Sunday, December 28, 2008

The First Sunday After Christmas

It will also be "creative liturgy" Sunday, as I'm ready to do something a little different after our four big Eucharistic liturgies this week.

So, we will offer a delightful combination of the Office of Morning Prayer with touches of Lessons and Carols, including the Holy Communion. We will also leave ourselves open to spontaneity as it is, in the words of the poet, "the spark of existence."*

The lections may be found here.

*Anyone who can help me remember which poet it was who said that will get a prize. I think it was an American, but that's all I remember. Sorry, but my specialty was British poetry.

So, What'd You Get For Christmas?

I'm hard to buy for as I am the man who has everything. Well, except for that standing band saw. Oh, and an upright bass. One of those new ones that looks a little goofy/futuristic but can play a variety of types of music [see photo above].

No one ever buys me a stringed instrument, though. I don't know why.

I do get great things like this:

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

What's That Day, Again?

I wasn't near a computer on Monday or Tuesday, having rediscovered the joys of the rugged life [early morning hikes, wood chopping, turkey stalking, and fibreglass installation] that now take the place of sitting numbly in front of a screen and reading of the world, and didn't have a chance to comment on two important days.

Monday was the birthday of the United States Marine Corps. 233 years if I remember correctly. ["Whatever It Takes"] I appreciate that marking this anniversary must puzzle some Episcopalians, but I have my reasons. If this angers someone, I would suggest they read about that Jesus fella. He wasn't keen on hating.

Tuesday was Veterans' Day. I looked to the front page of the New York Times that day for some wisdom and found this:

Well, that's okay. The NYT hasn't been a big fan of veterans for about forty years now. Maybe the Episcopal Church had something to say:

Errr, never mind. Respecting the dignity of every human being is difficult work. I know The Church didn't mean to ignore the day out of malice. I'm sure there were Sunday bulletin inserts that could be found. Besides, I stopped by a Veterans' Day ceremony on Tuesday and realized that I was the youngest person in attendance by about ten years. [I guess younger folks find it hard to lay a wreathe with an Ipod in one hand and a Starbucks cup in the other.] Maybe this is a day that has lost its relevance.

So, thanks to all those who have born the cost of democracy in ways that are not always respected in the post-modern world. It's the best we can do for those who did their best.

But They Give Them Out For Free

Man allegedly steals communion wafers from priest

Something New In The Funeral Industry

Body found in paper to be recycled in Twin Falls may have come from Boise area

What Happened To Separation Of Church And State?

Obama win may render Martin Luther’s dream prophetic

An Obituary Of Note

Maybe one of the most gracious men I've ever met. He had a lot to do with my spiritual formation. No, he wasn't a bishop.

Of Course

Four years ago, when John Kerry lost the presidential election, the portions of the country that did not vote for him were certain folks. Actually, it wasn't just that these folks were disappointed that some states were not overwhelmed by the ideology of Kerry or his remarkably Gallic looks, they placed the blame on faith in Jesus. Y'know, the religion that guarantees that it's practitioners are against the benefits of liberty and education.

Apparently in 2004, you could choose either Kerry or Jesus, a choice that either absurdly elevated a remarkably prosaic politician or obscenely diminished a 2000-year-old trans-cultural religion. To choose the former meant you were so high minded that you could import Canada into the United States [I'm sure Canadians were delighted at that prospect]. To choose the latter meant that you were a dolt, and a superstitious one at that. Through Jesus we may be granted remission of sins, but only through Kerry would one get both liberty and education.

Now that the bulk of the counties of the country voted for the current President-Elect, I'm wondering if that means those of us who were born and raised in "Jesusland" are now permitted acceptance into the United States of Liberty and Education. If so, gee, thanks.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Results [or Food Preference, I'm Not Quite Sure]

Bacon vs. Fries

Well, That's Radical. But, Why Not?

Analysis: Next up after Obama win, governing

Election Results

Some millionaire won. Another one didn't.

According to the conventions of my denomination's theology, the winning millionaire is "good", the losing one is "bad". This assignment of values has nothing to do with winning or losing, just to which political parties they belong. I wonder if dissent will still be the highest form of patriotism.

[I wish I had thought to buy a couple of cases of solvent to sell at an obscene profit to my colleagues and neighbors so they could remove their "Don't look at me, I didn't vote for him" bumper stickers as soon as possible.]

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Bishops Get the Best Vestments

Above is an ensemble recently modeled by our Presiding Bishop. Priests never get to wear goods like these. Not only is it wonderfully post-modern, but it reminds me of one of my favorite Batman stories.

Bishops Get the Best Vestments, Again

Again, that same model, as joined by an episcopal supermodel from Idaho, gives us a glimpse of what's new for fall. It's kind of making me hungry for lobster. I don't know why.

I hope I can get a knock-off at Gimbel's.

[This is written out of jealousy as those of us who are mere presbyters, and part-time at that, have to wear off-the-rack stuff from catalogues.]

Take That, Protestants!

Christ runs for 232 yards in Catholic victory

Quote of the Week

“When your memories become more vivid than your dreams, you’ve begun to die.” - Howard Hendricks, Dallas Theological Seminary

The Ghost of Birthdays Past

A long time ago, when I was single and living in the Chelsea neighborhood in Manhattan, one of my acquaintances, David, was to celebrate a birthday. Of the things that David, a pastry chef, abhorred were ice cream cakes from Carvel. I don't know why, but there you go. Especially since, for those New Yorkers old enough to remember, Carvel had the loopiest and, for that reason, most enjoyable commercials on local television.

Anyway, for reasons that should be obvious, we decided to get David a Carvel ice cream cake. I recall it was "Fudgie the Whale". My friend Ben, who is now a reporter in Atlanta, was in charge of seeing that the cake carried the prosaic message, "Happy Birthday, David."

Now, I'm not sure from what nation the Carvel employee originally hailed from, but clearly it was from a culture where "David" was not a common name. Ben pronounced it for him, spelled it verbally, wrote it out on a piece of paper, re-pronounced it and, fifteen minutes later, the Carvel fellow exclaimed, "Oh, you mean Da-veed." We did indeed.

Two days later we picked up the cake, opened the box, and it read "Happy Birthday, Dadiv."

Now, I hadn't thought of this for about 26 years. That is, until I came home from work today and found this waiting for me:

My wife has both a great sense of humor and a long memory.

I Sense A New Liturgy Coming

German pop star marries a pineapple

Friday, September 26, 2008

Six Saints

Please note that the language used in the linked article is for a mature audience. It is interesting what younger folks, those for whom computer use is a common and casual fact of daily life [unlike elderly folks like me who still feel from time to time that to have a computer in the home is like living in a Buck Rogers serial; just wish we had the flying cars], make of some of the traditions of our religion.

For example,

Unlike your grandfather's Vikings, Olaf was a Christian, which didn't necessarily mean he gave alms to the poor and hugged lepers, but it did mean that if you followed any kind of old faith, he would burn your temple to the ground and build a Christian church in its place, which is what "love thy neighbor" meant back in 1015.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I Wonder If You Can Get Classroom Credit for Campaigning for Jesus?

UMass chaplain fails in effort to boost Barack Obama’s chances

Knowing this campus like I do, the answer would be a resounding "no" accompanied by a pitying, and somewhat hostile, stinkface.

This is what "campus ministry" is all about these days. When Prots no longer believe in Jesus as anything other than an intellectual concept, they have to get fired up about things in the secular realm. I guess the notion of public education's church/state separation doesn't always apply.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

This Is Why I Didn't Go To YDS

When I was searching for a seminary/divinity school many years ago, I had a simple test to see if the institution was one of true Christian scholarship or just another barn that taught smugness and condescension as the keys of the kingdom. In conversation with those who were "interviewing" me [really just testing to see if I would fit in with their world view] I would listen for the clue. See, mainline Protestants believe that God agrees with them about everything. Ergo, vox [certain] populi, vox deo. Somewhere along the line, the interviewer would speak on the intimate behalf of God, usually to criticize either Christian evangelicals or the Reagan administration.

Yale Divinity School tended towards the latter type of institution. No surprise, really. However, I was delighted to see that the ignoble practice of speaking for God [or letting God speaking for the Prot] continues, now extended even to the post-chapel donut break.

[With thanks to]

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Quelle Surprise!

Biden gave average of $369 to charity a year

James Lileks Makes My Day.

First you must read this, from which this quotation comes:

I had to leave church Sunday morning when it turned out that the sermon was not about bearing up under desperate circumstances, when you feel like you're going crazy because something is being perpetrated upon you and your country that is so obscene that it simply cannot be happening.

What a fine, faithful Christian witness this is. "Unless the sermon is about my concerns and mine only, I'm leaving." Actually, I've known people like this and while I don't encourage them to keep walking, I usually don't knock myself out to see they come back. Anyone who comes to church and can see only their concerns is not invested in the teaching of Jesus or the redemption offered through the cross. Folks who take their place in the community of faith in order to have the community address their specific needs, and their needs only, generally don't involve themselves in any aspect of parish life other than pew warming. They also tend to complain, often, about everything from a color scheme in the stained glass to the font style used in the Sunday orders of service. I really don't know how, given the litany of things that bother them, they have the concentration to meditate on the eternal.

They also harsh the mellow of the people who come to worship as a community and participate with their fellow congregants in corporate worship. The latter group tends to look to the sermon for something uplifting and meaningful for the parish and greater church as well as for them. If it is not specific to their immediate concerns, that doesn't mean that it's time for them to leave and eat ice cream.

It really doesn't mean that they have to create an artificial "Jesuit" to ratify statements such as this:

Now, I am a reform Christian, so it is permissible for me to secretly believe that God hates this woman, too.

Right, because "secret beliefs" have always been cherished in Christianity. Just ask the Gnostics.

Okay, I'm sounding like a seminary professor or scolding pastor again. Lileks' response is much better:

I understand; I had to leave church once because the sermon was not about the death of Gwen Stacy at the hands of the Green Goblin, which bothered me a lot and took up a great deal of my imagination. Of course, I was ten, but it was an emotional reaction and hence unassailable.

[If you don't get the reference, you need to familiarize yourself with Marvel Comics' Spiderman oeuvre.]

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Johnny Appleseed (Album Version) - Joe Strummer;The Mescaleros

Why Does Feminism Have To Be Inert?

"Doesn't this suggest that feminism is not in behalf of the women's movement--but rather to promote radical adventures above and beyond its concern for women."

Worth reading, as it captures not just secular feminism but what has become of feminist theology as commonly practiced in American Protestantism. I have discovered, through the pretzel logic of some of my more excitable women colleagues, that Palin is this month's Satan. This is mainly because she is of the wrong party and political philosophy. Since our common theology is now merely a shadow of secular politics, this apparently means that she must be our theological antithesis, too.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Welcome... the new Coracle.

I decided that the nature of the former weblog was less of a service to one parish than it was to a greater community of readers, especially since over half of those who access the site are not members of my parish and are not at all interested in pancake dinners, Sunday School curricula, or reminders for the last person leaving the parish hall to turn out the lights.

Also, I feel constrained by writing something that is tied to a parish that may or may not always feel the way I do about the role of the Church, the definition of the Christ, and what music is appropriate to a religious weblog.