Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Well, how about all the stories each Divali that cast doubt on the goddess Lakshmi’s ability to bless her worshipers? No?
Then how about those articles for Eastertime questioning whether Jesus really did rise from the dead?
Ding Ding Ding Ding Ding!
Yep, those come out every year.
[*The trick is to answer their questions in as complicated a manner as possible. They hate that, especially as most of them know little of religion and get confounded by Christian terms.]
Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Now some young men [and women] will pay the price.
An open letter to Asuza Pacific University: "Azusa Pacific’s administration wants to protect you from earnest and nerdy old guys who have opinions that some of your faculty do not share. Ask if this is why you’re getting a college education."
Unfortunately, my guess is that students would say that is exactly why they're getting a college education. After a lifetime of "participation trophies", higher education's latest, and unfamiliar, role is protecting those students from any challenging ideas.
For the time-being, anyway. The political/corporate leaders would prefer us to be under the influence of anything that dulls our senses and keeps us voting and buying "correctly". Christianity is too sensually elevating and insurrectionist to be comfortable to them.
Government, corporations, and unionized education have been in a perverse and ultimately harmful relationship for decades. You know, it's for the good of the children.
The Minnesota professors say that it is in a “spirit of free expression” that they ask for the reversal of Rice’s invitation. Because nothing says free expression like shutting down someone’s lecture.
"The proliferation of paramilitary federal SWAT teams inevitably brings abuses that have nothing to do with either drugs or terrorism. Many of the raids they conduct are against harmless, often innocent, Americans who typically are accused of non-violent civil or administrative violations."
This will get out of control very quickly.
However, it would mean the Church would have to get out of its long-standing relationship with establishment politicians.
Stop dressing so tacky for church.
Yeah, good luck with that, John.
Fortunately, this is a problem I don't have with my congregation; they always look spiffy.
Many years ago, in West Hartford Center, with a popular coffee chain just around the corner from the church, I did used to have some folks who would bring cups in with them for services. Asking people not to bring them in the church was a request that went unheeded. I actually went so far as to have the ushers hand out those clip-on cup holders for cars rather than deal with spilled coffee on the pews, prayer books, hymnals, and other parishioners.
Monday, April 28, 2014
But this respect is difficult to maintain when these institutions will not admit that this is what is going on. Instead, we have the pretense of universality — the insistence that the post-Eich Mozilla is open to all ideas, the invocations of the “spirit of free expression” from a school that’s kicking a controversial speaker off the stage.
And with the pretense, increasingly, comes a dismissive attitude toward those institutions — mostly religious — that do acknowledge their own dogmas and commitments, and ask for the freedom to embody them and live them out...I can live with the progressivism. It’s the lying that gets toxic.
The truth is, my angry e-mailer had good reason to assume I’m not religious. I don’t make a habit of professing my faith in my writing — a reticence I chalk up to denomination and profession. A cradle Episcopalian, I grew up within a tradition that’s notoriously chary of proselytizing; as practitioners of that most mainline of mainline Protestant denominations, we tend to prefer evangelizing through our lives and actions rather than showier protestations.
[P.S. I did something in reaction to this essay that I haven't done for years: I wrote to its author in appreciation. Even more surprising, she wrote back with a very kind note. Must be her Smith College education, or the fact that her college chaplain was once a headmaster for whom I worked.]
Yet now some powerful figures in mental health are claiming to have identified a new disorder that could vastly expand the ranks of young people treated for attention problems. Called sluggish cognitive tempo, the condition is said to be characterized by lethargy, daydreaming and slow mental processing.
Something tells me that the meds will mostly be given to boys. Does no one think that "daydreaming" could be cured by hiring more involved and engaging teachers? Nah, soak the kids' brains in psychotropics, that's much better.
A retired city firefighter who went on to become the head of a specialized team that assisted residents ravaged by disasters died Monday. He was 59. Luis (Pepe) Fragoso, formerly of Ladder 53 in Harlem and Engine 83 in the Bronx, died of a heart attack at his home, according to friend Lt. Rico Diaz.
It is not often noted that, even under ordinary working conditions and with modern safety equipment, firefighters still inhale an awful lot of toxins. Between that and un-addressed issues related to post-traumatic stress reaction, their longevity is often compromised.
Sunday, April 27, 2014
Saturday, April 26, 2014
[Things for which I'm thankful: Guys like this. 100% pure American attitude.]
Friday, April 25, 2014
Almighty Father, who gave your only Son to die for our sins and to rise for our justification: Give us grace so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve you in pureness of living and truth; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
[Things for which I'm thankful: Above is the first comic book I ever bought; Fantastic Four #55. By reading comics I became interested in stories of the "heroic cycle", which lead to reading Greek and Roman myths, then more contemporary literature, then comparative literature, then appreciating opera, then realizing that the archetype of all human endeavor is contained in the life of Jesus and the apostles.
The Marvel Comics Co. helped me generate two Master's theses and a doctoral dissertation; not to mention careers as an English and philosophy teacher, theology professor, and parish priest for over three decades. That is a pretty good return on a 12 cent investment.]
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ's Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by their faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
[Things for which I'm thankful: Dad's 1963 Chevy Nova. It contained the first carburetor I ever took apart, thus beginning my lifelong fascination with engines. Unfortunately, it took a mechanic to put it back together. My dad finally let me near one of his cars again when I was in my 40's.]
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
O God, whose blessed Son made himself known to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
[Things for which I'm thankful: I actually grew up ten minutes away from an amusement park. It was small and a little ratty, but they had the best popcorn balls and hosted many a memorable Sunday afternoon.]
Update: Well, here's a pleasant surprise. The popcorn balls are still made by the same people. They can be ordered here.
"My Mom likes a chef on TV."
"Oh, which one?"
"Emerald the Gassy. He says 'Bam!' a lot."
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
O God, who by the glorious resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light: Grant that we, who have been raised with him, may abide in his presence and rejoice in the hope of eternal glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be dominion and praise for ever and ever. Amen.
[Things for which I'm thankful: Above is Rocky Colavito, the only Cleveland Indian from the 1960's worth talking about, arguing with the ref. Cleveland boys of my generation held Rocky in a veneration usually assigned to Olympians.]
Monday, April 21, 2014
Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that we who celebrate with awe the Paschal feast may be found worthy to attain to everlasting joys; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
[Just as a personal exercise in thankfulness, which is entirely appropriate for Easter Week, I thought I'd illustrate the collects with photos of things for which I'm thankful. It's a rather eclectic collection. Naturally, I'm thankful for family, friends, and the life I've been lucky to experience, but there are some things, innocuous and small, that have also made a difference. For example, that which is captured in the photo above. Anyone who knows me understands.]
Sunday, April 20, 2014
Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours,
Yours are the eyes through which to look out
Christ’s compassion to the world;
Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good;
Yours are the hands with which He is to bless others now.
- Teresa of Avila
O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Saturday, April 19, 2014
New advent of the love of Christ,
Shall we again refuse You,
Till in the night of hate and war
We perish as we lose You?
From old unfaith our souls release
To seek the kingdom of Your peace
By which alone we choose You.
O wounded hands of Jesus, build
In us Your new creation;
Our pride is dust, our vaunt is stilled,
We wait Your revelation.
O Love that triumphs over loss,
We bring our hearts before Your cross;
Come, finish Your salvation.
O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of your dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Friday, April 18, 2014
Almighty God, we pray you graciously to behold this your family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was willing to be betrayed, and given into the hands of sinners, and to suffer death upon the cross; who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Thursday, April 17, 2014
"You can't change the shape of a wave; you can only ride it. Now, choose your wave and surf it. Surf it until you fall or until the sand crunches under the board's nose."
Almighty Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, instituted the Sacrament of his Body and Blood: Mercifully grant that we may receive it thankfully in remembrance of Jesus Christ our Lord, who in these holy mysteries gives us a pledge of eternal life; and who now lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
“If I am mistaken, that means that I exist.” —
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Monday, April 14, 2014
Almighty God, whose most dear Son went not up to joy but first he suffered pain, and entered not into glory before he was crucified: Mercifully grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Sunday, April 13, 2014
Almighty and everliving God, in your tender love for the human race you sent your Son our Savior Jesus Christ to take upon him our nature, and to suffer death upon the cross, giving us the example of his great humility: Mercifully grant that we may walk in the way of his suffering, and also share in his resurrection; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Friday, April 11, 2014
Palm Sunday: Holy Eucharist at 8am; Eucharist with the Great Procession at 10am. [Remember to meet in the parish house at 10am.]
Holy Wednesday: 7:00pm Silent Communion
Maundy Thursday: 7:30pm Proper Liturgy including the Stripping of the Altar.
Good Friday: Stations of the Cross at Noon; the Proper Liturgy at 7:00pm.
Holy Saturday: 7:00 pm The Great Vigil of Easter.
Easter Sunday: Music and Celebration at both 8am and 10:00am.
"There is no one so uncivilized, and of such a crude disposition, that, raising his eyes to heaven, he does not understand from the very magnitude of the objects, from their motion, arrangement, constancy, usefulness, beauty, and temperament, that there is some providence — though he does not know by what god’s providence all the visible universe is governed." —Lactantius
Thursday, April 10, 2014
For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction:
China denies church ‘demolition campaign’ but says Christianity’s growth ‘excessive’
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Because Of The Size Of The Old, Lamented Stadium, This Was Necessary. Now, A Sorely Missed Bit Of Trivia.
by Gerard Manley Hopkins
To Christ our Lord
I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!
Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! and the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!
No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
I've been saying this for years and the Episcopal Church still is stubbornly locked in conversations about social justice issues that were fresh in the 1980's.
Speaking of foot washing, we will be doing so on Maundy Thursday.
Why is it always boys who are punished in this manner?
And these people weren't even on the team. Imagine if they had lost.
While I wasn't surprised to discover that the 20-something physical therapist didn't get the reference, neither did a 40-something nurse or an 80-something relative. So much for Hollywood's "King of Cool".
Oh, and he founded the Church of the Holy Communion in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. The congregation could no longer support the parish as of the 1980's, so it was sold by the Diocese of New York. It then became the rather notorious Limelight nightclub and is now, I'm told, a mini-mall. God help us. So, in a way, Muhlenberg may also be credited with helping to create the now-infamous nightclub scene of thirty years ago. Not a bad legacy, really.
Here's a photo of the Episcopal Church's King of Cool and, by extension, nightclub progenitor:
Monday, April 7, 2014
1. The instruments are played by humans, rather than sounds that are artificially re-created by computers.
2. The voices are natural, rather than corrected by computers. Additionally, if one attends a country music concert, there is no lip-syncing.
There are many statistical disparities between the sexes in our world, but only some become the subject of widespread concern. Ones that are perceived as favoring men are labeled “gaps,” while those that favor women are simply facts. Outside the workplace, men are arguably disadvantaged in a variety of arenas, whether in terms of health and longevity, crime and violence, domestic relations, or education. In the workplace, men are far more likely than women to be killed and to work long hours. None of these disparities is generally viewed as a “gap” deserving of intervention, however. Men earn a disproportionate number of Ph.Ds in some fields, while women earn a disproportionate number in others. Only the former set of disparities, however, is typically viewed as a “gap.”
Sunday, April 6, 2014
"Take almost any path you please, and ten to one it carries you down in a dale, and leaves you there by a pool in the stream. There is magic in it. Let the most absent-minded of men be plunged in his deepest reveries--stand that man on his legs, set his feet a-going, and he will infallibly lead you to water, if water there be in all that region. Should you ever be athirst in the great American desert, try this experiment, if your caravan happen to be supplied with a metaphysical professor. Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded forever." -Herman Melville
Saturday, April 5, 2014
Friday, April 4, 2014
"Former Church of Ireland Dean of Belfast, the Rev Dr Houston McKelvey, who spent two years at Trinity, said: “The irony of a college dedicated to the Holy and Undivided Trinity being reluctant to have a Bible on its crest is beyond even the celebrated Dean Jonathan Swift’s satirical capability.” Other Church of Ireland clergy, including Cork bishop Paul Colton, criticised the Trinity board for failure to consult and its disregard for the foundation of a college as a place to train Anglican clergy, and also the contribution of Anglican scholarship to the college."
I remember being on a tour at another Trinity College, the one in Hartford, and listening to the very sincere student tour guide telling me with great seriousness about how the college was never really a religious institution, all while standing below the college shield and crest which features a miter and crosier. Their motto, in English, reads "For Church and Country". All of that student loan debt accrued just to create another ill-informed non-believer.
Freedom of speech is in a bad way.
I think we should begin to re-learn the word "Gleichschaltung". I have a feeling it will be a societal theme for awhile.
A Moment Of Nostalgia: Every Friday At 6pm, WMMS-FM In Cleveland Would Play This To Usher In The Weekend
I miss those days, as I was working at another radio station in a neighboring market. While I had the Friday midnight to 6am shift, and was rarely on the air during the afternoon drive time, on the few occasions when I subbed for the regular DJ, I would play this as my weekend starter, albeit at 5pm instead of 6pm:
Thursday, April 3, 2014
Queen Elizabeth meets Pope Francis
Two people surrounded by opulence and the weight of historical responsibility, yet ever humble.
Looks like we forgot a sorta important part.
At least such a thing would never happen in Connecticut. Er, oops.
Also this, from University of Tennessee law professor, Glenn Reynolds:
"I love the way they always try to turn the expression of ideas they don’t like into some sort of security threat."
I have been amused for some time at how the "free-thinking" and "open-mindedness" of the university has begun to resemble more and more a totalitarian regime, with "free-speech zones" and students referred to psychological treatment when they ask difficult questions. Actually, my amusement is beginning to dissipate as I see what the graduates of such institutions are doing to our societal fabric.
By the way, he now lives here and is known as Baron Williams of Oystermouth. [Well, la-de-da.]
But, rest assured, all is well. Right, general?
“The single biggest frustration I've had in this job is the perception that somehow there is religious persecution inside the United States Air Force,” the general told lawmakers. “It is not true.”
The one who wasn't had abruptly quit taking them after a near-lifetime of usage.
All I have heard from colleagues and general know-it-alls is that no guns means no problems. Yet, they continue willfully to ignore what is the obvious cause of this type of violent behavior. Such deliberation is even more remarkable to me as we live in a state that has cut its mental health treatment budget by 75% over the last twenty years. Meds are cheaper than health care professionals, I guess.
Instead of organizing a 5K run to shovel money to yet another vague, Newtown-related charity, perhaps we could boost awareness of the issue of mental illness; or at least raise money for its address. I would rather that no one ever again have to live the life, and know the death, of Adam Lanza's mother.
Still interested? Have a peek at this: Psychiatric Drugs & Violence—The Facts
...The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks:
The long day wanes: the slow moon climbs: the deep
Moans round with many voices. Come, my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew
Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. - from Ulysses, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
"The late Christopher Hitchens famously declared that religion poisons everything, but for someone of surpassing intelligence, the statement is an embarrassment. It conflates all religions and it’s an overly broad generalization. To refute it you need but show that religion is good for something. You might even demonstrate that the irreligious among us are handing out their own mental poison.
If we ask what religion has done for anyone lately, Byron Johnson and Maria Pagano respond that, in the world of drug and alcohol abuse, it offers distinct and measurable benefits."
Hitchens was a drunk and, like many drunks, saw that removing himself from a worshiping community and putting on the chasuble of "atheist" not only permitted him to indulge in the god of inebriation, but gave him a nice market niche for his well-compensated writings, public speeches and television appearances.
I'm living in 5th century Rome.
Oh, look: The campus has a "free speech zone". How progressive of them:
"Yet school officials told Parks his actions violated the Student Code of Conduct and a Virginia Community College System policy that requires students to be part of a student organization before he or she can speak in open areas of a campus. In addition, students can only speak in campus areas college officials approve ahead of time, and they must register with officials four days in advance, according to the policy."
I don't know why it is so difficult, again, for college and university people to get this, but the entire United States is a free speech zone, even when that speech is about Jesus, who is anathema on most campuses. When did higher education become the new Sanhedrin?
I GIVE you the end of a golden string;
Only wind it into a ball,
It will lead you in at Heaven’s gate,
Built in Jerusalem’s wall.…
England! awake! awake! awake!
Jerusalem thy sister calls!
Why wilt thou sleep the sleep of death,
And close her from thy ancient walls?
Thy hills and valleys felt her feet
Gently upon their bosoms move:
Thy gates beheld sweet Zion’s ways;
Then was a time of joy and love.
And now the time returns again:
Our souls exult, and London’s towers
Receive the Lamb of God to dwell
In England’s green and pleasant bowers.
"It is one thing for the living water to descend from Christ into the heart, and another thing how--when it has descended--it moves the heart to worship. All power of worship in the soul is the result of the waters flowing into it, and their flowing back again to God."
- G.V. Wigram
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Government can never be God. Or even god.
Crucifixion? Certainly other cultures – most notably, of course, the ancient Romans – have carried out this monstrous punishment on Christians (and others). But, student of the Middle Ages that I once was, I never heard of Christians perpetrating it themselves, even in the heart of the aptly-named Dark Ages, a particularly savage time in European history (not that human savagery has abated that much). Considering that Christ’s torturous death on the cross is at the very heart of the religion, it doesn’t even make theological sense that believers would turn around and inflict it themselves. That’s not to say that the Church throughout history hasn’t been guilty of other cruelties. But crucifixion?
From the same article:
"This is disappointing but predictable treatment of Christians onscreen. In a recent article (written prior to the crucifixion episode) entitled 'Vikings: A TV Series – and World? – Without Real Christians,' my friend Steve Pauwels urged the filmmakers to move beyond anti-Christian clichés. If they 'really wanted to take the innovative route,' Pauwels wrote, 'they’d feature an occasional Christian character who modeled strength of spirit and integrity.'"
Nah, that would be original. And accurate. That's no longer permitted in Hollywood.
As Coach Berry Used To Tell Us, "You Don't Lose By Getting Knocked Down. You Lose When You Don't Get Up."
Coach Berry would then bust a chair with his hand and tell us to get back out there. He was great.
A clerk in Boston’s Inspectional Services Department is accused of moonlighting as a bank robber — allegedly twice hitting up the same Quincy branch with notes pleading: “I am desperate” — and yet was promoted to code enforcer after being charged, the Herald has learned.
Still, you have to admire his style.
This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,
Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes,
Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between
Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes.
I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration
Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze
Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration,
Faces of people streaming across my gaze.
And I, what fountain of fire am I among
This leaping combustion of spring?
My spirit is tossed About like a shadow buffeted in the throng
Of flames, a shadow that's gone astray, and is lost.