followed by setting the table with china, silver, cloth napkins for brunch out on the patio in the dappled sunlight beneath the large oak tree. We don't talk about God or the sermon, but the presence and idea of a miracle is all around us, combined with the buzz of too many chocolate easter eggs, ane the sense that the afternoon will linger for an eternity.

Easter now: A call from my husband's religious family in the Netherlands on Saturday afternoon after they have attended an Easter wake that ended at midnight. Answering the question of our plans for easter as, "well, uh, a brunch with my family, perhaps a morning church service" editing out the easter egg hunt and the general hedenism of the days plans. Perhaps a pre-brunch with our friends to share mimosas and talk politics or the upcoming 5k run and our training. In a nutshell: Easter eggs. Mimosas, cute clothing, sunshine. Gardening, friends and family.

So, is my current version a Godless experience? Did that sense of miraculousness I grew up with really have to do with a connection to the spiritual, or was it the whole production, the polished silver, the fine clothes, the idea that we had to behave and act civilly, and think of Christ rising from the dead?

Having God in your life, when most of your friends have no interest, or even FEAR of religion, is a much more evasive topic. There is definitely a spiritual presence in our lives, but we don't define it as such, at least not out loud, and not as conversation at a gathering. Yet, it is so important. My friends, though not outwardly religious, have several traits in common--strong ethics and good samaritanism, which translates into belief in doing good for others, a sense of accountability, a desire for regime change, friends who are there when you need them and varying degrees of compassion for the less fortunate. These traits are all about God as I know it. So, is that glamorous grace of childhood any more powerful than a web of community who believes in kindness to others and acts upon it?

My man just put on " St. John's Passion." I suppose our childhood is shining through.

Happy Easter everyone!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Citizen McCaw Documentary

Tonight I had the good fortune of securing a seat in the balcony of the Arlington Theatre in Santa Barbara to see the sold out World Premiere of Citizen McCaw--a well thought out, excellently executed documentary on the downfall of the Santa Barbara News-Press since Wendy McCaw took ownership.

The documentary at first established the pre-McCaw credibility of the News-Press and even went on to show how in the first few years of her ownership, she did a service to the paper by appointing Cole and Roberts to the editorial staff. But, when her lack of understanding about the journalistic wall of integrity between editorial/opinion and news was severely exposed, and she consistently reinforced her desire to shape news content, the demise of the paper began, resulting in the mass resignation of top editors, followed by firing, or resignation of many more, with a total of 80 staff leaving as of January 2008 (I believe that was the number).

The documentary uses interviews with past employees and their personal accounts of events that took place, involving McCaw, Travis Amstrong and 'Nipper' , juxtaposed to voices from the community, other papers such as the Independent, the emergence of blogs covering the story, and how much these reporters sacrificed in the line of integrity.

I recommend this documentary to everyone in our community and nation, and the world at large. It should be shown in every journalism course at the high school and college level, and should be required viewing for all Americans to understand their freedom of speech, and to see it being violated by a woman who uses wealth and lawyers to buy her way out of truthful interaction with others.

I am sure there is a good side to Ms. McCaw and I believe everyone is capable of change. I hope she will read an Ekhart Tolle book and have an epiphany that will awaken her heart, so she can treat other humans with all of the impassioned respect with which she treats animals.

Additional screenings of citizen McCaw are scheduled as follows:
Marjorie Luke Theatre located at 721 E. Cota Street in Santa Barbara: Saturday, April 5th at 8PM and Sunday, April 6th at 3PM.

For more information, go to