A Journey Complete

WOW Award Badges

Last Wednesday, Anna completed her first Girl Scout Brownie Journey—Wonders of Water (WOW). I’ve tracked her progress on the blog this summer. Here’s a quick review …

Love Water. Date Earned 7/28/14

Loving Water.

Anna completed the first part of her journey by following water of the Willamette River from one of its sources in the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, collecting samples at four specific points along the way, and tracing the journey of a single water drop from a raincloud over Waldo Lake to a beach on the North Coast.

Then she created a water map following her hypothetical drop of water.

Starting at Waldo Lake, Anna traced a line in blue highlighter following the North Fork of the Willamette to where it meets the Middle Fork outside Oakridge, then following the Willamette through from Eugene to Portland where it empties into the Columbia, and then down the Columbia River, into the Columbia Estuary, and the Pacific Ocean.

She learned about water. Now it was time to care for it.

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Saving and Sharing Water (Cont.)

Save Water Share Water

Update! Anna completed both her Save Water and Share Water projects this week. She redeemed enough bottles and cans by last Tuesday to exceed her $20 goal and finish her Save Water project. But she’d been promised a few more bags. She turned those in on Friday, and upped her total to almost $24.

We rounded up her total to $25, and this evening she went to Maddie’s Thirst (a charity:water September Campaign) and made a donation. In two weeks, we’ll make a matching donation of $25.

And that completes her Share Water project. All that’s left is to finish her Wonders of Water book and take her WOW pledge, and she will complete her journey. We’re so proud of what she’s accomplished!

Wondering how you can help? Make a matching donation of $25 (or whatever you want to give) to Maddie’s Thirst. All contributions to charity: water September Campaigns will be matched by a generous donor up to the first $1,000,000 raised.

And you can still take Anna’s Save Water Pledge. It costs no money, just a commitment to recycle.

Note: beyond sending you a thank-you email, I will not share your email with anyone or bother you ever again.

Sharing Water

Woman at a water tap

Photo via charity: water

As part of her Brownie work this summer, Anna is taking the Wonders of Water journey. She earned her Love Water Badge last month, and now she’s working on both her Save Water badge and her Share Water badge. The projects she picked for each badge work hand in hand, so she be earning both badges together.

You can read about her Save Water project here, but to sum up she’s collecting deposit bottles and cans (including water bottles which are redeemable for deposit in Oregon) and turning them in to keep them out of the oceans. On her first trip our local BottleDrop location, she turned in over $14 worth and her total so far in $16.60. We’re saving up a second bag and have a few other contributors lined up, and we hope to exceed her original goal of $20.

So where will the money go when she’s done?

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Just Catholic

This is something that’s been on my mind for awhile. I first wrote about it on my old blog in November, but it still holds true, and, in light of Rachel Held Evans’ Rally to Restore Unity I’ve decided to reprint it here. This piece is specifically aimed toward my fellow Catholics on both sides of the political divide, but since similar rifts exist between conservatives and liberals in every Protestant denomination, this piece has some relevance to our “separated brethren” as well:

Some Catholics call themselves Conservative Catholics as a way of setting themselves apart; a way of claiming to be the “more faithful Catholics.” Others call themselves Liberal or Progressive Catholics as a way of setting themselves apart; a way of claiming to be the “more open minded Catholics.” These terms are used as epithets too, with each side hurling adjectives at the other: the Conservative Catholics are “narrow-minded bigots” while the Liberal and Progressive Catholics are “Cafeteria Catholics.”

I reject all those labels. Just call me Catholic. No adjectives, no modifiers.

The name Catholic (meaning universal) was first applied to the Church early in the second century to contrast the true faith, which offered salvation to all, with Gnostic sects, which offered salvation to a select few. To be Catholic is to take anyone—no matter how low their station in life, no matter how numerous their sins—and offer them the chance of a new life in Christ. During his earthly ministry, Jesus turned no one away; the Church should turn no one away either.

When Catholics qualify their Catholicism, specifying that they are conservative or liberal, traditional or modern or post-modern, they diminish their Catholicism. They imply that the Gospel that we are called to witness to the world can be contained in a human philosophy. The Gospel we witness to is the Good News of the Word of God, incarnate in our flesh, crucified for our sins, and risen to the right hand of God. This news is the biggest news, the only real news, since the creation of the universe. How can something so large, so universal—something bigger than the universe itself—be qualified without being diminished.

I’ve seen diminished Catholicism first hand, through the Anglican tradition I was raised in. From almost the moment of its break with Rome, Anglicanism has been divided into parties. First it was the Prayer Book Anglicans vs. the Puritans, then the High (and Dry) Church vs. the Latitudinarians, and finally a three-way split between the Anglo-Catholics, the Evangelicals, and the Broad Church Liberals.

I was an Anglo-Catholic, and within my party I heard people speak of the “Catholic Tradition within Anglicanism,” as if the whole of Catholic Tradition could be contained within a subset of a denomination.

Suppose I try to capture the ocean in a bottle. The contents of my bottle—sea water—will hold much in common with the ocean. It will be wet, salty, and filled with little creatures. If I use a large tank instead, I might catch a school of fish, or an octopus, or even a whale. But unless my tank is the size of the world, I won’t capture the whole ocean.

In the same way, Anglicanism has tried to capture Catholicism in its Anglo-Catholic bottle. It got the bishops, and the sacraments, and the smells and bells among other things, but the bottle isn’t big enough to hold the Catholic faith.

Likewise the bottles of conservatism, or traditionalism, or liberalism, or modernism aren’t large enough to hold the Catholic faith. No political party, no man-made philosophy, no country, no culture is big enough.

So please call me Catholic. no adjectives, no modifiers.

And please visit the MyCharity: Water site and join our brothers and sisters, Catholic and Protestant, in bringing clean water to people in developing countries.