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Five Questions

Kathryn of Good In Parts introduced me to the "five questions" meme, in which she asks me five questions for me to answer on my blog, and then up to five people who volunteer get questions from me. So, here are the five questions she asked me:

1) Tell us about your favourite poem. What is it and why is it special for you?

Oh my. I love poetry, and I don't think there's any way I can pick just one poem. Right now, I'm really into "spring song" by lucille clifton (she doesn't use any capital letters -- I haven't gone all Internet-trendy here), which I cited in my most recent entry on the lectionary blog. That poem both sums up and stimulates the hope that I want to shape everything else I see: the truth that God is redeeming the world God made and loves, and no power can stop that.

And there are two other poems that are important to me at the particular (and peculiar) place I'm in at the moment:

You and Art

Your exact errors make a music
that nobody hears.
Your straying feet find the great dance,
walking alone.
And you live on a world where stumbling
always leads home.

Year after year fits over your face —
when there was youth, your talent
was youth;
later, you find your way by touch
where moss redeems the stone;

And you discover where music begins
before it makes any sound,
far in the mountains where canyons go
still as the always-falling, ever-new flakes of snow.

    -- William Stafford, Sometimes I Breathe

... and this one ...

The Way It Is

There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.

    -- William Stafford, There’s a Thread You Follow

I've loved these poems for years, and can almost quote them from memory, but they have a particular resonance for me at the moment, probably because of a whole cluster of things going on: my current position is ending and I'm not sure where I'm being called to next, but at the same time, I haven't been able to drum up much anxiety about it. I just have a sense that things are coming together, that there's a call from God in all of this and it's just taking some time to discover what it is. There's a thread here, a dance my feet find, a rhythm to what might at first seem like just clattering.

2) You have the chance to interview ANYONE in the world, living or dead, for an in-depth feature. Who do you choose and why?

Oh, it would have to be St. Paul. Talking with him might really complicate my dissertation, but I just wouldn't be able to resist. I could finally ask him what the heck he meant by "because of the angels" as a reason given in 1 Corinthians 11 that women should keep their heads covered. I could ask him to issue a few clarifying statements on some of those troublesome passages used in debates about sexuality and women's leadership. Can this interview be as long as I want? Can I record it?

3) Tell us about one thing that really made you smile this week.

Tickets went on sale this week for the third leg of U2's Vertigo tour. This was the second ticket presale for fans; the first time around, I got seats so bad (and expensive!) that I passed on them. I thought I wasn't going to get any this time either, as the presale was announced at the last minute, and at the time tickets were to go on sale, I was supposed to be giving a presentation for a class at a nearby university. But my partner, Karen -- brave Karen, noble Karen, Karen of the fingers so nimble on a keyboard -- generously volunteered to try to get the tickets for me. It was NOT fun for her. She doesn't like things with time pressures, and although she knew that I wouldn't blame her if she couldn't get tickets, she knew that I really wanted them.

She got tickets for me, and GENERAL ADMISSION (not only the cheapest, but also the best -- floor seats, with a chance of being in the first fifteen rows) tickets at that) tickets at that, and a pair of them for each of TWO concerts (one in Washington DC, which is the closest gig to where I live, and one in New York City, where a good friend lives who loves U2 almost as much as I do.

I was wandering around with a wide grin on my face all day.

4) You've suddenly found a gap in your diary, an unexpected day to yourself. How do you spend it?

Wonderful! If Karen's free and the weather's good, we'll go to the National Zoo in Washington to see the new cheetah cubs, get some good Mexican food for lunch, and we'll go to Vespers in the National Cathedral before heading for home. If we're up for going to to dinner, I think I'd vote for the tapas place a few blocks from our house. We just went there last night, but it's a great place, with a very, very good wine list, and we always have a delicious, relaxed meal there.

5) What is your favourite part of worship? (I know this isnt an original question, but I really enjoyed answering it myself for reverend mommy)

This question might be even harder than the one asking me to choose a poem!

I love the service of Compline, and especially this prayer:

Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who work, or watch, or weep this night, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the joyous; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.

In the Sunday Eucharist, my favorite moment might be this part of the prayer of thanksgiving after communion:

Send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord.

... especially when it's followed up with a REALLY good delivery of the dismissal, one that really makes me feel commissioned to take into the world the good news I've experienced in the Eucharist.

And I really love preaching. I love that it's actually part of my job to connect deeply enough to something that God is doing in the world that I can communicate a sense of that to others. Every time I preach, it gives a boost to my prayer life, and the deeper my prayer life is at the time, the better my preaching.

And that's the five questions! If you'd like me to ask you five questions for you to answer on your blog, just post a comment to this entry, and I'll email you the questions and instructions.

March 11, 2005 | Permalink


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Those are wonderful answers, Dylan...thanks so much for taking time to play!
I didn't know either of your poems here (because I'm an English graduate, I kind of expect to...and it's lovely to make some new friends)
I'm wandering around playing with "when moss redeems the stone"...it's one of those lines that won't leave you.
What alot of pleasure :-)

Posted by: Kathryn | Mar 16, 2005 11:54:14 AM

Loved the poetry. Have you read James Weldon Johnson's "Creation"? That's a great one too.

The prayer at Compline is also one of my favorites.

Posted by: Mumcat | Mar 18, 2005 11:13:27 PM

Ask me five questions, any five.

Great answers, by the way.

Posted by: Willie | Mar 29, 2005 12:37:23 AM

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