Saturday, June 13, 2009

Salem Living Green Fair

The Salem Living Green and Renewable Energy Fair has begun. We are the location for the speaker series, and it will begin at 11am.

Rinus Oestrook from the Salem Chamber of Commerce began by declaring this Salem Green Day.

I introduced the first speaker, and before doing so I highlighted the Free Washington DC Conference on June 25-26, Convergence on Zero, and mentioned that if we get a good Boston area turnout that Paul Allen the leader of the Centre for Alternative Technology wants to meet with us.

The Green House Doctor

Paul Marquis is the first speaker. He is the "Green House Doctor," and was voted "Best Green Consultant" by Boston Magazine in 2007. He is talking about Green materials for your home - especially dealing with historic restorations.

Paul is talking about recycled content and is considering other issues - such as using wood may require treatment, and that treatment may be harmful. Products need to be considered for being made from recycled products, if they can be recycled later, how long lasting they are, whether they need treatment during their life. In such considerations materials made from recycled plastics may be better than wood, because of the need for regular harsh treatment.

Now he is talking about the standards for historic homes. Everything on the outside of the home is subject to the historic commission's jurisdiction, unless hardship can be declared in that restoration to historic levels. So if you have clapboard siding, and need to replace it you may not be able to change it to something else, but you can make sure to use FSC certified lumber.

When you are choosing green Products there is no Gold Standard: General criteria though:

Lumber: FSC certified, torrified wood (in New England there is a company called Cambia Lumber which makes torrified lumber), another product Pure Wood.

Paints: Hey, I paint my house with C2 - it is on his list! Yeah. Then he mentioned milk paint. Rinus sitting next to me here has used it, and says it is the best thing for furniture refinishing.

Raw Food Discussion

Kristen Overlook and Anna Forkan from Revitalive Health and Wellness, LLC are talking about Eating Green, and they are raw food people. They both studied under the mother of the raw food movement Dr. Ann Wigmore.

This discussion has none of the "Don't kill animals!" type of guilt inducing perspective. They are talking about the fun side of Raw food! that's how they put it.

American's eat 8oz. of beef a day. could power a house off that kind of energy - that is their point.

Now - to "unfired foods." Reference to "The China Study". Also a reference to the Pottenger Cat Study. Now there was some debate about Pottenger's Cats on NPR this week, and it seems that not everyone thinks the study has accuracy, and applicability to this issue.

Protein? From where? Greens - Juiced Greens - Wheat Grass is high on the list. 75% of their diet is greens.

They are talking about good bacteria now. Quote from Louis Pasteur "The microbe is nothing, the terrain is everything." Kristin says this was a late in life quote from Mr. Pasteurization. Otherwise, if we had listened to him, we may not have pasteurized everything, because there are positive healing enzymes in "living food." It is not getting rid of them, but using them properly.

Now Kristin is giving testimonies of people who have been healed through a raw food diet in Central American missions they have been on.

Now - contrasting thee digestive tracts of carnivors and and humans. 33ft of GI tract or us. 6ft for a big cat. Carnivors have other enzymes we do not.

The FDA allows milk to have a certain number "puss sacks." Yummmmmmm.

Now there is a discussion of coffee - heavy metal, cadmium is in coffee. Steak: vacuum sealed left on the counter for three days --> it had worms! from where? they were already living in it.

Now they are talking about poop! Colon discussion. Jeff Cox asked if they believe in enemas. Yes they doo, uhm I mean do. They like to talk about poo, because the colon is so important to our health.

Solar Energy Incentives by Sunlight Solar

Nick and Ryan from Sunlight Solar are talking about incentives for solar panels. In MA, there are great incentive programs for both commercial, as well as private homes.

The basics is that the sun rays received by the panels is converted in an inverter and thus connected to the home. Helps roll back the meter saving monetary levels.

PPA(Power Purchasing Agreements) or third parties are involved with no up front costs with 10 or 15 year buy out options. The rationale is both environmental and financial. For example the installation of a 5kW system would amount to planting 30 acres of trees or not driving 237,000 miles. The end result is the removal OF 190,000 lbs of CO2 gases.

In MA, 4 rebates that individuals can qualify for

1. $ per $ subtract from the invoice
2. $5 per watt(performance based)
3. Maximum, about $50,000
4. Adjusted for orientation, shade and tilt angle

Federally, $2000 max for residence systems and operating prior to Dec 31, 2008

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Ysbrydnos 2009 - an Eisteddfod coming this October!

We will be looking for musicians, poets, and storytellers for the October Spirit Night 2009 bardic Competition. Ysbrydnos (euhs-bruhd-nos) is one of the Welsh words for Halloween Night. It means Spirit-Night, and this October the the Fountain Stage sponsored by The Gathering will be hosting an Eisteddfod (a Bardic Competition). There will be a Children's Competition in a couple age groups, and an adult competition. The winning adult will be crowned the Bard of Salem for the year. More information to come later. For now, keep your calendar clear enough to compete!

Today Jeff Menasco and I created the logo for the event. Well, actually, I simply came up with the idea of the first letter as a harp, and sketched it out, then took it to Jeff, and he banged out this cool logo in a little over an hour of work with me looking over his shoulder, and giving my two cents here and there. I am pretty darn happy with it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Salem Summer Solstice Fair - sponsored by The Gathering - Looking for Dancers, Jugglers, Spinners, Drummers...

Click on the flyer below for a full size image. Come join the party on June 21st!

Tonight - Halloween Prep Meeting

It is time already to prep for Halloween. Okay that's not accurate, we've been talking for over a month now. Tonight at 6pm the group of outreach preparers will gathering at The Vault to plan for the month of October.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sunday, June 7th Morning Service

10:10 - Small churches usually start late. Lyle Schaller said so back in the 70's with his book The Small Church is Different. It is still true for us in Salem today. But, now here I go to pull this talkative crew together.

10:17 - He says that but we still didn't start church until now. The Gathering starts really late. This is Gentry by the way.

10:20 - There is a pretty full house here today and a good energy is pervading the place. Maybe that energy is the Holy Spirit. Hopefully it is.

Phil invited everyone to participate in the service today in the way that they feel led. Usually that just means that a couple of extra people play drums or something and maybe a few extra prayers are prayed. But with this crew, you never really know what an invitation to contribution will bring.

10:25 - After a few community recitations - "Come I This Day" and "The Beatitudes" - we are going to sing one of Phil's original songs, "Fall From Heaven." I am glad to be a part of a church where we have so many musicians and artists who bless us with their creative contributions. Carl writes great songs too, btw, and Phil's scripture chants are available for use in your church or community worship.

10:31 - I just ran into a family of tourists who were taking pictures of the outside of our building. Since the doors were open and we welcome interruptions, I invited them in to take pics. They politely refused, but we always welcome that sort of thing.

10:37 - Teaching time. We'll see what Phil has to bring today. The bulletin text is I Corinthians 15:12-19.

We're starting with a Scripture chant. Thank God. Sing along at home: God be merciful unto us and bless us. And cause His face to shine upon us..."

Today really is one of those days where it feels like anything can happen.

Phil is interspersing the chant above with the prayers of the people. People are asking for the end to war in Iraq and Afghanistan; parenting two year olds (namely mine); for a member's parents who are going to work with the Mennonite Mission in Indonesia for four years.

10:47 - Now Phil is starting teaching. Sorry for the false alarm.

Phil is starting by contrasting times of worship that try to replicate heaven on earth - extremely high church, beautiful cathedrals, professionally produced evangelistic/healing services, the mormon tabernacle - with worship gatherings which welcome the chaos of ordinary life - where we don't necessarily try to control people's weaknesses, awkward social interactions, the banging and clanging of real life interactions. Phil says that he prefers churches where anarchy, hopefully God's, breaks out and faith is worked out in the context of the mess.

Carlos quickly asked: "how do you know when the anarchy is God's or Satan's?"

Jeff M responded: "look at the outcomes." James S responded: um, actually I was typing, not listening.

Took a bathroom break. Who knows what I missed.

Phil: "When we get together in these moments, we should experience real life. Praying for two year olds in the midst of our frustration is real life. That's the way it ought to be."

A lot of joking about children, "spiritual warfare," murphy's law, etc.

Phil: "Through stories I want to give some philosophical background to who we are and what we do." Phil then identified a guest and asked if we could pray for his pain. The man said yes, he has a broken shoulder. We stopped and prayed.

The first story I'm going to tell...Phil is telling his story about God slapping him, which is also his conversion story.

"I want to explain how my story has influenced my view on this idea or concept that we call evangelism.

* Evangelism has become one of these terms that is loathed. According to recent studies, Evangelicals, who take their name from this emphases on the proclamation of the good news, are trusted by others about as much as prostitutes or lawyers

* One of the things that makes evangelism so hard, that makes it feel forced on people, is that Christians think they are solely responsible for the work of proclamation or evangelism. But, as my story suggests, God is already working in people's lives. We should never judge people based on what we think God is doing in their lives. We don't know what God is doing. So one of my assumptions in our work in Salem is that God is already working in their lives and we just need to trust his work and accompany people. Maybe we can help people interpret their experience or help them in other ways

* When I was younger I had the strong sense that God was more interested in my hereafter than in the here and now. I think that is true in a sense, though every single moment has the capacity to be an eternal moment. By opening myself to these eternal moments I am making my way to the great eternal moment in his presence. However, by focusing too much on people's hereafter we can put too much pressure on them to make choices in keeping with our hope for their eternal life

* James S - "When we went on mission trips to Utah we were always asked this really awkward question on our return: 'How many people did you convert.' That's an extremely awkward question, because I was out to sow seeds, to produce or reap the harvest is not something I can make happen."

Aside: there is the sound of a trumpet wafting through the streets. I don't know if it is recorded or not. Is this the weekend of the jazz festival. Btw - this aside was interrupted by someone asking for the men's room. There is always a lot of traffic around here to and from the johns.

Aside, Aside: More people are just wandering in and sitting down. That's cool.

* Sometimes in caring for the world here and now, we can lose sight of the eternal implications of what we are doing. We tend to have this pendulum swing as believers between coming too focused on there hereafter or, on the other side, of becoming too focused on the here and now. We need to find the terrible tension and balance between the here and now and the hereafter. Phil gives the illustration of a tightrope walker, who is balancing between his right and his left. As evangelistic Christians we have to be able to balance on that line.

* Reading of the scripture: "If Christ is not risen, your faith is future; you are still in your sins...If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable." Phil - If we believe in the resurrection and it did not, in fact, of occur, we are following an empty hope. I Cor 9:23 - "I have become all things to all men that I might by all means save some." In my case, I study witchcraft and other religions in order that I might serve and know people well.

11:38 - Turn to Eucharist.

12:01 - this is Phil typing after the service now. Wow, I went really long compared to usual. I like the service to be about an hour and fifteen minutes, including fellowshipping and starting late. We started on small church time - 15 minutes late, and then went about an hour and a half, and so it was a really long service for us.

Friday, June 05, 2009

10 Years!

The Gathering has been in Salem, Massachusetts for 10 years now. On June 21st, we will be hosting a Summer Solstice Fair on the streets near the church with a drum circle, and British Rock from Brittanica. We will tell our story on that Sunday morning service as well.

Then more to come in July, August, September, and... as well.

Come hang out with us on June 21st!

10am - service
noon to 5pm - Summer Solstice Fair
6pm - An evening of thankful reflection