Monday, January 31, 2011

A Prayer For Moderate Weather

Almighty and ever-merciful God, we beseech you, of your great mercy, to restrain the excessive snow with which we have had to contend, to give us strength to resist exasperation, and grant relief and hope to those whose homes and property have been damaged or destroyed. Remind us of your ever-present grace in all things, how to be good neighbors to those in need, and generous in the acceptance of aid offered by others. Grant this, we pray, through our Mediator and Advocate, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

- an homage to one of the most famous prayers for good weather, as authored by Msgr. James H. O'Neill, albeit rendered in more peaceful circumstance.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Today's "No-Prize" Answers

"No-Prize" Answer #1:
Mozart was featured in the music offered during today's 10am Celebration of the Holy Eucharist because his 255th birthday was celebrated on Thursday of this week.

"No-Prize" Answer #2:
The Rector, currently enjoying laryngitis, sounded most like the character "Choo-Choo" featured in the Hanna-Barbara cartoon "Top Cat".  [You have to be at least the Rector's age to get that reference, and even then....]

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Fourth Sunday After Epiphany

This week Micah relates the importance of meaning behind action, Paul tells us the reason God chose those whom He did, and Jesus offers up our statement of belief.  As far as the sermon is concerned, that depends on whether or not I can still speak tomorrow, but we will touch upon who the "Bleeze" is for whom we once had a banquet.

The lections may be found here.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Feast Of Thomas Aquinas

It seems hard to believe now, but there was a time, specifically in the 13th century, when the works of Aristotle had fallen out of common usage and were unstudied in the universities of Europe. Thanks to the Muslim scholars of Arabia and Spain, who were enamored of Aristotle's natural philosophy [Islam and its relationship with Western thought has really changed since then, eh?], Aristotle was ready for re-discovery when Thomas of Acquin, a Dominican monk of no small intellect, published a series of works re-presenting Aristotelian thought to his contemporaries and matching it with the theological framework of medieval Christianity. [It is helpful to remember, despite what trendy secularists would have one believe, that Christianity created the university model that educates the Western world to this day; not to mention also enabling scientific method to develop.]

As one with degrees in both philosophy and theology, I can testify to the continued influence of Aquinas in both fields. In fact, his popularity in secular philosophy continues to grow. All subsequent Western philosophy is in reaction to Aquinas's works. There is no greater figure in history whose accomplishments so strongly stand in the face of the errant belief that there is, or should be, a separation between theology, philosophy, and science.

Perhaps his most interesting contribution to human thought is through the field of natural theology. In an overly succinct definition, natural theology is the study of God as known not through sudden revelation, but through the application of observation and reason.

I would encourage readers to follow the links for more information. I will leave with this piquant quotation from G.K. Chesterton, the Catholic writer [and creator of the literary detective "Fr. Brown"] as to Aquinas's ecclesial abilities and ambition:

"His experiences included well-attested cases of levitation in ecstasy; and the Blessed Virgin appeared to him, comforting him with the welcome news that he would never be a Bishop."

He died on this day in the year 1274.

Money Well Spent, I'm Sure

Canadian woman first to graduate with Beatles degree

He Certainly Will When All Of This Snow Melts

Noah getting closer to action

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Jesus Sighting [With Bonus Virgin Mary]

It's been awhile but, yes, there are still people finding images of the Christ in their food:

Image of Virgin Mary, Baby Jesus appears on tortilla

The Feast Of John Chrysostom, Bishop Of Antioch And Constantinople

John was called Chrysostom (which means "Golden Mouth") because of his eloquence. He was a priest of Antioch known as an outstanding preacher. So much so that congregations were warned not to carry large sums of money when they went to hear him speak, since pickpockets found it easy to rob his listeners as they were too intent on his words to notice. His sermons were mostly unadorned expositions of Holy Scripture emphasizing literal meaning, even though the style in Alexandria in his day tended to the allegorical.

He loved the city and people of Antioch and they loved him. However, he became so famous that the Empress at Constantinople decided that she must have him for her court preacher, so she had him kidnapped and brought to Constantinople and there made bishop.* This was a failure all around. His sermons against corruption in high places earned him powerful enemies (including the Empress), and he was sent into exile, where he died in the year 407.

O God, you gave your servant John Chrysostom grace eloquently to proclaim your righteousness in the great congregation, and fearlessly to bear reproach for the honor of your Name: Mercifully grant to all bishops and pastors such excellence in preaching, and faithfulness in ministering your Word, that your people may be partakers with them of the glory that shall be revealed; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

[*Yes, he had to be kidnapped to be made a bishop, so reluctant was he for the office.  This may mean that he is the one person in Christian history who actually should have been a bishop.]

What Used To Be Called "Yankee Ingenuity"

Cash-Strapped Bergen, N.J. To Fight Snow With ‘Pickle Juice’

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Feast Of Sts. Timothy and Titus

From the Universe Bulletin [a Roman publication known for its scholarship]:

"St. Timothy has been regarded by some as the "angel of the church of Ephesus", [Revelation 2:1-17]. According to the ancient Roman martyrology he died Bishop of Ephesus. The Bollandists (24 Jan.) give two lives of St. Timothy, one ascribed to Polycrates (an early Bishop of Ephesus, and a contemporary of St. Irenæus) and the other by Metaphrastes, which is merely an expansion of the former. The first states that during the Neronian persecution St. John arrived at Ephesus, where he lived with St. Timothy until he was exiled to Patmos under Domitian. Timothy continued Bishop of Ephesus until, when he was over eighty years of age, he was mortally beaten by the pagans. According to early tradition Titus continued after St. Paul's death as Archbishop of Crete, and died there when he was over ninety."

Almighty God, you called Timothy and Titus to be evangelists and teachers, and made them strong to endure hardship: Strengthen us to stand fast in adversity, and to live godly and righteous lives in this present time, that with sure confidence we may look for our blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Post-Annual Meeting Thanks

A marvelous annual meeting resulting in a great vestry for the coming year. Many thanks to those of you who have served so marvelously and well; and thanks to Judith, Jim, and Christine who will serve as parish leaders for the coming year.

Thanks to T.D., Peter, Betty, Dwayne, Jeanne, and Jim for their work in the kitchen, and Dona for the great breakfast.  Thanks to Barbara, who has served Christ Church so often and so well.  [And Kurtis for helping his grandfather and Peter and Jim set up the parish house.]

Also, thanks to Carol, who has re-organized the parish office, and Meg, who has done so much to enable our finances to be transparent and reconciled.

We are remarkably blessed at having so many willing volunteers.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Annual Meeting Is This Sunday

Remember that we have one service this Sunday at 9:30, followed by the once-a-year meeting of the parish to elect a new vestry and approve this year's budget.  Not to mention, breakfast [or brunch] with the combined 8am and 10am congregations.  It's like one of those special comic books that combined all of the characters from Marvel Comics with those of DC comics.

Above is a meeting of the vestry.

I Was Wondering When This Would Start...I Mean, End

Hawaii Senate ends daily chamber prayers

Occasionally, I Miss My Days As A School Teacher...

...and then I read stories like these and I am reminded that, while the Episcopal Church has its own brand of institutional lunacy, there is a certain splendor to how schools manage to make problems for themselves:

Boy sent home from school for wearing Steelers jersey

"A 13-year-old student at Tacoma's Truman Middle School just wanted to show his team spirit when he wore a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey to his school's Seahawks appreciation day on Friday.  But school administrators sent [the student] home, saying his choice of clothing was inappropriate...."

Not to be outdone, in Charlotte, if you wish to eat lunch with your child, you may, as long as you follow the process:

"Parents who want to eat with their kids in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools cafeterias are expected to register as volunteers and get a criminal-background check - which comes with daily monitoring for new violations."

Something Else George Clooney And I Have In Common

George Clooney contracts malaria following trip to Sudan

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Reports For The Annual Meeting

The following reports will be needed for the Christ Church Annual Meeting, to be held this Sunday.  The deadline for reports is 5pm on Thursday.  [I know, I'm a slave driver.]

Altar Guild Treasurer’s Annual Report

Christian Education Report for 2010

Auction Committee Report  [to be delivered as an oral presentation]

Music at Christ Church in 2010 [to be delivered as an oral presentation]

Altar Guild Annual Report for 2010 [to be delivered as an oral presentation]

Treasurer’s Report for 2010

Trinity Church Budget for 2011

Buildings and Grounds Report for 2010

Wardens Report for 2010

Draft Minutes of the Annual Meeting for 2009 [from 1/2010]

Communicants of Christ Church, 2010

Outreach Activities for 2010

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Eddie Would Go*

And so would I if I had the time and wherewithal, anything to get away from this weather.

Waimea Bay calls the big surf day

[*In reference to a sermon preached at Christ Church some months ago.]

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Study: Many college students not learning to think critically

The study's authors also found that large numbers of students didn't enroll in courses requiring substantial work. In a typical semester, a third of students took no courses with more than 40 pages of reading per week. Half didn't take a single course in which they wrote more than 20 pages over the semester.

Not to say "I told you so" to some faculty and administrators at a boarding school where I was once employed, but I saw this coming fifteen years ago.  When I attempted to address it, I was informed that my perspective was "dated" and "disharmonious to contemporary thought".  I would suggest that the inability to  think critically would create something more socially alarming than disharmony.

The Office Is Closed Today

Today's weather in
Albuquerque: 55 degrees and mostly sunny.
Huntington Beach, California: 75 degrees and sunny.
Waimea, Hawaii: 78 degrees and partly cloudy.
St. John, USVI: 81 with some morning showers.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

This Week In History

January 16, 1543: British Parliament prohibits any "women or artificer's prentices, journeymen, servingmen of the degree of yeoman, or under, husbandmen or labourers to read the New Testament in English."

January 16, 1604: Puritan John Rainolds suggests " . . . that there might bee a newe translation of the Bible, as consonant as can be to the original Hebrew and Greek." England's King James I granted his approval the following day, leading to the 1611 publication of the Authorized (King James) version of the Bible.

January 16, 1920: Largely the result of Christian activists, the Eighteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution goes into effect, prohibiting the sale of alcohol. Thirteen years later, Congress repeals the prohibition.

January 17, 356 (traditional date): Antony of Egypt, regarded as the founder of Christian monasticism, dies at age 105. Committed to a life of solitude and absolute poverty, he took two companions with him into the desert when he knew his death was near. They were ordered to bury him without a marker so that his body would never become an object of reverence.

January 17, 1377: Gregory XI moves the papal see from Avignon (where it had been for 72 years) back to Rome. However, when he died the next year, two men (one in Rome, the other in Avignon) both claimed to succeed him, creating a schism.

January 17, 1525: The Zurich City Council arranges a public debate on the subject of infant baptism, which Ulrich Zwingli mandated but Conrad Grebel and Felix Manz (among others) opposed on the grounds that baptism symbolizes a believer's commitment to Christ. Grebel and Manz were defeated and eventually killed for their views.

January 18, 1562: The counter-reformation Council of Trent reconvenes after a 10-year break caused by the revolt of Protestant princes against Emperor Charles V. During the break, all hope of reconciliation between Catholics and Protestants had vanished.

January 18, 1815: Konstantin von Tischendorf, the biblical critic known for discovering and deciphering the "Codex Sinaiticus" (a fifth-century manuscript of Paul's epistles), is born in Germany.

January 18, 1830: Baptism of Tauta'ahau Tupou. King of Tonga by a western missionary. Beginning of a strongly missionary Christian Kingdom.

January 19, 1086: Canute the Great, the king of Denmark, is killed by his subjects. Though Denmark was already nominally Christian when he became king, he went to great lengths to revitalize the faith. He built and restored churches and monasteries and created laws protecting the clergy. But his "new order," which included higher taxes and mandatory tithes, led to a revolt. Canute was reportedly killed in church while celebrating Mass, and he was declared a martyr and saint in 1101.

January 19, 1649: England's King Charles I, a devout Anglican with Catholic sympathies who staunchly defended the "divine right of kings" while oppressing the Puritans, is executed after being convicted of treason under a Puritan-influenced Parliament.

January 20, 1569: Miles Coverdale, publisher of the first printed English Bible and the man who completed William Tyndale's translation of the Old Testament, dies at 81.

January 20, 1918: Following the Bolshevik Revolution, all church property in Russia is confiscated and all religious instruction in schools abolished.

January 21, 1549: In the first of four Acts of Uniformity, the British Parliament requires all Anglican public services to exclusively use of The Book of Common Prayer.

January 21, 1621: Pilgrims leave the Mayflower and gather on shore at Plymouth, Massachusetts, for their first religious service in America.

January 22, 304 (traditional date): Vincent of Saragossa, one of the most famous martyrs of the early church, is killed. Starved, racked, roasted on a gridiron, thrown into prison, and set in stocks, he refused to sacrifice. According to Augustine, his fame extended everywhere in the Roman Empire and "wherever the name of Christ was known".

Saturday, January 15, 2011

I Sense Vengence

"Accidental” Headbutt by Dog Sends Martha Stewart to Emergency Room

I'm Glad This Kind Of Stuff Doesn't Bother Just Me

Polamalu’s faith, religion, spirituality, whatever

Really, New York Times?  “...three-inch framed photos of the Virgin Mary and Jesus.”  Those famous Orthodox "photos" that were part of The Great Schism?  You know, where the term "photo-noclasts" comes from.  Is there really no editor at the NYT who knows what an icon is?

A Couple Of Christians Get In Trouble With The Law For Fulfilling Gospel Teaching

And no, it's not anytime in the 1st through 4th centuries.  It's this year in Houston:

City puts a stop to homeless outreach

In my less charitable moments, I'm almost prepared to believe that there are people who think that government must provide for all needs and that religion is an unnecessary competitor. 

Oh, dear.  Now someone, probably a colleague, will say I'm a "tea-partier" or something.  Especially when I observe that the The Coalition for the Homeless is a secular advocacy group that contributes to political candidates and also receives public funding. 

I see a letter from the bishop's office in my future....

The Second Sunday After The Epiphany

This week we hear of John as he reveals a powerful cultural symbol. Also, the much awaited Theology of Skeeball.

The lections may be found here.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Surfers in Alaska ride waves for an astonishing five miles

Climate Change: What Can't It Do?

Climate change contributed to rise and fall of Roman empire

Maybe The Scariest Poll Ever,..

...especially if you're an American citizen who is also a person of faith:

Elected Officials Flunk Constitution Quiz

The part I find the most alarming is in this result:

"Just 15 percent answered correctly that the phrase "wall of separation" appears in Thomas Jefferson's letters -- not in the U.S. Constitution -- compared with 19 percent of the general public."

The "wall of separation" is what most people nowadays refer to as the separation of church and state.  As I have informed countless students in myriad classrooms, it's not in the Constitution.  Now, I expect students, who have participated in strongly programmed school curricula, not to know much about American historical fact, but I do wish those who put themselves before the public as representatives worthy of support and votes knew this.

By all means, folks, read this document in public as often as you want and please listen to the words.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

This Week In History

January 12, 1167: Aelred, the Anglo-Saxon abbot who became one of the Middle Ages' best-known devotional writers, dies.

January 13, 367 (traditional date): Hilary of Poitiers, the leading orthodox church father during Arianism's heyday, dies. His writings about the Trinity and his organization of anti-Arian allies were influential in fighting the heresy but did not have their full effect until after his death.

January 14, 1529: Spanish diplomat and writer Juan de Valdes publishes his "Dialogue on Christian Doctrine," which paved the way for Protestant ideas in Spain.

January 14, 1875: Theologian, medical missionary, organist, musical historian, and winner of the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize Albert Schweitzer is born. His Quest of the Historical Jesus (1906) is considered a foundational work on that subject.

January 15, 345 (traditional date): Paul of Thebes, traditionally considered the first Christian hermit and an inspiration for Antony of Egypt and later Christian monasticism, dies.

January 15, 1535: Henry VIII declares himself head of the English Church [actually he declared himself "defender of the faith"; that's a little different from being "head of the English Church." - ed.].

January 15, 1697: Massachusetts citizens observe a day of fasting and repentance for the Salem witch trials of 1692, in which 19 suspected witches were hanged and more than 150 imprisoned. The day was declared "That so all of God's people may offer up fervent supplications unto him, that all iniquity may be put away, which hath stirred God's holy jealousy against this land; that he would show us what we know not, and help us, wherein we have done amiss, to do so no more".

January 15, 1844: The University of Notre Dame, America's premiere Roman Catholic institution of higher learning, is chartered in South Bend, Indiana.

January 15, 1929: Baptist minister Martin Luther King, Jr., America's most visible civil rights leader from 1955 until his assassination in 1968, is born in Atlanta.

Information courtesy of Christianity Today

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Church Is Open

As of 7:30 this morning, the church walkways and parking lots were cleared, which is kind of a pity because I wanted to shred some with my new snowboard. 

Anyway, anyone who wishes to come by the church today may do so without concern about passage.

The First Sunday After The Epiphany

The baptismal season [that is, the season that recognizes re-birth as it parallels Jesus' birth] continues this Sunday. In the Gospel, Jesus seeks to be baptized, as did many, by his cousin, John.

And, in the Acts of the Apostles, Peter makes an observation that will perhaps be the most climactic of his ministry and ours.

The lections may be found here.

Friday, January 7, 2011

All Of Tonight's Events Have Been Cancelled

Of course, we had nothing scheduled for tonight anyway, but....  Excitingly, I'm watching Weller's Bridge Road being closed as my afternoon entertainment.

Above is a blizzard aftermath in Cleveland when I was a child.  Even though it was on a weekday, a "snow day" wasn't called.  We just didn't do that back then.  One of those wires did mildly electrocute one of our neighbors, however.  From that day forward, his nickname was "Sparky".

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Home Town Turns Up Trumps

Homeless Ohio man with golden voice gets job offer from Cleveland Cavaliers

Two Quotations

1.  The first is from a twenty-something man named Larry, who stated, "Organized religion just causes trouble.  I believe in my own God."  [What makes me think that his God is named "Larry"?]

2.  The second is from a student at the Lower School at Rumsey Hall: "Last night, I had a dream that I was a skelton."  I would have asked him if he were named "Red" in the dream, but that reference is 34 years older than the student.  Then he told me that Jesus came to him in the dream and made sure he wasn't a "skelton" anymore.  In fact, because of Jesus, "No one would ever have to be a skelton again."

Perhaps meaningful religious thought skips a generation.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Coffee Hour

I neglected to mention on Sunday that the Coffee Hour sign-up sheet for January and February is posted in the parish house.

Also, we need someone for this week as, with the busy holidays, no one thought to volunteer for this rewarding exercise in Christian service.  Please let me know if you're interested.

[Wow, that was quick!  We're all set for this Sunday, but please check the list for open Sundays in January and February.]

At Sundown, Christmas Becomes Epiphany

"We keep our Holy Day adored with three miracles: to-day a star led the Magi to the crib, to-day wine was made from water at the marriage, to-day in Jordan Christ willed to be baptized by John to save us." - T.S. Eliot

In the early 1960’s my mother and father received their first credit card. “Diner’s Club”, if I remember correctly. The first big-ticket item that they bought was a new mattress and set of box springs. It was from a local merchant who was also experimenting with this brave new world of credit cards and had just begun to offer telephone sales. The system was not yet perfect, however.

On the day the order was to arrive, at shortly after nine o’clock in the morning, a delivery truck, complete with a friendly, uniformed and bow-tied deliveryman, brought the mattress and box springs into the house. The sale was complete and my parents happy with their purchase. My father went to work and my mother, sister and I left to visit my grandparents. However, according to the story told by our neighbors, about thirty minutes later, another mattress and box springs arrived with another friendly, uniformed deliveryman who left the items on our back porch. Later still, a third set arrived, this time delivered by the first, and rather puzzled, driver.

By late afternoon, when we returned home, the purchase of a single mattress and box springs set had blossomed into fourteen mattresses and box springs. Our back porch looked like a flophouse. The story was picked up by the local newspaper [Fourteen Mattresses Delivered: Area Family Baffled] and made us into minor celebrities for a day. Even with the publicity, it took about two weeks for everything to get straightened out and for the credit card agency to delete the charges for the thirteen extra mattress sets. Naturally, I enjoyed the entire experience. From having my elementary school classmates stop by the house to see what was rapidly becoming the ninth wonder of, if not the world, at least the east side of Cleveland, to savoring the endless possibilities for building forts and other obstacles of childhood fun when there are thirteen mattresses stacked up around the house.

I am reminded of this endless series of unexpected gifts as we have come to the end of our great expectations for Christmas and are beginning to, once again, settle into our routine practice. The trees and decorations begin to disappear; the presents are settled into drawers, toy chests, or armoire. Even our spiritual selves begin to return to normal, with the high expectations for Christmas replaced with the approaching and altered expectations of Lent.

Between those two seasons rests that of Epiphany. Epiphany is celebrated for a variety of reasons, not the least of which in recognition of how the gift of the Incarnation, presented to us during Christmas, continues to be received with an incrementally increasing bounty. We may have ordered our spiritual “mattress” for Christmas, and received that which we expected, but Epiphany is the season in which the gift, like that seemingly infinite series of mattresses and box springs, begins to develop and deliver. And, as with much that is spiritual, it is delivered whether we are ready or not.

In Epiphany, the Magi will arrive to present to Jesus gifts that reflect his task and its majesty; Jesus will also be named in the Temple in Jerusalem and receive the blessing of the priest Simeon, securing his role for the future. He will be baptized by John in the Jordan River and experience the Holy Spirit in its descent upon him. At a wedding in Cana, Jesus will perform his first miracle. Significantly, the miracle will be that of change. While his birth began the liberation of those who were to follow him, it is these events that enrich and refine his developing ministry and aid us in our continuing pilgrimage. While Jesus’ birth is that for which we waited and prepared, it is its unfolding realization that we celebrate in the season of Epiphany.

This, then, becomes the moment of our Epiphany, too, when we notice what has been delivered when we least expected it, often through humble and quiet circumstance. For, as James Joyce wrote, “The moment the focus is reached the object is epiphanised. It is just in this epiphany I find…the supreme quality of beauty.”

Sunday, January 2, 2011

This Week In History

January 2, 1921: Pittsburgh radio station KDKA broadcasts the first religious program over the airwaves: a vesper service of Calvary Episcopal Church. The senior pastor, unimpressed by the landmark broadcast, didn't even participate in the service, leaving his junior associate to conduct it. The two KDKA engineers (one Jewish, the other Catholic), were asked to dress in choir robes to be less obtrusive. Today religious broadcasting is a multi-billion dollar industry. [To be fair, the "senior pastor", or rector, wasn't on duty that night. The office of Evensong was traditionally that of the Curate, or "junior associate". I know this because I spoke once with one of the clergy who was on the staff at the time. He also told me that the fellows from KDKA kept blowing fuses and starting small fires in the choir loft. -ed.]

January 3, 1521: Pope Leo X creates a bull of excommunication for Martin Luther that would have deprived him of civil rights and protection, but before its execution, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V allows Luther the opportunity to recant his beliefs at the Diet of Worms. When Luther instead affirms his beliefs, the bull is carried out.

January 3, 1892: Literature professor J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the Lord of the Rings trilogy and a devout Catholic, is born in Bloemfontein, South Africa.

January 4, 1581: James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland, is born. Famous for a chronology of the Bible that was repeatedly printed in King James Versions, he was so highly esteemed that Oliver Cromwell gave him a state funeral and had him buried in Westminster Abbey.

January 4, 1965: T.S. Eliot, the most influential English writer in the twentieth century and a devout Christian who wove his religious convictions into his work, dies. [An Episcopalian of the high-church tradition, I might add.]

January 5, 1066: Edward the Confessor, the only English king ever canonized a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, dies. Builder of Westminster Abbey, he was buried there January 6.

January 5, 1527: Swiss Anabaptist reformer Felix Manz is drowned in punishment for preaching adult baptism, becoming the first Protestant martyred by other Protestants.

January 5, 1964: Roman Catholic Pope Paul VI and Greek Orthodox Patriarch Athenagoras meet in Jerusalem, the first meeting of the two offices since 1439, more than half a millennium before.

January 6, 548: The Jerusalem church observes Christmas on this date for the last time as the Western church moves to celebrating the birth of Jesus on December 25.

January 6, 1832: French artist Gustave Dore, known for his drawings and lithographs for the Bible, Dante's Inferno, and other works, is born in Strasbourg, France.

January 6, 1850: Charles Spurgeon, who would become one of the greatest preachers of all time, converts to Christianity after receiving a vision, "not a vision to my eyes, but to my heart. I saw what a Savior Christ was," he wrote, "I can never tell you how it was, but I no sooner saw Whom I was to believe than I also understood what it was to believe, and I did believe in one moment".

January 6, 1884: Augustinian monk Gregor Mendel, founder of the science of genetics, dies.*

January 6, 1412 (traditional date): Joan of Arc, the French peasant mystic Christian who became a national heroine and her country's patron saint, is born.

[*For those who think that Christianity is historically anti-science, I draw your attention to Brother Gregor, the father of modern genetics, and also to the devout Sir Isaac Newton, who I think had something to do with physics (just kidding, Dad), and St. Basil, the originator of hospital laboratories.]

[Selections courtesy of Christianity Today.]

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Second Sunday After Christmas

This week [and, yes, it's still Christmas], Jeremiah bids us to sing and listen, Paul writes a sensitive missive to Ephesus, and the Joseph trilogy concludes.  All this and what the heck are the "unusual dreams" they keep referring to on some commercial for a pharmacological product?

The lections may be found here.