Wednesday, November 30, 2011

This Week's Jesus Sighting

Image of Jesus Christ Appears in Wet Paper Towel

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.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Rectory Flag

This isn't an easy one to recognize, especially as it's not the official flag of Scotland [pictured below], but the unofficial, and rather insurrectionist, "Lion Rampant". Why don't I use the official flag? Because I don't have one.

Why is any flag of Scotland being flown? Easy. Wednesday is the Feast of St. Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland and one of the lesser feast days in the Episcopal Church. This is particularly significant since it was not the Church of England that consecrated the first bishop of TEC, but three bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church. For all of our Anglican pretense, we owe our existence to the Scots and trace our independent lineage from them.

More about St. Andrew on Wednesday.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The First Sunday Of Advent

New season with an old message, mainly about the calendars that my students used to keep that let them know how many days were left until vacation.

The lections are to be found here.

An Obituary Of Note

New Orleans music legend Coco Robicheaux dies

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

My Favorite Thanksgiving Recipe

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.

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Evensong tonight at 7:30, featuring the Litany of Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Last Sunday After Pentecost

Also known as Christus Rex, or Christ the King. By either name, the day always reminds the rector of baseball, circa 1861.

The lections may be found here.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Sunday, November 13, 2011

An Obituary Of Note

She's not anyone famous, nor is she connected to our parish.  She was just a kind young woman at the beginning of her adult life, who also happened to be my niece Erin's best friend.

This is the second young person I've known whose obit I've read in the past week.  Sometimes, as Wordsworth once said, "The world is too much with us."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Twenty-Second Sunday After Pentecost

This week we see what happens when one is attempting to hide the equivalent of 80 lbs. of silver, or 130 lbs. of gold, or twenty years' wages [there seems to be some disagreement about this in academic circles] when it is freely granted to us.  Also, a tad cautionary for church leaders, lay and ordained, too.  All this and the poet John Milton.

The lections may be found here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Prayer For Veterans Day

God of compassion,
God of dignity and strength,
Watch over the veterans of the United States
In recognition of their loyal service to our nation.
Bless them with wholeness and love.
Shelter them.
Heal their wounds,
Comfort their hearts.
Grant them peace.
God of justice and truth,
Rock of our lives,
Bless our veterans,
These men and women of courage and valor,
With a deep and abiding understanding
Of our profound gratitude.
Protect them and their families from loneliness and want.
Grant them lives of joy and bounty.
May their dedication and honor
Be remembered as a blessing
From generation to generation.
Blessed are You,
Protector and Redeemer,
Our Shield and our Stronghold.

Funny the uniforms one wears over the course of a lifetime.

This Is What Happens When The Church Tries To Be "With It"

Most of my ordained colleagues, on both sides of the Atlantic, are sincere and well-meaning individuals.  However, for the most part, they have lived lives sheltered in academia and ecclesia, and, in some cases, pure economic privilege, thus they find their work especially fulfilling when they can support those who have not lived with the same benefits or who have an ill-defined grievance against the world in general.  My colleagues are sometimes shocked, though, when their sincere, if naive, attempts to minister to the "marginalized" are occasions of exploitation rather than thanksgiving.

For example, the staff of St. Paul's Cathedral in London have, literally it appears, stepped in it.

Protesters use cathedral "as a latrine"

Please read the whole article, as both the dean and a canon have resigned in recent days, vandals have painted "666" on the walls, health and safety officials have had to close the cathedral [CLOSE A CATHEDRAL?], and the staff is ready to mutiny.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Here's The Previous Surfing Wave Record (It Was Only 60 Feet)

Today In US History

Almighty Father, whose command is over all and whose love never fails, make me aware of Thy presence and obedient to Thy will. Keep me true to my best self, guarding me against dishonesty in purpose and deed and helping me to live so that I can face my fellow Marines, my loved ones, and Thee without shame or fear. Protect my family.
Give me the will to do the work of a Marine and to accept my share of responsibilities with vigor and enthusiasm. Grant me the courage to be proficient in my daily performance. Keep me loyal and faithful to my superiors and to the duties my Country and the Marine Corps have entrusted to me. Help me to wear my uniform with dignity, and let it remind me daily of the traditions which I must uphold.
If I am inclined to doubt, steady my faith; if I am tempted, make me strong to resist; if I should miss the mark, give me courage to try again.
Guide me with the light of truth and grant me wisdom by which I may understand the answer to my prayer.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

An American Surfer Rides A 90 Footer Off The Coast Of Portugal

Not to be outdone, I pressed ninety pounds with my surgical leg. Hey, it's something. Wait'll next year.

Of Archaeological Interest

Here's something I didn't know: Those heads on Easter Island have bodies.  Bodies that were buried somehow.  What the heck?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"The past is never dead. It's not even past."

"No one is without Christianity, if we agree on what we mean by that word. It is every individual's individual code of behavior by means of which he makes himself a better human being than his nature wants to be, if he followed his nature only. Whatever its symbol -- cross or crescent or whatever -- that symbol is man's reminder of his duty inside the human race." - William Faulkner

Saturday, November 5, 2011

All Saints' Sunday

Let's try this again, shall we?  This week we look at what happened at an art show, how saints, souls, and sinners combine, and are reminded of how the mission of the church is borne through chaos.

The lections may be found here.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Everyone: The power is intermittent, and the Internet connection a little questionable at times, but we are generally with power. If anyone wants to help organize a soup dinner and set up the parish house for "orphans of the storm", please call either the office or the rectory.

Some Notes From The Great Blackout

Using up everything in the fridge (as we did during the day-after-Christmas blizzard and in the direct aftermath of "Hurricane" Irene). This lead to some...creative dishes, shall we say?

Running out of "flushing" water and having Amanda fill buckets with snow, only to have buckets still filled with snow sitting in the bathroom four days later.

Listening to the young woman on the radio reading the list of closures pronouncing the word "mammography" differently each time. She finally got it right, but then messed up "cardiology".

Watching my wife create new drinks based on the dwindling liquor supply, such as tea with tequila.

In response to my wife's bartending skills, composing my own version of a Kenny Chesney song and calling it "You and Earl Grey make me crazy".

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Shark Week, I Guess

Monterey Bay Shark Attack Leaves Surfer Hospitalized


Pro Surfer At San Francisco Event Withdraws After Seeing Large Shark
It's difficult for me to type on this little Android screen, but before I return to the communications blackout in the Rox, I did want to thank Leann, who braved snow, fallen and falling trees, not to mention power lines, to deliver flowers of her own arrangement to church on Sunday morning. That was above and beyond. As cold as the church is right now, they are perfectly preserved, too.
Took refuge in a town with power and a functional Internet, not to mention hot water. On my way back to the Rox today to spend yet another night in the dark and cold. Land lines are now working, however. As Amanda said, "This is easy if we pretend we're cave people.