Sunday, October 04, 2009

I love Garrison Keillor!!

http://www.salon.com/opinion/keillor/2009/09/02/healthcare/
Really funny, really true article about healthcare. Seriously, America, what are you doing?
(sorry I can't figure out how to get the link to work right... take the time to paste it in, though... it's worth it.)

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Syrophoenecian Woman Sermon

**Preached at the Abbey not too long ago. Again, if you use it or any part of it, please just let me know. =) And I'm always happy for feedback.

Mark 7:24-37
From there he set out and went away to the region of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know he was there. Yet he could not escape notice, but a woman whose little daughter had an unclean spirit immediately heard about him, and she came and bowed down at his feet. Now the woman was a Gentile, of Syrophoenecian origin. She begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” But she answered him, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Then he said to her, “For saying that, you may go – the demon has left your daughter.” So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

MAY THE WORDS OF MY MOUTH AND THE MEDITATIONS OF ALL OUR HEARTS BE ACCEPTABLE IN YOUR SIGHT, O LORD, OUR STRENGTH AND OUR REDEEMER. AMEN
We all know tiredness, times when physically we are exhausted, times when mentally or emotionally we feel as though we cannot take one more thing, times when we would like to hide from the world, rest and recover. It’s part of being human that our energies are limited, and part of living with others that sometimes the demand on our energies exceeds (sometimes far exceeds) our reserves.

It seems Jesus felt it, too. All throughout Mark, Jesus is trying to get away, trying to keep his miracles quiet. I’ve always been puzzled by that one – what good is it saying to a blind man, “don’t tell anyone that you can see” or a leper, “you are healed of your sores, but don’t let any of your friends know”? But Jesus does it. Those he heals he tells to be quiet about the source of their healing. And several times he tries to go away to pray and be by himself and he cannot – he sails across the Sea of Galilee hoping to lose the crowd, only to find that people have gotten to the other side ahead of him. The demands on his time and energy are enormous, at times larger than his reserves. His humanity seems to show in his tiredness. He needs a vacation.

So he goes away to Tyre. This is the farthest away from his hometown he is recorded to have gone so far in Mark. And his reason for going is not obvious. We know, though, that he entered a house not wanting anyone to know he was there. Maybe he had booked a room in a B&B or maybe a room in a rebuilt abbey. And maybe he sighed in relief when he put his bags down in the entrance hall and looked around him.

And what about the woman? We don’t know her name, but we do know that she was a local (Tyre was a town in the Syria / Phoenecia area). And we know she was a gentile who had a sick daughter. We can surmise a few other things: For her to have come to Jesus, she probably either knew and believed Jesus’ reputation as a healer, or she was at her wit’s end and reaching for a last piece of desperate hope. Also, if her daughter had been sick, possessed by a demon, she was probably tired, herself – the physical and emotional tiredness of the caretaker, the mental tiredness of the protective woman who cannot make her loved-one well.

Can you identify with either of these situations? Both of them? I have to say that at different times in my life I have identified more strongly with one or the other, but I can remember clearly a time when I identified with Jesus. I used to work in a therapeutic community for adults with mental illnesses like bipolar, depression, schizophrenia. I was essentially a house parent, so I spent evenings and mornings with these amazing, creative, compassionate, and often struggling folk. And because we were a community where everyone lived in the same neighborhood, lines between work and play often blurred (as they often do here). I remember one work shift in which I had split up two different arguments, fixed a toilet that was leaking through the ceiling, listened to a young man who was contemplating running away, and been awakened three times in the night by a woman who was having nightmares. I was tired anyway and after breakfast I was relieved to be going home for the day. And you know the walk… perhaps you’ve done it yourself… head straight forward, not making eye contact with anyone lest someone ask something of me, thinking “just gotta get home, just gotta get home”. I was nearly out of the parking lot when I heard the sound of a frame (walker for those of us American folk) rolling towards me and heard our oldest guest, Georgia's honeysuckle voice calling my name. “Laura”. I’m ashamed to say, I kept walking, hoping I had misheard her and knowing I hadn’t. She was persistent and got louder the second time. She needed my attention.

This, I imagine, is something like Jesus’ situation when faced with the woman at his door. In Matthew’s version of the story, he does almost the same thing I did, even keeping walking as the woman follows him. She is persistent and he turns to hear her. “My daughter is ill.” Mark’s version says she begs. What Jesus said next is a matter of much discussion. Was it an insult? Some say it was. Some say it was simply an image. I wonder if it was somewhere in between. Regardless, what he says is “let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” I wonder if what he is trying to say, perhaps in unfortunate, I’m-too-tired-to-be-tactful imagery, is “My resources are limited. The time and energy I can offer to this world is restricted by my human form. And my purpose here is to serve the Israelites. I have people to minister to and because there are always more people to be healed than time and energy to heal, I need to be careful whom I give food to.” Or, in my story, “Georgia, please not now. I don’t have the energy, and you’re not on my case list, and what energy I have needs to go to the people I’m supposed to be serving.”

And yet the woman is persistent. She does not challenge Jesus’ sense of mission. She uses the imagery of the scarce food in her own reply, perhaps even in that acknowledging Jesus’ need for rest. “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” “Yes,” she says. “I get what you’re saying. But all I’m asking of you is something that is easy for you. I’m not asking for a feast, I’m just asking for crumbs. You’re not supposed to be serving me. I’m not part of your mission statement or long-range planning goals. But I’m here in front of you. And that’s important.”

Jesus responds by healing her daughter. He does not change what he does thereafter in his ministry. His mission is still primarily to the Israelites, his biggest target for rants is still the Jewish leaders, his travels are still primarily in the area of the Sea of Galilee and Judaeah. But he has set aside his mission for this one moment to minister to the person who is right in front of him.

And here’s the advice I hear in this story at this time: Be driven. Have a sense of purpose and mission and ministry. Let that guide you. And when you are tired, for heaven’s sake, take time out. Go away, maybe even far away, and maybe even hidden away, if you need to. But never forget that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. Never forget that sometimes the interruptions, the unlikely connections, the inconvenient demands and ill-timed requests are actually urgently important parts of your ministry.

And further, I hear this acknowledgment, in the form of a quote from a wise friend of mine:
“I see the story as a story about sticky life that I can relate to, which isn’t tied up in ideals or platitudes – it’s a story to say to me: it’s okay, we are all trying our best. Maybe it’s not about being right all the time, but about persisting in the journey, figuring out how to balance all these different forces, continuing to try, doing the best we can muster in that moment, having the grace to know that our efforts are enough, and eventually, at the end of it all, getting some sleep.

I did talk to Georgia that morning, not so much because I wanted to as because I didn’t think she would let me go until I had talked to her. She wanted to ask a question about music, and after we sat at her tiny keyboard and I told her my answer, we laughed together about stories of her childhood and sang songs together, and generally had a really good time. At the end of our conversation, I was very glad she had stopped me, even if I was still tired and in need of a good nap.

We each have come here to Iona for different purposes, for different lengths of time, and from different places (perhaps this is even the farthest away from home we have been). Some may be badly in need of rest and renewal, as Jesus. Some may be seeking healing, as the woman in the story. Some may be working here or elsewhere and finding their own resources to be limited and needing focus, as Jesus. Or maybe you identify with a different part of this story. Whatever your circumstance, there is good news for you in this story. We are reminded to rest and enjoy time away. We are reminded that God heals and that persistence is rewarded. We are reminded that limitations are okay and that life is messy but still beautiful. We are reminded that even when people are tired and less-than-tactful, grace and connection are possible. And most of all, beloved of God, we are reminded that, though it is good to focus our energies and our ministries, real living often happens in the interruptions. Sometimes the most important ministry happens when we aren’t looking for it and happens in ways and with people we hadn’t intended. May we be open to the needs of the people around us this day, this week, and always, and may we find the nourishment we need to keep living and giving in the fullness God intends.

IN THE NAME OF CREATOR, REDEEMER, AND SUSTAINER, AMEN.

Mark 14:3-9 Reflection, used at Iona Agape Service

**I realize I haven't posted for a while... I'll do more sometime soon, I hope. And I haven't yet actually used this reflection, so I don't have a sense of how it actually works in a congregation, but... for what it's worth. Please feel free to use it, if you find it helpful, but also please tell me if you use it. =)

Reader: While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard.

1: Who is she?
2: Where did she come from?
1: What’s the perfume for?
2: Why has she come here?
1: We’re just sitting down to dinner
2: She better not make a scene.

Woman: He acknowledged beauty in me, and I knew it was a risk, but I had to give something back. Where other people picked up quickly on my brokenness, he learned my name and saw me as whole. I gave what I had. It didn’t feel like enough. It couldn’t. But it was something.

Reader: She broke the jar and poured the perfume on Jesus’ head.

1: Yep, she did it. She made a scene.
2: Why did she break the jar?
1: Why did she waste the perfume?
2: Silly girl, you could have gotten a year’s wages for that.
1: It could have been used so much more practically.
2: You could buy a car for that.
1: You could have put it in savings.
2: You could have given it to us.
1: Or at the very least, you could have given it to the poor.
2: And now we’ve got to clean up the mess.
1: Silly, wasteful girl.

Woman: They scolded me, but how could they know? Who were they to judge? I gave as I knew how. Strong perfume, great beauty, from a broken vessel. It wasn’t about the money for me. It was about the gift. And it wasn’t about an effort of will. It was an outpouring of gratitude.

Reader: Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her?

1: We’ll tell you why we’re bothering her.
2: We’re practical.
1: We know the figures about the sinking economy.
2: Good money shouldn’t be wasted on pretty things.

Woman: Acknowledging beauty in the midst of brokenness is never a waste. Giving of oneself is never a waste. Beauty is always a risk, though. Giving is always a risk. Love is always a risk. I gave what I had. I knew the risks, but I had to give anyway.

Reader: She has done a beautiful thing for me.

1: Society sees numbers
W: God sees beauty

2: Society points out brokenness, spilled-ness, emptiness.
W: God points out wholeness, fullness, a cup overflowing with goodness

1: Society values achievement and security
W: God values generosity and love

2: Society says, “Be careful”
W: God says, “Live the life that truly is life”

Reader: She has done a beautiful thing for me.

1: Society says, “Take care of your own”
W: God says, “Love your enemies, and risk everything for the kingdom”

2: Society craves money and success.
W: God craves loving spirits and beautiful actions.

1: Society says, “be smart”
W: God says, “I will use the fools of the world to shame the wise”

2: In society’s eyes, we mustn’t make a scene, we mustn’t be extravagant
W: In God’s eyes, no generosity is to be ashamed of, and no love is too extravagant.

Reader: She has done a beautiful thing for me.

Woman: Have you seen it? Have you encountered beauty that silenced you in awe? Have you heard it? Have you heard someone calling your name and calling out the beauty in you? I did. And I had to respond. I had to give because God’s goodness is too wonderful to keep hidden. What risky beauty will you offer? What extravagant love will you pour into the world?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

God showing off

How do I describe it? It was a triple full rainbow... the main one had a second, fainter one just below it (touching it, one bow, two rows of colors). And then there was a smaller but still full rainbow a fair bit below it. You could see the "ends" of the main rainbow, and one end hit Iona just behind the abbey, and the other end hit Mull. It looked like it was spanning the sound, and from where we were standing, the abbey was nearly exactly centered underneath all three rainbows. Incredible. Breathtaking. That night was also the most spectacular sunset I've seen in a long time. It seemed God was saying, "look what I can do!"

And then there was the day when the service leader had planned a service all about rain -- about the love of God being like rain that falls on everyone, and about the ways we try to protect ourselves from the rain / love of God. So all the songs talked about water and rain, the scripture was about living water. It was shaping up to be a good service, but it really needed some atmospheric cooperation to be as effective as it could be. And all day it didn't rain. And it didn't look like it was going to rain. But then... for the 10 minutes before the service as people were walking to the church, the heavens opened and we all got absolutely soaked. The rain stopped sometime in the middle of the service. The service was fabulous, and I laughed at God for showing off again. ;)

My favorite memory from last time I was here was of us slogging through several very wet and miserable days before finally we got a morning that was entirely clear and sunny. The pianist played "Oh What a Beautiful Morning" at the end of the service for postlude, and as soon as we stepped out of the church to go back to work, it started raining again. Again, I chuckled at the object lesson that even rain can be beautiful.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

One more thing for tonight...

Yay Obama!
(Obama speaking about abortion at Notre Dame University in Indiana)
Respect, forthrightness, honesty, encouragement, empowering... all while talking about a hot button issue at a school that could have a very hard time with the issue...
So refreshing, especially coming from a representative of the government.
Clear honesty doesn't have to be confrontational... it can be life-giving. Thanks, Obama, for the example. And thanks, Meagan, for pointing this link out!

Pentecost Hymn

Can be sung to any 10 10 11 11 meter tune... like Hanover...
And it's a John Bell special -- copyright 1992, 2002 WGRG (yes, as musician at the Iona Community, I'm getting appropriately anal about copyright)

God's Spirit is Here

God's Spirit is here that never alone
the followers of Christ need face the unknown.
The fount of all living is leading the dance,
dismantling old systems that earth might advance.

She banishes sin, eradicates fear,
lets hesitant faith affirm God is here,
til, living like Jesus and blessed by his name,
we bind up the broken and lift up the lame.

She defuses hate and raises the dead,
becalming life's storms removing all dread.
So that we might serve God, confirmed from above,
she tests us with fire and aflames us with love.

So seek out the lost, and share out the pain,
and love at such cost that all rise again.
God's lamplighting spirit is dancing the way
through dark into dawning, from night into day.

May it be so.

Monday, May 25, 2009

"Where are you from?" sermon

This is the sermon I preached at Iona last Sunday... In case anyone would like to read it...

John 17:6-19
I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world.
They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.
Now they know that everything you have given me is from you;
for the words that you gave to me I have given to them,
and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you;
and they have believed that you sent me.
I am asking on their behalf;
I am not asking on behalf of the world,
but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours.
All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.
And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world,
and I am coming to you.
Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me,
so that they may be one, as we are one.
While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me.
I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost,
so that the scripture might be fulfilled.
But now I am coming to you,
and I speak these things in the world
so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.
I have given them your word,
and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world,
just as I do not belong to the world.
I am not asking you to take them out of the world,
but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.
They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
And for their sakes, I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.


Staff members here tend to get asked the same questions over and over again. “What do you do here?” “How did you come to Iona?” “What are you going to do after this?” And, most often “Where are you from?” And I can’t really blame people for asking those questions, as they are also the questions I find myself asking the most – they are good ways to begin conversation and to begin to get to know a person.

I have been reading the book Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach. The tractor-mechanic messiah of the story carries around a how-to handbook, and one of its instructions is this:
“The simplest questions are the most profound. Where were you born? Where is your home? Where are you going? What are you doing? Think about them once in a while, and watch your answers change.”

So, where are you from?

My answers to that question have been changing through my life and even as I’ve been here. When I was younger, I could answer that easily, as my whole world revolved around the place I’d lived all my life. But as I move and travel, I have more and more places that have shaped me, more and more places where I have left a bit of my heart and gained a bit of my soul, more and more places I could rightfully say I am “from.”

And as I answer that question repeatedly, I find that the sense of being “from” a place has more to do with roots than with geography. It has more to do with belonging than with amount of time spent in a place.

Also in answering that question repeatedly, I have realized how much of identity is shaped by where a person is from. Culture, values, and ways of relating are at least partially products of where we each are rooted.

Where are you from?

The human condition is such that we are all rooted in something beyond ourselves. We seem to know what is right and good even if we don’t see it around us. We struggle to find some reconciliation between our infinite souls and our limited bodies. We, as humans, have an innate yearning that draws us toward something more than we find ourselves able to grasp. We catch glimpses of the eternal even as we live in finiteness.

I think this is what this morning’s scripture is trying to get at. We as humans know that we are “from” somewhere else, rooted in something beyond us. And yet we are in this world. We are living in a culture that is ours and yet is not ours. And it can be a struggle to know what to do with that.

Where are you from?

In my growing-up denomination, I often heard the exhortation, “be in the world but not of the world.” It has taken a long time to find some comfort with that statement, as it can often be used as a cop out – you are not of the world, so you don’t need to take care of it. In fact, you can reject it or disdain it.

But John’s passage, convoluted though it is in parts, encourages us to be in the world as Christ was in the world. Christ came to heal and set right, to challenge and bewilder, to touch and comfort. Christ did not disdain the world nor detach himself from the world. Christ put himself fully in the middle of it. No, we need to take very seriously our task to be fully engaged in the world.

And the other part of the statement is equally true – we are not only of this world. We are rooted in something beyond this world. We are rooted in God and in God’s vision. We are from a different place. And we are called to live the values of that different place. We are called to live the upside down values that we know in our depths are true, even if they don’t seem to make sense in this world.

(Pause)

Since I’ve been here, living in a culture that is different from where I consider myself to be from, I have found myself having to make choices and ask questions of myself. What parts of my original culture are important to retain and what parts are important to change? Do I soften my accent so that people can understand me better? Or do I keep my accent and realize that sometimes communicating might be more difficult? Do I continue to put peanut butter on my bananas and face the stares and conversations that might come? Or do I give up that small enjoyment to fit in better? And in many other more significant ways, I have to ask myself “which values do I cling to, and which values do I conform to?”

This, but on a much larger scale, is what we face, brothers and sisters, as people who belong to a God who is bigger than this world. And these are rarely easy decisions, rarely black and white answers.

Do we support wars when they seem to be the only option? Or do we stand against all war?
How much do we buy into consumerism, when to buy in could make connection easier and when not buying in could set us apart?
How much do we participate in the model of “hard work and money equals success”?
In what ways do we use internet and other technology?
How much do we sacrifice and set ourselves apart, and how much do we join and conform?

What decisions have you made recently? What values did those decisions reflect? Can others tell, through your decisions, that you seek a world ordered by God’s values?

We cannot opt out of this world, because to do that would be unfaithful to the call of Christ to stand with the naked and the hungry, the poor and the neglected. We cannot opt out of this world because it is God’s world and God has called it good. But we also cannot forget that this world is not our only home.

We must take hope in God’s promise to be ever with us, to guide our decisions. We must draw strength from the encouragement and accountability that surrounds us in each other. And we know truth when we see it – it resonates in us, and it sanctifies what it touches. The same way we know a “home” when we find it, we know truth and Christ-like living, because we are from that larger reality.

(Pause)

This morning Christ comes to us in the things of this world, food and drink and people gathered, transforming the ordinary into the eternal – or perhaps drawing forward the eternal that is already present.
Through this meal we choose to recognize both our presence in this good world, as well as our participation in something beyond this world.
At this feast we once again commit ourselves to be in the world as Christ was in the world, living and breathing, loving and working.
At this feast we once again remind ourselves that we are not only of this world – we are children of God, rooted in upside-down kingdom values.
As we are nourished by a sense of where we are truly from, we are strengthened in our hard decisions and encouraged in our Christ-like living, even when it is not popular or easy.
Indeed, brothers and sisters, it is good that we are here.

Friday, April 10, 2009

God's sense of humor?

The Iona Community, one of the most well-known ecumenical communities in the world, is having huge celebrations for Holy Week and Easter. These include lots and lots of music, lots of choirs and sings, and no piano or other instruments on Friday and Saturday, so all singing is a cappella.
And the musician (yes, that's me) has completely lost her voice, for only the second time in her life.
IT'S NOT FAIR!!
But speaking of Lent as a time of stripping away, especially Good Friday and the Saturday... I throw up my hands, take stock of who I am and what makes my life tick, and realize that I can do essentially nothing but wait...
Sometimes God seems to like object lessons.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Buchanan Street in January, part one

I was walking down Buchanan Street in Glasgow on Saturday, one of the main commercial sections of the city, and found lots of people busking along the street. For nearly the whole walk up and back down the street, I was either in sight or earshot of a street performer.

A violinist / fiddler playing reels and jigs.

A group of 10 percussionists with various sizes and shapes, drumming and swaying together.

A man making the best balloon sculptures I've ever seen (Sarah... ever considered busking with balloons?).

An accordion and a violin playing Salley Gardens.

A guy playing guitar and singing.

And, the best of all, two bagpipers and a drummer, in full Scottish regalia, simultaneously playing and doing the motions to the Hokey Pokey.

Impressive. It made me want to learn an instrument that is a little easier to take on the streets than the piano... because all those performers almost had me dancing down the street. And if you watched people walk, many times their steps would change to fit the beat of the music, unintentionally but unavoidably. Music is like that. It gets into you when you're not looking and connects you to people you'd never even noticed before.

Posts and snow

It's been a while since I posted regularly. And suddenly, I have a stockpile of topics for posts and a bit of time and motivation to write them. However, since I don't want to bombard you, I'll set them to be posted at intervals... just warning you. =)

By the way -- it snowed today in Glasgow. White, huge, gorgeous flakes that melted immediately on the ground. But it was such an amazing sight to see, second only to the full rainbow over the abbey in the hail. Those of you who are up to your eyeballs in snow and sick of it, I'm not trying to rub it in, but I do miss snow. Send us some, okay?

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is not as common here. Put peanut butter on bananas in Scotland, and you'll get comments, day after day, week after week. And when you don't get comments, you'll get "is she crazy? what's she doing?" looks.

But, oh, there's something much better than peanut butter here... it's hazelnut chocolate spread. And since it goes on toast, it's permissible to eat it for breakfast... peanut butter or chocolate... peanut butter or chocolate... it's quite the dilemma, but I say, if you can't have them together (another frowned-upon combination here)...

I like chocolate! =)

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Bull Horkey

What a title for a post, eh?

So in a discussion the other day someone said to me "no one can make you feel anything", a phrase I've heard before in my work in mental health, and a phrase that I hate. And in the last few days I've been thinking about why I so vehemently dislike the phrase... Here's what I've come up with...

First, the things the phrase attempts to say that I do wholeheartedly agree with:

1. There's no sense in being a victim -- in many ways, for most of us, and in most day-to-day cases, victimhood is an attitude, and not a very effectual one. So blaming without taking responsibility for your own part in something (even if it is how one reacts to emotions) is bad strategy.

2. There are not always one-to-one causal relationships between one person's actions and another person's feelings. Lots of factors go into the creation of emotions, including past emotions and situations, personality types, learned meanings, etc.

3. A person does have an amount of choice in the messages that (s)he tells him/herself about emotions and situations, and thereby a choice in whether emotions get escalated or acted out or dealt with effectively. A person certainly has full responsibility over how he or she reacts to emotions through behaviors.

4. One person should not have to (and indeed cannot) protect another person completely from emotions. Emotions happen.

5. I'm all for "I statements", as they are usually the most effective way of coming to understanding about emotions -- all I can say with certainty is that which pertains to me and my point of view, and assumptions and blame assigning are dangerous.

Now for the reasons I think it's a bunch of bull horkey:

1. Emotions are not controllable, at least not in their pure forms. Emotions are primal, and usually pre-verbal to begin with. The statement "no one can make you feel anything" most often carries with it an idea that the person with the emotion can control his or her initial emotion, which I believe is quite incorrect. (controlling initial emotion is very different from controlling internal messages about the emotion and controlling reactions based on the emotion) Besides that, it puts too much pressure on a person to say that all emotions can be controlled -- it gives too little permission for emotions to come and go, as they inevitably do.

2. We live in a world in which there are not always direct causal relationships. However, we work on probabilities. If probability is 99% that if I go outside when it's raining then I'll get wet, then we know that to avoid getting wet, I should avoid going outside. To say, "but there's 1% chance that you won't get wet", doesn't negate the probable causal relationship. Therefore -- if I do something that I know has 85% chance of annoying you, it is reasonable to assume that, if I don't want to annoy you, I shouldn't do it. So, though it's not a one-to-one, action-causes-emotion relationship, it's often a probable causal relationship -- enough to be able to predict probable results. (Enough of the math side of it...)

3. It's a cop out. If we really believed that "no one can make anyone feel anything", we wouldn't care about compassion or justice. We wouldn't need to liberate the oppressed, because the oppressors "can't make the oppressed feel oppressed or shamed or any other negative emotion" -- the oppressed could just choose to feel something else. We wouldn't worry about the golden rule, if we truly believed that statement. To say "I can't make you feel anything" just lets me off the hook of taking responsibility for being part of the cause. (notice I say "part")

4. Most often this statement comes out when someone is feeling something and another person is not wanting to take responsibility -- not a good time to say this satement, as it is only going to be inflammatory. In relationships, this is simply not a helpful way to approach this subject, because the reality is much more complex than just a slogan.

K... enough of my ranting... I do like having this blog sometimes because I can get on my soap box when the people around me are not wanting to hear it, and it still allows me outlet... so thank you for indulging me in blowing off steam. =)

And tip -- don't ever say this to me. Say it, if you feel you must, but probability is 95% that I will get supremely annoyed with you if you do. ;)