Friday, November 29, 2013

Relax, The Govt Will Always Be There To Help, Even With "Private" Information

Disabled woman denied entry to U.S. after agent cites supposedly private medical details

Lots Of Tales From The Post-Christian World

Women Get Into Black Friday Stun Gun Fight Inside the Mall

‘Black Friday’ brawl sends police officer to hospital

Two Arrested After Stabbing Over Parking Space

Holiday Shopper Shot

Shoppers Knocked To Ground In Utah

Thief steals Salvation Army kettle from mall

Black Friday violence reported as retailers usher in start of holiday shopping season

Yeah, I like the ironic employment of the word "holiday" in that final headline.  Those of us who are people of faith are really limited by our superstitious religious beliefs, aren't we?  I mean, that's what non-theists are always telling me.  They really live in a secular paradise, don't they?

Thank God things like this don't happen in Connecticut.  Er... Massive Brawl Breaks Out At Danbury Fair Mall

As Happens Every Thanksgiving, I Miss The Midwest

Fly over or drive across the United States, and the spatial absurdity of this rather narrow coastal monopoly is immediately apparent to the naked eye. Outside of these power corridors, our vast country appears pretty empty. The nation’s muscles that produce our oil, gas, food, lumber, minerals, and manufactured goods work unnoticed in this sparsely settled fly-over expanse. 

People rise each morning in San Francisco and New York and count on plentiful food, fuel, and power. They expect service in elevators and limos that are mostly made elsewhere by people of the sort they seldom see and don’t really know — other than to influence through a cable-news show, a new rap song, the next federal health-care mandate, or more phone apps.

Time to go back home, I think.  Maybe for good this time.

Friday's Church: The Chapel of Saint-Michel d'Aiguilhe, Le Puy-en-Velay, France

Yes, it's built on top of a volcanic plug.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

More Tales From The Post-Christian Age

From USA Today: The administration wants families to discuss Obamacare at Thanksgiving.
The tips including asking your family and guests coming over for the holiday to bring the information they'd need to sign up for Obamacare, because it's absolutely not awkward at all to tell someone you'd like him to bring wine and oh, his social security number and annual salary, too. You're advised to bring up Obamacare during "family time … downtime after meals or between holiday activities." Perfect: When your family is curled up in chairs in a turkey/stuffing/pumpkin pie-induced stupor, you can cut off the idle reminisces about bygone days and football and kids saying the cutest things, and launch that super festive health-care conversation that's sure to have everyone bursting into a rollicking round of kumbaya, despite that pesky little fact that poll after poll shows the country is sharply divided on this issue.

Yeah, It's A Dive, But How Many Other Places Cater To Elderly Rockers Who Happen To Be Veterans Who Also Surf?

Huntington Beach Bar Fights To Save Sign That Salutes Veterans

An Obituary Of Note

The Rev. Dr. James Anderson Carpenter

My first theology professor, who would often employ his retriever, Cinnamon, as an example in his lectures about faith and doubt.

More Tales From The Post-Christian Age

Francesca Eastwood, 20, stumbled down the aisle of Las Vegas’ Simple Wedding Chapel on Nov. 17 to wed “Shrek” look-alike Jordan Feldstein, 35, in a Christian ceremony held in front of an Elvis impersonator.

Tuesday's Wave

"I don't think the world will save itself by outgrowing the Church." - Flannery O'Connor

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Bonfire At Princeton Tonight

Embedded image permalink

If you squint, you can see the Yalies who were used for kindling.

More And More Often....

Thieves Swipe Thanksgiving From Sacramento Church

Guess The State

Oh, Yes. It's Nice For At Least One Of The Teams I Follow To Actually Win A Championship

Politicians Are A Little Weird

For example, one wants us to talk about medical care when at the Thanksgiving table:

The president is urging families to talk about health insurance when they get together this year. What could go wrong?

Another wants us to talk about gun control:

Bloomberg Group Wants You To Start Fights About Gun Control at Thanksgiving

In an age without faith, our gods are numerous and mundane, apparently.  Say a simple grace, laugh with family and friends, do the best you can.  God will take care of the rest.

This Week's Lesser Feast Days

Only one lesser feast this week, that of James Otis Sargent Huntington on Monday.  Please read of him via the link below.

James Huntington wrote: “Holiness is the brightness of divine love, and love is never idle; it must accomplish great things.”

Friday, November 22, 2013

I'm Not Sure That's How "Friend" Is Defined

Police: Man dressed as poodle set on fire by friend


$50,000 Agreed to probe smells at Sewage plant



A Flamboyant, Champion Kickboxer Is Taken On By A U.S. Marine With Predictable Results

And I Thought The Science Was Settled

Scientists witness massive gamma-ray burst, don't understand it

What Crickets Sound Like When Their "Chirps" Are Slowed Down

If you have difficulty downloading to your, I'm sure, too ancient computer, here's the link.

10 rules for writing about the 50th anniversary of the day John F. Kennedy was shot.

8. Don't commemorate murder. A man managed to kill the President. He's already gotten far too much press. He doesn't deserve our endless attention. I'm sick of "celebrating" a death day. We don't make anything of Lincoln's death day. We celebrate his birthday, like Washington's, because he was such a great President. We don't celebrate JFK's birthday — I don't even know what it is — because he was not great enough. We celebrate Martin Luther King's birthday, not the day he was assassinated. Why? Because of his greatness, and because we don't want to direct our attention toward his murder. So why do we focus on Kennedy's death day? It must be because he was not great enough, and because of points #1, #2, and #3, above. It's about ourselves. A man died and we morbidly relive it annually, for some reason that must make little sense to those under 50.

I Think There's A German Word For This

Veteran House Democratic aides are sick over the insurance prices they’ll pay under Obamacare, and they’re scrambling to find a cure. 

“In a shock to the system, the older staff in my office (folks over 59) have now found out their personal health insurance costs (even with the government contribution) have gone up 3-4 times what they were paying before,” Minh Ta, chief of staff to Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), wrote to fellow Democratic chiefs of staff in an email message obtained by POLITICO. “Simply unacceptable.”

Friday's Church: Converted Diner/Russian Orthodox Church, Moscow


Thursday, November 21, 2013

Archaeological News

Trove of religious offerings unearthed from ancient sanctuary in Turkey

More And More Often....

FEMA refuses to aid hurricane-ravaged Jersey shore town due to its religious background

No Kidding, We Played Outdoors

And ran and ran and ran, too.

Many children 'slower runners than their parents were'

Thursday's Biblical Recipe: Quail


6 quail ½ cup brandy (or cognac) ¼ cup vegetable oil 2 Tbsp. white horseradish 1 Tbsp. Balsamic vinegar 3 cloves garlic, crushed 2 Tbsp. light brown sugar 1½ tsp. five-spice powder 2½ tsp. paprika ½ tsp. dried thyme ½ tsp. sea salt ½ tsp. black pepper wild rice.

Cut the quail in halves with poultry shears. Rinse thoroughly. In a small bowl, mix the brandy, vegetable oil, horseradish, vinegar, garlic, brown sugar, and five-spice powder. Put the quail in a large plastic bowl with a lid (or use two bowls, if needed). Pour the brandy marinade over the quail; cover and refrigerate 4–8 hours, turning the bowl(s) upside down and shaking every so often. When well-marinated, discard the liquid and pat the quail dry. Lightly brush them with olive oil. Mix the paprika, thyme, salt, and pepper in a small bowl, then sprinkle over the quail. Cook the birds breast-side down in the broiler for 15–20 minutes, turning once or until crisp and well browned. Serve on a bed of wild rice.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

If You Didn't Know, We're Part Of The Anglican Communion, One Of The Churches Originally Founded By The Church Of England

The Church of England has only itself to blame for the problem. The clergy and bishops of the Church of England have not preached the Christian doctrines for ages because they didn’t really believe them to be true themselves. When I was a Church of England priest the majority of my colleagues were thoroughgoing modernists and many of them were default atheists or agnostics. The priest of my neighboring parish said languidly at a clergy meeting, “I wouldn’t presume to tell any of my parishioners what might be right for them spiritually…” In other words, its not just the people in the pews who don’t believe or behave like Christians anymore. Neither do the clergy. 

The Church of England probably is on her last legs in her present incarnation, but churches grow and change and Anglicanism still has some juice. In Africa the Anglicans are strong and young and kicking. It’s just like the English to not see beyond their own snooty nose. Church of England dead? It won’t be long now. Anglicanism? It’s still going strong in some places.What’s the real solution? Not happy clappy services or more evangelical gimmicks.The only thing that will convert the world is beauty, and by beauty I don’t mean just pretty stuff. I’m talking about the real, intense, authentic beauty of the saints. I have seen sanctity and wow! It is beautiful. It is attractive. It is the deep beauty of sanctity and only the deep beauty of sanctity that will win converts. Only when they see human sexuality lived out in truth and beauty and in faithfulness to the church will they understand the church’s teaching on sex, and only when they see the doctrines of the church lived out in the lives of the saints will they be converted to believe in the doctrines of the church.

Everything Old Is New Again

We've written of James Agee before, but it appears that a previously undiscovered work of his has been published.

Four Tips For Graceful Aging

1) Adopt and maintain healthy habits and positive lifestyles:
2) Maintain intellectual stimulation and socialization:
3) Be wise in financial planning:
4) Work to maintain dignity and good health in old age:

More And More Often....

Pastor Finds Bibles Labeled As ‘Fiction’ At Local Costco

This Is A Pity

For those of us trained in the scientific method [Archaeology, University of Pennsylvania], this has been one of the most egregious problems with the global cooling/global warming/climate change/AGW issue:

Climate alarmists’ tactics—exaggeration, misrepresentation, smear and scorn—have hurt the movement more than helped it. No surprise there. Cultist are always the last to recognise the folly of their ways

When the idea of dangerous anthropogenic global warming (AGW) from fossil fuel emissions arose it found strong resonance across a variety of important interests. For researchers it meant funding and recognition. With the media it was attention-grabbing drama. To activists it was the mother of all eco-threats. Business saw huge profits to be made, while bureaucrats recognised the potential for massive increases in power and control.

For politicians it was a no-brainer, with strong popularity on one side and only denigration on the other.

An impressive AGW bandwagon soon assembled and fired-up a luxurious hundred billion dollar gravy train. In late 2009 everything was on track for a glorious triumph by AGW forces at the Copenhagen Climate Summit, which was to have been the gateway to the clean, green new world promised by the eco-prophets.

Then came Climategate and the wheels started to come off.

Wednesday's Art: Accidental Metal Sculpture

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Worth Noting

An atom is about 99.999% empty space, making everything in the universe mostly nothing.

Tuesday's Wave

"Almost nobody dances sober, unless they happen to be insane." -H.P. Lovecraft

Sunday, November 17, 2013

I Neglected To Post A Photo Of My Granddaughter This Weekend. Here's The Make-Up Shot

Clearly, she has her grandfather's muscles.

An Obituary Of Note

Doris Lessing, Novelist Who Won 2007 Nobel, Is Dead at 94

She was a true feminist, as revealed in these comments:

"Great things have been achieved through feminism. We now have pretty much equality at least on the pay and opportunities front, though almost nothing has been done on child care, the real liberation."We have many wonderful, clever, powerful women everywhere, but what is happening to men? Why did this have to be at the cost of men?"I was in a class of nine- and 10-year-olds, girls and boys, and this young woman was telling these kids that the reason for wars was the innately violent nature of men."You could see the little girls, fat with complacency and conceit while the little boys sat there crumpled, apologising for their existence, thinking this was going to be the pattern of their lives."


Questions You Should Never Ask a Writer

This Week's Feasts

November 18: Hilda of Whitby, 680

Hilda was, for all intents and purposes, the spiritual head of the Celtic Church in the days before our tradition was consumed by the Church of Rome [only to be liberated 900 years later]. Ironically, she also played a large role in the synod that determined that our tradition would be a part of Rome; something that is debated with much passion to this day.

More of her may be read here.

November 19: Elizabeth, Princess of Hungary, 1207-1231

I had a very pleasant evening once upon a time with the contemporary poet, Omar Pound.  His father was Ezra Pound, an even better known poet, as he appears even in high school text books [!], who had spent a portion of his life as a resident in the mental ward of St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington D.C.  [Another resident was the young man whose name is still not known to us who spent some curious time being treated not only by staff psychiatrists but by official exorcists of the Roman church.  His real story became the basis for the plot of The Exorcist.  Interestingly, after the young man was treated and discharged, the hospital sealed his room and never opened it again.]

I mentioned to Omar that, upon reading Bennett Cerf's memoir [now out of print; the title of which I've forgotten], I was surprised to discover that Ezra was hospitalized not due to mental disturbance, but by his friends [Cerf was Pound's publisher] to keep him away from punitive government officials, as Ezra had made several provocative public comments about fascism during a time of great sensitivity about the issue.

"Well, I won't comment on that," he said.  "But, father did have many personal conversations with St. Elizabeth during that time."

I'm sure the conversations between the 20th century poet and the 13th century princess would have been interesting.  Not only was she dedicated to the arts, but St. Elizabeth's devotion to nursing and serving the health needs of the poor, even to the extent of selling her portion of the royal jewels in order to build a hospital, explains why there are so many hospitals in the world that bear her name.  She would later enter religious life as a lay member of the Franciscan order.  As one may imagine, she was not popular with the other members of the royal family, but we don't remember their names, do we?

She is also the subject of one of the more obscure recurring miracles of the Middle Ages, namely the "Miracle of the Roses", of which more may be read at the link.

Almighty God, by your grace your servant Elizabeth of Hungary recognized and honored Jesus in the poor of this world: Grant that we, following her example, may with love and gladness serve those in any need or trouble, in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

November 20: Edmund, King of East Anglia, ? - 869

There is actually very little known of Edmund, less still if one relies solely on historically verifiable sources, however his spiritual importance must have been great in order not only to place him on the calendar of lesser feasts, but to maintain his placement even into the 21st. century.

What is known is that, well, we'll go to a source, shall we:
In 869, the Great Heathen Army advanced on East Anglia and killed Edmund. He may have been slain by the Danes in battle, but by tradition he met his death at an unidentified place known as Haegelisdun, after he refused the Danes' demand that he renounce Christ: the Danes beat him, shot him with arrows and then beheaded him, on the orders of Ivar the Boneless and his brother Ubbe Ragnarsson. According to one legend, his head was then thrown into the forest, but was found safe by searchers after following the cries of a wolf that was calling, "Hic, Hic, Hic" – "Here, Here, Here".
Besides, any story that includes organizations such as the "Great Heathen Army" and characters like "Ivar the Boneless" is bound to be memorable.

O God of ineffable mercy, you gave grace and fortitude to blessed Edmund the king to triumph over the enemy of his people by nobly dying for your Name: Bestow on us your servants the shield of faith with which we can withstand the assaults of our ancient enemy; through Jesus Christ our Redeemer, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

November 23: Clement I of Rome, ? - circa 100

No, not another member of royalty this time, but the third non-apostolic Bishop of Rome, an office better known by the term "Pope".  As with many of these ancient characters, there is little that is known about him, save for a letter that he wrote in his official capacity to the church of the Corinthians.  Yes, them again.  They had so many issues that it seems a constant correspondence was necessary from the time of St. Paul until at least the time of St. Clement.  One of the things that's interesting about the letter is that it is so ancient, it was written either during the composition of the Gospel of John or sometime before it.  It is the eldest non-scriptural writing of which we know.

According to my late professor of scripture, Bruce Metzger, in his history of the formation of the Old and New Testaments as canonical literature [Canon of the New Testament {1987}]:
The letter was occasioned by a dispute in Corinth, which had led to the removal from office of several presbyters [an early name for "priest" - ed.] Since none of the presbyters were charged with moral offences, Clement charged that their removal was high-handed and unjustifiable. The letter was extremely lengthy — it was twice as long as the Epistle to the Hebrews — and includes several references to the Old Testament, of which he demonstrates a knowledge. Clement repeatedly refers to the Old Testament as Scripture.

New Testament references include Clement’s admonition to “Take up the epistle of the blessed Paul the Apostle” (xlvii. 1) which was written to this Corinthian audience; a reference which seems to imply written documents available at both Rome and Corinth. Clement also alludes to the epistles of Paul to the Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians and the first epistle to the Corinthians; numerous phrases from the Epistle to the Hebrews, and possible material from Acts, James, and I Peter. In several instances, he asks his readers to “remember” the words of Jesus, although Clement does not attribute these sayings to a specific written account. These New Testament allusions are employed as authoritative sources which strengthen Clement’s arguments to the Corinthian church, but Clement never explicitly refers to them as “Scripture”.
It appears, at least according to the world view found in the First Letter of Clement to the Corinthians, that the most compelling scripture for the very earliest Christian church was that of the epistles, as the Gospels are never directly quoted.

Almighty God, you chose your servant Clement of Rome to recall the Church in Corinth to obedience and stability; Grant that your Church may be grounded and settled in your truth by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; reveal to it what is not yet known; fill up what is lacking; confirm what has already been revealed; and keep it blameless in your service; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

That Time Of Year In Hawaii


There Needs To Be Some Form Of Wind Instrument Control

Man held for didgeridoo attack on S. Calif. cab

Guess The Country

Glasgow cancels plans to raise statue to stop cone pranks

More And More Often....

Military Chaplains Sue After Being Ordered Not to Quote Bible, Pray in Jesus’ Name

He's Got A Point

That's why wise people are always skeptics about "studies." Ten years ago, transfats were to save us from butter. Now, vice versa. Ten years ago, broccoli was good. Now, it's said to be carcinogenic. Ten years ago, the experts told us to avoid fats. Now they tell us they made a mistake; bacon is back and carbs are the bad thing (I think this seems correct from what little I know about insulin and carb metabolism). I take to heart little of what I read, but I read it anyway. Reading is recreational, often entertaining, and beats hard work.

Take That, Yalies! You, Too, Harvard!

Non-Biblical Archaeological News

Divers recover part of Civil War shipwreck in Georgia

Friday, November 15, 2013

Of Course You Know, This Means War

France recommends that its citizens not visit the place where I grew up.  [Euclid High, class of '74] The nerve of them.

The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs website said that Cleveland's city center is not dangerous by day, but "is not recommended at night." The site does recommend avoiding adjacent neighborhoods by day and by night, "in particular Cleveland Heights, Lakewood and Euclid." 

Cool it, Pierre.  My parents still live there.

[Actually, if you ever wonder why I seem to manifest the occasional "rough edge", there you go.]

Information About The Philippines

If you attend to the link offered via the text below, which leads to the web page of Episcopal Relief and Development, information about how donations may be made and processed will be detailed:

The Most Reverend Edward P. Malecdan, Prime Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the Philippines, has released the following statement regarding the church's response to Super Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda:

The Episcopal Church in the Philippines continues to offer prayers for our brothers and sisters in the central part of our country whose lives were tragically lost and broken in the ferocious path of a super typhoon that came a month after a killer earthquake also brought death and destruction in the same region. We grieve for and with them as we continue to implore Divine comfort upon all who bear the pain of such a catastrophic experience.

To all our constituents, let our communities and local churches be centers of prayerful solidarity and an assurance of our love, thoughts and hopes for our suffering brothers and sisters. Let us individually and collectively take every positive effort to contribute to the massive relief undertaking.

We are now working in coordination with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines for our participation in the relief work. We also affirm and support the initiatives of our Dioceses of Davao and Central Philippines as they minister to our constituents in the affected areas.

To our partners, we acknowledge and express our gratitude for your thoughts, prayers and support. We appeal for your continuing solidarity as we all join hands in rising up from the unimaginable devastation of our land.

THE MOST REV. EDWARD P. MALECDANPrime BishopEpiscopal Church in the Philippines

Friday's Church: First Church of Stykkishólmskirkja, Iceland

Thursday, November 14, 2013

No [True] Christian Has Ever Thought That Time And Space Were Linear

It's that whole "Alpha and Omega" thing.  You know, all things come from God; all things return to God [Aquinas].  It's been scientists who have had a limited vision as to the possibilities of meta-reality.

Quantum physics proves that there IS an afterlife, claims scientist

Thursday's Bible Recipe: Lamb B.C.

Start out by slicing as many tomatoes as you need into quarters. Lay them on a baking sheet next to the asparagus. Sprinkle olive oil and season to taste.

Roast vegetables of your choice in a 450 degree oven until perfect consistency is achieved, usually 8-12 minutes. Remove tomatoes and asparagus from oven and lay on the stove top to keep them warm.

Braise veal rack or cutlet under your broiler for 6-8 minutes or until it's crisp and browned perfectly. Lower oven temperature to 400 degrees for 5-7 minutes. If using a thermometer, cook to 170 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice and serve. Garnish with fresh parsley and a splash of lemon juice.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

More And More Often....

North Korea publicly executes 80 for Bibles 


Atheists interrupt prayer vigil on Supreme Court steps

You Really Get Your Money's Worth Out Of College These Days


I believe young people would say "derp" in response to this.

An Interesting New Entry Into The Theological Discipline

An accessible online journal of spirituality, and it's the product of Dartmouth grad's, too.  I know, what?

Fare Forward

So, The Other Day I Was Reading About "Atheist 'Megachurches'" And I Thought Something Seemed Missing From The Story

It appears I wasn't the only one who noticed:

How many atheists does it take to form a ‘megachurch?’

Also, what's the difference between an "atheist megachurch" and any gathering of like-minded people who aren't specifically unified around a spiritual dogma?  Under the definition presented in the original article, one could say the gathering of a local political party's membership was an "atheist megachurch", too.

Tuesday's Wave

"We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God." - Benedict XVI

Monday, November 11, 2013

Something Goes Hellaciously Fouchez* Somewhere In The World And Look Whom They Send

U.S. Marines Bringing Typhoon Aid to Philippine Shores

Plus, savor this sub-title: "Twenty years after Manila kicked the U.S. military out, it’s among the first there to help."

* "Hellaciously Fouchez" is Marine Corps French for "kinda messed up".

As Dissent Is The Highest Form Of Patriotism, In The Episcopal Church It's The Lowest Form Of Christian Activism

Rebel Dog

Sunday, November 10, 2013

On This Veterans' Day Eve, I'm Proud To Be Represented In Govt By Such Responsible People

Gov't to Erect $98,670 Outhouse

It makes me nostalgic for the simple days of $400 toilets on Air Force planes.

I'm A Little Surprised That This Didn't Happen In Ohio

Anyway, here's the headline of the week:

Zombie-eyed woman dressed as pig in bathing suit busted for DUI

Today's The Birthday Of The Marine Corps

Whenever the politicians and diplomats get in a jam and don't know what to do to save their careers and access to political power, they call in the Marines to die or be maimed, then relegated to a corner of history once the elites are safe again.  [A colleague reminds me that at least one of our state's politicians marks this day in his own way, too.]  If you think that's cynical, you're right.  It's also accurate.

Rudyard Kipling, when writing about the similar lot of the common British soldier, or "Tommy", composed the following verse:

It's Tommy this, and Tommy that, 
And chuck him out the brute, 
But it's 'Savior of his Country,' 
When the guns begin to shoot!

Or, apparently, when it begins to rain.

Here's to 238 years of honor, duty, and faithfulness.  Even though these values are misunderstood and sometimes ridiculed by the New York Times/National Public Radio/university faculty crowd, and made cartoonish by Hollywood puzzlewits, they are practiced and borne on a great deal of real blood.

[And here's to Scott and Jeff, real guys who did their job.  Scott was as squared away as a Marine could be; Jeff enjoyed outraging the sergeants whenever possible.  History has never heard of them and that's okay.  We knew them and are the better for it.]

This Week's Feasts

November 12: Charles Simeon [1759-1836]

Every teacher hopes either to be a great scholar, whose written work is lasting and foundational, or at least inspirational to the subsequent generation.  While the lesser feast calendar is filled with those who have done marvelous academic and social work, behind them, somewhere in a small corner of history, is that teacher who inspired, encouraged, and directed them to that place of achievement.

Henry Martyn, the great missionary to India and translator of scripture, and William Wilberforce, the crusader who pushed for the abolition of slavery in the British Empire, about whom we have written in The Coracle, shared something beyond just their Anglican heritage.  Both were students of Charles Simeon, the modest and long-time chaplain [55 years!] of Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge University.

He was known for his zeal and passion about social justice, something that often made him the subject of humor to his contemporaries.  However, his students appreciated Simeon's world view and found in it an admirable perspective to emulate.  Charles Simeon rests on our calendar to represent all those teachers whose style and technique, while ridiculed during their working days, inspired mightily those who have changed the course of human spirituality and moral history. 

Much more of Simeon may be found here, at his eponymous website.

O loving God, we know that all things are ordered by your unerring wisdom and unbounded love: Grant us in all things to see your hand; that, following the example and teaching of your servant Charles Simeon, we may walk with Christ in all simplicity, and serve you with a quiet and contented mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

November 14: The Consecration of Samuel Seabury [1729-1796]

Seabury, the first bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States, was consecrated as such on this day in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1784.  He was born, lived and died in Connecticut.  His election, the one that marks the birth of our branch of the Anglican Communion, occurred at Glebe House in Woodbury, Connecticut, a scant six miles from where these words are being composed.  There is much written about him, as you may expect, including this from the Anglican Calendar:

A crucial date for members of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America is the consecration of the first Bishop of the Anglican Communion in the United States. During the colonial era, there had been no Anglican bishops in the New World; and persons seeking to be ordained as clergy had had to travel to England for the purpose. After the achievement of American independence, it was important for the Church in the United States to have its own bishops, and an assembly of Connecticut clergy chose Samuel Seabury to go to England and there seek to be consecrated as a bishop. However, the English bishops were forbidden by law to consecrate anyone who would not take an oath of allegiance to the British Crown. He accordingly turned to the Episcopal Church of Scotland. When the Roman Catholic king James II was deposed in 1688, some of the Anglican clergy (including some who had been imprisoned by James for defying him on religious issues) said that, having sworn allegiance to James as King, they could not during his lifetime swear allegiance to the new monarchs William and Mary. Those who took this position were known as non-Jurors (non-swearers), and they included almost all the bishops and clergy of the Episcopal Church in Scotland. Accordingly, the monarchs and Parliament declared that thenceforth the official church in Scotland should be the Presbyterian Church. The Episcopal Church of Scotland thereafter had no recognition by the government, and for some time operated under serious legal disablities. However, since it had no connection with the government, it was free to consecrate Seabury without government permission, and it did. This is why you see a Cross of St. Andrew on the Episcopal Church flag. In Aberdeen, 14 November 1784, Samuel Seabury was consecrated to the Episcopate by the Bishop and the Bishop Coadjutor of Aberdeen and the Bishop of Ross and Caithness. He thus became part of the unbroken chain of bishops that links the Church today with the Church of the Apostles.
In return, he promised them that he would do his best to persuade the American Church to use as its Prayer of Consecration (blessing of the bread and wine at the Lord's Supper) the Scottish prayer, taken largely unchanged from the 1549 Prayer Book, rather than the much shorter one in use in England. The aforesaid prayer, adopted by the American Church with a few modifications, has been widely regarded as one of the greatest treasures of the Church in this country.
We give you thanks, O Lord our God, for your goodness in bestowing upon this Church the gift of the episcopate, which we celebrate in this remembrance of the consecration of Samuel Seabury; and we pray that, joined together in unity with our bishops, and nourished by your holy Sacraments, we may proclaim the Gospel of redemption with apostolic zeal; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

November 16: Margaret, Queen of Scotland [1045-1093]

From Kiefer's Hagiography:

Margaret was the grand-daughter of Edmund Ironside, King of the English, but was probably born in exile in Hungary, and brought to England in 1057. After the Norman Conquest in 1066, she sought refuge in Scotland, where about 1070 she married the King, Malcolm III. She and her husband rebuilt the monastery of Iona and founded the Benedictine Abbey at Dunfermline. Margaret undertook to impose on the Scottish the ecclesiastical customs she had been accustomed to in England, customs that were also prevalent in France and Italy. But Margaret was not concerned only with ceremonial considerations. She encouraged the founding of schools, hospitals, and orphanages. She argued in favor of the practice of receiving the Holy Communion frequently. She was less successful in preventing feuding among Highland Clans, and when her husband was treacherously killed in 1093, she herself died a few days later (of grief, it is said).
O God, you called your servant Margaret to an earthly throne that she might advance your heavenly kingdom, and gave her zeal for your Church and love for your people: Mercifully grant that we who commemorate her this day may be fruitful in good works, and attain to the glorious crown of your saints; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

November 17: Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln [1135 (?) -1200]

Again, from Kiefer [I have included more than usual, as Hugh is not terribly well-known by contemporary Anglicans yet is an important, and rather interesting, character]:

As a sign of his remorse for his role in the murder of the Archbishop Thomas a Becket, King Henry II founded the first house in England of the strict monastic order called the Carthusians. Difficulties arose with the first two priors, and a French noble recommended Hugh de Avalon, who at that time had been a monk at the mother house of the order for 17 years.

On his arrival in England in 1176, Hugh found that the building of the monastery had not begun. Worse, no compensation had been paid to those who would have to lose their lands and property to make room for it. Hugh refused to take office until these persons had been paid "to the last penny." He intervened again on behalf of the builders, whose pay was not forthcoming.  Henry loved him for his plain speaking. "I do not despair of you," Hugh said to him at their first interview; "I know how much your many occupations interfere with the health of your soul." Henry, impressed by his frankness, swore that while he lived he should not leave his kingdom, and took so much pleasure in his conversation, and paid so much heed to his counsels, that a rumor arose that Hugh was his son. Hugh's biographer wrote that "of all men only Hugh could bend that rhinosceros to his will."  
When Henry was in danger of shipwreck, he cried out, "If only my Carthusian Hugh were awake and at prayer, God would not forget me."  This affection never diminished, though Hugh dared to oppose the king, particularly in the matter of keeping bishoprics vacant in order that their revenues might fall to the king's treasury.  
One of the worst examples was Lincoln, which, except for a few months, had been without a bishop for eighteen years. Hugh was elected to the post in 1186, and his monastic superiors ordered him to accept. After so long a period of neglect, there was great need of reform. Hugh employed priests of great piety and learning, and made the fullest use of his authority in disciplining his clergy.  
He took a stern view of the ill-treatment of the poor by the royal foresters, and when a subject of the church of Lincoln suffered at their hands he excommunicated their chief.  He also refused to appoint a royal favorite to a meaningless but lucrative post. Henry was furious, and summoned him to his presence. He came, and Henry turned away his face and would not speak, but by way of ignoring his presence took out a torn glove and began to sew it. At last Hugh said, "How like you are to your relations at Falaise." The king might have resented this allusion to the humble birth of William the Conqueror's mother, the daughter of a glove-maker, but he only laughed, and the quarrel was made up.       
Riots against the Jews broke out in England at the time of the Third Crusade. In defence of the persecuted, Hugh faced armed mobs in Lincoln, Stamford and Northampton and compelled their submission.  Hugh refused to raise money for the foreign wars of King Richard the Lion-Heart, calmed the king's rage with a kiss, and persisted in his refusal: this was the first clear example on record of the refusal of a money-grant demanded directly by the crown, and an important legal precedent. Richard said, "If all bishops were like my lord of Lincoln, not a prince among us could raise his head against them."  
His relations with King John were less happy. John showed him an amulet, which he said was sacred and would preserve him. Hugh replied, "Do not put your trust in lifeless stone, but only in the living and heavenly stone, our Lord Jesus Christ." The following Easter he preached at length on the duties of kings, and the king slipped out partway through.   
Devout, tireless, and forgetful of self, Hugh also had wit, a temper that he described as "more biting than pepper," and a great love and concern for children and the defenceless. He visited leper-houses and washed the ulcerous limbs of their inmates.  He was fond of animals, and they of him. Birds and squirrels came readily to his hand. He had a swan that would feed from his hand, follow him about, and keep guard over his bed, so that no one could approach it without being attacked.       
In 1200 the king sent him on an embassy to France. His mission was a success, but he took ill and returned to England to die on 16 November 1200. John Ruskin called him "the most beautiful sacerdotal (priestly) figure known to me in history."
O holy God, you endowed your servant and bishop Hugh of Lincoln with wise and cheerful boldness, and taught him to commend the discipline of holy life to kings and princes: Grant that we also, rejoicing in the Good News of your mercy, and fearing nothing but the loss of you, may be bold to speak the truth in love, in the name of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday's Church: St. Josef's Chapel, Somewhere In Uruguay

unique churches 1

Unfortunately, I can't find any photos of the interior.  It may be another one of those sites that looks great until you try to sit down.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thursday's Biblical Recipe: Shawandar Bil Laban (Beets with Yogurt and Mint)

8 beets
4 cups cold water
2 cloves whole garlic
1 red onion, chopped
2 cups plain yogurt
¼ cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup fresh mint, chopped

Trim the beets of their greens and place them in a saucepan; cover with cold water and add garlic. Bring water to a boil; reduce heat and simmer until the beets are barely tender. Drain under cold water, reserving the stock; discard garlic, and remove the beet skins. Let cool to the touch. Cut beets into fourths and place in a serving dish. Sprinkle with chopped onion. Beat the yogurt and sour cream till smooth. Add 2–3 tsp. of the beet stock into the mixture; then pour in all the remaining stock. Flavor with bit of salt and pepper, and top with fresh mint. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

This Makes Me Feel Better About My Recent Visit To Maggie McFly's

Even critics get poor treatment at restaurants

Actually, I Don't Feel That Much Safer

Cops Subject Man To Rectal Searches, Enemas And A Colonoscopy In Futile Effort To Find Drugs They Swear He Was Hiding

Modern Marriage

A Wisconsin man was arrested early today after zapping his wife with a stun gun after winning a bet with her on last night’s "Monday Night Football" contest, police report.

I Feel Safer Already

Cantaloupe designated acting police chief

More And More Often....

Abused, avoided and ultimately abandoned by the very churches they serve, pastors of mainstream denominations globally are being driven out of ministry forever. BETRAYED uncovers the growing issue of unchecked bullying against consecrated men and women working in approximately 50% of faith communities throughout the world. Bullying in the church and proposed solutions are examined and discussed by pastors of multiple denominations, their families, theologians, psychologists, lawyers, sociologists and church historians.

If you wish to know why this is amusing, look up "Guy Fawkes" and "Recusancy".  Fawkes' parents, you see, were Recusant Catholics of the 16th century.  Or, if history bores you, ignore the whole thing.

This Would Relate To The As-Yet-Unwritten Article "Why Men Don't Go To Church"

Why Men Don't Read: How Publishing is Alienating Half the Population

I'd Be All For This Save For A Caveat Or Two

1.  Every decade a "new" type of pastor presents himself or herself, and that presentation always seems more "me" oriented than Christ-centered ["Look at me, I have tattoos...."], and

2.  This article appears in the Washington Post's "Style" section, where the most transient of affluent Caucasian interests are recorded. 

Foulmouthed articulation of Christianity speaks to fed-up believers

In my experience, the so-called "fed-up believers" are always fed-up and not just about church matters, they will come once or twice or for a few months, then leave and never donate either time or treasure to the work of the congregation.  In their eyes, their donation to the world is their pose of "fed-up-ness".

Wednesday's Art: "Christ Healing the Blind" by Sadao Watanabe

Monday, November 4, 2013

No Kidding

The Myth of Americans' Poor Life Expectancy

American Feminism Reaches Full Flower

Woman Admits She Uses Guys for Expensive Meals at Nice Restaurants

Best quote: "Men should feel honored by this open invitation to date me."

Yeah, I'm sure you're a brilliant conversationalist.

I Feel Even Safer Now

So, a "blank looking" man who was judged by a witness to be "dressed funny" and carrying either a "gun or a knife" [because they look almost exactly the same] causes an entire university to shut down, panics a collection of students and their parents, and who gets anxious law enforcement and emergency services officials aroused, turns out to have been unarmed and returning to campus after what may have been the nation's longest Halloween party.

I get a sense of disappointment from the governor's statement, as it really would have been his chance to chest-thump again, not to mention from the local media who allotted 80% of their air time to inform us of this non-story story.

I Forgot How Much Fun Local Police Reports Can Be

7:30 a.m. A Pepsi dispenser was abused on Highway 35 in Bigfork.

Lunenburg, Nova Scotia

There's also a really good place here to get steamed mussels.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Ignore The Headline. This Is Actually An Interesting Exploration On New Ways Of "Doing" Church.

To Stave Off Decline, Churches Attract New Members With Beer

Between Princeton And Cleveland, This Has Been A Great Weekend For Footer. Er, Football.

It Is Remarkable. I Even Hear Of The Wonders Of Marx From Fellow Clergy, Who Are Among The Most Coddled Class In Society

UK Telegraph:

I can't quite believe that I've just sat through ten minutes of BBC television in which British journalists Owen Jones and Zoe Williams have defended Karl Marx as the prophet of the End of Capitalism. Unbelievable because I had thought Marxism was over with the fall of the Berlin Wall – when we discovered that socialism was one part bloodshed, one part farce. But unbelievable also because you'd have to be a pretty lacking in moral sensitivity to defend a thinker whose work sent millions of people to an early grave. 

I don't want to have to rehearse the numbers but, apparently, they're not being taught in schools anymore – so here goes. Sixty-five million were murdered in China – starved, hounded to suicide, shot as class traitors. Twenty million in the USSR, 2 million in North Korea, 1.7 million in Africa. The nightmare of Cambodia (2 million dead) is especially vivid. "Reactionaries" were sorted out from the base population on the grounds of being supporters of the old regime, having gone to school or just for wearing glasses. They were taken to the side of paddy fields and hacked to death by teenagers.

This Week's Lesser Feast Days

November 6: William Temple [1881-1944]

He was half-blind nearly from birth, which meant he had to read books and other materials so carefully that he memorized them.  He was half-lame, so he had to overcome pain and discomfort in order to take part in the normal activities of his profession.  He believed that the best theological explorations were made by those not explicitly exploring theology, hence he was devoted to "secular" poetry and music.  It seems remarkable in retrospect that, in the rather staid days of early 20th century Anglicanism, such a man could become a bishop.

Temple was ordained a priest in 1910, but served in a variety of positions in both academia and secular society.  He was well-known as, of all things, a labor negotiator, especially on behalf of the coal mining industry in England.  In recognition, he was appointed Bishop of Manchester in 1921.

There is a remarkable moment in his career, in about his tenth year as bishop, when he was leading a revival meeting [Yes, we have those.  It's surprising to some how rich is our tradition.].  He asked the congregation to pause in singing the hymn "When I survey the wondrous cross" and asked them to softly speak the final stanza, but only if they truly wanted to know Jesus better than they did.  Almost two thousand people whispered

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were an offering far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

It is recognized as one of the great moments in Anglican history, as it was meaningful not only to those present but to all who heard the tale.  Whispered hymns became rather popular for a time because of this.

When the Germans were bombing Britain, and the Church of England needed a new Archbishop of Canterbury, it was Temple who was appointed.  The health problems that vexed him since childhood were exacerbated by the demands of his office in wartime, and he died just two years later.  Despite this, he is recognized by quite a few as the greatest Archbishop of the 20th century as he balanced liturgical action with social action and tempered the voices of vengeance in his own society.

O God of light and love, you illumined your Church through the witness of your servant William Temple: Inspire us, we pray, by his teaching and example, that we may rejoice with courage, confidence, and faith in the Word made flesh, and may be led to establish that city which has justice for its foundation and love for its law; through Jesus Christ, the light of the world, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

November 7: Willibrord of Utrecht [658-739]

Willibroard was one of the earliest of the Celtic Christian missionaries not to be sent to the wild reaches of the British Isles, but to the countries that are now the Netherlands and Denmark.  He is noted on the calendar as he marks the relationship between these cultures in their pilgrimage from paganism to Christianity.

O Lord our God, you call whom you will and send them where you choose: We thank you for sending your servant Willibrord to be an apostle to the Low Countries, to turn them from the worship of idols to serve you, the living God; and we entreat you to preserve us from the temptation to exchange the perfect freedom of your service for servitude to false gods and to idols of our own devising; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen

Saturday, November 2, 2013

This Is An Actual Political Ad. I'm Not Commenting On Health Care, Just Wondering If, Judging By His Audience, The President Is Suddenly Radioactive.

Embedded image permalink
That is a seriously weird photograph. 

I Spent A Year Living Next To Brown University, So This Doesn't Surprise Me. At Least The Speaker Was Paid In Advance.

The Brown protesters disgraced themselves and their school in silencing a selfless public servant who has done more in twelve years for New York's poorest neighborhoods than decades of the big government redistribution programs that the Brown hecklers most certainly support. Their behavior represents a failure of civic education and of basic manners, which Brown has apparently failed to correct. (Brown's president Christina Paxson rightly denounced the protesters' silencing of Kelly; too bad there was not adequate security to remove the hecklers before Kelly was so brutishly humiliated.) If the protesters' idea of policing takes hold, however, they better figure out a way to stay indefinitely in the safe bubble of their Providence campus. 

You should have heard what the Brown students had to say about Christianity.  Of course, they haven't had a real Episcopal chaplain in nearly fifty years.

A Generation That Was Not Taught History

It may be little more than a blip on Washington’s radar screen, but President Obama’s decision to be a no-show at an upcoming ceremony to mark the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address has touched off a firestorm in Pennsylvania.

Let's See. High Cost Of Living? Oppressive Small Business Regs? Excessive Zoning? Restrictive Land Use?

Why are Americans fleeing the Northeast?

This is a rather direct problem for me as fewer residents means fewer parishioners.

For example, this could never, ever happen in the contemporary United States:

Estonia has probably the most joined up digital government in the world. Its citizens can complete just about every municipal or state service online and in minutes. You can formally register a company and start trading within 18 minutes, all of it from a coffee shop in the town square.

I Feel Much More Secure

Police smell meth, raid home, kill 80-year-old man, find no meth

You Learn Something New Every Week On The Coracle

13 Nutrition Lies That Made The World Sick And Fat

That Fascist "Spring Forward, Fall Back" Nonsense Is With Us Again

Here's something from National Geographic that explains why we shouldn't have this church attendance-wrecking artificial manipulation of time.

Changing our clocks twice a year doesn't save us energy or money, experts say.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Like Other Post-Modern Definitions, That Of "Valor" Is Also Getting Stretched

Police officer shoots unarmed man for having "a blank look" and bad hair; is given an award for valor. 

More And More Often....

Kenyan Pastors Ask for AK-47s Amid Radical Muslim Persecution

This Month's News From The Rector

The First Thursday’s group will meet this month with a continuation of our look at how the elaborate and advanced highway system of the Roman Empire enabled Christianity to grow and thrive as quickly as it did.  We hope to view a video on the travels of St. Paul.  See you at 7pm on November 7th.

I am deeply grateful to the Confirmation class of Christ Church for the effort they fulfilled in anticipation of this sacramental achievement and their very real and important spiritual work in light of all that the Children’s Ministries’ program has experienced this year.  I am especially grateful to Melissa and to the parents who ensured that their children were involved.

Now, I would like the young people to do something with this holy calling, and I would ask their parents to lend a hand, as well.  I don’t expect active young people to be satisfied with simply sitting in church from time to time; I do call on them and their families to build with me some activities that will be of support to those in our community and to the Confirmands own sense of community.  If I could do this on my own, I would, but I really need the participation of the families.

Also, I’d like to see at least one or two of those young people courageous enough to serve at the altar as a sacred minister.  This, too, is an appropriate exercise in their new authority.  This, too, requires some parental support.

Speaking of service to the parish, we will have three open positions on the vestry as of the annual meeting in January.  If anyone is interested in serving, please notify either the rector or Carol Stearns, the senior warden.

Christ Church is a member of the Danbury Deanery of the Diocese of Connecticut.  Each year we host one of the monthly meetings, providing some light fare and a brief program.  This year’s meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 3rd beginning at 6pm.  It is open to all members of the parish and, if there is something you would like to see presented, please let either the rector or our deanery representatives, Christine Meyer and Barbara Dratch, know.

What’s the most interesting feast day of the month, you ask?  There are quite a few, from All Saints’ Day to that commemorating the Consecration of Samuel Seabury, the very first bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States, whose election was held at Glebe House in nearby Woodbury.  However, the newest on the calendar is that of Clive Staples Lewis on the 24th.  In addition to serving as a professor at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities, C.S. Lewis was the author of a great number of books expressing Christian themes, notably The Chronicles of Narnia.  In addition, he nimbly expressed for adults what is special about the Christian life in a manner that is accessible to even the most difficult of personality [that is, the intellectual].  A great many sources about his life and work are available both online and at the local libraries.  He is often quoted on The Coracle, too.

O God of searing truth and surpassing beauty, we give you thanks for Clive Staples Lewis, whose sanctified imagination lights fires of faith in young and old alike. Surprise us also with your joy and draw us into that new and abundant life which is ours in Christ Jesus, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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.

Friday's Church: All Saints' Chapel, Martinho, Campos, Brazil