On our way down the Delmarva Peninsula we needed a break for food, stretching, and bathrooms. This free museum is situated in a nineteenth century almshouse and features the folk histories of the peoples of the barrier islands.
From 1,444 Fun Things to Do with Kids comes goop. Start with 8 ounces of white glue, food coloring, water, and borax.
Combine glue, three-fourths cup water, and food coloring in one bowl. In another bowl, mix one-fourth cup water with one tablespoon Borax, and add this to the first bowl, stirring until it forms a Goop ball. Remove the ball. Again combine one-fourth cup water with one tablespoon Borax and mix it into the glue mixture, stirring until another Goop ball forms. Keep repeating the process until the glue mixture is gone. Then knead all the Goop balls together. Now you’re ready to play by pulling and patting the Goop into strings and unique forms. Store the Goop in an airtight container.
We only really managed one-round of Goop (see video). We also couldn’t find any food coloring on-hand and so made white Goop.
There’s a nice remembrance of George Willoughby by the Brandywine Peace Community’s Bob Smith over on the War Resisters International site. George died a few days ago at the age of 95 [updated]. It’s hard not to remember his favorite quip as he and his wife Lillian celebrated their 80th birthdays: “twenty years to go!” Neither of them made it to 100 but they certainly lived fuller lives than the average couple.
I don’t know enough of the details of their lives to write the obituary (a Wikipedia page was started this morning) but I will say they always seemed to me like the Forrest Gump’s of peace activism – at the center of every cool peace witness since 1950. You squint to look at the photos at there’s George and Lil, always there. Or maybe pop music would give us the better analogy: you know how there are entire b-rate bands that carve an entire career around endlessly rehashing a particular Beatles song? Well, there are whole activist organizations that are built around particular campaigns that the Willoughby’s championed. Like: in 1958 George was a crew member of the Golden Rule (profiled a bit here), a boatload of crazy activists who sailed into a Pacific nuclear bomb test to disrupt it. Twelve years later some Vancouver activists stage a copycat boat sailing which became Greenpeace. Lillian was concerned about rising violence against women and started one of the first Take Back the Nightmarches. If you’ve ever sat in an activist meeting where everyone’s using consensus, then you’ve been influenced by the Willoughby’s!
For many years I lived deeply embedded in communities co-founded by the Willoughbys. There’s a recent interview with George Lakey about the founding of Movement for a New Society that he and they helped create. In the 1990s I liked to say how I lived “in its ruins,” working at the publishing house, living in a coop house and getting my food from the coop that all grew out of MNS. I got to know the Willoughbys through Central Philadelphia meeting but also as friends. It was a treat to visit their house in Deptford, NJ — it adjoined a wildlife sanctuary they helped protect against the strip-mall sprawl that is the rest of that town. I last saw George a few months ago, and while he had a bit of trouble remembering who I was, that irrepressible smile and spirit were very strong!
When news of George’s passing started buzzing around the net I got a nice email from Howard Clark, who’s been very involved with War Resisters International for many years. It was a real blast-from-the-past and reminded me how little I’m involved with all this these days. The Philadelphia office of New Society Publishers went under in 1995 and a few years ago I finally dropped the Nonviolence.org project that I had started to keep the organizing going.
I’ve written before that one of the closest modern-day successor to the Movement for a New Society is the so-called New Monastic movement – explicitly Christian but focused on love and charity and often very Quaker’ish. Our culture of secular Quakerism has kept Friends from getting involved and sharing our decades of experience. Now that Shane Claiborne is being invited to seemingly every liberal Quaker venue, maybe it’s a good opportunity to look back on our own legacy. Friends like George and Lillian helped invent this form.
I miss the strong sense of community I once felt. Is there a way we can combine MNS & the “New Monastic” movement into something explicitly religious and public that might help spread the good news of the Inward Christ and inspire a new wave of lefty peacenik activism more in line with Jesus’ teachings than the xenophobic crap that gets spewed by so many “Christian” activists? With that, another plug for the workshop Wess Daniels and I are doing in May at Pendle Hill: “New Monastics and Covergent Friends.” If money’s a problem there’s still time to ask your meeting to help get you there. If that doesn’t work or distance is a problem, I’m sure we’ll be talking about it more here in the comments and blogs.
2010 update: David Alpert posted a nice remembrance of George.
I’ve been busy with work lately and much of my free time has been spent helping Julie and the Savestmarys.net coalition. St. Mary’s is one of about sixty South Jersey Catholic churches the bishop is trying to close down and replace with smily happy Megachurches. I’m still not going Catholic on you all, I just don’t like short-sighted religious bureaucrats with secret agendas, and I like places and people and churches with roots and history.
On Tuesday night Bishop Galante and his posse came to visit St Mary’s and were greeted by an overflow crowd. He came with charts and a game show host of a priest for MC who tried to start the meeting with a pasted-on smile and crowd-control speaking rules. The St Mary’s parishioners were having none of it. There were over five hundred people in the pews asking why the Bishop wanted to shut down a church with sound finances, an impassioned priest, an involved laity and the wherewithal to continue another hundreds years.
“Vibrant” has become the Bishop’s stock answer, his new favorite code word. Like a President backpedaling on the rationales of an unpopular war, his spokespeople have admitted under pressure of evidence and easy solutions that the closures aren’t due to a priest shortage, financial problems at the targeted churches, or the lack of lay participation and involvement. The only explanation the bishop can offer for closure is “vibrancy.” But every time he tries to define “vibrant” he ends up describing St. Mary’s and dozens of other local churches he wants to close.
There’s obviously more to the definition than he’d like to share. One parishioner asked whether he thought a small church was even capable of displaying the “vibrancy” he demands. He refused to answer, which suggests we’ve finally dug down to a real answer. His fix for South Jersey is Megachurches that cop strategies from the Evangelical movement and consolidate power more closely in the diocesan offices.
The bishop gave the church-saving movement its best metaphor when he disparaged the little churches he wants to shutter as “Wawa churches.” Readers from outside the Mid-Atlantic region might know that Wawa is a local convenience store chain but that’s like saying water is a common chemical compound. You can’t drive more than twenty minutes without passing three Wawas. South Jersians practically live there. The bishop might was well condemn motherhood, baseball and apple pie if he’s going to take on South Jersey’s Wawa.
One disgruntled “Catholic in name only” campaign supporter rose to reclaim the Wawa label, saying that all these little churches were indeed like Wawa: ubiquitous, open at all hours, with good food that brought people in. The bishop obviously prefers the Walmart model: big box, big parking lot, hidden Eucharists, gameshow-host priests and clowns for music directors (seriously: check out this post of Julie’s and scroll down to the Greatest American Hero dude). I’m not sure why someone who dislikes Catholic culture so much would want to become a priest and I’m really not sure why someone who dislikes South Jersey culture so much would agree to be its bishop. One blogger recently wrote “I have gone through enough mergers and consolidations to know one thing
is true: reductions in manpower and assets are made for tighter
control” which sounds like as good an explanation as any other I’ve heard. Power and money: same as it ever was.
I was following the kids around outside for much of what turned into a speak-out session but I got to see twenty seconds of my wife Julie’s testimony on the Fox affiliate’s 10 o’clock news. Julie had THAT LOOK when addressing the bishop. It’s a look I know too well, it’s a look that means “I’m right, I know it, and I’m not backing down.” If I’ve learned anything over the course of the last seven years of marriage it’s that I don’t stand a chance when Julie gives me THAT LOOK: it’s time to concede that yes she is right, because any other option will just prolong the pain and delay the inevitable. I saw hundreds of people giving the bishop that same look last night.
It’s nice to see South Jersey standing up to an outsider who hates its culture and wants to force change for the sake of his own power and profit. We get a lot of it down here. The power guys usually end up winning: the woods get chainsawed and the farmlands buried under vast expanses of generic box stores and cookie-cutter McMansions financed by Philly money and greased by the pro-development laws of North Jersey politicians. I could be wrong, but after this week I don’t think the bishop stands a chance. The question now is how long he’s going to prolong his . And how many churches will he succeed in taking down in the name of “vibrance?”
A site put together by two consultants to the natural food industry. All pages were editable by a Movable Type powered content management system. A notable feature was a e-commerce subscription function with private log-in pages. This consultancy business was closed in May 2008 and the site was taken down.
More back blogging from our Ohio trip, this photo from a vegan eatery a few miles off a rural Pennsylvania turnpike exit. Prices were steep and the homemade non-dairy ice cream servings small but we ate everything from our plates.
Sorry for the quiet on the blog front. I’ve been busy, busy. My Second Month has seen an FGC committee meeting in Greensboro, the “Food for Fire” Powell House weekend and a deadline for the Gathering Advance Program. I’m sure I’ll be more talkative soon, promise promise.
In the meantime, I’m online in another realm. Mia Consiglieri Joe G interviewed me for Beppepodcast #24: “Martin Kelley, Quaker Blog Father”:http://beppeblog.blogspot.com/2006/02/beppepodcast-24-martin-kelley-quaker.html (“subscription here”:http://beppe.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=62209). Molto buon, il mio figlio. Bello! Bello!
The tragedies were reflections not on the power of nature but on the power of our human disregard for one another.
When the ramparts of New Orleans burst and flooded its streets and homes, I was at a hospital preparing to welcome a child. As my partner and I celebrated new life we saw images of people trapped in attics, heard tales of loved ones swept away as they sought to protect their children. We watched other new parents and their vulnerable children caught without food, water or services in a city suddenly unable to operate.
The tragedies show our human disregard. The trapped were almost all African American. They were almost all poor. Stories on the news – shot-at helicopters, mass violence in the Convention center – reflected America’s racist imagination more than reality. The levees failed because our political leaders ignored the recommendations of government engineers and scientists and slashed spending on storm protection. Even the hurricane itself was supercharged by a century of burning fossil fuels, our disregard for nature and our stonewalling over the reality of global warming.
A favorite image of pacifists comes from a line in the Book of Isaiah, that part in that talks about beating the swords into plowshares. But surrounding passages have been echoing in my ears lately. Like this one:
bq. Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hatest; they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them.… Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings before mine eyes; cease to do evil. Learn to do well; seek judgement, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, please for the widow. Isaiah 1:13 – 17.
The righteous indigation that followed the images from New Orleans is fading. Life is returning to normal in Washington DC and the high costs of recovery (and the continuing costs of Bush’s wars) will be shifted to the poor. We cannot stay silent to the vain oblations of our government. It is time to do well and protect the poor. It is time to relieve the oppressed and demand justice for the human decisions that led to broken levees.
This isn’t all finger-pointing: we each need to seek a self-judgement about our American lifestyles that have fuelled global warming with its consumeristic disregard for consequences. We need to depend upon each other more, seek a community deeper and more interlaced than that offered by Walmart and McDonalds. We are all part of one another, part of the earth and brethren to our human family. We need to gather together as a people who know that government and consumerism alone can never address our society’s deepest needs and that vain oblations alone will do nothing to put away the evil of our doings. We need to get angry and sing a song of change. We need more Isaiahs.