February 8, 2000

Gilbert & Sullivan & St. Paul

Well, my mom showed up unexpectedly on Saturday night, thwarting my plans to drape myself across a bar stool at the Sardine Rouge and trawl for millionaires, ha ha, and stayed through Monday morning. We ended up doing some stuff around the house, and then going to see Topsy Turvy together Sunday night.

The film was very well made, but as someone who has been in most of their shows, I don't think it displayed the genius and thrillingness of Gilbert and Sullivan oeuvre to the uninitiated. None of their best songs were performed, with the exception of "Three Little Maids from School," and the tone was rather mordant, considering it was about two men who made their living creating comic operettas. Reminded me of "Chaplin" in that respect. A tragedy about comedy.

My mom and I also went to All Saints' Episcopal on Sunday, and the epistle reading was from one of Paul's letters to the Colossians or the Ephesians or some such, and his attitude made me mad. It was about pretending to be all these different people so he could convert them. Seemed dishonest and underhanded. Maybe no worse than any politician. "Ah feel yo pain - try my religion."

I really like the Native American prayer my friend John B. sent me. Very simple and humble; dovetails exactly with my belief regarding the purpose of religion--namely to recognize our own smallness and insignificance in the great scope of things, to realize we are our own worst enemies, and to appreciate the everyday beauty and blessings we are given. I think I'll post it on my office door.


O Great Spirit

Whose voice speaks in the winds, and in the trees
Whose breath gives life to all the world.
Listen to Your creature!
Hear me!
I am small and weak.
I need Your power.
I need Your wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty,
And let my eyes be glad beholding the red and purple dawn.
Make my hands touch all things You have made with love,
And help my ears to hear Your voice in everything.
Make me wise that I may understand the sacred teachings You have taught;
Help me learn the lessons hidden in every leaf and every stone.
O Wakan-Tanka,
I need power not to be greater than my relations
But to conquer the enemy in myself.
Make me ready to come to You always
with a pure heart and with clear eyes,
So when the time comes for my life to fade away, as the sunset fades,
So may my spirit come to You with honor and without shame.

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