Friday, July 31, 2009

Summer #52

It's August, again. Or almost, anyway. Let's review the list, shall we?

"...a damaged rotator cuff, torn thumb tendon, sprained ankle, simple orbit fracture, cracked palate, demolished molar [a surf board hit me in the side of the face; not my board, some teenager's], two black eyes [not at the same time], bloodied noses, sprained elbow, jellyfish stings, and forty-eight stitches in various parts of me. Not to mention sunburn [although not since the early 80's], dehydration, ear infection, various minor abrasions, contusions, lacerations, and a profound sinus irritation. Oh, and a barracuda once gave me a dirty look."

Yeah, and in the summer of '76 I managed to sink a sailboat. Twice in one day, as a matter of fact. Got rescued by a boatload of inebriated charter fishermen. They towed the sailboat back, too. Nice guys, if somewhat erratic at navigation.

Does it get any better? Nah.

A couple of pre-loaded updates, mostly concerned with lections and historical events, will appear, but we are technically on summer hiatus. Needless to say, I'm not taking a computer with me, so e-mail will not be entertained.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Ride Your Bike, Make People Think About Malaria

Cross-country ride raises awareness in the fight against malaria

This reminds me of the annual event on Capitol Hill when young women wearing leafy bikinis feed vegetarian hot dogs to elected officials in order to boost awareness rights, I think. Yeah, I'm not sure what one has to do with the other in that case either but I don't begrudge attempts to boost "awareness" in something by indulging in fun, however tangential it may be.

Come to think of it, indulging in one's hobby for a cause can be argued as being "work" and doesn't necessarily have to be deducted from one's contracted vacation time. Brilliant.

To that end the rectors of St. Michael's, Litchfield, St. Andrew's, Harlem and I will be surfing waves in south Jersey next month to boost awareness of the need to address Descolada [it was the only disease that wasn't taken].

Thank you for your support.

Gee, No Kidding

Gallery’s invitation to deface the Bible brings obscene response

Not to pick a bone with Glasgow's Metropolitan Community Church, but wouldn't it be a better idea to promote the actual reading of the Bible before encouraging people to write in it?

Perhaps The Government Should Regulate These Items

Police on Sunday said they broke up a fight that involved a hammer, a television and logs from a fireplace.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Great Story. One Problem.

This is one of those articles that, for a reporter, is fun to research and write and is enjoyable to read in a weekend paper. There's just one issue I take with it, and partly that is to be put to the reporter who, being true to current NYT style, doesn't mention the religious aspects of the subject. But the greater responsibility is that of The Episcopal Church that keeps this old and highly effective form of...wait for it... EVANGELISM a virtual secret.

A Century of Character-Building and Games

I have to ask my cadre of Episcopalians: Did anyone know of this camp? Has anyone ever heard of it? Honestly, I know more about what TEC does in Honduras than I do of what good works and honest proclamation take place in this country. Why does that seem weird to me?

The Future Of Home Entertainment...

...based on the progress of the last ten years.

I can't help but wonder what sort of application this could bring to worship and scriptural study. Yeah, I'm squaresville, but the church is my medium, after all.

Monday, July 27, 2009


July 27, 1681: During a bitter battle between Scottish Episcopalians and Presbyterians, five Presbyterian preachers are martyred in Edinburgh. The Church of Scotland became Presbyterian permanently in 1690.

I Completely Missed This Yesterday; Seems Apt For Trinity Church In The Summer

July 26, 1603: James VI of Scotland becomes James I of England. Among his many acts affecting English religious life (it is he for whom the King James Version is named) was the issuing of the Book of Sports, approving sports on Sunday.
"Folly is a more dangerous enemy to the good than evil. One can protest against evil; it can be unmasked and, if need be, prevented by force. Evil always carries the seeds of its own destruction, as it makes people, at the least, uncomfortable. Against folly we have no defence. Neither protests nor force can touch it; reasoning is no use; facts that contradict personal prejudices can simply be disbelieved — indeed, the fool can counter by criticizing them, and if they are undeniable, they can just be pushed aside as trivial exceptions. So the fool, as distinct from the scoundrel, is completely self-satisfied;..."
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Permit Us Humility

I draw your attention to page one, Province V, Diocese of Ohio.
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. Their very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be ‘cured’ against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals."
- C.S. Lewis

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Eighth Sunday After Pentecost

This week we are reminded that David, for all of his talents, is also rather human; a doxology is offered to the Ephesians, and Jesus and his buds have a picnic. A large picnic, I might add. All this plus the reality of human nature as realized through a guitar order.

The lections may be found here.

Today In History

July 25, 1593: King Henry IV of France, raised a Protestant, converts to Catholicism. Long considered a political move, the conversion is now thought to have been sincere, partially because of the king's statement that "religion is not changed as easily as a shirt." His conversion did not end his sympathy for Protestants, however, and in 1598 he promulgated the Edict of Nantes, giving Protestants freedom of worship and permitting them to garrison certain towns for security.

Friday, July 24, 2009

More On Media Misuse Of The Word "Icon"

Icons aren't what they used to be

I Have No Comment

Bishop blesses compost toilet

Today In History

July 24, 1725: John Newton, author of "Amazing Grace" and other hymns, is born in London. Converted to Christianity while working on a slave ship, he hoped as a Christian to restrain the worst excesses of the slave trade, "promoting the life of God in the soul" of both his crew and his African cargo. In 1764 he became an Anglican minister and each week wrote a hymn to be sung to a familiar tune. In 1787 Newton wrote Thoughts Upon the African Slave Trade to help William Wilberforce's campaign to end the slave trade.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Must Have Been A Delegate To General Convention

I'm Sorry, Jesus

Best quotation:

"I'm sorry I rarely check my shampoo for the "not tested on animals" logo. I've seen the posters of the injured bunnies. You must be very, very disappointed in me, Jesus. I am sorry that I enjoy the taste of meat, Jesus. I'm sorry about the whales, Jesus, and about the litter that I sometimes throw on the highway. And I am sorry about the colonization of the New World."

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

All Of The Non-Theists I've Met Claim To Be Against Ritual

Yet, when given a chance, trendy "atheists" will create their own ritualized activity:

Atheists choose 'de-baptism' to renounce childhood faith

Interesting that, when "atheists" wish to make a point, they use religious symbolism, albeit in a contrary sense.

Of course the easiest way to "de-baptise" oneself is to simply live outside the baptismal covenant. That may be too logical for non-theists. Surprising, considering they claim to love reason.

Because Our Hands Have To Be Just So, Or Else Prayer Doesn't Work

Pope 'can't pray' with wrist in plaster

I remain convinced that many educated people, including those in the media, saw their spiritual development end at the age of five.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Seventh Sunday After Pentecost

This week David muses on the meaning of cedar and canvas walls, Ephesus learns about transcending the non-physical walls, and Jesus does some more boating. All this plus a small geography lesson.

The lections may be found here.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Today In Church History

July 14, 1833: Anglican clergyman John Keble preaches his famous sermon on national apostasy, marking the beginning of the Oxford Movement in England. Keble was joined by John Henry Newman and E.B. Pusey, who led this effort to purify and revitalize the Anglican Church by reviving the ideals and practices of the pre-Reformation English church.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Brief Hiatus

I'm a little tired of electronics right now and am going to take a break from it for the next day or so, save for a history note or two. We'll be back soon.

All I Got On Jury Duty Was Tuna

Case of dead cattle going to grand jury in Denton County

Actually, I've Always Wanted To Do This

In fact, Robert Manry inspired me to buy a similar boat a few years ago and, on more than one occasion [just ask Jenni] seriously attempt to accidentally kill myself.

Crossing a Very Big Sea In a Very Small Boat

More about Robert Manry and Tinkerbelle may be found here.

Archaeology News

It seems misplaced objects are never terribly far away:

Another cache unearthed in National Museum

Celtic Prayer

May there always be work for your hands to do.
May your purse always hold a coin or two.
May the sun always shine upon your window pane.
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain.
May the hand of a friend always be near to you and
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Maybe The Weirdest Political "Scandal" Of Which I've Read

What do we call it? Hostgate?

Did Harper pocket wafer? PMO says no

[For those of you who don't obsessively read international newspapers, or who didn't grow up on the Canadian border, Stephen Harper is the prime minister of our northern neighbor.]

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Sixth Sunday After Pentecost

This week we experience dance fever in both the courts of David and Herod; and we deal with the spiritual probate court that was apparently Ephesus. All this plus why St. Laurence is the patron saint of football players.

The lections may be found here.

[Click the picture above to enlarge. Is that not the most European looking King David you ever saw?]

General Convention News

Just like three years ago, only more so. It's interesting to observe a change in ideological dynamic, as "conservative" or "traditional" portions of the church have left to form their own organizations. One would think controversy would now be a thing of the past. Not so, as one may see from this article:

Deputies delay approval of Central Ecuador bishop election

Also, it appears the church calendar, which is rapidly becoming a depository for just about any historical figure admired by any individual who is a member of the committee that decides such things, is already attracting the kind of debate that reminds me of the 1980's.

Meanwhile, the C.M. Almy company seeks to sell as much stuff as possible, as captured in the photo above.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Today In Church History

July 10, 1863: Clement C. Moore dies. In 1819 he established the General Theological Seminary, where he taught Greek and Hebrew Literature for 28 years. He also authored "A Visit from St. Nicholas" ('Twas the Night Before Christmas . . . ) in 1823.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cayman Islands Turtle

Today In Church History

July 7, 1647: Thomas Hooker, Puritan pastor, political theorist, and founder of Connecticut dies on his sixty-first birthday.

Of Course, One Would Have To Sleep In Order To Dream

Five dream discoveries

I Never Could Have Said This To The Parents Of My Students

Not Every Child Is Secretly a Genius

Apparently, One May Buy Anything At A Tax Sale

Bodies Found In Funeral Home Bought At Tax Sale

"People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news."

I was amused by a recent article in one of the many local newspapers [offhand I don't remember which one] about a church in the county in which the congregation has been given direction by the pastor to dress casually during the summer. Who knew clergy still controlled such things?

I also noted that their stated worship formula for the season is to offer more music and less liturgy, but with more prayer. In some liminal way, this reminded me of an advertisement for an improved pork sausage that stated that the product had "a little less spice, a little more sage, but with the same great taste". That never made much sense to me, either.

Once I got over my surprise that anyone actually thought that the denomination in question could have any less liturgy than it did before, I was puzzled by what the notion of liturgy must be for people who are urged to pray "more". After all, liturgy is merely a framework that enhances and brings focus to our sense of prayer. To have less liturgy but more prayer seems contradictory. Then again, it seems unusual for a congregation in the 21st century to have to be told not only to dress casually, but to pray openly and [Good Lord!] extemporaneously. People of faith hardly need the invitation of or permission from ecclesial authority to communicate with God. That was all changed in the 1st Century.

I've always found that the formula for a healthy parish is to have more music and more liturgy. Prayer of all sorts just seems to follow from that point. Folks can decide on their own how they want to dress. Feel free to pray the way you want, too.

The other thing that amused me is that a newspaper, any newspaper, would dedicate two columns to a story about superficial changes in a church's practice. I suppose this could have been a radical story forty years ago, but seems a rather blase page-filler nowadays. Then again, maybe the church is across the street from the newspaper's offices and it's an easy thing to put together by a vacation-decimated staff or a summer intern. Still, it would have been a much more interesting article had it been about what must be the very last church in the general area to have formally dressed worshipers and constrained prayers.

By the way, if you want to appreciate casual dress, check out the footwear of our choir members as they process. It's an eclectic representation, to say the least.

[The above quotation is from A.J. Liebling, who wrote for The New Yorker for over thirty years.]

Monday, July 6, 2009

Gosh, What A Surprise

Discussion of human sexuality will again occupy debate at General Convention

At a national level, that's our pony.

Yes, it's General Convention time, when every three years the leaders of the Episcopal Church [or TEC] gather to discuss the issues they have labeled as important for the leaders of the TEC to discuss. Think of Woodstock, replace the rock with church music both traditional and contemporary; remove the mud and replace it with earnest statements; remove the intoxicants and replace them with "nice-ness" and you get the idea. Conveniently, the General Convention is taking place at the home of Disneyland.

You may follow the fun here.

[By the way, I actually know the guy pictured in the famous photo above. He's a Republican, interestingly.]

Today In Church History

July 6, 1535: Sir Thomas More (b. 1478), who had recently resigned as Lord Chancellor of England, is executed for treason. He had sided with the pope against Henry VIII in the matter of the king's divorce. He was sentenced to be hanged, but Henry commuted the sentence to beheading.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Fifth Sunday After Pentecost

This week David institutionalizes the Covenant, Paul finds strength in weakness, and Jesus gets a lukewarn reception in his home town. All this plus the progressive creation of a familiar hymn.

The lections may be found here.

Am I A Cornball Or What?

Of course I am. I'm from Ohio.

As much as I enjoy the artistic stylings of Jack Kirby, even if Uncle Sam looks a bit demented, this is actually a feast day of the Episcopal Church, as independence from England made it necessary to establish a church that was also independent from the Church of England.

The Collect for today:
Lord God Almighty, in whose Name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the torch of freedom for nations then unborn: Grant that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain our liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Remember The $600,000 Pastor?

We read of the travails of the new head pastor of New York's Riverside Church a few months ago. It appears that the story has reached what some of us thought would be its inevitable conclusion.

The broader issues involved are rather well explored by the New York Times in this article:

Pastor at Riverside Church Ends Stormy Tenure With Unexpected Resignation

My favorite quotation:
They said he called on worshipers to come forward and bear witness to their faith, favored the gospel choir over the church’s traditional choir, and preached at times what they considered a Riverside heresy: that Jesus and only Jesus was the way to salvation.

Good Lord, what a radical!

I have great sympathy for this pastor as I remember once being called to a parish as an interim specifically for my "high church" liturgical style and slightly more evangelical preaching presentation. Once I was there, the wardens and many, but not most, in the parish became concerned because of my liturgical style and preaching presentation. Huh?

What did the folks at Riverside think they were getting when they hired a young Baptist preacher to be their pastor? The Age of Coffin is over. Like society and even life itself, Christianity moves on. Mainstream Protestantism cannot be preserved in amber. You may try, of course, and congregations that do are dying all the time. Or, one may turn to the eternal source of inspiration, have the confidence of faith, and stride boldly towards that to which we are called.


Archaeological News

Rome catacomb reveals "oldest" image of St Paul

Today In History

July 2, 1489: English reformer Thomas Cranmer is born at Aslockton, Nottinghamshire. As Archbishop of Canterbury he wrote the original Book of Common Prayer. Like most innovators, he was burned at the stake [literally, in this case] in 1556.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I Don't Know What To Add To This

Why Couldn't It Have Been Episcopalian?

Five cardiologists switch to Presbyterian

Candidates For Diocesan Bishop

The Rt. Rev. James E. Curry, 60, current position: Suffragan Bishop of Connecticut

The Rev. Mark Delcuze, 50, current position: Rector, St. Stephens, Ridgefield

The Rev. Dr. Ian Douglas, 50, current position: Angus Dun Professor of Mission and World Christianity at Episcopal Divinity School Cambridge, Massachusetts and Associate Priest at St. James's Church Cambridge, Massachusetts

The Rev. Beth Fain, 57, current position: Rector, St. Mary's Parish, Cypress, Texas

If you wish to meet these folks, please read the following:

October 2, 2009 7 pm
Town Hall-style meeting with nominees
Central Connecticut State University auditorium, New Britain

A Town-Hall-style gathering is being planned for Friday October 2, beginning at 7 pm. This approach will allow all nominees to be on one stage, with a skilled moderator asking pre-submitted questions. (Opportunities for members of the Diocese to submit questions will be communicated as the time draws near.) Not only will all participants engage with the same questions and answers, but the format lends itself to the possibility of being videotaped. Finances permitting, the tape can be linked through the diocesan website and made available for viewing at home or in parishes.

October 3, 2009 1 pm
Traditional Walk-About meeting with nominees
Trinity Church, Southport

A traditional Walk-About has been planned during the day at 1:00 pm Saturday, October 3. Traditional walk-about meetings are organized so that groups of people meet with one nominee at a time, ask questions, and listen to their positions on pertinent topics. Nominees then move to a different room until they have the opportunity to meet with each group. This is an effective process that allows small group interaction. But this process runs the risk of becoming quite grueling for the nominees who have to repeat themselves over (and over) again. And the different groups will hear answers to different questions.

Receptions will follow both events. The gift of hospitality and the opportunity for personal interaction between nominees and members of the Diocese is of paramount importance in our mutual discernment.


We have been asked by Bishop Smith to pray for the people of Honduras, especially since The Episcopal Church has such a mission investment in that country. The latest from the Episcopal News Service may be found here.

This Sounds Like College

Physics discussion ends in skateboard attack