Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Challenge to the Larger Church

Does your "manner of life present a challenge to the larger church?" I hope so.

Think about it: a challenge to love your neighbor as yourself, a challenge to put an end to intolerance and discrimination, a challenge to stand up for justice no matter what the cost.

I'm going to try. What if all bloggers included this phrase in our titles:

"My Manner of Life Represents a Challenge to the Larger Church"

What if we all bought a "Manner of Life" button or a t-Shirt at the Republic of Dogs and wear it proudly?

And sing it, proudly: "My manner of life presents a challenge to the larger church"

 "You know, if one person, just one person does it they may think he's really sick.  And if two people, two people do it, in harmony,
they may think they're both faggots... And three people do it, three, can you imagine, three people walking in singin a bar of "My Manner of Life" and walking out. They may think it's an
organization. And can you, can you imagine fifty people a day, I said, fifty people a day walking in singin a bar of "My Manner of Life"
and walking out. And friends they may thinks it's a movement."

And that's what it is, the "My Manner of Life" Anti-Intolerance Movement, and all you got to do to join is sing it the next time it come's around on the
guitar. With feeling.

Let's do it.

(apologies to Arlo Guthrie for the liberties)

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Season of Fasting

From our Presiding Bishop's reflection:

"Each party in this conflict is asked to consider the good faith of the other, to consider that the weakness or sensitivity of the other is of significant import, and therefore to fast, or 'refrain from eating meat,' for a season. Each is asked to discipline itself for the sake of the greater whole, and the mission that is only possible when the community maintains its integrity."

And so our GLBT brothers and sisters are being asked to fast, nay, to continue to fast, from inclusion in the life of the Church. How long before their souls are so starved that they have not the strength to presevere?

What fasting, what discipline shall we see from the "other party"?

Refraining from an uncritical, ahistorical, literalist, blinkered interpretation of the Bible?
Giving up discrimination against fellow Christians?
Empying their plate of prejudice?
Pushing themselves away from the table of exclusion?
Starving their obsession with other people's bedroom activities?

I wonder.

I cannot say it any better than Brother Causticus has at titusoneten: Under the Ecclesiatical Bus:

"While BC desires Christian harmony the wide world round, he is not willing to barter the lives of those he loves who have been examples of grace, charity, and a commitment to follow Christ at whatever cost and throw them under the ecclesiastical bus of power and control for the sake of a 'unity' founded upon a common commitment to exclusion."

Amen, brother.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Preparing for Lent: Eating to Live

Anyone recognize themselves in the following?
"Lenten discipline: beginning tomorrow,
I will fast every Wednesday and Friday.
Not a morsel of chocolate passes my lips during Lent
I will give up wine, beer, and Hellman's mayonnaise...

I will eat only a vegetarian diet
I will drink my coffee black...

I will refrain from eating potato chips, granola bars, cheese puffs, cookies, cakes, pastries, donuts, pretzels, crackers, hard candies, cheese, salsa, pickles, olives, shrimp, crab, wontons, egg rolls, burritos, marinated artichoke hearts, vegetables beginning with the letter "A," and all condiments.

I will only have bread and water

I will subsist on the Host alone...."

And by this time, we have created a level of expectation that no mortal can follow, a recipe for failure, and subsequent guilt. The obsession in giving up often becomes bigger than the giving up itself, and the time and energy devoted towards The Sacrifice takes you away from the goal of the sacrifice: to draw closer to God. Or so it has been in my experience.

So this Lent the goal of my fasting discipline will be simple: Eat to Live, not Live to Eat.

If I can only follow sincerely this simple dictum, I will have made a change in my philosophy that will be far more effective than the mere excision of a food (or drink) from my daily diet. It will, I hope, put me in sympathy with those millions who never ask, "What do you want for dinner" but rather, "Will there be dinner tonight?"

Oh--and I will cut out chocolate..and fast every Wednesday and Friday..and eat only beans and rice...


Preparing for Lent: Reading the Church Fathers

Here's a great idea for Lenten reading that I am planning on doing: reading some of the Church Fathers. The site also has a PDF file that you can download with the texts included.

Shrove Tuesday Quote for the day

The Lake Isle at Innisfree

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the mourning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

W. B. Yeats

Monday, February 19, 2007

Grandmère Mimi's Red Beans and Rice

The one, the original:

"1 pound of CAMELLIA red beans
1 ham steak cut into chunks
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 whole bay leaf
Chopped parsley, whatever amount looks right when you throw it in the pot - 1 tbsp, 2tbsp, who knows?
Salt and pepper to taste
Several dashes of Tabasco Sauce - maybe 5 or 6 or more - who counts?
10 cups of water, or whatever looks right in the pot.

Bring to boil and cook on low heat for 2 hours or until beans are soft, but not falling apart and turning into mush, stirring and adding water, if needed. Serve over cooked rice of your choice. We're not picky about the rice brand.

In the ancient days of yore, before we worried about cholesterol and clogged arteries, I used ham bones or ham hocks with meat (and lots of fat) left on them. As a bow to healthy eating and lower fat content, I switched to ham steaks, which are leaner than the bones and the hocks. I confess that you pay a price in taste. That old cooking was all about fat, and that's part of what made it delicious. "

As posted by Grandmère Mimi herself on Mad Priest's website in December 2006...She also notes: "Oh, and it's a Monday dish. Monday was wash day, an all-day affair in the olden times, and you could put the beans on and let them simmer while you did your wash. Tradition, as those of us in the Anglican Communion well know, is everything."

All very well and good, but don't the beans get the clothes all smudgey?

I am working on a vegetarian version for Fridays.

Feast-Day of St. Odran

Quote for the day:

"Have some wine," said the March Hare in an encouraging tone.
Alice looked all round the table but there was nothing on it but tea. "I don't see any wine" she remarked.
"There isn't any" said the March Hare.

Journeys End in Vergers Meeting?

The exceedingly glad tidings have reached us that the redoubtable Brother Causticus and his party are safe and sound! I cannot express the joy that this news has given me, except to quote:
"O wonderful, wonderful, and most wonderful wonderful! and yet again
wonderful, and after that, out of all whooping!"
(Shakespeare, As You Like It, III ii 201-202)
He shall have adventures to tell...*

*According to the American Heritage Book of English Usage, 1.56, using shall with a subject in the second or third person expresses "determination, promise, obligation, or permission, depending on the context."

Quote for the Day

"But one has to make some sort of choice," said Harriet. "And between one desire and another, how is one to know which things are really of overmastering importance?"
"We can only know that," said Miss De Vine, "when they have overmastered us."

Dorothy Sayers, Gaudy Night

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Prayer of St. Columba

Quote for the Day:

Let me bless almighty God,
whose power extends over sea and land,
whose angels watch over all.

Let me study sacred books to calm my soul:
I pray for peace,
kneeling at heaven's gates.

Let me do my daily work,
gathering seaweed, catching fish,
giving food to the poor.

Let me say my daily prayers,
sometimes chanting, sometimes quiet,
always thanking God.

Delightful it is to live
on a peaceful isle, in a quiet cell,
serving the King of kings.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Quote for the Day

"How long is the night to the watchman; how long is the road to the weary; how long is the wandering of lives ending in death for the fool who cannot find the path!"

The Dhammapada
trans. J. Mascaró

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Feast-Day of Berach of Cluain Coirpthe

Quote for the Day:

"Marvelous opening moment in fact of the first afternoon I'm left alone in the cabin and I make my first meal, wash my first dishes, nap, and wake up to hear the rapturous ring of silence or Heaven even within and throughout the gurgle of the creek - When you say AM ALONE and the cabin is suddenly home only because you made one meal and washed your firstmeal dishes - Then nightfall, the religious vestal lighting of the beautiful kerosene lamp ...Nightfall, the kerosene lamp casts a glow in the cabin, I go out and pick some ferns like the ferns of the Lankavatara Scripture, those hairnet ferns, "Look sirs, a beautiful hairnet! " - Late afternoon fog pours in over the canyon walls, sweep, cover the sun, it gets cold, even the flies on the porch are as so sad as the fog on the peaks ... And so everything eventually marvelous."

Jack Kerouac, Big Sur

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

"So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move,
‘Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love."

John Donne, A Valediction Forbidding Mourning

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Feast-day of St. Modomnoc

Quote for the Day:

"But what does all this scribbling amount to? What is now scribbled in the heat of the moment one can contemplate with somewhat of satisfaction, but alas! tomorrow–aye, to-night–it is stale flat, and unprofitable,–in fine, is not, only its shell remains..."

Henry David Thoreau, Journal entry, March 5, 1838.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Mr. Boots Crosses the Rainbow Bridge

I just learned from Caminante that Mr. Boots, the valiant cat, has died. I feel very sorry for all the broken hearts over at the Wylie and Mr. Boots Blog. The virtual community of cat-lovers sends our deepest condolences to you, Phyllis. Thank you, Dr. Dan, for your care.

A Joyous Celebration

I joined hundreds of Episcopalians from the Diocese of San Joaquin on Saturday at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church in Lodi to "celebrate and proclaim the love of Christ" and to express our desire to stay in the Episcopal Church. After a joyous Eucharist, we ate lunch and then listened to Bonnie Anderson, who gave an inspiring speech that began simply, "Hello! I am Bonnie Anderson and I am an Episcopalian!"

The cheers went through the roof as we all stood and applauded. Well, almost all of us...

It was a huge surprise when Bishop Schofield showed up! No one expected him to be there, but we all greeted him warmly. (He was one of those that did not stand.) Ms. Anderson looked straight at him and told him firmly that he could NOT take this diocese with him if he left the Episcopal Church.
Above: Marshall Johnston, Senior Warden at Holy Family, greets the Bishop. Left: Ms. Anderson and the Bishop chat after her address.

Most of us from Holy Family Episcopal Church in Fresno came up in a chartered bus; some drove up earlier. We watched a DVD of the investiture of our new presiding bishop during the long drive. Wow. I was deeply moved by her sermon on "Shalom." We had about 45 people there, most of us wearing our baby blue Holy Family T-shirts.

During the question-and-answer period many people got up to say how saddened they were by the Bishop's desire to take the diocese with him. Contrary to what some have claimed, it is not just people from a couple of "liberal" parishes in this diocese. I counted members from at least ten different parishes just from those who got up to speak...

"Don't take away our Diocese!"
This parishioner sat next to the Bishop the whole afternoon and let him know what was on her mind.

On Sunday Ms. Anderson came to Holy Family Church and preached. She came with the Rev. Mary Frances Schjonberg. Ms. Anderson asked our little female acolyte, "Have you ever seen a woman priest before?" The acolyte answered, "No." "Take a good look. You could be a priest too." She was wonderful.

Bonnie Anderson and our clergy before the 10 am service at Holy Family EPISCOPAL Church.

Here is an article from the Lodi News-Sentinel on the Lodi celebration.

ENS has an overview of Bonnie Anderson's visit to Lodi and Fresno here.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Quote for the day

This book, as long-lived as the elements,
Or as the world's form, this all-gravèd tome
In cypher writ, or new made idiom ;
We for Love's clergy only are instruments ;
When this book is made thus,
Should again the ravenous
Vandals and Goths invade us,
Learning were safe ; in this our universe,
Schools might learn sciences, spheres music, angels verse.

John Donne, Valediction to his Book

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Quote for St. Brigit's Day

Celtic Rune of Hospitality
I saw a stranger yestreen;
I put food in the eating place
Drink in the drinking place,
Music in the listening place;
And, in the sacred name of the Triune,
He blessed myself and my house,
My cattle and my dear ones.
And the lark said in her song,
Often, often, often,
Goes the Christ in the stranger's guise:
Often, often, often,
Goes the Christ in the stranger's guise.

We have this in a frame by our door.