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TAXES AND ICE CREAM
April 15, 2008
 
After Q picked me up at the train station, we took our tax returns to the post office. Then we celebrated the event in town with a predictable pair of ice cream cones -- Q is always chocolate and I am always vanilla. The result, of course, is that neither of us is in the market for supper this evening. Ah, well -- tomorrow is another day.

Like voting, paying taxes is something a citizen just does. I have never understood why hostility towards the income tax is such a crowd-pleaser, as if money were being taken away from us. Nothing is taken from us when we are taxed; we're simply pooling some of our money in order to do the big things a complex society needs and wants. I feel about taxes as I do about the church tithe: why wouldn't I want to support something I care deeply about? Who but we ourselves should pay for the costly benefits we enjoy?

We are not alone in the world. We live in community -- those of us who celebrate that fact and those who wish it were not so, all of us together, like it or not. We depend on each other for our very lives, and we would not be who we are without each other. So my country has made me, just as my church has made me. I may disagree with this or that decision taken in the corridors of their power, but I can never divorce myself from them.

The privilege of paying taxes hurts; this year it hurt a lot. That's all right, though: paying it gives us skin in the game. It gives us a chance to show that our money is where our mouth is, that love of neighbor is more than a nice feeling. We pay these taxes all together, all at the same time of year, and we elect the government that spends them. May God make us worthy of each other's considerable investment.

No Man is an Island

No man is an island, entire of itself
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were
any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
it tolls for thee.
-- John Donne

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I've got a fair distance to go if I'm going to meet my goal and raise $5,000 for AIDS at AIDSWALK/NY on May 18th. It's a 10k walk, which I wouldn't even have noticed in the old days but which will be a good challenge now...help me do it! Visit www.aidswalk.net/newyork and click on "Sponsor a Walker," then type in "Barbara Crafton" to make a secure credit card donation and respond to a disease that continues to infect millions worldwide. I'm on the ERA/NY team: Episcopal Response to AIDS.
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Join Barbara Crafton and Kate Malin for an unforgettable Theater Experience in New York City this July.

Experiencing Theater & Theology Th July 10 to Su July 13 with the Rev. Barbara Cawthorne Crafton & The Rev. Kate Malin. Explore some of the theological and ethical assumptions in modern theatre. Participants attend three current New York productions and have opportunities to meet and share reflections with several important artists working in New York theater today. Among shows currently being considered for the course are the first Broadway revival of South Pacific and November with Nathan Lane. These selections are tentative and subject to change. For more information or to register please contact Ellen Marie Andrews at 888-487-5649 x269 or by e-mail at ccs@gts.edu or visit http://www.gts.edu/contedsummer.asp , space is limited so please make a reservation by April 25, 2008.
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Also at General Seminary on Saturday, May 17-- Barbara Crafton teaches a one-day preaching course especially for deacons. Grow in confidence, skill and delight in your practice of proclaiming the Good News as a deacon. Telephone 888-487-5649, x269 to learn more and to register.
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