Tuesday, June 26, 2012

ABC Wednesday: X is for...


The Greek Christos, the annointed...which is a translation of the Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ, the Messiah.

I'm taking an intensive course in liberation and post colonial theology, taught by a passionate and brilliant scholar/theologian from Guatamala. The past couple days we've been talking about queer theology, and how the theology expressed in many churches and denominations can be deeply damaging and oppressive for those in the LGBTQ community. Far too often, hate and rejection is preached and practiced by those who name themselves "Christian", instead of living out Jesus' Gospel message of love. Jesus was present with the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized. Jesus did not walk among the wealthy and powerful saying "By jove, you've got it, well done, give yourselves a pat on the back!" No...it was more like "Oh My God people! 'Love God, love each other.' It's so simple, why can't you get it?? Sigh...let me try to get it through your thick heads and hard hearts one more time..."

Granted we humans, including those of us who walk a path with Jesus, are far from perfect! But we must keep trying to love one another, to speak out for those who have no voice, to actively seek justice, to risk standing up for what is right. We have a loooong, long way to go before the light of the risen Christ shines fully in our hearts and in our world. June is, of course, Pride Month and so, as always, I stand in loving solidarity with my LGBTQ brothers and sisters...and I plan to join or at least cheer from the sidelines of Halifax's upcoming Pride parade. In the meantime, I will continue exploring the theology of the Queer Christ...and hoping homophobia will soon be but a distant memory in the dust of our earth...

I have no photos of the risen Christ depicted in art, but here are a couple pics of Jesus, living and crucified.

I encountered this piece of art in the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena in Castiglione del Lago, Umbria (Italy) It is a stone carving of a scene from the Gospel named for Luke (Lk 7:26-50), the woman anointing Jesus' feet with oil.

The Baptism of Christ by Pietro Vannucci, known as Il Perugino in the cathedral in Citta della Pieve, Umbria

Glazed terra cotta crucificion by Andrea della Robbia in the early Christian church (built in 996) Santa Maria Primerana in Fiesole (near Florence, Italy). Della Robbia was a Renaissance sculptor, specializing in ceramics, so obviously his work is a later addition to the church!

X marks the spot over on the ABCW website this week...check it out and see what treasures you uncover on the other participants' blogs!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

ABC Wednesday: W is for...

Well...source of potable Water, which is itself source of life. All over Italy one encounters courtyards with a well in the middle...or the equivalent of a village square (piazza, campo, corte) with a communal well. Here are a few I encountered last summer...

 A well in the courtyard of Abbazia di Spineto, a former abbey, now private retreat centre in Southern Tuscany...

A well on the ground of an old home (Casa Romei, I think), now a museum, in Ferrara

Well in a beautiful cloister just off Piazzetta Sant'Anna, Ferrara.

Well in the cloister of what is now Museo della Cattedrale, in Ferrara

A well that appears to have been moved from its original location and used here for decorative purposes. This is beside the castle walls in the little Umbrian town of Parrano.

And finally, a well with a very ornate hook! I came across this in the inner courtyard of the castle in Sarteano, Southern Tuscany.

Enjoy the rest of the Wonderful entries this week on the ABCW website!!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Saturday Photohunt: Ripples

For this week's theme RIPPLE, I decided to share a couple of photos of the Exploits River in Newfoundland. I took these a couple years ago when we visited our friends in Newfoundland. Valerie's house is right on the river bank...a real slice of heaven on earth. I was so amazed at the size of the Exploits...I think it is bigger than all the rivers in Nova Scotia put together! Some days the water was rough and churned up, but others it was so calm and peaceful...with barely a ripple on its surface. The first pic is from Norris Arm, a bit upriver from Val's...the second pic was taken standing on the bank right in front of her house. I can't wait to go back again one of these summers...what a wonderful time we all had together!

Thanks to Sandi for hosting the weekly Saturday Photohunt...check it out here!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

ABC Wednesday: V is for...

Votive candle...
Votive candles are often lit to symbolize a prayer being offered for someone. This particular one was lit by me as I prayed for a fellow student. At the start of our school year last September,we had a retreat day and during one of the spiritual practices, we each took a rock and wrote our name on it. Then we put our rock back in the basket and withdrew a different rock (i.e. a rock with someone else's name on it.) The intention being that we would hold that particular person in our prayers all the following week. I personally continued holding "my" person in my prayers throughout the year. The candle itself, the prayer cloth and the other rock in the photo were given to me by someone else during an entirely separate spiritual practice...and remind me of my connection to my wider faith family...

There is a Veritable treasure trove of Very creative posts on the ABCW website this week - check it out here!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Saturday Photohunt: Clean

This week's photohunt theme is CLEAN...but I have missed the past month, so will do a catch up post to get back on track! :)


There is something very magical about fire...I am enthralled and enchanted by it. My daughter jokes that I am a pyromaniac! But I don't love destructive fires, I just love watching the flames in our firepit at the camper. It provides hours of entertainment...doesn't take much to amuse me!



 One of my favourite bands is The Message, who create the most gorgeous contemporary Christian music. Here they are sharing one of their songs during worship time at the United Church of Canada Maritime Conference's annual general meeting last weekend. Love, love them!!


When in Cetona (Southern Tuscany)...do stop by Cantina La Frasca for a taste of the many delicious products from their farm. Wine, cheese, cured meats, bread, honey, other condiments. Sample to your heart's content and then buy whatever suits your fancy! The shop is just up the hill from Piazza Garibaldi.


Does anything beat the fresh clean scent of the air just after it rains? This was our view every day when we spent two weeks in Cetona. And every day was a wonderful new surprise. We didn't get much rain, but this one day it rained briefly and I loved the smell of the air, and the look of the wet stone and the misty landscape beyond...sheer bliss!!

As a bonus photo for this week's theme...the streets of Cetona were so clean!! I loved it there! I want to be there right now! Did I mention I loved it there?!? lol

Check out Sandi's Saturday Photohunt page for more good CLEAN fun!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

ABC Wednesday: U is for...

Under the Umbrian Sun...

Umbria...beautiful neighbour of Tuscany. If (hopefully when) I return to Italy, I could happily spend my entire time exploring the nooks and crannies and hilltowns of Umbria. Mom and I spent a couple days driving around the western edge of Umbria when we stayed in Cetona (S. Tuscany) last summer. We stopped in the tiny hilltop town of Montegiove, a frazione (sp?) of the commune of Montegabbione in Terni province of Umbria. What a delightful place. In my dreams, I think I will live here!

On the drive to Montegiove, you will pass by an enchanted forest...

Marvel at the stunning views of other surrounding hilltowns...I think this might be Montegabbione, but don't quote me! It might be Monteleone d'Orvieto instead.

In Montegiove itself, there are gorgeous courtyards like this one...

A church...a must in my books. I certainly meet God in creation and under the open sky, but I also love and appreciate the deepening of faith that comes with intentional worship in community.

Montegiove also has a most wonderful wine bar! Mom and I enjoyed a very delicious lunch here during our travels. a dish of melted cheese with black truffle on top - my first time tasting truffle. It was very good, but I suspect truffle is an acquired taste to truly appreciate its flavour.
La Bottega Menno e Gilda has a fabulous selection of wines from all over Italy, as well as a few other countries. (U also stands for Under the influence! The downside of being the designated driver was that I couldn't partake in much wine sampling...but driving in Italy was worth it, for me!)

If you choose to relax on the terrace while enjoying your refreshments, there is also a feast for your eyes...
After lunch, you can wander around and admire the charming remains of arched walkways... 

 ...and intriguing old buildings that appear to be in the process of being reclaimed by mother earth...

...and get carried away with dreams of buying a piece of abandoned land and creating your very own room with a view...sigh. Yes...I really could see myself living Under the Umbrian sun.

I wonder what others make of the letter U...let's find out over on the ABCW website!

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