Saturday, July 19, 2008

A Letter to St. Peter's Wife

My Dearest Rock Princess,

First of all,
I hope you don’t mind my calling you "rock princess."
I just figure that since you are married to "the Rock"
I should really honor that.
And I didn’t want folks to confuse that
and think I was referring to the actor
named Dwayne Johnson.
And, being that your husband was the first Pope and all,
I just consider you as sort of royalty.
it never occurred to the scripture writers to call you by name.
So.. .I call you"Rock Princess."

I’ve written to your husband, San Pedro, a couple of times.
But you know,
I just thought it was high time I contacted you.

Tell me, Princesa, tell me the truth.
What role did women play in the early church?
I’d rather ask you than read it in some theology text book.
Mind you,
I’ve studied formally at seminary.
But I would just rather hear it
from a woman who was there.

What happened to the role of deaconess
that we read about in Romans?
And why did the so called "scholars"change the text?
Does not the original Greek say "deaconess?"
What happened to them?

And does it bother you
that people don’t recognize you as the first Pope’s wife?
Did you and San Pedro have any children?
What are there names?
Can you tell me something about them?
Did you and the pope have any grandchildren?

And tell me,
how active a role did your mother play
in helping to form the early church?
And the child of Talitha Koum,
was that a relative of yours and Pedro?

And tell me, Princesa,
What do you think of what has happened to Sister Louise?
I mean,
I fully understand that the church must guard her teachings,
protect what’s important.
But what is important?
"Christ has died.
Christ is risen.
Christ will come again."
Isn’t this the truth we must guard?
Isn’t what happed to Sister Louise
nothing more than Ecclesial Espionage?
Where will the hidden cameras be next?
Who will we see praying with whom on camera?
And then condemn them for it. . .
It just doesn’t seem right.

The church says " don’t do this. Don’t go there."
And then, the church goes and does it.

And what is going on in St. Louis anyway?
I, for one, truly admire Fr. Bozek.
I cannot say that I agree
with everything he has said or has done.
But I admire him.

I mean,
you can’t have dialogue
unless and until someone first speaks.
When someone speaks or writes something
and those words make you think,
its like activating brain cells.
Whether you agree or disagree is irrelevant at first.
The point is that you form thought
triggered by the words of another.

If someone speaks or writes
and it makes another think
I believe that those words serve a purpose.
For once brain cells are activated action is certain to follow.
And if the reader or listener
can offer a comment or challenge,
well, only then do we have dialogue.

And so,
I admire Fr. Bozek because he makes me think.

To think:
Something that I dare say
the church has historically not expected of her members.

for Fr. Bozek and Sister Louise there was no real dialogue.
It would seem excommunication is handed out
like free parking passes lately.
And I dare to say
that it has lost its power.

My apologies, Princesa, if my sarcasm is showing.
But you know,
The nopalito will never flower
without the espinas to protect her.

Anywy, my point is
that Sister Louise and Fr. Bozek. . .
. . . .Their words and their actions
all somehow make me think of you.

I wonder. . .
If you were on this earthly plain today. . . .
Would the church spy on you with a hidden camera?
Would the church consider you a harlot
because you had an intimate
marital relationship with a Pope?
Would the church condemn all of your comadres
via guilt by association?

Would the church consider you a rezadora,
pastora de la comunidad?

the church doesn’t even bother to remember you by name.

But I remember you
and I think of you often.
And I am inspired by women like you.

give my "hello" to all of the Gospel Girlfriends that,
like you, were never given a name in scripture:
Girlfriend at the Well, The Comadre from Cana,
the woman bent over,
Tu mamá.

and give my greetings to the gals of the Old Testament:
Ruth, Miriam, Hanna, Rebekah, Hosea’s Wife,
Lot’s wife, Tamar, Judith. . .all of the girls.

Please remember me to those ladies
the lectionary places in brackets
as women optional to our story:
The Prophetess named Ana, The woman with a hemorrhage.
the woman who anointed Jesus on the head.

For the fact is,
they are not optional to me at all.

And send my greetings
to those women whose stories
are completely omitted from the lectionary:
Shiphrah and Puah, Deboraha, Huldah the Prophetess,
Phoebe, Lois and Eunice.
It would seem that some women
are still being cut from the story.

Finally, and most importantly,
please remember me to Lupita in a very special way.
Let Her know that when difficulties arise
I remember Her words,
"Am I not here, I who am your mother?"
Let Her know that when I remember Her words,
I feel inspired, encouraged and accompanied
in all of life’s difficult moments
and joyous moments as well.

You are so lucky, Princesa.
You got to know Her in person.

Thank you, Princesa, for taking the time to read my letter.
I admire you more than you may ever know.

-Tu Amiga,

Tell me, Princesa,
when are you going to start your own blog?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A Letter to St. Peter's Wife
(c) 2008, Rubi Martinez-Bernat.

About the author:
Rubi works in the area of music and liturgy in the Archiodese of Detroit and has several blogs and websites, including: Permission is given to use this writing on websites or blogs as is in it's entirety provided that: 1) Author name and copyright are included; 2) this paragraph must be included with clickable link in this paragrah; 3) Nothing may be deleted or added. All other use in all other media prohibited.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Fundraiser for Mexican Ballet

In a few of my blog entries, I’ve mentioned a parish with a dance troupe. Actually, it is a Mexican Folkloric Ballet. They are an outstanding group of performers and hail from St. Gabriel Parish in Detroit. They are having a fundraiser. You’ll find the details below.

The funds will benefit the group’s new costumes. Some of which, I may add, are elaborate and absolutely gorgeous!

But you know, if you can’t make it to this event, you may just want to drop a check in the mail.

Mail to:
St. Gabiel
8118 W. Vernor Highway
Detroit, MI 48209-1524

Please make check payable to St. Gabriel, but put “dance group” or “asi es mi tierra” in the memo line so that Esther, the parish secretary, will be able to apply accordingly.
If you can't make the event, please do contribute what you can.
Show your support
of a unique program for children and youth.
Show your support
of the really great works
being done by a parish in the inner city.
Show your support
of culture and the arts, especially folkloric ballet.
But please support this excellent group.
Here are the event details:

Loteria Mexicana
El Ballet Folklorico Mexicano ' Asi Es Mi Tierra'
invita a una Loteria Mexicana

The Mexican Folkloric Ballet
“Asi Es Mi Tierra”Invites Everyone to Mexican Bingo

Lugar / Place
Cafeteria de la Iglesia San Gabriel
St. Gabriel Parish Cafeteria
8118 W. Vernor, Detroit, MI

Hora / Time:
2:00 PM

Fecha / Date
Domingo 13 de Julio del 2008 / Sunday July 13, 2008

$10.00 (tickets) 2 tablas/20 juegos (2 cards/20 games)

A beneficio de:
Vestuario Grupo Folklorico

To Benefit: Dance costumes for group

Antojitos y Refrescos de venta
Food and beverages for sale

For more info or tickets contact:
Yolanda Perez 734-642-5414 or Sra Ofelia 313-730-6680

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

EE - Part 1: What is Web 2.0?

Electronic Evangelization - Part 1: What is Web 2.0?

As promised,
I am going to tackle this whole idea
of using the internet for Electronic Evangelization.
And I begin this series of blog entries
with Part 1: What is Web 2.0?

Now, in a previous blog entry some time ago,
I stated that I am not black hat,
meaning bad guy computer hacker.
I stated that I am not white hat,
meaning good guy computer hacker.
Actually, I am closer to red had,
old lady having fun on the computer.

So if my explanation of web 2.0
seems less than technical,
that is why.

But if I,
a non-technical middle-aged woman
having fun on a computer
can reap the benefits of web 2.0,
then I am most certain
that churches across our fair land
can use this bit of information
as they traverse the road less traveled,
the way of Electronic Evangelization.

Web 2.0 is, basically,
a way of sharing and mashing together information.
It’s like a sharing of resources.
This idea shouldn’t seem too far-fetched
as in the off-line world of church,
parishes are merging and clustering;
i.e., sharing their resources.
Web 2.0 is the same idea,
the sharing of resources,
but in the online world.

For example,
if I created something,
a video, for example,
I give you permission to use it
and post it to your site.
Ask any teenager
who has done exactly this
to their MySpace profile page.
That, my friends,
is Web 2.0 101.

Now, in another previous blog entry
I wrote about the Latino U.S. vote.
I borrowed a video from Youtube
that I thought was appropo.
The video plays on my blog
thanks to the beauty that is web 2.0.
YouTuber NuevaVista70 left the embed code public,
allowing me to "share" this video.
(I’ll explain how to use embed code in other Rubi Writing.)

Web 2.0 is about sharing and collaborating.
Web 2.0 is about building your content
and then allowing the community
to build upon it and, sometimes, enhance it.

And the even greater beauty of web 2.0
Is that as the community builds it
more people come. . . .
. . . hmmm, sounds like a definition of Liturgy to me,
if ever I learned it:
Liturgy, from the Greek, "Laos Ergon."
Meaning, The Work of the People.

OK. . .
. . .maybe I’m stretching it a bit here,
even Rambling as Rubi is known to do. . .

But the point is,
you don’t have to create it all on your own.
The World Wide Web and her people
(all of us)
are working together.
And that,
my friends,
is the beauty of web 2.0.
We are connecting to people,
connecting with people
that we may otherwise
never be able to connect with.

Web- based communities, wikis, blogs,
social-networking sites:
These are all web 2.0.
(OK. . wikis can pose problematic at times,
as these can prove to be people re-writing history,
but more on that later. . . )

Blogger, MySpace, YouTube, Yuwie,
Rotatrix, Flikr. . . .
All of them are web 2.0,
and all of them are FREE!

what does this have to do with spreading The Word?
Let me give you a fairly easy example.
Post your Pastor’s Passionate Preaching on Youtube.
Then, post it to your parish blog and website.
(Hopefully, you have a parish blog and website.
I’ll explain why you should have both
in another Rubi Writing.)

Then, have members of the congregation
post it to their Youtube, MySpace, Yuwie, Rotatrix.
It’s your Pastor become virtual and viral.
I mean,
how many times have we all spread
an inspirational story,
some photos,
a joke, etc.
You send it to me.
I send it to my circle of emails.
Some of those folks will send it on.
And so on and so on and so on.
What if. . .
. . .we actually send the pastor’s preaching?
That Word your pastor just preached last Sunday
has now gone all over the world wide web.

But more,
because you left that embed code public
in the YouTube account,
any other pastor,
or anyone for that matter,
can use it for his website or blog.

And because there is room for commentary,
your pastor’s preaching may actually gain value
and viral momentum
as other’s learned in The Word
add bits and pieces of insight
into the comments section.

At Youtube,
you can post a link to your church website or blog
right on your profile page.
You can even post a link
to your church’s site(s)
in the description of the video.

you can even add text via annotations
to your video.
While you can only link back
to your profile page,
you can still have the text to the link visible:
(Again, I’ll explain how to do all of this
in another Rubi Writing.)

So. . . with the links from YouTube,
you are not only spreading
The Good Word,
with your Pastor’s Passionate Preaching.
You are encouraging folks
to visit your parish website,
there’s a lot more good stuff
for them to learn about. . .
. . .and maybe even a phone number
or email address
where they can ask about
joining your parish!

what if you posted that same video
not only on YouTube,
but on GodTube and GoogleVideo,
and other sites?
Traffic to your parish website
will explode!

what if a Presbyterian Pastor also Preached Passionately
and posted to YouTube
and left the embed code public.
you can "share" in his talented preaching
and do all of the above
all over again.
It might not be your pastor
or your religious denomination,
but it may be eloquent and marvelous
and something your parish wishes to share with others.
You’re evangelizing electronically,
web 2.0 style!
What's more,
the internet has allowed you to share resources
and even helped to create
an ecumenical atmosphere!

Once again, I need to state
that I am in no way suggesting
that the computer replace face to face
person to person evangelization.

But you know,
I remember in the olden days,
a pastor could be found everywhere in the community,
trying to bring the faith
to wherever the people were.

I remember when I was growing up
the pastor in all his collared glory,
was at the 4th of July festival
greeting and meeting folks.

I remember him going
to the local arcade
to be present to the young folks.

The fact of the matter is,
the venue with the largest number of people
who need evangelizing
is the internet.
By and large,
this is where we’ll find our youth.

If we are going to bring young people to church,
we first need to hang out
at the places they hang out,
i.e.; MySpace, YouTube, etc.

The internet is growing
by leaps and bounds.
A new blog goes up every ½ seconds.
There is a lot of trash out there.
Somebody really has to take up the task
of spreading a little Jesus
to all of this electronic parchment.

There's a lot more to web 2.0 than this.
That little organ button at the top left
of this blog is an RSS button.
That's another fine example,
and something which your parish blog
should use,
But. . .again. . .I'll walk you through that
in another blog entry.

. . .and oh, those bookmarking sites are web 2.0, too!

share your resources.
As you share your content across the World Wide Web
you'll find it's not that hard to share your faith
and do a little Electronic Evangelization in the process!

YouTuber, mwesch,
created this video about web 2.0
a short while back.
This says it all.