Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Lid Is On

I'll be back in the office in a few days and we can all great greet the new year this Sunday in church.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Former Student Forwards His Version Of A Christmas Card

I know that this may be found overly militaristic by some, but this is day to day reality for the men and women in Afghanistan.  That I once was in the company of people this brave and good is something that I'll never regret.  Merry Christmas and, for God's sake, may you all please come home soon.

Och, Aye [Archaeological News]

Did the Scots visit Iceland?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Why Do We Cross Ourselves?

Episcopalians cross themselves from time to time during the liturgy. This is not an unusual practice in Anglican spirituality. In fact, not crossing oneself is, globally speaking, much more unusual.

Crossing is an ancient Christian gesture, perhaps as old as the Fourth Century, in which one touches his or her forehead, heart, left shoulder, right shoulder and then back to the center of the chest. [Please note that it is Anglicans/Episcopalians who engage in that final gesture, as opposed to the form used in Roman Catholicism.]

There is also a particular way of doing so at the beginning of the reading of the Gospel. Perhaps this is something we can explore more during an adult forum or teaching liturgy.

The intent of crossing oneself is to mark the complete participation of the individual worshipper in the liturgy and in the life of the Spirit. In the gesture, we acknowledge that we engage head, heart, body, and soul. This is particularly important as Anglican/Episcopal spirituality has always advanced the total sensory experience of liturgy.  We see the cross, hear the Word, touch the bread, taste the wine, and sometimes even smell the incense. This is also why the use of liturgical colors, flowers, and Christian art [such as is found in stained glass] is of such importance in our tradition.

If you are wondering when to cross yourself, there are times when it is particularly appropriate. Certainly, as we receive the blessing from a priest or bishop, it is customary to reflect the cleric's gesticulated cross of blessing by crossing oneself. It is also customary to do so at references to the resurrection in the Nicene Creed and Prayers of the People.

Although, I did hear what I think is the final word on this subject from The Rev. Dr. Thomas Talley, the late professor of liturgics at General Seminary. When one of my classmates, who is now a bishop somewhere in the Pacific, asked Dr. Talley when it was proper to cross oneself, Talley, who was from Texas and enjoyed good stories and sippin' whiskey, smiled and said, "Whenever the [Hades] you want to."

2/21 Update: Dear students and others in New Jersey, I see from the Feedjit live traffic stream that the burning question in the state of New Jersey today was "Why do we cross ourselves?" Really? A two-month-old posting has elicited that much curiosity? I wonder if it is a Confirmation class question somewhere or something from a parochial high school's theology program.

Kids, if you quote me, remember to footnote it.

Now, Just As Christmas Is Here, They Come Out With The Perfect Gift

Shark shield protects surfers from attacks

Homo homini lepus

The other day I opened what turned out to be a Christmas present: an enormous rabbit-fur hat.  Once I put it on, the cat ran from the room in terror.  I'm concerned that there may soon be reports of a large homo lepus roaming the Roxbury green.  As you can see above, even celebrities look bizarre while wearing one.

[The title above is a parody of a Roman proverb credited to Plautus, "homo homini lupus", or "man is a wolf to his fellow man".  In my case, man is a rabbit [lepus] to his fellow man.  Or maybe his cat.  It's funnier if I don't have to explain it, isn't it?]

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Somehow, This Doesn't Surprise Me

Joy a Mystery to Scientists

Although, if any scientists come to Christ Church either tomorrow at 5pm or 11pm, or Saturday at 10am, they may get at least a partial explanation.

A Brief Word About Alternative Fund-Raising

Allow me to thank those of you who have purchased Christmas presents and other gifts from Amazon.com and its third-party vendors.  While this service is available year-round, it is particularly successful between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Due to the volume of traffic to their site, Amazon.com raised the portion of the purchase price donated to Christ Church from 4% to 6% .

Monday, December 20, 2010

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Liturgies For Christmas

Christmas Eve:
5:00 pm Celebration of the Holy Eucharist on the occasion of the Feast of the Incarnation with Carols and Hymns.

11:00 pm Festal Celebration of the Holy Eucharist, also with Carols, Hymns, and special music. [Carol Sing at 10:45pm.]

Christmas Day:
10:00 am Celebration of the Holy Eucharist with Carols.

First Sunday after Christmas:
8:00 am Celebration of the Holy Eucharist

10:00 am Festival of Lessons and Carols

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Fourth Sunday Of Advent

This week we have more lyricism from Isaiah, a sneaky letter from Paul, and the dream life of Joseph.  All this and what happens when someone shouts "Freebird" [or "Stairway To Heaven"].

The lections made be found here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ken And Sean Turn Up Trumps [Again]

The parish Christmas tree was delivered yesterday by the redoubtable Murphy father and son.  Photos will be forthcoming as soon as I buy a new camera.  [The last one didn't survive the tree lighting party at the rectory.]

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

This Week In History

December 15, 1418: English pre-Reformer John Oldcastle is burned alive for his efforts to preserve and promote the cause of the Lollards (preachers who spread John Wycliffe's views). Shakespeare reportedly based his character Falstaff on Oldcastle.

December 15, 1900: Count Leo Tolstoy writes to the tsar asking him to end religious persecution in Russia.

December 17, 1917: Bolsheviks confiscate all property of the Russian Orthodox Church and abolish religious instruction in the schools. Within two decades, at least 45,000 priests were reportedly martyred in the country.

December 18, 1707: Charles Wesley, who founded Methodism with his brother John, is born in England. A celebrated and prolific hymnwriter, his "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" and "Lo, He Comes" are widely sung this time of year.

December 18, 1865: Slavery is abolished in the United States as the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution is ratified. Many of the abolitionists who pushed for its passage were Christians seeking to make America more like the Kingdom of God.

December 18, 1957: English author Dorothy Sayers, a Christian apologist who was also the most popular mystery writer in England, dies.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

So, What Are You Reading?

I was asked that the other day and was able to answer with the title of a book about which people have actually heard.  I must be getting mainstream in my tastes

Anyway, a link to the book's listing at Amazon.com may be found below.  If you follow the link, and it takes you to your account, should you decide to buy it, or anything else sold either by Amazon or any of its third-party vendors, it will result in a donation to Christ Church representing 6% of the purchase price.

Today's T-SP Meeting

We hosted a clergy group today in Roxbury, the Tri-State Pilgrims. It's made up of rectors who have also served in significant non-parish roles.  None of those present had ever experienced Roxbury before, so after breakfast from the Market, a hike through the Land Trust, and breathing deeply of the country air, they wanted to live here.  Instead of putting them up in the rectory indefinitely, I offered to host the next meeting.

The beauty of this gathering is that clergy who get parish-bound tend to think two-dimensionally.  Because the gathering was made up of clergy who have served in parishes, schools, prisons, hospitals, and various civil service chaplaincies [not to mention in religious orders], the discussions tend to be broad ranged, interdisciplinary, and much more likely to lead to greater innovation in outreach and liturgical programs.  Certainly, that was the case today.

Anyway, I pass along their thanks and appreciation to the folks of Christ Church who enabled this meeting. 

Saturday, December 11, 2010

At The Minor Library Tomorrow

Our own Jay Tunney will be speaking at the town library tomorrow afternoon at 3pm about his book that examines his father's friendship with George Bernard Shaw. If you wish to purchase a copy, please use the link below and 6% of the purchase price will be donated by Amazon.com to Christ Church.

Actually, after clicking on the link below, any item you then purchase results in a 6% donation to Christ Church.

The Third Sunday Of Advent

This week we hear the poetry of Isaiah, the sagacity of James, and of the gift of John the Baptist.  All this plus what happened at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1956.

The lections may be found here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

"She says the two were married in a pagan ceremony by a Presbyterian minister about a year before he was found dead in a Paris bathtub in 1971."

The quotation above was the most interesting part of the article linked to here.  Otherwise, it's just another story about politicians using a dead rock star to stir up some end-of-year press coverage for themselves.  After all, you can't have Santa Claus [or that Jesus guy] getting all of the attention.

I wish the reporter had told us something about this "pagan/Presbyterian" marriage ceremony, though.

Today's Weather In The Dominican Republic: 78.3 °F, Scattered Clouds; Wind: WSW at 4.0 mph

In Roxbury, it's 9 degrees Fahrenheit.  Don't you wish you were at the Episcopal/Anglican evangelism climate change conference?

In Dominican Republic, gathering explores climate justice perspectives


Deforestation, intensive storms and floods show effects of climate change in Dominican Republic

Thank heaven the leadership of the Episcopal Church has so many qualified climatologists.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Reminder

Any items purchased from Amazon.com using the link found on the right side of this posting will result in a 4% to 6% donation to Christ Church.  This means any item purchased, new or used, as long as the link to the right is used to connect to the main page of Amazon.com.

Please remember this as you do your on-line shopping.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

It's Snowing So It Must Be Time For A Global Warming Conference

And where else would you have it but somewhere tropical?

Climate justice is focus of four-day Episcopal/Anglican gathering in Dominican Republic

They can meet wherever they want, and spend diocesan travel money any way they want, but please don't lecture me about my carbon footprint anymore.

Monday, December 6, 2010

December 6, 1969: The Rolling Stones played a free festival at Altamont in California, along with Jefferson Airplane, Santana, The Flying Burrito Brothers and Crosby, Stills ,Nash & Young. While the Rolling Stones played, fan Meredith Hunter was stabbed to death by Hell’s Angels who'd been hired to police the event. It’s claimed Hunter was waving a revolver. One other man drowned, two men were killed by in a hit-and-run accident and two babies were born.

December 9, 1608: English poet John Milton is born in London. Though most famous for his epic Paradise Lost, he also penned an exposition of Christian doctrine, a plan for Christian education, and various political writings.

December 9, 1840: Unable to go to China, David Livingstone sets sail from London as a missionary to southern Africa.

December 9, 1843: The first Christmas cards—actually more like postcards—are created and sold for a shilling.

December 10, 1520: German reformer Martin Luther publicly burns Pope Leo X's bull "Exsurge Domine," which had demanded that Luther recant his heresies—including justification by faith alone.

December 11, 1518: Swiss Reformer Ulrich Zwingli becomes "people's priest" at the Old Minster Church in Zurich, a position he held for the remaining 13 years of his life. After nearly dying from the plague, he began his reforming program almost immediately, persuading the city council to judge religious issues by Scripture alone.

December 11, 1640: English Puritans introduced a petition with 15,000 signatures to Parliament, seeking to abolish the church episcopacy, "with all its dependencies, roots and branches." The House of Commons accepted what has become known as the "Roots and Branch Petition," but the House of Lords (many of whom were bishops) rejected it, and the episcopal organization of the Church of England remained.

December 11, 1792: Jacob Mohr, author of the poem "Silent Night," is born.

December 11, 1918: Russian author Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, an Orthodox believer whose works include One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich and The Gulag Archipelago, is born. His books are credited by many scholars with "helping to bring down the last empire on earth".

December 11, 1984: The White House displays a nativity scene for the first time since courts ordered its removal in 1973.

December 12, 1189: King Richard I "the Lion Hearted" leaves England on the Third Crusade to retake Jerusalem, which had fallen to Muslim general Saladin in 1187.

December 12, 1667: The Council of Moscow deposes Russian Orthodox Patriarch Nikon. A "man of great ability and sincerity but of autocratic temper," according to one historian, his calls for liturgical reform grew into a fight over the relationship between church and state. Though deposed at the council, banished, and imprisoned for 14 years, his liturgical reforms were sanctioned. In 1681, he was recalled to Moscow by the new tsar, but he died on the way. He was buried with patriarchal honors and all decrees against him were revoked.

December 12, 1712: The colony of South Carolina requires "all persons whatsoever" to attend church each Sunday and refrain from skilled labor and travel. Violators of the "Sunday Law" could be fined 10 shillings or locked in the stocks for two hours.

December 13, 304: Lucy, one of the earliest Christian saints to achieve popularity, dies. According to legend, she renounced marriage out of devotion to Christ, but a spurned suitor convinced Roman authorities to force her into a life of prostitution. When this was unsuccessful, they tried to burn her to death, but she wouldn't catch fire. Finally, she was killed by the sword. More realistically, she was probably one of several Christians killed in the Diocletian persecution. But within a century of her death, she had a remarkable following.

December 13, 1250: Frederick II, the messianic German Emperor (1212-1250) who fought repeatedly and heatedly with popes, dies suddenly of dysentery at age 55. He called himself "lord of the world"; others either praised him as "stupor mundi" (wonder of the world) or damned him as Antichrist.

December 13, 1294: After issuing a constitution giving popes the right to quit, Pope Celestine V shocks the world by resigning. An aged, nearly incoherent hermit when he was chosen to succeed Pope Nicholas IV, Celestine was desperately unsuited for the job and served only 15 weeks before Cardinal Gaetani, masquerading as a voice from heaven, convinced him to step down. Gaetani then became the infamous Pope Boniface VIII, and he imprisoned Celestine until the old man's death.

December 13, 1835: Phillips Brooks, Episcopal bishop and author of "O Little Town of Bethlehem," is born in Boston. [Follow this link to Brooks' sermon offered at the memorial for Abraham Lincoln.]

December 14, 872: Pope Adrian (or Hadrian) II dies. Adrian twice refused the papacy (in 855 and 858) before reluctantly accepting in 867. Weak and vacillating, he sought support from, of all people, the antipope Anastasius.

December 14, 1363: French ecclesiastical statesman and writer Jean Gerson is born. Eager to end the Great Schism of 1378-1414, he was influential in calling the Council of Pisa and the Council of Constance (which eventually ended the dual papacy). In defense of the Council of Pisa, Gerson wrote a tract promoting counciliar theory—the idea that a council can supersede the pope.

December 14, 1591: Spanish poet John of the Cross, one of the greatest Christian mystics, dies. His "Dark Night of the Soul" is one of the era's best known religious poems, and his treatises have profoundly influenced both Catholic and Protestant thought.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

One Strand Only

It might be difficult to see, but this morning one strand of lights remains ignited on the green's Christmas [and Holiday!] tree.

Click to enlarge.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Random Scenes From Roxbury

It's a busy weekend with many, many events taking place.  Below are some photos of the re-naming ceremony that took place yesterday along with a couple of scenes from today's Holiday Vendor Fair taking place in the parish house.

The Second Sunday Of Advent [Not Lent]

This week we hear of the "other": he who did not, could not, and would not fit in the common, flat spirituality of First Century culture. In his "otherness", he cleared the path to righteousness for his community and for all the "others" who brave the rite of initiation.  After all, "who will ride the thunder?"

The readings for tomorrow may be found here.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Creche Is Up

Now it really seems like Advent.  Many thanks to Ken and Sean and the guys, and to Dudley for letting them loose from work for a morning.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

An Urban Tale [Now Somewhat Dated]

My first job out of college was as an English teacher in an inner-city high school.  My students were not anywhere near wealthy, but they were driven to excel, mainly because our school overlooked a valley of steel mills that cut through the middle of Cleveland, separating the east side from the west.  They would often joke about how the effulgence of American manufacturing tainted every breath one took; even turning the laundry hanging in back yards a marvelous shade of orange.  While their parents had found employment and stability in those mills and factories, my students planned for something more white-collar than orange-collar.  There wasn't one who didn't know that education was the only way out. 

One of my students, Benny, lived in my neighborhood and stopped by my cinder-block apartment building one Saturday to turn in a late term paper.  He was amazed that my living room had books in it.  His didn't, he informed me, although they did have a color TV.  This he noted while looking at my rather sad 19-inch black and white portable.  We spoke for awhile about books and stories, fiction and non-fiction.  He told me he always wanted to read The Count of Monte Cristo, as he had seen a version of it on television and, as he said, "Man, that's just got to be something in words."  I let him borrow my Penguin paperback copy.

Later in the week, he gave the book back to me at the end of class.  I asked him if he had read it; he said "no".  I asked if he wanted to keep it longer; he said "no".  I'm sure I gave him a puzzled look.  His response I'll never forget.

"I ain't never owned no book before.  Seems like a book this good I'm gonna want to read more than once.  Should have my own copy, I'm figurin'.  See, Mr. Clements?"  He took a Penguin paperback, similar to mine, but far more used and worn, from his back pocket.  "Got it at the First Baptist thrift shop for five cents.  What'd you pay for yours?  Ninety-five cents?  You'll never be a businessman, Mr. Clements."  We laughed about it and the day, and days, went on.

By the time he graduated from high school, Benny owned over forty books; books of all sorts, from things that interested him to things he knew nothing about.  He would go to college and become a businessman, owning a commercial carpet cleaning company that bears his name.  His daughter is in medical school. 

I thought of this while reading the story linked to below.  I know that times are changing [I mean, I own a Kindle, for heaven's sake], and I know that it was Benny's drive and ambition that got him out of the orange-tinted valley.  But, I know that a battered, five-cent paperback of a 19th century French adventure story also had something to do with it.  I wonder if the same thing can happen through a school library with no books, or when stories from long ago and far away can no longer be carried in a back pocket.  Electronic impulses traveling through the ether seem almost too liminal for the wealth of human wisdom.

High School Library Ousts Books, Re-Opens as Coffee Shop

I Surrender To My Masters At Fender Guitars

We made some dandy and original guitars for the Nashville musicians, but this one is Olympian.  Check it:

A Fender Esquire Made with Flood Water

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Celtic Prayer [Rather Similar To The Lorica]

God to enfold me,
God to surround me,
God in my speaking,
God in my thinking.
God in my sleeping,
God in my waking,
God in my watching,
God in my hoping.
God in my life,
God in my lips,
God in my soul,
God in my heart.
God in my sufficing,
God in my slumber,
God in mine ever-living soul,
God in mine eternity.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Feast Of St. Andrew

Most references to Andrew in the New Testament simply include him on a list of the Twelve, or group him with his brother, Simon Peter. But he appears individually three times in the Gospel of John. When Greeks wish to speak with Jesus, they approach Philip, who tells Andrew, and the two of them mediate with Jesus (Jn 12:20-22). Before Jesus feeds the Five Thousand, it is Andrew who says, "Here is a lad with five barley loaves and two fish." (Jn 6:8f]; and the first two disciples whom John reports as attaching themselves to Jesus (Jn 1:35-42) are Andrew and "the disciple whom Jesus loved" [John].

Having met Jesus, Andrew then finds his brother Simon and brings him to Jesus. Thus, on each occasion when he is mentioned as an individual, it is because he is instrumental in bringing others to meet the Savior. In the Episcopal Church, the Fellowship of Saint Andrew is devoted to encouraging personal evangelism, and the bringing of one's friends and colleagues to a knowledge of the Gospel of Christ.

Several centuries after the death of Andrew, some of his relics were brought by a missionary named Rule to Scotland, to what is now known as St. Andrew's, nowadays best known as the site of the world-famous golf course. Hence, Andrew's association with the jewel of the British Isles.

According to pious legend, Andrew was crucified on an X-shaped cross, as represented on the design of the official flag of Scotland.

For those interested, the flag of the United Kingdom, the "Union Jack", is a combination of the crosses of St. Andrew [white x-shaped cross on a blue field], St. George, the patron of England [red cross on a white field], and that of St. Patrick, the patron of Ireland [red x-shaped cross on a white field].

Sorry, Wales and St. David. You got left out.

Monday, November 29, 2010

What's That Flag?

This Tuesday we celebrate the Feast of St. Andrew, of which more may be read on The Coracle that day,  Since he is the patron of Scotland, the "lion rampant" will fly from the Rectory this week.

Also, if you're bored with your own sports teams [as am I, rather typical for a fan of the Indians, Browns, and Cavaliers, not to mention the Princeton Tigers football team], I would strongly recommend following the travails and triumphs of the "Old Firm", information about which may be found here and here.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

This Week In History

December 1, 1170: Banished earlier by king Henry II because he sided with the church against the crown, Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas a Becket returns, electrifying all of England. Henry orders his former friend's execution, and Becket is slain by four knights while at vespers December 29.

December 2, 1697: St Paul's Cathedral in London, designed by Christopher Wren, is dedicated. It replaced a medieval cathedral at the site that had burned in the Great Fire of 1666.

December 2, 1859: Militant messianic abolitionist John Brown is hanged at Charles Town, (West) Virginia, for his attack on Harper's Ferry. He was convinced that only violent action could end the horrors of slavery. [Brown was born in Torrington. -ed.]

December 2, 1980: Three American nuns and a lay churchwoman are killed by death squads in El Salvador. Some 70,000 Salvadorans are estimated to have died because of terrorists or civil war during the 1980s, including many Catholic clergy. [One of the victims, Sr. Dorothy Kazel, was a nun whom I knew and with whom I worked. Coincidentally, I had just started reading a letter from her when I was told of her death. -ed.]

December 3, 1833: Ohio's Oberlin College, the first coeducational college in the United States and one of the first to offer education to blacks, opens. Its unique character was formed as a result of the revival movement of Charles Finney, who later served as president of the school.

December 4, 749: Greek Orthodox theologian and poet John of Damascus dies near Jerusalem. The last great doctor of the Greek church, he wrote comprehensively on the theology of Eastern Christianity and fought against those who wanted to rid the church of icons.

December 4, 1093: Anselm, called "the founder of Scholasticism" and the greatest scholar between Augustine and Aquinas, is consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury.

December 4, 1930: In response to the Anglican Lambeth Conference [that's us, folks], which cautiously approved birth control, Pope Pius XI issues the encyclical "Casti connubii." Though the document condemned any human effort depriving sex of "its natural power of procreating life," it tacitly legitimated the "rhythm method".

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The First Sunday Of Advent

Due to historical experience and the realities of life in the desert, the Jews of the First Century were extraordinarily prepared to "read water". Of this, and of other seasonal realities, we shall hear tomorrow along with an appreciation of Scottish and Japanese fishing techniques.
The lections may be found here.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Phytoplankton Bloom Off The Coast Of Namibia

This is the natural color of the bloom, as captured by a NASA satellite.  More here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Surfer Soul Food For Thanksgiving

Since people ask me what we do for Thanksgiving [I know you're just being polite, but be careful what you ask for], there is a particular dish that I like to prepare to either delight or horrify those with whom we share the holiday. [If you're looking for a turkey recipe, you've come to the wrong place. We never eat turkey at Thanksgiving. What are we, a buncha Congregationalists?] The recipe and preparation instructions follow:

Surf City Curbside Fish Tacos


1 lb of fresh swordfish steak
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
1 doz corn tortillas
Vegetable oil or butter (optional, depending on how you heat your tortillas)
Lime Mango sauce [see instructions]
1 ripe Avocado
Cabbage or iceberg lettuce
Cider vinegar

Prepare the sauce. This can be done either the simple or the complex way. The simple way is as follows:

1. Go to Stop and Shop
2. Buy some lime mango sauce in aisle 6

You may use it as a marinade for the fish and then, with the addition of some sour cream, use the remainder as the sauce for the finished dish. Naturally, don't use the sauce in which the fish has been marinating for the presentation sauce. At least, that's what Jenni always tells me. What she doesn't know won't hurt her.

The more complex way is to do the following:

Place two ripe, peeled and pitted mangoes and some lime juice [two limes or equivalent] into a food processor and blend until pureed. If the sauce is too thick, add a tablespoon or two of cold water. Stir in one diced jalapeno with seeds and skin removed [unless you like four-alarm sauce, like I do, in which case toss the seeds and skin into the whole shebang] and there you go. Save it until taco construction.

Prepare the cabbage and avocado. Thinly slice the cabbage and put it in a small serving bowl, sprinkle it with cider vinegar (about a tablespoon) and salt (about a teaspoon). Mix in the vinegar and salt. Peel the avocado and remove seed. Chop and reserve for later.

Heat the tortillas. There are two ways of doing this.
1. Simply heat them in the microwave for 20-25 seconds on high heat, on top of a napkin or paper towel to absorb the moisture that is released.
2. Or heat a cast iron skillet to medium heat. Add a teaspoon of oil to the pan or spread a half a teaspoon of butter on one side of one tortilla. Place tortilla in the pan (butter side down if you are using butter). As the tortilla sizzles, flip the tortilla with a spatula so that the other side gets some of the oil or butter from the pan. Continue to flip every 10-30 seconds until the tortillas begins to develop air pockets, after about a minute. You can always skip the butter or oil.

Remove the tortilla from the pan and place it folded on a plate. If the pan is large enough you can prepare two or more tortillas at once. Continue until all the tortillas (estimate 3 per person) are cooked. Set aside.

Cook the fish. Soak the fish fillets in cold water for at least one minute. Pat dry with a paper towel. Heat a large stick-free skillet to medium high heat. Add a couple of teaspoons of olive oil to the skillet. Place fish on skillet. Cooking time depends on the thickness of the fillets. A thin fillet may take only one minute on each side to cook. A thicker fillet may take a couple of minutes. Fish should be still barely translucent when cooked. Break off a piece and test if you are not sure, or give it to your cat and see what he does with it. Do not overcook the fish. When done, remove the fish from the pan to a separate plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the plate of tortillas, fish, the sauce, cabbage, and avocados on the table and let everyone assemble their own. You go to a separate room where it's quiet and watch a football game. Preferably, Ohio State, since Princeton isn't playing on Thursday.  [Besides, Princeton's own mama doesn't watch Princeton play football these days.] Or maybe that DVD of Endless Summer I or II.  [If you use one the links below to access your Amazon.com web page, your subsequent purchase will result in a donation to Christ Church representing 4%-6% of the price.]

The staff of The Coracle will be off-duty on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week. Please have a pleasant Thanksgiving.

[Today in Huntington Beach, California, the high temperature will be 56 degrees with cloudy conditions. The surf forecast is poor/fair.]

Monday, November 22, 2010

Work Continues On Roxbury Field

The coaches, yes, the coaches, of our local Cal Ripken team were busy placing the Christ Church Sod on the field this past weekend.  Every step takes up closer to spring.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Christ The King

This week Jeremiah notes the importance of David's lineage, the Colossians learn of spiritual inheritance, and Jesus re-defines kingship.  All this plus pray for the poor guy to whom I gave driving directions last time I was in Cleveland.

The lections may be found here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Altar Guild Annual Meeting

Carolyn runs a tight meeting.  She was, by the way, "pleased".  We also had twelve members of the Altar Guild in attendance.  Hmm, I wonder why?

A compelling discussion on candle wickcraft.

The mystery box.

The mystery box revealed:  It's our new Advent blue set for altar and clergy adornment.  Just wait until the last Sunday in November.

And now, lunch and conversation on an unseasonably warm and sunny Saturday afternoon.  What could be better?

The Altar Guild has done everything well during the past year plus two months and I'm grateful.  A luncheon is the least I can do for such devotion and care.  Thank you all.

A Scottish Blessing

Be ye our angel unawares
If after Kirk ye bide a wee,
There's some would like to speak to ye,
If after Kirk ye rise and flee
We' all seem cauld and still to ye.
The one that's in the seat with ye
Is stranger here than ye, maybe.
All here have got their fears and cares,
Add ye your soul unto our prayers,
Be ye our angel unawares.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Now This Is Real News

The 19-foot wooden surfboard

[Photo courtesy of Surfer magazine.]

Archaeological News

Robot used to explore ancient tunnel at Teotihuacan ruins, 1st for Mexican archaeology

Mayans converted wetlands to farmland

[Sorry, but there is little news from the world of Biblical Archaeology this week, so I thought I'd post a couple of articles relating to what was once my field in Meso-American study.  Also, robots!]

We're Now On Facebook

Well, I am and that's where I've been spending the bulk of my Internet time [all thirty minutes a day] lately. If you follow this link, you'll find some information and insouciance from time to time.

Sorry about the fewer postings in this medium, especially as the diocese now reads it on a regular basis, but the world of electronic communication keeps evolving and we keep pace with it to the best of our ability.

For fun, though, check out cousin Annie Clements playing bass with Sugarland on the Country Music Awards the other night [she's the young woman on the far right with the big cream-colored Precision Bass with tortoise shell pickguard]:

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

An Obituary Of Note

Barbara N. Crocker of Brookfield passed away peacefully on November 1, 2010 after a courageous battle with cancer.

Born in Brockton, MA, Mrs. Crocker was the daughter of the late Elmer B. Nelson and Marie Pepin Nelson. She graduated from Brockton High School and the Forsyth School of Dental Hygiene at Tufts University in Boston , MA She is survived by her husband The Rev. Dr. George N. Crocker of 34 years; three children: Karin Face of Wilmington, DE; Joan Bengtson of Boston, MA; and David Bengtson of Bridgewater; two step sons; Darin Crocker of New Milford, and Drew Crocker of Durham; son-in-law Dean Face of Wilmington, DE; daughter-in-law Dorothy Wyant Crocker of New Milford; three grandchildren: Kyle Crocker, Stephen Face and Caroline Face, a sister Susan Holmes of Tampa, FL; first husband Paul J. Bengtson of Weston; and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by a brother, Alvin Nelson. Mrs. Crocker worked as a dental hygienist in Father Panic Village in Bridgeport and later in Danbury for many years. An avid quilter, gardener, and reader, she was an active member of the Scraps Quilting Group, The Brookfield Garden Club, and The Purple Circle Book Club. She attended the Bible Study Fellowship for many years. She was a devoted mother who cherished her children and grandchildren and loved to spend time with them whether at family gatherings at home or vacationing with them in Maine. During her first marriage to The Rev. Paul J. Bengtson, Mrs. Crocker was an active member of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Brookfield and made many lasting friendships there. Later she worshipped at St. Paul’s Church in Brookfield for 32 years. Since 2004 she attended Christ Church Quaker Farms in Oxford, where Fr. Crocker is currently serving as Priest-in-Charge. She was genuinely loved and known by her many friends for her kind and generous spirit. Barbara had a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. In each church she attended, she found a ministry.  Altar Guild, choir, first communion instructor for children or various women's groups and was a significant part of the spiritual direction of her church. Her unique gift was to "welcome the stranger." She always made newcomers feel accepted. While on retreat, she received ministry for Baptism in the Holy Spirit and manifested gifts of the Spirit in her work for the Lord. A Vigil will be held at Saint Paul’s Church from 3 to 5 pm and 7 to 9 pm on Friday, November 12, Route 25, Brookfield. Friends are invited to attend. A Requiem Eucharist will be celebrated for Barbara on Saturday, November 13, at St. Paul’s Church at 10:30 am. Interment will follow the service in Saint Paul’s Memorial Garden.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Work Continues....

While more photos may be found on Facebook, I ask you to behold the new corner of the rectory's living/dining room, reclaimed as it was from a disintegrating bookshelf and some tenacious mold.

All Saints' Sunday

This week Daniel is not quite in the lion's den, the Ephesians learn of spiritual estate law, and Jesus introduces the nature of paradox to the earliest, not-quite-yet Christians.  All this plus "Fiddler on the Roof".

The lections may be found here.

Friday, November 5, 2010

A Traditional Celtic Blessing

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.

Some Community Events This Coming Week

A [gourmet] pizza dinner is being offered at the Senior Center this evening beginning at 5:30pm.  Call for reservations.

A meeting for parents concerning the Christmas Pageant will be held on Sunday in the parish house at the conclusion of the 10am liturgy.

A luncheon for veterans will be held on Thursday [which is Veterans' Day] at 1pm at the Senior Center.  I am told that approximately 180 veterans live in Roxbury; if you know of one, please pass on the invitation.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

All Souls' Day

We actually now refer to this holy day as the Feast of All Faithful Departed, in part because Anglicanism does not carry a theology of purgatory as does the Roman theological foundation for this day. I regret that I have lost the source for the quotation below, coming as it does from an old notebook, especially as it is the most succinct appreciation of today's theology that I've ever found.

"Whether or not one should pray for the dead is one of the great arguments which divide Christians. Appalled by the abuse of indulgences in the Church of his day, Martin Luther rejected the concept of purgatory. Yet prayer for a loved one is, for the believer, a way of erasing any distance, even death. In prayer we stand in God's presence in the company of someone we love, even if that person has gone before us into death."

O God, the Maker and Redeemer of all believers: Grant to the faithful departed the unsearchable benefits of the passion of your Son; that on the day of his appearing they may be manifested as your children; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Saints' Day

In the faith's early days Christians solemnized the anniversary of a martyr's death at the place of his or her martyrdom. Frequently groups of martyrs suffered on the same day, which naturally led to a joint commemoration. By the fourth century, neighboring dioceses began to transfer relics and join in a common feast. In the persecution of Diocletian, the number of martyrs became so great that a separate day could not be assigned to each so the Church, determining that every martyr should be venerated, appointed a common day for all.

This practice originally began in Antioch. At first only martyrs and St. John the Baptist were honored by a special day. Other saints were gradually added and increased in number when a regular process of canonization was established.

Almighty God, you have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those ineffable joys that you have prepared for those who truly love you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Twenty-Third Sunday After Pentecost

This week Isaiah schools Sodom, Paul gives the nicest introduction ever in a letter to the Thessalonians, and Jesus meets the richest man in the richest town in Palestine.  All this plus the significance of the ficus sycamora.

The lections may be found here.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Power Outage

I was informed by C.L. & P. yesterday that the power at the parish, parish house, and rectory will be off for several hours Saturday morning as they work on the power lines in the area of the green.  This will mean that incoming calls to the office or rectory will not be received nor messages recorded.  We will not have Internet capacity during that time, either, so e-mail will not receive a response. 

Those working in the parish in the morning are advised to dress warmly. 

Those who were attending the guitar workshop at 8:30 should understand that it will be re-scheduled as it's difficult to use power tools and an air brush without electricity.

We regret the inconvenience.

[As of 10am, the power has been restored.]
[Now, the power is off again.]
[Okay, it's back.]
[Off.  This is getting monotonous.]
[On.  Please stay on.]

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another Pleasant Responsibility Discharged

Many thanks to Margo Terwilliger, who took the photo, Jim Stanton, who created the big, giant check, and all of the members of the Auction Committee and Shepaug Baseball.

The Rune Of St. Padraic

At Tara to-day in this fateful hour
I place all Heaven with its power,
And the sun with its brightness,
And the snow with its whiteness,
And the fire with all the strength it hath,
And the lightning with its rapid wrath,
And the winds with their swiftness along their path,
And the sea with its deepness,
And the rocks with their steepness,
And the earth with its starkness
All these I place,
By God's almighty help and grace,
Between myself and the powers of darkness.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Like Wheat That Springeth Green

The children of Roxbury upon discovery that The Trophy had been returned to the diocese and was not to be seen in its usual place of honor in the parish house. [Click on the photos to enlarge the full dramatic effect.]

"And Israel was brought very low because of Midian. And the people of Israel cried out for help to the LORD."

But wait, can it be?

"...let the whole world see and know that things which were
cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown
old are being made new, and that all things are being brought
to their perfection by him through whom all things were made...."

A serious note:  Christ Church participates strongly in the Bishop's Fund for Children because it is a worthy ministry that aids a variety of organizations and individuals.  We are proud to be able to keep the faith in deed as well as word.

But there is a secondary reason, too.  We are a small congregation and certainly not the wealthiest.  We carry out our ministry in the corner of the diocese, away from the "power areas" that are sprinkled throughout other portions of the state.  Our resolve exists to prove that a small, rural parish can add something to the common life and mission of the diocese.  The members of Christ Church are delighted that, like us, so many other parishes have decided also to boost their contributions, whether because of a sense of competition or because of the appropriateness of the cause or, most likely, because of a combination of the two.

We hope this trend continues to build and that The Trophy always has a happy place to stay, wherever that may be.  [Although, to be honest, we prefer it to be at Christ Church, Roxbury.]

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Bishop's Address From Convention...

...may be found at the link below:


Virginia Theological Seminary Fire

While I did not attend VTS, a great many of my colleagues have and the current dean, Ian Markham, is a former parishioner of mine whom I recommended for the ordination process at the beginning of his priestly career.  We prayed for the seminary community yesterday and today at convention.

'Traumatic' fire ravages historic Alexandria chapel

The Twenty-Second Sunday After Pentecost

Not sure about tomorrow, except that the lections may be found here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

226th Diocesan Convention

The annual convention is today and tomorrow. If you wonder what it's like, think of Woodstock and then take away the drugs, tents, mud, electric guitars, generational relevance, and open dress code. Oh, and move it indoors. To a cathedral. And also limit the guest list and make 57 the median age of the participants . Yep, that's about it.  So, it's really not like Woodstock at all.

Above is an example of the mad party people with whom I'll be spending the next two days.  Hey, they're more fun than they look. 

I'll attempt to send pertinent information to the weblog during the proceedings.  That is, if I can get a wifi signal somewhere in the neighborhood of the cathedral.

[This means I won't be in the office from Friday morning to late afternoon on Saturday and, as is the custom, my cell phone will be switched off while we are in the midst of deliberations.]

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tonight: Lance And Company Change The World. Um, What's An Emerod?

Come to the Adult Education series tonight at 7:30pm in the parish house.  This is the third and final installment of our look at the process of translating what became known as the King James Version of the Holy Bible.  Don't forget to cover your feet.  [You have to be a part of the class to get the reference.]

Congrats To Our Friends At The Neighboring Public School

Between successful fund-raisers and federal grants, it looks like the two ball fields and playgrounds, not to mention the soccer pitch, of our fair community will have all sorts of outdoor activities for 21st century kids.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A Couple Of Weekend Scenes

As of Sunday morning, work began to replace the sod and clay at the ball field, as made possible by a donation from Christ Church.  You may click to enlarge.

Meanwhile, these guys were wandering around the green and church parking lot on Saturday, mainly scaring my cat.  No wonder the British surrendered when faced with this ["Blimey, they've got a stroller.  Let's give up, General Cornwallis."]: