Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How green building techniques can help save a home during a wildfire

Beloved Wife and I happened to be on a work trip for her to Santa Barbara, CA when the Tea Fire erupted.

Consequently, much of our visit wasn't at all what we expected. But we were safe and mostly well, and Santa Barbara County fared much better than it might have in the face of such a fast-moving and devastating fire. We were definitely impressed by local emergency response.

Having been there during such an intense time, I've been following some of the local news coverage of the fire since returning to Seattle. Today, I came across an interesting article on how one couple's green building choices helped save their home.

Green Building Techniques Save Home on Mountain Drive
One Tea Fire Homeowner's Experience Is a Lesson for Us All

In the midst of the devastation created by the Tea Fire, there are a few stories of families whose homes escaped the fire unscathed. While some of these stories seem like simple twists of fate or, in some cases, miracles, other stories tell of people who strategically designed their homes to survive a fire. Marlene and David Berry's is one of these stories.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Remember: Faith communities can save transgender lives

from Chris Paige of Transfaith On-line. - sm

Remember: Faith communities can save transgender lives

The Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20, 2008) is set aside to remember those lost to anti-transgender violence in the last year. Much of this violence is fueled by a sentiment that it is tacitly and explicitly reinforced by narrow understandings of gender, as well as outright transphobia and homophobia expressed in the name of a Christian God. Too many of us have not only heard "God condemns you" -- but also "It would be better if you were dead."

It is a profound and important step for every faith community to join in a resounding chorus that condemns all forms of violence against people who are differently gendered.

  • By vocally condemning anti-trans bullying, harassment, and hate crimes, we begin to chip away at the self-righteous fuel that feeds those who believe they are doing God's will by punishing the differently gendered.
  • By loudly proclaiming that people of all genders are beloved, we begin to address the rampant rate of depression and suicide among transgender youth and adults that so to often encouraged by religious judgment.
  • By reaching out in love to the transgender community, we begin to undermine the isolation and low self-esteem that can undergird substance abuse and high-risk behaviors (which inform high rates of HIV and AIDS).
Beyond the hate and judgment, trans people's lives are at risk because we so often struggle to meet our most fundamental needs such as safe employment and basic health care. Faith communities need to be out in front of such justice issues as well.

So, this year, let us (re)commit ourselves to the work of speaking up and speaking out, to the work of educating ourselves and educating others, to the work of reaching out in love.

Chris Paige
Publisher, TransFaith Online

Followup reading:
TRANSFAITH ON-LINE (http://www.transfaithonline.org/) is dedicated to supporting transgender folks in our faith journeys, while providing useful resources to help people of faith become better educated trans-allies.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Political and religious humor

I've seen this several times now, and it never fails to make me smile:

Barack atah Illinois
Eloheinu melech ha'olam
Hoo-ray p'ri ha-electoral landslide.


Traditional Hebrew blessing:
Baruch atah Adonai
Eloheinu melech ha'olam
Borayt p'ri hagafen.

Blessed are You, Lord our G-d,
King of the Universe,
Creator of the fruit of the vine.

Feminized Hebrew blessing:

Brucha at elilah,
elohaynu malkat ha’olam,
borayt p’ree hagafen.

Blessed are You, Goddess our Goddess,
Queen of the Universe,
Creator of the fruit of the vine.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"You Can Vote However You Like"

Too cool!

And in the interview, these kids are more articulate than a lot of adults I've heard...