Saturday, March 31, 2007

Rabbit holes

Michael flew home yesterday afternoon; the rest of us are leaving tonight. Yesterday was our play day. We went to the New Orleans School of Cooking. We had a great time, and were fed very well on crawfish etouffee, shrimp and artichoke soup, bread pudding, and pralines. The chef (Kevin) was a riot; he loved bantering back and forth with us, and he told great stories. It was the most fun I’ve had at lunch in a long time.

We went around the tables and said where we were from, and he asked us what we were doing in New Orleans. People shouted, “touristing,” “eating,” and suchlike. Michael called out, “Gutting houses.”

Kevin stopped us. “What?”
“Gutting houses.”
“Thank you.”

Several locals in the audience also thanked him/us. I felt really proud of Michael for having been able to do that; I have asthma and am rightly afraid of black mold. Vivian, Judy, and I did very worthwhile work here, but what is most clearly and widely needed is house gutting. Many neighborhoods in this city have block after block after block of flood-damaged homes. Kevin cited New Orleans Times-Picayune writer Chris Rose, who writes in his book One Dead in the Attic, “Our city has a bathtub ring around it.” From what we saw, that is literally true.

This exchange got me thinking. Most people, who live in cities that are not prone to hurricanes, and who have safe, sturdy houses, would view teams of strangers coming in and taking their houses apart from the inside, down to the studs, as a shockingly gross invasion. Here, the houses were damaged by being flooded with toxic water for up to six weeks. They have to be taken apart to be saved. There aren’t enough contractors in the city to do what needs to be done here, and most people couldn’t pay for that level of labor anyway. So, volunteers come in with Tyvek suits, respirators, and crow bars, and tear apart houses for free—to preserve the homeowners’ property rights.

You can’t just leave a flood-damaged house indefinitely; there are deadlines. One is coming up in mid-April; I don’t know if that is city-wide or only for the 9th Ward. But if houses aren’t “improved” by the deadlines given, they are condemned. Gutting counts as evidence of improvement.

I understand the issue. But the reality here once again makes my head spin.

We met a group of ABSW students for beignets, afterward; the Baptists had traveled from Berkeley to a town in Mississippi that was literally blown away by Katrina, to build houses with Habitat for Humanity. Then we walked around the park, into the cathedral, and back outside to listen to music. You know you’re in New Orleans when the street musicians are good.

After that, my friends visited a voodoo temple; Michael had met the priestess ten years ago. There was too much incense for me to stay, so I sat outside in the courtyard and called my friend Max, who gave me a piece of wisdom. Max traveled to El Salvador with a group from our church recently. They met Bishop Barahona, worked with children, and I don’t know what all they did there. Max told me, “I was there to do the work, but I was really there to let it change me.” One week is not enough time to save the world, or New Orleans. It is enough time to be changed forever, to be more deeply committed to being the body of Christ, to loving people everywhere, and to raising people’s awareness so that more can be done.

I really feel that I’ve found a piece of my calling. I can’t wait to get home and test it.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Getting it

I figured something out, yesterday. It happened in the course of two phone conversations.

First, I did get to talk to my priest, in between writing yesterday’s entry and posting it. We talked for about 20 minutes, about what it is and was like to be here, what I’m experiencing (and why the hard things are so difficult), and the conversation I’d had with Bill Terry+ at St. Anna’s. Tommy’s really excited about the work that the Diocese of Louisiana is doing. They’ve shifted focus completely away from caring about anybody’s sexuality, and are totally committed to serving the people most affected by Katrina. There are so many great projects happening here.

Hearing that, lit me up. I’d been thinking about how to continue this work at home, and we’re going to talk about it when I get back.

Then at bedtime, I called the Apostle in Exile. I said to her, “I wouldn’t work with this organization again. But I’d come back here, and do this work, in a minute.” Coming here, to this third-world situation in my own obscenely wealthy country, has given me more empathy for all such situations. I’ve always cared. But I’d never felt compelled to go outside of myself, until I’d seen with my own eyes how the poorer people in New Orleans live. Fifteen minutes from the 9th Ward, is the bustling, happy, touristy French Quarter. I have genuinely had a lot of fun there. We’re going back today, to play. But the proximity of these two opposites makes the dichotomy too obvious to miss.

I’m going back tomorrow night, to one paper that’s late already and to a project I’ve just asked for an extension on. I miss my church community more than I miss taking showers, and I’m ready to go back. School right now doesn’t feel real to me at all. The mission bug has bitten me, hard. But coming here is only a small piece of this; it’s essential, but we’re limited to what we can do in one week. I’ll know if I’m truly called to this, if I continue the work at home. I already know that I’m a good organizer. I can’t wait to start experimenting.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


I just finished my last shift at the “orange house,” or women’s shelter, run by Common Ground. I did a little bit of work on their resource database, and hung out with the women there. It was exactly what I wanted to do, on our last work day here.

Yesterday, I worked at the “blue house,” or distribution center; a combined clothing bank, food pantry, and tool library. It was strange to see the levee just a few blocks over; it’s a completely nondescript concrete wall. It doesn’t look imposing. And yet, its presence was in the back of my mind the whole time I was there.

Common Ground workers are staying in one of the houses on this block, and using four others, while their services are needed. (One has a functional bathroom; the other a kitchen, complete with filtered water. Another holds supplies that often end up in the distribution center.) The houses they use are mostly gutted; ubiqutous blue tarps apparently protect them from whatever gunk is still in the walls. One of the women who runs this particular project is a 19-year-old from Olympia. Six or seven years ago, I worked for her mother. We chatted a lot about home.

People come here from all over the country to help. That is deeply encouraging.

We got to go to church last night, at St. Anna’s. One of the women at the orange house told us about it, and we all wanted to go. My rector is friends with the rector there. We really, really, oh, so really—needed the worship. All of us were hungry. And all of us were fed.

I completely fell apart during the service, but it was a good falling-apart. I can’t remember what the hymn was, but there was a whole lot of soul in it. (St. Anna’s uses LEVAS, apparently heavily, and they have a better-than-decent worship band.) It hit me that I’d seen the horror of the effects of this storm, and that had overwhelmed me. Listening to this music, I saw beauty again. People can suffer so much, and still be beautiful. That realization was as wonderful, and as disorienting, as I imagine any resurrection would be. I was an absolute mess.

A woman sitting behind me held my hand as I was crying. I couldn’t go up for Communion or anointing for healing, because of the incense. The priest brought them to me, and my friends stood around me. I don’t quite know how to say how I felt, but it was definitely better.

I sort of feel silly, falling apart as much as I have this week, because this is not my home. It’s not my city; not my life, and I’ve only seen strength, and graciousness, in the people I’ve met who live here. But it’s also good to cry for something bigger than myself. I’m going to do something with these experiences, when I get home. This church has a benefit potluck dinner for musicians every Wednesday, and a free legal clinic, acupuncture, and a couple other services at the same time. I asked the priest, “What would you want me to take back to California with me?” He answered, “Peace. Hope. And send us money.” I’m going to work on that when I get back. I cannot come here and not do something after I leave.

Michael just called; we’re going out to dinner in ten minutes. Time to post this and go. Thank you all for your prayers, your thoughts, and your love. We definitely feel them.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I thought I knew poverty...

I didn’t. I was a Catholic Worker for a year in Olympia, WA. It’s a white, middle-class state capital and college town, with a vocal, active underclass who are still not as poor as they think they are. I thought I knew racism. I worked in non-profits; I was given all the proper diversity trainings, by white, middle-class Olympians. They taught what they knew, and they meant well. I begrudge them nothing. But no amount of repeating, “Power + prejudice = oppression,” equals the experience of three days in Louisiana.

The people in New Orleans are caught, quite literally, between Mother Nature and Big Oil. They have Lake Pontchartrain on one side, connected tenuously to the Gulf of Mexico. The river’s on the other. And down from the river, fed by its delta, are the wetlands, disappearing at a rate of an acre every 33 minutes. That disappearance is accounted for both by efforts to control the river, and oil companies drilling the bayou. Levees prevent the river from changing its course. They help to protect the city from normal, cyclical flooding—they also funnel the silt the river carries directly into open, deep water. If the river were allowed to run, silt would be distributed among the wetlands, keeping them intact, slowly increasing their area. As the wetlands are drilled, they sink, leaving the coast—and the city of New Orleans—ever more exposed.

When a hurricane hits, every three miles of wetlands reduce the category of that storm by one. Katrina had just downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane when it made landfall. It took 43 days to pump New Orleans dry. Half the population of the city has not returned from the evacuation. Without wetlands protection, and with the increase in hurricanes (due partly to global warming), more Category 4 and 5 storms will hit here. Recovery? What’s that?

I was told by one of the women’s shelter coordinators, something about the racism issue that just makes me seethe. The 9th Ward is/was primarily African-American. There is evidence to suggest that some of these levees were blown on purpose, during Katrina. Also, a casino company wanted to raze the houses and build a casino here, protected by a 14-foot levee. The people sued to keep their houses, and won. Essentially to punish them, the destroyed 10-foot levee is being rebuilt. “Sure, you can have your houses. But we’ll leave you with less protection than you need.”

I’m going to have to research that, but it’s easy to believe.

I called a friend in Berkeley last night, from the emergency room at Tulane University Hospital. (We had to take Michael there for a gash in his leg. He’ll be okay.) She’s a tax lawyer. She lives comfortably. But she gets it, and I knew she would. The first thing she asked me was what they could do for me. (Whether she meant she and her partner or the St. Aidan’s community, or both, is beside the point.) “I don’t know,” I shrugged. “Pray a lot.” We talked about violence, safety, building in floodplains, and how when I get back, I’m not going to know which of these worlds is Earth and which is Mars. One is so wealthy; the other so poor. I was a self-confessed “poor hippie” in Olympia. I didn’t know what I was talking about. I have choices, and resources, that the poor people of New Orleans couldn’t dream of.

She closed the conversation with, “We love you.” I know they do. And that little bit of humanity, from my other world, meant so much.

We were at the ER from 7 p.m. until about 12:30 a.m. Everyone in there was African-American, but us. Some had obvious emergent injuries. One man left paintbrush-sized swipes of blood on three chairs, from a stab wound in his back. Others appeared to simply need routine health care. One man was vomiting; a family held their coughing infant. A woman cussed out one of the techs; she called security immediately. I finally broke down while they were treating Michael. I haven’t slept well since I got here; I don’t feel safe in the building we’re staying in, and that plus the effects of everything I’m seeing caught up with me.

The night after we got here, we went to get beignets in the Quarter. The next afternoon, we went driving around the 9th Ward, and I took 60 pictures of the neighborhood. (I’m struggling to upload them here; I’ll display them as soon as I can.) I won’t describe them now; I’ll wait until I can show them in context. Yesterday, we spent five hours in the emergency room, and a man came in with a stab wound in his back. What kind of city is this? I don’t know how to make sense of what I’m experiencing. And I know that I can go home. For these people, this is their home. This is their life.

I woke at 3:45 this morning, and broke down sobbing again. My friends took care of me. Judy sat with me, talked to me, prayed with me. Vivian rubbed my shoulder. Michael moved his cot to between me and the door, and held my hand while I lay down, until I was calm. I got up to go to the bathroom, and ended up talking to Roderick, an African-American long-term volunteer from Georgia, who had given us our midnight tour of the building when we first got here on Friday. We talked about poverty and racism. I didn’t know what to do with my outrage, but sharing it helped, and we laughed a little. Then I went back to bed, and slept some. I want to get up and go work—but I’m still so tired. I haven't slept well since I got here.

I need to call my priest; I need to talk about what’s happening here, with someone who is not here anymore, but who knows it well. He’s a native of the area; he left three months after Katrina. I came here thinking I was supposed to share the presence of God. The women at the shelter have more faith than I do, here. They have nothing, materially, but their spirits are strong. All I have the strength to do—all I think I ever could effectively do—is hear their stories, and share them at home.

I said something on the phone to my friend, that she said I needed to write down. I cannot imagine myself, any group I belong to, or anyone I love, being this completely forgotten. (As uneasy as I feel about some aspects of our host organization, they are doing more than FEMA.) I cannot, and will not, ever forget this.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

First impressions of New Orleans

We're staying in what was St. Mary of the Angels Catholic school in the 9th Ward, until Katrina. (There are lots of abandoned schools around; literally half of the city hasn't come back after they were evacuated, 19 months ago.) We sleep on cots in the classrooms; the room where our group sleeps currently hosts 18 people.

The shower (there are 4, but two don't have hot water) is a contraption involving propane tanks and PVC pipes. You get the temperature you get; you can't adjust it. Dishes are washed in tubs with soap and bleach, but still manage to feel greasy all the time. We can wash our hands to our hearts’ content, and are encouraged to, but there is nothing to dry them on.

They ask us to work three shifts here, as well as 40 hours/week at our placements. I pulled a security shift from 3-9 this morning. I was on the third floor, where long-term volunteers sleep. During the night, someone tried to break into the refrigerated truck out back, holding our food.

Urban camping is more of a challenge than I was ready for. But the conditions here are not very different from some other places in the neighborhood.

Judy, Vivian, and I worked in a women's shelter yesterday; an average-size house that 17 people call home. I don't know how they do it. I talked for a long time with a cargo worker from the Port of New Orleans, who is staying in the shelter because her second house since Katrina was condemned two weeks ago. She's tried twice to leave, and got sent back by her union (or so I understand). She says that because she’s from New Orleans, she’s having a terrible time finding work at other ports. The city’s reputation for violent crime precedes her wherever she goes. I asked her, “What do you want me to say about New Orleans when I get home?” Her answer: “Get the troops out of Iraq, and bring them here. This is a war zone.”

She was essentially calling for martial law. I am very uncomfortable with that entire idea—but this is not my city, not my home. I don’t have the right to make decisions about what happens here. I can use my voice to amplify the voices of the people who live here; that is what I am doing.

I went to get a glass of water, and the "cold" tap didn't work—but the "hot" only had cold water running out of it. I was told that one of the bathrooms only had hot water. The residents only use the upstairs toilet, because the downstairs one doesn't work. Someone said that's typical; there's sea water underneath the city, messing with the pipes. They can't fix it, because there's not enough money to do that kind of work in the city.

We three will be back at the shelter tomorrow; they want me at 7 a. m. to ride with people on the bus to the walk-in clinic that opens at 8. Apparently it's a 15-minute bus ride, but the buses come at odd intervals that nobody can figure out. There are not enough mechanics to fix them when they break down, which is often, on these pothole-covered streets. They come when they can. And last time, 30 people waited in line for the clinic to open; only the first 9 were seen.

Michael, the only one in our group who's been here before, took us to Café du Monde for beignets last night. It was a bustling, happy place, full of sugar and laughter. We walked around the Quarter for awhile, wandering into shops, looking at monuments, feeling the history. It was busy, brightly lit, and filled with other gawkers just like us. They were filming a TV pilot in the park. That's one of the strange things about this: working in a disaster area, and then going out to a different neighborhood, playing tourist, having fun.

My task today is to begin telling as many people as I can, what is happening here. I'll upload pictures later.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

T minus 2 Days

Last night, the four of us headed to New Orleans held our last pre-trip gathering. We heard from a Baptist pastor, now living in the Bay Area. Pastor Dwight had lived for the past two decades in New Orleans; he still travels there frequently. He told us something of what to expect of the people we meet there, and how to be genuinely helpful. The most effective volunteers that Pastor Dwight had met there were a group of Buddhists (I think their name was Tzu Chi), who approached the people they were serving without presumption; without any preconceived notions about who they were, what they needed, or how they got there. They were present, and patient.

I am not at all sure I can do that, but I will try. It feels very strange to be going to a place that is so famous for its culture, to work in a disaster zone. I am focusing on approaching this as openly as I can.

I talked to my priest this morning; he’s from Baton Rouge, and has been in California for barely over a year. He gave me ideas for places to go on our off-time, and told me to take his cell phone number with me. I also spent a few hours online, learning about the physical environment of the Delta in general, recovery efforts, and the general political feelings there. I feel a little more prepared—and very much more naïve.

Our group has been taking turns leading our Tuesday night meetings, which all conclude with some sort of devotion. Last night, there were metal coins strewn all over the coffee table. Most had a picture on one side, and a word on the other. We were instructed to look at the coins carefully, and choose one to mentally take with us. The first one I picked, I knew was right for me. It depicted a sailboat; the word on the flip side was “Explore.”

I am going where the wind of the Spirit takes me. I am called to be open to this adventure; to travel fearlessly into my own soul, to meet the souls of others. I am called to explore my own sense of (white middle-class) privilege, my own desire to serve others in a place I’ve never been; my own trepidation and joy at doing this. We are called to be the hands and feet of God, and to find and honor God in all people, everywhere. I get to be pulled out of my books for a week, and go to New Orleans, to do this.

I really can’t wait.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Getting ready for New Orleans

In less than two weeks, three other CDSP students and I will be in New Orleans. We are spending our Spring Break there; leaving California on March 23, and returning on and around March 31. We are getting our assignments sorted out; the only one I'm sure of is my own, as it was given to me this morning. I will be working in a women's shelter for the week, because I have experience as a Catholic Worker in Olympia. We will be staying in volunteer housing run by the Common Ground Collective, and going to the work sites they have given us during the day. We plan to write about our encounters with others, with the landscape, and with God in this disaster zone. We also will hold events to educate our home communities when we return. Watch this space for updates.

I got my tetanus shot last weekend; I was overdue for it anyway. The ache in my arm makes this even more real. We are meeting with each other regularly, making plans, dividing up projects, praying, sharing Compline. We are getting to know one another as co-workers and friends. I am getting excited around the edges; I think I can say the same for all of us.

Please consider supporting our trip, by clicking the donations link in the sidebar. We have set a fundraising goal of $6000. Any amount beyond what we use (for transportation, contributions to our hosts, and unforeseen incidentals) will be donated to the people of New Orleans.

Thank you.

Loving God, we commend to you the people of New Orleans.
We thank you for the strength they have shown
in rebuilding their community,
and for their graciousness in hosting volunteers.

We lift up also those who are traveling there only for awhile.
Keep them strong, to do the work that is set before them.
Open their hearts to see you everywhere they go,
and open their minds to what they will experience.
Help them to serve Christ in everyone they meet.
Encourage them to live in your joy,
and bring them home safely when their work is done.

All this we ask in the name of the One who creates, redeems,and sustains us all. Amen.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

William Stringfellow, Racism, and the Primates' Communique

This is a paper I wrote for a special reading course I'm doing with three other students and John Kater. I've been thinking about the goings-on in the Anglican Communion and the Episcopal Church, and wondering how to express my response coherently. This paper has been my clearest answer.

What is obedience to the gospel? Where are the churches in the struggle for justice? What are we to do when confronted by questions of human rights? What did Jesus do? Free in Obedience wrestles us through these questions.

The churches, writes Stringfellow, simply do not get it. He begins with an indictment of the churches, for being too much like their urban environments. The city, he writes, “is the frontier for the Church in American society.” (18) We have become so urbanized, that it must be so. Nearly half the population (in 1964) lived in cities. (19) Even rural dwellers are affected by urban culture.

But the cities are “profoundly decadent;” (20) even more, they are “places of death.” (31) Mission in the city, for the churches, means “a radical intimacy with every corner and every echelon of the city’s actual life.” (22) Witnessed by a governor seeking opinions on proposed legislation, who wrote a former bishop several years dead, the churches have been “hiding out.” (21) The churches do not know the cities well enough even to begin to serve the people within them. They have “abandoned” the gospel. (27)

Furthermore, the churches have celebrated false triumph. Fixated on Palm Sunday (31-47 passim), they ignore the true triumph of Easter. (34) God builds the “City of Salvation” (32); we are not even aware of it. In out attempt to avoid the sufferings of the cross, we yearn for the political triumph of Palm Sunday. (35) Christ gave his life for the saving of the world. We are called to do the same. This is true freedom. Our personal resources: money, time, training, class status, and everything else we have, are “sacraments of the gifts of [our] own lives.” (39) We are called to witness to Christ’s power in the world, first by being present. The most important thing is “the announcement of God’s love, and the freedom which that love gives people to love each other.” (42)

Stringfellow follows with a long discussion of principalities and powers. He defines them thus: “What the Bible calls ‘principalities and powers’ are called in contemporary language ‘ideologies,’ ‘institutions’, and ‘images.’” (52) They are not intrinsically evil; they are “living realities… made by God for [God’s] own pleasure," given to the dominion of humankind. They can be celebrity personae, institutions such as corporations, schools, or churches, or ideologies such as communism, humanism, or democracy. Money is a principality; so is religion. (53-59) Each makes a claim on human loyalty; all conflict and compete with each other. (60) When they fall short of God’s intention, they become demonic. (62) We, in our fallenness, idolize the principalities; this is Stringfellow’s description of filling the “God-shaped hole” in our hearts. The search, of course, is futile. (63) Principalities, be they wealth, possessions, or social status, are “powers of death.” (64)

Reading Stringfellow’s exposition of the principality of racism, I was struck deeply by the parallels to the recent Primates’ Communique. Writing in 1963, Stringfellow states, “To no principality—unless it be to those of commerce and finance…have the American churches been more notoriously and scandalously and complacently accommodating than to the principality of racism.” (77) Congregations which practice or support segregation, Stringfellow contends, “[fail] to treat conscientiously the meaning of baptism as the sacrament of the unity of all people in Christ.” They also “represent a surrender to the principality of racism,” (78) in effect choosing human prejudice and blindness over law, Church, and God. All this while remaining, on the face of it, nice people. (78-79) Stringfellow traces history back to the 1930s, looking for clear, coherent, prophetic statements against racism from the churches. He finds, in his words, “empty promises.” (79) By their silence, he indicts them as “handmaidens of the principality of racism, for… racism is as well served by appeasement as by idolatry.” (79)

In the face of revolt, in the 1960s, white people took notice. Clergy began demonstrating; “church budgets were loosened” to support the civil rights movement. (80) People started asking, “What do the Negroes want?”, not realizing the condescension evident in that question. White people were still motivated not by compassion, but by the desire to maintain control. (80) The churches, Stringfellow maintains, are “deeply and terribly… compromised in many instances and places to the principalities which rule American society….” (81)

Reading the Primates’ Communique, the Schedule of Recommendations set forth by the primates to enforce this, and Bishop Katharine’s call for a “season of fasting,” it appears to me that the church remains so compromised, both locally and globally.

The primates object to the precedent set in the Episcopal Church by ordaining an openly gay bishop. They object to the possibility of blessed civil unions. They hold up the non-binding Resolution 1:10 of the Windsor Report as the Anglican “standard of teaching.” (Communique, paragraph 11). That would be tolerable; we can’t expect to be of one mind with every other culture in the world that has an Anglican element. They overstep when they attempt to enforce their views. By attempting to enforce the moratoriums set forth in the Windsor Report (Communique, note 6) they not only try to legislate homophobia, but they become in polity what this body has never been. The Communique contains a veiled threat to the participation of the Episcopal Church (“On Clarifying the Response to Windsor”); the Schedule of Recommendations states that the proposed schemes are “intended to have force.” (Schedule, “Foundations”) They give the Episcopal Church a deadline which is irrespective of our polity. And they do this with the apparent support of our Presiding Bishop. While pointing out the parallel between this current issue and the history of slavery, she claims, “God’s justice is tempered with mercy.” She states that “a season of fasting” is asked of both parties—the Episcopal Church from recognizing the full humanity of GLBT people, and the conservatives at home and abroad from breaching diocesan boundaries.

I understand Bishop Katharine’s position, as well as a layperson can—she wants to stay in this conversation, and is willing to make concessions to do so. My visceral response is less sympathetic. How can people be asked to fast from justice? How can someone fast, who has never had enough food, simply because they love someone of the same gender? We promise to “respect the dignity of every human being.” How are these statements evidence of anything but the contrary?

I am tempted to believe that William Stringfellow would agree with me. He reminds us of Christ’s clash with the principalities of his time. He “stills the tempest, heals the sick, frees the demoniac, upsets the traditions of Israel by eating with sinners….” (71) He does not flinch even from physical death, and he is victor over all. “His victory is not for himself, but for us. This power [over death] is effective in the times and places in the daily lives of [people] when they are so gravely and relentlessly assailed by the claims of principalities for an idolatry which, in spite of all disguises, really surrenders to death as the reigning presence of the world.” (72) We need not be anxious, for in, through, and because of Christ, we too will live. (73)

We are called to be involved, to be present, to live the Gospel, and to choose justice. Neither we nor the Church need fear; we are “born into freedom from death.” (102) Perhaps the strongest statement of this book follows: “Whenever you regard another human being as less than yourself, you convict yourself of killing him.” (112) We belong to God. Obedience means not seeking our own preservation, but celebrating God’s involvement in the world, and joining in.