Thursday, November 29, 2007

San Joaquin Diocesan Convention is coming up

Our Diocesan convention is a week away. As a delegate, I must admit I am not looking forward to it at all. It is most likely that the second vote on the constitutional changes will pass by a large majority.

And so those of us who do not want to abandon our Church wait for the vote that will put us in no-man's land--not wishing to "leave" with the rest of the diocese (as if they could actually vote to remove an Episcopal Diocese out of the Episcopal Church) and not knowing how soon, if at all, the National Church will act to place some sort of presence here.

I feel two main emotions: sadness and frustration.

I'm sad because my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ no longer feel that they can worship with us.

I'm sad because our Bishop, who is supposed to visit all of his parishes, never visited Holy Family, although we repeatedly asked him when he was going to come.

I'm sad because when the vote passes, everyone around me will be rejoicing. I will not be.

I'm sad because my fellow Episcopalian professor now calls herself an Anglican, and there is now an unspoken barrier between us.

I'm frustrated by people who know little or nothing about the history of the Bible and the transmission of texts speaking of the "faith once delivered" as set in stone (as if it were some sort of moldy archaeological artifact!)

I'm frustrated because my theology is just as orthodox as theirs is, and in most areas certainly more Anglo-Catholic, and I'm getting tired of being labeled a heretic. The bishop said in a recent interview with our local ABC news affiliate that the Episcopal Church has "abandoned much of the Bible and its ethical teachings." This is, in a word, poppycock. I'm so tired of this refrain, "you disagree with me, therefore you're a heretic..."

The Bishop has said time and again that those of us who do not want to leave (although he puts it as those of us who want to "leave the diocese") will be allowed to do so, and he will not take our property. I want to think he is a man of his word.

In his pastoral letter, he states:

"Should the second reading of the Constitutional changes receive the necessary two thirds of each order voting affirmatively next month, this will mean that the Diocese is free to accept the invitation of the Province of the Southern Cone."

He also says that it may not be permanent--that (citing the old invalid comparison to the Dioceses of Southern States during the Civil War) if the Episcopal Church repents, the Diocese may return. Hmm. Don't hold your breath.

Already chinks in the armor have begun to show, and the vote may not be as overwhelming as last year's first vote. I have to be honest, though, if the vote doesn't pass, we'll still be in the same position of Limbo, with a Bishop who no longer wishes to pastor us, and we will continue to endure the same misery. Let's end this now and get back to our true mission--the Great Commission.

We could all use your prayers Friday and Saturday next.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Goodbye, Sneakaround Jones

Sneakaround Jones died this evening.

We were out today "getting and spending" as the poet says. In a lull during cooking dinner I went to check on Sneakaround Jones. He was sitting in the litter box--he's never done that before. I lifted him out and put him on the bed. I could tell something was wrong. He seemed weak and his legs looked very odd. This was about 8:00.

I took him in the blanket out to the couch and told Liam that there was something wrong with Sneakaround. We laid him on the couch, wrapped in the blanket. He was still purring. Over the next hour he became progressively worse. I called the Shabazz-man and got his service. I left a message to call, that we may need him to come out.

Soon it became apparent that Sneakaround was failing fast. We told him that it was ok--he could go to sleep and that we would see him soon. We kept vigil.

For the most part he seemed very weak although at one point he tried to get up. His breathing became very labored. Liam had to walk Grendel and so I told him that Sneakaround would wait till he got back. When Liam brought Grendel back, I could see that Sneakaround was laboring. I called Liam. We forgot about dinner.

We sat on the couch and cradled him for about an hour. He died in our arms. He did not seem to be in pain. He gave a couple of deep breaths and then he left.

We said goodbye and wrapped him in the blanket. We brought the other cats to say goodbye too, so they would not wonder what happened.
Then we put him, still wrapped in the blanket, in a cardboard box, and Liam brought him out to the garage. We'll take him tomorrow to the SPCA to be cremated.

He was a good cat.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sneakaround Jones is sick

We're not exactly sure what is wrong, but the vet (The Shabazz-Man) thinks it may be bladder cancer. Sneakaround has always been plagued by bladder infections, but lately it has gotten worse. We have tried antibiotics and steroids and anti-spasmodic medicine...nothing seems to help. But he seems in good spirits and he's not in pain that we can tell--his quality of life is still good. But soon we may have to make a difficult decision.

I've never loved any cat this much--Sneakaround is special. Dog-like in his affections, a real people-lover. He sits next to me as I type, purring away. Hi ssoft snoring on the couch is the most comforting sound in the world. He is about 13 years old as far as we can tell-he and his brother Bertie Wooster were brought to us by Jean the Cat Lady when I was still in graduate school at Bryn Mawr. He's already been through at least nine lives--operations for ear tumors, a needle in the throat, the infections that have landed him in the pet hospital more than once...and has yet he has always kept his good humor.

I asked Cassandra, the vet's assistant, if the Shabazz-man ever made house calls to give the last necessary medicine--I don't want Sneakaround's last minutes to be in the vet's office, but at home with us. She said that he would for his favorite clients. I hope we will know when the right time will be. Until then I try to give him extra love and special food. He has his own place to sleep when he wants to get some time away from the other cats.

I don't even like thinking about it, but the visit by the Shabazz-man is the last bit of loving care we can give him.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Happy Guy Fawkes Day...and my birthday!

Remember, remember the Fifth of November...

I do love birthdays, mine especially. And since I celebrate Birthday Tide, there's still time to buy presents! It lasts for a week month!

Thank you, MP, for the lovely music! Yer the best!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

What type of Liberal am I?

How to Win a Fight With a Conservative is the ultimate survival guide for political arguments

My Liberal Identity:

You are a Reality-Based Intellectualist, also known as the liberal elite. You are a proud member of what’s known as the reality-based community, where science, reason, and non-Jesus-based thought reign supreme.

I guess I never thought of myself as either intellectualist or elite...

Saturday, November 3, 2007

St. Laika

On a cold November morning fifty years ago today
Russia sent a dog named Laika to the cosmos far away.

How ironic that your capsule bore the name of Sputnik Two!
For there would be no companion on this odyssey for you.

Good-natured mutt, a street survivor, how life must have seemed so good
When they saved you, brought you home and bathed you, trained you, gave you food.

Little Barker, Little Muttchik, unsuspecting pioneer
How could scientists have named you and yet be so cavalier?

Trustingly, you let them strap you in the cockpit, shut the door–
“It’s the same game we had played, about a thousand times before”

Surely soon, they would come back, release you, give you treats and praise
As you waited, patiently, yet puzzled by the long delays.

Then the take-off, oh, how frightening, as your heart beat twice as fast,
Three times, as you felt the power of the g-force from the blast

Did you whimper? Did you shudder? Did you fear that cosmic night?
Did you wonder why your friends had sent you on this fatal flight?

Or did love and deep devotion to them calm your deep alarm
Trusting, hoping, still expecting them to keep you from all harm?

And then, finally, was nothing, only silent, empty space
Only Little Laika, sleeping, still with hope upon her face

On a chilly April evening, finally your journey’s end
Shooting star lights up the night sky, welcome home, my valiant friend.

Blessed Laika, we are sorry, for the horrors we put you through
Blessed Laika, please forgive us, for we know not what we do.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Irish triad

Three things that soothe the weary spirit: a cup of strong sweet tea, the smoky smell of a peat fire, the soft snoring of an old cat.